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May 30th, 2019

Times 27364, mind your V's and K's

Time taken: 14:31, and going by the times posted on the leaderboard so far, this is on the tricky side. I made a good start at it, but put in a few completely incorrect answers that I thought were plausible (wasn't there a knight named BERTRAND somewhere?) that threw me off. There are some tricky bits of wordplay here.

I shall be turning in shortly after posting this, and will not be able to answer anything until mid-afternoon UK time, so if there's something you disagree with, check the comments, I'm sure the hive mind will set my tired mind correct.

Away we go...

Across
1 Initially, some prisoners will get support for climbing — to be this? (6)
SPRUNG - first letters of Some, Prisoners, then RUNG(support for climbing), and a prisoner can be SPRUNG out of jail
5 Cover girl, say, crossing street, unknown character in low-key fashion (8)
MODESTLY - MODEL(cover girl) containing ST(street), then Y(unknown character)
9 Scare, being loud? Correct (8)
FRIGHTEN - F(loud), then RIGHTEN(correct as a verb)
10 Lively church faced with examination (6)
VIVACE - a musical term. CE(church) next to VIVA(examination) - I pretty confidently put in CHORAL initially
11 What gets one amazingly alive for embracing a female? (4,6)
LOVE AFFAIR -  anagram of ALIVE, FOR cotaining A, F(female)
13 Carriage may be heard in this entrance (4)
GATE - sounds lie GAIT(carriage)
14 Animal in river in Derby? (4)
HART - R(river) inside a derby HAT
15 Friend's final letter — is message contemptuous? (10)
DISMISSIVE - last letter in frienD, then IS, MISSIVE(letter)
18 Person protecting English fort in a task involving many workers (10)
BEEKEEPING - BEING(person) containing E(English), KEEP(fort) - fun definition
20 European hero in American adventures (4)
FINN - double definition, the other being for Huckleberry FINN
21 Making a good escape, requesting cover (4)
SKIN - remove A and G(good) from ASKING(requesting)
23 Upsetting Santa, young people who have problems to deal with? (5,5)
AGONY AUNTS - anagram of SANTA,YOUNG
25 What may deaden sound in room for lecture? (6)
CARPET - double definition
26 In a sort of cell a month after the French Revolution (8)
GERMINAL - double definition, a cell and a month in the French revolutionary calendar
28 Knight’s gamble protecting queen, right? (8)
BANNERET - BET(gamble) containing Queen ANNE, R(right)
29 Drug has unusual chemical compound (6)
POTASH - POT(drug) then an anagram of HAS

Down
2 A sponger wandering around a house of prayer? (9)
PARSONAGE - anagram of A,SPONGER surrounding A
3 Oily substance that's spicy but not soft you ultimately absorbed (7)
UNGUENT - UN-GENT(not soft, not gently) containing the last letter of yoU Edit: It appears I have mis-parsed this, as it should be PUNGENT missing P and containing U. Pity, I was rather fond of the UN-GENT
4 Kid maybe gets duck killed, producing gun (3)
GAT - the kid is a GOAT, remove the O(duck)
5 Stars and soldiers joining army of peace (5)
MENSA - MEN(soldiers) joining SA(Salvation Army). The Table constellation.
6 Underwater explorer affected by mild pain in a funny sort of way? (11)
DIVERTINGLY - DIVER(underwater explorer), TINGLY(affected by mild pain)
7 More than one brutal person keeps stealing silver (7)
SAVAGES - SAVES(keeps) containing AG(silver)
8 Landed outside tax haven zone, not against the law (5)
LICIT - LIT(landed) surrounding CI(Channel Islands, tax haven zone)
12 Sweet performer admitting fluff, finally added something for desired result (5,6)
FUDGE FACTOR -  FUDGE(sweet), ACTOR(performer) containing the last letter of flufF
16 Runner, 21, failing to finish (3)
SKI - 21 across was SKIN, remove the last letter
17 NE natives, poor city-dwellers (9)
VENETIANS - anagram of NE,NATIVES
19 Relations at home hugging doctor, most important person (7)
KINGPIN - KIN(relations), IN(at home) containing GP(doctor)
20 One of a group of painters, six, entertained by German play (7)
FAUVIST - VI(six) inside FAUST(play by Goethe)
22 Put out a note for Aussie tree-climber (5)
KOALA -  KO(put out, in boxing), A, LA(note)
24 Should do anything we’re told (5)
OUGHT - sounds like AUGHT(anything)
27 Stuff provided by salesperson (3)
REP - double definition, but a tricky one, STUFF can also mean cloth, which is the connection to REP

Times Quick Cryptic No 1363 by Wurm

Well I took 17 minutes – 2 over target – as I am still getting accustomed to Wurm’s style.  However, as long as you are familiar with the movers and shakers of Quantum Physics, Jane Austen’s oeuvre and a bit of geography, there should be nothing here to cause any real problems.

