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Today

25 Jun 2020
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2463: Tongue twisters

The unclued lights are of a kind and are entered in the grid in a thematically appropriate manner. Across 11 Alpine mineral popular in pasta (7) 12 On the radio, transmit pitch at sea (5) 14 Mostly irrational, a section of holy book (4) 17 Yam in dough, recipe also from east (9) 20 Senorita paid to dance, taking breath away audibly (12) 22 Performed holding instrument that’s weakened (7) 24 Inactive state, with no middle? (4) 26 I don’t know ‘Fathers and Sons’ (4) 29 Holy Roman Emperor’s fate meeting with shock (7) 31 Disraeli maybe fires competitors (12) 33 Money secures a small Indian vessel (8) 34 Make cheaper diamonds to assess (9) 38 In clinic, nurse returned hooks (6) 40 Stood like princes (5) 43 Call across a street as a greeting (7) Down 1 Treated straw produced sweet stuff (13, two words) 2 Foam on mineral deposit, area that’s raised (7) 3 Fellow’s lifting indefinite number of weights (4) 4 Independent film probes Inca oddly having soulful beliefs (9) 5 Barometers no one reads incorrectly (8) 6 Snow still rising (4) 7 Account about current state of goddess (7) 8 Harsh rule welcomed by great writer (7) 9 Heartlessly release plaything (4) 10 Like new clothes in row nude partly picked up (6) 13 Little revolutionary mindful to put up a lot of information (13, two words) 16 Daily struggles for girl (5) 21 Teacher admits one is master in moral doctrine (9) 23 A tail’s wagging on a new dog (8) 25 Appeal lacking wit to bring back avaricious king (5) 27 Ancient Yemenis, Chinese people and Malaysian (7) 28 One with such trembling palms (7) 30 Makes reference flipping boring in the main (7) 31 Insect and witch turned up in some Indian land (6) 35 Very odd piece in sale (4) 36 Rash airman stopped by Navy (4) 37 Atmosphere of a river, not lake (4) A first prize of £30 for the first correct solution opened on 13 July.

2463:  Tongue twisters

Thursday

23 Apr 2020
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2454: 17 Across

Thirteen unclued lights are of a kind (all singular, not plural) and confirmed in Chambers. 17 across gives the puzzle’s title (three words). Collins confirms 42A and the OED confirms 5D. Across 1 What artists do wrong to extend (7, two words)6 Sailor – another in sea is absorbed (7)14 Maybe king rejected skill in hymn (6)15 Clashed with officer and deserted shielded by number of Germans (8)16 Returned reward for judge (4)21 Advertiser tore off after concert (8)23 Mathematician from Italy is easing off (6)25 British engineer smuggles cases for weapons (8, two words)27 Two thirds of Bible book in assembly (8)30 Remark shifting energy of the mind (6)34 Knocks back and beats ancient Greeks (8)37 Unfortunate area, place besieged by Nazi (7)40 B____ cheek! This is irregular (4)41 Some potential fury probed by a French writer (8)42 Among proletariat, richness of medics (6)43 Frenchman drinking soft drinks (6) Down 1 Run away from follower of aide? (6)2 Return of the French fashion, wearing frilly fabric suddenly (9, three words)3 Takes steps with negotiations leader’s left (5)4 Struggled to get in two rounds in Spanish city (6)5 Character caught by cuckoo bites antelope (8)7 Sand’s dubious novel covers (7)9 Mug’s lost one arm (4)10 Atmospheric area, say, particle keeps touching (7, two words)20 Journalist, I generalise, pens part of column (4)22 Seabird first cut by seaman, one who’s self-sufficient (9)24 Extremely eventful and unusual time period (4)26 People who discuss hip-hop artists (8, two words)29 Dodgy school without individual strength (7)32 Fearful lout stopping still (6)33 Parts of foot setter twice dipped in ocean (6)35 German soldier in row retreating with hesitation (6)36 Clare’s damaged ocular membrane (6)38 Escape from resort, touring around (5) A first prize of £30 for the first correct solution opened on 11 May.

