Times 28101 – not a kookaburra or a cockatoo, this time.

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Only one unknown word for me, my LOI in this mild level puzzle today, yet another Australian creature with a weird onomatopoeic name apparently derived from Yagara, a native language. The rest flew in within 15 minutes, I’d heard of the giant rhubarb plant and the lapwing and I’d looked up the origin of 24a before.

1 Came across old shot of just the top of a face (7)
METOPIC – MET (came across) O (old) PIC (shot). Relating to the forehead.
5 Funny reason one can’t get into the theatre for audition? (7)
PLAYFUL – sounds like the play is full so you can’t get in.
9 Racer frantic in sailing dinghy for bird repellent (9)
SCARECROW –  (RACER)* inside SCOW a sailing dinghy.
10 Cleaner beginning to move ornament (5)
CHARM – CHAR (cleaner) M(ove).
11 More than enough length in inside of camper (5)
AMPLE – L inside the central letters of c AMPE r.
12 Rank hat as being something that may be made out of this? (9)
ASTRAKHAN – (RANK HAT AS)*. A curly sheepskin fur, originally from the Astrakhan area of Southern Russia, used for hat and collars.
13 Get corn nicely developed in process vital for growth (8,5)
17 Bussing company nearly employing one from another branch that’s close (7,6)
KISSING COUSIN – Bussing in olden times meant to kiss with a smack of the lips. Then CO and USIN(G) = company nearly employing.
21 Burning lust in partially vacated part of eastern Europe (9)
PYROMANIA – PY = partially, vacated; ROMANIA in E Europe.
24 Mother’s put in limitless cumin for flavour (5)
UMAMI – MA inside (c)UMI(n) = limitless cumin. One of five distinct tastes, along with salt, sweet, sour and bitter; orinigally from the Japanese word.
25 American article on where Queen Victoria died (5)
IOWAN – A chap from Iowa. Victoria died in the Isle of Wight, at her favourite Osborne House.
26 Remove liquid from one local dairy farm’s Jersey, perhaps (9)
BAILIWICK – BAIL (remove liquid from) I (one) WICK (old English for a village or dairy farm, as in Gatwick, or Keswick which meant ‘cheese farm’.) Guernsey and Jersey are both Bailiwicks administratively.
27 Practice of firing in large plant losing a year (7)
GUNNERY -GUNNERA (a kind of giant rhubarb) loses A and then add Y for year.
28 Plan musical performance with piano for queen (7)
CONCEPT – CONCERT has the R (queen) replaced by P for piano.

1 Fail to include a line in service book (6)
MISSAL – MISS (failure) A L(ine)
2 Adornments for horse carriage has swine pinching some number (9)
TRAPPINGS – TRAP (carriage) PIGS (swine) insert N for number.
3 Excuse pressure concerning words used for speech (7)
PRETEXT – P (pressure) RE (concerning) TEXT (word used for speech).
4 Australian bird dog walked off with in piece of cloth (9)
CURRAWONG – CUR (dog) RAG (piece of cloth) with WON (walked off with) inserted. Once I had C*R*A*O*G I suspected some weird Australian creature was going to be the answer and the wordplay offered up this one, of which I had not heard but it seemed likely. I had to check to be sure, it’s a handsome black or grey bird that eats fruit.
5 Flyer exercises intelligence (5)
PEWIT – PE (exercises) WIT (intelligence). Alternative spelling of PEEWIT a kind of lapwing.
6 Old needing to bend when accepting seat mostly (7)
ARCHAIC – ARC (bend) has CHAI(R) inserted.
7 Female with whip showing off (5)
FLASH – F for female, LASH = whip. As in Flash Harry perhaps.
8 Complained about me interrupting dental working (8)
14 Arab in English golf and athletic club is conceited individual (9)
EGOMANIAC – E (English) G (golf) OMANI (an Arab) AC (athletic club).
15 Like melodious chorus of Cambridge that is welcoming learner (9)
CANTABILE -CANTAB (Latin short for Cantabriensis, from Cambridge) I E (that is) insert L for learner. A songlike piece of music.
16 Leaping to pass over computer query? (8)
SKIPPING – double definition. No, I’m amending this in light of erudite comments below. The definition is leaping, SKIP = pass over and a PING is a kind of query as explained below.
18 Big and obvious statement of identity with Poles — European (7)
IMMENSE – I’M ME an obvious statement, N S poles, E European.
19 Statuary: it ain’t oddly, depicting reptile (7)
SAURIAN – alternatel ellers of S t A t U a R y I t A i N’ t. Like a lizard.
20 Soldiers watching decide on film (6)
PICKET – PICK (decide on) ET (that film again).
22 Argue over a name for member of the rose family (5)
ROWAN – ROW = argue, AN.
23 Boleyn, Henry’s second to go, treated not in this way! (5)
NOBLY – &Lit. Remove E (Henry’s second letter) from Boleyn, then treated = (BOLYN)*.

