Pip Kirby (pipkirby) wrote in times_xwd_times,
Pip Kirby

Times 26871 - am I wrong?

For me this puzzle fell into the catgory of those which at first sight seem impenetrable but once opened up, they unravel and reveal some fine work by the setter; by the end you wonder what was so difficult about it. I began in SW corner with 16d and 17d then 21a and the rest around that area; soon the entire bottom half was in before I'd tried any above. The light dawned on 5a which made the NE quadrant flow in. The last quarter (NW) took as long as the rest put together. A total of around 25 minutes, not helped by my entering a wrong answer for 8a and deciding to come back later and parse it (which wasn't possible as it was wrong).
No doubt others will have a totally different experience and solve it top down in a fraction of my time.

1 Fund-raiser managed to keep one on register (8)
ROTARIAN - ROTA = register, RAN, insert I. I was a Rotarian for a few years in Ireland, a long time ago,`but I remember it was more about lunches than bucket-rattling; perhaps times have changed.
5 Sounding board for scientist (6)
PLANCK - I went through my small repertoire of scientists with 6 letters without hitting paydirt, then saw 5d probably began with a P and the penny dropped. Max Planck, winner of the Nobel Prize in physics in 1918 and most famous for his 'constant', h. He sounds like plank, of course, = board.
8 Tradesmen initially endorsing defective edging tool (10)
GRINDSTONE - I went wrong here by thinking 'tradesmen initially' was GUIL(D) and popping in GUILLOTINE without further justification. Maybe an efficient French 'edging tool', but wrong, as 4d soon showed. My tiny printout and poor eyesight had read 'defective' as detective as well. Then I saw it was in fact 'defective' so perhaps an anagram! (T ENDORSING)* in fact. Two short plancks, indeed.
9 Indian ruler beheaded by legendary hero (4)
AJAX - (R)AJA, X = BY. Trojan War hero after whom the scourer was presumably named.
10 Betraying no emotion or lost for words? (14)
EXPRESSIONLESS - Double definition, one more literal than the other.
11 Prepare endlessly and study in China (7)
DRESDEN - DRES(S) = prepare endlessly; DEN = study.
13 Direction needed to hold ceremony all together (2,5)
EN MASSE - ENE (east-north-east) holds MASS (ceremony).
15 Church man has change of heart: that's hard cheese! (7)
CHEDDAR - CH = church, I think the man with the change of heart was EDGAR he becomes EDDAR.
18 Gas across battlefield becomes mourning symbol (7)
CYPRESS - CS is tear gas 2-chlorobenzylidene malononitrile, laid across YPRES the battle. Cypress trees have been symbolic of mourning and planted in graveyards both Christian and Moslem since ancient times. The Wiki article on cupressus sempervirens is well worth a browse. And the CS stands for the surnames of the chaps who developed it in 1928, Corson and Stoughton. Useful quiz-info.
21 Meeting before match reportedly bearing fruit (10,4)
CONFERENCE PEAR - CONFERENCE = meeting, PEAR sounds like pair, match. Wiki says "It owes its name to the fact that it won first prize at the National British Pear Conference in London in 1885" which sounds a bit glib to me. A pear conference? Really?
22 Scots have to contain river that runs in field (4)
HARE - 'HAE' is Scottish dialect for have, it seems, insert an R for river. I read a Scottish joke yesterday, once I'd understood it I thought it was quite amusing. Move on quickly if you're in a hurry or don't like taking the P out of the Scots. Short-sighted man in Scottish bakery, points to the counter; 'Excuse me, is that a doughnut, or a meringue?' Baker replies: Naw, yer right, mate, it is a doughnut.'
23 Weaver entertains animated virgin where people relax (6-4)
LIVING-ROOM - Insert (VIRGIN)* into LOOM. I wanted it to involve BOTTOM the weaver, but no.
24 Note Caruso perhaps articulated (6)
TENNER - Sounds like TENOR, which Caruso was.
25 Excessive to provoke fascist troops (8)
NEEDLESS - NEEDLE = provoke, SS = Fascist troops.

1 Wager lost with pressman finding growth (7)
RAGWEED - (WAGER)* followed by ED for pressman. A bit of a vague definition, but the wordplay was simple.
2 Dog bit rear end (9)
TAILPIECE - TAIL = dog, PIECE = bit.
3 Communist nut one in ginger group? (7)
REDHEAD - I saw this as RED = Communist, HEAD = nut, once I'd got rid of the L from my French chopper.
4 Technician's ardent supporter rendered powerless (7)
ARTISAN - PARTISAN = ardent supporter, loses its P. Is an artisan a technician? Round here, he or she is more of an arty crafty type. As in 'artisan baker'.
5 Some months before the new issue is due? (9)
PREGNANCY - A cryptic definition, not very subtle, I thought it was going to be smarter but it did help with Mr Planck.
6 One conventional lawyer seen in public walk (7)
ALAMEDA - A, LAME, DA. Fortunately a word I've met before in crosswords. Here I think LAME can mean conventional as in 'a lame excuse'.
7 Husband tucks into liqueur that strengthens body (7)
CHASSIS - H goes into CASSIS, the blackcurrant liqueur which makes undrinkable white wine nearly drinkable.
12 Craftsman always inscribes signature — with double line! (9)
ENAMELLER - E'ER = always, goes around NAME and LL = double line.
14 Worker in dock, first wife having died in warehouse (9)
STEVEDORE - STORE = warehouse; insert EVE = first wife, and D = died. Were Adam and Eve married, then? If so who married them?
16 Land measured out in the race (7)
17 Muck over time found in subterraneous accommodation (7)
DUNGEON - DUNG = muck goes over EON = time. My FOI.
18 Outspoken European satire (7)
CANDIDE - CANDID = outspoken, E(uropean). Satire by Voltaire, not to be confused with Verlaine.
19 Made promise: none to escape policeman outside nick (7)
PLEDGED - PLOD loses its O then goes outside EDGE = nick, today's cricket reference.
20 Lives frugally where fellows congregate with devils (7)
SCRIMPS - SCR - Senior Common Room, where fellows congregate, IMPS = devils.
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