Zabadak (z8b8d8k) wrote in times_xwd_times,
Zabadak
z8b8d8k
times_xwd_times

28018 Thursday, 1st July 2021 An interesting cocktail down the middle.

Not my briskest of solves in close to 24 minutes, with the lower half more resistant than the upper. And the overall outcome was marred by yet another in my daily series of pink squares, one of those that when you're solving feels correct and not needing to be reconsidered. You can catch up on my grieving at 24 across. I think I have to concede that the green answer is correct, but I would rather like not to.
For the rest, nothing particularly obscure except possibly the fluff one, and for younger solvers the insect repellent. Our older clothes used to rather reek of the stuff in  the hope of keeping the moth larvae away.
No less than two entries from the Periodic Table, one of which pairs up with anmther murder mystery poison. No cricket, and no birds. Be grateful for small mercies!
Clues, definitions and SOLUTIONS  precede my attempts at explanation.


Across
1 Box used by king and queen containing large diamond? (8)
SPARKLER  Box is SPAR, then King provides the K, Queen the ER, and they contain L(arge)
6 Which involves a trio of partners in crime? (6)
BIGAMY You could argue that the defuinition is just crime, or even which, but I think it makes more sense as a cryptic definition. My news feed tells me that South Africa is currently voting to make polyandry legal in which case two male and one female partner would not be a crime. Polygamy is already legal, though a prominent figure with four wive is kicking up a fuss about women getting such equal rights. Anyway, in the UK, three partners in the same marriage is still a crime.
9 Nothing in computer network is an advanced item (4)
LOAN A computer network can be a LAN, put 0 in it. Cute definition.
10 Praise remark about line in page one (10)
COMPLIMENT  A matryoshka clue: L(ine) in P(age) I inside COMMENT for remark
11 Source of poison near suspicious deaths (10)
NIGHTSHADE  Near is NIGH, followed by an anagram (suspicious) of DEATHS
13 Unrest as corruption besets one (4)
RIOT Corruption is ROT, and one beset by it is, um, I
14 Pelts round European and British islands (8)
HEBRIDES Pelts is one of those useful words for setters with a range of meanings. Here, it's the HIDES version you need, with E(uropean) and BR(itish) contained.
16 Frenchman turned up in India, about to become lewd (6)
IMPURE Frenchman is M(onsieur), turned up is PU, both placed withing I(ndia) (NATO) and RE for about
18 Stole back to contain a melee (6)
FRACAS Another riot of sorts, this time constructed with a reversed (back) SCARF for stole and an inserted A.
20 Spending little, squad left for the UK (8)
NEARSIDE The side of a vehicle nearest the kerb, in Britain notoriously the left. NEAR is a slightly unusual word for mean, or spending little, and squad is in this case a SIDE, or team
22 Second opening for lecturer? I’m not promising (4)
SLIM  Probably an accurate description of my chances of getting my pink square in the next clue greened, but hope springs. Anyway, S(econd) plus the L that opens lecturer, plus I'M
24 Dubious description of element of rally? (10)
BACKHANDED So, I put an R at the end, and both versions are listed as tennis strokes (an element of a rally), but only the one with the D is listed as meaning dubious. And ok, the R version is hyphenated in Chambers, though not in other sources. Now, if only I could find someone to dig out a definition that was not just a bribe, but also a backhanded (dubious) comment. I don't suppose anyone wants to help. Either way, it's a double definition.
26 Delightful people’s simple melody briefly filling records (10)
ENCHANTERS  CHANT is a simple melody, plaxced inside ENTERS for records (the verb) On edit. Thanks to Kevin, I've remembered/realised I should have noted that CHANT is short by one letter (briefly) to make the clue work
28 Use docking facility in space, moving backwards (4)
MOOR  Just ROOM for space backwards.
29 Clamour about the ship’s red colour (6)
CHERRY Clamour is CRY, and HER stands in for ship, usually referenced as female. The idea turned up in one of the weekend embargoed puzzles, and was fresh enoough in my mind.
30 Inexperienced crew denied last drink (5,3)
GREEN TEA Green for inexperienced plus TEAm for crew with its last letter denied.


Down
2 Cut-throat businessman favouring tree receiving support (9)
PROFITEER  If you favour a tree you may be PRO FIR. Include TEE for support
3 Cattle farmer managed encouraging sound, but no heart in it (7)
RANCHER Managed is RAN, and then it's CHEER for encouraging sound minus its "heart", the middle E
4 Copper in Sun turning up in this place (5)
LOCUS  Copper in chemistry is CU (Cu for purists) placed in a reversed (turning up) SOL for Sun
5 Curious million following sport (3)
RUM As easy as they come: M(illion) follows Rugby Union, RU.
6 One with a passion rising in pursuit of dance? (9)
BALLERINA  Let's call this a rather neat &lit. A passion rising is AN IRE backwards, following (in pursuit of) BALL for dance
7 Size to reduce in confectionery item (7)
GUMDROP  Size is also "a weak glue...for preparing walls before plastering or wallpapering" (Chambers). So GUM. Add DROP for reduce.
8 Fruit piece good? Not half (5)
MANGO  Piece as in chess for example gives MAN, add half of GOod.
12 As nice as rocks, seen around river (7)
ARSENIC  More chemistry, if a bit sneakier this time. An angram (rocks) of NICE AS plus R(iver)
15 Something swept up in Victorian loo bust, sadly (4,5)
DUST BUNNY "A ball of dust and fluff (North American informal)". I was vaguely but sufficiently aware of the term as I put an anagram (sadly) of BUST inside a Victorian (Australian) loo, which is a DUNNY.
17 Head of Government in trip, with European for support (9)
RIDGEPOLE  Head of Government G placed in RIDE for trip, plus a random and convenient European, a POLE
19 Insect repellent affected type of wasp dodging net (7)
CAMPHOR  One of its uses. Affected: CAMP and your wasp is a HORNET. Steal its NET
21 Odd couple in some article: a sleep-inducer? (7)
SANDMAN  A bit of lateral thinking here. The odd couple in SoMe is S AND M. Add an article, an AN
23 Promotional event not providing a meal (5)
LUNCH  A promotional event might be a LAUNCH. If you don't provide the A it becomes...
25 Expedition retains openings for trainee explorers (5)
HASTE  HAS for retains plus the first letters (openings) of Trainee Explorers.
27 What’s served at breakfast for one guest at the outset (3)
EGG  Well, at least sometimes. For one gives EG, and Guest at the outset is, um, G.
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