Times Cryptic Jumbo 1450 - 18th July. From gold stars to planet Earth

Hi everyone, I hope this blog finds you well.  I haven’t managed to so much as look at TfTT for some time, but it’s not because I don’t love you!  I’ve been busy with the day job, juggling two separate roles (neither of which involves actual juggling, mercifully).  It looks like all this may be keeping me busy for some months to come, but I do hope to manage to fit in a few more crosswords before the year is out …

I was hoping for a gentle puzzle and this one fit the bill nicely, everything slipping in without much trouble in around 45 minutes (I’m no speedster).  I learnt a few bits and pieces, but any checking/investigation could wait until after the solve, which always increases the satisfaction for me.  I haven’t identified any clues for special mention, but if I’ve failed to highlight a gem worthy of comment, the comments section is just the place to rectify that!

9a reminded me of something I’ve thought for a while, namely that I think there is now a good argument for allowing deceptive decapitalisation in clues.  Certainly of names, for which there is a growing tendency for people to use lower case informally – just look below the line on a more commented-upon post!  Instant messaging has also resulted in a trend towards the uncapitalised (bucked a little by autocorrect).  I wouldn’t expect to see it first in the Times, but I wonder whether we might find this happening somewhere soon.

Enough blathering from me.  With thanks to the setter for the entertainment, onwards to the clues.

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Monthly Club Special 20,238: A 13ac Cluesack Writes

Once again the most perfectly constructed puzzle of the Club month, with some truly ridiculous words that you'd never believe could be wrangled into yielding such splendid and audacious surfaces, balanced out with plenty of normal-strength "entry point" clues. I loved loved loved 9ac and 18ac, and there are numerous superb anagrams and charades for the connoisseur of such here too. Do yourself a favour and get regular with the MCS!

1 Unusual aroma, etc, as TV interviewee speaks? (2,6)

6 A dance party collects starchy food for Aussie (6)
ADJIGO - A + JIG "collected" by DO. Some kinda Australian yam.

9 Chap’s after two staples of “learning to read” sentence — one with a comprehension problem (13)
ACATAMATHESIA - HE'S after A CAT and A MAT, plus I plus A

10 Clumsy American, good at logarithms, initially backward in addition (6)
GALOOT - G{ood} A{t} L{ogarithms} + reversed TOO

11 Pound perhaps to dress old monsieur, returning in French silk (8)
ARMOZEEN - reverse all of (poet) EZRA "dressing" O M, then add EN [in, in French]

13 As certain Cossacks kill, or blunder defending area in borders (10)
ZAPOROGIAN - ZAP OR O.G. [kill | or | blunder defending] + A "bordered" by IN

15 Garment for the female aforesaid improperly reveals back (4)
MIDI - hidden reversed in {aforesa}ID IM{properly}

16 Henry V’s contemptuous gesture, neglecting odd parts of kingdom (4)
FIGO - {o}F {k}I{n}G{d}O{m}

18 Wasting time, I must abandon “Lincolnology”? (10)
TABESCENCE - T + ABE SC{i}ENCE, clearly the academic study of Abraham Lincoln (minus I)

21 Nun I once bumped into an unfamiliar woman (8)
INCONNUE - (NUN I ONCE*) ["bumped"]

22 Tea mostly taken with right grub (6)

23 Trouble with PR is, there is no room for sport! (13)

25 Odd to put on uniform? The first thing asked maybe in Chinese city (6)
URUMQI - RUM "puts on" U + Q1 [= question one, "the first thing asked maybe"]. Possibly "the most inland major city in the world".

26 Iodine brought in as broken arm is for cutting off? (8)
INISLING - I brought into IN SLING ["as broken arm is"]

1 Longer spell of fine weather’s third month — ace for a Japanese city (7)
OKAYAMA - OKAY [longer spell(ing) if OK = fine] + {we}A{ther} + M + A

3 Rugby players, a reserve, with half back, repeatedly supporting team in second half (11)
AMABOKOBOKO - Okay: reserve is BOOK, but with (the second half) back(wards), it's BOKO. A + BOKO repeatedly "supports" the second half of {te}AM; result: a South African rugby side you may prefer to recall as the Springboks.

