Times 23,798 Lang May Your Lum Reek

Solving time : 30 minutes

I bid you welcome to 2008 from a still drowsy Dorset. This is an easy puzzle to start the year.
I wish you all good solving in the new year, but especially those who use this site as an aid to learning new skills.
I’m off now for some knobs and vinny with a pint or two of badger best.

1 STOPCOCK – S-TOP-COCK; main=water main
6 INFORM – IN-FORM; snitch = kids slang for tell on
10 ESPADRILLE – ESP-A DRILL-E; drill=bit
11 BLACKTHORN – B-LACK-THOR-N; Thor = Norse god
13 TAXA – TAX-A reference taxonomy
14 SAVANNAH – S-A VAN-NAH; if its German its Hans
20 LEAD-FREE – I think this refers to (p)etrol and “lead” = first rather than the metal (symbol pb not p)
22 WHEY – W-HEY; as in curds and whey
24 EXORBITANT – EX(ORB-I)TANT; bro=brother; extant=surviving
26 GRAVESTONE – GRAVES-TONE; superior=over
28 EDEN – British prime minister in 1950s and Adam’s home
30 FIENDISH – anagram of “finished”
2 TAMIL,NADU – (I’m an adult)*; Kerala is in SW India on Malabar Coast
3 PANACEA – PAN-ACE-A; I first read this as “work expert” which made life difficult!
4 OVERT – O-VERT; (carn)O(ustie)+VERT=green; Carnoustie is an open championship golf course
5 KOP – KO-P; KO=kick off; the Kop is a famous stand at Liverpool Football Club
7 FRITTER – two meanings, blow=waste=fritter
8 RELAX – RE-LA-X; rex=king
19 FLYOVER – FLY-OVER; I like “the high road”
21 FATHEAD – FA(THE-A)D; a charlie is a chump
23 HORSE – two meanings, horse=heroin
25 BREVE – B-REVE; note B + “ever” reversed; a breve, being 2 semi-breves, is now rarely used
27 OAF – (L)OAF; loaf=brain as in “use your loaf”

19 comments on “Times 23,798 Lang May Your Lum Reek”

  1. It took me the best part of an hour in fits and starts, which was really far too long. I put it down to having had only about 3 hours sleep.

    One of the hold-ups was at 20 where I had decided the second word was FUEL. I then solved 21D on the strength of the ‘F’ so I was reluctant to admit 20 might be wrong until I found the checked letters in the first word. I’m not sure I’m happy with this sort of clue particularly in the light of previous misprints in the on-line version.

    I didn’t know TAXA but got it from the wordplay, and the explanation of ESPADRILLE defeated me until after I had completed the whole puzzle though I had come up with the correct answer before I finished reading the clue the first time through.

    According to Chambers KOP originally referred specifically to Anfield but is now any football terrace. Collins does not give the football reference.

    I liked many of the clues today and I’m picking 3D as my COD.

    1. I agree with your comments. My first thought when I read the clue was “another typo”. Then I thought of petrol and immediately thought “that’s a mistake, p is phosphorous not lead”. At the third go I got it. It just shows how we are now expecting errors! Jimbo.
    2. Being originally from Merseyside, I’ve always understood that “Kop”
      was derived from Spion Kop which was a location/battle in the Boer
      wars. Why this was hijacked by Liverpool supporters as a name for
      the area behind the goal at one end of Anfield, I’ve never
      really understood. Maybe that’s because I’m an Evertonian where we
      have a rather more logical method of naming the areas of our
      ground (Goodison Park).


      1. It’s a nicely ironic clue, however. Even as an Evertonian, I’m sure you’d agree that the Liverpool fans generally make plenty of noise, come what may. Unlike what used to be scathingly referred to as the ‘Highbury library’…
        1. I think you mean the “Old Trafford prawn sandwich van” actually – or Goodison on Saturday last at about seven-ish (from an Arsenal fan 🙂 )
  2. A nice puzzle I thought. I liked Panacea as COD too.

    Thought stopcock a bit iffy though.
    And couldn’t get past Knock Out for KO, even though I wrote in “kop”.
    And made same mistake about writing in “fuel” till I got the checking letters, then spent ten minutes arguing that lead = Pb, not P (till I saw the explanation above!).

