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April 23rd, 2018

Time: 24 minutes
Music: Coltrane, Giant Steps

After failing to complete either the Saturday, or the Sunday, or the Guardian Prize, I thought that I was either slipping, or these puzzles were damned hard.   But when I lay down with tonight's offering, I found that everything was back to normal, as I was able to enter a few obvious answers almost immediately.  Our old friends, the tamarin/tamarind, d/urban, and Rita and her cot offered a quick entrance to this not very difficult offering.   Unfortuntely, overconfidence led to a quick biff where I should have read the clue in its entirety.

More careful solvers will probably do well, as there is not anything terribly difficult here.   I knew that 'chillax' is a word without having any idea what it meant, so I was able to construct it from the cryptic without much difficulty.   Non-classicists may have a little trouble with 'Tyche', but once the crossers are in place there's not much else it can be.  However, 'amphora' may catch a few solvers out, although I just read 'old jar' and biffed it - nothing obscure here.

As an additional puzzle, I have been doing David Stickley's weekly puzzle, which comes out every Wednesday.  Those who don't have enough puzzles to solve might want to give it a try; it's located at http://www.australiancrosswords.com.au/WPblog/category/stickler-weekly-puzzles/

1 Rupees stored to send overseas? (6)
DEPORT - DEPO(R)T, i.e. rupees in a depot.
4 Tropical tree monkey died (8)
TAMARIND - TAMARIN + D, a chestnut.
10 Talk about pound and spend freely (6,3)
SPLASH OUT - SP(LASH)OUT.   'Pound' is not really equivalent to 'lash', but it is close enough.
11 Musician with piano appearing in seaside attraction (5)
12 Flight having time due to arrive back for point of entry (7)
GATEWAY - G(ETA)WAY with the ETA reversed, which I failed to do.  Maybe I should read more than the first four words of the clue?
13 Girl eating a little cottage cheese (7)
RICOTTA - RI(COT)TA.   At least she's not clued as an educated girl.
14 Up before court (5)
15 Piece of software has put up price (8)
18 Marks article unusually showing poetic quality (8)
METRICAL - M + anagram of ARTICLE
20 Goddess needing something of a reality check (5)
TYCHE - hidden in [reali]TY CHE[ck], the Greek word for chance or luck, or the goddess thereof.
23 Old jar of what could be insect repellent — unopened, note (7)
25 Grand sound of cows looking extremely healthy (7)
26 Fish consumed after missing meal of steak? (5)
SKATE - S[tea]K  + ATE.
27 One moving into a new position inches higher (9)
28 What could be lion trapping an ox, perhaps, in endless plain (3-5)
MAN-EATER - M(A NEAT)ER[e], one that is ripe for biffing.
29 A cab caught having lost control of motion (6)

1 Cancer, perhaps, in ruminant — one creating something new? (8)
2 Range of colourants allowed in meat paste (7)
3 Scent went up with rate changing (4-5)
ROSE-WATER - ROSE + W + anagram of RATE.
5 One making a defence about name through expert in human affairs (14)
6 A lot of what might be ginger jelly (5)
7 One problem’s arisen about favourite drive (7)
IMPETUS - I M(PET)US, i.e. SUM upside-down.
8 Departs from the city, one in South Africa (6)
9 Copy charladies frantic for carbohydrate (14)
POLYSACCHARIDE - anagram of COPY CHARLADIES, one for the chemistry student - how's that coming?
16 Job in space needs a mostly robust adult regularly employed (9)
ASTRONAUT - A STRON[g]  + A[d]U[l]T. 
17 Concern mounting in support of mountain region for wine (8)
BERGERAC - BERG + CARE upside-down, presumably the home town of Cyrano.
19 Gloss ruined axle pin (7)
EXPLAIN - anagram of AXLE PIN.
21 Rest times following being unwell during tea (7)
22 Turning over, leave out a page all the way through (6)
PASSIM - MISS A P upside-down.
24 Mature way of working upset Greek character (5)
OMEGA - AGE M/O upside down.   This concludes the upside-down part of the puzzle.....

QC 1075 by Orpheus - Comic Strip?

This is going to be a quick 'in and out' for me this week as I have a very full day (and week) ahead.

It was not a difficult puzzle for me, although I found only a minority of answers going in on my first pass. When I got through the down clues though and back to my second pass a lot more fell into place leaving just a couple for my third and final pass. So it was not a straight write-in job but on the other hand there were no real head-scratchers. That is to say there were no clues where I felt completely stumped but several where I was thinking "Hang on a second, I know this answer, it's just there coming over the horizon of my brain and soon I'll be able to see it... ah yes, there it is". I think in the end it took me just under 10 minutes.

