April 17th, 2021

Penf

Times Cryptic Jumbo 1491 - a bank holiday culture lesson

Well, this was a right bank holiday challenge.  I have to confess to requiring aids to finish, as some of the (cultural, foreign) "general" knowledge was beyond my Ken.  Kudos if you finished all correct without aids. Over an hour again for me.  In writing up the blog I noticed that there were a lot of "extra" words linking wordplay and definition, no all of them seemingly logical.  Maybe that slowed me down.  In fact, just for "fun" this week, I'm going to make these link words red.

First in was SWING and last was FIELDED.

If any of my explanations don't make sense then feel free to ask for further elucidation.

Clues are in blue with the definition undelined.  Anagram indicators are in bold italics.

Notation:

DD: Double definition

CD: Cryptic definition

DDCDH: DD/CD hybrid where a straight definition is combined with a cryptic hint.

&Lit: "all in one" where the entire clue is both definition and wordplay.

(fodder)* denotes an anagram of the letters in the brackets.

Rounded brackets are also used to add further clarity

Squiggly brackets {} indicate parts of a word not used


Deletions are struck out


Square brackets [] expand an abbreviation or shortening like S[iste]R


Across

1

Sister holding rug with no time to beat it (7)

SCARPER - S[iste]R around CARPEt.  In case scarper is a Britishism it means the same as leg it!

5

Stretch of river covering basins of salt (7)

EXPANSE - EXE around PANS.  It must be challenging for overseas solvers to keep a mental list of all the UK rivers.

9

Appear cheated in hearing, so stopped and returned (7)

FIELDED - Sounds like FEEL DID.  The definition is crickety.  I won't go through all the in, out, on, off stuff, but the batsman hits the ball, the fielder (possibly extra cover, deep mid-wicket or backward square leg) stops it and throws it back (returns it) to the bowler or wicket keeper, depending on which end he's throwing to.  Well fielded.

13

Poem the Italian writes with nothing on love (2,9)

IL PENSEROSO - IL, PENS, then O on (after) EROS.  Had to use aids to get this.  Never heard of it. It's by Milton rather than some Italian or Roman poet.

14

Writhing excites love — stop! (4,7)

VOIX CELESTE - (excites love)*.  Tricky.  Once I'd figured out we were looking for an organ stop VOIX suggested itself and the remaining letters unscrambled themselves into the name of musical instrument I recognised.

15

Small limb child plays on (5)

SWING - S[mall] WING.  The definition doesn't really work for me. Looks like there's a word missing.

16

Calm, not yet sacked by The Times? (7)

STILLED - STILL ED[itor]

17

When one’s ahead of everybody, almost? (9)

AFTERNOON - AFTER NO ON{e}.  The "one's" is sort of part of the definition but also sort of isn't.

18

Thought train often featured in modernist novels (6,2,13)

STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS - Maybe I'm missing something here but this looks like a fairly weak barely cryptic DD of sorts (FWBCDDOS for short).

23

Trouble-maker pretended to have had an effect (8)

IMPACTED - IMP ACTED

25

Designated as nasty, knocking off sodium light (6)

STYLED - naSTY, L.E.D.  As someone asked why SN = TIN in the comments for a daily cryptic blog the other day I'd better explain that Na is the chemical symbol for the element sodium.

27

Lightly fried sesame, for example, which faculty regularly may tuck into (7)

SAUTEED - SEED around {f}A{c}U{l}T{y}

30

Northerner once holding old twist of thread (5)

PICOT - PICT arond O[ld]

32

Structure of an alliance that surprises me (7)

ANATOMY - A, NATO, MY!

33

Mechanic is erratic, if given confusing order (9)

ARTIFICER - (erratic if)*

35

Flirtatious girl with very little money — gambler making right move (9)

SOUBRETTE - SOU, BETTER with the R shuffled a few places forward.