  3. I don’t know whether it was the after-effects of too many G & T’s and a bottle of wine last night, but I was bit slow to finish this. I initially guessed at TAMIL to begin 2d, but I wasn’t sure what followed. Lots of good clues. I particularly liked 29 and 30 across and 21 and 27 down.
  4. I very much agree with dyste on the good clues, generally clumped down at the bottom. ‘Fathead’ and ‘oaf’ (21D and 27D) are a particularly amusing pair, and I choose 27D as COD.

    I’m not sure 24A quite works. I guess the definition has to be ‘high cost’, but I don’t think that’s quite what ‘exorbitant’ means. Or is a ‘high cost’ lifestyle ipso facto ‘exorbitant’?

    1. The definition is “high” then “cost of living” = extant (being the effort needed to survive) then one bro of course. Jimbo.
      1. I don’t see how the def. can be just ‘high’, since ‘extant’ doesn’t to my mind mean ‘cost of living’. It surely simply means ‘living’ and the def. is ‘high cost’, which at a stretch it is equivalent to: “that trip was exorbitant” – “that trip was high cost”.
        1. I haven’t been writing these blogs for very long but I’ve already learned to check everything. Sorry, but I’m going to paraphrase/quote Collins at you. “Extant is wrongly used to say something exists without a connotation of survival” and in the definition extant is given as “still in existence, surviving”. The word “exorbitant” is defined as “excessive” whilst “high” is defined as “greater than normal”. You might begin to see why it takes longer to write the blog than to solve the puzzle. Jimbo.
  5. I agree nice start to year. Took around an hour, but should have been much less. Spent too much time proving 26 across until understood superior to mean above. I can’t remember seeing that before but maybe I am wrong as I have only recently returned to crosswords after a long gap. It gets my COD. Did not like Horse as it seemed too vague, but still a good puzzle. Happy New Year everybody


    ps still can’t get on site other than through back door.

    1. I shared your doubts but it’s “superior to” that means “above” (I checked it in the dictionary after doing the crossword but before doing the analysis). Jimbo.
  6. Quite enjoyable and some clever clues. 12d was nicely worded but 27d gets my COD. I’d been playing with lout/out until I finally spotted the anagram at 30!

    Failed to finish because of 5d but I’ve forgiven myself, having been nowhere near a British football stadium and all!

  7. I couldn’t understand “in need of” here. Answer is A and workers is MEN, but how does “in need of” put the MEN after the A? Is it a cunning equivalence of “in need of” and “after”? If it is it’s rather clever and I’m surprised it hasn’t been mentioned.

    I thought 20A (the etrol one) was the COD. Nice heteronym.

    1. As you know we are not supposed to bolg every answer. I left this one out because I thought it was a bit loosly worded but otherwise very straightforward. I certainly didn’t see anything clever – but now wait to be corrected! Jimbo.
  8. 9:55 for me. Like others, I wasn’t entirely happy with 9A (AMEN) and 24A (EXORBITANT), and I wasn’t too keen on 15D (NEW JERSEY) either (I always feel a bit uneasy when definition and wordplay overlap (unless in a full &lit), and this example seemed weirder than most).
    1. I share your reservations. I thought it was a poorly constructed clue, which thankfully also had a very obvious answer. I thought about putting it in the blog but simply couldn’t think of anything to say other than to be critical in the manner you have expressed. Jimbo.
  9. Firstly I would like to stick my oar in at 24a EXORBITANT. This has had some discussion above and, unless I missed it in which case sorry pardon, I don’t think the clue has been parsed fully and correctly.

    24a High cost of living holds single relative back (10)
    EX ORB 1 TANT. This is 1 BRO backwards in EXTANT. I believe that the literal part of the clue is “High cost” and the word play is (of) living = EXTANT holds (contains) single relative = 1 BRO back.

    Now for the “easies” – some of which have had some stick above:

    9a Workers in need of answer get the last word (4)
    A MEN. The workers (MEN) need the answer (A) to get the last word = AMEN.

    16a Emphasise why off work? (6)
    STRESS. A queried double definition?

    12d Play: it starts “In the beginning” by word of introduction (7)
    O.T. HELLO. In the beginning was the word – but it wasn’t hello. Maybe it should have been?

    15d What’s needed when jumper in such a state? (3,6)
    NEW JERSEY. I quite like this where “state” is the literal AND part of the wordplay. I don’t think this deserves the disrespect meted out above!

    Thanks to setter and Jimbo. I always enjoy your blogs and comments even if I don’t always agree.

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