May 22nd, 2021

Times Cryptic Jumbo 1497 - 8th May - Down with Cruciverbalpachydermosceptiscism!

I greatly enjoyed this Jumbo which has lots of delightful quirky definitions, such as "Who cares?, Don't bet on it!, That settles it!" and the lovely "You'll get stick when it's finished" in the acrosses... and there are plenty more. So many ticks for clues that made me smile that I can't list them all, but favourites were 39A and the reverse cryptic at 44A. As usual I was held up by a handful of clues at the end, with my last four accounting for 8 of my 46 minutes. A couple of unknowns, as usual, too, including the river running through Berlin, the shell and the hard bits of the lughole. Lots of fun, and one I'd point cruciverbalpachydermosceptics (if I may permitted such a neologism, if only to outdo antidisestblishmentarianism.. and then extend it in the title) at to get them enthused. Thank-you witty and entertaining setter! Lovely job! How did you all get on with it?

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  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27978 - Saturday, 15 May 2021. Omigod, I’m surprised.

Surprised, that is, that I took so long with 20ac, where the answer wasn’t “omigod”. 19dn also took longer than it ought, but I smiled at the answer. A generous run of double definitions in the middle of a very Saturdayish number. Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle. How did you all get on?

[Read more …]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.

1 Take covering off books Henry introduced to relative (8)
UNCLOTHE – OT (Old Testament=books) + H=Henry in UNCLE.
5 One responsible for issue with a winning number (2,4)
AU PAIR – a + winning + number = A + UP + AIR (song). Responsible for issue=children. A nice clue.
9 Go off high ground to the west (3)
ROT – TOR backwards.
10 Having pets, fur and vomit is spread round area (11)
FAVOURITISM – anagram (spread around) of FUR VOMIT IS + A=area.
12 Greek siren sports behind most of Greek temple (10)

Parthenope was one of the Sirens in Greek mythology. She was the daughter of the god Achelous and the Muse Terpsichore.
13 Is one awfully tough, without love? (4)
THUG – anagram (awfully) of TOUGH minus O=love.
15 Very passionate about loincloth one’s taken off (3-3)
RED-HOT – RE=about, DHOTI minus I=one.
16 Fish sandwiches to regurgitate (4,3)
TROT OUT – TROUT is the fish, sandwiching TO.
18 Theoretically, capital keeps leading man in order (1,6)
A PRIORI – A1 = capital, keeping PRIOR = the leading man in a religious order. Like 5ac, I saw the answer long before the wordplay.
20 I'm surprised by fellow doing spells in resistance (6)
OHMAGE – OH = I’m surprised, a MAGE does spells. I wasted time trying to find something along the lines of OMIGOD.
23 Songwriters using enclosed rhyme scheme (4)
ABBA – double definition, although it seems strange to call ABBA songwriters rather than a band. Benny and Bjӧrn did most of the writing.

The second definition is to do with poetry. I found this from John Milton in Wikipedia:
How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth, A
Stolen on his wing my three and twentieth year! B
My hasting days fly on with full career B
But my late spring no bud or blossom shew'th. A
24 Watcher and wiretapper, say, spy us abroad, catching name (5,5)
AGENT NOUNS – AGENT = spy, NOUS = us, in France, catching N = name. The definition is a DBE (see glossary), since watcher” andwiretapper” are of that type.
26 Popular legend maintaining Noah is at sea (11)
FASHIONABLE – anagram (at sea) of NOAH IS, in FABLE.
27 I'm off for a run (3)
BYE – double definition, the second cricketing.
28 Partners with stake in French city (6)
29 Having no match, with Lords wholly rejected? (8)
PEERLESS – double definition, the too second fanciful for me to underline.

1 Ground in Peru is still green (6)
UNRIPE – anagram (ground) of IN PERU.
2 Camp where one may sleep by lake (7)
COTERIE – COT is where one may sleep, ERIE is the lake.
3 Unable to receive calls for free (3,3,4)
OFF THE HOOK – double definition, the first reflecting old telephone technology.
4 Compare badly with what strippers ultimately do (4,7,2)
HAVE NOTHING ON – another double definition.
6 Soldiers requiring some ammunition (4)
UNIT – hidden.
7 Hearing this, we hear a hanky's required! (7)
ATISHOO – sounds like A TISSUE.
8 English resort's scandal involving male beasts? (8)
11 Gripping, powerless to hold record (13)
14 Seize butterfly perched on new grass coming up (10)
COMMANDEER – COMMA is the butterfly, N is new, REED is backwards.
17 Dad drops bottles very loudly, getting flammable substance (8)
PARAFFIN – PA, RAIN drops, getting FF.
19 What a judge has, one with a deep voice (7)
ROBESON – a judge has ROBES ON.
21 Back from fishing, discover carp (7)
GRUMBLE – G from fishing, RUMBLE = discover.
22 Give an appraisal of Jenny? (6)
ASSESS – another double definition, the second jocular, if you are prepared to grant that Jenny the donkey is an ass-ess.
25 Unopened cream of the healthier variety (4)
LITE – drop the E from ELITE.
March 26, 2021

Sunday Times Cryptic 4955, by Dean Mayer — slow and steady

…wins the race!

