SMH 21845 - DA

Good Friday. Was it ?

ACROSS
1) FIBONACCI : (on,FBI)*,ac(-------c)i- : not usually thrilled about 'quite' used like this but today is fine because the clue is very good. A nicely integrated definition.
6) PITTA : hm(pitter) : never seen the gadget as my olives are usually on a pizza. Having said that, is it not the worst feeling EVER crunching an olive one doesn't expect is intact ? Feels like all your teeth have crumbled.
9) INHUMAN : in(Hum-)an : of Hume and Hovell fame. Thanks Mrs Geraghty of the 2nd Grade.
10) BRACKET : b(rack)et : the definition is a little undercooked.
11) ZLOTY : crypdef : a Polish bank would be a 'Pole vault'. What about 'Pole vaulter's gold' ? As zloty apparently means 'golden'. I would've accepted 'vaulter' as a bank worker because it was amusing. Better surface too.
12) PETRICHOR : pet,(rich),-or- : evidently it's a real word for post-rain freshness.
13) TOOTLES : tootles- : no horn, so it's toot-less.
15) HUMMUS : hum,mus- : ie must.
18) WEBCAM : W(be<)C,a-------m : pretty good.
19) LYCEUMS : (my,clues)*
22) SECTARIAN : sec,t(ari-)an
23) POSER : ddef : pretty good.
24) IRONMAN : iron,man
25) TIMPANI : tim(pan)i- : ie timid.
26) ASKIN : -askin- : ie basking.
27) PACHYDERM : (my,red,chap)*

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SMH 21844 - NS

All the favourites return — long anagrams, Stickle Brick grid etc. There was new word for me but not a lot of trouble.

ACROSS
8) I AM STREETS AHEAD : (I,set,headmaster,a)* : bit of a constructed answer which you'd do well to find in a dictionary — 'streets ahead' probably so. Weird.
9) SKETCH : s,ketch : should be a fine paid to use that construction.
10) ERASABLE : eras,able
11) STRANDED : st(R)and,---ed--- : surface seems good.
12) LIST : ddef
14) FRESHET : fresh,Fr(et) : new to me.
16) ADIPOSE : ad I pose- : many useless words, so a rather poor effort. How many chapters are acceptable for a hidden type clue ?
19) AMMO : a(MM)o----
21) REGIONAL : re,GI,on,a,l------
24) BLUDGEON : (leg,bound)*
25) BLEATS : b---- l---- eats : 'grass' really not necessary.
26) SWIMMING COSTUME : (Mums,coming,is,wet)*

DOWN
1) BACKSTORY : backs,Tory
2) ASHTRAYS : (as,trashy)*
3) ORCHID : orc-,hid : a whale lost in a plant, huh ? Tailless, at that. Geez.
4) LEGENDS : leg ends : needs a ?
5) ASSAILED : ass,ailed
6) PHIALS : hm(files)
7) PALLY : pa(L,L)y
13) ASPARTAME : a,spar,(mate)*
15) ESOTERIC : (coteries)*
17) PROPERTY : (roper,pty) : wow, bad anagram fodder and bad surface.
18) IRON AGE : (ignore,a) : not a fan of 'busy' as an anagrind.
20) MODEMS : -----s me do m--- <
22) GIBBON : big<,(b-------)on
23) SLOWS : S(low)S

I think the clues got lazy by the end. Tis a shame.


SMH 21842 - DH

As far as DHs go, this was a better one. I didn't feel too distressed or bamboozled by ridiculous surface, wasn't overwhelmed by numerous names or chemicals. It still produced some groans but fewer.

