September 9th, 2019

  • vinyl1

Times 27451 - Rather meaty, actually

Time: 65 minutes
Music: Ravel, Daphnis and Chloe, Cluytens/

I definitely picked the wrong puzzle for being way off the wavelength, struggling over even the chestnut clues like 'dogma', 'epigram', and 'rapid'.     This one was certainly hard, but I should have had at least a few entries after ten or fifteen minutes.   Instead, everything came along near the end, as I got more and more checking letters and was able to see what was going on.

At least there weren't any obscure words or esoteric knowledge required, although it would help to know the more recondite meanings of common words.  I suspect that the solvers who did well might find this puzzle very enjoyable.   I confined my enjoyment tonight to setting a personal best in the Quickie, where I was on the wavelength.

1 Champion swallow in blowing wind? (11)
7 Potter character in audition? (3)
CUE - Sounds like 'Q'.   A snooker cue is used to pot the balls, so it's a....
9 Position of diamonds in one item of clothing and another (9)
SHORTSTOP -  SHORTS + TOP.   Raise your hand if you wasted time with D or ICE!
10 Northern feast to which south not invited (5)
UPPER - [s]UPPER, as in the Upper East Side.
11 Mounted on horse, fight (5-2)
PUNCH-UP - [Suffolk] PUNCH + UP.   Experienced solvers will be wise to this particular breed.
12 Language papers and course taken by day's end (7)
YIDDISH - [da]Y + ID + DISH, another starter clue.
13 Swift drop, a run in the wrong direction (5)
RAPID - DIP + A + R, all backwards.
15 King possibly finished with throne at last: warning about that (9)
SOVEREIGN - S (OVER + [thron]E) IGN.   I'm not sure if 'possibly' goes with 'King' or 'finished', and it could have been omitted altogether.
17 Pop hit me (6,3)
NUMBER ONE - Double definition, seen before.
19 Teaching honour awarded to setter, quite possibly? (5)
DOGMA - DOG + M.A.   Honoris causa, presumably, although standads have gone down recently.
20 Legal process taking a toll on fellow (7)
22 Carriage set up or dismantled (7)
POSTURE - anagram of SET UP OR.   The trick is finding the correct sense of 'carriage'.
24 Trail bikes at the back broke (5)
SPOOR - [bike]S + POOR.   I wanted to put 'skint' for a long time, but wisely refrained from biffing.
25 Fire-starter in tree, but I resolved to protect queen (9)
BRIQUETTE - Anagram oF TREE BUT I around Q.
27 Title role in "Shrek" originally recalled (3)
SIR - first letters of ROLE IN "SHREK" reversed.
28 Slight cut: little pale, did you say? (6,5)
MINUTE STEAK - MINUTE + sounds like STAKE.   A stock restaurant joke, where the diner complains that the minute steak is small, and the waiter says the description on the menu is accurate.
1 Carry vessel upside down (3)
BUS - SUB upside-down, referring to 'bus' as a verb.
2 Top money, once (5)
CROWN - double definition, although the half-crown was more commonly used.
3 Boyfriend ultimately was irritating — what was he then? (7)
DITCHED - [boyfrien]D ITCHED.
4 Starter not for pot, as in a stew (9)
ANTIPASTO - ANTI + anagram of POT AS.   I nearly blundered, thinking 'not for pot' indicated 'ante', but quickly corrected myself.
5 Twisted upward, canine has partially gutted fish (5)
GUPPY - PUG upside down + P[artiall]Y.
6 Rumblings below after those horrific starters (7)
THUNDER - T[hose] H[orrific] UNDER.
7 Upsetting process of fitting hat to head? (9)
CAPSIZING - CAP SIZING, of course, but on of my LOI.
8 Objects fired in fear, then war erupting (11)
EARTHENWARE - hidden in [f]EAR, THEN WAR E[rupting].   Most solvers will take 'erupting' as an anagram indicator, and try to do something with FEAR THEN WAR.
11 Take care of male relative as an afterthought, perhaps? (11)
14 Ritual with a morose style (9)
16 Compete to win game maintaining initially professional attitude (9)
VIEWPOINT - VIE + anagram of TO WIN + P[rofessional], biffed by many, I'm would imagine.
18 Joke in the end on animals — that's witty (7)
EPIGRAM - [jok]E + PIG + RAM, another chestnut I couldn't make anything of.
19 Plate thrown, Greeks finally talk things over (7)
DISCUSS - DISCUS + [greek}S.
21 Nation unable to carry things over? (5)
GABON - NO BAG upside down.
23 Community and detention centres contest release (5)
UNTIE - [comm]U[nity] + [dete]N[tion] + TIE.
26 Look when topless? Aargh! (3)
EEK - [p]EEK!

