28090 Thursday, 23 September 2021 A whiter shade

My steady 30 minute solve has a typo, so doesn’t properly count, but indicates that I found some of this on the tricky side. By my reading, we have two clues which could have alternative definitions and parsings, which is at least unusual, but not really a difficulty. I still have a couple of clues I’m not sure of, though the entries are unmistakeable.
Not everyone will be familiar with the religion cited, though you can trust the wordplay. The saint should be okay. Purists will object to some minor Guardianesque cross referencing, but it’s not too tricky. One nice touch is to have the playwright in the close vicinity of a word derived from one of his best known plays.
So I’ve done what I can to explain what we have, and present my usual clues, definitions and SOLUTIONS

1 Legal officer has trouble breaking strike (7)
BAILIFF To trouble is to AIL, which breaks (is inserted into) BIFF for strike
5 Game withdrawing place for quiz buff (3,2)
RUB UP So the definition is not that sort of buff, unless it’s someone expert in Polish. The game is R(ugby) U(nion) then you have withdrawing as a reversal indicator, and PUB as a common place for a quiz – um – reversed.
9 Writer phones — biographer rings back (5)
IBSEN The words phoNES BIographer ring the reverse (back) of the mostly depressing writer.
10 Doctor, initially kept in barracks, works in kitchen? (9)
COOKBOOKS Doctor is a verb here, so COOK as in the books, followed by the initial letter of Kept within BOOS for barracks, not the accommodation but the catcall variety.
11 Anchor held by hideous, headless phantom (7)
GHOSTLY Adjectival phantom, as in The Phantom Menace (apologies if you despise the movie). Anchor is HOST, more I think an American usage as the person that holds together a TV show. It’s “held” by UGLY for hideous without its first letter, being headless.
12 Marked student’s first, abridged unseen? No (7)
SPOTTED One way of reading this clue is that we have two definitions split by the wordplay, which would be student’s first, S and POTTED for abridged. Both marked and unseen no(t) are adequate definitions. Or it could be that we’re meant to read that it’s potted that’s not unseen. Take your pick.
13 Aid when sewing up chinos in fragments (10)
PINCUSHION At last a nice, comfortable anagram (fragments) of UP CHINOS IN.
15 Right to remove mouse’s head from trap (4)
ORAL Right is MORAL, remove the M(ouse’s) head. Much time lost trying to remove the M from a trap of some description to give right.
18 Husband and child after return fare (4)
NOSH Another reversal (return) of H(usband) and SON for child.
20 When unlikely to be welcomed into a hotel owned by us? (2,3,5)
AT ALL HOURS I have this as an &lit, but I’m open to persuasion. TALL is the stand in for unlikely (tall story and so on) “welcomed into” A H(otel) and followed by OURS for owned by us. Aren’t hotels (at least the better ones) supposed to welcome you whenever you turn up, even if it is “at irregular hours, especially late hours” (Chambers definition of our entry)?
23 Reason given to those being punished (4,3)
WHAT FOR Informally (Chambers) what for is “punishment, chastisement, as in I’ll give you what for” So I believe we have a double definition.
24 Tossing carrot to black kid in Golf (7)
BRIBING We have B(lack) RIB for kid, IN in plain sight and G(olf) in NATOspeak.
25 Developed from birth in US, different from US! (9)
UNBRITISH Our second anagram (developed from) BIRTH IN US. Everyone doing the crossie is assumed to be British for the duration. I was going to quote the famous assessment of early submarines as “underhand, underwater and damned un-British” but careful research shows that Admiral Sir Arthur Wilson used the term “un-English” possibly to the annoyance of the Scots and Welsh.
26 Swindlers, at least eight, after dope … (5)
SPIVS The SP short for Starting Price, is a Woosterish term for gen or dope on the nag’s chances. IVS is Roman for fours, so the minimum for the plural would be two of them. Took me a while.
27 … one more coming in to give out pot (5)
DIXIE Surprisingly, a word of Hindi/Persian origin for a military cooking pot. Referring back to the 8 in the previous clue, we have one more, IX in Roman. In DIE for to give out.
28 Article removed from slope off ramp (7)
SLIPWAY Slope off as a verb is to sneak away, or here SLIP AWAY, with one of the A articles removed.

