Pip Kirby (pipkirby) wrote in times_xwd_times,
Pip Kirby
pipkirby
times_xwd_times

Times 26733 - don't get shtuck in a confiture de circulation; use your bonding set.

A splendid puzzle, I thought, with a mixture of easy clues and much trickier ones, and not without wit. I don't have an exact time as I was doing it in between doing something else. I'd estimate half an hour or a bit more. The SW corner was last to go in, with 18d, 22a and 25a holding me up.

As usual, definitions are underlined.

I've become a barn owl, for a change.

Across
1 A month after one leaves school one comes across the church (8)
TRANSEPT - TRA(I)N = school, one leaves; SEPT = a month.
5 Fireball rounding corner finds old dictator (6)
SHOGUN - Insert HOG = corner, keep for oneself, into SUN = fireball.
9 Report of someone critically examining historian (8)
ANNALIST - Sounds like ANALYST.
10 English poet has to suffer misfortune in the end (6)
BROOKE - BROOK = suffer, E = end of misfortune; Rupert Brooke, WW1 poet I have never read.
12 Tense, given Pollyanna's expectation? (6,7)
FUTURE PERFECT - Cryptic reference to the 1913 book Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter, in which a girl was always trying to find something to be glad about in every situation. No I haven't read it. A more academic book by a Mr Gottlieb followed in 1990, The Pollyanna Principles, of which I had vaguely heard.
15 Little chamber orchestra's first instrument (5)
CELLO - CELL = little chamber, O = orchestra's first.
16 Shelter for the needy soul — shame dilapidated (9)
ALMSHOUSE - (SOUL SHAME)*.
17 Nothing revolutionary about Lenin unfortunately, the
worm!
(9)
ANNELIDAN - Insert (LENIN)* into NADA (nothing) reversed. One of those words where you have to guess where the missing letters go, and trust the wordplay, unless you're a helminthologist.
19 Peach, sliced, is eaten initially (5)
CUTIE - CUT = sliced, I E initial letters of is eaten.
20 Extremely disappointed, soon to feature in famous comedy sketch? (4,2,1,6)
SICK AS A PARROT - A reference, I think, to the sketch in Monty Python where John Cleese returns his Norwegian Blue to the pet shop and tries to persuade the seller it is "dead, no more, deceased, a late parrot, an ex-parrot" and so on. EDIT see my comment below (#4 in list).
22 A spring flourish (6)
ABOUND - A, BOUND = spring.
23 Funny person about right? (8)
JOKESTER - I'm going to say &lit. but as usual I'm probably going to be chastised for that. OK (right) goes into JESTER to make another funny person. I had COMEDIAN for a while but couldn't make it work, mainly because it was wrong.
25 Hard to break staff routine (6)
SHTICK - H = hard, inside STICK = staff. As well as poetry, Hebrew or Yiddish words are not my thing, but I guessed this one. "Routine" in the sense of act or party piece.
26 Hard-working souls due to appear lazy (8)
SEDULOUS - (SOULS DUE)*. I thought, sedulous is a word but it doesn't mean lazy, does it? Then realised it meant hard-working and the anagrist was lazy. Doh!

Down
1 Buying and selling stuff, lines not shifting? (7,3)
TRAFFIC JAM - TRAFFIC = buying and selling, JAM = stuff. As an aside, the French call it a bouchon (a cork), in early days here I once tried 'confiture de traffique' and it didn't seem to be understood, or get a laugh.
2 Beard beginning, shaved at the top (3)
AWN - DAWN (beginning) loses its D. Beard as in a bristle-like bit on a plant.
3 New Orleans, a seaport (7)
SALERNO - (ORLEANS)*, a seaport in Southern Italy.
4 After lunch, upright piano moved quickly, put upright! (4-8)
POST-PRANDIAL - POST = upright, P(iano), RAN (moved quickly), LAID (put) reversed. Latin prandium, meal.
6 Difficult having bottom pinched by lewd fellow somewhere in Wales (7)
HARLECH - HAR(D) = difficult having bottom pinched; LECH = lewd fellow.
7 Suspicion over man, hunter of some spirit (11)
GHOSTBUSTER - GHOST = suspicion, BUSTER = man, US slang.
8 Turnip once called 'parsnip', originally (4)
NEEP - NÉE = born (female), i.e. 'once called': P(arsnip). As in the neeps and tatties with your haggis.
11 Author, unusual in brown cloak (6,6)
TRUMAN CAPOTE - TAN = brown, around RUM = unusual; CAPOTE is a sort of coat or cape with a hood.
13 One looking for that special something in cryptic clues, not tat!(6,5)
TALENT SCOUT - (CLUES NOT TAT)*.
14 Bonds exist in bonding set (10)
DEBENTURES - BE = exist, inside DENTURES = bonding set. Ha ha.
18 Short party, secular hosts (7)
LACONIC - This stumped me for a while. CON = party, inside LAIC = secular.
19 Church primate put on gold hat (7)
CHAPEAU - CH(urch) APE = primate, AU = gold; French for hat, n'est-ce pas.
21 Try climbing to get nuts or bananas (4)
BATS - STAB = try, reversed. I know, it was easy once you had it, but...
24 A little difficult working for company, apparently? (3)
TWO - A hidden word in DIFFICUL(T WO)RKING. As in two's company, three's a crowd, I presume.
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