November 5th, 2020

Linus van Pelt
  • z8b8d8k

27814 Thursday, 5 November 2020 Yum Yum

I rather enjoyed this quirky number over 18.44, as a break from the drawn-our tension fest that is the American election process. At the time of writing, the BBC is still rather coy about predicting the result, clearly trying not to raise our hopes unduly lest a late surge in Arizona put the kybosh on a Biden White House. CNN is almost, but not quite, breathing a sigh of relief that the House of Orange looks like losing.

It might be just my impression, but there appear to be more multi-word and hyphenated entries that usual, which can be helpful, and a decent smattering of NATO letters to help things along. Only one entry (at 24) was outside my normal ken, but the wordplay left little doubt. Others might be less sure of the spiny character in 1d or the gentleman at 16, but I hope they don’t detract too much from the pleasure of the chase.
My expositions show the clues in italics, the definition also underlined, and the SOLUTIONS just so.

1 Ready to toy with carelessly, my one and only old mop (8,5)
MONOPOLY MONEY The definition suggests play money, and it’d dealt by a mixture (carelessly) of MY, ONE, ONLY O(ld) and MOP. Trust me, it works.
9 Channel, small, across the pond (5)
SINUS Perhaps not the most immediate synonym for channel, but it is a passage through which liquid passes. S(mall) IN U(nited) S(tates), which is across the pond/Atlantic if you’re on this side of it. American solvers, please pretend.
10 Model, short type, with one child of five (9)
MANNEQUIN I think the shortened type is MANNER (what manner of word do you call that?) and the (one) child of five is a QUIN
11 Where there are no trees, having abandoned home — good being out of the woods! (2,3,5)
IN THE CLEAR My LOI, wondering whether IN THE PLAIN made any sense. In my local forest, there are no trees in the clearing, and if you abandon the IN home and the G(ood) you end up with a version of our definition
12 Visiting Europe, sought change from S America (4)
PESO Our hidden for today, “visiting” EuroPE SOught. Currency in several S American countries (and the Philippines ), originally piece of eight.
14 Degenerate acquired drug to carry round (2,2,3)
GO TO POT The definition is in verbal form, and the rest of the clue needs to be  rejigged. Acquired: GOT and drug: POT carry round: O. Respace.
16 Cheers to the left and right in this country for old statesman (7)
Mustafa Kemal ATATÜRK (the umlaut is optional) pretty much the creator of the modern Turkish state. TATA for cheers runs to the left, then R(ight) is inserted into UK, this country as the home of the crossword
17 Source, I heard, honestly come by (4-3)
WELL WON Source gives the WELL and I gives the sound of WON, either as an affected version of the personal pronoun, or as a roman one.
19 Asian island, a place tucked away (7)
MALAYAN The Island you seek is MAN, into which A place: LAY is inserted
20 Failure to see case for amateurish boat-builder (4)
NOAH Failure to see provides NO (I think) and the case of AmateurisH the rest of the Arkitect.
21 Fix that’s welcome? (3-2-3-2)
HOW-DO-YOU-DO Another fine mess you got me into, or as WS Gilbert had it in aphetic form in the Mikado:
“Here's a how-de-do!
If I marry you
When your time has come to perish
Then the maiden whom you cherish
Must be slaughtered, too!”
Two leads to the same phrase.
24 People after area in abandoned section of plant (4,5)
LEAF TRACE Not that I knew the term, but it’s “a branch from the vascular system of the stem destined to enter a leaf.” I believe the equivalence of  people an RACE is still ok, and it follows A(rea) in abandoned: LEFT. Respace.
25 Sounded thrilled to have escaped, gradually having change of heart (5)
OOHED I think this is escaped gradually OOZED with a random change of its middle letter
26 Picture tango, with fellow getting closer (3,10)
THE TERMINATOR Tango is NATO for T, add HE for fellow, and closer (something that effects a close, not “nearer”) gives the rest.

