23472: clever stuff

Solving time : 13:45

I solved this in an anti-clockwise direction, rushing down the left hand side, filling in the bottom half, then gradually working up the right to finish with 4D (gasoline), which took me fully three minutes after I had solved everything else.

Lots of clever clues, including two &lits, and two of those clues where the answer is part of the wordplay (3 and 14). Is there a name for those?


1 BAN(TIN)G – To my shame I had never heard of Frederick Banting, the nobel laureate co-discoverer of insulin. He is not to be confused with the cabinet-maker W Banting who appears in Chambers as the eponymous inventor of a method of weight-reduction. Incidentally, does anyone still use “tin” to mean money outside of crosswords?
8 IMP + (add)RESSED – that is ADD (=tot) is to be removed from ADDRESSED (=spoken to). I am annoyed that I did not write this in straight away as I couldn’t immediately work out the wordplay
9 (a)PRON + G(ood)
12 LAND + (IS LED)* – there is probably wisdom in that surface reading
13 ONE-TO-ONE (=”one-two won”)
15 B(REP)US (all rev)
19 SOMER (=”summer”) + SET – I like the natural phrase “given first report of the season” as meaning “put a homophone of a season in front of…”
23 A + ET AL (rev)
24 ORATE (with first and last letters switched) – As I had E_A_O, I wrote in the usual muse on the basis of the definition “source of inspiration”. The wordplay is clever. It is reasonable to assume people will know the rest of the Gospel quote, and it fits so well with the surface.
25 LA(R)GHETTO – I can never remember whether diminutives of tempo indicators make them faster or slower. So I think “rather slowly” is appropriately ambiguous
26 DAY* + TUM – Another good religious surface as in 24A


2 N + EP + TUNE – I suppose an EP is an old record nowadays. The definition is a bit of a giveaway: there are only three planets with seven letters.
3 IN EPT – ie When RU (=rugby) is “in EPT” it becomes E(RU)PT. This is one of two clues in this puzzle where the answer is part of the wordplay. I find this type of clue difficult to solve, and I am generally amused when I get them. As Talbinho noted on Tuesday, they are rare in daily puzzles.
4 G(AS)O + LINE – I found this one difficult and solved it last. The second half has to be read as “it (ie GO + LINE) contains when (=AS)”. It is one of two “&lit” clues in the puzzle, ie a clue where the definition is not separate from the wordplay, but rather is the whole clue. These are very clever, and many people’s favourite clues are the really good &lits. As a rule, as here, latitude in the precision of the definition is allowed in &lits and used.
5 SI(DI)NG – Does a week go by without the word “grass” appearing in a Times clue?
7 E + BON(IT)E
14 ODD MAN OUT – the second clue today where the answer is part of the wordplay. “Amount” in the clue is an anagram (indicated by ODD) of MAN OUT.
16 TOIL* + ER x 2 – the second &lit today. Latitude in definition fully used again.

6 comments on “23472: clever stuff”

  1. I enjoyed this. If you read all the Wiki article on Banting, it says he’s distantly related to the diet man. Musical tempo dimunutives: less extreme – so larghetto is quicker than largo and allegretto is slower than allegro. I’m intrigued by ones like “molto moderato” which really are printed sometimes.
  2. Having screwed up on EMPENNAGE and SHORT DIVISIONS yesterday (Unthinkingly putting ESPENNAGE and SHARE DIVISIONS)and getting something wrong in Mondy’s puzzle, I was pleased to get this one right, even though BANTING and ADYTUM were new to me. I suppose I should have known ADYTUM, but I do now.
    I’ve come across these clues where the wordplay is in the answer only in the Times. There’ve been quite a lot in recent months. Do they occur elsewhere?
    1. I’m sure they do appear elsewhere from time to time. The ODD MAN OUT one is a fairer use of the same trick as that old chestnut “Gegs (9,4)”.
      1. I’ve just remembered Bunthorne’s “El” as a clue to “The French Revolution” in The Guardian earlier this year. So I have seen this type of clue elsewhere.
  3. 21D is worthy of note I think given that someone objected (here? elsewhere?) to the use of “extremely” to indicate the two extremeties of a word. In any event, once I got it I thought it a rather fine clue — P(HY)LUM — with ‘place’ and ‘choice’ doing their duty.
  4. Here are the omitted ones – just in case someone is wondering…
    5a Tiny bit of second dish with onions? = S LIVER
    11a Keep appearing at front of house with relation = H AUNT
    17a Drink making bishop frisky = B RANDY
    22a Enjoy a wee dram without hesitation = LIKE A SHOT
    27a Poor white called this? Ruddy cheek = RED NECK

    10d Walks past something in library and avoids taking short cut = GOES BY THE BOOK
    18d Difficult week in one part of the hospital = A WK WARD
    21d Extremely HappY, given place in choice group = P HY LUM – good to see the x-word chimney given a rest
    23d He died, but first Bill suffered = AC HED

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