July 29th, 2021

Linus van Pelt

28042 Thursday, 29 July 2021 When Quince the Eskimo gets here...

A pleasingly catholic mix of science and arts, history and politics where you can feel chuffed if you have the relevant breadth of knowledge, but apart from 4ac, perhaps, it doesn’t matter if the background information is outside your ken.
I swanned through this in somewhat piecemeal manner, taking a total of 18 minutes, and timing my submit to get the nice round number. As I like to do on a blogging day, I parsed everything as I went along, though I’m still not completely comfortable with 13dn.
You’ll all be pleased to know that today I have come out of mandatory isolation, ten days of making the contents of my fridge/freezer stretch to the limit, so none of you is in any danger of the pandemic virus as you read my ramblings. Members of my family who contracted Covid are thankfully recovering, though it’s too early to know if there will be any longer-term effects.
I present my findings below, with clues, definitions and SOLUTIONS

1 Yank coming across hard and tough (4)
THUG Yank here is just TUG, “coming across” means it surrounds, in this case, H(ard)
4 Near iconic manoeuvring of ancient politician (10)
CICERONIAN Cicero “was a Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher and Academic Skeptic” of immense significance in the development of the Republic around the time of Julius Caesar, famous for his oratory which set standards for political and philosophical debate, which is the bit we need to know to develop the adjective from his name. The clue is &littish, an anagram (manoeuvring) of NEAR ICONIC
9 Like a councillor to be tree-crazy (10)
ALDERMANIC The tree is ALDER, crazy gives MANIC
10 Chaps in rags (4)
GUYS I thought there might be many alternatives here, given the crossing letters, but fortunately our answer is doubly defined, guys in the second instance being rags in the sense of ridicules or makes fun of.
11 Stage carpenter may be in a jam (6)
QUINCE So not whatever the theatre equivalent is of chippie, but the joiner from A Midsummer Nights Dream. And a fruit we once harvested in our garden which Mrs Z successfully made into a palatable jelly.
12 Marconi for example on Isle of Wight holiday, forgetting a name (8)
INVENTOR The IoW holiday destination is IN VENTNOR, where I once attended a Boys Brigade camp. Forget one of the Ns. Marconi was (as any skuleboy kno) celebrated as the inventor of radio.
14 With stick, finally force waste away (4)
PINE Stick is PIN, add the last of forcE.
15 Laying out corpse, used correct legal form (3,7)
DUE PROCESS  I worried this might be Latin, known or not, but it turns out that the anagram (laying out) of CORPSE USED is plain English. Phew.
17 Current collector’s chart on seasonal entertainment (10)
PANTOGRAPH Cunning definition. Electric railway engines picking current up from overhead cable use a flexible parallelogram framework (as I’m sure you’ve seen). That’s what this is, made up here of PANTO as seasonal entertainment and GRAPH as chart.
20 Military vehicle hummed, emitting sulphur (4)
TANK Hummed here in the sense of smelled bad, STANK, emitting (losing) S(ulphur)
21 For each piece of leather husband, avoided strong chemical (8)
PEROXIDE Most familiar perhaps as blondifying liquid, one of the simplest chemicals H2O2. PER means for each, OXHIDE is the leather, remove the H(usband) (avoided) probably a good idea when the process is going on. The husband’s only role is to say how lovely it looks afterwards.
23 Plant maize occasionally at the side of a pasture (6)
AZALEA Take alternate (occasionally) letters of mAiZe and attach them to the side of A LEA, pasture.
24 Buzzer wasn’t loud? (4)
WASP Like this, simple as it may be. Wasn’t loud, so WAS P (musical soft)
25 Greek and another European secure trouble-free route to top job? (6,4)
GREASY POLE We are indebted to Disraeli for this description of the route to the Premiership of the UK. GR(eek) and POLE (the other European) “secure” EASY for trouble free, which obviously it was not.
26 Excelled with way to crack homework: cheating! (10)
DISHONESTY My last in. Excelled gives SHONE, the way is ST(reet) both enclosed in DIY for homework, Do It Yourself home repairs and such.
27 Parties at hotel making money (4)
DOSH Parties are DO’S, and the H comes this time from H(otel)

