September 11th, 2021

  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 28074 - Saturday, 4 September 2021. Mini Mysteries.

This puzzle was rich in general knowledge unknowns, at least for me, including: an order of monks, a flowering plant, an obscure foreign language, both the handle and the peak at 6dn, and more. I didn’t help myself by biffing SAVOUR at 9ac either – even though it was at best a dubious fit! More knowledgeable people may have found it easier!

Thanks to the setter for a very challenging puzzle. How did you all get on?

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.
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Clues are blue, with definitions underlined. Deletions and commentary are in (brackets).
Across
1 Notoriously surreptitious tirade by convict on the inside (10)
FLAGRANTLY – LAG = convict + RANT = tirade, in FLY = surreptitious (another unknown usage!)
6 Vagrant starts to head off before others (4)
HOBO – first letters of each word.
8 Heartless fool stopping 23 about cure (8)
ANTIDOTE – ID(i)OT, in ETNA backwards.
9 Enjoy something saucy (6)
RELISH – double definition.
10 State of symmetric pair of Autobahn sections (4)
UTAH – (a)UT(ob)AH(n). You need to following the bouncing ball to see what is going on here!
11 Matt O'Brien trained flowering plant (10)
MONTBRETIA – anagram (trained) of MATT O’BRIEN. I’m happy to admit, I looked it up.
12 Blackmail divorcee, perhaps twisting, getting caught (9)
EXTORTION – EX=divorcee. TORTION sounds like TORSION=twisting.
14 Defeat following no-score draw between sides (5)
FLOOR – F=following, L & R are the sides, O-O is a no-score draw. Soccer would be a great game if they introduced scoring. Goalkeepers must be 20% taller than when the game was invented … time to make the goalface wider and higher!
17 Finish off project number one for Bronski Beat (5)
THROB – THRO(w), with the finish off. B from B(ronski). Bronski Beat was a band, but I’d never heard of it, of course.
19 Dog, rushed into duties, recalled across river (2,7)
ST BERNARD – RAN=rushed + R=river, inside DEBTS, all backwards.
22 Cheap show by awful medium entertaining me, later us (4,6)
DIME MUSEUM – ME + US, separately inside an anagram (awful) of MEDIUM.
23 Regularly observed Neptunian mountain (4)
ETNA – each second letter of nEpTuNiAn. The mountains second appearance this week.
24 Finish, as do Gog and Magog (6)
ENDING – both words (wait for it!) END … IN … G!
25 Where to find third man to duel if ill (8)
OUTFIELD – anagram (ill) of TO DUEL IF.
26 Boss of film company refusing one Oscar (4)
STUD – drop the I and the O from STUDio.
27 Subordinate settles in courtroom clothes (10)
UNDERVESTS – UNDER=subordinate, VESTS=settles, as a legal term: for example, a pension “vests” on a certain date.

Down
1 Pretentious uniform United hire out around November (9)
FLATULENT – FLAT=uniform, U=united, LET=hire out around N=November.
2 Allure cheers up area (7)
ATTRACT – TA=cheers’, up. Then, TRACT.
3 English couple backtracking after a company order (8)
ACOEMETI – A + CO=company + E=English, then ITEM backtracking. An order of monks that apparently kept divine service going 24/7.
4 Hope to stop at this one theft, hoarded for distribution (3,3,2,3,4)
THE END OF THE ROAD – anagram (for distribution) of ONE THEFT HOARDED.
5 Solvers bagging second in arts degree in a foreign language (6)
YORUBA – YOU bagging R from aRts, + BA. Never ‘eard of it!
6 Handle left on extremely lofty north Lakeland peak (9)
HELVELLYN – HELVE is an axe handle, it seems. Add L=left, LY=extremely L(oft)Y, N=north. I was no chance of getting the V without peeking, since I knew neither the handle nor the peak.
7 Old president overseeing pledge of intended code of chivalry (7)
BUSHIDO – (President) BUSH + I DO.
13 Agreed over leg measurement in turn up (2,3,4)
OF ONE MIND – O=over, then ON=leg side at cricket + EN EM=a printer’s measurement, in FIND.
15 Animals spared and set free (3,6)
RED PANDAS – anagram (set free) of SPARED AND. At first I thought the anagram letters would be SPARED + SET.
16 Trucker loading tonnes into ship after moving cover (8)
TEAMSTER – the ship is a STEAMER. Move the ‘covering (leading)’ S, and insert T=tonnes.
18 Lock-keeper from Tehran travelling around India (7)
HAIRNET – anagram (travelling) of TEHRAN, around I=India.
20 Reassert case over including player (7)
ACTRESS – backwards (over) hidden (including) answer.
21 Oriental art work ultimately attracting deep breath perhaps when removed from case (4,2)
KUNG FU – K from (wor)K, (l)UNGFU(l). An art of the martial kind.
verlaine

