15x15
  • jackkt

Times Cryptic 27974

Solving time: 20 minutes. Dead easy apart from one unknown answer which relies on an obscure piece of wordplay which I now understand refers to a brand name also unknown to me. I took a punt and got the answer right but would have been very annoyed if it was wrong.

Collapse )
Unicorn
  • vinyl1

Times for the Times and Spammers - Everyone Please Read!

We have had some complaints about highly offensive spam.

As you may know, we have six administrators scattered around the globe who can delete spam and other inappropriate posts, and keep the blog in order.   Our posting policy has been extremely liberal, and we do allow anonymous posts.    This has been very useful for puzzle setters who want to comment on an issue without creating an account, as well as people who are experiencing technical difficulties and can't get Live Journal to fix their problem.

However, there may come a time when we need to protect ourselves better.   The only viable option we have is to require everyone who comments to have an account and be a member of Times for the Times.   We do have open membership - just click on the 'Join This Community' link, and you're a member!

So I suggest that if you've been posting anonymously, you sign up for a Live Journal account.   If you have not joined the community, but have been posting with a Live Journal account (or through Google or Facebook or Twitter), you might want to click on the 'Join This Community' link so you will be ready for whatever happens.   As always, please behave properly, and think before you post.

If we do decide to make this change, I will post a warning and give everyone three or four days advance notice.
Ulaca de Milo
  • ulaca

Times 27973 - Between a rock and a pretty easy place

I thought this was an ideal challenge for a Monday. Not difficult but with enough misdirection and cunning to give most of us a decent workout. 26 minutes for me, but how did you get on?

Please drop us a line...



ACROSS

1 Line of troops in action (6)
CREASE - RE in CASE
4 Raids sit uneasily for those like Ann Frank (8)
DIARISTS - anagram* of RAIDS SIT
10 Shelves that you might put in wardrobe (9)
MOTHBALLS - verb meets noun; figurative sense meets (more) literal
11 A believer in hi-tech industry (5)
HINDU - not terribly cunningly hidden
12 Blooming British abandoning fight (3)
OUT - [b]OUT
13 Complexity of speech on European research facility (11)
ELABORATION - E LAB ORATION
14 Monstrous female, noted Liverpudlian you say? (6)
SCYLLA - it's our Cilla [Black] once more, noted as in famous and/or musical. Everyone together now, 'Step inside love'...
16 On leave, this writer’s becoming unruly (7)
RESTIVE - REST I'VE
19 Figure Penny has fake army ID (7)
PYRAMID - P [ARMY ID*]
20 Improvement that will take you to next level? (6)
UPLIFT - a quirky clue of Christmas-cracker level
22 Time to meet composer, a nice chap who’ll get your tickets (6,5)
TRAVEL AGENT - T RAVEL A GENT
25 Proust only occasionally finding time for sexual activity (3)
RUT - [p]R[o]U[s]T; apparently, he was mostly mouth, so this is quite a nice vignetty clue
26 Old folk freeze at home in retirement (5)
ICENI - ICE IN reversed; Boudicca was their queen, as I recall. Located in modern-day Norfolk, so think the Carrow Road regulars and Delia Smith
27 Old man given £1000 twice a year (9)
GRANDPAPA - GRAND (a thousand quid, mate) PA PA
28 Tsar’s egg addled, leading to complaint (8)
STAGGERS - TSARS EGG*; you pays your money and takes your choice: either a form of vertigo associated with decompression sickness, or a disease of horses and some other domestic animals characterized by a swaying unsteady gait, caused by infection, toxins, or lesions of the central nervous system
29 Quite mean to eclipse Republican (6)
PRETTY - R in PETTY

