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Times Quick Cryptic No 1339 by Teazel

Our Friday entertainment today comes from Teazel. And a very neat puzzle it is too. Lots of very straightforward clues to give the less-experienced a good foothold, I think, and a good variety of clue types. Lessons today include how to spot a definition by example, the use of the NATO phonetic alphabet, insertions, deletions, anagrams, charades, a double definition and a lovely semi-&lit. But my COD goes to 18d for the little joke in the wordplay. Only 1a and 2d gave me any significant pause for thought as I completed this in 4:50. Thanks Teazel! How did everyone else get on?

Definitions underlined in italics, Abc indicating anagram of Abc, deletions struckthrough and [] other indicators.

Across
1 Check through rental agreement after expensive race (12)
STEEPLECHASE - A bit of a tricky one to start, not least in spotting the definition! I left it till I got most of the checkers. Take CH (check) and put it inside [through] LEASE (rental agreement) and add it all to [after] STEEP (expensive). It could be a horse race, the most famous being the Grand National, or an obstacle race in athletics.
8 Trim dog, say, a little bit (7)
SNIPPET - SNIP (trim) PET (dog, say) - the [say] indicating a definition by example.
9 Meat embargo broken by firm (5)
BACON - BAN (embargo) outside [broken by] CO (abbreviation of company, firm).
10 I rent, poor and lazy (5)
INERT - Anagram [poor] of I rent. As in lazy as a motionless couch potato.
11 Most elegant to dine in comfortable home (7)
NEATEST - The comfortable home is a NEST. Put EAT (dine) inside [in].
12 A piece of joint work so divided? (2,3)
IN TWO - Hidden [a piece of] in joINT WOrk. A lovely semi&lit clue where the whole clue can be read as the definition, but only part of it is the wordplay. Very neat.
14 Arrives to drink, after some bread (5,2)
ROLLS UP - SUP (drink) [after] ROLL (some bread).
15 Not spoiled, I kept single (9)
UNMARRIED - I is inserted into [kept] UNMARRED (not spoiled).
17 Attack and steal from boy (3)
ROB - Double definition.
19 Woman at home serving meals is a courtier (4-2-7)
LADY-IN-WAITING - A simple charade of 3 parts. LADY (woman) IN (at home) WAITING (serving meals).
21 Siamese perhaps taking grass in China once (6)
CATHAY - CAT (Siamese, perhaps) HAY. [perhaps] here is another indicator of a definition by example.
22 Born and died, unknown, poor (5)
NEEDY - Another simple 3-parter. NEE (born) D (died) and Y (unknown, as in a mathematical variable).

Down
1 Luscious spy I treated with caution (12)
SUSPICIOUSLY - Anagram of Luscious spy I [treated]. A spy like Mata Hari, perhaps?
2 Demanding old fellow takes one in (7)
EXIGENT - EX (old) GENT (fellow) [takes in] I (one). "Demanding immediate aid or action". A less common word but it has cropped up quite a few times in the 15x15 and even in the QC - Izetti's 100th last year.
3 Little bird: spot it? (5)
PIPIT - PIP (spot, as in the spots on playing cards, dice or dominoes) IT. The Pipit is an inconspicuous little bird found nearly all over the world. Here is a Nilgir Pipit...

[Photographed by Nishad H. Kaippally]
4 Taken in and defeated, but not bowled (5)
EATEN - Defeated is bEATEN. Remove the [but not]  b (bowled). Our cricket clue of the day. You might be taken in by the bowler's doosra and defeated by a stumping. As we learnt from Oink's QC last week.
5 Some boots are holed — a bin will recycle (9)
HOBNAILED - Anagram of holed a bin [will recycle]. A lovely surface. I just recently had to put some holed boots in my recycling bin. Maybe they would have lasted longer with hobnails.
6 Confidence over years employed in spying outfit (6,7)
SECRET SERVICE - SECRET (confidence, as in confiding with someone) [over] (this is a down clue) SERVICE (years employed).
7 In a way, exercise lifting part of foot (6)
INSTEP - IN ST (street, a way) with PE (exercise) reversed [lifting], i.e. going up in a down clue.
13 Monstrous drunken orgies at hotel (7)
OGREISH - Take an anagram of [drunken] orgies and add [at] H (hotel is H in the NATO phonetic alphabet).
14 Transport company complain bitterly over route (7)
RAILWAY - RAIL (complain bitterly) [over] WAY. To rail is to "complain or protest strongly and persistently about".
16 Assistant brought up to support mass TV etc (5)
MEDIA - The asssistant is an AIDE. Reverse this (i.e. write it from the bottom up) and put it under [support] M (mass, as in E = mc2)
18 To hold goods, purchase light vehicle (5)
BUGGY - Take BUY (purchase) and get it to include [to hold] G G (good good = goods - very droll).
20 North European misses fine pub (3)
INN - The Northern European is a FINN. Miss out the F (fine). I do enjoy a fine pub. If you are coming my way, why not join me for a beer at one of my favourite pubs?

Comments

(Anonymous)
Apr. 26th, 2019 06:24 am (UTC)
Trim dogs?
Well, as 8ac was going to be my FOI I thought CURTAIL was a perfect fit with the clue. Shame it then didn't work with any of the crossers.
johninterred
Apr. 26th, 2019 11:00 am (UTC)
Re: Trim dogs?
Good thought, but it would have to be Dog trim to get the charade in the right order.

Edited at 2019-04-26 11:01 am (UTC)
(Anonymous)
Apr. 26th, 2019 11:52 am (UTC)
Re: Trim dogs?
Would it? TRIM for the definition, CUR for 'dog say', TAIL for 'a little bit' (of said dog).
johninterred
Apr. 26th, 2019 12:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Trim dogs?
Ah yes. I get you now. Nice one. Shame it doesn't fit the checkers.