Times 23,864 – In the beginning was the Word

After a lot of very challenging puzzles, we appear to be in much less strenuous territory this week. Another ten minute solve with nothing too obscure.

8 ADOPTED – dual meaning, the issue being children.
13 G(R)EEK – it’s all Greek to me.
14 SUBALTERN – SUB(marine) + ALTER + N. A Subaltern’s Love Song is John Betjeman’s famous ode to Miss Joan Hunter Dunn; a very Betjeman kind of word, which refers to any junior army officer.
16 NAMEPLATE – [METAL PANE(l)]* with the ‘handle’ being the name rather than the doorknob.
19 ROSIN – RN containg OS + I; nicely disguised as “it’s put on bow” is the def. (rosin is the resin applied to the bow by violinists etc. to give them purchase on the strings) and not the ship’s bow.
24 LITERAL – after discussion here about what we ought to call &lit. clues, up pops one where the answer is in every sense literal! The lesser-known meaning is a proofreader’s term for an error involving the omission or transposition of a single letter. On re-reading I actually spotted one in he last sentence and was tempted to leave it in as an example…
25 INSULAR – that popular favourite, the (Isle of) Man, proving that no man is an island, but Man sometimes is….
26 COMMONWEALTH – COMMON + (THE LAW)*, I shall say nothing about the connection between law-breakers and the foundation of Australia 🙂
1 CHORTLE – CHOLE(r) around R(igh)T.
2 NETWORK – NEW(y)ORK around T(ime)
7 MAJOR-GENERAL, the suit being one’s strength in a game of bridge or similar.
15 BREADLINE – B(ritish) + READ + LINE.
17 MAESTRO – I guess the “in parts” is what suggests that the A and S go into METRO in two different places, which seems a little laboured, though easy enough to work out.
18 PROGRAM – PRO GR + AM; is that the second appearance in two days for the late King?
19 REFUSAL – nicely disguised because the definition is simply “No” and the problem for the showjumper is the three faults they incur for failing to attempt a jump at a fence. ETA apparently it’s four faults now, but I haven’t seen any showjumping since Harvey Smith was in his prime.
20 STEALTH – (THE LAST)*; as Ben Elton would have said (possibly even on Channel 4’s The Last Resort, appropriately), a little bit political, there, ladies and gennlemen. I think this phrase started to have political currency after a Tory poster campaign at one general election or another, presumably with a nod towards Stealth bombers, the suggestion being that Gordon Brown was good at taxing people without them noticing. Not sure if non-UK politicians are ever accused of this particular sleight of hand.

Straightforward and unflashy today, but that’s not a bad thing. I’ll start the COD nominations with 19 down, because on first reading the brain doesn’t separate No and Problem, which you need to do before the penny drops in a satisfying manner.

15 comments on “Times 23,864 – In the beginning was the Word”

  1. Should have been under ten for me too, but ended up 13:45, as I struggled with the top right corner at the end. Couldn’t think of 1A or 4D, then got R,ESTATE from the wordplay but was thinking of REST-ATE rather than RE-STATE so didn’t out it in immediately. My COD nomination is 2D, nothing else really stood out for me today.
  2. Was about to finish before going to sleep last night, but 19d refused to come out. Why? I wrote BOSUN at 19 ac (1st letters Bow Of Ship + UN). After a night’s sleep I managed to read the clue correctly. So, about 6 hours 30 minutes for me! Is this a record round these parts?
  3. Somehow overlooked ‘favouring’ in 18 and quickly penned in ‘ANAGRAM’, which held me up in the SW. Otherwise a nice straightforward puzzle; COD for me was 19A.
  4. This will provide a field day for those pushing for personal best times. Less than 20 minutes for me – about as fast as I can write the answers into the grid. At 7D a “major” suit in bridge is defined as either Spades or Hearts because contracts bid and made in those suits earn more points than in the “minor” suits. 19A and 19D are both nice clues but I’ll favour 19D as COD nomination. Jimbo.
  5. Could someone please explain how BREADLINE without “on the” in front can mean “in poor condition”? I’m afraid I can’t see it.
    1. As I joined in the grumbles about some of yesterday’s clues I was loath to raise this but Jackkt has done it for me. I guess the “in” doesn’t have to be part of the definition. However, BREADLINE is the queue of people waiting for a handout and as Jackkt says it is “on the breadline” that described their condition. Jimbo.
      1. “On (the) breadline” defines the state of being necessitous; whereas the “breadline” is the same as the ‘subsitence level’ i.e. poverty = in ‘poor condition’.
  6. Didn’t time this one, I printed it off after 1am and recovering from celebrating the day of pretending to care about the Irish, saw a few clues right off and solved it before bed. A breeze, but pretty fun – I too fell for bosun, which had me second-guessing refusal for a moment.

    Is anyone else finding funny spacing in the online version? Particularly an extra space after the first letter in a capitalised name. For me today it’s in 25ac, yesterday in 8ac

    1. On the funny spacing. Yes it’s been happening for some days now, the first occasion being last Friday when it was my turn to write the blog, and that day they had clues out of numerical order too. Somebody’s not doing their job, methinks.
  7. Just back from a long weekend in Venice. 6:10 for this, with no hold-ups. 16A for COD?
  8. Wasn’t able to time myself on this solve but it felt like sub-20 minutes which would make it my third fastest time in the world, ever.

    Agree with PB on 16a ac COD.

    I’ve never come across choler before.

    That is all.

  9. Like glheard, I did this last night after returning from some St. Patrick’s revelry, and finished in 20 minutes while watching the news, so it certainly is a fairly easy solve. Nothing stood out. I’d expect we’re in for some tougher versions later in the week. Regards.
  10. “How could resort make Capri so unromantic?”

    I can’t see how “How could resort (which yes, I can see is to be read as re-sort) make” is an anagram indicator.

    1. You’re entitled to your view but my interpretation is this:

      My friend: Capri by itself is a romantic place. But the resort in which I stayed was horrible: the bed was creaky, the drinks were stale, the flush didn’t work…

      My friend: Really? Sorry! But… But… How could resort make Capri so unromantic? The next time you had better stay in a better hotel!

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