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Times 27,455: Live Free Or Dipole

I am suffering from blogger's glum because I'd completed a fairly extensive write-up of this one... which got eaten beyond my powers of retrieval when I clicked on the "Post" button. Such is life! I seem to recall asserting that this was the very definition of a "wavelength puzzle", with the early SNITCH numbers being decked out in both angry reds and soothing greens. With a number of answers getting written straight in, and after yesterday's beast, I thought this might be a very gentle one, but I got well bogged down in the second half.

In the Clue of the Day stakes, 2dn was very cute and I am duty-bound to give massive props to the triumvirate of classical clues, especially 16dn and 23d, but I think my favourite was 27ac as I've gotten really into eels lately. Did you know for instance that the Loch Ness Monster may in fact have been a giant eel based on DNA evidence recently retrieved from the waters? Or that a new species of eel was recently discovered with the highest voltage yet recorded, a truly shocking 860V? Thanks then (for the second time) to the sinuous-minded setter for an excellent Friday offering. And I hope this posts properly this time as I'm not going to type out all my best eel anecdotes three times in the same day!

1 Browning expert is good health professional (11)
TOASTMASTER - double def, kinda, of somebody who is expert at making toast, or somebody who is expert at making toasts ("your very good health!")

7 Renounce piece of meat (3)
CUT - double def

9 Sort of garden abandoned to Caliban (9)
BOTANICAL - (TO CALIBAN*) ["abandoned"]

10 Moulds are amusing — man impressed (5)
FUNGI - FUN [amusing] + G.I. [man impressed (into the US army)]

11 Live broadcast recommending a large jar (7)
AMPHORA - AM [(I) live] + homophone of FOR [recommending] + A

12 Leader of group rowing sent to back area after hotel meal (4,3)
HIGH TEA - a "group rowing" is an EIGHT; send its leading letter to the back to make IGHTE, add an A for area to the end and an H for hotel to the front...

13 Covered, having undergone a criminal check (5)
CASED - double def. The obscurer second part is as in, "casing the joint".

15 The King’s estate bringing honour to country (9)
GRACELAND - GRACE [honour] to LAND [country]. The King as in Elvis of course.

17 Europeans on moon altered particles, in theory (9)
MONOPOLES - POLES (Europeans) on (MOON*) ["altered"]. According to my handy live in physicist, a monopole is a magnetic north pole without an associated south pole, or vice versa; such a thing is not known to exist but theoretically it could!

19 Poor people feel this secure at church (5)
PINCH - PIN [secure] at CH [church]

20 Withdraw in wrong order in remote country (7)
OUTBACK - BACK OUT [withdraw], topsy-turvied

22 Racing home perhaps? (3,4)
THE FLAT - double def

24 Fast one taking secretary in (5)
APACE - ACE [one] taking P.A. [secretary] in

25 High-flown weapon — nearly a cluster of them? (9)
BOMBASTIC - BOMB [weapon] + A STIC{k}. Per the internet, "a stick" can mean "the structure to which a set of bombs in a bomber aircraft are attached and which drops the bombs when it is released."

27 Fishy-sounding place (3)
ELY - homophone of EELY [fishy]

28 Second-hand story of Pope’s toe? (5,6)
URBAN LEGEND - URBAN was a pope and he probably had a toe at the END of his LEG, or so a man in a pub once reliably informed me.

1 This boat unwieldy? Objection overturned (3)
TUB - reversed BUT [objection]

2 Be a nuisance, wanting tea say not in a mug? (3,2)
ACT UP - T [tea, say] in A CUP, i.e. "not in a mug"

3 Time to embrace many times over (7)
TENFOLD - T ENFOLD [time | to embrace]

4 Port Gabriel, for one (9)
ARCHANGEL - double def. Is there actually a Port Gabriel anywhere that anyone knows of?

5 Italicise “Hard earth cultivated” (5)
TILTH - TILT [italicise, in a way] + H [hard]

6 Being in flight, not agree say to turn back for son (7)
REFUGEE - to not agree is to REFUSE. Replace its S [son] with reversed E.G. [say, "to turn back"], for a "being", as in an individual, in flight or fleeing. Whew!

