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September 12th, 2019

A pretty easy start with the top line going straight in flattered to deceive, and I took a hard-worked 29 minutes over this. Wordy clues needed much wrangling especially to tease out the wordplay, which I needed to do to verify sometimes flaky entries. I knew one of the two composers, but the other only as the first name of the Russian Ripsmecorsetsoff, who spelled it differently. There’s some petrology you may have to make up from available fragments, some Latin you may have to take a running jump at, and a couple of other words which might increase the scope of your vocabulary. I have tried to supply relevant dictionary and Wiki notes to back up my assumptions. I did like the furniture company undercutting the most end of end of season DFS sale.
Clues are thus, definitions so, and solutions WRIT LARGE

Across
1 A poignant novel about a South American (10)
PATAGONIAN A nice, cheerful anagram (novel) to start us off: A POIGNANT and A your letters to reshape
6 Go to the Highlands for a party (4)
GANG Some Scots for you, might as well be Burns: “And I will luve thee still, my dear, Till a' the seas gang dry.” Whatever, go translates to gang, and I suppose a party of (say) bricklayers is a gang
10 Calendar produced by charity — short collection about to follow (7)
ALMANAC Charity is ALMS which you cut short, and add ANA for collection (of someone's table talk or of gossip, literary anecdotes or possessions – Chambers) and C for about, as in Circa
11 Smaller region of Australia recalled when crossing plain (7)
SUBAREA Australia is represented by AUS, reversed and “crossing” BARE for plain.
12 Impressive sticker backing large theatre university inserted in petition (9)
SUPERGLUE I think this works as LG for large, REP for theatre and U for University all reversed (backing) in SUE for petition. Only resolved post solve, partly because of the unusual (but verified in sources) abbreviation for large
13 Girl staying in until daybreak (5)
TILDA Today’s hidden (and first random female) “staying in” unTIL DAybreak. Swinton the only one to spring to mind.
14 Something in the blood, etc, stirring Laurel on vacation (1-4)
T-CELL “A type of lymphocyte involved in cellular immunity, that matures (in mammals) in the thymus gland” An anagram (stirring) of ETC plus the LL that results when you empty Laurel. Only CELL emerges as a likely word, leaving the T to be the introductory letter.
15 By that time, opening a ridiculously cheap furniture business! (4,5)
IPSO FACTO your ridiculously cheap furniture business is a IP SOFA CO., T(ime) opens by finding a place towards the end. Today’s Latin
17 Masses of religious lessons to be taken from Plato’s work (3,6)
THE PUBLIC  Today’s (sort of) Greek is Plato’s THE REPUBLIC, from which you remove R(eligious) E(ducation)/lessons
20 Brit abroad disregarding British, goodness me! (5)
LIMEY Abroad being the US of A, primarily. Goodness me is BLIMEY from which the B for British is “disregarded”
21 In intelligence matters, not reaching Q? (2,3)
UP TOP, the definition closely mirroring Chambers “in the head, in respect of intelligence”. Not reaching Q is UP TO P, of course.
23 Leaves factory’s daily grind (5,4)
PAPER MILL I have visited Glen Mills PA, site of the paper mills that “supplied the United States government with a special, patented paper for the printing of government bonds and notes”. Nothing much remains of this once-significant site but a few broken walls and a plaque. Here we have a charade of daily (news)PAPER and grind: MILL (as in pepper)
25 Special forces, mostly veteran, supplying fairweather protection (7)
PARASOL The special forces are PARAS, and most of veteran is OL(d)
26 Major venue, part of summer activity in the West End (7)
AUGUSTA Home of The Masters golf tournament, one of the four “majors”. Part of summer is AUGUST, and the rest of the clue is a convoluted way of indicating A, on the west end of Activity.
27 Reflecting ruby, ultimately linked with pearls (4)
DEWY Reverse (reflecting) of the last letter (ultimately) of ruby plus WED for linked. That leaves the definition as “with pearls”. I have found an image of a “dewy cobweb with pearls from raindrops”. Will that do?
28 Like piper getting a note right: another is flat (4-1-5)
PIED-A-TERRE A rather famous piper was PIED, add A note: TE, R(ight) and another note RE

