December 16th, 2020

Times Quick Cryptic 1767 by Teazel

Well that was a struggle! I couldn't get any of the perimeter clues at the top of the grid, nor did any of the long answers jump out. The SW proved a little more tractable, but the momentum didn't last. Followed by a slow trudge over the finish line - probably my longest time all year. Lots of groans from me and kudos to Teazel.

There's little obscure vocabulary, except perhaps the dish and one word in 20ac, so I hope I'm alone in finding this one more difficult.

Definitions underlined.

Across
1 Disadvantage of ward, literally (8)
DRAWBACK - a kind of reverse clue, where the answer provides the cryptic instruction to get a word in the clue. In this case, DRAW written BACK (reversed) gives 'ward' (ward literally).
5 Our cousins a nuisance, almost (4)
APES - A PESt (a nuisance), without the final letter (almost).
8 Going back on decision to have transplant operation? (6,2,5)
CHANGE OF HEART - definition and cryptic hint.
10 Navy left in bases (5)
FLEET - L (left) contained by (in) FEET (bases).
11 Beg little devil to get learning (7)
IMPLORE - IMP (little devil) next to (to get) LORE (learning).
12 Make mistake with simple task (6)
ERRAND - ERR (make mistake) then AND (with).
13 Rows in church, so rude (6)
COARSE - OARS (rows) contained by (in) CE (Church of England, church).
16 Poor dog, its appropriate part cut short (7)
CURTAIL - CUR (poor dog) then TAIL (its appropriate part).
18 Correct height on masts, sails, etc (5)
RIGHT - HT (height) on RIG (masts, sails, etc.).
20 Astonished, inveighs against delivery vehicle (13)
THUNDERSTRUCK - THUNDERS (inveighs, assails or makes an attack) next to (against) TRUCK (delivery vehicle).
21 American guy expected to host duke (4)
DUDE - DUE (expected) containing (to host) D (duke).
22 Old-fashioned relative moves forward (6,2)
PASSES ON - PASSÉ (old-fashioned) and SON (relative).

Down
1 Drink available from inside cafe (5)
DECAF - hidden in (available from) insiDE CAFe.
2 A chess defeat: game over for dilettante (7)
AMATEUR - A MATE (a chess defeat), then RU (rugby union, game) reversed (over).
3 Level of marsh quite unexceptional (3,8)
BOG STANDARD - definition and cryptic hint.
4 Biscuit that may be placed on computer (6)
COOKIE - definition and cryptic hint.
6 Nature god holding one old instrument to play (5)
PIANO - PAN (nature god) containing (holding) I (one, Roman numerals) then O (old).
7 Drunkard present, whether you like it or not (2,5)
SO THERE - SOT (drunkard) and HERE (present).
9 Ancient doctor prophetic, as seen afresh (11)
HIPPOCRATES - anagram of (seen afresh) PROPHETIC AS.
12 No longer referred to as enthusiastic (7)
EXCITED - EX (no longer) and CITED (referred to).
14 Spicy dishes converted to sugar (7)
RAGOUTS - anagram of (converted) TO SUGAR. This spicy stew is not to be confused with 'ragu' (a tomatoey sauce), apparently.
15 Female guest left off roll in academy, first of all (6)
GLORIA - initial letters from (first of all) Guest Left Off Roll In Academy.
17 Eighteen holes, then buy this at the nineteenth? (5)
ROUND - definition and cryptic hint. A round of golf (eighteen holes) and a round of drinks.
19 Nominal fine received by a number (5)
TOKEN - OK (fine) contained by (received by) TEN (a number).

Times 27849 - three strikes and I'm out

Olivia (for one) can confirm or otherwise that this was the third of the "didn't happen" TCC puzzles last month, as she managed to download it before it vanished from the website. If it is, or was, let me say I found it far harder than the first two, which were IMO too easy for a championship test. Maybe I just couldn't get on the right wavelength. Even when I'd written in some answers with a "it must be" shrug, I had difficulty getting fully comfortable with the parsing when I came to write this. How did you do? Was it just me that found it hard?



