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October 17th, 2019

Times 27484 - a solver in training

Time taken: 11:01. Relieved that this was correct as there is one answer that went in completely from wordplay, and I'm going to have to figure out how the definition plays in to things as I write it up (a quick check of Chambers does not help - it is 25 across).

I'm rather taken with this one - the surfaces are brilliant, there's some good puns and tricky wordplay, so my sort of puzzle. Hope you did well!

Away we go...

Across
1 Stone seat from which one has furthest to rise? (4,6)
ROCK BOTTOM - ROCK(stone), BOTTOM(seat)
6 Means of dispatching members (4)
ARMS - double definition
9 Bed salesmen assuming new functions (10)
COTANGENTS - COT(bed), AGENTS(salesmen) containing N(new)
10 Disturb fairies, by the sound of it (4)
FAZE - Sounds like FAYS (or FAES if you are in the American South) for fairies
12 Record held by green worker, a better service provider (4,10)
TURF ACCOUNTANT -  ACCOUNT(record) inside TURF(green) and a worker ANT
14 Classical region's key citizen volunteers once, going west (6)
ATTICA - A(musical key), CIT(citizen), TA(volunteers) all reversed
15 Potentially dangerous mineral like prime salt (8)
ASBESTOS - AS(like), BEST(prime), OS(Ordinary Seaman, salt)
17 Our opponents adopting main rule of Olympians? (8)
THEARCHY - our opponents are THEY, insert ARCH(main)
19 Standard of Federation partially raised in tribute (6)
DOFFED - hidden inside standarD OF FEDeration
22 Reminder of past content expected in Good Friday sermon? (5-9)
CROSS-REFERENCE - double definition, the second one partly cryptic
24 Sentiment for those who perished on Scott's last journey (4)
TRIP - RIP(sentiment for those who perished) after the last letter in ScotT
25 Local office bar, one entered on a points system? (6,4)
BRANCH LINE - BRANCH(local office), LINE(bar). OK - I got this from wordplay and shows how little I know about trains, points are the switches that allow trains to move from one track to another. Don't tell anyone I'm the grandson of the stationmaster of Rockbank railway station.
26 Action man's love captured by Communist in Revolution (4)
DOER - O(love) inside RED(communist) reversed
27 "Gutsy" batting twice bagging international a half-century (10)
INTESTINAL - IN and IN (batting twice) containing TEST(international match), then A, L(50, half-century)

Down
1 Naughty drivers close to boundary (4)
RACY - the drivers are RAC, then the last letter in boundarY
2 Queen possibly needing case for garment she's unlikely to wear (7)
CATSUIT - CAT(queen, possibly), and SUIT(legal case)
3 Supporter's complaint, on introduction of northern player (12)
BENEFACTRESS - BEEF(complaint) containing N(northern), then ACTRESS(player)
4 Extreme parts in twelfth edition come from such a source (6)
THENCE - the outside letters in TweftH EditioN ComE
5 Where to store stuff you formerly dumped in river (8)
OUTHOUSE - THOU(you, formerly) inside the river OUSE. Not the function I usually think of for this word, but it means any external building
7 Register liable to change again (7)
READAPT - READ(register), APT(liable)
8 Dismissed SA team lamented getting involved (5,5)
SWEPT ASIDE - SA SIDE(team) containing WEPT(lamented)
11 Baby bonnet, apparently, in secret storage space (5,4,3)
UNDER ONES HAT - love this clue - a baby bonnet could be an UNDER ONE'S HAT
13 Academist given extra time to work ground (10)
MASTICATED - anagram of ACADEMIST and T(time)
16 Fine fencing placed originally on a French pasture (5-3)
SHEEP-RUN - SHEER(fine) containing the first letter of Placed, then UN(a in French)
18 Gut-wrenching reason for going online? (7)
EMOTIVE - the reason for going online could be an E-MOTIVE
20 No one stands up to support particular sect (7)
FACTION - NO, I(one) all reversed after FACT(particlar)
21 Heartless orphan presented by the author as "spoilsport" (6)
MEANIE - remove the middle letter from orphan ANNIE, then put ME(the author) on top
23 Rock and roll dance north of the border (4)
REEL - double definition

Times Quick Cryptic No 1463 by Juno

I predict that some will have some difficulties with this offering from Juno.  For the second time this week this took me the wrong side of 20 minutes, 5 over my target, at least partly due to trying to parse the last down clue.  I think I have only blogged Juno once before, and I struggled a bit then as well.

