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July 1st, 2019

Times 27391 - Topic 12TS298

Time: 20 minutes
Music: Dexter Gordon, Doin' Alright

We're definitely back to easy Monday here.   Every time I thought I was going to get stuck, I saw another obvious one, so thanks for that.   I have a lot of other things to do this week, and I would prefer not to struggle for two hours tonight.   I was hung up on my LOI for a minute or two before seeing how it worked, and I neatly sidestepped the one possible trap for unwary biffers.

Your results may vary, but I would expect some very fast times.   And away we go....

Across
1 What Man Ray was, having a platform in outskirts of Detroit (7)
DADAIST - D(A DAIS)T, rather obvious even if you can't remember exactly what Man Ray was famous for.
5 A theatre award in New Mexico? It means the opposite (7)
ANTONYM - A N(TONY)M.
9 Self-denying sailors can finally purchase books (9)
ABSTINENT - ABS + TIN + [purchas]E + NT, a nice surface, but not very deceptive.
10 All the players make nearly half the ice cream (5)
TUTTI - half of TUTTI FRUTTI, a rhyming flavour.
11 Daggers produced by old boy and priest (5)
OBELI - OB + ELI, a compendium of cryptic cliches.
12 At that time a group of nations invested in American club (9)
ATHENAEUM - A + THEN + A(E.U)M.   Yeah, let's put the EU in America!
13 Jurassic creature’s talons oddly displayed in a house (13)
ATLANTOSAURUS - A T(anagram of TALONS)AURUS.   A dubious dinosaur, but well-known.
17 Affected elegance of melodies with decorations (4,3,6)
AIRS AND GRACES - AIR + GRACES, a barely-cryptic clue.
21 Attractive English teacher dips into trifle half-heartedly (9)
DESIRABLE - D(E SIR)A[b]BLE.
24 US city entertaining male climber (5)
LIANA - L(IAN)A, where is was a bit thrown by 'male' indicating a random man's name.  At least 'liana' is a stock crossword plant.
25 Stuff oneself with something close to Cheddar? (5)
GORGE - Cheddar GORGE is a geographical feature close to the town of Cheddar.   I didn't know this, but the answer is pretty evident.
26 When swimming, lady dives with due consideration (9)
ADVISEDLY - anagram of LADY DIVES.
27 Fate sailors reversed, avoiding area by island (7)
NEMESIS - SE[a]MEN backwards + IS.
28 Faker cops finally decisively overcome (7)
SHAMMER - [cop]S HAMMER.   If you biffed scammer, shame (or sham) on you!
Down
1 Racing yacht — something a female impersonator might have? (6)
DRAGON - DRAG ON, referring to the well-known Chinese racing boats.
2 Go with detectives, finding ruin (9)
DISREPAIR - DIS, i.e. detective inspectors, + REPAIR.
3 First letter, one I penned in ancient language going north (7)
INITIAL - I + LA(I)TIN upside-down.
4 Bored agent with woman in Thailand’s borders (9)
TREPANNED - T(REP + ANNE)D, a bit of a surprise.
5 Letter revealing a union problem after seven years? (5)
AITCH - A + ITCH, i.e. the seven-year itch.
6 Giant, one meeting a fairy queen (7)
TITANIA - TITAN + I + A.
7 In action it resembles saltpetre (5)
NITRE - Hidden in [actio]N IT RE[sembles].
8 Part of sailing vessel popular in mother’s time (8)
MAINMAST - MA(IN)MA'S T.
14 Old, old city’s little people — us, emphatically (9)
OURSELVES - O + UR'S ELVES.   We'll have to check the OT to see if Ur had elves.....
15 Scallywags generally in right order crossing a burn? (9)
RASCALDOM - R(A SCALD)O.M, i.e. the Order of Merit.
16 Eccentric leader leaving NW town for a Welsh one (8)
CARDIGAN - I biffed this one, being familiar with the Earl and his famous sweater, but I now see that it is CARD + [w]IGAN, as in the Road to Wigan Pier.
18 Stuffy, like follicularly challenged Cockneys? (7)
AIRLESS - [h]AIRLESS, one escaped from the Quickie before they stepped up the difficulty levels over there.
19 Church cheers fellow visiting, one giving out notes (7)
CELESTA - CE (LES) TA.
20 Hungarian publication unknown artist set up (6)
MAGYAR - MAG + Y + RA upside-down, an obvious biff.
22 Originally such a strange Wiltshire diocese (5)
SARUM - S[uch] A RUM, well-known from the rotten borough of Old Sarum.
23 The cheek of some musicians! (5)
BRASS - Double definition

