November 21st, 2020

Times Cryptic Jumbo 1467 - 7th November

I thought this was about a middle of the road Jumbo - maybe slightly harder given my time was nearer an hour than my usual 45 minutes. Several clues went over my head at the time, but I was able to resolve all the parsings in the blog. A couple of unknowns as usual, but there was nothing too difficult, I think. I enjoyed the serendipitous reminder of my home town when a boy and reference to my elder daughter.  A MER at the chemical incorrectness at 52D, but grudgingly accepted, otherwise all good stuff. 1A gets the biggest tick on my copy. Sadly a typo on entering online transcribing from my paper copy left my with a pink square. I must check the grid more carefully when submitting in future (as I keep telling myself when it happens). How did everyone else get on?

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  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27822 - Saturday, 14 November 2020. San Fairy Ann.

Things looked bright when both 1ac and 1dn went in at first glance! From there things went smoothly, until I was left with just 6dn … an obscure foreign phrase clued as an anagram. My chances of getting that were SFA. That’s Sweet Fanny Adams, if you’re wondering!

So, ça ne fait rien. (Oops, another foreign phrase! Sorry about that. At least it can also reduce to SFA – see the headline above, which is apparently how WW1 British troops rendered that French phrase.)

Enough of the griping. I particularly liked 7dn. Thanks to the setter for a generally 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 After a job (4)
POST – double definition.
3 Was troubled that extremely scrawny pet's eating chicken (7-3)
SCAREDY-CAT – CARED (was troubled, as in ‘was troubled about climate change’), ‘eaten by’ SY (extremely scrawny) and CAT.
10 A more pressing case for maiden's suitor (7)
ADMIRER – A, DIRER ‘casing’ M for maiden.
11 One working on proposed legislation a great deal (7)
BILLION – BILL (proposed legislation), I (one), ON (working).
12 Unwelcome outcome of sharp practice among later batsmen? (1,5,2,3,4)
A STING IN THE TAIL – A STING (sharp practice), IN THE TAIL (among later batsmen).
13 Means of signalling back words across Channel (3-3)
TOM-TOM – MOT + MOT (words, in French), backward.
14 Impartial graduate stuck in conflict? (8)
BALANCED – BA (graduate), LANCED (stuck, in conflict).
17 It'll help you appreciate the catering supply at debuts (5,3)
TASTE BUD – supply is a rather odd anagram word, but do that to AT DEBUTS. On edit: thanks to Kevin. Of course it's not sup-ply as a verb, it's supp-ly as an adjective, meaning in a supple way. Indeed, we have seen that trick before, but it never loses its charm.
18 An orderly part of province (6)
ANTRIM – AN, TRIM (orderly). Antrim is the country, Northern Ireland is the province.
21 Highwayman thanked for hog — it's cooking (6,2,3,4)
KNIGHT OF THE ROAD – anagram (cooking) of THANKED FOR HOG IT.
23 E.g. third service book (7)
ORDINAL – double definition, the first as in listing things (first, second, third), the second as in a church service book.
24 Theatre worker about to turn lock (7)
ACTRESS – CA (about) turns, then TRESS (lock).
25 Tackle investment, maintaining one's dignity (4-6)
FACE-SAVING – FACE (tackle), SAVING (investment).
26 Tear into fine ballad (4)
FLAY – F (fine), LAY (ballad).

Down
1 Simple countryman's game, not hard (7)
PEASANT – PHEASANT, minus an H.
2 Oral element of maths paper, on occasions (9)
SOMETIMES – SOME sounds like SUM, TIMES is the paper.
4 Rise of one penny once in charge for knitwear item (6)
CARDIE – CARE is charge, as in ‘I leave them in your care/charge’. Insert I (one) D (old penny), rising.
5 Target, outwardly authentic, proving false (8)
REBUTTAL – BUTT is the target (of jokes, for instance). REAL is outside.
6 Welcome unemployment could give Ron a decent life (5,3,6)
DOLCE FAR NIENTE – an anagram (could give) of RON A DECENT LIFE. It’s an Italian phrase. I saw that the first word might be DOLCE, but I hadn’t a clue about the rest of it. Bah, humbug.
7 Country area to south in mountain range (5)
CHINA – move the A in CHAIN to the “South”. Cute.
8 Complex hint came first (7)
TANGLED – TANG (a hint). LED (came first).
9 Broadcaster's to contact the staff to express grief (5,4,5)
WRING ONES HANDS – sounds like RING one’s staff.
15 Junior officer grabs last of spare material (9)
CORPOREAL – CORPORAL grabs the E at the end of spareE.
16 Old Balkan bloke set up larger than usual facilities (8)
YUGOSLAV – turn GUY upside down, then OS LAV. The iPad app wanted the answer to start with a J, but that makes no sense.
17 Ape to begin journey (4,3)
TAKE OFF - double definition.
19 Reserve humble abode, following fashion (7)
MODESTY – STY, following MODE.
20 Muscle problem ultimately defeats coach (6)
STRAIN – S is ‘ultimately’defeatS. TRAIN is coach.
22 Trendy mounted police originating in subcontinent (5)
INDIC – IN (trendy), CID (police), ‘mounted’.
New RCA
  • vinyl1

The Online Crosswords Championship - Second Try

As many of you have discovered, the Times Crossword Championships did not come off this morning due to various problems.

