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April 11th, 2019

Not as much “fun” as George had last week, which is probably just as well. I didn’t initially get much at the top end, and bumbled through the lower clues steadily enough before discovering that the upper ones weren’t that tough after all, coming in just under 20 minutes.
There are an inordinate number of first/last letters variously indicated with a veritable Thesaurus of words for, um, first and last, and what seems like a lot of English and foreign definite articles.
One clue, 14a, I only parsed when I had to in order to satisfy any curiosity you may have.
There’s a Latinate plural that is perfectly sound, but which is not in Chambers (other dictionaries offer it while noting the rarity of its usage)
I offer you clues, definitions and SOLUTIONS to be discovered by clicking on any random pixel on the screen
[any random pixel]


Across
1 Fur or feather stole, acquired in that city (6)
BOGOTA The fur or feather stole is BOA, and in that place GOT for acquired
4 One appraises a couple of vessels taking gold round east (8)
ASSESSOR A is A, the two vessels are both SS , with OR gold, all placed strategically round E(ast)
9 The listener’s part in a murder resolved (7)
EARDRUM Much simpler than I thought, an anagram (resolved) of A MURDER
11 Two bachelors in farm machine, one muttering incoherently (7)
BABBLER Your two bachelors are both B, falling into the BALER farm machine as if in a gruesome episode of The Archers
12 Article framed by extremely emotional woman (5)
ETHEL The extremes of EmotionaL surround THE article
13 Worldwide rules Ivan abused (9)
UNIVERSAL Abuse the letters of RULES IVAN
14 Ominous, having shelter with spongy walls! (10)
PORTENTOUS Ah, right. I thought the shelter was (any old) PORT (in a storm), but it’s not. It’s a TENT, and its wall are constructed by POROUS for spongy
16 Deficiency of the Spanish sierra (4)
LOSS the LOS bit is the plural Spanish “the”, and S is the Nato Sierra
19 Guy appearing in Weber opera (4)
ROPE One of the easier “hiddens”, in WebeR OPEra. Not a random bloke, then
20 Newspaper mostly covering African party’s ritual (10)
OBSERVANCE The Observer (the one I know) is the venerable British Sunday newspaper, first published 1791, the world’s oldest. It’s not quite all there, with an insert featuring the ANC, Mandela’s party, founded in 1912
22 Parts of theatres represented in Paris once (9)
PROSCENIA The presumed plural of proscenium. The letters of PARIS ONCE are re-presented
23 Fast mover reversing army vehicle (5)
RACER The army is represented in brief by the Royal Engineers their vehicle an unprepossessing CAR. Engage reverse gear
25 Employ Aussie truck to tour the Italian islands (7)
UTILISE An antipodean  truck is a UTE (utility vehicle, presumably). The Italian is IL (as in Trovatore) and the islands IS
26 French city mayor originally adopting current travel industry (7)
TOURISM The French city is the rather wonderful TOURS, with a reconstructed 18th century bridge named for Woodrow Wilson. Add the “original” letter of Mayor and insert I (electrical) current
27 Edicts primarily embracing the old will get you the gold (5-3)
BULLS-EYE Edicts are (Papal) BULLS, and we have E from Embracing “primarily”. Add YE for the old version of the. Early printers substituted Y for þ, thorn, and it should always have been pronounce as th, before  Olde Tea Shoppes got hold of it
28 What Smith may be doin’, we hear, being sure to win? (4-2)
SHOO-IN Derived from US slang for a dead cert, sounding like a blacksmith shoeing (a horse) while not botherin’ with the g.



