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February 28th, 2019

Times 27286 - where's ya wheelie bin?

Time taken: 8:46 - I thought I was on my way to a personal best, but I got stuck on the last three and had to get some paper and start scribbling letter combinations before something would come. I think if you are more familiar with the terms this could be a pretty quick solve.

The first definition in each clue is underlined.

Away we go...

Across
1 Church abandons whim to create popular resort (5)
CAPRI - remove CE(church) from CAPRICE(whim)
4 Quietly supported by act protecting western water plant (8)
PONDWEED - P(quietly), ON(supported by), DEED(act) containing W(Western)
8 Surprisingly to us, a man spurns a rise in Greece (5,9)
MOUNT PARNASSUS - anagram of TO,US,A,MAN,SPURNS
10 Tucking into ham, soldiers respond too forcibly (9)
OVERREACT - OVERACT(ham as a verb) containing RE(soldiers)
11 Material for gloves taken to court by English (5)
SUEDE - SUED(taken to court) beside E(English)
12 Prehistoric relic sons wrapped in metallic sheet (6)
FOSSIL - S,S (multiple sons) inside FOIL(metallic sheet)
14 Libyan port’s endless mist absorbed by boy soldier (8)
BENGHAZI - HAZ(e)(mist) inside BEN(boy), GI(soldier). A place that is not soon forgotten from its ubiquity in the news a few years ago
17 Knight dined in airport in sumptuous manner (8)
ORNATELY - N(Knight), ATE(dined) in ORLY(Pairs airport)
18 Big gun given position in Albert Hall (6)
BERTHA - hidden in alBERT HAll
20 Rope-maker’s sibling briefly linked with notorious gangster (5)
SISAL - SIS(sibling) with AL Capone
22 Everyone’s in debt keeping lab working: it’s permitted (9)
ALLOWABLE - ALL OWE (everyone is in debt) containing an anagram of LAB
24 Can, and reportedly used to, clean in German town (8,6)
WORMWOOD SCRUBS - sounds like WOULD (used to), SCRUB(clean) in the German town of WORMS. This was my last one in
25 Nit-picking fellow going into favourite lines (8)
PEDANTRY - DAN(fellow) inside PET(favorite), RY(lines)
26 Dainty swimming aid used by the Spanish (5)
ELFIN - FIN(swimming aid) with EL(the, in Spanish)

Down
1 Do least well: stop taking malt extract containing sulphur (4,3,5)
COME OFF WORST - COME OFF (stop taking, as in a medication), then WORT(malt extract) containing S(sulphur)
2 Break assistant initially employed touring the States (5)
PAUSE - PA(assistant), and E(mployed) surrounding the US
3 Court order Bury police overturned on time (9)
INTERDICT - INTER(bury), then CID(police) reversed, T(time)
4 Design upset person painting flat (6)
PLANAR - PLAN(deisgn) then RA(person painting) reversed
5 In Newcastle, popular liaisons: they were once described as naughty! (8)
NINETIES - NE(Newcastle region), containing IN(popular), then TIES(liaisons)
6 Rugby club used to be pretty successful at first (5)
WASPS - WAS(used to be), then P(retty), S(uccessful). Coventry-based Rugby club, fortunately gettable by wordplay
7 Elated over German worker supporting former partner (9)
EXUBERANT - UBER(over in German), then ANT(worker) underneath EX(former partner)
9 Food shop transformed by caste in Leeds (12)
DELICATESSEN - anagram of CASTE,IN,LEEDS
13 Way a person goes about with first bit of Southend rock (9)
SANDSTONE - ST(way), ONE(a person) surrounding AND(with), and the first letter in Southend
15 Sort of rock cake cooked by elderly wife? (9)
GREYWACKE - anagram of CAKE with GREY(elderly), W(wife)
16 Jumper mostly sported at entrance to tyre plant (8)
FLEAWORT - FLEA(jumper), then WOR(e) (sported) and the first letter of Tyre
19 Good woman accommodating learner with pleasure (6)
GLADLY - G(good), LADY(woman) containing L(learner)
21 Liberal introducing novel proposition (5)
LEMMA - L(liberal) and the Jane Austen novel EMMA
23 Hearty boatman’s beginning to steer towards the wind (5)
BLUFF - first letter in Boatman, then LUFF(steer towards the wind)

Times Quick Cryptic No 1298 by Pedro

Pleasant puzzle from Pedro - I worked through it fairly steadily and crept in a few seconds under my target. Looking back over it there seems to be a bit of an over-reliance on the "insert x in y" type clue, of which I count nine (and a further three "remove x from y" clues). This, along with a few long anagrams might explain the steady solve, but it never felt like a plod as there were enough other things of interest along the way, such as the nice words in 8ac and 15d, and the light-hearted 5d and 11d. In my ignorance I only knew 14ac as the food, so I did learn something as well. Much enjoyed, many thanks to Pedro!

