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June 27th, 2019

Solving time: 21:11. This is a difficult puzzle, but I was under a few adverse circumstances here, I am jet-lagged and at the family home in Melbourne for my father's funeral this afternoon. This means that there are multiple relatives, particularly the more childsome of them wanting to know what I am doing on the laptop, whether I can play video games with them or if I want a refill on my coffee. Of course I'm lying about the last one.

The puzzle - tricky! I was relieved when it came in as all correct, as there are several that went in from wordplay alone.

Definitions are underlined, and away we go...

Across
1 What actor performs in isolation? (5)
APART - an actor performs A PART
4 Doctor joined in group round hospital with many others (3-6)
MOB-HANDED - MO(doctor) then BANDED(joined in group) surrounding H(hospital)
9 Got up, dressed, and made to leave (6,3)
TURNED OUT - double definition of a sort, the underlined one is the one I am more familiar with
10 Long walk needing transport and parking (5)
TRAMP - TRAM(transport), P(parking)
11 Page suppressed by very severe correspondent (3,3)
PEN PAL - P(page) inside PENAL(very severe)
12 Contracted military base to cover most of coast (3,5)
FOR SHORT - FORT(military base) containing SHOR(e)(coast)
14 Move acrobatically, hearing of a certain attack (10)
SOMERSAULT - sounds like SOME AUSSAULT
16 Start of March cold and damp from the east? On the contrary (4)
WARM - M(arch) and RAW(cold and damp) all reversed
19 Woman’s address in fine city (4)
OMSK - MS(address for a woman) inside OK(fine)
20 Legendary German woman, briefly, that employer’s taken in (10)
TANNHAUSER - ANN(woman) inside THA(t), USER(employer)
22 Sort of order that’s typically American (5,3)
APPLE PIE - double definition
23 College port finally — following this perhaps? (6)
CLARET - CLARE college then (por)T
26 Informally, about to get large lizard away from an area (5)
GONNA - GOANNA(Australian lizard) missing an A(area)
27 Unfairly claimed school has no boundaries — kept in (9)
ARROGATED - the school is HARROW, remove the outside letters, then GATED(kept in)
28 Worth mentioning: crossing south summit take base from the rear (2,5,2)
TO SPEAK OF -  S(south), PEAK(summit) inside FOOT(base) reversed
29 Not a serious piece, a shocker (5)
TASER - hidden inside noT A SERious

Down
1 For the present perhaps nothing as starter (9)
ANTIPASTO - if you are for the present you may be ANTI PAST, then O(nothing)
2 Protector’s army at first liable to shrink (5)
APRON - A(rmy), then PRON(e)(liable)
3 Reference books are thus improperly used by one (8)
THESAURI - anagram of ARE,THUS, then I(one)
4 Debatable witticism about love (4)
MOOT - MOT(witticism) surrounding O(love)
5 Essential question: “What is Pyramus? A lover, or a tyrant?” (6,4)
BOTTOM LINE - the quote is said by Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream, so it is a BOTTOM LINE
6 A nuisance, accepting time needed to get very fit (6)
APTEST - A PEST(nuisance) containing T(time)
7 Round sultanate, unwillingly takes guides (9)
DRAGOMANS - the sultinate is OMAN, it is inside DRAGS(unwittingly takes)
8 From container, remove base (5)
DEPOT - if you remove something from a container, you DE-POT
13 In a flash, from a distance one shows where the game is (6,4)
SAFARI PARK - SPARK(a flash) containing AFAR(from a distance), I(one)
15 Girl is waiting for blues (9)
MISSPENDS - MISS(girl), PENDS(is waiting) - blues as in to waste or fritter away
17 Dead at last in mortuary, horribly bloody woman (4,5)
MARY TUDOR - D(dead) inside an anagram of MORTUARY
18 Steps round an elevated aperture (8)
FANLIGHT - FLIGHT(steps) surrounding AN
21 Ply with beer, knocked back with tablet? (6)
REGALE - LAGER(beer) reversed, then E(tablet)
22 Particular language to investigate Monet’s work, as it were? (5)
ARGOT - if you investigate Monet's work you GO INTO ART, so put GO in ART to get ARGOT
24 Spicy sandwiches — spit half out (5)
ROTIS - ROTISSERIE(spit) with the second half missing
25 Tart female? That’s academic (4)
PROF - PRO(tart, prostitute) then F(female)

Times Quick Cryptic No 1383 by Orpheus

An entertaining and quietly challenging puzzle from Orpheus which requires a smattering of General Knowledge (GK) to solve, and the ability to react to some slightly different and unusual clue constructions.  I took every second of my target 15 minutes, despite having all of the necessary GK available for use.

