Zabadak (z8b8d8k) wrote in times_xwd_times,

Times 26422 A kindness of setters

I'd venture todays setter is more than usually generous providing extra bits of information to make sure we abbreviate where necessary and avoid spelling mistakes. It helped me to a respectable (from a certain point of view, mine) 15.07, which after a couple of days visiting the mid-30's is at least a relief. Perhaps my developing theory of Blogger's Adrenalin is also a factor. Nothing much to frighten the horses in this one, with a vocab well within a reasonable range, though I stand to be corrected on the inclusion of the bird, the fish, the poison and (of course) the shrubbery in that classification. Nothing (as far as I can see) of the Nina persuasion, though a slighly unnerving SAD PIE emerges if you look closely enough.
Here's how I disconfused things:


1 Support struggles to protect outsiders in these isolated places  (10)
BACKWATERS  Support is BACK, struggles WARS, and insert the outside letters of ThosE.
6 Fancy women's signs being ignored by this man!  (4)
WHIM   Some setters would reckon the word woman will give you the W, but this one actually tells you to take off the OMENS, “signs” before adding the HIM offered by “this man”. How generous is that?
10 Team expected to be most successful may get a roasting (7)
TOPSIDE For some reason, the “team expected to win”, the top side, rang in my mind with an Australian cricket commentator’s accent. It’s also a joint of meat suitable for roasting.
11 Fuss from friend getting mean maybe with time passing (7)
PALAVER   Friend is PAL and on solving I just added the AVER assuming it was somewhere in the rest of the clue. It is: Mean is AVERAGE, from which you remove the AGE of “time”
12 Endless lightness in clues regularly — rule-book not much read?  (9)
LEVITICUS  Pretty much a tough read, but since it’s one of the big five for anyone of the Jewish persuasion “not much read” seems a rather odd definition. It’s also the locus classicus for the notion that God hates gays, right amongst the verses about not trimming your beard and hair, eschewing the bloody steak, not getting a tattoo and not wasting your time on crosswords*.  Take your pick. Oh, the wordplay. Lightness is LEVITY, rub out the end, and add the odd letters of In ClUeS.
* I lied about the last one. Perhaps I’ll get stoned.
13 Quiet game: by leaving, show sign of indifference (5)
SHRUG  Quiet is either P or SH in these things: this time it’s SH and the game is RUGBY, from which you remove the BY
14 Desire to go after power in act of political expulsion  (5)
PURGE  Like concentration camps, the political purge is arguably the proud invention of the British: the aptly named Thomas Pryde carrying out a notable one in 1648, seizing power for the military. P(ower) is followed by URGE, a desire. Defenestration didn’t fit.
15 Tot enters the French arena, running  (9)
LADDERING As in stockings. Tot is ADD, then the French has to be either LE or LA (guess!) and arena is RING.
17 Unrealistic contract is sealed by one journalist  (9)
IDEALISED   Contract is DEAL, keep the IS where it – um – is, and surround both with 1 ED(itor), the setter’s highly convenient journalist
20 Held in little credit is impersonator making fun  (5)
CAPER  Again the setter is generous. Others would expect you to know that credit gives you CR, ours tells you it’s a diminutive, “little”. APE stands in for impersonator, and stands in between the C and R.
21 Sailors led by south wind (5)
SCREW  Pronounce wind the other way. Sailors are CREW, and South S
23 My turning up before fast, needing to shed weight?  (9)
CORPULENT  Nice surface. My these days frequently clues COR, cognate exclamations. Avoid the temptation to reverse: only UP is reversed. The fast is LENT.
25 Contemptible folk at one time, heading off for freedom  (7)
LICENCE  More setter kindness, in case like me you dither about S or C. Contemptible people are LICE, at one time is ONCE, drop the O as instructed.
26 The same again — duck dished out with some herb  (7)
DITTANY  Last appeared in February this year, when it was clued as a shrub unknown to several. Perhaps the most pleasant-sounding herb, though it’s never really made it as a girls’ name. The same again is DITTO, “dish out” the 0 (duck) and replace it with ANY for “some”.
27 No going back to King for countryman who rebelled against him?  (4)
YANK  A bit of &litery, with K(ing) identifying the “him” against whom the countryman rebelled. NAY for “no” reverses and provides the rest.
28 Offer money, tons, to get newcomers  (10)
TENDERFEET (though the plural can also be tenderfoots: not sure which I think looks odder)  Offer provides TENDER, money is FEE, and add T(ons)

