vinyl1 (vinyl1) wrote in times_xwd_times,
vinyl1
vinyl1
times_xwd_times

Times 27991 - A pencil with a big eraser, actually!

Time: 61 minutes
Music: Mendelssohn/Schumann Piano Trios, Casals/Thibaux/Cortot

I certainly did not do very well with a puzzle that should not have been very difficult.   Yes, there are tricky bits, but we have seen most of them before.  The iron that's used for decreasing, the barker who is really a dog, the letters that the drug squad is after - nothing really new here.   There is one very unusal clue that could have been worse - the boundaries of Finland, say?   I did note that there is a UK Bank Holiday going on, and they do like to save the meatier puzzles for those with all day to solve them.

Tonight's music is notable for being recorded nearly 100 years ago.   The remastering, although anonymous, is quite good, and the listener can clearly hear how three men born when Brahms and Liszt were still alive performed some of the finest chamber music ever written.

Across
1 Profit greatly in contest, keeping in shape? (5,2)
CLEAN UP - C(LEAN)UP.
5 A good laugh? Pious role model is taken aback (6)
AGHAST - A + G + HA + ST.
8 Such characters a matter for the drug squad? (5,4)
UPPER CASE - That is, a criminal case of amphetamine dealing.
9 On a farm, refuse drink very loudly (5)
CHAFF - CHA + FF.  I had essayed swill as a DD, but spaniel knocked that one out.
11 Figure from writer of some reportage from the east (5)
TROPE - Backwards hidden in [r]EPORT[age].
12 European steals in, after forging key (9)
ESSENTIAL -  E + anagram of STEALS IN.
13 Desert island left having good grounds (8)
RATIONAL - RAT + IONA + L.
15 Picked up little key ring (6)
EYELET -  Sounds like ISLET.
17 Wound up hem here? (2,4)
ON EDGE - Double definition, or cryptic hint if you prefer.
19 Possibly scratch hamstring (8)
HANDICAP - Double definition, the first one from golf.
22 Popular old means of decreasing, not right for an increase (9)
INFLATION -  IN + FLAT I[r]ON, which removes the creases.
23 Recalled primitive weapon being used with drug business (5)
TRADE - DART backwards + E.
24 Muses, say, why fishing might be unsuccessful? (5)
NONET -  NO NET, for the group of nine Muses.
25 Back in pub, saying when about to drink? (7,2)
BOTTOMS UP - PUS(MOTTO)[pu]B backwards......I think.   I made a real mess of this, it's [pu}B + MOTTO backwards + SUP, an &lit, or course.
26 Show criminal in the cooler (3-3)
AIR-CON - AIR CON.   Quite difficult for me, as this is not a US expression.
27 Ex-president failing in style (7)
YELTSIN -  Anagram of IN STYLE, hard to spot without checking letters.
Down
1 Opposing suggestion with token gesture (13)
COUNTERMOTION -  COUNTER + MOTION.
2 Lover once and I getting in bed? It's a bold act (7)
EXPLOIT - EX + PLO(I)T.
3 Languages once spoken and not used — only internally (5)
NORSE - NOR + [u]SE[d].   Modern Icelandic is in fact Old Norse, nearly unchanged from the days of Snorri Sturluson. 
4 Cover on board with fancy metal cap (5,3)
PLACE MAT - Anagram of METAL CAP, and not PLATE CAM either, as I first supposed.
5 Does it hinder people getting on? Answer is set in stone (6)
AGEISM - A + GE(IS)M.   An eliptical literal, but we have seen the like before.
6 Overworked boss at the Shoreditch Times? (9)
HACKNEYED - HACKNEY ED.   Shoreditch is in the borough of Hackney.
7 Barker's sales pitch about auction that's empty (7)
SPANIEL -  SP(A[uctio]N)IEL.
10 Writer considered unbalanced shut up (4-6,3)
FELT-TIPPED PEN - FELT + TIPPED + PEN.
14 One in go-cart is spinning out of control (9)
ORGIASTIC - Anagram of I in GO-CART IS.
16 Old lady wearing corset, finding special staple (8)
MAINSTAY - MA IN STAY[s].   Finding seems like an odd way to indicate losing.
18 Title for gent regularly fined, we hear (7)
EFFENDI - F[i]N[e]D - read out as letters!
20 Charlie not only child in part of car (7)
CHASSIS - CHAS + SIS.
21 Forest dweller turning elephantine head around (6)
GIBBON - BIG upside-down + NOB upside-down, hence two reversal indicators.
23 Republican admitted to charge, a provocateur (5)
TROLL - T(R)OLL, one ejected by the moderators.
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