June 3rd, 2021

Linus van Pelt

27994 Thursday, 3 June 2021 Dearly beloved brethren, the Scripture moveth us in sundry places

I prepared for this by doing the Club Monthly Special, which took a while. Sometimes I find the complexities and obscurities of that one dull the apprehension of the rather more straightforward daily fare, but not, it seems, this time, as I rattled through in 14.26.
As you will see, a familiarity with the quaint practices and antique wording of Choral Evensong turned out to be rather useful, as does a (very) basic understanding of cricket, a knowledge of the NATO alphabet, and the merest smattering of French.
We have a full set of the alphabet to place around the grid, which the setter has managed without too much by way of obscurity. The tyrant may not be in everyone’s day to day vocabulary, but the wordplay leaves little room for doubt.
You have clues, definitions, SOLUTIONS, explanations and ramblings below.

1 Bank accepting support is failing (8)
MORIBUND Bank is MOUND, taking in or accepting RIB for support, more of the structural than the anatomical kind
5 Charlie not wanting two servings of energy drink (6)
COFFEE NATO Charlie, doesn’t want, so is OFF, (something), plus E(nergy) twice
9 Is taken aback a small amount about network making hissing sound (8)
SIBILANT IS taken aback (literally backwards) then a BIT for a small amount (ignore the A) surrounding LAN for (Local Area) network. The old form of the Lord’s Prayer gets very sibilant when it gets to “forgive us our trespasses”.
10 Brooded, putting blame on tyrant (6)
SATRAP Originally, I think, a Persian provincial governor: Darius, who threw Daniel into the lions’ den, had 120 of them. Chambers develops it into a general tyrannical person, so our definition is fine. The wordplay is easy brooded: SAT, with blame: RAP put on.
12 Democrats in race, worn down, offering compromise position (6,6)
MIDDLE GROUND You need two D(emocrats) in MILE for race, and then translate worn down as GROUND.
15 Whole parts of African city with time regressing (5)
UNITS The African city is TUNIS, send its T(ime) backwards a bit.
16 Month exactly right to host second parade (5,4)
MARCH PAST The random month Is MARCH, exactly right is PAT with S(econd) “hosted”
18 Old cigar — it’s unusually immoderate (9)
ORGIASTIC Our first anagram (unusually) of O(ld) CIGAR IT’S
19 Left bar, ignoring last of indecent language (5)
LINGO L(eft) and bar: INGOT without the last (letter) of indecenT
20 Queen is as nothing I suspect, after jack’s special quality (2,2,4,4)
JE NE SAIS QUOI Our second anagram (suspect), though you have to work a bit to get the fodder. QUEEN IS AS O (nothing) I, following J(ack)
24 One cricket club hosting cricket side I considered very special (6)
ICONIC Well, the first Test has started, with NZ rather stretching England, so a cricket clue is surely permissible. Here one is I, Cricket Club is just CC, and the cricket side is ON. I is I. A little deft construction.
25 With no clear candidate emerging, success involves info about European (4-4)
WIDE-OPEN (The hyphen is optional). Success is WIN, with DOPE for information surrounding E(uropean) inserted.
26 One directs roofer to add extra line (6)
TILLER Roofer is TILER, to which an extra L(ine) is added.
27 Recognise power draws in sort without real engagement (4-4)
SKIN-DEEP Recognise is SEE, add P(ower) and insert (draw in) KIND for sort.

