April 10th, 2021

  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27942 - Saturday, 3 April 2021. Late to the party.

I’m writing this blog well after the event, so I don’t remember much about the experience. I did love the cunning definition at 2dn! There were other touches of enlightenment I remember too. Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle. How did you all get on?
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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 struck through.
Across
1 Cold with developing catarrh’s very disturbing thing to watch (3-5,2)
CAR-CRASH TV – C for cold, then (developing) an anagram of CATARRHS V.
7 Use sponge, perhaps, to hold water (4)
WASH – double definition, the second metaphorical, as in “that won’t wash”.
9 Remote location of Society — neurologist’s first in the field (2,6)
ST. HELENA – S for Society, then N for Neurologist in THE LEA.
10 Painter might open the door? It’s dried (6)
RAISIN – RA or painter IS IN after he opens the door!
11 Neck displayed by low cape: button it all round (6)
SMOOCH – aah, that kind of necking! Not drinking for once. MOO for low, C for cape, all inside SH or “button it”.
13 Bad liver, somehow ok for a steer? (8)
DRIVABLE – (somehow) an anagram of BAD LIVER.
14 Jack in Blockbuster for Dynasty, that’s becoming addictive (5-7)
HABIT-FORMING – AB or jack tar, in HIT or blockbuster of the movie kind; then FOR (literally) and MING for dynasty.
17 Encourages law restricting feature of Highlands poacher’s work? (4,8)
EGGS BENEDICT – EGGS or encourages and  EDICT or law, restricting BEN, a Highlands feature. Poaching of eggs … nothing to do with the Highlands!!
20 No longer be in black tie, having left earlier (8)
OVERDRAW – OVER or left, then DRAW or tie.
21 One’s short-lived, cautious assessment of feasibility? (6)
MAYFLY – the cautious assessment is, “that idea may fly”.
22 Kick or attackstart running! (4-2)
TURN-ON – triple definition! An emotional kick, a physical attack, or to start an engine.
23 Army a long time producing prisoners (8)
HOSTAGES – HOST or army, then AGES.
25 State that, unfortunately, one must retire to read (4)
UTAH – hidden answer that one must “read in retirement” i.e. backwards.
26 Fire blonde involved in argument (3,5,2)
SET LIGHT TO – LIGHT in SET-TO.

Down
2 Network shared brief, upsetting showing of The Fall of Atlanta (8)
AUTUMNAL – LAN or (local area) network, MUTUAl or shared, briefly. All reversed or upset. The definition references Atlanta, Georgia, as a reminder of the American name for autumn. I spent quite some time wondering if this was to do with classical mythology.
3 What has power to make the black disappear? (3)
CUE – reference to snooker. On edit: also perhaps a very cunning algebraic reference, as suggested by a anonymous comment below.
4 Foreign character in public house after beer (5)
ALEPH – ALE, Public House. Hebrew alphabet this time.
5 Squirrel of greyish-white turning red (7)
HOARDER – HOAR, RED ‘turning’.
6 Madly in love, I’m putting Romeo in the shade (9)
VERMILION – (madly) anagram of IN LOVE IM R (for Romeo).
7 Feb 6 NZ celebration — postponing to Feb 7 after exchange of letters? (8,3)
WAITANGI DAY – move Feb 6 to Feb 7 by WAITING A DAY. Then swap the A and the I. I knew of Waitangi Day, which commemorates the signing of the treaty in 1840. I couldn’t have told you when it fell.
8 Catching line, quickly thrown as safeguard (6)
SHIELD – SHIED for ‘quickly thrown’, ‘catching’ L for line.
12 None, as it happens, refuse church’s conciliatory offer (5,6)
OLIVE BRANCH – O or none, LIVE or as it happens, BRAN or refuse, CH or church.
15 Items carved from fruit filled with water one’s made? (9)
FIGURINES – FIGS filled with URINE. ’Nuff said!
16 Elastic’s dispatched with most plates (8)
SCALIEST – (dispatched) anagram of ELASTICS.
18 Surrenders burning missile range (7)
BOWSHOT – BOWS, HOT. I thought of BAGSHOT at first, but that went nowhere.
19 Bible: gold part of it split, once (6)
AVAUNT – AV or bible, AU or gold, NT or part of bible. An answer I didn’t know and don’t expect to remember.
21 African people married when without a match? (5)
MASAI – M or married, AS or when, A1 or matchless.
24 Response to throat specialist, perhaps, oddly zapped earache (3)
AAH – even letters of earache.
March 26, 2021

Sunday Times Cryptic 4949 by Dean Mayer — coir practice

As with the last puzzle I blogged, I spotted an easy long one first, 14. But 17, the answer with which it is 23, eluded me for a while, though it now seems pretty obvious. As is so often the case, I didn’t realize it was a cryptic definition. And, tell you the truth, I’m still not sure it’s all that cryptic…

If I’m missing something about 15, I’m sure y’all will let me know.

I indicate (Aran mags)* like this, and italicize anagrinds in the clues.


