June 2nd, 2021

Times Quick Cryptic 1887 by Mara

I seemed to be on the wavelength with this one. Not a total write-in, as several clues needed returning to for a second go, but on the gentle end of the spectrum.



Definition underlined.

Across
1 Arena, attractive thing for opener (4-4)
RING-PULL - RING (arena) and PULL (attractive thing).
5 Briton back on his bed (4)
SCOT - last letter of (back on) hiS and COT (bed).
9 Brazilian steps into cheongsam bashfully (5)
SAMBA - hidden in (into) cheongSAM BAshfully. The unusual bit of vocab here, which one doesn't need to know, is a fashionable Chinese dress.
10 Trouble with soldier, perhaps, brave (7)
GALLANT - GALL (trouble) and ANT (soldier, perhaps).
11 Intention to finish (3)
END - double definition.
12 Hawk in range, worm agitated (9)
WARMONGER - anagram of (agitated) RANGE WORM.
13 Red fruit carpet also's covered (6)
TOMATO - TOO (also) containing (has covered) MAT (carpet).
15 Reform of trades looked hard (6)
STARED - anagram (reform) of TRADES.
17 Ticket seller cooler after fight cancelled (3,6)
BOX OFFICE - ICE (cooler) after BOX (fight) and OFF (cancelled).
19 Force in London encountered (3)
MET - double definition.
20 Passage runs into bar (7)
EXCERPT - R (runs) contained by (into) EXCEPT (bar).
21 Top grade, as it happens, existing (5)
ALIVE - A (top grade) and LIVE (as it happens).
22 Take courses perhaps in English following row (4)
DINE - E (English) following DIN (row).
23 Dog leads on rumbustious Yorkies, mine (8)
COLLIERY - COLLIE (dog) then the first letters from (leads on) Rumbustious Yorkies.

Down
1 Admire sceptre that's fake (7)
RESPECT - anagram of (that's fake) SCEPTRE.
2 No bananas for wanderer (5)
NOMAD - NO and MAD (bananas).
3 Wily father I suspect after power — tempt fate (4,4,4)
PLAY WITH FIRE - anagram of (suspect) WILY FATHER I after P (power).
4 Served up, magnificent drink (5)
LAGER - reversal of (served up) REGAL (magnificent).
6 Horse: might one be on the phone? (7)
CHARGER - definition and cryptic hint.
7 Egyptian king or teacher (5)
TUTOR - TUT (Egyptian king) then OR.
8 Something to swat with The Observer? (3,2,3,4)
FLY ON THE WALL - double definition. Actually, it deserves a better description, but I dont have one. It's a bit &lit-ish, but using a double definition 'device' for the wordplay reading. Or maybe it's a cryptic defintion?
14 National average inspiring cricket team, hundred following (7)
MEXICAN - MEAN (average) containing (inspiring) XI (eleven, cricket team) and C (hundred).
16 Unable to think clearly, that chap in Dirty Dancing (7)
DITHERY - HE (that chap) contained by (in) an angram of (dancing) DIRTY.
17 Roll of money? (5)
BREAD - double definition.
18 Piece of counterpoint, roughly a couple of bars to start (5)
INTRO - hidden in (piece of) counterpoINT ROughly.
19 Reportedly predominant state (5)
MAINE - sounds like (reportedly) "main" (predominant).

Times 27993 - did it bode well, or bore you?

Well, one thing this puzzle wasn't, for me, was boring. it took me over half an hour, nearer to forty minutes, because I was led off in the wrong direction a couple of times and side-tracked into Wiki and Collins to learn more about things I was hoping were correct. It's my kind of puzzle; you come away pleased to have finished it but sad that it's over.
The astronomer I had heard of, the Cornish river too (from memories of childhood holidays), and the Latin bits I knew. The 'little darling' flower I had to construct from its fodder but it then rang a bell. The 2d and 9a crossers were my LOI and I liked the French food to chew on.