36

Happening to enter, shortly departed (5,2)

GOING ON - GO IN, GON{e}

37

Linger as blue is reflected by lake (5)

DWELL - LEWD reversed by L[ake]

38

Periodically, three fired up are busily active around one (7)

LITHIUM - LIT, HUM around I.  A very clever definition as 3 is the atomic number for Lithium.  As someone asked why SN = TIN in the comments for a daily cryptic blog the other day I'd better explain that...

40

For the audience, it might be on a high card (6)

HONOUR - Sounds like ON A (to some)

41

Men following female python, say, replacing end of skin that’s cast off (8)

FORSAKEN - O[ther] R[anks] (men) after F[emale], SNAKE with the N ({ski}N) re-placed.

44

Livelihood dull person finds sweet (5-3-6,7)

BREAD-AND-BUTTER PUDDING - two-part charade

48

I’m a vocalist, love — something fishy here (9)

ISINGLASS - I SING, LASS.  A northerner might call a girl "lass" or "love".  At least I think that's the intention here.  I know isinglass from the student placement I had at Shepherd Neame brewery where one of my duties was conducting brewery tours.  It's a sort of gelatin obtained from e.g. the swim bladder of the sturgeon, and you put it in real ale as a "fining", making the sediment collect at the bottom of the cask.

50

Care worker shows a lot of cash in both hands (7)

ALMONER - A, MONE{y} in L[eft], R[ight]

53

Flirt with the lassies on and off (5)

TEASE - T{h}E {l}A{s}S{i}E{s}

54

Get don back somehow in headcount reduction? Fanciful (4-3-4)

COCK-AND-BULL - (don back)* in CULL

55

Feature of phone to be delayed, interrupting profession (4,7)

CALL WAITING - WAIT in CALLING

56

Catch some veterans newly returned (7)

ENSNARE - reverse hidden

57

Argument fills feeble football feature (5-2)

THROW-IN - ROW in THIN

58

Some err, generating this? (7)

REMORSE - (some err)*, semi &Lit


Down

1

Most devious way to conceal concoctions (6)

SLIEST - ST[reet] around LIES

2

Taking fruit round one makes a request (7)

APPLIES - APPLES around I

3

In terror, grey with worry making public oration (9)

PANEGYRIC - PANIC around (grey)*

4

Judges restricting European banks (5)

REEFS - REF[eree]S around E[uropean]

5

Expressive face, having picked up book I pore over (8)

EMOTICON -TOME reversed, CON (study)

6

Patrol runs into would-be escapee? Back to cell (5)

PROWL - R[uns] in P[risoner] O[f] W[ar], {cel}L

7

Statesman, one that runs through St Petersburg, and collapses (7)

NEVADAN - (river) NEVA, (and)*

8

Poussin’s work I decorate again, stupidly (2,2,7,3)

ET IN ARCADIA EGO - (I decorate again)*.  Another one I needed aids for.  The short story is that it's an old painting in the Louvre. Never heard of it and couldn't shuffle the letters into something I was happy with.  I'm firmly in the "please don't clue obscure foreign words and phrases as anagrams" club.

9

Turbulent, consuming energy without serious purpose (9)

FACETIOUS - FACTIOUS around E[nergy]

10

Oriental potentate dismissing head mathematician (5)

EULER - E[astern] (oriental) rULER.  Times Crossword.  Mathematician.  Five letters.  Your knee-jerk reaction should be EULER.

11

Board manoeuvre brought to light audit (10,5)

DISCOVERED CHECK - Two-part charade.  Not being a chess player I didn't know this.  For ages I thought it was going to be a manoeuvre in surfing or snowboarding.  I figured it out but looked it up to confirm.

12

Chaperones expected small girl to stand up (7)

DUENNAS - DUE, S[mall] ANN reversed

19

One never cracking up with a long period to survive (7)

AGELAST - AGE, LAST.  Someone who doesn't laugh.

20

Machine removing seeds from bed: nothing wrong displacing horse (6,3)

COTTON GIN - COT, (nothing)* without the H[orse]

21

Filled with second bunch of grass, we hear (7)

STUFFED - S[econd], homophone of TUFT.