Down
1 Breeder providing accommodation for drones? (9)
BEEKEEPER I assume this is a (not very) cryptic definition, drones being, well, bees. Wiki rather sniffily says “Honey bees are not domesticated and the beekeeper does not control the creatures”: rather like cats, the most we can hope for is that we are suffered to provide them with home comforts and unstinting service. But Wiki also says that “Queen breeders are specialist beekeepers who raise queen bees for other beekeepers”, so that’s alright then
2 Courtyard right in centre of Goliath’s city (5)
GARTH Fine if you know that Goliath came from GATH, and that a garth, once you put the R(ight) in, is “an enclosure or yard (now dialect ); [...] a courtyard within a cloister” (thanks, Chambers)
3 Certain type of singer engaging husband as pageturner (8)
THRILLER Your singer (once you have discarded altos and mezzos and such) turns out to be a TRILLER, engaging his/her Husband
5 Naval officer’s place secured by rent-payer (13)
SUBLIEUTENANT Place is LIEU (French/military)and the rent payer is a SUB-TENANT. It is indeed a specifically naval rank
6 Symbol English doctor associated with the Parisian Metro at first (6)
EMBLEM French the provides the LE, after E(nglish) MB (doctor as in Medicinae Baccalaureus). Finish off with the first bit of Metro
7 Old sailor readily assuming power — Silver, possibly? (4,5)
SALT SPOON Old sailor: SALT, readily SOON, plus P(ower) carefully assembled. The result might indeed be silver(ware)
8 Country river, one in central Russia (5)
RURAL River provides the R, and defines what the “one” is, namely the river URAL, which forms much of the border between Europe and Asia
10 Put on play ultimately about key financier’s charlatanism (13)
MOUNTEBANKERY Put on: MOUNT, plus the “ultimate” letter of plaY surround random one of 7 notes E and BANKER for financier
15 Reportedly criticised exam absorbing one like a hobby? (9)
RAPTORIAL It helps if you see hobby and think falcon. Criticised would be rapped, but sounding as RAPT, the exam an ORAL surrounding I, one
17 Person driving oxen over island (9)
STEERSMAN Does  a helmsman “drive” a boat? Close enough for our purposes, perhaps. Oxen STEERS and the random island MAN
18 Excessive deliveries initially made at a London hospital (8)
OVERMUCH Today’s cricket reference, 6 deliveries producing an OVER. “Initially” Made and University College Hospital (on Euston Road, yours for a hundred quid).
21 Bags of writings showing no end of talent (6)
SCRIPS The writings are SCRIPTS, but with no (neither?) end of talent. The clue would work perfectly well with just the first three words as a DD.
22 It sounds like a fruit tree? Exactly (5)
PLUMB Hooray for silent B!
24 Senior officer drinking in atmosphere in African capital (5)
CAIRO Our senior officer is a CO, and AIR is the atmosphere imbibed.

Times Quick Cryptic No 1328 by Des

I'm afraid I have no time to offer. Self-inflicted cognitive impairment. Drunk, you might call it. I did try, I stared at the swimming letters for nearly ten minutes, even got an answer or two, but no. So I just clicked on the answers. Good fun parsing though - many thanks to Des for what looked like might have been a decent puzzle! 



Across
1 Deadly spray a fellow used with fruit (5,6)
AGENT ORANGE - A GENT (a fellow) with ORANGE (fruit)
8 Means to control extremes of rage at home (4)
REIN - extreme letters of RagE and HomE
9 German city-dweller to live right next to ship (8)
BERLINER - to live = to BE, R (right) next to LINER (ship)
10 Establish unit: set it in motion (9)
INSTITUTE - anagram (in motion) of UNIT SET IT.
11 Visibly embarrassed as books are spoken of (3)
RED - Books are READ (sounds like red)
12 Is not prudent using paper at first: expecting litter! (2,3)
IN PUP - This is a very satisfying clue: for the addled mind, it's a join-the-dots mystery novel pitched at about the right level of difficulty.
15 Use train signal (5)
POINT - Nice triple defintiion, I reckon: what's the use/point?; train/point/aim a gun; and point/signal the way. 
18 Sardonic and cautious, dismissing article (3)
WRY - wary = cautious, ditch the A (article)
19 People on a mission could be rude, crass (9)
CRUSADERS - As close enough to a litotes &lit as makes no difference: anagram (could be) of RUDE CRASS.
23 English novelist’s description of one cricket team (8)
FIELDING - double definition
24 Fuel that’s firm and pale in the middle (4)
COAL - Co. (firm) AL (pALe "in the middle"). This was one the clues I did manage to get...
25 Address mute, deranged Shakespearean fairy (11)
MUSTARDSEED - Seeing the answer, I guess there's a neuron in my mind somewhere devoted to the fairy Mustardseed, but if so it's one neuron too much.  A Midsummer Night's Dream is a loathsome play. Anagram (deranged) of ADDRESS MUTE.

