July 3rd, 2021


Monthly Club Special 20,249: Friml Jinx It

Crikey, is the year half over already? On the plus side, that means that we have another MCS to enjoy. This was a good 'un with some really great words and a couple of original cryptic constructions that stood out for me: 16ac and 14dn. Great work setter, looking forward to the next one!

1 Lightly touch, holding palm before a sexy dance (4-4)
PATA-PATA - PAT "holding" ATAP, before A. Miriam Makeba did a version of this sexually suggestive South African dance, in which handsiness is encouraged

5 Tiny insect in lettuce with thick sauce dressing that’s sent back (6)
PSOCID - COS "dressed" in DIP, and reversed. Booklouse or barklouse

9 Exhausted again, chesty? Nothing short of bacterial disease (9)

11 Stoker possibly behind a disused copper (5)
ABRAM - BRAM Stoker the Dracula author, behind A. Shakespearean "auburn"

12 Cornish river skirts capitals and island area of upper Red Lane (7)
FAUCIAL - FAL "skirts" U(pper)C(ase) + I A. Pertaining to the upper part of the throat

13 Soldier only lightly armed: hide or bombard with a stone? (7)
PELTAST - PELT [hide/bombard, take your pick] + A ST. Greek soldier with a "pelta" or light shield

14 After letter, Moody Blues initially support backing tracks involving extremely heavy rock (13)
RHOMBPORPHYRY - after RHO, M{oody} B{lues}; plus reversed PROP [support] + RY [tracks], "involving" H{eav}Y

16 Characters that may be uniquely placed to reveal sinful bastard (6,7)
FILIUS NULLIUS - if you take only the unique characters of the answer, FILUSN, you can anagram those to SINFUL

20 Robespierre’s tied behind the neck to line up for execution (7)
ENQUEUE - EN QUEUE is basically French for "in a ponytail"; double def with the computer science use, enqueuing some tasks

21 Nothing to cover cost of travel to west: coin no longer used (7)
XERAFIN - NIX "covering" FARE, the whole reversed. Formerly currency in Goa

23 Greeting among Canadians, maybe Ontarians primarily? (5)
CHIMO - HI "among" C{anadians} M{aybe} O{ntarians}, &lit, as this is an Eskimo-Aleut greeting

24 Financial centre in period of activity for Brexit, say (9)
SECESSION - EC in SESSION. Most straightforward clue in the puzzle!

25 Wanting love, certain people take advantage of abandoned hole in wall (6)
SMEUSE - S{o}ME USE. Dialect form of meuse or mews

26 Monkey nut? We want to hear about it! (8)
ENTELLUS - EN [nut] + TELL US! The hanuman monkey of India, which apparently resembles Entellus the old Sicilian in Virgil's Aeneid!

1 Passage in place where mix-up keeps Scots away (6)
PIAFFE - PIE keeps AFF. Dressage manoeuvre

2 Overlapping plates protect one serving of ratatouille (5)
TATOU - in {ra}TATOU{ille}. Some kind of large armadillo

3 Cordial individual almost finished eating chip (7)
PERSICO - PERSO{n} "eating" I(ntegrated)C(ircuit), for this peach cordial

4 Past upturns claimed by sources of finance with credit on thin ice (6-7)
TICKLY-BENDERS - reversed BY "claimed" by LENDERS, with TICK on. Who named thin ice this? I want to find them and shake them by the hand

6 Small boat store in which everything must go (7)
SHALLOP - SHOP, in which ALL

7 Something to drive apart from rise of insidious insecticides (9)
CARBARYLS - CAR [something to drive] BAR [apart from] reversed SLY [insidious]

8 Gas money in the US, superior to your old pounds (8)
DIMETHYL - DIME [10c in the US], above THY L. Ethane

10 Antibiotic agents to curb disease, checking how hysterical, cold and hot (13)
CIPROFLOXACIN - CIA "curbing" POX "checking" ROFL! [how hysterical] + C + IN. ROFL, if you're too old to know, is Rolling On The Floor Laughing. See also "roflcopter"

14 Bloody fluid used as supplement, forgetting every day remains (9)
RELIQUIAE - RE{d} LIQUI{d} A{dd}E{d}, with all D(ay)s removed.

