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January 12th, 2019

A middle of the road Saturday challenge, I thought. I did it in bits and pieces, and don’t have an aggregate time to report. My LOI was 19dn, where I had a blind spot thinking that “SEA” would appear in the answer. Writing the blog, I found that many clues that were hard to see at the time are easy to explain in hindsight.

My clue of the day was 11ac, for its elegant simplicity. Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle.

Clues are in blue, with definitions underlined. Answers are in BOLD CAPS, then wordplay. (ABC*) means 'anagram of ABC'. Deletions are in [square brackets].

Across
1 See managers can provide space for posts (6,5)
NOTICE BOARD: see / managers.

7 Surprising outburst, a little lacking in volume? (3)
BOO: BOO{k}.

9 Telegraph, perhaps, has cut wire that’s bent (9)
PAPERCLIP: The Telegraph is a PAPER / cut is CLIP.

10 Dram on board cutter (5)
SNIPS: a NIP is a dram / put it on board the SS. Tin snips, for example.

11 Some attached to beginning a nation of Europe (7)
GERMANY: attach some or ANY to the GERM of an idea.

12 Style of harmony for choirs involving five hundred (7)
CHORDAL: choirs are of course CHORAL. Insert D, Roman numeral for 500. Unfamiliar answer, but of course it was easy to believe chords might be chordal.

13 Passage is guarded by porter, say (5)
AISLE: ALE (porter, say) around IS.

15 Outsource working like civil service? (9)
COURTEOUS: anagram (“working”) of (OUTSOURCE*). The question mark covers the remote possibility that anyone might ever at any time have experienced discourteous treatment by a civil servant.

17 Note a lot of commission on house (9)
SEMIBREVE: SEMI (house), BREVE[t] (a type of military commission).

19 Sneak unused to follow society (5)
SIDLE: S for Society, then IDLE.

20 Old hand editor’s passed over (7)
OMITTED: O for old, MITT, ED.

22 Rue A to D conversion in data retrieval (7)
READOUT: anagram (“conversion”) of (RUE A TO D*).

24 Figure where daughter must be parking to see gorge (3,2)
PIG IT: DIGIT (figure) must change D to P.

25 Not believing he’s interrupting classic speech (9)
ATHEISTIC: ATTIC is the classic Athenian dialect. Insert HE IS.

27 Tear drop regularly includes one (3)
RIP: put I (one) in RP, the even letters of DROP.

28 Runs into perhaps Duke Ellington’s most successful offering? (5,6)
BRAND LEADER: Ellington was a BAND LEADER. Insert an R. It’s the brand of product with the largest share of the market, according to Chambers.


Down
1 South leaving card game to sleep (3)
NAP: South leaving [s]NAP.

2 Make use of skin of inferior animal (5)
TAPIR: TAP (make use of), then the “skin” of I[nferio]R.

3 Part of dress has to hang down in middle (7)
CORSAGE: SAG in CORE. Is “pinned to” a dress the same as “part of”? Perhaps so, if “dress” is used in a slightly different sense, to refer to the ensemble rather than the garment!

4 The man pursuing corporation account to complain (9)
BELLYACHE: corporation / account / man.

5 Note sons mostly choose jelly (5)
ASPIC: A (note) / S (sons) / PIC[k].

6 Play about where the voyage across the Styx ends? (7)
DISPORT: DIS is the underworld, reached by crossing the river Styx in a boat which might plausibly reach a port. A nicely whimsical clue.

7 Unable to see shade on pen (9)
BLINDFOLD: BLIND (window shade) / FOLD (sheep pen).

8 Celebs not so spoilt, losing currency (11)
OBSOLESCENT: anagram (“spoilt”) of (CELEBS NOT SO*).

11 Talk about right one looking to buy jumper (11)
GRASSHOPPER: GAS around R for right, then SHOPPER.

14 Review total jazzman not using small piano (7-2)
SUMMING-UP: SUM (total) / MINGU[s] (jazzman Charles Mingus, without the S) / P (piano).

