23,716 – easy for old hands or medics?

Solving time 6:17

Although this was fairly quick, it seemed to use a few things that could be new to some.

1 R.A.(C(omi)C),O,ON – {working = on} is one for beginners to remember
5 PROSPER(o) – Prospero being a duke in The Tempest
9 NON-PERSON – NN = “news” from N=new, outside (snooper)*
11 E(IL(k))AT – at the southern tip of Israel, on the Red Sea. {Class = ilk} is another one to learn.
12 PICTORIAL = “picked oriel” – I knew that an oriel window was a kind of bay window, so ‘recess’ wasn’t too much of a surprise and is backed up by the dictionary.
13 T.A.(STELE=stone slab)SSNESS – the final SSNESS being indicated by “quarters” = compass points, which some think is sloppy, but I don’t mind much given that there’s only one vowel and the W rarely comes into play.
17 (Capability) BROWN,I,EPOINTS=(on piste)*
24 MA(N.G.)O
25 ISLET, ref. the Islets of Langerhans, which can only be reached by boat if you have one that can sail the alimentary canal. They’re groups of cells in the pancreas – one of those curious body-part names parodied by “Shatner’s basson” in Chris Morris’s spoof about ‘cake’.
26 SLAP=pals rev.,STICK
28 E(P,SILO)N – EN = centre of BirkENhead.
1 RUNNER – as in Bow Street Runner
2 CANALETTO = (cattle on a) – seeing him after Donatello yesterday, I briefly invented the hybrid ‘Canatello’
3 (f)O(REST)ES – Orestes is a character in Greek myth and Richard Strauss’s Elektra. I guess he must have killed two people, though I can’t remember who, or whether he was ever ‘orested’ for these crimes.
4 NOSE PIECE = “knows peace” – the part of a helmet formed to protect the nose, apparently. I was thinking of bits of your specs. Homophone content amended post-comment
5 PANIC – 2 meanings. There are various grasses you gradually learn about from xwds – ones with names that mean something else (couch, goose, timothy, …), and ones that are just funny words – esparto and fescue, for example.
7 PARSI = Parsee – move the S in Paris.
8 R(URAL)ISE – there’s a Ural river, as well as the mountains.
20 BOD,KIN – the type-correcting tool was new to me.
22 TIL(l)ER – a doorkeeper at a Masonic lodge
23 A,S,SAY – after the islets, a second easy one for folk who hear tales of thseir spouse’s work in the path lab – tests on tissue, blood and so on are ‘assays’.

19 comments on “23,716 – easy for old hands or medics?”

  1. I did this and yesterday’s one after the other this morning, and scored identical times for both (13:25). But unfortunately I guessed BOBKIN for 20D, so I probably knew the right answer but confused it with bobbin or something. Damn!
  2. 10 minutes of flurry + 10 minutes head-scratching + 10 minutes to finish. I used to do typesetting many years ago and while I don’t know exactly what a BODKIN is I had at least heard of it before.
  3. Very easy today. Even at my leasurly pace finished in under 20 minutes. I like the commentary, Peter. One forgets all the little tricks one absorbs over the years that are so useful like “ilk” and “panic” or just clues you’ve seen before like “nightie”. I’m off on holiday so no more contributions for a while. Good luck to all at Cheltenham. Jimbo.
  4. Tiler and bodkin were new definitions for me. I got brownie points ok but didn’t realise the wordplay until seeing the blog.1A scanned nicely. 14A – exonerate – seems like I have seen the same clue quite a few times in the past. 11.26 today
  5. I felt on form today, clocking 5:48. I dimly remembered TILER, and like most people, I hesitated over BODKIN, not knowing that it was a tool for correcting type, but imagining that it probably could be. I was at least familiar with the word (shame on those who weren’t), given that Hamlet muses on whether to do himself in with a “bare bodkin”. Jason J
  6. Great site,thanks.Just started the times xword and yet to finish one!5 left today but learning the tricks.Totally different ballgame to the Telegraph.Bring on tomorrow.
  7. Orestes killed his mother, Clytemnestra, and her lover, Aegisthus, to avenge his father, Agamemnon (murdered by Clytemnestra in the bath).
  8. 9:26 for me – would have been about two minutes faster, but the SID of OBSIDIAN stumped me. Wasn’t 100% about BODKIN, TILER or ORESTES, though, so pleased to have avoided an error – this week’s must be hiding in tomorrow’s or Friday’s puzzle.
  9. Thanks to the Gk myth expert for the murder victims – I might have got them if I’d just racked my brains for other characters in the opera.

    fester1: welcome to blog and the Times puzzle. I would love to get someone to set up a Telegrah xwd blog one day – between us and the fifteensquared site, the rest of the ‘broadsheet big 5’ are all covered, but the DT is a very popular puzzle. I would guess that you’ll finish your first Times puzzle within a few weeks.

    Ali: I suspect your good time is partly a tribute to good setting and editing, which gave you challenging stuff to think about but enough easy bits to let you enjoy the process.

  10. A great puzzle today and a hell of a lot worth remembering for the not-so-old hands like me. The alternative meanings of panic and bodkin were new, and words like stele, Parsi, Orestes and assay are ones to note down. Looking back over the finished puzzle, I’m quite pleased with my 19:22!


  11. fester,

    ‘bod’ can mean person, and therefore ‘man’ I guess…as in ‘he’s an odd bod’

    1. There’s also an interjection (Shakespeare, Sheridan?) ODDSBODIKINS! I wonder if this has ever turned up in the Times?
      1. Just “archaic” I think. I don’t see why it shouldn’t have been used. No more ridiculous than honorificabilitudinitatibus (Love’s Labour’s Lost), which the Times seemed quite proud of including in an early jumbo puzzle, as it used the full width of the old 27×27 jumbo grid.
  12. Just the 6 “easies” in this one:

    10a Slip over in baR OR REstaurant (5)

    27a An area of cultivation, this creche? (7)

    6d Old American tyrant goes in for taxing (7)

    14d Acquit person involved in old charge (9)

    15d Indispensible as oil might be (9)
    ESSENTIAL. Has someone been paying too much attention to cosmetics adverts?

    18d Strange (thing)* that is worn by some retired people (7)
    NIGHT I.E.

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