Fast Friday

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My fastest solving time ever – 4 mins 58 secs.

This was a very easy Friday effort, as evidenced by the time it took me to solve it. There were no difficult words, or oblique references, and, although I entered two or three answers without being absolutely certain of the wordplay at the time, my hunches appeared to be sound.

This will be a fairly short blog entry, as I don’t think many of the clues require a lot of explanation.

8 CO(P)Y
9 MATCH POINT – (t into champ)* – excellent & lit. clue
10 AT BOTTOM – where the Titanic certainly is
13 ALCHEMISTS – scientists who tried to transform base metals into precious ones, therefore “scientifically unsound”
18 SACRAMENT-O – state capital of California
22 POLK-ADO-T – referring to James K Polk, 11th President of the US
24 MANUSCRIPT – (print camus)*
1 AM-ON-TILL-ADO – a medium sherry often served as an aperitif
3 SOMETIMES – as in that “was some Times article today!”
6 IRON HORSE – “club” in a clue always has me thinking of IRON, WOOD or C, so this was easy enough
7 NUN – homophone of NONE
12 IMPETUOSITY – (me pity is out)*
14 HAMSTRUNG – HAMS-(grunt)*
15 SCARLATTI – (cast trial)* – Alessandro Scarlatti (1660-1725), composer of operas and cantatas
19 CAPSIZE – one’s cap size may indicate the size of one’s head, and conceited people are considered “big heads”
21 LOCUS – “place” as opposed to LOCUM (“doctor temporarily”), the change of case referring to the change from the accusative to the nominative case, if my O-grade Latin of many moons ago serves me correctly.
23 AVAIL – homophone of A VEIL, which a nun would indeed take.

7 comments on “Fast Friday”

  1. (I’m assuming you broke your record by 2 seconds or more.) Congratulations on the time. I made a good start, and was 12/28 of the way to a “clean sweep”, but then made an imprudent hash of 12D by thinking of ‘imprudent’ from the def and trying to dig out a related word to fit the slot – ‘imprudenity’ was my best shot. So 4:43 here, and wondering who was under 4.
  2. This was certainly far easier than some earlier in the week (not all of which I completed without recourse to a dictionary). I raced through the first across and down clues, completing most of the top half in under 4 minutes, but I slowed down considerably after that and also got ridiculously confused with 12d toying with some variation of ‘tempestuousness’ before I got it. It was also a while before I got POLKA DOT. I know POLK has come up before, but he’s not at the forefront of my mind when I see ‘president’. Under nineteen minutes with some interruptions. Well below the hares, but one of the fastest times for me.
  3. Under 5 here as well. Most unusual for a Friday. And, given my recent form, a startling improvement on typical 20+ minutes this week and a couple of non-solved.
  4. I dream of the day I can polish any Times crossword off in under 5 mins, but was glad to have an easier puzzle after the week’s earlier offerings.

    Despite the obvious wordplay, I spent far too long on the 2 unchecked letters of 17A (not mentioned above), which nudged me just over 20 mins all told.


  5. I was about 18/28 through a “clean sweep” and then typed in LOCUM instead of LOCUS (doh!). I might have had trouble with CAPSIZE after that (I came to it with C—I-E and couldn’t see it quickly), but it was certainly easier than the other puzzles this week, even though it took me 6:45.
  6. I managed 4-20, my quickest for a long time. I was somewhat surprised, as I was waiting for my wife in Matalan at the time (just when I wouldn’t have minded taking a bit longer!)
    But had I been trying a “clean sweep” I’d have been much slower!

  7. As I tend to do bits and pieces of X-words as a break from work for a minute or so at a time I don’t really time myself. This was quite a quick one even for me.
    There are some “easies”:

    1a Repeatedly fool people about one murder (13)

    11a Not the only one to succeed in firm he and I run (6)
    CO HE I R

    16a It’s right and proper to be so absorbed (4)
    R APT

    17a Still casting line in river (4)
    CA L M

    20a One form of accommodation eclipses second, less expensive type (6)
    HO S TEL

    26a A variable in algebra is put on this line (4)
    A X IS

    2d E.g. note providing authorisation (3-2)
    SAY – SO

    5d Hospital’s brought in a medic for a special operation (2,3)
    A D H OC

    25d Object in front of fire! (3)

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