June 17th, 2021


Times Quick Cryptic No 1898 by Wurm

A touch under 11 minutes, around a minute longer than yesterday's, so tricky enough and it took a while to get going properly. A top-notch puzzle, with lovely surfaces and satisfying misdirection throughout. A few bits of obscurity that I recognised vaguely from crosswords past: I might have dredged up the meaning of 7d if presented with just the word, but would have been miles off 15d. Really enjoyed this - many thanks to Wurm!

1 One Mr Opera is replaced as concert master (10)
IMPRESARIO - anagram (replaced) of I (one) MR OPERA IS
8 Meat in spoon finally wiped to be cleaner (7)
SHAMPOO - HAM (meat) in SPOOn (final letter wiped)
9 Story written around black board (5)
TABLE - TALE (story) written about B(lack)
10 Friend initially creates unpleasant smell (4)
CHUM - C ("initially" Creates) HUM (unpleasant smell)
11 Journalist on the beer (8)
REPORTER - RE (on/concerning) PORTER (beer)
13 One having an eye for provocation? (6)
NEEDLE - double definition
14 Line in exotic cigar that’s strongly flavoured (6)
GARLIC - L(ine) in an anagram (exotic) of CIGAR
17 Grin broadly after antler found in wood (8)
HORNBEAM - BEAM (grin broadly) after HORN (antler). I was initially toying with "hornring".
19 Any number banned from stadium environs (4)
AREA - N (any number) banned from AREnA (stadium)
21 Girl reversing in limo anxiously (5)
NAOMI - "reversing in" LIMO ANxiously
22 Difficulty for British leaving en masse initially (7)
PROBLEM - PRO (for) B(ritish) LEM (Leaving En Masse "initially")
23 Steak: hotel dinner cooked without starter (10)
TENDERLOIN - anagram (cooked) of OTEL DINNER (hOTEL "without starter")
2 Your writer confident around a music bar (7)
MEASURE - ME (your writer) SURE (confident) around A. News to me (I think): the OED lists this as chiefly North American.
3 Hitch, or something he directed? (4)
ROPE - somewhere between an &lit and a double definition: to ROPE = to hitch, and Hitch[cock] directed Rope. Good film, and Patrick Hamilton is well worth a read.
4 Demonstrator perhaps in rain? (6)
SHOWER - double definition
5 Helping a learner is sensible (8)
RATIONAL - RATION (helping) A L(earner)
6 Gold coin in circulation? (5)
ORBIT - OR (gold) BIT (coin)
7 Pipe cracked each summer (10)
MEERSCHAUM - anagram (cracked) of EACH SUMMER. It sounds like it could be a fabric, or a perfume, or perhaps a mountain, but no it's a pipe.
8 Used as support worker (6,4)
SECOND HAND - to SECOND = to support, HAND (worker). The OED lists a jocular definition of second hand, relating to food, such as a joint after all the good bits are removed, or Rabelais's colourful description of the bowels: "The Cupboard wherein second-hand-meat is kept." Very good! (I was checking to see if a Second Hand was also a thing, like a second mate.)
12 European in biplane flying low (8)
PLEBEIAN - E(uropean) in an anagram (flying) of BIPLANE
15 German rock singer teaching the French one (7)
LORELEI - LORE (teaching) LE (the, French) I (one). Appeared in QC 1464 (Oct 2019) as: "Siren of traditional stories on the French island", which Curarist pithily blogged as "A siren who lured boatmen to destruction on the Rhine, the bitch."
16 Mum has good food for chatterer (6)
MAGPIE - MA (mum) has G(ood) PIE (food). I was only aware of the 'hoarder' sense, but a magpie is apparently also a chatterbox.
18 Aussie bouncers? Opener in trouble bats here! (5)
ROOST - ROOS (Aussie bouncers) T ("opener" in Trouble).
20 Bubble in black fuel (4)
BOIL - B(lack) OIL (fuel)
Linus van Pelt

28006 Thursday, 17th June 2021 Keep taking the tablet.

Well that's been exciting. My PC has made itself unobtainable, so I'm working on a not very powerful android tablet, fine for doing the crossword, as I seem to make fewer mistakes, but a bit of a trial when writing up the blog, I can't copy the clues directly as is my wont, and am limited to LJ's HTML editor, which thankfully is OK even for me.
As for the crossword, 22.49 which felt a bit slow, with the top half resisting more than the bottom. I wondered if there might be something of a theme with both the triangle word and its most famous exponent, but I think not.
I have done my best to eliminate mistakes and present clues, definitions and SOLUTIONS in my customary style, but if misprings have slipped through, please be kind as you usually are.


