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December 5th, 2018

Quick Cryptic 1237 by Mara

All quite straightforward, and non less enjoyable for it. My only biff was 21dn, which seemed a reasonable word, and was clued generously. I had made a note to revisit the (on first thought, questionable) synonymity at 16ac, only to have the penny drop. COD to 9dn - great misdirection, and having spotted how the clue worked early, only wished I'd got it sooner!

Definitions underlined.

Across
7 African mammal found in book, a pig (5)
OKAPI - hidden in boOK A PIg.
8 Mother has difficult dog (7)
MASTIFF - MA (mother) and STIFF (difficult).
10 Different era isn't more unpleasant (7)
NASTIER - anagram of (different) ERA ISN'T.
11 Wash first of nightclothes in advance (5)
RINSE - first letter of Nightclothes inside RISE (advance).
12 Find out it's arcane, mysteriously (9)
ASCERTAIN - anagram of (mysteriously) IT'S ARCANE.
14 Head erased from colossal image (3)
PIC - ePIC (colossal) missing its first letter (head erased).
15 Oddly, niece is born (3)
NEE - odd letters from (oddly) NiEcE.
16 Flower spread, a hundred having risen (9)
BUTTERCUP - BUTTER (spread, in its verb sense), C (a hundred) and UP (risen).
18 Former leaders in Chelsea evidently like to do well (5)
EXCEL - EX (former) and first letters from (leaders in) Chelsea, Evident and Like.
20 Quite a few cut, almost everyone (7)
SEVERAL - SEVER (cut) and all but the last letter of (almost) ALl (everyone).
22 Presume needs fixing, above all (7)
SUPREME - anagram of (needs fixing) PRESUME.
23 Negative male in America (5)
MINUS - M (male), IN, and US (America).
Down
1 Climbers — our team's nine, roughly (12)
MOUNTAINEERS - anagram of (roughly) OUR TEAM'S NINE.
2 Service area, carnage (8)
MASSACRE - MASS (service) and ACRE (area).
3 Little car entering Jerusalem in Israel (4)
MINI - hidden in (entering) jerusaleM IN Israel.
4 Leader leaves English county for Italian region (6)
UMBRIA - cUMBRIA (English county) missing its first letter (leader leaves).
5 Alienate new sergeant (8)
ESTRANGE - anagram of (new) SERGEANT.
6 Loud pub, European (4)
FINN - F (forte, loud) and INN (pub).
9 Beaten pro flinches, heavyweight's heading for a shiner? (6,6)
FRENCH POLISH - anagram of (beaten) PRO FLINCHES with first letter of (heading) Heavyweight.
13 Beauty in red rose (8)
REBELLED - BELLE (beauty) inside RED.
14 Surprisingly porcine, old sheep's cheese (8)
PECORINO - anagram of (surprisingly) PORCINE then O (old).
17 Person checking street out (6)
TESTER - anagram of (out) STREET.
19 Manage work in church (4)
COPE - OP (opus, work) in CE (Church of England, church).
21 Very basic electrical unit for siren (4)
VAMP - V (very) and AMP (basic electrical unit). Chambers: "A women who attratcts men sexually, then seduces and exploits them".

Tags:

I see 84 contestants attempted this and 33 got it correct. So, not a piece of cake. I got it right eventually, but not under exam room presssure.
I found this a game of two halves. The RHS went in reasonably smoothly, after a couple of minutes reading through and finding little by way of easy clues to get me going. 4a was my FOI. It didn't then help that I had at first put in RUMINATE for 8d, before seeing the fishy mathematician at 16a.The LHS took longer, but in retrospect I can't see why, there is nothing too nasty about it, I just wasn't on song. Nowhere near a 20 minute romp which I'd have needed on the day.
Maybe because of the lack of on-song mood, verging on headache, I didn't particularly enjoy this, but it is noteworthy for having a Yiddish word I actually knew, which is probably a first.