2454:  17 Across

Saturday

22 Feb 2020
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2445: In other words II

41, 1A, 10 (seven words in total) is a description of a phenomenon. Remaining unclued lights, including one of two words and three of three words, either singly, paired or as a trio, form four examples of this phenomenon. All are confirmed in the ODQ (8th ed.) Across 11 Leaf parts of liana ice destroyed (8)12 Agreed drug hidden in grass must return (4)13 Fish, internally cold and blue (4)14 Split lip — scare for breathing orifice (8)16 African statesman’s vengeance on criminals (6)18 It’s complete in French flag (6)20 With hi-hat, Mary’s beaten uneven beat (9)21 In trouble, on digging into posh spread (7, three words)22 After dessert, king’s in plane (6)23 Seemingly good and bad, mostly like Esau? (6)26 Dye a German put on reptile (7)29 Sing that drunkenly around grand party (9, two words)31 Poet, a fellow dissecting rodent (6)32 Skilled poet did this? (6)37 Latest art nouveau, art failing (8)39 Person joining bank? (4)40 Plant providing beer, neat in a cocktail (8, two words) Down 2 Fur smuggled without expression of surprise (6)3 Film about a cut off bridge (7)4 Ruling person who summons provocateur (7)5 See gagster’s funny treats for kids (10, two words)6 Old poem about ruler (4)7 Hastened through German or Italian town (7)8 Play area imp and boy went to the top of again (9)9 Gold in a state that is showing some heat (7)13 Polish jewel endlessly (3)17 Elegant hotel compound in English city (10)19 Gassed, in state having lost colour externally (9)25 Lack of belief in aunt, if changing husband (7)27 General began to protect navy (7, hyphened)28 Like the heart of my sweetheart (7)30 Thessalian king suffering, even heartless (6)35 Advice to study, we’re told (4)36 A number of Germans were dishonest (4) A first prize of £30 for the first correct solution opened on 9 March.

2445: In other words II

Thursday

28 Nov 2019
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2436: The Devil’s Own

The unclued lights, including one of two words, comprise two adjectives and six  nouns. All share a common origin and are confirmed in Chambers.   Across 11    Prelude not quite within 24 hours (7) 12    Seen dancing without my extra turns (7) 14    Kind of horse judge impounds (6) 16    Number in Bow with many sponges (9) 18    Short cassock could make gear for bishops (6) 20    Good ruler following pro criminal (6) 22    Tailoring dress with a rag is concerning (9, two words) 23    Weaken son in place to study novel (7) 24    Return of prongs I change in Tonga (6) 25    Not half curt in state of disunity (6) 28    Horse eating this person’s pepper (7) 31    Honest guy about to put down building material (9) 34    Port that is pink (6) 35    Name for female Nazis holding list (6) 37    Work offering you new terms? (9) 38    Scot’s late, having passed westwards (4) 39    French author, poor one penning a film (6) 40    Where butter may go, with lots of luck (7, three words) 41    Crushed melon with thanks for seed pods (7)   Down 1    Quarrels very loudly, interrupting girl briefly (5) 2    Establish showering after cycling (7) 3    Coach Carter attentive no longer (6) 4    Fundraiser or lawn parties around America (7, two words) 6    Spanish woman best without clothing (4) 9    Worked briefly, inclined to waste time (6) 10    Like individual maintaining one slur (9) 17    Forbid storing recipe for roughage (4) 19    Cut length in quarry with forethought (10) 26    Month with a bit of cloud cover (4) 27    Daughter in snowmobile to run off (7) 29    Sage from e.

Thursday

26 Sep 2019
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2427: In other words

The unclued lights are of a kind, all confirmed in Chambers or Oxford. A portmanteau word (7) defining this phenomenon (verified in Oxford) must be highlighted in the completed grid. Ignore two accents.   Across 1    Fazed soldier losing face before VE Day (8) 8    Book musical with delayed start (4) 12    Playing records with no musical instruction (9) 13    Time to stop monkey goddess (5) 15    Person chanting beside private houses (7) 17    A figure in divine sun (4) 18    Stripped off Greek girl (5) 19    As grain may be, or pea under ground (8) 22    Swinger welcoming popular retailer (8) 23    Tiles of oak star designed (7) 25    Dropping Ecstasy, embraces partners (7) 27    Bill has brains, penning new kinds of words (7) 33    Control return of gun, worried (8) 34    See a harbour mostly in mist in America (5) 35    Theories in current text (4) 37    Stuck in earth, blocking where sheep are (7) 38    Ram’s lassoed that is secure (5, two words) 39    German island cape’s extremity (9) 41    See Nazis in defeat (4) 42    Boy hated new noir film (8, two words)   Down 1    Take spirit from a foreign musical genre (6) 2    Elegant bit of stock (4) 3    Respect satisfies English after uprising (6) 5    Rhetorical devices? Orates poorly without them (8) 6    Writer with nothing left in Welsh verse (7) 8    A toy nearly fine for German (5) 9    Attempt to keep sword up against shrub (9, two words) 10    Augustus or Nero imprisoning gate-crasher (6) 14    Douglas, say, to do haulage by new Scottish settlement (8) 16    Bird has a head of vile snake in Tyneside town (11, two words) 20    United in a tangle, perhaps having corners (8) 24    In fancy nook, make strange Japanese picture (8) 26    Bishop’s left drinking most ale and most rum (7) 28    Follows light vehicle (7) 31    See about old dish (6) 32    Active people taking power from sports cheats (5) 36    Developed dual region of China (4)   A first prize of £30 for the first correct solution opened on 14 October.

