johninterred (johninterred) wrote in times_xwd_times,

Times Quick Cryptic No 1359 by Mara

A gentle Friday offering from Mara today. Nothing too difficult, I think, as I was all done and dusted in 4:40. Lots of neat surfaces added a bit of extra fun to the solving and blogging. Thanks, Mara, for the entertainment. Did anyone have any horses that got scared? How did you all get on?

Definitions underlined in blue bold italics, Abc indicating anagram of Abc, deletions like this and [] other indicators.

1 Try a measure of spirits (4)
SHOT - Double definition. So how much booze do you get in a shot? This may, or may not, help.
4 The pics, a strange compilation from various sources (8)
PASTICHE - Anagram of The pics a [strange]. "A pastiche is a work of visual art, literature, theatre, or music that imitates the style or character of the work of one or more other artists. Unlike parody, pastiche celebrates, rather than mocks, the work it imitates". I sort of only vaguely knew that, but now I am somehwat the wiser having looked it up.
8 Bird, wretched duck! (8)
FLAMINGO - FLAMING (wretched) O (= 0 = duck at cricket).
9 Entering Malmo, vehicles advance (4)
MOVE - Hidden in [entering] MalMO VEhicles. Advance, but not always as fast as they used to, according to this.
10 Famous traitors sent back (4)
STAR - The trators are RATS. Reversed [sent back] they become STAR.
11 One confused royalist! (8)
SOLITARY - Our second anagram, [confused] royalist.
12 Atrocity west of a peninsula in old war (6)
CRIMEA - CRIME (atrocity) [west of] (i.e. to the left of) A. A convention worth noting. The points of the compass can be used as positional or directional indicators. e.g. West (on the left, as here) East (on the right) and in Down clues North (on top) and South (at the bottom). Similarly "to the west" means going leftwards (i.e. reversed in an Across clue) and "to the north" means going upwards in a Down clue.
14 Type of music for Mark or John (6)
GOSPEL - ...along with Matthew and Luke. I tried in vain to find any gospel singers called Mark or John. Do you know any?
16 All men on board, in black and white? (5,3)
CHESS SET - Cryptic definition. All the pieces, black and white,  to be put on a CHESS board at the start of the game are known as a SET.
18 Look back and forth (4)
PEEP - [back and forth] indicates we are looking (as it were) for a palindrome. No, not SEES, as in "I sees yer" as the people mentioned in 15D might say.
19 Hired vehicle: duty to take one (4)
TAXI - TAX (duty) I (one). Lemon squeezy. Well, if you were struggling to get started, this, surely, would get you on the road.
20 Not doing anything interesting initially, I cannot elaborate (8)
INACTION - Interesting [initially] (i.e. first letter) and anagram of [elaborate] I cannot. Elaborate further on this clue? I cannot.
22 Hours of work important for device on computer (5,3)
SHIFT KEY - SHIFT (hours of work) KEY (important). Hmm. To describe one of the keys on the keyboard as a device in its own right is not technically correct, but never mind. Of course they only exist on a computer keyboard from the legacy of that ingenious invention, the typewriter.
23 Lean over part of foot (4)
HEEL - Double definition. And perhaps a missed opportunity for a triple definition? Try adding "of an inconsiderate person". Ahem. Leave setting to the setter, John. I'll get my coat.

2 Her slot designed as gun holder (7)
HOLSTER - Her slot [designed]. A nice easy one to start the Downs.
3 Watch, say, construction of mitre (5)
TIMER - [say] indicates that "Watch" is a definition by example; [construction of] mitre.
4 Period of rest coming up for God (3)
PAN - NAP [coming up] (i.e. reversed) gives us the god PAN. He who is... "the god of the wild, shepherds and flocks, nature of mountain wilds, rustic music and impromptus, and companion of the nymphs".
5 Vessel in superficial glare of publicity (9)
SPOTLIGHT - Nice surface as the definition is not obvious. Put POT (vessel) [in] SLIGHT (superficial).
6 Prisoners recollected its name (7)
INMATES - [recollected] its name. Which get's me wondering for what they couldn't remember the word. Lawfulness, perhaps?
7 Hoedown's beginning on float (5)
HOVER - Hoedown's [beginning] (i.e. first letter) OVER (on). On a float at a Mardi Gras parade in Appalachia with film coverage from a drone, maybe?
11 Past moves in polished comedy routines (9)
SLAPSTICK - Anagram of Past [moves] in SLICK (polished).
13 Parent with very difficult dog (7)
MASTIFF - MA (parent) [with] STIFF (very difficult), as in a stiff test.
15 Horrendous sight was witnessed by me, it's said (7)
EYESORE - Sounds like [it's said] I SAW. And before you protest, I know some people who pronounce this with an intrusive R when the next word begins with a vowel... like "I saw'r it!"
17 Doubly hard to catch swallow in wasteland (5)
HEATH - H and H (doubly hard) outside [to catch] EAT (swallow). "An area of open uncultivated land, typically on acid sandy soil, with characteristic vegetation of heather, gorse, and coarse grasses". I was leading a walk on one of these earlier this week,
18 Level playing field (5)
PITCH - Double definition. The former as in "her frustration reached such a pitch that she screamed".
21 A US city, no matter which (3)
ANY - A NY (New York - US city). If you want go to a city of 100,000+ inhabitants in the US (as of July 2017) you have a choice of 311 of them according to this.

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