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Times Quick Cryptic 1436 by Joker

Excellent QC fare here - many write-ins, a few to think about and an excellent COD and LOI at 13dn. I thoroughly enjoyed the (just under 10 minute) solve and writing up the blog. Thanks Joker.

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QC 1435 by Teazel

Most of these were straight write-ins for me. I was seeing it like a beach ball. Oops sorry, that hurts doesn't it. I suppose one more unlikely escape was too much to hope for. Recall Geoffrey Boycott, that's what I say. I'm sure he could still stand there all day without scoring anything just like he used to. Although don't tell him I said so or his head will swell up like a beach ball (oh no - look - that's only about half as big as it is already) and Steve Smith will take deadly aim and hit it to the boundary.

Anyway, as usually seems to be the case these days I am squeezing this blog into a business and personal commitment sandwich so I don't have much to say except thank you Teazel, my oldest adversary at this game, for another entertaining puzzle to get the neurons firing again after the weekend anaesthesia.

FOI was 7A as appropriate. LOI was 21A because although I could easily see the answer the logic escaped me until the end (and I hope I've got the explanation right at that - no doubt I will be swiftly corrected if not). COD was 8A for me. As usual in the QC marks are awarded for elegance rather than difficulty and I thought this double definition was quite neat. Particularly as there are two potential anagrinds to divert the attention at first glance and make it seem less straightforward than it is.

Definitions are underlined, and everything else is explained just as I see it in the simplest language I can manage.

Across
7 Essential part of company: engineers (4)
CORE - CO (company) + RE (Royal Engineers).
8 Novel, not the translation (8)
ORIGINAL - double definition.
9 Take ages to fit in (6)
BELONG - 'be long' = 'to take ages'. As in 'don't be long'.
10 The old warning for farmers (6)
YEOMEN - YE (old word for 'the') + OMEN (warning).
11 Drop all the actors (4)
CAST - double definition.
12 Bird’s colours sharp (8)
REDSTART - REDS (colours) + TART (sharp).
15 Punctilious type left in gummed label (8)
STICKLER - L (left) 'in' STICKER (gummed label).
17 One in a suit in the Athenaeum, say (4)
CLUB - double definition.
18 Offering beautiful views, since moving clutter at the front (6)
SCENIC - anagram of SINCE ('moving') + C (Clutter 'at the front').
21 Sounds unwanted? (6)
NOISES - cryptic definition, 'noise' being an unwanted disturbance accompanying a signal in electronics, as in 'background noise' or 'white noise'.
22 It is painful in unfurnished carriage (8)
BAROUCHE - OUCH (it is painful) 'in' BARE (unfurnished).
23 Musical animals? Yes and no (4)
CATS - CATS is a musical in which the characters are cats, and CATS are also animals. So the CATS in the musical are musical animals by definition, but cats per se are not particularly musical. Hence 'yes and no'. (And of course if we didn't have 'yes and no' it would be a straight double definition.)
Down
1 Witches and possible soldier make agreement (8)
COVENANT - COVEN (a group of witches) + ANT (as in soldier ant).
2 Porter prepared an account (6)
REPORT - straight anagram of PORTER ('prepared').
3 Bank on the Spanish for poor verse (8)
DOGGEREL - DOGGER (the 'Dogger Bank' is between England and Denmark in the North Sea) + EL ('the' in Spanish).
4 Coventry, for example — it replaces its centre (4)
CITY - replace the centre of C(OVENTR)Y with IT = CITY.
5 Apparently good to get over painful condition: have a binge (3,3)
PIG OUT - PI (schoolboy slang for PIOUS and thus 'apparently good') + GOUT (painful condition).
6 Big pothole in chic avenue (4)
CAVE - hidden word: chiC AVEnue.
13 Mad to have gardened in a storm (8)
DERANGED - straight anagram of GARDENED ('in a storm').
14 It may be fatal to play this when Russian (8)
ROULETTE - well, obviously. As in the Deer Hunter. Except that was Vietnam.
16 Am not able to get girl into bed (6)
CANNOT - ANN (girl) 'getting into' COT (bed).
17 Embrace easy task, accepting pounds (6)
CLINCH - CINCH (easy task) 'acepting' L (pounds, as in lsd (pounds, shillings and pence)).
19 Seafood, and a sort of apple (4)
CRAB - double definition.
20 Raise male bird (4)
COCK - double definition.

Times 27451 - Rather meaty, actually

Time: 65 minutes
Music: Ravel, Daphnis and Chloe, Cluytens/

I definitely picked the wrong puzzle for being way off the wavelength, struggling over even the chestnut clues like 'dogma', 'epigram', and 'rapid'.     This one was certainly hard, but I should have had at least a few entries after ten or fifteen minutes.   Instead, everything came along near the end, as I got more and more checking letters and was able to see what was going on.

At least there weren't any obscure words or esoteric knowledge required, although it would help to know the more recondite meanings of common words.  I suspect that the solvers who did well might find this puzzle very enjoyable.   I confined my enjoyment tonight to setting a personal best in the Quickie, where I was on the wavelength.

Across
1 Champion swallow in blowing wind? (11)
BACKDRAUGHT - BACK + DRAUGHT.
7 Potter character in audition? (3)
CUE - Sounds like 'Q'.   A snooker cue is used to pot the balls, so it's a....
9 Position of diamonds in one item of clothing and another (9)
SHORTSTOP -  SHORTS + TOP.   Raise your hand if you wasted time with D or ICE!
10 Northern feast to which south not invited (5)
UPPER - [s]UPPER, as in the Upper East Side.
11 Mounted on horse, fight (5-2)
PUNCH-UP - [Suffolk] PUNCH + UP.   Experienced solvers will be wise to this particular breed.
12 Language papers and course taken by day's end (7)
YIDDISH - [da]Y + ID + DISH, another starter clue.
13 Swift drop, a run in the wrong direction (5)
RAPID - DIP + A + R, all backwards.
15 King possibly finished with throne at last: warning about that (9)
SOVEREIGN - S (OVER + [thron]E) IGN.   I'm not sure if 'possibly' goes with 'King' or 'finished', and it could have been omitted altogether.
17 Pop hit me (6,3)
NUMBER ONE - Double definition, seen before.
19 Teaching honour awarded to setter, quite possibly? (5)
DOGMA - DOG + M.A.   Honoris causa, presumably, although standads have gone down recently.
20 Legal process taking a toll on fellow (7)
HEARING - HE + A RING.
22 Carriage set up or dismantled (7)
POSTURE - anagram of SET UP OR.   The trick is finding the correct sense of 'carriage'.
24 Trail bikes at the back broke (5)
SPOOR - [bike]S + POOR.   I wanted to put 'skint' for a long time, but wisely refrained from biffing.
25 Fire-starter in tree, but I resolved to protect queen (9)
BRIQUETTE - Anagram oF TREE BUT I around Q.
27 Title role in "Shrek" originally recalled (3)
SIR - first letters of ROLE IN "SHREK" reversed.
28 Slight cut: little pale, did you say? (6,5)
MINUTE STEAK - MINUTE + sounds like STAKE.   A stock restaurant joke, where the diner complains that the minute steak is small, and the waiter says the description on the menu is accurate.
Down
1 Carry vessel upside down (3)
BUS - SUB upside-down, referring to 'bus' as a verb.
2 Top money, once (5)
CROWN - double definition, although the half-crown was more commonly used.
3 Boyfriend ultimately was irritating — what was he then? (7)
DITCHED - [boyfrien]D ITCHED.
4 Starter not for pot, as in a stew (9)
ANTIPASTO - ANTI + anagram of POT AS.   I nearly blundered, thinking 'not for pot' indicated 'ante', but quickly corrected myself.
5 Twisted upward, canine has partially gutted fish (5)
GUPPY - PUG upside down + P[artiall]Y.
6 Rumblings below after those horrific starters (7)
THUNDER - T[hose] H[orrific] UNDER.
7 Upsetting process of fitting hat to head? (9)
CAPSIZING - CAP SIZING, of course, but on of my LOI.
8 Objects fired in fear, then war erupting (11)
EARTHENWARE - hidden in [f]EAR, THEN WAR E[rupting].   Most solvers will take 'erupting' as an anagram indicator, and try to do something with FEAR THEN WAR.
11 Take care of male relative as an afterthought, perhaps? (11)
PARENTHESIS - PARENT + HE + SIS.
14 Ritual with a morose style (9)
POMPADOUR - POMP + A DOUR.
16 Compete to win game maintaining initially professional attitude (9)
VIEWPOINT - VIE + anagram of TO WIN + P[rofessional], biffed by many, I'm would imagine.
18 Joke in the end on animals — that's witty (7)
EPIGRAM - [jok]E + PIG + RAM, another chestnut I couldn't make anything of.
19 Plate thrown, Greeks finally talk things over (7)
DISCUSS - DISCUS + [greek}S.
21 Nation unable to carry things over? (5)
GABON - NO BAG upside down.
23 Community and detention centres contest release (5)
UNTIE - [comm]U[nity] + [dete]N[tion] + TIE.
26 Look when topless? Aargh! (3)
EEK - [p]EEK!

