December 10th, 2020

  • glheard

Times 27844 - in which we fail miserably

Often I complain about silly typos, but at 17:41, I hit submit expecting that I had at least one of four answers incorrect, but could not think of another option for any of them. Turns out that I did have two of them wrong!  One was a term I knew but couldn't remember exactly how to spell it (and didn't look at the wordplay carefullly enough), the other was a total guess, but I think I know what the correct answer is after seeing which letters were correct and a third turned out to be correct but now I have to figure out how the wordplay works.

In other words, I found this one a bit of a beast and was well and truly beaten by the setter! How did you do?

Away we go...

1 Prince a little bit of a pig? (6)
HAMLET - the little piece of a pig could be HAM-LET
4 Where choppers found cutting into the lip or tongue (8)
HELIPORT - hidden inside tHE LIP OR Tongue
10 Cold scrap of food scoffed by Welshman: then seconds (11)
REMORSELESS - MORSEL(scrap of food) inside REES(Welshman) and S(seconds)
11 Typical value, fraction reduced (3)
PAR - PART(fraction) missing the last letter
12 Home game, they said, that's tasty in Southeast Asia? (3,4)
PAD THAI - PAD(home) then sounds like TIE(game)
14 Source of oil on end of mantelpiece, alongside source of milk (3,4)
TEA TREE - RE(on) and the last letter of mantelpiecE, after TEAT(source of milk)
15 Celebrate getting rid of junk? (4,3,4,3)
PUSH THE BOAT OUT - I was torn between PASS and PUSH for the first word of this phrase, which only seems vaguely familiar. Junk being BOAT here
17 Financial concern — would that discourage one from acting? (8,6)
NEGATIVE EQUITY - This was one of my errors, as I had RELATIVE EQUITY, being sure of the second word, but not sure how the first one worked. I guess if you have a NEGATIVE experience with actors EQUITY you would want to chuck it in
21 Person loved clothing with strip of material (7)
BANDEAU - BEAU(person loved) containing AND(with)
22 Around academic award, drop a controversial strategy (4,3)
ROAD MAP - This was one I got from definition but didn't see the wordplay at the time - I see it now, the academic award is an MA(Master of Arts) and it is inside an anagram (signaled by controversial) of DROP,A
23 Mourn grouse after odd parts plucked (3)
RUE - alternating letters in gRoUsE
24 Guess appropriate power coming from on high (6,5)
DIVINE RIGHT - DIVINE(guess), RIGHT(appropriate)
26 Go after model, painter backing his ability? (8)
ARTISTRY - TRY(go) after SIT(model) and RA(painter) reversed
27 Eggs — one of three stepped on in car? (6)
CLUTCH - double definition. Been a long time since I have driven a manual transmission car
1 Sing with cape on in dance (8)
HORNPIPE - PIPE(sing) with cape HORN on top
2 Tight-lipped, one raising issue (3)
MUM - double definition
3 Others distressed about a faculty's range (7)
EARSHOT - anagram of OTHERS containing A
5 Political activity born in abandonment of religion, etc (14)
ELECTIONEERING - NEE(born) in an anagram of RELIGION,ETC
6 Second stone collected by relative cracks it open (7)
INSTANT - a double container! ST(stone) inside NAN(relative) inside IT
7 Taking advantage of the situation, capital invested in rubbishing of poor MP (11)
OPPORTUNISM - TUNIS(capital of Tunisia) inside an anagram of POOR,MP
8 Heartless old jailer producing dead duck (6)
TURKEY - remove the middle letter from TURNKEY(old jailer)
9 Note tremolo after passing note (14)
DEMISEMIQUAVER - QUAVER(tremolo) after DEMISE(passing), MI(musical note). This was my other error, as I had the DEMI and SEMI mixed up trying to biff it
13 Taste set dinner with mustard and cress, primarily, in a salad (11)
DISCERNMENT - anagram of SET,DINNER and the first letters of Mustard and Cress
16 Have masks of course on companion, covering over part of face (8)
EYEPATCH - EAT(have) containing YEP(of course) on top of CH(companion)
18 Denouement in story written up in programmes (7)
AGENDAS - the denoument is the END, inside SAGA(story) reversed
19 Argument that has a point (7)
QUARREL - double definition
20 Huge region needing no introduction, part of SW Europe (6)
IBERIA - SIBERIA(huge region) missing the first letter
25 Natural pull, upwards (3)
GUT - TUG(pull) reversed

Times Quick Cryptic No 1763 by Felix

Twenty eight clues and answers, and much to enjoy in this crossword puzzle from Felix, who I last blogged back in January (No 1533), at the start of this strange year.  On that occasion, his across answers contained a clever theme, with Roman numerals for the numbers 1 through to 12 appearing in the answers.  On that occasion, the theme was noticed after I commented on the preponderance of letters I, V and X in the grid.

