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Oh dear. I began this with high hopes, not of finishing in the 3 minutes or so remaining within my theoretical hour, but at least getting it right in 20 minutes. It started well, I had about two-thirds of it done in ten or eleven minutes, and felt pleased with seeing some of the longer clues like 12a and 21a as well as taking a correct punt on 19d. Then we went off the rails; I hastily bunged in RIO GRAND for 17d, which caused a few problems, not least with 26a. Then I thought, hang on, it ought to be GRANDE, must be wrong.
Left after thirty-odd minutes with 4a, 7d and 5d, with 4a being probably something WEB, I chewed the pencil for another long minute before seeing MENTORING and MOB. Guessed LAKKA (spelling it wrongly) and guessed 4a correctly although not an expression I'd heard. So, all in all, a disaster, darling.
Anyway here are the correct answers and my attempts at explaining them.
Well done to all those who did this in under 20 minutes, I thought it was the hardest of the three in Heat 1.

1 Wife leaving farm building knocked on the head? (6)
COSHED - A COW SHED is your building, drop the W for wife.
4 Fool in fat group coordinated online (5,3)
FLASH MOB - I didn't know this expression and only made a lucky guess as I didn't understand the wordplay either. I now see it is FLAB for FAT, around SHMO, a variant of SCHMO which apparently is a Yiddish word for fool, especially in USA. Yiddish and poetry are two wide gaps in my otherwise reasonably wide GK.
10 Meat and drink obtained by Ben maybe, crossing street (4,5)
RUMP STEAK - RUM = drink, PEAK = Ben, mountain in Scotland, insert ST for street.
11 Article returned by fellow is an unexpected gift (5)
MANNA - MAN = fellow, NA = AN reversed; as in Manna from Heaven.
12 Sanctuaries with oil desecrated in movement against religion (14)
SECULARISATION - (SANCTUARIES OIL)*. Quickly spotted and unravelled with S and C in place.
14 Management notice time is short (5)
ADMIN - AD = notice, MIN = short time.
16 Resourceful monarch lay in foul environment (9)
VERSATILE - VILE = foul, insert ER and SAT = lay.
18 A lot of work left, mostly for unnamed hero (9)
PORTFOLIO - PORT = left, FO = mostly for, LIO(N) = unnamed hero.
20 Trivial affront son brushed off (5)
LIGHT - SLIGHT loses its S.
21 Call about individual rolling round pub before dash to get sedative (14)
PHENOBARBITONE - Complicated wordplay, but easy to biff. Call = PHONE. insert ONE reversed (ENO) then BAR (pub) and BIT (dash).
25 Lively row lacking any extreme language (5)
HINDI - SHINDIG = row, loses its first and last.
26 Always wearing fur that could be split (9)
SEVERABLE - EVER inside SABLE = fur. Easy once I'd established S*V- instead of S*N-.
27 Women’s team has got established in part of New York (4,4)
WEST SIDE - W SIDE insert EST for established.
28 Heading off, hobbled with little energy — cramp? (6)
IMPEDE - (L)IMPED, E for energy.

1 Dodgy dealers entertaining people, quick to get involved (4-6)
CARD-SHARPS - CARDS = entertaining people, SHARP = quick, involve sharp into cards.
2 Copper's grabbing a maiden climbing tree (5)
SUMAC - CU'S = copper's, insert A M, reverse all.
3 Greek character's record still regularly being played (7)
EPSILON - EP = record, S I L = regular letters of still, ON = being played.
5 Hundreds of thousands of Indians wanting needs to be heard (5)
LAKHS - Oh dear. I vaguely remembered there was something called a LAK for a unit of 100,000 rupees, we've had it before. And it sounds like LACKS = needs. But I spelt it wrongly.
6 Island’s Sanskrit sayings arts graduate collected (7)
SUMATRA - For ages I was trying to put something Sanskrit into BA or MA to make the island. But it's not so. MA goes into SUTRA which I should have clocked having like all naughty schoolboys seen the KARMA SUTRA a long time ago.
7 Advising chaps on journey having left university behind (9)
MENTORING - MEN = chaps, TOURING loses its U. I should have got this faster, as it's what I used to do, for small businesses.
8 Duck served in club — one may have gravy (4)
BOAT - O for duck inside BAT for club. A meal without gravy, like a meal without wine, is like a day without sunshine, IMO.
9 Censure for five, outwardly genuine (8)
REPROVAL - REAL = genuine, insert PRO = for, V = five.
13 I may forecast what's coming, if I can get a hearing (7,3)
WEATHER EYE - Weather eye sounds like whether I  = if I.
15 Car with county folk doing business (9)
MERCHANTS - MERC = car, as in Mercedes-Benz; HANTS = Hampshire. Neat one.
17 River I love that's wonderful — this one in North America? (3,5)
RIO BRAVO - R= river, I, O = love, BRAVO = that's wonderful. Alternative name for the Rio Grande.
19 Enjoyment ends for some strict believers (7)
FUNDIES - the FUN DIES when enjoyment ends. Apparently fundie is a nickname or abbr. for a (Christian) Fundamentalist. I guessed it.
20 Garland presented to neat county (7)
LEITRIM -  LEI = garland, as in Hawaii, TRIM = neat. Leitrim is a rather sad little county, one of the three Ulster counties in the Republic of Ireland. EDIT I have given you duff guff, I just looked it up on Wiki as, in spite of having lived in Ireland for 14 years until 1988, I couldn't remember the name of the county town (Carrick-on-Shannon) and it's not in Ulster, it's in Connaught. The three Ulster counties in the Republic are, of course, Cavan, Monaghan and beautiful Donegal.
22 Established plot involving poisonous element (5)
BASED - BED = plot, holds AS, or As, chemical symbol for arsenic.
23 Terrible boredom without party game (5)
OMBRE - Remove DO = party from boredom, then you have (BOREM)*. Card game originating in Spain.
24 Woodcutter set about hard wood (4)
SHAW - SAW has H inserted. Shaw is an old name for a small wood or coppice.


