Times 23,532 – Quite easy

I found this quite easy – two well-known London references, both long words, solved first time round, no devilishly tricky wordplay, initial slow progress with the acrosses being compensated for with fast solving of the downs.

Solving time: 19 mins (very fast for me for the Times)

* = anagram
9 ANNA(l)S High Priest in Jerusalem – 6 to 15 AD
12 BASE “bass” Personally like to see ?A?E clues avoided where possible, but this was pretty unambiguous.
13 CAPE RED ? giving a reverse of red cape Red rag to a bull etc.
16 R(AIM)ENT Definition “Something put on” train in the sense of aiming at
17 UNPACKS Cryptic definition that I liked, especially with the misdirection of “time away” suggesting maybe a t to be removed in a cryptic treatment.
19 GRE(IS)EN New word to me, but easily guessable from the wordplay. Golf course.
20 EARN “Urn”
24 A CAR(I CID)E care = caution CID = detectives (a staple)
26 KNIGHTS (Chessmen) BRIDGE (game). Word game enthusiasts may know this as a word with six successive consonants.

1 GIANTS CAUSEWAY (A gneiss cut away)* In Co Antrim, in Northern Ireland
6 (b)ARMY Host in the sense of a great number
7 DUNGAREES The most complicated wordplay see rag nud(e) all reversed “being picked up”
8 PRIEST-IN-CHARGE (rites preaching*) Good construction – the answer jumped out from the (6-2-6) word length. An Anglican in charge of a parish though not yet appointed.
13 TIME-SERVER The Vicar of Bray (fictitious but with real people suggested as having been the model) continuously adapting to the circumstances of the time in turbulent post-Reformation days. This was easy for me as the wordplay also used the two parts separated by the hyphen. The surface read oddly though, with suggestions of time travel.
15 P(A P)ER BACK Sponsor = back (vb)
19 GOBBETS b for l in goblets
22 RA(i)SED
23 MINI “Minnie” the mouse, girlfriend of Mickey Mouse

8 comments on “Times 23,532 – Quite easy”

  1. 9:41 here, with about 2:30 on the last 3 to go in – GREISEN and GOBBETS, then the GONE in GONE OVERBOARD, thinking the tenses didn’t match until I found “has gone overboard” = “has become too enthusiastic”. ANNAS was new to me but seemed the only option.
    1. I got stuck on 3D because of GOES OVERBOARD thinking like PB that this was only way to get the tenses match, and unlike PB, not unthinking myself out of that.

      PRIEST-IN-CHARGE was a hard anagram for me to find… I’d never heard the term before — though now I know it’s anglicanism (a specialization of a Britishism :): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priest_in_charge

    2. Hm. I’ve read the various comments about 1A and to be honest I still can’t see how the tenses match. Putting “Has” in front of both clue and solution makes them match but without it they don’t seem to. “Gone” is past, “become” is not.

      I’m also not happy with 5D where “having” is surely not only superfluous but prevents the clue working perfectly.

  2. I must have been lucky getting GIANTS CAUSEWAY and NONET first time around so that gave the GONE. I’d never heard of PRIEST-IN-CHARGE either, but still got it straightaway from the 6-2-6 and the apposite anagram fodder.
  3. As I had NONET before 1 across, GONE OVERBOARD was the only option. I was puzzled by the tense mismatch, then thought “become” might be a misprint for “became”, but on reflection that doesn’t match either. I didn’t give it any more thought after that, but Peter’s explanation makes perfect sense. This is not the first time that tenses have proved problematic. Briefly screwed up on 26, putting in BISHOPSBRIDGE initially. Is there a BISHOPSBRIDGE in London, or am I thinking of BISHOPSGATE (perhaps that doesn’t exist either!)?
    1. No Bishopsbridge. Bishopsgate, yes – main road just east of Liverpool St. station. I’ve noted in the past that the pungent French cheese Pont-l’Évêque translates as “Bishop’s bridge”.
  4. … are both past participles (one of ‘go’, the other of ‘become’, which are synonymous) so 1A is perfectly sound. The anonymous setter (who I suspect might have been a certain Church Times crossword editor) clearly took care to establish this when writing the clue!
  5. A geological marvel at 1d with another rock type in the clue and then an altered granite at 19a. I’m not surprised that our esteemed blogger had not heard of Greisen before. It’s not exactly in rock-types 101. Greisen is a sort of altered granite – where the original minerals are altered to secondary ones by the actions of hot fluids – commonly associated with metal mineralisation. The Cornish tin deposits are a good example local to the UK. It is gettable from the golf based clue even if you aren’t a golf playing geologist.

    Geology aside there are “easies” omitted for us X-word bunnies:

    1a Become enthusiastic in the sea (4,9)
    GONE OVERBOARD. Not blogged but dominates the comments regarding an apparent mis-match between the clue and the answer. It had to be GONE because of the Giant’s Causeway and Nonet at 1d and 2d but it is a difficult one to reconcile. Please see PB’s comment – he usually has the correct explanation and is our venerable founder.

    10a Worker with prospects hoping to get rich? (4,5)
    GOLD MINER. Ha – more geology. Still working on the rich bit but the working is what is interesting.

    21a Capital’s landmark appears as blur in parade (6,4)
    MAR BLEAR CH. Another rock type – yippee! Blur = Blear – not a commonly used word – must fit it into conversation more.

    25a Screen guest but without modern technology (5)
    VIS (IT) OR

    2d Nobody arrives on time for piece to be performed (5)
    NONE T

    3d It should make (birt)h(s etc so)* uncomplicated, not hard (10)
    OBSTETRICS. The “not hard” bit tells you to leave out the H. Uncomplicated? Not.

    5d Having support, succeeded stopping one escaping (7)
    BOL S TER. Another blog omission where comments about the match between the clue and the answer were raised. Having support = BOLSTER? Hmm.

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