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June 3rd, 2019

Times 27367 - Lenehan again

Time: 19 minutes
Music: Bruckner, Symphony 4, Mehta/LAPO

Another easy Monday, although without the chestnuts.   If you deploy stock cryptic elements as directed, you will arrive at the answer quite quickly.   So, although not a hard puzzle, at least a high-quality one.    I expect some quick times from the usual crew, so without further ado....

P.S. As I wrote the blog, I was surprised at how few literals are a single word.   While some puzzles hide their literals in quasi-kennings, as we saw in Friday's edition, generally speaking longer literals make it much easier to dissect a clue.   Which is probably why everyone was able to solve this puzzle so quickly.

Across
1 Report of one throwing in part of game? (6)
CHUKKA - Sounds like 'chucker', if you are a non-rhotic speaker.   This is the one word that some solvers might not know.
4 Donkey joins minister in church, provoking big split (8)
CREVASSE - C(REV ASS)E, all standard cryptic elements.
10 Like part of viewer’s money invested in Madrid team (7)
RETINAL - RE(TIN)AL.
11 Increased payment announced for fertiliser (7)
NITRATE - sounds like 'night rate', when presumably the pay is higher.
12 Voice disapproval of Republican oik (4)
BOOR - BOO + R[epublican].
13 Militant greenie backing French king after dreadful race row (3-7)
ECO-WARRIOR - anagram of RACE ROW followed by ROI backwards.
15 Protective coat a Parisian youth put back round tongue? (9)
UNDERSEAL - UN D(ERSE)AL, i.e. LAD backwards.
16 Distinguished Muslim reversed interdiction binding Washington (5)
NAWAB - NA(WA)B, with BAN backwards.
18 Hospital thanks bringer of gifts (5)
SANTA - SAN + TA.
19 Staying power of English knight Mussolini managed to get imprisoned (9)
ENDURANCE - E + N DU(RAN)CE.
21 Like Quisling’s characteristics taking in men in Britain or in France (10)
TRAITOROUS - TRAIT(OR,OU)S.   I like the 'men' in Britain, but 'or' in France, a typical devious crytpic construction.
23 Unspecified doctrines revealed in one’s writing (4)
ISMS - I'S MS.
26 Diamond thief initially stole entering Arctic vessel (7)
ICEBOAT - ICE + BOA + T[hief]
27 One with pride in French art inspired by celebrities (7)
LIONESS - LION(ES)S. Tu es = thou art.
28 Aim to give up action on pitch (4,4)
GOAL KICK - GOAL + KICK, in entirely different senses.
29 Aristocracy’s grand record (6)
GENTRY - G + ENTRY.   A bit loose; anyone familiar with 17th century history would know that the gentry and the aristocracy were two distinct and competing groups, whose divergent interests led to the Civil War and the Glorious Revolution.
Down
1 Native American’s article read in bed (5)
CARIB - C(A)RIB.   I couldn't make any sense of 'read', and eventually just put in the obvious answer.
2 Description of virgin territory don turned out (9)
UNTRODDEN - anagram of DON TURNED.
3 English architect and landscape gardener known in Scotland (4)
KENT - double definition, a fellow I had never heard of, but easily gettable.
5 Replacement of kidney we set up internally (7)
RENEWAL - RE(N(WE backwards)AL.
6 Like some surgeons in navy, retire unhappily (10)
VETERINARY - anagram of NAVY, RETIRE.
7 How to address Hindu dignitary in the morning in Westminster? (5)
SWAMI - SW(AM)I, where thst postcode of Westminster is presumably SW1.
8 Abhorrent former City mob dismissing head of bank (9)
EXECRABLE - EX + EC + RAB[b]LE.
9 Hat that’s extremely comfortable crossing northern lake (6)
CLOCHE - C(LOCH)E, where the enclosing letters come from C[omfortabl]E.
14 Fortification originally recognised in magnum opus, do we hear? (10)
BREASTWORK - sounds like B(R[ecognized]EST WORK.  I've never seen the insertion of a letter into a homonym before, but the answer is quite obvious. Let me give this one another try.   It's a three-step clue.   Think of a word that means MAGNUM OPUS, which is BEST WORK.   Now put an R in it, giving BREST WORK.   Now think of a word that sounds like that, giving BREASTWORK.   Of course, if you are familiar with the classic fortifications that every 17th-century military theorist described, the answer should be obvious and biffable.
15 Disturbing, being out of bed doing my job? (9)
UPSETTING - UP SETTING.
17 Detective shed tears after a lot of drink, having dishevelled look (9)
WINDSWEPT - WIN[e] + D.S. + WEPT.
19 Capricious fellow concealing deserter (7)
ERRATIC - ER(RAT)IC, one of our favorite fellows, along with Ted and Al.
20 Hand-out covering upper-class bachelor’s drink (6)
DOUBLE - DO(U, B)LE.
22 Live on cape overlooking a palm-tree (5)
ARECA - ARE + C + A, a native of American crosswords.
24 Cheeky American, for example, grabbing seconds (5)
SASSY -  SA(SS)Y
25 Part in this way, missing ex at first (4)
SOME - SO + M[issing] E[x].