Across
1 Risk needing a sling? (6,4,3)
CHANCE ONES ARM - I was initially a bit unconvinced, and thought I was missing something, but it's fair enough: taking a chance with your arm may result in the need for a sling, I don't think there's anything more to it than that. The origin of the phrase is somewhat disputed.
8 Exclamation when probing handwriting — blooming shopkeeper! (7)
FLORIST - LOR (exclamation, as in "oh lor!", after "lord") probes FIST (handwriting). Blooming as in flowers. "Fist" for handwriting is perhaps somewhat archaic: the OED's entry, not updated since 1896, described its use as "now only jocular". Nice though.
9 Family group’s beginning a racket (5)
CLANG - CLAN (family) G (Group's beginning)
10 Elevated position in Mad Hatter’s prose (12)
STRATOSPHERE - anagram (mad) of HATTERS PROSE.
12 Bound to return to US city for the Spanish food (6)
PAELLA - LEAP (bound) reverse/return, to LA (US city)
14 Sea creatures affected during island’s revolution (6)
SCAMPI - CAMP (affected) during/inside IS. (island) reversing/revolving. I was sure scampi referred only to the meal of cooked langoustine tails or similar (or cooked batter if you've ever bought the frozen supermarket variety), but no, it's an animal, also called the Dublin Bay prawn or Norway lobster. The singular can be either scampi or scampo. If I was setting up a retro nouvelle cuisine restaurant, there'd definitely be scampo on a bed of spaghetto as a main course (serves two).
17 A man from the Balkans secures British circus performer (7)
ACROBAT - A CROAT (a man from the Balkans) secures B(ritish)
19 A scam to snaffle farmer’s last fruit from tree (5)
ACORN - A CON (a scam) to snaffle R (farmeR's last)
20 Deduce no escaping from fire (5)
INFER - INFERNO (fire) with NO disappearing/escaping.
21 Keeping to oneself, sulk endlessly amidst dreadful rain (7)
INSULAR - SUL (sulk, endlessly) amidst an anagram (dreadful) of RAIN
22 Those people will collect old record for religious study (8)
THEOLOGY - THEY (those people) collects O(ld) LOG (record)
23 Longing to thumb a lift in part of London? (4)
ITCH - or to hitch in Cockney

Down
1 Hit copper with repeated force (4)
CUFF - Cu (copper) FF (Force, repeatedly)
2 One sent out letters covered in beer (7)
APOSTLE - POST (letters) covered in ALE (beer)
3 Country engaged in machinations? (5)
CHINA - "Engaged" in the letters of maCHINAtions
4 Work on it ineptly for choice (6)
OPTION - OP. (opus/work), anagram (ineptly) of ON IT
5 Clue “Seascape” with an anagram? It’s a potential way out (6,6)
ESCAPE CLAUSE - Well call a spade a spade, eh?! Anagram of CLUE SEASCAPE.
6 A type of grain I ditched in shock (5)
AMAZE - A MAIZE (type of grain, ditch the I)
7 Awful aching torment that needle points to (8,5)
MAGNETIC NORTH - anagram (awful) of ACHING TORMENT
11 Someone getting a buzz from their hobby? (8)
APIARIST - cryptic definition, referring to bees buzzing.
13 Seriously inaccurate stories about artist making free (7)
LIBERAL - Seriously inaccurate stories can be LIBEL, going about R.A. (artist). Nice use of "seriously". 
15 Argue about Northern Line, one not seen in the brightest light (7)
MOONLIT - to argue = to moot, going about/around N(orthern) L(ine) I (one). A moot, originally a legal assembly, came to be a hypothetical case for discussion by law students, hence a moot point's lack of practical significance.
16 Nothing overlooked in keeping yarn (6)
STRING - STORING (keeping) with O (nothing) overlooked/ignored
18 Search thoroughly for weapon (5)
RIFLE - double definition

Times 27,287: Mightier Than The Sorb

A devious puzzle, riddled with cunning definitions, that I counted myself lucky to finish in ~10 minutes, post boozy pub quiz (we won! yay). Some obscure vocab should have slowed most solvers down - if you knew BRISLING or LUSATIAN off the bat, you're a better man than I am Gunga Din.

