April 15th, 2021

Times Quick Cryptic No 1853 by Pedro

This was a relatively easy solve (12 minutes for me) but with a couple of pieces of chewy parsing along the way.  Not too much esoteric general knowledge required, although 11a, 1d, 4d may cause a short hold-up for some.  The tricky parsing was mostly at 8a and 5d in my personal experience.

In my ignorance, I always thought of 25a as two words (2,6), but I’m glad to be shown better by Pedro, who has, IMHO, produced a workmanlike QC for us all to test ourselves against.  Please let me know how you found it.


3  I’m coming back into quiet home (8)
DOMICILE – IM (reversed, coming back) to give MI, inside DOCILE (quiet).
7  Source of flavour in beer – the culminating touch (6)
FINALE – F (source, or first letter of F{lavour}) IN (in) and ALE (beer).
8  With a passing fancy, each approach is to disappear with time (4,4)
FADE AWAY – FAD (a passing fancy) with EA (abbreviation for each) and WAY (approach).
Man from Edinburgh, say, to rush, avoiding a round (4)
SCOT – SCO{o}T. Scoot (to rush) avoiding one of the Os (a round).
10  Pleasant disposing of new cold dessert (3)
ICE – {n}ICE – pleasant dropping N{ew}.
11  Studying front of car before driving (8)
CRAMMING – C{ar} (front of / first letter of Car) and RAMMING (driving).  To CRAM for an exam is to study hard to pass it.
13  Uproar with rubbish around capital of Italy (4)
RIOT – Not ROME but Italy’s other capital, the letter I inside ROT (rubbish).
15  Fielder in error (4)
SLIP – Double definition, the first referring to one of the unfathomable (to the uninitiated) fielding positions in the game of cricket.
17  Starry celebration given by commander-in-chief?  About time (8)
GALACTIC – GALA (celebration) with CIC (Commander-In-Chief) containing (about) T(ime).
19  Boat’s propeller observed initially beside a river (3)
OAR – O{bserved} (initially) beside A (a) and R{iver}.  In a rowing boat, the only mechanism to propel the boat forwards is an OAR.
22  Deafening, behold, and extremely unbalanced (4)
LOUD – LO (behold) followed by U{nbalance}D (extremely – outside letters only).
23  European celebrity finding direction indicator? (4,4)
POLE STAR – POLE (European) and STAR (celebrity).  The Pole Star (Polaris) is a star that appears to remain close to the North Pole and has been used as a guide or direction indicator for millennia.
24  Fail to appreciate development of region (6)
IGNORE – Anagram (development) of [REGION].
25  I will avoid various coal-fires out of doors (8)
ALFRESCO – Anagram (various) of [COAL-F{i}RES] after I is deleted (I will avoid).


Intuitive version initially is clear, but misinterpreted  (8)
VISCERAL – V{ersion} (initially) followed by an anagram (is misinterpreted) of [IS CLEAR].
2  Refuse to allow tailless domesticated fowl (6)
BANTAM – BAN (refuse to allow) and TAM{e} (domesticated, tailless – drop last letter).  Domesticated could be doing double duty here as a BANTAM is a type of domesticated fowl, but it isn’t really needed for the definition – fowl will suffice.
Skilful line not seen in Dutch crockery (4)
DEFT – DE{l}FT (take L (Line) out of delft (Dutch crockery).  This was my FOI.
4  Crazy: equipment almost entirely for a song (8)
MADRIGAL – MAD (crazy) with RIG (equipment) and AL{l} (entirely, almost, drop the last letter).  I knew this term for an unaccompanied song, but I’m not sure why – I’m not very musical!
5 Lunar feature cold?  Very much not hot (6)
CRATER – C{old} followed by RAT{h}ER (very much – rather, after dropping the H (not H{ot})).  If you are confused by equating 'rather' with 'very much', imagine asking my avatar if he'd like a gin and tonic?  I imagine him answering "RA-THER!", rather like me!
6 Story-teller in bar getting upset (4)
LIAR – RAIL (bar) reversed (getting upset).
12  They don’t appreciate popular Government’s initial taxes (8)
INGRATES – IN (popular) with G{overnment’s} (initial) and RATES (taxes).
14  Commemorative  article I brought in about failing railway (8)
OBITUARY – Anagram (failing) of [ABOUT] containing I (I brought in) and followed by RY (abbreviation for railway).
16  Post Office sure upset pretentious type (6)
POSEUR – PO (post office) and an anagram (upset) of [SURE].
18  Shy about learner working in group (6)
COLONY – COY (shy) around (about) L{eraner} and ON (working).
20  Ring up, getting venue for swimming (4)
POOL – LOOP (ring) reversed (up) to give POOL.  We've had a couple of LOOPs recently reporting quasi-discoveries which might make us all rethink the Standard Model in physics - CERN and Fermilab.  How exciting!
21  Three players heading for tour, going to South American city (4)
TRIO – T{our} (heading for Tour) and RIO (South American city).