Down
1 Is solicitor’s power something 25 deflects? (5)
PRAYS P(ower) plus RAYS which would be deflected by 25’s PARASOL. This helped me get 25 rather than the other way round
2 Magazine article one reads for hours (9)
TIMEPIECE The magazine is the venerable TIME, and article just PIECE. A rather whimsical definition
3 Versatile soldier and sailor breaking contract (7-7)
GENERAL-PURPOSE Which makes the soldier a GENERAL, the sailor a PO (Petty Officer) and (to) contract PURSE (as lips)
4 German who scored Bayern’s last two clutching fizzy drink (7)
NICOLAI Scorers are often composers hereabouts. Bayern’s last is N, two is (are?) II, and COLA the fizzy drink “clasped”. Contemporary with Verdi, though he died 50 years before the master, he was at one time more popular in Italy than Giuseppe. Carl Otto Ehrenfried Nicolai, three quarters of whose name looks much more German, was most famous for his opera “Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor” based on guess which Shakespeare play.
5 One has matter in hand? Shilling on tax (7)
ABSCESS I think the hand is an AB (seaman) S is from Shilling and tax is CESS, rather an obsolete version. In medical terminology, matter is pus, content of an abscess.
7 Hearing warning of attack, left (5)
AURAL I wasn’t at all sure of AURA as a synonym for warning of attack, but Chambers gives “the peculiar sensations that precede an attack of epilepsy, hysteria, or certain other ailments” so that’s fine. Add L(eft)
8 Flight of Greek girl affected Troy (9)
GRADATORY The wordplay is GR(eek) ADA (random girl) and affected/anagram TROY the rest. Collins gives what Chambers doesn’t, the noun as a flight of stairs
9 Outstanding leader deserting Labour: one to sink the Tories (1,3,2,3,5)
A BIT OF ALL RIGHT Respaced, it’s leaderless LAB I (one) TO FALL (sink) RIGHT  (the Tories). I’ll leave you to work out who the outstanding Labour leader capable of trouncing the Conservatives might be. I could not possibly comment.
14 I got in three tangos and Rose pranced (9)
TITTUPPED Other spellings are available, but the sort of prancing that horses in particular do. I is (am?) inserted into TTT (three NATOs), and rose (ignore the capital) represents UPPED: “he upped/rose and went.”
16 Official party had launched 2001 Oscars (9)
COMMISSAR “Launch” MMI (2001 in Latin) with OSCARS
18 Rock fragments thrown from stage indisposed one (7)
LAPILLI Bits of rock chucked out of volcanoes, apparently. Trust the wordplay, stage is LAP, indisposed ILL and yet another I one.
19 The world of the busy composer (7)
COPLAND Old hands will know a busy is a police officer (19th century slang) so the world of the busy is COPLAND. Aaron (Fanfare for the Common Man) is the American composer.
22 Rattle, blanket or sling (5)
THROW A triple definition, a throw being a blanket designed to cover a piece of furniture.
24 Let out of jail, finally relax (5)
LEASE That sort of let out. Last letter (finally) of jaiL plus relax: EASE

Times Quick Cryptic No 1438 by Orpheus

I was creeping close to my target, so didn't hang around to think more about 1d and 18d, and was marginally surprised not to see the unlucky sign for a change. 1d is news to me, but I don't have the same excuse with the fibre at 18d: it's appeared a number of times, as recently as 28th July in the ST crossword. Nice range of clues today, and I (re)learnt a couple of things along the way, so all good - many thanks to Orpheus!


Across
1 Give birth with assistance (5)
WHELP - W(ith) HELP (assistance). The verb derives from the noun, an old word for cub.
4 One abstaining from food more quickly (6)
FASTER - double definition
9 Gorge, and reach too high a temperature in Bow? (7)
OVEREAT - Cockney pronunciation ("in Bow") of OVERHEAT (reach too high a temperature)
10 Decomposing matter emits awful smell around university (5)
HUMUS - HUMS (emits awful smell) around U(niversity). As a potential nickname, Humus is an incentive for all the Hughs out there to maintain good personal hygiene.
11 What those in authority may have, for example (3)
SAY - Nice double definition: if you've got say you've got sway.
12 Cheeky response from rear about headgear (8)
BACKCHAT - BACK (rear) C (circa = about) HAT (headgear)
15 Trick woman into cooking for stars (13)
CONSTELLATION - CON (trick) STELLA (random woman) and an anagram (cooking) of INTO
17 Firm securing gold suitable for stashing away (8)
STORABLE - STABLE (firm) securing OR (gold)
18 Blade cutting off pig’s head (3)
OARcut the head/first letter off BOAR (pig)
20 Broadcast about poet’s work (5)
RELAY - RE (about) LAY (poet's work)
22 Report of central European going to city for medical examination (5-2)
CHECK-UP - sounds like (report of) CZECH (central European) UP (going to city)
23 Person consulting doctor is disheartened — that’s plain (6)
PATENT - PATIENT (person consulting doctor) dis-heartened = remove the central letter
24 Vagrant originally moving around in biblical land (5)
NOMAD - M A ("originally" Moving Around) goes in NOD (biblical land). Cain was exiled to the Land of Nod, where according to Josephus he continued his wickedness by establishing weights and measures and property rights, and by building a fortified city. Nomad means from a wandering tribe in Greek, and is unrelated to the Hebrew for wander which is nod.

