Club Monthly 20180 September 2015

First of all many thanks to Dorset Jimbo, for kindly standing in for me for the July and August crosswords. Unfortunately I can’t look at his blogs, until I have cleared away my crossword backlog and solved them, but I’m sure they were excellent!

Having been away for almost two months, and unable to access crosswords, it has taken me some time to get back into the swing of things, especially with the more challenging grids such as this one. In the event I was able to solve it but on submission I find I have one wrong… oh well, I see I am in good company as Magoo has one wrong too. Let us get on, and see if we can find it… (we can, see 11ac)

I have always been clear that only a minority of solvers will ever look at or be interested in these club monthly blogs, but I have been surprised to see on the Crossword Club forum over the last few weeks, how many members seem to really dislike hard crosswords of any kind. Obviously, cryptic crosswords vary: some are easy, some hard, and it always seems to be the hard ones that attract the negative comments: “not fun” said a regular solver I greatly respect.. but, why not? If it takes longer, put it to one side and come back to it another day. If you don’t finish it, does that matter? It may be that I have a different perspective, because I started solving the Times cryptic when I was fifteen or sixteen (Student subscription! Remember them?) and I didn’t really expect to solve all the clues for some years; I just did the ones I could and looked at the solution the next day to understand the rest… rightly or wrongly I worry that attention spans are not what they used to be. Even test matches seem to be over in a flash, these days…

cd = cryptic definition, dd = double definition, rev = reversed, anagrams are *(–), homophones indicated in “”

ODO means the Oxford Dictionaries Online, OED = Oxford English Dictionary, etc.

1. University and public body featuring in verse by Indo-Chinese native (2,5,2)
vu quang ox – U(niversity) and QUANGO in V(erse) + X (by, ie times)
6. Decisive punches in quiet American scrap (5)
s kosh – KOS (decisive punches) in SH (quiet)
9. Corrupt Arab sent on hadj is denied a fruit (5,5,5)
saint John’s bread – *(ARAB SENT ON HADJ IS), less an A
10. Tawdry design that is evident in one’s friends? (6)
kitch – SC (scilicet, it that is) in KITH. Funny how kith only ever turns up alongside kin.. never “Had a great night out with some kith, last Saturday”
11. Rookie vet keeping a horse turning over (8)
chechako – AH (a horse) rev. in CHECK (vet) + O(ver). And here we have my error, a simple typo, I wrote it correctly on paper, but then entered it as checkako. Chambers gives five different spellings, but that isn’t one of them!
13. Bishop bringing to the surface, perhaps, establishment of dubious pretexts (10)
bunburying – B(ishop) + UNBURYING. From The Importance of Being Ernest, by Oscar Wilde
14. Lawyer after promotion conversing with others (4)
adda – AD (promotion) + DA (lawyer). Adda is an Indian word, not in my Chambers or in Collins, but it is in the ODO
16. Spiritual father raised Jack the wrong way (4)
bapu – UP (raised) + AB (able seaman, or jack tar) both rev.
17. Companion, note, regularly put on posh woman’s cloak (10)
paludament – U DAME (posh woman) in PAL (companion) + NoTe
19. Sort of skirt female medium’s got out of curiosity (4,4)
rara avis – RARA (skirt) + (M)AVIS (female)
20. With ends removed, protuberance has got to dip (6)
hummus – HUM(P) MUS(T)
23. French department assisted nine in English translation (5-5-5)
Seine-Saint-Denis – (ASSISTED NINE IN E). I hadn’t heard of this Department near Paris, and confess I looked up a list.. it turns out there is only one that is 5-5-5
24. Stifling onset of rage, when one’s no longer raising voice (5)
arsis – R(age) in AS (when) + IS (one’s). One of my last in, mainly because for the life of me I could not understand what this word means. Apparently it means both raising the voice and also lowering it! I think the def. here is “raising voice,” and the “no longer” is a reference to it being an obsolete word.
25. Channel regulator putting blame on rant I’d broadcast (5-4)
drain-trap *(RANT I’D) + RAP (blame)

1. Festival coming up in park, as ever (5)
Vesak – hidden, rev. in parK AS EVer. A Buddhist festival held in May, but the precise date seems rather variable
2. Short crack, ear-splitting, scattered or spread bees? (8,7)
quilting parties – QUI(P) (crack) + *(EAR SPLITTING). A spread bee, in the same sense as a spelling bee…
3. Foolish behaviour, carrying old uranium away from Axis (8)
anticous – O(ld) U(ranium) in ANTICS. The capital in Axis should not really be there
4. See perfectly in grey-green light (4)
grok – GR(ey) + OK (green light). A word invented by Robert Heinlein, apparently it is Martian for “to drink”
5. Unknown article to drop in belly will make you no thinner! (7,3)
xanthan gum
6. So close to impromptu fencing, a black Caribbean tree (6)
sabicu – A B(lack) in SIC (so) + (imprompt)U
7. Head of OPEC, you organised fixer to annul the first energy commission (4,3,8)
oyer and terminer – O(pec) + YE (you) + RAN (organised) + D(E)TERMINER (fixer). A commission to be on the Assize court circuit, got rid of in 1972 along with the assize courts themselves
8. A hut on dry ground for submariner (9)
hydronaut – *(A HUT ON DRY)
12. Curses one heaps up, following tail of wicked old political saboteur? (10)
dynamitard(wicke)D + all rev: DRAT (curses) + I + MANY (heaps)
13. Hog, young, mostly, one raised in large country (9)
babirussa – BAB(y) + RUSSIA, with the I raised..
15. Refrain no longer from smashing vase, about due to be emptied (8)
faburden – FAB (smashing) + D(U)E in URN (vase)
18. Reduced ships: after cutting one hundred, notice emperor upset (6)
razees – SEE (C)ZAR, both rev.
21. Little spray’s brought up for techie (5)
sysop – POSY’S, rev.
22. Ultimate in scuttlebutt in literary gossip column (4)
anta – (scuttlebut)T in ANA, literary gossip

Author: JerryW

I love The Times crosswords..

One comment on “Club Monthly 20180 September 2015”

  1. Welcome back Jerry. I enjoyed the July and August puzzles. Thought this one a bit on the tough side – though always fair as these puzzle invariably are

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