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August 15th, 2019

While this continued my run this week of being in the 15/16/17 range at 17.22 it felt a lot meatier with a lot of the wordplay needing a lot of untangling. I took time to make sure I had the wordplay sussed before submitting. I don’t think I would be able to name the musteline creature if I saw one, and I don’t think I’ve come across this particular form of the one man show before, but they’re barely obscurities. There’s nothing here that comes in the category “words I don’t know”, though that might not be everyone’s experience. I appreciated the smooth surfaces.
To aid digestion, I have placed clues in italics, the definitions therein underlined, and solutions in bold CAPITALS


Across
1 Citizen’s “thing” about new copper by entrance to nick (9)
MANCUNIAN A fairly specific citizen, then. “Thing” is MANIA, which is placed about N(ew) CU (copper, chemistry) and by N(ick). The surface is a nice little vignette.
6 Victorious boxer, say, taking tea with elected member (5)
CHAMP Tea is CHA, elected member MP
9 Cool off by upper room reportedly in buff? (7)
FANATIC Buff has a variety of meanings, here it’s “enthusiast”, which Chambers traces to  “a keen attender at fires, so called from the buff uniform of the former New York volunteer firemen”. And why not?  For our construction purposes, FAN is cool off, and the ATIC bit comes from the reported sound of an upper room or attic.
10 Plaintive cry from male cat going about with queen (7)
WHIMPER The cat here is a WHIP, going about M(ale) and with the Queen, ER tacked on.
11 Incompetent people initially taken in at home and abroad (5)
INEPT People initially P, at home IN, “and” abroad (in France, anyway ET. Assemble.
12 Dodge bloke carrying extremely angular wooden slat (9)
DUCKBOARD Usually laid down over muddy terrain to provide a pathway, and I would have said a number of slats joined together rather than justone slat. Dodge provides the DUCK bloke is BOD, and the extremes of AngulaR are inserted.
13 Justification for reversing, avoiding a head wind (5)
NOSER That’ll be REASON (justification) reversed with its A avoided. A noser can also be a punch on the nose, an inquisitive person or a more general rebuff.
14 Ill-famed old port toured by other people? (9)
NOTORIOUS The old port gives you O RIO, and NOT US is what you might call other people
17 Lack of spirit in second author’s first stage piece (9)
MONODRAMA, I assume a play for one. Lack of spirit is NO DRAM placed in second: MO, and author’s first: A
18 Some retired fella backing a conspiratorial group (5)
CABAL Today’s reverse (retired) hidden in felLA BACking
19 Played for each class — Elgar and Delius to begin with (9)
PERFORMED Each class is PER FORM, and then you need the first letters of Elgar and Delius, helpfully capitalised for you.
22 Semi-divine spirit heard near a pond ultimately (5)
NAIAD Near, or in this case nigh, heard gives you the NAI bit and a gives you A, and the ultimate in pond the D
24 Resort where I live surrounded by workers (7)
ANTIBES Much loved by Graham Greene. I live gives you ungrammatically I BE, which you surround with the workers, who in crosswordland are usually ANTS
25 Demonstration disc found in a church gallery (7)
ACETATE Back in the days of proper records made of black stuff, acetates were the discs that the original sound was cut into, either for demonstration purposes or to create the master for pressing copies. Not really made of acetate, but of nitrocellulose lacquer, but the misnomer stuck. Here, a straight charade of A C(hurch of) E(ngland) TATE gallery.
26 Social distinction of Liberal entertained by English queen, perhaps (5)
ÉCLAT Those who did yesterday’s will remember that the queen is sometimes, as here, a CAT. The E comes from English, and the enclosed L from Liberal. A French word with several translations, one of which fits.
27 Furniture-maker finding love in a crowded complex (9)
CEDARWOOD You have to stop thinking about carpenters and cabinet makers and concentrate on the stuff that makes up furniture. Surprisingly only the first anagram (complex) of O (0, love) in A CROWDED


