January 8th, 2021

Quick Cryptic 1784 by Pedro

More tricky than average, I'd say. Took me about 8 and a half minutes. No anagrams! COD 5dn

Across
1 Order ambassador to infiltrate elite (6)
BEHEST - Ambassabor in crosswords is HE (his/her excellency). Insert into BEST
4 Dozing snake has secured shelter (6)
ASLEEP - ASP round LEE
8 Giant bird, and tailless (5)
TITAN - TIT + AN(d)
9 Someone chasing a contented response, about to go to law (7)
PURSUER - PURR with SUE inside
10 What you get from burning a tree (3)
ASH - double definition
11 Monitor display with the whole thesis? (9)
WALLPAPER - W (with) + ALL (the whole) + PAPER (thesis)
12 Make a choice: revolutionary science, visual science (6)
OPTICS - OPT + SCI backwards
13 Sailor drilling into stone floor of ocean (6)
SEABED - AB is a sailor. Insert into SEED. 'Stone' as in peach stone, I suppose.
16 Run out cricketer, one in a cricket club? Very agile (9)
ACROBATIC - RO ('run out' in a cricket scorebook) + BAT (cricketer) + I inside A CC (a cricket club)
18 Fine to avoid long sentence — it’s a complete fiction (3)
LIE - LIFE minus F
19 Casual worker appears after not working (7)
OFFHAND - HAND (worker) after OFF (not working)
20 A cry of surprise about theatre’s foremost performer (5)
ACTOR - A + COR! with T for theatre inserted.
22 Regular small cuppa, duly emptied (6)
STEADY - S + TEA + DY ('duly' without its innards)
23 Solid work at University perhaps involves Republican (6)
STURDY - STUDY with R inserted

Down
1 Risk only half improved (3)
BET - half of 'better'
2 Expert’s baking attempt (7)
HOTSHOT - HOT (baking) + SHOT (attempt)
3 Kent town with management team providing promotional material (8,5)
SANDWICH BOARD - self explanatory
5 Boxing promoter, as it were — refuse to be handled by him? (5,8)
SCRAP MERCHANT - I quite like this. Jokey description of boxing promoter. Note 'refuse' is a noun. This is Curarist's first law when stuck with a clue - ask yourself if any word could be a different part of speech to that which you have assumed. See also 7dn and 17dn.
6 Supply online joke? (5)
EQUIP - E-quip. Seen this clue many times before
7 Bird seen in separate line of hills (9)
PARTRIDGE - part (separate) + ridge. Reading the clue you would think 'separate' was an adjective, but it is in fact a verb.
9 Sport in Post Office, behold! (4)
POLO - P.O. + LO
10 An old malicious heartless oddball (9)
ANOMALOUS - AN + O + MAL(ici)OUS. This is unusual, I think. 'Heartless' most often means removing a single letter, or sometimes two repeated letters. Not sure I've seen this version before.
14 Support son entering Bar with little hesitation (7)
BOLSTER - S inside BOLT with ER on the end.
15 Horse farm’s boss (4)
STUD - double definition
17 Weapon initially fired in anger (5)
RIFLE - F for fired inside RILE. I wasted time thinking it had to be RAGE, probably because I assumed 'anger' was a noun, when it is in fact a verb.
21 Ready to hide every other bit of sunlight (3)
RAY - alternate letters of ReAdY
verlaine

Times Cryptic Jumbo 1474: EEZ're Good

A fun Jumbo with some cool things going on in the across clues (9ac, 13ac, 53ac, e.g.), though the last half or more of the down clues seem universally very straightforward - I wonder if setters commonly clue these things from top to bottom, and are in a hurry to finish by the end? WOD is obviously "banderillero", lovely to finally have a word for those things that I'm sure we could all picture. Thanks setter for helping see 2020 out in style, 2021 Jumbos incoming!

1 Horrified at coming across golf cheats (6)
AGHAST - AT "coming across" G HAS [golf | cheats]

5 One with old school tie is oddly usual around Merchant Navy (7)
ALUMNUS - (USUAL*) "around" M.N.

9 What’s dropped letters of nearly two ounces outside post office (8)
LIPOGRAM - LI GRAM "outside" P.O. (Two ounces is actually more like LVI or LVII GRAMs)

13 Exploitable water initially in the centre of freezer? (9,8,4)
EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONE - or E.E.Z., which initials you will find hidden in {fr}EEZ{er}

14 Choral piece has an untidy place, hard and concerning (8)
ANTIPHON - AN + TIP + H + ON

15 Worrying about second part of map reference (7)
EASTING - EATING "about" S

16 Managed Dominican in an irregular order (6)
RANDOM - RAN + DOM

17 Short statement is untruthful about volume, one of Aubrey’s (5,5)
BRIEF LIVES - BRIEF LIES, "about" V. John Aubrey's 17th century biography collection

20 A quiet twenty-four hours, fast from here on? (3,9)
ASH WEDNESDAY - A SH WEDNESDAY. Beginning of the fasting season of Lent

