Cryptic Crossword Clues

Alec Robins hit for six by former England captain (5,5)
BRIAN CLOSE – The late Alec Robins wrote Teach Yourself Crosswords one of the best-known crossword books – his name is an anagram (hit for six) of a former England cricket captain
Father’s conflicting degrees (4)
ABBA – a biblical word for father, when applied to God, is created by reversing a university degree and following it with the same degree
Man with prospects — or Aussie? (4-6)
GOLD-DIGGER – this man who prospects for a valuable mineral is a charade of the colour represented heraldically by OR and an informal Australian term of address
Jack has trouble with pen (4)
JAIL – a charade of J(ack) and some trouble gives a pen(itentiary)
Sow and cat having rest disturbed (7)
SCATTER – to get a word meaning to sow, put CAT inside an anagram (disturbed) of REST
Letchworth or Petersfield. Only part, and much smaller (6)
THORPE – hidden inside (only part) the first three words is a place – there are several places with this name, the one I know is in Surrey and has a theme park
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Stevedore who reduces pay (6)
DOCKER – another name for a stevedore could be someone who reduces pay
Profitable redundancy has had dog-kennel converted (6,9)
GOLDEN HANDSHAKE – a large sum of money paid to someone whose services are no longer required is an anagram (converted) of HAS HAD DOG-KENNEL
Heroine employed at Bentley? (6)
CARMEN – the heroine of Bizet’s opera could, if split (3,3), be people working at Bentley (or Jaguar, Rolls-Royce, Ford)
Rock’s ego divided by popular twins (6)
GEMINI – a rock used in jewellery and I (ego) are separated by a word meaning popular to get these heavenly twins
Fighter’s slice of bread and butter (7)
SOLDIER – this fighting serviceman is also a name for a narrow strip of bread-and-butter which is dipped into a boiled egg
Ship’s load first removed (4)
ARGO – Jason’s ship is constructed by dropping the first letter from a load
Floral setting of gorse blossoming by forest (4,6)
ROSE GARDEN – this floral setting comes from an anagram (blossoming) of GORSE followed by a forest that is stated by Shakespeare to be the setting for As You Like It
2 half sealed off (4)
HERM – a 2 down is derived by dropping the second half of a word meaning sealed off or airtight
Top-rate lines in poetry at palace (10)
VERSAILLES – put top-rate (2) and two L(ine)s inside some poetry to get a palace built for Louis XIV
I lay claim to lots of trousers (4)
BAGS – a colloquial word meaning “I lay claim to” is also a colloquial term for trousers
Marine detachment (4)
ISLE – a cryptic definition of a piece of land surrounded by sea
Lack of success upsetting tutor on reserve (2,4)
NO DICE – a phrase which indicates that there is no chance of success is built by reversing a tutor and following it with a word meaning reserve or coldness
The dizzy quality of blondes? (15)
LIGHTHEADEDNESS – a slightly-cryptic definition of a dizzy quality attributed to blondes – the enumeration is usually (5-10)
Horse eating bit of wheat cooked (6)
STEWED – put a spirited horse around (eating) a bit of W(heat) to get a word meaning cooked
Card game in vehicle going to Dartmoor? (5,5)
BLACK MARIA – a card game, also known as Hearts), and a van for transporting prisoners
Edinburgh — that is where duke and earl clashed first (4,6)
AULD REEKIE – a nickname for Edinburgh is derived from the Latin abbreviation for “that is” preceded by an anagram (clashed) of DUKE and EARL
Old transport at RADA? (10)
STAGECOACH – an old-fashioned form of transport describes, when split (5,5) someone who teaches at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
Party understood naval indicator (5,5)
JOLLY ROGER – a slang word for an office party followed by the word used in signalling for understood gives a flag flown by pirate ships
Special reducing dissension for circles of society (7)
SPHERES – a charade of SP(ecial) and word meaning dissenting with conventional beliefs, without its final letter(reducing), gives these circles of society
Empty list, cock! (7)
ROOSTER – put O (nothing) into a list to get a cockerel
Moron edited first edition — never again! (2,4)
NO MORE – an anagram ()edited of MORON followed by the first letter of E(dition) gives a phrase meaning never again
Angel at Ikea consuming ice-creams (6)
GELATI – hidden inside (consuming) the first three words of the clue are these whipped ice-creams made from cream, milk and/or water and flavoured with fruit or nuts
One and the same Latin image (4)
IDOL – a charade of I (one), an abbreviation meaning the same as before and L(atin) gives an image of a god
Small county losing leading hard workers (4)
ANTS – drop the initial H (losing leading Hard) from the abbreviated form (small) of an English county to get these workers
Inner cities had become disorderly, getting cut off (14)
DISINHERITANCE an anagram (disorderly) of INNER CITIES HAD spells out what happens when one is cut out of a will.
In part of plant, allowed to distribute pamphlets (7)
LEAFLET A type of pamphlet is a charade of LEAF (part of a plant) and LET (allowed to).
Small organism inserting sting in rodents (7)
MICROBE – Sting here means a deception or theft. The rodents are MICE, insert ROB (steal) to obtain a microscopic organism such as a bacteria
Yahoo available on line (4)
LOUT a yahoo is a boorish lout – L (line) and OUT (available in the sense of being in the public domain).
Female assistant upset make-up people? (10)
FANTASISTS People who create or indulge in fantasies – F (female) followed by an anagram (upset) of ASSISTANT.
Two rings attached to European bird (6)
HOOPOE – This rather special bird is made up by HOOP and O (two rings) and E (European).
Time put into handicraft, note (8)
CROTCHET – A note equal to half a minim – CROCHET (decorative handicraft using a needle to create intertwined loops using wool or thread) with T for time inserted.
Holy word in response to ring, getting married (8)
HALLOWED – You answer a phone by saying HALLO (in response to ring) and another way of saying married is WED. The resulting holy word is an adjective meaning holy or revered
Tries to win where some games are played (6)
COURTS – A nice double definition – wooing or winning the attention of someone/a place where games such as netball and tennis are played.
Old Bank of England, initially, as source of notes (4)
OBOE The musical instrument is obtained, as the clue instructs by taking the initial letters from Old Bank Of and England.
Scoundrel promises to pay — that’s odd (7)
CURIOUS – CUR is another word for a scoundrel and paper promises to pay are IOUS. Here the meaning of curious is odd or strange.
Fruit taken from bed after almost one month (7)
APRICOT – These delicious fruit are the result of combining APRI (APRIL without the L is almost one month) COT (a baby’s bed).
Silly Harry reckoned without parking in West End location (4,4,6)
HYDE PARK CORNER An anagram (silly) of HARRY RECKONED and P (parking) – this brought back memories as I worked for many years in the 1970s a couple of streets away from this busy London ‘junction’.
Femme fatale lied disgracefully and upset prince (7)
DELILAH – the lady who was responsible for Samson’s downfall – an anagram (disgracefully) of LIED and LAH (Prince Hal reversed).
