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Solving time: 9:33 - I thought I was going to be inside 7 minutes, but the ski resort held me up for a long time trying to work through the possibilities. Either I was on the wavelength of the setter to a great extent or this was a particularly straightforward one.

Hmmm - just as I am ready to submit there's only one better time than me and it is Verlaine. So it might be more wavelength.

Away we go...

Across
1S,CREAM
5CHENILLE: inside CE, put HEN(female) and ILL(evil)
9DEFENDANTS: anagram of SENT,DAD containing FEN(since 12 is MARSHY)
10TOAD: this may trick a few - TOD is scots for FOX, stick A inside. Why knot? Some sources (though not Collins or Chambers) give knot as the collective noun for toads
11SOLECISM: anagram of SEMICOLONS missing ON
12MARSHY: MARS, H(astil)Y
13M,EAT
15TELEMARK: eventually dredged this up - L inside two targets - TEE(the mark in quoits) and MARK
18SHILLING: SING(grass, spill the beans) around HILL
19NODE: N,ODE - a work with several meanings
21EMBALM: MBA in ELM
23AMARANTH: AMAH (not our most common nurse, but one we have seen before) surrounding RANT
25ERGO: or ER, GO!
26UPHOLSTERY: anagram of POULTRY,SHE
27BLIGHTER: B, and then once you shed pounds you are LIGHTER
28DEN,TON: got this from wordplay
 
Down
2CREDO: CO containing RED
3ELEMENTAL: ET AL surrounding LE(the french),MEN
4MAD,RID
5CINEMATOGRAPHER: anagram of CHARIMAN and PROTEGE
6ENSEMBLE: double definition
7INTER: Harold PINTER's plays have been described as comedies of menace, so chop his head off for the answer
8LEATHERED: THERE in LEAD
14EPHEMERAL: anagram of HARPE(r),LEE surrounding M
16MANHATTAN: this raised a smile - MAN(guy),HAT(busby),TAN(brown)
17DISMOUNT: I think this is a cryptic definition, I don't think there is a mountain anywhere called Clydesdale
20BALLAD: ALL in BAD
22AMONG: hidden in gleAM ON Gabled
24TORSO: T, OR SO

Comments

( 68 comments — Leave a comment )
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(Anonymous)
Oct. 6th, 2016 12:22 am (UTC)
Its Thursday - all day!
I was done and dusted in 27 minutes - as easy as they come - for me these days. I have the rest of the day to myself.

FOI 2dn CREDO followed by a SCREAM 1ac. LOI EMBALM only cos I couldn't read by own letter M - taking it for an H. [EMBASH!]

Once the CINEMATOGRAPHER had revealed himself (sorry ladies but he was once the Chairman)at 5dn, it was plain sailing.

A good'un for beginners.

28ac DENTON rarely if ever gets a mention. Hats and batteries - 'I told 'em OLDHAM' were the mark of the town.

COD 14dn EPHEMERAL

WOD BLIGHTER

horryd Shanghai
vinyl1
Oct. 6th, 2016 12:40 am (UTC)
My time was 27 minutes, but...
...I thought this was rather erudite. A tod? A knot of toads? Telemark? Solecism? Denton? Not on the tip of everyone's tongue these days. I suspect we will have some complainers. '

I do agree that the obscurities I happened to know were quite easy....
paulmcl
Oct. 6th, 2016 12:51 am (UTC)
I seemed to be on the wavelength too. Although the only reason I got TELEMARK is that I'd heard of a ski-turn with that name, although I assumed it was named after a person.

I tentatively thought the long anagram would start CAMERA once I had the C, but it took several more checkers before I got it. I wasn't even sure I had the right anagrist, it seems just too neat that there was an anagram of chairman and protege.
mctext
Oct. 6th, 2016 12:59 am (UTC)
Just too neat?
MEGACHIROPTERAN?
Re: Just too neat? - vinyl1 - Oct. 6th, 2016 01:34 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Just too neat? - mctext - Oct. 6th, 2016 02:15 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - barracuda3 - Oct. 6th, 2016 01:11 am (UTC) - Expand
ulaca
Oct. 6th, 2016 01:42 am (UTC)
A rare sub-20 for me, enjoying the distinctly non-Boolean obscurities along the way.

