November 19th, 2020

Linus van Pelt
  • z8b8d8k

27826 Thursday, 19 November 2020 Hasty to its close ebbs out life's little day

So. There’s some clever stuff in here which had me casting around long after I’d submitted with a quiet (and, as it turns out, effective) prayer to the gods of greenness. There’s some GK which I expect some to categorise as not terribly general, especially with regard to historical stuff. There’s a couple of particularly devious clues that just cry out to be biffed. But then, especially towards the end, it’s almost as if the setter lost heart and threw in some really simple stuff that you surely don’t really need me to expatiate on.
Not to say I didn’t enjoy the thing, and it did keep me occupied for nearly 25 minutes, blogging duties as ever adding to my time. And while there’s cricket (just about), there’s no birds, even when there could have been one.  And no plants (unless you count the fungus).
I’ve explained as best as I can with clues, definitions and SOLUTIONS.

1 Fungus in ground you reported (6)
MILDEW We start with a homophone, of ground: MILLED and YOU in plain sight. Works for me.
4 Worked in a forest and made slow plodding progress? (8)
LUMBERED A double definition: Chambers assures me that to lumber is to work as a lumberjack, so that’s OK
10 Hasten to border, finally changing direction (9)
NORTHEAST A well disguised anagram (changing) of HASTEN, TO and the final letter (finally) of border. I lost time trying to make the last letter of some word change from W to E or L to R (etc)
11 No one getting cross, rolling round? I sure don't react! (5)
XENON No one is simply NONE, cross is X, put them together and reverse (rolling around). One of the noble/inert gases here endowed with sentience and speech “I sure don’t react”.
12 Advance booking in doubt (11)
RESERVATION A simple double definition
14 Gossip, having poured out our drink (3)
RUM Start with RUMOUR for gossip and “pour out” the OUR.
15 Endless danger? Gosh — it's where something is as close as possible! (7)
PERIGEE Danger: PERIL with no end plus GEE for gosh. The point at which an orbiting body is at closest approach to the body it orbits
17 Canoe extracted by archaeologist? (6)
DUGOUT Just two definition for the same word
19 Like some music of Queen in recording (6)
CANNED  ANNE the Queen turned up yesterday contributing to material, so might be fresh enough to spring quickly to mind. Here she takes her place in CD for recording. You remember CDs: those silvery discs we used to buy before downloading made them obsolete and vinyl was in any case revived.
21 One who criticises son, getting less affectionate (7)
SCOLDER Took me longer than the S(on) plus COLDER for less affectionate made it.
23 Act like any would, when just starting out (3)
LAW The first letters (just starting out) of Like Any Would
24 Looked again at study needing to get tidied up (11)
READDRESSED Study is READ and tidied up (especially in military formations) DRESSED. Or, I supposed, masonry.
26 Revolutionary army returning to wreck (5)
MARAT The French revolutionary theorist (and lots of other things) famous for being stabbed in the bath by Charlotte Corday, and for being the subject of a play set in a lunatic asylum directed by the Marquis de Sade (yes, that one). For once, the T(erritorial) A(rmy)is not qualified by “former” or such,  just invited to “return” and attach itself to MAR for wreck.
27 Member's movement perhaps supporting country (9)
PRONATION Supporting PRO and country: NATION. My feet pronate: the soles turning inwards and messing up my walking. Hands also do it, but for them it just means palms facing downward.
29 The old man meeting unhappy woman in US city (8)
PASADENA The old man is PA, unhappy is SAD, and ENA today’s random woman. I can only think of Sharples.
30 Report of e.g. copper's courage (6)
METTLE The across clues began with a homophone, and finish with another one: copper is and example of metal

