24053 – Apparently so…..

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

My time taken to solve was off the specially extended scale! I knew I’d get one like this today after the run of quite easy ones recently. Many of the clues were difficult yet fair, but there were too many obscurities for my liking and several things I guessed and looked up without finding them in the first dictionary I tried. I hope I will not find later that everyone else knocked it off in 10 minutes or less.

10 COAGULATE – Catalogue*
11 A,GNE(is)S – Gneiss is a type of rock apparently, and I gather ” is falling” is supposed to indicate the removal of “is”. Hm.
14 HIT
15 ARRAIGN – Sounds like “a reign”.
17 RETURN – Those who used typewriters may remember the carriage return control used to start a new line. I’m not totally convinced by the definition “second half of journey”.
19 B,1,CEPS – Plan = SPEC (rev). Another dodgy definition here I think. If the I in biceps is clued by “one” which I think it is, then the definition is “I bend the elbow” which doesn’t make sense. Alternatively if the I is clued by I the definition is “bend the elbow” which makes even less.
24 AIRSICKNESS – Be green with envy but also green with sickness
26 MUN,GO – “Mungo” is a cheap felted fabric made from waste wool and “Mun” is rural dialect for “must” apparently. Good luck to anyone trying to solve this without a very large dictionary to hand.
27 PRIMAVERA – VAMPIRE*+RA. The answer is a famous painting by Botticelli apparently
29 C(a)RESS,IDA – Ida refers to Princess Ida by G&S. I don’t really know why “titled lady”. I can’t see that the character in the Trojan Wars was titled in any sense so I am left to assume she’s titled because she’s in the name of a Shakespeare play. Hm.
3 GNU – Well “gnu” is another name for “wildebeast” but to anyone brought up on the songs of Flanders and Swann it definitely doesn’t sound like “new”. But seriously folks it’s a rotten homophone unless qualified by “some say” or similar.
5 HE(EL BA)R – Back to the heel bar again. Seems like only yesterday….
7 BUNTHORNE – (THE UNBORN)* The second G&S character today, this time more obscure because he’s not in the title of the piece (Patience)
9 A(ACHE)N(ew) – And back to Aachen again too. I must have travelled through it a dozen times but somehow missed that it is famous as a spa town.
13 TRICE,RAT,OPS – Rat as in Monty’s mob, the Desert Rats
16 RAIN DANCE – The third rain/reign clue in today’s puzzle (1A,15A)
18 E,(YES)TALK – Some crustaceans have these
21 PHI,LIP – Kings of Spain
22 A(T,OM)IC – Spies = CIA (rev)
28 (h)AHA – Anyone know what a ha-ha is? Last time we discussed whether it was a fence or a wall and today it’s defined as a ditch!

35 comments on “24053 – Apparently so…..”

  1. The best thing about this puzzle is Jack’s blog. I know what it’s like to cope with this sort of nonsense so well done mate. I’ve spent over an hour not just filling the grid but researching the answers and trying to make sense of some of it.

    It’s worth I think listing all the obscurities and clue weaknesses. CHASUBLE; gneiss; the definition in 19A; the word “just” in 23A; MUNGO (worthy of a Mephisto); PRIMAVERA; CRESSIDA; GNU; BUNTHORNE; EYESTALK; ha-ha

    Of these I don’t see how one solves MUNGO without a search through Chambers, which I did to solve this my last to go in. Very much not my cup of tea.

  2. I ran out of time after about an hour and was still missing 8D and 11A.

    I think Jack and Jimbo have said it all as far as the puzzle goes, but a few sidelights..

    27A the painting includes the Graces, thus “graceful”

    1D The Japanese word “jinrikisha” comprises 3 characters meaning “man” “power” and “car”, or as a wit once observed, a Pull-man car.

    7D I think the full title is “Patience, or Bunthorne’s Bride”

    21D Philip was a name of kings of Spain, but a Philippic was an oration by Demosthenes against Philip of Macedon and means by extension any invective. I don’t see that the clue works, as an insolent letter is not a “Philip” .

  3. 12:58 – last three to go in were 22, 26, 11.