88 comments on “Times 28101 – not a kookaburra or a cockatoo, this time.”

  1. I got BAILIWICK as the only thing I could fit but I didn’t have a clue why. No idea about GUNNERA but I got that one. I didn’t know Victoria died in the Isle of Wight, but it was certainly plausible. But CURRAWONG defeated me and I had to use aids to see what fitted. Surprisingly, CURRAJONG fits too, which is an Australian tree (maybe the bird sings from its branches).

    Edited at 2021-10-06 12:55 am (UTC)

    1. Currawong is a gift to those of us from Oz. They are common in Sydney and (for the less observant, like me) are sometimes confused with local magpies. The tree we would normally spell with a K – Kurrajong is also a town at the base of the Blue Mountains near Sydney. And, yes, you could easily get a Currawong perched in a Kurrajong (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSBrJVvrQU4).
  2. I didn’t know where Victoria died, although I did vaguely know she had a place on the Isle of Wight?/Man? So I looked it up. DNK the computer sense of SKIPPING, but it seemed inevitable; ditto CURRAWONG. Once I got PICKET, BAILIWICK was forced on me; I assumed that it applied to the Channel Islands in some way. DNK METOPIC, but didn’t need to. I forgot to parse LAMENTED. I suppose Anne Boleyn was treated nobly insofar as she was beheaded not hanged.

    Edited at 2021-10-06 02:28 am (UTC)

    1. Or burnt at the stake, which I vaguely recall was the alternative she was nobly spared..
  3. Q: what do you call a clue where you put in the answer because it’s the only thing that fits, passing by the wordplay and definition entirely?
    A: Bailiwick

    And uh surely “text” is specifically words that physically appear (on paper, a screen etc)? Aren’t speeches ad-libbed all the time (i.e without any text)? Doesn’t the clue for 3d deserve a question mark?

    1. Often oratory is not delivered impromptu but with the aid, at least, of a prepared text.
  4. Took 65 minutes. I couldn’t understand the ‘local dairy farm’s’ bit of the wordplay for BAILIWICK which was my LOI. METOPIC was new as was the second sense of SKIPPING. Admittedly with a few crossers, CURRAWONG went in early, helped by being very common around these parts. Not really my favourite avian creature, but there’s a nice pic of one with his/her human friend on the Wikipedia page. Maybe splitting hairs, but is the def for 12a just ‘this?’?

    Early candidate for clue of the week: NOBLY.

    Thanks to Pip and setter

  5. I think SKIPPING is actually SKIP=pass over and PING=computer query. PING is an instruction to send a packet to a node that should get boounced back. So yesterday if you want ping facebook.com you’d get a timeout not a measure of how much time it took!
      1. MER to see a network diagnostic tool referenced here – but PING is by far the best-known standard utility in that space.

