23,728 – Championship Prelim 1, Puzzle 2

Solving time: about 8 minutes on the day

As long as you knew or guessed enough of various literary and general knowledge references, this was a straightforward puzzle by current championship standards, with two easy long answers and a run of straightforward across clues in the bottom half. I was slowest on 6A and 8D, which still required two looks when re-solving this morning.

I didn’t keep times for individual puzzles on the day, but do know that my overall time for this prelim was about 25-26 minutes, including about 2 or 3 panicking over one last clue in one of the other two. I believe the first all-correct hand went up after 18-19 minutes, which is about as fast as things ever get. I don’t yet know John Henderson’s time for his set of answers with one measly letter wrong – luckily for me as he reckoned to beat me on the grand final puzzles.

1 CITY CENTRE – “it” is one of two def’s, being a literal cITy centre.
6 ADAM – cryptic def. referring to Robert Adam
12 SPAC(ETIM=mite rev.)E – time is often thought of as a fourth dimension.
13 HIN(t),DU=”do”
14 B(IDE)T.
15 G,ALLIV=villa rev.,ANT
17 VANITY BAG – CD with references to vanity=futility and Thackeray’s Vanity Fair
20 GUTSY – move the T in ‘gusty’ forward one spot
21 (b)ROGUE
28 ARMAGEDDON=(Dragon made) – it’s a battle mentioned in the last book of the Bible.
1 CO(ST.)S – in a short answer, Cos must be the first Gk. island to try
2 THE WAR-DEN – Septimus Harding is the eponymous character in Trollope’s The Warden, first in the Barchester series.
4 NEC(tar),KING
8 MARQUE=make,TRY=go
14 BEVERIDGE = “beverage” – William(?) B. was the Liberal who designed the Welfare State towards the end of WWII.
19 GEORGIA = rev. of A1,Gro(e)g
24 S(U.S.A.)N

17 comments on “23,728 – Championship Prelim 1, Puzzle 2”

  1. A leisurely and surprising 15 minutes here, NW corner proving to be the only sticking point but not excessively so.
    These Championship contestants had it too easy.
  2. I did this on the day and struggled horribly on ADAM and MARQUETRY (no excuse for the latter).
    I wondered if many were tempted (as I was) by THE GARDEN for THE WARDEN
    1. Quite straight forward apart from NW where I had written TOWN CENTRE which confused things for a while as I tried to fit WAR something. Solving 1D soon put things right.

    2. Because of the question mark at the end of the clue, I thought this was one of those detestable clues which refer to a character I’ve never heard of in a book I’ve never heard of by an author I’ve never heard of. Had there not been the question mark, I may just have seen the word play (WAR-DEN).
      However, 13 minutes whilst eating lunch, with one incorrect answer is my score.
  3. This took me an encouraging 6:10. I am a Trollope fan (note the “e”!), so the one on Septimus Harding went straight in, which helped. I liked Bob the builder, although I wasn’t sure why until I had a think about it afterwards (strictly speaking, I’m not sure he counts as a “builder”, but I would have been tempted too if I was setting!) Jason J
  4. I had guessed at The Warden having heard of the book. However , I didn’t see the wordplay and had construed it as ‘draw’ back = retreat in ‘battle , and couldn’t see how ‘theen’ was a battle! Doh!
    However, I suppose the main thing is to get the right answer, 16.55 today
  5. I’ve found this week’s puzzles pretty straightforward so far, in contrast to last week when I don’t think I finished one a puzzle in a single session and without consulting some reference or other. I must confess to guessing ADAM, forgetting that Adam’s name was Robert, but wasn’t he an architect rather than a builder?
    The present tense “says” in 14D jarred a bit with me, not only because Beveridge is dead. Wouldn’t “said” make a better homophone indicator in the context? It’s only a minor quibble because I can see how the clue can be read to justify “says”
    1. Both are a plain definition and a whimsical one.

      22D: GAB ON = “keep discussing”, GABON = “State of Africa”

      25A: DAB HAND = “advice for cursory wash”, and also = “expert” (colloq.)

  6. My heart sank when I read the clue to 2D, but I got there eventually (my last entry); ADAM and MARQUETRY held me up before that. About 8 minutes for me as well I think, but I was unsure of the spelling of BEVERIDGE and also didn’t know BIDET.
    1. I was pleased to see that you got through the various literary and other obscurities at Cheltenham after struggling with some of this stuff in our unofficial contests. I think that’s evidence that the puzzles were fair, at least for our prelim and the final.
  7. This one took me a while, I printed it off last night, filled about half in this morning over breakfast and finished it at lunch. I’m not as well-read as I like to think, so I had to look up “The Wardnen” and check in the dictionary that i had the right definition for “Marquetry” (checking letters I was thinking either marquetry or parquetry both seeming like words at one point or another). I thought 23ac was a well-hidden definition, stared at that anagram for far too long.
  8. I thought this was fair and had some great clues. When I saw I that this was used in the Championship I got a bit worried and expected it to be difficult, so took a while to get going.
    I did it in 45 mins, which is quicker than average for me. I found the SW took longer – 27 being the last to go in.
    Although I had no idea who or what Septimus Harding was, I felt pretty sure of my answer.
    Maybe I’ll even enter the Championship in a few years!
  9. Timed this one, so broke from my leisurely pace of doing the puzzle while watching the breakfast tv news and letting the cat in and out seven times.

    I’m pleased with 31 minutes with no errors, tho I admit that Adam was a flat out guess!


  10. I would guess I took about 7 or 8 minutes on the day. It felt faster, but I was in such a state of nerves that it was probably slower than it felt. I had a minor delay with GEORGIA (which I wanted to be NIGERIA, since the clue mentioned “Fine … drink … offered up”), and on ADAM, being (like Jason) not entirely convinced of “builder”. But THE WARDEN went straight in, as did a fair number of other answers, including both long ones.

    Some nice clues (I particularly liked 1ac, which I was pleased to twig at the time).

  11. Unless you are a native spanish speaking Latin-American you are a Gringo when you visit – you don’t have to be an American. I was a Gringo in Chile in the late 1980s so I know that first hand.

    The championship clearly wants to give encouragement to all entrants in the early stages with this one containing a total of 12 “easies” omitted from the blog. A couple have already been explained above but here they are in full:

    11a Kitchen appliance, with bell (7)
    W RINGER. I don’t think you’ll find many of these in kitchens nowadays. The spin-drying is now a function of the washing machine that is probably sited in the utility room.

    23a Messing (up, has room)* badly organised (9)

    25a Expert advice for cursory wash? (3,4)

    26a Americans leave, breaking into big smiles (7)

    27a Natural hazard in ViETNAm (4)
    ETNA. Sicily’s very active volcano.

    3d Made lawyer change (hotel card-table)* (6,2,3,3)
    CALLED TO THE BAR. It’s your round!

    5d Poor treatment of unseasoned wood (3,4)

    7d Amid uproar, soldier has to protect himself (3,2)
    DI GI N

    9d In the evening, moment for a cigar? (8,2,4)
    LIGHTING UP TIME. It was a good time to stop using the wringer in your kitchen.

    16d (To Doc, fags are)* terrible disasters, naturally (4,2,3)
    ACTS OF GOD. Attributable in the main to Plate Tectonics – a paradigm that is 50 years old in 2017.

    18d Could it be worse to hold pound that may be subject to inflation?(7)
    B £ ADDER

    22d Keep discussing state of Africa (5)

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