August 24th, 2020

Astarte1

QC 1685 by Hurley

Once again I don't have much time for anything more than the usual stats.

Again I felt this was of medium QC difficulty similar to the last one I blogged and certainly a step up from the series that I met in earlier months which seemed to more or less solve themselves. So thank you Hurley for a slightly longer challenge than usual over the morning cup of tea.

FOI was 1A with a very obvious anagram. LOI was 7A because for some reason the key word MENIAL wouldn't come at first although I could feel it lurking there at the edge of my consciousness. As always I have difficulty choosing a COD as they all seem to be of about the same level of difficulty so I go for the one with the neatest surface. This week the honour goes to 9A.

A special hello this week to invariant_tft. Thank you for your message and for following up. I haven't managed to think too deeply about your little conundrum although I feel I should be able to get the answer. I did study Chemistry at University and took modules in Physics and since following several careers in other directions I have always maintained an interest in science so I feel it should not be beyond me. I'll follow up the reference you suggest when I get a moment and I hope the penny will drop. I saw your SPOILER ALERT and didn't read any further so I imagine if I decide to give up then the answer is disclosed in that message? Either way I will get back to you and tell you either that I got it finally or that I gave up!

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

Across
1 Get coat altered in rural building (7)
COTTAGE - straight anagram ('altered') of GET COAT.
5 Instant credit (4)
TICK - double definition.
7 Domestic servant getting new start is friendly (6)
GENIAL - mENIAL (domestic servant) getting a new start.
8 Grape is beset by wet weather (6)
RAISIN - IS 'beset' by RAIN (wet weather).
9 One hoping you buy second drinks for each child (11)
SALESPERSON - S (second) + ALES (drinks) + PER (for each) + SON (child).
10 Busy, cite changes in hours, constant (6)
HECTIC - ECTI (anagram of CITE ('changes')) 'in' H (hours) + C (constant).
12 This decorative item cheers? Not so much, on reflection (6)
TASSEL - TA (cheers) + SSEL (LESS (not so much) 'on reflection').
14 Poisonous reptile disconcerts nude no end (11)
RATTLESNAKE - RATTLES (disconcerts) + NAKEd (nude with no end).
17 Seethe as whiskey taken from bather? (6)
SIMMER - W (whiskey, phonetic alphabet) 'taken from' SwIMMER (bather).
18 Saying nothing about a temperature change (6)
MUTATE - MUTE (saying nothing) 'about' A + T (temperature).
20 Strong reaction in prison (4)
STIR - double definition.
21 Vehicle collecting editor on way back or one used in transaction? (5-2)
TRADE-IN - TRAIN (vehicle) 'collecting' DE (EDitor 'on the way back').
Down
1 Reminder of broadcast line (3)
CUE - sounds like ('broadcast') QUEUE (line).
2 Blunder allowed in one of three (7)
TRIPLET - TRIP (blunder) + LET (allowed).
3 Book finally shortened (5)
ATLAS - AT LASt (finally) 'shortened'.
4 Serious listener, home later (7)
EARNEST - EAR (listener) + NEST (home). I think 'later' here just says that the NEST comes after the EAR and also improves the surface into the bargain, although it is strictly superfluous IMHO.
5 By the sound of it, yarns for formal wear (5)
TAILS - sounds like ('by the sound of it') TALES (yarns).
6 Tell niece, working, to see customers (9)
CLIENTELE - straight anagram ('working') of TELL NIECE.
9 Flavour of pantries, after refurbishment, captivating Mike (9)
SPEARMINT - SPEARINT (anagram of PANTRIES ('after refurbishment')) 'captivating' M (Mike, phonetic alphabet again).
11 No-good prig in cult — who’s to blame? (7)
CULPRIT - CULT with PRI ('no-good' PRIg) inside.
13 Begin extremely late causing alarm (7)
STARTLE - START (begin) + LE ('extremely' LatE).
15 Watch maybe as millions lodged in bank (5)
TIMER - TIER (bank) with M (millions) lodged in it. Watch 'maybe' as other forms of timer are available.
16 Boy with nothing on a Polynesian state (5)
SAMOA - SAM (boy) + O (nothing) 'on' (i.e. 'above' in this down clue) A.
19 Cask from Soviet Union (3)
TUN - hidden word: 'from' sovieT UNion.
New RCA
  • vinyl1

Times 27751 - Not too woolly....

