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

Times 27123 - a serious workout, but not unfair

I had two stabs at this, at the first in around 35 minutes I had completed and understood all except most of the top left hand quadrant, a.k.a the north west. That took me another twenty minutes or so to decipher and parse, not least because my knowledge of famous Assyrians need some refreshment. In retrospect, there's nothing (apart from 1d) too daunting about it, There are a couple of clues I could take issue with, just to be awkward, like 19d and 25a, but I won't because this is just the kind of puzzle I hope to see on a Wednesday becaue it stretched the little grey cells just far enough.


Across
1 One supporting cuts met with knight (8)
SAWHORSE - SAW = met, HORSE = knight, in chess; hard to see the right wavelength here, but once you do the wordplay is fair.
5 Ready to assimilate City formula (6)
RECIPE - The old standard EC for London City area goes into RIPE for ready.
8 Wreck in sea on moon finally eclipsed (3)
MAR - Seas on the moon have Latin names like MARE something, so that MARE loses an E. I thought MAR just meant damage rather than wreck, but it's passable.
9 Crook to entertain sister's subordinate (5,5)
STAFF NURSE - I spent an age trying to fit NUN into this. A crook is a STAFF, and you NURSE or entertain the idea of something.
10 Right-hand man keeping to hyperbole (8)
RHETORIC - RH = right hand, ERIC is our random man, insert TO. I think not all rhetoric is hyperbole, but once again Collins in its third definition of rhetoric decides it's passable.
11 Tradesman, powerless to deliver cut wood (6)
LUMBER - A PLUMBER, if you can find one, they're all on the beach now in France, he loses his P.
12 Current in which HM ships lost way (4)
MODE - MODERN = current, loses the Royal Navy or RN.
14 Pressure in tie — United beaten for lack of fitness? (10)
INEPTITUDE - (TIE UNITED P)*.
17 Tough Berber reflective in secure place (10)
STRONGROOM - A MOOR could be a Berber, a North African Arab; Reverse him and add to STRONG = tough.
20 Stylish welcome received in clubs twice (4)
CHIC - HI = welcome, inside C C for clubs twice. The French have a much used expression "BCBG" which stands for "bon chic bon genre" but those referred to seem to me to have anything but good taste and good attitude, they just have "old money" and arrogance. The Sloanes of Paris.
23 Small deposit to finish in bank (6)
DEPEND - DEP for small deposit, END for finish; DEPEND on as in rely on, bank on.
24 Fundamental article about the Italian church (8)
BASILICA - Insert IL = Italian for 'the', into BASIC A.
25 Feline woman binding husband in chains (10)
CHATELAINE - I was well misled by this one, wondering why chains had anything to do with the Lady of a château. but of course, that would be a châtelaine, not a chatelaine, which is an ornamental chain or chains hanging from a belt. CAT has H inserted then ELAINE is our random woman. No wonder the French won't abandon their beloved circonflex.
26 Alcoholic in the end put back to bed (3)
COT - C = end of AlcoholiC, TO reversed = put back TO.
27 About to introduce tax break (6)
RECESS - RE = about, CESS = tax. We've seen CESS recently.
28 Forebear requires an exotic escort (8)
ANCESTOR - AN, (ESCORT)*.

Down
1 Famed Assyrian house is home to sheep (9)
SEMIRAMIS - a SEMI is a kind of house, and IS is is. Insert RAM for sheep, to get the name of a famous (if barely recalled) Assyrian queen. I'd only heard of it in an operatic context where I knew she was probably a queen but not especially of the Assyrian persuasion.
2 Charge bundle to keep bird on ground (7)
WARHEAD - This is a naughty clue. You're supposed to think of WAD for a synonym of bundle, then think of one particular flightless bird, a RHEA, and bung one into the other to make a word vaguely related to CHARGE. The little grey cells were stretched. My LOI.
3 Cricket side's method hardly secret? (2,4)
ON SHOW - ON'S - cricket side's, HOW = method. Biffable, but not obvious to parse.
4 Pen pusher, perhaps, bursting into tears (9)
STATIONER - Back to regulation clues. (INTO TEARS)*.
5 Lock phone on rental contract (7)
RINGLET - RING = phone, LET = rental. See lock, think hair.
6 Using colour, 20 to dress person travelling on time (9)
CHROMATIC - 20a was CHIC (we're into Grauniad territory here, cross referencing); insert ROMA for a person travelling, and T for time.
7 Fake groom died, having introduced tango (7)
PRETEND - PREEN - groom, insert T for tango, add D for died.
13 Clear river containing single rodent (9)
EXONERATE - Devon's River EXE has ONE RAT inserted.
15 Testing time for one at crease, one performing (9)
PROBATION - PRO = for, BAT = one at crease in cricket, I = one, ON = performing.
16 One charming Chinese detective in lodge (9)
ENCHANTER - Mr CHAN goes into ENTER = lodge, in the sense of 'enter a protest / lodge a protest'.
18 Cereal stirred below temperature becoming syrup (7)
TREACLE - T, (CEREAL)*.
19 Unprincipled little man enters gallery (7)
GODLESS - GODS in a theatre  = gallery; insert our random bloke LES. I rail at this; I am godless, an atheist by conviction, but I am not not unprincipled. I have principles.
21 Process of reduction in capital growth (7)
HAIRCUT - Cryptic definition.
22 Brie munched by me in galley (6)
BIREME - (BRIE)*, ME. Old rowing ship with two banks of oars.
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