July 19th, 2021

  • jackkt

Times Quick Cryptic 1920 by Tracy

Solving time: 8 minutes. I don't often report on surface readings as I've trained myself to ignore them when solving, but reviewing them for the blog I was struck today by how excellent they are. They read very naturally and there's not a single forced one among them.

As usual definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions and substitutions are in curly brackets} and [anagrinds, containment, reversal and other indicators in square ones]. I usually omit all reference to positional indicators unless there is a specific point that requires clarification.

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Ulaca de Milo
  • ulaca

Times 28033 - All Greek to me

27 minutes for me, so according to my internal Witchometer, a tad tougher than the average Monday. A nice mixture of sciency stuff, marine biology, horticulture, history, linguistics and Classics. Who needs a GK crossword (which, incidentally, I have never done - in its most recent Timesian manifestation, at any rate) when you've got all this in one daily cryptic?


1 Parking on the edge? Hash is made of it (4)
3 How farmer could make money for English plant (10)
SELLAFIELD - if a farmer were strapped for cash (and they all say they are), ze could 'sell a field'; a site in Cumbria given over to nuclear fuel reprocessing, nuclear waste storage and nuclear decommissioning, and a former nuclear power generating site
9 Ornamental tree, one cut back, is to deteriorate (7)
RELAPSE - reversal of ESPAL[i]ER; ESPALIER can refer to either a tree trained to grow against a wall, the trellis on which it grows or the method of growing it
11 Break during noise where screenings take place in US (5-2)
DRIVE-IN - RIVE (break) in DIN
12 Dancing act is a sly way to provoke a reaction (9)
CATALYSIS - anagram* of ACT IS A SLY
13 Specific speech of king in classical garb from the east (5)
ARGOT - R in TOGA reversed; criminal argot is possibly the best known type
14 English in agreement: blades do some retracting (3,4,5)
EAT ONES WORDS - E (English) AT ONE (in agreement) SWORDS (blades); 'do some retracting'. Nice stuff - not a reversal in sight
18 Seizing compass, sailor put down drink (6,6)
ORANGE SQUASH - RANGE (compass - as in 'being paid is not within the compass of the blogger's job description') in OS (Ordinary Seaman) QUASH (put down)
21 Make harmless run through football team making comeback (5)
UNARM - R in MANU reversed; a morphologically helpful team that pops up regularly on that account
22 Soldier hiding a stone in royal house (9)
LANCASTER - A ST in LANCER: the House of Lancaster - cadet branch of the House of Plantagenet - provided England with three kings, all called Henry (IV, V and VI), each made legendary by Shakespeare.
24 Hard fruit, not soft vegetable (7)
25 Heading for tie-break, period of excitement about play area (7)
THEATRE - T[ie-break] HEAT (period of excitement) RE (about)
26 Wild West figure's flipping tight underwear that is dropped (10)
GUNSLINGER - SNUG reversed LINGER[ie] ('that is' [viz. 'i.e.'] deleted)
27 Fed old lady good new sandwiches (1-3)
G-MAN - MA in G (good) N (new)


1 This guy rushes to hug Liberal or Labour hero (8)
HERACLES - HE (this guy) L (liberal) in RACES (rushes); Hercules in Greek - he of the 12 Labours
2 China admitting current books have influence (8)
MILITATE - I (electrical current) LIT (books) in MATE ('China', AKA China plate > mate, in Cockney)
4 Number initially brought down, such as four and six (5)
EVENS - SEVEN with the 's' moved to the end
5 What attracts people to Leeds on tours (9)
LODESTONE - TO LEEDS ON*; literally 'a rock that consists of pure or nearly pure magnetite and thus is naturally magnetic', figuratively this can refer to someone or something which attracts strongly
6 Not cheating like a blonde conservative? (4,3,6)
FAIR AND SQUARE - FAIR (blonde) SQUARE (conservative)
7 Appear, say, with repairmen in service turning up (6)
EMERGE - reversal of EG REME (Royal and Electrical Engineers - 'repairmen'); my Dad did his National Service in this corps
8 Gift is acceptable, wrapped by partner (6)
DONATE - ON (acceptable) in DATE (partner)
10 Land I proclaim free in form of Malayalam? (13)
PALINDROMICAL - LAND I PROCLAIM*; Malayalam is a Dravidian language related to Tamil that is spoken in the Indian state of Kerala and some other places by the Malayali people
15 Individual to furnish information in different ways (9)
SINGLETON - SING (to furnish information, as in inform) and LET ON (to furnish information, as in gossip); rather cute
16 Odd-job man caught poking tubby, round belly (8)
FACTOTUM - C (caught) in FAT (tubby) O (round) TUM (belly)
17 Ill-fated figure suffering therein, with temperature on the high side (8)
THIRTEEN - THEREIN* with T[emperature] placed initially (on the high side)
19 As a greedy person, this shellfish may be eaten (6)
QUAHOG - QUA (as a) HOG (greedy person); a clam - the official shellfish of Rhode Island, no less
20 Heard member of upper house is unproductive (6)
BARREN - sounds like 'baron'
23 Mineral water: tiny upturned bottles (5)
NITRE - reverse hidden in [wat]ER TIN[y]