23,782 – a drinker’s puzzle?

Solving time 7:05

Good initial progress, then slowed down for my last three answers – 19, 11 and 8 in that order. COD is 24D unless someone is certain that it’s been used before. Various drinks in the answers, wordplay and surface, plus a WINO at 14.

1 ARMAGNAC = (Nag CAMRA)* – for any non-Brits puzzled by the surface, CAMRA = Campaign for Real Ale – that warm stuff done properly. And Armagnac is an alternative to Cognac – half tempted to add some to the Christmas shopping list right now.
9 ALL,U.S.,ION(a) – another popular xwd island after recent appearances for IOM and IOW.
10 HUNT DOWN – (th(e)n wound)*
11 ADVOC(A)AT,E – an appearance for that vile yellow stuff needed for the dreaded “snowball” cocktail.
17 NE(PTU=put*)NE – the River Nene flows past Peterborough and into the Wash.
21 APE,X – copy’s = “copy has”, not “copy is” for the cryptic reading
22 OUT,OFT,OU(r),CH – close contender for COD. Minor post-comment correction now made.
23 HIGH JUMP – def., and cryptic def.
25 PUP,PET,RY=railway=”tracks”
26 SEN.,SIBLE=”Sibyl” – glad to see I got this spelling right – the prophetess is a Sibyl, Mrs Fawlty is Sybil.
3 AN,T(h)EATER – a bit of a variation on worker = ant
5 CAN(A,S=second)’T,A – double pack extension of rummy which was fashionable for a while just after WWII – played by the Royals in the days of Peter Townsend.
7 TIRAMISU – I in (air,must)*
8 ENVE=even*,LOPE – don’t really understand why this took me so long.
13 M,UMBO,J,UMBO – an umbo is a central boss on a shield – one for beginners to remember – Commenters point out that ‘umbo’ is not very different to ‘umbo’, so Mark and Jack could also be said to have the same boss. I guess the case for the defence is “different instances”.
15 SE(ACHES)T – ‘what sailor may have’ is maybe a bit vague, but then again SEA for the 3 of the (3,5) is a very safe bet.
16 P,EER GYN=enerygy*,T – play by Ibsen, though the incidental music by Grieg is probably better known. One commeneter points out that this has “with” as a def/wordplay link. Whenever this happens in the Times and I notice, there seems to be some justification – in this case, you can just about read the ‘with’ as linking “power and unusual energy” and “opening in theatre”.
18 TROUSERS – 2 defs, including “to pocket”. Hardly an issue of Private Eye goes by without this sense of “trouser” being used.
19 NOCTURNE = night-time painting, and = “knocked urn”. The Portland Vase is in the British Museum and has been repaired at some point in the past.
24 OPUS – reversed alternate letters in ScUlPtOr

35 comments on “23,782 – a drinker’s puzzle?”

  1. Can’t quote a time due to ‘real life’ interruptions, but certainly longer than for the last two days. 8D was last to go in, and since it’s a case of being held up by a perfectly fair clue with a very plausible surface I’ll nominate it as COD. I might have chosen 16D but for ‘with’ as a link. The part-homophone in 26A doesn’t quite work for me (and doesn’t tally with pronunciation as per Chambers). The surface of 22A is hard to construe.
    1. 8d was my last to go in too. So far all three posters have admitted problems with solving it yet it seems so straightforward now.
    2. Muggins completely wrecked his chances of a sub-10 minute potential by carelessly placing ADVOCAAT at 11A, knowing full well what should have gone in. Even when I eventually spotted the error I, like Pete, pored fruitlessly over 8D.

      And 8D is my COD, an initially baffling but completely fair clue – and as smoothly convincing as my gorgeous self.

    3. Yes, I take Peter’s point on ‘with’ in 16D. A very good clue, but I’ll still go with the flow and COD 8D. I don’t have a problem with ‘though’ in this clue.
  2. Another fairly easy one that fell into place quite nicely whilst I was waiting for my train and left me with nothing to do on the journey except puzzle over the whys and wherefores of a couple of solutions.

    At 11a the first sentence of the clue seemed to be enough and I couldn’t see the reason for “That’s not an answer” until I remembered that the drink in question contains a double AA so one of them needed removing.

    At 13d I guessed UMBO might be a boss on a shield and I have since confirmed this, so I was wondering why does the clue says that M(ark) and J(ack) have different bosses. I’d have thought they had the same.

    S=Saint at 20d didn’t catch me out today!

    I can’t get excited over anything in the COD department but I thought they were a good selection of clues which held my interest throughout. Now that Peter has pointed out the alcohol theme I’m concerned this might sublimininally have been the reason.

  3. We know all about umbos down ‘ere my dear, what with Badbury Rings an’ all. But the clue itself is a bit of 13 down. I does ‘ope someone can explain it afor long.

    As we all so far had 8 down as our last entry it has to be a candidate for COD. 25 minutes to solve with no artificial stimulants. Jimbo.

    1. Yes indeed. And seems like a good puzzle. Maybe we should reverse engineer the clues from the answers in the blog as our exercise of the day.
      1. I’m trying hard not to look at them as I scroll down to the comments section. This had better be finished today (or at worst early tomorrow), I have no access to the Times other than online, so tomorrow could be a placeholder for a while.
        1. If you lived in NYC you could actually buy The Times daily (at the various Universal News outlets around town).
          1. Yes, yes, I live in the middle of nowhere, and when the interweebs are not functioning properly I have to deal with my surroundings. Go ahead, rub it in.
  4. Had to resort to the paper version today as the website’s login pages are offline.