        It’s also increasingly becoming – especially amongst young people – shorthand for “make contact with”. For instance “Ping me when you’ve finished writing that report”

  6. The pied currawong has just been eliminated from the ” australian bird of the year” competition 2021 , which is underway. It’s the final week for voting and we’re down to the last 16. Which bird will Astronowt vote for?
    Currawong was a write-in. (Mrs Corymbia took this userpic at the farm a few weeks ago).
    18:08, held up by IOWAN at the end but not by nho GUNNERA/Y
    1. Impossible choice. Have always admired the sheer magnificence of the wedge-tailed eagle. But I’ve fallen in love with bush turkeys since moving back to Sydney. And tawny frogmouths. And don’t get me started on white-bellied sea-eagles.

      But how could anyone be heartless enough to vote against a willy wagtail, or a pelican for that matter? And who will defend the much-maligned bin-chicken?

      As I said, impossible choice, I had to abstain from voting. Who’s your money on?

      1. For the record, which bailiwick of Sydney are you now resident in? And what was up with Perth?
        1. 1. Northern Beaches.
          2. Can’t answer that as the Australian states are currently at war with each other.
      2. I’m hoping for an upset win for carnaby’s black cockatoo, but it probably will suffer the rabbitoh’s fate. If the cockatoo vote flows on preferences to carnaby’s, and it picks up votes from disaffected galahs, there may be a small chance.
        1. “picks up votes from disaffected galahs”. Also known as the Pauline Hanson method.

          Yes, as a long-time Bibra Lake resident, I’d love to see Carnaby’s get up. Would be even better to see it escape its endangered status.

            1. Having been watching “Nine Perfect Strangers” series on Amazon Prime, I have to disagree, it’s Nicole Kidman.
                1. On my one and only trip- so far- thought the lorikeets and rosellas were stunning and fun.
  7. About average time. Another from down under for whom currawong was a write-in, while LOI bailiwick and Iowan went in with a shrug. Parsed skipping same as paulmcl. NHO nitrogen cycle, metopic or cantabile but no problems, except remembering the shortened form of Cambridge.
    Wonder what astro-nowt will make of a bird that might defeat some of his non-compatriots?
    Thanks setter and blogger.
  8. The most fun thing about currawongs is to watch them busking, to invite picnickers to share their lunches!
  9. It’s not what you know, it’s what you don’t know…

    CURRAWONG went in before I’d finished reading the clue. The quintessential sound of Australia if you ask me.

    CONCAMILE (yeah? so what?) went in long after I’d finshed reading the clue. I could have taken longer, but it wouldn’t have helped.

    Oh well, to extrapolate on the Meatloaf Conjecture, 29 out of 30 ain’t bad.

    Thanks Pip and setter.

    1. Yes, I went with Concamile also. C for chorus and Cambridge is ON the CAM. I even thought of Cantabile but had it in my mind that Cantab = Canterbury rather than Cambridge.
      I also failed on the Australian bird as I didn’t see “walked off with” = “won”.
      28 out of 30 for me ain’t so bad.
  10. My LOI 4dn was wong as I plumped for CURRAJONG which turns out to be a tree. l’m only good on birds and trees that have appeared on the postage stamps of Australia in this case. l am quite sure Lord Galspray will put me right.
    I suppose two CURRAWONGS don’t make a CURRAWITE. I’ll fetch me coati.!

    FOI 24ac UMAMI — a lot of fuss about nothing

    COD 17ac KISSING COUSINS — an old Elvis film which I am certain a young man from Bolton saw
    at the Odeon, or similar, in his ‘brothel creepers’,

    WOD 26ac BAILIWICK which I am certain is used in parts of America as well as the Channel Islands.

    Very good crossword, esp. with the SCARECROW to get rid of them pesky Yagaran avians.

    Whatever! Meldrew

  11. [channeling his inner horryd] ‘Kissing cousins?! Curra-whatnot?! The Thunderer is being taken over by the darned colonials!’
    1. And when our day finally comes, those damned Oxbridge clues will be the first up against the wall!
    2. An inner horryd! That sounds beyond unpleasant! But as Madge notes, we should support the Commonwealth and it’s peoples.
  12. DNF with PRETEXT missing, alphabet trawls skipped ‘x’. Went with PREVENT.

