February 1st, 2021

  • jackkt

Times Quick Cryptic 1800 by Hurley

Solving time: 10 minutes, but only just! There are a few clues that may be a bit tricky for newer solvers but there's easy stuff too, hopefully sufficient to get some early answers in the grid on which to build.

Puzzle 1800 marks another milestone in the history of The Times Quick Cryptic and as we enter the next 'century' the audience for the puzzle as reflected by the number of commenters at TfTT has never been greater, and that is very satisfying. Many thanks to all who contribute to that success and to the setters and staff at The Times for giving us high quality puzzles to write about.

Last Thursday's special topic with reports of individual solving experiences was extremely interesting and I look forward to reading more of these in the daily blogs.

And following on from that,  this might be a good moment to emphasise that TfTT is a forum open to all solvers whatever their current standard, including newcomers who are trying their hand at cryptic crosswords for the very first time, and our aim is to be supportive and constructive at all times. Comments that attempt to diminish the efforts of other solvers or disrupt the prevailing atmosphere of friendly discussion will be removed.

And now to the business of the day...

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Ulaca de Milo
  • ulaca

Times 27889 - PS: Please, Please, Please Stop

I found this a tad on the trickier side for a Monday but good chance I was being a bit dumb. Not much to say intro-wise, so we'll get right down to it and let the discussion begin. 26:24


1 Against reactionary work by academic from down under (10)
ANTIPODEAN - ANTI OP reversed (‘reactionary’ - see the Myrtilusian critique below) DEAN
6 Go for Glaswegians, a violent lot (4)
GANG - double definition (DD); the Scots-language part best known from the lines in Burns's 'To a Mouse': 'The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft agley' [Go oft astray]
9 Well fed agent hired at end of June (7)
10 Conclude working in retirement is hell (7)
INFERNO - INFER (conclude) ON reversed
12 Enjoyed English cider Jo manufactured at home (8,2)
REJOICED IN - anagram* of E (English) JO CIDER plus IN (at home)
13 Letter spelled out change in direction, largely (3)
VEE - VEE[r]
15 Angry words of one caught in traffic (6)
TIRADE - I in TRADE (as in traffic slaves)
16 Sailors despondent in the shade (4,4)
NAVY BLUE - NAVY BLUE; candidate for clue that is most sheepish about its crypticity
18 Displaying curiosity about royal ornament (4,4)
20 Jack wants something with milk in it — a shake (6)
23 Cry in the Bullring, a mess with husband gone (3)
OLE - [h]OLE; candidate for clue most likely to be entered without anyone reading beyond half way
24 Not a Nepali misbehaving — someone else entirely (10)
26 Examine popular party holding power (7)
INSPECT - P in IN (popular) SECT (party)
27 Gas bubble the retort displays (7)
BLETHER - hidden in bubBLE THE Retort; Scottish variant of blather, I am told
28 Outspoken denial from Berlin cardinal (4)
NINE - sounds like 'Nein!' [mein General, etc]
29 Charlie nervously creeps by a world infested by trolls? (10)
CYBERSPACE - C (Charlie) plus CREEPS BY A* (‘nervously’ doing the anagrinding)


1 Bald Cockney lacks any manners (4)
AIRS - A non-hirsute Eastender might be described as having no 'airs
2 Maybe fifth bowler might be thus described? (3,4)
TOP GEAR -a bowler hat might be called top gear and for some cars fifth gear is top. The first car I drove (aged 12 - a Ford Prefect) had three forward gears, while my current gas-guzzling Golf GTI has six.
3 Ascendancy of bent copper near end (13)
4 Doctor finding headless fish in swamp (6)
5 Gambling occasionally on fall of cards? It’s of some moment (1,3,4)
A BIG DEAL - alternate letters of [g]A[m]B[l]I[n]G DEAL (fall of cards)
7 Emergence of a challenger to dictator (7)
ARRIVAL - sounds like A RIVAL
8 Kind of tart whose company’s not wanted (10)
GOOSEBERRY - two's company, three's a blooming nuisance
11 Deception that Charlie Chaplin for one was engaged in? (5,8)
FUNNY BUSINESS - nuff said; I really like Modern Times
14 Burst into tears, nasty head being very loud (10)
STENTORIAN - INTO TEARS* N[asty]; Stentor was the loud fellow in the Greek army before Troy, as I recall
17 Grunts of young one on the line (8)
19 Crushes a relative (7)
21 Money companion invested in theatre (7)
DRACHMA -CH in DRAMA; old money, really
22 With new leader, man becomes sad (6)
25 Mere daydream, but vicar’s drifted off (4)
ERIE - [rev]ERIE; a big mere, but a mere nonetheless

Monthly Club Special 20,244: The Art of Falling Apart

As usual the best crossword of the month, whatever Horryd may think! Some gorgeous clues in here, of which I think my favourites were 13ac (certainly took me the longest to decipher) and 24ac. But so many candidates for both COD and WOD, we are truly spoiled every month, on the month. But don't take my word for it, feast your eyes on the fully explicated parsings below. Thank you brilliant setter!

