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June 15th, 2019

Hello!  I’m delighted to be joining the TftT blogging team, taking on Mohn2’s Jumbo blogging duties.  I have pretty limited experience of Times puzzles so far, which means I haven’t much to compare this one to.  Still, I have the distinct feeling that I’ve been given a nice gentle induction.  No complaints from me – just enjoyment.  Thanks, setter!

Definitions are underlined in the clues below.  In the explanations, quoted indicators are in italics, [deletions] in square brackets, and I’ve capitalised and emboldened letters which appear in the ANSWER.

Across
1 Break even in other school at first (9)
ELEVENSESEVEN (from the clue) in ELSE (other) + the first letter of (… at first) School
6 Old fogey’s current article into flak and slander (5-2-3-3)
STICK-IN-THE-MUDIN (current) + THE (grammatical article) go into STICK (flack) and MUD (slander)
13 Girl in Ginsberg poem a male spurned (5)
ERICA — [A][m]ERICA (Allen Ginsberg poem) with A (from the clue) and M (male) removed (spurned)
14 Follow ark in travels? It's possible, but unlikely (3,3,1,4)
FOR ALL I KNOWFOLLOW ARK IN is anagrammed (travels)
15 British working with American commission (5)
BONUSB (British) + ON (working) with US (American)
16 One may appear in September morns to have changed somewhat (7,4)
HARVEST MOONMORNS TO HAVE anagrammed (changed somewhat)
17 In my case, stand at the front for hymn (5,4,2)
ABIDE WITH MEWITH ME (in my case), with ABIDE (stand) at the front
18 Figure Greek character right to interrupt repast (7)
NUMERALNU (Greek character) followed by R (right) inside (to interrupt) MEAL (repast)
20 Retired professors from Cambridge ultimately deserve one (7)
EMERITI — the last letter of CambridgE (Cambridge ultimately) + MERIT (deserve) + I (one)
21 Court at the end presented with motive for crime (7)
TREASON — the last letter of (… at the end) courT next to (presented with) REASON (motive)
23 Two honourable guys employing singular valet (10,9)
GENTLEMAN'S GENTLEMANGENTLEMAN and GENTLEMAN are our two honourable guys; they are surrounding (employing) S (singular)
27 Primate's practical joke judge ignored (3)
APE — [j]APE (practical joke), with J (judge) left out (ignored)
28 Belief unacceptable across India (6)
NOTIONNOT ON (unacceptable) around (across) I (India, NATO alphabet)
29 Passage which includes short argument (6)
THROATTHAT (which) contains (includes) all but the last letter of (short) RO[w] (argument)
31 Female worker getting help, we hear, for a Walter Mitty type? (9)
FANTASISTF (female) + ANT (worker), then ASIST which sounds like (… we hear) ASSIST (help)
34 Old soldiers work after hours in place employing cheap labour (9)
SWEATSHOPSWEATS (old, as in long-serving, soldiers), then OP (work) after H (hours)
35 Notorious bar, mostly clean (6)
PUBLICPUB (bar) + LIC[k] (mostly clean)
I wasn’t convinced by lick = clean, which might sound a bit odd coming from a kitty (I prefer showers myself!)
36 Gluttonous type in car fed by girl (6)
GANNETGT (car, gran turismo) containing (fed by) ANNE (girl)
39 Eggs in surplus, according to report (3)
OVA — homophone of (according to report) OVER (surplus)
40 What's required to play Poohsticks, a prior issue now resolved? (5,5,3,6)
WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE — Two definitions, the first of a literal reading of the answer
42 Girl in that place sat endlessly (7)
THERESATHERE (in that place) + SA[t] (sat, endlessly)
43 Passionate, us after a second run out (7)
AMOROUSUS (from the clue) after the concatenation of A (from the clue), MO (second) and RO (run out, cricket)
45 Backache? Penny must leave plant (7)
LUMBAGO — P (penny) removed from (must leave) [p]LUMBAGO (plant)
47 Sodium, for instance, contaminated a lake at mill (6,5)
ALKALI METAL — anagram of (contaminated) A LAKE AT MILL
49 Charles Pooter's kid? One not easily deceived (7,4)
NOBODY’S FOOL — Charles Pooter is the NOBODY in Diary of a Nobody.  After him is the ‘S from the clue and FOOL (kid)
51 Wee drink ahead of a play (5)
DRAMADRAM (wee drink) before (ahead of) A (from the clue)
52 Notice character in establishment, heading off (11)
RESIGNATIONSIGN (character) in [c]REATION (establishment) minus the first letter (heading off)
53 Girl taking in Italian show (5)
EVITAEVA (girl) containing (taking in) IT (Italian)
54 Jazzman liked long tune, syncopated (4,9)
DUKE ELLINGTONLIKED LONG TUNE, anagrammed (syncopated)
Interesting, rather offbeat, anagram indicator …
55 Greek takes off with illegally obtained ammunition (9)
GRAPESHOTGR (Greek) and APES (takes off, imitates) with HOT (illegally obtained)

