23,805 – setter wins on 7D?

Solving time 15:40

A fairly sluggish time for this one as two crossing pairs of answers kept me thinking for quite a while at the end – 3/11 and then 12/7. Like jimbo, I found the top harder than the bottom.

1 GOLDFISH BOWL – CD referring to the metaphorical “in a visible position” meaning.
9 (f)ASTER – a flower
10 BOTTLE OUT – 2 defs, one strictly “what drunk often has” or similar
11 MULBERRY – 2 defs – the floating harbours used for the D-day landings were ‘Mulberry harbours’ and as noted in comments the nursery rhyme has us going round the mulberry bush on “a cold and frosty morning”
12 TELLER – 2 defs – had to guess at this – I assume there was a Teller on the Manhattan project or similar – yes, Edward T, “father of the hydrogen bomb” though unsurprisingly he didn’t like being called that.
15 FINISH – 2 defs, one a possible way to spell “fine-ish”
17 CH(E)OPS – builder of the Great Pyramid
18 F,EVER FEW – 3 = forte – answer to 3D (q. v.)
20 ANNE,(w)AL(k)- my COD for a nice smooth surface referring to the gent of a couple traditionally walking on the outside of the pavement.
21 FILTER,IN=burning – I don’t recall “filter on” as a phrase though I would understand it as meaning much the same.
24 PRES=reps*,CRIB,E
25 PANDA = “(h)ad nap” reversed – wasted time looking for a DE??? word here – something like snored in reverse, but containing an H to leave out.
26 FRONTISPIECE = (is perfection)*
1 G,RAM,MAR=ram rev.
2 LITTLE GREEN MEN – CD, ref. UK/European pictographic equivalent of the U.S. “WALK” sign at pedestrian crossings, as Ilan guessed.
3 FOR(T)E – wasted more time, looking (like Magoo) for a ‘front’ word in which I could move the letter T towards the end of the word. Looking at comments, the directness of {temperature=>T} swings the choice for me. I can see FORCE as an alternative via {temperature = Centigrade}, but {“temperature drops” => C, by way of (it’s) cold} seems too indirect. I’m also certain that in the link at 18, forte=F is OK, but I’m less sure of force=F. I’d therefore argue pretty firmly for FORTE as a valid alternative if told in a contest that FORCE was the official answer. I’d feel less confident the other way round.
4 SYBARITE = bestiary*
5 BETA = “beater” – someone who “starts” (i.e. surprises) game birds like grouse. Beta = er, the kind of testing that they don’t always do at the Times xwd club!
6 WOLVERINE = (wine lover)* – a voracious N American (and Siberian) beastie – a big member of the weasel family
7 GOAL = end,DIFFERENCE = argument – calculation used to rank soccer teams with equal league points. Not keen on “to” as a def/wordplay link in this one.
14 LAP DANCER = (parcel and)* – not the (Parcel she)* I looked for. The kind of cheeky answer that’s relatively new to the Times xwd.
16 BE(RIB)ER,I – a disease caused by lack of thiamine (Vitamin B1).
19 WAN(NAB=ban rev.)E
22 TO PUP – 2 meanings
23 SIGN – 2 meanings

27 comments on “23,805 – setter wins on 7D?”

  1. Lots of variety in this one, although the strange thing for me was waiting a long time to get the long answers but not really being bowled over by any of them.
    Some cracking clues though and all three favourites for me are full anagrams. 26A & 6D are excellent but 14D tops the lot, especially when you re-read the “Exciting parcel” segment.
    Only one gripe; 10A is one of those unfinished definition clues, “Drunk often has” being one of the pair. Never really liked that sort of thing.
  2. This one just didn’t click with me. By the end of my commute (30-40 minutes) I had completed less than half of it and these answers were scattered throughout which should have helped but didn’t.

    On arrival at work I looked up a few things to kick-start my brain and completed all but three in the SW quarter: 17A 17D and 20. Eventually with some difficulty I got these using a solver.

    I don’t see the reasoning in 3D, the wordplay at 10 seems a bit dodgy, and is “filter on” a legitimate phrase for crossword purposes? It’s not in Collins nor OneLook. I considered “filter in” too but that wouldn’t fit in with “burning” and anyway it’s not listed either.

    I really didn’t enjoy this one and none of the clues seems worthy of a COD nomination.I hope this is not a case of sour grapes on my part.

    I shall be interested to read whether others had similar problems, but I expect it was just me having a bad day.

    1. “In” is used ‘ere oop north to indicate that t’fire has been lit – no idea if its usage is widespread though.
      1. Thanks for this. Now that you have explained I think there may be a case for both IN and ON as in “filter in to a lane of traffic” or “filter on to a busy road”. Granted that IN seems more likely though.

        I still question whether either is a legitimate phrase for crossword purposes.

  3. I’m quite certain it’s “filter in” which at least sounds to me like a genuine phrase – though I believe both “in” and “on” can mean “burning”. (FILTER OUT is ‘sort of’ given in Chambers).

    Perhaps more importantly, I am intrigued by 3d, in which after a LOT of agonising, I eventually went for FORTE: I now read it as FORE with T ‘dropping in’ (in the sense of ‘visiting’) but even with that reading there’s a decent argument for ‘c’ being ‘cold’ (temperature dropping?) or ‘Centigrade’ to give FORCE. ‘Strength’ could clearly mean either FORTE or FORCE.

    Also I normally expect ‘dropping’ in a down clue to mean ‘moving downwards’ but I can’t find any useful wordplay involving that here. I await elucidation.

