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This was relatively straightforward for a Saturday, particularly the wordplay. The fun came from the many cunning definitions, like 17ac, 22ac, 5dn, 8dn and 21dn. I hope you all enjoyed it. Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle. My favourite clue was 5dn, because the definition was so well disguised.

Here we go. Clues are blue, with definitions underlined. Answers are in BOLD CAPS, then wordplay. (ABC*) means ‘anagram of ABC’. Deletions are in [square brackets]. The blog is in Times New Roman font, as part of a gentle campaign to urge the club site to use a font in which it is easier to tell one’s stem from one’s stern.

Across
1 Plant cricket bat before woman's bowled (10)
WILLOWHERB – WILLOW (bat), HER, (woman’s), B (bowled). As usual, I didn't know the plant.

7 Court poet losing heart (4)
DATE – DA[n]TE.

9 Still without female company, granny's taken to tango (8)
STAGNANT – STAG (without female company), NAN, T (tango).

10 Current half-century in square under control (2,4)
IN LINE – I (electrical current), L (50, in Roman numerals), in NINE (square).

11 Forbidding cook to recruit east German (6)
FROSTY – FRY (cook), OST (east, in German).

13 Ace dashed back with it, out of control (8)
ANARCHIC – A (ace), NAR (RAN, ‘back’), CHIC (with it).

14 In chat room, I'd set out contents of some cells (12)
MITOCHONDRIA – (IN CHAT ROOM ID*) (“set out”).

17 Are cuts appearing in unique Sky show? (5,7)
SOLAR ECLIPSE – ARE CLIPS in SOLE.

20 Pleasant subject covers most of botanic gardens (8)
LIKEABLE – KE[w] in LIABLE.

21 Fish smell masks old egg (6)
BONITO – B.O. “masks” O[ld] NIT.

22 Eatery in South Africa offering beds (6)
STRATA – TRAT[toria] in S.A. Geological beds, not the B&B type.

23 Start, having passed river on time (8)
OVERTURE – OVER (passed), T (time), URE.

25 Page in dictionary that shows views (2-2)
OP-ED – P[age] in O.E.D.

26 Duke providing barrier to limit queen’s dispute? (10)
DIFFERENCE – D (duke), IF (providing), FENCE limiting’ (that is, outside) E.R.


Down
2 Mingle during session nine (8)
INTERMIX – IN TERM, IX (nine).

3 On stage (3)
LEG – double definition: cricket, and racing.

4 Suspicious about vehicle's second exhaust (5)
WEARY – WARY ‘about’ E from [v]E[hicle].

5 Board in, say, Victoria aren’t randomly elected (7)
ENTRAIN – (ARENT*) (‘randomly’), IN (elected).

6 British Council’s first to acquire exotic Arabic junk (4-1-4)
BRIC-A-BRAC – BC to ‘acquire’ (ARABIC*) (‘junk’).

7 Relish atmosphere during Democratic poll (11)
DELECTATION – AT (atmosphere) ‘during’ D[emocratic] ELECTION. I wasn’t familiar with AT as an abbreviation for ‘atmosphere’, but it’s in Collins.

8 Often unwanted tissue is not about length (6)
TONSIL – TON SI (IS NOT, ‘about’), L (length).

12 At work, he stops conflict beginning to develop? (4,7)
SHOP STEWARD – (HE STOPS*) (‘at work’), then WAR (conflict), D[evelop].

15 Occasionally left squeezer in grim conditions in B&B (4,5)
HALF BOARD – LF (‘occasional’, or odd, letters of LeFt) plus BOA (squeezer), in HARD (grim).

16 Cryptic couple of notes hidden in Morecambe (8)
ESOTERIC – SO and TE are the notes, ‘hidden in’ ERIC.

18 Quickly go through angler’s problem? (4,3)
REEL OFF – as in ‘reel off the statistics’. A double definition, although I doubt that losing reels is a problem that anglers encounter in real life!

19 Erecting one needs lots of guys good in piece work (3,3)
BIG TOP – G (good) in BIT, OP. It’s close to being a cryptic definition too.

21 Bishop always upset item in bar (5)
BREVE – B (bishop), REVE (EVER, ‘upset’). The definition relates to a musical bar, of course.

