23,451 – Obviously you’re not a golfer

Solving time : 1h25

Off to a cracking start – I did most of the RHS fairly quickly then the rest in fits and spurts. Looking back, though, there weren’t too many tricky clues so I would have liked a slightly quicker time. Today I learned another name for a golf ball, a new breed of horse, and a new psychoanalytic theory (well, the word for it at least).
I also learned that a plural in a clue doesn’t always mean a plural in the answer.


1 A pill is another name for a GOLF BALL – I guessed it had to be from the clue, but checked it here to make sure.
9 AL(CAP)ONE – I had a cap gun as a child, not sure if a cap is an explosive device elsewhere.
12 B(R)ED – this was the last one I wrote in. I should be used to the clue word ‘primarily’ by now.
13 AVALANCHES is an anagram of ‘naval chase.’
16 DELI,MIT – I have seen food shop=DELI fairly often and MIT is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which has an eye-catching graphic on its homepage.
17 ERO(T)ICA – Eroica is Beethoven’s third symphony – the fourth refers to the T of Beethoven.
20 MAR(GIN,AL)IA – I thought about ‘marginally’ for a few seconds, but don’t know any women called Marly. (Just looked it up – there is a Danish singer called Marly!)
25 INSTAL – The ‘in’ of Stalin moved to the beginning – I normally spell it ‘install’ but guessed INSTAL was ok due to the neat clue.
26 HE(=His Excellency),L,SINK,I


2 OF(f) COURSE – I wrote this in straight away, only making sense of the whole clue when I came to comment on in. I like it!
3 FOR(=pro),BIDDING – something to do with bridge I guess.
5 LATERAL – I guess lateral thinking makes use of the right-side of the brain.
7 HOOKAH – hidden word
8 NEBRASKA is an angram of ‘banks are.’
14 ABREACTION – another explosion but this time the words explode rather than a cap – anagram of ‘in boat race.’ I didn’t know this word, but I wrote in the letters the best way I could.
15 CA,TECH,IS,ED – I’d have spelled it with a Z, but I think we went through last week! TECH is short for ‘Technical College’ – I believe these used to be further education colleges, i.e. post-16, nowadays technical colleges are generally 11-16 schools that get a bit of extra funding to specialise in technical subjects. ED=education limited – this made me think of the Tom Lehrer song New Math, where he sneeringly refers to the ‘ed biz.’
16 DEMI,JOHN – DEMI is an anagram of ‘dime’ – JOHN is the last of the four gospels, although I’ve never seen them referred to as a tetralogy.
18 CAPY,BARA – anagram of ‘pacy’ and ‘arab’ reversed – I had not heard of an Arab horse before.
21 (t)ROUBLE – this gave me more trouble than it should have – the word ‘Problems’ had me thinking of a currency which ended in S.
24 A(r)R(a)N(g)E(r) – After reading Peter’s YAGCC site about a month ago, I’d been waiting for this. His advice:

Composers: Forget Beethoven and Rachmaninov. Remember Elgar, Ravel, Ives and above all others, Thomas Arne (who wrote Rule Britannia).

8 comments on “23,451 – Obviously you’re not a golfer”

  1. I found this hard for a Monday (11:28), but I can’t help wondering how much the new layout affected my subconscious – I just didn’t seem to be firing at all today. Or maybe the problem was that wondering how much the new layout was affecting my subconscious affected my conscious?

    Anyway, I stared at 1 across for an absurd length of time before deciding I couldn’t do it and moving on. (It turned out to be the last clue I solved – I didn’t know this meaning of ‘pill’ and for some reason had decided that ’rounds’ had to mean rounds of bread.) I loved 27 across (“Confusing note with others?” (4-4) = TONE-DEAF).

    1. interestingly my pill association for “golf ball” was as a drug (nickname for downers and crack in the states at least). not so in England?
  2. 12:12 for me today. I spent nearly two minutes on my last clue INSTAL. Firstly because like foggyweb I would rather write INSTALL, and secondly I was looking for a C (Communist leader) in the wordplay. I was on the point of just plonking it in without justfication, when STALIN jumped out for the kickself moment.

    As someone who is not a great fan of NOTE = A,B,C,D,E or F, I have to admit I put that to one side to chuckle at that great clue for TONE-DEAF!

    I wondered if any speed merchants might have fallen for ON COURSE at 2D. I almost wrote it in myself before checking the wordplay.

  3. Sorry! Didn’t mean to be “anon” – I am on a new PC today and did not notice that I was not signed in!
  4. It may be the first time you’ve seen Arab = horse in the Times, but I wager it’ll not be the last!
    Also, Peter is right about the composers, although we did have RACHMANINOV as an answer not TOO long ago!
  5. 4.04 for this puzzle. I did nearly fill in OF COURSE, but immediately realised the possible ambiguity and checked the wordplay. I don’t think any golfers talk about their ‘pills’ (in that sense) these days – I only knew ‘pill’ as a Bunter-esque term for a football; in fact at my public school one of the older masters was called ‘Pills’ Parker, which I think was a reference to having been Head of Games once, so maybe it’s fractionally more current than I thought – though I suspect it’s me who’s the fogey now. GOLF BALL was my last entry.
  6. 10a Sun caused this high flier’s downfall = ICARUS ( I blame his father Daedalus who came up with the feather brained scheme and, clearly, did not do a proper risk assessment prior to take-off)
    11a It’s decisive in court in case of six of one and half-a-dozen of the other = TIE BREAKER (Tennis not Cricket!)
    22a Modest about page that’s written for paper = CO P Y
    23a Independent producer, for example = JOURNALIST (very Fleet Street today)
    27a Confusing note with others = TONE DEAF

    4d European entertains a learner from commonwealth = AUSTR AL IAN
    6d Second vehicle nine had to face = SCAR (9 is Al Capone aka Scarface?)
    19d Having a disease – I caught it breaking the rules = ILL IC IT

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