23,919 – hunting for 1D

Solving time 9:15 – with the last 2 or so pondering 1D.

This seems a very fair test – no literature that I can detect, and not too much local culture. The answers are well-chosen – only the 5-letter acrosses and maybe LEAFLET are regular grid-filling words.

1 CHAMBER(s),MAID=”maid”.
7 I’M,P(romote) – pickle = imp = naughty child
9 PAKI=(a kip)*,STAN,I – maybe not the most sensitive way to carve up the word.
10 (t)RAVEL
11 P,RE,M(I)UM
12 G,RIDDLE – not mad keen on “encountered by” as the def/wordplay link.
15 TORCH,SONG – a song of unrequited love – torch as in “carry a torch for”. The “lift and separate” (© Magoo) needed for “light music” is nicely done.
17 EMB(EZ(ra),Z(o)L(a))ER – fiendish wordplay to unravel. Ezra is a contender for ‘obscurest book outside the Apocrypha’, but only contributes two letters, and the ZL that comes next is given to you on a plate.
19 ASSAI(l) – counted as music below, as most English-speakers who know the word will remember it from directions like allegro assai
20 PIE,BALD – pie = magpie, “lacking feathers” for bald is a def. to fit the context. Mag also means ‘magpie’ by the way, which takes us into Torpenhow Hill territory.
22 LEA(F)LET – which I guess is often an advert.
25 G(racing),A,SHO(u)LDER – a possibly Brit. term for a large cylindrical gas tank – a.k.a. gasometer
27 SUE(z) – to entreat, as well as to make a legal claim
28 SHOPS,TE(WAR)D – another one possibly unfamiliar outside the UK.
1 CAP – 2 defs. One is “excel”, the other is a collection taken at a hunt for hunt servants. Didn’t know this one and just made associations with ‘cap in hand’ and buskers having a cap on the ground for your contributions, giving me about 1.5 defs. I think this will be the most troublesome clue. The verbal match better=cap may elude some, ‘cop’ has some tinges of meaning that you might link with ‘contribution’, ‘stirrup cup’ might tempt you to another wrong answer by way of another bit of hunting jargon, and a cep might just be a contribution to a mushroom hunt.
2 (r)ANKLE(s) – easy, but nicely worded
3 BESTIAL = (it’s able)* – EBNW again
4 ROAD METAL = (alarmed to)* – broken stones for roads, or what you mix with tar to make tarmac.
5 A(PIN)G – the pin of a key is the long cylindrical part (think Chubb rather than Yale)
6 DERVISH, ref. “whirling dervish” – a member of a Muslim fraternity who has taken vows roughly similar to those of a monk. Having seen dervishes “whirling” on a trip to Turkey, the phrase “whirling dervish” suggests rather more speed and frenzy than is actually involved.
7 INV(al)ID,I.O.U.’S – “offensively discriminating” is a def. for invidious
8 POLTERGEIST = (let priest go)* – maybe not a perfect &lit if you want to be fussy, but I’m sure we get the point. EBVNW and my COD nom.
11 PONY(=£25),EXPRESS=couch
14 TABLEWARE – able in water*. I wonder how long the setter spent trying to make a clue with “poured into”? I’m not a big fan of {over = outside}, but enjoyed the double bluff by which bowls were the kind that hold water, not anything sporting.
16 R,URAL(IST=sit*)S
18 ZE((ab)ALO(ne))US
19 A.B.,ALONE – someone’s list of sailors will have paid off nicely here

“Pie Chart”

Category Count Clues
Religion 1 6 – dervish
Music 1 19 – assai
Visual Arts 1 26 – Rodin
Popular Culture 1 15 Torch song
Sport & Games 1 1D – Cap
Natural World 1 20 – pie
Science and Technology .5 (11) I=current
Other 2 7 imp=pickle, slang. 28 shop steward – business/T.U.
Total 8.5

30 comments on “23,919 – hunting for 1D”

  1. With bowl at 14d and delivery and deliver at 11d and 13a, I expected at least one cricket reference!
    I found the three-letter words a bit tricky too – never heard of pickle for imp and didn’t know the hunting meaning of cap.
    I haven’t quite got my head around the ‘pie chart’ yet, but I would have put Erato under Literature.
    I did this in 28 minutes – very fast compared to recent times.
  2. How ridiculous to complete a puzzle so easily apart from two three-letter words (1dn & 7ac) with all four of their checking letters in place! Anyway I got them right in the end and for the right reasons though I didn’t have my trusty reference books to confirm my reasoning and couldn’t find anything on-line in the limited time I had available on arrival at work. I’ve never heard of “pickle” as a naughty child, btw, only being “in a pickle”.

