Solving time 11:08

I enjoyed this puzzle for some original and well-chosen wordplay.

This is my last blog before the Championships, so good luck to all bloggers and commenters past and present who are subjecting themselves to this piece of gentle masochism, especially my old school prefect Shane Shabankareh, who missed last year’s final by one place. I should be back in time to give you a report about what happened on the day.

1 SAY=perhaps,SO=like this
4 STANHOPE – anag. of phaetons, and another carriage. A familiar wordplay route for old hands, but hard to resist.
8 CRU(CI,VERBAL,I)ST – needed all the checking letters for this, not seeing living=crust as in “earning a crust”. Don’t get me started on ‘cruciverbalist’ used as anything other than a joke – Chambers rightly has “usu. facetious” for ‘cruciverbal’
10 NEG=gen rev.,L(I,G=start to get)ENT – fast = LENT
11 LO,YAL=lay rev. = “settle in retirement”
12 CA(R)NAL – carnal = animal = sensual
14 GO(TOTO)WN – Toto is Dorothy’s dog in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – an easy enough lit. reference, I hope
18 SET,TEE=support – for golf or rugby ball
20 ICHOR – hidden in Harpsichord – what the Gk gods have instead of blood
22 LAR GHETTO – we move from Greek gods to Roman domestic ones.
24 BREA=bare*,THINGS,PACE – I could see the SPACE at the end easily, but {things=clothes} took much longer
25 HERSTORY = (to sherry)* – history from a feminist point of view
26 Y=unknown quantity,EAST=bearing. Note for beginners that the ‘unknowns’ from algebra are conventionally X,Y and Z in the Times puzzle, though in principle they could be any letter.
1 SECOND = support,CO(US)IN – “some family” is the def
2 YOUNG = (guy, no)*
3 OR(I,GIN=trap)ATE
4 SWEDEN = N(Ed.)EWS rev.
5 A,M(BIT,I)ON. – bit=moment in Brit. colloquial
6 HAL,A,L – Hal =Prince Hal from Shak.’s Henry IV
7 PUSSYFOOT – 2 def’s, one a bit whimsical – paw=”pussy foot”
9 BLONDE MOMENT – M in (model bent on)* – didn’t know this phrase but saw the analogy with ‘senior moment’ and the more entertaining “craft moment” – craft = “can’t remember a f***ing thing”
13 RACE,HORSE – with a ‘whole clue’ def as well as the simple ‘animal’
15 OVER=regarding,HA(St.)Y – “to cut” is a container indicator of a particular Times xwd style
16 BALL=party,Y(a)HOO
19 B,RANDY=hot
21 ROADS=”Rhodes”
23 T(I)ARA – I was going to protest that the Tara of Irish kings is a hill, not a vale, but I’ve just realised that this is the Latin ‘vale’ = farewell = “ta-ra” – best done with Cilla Black’s Scouse rolling of the R.

29 comments on “24033”

  1. I finished in 15:58 with five unexplained. And it took me at least another 10 minutes to justify my answers to 8, 10, 24, 5 and 16.

    The most enjoyable puzzle I have done in a while. Surprising combination of classical references with low culture references. Good and outrageous surfaces. Brilliant.

    Favourite clue might be 22 (LARGHETTO), but I really do feel spoilt for choice.

  2. I made a real dog’s dinner of this one and had ground to an ignominious halt by the time I ran out of time on my commute to work with only about half completed.

    I then kick-started things by cheating on the anagram at 4ac, having convinced myself that “phaetons” was some technical scientific term and probably its anagram was too, and then the rest of it came slowly together.

    I also had never heard of BLONDE MOMENT but it had to be that. Other guesses were HERSTORY and ICHOR.

  3. 14:30. Eclectic and diverting stuff. You won’t often see BLONDE MOMENT and HERSTORY on the same page. Second recent outing for ‘pussyfoot’, given as a verb in 24,023.

    Q-0, E-8, D-7 …. COD 13 RACEHORSE

  4. It was a bad day at work today so I started this on the train going home and finished after dinner. Not a puzzle to be rushed, but savoured I thought.

    Some excellent wordplay and some interesting answers. I had to guess at STANHOPE (it sounded like a carriage). I got the anagram at 25 early on but couldn’t believe it was a word! ICHOR I knew but it was nice to see it used.

    Got 8 early from the definition which helped a lot.

    I liked the use of “ditzy” in 9 as an anagram indicator and a pointer to “blonde” (apologies to blonde contributors for pointing this out).

