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Quick Cryptic 819 by Des

I think this was the easiest one of the week but, as usual, your mileage may vary.  My time was 5:05 and to be honest, I can't find much to comment on.  There's the usual array of anagrams, hiddens and double defs, and nothing too obscure as far as I can see.  A nice little offering for those that are still finding their way in Crosswordland, which presumably is just what the Quicky is for.

So thanks Des, here's how I parsed it....

Clues are reproduced in blue, with the definition underlined.  Anagram indicators are bolded and italicised.  Then there's the answer IN BOLD, followed by the parsing of the wordplay.  (ABC)* means 'anagram of ABC'.
Across
1 Keep man here temporarily (3,3,7)
FOR THE PRESENT - FORT (keep) + HE (man) + PRESENT (here)
8 Addict: one put on kilo in a month (6)
JUNKIE - I (one) on K (kilo) in JUNE (a month)
9 I’m basking initially in sun, turning to see raincloud (6)
NIMBUS - IM + B (Basking initially) in NUS (sun, turning)
10 Forgot ever holding back reject (4)
VETO - Reverse hidden (holding back) in forgOT EVer
11 Teacher with a cold: he gets this? (8)
HEADACHE - HEAD (teacher) + A + C (cold) + HE
12 Plain clothes fit? Um, badly! (5)
MUFTI - (FIT UM)*
Otherwise known as civvies, or everyday dress as opposed to military or other uniformed attire.
13 The Spanish sextet’s famous singer (5)
ELVIS - EL ("the" in Spanish) + VI'S (sextet's)
Nice to see Elvis Costello get a mention.  Unless it's referring to another Elvis?
15 Let rip on corrupt cross-border force (8)
INTERPOL - (LET RIP ON)*
17 Prepare to fire one waking you early? (4)
COCK - Double definition
You can cock your weapon, or you can be woken early by a cock.  Or a rooster, for those of you sniggering down the back.
19 In the course of climb, I bend down (6)
IMBIBE - Hidden in (in the course of) clIMB I BEnd
"Down" as a verb, as in to down a pint.  A nicely disguised definition, one I've been fooled by before.
20 Moved quickly, establishing menagerie by the sea (6)
ZOOMED - ZOO (menagerie) + MED (the sea)
21 Money for Seniors left in San Diego Open unexpectedly (3-3,7)
OLD-AGE PENSION - L (left) in (SAN DIEGO OPEN)*
Probably my COD.  A nice anagram, though the enumeration is extremely helpful.
Down
2 Old electrical item handy (2,3)
OF USE - O (old) + FUSE (electrical item)
3 Shed to go up? (4,3)
TAKE OFF - Double def
4 Woolly female the second person to be heard (3)
EWE - Homophone (to be heard) of YOU (the second person)
Easiest one of the day?  Only if you see it I guess.
5 Campanologist may be familiar (4,1,4)
RING A BELL - Double definition
6 Saw endless tailless grouse in Pacific islands (5)
SAMOA - SA (SAw endless) + MOA [tailless MOAn (grouse)]
Probably the greatest rugby nation on earth.  If only they could all play for Samoa.
7 Gunshot scattered ducks (7)
NOUGHTS - (GUNSHOT)*
A duck is a score of nought in cricket, as I well know.
11 Ape Richie, sporting wig (9)
HAIRPIECE - (APE RICHIE)*
Something like this perhaps?
12 Short time: one he cut very short? (7)
MINIMAL - MIN (short time, as in short for "minute") + I (one) + MAL [MALe (he) cut]
14 Cruel when in France you set about old company (7)
VICIOUS - VOUS (French for "you") set about ICI (old company)
You're expected to know a very little amount of French to do these things.  I'm up to about 13 words now.
ICI was a British chemical company that is now defunct, hence "old" company.  Pops up quite a bit in Crosswordland.
16 Show thanks after I have turned up (5)
EVITA - TA (thanks) after EVI [IVE (I have) reversed (turned up)]
A show about the life of Eva Peron and her sometimes fraught relationship with young lovers Arch and Tina.
18 At first cynical concerning party’s beliefs (5)
CREDO - C (at first Cynical) + RE (concerning) + DO (party)
A captivating piece of whimsy with the now classic Myrtilus touch.  I printed this to look at in the car driving up to the country for the first time this season while I was sitting in the back with Number One grandson.  We took breaks for conversation and jokes so I can't give a time, but I had it done (all my own work) within the 2 hours the trip takes us.  I couldn't have done this with the Broteas 1167 which was the subject of my previous blog, but it was good to force the grey cells to do their stuff outside the magnetic field of Google.  There were some fast times on the Club board.  Definitions in italics underlined.  Answers in bold caps.

Across
1.  A Smollett sailor's weapon against fish (7)
BOWLING.  BOW=weapon.  LING=fish.  In The Adventures Of Roderick Random by Tobias Smollett, Tom Bowling is a nautical uncle of the hero.
5.  Glass house housing marble vessels (7)
GALLEYS.  G[las]S - outer letters (house) containing (housing) ALLEY=marble.  Put this together with 1A and we have our Myrtilus pun.  It reminded me of a local NY accent in which Long Island is pronounced "Lawn Guyland".
9.  He wrote to Althea; her cold cavalier criminal (7,8)
RICHARD LOVELACE.  Anagram (criminal) of HER COLD CAVALIER.  17th Century Cavalier poet, wrong but wromantic.  "Stone walls do not a prison make" - written while he was gaoled for publicly protesting an act of Parliament in the run-up to the Civil War.  Good clue.
10. Mound of rock, not of earth (6)
TUFFET.  TUFF=rock.  ET=extra-terrestrial (not of earth).  Apparently "tuff" is a kind of volcanic rock.  I'd thought a tuffet was just a sort of pouf Miss Muffet sat on but it's more than that.
11.  Corgi, perhaps with the Queen away, becomes run down (5,3)
PETER OUT.  PET=corgi.  ER=Queen.  OUT=away.  Here's where I made the mistake of starting on the knock knock jokes with the grandson (Kurt Remarque, Stan Dandeliver etc) which he didn't altogether get, which then segued into Pokemon jokes which I don't get at all.  It ate up quite a bit of the drive time anyway.
13. In a dumb way, it's how this grid started (10)
WORDLESSLY.  Double definition.
14.  Skylight author listened to a musical (4)
HAIR.  Homophone (listened to).  At first I had the wrong strand of the double helix (that's not my coinage - it came from Vallaw, late of the Club) and entered "Hare", as in David, author of the 90s play Skylight in which the female lead actually cooks dinner on stage, rather than the 60s musical in which the cast actually take all their clothes off onstage.  I did briefly wonder if the author might be "Katz".
16.  Drood's girl was orphaned, not completely rejected (4)
ROSA.  Bud, fiancee of the title character in the unfinished Dickens mystery novel,  Hidden in [w]SA OR[phaned], reversed (rejected).
17.  Dreadful poseurs in a novel (10)
PERSUASION.  Anagram (dreadful) of POSEURS IN A.  Jane Austen's autumnal last novel, published posthumously.
20.  Guildenstern is one messenger who's tense inside (8)
COURTIER.   Partner of Rosencrantz in Hamlet.  MESSENGER=courier containing T=tense.
21. Monster cheese left by a writer (6)
GORGON.  French writer Emile ZOLA leaves the odiferous cheese.
23.  One revealed as Philip Fairlie's child bride? (3,5,2,5)
THE WOMAN IN WHITE.  Double definition.  A bride may be a woman in white (I wasn't).  And in the Wilkie Collins novel, the plot turns on the close resemblance between the legitimate daughter of Philip (Laura Fairlie) and Anne Catherick, his illegitimate child.  Anne habitually dresses in white and first appears so, having escaped from confinement in an asylum.
24.  A dish of dip held by Algernon's butler (7)
LASAGNE.  SAG=dip, contained in (held by) LANE=the butler to Algernon Moncrieff in the Importance Of Being Earnest.
25.  Lowell finally admitted to coarse material (7)
EARTHLY.  Last letter in [Lowel]L contained in (admitted to ) EARTHY=coarse.

Down

1.  The draw of the pub for a Yorkshire novelist (7)
BARSTOW.  BAR'S=of the pub.  TOW=draw.  Stan, author most famously of the 1960 novel A Kind Of Loving, which was adapted for film, tv and radio.
2. Schoolmaster wants fewer quads strewn with rocks (8,7)
WACKFORD SQUEERS.  The dastardly Dickens dean of Dotheboys Hall in Nicholas Nickleby.  Anagram (strewn) of FEWER QUADS ROCKS.  I imagine some of us wrote this in without waiting to parse which word was the anagram indicator and which was one of the the components.
3.  One with allure by Bronte, originally a Linton? (8)
ISABELLA.  From Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights.  She marries Heathcliff and the plot thickens.  I=one.  SA=allure.  Bell=Ellis Bell, Emily's nom de plume.  With A.
4.  Highest circle of Hades for one close to Catullus (4)
GODS.  The topmost (and least expensive) tier in a theatre.  GOD=Hades with S = last letter in [Catullu]S.
5.  Poe might have produced this flyer on tissue (10)
GOOSEFLESH.  GOOSE=flyer.  FLESH=tissue.  Edgar Allan's spooky stories might have this effect.  In this part of the US they're called goosebumps and the childrens' author, R.L. Stine, wrote a series so entitled.  Less attractively, my mother always calls them goose pimples.
6.  Principal vocal works by Schubert (6)
LIEDER.  Another double helix.  "Vocal" does double duty here, as part of the definition and as the homophone indicator.  Sounds like LEADER=principal, but here it is the great song oeuvre by Franz Schubert.
7.  Maybe just a small glass, to aid concentration? (11,4)
EVAPORATING DISH.  Used in physics to reduce a liquid solution to its essentials.  Even a small glass of something would be no help to my concentration but I think Verlaine does things differently.
8.  Noisy chap lifting rubbish bags (7)
STENTOR.  ROT=rubbish and NETS=bags, reversed (lifting).
12.  Solemnly state rebuke after fool embraces the First Lady (10)
ASSEVERATE.  ASS=fool.  RATE=rebuke.  Containing (embraces) EVE=First Lady.
15.  Achilles, say, or Hector's craft for fighting (3-2-3)
MAN-OF-WAR.  Both Achilles and Hector were notable participants in the Trojan War - at least when the former wasn't sulking in his tent.  In additional to the battleship, there is also the Portuguese man o' war which is a kind of venomous jellyfish.  When we had family holidays in Brittany eons ago I found a whole lot of them washed up on the beach and thought they were beautiful iridescent balloons, things to be played with.  Luckily they must have been dead.
16.  Article about musical performance (7)
RECITAL.  Anagram (about) of ARTICLE.
18. Change of scene proposed by Hamlet director, beginning to edit lines (7)
NUNNERY.  Recommended to Ophelia as a lifestyle choice.  NUNN=director (Trevor, see Cats, RSC etc).  E[dit].  RY=lines.
19.  Potent creator of quiet thoughts (6)
STRONG.  Patience Strong was a 20th Century British poet and this was the title of a 1930s anthology of her work.
22.  A Nobel winner's conduct when leaving university (4)
GIDE.  Andre, won the 1947 literature prize.  G[u]IDE.

