September 2nd, 2021

  • glheard

Times 28072 - mind your P's

Time taken: 8:07.

I'm curious about this one - the early times coming in are fast indeed, but I think the clever wordplay in this offering may be more to the taste of the seasoned, quick and early solvers. I was taken by surprise by 1 across, a six-letter word with four P's in it.

I have a great deal of admiration for this puzzle, the surfaces are excellent and there are some well-hidden defitnitions to go with the wordplay. I've highlighted a few of my favorites in the blog.

I'll check back in with a postscript tomorrow to see how everyone did.

Postscript: there have been a few suggestions that there is a typo in 25 across and it should be golf instead of gold. That makes sense, to me I got a giggle out of the clue becuase Gold Club is a notorious adult entertainment establishment.

Away we go...

1 Farewell sign of a lieutenant? (3,3)
PIP PIP - a star as a mark of rank is also a PIP, so a lieutenant would have two of them
5 Endure work, getting call to retire (4,4)
LAST POST - LAST(endure), POST(work)
9 Erode cover for ducks on English river (4,4)
WEAR DOWN - DOWN(what ducks are covered in) next to WEAR(English river)
10 How soldiers may move part of foot (6)
INSTEP - and soldiers may move IN STEP
11 Number dressing a queen in Asian garment (6)
SARONG - SONG(number) surrounding A, R(queen)
12 Popular young actors, say, playing part in support (8)
BRATPACK - anagram of PART inside BACK(support)
14 I am leaving to find out how long Rossini opera lasts? We'll see (4,4,4)
TIME WILL TELL - Loved this clue - if you were finding out how long the Rossini opera was you would TIME WILLIAM TELL.  Remove I,AM
17 Go straight over rocks, following troops (4,4,4)
MEND ONES WAYS - another fantastic clue - DONE(over), SWAYS(rocks) after MEN(troops)
20 Goods for which no responsibility is taken? (4-4)
DUTY-FREE - cryptic definition
22 Amazingly nice and extremely desirable? (6)
EDENIC - an all-in-one, anagram of NICE and the outer letters of DesirablE
23 Polish once again getting snub (6)
REBUFF - polish once again could be to RE-BUFF
25 Field of play gold club keeps clear (8)
GRIDIRON - G(gold), IRON(golf club) containing RID(clear)
26 Be short of fuel? Submarine out of south has tons (8)
UNDEREAT - UNDERSEA(submarine) missing S(south) then T(tons)
27 Frenchman's natter with person kept inside? (6)
GASCON - GAS(natter) and CON(person kept inside prison)
2 Emetic plant product secreted by overripe cactus (6)
IPECAC - hidden inside overrIPE CACtus
3 Dry up petrol supply, going by claims (11)
4 Vessel touring lake with minute tiller? (9)
PLOUGHMAN - PAN(vessel) containing LOUGH(lake) and M(minute)
5 Archer has this desire to show reverence (7)
LONGBOW - LONG(desire) and BOW(show reverence)
6 Victor welcomed by Islamic group is a divinity (5)
SHIVA - V(victor) inside SHIA(Islamic group)
7 Raised energy to make balletic step (3)
PAS - reversal of SAP(energy)
8 Check place one's locked up potent biological unit (4,4)
STEM CELL - STEM(check) CELL(place one's locked up)
13 Pastries one prepared with French art in these? (11)
PATISSERIES - anagram of PASTRIES then I(one) and ES(art in French)
15 Baking ingredient in vegan line manufactured (9)
16 Empty coupe, next to Fiat, an azure colour (8)
CERULEAN - external letters of CoupE, then RULE(fiat) and AN. Another great surface.
18 Trickery requiring present transport to be on time (7)
SLEIGHT -  SLEIGH(a transport that contains presents at Christmas time), next to T(time)
19 Carriage wheels broken by learner in Escort (6)
GIGOLO - GIG(carriage), then O,O(wheels) containing L(learner)
21 Sack one likely to get fired (5)
RIFLE - double definition
24 Cultivate a habit in American English (3)
USE - US(American), E(English)

Times Quick Cryptic No 1953 by Orpheus

How is your knowledge of Dutch portraitists, Indian transport systems or Caribbean capitals?  You’ll need them all for this puzzle from Orpheus.  I completed this comfortably inside 11 minutes, and knew all the General Knowledge except the Dutch portraitist, which was gettable, but needed checking after completion.

I have to give my COD to 12d despite the use of the bra = supporter old chestnut, with FOI 1d.  Thanks Orpheus.


1  Friend carrying artist’s old sunshade (7)
PARASOL – PAL (friend) around (carrying) RA’S (artist’s) and O{ld}.
5  Reportedly wander round capital (4)
ROME – Sounds like (reportedly) ROAM (wander round).
7 State originally lauded in a lot of papers (5)
REALM – L{auded} (originally) inside REAM (lot of papers – a ream is defined as between 480 and 500 sheets of paper).
8  Source of grapes, fish and sour-tasting liquid (7)
VINEGAR – VINE (source of grapes) and GAR (fish, similar to a pike).
10 Bird of prey biting head off chicken (3)
OWL – fOWL (head off chicken).
11  Officiating priest sporting new bracelet (9)
CELEBRANT – Anagram (sporting) of N{ew} and [BRACELET].
13  Pay to take up residence (6)
SETTLE – Double definition.
14  Destructive type left at rear of London museum (6)
VANDAL – L{eft} after V AND A (London museum, the V & A – Victoria and Albert).
17  What pupils should pay? A strain, by the sound of it (9)
ATTENTION – Cryptic clue (pupils should pay attention) together with a homophone (by the sound of it), ATTENTION sounds like A TENSION (a strain).
19  Reduced price for salad ingredient (3)
COS – COS{t} – price reduced = drop the last letter.
20  Northern woman’s childminders (7)
NANNIES – N{orthern} and ANNIE’S (woman’s).
22 Girl from Addis Ababa initially eating egg (5)
ANITA – A{ddis} A{baba} (initially) containing NIT (egg).
23 Extreme anger? It’s the fashion (4)
RAGE – Double definition.
24  Possible runner’s articles about obstruction at Wimbledon (7)
ATHLETE – A and THE (articles) surrounding (about) LET (obstruction in tennis, or at Wimbledon).


