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What ho you lot (if lot is the right word in the tumbleweed-strewn ghost town that passes for the Jumbi bloggage environs)

I managed to knock this off in a slightly-slower-than-average 40 minutes, despite quite a high count of unknowns which we'll get to in the blog.

Rather pleasingly I started at 1a with AUTOBAHN and finished up in the opposite corner with SCARCELY, but that's not to say it was a steady top-to-bottom, left-to-right solve.

Clues are in blue with the definition undelined.  Anagram indicators are in bold italics.

Notation:

DD: Double definition

CD: Cryptic definition

DDCDH: DD/CD hybrid where a straight definition is combined with a cryptic hint.

&Lit:  "all in one" where the entire clue is both definition and wordplay.

(fodder)* denotes an anagram of the letters in the brackets.

Rounded brackets are also used to add further clarity

Squiggly brackets {} indicate parts of a word not used

Deletions are struck out

Square brackets [] expand an abbreviation or shortening like N[orth]


Across

1

About an hour changing motorway (8)


AUTOBAHN - (about an H[our])*

5

Author on the right put off about vote (6)


DEXTER - DETER around X and unusually there are two definitions, Colin what wrote Morse, and a heraldic thingummyjig.

9

Order to purchase gemstone reportedly for cyborg technology (7)


BIONICS - Sounds like BUY ONYX.  With the B and the I in place I was trying to think of a word where BIO sounded like it does in BIODIVERSITY etc. but we were in Steve Austen territory.  We have the technology.

14

Fiery and extreme English politician in present day (3-8)


HOT-TEMPERED - O[ver] T[he] T[op] E[nglish] M[ember of] P[arliament] in HERE, D[ay]

15

Alas, your pic is spoiled as gannets take food (11)


RAPACIOUSLY - (alas your pic)*

16

Europe’s capital resides in wealthy German state (5)


REICH - E{urope} in RICH

17

Poisonous mushroom mother’s fed to girl (7)


AMANITA - MA in ANITA.  I didn't know this and had too look it up to confirm what I took the answer to be based on wordplay.  Looking at the Wikipedia entry I feel I should have been familiar with it.  Here's the first bit: The genus Amanita contains about 600 species of agarics, including some of the most toxic known mushrooms found worldwide, as well as some well-regarded edible species. This genus is responsible for approximately 95% of the fatalities resulting from mushroom poisoning, with the death cap accounting for about 50% on its own. The most potent toxin present in these mushrooms is α-amanitin.

18

Ireland in round are initially one up on points? (9)


BALLERINA - ERIN in BALL A{re}

19

Rupees southern India discovered in drug island (7)


CORSICA - R[upees], S[outhern], I[ndia] in COCA.  I was on the verge of saying I was unaware that SI was a recognised abbreviation for Southern India but of course it doesn't have to be.

20

Perhaps Oscar is number two (6-2-7)


SECOND-IN-COMMAND - O for Oscar is the second letter in the word COMMAND

22

Not let Anne Dutten out (10)


UNTENANTED - (Anne Dutten)*.  There was a poet called Anne Dutton but if you Google Anne Dutten the first few entries reference this clue.  I know some people get annoyed about random first names in puzzles.  They must be going spare at this.

23

Give Spanish noblewoman note (6)


DONATE - DONA, TE (a drink with jam and bread).

25

Once more throwing away a win (4)


GAIN - aGAIN

28

Putting longer, I developed a brassy technique (6-8)


TRIPLE-TONGUING - (putting longer I)*

30

Ale month shifted alcohol (8)


METHANOL - (ale month)*

32

Soldiers protecting heads of Asian trade mission (8)


LEGATION - LEGION around A{sian} T{rade}

34

Headless rat in eggs and cheese pastries? Take any remedy (6,2,6)


CLUTCH AT STRAWS - rAT squeezed between CLUTCH and STRAWS.  Are cheese straws peculiarly British or are children in other countrioes forced to make them in home economics (now food tech)at school?

37

Pint puller needs no help to get froth on liquor (4)


BARM - BARMaid.  Another unknown I had to check.

38

Note hint about card game (6)


ECARTE - E TRACE reversed

39

3-D art of changing hands in clock-making (10)


HOLOGRAPHY - HOROGRAPHY with the R[ight] swapped for L[eft].  I used to love holograms when they first became an art form.  Don't see them these days except as security features on cards, tickets etc.

43

US determination to change inadequate rating (15)


UNDERESTIMATION - (US determination)*

45

Vet meeting requirements given time (7)


INSPECT - IN SPEC[ification], T[ime].  Would you really say "in spec" rather than "to spec" or "on spec"?

47

Vandyke perhaps knowing about English illustrator (9)


BEARDSLEY - BEARD, SLY around E[nglish].  Aubrey, 1872-1898.

49

Mixture of aluminium in molten rock on the turn (7)


AMALGAM - AL[uminium] in MAGMA reversed

51

Country concerned with peace after Conservative loss (5)


REALM - RE cALM

52

Diplomat needs suit as cover for briefs (7,4)


ATTACHE CASE - ATTACHE, (legal) CASE.  I had one when I fisrt went to secondary school.  They were all the rage at the time.  James Bond wannabe or briefcase w****r?

53

Evil American is into careless faker of images (11)


ILLUSIONIST - ILL, U.S., (is into)*.  I had a bit of word blindness here and invented ILLUSSITION. Yeah I know.

54

Sleeping — something not to do around Sandhurst (7)


DORMANT - DON'T (as in DOs and DON'Ts) around R[oyal] M[ilitary] A[cademy]

55

Dangerous element runs for street in sports venue (6)


RADIUM - R[uns] replacing ST[reet] in STADIUM

56

Hardly daunting storing film material (8)


SCARCELY - SCARY around CEL[ulloid].  I wasn't aware of that abbreviation.


Down

1

Steam haricots with some tongue inside (7)


AMHARIC - hidden, not a word I knew but easy enough to divine once you've got a checking letter.  An uncommon instance of the definition lurking somewhere other than at the beginning or end of the clue.

2

All playing on grass put up with half time ice cream (5-6)


TUTTI-FRUTTI - TUTTI (music notation), TURF reversed, TI{me}

3

Writer’s from German right, one limited by injunction? (9)


BRECHTIAN - RECHT I in BAN

4

US comedian’s internal struggle to be eternally optimistic? (4,7,4)


HOPE AGAINST HOPE - Bob-based DDCDH

6

Ghostly tingling follows tree emitting echo (8)


ELDRITCH - ITCH following ELDeR

7

Orientating car badly in unfamiliar area (5,9)


TERRA INCOGNITA - (orientating car)*.  If you a) don't have a classics background, b) aren't terribly familiar with this particular term and c) don't pay careful attention to the wordplay, it's very easy to put incognito as the second word.  *Waves sheepishly*.

8

Politician managed to take in English people (10)


REPUBLICAN - RAN around E[nglish] PUBLIC

9

Rural bus curtailed — a severe pain (7)


BUCOLIC - BUs, COLIC

10

Old unit containing unknown toxic gas (5)


OZONE -O[ld] ONE around Z

11

Where train stops around one with good reason to get going (11)


INSTIGATION - IN STATION around I G[ood]

12

Heavens! NHS bed places going up? (8)


SKYWARDS - SKY, WARDS

13

Killer beheaded Spanish poet (4)


ORCA - lORCA.  One of those clues where you don't know whether to knock the fist letter off A to get B or vice versa. The poet is Federico del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús García Lorca.  Why don't our poets have cool names like that? The closest we've got is Pam "I wish I'd looked after me teeth" Ayres.

20

Queen’s put up in Italian city (6)


SIENNA - I can only assume this is a reversal of ANNE I 'S, as in Anne the first.  Any other suggestions?

21

Picture reason for dropping coffee? (7)


MUGSHOT - MUG's HOT.  Boom boom.

22

Indescribable hunt hold topless meet (6)


UNTOLD - hUNT hOLD.  Nice.

24

The food of love, perhaps with chips? (10,5)


ELECTRONIC MUSIC - CD, and a nod to the Kraftwerk song at 1a

26

Treats cloth on side with a napper as quickly as possible (4,5,5)


FULL STEAM AHEAD - FULLS, TEAM, A HEAD.  A couple of tricky elements here.  To full is to scour and beat wollens to cleanse them.  Napper is slang for head.  If you're young and/or non-British you probably won't be familar with this line from the 1911 Harry Champion song Any Old Iron: "You look so dapper from your napper to your feet". You may have got lucky and recalled the word from a previous puzzle.

27

Flamboyant wood used in old carriage (6)


FLASHY - ASH in FLY

29

The French on watch, perhaps for English martyr (7)


LATIMER - LA on TIMER

31

Disconcerted wife in large crowd losing key (6)


THROWN - W{ife} in THRONg

33

Piano virtuoso, expert at moving pieces (11)


GRANDMASTER - GRAND, MASTER.  I like the way the clever definition is seamlessly woven into the suface reading.

