jackkt (jackkt) wrote in times_xwd_times,
jackkt
jackkt
times_xwd_times

Times 26666

For some reason I had major problems with some of this and my solving time went off the scale. Having now written the blog I really can't account for my difficulties. There are a couple obscure words and few obscure pieces of GK but there are also plenty of easy clues so I should have been able to keep my confidence level high by solving those and then concentrated on filling in the gaps rather than getting bogged down quite early in the proceedings as I did.  I completed it eventually without resorting to aids and I've no complaints, although I needed to look up a several things afterwards to understand them fully.

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

Across
1 The top military players? (5)
BRASS - Cryptic definition with reference to military bands and to the expression "top brass" meaning the higher military ranks.
4 Weaver to drink a toast (7,2)
BOTTOMS UP - BOTTOM (weaver - in A Midsummer Night's Dream), SUP (drink). One of many odd but traditional British toasts.
9 A head’s power dissolved at a price (3,6)
PER CAPITA - P (power), anagram [dissolved] of AT A PRICE
10 Flipping idiot drinking neat poison (5)
TOXIN - NIT (idiot) reversed [flipping], containing [drinking] OX (neat - bovine animal)
11 One note rung, displaying harmony (2,4)
IN STEP - 1 (one), N (note), STEP (rung - as of ladder)
12 Spotted gardens nestling in southern plain (8)
SKEWBALD -  KEW (gardens) contained by [nestling in], S (southern) + BALD (plain). Often with reference to horses, skewbald is an irregular pattern of white and brown or red patches which I suppose at a pinch might be described as "spotted"
14 Maiden invited round for social event (6,4)
MASKED BALL - M (maiden - cricket), ASKED (invited), BALL (round)
16 Some follow assailant, backing off (4)
AWOL - Hidden [some] and reversed [backing] in {fol)LOW A{ssailant} - Absent WithOut Leave
19 On return, trains to become make-up artist? (4)
LIAR - RAIL (trains) reversed [on return]
20 Mean surrounding chap with lasso, possibly without justification (10)
IMPROPERLY - IMPLY (mean) containing [surrounding] ROPER (chap with lasso, possibly)
22 Man’s ending in jail, but strangely very happy (8)
JUBILANT - {ma}N [ending] in anagram [strangely] of JAIL BUT
23 Wall decoration fastened, but not entirely firm (6)
STUCCO - STUC{k} (fastened) [not entirely], CO (firm). I lost time here thinking "fresco".
26 See that fleece covers part of body (5)
COLON - CON (fleece) contains [covers] LO (see that)
27 For dictator, perhaps, canes will do (9)
BAMBOOZLE - Sounds like [for dictator, perhaps] "bamboos'll" (canes will)
28 However short, tea break is capital! (9)
BUCHAREST - BU{t} (however) [short], CHA (tea), REST [break]
29 A piece that’s just gross? (5)
NONET - In tax terminology NO NET might be equivalent to "just gross".  The answer here is a piece of music for nine players.
Down
1 Special balti Pam’s used for dip (9)
BAPTISMAL - Anagram [special] of BALTI PAMS
2 Hanging at murder scene staged (5)
ARRAS - This is a curtain or decorative hanging. In Shakespeare, Hamlet stabs Polonius with a sword through the arras. Nasty.
3 Long-distance travellers resort to fix that’s incomplete (8)
SPACEMEN - SPA (resort), CEMEN{t} (fix) [incomplete]
4 Army officer cut down, causing stir in navy (4)
BRIG - Abbreviation of the military rank "brigadier" and navy slang for the prison (stir) on a ship.
5 Lines in praise of some satellite TV sport? (2,1,7)
TO A SKYLARK - TO (in praise of),  A (some), SKY (satellite TV), LARK (sport). A poem by Shelley.
6 City of old to which a measure of power returns (6)
OTTAWA - O (old), A + WATT (measure of power) reversed [returns]
7 Conflict the Sun stayed out of (3,3,3)
SIX DAY WAR - Cryptic definition referring to the war between Arabs and Israelis in 1967 which started on a Monday and ended the following Saturday, so Sun(day) was not part of it.
8 Did long wooden drawer that only opens (5)
PINED - PINE (wooden), D{rawer} [only opens]
13 Offensive President, out on a limb, to be contained (10)
ABOMINABLE - Anagram of ON A LIMB contained by ABE (President). Of course no current political reference was intended in the surface reading.
15 Mob I clash with turns in disarray (9)
SHAMBOLIC - Anagram [turns] of MOB I CLASH
17 Gamble rent’s on time and put away in box? (3,2,4)
LAY TO REST - LAY (gamble), TORE (rent), S, T (time). Ho ho!
18 Vessel that’s not long transporting PM (8)
SPITTOON - SOON (not long) containing [transporting] PITT (PM). Yet another spittoon  on my watch!
21 Greek article containing nothing about Russian composer (6)
GLINKA - GK (Greek) + A (article) containing NIL (nothing) reversed [about]. Perhaps most famous for his operas  Ruslan and Lyudmila and A Life for the Tsar.
22 Fellow patient one keeps lifting roughly (5)
JACOB - JOB (patient one) contains [keeps] CA (roughly) reversed [lifting]
24 Swindle is issue for uncle to mention (5)
COZEN - sounds like [to mention] "cousin" (issue - son or daughter- for uncle). This word has come up once before on my watch 4 years ago, but I still didn't know it.
25 Books containing note found in skip (4)
OMIT - OT (books  - Old Testament) containing MI (note - a name I call myself)
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