ulaca (ulaca) wrote in times_xwd_times,
ulaca
ulaca
times_xwd_times

Times 27181 - Nice and easy does it

I'm in a Steinbeck phase at the moment as I make my tour of 20th century American literature, and if there's anyone out there who has missed him, as I had, then if you like a blend of good story-telling, accessible and stylish prose and magnificent armchair philosophising (much of it attributable to his great mate Ed Ricketts), then try him out. Cannery Row is a good place to start. Very amusing stuff. East of Eden is a page-turner, while The Grapes of Wrath, as something of a one-off, might be left until you have a better appreciation of Steinbeck as a bloke. Not self-righteous and gruff, really, at all.

Actually, there's a lot more to say about Steinbeck and his ever-popular works (nearly all of them are still in print - which is more than you can say for the stuff the critics who attacked him churned out*) than there is about this crossword. It's very neat, but not very challenging. As long as you know how to follow cryptic directions and have a smidgen of knowledge about essential cultural aspects such as The Bard of Avon and God's Own University. I managed the thing in 12:50, which is about as fast as it gets for me. I expect one or two PBs.#

* CS Lewis, writing to a child correspondent, once wrote, concerning literary criticism, I think it was, that critics like to attack Verdi for 'the cheapness of his thematic material'. 'What they really mean', he added, 'is that he could write tunes and they can't.'

# Congratulations to Verlaine and Aphis of this parish, who both went under 3:30, and are, bien sur, too modest to mention it...

ACROSS

1 Sheep from flock west of Scottish town (8)
HERDWICK - HERD WICK (up there opposite Orkney)
5 False report an eccentric circulates (6)
CANARD - CARD ('eccentric person, as in 'That Verlaine's a card!') around AN
9 Person keeping official records for hospital doctor (9)
REGISTRAR - double definition (DD)
11 Some come to terms over fetish? (5)
TOTEM - reversed hidden
12 Poem and piece of music heard (7)
RONDEAU - sounds like RONDO
13 Satirise a politician taken in by rascal (7)
LAMPOON - A MP in LOON
14 Diligent cousins notice changes (13)
CONSCIENTIOUS - anagram of COUSINS NOTICE
16 I visit in class, without exception (13)
CATEGORICALLY - I CALL in CATEGORY
20 Knock public house sign, unfortunately (7)
INNINGS - INN SIGN*; cricket clue du jour
21 Lab gear reassembled for this subject at school (7)
ALGEBRA - LAB GEAR*
23 Fat? Briefly run, slowly (5)
LARGO - LAR[d} GO
24 Up for a big band number (2,3,4)
IN THE MOOD - DD; famous Glenn Miller piece
25 Son not out, rotten sailor (6)
SINBAD - S IN (more cricket) BAD
26 Islamic emblem in curved terrace (8)
CRESCENT - DD

DOWN

1 Hot, a remarkable African capital (6)
HARARE - H A RARE
2 Duke of Cornwall's wife, for example, went without (5)
REGAN - RAN around EG (for example) for one of Lear's daughters
3 Partners back film (7)
WESTERN - W E (bridge partners) STERN
4 Body of people with crime writer detailed to tour university college (6,7)
CORPUS CHRISTI - CORPS (body of people) CHRISTI[e] around U (university)
6 Bid a tenner at first to tantalise (7)
ATTEMPT - A T[enner] TEMPT
7 Scientific study: like essay about new moon (9)
ASTRONOMY - AS TRY around MOON*
8 Drop off short skirt to be collected by fine-looking girl (8)
DIMINISH - MINI in DISH; a bit 60s, but I like it
10 A series of ups and downs as ocean wave hits vessel (6,7)
ROLLER COASTER - ROLLER COASTER
14 Clear out of joint with ladder (3,3,3)
CUT AND RUN - CUT (joint of meat) AND (with) RUN (ladder)
15 Longs to nurse poorly Greek hero (8)
ACHILLES - ILL in ACHES
17 Departs in lagoon after repairing canal craft (7)
GONDOLA - D in LAGOON*
18 Very drunk on fewer (7)
LEGLESS - LEG (more cricket = ON) LESS (fewer); a clue of whimsy
19 Robber in gang, Italian (6)
BANDIT - BAND IT
22 Agent, not quite penniless (5)
BROKE - BROKE[r]
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