February 6th, 2021

  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27888 - Saturday, 30 January 2021. The red flames of Hell.

This was a smooth and quick solve until I was left only with the red at 20ac and the reference to the underworld at 7dn. Unlike the reference last week to Trotsky, this week’s red was definitely not a name I knew! Still, these last two also yielded with application. Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle. Does anyone have fast times to report?

Notes for newcomers: The Times offers prizes for Saturday Cryptic Crosswords. This blog is posted a week later, after the competition closes. So, please don’t comment here on the current Saturday Cryptic.

Clues are blue, with definitions underlined. Deletions are in {curly brackets}.
1 American, say, has zero chance to lose face (10)
OCCIDENTAL – O=zero, (a)CCIDENTAL=chance, as in ‘chance encounter’. The definition is to do with the geopolitical divide of the world into East and West.
6 What may, paradoxically, be evens? (4)
ODDS – a cryptic definition relating to bookmaking.
9 Scholar thus comprehending old sayings of Christ (10)
THEOLOGIAN – THEN=thus, taking in O=old and LOGIA=sayings of Christ.
10 Emperor of eastern half of Sikh city (4)
TSAR – I looked for something starting with KH, but no, it’s just the RHS of (amri)TSAR.
12 Marshal bans turncoat for malice or deceit, say (8,4)
ABSTRACT NOUN – anagram (‘marshal’) of BANS TURNCOAT. A definition by example.
15 Like e.g. sprinting writer after running on area (9)
ANAEROBIC – BIC=the writer, after an anagram (‘running’) of ON AREA.
17 Not becoming trendy, a parent's gutted (5)
INAPT – IN=trendy, A, P(aren)T ‘gutted’.
18 Pottery, fifty artful bottles (5)
DELFT – DEFT ‘bottles’ L=fifty.
19 Staggered about European Court sitting again (2-7)
RE-ELECTED – REELED=staggered, ‘about’ E=European + CT=court.
20 Can spinning coppers turn everything red? (12)
VALPOLICELLA – LAV=can ‘spinning’, POLICE=coppers, then ‘turn’ ALL=everything. Assemble all that and get a totally implausible word, which turns out to be a red wine!
24 Fabric which is green and needs cutting (4)
LAWN – double definition, the second for grass.
25 One seen in cave is a little bit camp, at first (10)
STALAGMITE – MITE=a little bit, STALAG=camp.
26 Rake in vase, so we're told (4)
EARN – sounds like (‘we’re told) URN=vase.
27 Final reckoning with child, a learner on piano (5,5)
GRAND TOTAL – GRAND=piano, TOT=child, A, L=learner.

1 Excessive love for extract of roses (4)
OTTO – O.T.T.=over the top=excessive, O=love.
2 Mixed school member welcoming Eton's Head (2-2)
CO-ED – COD=fish=member of school, ‘welcoming’ E(ton). It feels like the definition should be ‘mixed school’, but the ‘school’ is part of the wordplay, and indeed is not necessary to the definition.
3 Thought opera composer wants second helping (12)
DELIBERATION – DELIBES is the composer, RATION is the helping. ‘Wants second’ tells us to throw away the S.
4 Most of the alcohol knocked back? Time for bed (5)
NIGHT – TH(e), GIN ‘knocked back’.
5 Guerrilla supporting a wild naval barrage (9)
AVALANCHE – A, anagram (‘wild’) of NAVAL, CHE=guerrilla.
7 Inconstancy of underworld rulers switching sides (10)
DISLOYALTY – DIS=the underworld, LOYALTY=the other side of ROYALTY (switching right to left).
8 Bound to precede current period of the year (10)
SPRINGTIDE – SPRING=bound, TIDE=current.
11 I'm surprised to settle after industrial action (6,1,5)
STRIKE A LIGHT – STRIKE=industrial action, ALIGHT=settle.
13 This entertains upper-class rogue in depression (10)
VAUDEVILLE – U=upper-class, DEVIL=rogue, all in VALE.
14 Failing to store pounds up, dourer retiring person (10)
WALLFLOWER – FLAW=failing, ‘stores’ L=pound, and all goes up (i.e. backwards), followed by LOWER=dourer.
16 Brief exchange about teacher from the south (9)
BARRISTER – BARTER=exchange, ‘about’ SIR=teacher, ‘from the south’.
21 Girl: in Paris, she's given name (5)
ELLEN – ELLE=French for ‘she’, N=name.
22 What's essential to distinguish, in this clue (4)
HINT – hidden. Very well hidden, too.
23 Chap's going to the pit (4)
HELL – HE’LL=he will. Double definition.

Times Cryptic Jumbo 1480 - 23rd January 2021. 6d in a Teacup

Hello everyone.

Very nice, very gentle, very little else to say.  I hope you are feeling chattier than I am, or the poor setter will wonder what a person has to do to get a little feedback round these parts.  (Well, clearly the answer is to set a non-prize puzzle, but without prizes earned by doing crosswords how would solvers get the pens and dictionaries they need in order to do crosswords?)

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