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

Times 26,447: Exit Strategies

I made heavy weather of this puzzle, almost 20 minutes worth of it, after a terrible day in which I wrote my entire TLS blog only to lose the whole thing on hitting the submit button, requiring me to spend an hour or two remembering and rewriting every single terrible joke (that only half a dozen people are ever going to read anyway), a man totally trapped in a hell of his own making. But I see from the leaderboard this morning that lightning fast times are yet to be posted across the board. Perhaps we all had other things on our minds?Anyway, if you're 6dn'ing this morning then this crossword does offer a few solutions: you could head north of the border as proposed in column 13 (7dn 15dn), or possibly go the whole hog as per row 11 (20ac 21ac).

Anyway, many thanks to the setter for this fine Friday fare, which managed to be a tough challenge without resorting to any real obscurity of reference or vocabulary (though I expect there will soon come a day when we'll have to accept that no young person on the planet is still reading Jerome K Jerome). I would also like to draw everyone's attention to the really, really impressive artistry of this setter's surfaces - a common complaint in this little world of ours is that clues end up being in Crosswordese rather than English, but I think you'd be hard pressed to find anything in this puzzle that doesn't pass muster as a sensible English sentence, and I know from bitter experience that that's way harder than it looks. FOI 11ac, last 23ac; in fact the whole SW gave me a lot of trouble, partly because I'd put in KEEP A CLEAN HOUSE for 3dn, my notorious illiteracy as regards sporting matters biting me in the bum yet again. Not sure anything massively stood out from the pack today, but I'll give me COD to 24ac just for being such an HP Lovecraft word. Now there was a writer whose first language often appeared to be Crosswordese...

Across

1 Bar offers beer, about a litre (5)
BLOCK – BOCK about L

4 Causing dissension about point that’s not serious (9)
FACETIOUS FACTIOUS about E

9 Patsy succeeded with attack on head (9)
SCAPEGOAT – S with GO AT on CAPE

10 Otto getting endless stick for turning back (5)
ATTAR – reverse of RATTA{n}

11 Ointment makes mark on light wood (6)
BALSAM – M on BALSA

12 Discard light cover, unfashionable (5,3)
THROW OUT – THROW [light cover] + OUT [unfashionable]

14 Noble treetop twisted into a corkscrew? (6-6)
BOTTLE-OPENER – (NOBLE TREETOP*)

17 Give up television? That could surprise the children (4-2-3-3)
JACK-IN-THE-BOX – JACK IN [give up] THE BOX [television]

20 Forcibly take too much that’s picked up abroad (8)
OVERSEAS – homophone of OVER-SEIZE

21 One member of boating party returned to old address (6)
SIRRAH - reverse of HARRIS (one of the Three Men In A Boat)

23 Temperature rising in a heatwave at last, finding shade (5)
TAUPE – T + UP in A {heatwav}E

24 Conceal wings of priory, roughly made with huge slabs (9)
CYCLOPEAN – (CONCEAL P{rior}Y*)</b>

25 Made fast, but eating egg under supervision (9)
MONITORED – MOORED eating NIT

26 Glutton necessarily consuming a large mass (5)
TONNE – {glut}TON NE{cessarily}

Down

1 Primate hard at work overcoming phobia regularly meeting bishop (8)
BUSHBABY – BUSY overcoming {p}H{o}B{i}A + B

2 A polenta may be so served? (2,1,5)
ON A PLATE – (A POLENTA*), &lit

3 Do not concede order to reserve some fresh laundry? (4,1,5,5)
KEEP A CLEAN SHEET – footballing parlance for "not get scored against", plus a more literalistic interpretation of the words

4 The game’s up: sell! (4)
FLOG – reverse of GOLF

5 Land girl is superficially attractive (10)
CATCHPENNY – CATCH [land] PENNY [girl]

6 Be frustrated by what bad barber may do? (4,4,4,3)
TEAR OUT ONE'S HAIR – again, a metaphorical phrase followed by a more literal interpretation

7 Choice brew — head spinning (6)
OPTION – {P<->O}TION

8 Fairy ring abandoned in vernal ceremony (6)
SPRITE – SP{ring} RITE

13 Lend a frock to rock performer cutting a traditional figure (4,6)
FOLK DANCER – (LEND A FROCK*)

15 In the city want bear to be beaten up (8)
ABERDEEN – reverse of NEED + (BEAR*)

16 Replace half-crown and shilling, for example (8)
EXCHANGE – modern change would be 1ps and 2ps; old coins are EX-CHANGE

18 Saw bachelor turning over in bed (6)
BOTTOM – reverse of MOTTO B

19 Try again to operate this key? (6)
RETURN To operate a key you TURN it, to try again you RE-TURN it; RETURN is also another type of key on a computer keyboard

22 Competed on track, losing the lead, and beaten at tennis (4)
ACED – {r}ACED
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