Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
This was much the same old tale for me this week. 30 minutes for most of it but then I came to grief in the NE corner and took another 20 minutes to solve the five remaining there: 5,6,7,11, and 13. The clues were mostly good solid stuff but nothing really stood out as being of particular interest apart from 13 and I can’t make up my mind about that one (see comment below). Jimbo’s milestone earlier in the week suggests this must be around my 100th blog too. I never expected to get away with it! I’m bunging this up quickly as service is intermittent and will then edit so please give me a little while to correct typos etc.

5 C(LOSE)T – I lost time here trying to justify C(OVER)T and only abandoned the idea completely when I was
unable to solve 6dn and 7dn using the resultant checking letters.
9 PLUS, FOURS – FOURS being squares of twos.
11 A,BUS,diseasE
12 T(OEN)AIL – Anagram of ‘one’ provides the filling.
13 ME,DULL,A – I didn’t like this one but probably because it foxed me for so long. Another time I might have thought it rather clever and inventive.
16 HEAT,H (ROBIN)SON – “Food from the East” is NOSH reversed. After the cartoonist William of that name, a
Heath Robinson device is eccentric and unnecessarily over-complicated.
21 Deliberately omitted.
23 R(encoURAging)L  – Right and Left provide the container.
24 DEL(FT)WARE – “Newspaper” is usually the FT or Sun. In this case FT replaces the A in DELAWARE.
25 SH(ODD)Y – I took a while to see the wordplay here, distracted by S starting ‘suddenly’ and HOD being a device for carrying stuff. But a horse that suddenly starts is said to SHY and ODD accounts for ‘spare’ in the clue. SHODDY is most commonly used as an adjective to describe inferior goods but it can also be a noun meaning a poor quality material and that’s what’s required here.
26 GET RID OF – Anagram of ‘fridge to’.
3 BUFF(ALl)O – I know ‘buffo’ from ‘opera buffo’, a style of comic opera.
6 LE(A)NDER – My last one in. LENDER for ‘bank’ doesn’t come quite so readily to mind these days. Leander in
mythology drowned in Hellespont.
7 S(QUILL)ION – Another source of problems for me in the NE corner today. I had the alternative spelling ZION in mind with ‘gazillion’ as the answer and it was hard to get these thoughts  out of my head long after realising it had to be something else.
8 THESAURI – Anagram of ‘authors ire’ minus ‘or’.
14 S(MAS,HERO)O – This slang word for a beauty is not in Collins or COED but Chambers has it.
15 TH(Erin Brockovich)IRDS – Not a very inspiring definition but it’s the title of an Alfred Hitchcock film from 1963. I wonder if anyone else knows the spoof in the cult TV sketch show ‘Big Train’?
17 Deliberately omitted.
18 SNIFTER – Anagram of ‘finest’ plus the R from ‘soldier’. I never hear of a snifter without thinking of the Dear Bill letters in Private Eye.
19 HER,EOF – FOE is reversed to complete the answer…
22 A,WARD – …and DRAW is reversed here to finish things off.

43 comments on “24974”

  1. … and much the same experience as Jack: 30 minutes for most of it and 15 in the NE corner. So I’m saying it’s Medium-Heavy 2dn. Also didn’t much like the pun in 13ac, MEDULLA. But 21ac, GRIM-ACE and 17dn, HUM-BLED were pretty darn good.

    Has the embargo on living persons been broken (15dn)? Or does that only apply to answers?

    Edited at 2011-10-07 02:51 am (UTC)

    1. I wonder if it makes a difference that it’s a film title and the clue is in a film context? Just a thought.
  2. Nothing more than medium gauge, I feel, this took me just a minute shy of an hour and I would expect some fast times frrom the speedsters. Unlike Jack and McT, ‘though, I struggled in the SW, with SHODDY last in, and HUMBLED taking far too long. COD to SNIFTER, where I had been looking for something along the lines of ‘sniper’.

    Every time I see ‘Scotch’ used for ‘Scottish’, I think of CS Lewis, who used to do this to wind the Jocks up.