7 Place limits on prison transport (9)
CONSTRAIN - or CONS' TRAIN [prison transport]

8 Various stuff in rear of loft — it hasn’t had to be sorted (4,3,4)
THIS AND THAT - {lof}T + (IT HASN'T HAD*) ["to be sorted"]

11 Roughly overturned sideboard brought round at house (11)
ACCOMMODATE - reversed CA [roughly] + COMMODE [sideboard] "brought round" AT

14 Refuge from horrible scary aunt (9)
SANCTUARY - (SCARY AUNT*) ["horrible"]

16 One cat breaks away, almost — touch wood (5,4)
ABSIT OMEN - I TOM [one | cat] "breaks" ABSEN{t} [away, "almost"]. YAY LATIN CLUES

18 In French town, dead level (7)
PLATEAU - in PAU [French town], LATE [dead], Pau is a place that seems to do above averagely well out of cryptic crosswords.

19 Dignitary could be said to be on time? (7)
PRELATE - if one is pre-late, then one is presumably on time!

21 Last of milk infant brought up, producing spit (5)
KEBAB - {mil}K + reversed BABE [infant]

23 Flower, deep in the ground, no forget-me-not! (5)
LETHE - this is a classical cryptic definition, so in theory right up my alley, but it was still my LOI by miles. Lethe was a river, i.e. a flow-er, in the Underworld, famed for its powers to induce forgetfulness in dead souls of their earthly lives. Given how extensive an alphabet trawl I needed to undertake before I finally hit upon it, it seems its reputation is not unwarranted!

26 Fish not bought on credit (3)
COD - double def, where the second part is C.O.D. [cash on delivery]


( 45 comments — Leave a comment )
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Sep. 13th, 2019 07:03 am (UTC)
Urban Piggie
My first thought of the day was that 28dn might be URBAN PIGGIE but.....
it was sadly LEGEND.

Enjoyed a bit Elvis at 15ac GRACELAND and 27ac ELY (made a change from see-ing)



COD 22ac THE FLAT (simples)

WOD 12ac HIGH TEA with a nod to his Lordship's BLOGGER'S GLUM

Bit of a week! 50 minutes.

Edited at 2019-09-13 07:08 am (UTC)
Sep. 13th, 2019 07:03 am (UTC)
30 minutes
Bang on average for me. Only ABSIT OMEN unknown. I live in a mill and have a large (2m x 1m)very old metal eel trap built into the side of the sluice wall.They used to nail the eels to my front door to strip off the skin. I also have an eelskin wallet. There, that's all of my eel stories.
Sep. 13th, 2019 11:37 am (UTC)
RE: 30 minutes
I don't know if those skins could be used to make footwear...but I suppose they'd soon be down at 'eel. Sorry, I'll go to my room.
Sep. 13th, 2019 07:34 am (UTC)
53 minutes, with the bottom half much tougher going than the top.

Helpfully I was reading some Larry Niven recently, and magnetic MONOPOLES came up in passing. Unhelpfully, I didn't know that meaning of COMMODE, that Pau was a town anywhere, let alone in France, or the "stick" of bombs. I got to the last by thinking of "cluster" as a verb and assuming meant to stick together...


My commiserations on the eaten post, V. I hate it when that happens, yet even after many decades of computing I still sometimes forget to do the "copy to the clipboard just in case" trick and end up losing blog posts and comments...

PS: What's the toothbrush doing in 7d?

Edited at 2019-09-13 07:37 am (UTC)
Sep. 13th, 2019 07:51 am (UTC)
Commiserations on the blogger's glum, V. It's very annoying when that happens. Despite nearly scuppering myself with the litle-known GMANI moulds at 10A (thinking 'impressed' signified a hidden), I'm in the green camp with a NITCH of 86. I struggled to remember ABSIT OMEN and tried and failed to get BALLISTIC to work for 25A, but remembered LETHE. I liked HIGH TEA and THIS AND THAT and had a chuckle at ELY. Fun puzzle. Thanks setter and V. 19:11

