Monday 7 July Times Crossword

Found this a bit of a struggle. Did in fits and spurts throughout the day, so no time to report.

Came across the same stumbling blocks as most of the commenters below.


1 CO(M(MISS)ARIA)T – didn’t know anything about this word.
11 R(ABEL)A,IS – the Royal Academy is housed in Burlington House.
12 ICE,BAG(=GAB reversed).
15 DIVERS – guess ‘way back’ as divers meaning various is from the olden days, e.g. used in the Bible.
21 1,NEX(PER)T – PER=REP reversed.
26 I(NVETE)RATELY – NVETE=anagram of event.


1 C,ON,TROL[l] – held up thinking of a fish rather than to fish.
7 DOUBLE ENTENDRE – anagram of ‘undertone be led’
16 VI(E,N,N,E,S)E
X,HOS,A – HOS=Hosea (Bible). Didn’t know they reared cattle.
23 ISLE – sounds like aisle.

22 comments on “Monday 7 July Times Crossword”

  1. I hope I’m not the only one to find this more difficult a puzzle than is usual on a Monday. After a good start writing in 9,11,2,3,7 and 14 without pausing for breath I ground to a shuddering halt and struggled to pick off the remaining answers slowly one by one. I failed to get 1 despite having all but one checking letter and having seriously considered a word starting COMMISS, but I just didn’t know COMMISSARIAT as “suppliers of food”, only its alternative meaning. I also failed to get RUSH as I had written INVIDIOUS at 19 and missed the need to substitute S for V.

    Not a good day for me.

    I’ll pick 19 as my COD.

  2. 13:21 here, nothing slowed me down much but I had to go back after I’d finished to decipher the wordplay on a few clues which I’d put in from the definition and/or checked letters, e.g. 1D, 17D.

    My COD is 18, deceptive wording and a clever definition.

  3. 7:47 for this – should maybe have been quicker, but took quite a while to finish the top middle. At 1A I didn’t know that that a commissariat is a department responsible for provisions, so didn’t pick this as the best COMMISS___ candidate, and wasn’t sure whether MISS, which soon looked like part of the word, would be ‘fail’ or ‘girl’. 4/5/6 were others that were hard for me – at 6 I should have seen “A BING” rather than just BING as the container, and I should probably have recognised scimitar = (it’s a crim(e))* which now seems familiar. IN(s/V)IDIOUS took a while but was a case of “don’t write it in until you understand the wordplay” (and a shortage of R?V? words with a ‘basket’ connection).

    Others that may be tricky for some: hadn’t heard of ICE BAG at 12 but wordplay was clear. Had heard of the Xhosa at 22, though couldn’t have told you about the cattle-rearing (Hos. = Hosea is one of those “good books”). At 11A, Burlington House is where the RA = Royal Academy is based, and the second son is Abel, giving (Francois) Rabelais, who crops up in xwd grids from time to time as most of his letters are easy to accommodate.

    I guess the “tennis” in 24 just after Wimbledon was a coincidence, despite the presence of Pat RAFTER at 17A.

  4. I encountered many of the ‘problems’ mentioned by Peter. Trying to get XHOSA, INEXPERT, COMMISSARIAT and RUSH took my already slow time to just over the hour. I was looking to lose a T from a synonym for ‘lose’ in 5, hence the slowness there, and, thinking 22 couldn’t possibly begin with X, I lightly entered Y/Z as the first letter, which screwed me up for 21. I have heard of XHOSA, but it’s not the first group that comes to mind. I also took ages to get INVETERATELY, even though the wordplay’s clear and straightforward, since the adverbial form must be a rare beast in actual usage.I’m too shell-shocked to offer a COD, but there are plenty to choose from.

  5. 20 minutes.

    A nicely balanced puzzle. I enjoyed the doubling of 2 and 23, with some nice punnery in both. I had the same sticking points as others above, but the one I had most trouble explaining was 15 DIVERS. Does the ‘Way back’ just indicate an archaism?

  6. Glad to see I wasn’t the only one to enter invidious at first , also struggled with 1 and 26. Unfortunately I tend to ignore the sensible advice not to enter answers until sure of the wordplay. So ,lost a couple of minutes and finished in 14.44 which probably wasn’t too bad considering
  7. Like sotira, I cannot understand “Way back” in the clue for DIVERS.