Down
1 Muslim legal expert in plain clothes (5)
MUFTI Two meanings, the second being military slang for non-uniform, possibly derived from the first.
2 No-hoper’s note about first of songs in Evita (3-6)
NON-PERSON Note: N, about: ON first of songs: S, and Evita’s married surname was PERON. More often someone whose status has been erased for political reasons.
3 Ignorant over revolutionary crushed by a French king (9)
UNTUTORED So it’s O(ver) RED (revolutionary) crushed by (here, just underneath) UN for A in French, and the king is TUT, the colloquial version of Tutankhamun.
4 Possible theatre pieces culminate in disc for distribution (10,5)
INCIDENTAL MUSIC A (re)distribution of CULMINATE IN DISC
5 Modern Glaswegian woman with a way round northern police HQ (3,8,4)
NEW SCOTLAND YARD HQ of the Metropolitan Police. Modern gives NEW, then Glaswegian woman is just a SCOT LADY, which together with a way, or A RD, finds itself round N(orthern)
6 Make progress as Conservative member (5)
CLIMB Just a C(onservative) LIMB for member.
7 Highest grade of hotel in mountain area (5)
ALPHA H(otel) in ALP (mountain) A(rea)
8 Capital fellow digesting notice, full of bliss (9)
PARADISAL The capital is PARIS, the digested notice is AD, and the random fellow is AL
13 Bloke in gym upset over recent form of identification (9)
NAMEPLATE Bloke in gym is PE MAN, all reversed (upset). Revent provides LATE
15 Storyteller’s regret about supporting crook in desert (9)
RACONTEUR Regret is RUE, which  must be reversed (about). It supports, in this down clue, crook: CON buried in desert (RAT)
16 Big tool a builder originally contrived for important bit of work (9)
OBBLIGATO A “contrived” version of BIG TOOL A plus the first letter of Builder. Musical term for what it says.
20 Charge pounds to see musteline mammal (5)
RATEL One of the badger/weasel family here indicated.  Charge is RATE especially when a local tax, L (or £) for pounds
21 Circuit minister finally overcome by memorial notice (5)
ORBIT The last letter of ministeR surrounded by OBIT short for obituary.
23 Fearfully anticipate being late securing runs (5)
DREAD Possibly the current feeling in the England batting line up. Being late is DEAD (as in the late Dent Arthur Dent), R(uns) being inserted)

Times Quick Cryptic No 1418 by Izetti

Another tricky enough QC today - I did the last three QCs in a row and took pretty much bang on 15, 9 and 12 minutes for Tue/Wed/today. So halfway between tricky and average by my reckoning, but certainly of the usual high quality that we've come to expect from Izetti - many thanks!



Across
1 See poet in my Italian region (8)
LOMBARDY - LO (see) BARD (poet) in MY. My first thought was "Piedmont", which does have 7/8ths of the letters of "poet in my" - if only my Italian geography was better, the neighbouring region of Lombardy might have popped into my head, which would have been a much slicker route to the solution than waiting for the L in 1d. Ah well.
5 Try to get very warm after beginning to shiver (4)
SHOT - HOT (very warm) after S (beginning to Shiver)
8 Achieves victory, having imbibed last of the drinks (5)
WINES - WINS (achieves victory) imbibing E (last of thE)
9 Sent back uncooked food, creating conflict (7)
WARFARE - WAR (RAW = uncooked, sent back) FARE (food).
11 Heftier girl newly engaged, one set aflame? (11)
FIRELIGHTER - anagram (newly engaged) of HEFTIER GIRL. So much for assuming it had to end in "light", and entering that part confidently into the grid.
13 When to drink litres, going to brilliant wine-growing region (6)
ALSACE - AS (when) to drink L(itres) going to ACE (brilliant)
14 Seaside town submerged in festive season (2,4)
ST IVES - "Submerged" in the letters of feSTIVE Season. (Not the St Ives with the comedy police station mentioned yesterday.)
16 Drivers in a breach of public order with applause all round (11)
CHARIOTEERS - A RIOT (a breach of public order) with CHEERS (applause) all around it
18 One goes round back of shop, getting grabbed by wicked person (7)
SPINNER - P ("back" of shoP) grabbed by SINNER (wicked person)
19 Enthusiastic about grabbing composer's final piece of music (5)
INTRO - INTO (enthusiastic about) grabbing R ("final" of composeR)
20 Carol is smart, wasting little time (4)
SING - STING (smart) wasting T (little/abbreviated TIME). As in "to carol".
21 Sort of ruler in gaol, rich, corrupt (8)
OLIGARCH - anagram (corrupt) of GAOL RICH

