Times Cryptic No 27210 – Saturday, 01 December 2018. Ah, the good old days!

There might have been a bit of a retro feel to this puzzle. Old scientists, old literature, old poets, old playwrights. I liked the fact that the several such that I didn’t know were gettable from the wordplay! Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle.

My LOI was 1dn, because I had a mental block. I liked 23ac for its disguise, and 19dn for its humour, but I might pick 24ac as clue of the day.

Clues are in blue, with definitions underlined. Answers are in BOLD CAPS, then wordplay. (ABC*) means ‘anagram of ABC’, with the anagram indicator in bold italics. Deletions are in [square brackets].

1 Cut around bog’s high ridge (4,4)
HOG’S BACK: HACK around an anagram of BOG’S.

5 What arithmetician does is brood at university (4,2)
TOTS UP: TOTS (brood), UP (at university).

9 Collar hasn’t a zip (3)
NIL: NAIL (collar), less the “A”.

10 Carbon in gas fire, something to keep out the chill (11)

12 Hide from man who’s left school educated (10)
OBLITERATE: O.B. (old Boy, or man who’s left school), then LITERATE (educated).

13 Victor, say, heading for upset after hard game (4)
HUGO: H for hard, U from the heading of Upset, GO is the game.

15 Understood this Latin building style (6)
GOTHIC: GOT (understood), HIC (Latin for “this”).

16 Scoffed after New Age’s recent arrival (7)
NEONATE: ATE (scoffed) after N (new) EON (age).

18 Vent anger on school’s Dickensian character (7)
PODSNAP: SNAP on POD. Didn’t know the character, but trusted the wordplay.

20 Conflict not required to see off a group of Nazis (6)
NEEDLE: drop the S.S. off NEEDLESS. Neat device; nasty group!

23 Novice boxes in learner driver? (4)
CLUB: L in CUB. Cute disguise of the definition: golf, not motoring.

24 Seizure by police to get the job done (3,3,4)
FIT THE BILL: FIT (seizure), THE BILL (police).

26 The writer’s going to island covered in mud — he’s rolling in it (11)
MILLIONAIRE: I’ll (the writer will), then IONA (island), all covered in MIRE (mud).

27 Some work accordingly isn’t finished (3)
ERG: the ERG is a unit of physical work, ERGO is a logical or mathematical version of “accordingly”.

28 Lower number follows unspecified one (6)
NETHER: N for unspecified number with a voiced “b”, ETHER is a number with an unvoiced “b”. Cunning! Definition is as in “nether regions”.

29 A sauce eaten by wrong butcher? (8)
ASSASSIN: SASS is the sauce, so put A SASS inside A SIN.

1 The sound of appealing gig (6)
HANSOM: sounds like “handsome”. This was hard to see, because in my ignorance of all things related to horses and carriages, I imagined a hansom cab with its roof and doors was a different, heavier class of vehicle than a gig, which I imagine as light and open. But the dictionary agrees with the setter that hansoms are light two-wheeled carriages.

2 Miss sign probed by one scientist (7)
GALILEO: GAL (miss), LEO (sign), collectively probed by “I” (one).

3 Lovely creature’s embraced with irritation (10)
BEWITCHING: BEING (creature) to embrace ITCH (irritation).

4 Church plugs device as a way to avoid issue (13)
CONTRACEPTION: CE in CONTRAPTION. No mention of that other church in this context, please.

6 War writer‘s love novel rejected (4)
OWEN: O (love), then NEW (novel) backwards (rejected). Wilfred Owen, I assume

7 Posed a gripping problem, something to get your teeth into! (7)
SATSUMA: SAT (posed) plus A, gripping SUM (problem).

8 Knock up meat dish for a tale teller (8)
PARDONER: RAP (knock) backwards (up), then DONER. Reference to one of the Canterbury Tales.

11 One used to flog online business, blocking terrible sanction (3-1-4-5)
CAT-O’-NINE-TAILS: E-TAIL (online business, if you must use this term for it), inside an anagram (terrible) of (SANCTION*).

14 Playwright made great strides, European star (4,2,4)
LOPE DE VEGA: LOPED (made great strides), E (European), VEGA (star). New to me.

17 Cash reduced by bishops, for example (8)
SPECIMEN: SPECI[e] (cash), MEN (chess men, such as bishops).

19 Characters in flannelette, cotton or natty jacket? (7)
DOUBLET: since all three words in the list are spelt with a DOUBLE-T!

21 Its role is to reform lags? (7)
LOITERS: anagram (reform) of (ITS ROLE*).

22 Leave pastry wraps and an amount of drink (6)
FLAGON: FLAN (pastry) wraps GO (leave).

25 Cut a couple of diamonds (4)
DICE: D is the first diamond, ICE the second.

17 comments on “Times Cryptic No 27210 – Saturday, 01 December 2018. Ah, the good old days!”

  1. Filed this away with notes and times, only to pick it up now and find I didn’t solve 13A.

    DNK LOPE DE VEGA, and only knew HOG’S BACK as a Surrey brewery.