Mephisto 3079 - Don Manley

My main hold-up here I suspect is a typo in Chambers. Since I wasn't familiar with the language I looked up the answer to 7 down. In my copy of Chambers it is given as ESKUARA (which fits the wordplay). EUSKARIAN is there for Basque, and after an online search I can't find any support for ESKUARA. So that settled my problems with also being sure that 15 across was SIMMON, and we were away again.

With Mephisto, definitions can be verified in Chambers, so I will focus on wordplay elements. The definitions are underlined.

Away we go...

Across
4 In windows see pets eating seed (9)
CASEMENTS - CATS(pets)... ahem... eating SEMEN (seed)
11 Phone order sent the wrong way leading to anger (6)
MOBILE - OM(Order of Merit) reversed then BILE(anger)
13 Memory coming back to old member of tribe (4)
MORO - ROM(Read Only Memory) reversedm then O(old)
14 Perverted hope to live as a goddess (6)
PHOEBE -  anagram of HOPE then BE(live)
15 Simple fellow having mark inscribed in tree (6)
SIMMON - Simple SIMON containing M(mark) - short for PERSIMMON
16 Dawn's taking a very long time to pen article (4)
EOAN - EON(a very long time) containing A(article)
18 Stop loveless marriage somehow — I want a realistic approach (11)
PRAGMATISER - anagram of STOP missing O(love) and MARRIAGE
19 Colourful stuff gives Spooner’s American friend trouble (7)
CUDBEAR - spoonerism of BUD(American friend) CARE(trouble)
21 Hesitation by artist to make pilgrimage (4)
UMRA - UM(hesitation), RA(artist)
22 Drug cut into small pieces (4)
HASH - double definition
25 Isn’t ale newly brewed outstanding? (7)
SALIENT - anagram of ISN'T,ALE
27 Remonstrate as old lover having claim (11)
EXPOSTULATE - EX(old lover), POSTULATE(claim)
30 Uncivilised person irritated husband (4)
GOTH - GOT(irritated), H(husband)
32 Girl appearing at end of drama inadequate, “not authentic” (6)
PLAGAL - GAL(girl) after PLA(y) (drama) refering to the musical cadence
33 A terrible maiden being held in respect (6)
ADMIRE - A, DIRE(terrible) containing M(maiden)
34 Vile ground, a swamp (4)
VLEI - anagram of VILE
35 Wine? This writer gets to deteriorate when consuming litres (6)
MERLOT - ME(this writer), with ROT(deteriorate) containing L(litres). I get the feeling Don Manley and I have the same opinion of this wine blend which is ridiculously popular over here
36 What one expects to observe is head of monastery showing faith (9)
PARSEEISM - PAR(what one is shooting for on a golf course), SEE(observe), IS, M(onastery)

Down
1 One accusing troublemaker, a revolutionary disrupting monarch (9)
IMPEACHER - IMP(troublemaker), then A, CHE(revolutionary) inside ER(monarch)
2 Instruction to stop — it’s extremely hot inside (4)
TOHO - TOO(extremely) containing H(hot)
3 Sailor has ’idden stock — smuggled thus? (6)
ABOARD - AB(sailor) and HOARD(hidden stock) missing the aspirant
5 A glib, insane, unorthodox member of a sect (11)
ALBIGENSIAN - anagram of A,GLIB,INSANE
6 What’s said to secure good fortune (4)
SEEL - sounds like SEAL(secure)
7 Basque language unusual in UK areas (7)
EUSKARA - anagram of UK,AREAS
8 English maiden getting married, a nineteenth-century story (4)
EMMA - E(English), M(maiden), M(Married), A
9 Insistence on observance of law upsetting 15 (6)
NOMISM - anagram of SIMMON, the answer to 15 across
10 The wanderer — he carried out legal procedure once (6)
TROVER - 'T, ROVER(wanderer)
12 Very good poems nevertheless included useless “flowery” bits (11)
PISTILLODES - PI(very good) ODES(poems) containing STILL(nevertheless)
17 The crafty drunk inclined to quarrel (9)
FRATCHETY - anagram of THE,CRAFTY
20 Measure of brightness seen in aged plant (7)
ASTILBE - STILB(a derived unit of brightness) inside AE(aged)
23 A team completely upset in a sort of depression (6)
AXILLA - A, XI(eleven, team) then ALL(completely) reversed
24 Old ball with harps playing around entrance initially (6)
SPHAER - anagram of HARPS surrounding E(ntrance)
26 French star to work with energy first and last (6)
ETOILE - TOIL(work) with E(energy) at the start and end
28 One knowing about law denying outsiders US protection (4)
EGIS - remove the outside letters from LEGIST(one knowing aout law)
29 King has foreign friend, a lord (4)
KAMI - K(king), AMI(foreign friend)
31 Trust cut price will go up (4)
TROW - WORT(h) (price) reversed
17:35. Due to an oversight at the Times this puzzle didn’t appear until Monday, and I didn’t get round to solving it until a day or two later. I found it quite tricky, for reasons that are completely lost on me as I write up the blog. Whatever they were they were nothing to do with wilful obscurity, because there was nothing in here I didn’t know and as we all know, the definition of 'obscurity' is 'something I don't know'. I do enjoy working out funny words from wordplay, but I also admire a puzzle like this that manages to be challenging without resorting to them.

So thanks once again to Bob for a lovely puzzle, and here’s how I think it all works…

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

Across
1 Luxurious hotel’s abandoned asset
PLUS - PLUSh.
4 Upset all odds and catch one?
COELACANTH - (AlL, CATCH, ONE)*. ‘All odds’ being an instruction to take only the odd letters of ALL. I thought these fish were extinct, but it turns out there are still a couple of species knocking about. They are however very rare, so to catch one would very much be against the odds. &Lit, and an excellent one at that.
9 Hot bread one left out
STOLEN - STOLlEN.
10 Indignant child may be raised here?
UP IN ARMS - two definitions, one mildly cryptic.
11 Special gardens suffered in a motoring accident
ARBORETA - A, R(BORE)TA. RTA stands for ‘road traffic accident’. It has come up in these puzzles before, I don’t think I’ve ever come across it in the wild.
12 Actors wanting the lead in films
LAYERS - pLAYERS.
13 Avoid spring visiting desert unescorted
LEAVE WELL ALONE - LEAVE (desert) WELL (spring) ALONE (unescorted).
16 A sailor they say runs tests for soldiers
ASSAULT COURSES - homophone of ‘a salt’ followed by COURSES (runs).
20 Draw a ring round the capital of Peru
APPEAL - A, P(Peru)EAL.
22 Finish fish, squeezing over piece of fruit
ENDOCARP - END(O), CARP. ‘The inner, usually woody, layer of the pericarp of a fruit, such as the stone of a peach or cherry’.
24 They blow rent knocking back drink
TORNADOS - TORN, reversal of SODA.
25 Present at birth tucked away behind tavern
INNATE - INN, ATE (tucked away).
26 Parties of runners, maybe drinking quickly to absorb energy
BEANFEASTS - BEAN(F(E)AST)S. A matryoshka clue.
27 Genuine Caravaggio’s first shown in the retrospective
ECHT - reversal of THE containing Caravaggio.

