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Times 26648

I've no proper time to offer for this because after a very good start I lost concentration, became bogged down and nodded off. On resumption it came together easily enough but from start to finish, including the nap, I must have taken nearly 90 minutes. My main problem apart from tiredness was mis-biffing 5dn, and there were two other answers where the enumeration turned out not to be what I would have expected.

As usual definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions are in curly brackets} and [anagrinds, containment, reversal and other indicators in square ones]

1 John's successor / does the deed (4)
ACTS - Two definitions, one vaguely cryptic and one literal. The first  refers to the New Testament in which the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) are  succeeded by The Acts of the Apostles, colloquially referred to as The Acts or sometimes simply "Acts".
3 Arduous journey one month after defeat by English (10)
ROUTEMARCH - ROUT (defeat), E (English), MARCH (one month). The Oxfords and Chambers agree with me that this is two words, but Collins has it as one.
9 Enchantress in outskirts of Troy, on edge (7)
TWITCHY - WITCH (enchantress) in T{ro}Y [outskirts]
11 Quality mark on case that should be blown up (3,4)
BOX KITE - BOX (case), KITE (quality mark). The Kite mark is a symbol that certifies the quality of a product has been approved by the BSI (British Standards Institute). The definition is somewhat cryptic.
12 Shots capturing man and wife just taken in island location (5,8)
INNER HEBRIDES - INNERS (shots) containing [capturing] HE (man) + BRIDE (wife just taken). "Inner" is a shot, e.g. in archery, that hits the part of the target immediately outside the bull's-eye. Skye is the largest of this group of islands.
14 Bush having tip of spine inside to pierce (5)
GORSE - S{pine} [tip] inside GORE (pierce)
15 Subsidence worried crew in Lambeth periodically (9)
ABATEMENT - ATE (worried) + MEN (crew) in {l}A{m}B{e}T{h} [periodically]
17 Slim paper we sent out has the lady enthralled (9)
NEWSSHEET - Anagram [out] of WE SENT contains [has enthralled] SHE (the lady). The Oxfords and Chambers agree with me that this is hyphenated, but Collins has it as one word.
19 Early computers from America bankers rejected (5)
ABACI - Hidden [from]  and reversed [rejected] in {Amer}ICA BA{nkers}. A word more familiar in its singular form, abacus, perhaps.
21 Financial institution getting rid of board (8,5)
CLEARING HOUSE - CLEARING {getting rid of}, HOUSE (board). I'm not entirely convinced that house = board. It's true that people in boarding houses and pupils in boarding schools are  "housed" as part of the deal, so there's a connection, but my understanding is that "board" has more to do with provision of meals than of housing, hence the expression "board and lodgings" which covers both. But maybe there's another interpretation that hasn't occurred to me, so it's over to you folks...
24 Following each reshuffle, pound is lower (7)
CHEAPEN - Anagram [reshuffle] of EACH, PEN (pound)
25 Rascal in prime condition after most of party's over (7)
VARMINT - RAV{e} (party) [most of] reversed [over], MINT [in prime condition]. This word always reminds me of the whiskery old-time actor George "Gabby" Hayes in Westerns such as "Bad Man's Territory". It was one of his favourite cusses.
26 Tactfully taken apart, you might say (10)
DISCREETLY - Sounds like [you might say] "discretely" (taken apart = separately)
27 Brave US agent's overthrown last of enemy (4)
DEFY - FED (US agent) reversed [overthrown], {enem}Y [last]
1 Harsh, like syndicate in short-term accommodation? (10)
ASTRINGENT - AS (like), then RING (syndicate) in TENT (short-term accommodation)
2 Chemical / every weightwatcher tries to get? (7)
THINNER - A straight definition followed by a cryptic one
4 Enrich air, perhaps — briefly extend yoga exercises (9)
OXYGENATE - Anagram [exercises] of YOGA EXTEN{d} [briefly]
5 King Edward possibly taking bath with Queen (5)
TUBER - TUB (bath), ER (Queen). With only the T checker in place I very foolishly biffed TATER (?) here and then went on to ignored my question mark, taking my answer as definitive. This gave me all sorts of problems trying to solve 11ac with T as its first letter. In case anyone was wondering, King Edward is a variety of potato.
6 Inapt use of words causing poet harm? (5,8)
MIXED METAPHOR - This is one of those anagrams where the anagrind is in the answer instead of in the clue; so POET HARM when "mixed" gives us the second word of the answer.
7 Yet again put out about one's kids (7)
REISSUE - RE (about), ISSUE (kids)
8 Notice the chap had verbally required (4)
HEED - Sounds like [verbally]  "He'd" (the chap had)
10 Keen after favourites put in tender for cleaner (6,7)
CARPET SWEEPER - PETS (favourites), WEEP (keen) contained by [put in] CARER (tender)
13 Missile installed in secret using rough force (10)
STRIDENTLY - TRIDENT (missile) contained by [installed in] SLY (secret)
16 A new clothing element — metallic, not your standard yarn (4-5)
ANTI-NOVEL - A, NOVEL (new) containing [clothing] TIN (element)
18 Slow burner set off targets in field (7)
WICKETS - WICK (slow burner), anagram [off] of SET. Cricket reference.
20 Stuck behind a vehicle, this person's defamatory (7)
ABUSIVE - A, BUS (vehicle), I'VE (this person's). "Stuck behind" just places the components  of the answer. Hm. To get from "this person's" to "I've" I'd have to start by referring to myself in the third person which seems a bit odd.
22 Get up around noon to wash (5)
RINSE - RISE (get up) containing [around] N (noon)
23 One Derbyshire opener beaten by unplayable ball (4)
ACED - ACE (one - cards),  D{erbyshire} [opener]


