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Times 27031

Time: 45 minutes
Music: O melhor de João Gilberto

I would call this a moderate puzzle for a Monday, but it seems like I was a little slow on some of the clues.   I wasn't really in a hurry, anyway.   There are no obscure allusions or answers, so you can't really complain.   If you're looking for trouble, try Dean's Sunday offering, and you'll get all you can handle.   I found Mephisto much easier.

We have some small personnel changes in the works here at TfT, and I will probably make the official announcement in my next blog.   I would like to thank all our tireless bloggers, who manage to show up promptly at their appointed times and deliver entertaining and informative blogs.

1 Superman's girl is about to drop Italian dish (7)
5 Rubbish plant used as dessert (7)
RHUBARB - double definition
9 Large tomb, parent bagging a posh one (9)
10 Fine no longer having clean teeth (5)
FLOSS - F + LOSS.   This doesn't quite work, as the exact equivalent of 'no longer having' would be LOST.
11 Mink possibly, clothing slave? (7,6)
FASHION VICTIM - Double definition.
13 Ne'er-do-well has to settle a fight (8)
15 Several loons? (6)
DIVERS - Double defintion
17 Excellent advice corporation rejected (6)
TIPTOP - TIP + POT backwards, not TUM.
19 I issued new clasps good for mask (8)
DISGUISE - anagram of I ISSUED around G.
22 Silly Eccles thick, or a serious jerk? (8,5)
25 Head of playwright missing, commit to the ground (5)
INTER - [p]INTER, one of the few playwrights generally used in puzzles.
26 Labouring we do in the beginning? (9)
SPADEWORK - Cryptic definition.  Actually, a very clever &lit, an anagram of WE DO inside SPARK. 
27 Material that's checked poorly leaving Medway town (7)
GINGHAM - G[ill]INGHAM - a town I had never heard of, but presumed must exist.
28 Idiot with fanciful idea penning articles (7)

1 Green gunk, skimmed (4)
2 Having had a few seconds, one brushed up on geometry in the end (7)
SQUIFFY - S +_ QUIFF + [geometr]Y
3 Entire amount, repellent (5)
GROSS - double definition
4 Flag yours truly raised, with America retaining title (8)
EMERITUS - TIRE ME upside down + US
5 Male feeding horses in book (6)
6 Fun unfortunately suffering for sure (9)
7 Way to stuff a European champion (7)
8 American man crushing queen like a snake (10)
12 Flexible parts to deliver, chattering away (10)
14 Wind light — it's a scorcher? (9)
BLOWTORCH - BLOW + TORCH in different senses.
16 Lean man, legal official (8)
18 Fast approaching northern English city (7)
PRESTON - PRESTO + N, the musical direction.
20 Trying exotic Eskimo rolls, initially (7)
IRKSOME - anagram of ESKIMO R[olls]
21 Chinese food that's totally stupid? (3,3)
DIM SUM - Double definition, one factitious.
23 Heart of stone, a shade open (5)
OVERT - [st]O[ne] + VERT, a heraldic shade.
24 Slip, small, on child (4)
SKID - S + KID, one from the Quickie.


( 52 comments — Leave a comment )
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May. 7th, 2018 03:12 am (UTC)
A rather Mondayish puzzle. I was slowed down a bit by thinking of Lois rather than Lane, and by not being able to parse GINGHAM (V, shouldn't the definition be 'Material that's checked'?), simply biffing. SQUIFFY I remember from a John Fortune/John Bird routine; I had to look it up then, and had never come across it since, until today. My main problem was 12d, my LOI and COD. On edit: Forgot to mention, for what it's worth, that I'd never heard of FASHION VICTIM.

Edited at 2018-05-07 05:34 am (UTC)
May. 7th, 2018 03:29 am (UTC)
Random name?
Is Buster a name, as in Keaton, or a generic, agressively rude form of address: Hey, buster? Either way I didn't get it, not knowing or being able to guess the snake. Ho hum.
Otherwise not at all moderate for me, trickily enjoyable. And I think you do the setter a disservice at 26 ac, where I had an &lit: (WE DO)* labouring in SPARK, for start.