Down
1 Court left wine in Lord Chancellor’s place (8)
WOOLSACK - WOO (court) L(eft) SACK (wine - from French "sec"). A seat in the House of Lords made from a bag of wool for the Lord Chancellor (and more recently the Lord Speaker). Dates back to the 14th century to symbolise the central importance of the wool trade to the English economy. A major scandal came to light in 1938 when it was discovered that the sack of wool was in fact... a sack of horsehair.
2 Adversary’s force finally upset Yankee soldiers (5)
ENEMY - is E (forcE, "finally") and then upset/overturn Y(ankee) MEN (soldiers
3 Best prayer oddly abandoned by a church elder (9)
PRESBYTER - anagram (oddly) of BEST PRaYER, with the A removed/abandoned
5 A quiet wood (3)
ASH - A and SH (quiet)
6 Drums a fellow viewed with endless fright (7)
TIMPANI - a TIM (fellow) seen with PANIc ("endless" fright)
7 Reportedly regrets trick (4)
RUSE - sounds like (reportedly) RUES (regrets)
8 Goals ultimately amuse defensive player? Something fishy here (11)
STICKLEBACK - S (goalS, "ultimately") TICKLE (amuse) BACK (defensive player) reveals a fish-like answer.
13 Lizard given tea and fruit outside rear of café (9)
CHAMELEON - CHA (tea) and MELON (fruit) going outside E ("rear" of cafE)
14 Bold print I’d employ initially somehow (8)
INTREPID - anagram (somehow) of PRINT ID E (Employ "initially")
16 Like available digs inspiring lessee’s last letter? (7)
NOTELET - NOT LET = available digs, inspiring/taking in E (lesseE's "last")
18 Fibre produced by Rutland town, so it’s said (5)
OAKUM - made by the sound of OAKHAM (Rutland town). Loosely twisted fibre made by untwisting and picking old rope. If that sounds like a fun job, then all you had to do was become a convict or join a workhouse and it was yours. Oakum was then shoved into the seams of (wooden) ships and leaky pipes (and occasionally wounds) with resin or pitch then poured over. The phrase "money for old rope" is not related.
19 Yield readily at first, arrested by police officer (4)
CROP - R (Readily "at first" arrested by COP (police officer)
21 Foreign money one of Napoleon’s marshals raised (3)
YEN - NEY (one of Napoleon’s marshals) raised. He does 19-down up occasionally - worth remembering.

Times 27,455: Live Free Or Dipole

I am suffering from blogger's glum because I'd completed a fairly extensive write-up of this one... which got eaten beyond my powers of retrieval when I clicked on the "Post" button. Such is life! I seem to recall asserting that this was the very definition of a "wavelength puzzle", with the early SNITCH numbers being decked out in both angry reds and soothing greens. With a number of answers getting written straight in, and after yesterday's beast, I thought this might be a very gentle one, but I got well bogged down in the second half.

In the Clue of the Day stakes, 2dn was very cute and I am duty-bound to give massive props to the triumvirate of classical clues, especially 16dn and 23d, but I think my favourite was 27ac as I've gotten really into eels lately. Did you know for instance that the Loch Ness Monster may in fact have been a giant eel based on DNA evidence recently retrieved from the waters? Or that a new species of eel was recently discovered with the highest voltage yet recorded, a truly shocking 860V? Thanks then (for the second time) to the sinuous-minded setter for an excellent Friday offering. And I hope this posts properly this time as I'm not going to type out all my best eel anecdotes three times in the same day!

ACROSS
1 Browning expert is good health professional (11)
TOASTMASTER - double def, kinda, of somebody who is expert at making toast, or somebody who is expert at making toasts ("your very good health!")

