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April 22nd, 2019

QC 1335 by Joker

Another very brief visit from me this week as this solve and blog were squeezed into the early morning fog in the middle of a packed bank holiday weekend of entertainment and general feeding and watering of both sides and three generations of the astartedon family over Easter.

FOI was 10A. LOI was 8A. I was thinking IMMORALLY if you see what I mean, and was beginning to doubt my ability to spell when it wouldn't fit. That must be my COD as well. Took me just under 10 minutes while dealing with a lot of other stuff (see above) so I think it was probably pretty straightforward for most people. Good mix of clues, with only one anagram as far as I can see, with a hardly a ripple in the hyaline surfaces. Thank you Joker for a skilfull Monday-morning composition.

Definitions are underlined as usual and everything else is explained just as I see it in the simplest language I can manage. NATRAF did not even give a flicker although there were some interesting combinations of words that I might have commented on had I had but world enough and time.

Across
7 Secret language of fish — English? (4)
CODE - COD (fish) + E (English).
8 Unethically taking a medicine initially by mouth (8)
AMORALLY - A + M (medicine initially) + ORALLY (by mouth).
9 Fix up couple again (6)
REPAIR - RE-PAIR (couple again).
10 Dull field study (6)
LEADEN - LEA (field) + DEN (study).
11 Roman sea horse (4)
MARE - MARE = sea in Latin.
12 Where batter needs to stand to rise (8)
INCREASE - in cricket the batsman, or batter, stands IN the CREASE.
15 Uncalled for to provoke Nazi police (8)
NEEDLESS - NEEDLE (provoke) + SS (Schutzstaffel, Hitler's notorious bodyguard and special police force).
17 Bivalve left in river (4)
CLAM - L (left) in CAM (river).
18 Go along with sector changes (6)
ESCORT - straight anagram ('changes') of SECTOR.
21 Noticed big ship in Mediterranean (6)
MARKED - the ARK was a big ship, and here it is 'in' the MED(iterranean).
22 Concerned with large ship round cape that goes flat out (8)
RECLINER - RE (concerned with) + LINER (another large ship) 'round' C (cape).
23 Endlessly examine horses at breeding farm (4)
STUD - STUDy 'endlessly'.
Down
1 All the press reports Conservative too old? (8)
COVERAGE - C (conservative) + OVER AGE (too old).
2 Discussion with girlfriend, perhaps about English book (6)
DEBATE - DATE (girlfriend, perhaps) 'about' E (English) + B (book).
3 Very fine hotel supported by British Airways? (8)
HAIRLINE - H (hotel) 'supported by' (in this DOWN clue) AIRLINE (British Airways? - the interrogation mark is because alternative airlines are available).
4 Bird, female bird (4)
FOWL - F (female) + OWL (bird).
5 Is able to copy small snack (6)
CANAPE - CAN (is able) + APE (to copy).
6 Bill used regularly to be sad (4)
BLUE - BiLl UsEd 'regularly' = BLUE.
13 Just after money for expensive fabric (8)
CASHMERE - MERE (just in the sense of 'only') 'after' CASH (money).
14 Spies finally remove surveillance (5-3)
STAKE-OUT - S (spieS 'finally') + TAKE OUT (remove).
16 Error removed from V-1 missile sketch (6)
DOODLE - DOODLEBUG (nickname for the V-1 missile during WWII) with BUG (error (in computer programming)) removed.
17 Dead body of rook in a group of trees (6)
CORPSE - R (rook as in chess piece) 'in' COPSE (group of trees).
19 Oven-cooked dish starts to smoke the embarrassing way (4)
STEW - intial letters of ('starts to') Smoke The Embarrassing Way.
20 Some unfortunate fish (4)
TUNA - hidden word: unforTUNAte.

Times 27331 - My tenth anniversary blog!

Time: 34 minutes
Music: Berlioz, Harold in Italy, Menuhim/Davis.

Yes, my very first blog for Times for the Times was that of April 20, 2009, which is still available in the archives.   I got the assignment from our founder, Peter Biddlecombe, at the beginning of April: Kororareka and I were to replace Foggyweb, a fine blogger who has disappeared without a trace, with Kororareka to go first.   I was quite chuffed at the time just to be a blogger, never imagining I'd that eight years later I'd be taking over running the blog.   Things were a little different back when I started: for some mysterious reason it was customary to omit one or two clues, and of course we didn't have the fine automated blog-generating templates that Mohn2 later developed.   Over the years, I've had a lot of fun, blogged a lot of puzzles, and recruited and trained a number of rather good bloggers.

