December 5th, 2020

  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27834 - Saturday, 28 November 2020. Someone to watch over me?

This puzzle had some delicious clues. The guardian angel has a Spanish tinge in 17ac, and the politicians are still dealing ineptly with the concept of hardship in 4dn. And as for 24ac: who, me? Gloat?

My LOI was 18dn, not so much because it was difficult but because the surface read took me off on tangents reflecting about the history of Northern Ireland and the troubles. Thanks to the setter for a 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.
Across
1 Pay is what umpire draws, at the end of the day (5,2)
STUMP UP – The umpire draws STUMP(s), time is UP at the end of the day. I'm a little uncomfortable with 'stump' being in the singular. What do others think?
5 Something from Laurel and Hardy, finally — a fable recast (3,4)
BAY LEAF – anagram (‘recast’) of (hard)Y A FABLE. Nice lift-and-separate of "Laurel and Hardy".
9 Small, sheltered parking remaining: short stay (9)
SLEEPOVER – S for small, LEE is sheltered, P is parking, OVER.
10 Stroke fawn (5)
CRAWL – double definition.
11 Queen’s request for permission to embrace king (4,1)
MARY I – MAY I? Insert R for king.
12 Where player can be just getting wound, superficially (5,4)
RIGHT WING – RIGHT is just, to WING is to wound superficially.
14 Tale in need of clipping? (6-3,5)
SHAGGY-DOG STORY – ho ho.
17 Best in team, Miguel’s the personal bookkeeper! (9,5)
RECORDING ANGEL – RECORD = best, IN literally, GANG = team, EL = “the” in Spain, where Miguel might come from.
21 Predicament crossing street, after swirling high winds (3,6)
JET STREAM – JAM = predicament, crossing anagram (‘swirling’) of STREET.
23 What consists of old belt and braces? (5)
OZONE – O=old, ZONE=belt. It braces the tourists breathing in the sea air, don’t you know.
24 Who perhaps can, on reflection, gloat? (5)
DROOL – DR=Dr Who, for example. Then LOO ‘on reflection’.
25 Something remaining occupied after emptying, and spring-cleaned (3,3,3)
ODD ONE OUT – OD = o(ccupie)d ‘after emptying’. DONE OUT = spring-cleaned.
26 Records note popular sculptor (7)
EPSTEIN – EPS = records, TE = a musical note (a drink with jam and bread), IN = popular.
27 Palace council that’s dead organised (7)
LATERAN – LATE = dead, RAN = organised.

Down
1 Notice that missile has penetrated oil-producing plant (6)
SESAME – SEE = notice, penetrated by SAM = (surface to air) missile.
2 Reveal jejune arthouse exhibits (7)
UNEARTH – hidden in jej(une arth)ouse.
3 Performer briefly calls number up (3,6)
POP SINGER – POPS IN = briefly calls, REG = (registration) number, ‘up’.
4 Measure of hardship chewed over ineptly (7,4)
POVERTY LINE – anagram (‘chewed’) of OVER INEPTLY.
5 Boozer’s stomach purged of ecstasy (3)
BAR – BEAR = stomach. Purge E = ecstasy.
6 Craft initially handled roughly in river capsized (5)
YACHT – H = handled ‘initially’. C = roughly. Insert them in the river TAY, ‘capsized’.
7 Out of my mind? Cut up? No, I’m seething! (2,5)
EX ANIMO – AXE = cut, ‘up’. Then an anagram (‘seething’) of NO I’M.
8 People had trips, with stay included (4,4)
FALL GUYS – GUY in FALLS. People ‘had’ by a confidence trickster, for example.
13 Gong, or jewel, my boy turned up to receive (6,5)
GEORGE MEDAL – OR GEM=jewel received by GEE=my, then LAD=boy ‘turned up’.
15 Tabloid’s web version, maybe, shielding bishop: that prevents red faces? (9)
SUNBONNET – SUN = the tabloid, ON NET = web version; all ‘shielding’ B = bishop.
16 Hastily try to see where Joshua is falling short (8)
PREJUDGEJoshua falls between Deuteronomy and Judge(s), geddit?
18 As the Orange Order is to RUC (7)
CITROUS – anagram (‘order’) of IS TO RUC. Delightful clue!
19 Specialist holiday Charlie books round European houses (7)
ECOTOUR – C = Charlie, OT = books, O = round; all ‘housed’ by EUR = European.
20 Caretaker to keep sending explicit messages (6)
SEXTON – SEXT ON, you minx you!
22 Mark on letter “up to date”, removing contents (5)
TILDE – ‘TIL = until = up to, D(at)E = date with its contents removed.
25 Keep climbing Snowdon on a regular basis (3)
OWN – even letters of sNoWdOn, ‘climbing’.

