24938 – Lucky again!

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
This took me 29 minutes for all but three that I’ve mentioned below and then about another 10 to crack them. This was another easy puzzle by any standards but particularly so for a Friday. There’s nothing controversial nor any major points of interest so I’ll just post the blog and retire for the night.

* = anagram

1 VIVA,CITY – Viva!’ means ‘long live’ and is used as an expression of support, in this example, for Leicester City Football Club.
5 S(COR)CH – One of the three clues that gave me some problems along the way and I was disappointed to be caught out yet again by My! = Cor! ‘Scorch’ can mean to move very fast, hence ‘career’.
10 NARCS – This was one of the other two. I’m sure I have met both ‘narc’, a US narcotics agent, and ‘scran’ as slang for food before but neither came readily to mind.
11 STEAM ROOM – MASTER* then MOO reversed.
13 DIRG,Editor – GRID reversed gives the first four letters.
18 TURN UP – ‘Appear’ is the definition.
20 PATTER,N – PATTER as in ‘sales pitch’ then N for ‘new’.
22 POOC,H – COOP reversed then H for ‘husband’. I didn’t know ‘coop’ = ‘basket’ but it is in the world of fishing, apparently.
23 COLt,LEAGUE – ‘China’ is rhyming slang for ‘mate’, hence COLLEAGUE. COED defines a league as ‘a former measure of distance by land, usually about three miles’ which makes me wonder why the writer at 2dn used it as a measure of depth of water in the title of one of his most famous works. On late edit: Please see comments below as my error has already been commented on and acknowledged by myself
26 RUN T,0
27 Deliberately omitted.
28 AN(CHORE)D – I rather like AND defined as ‘joiner’.
2 Deliberately omitted – there’s a hint in 23ac above.
3 CASTLES IN THE AIR – Anagram of LATIN TEACHER IS plus the S from ‘school’.
4 TES,TI,ER – RE, IT, SET all reversed.
8 HAMLET – My last one in but so obvious once I’d seen it.
9 SENDER – REDNESs reversed.
15 P,LUTOC,RAT – P for Power, CLOUT* then RAT.
17 ON RECORD – Anagram of CROONER then Dome.
19 PIC,KLE – PICture then ELK reversed.
20 PA(LAD)IN – Does anyone else remember Richard Boone in Have Gun Will Travel?
21 S(PECK)S – Memories of another actor here with a reference to Gregory Peck.
24 G(ONE)Rief

51 comments on “24938 – Lucky again!”

  1. Very close to Jack’s experience: 28m and most problems with the 5/8 and 20/28 overlaps. Always wondered about the etymology of SCRAN. And it seems I shall have to keep wondering:

    3dn reminded me (to my shame) that I once owned the single of Don McLean’s “Vincent”, the B-side of which was the answer to this clue. My copy used to stick and repeat on the title-rhyme: “to despair, to despair, to despair, to despair …”.

    COD to PLUTOCRAT which (because it’s often used derogatorily) makes the clue something of an &lit.

  2. Same last three as Jack, same ten minutes on those (5, 8 & 10), but a slightly slower time – 51 minutes – and one ‘wrong’. However, I think a pretty decent case can be made for NARKS (with a ‘k’), as ‘skran’ is an alternative spelling of ‘scran’, and a ‘nark’ is defined in Chambers as a ‘[police] spy’.

    Re 12, does ‘seal’ really mean ‘bind’?

    1. On 12, I think seal = bind in the sense of sealing an agreement to make it binding.

      I think there is a definite case for a stewards inquiry into skran/narks since surely the entries in Chambers qualify it as a valid alternative. I’ll raise it in the Club forum if it’s not been done already.

      I was going to mention the Don McClean song in my blog but it slipped my mind when I came to write it. I still have the 45 in my collection. I like Vincent. A sad song but evocative of a very happy time in my life. As Coward wrote, it’s extraordinary how potent cheap music is.

      1. On reflection, NARC is specifically a US agent as specified in the clue so I’m going off the idea.
      2. But if you seal an agreement to make it binding, then, almost by definition, I’d have thought, they are two different processes, or at least two different steps.

        I had spotted the same weak point with NARKS.

        1. Sorry, I was paraphrasing to suggest a context and managed to muddy the water further. The relevant entry in Collins is:

          Bind vb 5 (tr) to make (a bargain, agreement etc) irrevocable; seal.

          Hope this clarifies.

