jackkt (jackkt) wrote in times_xwd_times,

Times 26624

This took me 36 minutes but I ended with one careless error at 4ac. I also lost time along the way having biffed wrong  answers at 1dn and 17dn which gave me incorrect checkers for their adjoining answers and delayed solving them, but after my disaster yesterday this seemed a doddle by comparison and not far in excess of my target time, albeit with one wrong letter. Here's my blog...

As usual definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions are in curly brackets} and [anagrinds, containment, reversal and other indicators in square ones]

1 Item on plate I note for diet? (6)
REGIME - REG (item on plate - car registration), I, ME (note - music)
4 Standard way to address queen touring hospital: “One’s cured!” (5,3)
PARMA HAM - PAR (standard), MA'AM ( way to address queen) containing [touring] H (hospital). My stupid error here was writing "Palma", wondering how "pal" = "standard", leaving it to review later and then forgetting to go back to it. I believe the formal way to address HMQ is "Your Majesty" but having said that to her once, one is expected to say "Ma'am" (to rhyme with "arm")*. I don't know if this less formal address is common knowledge outside the UK so it's possible that some of our overseas solvers may be a little puzzled by this clue.
*On edit: I am assured by comments below that it's pronounced "Mam" to rhyme with "jam".
9 Ultimately how irrational that team should keep staring (7)
GAWPING - GANG (team) contains [should keep] {ho}W [ultimately] + PI (irrational)
11 Penny’s back on stage, wearing a type of bowler (3,4)
LEG SPIN - LEG (stage), P'S (penny's) reversed [back], IN (wearing)
12 Reserve bunk, producing card (5)
TAROT - TA (reserve - Territorial Army historically, if actually TAVR now), ROT (bunk - as in "History is bunk" according to Henry Ford)
13 Evidently valley life all bad — but this corner’s cosy (9)
INGLENOOK - IN GLEN (valley) 0 - nothing is - OK, so it follows that life there is all bad. It's a chimney corner in an open fireplace.
14 American I housed in my own refurbished holiday home (10)
WYOMINGITE - I contained [housed] by anagram [refurbished] of MY OWN, GITE (holiday home)
16 Take cream off small boy or girl (4)
SKIM - S (small), KIM (boy or girl)
19 Legendary Highlander: one’s got so far ahead (4)
YETI - YET (so far), ahead of I (one)
20 Hide after leading lady around old, imposing crash site (4-6)
FOUR-POSTER - FUR (hide) contains [around] O (old), POST (after), ER (leading lady - HMQ again!). A somewhat cryptic definition following complicated wordplay which took me a while to unravel as I had thought the R from "fur" was the one at the end of the answer.
22 Initially, all when in mountain have activity in mind (5,4)
ALPHA WAVE - ALP (mountain), then A{ll}+ W{hen} [initially] in HAVE
23 Measure essential to stop me talking back (5)
TEMPO - Hidden in [essential to] {st}OP ME T{alking} reversed [back]
25 The state of the loo’s atrocious (7)
LESOTHO - Anagram [atrocious] of THE LOO'S
26 What new divorcee could take to be cause of hang-up? (4,3)
RING OFF - Two meanings
27 Makes leap year visits to see secretive groups (3,5)
SPY RINGS - Y (year) is contained by [visits] SPRINGS (makes leap)
28 Field that’s no longer used for camping? (6)
EXTENT - EX (no longer) TENT (used for camping). Defined as in "scope".
1 Immediately apply in writing for audition (5,4)
RIGHT AWAY - Sounds like [for audition] "write away" (apply in writing). I thought this was more complicated than it turned out to be and biffed RIGHT HERE based on "write" and "hear" and this gave me problems solving 14 and 19ac.
2 UK peninsula where travel used to be endless (5)
GOWER - GO (travel), WER{e} (used to be) [endless]. I probably shouldn't admit that I'd only heard of this place since it featured in "Gavin & Stacey".
3 Keep leading Tina astray (8)
MAINTAIN - MAIN (leading), anagram [astray] of TINA
5 Fleshy fruita large part oil, unexpectedly (9,4)
ALLIGATOR PEAR - Anagram [unexpectedly] of A LARGE PART OIL. Aka avocado.
6 Assailant who’s closer after one’s escaped (6)
MUGGER - MUGG{i}ER (closer) [after one’s escaped]
7 Place for flask, maybe, and with it pot (3,6)
HIP POCKET - HIP (with it), POCKET (pot - as a verb in snooker, pool etc]
8 Capital made out of son being unethically dressed? (5)
MINSK - S (son) in MINK [unethically dressed?]. The capital of Belarus. The lyrics of Tom Lehrer are useful for remembering names of the elements and former USSR cities and towns:
I have a friend in Minsk,
Who has a friend in Pinsk,
Whose friend in Omsk
Has friend in Tomsk
With friend in Akmolinsk.
His friend in Alexandrovsk
Has friend in Petropavlovsk,
Whose friend somehow
Is solving now
The problem in Dnepropetrovsk...

10 Fetching number available at a bargain (5,3,1,4)
GOING FOR A SONG - GOING FOR (fetching),  A SONG (number). The definition looks strange to me and perhaps should read "available as a bargain" or "available at a bargain price"?
15 Somehow co-opts US company in the end to make film (9)
OCTOPUSSY - Anagram [somehow] of CO-OPTS US, {compan}Y [in the end]
17 Blight that hurt top of flower in desert pea (9)
MARROWFAT - MAR (blight) then OW (that hurt!) + F{lower} [top] inside RAT (desert). With only the M from 16ac in place I biffed MANGETOUT which gave me the correct checker for 28ac so I was confident for some time that my answer was right. However eventually the arrival of other checkers  made me realise my error. I avoid peas labelled MARROWFAT so it was not a word that immediately sprang to mind.
18 US military base opposed strikes being talked of (4,4)
FORT KNOX - Sounds like [talked of] "fought" (opposed), "knocks" (strikes). Perhaps best known  for housing the US Bullion Depository where most of their gold reserves are stored. It was the target of the heist in GOLDFINGER, another James Bond title to go with 15dn.
21 Cocktail 3 down — forgetting name twice (3,3)
MAI TAI - MAI{n}TAI{n} (3 down) [forgetting name twice]. My only unknown today but with 3dn already solved this was a gift. I now understand it's made from rum, Curaçao liqueur, orgeat syrup and lime juice.
22 City where de Gaulle would appear after church (5)
ARLES - {ch}ARLES de Gaulle [would appear after church]
24 How Jersey goes about finding sculptor (5)
MOORE - MOO (how Jersey - cow - goes), RE (about). Henry of that name.
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