23,572 – Make it snappy, Peter

Solving time 7:55

Not that snappy, but a good puzzle – no obscure words except maybe CUTIS, and wordplay subtlety rather than difficult “general knowledge”.

A quick reminder that today sees the second qualifier for the championship, available as a PDF file which is done better than last time, and is available without Times crossword club membership. CLosing date for entries from this qualifier is 18th April.

Those who fancy a different challenge can take a look at an article about the recent American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, including a link to a PDF that lets you tackle the final puzzle using any of the three sets of clues for different divisions – A is hardest, and I believe the time limit was 15 minutes.

1 MI(C)RO – Spanish artist = Joan Miró
4 TEST TUBE – split “matchbox” into two words – (international cricket/rugby) match, and tube = TV = “box” (slang) =
8 KITCHEN CABINET – (be at check-in in T)*
10 I,NSURANCE=(nurse can)* – “trained” = anag. indicator
11 DE(B.)AR
12 S(ecurit)Y,STEM
17 AVER,SION=Zion=Zionism
20 PET,E.R. – peter = a prison cell as well as a safe, in slang.
24 ACTION(STATION)S – curious that this should be checked by BATTLE at 19D, only a while after we discussed BATTLE STATIONS as a synonym
25 MEGABYTE – (maybe get)* – note that a “word” is a number of bytes (4 or * from mempory), so “hundreds of thousands of words” is fairly accurate for 1024 squared.
26 REFER – a palindrome
1 MAKE IT SNAPPY – 2 meanings
2 CUT,1’S – cut = “look straight through” as in “he cut me dead”
3 OT=to<=,HER,NESS
4 TU(r)NING – radio stations rather than railway ones
5 SPACEMAN = (name,caps)<=
7 BEER BELLY, bitter being a type of beer
9 CROWD PLEASER – (replaces word)*
13 SPECTACLE – unusually long hidden word
15 HOLD WATER – 2 meanings, one being “window cleaners use buckets to (do this)
19 B,ATTLE(e) – Clement Attlee, who I believe was a Times solver.
21 RAITA – (a tiara(a))<=
23 IN,OFF – in = friends via an in-joke being a joke for friends and so on, I guess.

8 comments on “23,572 – Make it snappy, Peter”

  1. I enjoyed this one a lot, not least because I polished it off in one sitting (between Oxford Circus and Euston on the number 73 bus!). Had never come across this meaning of ‘peter’ before either, so thanks for the clarification Peter!


  2. Pretty straightforward one today; at least, I completed it in around 30 mins, which is approaching record time for me (and without any assistance – usually I count on someone in the room knowing more than I do about cities in Sussex or Angolan Prime Ministers). In fact, my 30 mins included walking a couple of hundred metres, during which I walked into the back of a car (whilst filling in 15D).
    I figured that the ‘in’ part of ‘in-off’ was from “he’s in with that gang”. Slightly confused as to why ‘while’ = ‘spell’ in 22A.
    1. 22A: I thought {spell = short time = while} was the easy one, compared to spell = mean as in phrases like “carelessness can spell disaster”, which on reflection I might have included in my comments.
  3. 10:38 for me, which is about the best I can expect these days for a puzzle like this one with tricksy clues but no “traditional” Times puzzle knowledge required – though typing in TETS TUBE for 4a held me up a little. A very good puzzle, though, for all that!
  4. Does war really = battle?

    How does “too” act as a definition? Is it short for something like “if advert makes a comeback then this, too, is an advert”? Seems pretty feeble to me.

    1. In some contexts (usually figurative, rather than military)”war” and “battle” are very close. E.g. “the battle against drugs”, “the war on drugs”.
    2. I think “advert” is the definition and “makes a comeback too” indicates the palindrome.


  5. As usual it is an “easy” double definition (DD) that caused me the most problems here. As it is an “easy” it is not blogged. Here are the blog orphans in full (from what I can make out at least):

    14a Ready to proceed? A must for solvent businesses (4,4)

    18a Cause problems resulting in stress (4,2)
    PLAY UP? This is the DD in question. Is it a DD?

    22a Two spells at the same time? (9)
    MEAN WHILE. Don’t get this one either?

    6d Had a crack checked out (5)
    TRIED. Another one !?

    16d What’s very often described in a plebian manner? (8)

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