April 1st, 2021

Times 27940 - in which I was not fooled

Time taken: 8:55

Nothing too difficult here, and I suspect a few biffing opportunities, particularly in 1 across where the definition and number of characters leads itself to one of two answers. There was only one that I had to get from wordplay alone, and after inventing the language NORM yesterday, I was glad to have an all-green grid.

I'll check in tomorrow for a postscript, but since I am usually asleep when most comments come in, make sure you check the comments in case I have made a slip somewhere.

Away we go...

Postscript:  Wow, there's a bit of consternation about not associating the definition "Eight" with Oxford. I guess it is topical, but at the time of writing, I didn't get it. Thw wordplay definitely lead to the answer, and so I was left with resolving the definition... I wasn't familiar with the boat race, so I was racking my brain for things I associated with Oxford - a University, a town, shoes and a property on the monopoly board. That's where I came up with eight being a reference. I was clearly wrong and must be spanked with eight oars.

Across
1 Entering water, I function for a very short time (10)
PICOSECOND - inside POND(water) find I, COSEC(cosecant, trigonometric function)
7 Try and catch (4)
HEAR - double definition
9 Bring down five hundred and three on slides (8)
DETHRONE - D(500) and an anagram of THREE,ON
10 Entering sustained campaign, contest comparatively less flat (6)
WAVIER - inside WAR(sustained campaign) find VIE(contest)
11 Rank element in space above (6)
STINKY - TIN(chemical element) inside SKY(space above)
13 Initiate action on a plane, perhaps? (6,2)
STRIKE UP - STRIKE(industrial action), UP(in a plane, perhaps)
14 What big, mean delinquent has time for diminutive fighter? (12)
BANTAMWEIGHT - anagram of WHAT,BIG,MEAN containing T(time)
17 Starter had type of liquid served with a little bread (4,2,3,3)
SOUP OF THE DAY - anagram of HAD,TYPE,OF after SOU(a little bread).
20 I didn't quite get that dance (6-2)
EXCUSE-ME - double definition
21 Separate taste, as some wines drunk (6)
BISECT - BIT(taste) containing SEC(as some wines)
22 Second musical yarn (6)
MOHAIR - MO(second), HAIR(musical)
23 Pitch a collection of works, overwhelmed by theatre award (8)
TONALITY - A LIT(collection of works) iside a TONY award
25 Advantage held by seed, generally (4)
EDGE -  hidden inside seED GEnerally
26 Turn creative — work on Picasso, primarily (5,5)
PARTY PIECE - ARTY(creative) then PIECE(work) after the first letter of Picasso. This was the one I got from wordplay alone, and was my last in
Down
2 He perhaps gets spattered with rain (5,3)
INERT GAS - anagram of GETS and RAIN, He referring to helium
3 Bear scratching head well! (3)
OOH - winnie the POOH(bear) missing the first letter
4 Under root of tree, spare wood (5)
EBONY - last letter in treE, then BONY(spare)
5 Look after complete bishopric (7)
OVERSEE - OVER(complete), SEE(bishopric)
6 Complete day throwing fits (9)
DOWNRIGHT - D(day) then an anagram of THROWING
7 What queen might do — panic! (4,7)
HAVE KITTENS - double definition, one referring to a cat as a queen
8 A place for walk (6)
AVENUE - A, VENUE(place)
12 A duck an alternative to minced meat? (3,1,7)
NOT A SAUSAGE - double definition - a duck in cricket is no runs, and minced meat would be a SAUSAGE
15 Plan to cover place in our mouldy cheese (9)
MOUSETRAP - A double container - MAP(plan) containing SET(put) inside OUR
16 Numbing cold crushing Scott's heart, Amundsen ultimately coming first (8)
NARCOTIC - ARCTIC(cold) containing the middle letter of scOtt, with the first letter of amundseN first
18 Very basic home situated in row (3-4)
ONE-STAR - NEST(home) inside OAR(row)
19 Eight nil: football team, one short, cross (6)
OXFORD - tricky clue - Eight refers to 8 down - AVENUE as the definition.  Then O(nil), the football team would be an XI, but they are missing one so no I, and then FORD(cross).  There is a suggestion in the comments that this refers to an Oxford rowing team, which is possible, I was thinking of monopoly. Neither definition is in Collins. Nor is the monopoly square an avenue. Enjoy the boat race!
21 Bent wings of bluejay? (5)
BANDY - the wings of BluejaY are B AND Y
24 First signs of limp elastic in some worn bloomers? (3)
LEI - first letters in Limp Elastic In

Times Quick Cryptic No 1843 by Corelli

An excellent puzzle with a clever theme or NINA from Corelli, who traditionally gives us a theme of one sort or another.  Just in case you want to look for it yourself, I won’t give the game away here, but will provide details of the theme I spotted with a link at the end of the blog, as Jackkt did so thoughtfully a week or so ago.

