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Times Cryptic 27476

I completed this in 39 minutes which is good going for me at the moment. There are some very good clues and I especially liked  20ac and 25ac although the latter will probably cause consternation amongst those not old enough to remember Tommy Steele and his teeth performing Hold it, Flash Bang Wallop! and other gems of  1960s British musical theatre.

As usual definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions and substitutions are in curly brackets} and [anagrinds, containment, reversal and other indicators in square ones]

1 Brave face on prisoner (8)
CONFRONT : CON (prisoner),  FRONT (face) in accordance with the convention that 'A on B' = 'BA', and with 'brave' here meaning endure or face (danger or unpleasant conditions) without showing fear (SOED).
5 Prominent critic of game strip (6)
RUSKIN : RU (game - Rugby Union), SKIN (strip). John Ruskin (1819-1900).
8 Train? There's one in a minute (3)
AIM : I (one) contained by [in] A + M (minute)
9 Skill of a doctor of fitness turning out fine female? (10)
ADROITNESS : A, DR (doctor), O{f} [turning out fine], {f}ITNESS [turning out female]
10 This year's upsetting panic (8)
HYSTERIA : Anagram [upsetting] of THIS YEAR
11 Set loose without testing, right away (6)
UNTIED : UNT{r}IED (without testing) [right away]
12 Polish round back for gemstone (4)
OPAL : LAP (polish) + O (round) reversed [back]. The first bit was news to me  but SOED has 'lap' as a verb meaning 'to polish with a lap' and defines 'lap' as a noun as 'a polishing tool of a special shape, coated or impregnated with an abrasive substance'.
14 Spy criminal taking hack at hotel? Norman Bates, perhaps (10)
PSYCHOPATH : Anagram [criminal] of SPY, then CHOP (hack), H (hotel). In case anyone managed to miss it, Norman Bates, is the eponymous character in  Hitchcock's 1960 film 'PYSCHO' and its countless sequels and spin-offs. It was based on a book by Robert Bloch.
17 Publication of record learning about United States in recession (10)
DISCLOSURE : DISC (record), LORE (learning) containing [about] US (United States) reversed [in recession]
20 People working together 10am - noon? (4)
TEAM : TE{n} AM (10am) [- (minus) noon]. Very clever !
23 Notwithstanding that used in medical practice (6)
METHOD : THO (notwithstanding that) contained by [used in] MED (medical)
24 Ship's propeller with power supply trouble (8)
MAINSAIL : MAINS (power supply), AIL (trouble). My LOI having wasted time thinking 'P' for 'power' and 'screw' for 'propeller', neither of which worked once the checkers started to arrive.
25 Bit of a literal interpretation of a musical based on Kipps? (10)
THREEPENCE : A straight definition with a very cryptic hint. A 'bit' is a coin as in 'threepenny bit', 'sixpenny bit', 'two-bob bit' etc. Kipps is a novel by H G Wells that was adapted as a musical for both stage and screen called Half a Sixpence which if interpreted literally = 3d.
26 Unkind expelling European people in general (3)
MAN : M{e}AN (unkind) [expelling European]
27 Dog that's a boon, following bachelor (6)
BASSET : B (bachelor), ASSET (boon)
28 Deep state formed phony MI6 (8)
HYPNOSIS : Anagram [formed] of PHONY, SIS (MI6 - Secret Intelligence Service)
1 Instruct boy about old passengers on a bus? (9)
COACHLOAD : COACH (instruct), LAD (boy) containing [about] O (old)
2 First class seed raised attractive plant (7)
NEMESIA : A1 (first class) + SEMEN (seed) reversed [raised] . A plant unknown to me. I struggled to find an explanation of 'attractive' here, assuming the setter is not just expressing a fondness for this particular flower, and the only thing I can come up with is that according to SOED its name is derived from the Greek nemesion catchfly, suggesting perhaps that it may attract insects in the same way as buddleia is known to attract butterflies.
3 Stern about editor that's set up proof-corrector (6)
READER : REAR (stern - of ship) containing [about] ED (editor) reversed [set up]
4 Suspicion so continued over self-regarding youth (9)
NARCISSUS : SUS (suspicion) + SIC (so) + RAN (continued) reversed [over]
5 Make later improvements to crumbling outer surfaces of church (7)
RETOUCH : Anagram [crumbling] of OUTER, C{hurc}H [surfaces]
6 Confectionery jar is where sportspersons like to get their hit (5,4)
SWEET SPOT : SWEETS (confectionery), POT (jar). The point at which a tennis racket, cricket bat etc makes the most effective contact with the ball.
7 Go over one detailed description penned by National Trust (7)
INSPECT : I (one), then SPEC (detailed description) contained [penned] by NT (National Trust)
13 Warning device in flight, say, is to get engaged in conflict (4,5)
LOCK HORNS : HORN (warning device) contained by [in] LOCKS [flight, say]. Another meaning of 'flight' to add to the ones discussed here last week, this time with reference to a series of locks on a waterway such as a canal, which serves the same purpose as a flight of stairs in facilitating progress to a higher or lower level.
15 Clarinet playing Debussy's last piece naturally (9)
CERTAINLY : Anagram [playing] of CLARINET, {debuss}Y [last piece]
16 House 1000 antelopes in areas of South Africa, once (9)
HOMELANDS : HO (house), M (1000), ELANDS (antelopes). Collins advises that 'Homelands' were regions within South Africa in which black South Africans had a limited form of self-government.
18 Immobility of passenger ship when line fails upset island (7)
INERTIA : {l}INER (passenger ship) [when line fails], AIT (island) [upset]
19 Abnormal pieces, with tons for scrap (7)
ODDMENT : ODD (abnormal), MEN (pieces - chess), T (tons)
21 Problems exist over European student mobility system (7)
ERASMUS : SUMS (problems) + ARE (exist) reversed [over]. Wiki advises that the Erasmus Programme (EuRopean community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students) is a European Union student exchange programme established in 1987.
22 Where unwary beach holidaymaker's food goes? Shut up (6)
INTERN : IN TERN - after being pinched by a seagull! Probably unfair to terns as I don't think they are the scavengers that infest holiday resorts .


