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July 11th, 2019

Times 27400 - you may remember this

Time taken: 13:01 but with one silly typo at 15 down keeping me from the leaderboard. From looking at the early finishers, this is on the difficult side, nobody is under 10 minutes. Odd puzzle this, with some cryptic definitions and some words that were obscure to me.

I am getting to this fairly late and I have a meeting that is going to eat up my morning, so I hope I have everything sorted, but you may want to check the comments first, in case I have made a characteristic typo or misinterpretation, as I will not be able to correct anything until the late afternoon.

The first definition in each clue is underlined

Away we go...

Across
1 Polish local back on the game (3,2)
RUB UP - PUB(local) reversed after RU(Rugby Union, the game)
4 Start making an impression having landed work on ship (2,2,5)
GO TO PRESS - GOT(landed), OP(work) RE(on), SS(steamship) - crafty definition
9 Motorists about to leave home finally choose somewhere in France (9)
AQUITAINE -  the motorists are the AA(Automobile Association) surrounding QUIT(to leave), then IN(home), and the last letter of choosE
10 Brute rounds on pretentious toff (5)
YAHOO - the two rounds are O and O, put them after YAH(an affected upper-class person). Had to work out the wordplay for the blog, this went in from definition
11 Cutting insignificant church visits (6)
PUNCHY - PUNY(insignificant) containing CH(church)
12 Parasite from horse burrowing into poor titmice (4-4)
ITCH-MITE -  H(horse) inside an anagram of TITMICE
14 Song bird relies on following it around (2,4,4,2)
AS TIME GOES BY - TIME(bird) and GOES BY(relies on) after SA(sex appeal, it) reversed
17 Put the lid on canopy over engine that’s growing hot (6,6)
SCOTCH BONNET - SCOTCH(put the lid on), BONNET(canopy over a car engine) - the definition refers to a hot pepper
20 Raucous Indian in school yard (8)
SCREECHY -  CREE(Indian) inside SCH(school), Y(yard)
21 An inspired suggestion? (6)
BREATH - cryptic double definition, since a breath could be inspired(inhaled)
23 Nothing put forward in musketeer’s pledges (5)
OATHS -  move the O(nothing) to the front in the musketeer ATHOS
24 Leading in platoon, prepared for further advance (3-2,4)
TOP-UP LOAN - UP(leading) inside an anagram of PLATOON - got this one from the wordplay, haven't heard of the phrase
25 Given handle, stir, with pole, a lot of water (9)
NICKNAMED - NICK(jail, stir) then N(north pole), A, MED(lot of water)
26 Scene of action initially settled on years before (5)
YPRES - first letter of Settled after Y(years), PRE(before)

Down
1 Show over, gather before Conference (8)
REAPPEAR -  REAP(gather) then a conference PEAR - definition refers to showing up again
2 English girl’s last but one composition for jazz interval (4,4)
BLUE NOTE - an anagram(composition) of E(English), the last letter in girL, BUT, ONE
3 Get satirists performing curse (3,3,7,2)
PUT THE MOCKERS ON - curse is the direct definition (certainly in cricket), the rest is that if you get the satarists performing you might PUT THE MOCKERS ON
4 Carriage entrance is for picking up only (4)
GAIT - a homophone of GATE(entrance) - the homophone is indicated by "picking up only"
5 Parts of China party? (10)
TWENTIETHS - cryptic definition, based on china being a traditional gift for a TWENTIETH anniversary
6 Happy choirboys ultimately leading fabulous, special sort of life (15)
PSYCHOBIOGRAPHY - anagram of HAPPY,CHOIRBOYS and the last letter of leadinG - another one I had to work out from wordplay, knowing the BIOGRAPHY part was most likely
7 Race Elizabeth and Nicholas are holding together (6)
ETHNIC - hidden inside elizabETH and NICholas
8 Son, having drawn on pot, gets fired (6)
STOKED - S(son) and TOKED(smoked marijuana)
13 A number one turn, time and time again (1,3,6)
I GOT RHYTHM - I(one), GO(turn), T(time), RHYTHM(time). 1930 Gershwin tune (written a year before the song at 14 across)
15 Popular pro (2,6)
IN FAVOUR - double definition, which I somehow managed to enter as IN FAVORR
16 Artwork from film projecting feature on grammar school (8)
ETCHINGS - ET(film), CHIN(projecting feature), GS(grammar school)
18 No pained reactions arise after a fainting (6)
ASWOON - NO, OWS(pained reactions) following A
19 Judge a pain in the neck mostly about immigrant’s case (6)
CRITIC - remove the last letter from CRICK(pain in the neck) and insert the outer letters in ImmigranT
22 The cheapest promotion for this tablet? (4)
IPAD - the cheapest promotion may be a 1P AD