Prominent figure in New York moved there from France (6,2,7)
STATUE OF LIBERTY – the clue is a cryptic definition of the famous statue given to the United States of America by France as sign of international friendship.
A swan, deprived of space, sits on this river (4)
NILE The clue instructs you to move the space between A and SWAN, producing ASWAN, the site of the famous temples and dam on the River NILE.
Catch colleague, endlessly shown up (6)
ENTRAP to catch or entangle someone is a reversal (shown up) of a word meaning colleague PARTNER without the R (endlessly).
Shut up about a Tory leader being inexperienced (8)
IMMATURE – To imprison or confine IMMURE with A and T(Tory leader) inserted. Inexperienced in the sense of not being fully developed.
Charge about, protecting us in battle (10)
ACCUSATION – the act of charging or bringing a charge – Insert into ACTION (battle) C (Circa = about) and US (protecting us).
Take irrevocable step in crucial problem, dividing religious objects (5,3,7)
CROSS THE RUBICON – To go pass the point of no return as Julius Caesar did when he crossed the River Rubicon when invading Ancient Rome in 49 BC – the religious objects are the CROSS and ICON, and the snag or the crucial problem, as Hamlet says in his To be or not to be speech: “there’s THE RUB” .
Basic accommodation in county, just what’s needed (6)
BEDSIT – The last one to go in for me. The county is Bedfordshire (abbreviated to BEDS) and IT here means just what’s needed.
Black and white children admitted by doctor with no capital (10)
MONOCHROME – another term for black and white is a charade of MO (medical officer, doctor) NO, CH (children) and ROME (the capital of Italy).
Banks are ruined in this part of US (8)
NEBRASKA – an anagram (ruined) of BANKS ARE gives you a Mid Western state in the USA.
Don’t audibly greet crewman like this on plane! (6)
HIJACK – Sailors are often known as Jack (Tars). Greeting one “Hi Jack” might cause major problems on an aeroplane in mid air.
Warm garment husband’s not needed in Southern climate (7)
SWEATER – another term for a jumper (a warm garment we UK-based solvers have been wearing a lot lately) – S (southern) and WEATHER with the H removed (husband’s not needed).
Expose corrupt man in American bank, finally (6)
UNMASK – reveal someone’s identity – An anagram (corrupt) of MAN inserted into US (American) with the last letter (finally) of banK.
Vivacious spirit queen’s shown in life (4)
BRIO – this Italian word, used in musical terminology, means liveliness, spirit or vivacity. BIO (a combining form signifying life, or living organisms) with R (Regina, queen) inserted.
Frost deposit — degrees start falling (4)
HOAR – A white frost formed by freezing dew – remove the D (degrees falling)
Great anger finding vermin in outskirts of Wisbech (5)
WRATH – Violent anger – place RAT (vermin)
Account held in part agreement (4)
PACT – Insert AC, the abbreviation for account, into PT, the abbreviation for part- a PACT is apparently an informal or not legally enforceable agreement.
Explaining wrongly cover during exceptional springtime (15)
MISINTERPRETING – An anagram (exceptional)
I name dishonest person said to be at outcrop (6)
INLIER – Start with I and N(ame)
Experienced hand getting on with little Timothy expressing hesitation (3-5)
OLD-TIMER This describes me both in crossword-solving and day-job terms (though, quite clearly, not age-wise!)
James reportedly, before break, had cheap gadget (8)
GIMCRACK – A worthless knickknack or poorly made article – according to Chambers you can spell this with a G or a J but here you need GIM, a homophone of Jim as indicated by ‘reportedly’, followed by another word for a break in the sense of a narrow opening CRACK.
Choke regulates itself (6)
STIFLE – an anagram (regulates)
Right to have a face on this tyre? (6)
RADIAL – Most cars have, I think, radial tyres these days – R (right)
Unperturbed about commercial song (8)
SERENADE – A word meaning calm or unruffled with AD (abbreviation for commercial advertisement)
Hick cuddling hot bird (8)
PHEASANT – Hick is a derogatory term for someone from the country – so PEASANT but ‘cuddling’ instructs you to insert H for hot – there is a gentleman pheasant teasing our cat in the garden as I type this.
Made fun of nurse put out (4,2)
SENT UP – A State Enrolled Nurse or SEN and an anagram (out)
New place in green for bird (9,6)
PEREGRINE FALCON – A lovely fifteen letter anagram (new)
Quails be on both sides of valley (4)
BEVY – I am a great fan of collective nouns (parliament of owls being my favourite of all)
Buffalo calf penned nearby (5)
LOCAL – I read the first two words of this clue and for a couple of seconds wondered if there was some obscure word for the offspring of a buffalo unknown to me. Luckily I then saw the word ‘penned’ and realised that hidden inside buffaLO CALf is a synonym for nearby.
Overpriced honey? (4)
DEAR – A very nice double definition – expensive or a term of endearment
Blockbuster rehung ‘mid confusion (9)
HUMDINGER – a slang expression for an exceptionally excellent person or thing – an obvious anagram (confusion)
Salts, a large order from David’s son (7)
ABSALOM – A charade of AB (salty sailors)
Ebb-tide (9)
WATERFALL – The ebb tide is literally a FALL of WATER so can be described as a WATER FALL.
Expose piece of hair causing stoppage of flow in pipe (7)
AIRLOCK – AIR (expose to ventilation)
He had the measure of the old king (5)
HEROD – One of the nastier biblical kings – HE followed by ROD (a rod, pole or perch equals five and a half yards)
Lady has name of aristocrat (9)
PATRICIAN – These aristocrats were originally a member of one of the original families of Rome – PATRICIA followed by N.
Study manufacture of lace or hide (7)
CONCEAL – One of the setter’s handy words for study CON followed by an anagram (manufacture)
Sharp practice seen in series of tight turns on track (9)
CHICANERY – A series of sharp bends on a motor racing circuit a CHICANE plus RY (abbreviation for railway [track])
Demanding headmistress fully content (9)
STRESSFUL – the word ‘content’ is an indicator that hidden inside headmiSTRESS FULly is an adjective meaning causing a strain on someone or something. Cephas obviously met my grammar school headmistress who was both demanding and stressful!
Startling enlightenment as a result of raising the lid (3-6)
EYE-OPENER – One of my favourite clues this week – your eyelid is of course what opens your eye, so for crossword setting purposes could be described in the same way as a startling enlightenment.
Runner’s two 18s allowed to be included (7)
ATHLETE – It was obvious from the checking letters what the runner had to be. The reference to 18d explains the word play – the articles A and THE are placed round LET (allowed to be)
Did not stand heartless antic that was wicked (7)
SATANIC – If you did not stand, you SAT; follow this with AN(T)
An editorial? Either (7)
ARTICLE – an editorial is of course an article written by the top reporter at a newspaper. Think back to 16d and realise that an article can also be either A or THE.
Of the ear or of the mouth, we hear (5)
AURAL – This is a double definition making use of homophones – here you require AURAL relating to or received by the ear, rather than ORAL relating to or uttered by the mouth.
