23454 – Strong winds spoil solving time

Solving time : abandoned after 20 minutes with one missing

The puzzle seemed fairly tough. I completed all except 1A in 10:15, and then I came to a halt. I tried all letters of the alphabet at the start. I tried to justify Camparis and ramparts, but without success. I simply did not know the word pamperos. With hindsight, I should have tried harder on the word spoil in the clue. I thought of mar and wasted some time on MARP_R_S options. And I thought it might be an anagram indicator for part of the answer, but that didn’t work.

Otherwise, the puzzle was enjoyable. Interesting words and clever constructions. Frightening at first when I couldn’t get any of the across clues until RYDE. But then the bottom half went fairly quickly, and I worked up from there. I was just congratulating myself on recovering to a respectable time after a slow start when I hit 1A.


1 PAMPER + cOaSt – see above
6 A N(ew) DEAN
9 BERMUDA SHORTS – who would have thought they are an angram of “mother’s absurd”?
10 GR(eek) + I(sland) + MED(iterranean)
11 FLIP-FLOP – 2 meanings. I didn’t know that it could mean a backwards sumersault (= spring) as well as a sandal
13 RA(INFO)RE + ST – Looks obvious now, but it took me a while to see how this clue worked. I think I started by assuming the definition was “unusual” or “unusual way”
21 C(r)OQUETTE – wasted a little time looking for an anagram of “food not R”, but letters like that were never going to give a word meaning “sexy lady”
22 (p)RELIMS reversed


3 PORT + MAN + TEA + U – ie drinks (PORT and TEA) with fellow (MAN) carried in (hmmm) plus U (=posh)
4 (g)ROUND
7 DOR(m) – quite a few subtractions in this puzzle. This one I had to approach from the longer word to get to the dung-beetle
8 ABS + COND (=”conned”) – Is there anything that “con” doesn’t mean?
12 FOR MALI TIES – I think the phrase (supporting links with part of Africa) clues the phrase (for Mali ties), rather than word by word
17 ECORCHE (hidden) – hidden is a kind approach for an unfamiliar word. Why couldn’t the setter have hidden “pamperos”? (On reflection that might not be very easy.)
24 I DO – Esperanto is not the only confected language

22 comments on “23454 – Strong winds spoil solving time”

  1. My struggle was with 24D — both IBO (which I knew) and IDO are valid languages (the latter artificial) — but with I?O I had to go through the alphabet and confirm in the dictionary (of course it’s the only that fits the wordplay too). Did you know about IDO?
    1. I did know about IDO, and luckily IBO did not occur to me. But even if it had, the “That’s unnatural” in the clue surely makes it clear that it is IDO.
      1. In Ilan’s situation (i.e. only knowing the ‘wrong’ word of two that fit checking letters), your choice is between a def and checking letters that fit, but wordplay that you can’t understand; and checks and wordplay that fit, but a plausible-looking word you don’t know as the answer. In a “no books allowed” situation, I think the best choice in such cases is the wordplay that fits. Making this choice calmly and rationally when required is not as easy as it may sound!
  2. I also spent ages trying to find a mar– word for 1 across. Eventually stumbled on Pamperos(never heard of before) by deciding it had to end ‘os’. However rainforest was just as bad as I had settled for “gen” instead of “info” for “dope” and looked for a word ending -gent.In the circumstances happy to get a completion in 29mins
    1. I think evert means “turn out” and on means “as a member of”, hence Everton. But I just bunged it in without really knowing for sure. I got lucky with rainforest, and surprised myself by working out the unfamiliar pamperos. When I finished (time unknown, I’m afraid), I was expecting to see it blogged as a 5-minuter, so it’s nice to see otherwise. (Yesterday I gave up unfinished, which seems to be my normal result)
  3. PAMPEROS was the last I solved too, in what was a very difficult puzzle, I thought. 48 mins at it. Very complex constructions for PORTMANTEAU, RAINFOREST and FORMALITIES. Didn’t understand FLIP-FLOP at all before reading the blog though the answer came easily. Kickself moment when I finally found GRIMED though having tried to fit in 3-letter Greek islands, e.g. Cos.


  4. After about 11 minutes I was left with 13A. I had at that point just spotted PAMPEROS by, like JohnM, working out the OS ending. I then spent over 3 minutes twigging RAINFOREST. Again like JohnM I was looking for a GENT ending (thought I had been clever spotting DOPE = GEN – no! it’s INFO this time).

    Final time 14:32

  5. A but of a non-sequitur, but doesn’t seem worth a separate post. Well done all round – with just under an hour left, I reckon contributors and commenters here have 6 of the top 9 places.
    1. I don’t know about anyone else, but it cost me nearly a minute looking up Rousseau on Wikipedia – I would never have got 12 down otherwise!
      1. Rousseau = Le Douanier was in the memory banks somewhere, but I have no idea why. – art is a fairly weak area for me.
        1. When I saw the times, I wondered which word that I knew was not generally known. I guessed raster rather than Douanier.
  6. Apologies to Chris especially for this: I was 5m02s, with over 45s spent on PAMPEROS, which I have ‘sort of’ heard of. When I finally came up with it after the MAR—– distraction, I was utterly certain it was right: “A wind on the pampas, clearly” I muttered to myself.
  7. Gave up after half an hour with several clues unsolved. Despite all the help above, still couldn’t get ANTECHAPEL. Should go to church more often, I guess.
    I assume 14 down was ON A STRING although the clue seems a bit weak to me.
    1. 14D – right answer. Seemed OK though – working from memory, “On a string” fits “A yo-yo is” and “under control” so you’ve got two def’s of a sort.
  8. Hadn’t heard of the language of Ido, and still don’t see how it comes from the clue.

    Is 20D Everton? Is that a soccer player?

    1. 24D I study a language? That’s unnatural (3)

      I do (eg French) can mean I study. Then if you are willing to overlook the punctuation, “language that’s unnatural” is a good definition of Ido.

      20D Turn out as a member of soccer team (7)

      Everton is a soccer team. The word member in the clue is part of the phrase “a member of” (eg a board or a committee), which – as Chris Lear says above – indicates “on”.

  9. I did’t get Pamperos either. The worst thing about that is I have felt it on my face in Patagonia when there on field work. Very chilly it was too!

    In the “easy solutions” I am including the few discussed above for a complete compliment to the original blog.

    15a You can hear roller coaster, perhaps, in IOW town = RYDE (SL ride)
    16a (Keep)* wild dog = PEKE
    18a Restored (palace then)* part of church = ANTECHAMBER
    23a Expert in the wrong = CRIMINOLOGIST
    25a Take ages to find a place = BE LONG
    26a Disapproving of (pop song I)* composed = OPPOSING

    2d Warning about British taking a Canadian province = AL B ERT A
    5d Take a bit for the horse = SNAFFLE (a snaffle bit is a “simple bit” used in horses mouth when riding)
    19d Artist’s work wrapped up in fancy (toile)* = TIEPOLO (work = op, wrapped up in toile* = tie po lo)
    20d Turn out as member of soccer team = EVERT ON
    22d Boat visible when water’s rising = SLOOP (pools backwards)

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