Times 27039 – 2nd TCC Qualifier – Bulgaria revisited

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I thought this one was a degree or two more difficult than the first qualifier, it took me longer, 26 minutes, so I’d have exactly 20 minutes remaining to finish the third one and put my hand up, if I were to be in a TCC heat with an hour to make my 90 points.
To my mind it’s one of those with quite a few clues which regular solvers will be tuned into, while newcomers may struggle. For example, the animal at 19a is as common in these pages as it is in South America, and obscure Greek coins are not at the forefront of everyone’s mind. But the wordplay is fair throughout and it would have been faster had I not had to parse as I went along.

1 Pompous official in Bear Inn in conversation (4-3)
POOH-BAH – Pooh as in Winnie the, BAH sounds like BAR; haughty chap in the The Mikado.
5 Prissy person initially rather lacking politeness (7)
9 Scarper, finding sheep tick in item of tack (9)
SKEDADDLE – KED, another name for a tick, inside SADDLE. Not a common word these days, my mother used to use it a lot.
10 Capital of industrialist originally in South Africa (5)
SOFIA – OF, I (first letter of industrialist) inside SA. I expect the huge Soviet style murals I saw in 1968 when passing through in our rusty Morris Minor convertible have long since been replaced by McDonalds billboards and such.
11 Soldier’s material preceding article in medical journal (5-8)
LANCE-SERGEANT – SERGE (material), AN (article) inside LANCET (the leading medical journal). I was familiar with Lance-corporals but this was a new one on me, although obvious.
13 Eat with queen, one men must find condescending (8)
SUPERIOR – SUP (eat), ER (Queen), I (one), OR (men).
15 Old coin sanctioned at first by King Edward, say.
STATER – S = sanctioned at first, TATER sounds like it could be a potato. στατήρ literally ‘weight’ in ancient Greek.
17 American civil engineer after a new redemption period (6)
19 Unknown in top pub, a large rodent (8)
CAPYBARA – CAP (top), Y (unknown), BAR (pub), A.
22 French writer‘s talk with journalist grabbing a university chap (13)
CHATEAUBRIAND – CHAT = talk, then A, U(niversity), BRIAN (chap), inside ED = journalist. I think the ‘steak for two’ was named after the writer, a toff (a vicompte) who was an ambassador to Napoleon B.
25 In Kiel it established a size of type (5)
ELITE – Hidden in KI(EL IT E)STABLISHED. In Linotype days, a size with 12 characters to the inch.
26 Cut limb off top of birch in woman’s stock farm (9)
DISBRANCH – DI’S (woman’s), RANCH (stock farm), insert B(irch). Not a common word, but plausible enough.
27 Possible source of Brazil‘s ten true reforms (3,4)
28 Soldiers in East allowed to fire, perhaps, once (7)
ELEMENT – E(ast), MEN in LET. Element once as in fire, water, earth, air. Our nearest thing to a chemistry clue today!

1 Afterthought about old lady’s last bunch of flowers (4)
POSY – P.S. around O, then Y last letter of lady.
2 coincide in part with deliveries friend sent up (7)
OVERLAP – OVER = 6 deliveries as in cricket, LAP = PAL reversed.
3 Fine Scottish knight’s physical strength (5)
BRAWN – BRAW means fine in Scottish dialect, as in ‘a braw bricht moonlicht nicht’. Add N chess notation for knight.
4 Way in which slow mover enters boundary? (8)
HEDGEROW – HOW = way in which, insert EDGER being a ‘slow mover’.
5 Vexed woman tearing into chap under pressure (6)
PEEVED – P for pressure, EVE for woman inside ED for chap. Vexed, good Scrabble word.
6 Ugly university son enters regularly after dark (9)
UNSIGHTLY – U for university, then S inside NIGHTLY = regularly after dark.
7 Break actually taken without resistance (7)
INFRACT – R inside IN FACT = actually.
8 Anguish of ambassador over holiday tour of galleries? (10)
HEARTBREAK – HE = ambassador, ART BREAK could be a cultural vacation.
12 Shield English lad about to dodge church parade at last (10)
ESCUTCHEON – E(nglish), then insert CUT (dodge), CH, E (parade at last) into SON = lad.
14 Wide boy always supporting striker in court (9)
RACKETEER – RACKET as in tennis, E’ER – always.
16 Game left over at end of table (8)
LACROSSE – L (left) ACROSS (over) (TABL)E.
18 Doctor at bar is Middle East scholar (7)
20 Joiner climbing mountain at a gentle pace (7)
ANDANTE – AND a joining word, ETNA mountain reversed.
21 Cross about theologian’s disorganisation (6)
MUDDLE – Insert DD for the theologian into MULE a cross bred animal.
23 Someone like Zorba almost; do you concur?
AGREE – Zorba was A GREEK so almost is A GREE.
24 Talk about Panama, possibly (4)
CHAT – C (about), HAT (Panama possibly).