1 Musician with good news for impatient undergraduate? (7)
BASSOON So the good news briefly given to out impatient undergrad is BA’S SOON.
2 Aug 1 isn’t especially for a saint (8)
IGNATIUS At least two to chose from, the better known one being Loyola, founder of the Jesuits. And our third anagram (especially) of AUG I ISN’T. Not that it matters, but Ignatius Loyola’s feast day is one day before Aug 1.
3 Irritating incident that can harm you at first (5)
ITCHY I’m OK with the definition, and the Y comes from You at first. Why ITCH is an “incident that can harm” I haven’t yet worked out to my satisfaction.
4 Support coming from old Labour leader’s flunky (9)
FOOTSTOOL The old Labour leader who as well as being a previous Labour leader was old when he was, is Michael FOOT. His flunky is therefore FOOT’S TOOL
5 Outlaw to plunder gold, lifting unknown amount (3,3)
ROB ROY Indeed a Scottish outlaw, romanticised and embellished by Walter Scott. Plunder gives ROB, gold is OR, which is reversed (lifting) and Y is our “unknown”
6 Fish from lake caught by one out on it? (7)
BLOATER A (dead) (dried) (smoked) herring, but still a fish. L(ake) is caught in BOATER, who might indeed be out on the lake.
7 Displaying calm — no one was affected (5)
POSED Another where there are two possible definitions at either end of the clue. But I think the better reading has displaying calm to give POISED, from which the I (one) is removed (no one).
8 What’s most impressive about albatross spawning mutant? (8)
WINGSPAN Well, 12 feet is pretty impressive for a bird. And it’s also our fourth anagram (mutant), of SPAWNING
14 Random greeting to Romeo by young lady (3,2,4)
HIT OR MISS Re-spaced, it’s HI TO R(omeo) and young lady MISS
16 Army officer and doctor, each ringing when desperate (4-4)
LAST-GASP So you have a L(ieutenan)T and a G(eneral) P(ractitioner) each “ringing” AS for when.
17 Powerful feller appearing in series 12 (8)
CHAINSAW Cute definition. CHAIN from series, SAW referring back to 12a SPOTTED.
19 Pensioners putting up singular fight for platform to be heard? (7)
SOAPBOX Pensioners are OAPS. Put up the S(ingular) to the front, add BOX for fight.
21 Public service, something with no end, no beginning (7)
UTILTY Like Water Works and Electric Company. I assume something with no end (purpose) is a FUTILITY, remove its beginning.
22 Workplace no longer being kept ready? (6)
OFFICE Something being kept ready for use (such as champagne) is ON ICE. So if it’s no longer being kept ready it’s….
23 Did snake bite? (5)
WOUND two definitions of homographs.
24 Belief, revolutionary one, obsessed captain (5)
BAHAI Strictly Baha’I, a syncretising religion originating in Persia and with a rather splendid temple dominating Haifa. I (one) and our obsessed Captain AHAB (Moby Dick) are reversed (revolutionary)

109 comments on “28090 Thursday, 23 September 2021 A whiter shade”

  1. The SNITCH is currently at 171, which wouldn’t have surprised me as I failed to get any acrosses on the first pass (FOI 8d). (It’s early, but I was surprised to find myself with the lowest WITCH.) I was wondering about SPOTTED; not that I care, but isn’t having 2 defs anti-Ximenean? DNK DIXIE, and biffed it, parsing post-sub. This is one of those rare clues where the suspension dots really connect 2 clues. Also DNK ‘slope off’. I didn’t think a SPIV was actually a swindler, but then I’m constantly forgetting what the word means. I liked ORAL and LAST-GASP
    1. Like many, I expect, my definition of SPIV relies heavily on childhood memoires of the Dad’s Army character.

      Not really comfortbale with “swindler” as a synonym – checked some free online dictionaries and they mention disreputable / black-market / illegal deals – but none of those particularly involve swindling – more like the purest form of pricing dictated by supply and demand.