Down
2 Side that’s after Arsenal’s wingers
LATERAL - LATER, ArsenaL.
3 Burst lotion almost beginning to ooze
SALVO - SALVe, Ooze.
4 Fish basket that’s gone rotten inside
CONGER EEL - CREEL (basket) containing (GONE)*. I knew CREEL as a sort of lobster trap but it can also just be a basket, especially if it’s holding fish.
5 Bird unable to fly behind mirror
EMULATE - EMU, LATE (behind).
6 A college not displaying its old spirit
ARIEL - A, oRIEL.
7 It’s unwise to force a climbing plant
AMARYLLIS - reversal (climing) of SILLY, RAM, A.
8 Tropical tree deserted by its last monkey
TAMARIN - TAMARINd. Bit of a chestnut.
14 Hero soon has bold maiden imprisoned
AGAMEMNON - A(GAME, M)NON.
15 They’re steamy in Paris, the king wears lingerie
LAUNDRIES - LA (in Paris the), UND(R)IES.
17 Expect to be affected by drink
SUPPOSE - SUP, POSE (be affected).
18 Where bats display evidence of iron deficiency?
CREASES - a double cryptic definition: the first disguising a cricket reference as a statement about flying mice, the second disguising a household appliance as a nutritional necessity.
19 Tax period
STRETCH - a straight DD this time.
21 Room register
LODGE - and another one. ‘Room’ here has to be a verb, I think.
23 Sort of ocean craft
CANOE - (OCEAN)*.

Jumbo 1398 (August Bank Holiday Monday)

I don't recall any problems with this apart from a quibble with 16A. The checking letters confirm what the answer is but I am still unsure about the clue.



Across
1 GO THROUGH - GOTH = barbarian, ROUGH = uncivilised
6 TIME SIGNATURE - TIMES = by, I = one, G = good, NATURE = character
13 STILL - double definition
14 BOX GIRDER - BOXER = dog, around GIR = RIG = kit, reversed, and (unite)D
15 OVERSEE - O(d)E, around VERSE = poem
16 MONEY DOESN'T GROW ON TREES - cryptic definition, although I am not sure why "green" should indicate money unless it is a reference to US dollars = greenbacks?
18 TRUFFLES - (poiro)T, RUFFLES = messes up
20 MEMSAHIB - (SHAME IM)*, B = bishop
21 DEKKO - final letters of tO thinK tanK somE stupiD, reversed
23 REARED - READ = study, around R.E. = theological teachings
24 BRUTAL - BAL(e) = pack, around RUT = track
25 AMENDABLE - AMENABLE = receptive, around D = daughter
28 SPELLBOUND - SPELL = period, BOUND = in chains
29 KNOT - double definition - the first referring to the wading bird
30 KIPPERS - double definition
32 ARSENAL - ARENA = stadium, around (arrive)S, L(ate)
34 LOUT - L = left, OUT = unconscious
35 OPEN SECRET - (PRETENCE SO)*
38 ENTREATED - END = consequence, around TREE = some wood, itself around A and T(ramp)
39 PHAROS - P(unc)H, AROS(e) = came up. Pharos was the lighthouse at Alexandria, one of the 7 Wonders, hence "wonderful shiner"
40 OODLES - (n)OODLES = chinese food
43 ERNST - hidden in modERN STyle
45 ROPE-WALK - WORKPLA(c)E*
47 ROUSSEAU - (t)ROUSSEAU = bride's package
49 MOURNING BECOMES ELECTRA - (M MONROE CELEB SURE ACTING)*
52 TBILISI - initial letters in The Balkan Ideal Ljubljana In Slovenia Is
53 INTENTION - IN = arrived, TENTION sounds like TENSION = stress
54 ENNUI - I = current, (r)UNNE(r) = athlete, all reversed
55 PINKING SHEARS - PIN = something sharp, KINGS = college, HEARS = tries
56 GYPSY MOTH - (PYGMY SHOT)*


Down
1 GASOMETER - GAMETE = egg, around SO = very, R(oost)
2 TRIANGULATE - (GREAT AUNT LI(ly))*
3 RALLY - double definition
4 UNBROKEN - UN = a, foreign, BRO = relation, KEN = knowledge
5 HEXOSE - HOSE = stockings, around EX = old lover
6 THIRTEENTH - (HIT, THE RENT)*
7 MUD-WRESTLING - MUD = defamation, WREST = forcibly remove, LING = swimmer
8 STREWTH - STREW = spread, TH(is)
9 GROUND-BREAKING - double definition, the second mildly cryptic
10 AVERRED - AVE = prayer, R = king, RED = a shade
11 UNSPEAKALE - cryptic definition
12 EYES - (attractiv)E, YES = I agree
17 SOMERSET - SOME = outstanding, SET = place, around R = right
19 FREELANCE - EEL in FRANCE = fish in the Seine perhaps
22 GRUNTLED - GRUNT = sound from sty, LED = came first
25 ANTIPHON - NATION* around P(ublic) and H(angings)
26 DIPTEROUS - (SOUP TIRED)*
27 TOILET-TRAINING - TOILE = linen, T.T. = dry, RAINING = wet
28 SEA LEVEL - AL(l) = entirely, in SEEVEL = LEVEES = flood barriers, reversed
31 GUNPOWDER TEA - cryptic definition
33 SET IN MOTION - SET = group, IN = elected, MOTION = propsal
36 RALLENTANDO - (OLD NAN LATER)
37 BALLPOINTS - B = British, ALL POINTS = every quarter
41 SQUEAMISH - SQUAMISH = native American, around E = English
42 POWER NAP - POWER = might, NAP = PAN = god, reversed
44 TERMINI - TEN = number, around R.M = service and I(ndustry), I = one
46 PIGGISH - PISH = nonsense, around G(ula)G and I
48 BERING - BEING = essence, around R(ussia)
50 ENEMY - hidden reversed in gYM ENErgetically
51 ATOP - initial letters of Playing Out The Alamo reversed

Times Cryptic Jumbo No 1397 - 24th August

Hello to all you pachydermophiles. Compared to last week's, this was a rather more straightforward Jumbo, with little to cause bemusement, taking me just over 36 minutes. There were, however, a few clues that induced a MER (minor eyebrow raise); 21A, 32A, 39A and 44A. I'm sure if I've got the wrong-end of the stick anywhere you commenters will set me straight. An interesting mix of general knowledge including an ancient oracle, a couple of archaic telecoms expressions, a 17th-century marionette, an ancient book of stories from the time of the Black Death, a method of film-making and a Dutch explorer.  There were some fun clues too.  Favourites for me include 27A, 40A, 43A, 3D, 12D and 13D Thank-you setter. How did you all like it?