( 38 comments — Leave a comment )
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Nov. 28th, 2018 05:44 am (UTC)
20:30 but
I typed in RIO GRANDE, too, although of course it stopped at GRAND; when I finally noticed that I switched to BRAVO, or rather BRAVP. When I finally noticed THAT, it was in pink. I figured that SHAW was something to do with forests or woods, and that FUNDIE is a term for fundamentalists. I looked up LAKH to make sure before submitting, but it seemed vaguely familiar. In the US, the drug is phenobarbital, which fortunately isn't long enough, so I had to come up with the UK version. I also went for FLASH MOB without parsing, twigged after. A SHMO isn't a fool in my book, rather an unfortunate, well, schmo, to whom things happen, not particularly because of low intelligence.
Nov. 28th, 2018 05:50 am (UTC)
I finished this in 40 minutes which I consider quite reasonable for me for a hard puzzle containing several unknowns. I'm quite happy with that, recognising as as I first did some years ago that I am never going to be able to compete in the competition stakes. Even knowing that it was a competition puzzle is enough to add 10-15 minutes to my solving time.

Unknowns or forgottens were SHAW as a wood, LEITRIM, LAKHS and FUNDIES. I was very pleased to know FLASHMOB.

Nov. 28th, 2018 06:12 am (UTC)
Grande fundie
Woo-hoo! 16 min 20s, which would be speedy for a Monday. Right on the wavelength after two struggles the past two weeks.
Raised an eyebrow at Rio Grande's spelling, but in it went. Quickly corrected by severally. Leitrim (cf Antrim) and Fundie guesses from the crossers, never heard of. Otherwise no problems, even knew the lakhs. Merc was helped by having all the brand names last week.
Nov. 28th, 2018 07:04 am (UTC)
I enjoyed this very much, and I'd almost say this puzzle LAKHS nothing (sorry). There's a rarely used word of which it is good to be reminded, lest I totally forget, SHAW, and at least one term you'd never hear in the US of A, COSHED.
The West German Greens were split into FUNDIE and Realo factions, but I don't know if I've encountered the word in any other context.
I've been drinking SUMATRAn coffee daily for 26 years. My LOI was another psychotropic substance, PHENOBARBIT… ONE! Hurray!

Edited at 2018-11-28 07:07 am (UTC)
Nov. 28th, 2018 07:42 am (UTC)
I think this is the first time ever I finished a competition puzzle in under the 20 minute budget you end up with if you are going to do 3 in an hour. I also fell into the RIO GRANDE although it ended up as RIO GRANE since I didn't immediately notice I'd typed more letters than fitted the grid. The correct answer ended up being my LOI.

I too guessed FUNDIE, and LEITRIM (there is a country I've never heard of, it seems), and SHAW (with that meaning).

LAKHS was no problem since I've done various things requiring budgets in India. It is really hard to get your head around counting in 10^5s (and 10^4s in Chinese is hard too).
Nov. 28th, 2018 08:01 am (UTC)
Curses! I did well on the whole, filling the grid in 51 minutes. Unfortunately my last letter in was the incorrect A of RIO BRAVA—for some reason that rang more of a bell. Geography's not my strong point, and it seems to fit the wordplay just as well. (It seems from Google that the film is more famous than the Mexican name of the river, but it was made fourteen years before I was born and I've never really been into westerns.)

Still, I count myself lucky to only have the one letter wrong, and at least I avoided the RIO GRAND trap.

For those of you who've never seen a FLASH MOB, here's a video I shot of one taking place in the local shopping centre.

