Times 23,852 – A thing of beauty is a joy forever…

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Connectivity from work has been limited recently, so I thought it best to do this at midnight, and hope that a) the club was working, and b) I didn’t find myself still struggling to finish at half past one. Happily, a) it is, and b) around 15 minutes required: the longer words were among the first to yield, which meant that once they were solved, they yielded useful hints on lots of clues at once.

6 EMIT – backwards reflection of TIME, which, when it isn’t The Enemy, is that which heals all wounds. I spent rather too long looking for variations on DOC, MO etc.
10 INSIGHT – I = scientific notation for current, and “various things” was a less obvious way than usual of indicating (THINGS)*.
12 RUN UP – the obligatory cricket reference to confuse non-Commonwealth types, the “approach” in question being that of the bowler to the wicket. “Run” in the sense of laddering in tights etc.
14 NOT-WITH-STANDING – a nice &lit which caught my eye and was first to go in.
17 PULCHRITUDINOUS – (LOUD URCHIN IS PUT)* = an unusual synonym for “pretty” which comes much more easily if you’ve read a bit of Latin (pulcher=beautiful is very early vocabulary in that language).
21 EMBER – I couldn’t help picturing Gordon Brown, who is good at the glowering – this of course is a disguise; just as a FLOWER is also a river because it’s something that flows, so a GLOWER is something which glows.
25 DIET – I liked this, DIE = stop + T, the heading of T(AKEAWAYS) with that injunction to lose weight by avoiding the latter.
26 DEATH SQUAD – (HADSET)* + QUAD, as one of four children, who are now apparently the victims – a somewhat morbid note in a cheery puzzle, I thought!
2 LENIN – excellent. L(eft)+ upwards figure NINE; the man of the Left in question famously lies on his back at the centre of Red Square, embalmed and on show for all who wish to queue.
4 DOLTISH – DOSH containing L(ieutenan)T + 1; nobody gets called a DOLT these days, really, do they?
5 WHIPPET – cat as in the Naval one with nine tails + PET. Beloved of Northern stereotypes along with flat caps and racing pigeons.
7 MAGNIFICO – I kept expecting the poem to be ODE, but it turned out to be IF surrounded by N(ew) and MAGIC+0. If I was more cultured, I’d think of Lorenzo de Medici, but instead I find myself humming Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen..
11 SPLENDIFEROUS – another long anagram (DEPRESSIONFLU)* with a nice surface reading.
16 GASTROPOD – DO+PORT+SAG reversed, to follow escargot from my last puzzle.
19 UPRIGHT – “particular type” meaning “chap who is fussy”, thus PRIG in UHT, which is the preferred method in continental Europe of making milk last for ages (and taste vile – this is one reason it is impossible to get a proper cup of tea in France).
20 BIPED – (PI) rev. inside BED. Outside the world of crosswords, I suspect good people are rarely described as PI(ous) these days. In another nod to Kipling, and his exceedingly good stories, the heroes of his Stalky & Co. described a ticking off by headmasters and such as pi-jaw.

Lots to like here, I thought, such as 2 down, but I’ll say 20 down as my COD, as I like the “Man finds uprising good” part of it an excellent shorthand for describing the evolution from dragging one’s knuckles to walking upright.

22 comments on “Times 23,852 – A thing of beauty is a joy forever…”

  1. Struggled a bit with this but got there in the end with one wrong answer that I would have looked up if I had the means at the time. At 25 I put DUET having convinced myself that “heading for” might = DUE and that DUET was the name of an organ stop. Not sure now quite how I thought the former, but in thinking the latter I was confusing “duet” with “doublette”.

    11 gets my nomination, not so much for COD as for the answer which is itself splendiferous.

  2. Easy but fun – about half an hour for me.
    Only problem was with Magnifico – I too looked for Ode as the poem. And I’d forgotten that Time was the healer as well as the enemy, so that one took longer than it should have done.
    5D as COD as I have a cat and, being a Yorkshireman, own whippets!
  3. Stupidly had a glimpse of your report before solving, and had seen EMIT, so added a two-minute penalty for 8:53. 25 my COD.
  4. Monday’s normal puzzle on Tuesday. About 25 fun minutes to solve. I think we’ll see a lot of COD nominations because nothing really stands out. 12A is neat but my vote goes to 25A. Jimbo.
  5. Same here – 25A for COD with 2D running a very close second. Ever since the oft-quoted “Nevertheless, trouser seats get shiny — (15)” appeared about 250 years ago, any clue for NOTWITHSTANDING seems to jump out as extremely obvious, so this went in very quickly, followed by 12A and 22D. Most of the rest put up some resistance and I struggled with it far more than I think others will.
  6. I began thinking this was more like a Monday puzzle, getting the two long acrosses immediately and the two long downs fairly quickly, but I took a while to get DIET and even longer to see EMIT and MAGNIFICO, though I should have seen IF as the poem far sooner.
    More good clues today: 1a, 23, 25, 26, 2 all stood out for me. 2 is my nomination for COD; a neat &lit that conjures up that image of Lenin perfectly.
  7. I always know I’ve done well when I finish before reaching my “peeling my lunchtime orange” moment. It took me 8:32 altogether. I’d normally be delighted to beat PB, but I think two minutes is a bit of a harsh penalty for seeing EMIT. On appeal I’ll reduce it to 1 minute and bide my time.
    Although pretty straightforward, there were some very nice clues, including 6a and 2d, but I’ll follow the crowd and nominate 25a today.

