24015 – all human life is here …

… which you could say about many Times xwds, but here we’ve got Mr. Punch and Dick Turpin, books and TV, farming, music, hats, football and skiing, and much else.

I enjoyed this puzzle with mostly familiar vocabulary for the answers (ORIBI and LYLY seem the most difficult, followed by GOVERNESSY of which more below), though some tricky wordplay (Forth and Tyne for ‘river’ for example – not Exe or Dee). Quite a few homophone elements in clues, though I don’t think any controversial ones (stand by for dispute …). I got stuck with the same three left as jackkt after 8:45, but Dick Turpin rode to the rescue after about 30 seconds and the other two then came fairly easily.

Solving time 10:12

1 FORTH,RIGHT=”rite”
10 LATER = RETA(i)L rev.
11 FUN,G.I.,CIDE=”sighed”
15 SKI LIFT – cryptic def.
17 PUNCH,UP = before the magistrate (as in “up before the beak”). The hook-nosed buffoon is Mr Punch of the Punch and Judy puppet show
19 (George) SAND,BAG = gab rev. – fluent speakers have the “Gift of the gab”
20 NOT UP TO SCRATCH – itchy cryptic def.
23 ISRAELITE = realities* – an early Nathaniel was one of the twelve apostles as listed in John’s gospel – usually equated with Bartholomew as listed by the other evangelists.
24 IN LAY = the state of the hens. This phrase isn’t in the dictionaries, hence the ? at the end of the clue. Pun on INLAY (noun) = a filling (noun) for designs on furniture, boxes, etc. and filling (adj.), describing food.
25 EMMY – Jane Austen’s Emma with last letter replaced – I guess “award” would do rather than “Uncle Sam’s award”, but the extra precision is helpful. (And Uncle Sam is just the personification of the U.S. in a dictionary)Emmies are TV production awards.
26 G.,(OVER,NESS)Y – a rarely-used word these days, but can be worked out from governess and wordplay/checking letters. The def. is arguable – my first hit on a Google search, other than dictionary defs and pages of random wordlists, was “Manolo Blahnik laced-up stiletto pumps: ‘very governessy, very sexy'” in a Daily Telegraph article on black stilettos. Maybe the “I love it when you’re strict” kind of sexy. But a book review has “the boys in knee pants, their teacher in a natty plaid suit and the aunts in governessy Edwardian dress”.
1 FELT – 2 defs – a fedora is a felt hat, very similar to a trilby.
2 RETRODDEN – rod in (rented)*
3 H.E.,ROW,OR SHIPPER – H.E. = His Excellency – common title for a governor of some part of the former British Empire. ROW = scolding (the gerund version – an instance of scolding), or = heraldic gold as all solvers should know. Note the def’s of ROW recorded in Michael H’s thorough comment below.
4 IN = modern = trendy,FER = ref rev.,NO = on (=about) rev.
5 HANDLES = “Handel’s” – though if Handel ultra-pedantically retains the umlaut on his A (he was born in Halle, Germany), he’s “Hendel”
7 (s)O(RIB)I(l) – give yourself a slap if you rushed into writing OKAPI in the grid – a classic case of “def. fits but wordplay obviously doesn’t”
9 DIS-ORIENT-ATION – punny cryptic def. referring to Leyton Orient, east London football team, usually just called “Orient”.
13 TURPENTINE – (Dick) Turpin with E=drug replacing I, then TINE = “Tyne”
16 IMBECILES – I, then BE in CLIMES* – I=electric current (from Physics notation) should go into the beginner’s notebook with or=gold, ret=soak as noted by Jimbo, and over=about as used in Governessy.
18 PROV(IS)O(st) – Is. = island, islands, isle or isles
19 SEC = dry (usu. of wine),RET = soak (flax or hemp, to soften them, says COD),E = “surface of Elephant”
21 THRU = U.S. version of ‘through’,M=mass. Reminds me of a classic US/British English confusion. Back in the days when international calls required the aid of operators, an Englishman made one with the aid of an American operator. After he’d been speaking to his ‘callee’ for a few minutes, the operator interrupted the call and asked “Are you thru?”. “Yes” said he, meaning ‘connected’ and she, meaning ‘finished’ promptly cut him off.
22 L(ucidl)Y,L(ovingl)Y – or (lucid)LY,(loving)LY if you like, though that’s an unusual interpretation of ‘extremely’. Elizabethan author John Lyly wrote two books with ‘Euphues’ in the title. If you know anything about them, you’re a better man than I am, and Wikipedia is awaiting your wisdom – neither has an article yet.

