February 25th, 2021

Linus van Pelt
  • z8b8d8k

27910 Thursday, 25 February 2021 I still remember money!

This looks like a not-too-taxing puzzle, which I thought I was doing even better at than my time of 15.44 indicates. No real holdups along the way, although I only worked out the Chinese biscuity thing by writing out the crossing letters I had horizontally, which sometimes helps.
There are a plethora of containment clues, where you are required to put part B into part A: it felt to me that there were more than usual, but I might be mistaken.
It helps if you know one of the more bizarre incidents in British history, the original Gangsta Granny case, and it also helps (a bit) if you can actually remember who appears on which British banknotes. I sympathise with those of you who are more familiar with the faces on dollars or the bridges and such on Euros, but if it helps, I struggle with the British ones anyway and so rarely see them in our almost cashless, Covid influenced society.
Clues are italicied, definitions also underlined, and SOLUTIONS thusly.

1 Jewel thief to hold his horses? (10)
BLOODSTOCK  The jewel thief is the spectacular “Colonel” Thomas BLOOD, the jewels he (almost) got away with being the actual Crown ones. Translate hold into STOCK to complete “pedigree horses collectively” (Chambers). I can find no indication that “his” is in the clue other than to smooth the flow.
6 Ferret food (4)
GRUB Two definitions, the first not the albino polecat, but the rummaging around after rabbits they are employed to do.
9 Figure label required on front of case, nothing on bags (7)
OCTAGON The order of the  various elements is a bit ambiguous. The label TAG is on (immediately following) the front of C(ase), and then O (nothing plus ON “bags”or embraces both.
10 A number of evergreens in dry surroundings, initially (2,5)
AT FIRST The number of evergreens is just plural FIRS. A (in plain sight) plus TT (TeeTotal) for dry surrounds both.
12 Ship finding wave on the rocks (3-7)
ICE-BREAKER Wave is BREAKER, to be attached to ICE standing in for rocks. “Whiskey on the rocks”: (other beverages are available).
13 Cricketer's run, so long (3)
BYE two definitions, the first a run taken in cricket where the batsman has not hit the ball but nonetheless can get safely to the other end.
15 Charity sporting official concealing untruth (6)
RELIEF Another containment, this time untruth: LIE in sporting official REF
16 Working with DIY turns nasty (8)
INDUSTRY An anagram (nasty) of DIY TURNS. I lost time trying to work out where the W of with went. Ignore.
18 Cross, head delivering corporal punishment (8)
SPANKING First attempt had smacking, but it’s cross: SPAN plus head: KING
20 Witness defending African party, spirited gathering? (6)
SÉANCE Witness is SEE, which defends (another containment) the A(frican) N(ational) C(ongress) of Mandela and South Africa
23 Trouble: every other part falling off rapidly (3)
AIL The first of our alternate letter clues: rApIdLy
24 Legit, speaking down to chairman? (5,5)
ABOVE BOARD If you find yourself (somehow) above the board of directors, you would be in a position to talk down to the chairman.
26 Retired player, demanding type? (7)
EXACTOR Not a reversal clue as suggested by “retired”, but a more simple “this is an EX ACTOR, he has ceased to – um – act”.
27 Are discerning what to do with cheque (4,3)
MAKE OUT Two expressions for the same words. You might be required to make out a cheque to participate in the Championships, though that’s increasingly unlikely. “Daddy, what was a cheque?”
28 Expression of disapproval about a job (4)
TASK The expression of disapproval is TSK – not in my edition of Chambers, but it is in Bugs Bunny. Surround A with it. Hands up if, like me, you initially tried to justify TAUT.
29 Had second thoughts about grass skirts Jenny? (10)
REASSESSED Yet another containment. This time, grass: REED  surrounds (skirts) ASSESS, whimsically a female ass or donkey, which a Jenny also is.

