Astarte1

QC 1705 by Mara

A very enjoyable puzzle for the start to the week. Fairly straightforward as is the Monday tradition but once again I did enjoy quite a few of the clues even though they didn't hold out for very long. 10A, 19A, 12D and 18D I particularly liked with COD probably going to 19A. It was mostly an anagram so the basic device was easy, but it charmed me with the unruffled calm of its surface. Many thanks to Mara for a dose of elegant simplicity.

People have commented in the past that I don't mention my times and I have explained that I usually have difficulty in reading the clues properly so don't see my times as necessarily representative. Other people as well as me have commented on the rn/m similarity which can certainly cause me problems, but today I had a different misreading error which held me up. I think I would normally regard 15A as a simple write-in but today it took me about a minute as I was reading 'flight' for 'fight' and was convinced it had something to do with 'ALOFT'. So that was my LOI and I think my FOI was 5A.

Definitions are underlined and everything else is explained just as I see it as simply as I can.

Across
1 Vault, source of water (6)
SPRING - double definition.
5 Piece of Hollywood, epic theatrical show (6)
DEPICT - hidden word: 'piece of' HollywooD EPIC Theatrical.
8 Modern gallery shrouded in gentle compassion (5,2,3,3)
STATE OF THE ART - TATE (gallery) 'shrouded in' SOFT HEART (gentle compassion).
9 Map pinpointing Libya and Nigeria, primarily (4)
PLAN - Pinpointing Libya And Nigeria 'primarily'.
10 Shortened spanner held in hand, removing odd parts (8)
ABRIDGED - BRIDGE (spanner cryptically, i.e. something that spans) 'held in' AD (hAnD with the odd letters removed).
11 A trail way up mountain (6)
ASCENT - A + SCENT (trail).
13 Figure important, though not the first (6)
EIGHTY - wEIGHTY (important) without the first letter.
15 Loss of power, shortage in fight (8)
BLACKOUT - LACK (shortage) in BOUT (fight).
17 Lob some balls, so thrown back (4)
TOSS - reversed hidden word: 'some' ballS SO Thrown 'back'.
19 Recent draw surprisingly inspiring pro footballer (6,7)
CENTRE FORWARD - anagram ('surprisingly') of RECENT DRAW 'inspiring' FOR (pro).
21 Highlight small curl of hair (6)
STRESS - S (small) + TRESS (curl of hair).
22 Hard, but having a go (6)
TRYING - double definition (first as in 'these are trying (hard) times').
Down
2 Plate smashed, bit of a bloomer (5)
PETAL - straight anagram ('smashed') of PLATE (with a cryptic definition).
3 Strong set with nine changes (7)
INTENSE - straight anagram ('changes') of SET + NINE.
4 Not entirely splendid, slimy stuff (3)
GOO - GOOd (splendid 'not entirely').
5 Cleaner put off, man! (9)
DETERGENT - DETER (put off) + GENT (man).
6 Petition putting pressure on chief (5)
PLEAD - P (pressure) 'on' (i.e. 'above' in this down clue) LEAD (chief).
7 Present flow of electricity (7)
CURRENT - double definition.
10 Woman writing a novel thus, Rose (9)
AUTHORESS - A + anagram ('novel') of THUS ROSE.
12 Most important way to welcome foreigner (7)
SALIENT - ST (street, way) 'welcoming' ALIEN (foreigner).
14 Go on holiday? You must be joking! (3,4)
GET AWAY - double definition.
16 Lovely thing diminished, that is (5)
CUTIE - CUT (diminished) + IE (id est, that is)
18 Father has name for seductress (5)
SIREN - SIRE (father) + N (name).
20 Unfashionable openers in our university team (3)
OUT - 'openers' in Our University Team.
New RCA
  • vinyl1

Times 27775 - Vanilla city!

Time: 27 miinutes
Music: Wagner, Tristan and Isolde Prelude, Klemperer

This was pretty much a typical Monday puzzle, well-clued but rather straightforward.   I would have been much faster, but I just could not come up with corners at the end, and began to doubt the crossing entries.  That destroyed my hope of a sub-20 time, which is good for me.   The end result is a bit on the dull side, as there is not a single interesting word or controversial clue to be found. 

