Mephisto 3121 - Don Manley

If you do the Mephisto and the Listener, you gor a double dose of Don Manley last weekend - I found the Listener enjoyable as well (and if you are looking to try out the series, it is on the easier side of Listeners, particularly if you have been solving Don Manley clues here and in the daily/quick cryptics.

This was a pretty steady solve, and another fun grid, with 90-degree symmetry and longer entries around the outside.

In Mephisto puzzles, definitions (the first of which is underlined) can be confirmed in Chambers, so I will be focusing on the wordplay.

Away we go...

Across
1 Horrible person, intellectual of a certain hue? (9)
PIGMENTAL - PIG(horrible person), MENTAL(intellectual)
11 A Parisian, I had to be member of a church (6)
UNIATE - UN(a in French), I, ATE(had)
12 Indian animal that’s awful crossing a lake (5)
BALOO - BOO(that's awful!) surrounding A, L(lake). I'm going to guess most of us know this word via Kipling
13 Phone America for something to help broken bones (6)
CALLUS - CALL(phone), US(America)
14 Class with Scripture etc making one behave better (6)
REFORM - a class with Scripture etc could be a RE FORM
16 Plant with bacterial disease — leaf’s beginning to wither (8)
WISTERIA - LISTERIA(bacterial disease) with the first letter of Leaf replaced by the first letter of Wither
17 A short time entertaining one good chum abroad (5)
AMIGO - A, MO(short time) containing I(one), G(good)
19 Cent in terrible state, coin no longer usable (6)
SCEATT - C(cent) inside an anagram of STATE
20 Fabric is brought round to be displayed outside room (6)
SHALLI - IS reversed surrounding HALL(room)
21 Around home let’s spread cheap decoration (6)
TINSEL - IN(home) inside an anagram of LET'S
25 Prostitutes having game start to linger repeatedly in back street (6)
TRULLS - RU(game), and the first letter of Linger twice in ST(street) reversed
28 Sends back a wee amount (5)
STIME - EMITS(sends) reversed
30 True stories coming from couples once more (8)
RE-ALLIES -  REAL(true), LIES(stories)
31 Good-for-nothing to be stupid as before, having adopted new name (6)
DONNAT - DOAT(to be stupid) surrounding N(new) and N(name)
32 Distinct political group full of love repeatedly sweet-talking (6)
WOOING - WING(distinct political group) containing O(love) twice
33 Playful lord in court in charge (5)
LUDIC - LUD(lord in court), IC(in charge)
34 Initial earnings with a debit to be arranged (6)
EBITDA - A with an anagram of DEBIT
35 Transvestites in red dancing in parties (9)
BERDASHES -  anagram of RED inside BASHES(parties)
Down
2 Maiden rushed up to meet the first person in embrace (5)
INARM - M(maiden), RAN(rushed) reversed after I(first person)
3 Highland assistant that is buried under wooded glen (6)
GILLIE - IE(that is) under GILL(wooded glen)
4 African islander, once a prisoner in crushed condition (8)
MALAGASH - A LAG(prisoner) in MASH(crushed condition)
5 Indonesian den, one with nothing inside (6)
NESIOT - NEST(den) contaning I(one) and O(nothing)
6 Sailors coming to American city where saint was born (6)
TARSUS - TARS(Sailors) and US(American) for the birthplace of Saint Paul
7 Helps when chance has to be seized (5)
ABETS - AS(when) containing BET(chance)
8 Like colourful festival, free for all (6)
FLORAL - anagram of FOR,ALL
9 Mountain sheep loves to look down on valley and lake (6)
OORIAL - O and O (loves) over RIA(valley) and L(lake)
10 Philanderer more prudent going round Arab land (9)
WOMANISER - WISER(more prudent) surrounding OMAN(Arab land)
15 Corrupt celebrity in ill setting (9)
BASTARDLY - STAR(celebrity) inside BADLY(ill)
18 Strawberry about to be munched — the fellow’s to eat it (8)
HAUTBOIS - anagram of ABOUT inside HIS(the fellow's)
22 Ignore little old cutie getting sozzled (6, two words)
ICE OUT - anagram of O(little old) and CUTIE
23 Non-flying bird needs help — one taken outside to go up (6)
NHANDU - HAND(help) inside UN(one) reversed
24 What one is looking for in new role is to kill time (6)
LOITER - one is looking for IT inside an anagram of ROLE
25 Muscular youngster (old-fashioned type) has cut in (6)
THEWED - TED(youngster) with HEW(cut) inside
26 Early woman, evil ultimately — I left husband, it is gathered (6)
LILITH - last letter of eviL, then I, L(left), H(husband) containing IT. Clever clue, as LILITH was the first wife of Adam
27 Good material that adds a certain gloss (5)
GLACE - G(good), LACE(material)
29 African with long hair hugging duke (5)
MANDE - MANE(long hair) surrounding D(duke)
muppet