15 More than one slight burn in the end, covered with hot drinks when head is lowered (8)
OFFENCES - {bur}N, "covered with" COFFEES "lowering" its head to become OFFECES

17 Once abundant in America, robe set off uniform (7)
UBEROUS - in US, (ROBE*) + U

18 Aftersales service shows the reverse of such intemperance (7)
IVRESSE - hidden reversed in {aftersal}ES SERVI{ce}

19 Letter from scripture conveying female ancestor’s spiritual insights (6)
JNANAS - JAS. [the Letter of James, in the Bible] "conveying" NAN

22 Operetta composer, he was most productive around periphery (5)
FRIML - FL{oruit} "around" RIM. Rudolf FRIML, Czech composer, not to be confused with ROFL
  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 28014 - Saturday, 26 June 2021. Plain sailing except for the sandbanks.

A straightforward Saturday puzzle. Everything made sense on reflection (or on examining the typesetting with a microscope for 10ac!). 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 and commentary are (in brackets).

1 Completely low voice good with number (10)
ALTOGETHER – ALTO=low voice, G=good, ETHER=anaesthetic=number. My rudimentary knowledge of Italian was a minor impediment. Alto obviously means high, but in musical terms it can apparently mean contralto - a low female voice.
6 Dubious where first item taken from second (4)
8 Contaminate spot surrounding golden plant (8)
MARJORAM – MAR=contaminate, JAM=spot, surrounding OR=golden.
9 Excursion that reveals orientation? (6)
OUTING – double definition. One a trip, the other a gender identity revalation.
10 Boat lower when stern disappears (4)
SCOW –  SCOW(L)=lower or glare, as a verb.

Drat ... the formatting fooled me again. I read STERN as STEM, and thought we were dealing with a clue that somehow turned SCOW into (s)COW=lower. Now, having copied the solution into the blog, I can now confirm the clue says s-t-e-r-n. Grump. Why can’t the club fix this??

11 Epics remade with top stars: one conveys authority (10)
SPECIALIST – (remade) anagram of EPICS, then A-LIST.
12 Scots girl and two scholars died in city (9)
ISLAMABAD – ISLA is apparently Scottish, in the mind of the setter. I take their word for it. Then MA + BA + D.
14 Romeo having tempted woman left to take pleasure (5)
REVEL – R=Romeo, in the phonetic alphabet. EVE was the tempted woman. L=left.
17 One draped in black, reflective, her tears legendary (5)
NIOBE – EBON=black, poetically. Insert I, and reverse. Read about her tears here.
19 Copper back on a diet wobbles around for guidance (9)
EDUCATION – CU backwards inside a (wobbly) anagram of ON A DIET.
22 Returning home unwell after rich cake and pasta (10)
TORTELLINI – TORTE, then reverse IN+ILL.
23 Asian location covering half of the land (4)
AGRA – AGRA(rian)=of the land.
24 Make mistake accepting sentimentality: it's worthless (2-4)
NO-GOOD – GOO in NOD. Even Homer nods, one of my high school teachers used to say.
25 Fantastic innings at an end (8)
KNOCKOUT – a batsman’s innings is a KNOCK. It ends if he gets OUT.
26 Where those in service eat dog's dinner (4)
MESS – double definition. I’ve always wondered why they call the eating place a mess!
27 Old comic — publication seen as abrasive (5,5)
EMERY PAPER – I don’t remember anything about Dick EMERY, but at least the PAPER is obvious.

