Looking at the answers gave me that sense of genteel nostalgia that perhaps was once the trademark of the Times crossword.
The Roman general stretched my memory a little. Otherwise, I thought this was middle of the range for a Saturday. The top left took me longest.
Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle. How did you all get on?
Note for newcomers: The Times offers prizes for Saturday Cryptic Crosswords. This blog is for last week’s puzzle, posted after the competition closes. So, please don’t comment here on this week’s Saturday Cryptic.
Definitions are underlined. (ABC)* means anagram of ABC, with anagram indicators italicised.
|1||Dampen vibration noise in duct initially, condition unknown (8)|
|HUMIDIFY – HUM=vibration noise + I(n) D(uct) (both ‘initially’) + IF=a condition + Y=an unknown in algebra.|
|5||Roman general, one seen in old pictures in revolution (6)|
|SCIPIO – O + I + PICS, all reversed. Read more about him here.|
|9||Where one may eat around event, one in Royal Academy (9)|
|CAFETERIA – CA=around + FETE=event + R(I)A.|
|11||Stable’s last went on horse wear — bit by bit! (5)|
|ERODE – (stabl)E + RODE=went on horse.|
|12||Japanese dish of cheese with filling of ramen (7)|
|EDAMAME – EDAM=a cheese + (r)AME(n). Made from soy beans.|
|13||What’s strong Italian wine in box, mostly new (7)|
|BASTION – ASTI in BO(x) + N.|
|14||Thiamine isn’t a bad treatment for allergies (13)|
|ANTIHISTAMINE – (THIAMINE ISNT A)*|
|16||What’s conditional pass of an exam (13)|
|QUALIFICATION – two meanings. A conditional clause, or what you get when you pass your exams.|
|20||Perpetually young, without regular income, not with (7)|
|AGELESS – (w)AGELESS=without income.|
|21||Close up of Jock’s middle daughter in this? (7)|
|OCCLUDE – (j)OC(k) + D=daughter in CLUE=what we’re trying to solve here!
Unusual self-reference by the clue.
|23||Funny quote which goes over someone’s head? (5)|
|TOQUE – (QUOTE)*. A brimless hat for women, or a chef’s hat, for example. (I didn’t know that second one!)|
|24||Ingenious astigmatism and verticals centrally give character to Mona Lisa’s smile? (9)|
|ENIGMATIC – middle of each word: (ing) ENI (ous) + (asti) GMA (tism) + (ver) TIC (als).|
|25||Doctor needs inch lower bed? (6)|
|DREDGE – DR=doctor + EDGE=to inch (forward or backward).|
|26||Terribly long aria in Britten opera (8)|
|GLORIANA – (LONG ARIA)*.|
|1||Extractor of secrets from PM on TV (6)|
|HACKER – two meanings: a computer type, or the title character of Yes Prime Minister.|
|2||Madness as man finally turns to female criminals (5)|
|MAFIA – MA(N)IA, with the N changed to an F.|
|3||Take away vehicle, upsetting for bachelor in debt (7)|
|DETRACT – DE(b)T, with B for Bachelor changed to CART=vehicle, ‘upset’. A more complex variation on the theme of the clue before!|
|4||Might man in paper deal with Havering? (5,3,5)|
|FORCE THE ISSUE – FORCE=might + HE=man, in TISSUE.
Chambers defines: haver (intransitive verb)
So, if someone won’t make a decision, you force the issue.
|6||Football club’s revolutionary succeeded in field (7)|
|CHELSEA – CHE (Guevara) +S=succeeded, in LEA. Another pair of clues with matching wordplay.|
|7||Demand professional appearance (9)|
|PROVISION – PRO=professional + VISION=appearance.|
|8||Shrub over slope, climbing rose perhaps (8)|
|OLEANDER – O=over + LEAN=slope + RED=rosé, perhaps, ‘climbing’ => DER.
Does rosé count of a type of red wine, or not? If not then perhaps we can fall back on ‘my love is like a red red rose’.
|10||Lima abroad perturbed to accept fool like His Excellency (13)|
|AMBASSADORIAL – ASS=fool, in (LIMA ABROAD)*.|
|14||Beer’s replaced with aqua, Islamic style (9)|
|ARABESQUE – (BEERS AQUA)*. I know this word in the musical or dance context – I never realised it basically just means ‘Arab’. D’oh.|
|15||Club’s players holding title regularly hunkered down (8)|
|SQUATTED – T i T l E (title, ‘regularly’), in SQUAD=club’s players.|
|17||Island with church on mountain, something like Cos (7)|
|ICEBERG – I + CE + BERG. Types of lettuce.|
|18||Immigrant, perhaps in Norfolk resort without right (7)|
|INCOMER – IN C(R)OMER.|
|19||Kingdom’s queen protected by 1000 agents (6)|
|MERCIA – ER=queen, in M + CIA.|
|22||Extremist sect destroying Conservative run area (5)|
|ULTRA – (C)ULT + R + A.|