Club Monthly No. 20119 (August 2010)

Solving time: far, far too long

This crossword was a game of two halves.. after 30 minutes, I had 15 answers and things were looking good for completion within the hour, but solving the remainder seemed to get tougher and tougher. Except for using a dictionary to confirm meanings (and if necessary, prove the existence of a word) I prefer not to use aids, but in the end I had to resort to nefarious methods (mentioned below) to get the last one or two to complete the grid. Heaven knows what the overall time was, it took odd moments for the best part of a week.

All of us, in completing cryptic crosswords, from time to time come across words we have not met before. As time goes on, the frequency diminishes but it does still happen. I believe that attempting to solve the Club Monthly, where maybe half of the answers are rare words, is absolutely ideal training for dealing more confidently with the daily cryptic and I hope more people will try it. You get most of the difficulty of a barred grid-type crossword, but within the familiar rule discipline of the Times cryptic. Please feel absolutely free to ask questions about any clue.. I (or others here) will answer if I/we can.

As usual, the answers are not guaranteed since the official solution has not yet appeared..

1 macaw – MAC + area = A + with = W .. a nice easy one to get us started
4 assumpsit – “When base of engine’s the crucial thing” = AS SUMP’S IT – a very straightforward clue really, albeit the answer is esoteric
9 impundulu – IMPoUND + zULU. One of the last to go in because I was convinced the answer must start with hIS. In the end I confess I got it by searching for “fabulous bird” on Wikipedia, and then using the browser text search tool to search the results for the text string ULU. Some marks for ingenuity, I guess, though the same trick failed to work with 14ac
10 stupa – PUTS rev. + A. Basic knowledge, for we practising Buddhists
11 usager – USA + GER another simple clue, for a word I had very vaguely heard of, meaning an arcane subset of the equally arcane non-jurors.
12 afforced – Have means for = AFFORD, containing church = CE
14 iraimbilanja – purpose = AIM + BILl inside IRAN, + JA = German assent. Another very difficult one, this. I was convinced it started ARAIM and eventually solved it only once I discovered that it is in the current Chambers, though not in the previous 2003 edition that I keep next to the bed.. nor is it in the OED.
17 intumescence – (NICEST MEN + CUE)*. Another straightforward one.
20 payments – Rubbish = PANTS containing “my recycled” = YM + E = energy. Not quite certain about recycled as a reversal indicator
21 TuvaluKenTUcky + VALUe
23 envoi – V = verse contained in I + ONE “the writer in two forms” reversed. For many years the late lamented Punch magazine had a regular article called “Envoi” on the back pages
24 xiphiidae – snaps = PIX rev., + HEAD* containing II = two. Not too hard, especially if you look up “swordfish” in the dictionary..
25 plangency – Devise = PLAN + low-down = GEN + CY. One of the first to go in.
26 gadso – gas ring = GAS O containing “embedded finally” = D. Gadso is a quaint swearword, as in fact is “crumbs.”
1 maieutic – (I AM CUTE + I)* – straightforward clue construction, but a tricky word; there can’t be all that many, with four consecutive vowels.
2 cephalad – CEP + HAD containing LA. Simple clue, as “cep” comes straight to mind once the c is in place
3 wondermongering – prevailed = WON, + DERRING do containing GNOME*
4 arum – AR(U)M
5 snuff paper – kill off govt policy = SNUFF (white?) PAPER. A contemptuous term for banknotes coined by Sir Walter Scott , rather ironically since he has been credited with saving the Scottish note issuing practice, and has appeared on them too .
6 misconjecturing – medium = M + IS + CONJURING, containing ECT.
7 smutch – the late, and much lamented Screaming Lord SUTCH containing mark = M.
8 tzaddikibbuTZ ADDI ng
13 ciguatoxin – smoke = CIG, with NIX + O + TAU rev.
15 uncandidDUNCAN + DID. I don’t know much about “Macbeth,” but I do know that much..
16 teru-tero – TERROr containing transport = UTE, an Australian term for a 4×4 that crops up surprisingly regularly. Not so hard a word to find once you have the crossing U
18 upheap – my last one in, not sure why. It is the odd letters in “place the plum,” reversed. Something in the way the clue was phrased made it hard for me to spot.
19 sylvia – LAYS* containing VI. I much prefer “warbler” as a definition of Sylvia to “girl” or similar. Even though I didn’t know it was one.
22 apay – A(PA)Y

Author: JerryW

I love The Times crosswords..

7 comments on “Club Monthly No. 20119 (August 2010)”

  1. Hi Jerry, I’m not sure what’s happened to your links in this entry, but they’re all broken as they’re prefixed with the blog URL.

    I haven’t bothered with the Club Monthly Special much this year – this was only the second I attempted in fact – but found it a fairly quick solve in about 35 minutes. However, I’m not as scrupulous as you and use all the aids available from the start.

    1. Hi Linxit.. thanks for pointing that out, glitch fixed now and they should work.

      I don’t think of myself as particularly scrupulous, but I solve crosswords partly at least in order to stave off senility so I’m in no hurry and if they are hard work, up to a point that is OK.. I normally do a 30 minute stint and see where I’ve got to by then. For the daily cryptic that is often sufficient, but not for this one.. I seldom get it done in much under the hour. I would be surprised if many are quicker than you!

  2. Welcome back Jerry. I guess you were a bit rusty because I also thought this quite an easy one. I don’t time myself (have enough trouble remembering to time the daily puzzle) but say an hour.

    I also use Chambers from the outset just as I do with the bar crosswords. For me the fun lies in unravelling the wordplays to derive an answer which I then look up. The pleasure of deriving and then finding say 14A is my main motivation for doing the puzzle.

  3. “Not quite certain about recycled as a reversal indicator”

    All that is being treated here is the two-letter “MY”, so “recycled” is simply an anagram indicator. Indeed, quite an apposite one, given that many anagrinds, such as “exploded”, “all over the place” etc etc seem OTT for 2-letter words

    1. Fair enough, I agree. I thought of it as a reversal not an anagram, but of course with only two letters to play with, it is both at once..
  4. First stab at one of these and I understand what Jim says – the unknown, and unlikely, long words have a challenge of their own. Basically, a puzzle of two halves for me, with the bottom easier than the top. That said, nothing was particularly easy, apart from the three clues I got on first read through. After that, the blog proved a most useful crib in getting me going again. (Since I was on the nursery slopes, I was quite happy to get all the support I needed to get to the finish without feeling too exhausted or dispirited.) Finished with a flourish, as I got into the swing of things, even if I missed the UTE (hazarding ‘use’) and found a new species of bird.

    It’s interesting tasting each of the harder puzzle types – one at a time. Mephisto is the obvious next step up from the Times, but I have a hankering for the TLS. If only they stopped at the middle of the 20th century and didn’t included the modern stuff, almost none of which I bother with.

    Chambers on top of the Xmas gift list.

    1. In my experience the occasional modern stuff can be a relief. I’m fairly OK from the 19th century onwards but my lack of knowledge of 16th century literature usually trips me up. Hope to see you commenting on the TLS blog soon anyway!

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