Read all about it...Collapse )
This was relatively straightforward for a Saturday, particularly the wordplay. The fun came from the many cunning definitions, like 17ac, 22ac, 5dn, 8dn and 21dn. I hope you all enjoyed it. Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle. My favourite clue was 5dn, because the definition was so well disguised.

Here we go. Clues are blue, with definitions underlined. Answers are in BOLD CAPS, then wordplay. (ABC*) means ‘anagram of ABC’. Deletions are in [square brackets]. The blog is in Times New Roman font, as part of a gentle campaign to urge the club site to use a font in which it is easier to tell one’s stem from one’s stern.

Across
1 Plant cricket bat before woman's bowled (10)
WILLOWHERB – WILLOW (bat), HER, (woman’s), B (bowled). As usual, I didn't know the plant.

7 Court poet losing heart (4)
DATE – DA[n]TE.

9 Still without female company, granny's taken to tango (8)
STAGNANT – STAG (without female company), NAN, T (tango).

10 Current half-century in square under control (2,4)
IN LINE – I (electrical current), L (50, in Roman numerals), in NINE (square).

11 Forbidding cook to recruit east German (6)
FROSTY – FRY (cook), OST (east, in German).

13 Ace dashed back with it, out of control (8)
ANARCHIC – A (ace), NAR (RAN, ‘back’), CHIC (with it).

14 In chat room, I'd set out contents of some cells (12)
MITOCHONDRIA – (IN CHAT ROOM ID*) (“set out”).

17 Are cuts appearing in unique Sky show? (5,7)
SOLAR ECLIPSE – ARE CLIPS in SOLE.

20 Pleasant subject covers most of botanic gardens (8)
LIKEABLE – KE[w] in LIABLE.

21 Fish smell masks old egg (6)
BONITO – B.O. “masks” O[ld] NIT.

22 Eatery in South Africa offering beds (6)
STRATA – TRAT[toria] in S.A. Geological beds, not the B&B type.

23 Start, having passed river on time (8)
OVERTURE – OVER (passed), T (time), URE.

25 Page in dictionary that shows views (2-2)
OP-ED – P[age] in O.E.D.

26 Duke providing barrier to limit queen’s dispute? (10)
DIFFERENCE – D (duke), IF (providing), FENCE limiting’ (that is, outside) E.R.


Down
2 Mingle during session nine (8)
INTERMIX – IN TERM, IX (nine).

3 On stage (3)
LEG – double definition: cricket, and racing.

4 Suspicious about vehicle's second exhaust (5)
WEARY – WARY ‘about’ E from [v]E[hicle].

5 Board in, say, Victoria aren’t randomly elected (7)
ENTRAIN – (ARENT*) (‘randomly’), IN (elected).

6 British Council’s first to acquire exotic Arabic junk (4-1-4)
BRIC-A-BRAC – BC to ‘acquire’ (ARABIC*) (‘junk’).

7 Relish atmosphere during Democratic poll (11)
DELECTATION – AT (atmosphere) ‘during’ D[emocratic] ELECTION. I wasn’t familiar with AT as an abbreviation for ‘atmosphere’, but it’s in Collins.

8 Often unwanted tissue is not about length (6)
TONSIL – TON SI (IS NOT, ‘about’), L (length).

12 At work, he stops conflict beginning to develop? (4,7)
SHOP STEWARD – (HE STOPS*) (‘at work’), then WAR (conflict), D[evelop].

15 Occasionally left squeezer in grim conditions in B&B (4,5)
HALF BOARD – LF (‘occasional’, or odd, letters of LeFt) plus BOA (squeezer), in HARD (grim).

16 Cryptic couple of notes hidden in Morecambe (8)
ESOTERIC – SO and TE are the notes, ‘hidden in’ ERIC.

18 Quickly go through angler’s problem? (4,3)
REEL OFF – as in ‘reel off the statistics’. A double definition, although I doubt that losing reels is a problem that anglers encounter in real life!

19 Erecting one needs lots of guys good in piece work (3,3)
BIG TOP – G (good) in BIT, OP. It’s close to being a cryptic definition too.

21 Bishop always upset item in bar (5)
BREVE – B (bishop), REVE (EVER, ‘upset’). The definition relates to a musical bar, of course.

24 At regular intervals strike match (3)
TIE – even letters of s-T-r-I-k-E.

Times 27,449: Surface Pro

There's nothing *too* elaborate about the cluing in this puzzle, providing one can handle multiple flipped containment indicators (knife left cuts, &c), but the surfaces are all so smooth that it is quite often difficult to make out where the definition ends and the wordplay begins, so I imagine the SNITCH isn't going to sink far below its current intimidating level of 141.

An unusual preponderance of homophones here - rarely anyone's favourite type of clue, I imagine, but these were all excellent, and 6dn was I think my LOI and a great PDM. Lots of treasurable moments, including "trembling post-coitally", the great lift-and-separate problems like "unit of time", "dotty relative", "channel surface"; but I think I'll give my COD award to 4dn which is such a limpid surface. Bravo to the setter for this proper Friday puzzle!

ACROSS
1 Playing role subtly, one moves the masses (10)
TROLLEYBUS - (ROLE SUBTLY*) ["playing"]

6 Beater caught hunted creature (4)
HART - homophone of HEART [beater]. Woe betide any inveterate biffer who just bunged in HARE!

8 Precise sort of knife left cuts (8)
STICKLER - STICKER [knife], (which) L [left] "cuts"

9 Show ability to take off party food (6).
CANAPE - or, alternatively CAN APE, as in "they can ape", "they show ability to take off (as in, mimic)".

10 Paper bags over old soldiers (4)
FOOT - FT [paper] "bags" O O [over | old]

11 Trembling post-coitally, without way to hide emotion (4,2,4)
PLAY IT COOL - (PO{st} COITALLY*) ["trembling"]. Remove ST [way] from the anagrist before grinding.

12 Tough on one mum protects (9)
RESILIENT - RE [on] + I [one] (which) SILENT [mum] "protects"

14 Slip home, by the sound of it (5)
GAFFE - homophone of GAFF [home]. I really wanted this to be LAPSE even though I am not a member of the Sami people.

17 Raise the rate to screen Sky (5)
ETHER - "screened" in {rais}E THE R{ate}

19 Break down piece by Spanish composer (4,5)
FALL APART - PART [piece], by [Spanish composer] Manuel de FALLA

22 Debussy's opening with E flat, cutting a section (10)
DEPARTMENT - D{ebussy} + E + {a}PARTMENT [flat, "cutting" A]

23 Stop suffering on the phone (4)
WHOA - homophone of WOE [suffering]

24 Literary heiress left capital around (6)
PORTIA - PORT [left] + reversed A1 [capital]. Merchant of Venice, innit.

25 Short cut from port, once in motion (4,4)
ETON CROP - (PORT ONCE*) ["in motion"]

26 Picked up hamper for country club (4)
BLOC - homophone of BLOCK [hamper]

27 Vehicle passes through rock in a line (10)
TETRAMETER - TRAM [vehicle] "passes through" TEETER [rock]

DOWN
1 Specialised unit of time? Request this in Paris (4,5)
TASK FORCE - T + ASK FOR + CE [time | request | this, in Paris]

2 Ring operator, ringing round and hinting at trouble (7)
OMINOUS - O [ring] + MINUS [operator] "ringing" O [round]

3 Something dotty relative with tablets brought over (8)
ELLIPSIS - reverse all of SIS + PILL E [relative + (two) tablets]

4 Interest rising then lowering keeps home cheap (7-8)
BARGAIN-BASEMENT - reversed GRAB [interest], + ABASEMENT [lowering] "keeps" IN [home]

5 Staff taking time out — in other words, a possible skive? (6)
SICKIE - S{t}ICK [staff, taking out T = time] + I.E. [in other words]

