guy_du_sable (guy_du_sable) wrote in times_xwd_times,
guy_du_sable
guy_du_sable
times_xwd_times

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Sunday Times 4831, 30 December 2018, by David McLean — A Saucerful of Resects

A gentle offering, with evenly paved surfaces slick enough to trip you up as to the cryptic parsing. I have a two or three quibbles, but no major complaint—nothing nearly so troublesome as my problems with the postal service, here and/or in France, which I ramble on about (again) quite irrelevantly below.

It’s going to be a big day for blogs, so I hope this doesn’t get slighted in the shuffle.

I do (sanamgra)* like this, and italicize anagrinds in the clues. Five of ’em this time!

Across
 1 Talk about a long story (4)
SAGA — GAS<— + A
 4 European gripped by bad splenetic disease (10)
PESTILENCE — (splenetic + E)*
 9 Negligent first couple of reports by teacher (6)
REMISS — RE[-ports] + MISS. As Keriothe confirmed the last time it came up on my watch, female schoolteachers are still called “Miss” over there in Merrie Olde. Quaint.
10 Idiot husband wearing golf trousers? (8)
CLOTHING — DBE. “Idiot” is CLOT, + H[usband] + IN, “wearing”  + G[olf]
11 A child star upset with all in chorus? (2,3,3)
AS ONE MAN — A SON (“child”) + NAME (“star”) <— (“upset”) Not sure why there is a question mark.
13 Strange old jerk pursuing old flame (6)
EXOTIC — O TIC after EX
14 Awfully indecent and best-limited inclinations (10)
TENDENCIES — (indecent + [-b]ES[-t])*
16 Couple I encountered from the East? (4)
ITEMOne of the Wise Men got lost? I + MET<—
17 Chances of dying do soar at the front (4)
ODDSHow true!
18 European dominance upset grasping American leader (10)
MACEDONIANAnd that’s a kind word for the leader I’m thinking of…! (dominance + A)* Second clue with “upset” in the wordplay, a “redundancy” one, at least, of the setter team at The Nation would want to “correct.” On the other hand, it makes a connection between “grasping American leader” here and “child star” above, which seems apt.
20 Relish October’s final on which the cup rests (6)
SAUCER — SAUCE + R. If memory serves, this was my LOI, for no clear reason.
21 Investment minister has secured in error (8)
MISTAKENOr so (s)he says! MI(STAKE)N
23 Miss when in Madrid, part of Essen, or Italy (8)
SENORITA — But this doesn’t mean she’s a teacher.
24 Release hawk on Lahore’s outskirts (3,3)
LET OUT — L[-ahor]E + TOUT
26 When one might suffer an awful shock? (3,4,3)
BAD HAIR DAY — Static electricity could be at fault!
27 Instrument animal knocked over (4)
REED — DEER<—


Down
 2 Good performer’s excellent service (3)
ACE — Double Definition.
 3 Side with a band that’s heard (5)
ALIGN — A + “line” (“heard”). Underline “with”? But you generally need to add “with” to “align,” in this sense, too,
 4 Chap with letters after name welcoming graduate (7)
POSTMAN — POST is “after” and N “name,” with a Master of Arts in between. It took me too long to separate “letters” from “after name.” By the way, my postal carrier (a man, as it happens) just came by, and I am very upset that he had no Canard Enchaîné for me. I haven’t gotten an issue since the one for novembre 28. Their distributor changed the packaging to little plastic envelopes that tend to get stuck together so that stacks of several for all over the country get sent to one person. Meanwhile, they are pushing their new digital edition, for overseas subscribers only, but it requires paying for a whole new abonnement. I’ve talked to the USPS and written to the Canard repeatedly…
 5 Position that Oscar holds? Deputy (6-2-7)
SECOND-IN-COMMAND — Clever. “Oscar” is O in the NATO alphabet, the second letter in the word COMMAND.
 6 Those who press to see the Queen in restraints (7)
IRONERSWhy? She isn’t doing anything! IRON (ER) S. This is the weakest part of the puzzle, just pure filler. Has anyone ever used this word or heard it used? Surely there’s a more elegant term for those who press clothes.
 7 African playing the piano all round India (9)
ETHIOPIAN — (the piano + I[ndia])*
 8 Kind of second-rate pants one must wear (11)
CONSIDERATE — (second-rate + I)*
12 One likely to snap at those driving over limit (5,6)
SPEED CAMERA — Cryptic Definition.
15 Child host ordered to become washing-up helper? (9)
DISHCLOTH — (Child host)* Slightly cryptic definition, hence the question mark (used to be called a “quirk” in the Nation copy department; I wonder if I could get away with that here… And exclamation points were “sclams”!)
18 Cocktail party at centre held by midget (7)
MARTINI — M ([-p]ART[-y] )INI. Surface-wise, it isn’t clear whether the midget is holding the party or the centre. Also merely surface-wise, it is now widely considered offensive to refer to any particular smallish person as a “midget,” as we all know. Yet you still hear terms such as “moral midget.”
19 Showcase sample of pop in Underworld song (7)
DISPLAYAnother band I haven’t heard of?! DIS (P[-op]) LAY. Seems “Dis” has been a popular reference in our puzzles lately, the devil knows why.
22 Rhubarb served up following a cold ham (5)
ACTOR — “Rhubarb” is ROT <— served up, after A C.
25 Do drugs lead to untold sadness and woe ultimately? (3)
USEMy answer is, “Not necessarily.” I thought this clue was a little faulty, until Kevin pointed out how it works.
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