Thursday

25 Jul 2019
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2418: Sweet

Unclued lights are of a kind, including one of two words, all listed in Chambers or Oxford (the required spelling of 12 across is given by both dictionaries). One clued light can be rearranged to form a possible two-word description of each unclued light and must be highlighted. Across 1    A certain confusion with church garment (8, hyphened) 8    Went back exhibiting profundity (4) 16    Dancer’s perhaps losing one without right performers (9) 17    Lean meat, game from the east (7) 22    Native Americans nearly get lost (4) 23    Unknown German crew turning on sailor (7) 25    Cherry drink knocked back in hardship (6) 26    Covers of special registers (7) 28    Skunk fine after bit of a kip (4) 29    Break in France is by river (4) 34    Spiders raced through safe haven regularly (7) 35    A swim around in river, shaking (9) 37    Buyer to stop person on horse? (7, hyphened) 38    Musical missing a step no longer (5) 39    Crookedly earn item with scam, getting fines (12) 40    Spot in Hautes-Pyrénées (4) Down 1    Good mathematician’s work period (6) 2    Number one could be number ten (4) 3    Ultimately, run and caper about? (6) 4    Give out unopened message lacking graces (7) 5    Doctor pried into edible plant, one producing juice (10, two words) 6    Dead or rotten cedar (6) 7    Wicked Satanic rune is not 27 (11) 8    Condemn 40, not 7 (5) 9    Attempt to throw dates and pear around (9) 10    Lacking inspiration for vessel (7) 13    Native Australian ruler to gloat (8, hyphened) 15    Wimp holding back is made European (11) 19    Family of plants came up, covering great area (8) 25    Man’s wrapping paper from island (7) 27    Decision by a learner lacking objectivity (7) 30    Workers joining, but not with church officials (6) 31    Article reduced panic for woman (6) 32    New Saint spilling tears around Spain (6) 33    Bubbly agent admitting hesitation (5) A first prize of £30 for the first correct solution opened on 12 August.

2418: Sweet

Thursday

23 May 2019
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2409: Crosswords

The unclued lights are of a kind, including one hyphened, all confirmed in Chambers except for 8 across, which is in Collins. Elsewhere, ignore two accents.   Across 11    How mud moves like grease, carrying weight (6) 12    Arab American backs musical (6) 17    Recycle rubbish fellow’s left (5) 18    Lawyer with wine for old maid (7) 22    Dismissed god war god beats for boldness (8) 23    Almost cook stews oddly for fish (7) 24    One backing firm strokes (6) 25    Part of neck right back for surgical device (6) 27    Diamond from foreign character, male writer (7) 30    Careful record on film (8) 33    Perhaps it’s lone? (7) 35    Judo move said to give pain (5) 37    Show curiosity between the sheets (7) 38    Officer remains in assistant’s embrace (5) 39    Like some verses from Galicia classified the wrong way (6) 40    Hot dog coming with legal limitations (6, two words)   Down 2    Henry: lout and jerk (4) 3    Hide falsity, lacking morals (6, two words) 4    Greeting man loudly providing health advice (7) 5    One really explains map lines (10) 6    Communist catches andirons (7) 8    Shiny fabrics in dresser I cut up (5) 9    Such as radio and TV service by Persian region (9, two words) 10    Like TV’s good qualities (6) 14    Most likely to stick visitor outside of Malta, note (8) 16    Russian royal saw heretics rioting (11) 19    Top courier wandering in the country (10, two words) 20    Drops flier over obstacles (8) 21    Bard’s people turning up crave rain bursts (9) 26    Nervy over time on neither side (7) 28    Promoting unity and love in ethnic conflicts (7) 30    Getting dehydrated, cut whisky in Scot’s bash (6) 31    Old man holding a tin, drunk figure getting smashed (6) 32    Octopus has nothing in soft flesh (5) 36    I’m amazed about current state (4)   A first prize of £30 for the first correct solution opened on 10 June.

2409: Crosswords

Thursday

10 Jan 2019
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2390: Tea shop

Unclued lights, all confirmed in Chambers or Collins, are three sets of four words of a kind, each set relating differently to a theme word which must be shaded in the completed grid.   Across 11    Religious devotee keeping a church in shade (6) 12    Sloth in tangles in New Zealand trees (6) 13    Country moving forward area for us in Jamaica (5, doubly hyphened) 17    Muppet grabbed by squirrel-monkey (4) 18    Physicist’s ally, one protecting university (5) 19    Ending operation led by twit (7) 23    Message from paperweight? (8) 24    Recent clothing still a youngster’s outfit (7) 25    A bit downcast, I jeer about fools (6) 30    Record one banal bit of verse (8) 34    Scot’s climbed in South, stripped off (7) 35    Bard’s to shut up bird and soldiers (5) 36    Obtain a shoe from Japan (4) 38    Evil-doer’s gossip during tests (7) 40    Scot’s one possessing flash car that’s fine (6) 41    Tree rings covered in acid (6) 42    Worker with ace pilaster (4) 43    Maybe flaky mash lines wok (8)   Down 2    Team beheaded in prison (4) 3    Old charge? Almost finished admitting it (6) 4    Young runner allowed to lap always (7) 5    Sign sent to rotate crops (10) 7    Writer’s to indulge, penning ‘Flowing Lethe’ (11) 8    Master aims to move moon of Saturn (5) 9    Decorated with wavy line and remaining diamonds (9) 10    Old lady, one writing about dwarf’s condition (6) 14    Goodness stored in no nice new antibiotic (8) 16    Small, flying bees return in underground rooms (11) 20    Mostly tough garment cut for farm workers (10) 21    Kind of mollusc vet treated without competitor (8) 27    River once more knocked over artist (7) 30    Fenland channel keeps bearing waste (6) 31    Hebrew speech mark, say, hard to put in note (6) 32    French girl in flannelette dolled up (6)   A first prize of £30 for the first correct solution opened on 28 January.

