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

Times 26,531: Old McDonald Had A Grid, X-Q-K-J-Z

Whoever it was asking whether longtime Times solvers can guess the identity of the setters - I've been under the weather this week and so asked our esteemed editor for a special advance copy, during which transaction he dropped the setter's name, and once given that information it seemed totally obvious throughout, full of exactly the sort of vocabulary, abbreviations and signature clues for which the individual in question is famed. But hindsight is 20/20 and all that; I doubt I'd have worked it out for myself.

Anyway this was a pleasant middle-of-the-road Friday puzzle that I solved on paper in 8 minutes 22 seconds and eight hundredths of a second (aren't stopwatches brilliant?). Strangely heavy on the farmyard animals, though what kind of farmer would have a 9ac amongst his livestock I don't know, probably only one who does the crossword during his tractor rounds every morning. Being a TLS blogger I especially enjoyed the Wilde reference (plus we Magdalenenses have to stick together, don't you know) and the couple of other moderately erudite literary nods. 1ac was my LOI, being probably not the most obvious word conjurable from the C_A_R_ crossers.

Many thanks to the setter; and with that, I open this puzzle up to the floor...


1 Church - a vessel of salvation, revolutionary centre of spiritual power (6)
CHAKRA - CH A [church | a] + ARK reversed [a vessel of salvation, "revolutionary"]

4 Nonsense in legal document put into understandable language (7)
DECODED - COD [nonsense] in DEED [legal document]

9 Number present, parting with fine, about to get cross (5)
TIGON - NO. GI{f}T [number | present, "parting with fine" (i.e. losing an F)] all reversed ("about")

10 Thieves take risk with money, beginning to end (9)
PECULATES - SPECULATE [take risk with money], with the first letter moved to into last place ("beginning to end")

11 Attack what a farmer may do, wanting variety of milk? (4,1,2,2)
HAVE A GO AT - a farmer may HAVE A GOAT, if he wants goat's milk

12 Congregational members showing lack of discipline ignoring cross (5)
LAITY - LA{x}ITY [lack of discipline "ignoring cross" (i.e. losing an X)]

13 Sanction to restrict home producing beastly sound (4)
OINK - O.K. [sanction] "to restrict" IN [home]

14 Came across as very angry-looking, having swallowed drug after party (10)
DISCOVERED - V RED [very | angry-looking] "having swallowed" E [drug], after DISCO [party]

18 Expulsion of pub staff into street after this person had returned (10)
DISBARMENT - BARMEN [pub staff] "into" ST [street] after reverse of I'D [this person had, "returned"]

20 Foreign writer's demeanour putting the Queen off (4)
MANN - MANN{er} [demeanour "putting the Queen off" (i.e. dispensing with E.R.)]

23 Article about a knight, king's companion (5)
THANE - THE [article] about A N [a | knight]

24 In a queue, you say? Allowance must be made (9)
WEIGHTING - homophone of WAITING [in a queue, "you say?"]
A weighting as in "an allowance or adjustment made in order to take account of special circumstances or compensate for a distorting factor"

25 Causes of disease and sympathy - information is suppressed (9)
PATHOGENS - PATHOS [sympathy] "suppressing" GEN [information]

26 Dance fantastic on gala shows (5)
CONGA - hidden in {fantasti}C ON GA{la}

27 Author gloomy about sin in retrospect (7)
DURRELL - DULL [gloomy] "about" ERR reversed [sin "in retrospect"]

28 British engineers commandeering one old vessel (5)
BIREME - B REME [British | engineers] "commandeering" I [one]
REME are Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers, who turn up in these puzzles once every so often


1 Suffer financial loss - i.e. to do this to get diamonds? (8)
CATCH COLD - apparently financial jargon for making a loss or losing one's investment. If "catch cold" is taken as a cryptic instruction, I.E. "catches" C to become ICE... which is to say diamonds. Clues can't get much crosswordier than this

2 French person offering a local wine - no good champagne ultimately imbibed (7)
ANGEVIN - A VIN [a | local (i.e. French) wine], with NG {champagn}E [no good | champagne "ultimately"] "imbibed"

3 Charge subsequently going up, squeezing any number (6)
RENTAL - LATER reversed [subsequently "going up"], "squeezing" N [any number]

4 Plant little girl on bed (5)
DICOT - DI [little (as in abbreviated) girl] on COT [bed]

5 Infatuation of everyone gathered round female in coastal location (4, 4)
CALF LOVE - ALL [everyone] "gathered round" F [female] in COVE [coastal location]

6 Performer admits drinking nothing, one becoming more crazy (7)
DOTTIER - DOER [performer] "admits" TT I [drinking nothing | one]. I don't know when TT was in common parlance to mean "teetotal"... but where would crosswords be without it?

7 Old-fashioned couple given dirty hovel for nothing (5)
DUSTY - DU{o->STY}: DUO is the couple, exchange STY [dirty hovel] for their O [nothing]

8 Saw a Miss Laetitia outside house briefly (8)
APHORISM - A PRISM [a | Miss Laetitia] outside HO [house "briefly"]. Miss Laetitia Prism is Cecily's governess in Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest", responsible for absent-mindedly placing babies in handbags

15 Show girl's seen in court to be more wily than the rest (8)
CANNIEST - ANNIE'S [show girl's] seen in CT [court]. Show girl as in Little Orphan Annie from the Broadway musical and films

16 I fret at the bottom of haunt that's run down (9)
DENIGRATE - I GRATE [I | fret] below ("at the bottom of") DEN [haunt]

17 Mark betting system involving a measure of understanding (4, 4)
TAKE NOTE - TOTE [betting system] "involving" A KEN [a | measure of understanding]

19 Ruin brought by second mad person (7)
SHATTER - S HATTER [second | (proverbial) mad person, q.v. Alice in Wonderland]

21 One receiving property, having right to enter a vacated estate (7)
ALIENEE - LIEN [right] to enter A E{stat}E [a | "vacated" estate]. Molto legalese

22 Fashionable greeting is pretentious (6)
CHICHI - CHIC HI [fashionable | greeting]

23 Kind daughter had an office job maybe (5)
TYPE - TYPE D [kind | daughter]

24 Feature of vehicle brings shout of delight to one kind of driver (5)
WHEEL - WHEE [shout of delight] + L [one kind of (learner) driver]
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