Times 23757 – older slipways

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I found the clues to be a mixed bag — lots of easy clues but with quite a few hard ones that slowed me down considerably towards the end. Almost all across clues in the the top half were tough (unusual word or wordplay). I also agonized to no end wrt SHIPWAYS and ELDER SON.
So what started as rather fun turned a bit miserable…


1 M(ARM,OS)ET – relatively easy across clue: OS for over-sized.
9 RE,MEDIAL – a typical hard across clue.: RE for “soldiers” (royal engineers) and MEDIAL is side or face — rather a long-winded def though.
10 IODINE – I think this is IODINE or IODIZE but not sure why other than relating to a chemist. Groan… I’ve seen this before too — it’s I for IODINE. C’est tout.
11 LA(CU’S)TRINE – dictionary word that I had to check: “of or relating to or living near lakes”.
12 BAR[o]N – BARON is a style of preparation I guess.
13 SPEECHLESS – my fav clue but had to work out the wordplay from the answer once I had the crossing letters: take “adoration” and remove “oration” (SPEECH) from it, i.e. make it SPEECHLESS and you get “a d[uke]’.
16 S(LAVER)S – another complex clue: LAVER (a seaweed) in SS (just one [kind of ship]) indicated by “on board”, where the whole thing is a class of (unsavory) ships.
17 VER[y],VAIN – another hard clue unless you know that VERVAIN is a plant.
23 W(ELLE)ARNED – Whoops — typoed with well-warned earlier and obviously couldn’t see the wordplay! Thanks for the correction below.
25 O,U,TLAW=rev(Walt) – ref. Walt Disney and U is the “universal” rating in UK film (G in the states).
26 YOSEMITE – (moist eye)*


2 A,BO(VE AL)[w]L
3 M(AID)EN, OVER – must be a hard puzzle if I find a cricket clue easy.
5 T(ROC)HEE – worked out from wordplay: it’s a poetic kind of iamb is my bet. I got my iambs and trochees and anapests etc. all mixed up as the comment below amply describes.
6 AMOS=rev(soma) — Soma is an Asian drink I believe — I dithered about the reversal’s direction, initially guessing wrong.
7 DIVINE – two meanings
8 ELDER SON – I think the convention is that if there are two sons then one is the ELDER and the other, the Younger.
14 CHEESE,D O,F,F – amusing clue: DO is party for a change and our (loud?) females are FF.
15 LOVE LETTER – nice &lit.
16 SHIPWAYS – I had FAIRWAYS here originally (which are also sea routes). Oh well.
18 INDI(CAT)E – ref. INDIE record labels (probably all owned by large conglomerates now).
19 BOUNCER – two meanings, slightly cryptic def.
24 AGIN[g]- I like this clue a lot (which I’ve never seen or at the very least I don’t remember).

29 comments on “Times 23757 – older slipways”

  1. This is a very easy puzzle and I think we will see some very fast times. Less than 25 minutes for me. I don’t understand the dukal reference at 13 across and I think 8 down is weak. 10 across and 15 down are very similar clues whilst 26 across calls for some knowledge of US waterfalls. I don’t think any warrant a COD accolade. Jimbo.
    1. … is another’s chewy tough stuff. 12:51 for me, with the veal and beef pair at 2/12 the last to go in.

      I thought 16D was nicely done. (19-24d too but they look a bit chestnutty to me.)

  2. Well, it may be very easy for some but I don’t think that any puzzle containing some of the words here, or some of the words one needs to know in order to understand some of the clues, could really be described in those terms.

    I did manage to work out all the answers without recourse to help but some of them were guesses. The ones I thought were tricky were LACUSTRINE, VERVAIN, YOSEMITE and SLAVERS. I’d also never heard of SOMA which one needed to know to verify 6D.

    After my problems yesterday with beef terminology I was pleased to redeem myself today by spotting the reference to another cut of beef (baron) in 12A.

    My COD goes to 13A which I tried to explain above before I realised I was not logged in. I think it’s a very inventive clue, a bit like the crossword equivalent a circular reference in a spreadsheet.

  3. I found this an absolute stinker, and could only complete it with help from OneLook. After 25 minutes I was still missing the top right corner. VERVAIN, LACUSTRINE, TROCHEE,LAVER and SOMA are all new to me. 13ac is pure awfulness. 8dn is almost as bad. If 12a is BARN, I don’t know why. I’m well and truly 14d. Of the rest I enjoyed 10a and 16d, but I’m not going to nominate a COD because I’m sulking ;o(
  4. I found this pretty tough at around 20 minutes. I thought 11A was a bit recondite, but generally I found the cluing very inventive. Particular favourites were 9A, 13A and 25A. Not sure about ‘the Parisian female’ = ELLE in 23A.
  5. A struggle here, too – a couple of 20 minute sessions and still lacking three in the NE corner until blog entries helped out (I’d never have got LACUSTRINE). Gave myself a real headache by putting CATARACT at 26A, hoping the eye condition might have watery symptoms, obviously kicking myself now for missing an elementary ‘gram.
    No classic clues here but I’d COD 3D for its sound surface.
    1. Both look valid to me. Unless someone shows me that my reasoning is seriously off beam, both will be OK for the unofficial cryptic RTC. (Though this may be one of the last of these contests – people seem more interested in the COWPOW polls. If you want the races to stay, rustle up some more entrants!)

