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A general knowledge flavour to this one, I thought, with more unusual or obscure words than in recent Wednesday challenges, but all gettable with the wordplay. We uncover a cactus, an antelope, a Japanese art form, a Greek God reference, a minor book of the Bible, a Latin musical term, a kind of trousers probably derived from Kipling's India, a musical instrument ... and the name of a Greek Titan, also one of my granddaughters. When 21a went in I thought it was going to be a pangram but I can't see J or V.
I don't quite get the definition part of 11a, maybe it will come to me before I finish the blog.

Definitions underlined.

1 A black horse, caught entering a monk’s office (6)
ABBACY - A, B(lack), C(aught) inside BAY.
4 Pampered head of science group in school (8)
COSSETED - S(cience), SET = group, inside CO-ED = school.
10 Arab nomad’s base in Paris or Indiana (7)
BEDOUIN - BED = base, OU = or in French, IN(diana).
11 US investigator with mobile for underground worker (7)
FROGMAN - A G-MAN was a US 'Government Man' or investigator. Then 'FOR mobile' = FRO goes in front to give FROGMAN. But a frogman is possibly an underwater worker, not an underground one? Que pasa aqui?
12 Good to abandon one form of control for another (4)
REIN - REIGN loses G.
13 Aimed, perhaps, to present integrated methods of communication? (5,5)
MIXED MEDIA - AIMED is an anagram, i.e. 'mixed' of MEDIA.
15 Bits of iron, mark, and other things with gold inside.
METALWORK - Apologies to all, my foolproof method of blogging every clue seems not to have been foolproof after all. The parsing goes: MK (mark), insert et al = and other things, W(ith), OR = gold. As Jimbo says below, M-ET-AL-W-OR-K.
16 Draw along vessel, king having advantage (5)
KEDGE - K(ing) has EDGE (advantage). To kedge is to pull a ship along by winding in an anchored hawser.
18 Revolutionary leader initially followed by figure from east (5)
LENIN - L (leader initially) followed by NINE reversed..
19 Unresponsive, not very overbearing (9)
21 With restricted credit, encase musical instrument (7-3)
SQUEEZE-BOX - SQUEEZE = restricted credit; BOX = encase.
23 Reportedly not her expression of praise! (4)
HYMN - HYMN sounds like HIM so not HER. A fair enough homophone, unless you can pronounce the N in HYMN,as I have sometimes heard when I lived in that fine country where they often say fil-um and col-yume.
26 Work unit moving a prickly plant (7)
OPUNTIA - OP = work, (UNIT)*, A. Scientific name for the prickly pear genus, perhaps the 'punti' bit is devived from the same root as 'pointy'.
27 Academic circle sure to be taken in by mistake (7
BOOKISH - BISH = mistake, takes in O and OK = circle, sure. Perhaps academic people (or I) should be called KINDLISH now not bookish, I find it hard to read a real book these days unless it's in Big Type.
28 Pot youth leader is able to put beside cape (8)
BILLYCAN - BILL = cape, as in Portland Bill; CAN = is able. Insert Y(outh). My Dad, an Army Man, liked his billycan, I recall, when we went on camping holidays in the rain. Wiki tells me "It is widely accepted that the term "billycan" is derived from the large cans used for transporting bouilli or bully beef on Australia-bound ships or during exploration of the outback, which after use were modified for boiling water over a fire; however there is a suggestion that the word may be associated with the Aboriginal billa (meaning water; cf. Billabong). I look forward to learned input on the subject from our friends down under.
29 Bottle Geordie’s mother shows, catching large antelope (6
MAGNUM - Me MAM catches a GNU. And a-gnother gnu perhaps. It's a good few years since I heard that song.

