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

Times 26,597: Nothing But A Bunch Of X's Between One's Hands

Christmas is coming, the clues are getting fat, please drop a penny in the French poet's hat. I never have a vast amount of energy the morning after blogging a T(a)L(o)S puzzle - due to replete satisfaction, not ennui, I assure you, so go check 1152 out if you haven't, it's the usual corker.

Not much wrong with today's puzzle either. My solving speeds have been indolent of late but I managed to get home in under 10 minutes at least, having the most trouble in the NW but only because I decided that "extremely artificial" had to be AL and entered LOTUS PETAL in at 1ac, which even the least observant will notice isn't actually a flower but a Magic: The Gathering card. COD-wise I liked the obscure mythological reference at 23ac but wondered if it might cause the less classically-inclined to roll their eyes; my actual clue of the day I think is 15dn, just because there's always something funny about a "little man", especially as the season of Santa's 21ac helpers approachers.

So many festive thanks to the setter - and all the setters who contributed a clue to the Christmas Turkey 2016 too! Has anyone worked out which clue there was so ridiculously overwrought it simply had to be a verlaine effort, yet?

Across

1 Girl describing daisy: extremely artificial flower (5,5)
LADY'S SMOCK - LASS [girl] "describing" D{ais}Y ["...extremely"] + MOCK [artificial]

6 Scotsman's recalled fraudster's business (4)
SCAM - reverse of MAC'S [Scotsman's "recalled"]

9 Undisclosed strain stops nude wrestling (7)
UNAIRED - AIR [strain] "stops" (NUDE*) ["wrestling"]

10 Like PC in office, say, not performing as expected (7)
OFFBEAT - a copper out an about is ON his BEAT, one doing paperwork at his desk OFF it.

12 Collection of stones from England that man's pocketing (5)
HENGE - ENG [England] that HE [man] "is pocketing"

13 Republican kept in his place, thrashing round (9)
SPHERICAL - R [Republican] kept in (HIS PLACE*) ["thrashing"]

14 Lawman historically went sober: returns, briefly, drunk (3,6,6)
BOW STREET RUNNER - (WENT SOBER RETURN{s}*) ["briefly", "drunk"]

17 Chosen method of questioning on bench a lobbying issue (9,6)
ELECTORAL REFORM - ELECT ORAL RE FORM [chosen | method of questioning | on | bench]

20 Fight after lone woman secures new alternative to pot (6,3)
WINDOW BOX - BOX [fight] after WIDOW [lone woman] "secures" N [new]

21 Bilingually, the ending's short and sweet (5)
ELFIN - EL [Spanish for "the"] + FIN [French for "ending"]

23 Herb in drink returned Medusa's offspring (7)
PEGASUS - SAGE [herb] in SUP [drink], all reversed ["...returned"]

24 Priest, gathering town's last holy men, joins service (7)
ENLISTS - ELI [priest] "gathering" {tow}N + STS [holy men]

25 Woman's desire for sex with husband (4)
RUTH - RUT [desire for sex] with H [husband]

26 Game in which kitty's taken care of? (4,6)
CAT'S CRADLE - a cryptic definition. I don't think you're *actually* building a comfy hammock for a cat when you play cat's cradle, but that's certainly what the name would suggest.

Down

1 Ridiculous huge ball bouncing round area (9)
LAUGHABLE - (HUGE BALL*) ["bouncing"] round A [area]

2 Troops involved in clash to clear out (5)
DRAIN - R.A. [troops] "involved" in DIN [clash]

3 Covert criminal trio pursues it (13)
SURREPTITIOUS - (TRIO PURSUES IT*) ["criminal"]

4 Milliner, second on street going into decline (7)
MODISTE - MO [second], on ST [street] "going into" DIE [decline]

5 Note there's no time earlier for fancy work (7)
CROCHET - CRO{t}CHET [note - missing its "earlier" T for time but not its subsequent one]

7 Endless fuss during part of Mass getting louder (9)
CRESCENDO - SCEN{e} ["endless" fuss] during CREDO [part of Mass]

8 Eg Iron Maiden recently sent up (5)
METAL - M [maiden] + reverse of LATE [recently "sent up"]

11 Forecaster's wealth laid on counter (7,6)
FORTUNE TELLER - FORTUNE [wealth], above TELLER [counter]

15 Little man on board at end of working day? (9)
WEEKNIGHT - WEE KNIGHT [little | man on board]

16 Different engineers garaging cars take a backward glance (9)
REMINISCE - R.E. & C.E. [different engineers (royal and civil)] "garaging" MINIS [cars]

18 Rude American's top source of coffee (7)
ROBUSTA - ROBUST [rude] + A{merican}

19 Times blocks passages with singular lack of concern (7)
LAXNESS - X [times] "blocks" LANES [passages] with S [singular]

20 Returning traveller, one with wet weather equipment (5)
WIPER - REP I W [traveller | one | with], all reversed ["returning..."]

22 Blended in a stew half-heartedly (5)
FUSED - FU{Ss}ED [in a stew "half-heartedly"]
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