Sunday Times Cryptic No 4931 by Dean Mayer — The 5 across the merrier!

…comme on dit. At 12 we have a bittersweet reminder of when we used to go out and get together; at this state of the siege, there may be more than one 17 (virtually) among us. There’s a wonderfully minimal definition for 24, and I was then gratified to remember the (actually quite widespread) dialect word that answers 21 before solving my COD, 26, whose “wordplay” is secreted between the words.

In keeping with my solemn promise to my constituency, 8 came last.

I indicate (ma ran gas)* like this, and italicize anagrinds in the clues.


ACROSS
 1 Save lady who sings more like a man (7)
BUTCHER — BUT, “Save” + CHER, “lady who sings” (to say the least!)
 5 Story parts added for playwright (7)
MOLIERE — MO(LIE)RE
 9 My work’s hardly finished (9)
ENAMELLER — CD
10 Trump exposed by party (5)
OUTDO — If only! OUT, “exposed” + DO (see 12)
11 Was aware of novel being read out (4)
KNEW — “new”
12 Do guests break up lesson? (4-4)
PLUS-ONES — (up lesson)* Invitees (of your invitees) to your “Do”
15 Double small holes? I am mature (8,5)
SPITTING IMAGE — S(mall) + holes (“pitting,” as a noun) + I + AM + AGE, “mature” (Examples of the relevant sense of “pitting” from Merriam-Webster: “The car’s paint showed some pitting from flying gravel. Her face had some minor pitting from the chicken pox.”)
17 One suffering cramps? (13)
CLAUSTROPHOBE — CD
19 Ran straight over good journalist (6,2)
LEGGED IT — LEG(G)(ED)IT
20 Check on a Scottish architect (4)
ADAM — A + DAM, “check” This could be William or one of his sons, Richard or James.
23 Old carmaker in Italy serving Russian orders (5)
BLINI — Pancakes, the ingredients here being B(ritish) L(eyland) + IN + I, “Italy” (not the NATO alphabet but the International vehicle registration code) Not sure I’d ever heard of the short-lived (1968–75) auto manufacturer.
24 But the horse is not tailless (4,5)
THEN AGAIN — THE + NAG, “horse” + AIN[-’t]
25 Was jogger’s time spoilt? (7)
TROTTED — T(ime) + ROTTED
26 Well-to-do joiners (7)
HYPHENS — (Brilliant!)

DOWN
 1 10 about to weep, which is most depressing (8)
BLEAKEST — B(LEAK)EST You might first take 10 for a clue reference…
 2 Go unnoticed (6,9)
TRAVEL INCOGNITO — CD, at least slightly C
 3 Order given to dog or swine (4)
HEEL — DD
 4 From river, see bank (4)
RELY — R(iver) + ELY, which is a diocese or “see”
 5 Medium has spoken; lie about “backbone” (5,5)
MORAL FIBRE — M(edium) + ORAL, “spoken” + FIB, “lie” + RE, “about”
 6 Don’t drag feet bearing cross (4,6)
LOOK SNAPPY — LOOK, “bearing” + SNAPPY, “cross”
 7 Ile de Centre, not a bad French accommodation (7,8)
ENTENTE CORDIALE — (Ile de Centre, not a)* OK, an anagram for a foreign phrase, but at least you’re told what language it’s in.
 8 It concerns me if work is stopping me retiring (6)
EGOISM — GO, “work” + IS (literally) plugging ME<=“retiring”
13 I understand song and dance, maybe, over street planner (10)
STRATEGIST — I GET ARTS <=“over” + ST(reet)
14 Solo and its uses when playing (10)
UNASSISTED — (and its uses)*
16 End of semester? (8)
TERMINUS — IN the US, a (school) TERM is called a “semester.”
18 Liberals kept in touch, just about (3,3)
ALL BUT — A(LL)BUT
21 Feeling cold in mineshaft (4)
NESH — Hidden
22 Fighting pressure, buckle (4)
WARP — WAR, “fighting” + P(ressure)
verlaine

Times Cryptic Jumbo 1469: Preferably Beneath A Pile Of Crunching Bodies

This crossword is all about 28dn as far as I'm concerned, much though I like Nicolas Poussin and Tom Stoppard. What a marvellous phrase! I liked 13ac which is another sports clue - maybe I need a lie down?

