December 9th, 2020

pianokids

Times Quick Cryptic No 1762 by Mara

Introduction

6:37. I felt like I moved briskly, but there were several answers I couldn't get until I had crossing letters, so my suspicion is there are some harder synonyms involved in this puzzle.

As always, I present the solutions very tersely. Solvers who don't understand particular pieces of wordplay are encouraged to browse the glossary presented after the solutions.

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Times 27843 - something of a quickstep.

In the time it probably took Verlaine to finish this, I had read all the clues and put in only a couple in the lower half. Then suddenly I saw more and quickly completed almost all of the grid except 14a, 3d and 12d. Those last three took as long again and I had to enter 3d from best of options as I didn't know what a ratline was. Slow, slow, quick quick slow, you could say.
But it's an enjoyable puzzle with some interesting words (4d, 23a) and another reference to the TSE play. Congratulations to the setter especially for creating an anagram for the Russian city from relevant surface fodder.

Across
1 Always contributing to raid as individuals (9)
SEVERALLY - insert EVER (always) into SALLY (raid). As in the legal term "joint and several".
6 Vote against party (5)
BEANO - to vote against is to "be a no".
9 Return to the stage and do double-take? (5)
REACT - RE-ACT would be to come back to acting.
10 VIP swaps penthouse finally for a ministerial residence (9)
PARSONAGE - PERSONAGE swaps E for A.
11 Having work in cafe, give up spot in play (7,3,5)
WAITING FOR GODOT - WAITING (having work in cafe), FORGO (give up) DOT (spot). I nearly wrote that we had a reference to this in Sunday's Robert Price, but then remembered it was still open for entries.
13 Couple study a length of part of digestive system (8)
DUODENAL - DUO (couple) DEN (study) A L(ength).
14 Some soldiers not exactly right to return ammunition (6)
TRACER - RE (soldiers) CA (circa) RT (right) all reversed.
16 Matey greeting observer heard (6)
WOTCHA - sounds like watcher. Not sure how far outside southern England this term is familiar.
18 Bribe given to a disreputable house (8)
BUNGALOW - BUNG (bribe) A LOW (disreputable).
21 Having conducted surgery, pipes up about working to finish all off ? (4,2,9)
TAKE NO PRISONERS - TAKEN OP (conducted surgery) RISERS (pipes going up in a building) insert ON (working).
23 Be a fine scout, tricky to confuse (9)
OBFUSCATE - (BE A F SCOUT)*.
25 Country has moved a range of mountains (5)
CHAIN - CHINA moves the A inside.
26 Jet, for example, crossing Peru regularly (5)
SPRAY - SAY (for example) insert P e R u.
27 Breathy sound of dogs reaching pole, having kept north (9)
HUSKINESS - HUSKIES and S (pole) insert N.
Down
1 Sucker with no science subjects upset (5)
STRAW - All reversed, W (with) ARTS (no science subjects). For a minute I was thinking why would WARTS mean no science. Stupid, really.
2 Vodka, lots drunk, I see consumed here? (11)
VLADIVOSTOK - (VODKA LOTS I V)* the V = vide, see. From what I've seen of that city (Simon Reeve on TV for example) drinking a lot of vodka would be essential to sanity.
3 Rung in later, shattered (7)
RATLINE - (IN LATER)*. I deduced from checkers that this was the only likely word to fit, but didn't know the exact meaning; it's a horizontal rung of a rope ladder in a ship's rigging.
4 Deficient writing has edge over good stuff (8)
LIPOGRAM - LIP (edge) O(ver) G(ood) RAM (stuff). A lipogram is a piece of writing (sometimes a whole book) with one letter not used, often E or S. (From Ancient Greek: λειπογράμματος, leipográmmatos, "leaving out a letter"; the Greeks had examples leaving out sigma). I've tried writing one and it's harder than you'd think.
5 Raised concern about a plant (6)
YARROW - WORRY raised about A. A common hedgerow plant or weed.
6 Poster of British lumberjack (7)
BLOGGER - B(ritish) LOGGER.
7 In hearing, assist a woman (3)
ADA - sounds like AID A.
8 Bonus run in passage of play by means of wide (9)
OVERTHROW - Today's cricket clue. OVER (a passage of play, 6 balls), THRO(ugh) W(ide).
12 Mild exposure leads to debility entering university: I’m grateful for admission (11)
DECOLLETAGE - DE (leads to debility) then TA (I'm grateful) admitted inside COLLEGE.
13 Abbey not quite so upright, receiving onset of lightning strike (4,5)
DOWN TOOLS - DOWNTON (fictional Abbey in TV series) loses its end N, then SO reversed (so upright) insert L = onset of lightning.
15 Firm sort of wave in middle of kiss (8)
BUSINESS - SINE wave inside BUSS which means to kiss or brush with the lips
17 Sharpen pen, being blunt perhaps (7)
HONESTY - HONE (sharpen) STY (pen).
19 After study put up companion in private Italian course (7)
GNOCCHI - Inside GI (private) put CON reversed and CH companion.
20 Accepting pressure, substantially cut prominent article (6)
SPLASH - insert P into SLASH.
22 Wrong American gets a hole in the head (5)
SINUS - SIN (wrong) US.
24 Cope shortened to a considerable extent (3)
FAR - FARE = cope, shortened.