28750 Blow winds and crack your cheeks


Another short-sighted typo marred my 24.27, which didn’t feel that long and will probably prove to be slower than it should have been. I have the impression of a puzzle with an almost comprehensive set of the single letter abbreviations filling in the gaps. They’re decent clues, albeit with a couple of hmm moments, but I found it hard to pick a stand-out apart from the triple for being a triple and the &lit for being an &lit. I do hope there isn’t a brilliant NINA that I’ve missed. With the rain lashing down and storm Ciarán howling even in this “driest place in the country”, perhaps we have a topical enough clue at 17, the &lit.

Definitions underlined in italics, the rest explained as we go along.

1 Like some dogs, raced around too much (7)
SPOTTED – “Some dogs”, or at least 101 of them. SPED is placed around OTT, “over the top” and so too much.
5 Record single back around number four in chart (5)
ENROL – Single this time is LONE, reversed around the fourth letter in chaRt. Single is not I, four is not IV. Different!
9 Respond with about turn (5)
REACT – Perhaps that should be a dotted line under “with”, as its only there for the sense of the literal. About: RE, turn ACT as in a music hall.
10 Machine boxing fruit in gold November (9)
AUTOMATON – The fruit is the TOMATO (don’t argue just because it’s salad). It’s boxed in by AU for gold (Au for purists) and NATO November
11 Scrap — small dog perhaps grabs bite (7)
SNIPPET – S(mall) dog perhaps as an example of a PET, with NIP for bite grabbed.
12 Uniform carried by entire travelling entourage (7)
RETINUE – NATO Uniform carried by an anagram (travelling) of ENTIRE.
13 Block an interrogation to eliminate last cause of slippage (6,4)
BANANA SKIN – The wonderful HTML that magically produces the framework for these blogs faithfully reproduced my M for N typo. At least I can correct it here. Block gives BAN, an interrogation with its last crossed of gives AN ASKIN. Adjust spacing..
15 Perhaps ammonia has power to catch the breath (4)
GASP -At its simplest, ammonia is a GAS. Add P(ower)
18 Properly healthy spa (4)
WELL – A triple definition, and rather a good one.
20 Docker perhaps not working is a sponger (10)
FREELOADER – If a docker, an example of a LOADER, is not working, he  is FREE do do as he pleases. I remember days when dockers, if asked to work for free, would have been out for months.
23 Restaurant initially needs support in Canada (7)
CANTEEN – The initial of needs is N, support TEE, and a short CANada is the container
24 Anger about some current wild behaviour (7)
RAMPAGE – Anger is RAGE, around AMP for current.
25 Girl on the outside loving and beautifully attractive (9)
GLAMOROUS – The outside of girl provides the GL, loving the AMOROUS rest.
26 Ring modulator usually features (5)
TORUS – That donut (doughnut?) shaped ring is hidden is modulaTOR USually
27 Sing free melody without metre (5)
YODEL -Happy(ish) memories of Frank Ifield. An anagram (free) of MELODY without M(etre)
28 Pet insect runs in bread basket (7)
TANTRUM – Bread basket produces the equally colloquial TUM. Digest the insect ANT plus R(uns)
1 Network stop second director working (7)
STATION – I think I’m OK with network being the equivalent of a radio or TV station, and in the clue  with it being a pseudo plural that allows stop rather than stops. Not for the first time in my blogging career, the director is Jaques TATI. Before him S(econd) and after ON for working. [Early comments suggest the definition should include stop. Makes sense!]
2 Get through more cash than English pounds, tons need changing (8)
OUTSPEND – Construct the anagram (needs changing) fodder from E(nglish) POUNDS and T(ons) ====
3 A lot of land agreement has no disadvantage (5)
TRACT – Took me a while to work out that the required agreement is a CONTRACT, from which you remove the disadvantage CON as in pros and cons.
4 Decide to put off excavation (9)
DETERMINE – A simple charade put off DETER, and excavation MINE
5 Yet I’m upset about new animosity (6)
ENMITY – An anagram (upset) of YET I’M and N(ew)
6 Something to see in the Capitol and tour around (7)
ROTUNDA – While solving I though this was something I hadn’t seen on the Capitol in Rome (I was pushing a wheelchair at the time and it’s not very friendly), but it’s this one,  sometimes a rather exciting place to be. A simple anagram (around) of AND TOUR.
7 Look briefly to dispatch good weapon (5)
LANCE – Look briefly is GLANCE, remove the G(ood)
8 What might kill something like albatross over front of ship (8)
CROSSBOW – The clue references the Rime of the Ancient Mariner. I briefly feared that “something like albatross” would produce CROW, but fortunately it’s just over for CROSS and front of ship BOW. I’ve tried and so far failed to think of a context in which over directly translates to cross. [It seems there’s a reason why I struggled to find an over/CROSS  equivalence because it was probably not what the setter intended. I think the comments below are right, including the ones that generously support what I thought in the wee small hours.]
14 In a long line getting beer round bar (6,3)
STRUNG OUT – Beer this time is STOUT, and bar therein is RUNG.
16 A rhyme is troublesome (8)
PERVERSE – That sneaky (for me) a that produces PER, and VERSE from rhyme
17 Who’ll show climate turning endlessly severe? (8)
DOOMSTER – I think an &lit. MOOD derives from climate and is reversed (turning) and severe produces STERN from which you cut the end N. Let’s not start a debate on climate change: that’s what Facebook’s for.
19 Ship’s rope in dock holding beam up (7)
LANYARD – At least it’s spelt properly this time (it wasn’t 6 weeks ago). Dock, the verb version I suggest, produces LAND, and RAY for beam is reversed (up) and inserted.
21 Vague about Indian city plan (7)
DIAGRAM – I seem to get the home of the Taj, disproportionately often, but here’s AGRA again with DIM for vague around it.
22 Spring back with green during more than half of April (6)
RECOIL – Rather a decent literal. Green is ECO, contained in the last 60% of ApRIL
23 Secretive egret regularly hides in island (5)
CAGEY – The even letters of eGrEt in CAY, one of the rarer words for island.
24 Nothing in France holds society up (5)
RISEN – French for nothing is RIEN. stick in S(ociety)

89 comments on “28750 Blow winds and crack your cheeks”

  1. You are by no means the only one! It does happen that alternative answers are possible, such is the flexibility of English, and it’s inevitably sometimes hard for the setter (and editor!) to spot the difficulty. It’s worse when the crossing letters don’t rule out the alternative, and if you are convinced by your entry it makes no sense to revisit it. Usually the “correct” answer is a better fit: in this case, arguably, ACT is a better fit with “turn” than PLY, but that doesn’t ease your pain. Both are possible, and it’s only marginally less painful to be corrected by the crossing letters than by pink squares.

  2. Don’t agree with Andy above: even though I initially put in REPLY, REACT is definitely the best option, and couldn’t be anything else, given the crossers. Held myself up no end chasing apparent anagrists, like ‘around’(leaving me using the letters of raced and ott to make “like some dogs” )- was never going to work! Like others DOOMSTER myLOI (not heard of before), but spent more time being sure that 28a was PANNIER, having one of the N crossers…Ah well. Very much liked TANTRUM when it appeared( though surely it suggests a more violent react than a PET?), never got PERVERSE; also liked AUTOMATON and BANANA SKIN.

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