4 Praise old singer cutting disc (5)
EXALT - EX ALT{o} [old | singer, minus O = disc]

5 Motoring organisation in another limitless trip: it’s got a huge bill (7)
ARACARI - RAC in AA [(one) motoring organisation in another] + {t}RI{p}. As you might expect from the definition it's a variant on a toucan.

6 Perennial sufferings besetting island people (9)
ACHIMENES - ACHES "besetting" I MEN. Not a Trojan War hero but a South American plant.

7 Law finding politician out of bounds (3)
JUS - JU{mp}S [bounds, minus MP = politician]

8 Attack old astrologer turning up unshaven (7)
GOATEED - GO AT [attack] + reversed (Doctor John) DEE

12 Publicizes me sneakily dropping Charlie for one of the Germans (3,8)
ZUM BEISPIEL - (PUBLI{c}IZES ME*). z.B. is German for "e.g."

14 Two managed firm, keeping books, elevating particular lines (9)
OCTONARII - reverse all of: II RAN CO. "keeping" O.T. Octonarii are lines of eight (metrical) feet, if hexameter and hendecasyllabics are too commonplace for your jaded palate.

17 Ironies rampant in one improving atmosphere through negativity? (7)

19 First meals casually halved, then one restricts wife’s US beer (7)
BREWSKI - BREK{kies} then I, "restricting" W'S

20 A hundred personnel at the double taking next to no time (7)
CHRONON - C H.R. + doubled ON [taking, as in "on drugs"]. 6.27×10−24 seconds, equal to about 2.3 Magoos on one of his good days.

22 Fifty per cent cut in publicity used by record label (1,4)
A DEMI - AD used by EMI

24 It’s a puzzle with anagram form for which tips needed (3)
HMM - {wit}H {anagra}M {for}M
  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27726 - Saturday, 25 July 2020. Intimations of immor(t)ality?

This was all done at a relatively brisk pace, although I had an unaccountable block at the end with 16ac. I particularly liked that the clue told me specifically how to spell 10ac … although I confess even after following the instructions, I had trouble believing it is a real place!

18ac reminded me of the schoolboy version of Wordsworth’s Ode on the imitations of … (well, you get the drift).

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}.

1 Showing hair nets provided by Victoria, say (13)
MANIFESTATION – MANE (hair) ‘nets’ IF (provided), ‘by’ STATION (Victoria, say).
8 Slight noise made by drinker is reduced (4)
SLUR – SLUR{p}, ‘reduced’.
9 Regret road is winding, going downhill (10)
RETROGRADE – anagram (‘is winding’) of (REGRET ROAD)
10 Celebrity keeping tuxedo by North American capital (8)
N’DJAMENA – NAME (celebrity) ‘keeping’ DJ (tux), ‘by’ N.A.  Yes, it’s a real place! The capital of Chad.
11 Stop using computer symbol with great noise (3,3)
LOG OFF – LOGO (symbol), FF (very loud).
13 I see wave swamping English vessel (10)
ICEBREAKER – I, C (see – it’s always a surprise to me that you can spell the names of letters! It didn’t happen at my school), E (English), BREAKER (wave). 
16 Head to lounge (4)
LOAF – double definition.
17 National chief in newspaper covers (4)
FINN – hidden answer. The definition refers to a national of Finland.
18 For one in dire need, naughty immorality (10)
DEGENERACY – E.G. (for one), in anagram (‘dire’) of (NEED), then RACY (naughty).
20 Intermittent surrounding echo — it's not repeated (3-3)
ONE-OFF – ON-OFF (intermittent), surrounding E (echo).
22 Love convenience during breaks in Alpine scenery? (8)
SNOWCAPS – O (love), andWC (convenience) ‘during’ SNAPS (breaks).
24 Blemishes covering a material for liqueur (10)
MARASCHINO – MARS (blemishes) ‘covering’ A, then CHINO.
26 Player of music school led by upright character (4)
IPOD – I (the upright character), then POD (school). Sorry, I think the clue is a comment on how the letter is written, not on your or my moral purity!
27 Featured by tabloid, awful bile is beyond words (13)
INEXPRESSIBLE – IN [the] EXPRESS (the tabloid of the moment), then anagram (‘awful’) of (BILE).

