keriothe (keriothe) wrote in times_xwd_times,

Sunday Times 4874 by David McLean

19:24. A tricky and interesting puzzle from Harry this week. Most of these clues are really very straightforward, but they throw you (OK me) off track by deploying slightly off-beat or unexpected meanings of words. Going through them properly for the purpose of writing the blog, I really can’t see what on earth I found difficult about any of them. This is generally the mark of a first-class puzzle, and that’s what this is.

Definitions are underlined, anagrams indicated like (TIHS)*, anagram indicators are in italics.

1 South American prison survey
SCAN - S, CAN. I don’t think of CAN as a specifically American word, but ODO says it is and that’s good enough for me.
4 Old royal beaten up by old mayor
BLOODY MARY - (BY OLD MAYOR)*. Mary I, who earned this moniker by having as many protestants as possible killed before her half-sister Elizabeth could stop the fun.
9 Primate some find risible
INDRIS - contained in ‘find risible’. I hadn’t heard of this type of short-tailed lemur found in Madagascar but the wordplay was clear so as soon as I had a checker it went in.
10 Developer’s provided with tricks and hints
SOUPCONS - SOUP (developer), CONS (tricks). When solving I thought this might be a reference to the ‘primordial SOUP’ that is a developer of early life (kind of) but it turns out SOUP is a word for a photographic developer. I don’t really know what this means either but I assume it's the sort of bath thing that people dip photos into in dark rooms in movies.
11 Don’t forget about one in the club, say
12 A perhaps reflective number from The Edge
SIDE-ON - SIDE (A, perhaps, the other side being the B side), reversal of NO. Not a U2 reference as it appears.
13 County bigwig trade union tells, mostly, to go to hell
LORD LIEUTENANT - (TRADE UNION TELLs)*. I’ve no idea what these people do but I met one once and he was posher than I had previously believed possible and quite extraordinarily pleased with himself.
16 A flight to East London?
APPLES AND PEARS - not very cryptic definition. Still took me a few checkers to twig though.
20 China possibly to back one who supports Bush
PROTEA - PRO (one who supports), TEA (China possibly). I worried a bit that BRATEA might be a thing but this looked altogether more likely.
22 A guy carrying mug and small tumblers
ACROBATS - A, C(ROB)AT, S. The guy is a CAT, the mug (verb) is ROB.
24 Woman close to Ohio is stuck in traffic?
25 Groovy tango track many bought by female group
WITH IT - WI (female group), T (tango), HIT (track many bought).
26 Hope a store abandoned offensive kid’s toy
PEASHOOTER - (HOPE A STORE)*. Much more likely to be a Nerf gun these days.
27 Idle talk about the Fringe from Ernie Wise
SAGE - reversal of GAS (idle talk), Ernie or possibly erniE.

2 Criminal girl that’s taken in English clot
3 Sauce bottle
NERVE - DD. This must be a chestnut, surely? I can’t specifically remember seeing it before but this setter did clue DUTCH COURAGE as 'bottle of sauce?' a couple of years ago (4753).
4 Vulgar parties which are thrown by sports people?
BASEBALLS - or BASE (vulgar) BALLS (parties).
5 Keep watch
6 Got to welcome queen with second Bacardi and Coke?
DRUGS - DUG (got, as in ‘do you dig Hendrix?’) containing R (queen), S. I think the idea here is that alcohol and cocaine are both drugs, hence the plural.
7 Country club fellow, one with class essentially
8 Weak résumé
RUNDOWN - ‘Weak’ seemed a bit oblique to me, but I suppose weakness is generally a part of feeling under the weather or RUN DOWN. This meaning needs a space between the words so it's (very mildly) cryptic wordplay rather than a second definition.
14 It is not real somehow
RELATIONS - (IS NOT REAL)*. The definition is channelling Eric Idle, of course.
15 First-class prize fund to be raised
TOP-DRAWER - reversal of REWARD POT. Again, this must be a chestnut, surely?
17 Have some grounds to arrest volunteers on ecstasy
PARTAKE - PAR(TA)K, E. Very cunningly concealed definition.
18 Most tidy home — worry going inside it
19 Southern bishop dropping out of gambling scene
21 In the morning, I leave for China from Spain
23 Objections reportedly could mean the end of cigarettes
BUTTS - sounds like ‘buts’.
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