ulaca (ulaca) wrote in times_xwd_times,
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ulaca
times_xwd_times

Times 26905 - Dreaming of a blue Christmas

I love my variety, I do, so this week we have another format for the blog, courtesy of John Interred, building on the pioneering work of John "The New Jason" McCabe (AKA mohn). I've lost my blue, but hope to get it back in time for Christmas. I really do take my hat off to these computer chappies. I go into a cold sweat just seeing a string of commands that look as if it was produced by a simian Shakespeare manqué.

Anyway, to the puzzle, and I would say it was pretty typical Monday fare, with a few tricky endings thrown in, as well as a Norwegian port that wasn't Trondheim. The homophonic 4 down was my favourite, while 21 across held me up as I considered various 'anti-' variants. 29 minutes.  

ACROSS

1 Midland town youth finally expelled from study group (7)
WORKSOP - WORKS[h]OP
5 Hesitation shown in unstable part of garden (7)
ROCKERY - ER in ROCKY
9 Ticking device Swiss banker reported on underground? (9)
METRONOME - a gnome on the tube negotiating Brexit and earning a packet?
10 Parisians may say it when leaving university with a pass (5)
ADIEU - A + DIE (pass) + U
11 A footballer, perhaps, dismayed to be taken thus? (5)
ABACK - A + BACK
12 Listener with obsession about large sci-fi character (9)
EARTHLING - EAR + L in THING
14 Enduring ‘60s rock band forming druidic circle? (8,6)
STANDING STONES - STANDING + STONES
17 After many lessons the writer’s touring Rome, somehow remembering way back (4-4,6)
LONG-TERM MEMORY - LONG-TERM (a period with many lessons) + ROME* in MY
21 It counteracts poison worker identified primarily with canned meat (9)
ANTITOXIN - ANT + I + OX in TIN ('canned meat' - geddit?)
23 Duck English fellow sent back (5)
EVADE - E + DAVE returned
24 One game troop leader finds unsuitable! (5)
INAPT - I + NAP + T[roop]
25 Old actor secures leading position in Norwegian port (9)
STAVANGER - VAN in STAGER
26 Vessel that’s gone astray with everyone on board (7)
GALLEON - ALL in GONE*
27 Swansea girl conceals mistake in range (7)
SIERRAN - ERR in SIAN. If a mountainous area takes the form of jagged peaks, it might be called 'sierran'.

DOWN

1 Short female taking time to catch black marsupial (6)
WOMBAT - B in WOMA[n] + T
2 Withdraw part of army, diplomacy having overcome resistance (7)
RETRACT - RE + R in TACT
3 Standard source of information about one’s hosiery material (9)
STOCKINET - I[nformation] in STOCK (standard) + NET (source of information)
4 Predecessor’s expert info on current vocal skills (11)
PROGENITRIX - PRO + GEN + I + sounds like tricks
5 Eggs regularly taken from orioles? (3)
ROE - hidden in oRiOlEs
6 Train, or alternative form of transport? (5)
COACH - double definition
7 Priest’s right to leave club — White’s is an example (7)
ELISION - ELI'S (Samuel's mentor's) + I[r]ON
8 Most junior American greeting a French visitor leaving university (8)
YOUNGEST - YO + UN + G[u]EST
13 Uniform, say, in unusually smart line (11)
REGIMENTALS - EG in SMART LINE*
15 Before charge, ancient wooded vale is calm (9)
TEMPERATE - TEMPE (valley in Thessaly) + RATE
16 Attractive grassy areas used in first half of game (8)
PLEASING - LEAS in PING[-pong]
18 Game girl carrying new bat (7)
NETBALL - BAT* in NELL
19 Pigment made from genuine fish (7)
REALGAR - REAL + GAR
20 Conductor’s notes about international currency (6)
NEURON - NN around EURO
22 Old tax ultimately important in what it raised (5)
TITHE - T (final letter of importanT) in EH (what!) + IT reversed
25 Wrongdoing curtailing function (3)
SIN - SIN[e]
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