?

Log in

No account? Create an account
QC 1375 by Teazel
Astarte1
astartedon

Average difficulty for me. Would have probably been about the 8-minute mark had I not got held up slightly by 14A (see below) which was my LOI.

FOI was 9A and COD goes to 5D. Not the most elegant of surfaces perhaps, but a pleasing clue overall particularly for me with the flashback to my Law of Conservation of Matter-defying motorcyclist (see below again). Many thanks to Teazel for an enjoyable 10-minute tussle.

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

Across
1 Allocates such dreadful tee-shirts and jeans (6,7)
CASUAL CLOTHES - straight anagram ('dreadful') of ALLOCATES SUCH.
8 Countryman sees game-bird losing height (7)
PEASANT - PhEASANT (game bird) 'losing' H (height).
9 Skin lotion not rejected by monarch (5)
TONER - TON (NOT reversed, i.e. 'rejected') + ER (monarch).
10 It’s easy to be a little angel? (1,5,2,4)
A PIECE OF CAKE - if the sort of cake you have is an ANGEL cake, then 'a little angel' could be a a cryptic definition for a piece of it.
12 A bad mark for this sort of clue (6)
ACROSS - A + CROSS (bad mark).
14 Strode round rural area (6)
DORSET - straight anagram ('round') of STRODE. I am not entirley convinced of 'round' as a sufficient anagrind I have to say although I think I have probably seen it before. Certainly OK as an indicator for reversal or inclusion, but that is not what we have here. Then again if you look at STRODE in isolation it pretty much jumps out at you as an anagram of DORSET, so maybe the seasoned solver won't mind too much. Besides, I suppose if I just swallow my objection and quietly add it to my vocabulary of anagrinds, then the next time it comes up it'll just be a 10A.
17 Wild flower grew up beside pet (3,4)
DOG ROSE - ROSE (grew up) beside DOG (pet).
19 Animal runs into pipe (5)
HORSE - R (runs) 'into' HOSE (pipe).
20 Jump over tomb (5)
VAULT - double definition.
21 Perfect French dessert (7)
PARFAIT - PARFAIT is French for perfect.
22 Fat person’s pudding (4-4)
ROLY-POLY - double definition. One of my favourite puddings at school (served with warm syrup!).
23 Instrument once used in daily recital (4)
LYRE - hidden word: daiLY REcital.
Down
1 Headgear on back of the head (4)
CAPE - CAP (headgear) 'on' (in this down clue) E (back of thE). HEAD in the sense of a headland, as in 'Cape of Good Hope'.
2 A fish that’s biting (7)
SNAPPER - fairly obvious?
3 “A day, long time” — proverb (5)
ADAGE - A + D (day) + AGE (long time).
4 Ship’s tailor? (6)
CUTTER - a tailor does quite a lot of cutting.
5 Suddenly and unexpectedly lacking a couple of presents (3,2,7)
OUT OF NOWHERE - OUT OF (lacking) + NOW + HERE (a couple of presents - as in Fatboy Slim's "Right Here, Right Now!"). Reminds me of those humorous extracts the insurance industry releases from time to time from statements made to them following accidents. I heard one once where a driver showed a touching faith in the possibility of spontaneous incarnation by claiming "The motorcyclist came out of nowhere...".
6 Dye Anne Hathaway originally used up (5)
HENNA - ANNE + H (Hathaway 'originally' used) reversed (i.e. 'up' in this down clue).
7 Dramatic work by pavement artists? (6,7)
STREET THEATRE - cryptic definition.
11 Worker completed transfer (4,4)
HAND OVER - HAND (worker) + OVER (completed).
13 Grow rapidly, and drive ram away (5,2)
SHOOT UP - SHOO (drive away) + TUP (ram).
15 Such bacon uneven in quality? (7)
STREAKY - double definition.
16 A friend? Only on paper (3,3)
PEN PAL - cryptic definition.
18 Good rule to mix up thin porridge (5)
GRUEL - straight anagram ('to mix up') of G (good) + RULE.

QC 1375 by Teazel
Astarte1
astartedon

Add your introduction here

Definitions underlined in italics, (ABC)* indicating anagram of ABC, {} deletions and [] other indicators.

Across
1 Allocates such dreadful tee-shirts and jeans (6,7)
CASUAL CLOTHES - straight anagram ('dreadful') of ALLOCATES SUCH.
8 Countryman sees game-bird losing height (7)
PEASANT - PhEASANT (game bird) 'losing' H (height).
9 Skin lotion not rejected by monarch (5)
TONER - TON (NOT reversed, i.e. 'rejected') + ER (monarch).
10 It’s easy to be a little angel? (1,5,2,4)
A PIECE OF CAKE - if the sort of cake you have is an ANGEL cake, then 'a little angel' could be a a cryptic definition for a piece of it.
12 A bad mark for this sort of clue (6)
ACROSS - A + CROSS (bad mark).
14 Strode round rural area (6)
DORSET - straight anagram ('round') of STRODE. I am not entirley convinced of 'round' as a sufficient anagrind I have to say. Certainly OK as an indicator for reversal, but that is not what we have here.
17 Wild flower grew up beside pet (3,4)
DOG ROSE - ROSE (grew up) beside DOG (pet).
19 Animal runs into pipe (5)
HORSE - R (runs) 'into' HOSE (pipe).
20 Jump over tomb (5)
VAULT - double definition.
21 Perfect French dessert (7)
PARFAIT - PARFAIT is French for perfect.
22 Fat person’s pudding (4-4)
ROLY-POLY - double definition. One of my favourite puddings at school (served with warm syrup!).
23 Instrument once used in daily recital (4)
LYRE - hidden word: daiLY REcital.
Down
1 Headgear on back of the head (4)
CAPE - CAP (headgear) 'on' (in this down clue) E (back of thE). HEAD in the sense of a headland, as in 'Cape of Good Hope'.
2 A fish that’s biting (7)
SNAPPER - fairly obvious?
3 “A day, long time” — proverb (5)
ADAGE - A + D (day) + AGE (long time).
4 Ship’s tailor? (6)
CUTTER - a tailor does quite a lot of cutting.
5 Suddenly and unexpectedly lacking a couple of presents (3,2,7)
OUT OF NOWHERE - OUT OF (lacking) + NOW + HERE (a couple of presents - as in Fatboy Slim's "Right Here, Right Now!").
6 Dye Anne Hathaway originally used up (5)
HENNA - ANNE + H (Hathaway 'originally' used) reversed (i.e. 'up' in this down clue).
7 Dramatic work by pavement artists? (6,7)
STREET THEATRE - cryptic definition.
11 Worker completed transfer (4,4)
HAND OVER - HAND (worker) + OVER (completed).
13 Grow rapidly, and drive ram away (5,2)
SHOOT UP - SHOO (drive away) + TUP (ram).
15 Such bacon uneven in quality? (7)
STREAKY - double definition.
16 A friend? Only on paper (3,3)
PEN PAL - cryptic definition.
18 Good rule to mix up thin porridge (5)
GRUEL - straight anagram ('to mix up') of G (good) + RULE.