Sunday Times 4908 by Robert Price - back to school

DNF. I found this very tricky, and had spent a little over 20 minutes on it when I came to 18ac. I have somehow never come across the Roman name for Ireland (if anything I would have associated it with Scotland, but it turns out the football team was founded by Edinburgh’s Irish community), and I couldn’t make any sense of (or indeed identify) the wordplay. So a fail for me this week as a result of a pretty embarrassing gap in my general knowledge.

The quality of the puzzle was, fortunately, far superior to the quality of the solver. Lots of cunning clues in this one, and some interesting vocab. 16dn combines both features in a particularly brilliant &Lit.

Definitions are underlined, anagrams indicated like (TIHS)*, anagram indicators are in italics.

Across
1 Young lover’s house leased by top university
CAPULET - CAP (top), U, LET. Juliet’s house, sworn enemies of Romeo’s Montagues.
5 Joints provided in some prosthetic limbs feel stiff at first
SPLIFFS - first letters of ‘some prosthetic limbs feel stiff’ containing IF (provided).
9 Song, mostly fiction
LIE - LIEd.
10 Parties entertaining northern banker throws
DISCONCERTS - DISCO(N, CERT)S.
11 Men’s linen about to be arranged in drawers
UNMENTIONABLES - (MENS LINEN ABOUT)*.
13 Rent small room someone vacated for free
LET LOOSE - LET, LOO, SomeonE.
15 Pound of meat, paltry end cut
HAMMER - HAM, MERe.
17 One may hold coffee and walk nonchalantly, on a mobile
SACHET - sounds like ‘sashay’. This seems to be a reference to instant so ‘coffee’ should really be in inverted commas.
18 Ireland’s rupture brought about in Belfast originally
HIBERNIA - H(In, Belfast)ERNIA. My downfall.
20 Understanding 60 per cent of these irritate, act decisively
GRASP THE NETTLE - GRASP (understanding), THEse, NETTLE.
23 Governance by one on hand to give guidance
RULE OF THUMB - or, um, RULE (governance) OF (by) THUMB (one on hand).
24 Top firm? Not really
LID - soLID.
25 Bagpipe songs to be played amid silence
MUSETTE - SET (songs to be played) inside MUTE (silence, as a verb). 'A type of bagpipe with a bellows popular in France during the 17th and 18th centuries.' New to me but the wordplay was clear enough.
26 Look around and be curious, dear fellow
OLD BEAN - reversal of LO, (AND BE)*.

Down
1 Dreary company? Don’t scowl so much!
COLOURLESS - CO, LOUR LESS.
2 Heavy tools misspelt in a crumpled list
PNEUMATIC DRILLS - (IN A CRUMPLED LIST)*.
3 Like a full ship that’s left port
LADEN - L, ADEN.
4 Most palatable wine is covered by tax
TASTIEST - T(ASTI)EST.
5 Spies turning up in old clubs
SPOONS - reversal of SNOOPS. SPOON is an old word for a golf club. See also mashie, niblick, mashie-niblick, jigger.
6 Large copper in uniform heading for bogus judge’s study at night
LUCUBRATE - L, U(CU), Bogus, RATE. A word I didn’t know but the assembly instructions were clear.
7 Tone of Tory supporting one’s plea to be recalled
FORGET-ME-NOT BLUE - not a colour I knew, but again the instructions were clear once I had a few checkers.
8 Band’s big hit millions ignored
SASH - SmASH.
12 A jolly old fellow’s battle against evil
ARMAGEDDON - A, RM (‘jolly’ is a term for a Royal Marine), AGED, DON.
14 Disposed to shove or go too far
OVERSHOOT - (TO SHOVE OR)*.
16 Possible order for trio to hold melody back
RITENUTO - (TRIO)* containing TUNE reversed. This is a musical instruction to ‘hold back momentarily’ so the clue is a very clever &Lit.
19 Figure seen in posh country houses
STATUE - STAT(U)E.
21 Set off with no rescue boat and sink
EMBED - EMBarkED.
22 Spruce border, cut back
TRIM - triple definition.