Thanks to the setter for an enjoyable weekend workout. How did the rest of you enjoy this one?

ACROSS
1 Worked with teeth — appropriate for a rodent (9)
GROUNDHOG - GROUND [worked with teeth] + HOG [appropriate]

6 Conflict, depression and division on colony, ultimately (10)
DISHARMONY - DISH [depression] and HARM [division] ON {colon}Y

12 Men in retreat mostly ruined attack (5,2)
ROUND ON - reversed O.R. + UNDON{e}

13 Something wet to clear up, sprayed with warm jet (5,4)
WATER JUMP - (UP + WARM JET*)

14 One’s preceded by gracious primate proceeding slowly (5)
LORIS - I'S preceded by LOR! [gracious!]

16 Storm involving priest seen with plunder in car (7,5)
RELIANT ROBIN - RANT [storm] "involving" ELI [priest] + ROB [plunder] IN

17 Society greets secure form of lottery (10)
SWEEPSTAKE - S WEEPS TAKE [society | greets | secure]

19 Renowned Irish columns from author having huge influence all round (6,8)
GIANTS CAUSEWAY - CAUSE [author] having GIANT SWAY all around

22 Drops out of academy during a New York October? (8)
RAINFALL - R.A. IN FALL

24 Part of the company’s stable? Hardly(6)
INFIRM - or IN FIRM

25 Nonplussed when fashion editor goes on rather! (10)
ASTONISHED - AS TON + ED goes on ISH [rather]

26 Singers turning round unmissable shows (5)
BASSI - hidden reversed in {unm}ISSAB{le}

29 Gallery’s encouragement to investigating officer? (4)
GODS - GO, D.S.!

30 The female expert appearing across commercial channel (8)
HEADRACE - HER ACE appearing "across" AD

32 Page about supporting education graduate put together in advance (9)
PREFORMED - P RE FOR M.ED.

34 Clapped out old vehicle, in short one delivered at inopportune time? (4,5)
LOVE CHILD - (OLD VEHICL{e}*)

35 Choice reflected your excellent work with animals (8)
BESTIARY - BEST [choice] + reversed YR A1

36 Wily crook (4)
ARCH - double def

39 Row after firm closed (3-2)
SET-TO - after SET, TO

40 Act wisely: ring new solicitors (3,7)
LAW SOCIETY - (ACT WISELY O*)

42 One shut up after battle to impress conference (6)
POWWOW - P.O.W. + WOW [to impress]

44 Man set to become minister (8)
CHAPLAIN - or CHAP LAIN

46 Painting’s eradication, sadly, with age (2,2,7,3)
ET IN ARCADIA EGO - (ERADICATION + AGE*)

48 Lesser characters punishing people in return refuse their food? (10)
SCAVENGERS - SC [small caps = lesser characters?] + AVENGERS [characters punishing people in return?] = those whose food is refuse? Either "characters" is doing double duty here or I've ha one too many cocktails tonight...

49 US zoo let bear out? How low can you go! (8,4)
ABSOLUTE ZERO - (US ZOO LET BEAR*)

53 Sort of share purchase with English girl in rugby team (2,3)
EX DIV - E + DI in XV

54 Changing latest film in our name (2,3,4)
ON THE TURN - NTH E.T. in OUR N

55 Did career damage (light) (7)
HURTLED - HURT L.E.D.

56 College keeping yellow spirit — a litre: far from fresh (10)
UNORIGINAL - UNI "keeping" OR + GIN A L

57 Child meeting the head, one guilty of serious wrongdoing? (9)
KIDNAPPER - KID meeting NAPPER

DOWN
1 Poor serving? Set to clinch game (5)
GRUEL - GEL to "clinch" R.U.

