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February 7th, 2019

Solving time 9:50, which about an hour in, puts me in first place on the leaderboard (that will probably change before I have finished this write-up).

It is very rare that my last clue in is an anagram, but that was the case today, even with all the checking letters in place, I had to reach for paper and pen to work out what was needed for 13 down, a phrase I think I have heard before but certainly have not used.

A good crossword for trusting the wordplay, this one, particularly in a few entries I usually have difficulty spelling (I wonder if any of the regulars on the leaderboard with errors biffed 11 down with a spelling mistake).

The first definition in each clue is underlined.

Away we go...

Across
1 Anti-war literary genre getting no opening in time gone by (8)
PACIFIST - the literary genre is SCI-FI.  Remove the S and insert in PAST(time gone by)
5 Understood one in church recalled architectural style (6)
GOTHIC - GOT(understood) then I in CH(church) reversed
9 Charm is maintained in most of chat with a guy (8)
TALISMAN - IS inside TAL(k) (chat) and MAN(a guy)
10 Soccer player: “Try a position” (6)
GOALIE - GO(try), A, LIE(position in golf)
12 Variable assessment of trombone music? (7,5)
SLIDING SCALE - Double definition, one slightly cryptic
15 No great contribution to film run (5)
EXTRA - double definition, someone with a bit part in a film, and a run in cricket
16 Plan to attack fake story I want amended, after taking in newspaper (3,2,4)
LIE IN WAIT - LIE(fake story) then an anagram of I,WANT containing the I newspaper.
18 Expedition on board trendy craft going far? (9)
SPACESHIP - PACE(expedition) inside SS(so on board a ship), then HIP(trendy)
19 Name assigned to god is a problematic point (5)
THORN - N next to THOR(god)
20 Cheerful illumination requiring attention — skill to be brought in (5-7)
LIGHT-HEARTED - LIGHT(illumination) then HEED(attention) containing ART(skill)
24 What may be related to Siamese flower spike (6)
CATKIN - if you are related to a Siamese you could be a CAT KIN
25 American punished without full scrutiny? (2,6)
IN CAMERA - anagram of AMERICAN
26 Risk pulling line from hanging item (6)
DANGER - remove L(line) from DANGLER(hanging item)
27 Second church festival engages me for a study period (8)
SEMESTER - S(second) then EASTER(church festival) with ME replacing A

Down
1 Stone with hard core (4)
PITH - PIT(stone of a fruit), H(hard)
2 Loss of power after Liberal has infiltrated religious group (4)
CULT - a power CUT containing L(liberal)
3 American unfavourably engaged in diminishing gunfire (9)
FUSILLADE - US(American), ILL(unfavorably) inside FADE(diminishing as a noun)
4 Newspaper is source of coupons in footwear and bedding (7,5)
SCANDAL SHEET - first letter of Coupons insie SANDAL(footwear) and SHEET(bedding)
6 Old doctor disposing of new instruments (5)
OBOES - O(old), then BONES(doctor) missing N(new)
7 A graduate in Northern city with facilities to make a racket (10)
HULLABALOO - A, BA(graduate) inside HULL(Northern city) and LOO(facilities)
8 Fruit, very pleasant during middle of break (10)
CLEMENTINE - CLEMENT(very pleasany, opposite of INCLEMENT), IN(during), then the middle letter in brEak
11 Reserve about Northern mood? Article shows lack of restraint (12)
INTEMPERANCE - ICE(reserve) surrounding all of N(northern), TEMPER(mood), AN(article)
13 It’s to be involved with pledge and a bit of commitment? (3,7)
GET SPLICED - anagram of ITS, PLEDGE, C(ommitment)
14 Shattering rocks put in alignment? (10)
STRAIGHTEN - anagram of SHATTERING
17 No Communist to occupy flat in Parisian building (5-4)
NOTRE-DAME - NO, then RED(Communist) inside TAME(flat)
21 Bunk with sheet finally on ready (5)
TRIPE - (shee)T, RIPE(ready)
22 European to allow twice the time (4)
LETT - LET(allow) with two T's
23 Charge up, snatching one item (4)
PAIR - RAP(charge) reversed, surrounding I(one)

Times Quick Cryptic No 1283 by Orpheus

Another Orpheus puzzle for me to mull over – I seem to get a lot of Orpheus (not that I am complaining!).  This one took me 12 minutes and 34 seconds, so almost exactly in the middle of my target range.

