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Time taken: 10:24

I rather enjoyed this puzzle, a very good one for fans of tricky wordplay, and some crafty definitions. At the time of writing up, with the puzzle having been out about three hours, I am fifth in the leaderboard, so it seems some of the earlier solvers breezed through a little more quickly than I did, though I am about a minute below what the snitch says is my average.

It has been a while since we have seen the device in 15 across in a Times puzzle.

Away we go...

1 Component of arm certain to be rejected after stink (7)
HUMERUS - SURE(certain) reversed after HUM(stink)
5 Cross cat’s sound recalled sound of bird (7)
CHIRRUP - the capital Greek letter CHI looks like an X, hence a cross, then PURR(cat's sound) reversed
9 Oppressed by false story about new mark (9)
UNDERLINE - UNDER(oppressed by) then LIE(false story) surrounding N(new)
10 Right time to don hat? (5)
TITLE - T(time) wearing TILE(hat). Legal right.
11 Finger given by this less restrained element? (7,6)
LUNATIC FRINGE - if you make an anagram of FRINGE you can get FINGER
13 Faithfulness — a leading feature of crucial church role (8)
ACCURACY - A, then the first letter of Crucual, then CURACY(church role)
15 French port regrettably claiming half of Channel Islands? (6)
CALAIS - ALAS(regrettably) with one half of CI(Channel Islands) inside, and one half outside. Unusual wordplay.
17 Daughter is coming in nearly frozen — having tried this? (6)
NUDISM - D(daughter), IS inside NUMB(frozen) missing the last letter. Fun clue!
19 Dismiss dance as a transient flashy thing (8)
FIREBALL - FIRE(dismiss), BALL(dance)
22 Run The Times with an odd approach to attracting readers (5,8)
HUMAN INTEREST - rather well-spotted anagram of RUN,THE,TIMES,AN
25 Desert allotment with no source of irrigation (3,2)
RAT ON - RATION(allotment) missing the first letter of Irrigation
26 Aquatic bird, one occupying familiar position of dam (9)
MATERNITY - TERN(aquatic bird), I(one) inside MATY(familiar)
27 Bizarre reduction in area around Woking — completely reduced (7)
SURREAL - SURREY(area around Woking) missing the last letter, than AL(l) (completely)
28 Confuse US crook facing law in Rome (7)
PERPLEX - PERP(criminal in the USA), LEX(law in Latin)

1 Activity linked to drawing room, we hear (4)
HAUL - drawing or dragging - sounds like HALL(room)
2 Purcell’s particular note? (6,1)
MIDDLE C - the MIDDLE letter of PurCell is C
3 Another chance to see sport through curtailed opening (5)
RERUN - RU(sport) inside RENT(opening) shortened
4 Lower back pain? Spies a nervous response in it (8)
SCIATICA - CIA(spies) and TIC(a nervours response) in SA(it)
5 Force Frenchmen out of business (6)
COERCE - remove MM(frenchmen) from COMMERCE(business)
6 I note rising worry over one contact (9)
INTERFACE - I, N(note) then a reversal of FRET(worry) then ACE(one)
7 Runs to the front of old plain dome (7)
ROTUNDA - move the R(runs) from O(old), TUNDRA(plain) to the top
8 Power line here’s flapping, ready for grasping (10)
PREHENSILE -P(power) then an anagram of LINE,HERE'S
12 Morning burden? Support embracing wife in evening, mostly (4,6)
DAWN CHORUS - ANCHOR(support) containing W(wife) all inside DUS(k) (evening)
14 Research formerly capturing an echo effect (9)
RESONANCE - RES(research) ONCE(formerly) containing AN
16 Evasive action that is needed in a month (8)
SIDESTEP - ID EST(that is) inside SEP(a month)
18 Goddess satisfied to block Diana’s target? (7)
DEMETER - MET(satisfied) inside DEER(the target of the huntress Diana)
20 An unfortunate situation besets most of the colony (3,4)
ANT HILL - AN, ILL(unfortunate situaton) surrounding TH(e)
21 Mother in love, in pursuit of a sensual man (6)
ANIMAL - MA(mother) inside NIL(love) after A
23 Slip perry and port out of their containers? (5)
ERROR - the interior letters of pERRy and pORt
24 Cat where birdies are to be had, we hear (4)
LYNX - sounds like the golf LINKS where better golfers than I can score birdies.