Thanks Wurm for a nice work out with a few little challenges.  Solvers and wannabe solvers, do let us know how you got on.

Across
1         Firm needs million to guarantee settlement (10)
COMPROMISE – CO (firm) and M{illion} with PROMISE (guarantee). 
8  National Trust engages a certain ensemble (5)
NONET – NT (N{ational} T{rust}) engages (includes) ONE (a certain) to give the name for a composition for 9 performers (ensemble).  I wondered about ‘certain’ being redundant for a while, but ‘A’ on its own is indefinite, whereas ‘ONE’ is defined in my Chambers as ‘a certain’.
9 Polite knight coming in to buy fish (7)
GENTEEL – GET (buy) and EEL (fish) surrounding (coming in) N (Knight in chess notation).  GENTEEL means well-bred or graceful or polite.
10  Eccentric man adored group of stars (9)
ANDROMEDA – Anagram (eccentric) of [MAN ADORED].  ANDROMEDA is a constellation in the Northern sky.
12 Trouble encountered in Porthmadog (3)
ADO – Hidden in the spelling of the small Welsh coastal town {porthm}ADO{g}.
13 Jack is dishonest person (5)
KNAVE – Double definition, the first being alternate names for the same court card in a deck of cards, and the second referring to a dishonest or deceitful man.
15  Excellent daughter returned to home land (5)
INDIA – A1 (excellent) and D{aughter} reversed (returned) following IN (home) to give INDIA, the most populous democracy in the world.
17  Disturbance curtailed in South American city (3)
RIO – RIO{t} is the disturbance, dropping the last letter (curtailed).  RIO is the second most populous municipality in Brazil with about 12m inhabitants, about 100 times smaller than the population of India at 1.3b, but about 7 times more densely populated than the sub-continent.
18  Compiler is ready – solver reportedly unprepared (9)
IMPROMPTU – I’M (compiler is) PROMPT (ready) U (solver reportedly – sounds like ‘you’).  IMPROMPTU can mean spontaneous or unrehearsed (i.e. unprepared).
20  Hilly region ahead with lights (7)
UPLANDS – UP (ahead) and LANDS (lights, as in dismounts).
21  Heading for border (5)
BOUND – Double definition
22  Belief in Jane Austen’s work (10)
PERSUASION – Double definition, the second referring to Jane Austen’s last completed novel.

Down
1         Cross river shortly after two vessels (12)
CANTANKEROUS – CAN (our first vessel) and TANKER (the second) followed by OUS{e} (river, shortly, i.e. drop the last letter).  CANTANKEROUS becomes my WoD.
2  European in intelligence worked underground (5)
MINED – E(uropean) inside MIND (intelligence).  Perhaps a question mark is needed, as it is possible to have MINED without working underground, as in open-caste or surface mining.
Rubbish from Jethro Tull (3)
ROT – Hidden in {jeth}RO T{ull}.  I like to think this is referring to the Rock Band rather than the Agriculturist they are named after – Song for Jeffrey anyone?
4  French painter drinks gallon in attractive bar (6)
MAGNET – MANET (French painter) around (drinks) G{allon}.  Maybe another question mark needed, as not all MAGNETs are bars.  This is a contender for CoD.
5  Romanians ransacked small republic (3,6)
SAN MARINO – Anagram (ransacked) of [ROMANIANS].
6  Artist, detained outside, produces trumpet (6)
HERALD – RA (artist, from Royal Academician) with HELD (detained) outside it.
Without warning disorder alas unfolded (3,2,1,6)
ALL OF A SUDDEN – Anagram (disorder) of [ALAS UNFOLDED]
11  Previously guards live and die, showing respect (9)
OBEDIENCE – ONCE (previously) outside (guards) BE (live) and DIE (die).
14 God appearing in an election round (6)
APOLLO –  A (an) POLL (election) and O (round).  Nice clue!
16  Works bringing power into Cockney homes? (6)
OPUSES – ‘OUSES (cockney homes, dropping the aitch from hOUSES) and inserting P(ower).
19  Pilau cooked for physicist (5)
PAULI – Anagram (cooked) of [PILAU].  Wolfgang Ernst PAULI was a pioneer in Quantum Physics.
21  Stole pig that has no tail (3)
BOA – BOA{r} is the pig with no tail (dropped last letter), and it is a stole over one’s shoulder rather than a past act of theft.  Awarded CoD for the misdirection.
I made a bit of a hash of this tough puzzle (my stamp of Friday approval is ungrudgingly bestowed) by bunging UNDERWEAR in optimistically for 7dn and then not being able to make much more progress in that corner until I'd revisited my assumptions. But this was far from the only clue that was cleverer than it looked at first, with misleading definitions, unconventional cluing word orders, and parts of the answer clued by semi-invisible particles up the wazoo.

