Times 23,775 A Potpourri of Knowledge

Solving time : 45 minutes

Quite tricky in parts with some nice clues along the way. I took too long to get 1 down and that held me up.
A wide range of knowledge required for this one with references to mythology, some of the major religions, the arts and science.
My pesonal COD is 12 across.

1 WRONG – = not just. Last letters of “yellow cigar also brown fag”
4 CAB,DRIVER – C-AB-D RIVER CD=record, A B = a british, RIVER = runner, reference taxi ranks
9 TIMBUCTOO – CUB= youth, MIT = Massachusetts Institute of Technology all reversed plus TOO
11 HERMES – HER(M)ES today’s bit of Greek mythology for you
12 ADAM,BEDE A-DAM(BED)E book by George Eliot and a nice clue
14 BETHLEHEM – BET-H(LEHE)M BET=risk, HM=Her Majesty surrounding (heel)*
16 THAWS reference the actor John Thaw who played Inspector Morse
17 BLURB – BLUR-B smear=BLUR reference enticements printed on book jacket
19 BERNOULLI – B-ER-NO-ULL-I hesitant refusal = “er no”, bunk = “bull” (tommy rot) then “I”.
Dutchman better known to me as a mathematician who did pioneering work on probability theory circa 1750
21 SYLLABUB – SYLL-AB-UB Hector = bully reversed around AB=Jack=sailor
22 BEDSIT BEDS-IT Bachelor’s of Education plus IT
25 ENVOI hidden word “(strick)en voi(ce). A PS in poetry
27 DESTROYED – (seed to dry)*
28 DJINN – DJ-INN spirits in Muslim beliefs
1 WET THE BABYS HEAD cryptic definition
2 ORMER – (f)ORMER, the sea ear apparently
3 GLUTEAL GLU(e)-TEAL stick being short = GLU. The buttock muscles.
4 CUTE alternate letters from CoUrT gEt
5 BLOODY,MARY – (old army boy)*
7 VOICE,MAIL anagram of Official move less the letters “off”
8 RUMPELSTILTSKIN – RUMPEL sounds like “rumble” plus STILTS=poles, plus KIN = related
13 THE,BLUE,BOY – T-HE-BLUE-B-OY. male=HE, Porno = BLUE, B=book, all in TOY. Picture by Gainsborough
15 TRUE,LOVES – L in (verse out)*. There’s a typo in the e-version giving (5-4) not (4-5)
18 BEADIER – brighter = BEADIER and pass on = DIE.I don’t quite see the hack bit
23 SWAMI – SWAM-I a Hindu religious teacher

38 comments on “Times 23,775 A Potpourri of Knowledge”

  1. Just hard enough for me – 40 minutes or so – but I was defeated by 19d.
    Looking at it now, BEAR = Hack as in being able to “hack it” I assume, and DIE as in pass on.

    12A as COD for definite – very clever and made me smile.

    1. The last few minutes of my 14:07 were spent agonising of BEADIER. I’m not convinced by BEAR = “hack” (as in “hack it”). Surely “hack it” means the same as “cut it” (= “to succeed or manage”, according to Chambers)? Or am I missing something?

      Some nice clues – I’ll go for 12A as my COD.

  2. Did anyone else have RUMPLESTILTSKIN for 8D? After concluding that my answer for 12A was correct, I then had to dredge up my fairy tale dictionary to confirm that it can also (and maybe should also?) be ‘-EL-‘.

    The (5-4) for 15D held me up a bit, too. Was it similarly indicated in the newspaper?


    1. The paper stated (5,4). This one was hard on the poor spellers, Rumpelstiltskin and timbuctoo? All too much for this non-native speaker!

      I’m also sure bernoulli is dutch.

      1. If non-native speaker = “English not my first language”, you get lots of credit for going anywhere near cryptic xwds. I’m pretty sure the ‘Timbuctoo’ spelling comes from the era when swamis were Hindoos.
        1. english is my third language.

          i’m aware of at least three different spellings, id have gone for timbuktu personally.

