Times 23837 – Phew!

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
 This took me a good hour but I probably spent longer working out the clues whilst solving than I normally would. There was some lovely stuff along the way and only a couple of queries or possible quibbles. I couldn’t find a clue to leave out in the Across set so I have compensated in the Downs.

1 CL(EAR) OUT – Does anyone know the origin of “shell-like” meaning “ear?
5 (b)OLD VIC(e) – The clue nicely combines “fringe theatre” to mislead
9 MI,NIS,TRY – SIN,IM (all rev) + TRY
10 F(INN)AN – “Finnan haddock” is a popular dish particularly in Scotland from where it originates. I can’t say I’ve come across Finnan on its own before and Collins agrees, but it’s in Chambers.
12 TWIST ONES ARM – Whilst solving I couldn’t see where TWIST came from but now I see that if you twist “ones arm” you get “a sermon”. Neat.
15 HO(IS)T – Another beastly spelled out number in the on-line version. I hate ’em! 20 as we shall see is “incandescent”. Jack = hoist here.
16 (REWOR),KING – “Stroke” caused me endless problems leading to thoughts of golf, backswing, downswing etc. But I had picked the wrong sport because it refers to rowing. So ROWER(rev)+KING = the greatest.
18 (LITUR),GIST – The last to go in today. (URL it)* + GIST
19 CRE(a)TE – Minoan denotes the Bronze Age culture of Crete apparently
20 INCAN,DESCENT – The second reference to the Incas this week
24 HE(FT)ED – FT for “paper” again. We haven’t had the Sun for a while
25 OMNIVORE – This is from (ROOM,VEIN)*. “Room” is in the clue and “vein” is the answer at 23. The anagram indicator appears to be “reserved” pronounced “re-served”. I like the definition “unfussy diner”. In fact a very good clue all round with a nice surface.
26 YES-MEN – This is my favourite and COD
27 AL(G)E,RIAN – Not sure how “supply” indicates (RAIN)* if it’s meant to. Edit: In a supple manner. Of course! 
3 ROSE WATER – This one seems a bit weak unless I’m missing something. I don’t think I would ever have thought of it without a checking letter or two. Thanks to Linxit for pointing out that I missed it’s an anagram of  “to wearers”. On an easier day I may have worked harder to see it .Oh, and apologies to the Setter.
8 CINEMAGOER – (ONCE IMAGER)* Another nice surface
11 SOP,WIT,H, CAMEL – Camel as “ship of the desert” gave me this one. Luckily I have heard of the old fighter plane otherwise this might have stumped me.
13 CHIL(DISH)LY – Another good one that gave me some trouble
14 F1,STI(CU)FFS – I’m afraid I have absolutely no interest in motor sports and it’s been a difficult puzzle so I’m relying on someone else to explain what all the letters around CU stand for. Thanks again to Linxit for explaining it fully. I wouldn’t have known F1 but I should have spotted STIFFS=bodies. 
17 RECON,DITE – I reckon this homophone is okay but I expect someone will disagree. I’m more bothered about “mysterious” as an angram indicator (DIET)*.
23 V,EIN

20 comments on “Times 23837 – Phew!”

  1. 27a – “supply”, is “with suppleness”, i.e. an adverb, not a verb.

    14d – F1 is motorsport, STIFFS are bodies.

    Very tough puzzle today, took me 36:11, with LITURGIST last to go in too. I’d also agree with 26 as COD, great cryptic def.

  2. Also found this very tough – 19A was my first answer, and the SW corner held me up for ages. Stopped the clock at 15:49. Lots of good clues, but “F1 stiffs” in 14 is a bit of genius which made this my last answer and my COD nomination. 10A: Concise Oxford also has finnan = ‘finnan haddock’.
  3. A very good crossword, a bit too good for me as I needed to check answers here! I thought 4D and 20A were both particularly neat, I’ll nominate 20A as COD.
  4. I couldn’t concentrate on this one as someone nearby was speaking loudly on their mobile phone for over half an hour(the curse of the age). But no excuses, it was a tough puzzle with some fine, deceptive clues. As URL ITS THE gave an anagram LUTHERIST, I toyed with that for too long until it clashed with ROSE WATER. Another one that took me over an hour.
  5. Michael Quinion is pretty reliable on this kind of stuff. In a review of a Nigel Rees book called A word in your shell-like, he says that this phrase

    combines a word in your ear, meaning a brief message in confidence, with shell-like ear, a poetic image that was already being mocked as a cliché well over a century ago.