    Leaving for the weekend in an hour or so, so may not see the reaction to this, but here goes…
    11: Gneiss (also with silent G) is a pretty common rock. (And A?N?S can only be AGNES for ‘a girl’, I suspect.) If you’re going to moan about this clue, the use of “on” seems the softest target.
    17: I think enough journeys are ’round trip’ ones for this to be OK.
    19: “I bend the elbow” is just using the style of old-fashioned word puzzles – “My first is in grid but not in crossword, …”, or modern quiz questions – “I am a Russian scientist, born in Tomsk in 1894”. Seen in puzzles like Azed more often than in dailies.
    26: Solving this without a dictionary: ‘felt waste’ seems a probable def., from the absence of ‘M?N?O’ countries, and then GO seems guessable from ‘be eliminated’. Then you either need to remember ‘mun’ = dialect ‘must’ (which I did), or choose it on the basis that if M?N is dialect ‘must’, U is the most likely vowel. The hardest part seems to be deciding that “in the country” (a) doesn’t indicate containment, and (b) applies to the whole of “must go”.
    27: Didn’t know the exact painting but given primavera = spring, it seemed plausible.

    3: According to Chambers at least, the Flanders and Swann “g-noo” is a humorous mistake, and the right version is “noo” or “new” (so ‘some say’ would still be nice from the setter).
    7: The title is very often given as “Patience, or Bunthorne’s Bride” so he’s practically in the title.
    28: I’m puzzled by the general puzzlement about ha-has – is it that unusual to have been dragged around some stately homes and their parks in my youth – hence knowing about ha-has from the age of 8 or so? I guess it must be, but see Wikipedia, which indicates that trench (=ditch), fence and wall are all OK as defs – and describes a modern-day use for a ha-ha too.

    1. Oh well, that’s me well and truly told!

      Of course I know g-noo was a joke, as was the first part of my comment intended to be, hence, “but seriously” in the next sentence.

    2. Peter, I don’t think it’s just a question of clue by clue justification or otherwise (and some of your individual argument is pretty thin) but the cumulative effect of so much obscurity and questionable technique in one puzzle. If these clues had been spread across the week probably only MUNGO would have raised sustained comment. On that I’m not convinced that your guess technique is any better than those who went for “mongo(lia)”. Only a dictionary could confirm which was correct.
      1. Thanks for your encouragement, Jimbo and others. I had a few traumatic moments early this morning.

        Peter, on 19, I take your point and had considered that possibility when solving, but if the clue is to work surely it should say “We” rather than “I” in this instance?

  4. Not one to start at 1am, it would seem. I got though most of it in about 15 minutes, but quit after 30 minutes with the following unsolved or wrong:

    BUNTHORNE – I thoroughly dislike G&S – every time I hear someone start on ‘Three Little Maids’ I find myself looking for a window or a gun – but I’m disappointed to have an anagram unsolved.
    RETURN – I’m putting my failure to see this down to tiredness.
    MUNGO – I went with Mongo, assuming there was some Mongolian wordplay here. The one clue which I think is very hard to justify.
    AGNES – which I pencilled in, then pencilled out, then fell asleep. Thankfully, no dreams of St Agnes’ Eve.

    I really didn’t mind this puzzle, MUNGO excepted. It wasn’t all that obscure, and it’s nice to see Bart Simpson getting a namecheck alongside Shakespeare. But I’m reminded of a comment written on one of my undergraduate scribbles by a wise tutor: Try to use your abilities in the service of intelligence, rather than mere cleverness.

    Q-1, E-6, D-9 .. COD

  5. This was a real head-scratcher and I’m amazed that after giving up at 25 minutes the only missing answer was the not overly tough 19 BICEPS.

    Lots of tough clues and not that much by way of smooth surface, but there are some very nice momeents. Despite misgivings mentioned above I thought 17 RETURN well constructed, 30 BARTOK got ticked and 5 HEEL BAR.

    The “double obscurity” at 26 MUNGO was a tad excessive, maybe a quibble-notch on that one, but the puzzle as a whole felt like a pretty exacting technical work-out. Just as good to have a few of these as some very easy puzzles – there are many different tastes to satisfy.

