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

Times 26919 - TCC Final, puzzle #2 - count me out!

Well last week's puzzle took me 20 minutes, so I'd have had 40 remaining to crack this one and the one yet to come. Fat chance! In spite of a fast start, I crept over the line with this one in something approaching an hour. The top half seemed easier than below. I think all correct but with a few not fully understood (not an ideal start for a blogger). My Santa hat is off to those 17 who got this one all right in a competitive time. Maybe I just wasn't on song, overdosed on foie gras and prawns and various forms of expensive drink. There again, maybe I just need to go into training to keep up with Verlaine!

Feel free to sort out any below where I haven't fully grasped the nettle.
Definitions underlined, Anagram fodder ()*, anagram indicators bold italics; DD = double definition.

Across
1 Aspect is strangely unrealistic (8)
ESCAPIST - (ASPECT IS)*.
5 Dancer pulled this trick endlessly (6)
SLEIGH - SLEIGHT = trick.
9 Twosome united in act (3)
DUO - U(nited) inside DO = act.
10 Bible teachings given to Polish faithful (4-7)
WORD-PERFECT - I think; (The) Word = Bible teachings, Polish = PERFECT, as a verb; faithful as in true to the original.
12 Beastly physician confuses artery with vein (10)
VETERINARY - (ARTERY VEIN)*
13 Soldier dropped in standard initially achieved (4)
PARA - PAR = standard, A(chieved).
15 Green part in smoke that rolls over tongue (6)
GAELIC - CIG = smoke, rolled over = GIC, insert LEA = green part.
16 Lethargy from one in Cheers, after popular hospital series (7)
INERTIA - IN, ER the TV series, TA, = cheers, insert I.
18 Regular couple from Delft provide current address (7)
EFFENDI - E F = regular 2 letters of Delft, FEND = provide, as in fend for yourself; I = current. A title of respect, originally Turkish.
20 Approach position, await and intercept (6)
WAYLAY - I can't decide if this is an &lit. definition of WAYLAY or made up of two parts.
23 Given coaching in voice that's showing strain (4)
TAUT - Sounds like TAUGHT. Memories of Alice homophones; the Tortoise taught us.
24 Fighter’s awful risk near person holding horse (10)
SKIRMISHER - (RISK)*, then H for horse inside MISER. Is MISER a person holding or just a person? A miser certainly holds on to the money, but then HOLDING would have to do double duty.
26 Editor turned author appears opening pink newspaper (11)
INDEPENDENT - Of course we start by messing with the FT, wrong paper. Then we see ED and PEN = author. Reverse the ED and put it in, see what's left, IN (DE PEN) DENT. Why does INDENT = pink though? Have I missed the point? EDIT following jackkt's suggestion below, Mrs Pip has shown me her "pinking shears" and assures me the result is an INDENT, as a toothed pattern. I should have asked earlier!
27 Timber carried back in Noah's Ark (3)
ASH - Hidden reversed in NOA(H'S A)RK.
28 Time to race along — hard going for distance swimmer (6)
TURTLE - T = time, HURTLE = race along, drop the H.
29 Poet retaining English structure as basis (8)
SKELETON - John SKELTON was a poet who allegedly taught Henry VIII stuff (didn't think H8 was much of a poetry sort of chap). Insert E for English. I didn't know him (poets, me?) but the wordplay was obvious.

Down
1 Leaves tip — fiver's inside (6)
ENDIVE - END = tip, IVE = inside of fIVEr.
2 Viewed from South Island, a killer whale finds land (7)
CROATIA - I'm trying to view this 'from the South' i.e. bottom up. We get AIT A ORC.  AIT = island. ORCA is a killer whale, so it must be somehow a contortion of ORCA to A ORC to get to the 'land'.
3 Mountain climbing in Newport ruined juice producer (5,5)
POWER PLANT - ALP reversed inside (NEWPORT)*. Juice as in electricity.
4 Help coward to escape youngster (6,7)
SPRING CHICKEN - Cryptic definition, very droll.
6 Fat vicar's bottom pinched by groom (4)
LARD - LAD = groom, insert R being the bottom of vicar.
7 One following account breaks out (7)
INEXACT - I = one, NEXT = following, insert AC for account. OUT as in not accurate addition.
8 Wife left bed, getting out after hours at hotel (8)
HATHAWAY - H(ours), AT, H(otel), AWAY = out. It was Shakespeare who left the marital bed, I thought, not Mrs S. So I've highlighted 'wife left', not 'wife left bed'. So why is bed there?
11 Pretender by stream gets to grips with family feud (6,7)
PERKIN WARBECK - A bit of history I actually knew. PER = by, BECK = stream, insert KIN = family, WAR = feud. But was Mr Warbeck a pretender, or really the Duke of York? We shall never know.
14 Night signaller’s extremely irrational, and frequently upset (4,6)
VERY PISTOL -  VERY = extremely, PI = irrational number, LOTS = frequently, reversed = STOL.
17 Limit soldiers enforced stringently (8)
RESTRICT - RE = Royal Engineers, STRICT = enforced stringently.
19 One beginning to fail (7)
FOUNDER - DD.
21 Basically that's worked to hold attention (2,5)
AT HEART - Insert EAR = attention, into (THAT)*.
22 Lonely type getting up behind Chinese people (6)
ORPHAN - PRO = behind, get it up = ORP, HAN are Chinese. Are orphans particularly lonely? EDIT see first 2 comments below!
25 Old secretary put on pounds or stone (4)
OPAL - O (old), PA = secretary, L = pounds.
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