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May 8th, 2019

Times Quick Cryptic 1347 by Joker

A fairly straightforward solve, on the whole, but with some unfamiliar bits and bobs to keep me guessing (that meaning of pet, the paint, the king). Quite a few of the definitions are neatly disguised by the surfaces, and my CoD goes to 10ac as a very nice example.

May is shaping up to be slightly less taxing than April was, methinks - thanks Joker!

Definitions underlined.

Across
1 Not doing enough work missing son is absent (7)
LACKING - sLACKING (not doing enough work) without the (missing) 's' (son).
5 Might be indebted for interrupting press release (5)
POWER - OWE (be indebted) inside (interrupting) PR (press release).
8 Demand partner with qualification (13)
CONDITIONALLY - CONDITION (demand) and ALLY (partner).
9 Nick caught rodent in school (7)
SCRATCH - C (caught, cricket) and RAT (rodent) inside (in) SCH (school).
10 Fawn starts to cautiously run along wooded lane (5)
CRAWL - first letters of (starts to) Cautiously Run Along Wooded Lane. Fawn as in to suck up to or flatter.
11 Ill-treatment almost overlooked around university (6)
MISUSE - all but the last letter of (almost) MISSEd (overlooked) surrounding (around) U (university).
13 Yelped painfully and intensely (6)
DEEPLY - anagram of (painfully) YELPED.
15 Currently batting, with victory impossible for either side (2-3)
NO-WIN - NOW (currently) and IN (batting, cricket again).
16 Dog is mother’s pet? (7)
MASTIFF - MA'S (mother's) and TIFF (pet). I didn't know that 'pet' had this 'sulk/huff/tiff' meaning, so one for me to remember.
19 Difficult to handle emulsion paint gets crazed (13)
TEMPERAMENTAL - TEMPERA (emulsion paint) with MENTAL (crazed).
20 Storm crossing northern line of hills (5)
RANGE - RAGE (storm) surrounding (crossing) N (northern).
21 Shorten a game of cards (7)
ABRIDGE - A and BRIDGE (game of cards).

Down
1 Look, America’s hiding carbon situation (5)
LOCUS - LO (look, as in 'lo and behold') and US (America) all surrounding (hiding) C (carbon).
2 US politician having sex with female (13)
CONGRESSWOMAN - CONGRESS (sex) and WOMAN (female).
3 Fool I spot holding electric current (5)
IDIOT - I and DOT (spot) surrounding (holding) I (electric current, from 'intensity of current').
4 Some baggage is hazard for hostess (6)
GEISHA - hidden in (some) baggaGE IS HAzard.
5 Severely criticise a revolutionary swagger (7)
PANACHE - PAN (severely criticise), A, and CHE (revolutionary).
6 Nicely equipped plane we’d arranged with pilot (4-9)
WELL-APPOINTED - anagram of (arranged) PLANE WE'D and PILOT.
7 Maybe King Priam’s family and Troy lay destroyed (7)
ROYALTY - anagram of (destroyed) TROY LAY. It could have been any king's family, of course, but Priam (the King of Troy) helps to lead us down the garden path.
11 Supervisor to check lizard (7)
MONITOR - triple definition.
12 Straight after embracing queen (7)
SINCERE - SINCE (after) surrounding (embracing) ER (queen).
14 Nearly spear a graceful antelope (6)
IMPALA - all but the last letter of (nearly) IMPALe (spear), then A.
17 Utter hurrah with son for clubs (5)
SHEER - cHEER (hurrah) replacing the 'c' (clubs) with an 's' (son).
18 Note London School of Economics is wrong (5)
FALSE - FA (note, from the sol-fa scale), and LSE (London School of Economics).

Times 27345 - that's more like it.

This was the kind of puzzle we might use as a perfect example of The Times genre, having an antelope, a plant, a mineral, a couple of literary references, and some wit. Hats off to the setter for this one. It took me about twenty minutes; I'm not 100% sure I have the correct interpretation for "plan shortly" in 11a, but the rest of it makes sense. I think 5d gets my CoD vote for its witty surface, even if it was one of the easier clues.