    Q-1 E-6 D-9 COD 30

  6. I plodded through this, but with just 26a left after 50 minutes I didn’t have a clue about it, so resorted to references. To me that’s the sort of answer and wordplay that I’d expect in a Listener crossword, not a Times daily. This was another puzzle where I didn’t solve a clue until 27, but at least that was an instant solve, and the SW corner filled up fairly quickly after that.
    Another mixed bag for me. I liked “man at last” in 5, the anagram in 7, and 25 (which I threw in from the definition, not thinking about the wordplay – I’ve only just seen it’s a cleverly hidden word.
    I didn’t like the extraneous padding such as ‘just’ in 23, and ‘literally’ in 3. I know a gnu is a wldebeest, but I don’t think ‘gnu’ means ‘wild beast’, and if ‘literally’ is a reference to wildebeest it doesn’t seem to work either because ‘wilde beest’ literally means wild ox. Finally, I don’t think the pun in 16 works well at all.
    I note that 21 breaks all the conventions in having the wordplay from the answer, rather than the other way round. I don’t have any problem with it, because I don’t see why you cannot get the elements of the wordplay from the answer, but it would be condemned in the Times clue-writing competition as not in keeping with the Times style, which seems a touch inconsistent, though I appreciate that the editor’s and the clue judge’s views will not always coincide.
  7. I didn’t know that it was a requirement of Xword solving to be expert in G&S. I am not a fan of proper nouns in crosswords at the best of times, and today’s puzzle has far too many for my liking.
    1. You don’t need to be an expert in anything for the Times or other xwds. “Jack of all trades, master of none” is the requirement.

      For most G&S, all you need to know is the titles (only twelve of them). Anything more these days seems restricted to a few characters and the odd quote, almost certainly from The Mikado, which is performed much more often than the rest. My G&S knowledge is about the same as Mark Goodliffe’s on Dickens – in his notes on the Championship final, he admits to having read just two of his books. I know the Mikado quite well, a couple of others dimly.)

      You didn’t say why you’re no fan of proper nouns in crosswords – I like them as they add some spice to the words from the dictionary, and aren’t necessarily more obscure – AACHEN or GNEISS? If it weren’t for a few like ArIzOnA, setters would have a tougher job. (And in 4A, I note that today’s setter resisted any reference to Wilde’s Dr Chasuble).

      At the danger of irritating you further, there’s a musical in-joke in 30A – Robert Simpson was a 20th century British composer for whom, with all respect, “decent” is probably about right.

      1. I grew up in a house where G&S performances came round once a year and know a lot of it by heart.

        In 30A once I had the A from 28D it was Wallis rather than Bart which sprang to mind, which is rather disturbing!

  8. I gave up trying to work out the final 2 unsolved clues after around 18 minutes and just wrote in anything. This worked for 11a, AGNES (I’ve heard of gneiss but still wasn’t even close to seeing the wordplay) but not so well at 26 where I went with MANGO. For a long time the only vaguely feasible answer I’d had for this was CONGO, and when this turned out to be wrong I was just too tired of this particular clue to think about it much more.
  9. What a challenge that was! Around half an hour but finally plumped for MONGO rather than MUNGO, the only thing I could think of to link to the clue was country=Mongolia, so lia must be waste. Ah well. I’m a little surprised that I’d heard of all the obscure stuff today, albeit only having heard of Bunthorne as an old Guardian setter.
    Well done Jack. COD=24a
  10. I thought I was going to do this quickly enough, after ripping through the NW corner. I then struggled to complete the top half, and ran out of time before I could do the rest. COD for me 30ac.
  11. I did fine on this. I even marked AGNES that others dislike as a CoD possibility. But I fell at MUNGO where I also put MONGO. I didn’t have a dictionary and it seemed plausible as a type of felt, with LIA plausible as some sort of waste removed from MONGOLIA. Given the other Mephisto-like words that had cropped up already this didn’t seem like the stretch it would on a normal day.
  12. To regular Guardian solvers, the name Bunthorne is that of one its most fiendish setters – sadly missed.