Edited at 2019-09-13 07:52 am (UTC)
le toothbrush - sotira - Sep. 13th, 2019 10:04 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: le toothbrush - penfold_61 - Sep. 13th, 2019 11:38 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: le toothbrush - sotira - Sep. 13th, 2019 12:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: le toothbrush - kevingregg - Sep. 13th, 2019 12:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
toothbrush - sawbill - Sep. 13th, 2019 01:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
Pau - horryd - Sep. 13th, 2019 01:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Pau - falooker - Sep. 13th, 2019 04:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
Stray Toothbrushes - verlaine - Sep. 13th, 2019 04:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 13th, 2019 07:55 am (UTC)
I was surprised when I went to SNITCH early on, to see that eg Verlaine actually went into 2 digits on this. (LOI LETHE? Shocking.) I'd say I was on the wavelength, but I haven't the slightest idea what that means. DNK MONOPOLES, of course, and DNK the STIC(K). Barely remembered THE FLAT from one of these. BIFD 11ac, 12ac, 11d, 16d; in the case of 11, from the A, without a clue at the time as to how things worked. I'm pretty sure this has come up before, but GIs aren't impressed; that was something the British Navy used to do back when Britannia ruled etc.
Sep. 13th, 2019 12:45 pm (UTC)
Re: 13:31
Well, you could be drafted, but most of the GIs of WWII were volunteers.
Sep. 13th, 2019 07:56 am (UTC)
A fun solve. The river at the bottom had me stumped for a long time - because I had THE (homing pigeon) LOFT for 22a!
Sep. 13th, 2019 08:08 am (UTC)
17:11. I found this trickyish, and great fun. LETHE was my last in too.
Collins defines ‘stick’ as ‘a group of bombs arranged to fall at intervals across a target’, so it seems it can be used to refer to the bombs themselves rather than something they are attached to.
I don’t have any eel stories. I like eating them.
Sep. 13th, 2019 08:14 am (UTC)
21:41 … maybe you had to be in the mood — I just found the arbitrary difficulty of a handful of clues a bit annoying. Still, on the plus side, I now know the name of the 58th largest town in France.

I really had to think about who 'The King' might be …. it’s been a long time.

There were some fun things, admittedly. Despite myself, I’ll give a COD nod to the leg end.

Cheers, all

Edited at 2019-09-13 10:05 am (UTC)
Sep. 13th, 2019 03:54 pm (UTC)
Another blog I read has been going on about Don Mclean and his famous hits recently, so The King was at the forefront

And now I see the next entry.

Edited at 2019-09-13 03:54 pm (UTC)
Sep. 13th, 2019 08:14 am (UTC)
While the King was looking down...
... the jester stole his thorny crown. 38 minutes, which I was pleased with. FOI ARCHANGEL, LOI LETHE. COD to URBAN LEGEND for its delightful mix of sacred and profane. I also liked GRACELAND. We were talking about American Pie here recently. His Bobship wasn't keen with the standard interpretation. "Don McLean, 'American Pie,' what a song that is. A jester? Sure, the jester writes songs like 'Masters of War,' 'A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall,' 'It’s Alright, Ma' – some jester. I have to think he’s talking about somebody else. Ask him."
I was pleased to rescue PRELATE from the clutches of a primate, and then to see THE FLAT, another good clue. A chewy puzzle without becoming impossible, but only because I knew ABSIT OMEN. Thank you V and setter. (I'd just finished this post when it it disappeared, so I now have a bad case of poster's glum.)

Sep. 13th, 2019 09:02 am (UTC)
42 minutes, very pleased to have worked out the unknown MONOPOLES from wordplay.

I wasn't sure about STICK in relation to bombs but it didn't seem an unreasonable assumption they were somehow connected.

I think maybe the city of PAU has caught me out before but I was in no doubt I'd find it exists when I looked it up.

Not sure I've seen URBAN LEGEND before as the expression I know is 'urban myth'.

I checked the names of the rivers in Hades for a comment I made on 2nd September re the clue to FERRYMAN, so LETHE was fresh in my mind. Styx is the most common in Crosswordland with ACHERON putting in occasional appearances, but the other two, Phlegethon and Cocytus, seem never to have turned up.

