July 25th, 2021

Sunday Times 4964 by Dean Mayer - filibustered

19:51. I found this one tricky, with lots of creative clues as we’ve come to expect from this setter, and more importantly a few things for us to debate: is this a ridiculous obscurity, is that a completely off-the-wall definition. The sort of thing that keeps us nerds entertained on a Sunday.

Given how tricky I found it I found this one remarkably quick to write up: with a few exceptions the clues are very simple. Either this is a fine example of the setter's art or I was just being a bit dim last week. Be sure to let me know which it was.

Definitions are underlined, anagrams indicated like (TIHS)*, anagram indicators are in italics.

Across
1 Weapon not used at the front?
SIDEARM - CD.
5 Being tight, your dresses split
THRIFTY - TH(RIFT)Y.
9 Maybe touch is awkward for anyone single
LAY ONES FINGER ON - (FOR ANYONE SINGLE)*. I’m not sure what the word ‘maybe’ is doing here.
10 Sold grass, keeping in shadow
RETAILED - RE(TAIL)ED.
11 Moral code set out for gathering here in Rome
ETHICS - HIC (here in Latin) contained in (SET)*.
13 Staff of American Express
CANE - contained in ‘American Express’.
14 Name a performer in band (singer)
TINA TURNER - TI(N, A, TURN)ER.
17 Authorities push for utility increase
POWER SURGE - POWERS, URGE.
18 Blood? Good Lord
KING - KIN, G.
20 Hard skin? Please get in touch
CALLUS - CALL US.
21 Certified waste parts for old chemical company
OFFICIAL - OFFAL (waste) parts (is split) for (in order to let in) ICI (old chemical company).
23 Catch a misfit
A FISH OUT OF WATER - two definitions, one of which is more literal but not a recognisable idiom.
24 Plan made by soldier among other soldiers
REGIMEN - RE(GI), MEN.
25 Take another line after Mike cuts back
REMARRY - RE(M)AR, RY (railway, line).
Down
1 Top US sporting figure
SALARY CAP - CD. Some US sports (and Rugby League in the UK) have a system of salary caps, which restricts the total amount clubs can pay their players, thereby ensuring a greater share of the economic pie for the owners.
2 A rural speciality — baked waffle?
DRY STONE WALLING - DRY (baked), STONEWALLING. To me STONEWALLING means saying nothing: waffling to the same effect is filibustering. Similar ideas though.
3 A loose relative
AUNTIE - A, UNTIE.
4 I’ll be critical about time needed for cryptic
MYSTERIOUS - MY, S(T)ERIOUS. I’ll be = blimey = my.
5 Cotton on small piece of wood
TWIG - DD.
6 Just horrible, not fine
RIGHTFUL - fRIGHTFUL.
7 One MP’s interfering, so I’m off
FOREIGN MINISTER - (INTERFERING SO IM)*. Not necessarily: Alec Douglas-Home and Peter Carrington, for instance, served in this role from the Lords. A more recent innovation has been to award the position to certifiable half-wits.
8 That is the female version of lingams
YONIS - YON, IS. In Hinduism YONI are the female genetalia, the male counterpart being lingam. I didn’t know that, so had to rely on the wordplay and cross my fingers.
12 Go to Scotland, leaving our radical group
GANG OF FOUR - GANG (go in Scotland), OFF (leaving), OUR. The definition suggests the Chinese revolutionary communists rather than the founders of the SDP.
15 As one appears in lounges, often?
REGULARLY - ONE appears as every other letter (REGULARLY) in ‘lounges’.
16 Old car cleaner, you might say
BROUGHAM - sounds like ‘broom’, allegedly. A name for a horse-drawn carriage but also an obsolete term for ‘a large car with an open compartment at the front for the driver’ (Collins).
19 A shelter’s removable locks crop up
WIGWAM - WIG (removable locks), reversal of MAW (crop).
20 See a musical’s MC
CHAIR - C (see), HAIR.
22 Damage ladder one’s carried
RUIN - RU(I)N.

Mephisto 3177 - Paul McKenna

Greetings barred-grid fans.

Two of my greatest enjoyments in doing a Mephisto puzzle are the grid construction and the visits to the outer regions of Chambers, and this puzzle supplies plenty of both.  A generous grid with 90-degree symmetry leading to a large fully-checked chunk in the middle and some clever wordplay for some obscure words.

I hope you all solved it and the puzzle didn't leave you heated, blanched or barbecued.

In Mephisto puzzles definiations (the most direct of which is underlined) can be confirmed in Chambers, so I will be focusing on wordpay here.