DOWN

1 An attempt at seduction? I don’t believe you! (4-2)
COME-ON - nice double definition (DD)
2 Hurry back, seizing government vehicle (6,3)
ESTATE CAR - STATE (govt., as in state v church) in RACE reversed
3 Gloomy bishop opening church bazaar? (5)
SABLE - derived from the dark colour of the eponymous marten which lends its name to the fur
5 You’ll end up suffering, as undertaker might put it? (3,4,7)
ITS YOUR FUNERAL - great expression - not heard enough
6 Tries to interrupt football team’s practice (9)
REHEARSAL - HEARS in REAL (Madrid - poised to win La Liga again, even if the Blues put paid to their European Cup hopes)
7 A function I must host in desert (5)
SINAI - I believe this works as follows: a mathematical function with a perfectly good name (sinc) is also known as Sa; so put the IN from the clue in SA and follow up with I (also from the clue) to get the desert. Not perhaps the puzzle's premier clue...
8 Splurge when in Paris at end of June, visiting sister (8)
SQUANDER - QUAND ('when' in French) E (end of JunE) in SR (sister)
9 Rent dockland garage in secret (5-3-6)
CLOAK-AND-DAGGER - DOCKLAND GARAGE*; nice clue, nice expression
15 Sleeping topless can be awkward (9)
LUMBERING - [s]LUMBERING; another nice cryptic/surface combo
17 Singer doing well, joining Queen perhaps (9)
INFORMANT - IN FORM (doing well) ANT (well, one has to be a queen, if the colony intends to stay in business)
18 Second USA trip fresh in the mind (8)
UPSTAIRS - S USA TRIP*; sneaky clue - obviously an anagram, but only the geniuses will get this straight off the bat
21 Take care, sweetheart (6)
STEADY - DD
23 Article Time’s written about the O2? (5)
ARENA - reversal of AN ERA
24 Perhaps Elizabeth I’s governess having change of heart (5)
TUDOR - TU[t]OR with a medial D
verlaine

Cryptic Jumbo 1494: Solved Only Using Techniques I Could Will Should Become Universal Cryptic Law

All done in under the quarter hour, but enjoyable throughout, especially the sciency clues which tickled my GK centres most pleasurably, my favourite being the God particle at 32ac.

Late to fall, and excellent penny-drop-moments, were 23ac and 43ac. Many thanks for a good 'un to the setter.

ACROSS
1 Moral support needed by one who reigns (6)
PROPER - PROP [support] needed by E.R. [the queen]

5 Difficult time getting to work in car (7)
HARDTOP - HARD T OP [difficult | time | work]

9 Vicar maybe showing power, one arriving at target? (8)
PREACHER - P(ower) + REACHER

13 Bless a grandparent, then, when messing up American poem? (3,4-8,6)
THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER - (BLESS A GRANDPARENT THEN*)

14 Wood contains unknown clear liquid with strong smell (8)
PYRIDINE - PINE contains Y RID [unknown | clear]

15 Old sailor making a speech (7)
ORATING - O(ld) RATING

16 Dream may get one flapping a bit (6)
EYELID - cryptic def, referencing REM sleep

17 Date — something a girlfriend hopes for? (10)
ENGAGEMENT - double def, marginally sexist

20 Well-informed, as one who has auditioned successfully for film will be (2,3,7)
IN THE PICTURE - double def

23 Head may have one (4)
TOPI - TOP may have I, &lit as you would find a topi atop a head

24 Be relatively unobservant as a totally innocent person (8)
SPOTLESS - or SPOT LESS

26 Rants disclosed half-formed aspirations (8)
DECLAIMS - DECL{ared} AIMS

29 One may go out to get such psychological treatment (12)
HYPNOTHERAPY - cryptic def, "go out" as in get put to sleep

30 Record left by journalist found unexpectedly? (10)
DISCOVERED - DISC OVER by ED

32 Sing bosh and go wild as one making contribution to Mass (5,5)
HIGGS BOSON - (SING BOSH + GO*)

34 Greek character with inclination mostly is male showing lowbrow outlook (12)
PHILISTINISM - PHI with LISTIN{g} IS M

36 Half of those people not well sending a message (8)
EMAILING - {th}EM AILING

38 Where road signs are often visible, incidentally (2,3,3)
BY THE WAY - double def

39 Note in second book in a series (4)
MARK - double def with the NT book(after Matthew, before Luke and John)

41 Bird gone I'm hoping will deviate appropriately? (6,6)
HOMING PIGEON - (GONE I'M HOPING*), semi-&lit

43 The beginning and end of pop that's scarcely audible? (10)
PIANISSIMO - p{o}p, in musical notation

44 Figure one boy needs inner vitality (6)
ISOGON - GO inside I SON

46 Garments for female toys (7)
TEDDIES - double def

48 Head's getting chap troubled with lice (8)
CEPHALIC - (CHAP + LICE*)

50 Ever impractical, I go and eat out as a matter of principle (11,10)
CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE - (EVER IMPRACTICAL I GO + EAT*)