Across
1 Rolling with laughter, as you may be after theatre trip (2,8)
IN STITCHES - Double definition....trip to an operating theatre, that is.
6 Display behind Low cartoon, at the back (4)
MOON - MOO + [cartoo}N
9 Sat beside old flame, defenceless (7)
EXPOSED - EX + POSED.
10 Confirm Mark is touring the States (7)
SUSTAIN - S(US)TAIN.
12 Hypocritical dictator’s evil instrument (6,4)
DOUBLE BASS -  DOUBLE + sounds like BASE.
13 Chap from Helsinki out of his head here? (3)
INN - [f]INN, a rather general literal, although yes, an inn is a place.
15 Wise, having name for male disposition (6)
NATURE - -m,+N ATURE, a simple letter substitution clue.
16 Rebelliousness of French chap bound for altar? (8)
DEFIANCE - DE + FIANCE.
18 Has pilot somehow made for Red Cross facility? (8)
HOSPITAL - Anagram of HAS PILOT.
20 Rubbish teacher has qualification returned (6)
DEBRIS - SIR, B.ED. backards.
23 Drink making you sardonic in speech? (3)
RYE - Sounds like WRY.
24 Sweet wine that might shake you up (10)
AFTERSHOCK - AFTERS + HOCK
26 Ticklish spots for hogs? (7)
CORNERS - A double definition that certainly should have been obvious.
27 Suggested paper fabricated report about backbencher? (7)
IMPLIED - I (M.P.) LIED, where the paper is the Independent, now just I.
28 Father and son put on payroll in Bow (4)
SIRE -  S + 'IRE. 
29 Part sentimental English left out (10)
INSTALMENT - anagram of S[e]NTIMENTAL.
Down
1 Foreign woman, one drawn to Jean-Paul Sartre’s nose? (4)
INEZ - I + NEZ, a little more French than is usually required.
2 Two drinks to bring you comfort? (7)
SUPPORT - SUP + PORT.
3 Troublesome British trade union is condemned (13)
INSUBORDINATE - anagram of B TRADE UNION IS.
4 Club could occasionally upset member (6)
CUDGEL - C[o]U]l]D + LEG upside-down.
5 Trapped Yank nears end (8)
ENSNARED - anagram of NEARS END.   Yank is certainly a novel anagram indicator.
7 Address of old shop I must visit (7)
ORATION - O + RAT (I) ON.   Shop is rat on, not just rat.
8 Practical instruction limerick writer ignored? (2-8)
NO-NONSENSE - Double definition, one jocular.
11 Church in Palestine is remarkable place of worship (7,6)
SISTINE CHAPEL - CH in anagram of PALESTINE IS.   Another rather vague literal.
14 Whisky served in this way may be ruined? (2,3,5)
ON THE ROCKS -  Double definition.
17 Zealot engaged in pop art is antagonistic (8)
PARTISAN - hidden in [po]P ART IS AN[tagonistic].
19 One fleecing his subjects? (7)
SHEARER - Cryptic definition.
21 Lie about Chancellor’s initial position (7)
RECLINE - RE + C[hancellor] + LINE, as in the party line.
22 Actor perhaps at first welcoming resistance (6)
ARTIST -  A(R)T + 1ST.
25 Change course, heading north (4)
EDIT - TIDE upside-down, as in time and tide.
  • glheard

Mephisto 3133: Don Manley

Oh dear, I appear to have been migrated to a new posting system, which removes the colours and the spacing of the automated blog poster that I have been using. I hope it is still readable!

Yet again I am treated to a rather nice grid with 90 degree symmetry and generous crossing against the central region. This was a rather fun puzzle where a lot of the difficulty was in the wordplay.

Speaking of wordplay, since definitions (the most obvious of which is underlined) can be confirmed in Chambers, this report will focus on wordplay.

Away we go!

(PS: less than a clue in to the write-up I'm finding how to force things to the previous editor)

Across
1 Plaice due to migrate — a whole family of fish (9)
CLUPEIDAE - anagram of PLAICE,DUE
11 District ruled by Brits, mostly badly, in South Africa (4)
ZILA - ILL(badly) missing the last letter inside ZA(South Africa)
12 Duck s-somewhere in Ireland (6)
SMEATH - S-MEATH(somewhere in Ireland)
13 Silk cloth known to Scots and English (5)
KENTE - KENT(known in Scots) and E(English). I laughed a lot at this clue, because one of my favorite shows recently did a kente skit
14 On return materialised as one who would set up an idol? (7)
DEIFIER - REIFIED(materialised) reversed
16 Study hill, not one that is a feature of Italian map? (8)
CONTORNO - CON(study), TOR(hill), NO(not one)
17 Quiet drink? Not quiet drink! (5)
PERRY - P(quiet) then SHERRY(drink) missing SH(quiet)
19 Defence of island group half destroyed (4)
BERM - BERMUDAN(of island group) missing the second half
20 Musical instruction in educational institution inadequate? Certainly not! (8, two words)
COL LEGNO - COLLEGE(educational institution) missing the last letter, then NO(Certainly not)
22 A god gets older, making provisions for youngsters (8)
APANAGES - A, PAN(god), AGES(gets older)
24 Not one to put up or put down (4)
RASE - remove I(one) from RAISE(put up)
27 Macbeth an example? His status can be seen (5)
THANE - hidden inside macbeTH AN Example
28 Sage set out in one type of soil (8)
SOLONETS - SOLON(sage) and an anagram of SET
31 Use Socratic method of discussion — what could be noisier? (7)
IRONISE - anagram of NOISIER
32 Dad won a piece of fruit (5)
PAPAW - PAPA(dad) W(won, Korean currency)
33 Isn’t well — goes to doctor and bows (6)
DRAILS - AILS (isn't well) with DR(doctor)
34 European communication ignoring one head of state (4)
LETT - LETTER(communication) minus ER(one head of state)
35 Trader in drink as one who looks to get a nap? (9)
TEASELLER - a trader in drink could be a TEA SELLER
Down
2 Jock’s more beloved one to be found in bar (6)
LIEVER - I(one) in LEVER(bar)
3 Ail badly with a run — it’s the bones (7)
ULNARIA - anagram of AIL and A RUN
4 It’s ____ that could be anti a priest getting spliced (8)
PATARINE - an all-in-one - anagram of ANTI,A,PRIEST minus IT'S
5 Bosses no longer linked to one part of the establishment (4)
EXEC - EX(no longer) and EC(established church)
6 Racing to collect old record that reveals study of subcontinent (8)
INDOLOGY - INDY racing contaiing O(old), LOG(record)
7 Goodwill shown by little woman embracing modern technology (5)
AMITY - AMY(little woman) containing IT(modern technology)
8 No longer spoil office assistant, leading to anger (5)
PAIRE - PA(office assistant), IRE(anger)
9 Gun carried by worst enemy (4)
STEN - hidden inside worST ENemy
10 Child has gone mad about gypsy in colourful material (9)
CHROMOGEN - CH(child), then an anagram of GONE with ROM(gypsy) inside
15 A record’s climbing and rides high — see it in the pop charts? (9)
SPEAR-SIDE - A, EP'S(record) reversed, then an anagram of RIDES. Pop charts referring to the paternal side of the family tree
18 People creating ruffles with request that's abrupt, short (8)
PLEATERS - PLEA(request) and TERSE(abrupt) missing the last letter
19 No longer enslave little woman slowing down (8)
BETHRALL - BETH(little woman) and RALL(rallentando, slowing down)
21 Breaking up, large icy pieces (7)
GRAUPEL - anagram of UP,LARGE
23 Like a wave from a Parisian lover? (6)
UNDATE - UN(a in French), DATE(lover)
25 Yesteryear’s well-off youngster said to get reproof from Mac (5)
SLOAN - sounds like SLOANE(well-off youngster)
26 A love with little energy, feeble and silly? (5)
ANILE - A, NIL(love), E(energy)
29 Odd Scottish soldiers, gunners (4)
ORRA - OR(soldiers) and RA(gunners)
30 Look old-fashioned delivering glib speech endlessly (4)
SPIE - SPIEL(glib speech) missing the final letter

