Times Saturday 23737 (Oct 20)

Solving time 31:03

My slowest time for about two months – I ascribe it to the fact that I solved this with a thumping hangover. There’s not too much really tricky here, although some of the wordplay was a bit obscure. I don’t fully understand 6dn.

Across

3 E(SPA,DRILL)E – if I see “footwear” in a 10-letter clue ESPADRILLE goes straight in and I confirm the wordplay later.
9 OP,HE,LIA(ail rev) – “intended for prince” as she was Hamlet’s love interest in the play.
11 ACCRUAL – “a cruel”
12 SA,LAD DRESSING – “It” = SA = sex appeal, and LAD DRESSING is the complete opposite of female stripper.
14 A,UDI,(s)O – a UDI is a Unilateral Declaration of Independence, hence breakaway.
15 EULOGISED – (lose guide)*
17 COUNT,EDON(node rev) – to cut no ice means to count for nothing, so to cut some ice (a phrase I couldn’t find in either Chambers or Collins) must mean to count.
21 POETIC JUST,ICE – (pot,ice)*, then ice is cleverly reused in the second half of the answer. This crosses the linked entry 16dn on the central J, making it a perfect matching pair of clues.
24 I’M,A,MATE – china (plate) is Cockney rhyming slang for mate.
26 B(RAT P)ACKER – part* inside BACKER.
27 BAS(i)S – I was half-tempted by DAIS here at first, but unsurprisingly couldn’t get the wordplay to work. One of the last two to go in as a result.

Down

1 CROSS,PATCH – and this was the last one I got. I had CROSS?A?C? from very early on, but it took me a long time to spot the obvious fix=PATCH.
2 EX,HALE,D(ryer) – old flame = EX is getting a bit clich├ęd.
4 ST,AIRHEAD
6 ROCKING,HORSES – I don’t understand the bit about the Cambridge college. Can anyone else explain?
7 L(0)UNGES – disastrous score is 0, inside LUNGES=darts.
10 LADY O(F) THE LAMP – F(ine) inside (do Hamlet play)*. Florence as in Nightingale.
13 A(DULTERES)S – (resulted)* in A,S. I haven’t read the book by Flaubert (or seen the film), but it’s not the first time I’ve seen her in a crossword.
16 LINE,JUD(G)E – nice clue keeping a tennis surface in its own right, but also cryptically defined in 21ac.
18 UP,P(S)AL,A
20 SPIN,OZ,A – this guy.
23 (c)LIMB(s)

3 comments on “Times Saturday 23737 (Oct 20)”

  1. 6D was: Amusement mounts, as does my support in Cambridge college (7,6)

    I think it’s My! = Cor! rev., then HORSE=support (as in clothers-horse), inside KINGS = the Camb. coll. So “amusement mounts” is the def, and ‘as does my’ uses mounts again, as a reversal indicator.

    I just saw the answer and wrote it in…

  2. I didn’t know that a Bass was a type of Perch – or more strictly belongs to a family of Perch-like fish to which the Perch also belongs. I learned something again.

    The problem with DAIS is that it is not a sort of fish although you COULD pronounce it to sound like DACE.

    There are 6 easy fish that have been put back in the water:

    1a Gave wake up call, perhaps, to staff (4)
    CREW. A double definition with the past tense of the verb TO CROW – what the cockrel does in the morning – and the verb TO CREW which is what a captain might do by hiring people to man his ship.

    19a Winger, behold, from east, maintaining custom (5)
    O USE L. Custom = USE inside LO backwards. Another name for the Blackbird. Also a tributary of the River Great Ouse with the confluence at Newport Pagnell.

    25a (R)un into (bodies)* shivering and bare (7)
    DISROBE. Bare as a verb that is.

    5d Gather PM wise man? On the contrary (5)
    AM ASS. Opposite of PM SAGE.

    8d Girl wElL cLeAr, disregarding the odds (4)
    E L L A

    22d B ILE ACcumulated in part of gut (5)
    ILEAC. Where definition = “of gut”.

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