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

Times 26,369: Taking A Bath

Happy Easter! Due to the rare privilege of not having to go to work on a Friday, I tackled this puzzle not with the chimes of midnight, but immediately upon getting up in the morning, pre-coffee even, a time when my brain is notoriously subpar. And as the seconds turned into minutes with vast tracts of unfilled white squares starting back at me, and the minutes turned into a quarter hour, I began to think I might have made a strategic error. It turns out though that this was quite a tough one, a good Friday puzzle for Good Friday, and my leaderboard position (thus far) actually quite respectable and within 2 Magoos. Just barely.

As you may have realised by now I am a big fan of clever construction in a crossword, and the construction here was, well, I think I'd go so far as "immaculate". Most of the clues were hard to unpick without a fight, often due to some really impressive cluing economy. Admire if you will how the nearly invisible "with such" comprises such a large part of the solution to 12ac, how well hidden the anagram fodder is in 14ac, how 27ac teases solvers with the full expectation that it's a Spoonerism they're looking for. I got 1dn quite quickly but couldn't put it in because I couldn't see why AIR was backwards, all because of the superb sleight of words that makes you file that S in "the definition part". It was all so nice that I can even forgive the multiplicity of sports-related clues which always leave me in an 8dn. FOI (and the only across clue I got on the first pass 23ac), LOI 22d the brilliantly laconic 22ac after 15dn.

COD to 17ac, just because everyone grumbled about it in the club forum until NeilR picked up the penny and waved it in their faces. And a wholehearted "bravo, maestro!" to the setter from me...

Across
1 WINNOW - fan: WOW [to bowl over] outside INN [pub]
5 BATHCUBE - person who washes may use one: (BUT BEACH*) ["bum"]
9 TENNYSON - poet: TEN [cardinal] + N [{si}N, "ultimately"] + reverse of NOSY [snooping "around"]
10 PRENUP - contract for union: PEN [writer] "overcoming" R [resistance] + UP [completed]
11 BISTRO - restaurant: hidden backwards in "imports 2", i.e. in {imp}ORTS IB{eria} ["revolving" "displays"]
12 HANDS-OFF - not getting involved: AND SO F F [with | such | females] after H [hours]
14 FOSTER-PARENT - guardian: (AT PRESENT FOR*) ["working"]
17 SHAVING-STICK - what gets worn (down, not as an item of clothing!) in the bathroom: H [husband], SAVING [tightening belt] around that + STICK [stomach]
20 FOURBALL - competition for (golf) clubbers: FOUR BALL [a square (2*2) | dance]
22 TABLET - PC: TAB LET [reckoning | restriction]
23 SHOVEL - digger: SHOVE [barge] meets L [large]
25 GRATUITY - present: GRAY [elegist] hides TUT [disapproving word] about I [one]
26 ODOMETER - a measure of how far someone has come: O DOER [old | actor] has MET [satisfied] "inwardly"
27 LADLER - spooner : L ["close to" {classica}L] + ADLER [harmonica player Larry, 1914-2001]


Down
2 IBERIA - European region: I BE [one | live] + reverse of AIR [broadcast "from S"]
3 NINE-TO-FIVER - typical office worker: N [new] + (TIE ON*) ["waving"] + FIVER [banknote]
4 WISCONSIN - state: WIN [land] including IS CONS [islands | does]
5 BANSHEE - a howler: BAN SHEE{p} [to enforce mutton embargo (!) "in short"]
6 TAP-IN - straightforward goal: TA PIN [we're obliged | to fix]
7 CUE - prompt: homophone of Q [letter "read out"]
8 BLUE FUNK - panic: BLUE FUN [obscene | enjoyment] over K [king]
13 STRIKEBOUND - halted by those out: STRIKE BOUND [to remove | border]
15 PAINTBALL - simulated combat: PAIN [drag] + B [bishop] "into" TALL [unlikely]
16 WHOOSHED - sped noisily: O [something round] in WHO SHED [which person | took off]
18 ST LEGER - fixture for the flat (race): (LEG-REST*) ["is unusual"]
19 WESTIE - dog: reverse of IT'S in WEE [it's "gathered up by" small]
21 AGLET - A [article] + GET [acquire] around L ["top of" L{ace}], &lit
24 VIM - enthusiasm: V I'M [see | the writer's]
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