      1. During the war (copyright Uncle Albert, OFAH) at a time of shortage of supply and rationing, spivs diverted limited resources to those with the money to pay. That’s swindling the system and creating further shortages and swindling others out of their due entitlements.
  2. Tricky, but enjoyably so when the pennies dropped. Started fast but the RHS was slow, LOI spivs from wordplay – like Kevin I didn’t know they were swindlers. Also looked up St Ignatius day post-solve, hoping it was Aug 1. Needed a chainsaw to get spotted – I parsed it as two definitions bookending the wordplay. Never noticed posed could be similarly parsed.
    COD wingspan, a pleasing anagram.

    Edited at 2021-09-23 02:55 am (UTC)

  3. 40 minutes, but I screwed up by putting AT ALL TIMES at 20ac despite being unable fully to parse it. I was fixated on ‘us’ referring to The Times, our newspaper of necessity if not of choice. This made solving 17dn and 21dn impossible and I only managed to untangle the mess eventually by looking up the answer to 17dn. With my phoney checker T in place I had come up with the answer STRIPSAW, which didn’t seem unreasonable as the name of tool for felling trees, and STRIP standing for ‘series’. After cheating to get the correct answer CHAINSAW the rest of the puzzle fell into place.

    DNK BAHAI but AHAB was the only obsessed captain I could think of, so I trusted the wordplay.

    I seem to have seen a lot of PINCUSHIONs recently.

    At 12ac my parsing involved definitions at either end of the clue.

  4. No proper time, but over an hour. Last in was UTILITY and I still couldn’t see what the ‘something with no end, no beginning’ was until coming here. I didn’t know DIXIE for a ‘pot’ but was helped by remembering those little cardboard cups of ice cream, eaten with a flat wooden spoon. Only sort of parsed WHAT FOR and had the same trouble trying ‘to remove mouse’s head from trap’ at 15a. The BAHAI temple in Chicago is “rather splendid” too.

    I agree about those suspension dots / ellipses joining clues which most often just confuse things, but which I admit did serve a purpose here. Favourite was the surface for WOUND.

    1. It’s likely that the ice cream thing is due to the Dixie Cup Company. They invented paper cups and found as many uses for them as possible, including ice cream pots. With 27a I wondered if the Dixie name came in some way from the army kettles, but apparently not.
      1. Thanks. Looked it up on Wikipedia and it’s quite interesting. The founder of the Dixie Cup Company invented paper cups in the early years of the 20th century, initially as a hygiene measure. For some reason he took the name Dixie from a New York doll company of the time, so as you say it’s nothing to do with the military pot.
        1. But in the British army a Dixie is that aluminium tray with a fold-over handle that Cookie slops your ration in.
          1. Apologies for the late reply. I know exactly what you mean from my inglorious career in the school cadet corps many years ago. “Slops” is appropriate both as a verb and as a noun!
  5. Yeeesss!!! To say I’m delighted with this is a massive understatement. Checked the SNITCH before starting, and hunkered down for long hard slog…
    …but to my surprise, kept filling ‘em in until the top half was complete at about 18m. FOI PINCUSHION.

    Bottom half felt a lot trickier, but progress continued with only minor slowdown until the last couple: Clues that gave me most trouble were
    BRIBING – “toss a carrot” was not a familiar expression to me, but eventually concluded this must mean “bribe”
    DIXIE – NHO this as a pot, but the cryptic + crossers left no other reasonable choice
    SPIVS (LOI) – was really worried about this because dozens of words fit S_I_S. It took eight minutes, and all my self-control not to put a wild guess in there – but I figured it eventually

    This is without doubt my best-ever solve of a hard cryptic crossword. And to mark the momentous occasion, I’m going shopping!

    Thanks z8b8d8k and setter

    1. Wish I’d been more patient! Gave up on the ahem terrible wordplay (but excellent puzzle overall) and lovely to see your pleasure 🙂
  6. 29 minutes, with the SE tricky. LOI was a biffed SPIVS. I don’t know, all of those years working for a UTILITY only to find it was one step short of futility. I guessed at DIXIE from crossers, wondering what the connection was with the land of cotton. COD to the brilliant LAST GASP, and it was close to that for me. Thank you Z and setter.

