Times Cryptic No 27216 – Saturday, 08 December 2018. Clues for all topics.

This had a nice spread of general knowledge, without ever getting totally over my head. Sports, poets, pharaohs, statistics – you pick it! I did it over lunch without timing it, but felt it was just on the hard side of medium.  How did you all find it?

My clue of the day was 9ac. I laughed when I finally saw it. Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle.

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 Be unable to find Scottish island on map at first (6)
MISLAY: M[ap], ISLAY. True – I couldn’t find it on a map either. Not my part of the world!

4 Dependable and firm, the moment I left (8)
CONSTANT: CO (firm), [i]NSTANT (moment, “I” leaving).

9 Chess shows one it can be a game for four (7)
DOUBLES: since the spelling of “chess” ends with a DOUBLE-S! I guessed the answer well before I saw the wordplay.

11 Beg one extra place to be reserved (7)
IMPLORE: I (one), MORE (extra), “reserving” PL (place).

12 Shock from head of church shifting a little power to the right (5)
APPAL: PAPAL, with the first P (power) moved a little to the right. On edit: “papal” as in “a papal bull” would be “a bull from the head of the church”.

13 Egyptian leader’s staff in an inn shortly needing parking (9)
AMENHOTEP: well, I’m glad the wordplay was specific about the spelling! It’s A HOTE[l] (an inn, shortly), around MEN (staff), and then the finishing touch is a P (parking).

14 Notice second decoration a few have received and worn (10)
THREADBARE: AD (notice) and BAR (second decoration, as in “DSO and bar”, meaning winning the DSO twice), all inside THREE (a few).

16 Centre for heretics has heart knocked out of legal defence (4)

19 Grain cost reduced by a penny (4)

20 Does he give relatively painful advice? (5,5)
AGONY UNCLE: cryptic definition. Agony aunts are much more common, I suspect.

22 Furiously thump boxing youngster, the latest of many (9)
UMPTEENTH: the youngster is a TEEN, in an anagram (“furiously”) of THUMP.

23 Elevated construction beginning to bend in wind (5)
GABLE: B[end] in GALE.

25 One liked no end to take passage in ship (7)
FRIGATE: FRI[end] (“no END”), plus GATE.

26 Lost balance, carrying child — safer with this on? (4,3)

27 Offer to contribute to very modest gaudy (8)
TINSELLY: SELL (offer) “contributing to” TINY (very modest).

28 Regularly take in Hesiod poem (6)
AENEID: alternate letters. And very happy I was to be told how to spell it!

1 Cryptic threat for member of the Tea Party (3,6)
MAD HATTER: since HATTER is an anagram (“mad”) of THREAT, the answer is a cryptic clue for threat.

2 Look defeated, seeing bad house prices? Only at first (5)
SLUMP: a SLUM might be a bad house (or houses). Append P[rices], “only at first”.

3 Wartime signal that would not be misunderstood? (3,5)
ALL CLEAR: double definition.

5 Peaceful offers: “Please take up residence on British farms” (5,8)
OLIVE BRANCHES: O LIVE all to be put on top of B[ritish] RANCHES.

6 Poet’s program hard to break into in this way (6)
SAPPHO: APP (program) and H (hard) in SO (in this way). I didn’t realise she was a poet.

7 Pauline for one has no way to stop a detailed government plan (9)
APOSTOLIC: O (no) and ST (way) inside (“stopping”) POLIC[y]. Since Paul was an apostle, of course.

8 Ass: it was almost quiet (5)
TWERP: T’WER[e] followed by P (quiet).

10 Babe she gently rocked, keeping up appearances (6-7)
SHABBY-GENTEEL: anagram (“rocked”) of BABE SHE GENTLY.

15 Quality of signal in first class (9)
RECEPTION: double definition. The second definition was a complete puzzle until I guessed it might be something to do with the British school system. I gather that four or five year olds start school in reception.

17 In ecstasy, composer died — really! (1,5,3)
I NEVER DID: IN plus E (ecstasy) plus VERDI (composer) plus D (died).

18 Complex situation in meeting as papers circulated (8)
QUAGMIRE: QUIRE (papers) “circulating” around AGM (meeting). My last one in.

21 Conflict divides work team in cave (6)
BEWARE: WAR “divides” BEE. “Cave” is Latin for “watch out”.

22 Force adopted by military group is not appropriate (5)

24 Normal sort of curve on European beauty (5)
BELLE: BELL curves figure in statistics, describing the normal distribution. Add E for European.

19 comments on “Times Cryptic No 27216 – Saturday, 08 December 2018. Clues for all topics.”

  1. ….as I ran into a brick wall with two clues unsolved after about 12 minutes. I put the puzzle down after a further five minutes, but despite returning to it on two separate occasions, I gave up in the end and used a word search to identify QUAGMIRE, and TINSELLY (I hate Christmas, and this one did nothing to moderate that view).

    DNK ALBI, but the parsing was clear. Wasn’t enthused by the clue for FRIGATE.