1 My twin girls, eg, excited about king character in Potter book (3,5-6)
MRS TIGGY-WINKLE Beatrix Potter’s endearing washerwoman hedgehog. Equally endearingly, St Tiggywinkle’s is a justly celebrated wildlife hospital charity in Buckinghamshire. Mess about excited-ly with MY TWIN GIRLS EG and K(ing)
2 Group that’s got part of the joint jumping? (5)
NONET Nine musicians, the reverse (jumping) of TENON, half of a mortise and-  joint
3 Man with fair promotion prospects given hand by Pole (6,4)
PASSED PAWN Chess is our jeu de jour, a pawn (man) that has made it beyond the line of opposing pawns is in line for promotion to a major piece. Given: PASSED, hand: PAW pole (one of two) N. A propos of nothing much, it is reported that our soon to be ex (I hope so, I do, I do) Tweeter in Chief really did write “Votes cannot be cast after the Poles are closed!”
4 Punch landed: so able to be seen by an old nurse? (7)
LAMPLIT A straight charade of punch: LAMP and landed:  LIT and a reference to the “the Lady with the Lamp”
5 Grumble after collecting books in a state (7)
MONTANA After grumble: MOAN collects the N(ew) T(estament) books it adds an A for one of the states actually won by the Orange Moaner in Chief. The "in" is a bit misleading, there just for the surface, I think.
6 Victor leaves work, making time for a holiday (4)
NOEL NATO Victor is removed from work: NOVEL for a holiday probably after a brief respite from lockdown this year
7 Condemned a buyout, yet mostly getting expression of approval (3,6)
YOU BEAUTY  An antipodean (and apparently Scottish) expression, here a reworking of (condemned) A BUYOUT and most of YET
8 Royal command following, popular with men fit for service (2,7,5)
IN WORKING ORDER Royal command is KING ORDER, made to follow popular: IN, W(ith) and OR men (Other Ranks)
13 Rely on crab moving a fraction of an inch (10)
BARLEYCORN Another anagram (moving) of RELY ON CRAB for an old measurement equivalent to a third of an inch.
15 Don’t report everything subject to discrimination (4,5)
TELL APART If you don’t report everything, you only tell a part. Respace.
18 One recently arrived dined under gaslight (7)
NEONATE I half feared I was going to have to find out what “gaslighting” really meant, but no, it’s just NEON followed by ATE for dined.
19 Halfway through Hilary maybe tried crudely interrupting Mark and Mike (7)
MIDTERM So is this a play on Mrs Clinton and Mr Pence and someone called Mark during the halfway-through elections? Anyway, for us it’s an anagram (crudely) of TRIED set between Deutsche M(ark) and NATO Mike
22 Every so often, turns head to uncover it (5)
UNHAT The even letters (every so often) of tUrNs HeAd To in an &littish sort of clue, head being the thing that is uncovered
23 Blessed fellow dated you — a sore point! (4)
STYE Blessed fellow being ST, and a dated or antique version of you being YE

Times Quick Cryptic No 1738 by Hurley

Gentle enough from Hurley today - it's been a while since I've blogged a puzzle and have come in under 7 minutes, so that was nice if not especially diverting. Slight hold up at the end with 20ac and LOI 8d, and I needed the L to work out what was going on at 6d, but otherwise fairly plain sailing. Oh well, I'll just have to come up with some more imaginative way to avoid the news. Many thanks anyway to Hurley!

1 Brief picture of biscuits burning (8)
SNAPSHOT - SNAPS (biscuits) HOT (burning)
5 Highly curious in past, prying ultimately (4)
AGOG - AGO (past, as in years ago/past) G (pryinG "ultimately")
9 Clergyman forgetting first offence (5)
ARSON - pARSON (clergyman) forgetting first [letter]
10 Go by stream with a fierce guy (7)
GORILLA - GO by RILL (stream) with A
11 Just starting old Danish epic poem (3)
ODE - just the starts of Old Danish Epic
12 Wins top English painting (9)
LANDSCAPE - LANDS (wins) CAP (top) E(nglish)
13 Energetic guy from Soho many dearly recalled (6)
DYNAMO - "from" sohO MANY Dearly "recalled"
15 Linger and look into Ebro, oddly (6)
LOITER - LO (look) I n TE b R o "oddly"
17 Room at inn organised for one proposing candidate (9)
NOMINATOR - anagram (organised) of ROOM AT INN
19 Faded image partly indistinct (3)
DIM - fadeD IMage "partly"
20 Too much foam from waves — draw back (7)
SURFEIT - SURF (foam from waves) EIT (TIE = draw, "back"). Small query over this one, although it's clear enough what was meant: "surfeit" as an adjective does exist but it's rare/Scottish; "excess" would have done instead of "too much".
21 Cat, it’s returned with good Queen (5)
TIGER - TI (IT "is returned") with G(ood) ER (Queen).
22 Cowardly, ignoring old wife’s shout (4)
YELL - YELLow (cowardly) ignoring O(ld) W(ife)
23 We hear group of countries support barrier (8)
BLOCKADE - "we hear" as BLOC (group of countries) AID (support)
1 Crab? Silly oaf does (7)
SEAFOOD - anagram (silly) of OAF DOES.
2 I will briefly broadcast in passageway (5)
AISLE - I WILL "briefly" = I'LL, "broadcast" = spoken
3 Sign I’d led men astray with just one purpose (6-6)
SINGLE-MINDED - anagram (astray) of SIGN ID LED MEN
4 Own goal to include Republican article in periodical (5)
ORGAN - OG (own goal) to include R(epublican), AN (article).
6 Romeo’s lass cut top off plant (7)
GALLANT - GAL (lass) cut top off pLANT
7 Rating turned colour of ash, reportedly (5)
GRADE - sounds like ("reportedly") GREYED (turned colour of ash)
8 Satiric actor affectedly upper-class? (12)
ARISTOCRATIC - anagram (affectedly) of SATIRIC ACTOR
14 Figure meal run out (7)
NUMERAL - anagram (out) of MEAL RUN
16 Regret referring to signalling code (7)
REMORSE - RE (referring to) MORSE (signalling code)
17 Unpleasant refusal to accommodate street (5)
NASTY - NAY (refusal) to accommodate ST(reet)
18 Complete stop as outsiders leave — speech unfinished (5)
TOTAL - TO (sTOp as "outsiders" leave), TALk (speech "unfinished")
19 Boxer maybe supported by mother’s belief (5)
DOGMA - DOG (boxer, maybe) supported by MA (mother)

