23871 – one for the vicarage breakfast table

Solving time 9:55

A definite puzzle of two halves – the top was quite a struggle but the bottom was straightforward. Last few solved were 9, 11, 12, 5, 6. There are a fair few Church and Biblical references so I wonder (on edit: wrongly) whether this is from Don Manley, who sings bass tenor in a church choir somewhere in Oxford. And also whether the religious content will cause more gripes than the absence of this puzzle from the Crossword Club website – hopefully not, as most are fairly easy.

COD 4D – it’s a nice clue and represents the whole puzzle.

1 A POST,LES(son) – one meaning of apostle is ‘an important early Christian teacher or missionary’. St Paul is an example of ‘apostle but not disciple’.
9 MA(QU(i)ET)TE = the French term for a scale model – I think I’ve seen it on those “build your own Chartres Cathedral” card kits that you sometimes see in the souvenir shop at tourist sights.
10 NO,(GOA)RE,A – no = noh = a Japanese form of drama. Maybe a slightly unfortunate appearance for Goa given recent news stories.
12 GIVEN A BUZZ – to “give you a buzz” is Brit colloq. for “phone you”. I wondered about ????? A RING, as I only had the “up” in 5D for quite a while.
15 H.E.,ATHEN(s) – ‘uncultured’ is a slangy meaning to go with yesterday’s ‘ignorant’.
17 P(iou)S,ALTER – a church choir special, as everyone else finds their psalms in the Bible or Book of Common Prayer. At evensong (or just possibly matins), the choir have psalters with music for each psalm’s chant.
21 RAG,A – strictly there’s no need for a rag to be for piano any more than a sonata, but the 1970s Scott Joplin craze that followed the movie The Sting made a strong association as he wrote mostly for piano. Idle searching reveals that the “Pot Black” theme was George Botsford’s Black and White Rag. Ragas are Indian music compositions, which can go on for a very long time – anyone else remember the all-night Indian concerts at the Proms?
22 FE,MINI,NITY=tiny*
23 C,HANDLER – Raymond C gave us Philip Marlowe
25 ELI,GIB(L)E – {priest = Eli} is one of the crossword clichés of all time.
26 SYLLA = ally’s rev.,BUS
2 PRO,CAINE=”Cain” – ref. Cain and Abel. One of the tricky top half clues, but I fortunately saw through “number” on about my second look and jotted down “anaesthetic” next to the clue, so got it from checking letters. Various anaesthetic names use the -caine from cocaine – watch out for ortho-, ligno-, benzo-, novo, lido- and eu- as well. I wonder whether the setter missed a chance to refer to the Bible’s book of Numbers.
3 SMOLLETT – LL in motets* – this time the church music is in the surface reading.
4 L,ARK = safe haven during flood. Please don’t tell me you put DOVE!
5 SMAS=mass*,H=horse,UP=riding (a horse) – a trick wandering in from barred grid puzzles where it’s very common.
6 SQUEEZE,SIN=monkey business
7 STO(O,DO)UT – {do = affair}? Both have an “event” meaning.
8 TEST,ATOR=rota rev., with “drawn up” the reversal indicator
15 HARD CASE – a “hard nut” in slang, though neither COD nor Collins include it.
16 ARGUABLY = (a burgla(r)y)*. “Solved” is a novel anagram indicator, and this one raises my old query about whether “right” is really “away” when one of the two Rs is kept.
18 LO,(e)NGLIS(h)T – what you have before a short list. Also not in COD or Collins.
19 EX-TOLLER – c.f. Monty Python’s “ex-parrot”. More church – we’ve had the choir, so let’s have the team of ringers at the other end.
24 K(r)ILL

35 comments on “23871 – one for the vicarage breakfast table”

  1. I felt I was struggling a bit with this so was surprised to find that it took only about 40 minutes (anything under 30 minutes is good for me) so it wasn’t that bad. Several unfamiliar words at 2,9 and 21 but all were solvable from the word play. Nothing stands out as a COD but 4 is as good as any.

    I thought for a while we were in for a pangram but we are missing J and W.

    I was not pleased to go out at 6:00 on a day off in order to buy a paper. When are they going to sort the club site out once and for all? Misplaced spaces, misplaced clues and now another missing puzzle. It really isn’t good enough.

  2. Can’t not moan about the e-puzzle not being available. What goes on in that office?

    I thought this a good puzzle with the exception of 18D where I eventually applied the Holmes technique of if nothing else fits then what’s left must be correct. I realise I’m retired so can somebody please confirm that managers talk about a “long list” because I can’t find it in any dictionary.

    I have a lot of ticks against clues. At 14A LOFT is a good hidden word. 17A, 22A, 27A, 2D and 4D are all well constructed. I’ll go for 17A as COD. Jimbo.

    1. A Google search for both kinds of list produced a fair number of hits, though it suggested that awards panels might be more likely to use a long list than managers recruiting new staff.