( 58 comments — Leave a comment )
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Sep. 5th, 2019 03:41 am (UTC)
I found this quite difficult....
...and took nearly an hour - I'm not sure, as I accidentally erased my starting time.

I did see a surprising number of them right away, but then I really bogged down. The SW corner was particularly tough, as I struggled with 'accuracy', 'surreal', and 'dawn chorus'. It would have been helpful if I had known Woking was in Surrey.

Sciatica is usually associated with pain shooting down the legs, although it originates in the back.
Sep. 5th, 2019 05:31 am (UTC)
Ran out of steam eventually and gave up on the anagram at 8dn using aids to get me kick-started again as I was stuck in that corner. I suspected CHIRRUP at 5ac but had no idea about X for CHI. Biffed DAWN CHORUS but I think of ANCHOR more as a restraint than a support.

Ninja Turtled 18dn, knowing of DEMETER only by way of 'The Archers' in which she was one of Linda Snell's two goats. The other was called Persephone.

Edited at 2019-09-05 05:38 am (UTC)
Sep. 5th, 2019 07:35 am (UTC)
That is such a fine ninja turtle that I think we should introduce ‘Linda Snell’s goat(s)’ as a synonym.
(no subject) - jackkt - Sep. 5th, 2019 09:21 am (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 5th, 2019 05:49 am (UTC)
LOI CALAIS, and I still don’t quite get the wordplay.
Minutes later: OK, the I wouldn’t be half of CI sans the C at the start…

Edited at 2019-09-05 05:53 am (UTC)
Sep. 5th, 2019 05:56 am (UTC)
The C is at the start of the answer, the I is 'claimed' by ALAS (regrettably)

Edited at 2019-09-05 05:56 am (UTC)
(no subject) - guy_du_sable - Sep. 5th, 2019 06:10 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jackkt - Sep. 5th, 2019 06:45 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kevingregg - Sep. 5th, 2019 07:48 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jackkt - Sep. 5th, 2019 09:11 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - marazhao - Sep. 5th, 2019 11:13 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Sep. 5th, 2019 08:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 5th, 2019 07:26 am (UTC)
19:49 … top notch stuff, especially LUNATIC FRINGE, PURCELL and CALAIS.

Only thing I couldn’t quite resolve was “Activity linked to drawing” leading to HAUL. Feels like the wrong part of speech to me, but perhaps I'm misconstruing it.

