November 15th, 2020

Sunday Times 4928 by Dean Mayer

20:34. I found this hard overall, but most of the difficulty was with a relatively small number of clues. I got badly stuck in the NE corner with the unknown LOGIA, the slightly odd 6ac, and 8dn, where for ages I couldn’t make head or tail of any aspect of the clue and I lacked the checking F and L (where I couldn’t quite believe the answer at 18ac was what it was). 5ac also puzzled me but there was little doubt about the answer.

All fair though, in spite of a nasty biff-trap for the unwary at 14ac. Except of course that it doesn’t fit! What a muppet I am. I did very nearly bung it in but if I had I would have noticed. I had all the required knowledge, so for me at least the difficulty arose from cunning clues rather than obscurity, and I enjoyed it a lot.

So thanks to Dean and here’s how I think it all works…

Definitions are underlined, anagrams indicated like (TIHS)*, anagram indicators are in italics.

1 Second mate will welcome her round
SPHERAL - S, P(HER)AL. Not a word I can remember coming across before.
5 A man’s right?
HIMSELF - I think the explanation here is that if you’re ‘yourself’ then you’re ‘right’. I’m not sure this is entirely convincing but I can’t think of anything better.
9 Army might motivate royalty to keep enemy captive
10 Get into trouble over religious sayings
LOGIA - Reversal of AI(GO)L. Get = scram = go. A term I didn’t know.
11 Crude oil’s made in town flat?
13 What a shame — line is wonky
AWRY - AW, RY (railway, line).
14 Aspiring starlets, maybe, with fine hair
WAITRESSES - W, AI (fine), TRESSES. Hands up if you biffed ACTRESSES. You didn’t, of course, because it doesn’t fit. The Emma Stone character at the beginning of La La Land, for instance.
17 In a manner of speaking, patriotic?
18 Mark’s young lady has nothing to hide
GOAL - G(O)AL. I thought the definition was rather odd, because a GOAL is not quite the same thing as a mark or target. But Collins defines ‘mark’ as ‘a target or goal’ so that’s me told.
20 Drug one rejected — insult it during call
PHENOBARBITONE - PHONE containing a reversal of ONE, then BARB (insult), IT. I knew this drug because one of my kids took it when very little as a precaution against seizures. Also known as phenobarbital.
23 Vanilla left in French bread
PLAIN - P(L)AIN. This might be a reference to the figurative sense of the word (often ‘plain vanilla’) but vanilla ice cream, for instance, is often referred to as PLAIN.
24 Slight gradient, unusual direction
25 Girls’ school or, contrarily, area in paradise
ROEDEAN - reversal of OR, EDE(A)N.
26 Bondage makes you drool, yes?

1 Seat that’s long yet slightly short
2 Outlaw’s cut in profit? What about bounty first?
HEREWARD THE WAKE - reversal of EH, REWARD, T(HEW)AKE. An Anglo-Saxon rebel against Norman rule who has appeared in past puzzles. TAKE is revenue rather than profit, but I expect the non-accountants among you will be less bothered by this.
3 Charges across quiet part of river
4 See chicken turn, mostly harmless
LOW-IMPACT - LO, WIMP, ACT. Reminds me of trying to play Elite when I was a kid. The game wasn't available on the ZX Spectrum, which is what I had, so I had to try and play it at a friend's house on his BBC Micro. I never had time to figure it out, which a part of me still - rather strangely - regrets.
5 Bird that woman’s cooking
6 Hatmaker wrong to stop one working on face
MILLINER - M(ILL)INER. As in a coal face, of course.
7 Speed event that may damage part of clutch
EGG-AND-SPOON RACE - CD. A lot of people don't like cryptic definitions but when they work they're one of my favourite types of clue: they're sort of extended puns, and I love puns. This one works.
8 Pat Wild opens zip
FLAWLESSLY - F(LAWLESS)LY. I didn’t think of LAWLESS for ‘wild’, I didn’t think of FLY for ‘zip’ (I thought it would be something to do with nothing) and I didn’t get anywhere near thinking of FLAWLESSLY for ‘pat’. Eventually I got all the checkers, saw the answer from that, and reverse-engineered the workings of the clue.
12 Blemish is very good for a potato
MARIS PIPER - MAR, IS, PI (good or seemingly so), PER (for). A floury variety excellent for chips, roast potatoes or mash.
15 Brass instruments new to some R’n’B
16 A new type of word put on church report
19 “T” in “S” as a brand
21 Poet in a posh study
Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.
22 Hot edges of stone axes
SEXY - StonE, XY (abscissa and ordinate).
  • glheard

Mephisto 3141 - Paul McKenna

Im afraid there has been a prolonged internet outage here. My provider said an hour ago it should be fixed by 10pm however at noon they said it should be fixed by 4pm so who knows. Im posting from my phone, when i can get my laptop connected ill have the report up. Sorry for the delay. Feel free to discuss the clues in the comments and hopefully i dont have to get up early in order to post.