Club Monthly 20199 April 2017 - comment?

I found this easier than last month's, round about medium difficulty I would say, though with a couple of quite tricky ones thrown in. And as high class and enjoyable as ever.

Dictionaries: The Club Monthly uses several dictionaries. The main ones are the Concise Oxford Dictionary (COD), Collins, and Chambers.
I use Chambers, the online Collins dictionary, and the ODO. I use the online Oxford English Dictionary occasionally too (OED), for background.

If I have not explained an answer fully enough, do please ask. And do remember that the closing date for this prize crossword was ... yesterday.

cd = cryptic definition, dd = double definition, rev. = reversed, anagrams are *(--), homophones indicated within ""

Across
1. Ops (for Greece) appended to journal otherwise showing verbal incontinence (9)
logorrhea - LOG + OR + RHEA. Rhea was the wife of Cronus and mother of Zeus and Hera, amongst other deities. The Romans called her Ops...
6. Almost tight-lipped about fruit available in winter (5)
nelis - SILEN(t) rev.
9. Single plant removing jack from aircraft engine (5)
ramet - RAM(j)ET
10. Lurking giant with frilly clothing (9)
latitancy - TITAN in LACY
11. Expelling English, following through to perform ceilidh music (7)
planxty - N(e)XT in PLAY. A nice word! Origin unknown, but said by some to have been coined (as Gaelic plancstaí) by the famous harper Carolan.
12. Back half of slimy northern bog in which one goes fermenting (7)
zymosis - (oo)ZY (I guess) + I in MOSS
13. Phlox-related tree planted among prepared taro by company boss in Australia (14)
polemoniaceous - LEMON (tree) in POI (prepared taro) + CEO in AUS .. so, not Oz for once.. which makes: PO(LEMON)I+A(CEO)US. Taro is an interesting plant, in widespread use around the world under a large variety of local names. Surprisingly it is mildly poisonous and has to be steeped in water overnight to render it more or less safe...
17. Discovered Marseillaise and moods in Morningside mashup? (14)
rumbledethumps - RUMBLED (discovered) + ET (French for "and") + HUMPS. More usually rumble-de-thumps, Gordon Brown's favourite dish, according to The Times as quoted by OED
21. American architect builds, having scored more for width (7)
Gropius - GROWS, with PIU instead of W. Più is musical notation for "more"
23. Traveller made a tour of island before retiring (7)
didicoy - DID (made a tour of, as in "last week we did Venice") + I(sland) + COY (retiring). Lots of travellers in my part of Kent, most of whom would punch you if you called them that. Or worse. Romany is safer, whether accurate or not.
25. Commendation for everyone sharing first helping of Eton mess (9)
praiseach - PRAISE EACH, with the E(ton) shared. It's a sort of porridge but also means a mess generally
26. Catch one that’s retrograde like Ganymede (5)
Ilian - NAIL I rev. This took me a long time because I got the Trojan connection but forgot it was also called Ilium (hence the Iliad, I presume?)
27. East London rascal shook hollow tree (5)
skelm - S(hoo)K + ELM
28. Hothead to be just visible across very soft hedge bush (9)
pepperbox - PP (very soft) in PEER + BOX (hedge bush)

Down
1. Old coot, 52, smoker, to entertain Romeo (8)
liripipe - R(omeo) in LII (52) + PIPE (smoker). Mostly a liripipe is defined as the long tail of a graduate's hood.. but Chambers, and the OED, also have "a silly person." The only quotation the OED has for that dates from 1625; and the ever-reliable world wide words says the tailed hood went out of fashion in the 15th century. So come on setter, this is beyond the outer end of obscure! Lovely word, though..
2. Stop insulting ambassador’s hosts (5)
gamba - hidden in insultinG AMBAssador's. Gamba is short for viola de gamba, but also means an organ stop that sounds like one
3. I DJ and I am in pub getting over arthritis treatment (9)
Rituximab - I + TUX (dj, dinner jacket) + I'M in BAR (pub) rev. One of a vast resource of weird proprietary medicine names drug companies think up ... I see an alternative career opening up here
4. Caught giving way to large, carefree lout (7)
hallyon - HALCYON (carefree) with the C turned to L
5. Arizona, then some old Northern Isles, leaving North Dakota to climb height in Italy (7)
altezza - AZ (Arizona) + ZETLA(ND), both rev. Zetland is an archaic version of Shetland which seems to have found new life as a twee pub name and title .. click on the link which frankly tells you everything you need to know about the so-called "aristocracy"
6. Pre-flight brief in the afternoon only? (5)
notam - ha, no trouble with this one, which strictly would be NOTAM, as my son-in-law is a commercial pilot: a NOtice To AirmeN
7. Set up leader for military routines to support line with wartime levy (9)
landsturm - a rather sneaky wordplay, though it seems to work: M(ilitary) + RUTS (routines) rev., after (supporting) L AND (line with).
8. The Bard’s lofty play’s ending with runner around, not a word (6)
skyish - (pla)Y in SKI + SH
14. Noble cause scuppered when knight leaves compound for change of colours (5,4)
leuco base - *(NOBLE CAUSE) .. without the N. Try googling leuco base, it's interesting ..
15. Snake poison drug criticised before the watershed? (9)
echidnine - E + CHID (criticsed. pp of chide) + NINE, the time when all good little boys and girls are deemed to be asleep, so the grownups can watch violence and porn ..
16. Murdered 26 offspring when duty includes reversing former denial (8)
Astyanax - NAY (former denial) rev. in AS TAX (when duty). He was the infant son of Hector and Andromache, killed after the sacking of Troy for fear of him holding a grudge and seeking revenge when grown up. Interesting to speculate on the current outlook of the offspring of Osama, or Saddam ..
18. Pack down under being in print? (7)
enstamp - ENS (being) + TAMP (pack down). I was aware of "esse," but not ens, of which Collins says: "1. being or existence in the most general abstract sense. 2. a real thing, esp as opposed to an attribute; entity," make of which what you will
19. The woman mostly seen in Somerset hills, out of bounds for ancient village (7)
endship - SH( e ) (the woma n mostly) in ( M )ENDIP(S), Som erset hills out of bounds. Nice, the Mendips
20. Love feasts? Answer is opening wide! (6)
agapes - A GAPES. Religious stuff.
22. Selecting odd bits from 7, I should replace the first, to put it briefly (2,3)
in sum - well it is landsturm, ie 7dn, take odd letters and start with an I not an L
24. Scale, one with no sharp or flat extension (5)
climb - being the opposite of musical I will leave it to others to elaborate but I think the key of C has no sharps or flats? + LIMB, extension
I managed this on paper in 16 minutes, with one Russian poet half-guessed as the more likely arrangement of the anagram letters; the rest was straightforward although required the usual crossword knowledge of CRS and obscure birds and fish to be fully parsed. I especially liked 16a and 26a.





Across
1 Lookout on Ecstasy tablets needs support to be alert to attack (5,4,4)
WATCH ONES BACK - WATCH = lookout, ON E's, BACK = support.
8 Stage favourites brought back (4)
STEP - PETS, favourites, reversed.
9 Established position of one at the top of their game? (10)
BRIDGEHEAD - Head person at the game of bridge.
10 Standing tires Peg terribly (8)
PRESTIGE - (TIRES PEG)*.
11 Barnet — specifically the church there (6)
THATCH - THAT CH(urch). Barnet fair CRS.
13 Stealth tax in Scotland includes obvious vague number (10)
COVERTNESS - Insert OVERT (obvious), N into CESS = a Scottish property tax.
16 Good god, a vegetable (4)
OKRA - OK = good, RA Egyptian God; a neat clue. I really like okra, if it's fresh, chopped and stir fried in a Bindi Bhaji.
17 Language read externally in more than one university (4)
URDU - ReaD inside U, U.
18 Mount associated with Wellington, a capital (10
COPENHAGEN - Double definition, his horse, and capital of New Zealand.
20 Exercise is to be taken around 55 for strong skeletal structure (6)
PELVIS - PE = exercise, IS, insert LV = 55.
22 Finished shed in grey (8)
OVERCAST - OVER = finished, CAST = shed.
24 Excessively sweet tea popular in Salvation Army church (10)
SACCHARINE - SA for the Sally Army, CE = church, insert CHAR, IN.
26 Bath water has Virginia withdrawing leg (4)
AVON - VA reversed, ON = leg (cricket).
27 People pry only, sadly, to find artificial material (13)
POLYPROPYLENE - (PEOPLE PRY ONLY)*.

Down
1 Flower, perhaps part of extreme dieter’s meal? (11)
WATERCOURSE - A water course would certainly help my diet.
2 One involved in petty quarrel over hanging (5)
TAPIS - Insert I into SPAT reversed.
3 A way of saying arrogant — but “rich” is another way (9)
HUBRISTIC - (BUT RICH IS)*.
4 Simplicity one found in part of church, note (7)
NAIVETE - I inside NAVE, TE = note.
5 See racing boat changing direction (5)
SIGHT - EIGHT for racing boat, change the E(ast) to S(outh).
6 Russian poet at Oakham, excited about verse (9)
AKHMATOVA - Insert V into (AT OAKHAM)*. Anna Akhmatova, 1889 - 1966, born in Odessa so maybe not so Russian.
7 Bird with gold colour exterminated in country round Seoul (3)
KEA - KOREA has the OR deleted. A kind of large parrot found in New Zealand.
12 Traps tenor in outermost part of building (11)
CORNERSTONE - CORNERS = traps, TONE = tenor.
14 Ambiguous viola cue disturbed, without question (9)
EQUIVOCAL - Insert Q into (VIOLA CUE)*.
15 After bank with genuine style? (9)
SINCERELY - SINCE = after, RELY = bank, as in rely on.
19 Professional endorsement, over for a rider (7)
PROVISO - PRO, VIS means force or power, hence endorsement? O(ver). I fancied an alternative spelling with a Z, to make VIZ more explainable than VIS, but it doesn't seem to be allowed.
21 Rogue’s deception to gain power (5)
SCAMP - SCAM = deception, P(ower).
23 Gangster twins reportedly supplying crack all over? (5)
CRAZE - Sounds like the Krays, notorious London gangsters.
25 Predatory fish, key species (3)
ASP - A = key, SP = species. A large European freshwater fish.

