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

Times 27417 - back with a whimper

Having relocated reasonably smoothly to the Land of Hope and Glory, I was ready for a tough challenge and hoping to produce a witty, erudite blog, up to the standard of my excellent locum of last week, Olivia. Sadly, I found this puzzle eminently straightforward and uncontroversial, and am struggling to say anything very witty or erudite about any of the clues. Parsing 14a held me up for longer than writing the rest of the blog.

Now back to opening those boxes and wondering why we have all this stuff.


Across
1 Old Irishman briefly attached to pub belonging to a peer (8)
BARONIAL - NIAL(L) an abberviated Irish first name, is attached to BAR (pub) and O for old.
5 He left by public transport, getting measure of grain (6)
BUSHEL - BUS has HE and L added.
10 Country district to west lacking the ultimate in brio (5)
NIGER - REGION is reversed and has its O (end of brio) removed.
11 Take back City, overcome by ecstatic delight (9)
RECAPTURE - EC (City of London) is inserted into RAPTURE.
12 Part of Jersey, say — and Bath once, I suspect (9)
AITCHBONE - (BATH ONCE I)*, part of a cow one assumes. Not part of a sweater, anyway.
13 Magistrate’s point accepted by minister at conclusion of case (5)
REEVE - REV (minister) has E (point) inserted and E (end of case) added.
14 Intrinsic feature of enclosure being put about (7)
ESSENCE - The best I can do to explain this is to say it's ENC for enclosure inside ESSE which itself means 'essence' or essential nature, it being the Latin verb 'to be'. The surface doesn't make much sense.
16 Stumble over second Cambridge honours exam (6)
TRIPOS - TRIP (stumble), O(ver), S(econd).
18 Part of cannon soldier finally found in tree (6)
BREECH - R (end of soldier) inserted into BEECH tree.
20 Yokel’s plight at first, restricted by useless family (7)
BUMPKIN - P (plight at first) inserted into BUM KIN = useless family.
22 Where gladiatorial contests took place a long time back (5)
ARENA - AN ERA all reversed.
23 One antagonises a retired man, backing duty list (9)
ALIENATOR - A, NEIL reversed, ROTA reversed.
25 Restricted by petty rules, like badly fed cattle? (9)
HIDEBOUND - I supposed a double definition, the second one literal, if a bit strained. Bound by hide, a badly fed cow?
26 Small island administered by a king or queen? (5)
ARRAN - A R (king or queen) RAN the island. I don't see the need for small, Arran is 432 sq. km., not that small.
27 Male, culturally pretentious Republican, one who died for cause (6)
MARTYR - M(ale), ARTY (culturally pretentious), R(epublican).
28 Fail to take in variable poem about aquatic creatures (8)
CRAYFISH - CRASH (fail) has Y (variable) and IF (poem) reversed, inserted.

Down
1 Embargo judge removed, destroyed by incompetence (8)
BANJAXED - BAN (embargo) J(udge) AXED (removed). An odd word which I heard used a lot when I lived in the Emerald Isle. Etymology seems unknown.
2 Correct ceremonial for listeners (5)
RIGHT - Homophone of RITE.
3 Poor boy near the barn digesting start of great novel (10,5)
NORTHANGER ABBEY - Think of a famous novel with 10, 5, then unravel the reason why. (BOY NEAR THE BARN G)*, the G from beginning of great.
4 Publicise complete-sounding aid to ventilation (7)
AIRHOLE - AIR = publicise, HOLE sounds like WHOLE = complete.
6 Rule man in a party breaks, being this? (15)
UNPARLIAMENTARY - &lit. anagram; (RULE MAN IN A PARTY)*.
7 Keep last of water in cooking pot for domestic chores (9)
HOUSEWORK - keep = HOUSE, look after; WOK a cooking pot has R the end of water inserted.
8 Songs principal first violinist talked of (6)
LIEDER - Homophone of LEADER of the orchestra.
9 Stress that may be acute? (6)
ACCENT - may be an acute accent, or grave accent, as you wish.
15 Give in and give up (9)
SURRENDER - Double definition.
17 Dig in in French river, disturbing fish (8)
ENTRENCH - EN = French for in, TENCH a fish, insert R for river.
19 Greeting coming in our direction in break (6)
HIATUS - HI, AT US.
20 Brilliant piece of play demanding drunken celebration (7)
BLINDER - Play a blinder, go on a blinder.
21 Old lady on edge about youth leader’s state of chaos (6)
MAYHEM - MA (old lady), HEM (edge) insert Y (youth leader).
24 Bones seafarers found on island (5)
TARSI - TARS = seafarers, I(sland).
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