July 3rd, 2021

verlaine

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!

ACROSS
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)
ANTHRACIC - A{gain} + TH{o}RACIC

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!

DOWN
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).


Across
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)
IFFY – (j)IFFY.
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.

Down
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)
ISOTOPE – IS TOP inside IE.
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.
verlaine

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.

ACROSS
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)
INVESTIGATORY - (A SOVIET TRYING*)

13 Staffs European minister’s residence (5)
MANSE - MANS E

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)
TAVERNER - (VETERAN*) + {bee}R

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)
PRESCIENCE - (SCREEN EPIC*)

38 Device trapping a rodent in a power discharge (9)
APPARATUS - "trap" A RAT in A P PUS

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)
STANCE - ST + N in ACE

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)
ZIRCONIC - R.C. in ZION + I + C

49 Flat barge hailed gondola tangling lines on locking up on the Thames? (3,6,2,7,4)
THE BALLAD OF READING GAOL - (FLAT BARGE HAILED GONDOLA*)

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)
TORCHIERE - TORE "around" C HIER

DOWN
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)
RUN INTO DEBT - RUN INTO [meet] + DEB + T

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)
VILLAGE GREEN - (REVEALING LEG*)

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)
IMMUNE RESPONSE - (IN SOME SUPERMEN*)

10 Confident fool heading university rose? (7)
ASSURED - ASS + U + RED

11 Dining to excess, swallowing horse and heading for inflation (11)
OVERHEATING - OVEREATING "swallowing" H

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)
BELGRADE - BE L GRADE

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)
REALISTIC - (IS IT CLEAR*)

27 Source of sound fixed in pitch on record and film perhaps (8,6)
CASSETTE PLAYER - SET in CAST on E.P. and LAYER

28 Italian scientist is a very old doctor in prison endlessly (8)
AVOGADRO - A V O + DR in GAO{l}

31 Left west London area in Conservative seat shortly for Essex town (7-2-3)
CLACTON-ON-SEA - L ACTON in CON + SEA{t}

33 Unusually emphatic about workers charging (11)
IMPEACHMENT - (EMPHATIC*) "about" MEN

36 One in van going round with venison requiring no cutting (3-8)
NON-INVASIVE - I in (VAN + VENISON*)

37 Entirely popular gathering of sheep? (10)
INTEGRALLY - IN [popular] + TEG RALLY

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)
MINISTER - MINIS on TER{m}

44 Girl wanting a change of habitat (7)
TABITHA - (HABITAT*)

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)
BALE - B ALE
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.


ACROSS
 1 Part of sleeve or belt (4)
CUFF — DD
 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)
STORE DETECTIVES — CD
25 Continued to protect air force (10)
CONSTRAINT — CON(STRAIN)T
26 Dessert left in cooler (4)
FLAN — F(L)AN

DOWN
 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)
ARRIVAL — A R(R)IVAL
21 River always going in two directions (6)
SEVERN — (S)EVER(N)
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.