June 5th, 2021

  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27990 - Saturday, 29 May 2021. Roll up, roll up … fun for all!

Here we have TV shows, stage plays. Fun parks. Trashy paperbacks. Track and field sports, or a quiet ale. Something for everyone! 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.

Across
1 Place one must get out of party game (9)
DODGEBALL – in Gunsmoke, Marshall Dillon regularly told the bad guys to ‘get out of DODGE’. The party could be a BALL. And, apparently, dodgeball is a game.
9 Performer, in part, is terrific (7)
ARTISTE – hidden.
10 Play live match moved outside (7)
MACBETH – BE in anagram (moved) of MATCH.
11 Cyclist's close with a head coach (5)
TEACH – T from cyclisT’s ‘close’, then EACH=a head, as in ‘tuppence each’.
12 Hurry back around New York, perhaps, to get vehicle (6,3)
ESTATE CAR – RACE backwards around STATE.
13 Country curses bad weather (7)
BAHRAIN – BAH! Humbug! Curses! + RAIN.
15 Person fighting to unwrap a classic film, for example (5)
OLDIE – the fighter is a sOLDIEr. Unwrap him.
17 Mug a writer (5)
STEIN – double definition: a stein of beer, or Gertrude Stein.
18 Primate’s brother’s inviting one in (5)
LORIS – oh brother! LOR’ amighty! Invite I=one in, then append the ’S.
19 Cuban steps over short snake first (5)
MAMBO – O=over, with MAMBa first.
20 Thinner expert has style (7)
ACETONE – ACE=expert, TONE=style.
23 Feel snout working when using it? (4,5)
NOSE FLUTE – anagram of (working) FEEL SNOUT.
25 Symbol of bear market's beginning (5)
TOTEM – TOTE=bear, Market.
27 Mad man admits it hurts (7)
TOUCHED – OUCH in TED.
28 English house having no heart for environmental terrorism (7)
ECOTAGE – E, COTtAGE. New word to me.
29 Perceptive observer's article about one way of voting (3-6)
LIP-READER – LEADER=newspaper article, around I=one + P.R.=proportional representation.

Down
1 Reportedly held back on the way to hell (6)
DAMNED – sounds like DAMMED.
2 Olympian cheated when swimming without permit (10)
DECATHLETE – anagram of (swimming) CHEATED, without=outside LET=permit.
3 Vote in referendum primarily about something negative? (8)
ELECTRON – ELECT=vote in, R=referendum ‘primarily’, ON=about.
4 Hours sunk into soaring piece of music that's improvised (2,3)
AD HOC – H in CODA, all soaring upwards in this down clue.
5 Awful mark erasable — with this? (5,4)
LASER BEAM – anagram of (awful) M + ERASABLE, with the M being for mark.
6 A sharp paindarn! (6)
STITCH – double definition.
7 Ladies' man is regularly head over heels in this region (4)
ASIA – every second letter of lAdIeS mAn, read backwards.
8 Satisfied with hotel signs I would say (8)
METHINKS – MET=satisfied (my wishes), H=hotel, INKS=signs (a document).
14 Possibly made perfect show on book in a hurry (10)
AIRBRUSHED – AIR=show, B=book, RUSHED.
16 Oscar follows blokes into dodgy bar having left work (4,5)
DIME NOVEL – MEN + O in DIVE + L=left.
17 Philosopher king gets hold of rocket ultimately for space programme (4,4)
STAR TREK – SARTRE is the philosopher. Insert T from rockeT, and add K=king.
18 Crazy golf followed by bumpy mule ride (3,5)
LOG FLUME – two consecutive anagrams (crazy/bumpy) of GOLF + MULE.
21 Energy about a brass band's sound (6)
OOMPAH – OOMPH about A.
22 Kind offer (6)
TENDER – double definition.
24 Exercise set: one’s somersaulting (3-2)
SIT-UP – PUT + I’S, ‘somersaulting’.
26 Set up wrong sort of socialist (4)
TROT – TORT = a legal wrong, ‘set up’=backwards in a down clue.
March 26, 2021

Sunday Times Cryptic 4957, by David McLean — strange games

Ah, I’ve missed traveling lately, as a second spring has passed without my leaving the country. A few months ago, I discovered YouTube videos shot from the engineer’s cab of trains passing through exotic climes—hours long, and some are endless, livestreaming. They provide a relaxing background as I read or work, and a refreshing virtual getaway. As does a puzzle like this, where we do a bit of globe-trotting.