Away we go...

Across
1 A pole proclaims my job in saloon, say, at capital’s west side (6)
BARBER - BAR(saloon) next to the first half of the capital city of BERlin
5 Lined up fairly, it’ll vanish with due processing (6)
QUEUED - QUITE(fairly) missing IT, then an anagram of DUE
10 We study demersal life in high seas, caution is turned out (9)
OCEANAUTS - anagram SEAS,CAUTION minus IS
11 Hazard is torpedoing safe journey back (6, two words)
SEA FOG - anagram of SAFE then GO(journey) reversed
13 Second concern initially dodged (5)
OTHER - BOTHER(concern) missing the first letter
15 Extreme pressure by French out of magistrates, as before (6)
EPHORS - EP(extreme pressure) next to HORS("out of" in French, particularly in HORS de combat)
16 Greek’s keynote brooded over plateaux (7)
MESETAS - MESE(keynote in Greek muic), then SAT(brooded) reversed
17 Large Australian on a possible feature of rock pool (4)
ALGA - LG(large), A(Australian) after A
18 Ironic rejoinder here! Donut’s barely changed alas (10, three words)
YOU DON'T SAY - YO! (here!), then an anagram of DONUT'S, and AY(alas)
21 As in poor taste covering what Elizabethan wore on Sunday (10, two words)
STATUTE CAP - UT(as) inside an anagram of TASTE and CAP(covering)
24 Deer got up having hind part tucked in (4)
ROES - ROSE(got up) with the end letter moved back a space
25 Swashbuckler’s thrust before gallant advance leading to fuss (7)
PASSADO - PASS(advance as in a curriculum), then ADO(fuss)
27 Colouring material in half of an attachment (6)
ANATTA - half of AN ATTAchment
29 New decorator is more fastidious (5)
NICER - N(new) ICER(decorator)
30 Unknown or mostly unofficial delivery at Lords? (6)
YORKER - Y(unknown), OR, then KERB(unofficial trade) missing the last letter
31 Our greed’s corrupting game (9, two words)
RED GROUSE - anagram of OUR,GREED'S
32 Refurbished store with a source of aphrodisiac? (6)
OSTREA - anagram of STORE, then A
33 Yak hesitantly nearing one bound to graft cut cable (6)
HAWSER - HAW(yak or talk hesitantly) next to SERF(one bound to graft) missing the last letter
Down
1 Pneumatic tyres finally in sudden increase over year (6)
BOSOMY - last letter of tyreS inside BOOM(sudden increase) then Y(year)
2 Loads last of these aboard warships (5)
REAMS - last letter of thesE on RAMS(warships)
3 Old golfer’s lofted ball: doubly excellent set up (6)
BAFFED - FAB and DEF(both excellent) reversed
4 English present a moment ago in Holyrood (4)
ENOW -  E(English), NOW(present)
5 In the capacity of mouth’s accumulation of greens? (10)
QUAESTUARY - QUA(in the capacity of), ESTUARY(mouth)
6 I advocate impractical reform and put it so in shake-up (7)
UTOPIST - anagram of PUT,IT,SO
7 Uniform height in revolutionary Lyon is unconscionable (6)
UNHOLY - U(uniform) then H(height) in an anagram of LYON
8 Always good to drain marsh (9)
EVERGLADE - EVER(always), G(good), LADE(drain with a ladle). I've never seen this as singular.
9 Shoot up with special aluminium fin (6)
DORSAL - ROD(gun, shoot) reversed with S(special), AL(aluminium)
12 Face father pressed by whopping herbivore (10, two words)
GIANT PANDA - PAN(face) and DA(father) under GIANT(whopping)
14 Pic goes on developing the art of farming (9)
GEOPONICS - anagram of PIC,GOES,ON
19 A knight in old yard finds Royalist’s sheltering spot? (7, two words)
OAK TREE - A, KT(knight) inside O(old), REE(yard).  Referring to King Charles
20 Brother non-com and French nationalist general (6)
FRANCO - FRA(brother) and NCO(non-com) for the combining form for anything French
21 Cases accepted by capital city’s shark (6, two words)
SEA CAT - CA(cases) inside SEAT(capital city)
22 Third-party deed is more amiss revolving round Conservative (6)
ESCROW - WORSE(more amiss) reversed containing C(Conservative)
23 Hebe is one more sorry in speech (6)
POURER - sounds like POORER(more sorry). Hebe was cupbearer to the gods.
26 Chap such as Big Toomai deployed this in riverbank, usefully (5)
ANKUS - hidden inside riverbANK USefully. Glad the wordplay was easy on this, I had to look up that Big Toomai was an elephant keeper in The Jungle Book
28 From times gone by mock a wartime restriction (4)
DORA - DOR(mock), A
New RCA
  • vinyl1

Times 28039 - "Come on down to my boat....