Having once sat through No Man's Land with Gielgud and Richardson, I get the menace part of Pinter's work (as in, to society) but not the comedic bit. He certainly never gave it plenty of hoke.
kevingregg
Oct. 6th, 2016 02:02 am (UTC)
15:51
Made a couple of missteps, like taking 'extremely funny' to be F,Y, and 'angry tirade' as (TIRADE)*, and wondered if there were a CONTON in Greater Manchester until I finally remembered 'den'. I'd heard of TOD (probably here), assumed that toads came in knots. Didn't understand the 'menacing', but didn't need to. My LOI was BLIGHTER; I'd only ever come across the word with 'poor'. Nice to get one quickly, and get it all right.
mctext
Oct. 6th, 2016 03:28 am (UTC)
TOAD
An obvious LOI for me too. Totally distracted by the "knot". J. Joyce would have liked 23ac. I found it rather obscure. DENTON from "A Touch of Frost" ... perhaps?
galspray
Oct. 6th, 2016 05:00 am (UTC)
29:23, one wrong.
Half-knowing the nurse and the plant was almost enough. Just needed the last letter of AMARANT_. Faced with a choice between the vowels and Y, I opted for O. Pretty sure that if I'd considered H I'd have gone for it, but them's the breaks.

Can't complain, as I was very lucky to get TELEMARK. No idea which murky depth I plucked it from, but I dithered over it for ten minutes as we all know that a tee is not a target. In the end I decided that maybe the setter knows nothing about golf, so in it went. Turns out he/she knows something about quoits. Or bowls, or curling apparently.

Anyway, seven over par today, five over for the tournament. Big last round needed tomorrow, must remember to wear the red shirt.

Thanks setter and George.
jackkt
Oct. 6th, 2016 05:15 am (UTC)
23ac
I never heard of the plant so I was relying on wordplay to complete the parsing that seemed obvious, namely RANT (angry tirade) contained by A?A? (nurse). I was then delighted to remember a word for nurse I'd met before that fitted, namely AYAH (a nurse or maid servant especially of Europeans in India). I was not pleased then to find that this was incorrect as the word the setter had in mind was AMAH (in parts of the Indian subcontinent and the Far East: a wet nurse, children's nurse, or house servant). An obscure answer clued with obscure wordplay where alternatives are possible. Rotten swizz, say I!

Apart from TELEMARK (only known from the film as mentioned above) and 10ac which involved two further obscurities the remainder of the clues could have appeared in the QC on an easy day.



Edited at 2016-10-06 05:16 am (UTC)
galspray
Oct. 6th, 2016 05:44 am (UTC)
QC
And one of today's QC clues would not have been out of place in the 15x15. In fact it would have been at the tougher end of the scale, IMHO. Unless you knew it, of course.
Re: 23ac - kevingregg - Oct. 6th, 2016 05:45 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: 23ac - vinyl1 - Oct. 6th, 2016 12:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: 23ac - galspray - Oct. 6th, 2016 02:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Anonymous)
Oct. 6th, 2016 06:46 am (UTC)
AYI
AYI is auntie/maid in Mandarin Chinese and AMAH is commonly used in Guandong Chinese in HK, GZ, KL and Singapore - a servant/maid who looks after the kids.

TELEMARK is the Nowegian county where the Germans (IG Farben) were making heavy weather of making 'heavy water' during the WWII occupation. By the mid-thirties the Norsk Hydro at Vermorkas the world's largest hydro power plant. It was 'smithereened' by the Allies in July 1943.

