Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time – 16:23 

I thought I was going to be in for the long haul with this one as my initial scan of the Across clues yielded nothing and the Downs weren’t looking much better until I got 9. I then got every other Down clue after that almost immediately, which was just the kickstart I needed. The last couple of minutes were spent on 28 alone. I’ll go for 2 as the COD. 

1 U in TRAM,A – U is, in reference to language in particular, “typical of or acceptable to the upper classes”, whilst non-U – well, isn’t.
12 COMPERE – sounds like “compare”.
13 ER in DANGE[-r]
14 A[-st]UDIO
15 (ITEMS OUT)* – TITMOUSE. “Put various” seems like an odd sort of anagram indicator.
25 [-m]OMENTUM – new to me but easy enough to get from the wordplay.
28 PAN,DOWDY – the last one in and a new word to me so had to guess this.
3 MAD,REP,ORE – somehow knew this from somewhere or other. Probably another puzzle.
7 AL,UM,NUS – wasted a bit of time thinking “hesitation” was ER.
8 [-s]TINKER

24 comments on “23,927”

  1. 12 mins for this – help up by PEDESTRIANISED as the sight of the word “indeed” had me wondering whether the Times editor was now allowing this (for me) cheesy insertion indicator for DE(something)ED. Of course he wasn’t, so I missed the anagram and probably lost a minute from checking letters not gained.

    On the other hand: got MADREPORE and OMENTUM straight off having seen both before, probably in barred grid puzzles. PANDOWDY took a minute or so to dimly remember at the end.

  2. 14:19 for me, held up for a couple of minutes at the end trying to think of PANDOWDY – I knew the word, but it just wouldn’t come to me. No problem with OMENTUM, apart from thinking it was OVER-something until I got the M from PRIMMEST, but MADREPORE was new to me.
  3. Another very enjoyable puzzle but I gave up after an hour with two unsolved and one answer in doubt on the LH side, and looked them up. Never heard of 3d or 28a nor the first element of 2d. Only one candidate for COD – 18; it’s brilliant.
  4. I got all but 28A in 25 mins, which was a bit of a struggle (3D was guessed). 2D is lovely and is my COD. 12A doesn’t quite work to my ear. 18A and 7D seem to exemplify contamination between wordplay and definition.

    Tom B.

    1. On the contaminations, I’d ask from a practical point of view: did the “contamination” cause any solver a significant problem? My objection to 18 is a much simpler one: 51 = LI is the worst xwd cliché of all. See isn’t always Ely, artist isn’t always RA, and worker can be hand or bee as well as ant. Can anyone recall a clue anywhere in cryptic xwd history with 51 not meaning LI?
      1. I can’t recall an alternative but, by jingo, you’ve laid down the challenge there!


  5. I was quite surprised when I finished and realised I had taken 45 minutes over this one. As I re-read them none of the clues actually seem too difficult. I agree that bar crossword experience helped with the likes of ALAR, OMENTUM and PANDOWDY – all seen before. The not quite homophone didn’t worry me, it’s close enough not to be a problem. I did however have to guess MADREPORE but (as it should be) it’s easy done from the wordplay. Jimbo.

  6. Well, I goofed with one of my regular, inexplicable misspellings at 10a. I have no idea what a ‘REDAREESS’ is. Perhaps Dutch for ‘library card’? Or ‘idiot’? It certainly made the already challenging 2d and 3d nigh on impossible, but I came up with some inventive, and completely wrong, solutions anyway.

    I thought this a bit more Joe Frazier to yesterday’s Ali. Less subtlety, less precision, and a couple that were nearly below the belt. 15a seems clunky, as does 18a (I disagree, jackkt – I think it’s convoluted). And I think 5d needs a ‘may’ or something to be true.

    One I’m not sure about: is there such a thing as an ‘AUDIO’ (as in ‘typist’)? If not, I’d give that clue a thumbs down.

    But there were some good clues here and some very fair paths to unusual and interesting words – I’m probably just being picky because I enjoyed the previous two days’ puzzles so much. Actually, I liked Wednesday’s so much I went out and bought the book, so I hope Sebastian Faulks is giving the setter a cut.

    A really interesting week of Times puzzles. Thanks to all concerned.

    1. I had a major quibble with “audio” until I looked it up and found two of the big three dictionaries gave it the thumbs up.

      On Anax’s point about the hyphens, maybe it’s the pay-off for having no solutions under 5 letters. Some of us go for the short words and hyphenated answers first as a way in.

