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This was at the easier end of Saturday puzzles. The combination of the creative device at 1ac (my favourite clue) and my fanciful biff at 2dn held me up near the end. Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle.

Clues are blue, with definitions underlined. Answers are in BOLD CAPS, then wordplay. (ABC*) means ‘anagram of ABC’. Deletions are in [square brackets]. The blog is in Times New Roman font, as part of a gentle campaign to urge the club site to use a font in which it is easier to tell one’s stem from one’s stern.

Across
1 Medic becoming enmeshed in sex scandal (4)
DIRT – DR and IT twine round each other. Unusual!

3 Use different words for average verbal altercations (10)
PARAPHRASE – PAR (average), A PHRASE (verbally) sounds like ‘affrays’ (altercations).

10 Rather vulgar dons work with affected modesty (9)
PRUDISHLY – RUDISH in PLY.

11 Someone short of time heading off from sports field (5)
TITCH – T (time), [p]ITCH.

12 Tired old couple filling pot (7)
OUTWORN – O (old), then TWO in URN.

13 Inclined to drink wine, not whiskey (6)
SUPINE – SUP, [w]INE.

15 At random, notice a new kind of film (8,7)
ANIMATED CARTOON – (AT RANDOM NOTICE A*). (‘New’=anagram).

18 Court refused to give orders to intelligence agency (15)
INSTRUMENTALITY – INSTRU[ct], MENTALITY.

21 Singer hiding at football match after retirement (6)
LINNET – TEN-NIL would certainly be a hiding. Retiring=write it backwards.

23 One wrongly claiming loan shark hides money (7)
USURPER – P (penny) in USURER.

26 Unlimited time in the past for last phase of cricket? (5)
IMAGO – IM from inside [t]im[e], AGO. Cricket here is an insect, not a ball game.

27 Protected her eldest, snarling (9)
SHELTERED – (HER ELDEST*), ‘snarling’.

28 Symbol of French monarchy surely fled after revolution (5-2-3)
FLEUR-DE-LYS – (SURELY FLED*), ‘after revolution’.

29 Regularly applauds sign of positivity (4)
PLUS – every second letter of a-P-p-L-a-U-d-S.


Down
1 Drops Arab leader of alarming intemperance (10)
DIPSOMANIA – DIPS, OMANI, A[larming].

2 Novelist initially failing to get out of bed (5)
ROUST – decapitating Proust. There was a novelist Parise, but ‘arise’ wouldn’t fit.

4 Chap nearer us oddly entering hole-in-the-wall club (9)
ATHENAEUM – HE (chap), N-A-E-U (nearer us, oddly) all entering ATM.

5 Gulf Times probing idiot (5)
ABYSS – BY ‘probing’ ASS.

6 According to Spooner, catch sight of the female firebrand (7)
HOTSPUR – from SPOT HER.

7 Caught out every time, can't con iconic film director (9)
ANTONIONI – drop all the c’s from -AN’T -ON I-ONI-.

8 Genuine cases of economic hindsight (4)
ECHT – outside letters of E[conomi]C H[indsigh]T. A German word with only four letters seems like an anomaly!

