Pip Kirby (pipkirby) wrote in times_xwd_times,
Pip Kirby
pipkirby
times_xwd_times

Times 26427 - something of a milestone

A few years ago, when I was less practised in these cruciverbal arts, I'd have managed a few clues in this puzzle before putting it aside and getting on with my life. It must say something about my progress, that this morning, although initially flummoxed and with an almost unmarked grid after five minutes, I persevered and got there in the end. Much more satisfying than an easy Monday stroll; yet I'm also glad I'm not one of you single-figure chaps and ladies for whom the fun is all over so quickly.
This fine, witty challenge took me around 35 minutes, once a few pennies started dropping. The bottom half was complete before the top had anything in; then the NE quarter followed and finally the NW, with an eyebrow raised over 1a.
I'll be interested to hear how easy or hard others found it.

Across
1 PITCH UP - I think this is 'pitch up' in the sense of turn up, arrive, surface; and 'up' meaning the pitch is being repaired. Of course I was toying with PATCH UP in light of the 'repaired' angle, but the tense would be wrong.
5 CREWS - D companies, sounds like cruise.
9 OMEGA - Last letter of series i.e. Greek alphabet; O for old, MEGA for excellent. One of the few write-ins today.
10 RESTRAINT - Thankfully no BRA for support here. TRAIN = coach, inside REST = support (as in snooker); D reserve.
11 FRIGATE - FRI(DAY), GATE = opening; D escort, for larger warships.
12 THE BARD - Will here is Mr Shakespeare; THE BAR for barristers, D leading letter of Debate.
13 UPSTANDING - UP as in up at uni, at Cambridge if you must; STANDING for reputation; D honest.
15 DELI - DELIGHTS = entrances, take half; D shop.
18 DALE - A double definition, where both DEAN (also spelt DENE) and DALE are male names and words meaning a wooded valley; as in Durley Dean in my native Bournemouth.
20 PEDESTRIAN - (PADRE IN)* around EST (is in French); D dull.
23 SQUIRTS - Double definition; not very nice for us little people. Better to be 5 feet 7 though, when you've spent half your working life flying around Europe.
24 POT-SHOT - POTS for Chambers, HOT for stifling, D criticism. No dictionary involved.
25 NIGHTGOWN - Anagram of WRONG THING without the R; An &lit, I think.
26 NISAN - Hidden in agai(N IS A N)uisance; first month of Hebrew calendar. I know next to nothing about things Hebrew, but remembered this from a previous puzzle. I don't know how to search the old blogs to find its number, though.
27 DARTS - STRAD(IVARIUS) reversed; D game.
28 NUTCASE - NUT = teachers (union); CASE = legal action; D eccentric.

Down
1 PRELIMS - MILER = runner, inside SP = special, all reversed; D tests. I did these after my first year, and survived, before the rot set in, but it took me an age to see it, my LOI.
2 TEARAWAY - A TEAR AWAY strip would be a rip-off; D tough.
3 HORSE - MORSE code, replace M (spymaster) with H (hard); D junk, heroin.
4 PAST TENSE - PA = pop, ST = street, TENSE = under pressure; D what's for example 'gone', past tense of go.
5 CAREER - CARE! = attention, ER = Queen, D calling, vocation.
6 EMIRATE - EMIGRATE (leave the country) loses a G; D Dubai (for example).
7 SITED - SIFTED = strained, lose the F = force; D in position.
8 CONFOUND - C (large number), FOUND (discovered), around ON; D floor.
14 DRESS DOWN - Cryptic double definition for reprimand and a possible wardrobe malfunction.
16 IGNITING - (GIN GIN IT)*; D getting fired up.
17 STOTINKA - TOT (small amount) inside SINK (pot, as in snooker), A; D European's ready. Fortunately I've been to Bulgaria and I remembered there were 100 of these to a LEV.
19 LOUNGER - Insert U into LONGER = more time; D chair.
21 IN HASTE - EIN, CHASTE would be one German, abstaining; take 'heads' off, D fast.
22 GRATIS - RAT = traitor, inside GI'S = soldiers, D free.
23 SYNOD - SYN sounds like SIN, OD like ODD = not even; D this assembly.
24 PINOT - PINT for beer, insert O = love, zero; D wine, named after varieties of grapes such as pinot noir.
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