Times 010477 – “Any fool can turn a blind eye but who knows what the ostrich sees in the sand.”

Today’s puzzle is online in place of the second TCC qualifier, in the paper, which I shall blog after the closing date (I expect on 24th May). This one, based on its serial number, dates from April Fool’s Day in 1977, not quite as ancient as the previous old stinker, and not nearly as difficult. We still have need for knowledge of a poetic quotation and some classical references, but the word play is not too vague and definitions, by and large, exist. An overdose of anagrams too. It took me about 30 minutes at leisure. There are a couple I don’t fully understand (27a, 23d)  but I think the answers are all correct.
I’d hoped it might have some kind of an April 1 theme, to suit my avatar, but not that I noticed. However it is a pangram.

1 Judge taking in old writer almost makes a bloomer (7)
JONQUIL – J for judge, O for old, QUIL(L) for writer almost; a jonquil is a variety of daffodil, as everyone knew in 1977. EDIT see third comment below, I think the OLD relates to the quill and it’s J, ON = taking, QUIL(L).
5 Stone dead, his foes (7)
PERSEUS – &lit. Said Greek chap had quite a few tricks up his sleeve but one involved turning people to stone by brandishing the head of Medusa, whom he had eariler decapitated using a Baldrick style cunning ploy.
9 Does it, say, intimidate yachting visitors? (5)
COWES – &lit. Isle of Wight yachting capital, sounds like COWS = intimidates.
10 Where master is involved in craze of living off the land (4-5)
FARM-STEAD – Anagram of MASTER inside FAD. Never seen it hyphenated before.
11 Leads in The Rivals can be performed — easily managed (9)
TRACTABLE – T, R fist letters of The Rivals, ACTABLE = cen be performed.
12 Over a pint needed to get engineer tiddly (5)
LITRE – An RE (engineer) LIT would be a tiddly one.
13 Thus shortens said — to avoid these dangers? (5)
REEFS – I think this is a DD, to do with reefing a sail to make it shorter.
15 A girl’s in love, madly, with new creations (9)
18 Visited by Puck in twenty minutes? (9)
ANTIPODES – In AMND Puck says he can put a girdle round the earth in forty minutes, presumably anticipating the ISS, so he could get to New Zealand in half that time. Although he’d have to be in a lower orbit as the ISS takes 90 minutes to go round.
19 Grand to do nothing but mend broken windows (5)
GLAZE – G = grand, LAZE = do nothing.
21 Capital is in order in toy-making (5)
TOKYO – OK inside (TOY)*. Would have been good for the Quick Cryptic, if there was one.
23 I came unstuck in voting that’s controversial (9)
25 Put back flag, make speech and vanish (9)
EVAPORATE – PAVE = flag, put back = EVAP, ORATE = make speech. I could argue that evaporate means turn to vapour, not exactly vanish, but no doubt a non-scientific use of the word is OK.
26 A bit of a fight (5)
SCRAP – Double definition.
27 Card-sharpers returning from the Holy Land? (7)
PALMERS – People who palm cards could be card-sharps, I am not clued up enough about returning Crusaders or whichever other holy ritual is being referred to here to explain it further.
28 No agent misrepresented cargo capacity (7)

1 Sailor makes difficult tack in a vessel (4,3)
JACK TAR – Anagram of TACK inside JAR.
2 He supplies daily intelligence on the Scottish factor (9)
NEWSAGENT – NEWS = intelligence, AGENT = Scottish factor, a land agent.
3 Disturb order of words for its antonym (5)
UPSET – I presume this is implying the opposite of SET DOWN.
4 Julius Caesar’s ultimate loss (4-5)
LIFE-BLOOD – I can’t find a quote with the exact phrase life-blood in the play, but Cassius exhorts them all to come and bathe their hands in Caesar’s blood. Is that all there is to this?
5 Standard direction to grammar students (5)
PARSE – PAR = standard, SE = south-east; ‘direction’appears to do double duty here.
6 Phone about broken lutes ( ____ in their repair?) (9)
RESULTING – I’ve underlined an underlined space to identify the definition. A first time for everything. (LUTES)* inside RIG.
7 Exercise that Rex expects back in this (5)
EXERT – Hidden reversed in THA(T REX E)PECTS.
8 “May there be no ____ of farewell” (Tennyson) (7)
SADNESS – A quotation. I just guessed it from S*D*E*S.
14 Student hopes to get room changed (9)
SOPHOMORE – (HOPES ROOM)*. Loose identifying of the anagrist, but never mind.
16 Five enter in water off 9, or in Queer Street (9)
INSOLVENT – The water off Cowes (answer to 9a) is the SOLENT, insert a V for five.
17 A song about a cur tangled in a monkey-puzzle (9)
ARAUCARIA – A, ARIA around (A CUR)*.
18 New part exchange arrangement in Belgium (7)
20 Maybe see about film cuts of the black-out (7)
ECLIPSE – (SEE)* around CLIPS.
22 Put up bird outside a native village (5)
KRAAL – LARK reversed (put up) with A inserted.
23 The Hamlet thing being one of them (5)
PLAYS – Well, Hamlet is a play. Am I missing something deeper? Yes, apparently, in the play Hamlet says ‘the play’s the thing’. Thanks to the literate commenter below.
24 Novelist, craft type (5)
MASON – Double definition. There are a few novelists called somebody Mason, Richard being the most obvious, three of those on my list but one was only born in 1977 so we’ll go with the author of The Wind Cannot Read and The World of Susie Wong.