51 Sent out offspring half-heartedly around island (8)
SECRETED - SE{e}D around CRETE

52 Place enthusiastic about strike (3,4)
LAY INTO - LAY [place] + INTO [enthusiastic about]

53 Each nincompoop losing heart in an uncomplicated manner (6)
EASILY - EA SI{l}LY

DOWN
2 Bad-tempered fellow seizes sporting trophy (5)
RATTY - RAY seizes TT [IOM Tourist Trophy]

3 Logical assertion comes with forecast — umbrella finally needs to be carried (11)
PREDICATION - PREDICTION carrying {umbrell}A

4 Shopkeeper offering fashion again, we hear? (8)
RETAILER - homophone of RE-TAILOR

5 Army in hellish ordeal (5)
HORDE - hidden in {hellis}H ORDE{al}

6 Understanding rebuke given to the Left (7)
RAPPORT - RAP given to PORT

7 Four in temporary shelter at Cambridgeshire location when feeling unsettled? (11)
TENTATIVELY - IV in TENT AT ELY

8 Caps very good with flowery decoration (5)
PILEI - PI [very good] with LEI

9 Quiet English girl wanting too much is coming from a distinguished family (9)
PEDIGREED - P E DI GREED [quiet | English | girl | wanting too much]

10 Cancel The Times before start of excursion (5)
ERASE - ERAS [times] before E{xcursion}

11 Does one need to add water to this drink? Think hard (11)
CONCENTRATE - double def

12 Listener wants story — prime bit of romance from a previous era? (7)
EARLIER - EAR wants LIE + R{omance}

18 This element could disturb me, mind you (9)
NEODYMIUM - (ME MIND YOU*)

19 Name of newspaper no longer needing journalists? (7)
EXPRESS - EX needing PRESS

21 Spin in cricket match met with attacking stroke (4,5)
TEST DRIVE - TEST met with DRIVE

22 Fashionable church — nothing had to be other than perfectly finished (8)
INCHOATE - IN CH O ATE [fashionable | church | nothing | had]

25 Like good apprentice artist at home limited by workbench? (9)
TRAINABLE - R.A. IN, limited by TABLE

27 Disorder of realm, most unstable (9)
MAELSTROM - (REALM MOST*)

28 Go over heather to find accommodation for animals (8)
STABLING - STAB [go] over LING

31 A shrub or a rush growing up in deep water? (7)
SPIRAEA - A RIP, reversed in SEA

33 Component of Christmas story giving inspiration to famous actor? (7,4)
GUIDING STAR - double def

34 Having the makings of being powerful, India, with international friend? (11)
POTENTIALLY - POTENT I with ALLY

35 The study of bits and pieces? (11)
NUMISMATICS - cryptic def, "bits" and "pieces" both as synonyms for "coins"

37 Duke, say, rising to embrace brood of youngsters, sparkled (9)
GLITTERED - D E.G., reversed, "embracing" LITTER

40 Relocate fifty in area after getting personal information set up (8)
DISPLACE - L in SPACE after reversed ID

42 Bone very small or very big needing cutting implement reportedly (7)
OSSICLE - OS [very big] + homophone of SICKLE

43 Job obtained by graduate — not primarily one who goes the rounds? (7)
POSTMAN - POST [job] by M.A. N{ot}

45 Near the end of August — when you notice this is getting longer? (5)
NIGHT - NIGH {augus}T, semi-&lit

47 Like a lord the French could regularly upset (5)
DUCAL - LA C{o}U{l}D, reversed

48 Conservative to reformulate list of basic tenets? (5)
CREDO - C + REDO

49 Perfect bride always shows off (5)
IDEAL - hidden in {br}IDE AL{ways}
Unicorn
  • vinyl1

Mephisto 3166 - Oh, what a feeling!