Times Cryptic Jumbo 1445 - 13th June. Come hell or high water

Hello and happy Caturday.  Sorry this blog is a little later in the day than usual.  I always have good intentions to do things IN TIME, but invariably end up where such intentions lead …


Anyway, what felt to me like a fairly typical Jumbo solve slowed down somewhat at the end, culminating in the need for a wildcard search to find 15a.  All good fun, thank you setter.

Collapse )

  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27696 - Saturday, 20 June 2020. Fast start.

This looked for a while like an opportunity for a personal best. I wrote in clue after clue … then, two-thirds of the way through, I hit the wall. How do you all go? My only gripe is the obscure 4dn, where I couldn’t tell from the wordplay whether the unchecked second letter was an A or an E. 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 {curly brackets}.
Across
1 Place name to mark round mount (7)
TOPONYM – TO (from the clue), M (mark), round PONY.
5 Restriction on movement of dog— nowhere near common (6)
CURFEW – CUR (dog), FEW (nowhere near common).
8 Get one who’s in debt taking in new man of property (9)
LANDOWNER – LAND (get), OWER (one in debt) ‘taking in’ N (new).
9 Chest covered by father’s jacket (5)
PARKA – ARK ‘covered by’ PA.
11 Composer’s right to abandon humorous work (5)
SATIE – SATI{r}E.
12 Having gone without can? (9)
ABSTINENT – ABSENT ‘without’ (i.e. outside) TIN. The whole clue is wordplay, the last word is not part of the definition. On edit: I think isla3 is right; "can", as in "beer can", is indeed part of the definition too.
13 Put in water and gently boiled after a delay of seconds (8)
IMMERSED – SIMMERED with the S delayed.
15 Did cure set lad in order? (6)
SALTED – anagram (‘in order’) of SET LAD. Wikipedia assures me you cure meat by salting it.
17 Torturer is beginning to tremble after feeling sorrow (6)
SADIST – SAD (feeling sorrow), IS (from the clue), T{remble}.
19 Note worn-out spirits or low spirits (8)
DOLDRUMS – D (musical note), OLD (worn-out), RUMS (spirits).
22 Uluru’s place: rock as a ritual (9)
AUSTRALIA – anagram (‘rock’) of AS A RITUAL.
23 Copy three notes (5)
MIMIC – MI (a musical note), MI again, and C.
24 Kindle returned some week overdue (5)
EVOKE – backwards hidden answer (‘returned’, ‘some’).
25 What’s about to be planted in pot with a tropical tree (9)
JACARANDA – CA (about) ‘planted in’ JAR (pot), AND (with), A (from the clue).
26 Stupid person in school is a pain (6)
STITCH – TIT in SCH.
27 Canal Street clubs won’t open to admit unknown investigator (7)
ANALYST – {c}ANAL, ST{reet}, with Y (unknown) ‘admitted’. The C on CANAL is the ‘clubs’ that ‘won’t open’ it.

Down
1 Splash article around some very elevated rival mastheads here? (4,5,4)
TALL SHIPS’ RACE – anagram (‘around’) of SPLASH ARTICLE.
2 Around north-east, rebuilding M1 put lots of cones here (7)
PINETUM – anagram (‘rebuilding’) NE MI PUT. I was unsure whether this was a real word or a furphy, but at least it looked a bit like ARBORETUM.
3 Somebody unimportant — or the chief? (2-3)
NO-ONEDiary of a Nobody? Or, the No. One Boss Man? A double definition, in other words.
4 Crew ate gutted eastern fish (8)
MENHADEN – MEN (crew), HAD (ate), E{aster}N. I harrumphed at this unknown answer because ‘to crew’ as opposed to ‘the crew’ would make it MANHADEN instead. I had to look it up.
5 Worries over small pet (6)
CARESS – CARES ‘over’ S{mall}.
6 Reprove about stiffly formal, logical operation (9)
REPRIMAND – RE (about), PRIM, AND (AND is an operator in Boolean algebra, a form of mathematical/computer logic)
7 Very serious sign of what is to come (7)
EARNEST – double definition.
10 Bad accident with stain that won’t dry (13)
ANTIDESICCANT – anagram (‘bad’) of ACCIDENT STAIN.
14 Again appearing divided about good trick set up (9)
RESURGENT – RENT (divided) about G RUSE backwards.
16 Italian food free of charge on account, I note (8)
FOCACCIA – F.O.C (free of charge), ACC. (one of several abbreviations for account), I, A (musical note).
18 Misrepresent sordid gossip about thug’s head found in well (7)
DISTORT – double nesting: DIRT (sordid gossip) around SO (well) around T (thug’s head).
20 Armed criminal with no good lady, heartless like a female? (7)
UNMANLY – {g}UNMAN (armed criminal), L{ad}Y. The definition is tongue-in-cheek, hence the question mark.
21 High priest takes pilgrimage up for prophet (6)
ELIJAH – ELI, HAJ backwards.
23 Yacht haven keeping out November seas (5)
MARIA – MARI{n}A:  lunar ‘sea’ is a MARE, plural MARIA. I guessed it was something like that, and put it in on faith, then looked it up for your blog.

