October 4th, 2020

Sunday Times 4922 by Dean Mayer - One Hand in my Pocket

20:41. Brilliant stuff from Dean this week. One of the hallmarks of a really great puzzle for me is that when I go to blog it a few days after solving, a lot of the clues take time to re-reveal their mysteries, and that was the case here. Or maybe it’s just a sign that I’m a bit dim: I’ve been struggling with a real stinker of a cold this week so the old brain cell may not have been firing on all cylinders.

Too many great clues to pick out the best, really, but I will make special mention of 1dn. It’s not spectacular, but Dean has a quite marvellous knack of coming up with clues that have a curious sense of having been discovered, rather than created. This is one of those.

So thank you to Dean for 20 minutes of great entertainment, and here’s how I think it all works...

Definitions are underlined, anagrams indicated like (TIHS)*, anagram indicators are in italics.

1 Work capacity that masses still have
POTENTIAL ENERGY - CD. ‘the energy of a body or system as a result of its position in an electric, magnetic, or gravitational field.’ ‘Masses still’ to be read here as ‘still masses.’
9 It may look like 5, but it’s a 2-digit figure
PEACE SIGN - because uses two digits (fingers) and it’s a V (five). Who else wondered what this had to do with a LANDING NET?
10 Open and close bass loop
BLINK - B, LINK. ‘Loop’ for LINK struck me as a bit of a stretch when I was solving, but I figured that a link in a chain is kind of a loop: and indeed Collins defines it as ‘any of the separate rings, loops, or pieces that connect or make up a chain.’
11 Join forces again, in fact
12 Job description? Great!
BIBLICAL - the book of Job, of course.
14 To hit — heavy or light
LAMP - ‘hit, heavy’ = hit heavily.
15 I’m not playing around with emotions
POIGNANTLY - (NOT PLAYING)*. See below for a discussion of “I’m”, which I had initially included erroneously as part of the anagrist.
18 Was bouncer messaged about bad atmosphere?
PING-PONGED - PING(PONG)ED. ‘Love you darling ping me later mwah mwah ciao.’
19 Give a detailed account
SAGA - SAG, A. I was convinced here that ‘detailed’ was an instruction to take the last letter off something. As Dean no doubt intended.
21 What Manuel said in scene about string
SEQUENCE - (SCENE)* containing QUE. I thought about trying to fit ‘hammer sandwich’ or ‘I speak English well, I learn it from a book’ but they didn’t fit.
22 Master’s membership reminder?
SUBDUE - your sub is due.
24 See commercials a lot
LOADS - lo, ads!
25 Before cooking one, go for a pizza topping
PEPPERONI - PEP (go), PER (for a), ON (cooking), I.
26 A mission for us, but only in capitals
AMERICAN EMBASSY - a nicely original CD playing on the fact that ‘us’ in capitals is US. As a crossword nerd I particularly like this one because it plays with the convention that capitalised terms (proper nouns in particular) aren’t normally supposed to be uncapitalised in clues. Ooh Dean, you are naughty!

1 Sheet anchor?
2 Site of protest means quarantine is useless
3 Require line to drop in bait
4 Bird is catching bird? No way!
IBIS - I(BIrd)S. Nice clue!
5 New parts tangled in clumsy angler’s gear
LANDING NET - (TANGLED IN)* which N (new) 'parts', i.e. is contained in.
6 Slowly eat beef, getting bill first
NIBBLE AT - NIB, BLEAT. NIB can mean ‘beak’ (Collins) or ‘bill’ (Chambers).
7 Pelt of animals kept as pets
RAIN CATS AND DOGS - CD in which the word ‘pelt’ doesn’t mean what it appears to mean.
8 Peasant couple given pound
13 Run off opening businesses - very good area for wealth
CORNUCOPIA - CO CO (businesses) containing (RUN)*, PI (word for very good found only in crosswords), A.
16 Once you declare “I love you” by text, it’s 11 12!
YEA VERILY - YE (once you), AVER (declare) ILY (text lingo for ‘I love you’, apparently). The definition is REALLY BIBLICAL (see 11ac & 12ac).
17 In lodge, relaxing mostly, like to drink squash
20 Smashing up a Balkan’s fencing
21 As short girl gets up, dance
SALSA - reversal (up) of AS, LASs.
23 Echo around small part of church
  • glheard

Mephisto 3135 - Paul McKenna

I remember doing this on Sunday afternoon on a pretty glorious day, but don't remember that much about the solving process. Chalk that up to a round of golf the previous day where I took advantage of the facilities of the club to a great extent (if you are in this part of the world I highly recommend the Sevierville Golf Course in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee).