    I’ve always thought it was ‘unami’, with an ‘n’, need new glasses.

    COD CANTABILE, an excellent word. When composers put it in an instrumental part it allows the player to interpret it how they imagine they would sing it. Always brings a smile to me when I see it in the score.

  13. My solving time for all but one word was not much over my target half-hour but once again I was stumped by the last one not in and I decided not to waste any more time on it. Of course it was CURRAWONG that did for me as not only had I NHO it but I wasn’t able to decipher wordplay past dog = CUR which since I had both C and R as checkers didn’t exactly tax my brain.

    Other NHO’s were METOPIC, NITROGEN CIRCLE, and the WICK bit of BAILIWICK but these didn’t impede my progress. Never thought of GUNNERA to explain the parsing at 27.

    Rather surprisingly UMAMI didn’t present a problem as I met it in a puzzle within the past few days, possibly in The Guardian.

    Edited at 2021-10-06 05:00 am (UTC)

  14. So how many ‘darned colonial’ solvers are there? I knew of two or three other than me, but it’s pleasing to see more lured out by the currawong.
  15. Felt like a bit of a grim slog through this one, various unknown words (METOPIC, CURRAWONG, ASTRAKHAN) had to be laboriously constructed whilst checking the crosser-permutations. Managed to dig up CANTAB from somewhere in the recesses to make CANTABILE, another NHO.

    Failure came on my LOI, which I entered as BAILIMILK – and upon seeing the corrected answer, it looked familiar. Sure enough, the spiffy clue database at “eigenfoo dot xyz” tells me this word appeared in #28048 a few weeks ago. Hopefully this double-fail will be enough to improve my vocabulary a notch.

  16. Which is the bliss of solitude;
    And then my heart with pleasure fills,
    And dances with the daffodils.

    Hmmm. 25 mins pre-brekker to leave the bird. Like Sawbill, I couldn’t be bothered.
    As soon as I put in Metopic and used Scow I thought, Oh dear, it’s one of those. There is bound to be a NHO word somewhere that Is the last straw.
    Thanks setter and Pip.

      1. Ha ha. Now I remember what DNF means … it was a very long time ago and I was terribly, terribly drunk at the time.
  17. 32:24
    Constructed currawong from wordplay. This puzzle leaned a little bit on odd vocab here and there without crossing the line into silliness.
    Thanks pip.
  18. 34 minutes with LOI PICKET. Horryd, I do seem to remember Elvis making a movie called Kissin’ Cousins, one no doubt selected by Colonel Tom Parker for its high dramatic content. I constructed METOPIC and UMAMI without knowing either word. I’ve been a gardener all these years and never thought of a rowan as a rose. You’re never too old to learn. And then no doubt forget. Thank you Pip and setter.

    Edited at 2021-10-06 07:50 am (UTC)

    1. The film was a belter. Nominated but beaten to the best screenplay (Screenwiters Guild) by Mary Poppins! The Song ‘Kissin’ Cousins’ went to #2 on Billboard!

      You clean forget to mention the shoes! And I believe it is Nunnery and not Gunnery! Did you know Trevor? No need to RSVP.

  19. I was well off the wavelength on this one, reflected in me having the highest personal NITCH currently. For BAILIWICK I spent some time pondering dehydration for removing liquid. Then when I had all the checkers in place, like Denise I wanted to put milk at the end. The penny only dropped when I noticed that BAILIWICK fitted. For my LOI, CURRAWONG it took me a long time to equate “walk off with” with won. Finally, on proof reading my answers I noticed that TRAMPINGS looked unlikely, where I had thought of tram for carriage, and amended my answer at the last moment. Thus a satisfying finish after that near failure.
  20. As I lived in Sydney for a total of 15 years or so, I’m another for whom CURRAWONG was almost a gimme.
    Thanks for BAILIWICK and SKIPPING, Pip. I didn’t know that WICK meant village but should have as I worked at Gatwick for 10 years. I grew up in a Sussex village that ended in…HURST, which means wood.
    Didn’t know the computer meaning of SKIPPING.
    COD to NOBLY. I’ve just finished the third part of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall trilogy so the clue was apposite.
  21. FOI: AMPLE

    I had no idea that the ROWAN was a member of the rose family and had NHO METOPIC. LOI took a long time to parse WON.

