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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.

Across
1 Luxurious hotel’s abandoned asset
PLUS - PLUSh.
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
STOLEN - STOLlEN.
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
LAYERS - pLAYERS.
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
APPEAL - A, P(Peru)EAL.
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.

Down
2 Side that’s after Arsenal’s wingers
LATERAL - LATER, ArsenaL.
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
ARIEL - A, oRIEL.
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
AGAMEMNON - A(GAME, M)NON.
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
CANOE - (OCEAN)*.

Comments

john_dun
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.