jackkt (jackkt) wrote in times_xwd_times,
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Times Cryptic 26780

49 minutes for this very entertaining puzzle with a good mix of easy and more complicated clues and one or two moderately obscure references.

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 Queen’s protected by God, a symbol of British nationality (6)
DRAGON - R (queen) contained [protected] by DAGON (god). Not a god I'd heard of. A red dragon is the symbol of Wales.
4 Incorrect point not obvious to audience (8)
OFFSTAGE - OFF (incorrect), STAGE (point)
9 Reasonable to have affection for a European (7)
SLOVENE - S{a}NE (reasonable) substitutes LOVE (affection) for A
11 Puzzles concerning public transport (7)
REBUSES - RE (concerning), BUSES (public transport). Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus possibly made this word more widely known.
12 Turn to write another hint for solvers missing Celsius for scientist (5)
EULER - RE{c}LUE (write another hint for solvers) [missing Celsius] reversed [turn]. A name I know only  from crossword puzzles.
13 Christian Union in immense high church-wide movement (9)
ECUMENISM - CU (Christian Union) in anagram [high] of IMMENSE. I knew 'ecumenical' and derived it from that and wordplay.
14 Leader imposing local conditions in speech on instrument (10)
BELLWETHER - BELL (instrument), WETHER sounds like [in speech] "weather" (local conditions). Collins has this as 1. a sheep that leads the herd, often bearing a bell, and 2.a leader, esp one followed unquestioningly. 'Bell' is not the first instrument I would have thought of .
16 Have a look back (4)
KEEP - PEEK (look) reversed [back]
19 Ruth’s head in a thousand curlers seen here? (4)
RINK - R{uth’s} [head], IN, K (a thousand). We have many sporting references in Times crosswords but very few to curling.
20 Drinks dispenser I wonder about in the coldest months (4,6)
WINE WAITER - I + AWE (wonder) reversed [about] in WINTER (the coldest months)
22 Digger’s load dumped centrally in Oxshott, redeveloped awfully (9)
SHOVELFUL - {ox}SHO{tt}{ rede}VEL{oped} {aw}FUL{ly} [centrally]
23 Society and state spending will be cut by such a one (5)
SAVER - S (society), AVER (state)
25 Large insect regularly nearing light (7)
LANTERN - L (large), ANT (insect), {n}E{a}R{i}N{g} [regularly]
26 Make concrete (around a hundred tons) for repair (7)
RECTIFY - REIFY (make concrete) contains [around] C (a hundred) + T (tons). Collins has: reify - to consider or make (an abstract idea or concept) real or concrete. A new word on me but the straight definition here is simple enough.
27 Indicate danger of reconstructing New Theatre (8)
THREATEN - Anagram [reconstructing] of N (new) THEATRE
28 Paint the town red, taking in a show (6)
REVEAL - REVEL (paint the town red) containing [taking in] A
Down
1 Is married during last month, abandoning the City quarter (9)
DISMEMBER - IS + M (married) contained by [during] D{ec}EMBER (last month) [abandoning the City]. 'Quarter' in this sense is most widely known in the expression 'hung, drawn and quartered', a particularly gruesome form of punishment in times gone by. I had thought 'dismember' referred specifically  to removal of limbs, but more generally it can mean to cut into pieces which might include quartering.
2 Bikini, say, shows most of top everyone’s admitted (5)
ATOLL - ALL (everyone) with TO{p} [most of] contained [admitted]. Perhaps most famous as a nuclear testing site post WWII.
3 Not a lot of choice of platform at a small station? (3,2,3)
ONE OR TWO - A straight definition and a cryptic hint
5 Visionary and affecting melody, main part of Rossini opera to which Queen’s attached (7-6)
FORTUNE-TELLER - FOR (affecting), TUNE (melody), TELL (main part of Rossini opera - William Tell), ER (Queen). High-ho, Silver!
6 Part of group setting British Standards in animal fat (6)
SUBSET - BS (British Standards)  in SUET (animal fat). 'Setting' adds to the surface reading here but weakens the clue as SET is part of the answer. I only knew BS as in BSI (British Standards Institution) with its famous kitemark symbol which came up here a few months ago, but Chambers has BS as a standalone abbreviation.
7 A key southern landmass with no disadvantage, being temperate (9)
ABSTINENT - A, B (key), S (southern), {con}TINENT (landmass) [with no disadvantage - as in pros and cons]
8 Racecourse record with several failing to finish (5)
EPSOM - EP (record - Extended Play), SOM{e} (several) [failing to finish]. Home of the Derby. Back in the first vinyl age EPs usually had four tracks to the single's two and you got a posh cover like a smaller version of an LP.
10 A shocking line in scene from The Archers? (8,5)
ELECTRIC FENCE - I think this is just a cryptic definition with reference to the long-running BBC Radio soap set in farming country where one would be most likely to find such a device used to prevent stock from straying. If there's something else going on here, I have missed it.
15 Squire, perhaps, unhappy in a minor way with leader of ramblers (9)
LANDOWNER - DOWN (unhappy) in LANE (minor way), R{amblers} [leader]. Another clue with a rural flavour which coming after The Archers reference reminded me that the original chief landowner in Ambridge was Squire Lawson-Hope. He and his family were written out in the mid-1950s. I suppose Brian Aldridge is the nearest they have to a Squire these days.
17 Perhaps study doorway has beam built in (9)
PORTRAYAL - PORTAL (doorway) contains [has... built in] RAY (beam)
18 Crush in service area (8)
MASSACRE - MASS (service), ACRE (area). In the sense of defeat overwhelmingly.
21 Prepared to stuff vegetable in old Spanish dough (6)
PESETA - SET (prepared) contained by [to stuff] PEA (vegetable). 'Dough' being slang for money. All set to do something, get ready, get set, go...
22 Run away for a break (5)
SPLIT - Two definitions, though running is not obligatory for the first one
24 Utter depravity smothers love (5)
VOICE - VICE (depravity) contains [smothers] 0 (love)
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