1 Loud noise as heart ripped from chest (4)
BOOM Perhaps suggesting Aztec sacrifices, but here it’s just take the middle out of BOSOM for chest.
2 Current, with temperature dropping a little, is a type of illusion (7)
OPTICAL Drop the T(emperature) of current: TOPICAL down a couple of spaces.
3 With British cornered, sort of Dark Ages on the way — shambles! (4,9)
DOG’S BREAKFAST So it’s an anagram (sort) of OF DARK AGES plus B(ritish), all perch on way: ST(reet)
4 Where Dickens and Darwin once for example found a voice to be heard (6)
TENNER Dickens was on sterling £10 notes from 1992, and evolved to Darwin from 2000. Jane Austen took over in 2017. The voice to be heard is, of course a tenor.
5 Lovely working out (8)
CRACKING What you’ve been doing to these clues. Some of them are indeed cracking.
7 Hot dish, uncooked part (7)
RAREBIT A charade of uncooked: RARE and part: BIT. Also known as (Welsh) rabbit, basically cheese on toast.
8 Thereby ant disturbed layer (7,3)
BATTERY HEN Clearly enough an anagram (disturbed) of THEREBY ANT.
11 A lot of dough to prepare — that is a little dough containing a lot? (7,6)
FORTUNE COOKIE A  lot of dough is a FORTUNE, prepare is COOK, and get the IE from “that is”. The definition itself is also a bit cryptic.
14 Urge a fellow to provide publicist (5,5)
PRESS AGENT Urge: PRESS and a fellow: A GENT
17 Where student might be going in the right direction (2,6)
ON COURSE Two ways to the same phrase
19 Too short to grip old king keen on enlightenment? (3,4)
ALL EARS Start with too to give ALSO, shorten it, then contain (grip) LEAR as the old king.
21 Imperial sovereign claiming victory, America anxious (7)
NERVOUS It’s a particular imperial sovereign, NERO, claiming (containing(!)) V(ictory) and adding US for America
22 Deity: the disorder she caused is endless (6)
HERMES The disorder she caused is HER MESS, which you shorten for the (male) messenger of the gods
25 Gripping thing, is it buddy, where every second counts? (4)
STUD Unusually, a second alternate letter clue; iS iT bUdDy. Well, we don’t have a “hidden”.

Times Quick Cryptic No 1818 by Teazel

I found this rather tricky, and at three-or-so minutes over target took fully twice as long as yesterday's done just beforehand. No particular hold-ups, but I only got five of the acrosses on a first read through (6,9,19,20,21), and continued on in a similar vein, eventually sticking in 12d and 13ac with an unparsed shrug and finally having to write out the anagrist for the forgotten 1ac. A quirky puzzle with lots of good quality misdirection - many thanks to Teazel!

1 Terrier in shame lay twitching (8)
SEALYHAM -  anagram (twitching) of SHAME LAY. Not many options after all the checkers are down.
6 Noticed far side of lawn is cut (4)
SAWN - SAW (noticed) N ("far side" of lawN)
8 Very desirous to get article out of the country (6)
HUNGRY - take A (article) out of HUNGaRY (country)
9 Nothing in priest and lieutenant to inspire disgust (6)
REVOLT - O (nothing) in REV (priest) and LT (lieutenant)
10 Nobleman’s free pardon partially reversed (4)
PEER - fREE Pardon "partially, reversed"
11 After small mistake, travelled it’s said in exit lane (4,4)
SLIP ROAD - after SLIP (small mistake) ROAD = RODE (travelled, when said)
12 Indian perhaps back with uniform (5)
HINDU - HIND (back) with U(niform)
13 Out of practice, well-behaved prisoner loses head (5)
RUSTY - a TRUSTY is apparently a well-behaved prisoner, ditch the head.
15 In foreign parts manages to be heard (8)
OVERSEAS - is heard the same as OVERSEES (manages)
17 English sailors without a feeling of discontent (4)
ENVY - E(nglish) NaVY (sailors, without A). I suppose there are many varieties of discontentment, of which envy is one.
19 God posed beside vase (6)
SATURN - SAT (posed) beside URN (vase)
20 Power of special constable to intercept drug smuggler (6)
MUSCLE - S.C. (special constable) to intercept MULE (drug runner). I remember finding the seemingly endless, random things that can be reduced to initials quite frustrating when I started cryptics. You grow to accept it. (Or you could actively embrace it, and write an entire novel using just the initial letters found in Chambers.)
21 Letter school returned (4)
NOTE - ETON (school), returned
22 Staff that protect rebuilt city? Sure (8)
SECURITY - anagram (rebuilt) of CITY SURE
2 Avoid duel, moving east (5)
ELUDE - anagram (moving) of DUEL ; E(ast)
3 Restraint of Roman soldiers suppressing resistance (3-4)
LEG-IRON - LEGION (Roman soldiers) suppressing R(esistance)
4 Horse always gets fodder (3)
HAY - H(orse) AY (always)
5 Carnival route initially appears in complicated diagrams (5,4)
MARDI GRAS - R (Route "initially") in an anagram (complicated) of DIAGRAMS
6 Cut is almost serious (5)
SEVER - is "almost" SEVERe (serious)
7 Inept type engaging a black Aussie native (7)
WALLABY - WALLY (inept type) engaging A B(lack)
11 Nurses’ tea enlivened by a bottle of this? (9)
SAUTERNES - anagram (enlivened) of NURSES TEA. The strict definition is just "this", referring back to the enlivened tea, with "a bottle of" providing an extra hint. I trust they weren't pouring it into their tea.
12 Tackle a criminal? Just try! (4,1,2)
HAVE A GO - double definition, the first completely unknown to me: when a member of the public tackles a criminal. The clue echoes the OED's earliest citation, from 1965 in the Daily Mail: "Mr. Ranulph Bacon, Scotland Yard Assistant Commissioner for Crime, yesterday gave this advice to the public if they saw gunmen carrying out a raid: ‘If you can have a go, have a go.’" Wow, isn't that some magnificently bad advice from Mr Ranulph Bacon? (Yes, surname Bacon, stop tittering at the back.)
14 Poet in first half of sermon about writers (7)
SPENSER - SER (first half of SERmon) about PENS (writers)
16 Red wine: rogue has good drop (5)
ROUGE - ROGUE has the G(ood) drop from 3rd to 4th
18 Jeeves, for example, introduces Glen to tango (5)
VALET - VALE (glen) introduced to T(ango)
20 Man in charge at first speaking into this? (3)
MIC - Man In Charge "at first". (The strict definition is just "this")