Quick Cryptic 1644 by Joker

Not the easiest, but fairly straightforward after the fact. I took a while to spot 7 & 8 down. 9 ac is interesting. Obvious answer, but very unusual parsing, with the definition being dragged into the word play without it really being an &lit. Not sure I've seen that before. I'll leave you all to debate the rights and wrongs of that as a device...


Across
1 Mischievous about remaining beggar (10)
IMPOVERISH - IMPISH outside OVER
8 Volcanic opening about to swallow tree (7)
CALDERA - CA (about) outside ALDER
9 Spicy rice, alluring eastern cuisine (one wants seconds!) (5)
PILAU - Second letters of sPicy rIce aLluring eAstern cUisine. A write-in but parsing took a long time
10 Mediterranean port area (4)
ACRE - double definition
11 Nearly go running through all four seasons (8)
YEARLONG - anagram ('running') of NEARLY GO
13 Type of children’s book heroine mostly following it (6)
ITALIC - IT then ALIC(e)
14 Liven up by means of hot spice (6)
PEPPER - PEP + PER
17 Understood vase is rarely open (8)
TACITURN - TACIT (understood) + URN
19 Mist surrounding river amphibian (4)
FROG - FOG with R inside
21 Rub out because put in before (5)
ERASE - AS inside ERE
22 Marksman getting small owl, perhaps (7)
SHOOTER - S + HOOTER
23 Rather sour tonic tends to go off (10)
DISCONTENT - anagram ('to go off') of TONIC TENDS
Down
2 Girl swallowing aluminium for a fever (7)
MALARIA - MARIA with AL inside
3 Start on introducing exercises (4)
OPEN - ON with PE inside
4 English reputation lies initially in painted artwork (6)
ENAMEL - E + NAME + L
5 I’m one who carries for international trader (8)
IMPORTER - I am porter
6 He will ring in greeting (5)
HELLO - HE'LL + O
7 Australian flyer has to shift equipment by air without one (10)
BUDGERIGAR - BUDGE + RIG + AR ('air' without i)
8 Carriage driver’s optimism about a public disturbance (10)
CHARIOTEER - CHEER with RIOT inside
12 Sit awkwardly in ceremonial uniform in agony (8)
DISTRESS - anagram ('awkwardly') of SIT with DRESS outside.
15 Joke about girl being strictly moral (7)
PURITAN - PUN outside RITA
16 All others in post office can be very quick (6)
PRESTO - REST inside PO
18 Vegetable is cold and tough (5)
CHARD - C + HARD
20 Cover coolants regularly going missing (4)
COAT - alternate letters of CoOlAnT
verlaine

Times 27,701: 18dn Amazeballs

Once again it feels a bit like the Thursday and Friday puzzles may have been swapped around by a CARELESS EDITOR, but this wasn't too bad considering, with a couple of fun traps that I stumbled about in for a while: fruitlessly trying to anagram "boy, tiny, limited" and trying to make something of the obvious standard cryptic elements of 3dn. Fortunately the jig was up when the crossing answer revealed the final D, but well played setter: I do like it when crossword clues use the knowledge that they're crossword clues against us. (See also 15dn.)

I've already mentioned by favourite clues but the selenological 23ac can be the WOD. What about yourselves, any other nominations?

ACROSS
1 Firm is business without any piece of legislation (7)
COMPACT - COMP{any} [business, "without ANY"] + ACT [piece of legislation]

5 Move awkwardly as lass gaining speed outside university (7)
GALUMPH - GAL gaining MPH, outside U. My FOI, as I've often been termed a "great glaikit galumphit galoot" in my time.