Down
1 Rules in Wales somehow putting English off (4)
LAWS - anagram (somehow) of WALES minus the E (putting English off)
2 Disclosure of fellow with uncertainty, beginning to embarrass Victoria maybe (13)
MANIFESTATION - MAN (fellow) with IF (an IF = an uncertainty) E ("beginning" to Embarrass) STATION (Victoria, maybe). Perhaps not the first synonym that springs to mind, but: to manifest / to show clearly / to disclose / to reveal.
3 Having muscles pulling creates a state of preoccupation (11)
ABSTRACTION - ABS (muscles) TRACTION (pulling). Read the clue as: Having A + B creates C. The OED has a quote from 1848 by Leigh Hunt, "Sir Isaac Newton carried abstraction far enough, when he used a lady's finger for a tobacco-stopper." After more consideration than I'd care to admit giving a manifestly apocryphal anecdote, I really couldn't decide whether Newton was meant to have had a stick of okra to hand, or the hand of an equally abstracted lady (okra was more likely but hardly remarkable)... after looking elsewhere I see it was the female human finger.
4 In valley wife and daughter take their time (6)
DAWDLE - In DALE (valley) goes W(ife) and D(aughter)
6 Trivial host — he upset nurse coming to house? (6,7)
HEALTH VISITOR - anagram (upset) of TRIVIAL HOST HE
7 Suppose the old revolt? (8)
THEORISE - THE (the) O (old) RISE (revolt)
10 Uncontrollable rage over the gang getting back together again (11)
REGATHERING - anagram (uncontrollable) of RAGE going over THE RING (the gang)
12 Copper probing motives for political meetings (8)
CAUCUSES - Cu (Copper) probing CAUSES (motives). Etymology unknown.
15 Chemical left at the bottom of store exploding (6)
STEROL - L(eft) at the bottom of an anagram (exploding) of STORE
17 This should not be in wardrobe — mum has no hesitation (4)
MOTH - MOTHER (mum) has no ER (hesitation)
I mostly really enjoyed this proper Friday fare, with its nods Shakespearean, Shavian and Orwellian and its take-no-prisoners attitude to cluing classical words and phrases with anagrams... lots of this kind of thing in the Championships would be just peachy, if you're reading this, ed.! I do predict a modicum of grumbling in the comments though...

Every weapon in the devious setters arsenal of tricks was deployed to the max here, which had the unfortunate effect of causing me to biff some of the most intricate bits of cluing, and only fully appreciating them later - 17ac, 1dn and 4dn spring to mind. If I were a carping man I'd say that the love of tricksy wordplay may have resulted in some surfaces ending up sounding overly like crosswordese gobbledegook: for instance by rights 1dn should be my favourite clue for being its own AHA MOMENT, but I find myself having some trouble understanding just what that "sign" is doing in the surface reading.

8+9ac FOIs, LOI was I think 28ac once I finally discovered a much better alternative to TEMPLATE. COD to 4dn where the surface *is* impeccable and "tanner" for UV seems very good indeed. (Honourable mention to "three couples" for VI.) Thanks setter, devil take any naysayers, this is what Fridays in the Times should be all about!

1 Back among top celebrities, article names recordholder (8)
ANNALIST - inside A-LIST [top celebrities], reverse A N N [article | name | name]

5 Each going on with honeymoon, finally, in S American location (6)
ANDEAN - EA [each] going on AND [with], + {honeymoo}N

8 Some philanthropic backing for old ringmaster (3)
ALI - hidden reversed in {ph}ILA{nthropic}. One-time master of the boxing ring.