ACROSS
1) MINIMUMS : mini(mum)s : 'skirts around . .' maybe ? It relies on 'in' being an instruction to insert mum into minis — which is clunky.
5) SONATA : (not,as,a)* : seems fair.
10) NICAD : in<,cad
11) MESSENGER : mess,(Green)*
12) SEDIMENTARY ROCK : (mens,dietary)*,Rock : started well but then a dated reference to Rock Hudson . . . meh.
13) SAME : Sam,--e
14) GOLDEN MEAN : (old,gem,Anne)*
18) DISTRAUGHT : Sid<,t(r--)aught : there's that clunky 'in' again.
21) STIR : --s tir---
23) TEN COMMANDMENTS : (me,Matt,McDonnens)* : well there had to be one at least.
26) APPRAISED : A,pp,raised
27) AGATE : a,gate
28) KELLER : ----k,Elle,---r
29) AGGRIEVE : (a,gig,ever)*

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SMH 21841 - LR

Another pretty entertaining puzzle from LR. Some nice surfaces and some new ideas.

ACROSS
8) COLOUR BLINDNESS : (dull,cones,in,orbs)* : nice clue considering cones and rods are photoreceptors in the eye.
9) CADETS : ca(de--)ts
10) CHEERIO : Che,--e,Rio
11) TOASTERS : ddef : I had roasters for a long time but the iPad wouldn't approve.
13) SEDATE : S-e,date
14) WASTAGE : WA,stage
16) BARCODE : hm(bark),ode
18) AGASSI : Ag,-assi-
20) SIDESHOW : (do,we,hiss)*
22) EARTHLY : ear(th--)ly : meh.
23) BLEATS : bl-e -ats : 'you see' is U and C apparently, maybe in SMS-land but that's it. Not sure it's enough.
24) FEATHERED FRIEND : (find,her,at,feeder)*

DOWN
1) POTATO : pot,(oat)*
2) SOMERSET : hm(summer),set
3) ARMS : (Mars)* : doesn't hurt to have one easy starter.
4) BLOCKS : b-----,locks
5) UNDERSTAND : ddef : seems fair enough.
6) SNARED : inits.
7) ASSORTED : -ass-ort,ed : nice clue.
12) ENGLISHMEN : (hen,mingles)*
15) ANGLESEA : angles,ea
17) CASHED IN : Ca(shed)in
19) SPRITE : s(PR)ite
20) SKYPED : --sky ped-------- : bit fresher than Ken Done and TE Lawrence, no ?
21) OUTING : ddef
23) BUFF : ddef

Stopped the iPad clock at 6m37, including roasters/toasters time.

SMH 21840 - DS

I'd like to see DS do a theme occasionally. His clues are strong enough that a decent theme would be quite fun. Just a change of pace really.

ACROSS
1) STAFFORDSHIRE : staff,or,(herd,is)*
10) CIRCE : circ-e : goddess of magic or a nymph.
11) PARENTAGE : pa,rent,age
12) DOODLES : (lose,odd)*
13) ATHEISM : A(is/the)M
14) DEFINED : de(fin)ed
15) TONIGHT : to(nigh)t : tot, as in an amount of liquor.
17) ANCIENT : (nice,tan)*
20) CARDIAC : (cicada)*<>----------r
22) BOUNCER : ddef
24) YIELDED : (-ildeyed)*
26) CHAIRLIFT : ch,airlift
27) ALLOW : -al-,low
28) LEADING LADIES : lead,(is,aligned)*

DOWN
2) TURN OFF : ddef
3) FREELANCE : free,lance
4) OPPOSED : op,posed
5) DORMANT : trod< <>man
6) HUNCH : -hun ch-------
7) ROARING : r(O)aring
8) ICED : (-edic-)*
9) HERMETIC : her(m--------)etic
14) DRAWBACK : draw back
16) NURSEMAID : (is,unarmed)*
18) CRUSADE : (caused)*<>R
19) TORSION : tors(I)o,N
20) CRYSTAL : cry,stal-
21) INDULGE : (glued,in)*
23) CORED : co,red
25) DAWN : (wand)*

SMH 21839 - DA

Overall, it was a bit of a middling puzzle. Strangely, the answers themselves were a bit dull and there no really excellent ideas in the clues. I've noted before that this sort of puzzle feels like a stopgap while DA works on something much more devious. Anyway, it took me 26 minutes on paper.

