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March 7th, 2019

Times 27292 - fool me three times!

Solving time: 14:11... but when I hit submit, even though I thought I have checked it over, I made not one, not two, but three very silly errors in the puzzle! Must be playing with the old brain today.

I don't think this is an easy puzzle, there's some obscure answers and some tricky wordplay, so I hope you all did better than me.

The first definition is underlined in each clue.

Away we go...

Acrn
1 Indication of virtue by low-down element (7)
HALOGEN - the indication of virtue is a HALO, then GEN(low-down, information)
5 Researcher's not genuine, back on the job (7)
POSTDOC - COD(not genuine) reversed after POST(job)
9 Test comprehended by unusual three or six-footer (9)
HEXAMETER -  EXAM(test) inside an anagram of THREE
10 Such languages one caught by Hungary regularly (5)
UGRIC - I(one), C(caught) next to alternating letters in hUnGaRy
11 Do lie in chat (13)
CONFABULATION - CON(do), FABULATION(lie) - at least this is what I think it is. FABULATION isn't supported by Collins or Chambers but it could be construed from FABLE
13 The French knight admitted to relative indulgence (8)
LENIENCE - LE(the, in French) then N(Knight in chess) inside NIECE(relative)
15 Improvise in gin rummy, cutting card (4,2)
WING IT - anagram of GIN inside WIT(card)
17 Swan around with man and wife's kinsman (6)
NEPHEW - PEN(swan) reversed, then HE(man) and W(wife)
19 Speaking drunkenly, neglect religious ceremony in confusion (8)
MISHMASH - sounds like someone slurring MISS MASS
22 One acquiring conviction friend's effort is wasted (5,8)
FIRST OFFENDER - anagram of FRIEND'S,EFFORT
25 Is it a tobogganist’s arm? (5)
LUGER - double definition for the winter sport and the gun
26 After forging, had US cent checked (9)
STAUNCHED - anagram of HAD,US,CENT
27 Do some shopping — allowed underwear (7)
SINGLET - SING(do some shopping, rat on), LET(allowed)
28 Soldier to spoil works (7)
PARAPET - PARA(soldier), PET(spoil, cosset) - works here being a wall

Down
1 Chemist offering heroin, a case of it (4)
HAHN - H(heroin), A, then the outside letters in HeroiN. Tricky wordplay for a chemist that is not a household name, despite having a Nobel prize - Otto Hahn worked on nuclear fission
2 Back in jail, prisoner no longer accepting one's set of terms (7)
LEXICON - last letter of jaiL, then EX-CON(prisoner no longer) containing I(one)
3 Kid endlessly on his Nintendo? (5)
GAMIN - if you are on a Nintendo (and I have both a 3DS and a Switch, both highly recommended) you are GAMING... remove the last letter
4 Flier's eccentric garment with skin of cheetah (8)
NUTHATCH - NUT(eccentric), HAT(garment) and the outside letters of CheetaH
5 Dog turning up, sure to be barking (6)
PURSUE - reversal of UP, then anagram of SURE
6 Queen's in bed, somewhat likely to feel sick (9)
SQUEAMISH - QU(queen) in SEAM(bed of mineral), ISH(somewhat likely)
7 Favourite line put in bold (7)
DARLING - L(line) in DARING(bold)
8 Firms head without assurance for fair competition (7,3)
COCONUT SHY - CO, CO(firms), NUT(head), SHY(without assurance)
12 Blocks view of churchgoers hidden by screens (10)
BLINDFOLDS - FOLD(churchgoers) inside BLINDS(screens)
14 Shocks in the Spanish exam in kind of US college (9)
ELECTORAL - ECT(electrical shocks) in EL, ORAL(exam)
16 Got rid of current measure for gas (8)
FIREDAMP - FIRED(got rid of), AMP(current measure)
18 Model's head in painting by surrealist (7)
PARAGON - P(ainting) then Louis ARAGON, surrealist writer
20 Means of transport, or pretentiousness with it (7)
AIRSHIP - AIRS(pretentiousness) and HIP(with it)
21 Balance is wrong on TV (6)
OFFSET - OFF(wrong), SET(TV)
23 Correct and right fare from Turkey (5)
DONER - DONE(correct), and R(right)
24 Passage from "Clemenza di Tito" (4)
ADIT - hidden inside clemenzA DI Tito

Times Quick Cryptic No 1303 by Izetti

It is always a pleasure to blog an Izetti puzzle, my last one was 17 blogs ago.  I was just outside 10 minutes for this one, but some of that time was spent worrying over a couple of possibly redundant words in the clueing (1a and 22a and 1d).  Still, this was my best time this week I think.  COD to 8a for the humour.

It is Mrs Rotter’s birthday today, when she simultaneously becomes as old as me, and the oldest woman I ever slept with! I've been telling her that for decades, but for some reason, recently, she finds it less amusing!  We are celebrating by going to the Don McCullin exhibition this afternoon at the Tate Britain, so responses to any of your comments may be delayed.

