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Times Quick Cryptic No 1438 by Orpheus

I was creeping close to my target, so didn't hang around to think more about 1d and 18d, and was marginally surprised not to see the unlucky sign for a change. 1d is news to me, but I don't have the same excuse with the fibre at 18d: it's appeared a number of times, as recently as 28th July in the ST crossword. Nice range of clues today, and I (re)learnt a couple of things along the way, so all good - many thanks to Orpheus!


Across
1 Give birth with assistance (5)
WHELP - W(ith) HELP (assistance). The verb derives from the noun, an old word for cub.
4 One abstaining from food more quickly (6)
FASTER - double definition
9 Gorge, and reach too high a temperature in Bow? (7)
OVEREAT - Cockney pronunciation ("in Bow") of OVERHEAT (reach too high a temperature)
10 Decomposing matter emits awful smell around university (5)
HUMUS - HUMS (emits awful smell) around U(niversity). As a potential nickname, Humus is an incentive for all the Hughs out there to maintain good personal hygiene.
11 What those in authority may have, for example (3)
SAY - Nice double definition: if you've got say you've got sway.
12 Cheeky response from rear about headgear (8)
BACKCHAT - BACK (rear) C (circa = about) HAT (headgear)
15 Trick woman into cooking for stars (13)
CONSTELLATION - CON (trick) STELLA (random woman) and an anagram (cooking) of INTO
17 Firm securing gold suitable for stashing away (8)
STORABLE - STABLE (firm) securing OR (gold)
18 Blade cutting off pig’s head (3)
OARcut the head/first letter off BOAR (pig)
20 Broadcast about poet’s work (5)
RELAY - RE (about) LAY (poet's work)
22 Report of central European going to city for medical examination (5-2)
CHECK-UP - sounds like (report of) CZECH (central European) UP (going to city)
23 Person consulting doctor is disheartened — that’s plain (6)
PATENT - PATIENT (person consulting doctor) dis-heartened = remove the central letter
24 Vagrant originally moving around in biblical land (5)
NOMAD - M A ("originally" Moving Around) goes in NOD (biblical land). Cain was exiled to the Land of Nod, where according to Josephus he continued his wickedness by establishing weights and measures and property rights, and by building a fortified city. Nomad means from a wandering tribe in Greek, and is unrelated to the Hebrew for wander which is nod.

Down
1 Court left wine in Lord Chancellor’s place (8)
WOOLSACK - WOO (court) L(eft) SACK (wine - from French "sec"). A seat in the House of Lords made from a bag of wool for the Lord Chancellor (and more recently the Lord Speaker). Dates back to the 14th century to symbolise the central importance of the wool trade to the English economy. A major scandal came to light in 1938 when it was discovered that the sack of wool was in fact... a sack of horsehair.
2 Adversary’s force finally upset Yankee soldiers (5)
ENEMY - is E (forcE, "finally") and then upset/overturn Y(ankee) MEN (soldiers
3 Best prayer oddly abandoned by a church elder (9)
PRESBYTER - anagram (oddly) of BEST PRaYER, with the A removed/abandoned
5 A quiet wood (3)
ASH - A and SH (quiet)
6 Drums a fellow viewed with endless fright (7)
TIMPANI - a TIM (fellow) seen with PANIc ("endless" fright)
7 Reportedly regrets trick (4)
RUSE - sounds like (reportedly) RUES (regrets)
8 Goals ultimately amuse defensive player? Something fishy here (11)
STICKLEBACK - S (goalS, "ultimately") TICKLE (amuse) BACK (defensive player) reveals a fish-like answer.
13 Lizard given tea and fruit outside rear of café (9)
CHAMELEON - CHA (tea) and MELON (fruit) going outside E ("rear" of cafE)
14 Bold print I’d employ initially somehow (8)
INTREPID - anagram (somehow) of PRINT ID E (Employ "initially")
16 Like available digs inspiring lessee’s last letter? (7)
NOTELET - NOT LET = available digs, inspiring/taking in E (lesseE's "last")
18 Fibre produced by Rutland town, so it’s said (5)
OAKUM - made by the sound of OAKHAM (Rutland town). Loosely twisted fibre made by untwisting and picking old rope. If that sounds like a fun job, then all you had to do was become a convict or join a workhouse and it was yours. Oakum was then shoved into the seams of (wooden) ships and leaky pipes (and occasionally wounds) with resin or pitch then poured over. The phrase "money for old rope" is not related.
19 Yield readily at first, arrested by police officer (4)
CROP - R (Readily "at first" arrested by COP (police officer)
21 Foreign money one of Napoleon’s marshals raised (3)
YEN - NEY (one of Napoleon’s marshals) raised. He does 19-down up occasionally - worth remembering.

Comments

( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
kevingregg
Sep. 12th, 2019 04:21 am (UTC)
Biffed a couple--2d, 8d, 12ac--parsed afterwards. LOI NOTELET. The male STICKLEBACK develops a red spot on its belly during mating season, and will attack another, similarly spotted male. Which sounds intentional, but it will attack anything red. One male was provoked into attacking his tank because of a red car parked outside. 5:59.
mendesest
Sep. 12th, 2019 05:09 am (UTC)
Needed the blog a lot today. Never heard of OAKHAM or OAKUM, or NOD, or NEY, or SACK for sec. Not on the wavelength and so found it rather hard. Next!
jackkt
Sep. 12th, 2019 05:34 am (UTC)
I raced through this in 7 minutes (my times include parsing) because there was nothing I hadn't met before and perhaps more importantly, remembered, but I was aware very early on that there was some tricky stuff going on that would surely cause problems for less experienced solvers, and I see there's one comment to that effect already. A very enjoyable workout, but not perhaps for newbies.