9 Plant first half of mint and second half of sage (6)
MIMOSA – MI[nt], MO (second), SA[ge].

14 Riyadh ends riots in waterless compounds (10)
ANHYDRIDES – (RIYADH ENDS*) ‘riots’.

16 Start hesitating hopelessly after husband leaves (9)
INSTIGATE – (-ESITATING*) ‘hopelessly’.

17 Swindle corporation and see insulting behaviour (9)
CONTUMELY – CON (swindle), TUM (corporation), ELY (see).

19 Dictator's private bitterness (7)
RANCOUR – sounds like (“dictator’s”) RANKER (private).

20 Inanity, initially taken for sharpness (6)
ACUITY – [v]ACUITY.

22 Liking some of Calcutta's temples (5)
TASTE – hidden answer.

24 Danger for every single learner (5)
PERIL – PER (for every), I (single), L (learner).

25 Following outburst, turned up and spat (4)
TIFF – F (following), FIT (outburst).

Comments

( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
special_bitter
Oct. 11th, 2019 11:30 pm (UTC)
52:39 though spoiled by having one typo. I did not think this one was at the easier end of the spectrum, if anything I found it rather chewy but excellently so. Maybe I was off wavelength. I certainly enjoyed it. My LOI linnet took me ages struggled to see the hiding.
kevingregg
Oct. 12th, 2019 12:43 am (UTC)
34:02
Not that easy for me, either. (But a snap compared to today's.) I biffed a couple, including 4d, which I evidently never parsed. I liked 18ac for its surface, and 7d for its wordplay, but COD to 1ac.
z8b8d8k
Oct. 12th, 2019 08:11 am (UTC)
Re: 34:02
Concur with analysis of today's, made harder by a category error in the clue for 16, methinks.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 12th, 2019 09:57 am (UTC)
RE: Re: 34:02
16 was cute I thought (buttons!)
The whole puzzle was gloriously difficult
keriothe
Oct. 12th, 2019 01:11 pm (UTC)
Re: 34:02
Yes, it was a monster and 16 seems like an error to me.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 12th, 2019 08:57 pm (UTC)
RE: Re: 34:02
Can’t see any problem with 16
Perhaps you have the wrong answer?
keriothe
Oct. 12th, 2019 09:26 pm (UTC)
Re: 34:02
I'm pretty certain I have the right answer, from the definition, and equally sure that there's an error. Tune in next week!
isla3
Oct. 12th, 2019 01:21 am (UTC)
I'll go with Bruce that it was mostly pretty easy, but the last two held me up a few minutes: rancour unparsable not knowing ranker, which left a dodgy guess of linnet not knowing the bird (which I'm certain has appeared many times).
Quite enjoyed it, many nice clues.
boltonwanderer
Oct. 12th, 2019 06:20 am (UTC)
El Generalisimo
38 minutes I didn’t parse RANCOUR, not thinking of RANKER. I couldn’t work out how to get from Franco to RANCOUR, which is not surprising. COD to PARAPHRASE. I liked DIPSOMANIA too. ANHYDRIDES was a write-in. An enjoyable puzzle. Thank you B and setter.
jackkt
Oct. 12th, 2019 06:32 am (UTC)
I struggled to finish too, needing aids for DIRT and OUTWORN but many of the other answers came easily and I barely looked at 28ac after reading 'Symbol of French monarchy'.

ANHYDRIDES was unknown, but from my vague recollections of O level chemistry (failed twice!) it seemed plausible. Knew CONTUMELY existed, but not what it meant.
sawbill
Oct. 12th, 2019 06:44 am (UTC)
I enjoyed this crossword for its clever devices and surfaces (sometimes in combination like DIRT). I also liked ANTONIONI and the Gulf Times/Riyadh compounds which brought back memories of my many trips to Saudi in the 80s and 90s.
davidivad1
Oct. 12th, 2019 07:39 am (UTC)
QC report
I went to Cambridge last Saturday so this puzzle was a pleasant diversion on the train.There were some clues which allowed me to get stuck in but I rather limped over the line with an unparsed LINNET. RANCOUR was also hit and hope. 1a was late to fall and I lost time finding Proust.
Overall a thoroughly enjoyable challenge. COD to DIPSOMANIA.
David
z8b8d8k
Oct. 12th, 2019 08:19 am (UTC)
Not that easy: took me 31 minutes and the average time recorded is pretty high. Looking back, I can't really see where the blockages were, though I think I dawdled over what sort of CARTOON it was. This week's felt almost like an MCS: perhaps Saturdays are the new Friday!
philjordan
Oct. 12th, 2019 08:27 am (UTC)
Ali ? Bah, bah !!
Wasted a lot of time being misdirected - Ali wasn't the Arab in 1D, there isn't a novelist named (u)PROOT, and the clue to MIMOSA was a great example of how to mislead the unwary.

I failed to get CONTUMELY at the Championships some years ago, so it will never be forgotten !

At least I spotted ANTONIONI quickly, and didn't "Blow Up".

FOI PARAPHRASE
LOI DIPSOMANIA
COD ATHENAEUM
TIME 18:31
john_dun
Oct. 12th, 2019 09:50 am (UTC)
PROUST and INSTRUMENTALITY held me up for a while, and the instruction to remove Cs at 7d caused me some grief, but I eventually got there in 40:23 with no mishaps. ANHYDRIDES insinuated itself from long forgotten chemistry lessons. A tricky but enjoyable puzzle. Thanks setter and Bruce.
johninterred
Oct. 12th, 2019 09:53 am (UTC)
I wrote Phew! at the top of my copy as there were several I struggled to understand. PARAPHRASE, INSTRUMENTALITY and my COD LINNET in particular, but I got there in the end. I liked IMAGO too. 25:00.
dscoll
Oct. 12th, 2019 11:59 am (UTC)
19d
How is private a sounds like indicator?
jerrywh
Oct. 12th, 2019 12:36 pm (UTC)
Re: 19d
RANKER (a private soldier) sounds like RANCOUR, when dictated ..
dscoll
Oct. 12th, 2019 04:51 pm (UTC)
Re: 19d
Yikes, that's tricky. Thanks Jerry.
keriothe
Oct. 12th, 2019 01:41 pm (UTC)
16:08. A brief Shakespearean theme here with the proud man's CONTUMELY followed by HOTSPUR, and minor echos in ANTONIONI (and Cleopatriona) and ImAGO.
guy_du_sable
Oct. 12th, 2019 05:06 pm (UTC)
DIRT was my LOI, good clue. I liked ATHENAEUM too, because it held me up too long.
I found this easy for a Saturday, too. Must be a "wavelength" thing.

Edited at 2019-10-12 05:07 pm (UTC)
84801442
Oct. 30th, 2019 11:41 pm (UTC)
60:24
Finished on 30th Oct. INSTRUMENTALITY was pretty nasty, but got there in the end with perseverance
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )

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