Times 23,750 (Mon 05 11 07)

I found this a little hard to get started, but, once I did, found it not too difficult a puzzle.

Solving time: 21 mins (fast for me)

* = anagram < = reversed
1 D (ALES M) EN M = James Bond’s spymaster in books and films.
5 JA (LOP) Y lop = dock = cut
9 REEL Double definition To reel = to rock = to be bewildered or shocked , I think – the one area where I’d a slight doubt. It’s most certainly a dance though.
10 RENAISSANCE MAN (names Saracen in)*
15 MADNESS As mad as a hatter.
18 CYCL(OP)S op = work for E = English in ‘cycles’ Definition is Polyphemus from Greek mythology.
21 FEMININE ENDING When the last syllable is unstressed.
22 GLAD(ioli)
24 PARCEL Double definition, a plot of land.
25 The eternal TRIANGLE

1 DECO RUM Art Deco style from the 1930s mainly.
2 LEN I NG RA D Painter’s Daughter = RA has D. Fellow in good = LEN IN G if I’ve got this right. Strictly speaking it’s a old name for a city rather than an ‘old city’ but that’s nit-picking, I guess. Now known again as St Petersburg, it’s pre-1917 name.
6 LO(w) RIMER Rimer = Rhymster Good surface, but ‘bit’ did not deceive me for too long.
7 P (F) EN NIG gin< German currency, replaced by euros and cents in 2002.
16 (c)ALF (c) ALF A c = caught (cricket)
20 S (publishers finally ie last letter) IGNORE (Send to Coventry = ostracise)

11 comments on “Times 23,750 (Mon 05 11 07)”

  1. Nothing of great interest today so no COD from me.

    I completed it without too much difficulty. MERCERY was new to me and I didn’t know RIMER is a legitimate word though I decided it must be to make 6D work without a homophone indicator.

    If 15A is MADNESS it’s a bit feeble unless I’m missing something so it’s my candidate for BCOD. I thought for a moment that “wild” may have been there to indicate an anagram of “A hatter” so I wasted some time on that before I found the checked letters.

    1. False anagrams are part of the game! If you understood the clue in the end, it’s strong enough unless you’re going to count the Mad Hatter as an obscure literary reference, or can find any other 7-letter types of infatuation with a hatter link.
      1. On reflection, you don’t really need any literary knowledge, as the phrase ‘mad as a hatter’ came first.
  2. This one seemed a little more tricky than those of previous Mondays. I suppose being brought up in the town where mercerisation was invented should have given me a slight advantage with 11ac, but it was still my last to go in. As with Jack, above, nothing really jumps out as COD, but I choose 16d (although I thought ALFALFA was better clued several weeks ago when it use the river FAL three times but knocked off the beginning and end). I too thought 15a was weak.
  3. A straightforward rather unexciting 25 minutes. I quite like 14 down although like many today it’s not exactly inspired or difficult. 15 across was my last to go in because I hoped for something better! Jimbo.
  4. Had to do this in two sittings, after about 10 minutes at the waiting room at the mechanics I had most of it out, the last few were tricky for me. I liked the false anagrams and trying to trick us along different paths (the length of time I was looking at 5ac and thinking it wasn’t jalopy…). COD tip to 2d, despite the odd definition, I liked the wordplay a lot.
  5. 9:31 for me. I didn’t find this very exciting either, and I found a number of the surface readings rather poor. Annoyingly I thought of MERCERY straight away (with just the Y in place), and went back to it as each new crossing letter appeared, but only put it in when all of them were in place and I finally understood the wordplay (I’d been thinking of “royalty” as R rather than ER). I’m with Jimbo on 15A, and (also like him) I quite liked 14D.
    1. Well, I’m rather encouraged to note that three of the illustrious regulars were also not overly impressed by 15A.
  6. 15a was also my LOI along the same lines as others who have commented on it. The madness of hatters was due to absorption of mercury through the skin of their hands as far as I understand it? Some artisanal gold miners risk the same fate in modern times through use of mercury in gold recovery through amalgamation.

    A total of nine “easies” omitted from this blog:

    13a Gunfire – the latest thing in the Dog and Duck? (7)

    23a Stronghold I’m breaking into is so very noisy (10)
    FORT IS S I’M O. An ff – ing good clue.

    3d Mass employment? (7)

    4d Male singer engaged in extremely EasY mission (7)
    E M BASS Y

    5d Here in France a Republican sits in female courts (9)

    12d Relaxing, imbibing English knight’s bitter (9)

    14d Worrying rise in crime in a thriving environment (9)

    17d Lack of waterproof restricting girl’s travelling (7)
    NO MA DI C. The N at the start ended a long struggle to get an anagram of A HATTER for 15a.

    19a Game seen in VatiCAN AS TAboo.
    CANASTA. The Holy Father does not approve of gambling apparently.

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