23955 – Peter and Don meet the police

Solving time 7:12

Like some commenters yesterday, I thought we could be in for a tough puzzle today. This one has a few tricky corners but shouldn’t keep you too long. I finished the NW and SE corners at a canter, then paused a bit for the NE and SW, with 21/23 the final pair of answers. COD for me is 4D for the bizarre imagery, though the &lit at 26 is good too.

9 P.E.,TERPAN=parent*
11 (f)UNFAIR
12 MO(RIB)UND – chaff = “to make fun of”
14 S(EVENT,YE)IGHT – a clue that should perhaps have been saved for the championship, where the surface would have had a bit more to it
17 PILLAR,BOX(R)ED – “in pack” = boxed
20 HA(R)D LEFT – Trots = Trotskyists
22 S(W.O.)ONS
23 K.O.,SO=really,V,O – I was fooled into thinking of physical rather than political geography – Surtsey, or some part of a beach
25 MAIL DROP – A1 in (Mr Plod)*
26 TELETHON – L,(scal)E in (not the)* – &lit
27 KID,NEY=yen rev. – kidney=nature – it’s in the dictionary. I can’t think of an example of this use.
2 EX,EUNT=tune* – beginners should watch out for Latin tags as answers, clued by their meanings
5 MAN,X=vote,MAN
6 SE(W)ER – W = 4th letter of vieWer
7 PEA – ref. the Princess and the Pea
8 LA MANCHA – H in almanac* – where Don Quixote came from. Solvers of the right age may remember Man of La Mancha
15 YARD STICK – “Yard” = Scotland Yard. A lot of coppers in this part of the puzzle, with Mr Plod in 25A.
18 O.T.T.,OMAN
19 S,N,OOZE – a classic case of “lift and separate” for “bridge escape” – S,N = “team involved in bridge” and OOZE = “escape slowly”
21 EPOCH – cop in he, all rev.

25 comments on “23955 – Peter and Don meet the police”

  1. 17:00 for me. I raced through the top half in a couple of minutes, but then got really bogged down in the SW corner, which accounted for over 10 minutes on its own.

    As for kidney = nature, there’s an example quotation in the Shorter OED, from Winifred Holtby: “Here he lacked men of his own kidney”.

  2. A very good puzzle. 25 minutes for all but 20 21 23 26 and then another 20 minutes to crack all but 23 which beat me. I had 4 noted as my COD before reading the blog. Oh, and I hadn’t quite managed to sort out the word play in 17.
  3. Possibly I’m just being pernickety, but SWOONS = “is listless” in 22 ac seems to me an unacceptably loose definition. “To swoon” is a now archaic and literary term (except when used jocularly) meaning to be rendered temporarily unconscious by strong emotion. “Listless” merely means lacking in energy or enthusiasm.

    A good puzzle that mixed the easyish with the difficult. Enough the latter to extend my time to around 60 minutes. Several excellent clues, but I would go with 13 dn for COD for its quirkily well-disguised definition and misleading use of “Venetian”.

    Michael H

    1. For swoon, Chambers has “to be langurous”, which seems to fit, if you’re happy to resort to Chambers for stuff not in Collins or COD.
  4. Best puzzle of the week so far. I’ve put ticks everywhere. I found the NE corner tough to complete. KIDNEY and SWOONS came quickly once one or two letters were in place, but I didn’t understand the definitions. I’m quite surprised at a definition that relies on Chambers, since in The Times Clue competition any definitions relying solely on Chambers are usually ruled out of consideration.
    Clues I liked especially: 5a, 3, 4, 12, 13, 14 16. 14’s my pick for COD.
  5. Thought I was in for another failure today, most of the right hand side was pretty empty after 10 minutes, but once I got KOSOVO I think I figured out the wavelength of the setter and finished up in 24 minutes. The pair of 3 and 4 down (amongst my last entries) were very good, lots of other nice tricky ones, 13D made me laugh when I got it. Last to go in was a guess (MANXMAN), and now that I know what a duumvirate is, I like it as well. Nice work, setter.
  6. That’s what shone through for me – some outstanding work in creating good surface reading, using concise wordplay, disguised defs and great observation. George picks a prime example in 13D; I got the answer from checkers and at first couldn’t see the wordplay – a real “Wow” once I spotted it.
    COD is 9A; although I took my daughter to see a Peter Panto (my joke, rubbish one) I have to admit to being not altogether familiar with the storyline so I don’t know if this is truly &lit, but it’s great anyway.
    Well done, Mr Setter.
    1. Wikipedia reminds me that “Peter does not know his parents”, so no &lit – just a great surface meaning. I was in too much of a hurry this morning to have my usual look back at the clues, which are as good as you and others have said. Also forgot to own up to my two “solved without full understanding of wordplay” answers – 13 and 17.
  7. I couldn’t get on the setter’s wavelength at all today… Managed six or seven clues before deciding enough was enough and coming here. Better luck tomorrow, perhaps!
  8. I guess, Peter, in view of Chambers’ definition of “to swoon” as “to be languorous”, I must withdraw my objection. It would seem to give the setter adequate cover.

