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A smidge under 20 minutes for this, working steadily around the grid, encountering something of uniformity of  difficulty where even the tiddlers put up about the same resistance as their longer sistren. There were things I half-knew and took on trust. The nomads at 2dn, knew the word, didn't think of them as nomads, but given their environment it makes sense to keep moving. The rose at 15ac which I half thought was a vegetable, or one of those vegetables that turns out to be a fruit: I'm not alone: Milton thought it was honeysuckle. Probably. The delightful characterisation at 8dn. In each case, the wordplay was helpful enough.

Here's my reasoning


1     OBLITERATED  The word LITERATE for learned puts on an overcoat of the even letters of rObBeD as instructed. Dons is a
       verb here.
7     JUG Adding to your collection of slang words for choky, or in this case cooler, to my surprise not derived from the milk
       container of the clue but allegedly from the Scots word jougs, metalwork designed to pin you to the wall
9     TAP DANCER an entertainer who needs the solid floor and who also happens to be an anagram of "and carpet"
10   NICHE Do as you're told: set back IN, then add your CH(urch( and E(astern) for your hole-in-the-wall which will hold a saint's
       effigy or nothing depending on whether you approve of such things.
11   DUSTPAN  a nice clear anagram of STAND UP. I'm afraid we had to let our downstairs housemaid go last week. Staff are so
       hard to get these days.
12   BREAK IN  "Domesticate" (cats, dogs, horses, housemaids) formed by KIN for family following short BREA(d) for "money"
13   UPEND A substitution clue. Start with SPEND (pay) change the S to a U(nion) to deliver "make stand"
15   EGLANTINE, apparently a wild rose of sort; "like" gives EG, then our paradigm Stakhanovite six footer, the humble ANT,
       enclosed in a LINE ("rank").
17   LIGHTNESS "Delicacy" defines. LIGHT for "set fire to", NESS derived from nests ("homes") without the comforting T.
19   SWELL  The biographer is BOSWELL an authentic Laird who wrote down everything he knew about Samuel Johnson. Remove
       the B(ook) and O (nothing) and your are left with our answer, which means first class in an American sort of accent
20   FLEAPIT   Ancient cinemas were affectionately know as fleapits. Just a CD, but a smooth one
22   DURABLE  Hardy, not this time Thomas. Here comes your AB(le seaman) again contained in a confection of RULED
24   RETRO, contained within aRE TROusers
25   PETIT FOUR one of those deeply unsatisfying mini cakes given a French name so that they can be served by the parlourmaid
       without embarrassment. OF TIT (small bird) reversed into a new version of PURE.
27   TOR  Just when you're trying to work out synonyms for fell the verb, it turns out to be a rocky outcrop from (say) Dartmoor
       and it's the definition. TOR(n) completes the wordplay.
28   NORTHAMPTON "county town". Frederick North is "the Prime Minister who lost America", a member gives you A MP, "Not"
       turning round unsurprisingly gives TON.


1     OFT A poetic "oft"  from often  derives from (s)OFT =  gentle with its initial Saint awol.
2     LAPPS, who wander around the upper fringes of the northern continents, sounding like lapse and doing a lot of huntin'
       shootin' and fishin'
3     TRAMPED  I tried to get hitched in here for no good reason, just something a hiker might do. DEPART for "go" reverses
       around M(otorway)
4     RECONVENE  My first in, a letter mix of "once, never" for "get together again"
5     THROB Definition pound, THRO a poetic version (and other versions too) of through, "from start to finish"
6     DUNGEON Dung for "waste" plus EON for a long time.
7     JACKKNIFE  defined as "fold" with flag providing the (Union) JACK and KNIFE given by "badly cut".
8     GREEN WELLIE  giving its name to the huntin' etc kind because they tend to wear them. (Graham) GREENE, Brighton Rock
       novelist, surrounds WELL for "bore" plus 1
11   DOUBLE FIRST A top performing student's achievement, FIRS ("pines") observed withing the Elizabethan DOUBLET.
       Somewhere around a 4.5 in US speak, I believe: my daughter in law achieved that level.
14   EGG BEATER  Something a chef might indeed use on a frequent basis, whimsically applied to a helicopter or "chopper"
16   LAST DITCH, where the final stand takes place if you're not inclined simply to run away. LAST = "carry on" and abandon =
18   TOP DOWN The "nanny knows best" theory of government. OP (work) plus (complete)D finally, both placed inside TOWN for a
       generic, thankfully not specific, borough.
19   STRATUM  TRAT is TART or "cutting" up, SUM the problem blocked, as in filled in, for some level of society.
21   TOPER  I think this is REPO(r)T, the sound of a shot, reversed, to mean someone who drinks a lot. only one R(esistance)
23   BOOST  Welington as in BOOT surounds S(oldier's) first for advance (the cause of, etc)
26   RAN  What someone who was a candidate did. (fo)R (diplom)A (beate)N