2 Model not oddly recalled with flowers in paintings (3,7)
OLD MASTERS - reversed M{o}D{e}L {n}O{t} + ASTERS

3 Sort of pan, note, where you’d put cocktail sausage? (8)
NONSTICK - N + ON STICK

4 Anything in house for use as guide? (3-2)
HOW-TO - OWT in HO

5 Frightful egotist we suss out (3,4,2)
GET WISE TO - (EGOTIST WE*)

6 Fleet-footed attorney’s patch (4)
DARN - D.A. with R.N. "footing"

7 Radar signal is small, and as weak (6)
SQUAWK - S + QUA WK

8 Flight software the French put round Polish Conference? (6,3,5)
APPLES AND PEARS - APP + LES put round SAND PEAR. As in a Cockney's flight of stairs

9 Married woes coming with blessing? That’s hopelessly romantic! (5-3-4)
MILLS AND BOON - M ILLS AND BOON

10 Heaven recalled in bible stories (7)
NIRVANA - reversed IN + R.V. + ANA

11 Working group go in, after finally halting (10)
PROROGUING - (GROUP GO IN {afte}R*)

15 Indicate difficulty creating entrance (9)
SPELLBIND - SPELL BIND [indicate | difficulty]

18 Girl getting round periodical lack of diligence (8)
LAZINESS - LASS getting round ZINE

20 One’s sworn at, very loudly, girls included (9)
AFFIDAVIT - AT, "including" FF + IDA & VI

21 Team in bright blue gets turned over (6-4)
UPSIDE-DOWN - SIDE in UP DOWN [bright | blue]

23 One with an outlet for their criminal aspirations? (10)
SHOPLIFTER - cryptic def, the outlet being a literal retail outlet here

27 Brigadier’s outside with private wearing identical belt (3,6)
SAM BROWNE - B{rigadie}R + OWN, "wearing" SAME

28 Rules appearing long I revised (6,8)
AERIAL PINGPONG - (APPEARING LONG I*). Apparently this is another name for Australian Rules Football. Sport is weird

31 Scottish town elder, maybe, in France, briefly on a promise (8)
ARBROATH - ARBR{e}, on OATH

33 Possible sixteen year-old getting changed to serve alcohol? (6-6)
SCHOOL-LEAVER - (SERVE ALCOHOL*)

34 Reportedly, more than one can shed or forfeit rank (4,5)
LOSE CASTE - homophone of LOOS CAST

37 Welcome enquiry into way of making jam (3-2-3-2)
HOW-DO-YOU-DO - triple def

38 What’s very quietly catching Leo racing with artic? (6,4)
POLICE TRAP - PP "catching" (LEO + ARTIC*), semi-&lit

41 City pub’s heading for bar brawl (9)
INNSBRUCK - INN'S B{ar} RUCK

43 Old Russian’s British alias taking in US president (8)
BABUSHKA - B A.K.A. taking in BUSH

45 Pantomime as done for daughters at home (7)
ALADDIN - A LA [as done for] D D [daughters] IN [at home]

47 Singer out of A&E — he’s at home with us? (6)
BRITON - B{a}RITON{e}. For some definitions of "us"

50 Had garden worker put up fences (5)
OWNED - hidden reversed in {gar}DEN WO{rker}

51 Mathematician showing odd parts equalled four, finally (5)
EULER - E{q}U{a}L{l}E{d} + {four}R

52 Where prisoner waits to be flogged for speaking out?
CELL - homophone of SELL [to be flogged]
New RCA
  • vinyl1

Mephisto 3144 - Not quite a pangram!

This was a good one from Paul McKenna, parts of which might prove a bit difficult for some.   I had a pretty good solve, except towards the end, where there were one or two clues that held me up for a long time.   As usual, they turned out to be pretty simple in the end - simple, that is, for Mephisto.

I have to admit I don't quite get this week's pun, if there is one.   Audience participation is invited!


