Times 23861 Tricky

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
This took me about an hour which was not good as I started very well and for a while thought I had drawn an easy day to blog but I became bogged down along the way. It wasn’t helped by thinking there were some Down clues missing from the on-line version only later to spot that they were out of sequence, and at 14 & 24 there were typing errors in the first words which gave pause for thought.

1 THE KNIVES ARE OUT – I’m not sure if everyone would know the expression “put out” in connection with laying a table but for those who do this is fair enough I suppose
9 RETRIEVER – Is “complete” superfluous here or have I misssed something?
10 SO,FIA(t) – It was easy to solve with the F and the A in place but not so easy to explain why. I only just spotted it.
11 WOR(k),THY – Ditto!
13 (t)RE(e),BOOT – My joint COD with special mention for being a computer clue that avoids IT. Possibly some American solvers may be puzzled by “boot” as I think they call that part of a car the “trunk”. I suppose one could quibble that the boot isn’t necessarily at the back but perhaps the setter is not familiar with the design of the VW Beetle for example.
18 P(OR,TRA)IT – ART (rev) here
19 B(RAY)ED – “Burrowing” at the start of the clue was a real distraction and prevented me seeing the obvious answer for some time. Clever stuff.
23 BEET,ON – Mrs.B the famous cookery writer. Another clever clue which I didn’t like much until I had solved it.
28 MANAGEMENT-(dart)S,PEAK – “Bull” is a very accurate definiton of this ghastly jargon
1 TURF WAR – I thought I was missing something because “Pitched battle” would seem to work on its own and I couldn’t see why “in space” was there. But it’s a war over disputed territory and territory is space so it’s okay after all.
2 (h)EATER – Gawd bless yer, Mary Poppins, the Cockney indicator is back again having gone missing on Wednesday!
3 NEIGHBOUR – I believe this is a reference to an Australian television programme feauring more than one of them
4 VIV(id),A – An oral examination having nothing to do with dentistry
6 ROSIE – Sounds like “rosy”
7 OFFER,TORY – Part of the Eucharist
8 THAT’S IT – Oh no!! The dreaded IT is back too.
14 BAR,BARI,AN – I didn’t know the Italian port Bari. I have some major gaps in my knowledge of geography.
16 VARIETIES – My other joint COD. Following my disgrace over Heartbreak House last time, my current theatre project failed once again to point me in the right direction. Only this week  I have been researching the history of a certain Palace of Varieties but I’m afraid I didn’t spot the significance of “palace” until it was too late. 
18 PER,FORM – Does this mean “do a good job”? Surely one can perform badly too.
20 DONE,TSK – Oh dear! Another geographical name I’ve never heard of. And I have Russian blood. I’m off to stand in the corner and perhaps PB will lend me his dunce’s cap as I’m sure he won’t be needing it today.

25 comments on “Times 23861 Tricky”

  1. A tricky end to the week. I did an early morning solve and wondered whether my slower time (25:30) was due to my brain not being fully engaged. However, reading jackkt’s comments, I don’t think this is the case. We’ve had a real mixed bag this week ranging from PB-inducing easy ones to the far more tricky ones of today and yesterday. After yesterday’s mini furore, I was a little disapponted that the setter didn’t find an alternate way to clue FINE ARTS. After all, we had a “rude noise” in 19a.
    I’m off for a week. See you all when I get back
  2. Some highlighting errors made the bottom half a bit strange. Ok if you look at the clues as numbered. 20 gives 22, 25>20, 24>25, 22>24 which is the worst both being 5 letters and the one that threw me. Tough xword. Not happy with ‘not put away’ = leave out in 15A. Left out in my book and thats the feeling i’m getting.
    1. I think the present tense of “put” is being used here (as in “put it away”). So to “not put away” is to keep it in plain sight and hence “leave out”.

      Glad to see that there are others who found this tough. I was saved by lucky guesses for DONETSK and BEETON. I guess the latter is a tough one for non-English solvers.

      – Vijay

  3. I thought this a good puzzle to follow yesterday’s monster. Not as hard but not a doddle either. About 40 minutes to solve. I was out early so worked from the printed paper – glad to have missed the latest cock-up on the e-version. I’m also missing the significance of “complete” at 9A and “good” at 18D. I liked TURF WAR, dear old Mrs B (she was due a re-appearance), but my favourite is 28A and agree “bull” is a great definition. Jimbo.
  4. 19 minutes to actually solve, then 4 more looking for alternatives to “BEETON” which fit the wordplay but didn’t really look like a name (thanks for the explanation jackkt).

    I have a laddish inclination to go for 28a a COD, that gave me a smile when I got there, REBOOT was clever too, and the definition was very nice.

  5. Very tricky. An hour and a half for me in total. My experience was the converse of jackkt’s: after several minutes I had no answers entered at all and began to wonder if I might be facing that nightmare outcome for all cruciverbalists – the dreaded clean sheet. But then the trusty cockney indicator came to my aid to produce EATER for 2 dn. After that I proceeded fairly steadily but was held up at the end by the NE corner and by 5 and 16 dn – indeed, 5 dn, which jackkt evidently found so easy he didn’t even bother to annotate it, was my last solution to go in. No accounting for taste! I must be in laddish mood too (see above) but I also fancy 28 ac for COD – nice definition with ingenious cryptic structure and cleverly misleading surface reading.

