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

Times 26961 - flummoxed again by Poets and Polynesian Powers

Another challenging Wednesday, with some fine clueing and smart wordplay, enhanced, or spoilt (depending on your knowledge, or lack of it) by a couple of "general knowledge required" answers which were otherwise hard to guess from the wordplay. It took me 21 minutes and I had to check 18a and 25a afterwards to be sure I was right.
CoD awards to 26a and to 5d for the fine anagram and relevant surface.



Across
1 Officer’s plan again to retreat (6)
WARDER - to REDRAW is to plan again, reverse it.
5 Tribe has bewildered language expert (8)
HEBRAIST - (TRIBE HAS)*.
9 Looked at team getting embarrassed after trick (10)
CONSIDERED - CON = trick, SIDE = team, RED = embarrassed.
10 Island for the nobs featured in back issue of periodical (4)
GUAM - U = upper class, for the nobs, inserted into MAG reversed. US run island in the Pacific which Rocket Man has his beady eyes on.
11 Reduce something bloody, having got back in time (8)
DEROGATE - GORE something bloody, reversed inside DATE = time. At first I was trying to parse it with RED and AGO but not so. I thought derogate meant detract from, or deviate, but I can see reduce is a 'more or less' synonym.
12 Endless chatter around a fellow's clubs (6)
LATHIS - TAL(K) reversed then HIS = a fellow's; a lathi is a heavy stick used by angry policemen in Asian countries, and often found in crosswords.
13 Sheep runs that may hold water (4)
EWER - EWE, R.
15 This person is probing your old-fashioned food content (8)
THIAMINE - I AM (this person is) inside THINE (your, old-fashioned). Vitamin B1, otherwise properly named 2-[3-[(4-amino-2-methylpyrimidin-5-yl)methyl]-4-methyl-1,3-thiazol-3-ium-5-yl]ethanol.
18 Poet’s line, one on compassion (8)
LOVELACE - LOVE = compassion, L(ine), ACE = one. I looked at *O*E*A*E for a while with so many options and no poet springing to mind (you will recall I cultivate my ignorance of poetry). Apparently Richard Lovelace was a Cavalier poet and socialite who, when in jail for a year, penned that well known bit about 'stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage'. In your dreams, chum, they were quite effective else you'd have escaped.
19 Bed or mattress? It may be found in here (4)
DORM - Slightly hidden word in BE(D OR M)ATTRESS.
21 Affected by bugs, get cold after first day of month (6)
SEPTIC - SEPT 1 followed by C.
23 Melting tarmac starts to restrict some vehicles (8)
TRAMCARS - (TARMAC)* then R S = initial letters of Restrict Some.
25 Magical power of weaver in story spoken of (4)
MANA - This wins my Obscure Double Definition Homophone of the Year Award. MANA can mean a few things, one of which is supernatural power in Pacific cultures; Pronounced MAR-NA, it sounds the hero of 'SILAS MARNER: the Weaver of Raveloe', the full name of the book by Geogre Eliot. I had never heard of the magical power and I didn't know Mr Marner was a weaver; apart from that... and *A*A would tempt you to bung in SAGA on the basis of 'story spoken of'.
26 Priest and French actor performing? It's uplifting (10)
LEVITATION - LEVI the priest, Jacques TATI the French actor, ON = performing. A refreshing change from the usual priest abbreviations and ET for French 'and'.
27 Base established — cycle around it? (8)
PEDESTAL - PEDAL around EST.
28 Perversion is admitted by unfortunate male (6)
SADISM - Insert IS into SAD M(ale).

Down
2 Pole’s few lines of poetry (5)
ANODE - AN ODE even I can see would be a few lines of poetry. ANODE being one pole of a battery, the other being the cathode.
3 Sure to be upset following party conversation (9)
DISCOURSE - DISCO = party, (SURE)*.
4 Spoke favouring reform — not Conservative (6)
RADIAL - RADICAL = favouring reform, drop the C.
5 Several faiths TV represented in a religious celebration (7,8)
HARVEST FESTIVAL - (SEVERAL FAITHS TV)*. Nice one.
6 Short chum sits on meadow, squashing one plant (8)
BUDDLEIA - I knew today's plant, having one, a butterfly bush, in the garden. BUDD(Y) = short chum, LEA = meadow, insert I.
7 Strong tastes, first to last, creating uncomfortable feeling (5)
ANGST - TANGS would be strong tastes, drop the T from front to end.
8 Trader giving one artist supply (9)
STATIONER - (ONE ARTIST)*. Not the first time we've had a stationer recently.
14 With something large in the environment, lose out completely (9)
WHOLESALE - I see this as an anagram of LOSE inside WHALE = something large in the environment.
16 Resolved to restrict cold with health-giving ingredients (9)
MEDICATED - Insert C for cold into MEDIATED = resolved.
17 Inscribed within church window maybe see knight (8)
LANCELOT - If you BIFD this and didn't parse it, go down a snake. A LANCET (apart from being a top medical journal) is a slim, pointed church window or arch. Insert LO for 'see'.
20 Love appearing in underwear in funny shows (6)
PANTOS - Put O into your PANTS.
22 Traffic needs to speed up heading for Edinburgh (5)
TRADE - DART = speed, up = reversed, E(dinburgh).
24 Cheats and criminals caught out (5)
ROOKS - CROOKS have their C removed.
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