Times Quick Cryptic No 1393 by Orpheus

Gentle enough puzzle, perhaps, but that didn't stop me incorrectly guessing the girl at 24ac and giving 6d less than a minute's consideration before giving up and sticking in the only remotely plausible answer that came to mind. In my defence, I'm rusty and still musty from a holiday, so I'm calling this 8-minute mess-up a success. Which it was, in comparison to yesterday's QC DNF, done just before this in around twice the time - so for that I give Orpheus my thanks, and of course also to the Rotter for kindly filling in for me last week.

Across
7 Singer’s unhappy attempt to cross river (8)
BLUEBIRD - BLUE (unhappy) BID (attempt) to cross R (river)
8 A strange perennial plant (4)
ARUM - A RUM (a strange). Reminded me of the titan arum, which is indeed a strange plant, but whose proper name provides a vastly better description.
9 Collided with back of enormous goods vehicle (6)
STRUCK - S ("back" of enormouS) TRUCK (goods vehicle)
10 Member overcome by English youth leader’s lament (5)
ELEGY - LEG (member) overcome by E(nglish) and Y (Youth "leader")
11 Knight accommodated in fashionable lodging-place (3)
INN - N (knight in chess) accommodated in IN (fashionable)
12 Source of bananas, a blessing for a monkey (6)
BABOON - B ("source" of Bananas) A BOON (a blessing)
14 He painted first of infants captured by giant (6)
TITIAN - I ("first" of Infants) captured by TITAN (giant)
16 County with appeal for basic accommodation (6)
BEDSIT - BEDS. (Bedfordshire/county) with IT (appeal)
18 Fanatic read dictionary? Not all of it! (6)
ADDICT - not all of the letters of reAD DICTionary
19 Ineptly act a son of Noah (3)
HAM - double definition
20 Wee drink before a stage production, perhaps (5)
DRAMA - DRAM (wee drink) before A
21 Dismiss party protecting Northern Ireland (6)
BANISH - BASH (party) protecting NI (Northern Ireland)
23 Edible part of grain for breakfast, say? (4)
MEAL - double definition. The first derives from the same sense as mill(ing); the second originally meant a particular time or occasion.
24 Charge girl for herbaceous plant (8)
COSTMARY - COST (charge) MARY (girl). I looked at the checkers and could only see "cashmere", and then couldn't get "costmira" out of my head. It seems to be a well-known, aromatic herb that was widely used medicinally and to flavour ale (so also called alecost).

Down
1 Corpulent ship’s officer embracing large fellow lodger (8)
FLATMATE - FAT (corpulent) MATE (ship's officer) embracing L(arge)
2 Boyfriend’s part of East London, we hear (4)
BEAU - "we hear" the same as BOW (part of East London)
3 Bird in grass is kingfisher (6)
SISKIN - "in" the letters of grasS IS KINgfisher. A finch type creature that I'd also never heard of but the clue was helpful.
4 Arrival of notice archdeacon originally typed (6)
ADVENT - AD (advert/notice) VEN (venerable/archdeacon) T ("originally" Typed)
5 Capable 1950s youth keeping a fast (8)
TALENTED - TED (1950s youth) keeps A LENT (a fast)
6 Crucial-sounding place for handling ship’s cargo (4)
QUAY - sounds like KEY (crucial). So, _U_Y? Well, if a port can have a "duty-free", then surely it has a lesser-known but much more important-sounding place called a "duty" hidden away somewhere. Yeah whatever.
13 Barrier damaged best coal (8)
OBSTACLE - anagram (damaged) of BEST COAL
15 Man finally delving into poor Tracey’s lineage (8)
ANCESTRY - N (maN, "finally") delving into an anagram (poor) of TRACEY'S
17 Roofing material in yonder church (6)
THATCH - THAT (yonder) CH(urch)
18 Waylay a doctor with American husband (6)
AMBUSH - A MB (a doctor) with US (american) H(usband)
20 Grass sent up for ruminants (4)
DEER - REED (grass) sent up/reversed
22 Celebrity giving eastern servant a rise (4)
NAME - E(astern) MAN (servant) given a rise/reversed

Times 27,401: 16ac, Boris Johnson, Please

A fairly straightforward puzzle if you could get on its likeable and humorous wavelength. I mostly did, with a few caveats: a careless WATCHWORD as my FOI left me puzzling about how my LOI 1dn could possibly be WIPED, and likewise I'd bunged in OFF-THE-CUFF for 13dn after starting in on ODD-MAN-OUT which obviously was on a hiding to nothing. Third time lucky though!