1 Male worker criticises mischievous females (8)
MANTRAPS Ah, the good old days when we were allowed to set out sprung metal clamps to capture poachers. Apparently those devices lend their name to women who “take a mischievous pleasure in attracting and acquiring men” (Chambers). M(ale), worker: ANT and criticises: RAPS.
2 House that has a Victorian pavilion (5)
LORDS I think all this is is a reference to the House of LORDS and LORDS the cricket ground which has a pavilion (including the legendary Long Room) built in 1890.
3 What would be found in alphabet hitherto (3)
ETH The letter Đ stood for the soft TH in older versions of the English alphabet and here is to be found hidden in alphabET Hitherto.
5 I turned out to be devoid of proven ability (7)
UNTRIED A simple anagram (out) of I TURNED
6 Blooming lovely is that bit of fighter's kit! (6,5)
BOXING GLOVE I think the way this works is that the words blooming lovely are “boxing” GLOVE,  one of those clues where the answer is effectively a bit of wordplay.  I struggle a bit with the grammar and what belongs to the definition.
7 One has such a car? It brings ruin! (9)
RUNAROUND And for the second clue in a row, I’m a bit mystified. Chambers tell me that RUNAROUND is another version of the more familiar runabout, which is a sort of car. OK. And to give someone the runaround is (Chambers) “to behave repeatedly in a vague, indecisive or deceptive way towards; to reply to a question or meet a request with evasion” but that’s hardly ruin. Ah, no wait, I have it. If you have run around I (one, the first person)  it creates RUIN. Golly.
8 This writer's in stupid short trousers (6)
DENIMS And so to firmer ground. Stupid is DENSE, which you cut short, and place around I’M for “this writer’s”
9 Religious writings penned by wise man, an English poet (6)
SAVAGE Richard Osman’s excellent TV House of Games has a section called “Highbrow/Lowbrow” where two definitions, one in each category, produce the same answer. Here they would be “Author of ‘The Bastard’ celebrated by Samuel Johnson in his ‘Lives of the English Poets’”,  and “Robbie, famously blond-haired football pundit who still turns out for Stockport Town”.  We have to deduce the former from A(uthorised) V(ersion) , the religious writings, “penned” by SAGE for wise man. Richard, if you read this stuff, you can have this one on me.
13 Revived or new form of green energy getting assessed (11)
REGENERATED An anagram (new form) of GREEN plus E(nergy) attached to RATED for assessed.
16 Way factory gives reason for stop-go procedure (9)
ROADWORKS A pretty thin clue. Way: ROAD and factory: WORKS
18 Papa not polite and nice, not one for discretion (8)
PRUDENCE NATO Papa plus not polite: RUDE, plus NICE without the I (not one)
20 Poker-faced cleric hugging a daughter quietly (7)
DEADPAN Our cleric is a DEAN, “hugging” A D(aughter) and P for quietly.
21 Join in urgent message to expose pathetic people (6)
SADDOS Join is ADD and the surrounding urgent message SOS
22 Vice around university? Say not a word (4,2)
CLAM UP Vice is the tool version, CLAMP, with U(niversity) inserted
25 Hasty author (5)
SWIFT Oh, come on. Really?
28 Always giving a positive response (3)
AYE Ever yes.

Times Quick Cryptic No 1748 by Rongo

Rongo is one of our more occasional setters, having appeared every six months or so for at least the last couple of years. I didn't bother searching further back than that. Previous puzzles seem to have been wavelengthy affairs with a wider-than-usual range of solving experiences... so I do hesitate to call today's gentle, but that's how I found it, breezing through in (a very quick for me) sub-six minutes. There must have been a few I didn't parse along the way, because I gave a chuckle at the very first clue when it came to writing up the blog. Good fun elsewhere as well, many thanks to Rongo!

7 Big picture: someone childless is neither a ____ (8)
PANORAMA - someone childless is neither a PA NOR A MA.
8 Part of collection put back in small room (4)
CELL - "part of" coLLECtion "put back".
9 Maybe to vape is popular and healthy (6)
INHALE - IN (popular) and HALE (healthy)
10 Second promise to produce weapon (5)
SWORD - S(econd) WORD (promise)
11 Occasion to forget married bond (3)
TIE - TIME (occasion) to forget M(arried)
12 One half of sermon getting into goodness and suffering (6)
MISERY - I (ONE) SER (half of SERmon) getting into MY (goodness [grief])
14 Disorderly punk at booze a lot (4,2)
TANK UP - anagram (disorderly) of PUNK AT
16 Leave small portion around to dine on (4,2)
BEAT IT - BIT (small portion) around EAT (dine on)
18 Unhealthy announcement of further offer (6)
MORBID - MOR ("announcement of" MORE = further) BID (offer)
19 Feel bad about Parisian street (3)
RUE -double definition
20 Staff turn tropical fruit (5)
MANGO - to MAN = to staff, a GO = a turn.
21 Perhaps Busby and Queen are important (6)
MATTER - MATT (perhaps Busby) and ER (queen). Matt Busby did ring a vague bell: an old crooner perhaps, with a name a bit like Bing Crosby? Nope. I was miles away from linking him to the Busby Babes and the Munich air disaster.
23 Spoken for, Val needing no introductions (4)
ORAL - fOR vAL "needing no introductions"
24 Innocuous, not at all alluring but not cold (8)
HARMLESS - cHARMLESS (not at all alluring) but not C(old)