Across
1 Servant's goodbye coming with retirement finally (5)
VALET - VALE = Latin for goodbye, T = end of retirement.
4 Poet taking time around end of autumn to find wild animal's domain (4,5)
HOME RANGE - HOMER is our poet, add N (end of autumn) put into AGE (time).
9 Leaving the City area — it's stifling outside (9)
DECAMPING - I had trouble with this, as for a while I had  a T as third letter from 2d pencilled in wrongly. City area is EC (as in City of London), inserted into DAMPING which can mean stifling, shutting down, nothing to do with warm weather.
10 London giant’s journey featured in periodical (5)
MAGOG - GO (journey) inside MAG = periodical. I wrote it on because I knew Gog and Magog were giants in the Bible, but I didn't know what they had to do with London. Now I do, read about it here if you didn't know either.
11 Something attractive about holy person? (6)
LUSTRE - ST (saint) inside LURE (something attractive). I've made the whole clue the definition as otherwise 'something attractive' has to do double duty.
12 It's all right to interrupt one funny person or another (8)
JOKESTER - JESTER is one fully person, if you insert OK you get another.
14 Religiously committed school entertaining archdeacon with a set of holy books (10)
COVENANTED - a school could be CO-ED, into that insert VEN for archdeacon and A NT for a, set of holy books.
16 Good wood is cut (4)
GASH - G for good, ASH a kind of wood.
19 Session spanning winter months (4)
TERM - hidden as above.
20 Running late, trains can pose a problem? (10)
TANTALISER - (LATE TRAINS)*.
22 Female performance promises to be divisive (8)
FACTIOUS - F (female) ACT (performance) IOUS (promises to pay). There's factious, and fractious, which mean almost the same but not quite.
23 What's crazy in a French female — and maybe divine? (6)
UNMADE - I wanted this to mean crazy, at first, but the definition is 'maybe divine', i.e. not made by man, so UNMADE; MAD for crazy goes inside UNE being the French feminine article. I suppose you could stretch feminine UNE to mean a female person. Perhaps you could say "combien des femmes soient ici? Une." but it wouldn't be nice French as I learnt it. "Une seule" perhaps.
26 Fare to get across lake or swamp (5)
FLOOD - FOOD is fare, insert L for lake; I think here swamp is a verb, as a swamp isn't a flood.
27 Barge in season, heading off south east, beyond river (9)
INTERPOSE - (W)INTER, PO (the river) SE.
28 Spooner's sentimentality, something sweet providing inducement (4,5)
HUSH MONEY - Dr Spooner was saying MUSH HONEY being sentimentality and something sweet.
29 Exhausted author lying in street (5)
SPENT - PEN (author, as a verb) inside ST(reet).
Down
1 Devious devil, one sort of agent briefly turning to wit (9)
VIDELICET -  (DEVIL)*, I (one) TEC (agent) reversed. VIDELICET is short for videre licet which is Latin for 'permitted to see' and often shortened to viz; meaning 'that is to say' or 'to wit'.
2 Wants to be sluggish, first to last (5)
LACKS - well, SLACK = sluggish, move the S to the end. I began with SLOTH becoming LOTHS, but then got stuck with 9a, until I tried another route.
3 Tree in delta below river (8)
TAMARIND - The delightful River TAMAR forms much of the border between Devon and Cornwall. Add IN and D for delta.
4 Hotel dealt with trouble, bringing acclaim (4)
HAIL - H for hotel, AIL for trouble.
5 Get men into reorganising plant (10)
MIGNONETTE - (GET MEN INTO)*. The mignonette is a pretty flowering plant, native to the Mediterranean area, it means 'little darling' in French.
6 A politician in socialist hue rushed around violently (6)
RAMPED - A M.P. inside RED. Collins has "RAMP; 6. (esp. of animals) to rush around in an excited manner. As our new dog Ted3 seems to do most of the time.
7 Drinks late on? They won't help you keep a cool head then (9)
NIGHTCAPS - whimsical cryptic definition.
8 Wholehearted bore needing an audience (5)
EAGER - my best effort so far is to presume eager sounds like auger, meaning bore, but I can't make them sound very alike. EDIT Kevingregg tells us below:an EAGRE is a tidal bore, and so a homophone, I didn't know that.
13 Said annual travelling around should be in part of Spain (10)
ANDALUSIAN - (SAID ANNUAL)*.
15 Savage — time to oust one, right? (9)
VERACIOUS - savage = VICIOUS, replace I by ERA for time.
17 Food in France perhaps a mother's cooked, full of energy (9)
HORSEMEAT - (A MOTHER'S)* with E dropped in. Horsemeat is indeed available in most French hypermarkets; I've never tried it, mainly because it's about three times the price of beef and I don't eat much red meat. I would eat it if I was given it, just as I would with venison, but preferably not in a Tesco beefburger.
18 Plain folk from the south irked, note, with everyone (8)
LLANEROS - from the south = reversed; SORE (irked) N (note) ALL. A herder in S. America, so named after the llanos or plain grasslands in Spanish.
21 Is daughter given order to follow women's good sense? (6)
WISDOM - W(omen) IS D(aughter) OM (order of merit).
22 Garbage left abandoned staff finally collected in interval (5)
FIFTH - FILTH = garbage, delete L and insert F the end of staff. Interval as in music.
24 Residence of a German man of law (5)
ABODE - you could biff this if you didn't know that Johannes BODE (1747-1826) had a famous Law dealing with the relative mean distances between the sun and its planets.
25 Maybe lost dog has run away for stick (4)
STAY - lost dog = STRAY, take away R for run.