September 28th, 2020

  • jackkt

Times Quick Cryptic 1710 by Jalna

My solving time was 15 minutes for all but 7dn but I needed another 8 minutes to come up with the missing answer. I discovered later that my problem was a wrong checker supplied by the answer at 19ac although I had solved that clue correctly in my head.

I approached this puzzle under the impression that Jalna was a first-time setter but my records later advised that he/she has given us two puzzles previously in August and October 2019. My solving times on those occasions were 13 minutes and 18 minutes respectively, so with today's total of 23 minutes it appears I am fighting a losing battle of wits against Jalna.

I was excited  to see a new font in the title of the print version of the puzzle and hoped this might be the result of someone at last taking notice of complaints about the 'r n / m' problem and doing something about it, but looking at 'turns' in 8dn it doesn't seem to have made any difference.

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Ulaca de Milo
  • ulaca

Times 27781 - St Aubrun, anyone?

A combination of some very easy literals and some very generous cluing (plus a smattering of chestnuts) means that this puzzle will fall into the very easy Monday category for many of us. 14 minutes for me, so we're looking sub-4 from the speedsters like V, K, mohn, Topical and Herdy.

PS For those who are following the story, I am now on the final chapter of Ulysses. Absolute nightmare reading this chapter (a mere 25,000 words) online, as knowing where I have got to is even tougher with no punctuation and no paragraphs. Can't hide the fact that Molly was a bit of a goer, mind...

ACROSS

1 Joke with one wearing raincoat like a king? (8)
MAJESTIC - JEST I in MAC
5 Unknown fate when swallowing drug with a fanatic (6)
ZEALOT - E A in Z LOT (fate)
10 Ensures tutorial is a shambles — that's a risky game! (7,8)
RUSSIAN ROULETTE - anagram* of ENSURES TUTORIAL IS
11 TV alien you wouldn't want to drop? (7)
CLANGER - Not sure I ever watched The Clangers, but they made weird moaning noises, so far as I recall, and had some pretty basic sci-fi stuff, essentially, coat-hangers, sticking out of their head, simulating satellite dish type things. Again, all from memory. Whereas you might well want to drop one of these things on its head - coat-hanger allowing - you wouldn't want to drop a clanger, in the sense of committing a faux-pas. Something I don't think I do very much at all, but apparently the frequency of such alleged action increases exponentially when in the company of my wife.
12 Quick show (7)
EXPRESS - double definition
13 Therefore copes without alcohol at first, and becomes clear-headed (6,2)
SOBERS UP - SO BE[a]RS UP
15 Senior metalworker loses weight (5)
ELDER - [w]ELDER I hope I'm not going too fast for you (bless you for reading this, by the way)
18 Loosen link, it's back to front (5)
UNTIE - UNITE with the IT bit reversed
20 Lacking mercy, like an incomplete Bible? (8)
RUTHLESS - Ha! If you left the book of Ruth out of the Bible, you wouldn't have the full monty, as it were
23 Heard about place for better Italian town? (7)
CASSINO - sounds like casino; CASSINO was the site of a famous battle in the harsh and bloody campaign to boot the German military out of Italy preparatory to the emancipation of the rest of Europe
25 Space to stretch, sleep regularly, and prepare (7)
LEGROOM - [s]L[e]E[p] GROOM
26 Fizzy drink delivery outside extremely shoddy base for armchair sport? (7,8)
FANTASY FOOTBALL - S[hodd]Y FOOT (base) in FANTA (sparkling sugary water allegedly flavoured with orange) BALL (delivery in cricket)
27 Perhaps male ruler backing Persian king (6)
XERXES - reversal of SEX (perhaps male) REX (ruler)
28 Hungry retinues becoming unruly (8)
ESURIENT - RETINUES*; one of those words in the 'bung it in but buggered if I know what it means' category

DOWN

1 Turn over a vehicle in the morning — it rattles! (6)
MARACA - reversal of A CAR AM; usually found in the plural, because otherwise what on earth are you being paid to do with the other hand
2 Almost deserved a fight (4,5)
JUST ABOUT - JUST A BOUT
3 Play with English pebbles on the beach (7)
SHINGLE - ENGLISH*; this is the sort of clue about which I used to say things such as 'even an Australian might get this' till I saw the light. Talking of Oz, check out the film Wake in Fright if you get the chance. It's amazing.
4 Gold medallist takes head off part of the target (5)
INNER - [w]INNER
6 Cover English prunes with cellophane, finally (7)
ECLIPSE - E CLIPS [cellophan]E
7 Unlimited selection of food and coffee (5)
LATTE - [p]LATTE[r]; maybe, just maybe, someone out there couldn't parse this. If so, please say so in your comments below and it'll make me a happy camper
8 Nurse briefly with certain valuables (8)
TREASURE - TREA[t] SURE
9 Eastern typhoon destroyed something alluring (8)
HONEYPOT - E TYPHOON*
14 Gemstone from Saxony tossed across road (8)
SARDONYX - RD in SAXONY*
16 Girl passes up a tango, with nose ultimately put out of joint (9)
DISLOCATE - DI reversal of COLS A T (tango) [nos]E; you biff this, and you don't get to appreciate all the thought that went into it
17 Fast bowler with stick for support — a temporary solution (5,3)
QUICK FIX - QUICK (fast bowler - cricket again) FIX (stick for support - answers on a post card, please)
19 Remove hair extensions, initially, before short exercise class (7)
EPILATE - E[xtensions] PILATE[s]; remove hair from the body (where it always seems to delight in growing, however much you ask it to do its stuff on your head)
21 Boat that's easier to carry (7)
LIGHTER - DD
22 Charm left out of a hairdo (6)
AMULET - A MU[l]LET; not sure if anyone could better Chris Waddle's
24 Fellow in Madrid taking top off upset ugly old ladies (5)
SENOR - [c]RONES reversed
25 Items, including old sacks (5)
LOOTS - O in LOTS (as at an auction)