    “Lar” in 22 was new, although it seems so useful for setters I suspect it must crop up quite often.

    Didn’t we have “yahoo” recently? On an antipodean note, there is an Australian actor who officially changed his name to “Yahoo Serious”. Each to his own.

  5. Thought “Phonates” as in utters speech sounds was the answer to the anagram at 4ac and consequently got completely stuck.
    1. I know you can read here about me and others flinging in part-understood answers sometimes, but an answer for a slot with no checked letters should be solid.

      Assuming you knew the meaning of ‘phonates’ when solving, if you know what ‘phaetons’ means, the “this is similar” part of the clue just doesn’t fit. If you don’t know what ‘phaetons’ means, you don’t know whether “this is similar” does fit – a classic time for trying 4/5/6/7 down before you put PHONATES into the grid, and seeing whether the checking letters agree (ditto if you were unsure about the meaning/existence of PHONATES). SWEDEN or HALAL might well have saved you.

      1. Sounds like good advice. Indeed with hindsight my problem was not knowing what phaetons were. I think I also need to consider more proper nouns when solving anagrams in general.
        1. For short words, multiple anags are fairly common, but not for lengths like 8. SO if you get one, I’d use the next bit of time on the checking letters rather than a hunt for anything else. If two fit, another anag is very unlikey.
  6. A bit longer to solve than the last 2 days at 38 minutes, in spite of getting CRUCIVERBALIST immediately from the indicated CI in the wordplay. Actually, I didn’t see how CRUST was indicated, so I pencilled it in only lightly at first. Thanks, Peter, for the explanation. This was indeed a puzzle to savour, as someone above noted, since it had some excellent clues. I didn’t know HERSTORY was a real word, but ICHOR (very well hidden), and STANHOPE as an anagram of PHAETONS were familiar enough. COD? Spoilt for choice, but I suggest 22 for the penny-drop when solved.
  7. Most enjoyable. A gradual 14:05. I knew what Phaetons were (and Stanhope for that matter) but I was convinced that the H had to be preceded by an S,T or P so it took me ages to get. I guessed 22a to be LARGHETTO but had no idea why. I suppose LAR must be Gods and GHETTO is Quarter. Pretty poor clue, I thought. The rest of it was fab though, my COD nod going to 18a with an honourable mention going to 1d. I don’t know about a blonde moment, but I must have had a senior moment with 4d. I needed S?E?E? before I could get it.
    1. Hello Ken. Is it my imagination or have you been away for a while? I hope you did last Sunday’s Mephisto which was a good one for new solvers.
  8. Good luck Peter and we look forward to reading a blow by blow account. No craft moments allowed!

    What a difference a day makes! A super puzzle, well crafted, not fiendish but hard enough to make the greycells work. As Peter indicates STANHOPE/phaetons is an old favourite and 8A is a classic solve from the definition and reverse engineer the wordplay. Is the setter something of a MCP with both 25A and 9D somewhat unflattering to the distaff side of family support. They both made me laugh and I think 9D is very good.

  9. We must have had another case where I was on the same wavelength as the setter. I liked this a lot and was done in 10 minutes (PB #2!?!). Had a few advantages – STANHOPE has been cropping up in other puzzles (and maybe was in a Jumbo recently as the same anagram) so that went in straight away. I wrote in CRUCIVERBALIST without the wordplay as a blind faith thought that there can’t be too many 14-letter words for puzzle addicts, similarly LARGHETTO at 22.

    Best of luck at the champs, you who are going. Here’s hoping to read a familiar name in the paper on Monday!

  10. Excellent, marvellous, lovely. I’ve been called a lot of things recently but this puzzle puts even me in the shade.

    Appreciative ticks all over the place for a puzzle combining great technique and the inclusion of not-seen-that-before contemporary answers; BLONDE MOMENT, HERSTORY – fantastic.

    Loads of COD candidates and my choice, the superbly observed 18, is almost certainly matched elsewhere; it just caught my fancy as soon as I spotted the answer.

    Q-0 E-9 D-7, COD 18, Time 11 minutes

  11. I did much the same as Jack, I guess. I had the left half completed in 5 minutes or so, then ground to a halt, also thinking phaetons might be particles. Then I fell asleep, woke up, and took perhaps 95 minutes to complete the thing this morning. A puzzle of two halves, 5:95! And PB says he took less time over this than yesterday’s – while I took about 12 times as long! Is your hair darkening, Peter? Mine’s turning blonde!