1 Cautionary signal recognised at first by doctor in A&E (5)
AMBER - MB (doctor) inside A E, R(ecognised).
2 Horse trials venue using inferior porcelain? (9)
BADMINTON - Well, bad Minton would be inferior porcelain, if there was such a thing as bad Minton.
3 Youngster consuming hot fish (4)
CHUB - CUB consumes H.
5 Leaving tip, avoiding busy periods (3-4)
OFF-PEAK - Leaving = off, tip = peak.
6 She marks Old English exercises? Cobblers! (10)
7 Little can keep yours truly subdued (5)
TAMED - TAD = little, insert ME = yours truly.
8 Manure a Welshman collected — wearing these? (9)
DUNGAREES - DUNG = manure, A, REES = Welshman.
9 Trendy pad son leaves for introduction of Oxford blue (6)
INDIGO - IN = trendy, DIG(S) = pad loses S; O(xford).
14 Prepare calmly but with sadness (10)
PLANGENTLY - PLAN = prepare, GENTLY = calmly.
15 Explosive device in writing about sick man keeping minutes (5,4)
MILLS BOMB - MS (writing) about ILL (sick), BOB (man) about M(inutes). A Mills Bomb was a kind of hand grenade introduced in 1915.
17 Orgiastic incident initiated in council upset Scotsman (9)
DIONYSIAN - SYNOD = council, reverse, insert I(ncident), add that universal Scotsman IAN.
19 Supporting old president, prohibit a craft from the Far East (7)
IKEBANA - IKE as in Eisenhower, BAN = prohibit, A. Japanese flower arranging.
20 Woman originally producing house keys (6)
PHOEBE - P(roducing), HO(use), E, B, E are keys in music.
22 Typical American university man (5)
USUAL - US, U(niversity), AL = man.
24 From Perelman, a humorous book? (5)
NAHUM - Hidden word in PERELMA(N A HUM)OROUS, 7th in order of the 12 minor prophets, book of the Old Testament.
25 Musical canon’s duty list (4)
ROTA - Double definition, one being a 'round' in music.


( 59 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jul. 12th, 2017 05:28 am (UTC)
Slowed down by the 'underground', which I can't make sense of. Also slowed down by a short-circuit in my memory banks searching for 'imperious'. DNK BILL, DNK the musical meaning of ROTA. I don't think much of clues like 20d, where EBE is just 'keys'. Pip, you seem to have skipped 15ac.
Jul. 12th, 2017 02:33 pm (UTC)
Sorted see above, was in invisible typing.
Jul. 12th, 2017 05:47 am (UTC)
Can't help much with BILLY, Pip. It's just a billy, innit? Never thought much about the origin. Actually I hesitated over it because I thought it was a word unknown beyond these shores, and I didn't know the "cape = bill" synonym. Thought there might be a bullycan, with reference to bully beef. Never know with the Poms, they don't 'arf talk funny.

Nice challenge today. Fortunately the wordplay was generous for MILLS BOMB, OPUNTA, NAHUM and PLANGENTLY.

COD to MIXED MEDIA, I like those ones. Thanks setter and Pip.

Jul. 12th, 2017 06:55 am (UTC)
I'm not going to copy it all in but Ramson (AND 1st ed) devotes five tightly packed columns to this one. Still he begins:
[f. Scot dial. billy-pot cooking utensil, cf. bally, bally-cog milk pail: see SND.]
The recent 2nd ed. tells us that a billy is a billy-can without its lid.
Re: Billy - galspray - Jul. 12th, 2017 07:52 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Billy - horryd - Jul. 12th, 2017 10:05 am (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 12th, 2017 05:52 am (UTC)
Under where?
Like Galspray, I just know that a billy can is a billy. Jolly jumbucks etc.

Still can't figure out how a frogman swims underground!

Edited at 2017-07-12 05:52 am (UTC)
Jul. 12th, 2017 08:37 am (UTC)
Re: Under where?
All I can muster is an underwater cave - bu IMO it is a loose clue that needs an editor.
Jul. 12th, 2017 06:37 am (UTC)
as I put in POWERLESS at 19ac - works for me! - and thus IMPERVIOUS to IMPERIOUS and with its W as Woman for 20dn originally, I thought I was on the right track. Was 19dn PROBANA an old Malayan vessel? IKEBANA it was!

So all over the place and too worn out to care for once - unheroic failure in the South East.


WOD BUGGER! Mood Meldrew.

Edited at 2017-07-12 06:38 am (UTC)
Jul. 12th, 2017 07:06 am (UTC)
Same sorta ...
... problems: the frogman and the musical ROTA. I thought the latter was a nod to the great film score composer, Nino Rota. Why so long to see AMBER? It even required a penultimate ABBACY to get it. Losing my grip.

More Oz stuff: everyone here knows that IKE BANA is Eric's brother.
Jul. 12th, 2017 07:11 am (UTC)
36 minutes for me, and definitely a game of two halves, with the north falling quite swiftly before I got rather more bogged down in the south, almost like a FROGMAN in a swamp. Still, never quite got stuck, and I enjoyed teasing out all those unknowns and barely-knowns (I think NAHUM is actually starting to sink in for me, at least...)

