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May 20th, 2019

QC 1355 by Tracy

No problems this week, everything slipped in nice and easily just under the 10-minute mark and when I pressed the button all was present and correct.

FOI was 1A, LOI was 5D. COD could have been 5D too as I thought it was a fairly neat clue, but I felt that 11A and 7D were slightly neater. Very difficult to choose between those two as both surfaces are very natural but 7D has slightly more moving parts so I'll go for that one. Thanks Tracy for an entertaining and enjoyable cup of tea.

A slightly cultural theme this week perhaps, with literature extending from the nursery to the A-level Eng. Lit. syllabus with Aldous Huxley and, by quotational reference, to Shakespeare's Tempest, nodding to Joe Orton and Dvorak along the way. Not enough to cause anything more than a brief twitch on the NATRAF needle though.

Definitions are underlined and everything else is explained just as I see it as simply as I can.

Across
1 Grey flatfish crossing river (4)
DRAB - DAB (flatfish) 'crossing' R (river.
4 Kind female by a church font (8)
TYPEFACE - TYPE (kind) + F (female) + A CE (Church of England)
8 American manoeuvres kept secret (2,6)
IN CAMERA - straight anagram of American ('manoeuvres').
9 Reportedly follow story (4)
TALE - sounds like ('reportedly') TAIL (follow).
10 Key member, close (6)
LEGEND - LEG (member) + END (close).
11 Quick pint after concert (6)
PROMPT - PT (pint) after PROM (concert).
12 Put off M1 before race, leading to conviction (13)
DETERMINATION - DETER (put off) + MI (M1) + NATION (race).
16 One pointing out group one disapproves of? (6)
SHOWER - double definition. SHOWER as in someone who shows + SHOWER as in "You don't want to hang out with that shower.".
17 Sacked from Orton play (Joe's last), departs (6)
LOOTED - LOOT (a play by Joe Orton) + E (JoE's last) + D (departs).
19 Mark in second vehicle (4)
SCAR - S (second) + CAR (vehicle).
20 Animal: one leapt out (8)
ANTELOPE - straight anagram ('out') of ONE LEAPT.
21 Good boys protecting kid in best clothes (4,4)
GLAD RAGS - G (good) + LADS (boys) 'protecting' RAG (kid).
22 Part of conditional release the old man ignored (4)
ROLE - PAROLE (conditional release) 'ignoring' PA (old man).
Down
2 Compass showing north during storm (5)
RANGE - N (north) 'during' RAGE (storm).
3 Novel and courageous symphony? (5,3,5)
BRAVE NEW WORLD - BRAVE (courageous) + NEW WORLD (symphony (by Anton Dvorak)).
4 Time to remove unwanted plants in river (5)
TWEED - T (time) + WEED (remove unwanted plants).
5 Drama writer in junior enclosure (7)
PLAYPEN - PLAY (drama) + PEN (writer).
6 Fictional railway boss's diet, perhaps? (3,10)
FAT CONTROLLER - whimsical cryptic definition. The FAT CONTROLLER was the guy who ran the railways in the Thomas the Tank Engine books, and this could also be read as a cryptic definition for a diet.
7 Combo's leader plays new love song (7)
CALYPSO - C (Combo's leader) + ALYPS (anagram ('new') of PLAYS) + O (love).
10 Young man may get praise skipping university (3)
LAD - LAUD (praise) 'skipping' U (university).
13 Decent chalet, I suspect (7)
ETHICAL - straight anagram ('suspect') of CHALET I.
14 Unfortunately butter possibly going up, and dessert wine (7)
MARSALA - read this backwards (i.e. 'going up' in this down clue) and you have ALAS (unfortunately) + RAM (a 'butter').
15 Fellow brought over gives slight bow (3)
NOD - DON (fellow) reversed ('brought over').
17 American after fortune for plant (5)
LOTUS - US (American) 'after' LOT (fortune).
18 Get rid of former PM, half-heartedly (5)
EXPEL - EX (former) + PEL (PeEL, a Prime Minister 'half-heartedly').