QC 1355 by Tracy
Astarte1
astartedon

No problems this week, everything slipped in nice and easily just under the 10-minute mark and when I pressed the button all was present and correct.

FOI was 1A, LOI was 5D. COD could have been 5D too as I thought it was a fairly neat clue, but I felt that 11A and 7D were slightly neater. Very difficult to choose between those two as both surfaces are very natural but 7D has slightly more moving parts so I'll go for that one. Thanks Tracy for an entertaining and enojoyable cup of tea.

A slightly cultural theme this week perhaps, with literature extending from the nursery to the A-level Eng. Lit. syllabus with Aldous Huxley and, by quotational reference, to Shakespeare's Tempest, nodding to Joe Orton and Dvorak along the way. Not enough to cause anything more than a brief twitch on the NATRAF needle though.

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

Across
1 Grey flatfish crossing river (4)
DRAB - DAB (flatfish) 'crossing' R (river.
4 Kind female by a church font (8)
TYPEFACE - TYPE (kind) + F (female) + A CH (a church)
8 American manoeuvres kept secret (2,6)
IN CAMERA - straight anagram of American ('manoeuvres').
9 Reportedly follow story (4)
TALE - sounds like ('reportedly') TAIL (follow).
10 Key member, close (6)
LEGEND - LEG (member) + END (close).
11 Quick pint after concert (6)
PROMPT - PT (pint) after PROM (concert).
12 Put off M1 before race, leading to conviction (13)
DETERMINATION - DETER (put off) + MI (M1) + NATION (race).
16 One pointing out group one disapproves of? (6)
SHOWER - double definition. SHOWER as in someone who shows + SHOWER as in "You don't want to hang out with that shower.".
17 Sacked from Orton play (Joe's last), departs (6)
LOOTED - LOOT (a play by Joe Orton) + E (JoE's last) + D (departs).
19 Mark in second vehicle (4)
SCAR - S (second) + CAR (vehicle).
20 Animal: one leapt out (8)
ANTELOPE - straight anagram ('out') of ONE LEAPT.
21 Good boys protecting kid in best clothes (4,4)
GLAD RAGS - G (good) + LADS (boys) 'protecting' RAG (kid).
22 Part of conditional release the old man ignored (4)
ROLE - PAROLE (conditional release) 'ignoring' PA (old man).
Down
2 Compass showing north during storm (5)
RANGE - N (north) 'during' RAGE (storm).
3 Novel and courageous symphony? (5,3,5)
BRAVE NEW WORLD - BRAVE (courageous) + NEW WORLD (symphony (by Anton Dvorak)).
4 Time to remove unwanted plants in river (5)
TWEED - T (time) + WEED (remove unwanted plants).
5 Drama writer in junior enclosure (7)
PLAYPEN - PLAY (drama) + PEN (writer).
6 Fictional railway boss's diet, perhaps? (3,10)
FAT CONTROLLER - whimsical cryptic definition. The FAT CONTROLLER was the guy who ran the railways in the Thomas the Tank Engine books, and this could also be read as a cryptic definition for a diet.
7 Combo's leader plays new love song (7)
CALYPSO - C (Combo's leader) + ALYPS (anagram ('new') of PLAYS) + O (love).
10 Young man may get praise skipping university (3)
LAD - LAUD (praise) 'skipping' U (university).
13 Decent chalet, I suspect (7)
ETHICAL - straight anagram ('suspect') of CHALET I.
14 Unfortunately butter possibly going up, and dessert wine (7)
MARSALA - read this backwards (i.e. 'going up' in this down clue) and you have ALAS (unfortunately) + RAM (a 'butter').
15 Fellow brought over gives slight bow (3)
NOD - DON (fellow) reversed ('brought over').
17 American after fortune for plant (5)
LOTUS - US (American) 'after' LOT (fortune).
18 Get rid of former PM, half-heartedly (5)
EXPEL - EX (former) + PEL (PeEL, a Prime Minister 'half-heartedly').

QC 1345 by Hurley
Astarte1
astartedon

Many thanks to Hurley for this puzzle which was promising to be a personal best for me (allowing for the fact that I was doing it from a bed in a hotel near Terminal 5 while away on a conference a few minutes after waking up with my wife pestering me to make a cup of tea), but which ended up with my pressing 'submit' and receiving the message "Unlucky, it's not quite right yet".