22

Face accepting concessions in return for sale (8)

DISPOSAL - DIAL around SOPS reversed

24

Acquire certain guns to restore equilibrium (4,2,3,6)

PICK UP THE PIECES - DDCDH

26

Substitute for model terribly ugly, I fear (3,6)

LAY FIGURE - (ugly I fear)*.  A joined model used by painters.

28

In the night, king embraced by beloved (8)

DARKLING -K[ing] in DARLING.

29

Surpass everything by eating a rich tea? (4,3,7)

TAKE THE BISCUIT - DDCDH

31

Waited, having had a go at crossing a river (7)

TARRIED - TRIED around A R[iver]

34

Brown went for a small child, possibly, and danced (7)

TANGOED - TAN, GOED (what a child might say instead of went)

39

Violently grab principal knob, dropping one (9)

MANHANDLE - MAiN HANDLE

42

In religion, suggestion to follow saint is in order (9)

SHINTOISM - HINT after S[aint], IS in O[rder of] M[erit]

43

Start to design type of work area (4-4)

OPEN-PLAN - two-part charade

44

With enthusiasm shortly get teeth into roll (7)

BRIOCHE - BRIO, CHE{w}

45

One that’s behind advertisement (7)

TRAILER - DD

46

Frozen creeper finally dying, more delicate (7)

GLACIER - {dyin}G, LACIER.  Nice definition.

47

Bond to some extent while a guest (6)

LEAGUE - hidden

49

Gather for hearing in the country (5)

GHANA - Sounds like GARNER (to some)

51

Bird about to disappear into gullet (5)

MACAW - C[irc]A in MAW

52

Quarrelsome sportsman? (5)

ROWER - CD of a sort

  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27948 - Saturday, 10 April 2021.

Well, that was harder than the usual Saturday fare. Lots of answers hovered beyond the edge of my memory for a long time. I had more trouble with the LHS than the RHS of the grid. The deadly duo in the top left, at 11ac and 2dn, made me smile when they almost simultaneously emerged from the mist. For me, 13ac and 16dn were two almost unknowns clued by others totally unknown. But, we got there in the end, didn’t we? Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle. How did you all get on?

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.

[Read more ...]Clues are blue, with definitions underlined. Deletions are struck through.
Across
1 Depressingly little is invested in home improvements (8)
DISMALLY – SMALL in D.I.Y. A gentle one to start with.
5 Grave sin — eliminating men in hostile circumstances (6)
ENMITY – ENorMITY, minus OR.
8 Film psychiatrist with bad reputation in the US (6-4)
SHRINK-WRAP – SHRINK, With, RAP.
9 Mollusc shedding small horny covering (4)
NAILsNAIL, minus S for small.
10 How Enright is made to do things differently? (4,3,7)
RING THE CHANGES – ENRIGHT is made from an anagram (‘changes’) of RING THE. So, RING THE CHANGES can serve as a clue for ENRIGHT. I wondered if Enright was a famous name in the bell-ringing community, but found no trace of that.
11 Golf permits in place for dispatch (7)
GALLOWS – G for golf, then ALLOWS. Does the definition count as gallows humour?
13 Judge a very good Köchel number for composer (7)
JANACEK – J for judge, AN ACE, K for Köchel. The Köchel catalogue has a K number for each work of Mozart. Definitely, an unknown clued by an unknown, but still gettable!
15 Argument backing form of vessel for religious devotion (7)
WORSHIP – ROW for argument, backwards; then SHIP.
18 Support a right to begin afresh (7)
RESTART – a REST is a support. Then A, RT for right.
21 Dilapidated tailor-made tent is thrown out (14)
TATTERDEMALION – (‘thrown out’) anagram of TAILOR MADE TENT. 14 letter anagrams aren’t among my favourite things.
22 Flow revealed by Daniel Bernouilli (4)
ELBE – hidden answer. It’s a change for a river to be a flow, not a flower, but it’s very apt since D.B. was one of a distinguished family of Swiss mathematicians and did famous work on fluid dynamics. Flow, indeed!
23 Cut around road blockage finally in Havering (10)
INDECISION – INCISION around last letters of roaD blockagE.
24 Cut juice to noisily swallow new socially-acceptable round (6)
UNPLUG – GULP, N for new, U for acceptable. All ‘round’.
25 Universal depression in untidy house of undergrads? (8)
STUDENTY – U + DENT in STY. Ugly word, but in the dictionary.