1 Radio report’s failed to notice obscurity (4)
MIST A homophone, so hearable on the radio, of MISSED for failed to notice.
2 Red Guard initially abandoning sport (4)
RUBY the initial G of guard abandons the sport of RUGBY
3 Somehow a cable is absorbing temperature in marine environment (6,3)
BALTIC SEA An anagram (somehow) of A CABLE IS absorbing T(emperature)
4 Holy woman recording it is involving German with part of evening service (4,8)
NUNC DIMITTIS “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace”. A rather atmospheric version by Geoffrey Burgeon covered the end credits of the 1979 Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Here the holy woman is a NUN, the recording a CD, IT IS is in plain sight, and the German with, MIT, is involved/inserted.
Broadcasting revolutionary extract of Hungarian opera (2,3)
ON AIR Fortunately, you don’t need your extensive list of Hungarian operas, because this is a reverse (revolutionary) hidden (extract) of the same: HungaRIAN Opera.
7 Protocol over occupying uniform part of track for racing (7,3)
FORMULA ONE Protocol is FORM, then O(ver) “occupies” U(niform) (NATO again) and LANE for part of track.
8 Expect to lose half printing speed (10)
EXPEDITION EXPect loses its (second) half, and printing is EDITION.
11 One right, say, to retire, with church living no longer very profitable (3-4-5)
GET-RICH-QUICK One is again I, RighT is represented by its first and last letters, and say give EG. Reverse those (to retire), add CH for church, and then add another bit of Choral Evensong, from the 1662 version of the apostles’ creed in which living is rendered as QUICK: “He will come…to judge the quick and the dead”.
13 Whence meat juices flow in disorderly manner (3,2,5)
OUT OF JOINT Well, yes, that’s where meat juices come from. But Hamlet act 1 scene 5 is the origin of the more metaphorical phrase:
“The time is out of joint—O cursèd spite,
That ever I was born to set it right!”
14 Flourishing iris loving fresh earth (6,4)
VIRGIN SOIL Flourishing is our anagram indicator, and IRIS LOVING the fodder
17 Sound conclusion, mostly, about vulgar festival (9)
HALLOWEEN (ignore the apostrophe)  Sound is HALE (as in …and hearty) and conclusion mostly is ENd without the D. Insert LOW for vulgar.
21 Take control of French square (5)
SEIZE Oh, clever. It just happens that SEIZE Is French for sixteen, which is the square of four, or in their case, quatre.
22 Environment Agency upset about MPs heading off for recess (4)
APSE The EA abbreviation is in Chambers. Upset (reverse) it and insert MPS without the heading M. Good surface.
23 Lifted slates without much notice (4)
SNAP As in election and such. PANS for slates (criticises) reversed (lifted).

Times Quick Cryptic No 1888 by Joker

I think around 7 minutes to get to the 'Unlucky!' sign, and then another perplexed minute or so staring at 9ac and 6d before clicking on the answer: at the time of solving the answers to these clues have been swapped round in the grid. So a technical F (as opposed to a DNF). It took me about the same time as yesterday's done a bit beforehand, but this definitely felt gentler. My favourite was 8d: I'll happily take a couple of random notes when it yields a surface as smooth as that. Many thanks to Joker!

1 University can back assembly (4)
UNIT - U(niversity) TIN (can) back/reversed.
7 Showing a certain incorruptibility unusual for Proust (9)
RUSTPROOF - anagram (unusual) of FOR PROUST
9 Heavy burden very well carried by you once (4)
YOKE - OK (very well) carried by YE (you, once)
10 Poisonous bacteria girl found on fish (10)
SALMONELLA - ELLA (girl) found on SALMN (fish).
11 Tend to look back (4)
KEEP - PEEK (look) backwards
12 Manage commercial unit in church (10)
ADMINISTER - AD (commercial) I (unit) in MINSTER (church). Unit as in: the size increases by a one / a unit each time.
16 A person who adores quarrel over sender of items abroad (10)
WORSHIPPER - ROW (quarrel) over/reversed, SHIPPER (sender of items abroad)
19 One singing in reverential tones (4)
ALTO - "in" reverentiAL TOnes
21 One constituent is in bar supporting both parties (10)
BIPARTISAN - I (one) PART (constituent) IS in BAN (bar)
23 Target girl carrying nothing (4)
GOAL - GAL (girl) carrying 0 (nothing)
24 Argued violently about foolish person’s appreciation of kindness (9)
GRATITUDE - anagram (violently) of ARGUED about TIT (foolish person). The " 's " is possessive in the surface reading and a contraction of "is" in the cryptic reading (as in "is equal to").
25 Call round (4)
RING - neat double definition
2 Rope going up without delay on execution’s beginning? (5)
NOOSE - SOON (without delay) going up on E (Execution’s "beginning")
3 A stress developed about parking invasion (8)
TRESPASS - anagram (developed) of A STRESS about P(arking)
4 Place of safety unknown in a squalid urban area (6)
ASYLUM - Y (unknown, as in x and y) in A SLUM (a squalid urban area)
5 Primarily urban precinct, territory of wealthy natives? (6)
UPTOWN - &lit, where the whole clue is both a literal definition and a cryptic element, here "primarily" means take the first letters of the remaining six words of the clue.
6 Model of Greek sea god only half complete (4)
POSE - POSEidon (Greek sea god) only half complete
8 Wallet for holding pound notes (6)
FOLDER - FOR holds L (pound) and D and E ([musical] notes).
13 I am papa’s naughty child (3)
IMP - I'M (I am) P (papa in phonetic alphabet)
14 Throttling killer disposing of line is not so normal (8)
STRANGER - STRANGLER (throttling killer) disposing of L(ine)
15 Boasting when leading Conservative is ousted and getting into an argument (6)
ROWING - cROWING (boasting) when C ("leading" Conservative) is ousted.
17 Know instinctively dweller in the far north retains temperature (6)
INTUIT - INUIT (dweller in the far north) retains T(emperature)
18 Marsupial so quiet climbing on the whole? (6)
POSSUM - SO, P (quiet) climbing/reversing on the SUM (whole)
20 Retinue try very hard without leader (5)
TRAIN - sTRAIN (try very hard) without leader
22 A container is slightly open (4)
AJAR - A, JAR (container)

