October 17th, 2020

Times Cryptic Jumbo 1462 - 3rd October

I think this may be the most entertaining Jumbo crossword I've had the pleasure of blogging. Packed full of amusing and inventive wordplay and deceptive definitions, it was, I think, significantly harder than usual, taking me about 1 1/4 hours compared to my usual 35-45 minutes. Between drafting the blog and finishing it for publication one of the best clues, 21A, reappeared in almost identical form in this Tuesday's daily cryptic, prompting some comments about having seen it before recently. Was it the same setter, perhaps?

My copy is littered with approving ticks and questionmarks that I had to resolve for the blog. It's hard to pick a favourite, and I did like 16A a lot, but I will go for 53A, which took me the longest to parse. Great stuff! More like this please, editor! How did everyone else get on?

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  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27792 - Saturday, 10 October 2020. Now don’t kick up a fuss!

After an easy puzzle the previous Saturday, this one restored the balance in definitive fashion! It had some general knowledge gaps for me, and many clever clues and cunning definitions. My favourite was 9dn, with honourable mentions to 14dn and 15ac, and a very special groan for 16dn!

Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle. Let’s take a look.

Notes for newcomers: The Times offers prizes for Saturday Cryptic Crosswords. This blog is posted a week later, after the competition closes. So, please don’t comment here on the current Saturday Cryptic.

Clues are blue, with definitions underlined. Deletions are in {curly brackets}.
Across
1 University visits as yet unscheduled, blow it! (4)
TUBA – U for university ‘visits’ T.B.A.
3 Fans of number one casino game milling around (10)
EGOMANIACS – anagram (milling around) of CASINO GAME.
10 Local has got away to see poet’s desert island (9)
INNISFREE – INN IS FREE, so to speak. The poem is The Lake Isle of Innisfree, by W.B.Yeats. I didn’t know it.
11 Smooth coming back from across the pond, then hail (5)
SUAVE – SU for U.S. ‘coming back’, then AVE is ‘hail’ in Latin.
12 Sort of strain you get reversing in volleyball, ultimately (7)
LULLABY – reverse hidden answer.
13 As pyjamas often tear, put in tip (6)
STRIPY – RIP in STY.
15 Don famously did this list: a double dose, initially, of philosopher! (4,2,9)
TILT AT WINDMILLS – TILT is list, A TWIN is a double, D is Dose ‘initially’, and MILL’S=of the philosopher.
18 Artist, English youth and composer meeting in German city once (7-8)
MUNCHEN-GLADBACH – MUNCH is the artist, ENG for England, LAD, BACH. I vaguely knew there was a soccer (football) team called Borussia Mönchengladbach, but that doesnt help so much since, as the clue suggests, the name of the city changed at some point.
21 New male doctor comes in to treat mummy (6)
EMBALM – anagram (new) of MALE, with M.B. coming in.
23 A case to be made for the car — stick with it? (7)
GEARBOX – a cryptic definition.
26 Judicial decision by which land legally returned (5)
ARRET – I was puzzled by this until I twigged TERRA for ‘land’. Reverse it to get the answer. But, wait a minute … I seem to dimly remember that that’s a word for ‘ridge’? No, the dictionary says that’s spelled ARȆTE. A little learning is a dangerous thing!
27 Something fizzy a comrade’s drunk (5,4)
CREAM SODA – anagram (drunk) of A COMRADES.
28 Remiss in supporting worker (10)
BEHINDHAND – BEHIND (supporting) HAND (worker).
29 Boy to gradually fade, but avoiding rout (4)
PETE – gradually fade would be PETER OUT. Drop the ROUT out!

Down
1 Journey allowed me to maintain current tempo (6,4)
TRIPLE TIME – TRIP, LET, ME all ‘maintaining’ I for current.
2 Enforce a general embargo, mostly lacking impact (5)
BANAL – BAN, AL{L}, almost.
4 Kick up a row, clashing with grey knight (9)
GARRYOWEN – anagram (clashing) of A ROW GREY N, where N is for knight in chess. Clever definition: it’s a rugby tactic, known hereabouts as an up-and-under. Made famous by the Garryowen Rugby Club, apparently, which won three championships in a row in 1924-26 and used it a lot.
5 Faces no longer fitting, sadly, at the top (5)
MEETS – MEET is an obsolete term for fitting, followed by an S, for S{adly} at the top.
6 Normal, presumably, to inject sulphur to bring pet relief (7)
NOSTRUM – NOT RUM might amount to ‘normal’, presumably. Insert S for sulphur, which I believe is now officially spelled SULFUR!
7 Like barbershop, the creation of R Smythe Fitzgerald (1,8)
A CAPPELLA – I had no idea who R Smythe was, but it was easy to guess he must have created Andy Capp. So we have A. CAPP, followed by ELLA.
8 Go after — and get — piece for a mate (4)
SEEK – I assume we are talking checkmate in chess, and what we need to do is SEE the King. Is there more to it, anyone?
9 Where you’ll find eg Madrileños with no common sense gossip (6)
ESPANA – E.S.P. is a very uncommon sense, if it exists at all. ANA is a collection of gossip.
14 Do in marquee finally finishes when public house axes it, sealing off area (10)
ASPHYXIATE – AS for when, P.H. is for Public House, Y and X are the axes of a graph, IT is the ‘it’ in the clue, ‘sealing off’ A for area. Finally, we finish with E for ‘marquee finally’. Assemble as directed!
16 What’s maybe experienced by impatient practical joker in military retreat (4,5)
LONG MARCH – a whimsical suggestion that practical jokers might spend the whole of March impatiently waiting for April Fool’s Day. Like it or loathe it!

The LONG MARCH was a tactical retreat by the Chinese Communist Red Army, in 1934-35. Apparently they travelled 5,600 kilometres in 370 days!
17 A duck, for example, at no time turns this colour (4,5)
NILE GREEN – NIL (duck), E.G. (for example), NEER (at no time) ‘turned’.
19 Pick up catch: that’s raised cheer (7)
HEARTEN – HEAR (pick up), NET (catch) that’s ‘raised’.
20 Expression of dismay in note written by beloved (4,2)
DEAR ME – DEAR (beloved), ME (a musical note).
22 That man’s gripping account turned into short book of verses (5)
MICAH – HIM (that man) gripping AC (account), all ‘turned’. Verses of the biblical king, not verses of poetry.
24 In barracks picked up drink (5)
BOOZE – sounded like (picked up) BOOS.
25 Shot protecting leader in military post (4)
JAMB – M in JAB.