Across
1 Decorated old men on opposite sides at Waterloo died (7)
PAPERED - took a little time to see this after I'd biffed it from checkers. Old men in English and French could be PA and PÈRE (father). D for died. We stuffed the French at Waterloo, the battle in Belgium not the station.
5 Horseman protecting lord repelled villain (7)
RIDDLER - RIDER the horseman had LD (lord) reversed inside. I don't think all riddlers are villains, but I have a vague idea that one in a Batman movie was, although I've never seen any of them.
9 Cunningly multiplied by two a nice prime number (8,3)
AMERICAN PIE - I stared at this trying to see how it worked, even though the 8, 3 enumeration and the checkers suggested the Don McLean song might be the answer. Then I saw it. The first part of the clue "cunningly" is an anagrid, "multiplied by two A" means "have two A's" and the fodder becomes (A A NICE PRIME)*. Cunning, indeed.
10 VAT reduction in train (3)
TUB - I can only imagine a TUBE train is reduced by one letter.
11 Might associated with underworld boss causing alarm (6)
DISMAY - DIS is or was the Roman God of the underworld, and MAY can be MIGHT, same tense sometimes, or present and past. See https://writingexplained.org/may-vs-might-difference.
12 Revealing costume: nothing stops brother wearing one (8)
MONOKINI - O (nothing) in MONK (brother) IN 1. I am told by Google (and images therefrom) a monokini is like narrow bikini bottoms with thin strings going up and around the neck, which sounds definitely revealing; more likely to be worn by a sexy sister (not a nun) than a brother monk perhaps. Mrs K does not have one, that sort of thing was not her cup of tea even in her prime.
14 Sock someone draped around queen’s cocktail (8,5)
PLANTERS PUNCH - Well if you SOCK SOMEONE you could be said to PLANT (a) PUNCH; insert ER'S for Queen's.
17 Planning part of Michaelmas term in Dingwall (13)
MASTERMINDING - Is this the longest hidden word ever? Someone might know.
21 One spot on about force of old religious image (8)
CRUCIFIX - not sure about this. RUC can be "force of old" (old name for the N. Ireland police force) and that leaves C I F I X for "one spot on". C= about, I = one, FIX = spot? Then about has to work twice to cover RUC. I am puzzled. EDIT see pootle73 below. I was halfway there.
23 Carriage lined at the front with gold (6)
LANDAU - L(ined), AND (with) AU (gold).
25 Length of old Henry’s skipping torment! (3)
ELL - HELL loses H(enry). Nothing to do with EMs and ENs which also festoon crosswords; an ELL is 45 inches, about the length of an arm, or in some versions, like a cubit from elbow to the end of the hand.
26 I left data lying around, moderately carelessly (11)
NEGLIGENTLY - I L(eft) GEN all reversed, then GENTLY = moderately.
27 Person calming down someone after match in Kent? (7)
SEDATER - Someone going on a DATE in S.E. England = SE DATER perhaps.
28 Advice from “mother” for one wife and female (3,4)
SAY WHEN - SAY (for one), W(ife), HEN (female).
Down
1 Foreign issue of public relations “bible” getting its approval? (6)
PRAVDA - PR, AV (authorised version of bible) DA (yes in Russian).
2 A little exercise before Kitty gets up (5-2)
PRESS-UP - PRE = BEFORE. Why would Kitty = press? EDIT as our Australian friend notes in the first comment, it is PRE then PUSS reversed. Doh.
3 Marble game popular with a number of spectators (4,5)
RUIN AGATE - RU (game) IN (popular), A GATE (a number of spectators). AUIN AGATE is apparently a thing, a kind of marble or brown agate with lines in it when polished, supposed to resemble an ancient building stone.
4 Pulling motion creating pain in the neck (4)
DRAG - Someone can be a pain, a drag, if they're boring or tedious.
5 Wild, noisy drummer, ultimately one for a band (3-7)
RIP-ROARING - R (drummer ultimately) I (one) PRO (for) A RING (band). All a bit contrived, I thought.
6 Spaniard possibly to pass on turn (5)
DIEGO - DIE (pass on) GO (turn). I suppose just a random Spanish name, or a recently deceased footballer.
7 Hail not unusual in Scottish region (7)
LOTHIAN - (HAIL NOT)*.
8 Awfully poor mistake getting in the red (8)
RUBBISHY - BISH (mistake) inside RUBY (red).
13 Germ gets in badly preserved root (4,6)
STEM GINGER - (GERM GETS IN)*.
15 Pastime that’s welcome, occupying page in recent Times (9)
PHILATELY - P (page) HI (welcome) LATELY (in recent times).
16 British ready for some loud shows of affection? (8)
SMACKERS - Noisy kisses could be smackers: a slang term for pounds, "that'll be fifty smackers, guv."
18 Foul initially seen as being over the top (7)
SQUALID - S (initially seen) QUA (Latin for as) LID (the top).
19 Pay individually — split other half? (2,5)
GO DUTCH - GO - split, leave; DUTCH slang for wife.
20 No point going back for old English preacher (6)
BUNYAN - NAY (no) NUB (point) all reversed.
22 Tavern has appeal, would you not agree? (5)
INNIT - INN (tavern) has IT (sex appeal). Slang speak for would you not agree, perhaps, isn't it? or just used for emphasis as in "education gonna make you fick, bruv, innit?".
24 Rome’s increasingly spoilt, at first, for choice of popes? (4)
PIUS - PIU is Italian for more, or more often, hence 'increasingly'; S + spoilt at first. I was thinking PIU was Latin, initially, then realised Rome is still in the same place but Italian now.