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September 5th, 2019

Times Quick Cryptic No 1433 by Izetti

Well this had a slightly different feel from Izetti, and contained a relatively high proportion of general knowledge (GK) for a QC, which some solvers may have had difficulty with.  I solved in 13 minutes, about average for me, but I did have the requisite GK, albeit some of which took a moment or two to recall.

Some old Greek founded towns and cities in Turkey, one from the bible stories, a Princess from Greek mythology and some new world locations all required solving and remembering.  I suspect that there will be a few complaints, but I, for one, enjoyed the challenge.

Putting pleasure first ruins peace – I’m troubled (12)
EPICUREANISM – Anagram (troubled) of [RUINS PEACE – I’M].  Whilst this isn’t a word that trips lightly off my tongue, it should be familiar to most of us, and is fairly clued.
8  Chum getting married gets a bit of a hand (4)
PALM – PAL (chum) and M{arried}.  The PALM has been seen as a window into the future in palmistry or chirology.  I’m afraid I’m a non-believer in this and other such fairy-tales.
9 Humble revolutionary, a writer (7)
CHEAPEN – CHE (Crosswordland’s favourite revolutionary, after Che Guevara) and A (a) and PEN (writer).  Humble here is used in its transitive verb sense rather than in its more familiar use as an adjective.  Who can forget Charles Dickens’ Uriah Heep from David Copperfield – a very ‘umble person?
11  Countries with no stain, having been transformed (7)
NATIONS – Anagram (having been transformed) of [NO STAIN].
12  Settled in Rome, dear Greek princess (5)
MEDEA – The first bit of slightly obscure general knowledge (GK) from Izetti.  The wordplay has an inclusion indicator (settled in…) hinting at a hidden answer and the answer is found inside {ro}ME, DEA{r}.  MEDEA was the daughter of King Aeëtes of Colchis, and can be discovered in Jason and the Argonauts, and other tales derived from Greek mythology.
14 Community of women, about 50, in NY district (6)
HARLEM – The community of women is a HAREM, which is placed about (around) L (50 in the roman number system).  HARLEM is in Upper Manhattan, based around 125th Street, and famous for jazz clubs, soul food and its African-American heritage.
15 Old port in which masonry’s crumbled – nothing’s left! (6)
SMYRNA – A second piece of arguably obscure GK.  Here we are presented with an anagram (crumbled) of [MAS{o}NRY] (nothing (O) has left the anagrist).  SMYRNA is these days known as IZMIR and is a city on Turkey’s Aegean coast.
18  Thus party is positioned by motorway, bad place (5)
SODOM – More GK, but this piece more widely known, I venture.  SO (thus) and DO (party) positioned by M{otorway}.  SODOM and Gomorrah were two cities often mentioned in the bible, and infamous for impenitent sin and divine retribution by fire and brimstone.
20  The police, getting on, brought to account (3,4)
OLD BILL – OLD (getting on) and BILL (account).  The OLD BILL is one of many names for the (UK) police or constabularies.
21  Violent action against hospital in old city (7)
ANTIOCH – An anagram (violent) of [ACTION] and H{ospital}, to give yet another name for an old city founded by Greece in what is now Turkey.
23  Thus there is hesitation to travel (4)
ERGO – ER (hesitation) and GO (travel).  ERGO is Latin for therefore.
24  The giving of aid in small HQ around end of December (12)
MINISTRATION – MINI (small) and STATION (HQ – as in police station for example) around {Decembe}R (end of).  MINISTRATION is the act of ministering or performing service.

2  French father and daughter crossing the Parisian street, drunk (9)
PLASTERED – PERE (French for father) and D{aughter} wrapped around (crossing) LA (French for the) and ST{reet} to give PLASTERED.
3  Arrive carrying cooking vessel and fruit dish (7)
COMPOTE – COME (arrive) with POT (cooking vessel) inserted (carrying).  A COMPOTE is fruit stewed in sugar or syrup.
4 Model once more about to meet actors (6)
RECAST – RE (about) and CAST (actors).
5  A drink with male group highly regarded (1-4)
A-TEAM – A (a) and TEA (drink) with M{ale}.
Mischief-maker simply hides (3)
IMP – Hidden in {s}IMP{ly}.  Efficient and elegant clue.
7  Fellow, one with a yen to conceal name like a lunatic (10)
MANIACALLY – MAN (fellow) I (one) with A (a) and Y{en} concealing (containing) CALL (name).
10  “Amen” is thus possibly seen to indicate fervour (10)
ENTHUSIASM –  Anagram (possibly) of [“AMEN” IS THUS].
13  Bold action going wrong, restricted by strange uprising (7-2)
DERRING-DO – ERRING (going wrong) inside (restricted by) ODD (strange) reversed (uprising).  DERRING-DO (a daring action) originated when Spenser mistook Lydgate’s ‘dorrying do’, i.e. ‘daring to do’ for a noun.
16  We’d moved into a bit of fog in central part of America (7)
MIDWEST – Anagram (moved) of [WE’D] in MIST (bit of fog)
up (reversed). 
17  Maiden given alternative family role (6)
MOTHER – M{aiden} (as in maiden over in cricket) and OTHER (alternative).
19  Idiots, not right to display heavenly bodies (5)
MOONS – I’m not sure it is politically correct to say so, but the idiots are MO{r}ONS (not R{ight}).
22  Starter of tongue in container (3)
TIN – T{ongue} (starter, i.e. first letter) and IN (in).
Time taken: 10:24