1 Mix juice and yellow colouring (8)
JAUNDICE - anagram (mix) of JUICE AND
2 Piece of furniture is tops in school of fine art (4)
SOFA - top letters of School Of Fine Art
3 For example limiting iron temperature gives freedom from danger (6)
SAFETY - SAY (for example) limiting/confining FE (iron) and T(emperature)
4 Low voice, alien for hound (6)
BASSET - BASS (low voice) ET (alien)
5 Caught husband aboard earlier boat (8)
SCHOONER -C(aught) H(usband) aboard SOONER (earlier)
6 Pleased with good boy (4)
GLAD - G(ood) LAD (boy)
13 Snarl up net that has twisted corner (8)
ENTANGLE - anagram (that has twisted) of NET ; ANGLE (corner)
15 Everything in French, one current poem (8)
UNIVERSE - UN (in French, "one") I (current) VERSE (poem). I is the SI unit for current (intensity), and crops up a lot: from the French, intensité du courant. I can't directly equate "everything" with "universe", but it's clear enough what's going on.
17 Prize public house within ancient city (6)
TROPHY - PH (Public House) in TROY (ancient city)
18 Recall top couples in Melton Mowbray and Rydal (6)
MEMORY - "top couples" in MEmory MObray and RYdal.
20 Gospel writer is one suitable for swindling (4)
MARK - double definition
22 Work up to time without good health (4)
TILL - a double definition with an added cryptic for good measure: T(ime) ILL (without good health).

Times 27,827: Pack Up Your Troubles

I detected a touch of the Cryptic Jumbos to the cluing of this medium-strength crossword, lots of "shove x into y to make z" with surfaces erring on just the right side of intelligibility: nothing wrong with any of that. FOI 11ac, LOI 29ac. I mostly liked the requirement to have a little bit of French and the multiple things that looked as though they were going to be anagrams and then turned out not to be, it's always nice to be hoodwinked by professionals in this way.

I hope you are all girded up for a special championship triple bill tomorrow! I am not optimistic that my peak solving abilities will suddenly return to me at 2.30am on Saturday morning (Pacific time) but I'll be there in solving solidarity (solvidarity?) either way!

1 Service pack's a bit awkward during Mass (6)
KITBAG - (A BIT*) during KG

4 Unwanted Parisian withdraws after this writer's brought in (8)
IMPORTED - reversed DE TROP [French for "unwanted"], after I'M [this writer is]

10 Make red curtain to separate eastern doctors (9)
EMBARRASS - ARRAS [curtain], separating E MBS (as in Medicinae Baccalaureus)

11 Puffed up Dublin parliamentarian adopts superior note (5)
TUMID - TD (Teachta Dála) "adopts" U MI

12 African fetish contains its defence system (7)
JUJITSU - JUJU "contains" ITS

13 The Vatican's one English hub accommodates 150 (7)
ENCLAVE - E NAVE "accommodates" CL

14 Rake around front of garden, unpleasant piece of work? (5)
ROGUE - ROUE around G{arden}

15 A firm universal glue reduced soundproofing? (8)

18 Leader of party's lax about closure of remote office (8)
PREMISES - P{arty} + REMISS "about" {remot}E

20 Anodyne article appears in Queen (5)

23 Gunners fiddle short course (7)
RAVIOLI - RA (as in Royal Artillery) + VIOLI{n}

25 Test player is beginning to enjoy acclaim (7)
LIONISE - (British & Irish) LION + IS + E{njoy}

26 Dump commander's jacket in boat (5)
SCRUB - C{ommande}R in SUB

27 Thinker’s uncommon zest during recess (9)

28 Send first of trainees in to clean each plant (5,3)
SWEET PEA - T{rainees} sent into SWEEP, + EA(ch)

29 You are to leave with dispatch, taking it easy (6)

1 Unthinking reaction to tap in surgery? (4-4)
KNEE-JERK - cryptic def. That's a reflex-testing tap on the knee.

2 Mug Times sent into closed prison (4,3)
TOBY JUG - BY "sent into" TO JUG [closed | prison]

3 Current appearance by second side impressing manager finally (9)
AIRSTREAM - AIR by S TEAM "impressing" {manage}R

5 Nancy misses damselfly in pickle (14)
MESDEMOISELLES - DEMOISELLE in MESS. Nancy misses as in "young ladies from Nancy".

6 Bar measure? Ring officer about it going up (5)
OPTIC - O [ring] + P(olice) C(onstable) "about" reversed IT

7 They're hit in a mine on the way up, Mike admitted (7)
TIMPANI - reversed IN A PIT, "admitting" M

8 Bashed car, American one on motorway (6)
DODGEM - DODGE [American car] on M

9 Note arrangement of scenic base for some geology, say (7,7)

16 Drunk nearly crosses border, creating rumpus (9)

17 Novelist on line leaves (8)
GREENERY - (Graham) GREENE on R(ailwa)Y

19 Back minister supported by Irish (7)
REVERSE - REV(erend) supported by ERSE

21 Sweeney Todd work, contentious musical, censored (7)
HAIRCUT - HAIR [musical] + CUT [censored]. "Contentious" per Wikipedia: "The musical's profanity, its depiction of the use of illegal drugs, its treatment of sexuality, its irreverence for the American flag, and its nude scene caused much comment and controversy."

22 Emergency credit is doubled (6)
CRISIS - CR(edit) + IS, twice

24 Pass round container for viewer (5)
ORBIT - double def. Second definition as in "eye socket"