brnchn (brnchn) wrote in times_xwd_times,
brnchn
brnchn
times_xwd_times

Times Cryptic No 27606 - Saturday, 07 March 2020. Of imaginary beasts and fanciful fractions.

This puzzle took me several times longer than the week before. No walk in the park here! I wrote in 1ac at a glance, and then there was a long interlude before I solved 20ac. Strangely I then finished the whole bottom half of the grid, bar 15dn, before I got another answer in the top half.

I ended with four outstanding in the NE corner: 4 and 12 across, and 6 and 8 down. They all fell quite quickly once an alphabet trawl suggested a ‘T’ before the ‘W’ in 12ac.

Overall, this was a mix of delightful clues, and the downright weird. For weirdness, the COD is clearly 12ac. For delight, it’s a tossup between 25dn, 15dn and 26ac, but I think I’ll nominate the Cornish corn! What did all of you think?

Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle. (Who was that masked setter, by the way?)

Clues are blue, with definitions underlined. (ABC*) means ‘anagram of ABC’. Deletions are in [square brackets].
Across
1 On reflexion, throwing game is expensive fiddle! (5)
STRAD – DARTS, the throwing game, on reflection. (How Times-y to spell that with an x, by the way.)
4 Imagined primate crouching in school (9)
SASQUATCH – ASQUAT (crouching), in SCH.
9 Bishop stopping out to lunch clamours for wine (9)
LAMBRUSCO – B for bishop inside (stopping) (CLAMOURS*), ‘out to lunch’.
10 Pumped up dinghy, perhaps, that’s shrunk (5)
HYPER – hidden answer (‘that’s shrunk’).
11 One in exaltation embracing a new Scottish town (6)
LANARK – A, N[-ew] in LARK. An exaltation of larks is one of those quirky collective nouns.
12 this would be the making of one (8)
TWELFTHS – well yes, twelve twelfths do make one. But I confess, I can’t get my mind round this clue. Is the lower case ‘t’ on ‘this’ meant to tell us to read the clue number as part of the clue text?
14 Which of the Napoleons holds a tirade in isolation? (10)
QUARANTINE – QUE (French for which or what), holds A RANT IN.
16 Stretch, maybe, or where to do it? (4)
STIR – double definition. The first is by an example of something you might do when you stir in the morning, the second is where you might do a prison stretch.
19 Yellow tie at audition (4)
YOLK – sounds like YOKE ‘in audition’.
20 Raw pine should, after treatment (10)
UNPOLISHED – (PINE SHOULD*), ‘after treatment’.
22 Very small wedding buffet (8)
MATCHBOX – MATCH (wedding), BOX (buffet, in the sense of ‘boxing one’s ears’ for example).
23 Set on carol singing without wife (6)
ASSAIL – [-w]ASSAIL. Apparently, wassailing is a ritual drinking of cider for good luck, but there’s a carol about it, Gloucestershire Wassail.
26 Use four-letter word: the “corn” in Cornwall? (5)
SWEAR – SW (south-west, like Cornwall), EAR (corn).
27 What French article’s appearing in press in another language? (9)
IROQUOIAN – QUOI (French for what) A (article of the grammatical kind), in IRON (press). It was a struggle to put this one together, especially since I wasn’t sure how to spell IROQUOIS!
28 Locals keen to include Japanese school after Italian one (9)
CITIZENRY – CRY (keen), to include IT (Italian), I (one), and ZEN (Japanese school).
29 What TT competitors get back, or relinquish (5)
DEMIT – TIMED backwards. Another Times-y word, DEMIT.

Down
1 Lousily made up old queen comes in talking to himself? (9)
SOLILOQUY – O (old) and Q (queen) in (LOUSILY*), ‘made up’.
2 Starter in restaurant? So be it! (5)
RAMEN – R (starter in Restaurant), AMEN. The first three words of the clue are both definition and wordplay.
3 Scandal, reportedly successfully endured, that’s not surfaced (4,4)
DIRT ROAD – DIRT (scandal), then ROAD sounds like RODE, ‘reportedly’.
4 Frame you need when lifting belt up (4)
SASH – SA is AS (when) ‘lifting up’, then SH (belt up!).
5 Chance to display grass snake without looking up (4,6)
SHOP WINDOW – SHOP (grass), WIND (snake), W/O (without) backwards (‘looking up’).
6 Inclined to dress boy in uniform, large (6)
UPHILL – PHIL (today’s random boy), between U (uniform) and L (large).
7 Something from the sewer closed thoroughfare going through field (9)
TOPSTITCH – TO (closed, as in ‘push the door to’), then ST in PITCH. I didn’t know what a top stitch is, but I gather it’s both decorative and functional. The wordplay is clear once you unravel it.
8 Some time’s needed to raise river god (5)
HORUS – HOURS with R for river moved up a place. An Egyptian god.
13 Love intranet to be resigned, with business finally booming (10)
STENTORIAN – (O INTRANET S*), ‘resigned’. (Resigned seems a stretch as an anagram indicator, BTW. Perhaps it was intended to be ‘redesigned’?). The O is for love, the S is the last letter of ‘businesS’.
15 Stag party with Adam, Job etc, at time share (9)
ALLOTMENT – a stag party is of course ALL MEN. These specific people are from the OT (Old Testament), and stand on T for time.
17 Do new plot for film about end of civilised world (3,6)
RED PLANET – REPLAN (do new plot), and ET (film), around D from [-civilise]D.
18 Chart successes by Yard to find killers (3,5)
HIT SQUAD – HITS (chart successes), QUAD (square).
21 Wine producer, his ground not quite level (6)
SHIRAZ – (HIS*), ‘ground’, then RAZ[-e] being to level.
22 I total up, roughly, the score? (5)
MUSIC – I SUM, upwards, then C (roughly).
24 Saw American chopper land in Irish Sea (5)
AXIOM – AX (American spelling of ‘axe’), IOM (Isle of Man).
25 Small hopper full of cracks, except for the centre (4)
JOEY – JO[-k]EY.
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