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April 10th, 2019

Times Quick Cryptic 1327 by Joker

Joker continues this week's run of mid-difficulty puzzles. Nothing jumped out to start with in the NW, so my FOI was 4dn, but one clue led to another nicely after that. I was thrown off by the lack of capitalisation at 19dn (unless I'm ignorant of a valid abbreviation for the religious ceremony), and had to check that the carpet at 12ac was a thing (it is, though usually called a rug). The surface readings are nice and witty, as is usual with this setter, so difficult to choose a CoD; I'm going to plump for 7ac. On edit: it turns out I got stuck in a mental cul-de-sac at 19dn; see Kevin's comment below.

Definitions underlined.

Across
7 Unattached ladies and gents couple finally (5)
LOOSE - LOOS (ladies and gents) with the last letter of (finally) couplE.
8 Chap after info that’s comprehensive (7)
GENERIC - ERIC (chap) after GEN (info).
10 Sloth I train to run with energy (7)
INERTIA - anagam of (to run) I TRAIN and E (energy).
11 Taxi home: there’s room (5)
CABIN - CAB (taxi) and IN (home).
12 Realistic carpet made from fabric strips in picture (9)
PRAGMATIC - RAG MAT (carpet made from fabric strips) inside (in) PIC (picture).
14 Form of enemy, primarily (3)
FOE - first letters of (primarily) Form Of Enemy.
15 Rubbish to run over (3)
ROT - TO and R (run) all reversed (over).
16 High on drugs, son walked some distance (6,3)
SPACED OUT - S (son) and PACED OUT (walked some distance).
18 A fade out in the middle is so long (5)
ADIEU - A, DIE (fade), and the middle letter of (in the middle) oUt.
20 What reminds me to get men in (7)
MEMENTO - ME and TO with MEN inside.
22 Farm vehicle having rubbish to carry about (7)
TRACTOR - ROT (rubbish) and CART (to carry) all reversed (about).
23 Letter of thanks after article (5)
THETA - TA (thanks) after THE (article).

Down
1 Crucial one million left with social worker after everything (3-9)
ALL-IMPORTANT - I (one), M (million), PORT (left) and ANT (social worker), after ALL (everything).
2 Prediction of rising changed in form (8)
FORECAST - OF reversed (rising), then RECAST (changed in form).
3 Sensed the texture of soft material (4)
FELT - double definition.
4 Some fleabag has them horrified (6)
AGHAST - hidden in (some) fleabAG HAS Them.
5 What’s tricky to keep balanced in university round? (8)
UNICYCLE - UNI (university) and CYCLE (round).
6 Lacking brightness, poet is sent up (4)
DRAB - BARD (poet) reversed (sent up).
9 Orthodox religious community on Iona left (12)
CONVENTIONAL - CONVENT (religious community), IONA and L (left).
13 Fly Ecuadorean capital after some uprising doesn’t end (8)
MOSQUITO - QUITO (Ecuadorean capital) after a reversal of (uprising) SOMe without the last letter (doesn't end).
14 Get into difficulties and go down outside loch (8)
FLOUNDER - FOUNDER (go down) surrounding (outside) L (loch).
17 Warmly approve of Merida when travelling (6)
ADMIRE - anagram of (when travelling) MERIDA.
19 I’m holding mass as prayer leader (4)
IMAM - I'M surrounding (holding) MA (Mass., as in Massacheusets). I AM (I'm) surrounding (holding) M (mass).
21 Don’t start to hit small child (4)
MITE - sMITE (to hit) missing the first letter (don't start).

Times 27321 - no fleas in my bed today

After a couple of orange or red zone SNITCH Wednesdays which had me working harder for a living (well, unpaid!) I found this one more like a Monday stroll in the park. Even if you weren't familiar with the plant at 10d, you could derive it from all the checkers and anagram fodder. Nothing else at all obscure, but some nice surfaces and plenty of double definitions.

I see it's running at 111 on the SNITCH so perhaps not quite as easy as I'd thought, must have been one of my rare good days.


