jackkt (jackkt) wrote in times_xwd_times,

Times Cryptic 27116

My solving time for this was 76 minutes over four interrupted sessions as I found it to be a toughie. I wonder if it was just me?

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

1 Lighterforce? (5)
BARGE - Two meanings, the first is a  flat-bottomed barge used for ferrying goods between cargo vessels or to and from a wharf.
4 Doctors drop charges (9)
CASTRATES - CAST (drop), RATES (charges). 'Doctor' is a somewhat genteel euphemism for 'castrate' especially with reference to the neutering of pets. I had a problem seeing 'drop / cast' until I thought of snakes and their skins and ships and their anchors.
9 Plague from substance one used in Paris (9)
IMPORTUNE - IMPORT (substance), UNE (one, used in Paris). 'Plague / importune' in the sense of burden, trouble, pester.
10 First couple of keys in low type stuck together (5)
CAKED - KE{ys} [first couple], contained by [in] CAD (low type - rotter or bounder)
11 Silent pictures covering classic conference venue (9,4)
DUMBARTON OAKS - DUMB (silent), ART (pictures), ON (covering), OAKS (classic - one of the five Britsh classic horse races, run each year at Epsom). I only knew of DUMBARTON OAKS, a mansion in Washington D.C., from the title of a concerto written in 1938 by Igor Stravinsky, but the reference here is to a conference held there in 1944 which led to the foundation of the United Nations Organisation.
14 Gallons knocked back in horrific binge (4)
ORGY - {g→}ORY (horrific) becomes ORGY [gallons knocked back]
15 Broadcast turned down from start to finish (10)
THROUGHOUT - Sounds like [broadcast] "threw out" (turned down)
18 The first person blocking end-of-year payments steps down (10)
DECREMENTS - DEC (end-of-year), then ME (the first person) contained by [blocking] RENTS (payments). The opposite of 'increments', but unknown to me despite having come up here previously in 2010 and 2015.
19 Bachelor evicted from house in former Italian capital (4)
LIRA - LI{b}RA (house) [bachelor evicted]. My LOI. I'm usually quick to think of 'house' meaning  'sign of the zodiac' but I was very slow off the mark today.
21 Firmly secured / area where one shouldn't be hit? (5,4,4)
UNDER ONE'S BELT - Two meanings. In the second the expression is more usually 'below the belt' but the intention was clear enough.
24 Belief system primarily dividing country in revolution (5)
ISLAM - S{ystem} [primarily] contained by [dividing] MALI (country) reversed [in revolution]
25 Stop trading in neighbouring county (5,4)
CLOSE DOWN - CLOSE (neighbouring), DOWN (county - one of the six that constitute Northern Ireland)
27 Function cannot get put off (9)
COTANGENT - Anagram [put off] of CANNOT GET
28 What defendants do first, after start of proceedings (5)
PLEAD - P{roceedings}[start], LEAD (first)
1 Apprentice in tie wraps up masks for pupils (10)
BLINDFOLDS - L (apprentice - learner) contained by [in] BIND (tie), FOLDS (wraps). A rather nice cryptic definition.
2 Letters referring to late / rent (3)
RIP - Two meanings. R.I.P. and a rent, rip or tear in one's clothing perhaps.
3 Aware sloppy kiss could be a problem for listeners (6)
EARWAX - Anagram [sloppy] of AWARE, X (kiss)
4 Seeks garden footwear for lady (5,4)
COURT SHOE - COURTS (seeks), HOE (garden)
5 European involved in rising fools German mug (5)
STEIN - E (European) contained by [involved in] NITS (fools) reversed [rising]. Easily biffable.
6 Give more power to troops before onslaught (8)
RECHARGE - RE (troops - Royal Engineers), CHARGE (onslaught)
7 Attends, and is given marching orders (5,6)
TAKES NOTICE - TAKES (given), NOTICE (marching orders)
8 Singular song and dance upset good mixer (4)
SODA - S (singular), ADO (song and dance) reversed [upset]
12 Highly effective agent disabled metallic bug (5,6)
MAGIC BULLET - Anagram [disabled] of METALLIC BUG
13 Embarrassed model reinstated (10)
STRAITENED - Anagram [model] of REINSTATED. Being in straitened circumstances can include being reduced to penury and therefore financially embarrassed.
16 Drinking when temperature drops abroad, excusing oneself (6,3)
OPTING OUT - {t→}OPING (drinking) becomes OPTING [when temperature drops], OUT (abroad)
17 Terminator takes control of Homo Sapiens (8)
HEADSMAN - HEADS (takes control), MAN (Homo Sapiens). An executioner or the captain of a whaling boat, amongst other meanings. Earned me 8 points ahead of the contestants on Countdown last week!
20 Like raised skin lacking sensation (6)
ASLEEP - AS (like), PEEL (skin) reversed [raised]
22 Decoration that chap's given after police force disbanded (5)
RUCHE - RUC (police force disbanded - Royal Ulster Constabulary), HE (that chap)
23 A fragment of quartz in cuprous metal (4)
ZINC - Hidden in [a fragment of] {quart}Z IN C{uprous}
26 Individual landed on radio (3)
ONE - Sounds like [ on radio] "won" (landed - a victory)
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