Cityish Alt-ish Fortyish (verlaine) wrote in times_xwd_times,
Cityish Alt-ish Fortyish
verlaine
times_xwd_times

Times 27,983: Please Do Not Use Thermometers Imprectically

I can't really find much to criticise about a crossword that manages to set the Genius of the Carpathians side by side with the Hero of Pontypandy: some of the clues took a long time to parse fully after the event but there was a reasonable biffability quotient (no difficult *short* clues) which meant that we were unlikely to get bogged down all day. I was actually going great guns until I got bogged down in the SE corner: 21ac and 26ac were proving troublesome to decipher and I optimistically bunged in a placehold TRAINED for 24ac which made 11dn even harder: for some reason I couldn't find my way to CENTER, maybe because it so "clearly" shouldn't be in a UK crossword.

Lots of COD candidates, as I think everything here is really good. I urge the connoisseur of fine cluing to look carefully at how every surface here is a coherent story, with definition parts often meaning quite a different thing in the context of the surface to the answer they are also cluing. The crossword as art: the setter should take a deserved bow. Okay, COD to 26ac, solely because of the groan it elicited when I finally worked out what on earth was going on. A long, long, long time after submission...

ACROSS
1 Stalwart keeps returning as celebrity children’s TV character (7,3)
FIREMAN SAM - FIRM [stalwart] "keeps" reversed AS NAME [celebrity]

6 Paper copy (4)
ECHO - double def. There are lots of Echos, which one were you thinking of? Liverpool Echo for me, I guess.

9 Peers having come up briefly returned drunk (7)
ARISTOS - ARIS{e} + reversed SOT

10 Second rate, poor Aston Villa, losing 5-1 on aggregate (7)
BALLAST - B [second-rate] + (*AST{on v-i}LLA). Complex subtractive anagram, this one!

12 Flat has garden — we hear sound of bees (2-3)
HO-HUM - homophone of HOE [garden] + HUM. FOI

13 Look back and note source, one that is retained (9)
REMINISCE - RE [note] + MINE [source] "retaining" I SC [one | that is (as in scilicet)]

14 Lacking politeness, if innocuous — merely unsettling (15)
UNCEREMONIOUSLY - (INNOCUOUS MERELY*)

17 Whereby some are entitled to celebrate the arrival of the monarch (8,7)
BIRTHDAY HONOURS - birthday honours bestow "titles" on some, and this is part of the celebration of the monarch's birth or arrival. So, a cryptic def, which took some time for me to parse out satisfactorily...

20 Delivery agent returned earthenware vase, filling bottles (9)
LIFESAVER - hidden ("bottled") reversed in {earthenwa}RE VASE FIL{ling}. A delivery agent as in, an agent of delivery, a deliverer.

21 Ecstasy, see, when one’s out for a duck (5)
EVADE - E(cstasy) + V{i->A}DE: take VIDE [see], and swap out I [one] for A

23 Don’t strike boy in hat (7)
STETSON - STET [in editing, keep in, so don't strike] + SON

24 Did coach express disapproval? Nothing radical (7)
TUTORED - TUT O RED [express disapproval | nothing | radical (leftist)]

25 Flap in one’s in-tray (2-2)
TO-DO - double def

26 In time, what’s taken to get one open-mouthed? (10)
TEMPORALLY - This was my LOI and then took forever to parse. If you take someone's TEMP(erature) ORALLY, they will need to open their mouth wide!

DOWN
1 One used to snap and be tearful, upset by urgent news (9)
FLASHBULB - BLUB [be tearful] reversed by FLASH [urgent news]

2 Lecture man on sex — husband (5)
REITH - RE IT H [on | sex | husband]. BBC DG

3 Merchant at first devious has to promise to give change (13)
METAMORPHOSIS - M{erchant} + (HAS TO PROMISE*)

4 Solution that’s popular and in no way peculiar (7)
NOSTRUM - NO ST RUM [no | way | peculiar]

5 White loaf to stop a short period of fasting (7)
ALBUMEN - BUM [loaf] to "stop" A LEN{t}

7 Reasons copper’s got to arrest E European dictator (9)
CEAUSESCU - CAUSES CU "arrests" E. This will really help me remember how to spell it in future...

8 Odd or even excerpts from voluntaries (5)
OUTRE - every even letter in {v}O{l}U{n}T{a}R{i}E{s}

11 See about register for US arts venue (7,6)
LINCOLN CENTER - LINCOLN C ENTER [see | about | register]

15 Fred wrangling with Colin: I’m all ears! (9)
CORNFIELD - (FRED + COLIN*). Ref ears of corn

16 I agree twice to cross the road, horse having gone past (9)
YESTERDAY - YES, AY [I agree, twice] "crossing" T{h}E RD

18 Lead Civil Engineer, after promotion, getting rise (7)
ADVANCE - VAN [lead] + C.E., after AD [promotion]

19 Demanding toy car (7)
HARDTOP - HARD [demanding] + TOP [toy]

20 Commentator’s to favour one side’s scorer (5)
LISZT - homophone of LIST [to favour one side]

22 Girl that’s lifted bible getting into trouble (5)
AVRIL - reversed R.V. in AIL
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  • Times Quick Cryptic 1987 by Joker

    Lots of unusual vocabulary, but only one that left me competely reliant on wordplay and checkers (21ac). Perhaps not quite as pithy, original, or…

  • Times 28113 - no more PDMs for me.

    Well this puzzle is 13d with good things, I think; two types of wine, an antelope, a capital city I knew, and an egg cell which reminded me of my…

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    I completed all but one answer within 30 minutes but after 36 minutes I gave up and used aids for the last one in. As usual definitions are…