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April 25th, 2019

I made rather a dog’s brexit of this one, badly mis-entering 5d and thus rendering 13ac as vaguely plausible AMNESTY and making 6d impossible.  Dozing off didn’t help this fluffery, so a not-difficult crossword stretched me to 27.31 to reach a satisfactory conclusion. 1ac I parsed post-submission, and would probably have left it to the blogger du jour if it wasn’t me. I was rather blind to the lettuce leaves at 26d and entered with fingers crossed.
It’s notable for some of the more straightforward anagram clues scattered through the grid
Clues are in italics, definitions in underlined italics, and solutions in BOLD CAPITALS.



Across
1 Officer's co-worker decorated in famous Venetian building at last (6,3)
POLICE DOG Right. Your famous Venetian is (Marco) POLO, insert ICED for decorated and at the last letter of buildinG
9 Secret affair left couple holding a child (7)
LIAISON L(eft) II, Roman for couple, with A held therein and SON for child.
10 Organise AGM, or be subject to ban (7)
EMBARGO “Organise” practically screams “anagram!” Fiddle with the next few letters (AGM OR BE) and get the name of the apocryphal brassiere that was taken off the market when they realised how it read when reflected.
11 Alluring female is short of shilling after time (5)
HOURI  One of the rewards for the faithful in Moslem paradise, IS without S(hilling)  after an HOUR of time.
12 Working girl has an ideal place to live (7-2)
SHANGRI-LA Working suggests (in a barely less stentorian voice) “anagram!”. Muck about with the letters GIRL HAS AN. The earthly paradise imagined by James Hilton in “Lost Horizon”.
13 Humility means transcending yourself, primarily (7)
MODESTY I think MODES just about translates means, ways to an end. Whatever, add TY, the first letters of the next two words.
15 Adjutant returned after month for papers etc (5)
MEDIA The adjutant is an AIDE, reversed after M for Month
17 Sheepish male with drug, pursuing fine physique (5)
FRAME The sheepish male is, of course, a RAM, add today’s drug of choice E, and tack both onto F(fine)
18 Division of gas producer changing hands (5)
SHARE The gas producer is the controversial SHALE, changing hands means the L becomes an R
19 Give birth with anguished cry? (5)
WHELP I thought this was a double definition, but it’s the sneaky W(ith) plus a cry of HELP!
20 Don't drink tar and varnish! (7)
ABSTAIN AB for tar, both seamen, and STAIN for varnish
23 Most unjust if nature's destroyed (9)
UNFAIREST “Destroyed” is this clue’s merest hint of anagram, this time of IF NATURE’S
25 Run home with rogue (5)
INCUR I think run as in “run a tab” at the bar, thus incurring costs. At home IN, rogue supplying CUR
27 Turned to use backless cooker, perhaps explosive (7)
APPLIED The backless cooker iis an APPLE without the E, and the explosive an Improvised Explosive Device
28 Develop case of gangrene, say (7)
GESTATE The case of gangrene yields the G and E the rest provided by say: STATE
29 Figure on plane reportedly demolished fish (9)
RECTANGLE Sounds like wrecked plus ANGLE for the verb, fish



Down
1 People, as ever, welcoming polite word (6)
PLEASE Today’s hidden. I’ll leave you to spot it...well done!
2 Larkin and colleagues tease liars in bar (10)
LIBRARIANS “Tease” stage whispers “anagram!” Reorder LIARS IN BAR Philip Larkin (“They f*** you up, your mum and dad) was a custodian of books at the University of Hull
3 Perhaps hare after eccentric old maid? (4,4)
CARD GAME Of which “Old Maid” is an example. A CARD is an eccentric person. And a hare counts amongst GAME for the huntin’ shootin’ set.
4 Policeman seizing stolen loincloth (5)
DHOTI Most famously worn by Gandhi Ji. Today’s policeman is a Detective Inspector, who takes HOT for stolen on board.
5 Feed a friend too much salt (9)
GLUTAMATE Feed too much GLUT, A for a, MATE for friend
6 Hit piece of furniture, gathering dust (6)
BASHED The furniture is a BED, the gathered dust is ASH
7 Rebecca's son oddly ignoring new status (4)
ESAU Was the hairy one of Jacob’s favourite missus’ twin boys. Ignore the odd letters of nEw StAtUs
8 The setter writes to support worker, contrary sort (8)
ANTITYPE  Translate “the setter writes” to “I TYPE” and tack on the worker ANT
14 Condemned English art, laying it on thick (10)
SLATHERING Not the nasty house in Harry Potter, but an anagram of ENGLISH ART signalled in a meaningful whisper by “condemned”
16 One shunning less stylish nursing sister in Oz? (4,5)
DOWN UNDER Less stylish is DOWDIER, which I (one) shuns and is replaced a little earlier with NUN for sister
17 Wretched old bird (8)
FLAMINGO Wretched is represented by FLAMING, a milder emphatic swear word than others beginning with F. Old just donates the concluding O
18 Leave gym with initially accelerated pulse (5-3)
SPLIT-PEA Oddly enough, my version of Chambers offers only the plural version with no hyphen. Leave is SPLIT (as in the joint), gym is PE and A the first letter of Accelerated
21 Ethereal and extremely attractive hideaway seen from the south (6)
AERIAL The two extremes of AttractivE plus LAIR for hideaway reversed
22 Perhaps Dorothy's served up heavy food (6)
STODGE Perhaps gives EG, and Dorothy’s short version is DOT’S Reverse all
24 Head of Finance sped about Swiss capital (5)
FRANC Head of Finance F, sped: RAN, about (more often ca) C
26 Leaves hotel for club (4)
COSH Leaves as in lettuce leaves COS plus Nato H(otel)