38 comments on “24015 – all human life is here …”

  1. Raced through this in 20 minutes. Like Jack momentarily invented that obscure French writer Hand at 19A before thinking Georges was more likely. Not just overseas solvers may experience problems understanding 9D which refers to an obscure football club called Leyton Orient. I had not heard of LYLY, which was my last to go in, but easy enough from the clue.
  2. 34 minutes today. I thought I was going to race through this but after the first five minutes I ground to a halt for a while and then picked them off steadily one by one. There were no great surprises but I had to guess two from the wordplay: SANDBAG (after initially thinking HANDBAG of Mrs T fame) and LYLY.

    The last 10 minutes were spent solving 13, 21 and 25 in the SW corner.

    COD goes to 26 and my QED rating is 0-7-5

  3. I don’t get any quicker than the 15 minutes this one took. Some good clues, especially at the bottom end, and just a couple of niggles; in 3 it looks as if row is meant to equal scolding. Not in my book. And 25 seems a bit ponderous with Uncle Sam’s award.
    1. Scolding as a noun just about gets there meaning a row, but not convincing. Ditto with the US reference. I am more at home seeing Uncle Sam as the wielder of the big stick than as a general personification for the US of A. And Governessy? Appealing, but when was the last time anyone used the word, or even heard of it?
      1. I thought it was fair enough but on reflection I wonder if a “row” implies a two(or more)-way exchange or argument whereas a “scolding” is a good old telling off, no argument about it.
    1. 18D is PROVISO which parses PROV(IS)O(st)
      19D is SECRETE which parses SEC-RET-E(lephant)
      26A is GOVERNESSY which parses G(OVER-NESS)Y
    1. Ret is one of these little words you need to commit to memory. It means to expose to moisture and so far as I know is used only by crossword compilers and Scrabble players.
  4. Mostly straightforward today, but held up a bit at the end in the SE corner by 18 (very nice, deceptive clue)and 26. I suppose I ought to have heard of LYLY but I haven’t, but the clue was clear enough. The French female novelist with the male name was familiar enough, so SANDBAG went in fairly early.
  5. Back from holiday to a pretty easy one. 7:30 with GOVERNESSY the last one in. Although easy I found it quite entertaining and give my COD to 9d – dodgy but it made me laugh
  6. At last, an easy(ish) one! 30 minutes here, only struggling for a couple of minutes with 21d / 25ac. COD for me 20ac.
  7. 10 minutes for me, this one was very much on my wavelength, and even the odd word GOVERNESSY was a “looks like it’s a word, in it goes” moment. I did robotically put OKAPI in at 7, but I’m good at falling for little traps like that. 16 is going to make me smile every time I see an American use a light switch today.
  8. About 30 mins for me. Enjoyable and reasonably straightforward puzzle.

    Like others, I didn’t like ROW = scolding in 3 dn. Personally, I have never heard or seen the word used in that sense, either as noun or verb. Unfortunately, as so often, the dictionaries provide the setter with cover. My Chambers (1992 edition) gives the following definitions for ROW as a noun: “a noisy squabble; a brawl; a din, hubbub; a chiding or rating”. Used as a transitive verb, according to Chambers, ROW can also mean “to rag; to rate”, though this meaning is acknowledged to be “obsolete”. To rate apparently means, or can mean, “to scold” (yes, new to me too). My Concise OED (2006) also authorises the use of ROW as a noun to mean “a severe reprimand” and as a verb to mean “to rebuke severely”, describing both uses as “informal”.

    So there we have it. Perhaps we need to campaign for a new convention: any definition needs to be supported by the authority of at least three reputable dictionaries and to be in use in current or normal speech and writing. There seems to be something unsatisfactory about a clue that relies on a definition that is extremely obscure, hardly if ever used or obsolete.