1 Confession being task of Christian era? (9)
ADMISSION – AD=Christian era, MISSION=task. CE may be more neutral or inclusive than AD, but wouldn’t help the setter here!
2 Speaker's expression, crude perhaps, bringing disorder (7)
TURMOIL – TURM sounds like TERM=expression (as the speaker says it). OIL might be crude.
3 Bizarrely true view of ancient civilisation (8)
ETRUSCAN – (bizarre) anagram of TRUE, then SCAN=view.
4 Excited children ask me round before noon to see Reds emblem (6,3,6)
HAMMER AND SICKLE – (excited) anagram of CHILDREN + ASK + ME + AM=before noon. So not Liverpool FC!
5 Eggs to include acceptable one — and one raw? (6)
ROOKIE – ROE to include OK + I=one.
6 Someone smart, allowed to rise, embraced by crooked client (9)
INTELLECT – LET ‘rising’ inside a (crooked) anagram of CLIENT.
7 Punish opponents at bridge having succeeded in this? (7)
FINESSE – FINE +S(outh) + E(ast), having S=succeeded inside. East and South are of course opponents at bridge, but how many of you knew what a finesse is?
13 Impressive bird one better than eagle (9)
ALBATROSS – double definition. Bird, or golf score. I’m sure the reference involving golf is much more familiar than the one in the previous clue: an albatross is a score on a hole one stroke lower than an eagle.
15 House and shed bordered by country road on river (9)
LANCASTER – CAST inside LANE + R. A royal house, not a country house.
16 A mate screening film occasionally shows resentment (8)
ACRIMONY – IM = ‘occasional’ letters of (f)I(l)M, in A CRONY.
18 Elementary form that is very best gathered inside (7)
20 Exclusive set part of Greek publishing firm? (2-5)
IN-GROUP – IN=part of, GR=Greek, O.U.P. = the publishing firm.
21 Insult batsman Bob? (6)
SLEDGE – double definition. A verb, and a noun.

Times Cryptic Jumbo 1504: Weeping Crocodile Pears

This was fairly easy, as they go, with the mighty Jason and Magoo polishing it off in the order of 12 minutes. I did not, busy as I was waffling over a stream of it, the results of which you can see at https://www.twitch.tv/videos/1076623577, should such things take your fancy.

I could have been a little quicker had I not entered 28dn as AVOGRADO, by false analogy to AVOCADO, which made things a little more exciting than they needed to be. Favourite clues included 49ac (Oscar Wilde is a hero of mine, for obvious floppy-haired Magdalen classicist reasons) and 22dn for managing to use the seemingly unpromising second largest town in Zimbabwe as part of the wordplay. Thanks setter! A gentle but fine Jumbo.

1 Opener from western Irish team? (9)
CORKSCREW - or CORK'S CREW. Is Cork "western" Ireland? I would've called it southern, but I guess it's more west than east...

6 A Soviet trying to change the nature of an inquiry (13)

13 Staffs European minister’s residence (5)

14 Advanced tango composer was conducting (9)
TRAVELLED - T RAVEL LED [tango | composer | was conducting]

15 Your setter’s singular attempt to pen English puzzle (7)
MYSTERY - MY S TRY, "penning" E

16 Walk forward in organised protest unknown in the UK, say (14,8)
CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY - CONSTITUTIONAL [walk] + ON [forward] in MARCH Y [protest | unknown]

18 Can king and queen take against spectator? (6-2)
LOOKER-ON - LOO K + E.R. take ON [against]

20 Free veteran beer finally does for publican (8)

21 Mallard, perhaps, departs with a string of carriages (5)
DRAKE - D + RAKE [a connected set of railway carriages or wagons, apparently]

23 Crops rye fields use in the middle (6)
YIELDS - {r}Y{e} {f}IELD{s} {u}S{e}

24 Expression of surprise after TV system’s lack of colour (6)
PALLOR - LOR! after PAL [Phase Alternating Line, big kudos if you knew what that stood for]

25 Interesting, a bishop leads service in west end of Glasgow (9)
ABSORBING - A B leads SORB [another word for the "service" or rowan tree!] IN G{lasgow}

28 Gallium in star’s taken by American plant (10)
ASTRAGALUS - GA in ASTRAL [star's] by U.S.

29 Hit band (4)
BELT - double def

30 Books one gala wrongly — pain seated near the drum! (7)
OTALGIA - O.T. + (I GALA*). That's the eardrum of course

32 Threatening palomino usually keeps it captive (7)
OMINOUS - hidden in {pal}OMINO US{usually}

34 Working fifty years at most (4)
ONLY ON L Y [working | fifty | years]

35 What schedules allow broadcasting screen epic? (10)

38 Device trapping a rodent in a power discharge (9)

39 Abandon waterway with an area being given over to carbon energy (6)
CANCEL - CAN{a->C E}L. Take CANAL [waterway] and replace its A [area] with CE [carbon | energy]