This took me all of my 15-minute target to complete, slowed slightly by initially trying the wrong answer at 10a.  My first attempt did fit the definition, but not the word play, and caused a short delay on 11d.  Please do let me know how you got on.


Across

1  Ada, rusty, exercising for twenty-four period (8)
SATURDAY – Anagram (exercising) of [ADA, RUSTY].  I wonder if the word ‘hour’ is missing from my version, which would allow the clue and definition to scan much more acceptably.
Leading Roman Catholic staying in a hotel (4)
ARCH – RC (Roman Catholic) inside A (a) and H{otel} (phonetic alphabet).  ARCH is used to denote chief or principal, especially in compound words such as arch-enemy, arch-bishop, etc.
8 Cooker of very exquisite nosh (starters only) (4)
OVEN – Initial letters (starters only) Of Very Exquisite Nosh.
9  Quietly changes shapes in advance (8)
PREFORMS – P (quietly) and REFORMS (changes).  To PREFORM is to form or determine the shape beforehand.
10 Turned white with pain, having spilled blood all around (8)
BLEACHED – ACHE (pain) with BLED (spilled blood) around it.  I entered the as yet unparsed BLANCHED here originally, and corrected it once I saw that the parsing didn’t work.
12  From what we hear, deserve to get the bird (4)
ERNE – Sounds like (from what we hear) EARN (deserve).
13  Tool found in workbench is electric (6)
CHISEL – Hidden answer (found in) in {workben}CH IS EL{ectric}.
16  Stylish Tessa coming out of her shell, outwardly dull (6)
DRESSY – {t}ESS{a} (coming out of her shell, i.e. dropping outside letters) and wrapped instead in (outwardly) DRY (dull).
17  Fit to dispute losing right (4)
AGUE – A{r}GUE – dispute / argue losing R{ight}.  An AGUE can be either a burning fever or a shivering fit.
18  Seb, taken aback by over-the-top editor, becoming obsessed (8)
BESOTTED – SEB reversed (taken aback) to give BES, with OTT (over-the-top) and ED{itor}.
21  Horticulturist’s fantastic red range (8)
GARDENER – Anagram (fantastic) of [RED RANGE].
22  Article in study for head of college (4)
DEAN – A (indefinite article) inside DEN (study).
23  Say nothing?  Am false! (4)
SHAM – SH (say nothing) and AM (am)
24  Crazy and terrible situation in which you’ll find Hazel? (8)
NUTSHELL – NUTS (crazy) and HELL (terrible situation) clued by a cryptic definition, where Hazel is a nut, rather than a girl.

Down

2  German villain holds something for forging  (5)
ANVIL – Hidden answer (holds) in {germ}AN VIL{lain}.
3  United sailors in vessel (3)
URN – U{nited} and RN (Royal Navy, sailors).
Complexity of small section attached to hospital (5)
DEPTH – DEPT (abbreviated department, small section) and H{ospital}.
5  Messing around idly, Dee gave up (7)
YIELDED – Anagram (messing around) of [IDLY, DEE].
6  An hour after midday, people with time for reconcilliation (9)
ATONEMENT – AT ONE (an hour after midday) with MEN (people) and T{ime}.
7  Sat on beam, fence – regularly picked up sticks (7)
CEMENTS – Alternate letters (regularly) of SaT oN bEaM, fEnCe, all reversed (picked up).
11  Trams made to crash in European capital (9)
AMSTERDAM – Anagram (to crash) of [TRAMS MADE].
14  Bull and pig clean (7)
HOGWASH – HOG (pig) and WASH (clean).  HOGWASH has an interesting etymon.  It didn’t start life, as many believe, as a synonym for pig-swill (kitchen scraps fed to swine).  In the past, a HOG was a slang word for a shilling, and for a farm labourer in the 1500s a shilling was roughly a week’s wage.  The two largest expenses for a farm labourer at that time were lodging and fuel, which ate up the majority of this amount every week.  The few coppers remaining after rent and fuel had been paid (typically a few farthings or ha’pence) became known as the HOGWASH, and subsequently anything that was worthless or rubbish adopted the same name.
15  Book by unknown author following the French state (7)
LEBANON – B[ook} and ANON (unknown author) after (following) LE ('the' in France).
19  One eating no fat fish (5)
SPRAT – Double definition, the first referring to Jack SPRAT (who could eat no fat, whilst his wife could eat no lean).
20  Lie around in the morning after returning message (5)
EMAIL – LIE surrounding (around) AM (the morning) all reversed.
22  Note exclamation of annoyance (3)
DOH – Double definition, the first as in DOH, ray, me…, and the second exemplified by Homer Simpson when annoyed by his own stupidity (D’OH).

