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

Times 26757 - Qualifier #3 for the Championships

This could have been blogged and published yesterday but owing to a bit of 'no, be my guest, you can do it' between me and Verlaine, it fell through a crack until now. So apologies to anyone who was waiting expectantly for enlightenment.
I found it a rather easy and bland puzzle, probably the easiest of the three qualifiers, with little to add except to beware of the bear trap at 17a which may have caught out a few too-hasty punters.

Definitions underlined as usual.

Across
1 College head wanting a good book, devoid of current jargon (12)
TECHNOBABBLE - Clunky but straightforward bit of wordplay; TECH (college), NOB(head), A, BIBLE (good book) loses I (current).
9 Recalled part of serial by Orwell, in fact (5)
BLAIR - Found reversed in SE(RIAL B)Y, in fact Eric Blair was the real name of George Orwell.
10 Heat, with burns, affected this one?
SUNBATHER - (HEAT BURNS)*.
11 Everyone in Church Row withdrew from circulation (6,2)
CALLED IN - ALL (everyone) inside CE (church), DIN = row.
12 Asked to have some breakfast in bed? (6)
BEGGED - EGG (some breakfast) inside BED.
13 Plant, centrepiece of holy Christian festival (8)
OLEASTER - OL = centre of H(OL)Y, EASTER the festival. Today's plant clue, not to be confused with OLEANDER, another frequent growth in the crossword patch.
15 Beautiful old vase originally captured by Baroque painter (6)
LOVELY - O V = 'old vase originally', inside Peter LELY the Dutch Baroque painter.
17 Plan after-school English qualification (6)
SCHEMA - SCH for school, E(nglish), MA the qualification. As far as I know, an ME is not a qualification, so SCHEME doesn't parse. Schema, directly from the Greek, plural schemata, is used for a plan or diagram.
18 Again declared country debtridden? (8)
RESTATED - Biffable, but it parses as; STATE inside RED (country debtridden).
20 Coins collected in hat for drink (6)
TIPPLE - PP for coins, inside TILE for hat. Something of a chestnut.
21 Mentioned fresh flowers, in cases of illness (8)
NEUROSES - NEU sounds like NEW, and roses are flowers.
24 Tories excited about Republican who might join the party? (9)
ROISTERER - (TORIES)*, RE (about) R (Republican).
25 Pair of British people (5)
BRACE - B (British) RACE (people).
26 Irregular plan — queen has a hand in it (12)
INTERMITTENT - INTENT = plan, insert ER (Queen) and MITT (hand).

Down
1 Traveller set up business supplying stuff from Virginia (7)
TOBACCO - CABOT was the traveller, set up = TOBAC, add CO.
2 Daily story line involving male, popular actor (7,7)
CHARLIE CHAPLIN - CHAR = daily (cleaner), LIE = story, CHAP = male, L = line, IN = popular.
3 Ensure brief retraining for care worker (5)
NURSE - ENSUR = ensure brief, make it an anagram ('retraining').
4 Sleeping place for baby at home, protected by dog (8)
BASSINET - IN = at home, inside BASSET breed of dog.
5 Very thin lad eating nothing for starters (4)
BONY - BOY (lad) eats N (nothing for starters).
6 Disregards hooligan crossing edge of roof (6,3)
LEAVES OUT - EAVES = edge of roof, inside LOUT = hooligan.
7 Muhammad Ali cut head, film’s shown (3,5,6)
THE GREAT ESCAPE - He was 'The Greatest'; 'cut' = remove the final T; add CAPE for head.
8 Leader of council damned unpleasant (6)
CRUDDY - C(ouncil), RUDDY = damned.
14 Fool heading for scandal, one politician revealed (9)
SIMPLETON - S(candal), I, MP, LET ON = revealed.
16 6 Mrs Simpson allowed to circulate urgent message (8)
TELEGRAM - Not Wallis, but MARGE, blue-haired wife of Homer. Add LET = allowed,
reverse the lot ('circulate').
17 Joining group of workers engaged by firm (6)
SUTURE - Insert TU (group of workers) into SURE (firm).
19 Regularly avoided edge on trail going downhill (7)
DESCENT - DE = EDGE avoiding the e and g; SCENT = trail.
22 Jacket turned up and shortened? Capital (5)
RABAT - TABARD is the jacket, shorten it and reverse. Capital of Morocco.
23 Loyal Conservative shunning armistice (4)
TRUE - TRUCE = Armistice, drop the C for Conservative.
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