1 How men enunciate curse (11)
2 High priestess and not mother (5)
NORMA – not pa, NOR MA, eh? The heroine of Bellini’s opera. She was a Druid priestess.
3 Stuff from police agent in US containing drug (5-4)
FORCE-FEED – FORCE (police), FED (US agent) containing E.
4 What hinders determined rugby player (7)
SETBACK – SET (determined), BACK (one of the better-looking rugby players). Since you ask, yes, I played in the forwards.
5 A charge for a bunch of keys? (5)
ATOLL – A, TOLL. Chambers tells me an atoll is "A coral island consisting of a circular belt of coral enclosing a central lagoon" (ORIGIN: Name in Maldive Islands). And, a key is "A low island or reef". So, I'm not at all sure what "bunch" is doing in the clue!
6 Current Republicans holding a gun up for soldier (9)
IRREGULAR – I (the symbol for electrical current), and R+R (2 x Republicans), ‘holding’ A LUGER ‘up’=backwards.
7 Greeting teacher returned (3)
NOD – DON ‘returned’.
12 Ruling general on call, one like de Gaulle (11)
FRANCOPHONE – FRANCO (the Spanish general), PHONE (call).
14 Carrying nothing in bag, envoy arranged send-off (3,6)
BON VOYAGE – O (nothing) in anagram (‘arranged’) of (BAG ENVOY).
15 Under Egyptian sun abroad we must drink my bitter (9)
RANCOROUS – RA (the Egyptian sun god), NOUS (‘we’, in France), ‘drinking’ COR! (my!).
19 After raising flag, let go of heater (3,4)
GAS FIRE – GAS=SAG (flag) ‘raising’, then FIRE (let go an employee).
21 Football club bagging a leading trophy (2,3)
FA CUP – F.C. (football club), ‘bagging’ A, and UP (leading, at halftime for instance).
23 Conservative member to seek higher position (5)
CLIMB – C (Conservative), LIMB (member).
25 Is this person a foreign ally? (3)
AMI – ‘AM I?’, you ask.

Times Quick Cryptic No 1669 by Breadman

Not the easiest of Quick Crosswords today, I think, with quite a range of general knowledge needed including a Japanese healing technique, an anti-ship missile, a medicinal herb, a film director and geography from around the world. 23A was my LOI, correcting my wrong spelling in 4D.  In all it took me just under 6 minutes - about a minute longer than average. Some nice clues - I think 22A is my favourite. So thank-you Breadman. How did you all get on?

Weekend Quick Cryptics. Thanks to all who provided comments on Phil's crossword 2 weeks ago. He has persuaded me that we can continue to provide them on a regular basis, so this week it is my turn. You can find my "Summer Holidays Quick Cryptic" here, if you would like to have a go.

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Times 27,731: One Who May Resist A Parsing

I found this easyish for a Friday but containing many features that may prove Marmitey: multiple crossreferences, unusual words clued by anagrams, words that might be easily misspelling if you aren't paying close attention to the cryptic... that kind of thing.

On the definite plus side there is a perfect in-grid demonstration of the difference between an &lit and a mere semi-; and a very fine lift and separate in my COD 16ac. FOI 4ac swiftly followed by 13ac, LOI 8dn as it kind of looks wrong to me, even though by analogy to hydride, nitride, chloride, carbide etc etc it is clearly fine. IANAC. Thanks to the setter for rounding out our week with medicinal (?) compound, efficacious in every case.

ETA: It can't be a coincidence that 19ac and 28ac are in the same puzzle... can it?

1 Turn down an opportunity, perhaps, to join again (6)
REFUSE - or possibly RE-FUSE, where FUSE is to join (once)

4 Members of police one caught being taken in by bribes? (8)
OFFICERS - I C, taken in by OFFERS [bribes]

10 Support trader bringing out first mechanical component (9)
PROPELLER - PROP + {s}ELLER. Hope nobody spelled this -ELLOR.