    Edited at 2021-09-23 06:47 am (UTC)

  7. Thorough the fog it came;
    As if it had been a Christian soul,
    We hailed it in God’s name.
    (Then Astro_nowt shot it)

    After 30 mins pre-brekker, I bunged in Cookbooks unparsed and Spies incorrect.
    Nice one. Mostly I liked the defs: “from trap” and “tossing carrot to”.
    Thanks setter and Z.

    Edited at 2021-09-23 07:02 am (UTC)

    1. Birds in clues are quite ok, at least that’s what I think
      It’s when they’re seen in every grid that I will make a stink
      Why they bug me, I don’t know
      Lachrymal vases overflow
      There’s water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink
  8. This was my first solve whilst commuting into London for over 18 months and I initially thought the change of environment did not suit me as I struggled to get going. As the SNITCH later told me this was just a tough puzzle. I find it interesting that some people check the SNITCH beforehand as I don’t want to know how hard I’m likely to find the day’s crossword before starting.

    I’m giving my COD to OFFICE just because it’s very fitting. My workplace is no longer being kept ready, it’s now open. Don’t think I’ll make a habit of coming in again just yet though.

  9. Very good puzzle. I particularly liked ORAL and COOKBOOKS. Like Jack I was fixated on AT ALL TIMES for 20ac for quite a while.
    I see the word DIXIE and I think not of a pot but of my very favourite band, Little Feat, and their wonderful song “Dixie Chicken” whence came The Dixie Chicks.
    Springboks v All Blacks in Townsville, Qld on Saturday evening NZ time. It’s the 100th meeting between the two; promises to be a cracker!

    Edited at 2021-09-23 08:31 am (UTC)

  10. ITCHY. I don’t think anyone has yet mentioned that this is using initial letters of ‘incident that can harm you’
  11. Struggled with the LH,RH straight in. As above, got fixated on AT ALL TIMES.

    Main problem is that I can’t submit, either on or off :leaderboard. Have closed tab and rebooted, but still can’t do it.

    Edit: seems to have sorted itself out.

    Edited at 2021-09-23 08:50 am (UTC)

  12. 16:15. Tough but very enjoyable.
    I thought 15ac ORAL was brilliant but now that I think about it ‘right to remove mouse’s head’ is a bit odd. It suggests that the word MORAL is removing its own head.
    Similarly I really liked BRIBING but now that I think about it the concept of a ‘carrot’ doesn’t imply bribery.
    But like I say I really enjoyed the puzzle so whatthehell.
    Anyone else wonder (however briefly) how XI was one more than eight?
  13. 27 mins and felt reasonably pleased with that. LOI spivs, not totally convinced but saw sp as info so a decent option. Some really good clues today I thought- Ibsen, slipway, utility and wound but from a crowded field I picked bribing as my COD..
    Thanks setter and blogger for an enjoyable romp!
  14. 22:46 I spent ages looking at 26A before finally putting in SPIVS knowing only the flashy dresser part of the definition and beaten all ends up by the wordplay. Must remember SP = dope for future crosswords. Tricky stuff. I liked BASSOON and WINGSPAN, but ORAL the most.
  15. Spent several minutes with one letter missing, knowing SP, having SPI-S. A spiv may swindle, I suppose. Finally parsed it, not being willing to risk pink otherwise.

    Good puzzle, 24′ 44″, thanks z and setter.

  16. A good crossword this one, much enjoyed it, not to mention the blog and the comments.
    I have resisted the temptation to log out and then comment on 3dn 🙂
  17. Dixie (LOI) was a total guess. I didn’t see how it worked till reading the blog. Apart from that I found the left hand side went in pretty quickly, but then I slowed right down. Many thanks
  18. ….having discarded SPIVS as a possibility, and without ORAL (wrong sort of trap) and LAST GASP, which I couldn’t get near to. Liked FOOTSTOOL, but COD to WHAT FOR.
  19. I hate to complain, but the clue for SPIVS is rubbish isn’t it? How does fours translate to “at least eight”? What if it was 1.736 fours, or pi/2 fours? Not to mention the loose definition. Bah humbug.

    Nearly all done in about 13 minutes, but got stuck on one clue at the end. No prizes for guessing which.

