September 24th, 2020

Linus van Pelt
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27778 Thursday, 24 September 2020 It's time to crack open the Bolly

Not much more demanding than yesterday’s, and as far as I can tell lacking the extraordinary NINA in the first letters of the across clues. I polished this off in 13.37. It helps if you have a list of British Prime Ministers to hand, are familiar with British children’s TV and sitcoms, and have some familiarity with bits of London. The film is (or should be) pretty well known, as is the songwriter, who even has an award named after him. In all these instances, the wordplay is pretty generous, and I would venture that those who took tentative steps from the Quickie yesterday will not find this demoralising.
For what it’s worth, I have provided my commentary on the clues and their answers below, and have stuck to my normal practice of formatting the clues in italics, in addition underlining the definitions, and providing the answers in BOLD CAPITALS.

1 PM, previously to resign, remains around (7)
ASQUITH To resign is QUIT, and remains are ASH. Plonk one into t’other. Herbert Henry Asquith served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1908 to 1916.
5 Pepper pot: mine needs to be shaken (7)
PIMENTO Needs to be shaken is the giveaway anagram indicator: apply to POT MINE
9 Husband bearing heavy item of furniture is one giving you a wave? (11)
HAIRDRESSER Husband conventionally round here is represented by H, bearing is AIR and unless you are in possession of a lightweight one, a DRESSER is a heavy item of furniture. The definition is mildly cryptic
10 Deckhands finally got out of sweeping vessel (3)
VAT The last letter of deckhandS (finally) is removed from VAST answering to sweeping
11 Peg, getting stuck into beer, on the slippery slope? (6)
ALPINE Peg is PIN and beer is ALE. Once again plonk one into t’other.
12 Runner reflecting on the subject of large clogs (8)
SMUGGLER Quite tricky to reverse engineer the wordplay from the obvious answer. On the subject of: RE, large LG (not just the expected L) and clogs GUMS as in up the works. Reverse the whole lot (reflecting)
14 Director, in extremis, fought to secure financial backer for film (2,11)
DR STRANGELOVE In which Peter Sellers plays almost everybody. In extremis (ie, both ends) DirectoR  gives the DR bit. Fought is STROVE and a financial backer is an ANGEL. Correctly assemble.
17 Be reconciled, after brush with assembly (4,3,4,2)
KISS AND MAKE UP After brush: KISS, place with: AND, and assembly: MAKE UP
21 Touched, as doctor, friend and parent meet with young delinquent (8)
PALPATED Friend is PAL, parent is PA (avoid MA, gives a an inappropriate solution)  and the young delinquent (sorry Jimbo) is TED
23 Race the eccentric run in mostly (6)
ETHNIC What appears to be an adjective clued by a noun. “The” eccentric provides the ETH, and run in is NICK (as in episodes of the Sweeney) from which you dock the last letter
25 Light headed? (3)
LED I’m going to say the definition is headed, because the light is an L.E.D. though sources have it without the dots
26 Hiker settles by forestry worker (11)
FOOTSLOGGER Simple enough: settles is FOOTS (the bill) and the forestry worker is a LUMBERJACK LOGGER
27 Subject of treaty dubious at best, note (4,3)
TEST BAN The Comprehensive version, passed by the UN in 1996, still awaits complete ratification and is not yet in force. Here it’s an anagram (“dubious”) of AT BEST and N(ote)
28 Long to be back on stage in the London area (7)
STEPNEY Stage is STEP, and long: YEN is reversed (back) onto it. Stepney is either a tiddly bit of Tower Hamlets with no really defined borders, or it’s (currently) an Episcopal area of the Diocese of London covering Tower Hamlets, Islington and Hackney. Arguably it’s your actual East End

