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

Times 26,771: At The Court Of The King Of Skyros

An easy puzzle by Friday standards, I thought: I was drunk enough from prior festivities to have typed BETTLE instead of BEETLE in the Concise, but even taking a little extra care over the main event accordingly, it was all done and dusted in a little over 6 minutes. FOI 1ac, clearly, LOI the brilliant and appropriate 4dn.

Sometimes having an easier puzzle at the end of the week proves a source of disgruntlement for me, but this one gets a pass because of the high quality of the construction: there are some really good surfaces in here, and I mean really good. Loved the great surface of 9dn, the simplicity of 12ac, the smoothness of "cream crackers" at 3dn and "marshalling yard" at 5dn and "German city state" at 15dn, the clever double duty of "cast off" in 17ac, "stand" in 20ac, "account" in 24ac, "free press" in 25ac and "TV" in 1dn... it takes a lot of art to make writing clues this elegant and deceptive look so easy, hats off to the setter.

I think I'll stick with 4dn as my COD though as I just can't get enough of crossword clues about crossword clues, as you probably know by now, self-reflexive meta-cluing as it were. Plenty of candidates to choose from though: which did you all like?

Across
1 Charles Martel's heading for great breach (5)
CHASM - CHAS [Charles] + M{artel}
4 You no longer must wear breeches in sweaty place (8)
HOTHOUSE - THOU [you no longer] "must wear" HOSE [breeches]
8 Fancy Dublin manor's home to Queen Elizabeth the First and Second? (7,7)
ORDINAL NUMBERS - (DUBLIN MANOR'S*) ["fancy"] "home to" ER [Queen Elizabeth]
10 Takes in food covered in spots, an unsavoury quality (9)
SEEDINESS - DINES [takes in food] "covered in" SEES [spots]
11 Characters in flamboyant unicyclist's garment (5)
TUNIC - hidden in {flamboyan}T UNIC{yclist}
12 One in shop is helping (6)
RATION - I [one] in RAT ON [shop]
14 No more butter? Starter from Italy is meat (8)
PASTRAMI - PAST RAM [no more | butter] + I{taly}
17 Maybe Lady Macbeth's wrong to follow cast off (3-5)
SHE-DEVIL - EVIL [wrong] to follow SHED [cast off]
18 Queen wanting Arsenal's sides to toughen up (6)
ANNEAL - ANNE [Queen] wanting A{rsena}L
20 Stand in line, with no trouble going to the front (5)
EASEL - L [line], with EASE [no trouble] going to the front
22 Count welcomes old partners bidding for agreement (9)
CONSENSUS - CENSUS [count] welcomes O N+S [old | partners bidding]
24 Tell alert saver to change dubious account (10,4)
TRAVELLERS TALE - (TELL ALERT SAVER*) ["to change"]
25 Pitch from US government's leader to get free press (8)
GRIDIRON - G{overnment} "to get" RID IRON [free | press]
26 Professional leaving right and left boot out (5)
EXPEL - EXPE{rt} [professional "leaving right"] and L [left]
Down
1 Piqued person who helps actor for TV (5-7)
CROSS-DRESSER - CROSS [piqued] + DRESSER [person who helps actor]
2 Go off with clumsy gait, putting away whiskey (5)
ADDLE - {w}ADDLE [clumsy gait, "putting away W{hiskey}"]
3 Monstrous creature into cream crackers (9)
MANTICORE - (INTO CREAM*) ["crackers"]
4 Solver needing minutes to fill in gaps (6)
HOLMES - M [minutes] "to fill in" HOLES [gaps]
5 Marshalling yard shut for a time (8)
THURSDAY - (YARD SHUT*) ["marshalling..."]
6 Go round river, with notice about passing around (5)
ORBIT - R [river], with OBIT [notice about passing] around
7 Weight loss, say, from period of psychiatry? (9)
SHRINKAGE - a "period of psychiatry" could be a SHRINK AGE
9 A cold fish accepting woman's weakness (8,4)
ACHILLES HEEL - A CHILL EEL [a | cold | fish] "accepting" SHE [woman]
13 Time firm's restrained by stern money handler (9)
TREASURER - T [time] + SURE [firm] "restrained by" REAR [stern]
15 Figure backing East German city state (9)
TENNESSEE - TEN [figure] + reverse of E ESSEN ["backing" East | German city]
16 O is this kind of letter (8)
CIRCULAR - double def
19 Rent out cracking home for novice worker (6)
INTERN - (RENT*) ["out"] "cracking" IN [home]
21 Wild clip uncovered, short film (5)
LIVID - {c}LI{p} + VID ["short" film]
23 Quiet way to speak about a cheat (5)
SHARP - SH RP [quiet | way to speak] about A
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