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I didn't find this puzzle particularly hard, but I did enjoy it, with its assured control of cryptic devices and a bit of wickedness to some of its choices: I particularly liked the almost invisible definition parts of 14dn and the Rufus-esque simplicity of 7dn, my clue of the day. LOI was 26ac after 25dn finally fell and proved that the poet couldn't be an ODIST. Perfectly satisfactory crossword to end the week with, thanks setter. Alright, what did the rest of you lot like best today?

1 A vision of loveliness as I moved to end of quay (4)
PERI - take PIER [quay] and move the I to the end it, to find a word for a beautiful mythological being.

3 Architect initially welcomes housing staff's contracts (10)
AGREEMENTS - A{rchitects} + GREETS [welcomes] "housing" MEN [staff]

10 Bowdlerise "pure" novel, wherein kiss has suggestion of scandal? (9)
EXPURGATE - (PURE*) ["novel"] wherein X [kiss], followed by -GATE [suggestion of scandal]

11 Swapping hands, put down part of spur (5)
ROWEL - take LOWER [put down] and swap round its L and R.

12 Met secretly to destroy jockeys, with all love lost (7)
TRYSTED - (T{o} DESTR{o{}Y) ["jockeys"]

13 Contributor to soap showing everyone in drag (6)
TALLOW - ALL [everyone] in TOW [drag]

15 Condensed, as a walk in the park should be? (4,5,4,2)
MADE SHORT WORK OF - if something is a walk in the park you should make short work of it; it you make a work into a short work, you have condensed it.

18 Reverend sat uneasily after fellow's precise testimony (7,3,5)
CHAPTER AND VERSE - (REVEREND SAT*) ["uneasily"] after CHAP [fellow]

21 Knight's advance across wide area (6)
GAWAIN - GAIN [advance] "across" W A [wide | area]

23 Current Lothario back on song (7)
AIRFLOW - reverse WOLF [Lothario] on AIR [song]

26 Poet's material going west (5)
ELIOT - reverse TOILE [material] to find good old T.S.

27 Minstrel with a pipe returned at end of dance (9)
BALLADEER - A + reversed REED [pipe], at end of BALL [dance]

28 Always keeping dry, he looked over, poised for action (2,3,5)
AT THE READY - AY [always] "keeping" TT HE READ [dry | he | looked over]

29 One particular man's on time (4)
THIS - HIS [man's] on T [time]

1 Charming chum treated roughly (6,4)
PRETTY MUCH - PRETTY [charming] + (CHUM*) ["treated"]

2 Specialised troops practise counterattack? (5)
REPLY - R.E. PLY [specialised troops | practise]

3 Golf organised, diversion avoiding key educational trip (5,4)
GRAND TOUR - G RAN [Golf | organised] + D{e}TOUR [diversion, "avoiding (musical) key"]

5 Up before court (5)
ERECT - ERE CT [before | court]

6 Sour red fruit, not quite ripe but golden inside (7)
MORELLO - MELLO{w} ["not quite" ripe] with OR [golden] inside

7 Statesman's amended style of delivery (3,6)
NEW YORKER - NEW [amended] + YORKER [style of (cricket) delivery]

8 Periodic losses suffered by skilled young swimmers (4)
SILD - S{k}I{l}L{e}D

9 Revolutionary Indian instrument good for nothing (6)
GRATIS - SITAR G [Indian instrument | good], reversed

14 Dessert's without charge, then? (10)
AFTERWARDS - AFTERS [dessert] is "without" WARD [charge]

16 Wordsmith shot, craftsman runs away (9)
DRAMATIST - DRAM [shot] + A{r}TIST [craftsman, "R (= runs) away"]

17 Cook talented with cephalopods, primarily like squid (9)
TENTACLED - (TALENTED + C{ephalopods}*) ["cook..."]

19 Piggy grabbing wine and hot snack (7)
TOASTIE - TOE [piggy] "grabbing" ASTI [wine]

20 Seasonal meat cut with force at sea? (6)
VERNAL - VEAL [meat] "cut" with R.N. [force at sea]

22 Magnanimous knight served up joint, with wife away (5)
NOBLE - N [knight] + reversed ELBO{w} [joint, "with W (= wife) away]