Times Cryptic Jumbo 1514: Show Me First Your PDM

A quarter hour of really, really good fun. I was impressed by a great number of the clues: some lovely cryptic and double definitions and I loved the Cockney homophone, the SLIM SLAM, and the elegant decompositions of long words like 11dn and 34dn. A really top quality Cryptic Jumbo all in all: great work, setter!

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

Across
1 Lamb tender second-rate old butcher's taken secretly (2,4)
BO PEEP - B [second rate] O [old] PEEP [butcher's (...hook = look) taken secretly]
5 Daughter abandoning plans to adopt new standards (7)
ENSIGNS - {d}ESIGNS "to adopt" N
9 Cars here needing to be broken in systematic investigation (8)
RESEARCH - (CARS HERE*)
13 Cash for confidences: not an offer Simple Simon could have made? (1,5,3,4,8)
A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS - Says the pieman to Simple Simon,
Show me first your penny;
Says Simple Simon to the pieman,
Indeed I have not any.

14 Revolutionary husband taking place in long assignment (8)
MARATHON - MARAT H ON [revolutionary | husband | taking place]
15 Inuit occasionally corrected legal woman (7)
NIGELLA - {i}N{u}I{t} + (LEGAL*)
16 Try to catch start of hockey or bit of cricket? (6)
THORAX - TAX [try] "to catch" H{ockey} OR. Part of a cricket or any other insect
17 Violent criminal blocks way with extremely scary axe (10)
PSYCHOPATH - PATH "blocked" by S{car}Y CHOP
20 Tight from booze in northeast having wine brought round (4-8)
MEAN-SPIRITED - SPIRIT [booze] inside NE inside MEAD [wine]
23 Julie's content to consume grammes in fruit (4)
UGLI - {j}ULI{e} "to consume" G(rammes)
24 Bad after short attack of sickness, regularly taking soup (8)
BOUILLON - ILL after BOU{t}, plus ON [regularly taking, as in "on medication"]
26 Comprehensive action where detective makes entrance (8)
DETAILED - DEED "entered" by TAIL
29 Too eager to press for expulsion from chambers? (7-5)
TRIGGER-HAPPY - cryptic definition, the chambers being chambers of a gun
30 Player paid news boss to keep brochure overlong (10)
PROTRACTED - PRO [player paid] + ED [news boss] "to keep" TRACT [brochure]
32 Reformed rat with monocle seen in casino town (5,5)
MONTE CARLO - (RAT + MONOCLE*)
34 Lord investing pound accepted monetary system (4,8)
GOLD STANDARD - GOD "investing" L, plus STANDARD [accepted]
36 Slight criticism when each son gives way to female deception (4-4)
FLIM-FLAM - take SLIM SLAM [slight criticism] and convert each S(on) to F(emale)
38 Column only remaining in support for bridge (8)
PILASTER - LAST [only remaining] in PIER
39 Wrong when coming west to entertain second-rate writers (4)
NIBS - reversed SIN "entertaining" B [second-rate]
41 Nancy's indefinable quality? (2,2,4,4)
JE NE SAIS QUOI - cryptic def, Nancy being a place in France
43 Issue lacking clear boundaries for intelligence (4,6)
GREY MATTER - literalistic/metonymic double def
44 Officer shot landowners (6)
GENTRY - GEN(eral) + TRY [shot]
46 Justify upright character being drawn into old scheme (7)
EXPLAIN - I [upright character] "drawn into" EX-PLAN
48 Refuse to become sad (4,4)
TURN DOWN - double def with TURN [become] DOWN [sad]
50 Wag from Portland twice as flash? (3,6,2,1,5,4)
TWO SHAKES OF A LAMB'S TAIL - A Portland is a sheep, though not necessarily a lamb
51 Call for help involving black politician in pathetic tale (3,5)
SOB STORY - S.O.S. "involving" B + TORY
52 Fox pelt we hear of in Bow? (7)
REYNARD - homophone of RAIN 'ARD [pelt, in Cockey parts]
53 Horror-struck scallywag has turned to bottle (6)
AGHAST - "bottled" by {scallyw}AG HAS T{urned}
