October 1st, 2020

  • glheard

Times 27784 - a wordplay tour-de-force

Time taken: 9:13.  That is just a touch under my average, but this is a tricky puzzle that is right up my alley - there were a large number of answers here that I had to piece together from wordplay, and that is my favourite part of a cryptic crossword, so no problems here.  The wordplay is excellent for a lot of new words to me along with familiar words used in a different context than usual.

If you like puzzles where you need to rely on the wordplay heavily, check the Mephisto in the Sunday Times, which I have the pleasure of blogging the odd-numbered puzzles (vinyl1 has the even ones).

Away we go...

1 Crustaceans manage when facing groups of whales (8)
COPEPODS - COPE(manage) and PODS(groups of whales). Got this from wordplay.
5 Bag is a pain, being left in street (6)
SACHET - ACHE(pain) in ST(street)
8 Queen with fantastic cat, more than once her destroyer of rodents (3-7)
RAT-CATCHER - R(regina, queen), then an anagram of CAT, another anagram of CAT and HER
9 Rhapsodic form of modern music, conclusion for concert (4)
RAPT - RAP(modern "music") and the last letter of concerT
10 Decorating site for play — this tells theatre folk what to do (5,9)
11 Swimmers used to swim in West? (7)
MEDUSAE - anagram of USED in MAE West
13 In the capacity of hut that has to be knocked down (7)
QUASHED - QUA(in the capacity of), SHED(hut)
15 Quiet diocese in which set of holy books is put forward (7)
PROMOTE - P(quite) and ROME(diocese) containing OT(set of holy books)
18 Failure of young socialite star to seal deal finally (7)
DEBACLE - DEB(young socialite), and ACE(star) containing the last letter of deaL
21 Scientist builds up from this small amount — aims at miscount being corrected (6,4,4)
ATOMIC MASS UNIT - anagram of AIMS,AT,MISCOUNT (not from wordplay, that doctorate in Chemistry comes in handy occasionally)
22 One guided around shop (4)
DELI - I(one), LED(guided) all reversed
23 Unselfish group member: "Pay me later for working'' (4,6)
24 A left-winger kept outside party much admired (6)
ADORED - A, RED(left-winger) outside DO(party)
25 Home with jazzy style given huge architectural feature (8)
INTRADOS - IN(home), TRAD(style of jazz), OS(huge). Got this from wordplay
1 Church has second gentleman turning up for baptismal robe (7)
CHRISOM - CH(church), and then MO(second), SIR(gentleman) all reversed. Another from wordplay.
2 Get rid of cherubic child without father and identity (3,4,2)
PUT PAID TO - the cherubic child is a PUTTO, insert PA(father) and ID(identity)
3 Those putting coats on horses (7)
PLATERS - double definition, though I only knew the first one.  The second is a horse entered into a race.
4 Product on sale just before Christmas maybe to become less successful? (7)
DECLINE - just before Christmas you might put out the DECember LINE
5 Building given criticism — one university must replace (9)
STRUCTURE - STRICTURE(criticism) with I(one) replaced by U(university)
6 Rushes to offer cold rather than hot dishes (7)
CURRIES - HURRIES(rushes) with C(cold) instead of H(hot)
7 Width of river accommodating vessels (7)
EXPANSE - the river EXE containing PANS(vessels)
12 Get to meeting with old rocker disgraced at one time (9)
ATTAINTED - ATTAIN(get to), and TED(old rocker) - got this from wordplay
14 Unoriginal journo with requirement to be heard (9)
HACKNEYED - HACK(journo) and what sounds like NEED(requirement)
16 Wrench restricting one part of body or another (4-3)
REAR-END - REND(wrench) containing EAR(one part of the body) leading to another part of the body
17 Audible sound of farmyard animal close by makes one more dreamy (7)
MOONIER - sounds like MOO NEAR(close by)
18 Driver of cart taking a road north — new girl going that way (7)
DRAYMAN - A, RD(road) all reversed, then N, AMY(girl) all reversed
19 Guy in America, about 50, one rushing around (7)
BUSTLER - BUSTER(Guy in the USA) surrounding L(50)
20 Forces out former leftists after revolution (7)
EXTORTS - EX(former), then TROTS(lefists) reversed, cycled, um what is going on with TROTS? Is the revolution in the middle three letters?

Times Quick Cryptic No 1713 by Mara

Welcome to October.  No accurate time for me this morning after a computer crash mid-solve, but it didn’t feel like it took too long – I’d guess inside my target of 15 minutes.  Lots of double and triple definitions and lots of anagrams.  In retrospect, I think I award my COD to 21d which just pips 9d.  Thanks Mara.