16 Dug up in Passau — near the Danube (9)
UNEARTHED: hidden answer.

18 Sailor turned up on time on hotel boat — a large vessel (7)
BATHTUB: AB (sailor) “turned up” / T / H / TUB.

19 Figure freeze will do for maritime plant (7)
STATICE: STAT / ICE.

21 Raising a duck, but not all play (5)
DRAMA: A M[all]ARD “raised”.

23 Set up daughter at company group (5)
OCTAD: D / AT / CO, all “set up”.

26 Find fault has cut power in vehicle (3)
CAR: CAR[p], without the P[ower].
 
Alright, so this was a really good specimen of a Times Jumbo, with wit aplenty and some genuine laugh-out-loud moments. I know some martinets disapprove of drug references in their crosswords, but I was very tickled by 33ac's "addiction to horse"; honourable mention also to the Brexiteery topicality of 34dn, but my Clue of the Day this time goes to 10dn for giving us an all-too-plausible window into the everyday activities of a Times crossword setter.

Big round of applause to the setter for a very enjoyable crossword indeed, and I'm glad to have got a blog in on the right day for once (I hope), even if the timezone I did it in may leave something to be desired if you were looking forward to it first thing in the British morning. (Greetings from sunny Berkeley! Off out for a nice long walk shortly.)

ACROSS
1 When Barnet manager let the side down? (3,4,3)
BAD HAIR DAY - cryptic definition, the "Barnet manager" presumably being here a hairbrush or comb

6 Alternative band added clause to include new musician for handling crank? (5,7)
ORGAN GRINDER - OR GANG [alternative | band] + RIDER [added clause] "to include" N [new]

14 Score twice for final outcome (3,6)
NET RESULT - two words meaning score

15 Energy powder knocked back for striking effect (5)
ECLAT - E [energy] + reversed TALC [powder]

16 Obsolete former colour (no longer used) (7)
EXTINCT - EX TINCT [former | colour (archaic)]

17 Awful, flaky model's a creature of legend (10,7)
ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN - ABOMINABLE [awful] + SNOWMAN [model made of (snow)flakes]

18 The end for, eg, Speedy Gonzales, small and mischievous (5)
ELFIN EL FIN means "the end" in Spanish, Speedy's mother tongue

19 Ally using encryption to conceal weapon pointed towards west (7)
COMRADE - CODE [encryption] "to conceal" reversed ARM [weapon]

21 Poorly rates unknown substitute (6)
ERSATZ - (RATES*) ["poorly"] + Z [unknown]

22 Access divinity programme (8)
RECOURSE - R.E. COURSE [divinity | programme]

24 Heading off, speechless with anger, having taken it? (7)
UMBRAGE - {d}UMB with RAGE ["heading off", speechless | anger], semi-&lit

26 One is after revolutionary massage — they're heavenly! (8)
CHERUBIM - I'M [one is] after CHE RUB [revolutionary | massage]

27 Commercial division's directionless (6)
ADRIFT - AD RIFT [commercial | division]

30 Student of form favoured dog, maybe, following the races excitedly (8,3)
TEACHER'S PET - PET [dog, maybe] following (THE RACES*) ["excited"]

32 Identify as communist when union's being held under siege (11)
BELEAGUERED - BE RED [identify as | communist] when LEAGUE [union] is being held

33 Addiction to horse? This gear might be appropriate (6,5)
RIDING HABIT - playing on two meanings of HABIT

35 Oil company adjusted ratios for better distribution system (11)
TOTALISATOR - TOTAL [Oil company] + (RATIOS*) ["adjusted"]. "Better" as in one making bets, at the track.

37 Comedy creator previously getting the bird (6)
GODWIT - WIT [comedy], GOD [creator] previously

38 Tall plant from Tennessee containing spliff (4,4)
TREE FERN - TN [Tennessee] containing REEFER [spliff]

39 Pub worker maybe taking order for spirit (7)
PHANTOM - P.H. ANT taking O.M. [pub | worker maybe | order]

42 Dodgy viagra no good, causing severe damage (8)
RAVAGING - (VIAGRA NG*) ["dodgy"]

44 U.S. weapon China introduced to Vietnam (6)
NAPALM - PAL [china] introduced to NAM [Vietnam]

46 More dull, crushing bores cornering you in the Louvre (7)
OBTUSER - (BORES*) ["crushing"] "cornering" TU [you, anywhere in France]

48 Private meal from which duke's excluded (5)
INNER - {d}INNER [meal, minus D for duke]

49 Talking rook might be one! (12,5)
CONVERSATION PIECE - CONVERSATION [talking] + PIECE [rook might be one], &lit

51 Commercial watchdog to pass judgment generally (2,1,4)
AS A RULE [ASA = Advertising Standards Authority = commercial watchdog] + RULE [to pass judgment]

