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October 9th, 2019

Times Quick Cryptic 1457 by Izetti

Well... I made a complete hash of this - very much hope you did better. After my average completion time, I had only 5 answers, and not so much as an inkling about how any of the others worked. Either I'm having a very bad day, or this is a tester. That's not to say I didn't enjoy crunching out the answers! I'm of the view that not knowing if you'll breeze through or struggle is part of the fun. There's always plenty to learn, and this puzzle is full of 'stuff to (try to) remember'.

Thanks Izetti - I had thought that after 5 years of these I'd got the measure of you, but you put me right today, and long may it continue.

Definitions underlined.

Across
1 Jacob rashly holding something poisonous (5)
COBRA - hidden in jaCOB RAshly. I have the idea, from sometime back at school/uni, that when it comes to flora and fauna there is a distinction between poisonous (toxic to consume) and venomous (having the power to deliver toxin).
4 Good queen eating fish as well (7)
BESIDES - BESS (good queen) containing (eating) IDE (fish). I did not know this moniker for Elizabeth I, so was looking to include g/pi and er/q. Thankfully, I knew the fish from crosswords!
8 Fellow outside prison about to get mechanical restriction (7)
MANACLE - MALE (fellow) surrounding (outside) a reversal of (about) CAN (prison). Lifting and separating 'about to get' was my problem here.
9 Male is having hesitation — he doesn't like spending money (5)
MISER - M (male), IS, and ER (hesitation).
10 Greatly diminished army officer meets very large girl (10)
COLOSSALLY - COL (abbreviation of (diminished) Colonel (army officer)), with (meets) OS (outsize, very large) and SALLY (girl). Lift and separate 'greatly diminished', indicated abbreviation, unusual crosword-ese, random girl's name - doubly devious!
14 Duplicate material to demolish? (6)
REPEAT - REP (material) and EAT (demolish). We've seen rep=material many times before, so I was annoyed with myself for not thinking of it sooner.
15 Agreement boy should go to HE institution (6)
UNISON - SON (boy) next to UNI (HE institution).
17 Men in a group try fine art for a change (10)
FRATERNITY - anagram of (for a change) TRY FINE ART.
20 State of uncertainty with member gaining nothing (5)
LIMBO - LIMB (member) with O (nothing). I couldn't get past leg/arm.
22 Something sticky? Food course is quite nice! (7)
GOODISH - GOO (something sticky) and DISH (food course).
23 One hanging around is left in peril (7)
DANGLER - L (left) inside DANGER (peril).
24 Game one of four card players has left (5)
SPORT - S (south, one of the four card players in Bridge) and PORT (left). My LOI. I've only just parsed this now, and I think it's a corker. Reads like a cryptic definition or deletion, distracts with I, IV, N, S, E, W, and L, turns out to be much simpler. My COD.

Down
1 Take care of the old woman showing sign of severe illness? (4)
COMA - the answer comes from (take) C/O (care of) and MA (mother, the old woman).
2 Aim to follow bishop and crook (4)
BEND - END (aim) after (to follow) B (bishop).
3 A new unexciting job collecting silver as a source of security (9)
ANCHORAGE - A, N (new), and CHORE (unexiting job) containing (collecting) AG (silver).
4 Language that's bent or contorted (6)
BRETON - anagram of (contorted) BENT OR. I did see how this worked early on, but was very slow to find the answer.
5 Tot in poor area, beginning to lose out (3)
SUM - S{L}UM (poor area) with the first letter of (beginning to) Lose deleted (out).
6 Reveal record waste? (8)
DISCLOSE - DISC (record) and LOSE (waste). Another that beat me. Of course, I was looking for LP/EP/CD at first, but also didn't get waste=lose. Are we to think of 'waste away' = 'lose weight'?
7 It's smart catching fish that's drifting (8)
STRAYING - the answer is (it's) STING (smart) containing (catching) RAY (fish).
11 Authorises second performances to get any number in (9)
SANCTIONS - S (second) and ACTIONS (performances) containing (to get... in) N (any number).
12 Portrayed someone academic and terribly idle (8)
PROFILED - PROF (someone academic) and an anagram of (terribly) IDLE.
13 Soldier and mare crashing into bridge (8)
SPEARMAN - anagram of (crashing) MARE inside (into) SPAN (bridge).
16 Wild animal that could be orange (6)
ONAGER - anagram of (that could be) ORANGE.
18 Around home see floor covering (4)
LINO - LO (see, as in 'lo and behold') surounding (around) IN (home).
19 Talk with heartless person disobeying rules (4)
CHAT - remove the middle letter from (heartless) CHeAT (person disobeying rules).
21 Fuel in ground, first to come out (3)
OIL - sOIL (ground) with the first letter removed (first to come out).

An enjoyable 21 minutes without rushing, 3d being the only obscure answer which I did vaguely know but had to dredge from the grey depths. I'm usually floored by Scottish dialect words but both of those in here were familiar. While drafting this report I found myself straying idly into Wikipedia to learn more about 4ds and 7d. I'll have forgotten it all tomorrow. You may not have heard of the pastime at 10a but the wordplay is pretty obvious.

