Times 23870 The Duke of Yolk meets Herbert Pocket

Solving time : 25 minutes

An interesting puzzle requiring a range of Trivial Pursuit knowledge to complete but nothing too difficult. One obscure type of fabric that I had come across before in crosswords. A number of nice clues with 18A as my favourite.

6 ROCOCO – RO-C(ardigan)-O-CO; ROO is short for kangaroo
10 CAPSTONE – (opencast)*
11 SERF – hidden word reversed (sel)FRES(pect)
12 SHEARWATER – (where a tar’s)*
16 MANY – MAN-Y(earn); take “earn” away=not to make money
18 YOLK – YO-L-K; soldiers=pieces of bread dipped into egg;change R to L in York (Grand Old Duke of)
19 OVERRIDE – (order I’ve)*
21 CENTRIFUGE – CENTR-I-FUG-E; a device to separate liquid from solid using centrifugal force
24 FLATMATE – FLAT-MATE; FLAT=dull; MATE=a tea from Paraguay
26 TAHITI – I-T(I)HAT all reversed
27 ORANGE – O-RANGE; spread=range as in “home on the range”
28 TURNPIKE – TURN-PIKE; toll as in payment
2 ADORE – A-DO-RE; without=outside of
3 OUT-OF-POCKET – reference Great Expectations and Herbert Pocket who had a 24A relationship with Pip
5 ANCIENT,MONUMENT – kept=maintained
6 REPORT – REP-OR-(democra)T
7 CUT – CUT(e); CUT is slang for drunk
8 CONCERNED – C-ONCER-NED; C=about; ONCER was slang for a pound note; DEN reversed
13 ADMIRALSHIP – (had similar)*+P(innace)
15 GROVELLER – GROV-ELL-ER; reference Grover Cleveland (1837-1908) twice US President
17 BEE-EATER – BEE(F)EATER; they “guard” the Tower of London
23 BATIK – KIT-AB reversed; AB=Able Bodied Seaman; batik is a fabric

32 comments on “Times 23870 The Duke of Yolk meets Herbert Pocket”

  1. Very enjoyable. No major problems here. I also had 18 as a possible COD but felt that 6A just has the edge over it.

    Is the absence of a capital P in 15D permissible by convention or (yet another) printing error in the on-line version?

      1. Right. Thanks for confirming. In view of this I wonder what the conventions are? I’d have thought a specific reference to President Cleveland would require a capital?
        1. Certainly. Without the ‘P’ it should be read as ‘president, Cleveland’ which makes no sense whatsoever.
  2. About 8 mins for this, with about a minute at the end finding MIRAGE at 20D. Didn’t know that batik was fabric as well as the dyeing method, but Collins has it.
    1. It’s always the devil knowing what to leave out in these blogs. As it happens, this caused me no problem but if Peter had difficulties then others may well. It’s M-IR-AGE where MAGE is the conjuror and I(nterio)R is the “empty” interior. Jimbo.
      1. My main problem was a fear of last answers where the checking letters are all vowels. FOrtunately, thinking about MI?A?E on my tour of possibilities for the first letter did the trick.
  3. Leisurely 20 minutes on this one. Enjoyable, and I particularly liked 18 where I confusedly pencilled in York, then twigged and changed it to Yolk.

    If I were as quick as PB, I don’t know what I’d do with the rest of the day!

    1. …which is not as bad as my early morning error, which had me pencilling in YOKE instead of YOLK.

      All white now, though!

  4. 27 minutes with 2 wrong. In both cases I’d put a ? next to the clue as I didn’t understand why my answers were right. Which they weren’t, so that’s that then. Yolk/York and Many/Mint were the offending articles. Foolishly I discounted doing something with a direction in York when I couldn’t see N,S,E or W in there. Duh! 5 down is only just cryptic I’d say.

    COD hard to choose but I’ll plump for 8d as I like the use of “oncer”.

  5. 10:53 including a phone call in the middle. I was pretty bogged down before the phone went, but all my missing answers flew in after. Funny sometimes how a distraction can help.
    The crossword was pretty uninspiring today, I thought. 5 down hardly counts as cryptic and 3 dn seems to have have two cryptic bits and no definition.
    Nothing really deserves a COD nom.
    1. 3D: out-of-pocket expenses are ones paid in cash. There’s a separate “out of pocket” = short of money, but without the hyphens.
  6. Agree with the above comments regarding 5D; should we have an anti-COD? This’d get my turned-down thumb.

    I thought 20D was well constructed; COD for me.

    1. I don’t think we need a “worst clue” poll – if there are clues that people dislike, that’s always apparent. I think COD was started to reduce the emphasis on what people didn’t like – an “anti-anti-COD” as it were…

      Personally, I don’t mind an occasional clue like 5D that’s less cryptic than you might think.

  7. In a pedantic moment: wasn’t the Grand Old Duke “Richard” rather than “York”? I.e. Richard the Duke of York?

    1. The Grand Old Duke of York was Prince Frederick 1763-1827 who was c-in-c English army during Napoleonic wars. Richard Duke of York was Richard Plantagenet 1411-1460 whose conflict with Henry VI led to Wars of the Roses. Jimbo.
      1. Jimbo, my take is that at the battle of Wakefield (Dec 30, 1460) Dickie had marched his men ‘up the hill’ to Sandal castle. Then in a moment of complete idiocy he marched them back down to attack the Lancastrians head-on, losing the battle and being killed in the process.

        What’s the tale behind Freddy and his claim to the nursery rhyme?

        Cheers, Stevo.

