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July 20th, 2019

I’ve spent all this week “emptying our nest”. That turned out to be a big job, so I am writing this blog late and with very little memory of the solving experience. Never mind, our house is now ours alone, even though we are paying a king’s 14ac for other accommodation!

Looking back I can see many nice clues. Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle.

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


Across
1 Novel about British deposing leader in holy city (7)
REBECCA: RE, B[m]ECCA.

5 Got involved and won prize in audition (7)
MEDDLED: “in audition”, sounds like “medaled”.

9 Bird seed gets inside power tool (9)
SANDPIPER: PIP inside SANDER.

10 Scoundrel fried seafood, leaving tail (5)
SCAMP: the seafood is SCAMP[i].

11 Maiden one introduced to church leader (5,8)
FIRST MINISTER: FIRST (maiden), I (one) in MINSTER. Leaders of governments in places like Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

13 Country-lovers bringing group of three pets round (8)
PATRIOTS: PATS (pets) around TRIO.

15 Sons in manor surprisingly free with money? (6)
RANSOM: anagram (“surprisingly”) of (MANOR*), with S (son) inserted. Tricky definition, in that “free” and “ransom” are used as verbs.

17 Overdue books waiting to be discovered (6)
LATENT: LATE, NT.

19 Bad one in brawl with Mr Barker (8)
DOBERMAN: anagram (“in brawl”) of (BAD ONE MR*). Once I knew the last letter was “N”, I spent a while looking for words ending with RON. Nicely disguised definition.

22 Flyer restricted lines about a term in slammer (9,4)
SECRETARY BIRD: SECRET (restricted) RY (railway=lines) about A, then BIRD.

25 European trophies put back in bar (5)
ESTOP: E (European), then POTS put back. One of those words lawyers love.

26 Patience tried endlessly as oil wasted (9)
SOLITAIRE: anagram (“wasted”) of (TRIE- AS OIL*). The TRIE[d] is “endless”.

27 Departs before day is over, being stunned (7)
TASERED: D (departs), ERE, SAT (day), all “over” meaning backwards.

28 Pervert at hotel in course towards conflict (7)
WARPATH: WARP (pervert), AT, H.


Down
1 Society in same old routine to deteriorate (4)
RUST: S (society) in RUT.

2 Good man associated with criminal image (7)
BENEFIT: BEN is the man today, E-FIT is the image.

3 Credit involves coarse person in illegal scheme (5)
CAPER: CR for credit, “involving” APE.

4 Old man making climb has little desire (8)
APPETITE: PA “climbing”, then PETITE.

5 People holding hands: one a legendary charmer (6)
MERLIN: MEN “holding” L, R, and I.

6 Policemen, drink consumed, separate and scatter (9)
DISSIPATE: DI’S are the policemen, SIP, ATE.

7 Loose slate on outbuildings (4-3)
LEAN-TOS: anagram (“loose”) of (SLATE ON*).

8 Behaviour left people in debt — billions lost (10)
DEPORTMENT: PORT and MEN in DE[b]T, which has lost B for “billions”.

12 Shot scene with a plot that twists (10)
OPALESCENT: anagram (“that twists”) of (SCENE A PLOT*). Well disguised definition.

14 Landlord's sly look up inside skirts (9)
INNKEEPER: PEEK “up”, INNER “skirts”. Assemble as instructed.

16 Person upset by meeting deep disappointment (4,4)
BODY BLOW: BOD, YB=“upset” BY, LOW.

18 Old history master understood our group (7)
TACITUS: TACIT, US.

20 Wine in varied amounts sent north (7)
MADEIRA: backwards hidden answer.

21 Approach news boss declared satisfactory (6)
PASSED: PASS, ED.

23 Bury Football Club at home in San Siro (5)
INTER: easy to guess San Siro is the home ground of Inter Milan.

24 Certain notes hard to harmonise (4)
MESH: ME’S are the notes, H for hard.

Hi everyone.  I can’t give you a time for this as I’ve been redonculously busy lately and have had to fit solving into spare moments, often on crowded trains … but I suspect if I could I’d be finding an excuse not to!  Considerably chewier than the last Jumbo I blogged, I think it’s safe to say.  I needed to look up a few thing post-solve to understand everything, so it’s been educational as well as fun.  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.



