vinyl1 (vinyl1) wrote in times_xwd_times,
vinyl1
vinyl1
times_xwd_times

Times 27607 - "Sea-borderers, disjoin'd by Neptune's might.....

Time: 31 minutes
Music: Pictures at an Exhibition, Leibowitz/RPO

This puzzle was not as easy as I first supposed, primarily because of various obscure usages that I will have to research for the blog.  I had most of it down inside of fifteen minutes, but in the end I was really slowed down by not being able to get anything in the northeast corner.  Evenentually, I broke through with 'Isle of Man' and 'plotters', allowing me to finish without too much further ado.  Even the chestnut clues were very well-disguised, and I would not be surprised if you encountered unexpected difficulties or blind spots.

As many of you are aware, Jim Biggin has been forced by health issues to discontinue his blogging duties.   He is one of our oldest bloggers, having joined Times For The Times shortly after it was founded, and having been continuously involved for the past dozen years or so.   He was a daily-puzzle blogger for many years, splitting the Tuesday spot with Topical Tim; in later years, he has been the alternate Mephisto blogger, partnering with George Heard.   We will all miss him, and we hope that he will at least be able to continue to comment in the blogs when he feels up to it.

I have taken over the Mephisto spot on alternate Sundays, and next Sunday will be my first blog.   I have become rather obsessed with solving Mephisto without reference books, but you can be sure I will do whatever is necessary to finish the puzzle and explain all the clues.  I would like to encourage some our better solvers to tackle Mephisto, and I will be writing more elaborate and discursive blogs in an attempt to get some additional people interested in these intriguing puzzles.

Across
1 Dictator’s honest sound (6)
STRAIT - Sounds like STRAIGHT, but 'sound' is NOT the homophone indicator, but the definition.   This certainly threw me off in my analysis of the clue.
4 Accessible university in East End district (7)
POPULAR - POP(U)LAR.    Poplar is a metropolitan borough that I had never heard of, but the answer is obvious enough once you have the crossing letters.
9 Defeated king flees, revealed as gay? (5)
OUTED - [r]OUTED.
10 Location of a film one’s shot (4,2,3)
ISLE OF MAN - anagram of A FILM ONE'S.
11 Unruly teens seen in a state (9)
TENNESSEE - Anagram of TEENS SEEN.
12 Currently Democrat’s moving to the right. Such a creep! (5)
TOADY - TODAY with the D moved to the right.   A well-disguised chestnut.
13 A rebellious vicar’s protest (4)
AVER - A + REV backwards, where 'protest' has an obscure dictionary meaning.
14 Conked out clutching bottle? That’s sad (10)
DISPIRITED - DI(SPIRIT)ED, as in 'the engine died'.
18 Right lad, likely somehow to become a Lothario (10)
LADYKILLER - Anagram of R LAD LIKELY.
20 Godfather chopping tail off fowl (4)
CAPO - CAPO[n], an obvious chestnut, but the only one.
23 Note about keeping quiet is revealed (5)
BLOWN - B(LOW)N, where 'note' = N.B. = nota bene, and a secondary meaning of 'blown' is used - enough to confuse anyone!
24 Director put to death with intravenous injection (9)
EXECUTIVE - EXECUT(I.V.)E.   A 'director' and an 'executive' are roughly equivalent in many cases, but not all.   I am a director of a tax district, but not an executive, since my only duty is to vote 'aye'.
25 Winemaker’s found with stolen ammunition (9)
GRAPESHOT - GRAPE'S + HOT.
26 Sign bishop invested in currency once (5)
LIBRA -  LI(B)RA
27 Hero’s boyfriend died in comparatively poor surroundings (7)
LEANDER - LEAN(D)ER, where the trick is to find the literal.
28 Regularly defends having clock outside running fast (6)
SPEEDY - SP([d]E[f]E[n]D[s])Y.   I would like to see why  'clock' = 'spy', which it evidently does.
Down
1 Unexpectedly autumn leads to deficit (9)
SHORTFALL -  SHORT FALL, as in 'caught short' - very clever!
2 Followers of desperate mutineer, miles away (7)
RETINUE - anagram of [m]UTINEER.
3 How one may sin? Exactly (6)
INDEED - IN DEEDj, or in word, perhaps.
4 Heartthrob perhaps turning up at university (5)
PULSE - UP turned + LSE, the London School of Economics.
5 Young wizard’s handling spell, ultimately intriguing people (8)
PLOTTERS - P([spel]L)OTTER'S, one I should have seen more quickly.
6 Attack a doctor in city street (7)
LAMBAST - L. (A MB) A. + ST.  I would have preferred an attack on an MBA.
7 Sexy clothing for Rosy? (5)
RANDY - R AND Y, another misleading clue, where 'rosy' is not the literal.
8 Who’ll eat these slops? (8)
PIGSWILL - PIGS WILL!
15 Penny envies hosts (8)
PRESENTS - P + RESENTS
16 Marry odd European, eccentric creature (9)
DROMEDARY - Anagram of MARRY ODD E.
17 Gang member’s boss going under cover (8)
SKINHEAD - SKIN + HEAD, in entirely different senses.
19 Scene in play about Greek maiden (7)
DIORAMA - D(IO)RAMA, a clue which is on the verge of becoming a chestnut.
21 Is one intelligent and good-natured? (7)
AMIABLE - AM I ABLE?
22 Stop running up and down (4,2)
PULL UP - A palindrome, as indicated.
23 Roll made by first two in bakery on rising (5)
BAGEL - BA[kery] + LEG rising.
24 Article inspired by Her Majesty’s knockout drops? (5)
ETHER - E(THE)R, a rather loose literal.   The whole clue might allude to Queen Victoria's use of anaethetics in childbirth.
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