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April 22nd, 2018

Sunday Times 4794 by Dean Mayer

14:51. I didn’t find this particularly difficult but I enjoyed it immensely. Lots of witty and consummately elegant clues, as we have come to expect from Dean. It’s always hard to pick a favourite, which is why I don’t usually try, but I did particularly love 5dn.

A significant proportion of my time was spent agonising over 12ac. I could see what the answer ought to be but couldn’t figure out why. There was a big penny-dropping and self-kicking moment when I finally figured it out.

Unfortunately I have the blogger's nightmare this week: a clue (8 across) that I can’t explain. No doubt there's another penny-dropping and self-kicking moment coming when someone points out what I'm missing in the comments.

In the meantime, thanks to Dean for a lovely puzzle and here’s how I think it all (well most of it) works…

Definitions are underlined, anagrams indicated like (THIS)*, anagram indicators like this.

Across
1 Monitor who comes in to seek coolness? (6,6)
LOUNGE LIZARD - CD. The monitor being a type of lizard. I put this straight in but it raised a smile
8 Yesterday’s meanings of “present”
HERE AND NOW - this is the answer as far as I can tell, if only because it's the only phrase I can see that fits the checkers. ‘Here’ and ‘now’ are meanings of ‘present’ but I’ve no idea what ‘yesterday’ has to do with it.
9 Best shot last one of break
PICK - PIC, breaK.
10 Revolting man, inventor, bank has to back
WAT TYLER - WATT, reversal of RELY. Leader of the Peasants’ Revolt in 1381 and early anti-Thatcherite.
12 Supply lines effective in expedition
PROMPT - two definitions. I saw what the answer must be fairly early on, but it took me forever to see how ‘supply lines’ means PROMPT. I was completely fooled by the fact that it looks like a noun, when in fact it’s a verb phrase relating to the theatre.
13 Past caring?
PHYSIC - CD. Nice.
14 Unopened beer and glass smashed for charity
LARGESSE - (bEER, GLASS)*. I wouldn’t say LARGESSE is necessarily charity, more just generosity, but it’s close enough.
16 Undertaker is featured in advert, right?
PROMISOR - PROM(IS)O, R. In this case just someone who undertakes to do something, rather than the usual more specific meaning.
18 Purse returned for a hat
TOPPER - reversal of POT, PER (for a, as in ‘two for a pound’).
20 Old magical character I found east of Black Country
BRUNEI - B, RUNE (old magical character), I.
22 Car maker designing software I call revolutionary
CADILLAC - CAD (computer-aided design software), I, reversal of CALL.
23 Grave robber’s concealed state
AVER - hidden in ‘grave robber’.
24 Perfect material - do weaving
TAILOR-MADE - (MATERIAL DO)*.
26 For kind of club outing, look over ground
TRIPLE-DECKER - TRIP, LE(DECK)ER. I think this is a reference to a kind of sandwich. A club sandwich is usually made up of a number of layers. Not sure though.

Down
1 Put right over Greek king
LAERTES - reversal of SET, REAL. ‘Right’ is synonymous with REAL in phrases ‘you are a right plonker, Rodney’. This LAERTES was the father of Odysseus, not to be confused with the character in Hamlet.
2 Sound of rake in large pot
URN - sounds like ‘earn’ (rake in).
3 What some doctors do in a convention
GENERAL PRACTICE - DD.
4 Weird pilot’s shot down
LOW-SPIRITED - (WEIRD PILOT’S)*.
5 Concluding part of Gettysburg address?
ZIP CODE - CD. Some people don’t like cryptic definitions but I defy anyone not to like this one. Brilliant.
6 About to interrupt theatre review
RECAP - REP is theatre, CA is about, one contains (is interrupted by) the other.
7 A figure of speech matched a figure of speech
METAPHOR - MET (matched), homophone (of speech) of ‘a four’ (figure).
11 Hanger-on goes for wee, initially confused
LICKSPITTLE - a Spoonerism (one that doesn’t mention Spooner for a change) of ‘picks little’.
15 Officials worry while crossing road
STEWARDS - STEW (worry), A(RD)S.
17 Words repeated on top of Petri dish?
MANTRAP - MANTRA (words repeated), Petri. ‘Dish’ in the sense of an alluring person, in this case a woman.
19 River supports employ synthetic compound
POLYMER - (EMPLOY)*, R.
21 Run across a pirate
ROVER - R, OVER.
25 Wood area, cutting permitted
OAK - O(A)K.