Across
1 Deliberate snatching is bad treatment (6)
MISUSE - MUSE = deliberate, snatches IS inside.
4 Brilliant odds before racehorse runs (8)
SPARKLER - SP = odds, ARKLE was a racehorse of note, R = runs.
10 One who has it may quickly lose it (5,4)
SHORT FUSE - cryptic def.
11 Perhaps a sett … the setter’s material (5)
DENIM - DEN = perhaps a sett, which is a badger's den; I'M = the setter's.
12 General grounds for curtailment (3)
LEE - I think this is LEES = grounds, as in coffee for example, curtailed.
13 Lumières can’t broadcast without a place to show all their work? (11)
MULTISCREEN - Anagram of (LUMIERES C NT)*, the A you are told to omit.
14 The endless growth in snooker (6)
THWART - TH(E), WART = growth. I think snooker has a more specific definition than 'thwart'.
16 Man responsible for distribution of toxin around centre of Salisbury (7)
POISSON - If you didn't do any statistics or A Level maths, you could still get to the answer from word play I think. POISON = toxin, has S the middle of Salisbury, inserted. Poisson was a French chap who understood about statistical distributions, which I can just about remember learning about, and he also had a Series (or series of series?) named after him, which I never got to grips with.
19 A beastly mother keeping literary retrospective for gifted child (7)
MATILDA - A DAM = a beastly mother, holds on to LIT, then all reversed. Matilda is the title of a book by Roald Dahl about a gifted child.
20 Detective Gadget succeeded inside the CID, for example (6)
SENSOR - S inside SENOR. I am thinking, here SENOR = CID in so far as El Cid was a Spanish señor or Lord. Have I missed the plot?
22 One who introduces expert on Browning? (11)
TOASTMASTER - Cryptic DD, where a toast master would be good at making brown toast.
25 Attempt retiring (3)
SHY - DD.
26 One might see spider on this: howls out loud? (5)
BAIZE - BAIZE sounds like BAYS = howls; a reference to an elongated rest device used on a snooker table, which is of course baize covered.
27 Categorise works evading understanding, ultimately as such (9)
ESOTERICA - Anagram of (CATE ORISE)* where the G is omitted as instructed by "evading understandinG ultimately". "As such" referring to the surface meaning.
28 Occasion that is wrapping up day (8)
EVENTIDE - Cryptic definition that took me ages to see, after lots of present-giving festivals had come and gone. EDIT there's more to this, see parsing by our friend ejected from Bletchley, second comment below.
29 A carriage heading for Scottish cathedral city (6)
AMIENS - I had this quickly, as we pass by the city on the way to Calais often enough, but it could be tricky if you're not hot on French geography. A, MIEN = carriage, S = heading for Scottish.

Down
1 Might Mark blitz clues? (6)
MUSCLE - M, (CLUES)*. a simple clue I made difficult.
2 Singer’s second discussion about sound quality? (9)
STONECHAT - S = second, TONE CHAT = discussion about sound quality, if you like. Know your birds to succeed at crosswords.
3 She’s short with pot belly — that’s Mum! (5)
SHTUM - SH(E), TUM = pot belly. Keep shtum = be quiet, you shmuck.
5 Bent coppers splitting up, say (14)
PREDISPOSITION - Parsed after the event. DIS = coppers, splits PREPOSITION, of which UP is an example.
6 Censorship of the October Revolution? (9)
REDACTION - RED ACTION being a way to describe what went on in November 1917.
7 Move impetuously to sacrifice pawn and foil attack? (5)
LUNGE - PLUNGE = move impetuously, loses a P. LUNGE as in a fencing move with a foil.
8 Harry Truman taking on board current thinking (8)
RUMINANT - (TRUMAN)* takes an IN inside, IN being current. Thinking as a participle adjective, as in 'the thinking man'.
9 Comprehensive school’s first XI linked up with a top forward (4,5,5)
FULL STEAM AHEAD - FULL = comprehensive, S = school's first; TEAM = XI; A HEAD = a top.
15 Frequently outspoken on males: time for a quota (9)
ALLOTMENT - ALLOT sounds like A LOT = frequently; MEN for males; T for time.
17 Evergreen explorer cut down in front of Resolution (5,4)
SCOTS PINE - SCOTT the polar explorer chap loses his last S, then SPINE = resolution.
18 I am one member of nest maybe suited to parrots (8)
IMITABLE - I am = I'M I (= ONE) TABLE, as small tables can come in a nest where they all fit one on the other. Why do they call them Occasional Tables? We use ours all the time.
21 Major operation as Times each year put on finals of puzzles championships (6)
BYPASS - BY = Times, multiplied by; PA = each year, S S = end letters of puzzles championships. A timely reference in the surface.
23 Cast me in a film (5)
ANIME - (ME IN A)*. Anime is some sort of a Japanese cartoon genre I believe.
24 Discharge suspect concealing high explosive (5)
RHEUM - RUM = suspect, insert HE for the explosive stuff. The word RHEUM always makes me think of Peter Sellers as Clouseau asking for a rheum. That was great stuff. Toodle Pip!