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

Times 26505 - After Elizabeth, indeed.

I don't know yet whether I woke up thicker than yesterday, or this was hard. I certainly struggled to get going, littering bits of the grid with a few of the easier solutions, instead of the usual more orderly progression. It took me the bones of an hour and I have to say, I didn't enjoy it as much as I usually enjoy tricky puzzles; had it not been a blog day, I'd probably have given up and read someone's entertaining blog.
On review, there are only two words I didn't know and one expression I found obscure, but some of the word play verged on the tedious, I thought. The redeeming feature for me was 11a - as far as I know, an original and witty clue to an everyday word.

Across
1 KANSAS - KAN sounds like prison (CAN), SAS are crack troops; D State. My FOI, closely followed by 4d.
5 GENERATE - GEN = information, E = evidence, initially, RATE = judge; D produce.
9 MAY APPLE - I had the notion it was some sort of apple, from early on, but I'd never heard of a May apple. Eventually I guessed it from the wordplay and then found it - more usually spelt as one word - and it's not an apple at all, it's a mandrake or whatever. MAPLE = tree, around YAP = bark.
10 WEEVIL - WEE = tiny, VIL(E) = horrid, truncated; D bug.
11 POSTER - Elizabeth 1 died in 1603, so the years after would be POST ER. D bill. If this is the first time this has appeared, it's brilliant IMO.
12 FUNCTION - F = force, UNION = agreement, insert odd letters of CUTS = C T; D work. A bit clunky.
14 BATTLEGROUND - BAT = cricketer, T = left finally. LEG = stage, ROUND = applause, put at the end. D = field. Another clunky bit of wordplay.
17 PROOF-READING - PROF = academic, insert O (old), READING is a university (one of many!); D correcting scripts. The definition gives the answer away, saving you from the need to run through a list of universities.
20 BESSEMER - This is an obscure answer with a dodgy bit of wordplay? BEE = worker maybe, 'hole over' must be MESS reversed, and R = entrance to roadway; D engineer. I remember the 'Bessemer Converter' was invented by this chap, for converting pig iron to steel, so I suppose he was an engineer, amongst other things. I think 'MESS' for HOLE could be something like 'help us out, we're in a hole here' where mess would be a fair synonym.
22 LITTER - Ah, a double definition, at last, as in a litter of pups, and cat litter which cats 'go' on. Not in my house, they don't, they go on my vegetable plot.
23 SEX-POT - Tempting to think the definition could be 'wife, once', but that would be non-PC. No, the wife once is EX, inserted into SPOT = pickle, and the D is dish, another not very PC expression still used in crosswords.
25 LIMBER UP - CLIMBER is mountaineer, avoid cold = delete his C, UP = at great height; D train. Or it could be &lit.
26 KNIGHTLY - K for king, NIGHTLY = regularly in the dark (!), D chivalrous.
27 TESTER - SET = class, repelled = TES, TER(M) = almost all of time at school; D examiner.

Down
2 ACAJOU - Start wth A. Then a Louisiana native is a CAJUN (although I thought this was the food not the people eating it). Delete the N (nameless). Insert O for round, D wood. I knew acajou was the French for 'cashew' but it's also apparently a name for a variety of mahogany.
3 SMARTY-BOOTS - Anagram of MOST BOYS with ART = skill, 'intrinsic' i.e. inserted. I knew of smarty-pants but had never heard smarty-boots, perhaps it's a Northern thing. I had to have B-O-S before believing it was the answer.
4 SUPERSTAR - (PASTURES)*, R (right); D top performer.
5 GLEEFUL - GUL(L) = fool, shortly, insert FEEL = appear, reversed = upset; G (LEEF) UL; D happy.
6 NO-WIN - Hidden in K(NOWIN)GLY; D a hopeless situation. Easy once you see it, but until then, annoying. The enumeration misprint 3,2 instead of 2,3 didn't help.(thanks sawbill for reminding me to mention it).
7 RYE - Double definition; grain some whiskies use, and coastal town in East Sussex.
8 TRICORNE - Another one I couldn't get until I had crossers. TRIE(D) = put on, briefly, around CORN = ears; D hat. I'd never seen it spelt with a final E in English although I see it is a fair alternative.
13 THOUGHTLESS - Double definition, one whimsical (philosopher without thoughts) one 'so remiss'.
15 GUILLEMOT - GUILE = cunning, insert L for large, reverse TOM = cat; D bird. Easy once you have it ending in M-T.
16 TREE FERN - T(YCOO)N = tycoon's case, insert REEFER a drug-filled cigarette, D plant. Fortunately I knew what a reefer was, from a mis-spent youth.
18 AURALLY - A, U(nion), RALLY = march; D so we hear.
19 SECURE - S(hilling), ECU (foreign coin), RE (on); D safe. The European Currency Unit was never a note or coin, but there was once a small French coin called an écu, I guess that's what the setter intended.
21 MOTET - M for mass, O(C)TET is a composition which loses its C (start of curious); D vocal piece. Dreaming up OCTET as a sort of composition is best done once you know the answer to the clue.
24 PEG - P for piano, EG for say, D fix.
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