( 32 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 12th, 2014 02:34 am (UTC)
Wasn't sure I'd make it under the 30', but suddenly the checkers showed me DOUBLE FIRST, and somehow GREEN WELLIE emerged from somewhere in my memory--I wouldn't have been able to tell you what a g w was, but wotthehell. Having figured 28ac ended in -TON, I made the mistake of guessing that it was -INGTON, which did me no good.Liked 27ac for its misleadingness. Z, you have a typo at 10ac: it's singular.
Jun. 12th, 2014 06:10 am (UTC)
And another at 25ac which should read 'new version of PURE'
Jun. 12th, 2014 03:03 am (UTC)
I thought there was a lot of tricky stuff here. I took ages to get started with NICHE and then gradually built a head of steam. GREEN WELLIE is a new one on me - the OED and a Google check show WELLY but not WELLIE .

By the way, thanks to Olivia's direction I found the qualifying puzzle today and did it this morning. Is it original? I certainly remember a puzzle with 14ac in the same place and clued (as far as I recall) the same, and there were other clues which gave me a feeling of deja vu.

Edited at 2014-06-12 06:35 am (UTC)
Jun. 12th, 2014 08:08 am (UTC)
It may not be deja vu but peripheral vision. Certainly on the app, today's paper has the solution to yesterday's qualifying puzzle. (Well spotted SteveDe at the club)

Edited at 2014-06-12 08:12 am (UTC)
Jun. 12th, 2014 08:26 am (UTC)
No, i haven't seen that, I don't have the app anyway. But I do remember 14ac because I had trouble with it before, so this time it was first in.
Jun. 12th, 2014 09:37 am (UTC)
Mystery solved. I hadn't noticed Jerry's note that the link was to last year's qualifier! OK I'm stupid. But I'm pleased that I can remember something from a year ago - these days I can't usually remember what I had for breakfast.
Jun. 12th, 2014 09:35 am (UTC)
I think the link that was given yesterday was to a 2013 qualifier.
Jun. 12th, 2014 03:44 am (UTC)
Made things interesting by hazarding 'aslantine' at 15 - certainly a plant I'd never heard of! Thanks to Z for clearing up TOPER and EGG BEATER. I note that 'helicopter' is given as a meaning for the latter under 'US informal'. New to me. I note that fleapits are making a comeback. I remember the Sunninghill one with affection, having watched Born Free there.

A typo at 19, where the good doctor needs an aitch.

Edited at 2014-06-12 03:45 am (UTC)
Jun. 12th, 2014 03:58 am (UTC)
Isn't that the national flower of Narnia?
Jun. 12th, 2014 07:05 am (UTC)
Sam or Ben
Thanks for the correction on Johnson, and to Jack and Kevin for spotting (some of?) the typos, now corrected. I was getting so dozy towards the end I was actually typing in complete rubbish - no change there perhaps - and nearly postponed entry until later this morning. The Jo(h)nson boys are one of my memory feedback loops where trying to remember which one it is leads to increasing confusion even after looking it up. I'll propose a rule: it's H before N except after Ben.
Jun. 12th, 2014 06:17 am (UTC)
Apart from Monday's puzzle I'm having a rather discouraging week (including two very slow Quickies) and I only just crept in under an hour on this one. Despite that, this was an enjoyable if very steady solve which I never felt would beat me.

Edited at 2014-06-12 06:18 am (UTC)
Jun. 12th, 2014 07:49 am (UTC)
10:16 - an enjoyable solve - I particularly liked GREEN WELLIE.
Jun. 12th, 2014 07:56 am (UTC)

Finished all correct in under an hour, but needed the blog to fully understand OBLITERATED, SWELL, TOPER (where I had TOP as the 'shot back' and was looking for a four letter word for resistance…). Thanks for clear explanations, Z. Felt it was a puzzle that took a little while to get into, but progressed steadily thereafter.

Helped that we had FLEAPIT a couple of days ago. I too toyed with the Narnian momble...
Jun. 12th, 2014 08:20 am (UTC)
Would have been much faster except for a colleague who wouldn't shut up about soccer. Apparently there's a tournament about to be played.

Me, I'll be cheering England on in the cricket. Well, to be fair, I'll be cheering on England's new opener Sam Robson, the son of one of my closest friends.
Jun. 12th, 2014 08:29 am (UTC)
Re: 45:21
Good to see we're poaching from Australia as well as South Africa now. Mind you, he has an English mother, as/who you must know.

Just an annoying colleague? I had to take a conference call and read and respond to half a dozen emails during my 44 minutes...
Jun. 12th, 2014 08:41 am (UTC)
Re: 45:21
Yeah, Ros is English. Not that you'd have noticed until Sam's qualification became an issue!

