March 29th, 2021

Ulaca de Milo
  • ulaca

Times 27937 - Never work with children or stuffed animals from Sheppey

A sprinkling of unusual vocab gives this classically-flavoured offering a tad more bite than your average Monday offering. I came home in 25:39, but expect quicker times from the usual suspects.


1 Unbalanced leader of intimidating gang? (3-5)
TOP-HEAVY - well, if you were the Al Capone of your local bunch of hoodlums, one of your underlings might call you the 'top heavy'. In many places, they just call you 'President.'
5 State in revolt is Washington (6)
TISWAS - hidden in [revol]T IS WAS[hington]; tiswas is a marvellous word describing the right old state someone like Frank Spencer was always getting himself into
8 Woman turning out first of numerous stories (3)
ANA - N (initial letter of N[umerous]) removed from ANNA (first of our three random females) to give ANA ('a collection of reminiscences, sketches, etc, of or about a person or place'). Interestingly, the word seems to be an 18th century back-formation from the suffix-like -ANA, as seen in Elizabethiana and (later) Victoriana.
9 Fussy girl with retired agent taking in film (10)
PERNICKETY - ET (film) in NICKY (random girl) on REP reversed
10 Element identified by Italian fellow endlessly in news (8)
NITROGEN - IT ROGE[r] (random fellow) in NN (news - two lots of N for 'new')
11 Bird so hard to draw in river (6)
THRUSH - R (river) in THUS (so) H (hard)
12 Relative’s husband leaving frequently visited place (4)
14 Key explorer smiles broadly, supporting members (10)
CROSSBEAMS - C (musical key) ROSS (the fellow after whom Ross Island and Ross Sea is name - British explorer of the mid-nineteenth century) BEAMS (smiles)
17 Untidy soldier with dry bananas (10)
20 Wickedness engulfing old Swiss town (4)
23 Type of hound a devotee keeps in Grand Hotel (6)
AFGHAN - G (grand) H (hotel) in A FAN (devotee)
24 See about bed father gets without charge (4-4)
SCOT-FREE - COT (bed) FR (father) in SEE
25 A pine prop somewhere on the coast? (10)
ALONGSHORE - A LONG SHORE (as in to shore up defences); playing the Dictionary Game as a family - yes, very Bloomsbury - my brother once chose this word (with the definition 'along the shore') and none of us guessed it as the correct definition
26 Unidentified person on telephone, a West Country banker (3)
EXE - sounds like X; also a river in Devon after which Exeter is named
27 Chaste person of virtue tucking into meat (6)
VESTAL - ST (person of virtue) in VEAL
28 Bitterness of a professional lacking in good fortune (8)


1 What the music director may do for old citizen soldiers? (9)
TRAINBAND - a music director might coach an orchestral group, while a TRAINBAND was a 17th century militia-with-a-musket exported from England to the USA, where it was given a semi-automatic and the second amendment...
2 Carriage papa originally had at college (7)
PHAETON - P (P in Nato-speak) H A (initial letters of H[ad] and A[t]) ETON
3 Use ultimately effective ruse to frame Mike (6)
EMPLOY - M (Mike in Nato-speak) in [effectiv]E PLOY (ruse)
4 Bones Uhle finally found buried in green hill (9)
VERTEBRAE - [uhl]E in VERT (heraldic green) BRAE (Scottish hill); Max Uhle was a German archaeologist celebrated for his spadework in South America, including Machu Picchu
5 Old historian’s account embodied in biblical book (7)
TACITUS - AC in TITUS; Titus was one of Paul of Tarsus's mates, along with Erastus of this parish
6 Female eagle looking down on ship in port (9)
SHEERNESS - SHE ERNE on SS; Sheerness is a port on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent. It is also the birthplace of Rod Hull (not to be confused with Roy Hudd)
7 Capone’s problem, concealing Yankee’s bloomer? (7)
ALYSSUM - Y (Yankee in Nato-lingo) in ALS SUM
13 Signal impatience: throw out a parasitical plant (9)
TOOTHWORT - TOOT (signal impatience if, say, on a motorbike) THROW*
15 Lewd woman upset about evidence of debts (9)
SALACIOUS - SAL (random woman) CA (circa - 'about') reversed IOUS (evidence of debts)
16 Function involving clubs supported by bank — honestly (9)
SINCERELY - C (club) in SINE (function) on RELY (bank)
18 Enrage trendy partner (7)
INFLAME - IN (trendy) FLAME (as in significant other); variant spelling of 'enflame'
19 Party girl with quarters in the Lifford area (7)
DONEGAL - NE (quarters) in DO (party) GAL (girl); Lifford is county town of Donegal
21 Middle-Easterner lives with painter and priest (7)
ISRAELI - IS (lives) RA (painter) ELI (Samuel's mentor - our faithful old priest)
22 Article about the eastern goddess of wisdom (6)
ATHENE - THE (the) in AN (article) E (eastern)