October 31st, 2020

  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27804 - Saturday, 24 October 2020. Summer’s almost gone.

Well the clocks went back in the UK overnight, and this was a good puzzle to signal the end of summer on that side of the world. Nothing too testing. A nice bit of tiffin at 1ac to get started. My last three in were 21, 11 and 12 ac, which in retrospect were all simple enough! 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 High-flown sort of duck losing tail — it’s flapping about (9)
BOMBASTIC – a tailless BOMBAY{y} duck, then an anagram (flapping) of ITS, and C for about.
6 Witness, at the start, a return of colourful bird (5)
WADER – W for ‘witness, at the start’; A as a literal; DER=RED returning.
9 Continuous period in charge of some letters (5)
RUNIC – RUN, I/C.
10 I manage papers! Wowed? (9)
IMPRESSED – I’M (the) PRESS ED{itor}.
11 Being short of water initially hard for female (7)
ATHIRST – AT FIRST: change F for female to H for hard. A word that’s come up before from time to time.
12 Cut current, restricting theatrical events (7)
TOPSIDE – TIDE restricting OPS. So, a surgical theatre, not a repertory theatre. A delightfully minimalist definition!
13 Go through cases, then happen to find novel (7,3,4)
DECLINE AND FALL – DECLINE your Latin nouns, for example: mensa, mensa, mensam, mensae, mensae, mensa; followed by AND, FALL for ‘then, happen’. The novel is by Evelyn Waugh, published in 1928.
17 Animator has gap to fix in dreamlike sequence (14)
PHANTASMAGORIA – anagram (to fix) ANIMATOR HAS GAP.
21 Letters make opening of conversation academic (7)
POSTDOC – POST for letter, DO for make, C for ‘opening of conversation’.
23 Possibly one who narrowly escapes cold, with radiator (7)
CHEATER – C for cold, HEATER for radiator. The definition is as in ‘cheat death’.
25 Where one bravely takes misfortune, conscious it may provide a service (9)
CHINAWARE – take misfortune on the CHIN; then AWARE for conscious.
26 One takes a bowgirl pretending to be a boy (5)
VIOLA – double definition: a stringed instrument, or a character in Twelfth Night.
27 Figure I had rejected a fool (5)
DIGIT – DI=I’D, reversed. GIT = fool.
28 Requests one to leave a nice, secluded part of garden (9)
PLEASANCE – PLEAS for requests, then take the I out of A NICE.

Down
1 Serving women made from Adam’s rib (8)
BARMAIDS – anagram (made from) ADAMS RIB.
2 Chew lots, swallowing some number (5)
MUNCH – MUCH, swallowing N for number.
3 Unity at home full of love: give me a squeeze! (9)
ACCORDION – ACCORD for unity, I(O)N for ‘at home, full of love’.
4 Order of list corrected in article (7)
THISTLE – anagram (corrected) of LIST inside THE.
5 Turner puts lid on brown (7)
CAPSTAN – CAPS, TAN.
6 Puppy at first washed daily (5)
WHELP – W for washed (at first), HELP for a daily, of the Mrs. Mop kind.
7 Policemen shoot as retort, perhaps (9)
DISTILLER – the police officers could be D.I.S. Apparently a TILLER can be a sapling or shoot. Anything I ever knew about chemistry is long forgotten, but surely you can use a retort as a distiller to produce something or other.
8 Get back and think again (6)
REDEEM – does RE-DEEM mean “think again”? I don’t think so, even though RE captures “again”, and DEEM can certainly mean “think”. I think the clue really deserves a question mark to flag the joke.
14 Helping with party, working out expense of protecting house (9)
COHOSTING – COSTING, protecting HO for house.
15 Encrypting files gave minimum concealment (3,6)
FIG LEAVES – anagram (encrypting) FILES GAVE.
16 Fine description of Quidditch? It can reasonably be attacked (4,4)
FAIR GAME – F for fine, then Quidditch is an AIR GAME, since its played on broomsticks.
18 Headings of analyst’s ring binder that should shed some light (3,4)
ARC LAMP – A for analyst and R for ring (headings), then CLAMP.
19 Teach me to develop into a hacker (7)
MACHETE – anagram (‘develop’) of TEACH ME.
20 Was quick to take in a chapter, leaving gaps (6)
SPACED – put A+C for chapter in SPED.
22 Mild curse when having to keep following bank order (5)
DRAFT – put F for following in DRAT.
24 Spine damaged, put in hospital (5)
THORN – put H for hospital in TORN.
verlaine

Monthly Club Special 20,241: As Easy As 12ac?

Another great MCS with a fine smorgasbord of unusual words clued with equally rare wit and verve. I loved the devices at 26ac, 4dn, 5dn, 16dn: these puzzles are such a great breeding ground for interesting wordplay that might prove a bit abstruse for normal-strength 15x15s. But I LOVE them and so should you. Thank you setter!

