24027 – bra and pants

A puzzle of “average plus” difficulty I think – though I can see a couple of answers that I might possibly have got sooner. Last few solved were 28, 24 (writing in the answer I’d wondered about for quite a while), 19, 18. The grid has seven answers beginning with B, mostly in the BOBBIN/BABY BOND NE corner.

Solving time 11:40

1 BOB,BIN(g) – know your mid-20th century stars – hopefully familiar to even the youngest of solvers from old movies on TV.
4 SKIP,ANTS – ‘PANTS’ was written in above the grid squares as a pretty safe bet, but the only 3-letter kind I could immediately remember were HOT, which tells you something about my age
10 B,ON(A PART)E – nicely done construction, and ‘British leader’ is a good fake definition.
13 LA(SAG(e))NE
14 NAIRN – (N. Iran)* – town near Inverness – “best known as a seaside resort” says Wikipedia – apparently its climate was warmer than you might expect from a northerly town on a north-facing coast, even in 1860.
15 S,AND,BANK – beginners: watch out for {with = and} and vice versa
18 EDGE,HILL – ‘down’ = a hill, mostly in the South of England, and Edgehill was the first pitched battle of the English Civil War. So even those who found this a dull subject in school history might remember it (sorry, “Jesse” James if you or your descendants ever read this).
23 NAM=man rev.,IBI(z)A – in case any US solvers haven’t met it yet, Ibiza is the third-largest of the Balearic Islands, and well-known for its summer club parties which attract large numbers of tourists, but the island and the Spanish Tourist Office have been working to shed the prevailing “sex-and-alcohol” image in order to promote more family-oriented tourism (Wikipedia). If this year had been normal, Mrs B and I would have been on a long tour of Namibia right now – probably trying to get pictures of animals in Etosha National Park.
26 ADAM,S – surname of the second and sixth US presidents
27 IN,S(P)ECTOR – policeman such as Morse
28 R,ALLYING – R=resistance
29 RED HOT – 2 defs, including ‘enthusiastic’.
1 BABY BOND – I got the James Bond reference this time – could hardly miss it. Diasppointingly, ‘baby bond’ is not some arcane bit of stock market terminology, but just a savings scheme for children.
2 B(ENG.)ALI – a language as well as a person from that part of India and Bangladesh.
3 IMP,UDENC=dunce*,E – full marks for not doing the IMP(r)UDENCE subtraction for the umpteenth time
5 KREMLINOLOGIST – (strike looming, L) – nice easy anag.
6 PUFFS – 2 defs, one related to smoking
7 NO(NAG)ON – shape with two more sides than a 50p piece. The clue is written to make it look as if “middle of the day” is the def, and “horse gets in shape” the wordplay. Old hands say: if there’s any possibility of ambiguity, consider both ‘(A containing B) = C’ and ‘A = (B in C)’
8 SILVER – 2 defs., one Long John S of Treasure Island
16 BRASSI((h)ER)E – nicely done wordplay from the lads of the fifth form
17 CELLARET = “selleret” – a cellaret is a piece of wine-holding furniture for those who can’t just buy whatever the local supermarket has on offer and drink it young. (A tad unfair – in the days of cellarets, there were no supermarkets)
19 DAMN ALL – Am. in (L,land), all rev.
21 UNHITCH, from ‘in hutch’ – a Spoonerism by the loose def. favoured by Azed in his ‘Spoonerisms’ puzzles. Judging by recent rec.puzzles.crosswords chat, some will tell you that a Spoonerism requires a swap of initial sounds. To be fair, that’s what all the usual dictionaries say (the OED’s def. isn’t quite as strict)
22 UNFAIR = (ruf(f)ian)*
24 BUS(H)Y – {busy = policeman} was new to me but is in COD

33 comments on “24027 – bra and pants”

  1. I enjoyed this strangely non-uniform puzzle.

    Held up by trying to force ‘Kissinger’ into the foreign policy specialist somehow – kriminal I’d say…

  2. Either I’m getting better at this or the puzzles are getting easier. Under 20 minutes for this one with the top half going in at “Peter speed” and only the SE corner and BUSHY (my last to go in) giving me pause.

    I liked 1A both for its clever use of “Crosby in short” and for memories stirred of the old “Road to” films. Is there such a thing as a “selleret”? I’m not with AZED in his view of Spoonerisms and do not personally consider 21D a true one. Like Peter BUSY=detective was new to me but I couldn’t see any alternative. We will no doubt see this used again!

    1. 17 begins with ‘maybe’, so I assume the setter is inviting us to imagine that a ‘small shopkeeper’ is a ‘sellerette’. That’s how I read it, anyway.
      1. Moi aussi – though I should really have commented on this, having hijacked the quotes around “selleret” for another purpose when explaining clues.

        Jimbo: I suspect Azed is quite aware that his puzzles stretch the meaning of ‘Spoonerism’. For that kind of puzzle, I suspect there aren’t enough ‘proper’ ones to go round.

  3. I do this at my desk amid coffee cups and telephone calls so I can’t time myself strictly, but I think it was around 15-20 mins so I would expect others found it very easy.

