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August 11th, 2019

Sunday Times 4862 by David McLean

5:48. The easiest Sunday puzzle I can remember. I didn’t really mind: I’ve been on holiday and have been far too busy doing nothing to find time for crosswords. In fact as I finally sit down to write this blog on Thursday evening I haven’t solved any of this week’s daily puzzles. Edit: I've done all the puzzles now. Crikey, it was a tough week, wasn't it?

It might be straightforward but this is a fun puzzle of high quality. A lot of the surface readings are particularly smooth.

I can't help feeling I'm missing something obvious and/or clever in 18dn.

Definitions are underlined, anagrams indicated like (TIHS)*, anagram indicators are in italics.

Across
1 Like robes theologian puts on
ADDS - AS (like) containing (robing) DD (Doctor of Divinity).
4 If knackered, siestas can help
ASSISTANCE - (SIESTAS CAN)*. Great clue!
9 Pioneer of the pneumatic drill?
GROUNDBREAKER - or, um, GROUND BREAKER.
10 Smack with speed? There’s no good in that!
WALLOP - W (with), gALLOP.
11 Ultimately feeble with cold and still delirious
ECSTATIC - feeblE, C, STATIC.
12 Ageing aunt lethargically embraces challenge
GAUNTLET - contained in ‘ageing aunt lethargically’.
14 One might be full of spirit, but mean
MEDIUM - two definitions, one slightly cryptic and not accurate if you ask me. Full of something.
15 Go forth or go back, but not right
EGRESS - rEGRESS.
17 Fashion editor covering lines being this?
MODELLED - MODE(LL), ED. Semi-&Lit. The ‘lines’ in question being lines or collections of clothing.
19 One sticking their bill into another’s business?
INVESTOR - just a cryptic definition, I think. My first attempt at this one was INVOICER, which seems to fit the definition better. I suppose the ‘bill’ here is cash: a dollar bill, or whatever. As a description of investing this seems a bit tenuous but this is a crossword so a little creative license is allowed.
21 Do something with, essentially, worst players
ACTORS - ACT (do something), wORSt.
23 Tiny talent I’ve wasted in a negligent manner
INATTENTIVELY - (TINY TALENT IVE)*.
24 Get married? Give it a rest!
SETTLE DOWN - DD: tie the knot/it’s your own time you’re wasting.
25 Southern nurse making tired leader go: “Get off!”
SEND - S, tEND. I’ll be with you in a minute, let me just get this email off.

Down
2 Influential person upset by graduate’s opinions
DOGMA - reversal of GOD, MA. ‘Influential person’ seems a bit weak for GOD, but it’s used to describe a person who is revered and hence presumably influential.
3 Liberal tucking into hot and fruity loaf
STOLLEN - STOL(L)EN.
4 City on a plain wrecked by first of storms
ANNAPOLIS - (ON A PLAIN)*, Storms. The capital of Maryland and the scene of some key events in the early history of the US. George Washington famously resigned his commission there in 1783.
5 Guinea pig’s seen in a field, of course
SUBJECT - triple definition.
6 Stops and shoots
STEMS - DD.
7 Difficult week in a place where the patient might be tested?
AWKWARD - A(WK), WARD
8 Conservative and I uttered rubbish in confidence
CERTITUDE - C, (I UTTERED)*.
13 A right nice guy meeting hip earl from Cordoba?
ARGENTINE - A, R, GENT (nice guy), IN (hip), E (earl).
14 I’m on a diet after shocking intervention
MEDIATION - (IM ON A DIET)*.
16 European six-footer tackles prop with style
ELEGANT - E(LEG), ANT. The prop is a LEG, the six-footer (insect) is an ANT.
17 Soldier shot with engineers in battle
MARENGO - MAN (soldier), GO (shot) contains RE (Royal Engineers).
18 Notes such as A, C and D
LETTERS - why not B?
20 Championship match interrupted by vacuous tomfool
TITLE - TI(TomfooL)E.
22 Material colourful writer initially abandoned
RAYON - cRAYON.

Mephisto 3075 - Paul McKenna

Apologies for this appearing late - I wrote it early and scheduled it for the 11th, but forgot to change the time, so it was set to appear at 6:30pm my time (which would be close to midnight GMT).

I had most of the bottom half of this puzzle solved before making great inroads on the top half (I think the first clue I solved was 27 across). I think that I have figured out all the wordplays, but I am not 100% sure.

Paul McKenna typically treats us to a pun across the top row and it took me a few readings to get that this one is for CLOSE AT HAND.

All definitions can be confirmed in Chambers so I'm going to focus on wordplay here.

Away we go...