  3. Found this tougher than it should have been, partly due to my inability to spell Rumpelstiltskin, coupled with a stupid typo. I was irritated by yet another reference to Inspector Morse. I know there is a crossword connection, both by the author and by the character, and that you are all very fond of him, but I am not a fan of the books and I don’t consider the works to have sufficient quality to warrant inclusion on such a regular basis.
    1. The clue is a reference to the television series, not the books, and as one of the best known series in recent times, I think it’s fair. We all have our weak spots of knowledge; today mine was ADAM BEDE (not helped by having the same RUMPELSTILTSKIN typo as many others), but BERNOULLI came straight out from my physics background.
      1. Is there an echo in here? “We’ve all got strong points and weak points” said glheard in response to another “not another plant!” comment yesterday.

        This is the kind of puzzle that’s partly a quiz, but there’s a wide range of subjects. I found Geography, Mythology, Literature, TV, Religion, Maths/Physics, Food & Drink, Biology, Fairy Tales, Art and Music. Though curiously, I don’t think there’s any use of cricket or other Brit sport language in the whole puzzle. I wonder whether this was noticed and appreciated by solvers across the pond?

        Those Morse references: a search for blog entries mentioning this kind of Morse found one clue in a Times Jumbo in July, and one in a Virgilius puzzle in the Independent in November. And, er, that’s it.

  4. The typo is in the printed version as well as online.
    Found this to be a very enjoyable puzzle with some cracking clues – 12A / 1D are both stunners and only the flip of a coin leads me to 1D as COD. Also liked the contemporary “sampling” ref at 28A and clever indication of alternating letters at 4D.
    Top marks to the setter.
    1. Hmm. A sudden intervention by the Let’s Be Picky Brigade because I’m not altogether sure about this. I think the surface and device here are beautiful but now – annoyingly, I admit – I’m wondering if “divorced” logically indicates removal? Can someone put my mind at rest and persuade me we can sufficiently twist the interpretation? I’ve never been divorced before so I’m not altogether familiar with procedure…
      1. I think the idea is that if a couple get divorced, your ‘other half’ is lost. The fact that it’s always the same half of each of these couples is a bit of evolving crossword convention, I suppose.
  5. Here’s another chump who initially put Rumplestiltskin. I think the pun is on rumple = to dishevel = rough (vb.), to make uneven. If that’s the case, the homophone indicator in the clue should have told me that ‘rumple’ wouldn’t be right.

    11:56 for this – in the bottom half, I started to wonder how many B’s the setter would manage to include. Answer: 13

    COD: 12 for me too.

  6. 1d excellent and my COD, although seen almost immediately. In fact worked through the rest of what I considered a pretty dreary puzzle quickly, apart from the unheard of physicist and the dreadful beadier. Re Morse complaint from Anonymous – is he not better known than Adam Bede?
    1. Of course, in the good old days of DJ-ing (did my own mobile disco once, you know) the task was simply to play records and speak a bit of guff in between.
      Contemporary DJs regularly use – and create – their own samples (short snatches of recordings, often looped) to play as tunes in their own right or as overlays on other records.
      1. thanks.
        for those of us who live overseas and away from things British, the logic of the odd clue just passes us by (e.g. John Thaw and “sampling”). We survive though.
    2. Yes, I want to know that too, and why 6D is READMIT (assuming that it is). Rarely for me I gave up on this one with about four unsolved. I would normally have hoped to polish off in a moment of quiet mid-morning but a crisis at the office, still unresolved, made this impossible. Shame, as the puzzle started so well for me.
      1. D.A. = District Attorney, ‘welcomed back’ = contained in reverse, by remit = brief. Clever wording – can i get this in before Anax?
  7. No complaints today, probably because I managed to solve it :-). Took ages over 28ac. I wrote d_i_n then went through the alphabet to find possible 2nd letters. This didn’t help much. I then linked “one sampling” with dj (I must be as youthful as Anax) and then realised that I’d seen DJINN before. Lots of great clues today, 4ac, 17a and 7d being some. I wasn’t as keen on 12a as others, probably due to my phobia of literature. 1d gets my COD – pure brilliance.
    This was my first solve of the week. I was beginning to worry.
  8. I strolled fairly leisurely through about four fifths of this, and didn’t think twice about Rumpelstiltskin as soon as I had the initial R in place (I didn’t even consider the wordplay). Surely it was never spelled LE. What really held me up were 9a, (because I’ve never seen that spelling before) 16a (the last to go in after a lot of thought), 1d, and 3d (which I should have got earlier). I thought much of the clueing both innovative and clever, eliciting expressions of admiration.
  9. No-one else has mentioned it, but I’ve only just worked out why 24d is BOLD. I put it in after 5 minutes of looking for something else it might be, then came here for confirmation – no help. I was going to ask but looked in Chambers and got it myself.