    Thanks to pipkirby and the setter

  22. No bird, 15′ otherwise. Knew BAILIWICK from coins that used to occasionally turn up. Liked GUNNERY, as I like the near-prehistoric plants.

    I have been to Osborne House.

    I once tried to buy an ASTRAKHAN hat in the Gum store in Moscow but they only had one, which didn’t fit.

    Thanks pip and setter.

  23. No probs today bar the birdies. Managed to construct 4dn when I had the checkers, CxR had to be CUR and RAG with something in it seemed plausible, but it took an alphabet trawl to find WON because I was looking for a word meaning stole. Lived in Cantab so no problem there. Bailiwick to me means not only Channel Islands but also a jocular word for neighbourhood, like “manor” or “neck of the woods.”
    Nice to see the two birds, which gave me a thrill of anticipation as to what Astronowt would make of them .. what an ornament to TfTT that man (?) is
    1. My experience with the bird — my LOI — was identical to yours in every respect.
      I hear ‘bailiwick’ in contexts where it means an area of responsibility or expertise. Sort of an English equivalent of the American ‘wheelhouse’, although that’s a bit more expertise whereas ‘bailiwick’ is a bit more responsibility.

      Edited at 2021-10-06 09:15 am (UTC)

      1. bailiwick=area of responsibility/expertise is the only way I’ve ever heard or used it. Whereas I’ve never in my life come across ‘wheelhouse’, aside from the occasions when it’s referred to a wheelhouse.
        1. It’s business jargon. It would be familiar to you if you spent as much time as I do with American investment bankers.

          Edited at 2021-10-06 10:51 am (UTC)

          1. God forbid. But ‘bailiwick’, where I come from, is just a word meaning ‘area of responsibility/expertise’.
            1. That’s the meaning I hear most often too. But the Bailiwick of Jersey is a thing you hear about from time to time in the UK.
              1. You led me to Google Bailiwick of Jersey, where I just spent an engrossing 10 minutes reading about Jersey.
  24. I visited in 1960 – do we get 15 I-Spy points?

    The Kaiser rushed over her bedside from Potsdam, hoping she might relent and put him on the throne instead of ‘the drone.’

    These days I spend as little time as possible with American Investment Bankers.

    Edited at 2021-10-06 11:00 am (UTC)

  25. ….which I didn’t much enjoy, despite knowing all the obscurities except for the Aussie bird, where the wordplay was pretty tortuous. Too much like a Mephisto for my liking.

    TIME 11:14

  26. And all complete before Marble Arch. Spent 2 minutes on my LOI CURRAWONG – NHO so resorted to an alphabet trawl for the last two letters having got the dog and the cloth.

    Enjoyed the rest of this puzzle, thanks setter and pip

  27. After yesterday’s success, down with bump today. I did manage to work out the many unknowns from the wordplay, including CURRAWONG, CANTABILE, METOPIC, the WICK bit of BAILIWICK and SAURIAN but I fell over with MISHAP at 1d. Ironic eh?

    Pretty tricky today. I did like KISSING COUSIN.

    Thank you Pip and setter.