Down
1 Rifle one always to remember? Good French one (8,3)
ELEPHANT GUN — charade of ELEPHANT (one always to remember?), G (good), and UN (French one)
2 English farm animals causing witty comment (7)
EPIGRAME (English) + PIG and RAM (farm animals)
3 Delete article in Irish Gaelic (5)
ERASEA (grammatical article) in ERSE (Irish Gaelic)
4 Playmates stupidly hiding fine lighter of mine? (6,4)
SAFETY LAMPPLAYMATES anagrammed (stupidly) containing (hiding) F (fine, on pencils)
5 Skinflint's self-esteem evil goblins lifted (7)
SCROOGEEGO (self-esteem) + ORCS (evil goblins), all reversed (lifted, in a down answer)
6 Breakaway movement Preston girl re-formed at university (8,5)
SPLINTER GROUPPRESTON GIRL anagrammed (re-formed) + UP (at university)
7 Check, having lost top copy (9)
IMITATION — [l]IMITATION (check) without the first letter (having lost top)
8 Tackle aboard in fine revolutionary raft (3-4)
KON-TIKIKIT (tackle, gear) in (aboard) the combination of IN (from the clue) plus OK (fine), reversed (revolutionary)
9 Proof, after novel, a collection of religious books (3,9)
NEW TESTAMENTTESTAMENT (proof) following (after) NEW (novel)
10 Male bishop on Rhode Island, churchman from the Western Isles (9)
HEBRIDEANHE (male) + B (bishop, chess notation) before (on, in a down answer) RI (Rhode Island) + DEAN (churchman)
11 Insect found round north in May, perhaps (5)
MONTHMOTH (insect) found round N (north)
12 Faulty cistern — mend showing perspicacity (11)
DISCERNMENT — anagram of (faulty) CISTERN MEND
19 Order abroad to get discount (4,3)
RULE OUTRULE (order) + OUT (abroad)
22 Posted”, one working inside said (9)
STATIONEDI (one) and ON (working) inside STATED (said)
24 No wine to be taken into flat in sacred building (5,4)
NOTRE DAMENO (from the clue), followed by RED (wine) inserted in (to be taken into) TAME (flat)
25 Number on old piano penned by that woman, a definite loser (2-5)
NO-HOPERNO (number) before (on, in a down answer) O (old) and P (piano) inside (penned by) HER (that woman)
26 Socialist supporter quit first? (7)
LEFTISTLEFT (quit) + IST (first)
30 I overlook South African city chart placed on stack (5,8)
TABLE MOUNTAINTABLE (chart) before (placed on) MOUNTAIN (stack)
32 “An Indian city attracting millions” – sort of clue (7)
ANAGRAMAN (from the clue) and AGRA (Indian city) stuck to (attracting) M (millions)
33 Warmth, ideal I suspect for a butterfly (5,7)
WHITE ADMIRALWARMTH IDEAL I anagrammed (suspect)
34 Style of writing supported by editor in need of more staff (5-6)
SHORT-HANDEDSHORTHAND (style of writing) followed by (supported by, in a down answer) ED (editor)
37 Boxing belt — another lost (3,5,3)
THE NOBLE ARTBELT ANOTHER anagrammed (lost)
38 Drug two Italian girls? (10)
BELLADONNABELLA and DONNA, two Italian words for females
40 Length of most of car, and weight (tail end, then rest) (9)
WHEELBASE — charade of W (weight), HEEL (tail end), and BASE (rest)
41 What may shine in darkness covering one shimmering lake? (4,5)
NEON LIGHTNIGHT (darkness) containing (covering) an anagram of (… shimmering) ONE and L (lake)
43 Skilled worker is wearing plaid, though hatless (7)
ARTISANIS (from the clue) covered by (wearing) [t]ARTAN (plaid), though without its first letter (though hatless)
44 Maybe brother is upset over ostentatious jewellery (7)
SIBLING — we again take IS from the clue, but this time reversed (upset); this comes before (over, in a down answer) BLING (ostentatious jewellery)
46 Get rid of blood group O? I succeeded in large hospital (7)
ABOLISHAB (blood group) + O (from the clue), after which I (from the clue) + S (succeeded) go in between L (large) and H (hospital)
48 Gift in bag a private secretary overlooked (5)
KNACKKN[a][ps]ACK (bag) without (… overlooked) A (from the clue) and PS (private secretary)
50 Part of play watched in the auditorium (5)
SCENE — SEEN (watched), as heard (in the auditorium)