35

Amentia treated with hemp drug (11)


AMPHETAMINE - (amentia hemp)*.  In looking up amentia (not that it's needed to solve the clue) I discovered the interesting phenomenon known as the euphemism treadmill, whereby euphemisms for taboo words eventually turn into taboo words themselves.

36

Novel sin — just (6,4)


VANITY FAIR - VANITY, FAIR

40

Stock film boxers perhaps avoided? (9)


RESERVOIR - RESERVOIR DOGS with the dogs (boxers perhaps).  I think it's that, unless there's a film called Reservoir Undies.

41

Store directors chasing award (8)


CUPBOARD - BORAD after CUP

42

Unfortunately, it is a rum dessert (8)


TIRAMISU - (it is a rum).  If it does have booze in it's usually Marsala, left over from the zabaglione one supposes.

44

Note way to remove fumes making acetone? (7)


SOLVENT - SOL (a needle pulling thread), VENT

46

Grass’s book (7)


TIMOTHY - DD, a grass and either of two books in the New Testament.

48

Russian’s home in Moscow, yes, before tea (5)


DACHA - DA, CHA

50

Day record set up for top prize (4)


GOLD - D[ay], LOG reversed

A typical Saturday I thought. I didn’t know the answer at 10ac, but I got it from the wordplay. The answer at 9dn was obvious from the crossing letters, but I still can’t altogether explain the wordplay. 1ac was my first in, but I think I like it enough to call it the clue of the day! Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle.

Clues are blue, with definitions underlined. (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 One way to serve meat, keeping it within fine margins (6)
FLAMBE – LAMB (‘it’, referring to ‘meat’), in F[in]E.

4 After promotion, my French is hard to reproach (8)
ADMONISH – AD, MON (“my”, in French), IS, H[ard].

10 Run out to vault containing your print (11)
ROTOGRAVURE – RO (run out, today’s cricketing reference), TO, GRAVE containing UR (your, when texting).

11 Hug monarch offering little resistance (3)
OHM – O (hug, as in OXOX=hugs and kisses), HM (Her Majesty). I’d have suggested ‘some’ rather than ‘little’ resistance. If you said ‘little’, my accounting lecturer would have asked, ‘compared to what’?

12 Exactly right to tuck into tea and bread (7)
CHAPATI – PAT (exactly right), tucked into CHAI.

14 One who used to dispatch game (7)
HANGMAN – double definition. Do some newspapers still headline Births, Deaths and Marriages as Hatched, Matched & Dispatched.

15 Hunting dogs we’d trained coerced union (7,7)
SHOTGUN WEDDING – (HUNTING DOGS WED*) ‘trained’.

17 Exemplary way with fish knives and forks? (9,5)
STAINLESS STEEL – STAINLESS as in ‘saintly’, perhaps, ST, EEL.

21 Gull goes around to crush piece of toast (7)
CROUTON – CON around ROUT. Cunning definition, I thought.

22 Arch rival of Tyneside canteen, I gathered (7)
NEMESIS – NE (northeast/Tyneside), MESS (canteen) ‘gathering’ I.

23 Spots leader leaving wood (3)
ASH – [r]ASH.

24 A foreign heath crossed with lily in harmful way (11)
UNHEALTHILY – UN (foreign, specifically French, word for ‘a’), then HEATH overlapping LILY.

26 Most here not in good shape? (4,4)
REST HOME – (MOST HERE*), ‘not in good shape’ implying anagram, and a very apt &lit. definition. (Are you talkin’ to me??)

27 Sweet drink invading nearly all of France once (6)
GATEAU – TEA invading GAU[l].


Down
1 Divine round playground secured by firm (8)
FORECAST – O, REC secured by FAST.

2 A pink organ towards the rear (3)
AFT – the Financial Times, or FT, is presumably on pink paper.

3 Singer accepts this country artist's first original idea? (3,4)
BIG BANG – GB, A accepted by BING (Crosby).

5 A girl was hunted, possibly becoming one of these? (9-2-3)
DAUGHTERS-IN-LAW – (A GIRL WAS HUNTED*).

6 Old fox maybe grabs Echo, a nymph (7)
OCEANID – O, CANID grabs E[cho]. Dogs, foxes and wolves are canids. I didn’t know this nymph, although I see she appeared in 2013.

7 Distribute no more rings for their suppliers? (11)
IRONMONGERS – (NO MORE RINGS*).

8 Kind chap put in the shade (6)
HUMANE – MAN in HUE.

9 Race soldier to border? Not everyone stands for it (8,6)
NATIONAL ANTHEMI didn’t altogether get this, but with guidance from paul_in_london, I now think it's like so: NATIONAL (race, as in Grand National; and not, as I thought, NATION), ANT (soldier), and HEM (border). Presumably the word ‘Not’ is part of the definition, as a reference to the American protesters who kneel for their anthem. Does that happen during God Save the Queen? Surely not!

13 A job with strings attached gains Henry marks (11)
APOSTROPHES – A, POST, ROPES (strings) ‘gaining’ H (Henry). Another cunning definition.

16 Reply to outburst by Open University bringing in a smaller amount? (5,3)
BLESS YOU – BY, OU (Open University) ‘bringing in’ LESS. The outburst would be a sneeze.

18 Property guardians fill one book actually (2,5)
IN TRUTH – NT (National Trust) fills I, RUTH.

19 Island's old rules about rudiments of martial arts (7)
SUMATRA – SUTRA about M[artial] A[rts].

20 Cereal covers a large upside-down cake (6)
ECLAIR – RICE covers A L, all upside-down.

25 What’s crossed by Arctic explorers? (3)
ICE – hidden answer, and an &lit. definition (see glossary).
So sorry this is so late - I've been in the throes of the flu for about a week now, and not at all sure what day it is half the time. Likewise I couldn't tell you if this puzzle was easy or hard, it took me 9 minutes in my bewildered state so probably somewhere in between. I liked 2dn (especially because I'm a Matthew) and the deceptive simplicity of 21ac.

On Tuesday I fainted in the shower and had to spend the day in the ER, not so much fun especially when a CT scan revealed that my aortic root is dilated in a dangerous way that will necessitate cardiothoracic surgery. I wonder if solving ability can be improved by bionic enhancement? Maybe they can build in a fast-lookup dictionary along with the new aorta...

ACROSS
1 Less bothered about meat bone one's left for dog's dinner (8)
SHAMBLES - (LESS*) ["bothered"], about HAM B{one} [meat | bone "one's left"]

5 Noxious gas is dispersing, after bottling by old lady (6)
MIASMA - the old lady is MAMA, "bottling" IS, but dispersedly: M{I}A{S}MA

9 More than one top down in flash car (9)
ROLLNECKS - NECK [down] in ROLLS [flash car]

11 Turn back actor’s script (5)
OGHAM - reversed GO [turn], + HAM [actor]

12 Lot mostly affected where pounds are lost (3,4)
FAT CAMP - FAT{e} [lot, "mostly"] + CAMP [affected]

13 Rough cases fine on old watch (7)
LOOKOUT - LOUT [rough] "cases" OK O [fine | old]

14 Representative soldier given arm? (7,6)
PRIVATE MEMBER - PRIVATE [soldier] given MEMBER [arm?]

16 Warmer politician to put up with waffle (10,3)
GREENHOUSE GAS - GREEN [politician] + HOUSE [to put up] with GAS [waffle]

20 Mostly torn bananas back in dish (7)
STUNNER - reversed REN{t} NUTS ["mostly" torn | bananas]. The human kind of dish

21 Rearing bats in wild to a greater extent (7)
ANGRIER - (REARING*) ["bats"]

23 Guarantee to knock out right result (5)
ENSUE - ENSU{r}E [guarantee, "to knock out (R for) right"]

24 What Royal Mint employees do to prepare (4,5)
MAKE READY - double def

25 Cat grabbing a rat's head and part of throat (6)
LARYNX - LYNX [cat] "grabbing" A R{at}

26 Impasse with man arresting criminal don (5-3)
STAND-OFF - STAFF [man] "arresting" (DON*) ["criminal"]

DOWN
1 What priests offered queen wearing undies (6)
SHRIFT - R [queen] in SHIFT [undies]

2 Grant nothing from Matthew on? (5)
ALLOT - as Matthew is what begins the N.T., if our collection stops before Matthew it must be ALL O.T.