Edited at 2018-05-07 03:30 am (UTC)
May. 7th, 2018 04:51 am (UTC)
A did-not-finish here, as I didn't know BUSHMASTER (where I had BUSTER - via its generic use as 'mate' - but couldn't work out the rest) and had to look up FASHION VICTIM, where the VICTIM was beyond me. Both good clues, though.

There's another GILLINGHAM in Dorset, pronounced with a hard G, while the one in Kent is pronounced with a soft G.

Drum roll pending announcement
May. 9th, 2018 08:00 am (UTC)
11 ac fashion victim
Bizarre answer, bizarre clue.
May. 7th, 2018 05:15 am (UTC)
I completed all but two answers in my target 30 minutes, but this was a technical DNF as I had to look up BUSHMASTER. To be fair to myself I had considered both halves of the answer with BUSH (American - the Presidents are still alive, but Barbara just died!) and MASTER (man), but I didn't recognise BUSHMASTER as a word, let alone a snake, and I had no idea how the rest of the wordplay might work. FWIW it seems this is the first appearance of BUSHMASTER in a 15x15 since TftT began although it came up once in a TLS puzzle in 2010.

I think I'm okay with FLOSS. No longer having something is a state of loss, particularly for example in a case of bereavement.

It might be worth mentioning that a loon is a bird aka diver.

Nearly forgot to mention that I was held up for ages in the NE by having FASHION MARTYR at 11ac which I'd argue is a valid alternative answer to the clue if solving it 'cold' i.e. without the checkers that rule it out.

Edited at 2018-05-07 05:25 am (UTC)
May. 7th, 2018 05:21 am (UTC)
Monday service almost resumed
This took me 38mins but as with Lord Vinyl. I too was a little slow on some of the clues.

FOI 24dn SKID - solved upside down from the printer.

WOD 11ac FASHION VICTIM - if you didn't know this then I would hazard a guess that you shop exclusively at M&S HK.

COD 8dn BUSHMASTER which is forever on the telly biting 'wranglers'. Also enjoyed 21dn DIM SUM - yum-yum!

The drum-roll continues...........
May. 7th, 2018 06:11 am (UTC)
Easy today. I knew bushmaster, and that you should avoid them whenever possible, though nothing of what they may look like etc.
Gillingham just up the road from me, but I never go there, 'nuff said...
Indeed, gingham is "material that's checked"
May. 7th, 2018 06:37 am (UTC)
Blithering Idiot
29:54, but I had FLUTTERING for 12d. No wonder I couldn't parse it! I found this a bit tricky all over. I had to do a dictionary trawl to find the snake, my LOI. TIPSTAFF only known from a recent crossword and funny to find RHUBARB again, when we had it on Friday. We've got some coming on nicely in the garden. Maybe I should cook some for pudding.
May. 7th, 2018 06:47 am (UTC)
12:32 .. so no real problems.

Briefly distracted by the eye-rhyming GROSS and FLOSS. And by DIVERS, which always leaves me with the same feeling as a suspended chord, like it hasn’t quite finished.

LOI the BUSHMASTER, known as both the snake and the American gun manufacturer linked, as the company would no doubt prefer to forget, to the D.C. sniper attacks (16 years ago, believe it or not)

COD to SPADEWORK, only fully appreciated post-solve and a very fine clue
May. 7th, 2018 08:09 am (UTC)
I agree a fine clue with 'more to it' than cryptic definition!
Re: spadework - sotira - May. 7th, 2018 08:18 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - robrolfe - May. 7th, 2018 11:42 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 7th, 2018 08:06 am (UTC)
Which Bush
A pleasant. moderate Monday puzzle, done in 25 minutes but with a few not fully parsed, was thinking Presidents BUSH and ER at the end of 8d although did know the snake and the two Gillinghams. Liked FASHION VICTIM and SQUIFFY.
Did get through yesterday's fine Dean offering in less than an hour but got stuck on the Grauniad Prize job.
May. 7th, 2018 08:28 am (UTC)
I couldn’t let ER go
DNF in 40 mins. One wrong. I didn’t know Bushmaster. I finally went for Bestmaster. I didn’t consider HM for Queen. I had Buster and As and the M of victim but I couldn’t let go of ER for Queen.

