jackkt (jackkt) wrote in times_xwd_times,
jackkt
jackkt
times_xwd_times

Times Cryptic 26774

55 minutes for this one. I seem destined to report a slow solving time on blogging days. I don't suffer from 'blogger's nerves' any more but in the course of duty one likes to consider every possible aspect of a clue once the answer has been found instead of trusting to memory later. That slows me down of course but it's not really an excuse as I have accepted long ago that I am a slow solver.  I don't think there was much (if anything) to scare the horses here so I expect the hares will report very favourable solving times.

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 Possibly a red bird flew off first (4-6)
LEFT-WINGER - LEFT (flew off), WINGER (bird). More reds under the bed for me! In yesterday's Quickie (which I also blogged) 'red' defined 'Marxist'.
6 Search for / food (4)
GRUB - Two meanings
9 Artifice hard to prove (7)
CONFIRM - CON (artifice), FIRM (hard)
10 He built the Temple of Jerusalem unassisted, the first of seven? (7)
SOLOMON - SOLO (unassisted), MON (the first of seven?). I guess this is a reference to the seven days of the week in which case I'd have thought that 'the first of seven' ought to be SUN.
12 Triangle perhaps, popular shape men trust (10)
INSTRUMENT - IN (popular), anagram [shape] of MEN TRUST gives us the percussion instrument
13 Trouble in parliament from the right (3)
AIL - Hidden and reversed [from the right] in {par}LIA{ment}
15 First man in is key? (6)
OPENER - Two meanings, the first with reference to cricket
16 Date ruined by something remarkable backfiring, howled in grief (8)
ULULATED - LULU (something remarkable) reversed [backfiring], anagram [ruined] of DATE. I knew the word but not precisely what it meant. According to SOED one can also ululate with joy. How appropriate that in the wordplay Lulu's back ! Alway good to be reminded of the Cheerful Earful.
18 Poorly / individual (8)
PECULIAR - Two meanings
20 A church removed from god, you can count on it! (6)
ABACUS - A, BAC{ch}US (god) [church removed]
23 Boston Tea Party ends, indeed (3)
NAY -  {Bosto}N, {te}A, {part}Y [ends].  It usually means something negative (Nay, nay and thrice nay! - Francis Howerd), but can can also mean 'and even' / 'moreover', and that's what's required here.
24 Dirty linen not to be written about in seat of government (10)
WASHINGTON - WASHING (dirty linen), NOT reversed [to be written about]
26 Catcher some briefly call back (7)
MANTRAP - PART (some) + NAM{e} (call) [briefly] all reversed [back]. A good definition.
27 See GP bandaging middle of joint, then see fractures (7)
DIOCESE - DOC (GP) containing [bandaging] {jo}I{nt} [middle], anagram [fractures] of SEE
28 Document that may be sent back unchanged (4)
DEED - A straight definition with an unmissable indication that the answer is a palindrome
29 Cheeky child, a scruff, lifts clothing (10)
JACKANAPES - JACKS (lifts) containing [clothing] A + NAPE (scruff - of the neck). Originally associated with the behaviour of apes, this also has a more general meaning as an impertinent child.
Down
1 Curl / forward (4)
LOCK - Two definitions, the second with reference to a position in rugby
2 Punishment holding African party back (7)
FINANCE - FINE (punishment) containing [holding] ANC (African party -African National Congress). 'Back' in the sense of finance a project or enterprise.
3 Canary below cuckoo captured by artist (7-6)
WHISTLE-BLOWER - Anagram [cuckoo] of BELOW contained [captured] by WHISTLER (artist). Here we have two slang terms for an informer.
4 Missing summit, wing enters warmer rising cloud (6)
NIMBUS - {l}IMB (wing) [missing summit] is conained by [enters], SUN (warmer) reversed [rising]. I was helped here by wing / limb having appeared very recently in another puzzle. 'Warmer' for 'sun' is rather good.
5 Blooming thing cutting through Cambridgeshire city, wind (8)
EASTERLY - ASTER (blooming thing) contained by [cutting through] ELY (Cambridgeshire city). A few shrivelled old chestnuts here!
7 Pack forcibly split defence (7)
RAMPART - RAM (pack forcibly), PART (split)
8 Commercial breaks charm quiet nation (10)
BANGLADESH - AD (commercial) is contained by [breaks] BANGLE (charm), SH (quiet)
11 Battle scene, blasted thing of oxymoronic proportions? (6,7)
LITTLE BIGHORN - LITTLE BIG (oxymoronic proportions), HORN (blasted thing). The scene of Custer's Last Stand. (Note to self: after the last time he came up, don't mention his rank!)
14 In a rage, having stubbed one's toe? (7,3)
HOPPING MAD - A definition with a cryptic hint
17 Girl hiding drink in pouches (8)
MARSUPIA - MARIA (girl) containing [hiding] SUP (drink)
19 Staff investing money, foreign capital (7)
CAYENNE - CANE (staff) containing [investing] YEN (money). The capital of French Guiana.
21 Miss in competition — still not far off? (5-2)
CLOSE-UP - LOSE (miss)  in CUP (competition). A rather fine cryptic definition with reference to photography.
22 African ruminant, little one repeatedly climbing (3-3)
DIK-DIK - KID (little one)  repeatedly reversed [climbing]. Add it to your list of antelopes if you didn't already know it. Shame that Flanders and Swann never got round to writing a song about one of these.
25 French city / that's transparent (4)
LENS - Two defintions of sorts
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