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

Times 26805 - trickier than a magicians' megafest

I like a challenge. I enjoyed most of this, it has some excellent clues with nice PDMs. Looking at it now I've finally got there, nearly an hour, with the use of a solver for one clue and an exposed ignorance of the Old Testament, I'm sure some of the Old Hands will not have struggled as I did. 1a is a brilliant clue, but I couldn't see it for the life of me. 16d I eventually clocked, although it's a word I didn't know existed; I was confounded by pencilling in EBay for 21a ! It parses, but too commercial for a weekday no doubt. How did you all find it? Tricky, or with (a fav quote) "as much talent for disguise as a giraffe in dark glasses trying to get into a ‘Polar Bears Only’ golf club."

Across
1 Weight, energy and speed unaltered (8)
EMPHASIS - E(nergy), MPH (speed), AS IS = unaltered. I'd forgotten the mph thing, I didn't have the H in, just the S blank S, and it took me an age to see. But no complaints.
9 Time you Yankee chaps reflected! (3,5)
THE ENEMY - Not sure, but here's a stab. THEE = you, NEM = men, chaps reversed, Y = Yankee. I looked up quotes including this phrase (time is the enemy) and there are many, but I can't see the obvious stand-alone one. Useless. Maybe time to hang up the blogging boots!
10 To get around that, I live separately (3,2,3)
ONE BY ONE - ONE (I), BE (live), insert YON (that).
11 Seasoned pro players initially have had a look at sides (8)
PEPPERED - Insert P P (initial letters of pro players) into PEERED (had a look at).
12 Truck in dip, labouring, one responsible for road hold-ups (4,6)
DICK TURPIN - My FOI. (TRUCK IN DIP)*.
14 What’s spread evenly among UN: parts of alliance (4)
NATO - Alternate even letters of uN pArTs Of.
15 Gradually manoeuvre taxi in reverse — and forwards (4,3)
BACK ROW - Reverse all of WORK CAB.
17 Chap following wobbly lines (7)
STROPHE - To be in a STROP is to throw a wobbly; HE = chap. One of those poetry things I know zero about, but the word sounded like something to do with lines, given an apo-strophe 'goes between' to separate things.
21 Facility where drugs may be picked up (4)
EASE - Yes, I know, it was stupid. I was getting my E's at EBay. But it just sounds like E's.
22 Fabulous female, male hosts help to spoil one (4,6)
MAID MARIAN - Another one where I was trying hard to get 'something MAIDEN' and looking for someone from Greek mythology until I had the R from 18d. MAN = male, insert AID, MAR (spoil), I.
23 One’s deflated as a result of this competition? (5,3)
PRICE WAR - Nice cryptic definition. Might even be &lit.
25 Inspiring person to go for gold, clinching win finally (8)
ANIMATOR - Insert N (win finally) into AIM AT (go for), OR = gold. Topical clue at the end of the World Championships.
26 Official, being bold, cut down on staff (8)
MANDARIN - MAN = staff, DARIN(G) = bold, cut down.
27 Old people collectively righted a wrong (5,3)
THIRD AGE - (RIGHTED A)*. When do I get to the Fourth Age? Feel I'm there already, today.

Down
2 Oil, basil, an omelette needs for serving up (4,4)
MONA LISA - She's hidden reversed in B(ASIL AN OM)ELETTE. Not an anagram of OIL BASIL after all.
3 It’s not in practice sound for a cook book (8)
HABAKKUK - One of the more obscure books of the OT. I thought I had heard of most of them but I had to search for words ending K blank K to get it. I think this goes: practice = HABIT,
It's not in = HAB; A KKUK sounds like a cook. Old Habakkuk seems a bit of a mystery man, only mentioned in two verses and no biog at all, unlike the other minor prophets; I won't forget him though.
4 Pack that’s way over weight (4)
STOW - ST (way) O(ver) W(eight).
5 Close to beaches, note, litter increases (4-3)
STEP-UPS - S = close to beaches, TE = note as in do re mi, PUPS = litter.
6 Spy doing tweets to his boss? (7,3)
PEEPING TOM - The spy's (Bond's) boss was M, so TO M; PEEPING for doing tweets.
A bit weak I thought.
7 7 Glower from aristocrat caught in swindle (4,4)
REAR LAMP - EARL inside RAMP = swindle.
8 One my Dr’s treated? (8)
SYNDROME - (ONE MY DRS)*. &lit.
13 You surprise me when I tell you to! (4,2,4)
UPON MY WORD - Double definition, I think.
15 Buzzer round’s beginning quiz that’s held in pub (4,4)
BEER PUMP - BEE = buzzer, R(ound's), PUMP = quiz.
16 Copper ring, polished on the outside, with padding? (8)
CUSHIONY - CU = copper, SHINY = polished, insert O = ring. It is a word, I checked, but it sounds more like something from the Uxbridge dictionary to me, as in ISIHAC (the best radio 4 programme around, for overseas listeners' enlightenment)
18 In custody as required, having run for days (2,6)
ON REMAND - Change the D in ON DEMAND to an R.
19 Principal wish is not considered (8)
HEADLONG - HEAD = principal, of a school; LONG (for) = wish (for).
20 Lively sextet refuse request, ultimately (7)
VIBRANT - VI = sextet (six), BRAN = refuse (Kelloggs may disagree), T = request ultimately.
24 Girl I judge is in a state.
FIJI - FI (ona) = girl, I, J(udge) is in.
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