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

Times 27393 - What's up, Doc? I can see a planet or two.

I'll be interested to learn how others got on with this puzzle. I found it a game of two halves, as the cliché goes. I stared for a while at the early clues before finding a way in with 21a, 21d, 24a and in ten minutes had the entire bottom half completed, even to the point of having the Y checker ready for 12a, from 13d. Then I struggled. Suitable insects to solve 12a refused to fly by. STALEMATE wouldn't fit 1d. A word for horse riding skill for 5d escaped me. I stalled, much like the middle of the England cricket team did, batting on Sunday last. Then some pennies dropped and I crawled to the end, the top half taking me perhaps twice as long as the lower part. 2d and 11a took a while to parse even though the definitions were clear.
Anyway, it's a fine puzzle and we'll probably find it was just me, everybody else did it in a normal fashion, top down, and had no goal-less period in the middle.

Next week, oliviarhinebeck will be your Wednesday correspondent, I'm off the grid. Toodle Pip!

Across
1 Go when penultimate lap ends in race (6)
DEPART - DART = race, has the 'ends' of penultimate, lap, i.e. E and P, inserted.
4 General tidying up (8)
SWEEPING - Double definition, sweeping as in 'sweeping changes'.
10 Art house I gathered, OK (9)
AUTHORISE - (ART HOUSE I)*.
11 Bug I removed, originally in browser (5)
TAPIR - TAP = bug (as in phone), I R = I removed originally.
12 Bugs British ship, leading to fury (5-6)
BUNNY-BOILER - I'm not a movie buff, but I have seen Fatal Attraction. Nevertheless it took me an age to see what was going on here, and stop thinking about insects. BUGS gives us BUNNY, then B(ritish), OILER is a ship. Devious, or what.
14 Old music paper (3)
RAG - Double definition.
15 Man batting beyond fifty, bowler went over this player's head? (7)
CHAPLIN - Once I'd thought, who wore a bowler hat, the clue untangled itself. a CHAP IN is a man batting, insert an L for fifty.
17 In middle of facelift, call for the hard stuff (6)
ENAMEL - (fac) EL (ift) has NAME inserted.
19 Nothing blocking vision through certain tubes (6)
VENOUS - I presume here VENUS is a heavenly vision, as in "Venus in blue jeans" perhaps. Then insert O for nothing.
21 I must leave notaries milling around politician (7)
SENATOR - (NOTAR ES)*.
23 Put away in suitcase, a tuxedo (3)
EAT - Hidden in SUITCAS(E A T)UXEDO.
24 Classic fare detected by sleuth (7,4)
SPOTTED DICK - SPOTTED = detected, DICK = sleuth. A traditional steamed sponge pud with currants making the spots. Why it's dick, I don't know.
26 Heavenly body starts off pretty luscious, until tragically old (5)
PLUTO - Initial letters of the 5 words after 'starts off'.
27 Complain about nonsense to redhead (6-3)
CARROT-TOP - CARP = complain, has ROT and TO inside.
29 Where Somerset cathedral is filled with a thousand black holes, perhaps? (8)
INKWELLS - WELLS Cathedral is in Somerset, of course; so IN WELLS has K for a thousand inserted. I was going off piste thinking about how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall...
30 A wine after party enjoyed very much (6)
ADORED - A DO = a party, RED wine.

Down
1 No-win situation — second problem (8)
DRAWBACK - I was slow here, thinking no-win situation was the definition. But no, it's not. DRAW is the no win situation, and to BACK is to second.
2 Attach nails to spike (5)
PITON - PIN = attach, 'nails' (i.e. goes around) TO.
3 Criminal losing case, the bounder (3)
ROO - CROOK loses its 'case' i.e. C and K.
5 Little rest astride horse, displaying riding skill (7)
WHEELIE - WEE = little, LIE = rest, insert H for horse, think bikes not horses.
6 Trash read in tenet, considered (11)
ENTERTAINED - (READ IN TENET)*. Considered, as in, entertained the idea of a drink before lunch.
7 Tense? There's nothing wrong with me! (9)
IMPERFECT - I'M PERFECT !
8 Attachment to the house music genre (6)
GARAGE - Double definition, neat because HOUSE is also a music genre I believe.
9 Reject row about producer of litter (6)
DISOWN - SOW which produces a litter has DIN = row around it.
13 US river where chicken put to death (11)
YELLOWSTONE - YELLOW = chicken, scared; STONE = put to death. I'd heard of Yellowstone Park and Yellowstone Lake, probably from Yogi Bear, so a river seemed a reasonable bet. Apparently it's a major tributary of the Missouri and 700 miles long.
16 Lost for words, as we customised vehicle (9)
AWESTRUCK - (AS WE)*, then TRUCK.
18 Holiday talked of, getting home slower? (5,3)
BRAKE PAD - BRAKE sounds like BREAK = holiday, then PAD = home.
20 Social Democrat in the end, unfortunately, resigned (7)
STOICAL - anagram of SOCIAL with T, the T from end of Democrat.
21 Mockery, flag supporting it (6)
SATIRE - SA, sex appeal, IT, then TIRE = flag.
22 Ancient sanctuary, peaceful initially in new capital city (6)
DELPHI - P = peaceful initially, inserted into DELHI. I went to Delphi in the 60s, it was magical then, I hope it's not been over-touristified.
25 Scraping surface off when it's icy, put underground (5)
INTER - WINTER has its W scraped off.
28 Occasional outswinging deliveries discombobulating openers (3)
ODD - openers of O utswinging D eliveries D iscombobulating.
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