11 Travel around end of garden? One might (5)
SNAIL - SAIL around {garde}N, semi-&lit

12 Grass is pretty when cut to half length (3)
RAT - RAT{her}

13 Sort of plant that could be clone — oddity (11)

14 Attendant serving drink to Queen (6)
PORTER - PORT served to E.R.

16 One who may resist a rousing song about US President (3-4)
LIE-ABED - LIED about ABE (Lincoln)

19 Excess froth, the thing around end of pipe (7)
SURFEIT - SURF [froth] + IT around {pip}E

20 Beastly home with great big fights (3-3)
SET-TOS - SETT [(badger's) home] + O/S

22 Pioneer, he worked with originators of military project (11)
OPPENHEIMER - (PIONEER HE + M{ilitary} P{roject}*) &lit

25 Catch husband out — is one listening? (3)
EAR - {h}EAR

26 Immoral woman, no good, making a point (5)
PRONG - PRO(stitute) NG

27 A bad act by one twerp, the ultimate in crazy folly (9)
ASININITY - A SIN by I NIT + {craz}Y

28 We hear innocent creature speak well of parasitic suckers (8)

29 Got hold of criminal carrying bomb around (6)
BAGGED - BAD, carrying reversed EGG

1 What emerges from enquiry upsets soldier, losing heart (6)
REPORT - reversed TRO{o}PER

2 Don't start to repair roof? Silly — not part of house to leave open! (5,4)

3 Veronica not well — drug appears (5)
SPEED - SPEED{well} being vernacular Veronica

5 Excellent fellow, it's said — should come promptly to 2? (5-5,4)
FIRST-CLASS MAIL - MAIL being a homophone of MALE [fellow]

6 Ruined home — note where the wind comes in? (9)

7 Animal making dash over delta (5)

8 Chemical compound delivered by needle is nasty (8)

9 Replace the Tory found out in a shocking procedure (14)

15 Youngster is quaint on horse, that girl heading off (9)

17 Group after 6 trying to secure deal? (9)
BROKERING - BROKE [insolvent] + RING [group]

18 Points to procurator initially exercising large legal restriction (8)
ESTOPPEL - E&S TO P{rocurator} P.E. L. Hope nobody spelled this -AL, as I probably would've in a concise crossword.

21 After ten attack is broadcast — getting looked into somehow (1-5)
X-RAYED - after X, homophone of RAID

23 Rhythmical lines to convey right sort of literary introduction (5)
PROEM - POEM to convey R. This word always reminds me of the Oscar Wilde verse that goes

I can write no stately proem
As a prelude to my lay;
From a poet to a poem
I would dare to say.

which constitutes a pretty cheapjack rhyme for poem in my personal opinion.

24 It's 12, with one coming in to get a spicy dish (5)
RAITA - RAT, with I coming in, to get A. Is RAITA really spicy? I've always thought of it as more of an antidote to spicy things...

Times Quick Cryptic No 1668 by Izetti

A tough one today from Izetti, broadly on a par with Monday's and Tuesday's 15x15 puzzles, and I bunged in 1d with no great certainty just to creep in under the 16 minute mark. We had four long anagrams which normally makes things a bit easier, but I doff my cap if you rattled out 1ac with no checkers: I had to write out the letters for 1ac and 3d to unravel them, and I needed the very helpful first letter of 3d (and all the other checkers bar 1d) to get the former. That all took a bit of time, as did other bits of the grid, although it all looks much easier in retrospect - the mark of a very good puzzle, I'd say, so many thanks to Izetti!

1 Please get her to translate this minimalist language (12)
TELEGRAPHESE - anagram (to translate) of PLEASE GET HER. Good word. In 1885 the Glasgow Herald was concerned that "Cheap telegrams will no doubt spread alarmingly the use of ‘telegraphese’." I wonder what they would have made of text-speak? And I see it's a contronym, like cleave, a word with two opposite meanings: with a capital letter, "Telegraphese" becomes the "elaborate or inflated language or writing style regarded ... as characteristic of leading articles in the Daily Telegraph" (OED). (Usage now historical, but still.) 
8 King meets honoured people in ceremonial garb (5)
ROBES - R (Rex/king) meets OBES (honoured people)
9 Form of hostility that never heats up? (4,3)
COLD WAR - cryptic-ish definition
10 You will get a positive response (3)
YEA - YE (you) gets A
11 Little devil wandering around, making progress (9)
IMPROVING - IMP (little devil) ROVING (wandering around)
13 Final word in notice that is at front of university (5)
ADIEU - AD (bill/notice) I.E. (that is) at front of U(niversity)
14 Old lover with trick said to do well (5)
EXCEL - EX (old lover) with CEL (a sell = a trick/hoax, "said").
16 Fruit in vessel, a lot getting mixed up (9)
CANTALOUP - CAN (vessel), an anagram (getting mixed) of A LOT, and UP hidden nicely in plain sight.
17 Name of man in telephone directory (3)
NED - "In" the letters of telephoNE Directory
19 Old trade union to celebrate caring profession (7)
NURSING - NUR (old trade union) to SING (celebrate)
21 Head off as an animal doctor, crossing river (5)
AVERT - A VET (an animal doctor) crossing R(iver)
22 Student, I ne'er worked, being not bothered (12)
UNINTERESTED - anagram (worked) of STUDENT I NEER