There is something of a geographical flavour, including two Indian cities, several references to Germany and others to the Middle-East, Scotland, Norfolk and Malta, but no discernible theme.  Thanks for the work-out Orpheus. 

Across
1         Clyde valley native, last of several to stroll round loch (9)
LOWLANDER – I’m not 100% sure of my parsing here, but I see it as last of (final letters) of [severa}L {t}O followed by WANDER (stroll) containing (round) L{och}.
6  Flipping rotten fish (3)
DAB – BAD (rotten) flipped or reversed to give the common name for the flatfish also known as Limanda limanda.
8 In the direction of where nurses often go (7)
TOWARDS – Nurses will naturally spend a lot of time going TO WARDS.
Rope-maker extremely sceptical about savings scheme (5)
SISAL – first and last letters (extremely) of S{ceptica}L around (about) ISA (Individual Savings Account).  SISAL is fibre from the Agave plant useful in making rope.
10 Sample part of Malta’s terrain (5)
TASTE – hidden inside {mal}TA’S TE{rrain}.
12 Start in old-fashioned group (6)
OUTSET – OUT (old-fashioned} and SET (group).
14  Lookalike confronted and betrayed (6-7)
DOUBLE-CROSSED – DOUBLE (lookalike) and CROSSED (confronted).  My Chambers gives crossed to mean confronted  as 'archaic', but it is in there.
16  Sporting type erecting barrier around field (6)
FENCER – cryptic double definition, the first a type of sportsperson, and the second a person that builds fences (around a field for example).
17  Fight for a bit (5)
SCRAP – Double definition).
19  Express exasperation when elderly relative pinches ring (5)
GROAN – GRAN (elderly relative) containing (pinching) O (ring).
20  Middle Easterner following prime minister’s daughter? (7)
ISRAELI – DISRAELI is the prime minister, and the answer comes after D{aughter} in his name.  I don’t think I have seen this exact type of clue construction before.
22  Take steps to perform on stage (3)
ACT – double definition.
23  Like some music drama, unusually wearing, and endless? (9)
WAGNERIAN – Anagram (unusually) of [WEARING AN{d}] (endless, i.e. drop the last letter from AN{d} in the anagrist.

Down
1         Liberal viewpoint reportedly providing leeway(8)
LATITUDE – L{iberal} and ATITUDE (sounds like (reportedly) attitude (viewpoint)).
That’s amazing! It goes up and down! (3)
WOW – A helpful definition part, and wordplay that tells us we are looking for a palindromic answer, leads to WOW.
3  In maturity soldiers are of the same mind (5)
AGREE – RE (Royal Engineers or soldiers) inside AGE (maturity).
4 Daunting day I perform, covering Prom, perhaps (13)
DISCONCERTING – D{ay} plus I (I) plus SING (perform) inside which is slipped CONCERT (Prom, perhaps).  A self-assembly or combination clue a little like a flat-pack.  This one uses elements of Initialisms, Charade, Containers and plain Cryptic.
5 Course teacher set up on Bismarck (7)
RISOTTO – SIR (teacher) reversed (set up in a down clue) and OTTO (von Bismarck – Prussian statesman).
Pharmacist in Norfolk town receiving writer with hesitation (9)
DISPENSER – DISS is the Norfolk town, into which is inserted PEN (writer), and the whole is followed by ER (hesitation).  Chambers has ‘DISPENSER – a person who dispenses, esp a pharmacist…’
Brazen bachelor of advanced years (4)
BOLD – B{achelor} and OLD (of advanced years).
11  Perversely cause club to retain old serving vessel (5,4)
SAUCE BOAT – Anagram (perversely) of [CAUSE] followed by BAT (club) containing (retaining) O{ld}.
13  A key choice, fostering (8)
ADOPTION –  A (a) D (key – music notation) and OPTION (choice).  Whilst one might argue the equivalence of ADOPTION and FOSTERING, they both mean a similar thing, the first on a more permanent basis than the (usually) temporary second.
15  Good fortune currently visible in siege city (7)
LUCKNOW – LUCK (good fortune) and NOW (currently). The famous Siege of Lucknow was the prolonged defence of the Residency within the city of Lucknow during the Indian Rebellion of 1857.
17  Rolling swell certain to engulf stern of brig (5)
SURGE – SURE (certain) containing (engulfing) {bri}G (stern, or last letter of).  When first reading this clue, I was fooled by the kerning into reading STEM instead of STERN, which directed me to the exact wrong end of the two-masted ship looking for the letter to include in SURE.
18  Turkish commander crossing river in Indian city (4)
AGRA – Any seasoned crossword solver knows that AGA is a Turkish commander (as well as an oven range or Air-Ground-Air missile).  In this case, it crosses R{iver} to give the name of another city in India (after the answer to 15d).
21  Italian leader supporting the Spanish priest (3)
ELI – I{talian} (leader = leading letter) beneath (supporting) EL (the in Spanish).  ELI was a biblical High-Priest in the Books of Samuel, and is something of a favourite in Crosswordland.
Not the hardest of the week, coming in the wake of two excellent tough numbers, but for once I have no complaints about what was a thoroughly entertaining puzzle. An unusually large number of double definitions may mean this ends up being something of a "wavelength" crossword, but I found it a most agreeable and witty wavelength to tune in to. 4dn may be the most original clue on display, but I loved the wackiness of e.g. 6dn, not to mention its impeccable surface, so that may be my COD. Anything containing classics, Bridge, Dickens and veganism was always going to score highly with me - and I can even toast the setter with a delicious GIMLET afterwards! Cheers!

