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July 25th, 2019

Times Quick Cryptic No 1403 by Mara

13 minutes for me, with a couple of hold-ups for parsing (23a and 3d), but a very nice puzzle from Mara.  No themes or NINAs that I can spot, but maybe Mara had a thirst when setting in the heat, needing a BOTTLE-OPENER to get at his STOPPERED ALE.

Nice to be back after a short break where RolyToly filled in for me.  How did you all get on?

Across
1         Hilarious beyond value? (9)
PRICELESS – Double definition.
Expression of contempt when son leaves party (3)
BAH – The party is a BA[s}H, with the S{on} taken out as instructed.  BAH is an expression of disgust or contempt.  What I hadn’t appreciated was that the famous ‘Bah humbug!’ expression was originally spoken by Ebenezer Scrooge in Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’.  If asked to attribute the expression, I would probably have picked Billy Bunter or similar character from my childhood.
8 Backing up, very cold outside and in (7)
POPULAR – POLAR gives us the very cold, which is outside (inside of which) is UP (reversed, or backing).
Remote route redirected (5)
OUTER – Anagram (redirected) of [ROUTE].
10  Bravery, key perhaps, in possession of drinker? (6-6)
BOTTLE-OPENER – BOTTLE is bravery, and a key is an example of an OPENER (perhaps).  In these days of ring-pull cans and screw-top bottles, drinkers rarely need a BOTTLE-OPENER, but they may have struggled to survive without one during my youth – how else does one open a ‘party-eight’?
12 Carry enormous animal (4)
BEAR – Another double definition…
13 People are competitive (4)
RACE – …and another one.  That’s three DDs and we are only half way through the across clues!
17  Dallas diva or wayward Catalan artist… (8,4)
SALVADOR DALI – Anagram (wayward) of [DALLAS DIVA OR]
20  …his stand comfort and love primarily? (5)
EASEL – Salvador Dali (previous answer, and subject of this one) would have used an EASEL as an artist (probably, hence the question mark).  Here it is derived from EASE (comfort) and L{ove} (primarily).  This is an example of connected clues (connected by the ellipses) which actually works, and of which I approve, so well done Mara!
21  Pirates disturbed trail (7)
TRAIPSE – Anagram (disturbed) of [PIRATES].
23  Lease back half of Swiss property? (3)
LET – This one took me longer to parse than to solve.  The Swiss property is a CHALET, the back half of which is our answer.  Of course, not all chalets are Swiss, hence the question mark.
24  Hit me (6,3)
NUMBER ONE – and one further DD to complete the across clues!

Down
1         Just beat time in the end for small flute (4)
PIPE – To PIP is to just beat someone or something, and in this case it is followed by {tim}E (in the end), to give the name for a whistle or flute.
Beg one extra having scoffed half of plum (7)
IMPLORE – One extra is I MORE, which has ‘scoffed’ (contains) the front half of PL{um}
Fish tails in the rice bowl (3)
EEL – Tails (last letters) in {th}E {ric}E {bow}L.  Cleverly disguised clue this one.
4 Profitable job student hasn’t started (6)
EARNER – The student is a {l}EARNER (hasn’t started means drop the first letter).
5  Poor dope with strep, bunged up (4)
STOPPERED – Anagram (poor) of [DOPE] and [STREP]. 
6  Keep playing cricket?  Give it a twirl! (5)
BATON – Cryptic definition for the drum-major’s knobbly stick.  To BAT ON would be to keep playing cricket.
7  Hospital overlooking a peculiar African city (6)
HARARE – H{ospital) over (overlookinhg) A (a) and RARE (peculiar), to give the capital of Zimbabwe.
11  Jack, boy in weatherproof material (9)
TARPAULIN –  TAR (Jack, as in sailor) plus PAUL (boy) and IN (in).  A TARPAULIN is strong linen that has been waterproofed, especially with TAR, which is the origin of TAR for sailor, so this clue is slightly self-referential, or even incestuous.
14  Pacy solo almost fluffed in Caribbean ballad (7)
CALYPSO – Anagram (fluffed) of [PACY SOL]{o} (almost indicates to drop the last letter of SOL{o}).
15  A rise in addition (2,4)
AS WELL – A rise could be A SWELL.
16  Two cats beat it! (3-3)
TOM-TOM – Cryptic definition for the hand drum.
18  Audible programme for composer (5)
LISZT – sounds like (audible) LIST (programme).
19  Month up and exhausted initially, give up (4)
CEDE – DEC{ember} reversed (month up) and E{xhausted} (initially).
22  Cap removed from white drink (3)
ALE – {p}ALE is ‘white’, with the initial letter (cap) removed to give the drink.