      1. Good point. I’ll check my “accepted abbreviations” list this evening as I can’t remember if F = Force is allowed at The Times. Forte, deffo. In which case, if the former is not allowed, this could be an interesting example of a clue with two potential answers having one possibility eliminated thanks to a reference in another clue.
        1. I think the answer without question has to be FORTE, given the cross-reference. F is a commonly recognised musical abbreviation, whereas F for FORCE, while valid is, I think, too tenuous to be clued in this way.
          That said, having solved FEVERFEW and having immediately written in FORTE at 3 down, I asked myself why, changed it to FORCE then forgot to change it back.
          So my 14 minute time had 2 errors, as not having heard of CHEOPS I went for CREOPS, having also considered CLEIPS and CHEIPS!
          Mr Magoo has kindly refrained from telling us how many nanoseconds he “agonised” before completing in well under 4 minutes 🙂
  4. Found this hard going. Would have resorted to the solver but it did one of its disappearing acts. Got there in the end without. 6d jumped out immediately liking the near anagram. Wanted 2d to be rhode island red but for the misreading the numbers. The bottom half came readily enough Id proving impenetrable for ages though don’t know why apart from my brain not really firing on all cylinders. Don’t quite see how 18a relates to 3d which i took to be FORTE finally Fore= front with T dropped into it as in placed carelessly but not inaccurately though C seems to work. A physicist included today first for a while Edison notwithstanding. After the troublesome Wonton yesterday i am reminded i don’t have a good list for those japanese dishes. alanjc
    1. “Never many”= EVER,FEW so you need an F at the front from the cross-ref “After three” (F=FORTE or F=FORCE)
  5. I don’t understand the ref to cold in MULBERRY (it’s a harbor but the only thing I remember about the children’s song is going round a bush).

    I rather liked 2D — assuming that the little green men are the icons telling pedestrians it’s time to cross?

      1. oh… i only remembered “early in the morning” — didn’t realize it was cold as well 🙂
  6. This one seemed to promise more than it delivered.
    1A had me thinking of Parsons’ Pleasure, flashers, nude beaches, and I was quite disappointed with the real answer.

    I loved Lap Dancer though, brilliant clue, and thought of Anax.
    Agree on “filter in” – ee by gum, ‘t fire’s in, as we say.

    Puzzled by 3D and wait for Pete’s explanation.
    I put Force, working on F(ahreheit) OR C(elsius) as relevant to temperature, but not convinced.

    Must go, Tesco online’s here.

  7. I found the top half of this difficult. My only explanation of 3 down is FOR-C-E being centigrade in FORE=front. I think it must be FORCE for 18 across to make sense. I didn’t understand the IN at 21 across so thanks for explanation about the fire. I thought 13 across a good clue. Jimbo.
    1. In (preferably very small) words could someone kindly please explain again how ‘in’ = ‘burning’? (Or ‘on’ as Magoo mentioned.)

      1. May be a northern thing as Anax suggests, but if the fire in the hearth remained lit overnight, one would say it was still “in” when one came downstairs.

        And a light bulb that is burning can be said to be “on”.

        Either seems valid to me.

        1. And of course it’s based on the deliciously simple (there I go – talking about myself again) premise that if the fire hasn’t gone out it must be in.
          Basic northern logic is that, by ‘eck.
  8. After my maximum 30 mins I still have 6 clues unsolved. I’m with the FORCE group, but can see that it can be either. Of the ones I’ve got , I’ll nominate 16d
  9. Thanks to Peter for analysis that set me thinking. I solved 18 across before 3 down. I looked at F in 18, considered 3 down and got F=force=strength and wrote it in. I never considered FORTE until I logged on here. As I read about FORTE I thought F=forte=strength doesn’t make sense, completely forgetting that FORTE has two meanings. It also means “loud” and f=forte is normal music annotation. Thus the meaning used at 18 across for FORTE is not the same as the meaning at 3 down. Complicated but fair! Jimbo.
  10. So many woes.

    Couldn’t place “in the cold” at 11a. The only Mulberry Bush I knew as a kid was one that monkeys chased weasels around.

    Beta and beater sound nothing like each other – I’ve really only heard beta pronounced ‘bayta’.

    ‘Burning’ had me stumped and I hadn’t heard the term ‘bottle out’.

    But, I went with my answers and was pleased to find them correct.

    I didn’t consider ‘force’ having – I am pretty sure – not seen C used for temperature without a bit more information.

    1. Beta rhyming (post-vocalic r’s aside) with Peter is the British norm. The ‘bayta’ version is what I’ve always thought of as the American version.
  11. This took me a real long time, and I never got MULBERRY since I never heard of the cold frosty morning. I had filter ‘on’, and I had forte. Shamefully I had ‘bata’ instead of ‘beta’. thinking of the American ‘batter up!’ phrase that starts a baseball game, but beta is now clear, Thanks,
  12. I’ve only just done this, hence the delayed comment.

    After a slow start, I finished in 8:39 for what seemed to me to be a reasonably straightforward puzzle. Like others I wasted time on 3D, but I’d actually thought of FORTE when I first read the clue, and in the end didn’t take too long to spot T dropping in on FORE.

    However, when I came to check my solution: shock horror – I’d got one of the answers wrong. However, it turned out to be 12A where the published answer is HEALER rather than TELLER, and that surely has to be wrong (TELLER was actually the first answer I put it).

  13. No problem with BETA sounds like BEATER on this side of the pond. Perhaps this Setter is a Trap Baiter for those who can’t pronounce proper?

    A very interesting puzzle where I had to resort to looking up my LOI at 11a because I simply did not know about the Mulberry Harbours. The cold and frosty morning went straight past me I’m afraid. Nice one setter. I hope I remember the Mulberry / Harbour connection from here on.

    It is such a good one that there are only 2 omissions from the blog:

    13a Control English army pistol’s recoil (8)
    REGUL AT E. E(nglish) T.A. LUGER backwards.

    8d Formal quality displayed by beST ARCHitecture (5)

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