Down
2 City in South Africa in quite nice area (5)
OSAKA - S.A. in OK A
3 Impressive — as grey eminence evidently is? (3-8)
EYE-CATCHING - reverse cryptic: {gr}EY E{minence} cryptically "catches" EYE
4 God as necessary consequence guarding over temple (8)
PANTHEON - PAN, THEN "guards" O
5 Small and delicate female rising river claims (5)
ELFIN - F "claimed" by reversed NILE
6 Screw up introduction to calculus course in school (7)
SCRUNCH - C{alculus} RUN in SCH.
7 Handel for one humming needs no second singer (6,5)
GEORGE MELLY - GEORGE [Handel] + {s}MELLY
8 French philosopher enduring pain at length (5)
SOREL - SORE at L. Not the best-known French philosophe perhaps
9 Went through stop light circling vehicle used for late trip? (9)
REHEARSED - RED [stop light] "circling" HEARSE [vehicle containing a late person]
10 Short and low building taken over (5)
SQUAT - double def
11 Ace local bar is one with a constant stimulant (11)
APHRODISIAC - A P.H. ROD IS I + A C
12 Lawsuit about rotter in dramatic fall (7)
CASCADE - CASE about CAD
18 Dish needs sweetheart to send delivery (5,4)
SUGAR BOWL - SUGAR [sweetheart] + BOWL [send delivery, in cricket]
19 One more article with books leading lady sent round hotel (7)
ANOTHER - AN with O.T. + E.R. [leading lady of our nation] "around" H
21 State capital level as on plain (9)
ANNAPOLIS - (AS ON PLAIN*). Capital of Maryland
22 Domestic a learner following orderly sequence announced (8)
INTERNAL - A L following homophone of IN TURN
25 I'm to assist an erring actor, posh, lacking script? (9)
IMPROMPTU - I'M + PROMPT [to assist an erring actor] + U
27 Dreadful crustacean in river drained lake (9)
EXECRABLE - CRAB in EXE L{ak}E
28 I'm sorry copper interrupting restaurant date with old man (3,5)
MEA CULPA - CU "interrupting" MEAL with PA
31 Dirty bones scattered round church (7)
OBSCENE - (BONES*) around CE
33 Seems put out, wildly passionate (11)
TEMPESTUOUS - (SEEMS PUT OUT*)
34 Mixture left by girl, one married to the French cook (11)
GALLIMAUFRY - L by GAL, plus I M + AU [to the, French] + FRY [cook]
35 Hackneyed rubbish to include poem Henry finished first (4,2,5)
DONE TO DEATH - TAT "to include" ODE + H(enry), with DONE first
37 Superior clue might one readily admit? (6,3)
MASTER KEY - double def
40 Before noon wild boar is heavenly food (8)
AMBROSIA - A.M. [before noon] + (BOAR IS*)
42 Choose gold mounting for plate (7)
ELECTRO - ELECT + reversed OR
43 Concentrations of strength seen in good old England (7)
GANGLIA - G + ANGLIA [old England]
45 Philistine always knocked over? Goliath finally ducks (5)
YAHOO - reversed AY + {goliat}H + O O [two ducks]
47 One to sit with vexed question? (5)
POSER - double def
48 Man with credentials retiring (5)
TIMID - TIM with I.D.
49 Falters under pressure in southern county (5)
WILTS - double def with WILTS(hire)
March 26, 2021

Sunday Times Cryptic 4971, by Robert Price — cheeky as ever

This was a three-ring circus of delights, even including elephants. But seriously, folks, elephants are gradually achieving liberation from their long servitude to the spectacle. Perhaps we can still manage to save these magnificent creatures, endangered now worldwide (in my Inbox just this morning is the newletter of Philosophie magazine, headlined En défense des éléphants). There are certainly other ways in which they could earn their keep. Check out the Thai Elephant Orchestra, cofounded by my acquaintance the neuroscientist and musician David Sulzer/Soldier. Some of them even paint!

I indicate (ragas, man!)* like this, and italicize anagrinds in the clues.