    Michael H

    1. Thanks for the very thorough list of what the books say. But I don’t agree with your proposed convention. One problem with it is determining what “current or normal speech or writing” actually is. I’m reminded of Scrabble games where words are acceptable if some authority (lets call him Uncle Fred) says they’re acceptable. These often turn into arguments about Uncle Fred’s words which are acceptable and other people’s which aren’t.

      I don’t mind an unusual def in a case like this where the answer definition is clear, and most of the answer (11 letters of 14) is indicated by unexceptionable wordplay. The ‘scold’ meaning of ROW is close enough to the usual meaning to be no great surprise, and more importantly, no-one has yet said that they failed to solve HERO-WORSHIPPER. For me, as long-time readers of this blog will know, the point of rules about clue-writing is to ensure that the clues can be solved.

  9. 14 minutes, with perhaps five minutes spent on PROVISO and GOVERNESSY. The latter I was very slow to see, considering I like and use the word (it always puts me in mind of The Turn of the Screw).

    In the main, a very easy solve since a lot of the answers leapt to mind with an incomplete reading of the clue. With 3d I got as far as “One who idolises..” and wrote in the answer, thus neatly sidestepping the row over ‘row’ (I’m with Peter on this – the pitfall of solipsism is such that giving ultimate authority to the dictionaries is the least bad option, not least because it often takes one on entertaining etymological goose chases).

    For some reason, after 17a I can’t get ‘Richard and Judy’ out of my head. Help! A sprinkling of interesting words made this enjoyable, despite some loose cluing here and there. I especially enjoyed THRUM (the more so for the entertaining anecdote – thank you, Peter).

    QED – 0, 6.5, 5

  10. 16:30 so easier than average but I found the whole thing pretty unsatisfactory. I didn’t much care for the cryptic defs at 9, 15 & 20 and thought EMMY was a bit loose. Had the same knowledge gap as others on row and ret but the defs and remaining bits of wordplay were unambiguous enough.

    COD to 11 – it looks like the def is going to be amusing with killing agent part of the wordplay.

    Q-0, E-4, D-3.5

    Another bone thrown to us poultry keepers after Orpington the other day. I’ve got three hens “in lay” and two more who should have reached point of lay yesterday (21 weeks) but obviously couldn’t be bothered to come up with the goods. Must be the weather.

    7dP – welcome back buddy.

  11. Hey, I like this blog.
    55 minutes for me today – and that’s good for me.
    Actually 25 minutes for everything except Lyly, thrum and governessy (yuck!) those last three took a long time coming.
    COD Fungicide – for being fun
  12. Took me about 40 minutes last night, held up by the crossing 21/26, 9 and 7. Your London football (soccer!) team was/is an unknown, so I needed all the crossing letters to enter the answer without understanding it. Also, I had just read a book (by an American, no less) restating the argument that Shakespeare’s work was written by the Earl of Oxford; Oxford was evidently a close friend and patron to Mr. 22 Lyly, so I actually knew that, but I still would call it obscure, ditto ORIBI.
    I’ll join in the quibble re Uncle Sam’s award=EMMY; that award does originate in the US but can go to anyone around the world. Here, ‘Uncle Sam’ usually means something officially connected to the US gov’t. I’m also unclear on the other USA reference at THRU. Does this mean that Brit-English speakers never abbreviate ‘through’ to ‘thru’, or that Americans use through to mean end-to-end, while Brits do not?
    Anyway, still liked the puzzle, COD 16. It conjures up a different image to me than it does to George, though. Regards all.
    1. thru as a version of through: “Never” is probably an overstatement, but it’s sufficiently rare to count as noticeably American – my shiny new Chambers says “esp. N Am”. End-to-end: if you mean things like “1 thru 10”, Brit-Eng speakers would say “1 to 10”.
      1. Do we really need to talk of “Brit-Eng” speakers? Surely it is a matter of English speakers and those who don’t, or can’t, speak correct English!
        While I’m at it – can I ask what it was that happened on the 9th November.
        1. Peter: Thanks for the clarification, appreciate it.

          teesween: ‘Brit-English’ not meant provocatively by any means, simply referring to the fact that certain words/phrases have different meanings to native English folks than they do to other incorrect English speakers, like me. For instance, from yesterday’s puzzle, I don’t know what ‘jam tomorrow’ means. Nonetheless I enjoy these puzzles and hope you’ll excuse the fact that this colonial needs to ask for help at times. Regards.