    The first thing I entered was the “up”” of 5A, which accounts for the strange looking start point.

    LOI NIL (but should have been HUGO)
    TIME 12:53, but without HUGO

    Annoying. Phil Jordan

  2. DNK NEEDLE in the required sense, and it took me a while to twig to the wordplay. But my LOI was FLAGON; I was working with PY (pastry wraps), which of course led nowhere. ‘Number’, as in 28ac, has become something of a chestnut. PODSNAP, a pompous philistine businessman in ‘Our Mutual Friend’, has I believe even made it into the OED. SATSUMA here is a mikan-like citrus fruit (unshuu mikan), although I knew the word from the Satsuma Rebellion (1877), the final uprising of déclassé samurai against the new government that had overthrown the shogunate.
  3. Never heard of LOPE DE VEGA and it didn’t seem all that likely. I had not heard of HOGS BACK either, and for some time I had DOGS BACK and wondered how GSBA was an anagram of BOGS not BAGS (in DOCK for cut). Then I got HANSOM having racked my brain for carriages starting with D that fitted. Having done the Pardoner’s Tale for O-level English Lit, that went in without bothering to look at the wordplay. I couldn’t tell you who PODSNAP is but I’ve heard of him (her?) and the wordplay was generous. I’m not sure that the image of getting my teeth into it is quite the image I project when eating a SATSUMA either.
    1. The characteristic behaviour or attitudes of Dickens’s Mr Podsnap; insular complacency and blinkered self-satisfaction.
  4. Hard work but very enjoyable. I knew LOPE DE VEGA in connection with something I saw on stage or studied some time ago. Looking at the list of his plays, even with English translations, I can’t identify what it was but somehow his name stuck with me.

    The HOG’S BACK I know is a section of the Guildford bypass that’s notoriously treacherous and was the scene of an accident in 1959 in which the first UK Formula One Champion Mike Hawthorn died.

    Edited at 2018-12-08 07:04 am (UTC)

  5. I’ve thrown away the evidence again, but I think I found this a just-over-the -half-hour puzzle. LOPE DE VEGA wasn’t known but I knew it had to be something like that and the cryptic eventually yielded. I certainly sound the D in ‘handsome’ and I thought too it was a more substantial carriage, but there could be no other answer. Way back, I had a Hampshire/Surrey boders girl friend and we’d walk her dog near the Hog’s Back, although I think there may be more than one of those. COD to CONTRACEPTION. Thank you B and setter.
  6. 26:04 with much to admire. DNK the minor Dickensian character or the playwright, but the wordplay was clear enough. I liked NIL, CONTRACEPTION and FLAGON, but COD to DOUBLET.
  7. 25:04 My note says ‘hard going and not much fun’ so I am guessing I didn’t enjoy it much at the time.
  8. 13:08. The only thing I didn’t know in this was PODSNAP, and I have read Our Mutual Friend. I often wonder what I could achieve with a functioning memory.
  9. I got most of this but annoyingly was defeated in the NW.
    I knew Lope de Vega from somewhere and constructed the unknown Podsnap.
    But I failed to get 1a despite frequently driving along the Hog’s Back, normally en route to Farnham golf club. I also failed to get 1d despite seeing how the clue must work. Perhaps if Danny Dyer had been on Have I Got News For You a week earlier it would have helped.
    Off to watch Blackheath play rugby today so I won’t be spending too long on today’s puzzle. Blackheath is considered to be the first rugby club in the world. David
  10. I didn’t know PODSNAP, HOG’S BACK or LOPE DE VEGA, but managed to construct them, although I did check on the playwright. Liked CONTRACEPTION. 34:07. Thanks setter and Bruce.
  11. An hour and ten, so quite testing, and my marginalia suggest I had problems with 26a MILLIONAIRE and LOI 14d LOPE DE VEGA. I think I looked up the playwright before I submitted, just to make sure I’d followed the wordplay correctly. I trusted PODSNAP, though, as he at least sounded properly Dickensian!

    FOI 8d PARDONER (I’m clearly getting better at spotting Chaucer references…)

  12. 28:44 I didn’t find this too troublesome. Dnk the Dickensian at 18ac but checkers and wp left me in little doubt. Relied on wp at 14dn and vaguely recognised the result. I did not know the specie bit of 17dn but specimen was clear. I liked the double-T device at 19dn but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen it before. COD 4dn.
  13. I enjoyed this – partly because I knew all the literary references. “Our Mutual Friend” is one of my favourite Dickens’ novels so PODSNAP was no problem given the generous cryptic. 1a and 1d slowed me up until I remembered that HOG’S BACK was a thing. 42 minutes. Ann
  14. I needed to look Lope de Vega up, and I particularly liked Doublet. I had trouble with a number of these because the definition bits were just outside the perfect synonym zone – lags, loiters; hide, obliterate; butcher, assassin; and a couple more. I usually enjoy difficulty caused by whimiscal and cryptic definitions, and I usually have trouble with difficulty of the close enough but not exact kind.

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