  6. bit of a nightmare — got hung-up because i convinced myself that 18A is (URL it’s the)* which is LUTHERIST which almost looks plausible as “service provider”.
  7. I’m glad is wasn’t just me that found it tough going, especially the SW corner. Whereas I’d normally give up after about 40 minutes I pressed on as I was enjoying the puzzle and eventually limped home in 53 minutes.

    I wasted an eternity unravelling the anagram for cinemagoer which is such an unusually structured word.

    The long single-word clues stood out as the best for me particularly 4, 14 & 20 but my COD nomination is 13, which was also the last clue to go in.

  8. I can’t remember solving a better crossword than this. Almost every clue had its own clever twist. It was so good, I’m not going to even try to find my favourite, I’ll just nominate the whole lot. I was amazed that it only took me 20 minutes to complete.
    Top marks to the setter, and thanks for giving me such a good finish to the week.
  9. Having commented earlier, I was just admiring the clues again and got to wondering about 23D. England achieved a famous 1-5 victory in Germany in a World Cup qualifier in 2002. Was the clue originally ‘Five-one in Germany…’, or is the setter not much of a football fan?
  10. Excellent today. I always like seeing how modern language and concepts find a home in the crossword (I wonder when “URL” first appeared in the Times?). Of course, that allows “service provider” to be part of a wonderfully misleading clue.
  11. An excellent puzzle to finish a week of nice puzzles. About 50 minutes to solve with 18 across holding me up as it did others because I had the wrong letters in the anagram mix; suddenly saw GIST and heaved a sight of relief. I agree one could nominate all the clues but if pushed I go for 14 down because I think it is entirely original and difficult as well. Jimbo.
  12. Slogged through this one, only managed about half at my lunch break, punctuated by an annoying elderly lady attempting to get me to come to her church (sitting alone at lunch with a crossword and many cups of coffee is a sure sign of heathenism). Finnan was a guess from wordplay, I also fell into the trap of being convinced the anagram at 18ac was (urlitsthe). 7d was a nice tricksy one, I like clues where it’s not obvious from the begging which is the definition and which is the wordplay.
  13. Like Ilan and dyste above I was suckered into staring at (URL IT’S THE)*, but got there eventually in 13:03. COMB at 1dn also cost me time – good clue though. Some other very good ones too, YES-MEN and ROSE WATER especially.
  14. Finished this one with a couple of breaks in about 45 minutes. Same comments as many above re the misleading 18A anagram, and really liked 14D. After reading above of the extra meaning in 12A I have to say that one’s just about brilliant. Thanks to the author for not resorting today to cockney slang, cricket, obscure English placenames, London post codes, etc. Bless you! Have a nice weekend, all.
  15. I agree – an exceptionally fine puzzle, though the SW corner, particularly 18A, took me simply ages (I eventually finished in 23:25!). I’ll go for 12A as my COD.
  16. The backward ROWER KING at 16a was my last one in as it took me ages to catch on to the STROKE = rower. I was BOW in the school eight so as far removed as you can get. DOH!

    No “easies” in the across clues at all – this is a first – but there are 7 in the downs:

    1d Rummage through business storage unit (4)
    CO MB

    2d Does it contribute to rising SiciliAN TError? (4)

    4d Without control, came down after turbulence (12)

    6d One occupying teaching department in France (5)
    LO 1 RE

    7d Cases secure with damages (10)

    21d Name that is given to extremely close relative (5)
    N IE CE

    22d One wet place turned into very dry one (4)
    GOB1. 1 BOG turned upside-down.

  17. In these days of lockdown I’m supplementing my daily puzzles from The Times, Guardian, Independent and FT by working my way through the Big Book of Cryptic Crosswords Book 6 – the freebie handed out at the Championships last December. This one is number 8.. and the best so far. I was pleased to finish in 25:21 given the comments here on difficulty. My FOI was 1D having drawn a complete blank on a first read through the acrosses. Like others I took a while to abandon an anagram of “URL it’s the” for 18A. Lovely puzzle. I especially liked ETNA, INCANDESCENT, CHILDISHLY, SOPWITH CAMEL and FISTICUFFS.

    Edited at 2020-03-30 02:10 pm (UTC)

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