23998 – under construction

Solving time : 26 minutes. Time should have been a lot faster, but I was doing this online from a hotel that allegedly has high-speed internet. It has unreliable internet that can be pilfered from across the street by hanging your computer at a 73-degree angle at arms length. I need to stop this lengthy preamble if I have any chance of this making it out…

The bottom right corner (the South, where I am attempting to fly in the morning despite tropical depressions) gave me the most trouble.

I doubt I’ll be able to answer many comments since I’ll be travelling soon…

1 ACCORDION: cryptic definition, nice one in the end
6 THROW: (WORTH)* – took me a little while to see this, cricket return from the boundary
10 AN,TIP,ODES: a setter who knows I love long constructions
13 PUMP,ROOM: I see pump used a lot more often in the US than I did in Australia (or for that matter, Canada) to mean a type of show
16 UNTO(=”to” old),L,D: neat little construction here too
18 VANGUARD: Another cryptic definition
23 NOR’EASTER: (p)RONE*, then ASTER. Another nice construction
25 FL(=fluid),AIR
27 GRAVES,END???: Not 100% on this, but a GRAVE can be a red or white wine
2 CHARISMATIC: CHAR, then MAT in I,SIC(=thus) – COD tip for a clever construction of a tricky word
4 IN ACTIION: That’s a morbid pun
8 WASTELAND: Saw this from the definition before the wordplay clicked, it’s (LET,SAW)<=,AND. Nice
13 PAUL(U in PAUL) J,ONES. From the wordplay here, apparently it’s a mixer dance popular way back when
15 GALLERIA: ALL in G,E,AIR<=. For a while I thought this was MALL something
17 LEOTARD: (DO,ALTER)* – how about those Olympic gymnasts?
20 RAG,TA,G(=end of failing): I only knew Rag week from the old Monty Python sketch (“it’s not Michael Ellis”)
22 SHRED: The SH coming from SearcH

17 comments on “23998 – under construction”

  1. I had a much easier ride today and completed it in 21 minutes which must be somewhere near my PB if I knew what that was.

    glh,Gravesend is on the Thames Gateway and has a long history as a port. My only query today was at 11 where I didn’t know the printing proof connection but I have since discovered there is something called a “proof slip”.

    Q=0, E=2, D=5

  2. Same response here – straightforward puzzle, no complaints, no real standout moments although I thought 1A was well put together. I wouldn’t call it a CD George – I see it as:

    A/C (mains) + CORD (flex) + I + ON (added)

    The “flex” does happen to suggest a CD though.

    Q-0 E-5 D-4 COD 22D

  3. Inspired by the Olympic games, I decided to sharpen my carbon fibre quill, pull on my Speedo LZR Solving suit, and go all out for a world record (at the very least a PB). It was a resounding success. After a bit of altitude training (I’d left my spectacles upstairs) I set out on my first run through the grid using a 12-stride, speed-reading technique and set a blazing pace with seventy per cent of clues solved in just 93.86 seconds.

    Unfortunately, sorting out the resulting mess took another 26:34.57. Final time, about 29 minutes. Still, this was all about 2012 for me, you know what I mean?

    It all reminds me of Woody Allen’s line from his early stand-up days: “I’ve recently taken a speed-reading course. It’s amazing. Yesterday I read War and Peace in less than an hour. It’s about some Russians.”

  4. A game of two halves here. The top half went in about as quickly as I’ve ever done, my ability to eat lunch at the same time being the only handicap to finishing in record time. The bottom half was a bit of a slog. I took far too long over 15d / 27ac, guessed 23ac in the end, and never did get 13d (J…S kept saying to me JIVES or JUMPS, which may help explain my mental block). In retrospect, though, not a lot that should really have held me up.
  5. Same message – very straightforward, nothing special, no complaints – 20 minutes to solve whilst wearing my non-olympic all weather golf kit. I agree with Anax about the parsing of 1A.
  6. 16:21 here. Had most of it done in about 8 minutes, but then struggled with the quartet of 25, 22, 19 and finally 18, where HAND for workers and GANGLAND which just happened to fit both got in the way.
  7. Hello all. I agree with most everyone else that this was relatively straightforward, except, in my case, for “Paul Jones”, whosoever he might have been. I’m not careful about timing so say 25 minutes, the last many of which were spent on the 13A/13D combo. If I had to pick a COD it’s 16. See you tomorrow.
  8. 18 mins for me – a PB time almost certainly. So it must have been easy, unusually for a Thursday. Generally endorse comments above, but surprised that only one other commentator seems to share my enjoyment of 24 dn (RUT), and that glh didn’t even consider it worth glossing. Seems to me unusually ingenious for a three-letter clue, and witty to boot, playing on the double-meanings of both “does” and “rut”. My nomination for COD.

    Michael H

    1. I agree, Michael. I had it noted to nominate as COD but forgot when the time came. Original and witty 3-letter clues always deserve bonus points.
      1. I’m back home – it was a nice word, but since RUT appears pretty often I didn’t include it in the blog, I figured it didn’t need better explanation. Maybe I am jealous of all this rutting going on.
  9. Is this really a CD? It looks to me like a straightforward clue, where ‘leaders’ is the def. and the rest of it is an attempt at wordplay. But there is no type of railway worker called a ‘van guard’, surely, so at the very least a question mark should have been there, it seems to me.

    This is the only blemish (and I may be wrong, anyway). Otherwise a very good easy crossword, full of nice clues, which I did in a very rare sub-20 minute time.

  10. I don’t Know if anyone has ever seen “Spreeder.com” but its got a really cool way of showing you a few words at a time and still understanding it’s a really cool site and interesting way of speed reading, my friend Rob Scott showed it to me. Check him out if you like….
  11. I really enjoy these new tricks and tips that have to come to the forefront of speed reading technology. The Days of usless information have ended and the internet really allows us to find the “real” stuff. Check out one of my favorite Speed Reading Coaches. He works with experts and has learned from the best to save time and money. Check it out! Enjoy!


  12. In the old days there surely must have been Van Guards that lurked in the Guard Van? These would have doubtless been NUR members? It is only the likes of Southern Rail that are trying to dispense with their services?

    Anyway – I liked this one – it made me feel like I’m getting the hang of this Times Cryptic malarkey at last. Until tomorrow, probably, that is.

    There are 10 missing from the blog:

    9a Labour’s first to take merit for what pupils do in schools (5)
    L EARN

    11a Error in words from known language on printer’s proof (4,2,3,6)
    SLIP OF THE TONGUE. Not entirely sure how this works?

    14a Left a little time to get through country (6)
    L A T VIA

    21a One versatile playing card turning up in all deals? (4,2,3,6)

    26a Saturday edition’s fully filled (5)
    SAT ED

    3d Bitterness continued over sovereign’s establishment cut (7)
    RAN COUR (T)

    6d With pressure, one breaks a skin over milk pudding (7)
    TA P1 OCA. P(ressure) and I=1 inside A COAT backwards.

    7d Mr Toad regularly in the bar (3)
    ROD. m R t O a D.

    12d Exchange accommodation (4-3-4)

    24d Routine does get followed during this (3)
    RUT. Does as in female deer getting pursued by the dominant stag?

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