The blurb about entering the TCC is still appearing daily, so I assume this means they haven't sold all the tickets? I found the bit about "more than £2500 to be won across three ability groups" a major turn-off, IMO making a mockery of the idea of a merit based competition.

Across
1 Promoter of change, one leaving country in company of actors (8)
CATALYST - CAST = company of actors, insert (I)TALY = one leaving country.
5 When speaking, caught sight of a predator (6)
SPIDER - Sounds like "spied a". We've had SPIDER recently, similarly clued, but I can't just remember when.
9 Sacked constables gathered round first of remote rock formations (8)
OUTCROPS - OUT (sacked) COPS have R (first of remote) inserted.
10 Monstrous female knocked back game on ship (6)
OGRESS - ERGO is a long established board game. Reverse it and add SS for ship. EDIT some below prefer the parsing GO for the game, RE for on, SS for ship, which I can see is less demanding as far as board game knowledge goes.
12 Dispersed, as licensed trade could be (13)
DECENTRALISED - (LICENSED TRADE)*.
15 Partly useful — narrow like some bones (5)
ULNAR - the ulna bening the longer of the two bones in the forearm; hidden word in USEF(UL NAR)ROW.
16 Dread voiced? Manage to accept conclusion of this forecast (9)
HOROSCOPE - HORO sounds like HORROR = dread, then COPE = manage, then insert S = conclusion of thiS.
17 Waste material produced by club after fight (5,4)
SCRAP IRON - SCRAP = fight, IRON = (golf) club.
19 Stick used by extremely brittle Muslim prince’s widow (5)
BEGUM - B E (extremes of brittle) GUM (stick). An Urdu word derived originally from Turkish; familiar too as a surname, as in Shemima Begum who was recently in the News, being a teenage Isis bride trying to return to the UK.
20 Overseas leader’s note misinterpreted race’s torment (13)
CONCERTMASTER - C (note) then (RACES TORMENT)*. The leader, first violininst, of an orchestra, more usually called just the leader in UK, but derived from KONZERTMEISTER in German,
22 Voucher scam taking in publisher (6)
COUPON - CON (scam) has OUP (Oxford Univ. Press) inserted.
23 Sports contest initially banned in most of Leinster town (8)
BIATHLON - B I = initial letters of banned in, ATHLON = most of Athlone, a large town in central Ireland on the River Shannon.
25 Isotonic solution chap brought into function (6)
SALINE - AL, a chap, is borught into SINE, a trig. function.
26 King trapped in vessel leads to banner headline (8)
STREAMER - R for king goes into STEAMER.
Down
1 Precipitate downfall of brash hangers-on in court (10)
CLOUDBURST - LOUD (brash) BURS (hangers-on) go into CT for court. BUR is a less usual spelling of BURR.
2 Small child’s drink (3)
TOT - Double definition.
3 Old metalworker alternatively employed in seagoing vessel (7)
LORINER - OR (alternatively) goes into LINER a seagoing vessel. The Worshipful Company of Loriners is one of the ancient Livery companies of the City of London, makers of metal horse tackle; the word is derived from Latin LORUM meaning bridle.
4 Police officer, one demanding payment for engine booster (12)
SUPERCHARGER - SUPER being a senior cop, and CHARGER being one asking for payment. Someone has taken the trouble to write a Wiki article explaining how a supercharger differs from a turbocharger, I glazed over quite quickly but you might find it fascinating: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supercharger .
6 Stars secure as you and me? (7)
PEGASUS - PEG = secure, as verb; AS US.
7 Old battleship from Aden at sea in dry period (11)
DREADNOUGHT - DROUGHT has (ADEN)* inserted. There have apparently been 10 Navy warships so named, since 1553, the latest being a class of submarine.
8 Baby food from river, one in South Wales (4)
RUSK - R for river, the River Usk being found in South Wales.
11 Musician caught by Liberal painter digesting popular film (12)
CLARINETTIST - C (caught) L (Liberal) ARTIST (painter); the artist then digests IN (popular) and ET (the movie).
13 Narrow American abandoning stock covered by agreement (11)
CONTRACTUAL - CONTRACT - narrow, as verb: USUAL (stock) loses its US.
14 Old woman in dam near barking dog (10)
WEIMARANER - WEIR (dam) has MA (old woman) inserted, then (NEAR)*, barking being the anagrind. Weimaraners are beautiful silver-grey-brown hunting dogs, I'd like one but I'm too old to exercise one enough. So we've got a 15 year old wire-haired fox terrier instead, who can do 100 yards on a good day.
18 Game taking place over in borders of Pakistan (7)
PONTOON - Twenty-one, vingt-et-un, pontoon, names for the same card game, which we used to play for money, along with brag, in secret places at school. P N the borders of Pakistan, insert ONTO (taking place) O (over).
19 Little creature regularly baited around Orient (7)
BEASTIE - B I E the alternate letters of baited, around EAST. As in the 'tim'rous beastie' in Rabbie Burns poem 'To a Mouse',
21 Book theatre turns (4)
ACTS - double definition.
24 Scottish smoker cross about being abandoned by English (3)
LUM - a MULE is a cross, 'about' = ELUM, then remove the E. Scottish word for a chimney, often found in crosswordland; I learnt it from a Scottish pal in France who at Hogmanay kept wishing me 'may yer lum aye reek,'