Thanks to Izetti.  Please do let me know how you found it.

Across

1  Gold rush in a particular month (6)
AUGUST – AU (gold, from aurum), and GUST (rush).  AUGUST is the 8th month of the year, but whether it is ‘particular’ or not depends on your viewpoint, I imagine.
Maroon seashore (6)
STRAND – Double definition, the first to leave behind or castaway as happened to Ben Gunn in Treasure Island (“Got any cheese?”), and the second meaning shore, beach or waterfront.
8 Old fashioned underwear for artists (7)
DRAWERS – Another DD, this time referring to a close fitting undergarment for the lower body, or people who draw or sketch.
10  Small journey to see river (5)
STOUR – S{mall} and TOUR (journey to see).  There are several rivers of that name in the UK, but the one in Dorset that terminates in Christchurch and the one in the West Midlands that passes through Stourbridge are probably the best known.
11  Animal housed by eccentric Amelia (5)
CAMEL –  Hidden in {eccentri}C AMEL{ia}
12 Moves quickly in autos, always getting caught (7)
CAREERS – CARS from autos, into which is slipped (getting caught) E’ER (poetic ‘always’) .
13  Listen again to Sarah in practice (9)
REHEARSAL – RE-HEAR (listen again) and SAL (short for Sarah).
17  First woman to embrace clan reassembled in eg Lesotho (7)
ENCLAVE – EVE (first woman) surrounding (embracing) an anagram (reassembled) of [CLAN].
19  Article buried in pit somewhere in America (5)
MAINE – A (article) inside (buried in) MINE (pit), to give the name of a New England State.
20  Puddles of water around vessel (5)
SLOOP – POOLS (puddles of water) reversed (around) to give SLOOP, the single-masted cutter-rigged vessel.
21  True son in order shows sign of being a monk (7)
TONSURE – Anagram (in order) of [TRUE SON].  A TONSURE is the partly shaved head of a novice monk.  Reminds me of Friar Tuck in the old TV series Robin Hood.
22  Minister, 50, is about to get tangible awards? (6)
SILVER – REV{erend} (minister) with L (50 in Roman Numerals) and IS (is) all reversed (about) to get SILVER.  A silver medal is an award, but what is tangible doing in the clue.  SILVER can mean money, medal, cutlery or other silverware, all of which could be described as tangible benefits or awards, but tangible can also mean material, which could also describe these things.  Can anyone do better?  I think the clue would work just as well without the word tangible.
23  Troublemaker receives Religious Instruction – from me? (6)
PRIEST – PEST (troublemaker) containing (receives) RI (religious instruction).  The clue is an &lit I think, and the question mark indicates that other providers of RI are available, e.g. teachers, Rabbis, etc.

Down
1         Notice short dictionary for obsessive crossworder? (6)
ADDICT – AD (notice, as in advertisement) and DICT{ionary} (short).  Other types of ADDICT are available, hence the question mark.  Is the word 'crossworder' really necessary?
2  Cool Mrs Graham runs educational establishment (7,6)
GRAMMAR SCHOOL – Anagram (runs) of [COOL MRS GRAHAM].  At the time of leaving my GRAMMAR SCHOOL, I think both the school and I would have agreed that not much education had been achieved in my particular case! 
Secrecy at hostel, somehow giving nothing away (7)
STEALTH – Anagram (somehow) of [AT HOSTEL] after dropping the O (giving nothing away).
Means to give crook a shocking experience? (5)
TASER – Cryptic definition referring to the weapon used to induce temporary paralysis in its target, used by police officers in several countries against potentially violent miscreants or crooks.  The name is said to originate from an acronym of Tom Swift’s Electric Rifle, pronounced to sound like LASER.
6  See us getting drunk with relation, taking any amount of time (2,4,7)
AT ONES LEISURE – Anagram (getting drunk) of [SEE US] with [RELATION]
Force of habit restricting you ultimately (6)
DURESS – DRESS (habit) containing (restricting) {yo}U (ultimately – last letter).
Religious ceremony that could bring about ma’s trance (9)
SACRAMENT – Anagram (could bring about) of [MA’S TRANCE]
14  Managed to turn up at end of house discussion group (7)
SEMINAR – RAN (managed) reversed (turn up) at end of SEMI (house).
15  Facility introduced by Civil Service comes to an end (6)
CEASES –  EASE (facility) inside (introduced by) C{ivil} S{ervice}.
16  Go over to the enemythere’s something wrong (6)
DEFECT – DD.  To defect is to go over to the enemy, and a defect is something wrong.
18  Fruit that’s very soft dunked in beer (5)
APPLE – PP (very soft – musical notation) inside (dunked in) ALE (beer)

Times 27,293: Eggs Over Easy

This was a really good puzzle, tricksy in the wordplay department without being obscure, impeccably surfaced, and having a pleasantly Timesy old-worldliness to its vocabulary. I adored the thwarted soldiers at 9ac and the clever containment indicators "boxes" and "fences" in 15ac and 22dn, but 25ac may have to take the cake as the best "hidden" of the day. Nine and a half minutes on the clock, all of them joyous: much kudos to the setter!