Bent over by fish that one plays – the biggest of its type (6,4)
DOUBLE BASS – the largest bowed stringed instrument (that one plays) is a charade of DOUBLE (bent over) and a fish that can be either freshwater or marine – the BASS.
Second record is a big hit (4)
SLOG – a verb meaning to hit hard – S (second) and LOG (a record of a ship’s performances or work done over a certain time by a mainframe computer)
Boldness of Charlie’s predecessor retaining advantage (7)
BRAVADO – When joining the Armed Forces, the Police Force or becoming a crossword setter/solver, it is necessary to learn the NATO Phonetic Alphabet. Before C for Charlie (its predecessor) is B for BRAVO; insert into this the abbreviation AD (which Chambers tells me is the N American term for advantage in a game of tennis) to produce a term for a display of bravery.
Lunatic is running for president (7)
MADISON – An adjective meaning mentally disordered – MAD plus IS ON (is running) produces the surname of the fourth President of the United States.
English author swallowing mixture of gin and tasteless liquid (8,5)
DRINKING WATER – John DRINKWATER was an English author and poet. Insert an anagram (mixture) of GIN in the middle – BD described this liquid as tasteless, they obviously don’t put as much chlorine in the water in Hanley Swan as they do here in East Kent.
During end of cold spell I turn blue (6)
INDIGO – A shade of blue – a charade of a synonym for during – IN, the final (end) letter in the spelling of colD, I and then GO, a turn in, eg, a board game.
They were often hung or framed by eccentric artist (8)
TRAITORS – A lot of discussion on this one on Sunday – grammatical questions ‘hung or hanged’ etc – it’s a fairly obvious anagram (eccentric) of ARTIST with OR inserted (framed) – people are no longer hung/hanged for treason but traitors met their fate this way in the past.
Person willing to get runs to finish off match at Oval (8)
TESTATOR – Someone who makes a will is a TESTATOR – TEST (an international cricket match played at the Oval) plus AT, O (oval) and R (runs).
Horrified, in a way, by frightful hag (6)
AGHAST – Chambers defines this adjective splendidly as ‘stupefied with horror’. An anagram of HAG (frightful) inserted into A and ST (abbreviation for street or way).
Publications in university town are important (7,6)
READING MATTER – Printed material such as books and magazines could be on a list of important (ie they MATTER) study requirements at the University of READING.
Employ in a staff that’s wide awake (7)
AROUSED – Another word for a staff in the sense of a stick is A ROD. Insert a synonym for employ (USE) to produce a word meaning woken up or stimulated.
Achieve victory, pushing back border around state (7)
PREVAIL – A verb meaning to be victorious over is achieved by placing AVER (state) inside another word for border (LIP) and reversing (pushing back) the result – LIAVERP = PREVAIL.
Some beef, for example, that’s left if it’s not right (4)
SIDE – Sides can, of course, be either left or right, although you would have to pay a small fortune for a side of beef these days.
Observer is in English, yet news is somehow different (10)
EYEWITNESS – an anagram (somehow different) of YET NEWS IS plus E (English). These observers are very useful when a crime has been committed.
Setting up base on time is an obligation (4)
DEBT – a financial obligation – another word for a base in the sense of a place on which anything rests – BED – reversed (setting up) on T (time).
Run raid he’d put together without leaders and without support (7)
UNAIDED – Another way of saying without any help – the letters of (r)UN (r)AID (h)E’D joined (put) together but with their initial letters removed (without leaders).
Star players Girl Guides grow up to become? (7,6)
LEADING LADIES – Principal actresses in a play or film – Girls grow up to be LADIES and guides show or LEAD people, hence grown up Girl Guides become LEADING LADIES.
Poet’s right out of place in competition for novelists (6)
BROOKE – Rupert Brooke is the poet here – the Booker Prize is presented to a novelist – do as the clue says and move the R from the end of the word to the inside (out of place).
House not, as some say, the place to teach ministers lessons (8)
SEMINARY – A house joined to another is semi-detached, informally referred to as a SEMI. Add to this NARY – a dialect word meaning never or not to produce a theological college for the instruction of ministers, priests and rabbis.
Wayward shot piercing lion in part of Africa (7)
LESOTHO – LEO (the constellation/sign of the zodiac represented by a lion) with an anagram (wayward) of SHOT inserted produces the landlocked enclave in south Africa.
Behaviour of the kind that’s wasted energy, so restricting it (10)
GENEROSITY – People who are kind behave in a generous manner – an anagram (wasted) of ENERGY SO with IT (restricting) inserted.
Revise tenet’s wording for political address (7,6)
DOWNING STREET – the home of the Prime Minister is an anagram (revised) of TENETS WORDING.
People like Gladstone and those around Melbourne (10)
VICTORIANS – My clue of the day – Gladstone was Prime Minister during the reign of Queen Victoria; Melbourne is the capital of the Australian State of Victoria, its residents, like Mr Gladstone, are known as Victorians.
Pursued the ends of liberty with determination (8)
DOGGEDLY – Behaving in a determined dog-like manner – DOGGED (pursued / tailed) with the first and last letters (ends) of LibertY.
Main courses? (7)
SEAFOOD – Food caught on the high seas – or fish served as part of a meal.
A pen enclosing about this amount of land (7)
ACREAGE – A CAGE (pen) with RE (about) inserted – an amount of land measured in acres.
Hands or feet used to get fruit (6)
PAWPAW – another word for a hand or foot (particularly in an animal) is a PAW. Two of them given you a name of a tropical fruit of the custard apple family.
Positive starts from politicians leading us somewhere (4)
PLUS – another word for positive is formed from the initial letters (starts) of Politicians Leading Us and Somewhere.
Piano I put in club converted by jazz singer — chance for all to relax (6,7)
PUBLIC HOLIDAY After working this clue out, I thought we had a mistake because I was convinced that the singer’s name was Billie Holliday! However a check with several sources happily revealed I was wrong and our setter was right! The clue comprises P (public) added to an anagram of CLUB with I inside. On to this is added our jazz singer’s surname and it gives you the name given to days when (most of) the population are not working.
Knowledge internal to government department (4)
INFO A wordsum. IN (internal) + FO (abbreviation for Foreign Office)
Withdrawal symptoms we may get the day after Christmas? (4,6)
COLD TURKEY One of several topical clues. A double definition with the second cryptic. What a drug addict goes through coming off drugs and a pretty bland way of dealing with the leftover Christmas dinner meat. Here’s a much better way:-
The law broken on open land in Australia, say (12)
COMMONWEALTH A word for open land (COMMON) takes an anagram (broken) of THE LAW, which leads to the group of which Australia is a part, although for how long who knows?
Let down badly in paid post (10)
DISAPPOINT An anagram (badly) if IN PAID POST leads you to a word meaning to let someone down.
Get as reward leading part of Abenazar in theatre (4)
REAP A type of theatre is repertory, or REP and in that goes the first letter (leading part) of Abanazar (the villain in a well-known 1 down).
