Solving time 13:47

Not too bad a time for this, though the NE corner felt rather slow – 6,8,10,12,18 in particular.

1 Algernon SWIN(BURN)E
6 MICAH – (1,C) in Ham rev.
9 SEAL OFF – (of fleas)*
11 PULSE – 2 definitions
12 NOISELESS – lesion rev., -ess
13 T(ROUSER)S – “longs” being the def., as opposed to shorts
17 U.(R)S.A. – as in Ursa Major = the Great Bear
21 PRIZE = “prise” = 10 = crowbar (vb.),RING
22 AG,IS,M
24 DENTIST = stinted*
1 SYSOP = posy’s rev.
2 INALLCO=(A. Lincoln.)*,SCIENCE
3 B,L(O.K.)EIS,H
5 E(U.C.L.)ID
6 MO(ONE)R(e)
7 CABLE TELEVISION = (viable selection)*
13 TRUMPED = capped (exceeded),UP
16 VER(ACIT=(I act)*)Y
20 VI(RTU=rut*)E
23 MO(N)TH

28 comments on “23,985”

  1. 45 minutes for this one. The two long answers went in early and then I worked steadily away at each quarter with only the NW putting up major resistance with 1ac, 1dn, 3, 5 and 13 all giving me grief

    At 1dn I had thought of “posy” for “small bouquet” on first reading the clue but was unable to see how it would fit; it was only when I eventually spotted SWINEBURNE at 1ac that the answer came to me. I’ve not met SYSOP before.

    I still haven’t worked out how 8 works and I have a feeling I may be needing the boot when it’s explained.

    1. 49 minutes here – with a very similar experience to jackkt. I know SYSOP but it didn’t come to me for ages, so that and SWINBURNE were last in.

      8A – C.O.P. in HO,ROSE.

      1. Thanks, foggy. Not sure if the boot is applicable, but it probably is as I was trying to use C,OR,P and find the other letters to make it an anagram.
  2. A bit of a tut-tut about SYS(tem) OP(erator). A sysop could be a network controller as well, but the task would normally be done by the SYS(tem) ADMIN(istrator).
  3. The bottom half went in easily but got held up on top – never heard of sysop and mum gave me trouble, Finished in about 35 mins.
  4. No great problems here – about 30 minutes to solve. As far as SYSOP is concerned Collins specifically mentions networks but Chambers doesn’t. The dictionary also mentions “diplomatic” when defining MEMO, which if I knew it once I’d forgotten. Nice to see EUCLID up in lights and one might wish that the sentiment of 22A were true. I liked the construction of TROUSERS at 13A and HOROSCOPE at 8D
  5. 40 minutes for me, with at least the last 10 completing the NW corner. SWINBURNE just wouldn’t come to the front of my mind, and it was only when I saw BLOKEISH that I got the poet, TROUSERS, then SYSOP.
    Best puzzle of the week so far, in my opinion (incidentally, I didn’t know a pinion was a wing). All sorts of deceptive goodies: 10a, with ‘excluding iron’ looking as though one had to remove FE from a word meaning ‘fight’; ‘Bear aloft’ for URSA; ‘Longs’ for trousers’, plus other felicitous clues such as 7, 8. I’ve only just worked out 12, which I entered once I had enough letters but didn’t give it any further thought. It’s a cracker. For COD it’s a toss-up between 12 & 13. Slight preference fo 12’s surface, so that’s my choice.
    Let’s have more of this setter, please.
  6. Whipped through this in about 40 minutes, however came unstuck at the end with 3d / 13ac / 18ac left blank when lunchtime ran out. Kicking myself as regards the first two now, but don’t reckon I would ever have got the last. COD 26ac.
  7. A welcome upping of the difficulty level saw me trudge home after 25 enjoyable minutes, the SE corner presenting the biggest challenge – I think the last four answers took about 10 minutes.
    COD – among several candidates – is 20 VIRTUE. A little while ago I struggled to write a clue for this; came up with something OK but nowhere as smooth as this. And so I launch into my solo effort of a QED rating:
    Q-0 E-8 D-8
  8. 29:35, NW went in quite quickly including sysop and swinburne, got held up most by noiseless and mooner with Micah and horoscope in the same corner taking longer to get than they should have.