This was a relatively easy solve, and very easy to blog. A few things, like 8dn and 20dn, merited trips to references after solving but before blogging. Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle.

Clues are in blue, with definitions underlined. Answers are in BOLD CAPS, then wordplay. (ABC*) means 'anagram of ABC'. Deletions are in [square brackets]. Here goes.

Across
1 In delight finally see kangaroo (4)
JOEY: [se]E in JOY.

3 In dry days fungus nearly burned (10)
SMOULDERED: MOULD in SERE, D[ays].

9 Very different when calmer (7)
SOOTHER: SO, OTHER.

11 Call to Bottom: no answer, though (7)
HOWEVER: HO, WE[a]VER.

12 Desperate cricket team almost succeeded, bringing in unnamed reserve (2,4,7)
IN DIRE STRAITS: INDI[a], S[ucceeded], “bringing in” RESTRAI[n]T.

14 Animal’s pelt I put on (5)
COATI: COAT, I.

15 What can go with pear one bites voraciously? (9)
ALLIGATOR: an “alligator pear” is an avocado by another name.

17 Mark you may be left with after intestinal op? (9)
SEMICOLON: if you have half your colon removed, that’s a serious operation! A punctuation mark, of course.

19 Black cats outside monuments (5)
TOMBS: B with TOMS outside.

21 Ordering run or swimming — that doesn’t quite add up (8,5)
ROUNDING ERROR: anagram (“swimming”) of (ORDERING RUN OR*).

24 Stricken boy transfixed by one beastly noise (4,3)
LAID LOW: I “transfixing” LAD, LOW.

25 Check in a most unusual nickname (7)
SATCHMO: CH[eck] in an anagram (“unusual”) of (A MOST*)

26 Make ready a moistener for spreading (10)
MONETARISE: anagram (“spreading”) of (A MOISTENER*). “Ready” meaning money.

27 I climb, expending energy, and flag (4)
IRIS: I RIS[e].

Down
1 For insurance, a judge should be this (4,2,4)
JUST IN CASE: double definition, rich in whimsy.

2 Old radio broadcast giving introductory material (7)
EXORDIA: EX, then an anagram (“broadcast”) of (RADIO*).

4 Weed needs a break, opening letters (5-4)
MARES-TAIL: A REST breaking MAIL.

5 Conduct of drug dealer showing no pressure (5)
USHER: [p]USHER.

6 Trendiest gown tailored for important address (7,6)
DOWNING STREET: anagram (“tailored”) of (TRENDIEST GOWN*).

7 Can this be the vicar coming to call back? (7)
REVISIT: REV, IS IT?

8 Shakespeare’s lady of the night? (4)
DARK: the answer is obvious. I didn’t know/remember that Shakespeare wrote sonnets about the Dark Lady.

10 Courageous duo start to translate a bit of verse (6,7)
HEROIC COUPLET: HEROIC, COUPLE, T[ranslate].

13 Singer goes off full of love for ordinary folk (5,5)
GRASS ROOTS: GRASS, then O in ROTS.

16 In indexes turning up a number of revolutionaries (9)
LENINISTS: ENIN=NINE “turning up”, in LISTS.

18 Maid welcomes opening of The Alien (7)
MARTIAN: T[he] in [Maid] MARIAN.

20 Borderline character needing to keep in step? (7)
MARCHER: I biffed this without understanding the wordplay at all, but Chambers has a second definition for “march” as “border”, making a “marcher” an inhabitant or lord of a border district. Either a cryptic definition, or a double definition. Not sure which.

22 Energetic type secures wide funding for Remainer (5)
DOWER: W[ide] secured by DOER. Don’t be fooled by the capital “R”. A dower is a dowry or inheritance, paid to a widow or “remainder”. Thanks to the anonymous comment for setting me straight.

23 Litre in tankard to pick up and down (4)
GLUM: L[itre] in GUM=MUG “picked up”.