January 8th, 2020

Times 27555 - TCC Heat 1 - where you from, pet?

I see 47 of 81 solvers attempting this last December completed it correctly, while just 30 of 81 got all three in this heat correct. I tried it against the clock (not my usual habit) and found it took me 19 minutes, solved and understood, not just biffed in hope. Half of this time was spent, or wasted, on the SW corner where 21D refused to explain itself and 27A took too long to see. The long anagrams at 5D and 10D and the easy 4A got me off to a fast start. If they're all as fair and straightforward as this, I might splash out a fee and train fare next year!

1 Stay on edge (6)
RESIDE - RE = on (the subject of), SIDE = edge e.g. of a triangle. My son's in-laws in Scotland, when we risk a visit, often ask us "where are you staying?". It took me a while to realise they meant "where are you living / residing?", not where were we temporarily dossing down in Aberdeenshire while visiting them. So I think this definition has a Scottish tang.
4 Dating drunk drinking fashionable cocktail (3,3,2)
GIN AND IT - (DATING)* with IN (fashionable) inserted.
9 Really hot cafe, door guards going around (2,5)
DE FACTO - Reversed hidden in H(OT CAFE D)OOR... Latin meaning 'in reality'.
11 Nervous when there’s wages about to steal (7)
12 Starts off at seven in the morning, after small tea (5)
ASSAM - A S = starts from 'at seven', S for small, AM = in the morning.
13 Dog with dog lead evenly trimmed (9)
CURTAILED - CUR = dog 1, TAIL = dog 2 verb, E D = lEaD evenly.
14 Artificial part of expert’s argument (10)
PROSTHESIS - A Pro's thesis would be an expert's argument.
16 Broadcast live in two different ways (4)
BEAM - BE and AM being two synonyms for live, exist, as infinitive and present tense.
19 Fuss excessively, hosting duke (2-2)
TO-DO - Insert D for duke into TOO excessively.
20 Rows in southern river, showing determination (10)
STEELINESS - S, TEES river, has LINES inserted.
22 Foremost of adventurers travelling to Saturn? (9)
ASTRONAUT - A, (TO SATURN)*. Gets my CoD award.
23 Teeming area with wood (5)
AWASH - A(rea) W(ith) ASH wood.
25 Tough soldiers, retreating Roman men (7)
SIGNORI - IRON (tough) GI'S (soldiers) all reversed.
26 Russian politician still to admit large crime (7)
YELTSIN - YET (still) has L inserted then SIN for crime. Seems a lifetime since old Boris ran Russia, Putin has been the man so long. Actually it was 1991 - 1999.
27 Hanging around with sailor and Yankee in band (8)
TARRYING - TAR = sailor, RING = band, insert Y for Yankee.
28 Pair with say back pain (6)
TWINGE - TWIN = pair, EG (say) reversed. Trivia: near me and Rutland Water is a small village on the A606 called Whitwell. As you enter the village, a proper sign says "TWINNED WITH PARIS" ! Apparently it is, sort of. The Charman of the Parish council in 1980 wrote to President Chirac, proposing why his village was suitable for twinning with Paris (being a centrally located metropolis) and if no reply was received, they would take it as agreed. None was, so it is.
1 Seaside resort one favoured for special treatment (3,6)
RED CARPET - REDCAR is by the seaside, near Middlesborough I believe; PET = one favoured, also a much used term of endearment e,g, by checkout operators, in the North East. I have never been to Redcar, but I had the idea it was more of a place for a RETORT than a resort. Is steel works tourism the new thing? Maybe John_dun can tell us.
2 Strongboxes commandos lined with iron (5)
SAFES - The SAS have FE (Fe, iron) inside them.
3 Get rid of much of cold that’s upset friend (8)
DECIMATE - ICED upset, MATE = friend. If you decimated something you'd remove nine-tenths, or get rid of much of it.
5 Mixed peel with mint in? Try with sauce (13)
6 Queen with extremely awful temper (6)
ANNEAL - Queen ANNE, add A(wfu)L.
7 Showing bust firm left beset by strike (9)
DECOLLETE - DELETE (strike) has CO and L inserted. A French word décolleté meaning having a low neckline. How much bust is shown is optional.
8 Flirted with you once in turning point (5)
TOYED - DOT (point) reversed, insert YE = you once.
10 Men helping to defend box and scoring (13)
ORCHESTRATION - OR (men), RATION (helping), insert CHEST (box).
15 One who’s experienced love, great LSD trips (3,6)
17 Mechanic’s unfortunate bad luck (9)
18 Papers turning a pallid colour in refuse (8)
DISALLOW - ID = papers, turning = DI, SALLOW = a pallid colour.
21 Community around London’s West End, reluctant to come forward (6)
COLONY - Annoyingly, I got hung up on the idea that the def. meant 'reluctant to come forward'. But no, the thing is LON (London'd West End) inserted into COY meaning as it says. Even with *O*O*Y as my LOI there aren't many options, but seeing how it parsed held me up.
22 Help when ready (5)
ASSET - AS (when) SET (ready).
24 Clergyman dismissing his first offence (5)
ARSON - PARSON dismisses his P.