12 comments on “Times 27039 – 2nd TCC Qualifier – Bulgaria revisited”

  1. Despite a few unfamiliar bits and pieces that have already been mentioned in the blog I also managed to complete this in 26 minutes.

    USANCE was my only additional unknown but I was aware of ‘redemption’ in the sense of paying off a loan (rather than saving one’s soul) and ‘usury’ as ‘moneylending’ so it seemed a likely fit.

    Edited at 2018-05-24 05:15 am (UTC)

    1. Just now found this blog to review the puzzle. I remember when solving the 9th row that CAPYBARA was easy, but USANCE less so. With the U-A-C- crossers I couldn’t get ULACCA out of my mind, wondering if it was a word and if the setter was playing games.
  2. ….but altered hedgehog to HEDGEROW almost immediately. I also entered “debranch” at 26A, but fortunately saw the error of my ways thanks to LACROSSE.

    Despite those lapses, I finished in 6:34 – my fastest for some weeks.

    This puzzle was clearly set as a speed test of the type favoured in the old regional finals organised by the late Michael Rich. Back then, I was wont to finish the four puzzles inside an hour. Indeed, in Manchester one year I cleared the lot in 29 minutes, only to be pipped on the day by Neil Robinson ! I did win the Northern final 20 years ago, and the decanter I won is my proudest possession.

    The national final was tougher, but I was still usually under an hour, and was often among the prizewinners without actually threatening to win.

    Times have changed, and the style of the puzzles is less suited to out-and-out speed merchants like me.

    FOI POOH-BAH, which reminded me of the late Joyce Cansfield, who would often work in some Gilbert & Sullivan in her puzzles.

    Nice to see “ked” used in 9A – it isn’t allowed in the two online word games that I play, and I suspect our American friends may not know it.



    I would suggest that anybody who broke 15 minutes on this could happily take part on finals day without disgracing themselves.

    1. Yes indeed, a speed test. Not that my time was any great shakes.

      I too met Mike Rich, a nice man indeed, who I am sure would have been most impressed by your time, Philip!

  3. A nice puzzle possibly designed to lure people in. Sub-13 for me (but not submitted). A few strange words – STATER, DISBRANCH, USANCE, but some gimmes (name a large rodent). Thanks for the blog, and to setter.
  4. I did this in just under 7 minutes, so I thought it was fairly gentle. CAPYBARA is that rare thing: an arguably somewhat obscure word that I know from a context other than crosswords.

    Edited at 2018-05-24 09:13 am (UTC)

  5. I forgot to time this one accurately, but completed it correctly in between 25 and 30 minutes, so fairly gentle. The first qualifier took me 38 minutes, so absolutely no point in sending it off. USANCE and STATER were new words for me, but I followed the instructions. PEEVED was my LOI and it took me ages to see it. LANCE SERGEANT was also unfamiliar but obvious enough. An enjoyable puzzle. Thanks setter and Pip.
  6. 27:24 a bit harder than the first qualifier. Held myself up a bit by biffing lance-corporal. Nothing too troublesome though.
  7. 12:01, but I’ve qualified already, so no need to send it in. Like Pip, LANCE-SERGEANT was new to me (but obvious) and I had to trust to the wordplay for USANCE. COD to ELEMENT.
  8. This was the one that gave me delusions of adequacy at 18 minutes. DNK USANCE but cryptic and crossers led me there. I knew and have had the steak. Sharing a steak? I must have been in love. Vaguely knew STATER. “You’re not telling me they’re Lord Nelson’s?” “No, they’re King Edwards.”

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