Times 23769 – not bikini nor jerrycan

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Fortunately I read the comments before writing this up so my concerns about CURLICUE and HASP have been resolved. Overall, a good puzzle which went rather quickly largely because the long 1A fell at first observation.

1 OBSERVATION POST – simple charade that was obvious at first glance and provided a fast way into the puzzle.
9 FAVOURITE – (virtue of a)* — you Brits are so quaint with yore speling.
11 C,A,N,A,D,A – OK so I think this is A for “area” interleaved with the initials CND (60s anti-war group: Committee for Nuclear Disarmament).
12 CURLI,CUE=”curly cue” – see notes below for G&S ref.
13 REALLY – two meanings. Really!
15 STAGHORN – (a strong h[andle])*. Not sure what this means but I’m guessing a stag’s horn can be made into handles, thus an &lit.
18 BILLY,CAN – I thought this was JERRYCAN at first — which fits both definitionally and wordplay-wise.
19 SLALOM – kind of a cryptic def — almost straight. Anything else going on?
23 MINI,ON – couldn’t make BIKINI work here. I tried.
26 DAC,H,A – rev(A,H,CAD). It’s where Gorbachev was when they tried the coup in 1991.
27 SO,A,POPE,RA – Alexander POPE’s our poet.
28 M(IS,APPROPRIATE)D – Maryland (pronounced “marrylund” and NOT MARY-LAND by the way) is MD.


2 S(EVE)N – our bridge partners are S and N and Eve’s the root of all evil (really? my scripture knowledge is tres weak).
4 [m]ARIA – ref. Maria Callas.
5 I,N(E,QUIT)Y – another compass point, this time E (for “quarter”).
6 NE,PAL=”Paul” – a homophone to quibble over I suppose.
7 OLD SCHOOL – well crafted double definition, one being cryptic: my favorite clue style when it works. And my COD.
8 TRA(DE)IN – I think that D and E are the relevant “low grades” — not totally sure since E isn’t used as a grade in the USA (but perhaps in England?).
14 ALL-BLACKS – two Commonwealth sports: rubgy and snooker (you need to maximize sinking black balls in the latter and the former is the NZ rugby team).
16 GA(LLIP=rev(pill)OL,I –
17 CAR(O)USER – I like “motorist” defining CAR USER.
20 MAN,SA(R)D – hard clue for me which I had to look up since didn’t know that MANSARD was a style of French roof where R is abbrev(rook) as in chess.
22 GR,ASP – ref. King George the something.
25 HAS,P – see notes below explaining why this is “almost bust”.

28 comments on “Times 23769 – not bikini nor jerrycan”

  1. Well, the answers mostly went in easily enough, under 20 minutes which is good for me, but I struggled to explain several and I still have two unexplained, one of them possibly a wrong answer though I can’t think of an alternative.

    These are:

    12a: CURLICUE or CURLYCUE, both seem possible. If I understood the wordplay I might be able to rule out one or the other. I understand the definition and the billiard reference but not “sharp’s punishment”.

    25d: I think this must be HASP but why “isn’t quite bust”?

    Quite a good puzzle generally. There seemed to be a lot of CANs and Ps around. My COD is 11a.

    1. 12a. CURLICUE. Sounds like CURLY CUE. I suppose it could be something to give to a “billiard sharp” as punishment. (“Billiard sharp” as in “card sharp”).

      25d. HASP. i.e “Has p” = has a penny = “not quite bust”.

      Mike O, Skiathos.

      1. It’s Gilbert and Sullivan, The Mikado. The punishment for the billiard sharp is to play extravagant matches in fitless finger stalls, on a cloth untrue with A TWISTED CUE and elliptical billiard balls.

        Harry Shipley

        1. Rather late now, but I actually knew this from Joyce’s “A Portait of the Artist …”, where wise-cracking Dublin students are picking apart the lyrics. “Elliptical” as one points out is two-dimensional: the balls will presumably be “ellipsoidal”, and the student then boasts about having his own .. well you get the picture 🙂
  2. Defeated by curlicue today.
    The Mikado quote is helpful thanks, but if it’s actually a “twisted cue”, then the clue is just wrong.
    1. I agree it’s wrong, also I think this is too obscure a reference for a daily cryptic without something else to suggest where to look for the explanation. People complained about the minor Shakespeare character yesterday and this is far worse in my opinion. Fortunately it was easily solvable from the definition part.

      I believe we are still left with two possible answers as apparently it can be spelt with an I or a Y.

      1. I can’t find support for the Y spelling in Collins, COD or Chambers, so it has to be the I one, I think.
        1. Thanks, PB.

          I’m not at home, so couldn’t check the usual reference books, but both spellings are in Longman’s Dictionary of the English Language which I have to hand and on Dictionary.com and both come up in Chambers Word Wizard. I’m also pretty sure “I” was intended but I always like to explore alternatives.