1 From memory, after a quiet retreat (6)
ASHRAM Memory is RAM, as A and SH for quiet makes up the rest. I’m not sure what “From” is doing.  Perhaps the most famous ashram was Gandhi’s at Ahmedabad.
2 Heading off armed, made a sally (7)
QUIPPED Armed is equipped. Knock its head off
3 Daughters entering singly at first, in a state (9)
INDONESIA You only need one of the D(aughters). I think then singly is IN ONES, into which the D enters, and the at first In A gives the rest
4 Reclusive industrialist, speaking for the Greens, perhaps (4)
HUES My last in, because although I thought of Howard Hughes I couldn’t make him fit. Speaking, however, tells you this is a homophone, and Greens (preferably without the capital) are just one variety of our answer
5 Job on staff, just right for animated deliveryman (7,3)
POSTMAN PAT A cartoon character who does his rounds in Greendale with his black and white cat Jess. Job: POST, staff: MAN , and just right: PAT
6 Second charity event the Scottish miss (5)
MORAG Second is MO, and charity event is RAG, as practised by Universities over a week (still?)
7 Unusual request to look for songwriter (7)
NOVELLO Unusual is NOVEL, and I think LO is pretty well defined as a request to look.
8 Accurate, but somehow not great (2,6)
ON TARGET Another simple anagram (somehow) of NOT GREAT
13 Right in attempt to obtain private capital (10)
BRIDGETOWN Capital of Barbados. Place R(ight) into attempt: BID. Add obtain GET and private: OWN.
15 Conductor when chosen went up (9)
ELECTRODE Chosen obviously gives the ELECT bit. RODE is less obvious, but if you went “up” you rode a horse
16 Chaplain to put up with holy bunch! (3,5)
SKY PILOT Put up is SKY, as a batsman might do, and the holy bunch are the PI LOT. Dated (?) military slang.
18 Slash cover to access petty cash (7)
SOLIDUS The proper name for the forward slash /, Cover is LID, which “accesses” SOUS for just about the pettiest of cashes.
19 Drink quietly, repeatedly, at home, gaining weight (4,3)
PINK GIN mmmmmmm. Quietly P, at home IN, which is repeated around KG foe weight.
20 What sailors caught, close to divers with the bends? (6)
SCURVY The effect of lack of vitamin C brought on by the poor diet of, eg, sailors. Close to (end of) diverS and CURVY, with (the) bends
22 Old sitcom initially featuring in ratings (2,3)
AB FAB Not that old – it ran from 1992 to 2012, and a feature film version was released in 2016.  The F of Featured (initially) finds itself between two AB ratings
24 What only child might want unaltered (2,2)
AS IS A single child might want A SIS. Redistribute.

Times Quick Cryptic No 1708 by Teazel

A bit of a trickier one today from Teazel - at a minute-and-a-half over target this took a touch longer than yesterday's 15x15, with five fewer clues. That was also with several unparsed until post-solve, and a couple of unknowns given an unceremonious shrug along the way. Some lovely bits of misdirection and clever wordplay made an enjoyable solve and an equally enjoyable post-solve, so many thanks to Teazel!