Down
1 Cleaner is Henry dressed in women’s clothing (7)
DISHRAG – IS + H for Henry, in DRAG.
2 Potential killer of fish in strait and river (9)
STRANGLER – STR. for strait (not an abbreviation familiar to me, and indeed Chambers has it as an abbreviation for straight, not strait, but there you are!). Then: ANGLE, R.
3 Girl brought up too much dye (7)
ANNATTO – ANNA is the girl, then OTT ‘brought up’. I thought the girl would be ANNE. How is one to know?
4 Unruly as well as disregarding authority’s lead? (7)
LAWLESS – this is a clever all-in-one clue. An (unruly) anagram of AS WELL AS, after ignoring one of the As (authority’s lead!).
5 A construction of Naples paddler regularly visited? (9)
ESPLANADE – and, immediately, another all-in-one! An anagram (construction) of NAPLES + ADE, where the last three letters are the even letters (regularly visited) of PADDLER. I took it on faith that Naples has an esplanade.
6 Capital fellow on the Spanish Main? (7)
MANAGUA – MAN, then AGUA is the Spanish word for water.
7 Sad about European city on the Adriatic (7)
TRIESTE – TRISTE around E for European.
12 Complaining about front pair of teeth getting dental treatment (9)
WHITENING – WHINING around TE.
14 Merger company landed with current working (9)
COALITION – CO, ALIT, I, ON. I is the symbol for electric current.
16 Flier uncovered book of navigational routes (7)
ORTOLAN – I vaguely dredged the answer from the mists of memory, and assumed it is a bird. I’d never heard of a PORTOLAN, but the clue tells you what it is.
17 A certain something penned by excellent poet (7)
SITWELL – IT is that certain something, penned by SWELL.
18 Feel bewildered over English court put in power again (2-5)
RE-ELECT – REEL, E for English, CT.
19 What may be puffin, braised in a stew (7)
SEABIRD – anagram (in a stew) of BRAISED.
20 Note girl’s agreement to stay (7)
TENANCY – TE (a drink with jam and bread!), NANCY.

Times Cryptic Jumbo 1490 - 3rd April 2021. At sea in a sieve

Hello all.  Penfold has already posted the blog for Easter Monday’s 1491, so I must fill in the gap left by the previous Saturday’s Jumbo.  Apologies for jumbling the jumbo sequence.

This one kept me amused a tad longer than usual, just over the hour, with a hunt needed at the end for the first letter of MULETEER which just didn’t occur to me.  So I ended appropriately enough with a “μ”!

Two or three clues prompt me to take the opportunity to ask you good solvers of the Times about something, namely definitions along the lines of “that does x” to define “that which does x”.  Or perhaps it’s “that does x” in the sense of “this does x” which might be a better reading.  The example here is the definition of 19a: “that ruins crops”.  See also 36a’s “that are helpful” and perhaps “could be a bad sign” in 29a.

I should make clear that this kind of thing clearly is ok – indeed, one of the most respected setters around, and one of my own favourites, frequently does it.  It’s just it does niggle very slightly with me still, and I wanted to see what others think – but I’m asking a question rather than having a moan.  Hopefully you will explain to me why definitions like these are absolutely fine and banish that niggle evermore.

I’ve long since lost the habit of marking favourites (formed back when I used to be chatty and (R)AMBLE on below the line), and in a Jumbo there are just so many clues to choose from.  There is an obvious option for a feline in 3d: JEOPARDY, and several of the surrounding down clues also appeal, particularly 6d, COCK.  I’m a sucker (not 45d) for a reverse clue so I might also pick 31d, BACKDOOR, though that was a sneaky one indeed.  All good fun indeed.  Thanks Setter!

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