There is some unusual vocab for a QC in both clues and answers (SCAD, ISINGLASS, EULOGY, TEMPI, PSHAW, LORIMER, ENCOMIUM and PROA to name a few), but I think they are all very fairly and generously clued.  Some of them will provide the sort of challenge for newbies that will stretch them somewhat, but it is good for all of us to be stretched occasionally.

I didn't spot any repetition of the typos that plagued us yesterday, and my grid appeared to work flawlessly, so hopefully these things are behind us.


Thanks Orpheus for the challenge.  Please let me know how you all got on.  See below for my CoD and WoD.

Across
Precise account given by member of clergy (8)
ACCURATE – AC (account) and CURATE (member of clergy).
5  Unhappy  eating cold fish (4)
SCAD – SAD (unhappy) eating C{old}.  SCAD is a type of fish similar to a mackerel, and sometimes called horse mackerel.
9 German city identified by odd characters in East Sheen (5)
ESSEN – Alternate letters (odd characters) in E[a}S{t} S{h}E{e}N.
10  Person taking holiday just before the fall? (7)
TRIPPER – Whimsical cryptic definition, close to a double definition.  An excursionist or person taking a holiday would be a tripper as would someone about to take a fall after a trip.  Can anyone see anything else in this?
11  Copy paper with edges cut off (3)
APE –  {p}APE{r} – with the edges cut off – i.e. remove first and last letters.
12 Gelatinous substance in abandoned sailing ship (9)
ISINGLASS – Anagram (abandoned) of [SAILING] and SS (ship).  ISINGLASS is a gelatine like substance obtained from, amongst other sources, a sturgeon’s air-bladder, and used in the clarification of beer.  Sailing is the anagrist (the letters to be manipulated as part of the anagram), and does not refer to the first part of SS - SS is rarely used to indicate Sailing Ship, and these days more often refers to Steam Ship or a Single Screw vessel, although I suppose it could be doing double duty - although that isn't necessary for the cue or the wordplay.
13  Record kept in Brussels may finally produce encomium (6)
EULOGY – EU (European Union, hence Brussels, just in case you had forgotten about the EU) and LOG (record) followed by {ma}Y (finally).  Here is our Brexit clue of the day, linking Theresa May to one of her adversaries.  An encomium isn't an old musical instrument (which is what it sounds like), but is a EULOGY or high commendation, usually for someone who has recently departed!  Do we think there is a hidden message here, and is it for our PM or for the EU in these fractuous and troubled times?
15  Report of officer in centre of Brazil? (6)
KERNEL – Homophone (report of) – KERNEL sounds loosely like Colonel, and is the fruit at the centre of a Brazil nut, for example.
17  Attendant admits fire-raising in priest’s residence (9)
PARSONAGE – Arson (fire-raising) surrounded or admitted by PAGE (attendant).
19  Old French coin originally spent on underwear (3)
SOU – First letters (originally) of S{pent} O{n} U{nderwear}.  A SOU was originally a 5-centime piece, or more generally, any small amount of money.
20  Part of skeleton?  That sounds funny (7)
HUMERUS – Another homophone, this time with the answer sounding like humorous (funny).
21  Speeds imposed at first on casual worker (5)
TEMPI – TEMP (casual worker) and I{mposed} (at first).  TEMPI is the plural of TEMPO meaning speed or rate.
22 Be employed in Hounslow or Kennington (4)
WORK – Hidden answer in {hounslo}W OR K{ennington}.  The latest Project Fear would have it that none of us will be so employed after a no-deal Brexit
23  Move towards chap swimming round Malay boat (8)
APPROACH – Anagram (swimming) of [CHAP] round PROA (Malay boat).  For those that haven’t come across this before, a Proa is a fast Malay sailing- or rowing-vessel with both ends alike, and a flat side with an outrigger to leeward.  Now you know!