1 Fellow providing towelling material (5)
TERRY - double definition. I suppose I might have heard of terry cloth, but I'm a bit 22ac in such things (as washing, you might ask?): anyway, a pile cloth with the loops left uncut for absorbency.
2 Sign to precede terrible rain? I may help you find the literature (9)
LIBRARIAN - LIBRA (sign) to precede an anagram (terrible) of RAIN
3 Acting out lies deviously with hand signals? (13)
GESTICULATION - anagram (deviously) of ACTING OUT LIES
4 Put up with deed that keeps church quiet (6)
ACCEPT - ACT (deed) that keeps CE, P (CoE/church, quiet)
5 One pal cheesed off said nothing (4,4,5)
6 Witnessed something in the woodshed? (3)
SAW - double definition
7 Apples, pears, etc. cut by half with girl anxious to avoid waste? (6)
FRUGAL - FRUits (apples, pears, etc. "cut by half") with GAL (girl)
12 Performing on stage with a common plan? (2,7)
IN CONCERT - double definition
13 Secret arena newly built to accommodate a hundred (6)
ARCANE -  anagram (newly built) of ARENA to accommodate C (a hundred)
15 One part of body or another in which gun is deviously hidden (6)
TONGUE - TOE (another [part of body]) in which is hidden an anagram (deviously) of GUN
18 Labelled with year? That's old-fashioned (5)
DATED - double definition
20 Managed to curtail row (3)
RAN - RANT = row, curtail = dock the tail. Edit: templarredux and the Rotter were the first to spot that it's RANK = ROW; philjordan also provides a good explanation below.
Linus van Pelt