Times Quick Cryptic No 818 by Tracy

A shade harder than average, I'd say, taking me 15 minutes (with one wrong). A couple of bits of obscurity, for me anyway, with 17d and 22ac going in with a shrug: the first I've no doubt seen before and forgotten; the second is more of a gap in knowledge. That left 3d and 13ac still to go at the 13 minute mark. Before I could get 3d I had to write it in the position one will assume following its administration, which is a convoluted way of saying "out in the horizontal". I've seen this idea enough times that I really shouldn't have needed to. Perhaps I was a bit slow today, evidence for which might be the last 90ish seconds being spent staring blankly at "IN_A_T" for "baby", trying to think of a more plausible three letter word for cooler than CAN. Unable to do so, in it went: not "unlucky!",  just not good. Apart from that, much enjoyed - many thanks to Tracy!

Across
1 Easy to carry, wine and beer bachelor brought in (8)
PORTABLE: PORT (wine) and ALE (beer) with B(achelor) brought in.
5 A group of detectives, sharp (4)
ACID: A ; CID (group of detectives)
8 MC in saloon crashing with bus, losing this? (2-6,5)
NO-CLAIMS BONUS: &lit, with an anagram (crashing) of MC IN SALOON [with] BUS, resulting in the possible loss of the answer (not if it was the bus's fault, of course).
10 Louts vandalised plant (5)
LOTUS: Anagram (vandalised) of LOUTS. Not a great deal of vandalism going on in this anagram, to be fair.
11 Returning once more, artist falls (7)
NIAGARA: AGAIN (once more) returning = reverse it ; RA (artist)
12 Ostentatiously stylish, like hotel described by pilot (6)
FLASHY: FLY (pilot) describing/writing about AS (like) H (hotel)
13 In cooler temperature delivers baby (6)
INFANT: IN ; FAN (cooler) ; T(emperature).
16 Judge a Republican, one using his teeth (7)
ARBITER: A R(epublican), BITER (one using his teeth).
18 Almost missing header at the start (5)
EARLY: nEARLY (almost, missing header).
20 Dutchman errs, sprinkling on fine condiment (6,7)
FRENCH MUSTARD: anagram (sprinkling) of DUTCHMAN ERRS going on/after F (fine).
21 Enjoy corresponding (4)
LIKE: double definition.
22 Two kings on board a majestic old flagship (3,5)
ARK ROYAL: R, K (two kings) on board A ROYAL (a majestic). The English flagship at the time of the Spanish Armada.

Down
1 Piece of glass left in section of door (5)
PANEL: PANE (piece of glass) L(eft).
2 Soft cheese actor spread with it (7)
RICOTTA: anagram (spread) of ACTOR with IT.
3 Article on tasteful number? (11)
ANAESTHETIC: AN (article) on AESTHETIC (tasteful): number, a thing that numbs.
4 Celebrity raised in outskirts of Limoges, French city (2,4)
LE MANS: NAME (celebrity) "raised" in LS (outskirts of Limoges)
6 Dance in study with Georgia (5)
CONGA: CON (study) with Ga (Georgia).
7 Stand it, working far away? (7)
DISTANT: anagram (working) of STAND IT.
9 Egghead having drinks with ‘er: problem! (5-6)
BRAIN-TEASER: BRAIN (egghead) having TEAS (drinks) with ER.
12 Afraid, female, over reprimand (7)
FEARFUL: F(emale) over EARFUL (reprimand).
14 A pound, cash thus far (7)
ALREADY: A ; L (pound) ; READY (cash).
15 Slight earthquake in heart of Castries, revolutionary capital (6)
TREMOR: TR (heart of Castries) ; ROME (capital), spinning.
17 Cold and raw fish (5)
BLEAK: double definition, which could have been "cold ; raw fish" for all I knew. Nope, it's just a small river fish.
19 Sing in Tokyo, delightfully (5)
YODEL: "in" the letters of TokYO DELightfully.
Initial results (including mine, breaking the 30 minute mark) suggest that this innocuous little number might be bamboozling everyone except George, at least a bit. My holdups were mostly in the lower half of the puzzle, with a particular grimace towards the tiny 23 down, which resembles one of those games where you have to spot the two identical images in a veritable ocean of possibilities. I don’t think there’s anything staggeringly difficult and indeed there are a few gimmes to leaven the lump. The enigmatic phrase K.O. ARCH AT... runs from bottom left to top right. Google translate says that, as KOAR CHAT, it's Indonesian and means something like chit chat.
I have (I think) sorted all the issues out, and present my findings with the usual clues, definitions, SOLUTIONS

Across
1. Islander very good on horse you say? Not so (8)
FILIPINO  So the horse is a FILLY, adjusted through audition to FILI. Very is PI, and “not so” provides the NO. All you have to do then is decide what order the bits go in.
5. Parisian who is admitted into play free? (6)
ACQUIT  Parisian “who” is QUI, to be inserted into ACT for play, working better as a verb than as a noun
9. City firm opening railway (8)
COVENTRY  A straight replacement sequence. Firm CO, opening VENT railway conventionally RY
10. Mother meeting grandmother later (6)
MAÑANA  “Tomorrow” in Spanish, but often used to indicate an indefinite time in the future. When will work on The Wall start? Two generations of women meet, MA and NANA. The wordplay and (and the technicalities of the online crossword) make the tilde not so much optional as impossible. Unless, of course, you know better
12. Felt tip pens less important in secondary schools (12)
HIGHLIGHTERS  After reckoning that a single F couldn’t pen anything, I gave up and put the definition at the front end of the clue. LIGHTER from less important, inside HIGHS the secondary schools
15. Group mostly admitted into A & E quickly (5)
APACE  PAC(k) (group) within an A and an E. Not a musical term, then
16. A feature film covers factory worker (9)
MACHINIST  Film is MIST, a feature A CHIN. Yodaish instruction puts one within the other
18. Plant containing source of this unusual medical treatment (9)
ANTISERUM  ANISE is your plant, T the source (beginning of) this, unusual give RUM (if only).
19. Foreign gallery's public relations hoo-ha (5)
PRADO  Madrid’s “National Gallery”  P(ublic) R(elations) and ADO for hoo-ha
20. Power seized by one revolutionary in old Asian city (12)
INDIANAPOLIS  Parsed post solve, just a well disguised anagram, made up of P(ower), I (one) and IN OLD ASIAN “revolutionary”
24. Not stressed a great deal: largely very cool (6)
ATONIC  In the study of speech rhythms and such, it does indeed mean unstressed. The wordplay helps a bit: a lot is A TON, and most of ICY for very cool provides the rest.
25. A joint's picked up by fellow from S America (8)
GUYANESE  The sound of A KNEE’S is tagged onto a GUY for “fellow”.
26. Strict diet really impresses female (6)
KOSHER  The Jewish form of a strict diet, not related to weight loss. Really impresses K(nocks) O(ut) S female HER.
27. Party goer finally dropping off? One's received wake-up call (8)
REVEILLE  A party goer is a REVELLER, lose the end, and insert I (one) for the bit that comes after the two minutes silence.

Down

1. F1 celebrity (4)
FACE  As in the Face of...  F is just F, 1 gives ACE. Cute.
2. Officer in India, about to leave, as it happens (4)
LIVE I think this must be CLIVE as in “of India” losing C for about.
3. Poor writer taking river boat (9)
PENNILESS  Writer is PEN, the river you need is the NILE, and boat SS. Isn’t there a distinction between boats and ships?
4. Men hitch a lift into Scottish town, going north from Durham area? (12)
NORTHUMBRIAN  Lets go at this backwards. NAIRN is your Scottish town, which goes north, meaning (in a down clue) t it reverses. OR for men (other ranks) and THUMB for hitch a lift are inserted
6. Fall asleep in Lycra shorts (5)
CRASH  Today’s hidden in lyCRA Shorts, though Lycra shorts are not usually noted for hiding much.
7. Upper-class celebrity in car, breaking down like a Cadillac? Hardly (2-8)
UN-AMERICAN  U for Upper Class, NAME for celebrity, and an anagram (breaking down) of IN CAR
8. Rations tin for building bridge (10)
TRANSITION  Has to be an anagram, is, of RATIONS TIN (building)
11. Party politician certain to conceal old state of anxiety (12)
DISCOMPOSURE  DISCO for party, MP as ever for politician, SURE for certain, assembled to include an O(ld).
13. Reserve shown by bright fellow touring distant island (6,4)
SAFARI PARK  Bright fellow is SPARK, AFAR stands in for distant. The I comes form I(sland).
14. Particular Lenten activity sounding 'orrendous (10)
FASTIDIOUS  FASTing in Lent is less common that it used to be IDIOUS is derived from listening to ‘ideous. Because it’s a soundalike, you can be safely distracted from doubt about whether our answer contains I or E.
17. Involve rogue and spiteful woman in deceit (9)
IMPLICATE  Rogue gives IMP, the spiteful woman is a CAT, and deceit a LIE. Assemble.
21. Stand bachelor up on unfortunate date, in brief (5)
ABIDE You have to assume Bachelor means “of Ars”, stand it upside down, and tack on a brief version of the unfortunate (for Gaius Julius Caesar) IDES.
22. Even sections of freezable material (4)
REAL As in not immaterial. Even letters of fReEzAbLe
23. Fly before end of late spring (4)
JETÉ  Not, perhaps, the most immediate synonym for fly, but JET works as in jet across the ocean. Add the end of latE. A jeté is a balletic leap, not, perhaps, the most immediate synonym for spring. Two words with way to many meanings each

Times 26,709: Taking Down Particulars

I'm standing in for pipkirby today so I'll keep things short and sweet. I did this funny and ingenious puzzle on paper, in 9 minutes and 18 seconds according to stopwatch, so by no means a walk in the park compared to its two predecessors this week. FOI was 23dn which jumped straight out at me, LOI 2dn which is at least straightforwardly clued, but I won't be the only one to have struggled with the definition part.

Of particular note, not one, not two, but three clues where something has to go inside something else and then inside something else again: the title of this blog was almost going to be "March of the Matryoshka" until I noticed the 12ac/11dn meta-double-def. I'll nominate 11dn as my Clue of the Day for cleverness and economy. Many thanks to the brilliant setter for making me question my axiom that Friday is always the best day of the crosswording week. And talking of which, I'm sure you'll have an unusually good Friday this week with the blog in Pip's capable hands. See you all in 9 days!