ACROSS
1 From an ancient city, goddess cut in bronze (6)
THEBAN - HEB{e} in TAN. FOI for this aging classicist.

5 Brilliant being fed starter in restaurant, taste somewhat pungent (8)
GARLICKY - GAY [brilliant] being "fed" R{estaurant} + LICK. Good definition, 50 years on from Stonewall!

9 Period is reviewed in military post (8)
PRESIDIO - (PERIOD IS*) ["reviewed"]

10 Tool male found in jacket (6)
GIMLET - M found in GILET

11 Equally smart twins, females replacing leading names? (5-5)
FIFTY-FIFTY - NIFTY [smart], twinned, with F's replacing leading N's

13 In recital, follow story (4)
TALE - homophone of TAIL

14 Structure that floats a lot (4)
RAFT - double def

15 What Mary had, briefly, put about singular bridge building feat (6,4)
LITTLE SLAM - LITTLE LAM{b} put about S. That's Bridge the card game, of course.

18 Important fresh arguments should be backed: the reader’s old-fashioned! (10)
NEWSWORTHY - NEW [fresh] + reversed ROWS + THY [the reader (of this clue)'s, in old-fashioned language]. LOI.

20 Night light activated after flash (4)
MOON - ON [activated] after MO [flash]

21 Moulding I reversed, ending on mantelpiece (4)
OGEE - EGO [I] reversed, + {mantelpiec}E

23 Come to pass with tennis stroke in advance (10)
BEFOREHAND - BE [come to pass] with FOREHAND

25 Irregular racket skill returning (6)
CONTRA - CON [racket] + reversed ART

26 Mobilising in the war, start to be ineffective (4,4)
WEAR THIN - (IN THE WAR*) ["mobilising"]

28 Judge rose, as excited to imprison Nazis (8)
ASSESSOR - (ROSE AS*) ["excited"], to "imprisons" SS

29 African flower colour (6)
ORANGE - double def. The Orange is the longest river in Lesotho, but features significantly in South African parts too. I'm sure I won't be the only person who started off with VIOLET in here...

DOWN
2 Beginning to regret entering the game, I pathetically retreat (9)
HERMITAGE - R{egret} "entering" (THE GAME I*) ["pathetically"]

3 Singer smashed it, nailing opening of hymn (4,3)
BUSH TIT - BUST IT, "nailing" H{ymn}

4 Gesture with which mood becomes low? (3)
NOD - MOOD with NO D becomes MOO = low

5 Turn and leave (2,3)
GO OFF - double def

6 Person settling school fees arguably holding learner back, perhaps? (5,6)
RUGBY PLAYER - RUGBY PAYER [person settling school fees... "arguably"], holding L

7 One’s crossing northern China — and lags (7)
INMATES - I'S "crossing" N MATE

8 Ring Dickensian character put through the ear? (5)
KNELL - homophone of The Old Curiosity Shop's Little NELL

12 Energetic — after vegetarian meal? (4,2,5)
FULL OF BEANS - literal-metaphorical cryptic def

16 Short child (3)
TOT - double def

17 A skip in middle of night filled up (9)
ABOUNDING - A BOUND IN {ni}G{ht}

19 Heading for parliament in secret, maltreated royal staff (7)
SCEPTRE - P{arliament} in (SECRET*) ["maltreated"]. I bet there's more than one gaunt SPECTRE on the royal staff, but manfully resisted the urge to enter this.

20 Panama, say, toured by parent, venerable soul (7)
MAHATMA - HAT [Panama, say] "toured by" MAMA

22 Earn exclamation of disgust (5)
GROSS - double def

24 If confidence low, the Exchequer ultimately produces not so many (5)
FEWER - {i}F {confidenc}E {lo}W {th}E {excheque}R. According to my dictionary, FEWER is an obsolete word meaning "less".

27 Trouble ahead over harbours (3)
ADO - hidden in {ahe}AD O{ver}