6 Give acclaim, receiving small gesture of welcome (9)
HANDCLASP - HAND CLAP [give | acclaim], "receiving" S [small]

7 Criticism which goes over actors’ heads? (7)
REPROOF - and it is a REP ROOF that goes over actors' heads... *groan*

13 Not giving in, ruined castle defends island (9)
INELASTIC - IN + (CASTLE*) ["ruined"] "defends" I [island]

15 One who may snare you with record including music on piano (9)
ENTRAPPER - ENTER [record] "including" RAP P [music (on) piano]

16 “Heap” and “lot” could be about right for this? (8)
PLETHORA - (HEAP + LOT*) ["could be..."] "about" R [right], semi-&lit

18 Official work clothes for plant (7)
TREFOIL - REF [official] (which) TOIL [work] "clothes"

20 Initially, female becoming hot and dry (7)
ATHIRST - AT {f->H}IRST; Take AT FIRST [initially], and turn the F [female] into H [hot]

21 Channel surfing's primary feature (6)
STRAIT - S{urfing} + TRAIT [feature]

Quick Cryptic 1434 by Breadman

Now, I'm going too stick my neck out and say this is a nice easy one that should generate some quick times, provided the mild general knowledge required doesn't cause trouble. 6dn my favourite


Across
1 Churchmen smell a piece of chicken? (7,4)
PARSONS NOSE - straightforward double definition
9 In station, tape's readily available (2,3)
ON TAP - hidden word: statiON TAPe
10 Combat sport which often divides neighbours (7)
FENCING - double definition of sorts
11 See dry rot, unfortunately in naval vessel (9)
DESTROYER - anagram ('unfortunately') of SEE DRY ROY
13 Heroin regularly taken for a very long time (3)
EON - alternate letters of hErOiN
14 Steal the Spanish coin (6)
NICKEL - NICK (steal) + EL ('the' in Spanish)
16 Fashionable basin reportedly matching (2,4)
IN SYNC - IN (fashionable) + sounds like 'sink' (basin)
17 Father left friend (3)
PAL - PA + L
18 Conservative sold headless pack of fish (3-6)
OLD-SCHOOL - OLD is sold without its first letter, pack of fish is SCHOOL
21 Type of delivery completed by member (7)
OVERARM - OVER (completed) + ARM. Method of bowling in cricket, as opposed to underarm, famously deployed by the cheating Australians
23 Narcotic I dump at the centre, after work (5)
OPIUM - I + UM (centre of 'dump') with OP in front
24 Prayer that gives one a lift (11)
PATERNOSTER - Double definition. A paternoster lift is one without doors that moves continuously and passengers step on an off as required. So called because the whole device forms a loop like a rosary bead. PATER NOSTER means 'our father' in Latin, hence the prayer

Down
2 Perform the role of accountant, lifted by words of gratitude (3,2)
ACT AS - CA is (chartered) accountant, upside down ('lifted') + the plural of TA
3 Comic-book star rose up magically, holding that lady (9)
SUPERHERO - anagram ('magically') of ROSE UP with HER (that lady) inside
4 Smart current newspaper in US city (5)
NIFTY - I (electrical current) + FT (newspaper) inside NY
5 Sister omitting nothing in part of speech (3)
NUN - Part of speech is NOUN, omit O (nothing)
6 Belt up one so nervous (7)
SHIVERY - SH (belt up) + I (one) + VERY (so). Nice. I like clues that make use of little words or even punctuation that the unnwary might disregard.
7 Badly done now? Oops! Here’s booby prize (6,5)
WOODEN SPOON - anagram ('badly') of DONE NOW OOPS
8 Depression in young man broadcast where personal problems are published (5,6)
AGONY COLUMN - anagram ('broadcast') of YOUNG MAN with COL inside. COL is a mountain pass, not sure it's really a depression but whatever
12 Unexpectedly encounter a mongrel under ladder (3,6)
RUN ACROSS - A + CROSS (mongrel) with RUN (ladder, as in tights) on top
15 Crater roughly enclosing tree (7)
CALDERA - CA (roughly) with ALDER inside. Volcanic crater, named after the Spanish for boiling pot.
19 Doctor in private room, a person of great energy (5)
DEMON - MO (doctor, Medical Officer), inside DEN
20 Fruit old and bad rejected (5)
OLIVE - O (old) + EVIL backwards
22 A sort of church expert (3)
ACE - A + CE (Church of England)
Time taken: 10:24

I rather enjoyed this puzzle, a very good one for fans of tricky wordplay, and some crafty definitions. At the time of writing up, with the puzzle having been out about three hours, I am fifth in the leaderboard, so it seems some of the earlier solvers breezed through a little more quickly than I did, though I am about a minute below what the snitch says is my average.

It has been a while since we have seen the device in 15 across in a Times puzzle.

Away we go...

Across
1 Component of arm certain to be rejected after stink (7)
HUMERUS - SURE(certain) reversed after HUM(stink)
5 Cross cat’s sound recalled sound of bird (7)
CHIRRUP - the capital Greek letter CHI looks like an X, hence a cross, then PURR(cat's sound) reversed
9 Oppressed by false story about new mark (9)
UNDERLINE - UNDER(oppressed by) then LIE(false story) surrounding N(new)
10 Right time to don hat? (5)
TITLE - T(time) wearing TILE(hat). Legal right.
11 Finger given by this less restrained element? (7,6)
LUNATIC FRINGE - if you make an anagram of FRINGE you can get FINGER
13 Faithfulness — a leading feature of crucial church role (8)
ACCURACY - A, then the first letter of Crucual, then CURACY(church role)
15 French port regrettably claiming half of Channel Islands? (6)
CALAIS - ALAS(regrettably) with one half of CI(Channel Islands) inside, and one half outside. Unusual wordplay.
17 Daughter is coming in nearly frozen — having tried this? (6)
NUDISM - D(daughter), IS inside NUMB(frozen) missing the last letter. Fun clue!
19 Dismiss dance as a transient flashy thing (8)
FIREBALL - FIRE(dismiss), BALL(dance)
22 Run The Times with an odd approach to attracting readers (5,8)
HUMAN INTEREST - rather well-spotted anagram of RUN,THE,TIMES,AN
25 Desert allotment with no source of irrigation (3,2)
RAT ON - RATION(allotment) missing the first letter of Irrigation
26 Aquatic bird, one occupying familiar position of dam (9)
MATERNITY - TERN(aquatic bird), I(one) inside MATY(familiar)
27 Bizarre reduction in area around Woking — completely reduced (7)
SURREAL - SURREY(area around Woking) missing the last letter, than AL(l) (completely)
28 Confuse US crook facing law in Rome (7)
PERPLEX - PERP(criminal in the USA), LEX(law in Latin)

Down
1 Activity linked to drawing room, we hear (4)
HAUL - drawing or dragging - sounds like HALL(room)
2 Purcell’s particular note? (6,1)
MIDDLE C - the MIDDLE letter of PurCell is C
3 Another chance to see sport through curtailed opening (5)
RERUN - RU(sport) inside RENT(opening) shortened
4 Lower back pain? Spies a nervous response in it (8)
SCIATICA - CIA(spies) and TIC(a nervours response) in SA(it)
5 Force Frenchmen out of business (6)
COERCE - remove MM(frenchmen) from COMMERCE(business)
6 I note rising worry over one contact (9)
INTERFACE - I, N(note) then a reversal of FRET(worry) then ACE(one)
7 Runs to the front of old plain dome (7)
ROTUNDA - move the R(runs) from O(old), TUNDRA(plain) to the top
8 Power line here’s flapping, ready for grasping (10)
PREHENSILE -P(power) then an anagram of LINE,HERE'S
12 Morning burden? Support embracing wife in evening, mostly (4,6)
DAWN CHORUS - ANCHOR(support) containing W(wife) all inside DUS(k) (evening)
14 Research formerly capturing an echo effect (9)
RESONANCE - RES(research) ONCE(formerly) containing AN
16 Evasive action that is needed in a month (8)
SIDESTEP - ID EST(that is) inside SEP(a month)
18 Goddess satisfied to block Diana’s target? (7)
DEMETER - MET(satisfied) inside DEER(the target of the huntress Diana)
20 An unfortunate situation besets most of the colony (3,4)
ANT HILL - AN, ILL(unfortunate situaton) surrounding TH(e)
21 Mother in love, in pursuit of a sensual man (6)
ANIMAL - MA(mother) inside NIL(love) after A
23 Slip perry and port out of their containers? (5)
ERROR - the interior letters of pERRy and pORt
24 Cat where birdies are to be had, we hear (4)
LYNX - sounds like the golf LINKS where better golfers than I can score birdies.