    1. According to the Kennel Club list of breeds it’s Scottish Terrier but Collins and Chambers allow Scotch as an alternative.
      1. It’s older, I think, Jack, but dispreferred these days because of the connotations.
  3. Having early on got ?L?E as the 4 letter word in 10, with a definition taken to be “this”, it had to be CLUE, right? Only solved after taking a break, the only cure for the idee fixe. That got me MEDULLA and SQUILLION to finish. Forgot to go back to SHODDY for parsing.
  4. I quite enjoyed this one over 19 minutes. Quirky and cheeky, with the kind of clues (I would include MEDULLA) where the initial read makes you feel ?! but makes you look forward with interest to the eventual outcome.
    I’ll wager there will be divisions today between those who consider it SHODDY (perhaps for boxer=dog or something caught=a bus)and those who delight in its HEATH ROBINSON frivolity.
    Guess which side I’m on: my CoD goes to ABUSE. But them I’m cheerfully waiting for someone to offer the clue “What’s brown and sticky?”
    1. The ? at the end of 1ac should satisfy the concerns of most objectors to DBEs. I can’t see any problem with “something caught” either apart from wasting my time thinking “cold”, “crab” and attempting to go through every possible breed of four-letter fish before the checkers went in and reduced the options. And when it finally dawned on me it raised a smile.
  5. 15 minutes but I had SOMETHING BLUE for 10dn. I thought “something” can mean “exceptional” and then just bunged in the first thing that occurred to me that fit the checking letters. Note to self: before putting in answers take at least a couple of seconds to check that they make ANY SENSE AT ALL.
    Otherwise an easy but enjoyable puzzle. I like seeing words like SMASHEROO and SQUILLION, which like Jack I wanted to be GAZILLION for a while.
  6. First and foremost congratulations on Jack’s Ton. A sustained labour of love.

    I did yesterday’s before running through this in 20 minutes. It has some character which as z8 says is rather like Marmite (and I don’t much like that either) but nothing of great difficulty. A very easy week taken overall.

    I too thought of Dennis and his snifters. Those spoof letters were some of the best material to ever appear in The Eye which is 50 years old this month – another proud record

  7. Though not a fan of z8’s own clue-humour I too like the inventiveness around today, with a high mark to 13’s coversationalese q.-and-a. I wonder if C.S.Lewis’s victims might have preferred Scots to Scottish, ulaca? I remember ‘the birds is coming’ in italics everywhere before the film’s launch and no-one knowing what it meant. Still disconnectedly, rejected smasheroo before seeing it worked and reluctantly writing it in; but have to admit, with a far-from-smirking 21, it’s OK.
    1. Don’t remember “The Birds is Coming” but do remember “Portnoy’s Complaint is Coming”.
  8. 17 minutea for me but very clever and I did say D’Oh quite a lot while solving. Definitely more frivolity than Marmite today (and I am a Marmite hater)
  9. Thoroughly enjoyed this one after a slow start. Fully agree with z8b8d8k’s comments – but it took me a bit longer.
  10. Bit of a fail in the NE here; having pencilled in LAUNDER with no really clear idea why, I compounded the error by doing the same with USAGE. After that, little surprise that I took a very long time to get SQUILLION before working backwards to correct myself.
  11. Had a mental blank for far too long over HEATH ROBINSON, but the doh! moment when it came felt pretty good. Unfortunately that moment came long after the hour had ticked past. Bunging in COVERT and BAHRAIN first time round didn’t help my cause either. richnorth 1, Setter 6 today.
  12. I took a while to get going on this, my first solve being 24 after eight minutes, but that helped me fill the SE corner, then I progressed from there, taking 40 minutes in all, HEATH ROBINSON being the final entry.
    MEDULLA came to me quite quickly – I was on the setter’s wavelength there and quite liked the clue, but I had COVERT as a tentative entry for 9 for some time, holding me up in the NE.
    All in all, it has been a pretty easy week.
  13. 19:56. I enjoyed a lot of the vocabulary today: snifter, smasheroo, Heath Robinson, squillion…

    Grimace held me up slightly as I would associate grimace with something bad and smirk with something comical but naughty, if you know what I mean.