Exited right? On the contrary (4)
LEFT Double Definition clue. A word meaning exited, with the remainder of the clue another definition of the solution. It also makes a nice all-in-one as well.
Novel recalled about popular rags-to-riches story (10)
In that sense, improperly seizing power creates today’s martyr (5,7)
SAINT STEPHEN An anagram (improperly) of IN THAT SENSE with P inserted gives the name of the person whose feast is celebrated on December 26th
Fighting confusion, so to speak, in times like the present (6,4)
BOXING DAYS A word for fighting added to a homophone for a form of confusion gives the other name for 19 ac’s festival occasions.
Part of Christmas scene family organised (4)
TREE When scanning through this, I nearly fell for a (probably unintentional) trick that it was a hidden answer and entered Mass, however it’s a double definition. Part of Christmas in most houses, and how your family may be organised genealogically.
What happens in sales, for example, gets GNP prophesies revised (8,5)
SHOPPING SPREE Rule number one in crosswords is always to read the clue properly, and this time I didn’t, which meant I entered SPENDING SPREE first. When I realised the down clue didn’t intersect, I reread the clue and realised it was an anagram of GNP PROPHESIES, which meant that SPENDING became SHOPPING. D’oh!
Criticize big books I’m into for seasonal entertainments (10)
PANTOMIMES If you criticize something, you PAN it, and add word for big volumes of books(TOMES) with I’M inside to lead you to shows seen at this time of the year
Protecting pound, become prosperous and flourish (5)
BLOOM If you become rich, you can be said to do this, and inside BOOM goes (L for pound) to reveal a word meaning flourish.
Like some South Americans, having been filmed (5)
INCAN When a film is complete it’s said to be this, a two word phrase more usually split by the word THE. Put the two words together and you get the name to describe some people from ancient South American.
Hold about fifty to share with another (5)
HALVE A word meaning hold has L (fifty) inside and produces one that means split in two.
Smallest piggy allowed nothing within brood, mostly (6,3)
LITTLE TOE The smallest piggy comes from LET O (allowed nothing) inside LITTE(R), most of a word meaning brood.
It’s not fair, panto animal being unknown quantity (4,5)
DARK HORSE I thought it a bit odd that half of the answer to 1d is given in this clue. The opposite to fair is added to the name of a comedy creature found in 1d. This gives me an excuse to post this!
All right to include very short Frenchman, so-called? (4)
YVES When you say “all right” in response to a question it usually means this. Insert V (very, short) and you get a French male name. Think of Monsieur Montand.
Something put on tomb, say, to honour US patriot (4,6)
PAUL REVERE The name of a cloth put over a coffin or tomb. An attendant at a funeral is known as a ___ BEARER. A homophone of this is added to a word meaning honour or respect. This gives you the name of a famous American patriot.
Partly to miss it, landing up pitched very high (9)
ALTISSIMO Hidden in “to miss it, landing” and reversed (up) is a phrase meaning “high-pitched” in musical terms. Clever clue.
Improving, having drunk gin in truck (7,2)
PICKING UP The name for a type of truck, mainly used in the US, has an anagram of GIN inside to mean recovering, as I am at the moment!
Local, perhaps, appearing in Aladdin nightly (3)
INN Another hidden answer; this time the name of a pub or local, inside “Aladdin nightly”
Old couple having tea, we hear — on the wagon (5)
TWAIN A one-letter homophone of Tea goes onto the name for a cart (think Constable’s Hay vehicle!), and this gives an old word for two.
Conclusions drawn from what judge says at Christmas trials (5)
TESTS The last letters of “what judge says at Christmas”
Young hero (with start of 1 down) is safe (5)
PETER It seemed odd that 1 down was used here rather than panto, and not in other clues. The start of the answer is of course PAN and the famous hero with that surname’s Christian name is needed. His name when used as an adjective can mean safe.
What villains may get to drink, so to speak (4)
BOOS When you go to a 1 down, part of the fun is the reaction of the audience to the bad guy, what they do is a homophone of an American word for drink.
Speciality of some doctors — a line in part of body (6)
SPINAL – start with the speciality of doctors like Alastair Campbell and add A and L(ine) to form an adjective relating to part of the body.
Rubbish given applause — a trick (8)
CLAPTRAP – a synonym for nonsense or rubbish is a charade of applause and a trick.
Reduction in speed with which society is given info (8)
SLOWDOWN – start with S(ociety) and add an informal word (3-4) meaning the true facts (info) to make a reduction in speed.
Medic, a person putting boy off — one with a yarn (6)
DRAPER – someone with yarn for sale is the abbreviation of a medic followed by A and what’s left of person once a boy has been removed.
Old felines about to catch another one, making short sharp sounds (8)
STACCATO – reverse (about) O(ld) and felines, then put another feline inside (to catch) to make a musical term indicating that each note is sharply detached from the others.
Like spectators in arena, weary around end of game (6)
TIERED – a description of spectators sitting on rows of seats (or of the seats themselves) is a synonym for weary containing (around) the end letter of (gam)E.
Reserve group to join A team (3,5)
SET ASIDE – a phrasal verb meaning to reserve or earmark something is another word for group followed by A and a synonym of team.
Shut up, but partially open tomorrow (4)
PENT – hidden (partially) in the clue is a past participle meaning shut up or enclosed.
Country needing to destroy any bug (4)
GERM – this bug is the name of a European country without (to destroy) ANY.
Indian support becomes more disturbing (8)
CREEPIER – a charade of a Native American tribe and a solid support forms a comparative meaning more disturbing or more sinister.
How affection is shown at great cost (6)
DEARLY – double definition.
Scoundrel I sacked, right away getting endorsed (8)
RATIFIED – this is a verb meaning endorsed or sanctioned. It’s a despicable person or scoundrel followed by I and a verb meaning sacked or dismissed without the R(ight).
Let me have a party with wife somewhere that’s suitable for a picnic? (6)
MEADOW – where you might have a picnic is a charade of ME, A, a party and W(ife).
Lout gives call to excite attention in gaol, rioting (8)
HOOLIGAN – a call to excite attention (traditionally heard from a sailor in the crow’s-nest at the first sight of land) is followed by an anagram (rioting) of IN GAOL.
First hint of cloud and Poland’s suffering a chilly spell (4,4)
COLD SNAP – follow the first letter (hint) of C(loud) with an anagram (suffering) of POLAND’S.
Club’s chauffeur? (6)
DRIVER – double definition.
Exercise involving a dead language and someone who used it (8)
PALATINE – put the usual abbreviation for exercise around (involving) A and a dead language to make a high-level official of the Roman Empire (named after one of the seven hills of Rome).
Fresh actors with the introduction of second TV programme? (8)
NEWSCAST – the definition is TV programme. Combine synonyms for fresh and actors and between them insert S(econd).
Take care of attractive person needing to conceal behind (4,5)
LOOK AFTER – this is a phrasal verb meaning to take care of. An informal term for an attractive person has the naval word for behind or towards the back inserted (to conceal).
