23885 – A bit more like it

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
This one took me about 40 minutes, the last 10 being spent in the SW corner where 12, 18d and 27 put up some resistance, but it was much more my level of puzzle than yesterday’s monster and about as difficult as I want on an average day.

1 MAT(U,RAT)E – It’s interesting that my newly acquired COED gives only the medical definition which is neither the obvious one nor what’s required here
5 PE(Synagogue)ACH – I thought I knew all the Jewish festivals, but this alternative name for Passover is new to me
10 STAND-UP COMEDIAN – (does mad pun in act)* And it made me laugh!
15 LI(NED U)P – Nude* in “lip”
17 BE(TT)ING – TT=races was one of the things I first learned when attempting cryptic puzzles but  I’m a little concerned that until I looked it up just now I couldn’t have told you exactly why. Apparently it stands for Tourist Trophy. I suppose I knew this long ago as I had remembered it refers to an event held on the Isle of Man.
18 S(heep)HEARER
21 A,HEM(p) – I like this one a lot….
22 GONDOLIERS – …but this has to be my COD
25 PRAETORIAN GUARD – (are radiant group)* I remembered from somewhere that they were guardians of the Roman Emperor. I note that rarely a day goes by now without having an extraneous space in a word in the on-line clues. I find it very disconcerting that such obvious errors keep recurring and this regular lack of attention to detail now makes me wonder about the accuracy of every clue I find myself struggling with.
27 ROT,ATE – According to Collins Ate was a goddess who made men blind. It’s also the Greek word for ruin, folly or delusion and a character who turns up in Julius Caesar as the personification of vengeance and menace. Quite how any of this equates with mischief making is beyond me. There’s masses more about her on Wikipedia but I’m afraid I haven’t the time to plough through it all. No doubt it’s in there somewhere and some kind soul will explain it for me later.
28 CANT,1,CLE(ver)
1 M(US,IC)AL(colm)
2 T(h)E (v)A(n)
6 (th)E W(at)ER
7 ABIDE WITH ME – I do like this one though I’m not sure how fair it is. I wonder if Greta’s saying “I vont to be alone” shows up in many standard sources of reference. It’s in Wikpedia though and apparently was a line from her film Grand Hotel. She denied later applying it to herself, claiming that she actually said “I want to be let alone”. I agree with comments below that the GG (mis)quotation is well known, certainly to people of my generation and possibly one or two more recent, but I was just wondering why any young person would know it.   
8 HA(NG) (DO)G
12 ANNIE BESANT – Oh dear, am I displaying dreadful ignorance by admitting I have never heard of this campaigner for women’s rights? Despite this I was quite pleased that I managed to work her name out.
16 PARLOU(plasteR)S
18 S(N)APPER – The linking word “of” caused me some problemes here but I got there in the end. Thanks to Mike for pointing  out that “n” stands of “any number of” here, so “of” is not a linking word.
24 ST(re)ET – re=er (rev) – I liked the definition “ignore crossing” 

23 comments on “23885 – A bit more like it”

  1. 6:47 for this, which I was quite pleaased with. Had to work out the Jewish festival from checking letters but then it was vaguely familiar. 10A a day too late for George! 2006 champion Helen Ougham will doubtless have a wry smile at 11A – “back in the pavilion” or something v. similar for OUT was one of the two that stumped her in last year’s final. At 12D I remembered the name somehow but had no idea who she was. At 27A: my mental list of deities has “Goddess of mischief” for Ate. 7D harked back to some impenetrable clues that used to come up based on references to bits of literature, but I think the Garbo (mis)quote is well-known enough.
  2. I don’t think that “of” in the clue is a linking word.
    “N” is “any number of”.
    Mike O, Skiathos
  3. After spending 50 minutes doing yesterday’s excellent puzzle in the late evening after playing in a golf function all day I completed this one in less than half that time. I agree that “n” at 18D is standard algebra notation and have no problem with what Garbo didn’t say – it’s in everyday common parlance. I think 10A, 21A, and 6D are good with my personal best being 16D for its good surface. Jimbo.
  4. After yesterday’s debacle, where I couldn’t answer a single question, I managed to complete this one in less than fifteen minutes. I rarely see through a Times crossword to completion.

    Yesterday’s crossword had very little in the way of anagrams, where as today’s two or three big ones that straddled the entire grid. I cottoned on to the Greta Garbo one, which put letters across every quadrant.

    It seems bizarre, that I’ve gone from abject failure, to fastest time ever in less than 24 hours!

    1. If you’re in the UK and watch Mastermind, you might try seeing how many of the General Knowledge questions you can answer. I do, and my score can be anything from 5 to 15, depending on the questions that happen to come up, and the “morale effect” of how you do with the first three or so. So if you think of crossword clues as quiz questions, you can expect quite a bit of variation. But they’re questions whose answers help you get other answers, so you get a ‘snowball’ effect when you get most of the first few.

      So when ‘talbinho’ reports his times in comments here, they can be much slower than mine or much quicker – “much” can be a factor of two or three either way. (I think we’re roughly the same average speed at the moment.)