Times 27952 - all this and some biochemistry

Time taken: 14:47.  That is a little bit longer than my usual, and looking at some of the early scores, I think this is going to fall into the more difficult camp.

I am hoping that I can piece together a few of the entries that went in largely from definition, so this may be a puzzle that favors some specialized knowledge.  I'm curious what people make of 13 across, a term that I run across pretty regularly, but may be obscure and has some tricky wordplay.

Postscript: Looks like I was on the money with 13 across dividing the solvers, and thanks to those of you who said that my explanations were helpful. This is a tricky puzzle, but all the wordplay is in place. Check the comments from a vist from the setter!

Away we go...

1 Conjecture Glen’s worked with a view to please? Unlikely (8,6)
9 Initially pleased that group holds unknown amount of capital (9)
PYONGYANG - first letter of Pleased, then YON(that), GANG(group) containing Y(unknown amount)
10 I’ll do that which is largely counted on at the outset (5)
WILCO - first letters of Which Is Largely Counted On
11 God-fearing husband’s left without theology degree, strangely (5)
ODDLY - HOLY(god-fearing) missing H(husband), surrounding DD(doctor of divinity, theology degree)
12 Sister loves visiting city in Oregon — lots to see there? (9)
SALESROOM - SR(sister) and O,O(loves) inside SALEM, the capital of the state of Oregon
13 Energy source that’s unappealing, first off, then endlessly powerful (8)
GLYCOGEN - UGLY(unappealing) missing the first letter, then COGENT(powerful) missing the last letter
15 American going around in saunas naked (6)
KANSAN - hidden reversed in sauNAS NAKed
17 Could mostly act deviously, unable to keep a secret (6)
OCCULT - anagram of COUL(d) and ACT missing A
19 Dance in the buff? Dare, perhaps, to proceed (8)
FANDANGO - FAN(buff), then DAN Dare, and GO(proceed)
22 Music maker’s nickname called out, with cheer echoing (9)
HARMONICA - sounds like MONICKER(nickname) after RAH(cheer) reversed
23 Arab sailor with a measure of intelligence (5)
TARIQ - TAR(sailor) and IQ(measure of intelligence)
24 Key player in commercial having change of heart (5)
PRIMO - PROMO(commercial) with a change of the middle letter
25 For this artwork, one needed to concentrate a long time? (5,4)
STILL LIFE - STILL(one needed to distil or concentrate), LIFE(a long time)
26 Film that’s certainly no light work (1,4,4,5)
A HARD DAYS NIGHT - double definition
1 African head’s cloak looking rather on the bright side? (4,2,4,4)
CAPE OF GOOD HOPE - CAPE(cloak) then OF GOOD HOPE(looking rather on the bright side)
2 Twelve years on, and zero changes (7)
NOONDAY - anagram of Y(years),ON, AND,O(zero)
3 Game of golf needing fortieth round (5)
RUGBY - G(golf) inside RUBY(fortieth anniversary)
4 In Whistler’s paintings note revolutionary shift (8)
TRANSFER - REF'S(whistler's), ART(paintings) all reversed, containing N(note)
5 To try to keep up with vessel, galley periodically used (6)
JUGGLE -  JUG(vessel) and then alternating letters in GaLlEy
6 Novel way into Polish I might be sold on (9)
NEWSSTAND - NEW(novel) then ST(street, way) inside SAND(polish).  "I" is referring to the i newspaper
7 Circles having lengths within bounds (7)
LOLLOPS - LOOPS(circles) containing L, and L(lengths)
8 Sandhurst NCO involved in what’s not a search for military success (6,8)
NORMAN CONQUEST - RMA (Royal Military Academy Sandhurst) and NCO inside NON QUEST (what is not a search).  This went in from checking letters and I had to scramble to find wordplay for the blog
14 Behold inspiration returned for us — what artist needs? (3,6)
OIL COLOUR - LO(behold) and CLIO(inspiration) all reversed, then OUR(for us)
16 One passed on from rich landed gentry, finally (8)
FATALITY - FAT(rich), ALIT(landed) and the last letter in gentrY
18 My name I keep quiet: it’s no longer spoken (7)
CORNISH - COR(my), N(name), I, SH(keep quiet)
20 Career, on reflection, Carol’s after? (7)
NURSING - RUN(career) reversed, followed by SING(carol). An all-in-one
21 Brushed and organised one’s desk (6)
KISSED - anagram of I'S,DESK
23 A large weight’s secured pile of cards (5)
TALON - A, L(large) inside TON(weight)

