topicaltim (topicaltim) wrote in times_xwd_times,
topicaltim
topicaltim
times_xwd_times

Times 25,743

I felt too tired last night to face the prospect of solving and blogging post-midnight; with hindsight, that was a good decision, as I found this pretty stretching even after a good night's sleep. On the whole, I wouldn't go so far as to say I didn't enjoy it, more that I found it quite heavy going; clock stopped at 18:17, which was well outside my daily target of 2 Magoos, but still well up the leaderboard so far, which suggests I wasn't alone.

Across
1NEGATIVE - E.G. (as an illustration), in NATIVE(original). Of course, in these days of megapixels, young people will only know photo negatives as a way cool filter on their Instagram.
5CLOVER - Left in COVER. Non-cricketers will be pleased that another definition of "cover" was used today, this one being "The amount of ground covered by a vertical projection of the vegetation, usually expressed as a percentage".
9BUTTRESS - BUT, TRESS. If you're not a rugby fan, I imagine the surface may have passed you by entirely (both lock and prop are positions in the scrum).
10ICARUS - cryptic def. Hmmm. I know some people have been rumbling about the use of cryptic definition clues recently; mainly, they will say, because several of them haven't been any good. Perhaps this has made me sensitive to them, but this one certainly made me wince a little; if you were describing what happened to Icarus, you'd say his wings were exposed to the sun, never in the sun; obviously the language has to be changed to make the surface look as if it's about someone being splashed across the pages of a tabloid, but it made the clue sound forced and odd to my ear. Maybe I'm being too picky and just over-analysing because being blogger of the day makes you look more closely than usual...
12DRESS - double def., as in dressing a wound or dressing an actor, helped by the multiple meanings of "theatre".
13TEMPERING - double def. because the word itself is one of those odd ones which can have two completely contradictory meanings, depending on whether you are tempering steel or tempering justice with mercy, for instance.
14FOURTH ESTATE - THE in FOUR("crew"), STATE("say"). In crosswords, the rowing crew is usually the full eight, but rowers operate as fours or pairs as well (though I'm not sure you can call two people a crew).
18EXACERBATION - EX("no longer"), ACE("expert"), Bishop in RATION("helping").
21BARCAROLE - BAR("piece of music"), CAROL("something sung"), European and a nice &lit., the whole thing being a traditional Venetian gondoliers' song.
23CLEAR - double def.
24TALLIS - TALL, IS, as in "a tall story". Composer Thomas Tallis was associated with royalty at the courts of both Mary and Elizabeth. This sprang quickly to mind because Radio 4 recently repeated a play about his associate William Byrd, and the suspicions of him as a covert Catholic traitor, in which Tallis featured.
25ATLANTIS - AT, Length, ANTIS.
26MAYHEM - if you MAY HEM, in the sewing sense, you are able to create a border.
27LETHARGY - Husband in (GREATLY)*.
 
Down
1NOBODY - as in a) Diary of a Nobody, and b) the answer to the schoolboy joke "Why didn't the ghost go to the party?".
2GATHER - concealed in toGA THE Romans.
3TURNSTONE - spelling out that flying directly away from the South-West would mean turning to the North-East. A bird which often features in puzzles, and which gets its name from its habit of looking for food under...well I expect you've guessed.
4VISITORS BOOK - another cryptic def. It's not awful, but I doubt it's going to convert anyone to the cause who doesn't already love them.
6LUCRE - (CRUEL)*. Is there any sort apart from the filthy?
7VERTICAL - V, (ARTICLE)*.
8RESIGNED - double def.; the meanings are made clear if you consider the alternatives as perhaps RESIGNED and RE-SIGNED.
11AMPHITHEATRE - A MP("representative") HIT("ran into") HEAT("criticism") RE("about").
15SLOWCOACH - LOW("humble") inside [Secondary, COACH("school")].
16VERBATIM - (VIBRATE)*, Mass.
17FAIR PLAY - FAIR("blonde"), PLAY("theatrical performance").
19MENTOR - MEN TO Right &lit.
20FRISKY - Female, RISKY.
22ALIVE - Answer, LIVE("as it happens"). I was slightly puzzled here, as I initially took "no longer quick" to mean "dead", in fact I was 100% wrong, as it seems to mean "alive, but a word which is no longer used to mean that", which seemed a little odd. Obviously, it depends how well you know "quick" as meaning "alive" - still used in the Church phrase "the quick and the dead", or in biting one's nails to the quick" - but I wouldn't have thought the signal was needed in the way it is in Mephisto-land where obscure Spenserian words are part of the scenery. I was confused, anyway, but maybe that was just me.
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