keriothe (keriothe) wrote in times_xwd_times,

Sunday Times 4884 by Robert Price - galled rocks

19:29. I thought this was quite tricky, but a really interesting puzzle with some excellent clues and a nice range of references. No literature to speak of, but nothing too obscure other than perhaps the rocks: one of them looked very likely but the other was more of a fingers-crossed job even if the wordplay was as clear as it could possibly be.

I have one query at 15ac, which perhaps someone can help me with, but otherwise this was all very clear. Edit: it's not surprising I had a query with this clue as my answer was wrong! See below.

So thanks to Bob for a lovely puzzle and here's how I think it all works...

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

1 Change direction about food, say, backing something meat-free
VEGEBURGER - VEER containing (about) a reversal of GRUB, EG. A bit of déjà vu all over again with this one, as the same answer appeared in the same place in puzzle 27,323 (11 April last year) and prompted a bit of comment on the basis that some people would expect it to be spelled VEGGIE BURGER. It can be, of course. There is a new breed of vegetarian burgers (called things like 'miracle') that are supposed to mimic the taste of meat very closely. I haven't tried one.
6 Cease endless pressure or crack
9 Second scorer for West Ham’s drunk
LISZT - CD, because Franz is the second composer (scorer) in the Cockney (West Ham) rhyming slang expression for ‘squiffy’, after Brahms.
10 Soldier in an attempt to win victory for England
AGINCOURT - A(GI)N, COURT (attempt to win).
12 Faultless record held by sailor regarding fish
ABOVE REPROACH - AB, OVER(EP), ROACH. This took a while because 'beyond' is the more familiar form of this expression to me.
14 Canine still loves the fancy collars
EYETOOTH - (THE)* containing YET, OO (loves).
15 Failing, move treacherously from side to side
DEFECT - I’m struggling a bit with the first definition here. Collins has ‘fail (someone) when most needed’ as a definition of ‘desert’, but I can’t get from that to ‘failing’. You could describe a piece of ‘desert’ land as ‘failing’ to produce crops, perhaps? I’m not sure what’s intended though. What do you think? The reason I couldn't explain my original answer of DESERT is, of course, because it was wrong. But it was close enough for me to think I must just be missing something. DOH!
17 Upset tin full of fish
SHAKEN - S(HAKE)N. Sn being the chemical symbol for a can, of course.
19 Laundry instruction one’s left in red lacy pants
DRY-CLEAN - (iN RED LACY)*. Or more accurately perhaps (IN RED LACY)* with an I removed.
21 It’s partly imaginary, this obsession with ketamine?
COMPLEX NUMBER - COMPLEX (obsession), NUMBER (thing that numbs, e.g. ketamine). ‘A complex number is a number that can be expressed in the form a + bi, where a and b are real numbers, and i is a solution of the equation x2 = −1. Because no real number satisfies this equation, i is called an imaginary number.’ I remember doing complex and imaginary numbers at school and finding it all very interesting, but that’s pretty much all I remember.
24 Can the first one in help in the kitchen?
TIN-OPENER - TIN (can), OPENER (the first one, i.e. batsman, in).
25 It’s among the last components of an older explosive
NITRE - aN (IT), oldeR, explosivE. Nitre (saltpetre) is one of the components of old gunpowder, so this is a clever &Lit.
26 Little bother
27 They’re not fair only plugging trendy gelati
INJUSTICES - IN(JUST), ICES. ‘Gelati’ being Italian for ice creams.

1 Animal passion almost rising to ecstasy
VOLE - reversal (rising) of LOVe, E.
2 Blow up a game reserve
GO SPARE - GO (a game), SPARE (reserve).
3 Only undergarment visible after fastening belt up
4 Chemicals are dropping down a toilet
REAGENTS - ARE with the A dropping to give REA, then GENTS.
5 Skip over some novel ideas
ELIDE - contained in ‘novel ideas.’
7 Howl from girl over spilt tea
ULULATE - reversal of LULU, (TEA)*.
8 Rock song originally separating two musical qualities
PITCHSTONE - PITCH(Song), TONE. The first of two rocks that were unknown to me.
11 What might display China’s control over ministers
CORNER CABINET - CORNER (control, as in a market), CABINET (ministers). This one took me a while to see: these items of furniture are not a prominent part of my everyday existence.
13 Did hound rescue pet mistreated by duke?
16 Ornamentation adjusted for uniform twice
18 Nuts topped fish dish every now and again
20 Sort of rock Cartier fashioned
ERRATIC - (CARTIER)*. 'A piece of rock that differs in composition, shape, etc, from the rock surrounding it, having been transported from its place of origin, esp by glacial action.' The second unknown rock for me, and one that looked sufficiently unlikely that I needed all the checkers to believe it could possibly be the answer.
22 Finally, burn energy by turning on gas
XENON - reversal (turning) of burN, E, X (by), then ON.
23 At shed, perspiring, lifting trees
YEWS - reversal of SWEatY.
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