Time: 24 minutes
Music: Mozart, Oboe Concerto, Hollinger/de Waart

This was a typical Monday puzzle, except for one clue which may cause trouble.   A number of bloggers and commenters have said they fnd this objectionable, but it is difficult for the setters to know what we might find obscure.    Georgia has not been in the news much lately, so perhaps the correct answer will be obscure to some solvers, and completely unknown to a few.   I certainly had to put on my thinking cap.     Everything else was pretty standard.

Just a reminder: if you are commenting, do not discuss the answers to the clues in other current puzzles.   We had to delete a few comments this week because of this, although nobody wants their elegrantly-worded thoughts summarily removed.   Verbum sap, as they used to say.

Across
1 Engineer chap getting work (9)
MANOEUVRE -  MAN + OEUVRE, and not an R.E. this time.
6 Emperor's hearing complaint tavern ignored (5)
TITUS - T[inn]ITUS, very clever.
9 Hot wind from Morocco is back for the moment (7)
SIROCCO - (-mo.+IS backwards)ROCCO, another very inventive clue.
10 Sketch feature of Rugby, swapping parts (7)
OUTLINE - LINE OUT reversed, which presumably is something in rugby.
11 Play character in first book, missing third (3)
NOH - NO[a]H.
12 Person regularly needing rope to control alien mob (11)
PROLETARIAT - P[e]R[s]O[n] + L(E.T)ARIAT.
14 Visit work briefly (4,2)
CALL IN - Double definition, where calling in is presumably not very strenuous. 
15 Healthy, inspiring new boxer's one who may win (8)
FINALIST - FI(N ALI'S)T
17 Lacking bottle now, perhaps, like some capsules (8)
UNMANNED - Double definition.
19 A few occupying Irish compound (6)
ISOMER - I(SOME)R.
22 Bent over London wife's nonsense (6,5)
DOUBLE DUTCH - DOUBLE + DUTCH, in various senses.
23 Ruin nearly all the planet (3)
MAR - MAR[s]
25 Agree with head office quarry's been identified (5-2)
TALLY-HO -  TALLY + H.O.
27 Tablets not working by the sound of it — get less (4,3)
EASE OFF - Sounds like E's OFF - don't look at me, I'm just the blogger.
28 Retired musical group's section of joint (5)
TENON - NONET backwards, the other section being a mortise.
29 Instantly fancy a go (4,1,4)
LIKE A SHOT -  LIKE + A SHOT, in an entirely different sense.
Down
1 One sculpting "Mother and Child" (5)
MASON - MA + SON, a chestnut.
2 Arctic swimmer raced north with Prince Harry (7)
NARWHAL - RAN backwards + W/HAL.
3 Save Hebridean island lake that's remarkable (11)
EXCEPTIONAL - EXCEPT + IONA + L.
4 500 idle, maybe, for spell in Caribbean (6)
VOODOO - V + 00 + DO O.   An outrageous cryptic, perhaps, but a write-in answer.
5 Obscure English drunkard at Morecambe? (8)
ESOTERIC - E SOT + ERIC.
6 Add up as well as down (3)
TOT - Just a palindromic definition.
7 Capital consumption is breaking bailiff's heart (7)
TBILISI - T.B + [ba]IL(IS)I[ff]. 
8 Turn chopped fungi over for observer (9)
SPECTATOR -  ROTAT[e] + CEPS, all upside-down.
13 Number Ten has ruined European continent's housing (11)
ANAESTHESIA - A(anagram of TEN HAS)(E[uropean])SIA.
14 Revolt due to pact being broken (4,5)
COUP DETAT - Anagram of DUE TO PACT, and not an easy one.
16 Exploit voting procedure, producing one-sided document (4,4)
DEED POLL - DEED + POLL.   It is a one-sided document because there is only one party to this type of contract.
18 Sentimental woman gets nothing in return (7)
MAUDLIN - MAUD + NIL upside-down.
20 Huge insect covers a small distance (7)
MAMMOTH -  M(A MM)OTH.
21 Mark runs animal food stores (6)
STREAK - ST(R)EAK, food from an animal, not for an animal, that is.
24 Row about bringing in first of frigates for overhaul (5)
REFIT -  TIER backwards around F[rigates].
26 That's the end of holiday working (3)
YON - [holida]Y + ON.