I indicate (a man’s rag)* like this, and italicize anagrinds in the clues.


ACROSS
 1 Put down mount out of view of the house (8)
OFFSTAGE — They shoot horses, don’t they? OFF, “Put down” (kill), STAGE, “mount” (verb)
 5 Hot male filled with endless passion being 27 (6)
INFIRM — IN(FIR[-e])M, with IN being “Hot” meaning popular and M “male.” The last time I blogged, we had to refer to another clue for the wordplay; this time, it’s the definition.
 9 Banged-up, but ready for release (2,3,3)
IN THE CAN — DD
10 Members back wingers from England fired from the Den (6)
SNIPED — PINS, “Members” <=“back” + E[-nglan]D… Well, there’s a Sniper’s Den Gym in Ontario (hockey) and Snipers (sic) Den Paintball (!) in Melbourne. The latter popped up first on Google.
11 Burden of European police about to arrest husband (5)
THEME — E, “European” + MET, yer “police” <=“about” nabbing H for “husband”
12 Stylist working on Bush is patriot, surprisingly (9)
TOPIARIST — (is patriot)*
14 One enrolled in foreign art trips to mug artist, perhaps (11)
PORTRAITIST — (I + art trips to)*
18 Sign seen outside a locksmith’s premises? (7,4)
BARBERS POLE — CD
21 Publishing restrictions making Garbo seem happy (9)
EMBARGOES — (Garbo seem)*
23 One tweeting point men put another way (5)
ROBIN — NIB, ”point” + OR (other ranks), “men” <=“put another way”
24 Little way to get over very long depression (6)
VALLEY — ALLEY, “Little way” gets, over (it), V(ery)… This took a minute to parse!
25 Manufacture ducks? Do it! (4,4)
MAKE LOVE — MAKE, “manufacture” + “ducks,” LOVE (as a pet name)
26 A republican turning on paper’s most unusual (6)
RAREST — A, literally + R(epublican) <=“turning” + RE, “on” + S(unday) T(imes), “paper”
27 A foreign desk admitting head of state’s weak (8)
UNSTABLE — UN(S)TABLE

DOWN
 1 A number good and worried after circular letter (6)
OPIATE — PI being “good” (pious) and ATE being “worried” after O, “circular letter” Using “number” this way is a cryptic cliché, or staple; in fact, both Kosman & Picciotto puzzles I was one of the test-solvers for last weekend featured it (these puzzles will actually run some months apart), and my slowness in picking up on it here I attributed to a subconscious feeling that it couldn’t be appearing yet again so soon…
 2 Female giving support to portly cloth rep? (6)
FATHER — “Female” is HER and FAT, “portly”; the definition is rather cryptic and deceptive: a “man of the cloth” represents that… métier, I guess you could say.
 3 US trade leader seen with disguised peephole (3,6)
THE PEOPLE — (T[-rade] + peephole)*
 4 Expedition vehicle UI Armstrong rebooted (4,7)
GRAN TURISMO — (UI Armstrong)*
 6 Silent killer of men in Japan (5)
NINJA — Hidden
7 Absolute little fiend tolerated by the fuzz (8)
IMPLICIT — IMP, “little fiend” + LICIT, “tolerated by the fuzz”
 8 Think deeply about time-consuming referee (8)
MEDITATE — MEDI(T)ATE
13 Capital in Barcelona? (4,2,5)
PORT OF SPAIN — The capital of Trinidad and Tobago, in the Caribbean!
15 Seriously, two homes require internal attention (2,7)
IN EARNEST — IN(EAR)NEST
16 One watching old boy against McEnroe? (8)
OBSERVER — OB, “old boy” + SERVER, and McEnroe is one.
17 Possibly baby one of the babes of Busby? (8)
DRIBBLER — I found the football reference rather mystifying, of course.
19 Consume a British dessert, but not last two portions (6)
ABSORB — A + B(ritish) + SORB[-et]
20 A file containing news supplement (6)
ANNEXE — A(NN)EXE, looks quite strange to me with the second E, but it’s a variant in the dictionaries.
22 Hums number ones of recent era (except KLF songs) (5)
REEKS — First letters, “number ones”
verlaine