His cousin, person cast in the role of a pundit (15)
CONNOISSEURSHIP – an anagram (cast) of HIS COUSIN PERSON makes the role of someone with specialised knowledge. Chambers has a nice definition of a pundit – “someone who considers himself or herself an authority”.
Like farm animal that’s knocked over harvested stuff in back of store (7)
PORCINE – an adjective meaning like a specific farm animal is what’s brought in during the harvest reversed (knocked over) followed by IN and the last letter (back) of (stor)E.
To change the words of rap here’s tricky (8)
REPHRASE – an anagram (tricky) of RAP HERE’S.
Soldier wanting money said to be an example (8)
PARADIGM – a word meaning model or example is an airborne soldier followed by what sounds like (said to be) a US ten-cent coin.
Deal going down the Swanee? (9)
DRIFTWOOD – the phrase to go down the Swanee originated in the Mississippi region of the USA during slave trading days. Slaves who caused trouble were sold from the northern slave states into the much harsher conditions on plantations further south, hence the phrase “sold down the river” (the Swanee being a river that flows into the Gulf of Mexico). The phrase going down the Swanee has now come to mean going disastrously wrong. This clue, however, is a cryptic definition of deal (or any other similar fibrous material) which might float down any river.
Disease fear — medicine (in short supply) about to be brought in (8)
PANDEMIC – this is a disease which has spread over a very wide area. A word meaning fear or hysteria has an abbreviation (in short supply) of medicine reversed (about) and inserted (brought in).
No army giant provides my pleasure! (3,2,3)
NOT AT ALL – a phrase which is a polite reply (my pleasure!) to a word of thanks is a charade of NO, our reserve army and an adjective meaning large or giant.
Maybe the writing’s on the wall (8)
GRAFFITI – cryptic definition of the artistic work of Banksy, for example.
Agree end should be settled for deserter (8)
RENEGADE – an anagram (should be settled) of AGREE END.
Insensitive visit with nothing offered to you and me (7)
CALLOUS – an adjective meaning insensitive is a charade of to visit, O (nothing) and a pronoun meaning you and me.
The French FBI agent is one doing the donkey work (3-3)
LEG-MAN – The runner or ‘donkey’ is a charade of LE (The in French) and GMAN – A word for FED or FBI agent first coined (allegedly) during the arrest of gangster George “Machine Gun” Kelly in 1933
Blade runner mixed up in Ikea sect (3,5)
ICE SKATE – The sporting footwear choice of Torvill and Dean is an anagram of IKEA SECT. The blades run across the ice.
A hunger it dealt with having more sauce (9)
NAUGHTIER – An anagram of A HUNGER IT. If you are saucier you are a bit more naughty…but I like you!
Cardinal was prime minister once (5)
NORTH – Sir Frederick North , 2nd Earl of Guildford was Prime Minister from 1770 to 1782 (Once is trying to indicate that this was a long time ago!). His surname is also a cardinal point of the compass. Whilst one may not have heard of him (I hadn’t) it is only a matter of checking letters to choose between North or South once the clue structure is understood.
Stick on gallows, up there is a difficult situation (3,4)
GUM TREE – A charade here: Gum for Stick and tree for gallows (think ‘Hanging Tree’). If you are ‘Up a Gum Tree’ then you in a predicament (particularly in Australia)
One giving up playing reedily (7)
YIELDER – An anagram (playing) of REEDILY gives someone who gives up, cedes or possibly yields.
Finish work losing right to make another attachment (5)
RETIE – Lose the R from ‘retiRe’ (finish work) in order to attach something once more.
Stir men playing lute primarily? He might (8)
MINSTREL – My favourite clue on balance. This is a semi &Lit (all-in-one) clue where one needs to read the whole clue for the definition. Apart from the ‘he might’ at the end, make an anagram (playing) of STIR MEN then follow with L(ute) primarily. This gives you the troubadour that is described in the sentence.
Song about one Australian that is strongly disliked (8)
ANATHEMA – Stand up for the Queen and put an ANTHEM around A (one). Adding A(ustralian) gives a word for a detested or cursed person.
‘Mother and Child’ one worked in stone (5)
MASON – A charade of MA (mother) and SON (her child) gives a shaky-handy stoneworker.
Construction set holy place’s working back (7)
MECCANO – A beloved (of me anyway) toy that allowed one to create structures with an eye to the engineering. Start with MECCA (The holiest meeting place for the Islamic Faith) then add a reversal of ON (working).
Old man against keeping recipe for light snack (7)
POPCORN – A cinema snack. Take POP (old man, father, pa) and then add R(ecipe) into CON (against, keeping being the insertion instruction). As we all know by now, Recipe is Latin for ‘Take’ and is abbreviated on doctors prescriptions and cooking instructions as R. Don’t forget this kids!
Belgian city lord (5)
LIEGE – A double definition. The lovely Belgian city and also a lord in the king’s court.
Host’s pretty good shot besieging stronghold (9)
INNKEEPER – A pretty good shot in archery is an INNER (just outside of the bullseye). Place this outside of KEEP (a fortress or stronghold) to find the landlord of a pub- ‘Mein Host’ if you will.
Tellurium’s not radioactive as can be proved experimentally (8)
TESTABLE – A charade of TE (the chemical symbol for Tellurium) and STABLE (not radioactive or likely to decay). These things can be tested.
Past history revolutionary holds that’s surprising! (6)
RECORD – We have seen an influx of words expressing astonishment/surprise – COR, MY, BLIMEY, STAP ME VITALS etc!). Actually, we have seen MY and COR a lot. Take the latter and put it inside RED (the communist revolutionary is RED and it holds COR. The definition is a ‘Past History’ – written down of course.
Hero of romantic comedy does so miss working outside (4,4)
LAND GIRL – This one held me up for ages but turned out to be among my favourites. It is a double definition and you need to insert your crowbar between SO and MISS to get the two meanings. The LAND GIRL worked outside in a farm as part of the war effort and before the end of a romantic comedy the leading man should also LAND (get) the GIRL
Get M Roux endlessly cooking for him? (7)
GOURMET – Another well worked clue which is a semi all-in-one. Take the end letter from GET M ROU(x) and make an anagram (cooking) to get the foodie for whom Michel Roux may cook.
Bad breath or containing a bit of niff is noisome (9)
ABHORRENT – The synonym of noisome or hated is an anagram (bad) of BREATH OR including the fist letter (a bit of) Niff.
Old comedy film, a right corny production acting foppishly outside (5,2,7)
CARRY ON CAMPING – Another of my favourites this week. The definition is clear but we need to make an anagram, a production of, A R(ight) CORNY and then place CAMPING (acting foppishly) around the outside. I think the clue would work as an &Lit (all in one) without the ‘Old Comedy Film’ part since the remainder does define the work. Maybe the setter was attempting an &Lit but was asked to make the definition easier…
Nice items I’m arranging on monument longer than anyone knows (5)
SINCE TIME IMMEMORIAL – An anagram (arranging) of NICE TIMES IM, when placed before the MEMORIAL (monument) leads to a well known phrase meaning for as long as anyone can remember.
