8
$\begingroup$

As in most cryptic crosswords, each clue here has a wordplay portion and a direct definition. The definition clues the answer that goes into the grid; the wordplay, on the other hand, yields one letter too many.

The extra letters, taken in an appropriate order, will spell information that can lead you to discover the order in which to take them, at which point it will be too late. Oh, well.

Across

4 Types "on your marks, set"; starts beforehand (hyph.) (8)
8 Stop appearing opposed to a Hindu guy? (6)
9 Queen breaking into kawaii economy (8)
10 Harry Potter publication written by a child of magical people: "40%-Blood Queen" (8)
11 Divorcé Charles (with impotence) took interior pictures (6)
12 Provided a court letter to revolutionary general aide (8)
13 In duress, a shaken people protected (8)
16 Worked on Stamina, an island state (8)
19 Almost out of ladybugs' hearts in mental institution (5,3)
21 Rapper Cole (a guy with his pants half-down) is a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and a knight bachelor (6)
23 French bother with no chairs. Back muscles buzz, essentially thrown back (3,5)
24 Maybe a Jew follows Mr. Cohn westward, bound for a park in California (8)
25 Mess up haunt who goes to camp (6)
26 "Should've been in bed, huh?" — Earl, Governor (8)

Down

1 Knight Rider artiste is principally following sax master Underwood's leads (7)
2 Communes keep inhaling brain openers, but their zolpidem is mashed, initially (9)
3 Although we abhor others' — loving fabulous Marcus Dillistone's succession of characters (6)
5 Remit to Roxy's spy boss: "Attack" (8)
6 Only band with a Brady sister to get ahead of (5)
7 "Trick slime"? DEA is deranged (7)
9 Say no to mediocre: I'm in a Lizette exhibit (11)
14 Young pitcher! Embrace anger, first creating something better from the bad (9)
15 A French king having a change of heart about never making a mistake (8)
17 Smart mission: to get a single no. out of a matrix, use this function (1,2,4)
18 Perhaps Pepys said, "Trig's amuddle!" (7)
20 Sell/rent an exit (6)
22 Codger is confused: "Buddy, who played the piano?" (5)

$\endgroup$
10
$\begingroup$

Grid:

Across:

4 H HYPONYMS ON Y(-our) M(-arks) S(-et); beforehand, HYP[H] Types "on your marks, set"; starts beforehand (hyph.) (8)
8 M VANISH V + MANISH Stop appearing opposed to a Hindu guy? (6)
9 E CURTNESS R in CUTENESS Queen breaking into kawaii economy (8)
10 S QUIBBLER [S]QUIB + BL(-ood) + ER Harry Potter publication written by a child of magical people: "40%-Blood Queen" (8)
11 E XRAYED [E]X + RAY + ED Divorcé Charles (with impotence) took interior pictures (6)
12 I FACTOTUM [I]F A CT (MU TO)< Provided a court letter to revolutionary general aide (8)
13 A INSUREDS (IN DURESS [A])* In duress, a shaken people protected (8)
16 N TASMANIA (STAMINA A[N])* Worked on Stamina, an island state (8)
19 W LOONY BIN LO[W] ON + (-lad)YB(-ugs) + IN Almost out of ladybugs' hearts in mental institution (5,3)
21 S JAGGER J + SAGGER Rapper Cole (a guy with his pants half-down) is a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and a knight bachelor (6)
23 S ZUT ALORS French bother (SRO LAT[S] (-b)UZ(-z))< with no chairs. Back muscles buzz, essentially thrown back (3,5)
24 R YOSEMITE SEMITE after [R]OY< Maybe a Jew follows Mr. Cohn westward, bound for a park in California (8)
25 R ERNEST ER[R] + NEST Mess up haunt who goes to camp (6)
26 H BELONGED in BED, (E[H] LONG) "Should've been in bed, huh?" — Earl, Governor (8)

Down:

1 X SAMURAI R(-ider) A(-rtiste) I(-s) after SA[X] M(-aster) U(-nderwood) Knight Rider artiste is principally following sax master Underwood's leads (7)
2 T KIBBUTZIM K(-eep) I(-nhaling) B(-rain) + BUT + [T(-heir)] Z(-olpidem) I(-s) M(-ashed) Communes keep inhaling brain openers, but their zolpidem is mashed, initially (9)
3 B WHILST see below Although we abhor others' — loving fabulous Marcus Dillistone's succession of characters (6)
5 Y PAROXYSM PA[Y] ROXY'S M Remit to Roxy's spy boss: "Attack" (8)
6 N NINJA NIN + JA[N] Only band with a Brady sister to get ahead of (5)
7 E MISLEAD (SLIM[E] DEA)* "Trick slime"? DEA is deranged (7)
9 E CRIMINALIZE substring Say no to mediocre: I'm in a Lizette exhibit (11)
14 I RECYCLING CY CLING, [I]RE first Young pitcher! Embrace anger, first creating something better from the bad (9)
15 U UNERRING UNE R R[U]ING A French king having a change of heart about never making a mistake (8)
17 T A LA MODE ALAMO + DE[T] Smart mission: to get a single no. out of a matrix, use this function (1,2,4)
18 G DIARIST (SAID TRI[G]S)* Perhaps Pepys said, "Trig's amuddle!" (7)
20 T OUTLET [T]OUT + LET Sell/rent an exit (6)
22 D GRECO CO[D]GER* Codger is confused: "Buddy, who played the piano?" (5)

The way the wordplay in 3d works is sufficiently nonstandard that I'm describing it separately where I can take a bit more space:

apparently "succession of characters" means to take the first letter of one word, the second of the next, etc. So we have:
we abhor others loving fabulous Marcus Dillistone.

I noticed rather early on that

some answers had uncommon first letters (my first one in was QUIBBLER), and that there seemed to be no repeats other than CURTNESS/CRIMINALIZE, and that the grid has twenty-six numbers

and also that

a lot of the clues happen to have first-letter-extractions in them

all of which suggests

putting the extra letters in alphabetical order of the corresponding answers

yielding

T A LA MODE
H BELONGED
E CRIMINALIZE & CURTNESS
G DIARIST
R ERNEST
I FACTOTUM
D GRECO
H HYPONYMS
A INSUREDS
S JAGGER
T KIBBUTZIM
W LOONY BIN
E MISLEAD
N NINJA
T OUTLET
Y PAROXYSM
S QUIBBLER
I RECYCLING
X SAMURAI
N TASMANIA
U UNERRING
M VANISH
B WHILST
E XRAYED
R YOSEMITE
S ZUT ALORS

from which we learn that

the grid has twenty-six numbers.

Well, fancy that.

$\endgroup$
2
  • $\begingroup$ (Thanks @BeastlyGerbil for noticing that my next-to-last spoiler block had two words not copied in, and fixing it.) $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Aug 30 at 15:43
  • $\begingroup$ @GarethMcCaughan np! $\endgroup$ Aug 30 at 16:03

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.