Times 201185 – Happy Birthday, Windows.

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
The day of the last of the TCC qualifiers, so we have an alternative online, from 20 November 1985. (The blog for the Qualifier III, 27069, will, all being well, be published here on 28 June).
For an ‘oldie’, appearing on the same day as Windows version 1.0 was let loose on the world, I thought this wasn’t too silly or obscure, unlike the less rigorously clued puzzles we’ve seen from earlier dates. I managed to get it right in around half an hour, although as usual with oldies, the exact rational explanation of some answers is not exactly exact. Make of it what you will. I was underwhelmed.

1 Blouse damaged by dagger (6)
OBELUS – (BLOUSE)*; the printers mark which looks like a dagger.
5 More than enough for a graduate — wicked! (8)
BASINFUL – BA for graduate, SINFUL for wicked. Neat.
9 London’s road protector (8)
CROMWELL – Double def. There are other Cromwell Roads, but the London one was named after the son of Oliver the Protector, he had a house thereabouts and it ended at Earls Court before 1941.
10 Snug his job — as an army recruit? (6)
JOINER – Snug in MND was a joiner from Athens. Never employ a Greek joiner.
11 Mrs Partington’s main opponent (8)
ATLANTIC – This fine lady from Sidmouth tried to sweep back the ocean with her broom, says the poem. See e.g. http://www.victorianweb.org/periodicals/fun/ireland/12.html
12 State is without a port (6)
CALAIS – CAL IS has A inside. Don’t stay at the Mercure in Calais, nearly all Mercure Hotels are good but this one is NOT.
13 Subject to “income” tax? (8)
DUTIABLE – I guess this is a sort of pun on in-come, goods coming in being subject to duty?
15 Raising of troops that could reduce our capital (4)
LEVY – Double def; a levy is a military force raised usually by conscription.
17 Resort in South Devon to drink (4)
BEER – Another double def; BEER is a pleasant seaside place in Devon adjacent to a good golf course.
19 Nothing terribly grand that is material (8)
20 National cause of uprising (6)
ANTHEM – Stand up, it’s God Save the Queen.
21 Stretched the centre to full length and so on (2,6)
ET CETERA – the centre of STRETCHED is ETC, spell it out in full.
22 Oriental one embraced the church in modern time (6)
EOCENE – E, ONE insert CE for church. Modern time is a bit of a fib, as the eocene lasted from 56 to 34 million years ago, give or take a few hundred. BTA (before the Archers).
23 Flower of remembrance? This is so, to my embarrassment (8)
MYOSOTIS – (IS SO TO MY)*. The genus including forget-me-nots.
24 Eg a TV play, or its players (8)
TELECAST – What it says; a TV play, ot the actors in it.
25 Fabric observed wrapped round a cat’s tail (6)
SATEEN –  Insert A, (CA)T, into SEEN.
2 Prohibit one including Italian singer (8)
BARITONE – BAR ONE insert IT for Italian.
3 This popular, if non-U part of Italy (8)
LOMBARDY – Bit of Italy arund Milan, and also main variety of POPLAR trees, hence POPULAR non-U.
4 Periodical shows unusual tact in prose composition (9)
SPECTATOR – (TACT)* inside (PROSE)*, or if you prefer simplicity, (PROSE TACT)*.
5 But inadequate cover for one in six hundred (9,6)
BALACLAVA HELMET – as worn in the battle of Balaclava and described in Tennyson’s poem.
6 Set apart one the sun-god consumed (7)
7 Enthusiast’s on the ball with this act (3,5)
FAN DANCE – FAN for enthusiast, DANCE for ball.
8 Flower birds turn up on river (8)
LARKSPUR – LARKS, UP reversed, R for river.
14 Curious getting £500 change? Absurd! (9)
15 Body-binder of dressing material used outside sporting contest (8)
16 Direction of take-off in this plane (8)
VERTICAL – to take off you have to ascend in the vertical plane, else you’d still be at ground level. Not necessarily in a VTO aircraft though.
17 Better perhaps putting in duck’s eggs as part of the salad (8)
BEETROOT – Insert O O for duck’s eggs into (BETTER)*.
18 This book, Smith Minor, is not about physical training (8)
EXERCISE – I can’t see much to this except to say an EXERCISE book is a school write-in book not a book of physica exercises. Smith Minor, just a random pupil?
19 A nice company formationdescribes the South Sea Bubble (7)

21 comments on “Times 201185 – Happy Birthday, Windows.”

