guy_du_sable (guy_du_sable) wrote in times_xwd_times,
guy_du_sable
guy_du_sable
times_xwd_times

Sunday Times Cryptic No 4873, 20 X 2019, by Dean Mayer — Make mine a double

As my FOI was IN ONE’S RIGHT MIND, and my third, after AIDA, was the other 15-letter answer, DELIRIUM TREMENS, I was off to a flying start. Now, I really like long answers, but especially long anagrams, which neither of these two were. However, this puzzle offered the special treat of two even longer answers, both of them anagrammatical. I had to look twice to figure out what was going on with these two clues, each split into two parts. That’s just because in some puzzles elsewhere when answers are split into more than one place on the grid, the answer may be only one word but each part is also a word on its own (often unclued as such); and if the answer consists of more than one word, those words may not be the same as those that appear in each part as it’s broken up in the grid. Nothing nearly so complicated is involved here! My COD goes to COGNITIVE DISSONANCE… which I experienced a bit over the mechanics of a couple other clues, 1 down and 21.

The last thing I noticed about this puzzle, which occurred to me when I no longer had it in front of me, is that it is a pangram.

I do (amnasarg)* like this, and italicize anagrinds in the clues.


ACROSS
 1 Slave girl’s excellent hairstyle (4)
AIDA — Verdi’s heroine. A1, “excellent,” and the “hairstyle” is DA, for “duck’s arse” or (US) “duck’s ass.”
 3 & 10 Sky watcher intercepts gale force winds [two-word answer] (10)
REFRACTING — (intercepts gale force)*
10 See 3 (9)
TELESCOPE — See above
11 Port—at first just a wine (5)
RIOJA — RIO, “Port” + J[-ust]+ A
12 Retailer serving niche market? (6,4)
CORNER SHOP — CD. Cute, and easy, once you stop looking for something complicated. My LOI!
13 Edge of stockbroker belt (4)
KERB — Hidden
15 Fruit for jam (6)
SQUASH — DD
16 Mark Arctic rocks with single cross (8)
CICATRIX — (Arctic)* + I + X
18 Fair Democrat a US city rejected (3,2,3)
NOT SO BAD — Outspent by the super PACs? D(emocrat) + A + BOSTON  <=“rejected”
19 Wife becoming craftsperson (6)
WRIGHT — W(ife) + RIGHT, “becoming,” in the sense of “appropriate”; often meaning attractively so
22 Article by 1,000 US opponents (4)
THEM — THE, “article” + M for “1,000”
23 Rock thrown over tram line (10)
TETRAMETER — TE(TRAM)ETER. A short one, just three beats.
25 Weapon armistice announced (5)
PIECE — So now we just fight with our hands?  Homophone, “peace”
26 & 27 Cannot give decisions suffering this? [two-word answer] (9)
COGNITIVE — (Cannot give decisions)* This is brilliant, a rare example of a perfect &lit.
27 See 27 (10)
DISSONANCE — See above
28 Run around to find better writing? (4)
EDIT — TIDE<=“around” I saw the definition immediately but was hesitant to put this down. Hmm. What senses, respectively, of “tide” and “run” can we say are synonymous? A tide can be (Collins) “a stream, current, etc. or trend, tendency, etc. the tide of public opinion”—is that it? “A run of bad luck,” “the run of events,” “the tide of events”…

DOWN
 1 A charge, say, or several (7)
ATTACKS — ”A tax,” homophone (“say”); definition “several [charges].” This is at least a semi-&lit, since one word of the wordplay hss to be mentally resupplied for the definition.
 2 Shakes out of the bottle (8,7)
DELIRIUM TREMENS — CD
 4 Number one fan (6)
EGOIST — CD
 5 Rioter oddly cold inhaling hot, hot air (8)
RHETORIC — (Rioter)* + C(old) with H(ot) taken in
 6 Across river, better fish (4)
CARP — CA(R)P
 7 Having no sinister thoughts? (2,4,5,4)
IN ONES RIGHT MIND — CD
 8 Shifting equipment, things will get hit (7)
GEARBOX — GEAR, “things” + BOX, “hit”
 9 Slander, as somebody describing one (9)
ASPERSION — AS + PERS(I)ON
14 Retreating army to help farmhand (9)
DAIRYMAID — That’s “army,” MYRIAD<=”retreating” + AID, “help”
17 Type of orange drink, oddly nice, that cuts through (8)
VALENCIA — V(ALE, “drink” + N[-i]C[-e])IA
18 Writer’s block (7)
NOTEPAD — CD
20 In plague, wrong to hold hands (7)
TORMENT — TOR(MEN)T This is an unusual clue, with one word preceding the definition and pointing only to the wordplay. “In a synonym for this word, find this wordplay,” rather the inverse of the usual instructions. Done for the sake of a clever, if horrifying, surface.
21 Like Hamlet cigar, ultimately burnt up (6)
TRAGIC — (cigar + [-burn]T)* To my mind, the comma missing after “Like Hamlet” made for a surreal phrase. “What in blazes is a “Hamlet cigar”?” Thanks to Phil Jordan, in the comments below, for clearing this up. Hamlet cigars are a thing!
24 In France, the humorous monarch’s old love (4)
ZERO — In a corny imitation of a Gallic accent, ZE for “the” + R(ex) + O(ld)
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