Down
2 Gather what’s finally going spare (5)
GLEAN - G ("finally" goinG) LEAN (spare). Nice.
3 Old Poles in National Trust work continuously (7)
NONSTOP - O(ld) N/S = North/South (poles) in NT (National Trust) OP (work)
4 Manoeuvre around hint of rumour in death notice (5)
ORBIT - R (hint = first letter of Rumour) in OBIT (death notice)
5 Helipad moving to Paris (7)
AIRSTOP - move the letters of TO PARIS
6 Win something Gateshead, Galashiels, Dungannon, Donegal and Reigate all have (4)
GAIN - cryptic definition - generous, perhaps, but still nicely done: what do these five hubs of humanity have in common? Well lots of things, but on a trivial level they all have "GA" IN their names.
7 Pokes quietly with sticks (5)
PRODS - P = piano = quietly, with RODS (sticks)
11 Manage to flee (3)
RUN - Double definition, of the stock variety
13 French marshal appearing periodically in Annecy (3)
NEY - appearing "periodically" in aNnEcY. I know nothing about him, but honourable-seeming dying words: "Soldiers, when I give the command to fire, fire straight at my heart. Wait for the order. It will be my last to you. I protest against my condemnation. I have fought a hundred battles for France, and not one against her ... Soldiers, fire!"
14 Is salesman turning up on street last? (7)
PERSIST - IS REP = is salesman, reverse = turning up, ST = street
16 Signs I’d since altered (7)
INDICES - anagram (alteration) of ID SINCE
17 Fleet of foot, after short swim (5)
SWIFT - FT (foot) goes after a short(ened) SWIm. Nice!
20 Tease us for bringing up term of endearment (5)
SUGAR - to RAG US = to TEASE US, bring up = reverse.
21 Author dreaded missing tips (5)
READE - take the tips off dREADEd to get the famous author, Sophie Reade, contestant of Season 10 of Big Brother, who won the Nobel prize for literature a record seventeen times in one year, before turning her mind to physics, invented the "multiverse engine", and thereafter took to jumping between universes to promulgate her unparallelled insight into the human condition. She hasn't been seen for a while, admittedlty, so I guess she's moved on to a different filament of existence and is now granted access into the pantheon of Times crossword worthies. Wikipedia also lists some other people called Reade, should you prefer.
22 Chief attraction featuring in scenic lough (4)
CLOU - hidden in the letters of sceniC LOUgh. Completley new to me, this word: literally French for "nail", and in English means exactly as underlined: chief attraction. As in a 1927 quote from the Observer: "The ‘clou’ of the evening, a new string quartet by Arnold Schönberg". Probably best used sparingly.

Times 27,323: Sandwich Watch

With hindsight there was nothing too intricate about the cluing here, which is just as well as I tackled it after an Anchor Steam Beer (Made In San Francisco since 1896), but there was a lightness of touch and faint sense of mischief about it that slowed me down at least a little. One can only assume though that the beer was solely responsible for me sticking RUN TO HEART in at 9ac for a while and solemnly changing 12ac to HOLD ONES HORSES, both of which howlers slowed me down somewhat. Thanks, and grr, to the setter!

