January 29th, 2021


Times 27,887: Bunfight at the O.K. Tea Rooms

This didn't take long to polish off with a lot of answers being what I expected from a first glance at the clues, although honourable mention to the SW corner for being today's trickiest, with 17dn and 24ac taking a good deal of time at the end to yield their secrets. Some of the surfaces were blatant crosswordese unlikely ever to crop up in real language, but I did like the literary flavours and the Tombstone clue. Thank you to the setter and apologies that this is a little later than usual. Time for me to get some sleep and hopefully wake up with a better parsing for 23ac in my head!

1 Lanky drunk crossing hotel? That’s unlikely (4,4)
LONG SHOT - LONG SOT "crossing" H

5 Novelist left under blankets (6)
BELLOW - L "blanketed" by BELOW [under]. Saul Bellow, 1915-2005

8 Sell iodine compound that keeps bats in good nick (7,3)

9 Leader of orchestra regularly broke wind (4)
OBOE - O{rchestra} B{r}O{k}E

10 NHS says a policy interfered with a shrink's work (14)

11 Saturated Republican put away bottles (7)
DROWNED - R "bottled" by DOWNED [put away]

13 Recoiling, cover heroine's spot (7)
DILEMMA - reversed LID + EMMA

15 Like controversial verses as written about a function (7)
SATANIC - SIC [as written] about A TAN. Salman Rushdie reference

18 Marshal stealing Doc Holliday's second adornment (7)
EARDROP - (Wyatt) EARP "stealing" DR {h}O{lliday}

21 Integrate lines mistakenly where colon is found (5,9)

22 Star making a return appearance in Wigmore Hall (4)
HERO - hidden reversed in {wigm}ORE H{all}

23 Filling dish, not one intended for rabbits (4,6)
MAIN COURSE - I might be missing something here. The most substantial part of a meal, as distinct from the salad?

24 Fancy woman sacrificing main artery to put weight on! (6)
STRESS - {mi}STRESS, "sacrificing" the M1. As in "emphasise"

25 Delivered grass for planting round fields (8)
RELEASED - REED "planted" around LEAS

1 Leaf initially changing daily, covering top of pond? (4,3)
LILY PAD - L{eaf} + (DAILY*) "covering" P{ond}, &lit

2 Spoil piece about old Billy's mate (5,4)
NANNY GOAT - NANNY [spoil] + GAT [piece] "about" O

3 Martyr succeeded after that, retaining record (7)
STEPHEN - S + THEN "retaining" EP. Not just any martyr but the very first

4 Game individual tucks into out-of-date crackers (3,4)
OLD MAID - I "tucked into" OLD MAD [out-of-date | crackers]

5 It's played first of all in dance at a milk bar regularly (9)
BALALAIKA - A{ll} in BALL + A {m}I{l}K {b}A{r}

6 Butcher's place to go? Try lifting last of pork (4-3)
LOOK-SEE - LOO [place to got] + SEEK with the {por}K "lifted"

7 Surgery has problem restraining very big animal (7)
OPOSSUM - OP + SUM, "restraining" OS

12 English hairstyle I'd adopted is what protects us? (9)
EPIDERMIS - E PERMI "adopting" I'D, + IS

14 River shown in diagrams disrupted carnival (5,4)

16 Complaint the German’s missing problem with train (7)

17 You might pick bird up in this headlight? (7)
AUREOLE - homophone of ORIOLE

18 Medical speciality doubled European understanding (7)

19 Bring back Danish bread after nap (7)
RESTORE - ORE [1/100 of a krone] after REST

20 Put on pressure dealing with nurse (7)
PRETEND - P RE TEND [pressure | dealing with | nurse]

Times Quick Cryptic No 1799 by Joker

Joker is our Friday setter this week and he has given us a typically neat quick cryptic with plenty of concise clues, which I enjoy. I liked the beer that gives you wind and the reminder of Christmas in particular. 6A was my first one in and 19D my last. There are quite a few trickier clues, I think, that will make people work out the wordplay without being able to guess from the definition, so I suspect some will find some of this on the hard side. Those that had me headscratching included 1A, 10A and 4D, but I don't mind that and it is rewarding to get the Penny Drop Moment when the answer finally appears. It took me 6:13. Thank-you Joker. Nice one! How did everyone else get on?

By the way, if you haven't seen it already, you might be interested in fellow blogger Jackkt's post yesterday, Difficult QCs, about his discussion with Richard Rogan, the editor, about level of difficulty. Yesterday's setter, Izetti, has also commented there with his view.

Fortnightly Weekend Quick Cryptic. This time it is Phil's  turn to provide the extra weekend entertainment. You can find the latest crossword here and the answers here. Enjoy! And if anyone is interested in our previous offerings you can find an index to them here.

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