West Indian Capital or Vigo, possibly? (4,2,5)
PORT OF SPAIN – Cryptic hint or double definition maybe? – PORT OF SPAIN is the capital city of Trinidad and Tobago (in fact where I joined my first ship in January 1971).  Vigo is a city and port in the NW of Spain, so is an example of a Port of Spain.
Again share out genuine sale item (7)
REALLOT – REAL (genuine) and LOT (sale item).
3  Army officer in house on short break (9)
SEMICOLON – COL{onel} (army officer) inside SEMI (house) and ON (on).
Animated quartet captured by Dutch portraitist (6)
LIVELY – IV (four, quartet) inside LELY (Sir Peter Lely, Dutch portraitist).
5 Manage to move at speed (3)
RUN – Double definition..
6 Molten rock mother found crossing top of gorge (5)
MAGMA – MAMA (mother) containing G{orge} (top of …).  Hands up those who first thought of lava?
9  Eternal task diverting a venomous reptile (11)
RATTLESNAKE – Anagram (diverting) of [ETERNAL TASK].
12  Indoctrinate supporter swimming off Hunstanton? (9)
BRAINWASH – BRA (supporter) IN WASH (swimming off Hunstanton).  The Wash is a rectangular bay and estuary at the north of East Anglia, and Hunstanton is a town on its coast.
15  Refuse to go to seed (7)
DECLINE – Double definition.
16  In Florida’s borders, strange site for a carnival (6)
FIESTA – F{lorid}A (Florida’s borders) containing an anagram (strange) of [SITE].
18  Vehicle used in India, not over Georgia (5)
TONGA – NOT reversed (over) to give TON and GA (Georgia).  A TONGA is a light, two-wheeled vehicle used in India.
21  Frozen matter encountered in Arctic exploration (3)
ICE – Hidden answer found in {arct}IC E{xploration}.

Times 28,073: Strictly For The Local Birds

I found this medium-tricky, but perhaps for the wrong reasons: the parsings are almost universally simple (by and large, "put X in Y"), but the grid is quite ungenerously laid out, with numerous double unches, combining with some esoteric vocab (17dn!) to create a good few speedbumps. My LOIs were 13ac crossing 4dn; it didn't help that I really wanted 4dn to be ANECDATA, and I rolled my eyes when I realised what the groanworthy definition was really leading to. And 13ac is also barely a synonym for "baby" - just a rather unlikely term of endearment, yes? Hmph and hmph again, I say.

I always quite like -ish clues so I appreciated 5dn. Thanks for Fridaying us up, setter!

Definitions underlined, (ABC)* indicating anagram of ABC, {} deletions and [] other indicators.

1 Farm labourer holding hearts in game (8)
9 Lusty creature in a Roman street for local birds (8)
10 State secrets held in British workshop? (4)
BLAB - B LAB. "State" as in "utter", here
11 Moaning endlessly in Cabinet about the Opposition? (12)
13 Simplified language broadcast for baby (6)
PIGEON - homophone of PIDGIN
14 Quick way round two problems with electricity (8)
SHORTCUT - electrical SHORT + power CUT
15 Gin neat when skipping tonic (7)
16 Slander girl in drinking establishment (7)
20 U-boat damaged, initially holed in a north German route (8)
AUTOBAHN - (U-BOAT*) + H{oled} in A N
22 It’s free to be immersed in river in Knock (6)
DERIDE - RID [free] immersed in DEE
23 Applaud those running across street in Derbyshire town (12)
CHESTERFIELD - CHEER FIELD [applaud | those running], across ST
25 Foot, intact to start with, seen by a doctor (4)
IAMB - I{ntact} by A M.B.
26 Scottish island returned to king whose role is telling (8)
NARRATOR - reversed ARRAN + TO R
27 Memorial has significance probed by character abroad (8)
2 Problems filling hole up where land slopes (8)
HILLSIDE - ILLS filling HIDE [hole up]
3 Versatile stadium boxer whipped (12)
4 Gossip and argument against lawyer one gets crush on (8)
ANACONDA - ANA [gossip] + CON [argument against] + D.A.
5 Lose brightness like small mountain lake? (7)
TARNISH - a TARN is a small mountain lake, so something like that is TARN-ISH
6 The writer is appearing in knockout garment with sash (6)
KIMONO - I'M ON [the writer is appearing], in K.O.
7 Muzzle small bear that's devoured rook (4)
CURB - CUB devouring R
8 Voracious female in staff restaurant closing early (3-5)
MAN-EATER - MAN [staff] + EATER{y}
12 PM's counterpart entered Miami given order (4,8)
15 Are such blows seen in good jousting practice? (8)
17 Member states made no changes in old Arabian port (8)
18 Tree feller an elected council member (8)
ALDERMAN - ALDER MAN [tree | fellow]
19 Costume seen immediately following tango? (7)
UNIFORM - Uniform follows Tango in the NATO phonetic alphabet
21 A match in Zoroastrian writings collection (6)
AVESTA - A VESTA [a | match]
24 Bible book shows last character in generation (4)
EZRA - Z [last character] in ERA