  2. I found this on the chewy side, taking 44:49 to bring it to a conclusion. I did manage to winkle out the tricky wordplay though. APOSTOLIC was my last one in when I finally saw the definition and slapped my forehead metaphorically. TINSELLY took a while, as did DOUBLES. I liked MAD HATTER and SKID LID. Thanks setter and Bruce.
  3. Never got TINSELLY, put in ‘tenderly’ (offer) with little hope. Biffed AMENHOTEP from some checkers, parsed later. DNK 26ac. I had DUTCH UNCLE at first until forced to change. Thanks, Bruce, for explaining the other RECEPTION. I wasted time taking ‘centre for heretics’ to be ET, before realizing it meant centre for heretics. I’m no doubt being dense here, but just how does APPAL work? ‘Papal’ is an adjective; the head of the church is the pope.
      1. As I said, I was being dense; I actually thought of that, and for some reason rejected it. In the words of the poet, D’oh!
  4. DNF here as I had to look up AMENHOTEP and, like Kevin, I bunged in TENDERLY at 27 based on nothing more than ‘tender/offer’. DK ALBI but worked the answer out.

    On 13ac, we’re used to ‘man/staff’ as verbs but I don’t recall seeing ‘men/staff’ as nouns before and am not entirely sure that it works. Anyway I didn’t think of it.

  5. Quite Easiy Done in 22 minutes with LOI TINSELLY after deciding that “tenderly” only half-worked. I knew it was something like AMENHOTEP but neede the cryptic and crossers. I like the idea of SHABBY GENTEEL but can only manage the first half. It was good to see I NEVER DID as a phrase from the past not recently heard. COD though to AGONY UNCLE. With my Dad sadly gone, I need one of those every Saturday afternoon as the scores come in. We played like an amateur side this last couple of weeks, which was fair enough as the players hadn’t been paid. I think they were yesterday. I won’t know how we played this week as the Bolton News reporter has been banned from the ground. I didn’t realise that naming the stadium the University of Bolton was to justify providing a safe space for the Chairman.
    Sorry everybody. Good puzzle. Thank you B and Setter.
    1. I had to Google this to a see what was going on … madness. In ignorance I didn’t know Bolton now had a university or that the Reebok was now so called. Mrs K is saddened by this news. And snowflakes to boot.
  6. No real problems here as the tricky spellings like AMENHOTEP were supported by wordplay. As a Lewis Carroll aficionado I had the usual irritation at seeing MAD HATTER; he was only ever the hatter, in the book, the march hare was more inclined to be MAD. But of course hatters did suffer from mercury poisoning. Hence the expression.
    ALBI was the centre of the Cathar insurrection to which the Pope took exception and he had them persecuted and slaughtered. It is a pleasant small city on the Tarn, allegedly the warmest in France.
  7. Unknowns aplenty, but thankfully all derivable from wordplay. My problem was accepting just one BEE as ‘work team’. But what else could it be?
  8. 29:37 slow going – spending ages staring at QUAGMIRE at the end. Saved by the where there’s a U look for a Q rule
  9. This was a game of three halves for me. I started well as I have been looking at trips to Islay for 2019. It’s famous for whisky and has one noted golf course recently refurbished. It’s hard to get to though.
    I got most of the NW and SE in my first session. Then Olive Branches opened things up in the NE. I managed to construct the unlikely looking AMENHOTEP.
    A first try of Shabby Elegent ( I know how it should be spelt) was corrected by my Agony Uncle but I failed to find TINSELLY; and ALBI I had as Alii.
    Some good stuff in here but I am still tender about Tinselly.
    I had not realised quite what was happening at Bolton. I only realised the stadium had been renamed watching Championship highlights last Saturday. Leeds will be a big test today.
  10. 50 minutes for me, not too bad considering this was the morning after the office party.

    Started off with hair of the dog at 1a; Islay is one of my favourite places. Next time you get to a decent bar, perhaps try a Bunnahabhain, Bruichladdich, Caol Ila, Laphroig, Kilchoman, Bowmore, Ardbeg or Lagavulin—all from this small isle (let’s hope some of those don’t come up in the 15×15 in the future; I still have to look up the spelling of one of them even though I’ve been to all the distilleries multiple times!)

    Finished off with 7d APOSTOLIC, religion not being my strong point, though at least I recognised AMENHOTEP from somewhere (probably Stargate: SG-1!)

    This was a different story from today’s, which I struggled with terribly, then managed to leave one letter out when transcribing and submitting! D’oh.

    1. I go from Laphroaig to Bowmore and back; I think I’ve tasted Ardbeg and Lagavulin, never heard of the others. First heard of the blessed isle when my local supermarket offered some–not particularly great–variety. Thanks to their labelling the stuff in Japanese, I realized off the bat that the place wasn’t called Izzlay.
      1. Knowing how to pronounce it already puts you ahead of a few bartenders I’ve met, but as this crossword keeps on pointing out to me, you can’t know everything about everything!
  11. Yes, took me a while to get there, too, but finally “spelling bee” sprang to mind. This seems like a mostly US-ism to me.
  12. 29:27 – I also finally thought of the see a U try a Q mantra to finish off with quagmire. I liked 22ac. I thought that perhaps it was an appearance too soon for the double-S device at 9ac, coming so hot on the heels of the double-T device from the previous Saturday. A satisfying solve.
  13. This didn’t feel too difficult when I was doing it this morning. But I was surprised to find that it had taken me 44 minutes. Either I had fallen asleep or it was harder than I thought. I was held up by ????HOTEP because once I’d discounted Cleopatra I remembered there was a guy with a name ending that way. Just couldn’t get the first letters. Ann

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