ACROSS
1 Shakespearean counsel to wit: time to interject last word (8)
VIZAMENT - VIZ [to wit] + T(ime), with AMEN [last word] "interjected"

5 Wife in charge probes tattoo curl with a glance (6)
INWICK - W(ife) I(n)/C(harge) "probes" INK [tattoo]. This is a glancing shot in the game of curling, not any kind of withering look!

8 Environmental activists nipping over gate (3)
XOR - X(tinction) R(ebellion) "nipping" O(ver). Exclusive-OR logic gate.

9 26 queens played in no-trump card game (10)
LANSQUENET - LA [= LAH] + (QUEENS*) in N(o)T(rump)

10 Fruits of those treated by bloodsuckers? (8)
LEECHEES - double def. Another spelling of lychees/litchis, or else possibly ones being leeched by metaphorical leeches using actual leeches.

11 Perhaps visiting Madrid less one is forcibly put to work (6)
INSPAN - IN SPA{i}N

12 Chart to help calculating two sides of triangle with generically labelled vertices? (4)
ABAC - if a triangle's points are A, B and C, two of its sides will be AB + AC.

14 Contribute with starter of nuts, as in dwarf chestnut (10)
CHINQUAPIN - CHIP IN, with N{uts} + QUA [as] in

Yen for introduction of vernacular swearing, half-lost in essence (5-5)
YLANG-YLANG - {s-Y}LANGY [vernacular (with Y replacing its first letter)] + LANG{uage} [swearing, "half-lost"]

20 Endlessly extract sticky substance from small Chilean rodent (4)
DEGU - DE-GU{m}

23 House-sitter keeps for one Italian the vehicle used by Turner (6)
MEGILP - MP [sitter in the House (of Commons)] "keeps" E.G. IL [for one | Italian the]. Megilp is not a roadworthy vehicle, but a medium used in oil painting.

24 Some current person almost catches island salamander in Alabama (8)
AMPHIUMA - AMP [some current] + HUMA{n} [person "almost"] "catches I(sland)

25 An ornamental sample of daguerreotypy RA can’t hang (10)
PYRACANTHA - hidden in {daguerroty}PY RA CAN'T HA{ng}

26 What’s common in flatfish and loach is a component in scales (3)
LAH - take all the letters held in common by {f}LA{tfis}H and L{o}A{c}H. Lah is the "component in scales" that falls between so and ti.

27 Recalled what might be spiritual exists, knowing it? (6)
GNOSIS - reversed SONG [what might be spiritual] + IS [exists], semi-&lit

28 Piece of shareware wanting source for desktop material? (4-4)
REWA-REWA - hidden in {sha}REWA-RE WA{nting}. A tree in NZ, used in furniture making.

DOWN
1 Standard-bearer’s chagrin with mountaineer missing summit (9)
VEXILLARY - VEX [chagrin] + (Edmund) {h}ILLARY

2 A porter, maybe a Zulu, set up camp with defences (7)
ZAREEBA - reverse all of A BEER [porter, maybe] A Z(ulu). Originally a Sudanese word, apparently.

3 Whisky, heroin addict’s foremost dark, thick substance (6)
MALTHA - MALT [whisky] + H(eroin) + A{ddict}. Mineral tar.

4 Possibly chamber music auditorium boosts bottom line, unlikely to make a killing (9)
NONLETHAL - take a NONET HALL [possibly chamber music auditorium], and "boost" the bottom L to higher up in the answer.

5 I answer question about 13th and 16th letters in Arctic language (7)
INUPIAQ - I A(nswer) Q(uestion) about NU + PI [13th and 16th letters, in the Greek alphabet]

6 Turning four leading bard would like cradle in treetop? (4-5)
WIND-SHAK'D - WIND [turning] + SHAK{espeare} [four (letters) leading bard] + 'D [world]

7 French sectarians releasing pent-up emotions, never having succeeded (7)
CATHARI - CATHAR{s}I{s} [releasing pent-up emotions, with all instances of the letters S (= succeeded) removed]

13 John, war representative, carrying combat jacket over docks in Texas (9)
CANAIGRES - CAN [John] + ARES [(divine) war representative], "carrying" reversed GI [combat jacket (in judo)]. Docks as in the plants, here.

15 Linear measure not applicable with lack of rhythmic pattern (9)
NANOMETRE - N/A with NO METRE

16 Rocket launchers needing uniform speed of sound for southern place where sea battles were enacted
NAUMACHIA - take NASA [rocket launchers], and replace S(outhern) with U MACH-1 [uniform | speed of sound]

18 Be a burden for docked horse after a place (3,4)
LIE UPON - PON{y} after LIEU [a place]

19 S American opossums from heart of Guyana pits (7)
YAPOCKS - {gu}YA{na} + POCKS [pits]. Yapocks are adorable by the way, such big hands!

21 With note repeated at top, middle and bottom, select bowl with two handles (7)
ECUELLE - {E}CU{E}LL{E} - CULL is select; introduce the note E in the three places mentioned.

22 Somehow had to protect voter against mounting spiritual contemplation (6)
DHYANA - (HAD*) to "protect" reversed NAY [voter against]