( 64 comments — Leave a comment )
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Feb. 14th, 2017 01:02 am (UTC)
21ac I thought this might have something to do with the the For Sale sign (board)being removed thus the owner was CLEARING HOUSE.

A rather leisurely 42mins



Edited at 2017-02-14 01:03 am (UTC)
Feb. 14th, 2017 01:06 am (UTC)
LOI ...
... BOX KITE. Didn't know the BSI mark so had to guess from the def. (Now I see the mark actually contains a B and an S.)

Equally puzzled as our esteemed blogger by HOUSE in 21ac. So also waiting for good ideas from the usual crew.

Happy VD to all.
Feb. 14th, 2017 01:50 am (UTC)
About 65 minutes. A DNF as I missed 16, but I thought an 'auto-novel' fitted the def, if not the wordplay, pretty well. Held up at the end by BOX KITE which I also had to guess from the def. For 21, ? 'board' as a transitive, rather than intransitive, verb for HOUSE. VARMINT was good and reminded me of afternoons spent in front of the TV watching Westerns long ago.

Thanks to setter and blogger.
Feb. 14th, 2017 02:27 am (UTC)
30:25 but
I put in BOX KITE, after finally realizing that a tater is a TUBER; but I had no idea how the clue worked, and at the last moment came up with 'box mine' (should be blown up). Oh, well. I think bletchleyreject has got the explanation for HOUSE. 3ac took me a while, because I tend to pronounce ROUTE as 'root' (Route 66, say).
Feb. 14th, 2017 02:55 am (UTC)
10:14 - steady solve, took a minute or so at the end to dredge up BOX KITE. Everything else I thought was pretty neat, and had no problem with BOARD = HOUSE as in to put up.
Feb. 14th, 2017 04:57 am (UTC)
No times, as I was watching...
...the dog show on TV as I did the puzzle. I did get to see a Basenji and a Borzoi, so they do exist outside of crossword puzzles. The Basenji was smaller than I expected.

I too unfortunately biffed 'tater', and nearly put 'tax hike' for 11. Eventually I re-examined this area of the puzzle and realized my error. I don't know 'kite' as a quality mark, but the literal seemed clear enough, so in it went.

I agree there were some loose clues, and some answers that might have been better clued as two words or as hyphenated.

Getting back to the dog show, I also an Ibizan, a Plott, a Saluki, a Slought, a Pumi, a Puli, and a Briard. I've never seen any of these breeds in a puzzle....

Edited at 2017-02-14 04:58 am (UTC)
Feb. 14th, 2017 06:04 am (UTC)
Well I finished the 15x15 for the first time, although with lots of checking as I went along.

Took about 1.5hrs in total.