Across

1 Supporter penning a line on cricketing trophy for writer (10)
JOURNALIST - JOIST [supporter] "penning" A L [a | line] on URN [cricketing trophy]
6 Bird hissing back, not half! (4)
IBIS - reverse of SIBI{lant} [hissing "back", "not half"]
9 Sticky food, say, including piece of chicken munched by friend (7, 3)
CHEWING GUM - E.G. [say] "including" WING [piece of chicken], "munched by" CHUM [friend]
10 List staff that everyone can see (4)
MENU - MEN U [staff | that everyone can see]
12 Record score broken by one male in particular (14)
DISCRIMINATING - DISC [record] + RATING [score] "broken by" I M IN [one | male | in]
14 One live broadcast from West European peninsula (6)
IBERIA - I BE [one | live] + reversed AIR [broadcast "from West"]
15 Plant shoot died, one in meadow (7)
BUDDLEIA - BUD D [shoot | died] + I in LEA [meadow]
17 Brother keeping mum (8)
TRAPPIST - cryptic def (for a monk who has taken a vow of silence)
19 Searcher, try and look (6)
GOOGLE - GO [try] and OGLE [look]
22 Ideal state to always always stay up then? (5-5, 4)
NEVER-NEVER LAND - if you NEVER NEVER LAND you "always always stay up"
24 Shade in colour certainly retro (4)
ECRU - hidden reversed in {colo}UR CE{rtainly}
25 Asian set out to maintain reputation amid challenge (7)
VIETNAMESE - (SET*) ["out"] "to maintain" NAME [reputation], amid VIE [challenge]
26 Abandoned building (4)
SHED - double def
27 Good luck, lock's opening ancient city secured by key (3, 3, 4)
ALL THE BEST - L{ock} + THEBES [ancient city], "secured by" ALT [key]

Down

1 Raise flag (4)
JACK - double def
2 Retinue surprisingly not having the same parents (7)
UTERINE - (RETINUE*) ["surprisingly"]. Uterine means "born of the mother but not having the same father".
3 Secure ships, cutters (4, 8)
NAIL CLIPPERS - NAIL [secure] + CLIPPERS [ships]
4 Register those in the vanguard in Germany in art gallery (6)
LOGGIA - LOG [register] + G{ermany} I{n} A{rt}
5 In team I am indebted - debatable (8)
SPURIOUS - in SPURS [team], I.O.U. [I am indebted]
7 Quickest way to drop priest into Roman well (7)
BEELINE - ELI [priest] into BENE [Roman (i.e. the Latin for) well]
8 Resentful criticism from those downtrodden and spoiled? (4, 6)
SOUR GRAPES - grapes are trodden down to make wine, but these are sour ergo spoiled.
11 Particular type of car hire (4, 2, 6)
HARD TO PLEASE - HARDTOP LEASE [type of car | hire]
13 Huge vessels, large troughs actually, all beginning to feed swine (3, 7)
OIL TANKERS - L{arge} T{roughs} A{ctually} "to feed" OINKERS [swine]
16 Peculiar concoction of ale and spice (8)
ESPECIAL - (ALE + SPICE*) ["concoction"]
18 Bad jingle? (7)
ADVERSE - a jingle is a verse in an advertisement, i.e. an AD VERSE
20 Italian certainly not donning some layers (7)
GENOESE - NO [certainly not] "donning" GEESE [some layers]
22 Something to do with an egg that's hit the road (4, 2)
BEAT IT - One thing to do with an egg is BEAT IT
23 Most courageous removing bra, item of underwear (4)
VEST - {bra}VEST [most courageous, "removing BRA"]

Quick Cryptic 817 by Orpheus

Apologies for the sparse blog. I find myself without a computer this week, posting on an iPad and in plain text.

Plenty of easy starters in all corners make the longer answers solvable; a great beginner's workout, if you ask me. Only 7dn had me reaching for the dictionary!



Across
1. TERRACE (row of similar houses) - TRACE (locate) around (without) ER (hesitation).
5. ABLE (talented) - L (liberal) inside (received by) ABE (President Lincoln).
8. BUGBEAR (pet hate) - BUG (insect) and BEAR (omnivorous mammal).
9. TRIPE (stomach lining of ox / rubbish) - double definition.
11. DISCRIMINATE (prejudice) - anagram of (strangely) INDIRECT AIMS.
12. PSYCHO (film) - hidden in (using part of) gyPSY CHOrus.
14. RAT-TAT (knocking sound) - RAT (rodent) and TAT (rubbish).
15. CUPBOARD LOVE (tendentious) - cryptically, a show of affection for cabinet (13dn).
17. STINK (nasty smell) - ST (street, way) and INK (writing fluid).
18. ANOTHER (an additional) - A (article) next to (by) NOT HER (him, presumably).
20. DUTY (responsibility / tax) - double definition.
21. TEACAKE (toasted bun) - TAKE (consume) around (about) first three letters (three-quarters of) EACh.

Down
2. EMU (flightless bird) - hidden in (exhibited in) aussiE MUseum.
3. REBUS (puzzle) - RE (relating to) and BUS (public transport).
4. CHAIRWOMAN (female president) - I (one) inside (let in by) CHARWOMAN (daily help).
6. BARONET (titled gentleman) - O (circle) in BARNET (Gt London borough).
7. EXPATIATE (elaborate) - take away (withdrawing) R (right) from EXPATrIATE (person living abroad).
10. IMPRUDENCE (indiscreetness) - IMPUDENCE (cheek) surrounding (concealing) R (republican).
11. DISGUSTED (appalled) - anagram of (disturbed) GUEST IS, inside (taken in by) D and D (daughters).
13. CABINET (piece of furniture) - cryptically, group chosen by the PM.
16. OPTIC (relating to the eye) - OP (opus, work) and TIC (involuntary movement).
19. ELK (largest deer) - EL (the in Spanish) and K (King).

Times 26708 - "I'm a substitute....

Solving time: 32 minutes

Music: Art Bears: Hopes and Fears






I got through this one fairly quickly until the very end, and then became thoroughly stuck. The three that did me in were the 'attache'/'coati'/'naked eye' crossing. Of course, 'naked eye' was the last one in, as I trawled through the alphabet with minimal success. The number of English words that will fit in '_ A _ E _' is very large indeed, although most of them are clearly unsuitable.

For tonight's music, I offer the solution to yesterday's unposed question. Of course, Art Bears are not exactly antbears, but the 'n' was unchecked, and we did have 'French art' elsewhere in the puzzle.



Across
1PURCHASER, PUR(CHASE)R, my FOI, an easy starter clue
6REBEL, RE(B)EL.
9TIBER, RE BIT backwards, as in 'Labour's criticism of the PM is starting to bite'.
10ENTANGLES, anagram of AS GENTLE N, where N indicates a knight in chess notation.
11NUCLEON, NU(CLEO[patra])N. Here, 'briefly' does not just mean 'take off a letter', but rather a slangish shortening of the royal name.
12IMPASTO, I'M PASTO[r]. I was beating my brains trying to see how 'I'M PAST 0' meant 'leading the congregation', and then I saw it.
13LET THEM EAT CAKE, LET THE MEAT CAKE.
17INTELLIGENTSIA, anagram of ELITIST LEANING, a brilliant &lit anagram.
21ERASMUS, SUMS ARE backwards, giving an entirely different Darwin than the one you expected. The grandfather of Charles, he was a fascinating character and anticipated some his famous grandson's ideas.
23ATTACHE, A + T(CAT backwards)HE. A very clever and difficult clue.
25STIR FRIED. Anagram of FIRST + R(I)ED.
26BRACE, BRA(C)E, a word commonly found in 17th and 18th century poetry but not much used since.
27ARENA, A + RENA[l].
28GRAPEVINE, GRAPE + VIN + E.
 
Down
1PATENTLY, PAT[i]ENTLY.
2REBEC, the first letters of R[estaurant] E[xpenses], B[eing] E[xtremely] C[areful]. If you are not familiar with pre-modern instruments, you're going to have to trust the cryptic here.
3HORSESHOE, HORSE + S + HOE. For once, heroin is not just 'H', which may throw some solvers off.
4STERNUM, STERN + UM.
5RETSINA, RET(S)INA. Sulphur, eh? I wouldn't be a bit surprised...
6RUN UP, R.U. + PUN upside-down.
7BILL SIKES, B(ILL S)IKES.
8LISBON, backwards hidden in [s]NOBS, IL[l-mannered].
14TENTATIVE, TENT + [n]ATIVE. If you thought 'local' would be bar, inn, or pub, you probably weren't alone.
15CONSTABLE, CO (N) STABLE, two 'firms' in entirely different senses, as is often the case in these sorts of clues.
16NAKED EYE, a very difficult cryptic definition. If you don't see it instantly, you may be stuck for a while.
18LASTING, LAST IN G. Probably he is not very good if he is batting last; that would certainly be the case in baseball.
19GRANDMA, GRAND + MA[d].
20RED SEA, anagram of EAR containing ED'S. As often, 'small boy' indicates a shortened male name.
22MAFIA, M[ake] A FIA[t]. Sounds like a possible punishment for the mafiosi - a life term in the Fiat plant.
24COATI, COAT + I. The trick here is to make the solver think Hopi or Illini or something along those lines, No, it's that South American raccoon again

Quick Cryptic 816 by Flamande

The crossings of 17ac, 3dn and 18dn caused delay in this otherwise fairly straightforward yet very entertaining puzzle. I'm currently unsure about the parsing of 'm' in 17ac - but hope it'll become clear as the blog develops. 11 minutes of fun - thanks Flamande.

ACROSS

1. Noticing - observing. COD straight off the bat for this cryptic definition of 'exasperated comment from one who wanted plain (un-iced) cake'.
5. Grit - resolution. Greek (GR), Italian (IT).
8. Prior - double definition.
9. Pitcher - double definition.
11. Presentable - decent looking. Gift (PRESENT), a (A), (B)e(L)t(E)r. The possibilities of an anagram for much more of this clue took some time to discard before seeing the parsing.
13. Afresh - once more. Anagram (stupidly) of FAtHERS - without (wasting) time (T).
14. Resort - somewhere to stay on holiday. Again (RE) arrange (SORT).
17. Custom in South America: eat some Scotch egg (7,4)
Sausage meat - some Scotch egg - the outer layer around the egg. Custom (USAGE) inside South America (SA) and eat (EAT). So where does the 'M' come from? Ah! South is (S) and America is (AM) - knew we'd get there in the end.
20. Crimean - inhabitant of Ukraine. Offence (CRIME) by (next to) an (AN).
21. Tooth - canine maybe. (H)urries after sound of whistle (TOOT).
22. Eden - prime minister once. To continue the dental theme - visiting (inside) th(E DEN)tist.
23. Secretly - under cover. Cunning (SLY) touring around outside an anagram (parts of) CRETE.

