Posted by beermagnet on January 23rd, 2012
This surely rates as the gentlest start to a year yet, and the weather’s very mild for the time of year too.
I had all but 4 answers filled in after the “first pass”. Most of the grid filled up by writing in answers on the first read of the clue, only a few needed to be reassessed after getting more crossing letters. Then there were those last four in the top right hand corner. 9/25 was the breakthrough, making 4D and 6 more accessible, but finally I was stuck on 4A for about as long as the rest put together.
|1||SEMTEX||Met trouble in Congress – explosive stuff (6)
(MET)* AInd: trouble inside SEX (congress)
|4||PETAIN||“Right off Relate”: disloyal French leader (6)
PERTAIN (relate) – R[ight]. Last in, he just didn’t come to mind
|8||CRACKPOT||Stupid taking two drugs (8)
CRACK POT (two drugs) A word and wordplay seen more than once before
|9/20||SHORT SHRIFT||Winner’s butt wedged into baby doll? Leads to quick dismissal (5,6)
[winne]R inside SHORT SHIFT (baby doll) (Considered illustrating this with a picture, but after perusing a few hundred images thrown up by searching “baby doll dresses” on Google images I couldn’t decide.)
|10/25||MISSIONARY POSITION||Congress routinely lying: “Ignorant foreigners should be converted” (10,8)
Double Def, one a bit cryptic. This clue had me fiddling with “Ignorant foreigners”, if you’ll pardon the expression, thinking that might be an anagram (AInd: converted). repeat use of congress/sex ?!
|11||HACK||Murdoch acknowledging concealing an instance of privacy invasion? (4)
Hidden in murdocH ACKnowledging
|12||THRUST||Make the first move sexually, in faith being hard? (6)
H[ard] inside TRUST (faith)
|14||KAISER||Bill royally gets a rise screwing (Lewinsky’s last but one to go on top) (6)
(ARISE)* AInd: screwed, after [lewins]K[y]. Ref. “Kaiser Bill” aka Wilhelm II
|17||SHADOW||Like Miliband and colleagues duped into broadcast (6)
HAD (duped) inside SOW (broadcast)
|19||MOSCOW||City Kate the model horrible woman, as Bush would say (6)
Homophone of (Kate) Moss and Cow when pronounced the merkin way, a la either Pres. Bush
|21||SHIA||Islamic sect quiet on Iran, oddly (4)
SH (quite) I[r]A[n]
|22||SPIN DOCTOR||Cut balls off after outing government PR aide? (4,6)
SPIN (outing, as in trip) DOCTOR (cut balls off, as in neuter – animals, we hope)
|24||INDEX||Maybe finger old flame after accepted date (5)
EX (old flame) after IN (accepted) D[ate]
|26||STIFFY||Hard-on doubtful after second time (6)
IFFY (doubtful) after S[econd] T[ime]
|27||PYTHON||Phony, misguided, tense inside – that’s Palin for one (6)
T[ense] inside (PHONY)* AInd: misguided. The Palin here is Michael (who is indeed, I can confirm from brief personal experience, the world’s nicest man)
|1||STRAIGHT||One sense in which Garfunkel mounted Blunt (8)
ART< inside SIGHT (one sense)
|2||MUCUS||Universal, being in dirty film set up, gets discharge (5)
U[niversal] inside SCUM<
|3||EXPLOITED||Did a Scott, going without sex: – not right being taken advantage of (9)
EXPLORED (Did a Scott, ref. Captain Robert Falcon Scott, of the Antarctic) around IT (sex), less R (not right)
|4||PUSSY||Drink up, bashful, gutless Fanny (5)
|5||TOOTHLESS||Those lost reels describing the Press Complaints Commission? (9)
(THOSE LOST)* AInd: reels.
|6||INTACT||Virgin operation headed by stupid nit! (6)
ACT (operation) after NIT* AInd: stupid
|7||ATTACK||Warlike action from America’s leader – time to change course (6)
A[merica] T[ime] TACK (change course)
|13||UNHEARD OF||Strange start to upper hand fore-play (7,2)
U[pper] (HAND FORE)* AInd: play
|15||IMMODESTY||Tim, does my bum … lacking restraint (9)
(TIM DOES MY)* AInd: bum
|16||GO TO TOWN||Time to break balls, time to get into dress – don’t hold back (2,2,4)
T[ime] inside OO (balls) and T[ime], all inside GOWN (dress)
|18||WHIPPY||Ice cream man‘s wife with big thighs? (6)
W[ife] HIPPY (with big thighs?) http://www.mrwhippyicecream.co.uk/
|22||SIXTY||Number of lives overturned by Times, heartlessly Conservative (5)
IS< (lives, as a verb, overturned) X (times) T[or]Y
|23||CATCH||Whip standing by Cameron initially – hard for Nick (5)
CAT (Whip) C[ameron] H[ard]
I see the cartoon in the last issue, of Scrooge being visited by the ghost of Christmas future perfect subjunctive (“I will show you what would have happened to you, were you not to have changed your ways”), was praised in the letters column. In a similar style a few bar jokes
* A comma splice walks into a bar, it has a drink and then leaves.
* A dangling modifier walks into a bar. After it has finished its drink, the barman asks it to leave.
* Would a question mark walk into a bar?
* Two quotation marks “walk” into a bar.
* A gerund and an infinitive walk into a bar, wanting to drink.
* The bar was walked into by the passive voice.
* Three intransitive verbs walk into a bar. They sit. They wait. They go.
A man walked into a bar and said “Ouch!”.
It was an iron bar