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November 6th, 2019

Times Quick Cryptic 1477 by Mara

Sluggish to get off the ground, but completed in an average time. I was slowed down by clues that ended up seeming rather simple in hindsight; so touché setter. I'm left wondering about 'you' in 19 down, as the only reliable source I have at home is Chambers, and it's not in there...

Definitions underlined.

1 Plant herb, so winding around us (8)
ROSEBUSH - anagram of (winding) HERB SO around US.
5 Musical — crowning glory perhaps? (4)
HAIR - double/cryptic definition.
9 Strength of unusual wines (5)
SINEW - anagram of (unusual) WINES.
10 Managed, chief position (7)
RANKING - RAN (managed) and KING (chief).
11 In need of a drink, GP maybe ending in distillery (3)
DRY - DR (doctor, GP maybe) with the last letter of (ending in) distillerY.
12 Never-worn garment in a state? (3,6)
NEW JERSEY - NEW (never-worn) and JERSEY (garment).
13 Two letters did you say? Too much (6)
EXCESS - sounds like (did you say?) 'x' and 's' (two letters).
15 Going up a trace (6)
ASCENT - A SCENT (a trace).
17 So fine art hewn, if sculpted (5-4)
WAFER-THIN - anagram of (sculpted) ART HEWN IF.
19 Joke: little one (3)
KID - double definition.
20 Cleaner back (7)
SWEEPER - double definition, the second referring to a sporting position.
21 Chuck to leave for game (5)
BINGO - BIN (chuck) and GO (leave).
22 Grass shoot (4)
RUSH - double definition.
23 See a nerd performing romantic song (8)
SERENADE - anagram of (performing) SEE A NERD.

1 Remaining bits reused, I gathered (7)
RESIDUE - anagram of (gathered) REUSED I.
2 Name of son, also Yankee (5)
SANDY - S (son), AND (also), and Y (yankee).
3 Sad brown cape changed for fawn (3,3,6)
BOW AND SCRAPE - anagram of (changed) SAD BROWN CAPE.
4 First in sewing team, one has a thread (5)
SCREW - first letter of Sewing, then CREW (team).
6 A paper under consideration (2,5)
AT ISSUE - A TISSUE (a paper).
7 Good breaking stone in game (5)
RUGBY - G (good) inside (breaking) RUBY (stone).
8 Excessive labour seen travelling around North America (12)
UNREASONABLE - anagram of (travelling) LABOUR SEEN surrounding NA (North America).
14 Drinks: concerned with price to fill empty cups? (7)
COFFEES - OF (concerned with) and FEES (price) inside (to fill) the first and last letters of (empty) CupS.
16 Time pedalo moved for young swimmer (7)
TADPOLE - T (time), then an anagram of (moved) PEDALO.
17 More intelligent, a little nephew is erudite (5)
WISER - hidden in (a little) nepheW IS ERudite.
18 Animal in hospital, sore unfortunately (5)
HORSE - H (hospital) and an anagram of (unfortunately) SORE.
19 Nation understanding you (5)
KENYA - KEN (understanding) and YA (you).

Times 27501 - enough already.

I found this an unusual crossword, something of a curate's egg. Starting with 1a and 1d then 8a with no hesitation, I thought it was going to be a doddle. Then the waters became choppier for a while; 5d fell in but 2d didn't and 4d took too long to see although I can't explain why in retrospect. Twenty minutes later I'd almost finished, after a diversion into WRITER'S BLOCK at 9d delayed me, and 2d, 6d, 19d and 11a weren't obvious. I had to look up 6d and 11a to check my deductions from word play that these obscure terms were for real (see remarks at 11a below) and take another half-minute to parse 2d, an unusual combination of a reversed hidden word made of alternate letters. I think 22a gets my CoD award for creating a surface which is reasonably smooth. containing a hidden answer relevant to the clue.