QC 1435 by Teazel

Most of these were straight write-ins for me. I was seeing it like a beach ball. Oops sorry, that hurts doesn't it. I suppose one more unlikely escape was too much to hope for. Recall Geoffrey Boycott, that's what I say. I'm sure he could still stand there all day without scoring anything just like he used to. Although don't tell him I said so or his head will swell up like a beach ball (oh no - look - that's only about half as big as it is already) and Steve Smith will take deadly aim and hit it to the boundary.

Anyway, as usually seems to be the case these days I am squeezing this blog into a business and personal commitment sandwich so I don't have much to say except thank you Teazel, my oldest adversary at this game, for another entertaining puzzle to get the neurons firing again after the weekend anaesthesia.

FOI was 7A as appropriate. LOI was 21A because although I could easily see the answer the logic escaped me until the end (and I hope I've got the explanation right at that - no doubt I will be swiftly corrected if not). COD was 8A for me. As usual in the QC marks are awarded for elegance rather than difficulty and I thought this double definition was quite neat. Particularly as there are two potential anagrinds to divert the attention at first glance and make it seem less straightforward than it is.

Definitions are underlined, and everything else is explained just as I see it in the simplest language I can manage.

7 Essential part of company: engineers (4)
CORE - CO (company) + RE (Royal Engineers).
8 Novel, not the translation (8)
ORIGINAL - double definition.
9 Take ages to fit in (6)
BELONG - 'be long' = 'to take ages'. As in 'don't be long'.
10 The old warning for farmers (6)
YEOMEN - YE (old word for 'the') + OMEN (warning).
11 Drop all the actors (4)
CAST - double definition.
12 Bird’s colours sharp (8)
REDSTART - REDS (colours) + TART (sharp).
15 Punctilious type left in gummed label (8)
STICKLER - L (left) 'in' STICKER (gummed label).
17 One in a suit in the Athenaeum, say (4)
CLUB - double definition.
18 Offering beautiful views, since moving clutter at the front (6)
SCENIC - anagram of SINCE ('moving') + C (Clutter 'at the front').
21 Sounds unwanted? (6)
NOISES - cryptic definition, 'noise' being an unwanted disturbance accompanying a signal in electronics, as in 'background noise' or 'white noise'.
22 It is painful in unfurnished carriage (8)
BAROUCHE - OUCH (it is painful) 'in' BARE (unfurnished).
23 Musical animals? Yes and no (4)
CATS - CATS is a musical in which the characters are cats, and CATS are also animals. So the CATS in the musical are musical animals by definition, but cats per se are not particularly musical. Hence 'yes and no'. (And of course if we didn't have 'yes and no' it would be a straight double definition.)
1 Witches and possible soldier make agreement (8)
COVENANT - COVEN (a group of witches) + ANT (as in soldier ant).
2 Porter prepared an account (6)
REPORT - straight anagram of PORTER ('prepared').
3 Bank on the Spanish for poor verse (8)
DOGGEREL - DOGGER (the 'Dogger Bank' is between England and Denmark in the North Sea) + EL ('the' in Spanish).
4 Coventry, for example — it replaces its centre (4)
CITY - replace the centre of C(OVENTR)Y with IT = CITY.
5 Apparently good to get over painful condition: have a binge (3,3)
PIG OUT - PI (schoolboy slang for PIOUS and thus 'apparently good') + GOUT (painful condition).
6 Big pothole in chic avenue (4)
CAVE - hidden word: chiC AVEnue.
13 Mad to have gardened in a storm (8)
DERANGED - straight anagram of GARDENED ('in a storm').
14 It may be fatal to play this when Russian (8)
ROULETTE - well, obviously. As in the Deer Hunter. Except that was Vietnam.
16 Am not able to get girl into bed (6)
CANNOT - ANN (girl) 'getting into' COT (bed).
17 Embrace easy task, accepting pounds (6)
CLINCH - CINCH (easy task) 'acepting' L (pounds, as in lsd (pounds, shillings and pence)).
19 Seafood, and a sort of apple (4)
CRAB - double definition.
20 Raise male bird (4)
COCK - double definition.