    Thanks for the blog Z. And thanks setter for letting me get that off my chest.

    1. This seems a wee bit hair-splittish to me. If things come ‘in fours’, they come in groups of four. You can’t have 0.736 of a group of four.
      And the definition seems entirely accurate to me. Collins seems to agree: ‘a person who makes a living by underhand dealings or swindling’.

      Edited at 2021-09-23 02:22 pm (UTC)

      1. That’s all very well K. But you haven’t addressed the fundamental issue I had with the clue, the fact that it took me so long to solve!
  20. I thought this was excellent. Several answers (inc MORAL,SPIVS,UTILITY, BAHAI)_ required a double, or even treble, take before the penny dropped. COOKBOOKS and BRIBING were joint COD

    The way things are going, spivs will soon be knocking out Calor gas containers in the UK.

    Thanks to Z and the setter.

  21. I was subject to multiple interruptions during this solve, as well as being without pen and paper for the anagrams, so made hard work of it. Sadly I was convinced that AUGUSTIN was our saint (pen and paper would’ve helped there) so even doubted FOI BAILIFF. Eventually I solved the puzzle, despite the interruptions from the COVID swab takers, the “can I do your obs now squad, the bed makers, the pill pushers and the surgical team who said I can go home tonight if I don’t regress from my current state, but forgot to go back and solve IGNATIUS properly. I find the iPad hard work to solve on as it keeps missing my touch typing. Having guitarist’s calluses on my left fingers means they usually don’t register at all. Be that as it may I was pleased to eventually understand what was going on. SPIVS was my LOI too. 48:16 with that forgotten saint. Thanks setter and Z.
    1. Ooh, didn’t know you were laid up John. Fingers crossed you don’t regress from your current state ..
        1. Oz: If you’re going to do that, especially on a day when we’re counting, you should log out so as to post as Anonymous
          JD: Hope you heal rapidly
  22. Threw in the towel after an hour with ROB ROY and COOKBOOKS unsolved. Beginner’s error resulted in my looking no further than the verb for ‘outlaw’. And it was right up my alley having both read Scott’s novel of the same name and knowing the Patrick Cargill retort offered to Tony Hancock. One of my favourite comedy moments, indeed.

    Oh, well, protected my NITCH, I suppose…

    Excellent puzzle and blog.

    Edited at 2021-09-23 09:26 am (UTC)

  23. 32 minutes with all hold-ups being confined to the SE corner — although there were rather a lot of them. BRIBING, SPIVS and UTILITY were the last to fall. I did wonder if in these days of deregulated markets utility companies could still be described as public services.
  24. This was hard enough without my making all kinds of trouble for myself. Yes, I had “times” in 20a. I also slung “bassist” into 1d on the vague theory that a BA First would be good news for the student, which led to the vaguely Scottish “gaistly” at 11a – well we had Walter Scott in there. Oh dear what a mess. And of course there were the SPIVS to round it off and I never did parse them. 27.53
  25. DNF: held up in SE for a long time being sure that 24d was CREDO (revolutionary = RED, ‘obsessed’ contained by, captain = C.O.)
    Agree with vinyl that a spiv isn’t a swindler — eventually bunged in SPINS, though no idea about where the 8 needed for the link comes from.
  26. but my IPad has developed a strange affliction of printing 4 A’s when I want just one, which left me with BAAHI. Does aaaanyone know how to fix this?
    Otherwise very enjoyable and tough.
  27. One PDM after another, except that they didn’t quite come one right after another. So a longish solve, over the hour, but enjoyable. I wasn’t sure of Spotted until it was the only thing to reasonably fit, and couldn’t get drum and dray out of my head as possible traps. thanks, Z, and real thanks to the setter
  28. Tricky today – I was interrupted by a phone call after about 10-12 mins, having stared at most of the NE corner for some time without success, then after finishing the call they started to snowball.

    I didn’t think much of SPOTTED, which I think must be definition / wordplay / definition, an awkward thing to have to deal with at the best of times but really not at all justified by the unnatural surface reading here. On the other hand, COOKBOOKS was excellent.

