Times 23763 Sounds Familiar

Solving time : 30 minutes

This is my first analysis and I have been dreading getting the hardest puzzle in twenty years.
In the event it’s relatively straightforward but with several homophones, which are not my favourite type of clue because they don’t always work in your particular accent. For me there are no outstanding clues but 13 across and 2 down are quite good.

1 BUCCANEER – sounds like “Buchan” + sounds like “here”
9 WILDCAT – again so soon. Two meanings.
11 SHAKE – two meanings
12 NICOTIANA – (inaction + a)* – proper name for tobacco
13 DAILY – DALLY with “L” turned to “I”
14 ENTRAMMEL – (lament + mre)* – mre from m(a)r(k)e(d)
17 MINNESOTA – M-INNE-SOT-A – “Inne” is olde worlde
18 TAKEN – TA-KEN – “ken” is Scots for knowledge
19 SUSPENDED – refers to suspended sentence
22 RIPON – RIP = scam but with ON rather than OFF
24 ECHIDNA – E-CHID-NA the anteater – CHID in (p)ENA(l)
25 OIL CAKE – OIL(y) + CAKE = set as in mud
27 ELSEWHERE – E-LSE-WHERE E=English, LSE=London School of Economics, WHERE sounds like “Wear”
1 BOWLS – two meanings
2 COLLATION – COL-LATI-O-N – COL = officer, O= o(rdered) in LATIN
5 RAIN CATS AND DOGS – (conga is standard)*
7 MEDIA – two meanings (reference the Medes)
13 DAMASCENE – two meanings, from Damascus and putting gold onto Toledo swords
15 AFTERGLOW – (great wolf)*
16 MAKE PEACE – homophone for William MAKEPEACE Thackeray
21 ENDOW – hidden word (m)en do w(ithout)
23 NIECE – seems like a straight non-cryptic definition

26 comments on “Times 23763 Sounds Familiar”

  1. I always thought the Times didn’t allow e.g. “penal centre” – the setter would have to offer “penal’s centre” or “centre of penal”?
    Otherwise, pretty straightforward puzzle. No stand-out COD candidates, solving time around 15 minutes.
    1. I wasn’t aware of that convention for Times puzzles, and personally I don’t think it’s one that’s worth observing. I agreed with a lot of what Ximenes had to say, but not with his objection to “redhead” for the letter R (why not accept it simply as meaning the head of the word “red”?). “Penal centre” seems to be a similar construction, which (as a veteran Times solver) I’m entirely happy to accept.
  2. I explain it as: M(inn)E + sot + A
    pub in Maine + M(inn)E
    drunkard = sot
    area = A

    The abbrev. for Maine is ME
    Barbara from USA

  3. I’ve just seen the paper version of the puzzle and the clue to 23 down is different to the e-version. The answer is still NIECE but it’s now cryptic as NI-E-CE being peac(E) in NICE (the place). Jimbo
  4. I’m glad the puzzle didn’t live up to your worst fears. They are probably saving the hardest one ever for Friday when I do my first analysis.

    Having completed this puzzle yesterday because of the error on the Club site I downloaded the monthly puzzle for my journey to work this morning during which time I put in only four words and three of those are guesses. This has done wonders for my self-confidence. Not.

    Anyway 23763 was not very exciting or distinguished by interesting cluing. My COD would be 22a because it at least raised a smile.

    I think in 17a the E comes from ME (Maine) rather than ye olde inne.

    1. I only bother with these occasionally – they seem to be where Times setters go to practice writing the kind of puzzles that used to be used as eliminators in the championship – full of difficult vocabulary and fiendish tricks, and for solving with the dictionary plus a few other ref. books for most people.
  5. I think ‘set’ in this clue is meant to be a verb, as in: to harden, or solidify. Hence ‘cake’.
    1. Yes, I agree. I meant to say “as in mud cakes” but in my haste omitted the “cakes”. Thanks. Jimbo
  6. 6:08 for this – ironic that I should start the week with a couple of quick times just after scrapping Cryptic RTC.

    Clarification on 23D:
    Online: Brother’s, daughter (5) [with mistaken comma]
    Print: Relative peace ultimately found on the Riviera (5).