Sunday Times 4920 by Robert Price

12:33. A characteristically witty puzzle from Bob this week. I think my favourite clues were the outrageous 2dn and the brilliant 21dn, but there’s lots of fun stuff in here.

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




Across
1 Car accident in which Dan’s changed course
BANGERS AND MASH - BANGER (car), SMASH (accident) containing (DAN)*.
10 Shared territory is finished with China backtracking
OVERLAP - OVER, reversal of PAL.
11 Show to write? Something kids can’t get out of
PLAYPEN - PLAY (show), PEN (write).
12 Priest inspired by amateur’s work catalogue
DIRECTORY - DI(RECTOR)Y.
13 Stay like newly laid asphalt?
TARRY - two definitions, one slightly whimsical.
14 Partly processed food set in batter
CUDGEL - CUD (the partly-processed food cows chew), GEL (set).
15 Wind up using underworld crack
DISSOLVE - DIS, SOLVE. DIS is one name for the Roman god of the underworld, and also the underworld itself.
18 Busy outlet that reordered fuel cans
EVENTFUL - (FUEL)* containing VENT.
20 Device a string ensemble musician uses
EMBLEM - contained in ‘ensemble musician’. This clue appears to break what is normally a pretty hard-and-fast rule of crosswords, which is that in containment clues, the phrase containing the answer must not have extraneous words, i.e. words that do not contain any part of the answer. Here the word ‘string’ is like that. You could argue that it’s part of the noun phrase ‘string ensemble’, but it’s still unusual. Edit: see comment from the editor below. The problem here wasn't with the clue, but with the blogger who was too dense to see a really rather nifty device. The containment indicator here is 'a string (of characters) [ensemble musician] uses'.
23 Child learner seen around a comprehensive
TOTAL - TOT(A), L.
25 Firm hand adopted by man, mostly imprisonment
COMMITTAL - CO, M(MITT)ALe.
26 Loot going on new pub carpet
UPBRAID - (PUB)*, RAID.
27 Girl keeping a diary, returning from Luanda?
ANGOLAN - reversal of NA(LOG)NA. Luanda is the capital of Angola. I didn’t know that but with wordplay and a few checkers it didn’t cause me a problem.
28 Harry Potter’s to scrap quidditch?
SPECTATOR SPORT - (POTTERS TO SCRAP)*. Quidditch being the game they play in the Harry Potter books and films.
Down
2 Stated a word as a German might say it?
AVERRED - “a vord”. Cheeky!
3 Winger or prop overlooked by clubs
GOLDCREST - GOLD (or), C, REST.
4 Average round: high point is making eagle?
RAPTOR - reversal (round) of PAR, TOR.
5 When a Greek character enters clutching axes, it’s breathtaking
ASPHYXIA - AS(PH(YX)I), A. Slightly tricksy wordplay here: it’s [AS A] (which) PHI enters, itself containing (clutching) YX (axes).
6 Outline drawing of British dictator
DRAFT - sounds like ‘draught’, which is how a Brit would spell the word meaning drawing. I found this clue a bit confusing because I’m not sure the US/UK draft/draught distinction is a hard an fast one these days, but it was broadly clear what was intended.
7 In disgust, touching garments
APPAREL - APPA(RE)L.
8 Fruit medley, one shown being mixed
HONEYDEW MELONS - (MEDLEY ONE SHOWN)*.
9 What travelling orchestras go on?
CONDUCTED TOURS - CD.
16 What a judge will do in addition
SUMMING UP - DD.
17 Wine being revolutionary cutting grape juice
MUSCADET - MUS(CADE)T. A reference to Jack Cade.
19 European list restricting a comestible
EATABLE - E(A), TABLE.
21 More wee left? Puppies must be taken outside!
LITTLER - LITT(L)ER.
22 Do damage to India with Middlesex’s opening duo
IMPAIR - I, Middlesex, PAIR.
24 Was a jumper extremely loose fitting?
LEAPT - LoosE, APT.

Jumbo 1458

I think this was a reasonable Jumbo, although some of the parsing was a bit of a struggle when writing this up, with 20D and 52D becoming clearer as I went through the puzzle again.

I liked the German in 13A, and the construction of 50A. I don’t fully understand 27A and 29A at the moment – any other interpretations welcome.



