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July 15th, 2019

Times 27403 - Back to the Ormond Hotel!

Time: 75 minutes
Music: Art Farmer, Foolish Memories

As you can imagine, I was not exactly on the wavelength here.   In fact, when I finished, I was surprised I had only taken 75 minutes - it had seemed like I struggled forever.   In this sort of puzzle, if you can't any crossing letters, you'll have  a hard time biffing the answers and then working out the convoluted cryptics.   That's my excuse, anyway.

One interesting point about this puzzle is that it is anchored, at 1 down and 25 down, with clues that play on a word which is actually two entirely differently words with separate etymologies and meanings: 'host' and 'boss'.  With 'host', the Latin 'hostis' leads to the word that means an army or large group, while Middle French 'hospites' supplies the word that means an innkeeper or a TV personality.   Similary, the 'boss' who gives orders at work comes from the Middle Dutch 'baes', while the stud at the center of the shield comes from Middle English 'boce'.    As is typical in languages, the commoner word tends to take over in ordinary speech.

Across
1 Piece of evidence vital, barrister reviewed case (8)
ABLATIVE - backwards hidden in [evidenc]E VITAL BA[rrister]
5 Briefly observe man in hat (6)
CLOCHE - CLOC[k] + HE.   My LOI, despite the running jokes from Ulysses..
10 Force contained, one calmer? (9)
METHADONE - MET + HAD + ONE, where Met refers to the police force, not the weathermen, or the opera house, or the museum.
11 Bombardment, after withdrawal of artillery, lighter perhaps? (5)
BARGE - BAR[ra]GE, where you need to consider the possible meanings of 'lighter'.
12 Long throw has opener dismissed (4)
ITCH - [p]ITCH.   Pitching is more common than bowling in the US, so a write-in for me.
13 Undertake urban regeneration programme? Fraudulent practice (9)
MENDACITY - MEND A CITY, of course.
15 Packing case shortly, soldier heading for old South American city (10)
VALPARAISO - VAL(PARA)IS[e] + O.   I had a hard time parsing  this and then didn't think it was correct, because Valparaiso is in Indiana, right?   I supposed there must be others, and besides the three in the US there seem to be four or five in South America.
17 Party hit (4)
BASH - Double defintion.
19 Between two rivers, what was that German region? (4)
RUHR - R(UH?)R. 
20 Marvel when one starts to hit problems in retirement, and soldiers on (10)
PHENOMENON - ONE + H[it] P[roblems} backwards + MEN ON.   Since this is just the passive participle of φαίνω, 'appear',  the sense of something unusual or spectacular was a later addition.
22 Container, and bags for pets (9)
CANOODLES - CAN + OODLES, with a surprise synonym for 'bags'.
24 Curious leader in parliamentary seat (4)
RUMP - RUM + P[arliamentary].   No extra points if you immediately think of the Long Parliament.
26 Boarding towards rear of ship, look up (5)
ALOFT - A(LO)FT, where you must lift and separte 'look up'.
27 Soothing heart of fellow, time one loosened bandages (9)
EMOLLIENT - anagram of TIME ONE around [fe]LL[ow]. 
28 Hat fitter making an adjustment (6)
TITFER - Anagram of FITTER, some CRS for you.
29 Within plant, circuits failed again (8)
RELAPSED - RE(LAPS)ED.
Down
1 Host, daft going topless (4)
ARMY - [b]ARMY.
2 Don't take the washing in, have some fun! (3,2,3,4,3)
LET IT ALL HANG OUT - double definition, one jocular.
3 Having abandoned parking, chap later travelling on the tube? (8)
TRACHEAL - anagram of CHA[p] LATER.
4 Rev’s sound study, maybe, in support of vicar at first (5)
VROOM - V[icar] + ROOM.
6 African in old party, rather upstanding (6)
LIBYAN - LIB + NAY upside-down.   I wanted to put 'Nubian' but it didn't parse.   IS the Liberal Party really obsolete?
7 Figures, perhaps, in red book (8,7)
CARDINAL NUMBERS - CARDINAL + NUMBERS, as in the book of the Bible.
8 All, for example, hairline fractures? (10)
EVERYTHING - E(VERY THIN)G.
9 Poet: meddlesome man finally getting up after mid-morning? (8)
TENNYSON - TEN  + NOSY + [ma]N pside-down.
14 Country squire originally wearing creamy-white jacket? (5,5)
IVORY COAST - IVORY COA(S[quire])T.
16 Rise in winners for Greek hero (8)
ACHILLES - AC(HILL)ES.   Yes, I wasted a lot of time with 'tor'.
18 Requirement for the wet blanket (8)
UMBRELLA - double defintion, as in an umbrella policy.
21 Spirit one's necked (6)
BOTTLE - double definition, scarcely cryptic.
23 Music centre: last of records on it (5)
SCORE - [record]S + CORE.
25 Boss is a virile chap (4)
STUD - double definition.