  1. A higher proportion of ‘business as usual’ clues in this one than in most of the vintage puzzles offered up to us, but I still needed aids to solve a couple of them and didn’t understand the parsing in a couple of others.

    The unknown answers were EOCENE and MYOSOTIS but ATLANTIC and EXERCISE also beat me as I didn’t understand what the setter was on about. If Mrs Partington lived in Sidmouth she was only about 8 miles from BEER (17ac) and she’d be more likely to think of the water at her door as the English Channel rather than the Atlantic although of course technically the latter incorporates the former.

    Edited at 2018-06-20 05:11 am (UTC)

  2. Not too hard, as befits a puzzle from the 1980s, closer to recent times than the eocene.
    Sadly though I thought myotosis sounded more plausible than myosotis
  3. I was approaching 20 minutes with about half done and thinking this was a total stinker when I finally noticed the rubric at the top of the web page. A consequent readjustment of mindset got it nearly finished, but EOCENE, JOINER, ATLANTIC and the gratuitous Smith Minor beat me.

    Quite fun in parts, and a good demonstration of how things have changed.

  4. Rather a poor DNF, seemed to struggle throughout. No idea at all about Mrs. Partington, MYOTOSIS was plausible….oh well, there’s still the qualifier to do. Thanks pip and setter.
  5. …then I wouldn’t have 2 errors on my leaderboard: myotosis–glad to see I have company–and ‘dutyable’. DNK Mrs. P, but checkers and ‘main’ did the job. Certainly better than the other substitutes they’ve dug up.
  6. No comment from me as I solved the last qualifier in the paper (21 minutes, giving me delusions of adequacy again). We’re on our hols for the next week or so, on the Blue Danube, leaving our son and his girlfriend to look after the place. They refuse to do the crossword on my behalf. I don’t know any Slovak or Hungarian, so TTFN.
  7. Didn’t spot the rubric (again) and thought this was rather TLSish and would give rise to complaints. Miss Partington? Smith Minor?
    It was an interrupted solve, so the time stretched more than somewhat. I corrected the eminently misspellable MYOTOSIS just in time, had no idea (should have done, perhaps) what was going on in LOMBARDY and wondered what the Spartans lacked for armour at Thermopylae (the 300, idiot, not the 600).
    I think I might want to argue that EOCENE wasn’t modern even as long ago as 1986, though apparently it was marked by the emergence of “modern” beasties, and it does mean “new dawn”.
    A not-unpleasant romp: thanks Pip for shedding light on the peculiarities therein.
    1. Ah, I’m glad I’m not the only one who was trying to make something of Thermopylae. Trust the TLS contingent to be numerically challenged.

      Edited at 2018-06-20 12:11 pm (UTC)

  8. Most commentators here seemed to be lukewarm about this Habitat-and-Heseltine vintage puzzle, but I really enjoyed its whimsical tone. DNK Mrs Partington, and resorted to Google to confirm that ATLANTIC works there. My COD to 18d EXERCISE, for being so off-the-wall. But DUTIABLE was a contender, as was ‘National cause of uprising’, and although I saw the Light Brigade reference in 5d it took ages for me to fit the bits together — these were jolly good teasers, IMHO. 48 mins for me, making this quite a tricky solve.

    I couldn’t parse LOMBARDY, so thanks, Pip, for the explanation and for your blog.

    Oh! and I think it fine to gloss EOCENE as ‘modern’ — as z8b8d8k notes, the Greek means “new dawn” and in relative terms 54 million years ago is only yesterday.

  9. Two trains cancelled this morning, so the QC completed whilst waiting for the third (which was half its normal length, so quite a scrum). However, this allowed me to turn to the 15 x 15 ahead of my usual start point, and completed most of it before Waterloo.

    I quickly realised this was an oldie, which helped, but I still had never heard of Mrs P, and needed to turn to aids for some assistance. I really liked 5d and 21a.