ACROSS
1 Biting as Arctic’s winds (9)
SARCASTIC – (AS ARTICS)*

6 Supplier of ecstasy to be our sponsor, it’s said (7)
BACCHUS – sounds like BACK US = be our sponsor

10 Superior rating given to second-rate back (5)
ABBOT – A.B. = rating, followed by B = second-rate and TO reversed together

13 With energy, note, old German chaser’s a stayer (7)
ENDURER – E = energy, N = note, DURER = old German chaser (as in engraver)

14 Explosive start setting one back a bit (5)
NITRO – INTRO = start, with I = one, moved back

15 Close one’s rubbish bin — huge odour after emptying! (9)
NEIGHBOUR – (BIN, HUGE, O{dou}R)*

16 Seize chance to stop working with metal piping? (6,5,3,4,2,3)
STRIKE WHILE THE IRON IS HOT – STRIKE = stop working, WHILE THE IRON IS HOT = with metal piping

17 Big cat seeing gap, quietly escaping into yard, briefly (6)
COUGAR – COUR(t) = yard, around GA(p)

18 Old statesman rarely any take to at first (8)
KENYATTA – (ANY TAKE T{o})*

19 One selling joints in bar in Montmartre, not cheap (7)
BUTCHER – BUT = bar, CHER = not cheap, in Montmartre

22 Lots of ladies, perhaps, one visiting old grandmother of Samuel (10)
JOHNSONIAN – JOHNS = lots of ladies (lavatories), perhaps, O = old, NAN = grandmother, around I = one

23 Bearing wine: unfamiliar accompaniment to duty-free purchase? (7,5)
AIRPORT NOVEL – AIR = bearing, PORT = wine, NOVEL = unfamiliar

27 Foreign drama that’s painful under any conditions (5)
NOHOW – NOH = foreign drama, OW = that’s painful. I am not sure whether painful should also be part of the definition as NOHOW would normally mean not under any conditions?

29 In line, getting reading to be picked up (7)
QUEUING – sounds like CUEING = reading (as a prompter?). I think

30 Motivating force behind religious teaching one runs in SE Asia (3,5)
RED RIVER – R.E. = religious teaching, DRIVER = motivating force

32 Capital Radio presenter blocking call and not available (8)
NDJAMENA – NAME = call, around D.J. = radio presenter, N.A. = not available

34 Be effective after all, maybe, protecting large layer of skin (7)
CUTICLE – CUT ICE = be effective, around L = large

36 Students gathering for one drink (5)
NEGUS – N.U.S. = students, around E.G. = for one

39 Folk with primitive homes: all deserve modernising with WC (4-8)
CAVE-DWELLERS – (ALL DESERVE, WC)*

41 One in haste cut sticks to deliver huge blows (10)
HURRICANES – HURRI(er) = one in haste, CANES = sticks . Thanks to dcrooks for the reply explaining that a better parsing is HURR{y} = haste, I = one, CANES = sticks

44 Writer embracing year performing as poet (7)
BYRONIC – BIC = writer, around YR = year and ON = performing

46 Appropriate to put on a very loud alarm (8)
AFFRIGHT – A, FF = very loud, RIGHT = appropriate

48 Soft, ultimately tuneless humming (6)
SPONGY – {tuneles}S, PONGY = humming

50 Do colours? I polish crucifix ring fits inside, to be exact (3,4,2,3,5,4,2)
DOT ONES IS AND CROSS ONES TS – DO, TONES = colours, I, SAND = polish, CROSS = crucifix, O = ring, NESTS = fits inside. Superbly constructed, even though the surface reading is not that smooth

53 Rocket, perhaps, that has wartime success within reach? (9)
VEGETABLE – V.E. = wartime success, GETABLE = within reach

54 Triumphant cry on clinching record, that’s followed by “Bravo” (5)
ALPHA – AHA = triumphant cry, around LP = record

55 Shakespearean jester, one sharing top billing with duke (7)
COSTARD – CO-STAR = one sharing top billing, D = duke

56 Period before series concluded (3-2)
RUN-UP – RUN = series, UP = concluded

57 Repeat xray that’s distorted on one side (2,5)
EX PARTE – (REPEAT, X)*

58 Vanquish, having finished with commanding position (9)
OVERWHELM – OVER = finished, W = with, HELM = commanding position

DOWN
1 Mends fencing in king’s colours (5)
SKEWS – SEWS = mends, around K = king

2 To be cavalier with good horse, very hurried training required (4,9,4)
RIDE ROUGHSHOD OVER – (GOOD HORSE V{ery} HURRIED)*

3 Language review is a frank assessment, primarily (9)
AFRIKAANS – (IS A FRANK A{ssessment})*

4 Reading, perhaps, absorbing personnel in cast (6)
THROWN – TOWN = Reading, perhaps, around H.R. = pesonnel

5 Kind of legal position for player in case (11)
CONSIDERATE – ONSIDE = legal position for player, in CRATE = case

6 I’ll be seeing you around Thursday, in passing (2,3,3)
BY THE BYE BYE-BYE = I’ll be seeing you, around TH = Thursday

7 Way to make up yarn of note, not the first time (7)
CROCHET – CRO{t}CHET = note

8 Deliver one international player to each sporting official (11)
HANDICAPPER – HAND = deliver, I = one, CAP = international player, PER = each

9 One visibly upset crossing mountain, meeting British person descending it? (9)
SKIBOBBER – SOBBER = one visibly upset, around K1 = mountain, and B = British

10 Seeing a crime being committed possibly, but not believing (7)
ATHEIST – AT HEIST = seeing a crime being committed, perhaps. I have seen several very similar clues to this word over the years

11 Some raised cash to oblige assassin (5)
BOOTH – hidden reversed in {cas}H TO OB{lige}

12 Act utterly crazily — not unknown to be upset (4,6)
TURN TURTLE – TURN = act, UTTERL{y}*

17 One living in southern US around early summer (5)
CAJUN – CA = around, JUN = early summer

20 Individual’s own urge to confront hosts gets to look stupid (4,3,2,4,4)
HAVE EGG ON ONES FACE – this was a bit of a struggle to put together. I make it HAVE = own, EGG ON = urge and FACE = confront, around (hosting) ONES = individual’s