DOWN

1. Nope - definitely not. Great surface. Turned on (NO - on backwards), physical exercise (PE).
2. Tripper - holiday maker. A tripper is going to fall over.
3. Carpet snake - reptile. DNK the large nonvenomous Australian snake, Morelia variegata, having a carpetlike pattern on its back.
It was clear that it was an anagram (here and there) of A TANK CREEPS but took some time to get.
4. Nephew - family member. Another good surface. One going topless - take the first letter off one (NE), wow (PHEW).
6. Rehab - treatment. Concerning (RE), heroin (H), abuse without 'use' = (AB)use.
7. Torments - worries. Or (OR) and (M)isgivings inside temporary accommodation (TENTS).
10. To the letter - exactly. How one would address an envelope to a landlord (LETTER) when their name was unknown.
12. Massacre - defeat. Large number (MASS) on top of a piece of land (ACRE).
15. Outpost - distant settlement. Open air (OUT - outside), job (POST).
16. Seance - meeting. Unusual definition - the people getting together constitute a meeting - whether or not they encounter any spirits. Irish fellow (SEAN), church (CE).
18. Unite - join together. A French (UN), couple (ITE)m not married (delete the 'm'). I didn't get the pair=item for a while.
19. Whey - dairy product. Question (WHY) about English (E).

Times 26707 - Hopes and Fears

Solving time: 26 minutes

Music: David Bowie, Low






I did this puzzle in good time, but I think perhaps less-skilled solvers may find it a little tough. It is full of references that are slightly off the beaten track, and some of the cryptics are quite clever. A number of the clues can be biffed, unless you have to write the blog and explain how they work. I'm still thinking about a couple of them right now.

OK, I have finished the blog, and all is clear. I am confident the answers are correct and the cryptics are properly analyzed. Now for the grand typo hunt and clue number check!

Across
1BUCOLIC, CUB backwards + [p]OLIC[e] - both ends missing!
5TEAROOM, TEA(ROO)M.
9ZAP, [la] PAZ backwards. The official name of the city is Nuestra Señora de La Paz.
10CHOCOLATIER, CH (Companion of Honor) + O (COLA) TIER.
11QUAYSIDE, sounds like KEY SIDE in dialectical regions where 'quay' is pronounced 'key'.
12COCOON, CO-CO(O)N. Only in crosswords are fellow criminals co-cons!
15ERNE, found in [n]E[a]R [a]N[d]E[s].
16SUPER-DUPER, double definition; if you manage to deceive a Police Superintendent, then you are a Super-duper indeed!
18SCHOLASTIC, anagram of CLASH and STOIC. Of course, 'scholastic' has overtones that are lacking in 'academic', but they are close enough for crosswording purposes.
19ORCA, hidden in [maj]OR CA[tastrophe].
22APPEAL, APP([grac]E)AL.
23VISCOUNT, VI + SCOU(N)T, a cryptic I had a very difficult time seeing.
25FIN DE SIECLE, FIND + ES + I.E. + C[a]L[l]E[d], where our old friend "French art' as a verb in the French lanaguage reappears.
27IDE, souunds like I'D, a write-in for experienced solvers.
28EMBASSY, E(MB)A(S)SY.
29EVENTER, E(VENT)ER, what my niece is on weekends, when she's not an algebra teacher.
 
Down
1BEZIQUE, BE + anagram of QUIZ + E[verton], my FOI - it's obvious, right?
1CAPTAINSHIP, anagram of PANIC, SPAHI + T[ook].
3LOCUST, LOCUS + T.
4CLOUDBURST, C(LOUD BURS)T. 'Burs' are often spelt 'burrs', but both spellings are apparently equally valid.
5TROY, T(R)OY.
6ANACONDA, sounds like ANNA CONNED A, and in virtually all dialects.
7OBI, O[ld] B[oy] + I. The sash of a Japanese kimono.
8MARINER, MA(R.I.)N + ER. I don't think it is really correct to equate 'Scripture' and 'religious instruction', since presumably the later involves some sort of interpretation.
13OPPORTUNIST, OP + POR(TUNIS)T.
14SEMICIRCLE, SEMI + CIRC(L)E.
17CLEAVERS, double definition. I admit I just biffed this, but upon doing my research I find that 'cleavers' is indeed a vernacular term for goosegrass.
18SNAFFLE, double defintion, with the elf fanciers taking a break this time around.
20ANTBEAR, A NT + BEAR, where NT is not 'books' this time around, but the National Trust. Bears are not mentioned anywhere in the New Testament - I checked.
21SCHEME, S((CHE)M)E, a rather over-elaborate cryptic.
24LIVY, LIV[er]Y.
26NOB, ON upside-down + B.

Quick Cryptic 815 by Teazel

A puzzle of mid-range difficulty from Teazel to ease us into the new week, with some nice surfaces and little in the way of strange vocab or devilish constructions. I make this Teazel's 75th Quicky offering, a milestone which deserves a hat tip though I would imagine that it represents rather less than 10% of his total lifetime puzzle output. That's a lot of crosswords. Thanks, Teazel.

The puzzle can be found here if the usual sources are unavailable: http://feeds.thetimes.co.uk/puzzles/crossword/20170424/23407/

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Mephisto 2955 - Paul McKenna

Apologies for the late post - I'm in a new play, Prairie Fire, by Ryan Madden (a local playwright) and it has been taking up a significant chunk of time, especially Saturday afternoons when I would usually write up the Mephisto blog.

I did this while proctoring an exam on Tuesday and I found it very difficult - though once I got a start in the right hand side of the grid, the answers knitted together pretty readily. There is also a pun in the top row, this time for SYMPATHISE

Away we go...
Across
1SIMPER: PER(a) next to (on), SIM(smart card)
6THIGHS: 'T, HIGHS
11AME DAMNEE: anagram of MAN,MADE then EE (Early English)
12UPDO: hidden in coUP D'Oeil
13FAN BASE: FAN(kindle), BASE(support)
14TRIAL: T(tenor) and L with AIR reversed inside - rather specific term for a singing actor
17TONSOR: SO(just) inside an anagram of SORT
18NEROLI: Sophia LOREN reversed, I
19CYBERNAUT: CUT(wound) surrounding an anagram of NEARBY
21DISORIENT: ISO(isolated relplay - place for reviewing film), RI(religious instruction) inside DENT(negative effect)
25OTITIS: O, TIT(nag), IS
27ZONARY: ZO(hybrid), NARY - I wasn't aware NARY was primarily a US usage
29TAPIR: TAP(bug, like "tap ones phone"), I, R
30MINICAB: reverse of BAC(k), IN, I'M
31BENI: Needed to google this one to understand it - BENI is sesame (source of Oil), and the wordplay is B(barrels), ENI(an energy company based in Italy)
32ACUMINOUS: NOUS(intellect), after CU inside AMI
33NYSSAS: N.Y. then SASS reversed
34X RATED: X(kiss) then ATE inside R.D.
 
Down
1SMUTTY: S&M, then (c)UTTY
2IMPROBITY: IMP(rogue), ROB(mug), IT, (blood)Y
3MEDINAS: ED inside MINAS
4EMPLOY: 'EM, P(ride) on LOY(Irish spade)
5REFURBISH: RE(on), FUR(crust in kettles), BISH(bloomer)
7HANKER: H then sounds like ANCHOR
8IMBAR: remove the first letter from MIMBAR
9GNAT: TANG reversed
10SEE FIT: SIT outside FEE(terms) reversed
15SNEEZE BOX: SNEEZE(explosive issue), BOX(punch)
20ANAPEST: ANA(anecdotes), PEST(trial) - though I doubt the current president has ever used the term
21DODMAN: DOD(haircut), MAN
22RICCIA: RIC(h), CIA
23NOTOUR: or NOT OUR
24MYRIAD: or MY RIAD
26TRIMS: I by TR then M&S
28ONUS: or ON US

Sunday Times 4742 by Jeff Pearce

This took me a little under 10 minutes, so from my perspective at least it wasn’t a difficult puzzle. But that is no bad thing, and I really enjoyed solving this one. It’s mostly impeccably clued and there are a couple of really nice touches. I have a small query about 17ac, and a slightly larger one about 3dn, but it's always good for us nerds to have something to talk about, eh?




Across
1 Threatening senior nurse while clutching hip
SINISTER - S(IN)ISTER. I'm not sure I knew that a 'sister' was a senior nurse.
5 Two guys like Rosemary?
HERBAL - or HERB and AL.
10 Campanologist might seem familiar
RING A BELL - nearly a DD, this, although you could argue the first half is cryptic if only in the sense that it’s a bit of an odd definition. So I haven't underlined it.
11 Back in bed without this medicine
TONIC - IN contained in COT, all reversed.
12 It’s apparent that learner’s suffering!
PLAIN - L (learner) is in PAIN.
13 Share out a soft drink to one cricket side
APPORTION - A, P, PORT, I, ON.
14 Is erotic novel written on such?
ESCRITOIRE - (IS EROTIC)*, RE (on). Semi-&Lit.
17 Provokes supporters
FANS - DD. I’m not sure about the first definition here. Surely FAN here has to be accompanied by some flames, and even then if you try to provoke a fire with a fan your barbecue will not be very successful. Even in the figurative sense the flames (of rebellion or whatever) have to be provoked before they can be fanned. I'm either missing something or being too picky.
19 Laid hands on fabric
FELT - another DD.
20 Woman riding barely seen by this sole spectator
PEEPING TOM - cryptic definition referring to the story of Lady Godiva, who fared significantly better than Cersei Lannister under similar circumstances.
22 Wine on tray I ignored for something smelling sweet
ROSEWATER - ROSE, WAiTER. I didn’t know that a WAITER could be a tray, but it seemed perfectly feasible and the answer was obvious.
24 Code breaker not quite finished in the city
TURIN - TURINg.
26 America win once more
AGAIN - A, GAIN.
27 The German returned to island with note about fish
RED MULLET - reversal of DER, MULL, reversal of TE.
28 Cavalryman retiring mule in unfinished dash
HUSSAR - reversal of ASS in HURl.
29 One makes good stand with supplier of metal rod
RESTORER - REST, ORE (supplier of metal), R (rod). A rod is a unit of distance, related to the perch, used in crosswords.

