Solving time: 8:40 

An enjoyable puzzle, and mostly straightforward although 20d was tricky and I don’t think I would have got it from the wordplay alone. My COD is probably 25a but 23a was also a good laugh. 

1 AMIES in SET – Hardy AMIES was the Queen’s official dressmaker until 1990.
5 LORE in FT
10 ID,IOM – no matter how many times I make a mental note of it Man = IOM (Isle of Man) always takes me a while to spot.
11 L in (AGED SORT)* – OLD STAGER. Nice &lit.
13 hidden in “batH OR SEdgefield” – I guess there must be racecourses at both of those places.
20 A BIT in HUE – I liked “not much to hide” to indicate the wordplay.
23 RATTLE,DON – I can’t remember which blogger came up with “lift and separate” to describe what you need to do here but whoever it was, thank you very much.
25 (INSTIL AWE)* – WAISTLINE. This must be an &lit as the anagram fodder is at one end of the clue and the indicator (“fantastic”) is at the other. Good clue though, and my choice for COD>
27 GENERA[-l]
28 PAL,TRIER – “wannabe” for TRIER was a nice touch.
3 (IN HOME ARE TIMERS)* – I liked the surface reading in this one – very natural-sounding.
4 TOLL in SEN – I have to say that I’ve always thought of STOLLEN as cake, rather than bread.
7 REGARD,ANT – Proverbs 6:6 has “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise”
9 OR (going up) in ADIT
20 ETA in HERA – last one in, and only because I vaguely remembered HETAERA. I wouldn’t have got HERA for “goddess” I think.
21 BIGWIG – “many unnatural shocks” is a very neat pun.


27 comments on “23772”

  1. Not a hard one today, though I did need the wordfinder to get regardant and hetaera, both new to me. I see we’ve got Asia marked by “India say” for the second day running.
    I’d initially got “seediest” for 1a, and didn’t know why. The wordfinder, being cleverer than I am, gave “Seamiest” and now I understand it! Anybody else old enough to remember Hardy Amies?
    1. If I remember correctly, Hardy Amies name was on the better styled (and thus more expensive) suits in “John Collier, John Collier, the window to watch”. And, I can still remember the tune which went with that little slogan.
      Mike O, Skiathos
    2. It’s up to individuals to choose how they solve of course but if you were at Cheltenham you wouldn’t have access to any aids. Perhaps I should try some of these solvers because without them it certainly no longer becomes straightforward to guess ‘hetaera’ or ‘regardant’. I got both of those eventually – yippee. But I had ‘arian’ for 2 as sounding like ‘Aryan’ as in coming from India. My wife told me she knows of someone whose daughter is called Arian but it may be spelt Arianne. And Rian might be Welsh but is probably masculine. I guess that would rule out this alternative answer.
      1. Names are tricky, but according to the first Internet source, Rian is a girl. The same source has Arian as a Greek boy’s name, and Arianne as an English girl’s one.


        Rian = a girl doesn’t help though: If “A, Welsh girl” is treated as wordplay, you have “of Indian descent, say” as the def. But the need for a homophone for ‘Aryan’ means this must be wordplay too – there’s no def. for Arian. And the only def. I’m aware of for this word is “a type of heresy” or “follower of the Arian heresy”.

  2. A puzzle of two halves. The west side was straightforward (unfortunately I do rember Amies) with BONNET at 18 quite a nice clue. The east side was harder and required some guess work on obscure vocab. Rhett Butler was resurrected for 26 across and RUT for “period of frenzy” at 8 down was good. However, 7 down, 9 down and particularly 20 down were a different matter. I learn that REGARDANT is heraldic for looking back whilst ADIT at 9 down is apparently a tunnel. The one that troubles me most is 20 down.

    My last to go in, HETAERA turns out to be a high class greek prostitute. HERA is a greek goddess and ETA is a greek letter (both of which I knew and eventually guessed). I feel some indication should have been given in this clue that greek was important.

    My COD is RATTLED ON at 23 across. Total solving time 35 minutes. Jimbo.

    1. Now that I live in Greece, I don’t know why ETA is used for that letter of the Greek alphabet. In Greek it is pronounced EETA not ETTA. It would be more accurate if it were spelt ITA.

      But then lots of Greek letters are pronounced incorrectly by the English.

      Beta is Veeta
      Gamma is Ghamma
      Delta is Thelta (with the TH as in THEN)
      Lambda is Lambtha (with the TH as in THEN)
      Mu is Mee
      Nu is Nee
      Pi is Pee not Pie
      Sigma is Sighma
      Tau is Taf
      Upsilon is Ipsilon
      Phi is Phee
      Chi is Khee
      Psi is Psee
      Omega is Omegha

      Mike O Skiathos

  3. Hetaera’s an old friend of Listener solvers, so once I had the H from HABITUE I recognised her, but I remained in the dark for too long with 6 down. Was God’s command followed by one solitary ray?
  4. Pretty slow for me at 10:33 – several clues took longer than they should have done, esp. FLORET and 3D where quick anag-solving powers failed me. Maybe 8D for COD but there’s lots of good stuff in this puzzle. The other COD has ‘courtesan or mistress, esp. an educated one in ancient Greece’, which I guess gives an excuse for not mentioning Greece.

    i_am_Magoo came up with “lift and separate”.

