Times Cryptic No 27516 – Saturday, 23 November 2019. Goldilocks!

This was in the Goldilocks zone for me – not too hard, not too easy, and with much to enjoy. I smiled at the cunning definitions of 16 and 26ac, and admired the unusual wordplay of 2dn, 12ac and particularly 20ac. I looked up the answer to 27ac to find out what it is (learn something every day!), raised an eyebrow at the answer to 8d. My LOI was 21dn, where it took a while to get past the attractive idea that “pick up” signalled a sounds-like clue. Plenty of candidates for COD – I don’t have a choice; over to you, folks. Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle.

Clues are blue, with definitions underlined. (ABC*) means ‘anagram of ABC’. Deletions are in [square brackets]. The blog is in Times New Roman font, as part of my gentle campaign to urge the club site to use a font in which it is easier to tell one’s stem from one’s stern.

1 Might millions crack clues? (6)
MUSCLE – M for millions, then ‘crack’ (CLUES*).
4 Seeing the light from tail of test rocket (8)
TWIGGING – T from [tes]t, WIGGING (a very British expression, I suspect, meaning ‘scolding’).
10 Female copper, slim and incredibly powerful (9)
HERCULEAN – HER (the cat’s mother, or some other female), CU (copper), LEAN (slim).
11 Remove weapons from section of lunar module (5)
UNARM – hidden answer. ‘Unarmed’ is familiar, so this answer wasn’t a big leap.
12 Ninety ducks do better than fish (3)
EEL – EXCEL (do better) with the XC (ninety) ducking out.
13 Servility ultimately brings luxury (11)
14 Crust covering wings of angular beetle (6)
SCARAB – SCAB covering AR from a[ngula]r.
16 Can occupant eat on stairs regularly? (7)
SARDINE – DINE (eat), on/after SAR from s[t]a[i]r[s].
19 Something that defines single mate, over-attached to his mum? (7)
OEDIPAL – OED (Oxford English Dictionary, “something that defines”), I (single), PAL (mate).
20 Vein ought to be removed from shoulder joint (6)
REEFER – REEF (vein), ER from [should]er, removing ‘should’ = ‘ought’. I wrote this in from the definition long before I saw the wordplay.
22 Durham gent’s untidy drawers (11)
25 Briefly pelt runner (3)
SKI – after an alphabet trawl, I think pelt must be SKI[n].
26 Spear carrier on right shedding outer things (5)
EXTRA – ‘on right’ would be d[EXTRA]l. Shed the outside letters.
27 Navigation system, first of many now imaging in colour (9)
OMNIRANGE – NHO this device. It’s MNI from the first letters of the relevant words, in ORANGE.
28 Censor opponents holding a demonstration back (8)
SANITISE – S[outh] and E[ast] are opponents at bridge. Here they hold A, and a SIT-IN backwards.
29 Just one bank (6)
MERELY – ME (one), RELY (bank). The clue doesn’t exactly flow, I know.

1 Composer upsetting relative amateur (6)
MAHLER – REL[ative], HAM all ‘upset’. I needed all the helpers to see this one.
2 Always loveless, sour police died in service dress (9)
SURPLICED – take all the Os out of S[o]UR P[o]LICE, leaving them ‘loveless’, then add D for died.
3 Boxer Rebellion’s central character succeeded after French agreement (5)
LOUIS – L from [rebe]L[lion], then S (succeeded) after OUI  (French ‘agreement’). Joe Louis, not King Louis.
5 Nun’s midwinter revels involving tango and saxophone? (4,10)
WIND INSTRUMENT – (NUNS MIDWINTER*) ‘revels’, with T for tango in there somewhere.
6 Bungling cowboy docked on lake (9)
GAUCHERIE – GAUCH[o] ‘docked’, then ERIE.
7 Silly sign painter forgetting odd letters (5)
INANE – every second letter of ‘sign painter’.
8 Sick mare gets better (8)
GAMESTER – (MARE GETS*) is ‘sick’. Do gamesters necessarily bet? They sound to me like people playing computer games.
9 Wanderings of manic menopausal Brit (14)
PERAMBULATIONS – (MENOPAUSAL BRIT*) is ‘manic’, allegedly. The setter may say that, but I couldn’t possibly comment!
15 Disgusting dog adopted by extremely reclusive granny over time (9)
REPUGNANT – PUG inside R[eclusiv]E NAN, then T.
17 Fundamentally fashionable German city church (2,7)
IN ESSENCE – IN (fashionable), ESSEN, CE.
18 Hungry masses invading empty farms (8)
21 Pick up your foul uniform! (6)
LIVERY – YR. EVIL, all written upwards (‘picked up’).
23 Aircraftman with weight and influence (3,2)
24 Foster son with energy to pursue rising career (5)
NURSE – S (son) and E (energy) all after RUN ‘rising’.