The pun in the top row does describe most of my last six months.

In Mephisto puzzles, definitions (underlined) can be confirmed in Chambers so I will be focusing on the wordplay here.

Away we go!

1 Who went to the land of Nod hugging fit old man? (7)
CAPTAIN - in the bible, CAIN was exiled to the Land of  Nod. Insert APT(fit)
6 Daughter’s missing German and oddly the Scots adventures (5)
DAURS - remove D and the letters of THE from DAUGHTER'S
10 Public in Oxford Uni here! I’m done, another may go (9, three words)
OVER TO YOU - OVERT(public) then inside OU(Oxford Uni) is YO(here!)
11 Standard Old Latin is spoken (5)
PAROL - PAR(standard), O(old), L(Latin)
12 Boat from Bremen with bow (6)
SUBMIT - SUB(boat), MIT(from in German)
14 Take off slight peer (8)
DISCOUNT - DIS(slight), COUNT(peer)
15 Phoney OT book, in short, about son lying in grass (6)
ERSATZ - EZ(the book of Ezra) containing S(son) inside RAT(grass)
17 Small bank knocked back old companions (5)
FEERS - S(small), REEF(bank) all reversed
18 English with a passé dog could be a pain (7)
EARACHE - E(english), A, RACHE(archaic hunting dog)
20 Line by señora, say, cutting special cord (7)
LANIARD - L(line) next to SPANIARD(senora, say) missing SP(special)
22 Adapt that by which ’ighwayman ’anged (5)
ALTER - A highwayman could be hanged on a HALTER, drop the aitch
26 Whole and stiff fish (6)
ALLICE - ALL(whole), ICE(stiff)
28 Quondam rollicking self-driving shriek kid’s kept in (8)
GLADSOME - the self-driving shriek is GO ME!!! insert LAD'S(kid's)
29 Niche boozer that bloke turned over (6)
MIHRAB - BAR(boozer) and HIM(that bloke) all reversed
30 Head of state entertaining American ass (5)
KIANG - KING(head of state) containing A(American)
31 It’s airtight and helps keep dry judge in rear, in disarray (9, two words)
KILNER JAR - KILN(keep dry), then J(judge) inside an anagram of REAR
32 Column that’s fresh verges on exceptional (5)
NEWEL - NEW(fresh) and the outside letters of ExceptionaL
33 Return of former period — les lèche-vitrines love this display (7)
ETALAGE - reversal of LATE(former) then AGE
1 Bluebottles finishing off shoe brush (5)
COPSE - COPS(bluebottles, police) and the last letter of shoE
2 Carefully check a resort, as was (6)
PERUSE - PER(a), USE(resort)
3 Greek hymns broadcast before bearing up (8)
TROPARIA - AIR(broadcast), A(before), PORT(bearing) all reversed
4 Fête in need of opening — take something to clear the air (7)
IONIZER - LIONIZE(celebrate, fete) missing the first letter, then R(take)
5 Tree’s preposterous synonym so far taken up (5)
NYSSA - SYN(synonym) reversed then AS(so far) reversed
6 Rab C’s more sober, otherwise cured of being held (6)
DOUCER - anagram of CURED containg O'(of)
7 Wooden group wrapped up in soul music (5)
ULMUS - hidden in soUL MUSic
8 Driving mist engulfing Scots isle, ultimately one gets a ticket for later (9)
RAINCHECK - RACK(driving mist) containing INCH(Scots isle) and the last letter of onE
9 Letters dealt out decisive blow (7)
SETTLER - anagram of LETTERS
13 Ban relied on shifting queue of poor (9)
16 Miss helping in court — enjoy oneself finally visiting Ireland (8)
BALL-GIRL - BALL(enjoy oneself), the last letter of visitinG, IRL(Ireland)
17 Jack on ship who hoisted “England expects” etc (7)
FLAGMAN - FLAG(Jack) and MAN(ship)
19 Stiff singer usually seen dressed up (7)
ADAMANT - the singer is ADAM ANT known for very theatrical performances.
21 Go for mug with trouble (6)
ASSAIL - ASS(mug) and AIL(trouble)
23 Container in Cadiz can just about open (6)
TINAJA - TIN(can) and AJAR(open) missing the last letter
24 Food packaging beginning to attract seabird (5)
CAHOW - CHOW(food) containing the first letter of Attract
25 Old muffle is supple I conceded (5)
MOBLE - MOBILE(supple) missing I
27 Bore to go along with putting up one on state benefit (5)
EAGRE - AGREE(go along with) with E(person on state benefit) moving to the top
  • vinyl1

