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February 18th, 2019

Times Quick Cryptic 1290 by Mara

I was pleased to finish just inside my target 10 minutes today having found last week's batch of puzzles a little more difficult than usual. I hesitate to say there's nothing too tricky here but I shall be interested to read how others fared.

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Most unusually I snuck under 18 minutes for this one, which furriners might find a bit tricky with a fairly recondite Scotch county popping up. There's also a fairly obscure word for genie, which might bother those who do not waste fantastic amounts of time, as I do, playing Scrabble. I think my last in was probably 1 down, as it is a word I'm not sure I've ever heard of. Well, that isn't quite true, as I have heard of it (of which more below), but have never seen this orthographic varietal. I'm not sure if the Chinese tea will catch anyone out - it's certainly not one of the commoner ones, of which my favourite, in case any of you will shout me yum cha one day, is bo lei (pu'er in Mandarin).


1 Prevent Chopin initially plugging one of his compositions? (8)
PRECLUDE - C in PRELUDE. Here's one that was so nice that Mangy Benditoy nicked it.
5 Fluid movement popular woman talked of (6)
INFLOW - IN FLO. Who, but who, is called Flo these days, pray?
10 Terribly sad, to marry and scorn an old county (4,3,8)
ROSS AND CROMARTY - anagram* of SAD TO MARRY SCORN. Terrific name for a region that has had more identities than Alec Guinness in Kind Hearts and Coronets.
11 Former writer’s ultimately excessive outlay (7)
12 Accountant keeping a set of books at work (7)
CANTATA - A NT AT in CA. Here's a nice one from Johann Sibelius Bach.
13 Convenient-sounding cover for the Grand National for example (8)
HANDICAP - sounds like HANDY CAP
15 Source of light say backing sort of shelf (5)
LEDGE - LED EG reversed
18 Verse from sacred song mostly used in school class (5)
RHYME - HYM[n] in RE (Religious Education, bless it). Did you know that John Steinbeck always spelled this 'ryme'? I know this and many other useless facts about the man those who knew how to criticise but didn't know how to write something people wanted to read hated, and fully intend to spend a holiday in Salinas and the surrounding area boring the pants off fellow Steinbeck aficionadi, as we argue about all manner of things, not least whether aficionadi is a real word resulting from a genius for coinage (the Master was very keen on this) or just a silly affectation by those with more enthusiasm than learning.
20 Character by river absorbing current source of nourishment (8)
NUTRIENT - NU I in TRENT (river somewhere in the centre of England)
23 Learner kept by Aussie mate, one getting down to work at last? (7)
COBBLER - I liked this. L in COBBER. G'day to all the Bruces and Sheilahs out there! Oh, yes, in case you were wondering a shoemaker (Schumann was his name) works at a last.
25 Get boat refurbished in part of workshop (7)
26 Do what’s required, as distributors should (7,3,5)
27 Spirit served by club employee in part of UK (6)
DJINNI - DJ IN NI (Nr'n Ir'n - capital Belfast)
28 Fish is available outside entrance to regimental HQ (8)


1 Stitch finally made runner fall (6)
PURLER - PURL (knitting thingie) [mad]E R. I've heard of come a cropper, but not come (or make) a purler. Maybe it's a northern thing. Talking of which, here's Giggsie scoring an absolute pearler. And what a rug!
2 Docile pet initially not minding a walk in the park (4-5)
EASY-PEASY - EASY (as in 'easy to control') P EASY (as in 'I'm easy')
3 Erudite king with study facing north (7)
4 Daughter feeding magistrate’s duck (5)
DODGE - D in DOGE (the head honcho in Venice)
6 Trivial old bird in northern lake (7)
7 Female councilLOR NAttering in the centre (5)
LORNA - hidden in the chirpy councillor
8 Foot-traveller means to get on river (8)
WAYFARER - WAY FARE ('how did you fare, my doge?') R
9 Eccentric person’s first-class pool (8)
CRACKPOT - CRACK POT (as in a lottery)
14 Perverse artist in land without university (8)
CONTRARY - RA in CO[u]NTRY. 'Perverse and foolish oft I strayed, but yet in love he sought me; and on his shoulder gently laid, and home, rejoicing, brought me.' Now there's poetry!
16 Day a surgeon flapped, posing risk (9)
17 Richly woven cloak originally worn by Catholic press chief (8)
19 Wake up in French quarter — outside as it happens (7)
ENLIVEN - LIVE in EN ('in' in French) N (quarter)
21 Number in which vocalist misses start, holding note (7)
22 Strong man’s woman, possibly, and male issue (6)
SAMSON - SAM (as in the great Sam[antha] Stosur) SON
24 Spicy dish from US port? No more (5)
BALTI - BALTI[more]. I got to series 3 of The Wire before giving up. Not sure the prog did a lot of good for Maryland tourism.
25 Sound sort of tie a chap assumed at first for tea (5)
BOHEA - sounds like BOW HE (a chap) A[ssumed]