October 12th, 2020

  • jackkt

Times Quick Cryptic 1720 by Tracy

Solving time: 10 minutes. There were no major delays along the way for me here, but  I shall be interested to  read how others got on.

My attention was drawn yesterday morning (by a contributor at Fifteensquared) to The Chambers Crossword Dictionary which has hitherto escaped my attention, so I sent for a copy and received it later in the day courtesy of Amazon Prime. It looks very interesting, not least because its contributors include our founder Peter Biddlecombe, Don Manley (Izetti) and Tim Moorey who also sets for The Times. In addition to the main body of the work there are some very informative essays about crosswords and lots of lists and tips. My only slight reservation may be with the title as it’s more what I would describe as a thesaurus than a dictionary. This is fine if one bears in mind that words listed in entries are not necessarily directly synonymous with the lead word and would therefore not always be valid as definitions, just words in the same area of meaning. It's still a very handy addition to the crossword armoury and at 958 pages some of you may feel it's worth investing in. New in paperback it's about £13 but there are used copies available on ebay and elsewhere for around half that.

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Ulaca de Milo
  • ulaca

Times 27793 - Not so complex

Pretty run-of-the-mill Monday offering, with a couple of weirdish words and a flower that sounds as if it were named after a Victorian maiden aunt. 21 minutes.


1 Male animal that may be made fast? (4)
BUCK - you can make a fast buck...
3 Trauma-resistant old academic goes about with untidy mass of hair (10)
SHOCKPROOF - SHOCK (untidy mass of hair) O in PROF
9 Less expensive-sounding young bird? (7)
CHEEPER - sounds like 'cheaper'
11 Kitchen appliance ultimately useful in drinking-spree (7)
BLENDER - [usefu]L in BENDER; where I make my hummus using lightly roasted sesame seeds ground in the coffee grinder - no rip-off tahini
12 Swift action is needed to make this course possible (5,4,4)
BIRDS NEST SOUP - this Chinese soup is made from the solidified saliva nest of a swiftlet
14 Political extremist sheltering union leader? Something fishy here (5)
TROUT - U[nion] in TROT
15 Broadcast our clubs initially adjudged beneath the viewers (9)
SUBOCULAR - anagram* of OUR CLUBS A[djudged]
17 Shark, unusually ferocious, gobbling up one’s nanny (9)
NURSEMAID - NURSE (type of shark) I in MAD (unusually ferocious)
19 Patrolled, with due deference to duke (5)
PACED - PACE (little used Latinate word meaning 'with due deference') D
21 Greatly increase output of ducal art and equip … (13)
24 … royals of note overwhelmed by costs (7)
25 King George leaves French city, receiving knight to elevate (7)
ENNOBLE - N (knight in chess) in [gr]ENOBLE
26 Comparison limits one due for development (10)
27 Brought up money for speaker? (4)
BRED - sounds like 'bread'


1 Little in the way of support for such spiteful talk! (10)
2 Farewell from guerrilla leader to north of European port (7)
CHEERIO - CHE [over - 'to north of'] E RIO
4 Flowering shrub the rain so damaged (9)
HORTENSIA - THE RAIN SO*; thought it was 'horse-' something at first
5 Old measure of copper coin? (5)
CUBIT - CU BIT (old piece of coinage)
6 Advance idea from papa about beginning of pregnancy (13)
PRECONCEPTION - an idea formed beforehand; we all do it...
7 Like a complex king’s gem worn by English princess? (7)
OEDIPAL - E DI in OPAL; quite nice - the apostrophe is essential to the solution
8 Model’s criminal record (4)
FORM - double definition; form, as in model of the human figure used to display clothes
10 Game to approve the plot? (4,3,6)
PASS THE PARCEL - if you approve a piece of land, you, um, pass the parcel
13 Son leaves Waugh’s house, skirting key part of fortification (10)
BRIDGEHEAD - G (random musical key) in BRIDE[s]HEAD
16 Teacher’s policy primarily delivered cover in retirement (9)
BEDSPREAD - BEd's P[olicy] READ (aloud - delivered)
18 Soldiers composed unfinished Mass, one for the departed (7)
REQUIEM - RE (Royal Engineers - soldiers) QUIE[t] (composed minus the last letter) M (mass)
20 Room in which daily is invested with award (7)
CHAMBER - MBE in CHAR (as in Mrs Mop)
22 Relax about start of Italian exam (5)
RESIT - I[talian] in REST
23 Rising at university, inspired by outstanding work (4)
OPUS - UP (at Oxford, say, or Fenland Poly, for those with cerebral issues) reversed in OS (outstanding)