Down
1 Like a money belt but unable to fill it!
STRAPPED FOR CASH - a CD and then a sort of semi-&Litish definition that relies on the initial CD. I struggle to categorise this clue really but take comfort from the fact that there’s absolutely no need to.
2 Some assassin in Japan
NINJA - contained in ‘assassin in Japan’. &Lit.
3 Perhaps a saline solution is primarily its home
SEA SNAIL - I can’t see how this works. It seems to be an angram of A SALINE and Solution. But I can’t see how ‘solution is primarily’ (as opposed to ‘solution primarily’) can indicate the first letter of ‘solution’. Did the word ‘is’ sneak in here somehow? Or am I missing something?
4 Ultimately nurse has the last word about medical procedure
ENEMA - nursE, reversal of AMEN.
6 Milk old mate put on lots of rich cake
EXTORT - EX (old mate, in the sense ‘partner’ rather than ‘mucker’), TORTe.
7 Epicure’s oral exam is in German city at start of term
BON VIVANT - BON(VIVA)N, T. I bunged in BON VIVEUR here initially, but fortunately the answer to 20ac was sufficiently clear that it didn’t slow me down much.
8 Beneath lake’s north shore Scotsmen fabricated me?
LOCH NESS MONSTER - L, (N SHORE SCOTSMEN)*. Semi-&Lit. Very neat!
9 Bull's about to sip gin?
CLAPTRAP - C, LAP, TRAP. ‘Gin’ for trap is one of those (many) things you see a lot in crosswords and almost never anywhere else.
15 Chilly times caught by photos from the past
COLD SNAPS - or C (caught), OLD SNAPS.
16 Having finished tune, runs to replace new piece of music
OVERTURE - OVER (finished), then TUNE with R replacing N.
18 Oddly Tony Curtis is prepared to teach
INSTRUCT - (ToNy, CURTIS)*. This wasn’t hard to solve but it’s a really lovely clue. The problem with being obsessed with speed, as I confess I am, is that you tend not to notice how neat something like 'oddly Tony Curtis' is. One of the great benefits of blogging is that you can't help it.
21 Republic with war raging around it
RWANDA - an anagram (raging) of WAR surrounding AND (with).
23 Good big dipper, perhaps, but without a long hill
RIDGE - RIDE (big dipper perhaps) containing G. The use of ‘but without’ is quite unusual, I think, and I really like it.
25 Controller and provider of measured information
RULER - again, you could almost classify this as a DD but there is an intent to deceive in the second half of the clue.

Jumbo 1258

I completed this correctly, but there are a couple of clues where I am unsure of the correct interpretation (6D and 12D) although I can make some sort of sense of them

There are also others (13A, 18A, 29A, 55A, 12D again) which I suspect would be trickier for overseas solvers, although wordplay is mostly clear. 38D was unfamiliar to me, although I may have come across it in a previous crossword (never in real life).

The first qualifier for the annual Times Crossword Championship was published this week, and having made a mistake last year I was prepared to complete and submit it, but when I checked the date it clashes with our daughter's wedding so I will need to pass on this year.

Here is my understanding of how the Jumbo works - apologies for any typos:

Across
1 CORELLI - CORE = key, LLI = ILL = poorly, reversed
5 FACE PACK - FACE = deal with, PACK = jam
9 LUDWIG - LUD = so-called judge, WIG = berate
13 COCK-AND-BULL-STORY - cryptic definition
14 ASHTON - ASH = wooden, TON = style
16 OVENS - O.S. = sailor, around VEN = archdeacon
17 SASSOON - S(aturday), AS SOON = no later
18 IN-YER-FACE - FINERY*, ACE = champion
19 CONUNDRUM - CON = to do, UN = a, French, DRUM = beat
21 STAUNCH - hidden in sandaniSTA UNCHallenged
22 WRUNG - (wido)W, RUNG = spoke
23 OUSEL - OL(d), around USE = enjoy
25 ABSORBENT - ABS = muscles, O.R. = men, BENT = flexed
27 SEMIPRO - SEMI = house, PRO = for
29 KIRBY GRIP - KIR = alcoholic drink, BY = next to, G(rand), RIP = libertine
31 CROCODILE CLIP - CROCODILE = children walking, CLIP = speed
34 DIG FOR VICTORY - DIG = appreciate, F.O. = Foreign Office, RY = line, around VICTOR = chap
35 STONECROP - STONE = weight, CROP = trim
37 DECANAL - DE-CANAL = remove channel, maybe
39 TELEPHOTO - (TO THE POLE)*
42 TWEEN - final letters of each word in chaT shoW comperE camE iN
43 LEAFY - LEA = grassland, (grati)FY(ingly)
45 TOMBOLA - TOMB = grave, OLA(f) = Swede, possibly
47 FREESTYLE - (STEELY REF)*
49 SUPERBOWL - SUPERB = great, OWL = hooter
50 LAWSUIT - L.A. = city, W(ith), SUIT = hearts, maybe
52 UNHIP - UN = one, HIP = exclamation coming before cheer
54 UNDONE - (t)UNNE(l), around DO = note
55 PIGGY-IN-THE-MIDDLE - PIGGY = greedy, IN THE MIDDLE = mean (as in average)
56 TROMSO - (OR MOST)*
57 SNATCHER - (CHEST RAN)*
58 HARNESS - HAR(d)NESS = severity
 
Down
1 CUCKOO CLOCK - CUCKOO = bananas, CLOCK = hit
2 RUCHE - R.U.C. = force disbanded, HE = that man
3 LIAISON - LION = celebrity, around AIS = sloths
4 INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION - INDUS = river, TRIAL = pilot, REVOLUTION = wheel
5 FOURSOMES - (MORE OF US)*, S(ucceeded)
6 CELLO - really unsure on this one. I can see C.O. = Conscientious Objector = pacifist, but I am not sure how ELL = inch, nor where liberty-taking fits in
7 POTENTATE - PATE = heat, around OT = To, reversed and ENT = hospital wing
8 CARRION - CARRI sounds like CARRY = shoulder, ON = leg (cricket)
10 UNSCREW - UN'S = international body's, CREW = team
11 WITH A BUMP - double definition
12 GINGER GROUP - I think this is a cryptic and double definition combined. GINGER = red headed, and GINGER GROUP = active (= firing?) faction
15 BY THE SKIN OF ONES TEETH - (ONE OF THE BEST IN THE SKY)*. A big anagram
20 NOSE RAG -(ANGER SO)*
21 SIROCCO - SIR = teacher, O.C. and C.O. are two different abbreviations for army commanders
24 LAY DOWN - LAY = song, DOWN = influenced by the blues
26 TOOTS - double definition, the second using ducks as a term of endearment or familiarity I think
28 MAE WEST - MAST = pole, around EWE = sheep
30 PICOT - PIT = stone, around CO = firm
32 OLYMPIA - hidden in melanchOLY MP I Advised
33 LARCENY - LEN = boy, around ARC = bow, (humilit)Y
34 DIDDLY-SQUAT - (D,D,D, QUALITYS)*
36 PONY EXPRESS - PONY = twenty five pounds, EX = old, PRESS = journalists
38 CLAPPY-DOO - (happy) CLAPPY = expressive evangelical Christian, DO = function, O(ld)
40 LOOP-LIGHT - LOO = ladies, PLIGHT = desperate situation
41 OFF-CUTTER - OF = belonging to, F.C. = football club, UTTER = say
44 Y-FRONTS - TONYS* around FR = father
46 MILLION - MILL = pound, I = one, ON
48 SAUCIER - double definition
51 WEIGH - WEIGH sounds like WAY = the road
53 HEDGE - H(aving), EDGE = advantage
This crossword had a lot of delicious clues. 16dn was an absolute delight! The more obscure answers were all gettable from the wordplay. And happily, no flora, no fauna. A very satisfying crossword. Thanks to the setter.

Looking at the leaderboard, I see that as I prepare to post, the 100th best time was 22 minutes, on the slow side for a Saturday – so it does look like it was rather harder than the average. Perhaps 1dn was a holdup.

Clues are reproduced in blue, with the definition underlined. Anagram indicators are bolded and italicised. Then there's the answer IN BOLD, followed by the parsing of the wordplay. (ABC)* means 'anagram of ABC', {deletions are in curly brackets}.

Across
1. The way to keep head from clonking bed (5)
PATCH: PATH [way] “to keep” C{lonking}.

4. Do this and agitate learner driver recklessly? (8)
TAILGATE: (AGITATE L*). Nice semi-literal definition. Do I have the nomenclature right?

8. Giddy time with winos, heading off in skimpy gear (8,6)
SWIMMING TRUNKS: SWIMMING [giddy] T{ime} {d}RUNKS.

10. Brief coming before restricting duck hunting (9)
PREDATION: PREDATIN{g} [brief “coming before”] “restricting” O.

11. See you in Ibiza having ace parties across island (5)
ADIOS: A{ce} DOS [parties, as always] “across” I.

12. Author recited something boring before bed (6)
ALCOTT: sounds like AWL COT to some.

14. What might produce ‘aero-mist’ fancifully? (8)
ATOMISER: (AERO-MIST*).

17. One badger occupying earth when put back in wild state (8)
DELIRIUM: I RILE [one badger] in MUD [earth], all put back.

18. Scattered right around in all directions? (6)
STREWN: TR [RT=right, around] in a scattering of N, S, E and W.

20. Answer with almost complete rubbish (5)
AWFUL: A [answer] W [with] FUL{l} [almost “complete”].

22. Hate to ease up, possessing no time? (9)
ABOMINATE: ABATE [ease up] O [zero=no] MIN [time].

24. Instruction for nose job, perhaps, that requires two pairs of hands (8,6)
CONTRACT BRIDGE: Double definition, first fanciful, the second the four-handed card game.

25. Vacant attendant serving powerless old prince (8)
ATHELING: A{ttendan}T HEL{p}ING.

DNK the word, although I saw it from the wordplay once I had a couple of helpers. Wikipedia tells me: Ætheling (also spelt Aetheling, Atheling or Etheling) was an Old English term used in Anglo-Saxon England to designate princes of the royal dynasty who were eligible for the kingship.

26. Flaming constant punctures on your bike! (3,2)
HOP IT: PI [the mathematical constant] “punctures” HOT.

Down
1. Stuttering king adopts plain type of speech? (12)
POSTPRANDIAL: (R ADOPTS PLAIN*), where R=”rex”. This long anagram was a struggle, even with helpers.

2. Something of a rake pinches women’s threads (5)
TWINE: TINE “pinches” W. I knew forks had tines, so I guess a rake is just a big fork.

3. Meat with less lean is a dramatic failure? (9)
HAMFATTER: HAM [meat] FATTER [less lean]. Didn’t know the word, not sure I want to!