1 For transplant, scan iris and other flowers (8)
NARCISSI - Anagram (for transplant) of SCAN IRIS
5 Abbreviated state service (4)
MASS - Abbrev. of MASSachusettes (state). Well, that was my attempt at spelling it - I see it doesn't have that final E (which looks wrong). But I got 10d correct, so I'm giving myself a pass in today's spelling test.
8 Good man meets with resistance (5)
STAND - ST. (Saint = good man) meets AND (with). That pesky w/with/and, gets me every time.
9 Cheese and some apricot taken (7)
RICOTTA - "some" of apRICOT TAken. FOI.
11 Judge turned to note (3)
JOT - J(udge) OT ("turned" to). Tripped me up nicely: I was looking for a "judge", which I have a mental block with. I always feel there are a ton of possibilities I can never quite think of.
12 Money’s problematic if in a clan (9)
FINANCIAL - anagram (is problematic) of IF IN A CLAN. As in money/financial difficulties. (I can't think of an example where the possessive "money's" meaning "relating to money" could be swapped with the answer.)
13 Dairy product from goat? (6)
BUTTER - double definition, the second as in a thing that butts.
15 Almost become unable to see mischievous spirit (6)
GOBLIN - GO BLINd ("almost" become unable to see)
18 Insect takes off from pages of book (9)
FLYLEAVES - FLY (insect) LEAVES (takes off). Unprinted pages at the front/back of a book. Oh yes, that's what they're called.
19 Drinking bout in front half of car (3)
JAG - JAGuar (front half of car). News to me. Lexico explains that the original sense of jag "was ‘portion, quantity’, later ‘as much alcohol as one can hold’, hence ‘a binge’."
20 Sage parent accepts head covering (7)
MAHATMA - MAMA (parent) accepts HAT (head covering)
21 Cornish tourist came across me, back at the front (5)
EMMET - MET (came across) with EM (me, "back"), at the front. Also news to me/forgotten. The OED has a quote: " ‘Grockle’ is the Devonian word for tourist, or tripper, or summer visitor. In Cornwall the word is ‘emmet’." An emmet is an archaic/dialect word for an ant, with the tourist idea coming from a large crowd on a beach or the like resembling ants.
22 Ready to eat? Tear back from office (4)
RIPE - RIP (tear) E ("back" from officE)
23 Good for food, for example, which a poet might use? (3,5)
EYE RHYME - Cryptic definition. Made easier by appearing in Tuesday's 15x15 ("Poetic device exemplified in Keats and Yeats"), blogged by Jack, who wrote: "Words that look as if they should rhyme but when spoken they don't."

1 Face operation: expert does, we hear (4,3)
NOSE JOB - "we hear" the same as KNOWS JOB ([what an] expert does). Hmm, close enough; we do get more enjoyable clues if setters are given a bit of latitude.
2 Right oven, for this? (5)
ROAST - R(ight) OAST (oven). And I suppose an oast does roast, so the answer to the clue is yes.
3 Unconcerned to be popular, standing out from the crowd? (11)
INDIFFERENT - IN (popular) DIFFERENT (standing out from the crowd)
4 Shore leave in hopeless place (6)
STRAND - quality double definition.
6 Tiny workers’ high-rise accommodation (7)
ANTHILL - cryptic definition, with the surface reading misdirecting you to think of human workers. The QC will often give an extra hint compared to the 15x15, such as "tiny" here, or "in hopeless place" in the previous clue.
7 Second shopping area is modest (5)
SMALL - S(econd) MALL (shopping area)
10 Stupidly censorious about name for man of taste (11)
CONNOISSEUR - anagram (stupidly) of CENSORIOUS about N(ame)
14 Too shy to play piano in store (7)
TOYSHOP - anagram (to play) of TOO SHY, and P(iano)
16 Close match, one assumed after dark (7)
NIGHTIE -NIGH (close) TIE (match)
17 A change involving one in birdcage (6)
AVIARY - A, VARY (a, change) involving I (one). Not CANARY, then, which I bunged in in haste.
18 See me wrapped up in warm coat, but only part of leg (5)
FEMUR - ME enwrapped in FUR (warm coat)
19 Leap year makes us nervous (5)
JUMPY - JUMP (leap) Y(ear). Well this leap year's doing a good job of it.

Times 27,779: Fyodor Trotsky

A little disappointing difficulty-wise at the end of an above-averagely easy week, but I found much in here to enjoy, with some really exceptional surfaces. 17dn was very jolly but I think I'll give COD to 21dn as it's very neat despite being about the mystifying pastime of cricketball. I also very much liked the "unarmed patrol". I don't have too much to say beyond that, it was good, thanks setter.

If anyone wants to look at a lot of my alarming face, I can be seen hosting an OQL quiz at the end of this link; it's not all horror and despair though, the whole thing is much redeemed by regular appearances by topicaltim putting in a typical tour de force performance in seat 4B. Yay!

