Finished in 9:23. I had hoped for something a bit faster as I've been working on improving my speed. But when the pressure's on, I seem to slow down! In any case, a tricky puzzle with some unknown words for me. Maybe half the clues went in from definition alone, so I'll be figuring out the wordplay on the fly.
While writing up the blog, I realized this was a themed puzzle. What a delight, as my sons and I are reading Michael Bond's A Bear Called Paddington these days.
In this puzzle, we have PADDINGTON (10a) Bear from DARKEST (4a) PERU (1d), sent to England by his AUNT (18d) LUCY (2d). His favorite food is MARMALADE (3d), which he often enjoys in SANDWICH (13d) form. He's often depicted in a yellow MAC (21d). In the last and most memorable of Michael Bond's timeless tales, Paddington falls on HARD (19d) times and lands in PRISON (16d), where he develops an OPIUM (20a) addiction and becomes obsessed with DE SADE (4d). Finally, he takes his own life with a SPATULA (22d). Etc.
Checked the unches for any references to Michael Bond, 'bear', etc, but couldn't find anything. Also I'm not aware of any relevance of the date 24 June to either the author or the story. Clearly, Felix must have simply known that I have Paddington on the brain. Someone please do a Pooh/Milne puzzle for me!
|1||One dressed in purple [finding] old javelin (5)|
|PILUM - I (one) in PLUM (purple)
An old Roman javelin.
|4||Most obscure desk art rubbished (7)|
|DARKEST - anagram of DESK ART|
|8||Chronicles concerned with trousers (7)|
|RECORDS - RE + CORDS (trousers)
From 'corduroy jeans', I believe.
|9||Their sharp points scratch this, at intervals? (5)|
|CACTI - every other letter of SCRATCH THIS
A bit loose as a definition. "Their sharp points scratch" could be a definition but then 'scratch' does double duty.
|10||Railway station put out some pop, adding to noise (10)|
|PADDINGTON - hidden in POP ADDING TO NOISE
My sons and I are reading A Bear Called Paddington these days, so it came immediately to mind, though I delayed putting it in because I couldn't figure out the wordplay. Eventually I got the answer from the crossing letters, but still didn't see the sneaky hidden word until writing the blog, where even then I was confused for a minute or two!
|14||Girl going with sailor [to see] film (6)|
|AVATAR - AVA (girl) + TAR (sailor)
2009 James Cameron animated film with blue thingies.
|15||Gazes fixedly, flight being heard (6)|
|STARES - homophone of STAIRS (flight)|
|17||Admires loo after refurbishment: this one? (6,4)|
|LADIES ROOM - anagram of ADMIRES LOO|
|20||After work, I’m swallowing universal painkiller (5)|
|OPIUM - OP (work) + I'M around U (universal)|
|22||Kitchen utensil put, alas, in the wrong places (7)|
|SPATULA - anagram of PUT ALAS|
|23||Medic greeting Rod’s short hairstyle (7)|
|MOHICAN - M.O. (medic) + HI (greeting) + CANE (rod) without the last letter|
|24||Auditor’s seen in place (5)|
|SITED - homophone of SIGHTED (seen)
Never heard 'sited' used in this way, but it makes sense.
|1||Land [in] gym before football game (4)|
|PERU - P.E. (gym) + R.U. (football game)|
|2||Girl fortunate to have avoided work, ultimately (4)|
|LUCY - LUCKY (fortunate) without last letter of WORK|
|3||Preserve horse for transporting mother and boy (9)|
|MARMALADE - MARE (horse) around MA + LAD|
|4||Overrides a decision to include controversial nobleman (2,4)|
|DE SADE - hidden in OVERRIDES A DECISION
Another hidden I couldn't find until writing the blog.
|5||Legendary bird[’s] goodness recalled (3)|
|ROC - COR (goodness!) reversed|
|6||Climb initially into exotic tea tree and rest (2,6)|
|ET CETERA - first letter of CLIMB in anagram of TEA TREE
And *the* rest, as we say in English, but I'll allow it!
|7||Most meagre pub in the street (8)|
|THINNEST - INN (pub) in THE + ST. (street)|
|11||In no atlas, strangely, [will you find] a country’s inhabitants (9)|
|NATIONALS - anagram of IN NO ATLAS|
|12||Function venue one used to sweep round completely (8)|
|BALLROOM - BROOM (one used to sweep) around ALL (completely)|
|13||Submarine, perhaps, [making for] Kentish port once (8)|
|SANDWICH - double definition
"While once a major port, [Sandwich, Kent] is now two miles from the sea due to the disappearance of the Wantsum Channel." (Wikipedia)
|16||Voting system is possible [as] form of punishment! (6)|
|PRISON - PR (voting system) + IS ON (is possible)|
|18||Relative[’s] jibe when head goes missing (4)|
|AUNT - TAUNT (jibe) without first letter|
|19||Difficult / set (4)|
|HARD - double definition|
|21||Old woman, cold, [finds] coat (3)|
|MAC - MA (old woman) + C (cold)|