The Championship has been rescheduled for tomorrow, Sunday, November 22 at 10:30 GMT.   Please use this thread, and not the prior one, for your discussions.   The prior thread has now been locked.

Sunday Times Cryptic No 4929 by Robert Price — Santé !

I’m still 8 by the state of my nation,
But there’s one cause for wild celebration!
Dial the amps to “11,”
Have some 12 or some 7
Or whatever’s your favorite libation.
Bottoms up!

There are some 20 in this puzzle.

I indicate (ragas, man!)* like this, and italicize anagrinds in the clues.

ACROSS
 1 Catalogue providing stylish clothes (8)
CLASSIFY — CLASS(IF)Y
 5 Convictions held by some litter producers? (6)
DOGMAS — (Need I explain? Groan)
 9 Groovy holy man admired around India (8)
STRIATED — ST, “holy man” + R(I)ATED, I being ”India” in the NATO alphabet
10 Ale bottles are mostly porter (6)
BEARER — BE(AR[-e])ER
11 Hard top car’s taken off at speed (5)
APACE — [-car]APACE
12 Raise dress code for formal evening drinks (9)
COCKTAILS — COCK, “Raise” + TAILS, “dress code for evening” (not in my circles)
14 Waif starts to go out and pinch ecstasy (11)
GUTTERSNIPE — GUTTERS, “starts to go out” + NIP, “pinch” + E(cstasy, the drug) A word eternally enshrined in our lexicon, I do believe, by disobliging references to a worthy personage by the name of Eliza Doolittle. I looked, and “By George, I think she’s got it!” is a line not by George (B. Shaw) at all but by Alan (Jay Lerner).
18 Row of coins originally accepted in change (11)
ALTERCATION — ALTER(C[-oins])ATION
21 Squeeze Romeo means to secure (5,4)
PRESS STUD — PRESS, “Squeeze” + STUD, “Romeo”
23 Marauder after his head’s hacked off (5)
IRATE — [-p]IRATE On a second look, the definition is, thankfully, not doing double duty, since “after his head” Is sufficient to indicate that the first letter of a word meaning “marauder” is missing.
24 Animal smell masks hygiene issue (6)
REEBOK — Sure, blame it on the dog. REE(BO)K
25 Criminal purpose concealed by volunteer (8)
OFFENDER — OFF(END)ER
26 Listen out for mum (6)
SILENT — She’s always sneaking round… (Listen)*
27 Times admits certain evidence of censorship (8)
ERASURES — ERA(SURE)S (OK, well, but they could be, instead, evidence of editorial discretion…)

DOWN
 1 Laid back wounded with neckwear removed (6)
CASUAL — CASUAL[-ties]
 2 Put out net as safety feature (6)
AIRBAG — AIR, “Put out” + BAG, “net”
 3 Bone-picker, namely one seeking retribution (9)
SCAVENGER — SC., “namely” + AVENGER, “one seeking retribution” Wikipedia: “scilicet, from earlier scire licet, abbreviated as sc., which is Latin for ‘it is permitted to know.’ Sc. provides a parenthetic clarification, removes an ambiguity, or supplies a word omitted in preceding text, while viz. is usually used to elaborate or detail text which precedes it.… Scilicet can be read as ‘namely,’ ‘to wit,’ or ‘that is to say.’” Sure hadn’t seen that for a while!
 4 Good health from a continental breakfast? (6,5)
FRENCH TOAST — Though FRENCH qualifying TOAST could make a jokey “continental breakfast” (the real thing is more like croissant, jus et café), the Gallic drinking salutation À votre santé !—or any of its abbreviated variants, such as À la vôtre ! or my headline—means (as I’m sure is obvious to all) “To your (good) health!” I will eventually give in, though not at breakfast time, to the craving sparked by this reminder (my mother used to make it with peanut butter—which is certainly not French but sinfully delicious). In French, it’s pain perdu, because traditionally it’s made from slightly stale bread that otherwise would go to waste.
 6 Top secret to make public (5)
OVERT — [-c]OVERT
 7 One aboard swallows mixed beverages (8)
MARTINIS — MARTIN(I)S
 8 Worried and more than a trifle upset (8)
STRESSED — DESSERTS<=“upset” (Since I myself was once a newcomer on these shores, I’ll explain for any confounded Yankee that in the UK a “trifle” is an after-dinner confection, and “more than one” simply tells us to make it plural.)
13 Clubs on edge during delay in game (6,2,3)
CHEMIN DE FER — C, “Clubs” + HEM, “edge” + IN, “during” + DEFER, “delay”
15 Guards dispatched to different lines (9)
SENTINELS — SENT + (lines)*
16 Animals retaining some means of defence (8)
RAMPARTS — RAM(PART)S
17 Light parts shine there already (8)
ETHEREAL — Hidden
19 Plant last to bloom over summer (6)
MADDER — [-bloo]M + ADDER, “summer”
20 Jewels sparkle centrally in rings (6)
PEARLS — PEA ([-spa]R[-kle]) LS
22 My heartless son inspires contempt (5)
SCORN — S[-o]N inhales COR, “My(!)”
Decca SXL2002
  • vinyl1

Mephisto 3142 - Leading to limosis, perhaps.....