Ta, setter and the mighty George

Edited at 2019-09-05 07:27 am (UTC)
Sep. 5th, 2019 09:54 pm (UTC)
'Haul' as a noun? Seems fine to me. "It was a long haul."
Sep. 5th, 2019 07:37 am (UTC)
11:45. I didn’t find this too hard, in spite of putting INTERFONE. It looks silly now but I thought it might be a brand name. Although in truth I didn’t think about it very much.
Sep. 5th, 2019 10:45 am (UTC)
I suppose "Interfone" could be a joint venture between Interflora and Vodafone, set up to enable flowers to purchased using one's mobile.
Sep. 5th, 2019 07:45 am (UTC)
I had DAWN something, and couldn't think what, so looked it up. And 1d had to be either HOUR or HAUL, and neither seemed to fit, so I went with HAUL. ('haul' and 'hall' aren't homophones in my dialect.) Only parsed COERCE post-solve. This took me forever, even with aids; I see I'm top o' the SNITCH, (which welcome back!).
Sep. 5th, 2019 12:37 pm (UTC)
Thanks. It’s nice to have it running smoothly again. Quite a spread of results today - you’re not alone at the red end.
Sep. 5th, 2019 07:49 am (UTC)
Never Ant Hill the mankind making, bird beast and flower fathering...
45 mins with yoghurt, granola, blueberries.
I liked it a lot. I was stuck for a while on Prehensile having been tricked into thinking the 'ready for grasping' might include pennies, or something.
Mostly I liked: Rat on, Human Interest, Demeter, Error and COD to the excellent Nudism.
Thanks setter and G.
Sep. 5th, 2019 08:13 am (UTC)
Goodness gracious, great balls of fire!
42 minutes with LOI DAWN CHORUS, never a burden to me, and much preferable to finding any HUMAN INTEREST stories in the newspaper. I trust that The Times will never sink that low. FOI was MIDDLE C, given away by its structure. I was glad we didn't have to travel too far to reach the French port. I'll give COD to the LUNATIC FRINGE, while making no reference to our PM's haircut. What's wrote under the ROTUNDA? New Street. Or at least it used to be when I lived near Birmingham. Hardish puzzle, but worth the frowns. Thank you George and setter.
Sep. 5th, 2019 08:50 am (UTC)
RE: Goodness gracious, great balls of fire!
Apologies if this is obvious but I think the setter means burden in the second sense in Collins (‘chorus or refrain’) rather than the first (‘something... oppressive’).
RE: Goodness gracious, great balls of fire! - robrolfe - Sep. 5th, 2019 09:19 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Goodness gracious, great balls of fire! - keriothe - Sep. 5th, 2019 12:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 5th, 2019 08:47 am (UTC)
That was quite tricky. I got HUMERUS straight away followed by a tentative RERUN, which I didn't see the parsing of until later, and SCIATICA. Then things slowed down. I think RAT ON was my next entry. However, I plugged away and was eventually left with 5d and 19a. FIREBALL XL5 arrived first and I then saw COERCE fitted, and les deux M est arrive. Pleased to have solved without resort to aids. 39:26. Thanks setter and George, and welcome back to the SNITCH.
Sep. 5th, 2019 12:39 pm (UTC)
Thanks, John
Sep. 5th, 2019 08:56 am (UTC)
Usual time
Worth it for NUDISM alone. Quite like COERCE as well.
Sep. 5th, 2019 09:15 am (UTC)
Another nod to NUDISM.

In my youth I joined a nudist colony. The first week was the hardest.
Sep. 5th, 2019 11:15 am (UTC)
Re: 33’
1st professor - ' tell me, have you read Marx?'

2nd professor - ' yes, i think it's these wicker chairs'
Sep. 5th, 2019 09:19 am (UTC)
40', worth it. COERCE LOI. Delayed a long time by LUNATIC FRINGE, and was convinced first word of 11ac must be LIGHTER.

I wonder if Handel thought of meaning two when he wrote the music to 'His yoke is easy, but his burden is light' ?

Thanks george and setter.

Sep. 5th, 2019 11:04 am (UTC)
19 A
Remember Fireball XL5 with Steve Zodiac - I'm still waiting for 'oxygen pills' to be invented - would help a lot with asthma.

. . or is it what a cat coughs up after finishing off a vindaloo?

Edited at 2019-09-05 11:07 am (UTC)
Re: 19 A - john_dun - Sep. 5th, 2019 01:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 5th, 2019 09:48 am (UTC)
In it for the long haul
I managed to squeeze in under 20 minutes, despite a very slow start. Another off-beat puzzle, with plenty of unusual-seeming elements to make it interesting.
It seems I completely failed to parse my last in, DAWN CHORUS, as the explanation came as a complete surprise when I read it in George's excellent analysis.
Couldn't see any problem with HAUL/hall, as I took haul to be a noun rather than a verb. As for the pronunciation, Chambers makes them identical (höl).
Sep. 5th, 2019 10:34 am (UTC)
Smooth run after yesterday's fits and starts. Nice puzzle. I hope you're safely inshore from Dorian George - it looks nasty and it does seem to be heading your way (not via Alabama as a certain map-maker would have us believe). 14.31
Sep. 5th, 2019 12:41 pm (UTC)
Asheville seems to be about 200 miles from the shore, so they should do pretty well.
(no subject) - glheard - Sep. 5th, 2019 07:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 5th, 2019 10:52 am (UTC)
I thought this was....
....verging on the SURREAL in places. Thanks to George for parsing CALAIS (I really hope this sort of clue remains rare !), and HAUL.

I always think that NUDISM is a pastime totally unsuited to the British climate.

TIME 15:34
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