Time:14 minutes
Music: Wagner: Tannhauser Overture and Venusberg Music, Reiner/Chicago

We're certainly back to an easy Monday here, with nearly a record time for me.   The puzzle was eminently biffable, and I certainly biffed away.   I will have to figure out quite a few of the cryptics as I write up the blog, but that shouldn't be too difficult.   However, the puzzle may not prove as easy for those who live exclusively in the modern world, where antiphons and commonplace books are not longer required.     

Across
1 One of Mitford’s aristos accepting idea for psalm? (8)
ANTIPHON - AN(TIP)HON, where an Hon is presumably an aristo too minor to have a courtesy title.
5 Evangelise quietly about a place of worship (6)
PREACH - P + RE + A CH, a compendium of stock elements.
10 Cowboy hero’s logic had pony prancing round donkey (8,7)
HOPALONG CASSIDY - anagram of LOGIC HAD PONY around ASS.   The original character who first appeared in  1904 was very different from the bowdlerized film versions.
11 Arrangement of feet, having to stagger round vehicle (10)
TETRAMETER - TE(TRAM)ETER.
13 Hairstyle rejected in Waldorf Astoria (4)
AFRO - backwards hidden in [Wald]ORF A[storia] - not a cryptic definition!
15 Doubter’s stomach briefly filled with edible fungus (7)
SCEPTIC - S(CEP)TIC[k].   We stick at nothing here in crosswordland.
17 My one-time mark of noble rank? (7)
CORONET - COR + ONE + T, more stock cryptic elements.
18 Verbally criticise act — it may be part of the service (7)
NOCTURN - sounds like KNOCK TURN.   A Chopin piece would have an 'E' on the end.
19 Silent husband leaves to tour African party’s retreat (7)
SANCTUM - S[h](ANC)TUM.   Apparently, 'shtum' is not actually Yiddish, although it sounds like it should be. 
21 Struggle with belief (4)
VIEW - VIE + W.
22 He provides forecasts if picked up by crew (10)
WEATHERMAN - sounds like WHETHER + MAN.
25 Standard psychological medicine given thumbs up in cuttings collection (11,4)
COMMONPLACE BOOK - COMMON PLACEBO + OK, originally a notebook in which 17th-century gents recorded bon mots.
27 Watch dispatched by public transport (6)
SENTRY - SENT + RY.
28 Actor, one engaged in resort in the north (8)
THESPIAN - THE(SP(I)A)N. 
Down
1 Loyal friend’s talk stopping main uprising (7)
ACHATES - A(CHAT)ES, where the enclosing letters are SEA inverted.
2 Ram back of cart going to the city (3)
TUP - [car]T + UP, more crosswordese.
3 Old college worker beginning to head American plant (10)
POLYANTHUS - POLY + ANT + H[ead] + US.
4 Big cat in the past seen around university (5)
OUNCE - O(U)NCE, that popular lightweight crossword cat.
6 Head off skirmish — hurry! (4)
RUSH - [b]RUSH.
7 Mufti Indian’s sporting endlessly (2,9)
AD INFINITUM - anagram of MUFTI, INDIAN.
8 Ring paper about Yankee in room above stable? (7)
HAYLOFT - HA(Y)LO + F.T, a popular paper among crossword setters.
9 Branches of learning C-in-C sees developed (8)
SCIENCES - anagram of C-IN-C SEES.
12 Ditch European, not initially a hearty eater (11)
TRENCHERMAN - TRENCH + [g]ERMAN.   In my haste, I had imagined this had something to do with removing the first letter from 'Frenchman'. 
14 Without trimmings, unlike the Edinburgh Festival? (10)
FRINGELESS - Double definition, referring to the most famous feature of the Edinburgh Festival, at least among crossword setters.
16 Firm conservationists inspiring casual worker’s disdain (8)
CONTEMPT - CO + N(TEMP)T, i.e. the National Trust.
18 Religious probationers, and what they ideally should have? (7)
NOVICES - NO VICES, of course. 
20 Little fellow leading around revolting family (7)
MANIKIN - MA(NIK)IN, where the 'kin' at the end might fool you for a bit, but it's actually upside-down and in the middle.
23 Tutor originally active in college (5)
TEACH - TE(A[ctive])CH
24 Visit ancient city? It’s grim (4)
DOUR - DO UR.   Probably not advisable nowadays.
26 Broad sash — old one worn by bishop (3)
OBI - O(B)I, from a kimono or a Japanese LP.