  5. Even with the first T and LIGHT entered at 6D I took an inordinate amount of time pondering what would fit. Not the strongest clue of the bunch but it did its job by causing considerable delay. AMIES was new to me so 1A was an educated guess.
    Satisfying puzzle all round; 15D very good for its PARTY PIECE link-up, but COD goes to 21D for the same reason mentioned in Neil’s intro.
  6. Mostly straightforward today though I struggled for a while on 8 and 20D.

    I also plumped for SEEDIEST at 1A until I cracked the Indian reference at 2. I have to admit I didn’t know that SIAN is a Welsh name; for some unknown reason I had always assumed it was Irish

    Does putting the anagram indicator at the end of 25 really work?

    I sympathise with Neil’s remark about STOLLEN, having lived and breathed all things German for a period, but both Collins and Chambers mention bread rather than cake so I guess we are wrong.

    I can’t enthuse over anything enough to nominate a COD.

    1. Yes, I think this is OK. In the construction of this clue we can read “The letters of INSTIL AWE can be seen when the answer to this definition is anagrammed”.
      The only argument I’d have is “fantastic” as the anagind, but it’s been used before and is evidently acceptable enough.
      1. Now that I fully understand it, thanks to Anon, I think it’s clever and I nominate it as my COD.

        I had thought it rather clumsy, but it’s well crafted and a little out of the ordinary.

    2. I don’t know whether it’s bread or cake. I don’t care. I love it and only yesterday it arrived in the primary supermarket here in Skiathos. I have bought two which, with a little restraint, will see me through the Christmas period. It is a wonderful thing that the pre-Christmas period here only begins at around the last week of November each year.
      Mike O, Skiathos
      1. There’s a similar effect in the US – because Thanksgiving is about one month before Christmas, except for some shops where Christmas lasts the whole year, the commercial stuff only lasts the one month. Best reason I can think of for Thanksgiving, says Mr Scrooge.

        Edited at 2007-11-30 05:55 pm (UTC)

  7. Second day running and my “guesses” turned out to be good ones. I guessed REGARDANT must be heraldic and HETAERA was the only word I could form from the word play. I’ve just noticed that there seems to be a spell checker at work on LJ now (or is it because I’m using Firefox today rather than my usual IE?). It has underlined both words suggesting either “regard ant” or “retardant” for regardant and nothing for hetaera. Last to go in was TURKEY which I made much harder work of than I should. I’ll suggest 28a as COD today. 18 minutes today.
  8. Liked WAISTLINE (not mine mind you). Found this rather tough — HETAERA (looked up) and REGARDANT (guess) were beyond me. Neil: did you cite chapter and verse of the latter from memory??

    I too fell prey to SEEDIEST at first until I couldn’t get ASIAN (EDIES was just as convincing as AMIES 🙂

    1. No. The bible is, as it were, a closed book for me. That said, I did know the reference (sluggard, ant) from somewhere or other. The quote came from a bit of mid-blog, interwebular searching courtesy of your new employer.

      (For everyone else: I Googled it)

  9. 15 minutes, started off blazing and crawled to a halt. Relieved to have guessed regardant (fitted the letters), and hetaera (done from the wordplay). 23ac I thought was nice, my pick for COD.

    Took a while to get the anagram “Immersion Heater”, which cracked me up, since I have three of them in the next room.

  10. Apart from a couple of awkward ones (hetaera, regardant, both words unknown to me) this was a stroll in the park compared to the previous two days.
  11. Here in Italy the whole of November is the ‘month of the dead’. Absolutely nothing Christmassy happens until after the 8th December which is really refreshing. In addition to this, apart from the supermarkets, all the shops will gift wrap – an added bonus!

    Carole H., Fermo, Italy

  12. It’s probably just me, but I always think “second-rate” when “with” is used as a linking word, and it had always seemed that Times setters were of the same opinion. Then today we had 19D, the first time I have noticed it in The Times.
  13. Reindeer clued without reference to Santa’s Steeds at 17d.

    This was deemed to be a bit on the easy side as there are a dozen omitted from the blog:

    12a Singer of (carol not)* somehow keeping (t)ime (9)

    14a Stop in camp? (7)

    16a Deposit of salt recurring (6)
    TARTAR. Salt = TAR??

    18a Good French material used for making hat (6)

    22a Aggrieved one coming to judge (5)
    I RATE

    26a Actor’s half-hearted speech coming over incoherently (5)
    GAB (B) LE. Should be BRANDO in Apocalypse Now.

    1d Two things occupying lawyers, one taken on holiday (8)

    2d A Welsh girl of Indian descent, say? (5)
    A SIAN. I would have thought that there have been sufficient Sians in films and on the telly for most people to know it is a Welsh girls name?

    6d Ray got going once this initial order was given (3,5,2,5)
    LET THERE BE LIGHT. The passcode to set off the BIG BANG?

    8d Period of frenzy over crucial land (6)
    TUR KEY. RUT = period of frenzy – especially for the 17d.

    17d Source of water precious, as they say, for wild animal (8)
    REIN DEER. A lot of these have been domesticated to some extent by herders?

    19d Hit the hay with rat on (4,2)
    TURN IN. There seems to be some dissent about the use of “with” here?

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