21 Where we learn which of our neighbours is special (6)
UNIQUE – UNI = where we learn, QUE = which, of our (French) neighbours

24 Leave time to visit trendy, small bars (6)
INGOTS – IN = trendy, GO = leave, T = time, S = small

25 New, excellent service gets you to Scottish destination (5)
NAIRN – N = new, A1 = excellent, R.N. = service

26 Wheels put together with track one assembled (3,3)
KIT CAR – (TRACK, I)*

28 Open country show — hope grandma will attend, finally (5)
WEALD – final letters of {sho}W {hop}E {grandm}A {wil}L {atten}D

31 Flat, shell-like blocks in need of water? (6)
DREARY – DRY = in need of water, around EAR = shell-like

33 Winning the lot, Bill tends to get emotional (1,5,5)
A CLEAN SWEEP – AC = bill, LEANS = tends to, WEEP = emotional

35 Shiftless viewer specifically into YouTubers? (5,6)
COUCH POTATO – cryptic definition relying on tubers being potatoes (but quite weak I think)

37 Weakling is first, say? Nothing odd in that (5)
SISSY – alternate (even) letters in iS fIrSt SaY

38 Copper, corrupt, one has arrested by senior underworld investigator in suit? (5,5)
SCUBA DIVER – CU = copper, BAD = corrupt, I’VE = one has, all enclosed by SR = senior

40 Sporting saxe blue cape not such a crime! (9)
EXCUSABLE – (SAXE BLUE C (=cape))*

42 Wife, under arrest in Grammar School, with a sharp object (6,3)
COPING SAW – COP = arrest, IN, G.S. = Grammar School, A, W = wife

43 A viewer of EastEnders Christmas special? (5,3)
MINCE PIE – double definition, the first from Cockney rhyming slang for eye

45 Reflected on points put by, say, Cork Express (7)
NONSTOP – NO = ON reflected, N,S = points – TOP = cork

47 Stuff in the end not just a source of amusement (7)
FUNFAIR – {stuf}F, UNFAIR = not just

49 Autopsy check’s far from complete, mind (6)
PSYCHE – hidden in {auto}PSY CHE{ck}

51 Cross when hearing match lost (5)
TIGON – sounds like TIE GONE = match lost

52 Instant good advice to follow up in place of evil? (5)
SODOM – MO = instant, DOS (as opposed to don’ts) = good advice, all reversed. We have a Sodom Lane in our village!
  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27768 - Saturday, 12 September 2020. Que sera, sera.

A puzzle with middle of the road difficulty, but much to enjoy, including three nice homophones. Some nice hints of fate and eternity at 9ac and 3dn, but my favourite was 24ac which made me LOL, as they say these days. 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 Rising corporation given backing in old America (8)
MUTINOUS – TUM=corporation of the abdominal kind, backing. Then,  IN O{ld} U.S.
6 Sharp agent raking in pile (6)
SNAPPY – SPY ‘raking in’ NAP.
9 What must be paid for after brief smack? (6)
KISMET –  MET=paid, after KIS{s}, briefly. Cue Doris Day: Whatever will be, will be.
10 Doctor to repeat work in theatre (8)
OPERETTA – ‘doctor’ (anagram of) TO REPEAT.
11 Barrack comedian, throwing stone (4)
JEER – JE{st}ER, throwing away the ST.
12 Firing up kiln, ending in explosion (10)
ENKINDLING – ‘explosion’ (anagram) of KILN ENDING. An old-fashioned looking word, I thought.
14 Dealer's henchman preferring pound to note (8)
RETAILER – is a RETAINER really a henchman? He/she sounds much more upright than that to me! Anyway, change the N for note to an L for pound.
16 Force landed, making stealthy getaway (4)
FLIT – F=force, LIT=landed.
18 Sounds made by critical little bird down under (4)
KIWI – homophone of KEY WEE. Very neat!
19 Board's imperfection only partial, it's said (8)
KNOTHOLE – if it’s only partial, it’s NOT WHOLE. Another nice homophone.
21 Phoney lord desecrated pyramid, perhaps (10)
POLYHEDRON – ‘desecrated’ (anagram of) PHONEY LORD.
22 I won't, casually, when opening curtains (4)
NOPE – hidden answer ‘curtained’ by (i.e. inside) ‘wheN OPEning’.
24 VIP's paltry payment? (8)
SIXPENCE – VI=six, P=pence. Delightful!!
26 Prevents Turkey's premier entering States (6)
AVERTS – T from Turkey in AVERS.
27 In recession, delay securing pitch for international (6)
GLOBAL – LOB=pitch in GAL=LAG backwards.
28 Lectures bound to discuss work matters (4,4)
TALK SHOP – TALKS=lectures, HOP=bound.

Down
2 Join military detachment close to base (5)
UNITE – UNIT=detachment, E is the close of basE.
3 Government finally admitted to corruption going on and on (11)
IMMORTALITY – T from {government}T in IMMORALITY.
4 Honestly worried, in private (2,3,3)
ON THE SLY – ‘worried’ (anagram, nicely disguised, of) HONESTLY.
5 Keep owing more, on strike in affluent area (11,4)
STOCKBROKER BELT – STOCK=keep, BROKER=owing more, BELT=strike.
6 More rigid articulated bones (6)
STERNA – sounds like STERNER. Plural of STERNUM.
7 Reverence and worship expansive at first (3)
AWE – first letters of each word.
8 Latin poet's broken promise (9)
POTENTIAL – ‘broken’ (anagram of) LATIN POET.
13 Sinister sportspeople? (4-7)
LEFT-HANDERS – cryptic definition. I banged in LEFT-WINGERS at first, but 19ac forced me to think again.
15 Leader from media abandoning case to retreat northward (9)
EDITORIAL – {m}EDI{a} (abandoning case), TO, LAIR=retreat ‘northward’.
17 Humiliation of Democrat on personal trip (8)
DOWNFALL – D=Democrat, OWN=personal, FALL=trip.
20 Group of sailors cutting timber for ship's core (6)
KERNEL – RN=group of sailors, cutting KEEL.
23 Primate having too much work to retire (5)
POTTO – OTT OP, all ‘retiring’.
25 Local turned up with book (3)
PUB – PU=UP ‘turned’, B=book.

