Cityish Alt-ish Fortyish (verlaine) wrote in times_xwd_times,
Cityish Alt-ish Fortyish

Times 26,963: Instant Classic(s)

With hindsight this crossword looks tailor-made for quiz-going Oxbridge classicists and other such insufferably smart-alecky types, and so it more or less proved in the event, taking me 7 and a half minutes on paper.

FOI 1ac (the first word that springs to mind when I look in the mirror every morning), LOI I think 27ac as big band was unknown circa the first century and thus harder for my memory banks to access. Lots of clues here I very much admired but I'll give special mention to the &lit at 12dn, the TLS-tastic "Lawrences", and also to 21dn, where I loved the use of "co-ordinates" and the classical surface adding extra grace to this most classical puzzle in ages.

So to cut a long story short, friends, Romans and countrymen, I thought this was a splendid crossword, but what about the rest of you? Too classical for some, perhaps?

1 Foppish type’s invitation to bird to call? (8)
POPINJAY - or "Pop in, jay!", an invitation to a bird to call (round).

9 Military preparation of Frenchman the last word in craft (8)
ARMAMENT - M AMEN [Frenchman | the last word] in ART [craft]

10 Cancel changes in South Vietnamese festival (4)
STET - S TET [South | Vietnamese festival], stet being Latin for "let it stand", the printer's instruction to leave things as they were.

11 Humiliate MP with a spiced-up union song (12)
EPITHALAMIUM - (HUMILIATE MP + A*) ["spiced-up"]. Another unfair advantage to classicists, perhaps: an epithalamium is a wedding song about what awaits the new bride in the bedchamber, of which Catullus wrote a very famous example. Hymen o Hymenaee!

13 Anecdotes assuming Scottish smoker an old-school sort (6)
ALUMNA - ANA [anecdotes] "assuming" LUM [Scottish chimney = "smoker"]

14 An officer before journey finds close friend (5,3)
ALTER EGO - A LT ERE GO [an officer | before | journey]. That's four or five Latin answers in a row; well, *I* approve...

15 An outhouse on street is hidden (7)
STASHED - A SHED [an outhouse] on ST [street]

16 Secretary brought in recognised writer's block (7)
NOTEPAD - PA [secretary] brought in NOTED [recognised]. The *good* sort of writer's block.

20 Tragic scene of crime sitting in European tradition (8)
ELSINORE - SIN [crime] sitting in E LORE [European | tradition]. Elsinore is of course the setting for Shakespeare's most famous and longwinded play, Hamlet.

22 Indian city accommodates parking for historic location (6)
DELPHI - DELHI [Indian city] accommodates P [parking]. We're back to the classics as Delphi is very famous in that arena, for oracles and such.

23 Navy in Naples restored State (12)
PENNSYLVANIA - (NAVY IN NAPLES*) ["restored"]. The fifth most populous of the United States, capital Harrisburg.

25 Wader again seen on island (4)
IBIS - BIS [again] seen on I [island], a crossword staple bird and clue.

26 Supervised one at sea securing lines (8)
OVERSEEN - (ONE*) ["at sea"] securing VERSE [lines].

27 Old bandleader having Lawrences put away horse (3,5)
TED HEATH - TE DH [both famous literary Lawrences; clever!] + EAT H [put away | horse]. I guess Ted Heath PM was leader of a band in a way, but this is probably Ted Heath the trombonist who was a household name in the 50s, winning the NME poll for Best Band/Orchestra each year between 1952 and 1961: roll over, "Godlike Genius" Liam Gallagher.

2 Note group taking month over rental agreement (8)
OCTUPLET - OCT UP LET [month | over | rental agreement]

3 Break during school time is heaven (12)
INTERMISSION - IN TERM IS SION [during | school time | is | heaven]. Sion/Zion is the Promised Land and Heaven on Earth to Jews and Rastafarians alike, I haven't been to Jerusalem personally but I'm sure it's very nice.

4 Old German crossing Bali, free to express great happiness (8)
JUBILATE - JUTE [old German] crossing (BALI*) ["free"]. While the clue is by no means definitionally wrong, I hope no Danes are offended by their Jutlandic ancestors being assigned as German!

5 Cover for face when headmaster breaks jaw (7)
YASHMAK - AS HM [when | headmaster] breaks YAK [jaw]

6 Engaged in protecting cross, one combats evil (6)
AMULET - AT [engaged in] protecting MULE [cross]

7 Patriarch against wearing Hawaiian garland (4)
LEVI - V [against] wearing LEI [Hawaiian garland]. The third son of Jacob and Leah, as keriothe will tell you at the least opportunity, and the progenitor of the tribe of Levites.

8 Rugs taken up for daughter in midlands town (8)
STAMFORD - MATS reversed [rugs "taken up"] FOR D [daughter]. Stamford, Lincs, built by the amazing Romans and then quite big in the middle ages. Insultingly to its good name, I initially pencilled in STAFFORD, oops.

12 Air, extremely assertive, M Lisle’s composed (12)
MARSEILLAISE - (AIR + A{ssertiv}E + M LISLE'S*) ["composed"], &lit, as the aggressive anthem La Marseillaise was indeed penned by M Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle.

15 Followers pursue triallist perhaps (8)
SHEEPDOG - SHEEP DOG [followers | pursue]. Triallist as in sheepdog trials of course.

17 Future minister in rising party hurried to suppress row (8)
ORDINAND - in reversed DO ["rising" party], RAN [hurried] "to suppress" DIN [row]

18 Pithy speaker tense going round pub (8)
APHORIST - AORIST [tense, notably in Greek, another easy one to recall if you're a classicist] going round PH [pub]

19 Man being prepared runs vehicle inside (7)
SERVANT - SET [prepared], R VAN [runs vehicle] "inside"

21 Plato finally co-ordinates knowledge — it's inspired (6)
OXYGEN - {Plat}O + X Y [co-ordinates, on a graph] + GEN [knowledge]. Inspired as in "breathed in".

24 Xmas season to bode ill, ultimately? (4)
NOEL - {seaso}N {t}O {bod}E {il}L
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