          1. “Jam tomorrow, jam yesterday, but never ever jam today.” Don’t tell me that Alice in Wonderland hasn’t reached NY yet.
          2. There’s now a more detail about this, with a link to an informative Wikipedia article, in the comments on that puzzle – ’tis indeed Lewis Carroll, but that’s only part of the story.
  13. A tragedy involving the deaths of several thousand people. No more needs to be, or should be, said.
      1. Teesween, why don’t you grow up or shut up.
        You know perfectly well what is being referred to.
        1. At the risk of falling into a trap, can I just join teesween on this question about 9th November? I’m stumped as well.

          If the tragedy referred to is the one I think, shouldn’t we be mentioning 11th September? Our British way might misinterpret 9/11 but have we also misremembered?

          1. Seeking to rekindle the whole “separated by a common language” thing over this particular denomination strikes me as being in pretty poor taste. It’s also erroneous, not least because quite evidently the semantic value of the term “nine eleven” is not that of a date. The term quickly came to refer to a conceptualised event, the nature of which is familiar to all. I’ve frequently heard non-English speakers use the English term in the midst of a sentence in another language, which rather proves the point. It’s facile to argue about it.
        2. I’m quite sure we will always be grateful to the U.S. for marching bands and cheerleaders and words like hornswoggled, but I can’t think of a reason why we should be happy to think that our way of notating dates (d/m/y) is inferior to their illogical way.
          Then again I always wonder when I meet someone who says he’s an American that same person is offended if I ask him if he is Brazilian or Canadian or Panamanian. Strange isn’t it?
          It’s probably because most of them think themselves as Irish, Italian, or Puerto Rican that they haven’t come up with a name for themselves.
          1. Not what I wanted to come back to after being away last night.

            Can we please drop this stuff? Discussion of differences between US and British English is relevant so far as it helps to explain why clues say what they say. Futile debate about which type is “correct” is not relevant, especially if it’s in terms that amount to “you lot don’t do it right”.

            No country has a monopoly on doing things illogically. We on the island of Great Britain belong to the United Kingdom which includes part of the island called Ireland but not the country commonly called Ireland, and think that the whole of that island belongs to the British Isles. We snigger at Americans who speak of “Cardiff, England”, while quietly forgetting that for some purposes such as English Law and Cricket, “England” includes Wales.

            On “American”, I assume you’ll be writing to Chambers to tell them how wrong they are to speak of “American English” in the “Varieties of English” section of their dictionary. I also assume that your letter will go straight into the wagger-pagger-bagger.

            Any further “our English is better than your English”, or “We are more logical than you are” material will be deleted without comment. Deleting any comment also deletes replies to it, so please don’t spend too much effort on replies to this stuff, folks.

  14. Nathanael figures as a disciple in John. “an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit” according to Jesus. So the preferred spelling in the context of the clue.
  15. I don’t know much about the books either, save that they are heavy going for modern readers, and gave rise to “euphuism”, meaning a high-flown expression, in the (affected and bombastic literary)style of Lyly’s “Euphues”, according to Chambers.I met ‘euphuism’ once in a crossword, never anywhere else.
  16. Based on email recently received, perhaps I should make clear that ‘teesween’ is not in any way connected to, nor does he speak or post on behalf of, the Independent compiler who operates under a similar name.

    On the other hand, I can quite understand why such confusion might arise, so no offence taken.

    All the best with this great blog,

  17. Another entertaining piece. My LOI was GOVERNESSY at 26a – the head = NESS came easily enough and Good Year = G … Y but the about = OVER was a bit long in coming. Got there in the end.

    Just the single omission in this blog:

    6a Bark of willow, oak or fir, primarily (4)
    WOOF. Not part of the recipe of the weird sisters.

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