Cityish Alt-ish Fortyish (verlaine) wrote in times_xwd_times,
Cityish Alt-ish Fortyish
verlaine
times_xwd_times

Times 27,293: Eggs Over Easy

This was a really good puzzle, tricksy in the wordplay department without being obscure, impeccably surfaced, and having a pleasantly Timesy old-worldliness to its vocabulary. I adored the thwarted soldiers at 9ac and the clever containment indicators "boxes" and "fences" in 15ac and 22dn, but 25ac may have to take the cake as the best "hidden" of the day. Nine and a half minutes on the clock, all of them joyous: much kudos to the setter!

ACROSS
1 Rival’s back-to-back works (4)
OPPO - OP [work] twice, one facing forwards, one backwards. Not quite sure how an oppo (opposite number?) is a rival, when it's usually a mate, but there wasn't much room for doubt. A friendly rival perhaps?

4 Excursionist not falling over things in the dark? (3,7)
DAY TRIPPER - if you aren't TRIPPING [falling over things] in the dark, presumably you're doing it by DAY.

9 Demanding key allowing smooth access? Yet denying entry to soldiers? (4-6)
HARD-BOILED - HARD B OILED [demanding | key | allowing smooth access]. Soldiers as in pieces of toast on soft-boiled egg duty.

10 Knight grabbing a coat casually (4)
DAUB - DUB [knight] "grabbing" A. LOI, taking ages as I was slightly fixated on GARB.

11 Burn lots of paper by side of road (6)
STREAM - REAM [lots of paper] by side of ST [road]. Burn as in a small watercourse.

12 Resident publisher holding minor volume with a set of books (8)
OCCUPANT - O.U.P. [publisher, from the best university town] "holding" CC [minor, as in small, volume] with A NT [a | set of (holy) books]

14 With no touching allowed, display flesh (4)
VEAL - {re}VEAL [display, minus RE = touching]

15 Conservative altered the ballot boxes: one’s providing teatime coverage? (10)
TABLECLOTH - C [Conservative], "boxed" by (THE BALLOT*) ["altered"]

17 Complete a facility for scrap (2,4,4)
DO AWAY WITH - DO [complete] + A WAY WITH [a facility for]

20 Partners with hands empty poet lamented (4)
WEPT - W + E [partners with (bridge) hands] + P{oe}T

21 Fear musical genres haven’t succeeded (4,4)
BLUE FUNK - BLUE{s} + FUNK [two musical genres, minus S = succeeded]

23 Old bit of gym and some games area (6)
PESETA - P.E. [gym] + SET [some games] + A [area]

24 No oil painting of Burghley’s oddly extant: the opposite (4)
UGLY - {b}U{r}G{h}L{e}Y, with the even letters, not the odd ones, extant

25 Address in Bishop’s Stortford (10)
APOSTROPHE - hidden in {Bishop}'{s Stortford}. An apostrophe is also an exclamatory passage in a speech or poem addressed to a person or thing.

26 King of Troy under horse after collapsing (5,5)
HENRY TUDOR - (TROY UNDER H*) ["collapsing"]. I took ages trying to anagram "under horse" into some legendary ancestor of Priam's, perhaps the sweaty-sounding HERNE SUDOR.

27 Possible alternative to barrel bomb (4)
TANK - either a container for liquids, or to flop miserably.

DOWN
2 Lark about to fly initially hit a pole sadly (4,3,4)
PLAY THE FOOL - (TO FLY H{it} A POLE*) ["sadly"]

3 Society member getting rum down with pained expression (9)
ODDFELLOW - ODD [rum] + FELL [down] with OW! [pained expression]. An 18th century London, and subsequently American, secret society.

4 Drudge ultimately destined to roam haphazardly ... (7)
DOORMAT - {destine}D + (TO ROAM*) ["haphazardly"]

5 ... or reliable person on staff seizing a path to fortune (6,5,4)
YELLOW BRICK ROAD - YELLOW [or, as in gold] + BRICK [reliable person] + ROD [staff] "seizing" A

6 Root in the end for a rising hero (7)
RADICLE - {fo}R A + reversed EL CID [hero]

7 Milan outfit quietly training players (5)
PRADA - P [quietly] + RADA [training players, i.e. trainee actors]

8 Raised swelling is to explode (5)
REBUT - reversed TUBER [swelling]. Explode as in "explode a myth".

13 Greatly inferior to what an unrepaired bike tube has? (3,1,5,2)
NOT A PATCH ON - double definition, one slightly more forced than the other!

16 Resort typically ranked bottom? (9)
LOWESTOFT - or LOWEST, OFT suggesting [typically ranked bottom]

18 Warning as unknown circle replaces ME state’s king (3,4)
YOU WAIT - take KUWAIT [M(iddle)E(ast) state] and replace its K [king] with Y O [unknown | circle]

19 New PE shirt fitting below the waist (7)
HIPSTER - (PE SHIRT*) ["new"]. As in "hipster jeans".

21 Gesture of respect for auditor’s branch (5)
BOUGH - homophone of BOW [gesture of respect]

22 Horseman once going over national hunt fences (5)
UHLAN - fenced in reversed by {natio}NAL HU{nt}. An obscurish word for a Polish cavalryman, but fortunately the cryptic doesn't leave much room for doubt!
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