Cityish Alt-ish Fortyish (verlaine) wrote in times_xwd_times,
Cityish Alt-ish Fortyish

Times 27,587: Wide Sagacious Setter

Now this is what I want to see on a Friday - a tough, clever puzzle which keeps many of its secrets past the 10 minute mark and indeed into the parsing. 12ac, 20ac, 22ac, 29ac, 2dn, 8dn, all clues that I saw even more brilliance in after submitting, after I took it upon myself to discover *exactly* how they worked. (And that's not to even mention 16dn, 24ac, 26ac which I wouldn't have felt comfortable submitting without full comprehension of how to get there. Just as well really or I could easily have committed to EXER with a shrug!)

All of the surfaces are perfect and to be honest this a virtuoso piece of setting across the board, with several clues that go above and beyond the normal levels of originality in their devices - this is Monthly Club Special level stuff. Bravo, nameless perpetrator, bravo. Plus as a lifelong Doctor Who fan, even despite recent provocations, 28ac as well as the TARDIS noise at 18dn tickled me pink. Best puzzle of the year for me so far I think and I'll make almost all the clues by joint COD, apart from maybe 17ac which is a bit of an oldie and therefore somewhat self-descriptive.

Over to you lot then, what did you think?

1 Sets out with currency that’s been converted? (8)
EXPOUNDS - or, EX-POUNDS, as (British) currency that has been converted into something else, may be.

5 Pimp linking minister to a parliamentarian (6)
REVAMP - REV [minister] linked to A MP

10 Twice a year kid meets old cameraman (9)
PAPARAZZO - P.A. [a year, x2] + RAZZ [kid] meets O. FOI.

11 Back in Normandy: a Hungarian composer (5)
HAYDN - hidden reversed in {norma}NDY A H{ungarian}

12 First light sees one charmed by swan (4)
LEDA - L.E.D. A could be "first light", in the same way that L.E.D. B would be "second light", yes? One charmed by a swan that was actually Zeus, in Greek myth, that is.

13 Possible place for setter’s cryptic legend on back of book (3-6)

15 Mormon wandering in valley briefly finds place of rest (6,4)

17 Dodgy moment, not the first (4)

19 Colour dry clothing with it (4)
TINT - TT [dry] "clothing" IN [with it]

20 Sudden change for American humorist into small red jumper (10)
SWITCHEROO - WIT [humorist] into S CHE ROO [small | red | jumper]

22 Was glitchy volume increased on a good day? (9)
HICCUPPED - CC [= cubic centimetre = volume] UPPED, on HI! [a good day (to you)]

24 Always apparently packing an extra five in a single square container (4)
EWER - EVER is always. Its second square contains a V or five - if you squished another V into that square it might look like more like EWER than EVER!

26 Logo for channel that is reversing its polarity? (5)
IDENT - ID EST, its S{outh} flipping to N{orth}.

27 Rude Finns could make enemies (9)
UNFRIENDS - (RUDE FINNS*). Though everyone knows that the actual, real-world usage of this word is as in "snubs on Facebook".

28 Feisty female to play Doctor Who, at last, enters (6)
TOMBOY - TOY [to play], entered by MB {who}O. The Jodie Whittaker era is... not yet good, but it's better than last year, so that's something!

29 True stories about river fronts producing algae (8)
SARGASSO - SO [true], "fronted" by SAGAS "about" R

1 Finally, time is up, by clock (4)
ESPY - {tim}E {i}S {u}P {b}Y

2 Sweet Dot given fresh flower (10,5)
PEPPERMINT CREAM - PEPPER [dot], given MINT [fresh] + CREAM [flower (as in, the best of)]

3 Madness, having uranium near each child (8)
UNREASON - U NR EA SON [uranium | near | each | child]

4 Dropped off note and final letter (5)
DOZED - DO [note] and ZED

6 Did second check in English dictionary (6)

7 Summons requesting company to go to court? (6,3,6)
ANYONE FOR TENNIS - cryptic def, simply a tennis court rather than a legal one.

8 Fine strike that’s spotted in football field (7,3)
PENALTY BOX - PENALTY [fine] + BOX [strike]. I assume the penalty box is spotted because it has a penalty spot? But my grasp of the beautiful game is notoriously shaky.

9 See books covering county’s missing years? (4-4)
LONG-LOST - LO N.T. "covering" GLOS. LOI

14 Repeatedly cold, this most unconventionally fine shower! (6,4)
SCOTCH MIST - (C C THIS MOST*) ["unconventionally"]

16 Fixing undiluted drink, suddenly left, upset (8)
RAWLPLUG - RAW [undiluted] + reversed GULP L [drink suddenly | left]. This unusual and deceptively defined word took me AGES to crack.

18 Moan endlessly about tablets for hearing and breathing problem? (8)
WHEEZING - WHING{e} "about" a homophone of E'S [tablets (which're good, according to The Shamen)]

21 Neat, I agree (4,2)
JUST SO - double def

23 Government department do: couple in the end have left (5)
DEFRA - DEFRA{ud} [do], minus its last two letters. What did my American compatriots made of this rather parochial reference to the British Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs?

25 Capital letters, initially and finally, turning up in ciphers (4)
OSLO - L{etter}S, reversed inside O O [(two) ciphers]
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