October 26th, 2020

Ulaca de Milo
  • ulaca

Times 27805 - Seeing Double

Pretty standard Monday fare, with the odd unusual word (SAKI, the American with the bizarre name) being clued very accessibly.

I am currently immersed in Gabriel Garcia Márquez's work (when not dipping into Zola - enough of the literary posturing already Ed.). For the record, I wasn't that taken with A Hundred Years of Solitude (not a fan of flying carpets etc.), loved Love in The Time of Cholera (who else could write about a man having sex with a ten-year-old and get away with it? Nabakov?) and learned much from his affectionate portrayal of the last days of Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Palacios Ponte-Andrade y Blanco (note to certain American authors: if you're going to go to town on your name, don't repeat bits) - better known as Simón Bolívar (or Simon Bolivar in English), The General in his Labyrinth. If only I good enough reading Spanish! Even in translation, his work is wonderfully limpid and witty.

18:04 for the puzzle.


1 Key area, watering hole (5,3)
6 Worn out, quiet cat dropping head (6)
9 Cloth cutter, reportedly, for a beginner? (7,6)
CURTAIN RAISER - CURTAIN sounds like 'razor'
10 Total when innings complete? (3-3)
ALL-OUT - the first of our cricketing clues: a side is all out when all its batsmen bar one have been dismissed; TOTAL as in 'all-out war'
11 Philanderer’s limitless charm embraced by group I love (8)
LOTHARIO -[c]HAR[m] in LOT I O; Byron's Don Juan remains one of the funniest pieces of extended writing I have ever read.
13 Utopian novel italicised (10)
15 Nation marked for deletion? (4)
TOGO - if something is tagged TO GO, it may be marked for deletion (though an American would get a bit browned off, I would imagine, if you got rid of his takeaway order. And an American feminist - of either or indeed any sex - would get even more browned off if I used the masculine possessive pronoun.)
16 Primate mentioned briefly, dressing king (4)
SAKI -K in SAI[d]; I am so darned literary that I knew this only as the name of a Scottish short story writer I have never read rather than as a monkey
18 Adjustment made in time, spring back (4,6)
LEAP SECOND - LEAP SECOND; 'A leap second is a one-second adjustment that is occasionally applied to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), to accommodate the difference between precise time (as measured by atomic clocks) and imprecise observed solar time (known as UT1 and which varies due to irregularities and long-term slowdown in the Earth's rotation).' Maybe, with all this climate change, we'll soon have two- or three-second adjustments...
21 File in woodland getting lost (8)
22 Leave on Christmas morning, possibly with papa (6)
DECAMP - DEC AM P (code word for the letter P)
23 Novelist and critic cross, furious with English city (4,5,4)
FORD MADOX FORD - FORD (cross - a river..if it's shallow enough) MAD (furious) OXFORD (um, I don't want to be snobbist and elitist, so let's just say a conurbation between Didcot and Banbury once famous for building cars no one wanted to buy)
25 Case of Welshman bagging very wild dragon (6)
WYVERN - VERY* in W[elshma]N
26 Show on television initially in the money (8)
PRETENCE - RE T[elevision] in PENCE (the English shrapnel not the American VP)


2 Cream shown in one's cups (7)
PICKLED - PICK LED (as in 'shown the way'); one of the countless words British English has for ‘drunk’
3 Fat tummy, big concern (11)
CORPORATION - the setter is just settling into double definition (DD) mode
4 Condemn explosion (5)
BLAST - ...as I said
5 Lock phone, given licence (7)
RINGLET - ...taking a break: RING LET (as far as I can see, there's a bit of acrobatics with voice involved here, as the active LET is represented by the passive GIVEN LICENCE. Anyway, the idea is clear: 'She was given licence to go' / 'They let her go'. Or am I missing something?)
6 Film role in bag with support of American (9)
SPARTACUS - PART in SAC US; one wonders if the rebellion would have been successful had it not been led by Kirk Douglas
7 Muscles stopping system (3)
ABS - ...back to DD mode: ABS stands for ANTI-LOCK BRAKING SYSTEM (which I always think is very tough on 'lock', which is after all the most important word in the whole caboosh)
8 Cuckoo making beastly noise (7)
BARKING - ...another you know what: my favourite Playfair Football Annual entry - 'Bobby Moore, born Barking.' Whatever did his mum think?
12 Soldier very bitter over identical issue getting high (11)
ANTICYCLONE - ANT ICY (very bitter) [over - on top of] CLONE (identical issue)
14 Sad if solemn, a British dependency (4,2,3)
17 So distant, a buzzer in private chamber? (7)
ALOOFLY - A LOO FLY (ha!); 'so distant' here operating as an adverbial phrase, hence ALOOFLY
19 Ready to bat after opener dismissed? Seemed likely (5,2)
ADDED UP - [p]ADDED UP; our second cricket clue - batsmen wear pads to protect their legs if they know what's good for them
20 Loco caught by travelling icon, always on the move (7)
22 French figure that is from New Orleans, say? (5)
DIXIE - DIX (French number 10) IE (that is)
24 Grain in granary, evidently! (3)
RYE - nice easy hidden to conclude proceedings