Times Cryptic No 27228 – Saturday, 22 December 2018. All tees dotted and eyes crossed.

An easy run-up to Christmas, I think. I was done before lunch, rather than over the meal, for once. I hope you all had pleasant festivities.

Strangely, by the time I was three-quarters of the way through, I had only one answer in the south-east and everything else done bar 6ac, which turned out to be my LOI after the SE desert finally bloomed.

I’ll nominate 24dn as my clue of the day – hence the headline – with 9ac as my runner-up. 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’. Deletions are in [square brackets].

1 Unpopularity of detective, with relish arresting female (9)

6 Row to the left missing a joint (5)
SCARF: FRACAS (row), minus an A, and reversed (to the left). Staring at the three crossers, I thought a SCARF might be a joint, and then recognised FRACAS with enough confidence to write in the answer.

9 Country couple I’d come after with anecdotes (5)
GHANA: G-H-I in alphabetical order, giving two letters to lead into ANA (anecdotes). Droll.

10 I can act, it appears, cunningly? (9)
TACTICIAN: anagram (“appears”) from (I CAN ACT IT*). The definition is literally the whole clue. It all works, but I had to read it a number of times to be sure.

11 Yank and I with small horses go easy with stick (4,4,7)
PULL ONE’S PUNCHES: PULL (yank), ONE (I), S (small), PUNCHES. Suffolk punches are short-legged draft horses, I gather.

13 Girl with no primitive instincts turned to God (8)
DIONYSUS: SUSY, good girl that she is, has NO ID, so presumably she is all ego or superego in Freudian terms. But of course she needs to be turned round.

14 Is preparing to speak out, causing hurt (6)
BRUISE: sounds like BREWS (is preparing).

16 Crazy plan gone into by military assistant (6)
MADCAP: MAP around ADC (aide-de-camp).

18 Everything in place for learning lines (8)
UNIVERSE: UNI (place for learning), VERSE (lines).

21 Primitive way to stop tree production (5-10)
FIRST-GENERATION: ST (way) in FIR (tree), GENERATION (production).

23 Sneaky of the German, breaking free (9)
UNDERHAND: DER (one of several German words for “the”, but the one beloved of setters) in (“breaking”) UNHAND .

25 Drawing on papyrus in Grecian exhibits (5)
USING: hidden answer.

26 Treatment for effects of alcohol perhaps boy knocked back neat (5)
DETOX: TED “knocked back”, followed by OX (“neat”, meaning cattle).

27 Veteran playing eg at Lords (3,6)
OLD STAGER: anagram (“playing”) of (EG AT LORDS*).

1 With effort, get to like travelling to the city (3,2)
DIG UP: DIG (like), UP (travelling to the city).

2 Not surprising bats dwell on Mars (5,6)
SMALL WONDER: anagram (“bats”) of (DWELL ON MARS*).

3 A refusal to keep diary, or something similar (7)

4 Alternative international body pinching name wanted by police? (2,3,3)

5 Instructions for course in leisure centre, one with gym (6)
RECIPE: REC (leisure centre), I (one), PE (gym).

6 Web designer’s starting price not publicised? (7)
SPINNER: SP (starting price), INNER (not publicised).

7 Even bits of tabloid can be heavyweight (3)
ALI: even letters of “tabloid”. Muhammad Ali, of course, although I had to check how to spell his name.

8 Foreign department one enters if desperate (9)
FINISTÈRE: anagram (“desperate”) of (I ENTERS IF*). It’s in the extreme west of Brittany.

12 Waking after locks triggering alarm (4-7)
HAIR-RAISING: HAIR (locks), RAISING (waking).

13 Exceptionally slow start building floor (9)
DUMBFOUND: DUMB (exceptionally slow), FOUND (start building).

15 Planned bid for contract halted (8)
INTENDED: 1NT (“one notrump” is a common bid in the game of bridge), ENDED (halted).

17 Satire developed by comic hero (7)
ASTERIX: anagram (“developed”) of (SATIRE*), then X (by).

19 One struggling to be heard over sound of submerged bridge (7)
VIADUCT: VIA sounds like (“to be heard”) VIER (struggler), then DUCT sounds like (“sound of”) DUCKED. So, there you are … two separate homophone indicators in a single clue.

20 Journalist taking friend around old pleasure craft (6)
PEDALO: PAL (friend) around ED (journalist), then O (old). Not a name for a paddle boat familiar to me, but easy enough to see.

22 Caravan finally turning up on private land (5)
NIGER: N is [carava]N “finally”, then a reversal (“turning up”) of RE (on) GI (private).

24 Girl I can be seen with often (3)
DOT: lower case “I”s have dots, of course. Cute.

18 comments on “Times Cryptic No 27228 – Saturday, 22 December 2018. All tees dotted and eyes crossed.”