  8. I had 20d as COD but 25a is nice as well. A good puzzle , got a bit bogged down in bottom left corner and didnt help by putting in pulchitrudinous at first!
    15 minutes not bad considering
    1. I have the root word as ‘pulchitrude’ in my memory for some reason, so was glad that INTENSE had an easy clue to reveal the mistake.
  9. 5d was my favourite, in a very enjoyable and not too difficult puzzle…

    19d. I’m quite partial to UHT milk, having drunk little else for 20 years now. But they do say it’s an acquired taste, and I do go for the skimmed milk…


  10. 10:04 for me, just creeping over 10 minutes staring at 25A for too long. Took me nearly a minute to get at the end, but I agree with most others that it’s the COD, although 2D has to be a very close second.
  11. Wasn’t 2d in a Mephisto a few weeks ago? Agree, agree, agree, this was a slow solve for me (late morning), but loved most of the clues when they fell into place. That anagram at 13 gave me trouble, and I guessed at the placements of U,C,R to luckily come up with the right word.
    1. was clued (by Chris Feetenby) in Mephisto 2478 thus:

      Muses on ultimate political revolutionary – him?

      So same breakdown but different execution.

  12. Completed in 20 mins, on the train from Putney Bridge to Waterloo. An exceptionally fast time for me, which suggests times of well under 10 mins for Maestro Biddlecombe and others in that rarefied league (as seems to have been the case). So it must have been a fairly easy one. But lots of nice clues. I concur with others above in nominating 25 ac for COD – though only after realising, with the aid of comments above,that there is a much better cryptic reading than the one I plumped for when completing the puzzle. My reading was DIE = “stop” plus T, the first letter (“heading for”) of “takeways”, which also defined the answer, taking DIET as a noun. Admittedly, takeways would be a pretty odd sort of diet, but could, I guess, be so described for those ultra-busy persons who live almost exclusively on such food. Far better, of course, is to take DIET as a verb, in which case the entire clue then becomes both the definition of the answer and supplies all the elements of the cryptic reading. Very neat. Is there a special name for a clue of this type?
    1. There most certainly is, though it’s a rather dry one. They’re called “&lits” which is supposed to mean “and literally so”, or something like it. They should really have a dramatic name like “double whammies”. If you keep your eyes open, you’ll see more of them.

      Your original analysis ended up with an impossibility of a kind that it’s worth being able to identify. Most cryptic puzzles, including the Times, follow the rule that (&lits excepted!), the def and wordplay do not overlap. So if ‘heading for takeaways’ = T in the wordplay, ‘takeaways’ cannot also be the definition.

      Edited at 2008-03-04 05:56 pm (UTC)

      1. I really don’t like the term ‘&lit’ – it sounds so arcane and means I feel apologetic when explaining such clues to other solvers. ‘Double whammies’ is much better, I might call them that from now on!

        5:31 to solve, but this was a bit of a missed chance for a very fast time – I just couldn’t see 1ac (not aided by a hypothetical, incorrect, ‘C’ from 4dn, from ‘cash’ rather than ‘dosh’) and it was my last entry, which always slows things down.

        1. I agree &lit feels arcane. In its favour, of course, is its brevity. When I first started setting cryptics I’d never seen &lit and wouldn’t have known its meaning until it was explained, so I made do with my own version “dfw” (definition from wordplay). I have an early memory of sending a crossword to a newspaper and including “dfw” as an explanation to a particular clue; the response was along the lines of “What the hell are you on about?”
  13. Thank you, Peter, for the name for that kind of clue, and also for explaining why my alternative reading would not be allowed (I was unaware of that rule). Incidentally, in the shorthand for “and literally so”, what is the symbol that precedes “lit”, and how does one reproduce it on the keyboard?
    1. It’s just an ampersand (shift+7 on UK keyboards) – for some reason the one in the font used in this blogging design scheme looks rather odd.
  14. 12 mins for this one. Lots of nice clues I thought. Diet took a while to reveal itself, but raised a smile!


  15. 7dPenguin tipped me off that this was not too hard and I should therefore tackle it in conditions conducive to an assault on my previous PB of 20:20. Needless to say events conspired against me and I had to make do with short sharp bursts. 40 combined minutes later I pulled stumps with Magnifico missing and, having fallen into PB’s pulchitr/pulchrit trap couldn’t make any sense of 18.

    Never mind, I’ll probably go and solve tomorrow’s puzzle in 18:40 or something.

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