23,913 – blog and pie chart

Solving time 9:08

Not easy, but nothing terribly hard either. COD nominations: 1D and 17, both for fitting clever changes of word meanings into smooth surfaces.

1 SOLE,CISM = M(u)SIC rev.
9 DAN – 2 defs., one the book of Daniel
10 B(R)OTHER,(Robin) HOOD
13 HOOT – the noise made by an owl – though the Wikipedia articles about wood owls that mention calls suggest that “hoot” is rather an insult. And notice that real numeric character in the online version – proof again that whatever bug makes them convert nearly all numbers to words isn’t as pervasive as they say.
15 AS,TERN – an &lit referring to seabirds following boats to pick up scraps.
16 slowes(T),RAILER. Minor whinge about this – a trailer is the back end of an articulated lorry and therefore not a whole ‘truck’.
18 A(RD.,U,O)US
23 O,ATH=hat*
24 MARSHAL=”martial”,SEA(l) – a historic London prison – for debtors, as those who know about the life of Dickens or plot of Litte Dorrit will know.
26 SHOUTED DOWN = (shot wounded)* – crook = wrong, or a bit less convincingly, but what I actually remembered, the Aussie/NZ ‘sick’
27 (s)OAK – I had to giggle in Tesco’s the other day when I saw some pseudy bottles of lager with “oak flavouring”.
28 LIT=came down,ANY=some – worded to make you look for the hidden word
29 A,E(GROT)AT – grot is in the dictionary as “rubbish”, back-formation from ‘grotty’ (which in turn is formed from ‘grotesque’) – though I suspect others will remember Reggie Perrin’s version (start about halfway through if you want to skip the part about Uncle Jimmy’s secret army). ‘eat’ is slang for annoy/niggle. Forgot to mention originally that it’s a certificate indicating that a student was expected to pass their exams but was off sick.
1 S(ID)ING – a railway line, and hymn is used in the verbal sense
2 LANCERS – 2 def’s. I don’t know whether the name of the dance comes from the military sense. If it does, the clue is not terribly cryptic.
3 CAB(ALL)EROS – Eros being the strictly erroneous popular name for the Shaftesbury memorial in Piccadilly Circus. According to Wiki, the alternative name “Angel of Christian Charity” is also a dud.
4 SHOWS ONES HAND – 2 defs
6 NO R.A.
7 WOO(DOW(n))L – Wiki lists four of these, of which I rather like the Mottled.
8 RED,START – it’s another bird
11 HALF-TIME SCORE – (lose match if)*,re. “provisional result” seems a tad optimistic with half the game to go.
14 C,A,RAV(ANN)ER – caught=C being today’s bit of cricket
17 CARO(USE=value)L – the musical with “You’ll Never Walk Alone” in it, as we’ve just been thinking about football.
19 DE TRO(p),IT
22 J(‘ACK)ET – Wapping being part of London’s East End and therefore in the cryptic H-dropping catchment area, and also the part of town where many journalists finished up after the printing stopped in Fleet Street.

Here’s the Trivial Pursuit (TM) ‘pieces of the pie’ analysis I mentioned yesterday, with half a point (and a bracketed clue number) for what I think is an easy snippet. Inevitably for this first attempt, I couldn’t find anything I thought worth recording under Arts and Literature. I’ve also included a total to see where puzzles lie on the scale from Countdown-ness to QI-ness (see comment from sotira in chat about the last Saturday puzzle blogged). As I said yesterday, there’s no obligation on other bloggers to include this. If you want to dispute the number or allocation of snippets, go ahead …

Category Score Clues
Arts & Literature 0
History 1 24
Geography 1.5 3, (19)
Sport & Leisure 2 9, (2), (11)
Entertainment 1 17
Science & Nature 2 7, (13), (15)
Total 7.5

25 comments on “23,913 – blog and pie chart”

  1. I ran out of time on my journey to work with 24 and 29 missing having finished the remainder of the puzzle in 25 minutes. I can’t really say I knew either of them though I must have run into both previously so I guess my memory is at fault. Other than that it was mostly straight forward.
  2. Agreed, a largely straightforward one – about 30 minutes to solve. Had a slight struggle with 29A until I twigged eat=niggle. I have a slight eat with 22D – should solvers be required to know that Wappin’ is like ‘ackney? OK for people familiar with London but a bit tough on the majority. More London landmarks with Eros and Marshalsea (which was not far from Clink Street and the original Clink prison). I liked 10A, 26A, 1D and 17D.
  3. I gave up at 30 mins with six unsolved. Didn’t know 2D and 24A, struggled generally. Agree that the definitions in 16A and 11D are stretched. I liked 19D most.

