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

Times 26859 - more than a couple of gems

I haven't done yesterday's (26858) yet, but this one seemed to me to be an order of magnitude easier than Monday's, where the SE corner had me flummoxed. No longer are we able to know what day of the week it is, it seems, by the difficulty of the crossword. Even my refuse and recycling operatives are coming on the wrong days, due to innumerable strikes and reorganisations. Call me confused dot com.
Some neat stuff in this one, nothing I'd take issue with except perhaps 13a where either the definition is a little vague or I've missed the point. Speed solvers and ace biffers will be in single figures no doubt, it took me the usual twenty-something.

Definitions underlined as usual.

Across
1 Small flower seen in middle of grating (4)
RILL - As usual 'flower' is water-based no botanical. RILL is in the middle of GRILLE.
3 Watch part of getaway with chaps getting caught finally (10)
ESCAPEMENT - ESCAPE (getaway), MEN (chaps), (caugh)T.
10 Inability to get on with jaded partner (9)
STALEMATE - STALE = jaded, MATE = partner.
11 Turner’s rubbish with yellow (5)
ROTOR - ROT = rubbish, OR = yellow, in heraldry, or gold.
12 Archers’ item producing disagreement (7)
QUARREL - Double definition. Nothing to do with the program Mrs K is glued to every evening.
13 Bath is not far from a source of this mineral (6)
TALCUM - Talc or talcum is a white mineral composed of hydrated magnesium silicate. I suppose this refers to the use of same in talcum powder, which my mother used to spread liberally over herself and the entire bathroom, so 'not far from the bath'? As far as I know there's not a particular talc mine near Bath itself..
15 Anti corn, perhaps, as contrary to one’s normal humour (7,3,5)
AGAINST THE GRAIN - One definition and one not very subtle cryptic definition.
18 Here quiet fan can run classic film (3,7,5)
THE AFRICAN QUEEN - (HERE QUIET FAN CAN)*.
21 Sharp turns in quiet Scottish river valley (6)
STRATH - TART = sharp, reversed inside SH = quiet. Strath as in e.g. Strathclyde.
23 Son has to drink to make some points (7)
STIPPLE - S(on), TIPPLE = drink.
26 Line included by Shakespearean character shows courage (5)
PLUCK - Insert L(ine) into PUCK as in AMND.
27 Keep a distance — there can be many cattle here (9)
STOCKYARD - STOCK = keep, YARD = a distance.
28 Watch end of play with a vital rousing cry (5-5)
WAKEY-WAKEY - WAKE = watch, Y = end of play, W = with, A, KEY = vital.Time for remembering the Billy Cotton Band Show perhaps. How awful was that?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-mgZm-E8wo
29 Short girl, happy with grand, young man (4)
GLAD - I have this as a triple deffer; GLAD(YS), HAPPY, and G + LAD.

Down
1 Queen invested in resetting our ersatz gem stone (4,6)
ROSE QUARTZ - (Q OUR ERSATZ)*.
2 Pound keeps key high-level capital (5)
LHASA - L (pound) HAS, A (a key). Capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China so I suppose it qualifies as a capital, and it's definitely high at 3,700 metres.
4 Italian composer places learner among struggling castrati (9)
SCARLATTI - Anagram of L with CASTRATI that sounds painful. Domenico Scarlatti was an Italian composer (1685-1757) who defected to work most of his time in Madrid.
5 Turn aside right after avenue (5
AVERT - RT after AVE.
6 Frontier lawman has to carry something to muffle gunshot? (7)
EARPLUG - Wyatt EARP was the lawman, LUG is to carry.
7 Staff give support to getting tango for the clubs (9)
ENTOURAGE - We had this word last week? ENCOURAGE = give support to, substitute the C for a T.
8 Hobson’s choice for a little time is wrong? (4)
TORT - Well, if it's Hobson's choice then 'litte time' can be T, OR T.
9 New currency note which passes on touch and feeling? (6>
NEURON - N = new, EURO = currency, N = note.
14 Wild about home that’s not planned (10
UNINTENDED - Insert IN = home, into UNTENDED = wild.
16 A direction over scrum astonished (9)
AWESTRUCK - A, WEST (direction), RUCK (scrum).
17 Memorial is at the top end of quality (9)
HEADSTONE - HEADS = is at the top end of, TONE = quality.
19 Openly fixing position in race (7)
FRANKLY - Insert RANK = position, into FLY = race.
20 Anger after question on unknown eccentric (6)
QUIRKY - QU = question, IRK = anger, Y = unknown.
22 Pack a garden plant (5)
HOSTA - HOST = pack, horde; A. A plant even I knew.
24 Gem that’s right set in ring (5)
PEARL - Set R into PEAL = ring. I could re-open last week's discussion about when is a gem a gem, is a pearl a gem? But I won't.
25 Bring up second seat (4)
SPEW - S = second, PEW = seat. Yuk. Why are words that mean that, often onomatopoeic?
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