May 27th, 2021

Times 27988 - I panicked.

Time taken: 17:12.  I really struggled with this one and a look at the early times show that I might be an outlier. There's a few pieces of genral knowledge that just did not come readily to me and kept me from my usual time (though I didn't have an -ible vs -able typo like I have been prone to recently).

Curious to know what other people thought, I suspect this could be a divisive one. There's a country that is no longer a country, a cryptic definition that might be easy for some but ended up being my last one in, and I'm pretty sure there is a typo in 24 down which was my second last in.

Postscript: The typo in 24 down has been corrected. My surprise was the number of commenters who struggled with KEEP, which did use two defintions that are not a castle. This may be the first time the Times had more typos than me.

Away we go...

1 Novel style of energy weapon — disintegrating ray (10)
EPISTOLARY - E(energy), PISTOL(weapon), and an anagram of RAY
6 Pay due regard to board (4)
KEEP - double definition, board in this case meaning food and lodging
10 Ship’s front that takes a long time to pass (7)
GALLEON - GALL(front) with an EON(long time)
11 Support for line I found in European capital mostly — about time (7)
VIADUCT - I inside VADUZ(capital of Leichtenstein) missing the last letter, then C(about), T.  The line is a railway line.
12 Dog suffering modern ban (9)
13 Pensioner storing it around courtyard (5)
PATIO - OAP(Old Age Pensioner) containing IT all reversed
14 Country having a thousand Polish perhaps returning (5)
BURMA - A, M(thousand), RUB(polish) all reversed. Now Myanmar.
15 Awkward relative — bachelor that may be turned away (9)
AVERTIBLE - anagram of RELATIVE and B(bachelor)
17 Every European run mostly loaded with hidden imports? (9)
ALLEGORIC - ALL(every), E(Eurpoean), GO(run) and most of RICH(loaded)
20 Accepted statement from a football team over millions (5)
AXIOM - A, XI(eleven, football team), O(over), M(millions)
21 Strangely stark limestone landscape (5)
KARST - anagram of STARK
23 Vision of some past foxtrot champion retaining beat (9)
FLASHBACK - F(foxtrot, NATO alphabet), and BACK(champion), containing LASH(beat)
25 A fine story and easy to relate to (7)
AFFABLE - A, F(fine), FABLE(story)
26 The answer to this clue should fit the light (7)
GLAZIER - cryptic definition, a glazier could fit lights
27 Acute range of knowledge about Earth’s origin (4)
KEEN - KEN(range of knowledge) surrounding the first letter in Earth
28 What’s used for draught in county hospital or site left empty (5,5)
SHIRE HORSE - SHIRE(county), H(hospital), OR, then the outside letters of SitE
1 Went carefully arranging good deed (5)
EDGED - anagram of G(good) and DEED
2 Some in hotel are billing rises — that’s mean (9)
ILLIBERAL - hidden reversed in hoteL ARE BILLIng
3 Novel article close to capturing big guns (3,5,6)
THE GREAT GATSBY - THE(article) and BY(close to) containing GREAT(big) and GATS(guns)
4 Some words for actor are mostly a former script (6,1)
LINEAR A - LINE(some words for actor), then ARE missing the last letter, and A
5 Regret accepting level income (7)
REVENUE -  RUE(regret) containing EVEN(level)
7 At first, Etna’s rumbling, under pressure to — this? (5)
ERUPT - first letters of Etna's Rumbling Under Pressure To
8 What drivers use dearest place to get contents of pump? (9)
PETROLEUM - PET(dearest), ROLE(place), and the interior letters of pUMp
9 Detest a key PM cut by parliamentarians in place in London (9,5)
HAMPSTEAD HEATH - HATE(detest), A, the key of D and the PM Ted HEATH containing MPS(parliamentarians)
14 Other side about to need judge in game (9)
BLACKJACK - BACK(other side) containing LACK(need) and J(judge)
16 British fix promotion that is right for officer (9)
BRIGADIER - B(British), RIG(fix), AD(promotion), IE(that is), R(right)
18 Update umpire concerning his having missed one over (7)
REFRESH - REF(umpire), RE(concerning) then HIS minus I(one) reversed
19 What’s needed for a mobile phone mount (7)
CHARGER - double definition - something to plug your phone into and a horse
22 Get angry, grabbing fine weapon (5)
RIFLE - RILE(get angry) containing F(fine - the beginning in music)
24 Praver’s verse, a line ignored by eg Brunnhilde (5)
KYRIE - I am pretty sure this is meant to be PRAYER instead of PRAVER... I can't find any connection. Anyway, Brunhilde is a VALKYRIE, remove V(verse), A and L(line)