40 Stone knight in very good carriage (6)

43 Give a response on law that’s passed (5)
REACT - RE ACT [on | law that's passed]

45 What batter could get used to cook eggs this way? (4,4)
EASY OVER - a cricket batsman will do well if his OVERs are EASY

47 Relating to an element of catholic church in Jerusalem, one with chapter (8)

49 Flat barge hailed gondola tangling lines on locking up on the Thames? (3,6,2,7,4)

52 Vigilantly team up to contain European right (7)
ALERTLY - ALLY "containing" E RT

53 Where one may melt things on the rocks (9)
INSOLVENT - or one may, of course, melt things IN SOLVENT

54 Girl introducing a dish from India (5)
RAITA - RITA "introducing" A

55 Additional paper and gold currency, unknown and very unusual (13)
EXTRAORDINARY - EXTRA [additional paper, as in "extra! extra! read all about it!"] + OR DINAR Y

56 Raced around clubs in Paris yesterday delivering uplighter (9)

1 Absurdly, company I ring is in the outskirts of Mandalay (9)
COMICALLY - CO + I CALL "skirted" by M{andala}Y

2 Meet society girl with time to overspend wildly? (3,4,4)

3 Perfume reportedly coming by mail order (5)
SCENT - homophone of SENT

4 Regular changing of crops to set up in allotment (8)
ROTATION - TO reversed in RATION

5 Artist entering accompanied by shadowy presence (6)
WRAITH - R.A. "entering" WITH

6 The Spanish port in Italy filled with cattle being raised is irresistible (10)
INEXORABLE - EL BARI [the Spanish | port in Italy] "filled" with reversed OXEN

7 Where cricketer may be revealing leg shockingly (7,5)

8 Supporting band member I’d found among rising celebrities (7)
SIDEMAN - I'D "among" reversed NAMES

9 What limits disease running wild in some supermen (6,8)

10 Confident fool heading university rose? (7)

11 Dining to excess, swallowing horse and heading for inflation (11)

12 Toy boy’s taken up, abandoning tops? (2,2)
YOYO - {t}OY {b}OY reversed, &lit

17 Be left standing in foreign city (8)

19 Try in speaking to finish at any time (9)
ENDEAVOUR - homophone of END EVER

22 Wonderful classic play mostly about Bulawayo, not elsewhere (8)
FABULOUS - FAUS{t} "about" BUL{away}O

25 Female gossip penning rubbish over lawyer (8)
ATTORNEY - YENTA "penning" ROT, the whole reversed

26 Is it clear — scrambled or hard-boiled? (9)

27 Source of sound fixed in pitch on record and film perhaps (8,6)

28 Italian scientist is a very old doctor in prison endlessly (8)

31 Left west London area in Conservative seat shortly for Essex town (7-2-3)

33 Unusually emphatic about workers charging (11)

36 One in van going round with venison requiring no cutting (3-8)

37 Entirely popular gathering of sheep? (10)

41 Free from guilt, former partner left in vessel at the end of June (9)
EXCULPATE - EX [former partner] + L in CUP + AT {jun}E

42 Who goes to service cars on time, mostly (8)

44 Girl wanting a change of habitat (7)

46 In central Asia, keen about hard language (7)
SWAHILI - in {a}SI{a}, WAIL "about" H

48 Beware of waste regularly found at bottom of grotto (6)
CAVEAT - {w}A{s}T{e} under CAVE. Is "caveat" ever really "beware" or "beware of"? It's more of a noun, or a "let him beware" kind of deal. Not sure...

50 Saddle band? Get it round the horse at first (5)
GIRTH - G{et} I{t} R{ound} T{he} H{orse}

51 British beer was something bad for one (4)
March 26, 2021

Sunday Times Cryptic 4961, by Dean Mayer — 4-CD Set! All Hits!