Some of the parsing was a little tricky.
1a didn't know the biblical ref to acts.
12a dnk inners.
25a biffed varmint.
10d weep = keen?
23d missed the cards ref.
Feb. 14th, 2017 06:17 am (UTC)
Congratulations, flashman! Keen here is a verb, from the Irish, meaning to wail, actually, rather than weep, but.
(no subject) - jackkt - Feb. 14th, 2017 06:17 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - keriothe - Feb. 14th, 2017 09:51 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bigtone53 - Feb. 14th, 2017 04:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - flashman - Feb. 14th, 2017 06:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 14th, 2017 06:43 am (UTC)
At last you massacred the 15x15 on Valentine's Day! My best wishes to Sangria, Barista et al!

Keen/weep was new to me as well.
Feb. 14th, 2017 08:00 am (UTC)
I did this after coming back from a pub quiz in South Norwood, and I should surely have waited for the morning, as I was both a little slow and, much worse, managed to bung in a clearly unworkable BOX FILE for the dreaded 11ac, ending a long run of error-free puzzles. Oh well, I won both the quiz (hurray for "what are the English names of these Roman towns" rounds!) and a bonus free drink round for most closely guessing numbers relating to world records in the women's high jump, rather miraculously as I later realised I was thinking of the pole vault throughout. So I can't complain about last night too much! Happy Valentine's Day to all puzzle lovers.
Feb. 14th, 2017 01:55 pm (UTC)
I hope they had my favourite name for a Roman town: Corstopitum (Corbridge)
(no subject) - verlaine - Feb. 14th, 2017 02:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 14th, 2017 08:05 am (UTC)
15.53, though it felt quicker as nearly every clue went in with little hesitation. ANTI-NOVEL was the exception, as ANTENATAL wouldn't go away despite having nothing to do with the clue. HOUSE as "provide accommodation for", as Bletchley has it, cause barely a ripple, and in fact was the end of the clue I got first as I drifted down the grid.
Being British, "quality mark" gave me the KITE bit of the clue by immediate association. The actual shape might be taken as appropriate for Valentine's Bay.
Feb. 14th, 2017 08:33 am (UTC)
After 9 minutes I had only 26a left, and after another 10 minutes reluctantly went with 'disposedly', hoping for some dodgy homophonic wordplay around 's'posedly' from 'say' — not that I actually know what disposedly means. Turns out the problem was a biffed CARPET SHAMPOO ... I vaguely recall making a mental note to revisit that one but my prefrontal cortex didn't get the memo.

Turns out it wouldn't have mattered in any case as I also had Inner Henrides.

I think I may be having a bad day.

Edited at 2017-02-14 08:34 am (UTC)
Feb. 14th, 2017 09:05 am (UTC)
I also had Inner Henrides
Is there something you can take for that?
Re: I also had Inner Henrides - sotira - Feb. 14th, 2017 09:29 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - penfold_61 - Feb. 14th, 2017 12:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sotira - Feb. 14th, 2017 04:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
Shempoo - penfold_61 - Feb. 14th, 2017 11:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 14th, 2017 09:12 am (UTC)
Thanks, Sotira! I thought I was going to be the only one who'd biffed CARPET SHAMPOO as soon as I got the CARPET S... bit. Luckily I worked it out eventually.

That and plenty more slowed me down in the south, having never heard of ANTI-NOVEL, been led up the cricketing path by 23d, and taken a very long time to think of "fed" for 27 despite thinking of "G-man" about a hundred times.

No problems upstairs—I popped TUBER in just fine, and a BOX KITE was the first kite I ever put together. The bottom half slowed me enough to take me a minute over my hour to finish with DEFY.

Edited at 2017-02-14 09:54 am (UTC)
Feb. 14th, 2017 09:23 am (UTC)
Bemused by the kite, but biffed it. Not too hard otherwise.

Thanks setter and Jack.
Feb. 14th, 2017 09:24 am (UTC)
11.19 but . .
a typo in the first 5 seconds that went unnoticed (ACTA for ACTS when the little finger on my left hand let me down; a good fit for the definition if not the cryptic). I would have been miffed to miss out a rare sub-V but lo and behold . . Thank goodness SHAMPOO didn't occur to me.
Feb. 14th, 2017 09:41 am (UTC)
9:25. No real problems today, in spite of biffing TATER like others. When I got to 11ac I realised that nothing in the clue matched TAX and reconsidered.
'House' for BOARD seems fine to me. The latter implies food while the former doesn't but providing accommodation is central to the meaning in most circumstances. People don't get confused about what a boarding school provides, for instance. The phrase 'board and lodging' is unusual in this respect, and something of a historical artefact perhaps.

Edited at 2017-02-14 11:39 am (UTC)
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