You can't really say that a Mephisto is easy, or that the answers should be obvious, but of the three setters I find that it is the puzzles of Don Manley where many answers do come fairly quickly.   This enables me to get the hard bits without too much trouble.   In this particular puzzle, I went along pretty nicely, and had most of it in about an hour or so.   I was going to go to bed, but after brushing my teeth and turning off nearly all the lights, I decided to have another go and finished just at midnight here in the US.    Yes, there were a few words I didn't know, but not many. 

I don't expect that any of the experienced Mephisto solvers will have much difficulty, unless you carelessly biffed the unchecked mauve for 25 down.   That was the clue that I had to think the hardest about. 

Across
1 Bird having minimal time in water, getting cold — perch found outside (10)
PRATINCOLE - P(RA(T)IN)(C)OLE.   Once you see the rain and C part, not difficult, and you may even know the bird.
11 Drive back and look on return journey to secure parking (5)
REPEL - LE(P)ER backwards.
12 What’s freaky has some of you trembling (5)
OUTRE - hidden in [y]OU TRE[mbling].
13 Cronies upset about old city, rarely going back (9)
RECURSION -  Anagram of CRONIES around UR - I'm not sure about the rarely, this seems like a rather usual meaning.
14 Healthy town surrounded by muck? It makes a sort of difference (7)
DISPART -  DI(SPA)RT. 
17 Hawk three lines, wasting time with additional line (6)
TERCEL - TERCE[t] + L.  
18 Tool to set component of roof in stone (6)
STILET -  S(TILE)T. 
19 Female to advance, creating commotion (6)
FRAISE - F + RAISE.
20 Old material, very English, something attractive (6)
VELURE - V + E + LURE.
21 Silly attendees turned out to be sad and so opinionated? (6)
ENTETE - Compound anagram of ATTENDEES, which = ENTETE + SAD.
23 Shining silver lead for hound (6)
AGLEAM - AG + LEAM, more usuallty LYAM, a leash, or a leash-hound.
26 Sacred text has to be absorbed by holy person attached to academy (7)
SHASTRA -  S(HAS)T + R.A.
27 Runner gets summer tan when running (9)
SARMENTUM - Anagram of SUMMER TAN,
28 Soul of personal assistant bishop’s ignored (5)
ATMAN - [b]ATMAN, very easy if you know atman,
29 Location of son hiding in woody plant
VISNE - VI(S)NE.
30 Like some students smartened up when going to university (10)
UNSTREAMED - U + anagram of SMARTENED.
Down
1 Groups of wild animals spider troubled (6)
PRIDES - anagram of SPIDER, my FOI.
2 Bashed rear end — get it restored (12)
REDINTEGRATE -  Anagram of REAR END --- GET IT.
3 Marginal note of disciple penning article in Italian (9)
APOSTILLE - APOST(IL)LE.
4 Some vile activity in part of the gut (5)
ILEAC - Hidden in [v]ILE AC[tivity].
5 Mineral certain to crumble (7)
NACRITE - Anagram of CERTAIN.
6 Passage blocked off at far end? I’m annoyed! (4)
CHUT - CHUT[e], a word often identified with shoot here in the US.
7 In Scotland dreary old men start to irritate English (5)
OORIE -  O + OR + I[rriate] E[nglish]. 
8 Walk around as before with passionate desire to gain speed (8)
LUSTRATE -  LUST + RATE, as a noun, with gain used a connecting word.
9 Something that aids female health — what could make GP restore individual (12)
PROGESTERONE - Anagram of GP RESTORE + ONE.
10 Like some old folk from home counties on foreign river (6)
SENILE - SE + NILE - but not, presumably, those of us who solve Mephisto every week!
15 I’m involved with insects, treating biology etc, as all-important (9)
SCIENTISM - Anagram of I'M + INSECTS.
16 Samuel played in band regularly — such a musician? (8)
BLUESMAN - B[a](anagram of SAMUEL)N[d].
19 Scottish boxer maybe genuinely gripped by anxiety, one having been knocked out (7)
FECHTER - F(ECHT)[a]ER. 
20 Very stupid person, a learner who must submit to his master? (6)
VASSAL - V + ASS + A + L. 
22 Very excited editor as last-minute news is being gathered (6)
ELATED - E(LATE)D.
24 Plant getting shelter in East End and minimal sun (5)
AVENS - 'AVEN + S[un]
25 Artist using colour that’s “female” rather than “male” (5)
FAUVE -  (-m,+F)AUVE, a rather tricky letter-substitution clue.   The artists were usually called Fauvists.
26 Pet’s food containers turned upside down (4)
SNIT - TINS upside-down - the trick here is getting the correct meaning of pet.
March 26, 2021

Sunday Times Cryptic 4953, by Robert Price — string of pearls

A spectrum of life here, with advice to a weary employee, a nightmarish work scene, a brewery mascot, news in men’s fashions, competitive coworkers in an atmosphere of smouldering tension, and, of course, the uninhibited couple in the guest room.