Quick Cryptic 1704 by Joker

I found this thoroughly enjoyable. Some fairly convoluted wordplay, but not too difficult. Describing a banjo as a 'sort of guitar' sounds like it might upset a purist somewhere. 6 minutes

Across
1 Miser upset about landlord’s political belief in the US (13)
REPUBLICANISM - anagram ('upset') of MISER set around PUBLICAN
8 Jack’s entering bar with old sort of guitar (5)
BANJO - BAN (bar) + O (old) with J (Jack) inside
9 Cowardly chap is after elegance and style (7)
CHICKEN - CHIC (elegance & style) + KEN (a chap)
10 Rubbish in Jerusalem rail terminus? (7)
STATION - TAT (rubbish) inside SION (Jerusalem)
11 Some panic here in specialised part of the market (5)
NICHE - hidden word: paNIC HEre
13 Pressure concerning young claimant to the throne (9)
PRETENDER - P (pressure) + RE (concerning) + TENDER (young, as in 'tender age')
17 Tons lacking power to make changes (5)
TWEAK - T + WEAK
19 A couple of people owe most, unfortunately (7)
TWOSOME - anagram ('unfortunately') of OWE MOST
20 Right pub in centre offering this item in crumble? (7)
RHUBARB - R (right) + BAR (pub) inside HUB (centre)
22 Leading pair abandoning the most doubtful visitor (5)
GUEST - Most doubtful is VAGUEST, lose the first two letters.
23 Enraptured current chaps score romantically (13)
SENTIMENTALLY - SENT (enraptured) + I (current) + MEN (chaps) + TALLY (score)

Down
1 Tough case of decay limiting public transport (6)
ROBUST - case of decay is ROT, with BUS inside
2 Peel ’n’ a pip has the makings of a fruit (9)
PINEAPPLE - anagram ('has the makings of') of PEEL N A PIP
3 Element oxygen many initially discovered in sea water (7)
BROMINE - O (oxygen) + M ('many', initially) inside BRINE
4 Absolutely certain company is into table tennis, strangely (13)
INCONTESTABLE - anagram ('strangely') of TABLE TENNIS + CO (company)
5 Six into articles about birds (5)
AVIAN - VI (six) inside A and AN (indefinite articles)
6 Annoy when spilling kir (3)
IRK - anagram ('spilling') of KIR
7 Got together outside popular university dance (6)
MINUET - MET outside IN (popular) + U
12 Hole in skin interrupting pink of the body (9)
CORPOREAL - PORE (hole in skin) inside CORAL (pink)
14 Period without a drink is difficult after start of drinking time (7)
DROUGHT - ROUGH (difficult) after D (start of 'drinking') + T (time)
15 Some fissure turned up as a source of life (6)
UTERUS - reverse hidden word: fisSURE TUrned
16 Good first appearance needed for the upper crust (6)
GENTRY - G + ENTRY
18 Fabric sounding like something driver should carry (5)
KHAKI - sounds like CAR KEY
21 Royal Navy is after universal vessel (3)
URN - U + RN
verlaine

Times 27,773: Gimme Shelter

Not the hardest end to a week but not without its tricky clues. It feels like a long time since I could last say it was one corner giving me particular trouble, but I ground to a bit of a halt in the SE here, with 16, 21 and 17 down all being slow to give up their secrets, plus 29ac proving one of those excellent hiddens that hold out for a while, even after I'd looked for a hidden and returned with TENTER, d'oh. I haven't been on crosswording form this week - too much excitement over in the Other Place (the world of quiz!)

Were I to be in a critical mood I'd probably say that there were too many answers that were easier to biff than to work out the cryptic for, which always feels like a cart/horse sequencing error. Also lots of sports references, which I have traditionally viewed with utmost suspicion but which aren't so bad really. In fact I'm going to give COD to 22dn which I believe is something to do with cricket, but also features a truly classic crossword duck.

Thanks setter!

ACROSS
1 Guard's course of action finally changed (6)
POLICE - POLIC{y->E}

4 Help one to get top in sort of contest (8)
HANDICAP - HAND + I + CAP [help, one, top]

10 Stories about theologian entertaining Catholic Church stars (9)
ANDROMEDA - ANA "about" D.D. "entertaining" ROME. FOI

11 Sit learner at back of form (5)
MODEL - L at back of MODE

12 Unfancied team no longer in the dressing room? (7)
OUTSIDE - OUT SIDE [unfancied, team]. Once the team is no longer in the dressing room they're outside.