Across
1 Ineptly fail to put cap on? (5,2)
SCREW UP - Double definition, one an example.
5 Lie safely masked by dishonest leader (6)
NESTLE - Hidden word in DISHO(NEST LE)ADER.
8 Given requisite kit, doctor cured zoo's last cat (9)
ACCOUTRED - (CURED O CAT)*, the O from last letter of ZOO.
9 Void article withheld from almanac, perhaps (5)
ANNUL - ANNUAL loses an A article.
11 First pair eliminated in decider wrongly announced (5)
CRIED - Remove DE from decider, then (CIDER)*.
12 Peacekeepers negotiated without dressing (9)
UNTREATED - UN = peacekeepers, TREATED = negotiated.
13 Peripheral sportsmen criticise fighter's reach, maybe (8)
WINGSPAN - WINGS being peripheral sportsmen, PAN meaning to criticise.
15 National beauty title for wife? (6)
MISSUS - MISS US, or MISS USA, would be a 'national beauty'.
17 Sack a blackleg, ultimately splitting party (6)
RAVAGE - Insert A, G (last of blackleG) into RAVE = party.
19 Dreadful predicament in which one bishop joins another (8)
HORRIBLE - HOLE = predicament, insert I, B (one bishop) after RR (another bishop)..
22 Adjacent to a hypotenuse? (9)
ALONGSIDE - Kind of double definition; alongside means adjacent, and the hypotenuse is the longest side of a right-angled triangle.
23 Opportunities to study conditions (5)
TERMS - Double definition. You study in term times.
24 Provoke supporters on course verbally (5)
TEASE - Sounds like TEES as in golf tees supporting the ball.
25 Means of viewing men on campaign (9)
PROJECTOR - PROJECT = campaign, OR = men.
26 Less productive student lacking one of the basics? (6)
LEANER - LEARNER loses one of his / her three R's = basics.
27 Anticipated word of warning was withdrawn (7)
FORESAW - FORE ! = word of warning in golf, WAS reversed.

Down
1 Three players introducing bridge complete legal document (6,7)
SEARCH WARRANT - S, E and W being three players e.g. in bridge; insert ARCH = bridge, then add ARRANT = complete, as in arrant nonsense.
2 Disturbance in court out of control (7)
RUCTION - (IN COURT)*.
3 As bandage was for lesion? (5)
WOUND - Double definition, two different pronunciations; bandages are wound, and a wound is a lesion.
4 Posh guest of HM returns, having previously left country (8)
PORTUGAL - PORT = left; LAG (guest of HM) U (posh) all reversed.
5 Sorted out untidy state some sleepers prefer (6)
NUDITY - (UNTIDY)*.
6 Priest in government meeting king with more ceremony (9)
STATELIER - STATE = government, insert ELI the priest, add R for king.
7 Special formulation said to be associated with The Times? (7)
LINCTUS - Sounds like LINKED (to) US, The Times being us. To avoid the need for a 'to' in the clue as in 'linked to us', you need to take the parts separately I think, i.e. LINKED = associated, US = The Times.
10 Meadow inhabitant spinning dastardly webs? (5,8)
LADYS BEDSTRAW - (DASTARDLY WEBS)*. One of those plants you find in meadows and crosswords. The name comes from a time when the dried plants were used to stuff mattresses, as the coumarin in the plant acted as a flea repellant.
14 Guru sitting on lawn in shade (4-5)
SAGE-GREEN - SAGE = guru, GREEN = lawn.
16 Exits works (5,3)
COMES OFF - Double definition. Comes off as in exits the motorway perhaps.
18 Profane Shakespearean cross-dresser emptied theatre (7)
VIOLATE - VIOLA being a female character in Twelfth Night who dressed as a man; TE emptied TheatrE.
20 Upbraids informer among queen's workers? (7)
BERATES - RAT = informer inside BEES the queen's workers.
21 Bird, big one in the sky (6)
DIPPER - The Big Dipper being an alternative name for the Plough constellation, Ursa Major.
23 The third person’s one taking over after time (5)
THEIR - T for time, HEIR being 'one taking over'.