Times 23787

Solving time : 25 time minutes

Another very pleasant but also rather easy puzzle. The more obscure words like “jabot” were very easy to get from the wordplay. I had trouble with the structure of 23 across. Stucco was obvious but I took a while to see occults backwards. The non-mathematicians may struggle with “d” for delta at 3 down but it makes a change from obscure painters et al. also d=delta from standard phoenetic alphabet. In my delight at something mathematical I missed the more obvious!

1 INGOT – hidden word (miss)ING OT(hers)
4 DASHBOARD – DA-SH-BOAR-D pop=dad; sh=quiet; boar=swine
9 GATHERING – two meanings as in spelling bee and gathering cloth
12 BRIGHTEN – supposedly sounds like Brighton (south coast commuter town more than resort)
14 RED,ADMIRAL – a butterfly
16 ENID – first letters of “enjoy nice Indian dinner”
20 SHADOWLESS – (leads shows)* Pan cast no shadow
22 JACKAROO – (cook raja)* Aussie slang for a male tyro
23 STUCCO – occu(l)ts backwards losing the “l”; occult = cover up
26 BREAK – B(R)EAK; beak=schoolmaster in Billy Bunter etc
27 LEITMOTIF – (to lift me I)*
28 TIP,AND,RUN – childs game and cryptic definition
29 RESAT – RES(A)T reference exam paper
1 IN,GENERAL – in=popular
2 GET-UP – two meanings
3 THE,BENDS – THEBE-ND-S decompression sickness; Thebes around n=top of nile and d=delta (maths and phoenetic alphabet)
4 DAIS – dais(y)
5 SUGAR,DADDY – (guards)* + ADD + Y (more maths)
6 BRIDGE – reference Robert Bridges; a bridge spans things
8 DROWN – n=new; word=expression; all reversed
13 HIGH,ROLLER – two meanings
15 DIRT,CHEAP – (chapter I’d)*
17 DISCOMFIT – DISC-OM-FIT; disc=record, OM=order of merit; fit=put in
18 TWO-TIMER – remit=send; owt=anything in Lancs and Yorks etc; all reversed
21 PARKIN – PARK-IN a ginger cake apparently
22 JABOT – J-AB-OT ab=sailor; jot=trifle; a jabot is a frill on a shirt
24 CUTIS – CUT-I’S the cutis is the proper name for the skin

25 comments on “Times 23787”

  1. I thought this was going to be a very easy but after a flying start I ground to a halt for a while with gaps in all four quarters and had to pick these off one by one. I always find this unsettling as my preferred method is to concentrate on one quarter at a time and complete it before moving on to the next. But I still finished in under 30 minutes which is good for me.

    New to me today were JABOT at 22d and “occult” used as a verb at 23. I had written in STUCCO immediately with only the T as a checked letter but it took me ages to decipher the wordplay having completed the puzzle.

    4d was my last in.

    I’m not sure there is a worthy COD. Maybe 17d.

    Jimbo, I didn’t know d=delta from its mathematical usage but it’s also in the standard spelling alphabet (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta)so I and other non-mathematicians might take it from there.

    1. Thanks Jackkt. I’ve amended the blog. I so wanted it to be an obscure mathematical usage! Jimbo.
  2. This has to be the easiest in ages – for 5 minutes I felt like Peter B must feel all the time. All in all, however, I felt it to be sub-standard and untimesworthy. COD , if I had to pick, 13d.
  3. This was a very easy puzzle – I suspect my 4:15 will have been beaten by a few solvers on quicker form. But there were a few unusual words to work out, and a couple of wordplays like 23A I just didn’t bother working out – for short words starting ?T, an initial S is very probable, and for ?T?C?O, STUCCO seems to be the only option.

    I don’t agree that the puzzle is unworthy of the Times – for most of the time I’ve been solving the puzzle, there have been one or two very easy puzzles each month. I guess this means I’ll have a tough one to solve and blog tomorrow …

    1. I must agree with Peter. Over say a month the degree of difficulty should have a normal distribution (I’m determined on those maths today) or how else do new beginners get going? And is difficulty the only measure of a puzzle? Anyway, good luck tomorrow Peter.

      Interesting to see one of the differences between the greyhound and the tortoise. Peter doesn’t trouble to work out the wordplay for STUCCO whilst for me I haven’t “finished” the puzzle until I have all the answers and have understood the clues. Jimbo.

