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Today's puzzle is online in place of the second TCC qualifier, in the paper, which I shall blog after the closing date (I expect on 24th May). This one, based on its serial number, dates from April Fool's Day in 1977, not quite as ancient as the previous old stinker, and not nearly as difficult. We still have need for knowledge of a poetic quotation and some classical references, but the word play is not too vague and definitions, by and large, exist. An overdose of anagrams too. It took me about 30 minutes at leisure. There are a couple I don't fully understand (27a, 23d)  but I think the answers are all correct.
I'd hoped it might have some kind of an April 1 theme, to suit my avatar, but not that I noticed. However it is a pangram.

1 Judge taking in old writer almost makes a bloomer (7)
JONQUIL - J for judge, O for old, QUIL(L) for writer almost; a jonquil is a variety of daffodil, as everyone knew in 1977. EDIT see third comment below, I think the OLD relates to the quill and it's J, ON = taking, QUIL(L).
5 Stone dead, his foes (7)
PERSEUS - &lit. Said Greek chap had quite a few tricks up his sleeve but one involved turning people to stone by brandishing the head of Medusa, whom he had eariler decapitated using a Baldrick style cunning ploy.
9 Does it, say, intimidate yachting visitors? (5)
COWES - &lit. Isle of Wight yachting capital, sounds like COWS = intimidates.
10 Where master is involved in craze of living off the land (4-5)
FARM-STEAD - Anagram of MASTER inside FAD. Never seen it hyphenated before.
11 Leads in The Rivals can be performed — easily managed (9)
TRACTABLE - T, R fist letters of The Rivals, ACTABLE = cen be performed.
12 Over a pint needed to get engineer tiddly (5)
LITRE - An RE (engineer) LIT would be a tiddly one.
13 Thus shortens said — to avoid these dangers? (5)
REEFS - I think this is a DD, to do with reefing a sail to make it shorter.
15 A girl’s in love, madly, with new creations (9)
18 Visited by Puck in twenty minutes? (9)
ANTIPODES - In AMND Puck says he can put a girdle round the earth in forty minutes, presumably anticipating the ISS, so he could get to New Zealand in half that time. Although he'd have to be in a lower orbit as the ISS takes 90 minutes to go round.
19 Grand to do nothing but mend broken windows (5)
GLAZE - G = grand, LAZE = do nothing.
21 Capital is in order in toy-making (5)
TOKYO - OK inside (TOY)*. Would have been good for the Quick Cryptic, if there was one.
23 I came unstuck in voting that’s controversial (9)
25 Put back flag, make speech and vanish (9)
EVAPORATE - PAVE = flag, put back = EVAP, ORATE = make speech. I could argue that evaporate means turn to vapour, not exactly vanish, but no doubt a non-scientific use of the word is OK.
26 A bit of a fight (5)
SCRAP - Double definition.
27 Card-sharpers returning from the Holy Land? (7)
PALMERS - People who palm cards could be card-sharps, I am not clued up enough about returning Crusaders or whichever other holy ritual is being referred to here to explain it further.
28 No agent misrepresented cargo capacity (7)

1 Sailor makes difficult tack in a vessel (4,3)
JACK TAR - Anagram of TACK inside JAR.
2 He supplies daily intelligence on the Scottish factor (9)
NEWSAGENT - NEWS = intelligence, AGENT = Scottish factor, a land agent.
3 Disturb order of words for its antonym (5)
UPSET - I presume this is implying the opposite of SET DOWN.
4 Julius Caesar’s ultimate loss (4-5)
LIFE-BLOOD - I can't find a quote with the exact phrase life-blood in the play, but Cassius exhorts them all to come and bathe their hands in Caesar's blood. Is that all there is to this?
5 Standard direction to grammar students (5)
PARSE - PAR = standard, SE = south-east; 'direction'appears to do double duty here.
6 Phone about broken lutes ( ____ in their repair?) (9)
RESULTING - I've underlined an underlined space to identify the definition. A first time for everything. (LUTES)* inside RIG.
7 Exercise that Rex expects back in this (5)
EXERT - Hidden reversed in THA(T REX E)PECTS.
8 "May there be no ____ of farewell" (Tennyson) (7)
SADNESS - A quotation. I just guessed it from S*D*E*S.
14 Student hopes to get room changed (9)
SOPHOMORE - (HOPES ROOM)*. Loose identifying of the anagrist, but never mind.
16 Five enter in water off 9, or in Queer Street (9)
INSOLVENT - The water off Cowes (answer to 9a) is the SOLENT, insert a V for five.
17 A song about a cur tangled in a monkey-puzzle (9)
ARAUCARIA - A, ARIA around (A CUR)*.
18 New part exchange arrangement in Belgium (7)
20 Maybe see about film cuts of the black-out (7)
ECLIPSE - (SEE)* around CLIPS.
22 Put up bird outside a native village (5)
KRAAL - LARK reversed (put up) with A inserted.
23 The Hamlet thing being one of them (5)
PLAYS - Well, Hamlet is a play. Am I missing something deeper? Yes, apparently, in the play Hamlet says 'the play's the thing'. Thanks to the literate commenter below.
24 Novelist, craft type (5)
MASON - Double definition. There are a few novelists called somebody Mason, Richard being the most obvious, three of those on my list but one was only born in 1977 so we'll go with the author of The Wind Cannot Read and The World of Susie Wong.