    I am very pleased with myself for not writing in INVIDIOUS (but I nearly did!), and after about 5 minutes, I realised why it was INSIDIOUS; actually a very good misleading clue. But prode comes before a fall.

    1. Way back is surely just indicating the archaism ‘divers’ for ‘diverse’ as suggested in sotira’s comment.
  8. For some reason I found this a real struggle, clocking a time that really shouldn’t be mentioned in polite circles. It was the SW corner that did for me, 24, 17D & (inexplicably) 23 proving major sticking points. I’d also had problems spotting 1D & 9 – can only put all of this down to Mondaymorningitis.

    COD nom is 18, 21 a close second; the latter is a deceptively good and original treatment of awkward letters.

  9. Slow start, quick finish, sort of worked my way up from the bottom right. 16 minutes.

    Didn’t fall for INVIDIOUS since I had the checking S first. I saw X-O-A and was thinking of writing in XHOSA without even looking at the clue. TENNESSEE is less than an hour away, and I never miss a chance for a DOUBLE ENTENDRE.

  10. I think that DIVERS is an archaic spelling of diverse, hence ‘various’ from way back. At least, that’s the way Terry Pratchett uses it…
  11. Took about 30 minutes, and I thought 18 was COD today, it and LITURGY being my last two entries. I still don’t understand ‘lurgy’, which I take to be an unidentified illness, and sort of sounds like ‘allergy’ shortened. I understand the traveller in 21 being ‘rep’ reversed, but who’s the traveller in 17? ER? In any event, I thought this was clever overall, and fun. Regards.
  12. This is a simple DD. A beam is a rafter, and a traveller on a raft is a rafter.
      1. Doh! I latched onto the word “Bible” and tried to justify the answer around the letters OT/NT/AV etc.

        Thanks v. much for your help.

  13. If anyone’s still around, can you please explain further how this clue works.

    Thanks in advance.
    Stuart D

  14. 7:42 for me. After what seemed an incredibly slow start, I finally got going and had no real hold-ups after that. I don’t remember coming across ICE BAG before, and didn’t know that NANCY was in Lorraine or that the XHOSA were known as cattle-rearers, but the clues made the answers pretty obvious.
  15. 2 hours here – if there was a wooden spoon, I guess I’d win it! Most of my problems were in the SW corner, where I spent too long trying to work out where the ER came from in RAFTER, and couldn’t for the life of me get BRIDGE for too long. I also fell for the INVIDIOUS trap. COD for me 2d.
    1. I’ll take that wooden spoon from you MM as I jacked it in with Tennessee, rebate and isle missing. To be fair on myself I never got more than 5 minutes at a time to look at it yesterday until I’d quaffed half a bottle of a rather nice Australian sangiovese rosé by which time my brain was winding down for the night. I guess having dealt with commissariat and insidious it deserved a rest.

      I also had the same query as Kevin in NY on the ER in rafter so Doh! to me too. Godd time BTW Kevin.

  16. This is a lot of fun with some good geography.

    There are 14 “easies”:

    9a Lorraine’s part in Oliver? (5)
    NANCY. Capital of the Duchy of Lorraine and Bill Sykes’ victim in Dickens’ Oliver Twist.

    10a Unfairly discriminating vicar initially put out by son’s cunning (9)
    INSIDIOUS. Invidious with the V swapped for an S.

    13a Girl accommodating star in Nevadan city (3,5)
    LAS VEGAS. Lass with Vega inside. Vega is a star in Lyra – 5th brightest in the sky.

    17a Beam, seeing traveller on log platform (6)

    20a Game going across river? (6)

    24a State of game reported by witness (9)

    25a Class in which things are properly arranged? (5)
    ORDER. Linneaus would be proud.

    2d The setter, possibly, is well in with twenty-three! (4,4,6)
    MANS BEST FRIEND. 23d is ISLE – Isle of Man, geddit?

    3d Some silly dispute over a pastoral poem (5)
    IDYLL. si LLY DI spute backwards.

    4d It’s a crime out East, waving a sword (8)
    SCIMITAR. Anagram of (ITS A CRIM)E.

    5d Lose no time getting something for basket (4)

    14d Holly is permanently jealous! (9)

    22d Variable book on a cattle rearing people (5)
    X HOS A

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