23,758 – Championship Prelim 2, Puzzle 2

This puzzle seems to have been the main reason for 13 of the first 25 finishers in this prelim making a mistake, with the main culprit WICKET for PICKET at 20D. (See my results – still the only version on the web. My guess now is that the Times will never get round to putting them up.)

Solving time: 13:50 – subject to the same pinches of salt as before – I’d heard about one or two answers including 20D, but on the other hand had little cause to rush when filling this in on the Sunday evening. COD for me is 12A.

1 SUN=paper,TRAP=carriage
5 WILDCAT – CD with {queen=female cat} as the main way in. I believe this caused a bit of trouble too, but can’t see an alternative to fit checking letters. CORRECTION: 2 mngs – see my response to jackkt’s comment.
9 IN=favoured,GENERAL=strategist
11 D(IT,T(onic))O – The “it” in “Gin and it” lives on in crosswordland.
12 ROYALTIES – Henry James and Edward Lear both consist of two kingly names.
13 PENNY DREADFUL = (run play defend)*
17 BOTTOMLESS PIT – only just understood all of this. PIT = mine, as in “I’m not going down ‘t pit”, and the other bottomless pit is hell.
26 PO=Op. rev.=’work’s over’,GO=energy,STICK=gum (vb.)
27 STREW,T(he eart)H
1 SHIN(D)Y – {reflecting = shiny} is novel but fair
2 NIGHTS=things*,POT – “getting bad” is on the face of it rather a clumsy anag. indicator, but works here
4 PORTRAYAL = (art or play)* – would be a COD contender if I thought it was new, but I’m pretty sure it’s been done before.
5 WELLY – 2 meanings, one = short for “Wellington”. A bit cheeky as this word is most commonly used for the boot named after him rather than the man himself.
6 LOB,ELIA – Elia was the pen-name used by Charles Lamb – essential xwd knowledge.
7 COAT,I – some kind of S American rodent? Roughly right says Wiki – the rodent part isn’t clear, and they make it to southern Arizona.
14 RUSH,LIGHT – the initial “In” meaning “consisting of”
16 IBERIANS – move the S in Siberian
18 O.H.M.S.,L,A,W (first letters) – OHMS = On His/Her Majesty’s Service = ‘serving monarch’
19 P.(I)C. = ‘constable eclipses one’,AS,SO=extremely
20 PICKET – 2 meanings – pale = stick as used in a fence, and ‘attempt to extend strike’. There’s a strike connection for WICKET, a a wicket consists of sticks, but that would imply ‘pales’ and leave a few words not doing much. So one should have looked further, but that’s easy to say now – I’ve made a few daft choices of my own in the heat of battle.
23 DEPT.,H – the administrative divisions of France being Departments.

14 comments on “23,758 – Championship Prelim 2, Puzzle 2”

  1. I found this much more straightforward than yesterday’s though as usual I got a bit bogged down in the NE corner and I think I am starting to develop a bit of a phobia about that quarter.

    I felt I must have missed something at 5a because “well sort of” seems to be either redundant or very feeble cluing.

    My COD is also 12a, its only possible competition being 5d but as PB has pointed out “welly” is really the boot rather than the man.

    1. WILDCAT = an exploratory drilling for oil or gas. So it’s 2 meanings, not a weakish CD.

      Edited at 2007-11-14 09:06 am (UTC)

      1. I thought there must be more to it but didn’t have access to reference books at the time. I should have checked in dictionary.com when I got to work; it’s listed there as the 8th meaning.
  2. After being one of the few people not to struggle with yesterday I hope I’m not the only one to find some of today’s quite difficult. 45 minutes to solve. WILDCAT took me ages to spot. I kept wanting to put WILLIAM in and then I finally saw 8 down, remembered a female cat is a queen and finished with a guess of COATI at 7 down.
    There are a number of good clues. As well as 5 across (groan)I liked 8 down (would you say “an lit”) but I go with 12 across as COD. Jimbo.
    1. The clue is: Get legal promotion of a sort, following particular approaches (4,4). This breaks down into:

      Get legal promotion = def. (to take silk is to become a QC or KC – Queen’s/King’s Counsel – a high-powered barrister).
      of = def/wordplay link
      a sort = ilk
      following = indication of order of components
      particular approaches = takes, as in “My take on using dictionaries is that it’s only cheating if you boast about your solving times afterwards”

      For a genuine &lit, the whole clue must act as both the definition and wordplay. The def part is just about there in this case given that &lit defs are often a bit flowery, but I can’t make the whole clue work as wordplay.

  3. Same NE problems here but explanations confirm they were down to my own failings. The prtrayal of a FAT HOMING pigeon at 15D raised a smile and is my COD.
  4. I gave up after 25 minutes, with 5ac and 5dn missing. I’d decided 5ac was either WILDCAT or POLECAT, but couldn’t justify either. I also couldn’t see a satisfactory answer to W?L?Y or P?L?Y at 5dn. To think that, in my youth, I could often be seen in the “Duke of Welly”! Overall I found this enjoyable, where lots of clues gave me a “A-HA” moment. I agree with Anax that today’s COD is 15d. I’ve had two failures in a row now. Can we have a slightly easier one tomorrow?
  5. Missed both 5A and 5D – COD candidates, for me, would be 4D for a brilliant &lit and 18D for raising a smile.
  6. And another vote for fat-homing as the COD. Made me smile.

    I got stuck on the SE corner after putting “Wintry” for 20d – I tend to put Try in without thinking whenever I see Attempt. Pogo Stick showed me the error of my ways though and I won though in the end!

    1. I’m afraid I have to confess putting “Pooh stick” for 26a before “Rushlight” showed me the error of my ways.
      1. I once wrote a great clue for POOH STICKS. They’d never use it at The Times though ;0)
  7. I took the bait and entered “wicket” at 20d, rest of it was a fun ride. I laughed out loud at 18d, poor form when you solve while proctoring an exam. Oops.
  8. Being a cat lover originally from oil rich Alberta, I had no troubles with 5a. Was a bit iffy on rushlight until Peter’s explanation of the use of “in” in that clue. And 15d for clue of the day. That one got a smile!

    47 minutes.

  9. I managed to do the rest – including the WILDCAT (Wells) at 5a and the PICKET (lines) at 20d – with no problem but I just could not fathom the FAT HOMING (pigeon)at 15d, my LOI. Eventually I had to resort to ONELOOK to get my DOH! moment. Why do these mental blocks happen? Serves to keep me out of the Championship anyway.

    Just the 4 “easies” not in the blog – perhaps because it was a championship one?

    21a For example, a good person (4,5)

    24a Bloomers made by one following dangerous reptile (5)
    CROC 1

    25a Forging equipment found in RomAN VILla (5)

    3d Disparage summary (7)

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