QC 1385 by Hurley

OK, this was officially the most straightforward crossword I have ever had to blog. I am claiming a PB for it at around the 6.30 mark even though I took ages over my LOI which was 5D. I could see that the answer was obviously MEDIATOR. I could see that it was obviously an anagram with 'mad' as the anagrind. But I was mystified by the anagrist which appeared to me to be NOT MADE. This was because I was doing the puzzle on a smaller than usual screen with my awful reading eyesight as corrected by a bad pair of pound shop reading glasses which made 'ri' appear as 'n' to me. As soon as I looked at it on my normal Mac screen with my normal glasses all became clear.

So many thanks to Hurley for providing me with my latest benchmark for future progress.

FOI was 7A as you would expect. COD is difficult to choose as there were no clues that really stood out from the others but I probably liked 2D the best.

Definitions are underlined and everything else is explained just as I see it in the simplest language I can manage.

Across
7 Performers etc involved in Old Testament (5)
OCTET - anagram of ETC = CTE ('involved') 'in' OT (Old Testament).
8 Demanding individual, Proust — peripheral sections cut (7)
ONEROUS - ONE (individual) + ROUS (pROUSt with the 'peripheral sections' cut).
10 He criticizes prison? (7)
SLAMMER - double definition. I've included the question mark which signifies that the second definition is 'unexpected', but in this case merely because it is a slang definition rather than cryptic.
11 Victor initially ignored private (5)
INNER - wINNER 'initially ignored'.
12 Was late up — pet lovers wild (9)
OVERSLEPT - straight anagram ('wild') of PET LOVERS.
14 Drink is brought round — pub’s Number One (3)
SIP - SI (is 'brought round') + P (Pub's 'Number One').
15 Evasive firm, untrustworthy ultimately (3)
COY - CO (company, often used to denote 'firm' in crossword land, where the legal distinction between a partnership and a company is less distinct than in the real world) + Y (untrustworthY 'ultimately').
16 A “wart” clue, poor, getting shrill response? (9)
CATERWAUL - straight anagram ('poor') of A WART CLUE.
18 Material from centres, industrial (5)
RESIN - hidden word: centRES INdustrial.
20 Bill left French water scene (7)
TABLEAU - TAB (bill) = L (left) + EAU (French for water)
22 Seeing that Religious Education’s genuine (7)
SINCERE - SINCE (seeing that) + RE (Religious Education).
23 Referring to girl, fit for king (5)
REGAL - RE (referring to) + GAL (girl).
Down
1 Collection featuring suits — it may not last long! (5,2,5)
HOUSE OF CARDS - a pack of cards may be seen as a collection of suits.
2 Get overthrown in maverick plan (8)
STRATEGY - TEG (GET 'overthrown') 'in' STRAY (maverick).
3 Art form oddly seen as something minute (4)
ATOM - odd letters of ArT fOrM.
4 Notice about Old Irish evening gathering (6)
SOIREE - SEE (notice) 'about' O (old) + IR (Irish).
5 One seeking agreement riot made mad (8)
MEDIATOR - straight anagram ('mad') of RIOT MADE.
6 Good — have dress for formal wear (4)
GOWN - G (good) + OWN (have).
9 Cull spurs you to change, taking great care (12)
SCRUPULOUSLY - straight anagram ('to change') of CULL SPURS YOU.
13 One supporting monarch after short time (8)
SECONDER - ER (monarch) after SECOND (short time).
14 Search of Southern grotto initially not good enough (8)
SCAVENGE - S (southern) + CAVE (grotto) + NGE (initials of Not Good Enough).
17 Measure of spirits and half of bitter — walk unsteadily? (6)
TOTTER - TOT (meaure of spirits) = TER (half of bitTER).
19 Smooth, starts to sing awfully, needling daughter (4)
SAND - initials letters ('starts to') Sing Awfully Needling Daughter.
21 Insult lawyers and bishop (4)
BARB - BAR (collective name for barristers) + B (bishop).