23650 – a couple of minutes slow

Solving muscles are fairly well back in trim after doing most of the Times puzzles from my holiday last night, but I was still rather slow on 4,14,18,28 and 13. And turned out to have made a mistake on 17D – which by Sod’s Law is bound to happen if I decide to remind you about ‘minuscule’.

Solving time 10:43

1 BAC=cab rev.,ILL,I
9 RIP – 2 defs
11 INNOCENT – nice clue when you’re just back from Italy, and can guess that Giovanni L de C must have been a pope.
15 Z,EST – don’t much like the ‘on’ in this one, whether it’s a link word or goes with ‘top of zucchini’ to indicate the Z
16 M(I,N)USCULAR – if you can remember the tricky spelling of minuscule, this is easier than it looks
18 DR(OWSIN=winos*)ESS
19 ZEN,O – Gk thinker famed for a paradox – possibly the one about the tortoise and hare.
27 (s)AGA
29 ELEMENT – I think ‘most natural situation’ is most of ‘natural situation’ = element(s)
4 IN TENT,ION = (no 1) rev.,S
5 E,SAU=”saw”
6 B(LATANC = (clan at)*)Y
7 SKI – to which you add n to get skin = hide
8 YIELDER – delivery* less the V
13 GALLEY SLAVE – cryptic def.
17 E,S,TOPPEL = “topple” corrected post-comment from my non-word ‘ESTOPPAL’
21 FRIEZE = “freeze”
24 DRAY = yard rev.
26 (b)OAR – ‘pole’ for oar seems a bit fiendish.

10 comments on “23650 – a couple of minutes slow”

  1. A fairly straightforward and enjoyable puzzle. At 10:02 I was disappointed not to get down to single figures, but I am cheered up to find I was faster than Peter.
  2. I think “element” means “most natural situation” in the phrase “in one’s element”

    And I don’t think you can spell “estoppel” with an “a”

    1. Never looked up “in one’s element” and had thought it just meant “doing what you’re good at”. Legal spelling quirk noted!
        1. Any volunteers for taking an OED to Cheltenham?

          As COD, Collins and Chambers all just have the -E- version, I don’t think estoppal would be accepted in competition conditions.

  3. I also was caught by ESTOPPEL, and I’m embarrassed to admit I considered that spelling when I was doing the puzzle, but opted for the more natural-seeming “AL”. On the positive side, it only took me 8 minutes. Welcome back from holiday, Peter. Jason J
  4. Was this, horror of horrors, a nounal anagram indicator (assembly)? Or is there some other construction? Actually I can’t see what’s wrong with a n.a.i. like the one here, whose meaning is perfectly clear.
  5. (Only just got round to solving this one.)

    A clean sweep for me in 6:21. Older solvers will remember ESTOPPEL from the London B Regional Final in 1975. I quote from the programme notes for the final:

    Michael Rich was the first person to complete the final puzzle …, but having made an error in a previous puzzle he seemed to have little chance of qualifying for the final. He was in 15th position, with all fourteen ahead of him on perfect puzzle points. Astonishingly, only three of those fourteen solved the final puzzle correctly, and so Michael Rich qualified for his second national final.

    It was ESTOPPEL that all (or most) of the other 11 unsuccessful solvers from the 14 failed on – which was slightly annoying for me, as Mike finished in 7th place in the final, thereby relegating me to 8th.

    1. I’ve made similar gains in more recent regional finals by being able to spell FAUTE DE MIEUX and LA GIOCONDA (Italian for “Mona Lisa”). But I’ve never qualified with a mistake, and I don’t think I’ve yet suffered this kind of spelling disaster in the championship. I’m sure there’ll be a first time…
  6. You are either a lawyer and know the correct spelling (I wonder how many lawyers don’t either) or you spell it as the homophone indicates SL Topple – ie not like Toppel. Some specialist GK required that the wordplay in the clue simply does not help.

    On the other hand, at 6D, I can’t see why “Clan at assembly” to clue an anagram of “Clan at” is a problem, let alone a “horror of horrors”?

    A Magnificent 7 “easies” for the bunnies:

    5a English male singer’s unknown mission (7)
    E M BASS Y

    10a Working (railman true)* blue (11)
    ULTRAMARINE. NUR member supporting the Tories? Whatever next?

    12a Teased for being unkempt (6)
    RAGGED. DD spelled the same but the unkempt meaning has a grave accent on the final E?

    22a From UlSTER, OLd substance that doesn’t dissolve (6)
    STER, OL. Hidden answer with a comma inserted.

    23a Quietly he accepts a pay increase, the hypocrite! (8)
    P H A RISE E. A member of an old Jewish religious group that get a pretty poor review in the NT.

    3d Embark on pleasure-boat (6)
    LAUNCH. Simple DD.

    20d Open enclosed bill and behave exaggeratedly (7)

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