      The online puzzle is now available.

      1. I think it’s interesting Peter that the Google search produced Man Booker 2007, Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction and BBC4 Samuel Johnson Prize 2007, all of which have LONGLIST as one word and not 4,4. Jimbo.
        1. With all respect to a prize named after Johnson, I’ll give the cop-out answer that whether a noun is really (4,4), (4-4) or (8) depends on the dictionary you happen to look at. There are adjectival cases like “man-eating” or yesterday’s “out-of-pocket” where I’d insist on hyphens rather than spaces (a “man eating tiger” and “man-eating tiger” must be different things). I’d do the same with the verbs like “short-list” or “long-list”.
  3. “Long list” is in the latest Collins, Jimbo, defined as “a list of suitable applicants for a job, post, etc, from which a short list will be selected”.

    I’m not sure I had heard of it before today, though.

    1. Was relieved to see that I guessed this right. I can take some consolation in the fact that several solvers seem to have had trouble with it. I thought this was going to be an easy one but struggled with some of them…. even 10a – which is shameful considering that GOA has been all over the Indian news channels the past few weeks! Vijay
    2. I think I need some new glasses. You’re absolutely right Jack. Goodness knows how I missed it and it’s in as 4,4 so full marks to the setter. Jimbo.
  4. About 12 mins, so way inside my usual 2.5x PB’s time. Last to go in was 23A, for which no excuses as I’ve read two Marlowes in the last six months. I agree with the reservations on subtraction of just one R in 16D and also nominate 4D as COD – nicely biblical.
  5. A reasonably easy one punctuated by some tricky clues. I was initially inclined to quibble about “teacher” as a fair definition for “apostle” in 1 ac, which held me up for quite a while. “Preachers” seemed to me nearer the mark. But Peter B’s lexicographical researches suggest the setter was well within his/her (are there any women setters?)rights in choosing the less obvious definition. Teachers frequently appear in Times cryptics, but I don’t think I’ve encountered teachers as apostles before. Lots of nice clues. I would go with 4 dn as my COD front-runner, with 14 ac, an exceptionally well-disguised hidden word, close behind.

    Michael H

    1. There are women setting puzzles. I believe Joyce Cansfield is still on the Times team, and the late Ruth Crisp was in the past. There are also Barbara Hall at the Sunday Times, Nuala Considine at the Sunday Telegraph, Ann Tait at the Daily Telegraph. A quick skim through Azed’s ‘A-Z of Crosswords’ finds Auster in the Guardian, Adamant in the FT, and Simplex in the Irish Times. Also Moodim in the FT, though I seem to remember a claim somewhere that this is a spoof entry. The Telegraph has a tradition of female crossword editors, though as far as I know none of these have been setters.
  6. 16 minutes exactly having spent a long time on the NE corner. I also made two silly mistakes writing SQUEEZES ON at 7d and RIGA at 21a. I should have got both really. Never heard of SQUEEZE = US girlfriend before. 7d gets my nod of approval today
  7. Struggled with this and had 3 blanks after 45 minutes of slog. Never heard of Smollet and missed eligible and extoller.

    I put in loft based on the def alone and didn’t spot that it was a hidden word until I’d read Jimbo’s comment. Nevertheless my COD nom goes to 22.

  8. This one was great fun, and only 20 minutes for me!

    “Long list” has been used in interviewing for as long as I remember – it arose from analogy with “short list”. Just goes to prove how rubbish some interviewers are when it comes to making up their minds.

  9. Ignorance: never heard of MAQUETTE before, and couldn’t piece it together from the wordplay.
    Smollett? Pieced together from the clue, but I’ve never heard of him/her either. And I’m frankly grateful that I’ve never heard or heard of raga. It sounds unpleasant…

    Memory loss: couldn’t explain No = drama (even though I’m sure I’ve seen this in the Times in the last 6 months)

    Not happy: as mentioned above; ‘rag’ isn’t particular to the piano.
    Also, I’ve always considered a syllabus to be a course of study, i.e. _a_ programme rather than _in programme.

    Two unsolved in a disappointing effort.

    On the bright side: I liked 22 and 19, and will nominate both as CODs until I can decide which one I preferred…


    1. Just to add the air of discontent (re RAG etc) I forgot to mention in my initial post that I have failed to find any evidence that I should be expected to know that KRILL = penguin food. Collins, Chambers and dictionary.com don’t mention penguins, nor does Wikipedia: Krill are a type of shellfish and shrimp-like marine invertebrate animals. These small crustaceans are important organisms of the zooplankton, particularly as food for baleen whales, manta rays, whale sharks, crabeater seals and other seals.

      I’m sure penguins do eat krill if available but it doesn’t seem that they are first in the queue.

