jackkt (jackkt) wrote in times_xwd_times,
jackkt
jackkt
times_xwd_times

Times Cryptic 26978

I needed 38 minutes for this one but found it mostly straightforward. My biggest problems were spotting how 20 and 26ac worked having biffed both answers with a little help from the checkers in place at the time. 26ac was going to receive my rarely awarded prize for COD but on reflection whilst writing the blog I decided it's not quite as good as I had first thought.

As usual definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions are in curly brackets} and [anagrinds, containment, reversal and other indicators in square ones]

Across
1 Jumper Mark has got hold of without assistance? (4-4)
POLO-NECK - POCK (mark) contains [has got hold of] LONE (without assistance). I wondered about the definition, but it's fine as 'a polo-neck'  can be taken to mean a polo-neck sweater or jumper. I knew of 'pockmarks' (not from personal experience, I'm pleased to say) without ever considering what a 'pock' was. I now understand that it's the blister that causes the mark but can also mean the residual mark itself.
5 Wielding this could make you chesty (6)
SCYTHE - Anagram of [could make you] CHESTY. Not much of a definition here other than it's something one might wield as I don't think the rest of the clue adds anything to it.
9 Staff in courses on reflection settled matter (8)
SEDIMENT - MEN (staff) contained by [in] TIDES (courses) reversed [on reflection]. As in the tide or course of history, perhaps.
10 Make box for holding tablet (6)
CREATE - CRATE (box) containing [holding] E (tablet - of ecstacy). More drug culture.
12 Cake aims to get awards (7,6)
BROWNIE POINTS - BROWNIE (cake), POINTS (aims). Collins advises that these are notional marks to one's credit earned for being seen to do the right thing, from the mistaken notion that Brownie Guides earn points for good deeds. Some sources suggest that the expression is mostly used facetiously in connection with some trivial act which involves sucking up to one’s superior. Toad on Masterchef last night criticised a contestant who promised a brownie for producing something with the texture of cake so perhaps there's a subtle difference that I'm not aware of.
15 Ingredient of healthy meals? (5)
THYME - Hidden in {heal}THY ME{als}
16 Express anger about constant cavity (9)
VENTRICLE - VENT RILE (express anger) containing [about] C (constant). Ventricles are perhaps best known as chambers in the heart but they are also cavities in the brain and other organs.
17 Works of obscure poetaster (9)
OPERETTAS - Anagram of [obscure] POETASTER
19 Cheese fondue's first for barman? (5)
BRIEF - BRIE (cheese), F{ondue} ['s first]. 'Bar man' in the sense of barrister with the question mark signalling the tongue-in-cheek definition.
20 This method briefly doing for a medic? (5,8)
MODUS OPERANDI - Method of operating. This can be written 'briefly' as MO which also stands for Medical Officer.
22 Cover one name of course (6)
INSURE - I (one), N (name), SURE (of course)
23 Plant takes a short while to camouflage brick container (8)
ASPHODEL - A, SPEL{l} (while) [short] containing [to camouflage] HOD [brick container]. There are lots of varieties of this, the daffodil being one such.
25 Studies state on board English ship (6)
ESSAYS - SAY (state) contained by [on board]  E (English) + SS (ship)
26 Part-time doctor and daughter keeping swine supplied with water (8)
HYDRATED - HYDE (part-time doctor) + D (daughter) containing [keeping] RAT (swine). The slight problem here is that it was Jekyll who was the part-time doctor. On edit, I note that others perceive this differently and I'm now in two minds about it.
Down
1 Operated by pressure, plug still not coming up (4-6)
PUSH-BUTTON - PUSH (plug - a product, perhaps), BUT (still), NOT reversed [coming up]
2 Light / was at the front (3)
LED - Two meanings, the first being a light-emitting diode
3 Long time taken up securing pit candidate (7)
NOMINEE - EON (long time) reversed [taken up] containing [securing] MINE (pit)
4 Distributed vast incomes to defend right political ideology (12)
CONSERVATISM - Anagram [distributed] of VAST INCOMES containing [to defend] R (right)
6 Court official, firm one belted by bishop? (7)
CORONER - CO (firm), then ONE contained [belted] by RR (bishop - Right Reverend)
7 A couple of Poles taken in by purchase deal (11)
TRANSACTION - A + NS (couple of Poles) contained [taken in] by TRACTION (purchase)
8 Waste carrier avoids small vessel (4)
EWER - {s}EWER (waste carrier) [avoids small]
11 Wow! Is sauce included in awful local dish? (7,5)
CORNISH PASTY - COR (wow!), then IS + HP (sauce) contained by [included in] NASTY (awful). HP stands for the Houses of Parliament as featured on the label of this disgusting brown concoction.
13 About ten monkeys playing with gas — from these? (6,5)
OXYGEN MASKS - Anagram [playing] of MONKEYS GAS containg [about] X (ten). I think this counts as semi &lit to account for the double-duty served by 'gas' here.
14 Stubborn little chap drank bottles (4-6)
SELF-WILLED - SWILLED (drank) contains [bottles] ELF (little chap)
18 Foreign articles extremely likely to be getting on (7)
ELDERLY - EL +DER  (foreign articles), L{ikel}Y [extremely]
19 Citizen’s food sent up with woman's (7)
BURGHER - GRUB (food) reversed [sent up], HER (woman's)
21 Wood popular in gym (4)
PINE - IN (popular) contained by [in] PE (gym)
24 Spot / one of three in Fiji (3)
DOT - Another double definition. The dots in Fiji are more properly called 'tittles'.
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