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Sitting by a fierce fan on this first day of the latest US heat wave, I’m very glad that this one is so easy to write up. It also seems calculated to make me wish I were at the beach.

I do (sarmgana)* like this, and italicize anagrinds in the clues.





ACROSS
 1 This bad habit can be thrilling (4-6)
NAIL-BITING — DD
 7 Convention full of people, I’m told (4)
PACT — ”Packed”
 9 Swimmer navy doctor saves close to port (8)
STURGEON — S([-por]T)URGEON. Adding to the nautical flavor of the surface, “navy” also narrows down “doctor” to the one on a ship, as in the Royal Navy in the Age of Sail, but also as early as 2nd-century Rome. (We’re still by the sea in the next two clues…)
10 Cloud over boat moored in Denmark (6)
DARKEN — D(ARK)EN
11 Swift pint after walk by the seashore (6)
PROMPT — PROM + PT
13 Worried to enter flipping boozer in bad condition (6-2)
BEATEN-UP — The “boozer” is a PUB, which, “flipping,” includes EATEN, “worried”
14 Tell the group in disarray to do this? (4,8)
PULL TOGETHER — (tell the group)* &lit
17 I consider it wrong to conceal new fling (12)
INDISCRETION — Well, if you have an open marriage… (I consider it)* + N
20 Important law abruptly overturned by judge (8)
CRITICAL — CRITIC, “judge” + LA[-w]<=
21 Bird circling head of Iberian horse (6)
HEROIN — HERO(I)N
22 Fish trap on river gathering the odd fish? (6)
WEIRDO — WEIR, “fish trap on river” + DO, “gathering”—is “the” supposed to be part of the definition?
23 Article put out on home brewing (2,3,3)
IN THE AIR — ”Article” being THE, “put out” being AIR, and both being attached to IN, “home”
25 A kind of light fitting (4)
VERY — DD. One of my last ones in, though I thought of the answer immediately. The first definition rang just a faint bell (“a pyrotechnic signal in a system of signaling using white or colored balls of fire projected from a special pistol”)—I must have seen it here once—and the sense of the second was slightly elusive. Adding emphasis to a noun, VERY means “exact, particular”—as in the very word wanted, le mot juste… But “fitting” seems less intense; I might say someone’s remarks on some occasion are “fitting,” meaning not inappropriate, but applaud someone else’s intervention as being absolutely right on, the very thing that needed to be said. Nuance.
26 One providing warning via illuminating point? (10)
LIGHTHOUSE — CD. Near as I can make out, that’s all this is. “Point” is part of the names of many lighthouses, a point being a narrow strip of land that reaches into the sea. (Lighthouse Beach, on Fire Island, used to be my favorite getaway…)

DOWN
 2 Lotion fat nurse applied liberally! (8)
AFTERSUN — (fat nurse)*
 3 Christmas starts to leave one ragged (3)
LOR — First letters of last three words. “Christmas!” as an exclamation. Short for “Lord!” Where I come from, you might hear “Lordy!”
 4 Clumsy relations entertaining writer sent up (5)
INEPT — IT<=,”relations,” hosts PEN<=
 5 Some feel bong is backward and inferior (7)
IGNOBLE — I prefer vaping. Reverse hidden
 6 Gangster shot dead by chap who’s been collared? (9)
GODFATHER — GO, “shot” + D, “dead” + FATHER, “chap who’s been collared” (priest)
 7 Reporter apt to distort cause of crime (11)
PERPETRATOR — (Reporter apt)*
 8 In hearing, vet provides settlement, of a sort (6)
CHEQUE — ”Check”
12 I’m so utterly stupid on many levels (11)
MULTISTOREY — (I’m so utterly)*
15 Group of Conservative thinkers from Winchester? (3,6)
OLD SCHOOL — Winchester being literally an “old school.”
16 Guards surrounding irregulars at front lines (8)
POLICIES — POLIC(I)ES
18 Foreign article about cutting support for flogging (7)
SELLING — ”Foreign article about” = LE<= , interrupting “support,” SLING. EL is a foreign article too, cierto, but “about” also helps the surface…
19 Don’t move and chill to a certain degree (6)
FREEZE — DD
21 Start playing chart success on X-Factor (3,2)
HIT IT — HIT, “chart success” on IT, that certain sexy something
24 I like love (3)
EGO — E.G. + O