  3. Nothing wrong with Vincent. Many is the time I have warbled it at a karaoke session. Warming up for Music of the Night, naturally.
    1. I’m convinced! The song is indeed far superior to most of what passes for music in karaoke bars.
  4. 32 minutes, with SCORCH and HAMLET as LOI. I’d never heard of ‘scran’, but it just had to be NARCS (and not narks), so I went with it. I find that I’m getting a bit tired of ‘vehicle’=VAN, although not as much (yet) as ‘it’=SA. And yes, Jackkt, there’s at least one old-timer who remembers ‘Have Gun, Will Travel’; do you remember the other series he starred in?
    1. If it’s Dragnet, as mct suggests, I wouldn’t have known that as it’s not a series I watched – it may have been on ITV before we access to the second channel.

      In case others don’t know the reference, in the TV Western series ‘Have Gun Will Travel’ the lead character played by Richard Boone was called Paladin. There were 226 episodes made 1957-63 so the actor was kept pretty busy for a while.

      1. Sorry, guys, ‘Dragnet’ was Jack Webb. Richard Boone’s earlier vehicle, before ‘Have Gun’, was ‘Medic’, one of the first of a seemingly endless series of medical melodramas. Lasted about 3 years, I think, before Boone became Paladin.
    2. In fairness to the guy he was more than just a TV series actor. I recall he also starred alongside John Wayne in The Alamo?
  5. Ditto everyone else (including Jack’s frustration with COR for My).
    My entry for the 4th letter of 10 is now an indecipherable smudge.
  6. 26m but about half of this time trying to figure out ‘sender’ in 9D. Didn’t anyone else get held up here?
    1. Briefly, as I was juggling ‘mailer’ and ‘red’ reversed initially, until SPELLBIND gave the ‘d’ for the ‘-der’ ending.

      Incidentally, after VERNE and [COL]LEAGUE, almost another connection between the Hitchcock movie Spellbound and its male lead in 21dn.

  7. I agree it was easy, but enjoyable none the less, or maybe because. 28 minutes for me, held up in the end by TESTER/SPELLBIND – both excellent clues. I liked ANCHORED for its joiner and its ambiguous “ch” but COD to HAMLET.

    I hate to admit it but “Have Gun, Will Travel” was part of my youth, although I couldn’t have told you what connection it had with PALADIN.

  8. Fine crossword this. I thought 8dn particularly neat – it is hard to believe the idea is new but I don’t remember seeing it before.
    Jack, maybe 2dn used the unit of measurement he did because “52,138 nautical miles under the sea” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it? [note: the distance referred to is the distance travelled whilst submerged, not a depth!]

    1. Good point. I should have thought of that. Put it down to writing the blog in the middle of the night!
  9. About 30 minutes with similar problems to jackkt. I had no issue with ‘seal’ = ‘bind’: N.B. OED definition of seal as to ‘fasten or close securely’.

    COD to the very enjoyable 25ac (although, strictly, I’m not sure this really works: yes, ‘dog’ is a curtailed version of ‘dogged’ but, no, ‘dogged’ is not a ‘cur’ which has been ‘tailed’ to produce ‘dog’).

    1. I was thinking along the same lines, but there’s no shortening going on in the wordplay. Dog = Cur, Dogged = Tailed and Shortened is the definition.
      1. Many thanks for the correct parsing! Makes this an even better clue? Clearly I’d become fixated on the relationship of ‘dog’ to ‘dogged’ (and vice versa) and misled myself ….
  10. Yes, an easy one with one major query for me, the clueing of COLLEAGUE as “china”. In the rhyming slang “china” is a term of endearment not unlike “my old dutch” for wife. One would never dream of referring to a colleague as a “china”. The rest is very straightforward – 20 minutes to solve
      1. It’s a matter of usage Jack – one of those little things that exposes somebody who is using a learned language as against a native tongue. The use of “tu” and “vous” in French would perhaps be another example. Used in the wrong context it exposes a lack of real understanding. So it is with china and colleague.
        1. Absolutely, and I certainly couldn’t disagree after my recent comments about ‘andante’. Just thought I’d make the best case I could in the setter’s defence whilst acknowledging it was a feeble one.
  11. 11 minutes. Very straightforward, with “coop” the only unknown. A couple of quibbles:
    > “China” means “mate” and COLLEAGUE means “mate” in the sense of “workmate” but these are two distinct meanings of the word “mate” and I don’t think “china” means COLLEAGUE.
    > In spite of the Collins entry I’m struggling to see “bind” and “seal” as synonymous. “We sealed the deal over a pint” = “we bound the deal in the pub”? “This agreement is legally binding” = “this agreement is legally sealing”? Surely the binding is done to the parties to an agreement while the sealing is done to the agreement itself. If someone can come up with an example in which the two are interchangeable I’ll shut up.
    These are only quibbles because the meanings are close enough not to hinder solving, which to me is the key thing.