24 Doctor's check after fish has been brought up (5)
LEECH - CH [check] after reversed EEL [fish]

25 Unknown insurgent worried Spartan character (4)
ZETA - Z [unknown] + reversed ("insurgent") ATE [worried]


( 41 comments — Leave a comment )
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Apr. 19th, 2019 06:03 am (UTC)
A very enjoyable 31 minutes here wih a couple of answers (PERI, ROWEL) arrived at only from wordplay. We've had a few easier puzzles this week so I'm wondering if we are in for a stinker tomorrow.
Apr. 19th, 2019 06:11 am (UTC)
18:45 … and a satisfying one to complete.

I vaguely remembered ROWEL from somewhere, which was just as well as I couldn’t get the wordplay.

Coos of admiration for EXPURGATE (love that 'wherein') and especially AFTERWARDS. Sweet.
Apr. 19th, 2019 06:19 am (UTC)
Had never heard of SILD, but so it had to be.
As Wiktionary says, PRETTY MUCH is "Similar in meaning to more or less; however, [it] sometimes implies a higher or more satisfactory degree of completeness”—which latter definition is the one with which I most readily associate the phrase.
Now, I never knew this about LEECH: the word meaning the aquatic blood-sucking worm and the word meaning a physician are simply two separate terms, with distinct etymologies, which merely happen to be spelled the same. The supposedly medicinal usage of the worm did not, as commonly supposed, have anything to do with it.
Apr. 19th, 2019 06:53 am (UTC)
The OED is a bit equivocal about it .. it seems clear that as you say, the word has had two (in fact more, it's a nautical term too) distinct meanings throughout most of its life. Both derive originally from the Old English word lǽce though. Interesting article about it, here: http://www.worldwidewords.org/weirdwords/ww-lee1.htm
(no subject) - guy_du_sable - Apr. 19th, 2019 06:59 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 19th, 2019 07:06 am (UTC)
18:10, held up for 3 minutes at the end by 25d and 26a trying to think of a famous spartan worrier. DNK ROWEL but the wordplay was clear. I liked this a lot with little ticks all over my paper copy. Hard to pick a favourite. AGREEMENTS, TOASTIE and NOBLE all made me smile, but AFTERWARDS was the neatest, I think.
Apr. 19th, 2019 03:12 pm (UTC)
The Spartans were famous for not worrying!
Apr. 19th, 2019 07:10 am (UTC)
Forty minutes, but it felt like a lot longer. Took ages to find my way in, finally getting a toehold in the SW corner with 25d ZETA and others after a few false starts elsewhere.

Then I worked my way from bottom to top with decreasing speed! LOI 11a ROWEL, just after MORELLO. Apparently I can't tell my Maraschino from my MORELLO, so the "sour" confused me. Gets my COD because of the lovely surface.

WOD ROWEL; I didn't know it, but it led me to the Wikipedia page which contains a host of other terms a setter might throw at us in the future—anyone for a jingo bob?
Apr. 19th, 2019 07:12 am (UTC)
46m 07s
For a very long time I had RETRY but once EXPURGATE went in, it obviously couldn't be that.
COD to AFTERWARDS with EXPURGATE in second place. I still remember a clue which involved something like 'a real scandal'. The solution was PROPAGATE.
On the mercifully few occasions I have found leeches on me, etymology has not been at the forefront of my mind.
PS...Joe MORELLO played drums for Dave Brubeck.