    Tom B.

  4. 29A
    An aegrotat is not a university qualification, but a means of obtaining one, namely a degree.
  5. Forgive me if I’ve misunderstood something, but how does Lancers count as S&N? I’d have thought the birds at 7 and 8 had a better claim for inclusion.

    I forgot to say I solved 2 in an instant probably because I saw a clip of Richard Hearne (Mr Pastry) doing his famous Lancers routine a couple of days ago and I can’t get the tune out of my mind.

    1. Sorry, transcription error. I should have written 7, not 2. I didn’t include 8’s redstart as it seems such a familiar xwd bird. Mr Pastry is a closed book to me – 1950s TV rather than the 60s when I started watching.
  6. I don’t think I’d have got AEGROTAT in a million years. Even if I’d sussed out the wordplay I’d have rejected it as being too silly to be a word. I thought of JACKET at 22d but couldn’t justify it and rejected it because that would mean 29a ended in T_T, which couldn’t possibly be correct. Why I wrote TRAWLER instead of TRAILER at 16 is anybody’s guess. Generally tricky all round today, I’ll give my COD nom to 1a.
  7. Gave up after 40 minutes with 24 and 29 empty. A peek at Word Wizards got me AEGROTAT, but I couldn’t for the life of me come up with something to fit -A-S-A-SEA. Maybe there’s a bit too much of a British slant in this one (yes, I know DETROIT is stinking up one corner).
  8. 29 was a sort of education in that it was the first word I could think of that fit and which I felt I’d heard of. It was my antepenultimate answer after about 15 minutes but I was bamboozled by the combo of 1A / 3 (and thus, of course, not helped by the checking letter). A mightly double kick to the shins after another 10 minutes of word-blindness.
    A far more contemporary feel compared with yesterday’s and I’m with Mr Penguin in selecting 1A; technically straightforward but very well concealed.
  9. Clues 1 to 28, twenty-six minutes. Clue 29 , timeless.

    There are some things that twenty-six minutes can buy. For everything else, there was Chambers Word Wizard.

    I know I’ve encountered AEGROTAT before, but just couldn’t see it and quit after 20 minutes of staring at it. The clever disguising of ‘niggle’ as a noun threw me on the wordplay, especially annoying as Reggie Perrin was a favourite of mine (the original novel is well worth digging out).

    Some very smart, tricky clues and a few dodgy ones, addressed by others above.

    I liked 1ac SOLECISM and 24ac MARSHALSEA (hadn’t heard of it but it was ascertainable by other means).

  10. Got through most of this in 22 minutes then hit the wall at 22/24/29. Was sure Wapping had something to do with one of Murdoch’s papers so didn’t spot the ‘ack bit, despite considering and rejecting Jacket and Hacket as answers. Marshalsea and Aegrowotsit might as well be in sanskrit.

    Other than the “half-tme” quibble my other beef was Dan for Daniel. Whilst this is a valid shortening of the boy’s name I’ve never heard Father Peter at St. Mary’s reading from Dan chapter 2 (or, for that matter, Matt Chapter 16).

    Plenty of good clues mind but nothing a cut above for me.

    1. The rule I follow is that the abbreviation is the first three letters except:

      Judges = JDG
      Philemon = PHM

      If there is more than one book then it’s a number followed by the first two letters e.g. 1SA 1st Book of Samuel.

  11. I went wrong on Aegrotat. I knew the word since a friend of mine got one but I spelt it wrong and so I had “retat” as “about rubbish” and I couldn’t see why “aeg” was a niggle (but then it wasn’t inconceivable that it was really a word).

    And I didn’t know marshalsea and couldn’t get it from the wordplay.

  12. I thought I was going to finish this in a good time, until 24 / 29 ac made sure that I got stuck on the SE corner… The latter especially, I thought, was particulary obscure – both in terms of the answer and the wordplay!
  13. Wapping: I think anyone who knows about the Wapping dispute, which of course involved The Times, can place Wapping in East London. ‘Twas only 20-odd years ago …

    Slightly stunned by so much ignorance of the Marshalsea, as I thought his dad’s spell there was compulsory material in any Dickens bio. But then I’m a sucker for “Old London Town” stuff, ever since my parents had a copy of Mayhew’s London and the LSE library had the Booth poverty maps on display. Thanks to the wonder of the web, you can see these without a trip to Clements Inn – here’s the area now occupied by the LSE (“Uni of Lon” on the 20th century map). You can see why Kingsway was put in this part of town.

