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November 4th, 2019

Music: Mahler, Symphony 9, Bernstein/Concertgebouw
Time: 44 minutes

Once again, Monday is no longer very Mondayish, at least in my neck of the woods.  There was some clever stuff here, and as I biffed many of the longer answers I am still figuring out some rather devious cryptics.   Clues I thought were simply vague pointers to the answer are turning out to be perfectly conventional wordplay, very cleverly hidden.    Some solvers may be on the wavelength, but many will struggle - or so I hope, not wanting to be the only one who couldn't see the obvious.

Tonight's music is a fine performance, and I highly recommend it.   The two-LP set pressed in Germany is quite rare, and commands a rather stiff price from classical record collectors in Japan and Korea.

Across
1 Writer almost prepared to accept plagiarism (6)
SCRIBE - S(CRIB)E[t].   Once of my last ones in, I needed a few checkers to see it.
4 A very regular writer, skipping intro, may be a cagey type (8)
AVIARIST - A + V + [d]IARIST, a cagey clue, indeed.
10 Heavenly room accommodating one in fancy seat (9)
CELESTIAL - CEL(EST(I)A)L, where the middle is an anagram of SEAT.
11 Exhaust American power restraining group of countries (3,2)
USE UP - US(EU)P.
12 Impress after releasing singular song (3)
LAY - [s]LAY, using the slang meaning of the verb.
13 Foreign areas sadly kept back in recording meal option (6,5)
CAESAR SALAD - C(anagram of AREAS + ALAS backwards)D.
14 “Reduced Beauty Treatment” covering small shop sign (6)
FASCIA - FA(S)CIA[l], my FOI, and I saw right away this puzzle was not going to be an easy one.
16 Wild financier finally not in favour of investing in soccer team (7)
FRANTIC - F([financie]R ANTI)C, where the enclosing letters are the abbreviatino for Football Club.....soccer team, indeed!
19 Support I’ll back, beset by endless stress (7)
TRELLIS - [s]TRE(I"LL backwards)S[s].   It took me a while to realize that 'stress' was being used to indicate 'stress'!
20 Way the world won’t end: in a catastrophe, finally (6)
AVENUE - A(VENU[s])[catastroph]E......well, one of the worlds.
22 All steroids in sport? Incompatible (3-8)
ILL-ASSORTED - Anagram of ALL STEROIDS, one of the few straightforward clues.
25 Dance, taking lead in balletic work (3)
BOP - B[allectic} + OP.
26 Good performance at golf a delight, moving last to first (5)
EAGLE - A GLEE with the last letter moved to the front.
27 Old fogey to rage about source of expensive body spray (9)
DEODORANT - D(E[xpensive])ODO + RANT.
28 Utterly wrong about article offering protection (8)
TUTELARY - Anagram of UTTERLY around A, referring chiefly to tutelary spirits in Roman mythology.
29 This obliges fellow in good shape to spurn hospitals (6)
FEALTY - F + [h]EALT[h]Y - remove more than one hospital!
Down
1 Start of spring with a chill in Mediterranean location (6)
SICILY - S + ICILY,   If you put SACOLD, you lose.
2 Regarding length over Scottish course? Excellent for run (5-4)
RELAY-RACE - RE  + L + AYR  + ACE, an extended charade if there every was one.
3 Essential one Conservative supports party, mostly (5)
BASIC - BAS[h] + I + C.
5 Suggestive behaviour, maybe, with French kept in proportion (6,8)
VULGAR FRACTION - VULGAR (FR)ACTION.
6 Something you shouldn’t attempt when prepared to save face (1,4,4)
A MUGS GAME - A(MUG)S + GAME.   I had supposed this was a silly cryptic definition while solving.
7 Principle that is engaging Democrat most of all (5)
IDEAL - I(D)E + AL[l]
8 Band to adorn recording system (4,4)
TAPE DECK - TAPE + DECK, in entirely different senses.
9 What’ll be anodyne news, I’d fancy, around end of year? (4,4,6)
NINE DAYS WONDER -  Anagram of ANODYNE NEWS, I'D |+ [yea]R, a clever &lit.
15 Weaponry: clubs, historic — a bargain, we hear (4,5)
COLD STEEL - C + OLD + sounds like STEAL.
17 Hitch? Then fix web image (9)
THUMBNAIL -  THUMB + NAIL.
18 Small missile making a loud noise (8)
STRIDENT - S + TRIDENT, a chestnut.
21 Lack of enthusiasm for one heading off around track (6)
APATHY - [s]A(PATH)Y, another one I biffed.
23 Right to run away? (5)
LEGIT - LEG IT, chestnut number two.
24 Army doctor has done with cut (5)
DROVE - DR + OVE[r].   I not entirely convinced a 'drove' is an 'army', but the answer is obvious enough.  MER.

QC 1475 by Breadman

Too busy to write much again I'm afraid this week, plus I am also suffering from the inevitable cloud of depression that sets over me whenever I yet again see an England team fall short of sporting glory. What does it matter? Who cares? It's only a game. All these are very rational arguments but somehow they just never work. Only time heals. Or at least develops scar tissue.