2390: Tea shop

Thursday

25 Oct 2018
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2382: A pointed remark

Three unclued lights make up a nine-word quotation. Remaining unclued lights are of a kind.   Across 1    Norway blocking the euro perhaps till now (8) 8    Excuse one departing French city (4) 12    Bill the Spanish for Jew’s harp? (5) 14    Break dance, say, to get going again (7) 17    Hospital’s moved organ in the body (5) 18    Hold off from rating and mark (7) 22    Makes leaves from aloes fit in stew (8) 23    Fool’s tucked into smooth vegetable fibre (7) 24    Box’s function to store crown (6) 25    English lover rejected coat (6) 27    Special ship’s aerodynamic device (7) 29    Argument about curiously older etymology (8) 33    List includes depth for fisherman (7) 34    It’s allowed on a lake (5) 38    Fiddles with flowers and French leaves (5) 40    School’s firm about cocaine (4) 41    Off booze and off drugs, use solvents? (8, hyphened)   Down 2    Online study to find ideal location (4) 3    Expels Head of Eton with loud jokes (6) 4    Knight goes round and round mounts in Oz (7) 5    Transport’s errant, if changing track (10, two words) 6    Mum likewise gets pounds and shillings in cash (7) 8    Perform the role of American in book (5, two words) 9    Impediment’s come up, so journalist’s encumbered once (9) 15    Mother snaps around large insects (11) 19    Traveller’s drug condition (10, hyphened) 21    Awfully ill, one consumed salt (9) 26    Astronomer’s cupboard containing last of brandy (7) 28    Make pedestrian search without sort of map provided (7) 29    Most of wall joint is broken in huts down under (6) 30    A weak boring teacher left in a spin (6) 31    Fluid in ear’s come up (6) 32    German film director’s gone round Britain (5) 36    Dancer in bal masqué (4)   A first prize of £30 for the first correct solution opened on 12 November.

2382: A pointed remark

Thursday

23 Aug 2018
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2373: Susurrus

Unclued lights are three groups of three words of a kind, each group defined by the name of a different main character from a novel. The fourth main character of the novel (6, two words) must be highlighted in the completed grid.   Across 1    I hope gas travels in passages in US (8) 8    Firms making fruit-producing plant (4) 12    Old character about to drink fill when wine’s new (9, two words) 15    Prisoner welcomes month, one that’s boiling (7) 17    Growl resounded around (4) 18    Rope from cafeteria tables (5) 19    A journalist retains right transferred once (7) 23    Drop of port wine, red, in mixture (8) 24    I’m surprised about Italian city (7) 25    Insectivore’s wild canter (6) 26    Stands in line? Moves gently around it (6) 28    Like many language graduates? (7) 30    At home, in a country (8) 34    Notice sense absorbing new words (7) 35    Spike gets a skin disease (5) 36    Tailless big cat is an architectural feature (4) 38    Finished scrap of food, lying about it (7) 39    Old imperialistic kings, one suppressing laugh (5) 40    Patron saint covers earl with dry silk fabric (9) 42    Cape in one’s size (4) 43    Idiot casual about northern Iraqi once (8)   Down 1    Arches built in Slough (6) 2    Put paint on missing area quick (4) 4    Pride turned up in a god furthest from earth (7) 5    It’s played parading on manoeuvres (10, two words) 6    Greek’s tense embracing male lover (7) 8    Wound one’s skin (5) 10    Fancy some Quorn, a teriyaki? (6) 14    Poets entertaining hip worshippers (8) 20    Lad running among dogs and birds (10, two words) 21    King’s evil special councillor, a foul criminal (8) 27    Easy opportunities for models (7) 29    Apprentices during depressions (7) 30    Get a black mark, the last to rise (6) 32    Put forward a warning on the radio (6) 33    Son’s with pool clubs down under (5) 37    Bird divers brought up (4)   A first prize of £30 for the first correct solution opened on 10 September.