I rather enjoyed this puzzle, a very good one for fans of tricky wordplay, and some crafty definitions. At the time of writing up, with the puzzle having been out about three hours, I am fifth in the leaderboard, so it seems some of the earlier solvers breezed through a little more quickly than I did, though I am about a minute below what the snitch says is my average.

It has been a while since we have seen the device in 15 across in a Times puzzle.

Away we go...

1 Component of arm certain to be rejected after stink (7)
HUMERUS - SURE(certain) reversed after HUM(stink)
5 Cross cat’s sound recalled sound of bird (7)
CHIRRUP - the capital Greek letter CHI looks like an X, hence a cross, then PURR(cat's sound) reversed
9 Oppressed by false story about new mark (9)
UNDERLINE - UNDER(oppressed by) then LIE(false story) surrounding N(new)
10 Right time to don hat? (5)
TITLE - T(time) wearing TILE(hat). Legal right.
11 Finger given by this less restrained element? (7,6)
LUNATIC FRINGE - if you make an anagram of FRINGE you can get FINGER
13 Faithfulness — a leading feature of crucial church role (8)
ACCURACY - A, then the first letter of Crucual, then CURACY(church role)
15 French port regrettably claiming half of Channel Islands? (6)
CALAIS - ALAS(regrettably) with one half of CI(Channel Islands) inside, and one half outside. Unusual wordplay.
17 Daughter is coming in nearly frozen — having tried this? (6)
NUDISM - D(daughter), IS inside NUMB(frozen) missing the last letter. Fun clue!
19 Dismiss dance as a transient flashy thing (8)
FIREBALL - FIRE(dismiss), BALL(dance)
22 Run The Times with an odd approach to attracting readers (5,8)
HUMAN INTEREST - rather well-spotted anagram of RUN,THE,TIMES,AN
25 Desert allotment with no source of irrigation (3,2)
RAT ON - RATION(allotment) missing the first letter of Irrigation
26 Aquatic bird, one occupying familiar position of dam (9)
MATERNITY - TERN(aquatic bird), I(one) inside MATY(familiar)
27 Bizarre reduction in area around Woking — completely reduced (7)
SURREAL - SURREY(area around Woking) missing the last letter, than AL(l) (completely)
28 Confuse US crook facing law in Rome (7)
PERPLEX - PERP(criminal in the USA), LEX(law in Latin)

1 Activity linked to drawing room, we hear (4)
HAUL - drawing or dragging - sounds like HALL(room)
2 Purcell’s particular note? (6,1)
MIDDLE C - the MIDDLE letter of PurCell is C
3 Another chance to see sport through curtailed opening (5)
RERUN - RU(sport) inside RENT(opening) shortened
4 Lower back pain? Spies a nervous response in it (8)
SCIATICA - CIA(spies) and TIC(a nervours response) in SA(it)
5 Force Frenchmen out of business (6)
COERCE - remove MM(frenchmen) from COMMERCE(business)
6 I note rising worry over one contact (9)
INTERFACE - I, N(note) then a reversal of FRET(worry) then ACE(one)
7 Runs to the front of old plain dome (7)
ROTUNDA - move the R(runs) from O(old), TUNDRA(plain) to the top
8 Power line here’s flapping, ready for grasping (10)
PREHENSILE -P(power) then an anagram of LINE,HERE'S
12 Morning burden? Support embracing wife in evening, mostly (4,6)
DAWN CHORUS - ANCHOR(support) containing W(wife) all inside DUS(k) (evening)
14 Research formerly capturing an echo effect (9)
RESONANCE - RES(research) ONCE(formerly) containing AN
16 Evasive action that is needed in a month (8)
SIDESTEP - ID EST(that is) inside SEP(a month)
18 Goddess satisfied to block Diana’s target? (7)
DEMETER - MET(satisfied) inside DEER(the target of the huntress Diana)
20 An unfortunate situation besets most of the colony (3,4)
ANT HILL - AN, ILL(unfortunate situaton) surrounding TH(e)
21 Mother in love, in pursuit of a sensual man (6)
ANIMAL - MA(mother) inside NIL(love) after A
23 Slip perry and port out of their containers? (5)
ERROR - the interior letters of pERRy and pORt
24 Cat where birdies are to be had, we hear (4)
LYNX - sounds like the golf LINKS where better golfers than I can score birdies.

