guy_du_sable (guy_du_sable) wrote in times_xwd_times,
guy_du_sable
guy_du_sable
times_xwd_times

Sunday Times Cryptic 4943, by Dean Mayer — No major hurdles…

and I am sure I could’ve cracked the fifteen-letter 5 first of all, if Saturday Night Live had not just come on and if the first thing I saw when glancing at the newly printed puzzle hadn’t been the instantly solved three-letter “Fabled bird” at 23, which prompted me to start by nibbling at the edges: the three-letter clues, then the four-letter clues, then the six-letter clues… achieving, in a slow-mo flash, my standard leisurely time, and with no questions lingering about the parsing. Pretty easy one, if you ask me—there are even two hiddens (albeit one reversed)—and no &lit (or even an &lit wannabe).

I indicate (gasman Ra)* like this, and italicize anagrinds in the clues.


ACROSS
 1 Accept fresh cup of tea (4,2,2)
FACE UP TO — (cup of tea)*
 6 Master having overnight cases (6)
GOVERN — Hidden
 9 Around Nevada, join rally (10)
CONVALESCE — Rather vague directions to this event… CO(NV)ALESCE
10 Down-and-out ex-pupil in house (4)
HOBO — O(ld) B(oy) in HO(use) “Down-and-out” here is a noun.
11 Story teller in trouble over reading? (4)
LIAR — AIL<=“over” + R, the solitary non-facetious member of the Three “R”s
12 Things that should be worn in style (6,4)
SHABBY CHIC — CD I knew the phrase “shabby genteel”…
13 It grows light from the East (7,7)
CHINESE LANTERN — DD 
15 Do get an agreement of mutual benefit (6,8)
SOCIAL CONTRACT — Social, ”do,” as a party, a  + CONTRACT, “get”—“an agreement” presumably because there are other kinds
18 Doing things for an author? (5,5)
AGENT NOUNS — CD + DBE… My LOI. Wikipedia explains, “In linguistics, an agent noun is a word that is derived from another word denoting an action, and that identifies an entity that does that action,” giving the example of driver, from drive. Now, an author doesn’t auth, nor is someone who authors an authorer. “Author,” however, ultimately comes to us—via Middle Fench as relayed from Old French—from the Latin noun auctor, which is composed of auct-, the past passive participle stem of augēre (“to increase”) + -or, the agent noun suffix.
20 Timid type drops small grimace (4)
MOUE — MOU[-s]E
21 Magazine content from magazine about bags (4)
AMMO — Reversed hidden
22 Getting on top, on horseback (10)
BESTRIDING — BEST, “top” + RIDING, “on horseback”
24 Red route from Leeds? Arrive on outskirts (6)
COMMIE — COM(MI)E… This is an offensive pejorative term, AFAIC.
25 Dry — just about dead as well (8)
SECONDLY — SEC, “dry” + ON(D)LY

DOWN
 2 Axes I throw back into remains of fire (9)
ABOLISHES — A(I LOB<=“back”)SHES
 3 Measure very heavy metal ring (7)
ENVIRON — As a verb; EN, “Measure” + V(ery) + IRON, “heavy metal”
 4 Old man / lover won’t get over friend (3)
PAL — PA, “old man” + L[-over]
 5 Worried less about soccer training grounds (8,7)
OBSTACLE COURSES — (less about soccer)*
 6 Sees red cracks on parts of hand (4,7)
GOES BANANAS — Goes, “cracks” (as in turns, attempts) + BANANAS, “parts of hand,” “hand” being a term for a bunch of bananas
 7 Against hybrid lichee as jam ingredient? (7)
VEHICLE — V, versus, “Against” or versus + (lichee)*, defined cryptically This clue seemed to have won my (rare) Dubious Anagrind of the Year Award, on the grounds that I thought a “hybrid” must be a combination of two things (from Latin hybrida, variant of ibrida “mongrel,” specifically “offspring of a tame sow and a wild boar”); how the word can signal mere jumbling of elements was beyond my ken—though the fact that the word is also applied to a kind of automobile is amusing in this context. The first commenter prompted me to look again, and lo, there in Collins online (as American English) is (2.) “anything of mixed origin, unlike parts, etc.” Good enough for crosswords! (It’s not a mixture of the letters of more than one word, though… Hmmph)
 8 Religious scholar gets talk cut short (5)
RABBI — We just couldn't take any more! RABBI[-t] Sometimes, you just feel like having a chestnut.
12 Green dye put into blue as ordered (11)
SUSTAINABLE — STAIN, “dye” inside (blue as)*
14 Caught in no-go area, left by night (9)
NOCTURNAL — NO(C)TURN + A(rea) + L(eft)
16 See fit to follow (7)
CONFORM — CON, “See” + FORM, “fit”
17 Religious festival managed to include a cross (7)
RAMADAN — R(A)(MAD, “cross”)AN
19 Thick soup paste and black olive starter (5)
GUMBO — GUM,“paste” + B(lack) + O(live)
23 Fabled bird seen in stone, it’s said (3)
ROC — Two bits of wordplay (inextricably fused) for a three-letter word! ROC[-k], “rock”
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