Times Quick Cryptic No 1433 by Izetti

Well this had a slightly different feel from Izetti, and contained a relatively high proportion of general knowledge (GK) for a QC, which some solvers may have had difficulty with.  I solved in 13 minutes, about average for me, but I did have the requisite GK, albeit some of which took a moment or two to recall.

Some old Greek founded towns and cities in Turkey, one from the bible stories, a Princess from Greek mythology and some new world locations all required solving and remembering.  I suspect that there will be a few complaints, but I, for one, enjoyed the challenge.


Across
Putting pleasure first ruins peace – I’m troubled (12)
EPICUREANISM – Anagram (troubled) of [RUINS PEACE – I’M].  Whilst this isn’t a word that trips lightly off my tongue, it should be familiar to most of us, and is fairly clued.
8  Chum getting married gets a bit of a hand (4)
PALM – PAL (chum) and M{arried}.  The PALM has been seen as a window into the future in palmistry or chirology.  I’m afraid I’m a non-believer in this and other such fairy-tales.
9 Humble revolutionary, a writer (7)
CHEAPEN – CHE (Crosswordland’s favourite revolutionary, after Che Guevara) and A (a) and PEN (writer).  Humble here is used in its transitive verb sense rather than in its more familiar use as an adjective.  Who can forget Charles Dickens’ Uriah Heep from David Copperfield – a very ‘umble person?
11  Countries with no stain, having been transformed (7)
NATIONS – Anagram (having been transformed) of [NO STAIN].
12  Settled in Rome, dear Greek princess (5)
MEDEA – The first bit of slightly obscure general knowledge (GK) from Izetti.  The wordplay has an inclusion indicator (settled in…) hinting at a hidden answer and the answer is found inside {ro}ME, DEA{r}.  MEDEA was the daughter of King Aeëtes of Colchis, and can be discovered in Jason and the Argonauts, and other tales derived from Greek mythology.
14 Community of women, about 50, in NY district (6)
HARLEM – The community of women is a HAREM, which is placed about (around) L (50 in the roman number system).  HARLEM is in Upper Manhattan, based around 125th Street, and famous for jazz clubs, soul food and its African-American heritage.
15 Old port in which masonry’s crumbled – nothing’s left! (6)
SMYRNA – A second piece of arguably obscure GK.  Here we are presented with an anagram (crumbled) of [MAS{o}NRY] (nothing (O) has left the anagrist).  SMYRNA is these days known as IZMIR and is a city on Turkey’s Aegean coast.
18  Thus party is positioned by motorway, bad place (5)
SODOM – More GK, but this piece more widely known, I venture.  SO (thus) and DO (party) positioned by M{otorway}.  SODOM and Gomorrah were two cities often mentioned in the bible, and infamous for impenitent sin and divine retribution by fire and brimstone.
20  The police, getting on, brought to account (3,4)
OLD BILL – OLD (getting on) and BILL (account).  The OLD BILL is one of many names for the (UK) police or constabularies.
21  Violent action against hospital in old city (7)
ANTIOCH – An anagram (violent) of [ACTION] and H{ospital}, to give yet another name for an old city founded by Greece in what is now Turkey.
23  Thus there is hesitation to travel (4)
ERGO – ER (hesitation) and GO (travel).  ERGO is Latin for therefore.
24  The giving of aid in small HQ around end of December (12)
MINISTRATION – MINI (small) and STATION (HQ – as in police station for example) around {Decembe}R (end of).  MINISTRATION is the act of ministering or performing service.

Down
2  French father and daughter crossing the Parisian street, drunk (9)
PLASTERED – PERE (French for father) and D{aughter} wrapped around (crossing) LA (French for the) and ST{reet} to give PLASTERED.
3  Arrive carrying cooking vessel and fruit dish (7)
COMPOTE – COME (arrive) with POT (cooking vessel) inserted (carrying).  A COMPOTE is fruit stewed in sugar or syrup.
4 Model once more about to meet actors (6)
RECAST – RE (about) and CAST (actors).
5  A drink with male group highly regarded (1-4)
A-TEAM – A (a) and TEA (drink) with M{ale}.
Mischief-maker simply hides (3)
IMP – Hidden in {s}IMP{ly}.  Efficient and elegant clue.
7  Fellow, one with a yen to conceal name like a lunatic (10)
MANIACALLY – MAN (fellow) I (one) with A (a) and Y{en} concealing (containing) CALL (name).
10  “Amen” is thus possibly seen to indicate fervour (10)
ENTHUSIASM –  Anagram (possibly) of [“AMEN” IS THUS].
13  Bold action going wrong, restricted by strange uprising (7-2)
DERRING-DO – ERRING (going wrong) inside (restricted by) ODD (strange) reversed (uprising).  DERRING-DO (a daring action) originated when Spenser mistook Lydgate’s ‘dorrying do’, i.e. ‘daring to do’ for a noun.
16  We’d moved into a bit of fog in central part of America (7)
MIDWEST – Anagram (moved) of [WE’D] in MIST (bit of fog)
up (reversed). 
17  Maiden given alternative family role (6)
MOTHER – M{aiden} (as in maiden over in cricket) and OTHER (alternative).
19  Idiots, not right to display heavenly bodies (5)
MOONS – I’m not sure it is politically correct to say so, but the idiots are MO{r}ONS (not R{ight}).
22  Starter of tongue in container (3)
TIN – T{ongue} (starter, i.e. first letter) and IN (in).
I found this a curate's egg of a puzzle; about half the clues seemed easy and flew in all across the grid, then it took another twenty minutes to polish it off with several not fully understood until I came to write this blog. There was nothing unacceptable in the end, just a few MERs, and a few bits of Latin which I knew, and a Russian writer I'd heard of. I think 4a gets my CoD award, if my explanation is correct!

Now to tackle last Sunday's 'replacement', which at first sight looks a toughie.


