Times 23559/Tati in a tutu?

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time: 1hr 3mins

Tough Tuesday. My brain has slowed down considerably this week. My Grandmother died – it’s OK she was 104 and totally with it until the last moment (her last words to me: “You’ve gained weight”) and my mother’s here in London. It’s enough to… well, you know.

Top right and bottom-left have some nice symmetry and I’m completely stuck on 10A but I’m getting my foot ready to kick myself once someone enlightens me. Enlightenment below…


6 TAT,I – Ref. Jacques TATI of M. Hulot fame.
9 PATISSERIE – not sure if this a slightly indirect anagram: (E, sea trip is)* or if somehow it’s (sea trip is)* with E (for oriental) following. I think the former.
10 ?R?P – here’s the clue: ”One of the three basic subjects in Ginger’s homework” – is this related to TRIPos? It’s PREP which I realized later — but I still don’t totally get the wordplay: I see it’s 3R related but if someone is willing to spell it out in excruciating detail…
12 PAVEMENT ARTIST – cryptic def
14 P,I,EMAN – rev(1P, name=call) and ref Simple Simon charging a penny for his wares.
19 POETIC – alternate letters of “PrOtEcT pItCh”.
24 AVOW – W[ife] replaces N[ame] in River Avon. I got this the wrong way round which is embarrassing since I used precisely this clue to explain to a 13 year old 2nd cousin how a typical cryptic clue might work.
26 TU=”two”,TU=”two” – groan: two twos.
27 [g]ASTRONOMIC – took me some time to realize that this is a “whacking” hard clue.


3 MA,S,TER(A,TAR)MS – note TERMS for “calls”.
5 [b]RAIN TREE – not an easy clue for a non-Brit: ref Braintree, Essex – and without checking I assume that there are RAIN TREEs growing somewhere in America.
8 I’M,PATIENCE – Peter hinted at this in his previous post – ref. the G&S operetta presumably first staged at the Savoy.
11 CROP ROTATION – another groan.
16 PE(NNAM)ES – rev(seep=leak) contains rev(Mann): ref Thomas MANN.
18 PRO,V,OST – V[ersus] as in “playing” against and OST is East in German. Nice clue.
20 TO,U(RI)S,M – another nice clue: quite hard actually – there are 7 (or 8?) US states whose twoletter abbrev is M?.
21 E,TRIER – E is the most common letter and probably the most common drug. And turns out that ETRIER is a climbing ladder (worked out from wordplay).
23 O,TIC – nice clue: O (for nothing) TIC for twitching – and the question-mark because it’s slightly cheeky.

12 comments on “Times 23559/Tati in a tutu?”

  1. You may not know the expression “the three Rs”, for reading, writing and arithmetic (but not spelling, obviously!!!)
    Then think of Ginger as a verb.
    Come to think of it, a bit of a stinker of a clue for a trans-atlantic solver.


  2. I couldn’t work out some of the cryptic bit of this one, namely “Good book”. If Ilan’s explanation is correct, I would have expected to see “Good books” but perhaps the New Testament counts as a singular book in its own right?

    I managed a little less than 30 minutes today which is good for me. Didn’t know ETRIER but worked it out from the clue. The last two to fall were SPORTSCAST and TUTU.


    1. “Good book” is a Times xwd niggle for me – according to every reference I can find (as well as my own memory), “the Good Book” means the whole Bible, not any part of it, whether book or testament. But the xwd ed gets to decide, and he clearly thinks otherwise – both Malachi and NT have been “good book” recently. Solved in 8:40 here, hving met etrier before somewhere. And I reckon Mike O is right about AVON and AVOW.
  3. Yep, NE corner bamboozled me again and I’m still struggling with ?R?P – although I must admit I’ve been struggling recently anyway with a complete lack of dictionaries; somehow failed to make the trip when I recently moved!
  4. I reckon this is the other way around.
    AVOW when wife’s forgotten gives AVO then N for name which then gives AVON the “flower”.
    What I’m trying to say after 3 large Amstels is that I think the answer is AVON.
    1. Pretty tough today, I thought. 11:48, with a couple of minutes at the end on TATI. I was very lucky to know Braintree in Essex, having been spent a recent year in Colchester, otherwise my ridiculous entry of ‘Montmarche’ at 1ac might have precluded completion.

      By the way, I’m with Mike on 24ac (AVON rather than ‘avow’), and I think your first explanation of 9ac is correct. And I loved 11dn (“Cycling across the fields?”)!

      1. “And I loved 11dn (“Cycling across the fields?”)!”

        Yes it is a good one. Unfortunately having thought of CROP from the letters across I then thought of CROP CIRCLES which doesn’t fit but led me on to consider CROP CIRCLING which fits but would be rather dubious, so I lost a lot of time. It was only when I solved 18A that I was able to stop thinking along these lines.

  5. Funny things, crosswords. Three of the answers I got straightaway were ones that others got later – PREP, SPORTSCAST, TUTU.
    I didn’t understand 8D – I should have learnt by now to check out G+S. Also, I didn’t fully understand 3D – I saw a MA and a TAR so I thought it was ok – thanks for saving me a few minutes!
    Being an Essex man, I got 5D quite quickly – the River Brain runs through the town, and I have seen a tree there but I seem to remember being told that the river was named after the town.
    When you have a spare ten minutes: How many US states can you name? – surprising how many of the well-known ones I forgot.
  6. I enjoyed this one very much, though I found I was a bit slower than I’d thought (10:37) – probably through taking far too long over PREP. I realised the answer to 24A had to be AVON rather than AVOW, but was very glad I checked my solution before clicking my stop-watch as I found that I’d actually typed AVOW!
  7. PET PEEVE seems to fit, but I can’t for the life of me work out why.
    Elsewhere, I thought 7A was an excellent example of a clue where the whole thing is the definition.

  8. 13d SPORTSCAST was my LOI so I appear to be on the opposite side to Foggy.

    A good clutch of omitted “easies”:

    15a Television audience’s still needed for oft-rehearsed play (3,5)
    SET PIECE. As explained above.

    17a One doing over salesman’s leading consumer (8)
    REP EATER. Doing over = repeat – US style speak?

    22a Leaves creating such a hoo-hah? (5,2,1,6)

    25a As believer in experience, (I tip crimes)* to explode (10)
    EMPIRICIST. Whoa – I know that is an anagram but not a gimme one surely?

    1d Yuppie flu going round work causes misery (4)
    M OP E

    2d (Can’t use)* bananas for fruitcake (7)

    4d Old magistrates deliver (severe)* thrashing (6)
    REEVES. Remembered from the Canterbury Tales. Ye olde Reeve – he had one – a Tale that is.

    7d One minute reserved by top-notch broadcaster? (7)
    AI RT 1M E. Where RTE is or was Irish telly? An &lit.

    13d News about game shows with actors (10)
    SPORTS CAST. Where shows = sports and actors = cast. Is this another US usage? My LOI.

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