    My COD would be 3D – if only for raising a smile.

    Nitpick: You’ve missed the second O out of your entry for OUT OF TOUCH.

    1. Nitpick noted & fixed. Just wish the Times could get in touch with the basics of customer service. Unannounced shutdowns are guaranteed to wind up the punters.
  5. 9:20 for me today. Like nearly everyone else, 8D was last to go in. It has to be my COD then, as it had everyone fooled for a while but is completely fair. For some reason I was caught out by S=saint at 20D today (but not yesterday), and wondered how OPPED could mean “was better than”, but put it in anyway.

    I was another who had to go out and buy the paper for a change. I just wish the site had been down earlier, as my RTC attempt was a complete disaster today.

  6. I find it strange that 8d was a stumbling block for many of the commenters. That was one of my first words entered, and I think a rather easy clue.
    What baffled me most was my ignorance of the word advocaat, so I couldn’t justify advocate.
    1. Well based on long experience of these dicsussions, however many people say that a clue that was really tough, there’s always someone who thought it was easy!
  7. A shade under 30 minutes which is fast for me – would have been quicker but I wrote ‘chets’ rather than ‘chest’ at 15 down. Only reason I can think of was that I thought I was going to break 20 minutes and I rushed it. Stupid.

    COD 19 down

  8. (1) Like most other people, apparently, ENVELOPE was one of the last ones I got, and having got it, I couldn’t understand why it took so long.

    (2) Was ROUSSEAU an impressionist? The most famous painter with that surname was “Douanier” Rousseau, and his best-known works are not what I would call impressionist. He may perhaps have painted others which are recognisably impressionist.

    Steve Williams

    1. I’m not sure I agree that the clue to this is entirely fair. Well, I guess it is fair, but it’s the “though” , is it not, which causes the distraction in a way which to my mind is slightly unsatisfactory. Maybe it’s just me.
      1. … and maybe “separate” bosses instead of “the same” would have been slightly better. This did jar a bit with me when I solved it.
        1. Yes, I’d say an ambiguous clue is a poor one.

          I must have been lucky to download the puzzle at 5:00 A.M. GMT without any problems.

      2. At worst I’d say it’s just extra padding and “though” could replaced by but/when/if or indeed removed entirely, but for me it doesn’t detract from the quality of the clue and it breaks no rules. Most setters (myself included) like to create extremely concise clues, but we know that many solvers actually like to have a bit more to get their teeth into, so the inclusion of some padding is OK if it doesn’t affect accuracy.
  9. This sneaky method worked when I tried it during today’s interruption:

    Check through your browser history for a link to a recent puzzle, and open this in a new window or tab. It will probably show the puzzle even though the site is ‘closed’. You should also be able to see the URL, which is not visible in the pop-up window normally used for displaying retrieved puzzles. The URL is effectively a database query in part, with things like “&day=11” to specify the date of the puzzle. You can just change the URL to suit the date you need. If it’s a Saturday puzzle you want to get, fetch a link for a Saturday one – they’re in a different category.

  10. Straightforward again and 20 mins or so, with Envelope being the last to go in.

    Thought of Anax when I read the clue to 12A “Write dull words when tossing off!!”, then saw there was a second line. 😀

  11. Here’s a bit more detail on getting the puzzle that works sometimes when various aspects of the site are broken. I picked up this puzzle in California at about 4.05pm (just after midnight UK time) when the link to today’s puzzle was still pointing to the previous day’s.


    Change the ID to the number you want (one more than yesterday) and change the type from 1 to 3 if it is Saturday (11 for Sunday, 2 for Times 2). The puzzle is usually available on the stroke of midnight through this mechanism.


  12. Unlike most people, 8d wasn’t my last to go in – but that’s because it was one of the four that I didn’t get (the other three being 11a, 5d and 19d).
    I’d have to put 3d as my COD – nice break-down of the word.
  13. Thanks so much for the link, Paul.

    The Times site was (and still is) down for me even after a cookie purge. Just before withdrawal set in I gambled on finding a fix here (at the risk of absorbing too much info) and Paul came through!

    And I gotta rub it in, guys: 8d fell straight into place and I was quite surprised some struggled with it!

    I thought 5d a nice clue so my COD goes there.

  14. My LOI was 8d ENVELOPE too – after my POI at 11a ADVOCATE the Dutch lawyer on Ecstasy without an answer. He has probably (egg) flipped.

    Just the 5 “easies” not included in the blog – including a second recent instance of Saint = S and not St. You only have to go to Spanish place names for S = San instead of St = Saint so it is entirely fair and did not catch me out this time.

    14a Prevail in fight with old drunk (4)
    WIN O. Do not try this after advocaat consumption.

    15a Drink to engineers as the greatest (7)
    SUP R.E. M.E.

    27a Catastrophe as (star dies)*, shot (8)

    4d BromiNE ONly contains one element (4)

    20d What Terminator did was better than following saint (7)
    S. TOPPED. I’ll be back!

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