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A pretty easy start with the top line going straight in flattered to deceive, and I took a hard-worked 29 minutes over this. Wordy clues needed much wrangling especially to tease out the wordplay, which I needed to do to verify sometimes flaky entries. I knew one of the two composers, but the other only as the first name of the Russian Ripsmecorsetsoff, who spelled it differently. There’s some petrology you may have to make up from available fragments, some Latin you may have to take a running jump at, and a couple of other words which might increase the scope of your vocabulary. I have tried to supply relevant dictionary and Wiki notes to back up my assumptions. I did like the furniture company undercutting the most end of end of season DFS sale.
Clues are thus, definitions so, and solutions WRIT LARGE

Across
1 A poignant novel about a South American (10)
PATAGONIAN A nice, cheerful anagram (novel) to start us off: A POIGNANT and A your letters to reshape
6 Go to the Highlands for a party (4)
GANG Some Scots for you, might as well be Burns: “And I will luve thee still, my dear, Till a' the seas gang dry.” Whatever, go translates to gang, and I suppose a party of (say) bricklayers is a gang
10 Calendar produced by charity — short collection about to follow (7)
ALMANAC Charity is ALMS which you cut short, and add ANA for collection (of someone's table talk or of gossip, literary anecdotes or possessions – Chambers) and C for about, as in Circa
11 Smaller region of Australia recalled when crossing plain (7)
SUBAREA Australia is represented by AUS, reversed and “crossing” BARE for plain.
12 Impressive sticker backing large theatre university inserted in petition (9)
SUPERGLUE I think this works as LG for large, REP for theatre and U for University all reversed (backing) in SUE for petition. Only resolved post solve, partly because of the unusual (but verified in sources) abbreviation for large
13 Girl staying in until daybreak (5)
TILDA Today’s hidden (and first random female) “staying in” unTIL DAybreak. Swinton the only one to spring to mind.
14 Something in the blood, etc, stirring Laurel on vacation (1-4)
T-CELL “A type of lymphocyte involved in cellular immunity, that matures (in mammals) in the thymus gland” An anagram (stirring) of ETC plus the LL that results when you empty Laurel. Only CELL emerges as a likely word, leaving the T to be the introductory letter.
15 By that time, opening a ridiculously cheap furniture business! (4,5)
IPSO FACTO your ridiculously cheap furniture business is a IP SOFA CO., T(ime) opens by finding a place towards the end. Today’s Latin
17 Masses of religious lessons to be taken from Plato’s work (3,6)
THE PUBLIC  Today’s (sort of) Greek is Plato’s THE REPUBLIC, from which you remove R(eligious) E(ducation)/lessons
20 Brit abroad disregarding British, goodness me! (5)
LIMEY Abroad being the US of A, primarily. Goodness me is BLIMEY from which the B for British is “disregarded”
21 In intelligence matters, not reaching Q? (2,3)
UP TOP, the definition closely mirroring Chambers “in the head, in respect of intelligence”. Not reaching Q is UP TO P, of course.
23 Leaves factory’s daily grind (5,4)
PAPER MILL I have visited Glen Mills PA, site of the paper mills that “supplied the United States government with a special, patented paper for the printing of government bonds and notes”. Nothing much remains of this once-significant site but a few broken walls and a plaque. Here we have a charade of daily (news)PAPER and grind: MILL (as in pepper)
25 Special forces, mostly veteran, supplying fairweather protection (7)
PARASOL The special forces are PARAS, and most of veteran is OL(d)
26 Major venue, part of summer activity in the West End (7)
AUGUSTA Home of The Masters golf tournament, one of the four “majors”. Part of summer is AUGUST, and the rest of the clue is a convoluted way of indicating A, on the west end of Activity.
27 Reflecting ruby, ultimately linked with pearls (4)
DEWY Reverse (reflecting) of the last letter (ultimately) of ruby plus WED for linked. That leaves the definition as “with pearls”. I have found an image of a “dewy cobweb with pearls from raindrops”. Will that do?
28 Like piper getting a note right: another is flat (4-1-5)
PIED-A-TERRE A rather famous piper was PIED, add A note: TE, R(ight) and another note RE

