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March 21st, 2019

Times 27304 - don't wait until the 20

Time taken: 9:30.

I didn't get off to a very good start on this one, but it was a steady solve and fill in the gaps as I went round and I ended up a scratch under 10 minutes, which is pretty good for me.

I had bated breath as there were two guesses (both in the top row) that now I have to work out what the definition is (in one case) and the wordplay (in the other). Maybe I'll blog the downs first...

The first definition in each clue is underlined.

Away we go...

Across
1 Surface of river reflected man in garden (7)
MACADAM - the river CAM reversed then ADAM was in the garden (of Eden) - the definition is a road surface - I'm more used to seeing it as TARMACADAM
5 Role of Charlton police after soup stolen from bordello (2,3)
EL CID - CID(police) after BROTH(soup) has been removed from BROTHEL(bordello). El Cid was played by Charlton Heston in 1961. Before making it as an Hollywood actor, Charlton Heston ran a theater in Asheville, North Carolina in the 40s, it is now the Asheville Community Theatre and I have performed a couple of times in it. While I'm storytelling, I'm about to start reheasing for my (ahem) biggest role yet, I will be playing Falstaff in a summer production of Henry IV Part 1
9 Secret boozer with beer, half-cut (5)
INNER - INN(boozer) and half of beER
10 Fermenting juice isn't wrong (9)
INJUSTICE - ANAGRAM of JUICE,ISN'T
11 Stick around, and ultimately you'll achieve celebrity (7)
NOTABLE - BATON(stick) reversed and the last letter os youlL, achievE
12 Tear about Long Island with a dependent (7)
RELIANT - RENT(tear) surrounding LI(Long Island, an area close to New York City), A. Edit: I had mistakenly identified Long Island as a borough earlier, offending several people and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Apologies.
13 Reportedly rejected everywhere (10)
THROUGHOUT - sounds like THREW OUT(rejected)
15 Drove female mad at last (4)
HERD - HER(female), then the last letter of maD
18 Carve sides of elegant church (4)
ETCH - outer letters of EleganT, ChurcH
20 Play with mates until very late (4-6)
LAST-MINUTE - anagram of MATES, UNTIL - I liked this clue very much
23 Touching delicacy on fiddle (7)
CONTACT - TACT(delicacy) with CON(fiddle)
24 Backsliding setter’s packing trunk for drug dealer (7)
CHEMIST - I'M(setter's) reversed inside CHEST(trunk)
25 Learning of nude riot, I panicked (9)
ERUDITION - anagram of NUDE,RIOT,I
26 Tease short bloke very loudly (5)
CHAFF - CHA(p), FF(very loudly)
27 Iron resolution possessed by private secretary (5)
PRESS - RES(resolution) inside PS(private secretary)
28 Order wine for relatives (7)
KINDRED - KIND(order, sort), then RED wine

Down
1 Enormous characters in gym, on steroids (7)
MONSTER - hidden in gyM ON STERoids
2 Charlie regularly decries Birmingham thinker (8)
CEREBRUM - C(Charlie, NATO alphabet), then alternating letters in dEcRiEs, BRUM(Burmingham)
3 Doctor Kildare finally trapping medical equipment in zip (5)
DRIVE - DR(doctor), then the last letter of kildarE, containing IV(intravenous, medical equipment)
4 Maori just breaking hearts? (5,4)
MAJOR SUIT - anagram of MAORI, JUST
5 Simply sail off in case of emergency (6)
EASILY - anagram of SAIL in the outside letters of EmergencY
6 Capital extremely tense after cold weather (7)
CLIMATE - LIMA(capital), T(ens)E after C(cold)
7 Lived and died on edge (5)
DWELT - D(died), WELT(edge) - I got this from definition alone, not knowing that a WELT is a strengthening border
8 Ivy signs letter whose contents form word picture (8)
VIGNETTE - the interior letters of iVy sIGNs lETTEr
14 Despondent Scottish football team heading away from Wick (9)
HEARTSICK - HEARTS of Midlothian football club, then (w)ICK
16 Anil perhaps heard to choke on jam? (8)
DYESTUFF - sounds like DIE(choke) on STUFF(jam)
17 Means to suppress report (8)
SILENCER - cryptic definition
19 Carpet originally came with guarantee (7)
CENSURE - C(ame), and ENSURE(guarantee)
21 Close-fitting garment giving rise to bother in university (7)
UNITARD - reverse all of DRAT(bother) IN, U(university)
22 Makes different V-sign (6)
VARIES - V, then ARIES(star sign)
23 Read out tawdry tweet (5)
CHEEP - sounds like CHEAP(tawdry)
24 Law of Swiss state banning introduction of tariffs (5)
CANON - Swiss states are CANTONS, remove T(ariffs)

Times Quick Cryptic No 1313 by Pedro

Thanks Pedro for a nicely balanced puzzle, which took me one minute over my target time of 15 minutes.  Some of the clues and answers reminded me of humorous anecdotes, some of which I have shared below.