Times 27,911: Vegan-Unfriendly

A dreaded pink square for me in what wasn't, otherwise, too testing a crossword despite potentially tricky vocab crossing like 6ac/8dn. I bunged "MEALINESS" straight in at 14dn on the assumption that it referred to a mealy-grub, though on more sober reflection it felt like that creature may actually be called a mealy-bug... onwards and upwards eh! It was the flycatcher clue that set me astray, officer, would've been under 7 minutes otherwise.

I liked: the scientific clue at 21ac (which is also the title of a brilliant YA book by Alan Garner), the PDMOTD when I finally cottoned onto "lot deemed odious" at 12dn, but let's say my COD is 18ac as I liked "A BIT RATED", which is broadly descriptive of my place in the crossword community. Thanks setter and heaven forfend the pink square of doom from the rest of you!

1 Experts to keep on retaining old fools (8)
BUFFOONS - BUFFS [experts] to "keep" ON "retaining" O, so BUFF{O{O}N}S

6 Flycatcher’s charge, we hear: insect being picked up (6)
PHOEBE - homophone of FEE + homophone of BEE. One for the twitchers amongst us

9 Repurposing curtains cut up, one uses needles (13)

10 Worker left half abandoned gets to manage (6)
HANDLE - HAND [worker] + LE{ft}

11 Prearrange patient for feature of study? (8)
BOOKCASE - BOOK [prearrange] + CASE [patient]

13 Disciple penning part of Bible with short word of prayer in bit of verse (10)
PENTAMETER - PETER "penning" NT + AME{n}

15 Appearance that is evident in heartless fellow (4)
MIEN - I.E. [that is] "in" M{a}N

16 Nymph gives companion love by edge of lake (4)
ECHO - C.H. 0 by {lak}E

18 Made a judgement not much appreciated about Republican (10)
ARBITRATED - A BIT RATED [not much appreciated] "about" R

21 What may be evident in aura from star in colourful garment (3,5)
RED SHIFT - double def, good Doppler-y science term vs a literal colourful shift/garment.

22 Holy person getting with it at church can be a pain (6)
STITCH - S(ain)T getting with IT at CH(urch)

23 Innocent chaps violently shoved into big vans (13)

25 Music-makers love being in small groups (6)
CELLOS - 0 being in CELLS

26 Contact team to get best position to watch contest? (8)
RINGSIDE - or RING SIDE [contact | team]

2 Ignorant article in Le Monde about a conflict (7)
UNAWARE - UNE [(French) article] "about" A WAR

3 Channels getting discovered for street in structures below ground? (11)
FOUNDATIONS - {st}ATIONS [(radio) channels] becomes {FOUND}ATIONS

4 Nothing put together can be practical (2,3)
OF USE - 0 FUSE [put together]

5 Instrument taken from bag by Aunt Sally, briefly (7)
SACKBUT - SACK [bag] by BUT{t} [Aunt Sally]

6 Rich person in airport town nearly nabbed by copper, despicable type (9)
PLUTOCRAT - LUTO{n} "nabbed by" P.C. + RAT

7 Charm of Japanese attire (3)
OBI - double def; in the Caribbean, ritual magic, in Japan, a kimono sash

8 Fine material is used in sock? Not right (7)
BATISTE - IS "used in" BATTE{r}

12 Lot deemed odious in firm battle to secure foreign capital (11)
COMPARISONS - CO MONS [firm | battle] "secures" PARIS. "Comparisons are odious" according to the old adage, or "odorous", per Dogberry in Much Ado. LOI

14 Quality of some grub in each can brought into dining room (9)
MEATINESS - EA TIN "brought into" MESS

17 Desire heading off to get a bit of food that isn't expensive (7)
CHEAPIE - {a}CHE to get A PIE

19 Killer only dear to the French (7)
BUTCHER - BUT [only] + CHER [dear, in French]

20 Former leader of Conservatives was wont to be forgiven? (7)
EXCUSED - EX [former] + C{onservatives} + USED [was wont]

22 Male of family that's kept in charge, after upsetting heir (5)
SCION - SON that has "kept" reversed I/C

24 In ruin I leave nothing (3)
NIL - hidden in {rui}N I L{eave}