  10. Unsurprisingly, a similar experience here. Finished it (eventually), and enjoyed much of it, while being slightly baffled by Mrs P., the poplars, Smith Minor etc. etc. (the clue for ET CETERA was rather good, of course). As this would have been published in my second year of university, I suspect I must have had a crack at it back in 1985 (but as I found it tough today, even after another 30 years of practice, I’m going to guess it got put aside unfinished, possibly with mutterings about what a stupid hobby this is…)
  11. 25:53, with a bit of help in a couple of places. I found this relatively accessible for an oldie.
    I googled ‘Smith Minor’ and it threw up a book called ‘Smith Minor Again’, a collection of schoolboy ‘howlers’. I wonder if that’s what the clue is referring to.
  12. Could someone please post a link to today’s qualifier PDF, or PM it to me, as I can’t seem to get into the Club site where there’s usually a link.
    I’ll blog it for 28th.
  13. I must have done this back in the day but I thought it was pretty awful. Loose clueing, dodgy GK, little enjoyment. How blessed we are with today’s setters.
  14. Like boltinw I did the qualifier first which, unlike bw, I did not complete in ca 20 min. So I decided to save one envelope plus a postage stamp and turn to this. Which I also did not complete in ca 20 min.

    I liked Basinful, and was pleased with myself for remembering enough of Obelus to solve the anagram. As with others, I found the anachronistic clueing less difficult than other oldies. I do think I notice a difference in the tone of the GK 1985 – 2018. (Although there still were two pestiferous plants and a could-be-anything fabric, so perhaps the evil souls of setters haven’t changed much).

    Edited at 2018-06-20 06:13 pm (UTC)

  15. I didn’t find this too bad for an oldie and completed in 41:42 after looking at Google to see who Mrs Partington was. I postulated MYOTOSIS for the plant and Googled it to see if it existed, not noticing that it existed in Google as MYOSOTIS. Still I’m not going to beat myself up over it. I’ll have a go at the Qualifier now, which is still sitting on the printer out-tray. Thanks setter and Pip.
  16. As you say, more doable than other recent vintage puzzles, but a few obscurities. Quite a few redundant words in the clues as well by current standards – e.g. 3d works without “This”, 17d would probably work with either “duck’s” or “eggs” omitted.

    I laboured in the NE, not least because I had LAVANDER at 8d for a while – this being from the 80s I thought Val and Edna might be the birds turned up. Fortunately I realised my mistake.

    Smith Minor was the subject of a 1930s book on “Schoolboy Howlers”, which may have some relevance, or possibly none.

    Thanks for the blog.

  17. The dinosaurs of obscure quotations are extinct and we are starting to see the rise of the modern Times Cryptic. Yet we are still supposed to know about Snug the Joiner and Mrs Partington and not be sidetracked by Smith Minor? Well I managed to get ATLANTIC from “main” at 11a and EXERCISE at 18d from, well, school book – presumably one owned by Smith Minor? But I’m afraid that Snug defeated me – I put CORNER at 10a for the “Snug” in the pub? Pathetic I know. It is great to see that the clueing of obscure words from anagrams was alive and kicking in 1985 as it still is. I am a MYOTOSIS entrant at 23a – probably because of its similarity to MYTOSIS or cell division. As MYOSOTIS is, apparently, the genus of Forget-Me-Not I shall consider myself, yet again, educated by the Times Crossword and endeavour not to forget it.

    Thanks Pip for the blog and setter if you are still with us.

  18. Solving time: 33 years.

    I seem to be having a run of close-but-no-cigars lately. I slogged through this one rather unenthusiastically, often unsure whether I was missing something or the clue was just not as precisely built as I’m used to. It felt a bit like a 1980’s car – big panel-gaps all round. I got there in the end, with shoulders weary from shrugging.

    Unfortunately, it seems that it’s me versus the world when it comes to how 13ac should be spelled. I plumped for “dutyable”.

  19. A nostalgic trip back to the ancient times before I was enlightened by reading the first edition of Don Manley’s book, c. 1987. I was usually able to finish, but often failed to understand what was going on.

    Delayed a bit at the end by MYOSOTIS and EXERCISE, forgetting about diversions like “Smith Minor” that were fairly common I think. The delay meant that I wavered about HELMET a bit as another ?E???T word seemed possible, but then saw the 23A anagram. For a flower rather than a disease, -OTIS is surely more likely than -OSIS, though I’d somehow forgotten papaver and decided it must be a poppy. No knowledge of Mrs P, just the usual meaning of “main” and ?T?A?T?C. Four years after this puzzle, I had to find Arthur BULTITUDE from other Victorian lit (Vice Versa by F Anstey) in my first go at the championship, but with the help of a clue based on “multitude”.

    Favourite bit of clue-writing: the turn of phrase in “turn up” in 8D, which had me fooled until I realised it was the usual Snug in 10A for the last checker.

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