24 At regular intervals strike match (3)
TIE – even letters of s-T-r-I-k-E.

Comments

( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
kevingregg
Sep. 7th, 2019 12:10 am (UTC)
22:56
DNK 1ac, of course. LOI DATE, of all things; Donne came to mind as the poet, and in accordance with Gresham's Law of crosswords, a bad solution drove out the good, and it took me a long time to think of Dante. Something similar at 8d, where I came up with AGNAIL first; hopeless, of course, but it delayed TONSIL for a while. Bruce, I'd extend the underline at 5d to include 'in, say, Victoria'.
brnchn
Sep. 7th, 2019 12:14 am (UTC)
RE: 22:56
Thanks
jackkt
Sep. 7th, 2019 05:34 am (UTC)
Much of this was straightforward but there were enough unknowns for me to struggle a bit and then feel satisfaction when I worked them out by other means and found I was correct, MITOCHONDRIA and BONITO being the prime examples, the latter sounding more like a biscuit or chocolate bar than a type of tuna!

Didn't actually know at. = atmosphere, WILLOWHERB or OP-ED but they didn't present me with any problems. 41 minutes.
kevingregg
Sep. 7th, 2019 05:47 am (UTC)
I remember MITOCHONDRIA from 8th-grade biology, which was probably the last time I encountered the word. You might know BONITO as skipjack; I didn't know they were the same fish.
jackkt
Sep. 7th, 2019 06:41 am (UTC)
Thanks, that's interesting. I do know 'skipjack' and remember when it came up not long ago that I was surpised how many commenters said they didn't.

Just realised the fish is only one letter away from the biscuit for dogs called BONIO.

Edited at 2019-09-07 04:20 pm (UTC)
boltonwanderer
Sep. 7th, 2019 06:13 am (UTC)
Come down to Kew in Lilac Time
Sadly, summer is over for another year. This seemed slightly easier than normal for a Saturday taking about 25 minutes. DNK BONITO but the cryptic and crossers were kind. Knew of MITOCHONDRIA(l) DNA and Rosebay WILLOWHERB, so they solved readily enough. LOI and COD LIKEABLE. 'It may be only Kew to you but to me it's paradise' is another bit of verse I remember but now can't find on t'internet. Anybody help? This was a pleasant puzzle for our DELECTATION. Leonard Sachs on 'The Good Old Days' would have managed many more adjectives than that. Thank you B and setter.
sawbill
Sep. 7th, 2019 07:47 am (UTC)
RE: Come down to Kew in Lilac Time
Were you thinking of Andy Fairweather Low? “If Paradise is half as nice as ..... I’d rather have Kew?”.

One of the easier but still enjoyable crosswords. Thanks All.
boltonwanderer
Sep. 7th, 2019 11:11 am (UTC)
RE: Come down to Kew in Lilac Time
I'd have to be wide-eyed and legless to think that was the right verse.
john_dun
Sep. 7th, 2019 01:17 pm (UTC)
Re: Come down to Kew in Lilac Time
I presume that's a rare occurrence:-)
boltonwanderer
Sep. 7th, 2019 05:41 pm (UTC)
RE: Re: Come down to Kew in Lilac Time
Nowadays, yes.
john_dun
Sep. 7th, 2019 06:08 pm (UTC)
Re: Come down to Kew in Lilac Time
:-)
isla3
Sep. 7th, 2019 02:13 pm (UTC)
Re: Come down to Kew in Lilac Time
It appears in a Graham Greene novel, so might be made up. Have yyou read 'A Gun for Sale'?
Google "only Kew to you" in quotes, and get:

A Gun for Sale - Page 5 of 20 read online - Thriller books, thriller ...

thrillerbooksfree.com › book › a-gun-for-sale › page-5-of-20
'It's only Kew To you, But to me It's Paradise.' He said, 'I've heard that tune.' He couldn't remember where: he remembered a dark night and a cold wind and ...
jackkt
Sep. 7th, 2019 04:22 pm (UTC)
Re: Come down to Kew in Lilac Time
Unspammed. The dotcom did for it.
boltonwanderer
Sep. 7th, 2019 05:25 pm (UTC)
RE: Re: Come down to Kew in Lilac Time
Thanks, Isla. 'A Gun for Sale' is where I knew it from. I had a Graham Greene phase back in the early sixties. I then had a girl friend a few years later who took me to Kew Gardens and recited another couple of lines when I mentioned it. So there is more but, like that lost youth, it is proving elusive!
philjordan
Sep. 7th, 2019 06:16 am (UTC)
This was a relatively.....
....BREVE encounter, and used up around half of my target time.