My COD was 7dn once I realised that it really was talking about two *different* types of flight - I'd only needed the stairsy type to enter it on my first pass.

Many thanks to the setter: have a good weekend, everybody!

ACROSS
1 Crowd chat conjured up in slogan (9)
CATCHWORD - (CROWD CHAT*) ["conjured up"]

6 Odd bits of grub given to prisoner in his camp? (5)
GULAG - G{r}U{b} given to LAG [prisoner]

9 Something freely given? That is taken by force (7)
PRESSIE - I.E. [this is], taken by PRESS [force]

10 Line written by church composer is ghastly (7)
CHARNEL - L [line] written by CH ARNE [church | composer]

11 Franchise needing guidance when two characters have swapped positions (10)
DEALERSHIP - swap two characters in LEADERSHIP [guidance]

12 Illustration rendered by ace printing unit (4)
PICA - PIC [illustration] rendered by A [ace]

14 Daggers the Spanish brought into form of evil magic? (5)
OBELI - EL [the (Spanish)] brought into OBI [form of evil magic]

15 Dispute involving four dukes? (9)
FISTFIGHT - cryptic def, a "duke" being a fist

16 Advice to man with cat in performance, leading to a benefit (4,5)
TURN AGAIN - TURN [performance], leading to A GAIN [a | benefit].
"Turn again, Dick Whittington, thrice Mayor of London..."

18 Irritable computer whizz? (5)
TECHY - double def, though I'd normally spell one of these "tetchy" myself...

20 Aim of mountaineers? Not all of them came back (4)
ACME - hidden reversed in {th}EM CA{me}

21 The French male wearing false hair and dress shows a bit of freedom (6,4)
WIGGLE ROOM - LE [the (French, male)] wearing WIG + GROOM [false hair + dress]

25 Nothing in Italian city, little good for holiday activity? (7)
TOURING - O [nothing] in TURIN [Italian city] + G ["little" good]

26 What has cups next to stinking bottle? (7)
BRAVERY - BRA [what has cups] next to VERY [stinking, as in "stinking rich" I guess]

27 Dirty job involving spades (5)
DUSTY - DUTY [job] involving S [spades]

28 One club maybe for a bachelor? (9)
SINGLETON - double def. A singleton is the holding of one card of a suit in Bridge.

DOWN
1 Made the grade as a priest in ceremony? (5)
COPED - double def. A priest in a ceremony may be wearing a cope.

2 Adolescent as a born troublemaker originally, growing up (7)
TEENAGE - reverse all of E.G. A NEE [as | a | born] + T{roublemaker}

3 Very funny chair with style ill conceived (10)
HYSTERICAL - (CHAIR + STYLE*) ["ill conceived"]

4 Maidens perhaps seen as headless sweethearts (5)
OVERS - {l}OVERS ["headless" sweethearts]. Cricketing maidens, that would be.

5 Emily? Endlessly unsteady, having got thus in pub (9)
DICKINSON - DICK{y} ["endlessly" unsteady] + SO [thus] in INN [pub]

6 Learner in school dressed to attract? (4)
GLAM - L [learner] in GAM [school].
Well worth remembering both POD and GAM for school in these parts.

7 What comes at end of different flights (7)
LANDING - cryptic def. Flights as in stairs, or voyages by plane: both end in landings!

8 Courage of everyone imprisoned in tower (9)
GALLANTRY - ALL [everyone] imprisoned in GANTRY [tower]

13 Unconventional, like a newly escaped convict? (3-3-4)
OFF-THE-WALL - a (very!) newly escaped convict may have just jumped down from the prison wall.

14 Old statue, after renovation, survived (9)
OUTLASTED - (OLD STATUE*) ["after renovation"]

15 Ruddy huge birds (9)
FLAMINGOS - FLAMING OS [ruddy | huge (as in outsize)]

17 Gossip is associated with us after hard drink (7)
RUMOURS - OURS [associated with us] after RUM [hard drink]

19 Most stuffy little room in which son hides (7)
CLOSEST - CLOSET [little room] in which S [son] hides

22 Bigwig with silver set up in the country (5)
GABON - reverse all of NOB + AG [bigwig + silver]

23 A Yankee probing fellow of a bygone civilisation (5)
MAYAN - A Y probing MAN [fellow]

24 Ruth affected by pockmarks, we hear? (4)
PITY - homophone of PITTY [pockmarked]