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Solving time 9:50, which about an hour in, puts me in first place on the leaderboard (that will probably change before I have finished this write-up).

It is very rare that my last clue in is an anagram, but that was the case today, even with all the checking letters in place, I had to reach for paper and pen to work out what was needed for 13 down, a phrase I think I have heard before but certainly have not used.

A good crossword for trusting the wordplay, this one, particularly in a few entries I usually have difficulty spelling (I wonder if any of the regulars on the leaderboard with errors biffed 11 down with a spelling mistake).

The first definition in each clue is underlined.

Away we go...

1 Anti-war literary genre getting no opening in time gone by (8)
PACIFIST - the literary genre is SCI-FI.  Remove the S and insert in PAST(time gone by)
5 Understood one in church recalled architectural style (6)
GOTHIC - GOT(understood) then I in CH(church) reversed
9 Charm is maintained in most of chat with a guy (8)
TALISMAN - IS inside TAL(k) (chat) and MAN(a guy)
10 Soccer player: “Try a position” (6)
GOALIE - GO(try), A, LIE(position in golf)
12 Variable assessment of trombone music? (7,5)
SLIDING SCALE - Double definition, one slightly cryptic
15 No great contribution to film run (5)
EXTRA - double definition, someone with a bit part in a film, and a run in cricket
16 Plan to attack fake story I want amended, after taking in newspaper (3,2,4)
LIE IN WAIT - LIE(fake story) then an anagram of I,WANT containing the I newspaper.
18 Expedition on board trendy craft going far? (9)
SPACESHIP - PACE(expedition) inside SS(so on board a ship), then HIP(trendy)
19 Name assigned to god is a problematic point (5)
THORN - N next to THOR(god)
20 Cheerful illumination requiring attention — skill to be brought in (5-7)
LIGHT-HEARTED - LIGHT(illumination) then HEED(attention) containing ART(skill)
24 What may be related to Siamese flower spike (6)
CATKIN - if you are related to a Siamese you could be a CAT KIN
25 American punished without full scrutiny? (2,6)
26 Risk pulling line from hanging item (6)
DANGER - remove L(line) from DANGLER(hanging item)
27 Second church festival engages me for a study period (8)
SEMESTER - S(second) then EASTER(church festival) with ME replacing A

1 Stone with hard core (4)
PITH - PIT(stone of a fruit), H(hard)
2 Loss of power after Liberal has infiltrated religious group (4)
CULT - a power CUT containing L(liberal)
3 American unfavourably engaged in diminishing gunfire (9)
FUSILLADE - US(American), ILL(unfavorably) inside FADE(diminishing as a noun)
4 Newspaper is source of coupons in footwear and bedding (7,5)
SCANDAL SHEET - first letter of Coupons insie SANDAL(footwear) and SHEET(bedding)
6 Old doctor disposing of new instruments (5)
OBOES - O(old), then BONES(doctor) missing N(new)
7 A graduate in Northern city with facilities to make a racket (10)
HULLABALOO - A, BA(graduate) inside HULL(Northern city) and LOO(facilities)
8 Fruit, very pleasant during middle of break (10)
CLEMENTINE - CLEMENT(very pleasany, opposite of INCLEMENT), IN(during), then the middle letter in brEak
11 Reserve about Northern mood? Article shows lack of restraint (12)
INTEMPERANCE - ICE(reserve) surrounding all of N(northern), TEMPER(mood), AN(article)
13 It’s to be involved with pledge and a bit of commitment? (3,7)
GET SPLICED - anagram of ITS, PLEDGE, C(ommitment)
14 Shattering rocks put in alignment? (10)
17 No Communist to occupy flat in Parisian building (5-4)
NOTRE-DAME - NO, then RED(Communist) inside TAME(flat)
21 Bunk with sheet finally on ready (5)
TRIPE - (shee)T, RIPE(ready)
22 European to allow twice the time (4)
LETT - LET(allow) with two T's
23 Charge up, snatching one item (4)
PAIR - RAP(charge) reversed, surrounding I(one)


( 75 comments — Leave a comment )
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Feb. 7th, 2019 02:37 am (UTC)
I was not at my sharpest this morning, and few of the clues yielded their secrets easily, even straightforward ones like 1d and 2d. But what took the most time were EXTRA--had no idea what the 'run' was doing--and LOI GET SPLICED, where like George I needed all the checkers. I shouldn't have needed them, since unlike George I knew the phrase, a rather old-fashioned one (ODE lists it as British, which surprised me). DNK the flower, DNK that Hull was in the north (British geography not one of my strong suits). Liked 13d, once I got it.