Clue of the day to 11ac for a lovely surface that took me a good while to parse, with runner-up prize to 28ac for having a 7-word definition part compared to 2 words of wordplay - I think that's actually really quite a rare occurrence. Thanks to the setter for a quality Friday puzzle!

ACROSS
1 Happy for one to turn off raw data, but not entirely (5)
DWARF - hidden reversed in {of}F RAW D{ata}

4 Roughly weld an unusual, unknown material for guttering? (6-3)
CANDLE-WAX - CA [roughly] + (WELD AN*) ["unusual"] + X [unknown]

9 Displayed great relish with animated short shown in full (9)
SALIVATED - ALIV{e} [animated "short"] shown in SATED [full]

10 Shy artisan spending every second in the country (5)
SYRIA - S{h}Y {a}R{t}I{s}A{n}

11 Simple time perhaps for children and youth of the fifties (13)
UNADULTERATED - UN-ADULT ERA [time perhaps for children] + TED [youth of the fifties]

14 Obscene gents had to be heard (4)
LEWD - homophone of LOO'D [gents had]

15 Popular download having a charge that’s hidden? (10)
INAPPARENT - IN APP [popular | download] having A RENT [a | charge]

18 Unexpected weaknesses that held boxer up? (4,2,4)
FEET OF CLAY - the boxer being Cassius Clay aka Mohammed Ali

19 Singular epithet for men (4)
STAG - S TAG [singular | epithet]

21 Dread holding broadcast back with light experimentation (5,3,5)
TRIAL AND ERROR - TERROR [dread] holding reversed AIR [broadcast] + LAND [light]

24 Fence, perhaps, close to historic castle (5)
CROOK - {histori}C + ROOK [castle]

25 Sprat eating fat at last, visibly indignant? (9)
BRISTLING - BRISLING [sprat] "eating" {fa}T

27 Dutch people better off than us? (5,4)
OTHER HALF - as in one's wife, or "how the other half lives"

28 Traveller books place somewhere new to put down roots (5)
REPOT - REP OT [traveller | books]

DOWN
1 Ultimately cooled one’s temper in bar (10)
DISQUALIFY - {coole}D I'S + QUALIFY [temper]

2 One piercing cry when heading off (3)
AWL - {b}AWL [cry, its "heading off"]

3 Number keeping a slightly larger number back (6)
FAVOUR - FOUR [number] "keeping" A V [a | slightly larger (than 4) number]

4 Rigid, like traffic bollard that’s holding up so long (9)
CATATONIC - CONIC [like traffic bollard] that's "holding" reversed TATA [so long]

5 Low section of arena — dirt-cheap (5)
NADIR - hidden in {are}NA DIR{t-cheap}

6 Central European’s great desire to adopt a Scottish name (8)
LUSATIAN - LUST [great desire] to "adopt" A, plus IAN [Scottish name]

7 One raising game after broadcast quickly turned champion (5-6)
WORLD-BEATER - BEATER [one raising game] after homophone Of WHIRLED [quickly turned]

8 This Yankee succeeds by right, indeed (4)
XRAY - X R AY [by | right | indeed]. Yankee succeeds Xray in the phonetic alphabet.

12 Unsavoury fancy junk those two eat (1,5,5)
A SWEET TOOTH - (THOSE TWO EAT*) ["junk"]

13 Where player can appear fine having abandoned his fear? (5,5)
STAGE RIGHT - STAGE {f}RIGHT [(player's) fear, losing F for fine]

16 A record returned in exchange for one bringing case (9)
PLAINTIFF - reverse A LP [a | record] + IN TIFF [in | exchange]

17 One as it were who’d steal doctor’s name (8)
MONICKER - M.O. NICKER [one as it were who'd steal doctor]

20 Comic way to scoff sandwiches (6)
JESTER - ST [way], sandwiched by JEER [to scoff]

22 Sign we’ve lost track of reference collection (5)
LIBRA - LIBRA{ry} [reference collection, "losing" RY = railway = track]

23 Mounting appeal to Anglicans to reflect (4)
ECHO - reverse all of OH CE! [appeal to Anglicans]

26 The writer’s potential, at first, for mischief (3)
IMP = I'M [the writer's] + P{otential}

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