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

Times 26,813: And A Fried Egg On Top And Spam

I found this puzzle a bit of a curate's crustacean - I very much enjoyed its quirkiness during the solve, but I don't think it was the hardest of the week, taking me a midrange 8m15 on paper, and unless I've missed an extra layer of ingenuity about it then 21ac is a very odd cryptic definition, bordering on the disappointing. Combined with a few answers that felt a bit overfamiliar to anyone who does the Times every day (7dn, 24dn, 20ac, maybe 11ac) I'd probably run with a 7/10 or so for this one. But focussing on the good, I always enjoy the drunkard/Sean Connery device seen today at 20dn, and my COD goes to 5dn as it reminds me of the prickly yellow-and-purple meadows of the Lleyn Peninsula I used to roam (and come home grievously injured by) as a boy, plus the "bloodied, evidently" part of the wordplay seemed unusual and witty. I also enjoyed the unusual number of apostrophes to feature in this puzzle, four out of seven of the first clues relying on these unsung heroes of punctuation in one way or another.

LOIs were 13dn when I finally remembered what the word was for the procedure that Windows kept requiring me to do to my disks, followed by 20dn, the sort of fairly colourless clue that doesn't give the brain much to latch on to as your eyes skate over it, but is easy once you have all the crossers. No lack of colour in the required vocabulary today though, with the yellow Cambodian pigment at 3dn and the heraldic tincture at 28ac. Many thanks to the setter, and I wonder if lobster 10ac has experienced any resurgence in popularity now that it's been revealed as Batman's favourite food in the best Batman movie of all time? Must check...

1 Shall we start fires? (4,2)
4 Say good woman is going to sort of finish (8)
EGGSHELL - E.G. G SHE'LL [say | good | woman is going to]
10 How seafood may be cooked for a month (9)
THERMIDOR - double def
11 Deposit nothing, there being not so much around (5)
LOESS - O [nothing], there being LESS [not so much] around
12 Slacken off: after store collapses, nobody gets a big rise (4,2,4,4)
REST ON ONES OARS - after (STORE*) ["collapses"], NONE SOARS
14 Wrong end of apple cake (5)
TORTE - TORT [wrong] + {appl}E
16 I can be silenced, that's fixed (9)
18 Legal fee is concerning new student (9)
REFRESHER - RE FRESHER [concerning | new student]
20 Promise singular sport (5)
SWEAR - S WEAR [singular | sport]
21 Perhaps an unhealthy intake, as one is among gaspers (7,7)
PASSIVE SMOKING - cryptic def
25 Fabric in wide opening drawer (6)
TWILL - W [wide] "opening" TILL [drawer]
26 Verify surprisingly tame end of game (9)
CHECKMATE - CHECK [verify] + (TAME*) ["surprisingly"]
27 African insect that flies around squares (8)
BENINESE - BEE [insect that flies] "around" NINES [squares]
28 Tincture cannot be good taken internally
ARGENT - AREN'T [cannot be], G [good] "taken internally"
1 Temptation to keep repeat short in marketing materials (10)
LITERATURE - LURE [temptation] to keep ITERAT{e} [repeat "short"]
2 Suffering girl's lost hair (5)
TRESS - {dis}TRESS [suffering, DI'S [= girl's] "lost"]
3 During match, muddy ground becomes yellow (7)
GAMBOGE - during GAME [match], BOG [muddy ground]
5 Son bloodied, evidently, falling into this? (5)
GORSE - S [son], covered in GORE [= "bloodied, evidently"]
6 Only question heard: 'No seats left?' (4,3)
SOLD OUT - homophone of SOLE DOUBT [only question "heard"]
7 River crustacean extremely loathsome and horrible (9)
EXECRABLE - EXE CRAB [river | crustacean] + L{oathsom}E
8 Survive at the end (4)
LAST - double def
9 Warn a beauty to keep a date (8)
ADMONISH - A DISH [a | beauty] to keep MON [a date]
15 Itinerant dealers coming in handy to repair files? (10)
DEFRAGMENT - RAGMEN [itinerant dealers] "coming in" DEFT [handy]
16 Story about fine economic policy (9)
REFLATION - RELATION [story] "about" F [fine]
18 Swamps extra-short creatures (8)
MORASSES - MOR{e} [extra "short"] + ASSES [creatures]
19 Noel failing to receive one Greek letter or another (7)
EPSILON - (NOEL*) ["failing"] "to receive" PSI [one Greek letter]
21 Terrible performance in football, as drunk might be heard to say (7)
SHOCKER - shlurred pronunciation of SOCCER [football]
22 Struggles to cover constant weaknesses (5)
VICES - VIES [struggles] "to cover" C [constant]
23 I count as mad (5)
IRATE - I RATE [I | count]
24 Wound loony up (4)
STAB - BATS reversed [loony "up"]
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