  29. Glad it wasn’t my turn, as I would not have dredged SPIVS up in a million years. Can’t even remember what I guessed at now.
  30. Rather disgruntled by it all as I was doing it on the Oxford Tube, which very kindly provided wi-fi but it kept cutting out and once we reached London it was hopeless. Finished it off at home, with liberal use of aids. I agree with all those who criticised BRIBING (honestly, tossing carrot to …) and SPIVS (this is worse: SP is starting price, not gen except in a very loose sense, IVs is not necessarily 8+, and spivs = swindlers …? — surely it should be something like ‘swindlers, perhaps’, or just ‘swindlers?’). And is 23ac a double definition? If so, rather doubtful in my opinion: one of them is just ‘Reason’ and the other is the whole thing including ‘Reason’. 20ac struck me as dodgy for the same reason as for v: I’ve just spent a night in a hotel in Oxford and they were quite happy with me getting in late.

    Edited at 2021-09-23 01:11 pm (UTC)

    1. It derives from the old ‘carrot and/or stick’ saying. I think most commonly one might ‘dangle’ a carrot or perhaps ‘throw’ it. ‘Tossing (a) carrot’ is just a variation on this and whichever way one looks at it bribery is involved.
      1. Bribery isn’t necessarily involved in the meaning of ‘carrot’. It’s just a positive (as opposed to negative) inducement. It needn’t be untoward.

        Edited at 2021-09-23 02:29 pm (UTC)

        1. Bribery isn’t necessarily untoward either except in a strictly legal context. Amongst various definitions of ‘bribe’ Collins has: ‘3. any persuasion or lure’, which seems to me to fit the proverbial carrot perfectly.
          1. Hmm… well if Collins says so… but I don’t agree. A bribe always carries an implication of impropriety. I’d be amazed if you could find a single example where it doesn’t.

            Edited at 2021-09-23 05:24 pm (UTC)

            1. Chambers has bribe as ‘something offered to someone in order to persuade them to behave in a certain way’. ‘Illegal and improper’ is mentioned in a separate definition. Away from the strictly legal meaning a bribe can be nothing more than an inducement e.g. as parents might be said to bribe their children to do something they are reluctant to do.
              1. The Chambers definition says ‘unduly’, which is intrinsic to the meaning. When people say they’re ‘bribing’ their children it’s deliberately ironic.

                Edited at 2021-09-23 05:49 pm (UTC)

    2. SP does mean dope/gen. The phrase ‘what’s the SP?’ means ‘what’s the latest gossip?’ It’s in Collins.
  31. I stand with the setter and like George Good Puzzle, I had no problem with the wide-boys at 26ac, not at 27a though!

    My time was somewhere between 45 and 50 minutes. A much enjoyed puzzle. I had my money’s worth.


    LOI 24dn BAHAI

    COD 28ac SLIPWAY


    I missed out the middle of 10ac COOKBOOKS and just read:-
    Doctor works in kitchen!

    My Old Man hung on to his square WWII-issue ‘DIXIE’ – thus 27ac was a write in.

  32. I thought this was an excellent puzzle overall. A slight MER over the definition in AT ALL HOURS but some great clues. I liked WINGSPAN, OFFICE, ORAL and LAST GASP among others.
    I nearly got stuck at the bottom. DIXIE and SLIPWAY took a while and I was trying to fit the Roman numeral IX into 26a.
    This was my last in and once I thought of SPIVS I had no problem with it.
    A lunchtime solve, under an hour probably.
  33. Today’s cryptic Quitagram (page 10 of Times2 section) give answers that make it pretty clear today is someone’s big birthday so Many Happy Returns!

  34. Took AGES. Unlike most above the NE corner was completely empty apart from a biffed faintly pencilled 10a COOKBOOKS, and as I didn’t get the cross ref for 12a SPOTTED and 17d chainSAW I nearly gave up.
    COD 7d POSED now it is explained fully.
    I thought that I’ve seen roman numerals followed by S as integer non singular multiplier before, so no MER re rather clever 27a SPIVS. I liked the link to 27A DIXIE.
  35. 41.19. This was a knotty puzzle which needed quite some unpicking. Lots of looking at the wrong end of things and having to re-visit assumptions. The link between the eight in 26ac and the IX in 27ac and the connection between spotted and chainsaw were nice pdms. A good tough solve.
  36. Not the finest grid — thought in particular the supposed connection between 26a and 27a was a bit rubbish.

