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

Times 26,357: A Watched Odyssey Never Boils

It seems like an age since I've solved the Friday puzzle in the manner that God intended for me, that is, rolling home around midnight after a heavy alcohol-fuelled night at one of London's premier music venues. Last night was Kurt Vile (& The Violators) at the Roundhouse, supported by some roving Tuareg troubadours called Imarhan, and by the way I simply must take objection to the cruel implication on ulaca's Monday blog that the bands I see have silly names. "Kurt Vile & The Violators" sounds so classical it could practically be a string quartet. Kurt obviously used to be in The War on Drugs, as compared to the band I saw the other week, LNZNDRF, comprised of members of The National and Beirut, not to be confused with EL VY who also toured recently, comprised of (other) members of The National and Menomena. And the week before that was, um, Car Seat Headrest. Okay, maybe some of the names are a little bit silly.

Anyway I'd actually only imbibed a single pint and so I was well equipped to solve this somewhat thought-intensive puzzle in 12m22, not exactly a time to write home about but at least within 2 Magoos today. Somewhat controversially if the grumblings on the Club Forum is anything to go by I thought this was a super duper puzzle. 1ac went straight in so this wasn't a hard one to get started on, but boy there were a lot of speed bumps thereafter. I see in my parsings at least three clues that I couldn't just write up in a terse algebraic style, which may well be a sign of above average deviousness going on. 4dn and 6dn looked like they could easily trap unwary biffers: myself, I almost put TONE in at 4dn before forcing myself to actually make proper sense of the clue.

Two clues which appear to have attracted some brickbats in the Forum are the rather unusual-looking answer at 21ac, where personally I think the definition works okay - "with this, she left the room" - "at that, she left..."; and 17dn, which admittedly slowed me down a lot as having seen it was an anagram I threw in RELIGION, to work out why later. This made 28ac much harder than it should have been, but once the penny dropped there REOILING became obvious (and was presumably my LOI). Anyway I quite liked it in the end - if OILING is "smoothing things", and metaphorically why wouldn't it be, then REOILING is "smoothing things over (again)", which is the kind of deviousness above and beyond the call of cryptic duty that I don't mind admitting gives me little stabs of happiness inside.

Lots of other great clues too, exhibiting a playfulness and commitment to pushing the boundaries that reminded me a lot of the much-beloved Spider Lady back in the days when I used to do the Guardian. 12ac, 15ac, 19ac, 23ac (always enjoy that Sat = Saturday concealed definition), 7dn, 8dn, 20dn, and oh there are more. But my Clue Of The Day award goes to 22dn which I thought was very clever indeed. Thank you setter and don't let the Club Forum mutterings get you down, I loved it. Libertarianism is the future!

Across
1 CONGRATULATIONS - well done: (SALUTING CARTOON) ["awfully"]
9 SNOWDONIA - Welsh region: SNOW I A [spots on TV | one | a] (which) DON [lecturer] "fills"
10 ROCKY - a rock is "a firm foundation" and ROCK-Y might be like a rock; but that which is ROCKY has "anything but" a firm foundation. Oh, English...
11 ANYHOW - carelessly: Y{out}H ["tips for..."] opening A NOW [a | present]
12 BUDDLEIA - shrub: LEI [garland] "for" (i.e. replacing) BUDDHA's H [religious teacher's | husband]
13 DURHAM - university: reverse of ["backing"] HR [human rights] "in case of" MAUD [girl]
15 STRUTTED - supported: ST RUTTED is a "brief suggestion" that the street is rutted, i.e. "thoroughfare needs repairing"
18 SIMMERED - was about to lose it: SIM MERE D [computer game | uncomplicated | daughter]
19 ITHACA - old island: "insides of" {p}IT{s} {t}HA{t} {s}CA{r}
21 WITH THIS - at that: W.I. [Women's Institute] + I'S [one's] "appearing on" TH TH [Thursdays]
23 SUNDAY - Sat before this (this being Sun): UND [Bavarian and] (which) SAY [state] "guards"]
26 OVERT - public: O VERT [round | green]
27 ISOTHERMS - lines on maps: I [one] + (SMOTHERS*) ["clumsily"]
28 FITTING-OUT DOCKS - parts of shipyards: FITTING OUT DOCKS [appropriate | to expose | cuts]


Down
1 COSTARD - apple: C O STAR [century | old | hero] + {bagge}D ["finally"]
2 NOOKY - the other: NOOK Y [corner | unknown]
3 RADIO WAVE - carrier of sound: RAD I.O.W. AVE [excellent | rock festival venue | welcome]
4 TINT - colour: S [singular] "leaves" {s}TINT [spell]
5 LEAD UP TO - approach: UP TO [capable of] "supporting" LEAD [principal]
6 TYRED - with rubber rings: homophone of TIRED [worn "on the ears"]
7 ORCHESTRA - band: OR [gold] + CHE'S [red's] + reverse of ART ["elevated" painting]
8 SKYWARD - from the ground: KY [state of bluegrass (i.e. Kentucky)] in SWARD [turf]
14 REMITTENT - description of fever: E.N.T. [hospital department], RE MITT [on | hand] "first"
16 UNTOUCHED - left: something loony may be touched, ergo that which is "not a bit loony" is UN-TOUCHED
17 REOILING - smoothing things over: (GIRL ONE I*) ["fancy"]
18 SAWN-OFF - sort of gun: SAW OFF [chased away] "clutching" N [new]
20 ABYSSES - gorges, maybe: {barn}ABY'S SES{same} "sandwiches"
22 TUTTI - for all of 7 (7dn, orchestra): "seconds in" {s}T{upor}, {b}U{t} {s}T{irring} {a}T {e}I{ght}
24 DORIC - order: DO [to carry out] + RIC{h} [elaborate "briefly"]
25 TOFU - food: (OUT*) ["crashed"] "after eating" F [fine]
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