( 44 comments — Leave a comment )
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May. 16th, 2018 05:40 am (UTC)
hist. A pilgrim, esp. one returned from the Holy Land with a palm branch or palm leaf.
May. 16th, 2018 05:46 am (UTC)
Oh yes, the puzzle...

I didn't actually get PALMERS as I didn't understand either definition at the time. A lot of this went in on a wing and a prayer but it was comforting that unlike previous oldies many of the clues would not have been out of place in a modern puzzle. DNF as 27ac was missing, but I solved the rest of it in 66 minutes with a couple of answers checked as I went along - a luxury I don't allow myself normally. Never heard of any novelsit called MASON. Can't add anything to our blogger's explanation of PLAYS.

Edited at 2018-05-16 05:49 am (UTC)
May. 16th, 2018 10:32 am (UTC)
from the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales:
Than longen folk to goon on piligrimages,
And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes
To ferne halwes, couth in sondry londes;
Re: Palmers - jackkt - May. 16th, 2018 12:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 16th, 2018 07:03 am (UTC)
'The Play's the thing' says Hamlet ('wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King') or something like that. I was surprised to be able to do this one. I almost left it as the historical ones are generally impossible, but tried a few clues and just kept going. There was even a quotation I knew from EngLit A level 50 odd years ago. I hope everyone tries this one.
May. 16th, 2018 07:11 am (UTC)
1 across
Maybe it's just too early in the morning,but could anyone kindly explain where "n" comes from in 1 ac??!!
May. 16th, 2018 07:27 am (UTC)
Re: 1 across
I think I parsed it wrongly, the OLD relates to the quill and it's J ON QUIL(L). I'll amend the above. Thanks for asking!
Re: 1 across - jackkt - May. 16th, 2018 07:33 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: 1 across - jackkt - May. 16th, 2018 07:32 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: 1 across - jagsmansandy - May. 16th, 2018 07:55 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 16th, 2018 07:27 am (UTC)
Avatar watch!
Avril Poisson! Splendid avartar PK!

38 minutes from the old school. Easy anagrams and only one trip to IKEA.A quote from the Lincolnshire Poet and a pretty flower to kick off. I too didn't get the missing N - Jurisdiction JN perhaps?

40 minutes.


May. 16th, 2018 07:32 am (UTC)
Re: Avatar watch!
Thanks H, am aiming for another obscure coffee table book prize!
See edit above for N explanation in 1a.
May. 16th, 2018 07:50 am (UTC)
I don't get the parsing for 5a perseus, is it just a cryptic definition?
May. 16th, 2018 08:02 am (UTC)
Not really cryptic, just an oblique reference to what he got up to in the story / myth.
Re: Perseus - flashman - May. 16th, 2018 08:12 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 16th, 2018 08:12 am (UTC)
Yes, this was an unusually accessible one for a vintage. Those of us (Pip is one) who are used to the TLS won't have much trouble. For ARAUCARIA I got help from recalling the distinguished late setter for the Guardian. EXERT was neatly done and we just recently had a reference to the Tennyson poem so that was fresh in mind. I wasted a fair bit of time trying to find a "peridot" in 5A, otherwise pretty smooth. 18.23

P.S. A trawl through Wikipedia produced another candidate for MASON: A.E.W. Mason, an early 20th century writer, who seems to be remembered now (if at all) for two novels turned into much better known movies, Fire Over England and The Four Feathers.

Edited at 2018-05-16 08:31 am (UTC)
May. 16th, 2018 08:57 am (UTC)
I'm heartened to read that someone else remembers John Graham. After having corresponded with him over a particular puzzle of his in the early 1980's, we stayed with John and his wife Margaret at their B&B in Yorkshire. A remarkably modest man despite his literary and intellectual brilliance. Kind regards, Bob K.
Re: Araucaria - oliviarhinebeck - May. 16th, 2018 11:31 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Araucaria - (Anonymous) - May. 16th, 2018 05:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Araucaria - oliviarhinebeck - May. 16th, 2018 07:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Araucaria - john_dun - May. 16th, 2018 07:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 16th, 2018 08:31 am (UTC)
Astonvilla1 Mboro 0.
DNF in 24 mins. Couldn’t get Perseus, Parse, Reefs or Palmers.