DNK OP-ED, or that "at = atmosphere". Wasn't really struck on the obscure word as an anagram device for MITOCHONDRIA, which fortunately rang a very faint bell from I know not where.

FOI WILLOWHERB
LOI SHOP STEWARD
COD HALF BOARD
TIME 10:10
johninterred
Sep. 7th, 2019 06:59 am (UTC)
I found this a breeze with OP-ED my only unknown, although I vaguely remembered the term without knowing what it meant. TONSIL my LOI. A single tick on my copy shows my COD was SHOP STEWARD, which made me chuckle. Thanks B and setter. 12:54.
rosedeprovence
Sep. 7th, 2019 07:51 am (UTC)
Good fun
I enjoyed this Saturday jaunt, despite several unknowns, as others, WILLOWHERB, OP-ED, AND MITOWHOTSIT. Came in just under the hour. LOI TONSIL, very clever. Thank you setter and BRNCHN, especially for BONITA, which I realised I had not parsed.
john_dun
Sep. 7th, 2019 09:48 am (UTC)
Like others I was unaware that at could stand for atmosphere, but I shrugged and moved on. Knew the plant and the cell content, but needed the wordplay to spell it correctly. Liked LIKEABLE. HALF BOARD held me up for a while. All done in 28:51. Thanks setter and Bruce.
thud_n_blunder
Sep. 7th, 2019 11:21 am (UTC)
One of the problems with the Saturday puzzles is that the comments (understandably) don't open until I've almost forgotten the puzzle itself. Nonetheless, I do remember appreciating MITOCHONDRION, and learning the meaning of OP-ED.
brnchn
Sep. 7th, 2019 08:24 pm (UTC)
Almost forgotten ...
I agree. I've started printing the Saturday Jumbos and Sunday Cryptics, and putting them aside until their blogs are nearly due. That way I can look at the blog while I still remember.

I can't do it for the Saturday Cryptic of course!
(Anonymous)
Sep. 7th, 2019 02:15 pm (UTC)
This was a fun puzzle to canter through but my time of 22:41 is rendered null and void by my having apparently typed bric-a-bric. Bah!
special_bitter
Sep. 7th, 2019 02:17 pm (UTC)
Sorry that anon was me, didn't log in properly.
vinyl1
Sep. 7th, 2019 03:18 pm (UTC)
I was just about to open the blog last night....
....when we had a big internet outage over here. I can just play music and read a book, but the police stations and hospitals who lost their phone service were not very happy.

So I'm a bit late to the party on this relatively easy Saturday puzzle, although it is necessary to know a few things to get through. My time of 35 minutes is good for me, my chief concern being the correct spelling of mitochondria.
keriothe
Sep. 7th, 2019 07:05 pm (UTC)
8:25. I found this pretty straightforward. I even sort of knew the plant for once, although I've only come across it preceded by 'rosebay'.
I'm surprised how many people haven't heard of MITOCHONDRIA.
(Anonymous)
Sep. 7th, 2019 10:01 pm (UTC)
Another solver here for whom BONITO was new, but it was fairly clear. SHOP STEWARD stood out.

Incidentally, does anyone else think one of the down clues in today's prize has two valid answers? (Difficult to be more specific for a prize puzzle, but I doubt I'm the only one who's spotted it.)

- Nila Palin
brnchn
Sep. 7th, 2019 10:30 pm (UTC)
Two answers?
Save that thought for next week, please!
(Anonymous)
Sep. 7th, 2019 10:38 pm (UTC)
Re: Two answers?
Will do. Unless I've got the answer wrong in the first place, in which case you'll never hear from me again. :-D

- Nila Palin
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )

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