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March 27th, 2019

Quick Cryptic 1317 by Mara

A lovely little crossword from Mara, with just the right amount of whimsy, general knowledge, crosswordese, chemistry, cricket, and the rest. I had one clue to fathom after solving (7dn) as I couldn't decide which end contained the definition at first, and one clue that raised an eybrow (12dn) and sent me searching through Chambers (in vain).

Definitions underlined.


Across
1 Head of Mafia caught by hired gun, surprisingly — wow! (9)
HUMDINGER - first letter (head) of Mafia inside (caught by) an anagram of (surprisingly) HIRED GUN.
6 Return extra money — mine! (3)
PIT - reversal of (return) TIP (extra money).
8 Clerk as unruly, apathetic type (7)
SLACKER - anagram of (unruly) CLERK AS.
9 Troll taking no medication's hiding (5)
GNOME - hidden in (…’s hiding) takinG NO MEdication.
10 Where Romans found ten teams — went crazy (3,9)
NEW TESTAMENT - anagram of (crazy) TEN TEAMS WENT.
12 Club page complete (6)
PUTTER - P (page) and UTTER (complete).
13 Respect domicile full of silver (6)
HOMAGE - HOME (domicile) surrounding (full of) AG (or Ag, silver in the periodic table).
16 Quite, quite twee (6-6)
PRETTY-PRETTY - PRETTY (quite) and PRETTY (quite).
19 Ring section in modern style (2,3)
OP ART - O (ring) and PART (section).
20 Communist leader Elizabeth I, perhaps? (7)
REDHEAD - RED (communist) and HEAD (leader).
22 Hard fruitone's cracked! (3)
NUT - double/cryptic definition. One who'd cracked might be described as a nut.
23 Total when dismissed twice? (3-3-3)
OUT-AND-OUT - OUT (dismissed, in cricket) AND OUT (i.e. dismissed twice).

Down
1 Sound of snake in bath is sinister (4)
HISS - hidden in (in) batH IS Sinister.
2 A home beneath me, most shabby (7)
MEANEST - A NEST (a home) after (beneath, in a down clue) ME.
3 Sort fine material, discarding the first (3)
ILK -  sILK (fine material) missing (discarding) its first letter (the first).
4 Loud witch gobbling knight up (6)
GARISH - HAG (witch) containing (gobbling) SIR (knight), all reversed (up).
5 Large Miro sabotaged: complicated procedure (9)
RIGMAROLE - anagram of (sabotaged) LARGE MIRO.
6 Call very acidic? (5)
PHONE - PH ONE (a substance with a pH of 1 would be very acidic).
7 The boards are the best, ultimately for building (7)
THEATRE - anagram of (for building) ARE THE and the last letter of (ultimately) best.
11 Couple of football teams, this is on the rugby pitch! (6-3)
TWENTY-TWO - two football teams would be 22 players, and the 22 is a line on a rugby pitch.
12 Lemonade and cheese snack (7)
POPCORN - POP (lemonade) and CORN (cheese). DBE + tenuous synonym = comments expected!
14 Traced new and old decorative style (3,4)
ART DECO - anagram of (new) TRACED then O (old).
15 Drink bottle (6)
SPIRIT - double definition.
17 Rigorous law now repealed? (5)
EXACT - EX ACT (law now repealed).
18 Change poor diet (4)
EDIT - anagram of (poor) DIET.
21 Spanish title put on (3)
DON -double definition.
Maybe I'm a bit rusty, but I struggled to get on to the setter's wavelength with this, working slowly from top left to lower right and ending in an unimpressive 40 minutes with a few not fully understood. I think I now get them all fully, except 19d, q.v. below; the answer is correct but I'm not sure why. For my taste, too many 'well I suppose so' clues and not enough 'aha, very good!' ones. Maybe it was just me, on verra.
Thanks Olivia for stepping up last week when I was hors de combat, your contribution did our Wednesdays proud.