13 Numbers kept outside part of the UK, stupid folk (7)
NINNIES - NINE kept outside N.I.

14 That is to be found in side street (2,3)
ID EST - hidden in {s}IDE ST{reet}

15 Didn't move from area that's dry — sense the environment (3,5)
SAT TIGHT - A(rea) that has T.T. [dry], "environed" by SIGHT [sense]

18 Plant has woman in nursery full of bombast (8)
AMARANTH - AMAH [nursemaid] "full of" RANT [bombast]

20 Disciple — this person's held to be one (5)
SIMON - SON [disciple], "holding" I'M, to find one specific disciple

23 Sweet little girls (7)
CARAMEL - CARA and MEL

25 A lot of green present wrapping appropriate (7)
HERBAGE - HERE [present] wrapping BAG [so that's appropriate as in "take"]

26 Dance being held in workhouse? (5)
TWIST - double def with a being, as in person or character, eponymous in Dickens' novel

27 Playing in a shed, two sons being up to no good? (9)
SHADINESS - (IN A SHED*) + S S

28 People working with duds? (3,5)
RAG TRADE - cryptic def, duds as in clothes

29 Excellent entertainment, not entirely suitable for solemn period (6)
LENTEN - hidden in {excel}LENT EN{tertainment}. LOI

DOWN
1 Endless drama producing tension, avoiding sex (8)
PLATONIC - PLA{y} + TONIC

2 Loud female with others grabbing old rocker after upset (7)
LADETTE - ET AL [with others] "grabbing" TED [old rocket], and reverse

3 Singer in church getting nothing right tries afresh (9)
CHORISTER - CH + O R + (TRIES*)

5 A term in Rugby: are rebellious teachers seen to be this? (7,3,4)
AGAINST THE HEAD - one of those double defs with an idiomatic and a literalistic definition;
rebellious teachers might be against the head(master). The other definition is something to do with the game rugby, couldn't really tell you what, but the dictionary says "from the opposing side's put-in to the scrum", whatever that means!

6 This writer held up by academic as one very skilful (5)
DEMON - reversed ME "held" by DON

7 Person on golf course endlessly — is husband ungentlemanly? (7)
CADDISH - CADD{y} IS H

8 European? This could be French (6)
POLISH - double def, based on the somewhat chestnutty "French polish"

9 A loner despised, abandoned, no longer regarded as an individual (14)
DEPERSONALISED - (A LONER DESPISED*)

16 Short sheet of paper, something wicked provided during employment (2-7)
IN-SERVICE - INSER{t} + VICE. Who else has spent so much time around crosswords that they were looking for a kind of candle?

17 Man who provided shelter, with someone lacking roof (8)
ANDERSON - AND [with] + {p}ERSON. We are speaking of Anderson air raid shelters...

19 Ruining wedding with no end of debauchery (7)
MARRING - MARR{y}ING

21 Most excellent food one's eaten, nothing wasted (7)
MEANEST - MEAT [food] "eating" {o}NE'S. Meat may be food for you lot but it isn't for me!

22 Score fantastic ton going in — or a duck (6)
SCOTER - (SCORE*) with T going in

24 The old woman to have sex with Romeo (5)
MATER - MATE with R
  • Current Location
    s
  • glheard

Times 27772 - my first palindrome!

Time taken: 13:14, although even with checking through my answers I managed a particularly silly typo at 13 down, which was one of the ones I felt good about parsing.

I think this is a tricky puzzle and the early times are a bit slower than usual (since I'm writing this a bit later than I usually do, the SNITCH is up and is at 126. There are a number of entries I had to piece together from wordplay, but that is a good thing.

I do have an error, so it is a good day to get in front of me on the leaderboard!

Away we go...

Across
1 Trickery from monkey scratching rear (4)
SCAM - the monkey is a SCAMP, remove the last letter
4 Cold friend's wrapped in warm material (10)
CHINCHILLA - CHILL(cold) inside CHINA(friend)
9 Possible relief from lumbago, an old issue (4,6)
BACK NUMBER - if you have lumbago, your BACK could use some NUMBing
10 Dogs perhaps retreating, one in flight (4)
STEP - PETS(dogs, perhaps) reversed
11 Instinct about welcoming policeman, a patent expert? (6)
EDISON - NOSE(instinct) reversed, containing DI(policeman).  Thomas EDISON was renowned for patenting his inventions
12 A number eleven entering field of play, hungry-looking? (8)
ANOREXIC -  A, NO(number), then XI(elven) inside REC(field of play)
14 Italian white jacket's taken off over the hill (4)
ASTI - remove the outside letters of PAST IT (over the hill)
15 Chance of a thousand in income, but not five (10)
LIKELIHOOD -  K(a thousand) inside LIVELIHOOD(income) missing the V
17 Like ham I repeatedly mixed with this corn (10)
HISTRIONIC - anagram of two I's and THIS,CORN. A stage ham, so right up my alley.
20 What indicates relief from power cut (4)
PHEW - P(power), HEW(cut)
21 In this building, are those inside waiting to buy it? (5,3)
DEATH ROW - cryptic definition
23 Exposed relative's endless bill (6)
UNCLAD - UNCLE(relative) missing the last letter, AD(bill)
24 Gas one twice bottles? (4)
NEON - it would be hidden inside oNE ONe
25 TS Eliot works about animal giving a lump in the throat (10)
EPIGLOTTIS - anagram of TS ELIOT surrounding PIG(animal)
26 Evil man providing returns with little cash (10)
MALEFICENT - MALE(man), then IF(providing) reversed, and a CENT(little cash)
27 Dated scoundrel with hand missing and a slippery customer (4)
HEEL - HAND without AND, then EEL(slippery customer)
Down
2 Group meeting fate underground (11)
CLANDESTINE - CLAN(group) and DESTINE(fate as a verb)
3 Rough and ready ladies' clothing brand put first (9)
MAKESHIFT - SHIFT(ladies' clothing) with MAKE(brand) first
4 Extremely nice lunch forged deep international connection (7)
CHUNNEL - anagram of the outer letters in NicE with LUNCH
5 Where NYPD cop may put perp, clearly! (2,5,3,5)
IN BLACK AND WHITE - NYPD cars are black and white, so a titchy double definition. OK - I thought I remember the NYPD cars in the 90s being black and white, but the clue here really relies on Collins dictionary having "black-and-white" as US slang for a police car.
6 Wheels turn handle used by writer (7)
CARROLL - CAR(wheels), ROLL(turn) for the writer Lewis
7 Tangerine's skin in sloppy plant secretion (5)
LATEX - outer letters of TangerinE inside LAX(sloppy)
8 Like image showing pork pie ingredient (5)
ASPIC - AS(like), PIC(image)
13 Useless musical theatre about one revolutionary (11)
INOPERATIVE - long reversal of EVITA(musical), REP(theatre) ON(about), I(one). I managed to switch the V and T at the end
16 Hard work put an end to child's play (9)
HOPSCOTCH - H(hard), OP(work), SCOTCH(put an end to)
18 National leader’s deposed by Tory statesman (7)
ISRAELI - remove the first letter from Benjamin DISRAELI
19 Impressive feat by service lines (7)
COUPLET - COUP(impressive feat) with LET(tennis serve)
21 Material exploited the wrong way (5)
DENIM - MINED(exploited) reversed
22 Single fee for the main feature (5)
ATOLL - A(single), TOLL(fee)

