Pip Kirby (pipkirby) wrote in times_xwd_times,
Pip Kirby
pipkirby
times_xwd_times

Times 28083 - 'ard as nails, guv'nor.

I'll be interested to see if the SNITCH goes high today, as I found this really hard, to the point of being obtuse and obscure in places; solving was one problem, but explaining the gory details of some clues took me even longer and with three clues unfinished I needed checking aids to complete it. The physicist as FOI got me started. The O in 27a gave me a good clue to 18d, as 'bounder', but the surface needs you to realise that 'tears' means divides. I didn't know the words at 10a, 11a 17a, or 8d (although guessable) and was surprised 7d was not hyphenated. Mazeltov is probably a write-in though if you're into Jewish culture, but I've never had any exposure to it.
Still, after a few easy Wednesdays, it was good to have a Friday style toughie to work at, so thanks Mr Setter for the test.


Across
1 Cream drunk with coffee’s filling (3-5)
OFF-WHITE - (WITH OFFE)* where OFFE is COFFEE's filling. I'm not awfully keen on off-white to mean cream, but Mrs K says it's fine with her.
9 Hope one’s somehow done with book — the novel I detest (8)
NEOPHOBE - (HOPE ONE B)*. Someone who hates new things / ideas.
10 From puzzle Learner to Victor: congratulations! (8)
MAZELTOV - MAZE (puzzle) L (learner) TO V (victor). I had no idea what was going on here, until I had the ending V, even then I am not into Jewish expressions and didn't know it; it seems it is more often spelt as two words and literally means good luck, or congratulations.
11 Courts controversy, ultimately displaying guts all round (8)
INNYARDS - Y at the end of controversy goes into INNARDS = guts. An INNYARD is, not surprisingly, the yard of an inn; typically being referred to as places where plays took place in early times before playhouses came along. Hence "courts" as a definition.
12 Engaged in campaigning, as bail is set (2,3,5)
ON THE STUMP - in cricket, two bails are set balancing on the stumps, waiting for the likes of Jasprit Bumrah to knock them off all too often. The political meaning stems from days when impromptu speeches were made using a tree stump as a platform outdoors.
14 Oil rings going around on the water? (4)
OTTO - "on the water" here means abstaining from booze, hence TT: surround it with O O. We've seen the rose oil answer before, but not recently, I feel.
15 Ad hoc term for recent coalition government? Name to censure (7)
CONDEMN - Well I suppose a portmanteau term for Conservatives plus Lib Dems in coalition could be CON-DEM; add N for name.
17 Target to raise before retiring (7)
COCKSHY - another word I didn't know. It's a target in a throwing game, apparently. COCK can mean raise, as in cock one's hat, and SHY meaning retiring.
21 African having quit ought to return at intervals (4)
HUTU - alternate letter in the words backwards, as above.
22 Foreign ref upset one pointing to the spot? (10)
FOREFINGER - (FOREIGN REF)*. I spent an age trying to think of what a foreign referee would be called.
23 Knock the beer back: easily one’s undoing? (8)
SLIPKNOT - all reversed; TONK (knock) PILS (beer). Tonk is not exactly the first word you think of for a synonym for knock, but the pils idea sets you on the way to the answer.
25 Couple quizzically raised one’s casually viewing broadcast (8)
EYEBROWS - sounds perhaps like "I BROWSE", for one's casually viewing.
26 Physicist’s brief fussily interrupting archdeacon (3,5)
VAN ALLEN - I biffed this once I had the first word as V-N. I think ANALL(Y) = brief fussily is inside VEN for archdeacon. I'd heard of the Van Allen belts in the atmosphere, which James Van Allen and others discovered, in 1958, but I knew nothing more about him until reading his Wiki pages today. He died in 2006 aged 91.
27 Disgrace to follow: put up with that (8)
DOGHOUSE - DOG = follow, HOUSE = put up, accommodate. I'm not convinced about this one either, you can't be "in doghouse" like "in disgrace", you need a THE before it.
Down
2 Dance floor — let it be firm! (8)
FLAMENCO - Another biffed then deciphered. FL abbr. for floor, AMEN = let it be, CO = firm.
3 Base, centre for ironworks, was heaving (8)
WRETCHED - W the central letter of ironworks, RETCHED = was heaving.
4 Keen on local couple getting a hearing (4)
INTO - sounds like INN TWO, hence local (pub), couple.
5 Six slices no use, having turned green? (7)
ENVIOUS - (NO USE)* with VI inserted.
6 What a jury looks for out of hearing? (10)
SOUNDPROOF - well, a jury wants SOUND PROOF of guilt or innocence. Fair enough.
7 Authors with another set of neat procedures? (8)
COWRITES - I'd expect this to be hyphenated, but Collins doesn't. COW RITES could be a set of procedures for cows or neats. Groan.
8 Catches heartless politician’s alternative take on past (8)
HERSTORY - HE(A)RS = catches heartless, TORY politician. Herstory is, of course, history told from a feminist or woman's viewpoint. It's a wrongly derived word IMO because HISTORY does not mean from HIS male viewpoint particulary, it comes from the Greek "istoria" and has nothing to do with his or hers.
13 Matches used when building is in flames? (10)
SEMIFINALS - (IS IN FLAMES)*. Easy when you see it, but took me another age.
15 Holding it together after upset is what fellow’s about (8)
COHESIVE - COVE is our fellow here, insert reversed IS EH (eh = what?). Yet another to decipher once answered.
16 Seed — not a bean from France — that’s primary source of sustenance (8)
NUTRIENT - NUT (seed) RIEN (French for nothing, when negative), T (primary letter of that's).
18 Cockney’s shed tears to stun old bounder (8)
KANGAROO - I'm not totally Bobby Moore about this one; I think we have KO (stun) with 'ANGAR inserted (Cockney for hangar = shed), then O for old on the end, for our bounder = kangaroo.
19 Parties of Americans do extensive gardening job in SE England? (8)
HOEDOWNS - the NORTH and SOUTH DOWNS feature in SE England, so hoeing them would be an extensive gardening job.  A hoedown in America is "a lively folk dancing party with hillbilly tunes on the fiddle".
20 Where you’ll find LA: North Dakota? Not true! (7)
PRETEND - I'm not totally Bobby Moore about this one, either; the best I can come up with is LA being the note before TE in the Doh Re Mi scale, so "PRE-TE", then ND for North Dakota.
24 Some work by British composer (4)
BERG - B (British) ERG (some work). I've tried to like Berg's music, but it's hard work, except maybe the violin concerto, his last work, when he was finally melding his diatonic method with dodecaphony.
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