Across
1 Nothing gripped in newspaper article (4)
OBIT - O = nothing, BIT = gripped.
4 Bring in expert to cement new value (10)
IMPORTANCE -IMPORT = bring in, ACE = expert, insert N for new.
9 Villain’s billions have no protection (10)
BLACKGUARD - B(illions) LACK GUARD = have no protection.
10 Unusual to go back around a stretch of wall (4)
DADO - ODD reversed around A.
11 Plan shortly to restrain noise in holy city (6)
MEDINA - MEA(NS) = PLAN shortly, around DIN = noise. EDIT it's pointed out below that the convention for 'shortly' doesn't allow 2 letters to be dropped, so it is MEA(N) and PLAN is a verb not a noun.
12 Confirm answer in very remarkable detail (8)
VALIDATE - V = very, A inserted into (DETAIL)*.
14 Circumnavigator failing at the end after bad weather (4)
FOGG - FOG, (FAILIN)G. Phileas Fogg as in Around the World in Eighty Days.
15 Correction: no dementia suffered (10)
EMENDATION - (NO DEMENTIA)*.
17 Not agreeing to run fast with saw (10)
GAINSAYING - GAIN = run fast (as in a clock perhaps), SAYING = saw, proverb.
20 Stone that killed an assassin (4)
RUBY - Double definition; a jewel, and Jack RUBY who killed the chap who killed JFK.
21 Attractive office work typist finally secured (8)
TEMPTING - TEMPING secures a T from the end of typist.
23 After an honour, you had toed the line (6)
OBEYED - OBE an honour, YE'D = you had.
24 Little girl, not the first that’s into cannelloni (4)
NELL - I think this is indicating ANN or ANNE are the first girl's names to be found in CANNELLONI, and NELL is after them; Little Nell being the heroine of The Old Curiosity Shop.
25 A country swallowing fake news: that is the effect of Brecht (10)
ALIENATION - A NATION swallows a LIE = fake news. Apparently Brecht created the 'verfremdungseffekt' concept in his plays, translated as 'Alienation' or 'Distancing'. I won't pretend to understand it.
26 As driver, manoeuvre creating rage? (6,4)
CHANGE GEAR - Change (anagram) GEAR into RAGE.
27 One of the veggies getting boat to turn back (4)
LEEK - KEEL reversed. KEEL is a poetic name for a boat, which we've seen before.

Down
2 Notable male distraught, being wild about Giselle? (11)
BALLETOMANE - (NOTABLE MALE)*. Giselle being a popular ballet by Adolphe Adam, so a fan of Giselle is a balletomane, or one smitten with balletomania.
3 Enjoying a snack, perhaps, and settling for the night (7,2)
TUCKING IN - nice double definition.
4 Does one not appreciate a fire here? (7)
INGRATE - Double definition, one requiring separation of IN and GRATE.
5 Now enjoy mountain panorama, or join most people round the box? (4,7,4)
PEAK VIEWING TIME - Another witty cryptic double definition.
6 Annoyed about doctor having spoken obscurely (7)
RIDDLED - RILED about DD = Doctor of Divinity. "Why is a raven like a writing desk?' asked the Hatter. Alice didn't know. Neither did the Hatter. Carroll himself came up with an answer in the later 1897 edition of his work. (Sorry, any excuse to rabbit on about Lewis Carroll and I'm off).
7 Ruminant’s area linking places on opposite coasts (5)
NYALA - Today's antelope. NY and LA in America are linked by A(rea).
8 Bring out woman to receive sanction (5)
EVOKE - EVE has OK inserted.
13 Hiding banknotes in book is irritating (11)
TROUBLESOME - TOME = book, insert ROUBLES.
16 Agony and misfortune almost perennial (9)
TORMENTIL - TORMENT = agony, IL(L) = misfortune, almost. Today's obscure plant, it's a herb.
18 Keep moving marble, holding it (7)
AGITATE - AGATE has IT inserted. IMO agate is not the same as marble, although you can make a set of marbles (the playing game sort) from agate. https://wikidiff.com/agate/marble
19 One reacting to pun perhaps with anger, or otherwise (7)
GROANER - (ANGER OR)*.
21 Jacket king of England picked up to tour island (5)
TUNIC - CNUT, a variant spelling of Canute, is reversed and has I for island inserted.
22 Barley sprouted on a small island (5)
MALTA - MALT = barley sprouted, add A. Malta isn't really a small island, compared, say, to Gozo, but the clue wouldn't work if it just read "... on an island".

A brief announcement

The incorrect solution for Monday's Quickie on the Times and Crossword Club sites has now been corrected.

For those who didn't solve it, the incorrect solution had four answers in the wrong places, resulting in every solver being scored with four errors.   The Times crossword team has not only corrected the solutions, but has very kindly re-scored all the leaderboard submissions with the corrected answers. 

However, anyone who cheated, looked at the "solution", and typed it in, now has four wrong, so we have finally caught the neutrinos out.