27730 Thursday, 30 July 2020 ...is brought to you today by the letter J and the number 8

A rather entertaining number which kept me scrabbling around for almost 26 minutes and sent me hunting more often than usual for the J key. In the end, there are only (only!) 5 in the grid, but it feels like more. You will see in my commentary that I credit Yoda with assistance in compiling the clues, there being quite a few with the “around A B you must place” sort of structure, which cunningly adds confusion around the business of what goes in where.
I imagine the two “foreign” place-names in the grid will be more familiar than the Scottish one; for the latter you may have to just trust the wordplay, as some of us will need to do for the satirist.
At least one of our number will be peeved that there’s yet another avian in the mix and no astronomy, though there is a bit of Star Trek pseudo astronomy in the lower reaches of the grid, from the movie When Jean Luc Met James Tiberius.
My ramblings are located below, accessed by pressing the Just Here button. Clues are in italics, definitions underlined as well, and solutions in BOLD CAPITALS
[Just Here]
1 Not right when there’s sauce for Cockney to go after sandwiches (6)
UNJUST One of those clues where some imaginary extra grammar can help. So: there’s SAUCE that GOes AFTER (for Cockney) sandwiches. Go after for the legendary Cockney would be ‘UNT, and that sandwiches JUS as a kind of sauce. Hello to J1
4 Flyer found in grate, next to something black (8)
NIGHTJAR I had J2, so naturally something black had to be JET. Wrong, It’s NIGHT, and grate is a verb, JAR
10 Offer made by barman in dramshop eagerly? (4,1,4)
LIKE A SHOT The first definition is whimsical, and our laconic barman ignores conventions by omitting “would you”
11 Disappointing outcome that must hold little girl back (2,3)
NO JOY The innocent and missable THAT translates to YON, the little girl is the random JO, inserted and the whole reversed. J3
12 Traveller left in vessel — set out early (7)
PREPLAN Set out as in map out rather than start out. Traveller is REP, left is L, put them both into (cooking) vessel PAN
13 National symbol, not that large, wrapped in note (7)
THISTLE I do like this. Split “not that large” into two: not that is THIS, Large is (also)L, which is “wrapped” in random sol-fa note TE
14 Method of counting back only partially useful at court (5)
OCTAL A reverse (back) hidden (only partially) in usefuL AT Court. Counting in base 8, but you knew that
15 Be specific about sabbatical? (5,3)
SPELL OUT A sabbatical is time away from your normal work, so (a) spell out
18 World of Don, Adam, Erica, somehow not close to sister (8)
ACADEMIA An anagram (somehow) of ADAM and ERICA, without the last letter of sisteR
20 City jobs bank has periodically cut (5)
OSAKA Cut every other letter in jObS bAnK hAs
23 Old satirist, easily bribed, going to jail briefly (7)
JUVENAL Solvers will be divided between those who see “old satirist” and biff the answer, and those who have to rely on the cryptic and crossers. Easily bribed is VENAL, and it’s attached to an incomplete (briefly) JUg for jail. J4
25 Feel being outside on vacation usually means stay at campsite (3,4)
GUY ROPE Another bit of Yoda grammar: GROPE for feel, is outside UsuallY when it’s been vacated.
26 Rock group backed number selected to play new recording? (5)
REMIX  The popular music combo is R.E.M, and the number selected (to play in a team) is 11, in Latin XI but here backed to become IX. Assuming a baseball team would shorten the clue.
27 Schedule one can track after time (9)
ITINERARY One: I, can: TIN, track R(ailwa)Y, time: ERA. Rearrange slightly
28 American can celebrate with an encore (4,4)
SING SING Naughty: a different can for the definition. Celebrate is SING, with its own encore. Sing Sing is the fifth prison built by New York State and opened in 1826, and still functions as a maximum security prison. Possibly the only one in the world with a railway running through it.
29 British actor recalled ladies inside hotel, not outside (6)
O’TOOLE Peter of that family, who I once saw in a magnificently over the top performance as M***** in The Scottish Play in Bristol. Wordplay: ladies is LOO which is “recalled” and set inside HOTEL with its outside (letters) missing. Crosswords don’t care tuppence for apostrophes.

1 Heading north, go round quite posh Scottish town (8)
ULLAPOOL Go round is LOOP, quite (here entirely) posh is ALL U, the whole lot reversed as indicated by “heading north”. Despite being rather small, with 1500 inhabitants, Ullapool counts as a town because there’s nothing bigger for miles around
2 Very full of cracks, is jet ok to fly? (7)
JOKIEST A kind anagram (to fly) of IS JET OK. J5 has already been counted as J1
3 Racing employee across lake, go direct (6,3)
STABLE LAD Go is STAB, direct is LEAD, and they “go across” (crossword speak for round) L(ake)
5 Too keen on profit, barristers generally admitted (4,3,7)
INTO THE BARGAIN A definition so short you could miss it. Keen on gives INTO, profit is GAIN into which pair THE BAR, barristers in general, is admitted
6 Capital hotel: what every pop star wants? (5)
HANOI  H(otel) plus what every pop star wants, A NO. 1
7 Jack and I getting sticks out as shield, united in selfdefence (7)
JUJITSU Jack is just J (as in the card), I is I, sticks out is JUTS which “shields” them both and the U comes from United
8 For which very long-term use results ultimately in wear and tear, say (6)
RHYMES The first six words’ lasts letters (ultimately) spell out our answer, which wear and tear exemplify.
9 Cheers a tallish monk in, wildly (6,1,7)
THANKS A MILLION Another anagram (wildly), of A TALLISH MONK IN
16 Trots out to lunch? (5,4)
LOONY LEFT A pejorative term coined by the more conservative sections of politics and the British Press to vilify socialists and the Labour party. Most of the stories were pure invention, not that that would happen today, dear me no. Our clue is just a cryptic definition
17 Work your English electrical engineer secures after a month (4,4)
JANE EYRE Be alert to that sneaky definition, a (literary) work. Yet another J (I’ve lost count, sorry). And another example of Yoda grammar: Y(ou)R is “secured” by E(nglish) E(lectrical) E(ngineer), the lot jotted down after JAN for out random month.
19 Climbing holiday at end of term for ancient art master? (7)
CAVEMAN Once I gave up on the idea of going through my list of Pre Raph artist, and settled on someone who, if he was an artist, was definitely ancient, I took NAME for “term” and put VAC for holiday on its end and then reversed both (climbing)
21 Eggs sent up: not exactly party food (7)
AVOCADO Eggs are OVA, which is reversed (sent up) followed by no exactly: CA (circa) and party: DO
22 Judge comes across cases familiar to Scandinavians? (6)
FJORDS Yet more Yoda grammar. Comes across is FORDS, which “cases” J(udge). Pined for by the Norwegian Blue
24 Link we’re to follow? There’s no time (5)
NEXUS If we’re to follow, it’s NEXT US. Drop the T(ime)