    As I finished the puzzle before my commute I decided to think about the pie slices. These worked out much the same as Peter’s except I put “assai” under Other. Also I had “Erato” under Literature as it’s mythological.

  3. Reason for not including Erato: she’s the standard xwd muse and a prime xwd cliché. Much the same applies to composer=>RAVEL – d’Indy or Ibert would count as musical knowledge. You could say the same about current=>I in Times puzzles, but it’s probably new knowledge for solvers coming in from other puzzles. Your mileage may differ, and don’t worry about it if doing a pie chart.

    I’m a bit surprised by the trouble caused by IMP – I can’t see any other real I?P words, and only a few other choices for the middle letter look plausible. Once you see IMP as the only word you know that fits, the “I’M P” wordplay seems easy to spot. But I guess knowing imp=pickle makes a huge difference. I’d place a small bet that you can find “pickle” in this sense somewhere in Cider with Rosie – it feels like informal language from that era, or the sort of thing granny might have called you when you weren’t being “as good as gold”.

    1. I was mighty surprised when I checked Chambers Word Wizard for possible alternatives to find that it doesn’t even offer IMP!
  4. No major problems in this apart from 1 dn, which could have been any of 3 answers as far as I was concerned, but I guessed correctly it seems. I liked the deceptive use of ‘couch’ in 11 dn, so that’s my choice for COD.
  5. 12:45. Held up at the end by IMP and INVIDIOUS. CAP was entered from “Better” and after I’d decided on 7d (why didn’t I see INValID?) IMP was the only alternative. I didn’t help myself by thinking the two blokes at 13a were ROY & AL (as in Royal Mail – yes I know!) . Wrong bloke, wrong delivery. I was looking last night at the possibility of visiting Konya (where the dervishes whirl) and Cappadocia later this year but it would mean a 15 hour bus ride each way from where we’re staying. Perhaps we’ll just go to the water park instead. did I digress there? All in all a very enjoyable and fair crossword (possibly excepting EZra). 1a,15a and 28a were excellent but my COD nom is 14d
    1. I’ve just realised that I’ve stupidly got 27a wrong.
      By the way, should I be asking what EBNW and EBVNW mean?
    2. As a sucker for funky landscapes, I’d say Cappadocia was more special than Konya, especially if you include a balloon flight. Compared to a few UK ballooning experiences, ours had the slickest landing I’ve ever seen – basket put straight onto the trailer with everyone standing up, so they should really have opened the champagne before landing. (The norm here is a bumpy drag through a field full of cowpats with the pilot lying on top of you fighting with a rope.) We were on a VJV ‘Cappadoccia to Constantinople’ tour, which (despite the name) starts in Antalya. I suspect there must be some 3-4 day tours to Cappadocia from the Med coast.
      1. Thank you. But then, PB did spend a couple of minutes thinking about 1dn. I spent 20 seconds then hoped for the best.
        1. Take the win! But feel even prouder when you beat me on a 15-minute puzzle.
  6. A personal best time here (albeit of just over half an hour), so this must have been reasonably easy! To be fair, I got lucky with 1dn, making the association that you might cap a fund (in financial terms), and saw cap = better from that. 4dn held me up for a while because I was convinced for a long time it couldn’t be ‘something metal’, if the definition was broken stone! COD probably 15ac.
  7. Just over 15 minutes here, although that doesn’t include spending another 10 wondering if I’d got 1D right.
    Plenty of decent clues here but my time was helped by a generous scattering of well-worn wordplay indicators so I knew exactly what I was looking for.
    My pen hovered over several clues that didn’t end up getting ticks – just the one in the end, my COD going to the semi-&lit 8.
  8. I didn’t feel like I breezed through this one because I had the same issued with IMP (last to go in), SUE and CAP, but it turned out to be only 12 minutes. I liked the construction at 25a

  9. Positively raced through this in 9 minutes.

    1dn was an educated guess. I thought about ‘stirrup cup’ but then made the association with passing round the cap and opted for the right one.

    I grew up a stone’s throw from Laurie Lee’s Slad Valley, and I think your hunch about IMP and ‘pickle’ might be right, Peter. I was very familiar with the usage so maybe it’s a West Country thing.