        1. You made me go and look it up!! Based on Wikipedia:
          The nursery rhyme is usually said to be based upon the events of the brief invasion of Flanders by Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany (1763-1827), the second son of King George III and Commander-in-Chief of the British Army during the Napoleonic Wars. In 1793, a painstakingly-prepared attack on the northern conquests of the French Republic was led by the Duke himself. He won a small cavalry victory at Beaumont (April 1794) only to be heavily defeated at Tourcoing in May and recalled to England. The specific location of the “hill” in the nursery rhyme has long been presumed to be the town of Cassel which is built on a hill which rises 176 metres (about 570 feet) above the otherwise flat lands of Flanders in northern France.
          However, an alternative derivation is that the rhyme relates the story of Richard, Duke of York at the Battle of Wakefield on 30 December 1460 Richard’s army, some 8,000 strong, was awaiting reinforcements at “the top of the hill” at Sandal Castle in Wakefield). He was surrounded by Lancastrian forces some three times that number, but nonetheless chose to sally forth (“…marched them down again”) to fight. Richard died in a pitched battle at Wakefield Green, together with between one third and one half of his army. So, both have a claim! Jimbo.
          1. You beat me to it. The article also says that the rhyme precedes one or both of these Dukes, and ‘Duke of York’ is just one choice for an incompetent or indecisive military commander. If that’s good enough for the Opies, it’s good enough for me. I haven’t got their nursery rhymes dictionary but their Lore and Language of Schoolchildren is both thorough and fascinating.
            1. Brewer’s is unequivocal in pointing the finger derisively at Frederick. But since it makes no mention of the earlier versions it loses out in the credibility stakes…
  8. Is anybody else unhappy with the plural being used here? On a better day, I might have ranted some more but stupidly putting CALICO at 6a put paid to all hopes of solving this crossword 🙂 – Vijay
    1. My dictionary under ‘man’ has ‘the human race, mankind’; so human beings seems fair.
  9. Oh dear. I lightly entered YORK for 18, not really understanding the clue it, but tempted by OR as soldiers and aiming for a quickish time. Then, having finished the rest of the puzzle, I forgot to go back to the clue and check it. I hope I’m not alone in making this stupid blunder in an easy puzzle.
  10. sneaking off to check in – I did this while supervising a lab, and thus feel ashamed that CENTRIFUGE was the last to go in. Enjoyed this one, nothing too curly, some nice clues. Didn’t do it all in one sitting but I expect I would have been close to 10 minutes.
  11. I have to agree with those who didn’t like 5d – but I may be biased, as it was the only one I didn’t get. I wrote in ‘document’ confidently, which didn’t help, but it’s not a good clue anyhow.
    A few (correct!) guesses today, as I’d not come across oncer, Herbert Pocket, mate, batik, bee-eater, Grover Cleveland… wide gaps in my knowledge there. In fact, I’m surprised I’ve not seen bee-eater in a crossword before.
    COD for me might well be 1a, though it may well be something of a chestnut.
  12. I was undone by ‘YOLK’, being unfamiliar with the nursery rhyme; I also didn’t know the meaning ‘soldiers’=’bread dipped in eggs’, and am certainly unfamiliar with the identity of the ‘Grand Old Duke’. So there was hardly a chance of solving that one. I did the rest in about 10 minutes, late last night, and enjoyed it. Hopefully helpful comment for Jimbo re 27A: I agree ‘spread=range’ here, but I think they’re both supposed to be verbs as used in the clue and answer, not a noun as in ‘home on the range’. And thanks very kindly for the education on the alternate Dukes. Regards, and see you tomorrow.
  13. Does “ignorant” = “ill-mannered”? It doesn’t seem to me to do so, and this worried me, but the fact that nobody has mentioned it suggests that I may be wrong.
    1. I too had this doubt when I glanced at the top posting.

      Now I looked up Chambers which has “discourteous, rude, ill-bred” under ‘ignorant’ and does not mark it as archaic, obsolete, Spenserian or whatever.

      Maybe, but if in my circles I were to say of an ill-mannered person that “So-and-so is ignorant” I would most definitely be misunderstood.

      Also, an ignorant person may not necessarily be ill-mannered and an ill-mannered person could well be learned.

      Do crossword compilers ferret out unusual meanings of words for their definitions in order to delay answers being revealed all too quickly?

      1. I think it’s in fairly common usage and I’d say it’s more in the modern idiom than archaic. For instance, I’ve heard drivers who don’t signal at roundabouts described as ignorant (and not used to suggest that they don’t know which way to signal and when). I’ve got another word for them mind.
      2. Yes, compilers do deliberately use “unusual” meanings of words to deliberately mislead. It’s a legitimate part of the fun. The harder the crossword the more likely they are to use this device so the bar crosswords have a lot of obscure words and antiquated meanings. You will sometimes see debate here about a device being too difficult for the daily cryptic but fair in Mephisto. Jimbo.
  14. A clean sweep today, albeit a rather sluggish one (7:43).

    I had the A and T of ANCIENT in place when I came to 5D and felt reasonably confident that ANCIENT MONUMENT was going to be right, so perhaps that’s an indication that it wasn’t too unfair!?

    In answer to wil_ransome’s query, Chambers (2003) includes “discourteous, rude, ill-bred” under “ignorant”, though a citation (from New Society!) in the OED describes this usage as “non-U”, and there’s also an earlier one from K. Tennants Lost Haven: “He used the word ‘ignorant’ in the country sense of knowing nothing of good manners”.

    Like others, I’ll go for 18A as my COD.

  15. Just the 3 “easies” in this one. Perhaps because everyone is quite good at Trivial Pursuits?

    9a Temper succeeded in many instances (6)
    S. OFTEN

    20d Empty interior used in conjuror’s illusion (6)
    M I(nterio)R AGE = MIRAGE

    25d Can of dye remaining unfinished (3)
    TIN (t)

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