Mephisto 3007 - Don Manley

Very strange to see two variations of the same word in the one puzzle, and I was wondering if there was a theme forming from this, but I couldn't see anything else. I thought this was rather a fun grid, with the longer answers on the outside stretching across the quadrants.

The first definition is underlined in clues.

Away we go...

Across
1 Captive should keep quiet, one no longer acting as guest should (9)
HOSPITAGE - HOSTAGE(captive) containing P(quiet), I(one)
11 Worry about issue that once had cutting edge (8)
CEMITARE - CARE(worry) surounding EMIT(issue) - variation of SCIMITAR
12 Exercise when wearing casual shirt in tent (5)
TEPEE - PE(exercise) in a TEE shirt
13 Come again as fool having made return journey (4)
ANAN - NANA(fool) reversed
14 Oval — this person had a 50 after a pair (6)
OOIDAL - I'D, A L(50) after OO - a pair of zeros in cricket
15 Giants in beastly home cycling round (6)
ETTINS -  cycle IN SETT
16 I certainly must get guided round as an OAP? (8)
LEISURED - I SURE(certainly) inside LED(guided round)
17 Plant without specification found in river (5)
TANSY - NS(not specifie) inside the river TAY
20 Spell cast by the fellow with kiss (3)
HEX - HE, X(kiss)
21 Function of nursery item (3)
COT - double definition, the function being trigonometric
25 One had an eye left, external requirement (5)
NEELD - L with NEED(requirement) surrounding
27 Chair made to rattle — out will come English coins (8)
DRACHMAI - anagram of CHAIR MADE minus E
28 Worker in new university that will never take off (6)
NHANDU - HAND(worker) in N, U for the flightless bird
29 Jock’s saved — the fellow had to secure a home (6)
HAINED - HE'D containing A, IN
31 Border shown by line inside mineral (4)
ORLE - L inside ORE
32 The old move around, start to sing, then grow weary (5)
STIRE - S(ing), then TIRE(grow weary)
33 Fashionable Eastern member comes in — the influence is imaginary? (8)
TELEGONY - TONY(fashionable) containing E, LEG(member)
34 Impoverished fellows in Britain’s capital, say, needing cover endlessly (9)
BEGGARMEN - B(ritain's), EG, GARMEN(t)

Down
1 Hospital, one with a shady dealer? React violently (6, two words)
HIT OUT - H, I, TOUT(shady dealer)
2 Spread love with a superior sign (4)
OLEO - O, LEO(star sign)
3 Slammed as "inept", I will need friend showing discernment (12)
SAPIENTIALLY - anagram of AS INEPT then I, ALLY
4 Kitchen item of many colours is on top of hob (7)
PIEDISH - PIED(of many colours), IS, H(ob)
5 Goddess blabs outside university (6)
TELLUS - TELLS(blabs) outsie of U
6 A meagre protection for power unit used by physicists (6)
AMPERE - A MERE(meagre) with P(power) inisde
7 Trio with fool on a guitar (7)
GITTERN - GIT(fool) and TERN(trio)
8 "Man is machine" — absurd old heresy? (12)
MANICHEANISM - anagram of MAN,IS,MACHINE
9 Bound to be quiet not loud in the country (6)
PRANCE - replace F with P in FRANCE
10 Understanding unknown quantity in economic indicator (6)
SENSEX - SENSE(uderstanding), X(unknown quailty)
18 Gosh, man turns up to make use of enclosed space! (7)
YARDAGE - reversal pf EGAD(gosh), RAY(man)
19 Artist with occasions for raising an old weapon (7)
SEMITAR - RA and TIMES all reversed
21 Natural hole a very short distance inside shelter (6)
CENOTE - EN(short distance) inside COTE(shelter)
22 Brownish-yellow colouring on a botanical feature (6)
OCHREA - OCHRE(brownish-yellow colouring) with A
23 Like ship in good nick that has to travel north for fish (6)
TAUTOG - TAUT(like ship in good nick), then GO (travel) reversed
24 Feeling a bit of pain? Treatment finally comes from this Chinese text (6)
ICHING - ITCHING(feeling a bit of pain) minus (treatmen)T
26 Pipe of dullish hue crossing river (6)
DUDEEN - DUN(dull hue) surrounding DEE(river)
30 What was long vessel in the sound (4)
ERNE - sounds like URN