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verlaine

Times 27,941: Euler? Euler? Anyone?

Nothing against this puzzle per se but I found it a little bland for a Friday slot: mostly ordinary words straightforwardly enough clued, and quickly enough put to bed. I guess I didn't know a DYNAMIST was a philosopher or that RAMP could mean a swindle, so those were interesting. COD to 14dn just because I live within a stone's throw of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory these days. Thanks setter!

ACROSS
1 Puzzle when bird is restricted by farmyard disease (6)
BEMUSE - EMU is "restricted" by BSE

4 Latin maybe is hard — time to go off and flop? (8)
LANGUISH - LANGU{age} IS H

10 Confidence of a revolutionary faced with censure (7)
PANACHE - A CHE, "faced" with PAN

11 Gem that's very bad being put back in container (7)
PERIDOT - DIRE reversed in POT

12 Cubes of frozen stuff applied to wound ultimately (4)
DICE - ICE applied to {woun}D

13 Get rid of scholar no longer showing benefits of education? (10)
OBLITERATE - O.B. [scholar no longer] + LITERATE

15 OAP wild with anger about hotel accommodation not suitable for his age group (9)
ORPHANAGE - (OAP + ANGER*) "about" H

16 Nameless chum under the influence of drugs? (5)
FRIED - FRIE{n}D

18 Mathematician showing hesitation about principle that's not right (5)
EULER - ER "about" {r}ULE

19 Decorated garden lad redesigned (9)
GARLANDED - (GARDEN LAD*)

21 Freshly dispatched soldiers needing little time to show bitterness (10)
RESENTMENT - RE-SENT MEN needing T

23 Crop: staple source of sustenance, on reflection (4)
SNIP - PIN S{ustenance} reversed

26 Traveller to ancient city street spanning island (7)
TOURIST - TO UR ST, "spanning" I

27 American football player maybe in old camp (7)
LEAGUER - double def

28 Woman felt the absence of outspoken type of philosopher (8)
DYNAMIST - homophone of DINAH MISSED

29 PM briefly appearing in school to give talk (6)
SPEECH - PEE{l} appearing in SCH

DOWN
1 Man perhaps in gym getting tender on the outside (5)
BIPED - P.E. getting BID on the outside

2 German city with hospital demolished by one friend in local government office? (9)
MUNICIPAL - MUNIC{h} by I PAL

3 Stay to get temperature taken — when one's this? (4)
SICK - S{t}ICK, semi-&lit

5 Brief very quietly delving into issue (7)
APPRISE - PP into ARISE

6 Accommodation with some beds nearby? (6,4)
GARDEN FLAT - cryptic def

7 I may represent this country (5)
INDIA - double def (I in NATO phonetic alphabet)

8 Impulsive, as Harry and Helen are seen to be? (9)
HOTHEADED - Harry and Helen both begin with H (= hot)

9 Half-hearted cry of derision when meeting snake and rodent (6)
JERBOA - JE{e}R meeting BOA

14 Radioactive element that has “warm nuclei”, roughly (10)
LAWRENCIUM - (WARM NUCLEI*)

15 Excessively admired sweetheart, not the first to get told off (9)
OVERRATED - {l}OVER + RATED

17 Agreement to get tough, hiding depression (9)
INDENTURE - INURE "hiding" DENT

19 Clever trick group conjured up in cells (7)
GAMETES - GAME + reversed SET

20 Upset as a result of row and left half abandoned (6)
RANKLE - RANK [row] + LE{ft}

22 Refuse encouragement, having taken note (5)
SPURN - SPUR having taken N

24 Entrance of some members of top orchestra (5)
PORCH - hidden in {to}P ORCH{estra}

25 Swindle going unchecked puts worker perhaps off (4)
RAMP - RAMP{ant}