52 Number's occurring with frequency (5)
OFTEN - OF TEN [number's, as in belonging to a number]

53 Aggravate complaint, swallowing pill regularly (9)
DISPLEASE - DISEASE [complaint], "swallowing" P{i}L{l}

54 Horse has position behind second in field, being as far from start as finish? (12)
EQUIDISTANCE - EQUID [horse] has STANCE [position] behind {f}I{eld}

55 Prominent Greek in favour of America possessing Middle East (10)
PROMETHEUS - PRO THE U.S. [in favour of America] "possessing" M.E. [Middle East]

DOWN
1 Tale of Ratty's home, perhaps, and where the bread's kept? (4,7)
BANK ACCOUNT - playing on two meanings of BANK

2 Pointlessly correct to the same thing (5)
DITTO - {e}DIT ["pointlessly", correct] + TO

3 Yank stuff in a camera out (9)
AMERICANA - (IN A CAMERA*) ["out"]

4 Stable worker cornered by rake is a dish (7)
ROULADE - LAD [stable worker] "cornered by" ROUE [rake]

5 A set of steps with bee in flower (7)
ASTILBE - A STILE [a | set of steps] with B in

7 Revised version of Blue Fur Moth — A Practical Guide (4,2,5)
RULE OF THUMB - (BLUE FUR MOTH*) ["revised version of..."]

8 Fall on mutual's holding after rise (6)
AUTUMN - hidden reversed in {o}N MUTUA{l}

9 Lower arms when queen enters, then you must rise (8)
GUERNSEY - GUNS [arms] when E.R. [queen] enters, then reversed YE [you]

10 This setter and latest in endless series of editors getting vintage spirits down (2,3,8)
IN THE DOLDRUMS - I [this setter] and NTH ED [latest in endless series of editors] getting OLD RUMS [vintage | spirits]

11 Half of food in kebab's condemned (4,3)
DONE FOR - FO{od} in DONER [kebab]

12 Leftist holding a metal event full of despised creatures (3-8)
RAT-INFESTED - RED [leftist] "holding" A TIN FEST [a | metal | event]

13 Determined leader of Arabs not in Iran's camp (10)
PERSISTENT - PERSI{a}'S TENT [Iran's | camp, minus A{rabs}]

20 En masse, holding caps? (3-6)
MOB-HANDED - playing on two meanings of MOB

23 Rex's X-ray perhaps put in this private language (3,5)
PIG LATIN - wherein "Rex" becomes "exray"

25 Your lug on top is grubby (6)
EARTHY - THY [your], EAR [lug] on top

26 Frightfully pacy horse pulled up, seeing rodent (8)
CAPYBARA - (PACY*) ["frightfully"] + reversed ARAB [horse]

28 Irish woman set up needles (9)
IRRITATES - IR RITA [Irish | woman] + reversed SET

29 Beat politician with legislation arising (6)
WALLOP - reverse all of POL with LAW [politician | legislation]

31 Staying execution to have a few drinks? (7,6)
HANGING AROUND - HANGING [execution] + A ROUND [a few drinks]

33 Bring up tiger rug, tattered and munched (11)
REGURGITATE - (TIGER RUG*) ["tattered"] + ATE [munched]

34 Article to knock Brussels — habitual response meant to make one feel better (11)
THERAPEUTIC - THE RAP EU TIC [article | to knock | Brussels | habitual response]

35 Drunken tenants had a ball in the afternoon (3,7)
THÉ DANSANT - (TENANTS HAD*) ["drunken"]

36 Not letting up, note decoded? (11)
REMORSELESS - RE [note] + MORSE-LESS [de-coded?]

40 Ideal state's ending up with fate in control bypassing human intervention (9)
AUTOPILOT - UTOPI{<-A} [ideal state, with its ending moving up to the start] + LOT [fate]

41 A thousand pounds on small underwear (8)
KNICKERS - K NICKER on S [a thousand | pounds | small]

43 Pacific nation head installing alternative technology in universities (7)
VANUATU - VAN [head] + A.T. [alternative technology] installed in U U [(two) universities]

45 Spanish performer runs after dull performance (7)
MATADOR - R [runs] after MAT ADO [dull | performance]

46 Tree climber, work very good, picked up amount of money (7)
OPOSSUM - OP [work] + reversed SO [very good] + SUM [amount of money]

47 Woolly right embraced by African nation after rejecting left (6)
ANGORA - R [right] "embraced by" ANGO{l}A [African nation, after rejecting its L for left]

50 “Skip advertisement” pressed by Apple consumer (5)
EVADE - AD [advertisement] "pressed by" EVE [apple consumer]