I have been through my solution several times now and scratched my head so hard that I am surprised I haven't caused a brain haemorrhage. I cannot for the life of me see what is wrong with it. I checked and double-checked for my usual butterfingered typos arising from my unfamiliarity with the way letters get entered in the online grid and for once there were none. Eventually in desperation I reset the grid and entered the whole thing over again but to no avail. I can only assume that I have fundamentally misunderstood one of the clues and got it horribly wrong.

Unfortunately though I do not have much time to investigate further as I have to write this quickly in order to go and join the rest of the conference attenders (not attendees: please see previous discussion on this blog). So I am just going to have to leave my answer out there in its imperfect state and hope that when I return verlaine or some other Olympian (or even some anonymous occasional solver) will have stooped to correct my error.

As I say, before pressing 'submit' everything was going swimmingly. FOI was 7A just as it should be. LOI was 5D, which is my most likely candidate for my error. My misgivings come from the fact that 'life' for 'source of vitality' is perhaps too tautological (although I think well within the usual parameters for an acceptable clue) but it is the only way that I can see that it works. The alternative might be to have 'V' cryptically as the 'source of vitality', but then I would need a 3-letter word meaning 'quite' to make things work. And one that fits with the 'I' checker into the bargain to make sense of everything in the end. And then, of course, the definition seems right, with a 'TRUE-LIFE' drama being one that is 'quite realistic'.

In my current state of incomplete knowledge and limited time I am loth to choose a COD but I will go for the double definition at 22D just because of the picture it paints in my mind.

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

Across
7 Organised go at base wrecking? (8)
SABOTAGE - straight anagram ('organised') of GO AT BASE.
8 Australian jumper, male, finds space (4)
ROOM - ROO (kangaroo, Australian 'jumper') + M (male).
9 House fruit (6)
ORANGE - double definition (house as in William of Orange).
10 Long-serving soldier’s wife in chair (5)
SWEAT - W (wife) 'in' SEAT (chair). SWEAT is a slang term for a soldier with a long service record.
11 Vote in favour, I heard (3)
AYE - sounds like 'I' (heard). AYE as in 'the AYEs have it'.
12 Wise person in a vehicle entering street (6)
SAVANT - A VAN (a vehicle) 'entering' ST (street).
14 In middle of morning, I’d emptied sachet (6)
AMIDST - AM (morning) + ID + ST (SacheT 'emptied').
16 By sound of it, vendor’s storage area for wines (6)
CELLAR - sounds like 'seller' (vendor).
18 First and third of colours always bright (6)
CLEVER - CL (first and third letters of CoLours) + EVER (always).
19 Bustling activity in meadow (3)
ADO - hidden word: meADOw.
20 Happen again in playground, initially unexpected result (5)
RECUR - REC (recreation ground) + UR (Unexpected Result 'initially').
21 King, Eastern, accommodated in requirement for outdated gun (6)
MUSKET - K (king) + E (eastern) 'accommodated in' MUST (requirement).
23 Ruin diet regularly getting measure of alcohol (4)
UNIT - rUiN dIeT 'regularly' gives UNIT, the language in which the nanny state attempts to get us to regulate our alcohol intake. (Incidentally, my son, who doesn't like alcohol but who likes a beer, buys an alcohol-free drink appropriately branded "Nanny State" which is made by Brewdog (alternative alcohol-free beers are available) which he says is quite palatable.)
24 Coins are switched? That might happen (8)
SCENARIO - striaght anagram ('switched') of COINS ARE.
Down
1 Market willing to identify legitimate target (4,4)
FAIR GAME - FAIR (market) + GAME (willing).
2 Old Boy turns up, referring to something useful (4)
BOON - OB (old boy, turns 'up' in this down clue) + ON (referring to).
3 Warning feline’s gobbling veal left out (6)
CAVEAT - CAT (feline) 'gobbling' VEA (VEAL minus L (i.e. 'left' out)).
4 When swimming, reads about English stretch of water (3,3)
RED SEA - anagram ('swimming') of READS 'about' E (English).
5 Time on French street source of vitality? Quite realistic (4-4)
TRUE-LIFE - T (time) 'on' (in this down clue) RUE (French street) + LIFE (source of vitality). Please see comments above however.
6 Move fast to get security feature (4)
BOLT - double definition.
13 Distribute tea, local, in new arrangement (8)
ALLOCATE - straight anagram ('in new arrangement') of TEA LOCAL.
15 Mischievous elves hid wicked lady? (3-5)
SHE-DEVIL - straight anagram ('mischievous') of ELVES HID.
17 Most unusual artist on break (6)
RAREST - RA (Royal Academician, i.e. a member of the Royal Academy of Arts, therefore 'artist') 'on' (in this down clue) REST (break).
18 Oblige Pimlico MP, electioneering, just a bit (6)
COMPEL - hidden word: PimliCO MP ELectioneering.
20 Call boxing arena (4)
RING - double definition.
22 Gaiter disagreement (4)
SPAT - double definition.

QC 1335 by Joker
Astarte1
astartedon

Another very brief visit from me this week as this solve and blog were squeezed into the early morning fog in the middle of a packed bank holiday weekend of entertainment and general feeding and watering of both sides and three generations of the astartedon family over Easter.

FOI was 10A. LOI was 8A. I was thinking IMMORALLY if you see what I mean, and was beginning to doubt my ability to spell when it wouldn't fit. That must be my COD as well. Took me just under 10 minutes while dealing with a lot of other stuff (see above) so I think it was probably pretty straightforward for most people. Good mix of clues, with only one anagram as far as I can see, with a hardly a ripple in the hyaline surfaces. Thank you Joker for a skilfull Monday-morning composition.