1 City district with no hotel (5)
PARIS - District = PARISH, lose the H.
4 Wartime worker with doctor going back into lines (4,4)
LAND GIRL - L L = lines, insert AND (with) GIR = rig, doctor, reversed.
8 Bring up a small and good girl to drink wine for health? (5,4,5)
RAISE ONES GLASS - RAISE (bring up) ONE (a) S (small) G (good) LASS (girl).
10 Guide round Lima during festival handed out bills (9)
LEAFLETED - LEAD = guide; into that insert FETE (festival) into which L for Lima has been inserted.
11 Nearly get wed without ring and symbolic meal (5)
MAROR - MARR(Y) = nearly get wed, insert an O for ring. I am not of the Jewish faith and didn't know this word, so I derived it from the wordplay and looked it up before blogging. I'm not convinced it's "fair" of setters to expect non-Jewish solvers to know such narrow cultural esoterica, but the wordplay is pretty unambiguous.
12 Name this setter over something that comes up again (6)
EMETIC - All reversed, CITE (name) ME (this setter).
14 Beware over aunt brewing purgative medicine (8)
EVACUANT - CAVE (beware) reversed, then (AUNT)*.
17 Almost killed before warning light is moved with no urgency (8)
POTTERED - POTTE(D) = almost killed; RED = warning light. The Urban Dictionary says POTTING is British Arrmy slang for killing an enemy.
18 Computer program needs attention to be published (6)
20 Lover’s letter read out (5)
ROMEO - Double definition.
22 Going without oxygen, coming round in panic I bore an airhole (9)
ANAEROBIC - Well hidden reversed in PANI(C I BORE AN A)IRHOLE.
24 Logical system error mostly with unfruitful broken lab gear (7,7)
BOOLEAN ALGEBRA - BOO(B) = error mostly, LEAN = unfruitful, (LAB GEAR)*.
25 Support for driver re deaths in a crash (8)
26 Plant that flowers, ending around the middle of July (5)
TULIP - TIP (ending) around (j) UL (y).
1 African explorer follows latitude line to manoeuvre into bay (8-4)
PARALLEL-PARK - PARALLEL as in e.g. the 49th parallel forming much of the US / Canadian border. PARK as in Mungo the Scottish explorer.
2 What’s regularly taken round in party in Agra? (5)
RAITA - Hidden reversed as alternate letters in p A r T y I n A g R a. Indian yoghurt dish.
3 The woman will dismiss flak, perhaps (9)
4 Section of latrine needing trough emptied (6)
LENGTH - First and last letters (words 'emptied') of LatrinE NeedinG TrougH.
5 Talent for finding underground bar for a quick drop (8)
NOSEDIVE - NOSE = talent, as in 'he has a nose for finding a bargain', a DIVE could be an underground bar.
6 Robot to operate lunar excursion module (5)
GOLEM - GO (operate) LEM (recognised acronym for lunar excursion module). A Golem is apparently in Jewish folklore a clay figure which comes to life. Echo my remarks at 11a.
7 Note wave-riding champ come up again (9)
RESURFACE -  RE (note, about) a SURF ACE would be a wave-riding champ.
9 An author’s weakness — what might be said about Quentin Crisp hugging queen? (7,5)
WRITER'S CRAMP - Well, Mr Crisp (born Denis Pratt) was a WRITER who was very CAMP, so then we insert an R for Queen. I first thought it was going to be writer's block, which would be more of a weakness, then realised why said writer was being cited.
13 Unprepared before accepting Times rate (9)
EXTEMPORE - ERE (before) has inserted, X (times) and TEMPO ( rate).
15 Bashful around papa over proper form of protection (9)
COPYRIGHT - Insert P for papa into COY, then RIGHT = proper.
16 Individual copies turned up to evaluate (8)
SEPARATE - APES (copies) is reversed, then RATE = evaluate.
19 Scholar’s leading part in standard assessment task (6)
SAVANT - The VAN is the leading part, the front. Insert that into the SAT acronym for Scholastic Aptitude Test.
21 Lubricated like a spring, but not with carbon (5)
OILED - COILED loses its C.
23 Uproar of billions over murdered brother (5)
BABEL - B for billions, ABEL was murdered by Cain.