Edited at 2019-09-13 09:16 am (UTC)
Sep. 13th, 2019 03:14 pm (UTC)
I heard that expression many years ago, and have heard it since many more times than your alternative. Maybe it’s more common across the pond.
Sep. 13th, 2019 09:29 am (UTC)
Live long and prosper, T'Pau
In in just under 20 minutes, with the top left cluster my last in - never the route to a speedy solve. I was fixated on working out what a tanning professional might be, thinking how clever I was to see that sort of browning.
I didn't parse ABSIT OMEN, so I'm not sure how I got there - magic, perhaps. Liked the Pope's toe and the up-chucking bairn for its deceitful surface.
I am copying this before posting: few things are more annoying in life than seeing one's beautifully crafted prose vanish into the blogosphere, with that terrible realisation that even ctrl-z won't get it back.
Erudite blogging, V, especially in the circumstances. Love the entirely surreal toothbrush.
Sep. 13th, 2019 10:50 am (UTC)
Whenever I comment, I always do a ctrlC before hitting Post Comment, having lost many an erudite composition to the vagaries of the Internet. Like Z I'd been fixated on some sort of Tanning Salon practitioner for 1a, so it was close to the end, after I had all the crossers, that the toast popped out of the toaster. TUB and BOTANICAL were my first 2 in. ARCHANGEL was an easy 3rd entry. After that, things got trickier. A brush with ballistic missiles slowed down my ABSIT OMEN, with only a consideration of where ITOM might fit into the grid causing reconsideration and enlightenment. This led to GRACELAND, where I'd been trying to shoehorn GREENLAND or GEORGE.... in without success. MONOPOLES were lurking in the depths, and were brought to the fore by PLATEAU. I was going to make a comment on T'Pau, being T'place where Vulcans might holiday in France, but Z beat me to it:-) I liked KEBAB and URBAN LEGEND. 14d caused ringing in my ears. LETHE was my LOI. I'd considered STYX earlier, but it didn't fit, and I needed all the checkers to unforget the other flow-er. Another challenge, but enjoyable all the same. 42:43. Thanks setter and V.

Edited at 2019-09-13 10:51 am (UTC)
Sep. 13th, 2019 11:34 am (UTC)
A little shy of 20 minutes I gave up and entered LETTE in hope. Having never heard of LETHE, it was as good a guess as any - perhaps I should know it (I blame the schools), but it does seem a little cruel to use a cryptic definition for that one.

Other things I didn't know include MONOPOLES, stick of bombs, Pau, tilth, absit omen... toughie.
Sep. 13th, 2019 11:41 am (UTC)
Can't remember how long this took, but I remember feeling quite intelligent remembering absit omen, and slightly less so trying to make the sciency thing read monoletts, monoliths, monoserbs, etc.
Sep. 13th, 2019 08:09 pm (UTC)
Monoserbs made me think of this heartwarming news story for some reasing: https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2019/09/two-powerful-gay-people-world-met-discuss-future-europe/

Though of course monoserbs are not the same thing as homoserbs, nor indeed as bicarbonate of Serbia.
Sep. 13th, 2019 11:42 am (UTC)
Mug of tea, please
Knew the word MONOPOLES from mathematics, not physics - afterwards tried to remind myself, unsuccessfully, here is a well-known website entry:

“This article may be too technical for most readers to understand. Please help improve it to make it understandable to non-experts, without removing the technical details.
In mathematics, a monopole is a connection over a principal bundle G with a section of the associated adjoint bundle.”

Enjoyed the LEGEND device, dnk ABSIT OMEN, liked LETHE, and PAU (appears in cycling quite a lot). Have been to ELY.

Incidentally, China in Your Hand is about Frankenstein, but this is not clear from the single version.

31'06”, pleased to finish. However, this reduces my online score because Fridays and Mondays are counted the same :(

Thanks verlaine and setter.

Edited at 2019-09-13 11:43 am (UTC)
Sep. 13th, 2019 11:49 am (UTC)
Re: Mug of tea, please
Batman came up to me and he hit me over the head with a vase and went "T’Pau!"

I said ‘don’t you mean "Kapow"?’

He said ‘No, I’ve got china in my hand’.
RE: Re: Mug of tea, please - pootle73 - Sep. 13th, 2019 10:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 13th, 2019 11:45 am (UTC)
14:25. Lethe was my last in too but I do remember encountering it in one or more of these puzzles before (unironically). ABSIT OMEN on the other hand was a complete unknown and I was delighted, possibly for the first and last time, to have constructed a plausible looking and indeed correct stupid Latin phrase purely from wordplay.

Anyway, I enjoyed the puzzle, thanks setter and V.

Fu Manchu.

Edited at 2019-09-13 02:06 pm (UTC)
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