June 15th, 2020

Astarte1

QC 1635 by Trelawny

Another very straightforward offering for the nursery slopes here.  I know some of the less experienced of you don't like it when bloggers say that but all I am trying to do is put it on a scale so that you have some sort of rough idea of its objective difficulty. It certainly would have been a PB for me If I had been doing exam conditions and my eyes had been brought up to scratch (but I'm afraid I don't really know if my optician is willing to put his fingers anywhere near my eyes again yet). I am sure there will be a lot of "I didn't know people could even type that fast" comments once the leaderboard is up and maybe we will see verlaine or someone like that beating the neutrinos again.

As a guide to its level of difficulty I can say that for me pretty much all of the clues went in sequentially in Across and Down numerical order. I think the only one that didn't was 23A which I had to pick up on the second pass. From that it follows that FOI was 1A, LOI was 23A and I think that will have to be my COD as well. Many thanks to Trelawny for providing what I hope will be an effective teething ring for the less experienced.

Can I also just say thank you to all you people who take the trouble to comment. If I get round to it I try to respond to at least some of the comments during the day but often I don't get round to reading them until the evening and by then people have lost interest and moved on and anything I say goes into a vacuum. I would particularly like to thank louisajaney for her unfailingly enthusiastic comments (they always make me laugh with their sheer exuberance) and also whoever it was last time out who commented that my avatar looked like she was wearing a lockdown mask! I hadn't noticed but you are absolutely right. How unintentionally appropriate that is.

Definitions are underlined and everything else is explained just as I see it in the simplest language I can manage.

Across
1 Punctuation mark perhaps too irregular (10)
APOSTROPHE - straight anagram ('irregular') of PERHAPS TOO.
8 Young lady hugs retreating Frenchman — typical! (7)
GENERAL - the most frquent French visitor to Crossworld is RENE. Here he is retreating and getting hugged by GAL (young lady).
9 Solemn robes altered (5)
SOBER - straight anagram ('altered') of ROBES.
10 Chilled and cut up, with head removed (4)
ICED - dICED (cut up) with head removed.
11 Trendy suit, to a large degree (2,6)
IN SPADES - IN (trendy) + SPADES (suit).
13 Theist arranged donations to the church (6)
TITHES - straight anagram ('arranged') of THEIST.
14 A republican badly hurt legendary king (6)
ARTHUR - A + R (a republican) + THUR (anagram ('badly') of HURT).
17 Before end of sermon, religious leader to speak for ages (6,2)
RABBIT ON - RABBI + TO (religious leader + to) before N (end of sermoN).
19 Worry forfeit is regularly ignored (4)
FRET - FoRfEiT 'regularly ignored'.
21 Material found in ebony longbow (5)
NYLON - hidden word: 'found in' eboNY LONgbow.
22 Caught young woman with dictionary (7)
LASSOED - LASS (young woman) + OED (Oxford English Dictionary).
23 What an escapologist might say — I'm sure of it! (3,2,5)
I'LL BE BOUND - well after the escapologist has said it, there's nothing more to say.
Down
2 Powerful fellow supports joke (7)
PUNGENT - GENT (fellow) supports (i.e. is underneath in this down clue) PUN (joke).
3 Energetic secret agent captures traitor, finally (4)
SPRY - SPY (secret agent) 'capturing' R (traitoR finally).
4 Give in regarding period for abstinence (6)
RELENT - RE (regarding) + LENT (period for abstinence).
5 Hand over booze — It'll get you over the border! (8)
PASSPORT - PASS (hand over) + PORT (booze).
6 Fix me up with piece of furniture (5)
EMBED - EM (ME reversed (i.e. 'up' in this down clue)) + BED (piece of furniture).
7 Thwarted clumsy fraudster pocketing wallet, ultimately (10)
FRUSTRATED - FRUSTRAED (anagram of FRAUDSTER ('clumsy')) 'pocketing' T (walleT ultimately).
8 Dazzling girl initially making a mess (10)
GLITTERING - G (Girl initially) + LITTERING (making a mess).
12 Criminal or genial local (8)
REGIONAL - straight anagram ('criminal') of OR GENIAL.
15 Talk tediously about old hunting weapon (7)
HARPOON - HARP ON (talk tediously) 'about' O (old).
16 Recline under mountain pass for sheepdog (6)
COLLIE - LIE (recline) 'under' (in this down clue) COL (mountain pass). I think COL was a word that was queried by one commenter in a similar context in one of my blogs in recent weeks. Well here it is again and I hope it caused no worries this time around.
18 Not finishing, freezing cold curry (5)
BALTI - BALTIc (freezing cold) 'not finishing'.
20 Loos redesigned for European capital (4)
OSLO - straight anagram ('redesigned') of LOOS.
New RCA
  • vinyl1

Times 27691 - Not so Sharp......

