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

Times 26847 - one of those ninety-ten jobs

How often do we find a puzzle where most of the clues fall into place quite quickly and a few stubborn ones hold us up, even with checkers in place? For me, this was one of those, with the SE corner being slow to show up and the correct reading of 7d also a late PDM. Twenty minutes for all but those and another ten to finish. We'll probably find though that others' ten per cent of trickiness turns out to be different from mine; it's all in the mind.
Oh, and there's a less common antelope, for those who (unlike me) don't have an encyclopaedic knowledge of four-legged lion bait; it's a good Scrabble word, to boot.


Across
1 Vulgar young person losing head confronts superior officer — big trouble (5)
HAVOC - CHAV loses its C, OC for superior officer. I know what a CHAV is but not its etymology, so looked it up. Uncertain, but I liked the non-PC idea (probably constructed afterwards, a "backronym") that it stands for "council housed and violent".
4 Musicians turn out to be inadequate dilettanti (9)
COMPOSERS - Parsing seems a bit vague here, I think it is COM(E) = turn out, to be inadequate i.e. lose its ending; POSERS = dilettanti.
9 The French female has to get ready for bed — she’s washing (9)
LAUNDRESS - A stock clue; LA = the French feminine, UNDRESS = get ready for bed.
10 Symbol put back by weather forecasters with books (5)
TOTEM - Reverse MET and OT (Old Testament).
11 A cold island off the Irish coast (6)
ACHILL - A, CHILL. Very nice place to visit, with empty beaches and big skies, as painted by Paul Henry.
12 Primitive weapon has a gentle hit stopping movement (8)
CATAPULT - Insert A TAP into CULT = movement.
14 Faithful old individual grabbing paper is granted solitude (4,5)
LEFT ALONE - LEAL a Scottish dialect word for LOYAL; insert FT the paper and add ONE individual.
16 Joyful bit of song from central Africa (3-2)
TRA-LA - Hidden in CEN(TRAL A)FRICA.
17 Female group run by male (5)
HAREM - HARE = run, M.
19 Robbers having similar drinks outside and inside? (9)
PILLAGERS - Two similar drinks here; PILS outside LAGER. Nice work.
21 Boss to carry player on a lap of honour? (8)
CHAIRMAN - I see this as a sort of weak DD; if you chair a man around the pitch, you're be carrying him on your lap?.
22 I may be put out by outrageous leading lady (6)
GLENDA - It's an anagram of LEADING without its I, indicated by 'outrageous'.
25 Spread the gospel but not quietly to gain influence (5)
REACH - PREACH loses its quiet P.
26 Savage old lover appearing with naughty erotica (9)
EXCORIATE - EX = old lover, (EROTICA)*. Apologies, I blogged this initially but it somehow got highlighted and deleted, now restored.
27 Is backward-looking politician exposed as a fool? (9)
SIMPLETON - Another stock clue. IS reversed, MP, LET ON = exposed.
28 For riser, inactivity's ending — whence comes the dawn? (5)
YEAST - Y = end of inactivity, EAST = whence comes the dawn.

Down
1 Control the situation before laying down requirements for others at the table? (4,3,3,5)
HOLD ALL THE CARDS - Cryptic definition, my second one in after the long anagram at 8d.
2 Guarantee given with very little indication of pain (5)
VOUCH - V = very, OUCH = little indication of pain.
3 A linguistic sign from the Man in Black? (7)
CEDILLA - Thankfully we had the reference to this Liverpudlian lady recently, else it might have caused me more trouble. Insert ED = Man, into CILLA = Black. The twiddly 5 shaped thing under a French C to make it sound like S not K before an A, as in ça va.
4 College student humoured, though denied a sign of affection (2-2)
CO-ED - There may be a clearer (better?) explanation than mine here: I think it is COAXED = humoured, losing its A, X where X = sign of affection.
5 Stinky meal prepared incorrectly (10
MISTAKENLY - (STINKY MEAL)*.
6 Unfashionable model gets to survive (7)
OUTLAST - OUT = unfashionable, LAST = model, as in cobbler's.
7 Train journey going on time — Euston evacuated earlier (9)
ENTOURAGE - I spent too long thinking of a synonym for TRAIN as in teach. It's TRAIN as in people hanging on behind. EN = Euston evacuated, TOUR = journey, AGE = time.
8 Commentators finally interpret a man's rambling, not completely clear (15)
SEMITRANSPARENT - (S INTERPRET A MANS)*, the S being end of commentators. for some reason I saw this transparently as soon as I read the clue, my FOI.
13 Grumble when church is seen as one being smug (10)
COMPLACENT - COMPLAINT would be grumble, replace the I in it by CE = church.
15 Dynamism, as befits marines giving warning of danger (4,5)
FIRE ALARM - FIRE = dynamism, A LA RM = as befits marines.
18 Officer damages room, scratching floor (7)
MARSHAL - MARS = damages, HAL(L) = room, scratching floor = removing the last L.
20 Hypersensitivity of friend without some measure of work (7)
ALLERGY - Insert ERG = measure of work, into ALLY. Ergs are outdated these days, not being SI units, and very small (ten million ergs in a Joule). Someone with nothng better to do has calculated it's as much work as done by a house fly bending one leg down and up.
23 Wild animal in article about place to the north (5)
NYALA - [Edited later] All reversed i.e. to the north; AN = article, insert LAY = place. Quite a nice antelope, as they go, with spiral horns and stripes.
24 Cold caught in the course of school hospital examination (4)
SCAN - Insert C into SAN = school hospital.
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