ACROSS
1) BEDSPREAD : bed spread : manure may be used on garden beds. Probably needed a ?
6) JABBA : hm(jabber) : as in a stiletto dagger.
9) SACKS : ddef : assumed as much.
10) FAST-TRACK : fast,track : see, a bit dull.
11) LISTEN TO REASON : (in,loans,set)*<>tore
13) ALLEVIATED : -alle-,vi(a,T)ed : phonetic alphabet tango=T.
15) BEND : be(--n)d : a bit more DAish.
17) ALTO : a l.o.t/alt.o.
19) ALL THE RAGE : all ther(-ag-)e : took a while to see the parsing.
22) see 3dn
25) NAIL SALON : nails,alon-
26) VOICE : v-----o,ice
27) SNAPE : snap,-----e
28) SEA URCHIN : sea(--u--)rchin'

DOWN
1) BASS : bas-s : ie basis.
2) DECRIAL : de(cri-)al : didn't know this to be a word.
3,22ac) POSITIVE DISCRIMINATION : positive,discrimination
4) ELFIN : -e,-l,-f,-I,-n
5) DISHONEST : --dish one st-------------
6) JET-SET : jet,set
7) BEATS ME : (same,bet)*
8) ATKINS DIET : (daintiest,K)*
12) GABARDINES : gab,-ardines
14) ALL SMILES : (Melissa)*<>LL
16) WENT OVER : ddef
18) TOSHIBA : tosh,i-,ba- : 'poor clip' is an untidy way to say 'remove the last letter'.
20) ABOLISH : AB,-olish
21) CRUSOE : c--------,(sure)*<>O
23) NINJA : Nin(J)a : it looks like a hook.
24) NEIN : hm(nine)

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SMH 21838 - NS

It's Thursday, so it's NS, so it's one of those grids that look like a Stickle Brick — remember those ? Not a bad toy but no match for Lego. (Pumped for Lego Masters !)

ACROSS
8) SITS ON THE FENCE : (he,confines,test)*
9) MILIEU : mi--,hm(you) <> lie
10) DIATRIBE : DI,a,tribe
11) AGRARIAN : Ag,r---------,Arian : the surface tells me WHAT ?!
13) KANT : hm(cant) : guessed as much. Philosophers aren't my usual thing.
15) DONE : DI/Done : hmm, at least it's not you-know-who.
16) POP IN : p(op)in
17) SENT : hm(scent)
18) AMID : a,dim<
20) LITERATE : L,it,era,T.E. : do you feel Lawrence of Arabia fading further and further away too ?
22) KNITTING : k(tint)*ing
25) INDEED : in,deed
26) WASTED MY BREATH : (smarty,bet,we,had)* : ahem, smarty bet ?

DOWN
1) DINING ROOM : din,in,groom
2) ASPIRATE : as,pirate
3) ANNULI : annul,I
4) SHED : ddef
5) OFF AND ON : o-,F-,fan,don
6) ANORAK : ------an or a k-----
7) VERB : --brev------ <
12) NOPAL : no,pal : apparently has health benefits, can be eaten raw or made into marmalade. Who knew ?
14) NINETEENTH : (NE,in,the,Net)* : mystery surface ! A prize for an explanation.
16) PROVIDED : prov(I,d----------)ed
17) SHREDDED : sh(red,d------)e'd
19) DETEST : d---,--e,test
21) TRILBY : tr(I,lb)y
23) NEWS : N,E,W,S
24) GAME : ddef

At least NS doesn't have an overload of one particular clue type — usually a good spread. My iPad stopped at 6m12s.

SMH 21837 - DP

I did this one in a reasonable time until the last three answers at 8dn, 12ac and 12dn slowed me down a lot. Always trying to avoid references, I finally succumbed to checking 'top-hamper' and what 'po' might be. Now I know.