    I’d heard of the phrase “no spring chicken” meaning old, but Chambers gives it as “no (spring) chicken”, implying that spring is optional.

    Other than that, 12:31 – under championship conditions I’d have been inclined to stick it in straight away and hope for the best!

    My COD is 1d, which I got as soon as I had the W.

  10. Sorry to see that Bernoulli is unheard of; what kind of life he must have led! As a no account physicist, i always enjoy the inclusion of such especially in this case as his Effect can be recognised in the physical world wherever there is flow. I fell into the traps aforementioned annoyingly but my major misgiving was with Timbuktu for which there seems to be no generally accepted spelling. As ever my approach is i might be unhappy about the answer but that is what the compiler intended despite the indications so making True Loves attainable.
  11. Bernoulli was Swiss, not Dutch, and the patriarch of a family of pioneering scientists.
    1. As far as I can tell from searching:

      Daniel Bernoulli, of the flow effect and propbability theory work c. 1650, was born in Groningen though he spent most of his life in Switzerland. But which Bernoulli the setter meant is not certain.

      Although most of the them were born in Switzerland, the family came from Antwerp, which was then a Dutch city.

      1. As a recently graduated mathematician, I’m more a fan of Jakob Bernoulli, and his law of large numbers.
  12. I may be dense but although I know the phrase well (and entered it) I cannot see how it fits the clue! Help please.
  13. Re above. I’ve just realised it refers to rounds in the pub. I had been thinking of in the context of baptisms!!!
  14. The cold day here has ceased my brain function. Gave up after 35 minutes with 21ac and 18d unsatisfactorily completed. I would never have gotten syllabub (in Chambers – a dish of cream curdled, flavored and frothed up – which sounds rather unappealing), and beadier was too cleverly-clued for me to get a wordplay with so many letters missing. This is not boding well for Thursday!
    1. Nor for Friday when it’s my turn again. After today I’m so very glad that I volunteered to contribute only on days when I shall not be distracted by the call of work.
  15. Not much to add other than I don’t like to see repeated words in a puzzle – ie blood/bloody.

    1D was a bit too easy for my COD so I offer 24d.

  16. dorsetjimbo’s comment on 8 down says RUMPEL sounds like “rumble”. I assume that is a typo for “rumple”.

    It took a little while for me to decide see that 16 across referred to Inspector Morse rather than Samuel Morse of the well-known code. It’s probably of no significance, but I did wonder why the clue says “was to become” instead of simply “became”.

    R. Saunders

    1. You are correct on the typo – well spotted!

      Unless there’s something I’m missing (and I confess I didn’t spend much time thinking about this clue) I don’t know the answer to your second question. I just thought it was a weak offering with an obvious answer and moved on. Jimbo.

  17. Thought 12A was very clever — i knew immediately that it had to be a novel by a female author and hazarded Jane Eyre, but with no wordplay it felt like a weak cryptic def — when I saw ADAM BEDE it was love at first sight.

  18. I thought the clue for 16a where the literal for THAWS is “friendlier times” was a bit obscure. I did not have a problem with the place in Mali at 9a as this was the early transliteration of the name in all its glory. There are 4 “easies” not in the blog:

    10a Man after a kiss accepted proposition (5)
    A X I.O.M.

    26a Rely on family for vital supply (5,4)

    6d Welcome back, as brief does attorney here (7)
    RE .A.D MIT

    24d No chicken (even if headless) (4)
    BOLD. You’re no chicken if you’re BOLD or (B) OLD. If you are BOTH then you are not a PILOT.

Comments are closed.