Times 27,995: John Arrests: 85% Less Funny In San Marino

Fairly tractable for a Friday, even though I started poorly by trying to bung in ELECTRONIC at 8ac. Lots of answers that were exactly what you'd expect them to be, having located the definition part; the couple of less familiar words (14 & 19d) pretty easy to make given a few crossers. Good surfaces: my COD is the elegant 15ac (you have to know about Soul Train for American trivia, too) and I laughed at the unusually long alternate-letters clue at 23ac. Thanks be to setter!

1 Swim poorly, swallowing tons — idiot! (8)
DIPSTICK - DIP SICK [swim | poorly] "swallowing" T

5 Just impediment, see (6)
BARELY - BAR ELY [impediment | see]

8 Relating to certain communications, push to abandon America amid rigged election (10)

9 Chuck and Mike gate-crashing party in NI (4)
DUMP - M "gatecrashing" the D.U.P.

10 Audacity of the courts installing Democrat in district (4,2,3,5)
NECK OF THE WOODS - NECK OF THE WOOS [audacity | of | the | courts] "installing" D

11 Coppers heading off to arrest John in Vatican City, say (7)
ENCLAVE - {p}ENCE "arresting" LAV

13 Unexpected debt I'm beginning to experience when retirement's due (7)
BEDTIME - (DEBT I'M*) + E{xperience}

15 Get back into Soul Train (7)
CORTEGE - reversed GET "into" CORE [soul]

18 Mostly offensive, he may be a member of the diplomatic corps (7)

21 What toddler does — briefly fidgeting when fast asleep (4,2,3,5)

22 Heard animal whimper (4)
MEWL - homophone of MULE

23 Celestial body — object realigned, unseen — nothing odd in that (10)
BETELGEUSE - {o}B{j}E{c}T {r}E{a}L{i}G{n}E{d}U{n}S{e}E{n}

24 Two ways to overcome resistance fast (6)
STARVE - ST(reet) + AVE(nue) "overcoming" R

25 Making a comeback, group is live with online content (8)
WEBSITES - SET IS BE W [group | is | live | with], the whole reversed

1 A mutual easing of tensions inside ten terraced houses (7)
DETENTE - "housed" by {insi}DE TEN TE{rraced}

2 Dash around island and cut up cruiser, maybe (6,3)
POLICE CAR - RACE C I LOP [dash | around | island | cut], the whole reversed

3 Sports chiefs tucking into endless snacks and some sort of pudding (7)
TAPIOCA - I.O.C. [International Olympic Committee] "tucked into" TAPA{s}

4 Laugh when officer turns up, interrupting task (7)
CHORTLE - reversed LT "interrupting" CHORE

5 First couple of builders chisel around power unit in plant (9)
BUCKWHEAT - BU{ilders} + CHEAT "around" KW [kilowatt]

6 Old belligerent Republican: last of the Washington crop (7)

7 Politicians invested in large universities with millions in one-off payment (4,3)
LUMP SUM - MPS "invested in" L U U M [large | university | university | millions]

12 Food item's in middle of oven, within reach (9)
VEGETABLE - {o}VE{n} + GETABLE. What kind of monster doesn't spell it GETTABLE

14 Popular revolution protects rights over time: that's moral (9)
INCORRUPT - IN COUP "protects" R R, + T

16 End of rum — crew ultimately upset (7)
ODDMENT - ODD MEN [rum | crew] + {upse}T. If oddments are "ends" then how come people say "odds and ends", and not just "odds", answer me that

17 At sea, Walter Raleigh's first vessel (7)
TRAWLER - (WALTER R{aleigh}*)

18 Sportsman's father not taking sides, accepting foul shot (7)
ATHLETE - {f}ATHE{r}, "accepting" LET [bad tennis shot]

19 Old-fashioned fuel was not good for cooking (4,3)

20 Shunned by all after taking Friday off — this is ongoing (7)