vinyl1 (vinyl1) wrote in times_xwd_times,
vinyl1
vinyl1
times_xwd_times

Times 26839 - Bird-watching statistics?

Time: 46 minutes
Music: Prokofiev, Symphony #2/Lt Kije, Leinsdorf/BSO

This was a rather odd puzzle, where both the literals and the clues required a lot of stretching.   I limped home in the end, but I will have to do a lot of research as I write the blog to figure out everything that is going on here.   At least I was sure my answers were correct, once I went through the trouble of working out the parsing.   I some cases, I was forced to play the Mephisto game, and put the words in from the word-play alone, and then try to figure out what was going on.

Whether you find this puzzle difficult or not probably will depend on your knowledge.   If you know a knot is a kind of a sandpiper, and a chela is a kind of claw, and shot is a kind of silk, you may do very well.





Across
1 Nicking stuff, including key dairy product (8,5)
WHIPPING CREAM - WHIPPING + CR(E)AM.  It is not very clear how 'whipping' and 'nicking' are synonymous, despite various slang meanings that are in the vicinity.   Comment invited.
8 Hard time to be an Olympian queen! (4)
HERA -H + ERA, my FOI, and probably yours too.
9 Shot first of oxen with faint smell (10)
OPALESCENT - O[xen] + PALE SCENT.   If you don't remember that 'shot' can mean 'woven to give a changing colour effect', you might get the answer but wonder how it could be correct.
10 Turning tail, eager to secure pink fuel (8)
KEROSENE - KE(ROSE)NE, where 'keen' is the word that 'turns tail'.
11 A poet receiving oxygen on a train, perhaps (6)
ABOARD - A B(O)ARD.
13 Sound horse-breaker’s delaying tactics? (10)
FILIBUSTER - Sounds like FILLY BUSTER.   Originally a pirate in the Caribbean, this word came to be applied to using rough methods in the course of enacting legislation.
16 Way universities go about presenting a language (4)
URDU - U(RD)U, where 'presenting a' is pure fluff to make the literal work.
17 Eg Melbourne school briefly associated with West (4)
WHIG - W + HIG[h].   Lord Melbourne, of course, was a Whig PM.
18 Additional intelligence European leader held to be redundant (10)
EXTRANEOUS - EXTRA N(E)OUS.
20 Officers in the Spanish and the German churches, ultimately? (6)
ELDERS - EL + DER + [churche]S.
22 Cheek turned so far without advantage (8)
TEMERITY - TE(MERIT)Y,  i.e. YET backwards.
24 Fancying a kiss, I’m unable to drink? (10)
INTOXICANT - INTO X, I CAN'T.   I saw that 'intoxicant' could fit about ten minutes before I saw why it must be the correct answer.
26 A couple of bishops introducing English cleric (4)
ABBE - A + BB + E.
27 Depart after first attempt at filming the French in bar (4,4,5)
TAKE ONES LEAVE - TAKE ONE + S(LE)AVE.

Down
1 Required funds we used to clothe her as well (11)
WHEREWITHAL - W(HER)E + WITHAL.
2 State of house at foot of Cretan mountain (5)
IDAHO - IDA + HO.
3 Engage in writing of twee character (9)
PROSECUTE - PROSE, CUTE.   A really clever clue that is either very easy or very hard, depending on whether you see it or not.
4 Most dexterous action initially in Newcastle match? (7)
NEATEST - NE(A[ction])TEST.
5 Claw caught husband, getting drink knocked over (5)
CHELA - C + H + ALE backwards.  If you don't know the word, the cryptic hands it to you.    I boldly wrote it in without any checkers, as it seemed familiar somehow.
6 Pen leaflet to be sent with letter? (9)
ENCLOSURE - Double definition.
7 Legion sending off its last soldier (3)
MAN - MAN[y].
12 Fearsome, but again open to distrust? (11)
REDOUBTABLE - Double definition, one jocular.
14 Visiting valley? Fine to gather round chimney corner (9)
INGLENOOK - IN GLEN (O) OK.   We often get 'ingle', but this is the first time I've seen this word in a puzzle.
15 Crooked Republican made a lot, getting this under way (4,5)
ROAD METAL - anagram of R MADE A LOT, with a well-concealed literal.
19 It set up time and fee to measure a solution (7)
TITRATE - IT upside-down + T + RATE.
21 Sneaky-sounding attempt to find a place in Ireland (5)
SLIGO - sounds like SLY GO.
23 Cattle-catching device in store at Abilene (5)
REATA - hidden in [sto]RE AT A[bilene].   This word is often found in US puzzles, but is usually spelt 'riata' there.
25 Something other than a sandpiper, by the sound of it? (3)
NOT - Sounds like KNOT, which is a sandpiper.
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