23 Afternoon when Pip leaves in classic novel (4)
EMMA - as in pip-emma, p.m., afternoon

24 Short clue about mental ability is only half my exclusive idea (8)
CLIQUISM - CLU{e} "about" IQ + IS + M{y}

26 Namely European stopping French city’s early development (8)
NASCENCY - SC. E "stopping" NANCY

29 A mutiny — I’m out rioting for the destruction of defences? (12)
AUTOIMMUNITY - (A MUTINY I'M OUT*)

30 Sea bird dropping ’em in English cutter (10)
GUILLOTINE - GUILL{em}OT IN E

32 Loaded in goat skin, getting to run out with great speed (2,4,4)
AT FULL PELT - FULL [loaded] in {go}AT PELT, where GO [run] has left the building. Much harder to parse than just to bung in

34 Substitute for wedding where no one’s able to relax (8,4)
STANDING ROOM - or STAND-IN GROOM

36 Take journey, second, reportedly, to see work of art (8)
TRIPTYCH - TRIP [take journey] + homophone of TICK

38 Rush and short-tailed teal, perhaps tons in saltwater channel (4,4)
TEAR DUCT - TEAR [rush] + DUC{k} + T(ons)

39 Nothing but shilling removed from funds (4)
PURE - PUR{s}E

41 Darting bullfighter’s bolder linear moving (12)
BANDERILLERO - (BOLDER LINEAR*). This is the meanie who thrusts in the banderillas

43 One predicting result after score goes badly (10)
FORECASTER - (AFTER SCORE*)

44 Be baffled, seeing no key on time switch (6)
TOGGLE - {b}OGGLE on T

46 No more regret over needling scientist? (7)
PASTEUR - PAST [no more] + reversed RUE. Needling because vaccinator

48 Release relative with key in new hotel (8)
UNCLENCH - UNCLE with C in N H

50 Reckon hotel eel pie mash awful? Local is best (6,2,5,4,4)
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME - (RECKON HOTEL EEL PIE MASH*)

51 Ship’s rope he had succeeded getting across a river (8)
HEADSTAY - HE'D S "getting across" A, + TAY

52 Up till now dressed in previous baby’s clothing (7)
LAYETTE - YET [up till now] "dressed in" LATE

53 When leader’s overturned, furiously — not like this (6)
MILDLY - take WILDLY and turn the first letter upside down, to get an antonym of "furiously"

DOWN
2 Harvest area in valley (5)
GLEAN - A in GLEN

3 Chap holds power over girl up in the Hebrides? (11)
ARCHIPELAGO - ARCHIE "holds" P, + reversed O GAL

4 Play around upper-class youngster, mostly irritably (8)
TOUCHILY - TOY "around" U CHIL{d}

5 Foreign article about Remain (5)
ALIEN - AN about LIE

6 Worthless exercise bar (7)
USELESS - USE [exercise, as in "exercise power"] + LESS [bar, as in "bar a few stragglers"]

7 Unavoidably and as sincerely disturbed (11)
NECESSARILY - (AS SINCERELY*)

8 Peninsula overthrown during sectarianism (5)
SINAI - hidden reversed in {sectar}IANIS{m}ew

9 Grassy under tree’s shade (4,5)
LIME GREEN - GREEN under LIME

10 Trained horse is very good in pair (5)
PACER - ACE in PR

11 Waterproof barrier’s woven tough and denser (11)
GROUNDSHEET - (TOUGH + DENSER*)

12 Growth linking Yemen’s port to most of nearby country (7)
ADENOMA - ADEN + OMA{n}

18 Christmas fare strange British put out (3,6)
RUM BUTTER - RUM + B + UTTER

19 Bird’s very social behaviour that avoids cold (7)
VULTURE - V + {c}ULTURE

21 Walmington-on-Sea’s finest in Minder? (4,5)
HOME GUARD - HOME [in] + GUARD [minder]

22 Chick dressed in finest lingerie (8)
NESTLING - hidden in {fi}NEST LING{erie}

25 Sound work fencing position with battens in the middle (9)
QUINTETTE - QUINTE + {ba}TTE{ns}

27 Meeting in study classes on a particular topic (9)
CONCOURSE - CON [study] + COURSE [classes on a topic]

28 Engineers set up outside device for company (8)
EMPLOYER - reversed R.E.M.E., outside PLOY

31 One swaying and dancing dunce in Ireland (7)
INDUCER - (DUNCE*) in IR

33 Dug deeper in ground without obvious extraction? (11)
UNPEDIGREED - (DUG DEEPER IN*)

34 Tide came in to damage unknown marsh plant (3,8)
SEA ROSEMARY - SEA ROSE, + MAR [to damage] Y

35 Roe cooked with deli peas, a vegetarian product (8,3)
RAPESEED OIL - (ROE + DELI PEAS*)

37 Alfred and Penelope chasing Henry’s old money (9)
HALFPENNY - ALF and PENNY chasing H

40 Mice race round for sweet food (3,5)
ICE CREAM - (MICE RACE*)

42 Champion beer seen outside station (7)
APOSTLE - ALE outside POST

43 Fine fish in well (7)
FORFEIT - ORFE in FIT

45 Stop dispensing with public relations function (5)
EVENT - {pr}EVENT

47 Rising end of petal imitates part of flower (5)
SEPAL - reversed {peta}L APES

48 Join one female in Paris welcoming sex (5)
UNITE - UNE "welcoming" IT

49 Caught part of fishing rod in net (5)
CREEL - C + REEL