Time: 39 minutes
Music: Mozart, Symphony 41, Fricsay/BPO

I suspect this was a very easy puzzle where I was way off the wavelength.   Except for 1 across, an immediate write-in, I struggled with simple clues that should have been immediately obvious.   None of the answers were obscure, either.   Oh, well, that's the way it goes sometimes.

I see the SNITCH is a little above 100, but it's very early.

Across
1 Sorting out crash blame? Cue an ——— (9,6)
AMBULANCE CHASER - Anagram of CRASH BLAME? CUE AN.
9 Wonderful place — no opening for larceny, reasonably secure (9)
FAIRYLAND - FAIR[l]Y + LAND, a lift-and-separate.
10 Deploying thought after losing millions (5)
USING - [m]USING.
11 Agreement backing troops in difficult situation (6)
ORDEAL - OR + DEAL, my LOI, one I was strangely blind to.
12 Negative figure in drama, ultimately, or in the novel (8)
ANTIHERO - [dram]A + anagram of OR IN THE.
13 Artist in time for lecture? (6)
TIRADE - TI(RA)DE, time and tide, that is.
15 Most successful pledge disposing of Bible as a gift (8)
BESTOWAL - BEST + [av]OWAL, remove the Authorized Version.
18 Stop endlessly walking round equipment (4,2,2)
PACK IT IN - PAC(KIT)IN[g].
19 Newspaper report dismissing new collection (6)
RAGBAG - RAG + BA[n]G.
21 Capital person finished after working to link both sides (8)
LONDONER - L(ON,DONE)R, where left and right are the sides.
23 Sport involved in covering winter sports venue (3,3)
SKI RUN - SKI(RU)N.  Nearly always Rugby Union.
26 After initial cut, give positive response to extra money (5)
RAISE - [p]RAISE.
27 Subsequent events end in a religious expression I let loose (9)
AFTERMATH - A + F(TERM)A[i]TH, one nearly everyone biffed, including me.
28 Note: tipsy gamers ruined computer software (9,6)
OPERATING SYSTEM - anagram of NOTE: TIPSY GAMERS.
Down
1 A feature of church keeping Father upset (7)
AFFRONT - AF(FR)ONT, which I thought was a front when I solved it.
2 Window fitting, large, wedged in awkward position (5)
BLIND -  B(L)IND.
3 Hedging material in line daily becoming wilder (9)
LEYLANDII - anagram of LINE DAILY, a rather obscure plant over here - must be British.
4 Ingenious fuel, replacing source of power with nitrogen (4)
NEAT - -p,+N EAT, a simple letter substitution clue.
5 Risk complete outrage (8)
ENDANGER - END + ANGER, another one I inexpoicably struggled with.
6 Spirit vital to embellish our ideas (5)
HOURI - hidden in [embellis}H OUR I[deas}.
7 Rest before we start in battle? It’s a trap (6,3)
SPIDER WEB - SPIDER + WE + B[attle], the spider that's used in billiards.
8 Mock lines about the same toy (3,4)
RAG DOLL - RAG (DO) L,L, which most solvers will biff.
14 Energy concentrated in anger? Make friends again (9)
RECONCILE - R(E,CONC)ILE.   Conc is given as a valid abbreviation in Chambers.
16 Author shows computer expert diving into river (9)
THACKERAY - T(HACKER)AY.
17 Large copy, mostly one for regular readers? (8)
LITERATI - L + ITERAT[e] + I.
18 Duller month in Mediterranean city (7)
PALERMO - PALER + MO.
20 Stuff that may be checked and good to be included amongst drink and meat (7)
GINGHAM - GIN (G) HAM.
22 Nothing gets ahead of the greatest, latest thing (5)
OMEGA - O + MEGA.
24 Banter”, as in “nonsense” (5)
ROAST -  RO(AS)T.
25 Mount tailless deer (4)
STAG - STAG[e], another one that I wasn't too swift on.