Times 27,953: Am I My Blogger's Keeper?

Medium-hard I reckon, with some very nice surfaces and cluing to make this go down a smooth treat. I very much liked the "(very!) unsubtle alternative to the key" and the highly relatable surface to 8dn: the African mountain, the Scottish island, the New World discovering ship and the attractively-named plant were all fun GK content too. Many thanks to the setter!

1 Disappointed expression of Finn, perhaps, aboard vessel (6)
SHUCKS - HUCK(leberry) "aboard" S.S.

5 Brother turning up with companion grabbed by murderous twin (8)
CAPUCHIN - reversed UP + CH, "grabbed" by CAIN

9 Shetland island qualified as rocky (8)
UNSTABLE - UNST [Shetland island] + ABLE [qualified]

10 Filter problem (6)
RIDDLE - double def; filter as in "sieve"

11 Doctor on leave gets dope from Australia (6)

12 A talk hosted by leader in sport (8)
KAYAKING - A YAK, "hosted" by KING

14 When embarrassment becomes evident, initially? (2,5,5)
AT FIRST BLUSH - pretty much a cryptic def: bad luck to anybody unfamiliar with the expression who hazarded "at first flush"...

17 Unsubtle alternative to the key ingredient in fried fish, in metric weight (9,3)
BATTERING RAM - BATTER [ingredient in fried fish] + IN + GRAM [metric weight]

20 Blooming Conservative in clear (8)
OUTRIGHT - OUT [blooming] + RIGHT [Conservative]

22 Relative value not nice, odd bits thrown away (6)
AUNTIE - {v}A{l}U{e} N{o}T {n}I{c}E

23 Candlemas to Lent, not entirely hot (6)
STOLEN - hidden in {candlema}S TO LEN{t}

25 Tailored fragments for pagan (8)

26 Something to deal with in hospital delivery (3,5)
LEG BREAK - double def; one more literal (and painful) than the other

27 Strain loading contents of short chest (6)
THORAX - TAX [strain] "loading" {s}HOR{t}

2 Eager to get area in country evacuated (6)

3 Cargo ship carrying quality plant (11)
COTONEASTER - COASTER [cargo ship] "carrying" TONE [quality]. This would have taken me a lot longer if the shrub hadn't come up in these parts within fairly recent memory (I think)

4 Lend setter, for example, audio equipment (9)
SUBWOOFER - SUB [lend] + WOOFER [canine setters do woof]

5 Examiner with case of coursework entering lift (7)
CHECKER - C{oursewor}K "entering" CHEER [lift]

6 Component with unknown function (5)
PARTY - PART [component] + Y [unknown]

7 Mock swimmer (3)
COD - double def

8 Endless exercising beneath one — what's the alternative? (8)
IDLENESS - (ENDLESS*) "beneath" I, semi-&lit

13 I hand over beer in metric weight for African challenger? (11)
KILIMANJARO - I MAN [hand, as in worker] over JAR [beer] in KILO. Climbing Kilimanjaro would certainly be a challenge

15 Two spells of illness, between which a complete shift (9)
TURNABOUT - TURN and BOUT [two spells of illness], between which, A

16 Stick a short gun in more efficiently when sawn-off (8)

18 To split hairs can upset something ground-breaking (3-4)
NIT-PICK - reversed TIN [can], + PICK [tool for breaking ground]

19 More than one wood ending in gunwale carried by 15th-century ship (6)
PINETA - {gunwal}E carried by PINTA [one of Columbus's ships, alongside the Nina and the Santa Maria]

21 Spirit in bottle in Egypt arising (5)
GENIE - hidden reversed in {bottl}E IN EG{ypt}, with obvious semi-&lit qualities

24 Pitch black: zero light initially when getting up (3)
LOB - B 0 L{ight}, reversed