2373:  Susurrus

Thursday

21 Jun 2018
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2364: Frolicsome Threesome

2/11/12 is a four-word quotation in Chambers. Remaining unclued lights (all appropriate to the language the quotation is in) are three sets of three words of a kind, each set suggested by one word of the quotation. One unclued light associated with the whole of 2/11/12 must be highlighted. Across 1           A wimp inhales air, awfully tired (8) 8           Filch penny with trick (4) 13         Car-maker drops Sierra for a month (5) 15         Hiding in animal food, strike a toad (7) 17         The drink’s kept cold around services (4) 18         Middle Eastern city right for silk (5) 19         Lodge again in hotel backing on river (7) 23         Setter, pop idol, playing instrument (8) 24         Prison losing a large stove (7) 26         7 shelters for Scot’s taxes (6) 28         Clergyman welcomes English PM in Canada (7) 30         Trite dances plugged by unknown and French trios (8) 34         A singer unsteadily recovers (7) 36         State I’m unhappy (4) 38         Film produced in Oz (7) 39         Star game to be hugged by everyone (5) 40         Really, sword-stroke’s cut face off (6, two words) 41         Figure in decorative fabric shows hidden quality (7) 43         Retiring politician in Strasbourg smashed table (8)   Down 1           Bored people wanting yard for farm machines (6) 3           Intruder with a stick meeting soldiers (6) 4           Covers popular criminal affairs (7) 5           Acts of eliciting used wrongly around setter (10) 6           Queen, in the flesh, turned up in person? (7) 7           Loves to keep herb on cooker for fruit (11, two words) 8           Old man with tree (5) 9           Ancient reptile spoilt a union with god (9) 16         Where to get money from raconteur in dramas (11) 20         Like air in Paris, with rebel moving around (10) 22         One behind schedule ruined morale etc.

2364: Frolicsome Threesome

Thursday

19 Apr 2018
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2355: 13 16

13 1A 23 22 is an eight-word quotation by 34 in ODQ. Other unclued lights, including one of three words, are unrelated, but each has 13 1A 23. The two lights which make up the title each have 13 1A 23 which needs highlighting (9 cells in total). Elsewhere, ignore two accents.   Across 10    Ascetic existence by Tyneside (6) 11    Like a prison that’s more guarded? (6) 15    Emergence of new colonies (8) 18    Silk worms around, in the main around clovers (7) 24    Curse glue that’s fixed beam (7) 25    Albatross or goshawk’s swallowed sweet plants (6) 26    Soldiers covering head in grasses (6) 28    Loose women receiving love round trees (7) 30    Gather around, wanting games and wine (8, two words) 35    Coppers look to arrest bishop, one in programmes (9) 38    Army go on manoeuvres, managing in rural areas (8) 39    Nameless Gaelic poet, or Italian (5) 40    Chinese dog’s overcoming inhibition (6, hyphened) 41    Note on proper time in musical works (6)   Down 1    Man saw subsidy for farmers (7) 2    Flimsy leader leaves game (4, hyphened) 3    Old film from Spain and Italy went backwards (6) 4    Relative’s extremely nice, thank God! (6) 5    Papers keen to uncover foreign notion (4) 6    Device on railway is in bundles (7) 7    View tons wrapped in plastic (5) 8    Sweet drinks, hits in court (9, hyphened) 9    Most reasonable home’s under it (6) 12    Dish of sticky stuff, fine coated in older nuts (10, hyphened) 14    Inflexible German dined around one (8) 19    Walked endlessly in plain (6) 20    Slides of photographs picked up (6) 21    Urges to consume bread or Chinese food? (8, two words) 27    Small, bowed American is fleshy (7) 29    Broadcaster’s trouble with material on vessel (7) 30    Old Asian rhino’s spasm also doesn’t end (6) 31    Greek character gathers pointer for Rhea (6) 32    Two bishoprics in foreign palace (6) 33    Bard’s forehead or cheek (5) 36    Stars about to take off stretchy material (4) 37    Monkey and songbird on island (4)   A first prize of £30 for the first correct solution opened on 7 May.