Times Quick Cryptic No 1338 by Mara

I found this on the trickier side of things, being pushed over the 15 minute mark thanks to some faffing about in the NE. I mis-parsed 7d, and spent some time trying to square the answer with only half the definition. I also came a cropper at 9ac having entered a plausible enough alternative answer (well, plausible except for that pesky little detail about it having to intersect with other clues). Further time was spent at 10ac trying to remember that word for "delicate" that was on the tip of my tongue ("diaphanous" - right length, as it happens). I don't think I was particularly quick round the rest of it either , but there were some nice clues - I remember particularly liking 4ac,16d and the two double definitions at 8ac and 24ac. Very good puzzle - many thanks to Mara!

Across
1 Some discontent on gallant island nation (5)
TONGA - Hidden in "some" of the letters of discontenT ON GAllant
4 Surrender vilified after retreat (7)
DELIVER -  REVILED = vilified, reversed = after retreat. Surrender/deliver/hand over/etc.
8 Heavy trampolinist? (7)
BOUNCER - double definition, a heavy = a guard, etc. Nice!
9 Average is capital! (5)
PARIS - PAR (average) IS. I had MEANS (mean's = average's) entered, and forgot on returning to the NE that I wasn't quite 100% happy with it.
10 Expensive clasps are, almost entirely, delicate (10)
PRECARIOUS - PRECIOUS (expensive) clasps/holds AR ("ARe" almost entirely)
14 An American girl far from home? (6)
ABROAD - A broad = an American girl
15 Nebuchadnezzar, for example, daring (6)
BOTTLE - double definition. I thought a Nebuchadnezzar was the largest bottle size, coming in at 20 normal bottles of champagne/claret, but I see the largest is 40 bottles and called either Melchizedek or Midas. Good luck giving that thing a shake. Normally a stupid custom, but I'd have it as the opening round of a decadent strong man competition: a minute to shake it, points for highest fountain, and whatever's left in the bottle must be consumed before continuing.
17 US president plying heroes with wine (10)
EISENHOWER - anagram (plying) of HEROES with WINE
20 Artist mid-morning, maybe, returning (5)
MANET - TEN AM is plausibly mid-morning, reverse/return
22 Hearing of our nation, this English composer (7)
BRITTEN - is heard the same as BRITAIN (our nation)
23 Give account of art near complex (7)
NARRATE - anagram (complex) of ART NEAR
24 Arctic fleet (5)
NIPPY - double definition. Fleet/quick/nippy. In my book, the lovely surface more than makes up for any temperature differential there might be between "arctic" and "nippy".
Down
1 Instrument neighbour put up (4)
TUBA - to ABUT = to neighbour, put up/reversed
2 Absence of American intelligence (4)
NOUS - NO (absence of) US (American)
3 Discover fluff in car seat (9)
ASCERTAIN - anagram (fluff) of IN CAR SEAT
4 Frank having credit renewed (6)
DIRECT - anagram (renewed) of CREDIT
5 Drink: a complete round (3)
LAP - double definition
6 So bottomless, opening for drink (8)
VERMOUTH - VERY = So, bottomless = remove the bottom letter ; MOUTH (opening)
7 Incredible dessert I held back (8)
RESISTED - anagram (incredible) of DESSERT I. I was just blindly convinced that the parsing was an anagram of "dessert" within which the "I" was held, giving "back" for "resisted". I know, doesn't make any sense.
11 Old African horse and I, struggling (9)
RHODESIAN - anagram (struggling) of HORSE AND I
12 Out of order, nameless traders (8)
SALESMEN - anagram (out of order) of NAMELESS
13 Voting system about right, is one captive? (8)
PRISONER - PR (Proportional Representation = voting system) going about/around R(ight) IS ONE.
16 Fix strange blue drink (6)
DOUBLE - DO (fix) ; anagram (strange) of BLUE. Do = fix as in "the person came to do the boiler. Also works as a noun: in a do / a fix / a tight spot.
18 Cease work below street (4)
STOP - OP (work) below ST(reet)
19 Sole aplenty, reel in two, all tails up (4)
ONLY -  all tails up = all last letters, reversed of aplentY, reeL iN twO
21 Food and drink (3)
TEA - double definition.
I didn't find this particularly difficult, though my time wasn't blazing-Monday-fast either; but I'd certainly rate it on the gentle side, with all the definitions being entirely straightforward and most of the wordplay involving quite basic cryptic operations, a lot of putting X into Y to find Z. There was a hint of the old-fashioned about this too with the vehicular fly, and duffers getting laced, which made me think it might have been the work of an older setter? Perfectly acceptable fare of course, cheers setter!