1 Insect left, having eaten last bit of that plant  (5)
BETEL  Insect is BEE, to which you add L(eft) at the end and (tha)T (“last bit of”) in the consequent middle.
2 Republic in which rebel Jack keeps quiet always  (4,5)
CAPE VERDE  A collection of 10 volcanic islands off the NW coast of Africa (I looked it up), nonetheless “a sovereign state and a member of the U.N in its own right”. Also “one of the most developed and democratic countries in (sic) Africa.” You may (or not) know that Jack Cade was the leader of an uprising in 1450 against King Henry VI, so I suppose that the setter may (or not) be deemed helpful again by giving his chosen rebel a name. Into Jack’s surname insert P (the other “quiet”) and EVER, “always”.
3 Exposure of wrongdoing that may put an end to game  (7-7)
WHISTLE-BLOWING Two definitions. Not “written warning” as I first essayed with not much justification.
4 Hawk a line put up for purchase audibly  (7)
TIERCEL  My nomination for the word most cited as unknown by solvers of this crossword. Chambers cites no less than seven different spellings, so our kind setter makes his/her preference clear with TIER for “a line put up” (cf Chambers: “a row, level, rank, or layer, esp one of several placed one above another”) and something that sounds like purchase, which (slightly counter-intuitively) translates to SELL and hence CEL. Perhaps not so helpful, on reflection. On edit: this is clearly nonsense, and as Jack has it, line on its own gives TIER, and "put up for purchase" unequivocably gives SELL, the soundalike. Truly scuppered by this devious and unhelpful setter's misleading word sequence. I might change the title.
5 Had rest of shop's computerised equipment coated in bright colour  (7)
REPOSED In retail jargon, EPOS is electronic point of sale – we used to call them tills. The coloured you need to coat it with is RED – which our kind setter helpfully qualifies as bright.
7 Linger in southern resort before summer's ending  (5)
HOVER  One of those where southern might be relative. HOVE, together with Brighton, forms a seaside city with a football team that has made one brief excursion into the top flight. The R you need comes from the end of summeR
8 One securing property has to transform great room good for nothing  (9)
MORTGAGER The borrower in the system, which I would have spelt with an O at the end. Once again I am indebted to Our Kind Setter for determining the preferred version. Our first proper anagram, though you have to work on the letters in more ways than one. First substitute one of the O’s in GREAT ROOM with a G (G(ood) for nothing, 0), then transform the modified version for the answer.
9 Learner in firm observed board meeting with odd down-to-earth characters?  (5,9)
CLOSE ENCOUNTER. Place L(earner in CO(mpany). Translate observed to SEEN, and board to COUNT. Decide where to put the space,
14 Novelist as one with a divine vocation needing to be heard  (9)
PRIESTLEY  JB of that ilk. Sounds an awful lot like priestly, “with a divine vocation”
16 Invoke evil upon terrible empire concealing wicked act  (9)
IMPRECATE  Our second anagram, “terrible”, of EMPIRE and ACT
18 Maybe give someone a shiner, a sort of fish  (7)
SOCKEYE   A variety of salmon and what one might do to create a shiner, or black eye.
19 Ridiculed performance — director admitted getting upset  (7)
DERIDED An insertion of DIR(ector) “upset” into DEED, performance, which is indifferent to being upset.
22 Poison from chemical company no longer in service (5)
RICIN  Periodically emerges as a terrorism scare story when some reporter “discovers” it can be made from castor beans, the source of castor oil. “Chemical company no longer” is Imperial Chemical Industries, ICI, once Britain’s largest manufacturer. The “service” it goes into is the senior one, R(oyal) N(avy)
24 Go over street location for meeting  (5)
TRYST  “Have a go” and “have a TRY” are pretty much interchangeable, and in this world a street is almost always ST. I did wonder whether “go over” was intended to reflect rugby’s scoring a try, but I don’t think it’s necessary.
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