Times 27,449: Surface Pro

There's nothing *too* elaborate about the cluing in this puzzle, providing one can handle multiple flipped containment indicators (knife left cuts, &c), but the surfaces are all so smooth that it is quite often difficult to make out where the definition ends and the wordplay begins, so I imagine the SNITCH isn't going to sink far below its current intimidating level of 141.

An unusual preponderance of homophones here - rarely anyone's favourite type of clue, I imagine, but these were all excellent, and 6dn was I think my LOI and a great PDM. Lots of treasurable moments, including "trembling post-coitally", the great lift-and-separate problems like "unit of time", "dotty relative", "channel surface"; but I think I'll give my COD award to 4dn which is such a limpid surface. Bravo to the setter for this proper Friday puzzle!

1 Playing role subtly, one moves the masses (10)

6 Beater caught hunted creature (4)
HART - homophone of HEART [beater]. Woe betide any inveterate biffer who just bunged in HARE!

8 Precise sort of knife left cuts (8)
STICKLER - STICKER [knife], (which) L [left] "cuts"

9 Show ability to take off party food (6).
CANAPE - or, alternatively CAN APE, as in "they can ape", "they show ability to take off (as in, mimic)".

10 Paper bags over old soldiers (4)
FOOT - FT [paper] "bags" O O [over | old]

11 Trembling post-coitally, without way to hide emotion (4,2,4)
PLAY IT COOL - (PO{st} COITALLY*) ["trembling"]. Remove ST [way] from the anagrist before grinding.

12 Tough on one mum protects (9)
RESILIENT - RE [on] + I [one] (which) SILENT [mum] "protects"

14 Slip home, by the sound of it (5)
GAFFE - homophone of GAFF [home]. I really wanted this to be LAPSE even though I am not a member of the Sami people.

17 Raise the rate to screen Sky (5)
ETHER - "screened" in {rais}E THE R{ate}

19 Break down piece by Spanish composer (4,5)
FALL APART - PART [piece], by [Spanish composer] Manuel de FALLA

22 Debussy's opening with E flat, cutting a section (10)
DEPARTMENT - D{ebussy} + E + {a}PARTMENT [flat, "cutting" A]

23 Stop suffering on the phone (4)
WHOA - homophone of WOE [suffering]

24 Literary heiress left capital around (6)
PORTIA - PORT [left] + reversed A1 [capital]. Merchant of Venice, innit.

25 Short cut from port, once in motion (4,4)
ETON CROP - (PORT ONCE*) ["in motion"]

26 Picked up hamper for country club (4)
BLOC - homophone of BLOCK [hamper]

27 Vehicle passes through rock in a line (10)
TETRAMETER - TRAM [vehicle] "passes through" TEETER [rock]

1 Specialised unit of time? Request this in Paris (4,5)
TASK FORCE - T + ASK FOR + CE [time | request | this, in Paris]

2 Ring operator, ringing round and hinting at trouble (7)
OMINOUS - O [ring] + MINUS [operator] "ringing" O [round]

3 Something dotty relative with tablets brought over (8)
ELLIPSIS - reverse all of SIS + PILL E [relative + (two) tablets]

4 Interest rising then lowering keeps home cheap (7-8)
BARGAIN-BASEMENT - reversed GRAB [interest], + ABASEMENT [lowering] "keeps" IN [home]

5 Staff taking time out — in other words, a possible skive? (6)
SICKIE - S{t}ICK [staff, taking out T = time] + I.E. [in other words]

6 Give acclaim, receiving small gesture of welcome (9)
HANDCLASP - HAND CLAP [give | acclaim], "receiving" S [small]

7 Criticism which goes over actors’ heads? (7)
REPROOF - and it is a REP ROOF that goes over actors' heads... *groan*

13 Not giving in, ruined castle defends island (9)
INELASTIC - IN + (CASTLE*) ["ruined"] "defends" I [island]

15 One who may snare you with record including music on piano (9)
ENTRAPPER - ENTER [record] "including" RAP P [music (on) piano]

16 “Heap” and “lot” could be about right for this? (8)
PLETHORA - (HEAP + LOT*) ["could be..."] "about" R [right], semi-&lit

18 Official work clothes for plant (7)
TREFOIL - REF [official] (which) TOIL [work] "clothes"

20 Initially, female becoming hot and dry (7)
ATHIRST - AT {f->H}IRST; Take AT FIRST [initially], and turn the F [female] into H [hot]

21 Channel surfing's primary feature (6)
STRAIT - S{urfing} + TRAIT [feature]