Across
1 Revealing blouse might be tough for ladies to get into (3-3)
LOW-CUT -  a LOUT is our tough, into which we put WC for the Ladies loo.
4 All pieces for playing with at five o’clock must go in box (5,3)
CHESS SET - I think SSE here is the direction of the clock hour hand at 5 o'clock; so SSE goes into CHEST = box.
10 Celebrate noisily with band: I arranged backing (5,2,2)
WHOOP IT UP - W (with) HOOP (band) then I then PUT (arranged) reversed.
11 Long forgotten, maybe, or needing no introduction (5)
OLDEN - OR = GOLDEN, as in heraldry; drop the G = no introduction.
12 Quite a posh residence in the East End? (3)
ALL - Another H-less cockneyism I suppose, an 'ALL being a posh house, and ALL = quite as in "are you quite finished?'
13 See a Greek MP rallying workers on estate (11)
GAMEKEEPERS - (SEE A GREEK MP)*
14 As end of chapter, closed book (6)
QUARTO - QUA = Latin for as, R = end of chapter, TO = closed, as in 'put the door to'.
16 Solid girl placed in sink to the left (7)
PYRAMID - MARY a random girl is put into DIP = sink, then all reversed.
19 Enough to swap tips with lover of old illustrations (7)
EXEMPLA - EX = lover of old, then the ends of AMPLE (enough) reversed.
20 English town’s fresh flood defence (6)
NEWARK - NEW = fresh, ARK = flood defence, well, flood escape mechanism.
22 In school on Thursday: a dance and whatnot (11)
THINGAMAJIG - TH (Thursday), IN, GAM (word for a school of whales), A JIG = a dance.
25 Who’s reading this letter out loud? (3)
YOU - I see this as a DD, you're reading it, and you sounds like U.
26 What one can see through stone blocks (5)
VISTA - VIA = through, insert ST.
27 Art master’s responsibility, taking class for one (9)
REMBRANDT - I put him in from checkers and definition, and eventually, at the end of the blog, saw why. REMIT = responsibility, substitute BRAND (= class?) for the I (one).
28 Soldiers needing medic, subject to stress: most faint (8)
REMOTEST - RE = soldiers, MO = medic, TEST = subject (verb) to stress,
29 What you find at bottom of the author’s bunk! (2,4)
MY FOOT - Whimsically cryptic, if you like.
Down
1 Sheriff’s grass keeping mum (6)
LAWMAN - LAWN has MA inserted.
2 Simple creature to pursue revolutionary ancient custom (9)
WOODLOUSE - WOO = pursue, DLO = old reversed = revolutionary ancient, USE = custom. Are woodlouses or woodlice simple? They look quite complicated to me.
3 Out of bed around noon, for one’s release (5)
UNPEG - UP = out of bed, insert N for noon, EG = for one, for example.
5 Athletic event’s hard work: miss start also having entered (3,4,3,4)
HOP SKIP AND JUMP - H (hard), OP (work), SKIP (miss), AND (also) JUMP (start). If I wasn't obliged herein, I'd just have biffed it.
6 Guards collecting old clubs, lifting one each? (5,4)
SCORE DRAW - Guards = WARDERS, insert OC to get WARDEROCS then reverse it all.
7 Edge of wheel discovered to have shrivelled up (5)
SIDLE - Hidden reversed in WHE(EL DIS)COVERED. Edge as a verb.
8 Deny site could become an urban sprawl (8)
TYNESIDE - (DENY SITE)*. Well, Tyneside is a conurbation, but I doubt the local Councillors would think of it as a sprawl any more than, say, Greater Manchester.
9 Some poem confused with orator Cicero’s observation (1,7,1,5)
O TEMPORA O MORES - (SOME POEM ORATOR)*. Cicero might well have applied it to today's policital scenario, I think. Nil desperandum. As Cicero also said, salus populi suprema lex esto, Boris.
15 Right to feed English dog bread that’s disgusting (9)
REPUGNANT - RT = right, insert in order, E, PUG, NAN = bread.
17 Join by tying knot (5,4)
MARRY INTO - I can't see any more in this other than, the surface meaning, marry someone and you become integrated into their family.
18 Scrap involving Labour politicians in the past (8)
LEFTOVER - LEFT = Labour politicians, OVER = in the past.
21 Short skirts getting shorter? Too bad! (3-3)
TUT-TUT - Two TUTUS get shorter.
23 To recap, not always out to be understood? (2,3)
IN SUM - A homophone, I think, IN SOME meaning sometimes in, not always out.
24 Writer going into horrific detail about monk’s end (5)
GORKY - end of monk = K goes into GORY detail. Is gory really a synonym for horrific? I mean, gory can be horrific, but horrific isn't necessarily gory, is it? I've never read Gorky's stuff but I know they named a Moscow park after him because I've read Martin Cruz Smith's fine novel of that name.

Times Quick Cryptic No 1432 by Mara

Introduction

I hesitate to say this, but I found this puzzle so easy that I didn't even have time to appreciate it. I'm not a speed solver, so it still took me 8:24 to finish it, although I believe I had all but the last three answers in about 5 minutes. I imagine the real pros will finish it even faster.

Sorry if anyone who struggled with this puzzle finds this introduction dismissive. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments.

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Times Cryptic 27446

Solving time: 41 minutes. I found this one quite straightforward. Although there were a couple of obscurities they didn't delay me unduly.

Here's my blog...Collapse )

Times Quick Cryptic 1431 by Hurley

Not much to report back in here as it all seems fairly straightforward (sorry to anyone who found it otherwise) - although it had something which pushed me just over the ten minute mark, so I may be underestimating.

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Sunday Times Puzzle

Just a quick note to mention  the correct Sunday Times puzzle for 1st September is now available on the Club Site as:
Sunday Times Cryptic No 4866 (new)

Times Quick Cryptic 1430 by Wurm

I completed this in 8 minutes but there are a few tricky bits and pieces along the way so I imagine that less experienced solvers may not find it quite so easy.  As always I shall be very interested to read how others got on.

Here's my blog...Collapse )
Tricky for a Monday this. I staggered along until I was done by 25a, where I made the schoolboy mistake of forgetting that a certain Kipling poem is the cruciverbal equivalent of a Haggard novel. I live and learn. Well, that's the theory, but mainly, I think, I just live. I'm better at that.

ACROSS

1 Short and detached musical rejected by old Censor? (8)
STACCATO - CATS reversed CATO (a Censor in Rome before he became Clouseau's sidekick)
9 He may get into a row transferring charges between banks (8)
FERRYMAN - a nice cryptic definition (CD)
10 Painter decoratING RESidences in the centre (6)
INGRES - hidden; Ingres is up there with Dali in the race for title of most cited cryptic artist
11 Bishops collectively cite Pope as misguided (10)
EPISCOPATE - anagram* of CITE POPE AS; I decided to ignore the anagrist and blithely entered 'episcopacy'
12 Reversal of gross imperfection in timber (4)
KNAR - RANK reversed; also KNUR and KNURR, so a good clue for Scrabblers
13 Get mug to wrap last of inferior fabric (10)
SEERSUCKER - R (last letter of inferior) in SEE (get) SUCKER (mug)
16 Sack race unexpectedly disrupted by his blundering (7)
CASHIER - HIS* in RACE*
17 Tasteless cool drink a princess once sent back (7)
INSIPID - IN (cool) SIP (drink) DI reversed
20 Fantasise about private thoroughfare where the current flows (10)
DOWNSTREAM - OWN (private) ST (thoroughfare) in DREAM (what I do with Jennifer Lawrence)
22 Directions given to robber at first in jug (4)
EWER - EWE (random directions) first letter of robber
23 Director caught single mother finally shielding internet pest (10)
CONTROLLER - TROLL in C (caught) ONE (single) last letter of mother
25 Three-part poem Tennyson originally delivered outside (6)
TRIFID - IF (poem) in first letter of Tennyson RID (delivered; 'will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?'); ‘divided or split into three parts or lobes’
26 Urge king to visit a current sporting get-together (5-3)
APRES-SKI - PRESS (urge) K (king) in A I (current)
27 One girl mostly left backing another’s singular marital state (8)
MONOGAMY - MO GON[e] (one girl / mostly left backing [i.e. reversed]) AMY (another [girl])