1 In school, used to be provided with juice (7)
POWERED - in POD [school (of whales)], WERE [used to be]

5 Foreign orchestra given something to play by network (7)
GAMELAN - GAME [something to play] by LAN [(Local Area) Network]

9 Crazy, dropping head to the back (3)

10 Lady not running freely sent in for surgery (11)
VISCOUNTESS - VISCOUS [not running freely], with (SENT*) in. Reader, I cannot tell a lie, I biffed it.

11 Make a friend with ceremony (8)

12 California police try to return pampered pet (6)
LAPDOG - L.A.P.D + reversed GO

15 Christmas returns in part of Spain (4)
LEON - reversed NOEL

16 Party votes to change very high limit for author (10)
DOSTOEVSKY - DO [party] + (VOTES*) + SKY [as in "the sky's the limit!"]

18 Record how long left in permit (3,4,3)
ALL TIME LOW - TIME [how long] + L(eft) in ALLOW [permit]. I was looking for a popular song, most likely All Time High, but I think this is just a record-breakingly bad statistic. Unless there exists a setter who was a really big fan of The Wanted.

19 Lightly hit cold cheek (4)
CLIP - C(old) LIP

22 Run before notice to pick Emma up again? (6)
REREAD - R ERE AD. Good choice of reading material

23 Stung by these perhaps, destroy a nest beside tree (4,4)
FIRE ANTS - (A NEST*) beside FIR, semi-&lit. Painful little stingers

25 Prudent course resulting from successful seance? (5,6)
HAPPY MEDIUM - double defined with a psychic medium who is chuffed after a good communion with the nether realms.

27 One nailed to back of house (3)
TOE - TO + {hous}E. "One nailed" as in, a thing that has a nail

28 Cracking effort: girl hides processor (7)
TANNERY - ANNE, "cracking" TRY. A tannery is in the business of processing animal hides

29 Rolled pastry, extremely short, ruled revolting (7)
STRUDEL - S{hor}T + (RULED*)

1 Jesting, pull a fairy’s wings off (7)
PLAYFUL - (PULL A F{air}Y*). Great/horrible surface!

2 One may be in the office, given this advice if beach too hot? (5-6)
WATER-COOLER - if the beach is too hot, try the water, which is cooler, instead.

3 Have great delight taking in a show (6)
REVEAL - REVEL "taking in" A

4 Failed to fence wood that’s prohibited (10)
DISALLOWED - DIED "to fence" SALLOW, which is like a willow

5 Continue as thug (4)

6 Possibly tiger mother doing more tidying? (3-5)

7 Position of railway not new (3)
LIE - LI{n}E

8 Bunch for one inhibited by lack of authority (7)
NOSEGAY - E.G. "inhibited" by NO SAY

13 Made fresh deal in juggling with dates (11)
DESALINATED - (DEAL IN + DATES*) ["juggling"]

14 Unarmed, patrol population centres for serious crimes (10)
ATROCITIES - {p}ATRO{l} loses its left and right "arms", plus CITIES

17 Lots of data as Times breaks US military scandal? (8)
GIGABYTE - BY [times] "breaks" G.I.-GATE. I caused problems for myself by initially bunging in MEGABYTE. Obviously it's hard to tell me apart from a GI, I mean which one would win in a fight, it could definitely go either way, right?

18 Pretentiousness by extremely attractive miss (3,4)

20 In old-fashioned uniform, line dance (3,4)
PAS SEUL - PASSÉ U L. LOI, partly because I was trying hard to put something "in" something else

21 Cricketer’s entry in Anglo-French dictionary? (6)
SEAMER - if you look up "sea" in a very basic A-F dictionary, you might see SEA: MER

24 Raise up pretty velvet covers (4)
LEVY - covered by {prett}Y VEL{vet}, in an "up" direction

26 God is hurt, abandoned by one (3)
PAN - PA{i}N