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August 19th, 2019

Times Quick Cryptic 1420 by Trelawney

Solving time: 9 minutes. Welcome to Trelawney, a new setter today! Wiki advises his is "a habitational surname of Cornish origin, meaning a person from a town with a church". Above all I associate it with 'Squire Trelawney', a character in R L Stevenson's Treasure Island which first captivated me in 1957 as a BBC TV serial and  then prompted me to read the novel. This was an exciting world away from my previous reading material such as Famous Five and similar stuff. The Squire was played on TV by the actor Raymond Rollett - now there's a name to conjure up the past for Brits of a certain age!  There are many other Trelawney's in fiction from Bram Stoker, through Anthony Powell to J K Rowling. There's also Trelawney of the Wells, a play by Arthur Wing Pinero. Anyway, enough of that except to say that I looked for something significant to the name in today's puzzle and found nothing definite, however if one continues thinking about Treasure Island there are perhaps a few sea-faring and other relevant references.  I may be missing something though.

I don't think there's anything to frighten the Squire's horses here as the bulk of the clues and answers are pretty straightforward, and those that are marginally more difficult will become easier once their checked letters are in place.

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Times 27433 - Sting in the scale?

A tricky fishlet, which required the solver to have some knowledge of the Cheshire/Lancashire boundary that was, or to rely on a lucky punt (or, indeed, to actually know the finned youngster), provides the only real test in this otherwise very Mondayesque puzzle, into which a leaky boatload of asylum-seekers from the Quickie have slipped in under cover of darkness. Well, I suppose the Celt may cause some people problems, and then there's the Verdian operatic character and the dance that features eponymously in what I always felt to be an unbearably twee song. But surely the pastoral poem will pose no threat this time round, unless there a few residual 'eulogues' still milling around in the system.

I give my COD nod to 12 across, since it is such a fine word, by no means onomatopoeic but conjuring up nonetheless the sense of the thing it denotes by its sound and by its form. Just under 16 minutes for me.

ACROSS

1 Hole-dweller nipped by male ferret (6)
HOBBIT - HOB (male ferret) BIT (nipped)
4 Fork out immense amounts for explosive warheads (8)
PAYLOADS - PAY (fork out) LOADS (immense amounts); an admirable clue, since the weapons industry spares no effort in delivering solutions that will burn holes in the deepest pockets
10 Gear Oscar hired out to a court jester (9)
RIGOLETTO - RIG (gear) O (Oscar) LET TO (hired out to) for the chap in the opera whose main claim to fame is the aria La donna e mobile ('My wife has her own car now')
11 Head of Leeds University entertained by eccentric Scotsman (5)
CALUM - LU in CAM (an eccentric or cam is 'a slider or roller attached to a rotating shaft to give a particular type of reciprocating motion to a part in contact with its profile'; tsk! as if we didn't know that)
12 Very small amount of tin trapping biting insect (7)
SMIDGEN - MIDGE in SN (symbol for tin)
13 Go back in time ultimately with idea for poem (7)
ECLOGUE - GO reversed in [tim]E (time ultimately CLUE (idea)
14 Model banker at table’s description of what he does? (5)
IDEAL - this is not the chap who give himself enormous bonuses but the fellow who works say in a casino and deals cards
15 Strong dislike of retired minister visiting a Swiss town (8)
AVERSION - REV reversed in A SION (Swiss town)
18 Work in city randomly accepting notes to emend (4-4)
COPY-EDIT - OP (work) in anagram* ('randomly') of CITY in which a couple of musical notes, to wit, E and D, are placed
20 Young greyhound, perhaps — one kept by king and queen (5)
RACER -ACE in R (rex) and R (regina)
23 Provoke current lover (7)
INFLAME - IN FLAME
25 Greek character, very small, working outside (7)
OMICRON - MICRO in ON (working)
26 Developed form of life — the writer’s, in the past (5)
IMAGO - I'M AGO
27 Feature of marsh plant, one ruminants rejected by loch (9)
REEDINESS - reversal of I DEER followed by NESS
28 Gizmos DIYers principally obtain in Indiana port (8)
GADGETRY - initial letter of [D]iyers GET in GARY; a quick look online shows that there is some debate, nay, controversy, about whether or not Gary, IN, (which gave us Michael Jackson and his siblings) should be considered a port
29 Lazy time brought forward by new hospital doctor (6)
INTERN - INERT (lazy) with the T brought forward N

DOWN

1 Owned vessel crossing river for trial (8)
HARDSHIP - R in HAD SHIP
2 Live north of African state, missing a dance (7)
BEGUINE - BE on top of (north of) GUINE[a]
3 Sick friend keeping keys without authority(9)
ILLEGALLY - EG (more musical stuff) in ILL ALLY
5 Previously cited supervisors entering sadly on a diet (14)
AFOREMENTIONED - FOREMEN in ON A DIET*
6 Expression of amusement about leaders of creatures at watering-hole (5)
LOCAL - C[reatures] A[t] in LOL
7 Everybody, say, runs over, moving quickly (7)
ALLEGRO - ALL EG R O
8 Trafford town market finally stocking minute young fish (6)
SAMLET - M (minute) in SALE (town in Trafford, Greater Manchester) [marke]T
9 Normal old expedition attendant, one carrying the flag (8-6)
STANDARD-BEARER - STANDARD (normal) BEARER (old expedition attendant)
16 Welsh girl securing a way in for a native of Cagliari? (9)
SARDINIAN - A RD In in SIAN; cue one of the greatest players ever to play the beautiful game (an honorary Sardinian and arguably its most famous son)
17 Generous sum initially spent on young relative (8)
GRANDSON - GRAND (1,000 pounds, so generous sum) S[pent] ON
19 Not on, worker being so casual! (7)
OFFHAND - OFF (not on) HAND (worker)
21 Fellow soldiers outside get up for procession (7)
CORTEGE - GET reversed in CO (fellow) RE (Royal Engineers, soldiers)
22 Broadcasting a set of operas, including Idomeneo at first (6)
AIRING - I[domeneo] in A RING; a hybrid of Wagner and Mozart; I know who I would vote for
24 A fellow European’s place of residence (5)
ABODE - A BOD (fellow) E[uropean]