23,686 – ou you are awful, but I like you!

Easily the slowest of the week so far for me. Good start with 1A, though wordplay not fully understood at the time, but then slowed down a bit. The right hand side seemed easier than the left, except for 6D, my last answer.

An interesting set of words, with a Q included in every long answer, though not quite managing to start all four with this letter – I guess this proves that there are no ??????Q words for 6A. And one of the long answers is “Q”! There’s also some fiendish vocab to get some of the necessary words ending in U.

There are lots of very well-written clues here, a trap for the hasty at 19A, a bit each of literature and science, and a bit of smut – altogether, essence of 21st-century Times xwd, and a safe bet for inclusion in the appropriate book of Times puzzles. I expect some “who wrote this?” discussion at the pub tonight.

Solving time 11:09

1 QUARTER = “cut up after drawing”,FINAL=decisive
8 UNI,TING – “sound as a bell” came up elsewhere yesterday, and I guessed wrong. Ding, ring, and ting are the main options to ponder.
9 BIG=not humble,BANG = exactly as in “bang in the middle”
11 LAKE=pigment,LET
12 PEN-NA(me),N.T.
13 EMERY = abrasive (the noun), as in emery paper, and Dick Emery, who some will remember from early 70s Saturday night telly. If he’s in the Times xwd, he must be dead – I’d forgotten. Shame we can’t have comedian (or maybe ‘quite interesting bloke’) = Fry.
14 PEPPER=Sergeant,ONI = (in,O=old) rev., banger = sausage
16 CO(M,MITT)AL – the process of being put into an asylum or “bin”.
19 FORTH – Scottish river, and “into view” as in “coming forth”. I thought some might fall for FIRTH, but as the wordplay isn’t there to support it, you really should look again – at least as far as ‘What other words could fit the checking letters and a possible def?’. The def. here is of course “Water running”, which at least hints at a river rather than an estuary.
21 U=posh/fashionable=”Tony” (US slang),PRIVE(t),R – Tony => U is a bit of a stretch.
23 TINAMOU – hidden word. It’s a partridge-like bird from South America, apparently. Classic case of an easy clue for an obscure answer.
25 ARSENIC – As is its symbol and therefore the def. R in anag. of ‘nice as’.
26 QUEENS=college (at Oxford, and probably several other places too),SPEECH=lecture
1 QUICKIE – K,I replacing H in ‘quiche’. A neatly-worked bit of smut!
2 A,XI=team,ALLY=mate – {wordplay} so {def. of adj./adv.} is a bit of a Times xwd special, though I think Azed might do it too.
3 TIGHTS,POT=top rev. Holes and tights – I suspect there are some other possible clues here.
5 INGENUE = genuine* An ingenue is an artless or inexperienced girl – I guess ‘spotted’ here = ‘tainted’ or similar.
6 ARAPAHO – middles of sHOw, tAPAs and bARs in reverse order, with strip = “remove the outside of”. I had a mild attack of ‘vocalophobia’ looking at A?A?A?O, and the question “What can the second letter be” raised the answer “pretty well anything!”. The calmed down and found the fiendish wordplay. “Strip show” is a classic deceptive two-word phrase.
7 QUILL=feather,E.R.=royalty,COUCH=bed – more masterly wording. Arthur Q-C was a writer, who among other things produced the original edition of the Oxford Book of English Verse – the one with the yellow dust-jacket. “Q”, was his pen-name and the yellow dust-jacket had a fancy Q on it for this reason. Searching Amazon UK for “Oxford verse Quiller-Couch” will get you a picture of a 2H copy.
10 GET RICH QUICK – from ‘making a bomb’ = making a fortune
15 PILOT LAMP – (all,one=I,top MP)*
17 MAR.,ABOU(t) – the adjutant bird or a plume or trimming of its feathers – the second newish ?????OU word for me today – vaguely recognised it but had no idea of the meaning. With more time, I think I’d have remembered “marabou stork” which turns out to be the same thing.
18 INVOICE = “inn, voice”
19 FINES,S,E – S and E are opponents in bridge.
20 ROMANSH – (no harm,S=second)* – probably more familiar as ‘Romansch’. Source of the oddest-looking words on Swiss bank notes.
22 R.A.’S=Royal Academicians = ‘drawers’,P.S.

9 comments on “23,686 – ou you are awful, but I like you!”

  1. Quite an easy puzzle that took me 15 minutes to complete. However I can’t explain the wordplay of 19a. I assume the answer is FIRTH since the letter pattern is F?R?H and water appears to be the definition.
  2. some fiendish clues and I took ages to work out why U equated to Tony. I thought this was a nice deception. Anybody ever seen this particular cluing before?
  3. Not too difficult, as long as you knew Sir Arthur Q-C and the pigment ‘lake’. I didn’t, and this week goes from bad to worse.
  4. 14:11 for me. A most enjoyable puzzle, with some clever clues – I particularly liked 25A.
  5. Toughest puzzle for me this week, didn’t like the clue to 21ac but 25ac made up for this, very clever.

    I guessed that 11ac was lakelet and checked first in Bradfords to see if lake was indeed a pigment, no mention of it however in my 5th Edition, went to Chambers to confirm the answer.

  6. Once all the checkers were in place then 21a was gettable but I wouldn’t get U out of Tony in a month of Sundays. I wonder if it will be used again so that this experience can be brought in to play (assuming the memory lasts out)?

    This was a real tough one as there are only 2 “easies” not covered in the blog:

    24a (This bob)* designed for short race (7)

    4d Game local to rise and shine (3,2)
    RU BUP

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