1 Projection to get extremely large ratings here (10)
FORECASTLE So projection is FORECAST, to which you add the extreme (letters) of LargE. Your ratings are of course the people shaped navy ones.
6 Stream in gorge to the west (4)
FLOW Gorge here is to eat greedily, or WOLF. "To the west" means you reverse it.
9 Liberal is firm and very devout (7)
COPIOUS Firm is CO(mpany) and very devout PIOUS.
10 Changing ends of meandering route, one wants good fare (7)
GOURMET An anagram (changing), for which you want the letters of ROUTE plus the M and the G from either end of meandering.
12 Date and I loved dancing and were a good match (10)
DOVETAILED And immediately our second anagram (dancing) of DATE and I LOVED.
13 Fighting men cut by a blade (3)
OAR Of the many abbreviations for military personnel, you need OR (Other Ranks). Cut them down the middle with the A in plain sight.
15 When one's getting on with female penning graffito (6)
DOTAGE The female in question is a deer one, a DOE, and the graffito penned thereby a TAG, one of those almost always illegible stylised signatures defacing public surfaces.
16 Distance Parisian is to roam (8)
ESTRANGE The Parisian version of is is EST, to which you add RANGE for roam. Distance here is a verb, not a noun.
18 Possibly getting a raise in pounds provided by board (8)
LIFTABLE Pounds gives you just the single L, or £, provided is IF and board TABLE.
20 Trims twirling officer's coat decoratively (6)
STUCCO So it's to coat decoratively, made up of CUTS for trims, which you twirl or reverse, plus an officer, in this case a CO.
23 Book suppressing final character's age (3)
ERA The book is EZRA from the OT, from which you remove the final character, in my alphabet the Z.
24 Needle with point around figure's side (10)
HYPOTENUSE The way I have this is that we have HYPO for needle of the kind they've recently jabbed in your arm, then USE is from point as in "what's the use/point of doing crosswords" surrounding TEN as a random figure.
26 Help when presenting US car line on the radio (7)
AUTOCUE An American car is an AUTO, and QUEUE for line sounds like CUE where heard on the radio.
27 American peak with worse weather (7)
RAINIER A volcano in the Cascades in Washington State. It helped that the weather here has just turned from dry to soaking, so it's rainier, worse unless welcome for the garden.
28 Herb around old French bread now (4)
EURO The herb is RUE, for remembrance according to Ophelia. It's around, or reversed, and O(ld) is stuck on the end. Bread, of course, slang for money.
29 Philosopher, on leaving, snakes around market (10)
PYTHAGORAS The snakes are PYTHONS, from which ON leaves. They then circle the AGORA, Greek for market, known to you from agoraphobia. The wordplay kindly prevents you spelling P. with a U at the end.


1 Reality about to get inverted in newspaper (4)
FACT C(irc)A for about gets inverted inside the F(inancial) T(imes).
2 Harmony left following musical style (7)
RAPPORT Left supplies you with PORT to follow RAP which is allegedly a musical style.
3 Work with nothing explicit about ballet, say (13)
CHOREOGRAPHIC Work is CHORE, nothing is 0, and explicit GRAPHIC.
4 Strut surely has wood in for example (6)
SASHAY This confused me, because I thought surely (ay perhaps), was part of the wordplay, but I think it's part of the definition as marked. So it's ASH, random wood, surrounded by SAY for for example. Chambers has "to walk or move in a gliding or ostentatious way": that'll do.
5 Bar's words from member with drinks on tab (8)
LEGALESE (Bodily) member is LEG, drinks ALES and your tab(let?) is the E.
7 Bird, catching bit of current, is to take off (7)
LAMPOON The bird is a LOON, and the bit of current it catches is represented by AMP.
8 A new merlot's drunk - it's sweet and refreshing (10)
WATERMELON About time we had another anagram (drunk), here of A NEW MERLOT. Oenophiles of this parish can confirm whether Merlot meets that description.
11 Getting this could be seen as infra dig (13)
UNDERSTANDING I'm going to leave the definition as marked, though dig also has similar overtones. I think the wordplay invites us to think of where we would be if infra, under. I'm happy to be further enlightened.
14 Corrupt? Oddly they're overwhelmed by praise (10)
ADULTERATE Take the odd letters of ThEy'Re and overwhelm them (well, surround them) with ADULATE for praise.
17 Like a shoe, perhaps, that's unsafe to walk on (8)
SLIPPERY The Uxbridge English Dictionary puts in an appearance. Under slippery, it has "a bit like a shoe".
19 Large heavier clothes more streamlined (7)
FLATTER Heavier translates to FATTER, which "clothes", L(arge)
21 One handling money in his care roughly (7)
CASHIER Another anagram (roughly), of HIS CARE.
22 Formality which may come from King Edward (6)
STARCH I believe starch is a major component of the potato, of which King Edward is an example.
25 Most of national flag (4)
IRIS The national you need is IRISH. Lose the last letter.