Either I am getting better, or this was but a moderate Mephisto.  While it did take a while, I was frequently annoyed with myself for having missed an obvious solution, or failing to biff a word that I know reasonably well.   But it all became clear in time, as the crossing letters gradualy revealed what I should have seen in the first place.   I finished in one session, time about two hours.   Fortunately, in the kingdom of Mephisto, we have no need for speed, and browse leisurely through our Chambers, pausing to read some of the more arcane entries - at least I do.

Across
1 Possibly “bogs”, reader! (10)
GARDEROBES - Anagram of BOGS READER, an &lit, as this innocent word suffered the same fate as cloakroom and rest room.
10 Politically committed nurse reaching maturity (6)
ENGAGE - E[rolled] N[urse], G[eneral] + AGE....not a colonel, but a general!
11 Feast cut short after setback around a camp (6)
LAAGER - REGA(A)L[e], a word I knew and should have biffed.
14 Something in the pipeline from divine being confronting wickedness (7)
GO-DEVIL - GOD + EVIL, joining together to make a pipecleaner.
15 Vehicle in snow taken the wrong way — motorway to be avoided (4)
SLED - [mi]SLED - an easy one, but I had a hard time remembering the cryptic for the blog.
16 Phantoms perform in a story from the east (6)
EIDOLA - A LIE backwards around DO,   This word is suddenly very popular in puzzles, as sometimes happens.
17 Beer is carried by my ship or train (6)
COALER - CO(ALE)R.
20 Nail in Jock’s table? (4)
BROD - Double definition - two completely different obscure words in one.  We say brad and board nowadays.
21 One wise person’s full of energy providing learned introductions (8)
ISAGOGES - I SA(GO)GE'S, easy enough if you know the word.
22 Attractive part of hospital with decoration (8)
ENTICING -  E.N.T + ICING, a starter clue.
27 Not in favour of using some imagination (4)
AGIN -  [im]AGIN[ation], ditto.
28 Absolutely drunk, by the sound of it (6)
DEUCED - Probably sounds like dowsed, but not in my idiolect, or maybe another word.
29 Boat artist incorporating hearts in monogram (6)
TUGHRA - TUG (H) RA, just trust the cryptic and look it up.
32 Report of horse in gutter (4)
RONE - Sounds like ROAN.
33 Travelling box one sailor brought into settlement (7)
PITARAH - P(I TAR)AH, that Maori settlement that Mephisto setters are so fond of.
34 Cleansed from terrible sin — looking embarrassed about it (6)
RINSED - R(anagram of SIN)ED.   A golfer's biggest sin!
35 King at home has duck first as appetiser (6)
OREXIN - O - REX IN, a hormone.
36 Like some surgeons, precise when handling damaged retina (10)
VETERINARY -  VE(anagram of RETINA)RY....as in the very thing.
Down
2 People of mixed heritage in an English county to the west (6)
ANGLOS - AN + GLOS, I believe, but I could be wrong.
3 It sounds like father will totter (6)
DADDLE - sounds like DAD'LL.
4 Bore keen to be heard (4)
EGER - Sounds like EAGER, more usually spelt EAGRE.
5 Cleric joined by important lady and little girl for a game (8)
REVERSIS - REV + ER + SIS.
6 Packaging article in glittery stuff (6)
BALING - B(A)LING.
7 Each road comes to Bury (up north!) (4)
EARD - EA + RD, more dialect.
8 Man changing direction finally — the spoke is put in here (6)
FELLOE - FELLO(-w,+E), a word I knew and an answer I should have got more quickly.
9 Attacks in East Anglian region on fateful day (10)
BROADSIDES - BROADS + IDES, with cannons firing pamphlets.
12 One-time agricultural king not totally in charge (7)
GEORGIC - GEORG[e] + I.C, as popularized (or not) by Virgil.
13 They arranged property deals, settling scores with passion involved (10)
ESCHEATORS - Anagram of SCORES around HEAT.   Another answer where I knew the word but didn't see the answer very quickly.
18 Biological substance — a collection of books has current information (7)
ANTIGEN - A + NT + I + GEN, this one I did see.
19 One issuing instruction at random? At random! (8)
MANDATOR - Anagram of AT RANDOM.
23 Africans — any number with weapons around island (6)
NGUNIS - N + GUN(I)S, a Bantu tribe.   I've heard of Xhosas and Swazis, but not these guys.
24 Pull up vehicle and embrace (6)
CARPET - CAR + PET.
25 Local fellow admits blunder that’s set up old-style plague (6)
MURREN -  MU(ERR upside-down)N, more usually murrain.
26 Soldiers heading for home on Irish monument (6)
MENHIR - MEN + H[ome] + IR.
30 Prophet without hint of any foot protection (4)
HOSE - HOSE[a[ny]].
31 African prince turning up in shortened garment usually worn by women (4)
SARI - RAS upside-down + I[n].