3 Clay under mountain grand for Asian (7)
BENGALI - ALI [(Cassius) Clay] under BEN G [mountain | grand]

4 Role champagne's playing in brain still? (13)
ENCEPHALOGRAM - (ROLE CHAMPAGNE*) ["is playing"]. Still as in "image"

6 I really put the sauce away in elementary form (7)
ISOTOPE - I SO TOPE [I | really | put the sauce away]

7 Train journalist about what moves children (6,3)
SCHOOL BUS - SCHOOL [train] + reversed SUB [journalist]

8 Stripped cars with fully developed motor component (8)
ARMATURE - {c}AR{s} + MATURE [fully developed]

10 Producers favour this character, say, in comic film (7,6)
SELLERS MARKET - MARK [character, say] in SELLERS E.T. [comic (Peter) | film]

14 Herald opening of picture with touching on-screen presence (9)
PRECURSOR - P{icture} with RE [touching] + CURSOR [on-screen presence]

15 Fragile material goods woman kept in building wing (8)
EGGSHELL - G G SHE [(two) goods | woman] "kept in" ELL [building wing]

17 News covering article piercing fabric (7)
NANKEEN - N N [(two) news] "covering" A [article] + KEEN [piercing]

18 Out of this world Soviet jelly dipped in alcohol (7)
GAGARIN - AGAR [jelly] "dipped in" GIN [alcohol]

19 Shriek at great volume, welcoming United's star player (6)
CRUYFF - CRY FF [shriek | at great volume], "welcoming" U [United]. Dutch football legend who died in 2016, making those tricky _R_Y_F corners of the grid finally cluable by Times setters

22 Ideal notion of this person's past (5)
IMAGO - I'M AGO [this person's | past]

Quick Cryptic 1474 by Felix

Well, the theme of today seems to be the compound anagram, 15ac, 3dn, 5dn, 16dn. Assuming that doesn't throw you it's a pretty straighforward offering today. I love the Dallas reference, who's going to claim to be too young to get it?

Across
1 Back in Galloway, having left without permission (4)
AWOL -  Reverse hidden word  - galLOWAy. Absent without leave.
4 US university rugby forward providing form of security (4,4)
YALE LOCK - YALE is the university and LOCK is the rugby forward
8 I hold what’s been laid on the table? (6)
EGGCUP - cryptic definition. An egg has been laid, and it's on the table.
9 Arts graduate turns to jelly and bread rolls (6)
BAGELS - BA + GELS
10 Aware of our originally visiting tavern (2,2)
IN ON - INN with O inside
11 Osier: dry, withered and pathetic (8)
DERISORY - anagram ('withered') of OSIER DRY
12 They’re for raising flags (5)
JACKS - double definition
13 Stan’s partner not finishing ancient fairy story (5)
OLLIE - ancient is OLD, unfinished it is OL, add LIE for fairy story.
15 Puss, moving to catch part of bird, surges (8)
UPSWINGS - anagram ('moving') of PUSS with WING inside
17 A politician following leader of Conservative party (4)
CAMP - C + A MP
19 Pose without shirt? Don’t do that! (4,2)
STOP IT - Pose is SIT (for a portrait etc) with TOP inside
20 Rubbish very loudly placed in heap (6)
PIFFLE - FF is very loudly, inside PILE
21 Old religious warrior, more primitive, around S Africa (8)
CRUSADER - CRUDER with SA inside
22 Second of broadcasts, live, far from well done (4)
RARE - R is the second letter of broadcasts, add ARE for live

Down
2 Truck landed carrying silver (5)
WAGON - WON is landed with AG for silver inside
3 Nicola, awfully cold and saying little (7)
LACONIC - anagram ('awfully') of NICOLA + C for cold
4 Wages have gone up? That’s barking! (3)
YAP - PAY backwards
5 Difficult and unusual burials, with nothing going in twice (9)
LABORIOUS - anagram ('unusual') of BURIALS with O added in two places
6 Trail thus coming north arriving at African city (5)
LAGOS - LAG is to trail, thus is SO, reverse it
7 In tropical, oriental parts there’s some heat! (7)
CALORIE - hidden word tropiCAL ORIEntal
11 Ceased holding tabloid: it’s come apart (9)
DISUNITED - DIED with SUN IT inside
12 Huge body of Dallas character holding up short item (7)
JUPITER - JR (Ewing) is the Dallas Character, containing UP + ITE(m)
14 Nick the match (7)
LUCIFER - Double definition. Old Nick is a word for devil, Lucifer is a type of match
16 Cleans different pews one sits in (5)
WIPES - anagram ('different') of PEWS with I inserted
18 Someone beaming, heading off track athlete? (5)
MILER - Someone beaming is a SMILER, remove the first letter
20 Physical exercises right for each (3)
PER - PE + R
I'm glad I did this towards the end of the month rather than the beginning as there were some pretty darn scary words in here, so I thought it worked very nicely as a Hallowe'en puzzle, under the bedsheets by the light of a torch. Well worth the workout and there are a good few "easy" clues in the mix so that anyone should have been able to get a foothold in a puzzle like this, even if some of the ten letter monstrosities would make the stoutest solving hearts quail. Thanks to the setter for the distraction from the woes of flu and vasovagal syncope that have been mostly afflicting me this week!

ACROSS
1 Tablecloth expected to cover board for pontoon (8)
DUCHESSE - DUE [expected] to "cover" CHESS [board for pontoon]. What is a "board for pontoon", you may ask? According to my app, a "chess" is "one of the parallel planks forming the deck of a pontoon-bridge". Unwieldy perhaps but presumably there aren't any kinder ways to clue the word CHESS :P

9 Groan maybe, endlessly interrupted by band on the road and loutish toff (6-2)
TITYRE-TU - I was straight onto Groan as a definition for TITU{s}, it's my favourite book after all, and when I saw that the last letter was a U, I knew I was right. I couldn't think past TOUR for "band on the road", but we were looking for TYRE, a more literal type of band yet. Never heard of a TITYRE-TU but apparently it's a 17th century aristocratic hooligan, presumably a bit like a proto-Boris.

10 Partridge nestling, not the second caught by men (6)
CHIKOR - CHI{c}K is a nestling, minus not the first but the second C for caught. Plus the commonplace OR [men].

11 Briefly clash like Sharks and Jets, animatedly in music, over snitch’s spot (3,7)
RUM BLOSSOM - RUMBL{e} ["briefly" clash like Sharks & Jets] + reversed MOSSO [with movement, animatedly, in music]. There is a band called the Gin Blossoms whose name I believe refers to the facial rosacea of drinkers, but this is neither to do with that or the phrase "snitches get stitches" it seems, but just a pimple on one's nose, or snitch.

12 Whale blubber from jerks in Saskatchewan ... (4)
SPEK - PE [physical jerks] in SK [Saskatchewan]. Not to be confused with the nice kinds of cetacean-free spe(c)k you can get in Europe.

13 ... there oil seal (storing one kilojoule) is getting dragged over snow (10)
SKIKJORING - SK O-RING storing 1KJ. I couldn't work out why SK was a place you'd find oil during the solve itself, but now I see that it's the SK from the previous clue and the O-RING is an "oil seal". Skikjoring is what apparently passes for fun in Norway, the practice of being dragged along on your skis by a horse or motor vehicle.

16 With annoyance, earlier generation divided by new railway (7)
ANGERLY - AGE [generation] "divided" by N [new] + RLY [railway]. If you're anything like me you spent a good while trying to understand why ANGRILY didn't *quite* work. But of course we were looking for an archaic form.

17 Say landed gentry’s ultimate in social justice? (7)
EGALITY - E.G. ALIT {gentr}Y. Whew, a relatively straightforward one!

20 Hydraulic cement ingredient, phosphorus, unknown amount in very particular hard stuff made by Greeks from the east (10)
POZZUOLANA - P [phosphorus] + Z [unknown amount] in reversed ANAL OUZO [very particular | hard stuff made by Greeks]. Of course you will have known that pozz(u)olana is a volcanic dust from Pozzuoli near Naples, which forms with mortar a cement that will set in water (hence the "hydraulic" qualifier).

22 Letter returned by Post Office in operations centre (4)
QOPH - reversed PO in HQ. Beloved of Scrabble players everywhere.

23 Primate in gold coat desiring to cycle wearing fluttery boa (10)
ANGWANTIBO - WANTING [desiring], appropriately "cycled" inside (BOA*) ["fluttery"]. This is of course the tailless West African lemur which has a signature gold coat.

25 Rumoured Irish to be excluded from mockery in rebound (6)
NOISED - reverse DERISION [mockery], taking out IR [Irish] from the resultant NOIS{ir}ED. Another 15x15 candidate clue.

26 Scot’s stupid amount of money to send fraudulent email? (8)
SUMPHISH - SUM PHISH [amount of money | to send fraudulent email]. My FOI because although the word is strange and ghastly, "phish" sprang to mind almost immediately as a likely word-suffix.

27 French demanding protection of wild fruit by departure (8)
EXIGEANT - "protect" GEAN [wild cherry] with EXIT [departure]. Why is this French word, clearly marked as such, even in the dictionaries? Seems like a slippery slope...

DOWN
2 Boston’s uncoordinated release includes hot record (8)
UNHEPPEN - UNPEN [release] "includes" H EP [hot | record]. I was thrown off by assuming that Boston was indicating an Americanism, but in fact we are talking about the picturesquely Brexity Boston, Lincs.

