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

Times 27195 - TCC Heat 1 number one. No easy starter for me.

Apparently 36 out of 90 entrants got this one correct, of whom 22 found time to finish the other two puzzles correctly in the hour or less. I was not feeling the brightest, having already done two other puzzles hanging over from the weekend, but I managed to finish it in an unacceptable 39 minutes, in line with the feedback that this year's selection were a grade harder than recent years. 
I struggled with the SW corner, although in retrospect that bit isn't any more difficult than the rest. The brand names at 18d and 20d threw me, I didn't realise such things were permitted.


Across
1 After silence, hands round the writer's contract (7)
SHRIVEL - SH ! = silence!, R and L (hands) go round I'VE = the writer's.
5 Many dogs taking the lead off (6)
OODLES - POODLES loses its P. An easy one for people like us who for many years were standard poodle owners.
8 Twirling, maybe the ladies one saw approved (9)
VALIDATED - LAV (maybe the ladies) reversed - VAL; I DATED = I saw. Not LOO for once.
9 Great Britain's flipping harsh (5)
ACERB - ACE = great, BR reversed.
11 Vehicle broken by butcher’s van in badly neglected state (5)
LIMBO - LIMO  vehicle, insert a B the 'van' of butcher's. The definition seems a bit of a stretch, but I suppose anything more exact would give the game away.
12 Venture into Microsoft's domain is trouble for corporation (9)
ENTERITIS - To venture into Microsoft's domain could be to ENTER IT, then add IS. Corporation as in tummy.
13 Particular sin, snatching diamonds from the east (8)
ESPECIAL - LAPSE = sin, holds ICE = diamonds, all reversed.
15 Wit's heartless riposte wounded (6)
ESPRIT - (RIP STE)*, the O being removed 'heartless'. Another stretchy definition, IMO.
17 Withdraw money that’s regularly paid to carry around (6)
RECANT - I took too long to see this one, even with the initial R. RENT is money regularly paid, it 'carries' CA = around.
19 Knight, travelling far, is in China (8)
PARSIFAL - I don't know why, because I'm not a big Wagner fan, but Parsifal sprang to mind immediately when I saw knight, not the usual N or KT. (FAR IS)* goes inside PAL = China.
22 Primary colour nobody's drawing in (6,3)
NUMBER ONE - A simple clue I tried to make more complicated. UMBER a colour is drawn into NONE.
23 Spray bound to release nitrogen (5)
SPRIG - SPRING = bound, releases its N.
24 Do away with Times editorial’s introduction (5)
ERASE - Another simple clue I made hard work of. Too much time spent with X and BY for Times and trying to get to WASTE from 'with'. ERAS are times, add E being initial letter of editorial.
25 Vessel's sharp, turning and heading for army bases (9)
SUBSTRATA - This popped up as soon as I saw it ended in A. SUB = vessel, TART reversed, add A = heading for army.
26 Cereal, tons on ground mostly (6)
MILLET - MILLED = ground, delete the D and add the T for tons.
27 Apt to see red snake, in fancy (7)
WASPISH - Probably my favourite clue today. ASP = snake, inside WISH = fancy. Deceptive definition at first.

Down
1 Bad sign, boarding Sierra to travel around, one may end up in jam (7,6)
SEVILLE ORANGE - EVIL (bad) LEO (sign) inside S, RANGE = travel around. I had to get some checkers before this one, which held up the LHS for a while. Of course Seville oranges are in marmalade not usually in jam, but that would have been too easy.
2 Cold food after bread is shock (7)
ROLLMOP - ROLL = bread, MOP = shock, as in a mop of hair. I have eaten warm rollmops, in Sweden, but perhaps they're not then called rollmops.
3 Record kept by Crusoe, divided up (5)
VIDEO - Reversed hidden in CRUS(OE DIV)IDED.
4 Christian left university and rushed to pen article (8)
LUTHERAN - L, U, THE (article), RAN (rushed).
5 Offbeat individual note lifted song, not a tango (6)
ODDITY - DO = note, lifted = OD, DITTY = song, lose one T.
6 What's in Brontë novel read twice is inspiring English (9)
DIAERESIS - (READ IS IS)*, then insert an E. Now I know how to spell it. The French call it a tréma, as in Citroën, which is easier to spell.
7 Medical department that constantly admits horseman (7)
EVENTER - The evergreen ENT goes inside EVER = constantly.
10 Black grape intertwined with the lush grapevine (4,9)
BUSH TELEGRAPH - (B GRAPE THE LUSH)*.
14 Gull, say, overturned angler’s device to get fish (6,3)
CONGER EEL - CON = gull, trick; GE = EG say overturned, REEL = angler's device.
16 What some musicians do before and after concert? (4,1,3)
TAKE A BOW - Cryptic definition, easiest clue of the day.
18 Intoxicating substance affected air supply (7)
CAMPARI - As noted above, I was not looking for a brand name so took an age to get this my LOI. CAMP = affected, (AIR)*. Not sure about supply as an anagrind.
20 Car to go wrong on a boring day (7)
FERRARI - ERR = to go wrong, and A, go inside (bore) FRI = day.
21 Back supporter in my place (6)
CORSET - COR! = my!, SET = place. I was slow to see this in spite of having CORSET crop up as a sort of underwear in Monday's puzzle. It wasn't easy to see what the definition was going to be here.
23 Places quotes from speakers (5)
SITES - Sound like CITES = quotes.
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