  7. 22 minutes. A fourth good one in a row, although may be marked down for obscurities. Never heard of MADREPORE but it had to be that, never heard of OMENTUM but, again, it had to be. I lost about 3 minutes on PANDOWDY. After several trips through the alphabet yielded nothing I was about to give up when I suddenly shouted “PANDOWDY” much to the bemusement of others around me. It must have entered my head at some time in the distant past. 9d gets my nod just a tiny bit ahead of 18a.
    Nice one setter
  8. An unexpected 15 minutes or so here, after an initial blank until I got to 20. Two more acrosses went in after that and most of the downs fell into place without much struggle.
    Lots of good clues and no meaningful quibbles (I’d intially thought “pushed back after” at 29 a little overworked – possibly two indicators being used for the same purpose – but the fact is it works anyway). What was surprising was the count of six clues with long hyphen splits. But I have odd fetishes of my own.
    I liked the imagery (and less than simple to spot wordplay) of 1D so that gets my COD.
  9. I’ve just realised I screwed up on 25, which I didn’t go back to after lightly scribbling in OVERTUM. There are so many neologisms coming in that are completely foreign to this ex-pat that it seemed a reasonable guess for a word meaning a fold of stomach flab (I know it’s not supported by the wordplay but that’s a minor consideration). A bit of a disappointment after correctly guessing PANDOWDY at the end, a word I’ve never come across.
    ‘Put various’ as an anagram indicator in 15 is very strained. What’s wrong with ‘Throw’ or something similar, that would fit the surface and the cryptic syntax?
    I agree with jackkt that 18 makes a good COD. I also liked the whimsical definition in 2.

  10. I’m obviously in a minority of one on 18a. I just don’t feel that a cat ‘using its ninth lifeline’ really works when the proverbial usage would require ‘using its ninth life’. For me, it’s a clever clue, but a forced one. If everyone else thinks it’s neat, then I’ll do the noble, democratic thing and say “I respect that position” while muttering darkly “but you’re all wrong”. I guess this would be a dull old blog if everyone agreed.
  11. I don’t think I’ve ever had three ‘new’ words in a Times puzzle, 3d,25a and 28a – needless to say. Also possible first appearance for the late Ugandan dictator? I was quite pleased to record 19.15 after staring at the aforementioned trio plus the NW corner for a while. I liked 1a – I was looking for a bad hairdo to be the dreadful shock!
  12. But no real quibbles from me, although this still took over an hour, and I had to look up 3D and 25A like many of you. I knew ‘pandowdy’, maybe it’s an Americanism, I really don’t know. I also took far too long to unravel 9D, which held me up completing the whole NW corner, and when finished I realize I like 1D and 2D as favorites today. Altogether, I agree that this week’s puzzles were a bumper crop. Have a great weekend, see you in June.
  13. I couldn’t get uninterrupted time to do this, so it was 29 minutes with two phone calls and a visitor. I think most has been said. I got the clue for 18a but didn’t think it was a great cryptic definition. Had to get OMENTUM and MADREPORE from the definition. PANDOWDY beat me in a crossword last year, so the “fool me twice” rule was in play. My COD goes to 9d for a beauty of a long anagram with a subtle definition.
  14. i’m probably missing something here but…. in 11a collapse=ruin seems a bit odd. not sure i see how they mean exactly the same thing, either as verbs or as nouns.
    1. COED’s first definition of ruin is “physical destruction or collapse” and Chambers also begins with “downfall, collapse”. But Collins saves “collapse” until its 10th definition and adds that this usage is “archaic or poetic”. Must admit it seemed okay to me.
  15. thanks! i didn’t trawl through the dictionaries before posting – should of course have done so. it was just the gut feeling that insofar as nouns are concerned a ruin is that which remains after a collapse rather than the collapse itself, and that as verbs, one – ruin – is transitive and the other – collapse – usually intransitive (although i do recognise that you collapse a deckchair, say), and consequently they don’t quite sit perfectly together. but thanks again.
  16. thanks! i didn’t trawl through the dictionaries before posting – should of course have done so. it was just the gut feeling that insofar as nouns are concerned a ruin is that which remains after a collapse rather than the collapse itself, and that as verbs, one – ruin – is transitive and the other – collapse – usually intransitive (although i do recognise that you collapse a deckchair, say), and consequently they don’t quite sit perfectly together. but thanks again.
  17. I was familiar with the American Pandowdy dessert from a treasured copy of “Worldwide Cookbook” – published in 1977 and still in use today. According to this culinary oracle it hails from New England. Once I had convinced myself that it wasn’t Pandolce (Italian section) – as it did not fit the clue – then I remembered seeing it in the US Desserts section. Note to self – must make one now.

    There are 10 “easies” not in the blog:

    4a Remove concrete? No (8)

    11a Collapse when following black bear (5)
    B RUIN

    20a One may have the minutes to send back (5)
    TIMER. REMIT backwards.

    23a Bit of metal stuck in a lock? (7)

    26a Books from the paper one found to be old (5)
    T (I) O MES

    29a Fellow pushed back after monarch’s return? (6)

    5d Sentence starts or ends here? It’s immaterial (6,3,5)

    6d One goes underground to counter uprising (5)
    TUBER. REBUT backwards.

    16d Like illicit relationship – away from the main dish! (2,3,4)

    22d Stop talking in prison? (4,2)

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