BLIGHTER doesn't always go with poor - as per my grandfather: everyone was a blighter - which suggested criminality, rather than a misfortunate. Wasps were blighters.

horryd Shanghai
sawbill
Oct. 6th, 2016 06:50 am (UTC)
Agapanth-us
20 minutes, had a rant but not an amah. Oh well.
"Toad numbers fall by two-thirds in 30 years" was a news item on the way into work this morning.
mctext
Oct. 6th, 2016 06:57 am (UTC)
Toad numbers
Not if they're cane toads in QLD, NSW, NT and WA. (Watch this space for more states and territories.)
https://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/invasive-species/publications/factsheet-cane-toad-bufo-marinus

Edited at 2016-10-06 06:59 am (UTC)
robrolfe
Oct. 6th, 2016 07:04 am (UTC)
20'
Dnk TEE in that sense, but had to be TELEMARK. Assumed wrongly that a TOAD was a type of knot. AMARANTH just looked right, no idea what they are but have seen the word. Dnk DENTON either, since its the home town of the TV detective Frost thought it was in the South, must be a different one. Nonetheless, got there, thanks gl and setter.
mctext
Oct. 6th, 2016 07:11 am (UTC)
Denton
Seems you're right. The Wik has:

The series is set in the fictional South Midlands town of Denton, and is marked by a gritty tone. It is believed that Denton is in either Berkshire or Oxfordshire, though there are many references to Reading, Oxford, and in particular, Swindon. In the earlier episodes, the M4 and A417 were often seen, and the map of Swindon was seen in the control room, although a map of Reading was used occasionally. The programme is produced by ITV in Leeds, and most of the outdoor locations are shot in West Yorkshire. Several scenes are filmed in and around the city and district of Wakefield and neighbouring small towns of Pontefract and Castleford, West Yorkshire.
Re: Denton - Adrian Bailey - Oct. 6th, 2016 09:04 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Denton - (Anonymous) - Oct. 6th, 2016 11:10 am (UTC) - Expand
janie_l_b
Oct. 6th, 2016 07:27 am (UTC)
Quick for me today, with all done in 20mins, but then another 3 with T_A_. Assumed Tod Fox was an actor (there are so many of them), and the knot bit… well, who knew? DENTON unknown, but so many of the clues seemed to be so very simple* (2dn, 13ac, 25ac) that it had to be that.

* so very simple=using crossie conventions that seem to crop up fairly regularly

PS Was wondering why AMARANTH was familiar to me, whilst unknown to so many others (note, this is highly unusual)… my route to it is through cooking: two of my sons are coeliac, and amaranth flour is one of many weird and wonderful gluten-free alternatives to wheat flour

Edited at 2016-10-06 07:44 am (UTC)
keriothe
Oct. 6th, 2016 07:34 am (UTC)
11m. The clues for TOAD, AMARANTH and TELEMARK are all poor efforts in my opinion, reliant on double obscurities, and in one case ambiguous. I happened to possess enough of the arcane knowledge so I can't be accused of sour grapes on this occasion!
I did pause at the end wondering how a tee could be a mark, but eventually just bunged in the answer. I knew it as some sort of skiing-related thing but the association of skiing with Norway made it seem likely enough.
AMARANTH has appeared before: as I think I remarked at the time I knew the word as the name of a hedge fund that went pop in spectacular fashion a few years ago. Now I also know it as the name of a flower that occasionally appears in crosswords.

Edited at 2016-10-06 07:40 am (UTC)
mctext
Oct. 6th, 2016 07:45 am (UTC)
Ambiguous
Amphibious?
RE: Ambiguous - keriothe - Oct. 6th, 2016 07:52 am (UTC) - Expand
TOAD, AMARANTH and TELEMARK - galspray - Oct. 6th, 2016 08:04 am (UTC) - Expand
RE: TOAD, AMARANTH and TELEMARK - keriothe - Oct. 6th, 2016 08:16 am (UTC) - Expand
z8b8d8k
Oct. 6th, 2016 08:39 am (UTC)
A squidge under 12 minutes put me on page 3 this morning - this wasn't a hard one, though had I been blogging I could have accurately predicted the complaints department.
TELEMARK from the film, of course, skiing being only a passing interest. Serendipitous research reveals that, rather wonderfully, Joachim Rønneberg, who led the real raid, is still alive at 97.
z8b8d8k
Oct. 6th, 2016 08:52 am (UTC)
PS: I couldn't fathom why Denton Ohio was more familiar to me than Denton Gtr Manchester. A step to the right, perhaps.

Edited at 2016-10-06 08:54 am (UTC)
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