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December 3rd, 2018

Cripes, there were some rude looking words in this month's grid, such that I was afraid to look a few of them up for fear of what I might find. The usual tough and satisfying cryptic workout though, with hardly any vocabulary, apart from 21dn, being found anywhere within a mile of everyday parlance. Excellent work setter!

1 Old fighter accompanying young boxer, maybe, after bribe (7,3)
SOPWITH PUP - WITH PUP [accompanying | young boxer (dog), maybe] after SOP [bribe]

7 Characteristic features of music: one used for article (4)
JIZZ - J{a->I}ZZ. Shame on anyone (me) who didn't know that was the primary definition of the word.

9 Material’s singular wordplay variety (4,4)
SPUN SILK - S PUNS ILK [singular | wordplay | variety]

10 Exclamation from keen old chief I must go after (6)
OCHONE - O CH [old | chief], I [one] must go after

11 Variety of Norwegian meat sandwiches put out cold, to be returned (6)
BOKMAL - LAMB [meat] "sandwiches" KO [put out cold], the whole reversed

13 Scot’s used shares from public limited company — he had to involve Brussels (8)
PLEUCHED - PLC HE'D [public limited company | he had], to "involve" EU [Brussels]

14 Violent dance video played in six minutes in farming clubs (7,5)
MOSHVEI OVDIM - MOSH [violent dance] + (VIDEO*) ["played"] in VI M [six | minutes]

17 Air-arm, at manoeuvres, having the last word in medical equipment (12)
ARMAMENTARIA - (AIR-ARM AT*) [manoeuvres], having AMEN [the last word] in

20 Bulky jacket which at Crécy stops headgear being worn (8)
HAQUETON - QUE [which, at Crecy] "stops" HAT ON [headgear | being worn]

21 Day nurses run after the old, bringing nozzle (6)
TUYERE - TUE [day] "nurses" R [run] after YE [the old]

22 Rounds on warning from motorist that’s oversentimental (3-3)
TOO-TOO - O O [rounds] on TOOT [warning from motorist]

23 Armadillo, following short turning, passed water (8)
XENURINE - reversed NEX{t} [following "short", "turning"] + URINE [passed water]

25 First being to emerge from heavens, spinning endless fire (4)
YMIR - reversed MY! [heavens, "spinning"] + {f}IR{e}

26 Rendered ineffectual, ultimately you and I need such regenerating (10)
EUNUCHISED - ({yo}U + I NEED SUCH*) ["regenerating"]

2 Egg carrier with sex appeal, lacking heart, huntsman likewise (8)
OOPHORON - OO{m}PH OR{i}ON [sex appeal | huntsman - each "lacking heart"]

3 Old letter that might have come from anywhere turning up (3)
WYN - hidden reversed in {a}NYW{here}

4 How do charges bundle up organic compound? (5)
THIOL - HI! [how do!] "charges" reversed LOT [bundle "up"]

5 Lottery going by other name involved in very quiet and uneventful draw? (7)
PAKAPOO - AKA [going by other name] "involved in" PP [very quiet] + O-O [uneventful draw]

6 Protective agent for body of racket, fitting on top (9)
PROPERDIN - DIN [racket], PROPER [fitting] on top

7 Trading concern once going places with approach briefly adopted by Yankee (4,7)
JOHN COMPANY - JOHN + PAN [(two) "going" places], with COM{e} [approach "briefly"] "adopted", by Y [Yankee]

8 Spirit shown by fairy, loudly knocked off perch (6)
ZINGEL - ZING [spirit] shown by EL{f} [fairy, "loudly (=F) knocked off"]

12 Most of autumn, bather has to shift fat (5,6)
MAHUA BUTTER - (AUTUM{n} BATHER*) ["has to shift"]

15 Sort of dash by police line one sees normally (9)
EMMETROPE - EM [sort of dash] by MET ROPE [police | line]

16 Tart mixture interfered with catering (8)
CITRANGE - (CATERING*) ["interfered with"]

18 Having one spike most drinks acceptable — no going back (7)
MONAXON - MAX [most] "drinks" ON [acceptable] + reversed NO

19 Airline to fly Bristol to N America (6)
B.A. ZOOM [airline | to fly]. Bristol (City) is rhyming slang.

21 Shot in the arm and leg when captured by movement out of control? (5)
TONIC - ON [leg] "captured by" TIC [movement out of control]

24 Revolutionary fairy tale author, the first to leave music (3)
RAI - {l}IAR ["fairy tale" author, kinda], losing first letter and reversed

Times 27211 - Food for thought

Time: 32 minutes
Music: Dave Brubeck, Time Further Out

This was a trickier puzzle than you might expect for a Monday, and if you are missing a few pieces of obscure knowledge you might easily get completely stuck.   I will admit, I was pressed to the limits of what I know, but I have gotten used to that trying to work Mephisto.    Fortunately, if you do happen to have all the knowledge, it was not that difficult a puzzle.