Didn’t enjoy it that much. Today’s offerings are generally a lot more to my taste.

We are off to Wembley!

May. 16th, 2018 08:59 am (UTC)
Re: Astonvilla1 Mboro 0.
All the best at Wembley, home (until now) of the mighty Spurs. Be warned: disabled access is terrible, and most of the surroundings, including the coach parks, are under construction. It takes about an hour after the match to get to Wembley Park Stadium, where the lifts usually don't work. Enjoy!
RE: Re: Astonvilla1 Mboro 0. - astonvilla1 - May. 17th, 2018 12:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 16th, 2018 08:52 am (UTC)
17.36, though I expect I've done it before. Once I'd read the rubric, I enjoyed it in a TLS way. It certainly helps to know your Eng Lit, or in the case of PERSEUS to have seen Clash of the Titans.
I would have liked there to be more to LIFE BLOOD than Caesar's demise, but I agree with Pip that there doesn't seem to be. On the other hand, the Hamlet clue is one of those cosy, we both know the quote clues that makes you feel a bit smug. Didn't really know PALMERS as returning Crusaders, but guessed it from the first definition.
MASON went in as he/she might just as well be an author.
Good, slightly loose fun, and thanks to Pip (again) for manfully taking it on.
Chambers and experience gives FARMSTEAD unhyphened.
My clue to 13 reads as Pip has it, Thus shortens said... which makes no grammatical sense: I'm pretty sure that's a mispring for sail, as Pip almost suggests.
May. 16th, 2018 09:13 am (UTC)
I am not a fan of these historical puzzles and especially this one, since on the iPad version, 23ac is apparently only 6 letters so I simply cannot write in the correct answer. Since I cannot finish I gave up to do something else.

Edited at 2018-05-16 09:14 am (UTC)
May. 16th, 2018 10:52 am (UTC)
Same problem, so no completion time. A shame, as I was doing well, by my own low standards, this week. (Not sure I’ll ever match some of the regular posters here, however.)
(no subject) - rinteff - May. 16th, 2018 11:51 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 16th, 2018 10:31 am (UTC)
22:33. I can't usually do these old puzzles at all, but this one seemed very close to the modern style. The vestiges of the old ways are there in the literary clues but they seemed relatively accessible and/or guessable from checkers.
I checked a couple of things:
> PALMERS, where I wasn't sure of the card-sharp meaning and had no idea about the returning pilgrims.
> JONQUIL, where I was going to put JINQUIL but worried that it didn't look like a word. The wordplay is ambiguous here.
I also remembered John Graham when I saw 17dn. My wife commissioned a puzzle from him for my 40th birthday, which references a number of personal things including the kids.
I really enjoyed struggling with this one, so thanks 1977 setter!
May. 16th, 2018 10:59 am (UTC)
15 min: no problem with PALMERS, as I remember that on Palm Sunday at Sunday School we were all given crosses made out of palm leaves. I agree that 13ac should read 'sail', not 'said', and that the hyphen in FARM-STEAD appears to be an error. The novelist who first came to mind for me was AEWMason, so didn't even check whether he was qualified by dying before 1977. (1948: the only novelist by that name in my copy of Chambers biographical dictionary.)
I left the NE corner till last, as wanted to get all checkers before entering my guessed (didn't take time out to look up 'Crossing the Bar') 8dn, so was glad to see the X for the pangram was there.
May. 16th, 2018 11:11 am (UTC)
I find these vintage puzzles (I say "vintage", this one only pre-dates my first juvenile attempts at the Big Crossword by a couple of years...where do the years go etc. etc.) fall into two camps: utterly intractable and thus a bit annoying, or interesting, in that they don't quite match up with modern protocol, but you can still have a decent stab at them, and the challenge is a bit different. This was definitely one of the latter.

Eyebrows raised occasionally, such as the enumeration of FARMSTEAD, wondering exactly what was going on with REEFS and LIFE-BLOOD, and not knowing the Tennyson, but educated guesswork turned out to be enough for an all-correct solve. Nice to see Araucaria get a nod.
May. 16th, 2018 11:25 am (UTC)
The annual rite of passage of coming back from the pub after the Times Setters' Lunch peripheral S&B event, and trying to solve a difficult midweek puzzle while drunk as a skunk. This wasn't too bad considering it was a "vintage", but I was still more or less incapable of getting to grips with its more oblique features... 20 minutes ish.
May. 16th, 2018 11:40 am (UTC)

As others comment, my heart sinks when seeing a replacement puzzle from the sixties or seventies - a bit like seeing your usual train has been replaced by a dodgy bus service again. In this case, Perseus ensured a DNF, though there is no real excuse when I think about it.

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