Across
1 Sheep does in time enter wind on returning (9)
LEICESTER - ICES, T inside REEL backwards.   You have to keep does in together, and separate time.
8 Provide love for the image of Scots innocence (3)
DOO - DO O, for the dove in Scotland.   Non-rhotic dialects, yes, but non-voiced-labiodental-fricative dialects?
11 Lay to rest wearing uniform which signifies the senior service (5)
INURN -  IN U + R.N.
12 Round wreaths laid round new compounds (6)
OLEINS - O LEI(N)S, my FOI.
13 Verbal fun from soldier close to trouble no longer (8)
PARAGRAM - PARA + GRAM, which meant trouble before it decided to become a weight.
14 Fare from Abroath that is fine, initially found in text service (7)
SMOKIES - SM(OK, I.E.)S, the Short Messaging Service protocol.
15 Murphy thanks with bow (5)
TATIE - TA + TIE, the Scots slang word for potato.
17 In addition coaster ferried in fruit (6)
TOMATO - TO(MAT)O.  Easy if you think of a tomato as a fruit, which it probably technically is.
18 Ready for theatre? It’s planned where first time is close to epic (12)
PREMEDICATED - PREME(-d,+C)ATED, a simple letter-substitution clue.   The literal refers to the operating theatre, as is often the case.
20 Flower — tag for such in fellah’s window (12)
PHEASANTS-EYE - P(H)EASANT'S EYE.   H = the tail end of SUCH.
23 Masculine one from Provence is down to release catch (6)
UNSNAP - UN'S + NAP.
26 Ill-behaved but beginning to be irritable (5)
RATTY - [b]RATTY, I believe, where but is a removal indicator.
27 Hero worship is happening first in most of southern capital (7)
LIONISM - LI(ON, IS)M[a].
28 Palm one toiling for Indian in Hispanic hotspot, once (8)
CARNAUBA - C(ARNA)UBA.   An arna is an Indian water buffalo, used as a draft animal.
30 Having three “points” current in pamphlet (6)
TRIACT - TR(I)ACT.
31 Where lots go in Scotland following grand mass (5)
GROUP - G + ROUP, a Scots auction sale.
32 Henry with this devious devil would be one to let down (3)
EEL - [h]EEL.
33 Quartzy mineral he kept in a transfer (9)
PHENAKITE -  Anagram of HE KEPT IN A.
Down
1 Some flipping kiss (3)
LIP - hidden in [f]LIP[ing], which turns out not to be a reversal indicator.
2 Yankee charm? Long hair curled up on Republican (6)
ENAMOR - MANE backwards + O' R, Yankee because it would be spelt "enamour" in the UK.
3 Crow (boast, as some would say) (5)
CRAKE - Sounds like CRACK in some dialects.
4 In short form just ringing Geneva’s source of power (6)
ENGINE - EN(GIN)E, where ENE = E'EN.
5 Loosely as per temptation and behind time lose lucky charm? (12, three words)
SPREAD A PLATE - Anagram of AS PER + DAP + LATE.  A dap is a fishing lure.
6 Raising a glass to stern foil for Errol Flynn, for example (12, two words)
TOASTING IRON - TOASTING + IRON.  The literal may refer to the slang meaning of "toasting iron" as a sword - it is in Chambers.
7 Couple in Macao maybe running up brooms and the like (7)
RETAMAS - SA(MATE)R upside down, where SAR = Special Administrative District.
8 Takes great risks accepting schmutter in orders (8)
DICTATES - DIC(TAT)ES.
9 Hearsay from second I trust (5)
ON-DIT - hidden in [sec]OND I T[rust].
10 In stirring manner erode most plated protection? (9)
OSTEODERM - anagram of ERODE MOST.   The answer is just two very common Greek words, so shouldn't be hard to figure out.
14 Discharge old quitter in supplement for all to see cost (9)
SUPPURATE - SUP (P) U + RATE.   Why P is an "old quitter" is obscure - pence, used for quitting debts?   Alternatives invited.
16 Unsettled fate lies in restricted estates (8, two words)
FEES TAIL - Anagram of FATE LIES.
19 Priest holds up sacred text for mischievous charmer (7)
MANTRAP - MANTRA + P.
21 Maori prize that’s most often seen in waka in Pacific kingdom (6)
TAONGA -  T(A)ONGA, where A is the letter most often seen in "waka".
22 Cautious consent still restricting transport with tail fully lifted (6)
YES-BUT -  YE(SBU)T, where the S of the BUS moves to the back.
24 What’s in shells concerning sub’s attacker up above (5)
NACRE - CAN upside-down + RE down below.
25 Dig fabulous creature, old beau taking number for Prince (5)
SNARK - S(-p,+N)ARK, two literals and a letter-substitution cryptic.   The creature is from Through the Looking Glass.
29 Apparent term for epigone (3)
APE - AP + [epigon]E, an elegant &lit and my LOI.