ACROSS
1 Rival’s back-to-back works (4)
OPPO - OP [work] twice, one facing forwards, one backwards. Not quite sure how an oppo (opposite number?) is a rival, when it's usually a mate, but there wasn't much room for doubt. A friendly rival perhaps?

4 Excursionist not falling over things in the dark? (3,7)
DAY TRIPPER - if you aren't TRIPPING [falling over things] in the dark, presumably you're doing it by DAY.

9 Demanding key allowing smooth access? Yet denying entry to soldiers? (4-6)
HARD-BOILED - HARD B OILED [demanding | key | allowing smooth access]. Soldiers as in pieces of toast on soft-boiled egg duty.

10 Knight grabbing a coat casually (4)
DAUB - DUB [knight] "grabbing" A. LOI, taking ages as I was slightly fixated on GARB.

11 Burn lots of paper by side of road (6)
STREAM - REAM [lots of paper] by side of ST [road]. Burn as in a small watercourse.

12 Resident publisher holding minor volume with a set of books (8)
OCCUPANT - O.U.P. [publisher, from the best university town] "holding" CC [minor, as in small, volume] with A NT [a | set of (holy) books]

14 With no touching allowed, display flesh (4)
VEAL - {re}VEAL [display, minus RE = touching]

15 Conservative altered the ballot boxes: one’s providing teatime coverage? (10)
TABLECLOTH - C [Conservative], "boxed" by (THE BALLOT*) ["altered"]

17 Complete a facility for scrap (2,4,4)
DO AWAY WITH - DO [complete] + A WAY WITH [a facility for]

20 Partners with hands empty poet lamented (4)
WEPT - W + E [partners with (bridge) hands] + P{oe}T

21 Fear musical genres haven’t succeeded (4,4)
BLUE FUNK - BLUE{s} + FUNK [two musical genres, minus S = succeeded]

23 Old bit of gym and some games area (6)
PESETA - P.E. [gym] + SET [some games] + A [area]

24 No oil painting of Burghley’s oddly extant: the opposite (4)
UGLY - {b}U{r}G{h}L{e}Y, with the even letters, not the odd ones, extant

25 Address in Bishop’s Stortford (10)
APOSTROPHE - hidden in {Bishop}'{s Stortford}. An apostrophe is also an exclamatory passage in a speech or poem addressed to a person or thing.

26 King of Troy under horse after collapsing (5,5)
HENRY TUDOR - (TROY UNDER H*) ["collapsing"]. I took ages trying to anagram "under horse" into some legendary ancestor of Priam's, perhaps the sweaty-sounding HERNE SUDOR.

27 Possible alternative to barrel bomb (4)
TANK - either a container for liquids, or to flop miserably.

DOWN
2 Lark about to fly initially hit a pole sadly (4,3,4)
PLAY THE FOOL - (TO FLY H{it} A POLE*) ["sadly"]

3 Society member getting rum down with pained expression (9)
ODDFELLOW - ODD [rum] + FELL [down] with OW! [pained expression]. An 18th century London, and subsequently American, secret society.

4 Drudge ultimately destined to roam haphazardly ... (7)
DOORMAT - {destine}D + (TO ROAM*) ["haphazardly"]

5 ... or reliable person on staff seizing a path to fortune (6,5,4)
YELLOW BRICK ROAD - YELLOW [or, as in gold] + BRICK [reliable person] + ROD [staff] "seizing" A

6 Root in the end for a rising hero (7)
RADICLE - {fo}R A + reversed EL CID [hero]

7 Milan outfit quietly training players (5)
PRADA - P [quietly] + RADA [training players, i.e. trainee actors]

8 Raised swelling is to explode (5)
REBUT - reversed TUBER [swelling]. Explode as in "explode a myth".

13 Greatly inferior to what an unrepaired bike tube has? (3,1,5,2)
NOT A PATCH ON - double definition, one slightly more forced than the other!

16 Resort typically ranked bottom? (9)
LOWESTOFT - or LOWEST, OFT suggesting [typically ranked bottom]

18 Warning as unknown circle replaces ME state’s king (3,4)
YOU WAIT - take KUWAIT [M(iddle)E(ast) state] and replace its K [king] with Y O [unknown | circle]

19 New PE shirt fitting below the waist (7)
HIPSTER - (PE SHIRT*) ["new"]. As in "hipster jeans".

21 Gesture of respect for auditor’s branch (5)
BOUGH - homophone of BOW [gesture of respect]

22 Horseman once going over national hunt fences (5)
UHLAN - fenced in reversed by {natio}NAL HU{nt}. An obscurish word for a Polish cavalryman, but fortunately the cryptic doesn't leave much room for doubt!