Across
1 Wild man-eating maiden’s cornering me: no good running! (13)
MISMANAGEMENT - Easier to guess the answer than to unravel the parsing. (MAN EATING MS ME)*, where MS = maiden's and ME is added into the fodder. I spent a while leaving the G out as in 'no good' before saw the definition was at the end.
9 Vet mostly stopping alcoholic drink for Lent (5)
GIVEN - GIN has VE(T) inserted. If I have lent you my car, I definitely haven't given it to you, but someone is going to tell us the words are possible synonyms in the big dictionary.
10 A solid, almost gracious branch of science (9)
ASTRONOMY - A, STRON(G), O MY ! where O(h) My is an exclamation as in 'Gracious!'.
11 Dressing down for work in mill? (10)
EARBASHING - I presume this is a DD, where working in a (cotton) mill in olden times was a very noisy affair. EDIT see below keriothe's thought about bashing ears of wheat. But don't you grind the grain, not the whole ears?
12 Wine from Spain that’s ok for the French (4)
CAVA - Fizzy white wine from Spain indeed, and it is spelt like the French for 'it's going OK', i.e. ça va.
14 Dope, slowing down, facing punishment? (2,3,2)
IN FOR IT - INFO = dope, RIT, short for ritardando, slowing down in music.
16 Possibly when contracts were short term or medium (7)
TEMPERA - Contracts were short in the TEMP ERA, one might think; tempera is a painting medium, with or without egg.
17 Arrived embarrassed (5,2)
SHOWN UP - Double definition.
19 Work unit coming to no harm potentially without uniform (3-4)
MAN-HOUR - (NO HARM)* with U inserted.
20 Dowdy dresser that fashion originally left behind (4)
RUMP - FRUMP is the dowdy dresser, loses its F from fashion.
21 Very fatty steak may not be well done (4,3,3)
GOOD FOR YOU - I suppose this is about fatty meat leading to blocked arteries, seems a bit of a daft example of something that's not good for you, though, if it is that fatty I'm going to send it back.
24 One pointedly protected small cavity storing trophy at home (9)
PORCUPINE - PORE = small cavity, has CUP and IN inserted.
25 Lie that one’s missing following bean count? (5)
NOBLE - NOB = bean, L(I)E.
26 Complete daily high school rounds, arriving at French gallery (4,2,7)
HALL OF MIRRORS - ALL OF = complete. MIRROR = daily (paper). Insert all into H S = high school. I presume this is referring to the noted Hall of Mirrors in the Palais de Versailles, although there are halls of mirrors elsewhere.

Down
1 Electronic data repository permitting case to be resolved (8,6)
MAGNETIC STRIPE - (PERMITTING CASE)*. Now replaced by a microchip, but still used on some access cards.
2 One no doubt taking interest or delight in speaking (5)
SAVER - Sounds (perhaps) like SAVOUR = take delight in.
3 Scrap to hold on to area taking toll: a sign of age (6,4)
ANNUAL RING - ANNUL = scrap, insert A, add RING = toll.
4 Rascal had mucked about, interrupting calm, briefly (1,3,3)
A BAD HAT - (HAD)* inside ABAT(E) = calm briefly.
5 Put out no tips for messaging court (7)
EXTINCT - Put out in a past tense sense. (T)EXTIN(G), then CT = court.
6 Poetic dark age probed by book (4)
EBON - EON = age, insert B for book. Old and poetic word for black or dark as in ebony.
7 Battle scene coming up, unexplored, a cortege crosses (9)
TROCADERO - Hidden reversed in UNEXPL(ORED A CORT)EGE. Battle in Spain in 1823, after which the famous bit of Paris was named. And presumably the restaurants in Leicester Square and elsewhere followed.
8 Pair one assumes heading for the sack? (6,8)
PYJAMA TROUSERS - Well, a cryptic definition, but not very.
13 Area of the church: one Cranmer reformed (4,6)
AMEN CORNER - (ONE CRANMER)*. Apparently there is or was a spot in a church near the pulpit where sycophantic worshippers gathered, and kept repeating 'AMEN' to every bit of the output from the priest above. I think of it more as holes 10 - 12 on Augusta National Golf Course, or the 1966 Welsh band led by Andy Fairweather Lowe.
15 Unceremonious arrest method of old in W Germany, preceding demo (9)
FROGMARCH - FRG has O inserted, then MARCH = demo.
18 Rider being paid six shillings on round (7)
PROVISO - PRO VI S = for six shillings, O = round.
19 Where you’ll find Queen’s University at Kingston exam? (7)
MIDTERM - I'm a bit flummoxed by this one. I can see ER is mid tERm and ER is HM The Queen. Why it refers to one of the several Queen's Universities, the one at Kingston, Ontario for example, I do not see. And is a MIDTERM a kind of exam? Not one I ever had to sit.
22 Surly youth to come and go with Boys Brigade for a year (5)
YOBBO - YOYO would be to come and go, change a Y for BB = Boys Brigade.
23 Deserts line in battle (4)
DUEL - DUE = deserts, as in 'get what is due, get his just deserts' I think. L for line.