Times Cryptic Jumbo 1499: The Man With The Midas Touch, A Spider's Touch

A quick solve for me, nothing too hard to write up the parsings for here. I was grudgingly going to admit that the sports-related clues (eg 40ac) were among the most memorable of the across complement, but I was saved from having to nominate one of them as COD by the brilliant 4dn and the excellently Shakespearean 38dn. Thank you setter!

ACROSS
1 After alterations our coat is really frightful (9)
ATROCIOUS - (OUR COAT IS*)

6 Flexibility to eat cooked spleens (10)
SUPPLENESS - SUP [to eat] + (SPLEENS*)

12 Chap taking horse round for girl (7)
MARLENE - LEN taking MARE round

13 Treasury so filled by Edomite king (9)
THESAURUS - THUS, filled by ESAU R

14 Reported attempt by commercial gang of criminals (5)
TRIAD - homophone of TRY + AD

16 I’ve to replace gold in battery — it’s adding up (12)
ACCUMULATIVE - ACCUMULAT{or->I'VE}

17 Proceeds to meet force: correct to be alarmed (4,6)
TAKE FRIGHT - TAKE [proceeds] + F + RIGHT

19 Snooty Guardian misrepresented religious occasion (8,6)
ROGATION SUNDAY - (SNOOTY GUARDIAN*)

22 Shopping centre killer in holiday isle (8)
MALLORCA - MALL ORCA

24 Seignories regularly selected by male self-interest (6)
EGOISM - {s}E{i}G{n}O{r}I{e}S by M

25 Brown horse fed regular helpings of straw or equivalent (10)
TANTAMOUNT - TAN MOUNT, fed {s}T{r}A{w}

26 Succeeded with month — after missing the first three — avoiding drink (5)
SOBER - S with {oct}OBER

29 Measure duration of two notes (4)
TIME - TI + ME

30 Defence Intelligence seeing army unit (8)
DIVISION - D.I. + VISION [seeing]

32 Brood about awful place without cinema (9)
MULTIPLEX - MULL "about" TIP, plus EX [without]

34 Navy chiefs mostly have high opinion of a lieutenant, first in year (9)
ADMIRALTY - ADMIR{e} A LT + Y{ear}

35 Considered certain to get in alcohol (8)
MEASURED - SURE getting in MEAD

36 Look pleased when son’s lost race (4)
MILE - {s}MILE

39 New Year in parrot country (5)
KENYA - N Y in KEA

40 Playing tee then inn — as the golf clubhouse is considered? (10)
NINETEENTH - (TEE THEN INN*) - the proverbial nineteenth hole

42 Compensate some mature couples (6)
RECOUP - hidden in {matu}RE COUP{les}

44 Drive out using oxygen for energy in military manoeuvres (8)
EXORCISE - EX{e->O}rcise

46 Very best carbon engineers guided over a hundred engineers (5,2,2,5)
CREME DE LA CREME - C REME + reversed LED + A C REME; Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers

48 Top twelve deliveries or more got zero wickets (10)
OVERSHADOW - OVERS [one over being six deliveries, so multiple = at least 12] HAD 0 W

