Times 23,625 Birds, French

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Not too difficult.
Solving time: 17 mins (fast for me for Times)

* = anagram
ACROSS
1 LEGION N AIRES “Airs”
12 SEAN CE Seán is Irish for John
15 VERITY Very cleverly hidden
17 Graham GR(E)ENE Energ(y) = life reversed Briefly used to mean take the last letter off in the sense “cut short”, I think.
18 MA(LT)STER
20 ORAN GE eg reversed. House of Orange. Crossword-friendly Algerian city.
21 RAIL HEAD
24 STA(R AP(e))PLE
25 BLAZE(r) Pioneer as in to blaze a trail.

DOWN
1 LUCIFER c in (rule if)* The kind of match you strike
2 GET CARRIED AWAY Did the really eagle-eyed notice the small e in ecstasy and know it could have nothing to do with the drug? I didn’t until I’d solved it. Convention allows it the other way, you can make a false capital.
4 NASALISE (sea snail)* Not sure if you’d do this in reality to imitate a Frenchman, but won’t argue the point. Snail chosen for that reason too for the anagram fodder, I guess. But you do see them on supermarket shelves there.
5 I-SPY Mata Hari, World War I spy executed by those nasalisers
6 EL(OP)EMENT The four elements, before scientific discovery (fire, air, earth and water) so “air, perhaps”
14 L AND GRAVE Took a while to tease out – definition is “Nobleman speaking German”, I think. With = and French accent = grave at l = length
16 P (A RAKE) ET
17 G R(O)USE
19 RED MEAT Of which beef is an example. “Meet” The ? was definitely needed here as I doubt if Tony Benn ever called a “red meet”.

4 comments on “Times 23,625 Birds, French”

  1. 10:29 but should have been 3 or 4 minutes quicker. Got carried away after my quick solving yesterday and carelessly marked the word breaks for 2D as if it was a (3,4,7) phrase rather than (3,7,4), so spent about 3 minutes at the end trying to think of phrases starting GET HAIR / LAIR / PAIR before I noticed the mistake. But also struggled to find the right kind of apple at 24.
    1. I took about the same time, including a few minutes spent on 24A. I have never heard of a star-apple, and I didn’t know that rape was a brassica. I did guess it right in the end though, as all the other apples I considered (snap-apple, slag-apple?) seemed even less likely.
    2. I guess that makes me feel slightly happier about my 7:23. (No problem with marking word breaks when solving on-line!) I thought of STAR-APPLE reasonably quickly, but took slightly longer to justify it.
  2. 7d that is – not a difficult LOI.

    My time would have been in the 5 – 10x range from the 3 correspondents above which means I had 5 – 10x as long to enjoy the experience.

    There are two handfuls of “easies” my bunnies:

    9a Commended policemen apprehending first pair of tearaways (5)
    CI TE D

    10a Strut, as sports fan? (9)
    SUPPORTER

    11a Soaps and cloths for washing (8)
    FLANNELS

    13a Country-lover discovered (trails)* winding round old city (8)
    R UR ALIST

    26a (Blast! Elector)* spoiled vote (6,6)
    SECRET BALLOT

    3d Enjoying prosperity after leader’s deposed, as in time gone by (5)
    OLDEN. Is that (g) OLDEN as in Golden Years??

    7d Unpleasant end as (late night sit-in)* turns nasty (5,2,3,4). Nice surface of squabbling squatters!

    8d Cook introduces fish in copious quantities (6)
    FR EEL Y

    22d Politician with yen to take on a country (5)
    LIB Y A

    23d Knock son over in fight (4)
    S PAR. RAP S(on) upside down.

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