        1. Thanks, penfold, however I think we might expect the information required to solve/explain clues to be available in standard reference works. Earlier I gave four usually reliable sources that do not make the connection needed in this case but I have no access to the clincher – the Oxford dictionary. If it’s in there then I would accept the clue is fair enough, but othwerwise not. Can someone look it up and report back please?
          1. My oldish COD says nowt about penguin under krill or vice versa. That said, requiring every single fact to be verifiable from the dictionary seems a bit severe – it’s surely no great surprise that penguins eat the stuff. Among the references you mentioned, if you look at ‘penguin’ in Wikipedia, krill gets a mention.
            1. I agree. I’m all for Ximeneanism (of which presumably followers are Ximeneanites), and think that clues should be fair – I’m often irritated in the Guardian by a cryptic definition or something that requires knowledge i don’t have – but also I’m against prescription when it’s unnecessary. I can generally get through a Times one despite not knowing 3 or 4 words. Here, as my dictionary says whales eat krill, I can go to Wikipedia or the library or ring up David Attenborough or something to confirm it if I feel the need, confident I’m on the right track. And maybe the setter felt you’d be more likely to find a penguon than a whale in a river. Oof that’s a long post.


              1. On reflection I think my problem here was that although I knew the word “krill” and was therefore confident enough to write it in I couldn’t actually recall its meaning, so I looked it up in several sources but found nothing to connect it directly with the very specific meaning suggested in the clue. A question mark or “for example” would have made all the difference.
        2. Use <a href=”URL”> followed by the ‘name’ and </a>. Apparently ‘a’ means ‘anchor’ and and ‘href’ = “hypertext reference”.

          If you get all the angle brackets, quotes, slashes and tag names in the right places,

          <a href="http://community.livejournal.com/times_xwd_times">Times for the Times blog</a>

          looks and works like this:

          Times for the Times blog

          [When you put a URL in a comment, LiveJournal automatically makes it into a hyperlink – unless you choose the “Don’t auto-format” option as I have in this case to avoid the URL in my example becoming a link.]

          If you use links, it’s well worth using the Preview option to check that they work as you intended. Use copy and paste from your browser’s “address bar” to get the URL – typing URLs by hand is a mug’s game.

    2. 26A seems to be another example of the “In {definition}, {wordplay}” pattern which we’ve mentioned a few times recently as a variant of “{wordplay} in {definition}”. Not my favourite device, but so common in the Times that I barely notice it.

      Smollett: wrote about Humphry Clinker, Peregrine Pickle and Roderick Random – but I might have learned about them from xwds.

      Raga: I forgot to say that there was a craze for ragas too, back in the days when the Beatles (George Harrison in particular) got interested in Indian music. Searching for ‘raga’ on Youtube will get you some (short) examples and Ravi Shankar talking about their encounter.

      Edited at 2008-03-26 06:00 pm (UTC)

  10. Personally, I expect ‘right away’ to mean ‘-r’. And would _like to see_ ‘losing rights’ (or similar) to mean the plural.

  11. Very good puzzle which I squeezed in over the course of about 40 minutes, with a few interruptions. Solved 9A from wordplay as my final entry, but I had to look up ‘maquette’, though; a new word to me. Yes, we ‘heathen’ Americans sometimes refer to a girlfriend as a ‘squeeze’, an in ‘she’s my main squeeze’, boorish though that may be.
  12. Two fairly brief sittings to get this, which makes three reasonably easy crosswords in a row – of course it will be my turn tomorrow.

    I didn’t get a chance to print this out until the early afternoon UK, so I missed it not being available online last night (kind of, I looked for it around 8:30pm US Eastern and figured it was just going to be a little late).

    I’ve used LONG LIST before, and though it was the last to go in, I didn’t think it was unfair. MAQUETTE came to mind from a similar word a few months ago that slipped me up (PARQUETRY?) and I was in tune to the I out of quit.

    So far as COD… I liked 14a as a cleverly-clued hidden, not difficult to spot if you know what you were looking for (but what is).

    1. I thought you’d invented ‘parquetry’ from parquet – flooring made of wood – and marquetry – pictures made from wood (usually veneer) of different colours. The wiki article explains how parquetry and marquetry differ.
      1. I probably invented it – I went looking for the crossword in mind, but couldn’t find it on here. I guess I was trying to say I had no idea what maquette was, but I knew there was a similar word, so I guessed from the wordplay.
  13. Straightforward stuff, but I wasted time going for another clean sweep and finished in 8:03 – I needed two goes at 9A (MAQUETTE, which I knew perfectly well, and parsed the clue correctly, but still didn’t get straight off (I couldn’t get S(I)LENT out of my mind) and 26A (SYLLABUS).

    Lots of nice clues, from which I’ll go for 14A as my COD.

  14. Just the 4 “easies” despite this one being another relatively easy one:

    14a Roof space fulL OF These boxes (4)

    27a (Royalist)* travelling alone (8)

    13d Top golfer’s card? (3,2,5)

    20d How reporter might identify himself, to make good effect (7)

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