Time: 19 minutes
Music: Prokofiev, Symphony 5, Karajan/BPO

Well, another easy Monday, at least for me.   I didn't even get to side 2 of the symphony during my quick solve, but then I went on to another puzzle and got exactly two answers during the third and fourth movements.

This puzzle was actually good for an easy one, and there were a lot of subtle touches that I didn't notice as I put in the evident answers.    No special knowledge is required, although I struggled to get Comintern out of my brain - could that have been Cominterm?   No, it was not, and that was my last one in.   The other trick is that if you are biffing inamorata, check to make sure it's not inamorato, as it can sometimes turn out to be.

Across
1 One who’s given pledge with complete ease, we hear? (9)
WARRANTEE - W + ARRANT plus EE sounds like EASE.
6 Lamb originally slaughtered for a Hebrew prophet (5)
ELIAS - ELIA, + S[laughtered], Charles Lamb again.
9 Part of hospital technology the French authorise (7)
ENTITLE - ENT + IT + LE, a compendium of crosswordese.
10 Society shunned by NE European scholar (7)
ETONIAN - E[s]TONIAN, a scholar in the sense of a schoolboy.
11 US politician defending one’s religious faith (5)
DEISM - DE(I'S)M, the most common abbreviation.
12 Group of universities that is vaguely organised centrally? (3,6)
IVY LEAGUE - anagram of I.E. + VAGUELY, and I have no idea why centrally is there either.
13 Beware entrance to such underground hollows (5)
CAVES - CAVE +   S[uch].   Cave caves!
14 Ringer’s appearance acolytes initially approve of (9)
LOOKALIKE - LOOK+ A[colytes] + LIKE.
17 African city reached by libertine in thirty-one days (9)
MARRAKECH - MAR(RAKE)CH, surprisingly, not a chestnut.
18 The cheek of some musicians! (5)
BRASS - Double definition.
19 Eg Henry’s report of labourer chased by dangerous reptile (9)
NAVIGATOR - Sounds like NAVVY + GATOR - that Portuguese king.
22 Figure of Greek character with medical degree (5)
RHOMB - RHO + M.B.
24 Men in company crossing over major river (7)
ORINOCO - OR IN (O) CO, more cryptic cliches.
25 Outward appearance of water sport champion (7)
SURFACE - SURF ACE.   Surfing is featured in the Olympic Games this year.
26 Saunter extremely meekly around old Kent area (5)
MOSEY - M(eekl O S.E.)Y.
27 Creepy type calls, mostly having nothing on! (4,5)
RING SNAKE - RINGS + NAKE[d].
Down
1 Brandish knife finally in outback (5)
WIELD - WI([knif]E)LD.   Wield usually means more than brandish.
2 When a sportsman’s shot he’s expected to make a recovery (9)
RETRIEVER - Cryptic definition of a bird shooter's canine companion.
3 Plant given airtime as broadcast (9)
ARTEMISIA -  Anagram of AIRTIME AS.
4 Scattered glitter on oxherd, an unsophisticated neighbour (3,4,4-4)
THE GIRL NEXT-DOOR - Anagram of GLITTER ON OXHERD- that I'd like to see!
5 Each and all: though not all dads’ female offspring, do we infer? (5,7,3)
EVERY MOTHERS SON - Cryptic hint.
6 Raise fine collected by the first lady (5)
EVOKE - EV(OK)E.
7 Sugary coating unwelcome on aircraft (5)
ICING - Double definition.
8 Crazy old nurse’s point? Not so (9)
SENSELESS - SEN + SE + LESS.
13 Firm master’s first in class, a source of leftist propaganda once (9)
COMINFORM - CO + M[aster] + IN FORM.
15 Warning initially given by teacher over waxy secretion (9)
AMBERGRIS - AMBER + G[iven] + SIR upside-down.
16 Lover shortly taking time in Royal Academy area (9)
INAMORATA -  IN A  MO + RA(T)A.
20 Conveyors of blood belonging to relative in sanatorium (5)
VEINS - hidden in [relati]VE IN S[sanatorium].
21 Splendour of head of green parrot (5)
GLORY - G + LORY.
23 Note ultimately made after upsetting part of speech (5)
BREVE - VERB upside-down + [not]E.