Cut a part of the nose (7)
ABRIDGE – A slightly chestnutty clue for some – A + Part of one’s nose gets cut, shorten or expurgate.
Urge old flame excited about start of relationship (6)
EXHORT – Take the usual EX for old flame and then add HOT (excited) placed around the start of Relationship. The definition is ‘Urge’ as a verb
Perhaps watch to see how long performance takes (9)
TIMEPIECE – An artistic performance can be known as a piece. To check how long it lasts means one would time it. Hence TIMEPIECE, of which a watch is one example (note that the perhaps is required to show that the definition is but one example )
Nears end painfully caught in trap (8)
ENSNARED – A painful anagram of NEARS END gives ‘caught in a trap’
Faldo and S. African golfer change in America (7)
NICKELS – A few people who don’t watch golf don’t like to see these sort of clues. Personally I think you could take a number of popular sports and reasonably expect people to know a couple of the top names. NICK Faldo was the most successful English golfer (I think still is in terms of Major Championship Victories) and Ernie ELS is one of the most successful golfers of the last 20 years and is now making fairly regular appearances in crosswordland. Adding those two together gives the 5 cent bit (change) in the US
Sign exclusive story mostly about amount of inflation (7)
SCORPIO – ‘Sign ‘ on its own as a definition can often mean a sign of the Zodiac. This one is made from most of SCOO(p) (exclusive story mostly) around (about) the abbreviation for Retail Price Index, or amount of inflation.
Charm a cross teacher to begin with (6)
AMULET – A charm or talisman is a charade of A + MULE (a cross between a male donkey and a female horse) + the beginning of Teacher – A MULE T
One leading pack from Lakeland (5)
AKELA – It occurred to me as I solved this that I had probably never seen the word written down (I was never in the cubs or scouts). Hidden in lAKELAnd is the name of the Scout Pack’s leader.
Town in decline, vibrant originally in Wales? Not quite (4,4)
EBBW VALE – this is a town in South-East Wales which was once the parliamentary constituency of Aneurin Bevan and later of Michael Foot. Start with a verb meaning to decline or recede, then insert the initial (originally) letter of V(ibrant) inside most (not quite) of WALE(s).
Stratagem revealed by doctor during walk (6)
GAMBIT – put one of the abbreviations for a medical doctor inside a manner of walking.
Instruction to postman, faced with tiny letterbox, to try to achieve more than seems possible? (4,3,8)
PUSH THE ENVELOPE – this phrase, meaning to try to achieve more than seems possible, has its origins in the world of aviation, where the relevant word is used for a set of performance limits that may not be safely exceeded. Test pilots are often called on to stretch these limits to extremes, for example to determine just how fast an airplane can be flown.
Deep regret about short mouthful (7)
REMORSE – a charade of a prefix meaning about and a small amount of food without (short) its final L.
Reprimand involving old and conceivably mad plan for achieving a goal (4,3)
ROAD MAP – this is a step-by-step plan for achieving a goal. Put a verb meaning to reprimand around (involving) O(ld) and an anagram (conceivably) of MAD.
Usual colours (8)
STANDARD – double definition.
Run in next race (5)
EXTRA – hidden in the clue is a type of run in cricket which is added to the batting side’s total, but not to the score of any individual batsman.
Religion in Mali’s unorthodox (5)
ISLAM – an anagram (unorthodox) of MALI’S.
Access for transport (8)
ENTRANCE – double definition. This word comes up regularly as a synonym for transport and just as regularly seems to cause problems for some solvers. Transport, as a verb, can mean to fill with rapturous delight or throw into an ecstasy.
Hard on journalist that’s remained suspended (7)
HOVERED – the definition is remained suspended. It’s a charade of H(ard) (a classification of pencils), a synonym for on and the usual abbreviation for a senior journalist.
Dress’s hem is dropped in church (7)
CHEMISE – HEM IS has to be inserted (dropped in) inside the abbreviation for Church of England to make a straight dress.
Faith right to be imprisoned in credit fraud (10,5)
CONFIDENCE TRICK – this is a type of fraud, as demonstrated in the TV series ‘Hustle’. Start with a synonym for faith or trust and add an informal word for credit (deferred payment) with R(ight) contained (imprisoned) inside it.
Pale china stopper (6)
PALLID – a charade of what china means in Cockney rhyming slang (“china plate”) and a stopper or cover for a container produces an adjective meaning pale or anaemic.
New cadet penning article before English social event (3,5)
TEA DANCE – this social event is an anagram (new) of CADET around (penning) an indefinite article, then ending with E(nglish).
Jurisdiction of Military Police in Ireland (6)
EMPIRE – put the abbreviation for Military Police inside a former name of Ireland to make jurisdiction or political control.
Copper, say, has contemptible spirit, we hear (4,5)
BASE METAL – “say” is an indication that this is a definition by example, so copper is an example of this. Put together a synonym for contemptible or dishonourable and a homophone (we hear) of a word meaning spirit or courage, as used in the phrase “to be on one’s ******”.
Animal expert near injured warhorse (7)
VETERAN – the definition is warhorse, i.e. someone old and experienced. Start with an abbreviation for someone who is trained to treat sick animals and add an anagram (injured) of NEAR.
On about one close to time lord (5)
LIEGE – for our second cricket-related clue (I can hear the complaints already!) we want another word for the “on” side of the wicket (i.e. the side that the batsman’s legs are on when he’s at the crease). This goes around (about) I (one) and we finish up with the last letter (close) of (tim)E to make a feudal lord.
Storm after hail is normal (7)
AVERAGE – a word meaning normal or 13a is made by putting a verb meaning to storm after a latin salutation (hail).
Bishop fell over brush (5)
BROOM – start with the abbreviation for B(ishop) and then reverse (over) another word for fell (a stretch of high, uncultivated land).
He paints tragic actor (8)
THESPIAN – an anagram (tragic) of HE PAINTS.
Working with distinction, with payment to be made at a future date (2,6)
ON CREDIT – a word meaning working (i.e. not switched off) is followed by a synonym for distinction or esteem to make a phrase describing how goods and services can be obtained without the need for immediate payment.
Beer Dane brewed in a Scottish city (8)
ABERDEEN – possibly the most obvious anagram we’ve had for some time, indicated by brewed.
Course artist announced for planner (9)
TACTICIAN – this planner requires two homophones (announced) – firstly a course taken by a sailing ship and secondly an Italian Renaissance artist known for his sensuous use of colour.
Late drink may make bad thing better (8)
NIGHTCAP – the clue should really be the other way round, i.e. bad thing better may make late drink. Start with an anagram (bad) of THING and add a verb meaning to better or outdo.
Swallow last drop of Chianti, an Italian drink (7)
MARTINI – a type of swallow (the feathered variety) is followed by the final letter (last drop) of (Chiant)I.