16 comments on “Times Cryptic No 27516 – Saturday, 23 November 2019. Goldilocks!”

  1. ….for Christmas – or at least I was with SANITISE, where I spotted “sit-in” and worked my way round it.

    I’d NHO OMNIRANGE, and really didn’t understand REEFER (thanks Bruce).


  2. I managed to overlook a glaring typo–TIGGIING–to get 2 errors. I’m not sure I knew REEF for ‘vein’, but it worked. Liked EEL, SARDINE, MERELY, hated my typing.
  3. 24:52, so a little over average time for me, and very enjoyable. NHO that meaning for REEF, so thanks for clearing up the one I couldn’t parse, Bruce. I nearly came a cropper with NESS for the lake in 6D, but the “can occupant” fixed that. LOI LIVERY. Iliked MUSCLE as well as EXTRA and SARDINE. Thanks Bruce and setter.
  4. 32 minutes which is close enough to my target half-hour for a Saturday. DNK OMNIRANGE nor REEF as a vein. Very little biffing was going on as I arrived at most of the answers from wordplay.
  5. 26 minutes with the LIVERY/ MERELY crosser last to fall. The unknown OMNIRANGE was constructed and installed just prior to that. I didn’t know the REEF of the REEFER but It could be nothing else. I would have made OEDIPAL COD but I’ll give it to GAUCHERIE for not being complex. A pleasant puzzle. Thank you B and setter.
  6. Thomas Morley was English so doesn’t count and wasn’t anyway!

    FOI 3dn Joe LOUIS

    LOI 29ac MERELY

    COD 8dn PERAMBULATIONS – peregrinations flashed up at the beginning of the clue but not at the end.

    WOD @ 4ac WIGGING

    Knew reef as a load – from Geology A-level.


  7. At the harder end of the spectrum for me, taking an hour and six. Enjoyed 1a MUSCLE and 19a OEDIPAL. FOI 11a UNARM LOI 21d LIVERY. Glad to find I wasn’t alone in neither being sure about the reef nor having heard of an OMNIRANGE…

    All quite fair, though, letting me come up with everything from the unlikely GAUCHERIE to the unknown boxer (I thought I’d heard of him, but that turned out to be Lennox Lewis…)

  8. Another enjoyable puzzle. I hadn’t heard of OMNIRANGE, but the wordplay was clear. REEFER went in from definition and crossers, otherwise everything was parsed. Liked Can Occupant. Like John, I would’ve gone for GAUCHNESS without it. 22:22. Thanks setter and Bruce.
  9. I’ve no idea (now) why I thought LIVERY was FINERY, but I did, neutering my 13 seconds short of 20 minutes. Still, never mind, eh?
    1. I went for FINERY too. I think since there had already been 2 or 3 clues where I’d put in the answer from definition and checkers and couldn’t see the wordplay, I just assumed this was another one.
  10. I found this very difficult in places. I came to grief on the reef of REEFER, was completely unable to get MERELY
    and felt liverish about LIVERY.
    Apart from those three it was OK and I too liked the can occupant.
  11. This took me a little over an hour. I thought it was tough and never really found the wavelength. I liked the novelty of 12ac but COD to the Durham gents in 22ac.
  12. With one typo or error. ELL for EEl. I liked Sardine for can occupant. I spent some time looking for a prisoner.

    COD: Draughtsmen. I spent a good amount of time in the men’s underwear department.

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