brnchn (brnchn) wrote in times_xwd_times,
brnchn
brnchn
times_xwd_times

Times Cryptic No 27666 - Saturday, 16 May 2020. The mellow mists of May.

My brain was in a fog, so my solving time was off the chart. Nothing to do with COVID, thankfully! The puzzle wasn’t easy, but I don’t think there’s anything that should frighten the horses once the mist clears. Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle.

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.

Clues are blue, with definitions underlined. Deletions are in [square brackets].

Across
1 Wobbly teeth about to rot could be thus described? (10)
PRECARIOUS – delightful pun. Dental decay is caries, of course.
6 Writing about one's girl (4)
MISS – MS (manuscript) ‘about’ I’S. First one in.
10 Horse has to be killed? Horse escapes (7)
MUSTANG – the mustang MUST [h]ANG. I liked this too.
11 Talk of some corn in grass (7)
HEARSAY – EARS of corn in HAY.
12 Traveller set off, one showing despair going around (9)
SIGHTSEER – anagram (‘off’) of SET in SIGHER.
13 Agreed about coating tip for fencing in Asia (5)
KENDO – OK ‘about’, ‘coating’ END. It’s a traditional Japanese martial art, which descended from swordsmanship and uses bamboo swords and protective armour.
14 Turner, for one, makes inquiries vocally (5)
PRIZE – sounds like “pries”. The Turner Prize is awarded annually for visual art.
15 Flannel in little time eaten by dog (5,4)
SWEET TALK – WEE T[ime] in STALK. Close to home, this: flannels are among the many things our dog likes to chew!
17 Bird close to warming duck's back (9)
NIGHTHAWK – NIGH (close to), THAW (warming), [duc]K.
20 Claim this used to be a law? (5)
EXACT – an EX ACT, as it were.
21 Part of geranium below flower cluster (5)
UMBEL – hidden.
23 Pass on dirt cut by gutless ecological polluter (6,3)
DIESEL OIL – DIE (pass on), SOIL ‘cut by’ E[cologica]L.
25 Male cat keeps cold in a wind (7)
HELICON – HE (male), LION ‘keeping’ C. That’s ‘wind’ with a long I meaning to coil, not with a short I meaning a breeze, as the context would suggest. One of the setting tricks I always enjoy. On edit: looking up "helicon", I realise it's a wind instrument. So "wind " in the clue would have a short "I".
26 Stand in lounge in awful daze, as Spooner has it (7)
FIREDOG – a DIRE FOG, per Rev. Spooner. We’ve seen this word twice in recent weeks, so it went in quickly.
27 Bank charge brought back after resistance (4)
REEF – FEE ‘brought back’ after R.
28 I'm amazed about key mixer in drink (4,6)
MALT WHISKY – MY (I’m amazed!) around ALT (a key) and WHISK.

Down
1 Felines leading around family members (5)
PUMAS – UP (leading) turned ‘around’, then MAS (mothers, or specific family members). I found this strangely hard to see.
2 Heard you must leave one synagogue, oddly mellow (9)
EASYGOING – anagram (‘oddly’) of I (one) SYNAGOG[u]E. U sounds like ‘you’, so it leaves the anagram.
3 Separately, people stop maintaining temperature in building (9,5)
APARTMENT BLOCK – APART, MEN, T[emperature], BLOCK.
4 Entrance painter with head of sylph (7)
INGRESS – INGRES (the painter), S[ylph].
5 Throw junk behind junk removed from tips (7)
UNHORSE – HORSE (junk, aka drugs), ‘behind’ [j]UN[k]. A very neat clue!
7 Stock complaint received by popular playwright (5)
IBSEN – see playwright (5), think IBSEN! I slowed myself down by looking for IN---, rather than I---N. BSE is the animal disease (stock complaint).
8 Variety of blue, edible leaves shoot up (9)
SKYROCKET – SKY blue, ROCKET salad.
9 Following sign, doctor creates her diagnosis of consumption? (6,8)
MARKET RESEARCH – MARK (sign), anagram (‘doctor’) of CREATES HER. Another nicely misleading definition.
14 Detain criminal retailer, a clerical fellow (9)
PENPUSHER – PEN (detain), PUSHER.
16 A flipping low number preserve reptiles (9)
ANACONDAS – A, then ‘flip’ SAD (low) + NO (number) + CAN (preserve).
18 Notice and study prosecutor's further words (7)
ADDENDA – AD, DEN, DA. Monkey see, monkey solve?
19 Look over suit — it may have a slimming effect (4-3)
KEEP-FIT – PEEK (look, ‘over’), FIT (suit).
22 Part of Hull for one politician on the rise (5)
BILGE – E.G (for one), LIB (politician) all ‘on the rise’.
24 Tired of starter of lamb — like an omelette? (5)
LEGGY – L[amb], EGGY. I didn’t know this usage of LEGGY, but the wordplay was clear.
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