QC 1395 by Teazel

Well having had my first PB for a long time two weeks ago I now have another one that has taken me under the 6-minute mark. So many thanks to Teazel for giving me that milestone (and it is most appropriate as I believe my first ever blog puzzle was a Teazel). I think that after being a natural paper solver these many years I have now managed to get used to how the online version deals with overwriting of letters so that I don't waste so much time re-entering stuff. Onwards and upwards from here I hope!

FOI was 1A as God intended. After that most of the rest of the across clues went in pretty easily although not all on the first pass, but then practically everything went in in the down department so that when I came through again it was all ptretty straightforward. LOI was, I think, 12A. No particular clue really stands out for difficulty so I'll give my COD to the neatest surface which I judge to be 5D.

Not so much as a twitch on the NATRAF.

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

Across
1 Throne for baby? (4,5)
HIGH CHAIR - cryptic definition.
6 Something lacking in a student’s year (3)
GAP - double definition.
8 Within radius, one has exclusive knowledge (7)
INSIDER - INSIDE (within) + R (radius).
9 Miss capturing rook — feeble! (5)
FRAIL - FAIL (miss) 'capturing' R (rook, as in the chess piece).
10 City casino — francs wasted (3,9)
SAN FRANCISCO - straight anagram ('wasted') of CASINO FRANCS.
12 Complain aloud, getting cut (4)
MOWN - homophone ('aloud') of MOAN (complaint).
13 Fearsome type making some progress (4)
OGRE - hidden word ('some'): prOGREss.
17 But older women can also take this trip (6,6)
MAIDEN VOYAGE - cryptic definition.
20 Not demanding illumination (5)
LIGHT - double definition.
21 Repel it, horrible snake? (7)
REPTILE - straight anagram ('horrible') of REPEL IT. Question mark included in the definition as other forms of reptile are available.
23 On the wagon, consuming zero alcoholic drink (3)
TOT - TT (teetotaller, i.e. on the wagon) 'consuming' O (zero).
24 Paraded, like some foods? (9)
PROCESSED - double definition.
Down
1 Song is heard: one may succeed (4)
HEIR - homophone of AIR (song). An HEIR succeeds to an estate.
2 Special postage for secret police (7)
GESTAPO - straight anagram ('special') of POSTAGE.
3 Fish not paid for till it arrives (3)
COD - double definition (COD = Cash On Delivery).
4 A minor thoroughfare, not in the UK (6)
ABROAD - A + B ROAD (minor thoroughfare).
5 Beef regularly served in clergy-house dining room (9)
REFECTORY - EF (bEeF 'regularly') 'served in' RECTORY (clergy-house).
6 Informer that may be regularly 12? (5)
GRASS - something that may regularly be MOWN (cross refer to 12 across above as there is no 12 down).
7 Cheek raised on soft cushion (6)
PILLOW - LIP ('cheek') reversed (i.e. 'raised' in this down clue) 'on' (again in this down clue) LOW (soft, as in a low whisper or voice)
11 Such delicate control: grip net if loose (9)
FINGERTIP - straight anagram ('loose') of GRIP NET IF.
14 Recovers, for example, in the wet season (7)
REGAINS - EG (for example) 'in' RAINS (wet season).
15 A drug-smuggler on time? This may be lucky (6)
AMULET - A + MULE (drug smuggler) 'on' T (time) in this down clue.
16 Exaggerate what lover doubtfully admits (6)
OVERDO - hidden word ('admits'): lOVER DOubtfully.
18 At home, received what may be gold (5)
INGOT - IN (home) + GOT (received).
19 Drop article into cot (4)
BEAD - A (indefinite article) 'into' BED (cot).
22 Exercise, having eaten one baked dish (3)
PIE - PE (exercise) having 'eaten' I (one).