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

Times 26,459: Hong Kong Phooey

This seemed very straightforward for a Friday - though perhaps non-classicists might have paused marginally longer over 5dn and 16dn, I don't know. Straightforward or not, it still took me over the 10 minutes mark, the NW holding out longest against me for some reason, despite 1ac and 1dn having been write-ins. In particular it took me forever to see the brilliantly concealed answer to 8dn, despite it being a word I use every day in my line of work, oops. That'll teach me to do these things early in the morning, relying on coffee to supply the brainpower.

And let us briefly consider the amazing economy of this puzzle's cluing - a bit of a masterclass from the setter, to whom many thanks. I feel like the best way to honour such awesome concision would be to keep my own blog brief for a change, so let me now only nominate 10ac for COD consideration: loved the way it's full of cryptic indicators ("start to", "up", "mad", "out") all of which will send you off in completely the wrong direction if you let them!

Across

1 A price on back of pack for a sort of chop (6)
KARATE – A RATE on {pac}K

4 Dog rolling over in the morning, apparently dead? (7)
MASTIFF – reverse of A.M. + STIFF

9 Wheeze, but get round (5)
DODGE – double def

10 Start to wake up, mad keen to get out (4-5)
STIR-CRAZY – STIR [start to wake up] + CRAZY [mad]

11 Ladies spread round lake to appear important (4,5)
LOOM LARGE – LOO [ladies] + MARGE [spread] around L

12 Grieve no end after a secret affair (5)
AMOUR – MOUR{n} after A

13 Don’t allow surgeon to take lead in operation (4)
VETO – VET + O{peration}

14 ‘Unsentimental’ had her dead wrong (4-6)
HARD-HEADED – (HAD HER DEAD*)

18 Man securing English gem set first in ancient ring (10)
STONEHENGE – HE securing ENG, STONE set first

20 To kill flies is heartless hard work (4)
SWAT - SW{e}AT

23 Shall we say we are Europeans? (5)
LETTS – homophone of LET'S

24 Suffer, home closing years too soon (3,6)
PAY DEARLY – PAD closing Y + EARLY

25 Writer, endlessly narrow-minded, in Korea, for one (9)
PENINSULA – PEN + INSULA{r}

26 Market places once filled with large plants (5)
FLORA – FORA filled with L

27 Part in yearly drama at first promisingly released (7)
PAROLED – ROLE in P.A. D{rama}

28 Not yet marvellous housing? (6)
PREFAB – as if the FAB were "fabulous", not "fabricated"

Down

1 Staying good, youngster much enjoys their gentle treatment (3,6)
KID GLOVES – staying G, KID LOVES

2 Soldier Santa’s always seen with (7)
REDCOAT – Santa's signature RED COAT

3 As singer, be very apprehensive to miss mass (6)
TREBLE – TRE{m}BLE

4 Here’s Augusta, one wearing hair long and shaggy (5)
MAINE – I wearing MANE

5 Man famously put to death because upping taxes once (8)
SOCRATES – reverse of 'COS + RATES

6 Nothing Darwin worked out could be summarised (2,1,4)
IN A WORD – (O DARWIN*)

7 Handbill offering solution for cleaning received by father (5)
FLYER – LYE [solution for cleaning] received by FR

8 Locked up by policeman, resubmit access code (8)
USERNAME – reverse-hidden in {polic}EMAN RESU{bmit}

15 Just like an animal, to grab any spare food here (5,3)
DOGGY BAG – DOGGY [just like an animal] + BAG [grab]

16 Wild song marks birthday at sea (9)
DITHYRAMB – (M BIRTHDAY*)

17 Fictional character given line aimed offensively at one (8)
PERSONAL – PERSONA given L; as in "personal attacks"

19 Water additive gives off sulphur more regularly (7)
OFTENER – {s}OFTENER

21 Avert conflict with the same two forces (4,3)
WARD OFF – WAR with DO [ditto = the same] + F F

22 One tying knot in jacket (6)
REEFER – double def

23 Credulously accept what makes a friend? (3,2)
LAP UP – cryptically, LAP UP = PAL [a friend]

24 Beat heavily in place of confinement (5)
POUND – double def
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