    Too many went in with a bit of a shrug — are SPIVS and swindlers really the same thing? DIXIE or DOXIE (a prostitute) — guessed with odds in favour of DIXIE; BAHAI — NHO but relied on parsing; UTILITY from the definition and three checkers — not sure how the parsing worked; POSED — didn’t see how that worked.

    Still, a reasonable time for a high SNITCH so erring on the more satisfied side…

  37. I decided to concede at 1 hour (LOI was predictably LAST GASP), but I found this enjoyably taxing. Unfortunately the SE corner defeated me – I had settled on ‘ramp’ being the definition of 28A – but only managed SWIND(a)LE – location of the old corpse road in Cumbria – as my less than credible ‘slope’ (with no convincing explanation for ‘off’).

    Thank you to z8b8d8k and the setter.

    Edited at 2021-09-23 03:25 pm (UTC)

  38. Didn’t have a clue what was going on with SPIVS, and I’m unlikely to remember SP = dope. That and DIXIE were my last two in. Like phmfantom above, I thought 24d would be ‘Credo’ for a while, before SLIPWAY disabused me of that notion and BRIBING (which I really liked, as tossing a carrot can definitely be bribing) eventually led me to BAHAI.

    Some clever clues here, like UNBRITISH, RUB UP, ORAL, OFFICE and LAST-GASP, but I think my COD is WOUND for its concision.

    FOI Bailiff
    LOI Dixie
    COD Wound

  39. Several clues short. I’ll just mention that I thought that ‘tossing carrot’ was slang for vomitting. Americans say “tossing your cookies” and for sure diced carrot are the canonical item in the output.
  40. Too clever for me. Gave up after a long hour with 3 clues unanswered. Several NHOs. Mood miserable, as Horryd would say.
    1. ‘Miserable’!? I would never say that! I am being misquoted.
      Mood Meldrewvian as per ‘One Foot in the Grave’.
  41. I was over 20 minute again (26) so tomorrow should be a pig!
    Slow all round. COD 23ac WHAT FOR – very British – unlike 25ac.
  42. I parsed 20A slightly differently:

    A__S (when) around TALL and A H (all as per blog) OUR (owned by us). Seems to work just as well.

  43. Agree with comments re ‘spiv. He may have been a sly character, but that did not make him a swindler. Got ‘itchy’ but unable to parse it. ‘Incident that could harm’ would probably be a standard expression from the emergency services or from the NHS. What was the compositor trying to prove?
  44. Who is the editor of the cryptic? He cryptically informed us via today’s Crypic Quintagram that it is his 60th Birthday. Happy Birthday, Sir, and many thanks for hours of quality entertainment.
  45. Did this in just under 20 minutes so probably my best solve. Spins and Dixie last ones in, found it a lovely challenge
    1. “Homograph: a word of the same spelling as another, but of different meaning, pronunciation or origin.”
      You have a different Chambers?
      1. Mind you, Chambers also has:
        “Heteronym: a word of the same spelling as another, but of different pronunciation and meaning.” Subtle.
      2. Yes, but the key thing about heteronyms is that they are pronounced differently. This element is missing from the definition of homograph. For example, Fine, down bat are all homographs, but not heteronyms. Wound is exclusively a heteronym, like number, irony, bow, bass etc.
        1. Um – “homograph: a word of the same spelling as another, but of different [meaning,] pronunciation [or origin].” How is it missing?
          1. the word homograph was coined for words that were spelled the same not for words that were pronounced differently.
            1. Fine, but I’m still not clear how that excludes words that are spelled the same but pronounced differently, like like -um – wound and wound. What’s the point in having a word which says look, two words that are spelt the same!
              1. I am not sure — it’s very confusing. Perhaps it is because heteronyms are peculiar to the English language and homographs are more common in other languages (for example papa in Spanish).
  46. 60? I can’t believe that such an important job is left in the care of children!

    Nevertheless, Happy Birthday young fellow.

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