      There’s also the issue of how long the last few clues take. Do you get totally stuck on them and panic (as even champions can) or do you calmly think through the clue type, letter-pattern and def/wordplay split possibilities, and find the answer?

  5. 16 comfortable minutes.. except that I goofed, confusing Annie Besant with the less well-known Annie Sebant, who was, I think, a pioneering female unicyclist in 18th century Prussia. Or not. Oh well, life would be so dull if there were nothing to learn.
  6. After the challenge of yesterday’s puzzle I thought today’s might be a little easier, but still surprised to have romped home in 11 minutes, which should have been 10 or maybe less but for getting stuck in the NE corner. PESACH went in as a guess, but I just couldn’t see HANGDOG.
    COD to 17 – as ever, a sucker for the &lit, and it does seem ages since TT races (a.k.a. The Ride a Motorbike Very Fast on Public Roads and Get Killed Trophy) got a mention.
  7. 23 minutes. Another really tricky one with lots of devious clues. I made things harder for myself by deciding that 12d was (4,7) and not (5,6) so I was toying with things like ANNE EBISANT for far too long. I’m going for GONDOLIERS as COD nom. It might be just me, but even with all the checkers it took ages for the penny to finally drop. I really like 21a as well.

    Quite a bad week for me with two incomplete puzzles (although 6 months ago when I started publishing my times, only 2 puzzles wrong in a week would have been well above my average)

  8. PESACH went in right way (being Jewish is an advantage once in a while — well, I mean other than controlling Hollywood).

    That said, I had no idea how to turn “in senate ban” into a suffragette and i still don’t understand 13A.


  9. 27 minutes with a few interruptions and a drinks break. Cute puzzle, did it online early this morning so I don’t have my notes or answers in front of me, I remember COLUMBUS and GONDOLIERS being the last two in and frustrating me for quite a while, the rest of the crossword pretty much filled itself in except for these two (and what odd checking letters).

    Hadn’t heard of ANNIE BESANT, PESACH, but the wordplay was fair enough. I had STAGE LIGHT for a while at 14, which held me up.

  10. Having heard of Annie Besant (although couldn’t tell you anything much about her) and with the two long anagrams noticed immediately managed 9.07 today. Didn’t know ‘Pesach’ but it became obvious when the checking letters went in.
    The 2 long anagrams were good
  11. Much better today! Had some problems with the SW corner also, and also HANGDOG. Had to Google 12d, but no problem with the Greta Garbo reference. Favourite clues 17ac / 22ac / 7d.


    1. So true! The four horror-story words I can remember from championship disasters are IOWA, PAWL, SEXTET, CIRCUSES. (I could spell LA GIOCONDA and FAUTE DE MIEUX correctly).
  12. Isn’t this a cryptic definition rather than an &lit – or am I missing something?
  13. Much more fun than yesterdays disaster.Had trouble with AHEM and TEPID but finally sorted both. Getting 10 and 25 early was a great help. Mike & Fay
  14. A slowish 50 minutes hampered by white wine and putting in stifle for 27 (mischief maker it’s spin = elf its rev. def = rubbish as a verb).

    Once I’d sorted out that little cock-up my COD, stet (24), fell nicely into place – short words can be tricky to clue and I thought this was handled admirably.

  15. Sorry to enter so late, but that’s a clue that I didn’t find this very simple, felt similar to yesterday’s to me. I eventually worked out most everything, but guessed ‘Annie Sebant’; I figured I had a 50/50 chance, but came up with a lemon, apparently. Those who see this late note, have a nice weekend.

  16. Still quite a tricky one for me – that’s how I like ’em as I have no chance of doing one in 10 minutes or fewer – no matter how straightforward it is.

    Half a dozen “easies” not in the blog:

    11a Applauded back in the pavilion, but exhausted (7,3)
    CLAPPED OUT. Where applauded, obviously, is CLAPPED and back in the pavilion is OUT. Cricket supplies us with so much delightful illogic.

    13a Top actor is shot maybe (4)
    LEAD. A 4 letter double definition that even had one of the blogging team stumped until he had a DOH! moment – see above.

    3d Mites (sped) with (derris)* being sprayed (3,7)

    20d Leftovers (I reused)* in stew (7)

    23d Tot needs area for play (5)
    DRAM A

    26a Resistance blocks current discharge (3)
    A R C

    1. Just a word to let you know that your noble efforts to fill in the gaps do not go unnoticed and unappreciated as the original duty blogger should get an email drawing attention to new postings, assuming they still have an active Live Journal account and they have not opted out of the ‘notify’ system. Thanks for all your diligent work. I can’t remember exactly when we droped the convention of leaving out some of the answers each day, but I think you have some way to go yet!
      1. Thanks jackkt. I do the daily up-to-date one and check the blog – there is always something of interest in the discussions – and a few times I might make a comment. Then, if there is time, I will print off one of these back numbers so I always have a Times Cryptic on the go. It is healthier than a fag break. Completing the blog and seeing what others made of the puzzle (and sometimes finding out what on earth that stubborn answer is) is all part of the fun.

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