Cityish Alt-ish Fortyish (verlaine) wrote in times_xwd_times,
Cityish Alt-ish Fortyish
verlaine
times_xwd_times

Times 26,225: Secret Birthday Message @ 9ac, 10ac?

Happy birthday to me! This one marks the last year that I can pretend to be still in my twenties via the medium of hexadecimal, so by God I'm going to make the most of it - 29 today! Go me! (So old.)

As befits an antiquated gent I did this the old-fashioned way, with pen and paper on a train - I think it's fair to say that a nice gentle puzzle had been laid on for my birthday, not write-straight-in easy but nothing too tortuous to contend with. I had all but one filled in by the time we pulled into our first station out of Clapham Junction, Wandsworth Road (though given the unconscionable indolence of modern rail networks this was still probably over 10 minutes - I'm by no means bragging here). And then I ran into a similar problem to the one that did for me recently, ON THE MAKE - a moderately tricksy clue for an expression I'd never heard in my life before at 11dn. There did *seem* to be only one real possibility, and in time-critical conditions I'd presumably have bunged in the right answer on a wing and a prayer, but still, I didn't end this one on a high note. I'd be curious to discover if I'm the only one who's never heard this phrase.

FOI 20dn I think, COD... 24ac for me I think, because I like interesting definitions of tiny preposition words that you never think about. Thanks to the setter for making it an okay birthday so far!

Across
1 FISHCAKE - food item: IS H C [is | hot (and) cold] surrounded by FAKE [something spurious]
5 TARSUS - historic Mediterranean city: TARS + US [sailors (encountering) our side]
9 RIVETING - evoking great interest: I VET [I | appraise] "participating in" RING [operas]
10 POSEUR - affected person: reverse ["after relapse"] of RUES OP [regrets | hospital treatment]
12 LUNCH - meal: L{a}UNCH ["ace skips" opening]
13 ORANGE-TIP - lightweight flyer: (OPERATING*) ["at sea"]
14 SOPHISTICATE - one in fashionable set: SOPHIST I.E. [dodgy pundit | that is] "taking in" CAT [guy]
18 ROSETTA STONE - archaeological find: (TOTTERS AS ONE*) ["works"]
21 FREMANTLE - Australian port: FRET [worry] about MAN [bloke] + L{in}E [shipping company's "abandoned in"]
23 RATTY - double def: character in children's book [The Wind in the Willows] / displaying a temper
24 UNISON - concerted effort: UNI'S ON [educational body's | regularly taking (as in, "on medication")]
25 SIGNPOST - aid for travellers: SIN POST [wrong | letters] "limiting" G [good]
26 DIMITY - strong fabric: DIM {c}ITY [obscure | place like Manchester, "not the first"]
27 ADDENDUM - item put on list: A D [a | Democrat] + DUM{b} ["not entirely" speechless] about END [last]

Down
1 FIRMLY - without a doubt: FIRM [business] + L{ikel}Y [likely "to lose core components"]
2 SAVANT - knowledgeable figure: SAT [positioned] "to control" VAN [leading group]
3 CUT-THROAT - in harsh competition: CUT THAT [share of spoils | that] "will keep" reverse of O.R. [soldiers "turning up"]
4 KING OF HEARTS - card: (THINK FOR AGES*) ["playing"]
6 AMONG - in company of: M ON [millions | on] "investing in" AG [silver]
7 SPECTRAL - regarding range of colours: S PECT{o}RAL [singular | description of chest, "omitting nothing"]
8 SHRAPNEL - RAP N [charge | note] carried by SHEL{l} ["most of" projectile], semi-&lit
11 RAISE THE WIND - get ready (ready as in "money", that is): and literally raising the wind could result in a storm
15 IGNORANCE - cryptic def
16 PROFOUND - serious: PRO FOUND [expert (brought to) base]
17 ASTERISM - (STAR IS ["involved with"] ME*) &lit
19 STROUD - Gloucestershire town: RO{d} ["reduction of" staff] in STUD [equestrian centre]
20 SYSTEM - process: S{ecurit}Y ["limits to" security] + STEM [support]
22 AFOOT - in the air: AFT [back] "framing" O O [circles]
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