    Other COD possibles: 11 (possibly chestnutty) and 26.

    Good luck when tougher Tuesday puzzles come along…

    Edited at 2007-11-20 11:25 am (UTC)

  7. I’d choose 26A or 6D as COD. I hope the problems with the e-versions don’t continue – I wasted ages on the spurious 23D and was also caught out by ‘A debris’ yesterday.
  8. Welcome Jimbo. I’ve always thought I had a nicotiNIA plant in my garden. This made MEDIA hard to get, especially as I didn’t know the ancient country reference. Not too keen on the DAMASCENE clue; I would have preferred a bit of word play rather than two rather obscure defs. ENTRAMMEL is today’s new word and 22A is my COD. Solving time 13 mins.
  9. Congratulations to dorsetjimbo on his first analysis.

    However, is not the point of 1 ac that it sounds like Buchan + ‘ere? I think this was my COD, despite its being, as Peter Biddlecombe would say, a bit chestnutty. It was amusing in itself, with the bonus of taking us back into the quaintly old-fashioned world of the Times xword where the East End of London is presumed still to be populated exclusively by cheerful-chappie cockneys who drop their aitches.

    1. A new (to me) twist here is that an individual is supposed to adopt a chirpy Cockney accent simply as a result of being in the East End. Rather unlikely in the case of John Buchan, who was an Oxford-educated patrician Scot! Not a difficult clue to solve, but the premise to the homophone is too far-fetched for me.
      1. You have a very good point. I must admit that the mere sight of “Bow” made me think ‘Cockney H-drop’, and I didn’t hang around to understand what the clue was really saying. “announcing himself in a London accent” or something similar is really needed.
  10. ’tis the week for first-time solves, and good work dorsetjimbo – I have the same dread for my first shot on Thursday. I struggled with this a while, 22ac would probably be my COD, I also liked 17ac. While you had angst with homophones, mine was the double meanings, for some reason 1d, 11ac and 9ac did not come quickly.
  11. The NW corner needed a bit of elbow grease to resolve — but my fav clue is ELBOW. COLLATION mystified me — thanks for the explanation.
    1. I only know this word in the sense of a meal from an anecdote told many times by Kenneth Williams in which he described Dame Edith Evans being served “a cold collation” in a rather seedy theatrical boarding house. The way he savoured every syllable of the word made it stick in my mind.
  12. Did nobody else experience deja vu? I downloaded this puzzle yesterday morning, marked ‘Crossword Number 23763, November 19th’. I thought it a touch trickier than the average Monday puzzle. Today I got the same puzzle, 23763, marked November 20th.
    1. I think if you now ask the Times site for 23762, you’ll get the “jamais vu” puzzle – they corrercted it sometime around lunchtime (UK) yesterday.
  13. I was a bit slower than usual due to misspelling nicotiania. And 23d… should that not read ‘Relative peace ultimately found IN the Riviera’? And I’m also not seeing the need for the question mark.

    Elsewhere, ‘elsewhere’ was the last to fall, not knowing LSE!

    If I had a COD it would be 5d only because that’s exactly what it has been doing here all morning!

    1. It’s indirect (hence the question mark), but if you’re ‘in Nice’ you’re ‘on the Riviera’.
  14. I was a bit slow getting started with this one, but eventually got into the swing of it and finished in a respectable 6:16. I found it pleasant enough, but there were no clues that particularly grabbed me.
  15. 9:51 for me, with the last one to go in being COLLATION. I misparsed it (is that a word?) at first as the definition being an ancient language, so wrote in IAN at the end and spent time trying to justify COLUMBIAN and COLOSSIAN before moving on. Probably cost me 2 or 3 minutes – other than that I was on top form today.
  16. Just the four “easies” lft out by Jimbo in his first blog:

    6a Send clocklike device back (5)
    REMIT. TIMER backwards.

    26a European bishop entering vulgar joint (5)
    E L B OW

    4d Friendly relations in Paris? (7,8)
    ENTENTE CORDIALE. It was pre-Brexit.

    20d Blood relative defending a hard gentleman in India (5)
    S AH IB. I never think of my brother and sister as sibs but sib = sibling appears to be allowed.

Comments are closed.