johninterred (johninterred) wrote,
johninterred
johninterred

Times Quick Cryptic No 1269 by Joker

A bit of a quirky puzzle from Joker today, I think. It felt like there was almost a theme hidden somewhere, but not quite. A lot of Es Ns and Xs. (Hmm. Have I missed something?). Well I guess we can expect to be teased by Joker, and here he is at his tricksy best keeping me puzzling for the second longest time for a QC this year so far, taking over 7 1/2 minutes. I fell for more than a couple of misdirections (was I the only one?), such as expecting a V for five in 12A, the "say" at 19A and expecting an author in 12D... and more! And as for 13D... well what do you think? I enjoyed this a lot. I hope you did too. Plenty of lovely clues and no GRs; I give RETRO the COD award. If you found it hard, I hope you won't be discouraged, and if you didn't, you're smarter than me! Thanks Joker for a teasingly mind-bending and enjoyable Friday puzzle.

Definitions underlined in italics, (ABC)* indicating anagram of ABC, deletions and "other indicators".

Across
8 General rule in doorstep receptions (7)
PRECEPT - We start with a hidden word "in" doorsteP RECEPTions. Quite well hidden. Tip. If you can't work out what is going on with the wordplay in a clue, try looking for a hidden word.
9 Humble sailor, like slave, ultimately (5)
ABASE - AB (sailor) AS (like) slavE, "ultimately". Humble the verb, not the adjective!
10 A lot of Cologne, perhaps has European landscape (5)
SCENE - Cologne is a type of SCENT, (the "perhaps" indicating a definition by example); drop the last letter to get "a lot of" it, and add E (European). Anyone else think "European landscape" might be the definition at first?
11 Support old horse, note, quite young (7)
TEENAGE - TEE (support for golf ball) NAG (old horse) E (musical note).
12 Unity over five points (7)
ONENESS - There I was looking for a V in there somewhere, but in vain; its ON (over) E N E S S (five points of the compass).
14 Beast of burden carrying large Tibetan priest (5)
LLAMA - L (large) LAMA (Tibetan priest). Lovely surface; poor thing carrying a heavy weight at those heights.
15 Apply authority without power (5)
EXERT - The authority is an EXpERT and we enter it "without" the P (power). No I won't mention the Brexit turmoil.
17 Some esteemed a Cambridge backing the scholarly world (7)
ACADEME - A reverse hidden; "some", "backing", in esteEMED A CAmbridge. Sadly, the surface doesn't quite work.
19 Former news media, say (7)
EXPRESS - This one had me confused....EX (former) PRESS (news media), the "say" making me think it was a semi-&lit asking for an example. But The Express is still being published so it can't be "former". Sneaky definition! Well done Joker. Now, then, blog reader - you didn't just bung it in from the checkers, I hope. Did you?
20 Old-fashioned beer brought back without pressure (5)
RETRO - the beer is a pORTER, "brought back" and "without" P (pressure). Neat to have a backward looking clue for Retro.
22 Tedium starts to exhaust now nothing usually interests (5)
ENNUI - "starts to" Exhaust Now Nothing Usually Interests. Not with this crossword, though.
23 Ridiculously, any line is wrong (7)
INANELY - (any line)* "is wrong". Describing a nonsense verse, perhaps? "I never saw a purple cow. I never hope to see one. But I can tell you anyhow, I'd rather see than be one!"

Down
1 Soup prepared for work (4)
OPUS - (Soup)* "prepared". Hmm. Maybe I should try the soup option from the canteen for lunch at work.
2 Respect always joining queen and English (6)
REVERE - R (regina - queen) EVER (always) "joining" E (English). The verb, not the noun.
3 Give up something to plant, reportedly (4)
CEDE - Sounds like SEED ("reportedly").
4 Politician’s quality says chap’s fashionable (13)
STATESMANSHIP - STATES (says) MAN'S (chap's) HIP (fashionable). A nice charade.
5 Desert creature with trouble lifting evergreen shrub (8)
CAMELLIA - CAMEL (desert creature) with AIL (trouble) "lifting" i.e. reversed in a Down answer.
6 An area under prohibition for fruit (6)
BANANA - AN A (area) "under" BAN (prohibition). Reminds me of the song... "Yes, we have no bananas, we have no bananas today". Hear it here.
7 Need gear to move rat (8)
RENEGADE - (Need gear)* "to move".
12 Astonished old writer spotted (4-4)
OPEN-EYED - Led astray again, I was looking for an old Author as the first word, but it's O (old) PEN (writer) EYED (spotted).
13 Redesigned tech site is visually pleasing to Americans (8)
ESTHETIC - "Redesigned" (tech site)*. It looks very odd to me without the A on the front.
16 Former husband quiet with increase (6)
EXPAND - EX (former husband) P (piano - quiet) AND (with).
18 One or the other solvent absorbs iodine (6)
EITHER - The solvent is ETHER which "absorbs" I (chemical symbol for Iodine). And here is an experiment you can do with it - larn yersel some stinks today; and hello to my sister-in-law!
20 A lot of paper’s pale yellow with no carbon (4)
REAM - Another chemical symbol. This time we remove it.... cREAM (pale yellow) "with no" C (carbon).
21 Variety of agate needs working unknown times (4)
ONYX - ON (working) Y (unknown) X (times). we are talking the gemstone here, not the Pokémon with a similar name.
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