9 Yours truly's taking in good female American who needs education (9)
IGNORAMUS - I'M [your's truly's] "taking in" G NORA, + US

10 Devil bumping off king in capital? (5)
MONEY - MON{k}EY [devil, "bumping off" K (for king)]

11 One bird or another crossing river with duck (5)
HERON - HEN [(another) bird] "crossing" R + 0

12 Potter having a stint on Scottish island (4,5)
MUCK ABOUT - A BOUT on MUCK

14 Feature provided by architect is arc strangely positioned (14)
CHARACTERISTIC - (ARCHITECT IS ARC*)

17 Mismanages boy, tiny, limited by teachers (14)
MALADMINISTERS - LAD, MINI, "limited by" MASTER

21 Those people joining cricket side stop improving (2,3,4)
ON THE MEND - THEM joining ON, + END [stop]

23 Lunar feature of note, not well covered (5)
RILLE - ILL [not well] "covered" by RE. One of those long narrow depressions or channels on the lunar surface, presumably for the purpose of astronauts losing their golfballs in.

24 Covering needed by thatcher (5)
HATCH - hidden in {t}HATCH{er}

25 Clever — when full of worry is inclined to give up (9)
DEFEATIST - DEFT, when full of EAT [worry] + IS

26 One Greek character or another abandoning university after end of course (7)
EPSILON - {u}PSILON after {cours}E

27 Fruit became more fashionable (7)
ROSEHIP - ROSE [became more] + HIP [fashionable]

DOWN
1 Mostly get on well with the fellow offering banality (6)
CLICHE - CLIC{k} with HE

2 Number turning up in protest — who don't republicans want? (7)
MONARCH - NO reversed in MARCH

3 Pole leaving Egypt on a journey to safety (6,3)
AARON'S ROD - cryptic def

4 Processed mincemeat I had originally: that takes us back! (4,7)
TIME MACHINE - (MINCEMEAT I H{ad}*)

5 Talk and pant, no end (3)
GAS - GAS{p}

6 Article about friend — all in French — becoming monster (5)
LAMIA - LA about AMI

7 My old suspicion is voiced — pay attention! (4,3)
MIND OUT - homophone of MINE DOUBT

8 Potential grub for horse — eats food round end of day (8)
HAYSTACK - HAS TACK, "round" {da}Y

13 Happiness interrupted by supervisor that's cut short loud game (6,2,3)
CHEMIN DE FER - CHEER "interrupted" by MINDE{r} F

15 Composer's third and fifth maybe (9)
INTERVALS - cryptic def

16 Male in truth that is the type to exude charm (8)
SMOOTHIE - M in SOOTH I.E.

18 Rhetorical device in stories enthralling small child (7)
LITOTES - LIES "enthralling" TOT

19 Hunt maybe led by artist and explorer (7)
RALEIGH - LEIGH [Hunt, maybe: as in the Romantic poet], led by R.A.

20 Warm hospital with encouragement to enjoy food (4,2)
HEAT UP - H with EAT UP!

22 Woman's number, having changed sides (5)
ETHEL - ETHE{r->L}. A number as in "a substance that numbs", changed sides as in "R becomes L". Two chestnutty cluing techniques there, but maybe that's like two wrongs making a right?

25 Person wanting payment cheated, we hear (3)
DUN - homophone of DONE

27700 - hidden in plain course

Time taken: 25:55, with at least six minutes on the two entries in the bottom right hand corner ending with a truly head-slap moment from what is a rather clever clue.

I found this pretty difficult, there's some unusual definitions of common words used throughout. Very few were write-ins, and even the anagrams were challenging.

I hope everyone is staying safe and sane - an increase in hospitalizations in my state has seen us extend restrictions and enforce mask-wearing so I'll be bunkered down a while longer.

Away we go...