Times 27787 - Put that in your lapel!

Time: 60 minutes!
Music: Schubert, Piano Sonatas, Wilhelm Kempf

Yeah, my time was 60 minutes, but it was 25 minutes on all but one clue.   Since I had never heard of the fastener, and there a zillion words that fit _ A _ E _, I had quite a bit of difficulty there.   I suppose the UK solvers just wrote it in without scarcely a second thought.   The rest of the puzzle was pretty typical for a Monday, with a couple of clever twists but nothing too tricky.

I saw a couple of days after the fact that  another commenter had posted an answer to a different current puzzle in the comments.   Please try to avoid this, as some of our readers may not have gotten to that particular puzzle yet.   

1 Enchanting publication I name shortly (7)
5 Announce two poor grades at college (7)
DECLARE - D + E + CLARE (an Cambridge college)
9 Time of payments: edited round number gets stuck up (6-5)
10 They order the troops salad (3)
COS - Commanding Officers, COs.
11 Gave approval for a grand instrument (6)
12 Fixer of team to pinch back (5,3)
PANEL PIN - PANEL + NIP backwards....aaargh!.
14 Writer in trainers popping pill (13)
17 Unseen helper’s paper and coin no longer used (8,5)
GUARDIAN ANGEL - GUARDIAN + ANGEL, in entirely different contexts
21 Club entertainer ultimately impresses tourist (8)
STRIPPER -  [impres]S + TRIPPER.
23 Give up game after opponent captures rook (6)
25 Father seen in good sort of light (3)
GUV - G + UV, ultra-violet.
26 After very short time, pastor abandoned defunct browser (11)
TRICERATOPS - TRICE + anagram of PASTOR, which I wouldn't have gotten quickly if we hadn't just had one!
27 Recycling: say I’m sorry about Victor’s going west (7)
SALVAGE - E,G, A(V)LAS, all backwards. 
28 Sticker finally put on first compartment (7)
1 Dangerous driver, crazy, circling right round (2,4)
2 Choose computer career and take the risk (2,3,2)
GO FOR IT - Double definition, one jocular.
3 Cold, even with president (9)
CLEVELAND - C + LEVEL + AND.   I wasted a lot of time with Coolidge, who sounds a lot cooler, but doesn't fit.
4 Long and thin piece of wood, not soft (4)
5 Did initially request a piece of advice, turning up a large book (3,7)
DAS KAPITAL - D[id] + ASK + A + TIP backwards + A + L.
6 Bum died in prison (5)
7 Admits church has added page in holy book (7)
8 European learning about evil in tragic setting (8)
13 City plaza lies oddly across major road (6,4)
15 Old soldier on island line (9)
16 Something delightful more than once in middle-class novels (3,5)
AGA SAGAS - A GAS, A GAS....jumping Jack Flash!
18 Coming first in race, bumping into a fellow competitor (7)
ARRIVAL -   A R(R[ace])IVAL.
19 Having told a story, have to rest (3,4)
20 My collection of items stays (6)
22 Part of stomach revolting at bread (5)
PITTA - PIT + AT backwards.
24 Letters associated with pencil broken by Queen Rosemary, perhaps (4)
HERB - H(ER)B, where HB is from the graphite grading scale.