I can see no similar theme appearing today, but do let me know if you spot something that I have missed.  My FOI was PICK, COD UNKEMPT, and WOD WICK.  Thanks to Felix, and good luck to all of you.


Choice digging tool (4)
PICK – Double definition, my FOI and away we go!
Ring salesman perhaps, to scoff, around spring (8)
JEWELLER – JEER (to scoff) containing (around) WELL (spring).
9 Wise words show real brains, primarily (7)
PROVERB– PROVE (show, as in with a convincing argument) and RB (R{eal} B{rains} – primarily = first letters).
10  Go close, ignoring a person beyond hope? (5)
GONER – GO (go) and NE{a}R (close (NEAR), ignoring a).
11  Deny King Edward, for example, has returned (5)
REBUT – TUBER (King Edward for example, a potato or tuber) reversed (has returned).
13  Kilns we built specially for seafood (7)
WINKLES – Straight anagram (built specially) of [KILNS WE].
14  Record to have when going across mountains (4)
ALPS – LP (long player or record) inside AS (when).  The inclusion indicator is ‘going across’ or straddling.
15  A grate leaving a small gap? (4)
AJAR – A (a) and JAR (grate).
20  Dishevelled drunk emptying pockets (7)
UNKEMPT – Hidden (pockets, as in contains) in {dr}UNK EMPT{ying}.
22  Girl’s cosy home, close to Chelsea (5)
NESTA – NEST (cosy home) and {chelse}A (close to, meaning last letter).  NESTA is a random girl’s given name, and not very common, but at least it hasn’t been clued with an anagram, which I know would have incited the wrath of some of our solvers.  It can also be a boy’s given name, and was the first or middle name of Nesta Robert / Robert Nesta Marley, better known as Bob Marley.
23  Shelled nuts beside vase making quite a change (1-4)
U-TURN – {n}UT{s} (shelled nuts, remove outside letters) and URN (vase).
24  No fewer than twelve ultimately entering after all (2,5)
AT LEAST – {twelv}E (ultimately, last letter) inside (entering) AT LAST (after all).
26  Finally got us hose for clumps of grass (8)
TUSSOCKS – {go}T (finally) with US (us) and SOCKS (hose).
27  Ed’s escaped from evil, incendiary band (4)
WICK – WICK{ed} (Ed’s escaped).  A WICK is defined in my Chambers as ‘the twisted threads of cotton or other substance in a candle, lamp or lighter’.  It goes on to say that it ‘draws up the INflammabe liquid to the flame’.  Strange that FLAMMABLE and INFLAMMABLE have the same meaning, whilst COMBUSTIBLE and INCOMBUSTIBLE are antonyms?


Documents quietly placed on copiers (6)
PAPERS – P (quietly, piano in musical notation) and APERS (copiers – to ape is to copy).
2  Chef having bottom pinched: that’s a surprise (3)
COO – COO{k} (chef), having bottom pinched, dropping the last letter in this down clue.
Barges Les manoeuvred around front of ship (6)
ELBOWS – Anagram (manoeuvred) of [LES] containing (around) BOW (front of ship).
5  Foolish person’s face might have this urge (3,2)
EGG ON – A foolish person might have EGG ON their face, and to EGG ON is to urge to some kind of action.
6 Letters to acquire at cricket ground (9)
LANDLORDS – LAND (to acquire, as in to LAND or acquire a job) and LORDS (cricket ground).
7  Rex needs a break – most unusual (6)
RAREST – R (Rex) and A REST (a break).
8  For safety’s sake, a motorist should be quiet! (4,2)
BELT UP – cryptic hint.  To BELT UP is to wear a seat belt when motoring, but it also means to be quiet!
12  Fights to obtain what’s missing for air rad precautions (9)
BLACKOUTS – BOUTS (fights) containing LACK (what’s missing).
16  Catchy tune from Jack by the fireplace (6)
JINGLE – J{ack} and INGLE (fireplace).
17  Imposing jiujitsu – guards to mount displays (6)
AUGUST – Reverse (to mount) hidden (displays) in {jiuji}TSU – GUA{rds}.  As an adjective, AUGUST can mean imposing, venerable or majestic.
18  Cheers up, on course to get fit (6)
ATTACK – TA (cheers) reversed to give AT and then TACK (course).  An ATTACK can be a fit.
19  Bishop with skill, fine composer (6)
BARTOK – B{ishop} with ART (skill) and OK (fine).  Refers to Béla Viktor János Bartók, Hungarian  composer and pianist.
21  Among bananas, a different fruit (5)
MANGO – Anagram (bananas) of [AMONG].
25  Old boxer appearing in tabloid regularly (3)
ALI – alternate letters (regularly) of {t}A{b}L{o}I{d}.  Refering, of course, to Cassius Clay / Mohammed ALI.