Definitions are underlined as usual and everything else is explained just as I see it in the simplest language I can manage. NATRAF did not even give a flicker although there were some interesting combinations of words that I might have commented on had I had but world enough and time.

Across
7 Secret language of fish — English? (4)
CODE - COD (fish) + E (English).
8 Unethically taking a medicine initially by mouth (8)
AMORALLY - A + M (medicine initially) + ORALLY (by mouth).
9 Fix up couple again (6)
REPAIR - RE-PAIR (couple again).
10 Dull field study (6)
LEADEN - LEA (field) + DEN (study).
11 Roman sea horse (4)
MARE - MARE = sea in Latin.
12 Where batter needs to stand to rise (8)
INCREASE - in cricket the batsman, or batter, stands IN the CREASE.
15 Uncalled for to provoke Nazi police (8)
NEEDLESS - NEEDLE (provoke) + SS (Schutzstaffel, Hitler's notorious bodyguard and special police force).
17 Bivalve left in river (4)
CLAM - L (left) in CAM (river).
18 Go along with sector changes (6)
ESCORT - straight anagram ('changes') of SECTOR.
21 Noticed big ship in Mediterranean (6)
MARKED - the ARK was a big ship, and here it is 'in' the MED(iterranean).
22 Concerned with large ship round cape that goes flat out (8)
RECLINER - RE (concerned with) + LINER (another large ship) 'round' C (cape).
23 Endlessly examine horses at breeding farm (4)
STUD - STUDy 'endlessly'.
Down
1 All the press reports Conservative too old? (8)
COVERAGE - C (conservative) + OVER AGE (too old).
2 Discussion with girlfriend, perhaps about English book (6)
DEBATE - DATE (girlfriend, perhaps) 'about' E (English) + B (book).
3 Very fine hotel supported by British Airways? (8)
HAIRLINE - H (hotel) 'supported by' (in this DOWN clue) AIRLINE (British Airways? - the interrogation mark is because alternative airlines are available).
4 Bird, female bird (4)
FOWL - F (female) + OWL (bird).
5 Is able to copy small snack (6)
CANAPE - CAN (is able) + APE (to copy).
6 Bill used regularly to be sad (4)
BLUE - BiLl UsEd 'regularly' = BLUE.
13 Just after money for expensive fabric (8)
CASHMERE - MERE (just in the sense of 'only') 'after' CASH (money).
14 Spies finally remove surveillance (5-3)
STAKE-OUT - S (spieS 'finally') + TAKE OUT (remove).
16 Error removed from V-1 missile sketch (6)
DOODLE - DOODLEBUG (nickname for the V-1 missile during WWII) with BUG (error (in computer programming)) removed.
17 Dead body of rook in a group of trees (6)
CORPSE - R (rook as in chess piece) 'in' COPSE (group of trees).
19 Oven-cooked dish starts to smoke the embarrassing way (4)
STEW - intial letters of ('starts to') Smoke The Embarrassing Way.
20 Some unfortunate fish (4)
TUNA - hidden word: unforTUNAte.

QC 1325 by Grumpy
Astarte1
astartedon

The blog is here but I am not. I am away celebrating a wedding and extending it into a long weekend so I am solving and posting as quickly as possible in between the festivities and the sightseeing. Necessarily brief therefore.

Just under 10 minutes for me and I think I would have been quicker in normal circumstances, so relatively straightforward. Thanks to Grumpy for an entertaining cup of tea.

FOI should have been 1A. An obvious anagram but the letters wouldn't whirl around fast enough in my mind first time around. As it was I think it was 9A. Then for some reason I didn't write in 8A straight away even though the definition leapt out at me so in the end it was the LOI that I came back to and tapped in last thing.

The neatest clue to my mind was 7D, so that is my COD.

Not even a twitch on the NATRAF needle.

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

Across
1 Associates could make it fail-safe (10)
AFFILIATES - straight anagram ('could make') of IT FAIL SAFE.
8 Outlaw leader revealing career in financial sector (7)
BANKING - BAN (outlaw) + KING (leader).
9 Anger about loud weapon (5)
RIFLE - RILE (anger) 'about' F (loud (musical annotation)).
10 Young man from the right English valley (4)
DALE - DAL = LAD reversed (young man 'from the right') + E (English).
11 Orange for high-ranking bureaucrat (8)
MANDARIN - double definition.
13 The solver's breakfast finally includes good dairy product (6)
YOGURT - YOUR (the solver's) + T (breakfasT 'finally') 'including' G (good).
14 Coming back to dry fish (6)
TURBOT - TO (to) + BRUT (dry, as in Champagne) reversed ('coming back') = TURBOT.
17 Switch positions from time to time (2,3,3)
ON AND OFF - double definition, the potential positions of a switch being 'ON' and 'OFF'.
19 Resident in Highlands cottage? (4)
SCOT - hidden word &lit: HighlandS COTtage, and of course the whole clue is a potential definition of a Scot.
21 Not standing for mendacity (5)
LYING - double definition.
22 Bore, extremely unpopular, stopped outside (7)
ENDURED - ENDED (stopped) 'outside' UR (the extremes of UnpopulaR).
23 Still like clones? (3,3,4)
ALL THE SAME - double definition.
Down
2 Cricketer feeling funny (4,3)
FINE LEG - straight anagram of FEELING ('funny'). For the non-cricketers 'FINE LEG' is a fielding position at a fine angle behind the batsman's legs, as opposed to SQUARE LEG who stands square to the batsman. This is also where the 'Square Leg Umpire' stands to get a good view of any potential run out at the striker's end.
3 Flower from the Emerald Isle? Not quite! (4)
IRIS - IRISh (from the Emerald Isle, but 'not quite' with the end chopped off).
4 Dressed and ready to drive? (2,4)
IN GEAR - double definition.
5 Exhausted solicitor accepts rough ride (5,3)
TIRED OUT - TOUT (solicitor) 'accepting' IRED (anagram of RIDE ('rough')).
6 Fly around Finland's capital — until now (2,3)
SO FAR - SOAR (fly) 'around' F, the capital letter of Finland.
7 Restraint said to be put back (10)
REINSTATED - REIN (restraint) + STATED (said).
8 Pal completely ignoring lead singer in the Fifties (5,5)
BUDDY HOLLY - BUDDY (pal) + wHOLLY (completely, ignoring the 'lead').
12 Extravagant lord with a pig? That's novel (8)
PRODIGAL - straight anagram of LORD A PIG ('novel').
15 Two beastly males providing stiff fabric (7)
BUCKRAM - BUCK + RAM (two 'beastly' males). I seem to remember some stage description in Shakespeare describing "two knaves in buckram suits".
16 Father Edward's first in wood once more (6)
AFRESH - FR (father) + E (Edward's first) 'in' ASH (wood).
18 You may hear a tidier girl (5)
ANITA - homophone: A NEATER (a tidier).
20 Missing leader conceals date in Rome (4)
IDES - hIDES 'mising its leader' gives the famous Roman date (as in the Ides of March).