  13. Relieved to find everyone else found it tough going as well. I managed to finish in 23 mins, having guessed BUNTHORNE and MUNGO from the cryptic indications. I had a vague idea that Patience was a book by one of the Brontes and thought maybe Bunthorne was a character in it – so much for my degree in English Lit.
  14. I recall there is a large sign on the side of a prominent old mill building in Halifax(?) for a “mungo and shoddy manufacturers” company. I assume shoddy is a variation on mungo?
    So I had heard of this and also knew Chasuble and had previous bitter experience of a Times Regional Qualifier in Glasgow where the answer “patience” was clued using Bunthorne’s Bride which lost me completely.
    Some things stick in the mind.
    I enjoyed this despite (well, actually because of) the difficulty in solving. Ingenious stuff – although I am prepared to bow to better judgments regarding the validity of certain clues … to me it was a good solve
    21.21 today
    1. Having researched it half to death I have today learned that there was a whole shoddy industry based primarily around Dewsbury in Yorkshire during the time of the industrial revolution. Shoddy was recycled woolen cloth made from cast off clothing, rags etc (hence its modern connotation) and mungo was a waste product of the process.
  15. Here in Newbie land it has been tough on the xwording front. Given my lack of expertise I rarely get to have a good go at each and every day, I tend to worry away at one for a couple of days to get as far as i can with it, rather than doing a little of each, which seems less rewarding. Occasionally it all falls (mostly) into place, but such rewards are the exception rather than the rule…
    This week my random picks have, looking at this blog, been bad choices! The sharp end of my pencil has remained remarkably sharp and unused through the last five days, the blunt end has spent much time scratching the head. In fact, a definite groove is developing…
    Having only just had opportunity to read the week’s blog entries, I see that challenges abounded. Plenty of useful tips and guidance. I will survive…


    1. Little and often may seem less rewarding, but I bet you a nominal couple of pints of beer that if you make daily attempts followed by reading of the blog for a whole month, you will make a noticeable iprovement.
  16. After a great week, have now run full tilt into a brick wall. Had to get the solving aids out after 30 min, and only 60% done. Final time … Don’t ask. COD 13 dn. I have no problem with 13, but feel mungo was a bit OTT. Two levels of obscurity is one too many in my book.
  17. Surprised that 23a was not considered worthy of note – “on one’s tod” was new to me,(a non-Brit from Canada).Incidentally, while Patience wins Bunthorne, she rejects him, and despite the (sub)title, nobody becomes Bunthorne’s bride.
    1. Thanks, anon. You may not know that bloggers are required not to comment on every clue in the weekday puzzles, and it’s sometimes difficult to know which ones to leave out. Sorry about this, but I see you have found the explanation for yourself.

      I’m not familiar with story of Patience so I was interested in your comment which turns the clue into a rather good one, I think, making double use of “potential” as anagram indicator and a direct reference to a twist in the plot.

  18. Thanks Jackt – I did not previously know that Tod Sloan was an important British jockey of the 1890’s, and thus a suitable subject for rhyming slang – for me Tod Sloan was familiar as an ice hockey professional of my vintage. John
    1. Thanks, again, John. I had no idea of this reference, nor that “tod” was rhyming slang! It’s an expression I seem to have known for ever and never questioned it. I entered the answer in the grid without really thinking about it, grateful for a crumb of comfort on an otherwise very tough day.
  19. 13:45 for me, finishing at a reasonable pace after a slow start. An easy puzzle for old hands, I’d have thought – I’m pretty sure MUNGO has come up in the Times puzzle in the past, and certain that BUNTHORNE has. I particularly liked 5D (HEEL BAR), my choice for COD, but there were plenty of other enjoyable clues as well.

  20. No wonder this Scot went off to explore somewhere distant after his parents callously named him after waste wool – his schoolmates must have dogged him mercilessly. Before anyone responds – that was a joke – I understand that Mungo was a Scottish saint and is patron saint of Glasgow.

    I did not have a problem with Chasuble, Agnes (I am a geologist and that was my Grandmother’s name) nor any of the other tricky ones that people have been complaining about – except perhaps for Mungo.

    There are 4 “easies”:

    21a Be inquisitive about savage’s excessive modesty (7)
    P RUDE RY. I thought savage = RUDE was a bit obscure but defendable.

    23a One’s alone on this spot, just about (3)
    TOD. Spot = DOT, just about = TOD. Did not know this was CRS – thanks for the contributors above who told us about Tod Sloan.

    30a Simpson – decent composer (6)
    BART OK. Thanks to PB for gen about Simpson the OK-ish composer.

    25d Waiting to get into office shared with science lecturer (5)
    ELECT. Hidden in last 2 words.

Comments are closed.