    Biblical book abbrev’s: No-one would announce a lesson as “Matt. 7.21-29”, but these, like many abbrev’s, are a time-/space-saving device, primarily used for writing. Like Jim, I’d trust the dictionary rather than a rule, though most examples are fairly easy to work out (providing of course in today’s case that you know Daniel is a biblical book).

    AEGROTAT seems the hardest, and I can understand some degree (ho ho) of frustration from those who’ve never seen the word. Although it’s in the Concise Oxford, it’s not in the online Merriam-Webster collegiate which I count as the rough US equivalent. My Webster 3rd New International has it down as ‘British’. The ROT and TAT possibilities for the rubbish make it even trickier…

    1. “Like Jim, I’d trust the dictionary rather than a rule”

      Fair enough, Peter, but surely the object is to solve puzzles without reference to dictionaries if possible, in which case the “rule” is useful as a source of abbreviations that have been used at one time or another in a biblical context. The list is certainly not exhaustive and in some cases there are acceptable or more commonly used alternatives; also it’s doubtful that they are all in one or other of the standard dictionaries, but it’s a rule of thumb that might have avoided doubt in the OP’s mind, as it did in mine, on today’s occurrence of Dan for Daniel so I thought it worth passing on to others.

      1. I guess what I really should have said is that usually, the abbreviation’s role in wordplay for a known word is as effective as anything else in making the precise abbreviation clear. In this case, if you knew the karate dan, the abbreviation for Daniel was revealed rather than required. We had Hebrews = Heb. in a puzzle last year and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen Cor/inthians) and maybe Rom/ans too – so I suspect your rule of thumb is generally effective for the ones that appeal to xwd setters.
    2. “The hideous 29 deserves a paragraph of its very own. For ‘rubbish’ I thought of ‘rot’ and I thought of ‘tat’; for ‘about rubbish’, I thought of ‘re tat’; for ‘a niggle about rubbish’, I thought of ‘a eat’ around ‘rot’. But there was just no way that G was ever going to come to me, so Dorothy finally had to go see the Wizard. AEGROTAT – there’s a word you hear every day, n’est-ce pas? I’ll try to remember that ‘grot’ is another bit of British slang for rubbish, but, as for ‘aegrotat’ . . . . I don’t believe that’s a piece of mental furniture I want cluttering up my mental living-room; nothing more than a fancy, but next-to-useless, little gewgaw, really. It goes now into some dusty mental trunk in my mental attic, never to be seen again probably.”

      That’s almost poetry that is. Like Shakespeare without the bad jokes and daggers (and bubbles).

      More of the same please.

  14. I did the puzzle last night in West Coast time, and kicked myself this morning when I read PB’s explanation of “eat” in 29. Aegrotat went in quite early for me, but only because I convinced myself that “niggle” must be a misprint for “nibble.” –JR.
  15. I’d go along with the niggle about TRAILER. Those of us who follow rugby (union) will know the rule which says a ball-carrier at the back of a maul must remain bound to his team-mates – if he becomes detached it’s a penalty for offside. When it happens in the Southern Hemisphere you’ll hear the ref blow his whistle and say “Truck and Trailer”, i.e. the two parts have become separated. So, at least one part of the world where the two things are definitely not synoyms…
  16. In 1ac we are asked to accept that music = composition. Is that OK? It seems to me that ‘composition’ might imply a piece of music like a symphony, but not music generally.
    1. Strictly speaking, you’re right. Somehow this ended up bothering me less than the things I mentioned, but not reasons that I can make sound very convincing.
  17. I managed to get MARSHALSEA at 24a from “It kept prisoners” and the checkers but I did not see the wordplay. Of war for martial to sound like marshal is very good.

    Totally beaten by AE GROT AT at 29a. Que? Do they have those only at the posh universities? I never heard about them at Southampton nor the Open. Even if I had unravelled the wordplay – I only got as far as ROT for rubbish so therefore missed GROT – I don’t think I would have had the nerve to enter such a preposterous word.

    There are 3 “easies”:

    5a Politici ANS WER e framing reply (6)

    20a (Laymen)* treated in despicable fashion (6)

    25d School report written up (4)
    ETON. Note = report? I s’pose?

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