But I don't accuse England of poaching. Ultimately they handled Sam's development and future planning better than Australia did, and he's a more than willing recruit.

Jun. 12th, 2014 08:44 am (UTC)
Z you've left a lot of hard returns in your blog (eg 10A, 19A) and they are causing line breaks at odd places

Last Tuesday I told you that old cinemas were fleapits so no excuses for not getting that one! Overall about average level of difficulty I guess with GREEN WELLIE causing some headscratching for a while. 25 minutes to solve.
Jun. 12th, 2014 08:50 am (UTC)
Jim, I meant to add that the only reason I associated FLEAPIT with cinema was the recent mention on this site. If that was you, then thanks!

Edited at 2014-06-12 08:54 am (UTC)
Jun. 12th, 2014 09:41 am (UTC)
Sorry about that Jim - I'm still relatively new to the workings of the blog, and use the visual editor rather than the HTML one. That said, it all looks ok to me in both Chrome and IE, so I'd be interested to know how to resolve the issue - and if it's the same in other browsers.
Jun. 12th, 2014 11:03 am (UTC)
I get the same thing on my iPhone - the hard returns don't correspond to the sides of the screen so
the text does this.
This doesn't happen with the HTML template I got from Andy, presumably because of the way the tables are set up (HTML is a bit of a mystery to me).
Jun. 12th, 2014 11:06 am (UTC)
What I meant was
the text does this!
Jun. 12th, 2014 11:59 am (UTC)
Can I check if this is just today or something that happens whenever I blog? I can understand (dimly!) why it might happen on different systems - I'm PC and Android, usually Chrome browser. I just may have to learn how to do it in HTML! Or possibly not worry about indenting 2nd and 3rd lines.
Jun. 12th, 2014 12:23 pm (UTC)
It's whenever you blog, but only on my iPhone, which I don't use much.
Jun. 12th, 2014 11:11 am (UTC)
I use HTML so sorry, can't help
Jun. 12th, 2014 09:37 pm (UTC)
When I used Notepad to prepare my blog in HTML this happened — there were irritating word breaks all over the place. I solved it quite simply, by switching Word Wrap off. Not sure what you are using and this may be irrelevant.

All these people saying how easy the crossword was. I thought it was rather tricky. But not helped by trying to combine it with listening to the test match; and also writing in CAN as the answer to 7ac, quite early on, thus getting stuck until I sorted it out.
Jun. 12th, 2014 09:10 am (UTC)
19m. I got completely stuck about half-way through this, the top half proving much harder than the bottom. I liked GREEN WELLIE. I didn't know that helicopter could be called an EGG-BEATER.
Andy Borrows
Jun. 12th, 2014 09:11 am (UTC)
16 mins, so I think I must have been on the setter's wavelength. My FOI was JUG and I thought it would open up the NE because of its helpful checkers, but although I saw JACKKNIFE immediately I needed a few more checkers before I got GREEN WELLIE. The only answer that went in from definition alone was TOPER, although in retrospect I should have seen the wordplay. OFT was my LOI after OBLITERATED. I thought this was an excellently constructed puzzle that was fun to solve.
Jun. 12th, 2014 02:56 pm (UTC)
Two halves
Twenty minutes before pausing, half done, then a trickier fifteen or so when I cam back from a meeting and long lunch. Thought would not finish it, NE last in, but did eventually all correct, without fully parsing a few so thanks Z. Quite a difficult puzzle considering only one possibly obscure word (15 ac). 13 ac SPEND = pay?
Jun. 12th, 2014 08:45 pm (UTC)
One of those irritating ones completed on my inward commute (20 minutes or so), so nothing to do on the way back ... Unremarkable, though liked the surface on THROB, and the GREEN WELLIE held me up a bit. Didn't manage to parse UPEND, so thanks for the heavy lifting, z8b8d8k!

Not quite as irritating as yesterday's, though, which (almost) seemed to be Monday morning-ish write-ins all the way.
Jun. 12th, 2014 10:05 pm (UTC)
13:45 for me, slowed only slightly by bunging in CAN at 7ac since it made the first word of 8dn look pretty impossible. Nice puzzle.
Jun. 12th, 2014 11:17 pm (UTC)
31m 25s
Also slowed myself down a little by tentatively entering 'can' at 7a, but sorted it out eventually. Doesn't 'jackknife' look odd with the double 'k'.
Jun. 17th, 2014 03:04 pm (UTC)
Good job blogs are timeless (but never interminable). Took this away on hols and just finished - with help from you for Tor, Oft and the explanation for Lapps - your comment for which being the best part of an enjoyable crossword. Thanks!
( 32 comments — Leave a comment )

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