QC 1315 by Izetti
Astarte1
astartedon

A great collection of anagrams here. I think that six clues were straight anagrams (including all four of the long 13-letter clues) and another two involved them. There were also I think three double definitions of which five definitions were straight and only one cryptic. Most of the other clues were straight insertions, which made for a pretty straightforward puzzle overall. Having said that I found it very entertaining as all the anagrams (and indeed all of the clues) were very pleasing with natural surfaces and didn't feel strained at all (apart from 2D perhaps). Many thanks to Izetti therefore for a very neat and entertaining start to the week.

I have no idea of time as I was just getting into my stride when the BT engineer came to call and I spent the next half hour with him diagnosing that the reason one of my telephone lines had gone down was that a fox had eaten it. But as I say it felt pretty straightforward and there may well be a few PBs out there.

My FOI was the hidden word at 1A and my LOI was 15D (reversing SIR was obvious to me but then revesing BED seemed more difficult for some strange reason). COD would be one of those neat anagrams but it's difficult to choose between them. I probably liked 6D best in the end.

My NATRAF (Nina And Them Radar And Filter) twitched slightly when it spotted the beginnings of a story being told in the final grid:

DAMASK AMUSES ROGUE'S GALLERY

And then if you ignore the hyphen of 'SIT-IN':

SIT IN UNTAKEN SARCOPHAGUS

Which reminds me of one of my father's favourite sayings. If you sat in his chair in front of the TV when he got up and left the room for a moment he would invariably say upon his return: "Would ye jump into my grave as quick?"

And then we have:

AVERAGE THOSE, THE PARTY'S OVER and SINGER SEVENS

Reading downwards we have:

DIREST CASTES MIGHT HAVE BEEN STERN CHARADE

And also:

GRUMPIEST MILITIA TASTE STEAK AU POIVRE SAYING DEBRIS

Or perhaps the long anagrams are giving some sort of BREXIT commentary:

ROGUES GALLERY - THE PARTY'S OVER, MIGHT HAVE BEEN STEAK AU POIVRE

As I say, it all sort of nearly makes sense. But not quite. Which makes me believe it's all just a bit of a coincidence after all. Or maybe Izetti is just playing around with me. Like Hamlet and Polonius:


Hamlet: Do you see yonder cloud that's almost in shape of a camel?
Polonius: By th' Mass, and 'tis like a camel, indeed.
Hamlet: Methinks it is like a weasel.
Polonius: It is backed like a weasel.
Hamlet: Or like a whale.
Polonius: Very like a whale.

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

Across
1 Madam, a skirt will contain this material (6)
DAMASK - hidden word: maDAM A SKirt
4 A maiden exploits charms (6)
AMUSES - A + M (maiden) + USES (exploits).
8 A group of undesirables regularly goes wild (6,7)
ROGUES GALLERY - straight anagram ('wild') of REGULARLY GOES.
10 Something wicked about Italian making protest (3-2)
SIT-IN - SIN (something wicked) 'about' IT (Italian).
11 Eccentric aunt with range of knowledge left on the shelf? (7)
UNTAKEN - UNTA (anagram of aunt ('eccentric')) + KEN (range of knowledge).
12 A group's cash thrown into a stone box (11)
SARCOPHAGUS - straight anagram ('thrown') of A GROUPS CASH.
16 Girl in time seen to be ordinary? (7)
AVERAGE - VERA (girl) 'in' AGE (time).
17 That group of map-makers featured in article (5)
THOSE - OS (Ordnance Survey - map-makers) 'featured in' THE (article).
18 Hearts broken with poverty — expect no more fun (3,6,4)
THE PARTYS OVER - straight anagram ('broken') of HEARTS + POVERTY.
19 Entertainer, one who got things stitched up! (6)
SINGER - double definition, one cryptic. The name of SINGER was once to sewing machines what HOOVER is to vacuum cleaners.
20 Ball game in uniform aboard ship (6)
SEVENS - SS (Steam Ship) with EVEN (uniform) 'aboard'.
Down
1 I'd flipped over, repose being most terrible (6)
DIREST - DI (I'D 'flipped over') + REST (repose).
2 What would excite them? Big heaven? It never came to pass (5-4-4)
MIGHT-HAVE-BEEN - straight anagram ('what would excite') of THEM BIG HEAVEN.
3 Hard back (5)
STERN - double definition.
5 Fighting force initially might, it’s likely, if trained in advance (7)
MILITIA - take the initial letters of Might It's Likely If Trained In Advance.
6 Take a previous, re-cooked, meat dish (5,2,6)
STEAK AU POIVRE - straight anagram ('re-cooked') of TAKE A PREVIOUS.
7 Remaining, not time for speaking (6)
SAYING - STAYING (remaining) minus T (time).
9 Tum suffering with gripes making one most irritable (9)
GRUMPIEST - straight anagram ('suffering') of TUM + GRIPES.
13 Tea awfully dear — it's a travesty (7)
CHARADE - CHA (tea) + RADE (anagram ('awfully') of DEAR).
14 Classes of people left out of grand buildings (6)
CASTES - CASTLES (grand buildings) minus L (left).
15 Rubbish in plot upset gentleman turning up (6)
DEBRIS - DEB (BED (plot) 'upset') + RIS (SIR reversed, or 'turning up' in this down clue).
17 Liking decorum (5)
TASTE - double definition.