Times 28,007: Footymania

In keeping with the present zeitgeist, this crossword has multiple football XI's in it, one of them even Italian, to celebrate Italy's recent 3-0 win over Switzerland. (Can I just say I'm borderline offended by somebody called Immobile apparentl;y scoring a goal? I bet he wasn't.) And then just for good measure it threw in some cricket stuff too, to ensure there was something for every taste.

Some brilliant clues in the mix - I loved the elegant surfaces of "Ray washes trousers and pants" and "Short fat kid visits relations". Deceptively simple, but amazingly hard to do. 4dn, 8dn and 16dn are brilliantly inventive, and 17dn may be a WOW (word of the week). I don't know if 8dn, and indeed 9ac, quite work - can anyone add enlightenment to my own attempts to parse them? But even if they don't you cannot fault this puzzle's ambition and originality. Well Friday'd, setter, well Friday'd!

1 Urge to fight: one’s content to be beaten eventually? (3-3)
EGG-BOX - EGG [urge] + BOX [to fight]. The content of an egg-box is eggs, which may eventually get beaten

5 Rode with buggy as car started improperly? (3-5)
HOT-WIRED - (RODE WITH*) ["buggy"]

9 Valued systems regularly used in these times (8)
ASSESSED - S{y}S{t}E{m} S{y}S{t}E{m} in A.D. [these times]. Plus an extra SE that, I cannot tell a lie, I don't know where it comes from.

10 Poorly preserved (4,2)
LAID UP - double def

11 Daring to spoon jam (10)
BOTTLENECK - BOTTLE [daring] + NECK [to spoon]

13 Religious pioneer, one going against the mainstream (4)
EDDY - double def. Mary Baker Eddy is the founder of Christian Science

14 For Caesar, that is, time to depart (4)
IDES - ID ES{t} [Latin for "that is", minus T(ime)], &lit

15 See that on a broadcast and be amazed (3,4,3)
EAT ONE'S HAT - (SEE THAT ON A*) ["broadcast"]

18 Short fat kid visits relations (5-5)
GREAT-AUNTS - GREAS{e} ["short" fat] "visited" by TAUNT [kid]

20 A physicist, he died after backing human rights (4)
BOHR - OB(iit) reversed + H(uman) R(ights)

21 Coloured stone that’s become white when removed from casing (4)
OPAL - {g}O PAL{e}

23 Bridge repair, one very often short? (10)
CROSSPATCH - CROSS [bridge] + PATCH [repair] - a short-tempered person

25 Eleven of Italy’s fifty islands — rest over to the west (6)
NAPOLI - L I [fifty | islands] to the east/right of NAP O [rest | over]. Italian football team, topically today

26 Give best after admitting one’s disadvantage (8)
HANDICAP - HAND [give] + CAP [best] "admitting" I

28 French department’s English staff returned to hold party (8)
DORDOGNE - ENG ROD reversed, "holding" DO

29 Extra’s stage farewell (3,3)
LEG BYE - LEG [stage] + BYE [farewell]

2 Spare, comparatively ancient, fuel tank (9)
GASHOLDER - GASH [spare] + OLDER [comparatively ancient]. I had never come across "gash" as meaning "spare" before, but apparently it's old naval lingo. Maybe

3 Ray washes trousers and pants (7)
BREATHS - RE [= ray = a drop of golden sun = musical note] "trousered" by BATHS [washes]

4 Letters from abroad: at least twenty two? (3)
XIS - two XIs [elevens] are at least 22.

5 Country fellow’s work in garden including digging at the margins (5)
HODGE - HOE "including" D{iggin}G. An "English rustic or farm labourer"

6 Willing to move: one is keen, let’s get moving! (11)

7 Reserve medicines — spare bottles (7)
ICINESS - "bottled" in {med}ICINES S{pare}

8 Twenty, on leaving Guinea, acquiring horse? (5)
EQUID - {twenty on}E QUID. Isn't a guinea 21 shillings, not 21 quid? Love the idea though Apparently a "quid" also once referred to a guinea! Live and learn!

12 Striking, say outside, you whip and punch (3-8)
EYE-CATCHING - E.G. [say] "outside" YE, CAT, CHIN

16 What is needed to make its dough (3)
TIN - "is" needed a T IN to make "iTs"

17 Flexible management of redesigned coach yard (9)
ADHOCRACY - (COACH YARD*). Lovely word

19 Singer embracing Liberal lord, everyone embraced by Count! (3,4)
ALL TOLD - ALTO "embracing" L, + LD

20 Fired, perhaps, after lying about being led by bishop (7)
BLAZING - LAZING [lying about] led by B(ishop)

22 Standard way of talking up trouble in gallery (5)
PRADO - reversed R.P. [Received Pronunciation] + ADO [trouble]

24 Yellowish ring sent up by fag (5)
OCHRE - take CHORE [fag] and send the O [ring] upwards to the very top

27 Duck removing foot from river (3)
NIL - NIL{e}