Across
1 Briefly stop seeing grotesque creature (6)
GOBLIN - GO BLIND(stop seeing) missing the last letter
4 Immediately report on friend’s backsliding (4-4)
SLAP-BANG - BANG(report) on PAL'S (friend's) reversed
10 Amount of money, including flyer, that’s found in chest (7)
STERNUM - SUM(amount of money) containing TERN(flyer)
11 Aseptic fluid outstripping all others? (7)
PACIEST - anagram of ASEPTIC
12 Endless things for tiller to do in London area (4)
SOHO - shorten the two things a tiller may do, SOW and HOE
13 Bags of empty tweets (10)
DRAINPIPES - DRAIN(empty) and PIPES(tweets) for the trousers
15 Be having seemingly penurious existence, as broadcaster is now? (4,2,3)
LIVE ON AIR - double definition
16 Drop a little lower, keeping length in mind (5)
CALVE - L(length) in CAVE(mind, beware of) for birthing a cow
18 No good going in without answer ready (5)
WONGA - NG(no good) inside W/O(without), A(answer) for money
19 Seeing much delight in always blocking editor (5-4)
EAGLE-EYED - GLEE(delight) inside AYE(always) inside ED(editor)
21 Old military commander’s memory not good, sadly (10)
MONTGOMERY - anagram of MEMORY,NOT,G(good)
23 Filmgoer sees this game between Mike and Oscar (4)
GOLF - this was my last in and it is rare to see the definition in the middle of a clue. The wordplay leads to the letter G, which is GOLF in the NATO alphabet, and is in between M(mike) and O(oscar) in the word filmGoer
26 Shellfish, stemlike, regularly appearing back on land (7)
WINKLES - alternating letters in StEmLiKe reversed after WIN(land)
27 Something additional after the blink of an eye muscle (7)
TRICEPS - PS(postscript, something additional) after TRICE(the blink of an eye)
28 What a woman in R&D completely altered (8)
REHASHED - EH(what), A, SHE(woman) inside R and D
29 Played some groovy tunes? (6)
FLUTED - tricky clue playing on two defintions of FLUTE being a musical instrument and a groove on a pillar
Down
1 Pants Penny’s wearing droop when pulled up (5)
GASPS - P'S(penny's) inside SAG(droop) all reversed
2 Great German workers’ party nevertheless to be sold short (9)
BEETHOVEN - BEE(worker's party), 'THO(neverless) then VEND(to be sold) missing the last letter
3 Locals popular with Poles (4)
INNS - IN with the N and S poles
5 Descending onto platform, edge forward, increasingly (7)
LIPPIER - PIER(platform) with LIP(edge) first
6 Dip in the cream pot (10)
PICKPOCKET - PICK(the cream), POCKET(pot)
7 Piled up in the van, parking for days (5)
AHEAP - AHEAD(in the van) with P(parking) replacing D(days)
8 Port has aged with time, extremely rarely (9)
GATESHEAD - anagram of HAS,AGED, and the outside letters of TimE
9 Tradition that mum’s kept in the family? (6)
OMERTA - cryptic definition based on the mob(family) code
14 Marx died here, Engels also, strangely (3,7)
LOS ANGELES - anagram of ENGELS,ALSO - the better known Marx Brothers (Groucho, Harpo and Chico) all died in LOS ANGELES. Gummo and Zeppo both died in Palm Springs
15 Cutter of large bristle — and second used to be cut (9)
LAWNMOWER - L(large), AWN(bristle), MO(second), then WERE(used to be) missing the last letter
17 Inexpert way to collect rent in Bury (3,2,4)
LAY TO REST - LAY(inexpert) and ST(street, way) containing TORE(rent)
19 Endless, awful sameness, as a whole (2,5)
EN MASSE - anagram of SAMENES(s)
20 Spectators admitted crossing line, taking turn and turn about (6)
GYRATE - GATE(spectators admitted) containing RY(line) reversed
22 Place lightning struck partly sent skyward (5)
NINTH - hidden reversed inside ligHTNINg
24 Suffered electrical failure, with potential to blow up? (5)
FUSED - double definition, though neither are obvious - FUSED can mean failing by melting of a fuse, and a bomb could be FUSED
25 Irrational fifties remedy (4)
PILL - PI(irrational number) and two L's(fifties)

Times Quick Cryptic No 1643 by Teazel

I took 17 minutes including a distraction, so I think that this is just at the tougher end of the Rotterometer.  There are a couple of new or unfamiliar devices to grapple with from Teazel that might stretch some of our newer solvers, although I think all of the clues are fair, and the answers are all fairly common and require little General Knowledge.  The exception for me was ‘bish’ which was new to me in the sense used.  I’ve only come across it in the British idiomatic expression of ‘bish, bash, bosh’ which I’ve always taken to mean ‘completed efficiently’.

Thanks Teazel, for a slightly different flavour of puzzle.  Please let me know how the rest of you found this.