There was plenty to enjoy here.  My COD candidates are 12 and 22 across, for their surfaces and misdirection respectively.  Thanks Juno, I look forward to our next encounter.

Across

1. 
Some strudel I saw in food shops (5)
DELIS – Hidden inside {stru}DEL I S{aw}.
4  Lay outside on new hat (6)
BONNET – BET (lay, as in lay a wager) outside ON and N{ew}.
9 One slip ruined Greek character (7)
EPSILON – Anagram (ruined) of [ONE SLIP].  EPSILON is the fifth letter of the Greek alphabet.
10  Fellow otherwise from whom charity benefits? (5)
DONOR – DON (fellow, in more ways than one!) and OR (otherwise).
11 Card game for ladies or gents (3)
LOO – Double definition, the first a card game with forfeits, the second a public convenience or lavatory.
12 Man types out Acts of Settlement (8)
PAYMENTS – Anagram (out) of [MAN TYPES] – nice surface!
15 Instruments, etc, MP restores after damage (13)
SPECTROMETERS – Anagram (after damage) of [ETC, MP RESTORES].
17  Wine is something Highlander tosses to catch (8)
CABERNET – CABER (something a Highlander might toss) and NET (catch).
18  Articles about hotel leading to a surprised response (3)
AHA – The articles are both A, surrounding (about) H{otel} (phonetic alphabet).
20  Eight carat ring someone not from this world possesses (5)
OCTET – CT (carat) inside (possessed by) O (ring) and ET (extra-terrestrial – someone not from this world).
22  More than one top vehicle conks out (7)
CARDIES – CAR (vehicle) and DIES (conks out).  CARDIES is short for cardigans (plural), a kind of ‘top’ that I find myself wearing more often than before.
23  This composer’s shop associated with singing style? (6)
BARBER – An &Lit clue referring to Samuel Barber (US Composer) and to the Barber Shop singing style of cappella close harmony as exemplified by the Barber Shop Quartets most popular around the turn of the 20th century.
24  Material from track given name (5)
LINEN – LINE (track) and N{ame}.

Down

1. 
One might have a second, outstanding, large register (8)
DUELLIST – DUE (outstanding) and L{arge} and LIST (register).
Rope, behold, used to catch donkey? (5)
LASSO – LO (behold) ‘catching’ (containing) ASS (donkey)
Explosive component to season: about to go past favourite (9)
SALTPETRE – SALT (to season) and RE (about) around (to go past) PET (favourite).  As everyone knows, SALTPETRE (potassium nitrate) is a key ingredient of gunpowder.  Hopefully, no budding terrorists ill have learnt anything from this blogging item.
5  Cockney’s to have aged (3)
OLD – {h}OLD.  To have is to hold, and any word starting with an aitch can be made cockney in Crosswordland by dropping the aitch.  Personally, I find it a bit tiresome and lazy, but that’s just my opinion.
Regret tenancy holding this girl up (7)
NANETTE – Reverse (up) hidden (holding) in {regr}ET TENAN{cy}.
Change one’s act? (4)
TURN – Double definition.
8  Nothing but Bond seen in this TV programme? (4,7)
ONLY CONNECT – ONLY (nothing but) and CONNECT (bond).  ONLY CONNECT is the thinking person’s quiz show on TV in the UK, and may not be familiar to our overseas solvers.
13 Voting to relocate local tree (9)
ELECTORAL –  Anagram (to relocate) of [LOCAL TREE].
14  Killer who has a cheek, interrupting crime (8)
ASSASSIN – SASS (cheek) inside (interrupting) A SIN (crime).
16  Demanding person’s coat, Rex out of order (7)
EXACTOR – Anagram (out of order) of [COAT, REX].
18 Like Flight of the Bumblebee?  A thing to play it on endlessly (5)
APIAN – A (a) PIAN{o} (thing to play it on, endlessly, i.e. drop the last letter).  APIAN is of or relating to bees.
19  Tease company doctor (4)
COMB – CO{mpany} and MB (doctor).
21  From out of one’s mouth, pull part of one’s foot (3)
TOE – Homophone (from out of one’s mouth), sounds like TOW (pull).  I struggled parsing this initially, which added to my time.  I suspect some will just biff it, but one can’t get away with that when blogging!

Times 27,485: Copularity Pontest

I completed this comfortably inside of 10 minutes, but it could have been quicker if I hadn't entered 10ac as "COPULA", which left the intersecting down clues a lot harder to make head or tail of! When the impossible has been eliminated, whatever remains, however probable, must be the truth, so the light did eventually dawn.

