September 16th, 2021

  • glheard

Times 28084 - not so steep

Time taken: 9:18.

Got out of rehearsal early, so I'm doing the puzzle a bit earlier than I expected. The first few times are all over the place, so this might be a puzzle for those who twig to some of the more obscure entries. I had fun unravelling the wordplay. though I suspect several of the phrases are biffable.

I'll check in with a postscript tomorrow, but since I will be passed out while most comments come in, please check the comments to see if any quibbles have been answered.

Postscript: I didn't think about it at the time since I have been to Florida, but didn't realise Key Largo was going to be a new one for solvers. I also didn't think about Ankle Bone too much, like others being reminded of dem bones. Glad to find I am not alone in my original gaffe at 20 across.

Away we go...

1 Nick, Matthew or Herbert in Dickens (6)
POCKET - double definition, though one I did have to look up after solving - Matthew Pocket and Herbert Pocket are characters in Great Expectations.
4 Minister, one having arrived at pulpit, initially? (8)
PREACHER - REACHER(one having arrived) next to the first letter of Pulpit
10 Improving where further progress seemingly impossible, minutes saved (2,3,4)
ON THE MEND - there would be no further progress ON THE END, insert M(minutes)
11 Dance: fifty entertained by it, repeatedly (5)
SALSA - L(50) inside SA(sex appeal, it) twice
12 Blank — unlike 21 across? (14)
EXPRESSIONLESS -  I'll admit biffy smartypantsness and thought "fourteen-letter synonym for blank... has to be EXPRESSIONLESS" - the wordplay is based on 21 across being ACTION PAINTI NG which would have expression
14 Blot on the landscape, one visited by tourist? (5)
SIGHT - double definition
16 Kneel on ground clasping back of limb, behind a lower body part (5,4)
ANKLE BONE - anagram of KNEEL,ON containing the last letter of limB after A
18 Picture physician after shaving cat (9)
OCTOPUSSY - DOCTOR missing the exterior letters, then PUSSY(cat). Early James Bond film
20 Rank rising sharply? (5)
SHEER - Double definition - I had STEEP in here until I got 13 down
21 Excited on anticipating a style of art (6,8)
25 Fish seller hooking customer, finally (5)
TROUT - TOUT(seller) containing the last letter of customeR
26 First of Franciscans approaching giant screens, when vespers observed? (9)
NIGHTFALL - first letter of Franciscans inside NIGH(approaching) and TALL(giant)
27 One overwhelmed by blow where justice doesn't prevail (8)
MISTRIAL - I(one) inside MISTRAL(wind, blow)
28 Intimate last few hours of working week? (6)
FRIEND - the last few hours of the workin week would be the FRIday END
1 Calling for fines, so furious (10)
PROFESSION - PRO(for) then an anagram of FINES,SO
2 Deeply distressed, share being over? (3,2)
CUT UP - CUT(share), UP(over)
3 For example, copper kettle has one (7)
ELEMENT - double definition
5 Set day between sun and moon (5)
RADIO - D(day) between RA(sun) and IO(moon)
6 Clear salt on crack (7)
ABSOLVE - AB(salt) and SOLVE(crack)
7 My vicar's cigar? (4,5)
HOLY SMOKE - double definition, the second cryptic
8 Course went on, reportedly? (4)
ROAD - sounds like RODE(went on)
9 Experience heavy blow, as would Oscars attendee? (3,5)
SEE STARS - double definition
13 Sodden and dishevelled, get pulled round back of hovel (10)
BEDRAGGLED - BE DRAGGED(get pulled) surrounding the last letter of hoveL
15 Drive home, smashing gate on bridge (3,6)
GET ACROSS - anagram of GATE, then CROSS(bridge). Referring to driving home an idea
17 Dark ultimately — terribly early start — to get to US island (3,5)
KEY LARGO - last letter of darK, then an anagram of EARLY, and GO(start)
19 Needle for example for canine? (7)
POINTER - double definition
20 Constituency or housing association's ultimate politician (7)
SENATOR - SEAT(constituency), OR containing the last letter in associatioN
22 Relative bringing Ghanaian diplomat up (5)
NANNA - the Ghanian diplomat is Kofi ANNAN long time secretary of the UN. Reverse him.
23 Having wiped brow, criminal hot under the collar (5)
IRATE - remove the first letter of PIRATE(criminal)
24 Only half the characters, little matter (4)
ATOM - half the letters would be A TO M

Times Quick Cryptic No 1963 by Trelawney

A rather hurried blog today as I have little time.  I completed this puzzle from Trelawney inside 11 minutes, finding it at the easier end of the Rotterometer scale.  1a didn’t come to me straight away, but there were plenty of easy descendant answers to help me find it.  I hope that you found it equally unproblematic.


1  One fighting to grab a pencil’s lead – it can be used for doodling (5,5)
SCRAP PAPER – SCRAPPER (one fighting) containing (grabbing) A (a) and P{encil’s} lead (first letter).
Absolutely tiny child with friend (7)
TOTALLY – TOT (tiny child) and ALLY (friend).
9  Cared about tree (5)
CEDAR – Anagram (about) of [CARED].
10  Fixes unstarted conclusions (4)
ENDS – mENDS (fixes, unstarted).
11  Roughly trample front of edible plant from the tropics (4,4)
PALM TREE – Anagram (roughly) of [TRAMPLE] plus E{dible} (front of).
13  Recall crumbling basement (6)
CELLAR – Anagram (crumbling) of [RECALL].
14  African country’s former coin (6)
GUINEA – Double definition.
17  Food from old king’s rule? (8)
COLESLAW – COLE’S (old king’s, as in old king Cole) and LAW (rule).
19  Small dog eats large piece of fruit (4)
PULP – PUP (small dog) containing (eats) L{arge}.
21  Hostility within stag group (5)
AGGRO – Hidden in {st}AG GRO{up}.
22  A tango Elgar composed for free (2,5)
AT LARGE – A (a) and T (tango) followed by an anagram (composed) of [ELGAR].
23 Socialiat hospital going wrong – that’s a distraction (3,7)
RED HERRING – RED (socialist) with H{ospital} and ERRING (going wrong).


Fortress with unusual dialect (7)
CITADEL – Anagram (unusual) of [DIALECT].
3  Sack covers top of luxury car part (4)
AXLE – AXE (sack, as in ‘got the axe / sack’, containing (covers) L{arge}.
4  Father with celebratory cry, pocketing dosh primarily on this (3,3)
PAY DAY – PA (father) and YAY (celebratory cry) with D{osh} (primarily) included (pocketing).
Toddler’s request, perhapsa stiff drink? (4-2-2)
PICK-ME-UP – Double definition, the first cryptically amusing.
6 Jockey’s amendment (3)
RIDER – Double definition, the second referring to an amendment to a contract.
7  Releases plenty of product for testing (4,5)
FREE SAMPLE – FREES (releases) and AMPLE (plenty).
8  Technocrat’s ragged piece of clothing (6,4)
TRENCH COAT – Anagram (ragged) of [TECHNOCRAT].
12  Personal assistant’s weapon – that will get you access! (8)
PASSWORD – PA’S (personal assistant’s) and SWORD (weapon).
15  Temperature inside nerve cell particle (7)
NEUTRON – NEURON (nerve cell) containing T{emperature}.
16  Superhero’s accessory conceals an appetizer (6)
CANAPE – CAPE (superhero’s accessory) concealing / containing AN (an).
18  Beer of kings served up (5)
LAGER – REGAL (of kings) reversed (served up).
20  Obscure description of book that’s unfinished (4)
BLUR – BLURb (description of book, unfinished = drop the last letter)