I listened to tonight's music with a new phono cartridge, a Denon DL-301 II that I have just installed.   It's still breaking in, but the music was very lively and I bopped along as I solved.   Sometimes you need external musical rhythm to achieve that mysterious internal solving rhythm.     Brubeck was from California, but he lived in Connecticut for a long time, and there are still people around here who knew him and his family.

1 Money a laboratory’s cut for water vessel (8)
CALABASH - C(A LAB)ASH, easy if you know what a 'calabash' is - it's a tree with a gourd that can be used for a variety of purposes.
5 I work in charge of pursuing British film (6)
BIOPIC - B + I + OP + IC, a rather convoluted construction.
9 Authorise second armed conflict around November (8)
SANCTION -S A(N)CTION, where the one-letter month abbreviations come into play.   What do they do for January, June, and July where, as Pserve_p2 has pointed out, the 'N' for 'November comes from the NATO alphabet.
10 Marker on wine bottle (6)
FLAGON - FLAG + ON, deceptively simple.
12 Army commanders hurried where supplies could be had (7,5)
GENERAL STORE - GENERALS TORE, probably in a jeep driven by an aide.
15 Left that southern city of France (5)
LYONS - L + YON + S.
16 Railway diversion crucial for reconstruction after constant cancellation? (9)
FUNICULAR - FUN + anagram of [c]RUCIAL.  This should be easy because we had this one fairly recently.
18 Meat and fish for a judge in Corsican capital (9)
CARPACCIO - (+CARP -aj)ACCIO.  If you don't know that Ajaccio is the capital of Corsica, you'd better know the meat dish!
19 I fret about what might recycle junk (5)
REFIT - Anagram of I FRET, with the literal referring to a Chinese junk.
20 Disapproval of Conservative Democrat leading country (12)
CONDEMNATION - CON + DEM + NATION, a simple one.
24 Trouble with serious offence over good-looking youth (6)
ADONIS - ADO + SIN backwards, eminently biffable.
25 What will strain old spacecraft chasing the speed of light (8)
26 Fate is satisfied by king (6)
KISMET - K + IS MET, a word adopted from Turkish into multiple languages.
27 Statistics with January not showing the first three figures (8)
STATUARY - STAT + [jan]UARY, unusally explicit for a cryptic - you really do remove the first three letters!
1 Unfinished gateau gets stored initially in container (4)
CASK - CA(S)K[e].
2 Take a dive unclothed for a breather (4)
LUNG - [p]LUNG[e].
3 Cricketers dine when short of time in place close to The Oval (9)
BATTERSEA - BATTERS + EA[t].   I wasted some time with 'bats', which leads nowhere.
4 Ruling starts on this weight of cake (5,2,5)
6 Does nothing with days in French islands (5)
7 Homer’s resting place is suspect if long associated with poet (6,4)
PIGEON LOFT - anagram of IF LONG + POET.   I wasted a lot of time on Homer Simpson, trying to get a piece of furniture.
8 Devote seconds breaking into ice cream van that’s old? (10)
11 I turn rowboat around for fish (7,5)
13 Timepieces changing ring, first to one, then a different sound (5-5)
CLICK-CLACK - CLOCK with first I, and then A substituted for O.
14 Very bad men tear into unfinished home (10)
17 Funny cartoon about jolly diver (9)
CORMORANT - anagram of CARTOON around RM, giving a bird I have a hard time remembering how to spell.
21 English low-fat cream (5)
22 Nearly perfect suggestion (4)
IDEA - IDEA[l], one from the Quickie.
23 May I ask you to settle in advance when record’s coming out? (4)
PRAY - PR[ep]AY.   There have been no actual EPs for many years, as far as I know, but they are far too useful to the setters to ever disappear.

QC 1235 by Breadman

Still not fully back to doing quickies on a daily basis although I have done a few since my last blog. Perhaps this contributed to my completing this in about 9 minutes, as it 'felt' a bit more difficult than that. There were quite a few clues that I thought were tricky but luckily I seemed to be on the right wavelength for them. The result was that several clues that I think I would have normally been consciously piecing together became straight write-ins. Many thanks to Breadman as this gave me a very welcome Monday-morning sense of achievement (no doubt soon to evaporate when the comments start and I realise that everybody else found it easier than I did).

I think I have blogged a Breadman once before and in my ignorance on that occasion I speculated that it might have been his first contribution. Those who know all about these things corrected me though and I now know that he has been contributing for some years although very infrequently.

I think my FOI could have been 1A, but for some reason I started reading the clues at random today rather than starting at the beginning which is most unlike me. In the event I think it was 10A. LOI was, I believe, 15D. There were many clues to like so it is difficult to pick a COD, but I'm going to go for 12A simply because it gave me the greatest 'kick' when I solved it. I'm just such an adrenalin junkie, me.