49 Insecurity sustains need, unfortunately (12)
UNSTEADINESS - (SUSTAINS NEED*)

53 Dull brownish-yellow persimmon’s hard inside (5)
KHAKI - KAKI [Japanese persimmon] has H inside

54 I note short fir tree, one quite close to where willow’s used? (9)
INFIELDER - I N FI[r} ELDER

55 Reptile tense about a rat dropping close (7)
TUATARA - reversed TAUT + A RA{t}

56 Founder in port region, completely wrecked (10)
PROGENITOR - (PORT REGION*)

57 Fruit the man carried in blue van? (9)
SPEARHEAD - PEAR + HE, carried in SAD

DOWN
1 Pure gold at heart of EM Forster novel? (5)
AURIC - {m}AURIC{e}

2 Their mum’s suffering with a painful condition (10)
RHEUMATISM - (THEIR MUM'S + A*)

3 Welsh town mostly to respond over Christmas coming up (8)
CAERLEON - reversed REAC{t} + reversed NOEL

4 What comes from sextet, couple turning up? (5)
OCTET - hidden reversed in {sex}TET CO{uple}, &lit

5 Arm fanatic? This can create tension in turn (6,3)
SLEEVE NUT - SLEEVE [arm] + NUT [fan]

6 Rascal’s endless swindle (4)
SCAM - SCAM{p}

7 Turning up road on a hill, not bad for seclusion (6)
PURDAH - reversed UP + RD + A H{ill} [not bad = minus ILL]

8 Isles left with essential nature, managed until Europeans vacated (6,8)
LESSER ANTILLES - L + ESSE + RAN TILL E{uropean}S

9 A curl Titian’s represented is true to life (12)
NATURALISTIC - (A CURL TITIAN'S*)

10 Informer about wife being a partner swapper (7)
SWINGER - SINGER "about" W

11 One politician with broadcast audibly intended to show disability (10)
IMPAIRMENT - 1 MP with AIR + homophone of MEANT

15 What can define characters of Dorothy, Matthew and Brian, say (3,6)
DOT MATRIX - DOT, MAT and (Brian) RIX

18 Brooded over craze for place roamed by devils? (8)
TASMANIA - reversed SAT + MANIA

20 Moan about mom’s unruly wedding attendant (9)
GROOMSMAN - GROAN "about" (MOM'S*)

21 Harshly criticising small vehicle if expiring on losing key (10)
SCARIFYING - S CAR IF {d}YING

23 Almost certain moment United, one down, overcame (10)
SURMOUNTED - SUR{e} MO UN{i}TED

27 Militant ringer, one very big in church (9)
BELLICOSE - BELL + I + OS in CE

28 What too many rail passengers are doing for supplier of fuel (7,7)
FILLING STATION - double def with a description of an jam-packed station, all too familiar to all London commuters

31 Green put in prison when limiting alternative technology (8)
IMMATURE - IMMUTE "limiting" A.T.

33 Bring about old commercial pitch in putting out a programme (12)
BROADCASTING - BRING "about" O AD CAST

34 Footwear irritates continually on stone, never right (5,4)
ANKLE SOCK - {r}ANKLES on {r}OCK

37 State reportedly to assess trunk road in the US (10)
EXPRESSWAY - EXPRESS [state] + homophone of WEIGHT

38 Stop Act Four after what Feste repeats in Twelfth Night, perhaps (10)
DEACTIVATE - ACT IV after E [only repeated character in {f}E{st}E], in DATE

41 Vengeful trio of Brussels bureaucrats, say, having day in Rome (9)
EUMENIDES - EU MEN, having IDES. The classical Furies, ironically named "the kindly ones"

43 Wild olive tree also going up the wall (8)
OLEASTER - (TREE ALSO*)

45 Outdoor work with English rain awful (4-3)
OPEN-AIR - OP with (E RAIN*)

47 Sweet company getting initially more healthy (6)
COMFIT - CO getting M{ore} FIT

50 Morning service has Roman Catholic in support (5)
TERCE - RC in TEE

51 Antelope displaying vigour over days (5)
ELAND - ELAN over D

52 Billions lug and carry (4)
BEAR - B + EAR [lug]