      I’m sure most people will have put SLIPWAY, inculding the setter.

      SHIPWAY def from Collins: 1. the structure on which a vessel is built, then launched. 2. a canal used by ships.

      (Both seem to fit the clue…)

      Edited at 2007-11-13 01:46 pm (UTC)

      1. Ditto on the validity of both. I’d guess SLIPWAYS is the intended answer based solely on the use of “ships” in the clue at 16A (assuming the setter spotted the potential give-away).
  6. 22:40 today for me. I thought this was really tough, with 11ac and 8dn the last two to go in. Assuming 8dn is ELDER (or OLDER) SON, surely that’s a non-dictionary phrase that’s supposed to be taboo in the Times.

    That makes two clues that have alternative solutions today, which is pretty bad. Shame, because some of it was excellent. My COD is 25ac, with an honorary mention for 9ac too.

    1. I’m not too bothered by multiple solutions in a daily paper puzzle, whether from word variations or unnoticed alternatives that fit the clue. I don’t think the Times puzzle has a rule that phrases have to be in the dictionary, just that they do have to be recognisable – so no ‘taller son’.
  7. Yikes – after around a half an hour I cried out for the aid of Chambers Word Wizards, and filled in the rest (eagerly awaiting the slipways/shipways resolution – since slipways was an answer in a recent crossword I went with it).
    I liked the wordplay at 23ac, and after finding the answer on word wizards, the retrofit of 11ac.
  8. I put in IODINE(last to go in)with no conviction. Penguind liked the clue. Will he–or someone–explain?
    1. “I” is the abbreviation for iodine. A variation on an old favourite of mine – “He represents one, and I another” for ELEMENTS – He=Helium and iodine again.
  9. Trochee. Not “a kind of iamb” but a metrical foot, the reverse of an iamb. S.T.Coleridge wrote a mnemonic verse for his son which nicely sets out the different metrical feet in lines that do what they say and say what they do. All good crossword words:

    Trochee trips from long to short;
    From long to long in solemn sort
    Slow Spondee stalks, strong foot!, yet ill able
    Ever to come up with Dactyl’s trisyllable.
    Iambics march from short to long.
    With a leap and a bound the swift Anapests throng.
    One syllable long, with one short at each side,
    Amphibrachys hastes with a stately stride —
    First and last being long, middle short, Amphimacer
    Strikes his thundering hoofs like a proud high-bred Racer.

    1. From doing so many crosswords over the years, I know every one of these words, but I cannot define any of them and to me the verse makes no sense whatever!
      1. You have to read it aloud, or sound it in your head: each line is an illustration of the metre described–1st is trochaic, second spondaic, etc…
  10. Oh dear. Going fine but got totally stuck on the top right and limped home in 14:09. If I’d known either ‘soma’ or ‘lacustrine’ maybe I’d have sorted it faster. I agree with the comments above about REMEDIAL (= REME + DIAL, not RE + MEDIAL) and ELDER SON, and wasn’t sure about VERVAIN or SLAVERS.

    Ilan – in 6dn I was confident about the direction because of the word ‘this’, which almost always refers to the entered answer and without which I agree the clue would be ambiguous.

  11. This was a real slog, and required two sittings AND the dictionary/Hamlyn for a couple. Top right hand corner certainly proved the most difficult.

    Thanks for explaining “speechless”. Examples such as that clue are why I enjoy this blog. I’m completely sure I have the right answer but for the life of me just cannot say why! As well, I was able to confirm my guess as to the U in “outlaw”.

    I went with slipways rather than shipways.

  12. Official answers were SLIPWAYS and ELDER son. For unofficial RTC purposes, SHIPWAYS and OLDER SON are both corrrect.
  13. 17:03 for me. I wasn’t familiar with SHIPWAYS and so put in SLIPWAYS pretty confidently, but I wasted several minutes wondering if there could be a third possibility for 8D before finally plumping for ELDER SON. (And now I find that Peter is allowing OLDER SON as well. Curses!)

    I was also very slow with 2D (ABOVE ALL, which I initially wanted to be APPLE PIE), and with 13A (SPEECHLESS, which I guessed quickly but took ages to justify), which I nominate as my COD.

  14. When the earlier correspondents were saying how easy this was I wondered whether this blog was for the same puzzle I had just completed. Fortunately the majority fessed-up later to having had difficulty.

    Thanks to Ilanc for the explanation of SPEECHLESS at 13a – I don’t think I’d have seen that trick in a very long time. I biffed it from checkers and “dumbfounded” with a shrug. Must try to remember that type of subtraction clue.

    As there were only 4 answers omitted from the blog then the later commentators, who thought this was quite hard, seem to be correct.

    20a (One artist I)* fancy in repeat performances (10)

    22a Daughter has set about becoming a mature woman (4)
    LA D Y. Nice surface – if you want to be treated like an adult then lay the table.

    4d Gets suspicious, shedding (small tears)* (6,1,3)

    21d Recruit ordered to be (silent)* (6)

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