Edited at 2019-02-07 05:56 am (UTC)
Feb. 7th, 2019 12:14 pm (UTC)
RE: 33:24
Hull is in Northern England, Kevin, but not northern Britain. It's actually not much nearer the Scottish border at Berwick than it is London. The Scots would refer to the whole of England as the south! But to the English, the north would always mean the old counties of Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmoreland, Durham, Lancashire, Yorkshire and Cheshire. That includes the big cities of Newcastle, Leeds, Shefffield, Liverpool and Manchester. Some would suggest that parts of Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Staffordshire are also northern. Stuart Maconie, a northern writer, says that the North starts at Crewe at the south end of Cheshire, but that only works for West of the Pennines. The foony/ fanny line as described by my linguistics nephew, the source of many homophone disputes here, would be well to the south, with the Midlands mainly to the north of that.

Edited at 2019-02-07 12:17 pm (UTC)
Re: 33:24 - kevingregg - Feb. 7th, 2019 12:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: 33:24 - jackkt - Feb. 7th, 2019 12:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
North/South - johninterred - Feb. 7th, 2019 12:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
RE: North/South - ulaca - Feb. 7th, 2019 01:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: North/South - (Anonymous) - Feb. 7th, 2019 03:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: North/South - (Anonymous) - Feb. 7th, 2019 09:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: North/South - john_dun - Feb. 7th, 2019 01:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 7th, 2019 04:33 am (UTC)
If I hadn't finished, I would have said....
...that this is a hopelessly obscure and difficult puzzle, but I managed to struggle home in 71 minutes.

My solve consisted of three parts: about 15 minutes of getting nearly nothing, 10 minutes where the long answers flowed easily in, and then another 45 minutes of struggle to nail down the last few difficult clues. 'Get spliced' was brilliant, but I saw it and rejected it because I thought that A, and not C[ommitment], was the tenth letter. I was determined to work in 'Thai' in the Siamese clue, which was my LOI; once I thought of the cat, I solved it in a few seconds.

It was a good puzzle; we'll see how everyone does.
Feb. 7th, 2019 04:56 am (UTC)
39m 35s.....
....but with 4 faults as I believe they still say in the show jumping world.
I biffed CATNIP to get in under 40mins even though I could see no connection between it and 'related to...'
Feb. 7th, 2019 05:16 am (UTC)
40 minutes with one error as I forgot to revisit CALM, my answer at 2dn, which I was not at all happy with - so much so that I really shouldn't have written it in. I was a long time working out GET SPLICED and DANGER which between them added about 10 minutes to my solving time.

Edited at 2019-02-07 05:16 am (UTC)
Feb. 7th, 2019 06:44 am (UTC)
Much the same as Lord Vinyl, but failed at 24ac CATKIN which I converted to CATHAI making 21dn impossible. I never even thought of a bloody cat!

FOI 10ac GOALIE (David De Gea I presume as he appears to be the number one.)

COD 13dn GET SPLICED a very English phrase
14dn STRAIGHTEN was on the rostrum.

WOD 2dn CULT which Ken Williams famously claimed to be, on 'Just a Minute'.

17dn NOTRE-DAME where I once heard an American lady aver, 'I never knew Napoleon was a Christian!' Bless.

Edited at 2019-02-07 06:49 am (UTC)
Stuart Dunlop
Feb. 7th, 2019 06:48 pm (UTC)
If we're playing US gaffes, then a friend of ours who works as a guide in Windsor castle was asked "Why did they build it so close to the airport?". True.
Re: DNF - john_dun - Feb. 8th, 2019 12:21 am (UTC) - Expand
RE: DNF - (Anonymous) - Mar. 12th, 2019 02:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 7th, 2019 06:45 am (UTC)
LOI. Never heard the expression, or maybe if I did I thought someone was being very clever!
Feb. 7th, 2019 08:08 am (UTC)
Enjoyed this a lot, though that may have something to do with the fast time by my standards - a tad under 22 minutes. Like others, GET SPLICED was last in, though one of the other long Down clues (11) held me up the longest. Good stuff throughout.