This felt to me like an absolutely irreproachable crossword in the modern style, with a battery of the latest cryptic tricks resulting in perfect surfaces and not a few laughs; the GK (literally in one case) was also pitched at an excellently erudite level, while never stooping to obscurity. I really liked the wordplay in both 24 and 25ac, but full marks to the definition parts of 11dn and 27ac too, and their seamless marriage into the cryptic. 13/10 to the setter, would solve again.

ACROSS
1 Such as Chesterton, maybe, entertaining with his stirring article (8)
EGGWHISK - E.G. G.K. [such as | (Gilbert Keith) Chesterton, maybe], "entertaining" W HIS [with | his]

5 Can pocket valuable? Hardly! (6)
TINPOT - TIN [can] + POT [pocket]

9 Seafood etc barman mostly prepared (8)
CRABMEAT - (ETC BARMA{n}*) ["prepared"]

10 Carbonated drink bottles finished round roof (6)
CUPOLA - COLA [carbonated drink] "bottles" UP [finished]

12 Toy bear’s in bunk (12)
FIDDLESTICKS - FIDDLE STICK'S [toy | bear's]

15 He passed on book two in series of books (5)
OBIIT - B II [book | two] in O.T. [series of books]

16 Cancels course if ill, unable to return displays (9)
NULLIFIES - Hidden reversed in {cour}SE IF ILL UN{able}

18 Jailed by judge, ex-pupil’s assisted crime (6,3)
INSIDE JOB - INSIDE [jailed] by J O.B. [judge | ex-pupil]

19 Stop at sea to tell some tales? (3,2)
LIE TO - double def

20 Designates perimeter of park especially for winter sport (5,7)
SPEED SKATING - (DESIGNATES P{ar}K*) ["especially"]

24 Running without queen’s backing (2,1,3)
IN A ROW - reversed W/O RANI [without | queen]

25 Cried several times over, with husband involved in plot (8)
BOOHOOED - O O O O ["several (four) times", over], with H [husband] "involved"], in BED [plot]

26 Partner of old politician getting into film for free (6)
EXEMPT - EX [partner of old] + MP [politician] "getting into" E.T. [film]

27 Biased when accepting Houses of Parliament as constitutional asset? (8)
ASHPLANT - ASLANT [biased] when accepting H.P. [Houses of Parliament]. I didn't know that an "ashplant" was a walking stick, but such would certainly prove an asset while going on a "constitutional".

DOWN
1 Watch Italian sides being eliminated after football upset (4)
ECCO - reversed {s}OCCE{r} [football]

2 Get stuck into the butter! (4)
GOAT - or GO AT [get stuck into]. The butter as in "the creature that butts".

3 Awkward when first on diet of meat sandwiches? (3-6)
HAM-FISTED - 1ST [first], "sandwiched" by HAM-FED [on diet of meat]

4 What’s amusing by reputation? (8,4)
STANDING JOKE - JOKE [what's amusing] by STANDING [reputation], &lit I guess

6 Time to leave to pick up cold tongue? (5)
INUIT - IN{t}UIT [to pick up, minus T for time]. "Cold tongue?" as in "language spoken in a cold region"

7 Banned for plagiarism in second edition (10)
PROSCRIBED - PRO [for] + CRIB [plagiarism] in S ED. [second | edition]

8 Radio station’s run repeated broadcast (10)
TRANSISTOR - (STATION'S R R*) ["broadcast"]

11 Ringer that’s incorporating end for our now cordless sockets (12)
BELLYBUTTONS - BELL YON'S [ringer | that's] "incorporating" BUTT [end]. The sockets left by our cut umbilical cords!

13 In short, “garish” is appropriate for style of French king (5,5)
LOUIS SEIZE - LOU{d} ["in short", garish] + IS SEIZE [is | appropriate]

14 King and I set makes for cracking musical (4,2,4)
KISS ME KATE - (K I SET MAKES*) ["for cracking"]

17 Move inch by inch? (6-3)
ISLAND-HOP - an "inch" being an island, a lovely cryptic def

21 Band ultimately mean to raise flag (5)
DROOP - {ban}D + reversed POOR [mean]

22 What’s oddly featured by satellite state (4)
IOWA - W{h}A{t} by IO [satellite (of Jupiter)]

23 Approach of mine having commercial appeal (4)
ADIT - AD IT [commercial | appeal]. "Of mine" as in "in a mine".