2355: 13 16

Thursday

25 Jan 2018
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2343: Rats!

Round the perimeter clockwise is a 14-word quotation in ODQ, with its first word represented by a number in the grid. Other unclued lights are words of a kind (including four proper nouns and one of two words) which need treating before entry, as suggested by the final three words of the quotation. One of the treated entries is a proper noun. Elsewhere, ignore one accent.   Across 10    Outcast claims area back in scrap (6) 12    Second husband spread cloth (6) 13    End of trading in stingy part of Ireland (9) 15    Heat aggravated dry rot — it overwhelms one (9) 16    Criminal deed, sin despised once (7) 17    Film about the greatest festival (6) 24    Lady’s primarily expensive present (4) 25    Misfortunes, maybe high points in EastEnders (4) 30    Paints weird pastimes (8) 34    Antelopes and men passing through mounts (6) 35    Distracted, dissolute peer? Exactly! (7) 37    Has affairs, we’re told, getting disease (9) 39    Relive bad trips, it’s possible to infer (9) 40    Fast boat went in thus (6) 41    Change Luxembourg’s flag (6)   Down 2    Returning blows in fight (4) 3    Dogs wander between banks (8) 4    Physicist hasn’t the heart for hesitation (6) 5    Check John’s picked up papers, getting worried (8) 6    Kind of pop rebel in 1950s expressed feelings (6) 7    Complex ethics we’ll produce hardest to swallow? (8) 8    Incline to strip off sunglasses (4) 9    Writer’s yellow, clearly (6) 11    One lad suffering without swellings (6) 14    Acclaim tax-free scheme’s end (5) 17    Short dance record (4) 21    Apprentice’s monkey and dog (8) 22    It’s a shame a girl’s lost her footing (4) 23    Jazz singer’s broken head bones (8) 24    President gathers round display board (8) 28    Drink case of champagne in spring (6) 29    The French exam is most untimely (6) 31    Almost jump on boy, one going downhill fast (6) 32    Understanding current Japanese teacher (6) 36    Parliament’s to reduce intake (4) 38    City firm there in Rome (4)   A first prize of £30 for the first correct solution opened on 12 February.

2343: Rats!

Wednesday

13 Dec 2017
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A beastly business

Three unclued lights form a nine-word quotation from a thematic work. Remaining unclued lights, including one hyphened, are five trios of words of a kind, each suggested by a thematic word from the same work. Three further thematic words need highlighting in the completed grid.   Across  17    Sports day around squad’s compound (7) 18    Commander seizes money, making nasal sound (4) 20    Secretion without difficulty in tropical trees (6) 21    The same papers this person returned (4) 22    Greek maiden sees chemical bases (7) 23    Turn around in Chinese hut (5) 24    Two places to save patriarch (5) 27    Troops manage show again (5) 28    Bring back green bit of ground for feline (6) 29    Band zig-zag around US road (7) 30    Slate a style of music (5) 32    Complaint about blocking in the French drain (8) 34    Part of shell is fairy’s, as far as I’m concerned (9) 38    Stick with modish present (6) 40    Prepare miners for war, in depression (6) 43    Date to leave northern city’s worst parts (4) 45    Overheard smaller Frenchman’s tirade (6) 54    Artistic American hates the terrible clothes (7) 55    Stone mound seen out in Sachsen (7) 57    A number see what old Iraqi city? (7) 59    Man’s very acidic sauce? (6) 60    Judge switches sides, not really stressed? (6) 62    What we know goes in booze — a hydrocarbon (6) 65    Not initially drinking more lager or more rum (6) 66    By sea with waves (6) 67    Display sculptures broken by eighty explosions (9) 72    Thrushes or wrens dig ground (8) 77    Legal expert’s note about university paper (5) 78    Greek character in a spot, with hard angle to measure (7) 80    Discovery of statue by French department (6) 81    Transfer information before unknown attack (5) 84    Pointed, showing ancient city by river (5) 86    Extravagant fiction about one Teutonic lady (7) 87    Pair satisfied with island retreats (4) 88    Place of learning, apparently good for tumours (6) 90    People who’ll compensate distressed senator (7) 91    Went around Norway hammered (5)   Down  1    Nobleman loudly calls for buzzers, maybe (10, hyphened) 2    Important school erected by old fellow (6, two words) 3    Horrid thug nearly left water in Middle East (7, two words) 5    Relax when clock goes back (5) 6    Letters about unknown mouldings (9) 8    Huge fellow put away salt (8) 9    Poor whites, on getting caught by leftists (7) 10    One-time journalist and painter’s niche (6) 11    Trouble earning for malcontent (7) 13    Raising number in payment is most miserly (7) 14    Old rockers having spasm after lifting instrument (6) 15    Particle of smoke reacting with nitrogen (6, hyphened) 16    Subs are back, maintaining special zest to play (8) 19    Stones record with fifty smash hits (9) 31    Car from Spain, say (6) 33    Muslim captain entering West Indies (6) 35    Fitting in with good interview (7) 36    Vehicle reversed by chief 44 feet (7) 37    It cuts hard rock indoors (6) 39    Instigator of threesome sent down for debauchery (4) 41    Seasonal figures promoted in school (4) 42    Sartrean notion, one mostly hard to grasp? (4) 44    Barcelona’s the balanced team (6) 47    Scripture’s function raised knowledge (6) 50    Setter’s wearing a flipping rag, showing ill will (6) 51    Dear old Sofia’s money finally gone (4) 52    Ladies repelled current governor (4) 53    One tours North, as soon as in Scotland (4) 56    Potentially a primate’s gametes (9) 58    Bulb lit up online show (10, two words) 61    Rogue banker takes in woman to avoid losses (9, two words) 66    US city father’s working (8) 68    Gathering round river, climbing straight path (7) 69    Corrupt journalist to check about rule (7) 70    Tense sot in film (6) 71    Survive in unfashionable clothes (7) 72    Prize-fighters welcoming noise for stripping (7) 73    Force smile, up for mucking around (7) 75    Crafty trade in liquor, we hear (6) 76    One’s charged person who’s paid 2000 pounds? (6) 77    Sweet ruler who makes money (6) 79    Two characters dwelling in US (6) 82    Copied expert in theological study? (5)   A first prize of £100, three prizes of £25 and six further prizes of Bletchley Park Brain Teasers by Sinclair McKay (Headline) will be awarded for the first correct solutions opened.