4. Not quite hiding the source of bitterness in wine (6)
TANNIN: TANNIN{g} [a hiding].

5. Attention drifting as temperature drops, say (8)
INTONATE: (AT {t} ENTION*). Chambers says “intonate” means “intone”. (Well then, just say that!)

6. A couple start to go around Dutch town (5)
GOUDA: A DUO G{o}, all reversed. Knew the cheese, DNK the town, but happy to believe it’s in the Netherlands!

7. Put up with children’s quarrel (4,5)
TAKE ISSUE: TAKE [“put up with”, as in “I can’t put up with any more!”] ISSUE [children].

9. Weirdos, perhaps, absorbed by Yvette’s centre parting (12)
ESTRANGEMENT: STRANGE MEN [weirdos] “absorbed by” {Yv} ET {te}. “Weirdos, perhaps” looked enough like a definition by example to misdirect for a while.

13. Virus present that might bring on a chill (4,5)
COLD FRONT: COLD [virus] FRONT [present].

15. Protest about short audition for leading lady (9)
MATRIARCH: MARCH [protest] “about” TRIA{l} [audition].

16. West Indian playing guitar hosts unfinished band session (8)
GUJARATI: (GUITAR*) “hosts JA{m} [unfinished band session]. No, not the West Indies – the west of India. Very nice indeed!

19. Follow diet at last with a good source of information on GI (3,3)
DOG TAG: DOG [follow] {die}T A G{ood}. Clever definition.

21. Turner oil at Hepworth shows (5)
LATHE: hidden.

23. A sweet daughter’s round figure (3,2)
ADD UP: A followed by PUD D{aughter} reversed. Def: “figure”, as in calculate.

Times 26,705: Turtle Recall

Coming straight from a TLS puzzle as I did, I was clearly in the right headspace for this crossword: I instantly knew Sairey Gamp's signature item and likewise all the classical militaria was well known to me from my misspent teens (I had thought that 1dn was the unit wearing the armour, not the armour itself, but I could be wrong). Once you got past the slightly archaic frame of reference I thought this was actually pretty straightforward, lots of neat double defs and nothing too hard to parse, though 18dn, biffed from the crossers, did take a little teasing out. A whiff of jazzical whimsy to some of the definitions, e.g. 6dn and 26ac, but I found it all quite enjoyable.

LOI 1ac I think, with plenty of change from 10 minutes, though I note (in the approximate style of a glheard blog) that nobody else is under 12 minutes as of 8am, so this one was probably reasonably hard for non-moustachioed classicists. COD to the very economical and nicely-surfaced 10dn, another one that was only fully parsed post-submission. Many thanks to the setter!

Across

1 Drop in demand (4)
CALL - double def
3 Like Mrs Gamp’s “real ‘umble”, dissolute, daughter (10)
UMBRELLAED - (REAL UMBLE*) ["dissolute"] + D [daughter]
9 What to put, initially mistakenly, in the way of the bank? (7)
TOWPATH - (WHAT TO P{ut}*) ["mistakenly"]
11 Jazz composer our cup of tea, maybe listened to by stream (7)
BRUBECK - homophone of BREW [our cup of tea, maybe, "listened to"] by BECK [stream]
12 Feign reluctance to take part in sports complex? (4,4,2,3)
PLAY HARD TO GET - PLAY [to take part in sports] + HARD TO GET [complex]
14 Put back on TV (5)
RESET - RE SET [on | TV]
15 Arab perhaps holding large, unusual musical instrument (5,4)
STEEL DRUM - STEED [Arab perhaps] holding L [large] + RUM [unusual]
17 A bloomer, getting caught before dash to lunch? (9)
CELANDINE - C ELAN DINE [caught | dash | to lunch]
19 Not a bit lighter! (5)
ZIPPO - double def
21 Shrill coo mingled with sigh, reminiscent of a young lass? (13)
SCHOOLGIRLISH - (SHRILL COO + SIGH*) ["mingled"]
24 Some internet ad to hand about eagerly awaited appointment (3,4)
HOT DATE - hidden reversed in {intern}ET AD TO H{and}
25 Grasping English boss we have to shield, historically (7)
TESTUDO - "grasping" E STUD [English | boss], we have TO
26 Book accommodation, with second fantastic cheap flight option? (10)
BROOMSTICK - B ROOMS TICK [book | accommodation | second]
27 What follows I copy for a laugh? (4)
JAPE - J [what follows I] + APE [copy]

Down

1 Suit offering protection from big fall outside public house (10)
CATAPHRACT - CATARACT [big fall] outside PH [public house]
2 Service spoken of as slow: millions affected (3,4)
LOW MASS - (AS SLOW M*) ["affected"]
4 Teacher is welcome after parent, endlessly strict (9)
MAHARISHI - IS HI [is | welcome] after MA HAR{d} [parent | "endlessly" strict]
5 After putting up reserve, save capital (5)
RABAT - reverse of T.A. BAR [reserve | save]
6 These monitors, possibly, multi-functional but rarely working? (6,7)
LOUNGE LIZARDS - monitors are a type of lizard, which leads into a quirky cryptic definition of the human lizards of the lounge variety.
7 Supporter in a cap (7)
ABETTER - A BETTER [a | cap]
8 Requirement for boxing title (4)
DUKE double def, of: requirement for boxing | title
10 When sweaty, endless serving tonic (1,4,2,3,3)
A SHOT IN THE ARM - AS HOT [when | sweaty] + IN THE ARM{y} ["endless" serving]
13 Not a groovy weapon monsieur, in truth, once carried (10)
SMOOTHBORE - M [monsieur] in SOOTH [truth, once] + BORE [carried]
16 Powerful quote author half-heartedly recalled (9)
ENERGETIC - reverse of CITE GRE{e}NE [quote | author "half-heartedly"]
18 State quarters on the outside look all the same (7)
LESOTHO - E S [quarters], on the outside LO [look] + THO [all the same]
20 Correct, evenly placed components in nuclear plant (7)
PRIMULA - PRIM [correct] + {n}U{c}L{e}A{r}
22 Deliberate, in the course of time (5)
OVERT - OVER T [in the course of | time]
23 Fat that’s shed by fish (4)
CHUB - CHUB{by} [fat, "that's shed BY"]
A fun puzzle that made me feel suitably erudite throughout with its copious references to all sorts of interesting things long archived away in the dusty attics of the mind. There are a number of clues that I can't say I'm 100% sure I fully fathomed, but all the more for us to talk about tomorrow, then, eh? In the meantime, must dash, I've my regular puzzle to blog yet! Many thanks to Praxiteles for the continuing re-education!

Across

1 Eleanor admits yen for a dangerous 4 (5)
BYRON - Eleanor BRON (English actress, b. 1938) admits Y [yen]. The poet Lord Byron was of course "mad, bad and dangerous to know". Ashamed to say I only really know Eleanor Bron from her two Doctor Who appearances.

4 He’ll produce villanelles initially, whenever that’s right, without signs of hesitation (9)
VERSIFIER - V{illanelles}, IF I.E. R [whenever | that's | right], without ERS [signs of hesitation]; semi-&lit

9 Switched on, start to play “Taxman” (9)
ACTIVATED - ACT I [start to play] + V.A.T. ED [tax | man]

10 Article in alternative setting, like H P Lovecraft’s gods (5)
OTHER - THE [article] in OR [alternative] setting. I'd have thought the Lovecraftian deities were typically more OUTER than OTHER, but looking it up I see he did write a short story called "The Other Gods"...

11 Scene of assassination of King followed by Oliver (5)
KNOLL - K [king] followed by NOLL [a nickname for Oliver]. The grassy knoll from which JFK was (maybe) shot.

12 How mean one little conservative’s counterpart is, according to Private Willis (9)
ILLIBERAL - "one little conservative's counterpart" is I L LIBERAL [one | little | liberal]: in Iolanthe, Private Willis sings:
Nature always does contrive – Fal lal la!
That every boy and every gal
That’s born into the world alive
Is either a little Liberal
Or else a little Conservative!


13 Surpassed unfashionable 4, we hear (7)
OUTDONE - OUT [unfashionable] + homophone of DONNE.

15 In one of which Olivia found love (7)
SCHOOLS - Not sure if this is a reference to Olivia Manning's novel "School for Love"? I'm afraid to say I bunged this in after ruling out SHADOWS, assuming it was a Twelfth Night reference... but if it is, it's gone over my head!

18 Mar true representation? It might (7)
ERRATUM - (MAR TRUE*) ["representation"], semi-&lit

20 One with a particular advantage over Meursault? (7)
INSIDER - Meursault being Camus's Outsider.

21 What Hatter had on top of table, consuming seconds about start of hour (3,6)
TEA THINGS - T{able} + EATING S [consuming | seconds] about H{our}

23 Where generals might be having a term of imprisonment (5)
OFLAG - a not-very-cryptic cryptic definition? Or perhaps "of imprisonment" is cluing OF LAG? Reader, I biffed it.

25 Nine to one on “King of the Lapiths” (5)
IXION - IX [nine] to I ON [one | on]. Better known for being bound to a fiery wheel for eternity than for being any kind of wise and just monarch to the Lapiths.

26 Are insolent possibly, cracking up at these (3-6)
ONE-LINERS - reverse anagram, since if you "crack up" AT ONE LINERS, you get ARE INSOLENT.

27 One who might depict Tristan almost mad with agitation? (9)
DRAMATIST - (TRISTA{n} MAD*) ["with agitation"], &lit, though I'm not sure if it refers to any play in particular, perhaps an Arthurian film or TV show?

28 A little assassin in Japan (5)
NINJA - hidden &littishly in {assassi}N IN JA{pan}, and becoming something of a chestnut!

Down

1 He described an Exmoor romance as dark and something else besides (9)
BLACKMORE - BLACK [dark] + MORE [something else besides]. Richard Doddridge Blackmore, author of Lorna Doone, which I remember well from the bookshelves of my youth but doesn't seem to be around much any more.

2 “… passion acts upon the human mind in a — compounded of the acuteness of sense and constitutional heat” (Tobias Smollett) (5)
RATIO

3 It’s blooming Weller at last, valet now getting replaced (9)
NAVELWORT - ({welle}R + VALET NOW*) ["getting replaced"]. Sam Weller was Mr Pickwick's valet in the eponymous novel, of course.

4 Invite caller finally round to see “The Glass Menagerie” here (7)
VITRINE - (INVITE {calle}R*) ["round"]. A vitrine is a glass display case, in which you might well keep a glass menagerie a la the one in the Tennessee Williams play.