1 Tongue of a head briefly restricted by gag (8)
JAPANESE - A NES{s} "restricted" by JAPE. Deceptively "straightforward" 1ac for a MCS! But don't worry, it won't last long.

5 Huntsman, keeping a beagle (oddly), famously shot Texan (6)
JAEGER - "keeping" A {b}E{a}G{l}E, J.R. [famously shot in Dallas by, spoilers, Sue Ellen's sister Kristin]

10 Foolishness after returning home, briefly to help unending row (9)
NIAISERIE - after reversed IN [home], AI{d} SERIE{s}

11 Craft that’s departed African city for change turning up in Nouakchott (5)
KHOUM - KH{art}OUM. Some fraction of a Mauritanian ouguiya

12 Moulding of ace for rugby in Wales (4)
CYMA - take CYMRU [Wales] and replace RU [rugby] with A [ace] for this "ogee moulding of the cornice"

13 Romantic couple having this gemstone might be just married (9)
HIDDENITE - a rather splendid reverse cryptic: if an ITEM [romantic couple] has "HIDDEN ITE", then it is "just" M [married]

15 British engineer of note, pally with interior minister (10)
TREVITHICK - TI THICK [note | pally], with "interior" REV. Cornish builder of the first working steam locomotive, in your face George Stephenson.

17 Romeo leaving place for Sherry’s brother (4)
JEEZ - JE{r}EZ. Jeez! as in, oh brother!

19 Massage arms supply — ultimate in pain for the first minute (2,2)
AN MO - take AMMO [arms supply] and replace the first M(inute) with {pai}N. Some kind of Chinese practice

20 Black olives he’s cooked turn red (10)
BOLSHEVISE - (B OLIVES HE'S*), "red" as in "communist"

22 New pelican crossing not designed originally for one knocked down in alley (9)
CANDLEPIN - (PELICAN*) "crossing" N{ot} D{esigned}. Candlepin bowling is mostly played in New England and the Canadian Maritimes, I'm told

24 Fish caught, topped and turned with the meat served again for feast (4)
LUAU - take a HAUL [fish caught], "top" it to {h}AUL and "turn" to to LUA. Then add the "meat" of {l}U{a} to the end to conclude this compelling culinary clue

26 I see it now, having secured release primarily and enlightenment at last? (5)
ARHAT - AHA! [I see it now!] "secures" R{elease}, plus {enlightenmen}T, &lit, as the whole clue describes one having gained enlightenment and achieved nirvana

27 Scot’s refusal to allow Frenchmen a short vacation in spring near Perth? (5,4)
NAMMA HOLE - NAE "allows in" M M [(two) Frenchment] and A HOL. A rock hollow in the Australian desert that hopefully contains water

28 Essential for eg backbone of some companies: solid backing (6)
OSSEIN - hidden reversed in {compa}NIES SO{lid}

29 Old market traders, increasingly treacherous, heading to the East End (8)
KIDDIERS - SKIDDIER, last to first

1 Commentator’s curse: wingers that can certainly turn heads! (4)
JYNX - homophone of JINX. The Jynx is a wryneck woodpecker that can turn its head almost 180 degrees and is wont to do this alarmingly when threatened

2 US poet transfixed by unknown tree and with it the singular worms (15)
PLATYHELMINTHES - (Sylvia) PLATH "transfixed" by Y, plus ELM, plus IN [with it], plus THE S(ingular)

3 A large measure of intelligence needed to follow mostly awful script (8)
NASTALIQ - A L IQ "following" NAST{y}. Beautiful Persian cursive

4 Second to first in Atlantic race gives us something to chew on (5)
SIRIH - take IRISH [Atlantic race] and move the S to first position, to find another word for the stimulant betel

6 Rounding up moose, vehicle seeing off duck and small seabird (6)
AUKLET - "rounding" reversed ELK, AUT{o}

7 I beg regional zoo to sort out what’s left of marine life (11,4)
GLOBIGERINA OOZE - (I BEG REGIONAL ZOO*). A deep-sea deposit of globigerina shells

8 Fagged at Gordonstoun: from memory terms, from what we’re told, light (10)
RAMFEEZLED - RAM [memory] + homophone of FEES + L.E.D.

9 Call to one’s beloved liveried servants (8)
HEYDUCKS - sometimes spelt "haiduk", this Hungarian word, but HEY, DUCKS! is cuter

14 Relief as Unchained Melody covers number one in Italy and later India (10)
STIACCIATO - STACCATO [unchained melody, nice!] "covers" I{taly} and later I(ndia). Carven work on e.g. coins

16 Unfasten securing ring lodged in chap’s old tree (4,4)
HUON PINE - UNPIN "securing" O, lodged in HE: a Tasmanian conifer

18 Bonnie and Clyde’s little fat friend’s first visits (4-4)
WEEL-FAR'D - WEE [Scottish little] + LARD [fat] "visited" by F{riend}. Scots for "well-favoured" or bonnie

21 More than one muscle in climbing that is supporting an excessive amount (6)
GLUTEI - I.E. reversed, supporting GLUT

23 Instances of light above the blessed clouds! (5)
NIMBI - double def, haloes or clouds

25 Wheel engineer out of centre to see music event (4)
FEIS - FE{rr}IS, or an Irish festival