    Thanks, by the way, for your advice ystdy on Race the Clock. No evidence so far that anyone else has had the same experience. If it happens again, I’ll do as you suggest.

    Michael H

  9. Similar time to yesterday (13.32) although definitely a tougher puzzle. 2 and 14 were excellent clues and last to go in was 23. I thought this was going to be a geographical feature and took a couple of minutes to get it. I was going to put in fosovo which seemed not entirely unreasonable- until the rhyme struck me
  10. The second really good puzzle this week after Monday’s and this was even better I’d say. A perfect blend of silky-smooth surfaces, subterfuge at every turn, no little wit and plenty that was challenging but fair.

    All in all it helped 22 minutes of the waiting time in Kwik-Fit while they recharged my air-con to pass most agreeably. 10 out of 10 to the setter today. Loads of ticks, many already lauded by Dyste but I’ll add 23, 7 & 15 to those. In fact I’ll go for 15 as COD. No I won’t, I’ll go for 3.

  11. 14:30

    I thought I was going to hate this one, especially when one of my first clues solved led to a word that sets my teeth on edge – the odious “whammy” (whoever coined it wants shooting, and whoever coined “double-whammy” wants shooting twice) – but I have to admit it was a very smart puzzle.

    Personally, I’m not thrilled with that def. of SWOONS here, Chambers or no. But it was easy enough to get with the checking letters, so no big deal.

    2 EXEUNT is very good. And 3 CAESAR SALAD is a real gem and has to be COD.

  12. To me a very good but tough puzzle, which I solved last night in about an hour, save 17A. That clue required another 20 minutes this morning, with a google check to confirm. There I discovered that you call your mailboxes by that term. I remember their distinctive color from visits to London a while back. ‘Hard Left’ meaning the far or extreme left is also new to me; is ‘trots’ a common reference to Trotskyites in UK-land?

    I agree there was plenty of very good entertaining wordplay today, especially 5A, 5D, 3D, 2D and – apologies to Sotira – ‘whammy’ made me laugh. Regards all.

    1. Here’s a Google News search to show that the term is still used, though I think it was more common 20-plus years ago when Trotskyites had rather more influence.
      1. Thanks for the link Peter. I’ve never seen that usage over here.
    2. I forgive you. I’m afraid my lone crusade against ‘whammy’ is something of a lost cause. The damn word is everywhere. I’ll just have to put up with it.
    1. I have it as ‘ode’, which sounds like ‘owed’, which means ‘due’.
    2. I’m an ex-pat Brit and it’s in the British media that I see and hear the word a great deal. It sprang into consciousness there in the early 90s with its use in a general election campaign slogan (the Conservatives warning ominously of “Labour’s Double Whammy”) and has been overused ever since.
      1. Yes, quite obvious really. I had some idea that ‘pell’ was the word for ‘hide’, which Chambers says it is but obsolete. I’d quite forgotten ‘pelt’. Shows my age.
  13. Nobody seems to have mentioned it so perhaps I have an unnecessary worry: but in this clue (A character out, perhaps, to make girl hide) what is the definition? Presumably it’s ‘A character out, perhaps’, which surely indicates the answer is a noun. But is ‘misspell’ anything but a verb? Certainly not according to Chambers or the COD.
  14. This was excellent – I like 5a along with a host of others. I thought the Hammy Wife at 10a was quite good. Another use for the word is Whammy Bar = alternative name for tremolo arm on an electric guitar.

    Just the 2 omissions from the blog:
    Part of pipette acupuncturist leaves on one’s bottom? (6)
    TEACUP. Hidden in pipet TE ACUP uncurist. The surface of needles in the rear nether regions is very naughty.

    24d Lines due for recital (3)
    ODE. Sounds like OWED = due.

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