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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.


Across
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.

Down
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.

Across
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)
APPEAR - APP, EAR.
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)
HEADREST - (RE DEATHS)*.
26 Plant that flowers, ending around the middle of July (5)
TULIP - TIP (ending) around (j) UL (y).
Down
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)
SHELLFIRE - SHE'LL FIRE.
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.