No big problems, but I did get stuck on 14 across, never having heard of the sport (sounds pretty cool!) and one essential element of the wordplay. I wouldn’t mind learning a few new things in every puzzle.

I indicate (Arman gas)* like this, and italicize anagrinds in the clues.


ACROSS
 1 Seeming old, wise to accept retirement at last (10)
OSTENSIBLE — O(ld) + S(T)ENSIBLE
 7 Lands lots lay claim to (4)
BAGS — Three definitions… the third of which I’d never heard of (which certainly made the clue more interesting—and a very late, shrugging entry). If anyone doesn’t know, BAGS! is an exclamation in British and Australian children’s slang that indicates “the desire to do, be, or have something.”
 9 Meat from a deli’s former branches (8)
PASTRAMI — PAST, “former” + RAMI, “branches,” plural of “ramus” and specific to anatomy and zoology
10 Occasion entrants need to attend in Lycra tops (6)
ENTAIL — “entrants need to attend in Lycra”
11 Cunning little animal hid at the back (6)
SHREWD — SHREW, “little animal” + [-hi]D
13 Vile car’s fancy instruments (8)
CLAVIERS — (Vile car’s)*
14 Sport lustrous jewellery in the ear (12)
ORIENTEERING — ORIENT, “lustrous” + EERING, “ear ring”… I saw the last part right away, but did not know the term ORIENT for the luster of a pearl of the finest quality or (as here) as an adjective referring to such pearls.
17 Author books a horticultural class (5,7)
HARDY ANNUALS — (Thomas) HARDY + ANNUALS, “books”
20 Animal pelt, expensive sounding (8)
REINDEER — “rain” “dear”
21 Get the measure of plumbers (6)
FATHOM — DD… I was seeing two definitions overlapping: “Get the measure of” and “the measure of plumbers” (in the sense of those who determine depths)—I couldn’t figure out any way to diagram that—before I heard from Jackkt, below. (That I had also mistyped the clue here as “Take the measure of” may indicate why I failed to totally get it.)
22 Cry from one trapped by machinery (6)
PLAINT — PLA(I)NT
23 Dog used to publicise beer (8)
AIREDALE — AIRED, “used to publicize” + ALE, “beer”
25 Small garden in Oxford? (4)
SHOE — S + HOE, “garden”
26 Bars made to vary dishes (10)
DREAMBOATS — (Bars made to)*

DOWN
 2 Fish moving up a southern coastline (8)
SEASHORE — SEAHORSE with the second S(outhern) appearing earlier
 3 Picture capturing a swallow (3)
EAT — E(A)T
 4 Green ties making a comeback (5)
SWARD — DRAWS<=“making a comeback”
 5 Cheese that’s firm turning hard inside bread (7)
BRIOCHE — BRI(CO<=)(H)E
 6 Promotion leads to envy veiled in delight (9)
ELEVATION — EL(E)(V)ATION
 7 Item packed in a case under black beachwear (7,4)
BATHING SUIT — “Item” is THING, “packed in” A SUIT, “a case,” under B(lack)
 8 It’s wound around swelling (6)
GOITRE — GO(IT)RE
12 Jumbo jet’s interior assembled in the plane (11)
ELEPHANTINE — [-j]E[-t] + (in the plane)*
15 Worried chaps collared by wrong sort of journalist (9)
TORMENTED — TOR(MEN)T + ED
16 Like some matches of old, carelessly ignited (8)
FLOODLIT — (of old)* + LIT, “ignited”
18 Distance travelled in reverse, for example, by a cart (7)
YARDAGE — EG + A DRAY <=“in reverse”
19 What le outré means (6)
WEALTH — (What le)* Creative Anagrind Prize, special points for le truc avec le français.
21 Meeting university dons arrange (5)
FORUM — FOR(U)M I had NODUS (U + dons)* first, in the sense of “node,” “a point, especially in the form of lump or swelling, where one thing joins another” (Collins; Lexico does not refer NODUS to “node”; emphasis added).
24 Couple performing loudly upset hosts (3)
DUO — Keep it down in there! Reverse hidden
  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27966 - Saturday, 1 May 2021. Done by dinner.