Now for today's puzzle.   I did not find this as easy as I should have, stumbling over some answers that should have been obvious, and having to resort to an alphabet trawl to finish.   However, I seem to acquired the knack of preparing my brain to recognize the correct answer and parsing when it finally does show up.   I did biff a few, and will have to figure out the cryptics for the blog.

Across
1 Peg once adjusted with skill in instrument (12)
GLOCKENSPIEL - Anagram of PEG ONCE + SKILL
9 Poor knight, feeble, wanting wife (5)
NEEDY - N + [w]EEDY.
10 Fellow lawyer Conservative required (9)
MANDATORY - MAN + D.A. + TORY.   It is rather surprising that the American 'D.A.' has become so familiar it can be casually referred to as 'lawyer' in a UK puzzle.
11 Putting arachnid in pipe? (8)
STICKING - S(TICK)ING.  If you think a spider is the only arachnid, well, you're wrong.
12 Reflected on hard image in code (6)
CIPHER - RE H PIC backwards, biffed by me.
13 Story from a relative omitting one gripping point (8)
ANECDOTE - A + N[i]EC(DOT)E, a rather busy cryptic.
15 Holy ship’s company mostly in blue (6)
SACRED - SA(CRE[w])D.
17 Walk out on expanse of land without water (6)
DESERT - double definition, although the 'without' tries to make you think otherwise.  Deletion?  Enclosure?   Why, no.
18 Anxious at home with scoundrel coming into view (8)
INSECURE - IN + SE(CUR)E.  Another biff for me.
20 Stop business, enthralled by stone church (6)
SCOTCH - S(CO)T + CH.
21 Beginners lead rest astray (8)
STARTERS - STAR + anagram of REST, and not an anagram of LEAD REST at all.   If you glanced at the clue and wrote in 'learners', you didn't count the letters.
24 Boring sport, one followed by a few (9)
WEARISOME - WEAR + I + SOME.
25 Weakness about love, say (5)
VOICE - V(O)ICE, I think we just recently had the reverse in another puzzle.
26 Revolutionary behind lines, protected by new name, unusually polite (4-8)
WELL-MANNERED - LL in an anagram of NEW NAME + RED.
Down
1 Style of rap starts to generate almost overwhelming dread (7)
GANGSTA - G[enerate]ANGST A[lmost].
2 Chaps in team, number climbing on Scottish island above loch lacking depth (3-11)
ONE-DIMENSIONAL -  ON EDI(MEN)S + IONA + L, one everyone will biff.
3 King and leader of armada chat in boat (5)
KAYAK - K + A[rmada] + YAK.
4 Propose an item broadcast after drama (8)
NOMINATE - NO + anagram of AN ITEM.
5 Long stretch of trip in Europe (4)
PINE - hidden in [tri]P IN E[urope].
6 Destroy order, losing time after time (9)
ERADICATE - ERA + DIC[t]ATE.
7 Impure hero, sort mistakenly being made head of religious community (6,8)
MOTHER SUPERIOR - Anagram of IMPURE HERO, SORT.   For this one, I actually did use the cryptic.
8 Cross in past hour, upset, then relieved (6)
HYBRID -  BY H upside down, + RID.  I couldn't think of anything to fit the checkers, came back and saw it at once.
14 Dreadful in operation, ignoring a command (9)
DIRECTIVE -  DIRE + [a]CTIVE.   I had at first put 'direction', which sort of fits the cryptic, but doesn't work with WELL-MANNERED.
16 Area guarded by soldier perhaps on border, a thing that’s abhorred (8)
ANATHEMA - AN(A)T + HEM + A, another biff, and one that caused me to erase 'learner'.
17 Reject racket broken by seed (6)
DISOWN - DI(SOW)N, with 'seed' as a verb.
19 Dean set to work in part of London (4,3)
EAST END - anagram of DEAN SET.
22 Bird that’s black and yellow, not caught (5)
RAVEN - [c]RAVEN, a chestnut I was slow to recognize.
23 Mere share (4)
POOL - double definition.   I had prepared myself by thinking 'mere' might refer to a body of water, so when I did an alphabet trawl I saw at once what the answer must be.