astartedon (astartedon) wrote in times_xwd_times,

QC 1535 by Joker

I think that I found this about the most enjoyable QC that I have ever blogged. I did find it very straightforward, and it could nearly have been a PB, but as I have mentioned before I don't really keep accurate times and there are a couple of reasons for that which I won't go into here. Suffice it to say that I really enjoyed it and found two candidates for my COD where normally I find the choice very difficult because I don't see much to differentiate between the clues in terms of difficulty or style, with the result that I normally end up plumping for the smoothest surface. So many thanks to Joker for an entertaining morning cuppa.

FOI was the obvious anagram at 1A as you might expect, and LOI was in fact 22D just as it should be (although progress was not exactly linear between the two). The two potential CODs for me were 10A and 4D. Both of these I thought could have sat quite happily at the easy end of the spectrum in a 15x15 and they were a pleasant surprise when they were served up at this table. Having said that I think they are both pretty much write-ins for the experienced solver as long as you are on the mysterious 'wavelength'. Thankfully I was, with the definition leaping out at me in 10A and the cryptic doing the same in 4D. I think 10A gets my vote by a whisker.

Definitions are underlined in italics and everything else is explained just as I see it in the simplest language I can manage.

1 Nice groom is upset, made to offer efficient service (9)
ERGONOMIC - straight anagram ('is upset') of NICE GROOM.
6 Cause of obesity is mostly inevitable destiny (3)
FAT - 'mostly' FATe (inevitable destiny).
8 New in constituency, old Republican politician (7)
SENATOR - N (new) in SEAT (constituency) + O (old) + R (Republican).
9 Succulent fruit piece, half gone (5)
MANGO - MAN (a piece, as in Chess or Draughts) + GO (half GOne).
10 Small joint development making packets? (12)
SHIPBUILDING - S (small) + HIP (joint) + BUILDING (development). The definition is a cryptic one (hence the question mark) as a packet is a type of small ship.
12 Look endlessly for celebrity (4)
STAR - STARe (look 'endlessly').
13 Female dog losing head in desire (4)
ITCH - similar to the last clue but chopped off at the other end: bITCH (female dog 'losing head').
17 Crossroads into centre is under reconstruction (12)
INTERSECTION - straight anagram ('under reconstruction') of INTO CENTRE IS.
20 Thousand pounds in good currency (5)
GRAND - G (good) + RAND (South African currency).
21 Redoubt rebuilt to be more prominent (7)
OBTRUDE - straight anagram ('rebuilt') of REDOUBT.
23 Himalayan ox is all right over going without oxygen (3)
YAK - oKAY (all right) reversed ('over') 'going without' O (oxygen).
24 Opposing bridge players resist meeting (9)
ENCOUNTER - E + N (East and North, opposing bridge players) + COUNTER (resist).
1 A lack of effort getting fifth grades, reportedly (4)
EASE - sounds like Es (fifth grades).
2 Report weapon’s stolen (7)
GUNSHOT - GUN'S HOT (weapon's stolen).
3 Collar that has number turned up (3)
NET - TEN (number) 'turned up' (i.e. reversed in this down clue).
4 Odd spirit raised for quiet talk (6)
MURMUR - RUM (odd) + RUM (spirit) 'raised' (again, reversed in this down clue).
5 Illness having Mike clearly in bed (9)
COMPLAINT - M (Mike) + PLAIN (clearly) 'in' COT (bed).
6 Growths initially found upsetting New Guinea islander (5)
FUNGI - initial letters of Found Upsetting New Guinea Islander.
7 River in hard to cut channel (6)
TROUGH - R (river) 'in' TOUGH (hard to cut).
11 Game bird from one area of mountain top (9)
PARTRIDGE - PART RIDGE (one area of mountain top).
14 Empty Chaucer quote rubbished game played on grass (7)
CROQUET - CR ('empty' ChauceR) + OQUET (anagram 'rubbished' of QUOTE).
15 Hard getting into dirty-looking small boat (6)
DINGHY - another small boat. H (hard) 'getting into' DINGY (dirty-looking).
16 Some ranchero I considered very brave (6)
HEROIC - hidden word ('some'): rancHERO I Considered.
18 Follow the movements of vehicle reversing kilometres (5)
TRACK - TRAC (CART (vehicle) 'reversing') + K (kilometres).
19 Sustained campaign about European clothing (4)
WEAR - WAR (sustained campaign) 'about' E (European).
22 Greek character well on the way to being tight (3)
TAU - TAU is 'well on the way to being' TAUt (tight).

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