October 29th, 2020

Times Quick Cryptic No 1733 by Wurm

An interesting challenge from Wurm that took nearly all of my 15-minute target to complete.  I came across a full mix of clue types, with some novel devices and anagram indicators.  My Clue of the Day (COD) goes to 9d, UNDERWENT for the excellent misdirection and succinct cluing.

Please note experienced solvers – having had some time on my hands, I have been rather more verbose in the blog than is usual.  I hope that you don’t find this patronising, but I wanted to explain the answers as fully as possible for our newer solvers.  I have also included a few bits of GK (general knowledge) where I thought appropriate.  Let me know if this approach offends you.

Thanks to Wurm for the fun and novelty.


1  Rat in river for some years (6)
DECADE – The rat is a CAD, swimming in the River DEE.  As a Rotter, I know many synonyms for a rat or a cad, but CAD is one of those that I rather like, and associate with!
4  Court stops A4e having effect (6)
ACTIVE – I hadn’t seen this device before and initially wondered how to handle it.  As soon as I got a couple of the checkers, the secret revealed itself to me.  CT (abbreviation for court) stops, or is inserted into A (the A from A4e) IV (four or 4 in Roman numerals) and E (the e at the end of the device, A4e).  Simples!
8  Funny man in comic duo beyond contact (13)
INCOMMUNICADO – Anagram (funny) of [MAN IN COMIC DUO].  This is originally Spanish (not Latin as my non-classicist brain imagined) and means both ‘without means of communication’ and ‘in solitary confinement’.
10 Two tons taken by old farm wagon (5)
TWAIN – T{ons} and WAIN (farm wagon, as in The Hay Wain - painting by John Constable).  Samuel Langhorne Clemens (better known as American author Mark Twain) is said to have taken his pen name from hearing steamboat-men calling out the depth of water as they ‘sounded’ the channel with the sounding line.  A call of ‘Mark Twain’ signified the river was at the second knot in the rope, meaning a depth of 2 fathoms or 12 feet – safe for the steamboat.
11  Trying to get round figure reduced? (7)
DIETING – A nice, simple cryptic clue.
13  Even a dory somehow can be prepared for roasting (4-5)
OVEN-READY – Anagram (somehow) of [EVEN A DORY].
17  Little rascal learning to beg (7)
IMPLORE – IMP (little rascal) and LORE (learning).
18  Poor holding on for money (5)
BREAD – BAD (poor) holding or containing RE (on, as in ‘re / on the subject of the US election’).  BREAD is a slang term for money.
19  Students have trouble in Marxist concept (5,8)
CLASS STRUGGLE – CLASS (students) and STRUGGLE (have trouble).  CLASS STRUGGLE is defined in Chambers as follows: ‘(esp in Marxist theory) hostility or conflict that arises between different social ranks or classes, esp between the proletariat and the combined middle and upper classes in a capitalist society’.
21  Trumpet has place in window (6)
SPLASH – I put a question mark next to this when solving, meaning ‘come back to parse later as it is unclear’.  I was happy with the answer I entered, equating ‘to trumpet’ with ‘making a splash’, and Chambers bears that out, with one definition of SPLASH being to display or print very prominently.  It was the wordplay that I didn’t see initially, which is simply PL (place, abbreviation, as in street names) inside SASH (window).
22  Setter barking shows the way (6)
STREET – Anagram (barking, as in mad) of [SETTER].


Sweet daughter is not with Yankee (6)
DAINTY – D{aughter} and AIN’T (is not) and Y{ankee} (phonetic alphabet).
2  Turn up with a band in high spirits (4-1-4)
COCK-A-HOOP – COCK (turn up, as in to cock one’s head) with A (a) and HOOP (band).
Spirit shown in March and November (5)
DEMON – DEMO (march) and N{ovember} (phonetic alphabet again).
Monster to agree with artist (7)
CHIMERA – CHIME (to agree with) and RA (Royal Academician, artist).  In Greek mythology, a CHIMERA is a fabled fire-sprouting monster with a lion's head, serpent's tail and goat's body.  By extension, it also generically refers to a picture or representation of an animal having its parts made up of various animals.
Princess visiting Trinidad (3)
IDA – Hidden answer (visiting) in {trin}IDA{d}.  Princess IDA is an operetta written by Gilbert and Sullivan, based on the narrative poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.  IDA is a frequent visitor to Crosswordland.
7  One hug could be sufficient (6)
ENOUGH – Anagram (could be) of [ONE HUG].
Bore in a French river (9)
UNDERWENT – UN (French for one or a) and DERWENT (river, not French).  To undergo something is to bear it – in the past tense substitute underwent and bore.
12  College group some distance beneath climber (3,6)
IVY LEAGUE – LEAGUE (a measure of distance, i.e. some distance) beneath IVY (climbing plant).  IVY LEAGUE refers to  group of 8 elite colleges in the USA.  In the UK we have OXBRIDGE as a near equivalent, followed by RED BRICK, and as we saw last week, PLATE GLASS for more modern institutions.
14  Narcissists say it’s so messed up (6)
EGOISTS – EG (say) followed by an anagram (messed up) of [ITS SO].
15  Almost have chat about flying saucer (6)
DISCUS – DISCUS{s} (almost have chat means drop the last letter of discuss) with a cryptic definition for the athletic apparatus.
16  Commercial opening is coming (6)
ADVENT – AD{vertisement} (commercial) and VENT (opening).  An ADVENT is a coming or arrival.
18  Dull Soviet spy (5)
BLUNT – double definition, the second referring to Sir Anthony Blunt, leading British art historian who confessed to being a spy for the Soviet Union.
20  Beer reportedly makes you sicken (3)
AIL – Homophone (reportedly) sounds like ale (beer).
  • glheard