Times 27, 815: Trumpowder, Biden and Plot

A good level of difficulty for a Friday, with a few bits of fun vocabulary and "advanced" wordplay peppering a grid that was mostly straightforward to parse up. FOI 11ac, LOI 2dn; having to truncate not one but two short words is a tough ask, and I can't say I was 100% sure I had the right synonyms for "power" and "failed" there. Favourite clue was 9ac due to its sneaky presentation, suggesting that the answer would be an anagram of TIP IN GALE; I also enjoyed the convolution of 13dn, building around the lovely find of ERASER inside an OPERA SERIA, and the shoutout to Oxford classics at 5dn.

Good work setter - now if you'll excuse me I'm heading back to refresh my election map obsessively. Surely Pennsylvania will finally stop slowrolling us this evening...

1 Old man confining most of rest in open space (5)
PLAZA - PA "confining" LAZ{e}

4 Newspaper, perhaps, is about to back electronic device (9)
ORGANISER - ORGAN + IS + reversed RE [about]

9 Tip in gale at sea requires loading of program (9)
LAGNIAPPE - (IN GALE*), requiring "loading" of APP

10 Seasonal visitors beginning to congregate? Very good (5)
MAGIC - MAGI + C{ongregate}

11 Crazy graduate turned murderer (6)
MANIAC - M.A. + reversed CAIN

12 Landed, rolling over in fight, producing knife (8)
STILETTO - reversed LIT in SET-TO

14 Swims with speed where pipes run (5,5)

16 Enthusiast cut trial recording (4)

19 Disorder putting off old woman and another woman (4)

20 To live in support of church involves routine strength (5,5)
BRUTE FORCE - BE FOR C.E. "involves" RUT

22 Support intention to retain singular old expression (8)
ARCHAISM - ARCH [support] + AIM "to retain" S(ingular)

23 Problem with lighting installed in grand church (6)
GLITCH - LIT [with lighting] "installed" in G CH

26 Fifth journey is a load of rubbish (5)

27 Strangely, this rogue is not like a rogue (9)

28 Dodgy account receiving 1000 yen sparks defiance (9)
CONTUMACY - (ACCOUNT*) "receiving" M, + Y(en)

29 Edges of Selsey beach may be described thus (5)

1 Controversial staff correspondence showing change of heart about Conservative (9)
POLEMICAL - POLE + M{A<->I}L "about" C

2 Gas power almost failed — almost (5)
ARGON - AR{m} + GON{e}

3 Benign power supply taken under a road (8)
AMICABLE - CABLE taken under A M1

4 It’s my fault henhouses won’t open (4)

5 Oxford exam taking care of teacher training initially? My word (5,5)
GREAT SCOTT - GREATS [Oxford Lit Hum exam, as taken in the 90s by your blogger] + C(are)/O(f) + T{eacher} T{raining}

6 Active amount of computer storage dropped in river (6)
NIMBLE - M(ega)B(yte) "dropped in" NILE

7 Drive out of capital of Turkey, chasing a great deal for the tourist (9)
SIGHTSEER - S{t}EER [drive, minus T{urkey}], chasing SIGHT [a great deal]

8 Senior academic ignoring last page in book (5)

13 Battered piano, missing note, embodying something obliterating musical form (5,5)
OPERA SERIA - (PIA{n}O*), "embodying" ERASER

15 Taking away damaged bud in effect (9)

17 Rash oaths very out of place (9)

18 A brief furore about unexciting idea from above? (8)
AFFLATUS - A FUS{s} "about" FLAT. Afflatus is divinely inspired creativity, and not, as it may sound like, any kind of embarrassing social condition.

21 Opening a University? It’s more than a piece of cake (6)

22 A plan to get rid of electric current in upper floor (5)
ATTIC - A T{ac}TIC [plan, minus A(lternating)C(urrent)]

24 Introduction of hike in rent is an irritation (5)
THORN - H{ike} in TORN [rent]

25 Limits to using lavatory? Nasty (4)
UGLY - U{sin}G L{avator}Y