DOWN

2 Short wacky girl going round that African country (8)
TANZANIA - ZAN[y] in TANIA
3 Female supporting auto sales place in Welsh town (10)
CARMARTHEN - CAR MART on HEN
4 Rating fools soldiers in outskirts of seaport (10)
ASSESSMENT - ASSES MEN in S[eapor]T
5 Possible policeman’s bid to keep in charge (7)
OFFICER - IC in OFFER
6 Dangerous reptile about to top fabulous bird (4)
CROC - C on ROC
7 Board eastern rescue vessel, holding medical degree (6)
EMBARK - MB in E ARK
8 Gathered in entrance to field, then went astray (8)
INFERRED - IN F[ield] ERRED
14 Bird originally seen with a patron saint of France (4,6)
SAND MARTIN - S AND (with) MARTIN; 4th century St Martin of Tours had the good fortune to be known as a bit of a miracle worker, so becoming one of the first non-martyrs to become a saint.
15 Shady activity of Greek character involved in retail trade (10)
CHISELLING - CHI SELLING
16 Like old staff Mussolini initially addressed in prison (8)
CADUCEAN - DUCE A[ddressed] in CAN; relating to the caduceus, or staff carried by Hermes when he was on duty; not to be confused with the rod of Ascelepius - though everybody does.
18 Contract is put together, restricted by this writer’s impracticality (8)
IDEALISM - DEAL IS in I'M (this writer's)
19 Hold forth, disturbing medical (7)
DECLAIM - MEDICAL*
21 Gain a few points giving description of cold weather? (6)
WINTRY - WIN TRY (score in rugby, currently worth five points)
24 Brags endlessly, finding kiln for drying hops (4)
OAST - [b]OAST[s]
Hello from PDX! Our Airbnb is very nice, with antlered animal skulls arrayed all around the living room, with a real stuffed jackalope head taking pride of place! Very homely. Anyway I thought this was an excellent MCS, hard in a TLS-y kind of way to make a change from finicky scientific words with a superabundance of zeds and exes in them. Herein we need a passing acquaintance with Shakespeare, Flaubert, Stevenson and Huxley, as well as a classical actor and some pretty interesting sociological and anthropometric personages. Even so my COD was probably 13ac for the inventive jollity of "Taxus-Ulmus grafts". All in all I had a great time and remain convinced that the MCS is, just as its name suggests, one of the consistent highlights of the TCC month. Thanks to the setter and I'll be getting cracking onto September's offering as soon as I'm safely ensconced back in California...

ACROSS
1 Chauffeur says chef has regular absences (4)
SYCE - S{a}Y{s} C{h}E{f}

3 Judges protecting intellectual property with very good software, a source of material for Panama (5-5)
JIPPI-JAPPA - J J [(two) judges] "protecting" IP PI [intellectual property (with) very good] + APP A [software | a]
This is an Ecuadorean palm fibre from which Panama hats are made. If you thought Panama hats were made in Panama you've got another think coming!

9 Subordinate officer wearing cap seizes good part of fisherman’s catch (7)
LINGCOD - NCO [subordinate officer] "wearing" LID [cap] "seizes" G [good]

11 Folio’s replacement for line in wrinkly hag’s description of ronyon (4-3)
RUMP-FED - RUMP{l->F}ED [wrinkly, with L = line replacing F = folio].
Macbeth, Act 1, Scene 3: "Aroint thee, witch!” the rump-fed ronyon cries."

12 Clutching spike, endlessly attack sociological writer (9)
MARTINEAU - "Clutching" TINE [spike], MARAU{d} ["endlessly" attack].
Harriet Martineau, perhaps the first female sociologist, notable works including "Illustrations of Political Economy" (1834)

13 Straw bundles for some Taxus-Ulmus grafts? (5)
YELMS - the Taxus being the YEW, and the Ulmus the ELM, splice them together to find the answer.

14 Forensic anthropometry is to occur right up to the time of working period (12)
BERTILLONAGE - BE R TILL ON AGE [to occur | right | up to the time of | working | period]
Bertillon is referenced in The Hound of the Baskervilles as being an even greater expert than Holmes, that's how great a criminologist he was.

18 Waltz Matilda’s sulking about diminished melancholy (4,3,5)
HUMP THE BLUEY - HUMPY [sulking] about THE BLUE{s} ["diminished" melancholy]

21 Wife to judge the weight of hoisted cloth (5)
WHEFT - W HEFT [wife | to judge the weight of]

22 Piercing rock backing was profitable and is welcomed by half of Iron Maiden (9)
DIAPIRISM - reversed PAID [was profitable] + IS "welcomed" by IR{on} M

24 Historically, a hundred are incapable of umpiring (7)
CANTREF - double def'fed with CAN'T REF [are incapable of umpiring]

25 Oscar in works for a famous actor? (7)
ROSCIAN - (OSCAR IN*) ["works"]. Roscius was a famous Roman actor of the 1st century BCE. I used to catch a bus home through Crystal Palace past a blue plaque dedicated to Ira Aldridge, the 19th century theatre's "African Roscius".

26 Meat wagon utterly pointless before strange band of urchins? (10)
AMBULACRUM - AMBULA{n}C{e} [meat wagon, with all of its compass points subtracted] + RUM [strange].
Not multiple urchins, but the radial band in the shell of an echinoderm allowing its tube-feet to protrude.

27 Light carriage opposed by Huxley’s second novel? (4)
CHAY - because Huxley's second novel was Antic Hay, anti-chay, do you see?

DOWN
1 Flaubert’s novel strike in Russian-style wrestling (8)
SALAMMBO - LAM [strike] in SAMBO [Russian-style wrestling]

2 Film-related item seldom seen without it containing burnt corpses? (8)
CINERARY - CINE [film-related] + RAR{it}Y [item seldom seen, minus IT]

4 Provide with rear shade in the East End (5)
INDUE - or 'ind 'ue [rear | shade] as pronounced by someone dropping all their aitches.

5 For each marooned sailor, a hotel in Indian subdistrict (9)
PERGUNNAH - PER GUNN A H [for each | marooned sailor | a | hotel]
Ben Gunn was marooned for years on Treasure Island, during which time he naturally developed an obsessional craving for cheese.

6 Smackers slash old, ugly mischief-makers (5-8)
JIMMY O'GOBLINS - JIMMY [slash, as in Jimmy Riddle] + O GOBLINS [old | ugly mischief-makers]. Lots of Cockney rhyming slang in this puzzle! For apparently this is a rhyme for "sovereigns". And you thought the occasional dodgy homophone in the 15x15 was bad...

7 Cock, very loud, interrupting nap (6)
PIFFLE - FF [very loud], "interrupting" PILE [nap]. "Cock" as in "nonsense".

8 Type of sugar parties put in beer (6)
ALDOSE - DO'S [parties] "put in" ALE [beer], straightforwardly enough

10 Double curl in it, a variant of hair growth (13)
CRINICULTURAL - (CURL CURL IN IT A*) ["variant"]

15 Petrifying chapter, even though I had one friend standing up (9)
LAPIDIFIC - reverse all of C IF I'D I PAL [chapter | even though | I had | one | friend]

16 After slander, current successor backed governor’s office (8)
MUDIRIEH - after MUD [slander], I [current] + reversed HEIR [successor]

17 Who said to follow the van shedding load? Extremely cheeky mice may show what’s to come in it (8)
MYOMANCY - MY O{ld} MAN [from the 1919 music hall song, minus LD = load] + C{heek}Y

19 African rhino caught in grip of soaring alpha predator of the skies (6)
KWACHA - C [caught] "in grip of" reversed A HAWK [alpha | predator of the skies]. Rhino as in (Zambian/Malawian) money, of course.

20 Perhaps Munro and Corbett inverted pods used for dyeing (3-3)
NEB-NEB - Munro and Corbett are two BENs, put them together and reverse.

23 Twentieth-century player of piano music arranged by Gold (5)
ARRAU - ARR. [arranged] by AU [gold]. Chilean virtuoso pianist Claudio Arrau.

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