November 23rd, 2020

  • jackkt

Times Quick Cryptic 1750 by Orpheus

Solving time: 13 minutes, missing my target by 2, but having written the blog I have no idea what delayed me. Edit: Having revisited the blog this morning and looked at the first three comments below I can see there might be some tricky stuff here for less-experienced solvers, and at least one answer that I have never met before.

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Ulaca de Milo
  • ulaca

Times 27829 - Epic Fail

Not me on this, but the stillborn championship on Saturday night. One wonders why they don't do a dry run, especially given the history of the site. Not a free site, either. Okay, gripe over...

This was somewhat harder than the average Monday, for which I am predicting a SNITCH in the 75-80 range. Lots of nice, almost comforting vocabulary (shades of Hattie Jacques) with enough about it to hold up ditherers like me for 37 minutes.

ACROSS

1 Effect of current conductor having left in minutes (9)
MAELSTROM - L in MAESTRO M; the use of this word is a particular bugbear of mine, since every Tom, Dick and Harry that steps in to conduct the HK Phil is automatically called a 'maestro'
6 Something added to letter gets animated backing (5)
SERIF - FIRES reversed
9 Hand over whelp and dogs, lacking time on return (5,2)
STUMP UP - PUP and MUT[t]S reversed
10 Beats leg side with a 90-degree turn? (7)
TOPSPIN - TOPS PIN (leg); not sure how the cryptic works. Is it a reference to imparting side on a ball in snooker or ten-pin bowling perhaps?
11 By now cryptid must be finally dismissed (3)
YET - a CRYPTID is basically an invented word for an invented entity: 'an animal whose existence or survival is disputed or unsubstantiated, such as the yeti' (Oxford). So, just take the final letter off YET[i]
12 Tory confused with Italian logic (11)
RATIONALITY - anagram* of TORY ITALIAN
14 Beginning to regret filling pink pen (6)
CORRAL - R[egret] in CORAL
15 Leaving no room for doubt following every sign it’s OK (3,5)
ALL CLEAR - CLEAR after ALL
17 Mindless television, like The Hulk? (8)
THICKSET - THICK before SET
19 Sailor during offensive is likely to survive (6)
VIABLE - AB in VILE
22 Vegan dish Lauretta mixed with oil (11)
RATATOUILLE - LAURETTA OIL*
23 Don’t start to poke with a finger or stick (3)
ROD - [p]ROD
25 Butterfly is someone looked up to by Lieutenant Pinkerton? (7)
ADMIRAL - a reference to Puccini's opera Madam Butterfly, where the American sailor fancies the eponymous heroine, fused with the red admiral butterfly
27 With it around about, regularly all over the shop (7)
CHAOTIC - A[b]O[u]T in CHIC
28 Thread holding large key (5)
LISLE - L ISLE (as in Florida keys); ‘holding’ used in the sense of ‘having’, as in ‘He holds strong opinions’
29 Part of plant or insect or bird (9)
CORMORANT - CORM ('an organ of vegetative reproduction in plants such as the crocus, consisting of a globular stem base swollen with food and surrounded by papery scale leaves' Collins) OR ANT

DOWN

1 Expression of surprise about river smelling strongly (5)
MUSKY - USK in MY
2 Meeting of two halves is unusually quorate (7)
EQUATOR - QUORATE*
3 Shop rump steak badly stuffed by English, right? (11)
SUPERMARKET -E R in RUMP STEAK*
4 Concerned with place with European name (6)
REPUTE - RE PUT E
5 Rather fat runner, say, runs — just (8)
MATRONLY - MAT ('a narrow rug or carpet, as for a passage' - right down in 16th place in Collins) R ONLY; well, it's not all bad. Here's the definition in full from Collins: 'of, characteristic of, or suitable for a matron; staid and dignified in a manner associated with a middle-aged, usually plump, woman'
6 Old soak needs small operation (3)
SOP - S OP; an old word for soak, as in 'dunk', more or less
7 Salesman given more money for repeated performance (7)
REPRISE - REP RISE
8 Busy? Not busy? Avoiding engagements (5-4)
FANCY-FREE - FANCY/busy (as in overcrowded with detail, of a web page, say) FREE
13 Bow before cool wind getting up round islands (11)
ARCHIPELAGO - ARC HIP GALE reversed O (round)
14 Screech of curlew at a cuckoo (9)
CATERWAUL - CURLEW AT A*
16 Old object when bar is introduced in country, perhaps (8)
REPUBLIC - PUB in RELIC
18 Island nearly is so invaded by millions (7)
ISTHMUS - IS M in THUS
20 What could be held up by hatter, I bet (7)
BIRETTA - hidden reverse ('held up by') in teB I RETTAh; the squarish hat, often with a bobble, worn by RC priests
21 Kitchen implement is more efficient when cutting end of pork (6)
SLICER - SLIC[k]ER
24 Coin a word that means teach without peripheral notes (5)
DUCAT - [e]DUCAT[e]
26 Regret sounding like an Australian native (3)
RUE - sounds like 'roo', mate