2 Be deluded, giving order to heal lunatic (11)
HALLUCINATE An anagram (giving order to) of HEAL LUNATIC
3 Young, run vigorously in protected area (5,4)
GREEN BELT In the UK, an area of rural delights you’re not supposed to build on. Young is GREEN, and those of you that understood race giving SHOOT a couple of days ago will find run vigorously giving BELT a bit easier.
4 Approve remark with one final change (7)
COMMEND One of those clues which is content with asking for a change of one letter (here the end one) to another completely random one, in this case T at the end of COMMENT (remark) to D.
5 Generosity in debates about reformed senate (15)
CONSIDERATENESS CONSIDERS for debates incloses an anagram (reformed) of SENATE.
6 Get better to lay bet off again (7)
RECOVER Laying off a bet covers the bookie against losses, so he or A N Other does it more than once is RE-COVER
7 One night in Montreal: I’ve come a long way south? (5)
INUIT I’m informed that Montreal is indeed a distance south of Inuit territory. Since Montreal is Francophone(ish), night there is NUIT. Put one (I) on the beginning.
8 Hangman perhaps dispatching old Punch (5)
NOSER A hangman might fancifully be called a NOOSER. Take out one of the O(ld)s
13 Director wants George to introduce boy and two neighbours at play (5,6)
ORSON WELLES Actor/director of Citizen Kane and that notorious radio version of War of the Worlds. Now, I’ve got George as ORWELL to introduce SON for boy, and the best I can do for the remaining E and S is that they are two neighbours on a compass. Not sure where “at play” comes in. Suggestions?
16 Was briefly unconscious of animal tipped to win (9)
CATNAPPED  The random animal is a CAT, and NAPPED does indeed mean tipped to win in horse racing terminology.
18 Bad behaviour initially stamped out, but not stopped (5,2)
GOING ON Bad behaviour is GOINGS ON, but instead of eliminating the first letter as looks prescribed, you eliminate the initial letter of Stamped.
19 No evidence of bits of grain in grass (7)
HEARSAY Bits of grain are EARS, place inside HAY for grass. Inadmissible evidence in court
21 Pressure was frightening, felt by dog? (5)
PAWED P(ressure) plus AWED for was frightening
22 Gets bigger flags, dropping one (5)
RISES Flags (the flowers) are IRISES. Remove one of the I’s

Times Quick Cryptic No 1928 by Orpheus

Some quite tricky things going on in an inventive puzzle from Orpheus: I was a 9:30 DNF, with a couple of optimistic guesses at 20ac before giving up and clicking on the answer. I was held up elsewhere in the SW, with 12d needing a bit of thought, and both elements of 13ac being closer to a guess than peripheral knowledge. I vaguely remember struggling with long answers like 2d and 3d when I first started these things, and I certainly needed them today for the tricky 1ac. Nice one - many thanks to Orpheus!

1 Ethnic group eccentric’s source of information on course (8)
RACECARD - RACE (ethnic group) CARD (eccentric, rake, etc.)
5 Brandy and stuff going west (4)
MARC - CRAM (stuff) "going west"
8 Group of languages used in urban tutorials (5)
BANTU - "used in" urBAN TUtorials
9 Mail worker’s position at head of staff (7)
POSTMAN - POST (position) at head of/in front of MAN (staff, as a verb). The " 's " is possessive in the surface reading and a contraction of "is" for "equals" in the cryptic (also in 1ac).
11 Bury loose cash where motorways cross (11)
INTERCHANGE -INTER (bury) CHANGE (loose cash)
13 Goodman, for example, consuming large fish (6)
BLENNY - BENNY (Goodman, for example) consuming L(arge). 
14 Folk regularly request small vessels for wine, say (6)
FLASKS - FL (FoLk "regularly") ASK (request) S(mall)
16 Bar Eritrean eccentric, one holding up 1 down? (11)
TRAINBEARER - anagram (eccentric) of BAR ERITREAN. Train as in a trailing dress.
18 A requirement one’s retained for cake flavouring, perhaps (7)
ANISEED - A NEED (a requirement) with I'S (one's) retained. I'm not sure I'd thank you for an aniseed flavoured cake. (Well I would, but I'm not sure I'd mean it.)
19 Books ambassador left outside lodging-place (5)
HOTEL - OT (Old Testament = books) has HE (His Excellency = ambassador) and L(eft) outside. Tricksy construction.
20 Sound made by piano technician? Something fishy here (4)
TUNA -"sound made by [saying]" TUNER (piano technician). Tricky enough, with options aplenty and an oblique definition. I was thinking things like ting and tank.
21 Moderated rage displayed by top journalist (8)
TEMPERED - TEMPER (rage) by ED[itor] (top journalist)