Times 27729 - gentle for Gentiles and such.

A pleasant if unexceptional puzzle today, the word play is fairly straightforward and I expect to see a low SNITCH value. It took me 15 minutes and nothing was hard to parse.

1 Cheer old troopers during dance (6)
HOORAY - A HAY is a circular country dance, or a dance move. Insert O for old and OR for troopers.
4 Sort of clock face seen crossing grand city centre (7)
DIGITAL - DIAL (face) goes around G (grand) IT (centre of city).
9 Tag lines Lincoln introduced (5)
LABEL - LL for lines ABE Lincoln inside.
10 Square, where stone comes from? (3-2-4)
OUT-OF-DATE - Cryptic second meaning.
11 Legal document fool took across river (5,4)
TITLE DEED - TIT (fool) LED (took) across the River Dee.
12 Enchanting woman accompanying boxing clubs (5)
WITCH - C for clubs is boxed by WITH = accompanying.
13 Nasty bloke, putting head back, crossing line (4)
UGLY - GUY (bloke) move head back to get UGY, insert L for line.
14 It helps to climb, walk and run (10)
STEPLADDER - STEP = walk, LADDER = run as in stocking
18 Get new tights here? (4,6)
20 Capital forfeits one seat (4)
SOFA - the capital of Bulgaria loses its I.
23 Pipe what's brought on board by waiter finally? (5)
BRIER - brie cheese on a cheese board, add R end of waiter.
24 Modern coffee bar daughter opens (6-3)
LATTER-DAY - LATTE (sort of coffee) RAY (bar of light) insert D for daughter.
25 The writer's cue initially unthinkingly unscripted (9)
IMPROMPTU - I'M (the writer's) PROMPT (cue) U initial letter of unthinking.       
26 Letter or article accompanying grateful comment (5)
THETA - THE + TA. Greek letter.
27 Child recalled no small animals (7)
STEPSON - NO S PETS all reversed.
28 Pagan ignores one kind (6)
GENTLE - GENTILE drops its I. Gentile usually means non-Jewish but can also mean heathen or pagan.

1 Harry girl admitting paper's misleading remark (4-5)
HALF-TRUTH - HAL (Harry) RUTH (girl) insert FT paper.
2 Test covers part of town bypass perhaps (7)
ORBITAL - ORAL test covers BIT part.
3 Head of army strips standing up in bed? (6)
ASLEEP - A (rmy) PEELS reversed.
4 Time-consuming end of Oxford dictionary was far from sound (5)
DOTED - (Oxfor) D, OED, insert T. Doted here as an adjective means foolish or unwise.
5 One female in fast car stole parcel for birthday? (8)
GIFTWRAP - I F in GT, WRAP = stole.
6 Given tribute when carried outside (7)
TOASTED - AS (when) inside TOTED = carried.
7 End up defending conservative doctor once (5)
LEECH - HEEL reversed (end up) insert C for Conservative.
8 European sailor clutching second leading light? (4,4)
POLE STAR - POLE, TAR, insert S.
15 Pick fruit etcetera regularly brought in (8)
PLECTRUM - alternate letters of E t C e T e R a go into PLUM.
16 Unoriginal confused daydream about theatre's closure (5-4)
READY-MADE - insert E (end of theatre) into (DAYDREAM)*.
17 American loudly leaving in a rage, attracting much interest (8)
19 Spot good story involving people in a house (7)
GLIMPSE - G (good) LIE (story) insert MPS.
21 Scrap old leaders in Daily Mail during depression (7)
ODDMENT - O = old, DENT = depression, insert DM.
22 Feel bad securing dry nick (6)
FETTLE - TT (dry) inside (FEEL)*. Nick, as in good nick, fine fettle.
23 Joy swept up contents of fossil bed (5)
BLISS - Hidden reversed in FO(SSIL B)ED.
24 Flower of Wolves cut (5)
LUPIN - LUPINE means to do with wolves, cut the E.