      1. Jimbo, you’re doing what I would advise all solvers to do, given enough time. Having to do this for the blog has probably done me good over the last couple of years. Gambling on unknown wordplay is an option for ‘hares’, but has its risks. In this year’s championship final, it nearly cost me dear – I spent something like 3 minutes correcting a gambled answer where I’d only understood 5 letters out of 7 in the wordplay but the other two mattered. Taking 10 seconds more over this correction would have cost me first place, so the tricky question is whether gambles elsewhere saved me more or less time than the correction needed, and given that the bad gamble was in puzzle 1, whether worry about this slowed me down in puzzles 2 and 3 through loss of confidence. In the preliminary round I deliberately took more care, on the grounds that when I’ve been all-correct in similar stages in the past, I’ve been quick enough every time except once. The biggest problem for me in the prelim was a ?O?E word – with a big list of possibilities you have to twig the wordplay to be sure. The Peter Biddlecombe of about 1990 might well have slipped up at this point.
      2. I think it comes down to what we want from a puzzle and that may well vary from day to day. For example when I do the crossword on my journey to work I want to be through it by the time I have arrived, say 15-25 minutes, but if I’m staying home and planning a lazy morning I prefer to take my time and appreciate each detail needed to solve it in turn, and I’m even a little disappointed if it’s all done and dusted quickly without any difficulty. I guess I’m just not competitive in the speed stakes.
  4. There’s nothing wrong with an easy one now and again. It gives me a chance to record a rare sub-10 minute solve, which I did. I vote for 18d as COD. I thought “OWT” would have created a few problems to some solvers. I probably use “owt” more than “anything”, although I don’t think I use “nowt” for “nothing” very often.
    1. My last sentence has reminded me of a Yorkshireman’s saying:

      Hear all, see all, say nowt,
      Eat all, sup all, pay nowt,
      And if thee ever does owt fer nowt,
      Make sure tha does it fer tha’sen.

  5. Agree on this one being pretty easy and fun, 8 minutes for me. Seems “jackaroo” is a well-known term, I thought that might have stumped a few non-antipodeans. My fellowish Americans might have a hard time with that and “tip-and-run”. Parkin and jabot were new words for me, but pretty obvious wordplay, I liked the wordplay at 21d enough to plump it for clue of the day.
  6. I did leave this question on the Mephisto 2467 but just in case……..
    Apologies in advance if I’ve missed it.
    1. No, we missed it – meaning, in this case, that I missed it – it was my turn. I’ll try to get a report up in the next day or two.
  7. As with most others I found this easy and my time 7.03 is the fastest I have recorded. I would agree that variety is important and if this puzzle was easy enough to make a few more Times readers catch the crossword bug then it serves a purpose.
    I look forward to a 25 minute puzzle tomorrow though
  8. With the continued problems with the Times Website would it be possible to set up a separate thread to discuss this?

    For example, On Saturday, I spent some time keying in the solution to the Jumbo only to find that online submission was not working.

    The thread could usefully identify which functions no longer work and when they are available again. It could also come up with suggestions to be passed on to the Times

    1. Done – though on the suggestions front, there are so many IT folk into cryptic crosswords that I’m sure it’s all been said by e-mail or on their bulletin board.
  9. This was the easiest one I’ve done in ages, but I’m not complaining. It may even be the first time ever when I got every clue at the first reading, i.e. I didn’t have to go back to any. If only I wasn’t on the tube and having to change trains in mid-solve, I could have posted a personal best.

    Possible trap with 12A – some may have entered BRIGHTON without thinking.

  10. Yes, very easy and I wish I’d timed myself!
    That said, I fell into the Brighton trap.

  11. Yes this was fairly easy, breezed through the top half at first sight. The lower section included a number of things which I worked out from the wordplay but still don’t perfectly understand such as beak=schoolmaster, om=order (both explained above, thanks) ab=sailor, and whatever a ‘parkin’ is. It’s not in my dictionary. Nevertheless, still fun, took about 20-30 minutes, a good time for me.
    1. Collins – one of the official references for the Times puzzle: http://www.collinslanguage.com/

      Compact Oxford – next size down from Concise Oxord, the other official reference: http://www.askoxford.com/?view=uk

      Chambers 21st Century Dict. at Chambers Reference Online – not the same as the Chambers used for hard cryptics, but a decent free option http://www.chambersharrap.co.uk/chambers/features/chref/chref.py/main

      (All of these have ‘parkin’.)

      1. “All of these have ‘parkin’.”

        But none of them has “homer” in the sense required last week!

      2. Thank you kindly. I’m sure these references will contain owt that I’ll need to find. Including ‘owt’, hopefully.
        1. The contraction AB=sailor is so common in crosswords that I didn’t bother to elucidate further. It’s short for Able Bodied Seaman and is “required vocabulary” along with “jack” and “tar” and “salt” and so on. All of the dictionaries mentioned should contain it. Jimbo.

          1. Thanks very much for bearing with me, I hadn’t seen ‘ab’ used that way before, or perhaps had simply failed to recognize it. Appreciate it.
  12. 5:43 for me, in a clean sweep – my first for some time. Brief hold-ups on DAIS (–I-), HIGH-ROLLER (-I—O—R) and SHADOWLESS (-H-D—E–), but no real problems.

    1A for my COD, since it got me off to a good start :-).

  13. Despite getting the unknown JABOT correct from the generous clue I still managed to get one wrong at 21d putting WALKIN instead of PARKIN. To WALK can be to leave the car and IN is at home and, maybe, a WALK-IN could be an easy goal or “piece of cake” but that is clearly not what is required. “Walkin'” is, apparently, a Miles Davis compilation LP released in 1957 but I am not moved to listen to it.

    Four “easies” left out of the blog:

    11a Child, one given to pinching things (6)
    NIPPER. Pinching as in crabs not shoplifting.

    19a Singer’s amusing adventure (4)

    7d Suddenly in unison (3,2,4)

    25d Show good overcome by wickedness (4)
    SI G N

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