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17:35. Due to an oversight at the Times this puzzle didn’t appear until Monday, and I didn’t get round to solving it until a day or two later. I found it quite tricky, for reasons that are completely lost on me as I write up the blog. Whatever they were they were nothing to do with wilful obscurity, because there was nothing in here I didn’t know and as we all know, the definition of 'obscurity' is 'something I don't know'. I do enjoy working out funny words from wordplay, but I also admire a puzzle like this that manages to be challenging without resorting to them.

So thanks once again to Bob for a lovely puzzle, and here’s how I think it all works…

Definitions are underlined, anagrams indicated like (TIHS)*, anagram indicators are in italics.

1 Luxurious hotel’s abandoned asset
4 Upset all odds and catch one?
COELACANTH - (AlL, CATCH, ONE)*. ‘All odds’ being an instruction to take only the odd letters of ALL. I thought these fish were extinct, but it turns out there are still a couple of species knocking about. They are however very rare, so to catch one would very much be against the odds. &Lit, and an excellent one at that.
9 Hot bread one left out
10 Indignant child may be raised here?
UP IN ARMS - two definitions, one mildly cryptic.
11 Special gardens suffered in a motoring accident
ARBORETA - A, R(BORE)TA. RTA stands for ‘road traffic accident’. It has come up in these puzzles before, I don’t think I’ve ever come across it in the wild.
12 Actors wanting the lead in films
13 Avoid spring visiting desert unescorted
LEAVE WELL ALONE - LEAVE (desert) WELL (spring) ALONE (unescorted).
16 A sailor they say runs tests for soldiers
ASSAULT COURSES - homophone of ‘a salt’ followed by COURSES (runs).
20 Draw a ring round the capital of Peru
22 Finish fish, squeezing over piece of fruit
ENDOCARP - END(O), CARP. ‘The inner, usually woody, layer of the pericarp of a fruit, such as the stone of a peach or cherry’.
24 They blow rent knocking back drink
TORNADOS - TORN, reversal of SODA.
25 Present at birth tucked away behind tavern
INNATE - INN, ATE (tucked away).
26 Parties of runners, maybe drinking quickly to absorb energy
BEANFEASTS - BEAN(F(E)AST)S. A matryoshka clue.
27 Genuine Caravaggio’s first shown in the retrospective
ECHT - reversal of THE containing Caravaggio.

2 Side that’s after Arsenal’s wingers
3 Burst lotion almost beginning to ooze
SALVO - SALVe, Ooze.
4 Fish basket that’s gone rotten inside
CONGER EEL - CREEL (basket) containing (GONE)*. I knew CREEL as a sort of lobster trap but it can also just be a basket, especially if it’s holding fish.
5 Bird unable to fly behind mirror
EMULATE - EMU, LATE (behind).
6 A college not displaying its old spirit
7 It’s unwise to force a climbing plant
AMARYLLIS - reversal (climing) of SILLY, RAM, A.
8 Tropical tree deserted by its last monkey
TAMARIN - TAMARINd. Bit of a chestnut.
14 Hero soon has bold maiden imprisoned
15 They’re steamy in Paris, the king wears lingerie
LAUNDRIES - LA (in Paris the), UND(R)IES.
17 Expect to be affected by drink
SUPPOSE - SUP, POSE (be affected).
18 Where bats display evidence of iron deficiency?
CREASES - a double cryptic definition: the first disguising a cricket reference as a statement about flying mice, the second disguising a household appliance as a nutritional necessity.
19 Tax period
STRETCH - a straight DD this time.
21 Room register
LODGE - and another one. ‘Room’ here has to be a verb, I think.
23 Sort of ocean craft


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 8th, 2019 12:51 am (UTC)
The last 10' offline, over lunch. I've got AMARYLLIS, ARBORETA (I also dnk RTA), LAUNDRIES, & BEANFEASTS parsed in the margins, which suggests that they were unsolved when I went offline. I'm not sure I could have spelled COELACANTH without help. COD to ECHT.