( 47 comments — Leave a comment )
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Oct. 8th, 2019 02:33 am (UTC)
I got the right answer for totally the wrong reason at 25a. I got the "bit" bit. But assumed the rest was something to do with the THREEPENNY OPERA. I had no idea what or who Kipps was. METHOD, my LOI, took forever mainly since I "knew" it ended "ED". I liked 22d after I'd tried "onsand" and "ingull".
Oct. 8th, 2019 02:59 am (UTC)
Surprised I made it, what with the various DNKs. FOI MAN, which suggests a certain slowness to catch on. DNK 'flight' but I had HORN, DNK the exchange program but I had the wordplay. I'd learned only recently that MI6 was now SIS, but had forgotten. And I really did not know who the hell Kipps was; but 'bit' and some checkers suggested 'Threepenny Opera', and I put in THREEPENNY. _N_Y_N at 22d looked unpromising, though, and I switched to THREEPENCE. That left me 22d, and INTERN came to mind from 'Shut up', but I couldn't make any sense of the clue for a long time, until I finally remembered the problem of sandwich-snatching seagulls. COD to the terrific 20ac.
Oct. 8th, 2019 04:01 am (UTC)
No idea what "Kipps" was about, was following the same errant trail as the other two who've commented so far.
Nor "LOCKS" = "flight," nor LAP.
My COI must be the diabolical TEAM.
Bit of déjà vu when I did the QC after this.
Oct. 8th, 2019 07:08 am (UTC)
15:18 … thinking required in many places, though luckily you could often get away with thinking the wrong thing (THREEPENCE, completely misunderstanding TEAM).

Unlike Guy, I solved the QC first, meaning my deja vu happened in this one.

Biggest delay for me was over OPAL. Is this meaning of 'lap' something I’ve seen before but just forgotten? It feels completely unfamiliar.