Times Quick Cryptic No 1703 by Pedro

It is about 6 months since I blogged a Pedro QC, and it is nice to see him back on my bailiwick as I managed to solve this, just, inside my 15 minute target.  Some lovely clues and devices here, with 19 and 21 across vying with 7 and 15 down for my COD.  However, there also appears to be a bit of a gaffe in 17 across, which I have been unable to explain satisfactorily.  I would be grateful if someone can provide a better explanation for this anomaly.

Across

1  Striking religious group in which cricket team is arranged (7,5)
BATTING ORDER – BATTING (striking) and ORDER (religious group).  The BATTING ORDER is the list of players in a cricket team, organised in the order in which they will generally come out to bat.
Spirit shown by good party organiser (5)
GHOST – G{ood} and HOST (party organiser).
9  Doctor very engaged in genuine excision (7)
REMOVAL – MO (doctor) and V{ery} inside (engaged in) REAL (genuine).
10  Old man backed intention to put in post (7)
APPOINT – PA (old man) reversed (backed) to give AP and then POINT (intention).
11  Permitted to be heard (5)
ALOUD – Homophone, sounds like allowed, where ‘to be heard’ does double duty as both the definition and the homophone indicator.
12  Development of green factory’s latest power supply (6)
ENERGY – Anagram (development) of [GREEN] and {factor}Y (latest, i.e. last letter).
14  Snooty person rejected excellent little plant (6)
BONSAI – The snooty person is a SNOB, reversed (rejected) to give BONS and then AI (excellent, as in A1).
17  Pub in Pimlico - calm (5)
LOCAL – I’m not sure what has happened here.  This looks like it is intended to be a hidden answer, maybe the setter wrote it as ‘Pub in Buffalo – calm’ initially, and the editor replaced Buffalo with the more familiar (to us Brits anyway) Pimlico, not realising that the edit had lost the spirit of the clue.  This is just supposition on my part – I can’t see how the clue works otherwise, but someone will almost certainly educate me if there is an alternative explanation.
19  Monastery residents without sin? (7)
NOVICES – NOVICES without sin would have NO VICES.
21  I’ve reached “P for Paint”? (7)
IMPASTO – If I have reached the letter P in reciting the alphabet, then I’M PAST O.  IMPASTO is paint laid on thickly.
22  Back a theatre group initially over stage work (5)
OPERA – A (a) REP (theatre group, repertory) and O{ver} (initially) all reversed (back).
23  Criticise losing a carton opener? (4-3,5)
TEAR-OFF STRIP – If one criticised someone or something, one could be said to TEAR-OFF {a} STRIP.  Lose the a for a common method of opening a carton.

Down

1  A big gal came running across entrance to Gatwick arrivals area (7,5)
BAGGAGE CLAIM – Anagram (running) of [A BIG GAL CAME] and G{atwick} (entrance to Gatwick).
Group of soldiers left upset about nothing (5)
TROOP – PORT (left) reversed (upset) and including O (about nothing).
3  Hinting, awfully trendy item (2-5)
IN-THING – Anagram (awfully) of [HINTING].
Spin jar filled with last of recovery (6)
GYRATE – GRATE (jar, as in a jarring sound) containing {recover}Y (last of).
5  Alcohol given to graduate for dance (5)
RUMBA – RUM (alcohol) given to BA (graduate), to form the lively Afro-Cuban dance.  We must be approaching the Strictly silly season!
6  Vino Sue ordered, leaving you resentful (7)
ENVIOUS – Anagram (ordered) of [VINO SUE].
Supplier of spirit generated by rubber? (8,4)
ALADDIN’S LAMP – Cryptic &Lit clue referring to a famous Pantomime device (as we get closer to Strictly silly season, we also approach Panto season!)
13  European notice about top fugitive (7)
ESCAPEE – E{uropean} SEE (notice) containing (about) CAP (top).  Will we still be allowed to use E{uropean} to clue E once we are finally out of Europe?
15  Not seeing line I erased – that’s clear (7)
OBVIOUS – OB{li}VIOUS (not seeing) after L{ine} and I have been erased.
16  Unique energy incorporated in switch settings? (3-3)
ONE-OFF – E{nergy} inside ON-OFF (switch settings).  Some switches are not dichotomous, hence the question mark.
18  Light starts to leave all stars, every rotation (5)
LASER – Initial letters (starts) of L{eave} A{ll} S{tars}, E{very} R{otation}.
20  Get over fence, perhaps, without faults? (5)
CLEAR – Double definition, referring to show-jumping, where if all fences are CLEARed, the competitor may achieve a CLEAR round.