Edited at 2019-09-08 03:02 am (UTC)
Sep. 8th, 2019 02:17 am (UTC)
I am looking at a different set of clues for 4866 Robert Price
1ac starts "Prune fed to bird in crate" (6) I printed it off on Wednesday and was solving the same version as the friend who emailed me the link. Were there 2 versions in the mix up?
Sep. 8th, 2019 03:07 am (UTC)
Re: I am looking at a different set of clues for 4866 Robert Price
This puzzle--the one Keriothe has just blogged--is marked '(new)' in the club files; it should have been published Sunday the 1st. The one you've got is actually 4863, mistakenly repeated as 4866 instead of this one.
Sep. 8th, 2019 12:05 pm (UTC)
Re: I am looking at a different set of clues for 4866 Robert Price
Thank you. I didnt recognize it was a repeat. I am surprised the link wasn't updated automatically.
Sep. 8th, 2019 05:41 am (UTC)
When this eventually appeared after the mix-up I had other puzzles in my schedule so it didn't receive my fullest attention. In consequenece, by failing to check wordplay in detail I had a wrong letter in the top row that resulted in two wrong answers, namely COELOCANTH and ORIEL. Also I'm not entirely sure now that I 'got' the ironing reference at 18dn.
Sep. 8th, 2019 06:44 am (UTC)
26:28. Not easy, but I enjoyed this a lot, and was pleased to work it all out without aids. I particularly liked CONGER EEL and the clever &lit COELACANTH, but COD to 18D for the deceptive and witty 2nd definition. Iron deficiency, ha ha!
Sep. 8th, 2019 07:12 am (UTC)
I found this a lot trickier than the original 4866, but very enjoyable. I loved 18d, "iron deficiency" too. COELACANTH from wordplay, as I couldn't have defined it or spelled it correctly, even though it rang a faint bell. ENDOCARP similarly. Took ages to remember TAMARIN(D) even though it was obvious once I had it. ECHT finally seems to have lodged in my brain. BEANFEASTS was my LOI after staring at it for ages. Liked 4d 5d and 6d. Lovely puzzle. 34:39. Thanks Bob and K.
Sep. 8th, 2019 08:12 am (UTC)
I completed the first puzzle that appeared and wondered why it looked familiar! At least i got it all right!
Sep. 8th, 2019 10:57 am (UTC)
I found this rather easy which is in complete contrast to Dean’s today.
Sep. 8th, 2019 11:29 am (UTC)
The ST puzzle has been such a highlight of my crossword week for so many years now that I was really disappointed to find the version published last week was one I had already done leaving me with nothing to do but twiddle my thumbs. At least we got there in the end though. I found this both excellent and tough but a mis-biffed Oriel college also led to a transposition of the first A and the O in coelacanth giving me two errors in my time of 50 odd minutes or so. This definitely deserved to be solved with a couple of coffees on a lazy Sunday rather than crammed in with the other midweek ones.
Sep. 8th, 2019 02:30 pm (UTC)
My LOI was ARIEL, and biffed before I realized what college over there it was referring to. Had never heard of BEANFEASTS.
"Room" as a verb for 21 seems most likely, indeed—although I do find in Collins this British definition of "lodge": "a room for the use of porters in a university, college, etc."

Edited at 2019-09-08 02:33 pm (UTC)
Sep. 8th, 2019 08:23 pm (UTC)
No comment !
Being forced to do this online, which is a nightmare for a dyspraxic with a smartphone, I have no notes to refer to, but seem to remember that it was up to the standards we've come to expect from Bob. I took around 17 minutes as I remember, and that would probably have been 13 minutes in the old-fashioned way.

COD was ARBORETA - as a taxi driver with good old two-way radio, RTA was immediately familiar.
Oct. 25th, 2019 09:30 pm (UTC)
Got there ....
Thanks Bob and keriothe
Thankfully in getting a delayed syndicated copy in Aus, the problem with the replicated earlier puzzle did not arise. Still didn't get to it until a month after anyway!
Found it pretty tough going and took a bit over an hour across a number of sittings to get it out. Particularly struggled with ARBORETA, where I initially had ARBOREDA (BORED instead of BORE, which made it un-parsable) - still took ages to track down the RTA crash reference.
Lots to like in the other clues - the doubly cryptic CREASES was my favourite after entering it with a chuckle.
Finished in the NE corner with TAMARIN (that as a chestnut was still newish to me), AMARYLLIS (with the clever reverse charade) and LAYERS (deceptively tricky) as the last few in.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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