  28. Like the QC this was over too quickly! Time 11:20. A feast of across words:Astrakhan but without mention of ‘The Lad Himself’, thus far! Kissin’ Cousins; Nitrogen Cycle; Pyromania, Bailiwick and Umami. Downwards we further gained Pewit, Cantabile and Saurian (forget the damned Currawong!).
    Much liked. COD 28ac CONCEPT

  29. Too many biffs for me to appreciate fully the elegance of several wordplays .. letter patterns seem to offer few alternatives (I?W?N, or B?I?I?I?K, as just two examples). Certainly the trend seems to be for more and more somewhat obscure vocab in these backpagers, CURRAWONG being today’s prime example. All fine and dandy from the comfort of one’s home but they would make you sweat in the battlerooms of competition. Many thanks to both setter and blogger, as ever.
  30. LOI Currawong. I couldn’t get walked off with = won. So I expected a pink square or two.

    COD: Kissing Cousin.

    1. What made you plump for WONG as the ending without having made the connection to won? Before I got there I had GONG, DONG, etc in the running.
      1. Hi pootle. I just guessed and expected to be wrong.

        I was pretty sure of CUR + RA (—) G and I was also confident it ended _ONG. An alphabet trawl failed to reveal, to me at least, a 3 letter word -ON=walked off with. But Walked off suggested WO and nothing else suggested itself. So I went with the word that looked like it might be right.

        In the past when I have plumped for an unlikely answer from an unlikely reading of wordplay I’ve noticed I would have been better putting in a known word or an answer that least looks like a word rather than going for a doubtful looking word derived from dodgy wordplay interpretation.

  31. Slight confession, I worked out what CURRAWONG had to be and looked it up to make sure it existed, because it’s an unfair word and we should not be kowtowing to Australians in the run-up to an away Ashes series. Is that such a bad thing to do? Is it cheating? Yes. Yes it is, but in modern politician style, I say we should just move on and stop concentrating on the bad thing I’ve just done.
    1. What’s the latest on the tour going ahead Tim? Would England be happy with all five Tests being played in Wagga Wagga?
      1. Latest I read is a plan for the accompanying families to be allowed quarantine as a big group where they can at least mix with each other. Not sure if/how this includes the players or whether it will indeed mean that Wagga Wagga’s time has come…
    2. As I said the other day, if you can convince yourself that it’s the answer you would have put in if you were in the championship, it counts as an all correct solve. How easy you find it to convince yourself is a personal matter and nobody else’s business.
  32. 20:17. I sometimes complain about puzzles that are hard by dint of obscurity, and this was one of those. However I really enjoyed it, because it seemed to me that all the tricky words were very clearly indicated, even if the indications weren’t always easy to unravel. So very much a wordplay puzzle, which is my kind of puzzle.
  33. 29:16. A few of the unknowns required careful assembly but they were generously clued. The NOBLY/BAILIWICK crossing was the major hold-up.
  34. Good fun. Straightforward thought I didn’t know about the nitrogen cycle, gunnera or the family of the Rowan. COD IOWAN

    Life has become a little more hectic recently as I have started doing a stint at the local banque alimentaire. As I used to do the same when I lived in Ely, I feel I can now put “International Food Banks -tinned goods stacking specialist” on my CV.

  35. As yesterday, an easy one with intermingled NHOs, including METOPIC and CURRAWONG, which didn’t appear in my text reminder, so not that well known in Wales.
    COD BAILIWICK because Jersey is rarely Jersey in a clue.
  36. So those of us who live in the Mother Country who constantly snigger at Colonials who know not Archbishops or Hertfordshire villages got our comeuppance today with a bird that everyone with a currajong tree in their back yard knows intimately and with some affection. Fair go.
    Otherwise a comparable puzzle to yesterday’s and a comparable 26 minute time.
    I thought “Fail to include a line” was a bit irritating since it MISS didn’t include AL and for a wile I doubted my extensive knowledge of prayer books. METOPIC I made up from the wordplay and never doubted it.
    I didn’t find NITROGEN easy to unpick from the fodder, which slowed things down. -ING looked too likely.
    I liked the historically plausible Boleyn clue.
  37. DNF. Thought we had, but found the only word in the dictionary to fit B*i*i*i** which wasn’t Bailiwick, and even when I had Bailiwick I didn’t get picket. Once I had got to 14/28 I was happy; 26/28 I’m ecstatic. Had to dig deep for the anagram out of rank hat as. NHO metopic, biffed from clue. didn’t parse archaic. What sort of cousin/ Tried distant – currawong put that straight. Lots to enjoy here. Two mania(c)s, for a start. I had an hour and a quarter’s worth. Thanks, Pip, and setter.
  38. NHO CURRAWONG and METOPIC is new to me as well, with the word play being not quite enough to give me the first letter and thus leaving me flummoxed by the now obvious MISSAL as well. Probably about 25 mins barring these three which refused to budge in a further inordinate length of time. So a DNF for me, setting me up nicely for the refreshing cup of afternoon Earl Grey.
  39. An unhurried trudge around the grid. NW and some of the longer answers took longest to give up.