      1. Thanks Jack. I wasn’t disputing the meaning as such, just mentioning that it held me up as my mind didn’t make the association.
        1. I meant to agree it confused me too for a while and the fact that two of the three standard dictionaries don’t have it suggests that it’s a bit unusual.
  14. Accept, and finally entered, CLOSET as the correct answer. Fair to say COVERT my original solution is equally justifiable when the clue is “In court, miss divulging secret.” Suggest a debate on right and worng solutions.
    1. I too wasted some time on COVERT, but resisted the temptation to even pencil it in. LOSE is a (sort of) synonym for MISS, whereas I can’t make any kind of connection between MISS and OVER.
      1. I think it needs something more, as in ‘run over’, ‘overshoot’ etc. That’s why I couldn’t justify it.
      2. In shooting, gunnery and (I think) archery, an over is a shot which clears the target, and is hence a miss.
  15. Ouch. I needed aids to finish for HEATH ROBINSON, who was unknown to me before today. As vinyl has aleady informed you all, we have Rube Goldberg. Having SMASHEROO, SQUILLION and SOMETHING ELSE in the same puzzle seems a tad over the top. But mostly, this was pretty clever, and I vote in favor of catching a bus, the wordplay in MEDULLA, and I really liked the fundamentalists in the BAHAMAS. And yes, I started with COVERT also. So it took me an hour, but I was distracted by watching the ball game at the same time. Regards to all.
    1. Had to look up HEATH ROBINSON and immediately thought of Rube Goldberg to the point of going to the bookshelf and taking down the book about him. We’re Blue Jays fans here primarily but with us out of the running we’re partial to Detroit my wife and I. Back in ’68 I had the pleasure of covering the Detroit home games of the World Series while working in radio there.
      1. I’m doing this off the top of my head. Bill Freehan, Dick McAuliffe, Jim Northrop (?), Denny McLain, Mickey Lolich, Al Kaline. With some hard thinking I might get most of the rest of the line-up, but no time for that now. I’m a Met fan, so I’m not cranky about the Detroit success, but clearly I’ve got some issues wwith my own team. Regards.
    2. Kevin,

      While checking my previous times for old puzzles I’ve been tackling as training for the champs I stumbled across a previous mention of Heath Robinson: Saturday puzzle 23982 in August 2008. Must be one you missed.

      1. Just as likely that I did the puzzle in ’08 and simply failed to retain Mr. Robinson. I can recall odd stuff from long ago like the players on the ’68 Detroit Tigers, but recent things just don’t stick as well. But thanks for the reminder, penfold.

        Colonialboy: Willie Horton, too! He could hit. I’ll keep ruminating and see who else floats to the surface.

  16. I’m another who started off with COVERT, though I agree it didn’t seem to quite fit. I was thinking ‘miss’ as in over the goalposts. Also, I went with BORDER TERRIER briefly (border = stop?? well…) though BUFFALO soon put scotch to that.

    No difficulties once I’d realised my errors.

  17. I’ve got no time to comment here except to say that I really enjoyed this puzzle. 34 minutes
  18. A very enjoyable solve today. I always appreciate the combination of The Times’ precision and erudition with answers like ‘squillion’ and ‘smasheroo’.
    Having got the first and last letters of 3 early on, it struck me as an excellent test for whether you are a highbrow or lowbrow: ‘comic’ in 5 letters starting with ‘b’ and ending in ‘o’. Am I the only one who tried to think of a horny beast called ‘beanalo’ or ‘baleano’?
      1. I also was considering baleano as some kind of horned whale but desisted. But you’re right – the beano was of deep importance in my early and not so early life, the buffo’s been nowhere in any of it.
  19. 19:20 here, leaving me feeling old and tired. (Sigh!) I wanted the second word of 10dn to be BLUE (or possibly CLUE), and spent far too long trying to justify SOMETHING BLUE before realising that the answer was something else. Just managed to stop myself bunging in DEPUTY for 1dn!

    Still – don’t want to peak too early.

  20. 33 minutes, with 14 LOI, preceded by 15, even though I was sure it was THE B_R_S; I thought of The Burbs first (was that a movie?), heaven help me. Surprised by GRIMACE, as I see others were; Chambers be damned, say I.
    1. It’s a competition puzzle so the solution will not be published until after the competition has closed i.e. Saturday 15th October.

Comments are closed.