3 Two kings Europe brought into New Zealand to support fish as extreme authoritarian emblem (10)
HAKENKREUZ - K R EU [king | king | Europe] "brought into" NZ, supporting HAKE [fish]. I panicked when I couldn't think of any extreme authoritarian emblems other than the clearly not 10-letters-long SWASTIKA, but this is just a synonym thereof.

4 Swimmers err, as almost having outer parts amputated by this piranha (10)
SERRASALMO - a well-concealed hidden in {swimmer}S ERR AS ALMO{st}. I assume "serrasalmo" just means "serrated salmon", pretty much.

5 Forgetting answer, omit puzzling with head like a sieve (7)
ETHMOID - (OMIT + HE{a}D*) ["puzzling"]. I'd heard of the ethmoid bone but didn't know ethmoid meant "like a sieve". Quite exciting!

6 Natural Rastafarian food giving virtually regular eliminations? (4)
ITAL - {v}I{r}T{u}A{l}L{y}, regularly eliminated. A traditional Rasta stew.

7 Salaryman’s business card: one constitutes a greeting (6)
MEISHI - ME IS HI [one | constitutes | a greeting]. And now we all know the Japanese for "business card"!

8 Temperature within my gunge, spread like spiced custard? (8)
NUTMEGGY - T "within" (MY GUNGE*) ["spread"]. Another clue that could fit in the 15x15.

14 Blend of Dijon containing Tabasco water, right for wildcat (10)
JAGUARONDI - (DIJON*) ["blend"] containing AGUA R [water, in Tabasco | right]. I never saw this not spelled "jaguarundi" before, but the letter was even helpfully checked to prevent autopilot errors.

15 Shrine of Rome’s first priest as leading to wrath (10)
RELIQUAIRE - R{ome} + ELI [priest] + QUA [as] + IRE [wrath]. Quairest spelling of "reliquary" *I've* seen.

16 A round plate visible during an intermission (8)
APPLAUSE - PL [plate] "visible during" A PAUSE [an intermission]. 15x15ish.

18 Kind heart of Lysander guarding house of Greek monster (8)
TYPHOEAN - TYPE [kind] + {lys}AN{der} "guarding" HO [house]. Typhon is the monster whose adjectival form is Typhoean.

19 Overrun by infants mostly, check leather straps (7)
BABICHE - CH [check], "overrun by" BABIE{s}. A strange French-Canadian-Algonquian word, but easily findable from the wordplay.

21 Extremes of zoophysiology see red, short part of skull (6)
ZYGOMA - Z{oophysiolog}Y + GO MA{d} [see red, "short"]. Another pretty quick one to fall, as there is no way it doesn't start with ZY.

24 Indian corporal related uprising across area (4)
NAIK - reversed KIN [related] "across" A for area. Bunged in quickly from wordplay.

Times 27496 - double maths!

Time taken: 13:22. That is a little over my average, and there was some head scratching and letter trawling for the last two in but I think I understand everything.

There's a few bits of general knowledge that were thankfully in my range.

We are in one of those strange weeks where the USA has not ended daylight savings so the puzzle doesn't appear until an hour later than I expect. All will be back to whatever passes for normal next week.

Away we go...


Across
1 Something since cured with last of medicine in tablet (8)
PASTILLE - something since cured would be PAST ILL, then the last letter of medicinE
5 Unsparing curbing of habit by party from the right (6)
BRUTAL - RUT(habit) inside LAB(party) reversed
10 Getting one's teeth into calculations? (6-9)
NUMBER-CRUNCHING - cryptic definition
11 Evil trait initially absent in enduring celebrity (10)
IMMORALITY - remove the first letter of Trait from IMMORTALITY(enduring celebrity)
13 One of four Hindu texts in five days (4)
VEDA - hidden in fiVE DAys
15 Attention required in class — might one be leaning on desk? (7)
FOREARM - EAR(attention) inside FORM(class)
17 Last bit of green wiped away, colour toenails maroon (7)
ISOLATE - remove the last letter of greeN from TOENAILS and form an anagram
18 Brother welcome among females (7)
HEAVENS - AVE(welcome) inside HENS(females)
19 On your bike, take the wrong route? (3,4)
GET LOST - double definition
21 National relationship mentioned (4)
THAI - sounds like TIE(relationship)
22 Write page in prayer where one has a little freedom? (4,6)
OPEN PRISON - PEN(write), P(page) in ORISON(prayer)
25 Appear in total control — with deck hand? (4,3,3,5)
HOLD ALL THE CARDS - if your hand is the deck you would HOLD ALL THE CARDS
27 Infusion all there is after this, oddly (6)
TISANE - SANE(all there) after alternating letters in ThIs
28 American steps in Spooner's love dance? (5,3)
BUNNY HOP - Spoonerism of HONEY BOP(love dance)

Down
1 High priest in power working to get over disagreement (7)
PONTIFF - P(power), ON(working) then TIFF(disagreement)
2 Problem needing solution originally, let me think (3)
SUM - first letter in Solution then UM(let me think)
3 Way of shifting reserve vessel (10)
ICEBREAKER - double definition for the group activity and the boat
4 Establishment purveying beer: diet? (5)
LOCAL - LO-CAL(diet)
6 Career people (4)
RACE - double definition
7 Second artist covers dinosaur (11)
TRICERATOPS - TRICE(second), RA(artist), TOPS(covers)
8 Crack found in sled in several cases? (7)
LUGGAGE - GAG(joke, crack) inside LUGE(sled)
9 Shooting game in Ireland that's time-consuming? (8)
HURTLING - HURLING(game in Ireland) containing T(time)
12 I strike up, moving La Scala? (5,6)
MARIA CALLAS - an all-in-one clue. Wordplay is I, RAM(strike) all reversed then an anagram of LA,SCALA
14 Native of Central America, don't question my ability to act with you! (5,5)
COSTA RICAN - CO-STAR? I CAN!
16 Coat under slip taken down in error (8)
MISSPELT - PELT(coat) under MISS(slip)
18 Potter’s much fancied attempt, perhaps, to become wizard (7)
HOTSHOT - a pool player might like a HOT SHOT
20 Nose put out gets into better shape (5,2)
TONES UP - anagram of NOSE PUT
23 Pandit upending gas-filled vessel (5)
NEHRU - reversal of HE(helium gas) inside URN(vessel). The first Prime Minister of India was Pandit Jawaharlal NEHRU
24 Clumsily touch knight — instead of this? (4)
PAWN - PAW(clumsily touch), N(knight in chess)
26 Some cheer, a hooray? (3)
RAH - another all-in-one, hidden in cheeR A Hooray

Times Quick Cryptic No 1473 by Izetti

An example of 'the Don' (Izetti) being up to his usual high standard, and taking me above 20m (just!) due mostly to some thorny parsing (which is invariably included in my quoted times).  Maybe I should be revising my target range from 10-15 minutes to 15-20 minutes?

This QC requires a smattering of mild GK (general knowledge), which I was fortunate enough to possess, despite my lack of a classical education.  There was nothing unknown (for me) or unfair here, just some good clueing that demanded thought, and some neat surfaces.

FOI – PALACE, COD 13a (I’d love to know if the double duty is deliberate – see below) and WOD – DEICIDE.  Thanks Izetti.  Over to you, my dear readers.

Across
1  China has fantastic residence for ruler maybe (6)
PALACE – PAL (china, as in china plate = mate = pal from Cockney Rhyming Slang) and ACE (fantastic).
4  What to expect from member of family becoming minister (6)
PARSON – PAR (what to expect, e.g. from golf – the expected score for a hole) and SON (member of family).
8 Excuse criminal no more (7)
CONDONE – CON (criminal) and DONE (no more).
10  Like many a roof, bound to be penetrated by hail ultimately (5)
TILED – TIED (bound) containing (penetrated by) {hai}L (ultimately, last letter).
11  Tulip surprisingly bright in display? (3,2)
LIT UP – Anagram (surprisingly) of [TULIP].
12 Historian understood by you and me (7)
TACITUS – TACIT (understood or implied) and US (you and me).  Publius Cornelius TACITUS is considered to be one of the greatest of Roman historians.
13  Vehicle black and dirty, not an attractive gem? (9)
CARBUNCLE – CAR (vehicle) and B{lack} followed by UNCLE{an} (dirty) and drop the last two letters – not an.  The clue can be seen as a straight definition where a CARBUNCLE is a fiery-red precious stone.  However, the clue is cleverly (possibly accidentally) constructed to allow the words ‘not an’ to appear to be doing double duty, first as the instruction to drop the AN from UNCLEAN, and second as a part of the definition if we think about an alternative use for CARBUNCLE as an architectural monstrosity or eyesore.  I have highlighted the double duty words to illustrate this interpretation.  The word was used in this sense by Prince Charles in his ‘monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend’ speech relating to a plan for a modern extension to the National Gallery. That plan, by Peter Ahrends was subsequently scrapped and an alternative was built in 1991.
17  Sign in entrance letting number in (7)
PORTENT – PORT (entrance) containing TEN (letting number in).
19  We hear no sound from a horse (5)
NEIGH – Sounds like (we hear) NAY (no).
20  Revolutionary number left heading west (5)
LENIN – NINE (number) and L{eft} reversed (heading west).
21  Resolve to imprison one for a type of murder (7)
DEICIDE – DECIDE (resolve) containing (imprisoning) I (one).  DEICIDE is the killing of a God.
22  Second piece of open country gets protection (6)
SHEATH – S{econd} and HEATH (open country).
23  It may see some balls in nets returned? (6)
TENNISAnagram (returned) of [IN NETS] inside a cryptic clue.  On edit, thanks to Vinyl (see below), A simple reverse hidden (some, returned) in {ball}S IN NET{s}