Times 27412 - line please

Time taken: OK, I'll admit, after everything else was in at 15:49, and probably four minutes earlier, I was left looking at 16 across. Nothing was coming to mind with regards the clue or the wordplay, and I was starting to get frustrated and did that thing you should not do when you are frustrated, bung in an answer that sounds likely, cross your fingers and hope.

Of course it was not correct... in starting to write the blog I have a much better suggestion I'll toss in here.

For what is worth it appears I am not alone. As of right now there are 18 submitted crosswords and 10 of them have at least one error.

Away we go...

Across
1 Broadcast equipment is something that needs no feed? (3,5)
AIR PLANT - AIR(broadcast), PLANT(equipment)
9 Equipment engaged in working one type of extruded tubes (8)
RIGATONI - RIG(equipment), AT(engaged in), ON(working), I(one)
10 Exactly how things were dispatched for approval (6)
ASSENT - or AS SENT
11 Work site creates resistance (10)
OPPOSITION - OP(work), POSITION(site)
12 Soon cutting intro from French opera (4)
ANON - the opera is by Massenet: MANON.  Remove the first letter
13 Ask too much throughout career (10)
OVERCHARGE - OVER(throughout), CHARGE(career)
16 Soldier dropped in to Vietnam returned as Minister of War (7)
MAGINOT - GI(soldier) inside TO, NAM(Vietnam) all reversed. I started thinking of people and went for MADISON, so this was my error
17 At no particular moment very soon (7)
ANYTIME - double definition
20 Artificial shiner with quality? (10)
RHINESTONE - an all-in-one. Anagram of SHINER, then TONE(quality)
22 Well out of East African country (4)
MALI - remove SO(well) from SOMALI(East African)
23 Sit angrily, disposed to make a complaint (10)
LARYNGITIS - anagram of SIT,ANGRILY
25 Aim to complete after opening bid? (6)
INTEND - END(complete) after a bid of ONE NO TRUMPS or 1 NT
26 When new function is introduced, employees keep away (5,3)
STAND OFF - N(new), DO(function) inside STAFF(employees)
27 Anger about November period for a ceremony for the dead (8)
FUNERARY - FURY(anger) surrounding N(November), ERA(period)

Down
2 No simian suffers inability to doze (8)
INSOMNIA - anagram of NO,SIMIAN
3 Pomposity of pensioner worked up about the ending of Brexit (10)
PRETENSION - anagram of PENSIONER surrounding the last letter in brexiT
4 Self-guided car — no timid person’s wanting key (10)
AUTONOMOUS - AUTO(car), NO(no), MOUSE(timid person) with the E(key) removed
5 Expedition allowed to make notes (7)
TRIPLET - TRIP(expedition), LET(allowed)
6 Clutch engages only intermittently (4)
EGGS - alternating letters in EnGaGeS
7 Company getting support for office equipment (6)
COPIER - CO(company), PIER(support)
8 Like some waltzing couples starting vigorous energetic new sequence (8)
VIENNESE - OK, this was my favorite clue in the puzzle. First two lettters from VIgorous ENergetic NEe SEquence
14 Communication’s lost at exchange (10)
CONVERSION - remove AT from CONVERSATION
15 A talk about time, missing energy and strange particles (10)
ANTIMATTER -  A, NATTER(talk) surrounding TIM(e)
16 Painter of river in haze (8)
MURALIST - URAL(river) inside MIST(haze)
18 Designer using a lot of cutting to top off Queen? (8)
MILLINER - a lof of MILLING(curring) then ER(queen)
19 Religious leader has power over words (7)
PONTIFF - P(power) ON(over), TIFF(words)
21 What might be made on raid (6)
INROAD - anagram of ON RAID
24 Develop good argument (4)
GROW - G(goo) then ROW

Times 27,413: Word-Blindness

I thought this was a thoroughly superior crossword, with sublimely economical clues almost every one of which manages in a tiny space to do something fresh and witty. I enjoyed every moment of it up until hitting the submit button at the 7.5 minute mark, only to freeze as I saw the dreaded pink square. Oh right, MYOPIC not MYOPIA. Given that the first two words of the clue loosely suggest a synonym for MYOPIA, and the next four words also suggest MYOPIA (what's the matter with [a short sighted] viewer), I definitely think that having MYOPIA on the brain for this one might be a venial sin. Of course "such a viewer" no longer quite makes sense unless the answer is MYOPIC but I'd rather clues didn't have to be read carefully through several times just to make sure you've understood the fine print... really gets in the way of one's speed-solving, what!