COD 21d Dim Sum
May. 7th, 2018 08:34 am (UTC)
Buster he sold the heat with a rocksteady beat
35 ish mins with toast and Gin&Lime marmalade. Hoorah.
Bushmaster last one in - and unparsed.
Today's lyric is from 'The Prince' by madness - which interestingly only uses the title once in the lyric - at the very end. There are some other pop songs that have the same property... maybe you can think of some?
Thanks setter and Vinyl.
May. 7th, 2018 08:45 am (UTC)
Re: Buster he sold the heat with a rocksteady beat
The ones I know off-hand are

What's her name? Virginia Plain


And so it's my assumption I'm really Up the Junction.
Gin & Lime - horryd - May. 7th, 2018 01:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Buster he sold the heat with a rocksteady beat - (Anonymous) - May. 7th, 2018 08:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
philip jordan
May. 7th, 2018 08:39 am (UTC)
No "ill" in Gillingham....
....since Bolton Wanderer won't have to suffer his team going there next season after yesterday's Great Escape. PRESTON is much better, and a damned sight closer for travelling fans !

11:58 for this one, where my only real problem was parsing WOD BUSHMASTER (thanks Vinyl1). Fotunately I knew the snake, and it was my sole biff.

Didn't like (F)LOSS, and didn't really see APOSTLE/champion as synonyms.

May. 7th, 2018 08:46 am (UTC)
RE: The Great Escape
Where is boltonwanderer? Still celebrating!
RE: The Great Escape - boltonwanderer - May. 7th, 2018 11:03 am (UTC) - Expand
RE: No "ill" in Gillingham.... - boltonwanderer - May. 7th, 2018 11:11 am (UTC) - Expand
RE: No "ill" in Gillingham.... - philip jordan - May. 7th, 2018 01:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
7 dn APOSTLE - (Anonymous) - May. 9th, 2018 08:08 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 7th, 2018 09:14 am (UTC)
I have to disagree with our blogger on the 'no obscure allusions or answers' front! I got close to BUSHMASTER but gave up, probably a bit too soon. No complaints though, the wordplay is perfectly clear. Just difficult.
I agree with jackkt on 'no longer having' for LOSS. If I hear the word FLOSS these days it's more likely to refer to a silly dance than anything tooth-related.
Are loons familiar to UK solvers? They are to me but only because I spend a lot of time in Canada, where they are a sort of unofficial national bird. The dollar coin has a picture of one on it and is known as a 'loonie' and their haunting call is a signature feature of Canadian cottage country.

Edited at 2018-05-07 09:26 am (UTC)
May. 7th, 2018 01:07 pm (UTC)
Always on stamps from Canada in my boyhood! I know a loon when I see one!
Andy Borrows
May. 7th, 2018 09:33 am (UTC)
16 mins. I made heavy weather of parts of this puzzle but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I'm another who didn't get 1ac quickly because of originally fixating on Lois rather than Lane. Like several others BUSHMASTER was my LOI, and the penny only dropped when I remembered HM/queen.
May. 7th, 2018 01:08 pm (UTC)
Andy Borrows
Good to see you buggering-on! Decent time.
May. 7th, 2018 09:45 am (UTC)
This felt harder than the average Monday; lots of little things designed to lead one down the wrong track, such as thinking that the obvious ER ending of 8dn must be the queen, and the temptation to biff CHATHAM as the Medway town, or taking the I(talian) out of LOIS LANE and reversing it to get the well-known dish ENALSOL. Anyway, just the right level of brainwork for a Monday morning when I am looking forward to going out for a Bank Holiday lunch in the sun.
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