Down
1 Artificial fibre in church gallery (7)
ACETATE – A (a) CE (church, as in Church of England) and TATE (gallery).  ACETATE is short for Acetate Rayon, an artificial fibre.
Class teacher initially involved in court action (5)
CASTE – T{eacher} (originally) inside CASE (court action).
Part of early motor carthe chairman’s responsibility? (7,5)
RUNNING BOARD – Double definition, the first referring to the footboard along the side of some early (and some later) automobiles, the second referring to one of the many responsibilities of our overworked chairmen, the board here being the Board of Directors.
Bantu-speaker expresses disapproval over island (5)
TUTSI – To emit TUTS is to express disapproval, followed by I{sland}.  The TUTSI are members of the Bantu people living in Rwanda and Burundi, where the Bantu language is widely spoken.
6 Officer liable to be taken in by murderer (7)
CAPTAIN – The murderer is CAIN of Old Testament fame, taking in or containing APT (liable).
Shoots game (5)
DARTS – A double definition following Rotter’s Law – two word clues are invariably DDs.
8  One digesting short records in small car? (6-6)
SINGLE-SEATER – SINGLES (short records) and EATER (one digesting).
14  See old poet? He would have made a bit once! (7)
LORIMER – LO (see) and RIMER (archaic spelling of rhymer, e.g. old poet).  A LORIMER was the maker of the metal parts of horse-harnesses, such as the bits themselves.  The cryptic definition part wins my nomination for CoD.
16 Unmannerly leaders of illegal sect in Irish county (7)
LOUTISH –  First letters (leaders of) I{llegal} and S{ect} inside LOUTH (Irish county).  Unmannerly wins my nomination for WoD.
17  Quiet playwright?  Don’t make me laugh! (5)
PSHAW – P (quiet) and SHAW (playwright).  PSHAW is defined in my Chambers app as ‘expressing contempt or impatience’.
18 Greek writer’s main upset over work (5)
AESOP – SEA (main) upset (overturned) followed by OP (work, as in OPUS).  AESOP nearly makes another appearance as a NINA in the 12th column.
19  Dance composed by a doctor in South America (5)
SAMBA – A (a) and MB (doctor) inside S{outh} A{merica}.  MB as a 'doctor' always troubled me until I looked it up a few weeks ago when blogging, to discover that it stands for Medicinae Baccaleureus (Latin) - or Bachelor of Medicine to you and I.

Times 27,269: The Punt Is To Change It

There are a lot of witty things in this puzzle, a *lot*, but the whole experience was sadly soured for me, and to judge by the state of the leaderboard at least a few others, by 6dn, where I took a punt on PUNT, which I maintain is an adequate alternative answer. "take a punt at" - British and Australian informal for "have an attempt or try at", which is just the same as "have a stab at"; and my Collins app goes so far as to give "knock" as a direct definition of punt, alongside the kick one. Whereas "pink" as in the knocking of an engine and stabbing someone with a rapier (!) are, in my personal opinions, obscurer words in less common usage. None of this does anything to dissuade me from my firmly held belief that the double definition of a 4 letter word, requiring a long alphabet trawl to locate candidate options, is the worst kind of clue. Boo and indeed hiss!

7.5 minutes but a DNF then. Elsewhere than 6dn there was as I say an awful lot of colour and things to like. I'll give COD to 13dn for its sauce and audacity. Thanks setter! But once again, 6dn... bah humbug!