44 comments on “Times 010477 – “Any fool can turn a blind eye but who knows what the ostrich sees in the sand.””

  1. hist. A pilgrim, esp. one returned from the Holy Land with a palm branch or palm leaf.
  2. Oh yes, the puzzle…

    I didn’t actually get PALMERS as I didn’t understand either definition at the time. A lot of this went in on a wing and a prayer but it was comforting that unlike previous oldies many of the clues would not have been out of place in a modern puzzle. DNF as 27ac was missing, but I solved the rest of it in 66 minutes with a couple of answers checked as I went along – a luxury I don’t allow myself normally. Never heard of any novelsit called MASON. Can’t add anything to our blogger’s explanation of PLAYS.

    Edited at 2018-05-16 05:49 am (UTC)

    1. from the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales:
      Than longen folk to goon on piligrimages,
      And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes
      To ferne halwes, couth in sondry londes;
      1. Thanks, and that’s all very well but the answer to the clue’s not there!
  3. ‘The Play’s the thing’ says Hamlet (‘wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the King’) or something like that. I was surprised to be able to do this one. I almost left it as the historical ones are generally impossible, but tried a few clues and just kept going. There was even a quotation I knew from EngLit A level 50 odd years ago. I hope everyone tries this one.
  4. Maybe it’s just too early in the morning,but could anyone kindly explain where “n” comes from in 1 ac??!!
    1. Thanks for that!, I usually stick with QC, but dip in here now and again and think I’m slowly getting the hang of 15×15.
      Keep up the good work with the blogging.
    2. I think I parsed it wrongly, the OLD relates to the quill and it’s J ON QUIL(L). I’ll amend the above. Thanks for asking!
    3. I think it’s J (judge), ON (taking in), QUIL{l} (old writer)[almost].

      ‘On’ as in ‘on medication’ for example.

  5. Avril Poisson! Splendid avartar PK!

    38 minutes from the old school. Easy anagrams and only one trip to IKEA.A quote from the Lincolnshire Poet and a pretty flower to kick off. I too didn’t get the missing N – Jurisdiction JN perhaps?

    40 minutes.

    LOI 10ac FARM-STEAD!
    COD 22dn KRAAL

    1. Thanks H, am aiming for another obscure coffee table book prize!
      See edit above for N explanation in 1a.
  6. I don’t get the parsing for 5a perseus, is it just a cryptic definition?
    1. Not really cryptic, just an oblique reference to what he got up to in the story / myth.
  7. DNF in 24 mins. Couldn’t get Perseus, Parse, Reefs or Palmers.

    Didn’t enjoy it that much. Today’s offerings are generally a lot more to my taste.

    We are off to Wembley!

