August 17th, 2020

Ulaca de Milo
  • ulaca

Times 27745 - Feeling Selby's Pain

I reached new lows on this puzzle. After I'd finished it (12 minutes), I turned to myself and asked, 'What do you call it when you have a magnificent chance to make a name for yourself, and you foul up?' 'Life,' I replied to myself. And I think I was right.

Having painfully, and rather brilliantly, I thought, constructed the unknown relish (from Arabic via obsolete Italian, no less) from the wordplay, like Mark Selby I fluffed the easy pot. How a 'disrespectful' Ronnie O'Sullivan can get away with whacking the balls as hard as he can to get out of snookers, while I can bang in 'cafetaria' and get punished for it is something I don't think I'll be able to comprehend, however long I mull it over.

ACROSS

1 University cleaner in most superior European capital (9)
BUCHAREST - U CHAR in BEST
6 He explored old towns initially by hired car (5)
CABOT - CAB O[ld] T[own]
9 Calm a couple of sons united by length of life (7)
ASSUAGE - A S S U AGE
10 Eg seafood dish and coffee served in Puerto Rico (7)
PLATTER - LATTE in PR
11 Prone, possibly, to be retailing pork pies? (5)
LYING - double definition (DD)
12 Protected sheepdog, not one of bright colour (9)
SHELTERED - SHELT[i]E RED; a SHELTIE is a Shetland Terrier (clearly, whoever came up with the abbreviation was dyslectic), often seen overweight and panting in Hong Kong
14 Vehicle a motoring organisation brought from east (3)
CAR - RAC reversed
15 African country’s one mistake in first auction? (6,5)
SIERRA LEONE - I ERR in SALE ONE
17 Flyer’s downfall, circling oil installation ahead of time (7,4)
FRIGATE BIRD - RIG in FATE (downfall) BIRD (time)
19 Second-class American form of transport (3)
BUS - B US
20 One who speculates over blocking specific part of stair? (9)
THEORISER - O in THE RISER
22 Quick-witted Republican leaving for bay (5)
BIGHT - B[r]IGHT
24 Spoken part doctor originally played? Something fishy here (7)
ROLLMOP - sounds like ROLE MO P[layed]
26 Middle-Easterner lives with painter and priest (7)
ISRAELI - IS RA ELI
27 Gulf State’s leader covered by a Times supplement at first (5)
ABYSS - S[tate] in A BY (times) S[upplement)
28 Hospital doctor injecting point right in centre of back (9)
REGISTRAR - GIST R in REAR

DOWN

1 Cry lustily about onset of rough altercation (5)
BRAWL - R in BAWL
2 Charlie, a comparatively mousy employee in bank (7)
CASHIER - C A SHIER
3 As in a leg, a curious absence of pain (9)
ANALGESIA - anagram* of AS IN A LEG A
4 Flat Robert Louis misses out on, having no advantage (4-7)
EVEN-STEVENS - EVEN (flat) STEVENS[on] (misses out 'on'); nice phrase, also found in even-steven
5 Place set up for male sheep (3)
TUP - PUT reversed
6 Trickery getting airmen in court (5)
CRAFT - RAF in CT
7 Relish being on top initially in pub game (7)
BOTARGO - O[n] T[op] in BAR GO (Japanese game) - 'being' is the link word; a weird fishy thing to add to something that, presumably, needs it
8 Oddly this sign of embarrassment reveals fatigue (9)
TIREDNESS - T[h]I[s] REDNESS
13 Like the shriek if this cosmetic procedure goes wrong? (3-8)
EAR-PIERCING - easy, but nice
14 Accountant at fair gets wind up, needing place to eat (9)
CAFETERIA - CA FETE AIR reversed
16 Young male Yankee offers to trap first of rare beetles (9)
LADYBIRDS - LAD Y R in BIDS
18 English friend the writer would put first, in theory (7)
IDEALLY - I'D before E ALLY
19 Concealed mike at Paddington, provoking great annoyance? (7)
BUGBEAR - BUG BEAR
21 Harris’s uncle, a twin (5)
REMUS - DD; Uncle Remus (as played by James Baskett in the fine film Song of the South, where he introduces the world to 'Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah' - which I always thought was introduced by Butlin's), plus the ill-fated brother of the founder of Rome
23 German city individual making all-out effort (5)
TRIER - another DD
25 After rise, censure share value (3)
PAR - RAP reversed for something financial that eludes me