    I can’t really add much to Pete’s excellent notes!

    I had never come across “baby bond” but found it described as a bond of low face value (eg $1,000) as issued by small companies which cannot attract institutional investors but target individual investors. As a finance lawyer, one lives and learns!

    I looked forward to something very witty in 21A, and was disappointed.

    In these days of Gordon Ramsey, 19D sounded strangely precious!

    1. I meant 21D of course – it was probably a bit optimistic to expect a Spoonerism up to Ronny Barker’s standard
  4. 67 mins of pleasure.
    Things I didn’t know but was able to deduce: PUFFS = good reviews? BUSY = policeman? CELLARET.
    I put GALLONS instead of GASOHOL which slowed me down a bit 🙁
    Last to go in: SANDBANK. Just didn’t think of {with=and} for so long! I guess I’m just a greenhorn.
  5. 35 minutes for this one with several clues unexplained on completion of the grid and one wrong at 1d (BABY BANK for BABY BOND). I liked 1a, so that’s my COD. I didn’t like 13 where, unless I have missed something, “certain” adds nothing to the clue but confusion. And at 21 UNHITCH for IN HUTCH is not a Spoonerism as I have always understood the term.

    Several words seem to have come up quite recently and I wondered for a moment if they had published an old puzzle: KREMLINOLOGIST, GASOHOL and SKI PANTS. I struggled with all of these on their previous outings but not this time.

    QED: 1-8-7, the quibble being 21 as explained above.

    P.S. I never heard of busy = policeman either.

  6. All bar 17D done in 14 mins, eventually gave up as I didn’t know the word and couldn’t crack the (rather fanciful) wordplay. I think ‘real’ Spoonerisms, which tend to occur in the speech of dyslexics – ie. most young children, struggling to distinguish d and b – exchange consonants, but not necessarily at the start of words. I remember reading
    once that the commonest examples include ‘par cark’ and ‘mazagine’.

    Tom B.

  7. Today’s puzzle was rated “average plus” by Peter, and yesterday’s “very easy” by Jimbo. I found yesterday’s very hard (40 minutes plus) and today’s very easy (about 13 minutes, but see below). “We are all individuals.”

    Actually, today’s puzzle took me 9 hours. I did it in bed last night, but cheated out “Edgehill” this morning. The history teacher who tried to teach me about the Tudor/Stuart period was known as Jesse James to us. It can’t have been the one who Peter’s talking about, but it’s a strange coincidence. My teacher was Geraint James who now lives in Dolgellau, I believe.


  8. 9.58. I’ve found the three puzzles so far this week to be very similar in difficulty level. Like many people I’d never come across busy = policeman before, but the definition provided for BUSHY seemed too accurate to worry about.
  9. 14 minutes, solved this a little earlier in the evening than I usually do, so was probably a bit more mentally capacitated.

    It appears lots of us were “guessing” BUSHY and CELLARET. I don’t recall seeing 9 used before and that’s a nifty clueing of a long word. Didn’t quite see the wordplay for 13, but the checking letters gave it away. I also arched an eyebrow at UNHITCH as a Spoonerism for INHUTCH, but will defer to the shining wits at the OED.

    1. You smart fellas might like to see this, pinched from here: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080215090928AAtIR6T.

      Douglas Hofstadter uses the nonce terms kniferism and forkerism to refer to interchanging the nuclei and codas, respectively, of syllables. (Example: a British TV newsreader who, in a story about a crime scene, referred to the police removing a ‘hypodeemic nerdle’.) Spoonerisms exchange the onsets.

      Another example is an incident that happened to veteran newscaster (and Timex watch pitchman) John Cameron Swayze. During an interview on The Mike Douglas Show, he stated that on a radio show, he was making reference to a fellow journalist as a “noted woman columnist” but accidentally said “noted woolen communist”.


  10. As already noted, very similar level of difficulty to the last 2 puzzles. I agree with dorsetjimbo that 21 is not strictly a spoonerism (at least not according to Chambers), but it didn’t bother me. I’m not wild about ‘with’ as an container indicator in 27, and I thought 8 was a bit feeble. These small niggles aside, I thought the clues were mainly rather good. I particularly liked the anagram in 5, which is my COD
    1. “I’m not wild about ‘with’ as an container indicator in 27”. But is it? The containment indicator is surely ‘with limited’.
      1. I think you’re right. I assumed ‘limited’ indicated the abbreviation of ‘parking’, in the same way that Times setters often clue T as ‘little time’ to enhance the surface, even though ‘little’ is not strictly necessary.
  11. A fairly routine 14 minute solve with a few interesting words and usages as well as a few that are starting to feel overused.

    24d brought back memories of two years living in an interesting part of Liverpool where most evenings one could hear the sound of children playing in the street… “Oh no! Leggit – it’s the busies!!” Definitely a Scouse standard.

    UNHITCH isn’t a great success. As well as the question about initial position for the switch, I think a good Spoonerism needs to involve a plausible utterance. Hard to think of a sentence where “in hutch” would occur without an intervening article.