    1. All the best at Wembley, home (until now) of the mighty Spurs. Be warned: disabled access is terrible, and most of the surroundings, including the coach parks, are under construction. It takes about an hour after the match to get to Wembley Park Stadium, where the lifts usually don’t work. Enjoy!
      1. Thanks z8b8d8k. I’m not actually going to the match. I went twice to watch a Villa a few years back and I completely agree about the problems getting away from th3 ground. Horrendous. Particularly as we lost both games. 🙁
  8. 17.36, though I expect I’ve done it before. Once I’d read the rubric, I enjoyed it in a TLS way. It certainly helps to know your Eng Lit, or in the case of PERSEUS to have seen Clash of the Titans.
    I would have liked there to be more to LIFE BLOOD than Caesar’s demise, but I agree with Pip that there doesn’t seem to be. On the other hand, the Hamlet clue is one of those cosy, we both know the quote clues that makes you feel a bit smug. Didn’t really know PALMERS as returning Crusaders, but guessed it from the first definition.
    MASON went in as he/she might just as well be an author.
    Good, slightly loose fun, and thanks to Pip (again) for manfully taking it on.
    Chambers and experience gives FARMSTEAD unhyphened.
    My clue to 13 reads as Pip has it, Thus shortens said… which makes no grammatical sense: I’m pretty sure that’s a mispring for sail, as Pip almost suggests.
  9. Yes, this was an unusually accessible one for a vintage. Those of us (Pip is one) who are used to the TLS won’t have much trouble. For ARAUCARIA I got help from recalling the distinguished late setter for the Guardian. EXERT was neatly done and we just recently had a reference to the Tennyson poem so that was fresh in mind. I wasted a fair bit of time trying to find a “peridot” in 5A, otherwise pretty smooth. 18.23

    P.S. A trawl through Wikipedia produced another candidate for MASON: A.E.W. Mason, an early 20th century writer, who seems to be remembered now (if at all) for two novels turned into much better known movies, Fire Over England and The Four Feathers.

    Edited at 2018-05-16 08:31 am (UTC)

    1. I’m heartened to read that someone else remembers John Graham. After having corresponded with him over a particular puzzle of his in the early 1980’s, we stayed with John and his wife Margaret at their B&B in Yorkshire. A remarkably modest man despite his literary and intellectual brilliance. Kind regards, Bob K.
        1. Olivia, it was in the village of Long Preston, not far from the town of Settle. That was while he was unable to work as a priest because of his earlier divorce, and before they moved to Lavenham in Suffolk in the hope that the dryer air there would help with Margaret’s arthritis. I note from the Guardian obituary that John later lived in Cambridgeshire. I have a pdf copy of the obituary if you are interested, but am unsure of how I could get it to you. One possibility would be, if you have either Google or YouTube registration, to go to my YouTube channel (RJAS 365) and send me a PRIVATE message. Kind regards, Bob.
          1. Thank you for this Bob. I don’t know that area as it turns out because my father’s family were from the other side of the A1 in the Kirbymoorside/Helmsley/Pickering axis. I did see that obituary at the time but it was nice of you to think of it.
            1. Small world! My son in law teaches music at Ryedale School at Beadlam between Kirkbymoorside and Helmsley, and the grandkids all play in Kirkbymoorside Brass Band:-)
  10. I am not a fan of these historical puzzles and especially this one, since on the iPad version, 23ac is apparently only 6 letters so I simply cannot write in the correct answer. Since I cannot finish I gave up to do something else.

    Edited at 2018-05-16 09:14 am (UTC)

  11. 15 min: no problem with PALMERS, as I remember that on Palm Sunday at Sunday School we were all given crosses made out of palm leaves. I agree that 13ac should read ‘sail’, not ‘said’, and that the hyphen in FARM-STEAD appears to be an error. The novelist who first came to mind for me was AEWMason, so didn’t even check whether he was qualified by dying before 1977. (1948: the only novelist by that name in my copy of Chambers biographical dictionary.)
    I left the NE corner till last, as wanted to get all checkers before entering my guessed (didn’t take time out to look up ‘Crossing the Bar’) 8dn, so was glad to see the X for the pangram was there.
  12. I find these vintage puzzles (I say “vintage”, this one only pre-dates my first juvenile attempts at the Big Crossword by a couple of years…where do the years go etc. etc.) fall into two camps: utterly intractable and thus a bit annoying, or interesting, in that they don’t quite match up with modern protocol, but you can still have a decent stab at them, and the challenge is a bit different. This was definitely one of the latter.

    Eyebrows raised occasionally, such as the enumeration of FARMSTEAD, wondering exactly what was going on with REEFS and LIFE-BLOOD, and not knowing the Tennyson, but educated guesswork turned out to be enough for an all-correct solve. Nice to see Araucaria get a nod.