Down
1  Choice the French relish (6)
PICKLE – PICK (choice) and LE (the in French).
2  I felt uncaring somehow in group of political extremists (7,6)
LUNATIC FRINGE – Anagram (somehow) of [I FELT UNCARING]
3  Hard to penetrate metal – here’s an axe (7)
CHOPPER – H{ard} inside (penetrating) COPPER (metal).
5  One about to shelter under a dry space in building (5)
ATTIC – I (one) and C (about / circa) beneath (sheltering under) A (a) and TT (dry – tee-total).
6  To discipline’s unusual: there is evidence of disagreement (5,8)
SPLIT DECISION – Anagram (unusual) of [TO DISCIPLINE’S]
One may barely enjoy being in a holiday camp (6)
NUDIST – Cryptic definition playing on the use of ‘barely’.
Handed over part of hospital that’s rotten (9)
ENTRUSTED – ENT (part of hospital – Ear, Nose and Throat department) and RUSTED (rotten).
14  I’d dance around as a character in satire (7)
CANDIDE – Anagram (around) of [I’D DANCE].  CANDIDE is the eponymous lead character in Voltaire’s satirical novella.
15  Splinters of wood in sheds (6)
SPILLS – Double definition, the first referring to the thin strips of wood used for lighting a fire (noun), the second to spill or shed something (verb).
16 Acclamation in church always before start of sermon (6)
CHEERS – CH{urch} followed by E’ER (poetic contraction of EVER / always) before (start of) S{ermon}.
18  Some patterns taken for painter (5)
ERNST – Hidden in {patt}ERNS T{aken}, referring to the German painter and dadaist Max ERNST.
Once again, after a reasonably challenging Monday this week, I find Wednesday is more in a Monday vein. I worked steadily through the clues with no hold-ups and not even a mild ER. 20 minutes not rushing. It's a pleasant puzzle with some nice surfaces but nothing special; Jimbo might say 'vanilla'. I think 19d gets my CoD vote for linking Aden and Suez in a neat way.

Definitions underlined. Anagrams thus (FODDER)*, anagrists in italics.

Across
1 Flagrant European aspect in Shakespeare? (9)
BAREFACED - Shakespeare is our BARD, into him insert E and FACE = aspect.
6 Drop clean brush (5)
SCRUB - Triple definition.
9 Appearance of hole in wounded insect's wing (7)
SECTION - O for hole in (INSECT)*.
10 Carrier taking off with one bachelor aboard (7)
MINIBUS - MINUS = taking off, insert I B.
11 Scheduled worktime unknown for husband? Not mine! (5)
YOURS - HOURS = scheduled worktime, swap the H for a Y (symbol for an algebraic unknown).
12 Second editor leaving, reprimanded (6,3)
TICKED OFF - TICK (second) ED(itor), OFF = leaving.
14 I object when old craft's brought back (3)
BUT - TUB reversed.
15 Where travellers accumulate strain that can't be recovered from? (3,8)
AIR TERMINAL - Strain = AIR, song; TERMINAL = can't be recovered from.
17 Less than attractive enterprise (11)
UNDERTAKING - UNDER = less than, TAKING = attractive, as in 'I'm very taken with her'.
19 Shrinking firm close to bankruptcy (3)
COY - CO = firm, Y = end of bankruptcy. Shrinking as in violet, perhaps.
20 Seeing fiery criminal in tie, one's enamoured (9)
BOYFRIEND -  BOND = tie, insert (FIERY)*.
22 Range woman designer has on display (5)
ANDES - Hidden word in WOM(AN DES)IGNER.
24 Chance losing face when hugging old flame devoid of passion (7)
ASEXUAL - CASUAL = chance, as in encounter; drop the C (losing face) and insert EX (old flame),
26 Go with disdain, having no time for feral cat (7)
FLOUNCE - FL = FERAL without ERA (no time), OUNCE a cat.
27 Investigate key vote, centre having fallen away (5)
DELVE - DEL = key on keyboard, VE = VOTE without its centre.
28 Neighbours often share this celebration with everyone (5,4)
PARTY WALL - PARTY = celebration, W = with, ALL = everyone.

Down
1 Arrest Yankee, needing a lot of support upfront? (5)
BUSTY - BUST = arrest, Y = Yankee.
2 One making frequent court appearances: fraud only spoken of? (7)
RACQUET - Sounds like RACKET which could be fraud.
3 That's just Clement, Saint Clement (5,4)
FAIRS FAIR - CLEMENT weather is fair weather, so we have FAIR, S(aint), FAIR. I did wonder initially if there was some famous Fair named after said Saint, but no.
4 Dismay as prisoner at the back put away (11)
CONSTERNATE - CON (prisoner) STERN (at the back) ATE (put away). A word not often used as a verb, more familiar to me as the noun CONSTERNATION.
5 Gloomy doctor holds one up (3)
DIM - MD insert I and reverse all.
6 Lapse before church and after (5)
SINCE - SIN (lapse), CE (church).
7 Sand treatment post-exercise (7)
RUBDOWN - double definition.
8 Deliver a thorough whack, looking sheepish (9)
BASHFULLY - If you BASH FULLY you deliver a good whack.
13 Put off after clubs restrict game (6,2,3)
CHEMIN DE FER - C (clubs), HEM IN (restrict), DEFER (put off). Chemin de Fer is a version of Baccarat; apparently so named because it was a faster game than the original and when the game was devised the railway was then the fastest means of transport. (Seems a dodgy explanation to me).
14 Sporting student to take on uxoricide (9)
BLUEBEARD - BLUE as in Oxford or Cambridge Blue, one who represents the university; BEARD = take on, as in 'beard the lion in his den'. BLUEBEARD, according to the folk tale, was a rich nobleman who repeatedly killed off his wives. Bartók wrote an opera about the story called Bluebeard's Castle: I like Bartók's music but this is a bit heavy going even for a Bartók fan.
16 A grim, drunken politician on the move (9)
MIGRATORY - (A GRIM)* then TORY.
18 Plain accommodation in order for current provider (3,4)
DRY CELL - DRY could mean plain, e.g. without gravy or sauce. a CELL can be accommodation, albeit penal. A dry cell is a form of battery.
19 Noted passage roughly skirting port close to Suez (7)
CADENZA - CA = circa, roughly. Into that insert ADEN (a port) and the Z = close to Suez. Violin concertos usually have a cadenza near the end of the first movement, where the soloist shows off.
21 Broadcast foundation course (5)
ROUTE - Unuslally a second homophone clue; sounds like ROOT = foundation.
23 Sense deception when Frenchmen comes in (5)
SMELL - a 'SELL' can be a form of deception; into that insert M(onsieur).
25 End of classical work cut (3)
LOP - L = end of classical, OP = opus, work.

Times Quick Cryptic No 1472 by Orpheus

Introduction

10 minutes to get all but the second letter of the Welshman's name, but in the end a DNF as I had to look up the barn cart. A very enjoyable puzzle! There isn't much to say about the wordplay, but the answers themselves were juicy and satisfying

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Times Cryptic 27494

I found some of this quite tricky as there were a few words and bits of GK that I didn't know. But it was every enjoyable and held my interest so that I never felt it was going to beat me. In the end I completed the grid in 44 minutes.

Here's my blog...Collapse )

Times Quick Cryptic 1471 by Teazel

Another over-target 12 minutes today caused by longish holdups on clues around the grid where the definition wasn’t obvious to me - the best example being LOI 10ac. I’m not sure that this puzzle is as tricky as I made it so please see the times of others for a more reliable view of today's difficulty.

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Times Quick Cryptic 1470 by Tracy

My run of disastrous solves continues with this one that took me 18 minutes which is well into 'red' territory (15+ minutes) yet again. I haven't achieved my 10 minute target since Tracy's last appearance on 18th October, yet at the turn of the month I had a run of 10 consecutive 'green' solves.