It is now 9:30pm my time, and hopefully the internet will stay up long enough for me to post this. I thought this was on the gentler side of Paul McKenna Mephistos, though I was held up a while by confidently entering GO KARTS in for 1 down.

Away we go...

1 Good fitter chucking out British Gas reducer (6)
GETTER - G(good) then BETTER(fitter) missing B
5 Costermonger beginning to peddle with the larks? (6)
PEARLY - First letter of Peddle, then EARLY(with the larks)
10 Lad on lane unsettling every Tom, Dick, and Harry (9, three words)
11 Fancy forgetting a tabard (6)
CHIMER - CHIMERA(fancy) missing A
13 Passengers left inside spread out (5)
FLARE -  FARE(passengers) containing L(left)
15 Profit by free means of access (6, two words)
USER ID -  USE(profit by) next to RID(free)
16 Backsliding offender bagging new agents of clottiness? (7)
RENNINS -  SINNER(offender) reversed containing N(new)
17 See one on dual screen? The answer is more than one (4)
VIDS -  V(see), I(one), DS(dual screen). I wonder if DS had meaning before the Nintendo console I played for years
18 On tour test progressive rock (10)
21 A few without getting into legal wrong here, possibly (10, three words)
TWO OR THREE -  W/O(without) inside TORT(legal wrong) then an anagram of HERE
23 Pretend to be quiet in the morning (4)
SHAM - SH(be quiet), AM(in the morning)
24 Part-way through ill-considered biblical exegesis (7)
MIDRASH -  MID(part-way through), RASH(ill-considered)
26 City used to be verdant, looking from the east (6)
WARSAW - WAS(used to be) RAW(green, verdant) all reversed
28 Greengrocer, eg, sells this item which shoots, hard to shift (5)
EATER - HEATER(gun, item which shoots) missing H(hard)
29 Offering direct from Vatican City, surprisingly too (6, two words)
EX VOTO - EX(direct from), V(IVR coe for Vatican City) then an anagram of TOO
30 Sift loose rock and anger no end (9, two words)
SCREEN OFF - SCREE(loose rock), ‘N (and), then OFFEND(anger) missing END
31 Blasted hype is full of cold soul (6)
PSYCHE -  Anagram of HYPE,’S containing C(cold)
32 Renegade detained by soldiers without charge (6)
GRATIS - RAT(renegade) inside GIS (soldiers)
1 Zip about with cunning in Grammar School racers (7)
GO-CARTS - O(zero, zip), C(about), ART(cunning) inside GS(Grammar School)
2 One article in ten is to do with the poet Anacreon (5)
TEIAN - I(one), A(article) inside TEN
3 Sort of cross about bloke’s very tall tree (6)
TAMANU - a TAU cross surrounding MAN(bloke)
4 We got up around noon, finally time to dive in? (4)
ENEW - WE reversed surrounding N(noon) and the last letter of timE
5 Where baby sits up with posh Australian living near Slough? (10)
PALUSTRINE - a baby could sit in a LAP, reverse it, then U(posh), STRINE(Australian)
6 Bewitched” personality skipping opening spell (7)
ELFSHOT - SELF(personality) missing the first letter, then SHOT(spell)
7 Mostly travelling funfair attraction, but deserted, is noisy in Nairn (6)
ROARIE - ROAD(travellling) missing the last letter, then RIDE(funfair attraction) missing D(deserted)
8 State of sensational staginess as snide slur gets snarled (9)
9 Hostel exploits first date released for proceeds of old poetry (5)
YEEDS - Y(youth hostel), then DEEDS(exploits) missing the first D(date)
12 Malign program managed conflict amongst a few (10)
RANSOMWARE - RAN(managed), then WAR(conflict) inside SOME(a few)
14 Ban rash soaring with, eg, eagles (9)
BERGHAANS - anagram of BAN,RASH and EG
19 NZ settlement to cut that which enlightens chap in charge (7)
TOPARCH -  PA(Maori settlement) inside TORCH(that which enlightens)
20 Conveniences exist near trotters (7)
BEHOOFS - BE(exist), HOOFS(trotters)
21 One keen on flip-flops edges from lefty in snappish manner? (6)
TARTLY - TART(one who changes pollitical affiliations, flip-flops), then the exterior letters of LeftY
22 Personnel dept picked up one about van’s first smash in Kyiv (6)
HRYVNA -  HR(personnel depr) then ANY(one) reversed surrounding the first letter in Van. Smash is slang for cash here
23 Society in Gretna greet sausage-loving hound? (5)
SWEEP - S(society) then WEEP(greet in Scots can mean weep). Reference to Sooty and Sweep
25 Actively start to attack erstwhile leader of the House (5)
AFOOT - first letter of Attack, then former leader of the House of Commons Michael FOOT
27 A hurdle to get over — Eastern xenophobe banning book (4)
OXER - BOXER(Chinese xenophobe) missing B(book)
  • vinyl1

