23,568 – easy enough

Solving time 5:40

A fairly gentle puzzle, which suggests there might be some tougher ones coming up over the weekend.

9 EM=me<=,MENTAL
10 CAUL = “call”
13 BEN,TON – ton = fashion is something for a beginner’s notebook corrected post-comment
14 NA(T.A.)TION – one of those “crossword words”, unless you’re working out what FINA stands for.
16 SPIN OUT – spin bwolers being slow rather than fast
22 AWHILE = “a wile”
2 HEADGEAR – cryptic def.
3 BALLETOMANES = (so lamentable)*
5 S(ath(ENS))ING
7 ST(e)EP
12 PUT ON THE SPOT – penalty spot in the footballer’s case
17 PSALMODY = hymn-singing – P, Mo in sadly*
18 UNLOOSEN (one soul,N=end of pain)*
24 (p)OUCH

12 comments on “23,568 – easy enough”

  1. This went pretty well until the last clue, when I was faced with one of those awkward choices that I dread in the Championship. I’d immediately thought of CAWL, but when I came to type it in it didn’t look right and I changed it to CAUL. As usual I then dithered for another minute or so before finally clicking my stop watch at 7:59. Phew!
    1. I had PEEL=”peal” instead and then gave up on the NW corner — though the rest went pretty quickly.
  2. Isn’t there a convention regarding use of capital letters? Carol here means “sing” so why give it capital C in the middle of a sentence?

    I found this puzzle a bit more difficult than some recently. I only knew EMMENTAL with an H so didn’t think it would fit and played around with PARMESAN (also contains ME) until I solved the intersecting clues. NATATION was either new to me or long forgotten.

    Correction to 13A btw: BEN,TON


    1. A former editor of the Times crossword, Edmund Akenhead, used to say that while Hamlet (with a capital H) could be used at any point in a clue to indicate a small village, hamlet (with a small h) could never be used to indicate the Prince of Denmark. I believe this convention still stands.
  3. SLIPPER in LADY’S SLIPPER eluded me for a while (rather appropriately). I was unfamiliar with “The Backs” and wasn’t sure what the first word was until I had the H from 2 down For the latter I rather carelessly entered HEADWEAR rather than HEADGEAR (actually HEADWEAR is confirmed as a word in Merriam Webster’s, so I wonder if any American solvers made the same error). “Tryst” as a verb was also new to me so I was very hesitant to enter TRYSTING at first. But, overall, an easy puzzle.

    Re above comment by anonymous on “Carol”, the convention is that it’s long been acceptable to use a capital letter where it’s not required, to mislead, though many setters prefer to get round it by placing the relevant word at the beginning of the clue. It’s not acceptable to use lower case where a Capital is required.

    1. Thanks for the explanation of capital letter conventions.

      I just realised I had HEADWEAR instead of HEADGEAR. I’m astonished to find “headwear” apparently exists only as an Americanism. “Headgear” sounds like a modern word to me and a rather ugly one at that. I wonder if there is an alternative? There’s “millinery” but I think that applies only to women’s hats.


    2. There was a time when every schoolboy knew the word TRYSTING from the first verse of Horatius in Macaulay’s Lays of Ancient Rome.
  4. Top left corner gave me trouble because I thought 10a was ce(l)l until headgear came to me and caul was confirmed in Chambers, for 17d I’m assuming mo is a contraction for Maureen ?
  5. Memories of punting in the summer …

    Some “easies” left out of this one:

    1a Certain members of football team in Cambridge area (3,5)
    THE BACKS. The backs of some Cambridge colleges have lawns bordering on the river (the Cam most likely). A a very pleasant place for punting and quaffing bubbly with a picnic on a sunny summer afternoon.

    11a Plant that’s one of pair found in boudoir? (5,7)

    15a Band not to prohibit stranger being one of its players? (7)

    23a Folding up the paper when the bars pack up (7,5)

    25a A column in the Mail (4)

    4d Study (needs)* to be edited and cut down (8)

    8d Music-maker is trendy, wearing red (8)

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