    Hot pants (which I also pencilled in at first) have been making a bit of a comeback, Peter, which is bad news for most women and good news for most men.

    Q-1, E-7, D-5 COD – 1a BOBBIN

  12. This is how I really like to solve a puzzle, every answer coming after around 30 seconds of thinking – very few dead giveaways, nothing overtly tough.

    Notable clues were 1A as mentioned above and I also enjoyed 25A. Despite not quite being &lit 26 gets my COD-nod (Wiki reveals that while Adams was the second US President he was actually the first Vice President, so I assume he was there at the first opening of the senate?).

    Time: 14 minutes
    Q-0 E-8 D-6 COD 26

  13. 17:34 so I’m with those who found this easier than average.

    I’ve come across busy as a scouse term for cozzer but had never seen it written down so was briefly stumped. I’d imagined a quite different spelling, as in “Quick, leg it – here come the bizzies”.

    The only other thing that stumped me was predestination, which I put in but then fretted over for a while as I couldn’t see the red in pest part.

    Q-0, E-8, D-4, COD 16.

  14. Didn’t time myself but it was probably just short of 20 minutes, which makes it medium difficult. Another very enjoyable solve. It seems like I’m the only one who has heard of the BUSY=policeman – I believe it’s very common for Liverpudlians to refer to the police as “busies” (or Bizzeees). My take on the week so far is really hard, hard, medium hard. Never heard of CELLARET, though wine in our house doesn’t really last long enough to warrant one! 1a gets my nod for Cod.
  15. d’accordo. Even with an (unadvertised) aitch-dropping, it doesn’t pass muster.

    If anyone wants to be turned off spoonerisms for life, take a look at the Roy Hudd character in Dennis Potter’s Karoake (cloying to say the least).

    I like the use of hypotheticals (‘selleret’); are there occasions when these are permissable as actual clue entries (rather than simply used instrumentally)?

    1. Yes – when they happen to be real words or phrases. So ‘muster’ with regular wordplay and defined as something like “moulder?” would probably pass, er, muster. (Sorry, ‘number’ seemed too obvious as an example).
  16. 17 dn was an early entry, if only because I happen to own (inherited from my father) a cellaret, a low, lead-lined wooden cabinet on wheels. Pretentious, moi? In our house wine tends to get drunk at once, so we use the cellaret for storing spirits.

    I’m with Jimbo and others in disliking the false Spoonerism at 21 dn. I cannot think of any famous Spoonerism that does not involve the transposition of the initial letters or sounds of two (or more) words – e.g. “you have hissed all my mystery lectures and will leave Oxford by the town drain”. But if, as Peter B says, the looser definition of a Spoonerism deployed here is indeed an accepted cryptic convention, I will at least now be forewarned.

    About 35 mins for me. Curious mix of the quite difficult with the almost absurdly easy – e.g 12 ac. I was not helped by entering “baby boom” at 1 dn initially, which I knew couldn’t possibly explain “spies”. Had never heard of a baby bond. But overall a fair and enjoyable puzzle.

    Michael H

  17. Not all clues are blogged – please follow the “about this blog” link a the top of the page for an explanation as to why this is.

    The answer to 20ac is ACUTE, being alternate letters of rAnCoUr ThEy, i.e. rancour they “regularly”. Watch out for this device as it crops up with alarming regularity (much to the dismay of many).

    1. …OK then, here’s an idea.

      Any of you who intend to join in this evening’s chat are invited, between now and 8pm-ish, to come up with alternative ways of indicating alternate letters. Penfold is absolutely right – the current crop of indicators is painfully sparse and, inevitebly, overused.

      Believe me, we on the setting end of things are more than happy to steal the ideas of… sorry, accept the suggestions of those who can suggest new indicators they’d be happy with.

  18. About 30 minutes for me, so I agree with the rating ‘average plus’. My hold up was in the NW, where I fell for the trap of not seeing ‘leader’ as the def. in 10A but only ‘British leader’, and in 1A I thought for a long while that the def. was ‘hope’. I agree with those pointing out that the spoonerism isn’t really a true example, but since everyone solved it, it can’t be that bad. As a US solver, I’d certainly never heard ‘busy’=policeman, and to Anax, you are correct, John Adams was present at and presided over the first US Senate meeting in 1789, in NY, the then US capital, so maybe the clue for 26 has an extra level.
  19. Just the 3 “easies”:

    11a Like one’s journey to cemetery in coffin alas (5)
    FINAL. Hidden in cof FIN AL as.

    12a Helped by brother, put hair into plaits (7)
    BR AIDED. Another instance of BRA in the puzzle.

    20a Intense rancour they regularly displayed (5)
    A C U T E. Alternate letters in r A n C o U r T h E y. I wonder if any alternatives to the likes of “regularly” came out of Anax’s meeting?

      1. Thanks for the link Peter.

        It may be a famous clue – and I admire it greatly – but I don’t think I would have got an anagram of alternate letters in an &lit in quite a long time.

        I scrolled down a bit and found a Tim Moorey anagram that I might have unravelled.

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