Here's my blog...Collapse )

Times 27493 - Epic Fail

A bit short of time again this week - and I will be in meetings most of the day - so something of a skeletal blog. If you require extra elucidation please ask the extremely intelligent people on this site - or even Verlaine...

Quite tough I found this, requiring aids, most embarrassingly, on 1 down. I said it was embarrassing. Thankfully, Monday is over and I can get back to the real work of attending to crosswords after a day spent dealing with the consequences of the current unrest in Hong Kong on a major transport company and tidy the blog up. Thanks to all who pointed out my various solecismish boobs.

Across
1 Shortage principally striking Detroit, for example? (8)
SCARCITY - S[triking] CAR CITY
5 Male swan we initially bypassed in predator’s trap (6)
COBWEB - COB WE B[ypassed]
10 Play higher card in game held by public representative (9)
OVERTRUMP - RU in OVERT MP
11 Wife dips into cashbox to get woven fabric (5)
TWILL - W in TILL
12 Like certain poems only declaimed in Cambridge originally (4)
ODIC - initial letters of words 4-7
13 Porcelain airline used, accepting dieter’s goal? (4,5)
BONE CHINA - ONE CHIN in BA
15 Laid up in Caribbean island? It’s the passion fruit! (10)
GRENADILLA - ILL in GRENADA
17 Charge a fighting man at end of set-to (4)
AGIO - A GI [set-t]O
19 Appealing sartorial style displayed by English (4)
CUTE - CUT E
20 NI area’s yen to enter TV game show (6,4)
COUNTY DOWN - Y in COUNTDOWN
22 Hurry back from house, admitting a daughter’s nanny (9)
NURSEMAID - RUN reversed A in SEMI D
24 Disabled operatic hero losing head in wild party (4)
ORGY - [p]ORGY. I got plenty o' nuttin'...
26 Head of royal house gathering in money (5)
RHINO - R[oyal] IN in HO
27 Badly need a rest, being in Bow, perhaps? (4,5)
EAST ENDER - NEED A REST*
28 Wading bird initially watched by French priest crossing lake (6)
CURLEW - L IN CURE W[atched]
29 Superb hair bow king jettisoned before church (3-5)
TOP-NOTCH - TOP[k]NOT CH

Down

1 Drink of spirits getting us fired (4)
SHOT - double definition, with 'getting us' linking the two. I think.
2 Girl in a European capital having row about stray dog (8,7)
ABERDEEN TERRIER - BEE in A BERN + ERR in TIER
3 Sea creature in film, one kept in unsuitable container (8)
CETACEAN - ET ACE in CAN. I guess the setter is suggesting that a whale should not be kept in a can.
4 Digital amenity for a coy sucker? (5)
THUMB - a shy person might evince that shyness by sucking their thumb
6 Branch of science tutors primarily presented in old films (6)
OPTICS - T[utors] in O PIC
7 Foolishly grow fat doing it, inspiring one’s first play (7,3,5)
WAITING FOR GODOT - GROW FAT DOING IT O[ne]*
8 It could poison a couple of women (10)
BELLADONNA - BELLA DONNA
9 Old writer left in vessel with few dividing walls (4-4)
OPEN-PLAN - O PEN L in PAN
14 Self-obsessed fellow accepting money after game (10)
EGOCENTRIC - GO (game) CENT in ERIC
16 Abandoned aide, lost and cut off from society (8)
ISOLATED - AIDE LOST*
18 Innsbruck citizen’s variable part in function (8)
TYROLEAN - Y ROLE in TAN[gent]
21 Inherited material evident at first in Swiss banker (6)
GENOME - E[vident] in GNOME
23 Party in command is Conservative (5)
DISCO - IS C in DO (command - I think 'do' as in 'do hurry' is being referenced); as pointed out most gently by Olivia, this is actually a hidden answer, ‘though I still think my parsing is more ingenious if possibly a little more wrong.
25 Possible opening for chief in combinations? (4)
ARCH - an ARCH can be an opening and 'arch-' is used as a prefix to denote 'chiefdom', as in ARCHBISHOP and ARCHVILLAIN

Mephisto 3086 - Tim Moorey

Unless you’re very experienced you are unlikely to solve a Mephisto without using Chambers. The idea is that you use the precise wordplay to derive an answer that you then verify in the dictionary.  5D is a perfect example.

A puzzle of no more than average difficulty

In the clues, definitions are underlined. Wordplay explanation is followed by very helpful comments.

ACROSS
1 Silent leaving clubs? Only a bit in Glasgow (4)
TAIT: TA(c)IT;
4 Love kiss on the kisser from an African bird (8)
OXPECKER: O-X-PECKER
9 Stella drunk in Rock could get you this (8, three words)
ALL,AT,SEA: AA=rock surrounds (stella)*; reference Stella Lager;
11 Short of backing many in choir impromptu getting out of tune (10)
INHARMONIC: (man + in + choir)*;
12 Lightermen last to encourage shelducks (8)
BARGEESE: BARGEES-(encourage)E;
15 Fruit from the east without flavour mostly (5)
NELIS: SILEN(t) reversed;
16 Recall movement in scores of MacMillan (4)
RITS: STIR reversed; scots word for scores – reference clan MacMillan;
17 Stress about infectious diseases? It happens (8)
ACCIDENT: ACC(ID)ENT; reference common saying, accidents happen;
18 A little boy catches fly (8)
SMIDGEON: S(MIDGE)ON;
20 Tense journalist fellow union’s leader ignored (4)
EDGY: ED-G(u)Y;
22 Freeman, company boss attached to both sides (5)
CEORL: CEO-R-L
25 Inconsistent person turned up before Christmas over (8)
CAMELEON: CAME-(NOEL reversed);
26 Go around a green for limestone deposit (10)
TRAVERTINE: TR(A-VERT)INE;
27 Insult chaps spoken of in front (8)
DISGUISE: DIS-sounds like “guys”;
28 Nut eating honey and cereal (8)
AMELCORN: A(MEL)CORN;
29 Unfinished search for item in playground up north (4)
SWEE: SWEE(p);

DOWN
1 Sound quality not so fierce around bass (6)
TAMBER: TAM(B)ER;
2 Materially wrong about potassium measurement in labs (11)
ALKALIMETRY: (materially + k=potassium)*;
3 Briefs a nipper lifted up (5)
TANGA: A-GNAT reversed;
4 Sort of ranks / remaining (5)
OTHER: two meanings;
5 Cordial company sharing a seat (8)
PERSICOT: PER-SI(CO)T;
6 Old head of English in school uttered the call (6)
COOEED: CO(O-E)ED;
7 County resident not right to reveal pig iron on board (9)
KENTLEDGE: KENT-LEDGE(r);
8 Given a new role take advanced supersonic transport (6)
RECAST: REC-AST; AST=Advanced Supersonic Transport;
10 Shy about going before audience in dressing room (11)
TIRINGHOUSE: (re)TIRING-HOUSE;
13 What some TT reformers might do for an explanation (9)
RATIONALE: RATION-ALE;
14 Wrought iron case in outline (8)
SCENARIO: (iron case)*;
18 Payment one accepted for concave moulding (6)
SCOTIA: SCOT-I-A:
19 Cobblers urge beginning with last (6)
DRIVEL: DRIVE-L(ast);
21 Endless corruption absorbed by the old American (6)
YANKEE: Y-(c)ANKE(r)-E
23 The old take plan without a pinch of salt (5)
DEIGN: DE(S)IGN;
24 Students below, look up in group of trees (5)
ALNUS: LA reversed – NUS;
As my FOI was IN ONE’S RIGHT MIND, and my third, after AIDA, was the other 15-letter answer, DELIRIUM TREMENS, I was off to a flying start. Now, I really like long answers, but especially long anagrams, which neither of these two were. However, this puzzle offered the special treat of two even longer answers, both of them anagrammatical. I had to look twice to figure out what was going on with these two clues, each split into two parts. That’s just because in some puzzles elsewhere when answers are split into more than one place on the grid, the answer may be only one word but each part is also a word on its own (often unclued as such); and if the answer consists of more than one word, those words may not be the same as those that appear in each part as it’s broken up in the grid. Nothing nearly so complicated is involved here! My COD goes to COGNITIVE DISSONANCE… which I experienced a bit over the mechanics of a couple other clues, 1 down and 21.

The last thing I noticed about this puzzle, which occurred to me when I no longer had it in front of me, is that it is a pangram.

I do (amnasarg)* like this, and italicize anagrinds in the clues.