A beastly business

Thursday

2 Nov 2017
Lavatch

2334: Sweet variations

5 (hyphened) and 14 are types of 37. Remaining unclued lights are other types of 37, given in a form that is either 5 or 14. Unchecked and cross-checking letters in all unclued answers could give: GAPES INDECENTLY— A GOOEY MEAL. Ignore two accents in the completed grid.   Across 1  Check’s omitted in alcohol range (8) 8  Paint base on pen (4) 11  Man’s roughly northern (5) 13  250 farm animals in poem (7) 15  Battle about university sell-off (7) 17  A princess in opera? (4) 18  Why Doctor Who’s ordinary (5, two words) 19  Reserve fish, bagging pounds from the freezer? (7, hyphened) 23  Reasons I amended rubbings out (8) 24  Restrained son did agricultural work (7) 25  Reportedly lie level (6) 28  British monarch with career in US TV (7) 30  Neck tie initially gets reduction (8) 34  Stubborn Norway leaves alliance with English (7) 35  Rector wearing hooligan’s anoraks (5) 36  Lessen on-line bill, on reflection (4) 38  Nurture vagrant that’s less trustworthy (7) 39  Make dirty marks with char coming round (5) 41  Dodgy state broadcaster (5) 42  Homme de lettres embraces darling Irish girl (4) 43  Gets stressed over British taxes (8)   Down 1  Not quite that stupid referring to Sirius (6) 2  She’s expecting to be prudish (4) 3  Function in club involving ecstasy and cocaine (6) 4  Change price of potato, always about to eat it (7) 6  Cold-blooded beasts attacked us again (7) 8  What cricketer hopes to do, getting stick (5) 9  College head accepting drop in intimacy (9) 12  Round his place, right, needing a tidy-up? (9) 16  Feel dubious novel is a French work (11, three words) 21  One actor’s merry dances (9) 22  Looked to gather knowledge that’s made plain (9) 27  Pilfering syrup with fruit, wanting recipe (7) 29  Nonets seen, and with a new arrangement (7) 32  Units in physics with females keeping track (6)   A first prize of £30 for the first correct solution opened on 20 November.

2334: Sweet variations

Thursday

29 Jun 2017
Lavatch

2316: Divine alteration

Seven clues contain a redundant word, each defining one unclued light. These seven unclued lights all undergo partial 1 across (in Collins) before entry, in a consistent manner. Resulting grid entries are not real words. Unchecked and cross-checking letters in all eight unclued lights could give: NEWS — I’LL HINT THIS: CRUX’S LATIN   Across 12    Physicist’s drole gibe cracking up virgin (9, two words) 13    Love time off to produce plant sheaths (6) 16    Decide crazy American quits US city (6) 17    Old claim Reading’s awful (7) 20    Male’s arms twirling (4) 22    A hero, one up to revel in high spirits (8) 24    Points taken by genius director (10) 27    Looker modelling with a cap, evening wear (10, two words) 28    Odd nature of church abandoning happy state (8) 30    English bishop’s sins (4) 35    Poet’s dropping marks, lacking in purpose (6) 36    Medic knocking front off comedian’s car (8) 38    Massive bird, cuckoo, caught mammal (7) 39    Webbing a priest put on patio initially (6) 40    Uselessness of 11 nuttily arranged (9)   Down 1    Like a bone, unknown and round, covered in skin mostly (5) 2    Roman quartet in old island disposing of waste (9) 3    Instrument, untrustworthy one on radio (4) 4    Eel is swimming round Australian palms (6) 5    Welshman’s current article about Brussels (5) 7    Bard’s combed fox holding snake’s skin (5) 8    Oil spilt on politician’s herb (7) 9    Irish boy back home with everyone (5) 10    Turns TV on hearing philosopher (9) 11    People curiously eager to eat one lot of animals (9) 18    Lookout from state university stops that lady (4) 19    So jelly’s off, saying why without pleasure (9) 21    Pillager’s greed destroyed sprinkler (9) 25    Somewhat acute strain? Examine tendon (4) 26    Receptacle for party or rave carried by US boy (7, two words) 29    Country with struggle to lift foreign drama (6) 31    Maharaja in Amritsar welcomes religious Indian (5) 32    Nursemaids undressing girl (5) 33    Time for muse (5) 34    Carried away once, extremist party reforms (5) 37    Charge one conveyance (4)   A first prize of £30 for the first correct solution opened on 17 July.