Edited at 2019-04-19 07:13 am (UTC)
Apr. 19th, 2019 09:20 am (UTC)
Re: 46m 07s
And Tom MORELLO was the guitarist for Rage Against the Machine.
RE: Re: 46m 07s - verlaine - Apr. 19th, 2019 03:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 19th, 2019 07:18 am (UTC)
PRETTY MUCH a testing little number this. FOI was the unknown SILD. Held up a bit by assuming that the knight was N, which it usually is. Then AFTERWARDS I MADE SHORT WORK OF the rest of it. LOI was PERI which I knew from Iolanthe which if I remember correctly we did at my prep school. Took a long time to get that one because I was fixated with the last letter of quay.
A very precisely clued crossword, well done to the setter and thanks, V
Apr. 19th, 2019 07:58 am (UTC)
Not your normal Friday fare, but satisfying. I demi-biffed EXPURGATE on the basis of 'pure' and 'kiss'. NHO SILD. I was rather chuffed at remembering YORKER. I have 'COD' scrawled in the margins by 12ac, 1d, and 14d, but I think I'll go with 14d.
Apr. 19th, 2019 08:04 am (UTC)
Trystin' the night away...
35 mins with yoghurt, granola, etc.
'Insurgent' is an interesting reversal indicator. I guess it is ok, but I don't remember seeing it before.
Mostly I liked: New Yorker, Afterwards, Piggy toe, and COD to Gratis.
Thanks setter and V.
Apr. 19th, 2019 08:11 am (UTC)
Slow swimmers
Best of the week IMO, an unhurried 28 minutes with one coffee, knew my parts of the spur, bur ashamed to say my LOI - which took 5 minutes - was 8d. Eventually I twigged the wordplay and remembered seeing the word on those flat tins of sardine-family stuff.
Pretty much all good clues, but would pick out NEW YORKER and AFTERWARDS as favs.
Apr. 19th, 2019 08:14 am (UTC)
What's for afters?
35 minutes, with LOI the unknown SILD. I constructed ROWEL immediately prior to that, and decided for some reason best known to myself that rowels must be parts of rowlocks. No need for further comment. I've looked the word up since and see that it was the ROWEL at the end of his boot which caused Aguero to be offside on Wednesday night. Against Spurs of course. April is the cruellest month.Tulle earlier in the week was good practice for the backward Toile. COD to AFTERWARDS for using what I've always called my pudding. If only ZETA had worked, Waterloo Bridge would be open to traffic today. Very enjoyable. Thank you V and setter.
Apr. 19th, 2019 08:54 am (UTC)
Good Friday
Have seen SILD at the supermarket, it comes it small rectangular tins. Liked PRETTY MUCH.

Flying this morning, sitting in the garden, 14'.

Thanks verlaine and setter.
Apr. 19th, 2019 09:24 am (UTC)
Make do and mend
18.55 after a very slow start on the basis of "it's Friday, so these clues must be harder than they look".
I was happy with the insurgent at 25d being ETA as a rough description of a Basque separatist, so I didn't notice the worried bit of the clue. Wrong, but right.
I was pleased that TENTACLED turned out to be not a technical term for a squid I hadn't heard of.
After my slow start, only putting MAKE for MADE gave any kind of pause. No stand out clue, just appreciation for all round quality.
Apr. 19th, 2019 01:33 pm (UTC)
RE: Make do and mend
Me too on ETA, but I did worry
RE: Make do and mend - paul_in_london - Apr. 19th, 2019 01:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 19th, 2019 09:25 am (UTC)
14:29. I did know SILD, but I initially took 'swapping hands' just to indicate swapping an L for an R and put in ROWER, which didn't make much sense but slowed me down anyway. I was also a little bit worried that ZETA might be XETA.
Richard Johnstone
Apr. 20th, 2019 03:06 pm (UTC)
There's no reason why it couldn't be, is there?
(no subject) - gothick_matt - Apr. 20th, 2019 03:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - keriothe - Apr. 20th, 2019 05:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - keriothe - Apr. 20th, 2019 05:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - Richard Johnstone - Apr. 20th, 2019 09:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 19th, 2019 09:37 am (UTC)
24'35, with sild feeling right from the start though I wouldn't know I knew it. Some neat clueing (esp. perhaps 14). Would like to have made shorter work of it but am lumbered with my level which at least is fairly constant pro tem. Eliot a non-balladeer if ever there was one.
Apr. 19th, 2019 10:03 am (UTC)
A sild sprang up from the puzzling ocean for a Saturday puzzle back in May, which I think must've been how it got into my brain.
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