          1. Ah, Longmans – the least-used dictionary in this room. Unfairly so, as it was perfectly good, tho’ it seems to be out of print now. Reading the small print about Chambers Word Wizards, I guess it arrives there via their International Scrabble word list.
  3. About 40 minutes to solve. Thanks for the explanation of CURLICUE which I too didn’t understand. I took a while to see the word play for CANADA and I forgot that an ASP is an Egyptian Cobra. However, I managed to get MD right for Maryland at 28 across, which I quite like as a clue as well as 1 down but I’ll go with 11 across as COD. Jimbo.
  4. Also defeated by CURLICUE. I tentatively entered LACHE at the end (homophone lash, punishment) but that got me nowhere. I liked the clues for CANADA and FAVOURITE and TRADE-IN; less keen on that for HASP. As yesterday I made an error and entered INDEED instead of REALLY for 13, though this time I realized it was wrong as soon as I started on the downs. INDEED is almost justifiable, though as an exclamation it’s nearer surprise or disbelief rather than protest.
    1. smiled at that – I put lache in at the end of the curlicue one for the same reason, and eventually admitted defeat because of it. Too clever for my own good, as my mother would have said.
  5. Should have been quicker than my 6:02 – I stupidly put JERRYCAN at 18 until rescued by confidence that J?R?D?M is impossible, and took a little while to see “has p” at 25, so that’s one COD possibility, with 28 and 22 the others for me. Less bothered than some by the move from a twisted cue to a curly one, but I know the Mikado far better than most G & S. A hint of old-style Times xwd lit. ref’s I guess.

    Edited at 2007-11-27 12:11 pm (UTC)

  6. 12 minutes here, which is better than average. My COD is 25d, because of the way the meaning of the wordplay suddenly dawned on me. I too have reservations about the literary reference in 12a, although I only really complain when I don’t get the answer. I liked the use of “motorist” in 17d and the double sport ref in 14d. Unsure about PILL=Unpleasant type in 16d, I know pills can be bitter, but do they have to be?
      1. Surprised to hear that “pill” is North American in COD, since it was in use at my (very English) boarding school in 1950s–meaning not an unpleasant person so much as a tiresome one, a bore. OED explains, with a 1925 quote from Wodehouse’s “Carry on Jeeves”(1925): Wooster says “What’s to be done? That pill is coming to stay here.” Wodehouse, then living in NY, seems to have imported the American word into British English.
  7. Pace some of the other commentators, I can see nothing unfair about 12 ac. I agree with Peter B that the spelling is “curlicue”, which sounds like (hence “we hear”) “curly cue”, and that “curly” and “twisted” are quite close enough in meaning to pass muster. Nor is the literary reference particularly obscure – the Mikado’s song about “making the punishment fit the crime” must surely be one of the best-known bits of G&S (though I appreciate that not everyone is a fan of the Victorian comic opera duo). For me, 12 ac was in the running for COD, but I eventually awarded that accolade to 25 dn (HASP) for its ingenious word-play, essentially simple, but difficult to spot straightaway.
  8. CURLICUE was an early entry as I remembered it as a filter in some or other imaging software; I think it added these little “swirls” on top of the image – utterly, utterly pointless. Just as well I knew this as I’m completely duff on G&S.
    Nice puzzle this one, with some very clever moments. 25D (which I didn’t get) was a candidate but I agree with Ilan – 7D deserves COD.
  9. As I’m old enough to remember the CND marches I think I recall it was the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. If you’re looking for STAGHORN in Collins it appears as Stag’s Horn and means antlers used to produce ornaments etc, and grades D and E are low grades in British GCSE and A Level examinations. Jimbo.
  10. A jerrycan is for carrying liquids – usually petrol – picture here. A billycan is for cooking stuff over a camp fire – picture here. So you don’t want to mix them up!
  11. This one got me – I had bikini and was unsure of the wordplay but didn’t see minion. No minion, no mansard (though I don’t think I would have gotten that one without a little assist). For some strange reason 15ac came quite easily…
  12. Is this a homophone that nobody has mentioned? A protest is perhaps a rally and an expression of this might be close to “really”. Possibly …
    1. I hope I’m right in expecting the Times xwd never to take this kind of liberty with the stressed vowel in a word of two syllables. I can’t think of a version of English where this vowel in rally and really has the same sound. (And rally=protest seems iffy – a rally is generally for something rather than agin it. Tho’ if you’re for something, I supoose you’re against something else.)
  13. No dodgy homophones to see here!

    This was either harder than yesterday or the blogger is more inclusive. Just the 5 omissions:

    10a Help old passengers initially going wrong way for platforms (5)
    P. O. DIA. Senior citizens getting confused in a tube station?

    21a Belief left one, in part (8)
    RE L 1 GION

    1d Person in authority is in charge, guarded by volunteer (7)
    OFF I.C. ER

    3d Short, simple song – (any louder)* ruins it (9)

    24d Namely, what’s central to insIDE STory (2,3)
    ID EST (i.e).

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