Across

Unreasonable custom husband omitted a lot (1,3,4)
A BIT MUCH – {h}ABIT (custom, husband omitted) and MUCH (a lot).  When something is said to be A BIT MUCH, it is excessive, unreasonable.
City is in Pennsylvania?  Yes and no (4)
PISA –PISA (Italy) is nowhere near Pennsylvania (USA), hence No in answer to the question in the clue.  However, IS (is) is inside PA (Pennsylvania) in the name PISA, hence the Yes!
8 Prime minister’s dismal horse (4)
GREY – Is this a triple definition?  Charles GREY (2nd Lord Grey) was PM from 1830 to 1834.  GREY can mean dismal when applied to the weather for instance, and a GREY can be a type of horse.
9  Not develop much scorn (8)
BELITTLE – Unlike my overgrown wisteria, which needs a haircut almost as much as I do!  If one doesn’t develop much, one may be considered to BE LITTLE.
10  Make a request and invite trouble (3,3,2)
ASK FOR IT – Double definition.
12 Welshman working we must interrupt (4)
OWEN – ON (working) interrupted by WE.  OWEN is recognised as a Welsh name, but isn’t exclusively so I don’t believe, either as a first or family name.
13  Grab tin at church (6)
SNATCH – SN (chemical symbol for tin, from stannum) with AT (at) and CH{urch}.
16  I tarry in resort: that’s not seen often (6)
RARITY – Anagram (resort (as in shuffle rather than spa)) of [I TARRY].
17  Bow made of wood, initially pound off (4)
ARCH – The wood is {l}ARCH after dropping the initial letter (L = pound off).
18  Worthless blunder set in stone (8)
RUBBISHY – This one nearly caught me out as I was unfamiliar with BISH to mean blunder.  It is BISH inside (set in) RUBY (stone).
21  Job for tradesman desperately keen to secure one (8)
PAINTING – This came easily to mind as I have just had the painters in myself.  PANTING (desperately keen) securing I (one).
22  Native American bird (4)
CROW – Double definition, the first referring to the federally recognised CROW Tribe of Montana, a Plains tribe who speak their own CROW language.
23  Used to be a sort of wolf? (4)
WERE – double definition.
24  Illumination breaking down halts gig (8)
GASLIGHT – Anagram (breaking down) of [HALTS GIG]

Down

Stores right to break embargoes (5)
BARNS – BANS (embargoes) containing (broken by) R{ight}.
It flows, steady at intervals (3)
TAY – Alternate letters (at intervals) of {s}T{e}A{d}Y.  The cryptic definition probably refers to the river at Perth, Scotland, although there are plenty of other candidates, including in Canada.
4  Estuary, except the mouth, is brown (5)
UMBER – Referring to the {h}UMBER estuary, but dropping the first letter (except the mouth).  I don’t remember seeing this device to drop a letter before, so it may catch out some.
5  Army extremely eager to secure large place for gun (7)
HOLSTER – HOST (army) and E{age}R (extremely – first and last letters) containing (to secure) L{arge}.
Scented mixture is up to prior to arrange (9)
POTPOURRI – Anagram (to arrange) of [UP TO PRIOR].
Able to pay as novel is damaged in street (7)
SOLVENT – Anagram (is damaged) of [NOVEL] inside ST{reet}.
11  Precious little possibility of putting on weight  (3,6)
FAT CHANCE – Cryptic definition.  A FAT CHANCE is an ironic slang term for precious little or no chance!
14  Regularly, west Scottish island turning up in recount (7)
NARRATE – {w}E{s}T (regularly) and ARRAN (Scottish island) all reversed (turning up).
15 Fish finger holds this for woman? (7)
HERRING – On a woman’s finger one might find HER RING.
19  In public vehicle, go to return fake (5)
BOGUS – OG (go, reversed, to return) in BUS (public vehicle)
20  CH2O2 processed into alcohol (5)
HOOCH – Anagram (processed) of C plus 2 x H and 2 x O (CH2O2) to give HOOCH – nice!
22  Cold greeting in foreign letter (3)
CHI – C{old} and HI (greeting) to give the letter CHI from the Greek alphabet.

Times 27699 - something fishy here; whose fault is it?

Another pleasant Wednesday workout, plenty of anagrams and fairly easy clues and a sprinkling of trickier ones to keep me interested. I liked 14d best.






