23,506 – A mistake made stupIDLY

Solving time 7:45, but one wrong answer.

Calming down from my irritation with myself, there’s some good stuff here, with interesting steps like “unfortunate lot of chickens” => FOWL PEST. Beginner’s notebook entries: O.R. = “men” via “other ranks” and “officers and men”, the “half-hearted” idea in 3D.

10 MILK = exploit, TEETH = force (metaphorically)
11 AS(H,P)LANT – “A with B” says nothing about the order of A and B, so (H,P) is OK (sounds like an advert for sauce …)
12 ARBOUR = HARBOUR with H dropped, as by Eliza Doolittle of Pygmalion / My Fair Lady
13 AMNESIAC – anag. – ref. “Elephants never forget”
15 KNIVES – VE in SINK rev.
20 CHIPPY – 2 defs – carpenter, fish & chip shop
24 PRELATURE – L replaces M in PREMATURE
25 BROOM – O.R. in MOB rev.
1 LA SCALA – opera house in Milan, arguably the most famous one on the planet (New York’s Metropolitan and the State Opera House in Vienna are the other contenders I reckon). Take Maria CALLAS, swap her two halves, and add A.
2 KITCHEN CABINET – a place for knives or unofficial advisers. In my memory, Marcia Williams is the best known such adviser, and the Guardian’s obituary for Harold Wilson confirms the memory by using the same phrase.
3 SOREL from sorrel via the fairly well-worn “half-hearted” device. A sorel is a buck in its third year, apparently.
4 R(OMANI)AN – Oman being the sultanate
5 (rap)IDLY – my screw-up, hastily writing IDLE without justifying it and stupidly thinking I was safe.
6 ENTHRONED – anag. after converting right to R
7 REVOLVING DOORS – “letters inside and out” = “things that let you inside and out”
8 C,HO(R.U.)S(e)
14 S.(LEE,P)W.A.L.K. = SWALK = sealed with a loving kiss. There are various abbrev’s like this, some used in a one-man sketch by Alan Bennett (originally in Beyond the Fringe I should think), where he’s sending a telegram over the phone. He ends his message with NORWICH – “knickers off ready when I come home”, confirming that “I do know that knickers begins with a K. I was at Oxford, it was one of the first things they taught us.” He rejects the operator’s suggestion of BURMA (Be upstairs ready my angel) on the grounds that “We live in a basement flat, and if she was ‘upstairs ready’ she would be in the flat of the window-dresser from Bourne and Hollingsworth, and I don’t think she’d want that – and I certainly don’t think he would.”
17 B,ICE,P.S. = “I’d add”
19 PYR(e),AMID
22 (t)URBAN(s)
23 PULL – 2 defs

13 comments on “23,506 – A mistake made stupIDLY”

  1. Like you I placed PRELATURE at 24A but it’s dodgy one. The wording does allow either answer legitimately. A bit naughty!
    PS: My recent absence is due to a(b)n(orm)ally restrictive new practices at work, PCs being blocked from websites offering such distasteful content as sudoku/crosswords. Of course, by the time I get home any comments feel a bit tardy (plus I usually leave the paper at work).
    1. I think it’s clear – to me, “to have A for B” nust mean that you have A instead of the original B, not the other way round. If “exchange” was used instead of “have”, I’d be tossing a coin.
  2. I can now join the ranks of the Numpties. My error – on re-reading the clue (after initiialy struggling to come to a decision) I was telling myself “have left mass” instead of “have left for mass”; served to thoroughly confuse myself. Must be really off form. Latest cryptic being worked on for UKPuzzle has only a dozen or so clues completed after a week or more of tortured evening hours.
  3. “New York’s Metropolitan and the State Opera House in Vienna are the other contenders I reckon” A few Aussies might disagree!
    1. Well if you’re talking about famous buildings with “Opera House” in their name, I’ll go along with you. But as a theatre that an opera buff would be really keen to go to, I’ll stick to my guns. The Opera theatre is Only part of the “Sydney Opera House” building, and according to its Wikipedia entry this part has been criticised as too small, and has a stage smaller than the one used for opera in Melbourne (insert appropriate Aussie exclamation here!).
  4. At 14:10 I was a lot slower than you, but perhaps the extra time I took on 5D was not IDLY spent 😉
  5. I hated this puzzle. There were too many puns for my liking, making for a puzzle that lacked balance. I failed to get ASHPLANT, expecting a word with PH, not HP, though I take Peter’s point that “with” doesn’t imply any particular order. Incidentally, ASHPLANT is not in Oxford or Chambers, making it a pretty obscure word (even if it is in Collins). SOREL was also very obscure, which I only got by consulting Bradfords.
    Other grouses:
    9 ac – 12 is rather more than several in my book.
    21 ac – I don’t think “top” to indicate the first letter is appropriate in an across clue. Some may argue that it’s no different from “head”, but the latter can mean “source” and so is perfectly justified in a way that “top” is not.
    17 down – as for the liberal “I’d add” for PS – Ugh!

    However, there were a few clues I liked – 13, 18 ac and 16 down, for example.

    1. I’ve just checked and ASHPLANT is certainly in COD, unsurprisingly perhaps as I believe it is the standard dictionary for the Times.
  6. A double DOH! for me with this one. BIF’D IDLE in 5d without looking for wordplay (seems I was in top company there)but also expected a PH and not HP in 11a.

    A couple of the “easies” get a mention but here they all are in their full glory:

    9a Chaser of wine and women rested several months (5)
    SAT YR. Agreed several = 12 is stretching the word quite a bit.

    17a What’s in mayBE A KERosene container (6)
    BEAKER. HA = hidden answer.

    18a Which sees aged Poles wearing headgear? (4,4)
    C OLD SN AP. Where the aged poles are OLD S N and the headgear is the CAP they have on and the whole thing is the cause for wearing it.

    21a Beginner grabbing top of leather flail (8)
    F L OUNDER. The beginner is a FOUNDER grabbing the top (first of) (L)eather. As pointed out above – it is not usual to use “top” for the first letter of a word in an Across clue. Naughty.

    26a (Seek delis not)* running out of meat (12)

    16d (Pet wolf’s)* scattered unfortunate lot of chickens (4-4)

    1. 21A – maybe not usual, but “top” can mean “beginning” rather than “highest part” – as in “top of the hour”, or in any musical rehearsal, “from the top”.
  7. You are right of course Peter – “from the top” in music is an excellent example. One can see why the setter used “top” instead of “beginning” or something similar as it fits into the surface of the clue. I note that Dyste didn’t think that “top” for “beginning” was appropriate in an across clue but it worked for me.

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