October 22nd, 2020

Linus van Pelt
  • z8b8d8k

27802 Thursday, 22 October 2020 Nothing Nietzsche couldn't teach yer..

I scattered clues around the grid with compete abandon, ignoring any semblance of systematic solving and rather moving on from clues I couldn’t resolve without the kind of relentless concentration that leads to a proper solve. So it took me some 25 minutes to get to the full grid, some way over the current average time. You need some acquaintance with Edward Lear, The History of Modern Philosophy (or the Australian Philosophers’ Song from Python, whichever is handier), some French and Latin (but not much), and a teeny bit of Eng Lit. My only-vaguely-known word of the day crops up at 26, but the wordplay is reasonable.
I present my explications clues in italics, definitions also underlined, and solutions in BOLD CAPITALS



Across
1 Plums and biscuits (8)
CRACKERS The best I’ve got for this double definition is, well, biscuits (obviously) and then from Chambers entry on cracker “something exceptionally good or fine of its type” which I guess is equivalent to plum as in plum job. I’m open to offers.
6 European province in movement making quick progress (6)
DANISH A good example of where spotting the definition is key: if you thought it was “making quick progress”, you’re sunk. The province is N(orthern) I(reland) which is in DASH for all of the rest of the clue
9 Close pub or inn that's dodgy — funny thing found in the kitchen? (8,5)
RUNCIBLE SPOON Okay, you spot it’s an anagram straight away (“that’s dodgy”) of CLOSE PUB OR INN. If you’re like me, it takes a while for the solution to emerge. Funny, I think, because it’s a bit of Edward Lear* nonsense, from The Owl and the Pussycat – you use it for dining on mince and slices of quince, and in the kitchen because that’s one place you find spoons. Unless it’s become applied to some arcane percussion instrument.
*Some bits of the internet claim the runcible spoon turns up in Boswell, but that’s not nearly as funny
10 Forceful companion, weak-looking on the outside (6)
PUNCHY Companion in this parish often means a Companion of Honour, hence CH. Weak looking is PUNY. Assemble
11 Book produced by original man, great chronicler (4,4)
ADAM BEDE Beguiled by the B, I was looking for a chronicler whose second name so begins. But the book is by Mary Ann Evans (George Eliot), the original man ADAM, and the great chronicler is the 7th/8thcentury historian the Venerable BEDE
13 Polish soldiers, excellent chaps beginning to train (10)
REFINEMENT Easy stuff: soldiers R(oyal) E(ngineers), excellent FINE and chaps MEN. Get the T from the beginning of Train
15 Gardener about to retreat at back of house (4)
HOER Someone who hoes. About RE reversed (retreat) behind HO(use)
16 Nuts only 40% chewed (4)
MAST Acorns and chestnuts and such. Take (fortunately) the first 4 of the 10 letters of MASTICATED (chewed)
18 Delivery is badly organised, showing contempt (10)
DERISIVELY Does the adverb form quite work? Whatever, it’s an anagram (badly organised) of DELIVERY IS.
21 Notice in quarrels some piercing objects (8)
BRADAWLS Tools for making holes. Notice is AD, placed in BRAWLS for quarrels. Wasted time wondering how to fit arrows in
22 A maiden for speaking without sense of what is right (6)
AMORAL Straight charade: A M(aiden) ORAL for speaking
23 Occurrence at Wimbledon featured in best-seller, unusually stylish writing (6,7)
BELLES LETTRES Your Wimbledon occurrence is a LET, when a serve catches the net on its way through. The rest is a rather decently spotted anagram (unusually) of BEST-SELLER
25 Try to make a date with a spy on the phone (3,3)
ASK OUT If you communicate by phone, it sounds like A SCOUT or spy
26 Key period of abstinence limiting superior food (8)
ESCULENT Constructed from wordplay, a pretentious word for edible, or something that is eatable. The key is ESC (top left on your keyboard, the period of abstinence is LENT, and stick In a U for superior