Edited at 2019-02-07 08:09 am (UTC)
Feb. 7th, 2019 12:25 pm (UTC)
Would it have been better as "the beginning/start of commitment" rather than a bit of, or is the tense too wrong - or even just too obvious?
RE: 13d - ulaca - Feb. 7th, 2019 01:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 7th, 2019 08:18 am (UTC)
Come, Mister Talisman, tally me banana...
30 mins with yoghurt, banana, etc.
I didn't find this too tricky. Trickiest bits were: the Get Spliced anagram/&lit (must be COD), puzzling over why extra=run (I see it now) and wondering how the C got into Si-Fi (Doh!).
In addition, I liked the Hullabaloo.
Thanks setter and G.
Feb. 7th, 2019 08:18 am (UTC)
27 minutes
Soccer player? Why not Footballer? Semester? Am I detecting over the last few months setter(s) with an American orientation?
No problems. Liked GET SPLICED (well known phrase in my circle) and STRAIGHTEN.
John Scoble
Feb. 7th, 2019 11:22 am (UTC)
Re: 27 minutes
Soccer was association football in my Welsh youth ; I have always used this term ( and football )as opposed to rugby.
The lingo - paul_in_london - Feb. 7th, 2019 11:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: 27 minutes - (Anonymous) - Feb. 8th, 2019 11:34 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 7th, 2019 08:20 am (UTC)
After 42 minutes, I had some things in common with earlier commenters, those being CALM at 2d, where I thought the clue worked the other way around and I just assumed CAM was some religious group I'd NHO, and CATNIP at 24a, where I did vaguely know what a CATKIN is, but never thought of "kin".

Having looked it up, I see that CATNIP does indeed have spikes of flowers, so even if I'd known what it looked like, that probably would've misdirected me even further!

Scuppered by two quite easy ones, then, as it turned out, with all the rest fine and dandy. I did have question marks against them both and plenty of time left in my hour, but I just wasn't really "feeling it" this morning, sadly.

Edited at 2019-02-07 08:23 am (UTC)
Feb. 7th, 2019 09:07 am (UTC)
Well, I found this definitely on the easy side so a bit startled by some earlier comments. I enjoyed this a great deal more than yesterdays .. respectable surfaces and good solid clueing.
My garden is stuffed to the gills with catkins at present
Feb. 7th, 2019 09:14 am (UTC)
21 minutes. Apart from a few sticky moments in the SW, I found this straightforward. I'd put TRASH for TRIPE until DANGER confronted me. Then I saw CATKIN and LOI GET SPLICED was then solved. That used to be a common expression for the sacrament of marriage, an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace? It never used to be the case, but to call it soccer has been frowned upon in the game for many years now, as Sawbill alludes to. COD to SCANDAL SHEET. Talking of which, I'll now turn to the editorial page.Thank you George and setter.
Feb. 7th, 2019 09:27 am (UTC)
Stroll in the park this one with no hold ups. GET SPLICED common parlance where I grew up in London in 1950s
Feb. 7th, 2019 09:43 am (UTC)
Get knotted indeed
23 minutes, held up like others by LOI 13d where I first had A as the extra anagram letter not C. Had heard my father use the phrase years ago, but was slow to remember.
Otherwise, good stuff, liked CATKIN best.
Feb. 7th, 2019 09:49 am (UTC)
I never noticed "soccer", as opposed to "football", probably because they have to be differentiated thusly around here. Sawbill may be onto something though because I believe there is at least one American regular setter. I envy Jerry his CATKINs - we're weeks away from them. Other than making things too complicated with 2d (I was trying for "cam(p)" with an L in the middle and I see I've got company) no particular hold-ups. Nice one. 18.06
Feb. 7th, 2019 12:29 pm (UTC)
It is strange to me that 'football' is so called in America as the ball and the foot are only in contact for a few seconds of each game!
RE: Football - ulaca - Feb. 7th, 2019 01:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jerrywh - Feb. 7th, 2019 03:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
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