Still Magoo, being named after one of the all-time great myopics, will probably have enjoyed it. And I did love a whole raft of other clues: 9ac, 27ac, 6dn and 17dn being some standouts, so many thanks to the setter for all the fun while it lasted. Was anyone else short-sighted enough to fall at the 22ac hurdle? Please tell me I'm not alone!

ACROSS
1 Mad, sad and moody in World's End (8)
DOOMSDAY - (SAD + MOODY*) ["mad"]

9 In time, soon over obsessive self-love (8)
EGOMANIA - reverse all of: IN A MO [soon] in AGE [time]

10 Dracula might attack this French wine, after swallowing tablet (4)
VEIN - VIN [French wine], after "swallowing" E [tablet]

11 Run round barrier pursuing terribly aged author (5,7)
EDGAR WALLACE - RACE [run] round WALL [barrier], after (AGED*) ["terribly"].
Had to construct this unknown name from the cryptic, but it seems like a fair clue... given that he penned the script for a movie everyone's heard of, King Kong!

13 Died having suffered flaying back in seaport (6)
ODESSA - "Flay" {p}ASSED O{n} [died], then reverse it

14 Housemaid reflected light that's elevated (8)
ENNOBLED - reversed BONNE [housemaid] + L.E.D. [light]

15 Commended as pressure increased (7)
PRAISED - P RAISED [pressure | increased]

16 Fish unlikely to be sole? (7)
GROUPER - a cryptic definition for this presumably gregarious fish

20 Nothing 7 keeps in desert is waterproof (8)
RAINCOAT - RAT [desert] keeps INCA [7d] keeps O [nothing]

22 Sigh, cryptically, what’s the matter with such a viewer? (6)
MYOPIC - If SIGH is "short sight", then it is the thing that is the matter with a MYOPIC viewer. I wish this had clued "short sight" rather than a word that needs to be convolutedly derived from a cryptic depiction of short sight :P

23 Settled on region for sporting fixture (7-5)
QUARTER-FINAL - FINAL [settled] on QUARTER [region]

25 Single possible locality evacuated (4)
ONLY - ON [possible] + L{ocalit}Y

26 Barker requires excellent wine and beer (8)
AIREDALE - A1 RED + ALE [excellent | wine + beer]

27 Speech from fool in production of Lear (8)
NONSENSE - double def, Lear being Edward Lear, purveyor of nonsense verse.

DOWN
2 Flower in Germany choking slender shrub (8)
OLEANDER - ODER [flower (as in river) in Germany] "choking" LEAN [slender]

3 Change bowler is highly successful performer (5-7)
MONEY-SPINNER - MONEY can be pocket "change", a bowler can be a "spinner".

4 Shame of French importing rotten cigars (8)
DISGRACE - DE [of French] "importing" (CIGARS*) ["rotten"]

5 New queen after twelve months or longer (7)
YEARNER - N ER [new | queen] after YEAR [12 months]. One who longs.

6 Department advocating matricide? (6)
DOMAIN - as in an injunction to "DO MA IN".

7 Content of metal container is ancient tongue (4)
INCA - indirect hidden in {t}IN CA{n}

8 Perfume and bible wrapped by mortgagee (8)
LAVENDER - A.V. [bible] "wrapped" by LENDER [mortgagee]

12 Unpaid work one shouldn't hate doing? (6,2,4)
LABOUR OF LOVE - cryptic definition. Love is the very opposite of hate after all.

15 Water found in some pesticide (8)
PARAQUAT - AQUA [water] found in PART [some]

17 European or Asian controlled borders? (8)
ROMANIAN - OMANI [Asian] "bordered" by RAN [controlled]

18 Letters in stone found in English buildings (8)
EPISTLES - ST [stone] found in E PILES [English | buildings]

19 Make firm series of points to clinch argument (7)
STIFFEN - S E N [series of (three) points] to "clinch" TIFF [argument]

21 As some streets, old and modern, indeed (3-3)
ONE-WAY - O + NEW AY [old + modern | indeed]

24 Tailless amphibian beneath a large bush? (4)
AFRO - FRO{g} ["tailless" amphibian] beneath A