ulaca (ulaca) wrote in times_xwd_times,
ulaca
ulaca
times_xwd_times

Times 27973 - Between a rock and a pretty easy place

I thought this was an ideal challenge for a Monday. Not difficult but with enough misdirection and cunning to give most of us a decent workout. 26 minutes for me, but how did you get on?

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ACROSS

1 Line of troops in action (6)
CREASE - RE in CASE
4 Raids sit uneasily for those like Ann Frank (8)
DIARISTS - anagram* of RAIDS SIT
10 Shelves that you might put in wardrobe (9)
MOTHBALLS - verb meets noun; figurative sense meets (more) literal
11 A believer in hi-tech industry (5)
HINDU - not terribly cunningly hidden
12 Blooming British abandoning fight (3)
OUT - [b]OUT
13 Complexity of speech on European research facility (11)
ELABORATION - E LAB ORATION
14 Monstrous female, noted Liverpudlian you say? (6)
SCYLLA - it's our Cilla [Black] once more, noted as in famous and/or musical. Everyone together now, 'Step inside love'...
16 On leave, this writer’s becoming unruly (7)
RESTIVE - REST I'VE
19 Figure Penny has fake army ID (7)
PYRAMID - P [ARMY ID*]
20 Improvement that will take you to next level? (6)
UPLIFT - a quirky clue of Christmas-cracker level
22 Time to meet composer, a nice chap who’ll get your tickets (6,5)
TRAVEL AGENT - T RAVEL A GENT
25 Proust only occasionally finding time for sexual activity (3)
RUT - [p]R[o]U[s]T; apparently, he was mostly mouth, so this is quite a nice vignetty clue
26 Old folk freeze at home in retirement (5)
ICENI - ICE IN reversed; Boudicca was their queen, as I recall. Located in modern-day Norfolk, so think the Carrow Road regulars and Delia Smith
27 Old man given £1000 twice a year (9)
GRANDPAPA - GRAND (a thousand quid, mate) PA PA
28 Tsar’s egg addled, leading to complaint (8)
STAGGERS - TSARS EGG*; you pays your money and takes your choice: either a form of vertigo associated with decompression sickness, or a disease of horses and some other domestic animals characterized by a swaying unsteady gait, caused by infection, toxins, or lesions of the central nervous system
29 Quite mean to eclipse Republican (6)
PRETTY - R in PETTY

DOWN

1 An attempt at seduction? I don’t believe you! (4-2)
COME-ON - nice double definition (DD)
2 Hurry back, seizing government vehicle (6,3)
ESTATE CAR - STATE (govt., as in state v church) in RACE reversed
3 Gloomy bishop opening church bazaar? (5)
SABLE - derived from the dark colour of the eponymous marten which lends its name to the fur
5 You’ll end up suffering, as undertaker might put it? (3,4,7)
ITS YOUR FUNERAL - great expression - not heard enough
6 Tries to interrupt football team’s practice (9)
REHEARSAL - HEARS in REAL (Madrid - poised to win La Liga again, even if the Blues put paid to their European Cup hopes)
7 A function I must host in desert (5)
SINAI - I believe this works as follows: a mathematical function with a perfectly good name (sinc) is also known as Sa; so put the IN from the clue in SA and follow up with I (also from the clue) to get the desert. Not perhaps the puzzle's premier clue...
8 Splurge when in Paris at end of June, visiting sister (8)
SQUANDER - QUAND ('when' in French) E (end of JunE) in SR (sister)
9 Rent dockland garage in secret (5-3-6)
CLOAK-AND-DAGGER - DOCKLAND GARAGE*; nice clue, nice expression
15 Sleeping topless can be awkward (9)
LUMBERING - [s]LUMBERING; another nice cryptic/surface combo
17 Singer doing well, joining Queen perhaps (9)
INFORMANT - IN FORM (doing well) ANT (well, one has to be a queen, if the colony intends to stay in business)
18 Second USA trip fresh in the mind (8)
UPSTAIRS - S USA TRIP*; sneaky clue - obviously an anagram, but only the geniuses will get this straight off the bat
21 Take care, sweetheart (6)
STEADY - DD
23 Article Time’s written about the O2? (5)
ARENA - reversal of AN ERA
24 Perhaps Elizabeth I’s governess having change of heart (5)
TUDOR - TU[t]OR with a medial D
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