9 Thus some footwear quotes read out (6-4)
SQUARE-TOED - (QUOTES READ*) ["out"]

10 Was in red to welcome girl, lost in admiration (8)
OVERAWED - OWED [was in red] to "welcome" VERA [girl]

11 Ill-fated lover, not that able to ignore the odds (6)
THISBE - THIS [not that] + the even letters of {a}B{l}E.
Nowadays you will know her from the shambolic play-within-a-play in Midsummer Night's Dream.

12 Start shunning either of two poets, and scoff (4)
EATS - {k}EATS or {y}EATS. Scoff as a noun, not a verb.

14 Hassle involving one Great Britain runs as powerful spy (3,7)
BIG BROTHER - BOTHER [hassle] "involving" I GB R [one | Great Britain | runs].

17 Eastern country cheers one chap protecting couple after I set about one (10)
TAJIKISTAN - TA I STAN [cheers | one | chap], "protecting J K [couple after I] "set about" I [one]

20 Spurs for one game, originally heading for Stoke (4)
EGGS - E.G. [for one] + G{ame} + S{toke}. Spurs and eggs as verbs here, not nouns.

23 Braided uniform hasn’t this? Probably not (6)
SUNHAT - (U HASN'T*) ["braided"], semi-&lit. You can see how the last two words were probably tacked on for safety's sake!

24 Opinion linked to popular case (8)
INSTANCE - STANCE [opinion] linked to IN [popular]

25 Three couples marrying, madly worshipped mother (6,4)
VIRGIN MARY - VI [6 = 3 * 2 = three couples] + (MARRYING*) ["madly"]

26 Hard class to prepare (3)
SET - triple definition

27 Feel like hugs: is making up! (6)
ATONES - TONE [feel] that AS [like] "hugs"

28 Record winning move after man finds a wife? (8)
HELPMATE - LP MATE [record | winning move (in chess)] after HE [man]

DOWN
1 Occasion for Penny to drop Mark sign, suitably attired for wedding? (3,6)
AHA MOMENT - M OMEN [Mark | sign], in A HAT = suitably attired for wedding

2 Most missing art teacher, at first, after church body’s absorbed one (7)
NAIVEST - T{eacher}, after NAVE'S [church body's] "absorbed" I [one]

3 Tips exchanged by tinker and sailor (6)
LASCAR - take {R}ASCA{L} [tinker] and reverse its tips

4 Old tanner from France in among teacher’s mementos (9)
SOUVENIRS - O UV EN [old | tanner (as in light that tans) | from France, in] among SIR'S [teacher's]

5 Drink hosts dry in pursuit of a partner! (7)
ABETTER - BEER [drink] "hosts" TT [dry, as in teetotal], in pursuit of A

6 As reported, mainly idle pupil of professor (9)
DOOLITTLE - homophone of DO LITTLE [mainly idle, where idle is a verb].
Eliza Doolittle was Professor Henry Higgin's pupil in Pygmalion aka My Fair Lady.

7 Yours truly had turned up in gold and black, extremely late for hearing (7)
AUDIBLE - reversed I'D [yours truly had] in AU + B [gold + black], + L{at}E

13 Sent choir off to find hymn (9)
STICHERON - (SENT CHOIR*) ["off"]. Tough and obscure vocab that "looks right" if you know a bit of Ancient Greek, but still, yeesh!

15 Something inspired primarily by wet weather, with hail (9)
BRAINWAVE - B{y} + RAIN W AVE [wet weather | with | hail]

16 Exploits poor eager Tess (3,6)
RES GESTAE - (EAGER TESS*) ["poor"]. Two anagrams in the space of three clues pandering to the classicists in our midst? Setter, you are spoiling us!

18 To show spirit, answer as quickly in French, briefly (7)
AQUAVIT - A QUA VIT{e} [answer | as | quickly, in French, "briefly"]

19 Time for filling northern people’s senses (7)
INTUITS - T [time] "for filling" INUIT'S [northern people's]

21 Edinburgh’s goes towards, mostly, music (7)
GANGSTA - GANGS TA{e} [Scottish for "goes towards"... "mostly"]

22 Remain standing to drink, taking in Flower of Scotland (4,2)
STAY UP - SUP [to drink], "taking in" TAY [flower = that which flows = river of Scotland]