ACROSS
 1 Volume of moans gently audible (4)
SIZE — “sighs”
 4 Joke made by working class about Labour’s leader (10)
…something to do with a ham sandwich?
PLEASANTRY — P(L)EASANTRY
 9 One shifting around ice as fish start to rot (6)
SKATER — SKATE, “fish” + R[-ot] The definition for “shift” that fits the surface best is the British slang usage I found in Collins: “to move quickly.”
10 Reserved band after soldiers backed it (8)
RETIRING — RE (Royal Engineers), “soldiers” + IT<=“backed” before RING, “band”
11 Departs from Eilat, maybe in the late PM (8)
DISRAELI — D(eparta) + ISRAELI, “from Eilat, maybe” First heard of this bloke from the title of the Cream album Disraeli Gears. (I didn’t get the pun. Having gotten it, its significance eludes me. Which is cool.)
12 A case of rare wine bottles brought up (6)
REARED — RE(A)(R[-ar]E)D
13 It’s some cheek saying America trails EU in surpluses (7,7)
GLUTEUS MAXIMUS — GLUT(EU)S coming before MAXIM, “saying” + US, “America”… The term has been proposed as the “Roman emperor name” of a certain recent US president.
16 Useless stuff repaired with a teen’s help (5,9)
WHITE ELEPHANTS — (with a teen’s help)* Poessession of such an animal has traditionally been held to have great symbolic importance by your typical Southeast Asian monarch… who has an army of servants and vast financial reserves to assure that the enormous (and sensitive) creature is fed, well and happy. Sometimes the potentate will, as a sign of his highest favor, bestow such a precious pachyderm on a worthy subject—who will have to provide for the beast’s maintenance out of his own meager resources. “Geez, thanks, Yer Highness…” Nowadays people may try to get some value out of worthless things they have lying around by participating in “white elephant sales”—one person’s garbage is sometimes another’s treasure.
20 Meeting places of old men having a chat outside (6)
AGORAS — A G(OR)AS
22 Sceptical or acting so anyhow (8)
AGNOSTIC — (acting so)*
24 Bloke swamped by too much huge furniture (8)
OTTOMANS — OTT (over the top), “too much” + OS, “oversize” with MAN sunk inside
25 Oath I for one said out loud (6)
AVOWAL — “a vowel”
26 Religious believers curtailed underwear thefts (10)
PANTHEISTS — PANT[-y] + HEISTS, “thefts”
27 Real turnaround for the boxing clubs (4)
ECHT — TH(C)E<=turned around

DOWN
 2 Making a connection after dropping large hint (7)
INKLING — LINKING with the L(arge) moved
 3 Lacking capital, one paying for room and board (5)
ENTER — [-r]ENTER
 4 Plough on a grave (9)
PERSEVERE — PER, “a” + SEVERE, “grave”
 5 Some insects are ruinous to rugs (7)
EARWIGS — (are)* + WIGS, “rugs”
 6 One’s lifted to accompany raga primarily (5)
SITAR — IS<=“lifted” + T[-o] A[-ccompany] R[-aga]… &lit!
 7 Telling people a bishop is visiting (9)
NARRATION — N(A RR)ATION, “bishop” being Right Reverend
 8 Poem don sent in about a university (7)
RONDEAU — RE, “about” with (don)* inserted + A + U(niversity)… That’s “sent” in the sense of “excited” for the anagrind.
14 Make the speech that’s longest and greatest (9)
UTTERMOST — UTTER MOST, say no more
15 Articles name Scotsmen as foreign capitalists? (9)
ATHENIANS — A THE, “articles” + N(ame) + IANS, “Scotsmen”
17 Meal that’s bad to eat unfortunately (4,3)
HIGH TEA — HIGH, “bad” meaning rotting + (eat)*
18 Slips by left-winger in England failures (7)
ELAPSES — E[-ngland] + LAPSES, “failures”
19 Small measure of salt coating a vegetable (7)
SPINACH — S(mall) + PIN(A)CH
21 Wine bar hides Barolo at the back (5)
SOAVE — S(O)AVE, “bar” as in “except”
23 Ways to leave clothes item worn by clergy (5)
STOLE — Hidden. Also, of course, a woman’s long scarf or shawl. Once, in the early 1980s, I was standing in line in a soup kitchen in Philadelphia with squatter comrades, and when my turn came to be served, the priest remarked that he had thought that I (of the long flowing locks) was a woman. I was indeed flattered, but I couldn’t resist replying, “You’re the one wearing the dress.”