FOI was 10ac, LOI 19d. My Clue of the Day was probably the comparatively elaborate 2dn, but for once I have an anti-COD, the slur that is the surface of 22ac. The only way I'm going to countenance "light blues good, dark blues bad!" in these parts is if it's just an Orwellian prelude to "light blues good, dark blues BETTER!" Despite, um, the two most recent boat race results...

ACROSS
1 First stronghold to protect an indefinite number after retreat (8)
FOREMOST - FORT [stronghold] to "protect" reversed SOME [indefinite number].

5 Something surgeon provides for pain (6)
STITCH - double def

10 Artefact of Catholic priest being held? (5)
RELIC - R.C. [Catholic], ELI [priest] being "held"

11 Bound to take chaps into extraterrestrial sort of escape (9)
ELOPEMENT - LOPE [bound] to take MEN [chaps], into E.T. [extraterrestrial]

12 The fellow is entertained by Greek following rationalist philosophy? (9)
ATHEISTIC - HE IS [the fellow | is] "entertained" by ATTIC [Greek]

13 Language of love used by wise man (5)
OSAGE - O [love] used by SAGE [wise man]

14 Stand where gateman has returned (7)
ETAGERE - hidden reversed in {wh}ERE GATE{man}

16 A top man, weak initially, is getting aroused (6)
WAKING - A KING [a | top man], W [weak] initially

18 Old soldiers being gathered came to the same conclusion (6)
AGREED - AGED [old], R.E. [soldiers] being "gathered"

20 Food Rosy brought around as a possible first course? (7)
CHOWDER - CHOW [food] + reversed RED [rosy]. Soup is a good first course

22 Oxford will always be beaten (5)
LACED - double def, Oxford as in a shoe. Outrageous surface

23 Glow of one about to engage in 11? (9)
FIRELIGHT - I RE [one | about] to "engage in" FLIGHT [11 = elopement]

25 Conservative head receiving a guy who lives on an island? (9)
CARIBBEAN - C BEAN [Conservative | head] "receiving" A RIB [a | guy]; guy as in "tease"

26 Part of America with no room for trendy goddess (5)
DIANA - {in}DIANA [part of America, with "no room for" trendy = IN]

27 One going quickly turning miserable, star losing love (6)
DASHER - reversed SAD [miserable] + HER{o} [star, "losing" love = O]

28 Diner travelling in carriage prepared to talk to fellow passengers? (8)
FRIENDLY - (DINER*) ["traveling"] in FLY [carriage]

DOWN
1 Confronts having to collect ash container — they may be very hot (8)
FURNACES - FACES [confronts], having to "collect" URN [ash container]

2 Man perhaps writing half of the letters (5)
RALPH - R [perhaps writing] + ALPH{abet} ["half of" the letters]. Reading, writing and arithmetic are the "three R's"

3 A line became hard to sort out, as only fit for computer input? (7-8)
MACHINE-READABLE - (A LINE BECAME HARD*) ["to sort out"]

4 Son — little couple’s beloved one (7)
SWEETIE - S WEE TIE [son | little | couple]

6 Mad golfer keen to wed — a temptation that should have been avoided? (4,2,9)
TREE OF KNOWLEDGE - (GOLFER KEEN TO WED*) ["mad"]

7 Parent upset over boy getting cut in the head (9)
TREPANNED - (PARENT*) ["upset"] over NED [boy]

8 Instruction to give girl corporal punishment here? (6)
HITHER - or else, HIT HER! [instruction to give girl corporal punishment]

9 Great big bully pursuing maiden in the capital (6)
MOSCOW - OS COW [great big | bully] pursuing M [maiden]

15 Cigars given out with ale and port (9)
ALGECIRAS - (CIGARS + ALE*) ["given out"]

17 Dry area sinking into sea somewhere across the Channel (8)
BRITTANY - TT A [dry | area] "sinking into" BRINY [sea]

19 Minimal length after incompetent person cut cloth (6)
DUFFEL - L ["minimal" length] after DUFFE{r} [incompetent person "cut"]

20 Investigator given a ring in awkward situation (7)
CORONER - O [a ring] in CORNER [awkward situation]

21 Not half thin, like many a birthday cake cut up (6)
SLICED - SL{im} ["not half" thin] + ICED [like many a birthday cake]

24 Delighted to take in Jehan’s last for organ (5)
GLAND - GLAD [delighted] to "take in" {jeha}N. Just discovered that Jehan Alain was a French composer and organist, which does help appreciate this clue