23,534 – very easy

Solving time 4:25

Good start with 1A,2,3,4 straight away though 4 showed up one of my occasional spelling idiocies – “theif”. Quite a few wordplay details worked out in full afterwards, but there was enough to get hold of for a quick solution, and no obscure answer words, so I suspect there’ll be plenty of sub-5 clockings today, and a good chance for Tony Sever to complete another “clean sweep”. Various niggles about clues, but I doubt they will have really mattered.

12 KNEE – hidden in ‘cook needs’ – ‘to cover’ doesn’t thrill me as an indicator, but never mind
13 FITTING, UP – some might quibble whether “but” plays a part in the cryptic reading
17 EMIR – rev. of Rime (of the A M)
19 TIER – (re, it)<=
20 SOMNOLENCE – (console men)*
26 LINE,N – surface is arguably more obscure than the cryptic reading as it requires you to know “sheets” = ropes
27 GOB,ANANAS – ananas is the main word for “pineapple” in just about every language except English, it seems
29 W,RETCHED – not keen on this as “bring up” is transitive, and retch seems to be intransitive.
6 HERM,IT. – Herm is one of the smaller Channel Islands.
8 NOSY PARKER – (Yorker pans)* – “busybody (6,4)” is probably all you need here.
21 (in)STANCE
23 SO,B,E.R. – E.R. = “King Edward” as well as Helen Mirren’s Oscar-winning role.

7 comments on “23,534 – very easy”

  1. I completed it within 15 minutes which is good for me, but I have queries over 1D and 24A. Can you confirm them please?
      1. Thanks for your reply. Those were my answers too, but I wasn’t completely sure of them. I don’t associate “roll” with “cake” apart from in Swiss roll, but I suppose that’s good enough. Similarly “lean” meaning “unprofitable” didn’t immediately click. I eventually wrote them in as the best words that fitted whereas with every other clue, once I had spotted the solution there was no doubt that it was correct.
  2. Hurray! A new best time for the Times for me (3’35”). Should have been quicker still but for inexplicable slowness on CHIP IN.
  3. Only just done this one, and probably beginning to flag (8:28). Started OK with LIBERATE going straight in, but then failed to get LEAN at a first reading, which put paid to a “clean sweep” immediately.

    I don’t fully understand 20a (Console men played with in their sleep = SOMNOLENCE) since I would have thought “somnolence” = “sleepiness” rather than “sleep” or “being asleep”!? (Probably missing something obvious but too somnolent to see it.) I wasn’t all that keen on 23d (For this reason black king is not moved = SOBER) either, but I suppose it’s just about OK.

    I’m impressed by talbinho’s new PB – a lot better than mine (3:55), though that was done with pencil and paper so maybe I’d have been faster if I’d been typing (wishful thinking?)

  4. Yes – this was easy I grant you. No sub 10 minute times for me but I was doing it off and on whilst watching the footer and I finished half way through the second half.

    A whole bunch of “easies” in this one – the “easies of easies”:

    1a Pupil I rebuke and let go (8)

    5a Club together to hole the ball (4,2)
    CHIP IN. How can this hold anyone up? S’pose not everyone has played/watched golf and/or gone Dutch on a night out? Also a very annoying added extra to the card game “Uno” introduced by the offspring which turns the game into a fiasco.

    10a Sex goddess has (atrophied)* badly (9)
    APHRODITE. This evokes images of the wild south coast of Cyprus at the “Birthplace of Aphrodite”.

    11a Searches for one’s ancestry (5)
    ROOTS. A TV series in the old days, also involved in the more recent “Who do you think you are?” but for me it is part of the Ozzy definition of a wombat.

    15a Training (is to impart)* national pride (10)
    PATRIOTISM. Not to be confused with Xenophobia.

    24a Rock cake (4)
    ROLL. Rock ‘n’ Swiss Roll anyone?

    1d Unprofitable bank (4)
    LEAN. Lean as in an unproductive and bank as in tilt.

    2d Playwright is out of public view (6,3,6)
    BEHIND THE SCENES. Probably an unmentionable “chestnut” to the cognoscenti but I was happy to get it.

    4d Criminal, one caught in the initiation of fraud (5)
    TH I E F

    14d Explosive (fuel spy lit)* with malice aforethought (10)
    SPITEFULLY. A town like Malice (Springs) where I first encountered Wombats.

    16d Painstakingly careful, despite being unrefined (8)

    18d Wine’s hidden in instrument (8)

    25d American journalist habitually employed (4)
    US ED

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