Times Quick Cryptic No 1833 by Des

Des is an infrequent setter who I have blogged a couple of times before.  I find that his puzzles are usually accessible and elegant, with occasional use of rare or archaic vocabulary, as is the case here.  6a, 2d, 6d, 14d and 16d may cause some hold ups, but I think are all perfectly fair.  This particular puzzle stretched me to 18 minutes – three over my target, but I really enjoyed the challenge, and in this week of challenging QCs, 18 minutes isn't bad.

COD 6a, FOI 1a, WOD 19a.

I can't believe that we are a few days away from June - what happened to spring and early summer?


Unhappy DIY’s made complicated(8)
DISMAYED – Anagram (complicated) of [DIY’S MADE].
6  Energy, at the present time, no longer sufficient (4)
ENOW – Lot’s of dimensions here.  The straight parsing is E{nergy} and NOW (present time) to give ENOW which is an archaic word (i.e. no longer used) for ‘enough’ or sufficient.  However, ENOW is also defined as a Scottish and dialectic word for ‘a moment ago’ or ‘presently’, so ‘at the present time’ could be doing double duty as a second definition, but that leaves Energy hanging!
8  Clubber gazed around, taking in Croatian capital (6)
ZAGREB – Reverse (around) hidden (taking in) in {club}BER GAZ{ed}.  Who looked for a 5-letter word for gazed containing a C and meaning Clubber?
Scottish landowners in Los Angeles – one’s crossing road (6)
LAIRDS – LA (Los Angeles) and I’S (one’s) outside of RD (road).
10 Little the outlaw does for his royal enemy (4)
JOHN – A cryptic hint at a double definition.  Little JOHN was one of the Merry Men, or outlaws in Robin Hood’s gang, who were opposed to King JOHN (who could therefore be described as his royal enemy).
11  Relative of swan confused with lion (3-2-3)
SON-IN-LAW – Anagram (confused with) of [SWAN] and [LION].
12  Remove stunted vegetation (5)
SCRUB – Double definition.
13  Ease, lazily at first, into a set (5)
ALLAY – L{azily} (at first) inside (into) A (a) and LAY (set, as in set / lay the table).  To ALLAY a fear is to ease it.
15  Fight when teetotaller gets in birthday beer! (2,6)
DO BATTLE – DOB (date of birth, birthday) followed by ALE (beer) into which TT (teetotaller) has been inserted.
17  Mighty impressive record in charge (4)
EPIC – EP (record, extended-play) and I{n} C{harge}.
19  Understand loud social gathering hasn’t ended (6)
FATHOM – F (loud, forte in musical notation) and AT-HOM{e} (social gathering, not ending).  An at-home is an old-fashioned term for a reception (social gathering) in someone’s own house.
20  Leading journo travelled back across it (6)
EDITOR – RODE (travelled) reversed (back) containing IT.
21  Which two hints are taken initially? (4)
THAT – Leading letters (initially) of Two Hints Are Taken.
22  Calls to collect the woman’s fruit (8)
CHERRIES – CRIES (calls) containing (to collect) HER (the woman’s).


2  I am past the final stage of development (5)
IMAGO – I’M (I am) and AGO (past).  IMAGO is the final, or perfect stage of an insect’s development.
3  Horse runs around in tar (7)
MARINER – MARE (horse) and R{uns} containing (around) IN (in).  Tar as in MARINER or sailor.
4  Upset by grasping old ruffian (3)
YOB – BY (reversed or upset) to give YB containing O{ld}.
Sketch Madeline, a temptress, in part! (9)
DELINEATE – Nicely hidden (part) in {ma}DELINE A TE{mptress)
6  Recalled unsophisticated French spa town (5)
EVIAN – NAÏVE (unsophisticated) reversed (recalled).  EVIAN only really known to me from the bottled water.
7 Mother could be odd ally (3,4)
OLD LADY – Anagram (could be) of [ODD ALLY].  Whilst I recognise the validity of OLD LADY for mother, I personally find it a little offensive.
11  Like tiny particles of mosaic, but different (9)
SUBATOMIC – Anagram (different) of [MOSAIC, BUT].
12  Cat put in bag – hard to bear (7)
STOMACH – TOM (cat) inside (put in) SAC (bag) and H{ard}.  To STOMACH as a verb is to bear something or put up with it.
14  More wary of large stranger (7)
LEERIER – L{arge} and EERIER (stranger).
16  Hates breaking dish (5)
ASHET – Anagram (breaking) of [HATES].  An ASHET is a (mostly) Scottish term for a large meat-plate or serving dish, with which I am familiar by marriage!
18  Primarily, intelligence and love combined (2,3)
IN ONE – I{ntelligence} (primarily) and NONE (love).
20  Woman undressed in garden the previous day (3)
EVE – Double definition.