So I went through this in a daze, noticing only that it was a comparatievely easy offering and that it was set by Breadman, whom I think I may have met once or twice before but can't quite remember. I'm terrible with names. But thanks anyway for a highly therapeutic puzzle, gradually waking my brain up again as it did and providing a valuable step back on the road to recovery and normal daily life.

FOI was 1A as God intended and things followed pretty smoothly after that. LOI was 22A I think, but not for reasons of difficulty. I found this was one of those puzzles that are so straightforward that you don't even get into the straight rhythm of following the clues in sequence. You start filling the grid and then you notice clues out of the corner of your eye that are obviously correct and you also notice spaces in the grid that are obvious write-ins without even looking at the clue so you fill those in out of order and before long you're doing a pretty random knight's tour around the grid.

Hard to find a COD as they were all fairly uniformly easy. In the end I'll probably go for the wit of 13A.

Definitions are underlined and everything else is explained just as I see it as simply as I can manage.

Across
1 Cleaning item rusted badly (6)
DUSTER - Straight anagram ('badly') of RUSTED.
4 Play on words to dig somewhere in India (6)
PUNJAB - PUN (play on words) + JAB (dig).
8 Suffer in part of aircraft, crying loudly (7)
WAILING - AIL (suffer) in WING (part of aircraft).
10 Brownish-yellow section of brooch revealed (5)
OCHRE - hidden word: broOCH REvealed.
11 Hanger-on, a slippery creature, rejected companion (5)
LEECH - LEE (EEL, a slippery creature, reversed) + CH (Companion of Honour).
12 Observes twitching inside damaged nose (7)
NOTICES - TIC (twitching) inside NOES (anagram ('damaged') of NOSE).
13 Location of travelling ocean liner, generally (2,3,4)
IN THE MAIN - cryptic definition (MAIN as in SEA).
17 Mostly hairless oddball inflated plaything (7)
BALLOON - BAL ('mostly' BALd, hairless) + LOON (oddball).
19 Modify church table, one says (5)
ALTER - sounds like ('one says') ALTAR (church table).
20 A golfer may register this bird of prey (5)
EAGLE - in golf a BIRDIE is one under par. A reasonably common variety of avian life on the golf course. A rarer bird is the EAGLE, which is a score of 2 under par for a hole. So for those of you able to keep up with the arithmetic the fabled 'hole in one' is effectively an EAGLE, being a tee shot that pops straight into the hole on a par-3 hole. For the record an ALBATROSS is a very rare bird indeed at 3 under par, and I have been fortunate enough to witness the flight of one of these extremely elusive birds while playing once with my son, a talented (well actually I think he would style it more as 'hard work' than 'talent') scratch golfer. At the par-5 17th on his home course he hit his drive something over 300 yards and then holed out from the remaining 250-odd yards with his 3-wood. Just as he finished the stroke he breathed "that's going to be close". I think it is the most self-congratulatory thing I have ever heard him say as he is usually a merceiless self-critic. It was one of those perfect moments that just come together sometimes. Like England winning the World Cup. Amazing to behold.
21 Doctor in Leith arranged protective cover for finger (7)
THIMBLE - the particular Crossworld incarnation of the medical professional here is the MB (Bachelor of Medicine). Here he or she is placed inside an anagram of LEITH ('arranged').
22 Combatant's helmet that restricts batting (3,3)
TIN HAT - when you are batting at cricket you are 'IN'. Place IN inside THAT and there you have it.
23 Member to conclude traditional story (6)
LEGEND - LEG (member) + END (conclude).
Down
1 Prosper initially over in lodge (2,4)
DO WELL - O (over) in DWELL (lodge).
2 Old comedian's second fish factory Gina organised (5,8)
SPIKE MILLIGAN - S (second) + PIKE (fish) + MILL (factory) + anagram of GINA ('organised').
3 English mine with the odd descriptive term (7)
EPITHET - E (English) + PIT (mine) + anagram of THE ('odd').
5 Vessel that was submersible but buoyant at regular intervals (1-4)
U-BOAT - bUt BuOyAnT 'at regular intervals'.
6 Landscape painter's private room with PC (4,9)
JOHN CONSTABLE - JOHN (slang for toilet or 'private room') + CONSTABLE (PC).
7 Creature consumes right cut of meat (6)
BREAST - BEAST (creature) 'consumes' R (right).
9 Biscuit barrel upside-down below item on spice rack? (6,3)
GINGER NUT - TUN (barrel) reversed (i.e. 'upside-down' in this down clue) gives NUT, and this is placed below (again in this down clue) GINGER (item on spice rack).
14 Desire for wealth pilot's seen around two eastern US states (7)
AVARICE - two eastern US states are VA (Virginia) and RI (Rhode Island), and here an ACE (pilot, as in Snoopy and the Red Baron) is 'seen around' them.
15 Worker, carrying infectious disease, not present (6)
ABSENT - the poor old overworked Crossworld worker, the ANT, is here made to 'carry' BSE (bovine spongiform encephalitis, the infectious disease known as 'mad cow disease' in cattle and which manifests in humans as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease). 
16 Female diner excited partner (6)
FRIEND - F (female) + anagram of DINER ('excited').
18 Greek character old and huge (5)
OMEGA - O (old) + MEGA (huge).