ACROSS
1) DOTTINESS : dot(tines)s
6) SET-UP : ddef : overthought the second definition for a long time as a charade sec-ind..
9) RETRACT : re,tract
10) PIERROT : pier,rot : I'm not sure how it would do that but I guess that's irrelevant.
11) TANGO : ----tan go--- : am amusing image.
12) RAISE CAIN : ddef : amazing how you can see an answer a thousand times in cryptics and it can still elude you in puzzle thousand+1.
14) ON A LARGE SCALE : ddef : could've had something funnier than 'truck'.
17) PLAYING AROUND : ddef
20) FORESIGHT : ddef? : not sure where 'fore' is indicated.
22) DODGE : ddef : would've thought Dodge was a manufacturer, not a model.
23) PROTEST : pro,test
25) AT LARGE : at,(regal)* : 'distribution' makes no sense for surface. Maybe 'representation' would be better.
26) TIMES : ddef
27) TRANSPORT : tra-ns,port

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SMH 21836 - DH

Ah, DH again. He does enjoy designing his own grids methinks. Although he does have a habit of under-checking a lot of answers (ie fewer than 50% cross-checked letters) but not that many here.

ACROSS
1) TAKING OUT : ddef : a nice bland start.
9) see 29ac
10) ASP : A,SP
11) WILGA : W,(Gail)* : not sure that W for Women is in common references but it's certainly on many restrooms.
12) NEMESIS : (seems,in)*
13) SATAY : s(a,T)ay : as in T-bar ski lifts.
15) ARSENAL : (learns)*<>A : Australian again . . .
16) OBSTETRIC : OB,T.S.<,E(T)ric : T-bar again . . .
19) SMELL A RAT : SM,Ella,R,at
20) AGELESS : Ag,---e,less
22) CUT UP : Cu,put<
24) INERTIA : (Ian,tire)* : why let grammar get in the way of a bad clue . . .
26) NYLON : --ny lon- : many unused words in this clue. Not good setting.
27) EGO : --e,go
28) NIGGARD : (raging)*,------d
29,9) SIR WALTER RALEIGH : (Shagwall,terrier,I)* : Umm, no such terrier.

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SMH 21835 - LR

It was a little hit and miss. LR tries to bring something different — and that's a good thing. So sometimes the surface gets a bit strained but if it's amusing or clever I can live with that.

ACROSS
7) ALIGNED : (leading)*
9) LASERS : (sale)*,R's : I'm unsure of having a possessive abbreviation like this. I lean towards 'don't like'.
10) DERIDING : d-------e,riding
11) SCURVY : s,curvy
12) PRAGUE : -pra- gue-- : nice enough. Would've been great if 'host' was in order within the fodder.
14) BAYONETS : Bay,on,ET's : if you've seen Transformers films, no problem. If not, like me, you'd take it on trust.
16) BITE THE BULLET : ddef : bit bland.
18) HUMPBACK : PM,uh< : SMH loves this type of clue but at least it was amusing.
19) OAFISH : O,a,fish
20) ADMITS : ad(MIT)s
22) ALL-STARS : All-sta-rs
24) INCOME : in,co,me
25) TANTRUM : tan,Trum-

DOWN
1) MAZE : hm(maize)
2) LIVING IT UP : (in,VIP,guilt)*
3) UNWISE : UN,hm(YYYYY) : different but worth it.
4) BLESS YOU : (Blues,soy) : Fittler's fault ? Or whatever that AFL team is ?
5) ESAU : ----e sau--
6) GRAVITATES : g(Ravi,T)ates : I liked that Ravi Shankar is involved but have I mentioned this Model T problem I have . . .
8) DOGS BREAKFAST : ??? : sounds like a Xmas cracker joke.
13) REBOUNDING : r-----e,bound,ING : not sure 'from' should be there.
15) NO LEFT TURN : (fort,tunnel)
17) TRANSFER : (ref,rants)*
19) OOLONG : OO,long
21) IRON : I,Ron
23) RUMP : -rump : He who shall not be named.

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