QC 1305 by Oink
Astarte1
astartedon

I believe this is the first time I have blogged an Oink puzzle. Pleased to meet you, Sir or Madam, and I enjoyed your puzzle very much. I think because the 'handwriting' was unfamiliar I read it through first time without filling in much, but all went in pretty quickly after that and provided a very gentle start to the week, with everything fitting in quite smoothly in just under 7 minutes.

FOI was 5A I think. Should have been 1A looking back, but it was so obvious that I couldn't see it first time. I believe my LOI was BATHE, because once I got into my stride most of it happened quite sequentially. No particular clue stood out for difficulty so my COD goes to 8D for smoothness of surface and general tidiness.

I am very pleased to report that at some point towards the end of the week before last I managed to catch up with all my 15x15s. When I tell you that my two standout clues were "Line that stops tongue moving, twisted in knots? (8)" (27243) and "
Online dealer; as announced (9): (27246), you will realise how long I had been letting them stack up. I am sure there must have been a load of better clues during the accumulated backlog of 20-30 puzzles but those are just the random two that really stand out for me as I look back. Maybe now I can get back to doing the QC daily as well.

And while I am on the subject of favourite clues I wonder if this might be an excuse to invite everybody to post their all time golden nuggets? I always find that sort of thing fascinating (but I realise I may be in a minority and all the rest of you have been there before and find it a bit boring).

While I am at it though I do remember that when I first started doing this blog somebody posted one of their favourite clues. I thought about it briefly and moved on, intending to come back to it later but now I realise I completely forgot. If you can remember who you were would you mind posting it again? I think it had something to do with a square.


Finally I did remember to whip out my NATRAF (Nina And Theme Radar And Filter) at the end and scanned the final grid, but I could detect no evidence of unusual activity.

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

Across
1 A country pile? (8)
HAYSTACK - cryptic definition.
5 Henry’s in great pain (4)
ACHE - H (Henry) 'in' ACE (great).
9 Timid chap getting married by river (5)
MOUSE - M (married) + OUSE (Yorkshire river).
10 One who weeps about resistance fighter (7)
BRAWLER - BAWLER (one who weeps) 'about' R (resistance).
11 Occasionally arrange fundraising event (3)
RAG - 'occasional' letters of aRrAnGe.
12 Partner is in trouble, that’s become apparent (9)
TRANSPIRE - straight anagram ('in trouble') of PARTNER IS.
13 Briefly follow popular Soviet leader (6)
STALIN - STAL (STALk (follow) 'briefly') + IN (popular).
15 Remarkable dramas in Indian city of old (6)
MADRAS - straight anagram ('remarkable') of DRAMAS.
17 England going mad? That’s the impression (9)
ENGRAVING - ENG (England) + RAVING (going mad).
19 Legal profession's drinking den (3)
BAR - double definition.
20 Primate's a partisan, it’s said (7)
GORILLA - sounds like ('it's said') GUERRILLA (partisan).
21 Sum to put back (3,2)
TOT UP - TO + TUP (PUT backwards).
22 Travel in part of Hebrides (4)
RIDE - hidden word: HebRIDEs.
23 Beyond compare, as House of Lords when empty? (8)
PEERLESS - an empty House of Lords would have no PEERS in it and so could be described as PEERLESS.
Down
1 Reporter's funny bone (7)
HUMERUS - sounds like ('reporter's') HUMOROUS (funny). But I would say this is hardly a clue really at all because that is why the upper bone of your upper limb is popularly referred to as your 'funny bone' anyway.
2 Immature, year-old gnu heading north (5)
YOUNG - Y (year) + O (old) + UNG (GNU 'heading north' in this Down clue).
3 Tear city hall apart in dramatic fashion (12)
THEATRICALLY - straight anagram ('apart') of TEAR CITY HALL.
4 Emergency committee needs firm support (5)
COBRA - CO ('company', commonly used in Crossword Land to mean a 'firm' although in strict legal terms a firm is a partnership as distinct from a company) + BRA (support).
6 Coal miner runs after dog (7)
COLLIER - COLLIE (dog) + R (runs).
7 Strange place for an eagle, they say (5)
EERIE - sounds like EYRIE ('they say'), an eagle's nest.
8 Servant's amusement causes serious offence (12)
MANSLAUGHTER - MAN'S (servant's) + LAUGHTER (amusement).
14 Terribly enraged? (7)
ANGERED - anagram &lit. ENRAGED 'terribly' = ANGERED, of which the whole clue is also a possible definition.
16 Fights about European difficulties (7)
SCRAPES - SCRAPS (fights) 'about' E (European).
17 Keen to be a long time in Her Majesty's embrace? (5)
EAGER - AGE (a long time) 'in ER's ('Her Majesty's') embrace'.
18 Fatuous characters in Twain anecdote (5)
INANE - hidden word: TwaIN ANEcdote.
19 Bill turned up with ambassador to have a swim (5)
BATHE - BAT (TAB (bill) 'turned up' in this Down clue) + HE (His or Her Excellency, formal title of an ambassador).