Deploying my recently fitted NATRAF (Nina And Theme Radar And Filter) on the finished grid yielded... absolutely nothing. But at least I remembered to give it a go. Having said that, perhaps there is somebody out there with a more powerful model who will be able to turn something up. After all, they say that if you look hard enough you can find patterns in anything.

Definitions are underlined, and my thought processes in arriving at the answers are explained just as they occurred to me in the simplest language that I have at my command.

1 Hide criminal Alec deviously (7)
CONCEAL - CON (criminal, as in CONvict) + anagram ('deviously') of ALEC = CEAL.
5 Unknown eight in German vessel on water (5)
YACHT - OK here we go back to school. First lesson: algebra. Unknown quantities in algebraic equations are generally x, y and z. Here we have Y. Second lesson: basic German (counting): eins, zwei, drei, vier, funf, sechs, sieben, ACHT!
8 Basic pool area — blokes converse endlessly (11)
FUNDAMENTAL - FUND (pool) + A (area) + MEN (blokes) + TAL (TALk = converse 'endlessly')
10 Whale heads for ocean reef, cruising around (4)
ORCA - first letters of (heads for) Ocean Reef Cruising Around.
11 Divided pears messily consumed (8)
SEPARATE - anagram of PEARS = SEPAR ('messily') + ATE (consumed).
12 Holiday entertainment reps, at first, comparatively pure (6)
WHITER - possibly a difficult one for the inexperienced. WHIT is short for WHITSUN or WHITSUNDAY, being the Anglican church holiday commemorating Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended upon Christ's disciples and they started speaking in tongues (glossolalia) and casting out demons and doing all sorts of other crazy things. Probably now mostly remembered in the public consciousness for Philip Larkin's poem (and collection of poems) The Whitsun Weddings. At the time Whitsun was seen as a particularly propitious time for weddings, and Larkin describes a train journey that he makes at Whitsun which coincides with some wedding parties. Apparently the actual train journey that Larkin visualises in his poem never took place, but his description is so vivid that for me this only magnifies my admiration for the man's art. If you haven't read it it is worth it: https://www.poetryarchive.org/poem/whitsun-weddings.

Oops, sorry, I was forgetting the rest of the clue: initial letters of Entertainment Reps ('at first') added on to WHIT gives WHITER.
14 Prize relating to hospital section (6)
REWARD - RE (relating to) + WARD (hospital section).
16 Perhaps rocker broadcast after March, strangely (8)
ARMCHAIR - anagram of MARCH = ARMCH ('strangely') + AIR (broadcast).
18 Edge inside church (4)
INCH - IN (inside) + CH (church).
20 I'm clearly circling island in a fretful manner (11)
IMPATIENTLY - IM (I'm) + PATENTLY (clearly) 'circling' I (island).
22 Problems in Bundestag growing (5)
AGGRO - hidden word: BundestAG GROwing.
23 Male spy, a reddish colour (7)
MAGENTA - M (male) + AGENT (spy) + A.
2 Present topless chest (5)
OFFER - take the top off a COFFER (chest) in this down clue and there you have it.
3 Meeting politician with diplomacy (7)
CONTACT - CON (politician (CONservative)) + TACT (diplomacy).
4 It's a cooker, whichever way you look (3)
AGA - I don't need to explain that an AGA is a type of cooker do I? As in AGA SAGA? And that it is a very short palindrome?
6 Rising schedule restricts club player (5)
ACTOR - another clue that uses the up and down geometry of the down clue. ROTA (schedule) 'rising', and 'restricting' C (club, as in the card suit, particularly in Bridge).
7 Belt for tools, stupidly lost, grabbed by that lady (7)
HOLSTER - anagaram of LOST = OLST ('stupidly') 'grabbed by' HER (that lady).
9 Ruler backing representative in Italian city (7)
EMPEROR - REP (representative) in ROME (Italian city) all written backwards (backing).
11 Taverns manipulated menial person (7)
SERVANT - striaght anagram of TAVERNS ('manipulated').
13 Husband supplying weapons causing damage (7)
HARMING - H (husband) + ARMING (supplying weapons).
15 Pipe Len's half-finished after game of cards (7)
WHISTLE - WHIST (game of cards) + LE (LEN half finished, i.e. the end of LEN is EN, and only half of that is included).
17 Playfully dance and run below headland (5)
CAPER - again the geography of the down clue comes into play: R (run) 'below' CAPE (headland).
19 Loud call by priest emptied underground chapel (5)
CRYPT - CRY (loud call) by PT (PriesT 'emptied', i.e. without the middle letters).
21 Cheese knocking out female Greek character (3)
ETA - FETA (cheese) 'knocking out' F (female) gives the seventh letter of the Greek alphabet.