    No shortage of interesting clues with trousers the pick for me.

    For any recent recruits trying to evaluate the usefulness of this site, I’ve been steadily improving since I started regularly tackling the daily puzzle and visiting tftt for enlightenment in February of this year. I’ve gone from never having cracked 30 minutes through solving one in five puzzles in under 25 minutes in April to solving over half of July’s puzzles in under 25 minutes. So thanks to Peter et al for that. Still looking for that first sub-10 time with 12:30 my current PB.

      1. Not yet. I glance at it every Sunday then go away into a corner to whimper. I haven’t got a Chambers either so I’d be at a disadvantage I fear.
        1. Go on, have a go! I don’t have Chambers either but I find the t’interweb is pretty useful. If you get desperate you can always use the pattern matching facility at http://www.onelook.com. they are very tricky but definitely doable – give yourself plenty of time and use a pencil
        2. Do have a go. They will give you enormous fun and are well worth the effort of getting to understand them. The arguments you deploy about your own improvement on the daily cryptic apply the more so with Mephisto. You could go back say 3 months, obtain the puzzles from the website and then use the blogs here to teach yourself. There is a new Chambers due out any time now, so the timing would be good.
  9. 12:20. I’ve been having a bad week up until today (please don’t ask why I put Charlotte Orange in Monday’s!) so I was pretty pleased with this time. I thought 7d was nice but my COD goes to 13a
  10. This didn’t feel like it should have taken 23 minutes, but it did… my guesses and stabs were at least correct today.

    SWINBURNE from wordplay, NOISELESS from definition, MOONER from wordplay (does listless mean pantsless?), EUCLID from definition – Peter might get a smile from knowing that I spent a bunch of time looking for a mathematician with LSE in his name. I’ll stick my head out for 10 as COD, blunt clue for a blunt word.

  11. 14:30 – my best of the week, too, though a few clues went in on the ‘shoot first, explain later’ basis. I liked the 17,18 double, the second of which was my last one in. I’ll go for the dead poet at 1ac as COD for that “drinking in”. Nice puzzle.
  12. 15.40 today. I thought this was an excellent puzzle with the majority of clues needing a bit of thought, and a lot of words which don’t crop up regularly.
    I entered noiseless for 12a but had no idea why until I read it here, so at least for deceiving me it is my COD. 13a and 18 also first class.
  13. Had to abandon this and return a few hours later which wouldn’t have helped my time. Foolishly guessed ESCHER instead of the more obvious EUCLID which didn’t help either and prevented me from writing in NOISELESS even though it seemed the likely answer.


  14. I thought this way pretty tough, with a load of clever deception throughout. I was especially held up deciphering the wordplay at 10, 8, 18 and especially 13, my last entry. These were very well written clues, with misleading meanings, and misled me for quite q while. Somewhere around 45 minutes all told for me. Nice puzzle. Didn’t know that ‘sysop’ had reached the dictionaries, but it is clearly there when I just checked. If anyone is feeling charitable toward the Yanks today, why does ‘use a 10’=’prise’? From PB’s blog above, do I take it that a 10 is a crowbar in the UK?
    1. Kevin, the 10 is just the reference to 10 across. crowbar = pry bar, with which one prises (or indeed, pries) things.
  15. Oh, for crying out loud. I had solved ‘prize ring’ well before I figured out 10A, and never made the connection.
    1. Heh. But from now on I shall always “use a ten” when breaking into bank vaults etc. It sounds right.
  16. After trying to get ‘prise open’ into 21a, I wasted a fair amount of time before realising that 20d must be virtue. In the end got all except 6d (where I optimistically had ‘maoner’) and 15d (where I pessimistically had nothing).
    My COD is 17a for ‘bear aloft’, though 22d was also excellent.
    Oh, and if I’m being pedantic, you missed an N in 2d. Sorry!

  17. Just the one omission in this blog:

    14a Contents of some more diplomatic communication (4)
    MEMO. As Jimbo informs us above, a Memo can mean specifically a diplomatic communication. This is for all of us who wondered what diplomatic has to do with it?

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