Take your time, David!!

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A generally fair crossword with some misleading clues that made me think for a bit, and a couple of times put in wrong answers because I hadn’t read the clue properly. Some of the definitions were a bit loose (13ac, 28ac, 21dn e.g.), but solveable. Overall, not too difficult, and my time of 7 mins 40 secs could have been improved had I not written PLAIN in for 22dn. I also made another mistake in my first read-through that is too embarrassing to admit – let’s just say that how I got “P” for “about” is a mystery I’ll never solve.

1 HE-CATE-(wif)E – Hecate was a Greek fertility goddess who was later considered as the protector of witches.
11 TRADE IN – (i.e. dart)<=,N – I haven’t come across the noun as two separate words before. I’d have expected TRADE-IN (5-2)
13 KING COBRA – (back in ogr)* – definition slightly vague, but nice surface
14 C(OAT)O-FARMS – Very good surface
19 BA-BY – I took a while working out the wordplay here, because I didn’t immediately see the relevance of “achievement”, assuming BA = “academic”, but of course a BA would also be “academic achievement”. Clue would have been considerably harder had BY not been given, as “invention” = BABY doesn’t jump straight to mind.
22 C(o)AL-ORIFIC(e)
23 (poin)T-EPEE
25 MA(NAG)ER – MAER = MARE with the tail turned. Good surface, with “head” as the definition.
27 OPERETTA – (to repeat)* – The “having” in the clue could be considered superfluous, but possibly necessary to help with the reading of the surface.
28 UNFAIR – Double definition, although I’m not sure that UNFAIR = “a bit thick”?
1 HANSOM CAB – two-wheeled horse-drawn carriage for two passengers, with the driver on an elevated seat up front. The Earl of Beaconsfield once descibed it as “the gondola of London”
6 BRAN-CH – bran is the refuse of a crop (ie the husks), although, given its elevated status by dietitians, this is not a very positive description of it.
8 TO-N-GA – Ga is short for Georgia
15 A-MB-U(se)-LANCE – I like “one seen by accident” as it threw me for a while.
21 BROGUE – Once you have the answer, this is quite clever, but without checked letters, I wonder if this would have been so easy.
24 PLA(ZA) or PL(AZ)A – not sure of the wordplay here – if it’s my first option, then I think some indication of the extremes being in the wrong order might be necessary: if my second, then “taken to” wouldn’t make sense.

10 comments on “Take your time, David!!”

  1. 5:02 here – should have been quicker, but after a flying start with 1 and 4 across and 1-8 down, tried for a clean sweep, failing at 16A – where if the answer is RAIL, I don’t like it, as rail means “complain” rather than “complain about”, which for me is the full phrase “rail at”. After getting annoyed about that, I was relatively slow with the bottom half, and changing solving order a bit to help the clean sweep had wasted a few seconds.

    28A: “a bit thick” is in COD as “Brit. informal” for unfair – but may be more common down south than in Scotland.

    24D is PLA,ZA for me with mountain = alp – less bothered than David about the order of extremes, given that PLAAZ ain’t a word.

  2. Surely if A and Z are extremes then Z and A must be equally so?

    A bit thick meaning unfair seems ok to me. If it doesn’t appear on every other page of the works of Wodehouse then it ought to.


  3. Took me a while to get Manager, but otherwise not too bad – my 8.45 beat yesterday’s time, at least. Nowhere near 5.02 though!
  4. I’m glad others struggled with RAIL too. It took me at least a minute at the end, and I nearly fell for ‘carp’ earlier on as well (and ‘plain’ for PLAZA). 6:27 in total, but 2 crass errors: I rushed into ‘lay rector’ and for some reason didn’t question ‘niggart’.
  5. In my copy of The Times 11A is indeed given as 5-2. I’m guessing that you put PLAIN for 24D, not 22D. And I also got stick on RAIL, trying to figure out how CARP might work. Nowhere near single figure times yet though!
    R. Saunders
  6. Took me 20′ which is v. fast. So much for the “it gets harder as the week goes by” theory.

    7D deserves special mention: OVERBOARD (and thus in a need of a life jacket) was brillian.

  7. I put in RAIL without any hesitation, but perhaps if I’d thought about the clue more carefully I’d have realised Peter B’s objection and wasted time worrying whether there was a better alternative. On the other hand TEPEE and PENTAGON took me simply ages, contributing to another poor time (10:33). I guess I’m just having a bad week.
  8. So that’s what that tune’s called! Just the thing for a summer concert at Kenwood.
    R. Saunders
  9. I’m so glad most of the contributors had trouble with RAIL at 16a which was my LOI. What is it with me and 4 letter DDs? They seem to be my x-word nemesis. A handful of “easies” for the bunnies including CARP, I mean RAIL.

    12a Last letter fantastic, written by cipher (5)
    O MEGA. How long does it take to exhaust the 5 letter words starting with Z? When in X-word land we have to remember that cipher CAN mean zero, 0 or it’s lookalike O. That’s a mega tip to remember.

    16a Complain about method of transport (4)
    RAIL. 4 letter DDs eh? Our Maestro’s point about RAIL not equal to “complain about” is well made. I always think of “rail against” being the normal usage?

    20a Six hour Christmas (7,3)
    QUARTER DAY. No knowledge of Church nomenclature needed here – just a simple division.

    26a Miser needs forcibly pullin’ to get to withdraw (7)
    NIGGARD. Draggin’ backwards.

    2d Players beginning to exhibit class (5)
    CAST E

    7d Chairman is in need of a lifejacket (9)
    OVER BOARD. A better DD – split clue between is and in to get the two definitions.

    22d Small part turned up at start of oratorio (5)
    CAME O

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