    1. With a bit of googling I’ve managed to answer my own question, albeit with quotations from very old legal textbooks:
      >”Formerly a small payment was sometimes made to bind the bargain which was not regarded as part of the price”
      >”But if goods are ordered verbally, the delivery of them to a carrier is sufficient to bind the contract”
  12. The easiest puzzle of the week, taking 22 minutes to complete. Not keen on some of the clues. I agree with dorsetjimbo that ‘China’, even qualified by ‘perhaps’, is not an appropriate definition for ‘colleague’; the first half of 6 seems a rather loose subsidiary indication of “COME DOWN TO EARTH” (but perhaps there’s something I’ve missed); In 28 the connection between the answer, ‘ANCHORED’, and the surface seems rather unnatural to me (it would be more appropriate to a news presenter); and, finally ‘up’ in ‘set-up’ operates on SET, not on the rest, so the clue doesn’t work. Try submitting a clue like that to the Times Clue Competition and see what response it elicits from the clue judge.

    No complaints otherwise. HAMLET was last to go in, and I was initially tempted to write HAMLED, thinking that here was an another obscure word (meaning diminutive) unfamiliar to me. That was the only clue that held me up.

    1. Perhaps you missed a few things? “Re IT Set” – set-up = “testier” to me and “drop in the ocean” works for me as the antithesis of “come down to earth”. And “China plate” = mate = colleague doesn’t seem too much of a stretch
      1. On 6dn the aptness may be more apparent if one remembers the early days of space exploratoion. IIRC the Americans used to drop in the ocean and the Russians used to come down to earth.
      2. Vallaw, you appear to have missed my point. Perhaps I didn’t make it clear. The punctuation mark in ‘set-up’ is a hyphen, not an em dash, therefore, logically, only SET is reversed; some strict Ximeneans would object even to this, though I’m not unhappy about ‘set-up’ for TES. What I object to is the ‘-up’ of ‘set-up’ being used to indicate reversal of RE IT.

        I don’t consider that “Drop in the ocean” is the antithesis of “come down to earth”, though they could be regarded as parallels in the way jackkt suggests below. But then, “Not so”,in it’s conventional crossword indication of an antithesis, fails. If it simply means “not like this” that’s a pretty weak hint. All I’m saying is that I think it’s a weak clue which depends for its solution on the definition, not the wordplay.

  13. What is “saved” doing in 20a? Is that a standard containment/contained indicator?

  14. Cor! What’s going on here? I’ve solved every puzzle this week in under half an hour – I usually have at least one hour-and-a-half or DNF. After doing this thing for 30 years, It can’t be that I’ve suddenly improved!
  15. I endorse almost all the comments above. Unusually straightforward for a Friday puzzle, though on first run through it didn’t seem like that. I can live with BIND=seal, even if it is a bit archaic/uncommon in this sense, but I’m with those who think CHINA implies something very different from “colleague”. NARCS was my last in. There didn’t seem to be anything else that would fit and I guessed (correctly as it turned out) that “scran” had to be some sort of slang word for food. CURTAILED was clever but my COD vote goes to HAMLET for its brilliant simplicity, which none the less took me a long time to suss out.
  16. 7:15 for me – a relief after the last couple of days. No problems, no complaints.
  17. jackkt, in the Verne title, 20000 leagues is not the depth but the distance travelled while under the sea.
    1. Yes, thank you, but this point has already been made above and I have already acknowledged my foolish error.
  18. Didn’t get around to this until Saturday night, but feel compelled to post because it was only my second-ever sub-20 minute solve. Put it down to an inspirational Wallabies victory earlier in the evening. Or maybe just an easy puzzle.
    Agree with Jimbo and others re China, but it didn’t affect the solvability of the clue.
      1. Thanks Jack, and thanks as always for the blog. BTW, I had always assumed that 20,000 leagues was a depth, and found it strange that Verne would have been so ignorant of the actual dimensions of the Earth. Makes much more sense now!

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