  1. 33:11, so not a runaway solve, but not at the most difficult end either. The festivities seem to have dulled what passes for my brain as I haven’t a clue where I started and have only a vague memory of BRUISE possibly being my LOI. I remember being chuffed at constructing DIONYSUS, otherwise, to quote the doddery MP in Blott on the Landscape, “mind’s a blank!” Thanks setter and Bruce.
  2. Straightforward apart from the parsing at 15dn which took a bit of thinking through – unlike today’s brute with obscurity piled on obscurity!
  3. Started quickly but slowed down to 36 minutes.. LOI NIGER. COD DIONYSUS. I remember someone, I think it was Melanie, singing a song about the ID, but I can’t find it so I can’t convert it into EGO. I spelt FINISTERE correctly, but it has two r’s in the shipping forecast, doesn’t it? Thank you B and setter.
  4. I really enjoyed this as the challenge was at the right level for me with many rewarding clues.
    I too assumed SCARF had to be a joint. Also I could not at the time parse NIGER, BRUISE AND LOI VIADUCT. I was however pretty confident they were right. COD to DOT.
    I remember lots of pedalos in the UK and Europe (possibly even on the big boating lake at Southport -BW please confirm). Whether Health and Safety now prevents their use I don’t know.
    1. Not in my day, David. There were rowing boats and motor boats on the Marine Lake south of the Marine Drive bridge, and north of the bridge was for sailing. But who knows what happened when Sefton took over? They don’t have them across the Ribble either at Fairhaven Lake in Lytham St Annes, but that might have been because of a Health an Safety issue when a young Andrew Flintoff was playing cricket for St Annes.
  5. This took me about two hours, but then I was undergoing quite a rough DETOX after the night before, so I had an “exceptionally slow start”, as 13d would have it.

    FOI 23a (yes, it took me that long to get anywhere), LOI 14a BRUISE. According to my notes I liked a lot along the way, including but not limited to 9a, 17d and 24d. Plenty I didn’t know, too, like the horses, the joint, and where FINISTERE is and how to spell it, having only heard it in the Shipping Forecast on Radio 4.

    It’s a testament to the time of year that I came here expecting to be put out of my misery on a couple in today’s puzzle, only to be surprised that it was Saturday and all I got were last week’s answers 🙂 Perhaps I could do with another hour on this one, too…

    Edited at 2018-12-29 09:50 am (UTC)

  6. 26:14 Held up by one or two, as I recall, with LOI DUMBFOUND. Failed to spot that 10A was an &lit and I thought ‘go easy with stick’ was a bit odd for PULL ONES PUNCHES. I liked ON THE RUN, the Bridge clue at 15d, but my COD was NIGER. Thanks Bruce and Setter.
  7. I had a sudden recollection of Regent’s Park lake in London and Wiki has this:
    The boating lake is open daily from 10:30am – 6:00pm from late March through to the end of October and offers rowing boats and adult pedalos for hire.

    Please check with the Boathouse (number below) for confirmation of the exact dates when the boats are available

    The separate children’s lake is open weekends, bank holidays and school holidays only (subject to weather conditions). Children’s pedalos are available for hire.

    Boat and Pedalo Hire Costs
    Boat and pedalos can be hired from the Boathouse. A £5.00 deposit is required for all bookings.

    Per hour
    Adult: £10.50 Child: £7.50
    Early bird hire (before noon)

    Adult: £7.00 Child: £5.50

  8. 33:12 although my online entry shows two typos: on tje run and hair-raisiig. Didn’t know the scarf joint but was fairly confident with the reversed fracas minus an a. Didn’t know the 1NT bit of 15dn but again, was fairly confident. Nice puzzle.
    1. Google “ana definition”. For example, in Merriam-Webster:

      ana noun
      ˈä-, ˈā-

      plural ana or anas

      Definition of ana (Entry 2 of 5)

      1 : a collection of the memorable sayings of a person

      2 : a collection of anecdotes or interesting information about a person or a place

      1. Thanks. It wasn’t in my dictionary, so I assumed it must be an abbreviation, but I couldn’t find that either.
    2. Try this…
      “ā′na, a suffix to names of persons or places, denoting a collection of memorable sayings, items of gossip, or miscellaneous facts, as Johnsoniana, Tunbrigiana, &c.: applied also to the literature of some special subject, as Boxiana, Burnsiana, Shakespeariana.—n.pl. specially a collection of the table-talk of some one. [The neut. pl. termination of L. adjectives in -anus = pertaining to.]”
  9. Had “arming” confidently entered at 14a , cos that’s the way it’s pronounced ‘ere! We were a bit surprised at the lack of a Cockney indicator. Saw the error once finistere went in and finished in 33 mins. Liked bruise (once we finally saw it).
    FOI 7d Ali
    LOI 6a scarf

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