    I loved the mischievous surface of 19ac ASSAI, and the cleverness of 11dn PONY EXPRESS. But I’ll give a COD vote to 21dn DOGGO for its plaintively self-referential tone, which I thought was rather sweet.

  10. After doing yesterday’s blog I had to rush off to Dotchester Crown Court where I spent the rest of yesterday and most of today. As a result I did this puzzle sitting in the witness waiting room surrounded by police officers and other specialist witnesses who watched my progress quietly but remorselessly. Luckily it was an easy one for me and I romped home in 20 minutes to general satisfaction all round. What’s the strangest place you’ve done it? (The puzzle I mean)

    Having read the comments I only now realise quite how lucky I was and I probably have Dorset to thank. CAP for the hunt collection and “pickle” for a small child were both known to me. (Chambers by the way gives pickle=a troublesome child). An enjoyable puzzle but I might have thought otherwise if I’d struggled!! Jimbo

    1. Blimey, I didn’t realise we were supposed to get police witnesses to confirm our solving time. Talk about the surveillance society!

      Well done Jim for going the extra mile. I can’t compete with that for a solving location.

    2. Sounds as if ANW has done more thorough research than some people writing about xwds. It was Sir AC who started the story, and you’ve guessed right. See comments on this report from last December for the detail.
  11. Too many interruptions so I can’t pin down an exact time for this, but I’d say it was an average solve for me, probably 30 min.’s, not a fast one like many others here. I also hadn’t heard of pickle=imp, but as PB points out, there weren’t many choices for the middle letter. A fair, fun puzzle today. Favorite: ‘Pony Express’. Regards all.
  12. About 14 minutes which is pretty fast for me. I work in the gas industry and we call those things gasholders – only heard it called a gasometer as a child and when Blowers is commentating on the Oval test.

    Agree with Anax on 8d as COD – a well spotted anagram by the setter.

    1. Re: pickled imp
      It’s good to know that we have some Aussie readers, though I don’t understand why you have a delay of nearly six weeks when New York Post readers just have two weeks to wait. There are some pretty tough puzzles in the next 6 weeks.

      “old woman” for mother (or wife) is just local slang – the lady described could be in her twenties.

  13. Ok, that last anonymous was us and we have now worked out how to post our name! So, we wondered where glheard was as we may need an expat Aussie to explain some of the finer points of Times crosswords. As far as using egg timers while solving, we would be better off using our bioligical clocks. Cheers from Downunder
    1. George is based in the Eastern US. If you check out his ‘user details’ when you’re logged in, they should include a “send this user a message” page which you can use to contact him. For some general tips, try “tips&tricks” under ‘Tags’ in the “right hand green stripe”.

      (Whether you get replies to comments depends on the LiveJournal settings chosen by the blogger for each puzzle.)

  14. Thanks for the warning about tough puzzles. We are still reeling from The Akon of Swat the other day. And please excuse the typo above – we meant ‘biological clock’ of course.
    We’ve been doing the Times xword almost every day for about 18 months and it still takes us ages but we’re getting better. 28mins is our record.
    1. OK , we just worked out we are getting emails as well but can’t seem to reply to them. We will look up George sometime soon. Btw we only found your site by default when we googled Eisenstein’s maid recently. It’s been great reading the comments and seeing most have the same difficulties as us. Not with answers like ‘cossie’ though. Akond of Swat indeed!cheers from us!
      1. It’s intriguing to know that we’re only beaten by the Wikipedia article on Fledermaus in the results for “Eisenstein’s maid”.

        If your e-mail has a subject line with “LiveJournal” in it, it’s a notification that someone has replied to your comment. You can’t reply to that someone by e-mail, because LiveJournal don’t reveal the e-mail addresses of other LiveJournal members. But you can use a link in the e-mail to respond to the comment that the e-mail tells you about.

  15. Great to read your comments, even if we are way behind you guys here in Aus. Didn’t know imp=pickle or cap from hunt and not sure about my mum being old – at least not as old as some of you guys! We are learning lots from your comments and finished this in about 90mins (yes L plates, we know). COD Pony Express
  16. My son’s famous band. I learned a few bass parts so that we could do some covers together.

    Just the 4 “easies”:

    13a Two blokes giving description of delivery (5)
    NAT AL

    24a Muse a long time before returning books (5)
    ERA TO

    23d Woman contributing to ear LY DIA gnostics (5)

    26d Sculptor avoiding trendy bar (3)
    ROD (in)

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