Times 27823 - Shelter from the storm

Time: 19 minutes
Music: Burning Spear, Live in Paris 1988

Easy Monday remains with us, if you are willing to trust the cryptics and look up the words you don't know later.   You don't need to be a Latinist, far less a scholiast, to get to finish line, but you may get in trouble if you are a sciolist.   In my case, there was only one I had never heard of - apparently, they can't pronounce assiette up North.

There are only a few solvers up in the SNITCH as I post this, but I definitely expect some good times from top solvers, since most of the answers can be biffed once you get a few crossers.   Some of the parsings actually gave me a little difficulty, even thought the answer was obvious. 

I just lost power, but it came back up and the blog is still here.   Posting now.

1 Unusually stoical, extremely smooth, medieval annotator (9)
SCHOLIAST - Anagram of STOICAL + S[moot]H
9 Precedent that’s no longer enough? (7)
10 Beneficiary from shelter crossing northern street (7)
LEGATEE - LE(GATE)E, a new kind of street.
11 Individual in Greece, one with no future (5)
12 Cloisters of church outside a London complex (9)
COLONNADE - C(anagram of A LONDON)E.
13 Developing hospital backed with little money (7)
NASCENT - SAN backwards + CENT.
15 Kitchen appliance knocked out of shape (5)
STOVE - Double definition.
17 Oval dish — a novel type to begin with (5)
ASHET - A + SHE + T[ype], the one novel you can always count on.
18 Body of people almost dry up on stage (5)
CORPS - CORPS[e].   A bit on the loose side, since corpse typically means to burst into laughter.
19 Sly person losing wife’s support (5)
20 More hazardous trail regularly taken by winter sportsperson (7)
RISKIER - [t]R[a]I[l] + SKIER.
23 Game birds snatching feed in river (5,4)
GREAT OUSE - GR(EAT)OUSE.   It could be a game bird for all I know, but it's evidently a river.
25 Tree-dweller father observed crossing railway (5)
DRYAD - D(RY)AD, not a monkey, but a nymph.
27 Captain beginning to steam fish (7)
SKIPPER - S[team] KIPPER - a well-knon chestnut.
28 Scene of siege currently associated with good fortune (7)
LUCKNOW - LUCK + NOW, another chestnut.
29 Source of inspiration right behind miners’ union’s top figure (9)
NUMERATOR - N.U.M. + ERATO + R, with a rare misleading literal.
1 Displaying frivolity in speech about quartz, for example (6)
SILICA - Sounds like SILLY + CA.
2 Memorable moments familiar to hairstylists? (10)
HIGHLIGHTS - Double definition, one allusive.
3 Scholar head of academy can put in directory (8)
LATINIST -  L(A[cademy], TIN)IST.
4 Stories about soldiers in scene of conflict (5)
5 Strain shown by, say, future head (9)
6 Scottish dish, good one, consumed by ugly old women (6)
HAGGIS - HAG(G + I)S, the obvious answer.
7 Pops up to get favourable slant from doctor? (4)
SPIN - NIPS backwwards, what comes from a spin doctor.
8 Debris Oscar removed from Motown, America (8)
14 Sadly premature, accepting troop leader’s old hearing aid (3,7)
EAR TRUMPET - Anagram of PREMATURE around T[roop], another obvious answer.
16 Moan excessively, to who’ll listen, having excess of vegetation? (9)
17 Broadcast by possible porter’s best friend? (8)
18 Idiot greeting King Edward’s tailor (8)
CLOTHIER - CLOT + HI, E.R!   Probably not appreciated by the old monarch.
21 Halogen one old woman upset (6)
IODINE - I + O + ENID upside-down.
22 Blunder into rocky peak, provoking panic (6)
TERROR -  T(ERR)OR, a Quickie clue.
24 Record thus maintained primarily in racecourse (5)
EPSOM - EP + SO + M[aintained], another obvious answer.
26 Leader of yobs beheaded bird? That’s disgusting! (4)
YUCK - Y[obs] + [d]UCK.