Times 27808 - brush up your Shakespeare

Time taken: 11:59.  That's a bit slower than my usual, and I was surprised to see that there were a few solvers with much better times already, so maybe I was making a meal of this, but I found it tricky.

I'm also solving an hour later than usual (though only one old-fashioned in) since this is the week between the end of summer time in the UK and the US. Next week I can look for the puzzle at the usual time.

The Times Crossword Club version of the puzzle lists the setter as Richard Browne. Not sure if this is an accident or a new thing, or if there is something significant about the puzzle that requires the setter to be identified. It seems to follow what I like about Richard Browne puzzles as having a real focus on the wordplay (he is Teazel in the QC and Imogen in another paper, and I am always happy to see an Imogen puzzle). Edit: The Times editor has come on and said in comments that this is not Richard Browne, so my apologies if the setter is slighted with the comparison.

Away we go!

1 Leader with due deference to me (10)
PACESETTER - PACE(with due deference to), SETTER(me)
6 In Celsius, one divides hot and cold (4)
CHIC - C(Celsius) then I(one) in between H and C (hot and cold)
9 Material obtained from dollar sign (7)
BUCKRAM - BUCK(dollar) and RAM(sign of the zodiac).  This came to mind from one of the great Falstaff speches "Two I am sure I paid, two rogues in buckram suits. I tell thee what, Hal, if I tell thee a lie, spit in my face, call me horse"
10 A royal flag from the east African land (7)
ERITREA - A, ER(royal), TIRE(flag), all reversed
12 French here penning in rebellious Brits (5)
ICENI - put the French for in (EN) inside the French for here (ICI)
13 Bad actor, trashed, promises to return ready (9)
ATROCIOUS - an anagram of ACTOR, then IOUS(promises to return ready). May be applied to my performance as Falstaff last year
14 Without notice, plans ambush in grand retinue (6-2-7)
LADIES-IN-WAITING - AD(notice) inside LIES IN WAIT (plans ambush), then IN, G(grand)
17 Prediction heard if warning players (7,8)
WEATHER FORECAST - sounds like WHETHER(if), then FORE(warning in golf), CAST(players)
20 Teacher back in classroom? I see teacher returning greeting (9)
MAHARISHI - last letter in classrooM, then AHA(I see), SIR(teacher) reversed and HI(greeting)
21 Woke clutching auntie, oddly, in fear (5)
PANIC - PC(politically correct, woke) containing alternating letters in AuNtIe
23 National football team maintaining king's backing (7)
ISRAELI - the football team is an eleven (11) containing LEAR'S (king's) reversed
24 Old Henry, a soldier, forced back Amerindian (7)
ARAPAHO - O(old), H(Henry, the unit), A PARA(soldier) all reversed.
25 Join head of retail bank (4)
TIER -  TIE(join) and the first letter of Retail
26 Native American trails outside of Edmonton in shade (10)
INDIGENOUS - US(American) after the outer letters of EdmontoN inside INDIGO(shade)
1 Hostelry I call chaotic with rules for everyone (6,3)
PUBLIC LAW - PUB(hostelry) then an anagram of I CALL, W(with)
2 Start to chase a red squirrel away (5)
CACHE - first letter in Chase, A, CHE(red)
3 Bill's extra procedure in court accusation (7,6)
SERVICE CHARGE - SERVICE(procedure in a tennis court), CHARGE(accusation)
4 Monkey stopping to beat one set of drums (7)
TIMPANI - IMP(monkey) inside TAN(beat), I(one)
5 Heard on EastEnders, very cultural feature (7)
EYEBROW - sounds like HIGHBROW(very cultural) in that dialect
7 Not half hard-up, money's in cash one's blown (9)
HARMONICA - the first halves of HARdup MONeys In CAsh
8 Husband wearing tops or leather clothing (5)
CHAPS - H(husband) inside CAPS(tops)
11 Design pencilled in, an elementary machine (8,5)
INCLINED PLANE - anagram of PENCILLED,IN,AN.  A simple lifting device. I had an in on this one, as "simple machines" is a challenge in the US Science Olympiad for which I run the regional tournament.
15 Strong beast with three feet lifted junk (9)
DRAYHORSE - YARD(three feet) reversed, then HORSE(heroin, junk, not what Falstaff wanted Hal to call him)
16 Communicate what wrong answer may do (3,6)
GET ACROSS - a wrong answer might GET A CROSS
18 Statesman Berliner once beheaded (7)
RUSSIAN - PRUSSIAN(Berliner once) missing the first letter
19 This person's given a subsidy, turning up Asian art (7)
ORIGAMI - I'M(this person), A, GIRO(subsidy) all reversed
20 Left-winger, but not a wet (5)
MOIST - the left-winger is a MAOIST, remove A
22 Marsh is often seen by this tree (5)
NGAIO - reference to one of the Queens of Crime, NGAIO Marsh

15ac 17ac with Frank Bough...