7 Renounce piece of meat (3)
CUT - double def

9 Sort of garden abandoned to Caliban (9)
BOTANICAL - (TO CALIBAN*) ["abandoned"]

10 Moulds are amusing — man impressed (5)
FUNGI - FUN [amusing] + G.I. [man impressed (into the US army)]

11 Live broadcast recommending a large jar (7)
AMPHORA - AM [(I) live] + homophone of FOR [recommending] + A

12 Leader of group rowing sent to back area after hotel meal (4,3)
HIGH TEA - a "group rowing" is an EIGHT; send its leading letter to the back to make IGHTE, add an A for area to the end and an H for hotel to the front...

13 Covered, having undergone a criminal check (5)
CASED - double def. The obscurer second part is as in, "casing the joint".

15 The King’s estate bringing honour to country (9)
GRACELAND - GRACE [honour] to LAND [country]. The King as in Elvis of course.

17 Europeans on moon altered particles, in theory (9)
MONOPOLES - POLES (Europeans) on (MOON*) ["altered"]. According to my handy live in physicist, a monopole is a magnetic north pole without an associated south pole, or vice versa; such a thing is not known to exist but theoretically it could!

19 Poor people feel this secure at church (5)
PINCH - PIN [secure] at CH [church]

20 Withdraw in wrong order in remote country (7)
OUTBACK - BACK OUT [withdraw], topsy-turvied

22 Racing home perhaps? (3,4)
THE FLAT - double def

24 Fast one taking secretary in (5)
APACE - ACE [one] taking P.A. [secretary] in

25 High-flown weapon — nearly a cluster of them? (9)
BOMBASTIC - BOMB [weapon] + A STIC{k}. Per the internet, "a stick" can mean "the structure to which a set of bombs in a bomber aircraft are attached and which drops the bombs when it is released."

27 Fishy-sounding place (3)
ELY - homophone of EELY [fishy]

28 Second-hand story of Pope’s toe? (5,6)
URBAN LEGEND - URBAN was a pope and he probably had a toe at the END of his LEG, or so a man in a pub once reliably informed me.

DOWN
1 This boat unwieldy? Objection overturned (3)
TUB - reversed BUT [objection]

2 Be a nuisance, wanting tea say not in a mug? (3,2)
ACT UP - T [tea, say] in A CUP, i.e. "not in a mug"

3 Time to embrace many times over (7)
TENFOLD - T ENFOLD [time | to embrace]

4 Port Gabriel, for one (9)
ARCHANGEL - double def. Is there actually a Port Gabriel anywhere that anyone knows of?

5 Italicise “Hard earth cultivated” (5)
TILTH - TILT [italicise, in a way] + H [hard]

6 Being in flight, not agree say to turn back for son (7)
REFUGEE - to not agree is to REFUSE. Replace its S [son] with reversed E.G. [say, "to turn back"], for a "being", as in an individual, in flight or fleeing. Whew!

7 Place limits on prison transport (9)
CONSTRAIN - or CONS' TRAIN [prison transport]

8 Various stuff in rear of loft — it hasn’t had to be sorted (4,3,4)
THIS AND THAT - {lof}T + (IT HASN'T HAD*) ["to be sorted"]

11 Roughly overturned sideboard brought round at house (11)
ACCOMMODATE - reversed CA [roughly] + COMMODE [sideboard] "brought round" AT

14 Refuge from horrible scary aunt (9)
SANCTUARY - (SCARY AUNT*) ["horrible"]

16 One cat breaks away, almost — touch wood (5,4)
ABSIT OMEN - I TOM [one | cat] "breaks" ABSEN{t} [away, "almost"]. YAY LATIN CLUES

18 In French town, dead level (7)
PLATEAU - in PAU [French town], LATE [dead], Pau is a place that seems to do above averagely well out of cryptic crosswords.

19 Dignitary could be said to be on time? (7)
PRELATE - if one is pre-late, then one is presumably on time!

21 Last of milk infant brought up, producing spit (5)
KEBAB - {mil}K + reversed BABE [infant]

23 Flower, deep in the ground, no forget-me-not! (5)
LETHE - this is a classical cryptic definition, so in theory right up my alley, but it was still my LOI by miles. Lethe was a river, i.e. a flow-er, in the Underworld, famed for its powers to induce forgetfulness in dead souls of their earthly lives. Given how extensive an alphabet trawl I needed to undertake before I finally hit upon it, it seems its reputation is not unwarranted!

26 Fish not bought on credit (3)
COD - double def, where the second part is C.O.D. [cash on delivery]