FOI was 9A. LOI was 13A, with my mind wanting to write in REPLAY when I first saw it. As mentioned above though, this was one of those clues where I knew what I was thinking wasn't right but that the correct answer was just below the surface of my consciousness.

Many thanks to Orpheus for a puzzle that is interesting for its lack of anagrams - only one that I could see. All the other clues rely on other devices, and I also felt that there was a high propotion of natural 'conversational' surfaces. This is particularly true of my COD, the frankly smutty 7D, which I am not awarding on degree of difficulty but solely on the narrative idea and the images conjured up. "Where is she (or he) tonight? Oh, (s)he's OUT STRIPPING!". And although my personal proclivities lead me to a 'straight' visualisation of the scene, it is closely followed by a more gender-fluid version informed as usual by my love of a certain era and style of music, in this case Iggy Pop's 'Lust For Life'. (If you don't know it and are interested then please Google it (or use one of the many alternative search engines available) to see what I am talking about, although I think it may be out of place for me to quote the relevant lines here.)

Definitions are underlined in italics and everything else is explained as simply as I can.

1 Popular chap I invited out and bullied (11)
INTIMIDATED - IN (popular) + TIM (a 'chap') + I + DATED (invited out).
8 In court, youngster takes in many at first — very many! (7)
UMPTEEN - UP (in court, as in 'up before the beak') + TEEN (youngster) taking in M (Many at first).
9 Start the day in distinctive clothing? (3-2)
GET-UP - double definition. The second one must be intended as the primary definition and the first as the cryptic as the clue specifies a hyphen in the answer which obviously indicates the noun.
10 Lawyer thus allowed into bar at last (9)
SOLICITOR - SO (thus) + LICIT (allowed) + last letters of intO baR.
12 Organ used in Baroque arias (3)
EAR - hidden word (BaroquE ARias).
13 Further showing of broadcast about fuel (6)
REPEAT - RE (about) + PEAT (fuel).
15 Old cab, reportedly well-proportioned (6)
HANSOM - homophone for HANDSOME.
17 Friend knocking drink back (3)
PAL - PAL = LAP backwards.
18 Deportation excludes ex — it’s the custom (9)
20 Improper to take forty winks in it (5)
INAPT - NAP (forty winks) in IT.
22 Flowering plant, one carried by teacher’s favourite girl (7)
PETUNIA - PET (teacher's favourite) + UNA (girl) 'carrying' I (one).
23 Politician introducing more obese-sounding tradesman (11)
GREENGROCER - GREEN (politician, as in a member of the Green Party) + homophone of GROSSER (more obese).
1 Drive mischief-maker over English lake (5)
IMPEL - IMP (mischief-maker) 'over' (in this Down clue) E (English) + L (lake).
2 Keen worker at bottom of ditch (9)
TRENCHANT - ANT (worker) 'at bottom of' TRENCH (ditch). Again, this wording works in this Down clue.
3 Tiny child receiving letter in Greece (6)
MINUTE - MITE (child) 'receiving' NU (thirteenth letter of the Greek alphabet).
4 Appreciate archaeologists’ undertaking (3)
DIG - double definition.
5 Walks unsteadily, beginning to track river creatures (7)
TOTTERS - T (beginning to Track) + OTTERS (river creatures).
6 Plan mattered awfully, like some stores (12)
DEPARTMENTAL - first (and only) anagram today! PLAN MATTERED 'awfully'.
7 Away working in sort of club, excelling (12)
OUTSTRIPPING - OUT (away) + STRIPPING (working in a sort of club - a STRIP club).
11 Pragmatic about girl’s nervous affliction (9)
REALISTIC - RE (about) + ALI'S (a girl's) + TIC (nervous affliction).
14 Loot obtained by convict breaking into stately home (7)
PILLAGE - a stately home is a PILE, and here a LAG (convict) has broken into it.
16 More affected holiday-maker (6)
CAMPER - double definition. I suppose 'more affected' is the slightly cryptic one.
19 Daughter misses meal — it’s part of the target (5)
INNER - if a D (daughter) 'misses' DINNER then you have an INNER, part of an archery target.
21 Heavyweight initially training cricket side (3)
TON - T (initially Training) plus ON (one of the two sides of a cricket pitch relative to the batsman - the ON or 'leg' side as opposed to the OFF side).