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Solving Time: Let us just say, this was very easy. I had intended to give the clues as well as the answers, but all I have access to is a .pdf emailed me by a kind fellow cruciverbalist from which I could not extract the text, and I didn't fancy typing all the clues out. So by way of recompense, here is a link to that .pdf..

This crossword is just about as straightforward as a Times cryptic ever gets, and I expect there were some very fast times. Traditionally we don't mention specific times for qualifiers, though I never could understand why not

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

ODO means the Oxford Dictionaries Online

1 Mahler - novelist = MAILER, with H(usband) replacing the I to get us to the composer
4 chaperon - tea = CHA + Juan PERON, three times President of Argentina and a supporting actor in "Evita." He was elected each time, so "dictator" seems a bit harsh
10 tortillas - (a legal) wrong = TORT, + A(rea) in (H)ILLS.
11 posed - school (of, eg dolphins) = POD containing S(VELT(E)
12 on the breadline - *(ALE BOTHERED INN)
14 licit - sue (eg for peace) = (SO)LICIT
16 non-profit - amateur = NON PRO + qualified = FIT. A non-profit would typically be a charitable enterprise (eg a British bank?)
18 stringent - G(ood) in australian = STRINE + books = NT. Who can forget that seminal work "Let Stalk Strine?"
20 Baloo - B(risish) + ALOO, a word from curry house menus, familiar to me from many student vindaloo races.. Baloo is a character in Rudyard Kipling's work The Jungle Book. We won't mention Disney..
21 window dressing - turn = WIND + pained expression = OW + getting ready = DRESSING
25 cross - dd, a mule being a cross between a male donkey and a female horse (the reciprocal is called a hinny)
26 mass media - service = MASS + ME (the writer) + DI (girl) + A (article)
27 reassess - animal = ASSES, in RES(T). Asses incidentally are an equine subgenus comprising a number of species including donkeys... so, that means a mule is half-assed...
28 in part - dd

1 motionless - dd, one referring to the sort of motion that is passed at a meeting
2 hurst - hidden in artHURS Table. Best known as part of a place name, eg Lamberhurst etc. We won't mention Geoff Hurst (Where is he when you need him?)
3 evident - (B)I(R)D in contest = EVENT. Def. is plain = clear
5 hosta - entertainer = HOST + A. If like me you've heard of a hosta but have no clue what it looks like, they are like this
6 popular - part of London = Poplar containing U(niversity)
7 resentful - E + N (knight, chess notation) in RESTFUL
8 node - N(ew) + ODE, a poem, ie lines. A node is virtually any device attached to a computer network
9 Florence - use foil perhaps = FENCE containing my = LOR as in lor' luv a duck, etc. A golden opportunity to refer to the wonderful and surreal Magic Roundabout was missed here..
13 at long last - pine = LONG in book = ATLAS + T(REE)
15 carnivora - *(ROAR IN CAV(E)). Carnivora are a diverse mammalian order of which (polar) bears are the largest. Since we seem to be having a biology lesson today, it is worth noting that not all carnivora are carnivores (eg giant pandas) and not all carnivores are carnivora (eg crocodiles)
17 notarise - it’s a fall if it's NOT A RISE, geddit? Notarising being what a Notary does
19 nudists - detectives = DIs in very keen = NUTS ("He's very keen about her..")
20 bushman - H(ORSE) in BUSMAN. Now, we never hear about busmen except when they are on holiday.. Why is this? Here is the definitive article on the subject, from the erudite World Wide Words website
22 wimps - W(ith) + IMPS, wicked spirits. My granddaughter comes to mind..
23 India - home = IN + AID, rev. Clive of India has a poor reputation in these post-colonial days, but in fact most of his fighting was done against the French and Dutch, and the only mutiny he suppressed was by his own British officers, when he outlawed bribery.. the Wiki article may surprise some people
24 scar - S(mall) + CAR = wheels


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 19th, 2014 05:48 am (UTC)
Well ...
... I didn't find this so easy, getting mired in the top left. Missed the obvious light-inclusive at 2dn so couldn't get to the composer. So many authors and composers to choose from!

18ac was a nice variation of the STRINE-GENT chestnut.
Jun. 19th, 2014 08:28 am (UTC)
I didn't find this at all easy either, really struggling to hit wavelength. It was by far my slowest time of the three (so far) qualifiers.
Andy Borrows
Jun. 19th, 2014 10:03 am (UTC)
I was very much on the wavelength with this one and it only took me 13 mins, so the quickest of the qualifying puzzles so far for me. Having said that LICIT, my LOI, went in on definition alone.
Jun. 19th, 2014 02:05 pm (UTC)
I didn't find this particularly easy, but it was the easiest of the 3 qualifiers.
Jun. 19th, 2014 05:13 pm (UTC)
I can understand why we don't talk about times before the submission deadline: if it took you half an hour and everyone on here was saying how easy it was you wouldn't submit it, and it's not our job to deprive the Times of income. Afterwards though I really can't see any reason.
Anyway, I did find this very easy. I did it in 8 minutes, and thought for a while it might be a PB.
Jun. 19th, 2014 10:12 pm (UTC)
I wonder if anyone is refused entry to the Championship, even with a slow time. Based on the last 4 years, I don't think I've seen any of the heats being full. Even taking into account the fact that some people may have qualified but then not been able to make it on the day, some of the scores from the heats have been so low as to suggest the solvers would take hours over an average Times crossword.
Jun. 19th, 2014 10:58 pm (UTC)
Ha, yes, you're probably right. There was one chap a year or two ago who completed with a top ten time but obviously hadn't read the instructions and only completed one puzzle.
Jun. 19th, 2014 11:31 pm (UTC)
Just over 7 minutes for me - a pleasant, straightforward solve, the easiest of the three qualifiers so far. I can't imagine the fourth (the replacement for this one) coming up this Saturday being any easier.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )