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A pleasant if somewhat vanilla puzzle today, mostly straightforward wordplay and only one word and parsing at 19a which caused me any delay in my 20 minute solve. Hard to pick a special clue out of these, but I'll settle for 28a for a relevant surface.

1 Burst ball seen after Slav fouled (5)
SALVO - (SLAV)*, O for ball.
4 State capital has no love for religious ritual (9)
SACRAMENT - The state capital of California loses its O.
9 Furious Berber perhaps put back in guest accommodation (5,4)
SPARE ROOM - SPARE = furious (as in 'he went spare'), MOOR = Berger, reverse him. No room in our spare room, it's full of boxes since we downsized.
10 American author, Tolstoy's hero (5)
LEVIN - Double definition; hero of Anna Karenina, and choose an Amercian author, Ira, Robert, Mark, Michael, and probably more.
11 Song always going round is atmospheric thing (1,5)
E LAYER - E'ER goes around LAY = song; the E LAYER is one of several radio-reflecting layers (D, E, F1, F2...) in the ionosphere.
12 Remove sozzled sot in plane put at the front (8)
JETTISON - JET followed by (SOT IN)*.
14 A bloomer, moving east in ultimate people carrier? (10)
HEARTSEASE - (EAST)* inside HEARSE, the ulimate people carrier. Viola tricolor, a pretty little wild flower.
16 Hindu music about to make contribution to culture? (4)
AGAR -  A RAGA is Indian music, reversed it makes the medium used for culturing bacteria.
19 Head’s lack of heart in grilling? (4)
NOLL - The heart or middle of grilling is LL, so a lack of that would be NO LL. Old fashioned word for head, or crown of head.
20 Oh, for tale of adventure on high seas! (8,2)
WESTWARD HO - HO going 'west' becomes OH. Or vice versa. Novel by Charles Kingsley.
22 One leaving restaurant worker means to serve course (8)
23 Water level reversed by old king in cutter? (6)
EDITOR - TIDE reversed, O(ld), R = king.
26 Round relative sheds pound in weight (5)
OUNCE - O = round, UNCLE loses his L.
27 End of hip strain announced (9)
INTENTION - IN = hip, with it; TENTION sounds like tension.
28 Daughter, in splitting huge cost, pays thus? (4,5)
29 Neat looker appears in small window (2-3)
OX-EYE - OX = neat, EYE = looker. Small circular window, more usually left in the French as œil de bœuf.
1 One martyred in street on walk with female (2,7)
ST STEPHEN - ST, STEP = walk, HEN = female.
2 Fools seen within the French city (5)
LHASA - HAS = fools (as in 'he had me that time') inside LA = the in French.
3 One takes beating over races amid scuffle (8)
OMELETTE - O = over, MELÉE = scuffle, insert the TT races.
4 Hard ground outside with hooves protected? (4)
SHOD - SOD outside H.
5 Firm 21 admits writing articles in attempt to limit damage (10)
COMPENSATE - CO = firm, 21 = friend = MATE, insert PENS.
6 Skilled nurses are there principally to do surgical removal (6)
ABLATE - ABLE = skilled, 'nurses' A and T being initial letters of are there.
7 English newsman packs travel document as predicted (9)
ENVISAGED - ENG ED has VISA inserted.
8 Join group that's on the rise (5)
TENON - NONET is a group of nine musicians, reversed. I didn't know you could have TENON as a verb to mean 'make a tenon joint', but obviously the setter did. Or maybe kevingregg below is right and join is a noun, alternative to joint.
13 All-rounder needing some Linnaean classification? (10)
GENERALIST - Well, a LIST of GENERA would be piece of Linnaean classification.
15 Simultaneously everyone agreed to accept Conservative (3,2,4)
ALL AT ONCE - C for Conservative goes into ALL AT ONE = everyone agreed.
17 Answer found in ordering afresh for banker (3,6)
18 Dance enthusiast circling with energy (8)
FANDANGO - FAN encircles AND = with, GO = energy.
21 Devil embraces Remainers' leader, being intimate (6)
FRIEND - R inside FIEND.
22 Grace maybe saving man — but there's wickedness! (5)
WRONG - W G (Grace the cricketer) encircles RON a bloke.
24 Public rights guardian bans one Parisian race (5)
TRIBE - TRIBUNE the public rights guardian, loses its UN = one in French.
25 American location in Connecticut a haven (4)
UTAH - Slightly hidden in CONNECTIC(UT A H)AVEN.


( 43 comments — Leave a comment )
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Feb. 6th, 2019 05:30 am (UTC)
I took 'join' to be a noun.
Feb. 6th, 2019 05:40 am (UTC)
It took me a very long time to come up with the unknown NOLL - in large part because I was looking for a five letter word for "grilling" with the third letter missing. Oh well...
Feb. 6th, 2019 08:21 am (UTC)
V speed
I expect "A very long time" in Verlaine speak might be a minute? How's the walking the dogs going?
Feb. 6th, 2019 05:51 am (UTC)
Vanille mon brave!?
A hint of durian methink!

DNF 'cos of 9ac NOLL I went for NOLE - head = NODDLE less its heart DD and hoped, beyond hope, that NOLE was a Comanche BBQ!

The NE corner was another frozen wasteland as 10ac LEVIN went AWOL for most of the time.



Rubbish COD 9dn TENON

WOD 20ac WESTWARD HO! Amyas Leigh et al

Edited at 2019-02-06 05:55 am (UTC)
Feb. 6th, 2019 06:06 am (UTC)
37 minutes wasn't too bad considering there were quite a few words, meanings or bits of GK unknown to me. The fact that I was able to overcome these difficulties and arrive at all the correct answers suggests that this was rather a well-constructed cryptic puzzle.
Feb. 6th, 2019 06:14 am (UTC)
I enjoyed this. Also considered NOddLE before seeing how NOLL must work (despite never having heard of the word). But I messed up having tried OPERETTA at 3D to see if it worked, and realizing it was OMELETTE. But somehow the A at the end never got replaced with E, so I got the deadly pink spot. I couldn't remember the name of the hero of Anna Karenina, if I ever knew, and I couldn't fit Andrei or Pierre from W&P. I liked the GENERA LIST.
Feb. 6th, 2019 06:34 am (UTC)
No idea why SPARE, but I could think of nothing else that would fit. NHO NOLL, and never grasped the wordplay; put in NULL in desperation. Aside from that, a pleasant 20 minutes or so.
Feb. 6th, 2019 08:11 am (UTC)
25 minutes with NOLE
Enjoyed WESTWARD HO! and GOES DUTCH but cannot say I enjoyed this one.
Feb. 6th, 2019 08:16 am (UTC)
43 mins before putting in NOLE in desperation with the same rationale as Horryd. I suppose NOLL is gettable from the wordplay but it's a real obscurity. LEVIN is hardly a cryptic clue. WESTWARD HO is one of those backwards clues where the solution turns out to be wordplay for something in the clue - I know some solvers like these but for some reason I find them quite irritating. I liked 'ultimate people carrier' for hearse.
Feb. 6th, 2019 08:25 am (UTC)
There's a Noll in my bucket, dear Liza, a Noll...
45 mins with yoghurt, graNolla, etc.
Ok - I put Nole.
I don't know about you, but I think there is something unsatisfactory about double definition clues for names - where you just have to define two different people with the same name (e.g. 10ac).
Thanks setter and Pip.
Feb. 6th, 2019 01:41 pm (UTC)
Re: There's a Noll in my bucket, dear Liza, a Noll...
graNOLLa tee-hee! Recently I have been having semi-dried persimmon on my oats.
Deee-licious! They remind me of bracken-jelly unique to Japan - also dried osmanthis florets are good!
Feb. 6th, 2019 08:45 am (UTC)
Another one who opted for NOLE on the basis of NO{DD}LE. I think I would have been there ad infinitum before NOLL suggested itself. Thank you to Kevin in the club forum for setting me straight on that one.
Feb. 6th, 2019 08:49 am (UTC)
Another nole
NOLL too obscure a combination of answer and word play for me. And 10ac is just no clue at all - should be in a general knowledge crossword. Yuk! Yuk!
Feb. 6th, 2019 09:01 am (UTC)
Good noll-edge
31 minutes with NOLL seen by a circuitous and wholly incorrect route, having thought NELL might mean 'head' as in 'Not on your Nelly', which it doesn't. But in trying to parse that I stumbled on the correct two-L solution, though I didn't know the word. I got LEVIN exclusively from Anna Karenina, not able to pick any of the others you've listed, Pip. If Bernard had been mentioned, I'd have known about him. These sentences aren't long enough for any thought of that though. I felt proud for remembering HEARTSEASE and then enjoyed parsing it, but I'll give COD to Westward Ho! Thank you Pip and setter.
Feb. 6th, 2019 09:15 am (UTC)
Re: Good noll-edge
Another circuitous and wholly incorrect route to NOLL for me. Remembering that Oliver Cromwell was nicknamed 'Old Noll' I thought it had something to do with RoundHEADs, but I've now discovered it was a diminutive version of Oliver (Nolly, being another one).
Feb. 6th, 2019 09:33 am (UTC)
An hour and an extra minute to come up with the unknown NOLL, where I did a Verlaine, albeit taking at least ten times as long, I expect.

Much of my difficulty was in the unknowns, especially at 10a, where I knew neither the hero nor any of the authors, and just bunged in LEVIN on the grounds that I knew from Bernard LEVIN that it was at least a valid surname. Also DNK E-LAYER, WESTWARD HO as a story, HEARTSEASE, the OX-EYE window or Linnaeus, and there might be more I missed along the way...

Obviously, the fact that I finished at all means I thought it was all perfectly fair. If I'd got a single letter wrong the whole thing would have been a complete swizz, mind.

Edited at 2019-02-06 09:41 am (UTC)
Feb. 6th, 2019 09:43 am (UTC)
Easy stuff with the two quirks, LEVIN and NOLL

LEVIN a poor non-cryptic clue where I guessed and googled. NOLL seen before, probably from Mephisto, and reverse engineered.

Left feeling vaguely unsatisfied by the whole thing
Feb. 6th, 2019 10:05 am (UTC)
Not terribly keen on this crossword .. several poor clues and a general disregard for surface readings. Sorry.
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