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January 28th, 2019

Times 27259 - What you do in winter!

Time: 15 minutes
Music: Rachmaninoff, Symphonic Dances, Johanos/Dallas Symphony

Well, we are back to another easy Monday, and I'm sure we'll see some fast times.   I started writing in a number of the answers before I even finished reading the clues, and I only needed my eraser once or twice - it was that kind of puzzle.   In fact, I had to go back to Mephisto so I could finish listening to tonight's musical selection before starting on the blog.   Now there's a puzzle that's practically guaranteed to fill unlimited amounts of time, unless you are a very top solver indeed.

If you're bored, there were some pretty good puzzles over the weekend.   The Saturday Times puzzle was not too bad, but I found the Sunday one quite hard.   Paul has a good prize puzzle this week in the Guardian, which has some very witty clues.  And, of course, there's always Mephisto, where I have only been successful twice.

Across
1 Counterpart works back to back (4)
OPPO - OP + OP backwards, but not opera!
4 Venturing to entertain judge with fish for tea (10)
DARJEELING - DAR(J + EEL)ING.   My favorite type of tea, although I don't like the expensive ones that taste like a cup of flowers.
9 Sound of fellow journalist entering bank time and again (10)
REPEATEDLY -  RE(sounds like PETE + ED)LY.   Those who don't like random names will presumably be even less enthusiastic about homonyms of random names.
10 Way to get over a roofed colonnade (4)
STOA - ST + O + A, with a rather explicit literal.
11 Hard worker abandons love for a Roman emperor (6)
TRAJAN - TR[+A -o]JAN, with a rather obsolescent secondary meaning of 'Trojan'.
12 Bigwig in spectacles ultimately keeps it to lay eggs (8)
OVIPOSIT - O(VIP)O + [keep]S + IT.
14 Sole Liberal accommodated in old city (4)
ONLY - O N(L)Y.   
15 Tip in old piece of furniture designed to be pulled out (10)
EXTENDABLE -  EX + T(END)ABLE.  Don't biff 'extensible', read the cryptic.
17 Vaguely consider possible purchases, looking through lightsV? (6-4)
WINDOW-SHOP - Just a cryptic definition, I believe, where 'lights' refers to a particular sort of window.
20 Fratricide — one in place of confinement (4)
CAIN - CA(I)N, where the definition is a bit of synecdoche. 
21 Beg directions for protecting current stars (8)
PLEIADES - PLE(I)AD + E + S. 
23 Company of actors move in large numbers, we hear (6)
TROUPE - sounds like TROOP, as a verb.
24 Neat types involved in sudden exodus from the east (4)
OXEN - backwards hidden in [sudde]N EXO[dus], a clue where I only read the first two words and put in the answer, then stopped to figure out why it was correct.
25 Scientist initially bringing mice to his complex? (10)
BIOCHEMIST - B[ringing] + anagram of MICE TO HIS.
26 Medic keeping New Year made one in a brown study (10)
DAYDREAMER - D(anagram of YEAR MADE)R.
27 Debt-collector returns key example of erotic art (4)
NUDE - DUN backwards + E.
Down
2 After homework, managed to start phone call before meal (11)
PREPRANDIAL - PREP + RAN + DIAL, my FOI.
3 Delighted about girl meeting boy (9)
OVERJOYED - OVER + JOY + ED.
4 Just receiving drug money? It leads to legal action (7)
DETINUE - D(E + TIN)UE.   Never heard of it, but the cryptic elements are stock items, so you can't go wrong.
5 Survive danger disrupting their modest tour (4,3,3,5)
RIDE OUT THE STORM - Anagram of THEIR MODEST TOUR.
6 Blissful start for intern in city hospital (7)
ELYSIAN - ELY S(I[ntern])AN
7 Lives outside court, initially undergoing stress (5)
ICTUS - I(CT, U[ndergoing])S, that is to say, stress in poetic meter.
8 Award nominally associated with Ulysses? (5)
GRANT - Ulysses S GRANT, where 'nominally' is to be taken quite literally.
13 Unsympathetic detectives asked to support sick (3-8)
ILL-DISPOSED - ILL DIS + POSED, as in 'posed a question'.
16 An irksome task at noon involving male broadcasters (9)
ANCHORMEN - AN + CHOR(M)E + N[oon].   Although that's not the way the cryptic works, 'male broadcasters' may well cause you to think of 'men', which is why this is a rather undeceptive clue.
18 Like shallow streams in country mostly containing fish (7)
WADABLE - WA(DAB)LE[s].   The common dab is an edible flatfish. 
19 Baseball player in jug? (7)
PITCHER - A simple double definition.   We should bring in the 'battery' and confuse our UK solvers.
21 Haughty person regularly taking daughter round university (5)
PROUD - P[e]R[s]O[n] + U + D.
22 Note on Yankee’s funeral song (5)
ELEGY - E + LEG + Y, where E is a note, 'on' is a leg in cricket, and 'Y' is a letter in the NATO alphabet.

QC 1275 by Teazel

I am afraid I am still very tied up with sorting mother out after her fall, but have now thankfully got her installed back home with appropriate care.

I am not even finding time for the 15x15 at the moment which grieves me greatly.

Bare bones stats therefore today.