Times Quick Cryptic 1667 by Oink

Not my fastest time for an Oink, but I can't tell if that's the result of me being offline for a week or so, or if it's really a tester. I put my LOI 22ac in with shrug and worked out what was going on jut now, but 11ac also took some staring at. Today's piggy reference is a bit more sinister than usual...

Thanks Oink!

Definitions underlined.

1 Workman needing new ear doctor (9)
DECORATOR - anagram of (new) EAR DOCTOR.
6 Pretend son’s out, getting meat (3)
HAM - sHAM (pretend) with 's' (son) missing (out).
8 Animal droppings disturbed one in cell? (7)
DUNGEON - DUNG (animal dropings), then an anagram of (disturbed) ONE.
9 Alluring woman’s anger in outskirts of Saigon (5)
SIREN - IRE (anger) inside the first and last letters (outskirts) of SaigoN.
10 In which monarch might be trapped? (9,3)
BUTTERFLY NET - cryptic definition.
12 Strong stuff from vulgar licensee (6)
GARLIC - hidden in (from) vulGAR LICensee.
13 Society girl knight rejected? Rubbish! (6)
DEBRIS - DEB (society girl) then SIR (knight) reversed (rejected).
16 System Iranian got so wrong (12)
ORGANISATION - anagram of (wrong) IRANIAN GOT SO.
19 Move slowly, freezing in empty cell (5)
CRAWL - RAW (freezing) inside the first and last letters of (empty) CelL
20 Determined to be a worker on embankment (7)
ADAMANT - A, then ANT (worker) on DAM (embankment).
22 Veteran is fooled from time to time (3)
OLD - every other letter of (from time to time) fOoLeD.
23 Magazine’s prose arranged with tact (9)
SPECTATOR - anagram of (arranged) PROSE with TACT.

1 Two parties, one completely dead? (4)
DODO - DO (party 1) and DO (party 2).
2 Defeat a hard nut, did you say? (7)
CONQUER - sounds like (did you say?) "conker' (hard nut).
3 Regret road followed by Jean-Paul Sartre? (3)
RUE - 'road' in French (followed by Jean-Paul Sartre?).
4 Holding catch up by river (6)
TENURE - NET (catch) reversed (up), then URE (river).
5 Strong engineer lies inert (9)
RESILIENT - anagram of (engineer) LIES INERT.
6 Only 50% bother about fish eater (5)
HERON - the second half (only 50%) of botHER, then ON (about).
7 Notes very small rhinoceros’s bottom (7)
MINUTES - MINUTE (very small) and the last letter (bottom) from rhinoceroS.
11 Large tins especially for instruments (9)
TRIANGLES - anagram of (especially) LARGE TINS.
12 Malcontent with love for Marx? (7)
GROUCHO - GROUCH (malcontent) and O (love).
14 What might be read as warning to the mob? (4,3)
RIOT ACT - cryptic definition.
15 Visiting Budapest, a terrific capital (6)
ESTATE - hidden in (visiting) budapEST A TErrific.
17 Fancy £1000? (5)
GRAND - double definition.
18 Prison resistance? It’s over (4)
STIR - R (resistance) and IT'S all reversed (over).
21 A case for Poirot? That would be appropriate (3)
APT - A with the first and last letters of (case for) PoiroT.
  • jackkt

Times Cryptic 27728

I completed all but 14dn and 20ac in 26 minutes, but when I hadn't solved them within my 30 minute target I decided to set the puzzle aside and return to it later. This tactic paid off because on resumption I saw the missing answers almost immediately.

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