A couple of interesting facts for quizzers: Oakham is the County Town of Rutland (there's not much competition as Uppingham is the only other sizeable town) and Rutland is the smallest county in England except when the tide is IN at the Isle of Wight.

Edited at 2019-09-12 09:37 pm (UTC)
flashman
Sep. 12th, 2019 06:45 am (UTC)
Oakums up with this stuff
26 minutes with ockam instead of oakum.

Stuck on notelet, relay and loi presbyter which was tricky.
Dnk humus, lay, woolsack, or oakum.

Cod overeat.
chrisw91
Sep. 12th, 2019 03:59 pm (UTC)
RE: Oakums up with this stuff
It’s the setters hoodoo.
davidivad1
Sep. 12th, 2019 07:49 am (UTC)
Thursday
In a rush this morning as off to The Oval shortly. I thought I wasn't going to finish this needing three-TIMPANI (HAD ASSUMED TOM WAS THE MAN),NOTELET and LOI RELAY.
Oakum occurred recently and I handled some at Buckler's Hard on holiday;and I've been to Oakham.
All done in 16:14 with a sigh of relief.
David
(Anonymous)
Sep. 12th, 2019 08:05 am (UTC)
Can anyone please explain in

22 Report of central European going to city for medical examination (5-2)

How 'going to city' becomes UP? Is it in the sense of being UP at university?
jackkt
Sep. 12th, 2019 08:36 am (UTC)
Up to city
It crops up often with reference to trains, 'up trains' going to town and 'down trains' away from town, although there are other variations on this.

Edited at 2019-09-12 08:38 am (UTC)
plett11
Sep. 12th, 2019 08:37 am (UTC)
I enjoyed this one and it felt as if I was on the setters wavelength, finishing in 10.12. I did lack a couple of bits of GK as I'd not heard of the the biblical land and OAKUM went in with fingers crossed. I finished with 3d and 12a with COD going to the fish.
Thanks for the blog
(Anonymous)
Sep. 12th, 2019 08:40 am (UTC)
Same experience as our blogger with slight guesses for 1d and 18d except I guessed both wrong. Didn’t know SACK for wine so guessed SACE and then misspelt my guess at OAKUM even though I knew OAKHAM so had the answer but no idea which letters to guess for the unknown fibre. All of which means DNF (but time was 10.14...)

NeilC
(Anonymous)
Sep. 12th, 2019 08:49 am (UTC)
I had all the GK to do this puzzle, but it still took me close to my target time to solve. WHELP and WOOLSACK straight in, so off to a flying start, then slowed a bit. CHAMELEON LOI. 9:19. Thanks Orpheus and Roly.
john_dun
Sep. 12th, 2019 08:50 am (UTC)
That was me. LJ logged me out.
crispb
Sep. 12th, 2019 10:17 am (UTC)
Lots of stuff I didn't know here or failed to parse, but it was all possible to figure out and I finished within my 40 minute target at 35:54, so a good work out I'd say. I thought a whelp referred to a newborn rather than the act of giving birth, but it wasn't a great leap to get that, and that enabled me to get woolsack, which I vaguely knew was something to do with parliament, but couldn't parse as I'd never heard of sack meaning wine. Not for the first time I am glad my friend from uni went to Uppingham, otherwise I'd never have heard of Oakham (Rutland itself was new to me when I met him, though it had only just secured its divorce from Leicestershire). Actually, I have to confess that up till now I thought Uppingham was just the name of a school and it was in Oakham, so you live and learn. Ney was new to me too, but I can see that it might be a useful one to know. I thought Relay was a nice piece of misdirection, so COD to that.
philjordan
Sep. 12th, 2019 10:34 am (UTC)
Easy enough....
....but MER at the "in" at 1D. To me, it doesn't quite gel. The first three words of the clue give the entire solution, so shouldn't it be "for" ? Alternatively, if the second and third words were reversed, then "left" would be in "court wine". The Lord Chancellor sits on, not in, the Woolsack...

I'm maybe just nit-picking, and it didn't hold me up, my only hiccup being "storable" at 17A, quickly corrected when I saw PRESBYTER.

FOI WHELP
LOI PATENT
COD STICKLEBACK
TIME 3:57
(Anonymous)
Sep. 12th, 2019 12:53 pm (UTC)
Mostly done
DNF as per usual but got quite a lot in. I looked up Oakham and oakum. I put down tomtoms as a guess for 6dn, took it out because it made no sense. Got it once a few more letters appeared. FOI WHELP so thought I was off to a good start only to falter almost immediately!
-CHS
chrisw91
Sep. 12th, 2019 04:05 pm (UTC)
A fast 8:01 for me as, for a change, I had the GK - with a slight wobble on Woolsack - there’s a pub in Norwich called the Woolpack but wine had to be sack. Thanks to Roly for some good info.
(Anonymous)
Sep. 23rd, 2019 06:12 pm (UTC)
For some reason Mrs Tim (not that Tim) cut this out and put it on the fridge where it has since languished. Thought I’d make a quiet start and then hand it over, but surprisingly finished in about 25 minutes (part way through one bit of vinyl when I started, then part way through another when I finished).
Oddly relaxed about this one, perhaps it was the music. Is this my way forward??!!
Tim (not that Tim).
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )

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