There is nothing too obscure here, other than my usual difficulty in spelling LABYRINTHINE, so hopefully, this will prove accessible to most of the newbies as well as the regulars.

Across

Like the cerebrum, initially large in the brainy, amazingly (12)
LABYRINTHINE – Anagram (amazingly) of L{arge} (initially) and [IN THE BRAINY].  Reminds me of the old Monty Python sketch ‘I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy’.
Prepare dominant position in tennis (3,2)
SET UP – Double definition, the second relating to the scoring system in tennis – if one is a SET UP, then one is in a dominant position.
9 New union members accepting good connections (7)
BRIDGES – BRIDES (new union members) accepting G{ood}.  This one reminds me of the tongue-tied bridegroom in his speech at the reception who thanked his new mother-in-law for the gift of ‘a lovely perky copulator’ rather than the ‘coffee percolator’ – the old ones are best!
10  Look pained, turning round after a spray (7)
AEROSOL – LO (look) and SORE (pained) all reversed (turning round) after A.
11  Power in second eleven, perhaps (5)
STEAM –  S{econd} and TEAM (eleven, perhaps).  Soccer and cricket teams each field eleven players per side, so TEAM and eleven can be synonymous.
12 Mother’s left to adopt English girl (6)
DAMSEL – DAM’S (mother’s) and L{eft} with E{nglish} inserted (adopted).  DAMSEL is a slightly old-fashioned term for a young girl or unmarried woman.
14 Minor untruth about odd items in total (6)
LITTLE – LIE (untruth)around (about) the odd letters (odd items) in T{o}T{a}L
17  Tree not recorded after start of operation (5)
OLIVE – LIVE (not recorded, as in a LIVE vs recorded performance), after first letter (start) of O{peration}
19  Voter part reversed about spinning etc. (7)
ELECTOR – ROLE reversed about an anagram (spinning) of [ETC].
21  Vehicle in rain misrepresented as a blissful state (7)
NIRVANA – VAN (vehicle) inside an anagram (misrepresented) of [RAIN].
22  Some remarkably rich words for a song (5)
LYRIC – Hidden word (some) in {remarkab}LY RIC{h}.
23  Evidence of worth, as most subtly altered (6,6)
STATUS SYMBOL – Anagram (altered) of [AS MOST SUBTLY].

Down

1         Heads of local office to set up and initiate office at station? (4,3,5)
LOST AND FOUND – Initial letters (heads of) L{ocal} O{ffice}, followed by STAND (to set up) and FOUND (initiate).  The question mark indicates that LOST AND FOUND offices can exist at other locations than at stations.
2  Beer half-heartedly produced for nipper (5)
BITER – The beer in this case is BIT{t}ER, with one of the central letters removed (half-heartedly).  I wasn’t totally sure of the equivalence of BITER and nipper, although my last dog as a young puppy definitely thought he was biting when he was nipping. 
Reply regarding limiting one comment on forum (7)
RIPOSTE – RE (regarding) surrounding (limiting) I (one) POST (comment on forum)
4  Aristocrat getting a couple of pounds extra (2-4)
NO-BALL – NOB (aristocrat) and A (a) and LL (couple of pounds).  A NO-BALL in cricket is a bowled ball that falls foul of the rules, and counts as a run to the batting side (an extra).
5 They’ve come into money? Girl’s embracing one (5)
HEIRS – HER’S (girl’s) with I inside (embracing one).  The question mark at the end of the definition part is because HEIRS don’t always inherit money.
Overlook large general being upset:  shocking treatment! (7)
NEGLECT – L{arge} GEN{eral} reversed (being upset), followed by ECT (Electroconvulsive Treatment) (shocking treatment).
7  Claim mastery, after working:  that’s irregular (12)
ASYMMETRICAL – Anagram (after working) of [CLAIM MASTERY]
13  French detective, one appearing in magazine about origin of thefts (7)
MAIGRET – I (one) appearing in MAG{azine} RE (about) and origin (first letter) of T{hefts}.  Jules MAIGRET is the name of a fictional French police detective created by author Georges Simenon.
15  Fish is given to friend in a perfect world (7)
IDEALLY –  IDE (chub-like fish – remember this, it crops up a lot in Crosswordland) and ALLY (friend).
16  French race venue tends to receive millions (2,4)
LE MANS – LEANS (tends) with M{illions} inserted (to receive)
18  Nice description of repealed legislation? (5)
EXACT – Cryptic double definition.  An EX ACT could describe repealed legislation, and EXACT is also precise and accurate, as is ‘nice’.
20  Thrill – not half – over start of bass beat (5)
THROB – THR{ill} (not half) O{ver} and start of (first letter) of B{ass}.