    In 15 ac I can’t personally see anything wrong with “not put away” = “leave out”, if “put” is taken as the infinitive of the verb and not the past tense.

    Michael H

    1. “5 dn, which jackkt evidently found so easy he didn’t even bother to annotate it, was my last solution to go in. No accounting for taste!”

      We are encouraged not to explain every clue, Anon, and indeed sometimes it’s hard to choose the ones to leave out. I usually choose according to which clues I find the least interesting or amusing and this may bear no relation to the difficulty in solving

    2. Just in case you need a bit of assistance the construction is S-TRAINER and somebody else has questioned the definition “something for tea” as being slightly loose though I had no personal problem with it. Jimbo.
  6. I think a love of football (soccer for Kevin, George etc) helped here with both Bari and (Shaktar) Donestsk having teams that periodically pop up in UEFA cup matches. That might also explain why “perform” is clued as “do a good job” as they are synonymous in football (soccer) management speak, as in “The lads didn’t perform this week so we got found out at the back, Brian”.

    Anyway, a not displeasing 31:40 having seen some of the other times. Can someone explain the pitched/turf link please?

    5 down made clever misleading use of the term “something for tea” but COD for me is 23 ac – I went through all manner of veg before twigging that the use of veg rather than vegetable could mean a contraction and hey-ho, beet popped straight into the old noggin.

    1. I desperately wanted to put “STRUMPET” in there, after seeing the checking letters, but that’s because I’m a lager lout.
    2. The “pitch” is the TURF as in the hallowed Wembley turf. The battle is the WAR. And a TURF WAR is a fight over jurisdiction. Jimbo.
        1. I assumed something that takes place on a pitch is “pitched” in the same way that something that takes place on a stage is said to be “staged”.

          In deciphering the word play I was misled for a while by the presence of TAR in the answer.

  7. Yes, quite tricky, had a long time wondering about ‘varieties’, never having the background to connect that with ‘palace’, but I finally guessed. About an hour to solve altogether, plus interruptions. I guessed on ‘Beeton’ too, but googled her, and there she was. My geography is OK, so Bari in 14 was found, and I actually know Donetsk is an industrial city. I wasted a long time trying to figure why ‘eboot’ had anything to do with the middle of a tree. See you next week. Happy St Patricks Day, in advance.
  8. I think the chances of PB owning a dunce’s cap are about as high as anyone beating him time-wise two days in a row. Thanks to you all for making the crossword a little more accessible to a true dunce like myself.
    1. Hi, Anon, and welcome. PB sometimes posts with a userpic of himself wearing a dunce’s cap. It’s a very rare occurrence of course.
  9. 20 minutes, and another obscure antelope: didn’t we have the reebok lately as well, to go with the ORIBI? I always think of perform as having become a purely positive thing, because it is, appropriately enough, very much a part of modern management speak. (When work meetings become too dreadful, I try to think of Fry & Laurie’s appalling businessmen as an antidote: “How’s the coffee?” “The coffee performs OK, Gordon.”)
  10. I couldn’t think where else to post this question, so I beg your forgiveness for asking here.

    Do you know where the term ‘anagrind’ originated, and who coined it?

    I ask because I find myself using it in my own writing – it is so perfectly suited to its purpose – yet as far as I know it isn’t (yet) an acknowledged English word.

    I first came across it either on this site or on Peter’s original T4TT site. And a quick google only shows up a couple of dozen crossword-related sites; there’s something ironic about that isn’t there?!

    Anyway, I’d really appreciate it if anyone can tell me any more about the word’s provenance: if not in this forum I’d greatly appreciate an email to AngryVocab at hotmail.co.uk.

    Many thanks for your forbearance,

  11. Congratulations to Friday’s setter in managing to get yet another Ukrainian city into the crossword!
    Those who didn’t know it might feel less bad if I mention overhearing two (English and allegedly well-educated) office colleagues struggling over a clue in the Times 2 a few years back: City of Yorkshire – 5 letters beginning with L
    (Oh dear!)
  12. I can’t remember whether I saw it anywhere else before comments here. It’s just a fairly obvious shortening of ‘anagram indicator’.
  13. 12:25 for this, but add a 1 minute or so penalty for having glimpsed the answer to 1A – I’d forgotten it enough not to write it in immediately when I solved this one.

    “anyone beating him time-wise two days in a row”: there are some people who can – mostly my main rivals in the championship.

  14. This was a good ‘un in my book. European footer watchers will have had no problem with Donetsk at 20d.

    There were 8 on the bench in the blog. Least interesting perhaps but still tricky if you don’t happen to see them:

    15a Drop not put away (5,3)
    LEAVE OUT. No problem here for this double def. These answers have been dropped from the blog but are not put away in this comment.

    21a (Teach rat)* to move stick back (8)

    26a Creature I pen backwards (5)
    ORIB I. A small African antelope.

    5d Son takes teacher something for tea (8)
    S TRAINER. For tea-leaves. Rarely used in the teabag era.

    17d Deny (a mild c)old (is)* disastrous (8)

    22d Restricting elements of parTY IN Government (5)

    24d Wall piece stuffed with old cloth (5)
    T O ILE

    25d Venerable figure’s admission of being trickster? (4)
    I CON

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