1  Happy to gather copper, type of metal (7)
MERCURY – MERRY (happy) containing CU (chemical symbol for copper).
Sweets in tin daddy emptied (5)
CANDY – CAN (tin) and D{add}Y (emptied, i.e. remove inner letters).
8  Instant trap so designed for dinosaur (11)
TRICERATOPS – TRICE (instant) followed by an anagram (designed) of [TRAP SO].
10 Support vertebral area (4)
BACK – double definition.
11  One’s days are numbered (8)
CALENDAR – Cryptic definition.
12 Cleaner leech (6)
SPONGE – Double definition, the first referring to a bath sponge, the second to a person who attaches himself to another for personal gain.
14  Fine South coast resort neither opens nor closes (6)
RIGHTO – The South coast resort is {b}RIGHTO{n} – neither opens nor closes (drop first and last letters).
16  Icy: uncle slipping about – hard to keep one’s balance on this (8)
UNICYCLE – Anagram (slipping about) of [ICY: UNCLE] with a literal cryptic definition.
18  Very, very unremarkable (2-2)
SO-SO – We had this same clue a couple of weeks ago, double-double definition.
20  Past one’s peak? (4,3,4)
OVER THE HILL – Barely cryptic definition.
22  Join one end, firstly (5)
UNITE – UNIT (one) and E{nd} (firstly).
23  Latvian originally admitted to being a different European (7)
BELGIAN – L{atvian} (originally) included in an anagram (different) of [BEING A] .


2  Rate adjusted to accommodate ten more (5)
EXTRA – Anagram (adjusted) of [RATE] and X (ten in Roman numerals).
Scaredy-cat animal (7)
CHICKEN – Double definition.
Cereal in barley recently sent up (3)
RYE – Reverse (sent up) hidden in {barl}EY R{ecently}
Seed in banana republic to enter Wimbledon, finally (5)
ACORN – Final letters (finally) of {banan}A {republi}C {t}O {ente}R {wimbledo}N.
7  Unfortunate act ends melody (7)
DESCANT – Anagram (unfortunate) of [ACT ENDS].
Free and threatening, as a whole (2,5)
AT LARGE – Triple definition.
11  Staff trimmed in style (4,3)
CREW CUT – CREW (staff) and CUT (trimmed).  A CREW CUT is a hair style.
13  Bridge – that’s played with cards (7)
PONTOON – Double definition.
15  Start with support for member, developing flier (7)
GOSLING – GO (start) and SLING (support for member, i.e. a sling for a broken arm).
17  Split, one hundred remaining (5)
CLEFT – C (one hundred) and LEFT (remaining).
19  Sauce eaten by colossal savage (5)
SALSA – Hidden in {colos}SAL SA{vage}.
21  Sheep in tree, we hear (3)
EWE – An extra double definition, this time it is both hidden (in {tre}E WE {hear} ) and it is a homophone (we hear) sounds like YEW (tree).

Times 27,785: Off To The Races At The 23d 28a

Not so very Fridayish, with much that could be filled in quickly and a few chestnutty clues; but certainly not without its charms. My favourite clue was probably the homophone at 22ac, though I did also like my LOI, the unknown flower containing Hollywood's most famous citizen, and also 20d where the surface gelled well. Thanks very much to the setter!

In other news the TftT (ish) team did quite well in Frank Paul's cryptic quiz this weak, taking a creditable bronze against some strong trivia teams, our 59/64 scoreline being pipped by a 60 and a 61. We'll be back for another gonext Thursday I expect!

1 One who endorses roasting absurd play's conclusion (9)

6 Pity about Europe wasting its money, some in India (5)
RUPEE - RUE about {euro}PE

9 Get bigger people to stand in for us during month (7)

10 Creepy posh governess nurses cold (7)
UNCANNY - U NANNY "nurses" C

11 Like columns to be representative, not conservative (5)

13 Go off with a gun, returning for timepiece (9)
REGULATOR - ROT with A LUGER, all reversed

14 Thoroughly popular team dismissed (6,3)

16 Deep source of power, perhaps (4)
MAIN - double def: deep = sea = main

18 Steer round extremely nasty stone (4)
ONYX - OX "round" N{ast}Y

19 Crashed on a safari in two races? (4-5)

22 What malingerer has picked up that's in his cellar? (9)
CHAMPAGNE - homophone of a malingerer's SHAM PAIN

24 African port barrels India imported (5)
TUNIS - TUNS, "importing" I

25 Flower an officer’s put around Hollywood citizen (7)
ALKANET - A LT is "put around" (Citizen) KANE

26 Part-time judge has clubs stolen? Send for more (7)

28 The German Times? It's a classic (5)
DERBY - DER [the, in German] + BY [times]

29 Heath left after miners, indicating figures (9)

1 Current rules reversed about greeting that's heard in Kenya (7)
SWAHILI - I LAWS [current | rules] reversed about HI

2 Heave goods around area (3)
GAG - G G "around" A

3 Are current lines and numbers entered first? (4,4)

4 Swimmer's more fashionable without a top (5)

5 At last stubbly nurse got reconditioned shaver (9)

6 Withdraw actual line about to be introduced (6)
RECALL - REAL L, "introducing" C

7 Mark is not quite on time getting into ground (11)

8 Rely on foul saving time for wing (7)
ELYTRON - (RELY ON*) "saving" T

12 Curious type using hooter when leaving car? (5,6)
NOSEY PARKER - to "leave one's car" is to PARK, if you use your hooter while you do so I guess you park nosily, or are a nosey parker

15 Primate, old, managed grand university function (5-4)

17 Reportedly, what our energy bill is based on? (4-4)
WATT-HOUR - or a homophone of WHAT OUR, depending on your accent. Failed the Scot test in my house

18 Where to cultivate fruit or vegetable (7)

20 Boy comes up on track, not taking a breather (7)
NOSTRIL - reversed SON on TR{a}IL

21 Just receiving training in public (6)
OPENLY - ONLY "receiving" P.E.

23 Record traveller's memory (5)

27 Cheat Charlie Houseman for one (3)