ACROSS
 1 Capacity of crew seeing across delta (9)
BANDWIDTH — BAND, “crew” + WI(D)TH… Near as I can figure, “seeing” here must mean WITH in the sense of being involved in an affective liaison with someone. “X is with Y,” “X is seeing Y.”
 6 Mendicant king with fine clothing (5)
FAKIR — FA(K)IR
 9 Potentially one’s best friend (5)
CHINA — When entertaining special guests, you might get out the most expensive vitrified ceramic tableware. (And that’s practically the only time you ever hear about it.) CRS, short for “China plate” = “mate,” if there’s anyone here who doesn’t know.
10 Can seek to cut down tree (9)
SATINWOOD — SA(TIN)(WOO)D
11 Poles returned to gather tiny fruit (8)
SWEETSOP — POSTS<=“returned” holding WEE, “tiny”
12 Dad keeps ignoring Mr Martin Sheen (6)
PATINA — Much easier to ignore Charlie. P([-M]a[-r]tin)A My COD.
14 Pregnant a year after life with many changes (2,3,6,3)
IN THE FAMILY WAY — (after life + many)* + A + Y(ear)… Think I became aware of this expression in the mid-sixties when (not-yet-Sir) Paul McCartney did the soundtrack for the movie The Family Way with Hayley Mills. Not that I’ve ever heard that music (or seen the flick).
17 A white band of cloth (8,6)
CLERICAL COLLAR — CD Apparently, there was a time when virtually anyone who wore a uniform for work was considered “of the cloth,” but eventually the term became exclusive to the clergy. The “uniform“ part of their garb nowadays generally consists of no more than the collar. Which is made of cloth, of course. What else could it be? Leather? Coir?
19 Iron, sulphur, copper, oriental grass (6)
FESCUE — FE, “Iron” + S, “sulphur” + CU, “copper” + E(astern), ”oriental” My LOI. I don’t think I’ve come across the word before.
20 After cooking, crash out (2,6)
ON STRIKE — ON, “cooking” + STRIKE, “crash”
23 Woven in coir, items of equal size (9)
ISOMETRIC — (coir items)* My first encounter with “coir”! Hopefully I won’t forget it before I meet up with it again (if that ever happens). It is, says here, “fiber from the outer husk of the coconut, used for making ropes and matting”—you’ve no doubt seen “Welcome” mats made of the stuff.
24 A fighter over 9 (5)
AMIGO — A + MIG + O
25 London suburb — hotel area of course (5)
HAYES — H + A + YES
26 Focus on small vessel coming in (9)
SPOTLIGHT — S(POT)LIGHT

DOWN
 1 Hide family money first (8)
BUCKSKIN — BUCKS, “money” + KIN, “family”
 2 Location of bridge over one sound (5)
NOISE — NO(I)SE
 3 Don’t show supporting members what union leader will do (4,3,8)
WEAR THE TROUSERS — Double CD, if you will, but only the second one provides the idiomatic definition. Seems a somewhat antiquated notion, no matter whose legs are covered.
 4 Poor harmony is leading issue in disco music (10)
DISSONANCE — D(IS)(SON)ANCE
 5 Drinking a Tango he can’t stand (4)
HATE — H(A)(T)E
 6 Fancy version of team-building (7,8)
FANTASY FOOTBALL — CD
 7 Rise to embrace comedian, a wise guy (4-2-3)
KNOW-IT-ALL — KNO(WIT)(A)LL
 8 Spoke right before a call (6)
RADIAL — R + A + DIAL
13 Fagin’s cronies finally go to court? (4,3,3)
BILL AND COO — BILL AND CO + [-g]O “Fagin” is from Oliver Twist, a fence for a gang of thieves, so he surely had “cronies”…
15 Try to accept everyone’s for romance? (4,5)
TALL STORY — T(ALL’S)(TO)RY… I think there’s something a bit off about this. We have TRY (literally) around both ALL[’]S, “everyone’s,” and TO (literally), rather than TRY TO surrounding “ALLS,” which seems the most logical way to read this clue. I wondered for a bit if the “to” literally in the clue is not the TO in the cryptic, somehow…
16 Pirate, before being at sea, regularly lost (8)
FREEBOOT — (before)* + lOsT… “Pirate” as a verb
18 Distant from strange person (6)
OFFISH — OF FISH “Distant” in the emotional sense; “odd FiSH” has dictionary status as “a very strange person” (Merriam-Webster), but the exact definition needed here for FISH tout court was found only in Lexico: “informal with adjective | A person who is strange in a specified way.” (Collins is not quite there, giving for British English “a person of little emotion or intelligence | a poor fish” and for American virtually the same thing, “a person thought of as like a fish in being easily lured by bait, lacking intelligence or emotion, etc.”)
21 Being a killer contributes to panic in general (5)
ICING — Hidden
22 One teacher turned up in place of pupil (4)
IRIS — I, 1 or “One” + SIR<=“turned up”