Down
1 Is solicitor’s power something 25 deflects? (5)
PRAYS P(ower) plus RAYS which would be deflected by 25’s PARASOL. This helped me get 25 rather than the other way round
2 Magazine article one reads for hours (9)
TIMEPIECE The magazine is the venerable TIME, and article just PIECE. A rather whimsical definition
3 Versatile soldier and sailor breaking contract (7-7)
GENERAL-PURPOSE Which makes the soldier a GENERAL, the sailor a PO (Petty Officer) and (to) contract PURSE (as lips)
4 German who scored Bayern’s last two clutching fizzy drink (7)
NICOLAI Scorers are often composers hereabouts. Bayern’s last is N, two is (are?) II, and COLA the fizzy drink “clasped”. Contemporary with Verdi, though he died 50 years before the master, he was at one time more popular in Italy than Giuseppe. Carl Otto Ehrenfried Nicolai, three quarters of whose name looks much more German, was most famous for his opera “Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor” based on guess which Shakespeare play.
5 One has matter in hand? Shilling on tax (7)
ABSCESS I think the hand is an AB (seaman) S is from Shilling and tax is CESS, rather an obsolete version. In medical terminology, matter is pus, content of an abscess.
7 Hearing warning of attack, left (5)
AURAL I wasn’t at all sure of AURA as a synonym for warning of attack, but Chambers gives “the peculiar sensations that precede an attack of epilepsy, hysteria, or certain other ailments” so that’s fine. Add L(eft)
8 Flight of Greek girl affected Troy (9)
GRADATORY The wordplay is GR(eek) ADA (random girl) and affected/anagram TROY the rest. Collins gives what Chambers doesn’t, the noun as a flight of stairs
9 Outstanding leader deserting Labour: one to sink the Tories (1,3,2,3,5)
A BIT OF ALL RIGHT Respaced, it’s leaderless LAB I (one) TO FALL (sink) RIGHT  (the Tories). I’ll leave you to work out who the outstanding Labour leader capable of trouncing the Conservatives might be. I could not possibly comment.
14 I got in three tangos and Rose pranced (9)
TITTUPPED Other spellings are available, but the sort of prancing that horses in particular do. I is (am?) inserted into TTT (three NATOs), and rose (ignore the capital) represents UPPED: “he upped/rose and went.”
16 Official party had launched 2001 Oscars (9)
COMMISSAR “Launch” MMI (2001 in Latin) with OSCARS
18 Rock fragments thrown from stage indisposed one (7)
LAPILLI Bits of rock chucked out of volcanoes, apparently. Trust the wordplay, stage is LAP, indisposed ILL and yet another I one.
19 The world of the busy composer (7)
COPLAND Old hands will know a busy is a police officer (19th century slang) so the world of the busy is COPLAND. Aaron (Fanfare for the Common Man) is the American composer.
22 Rattle, blanket or sling (5)
THROW A triple definition, a throw being a blanket designed to cover a piece of furniture.
24 Let out of jail, finally relax (5)
LEASE That sort of let out. Last letter (finally) of jaiL plus relax: EASE

Comments

( 45 comments — Leave a comment )
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ulaca
Sep. 12th, 2019 11:34 am (UTC)
Congratulations to all who finished this. I came up short, failing to lift and separate the Greek girl.

Could someone explain how IP equates to ridiculously cheap?
mauefw
Sep. 12th, 2019 11:40 am (UTC)
IP = 1p
(no subject) - ulaca - Sep. 12th, 2019 01:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
phmfantom
Sep. 12th, 2019 11:36 am (UTC)
Was completely stuck on NE corner except 6ac which went in immediately after FOI 1ac - had doubt about 5dn as couldn't see how to parse, or find anything for 8dn or 11ac which would fit. (Was trying to get something from Oz for latter) Eventually resorted to aids for suggestions, and completed in about an hour with 27ac LOI after rejecting DAWN.
topicaltim
Sep. 12th, 2019 11:38 am (UTC)
18:31
A very uneven solve, unsurprisingly, and in all honesty I can't say that's my favourite sort. Most answers in quite smoothly, followed by a prolonged wrestle with the obscurities. NHO GRADATORY, or that sort of AURA, or LAPILLI, or NICOLAI, or TITTUPPED. Not helped in that tricky NE corner by being unable to get SUBZONE out of my head, because it contained a reversed OZ, even though that made no sense.
mauefw
Sep. 12th, 2019 11:39 am (UTC)
Tough one - 17m 50s here. The right hand side proved tricky to get anywhere with, and even in the end there was a fair bit of guessing and hoping.