Down
2 Switch needs hammering in cylinder, briefly (7)
REROUTE A hammering is a ROUT, and brief cylinder is a REE(l). Assemble.
3 Like many a soldier or prisoner given words to say (11)
CONSCRIPTED A prisoner CON given word to say SCRIPTED
4 Girl climbing tree with boy finally following (5)
EMILY It’s the tree that does the “climbing”, reversing LIME. The last letter of boY follows
5 Rescue brute, grabbing tail finally (7)
SALVAGE The brute is SAVAGE, as in the current Sky version of Brave New World. “Grab” an L from the back end of taiL
6 Famous Frenchman showing some maps of his country (9)
DESCARTES Plus de Français, translating “some maps” as DES CARTES. “And Rene Descartes was a drunken f##t, ‘I drink, therefore I am.’”
7 Artificial language of emperor dismissing king (3)
NEO Nothing to do with the Matrix. “An artificial language launched by an Italian, Arturo Alfandari, in 1961” (Chambers) “Progress was cut short by Alfandari's death in 1969 and the language was mostly forgotten” (Wiki). The emperor we need is NERO, dismiss the R(ex) king
8 Evil girl without a date (4,3)
SINE DIE Latin, this time, for use in committee meetings when you want to kick discussion into the long grass. Evil: SIN, and the girl EDIE, short for Edith, and yes, I know at least one.
12 I have labour reallocated in terms of how folk go about things (11)
BEHAVIOURAL  An anagram (reallocated) of I HAVE LABOUR
14 Bequest now met with excitement after death? (9)
ENDOWMENT An anagram (with excitement) of NOW MET follows on END for death
17 “Bugs” in garment in water rising to the surface (7)
AEROBES I think all there is to this is that ROBE for garment fits inside a reversal (rising to the surface) of SEA for water. Aerobes are creatures that need free oxygen, so it may be there’s more than a hint of water borne ones rising to the surface to breathe
19 Decide to get puzzle out again (7)
RESOLVE What some of us do with the Championship puzzles on later Wednesdays, completely forgetting our work on the day. A double definition, the second whimsical
20 Amelia is one admitting love affair (7)
LIAISON Today’s (neatly) hidden, indicated by “admitting”,  in AmeLIA IS ONe
22 Vehicle in frozen region caught out (5)
ARTIC Short for articulated lorry, the ARCTIC frozen region with the first of its C(aught)s missing
24 Small room for game (3)
LOO Double definition, the second a card game popular in the 18th century
RolyToly

Times Quick Cryptic No 1728 by Orpheus

I'd say this was pitched at middling difficulty today from Orpheus, but I was held to two minutes over target with a tip-of-the-tongue moment (or two) at 20ac and then a longer pause at the clever bit of misdirection at 5ac. Nice mix of clues, although 13ac was uncomfortably close to reality, from which this provided a very welcome diversion, so many thanks to Orpheus!


Across
1 Backlash, possibly, with regard to lawsuit (8)
REACTION - RE (with regard to) ACTION (lawsuit)
5 Clustering plant associated with Stirling, nominally (4)
MOSS - as in the racing driver Stirling Moss. Good use of nominally in the 'name' sense rather than 'minimally', which had me assuming the S was Stirling, "nominally". 
8 Dog pen Erica locks unhappily (6,7)
COCKER SPANIEL - anagram (unhappily) of PEN ERICA LOCKS
10 Instrument originally played in area near Oxford (5)
PIANO - Played In Area Near Oxford, "originally"
11 Outlay keeping female swans in river (7)
EXPENSE - keeping PENS (female swans) in EXE (river)
12 Burrowing marsupial initially waiting for start of fight (6)
WOMBAT - W ("initially" Waiting) for the start of COMBAT (fight). WIki tells me that today in Oz is an unofficial holiday called Wombat Day, going since 2005; it also says how one, enraged with mange, mauled a man who had to fight it with an axe.
13 Rat, possibly, in rubbish outside study (6)
RODENT - ROT (rubbish) outside DEN (study). Thankfully not quite, but a mouse rummaging in packaging in a bathroom made for a restless night last night. Lucky the packaging was there to act like a doorbell. And the task of hermetically sealing the house continues... Still, preferable to rabid wombat combat.
16 Crossword compiler, about fifty, one taking up residence (7)
SETTLER - SETTER (crossword compiler) about L (fifty)
18 Give more weapons back — one thousand (5)
REARM - REAR (back) M (one thousand)
20 Where councillors may be, securing merger (13)
INCORPORATION - IN CORPORATION (where councillors may be, as in a civic authority). 'Securing' is a linkword (see glossary) meaning it is 'getting' the answer.
21 Detest bowler, perhaps — and Essex opener! (4)
HATE - HOT (bowler, perhaps) and E (Essex "opener")
22 Forceful, macho types held in check (8)
VEHEMENT - HE-MEN (macho types) held in VET (check). I would have been longer on this but remembered he-men.
Down
1 Go over again, bringing up horse (5)
RECAP - bringing up/reversing PACER (horse)
2 An assertion from the Speaker offering approval (7)
ACCLAIM - sounds like ("from the speaker") A CLAIM (an assertion)
3 Abstainer, one calculating amount of Assam, do we hear? (11)
TEETOTALLER - sounds like ("do we hear") TEA (Assam) TOTALLER (one calculating amount of). I vaguely thought the word had something to do with drinking 'tea' vs alcohol, which obviously doesn't work now I think about it: it is just a way of emphasising the word 'total' as in t-total abstinence and used by members of the Total Abstinence Society.
4 Losing head, violently destroy marine mollusc (6)
OYSTER - after losing the head letter, make an anagram (violently) of dESTROY.
6 Stars performing outside Brazilian port (5)
ORION - ON (performing) outside RIO (Brazilian port)
7 Solution Victor dropped in Channel at Cowes? (7)
SOLVENT - V(ictor) dropped in SOLENT (Channel at Cowes)
9 Suitable to steal (11)
APPROPRIATE - double definition
12 Crotchety” used to be an expression of contempt (7)
WASPISH - WAS (used to be) PISH (expression of contempt)
14 Devious woman primarily serving in village eatery (7)
EVASIVE - EVA (woman), "primarily" Serving In Village Eatery
15 Furrow Oscar found in wooded area (6)
GROOVE - O(scar) found in GROVE (wooded area)
17 Silent diplomacy involving Irish leader (5)
TACIT - TACT (diplomacy involving I (Irish "leader")
19 Painter’s instant source of information (5)
MONET - MO (instant) NET (source of [not always reliable, except here of course] information).
verlaine