Great work by the setter in other words. With blowhards, porn, textspeak, pregnancy, beatniks and the aforementioned undercrackers all making an appearance, this had a punk rock air to it, so almost inevitably it will prove to be the work of a venerable pre-war setter with an excellent sense of humour. Hard to choose a Clue of the Day really but let's plump for 1dn, combining madcap wordplay with a splendidly evocative surface. A1!

ACROSS
1 Writer penning line badly who's a show-off (8)
BLOWHARD - BARD [writer], penning L [line] + WHO ["badly..."]. I took a while to agonise over whether BOW was any kind of writer, taking something HARD clearly being taking it "badly"...

5 Concealed attack in case of antebellum President (6)
AMBUSH - A{ntebellu}M + BUSH [President]. FOI

10 Part of insect rolling on stomach (5)
NOTUM - reversed ON, plus TUM [stomach]. I'm not much of an entomologist but I assumed a notum was something related to backs, and so it proved.

11 Steps across theme park's greatest attractions? (9)
BESTRIDES - or a theme park's BEST RIDES.

12 A lot of extra troops by port reversing tank? (9)
RESERVOIR - RESERV{e} ["a lot of" extra troops] by reversed RIO [port]. What percentage of the time is "port" RIO at this stage, I wonder?

13 Number one's appeal (5)
ISSUE - I'S SUE [one's | appeal]

14 Rogue cop wearing blue material flicks food (7)
POPCORN - (COP*) ["rogue..."] "wearing" PORN [blue material]. Flicks as in "the movies".

16 On TV outfit's regressive look (6)
REGARD - RE [on] + reversed DRAG [TV (as in transvestite) outfit]

18 Much of fast car could be used for scrap (6)
FRACAS - (FAS{t} CAR*) ["could be used for..."]

20 Tinker with tailless shrimp filled by wife (7)
TWIDDLE - TIDDLE{r} ["tailless" shrimp] "filled by" W [wife]

22 Means of transport to get case of merchandise through part of America (5)
CAMEL - M{erchandis}E "through" CAL [California, part of America]

23 Repression having Sally in poor spirits (9)
CRACKDOWN - a "sally" is a CRACK and "in poor spirits" is DOWN.

25 Attached to main character in little US novel (2,3,4)
ON THE ROAD - ON [attached to], plus HERO [main character] in TAD [little]. Bunged in unparsed once the D appeared, during the home straight.

26 School's picked up, as courses enjoyed? (5)
EATEN - homophone of ETON [school]. Good use of the ambiguous meaning of "courses".

27 Guard losing November and December's fare (6)
TURKEY - TUR{n}KEY [guard, "losing November = N"]

28 Careless king dropping a line, one dispatched officially (8)
EMISSARY - {r}EMISS [careless, "king (= R) dropping"] + A RY [a | line]

DOWN
1 Clean out rank stews in hostelry over time (8)
BANKRUPT - (RANK*) ["stews"], in reversed PUB [hostelry] + T [time]

2 Ring a determined, revolutionary plotter (5)
OATES - O [ring] + A + reversed SET [determined]. Titus Oates, the fabricator of the Popish Plot.

3 Place to study epic writer, and pass on cracking style (8,7)
HOMERTON COLLEGE - HOMER [epic writer], and COL LEG [pass | on] "cracking" TONE [style]

4 Problem with drink? This helps you get dry (7)
RUBDOWN - RUB [problem] with DOWN [drink, as a verb]

6 Expecting trouble and scorn, kissing men abroad (7,8)
MORNING SICKNESS - (SCORN KISSING MEN*) ["abroad"]. Expecting as in "pregnant". I was fooled by the clever definition into thinking the first word would be MARKING. Somehow.

7 Lingerie one's lowered with colour that's not popular (9)
UNDESIRED - take UNDIES [lingerie], lower the I [one] to the bottom, and add RED [colour].

8 Equipment for anglers I see brought up to speed (6)
HASTEN - NETS AH [equipment for anglers | I see!], all reversed

9 One taking interest in the solver’s texting, indeed! (6)
USURER - in UR [txtspeak for you're], SURE [indeed!]

15 Safe old poem's cutting edge (9)
PERIMETER - PETER [safe] that RIME [old poem] is cutting.

17 Rule of Republican, for one French city (8)
REGNANCY - R EG NANCY [Republican | for one | French city]

19 Area with dry, rocky peak (6)
SECTOR - SEC TOR [dry | rocky peak]

20 Leading couple in Fame turning up in Russia once? (7)
TSARDOM - take STARDOM [fame] and reverse its first couple of leters only. Close to LOI as TSARDOM is a very hard word to see in crossers!

21 A fee quoted for what solicitors do (6)
ACCOST - homophone of A COST [a fee]

24 East German capital erected in Roman port (5)
OSTIA - OST [east (German)] + reversed A1 [capital]. I thought OSTI was the East German but of course that's an Ossi, so I'd have been very baffled indeed had I not known my Roman ports well enough to happily biff them in. Very nice to see foreign languages utitlised in the wordplay beyond the standard "the French".