QC 1295 by Hurley
Astarte1
astartedon

Another skeletal blog from me this week I am afraid. Too much going on in real life for me to spend much time on it. Gradually managing to clear my backlog of 15x15s I am glad to say as I thought I was losing my appetite for them (down to about 10 now from 20).

This was a medium difficulty puzzle with straightforward cluing, no question marks and all pretty much according to Hoyle. Thank you to Hurley for a good ten-minute work out with the morning lifesaver.

FOI was 1A, LOI was 12D I think (so obvious that I couldn't see it at first) and COD goes to 5A as being the most succinct and economical clue on offer IMHO.

No readings on the NATRAF (Nina And Theme Radar And Filter).

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

Across
1 Acts badly after work at keyboard getting the same parts? (8)
TYPECAST - anagram of ACTS ('badly') = CAST, put after TYPE (work at keyboard).
5 Produced money, we hear (4)
BRED - homophone for BREAD (slang for money, as in "Hey, don't be such a real heavy breadhead, Man!")
9 Custom from American era (5)
USAGE - US (American) + AGE (era).
10 Personal target leading to footballer’s error (3,4)
OWN GOAL - almost a double definition, a personal target possibly being one's 'OWN GOAL'.
11 Coming in holding that isn’t regularly amusing (12)
ENTERTAINING - ENTERING (coming in) 'holding' TAIN (ThAt IsN't 'regularly').
13 TV feature perhaps recalled in tuneful air, eastern (6)
AERIAL - reversed ('recalled') hidden word: tunefuL AIR EAstern.
15 Warn about edges of route in overcrowded area (6)
WARREN - WARN 'about' RE (edges of RoutE).
17 Unexpectedly gave a car next, spending too much (12)
EXTRAVAGANCE - straight anagram ('unexpectedly') of GAVE A CAR NEXT = EXTRAVAGANCE.
20 Advance payment showing sincerity (7)
EARNEST - &lit. + double definition. The first definition of EARNEST in this context is 'advance payment', which incidentally implies an intention to pay the remainder (thus 'sincerity'). So EARNEST means a type of 'ADVANCE PAYMENT', and also 'SHOWING SINCERITY' but also means 'ADVANCE PAYMENT SHOWING SINCERITY'.
21 Introduction of secure, healthy, source of gas (5)
SHALE - I think this is what all the fracking controversy is about isn't it? Getting gas from shale? Anyway, cryptically it is S (introduction of Secure) plus HALE (healthy, as in 'hale and hearty').
22 Guy from Egypt he obliges (4)
THEO - hidden word: EgypT HE Obliges.
23 Find beer possibly as favour (8)
BEFRIEND - straight anagram ('possibly') of FIND BEER = BEFRIEND.
Down
1 He could be tough, lacking love? (4)
THUG - anagramatic &lit. Anagram of TUGH (TOUGH 'lacking' O (love)) = THUG, and then the whole is a possible definition of a THUG.
2 Shellfish that’s uncooked put into empty pan (5)
PRAWN - RAW (uncooked) in an 'empty' PaN'.
3 Sweet having me in calmer race, somehow (5,7)
CREME CARAMEL - straight anagram of CALMER RACE ('somehow') with ME inside.
4 Unruffled sound from cow in south (6)
SMOOTH - MOO (sound from cow) in STH (south).
6 Having climbed moor? That is right, it’s more spacious (7)
ROOMIER - ROOM = MOOR ('climbed' in this down clue) + IE (id est, that is) + R (right)
7 Tipping hat, one overseeing man, hard-working (8)
DILIGENT - DIL = LID (hat) 'tipping' + I (one) + GENT (man).
8 Nasty stain mars a chair arm initially — protective cloth found (12)
ANTIMACASSAR - anagram ('nasty') of STAIN MARS A + C + A (Chair Arm 'initially').
12 MP should get back in here (4,4)
SAFE SEAT - cryptic definition. An MP should manage to get back into a SAFE SEAT at an election.
14 One working no longer referring to Scottish island (7)
RETIREE - RE (referring to) + TIREE (Scottish island). I have a personal gripe with words like RETIREE and ATTENDEE. I know these words are in general usage but they annoy me because to me 'ER' (or 'OR') has always been a nominative suffix and 'EE' an accusative or dative suffix. Thus a mortgagor mortgages property to a mortgagee. An employer employs an employee. A payer pays money to a payee and so on. The result is that I religiously refer to people going to conferences as attenders and people who are retiring as retirers (unless, I suppose, they are being forced to retire against their will) and get funny looks from everybody.
16 Disconcert painter, non-drinker, extremely likable (6)
RATTLE - RA (painter, member of the Royal Academy of Arts) + TT (teetotaller) + LE ('extremely' LikeablE).
18 Pursue ornament with engraving (5)
CHASE - double definition.
19 Care for those experiencing niggling delays at first (4)
TEND - Those Experiencing Niggling Days 'at first' (i.e. initial letters).

QC 1285 by Teazel
Astarte1
astartedon

I think this is the third blog in a row that I have come up against Teazel, and I also seem to remember that my first ever blog was on one of his puzzles. So he feels like an old friend now and today's puzzle is probably the most lively one I have ever blogged (from him or anybody). Full of entertaining clues, including a couple of clever misdirections as well as two clues that I found a bit questionable as you will read. I really enjoyed it, so many thanks for a 10-minute (medium difficulty) work-out. It really was great fun.

