vinyl1 (vinyl1) wrote in times_xwd_times,

Times 27103 - From chemistry to drama?

Time: 50 minutes
Music: Shostakovich Symphony 10, Karajan/BPO

I was definitely not on the wavelength and really struggled.  While the Snitch seems to indicate that this puzzle was somewhat harder than average, it should not have taken that long.   The well-hidden literals were part of the problem, as I kept seeing how the clue worked and what the answer must be, and then dismissing it as absurd, only to discover ten minutes later that my first thought was indeed right.   I did this with 'eclipse', 'charcuterie', 'clement', and 'moo-cow'. 

I had a lot of trouble getting started, and scanned the grid in vain for an easy one.   If your first in is 'ulnae', then it's probably not going to be an easy puzzle.   In the end, this was the most obscure answer in the puzzle, as all the difficulty resided in interpreting the cryptics. 

1 Third of capital coming to nothing in Jersey? (3-3)
MOO-COW - MO[-s,+O]COW, a very well-disguised letter substitution clue.   I played around with LO[ndon] for a long time.
5 Food ending on nightie, dessert knocked over in bed (6,2)
TUCKED UP - TUCK + [nighti]E + PUD backwards.   Great misdirection on the literal.
9 Description of bottle found by team during arrest (5,3)
SCREW TOP - S(CREW)TOP, a chestnut that I wrote in immediately.
10 Bovine disease in insect not there (6)
ABSENT - A(BSE)NT, another well-hidden literal.
11 Odd characters in luck to see blurred image — long-sighted? (10)
TELESCOPIC - anagram of L[u]C[k] TO SEE + PIC.
13 War poet old, otherwise making a comeback? (4)
OWEN - O + NEW backwards.   Anyway, the only four-letter war poet I can think of.
14 Hard to save time, leave it (4)
STET - S(T)ET, with 'set' as in cement, which the setter is kindly given in the crossing clue.
15 I have to pursue square dancing oft in routine (4-2-4)
NINE-TO-FIVE - NINE + anagram of OFT + I'VE.
18 Summon artist to produce thrilling work (4-6)
PAGE-TURNER - PAGE + TURNER, another chestnut.
20 Adequate light (4)
FAIR - simple double definition.
21 Mucky duck possibly picked up? (4)
FOUL - sounds like FOWL, and comes right after FAIR, too!
23 Record seen at game in capital city (10)
MONTEVIDEO - MONTE + VIDEO, both an obscure game and an obscure record make this tough.
25 Sweet child, tell me, what might you do with that balloon? (6)
POPPET - Sounds like POP IT, the child's presumed answer.
26 Expecting delivery soon, a short story by writer about Romeo (8)
PRENATAL - P(R)EN + TAL[e].   A compendium of well-known cryptic elements.
28 Warm soup's unwelcome visitor diner anxiously pokes (8)
FRIENDLY - F(anagram of DINER)LY, another clever literal.
29 Archbishop feeding diocese in regular fashion (6)
EVENLY - E(VEN)LY, some more standard cryptic elements.
2 Actors improvised with her players (9)
3 Fine dash of liquor in what could become the hard stuff? (7)
CLEMENT - C(L[iquor])EMENT.  The 'dash of' locution seems to have spread from Mephisto into the main cryptic; get used to it.
4 Temple with a roof in Thailand (3)
WAT - W + A + T[hailand], an &lit that I just biffed.
5 A little more tummy exposed then? (3-2)
TOP-UP - Double definition, one humorous.
6 Fish pie dinner ends in lovely French shop (11)
CHARCUTERIE - CHAR + CUT([pi]E [dinne]R)IE, a rather busy cryptic that had to be worked out ex post facto.
7 Weight finally taken off feet, sofa designed to relax (4,3)
EASE OFF - anagram of FEE[t], SOFA.
8 Bones served up in mean lunch (5)
ULNAE - backwards yhidden in [m]ANE LU[nch].
12 Finished, coaster used harbours (11)
16 Bread that may rise just the same? (3)
NAN -  double definition, referring to the palindromic nature of NAN, which is retained in the more common spelling of NAAN.
17 System of storing messages I love, I am about to receive a hundred (9)
VOICEMAIL - anagram of I LOVE I AM + C.   I wanted to put 'videotape', even though I could see the required letters were not present.
19 Obscure snippets in the midst of tweets (7)
ECLIPSE - [tw]E(CLIPS)E[ts]. 
20 Naval vessel, scandal of the day? (7)
FRIGATE -  FRI + GATE, the scandal that ends the working week.   If you leave early, you may miss it!
22 Offensive at first, grim smell (5)
ODOUR - O[ffensive] + DOUR.
24 Of both temperature and speed, brisk? (5)
NIPPY - Cryptic definition.
27 Sense organ certainly aural? (3)
EYE - Sounds like AYE.

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