The week before, I had been out of ink, so Saturday saw me working the five weekday 15x15s, plus test-solving two for my former Nation team, before looking at this stunning offering, where I suddenly lost momentum. I stared blankly at the page for a while, and had only a few of the shorter answers filled in when I set it aside to tackle after a good night’s sleep.

So it certainly cannot be said that I 6 thru this 9, before eventually finishing last at 12.

I indicate (a Mars nag)* like this, and italicize anagrinds in the clues.

 1 Reason a follower has not changed (5)
BASIS — B, “a follower” + ASIS, “not changed”
 4 Being sluggish, a pet dog rolls back over (9)
GASTROPOD — Sluggish being, rather, but the reversal suits the wordplay: DOG<=“rolls back over” A, literally + STROP, “pet”
 9 Fast 14 (2,1,4)
AT A CLIP — You have to refer to 14 for the wordplay: (CAPITAL)*, with the anagrind WORKING.
10 Deer and sheep bound for cover (7)
BUCKRAM — BUCK, “Deer” + RAM, “sheep”
11 Argument has girl coming out worried (6)
DEBATE — DEB, “girl coming out” + ATE, “worried”
12 Race track’s skilled driver (8)
GOODWOOD — GOOD, “skilled” (as in being “good at” something) + WOOD, “driver” in golf. I had never heard of this place, so this where I crossed the finish line.
14 Means to trade on A1? (7,7)
WORKING CAPITAL — WORKING, “on” + CAPITAL, “A1,” as in “Capital idea, old boy! Just brill!”
17 Ancient land, extremely dry? (14)
19 Saw a head of state outside house, having gentleman around (8)
21 Loud noise, ultimately in head, may do so (6)
DEAFEN — DEA(F)([-nois]E)N… &lit, with a slightly odd definition (“ultimately in head”!), but that’s not uncommon when it comes to this type of clue.
23 I am playing with ants’ legs (7)
STAMINA — (I am + ants)*
24 Unscrupulous type in court. No conclusion reached (7)
25 Syntax concern in instruction book (4,5)
WORD ORDER — WORD, defined essentially as “instruction” in Lexico: “[a] command, password, or signal” + ORDER, “book” as in (Collins) “to engage ahead of time, as rooms, transportation, performers or performances, etc.”
26 Smoking? You shouldn’t have a pen (5)
TASTY — TA, “You shouldn’t have” + STY, “a pen”… This was the one I went down a fausse piste on this time, as I first had TAPER. It would have been an unusual clue (but this is Dean…), with “Smoking?” an oblique DBE; the wordplay TA, “You shouldn’t have” + PER, “a”; and another DBE, as I verified that “taper pen” is a real phrase specifying a style of writing implement. Oh, well…

 1 Help youngster to come out and challenge private (4,4)
BEAR DOWN — BEARD, “challenge” + OWN, “private”… “Come out” in quite a different sense than the girl does in 11.
 2 Song, right after a big chorus, for a cuckoo (11,4)
SCARBOROUGH FAIR — (a big chorus for a)* + R(ight)
 3 Finding this gemstone requires patience (9)
SOLITAIRE — This is basically two definitions, the jewel and the game (patience), folded into one sentence to make a sort of CD.
 4 Good mimic makes you yawn (4)
 5 Web areas advance, given the same power supply? (10)
SUBDOMAINS — SUB, “advance” (subsistence allowance) + DO, ditto, “the same” + MAINS, “power supply”
 6 Flew as fighter pilot, in a way (5)
 7 For a new salon, creates things (8,7)
PERSONAL EFFECTS — PER, “For a” + (salon)* + EFFECTS, “creates”
 8 March in Paris, from out of Paris (6)
DEMODE — DEMO, “March” + DE, “in Paris, from”… Looks odd without the accent (demodé).
13 Sugar etc extremely good for cooking dessert (3,7)
EGG CUSTARD — (Sugar etc + G[-oo]D)*
15 I point and shout “Rover!” (9)
ITINERANT — I, literally + TINE, “point” + RANT, “shout”
16 Mean to cross river with a fish (8)
18 City had not been prepared for rising (6)
WARSAW — WAS RAW <=“rising”
20 “P” breaks for cool beast (5)
22 Surgery reminder in Christmas card (4)
SCAR — Yes, it’s going to be quite a year… Hidden.