Declare little Edward must be turned away (7)
AVERTED – a verb meaning to declare or assert is followed by a diminutive (little) of Edward to form a past participle meaning turned away.
He appears with Catholic king — the French barrack (6)
HECKLE – string together HE, C(atholic), K(ing) and a French definite article.
One taken from minor, easily bribable (5)
VENAL – start with an adjective meaning minor, usually applied to a category of sins less serious than mortal ones, and remove (taken) the I (one) to leave another adjective meaning easily bribable. When researching what such minor sins include I was surprised to find that one of them is wearing designer-labelled clothes, so it’s just as well that my tailor is Mr Primark.
Unfinished prestige store (5)
CACHE – a distinguishing characteristic conferring prestige loses its final T (unfinished) – what remains is a store.
Arab chief, he left one from the subcontinent (4)
SIKH – Start with a SHEIKH, an Arab chief, and remove HE (left) to reveal one from the subcontinent.
Union supporter given nourishment before time left first (10)
FEDERALIST – The definition is Union Supporter. We have a charade of FED (given nourishment) before ERA (for time) then Left and finally IST (the printed abbreviation for first).
Be round first with flammable liquid for use in cooking (5,3)
OLIVE OIL – Take O for round but add LIVE (Be, exist) first before adding OIL (flammable liquid) to get a Culinary cooking oil.
Father has a twopenny espresso initially chilled (6)
FRAPPE – The war is still raging over foreign accents on capital letters. My French lessons excluded them from capitals and crosswords certainly do. The iced drink (usually coffee based) is a charade of FR (for father in the priesthood) then A, PP (twopenny) followed by the initial letter of Espresso.
Tools, five pairs found amongst litter (6)
KITTEN – Another charade here. Your tools are your KIT and five pairs is 2 x 5 = TEN. The result is one of a group of fluffy baby cats.
Front vehicle to keep watch over (8)
VANGUARD – the fifth charade on the spin!. VAN (vehicle)+ GUARD (to keep watch over) leads to a military front line attack. Watch out for ‘IN THE VAN’ for ‘AT THE FRONT’ or even just VAN for FRONT used as wordplay in other puzzles.
External feature we initially removed from coats and jackets (5,3)
OUTER EAR – A subtraction clue for a change. Take the W (We initially) from OUTERWEAR, defined by example as ‘coats and jackets’. The result is an external feature of the head, as opposed to the inner ear.
Rex rings judge backing up one working overhead (6)
ROOFER – A synonym for e.g. a slater or tiler (one working overhead) is built up from R(Rex/King) + OO (rings) + REFeree reversed (backing up)
Pattern of Jewish law? (6)
MOSAIC – A tiled pattern of tesserae (another good crossword stalwart) and also an adjective describing the Ten Commandments (Moses adjectivally is Mosaic)
Save individual on ship, one of the nobility (8)
BARONESS – Back to the charades!. BAR (for save/except – all over bar the shouting) + ONE (Individual) + SS (a standard abbreviation for ship, steamer or steamship) leads to a noblewoman
Rissole lamentably cooked away from New York (8)
MEATBALL – Not the best surface reading or direction in my opinion. The delicious pork product (rissole) is derived from an anagram (cooked) of LAMENTABLY having FIRST removed NY (for New York). I don’t really think that ‘away from New York’ provides a clear enough instruction.
After club, he’d had a swim (6)
BATHED – The action of having swam/attended a spa is another charade of BAT (sports club) with H’ED which is in the clue.
Handy way to demonstrate pet affection (6)
STROKE – A gentle cryptic definition of the act of manually grooming a cat or a dog.
A game with US soldier having a justification for his belief (8)
APOLOGIA – Back to Charadesville, Nebraska. Start with A + POLO + GI (An American soldier, the abbreviation for Government Issue, not General Infantry as you may think!) followed by A (in the clue). An apologia is a written treatise, defence or justification for one’s (usually) religious beliefs.
Addict’s reaction to winter in the Middle East? (4,6)
COLD TURKEY – Cryptically this could describe a trip to a specific middle east country (turkey – indicated by example with a question mark) in the winter. It could also be descriptive of a drug addict’s reaction upon finding out that he couldn’t score over there!.
Divert from southern route (4)
SWAY – A transitive verb meaning to divert. After S add WAY – a route, the ‘Boulevard des Charades’, in Lyons, for example….
Soup kitchen? (9)
STOCKROOM – The storage area in e.g. a Hotel kitchen may cryptically be described as a place for soup (chicken stock and the like). My problem here is that there is no specific definition for the storage facility in the clue. I didn’t like this one at all.
Finish argument and say ‘Amen’ (4,3,4,4)
HAVE THE LAST WORD – A cryptic definition of ending an argument (i.e. winning it). Amen being the final word in a prayer (Literally meaning ‘so let it be).
Fun Cleo arranged with ornamental ruffle (7)
FLOUNCE – An anagram (arranged) of FUN CLEO gives a frill or ruffle sewn into a dress.
Free to make a speech (7)
DELIVER – A double definition here. To deliver from slavery and to deliver a speech.
Purifier produced some more fine results (7)
REFINER – A device that purifies is hidden (is produced by some) moRE FINE Results.
A felonious agent destroyed the old alliance (6,2,7)
LEAGUE OF NATIONS – This old political alliance, a precursor to the United Nations, is an anagram (destroyed) of A FELONIOUS AGENT. My favourite clue this week with a good surface reading.
River Wear? (5)
TWEED – A definition and cryptic definition. The river Tweed, and also something that is possibly worn – indicated by the question mark e.g. “Is this something that one wears?.
Regret not starting to be in tune (3)
RUE – If something (my Ukulele for example, is in tune it may be described as being TRUE. Remove the first letter (not starting) to get a verb meaning regret.
Diary-user in mix-up of what’s left (9)
RESIDUARY – An adjective meaning ‘of the residue or residual’ (what’s left). Make an anagram (in mix up) of DIARY USER
Gold, English mineral (3)
ORE – A very easy charade of OR (Heraldic term for gold) and English. Mineral is the definition.
Fellow on French water — boater, maybe? (7)
CHAPEAU – Our penultimate charade of the puzzle, Start with CHAP for fellow then add the French word for water. This gives an originally French word (which exists in the English Language) for a hat, of which a boater is an example. The nice thing about this clue is tying boater the hat to boater the oarsman.
Conflict in greater part of fortification (7)
BULWARK – A structural fortification/strengthening can be found by placing WAR (conflict) in BULK (the greater part of something). Again the surface reading works well to tell us about a fight in a castle.
Long and thin skeletal joint on top (7)
RIBBONY – The definition is ‘Long and thin’. Placec RIB for ‘joint’ on top of BONY for skeletal. A few quibbles on the day about RIB = JOINT but I think that a rib joint of meat is sufficiently well known to disallow any quibbles.