Across
1 College failure becomes a pitcher (6)
CLOSER - C(college), LOSER(failure) - pitcher in baseball who specialized in coming in for the last couple of outs
6 Brown would be excluded if opening with book (6)
TANNED - if the first letter was a B it would be BANNED(excluded)
11 Gardeners near their peak delight in these trees on a lake (7)
ALPINES - PINES(trees) next to A, L(lake)
13 Whoops! I tend to flounder round boaters, or similar (11, three words)
THAT'S DONE IT -  anagram of I,TEND,TO surrounding HATS(boaters)
14 Eg, Bravo Charlie … Romeo by instant messaging (4)
CRIM - C(Charlie), R(Romeo) and IM(instant messaging)
15 Charge one’s own claim to being a doozy (7)
IMPEACH -  if you are a doozy you might say I'M a PEACH
16 Rhubarb and honey — mean to be ordinary (5)
HOOEY - N is the mathematical symbol for average(mean). Replace the N with O(ordinary) in HONEY.  Edit: although I have seen n and x used as mathemarical terms for mean, neither are in Chambers so it is mostly likely mean meaning middle to replace the N with O
18 Cake for broadcaster from Dublin (5)
TORTE - TO(for), RTE(broadcaster from Dublin)
20 Question for right solver who enjoys trifles (8)
QUIDDLER - QU(question) instead of R(right) in RIDDLER(solver)
22 Soppiness about old English black plant (8)
SLOEBUSH - SLUSH(sloppiness) surrounding O(old), E(English), B(black)
24 Anything or, for a few, nothing is accepted without opening (5)
OUGHT - NOUGHT(nohing) missing the first letter
26 Parent on dog’s well-defined bit of body (5)
TAGMA - MA(parent) with TAG(dog, trail)
27 Odd form of compulsion finds this minatory PLC fazed (7)
OMINOUS -  I read this as the whole clue being the definition and wordplay - anagram of COMPULSION minus PLC
29 I’m no pro — in short, against avoiding brief (4)
LAIC - remove CON(against) from LACONIC(brief)
30 Who was famously refused gets it in? It’s occasionally unearthed (11)
JOSEPHINITE - I think this is referring to JOSPEHINE Baker, who once sued the Stork club in Manhattan for refusing her entry (and lost!).  Insert IT. Fortunately after the case of Josephine Baker the US as a whole decided to reject racism and accept people as equals. Edit: There is a suggestion in the comments that it comes from the phrase "Not tonight, Josephine" which I admit I had not heard of
31 Canned in Queensland adopting not forgotten way to stand (7)
IN-KNEED - INKED(drunk, canned) containing NE(not). I've never heard INKED used for drunk, but I was in Queensland in July and I think any past verb can be used... "we were out last night, we got totally blogged"
32 Republic succeeded drawing in obsequious sorts (6)
YES-MEN - the republic of YEMEN containing S(succeeded)
33 The herpetologist Fink-Nottle in differing guises? (6)
GUSSIE - anagram of GUISES - Augustus from the P.G. Wodehouse stories

Down
1 Memorable girl wanted at home about to board (6)
CATCHY - This is a deep dive... CATHY Come Home is a 1966 film, insert C(about)
2 Job of no consequence in Ireland! Little work and, gosh, I toil hard (11)
OPHIOLOGIST - OP(work) and an anagram of GOSH,I,TOIL - referencing that there are no snakes in Ireland
3 Answer is to go up with string to join pipes the old way (7)
SIAMESE - A(answer), IS all reversed then MESE(string on a lyre)
4 Guard clearing right of access for that reason (5)
ENTRY -  SENTRY(guard) missing the right hand letter of accesS
5 What’s left I used freely in base of daquiri (8)
RESIDUUM - anagram of I,USED inside RUM(the liqour in a daiquiri)
7 Take up difficulty over point (5)
ADOPT - ADO(difficulty), on PT(point)
8 Rare goose caught by inhumane neighbour (4)
NENE - hidden in inhumaNE NEighbour
9 Put out by online fault? Time to enter “delete” (7)
EVICTED - the online fault could be an E-VICE, insert T(time) then D(delete)
10 Faff about Rimbaud’s named successor (in short in Latin) (6)
DITHER - DIT(named, in French, the language of Rimbaud), then HER (abbreviation of Heres, heir)
12 Yes, great pal is excited to make the final entrance? (11, two words)
PEARLY GATES - anagram of YES,GREAT,PAL
17 Contemplation about one’s wasting (8)
MISUSING - MUSING(contemplation) surrounding I'S
19 Downy, in the manner of Wodehouse you might say (7)
PLUMOSE - P.G. Wodehouse, making his second appearance, was nicknamed PLUM, so it sounds like PLUM-OUS
21 Uni lads developing explosive mixtures (7)
DUALINS - anagram of UNI,LADS
22 In due course joey will be stoked to get diluted soda etc (6)
SOOJEY - SO(in due course) then an anagram of JOEY - soda is the mineral in this case
23 Clock wherein you see trailer (6)
FACADE - the wordplay appears to be AD(trailer) inside FACE(clock) so that is the whole clue. I think the whole is referring to the public aspect, but I could be wrong
25 Hat to leak (5)
TOPEE - TO, PEE(leak)
26 Raja in a state of drought starts to kick up (5)
TUNKU - TUN(a biological state) then the first letters of Kick Up
28 Supplier of aromatic remedies is born with millions (4)
NEEM - NEE(born), M(millions)