FOI was 5A I believe, and my LOI was the lovely 22A, which was also my COD on a day when there were several good candidates. Coming in close behind were 8A, 16A, 20A, 3D and 9D.

As an aside, a few weeks ago I referred to CID (I think) as an acronym. Kevin (I believe it was him) rapped my knuckles on the basis that an acronym has to be pronounced in general usage as a word rather than as a series of letters, as in UNESCO, or NASA, or FIFA. I acknowledged his comment and owned up to loose usage as that was my understanding as well. However I heard on the radio the other day the string of letters 'MTCSA' referred to as an acronym in a comedy programme. In fact, in that context it was set up as a self-referential joke as the letters stand for 'Mysterious and Therefore Cool-Sounding Acronym'. So I thought I would check up on it in the dictionary and it seems after all that an acronym is simply a string of initial letters, whether it can be pronouced as a word or not.

So having straightened that out I deployed my own acronym, the NATRAF (Nina And Theme Radar And Filter), which yielded no results.

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

Across
1 Things people are going to say? (8)
GOODBYES - cryptic definition. GOODBYES are what people who are going (i.e. leaving) will say. I don't think the syntax quite works, but it is such a neat idea that I feel it would be churlish to complain.
5 London statue painful to put back (4)
EROS - SORE backwards ('put back').
8 Persevering, even if difficult terrain (13)
THOROUGHGOING - can be rewritten as THO' (even if) ROUGH GOING (difficult terrain).
10 Edged forward, with hooter? (5)
NOSED - hooter = slang for nose. Reminds me of a dear friend now departed who had a very big nose. I once mentioned to someone that he had passed my room and "put his nose round the door", to which the reply was "not all of it, surely?"
11 A little European larva (7)
TADPOLE - nice bit of misdirection here if you only had the last checker 'E', as I did, in which case you might have started looking for a 6-letter word meaning 'little', onto which you could tack E for European. As it is the parsing is TAD (a little) + POLE (European).
12 Profit from one number by country-and-western singer (4,2)
CASH IN - I (one) + N (number) 'by' CASH (late lamented C&W singer Johnny). I never cared for his music much until he started producing some very thoughtful stuff towards the end of his life, most notably for me an excellent cover of Nick Cave's 'The Mercy Seat'.
13 Compete to block drunkard in Russian council (6)
SOVIET - VIE (compete) 'blocking' SOT (drunkard).
16 Popular, Castro, but no Christian (7)
INFIDEL - IN (popular) + FIDEL (Castro, the late Prime Minister and latterly President of Cuba). OK, the defiintion is 'no Christian', but it could equally well be 'Christian', as the word INFIDEL is also used by Muslims to describe non-Muslims.
18 Fit in curve round lake (5)
BLEND - BEND (curve) 'round' L (lake).
20 Person consulted appearing uninterested in listening (8,5)
SOUNDING BOARD - if you are listening to the words SOUNDING BOARD you could hear them as SOUNDING BORED (appearing uninterested).
21 Crazy food for squirrel (4)
NUTS - double definition.
22 Drink beginning to befuddle Dame Edna (8)
BEVERAGE - a lovely misdirection. The first thing any self-respecting solver would do here would be to pick out 'befuddle' as an anagrind and attempt to apply it to DAME EDNA as anagrist. This even remains feasible after you have all the vowels as checkers and then you are left with the unpromising Scrabble selection of D, M, D, N. At this point the light should dawn as you realise that Dame Edna's surname is Everage, and if you take B (the 'beginning to' Befuddle) and put it in front you get BEVERAGE.
Down
1 Board work harmoniously (3,2)
GET ON - double definition.
2 Players sit: boos break out (7)
OBOISTS - straight anagram ('break out') of SIT BOOS.
3 No puritan, keen on American women? (5-6)
BROAD-MINDED - BROAD is American slang for a woman. If you are keen on American women, therefore, you might always have them on your mind, and so might be said to be BROAD-MINDED.
4 Crews have no head for heights (6)
EIGHTS - take the 'head' off Heights and you have EIGHTS (rowing crews).
6 One impaled on terrible horn — its? (5)
RHINO - the definition is 'ITS?', as the horn on which one is impaled could be that of a RHINO. This is another clue where I don't think the syntax quite works. I (one) 'impaled' on an anagram ('terrible') of HORN. Except that to my mind it is the 'terrible horn' that is impaled on 'one', given that it is the I that goes right into the middle of RHNO rather than the other way round.
7 Section of, say, people in street (7)
SEGMENT - EG (say) + MEN (people) in ST (street).
9 I obliged Ben to arrange feature of hotel room (6,5)
GIDEON BIBLE - a lovely little anagram (of I OBLIGED BEN ('to arrange')) and pleasing definition. Is it still the case in these godless times that the Gideon Society manage to sneak a bible into every hotel room? I must look for one and check next time I'm in a hotel.
12 Edges into study, bright red (7)
CRIMSON - RIMS (edges) in CON (study).
14 President to refuse to allow a Japanese art form (7)
IKEBANA - the two most common presidential visitors to Crossword Land are probably ABE (Abraham Lincoln) and IKE (Dwight D Eisenhower). Here we have IKE (president) + BAN (to refuse to allow) + A = IKEBANA, the Japanese art of flower arrangement (in case you didn't know).
15 With power thrust forward and fall precipitously (6)
PLUNGE - P (power) + LUNGE (thrust forward).
17 Quickly grabbing uniform for opera (5)
FAUST - FAST (quickly) 'grabbing' U (uniform).
19 Avoid Santa Fe Trail city (5)
DODGE - double definition, the second one being Dodge City in Kansas.