Times 27,845: AA Antipolitics

Right up my street, this puzzle, with a very high classics (9ac, 25ac, 20dn) and quizzy GK content, plus plenty of expostulations (6ac, 8dn, 12dn) that I yell out all the time in the process of solving. Some great words with Z's in them and multiple delightfully smutty surfaces rounded out the package, as it were. COD to the vainglorious 7dn, but tbh so many of these clues could have taken the prize. Great work, setter, and thanks!

1 The Dutch? How differently they live! (5,4)
OTHER HALF - slang term for wife, or a ref to "how the other half live"

6 I dislike that arch heretic’s introduction (5)
HUMPH - HUMP [arch] + H{eretic}

9 Old king cheers queen undoing trousers (7)
TARQUIN - TA [cheers] + Q(ueen) "trousered" by RUIN [undoing]. King of Rome in the 6th century BC.

10 African native everyone Irish and Australian backs (7)
ZORILLA - ALL IR OZ, reversed. Nothing like a gorilla, a lot like a skunk.

11 Don’t bother with consumption in general (3,2)
LET BE - T.B. in (Robert E) LEE

13 Reprobate’s drunk treble in one (9)

14 Law that ex bent to get money from estate? (6,3)

16 Some dropshot I sliced, regretting miss (4)
OTIS - hidden in {dropsh}OT I S{lice}. Ref Miss Otis Regrets by Cole Porter, sung by Ella.

18 Curious figures — and one unknown (4)
NOSY - NOS. (as in, numbers) + Y

19. Special team’s request in English court overturned (4,5)
TASK FORCE - ASK FOR in reversed E(nglish) C(ourt)

22 Seek private place, largely at first for one’s replacement PIN (6,3)
WOODEN LEG - WOO [seek] + DEN [private place] + L{argely} + E.G. [for one]. Highly misleading, but perfectly legit, capitalisation

24 Those playing rugby leap, but only the backs land (5)
EGYPT - {thos}E {playin}G {rugb}Y {lea}P {bu}T

25 One digging verse by a wise old female (7)
MINERVA - MINER [one digging] + V(erse) + A

26 Democrats broaching alternative to Thatcher? There’s just a small catch (7)
TIDDLER - D D [(two) Democrats] "broaching" TILER (who will tile, not thatch, your roof for you)

28 Was Observer’s fashion to retreat before its boss? (5)
NOTED - reversed TON before ED [(the Observer's) boss]

29 Duty that requires clubs to go for forward’s skill (9)

1 Did better than in plane, with fuel to spare (7)
OUTFLEW - (W FUEL TO*), going "spare"

2 The girl’s originally employed in personnel (3)
HER - E{mployed} in H.R.

3 Be unhappy, perhaps, as tenant’s picked up small revolver (8)
ROULETTE - homophone of RUE LET [be unhappy as tenant]

4 Set aside article out of book (5)

5 Axemen have these fights with police (9)
FUZZBOXES - BOXES [fights] with the FUZZ [police]. Axemen as in electric guitarists

6 Capital that’s unlimited, then hard to come by (6)
HARARE - {t}HA{t} (shorn of its limits) + RARE

7 I’m so utterly fantastic on many levels! (11)

8 Gracious ladies crossing wide street (7)
HEAVENS - HENS "crossing" AVE(nue)

12 Tears accompanying this rueful exclamation? (5,4,2)
THAT'S TORN IT - cryptic def, that works whichever way you pronounce "tears"

15 Stimulate sensually, keeping it up well into the night (9)

17 Malefactor’s death in hand (8)
OFFENDER - END [death] in OFFER [hand, as in "proffer" I expect]

18 Cardinal grabbing small journalist (7)
NEWSMAN - (John Henry) NEWMAN "grabbing" S

20 Inspiring female, unnamed, having no sex before gym (7)
EUTERPE - {n}EUTER, before PE. The muse of lyric poetry.

21 Last letter in full from Brezhnev communist backed? The opposite (6)
VEERED - take the last letter of {brezhne}V, spell it out as VEE, then add RED [communist]. To "veer" and "back" are indeed opposites when referring to the direction of wind, which veers clockwise and backs counterclockwise...

23 First thing to do in the morning is dress (3-2)
GET-UP - double def with GET UP, the first thing you do in the morning, ideally

27 Every second in Algeria you might have spent in Romania (3)
LEI - {a}L{g}E{r}I{a} - Romanian currency, in the plural: the singular is "leu" and means "lion"