24041 Infuriating

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

Time taken to solve: An hour before I resorted to help on 15ac to kickstart the SE corner where I was well and truly stuck. Then it took me another 10 minutes. I found this an absolutley infuriating puzzle with a number of loose definitions and obscure words, sometimes in the same clue/solution. I became completely bogged down in the SE and by the time I finished I was bored with the whole thing. I’m afraid as a result I have not written a very interesting blog, but I think all the answers are here.

6 TOPI(C) – Reference to a hot topic, I suppose
9 DIABOLO – Why “children'”? I know the word through the old variety act so I don’t associate it with children.
10 OCEANIA – (Ice on a + a)*
11 E,LITE 
12 KING, P(R(ook))AWN 
15 B(RA,H,MAP) UT,RA – A sacred Asian river which I have somehow managed to avoid knowledge of until today.
17 MOUNTAINEER – Enumeration*
22 E(QUI)P – Alien “who” = “qui”
27 DIDDY – I assume this is a double definition. I know diddy means small but can’t find that it also means a fool unless it’s supposed to be a teat/tit reference, in which  case I wouldn’t  think much of it.
28 EX,T(ROVER)T – TT races again
2 READING – For those who don’t know, Reading is a town west of London near the M4 motorway. A confusing clue in the on-line version which has M-four. We know about the problem with numerals, but where has the hyphen come from?
3 DO 0,NES BIT – Edith Nesbit best known as author of The Railway Children
6 THESP – Chambers has Thesp for Thespian but it’s not in Collins or the COED.
13 N(UMBER,E)IGHT – I got the answer but couldn’t explain it until I looked in Chambers (again),  which has it as a forward position in Rugby Union. Collins and the COED don’t list it.
14 GUM’S,H(1)ELD
16 PARLEYVOO – Overplay*+0. Parleyvoo can mean the French language, from Parlais-vous, Do you speak…?
18 UNMOVED – (No mud)* around Victory in Europe day, hence the 1945 reference.
19 SCUTTLE – Two meanings
21 LOOPY – Toyed with LOONY but LOOPY also captures the “twisted” element of the clue.
25 SEE – Oh dear, this is feeble. On edit: Thanks to Richard below for providing an example that shows it can work. I now see my comment was a bit harsh on the setter..

23 comments on “24041 Infuriating”

  1. About 45 mins and I have to say I rather enjoyed it! I agree with Jack that some clues are a bit loose, but I liked the position indicators like “punctured” “”on lead” and “embracing” and thought 16D was a gem. Perhaps I’m easily amused.

    The OED has “diddy” = “fool” though Chambers (1988 ed) doesn’t even list the word (I don’t have the COED or Collins).

    As a rugby fan I had no problem with 13D!

    1. PS I could only think of 3 revered rivers – Ganges, Brahmaputra and Alph – it wasn’t too hard to work out which was needed!
  2. For the most part a relatively easy but I agree with Jack an infuriating puzzle because with a little more care and thought it could have been very good.

    15A is worthy of Mephisto. I “solved it” from the word play and then used Google to verify my answer. The same goes for 13D where I needed the dictionary to verify the “forward” connotation. I also guessed DIDDY from small, not seeing any connevtion with “fool” but unable to see any other possibility.

    I liked 11A, which made me laugh.

  3. Un trés jolie rébus avec quelque clues trés dificiles et un ou deux un peu dodgy. Mais, comme ma grand-mere dit à moi: lentement, lentement, attraper monquee.

    et Voila! Trente-six minutes, sans aides. Non demi mauvais, n’est-ce pas?

    Je t’aime le fleuvre sacre au 15, qui est trés complicatement mais ingénieux comme un truckload de monquees. Et le dope pour les fatties a 11 est une cause de rire.

    L-1, L-8, L-9 [le clef: L=les quibbles, L=le divertissement, L=le dificulté]

    Et Bon Chance à tous les scribbleurs au Cheltenham! Allez les Bloggeurs!

  4. 15:37, though it felt longer. I was a bit frightened not to get any of the acrosses until 17 on my first run through. But the bottom half filled itself in then – except for DIDDY which I guessed at the end – and then the top half took rather longer.

    With Cheltenham coming up, the most worrying thing was that afterwards I found I had left a square blank. I simply hadn’t filled in the I of DO ONE’S BIT.

    I think Jack is being a bit unfair on 25D (Check date (3)). It seems to me a perfectly respectable two-meanings clue. The two meanings probably appear under the same headword, but they are very different.

    1. You may be right, Richard, but it seemed like another loose one to me. It was actually my last one in and I was a bit peed off with it all by then. I get “see” = “date” but not “see” = “check” and the words are not interchangeable by definition in the three main dictionaries as far as I can see, nor in the Collins Thesaurus.

      But maybe I just haven’t thought of the right context where they might mean exactly the same.

      1. I’ll go and see if Chambers supports it. Yes, I think it does. The intransitive meaning of see=”to look or inquire”, or check=”to make investigations”.

        As an example, you could substitute “check” for “see” in my first sentence.

  5. I’ll await the outcome of Sunday’s events with interest. Give my regards to my home town – too long since I’ve been back there.

    Do the results get reported in the paper? Or will anyone be in a position to post them here Sunday evening?

    Good luck to all again (not in Franglais this time)

    1. There’s normally a mention in the Times on Monday and then Peter does a blow by blow account followed by blogs of the actual crosswords once the Times has published them.