Edited at 2018-11-28 08:20 am (UTC)
Nov. 28th, 2018 08:33 am (UTC)
Hindi Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia...
50 mins with yoghurt, granola, blueberries, etc.
Held up by Flash Mob/Lakhs but eventually managed to guess them, including the H. But foreign homophone spellings are tricky if you don't know the word.
I was pleased that words like Lei and Sutra, only known from crosswords, now spring readily to mind.
Thanks setter and Pip.
Nov. 28th, 2018 08:53 am (UTC)
In the wrong position
52 minutes, indicating why I don't enter. Finished eventually in NE with the scarcely known FLASH MOB. In fact, I don't think I know it at all; I'm confusing it with a flash flood. That was after I finally managed to find a comfortable position for an MA in the Sutra. DNK FUNDIES or OMBRE, but the clues were soluble with crossers. SECULARISATION took a long time to see as I thought it was going to be ANTI something or other. I can waste so much time on long anagrams. Thank you Pip and setter.
Nov. 28th, 2018 09:11 am (UTC)
Manna manna (do doo be doo doo)
Well I did this in 20 minutes (minus 3 seconds) so if it was the hardest I might have been ok. I thought for a competition puzzle, the vocab was a bit demanding, from the George Bernard Forest in the south to its constituent member in the north, though SUMAC, being incredibly unlikely, rather sticks in the memory. LEITRIM is yet another Irish county that didn't exist before it was required in the crossword. I lost time trying to work out how -CESTER or NSTER could be fitted in.
LAKHS from IPL, of course, where man of the match awards are given in one lakh or more amounts, with the curious 1,00,000 notation.
I was (yet) another RIO GRAND. Apparently the RIO BRAVO is the same river, only in Mexico, not that that helps much.
I wonder if the MERC inclusion was a pitch for sponsorship? Do Germans get cryptic crosswords?
Thanks Pip for working it all out and presenting in an entertaining was. (Rio) Bravo!

Edited at 2018-11-28 09:12 am (UTC)
Nov. 28th, 2018 09:12 am (UTC)
Thank you for the parsing of FLASH MOB Pip. I only got as far as wondering if F was an acceptable abbreviation for fat given that a MOB was clearly a group and LASH might have a hitherto unknown meaning of 'fool'. Other biffs included SECULARISATION from the C that went in early on and PHENOBARBITONE from the H. I realise now that it was probably the V in love that subconsciously made me put in RIO BRAVO straight off having first thought that 'wonderful' might be an anagram indicator. If only my incorrect reasoning always led to the correct answer.
Nov. 28th, 2018 10:25 am (UTC)
Re: 13.12
malcj. What was your combined position over the three Heat 1 puzzles?
Re: 13.12 - malcj - Nov. 28th, 2018 12:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 28th, 2018 09:17 am (UTC)
Despite not finishing another of the heat 1 puzzles, as with the previous one I thought it was easier than all three in heat 2. But then I would say that.

Like others I hampered myself by putting in RIO GRAND despite knowing that it ends in an E. I also had CARD SHARKS in place for a while. Once I'd sorted them out I managed all but LAKHS.
Nov. 28th, 2018 09:41 am (UTC)
Silly me - went for MENTORISM without thinking about mentoring - doh - led to a world of pain!
Nov. 28th, 2018 10:11 am (UTC)
Clearly I LAKKS the ability to spell Indian words.
Started at a sprint and crawled to the (DN)finish.
Nov. 28th, 2018 10:12 am (UTC)
Logged out again (sigh).
Nov. 28th, 2018 10:24 am (UTC)
09:32 - 2nd time around. With one typo today.
On the day this was my best effort. All but 4 done correctly, I think.

I think the ones I didn't get were Lakhs, Flash Mob, Hindi and Fundies.

I don't think I will do quite so well with the Heat 2 puzzles! However I have a copy of all three Heat 2 puzzles so I may attempt these in the allowed time before next week.
Nov. 28th, 2018 11:32 am (UTC)
Re: 09:32 - 2nd time around. With one typo today.
Heat 2 puzzles were definitely all harder ;-)
Nov. 28th, 2018 10:25 am (UTC)
I do like these competition puzzles even if they are rather humbling. Another excellent offering today which was a steady solve but of course included RIO GRAND before the light dawned.

Great blog Pip but not sure why LEITRIM is "sad". Very pretty place with mountains towards Donegal and lovely lakes of which Lough Allen is probably best known. It even has a very short coastline. In the news of course because it shares a border with Fermanagh which is in NI
Nov. 28th, 2018 10:37 am (UTC)
Sad no longer?
I just remember finding that whole NW area of ROI a bit sad and forgotten, when passing that way for work or holidays in Donegal when we lived in Tipperary then Dublin. I see now its population is growing faster than the rest of Connaught so perhaps the Celtic Tiger's roar has reached that far into the hinterland.
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