  13. The annual rite of passage of coming back from the pub after the Times Setters’ Lunch peripheral S&B event, and trying to solve a difficult midweek puzzle while drunk as a skunk. This wasn’t too bad considering it was a “vintage”, but I was still more or less incapable of getting to grips with its more oblique features… 20 minutes ish.
  14. 22:33. I can’t usually do these old puzzles at all, but this one seemed very close to the modern style. The vestiges of the old ways are there in the literary clues but they seemed relatively accessible and/or guessable from checkers.
    I checked a couple of things:
    > PALMERS, where I wasn’t sure of the card-sharp meaning and had no idea about the returning pilgrims.
    > JONQUIL, where I was going to put JINQUIL but worried that it didn’t look like a word. The wordplay is ambiguous here.
    I also remembered John Graham when I saw 17dn. My wife commissioned a puzzle from him for my 40th birthday, which references a number of personal things including the kids.
    I really enjoyed struggling with this one, so thanks 1977 setter!
  15. As others comment, my heart sinks when seeing a replacement puzzle from the sixties or seventies – a bit like seeing your usual train has been replaced by a dodgy bus service again. In this case, Perseus ensured a DNF, though there is no real excuse when I think about it.

  16. Same problem, so no completion time. A shame, as I was doing well, by my own low standards, this week. (Not sure I’ll ever match some of the regular posters here, however.)
    1. Me too, with the added complication that clicking on 23 causes the app to crash. I wasn’t enjoying it much anyway.
  17. Having taken a non-championship time over the championship puzzle over breakfast – I had a go at this over lunch (beef sandwich, custard tart).
    40 mins without feeling too disgruntled by the mental leaps required.
    Thanks long-since setter and Pip.
    1. Dear Mr. Myrtilus,

      At your behest I have ordered 3 jars of Lewis & Cooper’s
      best Gin & Lime Marmalade, to be sent ahead to my daughter in Wellingborough, for my forthcoming European Grand Tour!

      Probably the most expensive breakfast confection I have indulged in.

      I must thank your for your intelligence on this matter.

      D-Day will be Friday 1st June!

      Kind regards etc

      Mood Meldrewvian Positive

      Edited at 2018-05-16 01:53 pm (UTC)

      1. Dear Sir,

        That is great. How have you managed to achieve it? Did you write to them?

        I look forward to your critique.

        Mr M.

        1. I rang them – carriage ten quid – 3x jars G&L nine pounds ninety. My report will be with you in June.

          May I propose a toast in your Honour!

          1. My curiosity has been piqued and I looked up Lewis and Cooper on Google, and have discovered that not only do they have the Northallerton store which is about 25 miles from my own residence, but also one in Yarm, a mere 10 miles away. I may have to pay a visit and sample this breakfast delight myself! I wonder how it would fare as a topping to my porridge, grapes and bananas… mmm. So many possibilities.
  18. As has been said, this was more tractable than some of the early offerings. I relaxed my usual no aids rules for this, as I didn’t know the Tennyson reference or the classical character at 5a, although I did understand what the clue was getting at. I also looked up the spelling of the jacaranda. Plenty of other stuff went in on educated guesses and partial definitions with checkers, but I managed to finish, with the above noted help in 33:08, so quite pleased with that. Thanks remote setter and Pip.
  19. Just to let you all know that today’s QC is excellent including the setter referencing himself in 4a.
    This is after a hidden Hidden yesterday. Lots to enjoy in QC land. David
    PS much enjoyed meeting people at The George yesterday.
  20. Well, this took me back to the age of bri-nylon and Vesta curries. Having recently failed completely on a 1960’s offering, I was glad to get through this one in just over forty minutes. Many of the answers went in unparsed with a shrug.

    It seems to me that clues have become somewhat sharper and more precise since the 1970s. Would that I could say the same for myself.

  21. A few guesses from the checkers(REEF, SADNESS, LIFE-BLOOD) but otherwise no real problems. 25 minutes. Ann
  22. Well, I till had real problems, but unlike many of these old puzzles I at least got half of these today. Then I gave up. And I wasn’t brilliant on the qualifier either. Regards.
  23. Had to try this one, as I quite possibly attempted it when it first appeared – in my 6th form years when getting more than 5 answers for a Times xwd counted as a good result. Pretty straightforward this time, with 5A last in from spotting a Greek myrh person to fit, after rejecting madness and redness of farewell for 8D.

    My reading of 3D was that changing the order of the parts that are both words gives you SET UP, which seems close enough to an antonym. It requires doubly duty for “disturb” but as seen in 5D, it was allowed sometimes back then.

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