Times 27,989: There's Only One Way To Solve, And That's Your Own, Your Own, Your Own

Tersely clued, but with a good sense of humour throughout. I liked 15ac a lot: a short and unusual word makes for a good "hidden", and groaned appropriately when I worked out the logic behind the initially biffed 3dn. 16dn also excellently concise. The laconism is proving a bit contagious so I will say: thank you setter! And leave it at that.

1 Get back on with putsch (6)
RECOUP - RE [on] with COUP [putsch]

5 Getting at bandleader wearing nothing ostentatious (8)
NOBBLING - B{and} "wearing" NO BLING

9 Old radical populist with two pounds in bank at end of year (8)
LEVELLER - L L in LEVEE at {yea}R

10 In bowl, article that may accompany coffee, (6)

11 A sort of dance? Move slowly if necessary (2,1,5)
AT A PINCH - A TAP [sort of dance] + INCH [move slowly]. FOI

12 Thought anyone but myself available (6)
NOTION - NOT I [anyone but myself] + ON [available]

13 Similar-sounding old name given to animal and insect (8)
ASSONANT - O N given to ASS, and ANT

15 Stage a new abridged production of The Cherry Orchard (4)
GEAN - hidden in {sta}GE A N{ew}. The sweet/wild cherry

17 Fresh United back finally ready (4)
DEWY - reversed WED + {read}Y

19 Liked a river, but forced to divert round it (5,3)
CARED FOR - A R, with (FORCED*) around that

20 Close contract finally, with some help around (2,4)
AT HAND - {contrac}T, with A HAND around

21 Poison developed from a protein (8)

22 Better organised revolutionary holding one childish opponent back (6)
TIDIER - reverse all of: RED "hilding" I, + IT [the person trying to catch you in a children's game]

23 Members of union run into worries (8)

24 Two dots, for example, representing small island (8)
COLONSAY - COLON, SAY. Scottish island in the Inner Hebrides

25 Me and my best friend? (6)
SETTER - double def, one human and one canine

2 Regular and predictable movement late in the day (8)
EVENTIDE - EVEN [regular] + TIDE [predictable movement]

3 Such an office aiming to eliminate handwriting? (4-4)
OPEN-PLAN - or O PEN PLAN = zero pen plan

4 Yearn extremely to visit the ends of the earth: one reaches a group of islands (9)
POLYNESIA - Y{ear}N "visiting" POLES, + I + A

5 One of Jane’s, her baby not unusually filled with rage (10,5)
NORTHANGER ABBEY - (HER BABY NOT*) "filled" with ANGER. Jane Austen, ofc

6 Confirm escape of wild animal? (4,3)
BEAR OUT - with a jokey second def

7 Start bland description of restaurant experience (8)

8 Suspended, getting in bloody fast (2,6)

14 Wicked Olympic city unfortunately unsafe to tour (9)
NEFARIOUS - RIO, "toured" by (UNSAFE*)

15 Really great performance — furious father’s left (8)
GIGANTIC - GIG [performance] + {fr}ANTIC. LOI

16 Lily has a special house key (8)
ASPHODEL - A SP(ecial) HO(use) DEL(ete)

17 Some medicine stolen? One may win in court (4,4)
DROP SHOT - DROPS [some medicine] + HOT [stolen]

18 Supply wren with suet feeder (3,5)
WET NURSE - (WREN + SUET*). Anagrind is "supply" as an adverb, not noun

19 Is youngster allowed to eat here? (7)
CANTEEN - CAN TEEN [is youngster allowed], semi-&lit