I don't think 2d works: "one reads for hours" is surely not a definition of a timepiece? It would have to be "one reads this for hours" or, at a stretch, "one reads hours", so far as I can construe it.
horryd
Sep. 12th, 2019 11:53 am (UTC)
2dn
As 'Joe Bloggs' notes 'one reads for hours' is merely whimsy.
(no subject) - ulaca - Sep. 12th, 2019 02:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
Ulaca - horryd - Sep. 12th, 2019 03:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Ulaca - ulaca - Sep. 13th, 2019 11:12 am (UTC) - Expand
eniamretrauq
Sep. 12th, 2019 01:36 pm (UTC)
So pleased with myself for having all but four answers in my 30 mins, despite all the obscurities. A STAG party, chucked in because they have stags in the highlands, left me with the Tirol for 7d, obviously wrong, and I ground to a halt. Another 10 mins made me realise that it wasn’t that kind of party. In the end I chucked in DEWY AURAL and ABSCESS in desperation, only to find that I had 100% success. Whew!
bletchleyreject
Sep. 12th, 2019 02:01 pm (UTC)
Close to a two hour solve but finally got there. Four new words and some pretty tough clues so I was happy to see that all was in correctly. Our Latin primer, "Gradatim", with a picture on the cover of someone climbing a flight of steps, helped with GRADATORY, my LOI.

Some great defs including 'By that' for 15a, 'one reads for hours' for 2d and 'One has matter in' (yuk) for 5d. I was surprised that TITTUPPED is a real word.

My favourite bit of NICOLAI is "Fantaisie avec variations brillantes sur Norma (Bellini)" for piano and orchestra. Worth a listen if you're interested.

Thanks to setter and blogger
penfold_61
Sep. 12th, 2019 04:16 pm (UTC)
Nope.
84801442
Sep. 12th, 2019 05:25 pm (UTC)
DNF
AVA rather than ADA but still six left in the NE. Horrifically convoluted clueing in places.

Next!
Mike Cowking
Sep. 12th, 2019 06:25 pm (UTC)
Do not tittup through the lapilli
Blimey indeed!!

Just like Dorsetjimbo, I had to check a lot of answers.

I will doubtless forget everything I've learnt today.
(Anonymous)
Sep. 12th, 2019 09:10 pm (UTC)
I didn’t finish, but I very much liked the 85% I got through. Copland, Superglue, Timepiece, The Public all amused me, and there were some clever hidden definitions. I’m sure if I set my sights on a sub 30 minute finish I’d be irked by the obscurities I didn’t get, but since I don’t or can’t, this was very good fun. And, I’ll say, a puzzle that benefitted from Z’s comprehensive style. Thx setter, and Z
Paul.in.london
verlaine
Sep. 12th, 2019 09:25 pm (UTC)
Re: 38:45
I thought my 12m time for this one was yet another indication of my accelerating decline but it turns out to have been alright, if scarcely Magoovian.

I loved the 1p sofa company so much, and it cluing a Latin phrase was the icing on the cake.
special_bitter
Sep. 12th, 2019 10:02 pm (UTC)
Another 50 odd minutes and another DNF. This one sort of wrestled me into submission. By the time I came to enter 8dn I didn't really have much left in the tank, certainly not enough to identify and correct my one letter error in a word I was not familiar with in the first place. The increasing sense of departure from terra firma (subarea, T-cell, lapilli, titupped, Nicolai) meant that by that point nothing seemed too outlandish. A tough one.
thud_n_blunder
Sep. 12th, 2019 10:10 pm (UTC)
It all went tittupped.
Given the choice between Ava and Ada in 8d, I plumped for Ana. It's a fair cop, though, since GRADATORY makes more sense and, had it been "granatory", there would have been other options for the clueing. Shame, though, as I'd slogged through this one for an hour, much of which was spent muttering "TITTUPPED can't be a word. I'll feel a fool if I put it in and it's wrong."

I was very pleased with myself for knowing an iota of Plato and the two composers, and grinned at IPSO FACTO, which is my CoD.
martinp1
Sep. 13th, 2019 04:46 am (UTC)
DNF
A day late and several dollars short. What an absolute stinker!!!
4 clues left unsolved after two hours (SUBAREA, ABSCESS, GANG and AURAL) and one other (SUPERGLUE) I had to use an aid to solve. Plus several other answers that I had to check that they were really words.
To add to that PAPER MILL started out life as PLANT LIFE which is equally valid....but wrong!
Well done Z for blogging that. i have only just emerged from undernath a cold compress!
(Anonymous)
Oct. 19th, 2019 02:44 am (UTC)
Cocking a snoot
I am surprised that anyone was complimentary to the setter.
I have great difficulty in believing the veracity of those who claimed to ave completed it.
A good puzzle should certainly stretch you, but should not send you scurrying to reference books. You should enjoy a chuckle at the occasional sparkling clue but not feel that the setter is an antagonist.
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( 45 comments — Leave a comment )

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