2316: Divine alteration

Thursday

18 May 2017
Lavatch

Constitutional Amendment

Unclued lights are six characters from 45 and its author. Five of these undergo 45 in one way before entry; the other two must undergo 45 in another way afterwards (leaving real words). Collins confirms the thematic information.   Across 1    Radical dissent about America’s dirty quality (9) 11    Briefly desiring drug (7) 13    Endlessly long time (4) 14    Apennines loop around from peninsula (13) 15    Loathing crone keeping money (6) 17    Tradesmen are not seen in half a millennium (5) 18    Bird from north, e.g. returning (4) 20    Rating the French as clever (4) 22    Society girl, maybe Lily (6) 24    Land one’s entered before (4) 25    Nuts acting as war entertainers (4) 26    Base rate cut changes level (7) 29    Stylish earl with the glove abroad (7) 31    Ex-county star’s back (4) 32    Sri Lankan loses male dog (4) 35    This party game (6) 39    Lout turns over beatnik (4) 40    Ruler’s verse rejected (4) 41    Resin in time left over (5) 43    Record love — go for long poem (6) 46    Soil some smuggle in (4) 47    Use up energy, a shade old (7, two words) 48    Readily saving soft wood (5) 49    Having teeth tainted, with no cracks (9)   Down 2    Small animal’s spawn (4) 3    Decrease team for Edmund (8) 4    One lad’s high without joints? (6) 5    Polish saving river feature (7, two words) 6    On radio, drop harmony (4) 7    Born journalists required (6) 8    Zero money for college (5) 9    Servant less clothed, we hear (6) 10    Way to crack 2x1 for German scientist (8) 12    Making sterile painting right away (7) 16    Oddly glum detainees here? (6) 21    Letter covering unhappy writer (6, two words) 25    Ends mere sex romps? About time (8) 27    A tyrant advanced anonymous works (8) 28    Not so short nap? That’s most curious (7) 33    A PM’s about, not alert (6) 34    Sash on soldiers who use charms (6, hyphened) 36    Scot’s fled loch, one up for moving (6) 38    Rent’s part free (5, two words) 44    Swan on one coin (4)   A first prize of £30 for the first correct solution opened on 5 June.

Constitutional Amendment

Thursday

16 Mar 2017

Thursday

12 Jan 2017
Lavatch

Discovery

Two pairs of unclued lights are theme names. Remaining unclued lights aren’t in themselves thematic, but their unchecked letters complete a book title, and part of its sub-title, in two symmetrically placed, curving lines reading down. Both phrases are (14, three words) and need highlighting. The ODE confirms 19, 28, and 43.   Across 6    Gathering in dry, small clothes (7, hyphened) 12    Mythic king playing darts in Oz (8) 13    Heard fuel’s powder (4) 14    Metal with odd poison (6) 16    Repair men cut rasp — they affix handles (6) 18    Milliner’s note about poet (7) 19    Not sticking in force, joining police (8) 28    Polish pal about to keep a tattoo (7, hyphened) 31    Distance from capital, jolly French island (7, two words) 33    Sea lord’s criminal trials (7) 35    Garble online poem (4) 39    I will admit a love for animal (8, two words) 41    Workshop that is blocking later working (7) 46    Add pretty cover, say, in German paper (6) 47    Like faceless god’s self-origination (6) 48    See hot meat (4) 49    Squiggly line’s dirty colour (8, two words) 50    Enslave knight halter roughly binds (7) 51    Passes church maintained by old journos (7)   Down 1    Fellow, one being brave (4) 2    Come from Arabian tug (6) 3    Climbing, I cool down, clutching a canteen (5) 4    Pair’s time off (4) 5    Sweden’s dark or bright (6) 8    Coloured and cut, we hear (4) 9    Composer into martinis sorry for throwing up (7) 10    The more distant church roof (6) 11    Smooth quality of boats over headland (9) 15    Writer’s career to end (7) 17    Weary, posh bores aroused 9 (5) 20    Nets round deserted weirs (6) 21    A store’s fresh oysters (6) 23    Watch’s tenth part? (5) 24    Stewed clam and bream that may be stuffed (9) 27    Nasty man cuts skins (7) 30    Ex-PM’s up for rest (5) 32    Dish’s underdone part (7) 36    Edward’s female undies (6) 37    Star’s English material (6) 40    Most of ancient city’s money (5) 42    Russian soldier returns gold (4) 43    Some ache in arm? Ow! (4) 45    Votes are agreed (4)   A first prize of £30 for the first correct solution opened on 30 January.

Discovery

Thursday

3 Nov 2016

Thursday

1 Sep 2016

Thursday

28 Apr 2016

Thursday

25 Feb 2016