WOD SQUEEZE-BOX, partly for its ability, as our esteemed blogger observed, to immediately turn one's mind to pangrams in an otherwise unpangrammatic puzzle.

FOI 1d, LOI hard to decide, as I basically penned in my pencilled-in letters of PHOEBE, IKEBANA and OPUNTIA all in a rush. Glad ROTA turned out to be right.

I also had a question mark against our underground 11a. Thanks to Pip for the parsings, especially 13a, which I didn't twig even though I'd realised MEDIA was an anagram of "aimed". D'oh.
Jul. 12th, 2017 07:23 am (UTC)
For those desperate about 15A its METALWORK; M(ET-AL-W-O)K

Raced through this with no problems except the underground FROGMAN. Look forward to somebody explaining that!
Jul. 12th, 2017 07:48 am (UTC)
OR in 15ac, Jim.
(no subject) - vinyl1 - Jul. 12th, 2017 11:55 am (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 12th, 2017 07:49 am (UTC)
Opun t'ia criticism
45 mins with half a fat rascal (hoorah). I blench when I see 'plant' and this one held me up. Also had to invent words from wordplay: Abbacy, Kedge, Nahum. Oh well, it is an education. I now know a Gnu is an antelope and a scientific name for a prickly plant. Thanks setter and Pip.
Jul. 12th, 2017 07:49 am (UTC)
Always happy to oblige, Jimbo. A frogman might work in a sewer or other watercourse. Makes more sense to me than 'checksum', anyway.

29 minutes for this, which I thought was pretty darned good, considering I didn't know half the words, but it turns out to be pretty ordinary. So, a big callout to Horryd for his epic fail, which has made me feel a lot better. Every cloud, you know, H-man...

Edited at 2017-07-12 07:51 am (UTC)
Jul. 12th, 2017 08:41 am (UTC)
Many thanks
Lord Ulaca for re-mentioning my epic fail.
Jul. 12th, 2017 07:54 am (UTC)
41 minutes, and another solver here perplexed by the underground frogman, but I suppose he could be diving in an underground lake.

In all my years of studying music, learning about rounds and catches and canons, I have never heard the term ROTA before, but I now discover that it's a term that famously applies to the ancient round 'Sumer is icumen in'. One lives and learns! DK OPUNTIA but worked it out form wordplay and checkers.

Edited at 2017-07-12 07:56 am (UTC)
Jul. 12th, 2017 08:02 am (UTC)
Hymn to Her
Zipped through all but 11 across in 15 minutes, with deduced biffs OPUNTIA, MILLS BOMB and ROTA, and correct guess IKEBANA rather than IKEBARA. Had heard of KEDGE I think. Richard of York gave battle vainly? I did know about G-Men from some dreadful simulator ride at Disney which I was dragged on, and finally got to FROGMAN shaking my head in puzzlement. I gather there was reference in a movie. COD MIXED MEDIA, followed by SQUEEZE-BOX. In the context of Durham Town, John Dun and I were discussing what a Geordie would call his Mum recently so 29 across quickly solved, courtesy also of Flanders and Swann. Thank you Pip and setter.
Jul. 12th, 2017 12:15 pm (UTC)
Re: Hymn to Her
Yep, MAGNUM was a write in.
Jul. 12th, 2017 08:08 am (UTC)
So I typed in BEDHUIN and thought "Whatever you do, don't forget to go back and parse that ...."

1 error
Jul. 14th, 2017 06:35 am (UTC)
Still get a good laugh every time I see your avatar, Sotira. Ta for that and your earlier reply concerning its provenance.
Jul. 12th, 2017 08:10 am (UTC)
17', with crossed fingers for ROTA, like jack have not come across the term in decades of music.I suppose a frogman has to be unde ground level? Are there BILLs other than in Dorset? Knew KEDGE from Hornblower. Thanks pip and setter.
Jul. 12th, 2017 08:26 am (UTC)
I'm back to my typical form this week with one stupid entry per day. Today's was ABBECY.
Jul. 12th, 2017 08:48 am (UTC)
30 minutes but no idea about FROGMAN. They can work above ground in tanks. The clue doesn't work for me.
Jul. 12th, 2017 09:08 am (UTC)
Come to think of it, the last time I saw a frogman, we were both above ground.
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