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August 24th, 2019

Hello everyone, and happy weekend it’s a nice long one here.  (Purr!)

Thanks to the setter of this enjoyable puzzle which kept me out of mischief for around an hour.  It was a steady solve in which I had to trust the wordplay in a few places, and the definition in a couple of others, but was always given enough in the clue to get there.  Very satisfying!  I was surprised to get the long answers very early on as normally these are the ones which cause me trouble.  I’m particularly bad at long (and short, to be honest!) anagrams, so it was a stroke of luck to spot the very impressive example at 46a straight away from the enumeration.  My biggest smiles were probably at some of the shorter clues, like 17a.

Well, that’s the long and short of it for me.  How was it for you?

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Another nice Saturday challenge. 9ac puzzled me greatly, although I never have trouble deciding what to eat. I still feel I may have missed something about 7dn. My LOI was 3dn – a word I didn’t know, but I felt confident about the wordplay. Altogether an enjoyable workout. Thanks to the setter!

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 Union Jack used by a religious rite (8)
JUNCTION – J[ack], UNCTION.

9 Are you wearing a tie? So dine perhaps (1,2,5)
A LA CARTE – it took me ages to figure out the wordplay here. ‘Are you’ is ART thou. Put ART inside A LACE. Voila! (Never mind where the ‘you’ went. Setter’s licence, perhaps?)

10 Heartlessly congratulate oneself, having raised contract (3-3)
PRE-NUP – PR[e]EN (‘heartlessly’ congratulate oneself), UP (raised).

11 Poor kid runs one more time to keep warmer (10)
RAGAMUFFIN – R[uns], AGAIN ‘keeping’ MUFF (warmer).

12 Unfairness of twice concealing answer (4)
BIAS – BIS (twice, as a musical direction) ‘concealing’ A[nswer].

13 It’s so dull, go back on the booze? (10)
DITCHWATER – or, as two words, DITCH WATER.

16 Unable to launch Silver Bullet (7)
AGROUND – AG (silver), ROUND (bullet, as in a typed document round of ammunition).

17 One may rage, having to assume refusal (7)
INFERNO – INFER (assume), NO (refusal).

20 Tearaway hotly disputed mistake (4,6)
HOLY TERROR – ‘disputed’ anagram of (HOTLY*), then ERROR.

22 Scientific units on official business (4)
OHMS – a measure of electrical resistance, named after Georg Ohm. Differently enumerated, O.H.M.S. (On Her Majesty’s Service).

23 Fear to interrupt child speaking? I know what you’re thinking (4-6)
MIND-READER – DREAD ‘interrupting’ MINER (sounds like MINOR=child).

25 One picks up plants (6)
IRISES – I (one) RISES.

26 Hold race around town (8)
ROCHDALE – anagram of (HOLD RACE*) ‘around’.

27 Man that is most like a mouse (8)
TIMIDEST – TIM (some random man), ID EST (Latin for ‘that is’).


Down
2 Pair I arrested by taking advantage of rebellion (8)
UPRISING – PR (pair) and I ‘arrested’ by USING.

3 In court, deceives with one fabrication (10)
CONSISTORY – CONS, I, STORY.

4 Daring to poke right inside lip (10)
IMPRUDENCE – R inside IMPUDENCE.

5 In Nanny’s case anything is bad (7)
NAUGHTY – AUGHT in N[ann]Y.

6 Royal address that may be turned over (4)
MA’AM – the point is, it’s a palindrome and so can be ‘turned over’.

7 Spin and its advantage (6)
PROFIT – unless I’ve missed something clever, this is just a (barely) cryptic definition. On edit: yes, I had missed it! P.R. is ‘spin’, and OF IT is the possessive ‘its’. Thanks to Special Bitter.

8 Age concealed by fat old artist (8)
LEONARDO – EON ‘concealed’ by LARD, then O[ld].

14 Payment not initially for one man-hour worked (10)
HONORARIUM – ‘worked’ anagram of ([f]OR I MAN HOUR*).

15 Personal interest doing extra badly (3,2,5)
AXE TO GRIND – anagram of (DOING EXTRA*), ‘badly’.

16 Palace regularly fail poor player needing support (8)
ALHAMBRA – AL from FAIL ‘regularly’, HAM (poor player), BRA (support).

18 Unbaptised male wrong in the head (8)
NAMELESS – ‘wrong’ anagram of (MALE*), ‘in’ NESS.

19 Girl, one heading for church, keeping good time (7)
BRIDGET – BRIDE (‘girl heading for church’), ‘keeping’ G, then T.

21 Fluky to lose king, capturing a knight back? Madness (6)
LUNACY – LUC[k]Y, ‘capturing’ A N ‘back’.

24 Spirit overcome by melancholy (4)
ELAN – hidden answer, ‘overcome’.