QC 1365 by Tracy

Hmmm. Another Tracy. My second in a row. And for me this was definitely another Tracy. The last one I found quite straightforward. I didn't set any records on my own terms but everything went in very easily and I didn't have to stop and think about anything much before writing it in. This one was quite another matter.

Most of the grid was filled in under eight minutes but then there were I think four clues left that took me another four. Looking back though I can't see any excuse except for slowness in waking up and the setter's skill. Which way that bias lies will become apparent when I see what the rest of you made of it. Maybe it was a sort of cumulative effect because I felt that all the clues were of a high standard such that the number of easy write-ins was lower than usual. If I had been batting I think I would have said that I had had to grind out every run and taken most of them in singles rather than glorious strokes to the boundary. Much praise to Tracy, therefore, I really enjoyed it as one of the most challenging QCs I have blogged.

FOI was 9A. LOI, amazingly, was 21D. I just couldn't see it. COD, unusually for, me goes to the anagram at 15D. I loved the definition.

Having said all that, I think if I had encountered these clues in a 15 x 15 they would have probably been near write-ins. For instance in that context I believe I would have seen 15D very quickly, and might even have thought it a bit of a 5D. Anyway, I could pontificate for hours but I'll leave it there and submit it all to the court of your opinion.

Definitions are underlined and everything else is explained just as I see it in the simplest language I can manage. No activity on the NATRAF needle that I could detect.

Across
8 Closest among relatives are in cosy home (7)
NEAREST - ARE 'in' NEST (cosy home).
9 After hour, girl returned hair dye (5)
HENNA - H (hour) + ENNA (Anne, a girl, presumably, 'returned').
10 Afterwards, roof worker loses head (5)
LATER - chop the head off sLATER (roof worker).
11 Cost of corresponding after decline (7)
POSTAGE - POST (after) + AGE (decline). A bit ageist I suppose to assume that one declines with age but then again maybe it's a bit sexist in this day and age to assume that ANNE is a girl (9A).
12 Smoother, second eleven in front of club (5,4)
STEAM IRON - S (second) + TEAM (eleven, as in football or cricket) + IRON (club, as in golf).
14 What sounds like bent grass? (3)
RYE - a WRY grin is a bent one, and it sounds like RYE, a type of grass.
16 Second bachelor in disorderly crowd (3)
MOB - MO (second, as in "wait a mo") + B (bachelor).
18 Traditional dish in bar, almost cooked (5,4)
ROAST LAMB - straight anagram ('cooked') of BAR ALMOST.
21 Hobby in father's era (7)
PASTIME - PAS (father's) + TIME (era).
22 Sea fish about right money (5)
BRASS - BASS (a sea fish) 'about' R (right).
23 Match a colour, almost (5)
AGREE - A + GREE ('almost' GREEn).
24 After commencement of case, guarantee condemnation (7)
CENSURE - C ('commencement' of Case) + ENSURE (guarantee). (As a grumpy aside, such is the quality of modern subediting that I have seen CENSOR and CENSURE confused somewhere in a recent newspaper article, and I am pretty sure it was in the very organ which carries our favourite crosswords.)
Down
1 Answer male supporting relatives in the US government (5,3)
UNCLE SAM - A + M (answer + male) 'supporting' (i.e. 'under' in this down clue) UNCLES (relatives).
2 Fortified stronghold and lake in order (6)
CASTLE - L (lake) 'in' CASTE (order, referring to the caste system of India).
3 Endless courage results in try (4)
HEAR - HEARt (courage) without the end gives HEAR (= try in the sense of a judge 'hearing' a case).
4 A state of shock as US port bombed (6)
STUPOR - straight anagram ('bombed') of US PORT.
5 Old joke that may get a roasting? (8)
CHESTNUT - pretty obvious? Bit of a CHESTNUT really.
6 Dishonest female fired from amusement park (6)
UNFAIR - remove F (i.e. 'fire' a female) from the front of fUNFAIR and there you have it.
7 Come up against fine champion (4)
FACE - F (fine) + ACE (champion).
13 Stickler's point in market (8)
MARTINET - TINE (point, as in the TINES of a fork) 'in' MART (market).
15 Some debs, surprisingly, did relief work? (8)
EMBOSSED - straight anagram of SOME DEBS. Relief work in the sense of artwork that is raised above the surface of the medium.
17 Restaurant in street covered by writer (6)
BISTRO - ST (street) 'covered by' BIRO (writer).
19 Get on with head of crime in New York bureau (6)
AGENCY - AGE (get on, as in 'getting on a bit') + C (head of Crime) 'in' NY (New York).
20 A taxi brought over American? One may count on it (6)
ABACUS - A + BAC (CAB (taxi) 'brought over') 'over' (in this down clue) US (American).
21 Top dog, reportedly (4)
PEAK - sounds like PEKE (as in Pekinese, or is it now politically correct to call them Beijinese?).
22 Attempt to save knight in difficulty (4)
BIND - BID (attempt) 'saving' (i.e. surrounding, as if from marauding attackers) N (knight, the standard abbreviation for the chess piece).