23674 – twenty again

Solving time 5:58

Mostly straightforward, but included a reminder of my recent disaster with VIGESIMAL at 2D, where I waited for checking letters before putting anything in the grid.

1 COVEN=witches,TRY=go into (the investigative kind of trying, I think). A nice starter for linxit, though I got my home county later.
5 EGRES=serge rev.,S
8 DOC.(U)DR.,AMAS(s) – written in without seeing all the wordplay – was expecting an MA to be one of the scholars.
9 VI,E,W
10 VANISHING CREAM – initially I though that a griffin, being a magical creature, could vanish. But as Richard told me in his comment, Mr Griffin is the ‘Invisible Man’ in the H G Wells book of that name.
11 REISSUE – (E=English, i.e. in USSR) all rev.
13 MA(CAB)RE – I think it was hansom cabs that were called ‘growlers’
18 CRI(TT)ER – ‘being’ being a clever def.
22 PINE – I’m hoping there’s nothing else that fits here – short double defs with common checking letters make me a bit edgy.
24 SANDAL – which I guess is the same as sandalwood
2 VICENNIAL – (can live in)*, with Mobile as the anag. indicator. No need to worry about spelling this as it turned out – the -ENNIAL ending from biennial, centennial, etc. left only one letter to put in.
4 REALISE = “real eyes”. And for Cryptic RTC 4 purposes, you can have it with an S or Z.
7 STEAMER – a galley being a ship’s kitchen here, and a steamer both a ship and a kitchen device.
12 UP THE WALL – easy cryptic def. Just a quick note that the ‘climbers’ can be plants or people here.
14 BAT=stick,TERSE=to the point,A – thought at first that stick was ‘batter’, and ‘point’ was SE = southeast, but just saw the light
17 INFIELD – LIEF Eriksson (not Sven-Goran!) rev. in Ind.
20 RUT=when deer get excited,LAND=territory. ‘that ilk’ = counties, and Bucks is well-disguised here – I thought at first it was the pointer to ‘rut’

22 comments on “23674 – twenty again”

  1. 8:33 for me. One clarification: in 10A, Griffin is the name of the lead character in H G Wells’s The Invisible Man rather than the mythical creature.
  2. Thanks for explaining about griffin, which was puzzling me. I also checked the meaning of “Growler” after finishing. Otherwise this seemed very straightforward for the most part and it took me 6:27. Jason J
  3. Found this one easy with the wordplay and checking letters as simple as they get (for me anyway), although I also had immediate thoughts of vigesimal- which I got wrong before- on reading “twenty years” in 2 down. 8.14 is as good as it gets for me. Must say I enjoy the tough ones (yesterday and Saturday for me)a bit more. (Are the timed submissions only for the blog posters or can anyone submit?)
    1. Anyone can tell us their time if they want (though we might change the mechanism if dozens of you start doing so). It’s more interesting if you do so fairly regularly so that those who care can see what your typical solving time is. The bloggers get a head start on this bit from quoting their times in their reports.

      If you know your times for a whole Saturday-Fridsay week, you can join in the unofficial weekly ‘Race the Clock’ event.

  4. Presumably nobody mentioned 15ac as it’s too easy?
    I assume it’s Goliath, but can’t for the life of me see why.
  5. Oops, me again (Goliath) – just seen AIL backwards within GOTH.

    So recurring means backwards here. Hmm.

    1. I suspect something in my solving brain said that “re-anything” might mean a reversal. Recur, which comes from the Latin “to run back”, presumably once had this meaning – Chambers has “to revert (archaic)”. I don’t know whether it does now though, so until I can see Collins and COD I say “hmmm” too.
        1. A very definite hmmm! from me, though it’s not the first time I’ve seen ‘recurring’ as a reversal indicator. Something that recurs does indeed come back in the sense of repeating itself, but it doesn’t reverse itself. COD does have ‘to return to in thought or speech’, but even that’s a fairly dubious justification. Funnily enough, both COD and Chambers have definitions for ‘recurrent’ that would justify the use of that word to indicate reversal.
          1. Collins has things like “to come back to the mind”, but nothing indicating reversal to me. That leaves the archaic ‘revert’ in Chambers, but I don’t think that’s enough – Chambers isn’t a primary reference for this puzzle, and archaic stuff should be indicated.
  6. Yes, I smiled to myself as I put that in 2 seconds after reading the clue (I live there, if that wasn’t obvious!). 11:15 in the end though, which felt a bit slow, as I was stuck for a couple of minutes in the SE corner.
  7. 9:53 here. Mostly straightforward and very enjoyable; I didn’t get the Griffin ref but couldn’t think of any other cosmetic that might start with V. Pleased to go under 10 mins.
  8. 22A Pine – Surely the cheak here is that pine as a verb meens to long for somthing/somone?

    Can somone explain Goliath again… where dose Goth come from?

    I didn;t get 21A

    1. To pine is indeed to long for somthg/someone, as well as a kind of tree.

      Goth = ‘barbarian’ in 15A – the original Goths were one of the various tribes who chipped away at the declining & falling Roman Empire. From the Roman point of view at least, the Goths, Ostrogoths, Vandals and Huns were all barbarians.

  9. I missed the (obviously correct) bat + terse explanation, and had thought it was batter + SE; which it could be if it had to be: apparently a point is any one of the 32 divisions of the circle, so SWS etc are all points. But not what I had always thought a point was, N,S, E or W.
    1. I’m glad to see I wasn’t the only person who assumed initially that BATTER + SE + A was the explanation, though I did spot BAT + TERSE + A as I was checking over the clues again after I’d finished. I’m also grateful for the explanation of “Griffin”, which I think I must have come across before, but had forgotten. (6:38 for me.)
  10. Can someone explain why “TT” is dry please? I’ve seen this before and don’t understand.

    Otherwise, 19 mins for me on the train home. Seeing as I’m normally stumped by around 4 or 5 clues, I was very happy!

    Also a Coventrian, so 1A made me smile..

    1. TT is a regular code for Tea Total or should that be Teetotal and can be synonymised to dry as in dried out, on the wagon, taken the pledge. A bit unconvincing when you look closely but it is accepted xword code. alanjc
      1. There are totally(!) convincing reasons for TT=dry if the place where you “look closely” is a good dictionary.

        “teetotal” is the correct spelling – the “tee” apparently comes from an emphasised version of the “total” in “total abstinence”.

        dry can mean “without alcohol”, as in “Saudi Arabia is a dry country”, which seems a perfect match with TT = teetotal = “characterised by abstinence from alcohol”.

      2. Aha! I really should have known this, having had to pack up the booze myself! Many thanks.
  11. Eight “easies” omitted from this blog. Some are discussed in the comments above but here they are together in one go:

    15a Giant barbarian’s internal trouble recurring (7)
    GO LIA TH. AIL backwards (recurring) in the barbarian GOTH.

    21a (Tear The Red Flag)* to pieces for king (6,3,5)
    ALFRED THE GREAT. Suggesting that the ancient King would have had little truck with the Labour Party?

    23a (Asian bear, a) * stranger to water (7,3)

    25a Ordinary kind of lamp (8)

    5d “A bit of furniture, please” (ayah cries)* distraught (4,5)
    EASY CHAIR. Odd literal in quotes …. Que?

    6d (I arrive)* shattered in holiday destination (7)

    16d Instrument found in autO (“CAR” IN America) (7)
    OCARINA. The out-of-place capitals are not in the original clue – they are there to show the Hidden Answer. Note that extra punctuation in the form of ) and ” etc are fair game in this sort of clues and should be discarded.

    18d Firm needing practice to shack up (7)

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