As an inveterate surface junkie, I’ll give COD to AIM
Oct. 8th, 2019 12:53 pm (UTC)
We've had lapidary for gemstone polishing before.
AIM - guy_du_sable - Oct. 8th, 2019 02:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 8th, 2019 07:12 am (UTC)
27 minutes
I'll forgive the ornithological discrepancy (and the antelopes which were cleverly used). Biffed TEAM so missed the even cleverer device (thanks jackkt). Very enjoyable.
Oct. 8th, 2019 07:19 am (UTC)
A fun puzzle. Knew all about Kipps and Half a Sixpence - clearly Jack is correct, you need to be old enough! Had to look up ERASMUS to find out about the student movement. TEAM is very good.
Oct. 8th, 2019 07:33 am (UTC)
Another bravo here for TEAM. Like sawbill, I biffed it so thanks Jack for the explanation. Very clever.
There is currently a pair of Caspian Terns on my local beach and they don't scavenge.
46m 31s
Oct. 8th, 2019 07:38 am (UTC)
... they don't scavenge?
... unless they are sandwich terns??
Re: ... they don't scavenge? - (Anonymous) - Oct. 8th, 2019 07:41 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: ... they don't scavenge? - (Anonymous) - Oct. 8th, 2019 07:42 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: ... they don't scavenge? - z8b8d8k - Oct. 8th, 2019 03:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 8th, 2019 07:41 am (UTC)
Oct. 8th, 2019 07:48 am (UTC)
'erring gulls
Enjoyed this, some inventive clues I thought especially around the SE quadrant.

Shame, that a handful of badly behaved herring gulls have managed to give all seabirds a bad name.. :-)

Oct. 8th, 2019 08:02 am (UTC)
Re: 'erring gulls
An albatross around their necks that they'll just have to bear.
Oct. 8th, 2019 08:11 am (UTC)
Singing the Blues
34 minutes. LOI MAINSAIL not being a sailor, LOCK HORNS was more a biff than a solution, not having a barge either. Fortunately, I read somewhere recently about Half a Sixpence being based on Kipps. Just think that Tommy Steele was once Britain’s answer to Elvis. Or at least Guy Mitchell. COD to HOMELANDS. Thank you Jack and setter
Oct. 8th, 2019 08:12 am (UTC)
DNF in 30 mins
Three unsolved - though it should have been just one. I had Threepence and Intern without understanding and swapped to Threepenny. I didn't get Mainsail up.

Oct. 8th, 2019 08:29 am (UTC)
I failed on METHOD today. I trawled the alphabet several times but all I could come up with was MESHED. The best I could come up with through parsing was YETHAD (notwithstanding that = yet, used = had). With hindsight it's fairly straightforward but I just couldn't see it. Probably one where I should have left and come back to it.

COD to INTERN, which put me in mind of a holiday to Lyme Regis earlier this year. I've never seen such aggressive seagulls!
Oct. 8th, 2019 08:58 am (UTC)
47 minutes, with the entire last seven trying to think of something better than THREEPENCE for 25a. Luckily I didn't! NHO Kipps or the musical itself.

Thought the rest of the puzzle much more fun & fair than that one, especially the antelope deployment in 16d HOMELANDS, the surface and definition at 28a HYPNOSIS and the device in 20a TEAM.

Apart from 25a I found 13d LOCK HORNS hardest. I wasn't convinced by my 12a OPAL and was thinking of odd things like PACE MAKERs and FIRE ALARMs for far too long before I had more crossers.
Oct. 8th, 2019 09:58 am (UTC)
26 mins. Nice puzzle. LOI method. Thanks jack.
Oct. 8th, 2019 11:01 am (UTC)
I must begin....
....by thanking all of you who expressed condolence and sympathy yesterday. It is good to have so many friends, many of whom I've never met.

I did a fair bit of biffing today, but successfully completed in quite a quick time. NHO ERASMUS in that context, and DNK the MI6 part of HYPNOSIS, or that "lap = polish".

COD LOCK HORNS (great use of "flight" !)
TIME 8:24
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