FOI 10ac, LOI 17dn, Liked 26ac, 16dn and 20dn. What were your own favourite fillings in this cryptic sandwich?

ACROSS
1 Type of sandwich? Food, say, to be rejected in change of direction (10)
VEGEBURGER - GRUB, E.G. [food, say] reversed in VEER [change of direction]

6 Type of sandwich, large, fed to youngster (4)
CLUB - L [large] "fed to" CUB [youngster]

9 Find another rut requiring ploughing (3,2,5)
RUN TO EARTH - (ANOTHER RUT*) ["requiring ploughing"]

10 Cheers sources of light comedy — it’s soft stuff (4)
TALC - TA [cheers] + L{ight} C{omedy}

12 Stable-boy’s offer? Not so fast (4,4,6)
HOLD YOUR HORSES - double def with "Hold your horses, sir?"

14 Route through a yard? There’s no interest in it (6)
APATHY - PATH [route] "through" A Y [a | yard]

15 Pop group cut record? It goes to the head (8)
BANDANNA - BAND [pop group] + ANNA{l} ["cut" record]

17 Bull frolicked endlessly in late spring (8)
MALARKEY - LARKE{d} [frolicked "endlessly"] in MAY [late spring]

19 Some weather presenter (6)
SHOWER - double def with "one who shows"

22 Unhelpful union is an impediment to moving on (8,6)
NEGATIVE EQUITY - EQUITY being a union, for workers of a thespian persuasion, and negativity being an unhelpful frame of mind.

24 This love rejected would leave you bitter (4)
EROS - reversed SORE [bitter]

25 Reduced opening for leasing arrangement (6,4)
GROUND RENT - GROUND [reduced] + RENT [opening]

26 Far from expansive lie, heartlessly presented (4)
POKY - PO{r}KY [lie, "heartlessly"]

27 Sheer rage, though not entirely harsh (3-7)
SEE-THROUGH - SEETH{e} [rage, "though not entirely"] + ROUGH [harsh]

DOWN
1 Win or lose, perhaps, it’s some clever betting (4)
VERB - hidden in {cle}VER B{etting}

2 Leave to see the sights of US city, adopting new water transport (7)
GONDOLA - GO to DO L.A., "adopting" N

3 Savage, doing this to body, right and left (12)
BLOODTHIRSTY (THIS TO BODY R L*) ["doing..."]

4 Studies dismissing Democrat regarding intellect (6)
REASON - REA{d}S [studies "dismissing" D for Democrat] + ON [regarding]

5 Outward-looking, not stopping to accept mark of censure (8)
EXTERNAL - ETERNAL [not stopping] to "accept" X [mark of censure]

7 Article is probing famous person’s affair (7)
LIAISON - A IS [article | is] "probing" LION [famous person]

8 Supports sailors imprisoning one behind the scenes (10)
BACKSTAIRS - BACKS TARS [supports | sailors] "imprisoning" I [one]

11 Clearly avoid yesterday’s meat served up today? (4-8)
COLD-SHOULDER - double def, almost, with a cold shoulder of some kind of meat.

13 Place to see flying fish, same on all trips over Pacific, initially (6,4)
SALMON LEAP - (SAME ON ALL*) ["...trips"] over P{acific}

16 Peculiar proposal for paying poets? (8)
PERVERSE - one could pay a poet PER VERSE.

18 It records quantity of wood found on reserve (3-4)
LOG-BOOK - LOG [quantity of wood] found on BOOK [reserve]

20 I will leave to serve meal attended by university artist (7)
WATTEAU - WA{i}T [I "will leave" to serve] + TEA [meal] attended by U [university]

21 First person in Avignon to satisfy Catholic scholar (6)
JESUIT - JE [first person (singular) in France/Avignon] + SUIT [to satisfy]

23 Long pain after exercising to lose stone (4)
ITCH - {st}ITCH [pain after exercising, "to lose" ST for stone]