Greek character thus produced pleasing sounds (5)
MUSIC – A charade to finish!. The Greek letter MU followed by SIC, a written aside meaning ‘this was written or pronounced in this way and is not a copying error’ (from the Latin for THUS). The definition is ‘pleasing sounds’ such as may be made on my ukulele!.
Expertise is what can enhance a negative, we hear (4-3)
KNOW HOW – I solved this from checking letters and the definition of Expertise. I will leave you with Prolixic’s thoughts from the day: “Musing further on 1a, I think that adding the three letter word in the answer to a negative [homophone] gives a more emphatic form of denying something (hence enhance a negative). A homophone of the more emphatic negative is the word for expertise.” – I know – I don’t like the clue, and how!
Top player tucked into fish and fruit (7)
COSTARD – An old apple variety. Place STAR (Top player) into COD.
Abundant evidence of debt produced by policeman (7)
COPIOUS – Your policeman is the COP and the usual Crosswordland synonym for ‘evidence of debt’ is an IOU. Perhaps the plural should have been indicated (debts) but the solution was pretty clear.
Road ran windingly in mountainous country (7)
ANDORRA – A straightforward anagram of ROAD RAN leads to the Catalan Principality.
Flexible tiles used in one type of house (5,4)
OPERA HATS – A cryptic definition of the collapsible (i.e. flexible) hats that can be collapsed in an auditorium in Victorian days. TILES is an old slang word for HATS (as CS says they goes on yer ‘eads!)
Statement of approval head of BBC communicated on radio (5)
BRAVO – The head of BBC is the B. The NATO phonetic Alphabet gives B = BRAVO. Lovely clue with excellent surface reading.
Fellow exploited caused current stoppage (5)
FUSED – A charade of F(ellow) and USED (exploited). A simple one to get going with, ’caused current stoppage’ (i.e. electrickery) being the definition.
Learner I reprimanded and let go (9)
LIBERATED – Another charade/word sum. L(earner) driver + I + BERATED for ‘reprimanded’ gives freed or let go.
Ineffectively deal with composer’s daughter in audition (9)
MISHANDLE – In audition should tell you that a homophone is happening. In this case, however, one must create it from the name of the daughter of a famous composer, i.e Miss Handel. This one made me laugh as well.
You may be urged to take notice after this exercise (3-2)
SIT-UP – Virgilius is very good at breaking down phrases into separate parts and this is a great example. The simple part of the clue refers to an ‘exercise’ . The phrase ‘Sit up and take notice’ should be familiar enough to everyone such that the answer is clear but the cryptic part is ‘You may be urged to take notice after this’.
Oh! I see you are speaking out of order – that’s something rare (5)
CURIO – More skullduggery here that raised a laugh. Some may complain but I thought that this was ace!. We first need to understand phonetically (speaking) the initial 5 words: O I C U R. Then make an anagram (out of order). This leads you to a CURIO which is a rarity or oddity. Top ‘out of the box’ thinking once again.
Fish with rod – nothing could be plainer (9)
PIKESTAFF – A charade of PIKE (fish) and STAFF (rod). A pikestaff is the boring straight piece of wood that has the exciting choppy bit on the end and leads to the saying “As plain as a pikestaff”
Lead, for example, English people interrupting service that gets cancelled (7)
ELEMENT – The metal, Plumbum, is an element. Place E(nglish) + MEN (people) inside LET (a cancelled service in tennis)
Forgetting what can be seen in cinemas, oddly (7)
AMNESIAC – A synonym for forgetting is an anagram (oddly) of IN CINEMAS.
Involving practical experience with husband and child (5-2)
HANDS ON – H(usband) AND SON (child) gives a phrase for practical experience where one gets one’s hands dirty.
It isn’t commonly edited, cut, or spoilt (7)
TAINTED – Spoilt is the definition. Start with T’AINT – A common form of saying ‘It Isn’t’. Then add ED(ited) -cut or shortened.
Thrill not present in scene in first act of play (4-3)
KICK-OFF – A charade of KICK (thrill – I get a kick out of you) and OFF (not present in scene). The definition is ‘First Act of Play’ in e.g. a football match.
Poet who lost his wife taking her up, so tragically (7)
ORPHEUS – One of the famous characters in Greek Literature. Poet, Prophet and Musician, he once lost his wife and had to trawl around the Underworld for her. His name is a tragic anagram of HER UP SO. Lovely clue.
Contents of shoe box that, in a word, produce a fuss (3-2)
HOO-HA – I’m borrowing BD’s explanation: Take the centre letters (contents) of shoe box that and string them together to get a fuss
Expressed grief about fool that’s drunkenly celebrated (9)
WASSAILED – One of my favourite words meaning partied or caroused in olden days. Place WAILED (expressed grief) around ASS for fool.
Part of society formed by female Young Conservative? (5)
CLASS – A female Young Conservative may be described as a C-Lass.
Some facial hair right, perhaps, on poet (9)
SIDE BURNS – The facial hair of choice for British Rail porters in the 70’s. SIDE (of which ‘right’ is an example) followed by Rabbie BURNS, the poet.
Run into an animal that’s alongside (7)
ABREAST – A synonym of ‘alongside’. An animal is A BEAST. Place R – the cricketing abbreviation for Run inside.
Scene of American sporting contest in which all sides are equal (7)
DIAMOND – It depends on the cut of the glass, of course, but this is a cryptic definition of the inner bit of a baseball pitch.
Female minister involved in episode – a con, essentially (9)
DEACONESS – The female priest is hidden in episode – a con, essentially
Magistrate imprisoning ring-leader quickly to eat early (9)
BREAKFAST – Place the start of Ring (ringleader meaning the leader of Ring) in BEAK (magistrate – Up before the Beak) and follow that with FAST for ‘quickly’. Double Soss, Double Egg, Bacon, Toms, Tea and Toast please.
Play produced by girl on computer? Just the opposite (7)
MACBETH – The girl (BETH) is ON top of the computer ( an Apple MAC). ‘Just the Opposite’ tells you to reverse the clue so as the computer goes on the girl (in a down clue) to find the ‘Scottish Play’
Hospital worker making nurse go crazy (7)
SURGEON – A simple anagram of NURSE GO (crazy) leads to the skilled sawbones that all the nurses go crazy for!
Carrying of people in lots of coaches after I moved on time (7)
TRANSIT – The definition here is ‘carrying of people’, or indeed anything. Take TRAINS (lots of coaches) and move the I to the back then add T for Time.
Humourless quip of ace detective, in part (2-5)
PO-FACED – Another excellently disguised hidden word for ‘humourless’ can be found in quip of ace detective.
It helps support mountaineer getting zero advice when climbing (5)
PITON – A small snow spike is derived from NO TIP (zero advice) reversed (when climbing). Don’t eat the yellow snow was Frank Zappa’s advice.
Doctor is in a part of Egypt (5)
SINAI – Doctor in a cryptic puzzle is usually, DR, MO, MB etc but can also be used as an instruction meaning change or adulterate (i.e. make an anagram). If you do this to IS IN A you get a desert region in Egypt.