...who I guess is fair game for inclusion in Times puzzles now, having passed away last week. RIP!

FOI 13ac, LOI 10ac. Very hard indeed I thought, and fatigue must have set in as I managed to submit with RADETSKY instead of RADETZKY, even though I'd worked out how it all worked. Solidarity with those who grumble about foreign names clued by anagrams ("how was I supposed to choose between RADETZKY and REDATZKY?") perhaps.

COD to the somewhat madcap 19dn, though 15ac also gets points. For a while I thought "pop" referred to "granddad" and considered the clue a little risque! A very good workout all in all, so thanks to the setter. Let's hope that all three puzzles in the imminent Online Championships are at least as hard as this one, to make things challenging! At 2.30 in the morning my time, groan...

1 Tips from writer with daughter in America (6)
UPENDS - PEN [writer] with D(aughter) in US

5 Say nothing about preference for nagging (8)
SHREWISH - SH RE WISH [say nothing! | about | preference]

9 Weakness that’s not hard to see (4,4)
SOFT SPOT - SOFT [not hard] + SPOT [to see]

10 Being out of place in harbour, finally sailor returned (6)
STUPOR - PUT in {harbou}R + O(rdinary) S(eaman), the whole reversed

11 Transport add-on, one given to appropriate vehicles? (8)
JOYRIDER - JOY [transport] + RIDER [add-on]. "Appropriate" as in "steal".

12 Reverses and runs down (6)
KNOCKS - double def, in the senses of "misfortunes' and "disparages"

13 Aussie skipper adding a run to total in chase (8)
WALLAROO - add A R(un) to ALL [total], and put that in WOO [chase]

15 She had pop award reduced (4)
GRAN - GRAN{t}. She had pop, as in, she gave birth to dad.

17 Boy back in detention at school (4)
STAN - hidden reversed in {detention}N AT S{school}

19 Hiding, maybe, in service area (8)
MASSACRE - MASS ACRE [service | area]

20 Moon, mostly, keeps spinning around in space (6)
LACUNA - I think "moon, mostly" is LUNA{r}, thinking of "moon" as a loose adjective as in "moon lander"; though it seems to me that LUNA could just be "moon", without qualification. In any case! LUNA{r} must keep reversed C(irc)A ["spinning" around]

21 Dispatching letters from UN, a minor foreign correspondent? (3,3,2)

22 Lose track of exceptionally fine port (6)
VENICE - take VERY NICE [exceptionally fine], and lose its R(ailwa)Y "track"

23 Revelation in tweet set back husband — and then some! (8)
EPIPHANY - reversed PIPE [tweet] + H(usband) + ANY [some]

24 Austrian count’s last letter, dark, yet animated (8)

25 Boring article, on golf, they’ve permitted me (6)
GIMLET - on G(olf}, I'M LET [they have permitted me]

2 One supplying plug for engine you can pick up? (8)
PROMOTER - PRO [for] + homophone of MOTOR [engine]

3 Rubbish won’t burn in the shade (8)

4 Raised a large cover over father’s tree (9)
SAPODILLA - reverse all of A L(arge) LID [cover] O(ver) PA'S [father's]

5 Earmark hypermarket, perhaps, to give huge value (3,5,5,2)
SET GREAT STORE BY - if you earmark something you SET it BY, and a hypermarket is a GREAT STORE

6 Use a lot of each colour filling in box (3,4)
EAT INTO - EA(ch) + TINT [colour] + {b}O{x} [the "filling" of the word BOX]

7 Home, compact in size, for the richer (2,6)
IN POCKET - IN [home] + POCKET [compact in size, as in Peter's Pocket Grandpa]

8 Chap managed to collect medal for serving livestock owner (8)
HERDSMAN - HE RAN [chap | managed], "collecting" D(istinguished) S(ervice) M(edal)

14 Fido at last caught, dog collar is going on (9)
OCCURRING - {fid}O + C(aught) + CUR [dog] + RING [collar]

15 Person who offers to hold case for cockney traveller (8)
GULLIVER - GIVER [person who offers], "holding" 'ULL [case, unaspirated]

16 Maybe tick playing card in a hand, initially (8)

17 Outside right, cunningly, apes the fellow top wingers (8)
SERAPHIM - outside R(ight), (APES*) + HIM

18 Union spent to bring in a civil engineer (8)
ALLIANCE - ALL IN [spent], "bringing in" A, + C(ivil) E(ngineer)

19 Peel the source of this pus? (4,3)
MANX CAT - so Peel is a seaside town on the Isle of Man, where you could presumably find a PUS{s} - a cat without a tail, for which the IOM is so very famous.