      If you haven’t been to Cheltenham for a while you will find it rather changed. I worked there for a couple of years in 1960s when it was genteel and quietly victorian. I returned briefly about 10 years ago and didn’t like it nearly so much. The village where I had lived at the foot of Cleve Hill had become almost a small town!

      Good luck to all our competitors on Sunday.

      1. Sadly, I fear you’re right, Jimbo. Even when I was growing up, Cheltenham was very much a town of Regency elegance. By the time I left, it was pretty much another urban sprawl, though something of the old character remained if you looked for it. I expect to be back next year and shall brace myself for the worst.

        Thanks for the information re. the championship.

  6. Agree with most of the above, y compris ca que la belle Sotira a ecrit.

    29:22 with a little bit of checking here and there. Some of the more original clues (e.g. elite & extrovert) were let down slightly by unconvincing surface readings. I though the diddy/loopy pairing in the SW was poor.

    Q-1 (general unease), E-7, D-8, COD 18.

    Good luck Ken, Peter and any others going to Chelters to compete on Sunday. If one of you wins we can all dance a Gavotte in your honour.

    1. If one of us wins? Which one will that be then?
      I have more modest ambitions for Sunday in that it would be very nice to complete all three correctly. If (with a very large, capital I) that is also quick enough to qualify for the final that would be utterly fantastic (incredible?). I think the chances of me winning it are slim to nil.

      I think I’m in a minority today because I thoroughly enjoyed it and didn’t care about any small liberties taken by the setter. It’s a bit difficult to find a COD nom though.

  7. Although there weren’t too many hold-ups – I only struggled with 23 & 23, some other clues needing what felt like brief pauses – but I stopped the clock at 17 minutes so something wasn’t ticking properly.

    This strange week has just concluded with the total collapse of my car’s gearbox, which is giving me concerns for tomorrow’s trip to Chelt. I’ll get there somehow; maybe I just have to walk. So perhaps my mind was a little distracted and I wasn’t seeing clues quite as lucidly as I usually would.

    Very good crossword I think; but this slight mental fumblement is probably preventing a more balanced evaluation.

    Q-0 E-7 D-8 COD 13

  8. I enjoyed this although I can agree that some clues seem a bit loose. Liked 4 – do 0 = be idle , I am trying to think of the literary reference where I saw “the parleyvoos” used to equate to the French people – it was something I read quite recently or was it TV? (I know the Armentieres song).
    I will be at Cheltenham. If anyone else is staying overnight why not pop along to the Kemble Brewery pub on Saturday night , a few solvers and a setter or two should be there.
    I managed to sneak into the final last year when a batch of runners were felled by a wicket/picket? fence answer choice.Would need a similar occurrence this year I think.
    13.10 today , good for a warm-up
  9. Yikes – 27 minutes, lots of guesswork…

    From wordplay: BRAHMAPUTRA, PARLEYVOO, GUMSHIELD, THESP. From definition or just a hail Mary guess: LOOPY, DIDDY.

  10. agree with most of the comments….really liked the scred river and like our blogger today got rather stuck in the se corner but once i had equip was off to the races…so simply saturday to go and then off for the week end
    Good luck to the competition entrants…they seem to comprise almost all of the bloggers!
  11. You mean that people actually think its fun to do this stuff in competition? I thought just doing them against the clock at all was suffering enough. Still, each to their own, and if that’s your thing, good luck and enjoy. Are you allowed to nick each other’s pencils, whistle in a distracting manner, that sort of thing?
    I’ll be looking out for the recorded highlights on the BBC. Slow motion replays, the lot…
    Haven’t found time to try today’s Times (just as well, probably, given the comments I’ve read above!) but thanks to those who encouraged me in my despair on Tuesday, my Wed and Thur were much better and altho I didn’t finish them (work delayed me, then darkness fell…) I got much further and felt that another day or three and I’d have puzzled out the rest – mostly.
  12. Ouch, very tough for me. I thought this contained too many semi- or outright obscurities to be fair, such as NUMBER EIGHT, GAVOTTE, PARLEYVOO, HOMOLOGUE, and my last entry, GUMSHIELD, which was held up because I’d originally put ‘biddy’ in 27, and because over here it’s a ‘mouthguard’. Had to return to this after a pause, altogether over an hour for me. Regards to all nevertheless, and best of luck to the competitors.
  13. Diabolo is a child’s toy I think. Two sticks with connencting string and a separate turned wooden shape. Children’s entertainers and circus performers use them. They spin the shape and throw it into the air then catch it and do tricks.
    1. Your description of how it works is exactly right. My quibble is with the reference to it being a “children’s” game. None of the source dictionaries makes any reference to children being involved so I think it was misleading to have that in the clue.
  14. I thought this one was quite good. The PARLEY VOO at 16d reminded me of a rather rude song – probably from wartime? I agree that DIABOLO is hardly a children’s game and that SEE = check is a bit obscure but the sacred river, rugby forward and franglais more than made up for that.

    There are 4 “easies” left out and one of them has more than 3 letters:

    14a Shut up from both sides? (3)
    GAG. In other words a palindrome.

    19a Drop fuel when reversing (3)

    5d Little room for game (3)
    LOO. Must find out how to play this somewhen.

    23d Gather fuel’s around a pound (5)
    P £ EAT

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