1 Formal garment initially receiving award (4)
ROBE - R ("initially" Receiving) OBE (award)
2 Concern for othersthat’s something to think about (13)
CONSIDERATION - double defintition
3 Put up with features (11)
COUNTENANCE - double definition
4 Provide information about sound of gunshot (6)
REPORT - double definition
6 Silly idiot ran trams — in this capacity? (13)
ADMINISTRATOR - anagram (silly) of IDIOT RAN TRAMS. "This" refers back to the running/managing of trams.
7 Study poetry? The opposite (8)
CONVERSE - CON (study) VERSE (poetry). To con for to study crops up frequently enough.
10 Award given to student for exceptional erudition? (11)
SCHOLARSHIP - somewhere between an &lit and a double definition.
12 Remove painting by Kandinsky, possibly (8)
ABSTRACT - double definition. To abstract as in to extract.
15 Stick one’s nose in, hearing gong (6)
MEDDLE - "hearing" MEDAL (gong) gets you the answer.
17 Good young fellow, and contented (4)
GLAD - G(ood) LAD (young fellow)

Times 28,043: Sei Nett, Spule Zurück

I found this relatively gentle overall, finishing in under 7 minutes, though I was definitely helped by having come across 10ac before and that therefore being my FOI, rather than a source of puzzlement. There were some really nice moments in this grid though, 12ac, 16ac and 14dn particularly tickling my fancy. All in all a good Friday, and I anticipate agreement. Thanks setter!

Definitions underlined, (ABC)* indicating anagram of ABC, {} deletions and [] other indicators.

1 Diverts variety acts with half of recording? (5,5)
TURNS ASIDE - TURNS [variety acts] with A-SIDE
6 Twelve back-to-back refusals (4)
NOON - NO + reversed NO
9 Innovative artists in revolutionary city flourish (3,4)
NEW WAVE - reverse WEN [as in The Great Wen that is London] + WAVE [flourish]
10 One grazing animals gets air exercising (7)
AGISTER - (GETS AIR*). This has come up in Times puzzles before, thank goodness
12 Vagrant blacked out a lot (10)
13 Wrath in country deprived of land (3)
IRE - IRE{land}
15 Forest close to airport burning (6)
ARDENT - ARDEN [as in the forest in As You Like It] + {airpor}T
16 Faithful friend concealing Conservative party's latest fraudulence (8)
QUACKERY - QUAKER [as in, member of the religious Society of Friends] "concealing" C, plus {part}Y
18 Butt from corner disposed of outside area (8)
HOGSHEAD - HOG [corner] + SHED "outside" A
20 Ships seized by war-mad admiral? (6)
ARMADA - hidden in {w}AR-MAD A{dmiral}
23 Last of seamen to swig drink (3)
NOG - {seame}N {t}O {swi}G
24 Nonconformists waste nothing they say (10)
REFUSENIKS - REFUSE [waste] + homophone of NIX
26 Missile turned over HQ, crossing river (7)
TORPEDO - reversed O DEPOT, "crossing" R
27 Not always where top columnists work? (2,5)
AT TIMES - somewhat ingratiating double def
28 Celebrated dynasty (4)
SUNG - double def. This is the Wade-Giles romanization, bad luck if you put SONG (which doesn't mean celebrated) or SANG (which isn't a dynasty). If you somehow put SENG though I have no sympathy
29 Provocative church featured in local chronicle (10)
1 Leader leaves men in dry shelter (4)
TENT - {m}EN in TT [teetotal = dry]
2 Turned back, being hurt again? (7)
REWOUND - or RE-WOUND, as in "wound for a second time"
3 Mr Ed supporting son who's standing provokingly? (8-5)
STALKING-HORSE - S supported by Mr Ed the TALKING HORSE. A political candidate put forward to divide the opposition, e.g.
4 Nosily picks up small coins (6)
SCENTS - S CENTS. "Nosily picks up" as in, "picks up with one's nose"
5 Face villain failing to initiate exchange (8)
7 Strikers on team? Not likely! (7)
OUTSIDE - if you are on strike, you are OUT, and a team is a SIDE. As in "an outside chance"
8 Breeder runs many dodgy houses I hesitate to say (10)
NURSERYMAN - (RUNS MANY*) "houses" ER...
11 Forcibly conditioned with art, not love? (13)
14 Pals inspiring another's schemes (10)
17 Rugby player hits low note, roughly a fortnightly occurrence (4-4)
HALF-MOON - HALF [rugby player] + MOO [low, like a cow] + N
19 Pioneering Russian paper set up in advance (7)
GAGARIN - reversed RAG in GAIN
21 A barrister recalled eponymous heroine before 6 once (3-4)
ACK-EMMA - A + reversed KC [king's counsel] + EMMA [Austenian heroine], for a.m. or pre-noon as spelled out in the good old days. I feel like I never heard of pip or toc or ack emma for decades and then suddenly they're all over the place in crosswords...
22 I'm off to appraise housing development (6)
25 My investment company's base (1,3)
I SAY - ISA [investment, as in Individual Savings Account] + {compan}Y