Wonderful puzzle! When I finally arrived at the “part of Botswana” at the end, I felt that I could have, should have, gotten it first, if I’d only taken the time; after all, it’s mainly an anagram… Oh, well. The other three longest ones had to wait for some crossers too, but those were all CDs, which are often the last I get, you know.

I’m writing this up just after working it, on Sunday morning—well, early afternoon—which must be a first.

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

 1 Part of sleeve or belt (4)
 3 Old piano parts newly arranged for Aida, perhaps (5,5)
GRAND OPERA — (arranged)* split by O(ld) P(iano)
10 Drawing of polar bears? (6,9)
ANIMAL MAGNETISM — CD. I laughed out loud! It’s “polar” that make this priceless. Opposites attract!
11 Baby, age about 1, back at home (9)
MINIATURE — M(I, “one”)(IN<=“back at home”)ATURE
12 Living beyond 100, show evidence of age? (5)
CRUST — C, “100” + RUST, “Living” in the sense of your earned daily bread
13 While sound returns, extremes of volume contained (4,2)
EVEN AS — SANE<=“returns” holding V[-olum]E
14 Running out of stock? (8)
STAMPEDE — CD… We had this answer two weeks ago, in the last one I blogged.
17 Feeling thrilled about new relationship (8)
SENTIENT — SE(N)(TIE)NT… SENT, “thrilled” surrounding TIE, “relationship” + N(ew)
19 Way to hold speed back — brake (6)
RETARD — R(RATE<=)D… “Way” being R(oa)D
22 Sort of knife that is found after surrender (5)
BOWIE — I(d) E(st) follows BOW, “surrender”
23 Set about penning short study on French values (9)
TREASURES — SET<=“about” corraling REA[-d] + SUR, French for “on”
24 Force used when lifting is a problem? (5,10)
25 Continued to protect air force (10)
26 Dessert left in cooler (4)

 1 Dismal church members missing? (9)
CHARMLESS — Attendance is constantly falling… CH(urch) + ARMLESS
 2 Pottery cracking in wall (7)
FAIENCE — F(AI, “A-one”)ENCE… and suddenly I had Serge Gainsbourg singing in my head the lament of the ticket-puncher in the Métro: “Et sous mon ciel de faïence / Je ne vois briller que les correspondances…
 4 A disturbance behind us (6)
RUMPUS — RUMP, “behind” + US
 5 Leaves broken leg caught in traps (8)
NEGLECTS — N (leg)* E(C)TS
 6 Not necessarily correct (14)
OVERCOMPENSATE — CD… to correct when it’s not necessary to—cryptic by force of tangled syntax
 7 Record one specific food lover (7)
EPICURE — EP, “record” + I, “one” + CURE, “specific”… Yes, the latter is also used as a noun in this context (in both US and UK parlance). There is still no specific for Covid-19.
 8 A private message? It’s welcome (5)
ADMIT — A + D(irect) M(essage) + IT
 9 Muddy lakes and earth around dry part of Botswana (8,6)
KALAHARI DESERT — (lakes + earth)* encompass ARID, “dry”—which, while not technically part of the definition, gives a nudge in the right direction (though I wasted time trying to fit TT in somehow).
15 Likely heir to endless suffering (6,3)
ELDEST SON — (to endless)* Anagrind of the Week!
16 Adult into country music? A curse (8)
ANATHEMA — AN(A)THEM + A… Something you abhor is ANATHEMA to you, but the word also means, as here, “a formal curse by a pope or a council of the Church, excommunicating a person or denouncing a doctrine.”
18 Force unit to cover wide urban development (3,4)
NEW TOWN — NEWTO(W)N… This has dictionary status—I had to check.
20 Newcomer runs into a challenger (7)
21 River always going in two directions (6)
22 Simple soul, thus (5)
BASIC — BA, the “soul” in Egyptian mythology + SIC, “thus”… We’ve seen BA here before, but I knew it already. To be precise, it’s the principal part of the multiplex Egyptian soul, the one personified as a bird, which will take flight after death… a lovely concept.