ACROSS
1 Mechanic making a terrific mess (9)
ARTIFICER - (A TERRIFIC*) ["mess"]

6 Not such a fair job for host (3,2)
PUT UP - a PUT-UP job being a dishonest scheme

9 Take course of treatment to overcome fit (7)
CAPTURE - CURE [course of treatment] to "overcome" APT [fit]

10 New injection I must follow up, turning back tongue (7)
PUNJABI - N JAB I [new | injection | I] must follow reversed UP

11 Secret informer has serious love for European in danger (4,6)
DEEP THROAT - DEEP [serious] + THR{e->O}AT [danger, E for European becoming O = love]

12 Doctor comes to a halt (4)
WHOA - WHO [Doctor] comes to A

14 A feature on Cromwell rejected as corny stuff (5)
STRAW - reversed WARTS [a feature on Cromwell]. My ability to solve this clue was not helped by reading Cromwell as "Cornwall" for quite some time. Eye test required...

15 Exclude from hotel — I’m in a tent (9)
ELIMINATE - hidden in {hot}EL I'M IN A TE{nt}

16 Take too much in benefit, computer error offering a bomb (9)
DOODLEBUG - O.D. [take too much] in DOLE [benefit] + BUG [computer error]

18 Like a nail, perhaps, not quite dried? (5)
TACKY - or TACK-Y, as in a bit like a tack.

20 Cut access to computer, not good (4)
LOIN - LO{g}IN [access to computer, minus G for good]

21 Call regularly to keep order before old kingdom becomes profitable (10)
COMMERCIAL - C{a}L{l}, to keep O.M. [order] before MERCIA [old kingdom]

25 Checked both ends of bar were unoccupied (7)
BRIDLED - B{a}R at both ends, + IDLED [were unoccupied]

26 Smirk, as I’m in a sin-free state (7)
GRIMACE - I'M in GRACE [a sin-free state]

27 Cop rejecting a tedious occupation (5)
GARDA - A DRAG [a | tedious occupation] reversed

28 Rings ground, postponing a series of games in turn (9)
RESONATES - take REASON [ground], "postpone" its A till the end of the word, then add a reversed SET [series of games]

DOWN
1 Lead lost in amusing play, departs discharged (5)
ARCED - {f}ARCE [amusing play, with its first letter lost] + D for departs

2 Perhaps fourth best outfit? (3,4)
TOP GEAR - or your top gear could indeed be your best outfit.

3 Artful howl breaking through — this to the house? (6,4)
FOURTH WALL - (ARTFUL HOWL*) ["breaking"], semi-&lit

4 Charlie king next, that’s obvious (5)
CLEAR - C [Charlie], LEAR [king] next

5 Traveller at table, maybe, having the usual? (9)
REPEATING - REP EATING [traveller | at table, maybe], semi-&lit

6 Knock or stab (4)
PINK - double def, but grr, see above.

7 Hydrogen in tiny amount over area where air passes (7)
TRACHEA - H [hydrogen] in TRACE [tiny amount] over A [area]

8 Collecting little stickers from Italy, help with sorting (9)
PHILATELY - (ITALY HELP*) ["with sorting"]. "Little stickers" here being stamps.

13 Monk having nun (so to speak) — one imprisoned? (10)
CISTERCIAN - homophone of SISTER [nun] + I [one] in the CAN [imprisoned?]

14 Doctor pulled up murder victim in slump, one lying over the wheel? (9)
SADDLEBAG - DD [Doctor] + reversed ABEL [murder victim] in SAG [slump]. Does the definition refer to a pannier on a bike?

15 Elaborately sew Christian up during his fast day (9)
EMBROIDER - reversed DIOR [Christian] during EMBER [an Ember-day being a Christian fast day]

17 Nothing disturbed virile actor (7)
OLIVIER - O [nothing] + (VIRILE*) ["disturbed"]

19 Graphics files stack up endlessly among pending purchases (4,3)
CLIP ART - reversed PIL{e} [stack "endlessly"] "among" CART [pending purchases]

22 Wizard comic no good (5)
MAGUS - MAG U/S [comic | no good]. The not uncommon (in crosswords) abbreviation of unserviceable; nothing to do with, as most people will probably initially have considered, subtracting a G.

23 In city needs bandage perhaps having cut head (5)
LEEDS - {b}LEEDS [needs bandage perhaps, with its head cut off]

24 Not quite epic bones (4)
ILIA - ILIA{d} ["not quite" epic]