    Brilliant puzzle, definitely. Not a dud among all the clues, and I’d probably choose a different COD every time I looked at them; right now I like 7 – PUSSYFOOT.


  12. 27:40, got cruciverbalist straight away based on the def and CI, crust making immediate sense, have heard blonde moment used and knew phaetons/stanhope.

    Agree with Ken that larghetto is poor – had no idea about lar/lares and the answer isn’t among the handful of musical terms I know so I reckon that’s obscure knowledge in both the def and wordplay which is a no-no.

    Also slowed by the things/clothes bit of 24, forgetting about yahoo as thug and not quite believing that herstory is a word.

    Good puzzle overall though.

    Q-1, E-8, D-7, COD cruciverbalist, just pipping racehorse and settee.

  13. 7.13. Like glheard I found this to be one of those puzzles where I was on the same wavelength as the setter. That said, it took me at least half a minute to find a clue I could solve, and when I did it was 4ac – so if I were disciplined enough to start out by going methodically through the Acrosses I’d have been better off. My actual approach is much more random, scanning here there and everywhere for a clue I like the look of.

    Anyway, once STANHOPE had gone in everything else seemed to flow from that, meaning perhaps that these were clues that yielded quite easily once I had a single letter of the answer.

  14. Having commented here for the first time on Monday as a real beginner, saying how pleased I was to finish one, and having nearly done so again yesterday, today my bam was completely boozled. Different style, and I don’t yet have the eye (brain, whatever) for the more involved wordplay that the regulars clearly, and rightly, enjoyed. And several words well out of my ken.
    But at least I can come here and learn, rather than glare at the answers tomorrow thinking “But?!-*what:?how???..” And I can now appreciate the mad mental gymnastics that are involved, albeit with gritted teeth. Ah well, tomorrow is another day.


    1. Do please go on contributing and let as know how you are progressing. Last year I celebrated the 50th anniversary of my first all complete, all correct Times and I can still remember the immense satisfaction it gave me. These days I get a lot of pleasure from coaching new solvers (like my grandchildren!) and it is so pleasing to hear that you find this site useful in that respect.
      1. Hear hear Jimbo, and welcome to the blog Ian.

        Whether solvers or setters we’re all in this together and the blog is blessed with cryptic devotees of all levels of experience. If anything in the daily puzzle confuses you, don’t be afraid to ask – as far as we’re concerned there’s no such thing as a stupid question.

  15. Enjoyed this. liked the use of crushing in 16d, 25, 7 and 9 all good as were many others.I am more prone to senior and craft moments these days.
    Also 23 was pleasingly deceptive. Finished in 12.15 which felt like a good time for a challenging solve
  16. Regards all. I also had a pleasant time with this last night, and got through it in about 25 minutes total (but interrupted by a phone call, so really somewhere 15-20 minutes). I agree that 18 was a great clue, and I also nominate 16. I’ve heard ‘blonde moment’ before, it’s cropping up in US television dialogue. I didn’t know HALAL or LARGHETTO, so learned some new things today. Very enjoyable overall, my last entry was 20, extremely well hidden, at least from me. And good luck to the entrants in the competition: Break a leg!
    1. Enjoyed this immensely but was left with “ballyhoo” unsolved after 25 mins. I HAD thought of ballyhoo, but had bizarrely and unaccountably written uncle tom instead of uncle sam so it didn’t seem to fit. Even thinking I wanted the second last letter to be an a wasn’t enough for me to twig. A genuine blonde moment. bc
  17. I love “craft moment” (thanks Peter!!), and ‘vale’ = TARA which I didn’t see when solving. Curiously I spent some time wondering why ‘quantity’ should give EAST in 26ac. I really need some sleep before Cheltenham.


  18. George’s time improvements (today’s not just a Peter-beater but ahead of three of last year’s championship finalists) are a good advert for Listener and Mephisto solving – which certainly makes Lar(es) = domestic god(s) easy. Or maybe it’s stand-up comedy that helps with solving …

    Beginners wanting to learn something from this puzzle: watch out for other coaches to go with the phaetons and stanhopes – many have handy names with other meanings. Also note the variety of anagram indicators in this puzzle and how well they fit into the clues.

  19. Greetings 5 weeks later from Australia, where this puzzle just appeared in Rupert’s local paper.

    Couldn’t get ballyhoo. Read “sherry” in the clue for 28, brought to mind Tio Pepe = Spanish for Uncle Joe, so it just had to be a Russian second world war ally in 17.

  20. Larghetto at 22a that is.
    Just the one omission:
    17a British ally relatively speaking? (5,3)

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