Times 27,803: Bonkbusted

Some really good clues in this medium-strength puzzle - I liked 1dn, 2dn and 5dn, all of which withheld their shiny pennies from me for a good while, very much, for instance. But none of it really makes up for the atrocious 4dn I'm afraid, where a less obscure word for strike (BONK) can be reversed to make a less obscure word for boss (KNOB), and this is somehow not the answer.
At time of blogging there are 29 submissions with "errors" on the club compared to 3 without, and I don't honestly know how those 3 managed to stumble upon the right answer; though I guess it may be a regional thing. If this clue was test-solved by multiple people prior to publication without this issue coming up, though, I will eat my very capacious hat.

Thank you to the setter for the good parts of this curate's 5dn!

ACROSS
1 It’s well known: new lockdown meme no good (6,9)
COMMON KNOWLEDGE - (LOCKDOWN MEME NO G*)

9 Prod men to interrupt offensive opera (9)
RUDDIGORE - DIG O.R. to interrupt RUDE

10 About to stop low-down tree-hugger? (5)
GREEN - RE [about] to "stop" GEN [low-down]

11 Metal shaving twisted internally (6)
SILVER - S{L<->I}VER

12 Embarrassing mistake about dull, back-pedalling, perennial protesters? (4-1-3)
RENT-A-MOB - BONER about MAT, all reversed

13 They send up runners to welcome leading lady (6)
SKIERS - SKIS to "welcome" E.R. "To sky" means "to send up" (in the air)

15 Inspection kit is redundant, but not one containing catch (8)
OTOSCOPE - OT{i}OSE [redundant, minus I] "containing" COP

18 One unique barrier broken down at first (4,4)
RARE BIRD - (BARRIER*) + D{own}

19 Small bird seen by old man over the hill (4,2)
PAST IT - S TIT seen by PA

21 Penny-pincher demanding full roll (8)
TIGHTWAD - TIGHT [demanding] + WAD [full roll]

23 Intermediate puzzle with intro replaced (6)
MIDDLE - {r->M}IDDLE

26 Fake news: pleas FA regularly rejected (5)
FALSE - {n}E{w}S {p}L{e}A{s} F{a}, reversed

27 Projectile, originally lost, is in the sea (9)
BALLISTIC - L{ost} IS, in BALTIC

28 First on display to arrange big noise for military (3,5,7)
AIR CHIEF MARSHAL - CHIEF [first] on AIR [display], plus MARSHAL [arrange]

DOWN
1 Bending process cracks up on the boards? (7)
CORPSES - (PROCESS*) - as in what an actor who can't stop laughing does

2 Barbie perhaps receiving doll's first award (5)
MEDAL - MEAL [barbie, as in barbecue] "receives" D{oll}

3 Dull colour of old poet, ill, withdrawn (5,4)
OLIVE DRAB - O(ld) + reversed BARD, EVIL

4 Coming up, strike boss (4)
KNOT - reversed TONK.

5 One’s constituents beaten over race amidst scuffle (8)
OMELETTE - O(ver) + T.T. amidst MELEE. "One's constituents beaten" as in, "one has beaten ingredients"

6 Not demanding rest (5)
LIGHT - double def

7 Hunk of bread and peeled tomato mashed together (9)
DREAMBOAT - (BREAD {t}OMAT{o}*)

8 Honour covered up by genteel bonnets (7)
ENNOBLE - hidden reversed in {gente}EL BONNE{ts}

14 Disorderly Irish customer, a familiar one (9)
IRREGULAR - IR + REGULAR [a familiar customer]

16 Harsh critic cries “fair!” unexpectedly (9)
SCARIFIER - (CRIES FAIR*)

17 Pressure to witter on about English introduction (8)
PREAMBLE - P + RAMBLE [to witter on] "about" E

18 Coming up: excellent, fine salt absorbing a liqueur (7)
RATAFIA - reversed A1 F TAR, absorbing A

20 Hawk left after row over church (7)
TIERCEL - L after TIER over C.E.

22 Force needing support on “towpath case” (5)
TEETH - TEE on T{owpat}H

24 Wife departs with face of tough guy scratched (5)
DUTCH - D + {b}UTCH

25 Sheer endless choice (4)
PLUM - PLUM{b}.