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

Times 26,639: Bridge Over Troubled Waters

I've not been at the top of my cryptic game recently - stressed and tired from having piled too many other things onto my plate over the last fortnight, but at least I'm being paid for it! So I feel like my 12-and-a-half minute time could have been better, but then again it does appear to have been a hard and Friday-worthy puzzle, lots of very densely packed clues to unpick.

Some of the resulting surfaces have ended up sounding too much like crosswordese garble, but conversely I really appreciated the whimsical side of this puzzle. The usual smattering of question marks are doing genuinely interesting work at 18dn, 20ac, 2dn, etc. My favourite clue though I think was was 6dn, requiring lateral thinking from more than one direction but with every element contributing nicely to a smooth and handsome surface. Thanks very much to the setter - definitely an intriguing 10ac-type puzzle rather than a 26ac one overall!

Across

1 Approval follows to be on wrong computer (8)
NOTEBOOK - OK [approval] follows (TO BE ON*) ["wrong"]
5 Cocktail from small island in the endless sea? (3,3)
MAI TAI - AIT [small island] in MAI{n} [the "endless" sea]
10 Picks tenth hotel on tour: it gets complicated (3,4,8)
THE PLOT THICKENS - (PICKS TENTH HOTEL*) ["on tour"]
11 One smoked in bed: it takes a brave man to intervene (7)
CHEROOT - COT [bed] with HERO [a brave man] intervening
12 Fancy our cousin is out of power a long time (7)
CHIMERA - CHIM{p} [our cousin "is out of" P for power] + ERA [a long time]
13 Writer in Belgian port, not O Henry (8)
STENDHAL - {o}STEND [Belgian port, "not O"] + HAL [Henry]
15 Northern river covered in top-quality shellfish (5)
NACRE - N [northern] + R [river] covered in ACE [top-quality]
18 Prophet’s house on the shore? (5)
HOSEA - HO [house] by the SEA
20 Act enthusiastically, but not be in Hamlet? (2,2,4)
GO TO TOWN - a hamlet being a very small community, if you go to a "town" you won't be in one.
23 Space to turn around in ship’s cabin? (3,4)
SEA ROOM - a cabin is a room at sea, ergo another type of sea room.
25 In bent condition, force chapter out of reference book (7)
FLEXION - F [force] + LEXI{c}ON [C for chapter "out of" reference book]
26 Absolutely no refreshment with son coming in? That’s distasteful (3,4,3,2,3)
NOT ONE'S CUP OF TEA - NOT ONE CUP OF TEA [absolutely no refreshment] with S [son] coming in
27 From top seat heard this cast (6)
THROWN - homophone of THRONE [top seat "heard"]
28 During delay not important to return books stored here perhaps (4,4)
WALL UNIT - during WAIT [delay], NULL reversed [not important "to return"]

Down

1 Work it out before you leave (6)
NOTICE - cryptic def: one works out one's notice before leaving a job.
2 Inflammation of a certain spot? It can’t be helped (5,2,2)
THERE IT IS - THERE is "a certain spot", a whimsical disease of which could be "there-itis"!
3 Almost naked diver: trouble when one goes up (7)
BALLOON - BAL{d} LOON ["almost" naked | diver]
4 Small group of commandos taking enemy territory at the front (5)
OCTET - O{f} C{ommandos} T{aking} E{nemy} T{erritory} ["at the front"]
6 Sort of bridge needing care: lower maximum speed a bit (7)
AUCTION - CAUTION [care], with its C [the speed of light, the fastest speed there is] lowered a bit. Bridge the card game, of course.
7 Subject of article staff found inadequate (5)
THEME - THE ME{n} [article | staff "found inadequate"]
8 Extremely popular tools (2,6)
IN SPADES - IN [popular] + SPADES [tools]
9 Elegant clothes worn by student for light reading (5,3)
CHICK LIT - CHIC KIT [elegant | clothes] "worn by" L [student]
14 Service chief set over the main body (4,4)
HIGH MASS - HIGH [chief] set over MASS [the main body]
16 Female composer failing to start composed with help (9)
COWRITTEN - COW {b}RITTEN [female | composer "failing to start"]
17 Horse in box, one going to bolt (8)
CHESTNUT - CHEST [box] + NUT [one going to bolt, as in nuts and bolts]
19 With immediate effect, a low temperature brings round precipitation (2,2,3)
AS OF NOW - A + 0F [low temperature] brings round SNOW [precipitation]
21 Plant finally sent soldiers sword (7)
TREFOIL - {sen}T R.E. FOIL ["finally" sent | soldiers | sword]
22 Complete one set of books? One of them incomplete (6)
INTACT - I [one] + NT [set of books, the New Testament] + ACT{s} [one of those NT books, "incomplete"]
24 Player’s agent clearing fine (5)
ACTOR - {f}ACTOR [agent "clearing" F for fine]
25 Female relative almost has a wild life (5)
FAUNA - F AUN{t} [female | relative "almost"] has A
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