Times 27,305: A B C D E F G H, I Got A Gal

I didn't take too much time over this excellent crossword, under 8 minutes, but a couple of the clues turned out to be pretty tough to parse afters - I'm sure you good people will set me straight if I've missed something. I really enjoyed the erudite frame of reference throughout (Saki, Milton, Smetana, the Bounty), the neat and deceptive re-envisionings of words (eg 21ac, probably my Clue of the Day, and 9dn) and the general delight in good and unusal words (KALAMAZOO, VLTAVA...) Thanks setter for a good 'un!

I'd write more but I'm falling asleep on a coach here, time to hit the hay. Will check in again in a few hours...

ACROSS
1 Munro: it’s associated with Karakoram mountain (4)
SAKI - S.A. [it] is associated with K1 [Karakoram mountain]. "Saki" being the pen-name of H.H. Munro.

3 Team’s holding line after defender’s lapses (10)
BACKSLIDES - SIDE'S [team's] "holding" L [line] after BACK [defender]

10 Grandees, lionised, holding back something for the press? (7)
OILSEED - hidden reversed in {gran}DEES LIO{nised}. Something for the oil-press, not the media.

11 Not getting off with a fine, Luke banged up (7)
WAKEFUL - W A [with | a ] + (F LUKE*) ["banged up"]

12 A so-so assignment has the makings of a drama (6,9)
SAMSON AGONISTES - (A SO-SO ASSIGNMENT*). 17th century play by Milton.

13 Bluebottle returning note, buzzing round rook (6)
ROZZER - reverse all of RE ZZ O R [note | buzzing | round | rook]. Bluebottle as in copper.

14 Savagery of attack outside centre recalled, years later (8)
FEROCITY - FIT [attack] "outside" reversed CORE [centre], Y [years] later

17 Suspend for not behaving predictably? (8)
PROROGUE - PRO ROGUE [for | not behaving predictably]

18 Victor, at fifty-five, retired a banker in Europe (6)
VLTAVA - reversed V AT LV [Victor | at | 55] + A. Czech river that you probably knew via the Smetana piece.

21 Deputy to support Home Rule (6-2-7)
SECOND-IN-COMMAND - SECOND [to support] + IN [home] + COMMAND [rule]

23 Salt beef nearly everyone had for lunch? (7)
OXALATE - OX [beef] + AL{l} ["nearly" everyone] + ATE [had for lunch]

24 Something to drive down travel cost — consider getting picked up? (7)
FAIRWAY - homophone of FARE WEIGH [travel cost | consider]. A golf drive.

25 Ireland portrayed in film: golf making brief appearance (10)
FLICKERING - ERIN [Ireland] "portrayed" in FLICK G [film | golf]

26 Old nursemaid having Mary wash regularly (4)
AYAH - {m}A{r}Y {w}A{s}H

DOWN
1 Northerner of twenty briefly without employment (7)
SCOUSER - SCOR{e} [twenty "briefly"] "without" USE [employment]

2 Hummer carrying Buddhist priest in US city (9)
KALAMAZOO - KAZOO [hummer] "carrying" LAMA [Buddhist priest]. Splendidly named city in SW Michigan.

4 A company boss with drive taking unrewarding roles? (2-4)
AM-DRAM - A M.D. [a | company boss] with RAM [drive]. Unrewarding in the financial sense of the word.

5 Crawled from floor, weight dragged behind (8)
KOWTOWED - K.O. [floor] + W [weight] + TOWED [dragged behind]

6 Dismissive remark from impolite Turk left one reeling (4,2,2,4,2)
LIKE IT OR LUMP IT - (IMPOLITE TURK L I*) ["reeling"]

7 Volunteers ate up: prepare for Jack to? (5)
DEFAT - reverse of T.A. FED [volunteers | ate up]. Reference to the "Jack Sprat could eat no fat" nursery rhyme.

8 Notice the cat’s come in, trying to attract attention? (7)
SPLASHY - SPY [notice] that LASH [the cat] has come in

9 Understand individuals’ private advocate is to be avenged (3,4,3,4)
GET ONE'S OWN BACK - GET [understand] + ONES' [individuals'] + OWN [private] + BACK [advocate]

15 I grasp promotion technique poorly (2,1,3,3)
IN A BAD WAY - I NAB AD WAY [I | grasp | promotion | technique]

16 Christian maybe largely saying nothing smart at any time (8)
MUTINEER - MUT{e} ["largely", saying nothing] + IN [smart] + E'ER [at any time]. MUTINEER was a write-in from Christian - that's Fletcher Christian, master's mate on the Bounty.

17 Misrepresent pops as very loud (4,3)
PASS OFF - PA'S SO FF or something quite close to that... I think?

19 Aged Scottish hag heard in the theatre (7)
ALDWYCH - homophone of AULD WITCH [aged Scottish | hag]. A famous theatre in London's West End.

20 Upset charming hosts of EU council (6)
ECOFIN - reversed NICE [charming] "hosts" OF. Economic and Financial Affairs Council.

22 This S American native no good for a film (5)
COATI - add NG [no good] to the S American native to get COATING [a firm]