ACROSS
 1 Slave girl’s excellent hairstyle (4)
AIDA — Verdi’s heroine. A1, “excellent,” and the “hairstyle” is DA, for “duck’s arse” or (US) “duck’s ass.”
 3 & 10 Sky watcher intercepts gale force winds [two-word answer] (10)
REFRACTING — (intercepts gale force)*
10 See 3 (9)
TELESCOPE — See above
11 Port—at first just a wine (5)
RIOJA — RIO, “Port” + J[-ust]+ A
12 Retailer serving niche market? (6,4)
CORNER SHOP — CD. Cute, and easy, once you stop looking for something complicated. My LOI!
13 Edge of stockbroker belt (4)
KERB — Hidden
15 Fruit for jam (6)
SQUASH — DD
16 Mark Arctic rocks with single cross (8)
CICATRIX — (Arctic)* + I + X
18 Fair Democrat a US city rejected (3,2,3)
NOT SO BAD — Outspent by the super PACs? D(emocrat) + A + BOSTON  <=“rejected”
19 Wife becoming craftsperson (6)
WRIGHT — W(ife) + RIGHT, “becoming,” in the sense of “appropriate”; often meaning attractively so
22 Article by 1,000 US opponents (4)
THEM — THE, “article” + M for “1,000”
23 Rock thrown over tram line (10)
TETRAMETER — TE(TRAM)ETER. A short one, just three beats.
25 Weapon armistice announced (5)
PIECE — So now we just fight with our hands?  Homophone, “peace”
26 & 27 Cannot give decisions suffering this? [two-word answer] (9)
COGNITIVE — (Cannot give decisions)* This is brilliant, a rare example of a perfect &lit.
27 See 27 (10)
DISSONANCE — See above
28 Run around to find better writing? (4)
EDIT — TIDE<=“around” I saw the definition immediately but was hesitant to put this down. Hmm. What senses, respectively, of “tide” and “run” can we say are synonymous? A tide can be (Collins) “a stream, current, etc. or trend, tendency, etc. the tide of public opinion”—is that it? “A run of bad luck,” “the run of events,” “the tide of events”…

DOWN
 1 A charge, say, or several (7)
ATTACKS — ”A tax,” homophone (“say”); definition “several [charges].” This is at least a semi-&lit, since one word of the wordplay hss to be mentally resupplied for the definition.
 2 Shakes out of the bottle (8,7)
DELIRIUM TREMENS — CD
 4 Number one fan (6)
EGOIST — CD
 5 Rioter oddly cold inhaling hot, hot air (8)
RHETORIC — (Rioter)* + C(old) with H(ot) taken in
 6 Across river, better fish (4)
CARP — CA(R)P
 7 Having no sinister thoughts? (2,4,5,4)
IN ONES RIGHT MIND — CD
 8 Shifting equipment, things will get hit (7)
GEARBOX — GEAR, “things” + BOX, “hit”
 9 Slander, as somebody describing one (9)
ASPERSION — AS + PERS(I)ON
14 Retreating army to help farmhand (9)
DAIRYMAID — That’s “army,” MYRIAD<=”retreating” + AID, “help”
17 Type of orange drink, oddly nice, that cuts through (8)
VALENCIA — V(ALE, “drink” + N[-i]C[-e])IA
18 Writer’s block (7)
NOTEPAD — CD
20 In plague, wrong to hold hands (7)
TORMENT — TOR(MEN)T This is an unusual clue, with one word preceding the definition and pointing only to the wordplay. “In a synonym for this word, find this wordplay,” rather the inverse of the usual instructions. Done for the sake of a clever, if horrifying, surface.
21 Like Hamlet cigar, ultimately burnt up (6)
TRAGIC — (cigar + [-burn]T)* To my mind, the comma missing after “Like Hamlet” made for a surreal phrase. “What in blazes is a “Hamlet cigar”?” Thanks to Phil Jordan, in the comments below, for clearing this up. Hamlet cigars are a thing!
24 In France, the humorous monarch’s old love (4)
ZERO — In a corny imitation of a Gallic accent, ZE for “the” + R(ex) + O(ld)

Hi everyone.  I will have to be brief as I’ve had a millionty things to do.


My solve looked at first like it would be pretty brief too (for a kitty), but alas it was not to be.  Several answers held out much longer than the rest, and eventually I had to look a few things up to finish.  I’d be interested to hear how you found it.

Read more...Collapse )

I printed this puzzle within minutes after it appeared online and, like others, blinked with puzzlement that there were only two clues in the down column! Some creatively filled the gap with print-and-paste, or by copying longhand. I went to plan B, solving on the screen, which worked fine for me although some reported problems with that too.

It turned out to be a relatively straightforward exercise for a Saturday, except for my struggles with the NW corner. LOI was 9ac, immediately following 2dn. I enjoyed the gentle pun at 2dn, and was fascinated by the unfamiliar language at 25ac. Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle.

Clues are blue, with definitions underlined. (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 Debussy's piece is less convincing (5)
LAMER La Mer was composed by Debussy.

4 Angels, heading off to restrict devil, providing introductory thoughts? (9)
EPIGRAPHS – [s]ERAPHS restricting PIG.

9 Plant provided by gardening girl to cover ridged structure (9)
MACHINERY – MARY, as in Mary Mary quite contrary, ‘covering’ CHINE. ‘Chine’ may be a regional noun, but having visited Poole, I’d heard of Branksome Chine.

10 Live broadcast's core element fine (5)
DWELL – D is the central (‘core’) letter of ‘broaDcast’. WELL is ‘fine’.

11 Just a house — use as place of retreat (6)
HONEST – HO (house), NEST (place of retreat). On edit: thanks to special bitter for pointing out that if you're prepared to read a long dash as a minus sign, "house — use" says to drop the last three letters off to give the HO at the start of the answer. Very nice!

12 Half-hearted saint with inadequate bunch of fighters (8)
LUKEWARM – LUKE, W (with), ARM[y].

14 Dumped old females given confidential advice? (6,3)
TIPPED OFF – TIPPED (dumped), O, F, F.

16 Room for improvement? (5)
SALON – I think this is just a cryptic definition of a salon, as a place you go to improve your mind or appearance.

17 Cold, something inclined to give one pain (5)
CRAMP – C (cold), RAMP.

19 Some maybe in seats support opponents at match (9)
BACKSIDES – BACK (support), SIDES.

21 City, finally beaten 'ollow, wailed (8)
YAMMERED – [cit]Y, [h]AMMERED.

22 Good old man embracing modern music? That's the spirit! (6)
GRAPPA – G (good), PA, ‘embracing’ RAP.

25 Language of fierce female putting son off repeatedly (5)
TIGRE – TIGRE[ss], dropping two sons. It’s apparently a Semitic language of northern Eritrea and adjacent parts of Sudan.

26 Dead, then ending in Elysium? It's different for this lot! (3,6)
THE DAMNED – (DEAD THEN M*). A delightful &lit. definition.

27 Idiot gets tied up outside and watched (9)
MONITORED – MOORED outside NIT.

28 Cox maybe in vessel that's lost in the morning (5)
STEER – STE[am]ER is the vessel. To cox is one way to steer.


Down
1 My, my, the plastic's disrupted biological network! (9,6)
LYMPHATIC SYSTEM – (MY MY THE PLASTICS*).

2 On a dry day no one will want this wine (5)
MÂCON – On a dry day, you don’t need a MAC ON.

3 Concerned with matter for discussion being put in print again (7)
REISSUE – RE, ISSUE (matter for discussion).

4 Upset some oversexed old lovers (4)
EXES – backwards hidden answer (‘upset’, ‘some’)

5 Aggressive or nice, somehow bottling a fury that's silly, about nothing? (2-4-4)
IN-YOUR-FACE – (NICE A FURY*) ‘about’ an O. There are two anagram indicators, ‘somehow’ and ‘silly’, but an anagram inside another anagram (‘bottled’), is basically just a big anagram.

6 Soldiers needing ceremonial attire correct (7)
REDRESS – RE, DRESS.

7 Quiet minister, excellent, went ahead and won the day (9)
PREVAILED – P, REV, A.1., LED.

8 Marooned son's ill, abandoned individual in a Pacific location (7,8)
SOLOMON ISLANDER – (MAROONED SONS ILL*).

13 Sight in the heavens turns sailor into ferocious person (6,4)
DOUBLE STAR – the sailor is a TAR. If one DOUBLES TAR, one gets TARTAR, the ferocious person in question.

15 Tramp again disturbed shoos off a bird (9)
PTARMIGAN – (TR-MP AGAIN*). The A in ‘tramp’ is ‘shooed off’.

18 Offer from head of state, spending tiny bit of money as before (7)
PRESENT – PRES[id]ENT (head of state), with 1D (one old penny) ‘spent’.

20 Funny folk, the best sort during extremes of seriousness (7)
SCREAMS – CREAM inside S[eriousnes]S.

23 Box in church for money (5)
PENCE – PEN (box in), C.E. (church).

24 Crowd gathered in auditorium (4)
HERD – sounds like ‘heard’ (gathered) in an auditorium.

Times Quick Cryptic No 1469 by Jalna

My first Jalna Quick Crossword to blog today, and just the second from this new setter after his/her debut on 20th August. Many found that one tough and there are a few tricky clues here today, I think, including one (23A) that I have difficulty in getting to work. But there are some lovely surfaces, clever misdirections and neat wordplay. I had several candidates for Clue Of the Day, but I vote for 7A as the pick of the bunch. Thank-you Jalna. I was surprised to find I got through this in a well-under-average 4:46. How did everyone else get on?