Time: no idea. Done in odd minutes between sorting out carers and talking to various agencies on the telephone, but it felt like a very straightforward puzzle. Could easily have been a PB under better circumstances. As it is, thank you Teazel for a puzzle that provided a few minutes of welcome respite from less pleasant tasks.

FOI was 1A as you would expect in a puzzle of this sort. Same for LOI 22D.

As I did not feel any clue stood out in terms of difficulty I choose 15D as my COD as being the neatest clue on show.

Definitions are underlined and everything else is explained just as I see it as simply as I can manage.

NATRAF (Nina And Theme Radar And Filter) revealed nothing.

Across
1 I had energy put into slim lamp (9)
SIDELIGHT - I'D (I had) + E (energy) 'put into' SLIGHT (slim).
6 Make meal shortly for Bill’s companion? (3)
COO - COOk (make meal) 'shortly', i.e. with the end chopped off. This gives 'Bill's companion', but perhaps the definition needs a bit of explanation to those of a younger age? Certainly 'to bill and coo' was a phrase I heard from my parents' era although I don't think it was ever used in anger (or in love for that matter) by me or my contemporaries when growing up. I believe it comes from the behaviour of doves, who join their bills (i.e. 'bill') when pairing off, and of course they also make the cooing sound ('coo'). So two people sitting together and kissing would be said to be 'billing and cooing' like doves even though the noises that they made might have been quite different from those that doves make. In time the phrase came to be applied more generally to the activities of lovers doing the sorts of things that they do when getting to know each other properly (after having been formally introduced, naturally).
8 Recipe for stubborn creature finally changed (7)
FORMULA - FOR + MULA (MULE, a stubborn creature, 'finally changed').
9 Keep away from a big gap? (5)
AVOID - A + VOID (big gap).
10 I send teen off in order to become competent (4,4,4)
FIND ONES FEET - straight anagram of I SEND TEEN OFF ('in order').
12 Point at which we cried (4)
WEPT - WE + PT (point).
13 Bob’s aspiration? (4)
HOPE - cryptic definition, Bob HOPE being a famous American comedian, now deceased and therefore the proud possessor of a Golden Entry Ticket to the great Crossword Land Theme Park in the sky.
17 Free latte was remarkably a universal provision (7,5)
WELFARE STATE - straight anagram of FREE LATTE WAS ('remarkably').
20 Pack of something jammy perhaps — love to tuck in (5)
TAROT - TART (something jammy 'perhaps', as alternative forms of tart are available), with O (love) 'tucked in'.
21 Charity event, collecting old clothes? (3,4)
RAG WEEK - RAG WEEK is a traditional student charitable event, and I suppose conceivably the participants could spend the week collecting RAGS (old clothes) for their favourite charities. So I see this as a straightforward cryptic definition.
23 Bricklayer’s tool to take in hand, not large (3)
HOD - HOLD (to take in hand) with the L removed (not large).
24 Communist design to attract alien, from here? (3,6)
RED PLANET - RED (communist) + PLAN (design) + ET (extra-terrestrial = alien).
Down
1 Furniture up till now not quite complete (4)
SOFA - remove the last letter ('not quite complete') from SO FAr (up till now).
2 Little rodents in sleeping area freeze (7)
DORMICE - DORM (sleeping area) + ICE (freeze).
3 Look at university for boy (3)
LOU - LO (look [at] (in the bibilcal sense: "And Lo! They were sore afraid..." etc.)) + U (university).
4 Knotty old lady? (6)
GRANNY - In the Boy Scouts if you messed up your reef knot (a very secure knot) you would probably end up with a GRANNY knot (a very insecure knot that would likely slip and allow your companion to fall to a horrible death down whatever bottomless ravine you were trying to negotiate, resulting no doubt in a severe reprimand from Akela). So a straightforward cryptic definition.
5 Statement of the obvious? It settles the matter (5,4)
THATS THAT - Well, THAT IS, undeniably, THAT, and it does indeed settle the matter.
6 Near a hundred are defeated (5)
CLOSE - C (100 in Latin numbers) + LOSE (are defeated).
7 Toy did move about, a curious thing (6)
ODDITY - straight anagram of TOY DID ('move about').
11 Heartless drive on farm vehicle that runs one down (9)
DETRACTOR - pluck out the heart from DrivE and then add the most obvious farm vehicle (i.e. not the combine harvester). DE + TRACTOR.
14 Sound of tiny feet — new example (7)
PATTERN - somehow, tiny feet always PATTER don't they? + N (new) gives PATTERN.
15 Tic could be this regularly? (6)
TWITCH - a nice little &lit. If you TWITCH regularly, you have a TIC. But if you take 'regular' letters from TwItCh you also have 'TIC'.
16 Notice adverse traffic light and lose temper (3,3)
SEE RED - SEE (notice) + RED (adverse traffic light).
18 Ruled out being tempted (5)
LURED - straight anagram of RULED ('out') = LURED.
19 Take off small outfit (4)
SKIT - S (small) + KIT (outfit). Take-off in the sense of a humorous piece.
22 Hair preparation used by Nigella (3)
GEL - hidden word: NiGELla. Hopefully not used while she's cooking or you might get more than a hair in your soup. Oh, but I suppose it can't be THAT Nigella, as she hasn't yet earned her Golden Ticket to the Crossword Land Theme Park has she?