August 3rd, 2020

Ulaca de Milo
  • ulaca

Times 27733 - Below the belt?

One of those puzzles with an unchecked vowel, which is likely to cause an error or two and a discussion or three. I'm not sure if I am prepared to criticise the setter or anyone else involved with this crossword, as criticism (and thus thinking) has now been criminalised in Hong Kong, and I don't know how many 50-centers might be logging me.

At any event, I think I can say without a scintilla of subversion or collusion that this was one the harder side for a Monday. But for objective confirmation of that we shall have to await Starstruck's magnificent and ever-growing SNITCH. One thing is for certain, however: I want a bit of whatever the Snitchmeister has been on recently...

ACROSS

1 The woman’s appeal has maturity, a thing from the past (8)
HERITAGE - HER IT (appeal) AGE
6 A universal god creator (6)
AUTHOR - A U (as in film classification) THOR (as in Nordic tragi-heroic figure)
9 Not worth bothering with financing — it is complicated (13)
INSIGNIFICANT - anagram* of FINANCIAL IT IS; CS Lewis disliked the word 'significant' because it was all promise and no pay-off
10 Gin, say, needs flavouring, but no ice (6)
LIQUOR - LIQUOR[ice]
11 One in eight finished lease after month (8)
OCTUPLET - UP LET after OCT
13 Mark last word in order for treatment (10)
MEDICAMENT - M AMEN in EDICT
15 Lazy leaving line in fish (4)
IDLE - L in IDE
16 Failing to finish minimal inspection (4)
SCAN - SCAN[t]
18 Removal of stability of model of underwater craft? (10)
SUBVERSION - SUB VERSION; yikes! They're everywhere
21 Two notes correctly so long (8)
FAREWELL - FA (a long long way to run) RE (a drop of golden sun) WELL
22 Fast turning the Spanish mad (6)
STABLE - EL (as in El Greco) BATS reversed
23 Surpass one story about a Pope’s action (13)
BEATIFICATION - BEAT (surpass) I (one) A (a) in FICTION (story)
25 Main road with some reversing tyre tracks (6)
ARTERY - hidden reversed in the final two words
26 Odd behaviour of lad after running (6-2)
GOINGS-ON - GOING SON; great phrase, though 'going-ons' is probably used as much

DOWN

2 English take chances about condition in house? (7)
EDIFICE - E IF in DICE
3 Lack of concern involved us in cocaine (11)
INSOUCIANCE - US IN COCAINE*
4 Who goes to Balmoral after summer month? That is boring (5)
AUGER - AUG ER; big or small, the tool bores holes
5 Incident with turf found in European pasty? (7)
EPISODE - SOD in E PIE
6 Thinking Greek child left during a hike (9)
ARISTOTLE - TOT L in A RISE; nice definition is that, as David Lloyd might say
7 Drink regularly in the bar (3)
TEA - T[h]E [b]A[r]
8 Oscar sitting down to eat cereal (7)
OATMEAL - O (Oscar) AT MEAL (sitting down to eat); the wife's on this because of her cholesterol
12 Father during betting is very careful (11)
PAINSTAKING - PA IN STAKING
14 The latter stages of Faust: her pity shows simplicity (9)
AUSTERITY - [f]AUST [h]ER [p]ITY; nice device, slightly odd surface, given Faust and his primary antagonist were blokes
17 Room with central heating control light (7)
CHAMBER - CH AMBER ([traffic] control light)
19 Fixing what someone running scared is doing (7)
BOLTING - double definition; 'belting' (Collins: 'to fasten or attach with or as if with a belt' and 'to move very fast') ticks both boxes well enough to make this a possible clue if the relevant checking letter were 'E'
20 Disembark in Gold Coast’s second city (7)
ORLANDO - LAND in OR O ([c]O[ast])
22 Male teacher has son with friend (5)
SWAMI - S (son) W (with) AMI (mais oui); a title of respect for a Hindu saint or religious teacher
24 Beer’s healthy if the head is removed (3)
ALE - [h]ALE