Read all about it...Collapse )
Well this was a lot of fun, wasn't it? Nothing too hard but a lot of devious definitions and general mischief-making to keep us guessing. My LOI was 23ac which I forced myself to think about hard to avoid biffing in TWINE, which would have been a DEVONPORT moment indeed.

Lots of fun clues, but I think I'll give my COD to the sweet &lit at 11ac, thank you setter! I'm sure this puzzle will have engendered all sorts of smiles though so... what were your favourite clues?

ACROSS
1 Digger’s mate cut length from clothing (6)
COBBER - C{l}OBBER [clothing, minus an L for length]. "Digger" as in an Aussie.

4 Gradually extract ten from between the teeth of cutting tool? (3,2,3)
BIT BY BIT - BIT{ten} BY BIT, with the word TEN "extracted"

9 Consider muscle in relaxed state (7)
RESPECT - PEC [muscle] in REST [relaxed state]

11 Nothing covering animal’s coat? The reverse of that (7)
LANOLIN - reverse NIL ON A{nima}L, to find something that *does* cover animal coats!

12 Mayonnaise sent back contains this bug (5)
ANNOY - hidden reversed in {ma}YONNA{ise}

13 Common or garden species of stork sang discordantly (9)
KNOTGRASS - (STORK SANG*) ["discordantly"]

14 Call time in middle of day that’s first challenge for humanity? (6,4)
TURING TEST - RING T [call | time] "in middle of" TUES [day] + T{hat}

16 Lots of money including marks, shillings (4)
BOMB - including M [marks], BOB [shillings]

19 Band of commandos at hospital (4)
SASH - SAS [commandos] at H [hospital]

20 Extremely wide cube is a burden (4,6)
DEAD WEIGHT - DEAD W EIGHT [extremely | wide | cube (of two)]

22 One’s dashed off to pay the rent (9)
POTBOILER - cryptic definition

23 Link with facilities interspersed in Times2? (5)
TWICE - TIE [link] with W.C. [facilities], "interspersed"!

25 Many an official who may call out youth (7)
UMPTEEN - UMP [an official who may call out] + TEEN [youth]

26 Payment deadline ducked, deducting middle bit (3,4)
DUE DATE - DU{ck}ED + ATE [bit]

27 Cautiously said tough editor restricts extreme letters (8)
HAZARDED - HARD ED [Richard Rogan] "restricts" A Z [extreme letters]

28 It’s a blinking requirement (6)
EYELID - cryptic definition

DOWN
1 Seven-act plays comprising run for writer (9)
CERVANTES - (SEVEN-ACT*) ["plays"] "comprising" R [run]

2 Lad with an eye for the male or female cattle (5)
BISON - or BI, as in bisexual, SON

3 Always those old English seeing the whole world (8)
EVERYONE - EVER YON E [always | those old | English]

5 I shall start off cleansing leg with florid rash (3-10)
ILL-CONSIDERED - I'LL [I shall] + C{leansing} + ON SIDE [(cricketing) leg] with RED [florid]

6 African republic welcoming good kind (6)
BENIGN - BENIN "welcoming" G

7 Put a water pipe on account for Australian backwater (9)
BILLABONG - or BILL A BONG

8 Tool to pick up name on inside of clothing (5)
TONGS - N on inside of TOGS

10 Army to maintain forward movement — about half of them form a union (4,3,6)
TAKE THE PLUNGE - T.A. KEEP LUNGE [army | to maintain | forward movement] "about" TH{em}

15 Pink stone went as high as Bolivian city but not LA (4,5)
ROSE TOPAZ - or ROSE TO {la} PAZ

17 Ultimate death of wading bird: died after swallowing ecstasy (6,3)
BITTER END - BITTERN D [wading bird | died], after "swallowing" E

18 Young children holding each article with a light touch? (8)
FEATHERY - FRY [young children] "holding" EA THE [each | article]

21 Journey excluding a grand tour, to put out an excited sightseer? (6)
VOYEUR - VOY{ag}E [journey "excluding" A + G for grand] + {to}UR [tour, with TO "put out"]

22 Quiet sound of pain in body cavity (5)
POUCH - P OUCH! [quiet | sound of pain]

24 Irishman with his head down, counting everything (2,3)
IN ALL - take NIALL [Irishman], and drop his first letter one place downwards

Times Quick Cryptic No 1468 by Pedro

You know you've competed in a classy pub quiz when your ability to apple bob in an outsize bucket nets your team enough points to win, and you wake up in your clothes with a choice of how and when you might wish to deal with a potential hangover. I spent a bit of time looking at 1ac, wondering if it was an optimistic or a pessimistic outlook. Remained undecided, moved on, admired a number of the surfaces - 12ac seemed pertinent, had I been in charge of a car - and eventually managed to solve a clue at 18ac: perhaps an optimist's description of aching in places you previously didn't know to exist? I clicked on that nice 'Reveal Grid' option before too long just so I could diligently bring you the parsing, herewith. Probably a very good puzzle that looks to be on the trickier side - many thanks to Pedro!

Across
1 50% healthy, not completely fine at first (4)
HALF - HALE (healthy) not completely = dock the last letter; F (Fine at first). Nice!
4 Church the Italian put in primary area (8)
BASILICA - IL (the, Italian) put in BASIC (primary ) A(rea)
8 You won’t be caught napping with this (8)
INSOMNIA - cryptic definition, and the answer is also obscure to my current circumstances.
9 Support walk, heading off … (4)
ARCH - MARCH (walk) deduct the heading.
10 long walk to reach Eastern Kinross, initially (4)
TREK - Clues with ellipses should be read like lengthier Donald Trump tweets: profound when read as a whole but perfectly intelligible in their own right. Or something like that...
11 Church title recalled when including a couple of Saints and Bishop? (8)
CHESSMAN - CH(urch) NAME (title) recalled = reversed, insert SS (a couple of Saints)
12 Ruin part of garden when reversing? I’m expected to pay (6)
DEBTOR - ROT (ruin) BED (part of garden), reverse. Have to say, some very nice clues so far. Doesn't seem particularly easy when coming cold at the answers.
14 Fame about now, heading for notoriety (6)
RENOWN - RE (about) NOW, N ("heading" for Notoriety). Lovely.
16 Many shops recognised item of hardware (8)
CHAINSAW - CHAINS (many shops) SAW (recognised)
18 Secures new muscles (4)
NABS - N(ew) ABS (muscles)
19 Virus containing note getting illicit payment (4)
BUNG - BUG (virus) contains N(ote). The OED says: criminals' slang, etymology unknown, but possibly from the idea of to put forcibly. The etymology for this is described as 'echoic'. I suppose it is.
20 Spider rain had disturbed, securing cover initially (8)
ARACHNID - anagram (disturbed) of RAIN HAD, securing/holding C (Cover "initially")
22 Reduced order? Mine will become dilapidated (8)
DECREPIT - DECREE (order), reduced = dock the tail; PIT (mine).
23 Little kindergarten’s opening in seven days (4)
WEEK - WEE (little) K (kindergarten’s "opening"). Sennight is a nice word - we still use fortnight in a non-computer game context, don't we?

Down
2 A popular plant for a racecourse (7)
AINTREE - A ; IN (popular) ; TREE (plant)
3 Female to startle in a dress (5)
FROCK - F(emale) to ROCK (startle)
4 Prohibit regular extraction from brain? (3)
BAN - regularly extract the letters from BrAiN. Nuff said.
5 Concern in South Carolina over line that's frightening? (9)
SCARECROW - SC (South Carolina), insert CARE (concern) over/above ROW (line)
6 Article is probing hero’s love affair (7)
LIAISON - LION (hero) probed by A (article) and IS
7 Drink companies start to advertise (5)
COCOA - if a CO is a company, then two are COCO ; A ("start" to advertise)
11 Fraudulent player keen to support comical character (4-5)
CARD-SHARP - SHARP (keen) to support/prop-up CARD (comical character).
13 Pooh’s friend is about right to set off (7)
TRIGGER - TIGGER (Pooh’s friend) goes about R(ight)
15 We swallow the bait, hogging second spot on the Net (7)
WEBSITE - WE ; BITE (swallow the bait, literally and figuratively) hogs S(econd)
17 Home, seeing us in garden (5)
HOUSE - to HOE = to garden, insert US
18 Skill, by the sound of it? Definitely not (5)
NOHOW - sounds the same as KNOW-HOW (skill)
21 Agreement with no power in law (3)
ACT - PACT (agreement), deduct the P for power.

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