brnchn (brnchn) wrote in times_xwd_times,

Times Cryptic No 27594 - Saturday, 22 February 2020. More food for thought.

I'm sorry this is a half hour late. I'm not sure why. Some weird time zone problem, I suspect.

Anyway, the puzzle was not as easy to finish over lunch as last week’s, but was again plenty of delightful clues. It was rather hard to get started, but then things mostly flowed smoothly. The last few answers took a little longer to polish off (unlike lunch!).

FOI was 10ac, and LOI 25ac. It’s hard to pick a favourite from the well disguised definitions and the clever wordplay. I loved the ‘enemy’ at 5dn, but I will pick 22ac simply because I thought the definition was a delight.

Clues are blue, with definitions underlined. (ABC*) means ‘anagram of ABC’. Deletions are in [square brackets].
1 Squads back in uniform before training session initially (5)
UNITS – I looked at this askance, but it works fine. UNI is IN U[-niform], ‘back’. Then  TS is T-raining] S[-essions], ‘initially’.
4 In play, Charlie gets oddly sluggish (9)
LETHARGIC – (CHARLIE G-T-*), ‘in play’.
9 Arcane pursuit last month featured in violent comics (9)
OCCULTISM – ULT (last month) in ‘violent’ (COMICS*).
10 Cook's pan (5)
ROAST – double definition.
11 Golden days during month in the country (6)
JORDAN – JAN[-uary] is the month. Include OR (golden) and D (days).
12 Like a small bully boy casing hotel (2,6)
AS THOUGH – A S[-mall] TOUGH, ‘casing’ H for hotel. When I first saw the answer, I thought the bully might be a THUG, but that didn’t work of course.
14 Upsetting measurement system outfitter's familiar with? (9)
CAPSIZING – double definition. The second is fanciful, although no doubt ‘sizing caps’ is a thing.
16 Patent scheme I introduced (5)
17 The setter had brief simple clues (5)
IDEAS – I’D (the setter had), EAS[-Y]. The definition is nicely understated.
19 Dozy supporter more often away (9)
BRAINLESS – BRA (a supporter, in crosswordland), IN LESS (away more often, so at home less).
21 Revolutionary working extended? Not any more (2,6)
NO LONGER – NO comes from a revolutionary ON (working). LONGER is extended.
22 Artful Dodger always got round Bill (6)
EVADER – EVER (always) around AD (bill). So, the answer is nothing to do with Dickens.
25 Yield from funds reduced (5)
BUDGE – drop the T from BUDGE[-t].
26 Hooded Asian ruler leading troops on horse (4,5)
KING COBRA – KING (ruler), RA (troops) on COB (horse).
27 No-hoper confused with MD, a stout fellow (9)
ENDOMORPH – (NO HOPER MD*), ‘confused’. I know mesomorphs are the muscular ones, but I struggle to remember endomorphs and ectomorphs. Anyhow, this is the big guy.
28 Strike abruptly terminated by hospital worker (5)
SMITH – SMIT[-e], H[-ospital]. Another I had to look at more than once before I was happy to put it in.

1 Ambition in combination with skill is OK (15)
UNOBJECTIONABLE – OBJECT (ambition) in UNION (combination), then ABLE (with skill).
2 Run into S American once leaving a historic city (5)
INCUR – INC[-a], UR. Obvious once you think of the setters’ prime choice for a historic city, UR.
3 Having dashed inside, one’s brought up teaching schedules (7)
SYLLABI – BALLY (dashed) inside I’S (one’s), all backwards (‘brought up’).
4 Joint leaders of industry non-committal at first (4)
LOIN – spelled out by the first letters of each word.
5 I'm stealing misplaced report of the enemy's progress? (4,6)
TIME SIGNAL – (IM STEALING*), ‘misplaced’. Why is time the enemy?
The innocent and the beautiful have no enemy but time (William Butler Yeats).
6 Outdated transporter freshens fruit (7)
AIRSHIP – alternatively, AIRS HIP.
7 A large nut supply to grind (9)
GRANULATE – (A LARGE NUT*), ‘supplying’. I am a little unconvinced that ‘to grind’ is to granulate. Grains are what you have before grinding, I would have thought, not after.
8 Gasp in surprise: I disturbed bathers (5,4,6)
CATCH ONES BREATH – CATCH (surprise, as in ‘I caught him unawares’), ONE (I), then (BATHERS*) ‘disturbed’.
13 Make fast roller a time-saver at Wimbledon (10)
TIEBREAKER – TIE (make fast), BREAKER (roller).
15 Barred musical movement involving about 500 (9)
PRECLUDED – PRELUDE involving C (about), then D (500).
18 Timber to support Spartan characters climbing shaft (7)
SUNBEAM – NUS are Spartan (or more generally, Greek) letters or characters. Turn them round to make them climb, then add BEAM (timber). A shaft of light.
20 Why craftsmen can't grip religious recruits? (7)
NOVICES – the craftsmen apparently have NO VICES on their workbenches.
23 New York chum served up excellent port (5)
DUBAI – BUD served ‘up’, then AI for excellent.
24 Cross but not completely thank heavens! (4)
ANKH – hidden answer.
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