5 Thrashes Copperfield’s friend, taking one’s time (7)
RADDLES - David Copperfield's best friend Tommy TRADDLES - take away his T.

6 To put a girdle round about the earth in quatrain or ballad (5)
INORB - hidden in {quatra}IN OR B{allad}; a poetic clue to describe a poetic word.

7 “Cameraman” is to go courting in lady’s department (9)
ISHERWOOD - IS + WOO [to go courting] in HER D [lady's | department]. "I Am A Camera" is a play based on Isherwood's "Goodbye to Berlin"?

8 Capek’s play set on a lake in the country (5)
RURAL - R.U.R. [Capek's play] set on A L. R.U.R. is very well known to all sci-fi nerds as being the literary work which introduced the word "robot" to the world.

14 Triplets found in an inferno (5,4)
TERZA RIMA - cryptic def. The rhyme scheme of Dante Alighieri's Inferno.

16 Such as Ban Zhao is to start to record what’s current in her dynasty (9)
HISTORIAN - IS TO R{ecord} + I [current] in HAN [Ban Zhao's dynasty]. The first known Chinese female historian, in the first century.

17 Home perhaps of Prince of Aragon, a fool or a stupid leader turning up to retain silver (9)
SARAGOSSA - ASS [fool] OR A S{tupid} "turning up", and "retaining" AG [silver]

19 Chap, Italian, with unknown number of novels originally included (7)
MANZONI MAN I [chap | Italian], including Z [unknown] + O{f} N{overs}, &lit. Great Italian writer of the early 19th century.

20 Look into the case? Morse has no alternative (7)
INSPECT - INSPECTOR, losing its OR [alternative].

21 Fielding may be a bit deep for this man (5)
THIRD - I think this is a sports-related cryptic definition, something to do with cricket. In the TLS? Heavens to Betsy! Pretty good Henry Fielding mislead though, either way.

22 Dye used by Montgomery’s laid-back girl on part of hair (5)
HENNA - reversed ANNE on H{air}. Lucy Maud Montgomery's "Anne of Green Gables", that is.

24 “They regularly retire every year at proper intervals to — of the spleen” (Oliver Goldsmith) (3,2)
LIE IN

Quick Cryptic 814 by Izetti

This one took me 10:42, so I'm going to venture that it was tough for a Quicky, not the first time that Izetti has set us a challenge.  Then again, I'm notoriously bad at assessing the difficulty of these things, so you may have cruised through it in record time.  Either way, please let us know via the comments.

And now having gone through the parsing, I'm not sure (apart from the unknown PLUTARCH) what I found so difficult, but then it always looks clearer in hindsight, doesn't it?

I must say I appreciated the long meaty anagrams down the East and West coasts, which should have been enough to get a good foothold into the puzzle, especially with the odd "gimme" (FAN, TRIPPER) thrown in.  Maybe it just wasn't my day, will be interested to hear how you went.  So let's thank Izetti, and get on with how I eventually parsed it....

Clues are reproduced in blue, with the definition underlined.  Anagram indicators are bolded and italicised.  Then there's the answer IN BOLD, followed by the parsing of the wordplay.  (ABC)* means 'anagram of ABC'.
Across
7 Definitely not like sailor to have house by river (5)
ABHOR - AB (sailor) + HO (house) + R (river)
Nicely disguised definition.
8 Worked as a cleaner, getting blackened a bit? (7)
CHARRED - Double definition
"Char" for cleaner is standard crossword-ese.  In this instance we have the verb form.
10 One on a jaunt who falls down? (7)
TRIPPER - Double definition
11 This person in charge of getting invalid finally admitted? (5)
MEDIC - &LIT.  ME (this person) + IC (in charge) getting D (invalid finally) "admitted"
That's the wordplay, and the whole thing constitutes the definition, and that's what we call an &LIT.
12 Meat market's up for redevelopment (4,5)
RUMP STEAK - (MARKET'S UP)*
14 Contribution to stop another attack (3)
PAN - Hidden in (contribution to) stoP ANother
"Pan" as in "criticize severely".
15 Enthusiast getting cooler (3)
FAN - Double definition
I'll stick my neck out and say that they don't come much easier than this one.
16 Harry meaning to meet a female in Paris (9)
IMPORTUNE - IMPORT (meaning) "to meet" UNE ("a" female in Paris, ie the feminine version of the indefinite article in French)
I thought importune just meant to ask, but the first definition in ODO is "harass (someone) persistently for or to do something".  So that's Harry sorted.
18 Uninhibited person ending in inferior state (5)
RAVER - R (ending in inferior) + AVER (state)
20 Uncontrolled tirade about a member of the House of Commons (7)
RAMPANT - RANT (tirade) "about" A + MP (member of the House of Commons)
22 Endorses inferior goods for sale (7)
SECONDS - Double definition
23 Nut without complete hope cannot (5)
PECAN - Hidden in (without complete) hoPE CANnot
Down
1 Graduate working for a smart set (6,2,4)
MASTER OF ARTS - (FOR A SMART SET)*
Nice anagram.
2 What Prof. has, fellow who presides at meetings? (8)
CHAIRMAN - CHAIR (what Prof. has) + MAN (fellow)
3 Collapse in road held up work (4)
DROP - DR [RD (road) reversed (held up)] + OP (work)
4 Rare blemish creates exasperation initially (6)
SCARCE - SCAR (blemish) + CE (Creates Exasperation initially)
Very good surface, one of many in this puzzle.
5 A blow for one working in the field while the sun shines? (8)
HAYMAKER - Double definition
Referencing the proverb "make hay while the sun shines".
6 Rush up for jazz (4)
TRAD - DART (rush) reversed (up)
TRAD jazz is big in crosswordland.
9 Drug agent's not travelling around after end of year (12)
DECONGESTANT - (AGENT'S NOT)* after DEC (December, end of year)
13 Prison group agitating (8)
STIRRING - STIR (prison) + RING (group)
No wasted words in this clue.  Nice work Izetti.
14 Place around lake with bridge for old writer (8)
PLUTARCH - PUT (place) "around" L (lake) + ARCH (bridge)
According to Wikipedia, he was a biographer, essayist, philosopher, priest, ambassador and magistrate.  Wonder how much time he wasted doing crosswords?
17 Look at country's source of energy (6)
PERUSE - PERU'S (country's) + E ("source" of Energy)
19 Something wicked? It may be gripping (4)
VICE - Double definition
21 Horrible poem makes one look gloomy (4)
MOPE - (POEM)*

Quick cryptic No 813 by Joker

Well Joker does it again and provides an entertaining puzzle that kept me occupied for a full 17 minutes, well outside my target.  My first look at the early across and down clues didn’t reveal anything at all, and COLIC was my first one in.  An extra minute at the end before the penny dropped with SOUPCON also cost me time.

I hope that you enjoyed this as much as I did.

Across
Rush mats coming back deep woven (8)
STAMPEDE – MATS reversed (coming back) with an anagram of (woven) [DEEP]
5  Cry out when there’s no oxygen close (4)
SHUT – SH{o}UT – cry out without the ‘o’ for oxygen
8  One leaving uniform edition not fully developed (8)
UNFORMED – Hidden in UN{i}FORM ED{ition} after taking out the I (one leaving)
Cautious of danger of route across river (4)
WARY – Route gives WAY across (with) R{iver} inside
11  Stomach upset from endless cold ice (5)
COLIC – COL{d} IC{e} – take the ends off (endless) cold ice
12  One with no illusions about a catalogue (7)
REALIST – About gives RE, a gives A and the catalogue is a LIST
13  Common weed bug (6)
NETTLE – Double definition, the first a stinger, the second to get up someone’s nose
15  Inhibition how to end a phone call (4,2)
HANG UP – Another double definition, a HANG UP being both an inhibition and a way to end a call
18  A diner’s ordered fish (7)
SARDINE – Anagram of [A DINERS] with ‘ordered’ as the anagrind
19  English might, needing to lose mass for racing boat (5)
EIGHT – E{nglish} and {m}IGHT, after the M{ass} has been removed.  An EIGHT is a common name for a rowing boat with eight oars, as used recently in the Oxford v Cambridge boat race, although with a cox installed, it could more properly be referred to as a NINE
21  Certainly, old girl (4)
OKAY – O{kay} and KAY is the girl being looked for
22  Be partial to sage just the same (8)
LIKEWISE – To LIKE is to be partial to, and WISE is sage
23  In favour of Mahler’s First for concert (4)
PROM – ‘In favour of’ gives PRO and Mahler’s first (letter) is M
24  SHAPE military headquarters (8)
PENTAGON – another double definition, a PENTAGON being both a shape and the name given to the headquarters building for the US armed forces.  The capitalisation of SHAPE is designed to misdirect you to think of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe which goes by that acronym


Down
1 Very little food served in a tureen - swindle (7)
SOUPCON – My last one in (LOI).  The food served in a tureen is of course SOUP, and swindle gives CON.  Soupcon (usually with a little tail hanging under the C, which I can’t manage here) is French for suspicion, and usually means a hardly perceptible quantity, a dash.
2  Legitimate banning learner driver that’s very bad (5)
AWFUL – LAWFUL is legitimate, which gives the answer when L for learner driver is removed
3  Left is holding thinning out operation which blocks entrants (10)
PORTCULLIS – Left is PORT, is is IS, and squeezed between them is CULL, the transitive verb that means to thin out (usually a population of over-abundant animals)
Depressing hearing organ in Derby in odd places (6)
DREARY – Hearing organ is EAR and this sits in the middle of D{e}R{b}Y (odd letters of the midlands town)
6  Disliking importing energy – something needed in winter (7)
HEATING – Disliking leads to HATING, importing E{nergy}
Meeting of lovers in country station (5)
TRYST – Hidden answer clue in {coun}TRY ST{ation}
10  Handling crew a long time before people start to travel (10)
MANAGEMENT – Crew is to MAN, a long time is an AGE, people is MEN and start to T{ravel} means the first letter of the word
14  Severe weather is too darn bad (7)
TORNADO – Nice simple anagram with ‘bad’ being the anagrind and [TOO DARN] providing the anagrist
16  Talk quickly with new example to be followed (7)
PATTERN – To talk quickly is to PATTER on, and N{ew} provides the N
17  Very much want European father to support daughter (6)
DESIRE – D{aughter} supported by (on top of) E{uropean} SIRE (father)
18  Sailing boat needs only small areas of water to turn (5)
SLOOP – small areas of water are POOLS which are turned (reversed) to give the name of the light boat or single-masted vessel
20  Travelling right away from Goring (5)
GOING – Do as instructed and take R{ight} away from the name of the place in West Sussex (note other places called Goring are available)

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