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Times 25,991: Nursery Crimes

Enjoyed this one a lot. With a busy Friday morning schedule to contend with, I elected to stay up till midnight on Thursday to do it online, and was able to hit the submit button 16 and a half minutes later, which felt pretty good given that a large number of the clues here seemed just a touch more devious than normal. Fun stuff like "reduced by half, initially" at 24A and "dealt with by farmer's wife?" at 8D. I've got to get moving or else I'd enthuse a bit more, but I think it's obvious looking at my parsings below that extra cognitive gymnastics are needed in a lot of cases beyond the standard "X + Y = Z". Thanks setter, much appreciated.

I'd better go get some girls dressed just now but I'll be around to chat cryptics after lunch. See you later!

Across
1 ALLEGRO - fast: ALL EGO ["entirely self-obsessed"] that R [king] "breaks"
5 CORNCOB - "section of ear": CORN [hardened skin] + CO B [firm (and) black]
9 BOY WONDER - "young talent": (NOBODY WE R{ecognize} "at first"*) ["peculiarly"]
10 MAMBA - "one venomous": "twin business graduates, one heartless" i.e. M{b}A MBA
11 SHORN - "unlocked" (as in, with locks removed): S HORN [small | warning device]
12 REFUSENIK - dissident: RE-FUSE ["once more to join"] + KIN [relations, "coming west"]
14 IN THE FAMILY WAY - with child: IN THE WAY [interfering] with FAMILY [line] "having been crossed"
17 CHANGE ONES MIND - rethink: CHANGE ONE MIND [money | I | worry] about S ["ultimately" {cause}S]
21 MASS MEDIA - radio etc: MA [parent] + (MISSED A*) ["broadcast"]
23 UNCLE - relative: A R [a | right] "to be dissociated from" UNCLE{AR} [dim]
24 LULLS - "stops for a while": CULLS [killing] "reduced by half, initially" i.e. C [100] becomes L [50]
25 BRAZIL NUT - a little food: (BURNT*) ["badly"] wherein LIZA [girl] is "gulped back"
26 ZAMBIAN - "of African state": ZAN{y} ["not completely" crazy] to cross AMBI{t} ["shortened" boundary]
27 EVEN OUT - leave flat: EVEN [literary soiree, i.e. a poetical word for "evening"] + OUT [al fresco]

Down
1 ABBESS - religious leader: AB [muscle] + B{l}ESS [to lay on hands "missing pound", i.e. minus L]
2 LAY DOWN - establish: LAY ["what hens do"] + DOWN [feathers]
3 GROUNDHOG - rodent: GROUND [prepare] + HOG [corner]
4 OLD TRAFFORD - stadium: OLD [used] + AFFORD [grant] "following" T R ["tips from" T{reasure}R]
5 CAR - wheels: CA ["not exactly" i.e. circa] + R [R{ound} "at the top"]
6 REMUS - "early city planner": RE [note] + SUM ["raised" amount of cash]
7 COME NOW - "be reasonable": COW [to bully] "getting round" OMEN [warning]
8 BLACK EYE - mouse: LACKEY [servant] "found in" BE{d} [bed "dealt with by farmer's wife", i.e. getting its tail cut off]
13 FEMME FATALE - "attractive lass": M M [twice married] in FEE [charge] + FAT [generous] + ALE [beer]
15 LIMOUSINE - 5, i.e. 5D, car: LIMOUSIN [supplier of beef] + E [additive number]
16 SCHMALTZ - syrupy stuff: SC ["that is" i.e. scilicet] + H [hot] + MALTZ [whisky's "picked up", i.e. homophone of "malt's"]
18 ABSALOM - ancient King's son: (MOB ALAS*) ["dismembered"]
19 NO CAN DO - off-putting response: CON [time-server "coming up"] + AND O [with | old]
20 BEAT IT - run away: BE A TIT ["take part of winger"]
22 MASAI - African people: {milit}IA'S AM{nesty} "in part overturned"
25 BAN - don't allow: NAB [collar "to be raised"]

Comments

keriothe
Jan. 9th, 2015 09:13 am (UTC)
30m. Most of this went in quickly, but then I got stuck on a few at the end:
> LIMOUSINE, where I was looking for something meaning CORN COB (doh!)
> SCHMALTZ, where for ages I was looking for a more literal sort of syrupy stuff
> LULLS. In the end I just bunged this in. I had considered it early on but couldn't convince myself that it means 'stops for a while' and never saw the rather clever wordplay. Post-solve I decided that it must be a noun, which I didn't really like, but ODO has the verb meaning with the example 'conversation lulled for an hour'. I don't really know why I didn't see this.
Apart from these self-inflicted frustrations I thought this was an excellent puzzle, albeit with a number of DBBIs*.

*definition-based bung-ins. Do you think it will catch on? Me neither.

Edited at 2015-01-09 10:03 am (UTC)
grestyman
Jan. 9th, 2015 04:28 pm (UTC)
How about BIFD (biffed) as Bunged In From Definition (which in my case often leads to a bloody nose from the setter)?
keriothe
Jan. 9th, 2015 05:44 pm (UTC)
I like it. I don't often come a cropper from this approach because I usually have some notion of at least an element of the wordplay. So for example 12ac and 14ac were both BIFD but as I wrote them in I saw the reversal of KIN and FAMILY = line, respectively. Where it does trip me up it's usually because I think I know how to spell something but don't.