    Guessed the unknown METOPIC. Spent too long thinking what the last four letters of PRETEXT might be. CURRAWONG of course a bit of stuff and nonsense.

    Pencilled in KISSING COUSIN as couldn’t see what else it might be — NHO bussing = kissing

  40. 30.30 but took two sessions broken by a trip to the golf course. Tricky I thought with my LOI currawong. Got the cur anr rag easily enough but took a time to fit won in. Never heard of the bird in question but was happy enough with the cluing.
    Ditto metopic.

    COD for me was iowan.

  41. I got a bunch of Acrosses right away, starting from the bottom, but then there these few unknowns…

    At the very end, I had to cheat a little; though I figured it must be CURRA_ONG, “walked away with” went right past me. I also didn’t know what was going on with the A in GUNNERY when I put it in. METOPIC was utterly new, so for a minute there I was working a Mephisto.

    I sometimes use the word BAILIWICK, which I picked up from a former coworker. For example, the crossword page in (and @) The Nation, was my BAILIWICK, until it disappeared from the map thanks to our current editor in chief. And don’t get me started.

    Edited at 2021-10-06 05:02 pm (UTC)

  42. I must be getting awfully dim in my old age because (despite Pip calling it a mild level puzzle) it took me more than an hour, and that was with liberal use of aids by the end. The Boleyn clue was extremely good I thought: I overthought it so that Boleyn became Anne and then Ann … Some very obscure words I thought: metopic, nitrogen cycle, currawong, saurian.
  43. Held up by 4dn CURRAWONG and 26ac BAILIWCK. CURRAWONG and 24ac UMAMI were v obscure and had to be checked in the OED. The ‘wick’ bit of BAILIWICK’ turns out to be E.Anglian / Essex dialect for a dairy farm, not very sporting that!
  44. 28.52. A smattering of tricky vocab stretched this solve out a bit. Metopic unknown but it had to be. Needed a few checkers to get the type of cycle required at 13ac. With the bail and the I pencilled in I couldn’t see any alternative to bailiwick even if I didn’t know wick meant dairy farm or quite what the definition alluded to. Struggled to get the won bit of currawong. Pretext LOI after an alpha-trawl, the X being unhelpfully located up the far end of the alphabet.
  45. 27:50 earlier this evening. Simply not at the races today, with more biffs than Tyson Fury, so thanks to Pip for the explanations. Not one of my better days.
    COD 21 ac “pyromania” where I had totally failed to understand what the clue was about until 16 d “skipping” ( which was biffed) came to the rescue
    Thanks to Pip for a neat blog and to the setter for, for me, a rather frustrating puzzle!
  46. With ten minutes on the ozzie bird which i finally had to look up. Annoyingly I saw the world play and was doing a mental trawl through the alphabet — bon, con, don etc — looking for a word meaning ‘walked away with’. But I got bored around about son and ton so stopped.
  47. Just over the border in Southern Chile, the gunnera has such huge thick thorny stems that the natives used it as a weapon.
  48. Late entry; good time for me; enjoyable puzzle

    Last two were the COUSIN’s first word and the leaping. Wanted STEPPING but KISSING came in a moment of revelation and SKIPPING wrote itself in

    Thanks Pip and setter

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