Across
1 Feast keeps old woman in compound (8)
DOPAMINE - DINE (feast) insert O (old) PAM (random woman). Dopamine is not an amine that makes you dopey; its name is a contraction of 3,4-dihydroxyphenethylamine, a hormone and neurotransmitter essential to the functioning of your brain.
5 Flower pot almost useless (6)
CROCUS - CROC(K) - pot almost; US = useless, unserviceable.
10 This, under LA, SF and Santa A, in slippage? (3,7,5)
SAN ANDREAS FAULT - (UNDER LA SF SANTA A)* my FOI
11 Violin piece by leader in strong position (10)
BRIDGEHEAD - BRIDGE (violin piece), HEAD (leader).
13 Crone a non-starter in desire (4)
ITCH - WITCH doesn't start.
15 Key often used by news boss went in (7)
ENTERED - ENTER (key often used) ED (news boss).
17 Endless respect little man gives senior officer (7)
ADMIRAL - ADMIR(E) = endless respect, AL a little chap.
18 Soldiers taking area in French town and city (7)
ORLEANS - OR (soldiers) LENS (a town near Calais) has A for area inserted.
19 Experiment involves cat finding fish (7)
TELEOST - TEST (experiment) has LEO (a cat) inserted. Teleosts include some 96% of all bony fish species, from the Greek teleios (complete) + osteon (bone). I had seen the word before and knew it was something to do with fish, but couldn't have told you much more without Wiki's help.
21 Work found regularly in two mills (4)
TOIL - Alternate letters of T w O m I l L s.
22 Warm house and outbuilding very good inside (10)
HOSPITABLE - HO (house) STABLE (outbuilding) insert PI (very good).
25 Medicinal plant cultivated in vigneron's empire (7,8)
EVENING PRIMROSE - (VIGNERONS EMPIRE)*.
27 Stupid baronet plunged into river (6)
OBTUSE - BT (baronet) goes in the River Ouse.
28 Somewhere in France that's cleaner — and very French! (8)
CHARTRES - CHAR as in charwoman, or charperson perhaps now, TRES très being French for very. Two days in a row, we're in Chartres.
Down
1 Where white queen starts, black causes damage (7)
DISABLE - On a chess board, the white queen begins the game on the square conventionally labelled as D1; SABLE = black.
2 Immobilise leg (3)
PIN - double definition.
3 Executive rage — animal unleashed (10)
MANAGERIAL - (RAGE ANIMAL)*.
4 Player, reluctant, eviscerated in classical drama (5)
NORTH - Reluctant eviscerated = RT; insert into NOH = classic drama. Player as in bridge.
6 Extensive search through ignores luggage at first (4)
RIFE - RIFLE = search through, loses its L the initial letter of luggage.
7 Pounds raised in Ulster — British in search for weapon (7,4)
CLUSTER BOMB - Take Ulster, 'raise' the L to get LUSTER; add B for British; insert it all into COMB = search for.
8 Bag male brought into class after exam (7)
SATCHEL - SAT = exam, CL for class; insert HE for male. In the UK SAT stands for Standard Attainment Tests.
9 Fall that could lead to blindness (8)
CATARACT - double definition; a waterfall, and an eye problem.
12 Smart but impoverished count supplanting duke (11)
INTELLIGENT - Take INDIGENT (impoverished) and replace the D (duke) by TELL (count).
14 Grandfather is not such an insignificant person (5-5)
SMALL-TIMER - A grandfather clock is not a 'small timer', it's a large one.
16 Drive away from one small lake in Kansas City (8)
DISLODGE - DODGE CITY is in Kansas; insert I S L (one small lake) into Dodge.
18 Busy hospital in Eton failed to operate (2,3,2)
ON THE GO - insert H into (ETON)* add GO = operate.
20 Greek hero puts article to varied uses (7)
THESEUS - THE (article) (USES)*.
23 Church under pressure to accommodate gold in hall (5)
PORCH - P (pressure) CH (church) insert OR (gold).
24 Light touch from one X represents (4)
KISS - double definition.
26 Rower in loud cry when losing lead (3)
OAR - ROAR loses its leading R.


pianokids

Times Quick Cryptic No 1642 by Felix

Introduction

Finished in 9:23. I had hoped for something a bit faster as I've been working on improving my speed. But when the pressure's on, I seem to slow down! In any case, a tricky puzzle with some unknown words for me. Maybe half the clues went in from definition alone, so I'll be figuring out the wordplay on the fly.

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