Last Saturday was busy for me, and I did this in snatches. So it was an extended solve, but I don’t think it was harder than usual.

My ignorance of 1ac is all encompassing, so I was surprised to discover what the definition referred to!

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

[Read more …]

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 struck through.

Across
1 Portrays tourist as caustic, perhaps (5,8)
PAINT STRIPPER – PAINTS, TRIPPER.
8 Fatality in plant — bug not involved (4)
LOSS – I’d never heard of a BUGLOSS, but you can see what to do with it!
9 A tap losing pressure — reach with difficulty (2,1,7)
AT A STRETCH – A, TAP without its P, STRETCH = reach.
10 First-class score against spinner (3-5)
TOP-NOTCH – TOP=spinner, NOTCH=score.
11 Two ducks crossing harbour in European city (6)
OPORTO – O’s or ducks, surrounding PORT.
13 Tree died following onset of blizzard — tree in which you'll find rot (10)
BALDERDASH – B from Blizzard, ALDER is a tree, D for died, ASH is another tree.
16 Nobleman ahead of schedule? Not quite (4)
EARL – EARLy. A chestnut.
17 Victor getting in by way of examination (4)
VIVA – V for Victor, in VIA.
18 Initiation of a hand during social event (10)
ADMITTANCE – MITT in A DANCE.
20 Learn about vicious dog in stable (6)
SECURE – CUR in SEE.
22 Did turn briefly in subtle comedy (8)
DROLLERY – ROLLEd, in DRY.
24 Relax wearing mate's fur (10)
CHINCHILLA – CHILL wearing CHINA.
26 Most of group returned in carriage (4)
TRAP – PART of a group, backwards/returned. It’s a bit of a stretch to get from “most” to “part”, but it will do. Edit: I like Kevin's suggestion better. The group is a PARTy. Shorten, and reverse.
27 Actors in rep he reviewed like dancing (13)
TERPSICHOREAN – anagram (reviewed) of ACTORS IN REP HE. Terpsichore was the Greek muse of the dance.

Down
1 In favour of case that's challenging (11)
PROVOCATIVE – PRO, VOCATIVE. I knew Latin had a vocative case. How many other languages do, I wonder?
2 Children's author briefly raised dramatist (5)
IBSEN – NESBIt is the children’s author.
3 Schooled trio at art courses offered here (9)
TRATTORIA – anagram (schooled) of TRIO AT ART. The ART is nicely juxtaposed to the COURSES.
4 Pain in most of mouth and windpipe (7)
TRACHEA – put ACHE in TRAp.
5 Keen on grabbing right start (5)
INTRO – put R in INTO.
6 Amazing things — height seen during revolutionary flower power (9)
PHENOMENA – revolve ANEMONE+P by 180o, and insert H.
7 Fabulous bird to rise quickly? Not half (3)
ROC – ROCket.
12 Actor, in turn, reviewed spy thriller (4,7)
TORN CURTAIN – anagram (reviewed) of ACTOR IN TURN. A Hitchcock film, of course. I wouldn’t have guessed the lead actors.
14 Surprisingly order a nun to leave without paying (2,1,6)
DO A RUNNER – anagram (surprisingly) of ORDER A NUN.
15 Stew at last in bistro? A controversial matter (3,6)
HOT POTATO – HOT POT=stew, AT is itself, O from bistrO.
19 Lincoln has one, note (6,1)
MIDDLE C – ho ho!
21 Distinctive character in quiet hostelry (5)
ETHOS – hidden.
23 Coffee with dish, unlimited (5)
LATTE – drop the outside letters from PLATTER.
25 Buffet voucher doesn't include starter (3)
HIT – drop the C from CHIT.