Times 23873

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Fairly straightforward today but still tricky enough in places with the NE corner (as yesterday) putting up most resistance. I expect to see some very quick times from the hares today. This tortoise managed it in a little over 30 minutes which is around my average solving time. 

1 HEAR(S)T – S(trong) inside HEART = essence, and a reference to William Randolph Hearst the American newspaper tycoon
10 SCRUM,P(T)IOUS – T = tasty starter
11 FOE – Sounds like “faux”
12 H(EPAT)IC – Relating to the liver. It took me a while to understand this one as I was distracted by EP possibly accounting for “record” in the clue, but it’s TAPE (rev) inside HIC as in “hiccups”
15 SIN(GAP),OR,E SLING – A cocktail that rather surprisingly hasn’t found its way into Collins. It came easily to mind as I’ve recently watched a re-run of the final series of “Tenko” in which vast amounts of the stuff were consumed post-war at Raffles hotel.
21 MA(E)ST,RO – OR (rev).  Are we happy with “recline” as a reversal indicator? Not sure that I am.
22 IN(SUL(tan))AR – RANI (rev) here. Can’t argue with “returns”
23 LET – Sounds like “Lett” an alternative to “Latvian”
24 C(HR,ON)OG,RAP,H – Phew! This took a bit of thinking through.
27 P.S.(Y),CHE – Whatever did the setters do before Senor Guevara came along?
1 H(U.S.)H-H(U.S.)H – If I have understood this correctly the middle aitches = heroin and the outer ones = hospitals
3 SUM,(b)A(c)T(e)R(i)A
5 KNOW ONES ONIONS – My COD. If I have met “onions” as “tear-jerkers” before, I have forgotten it
6 DESPO(t),I,L – Seeing “I” clued as “upright” character reminds me of Sir Humphrey describing himself with reference to “the perpendicular pronoun”.
7 INFLUENTIAL – (final until)*
9 STICK ONES OAR IN – A timely clue with the boat race taking place tomorrow!
13 PANEL BEATER – double meaning
16 SEARCH ME – double meaning
18 ARTIC,L(an)E  – “A” as the indefinite one
19 RE(S)IGNS – S from S(ociety)
20 S(MALL)S – How common is this expression these days? I wonder if it might baffle some.
25 ARC – After “recline” at 21 I guess that “underground” here is supposed to indicate “c” in “car” moves downwards. Hmm.

29 comments on “Times 23873”

  1. Slow start with 17A the first one solved, but that gave me about 5 or 6 intersecting downs and I ripped through most of the bottom. The NW corner was then straightforward from checking letters but the NE fought a bit harder – last in were 14,8,11. Answers written without understanding all the wordplay: 10, 12, 15, 24, 1D, 6. I also gambled slightly on ONES rather than YOUR in 5D – usually I play safe and make sure which is right. For 15, ‘drink’ was enough with checking letters in place.

    20D. I can remember my mother (born 1920) talking about smalls around 1970 – the reason for us always having boys when foreign exchange students stayed was that with girls “you can’t get into the bathroom because they’re always in there washing their smalls”.

    Edited at 2008-03-28 08:52 am (UTC)

  2. I thought this was considerably more difficult than average, with some very intricate wordplay. My COD is 18D for its cunningly concealed definition and smooth surface – but I’m not sure why the ? at the end. I also liked 19D – but shouldn’t a ? come at the end of this?
    1. agree entirely — more intricate than usual (though nothing particularly obscure). And 18D’s definition was rather lovely in its hiding place. My COD.
  3. I chugged through this one in 35 minutes, just moving steadily along never really stretched never excited. I share Jack’s reservations about “reclining” at 21A as a reversal indicator and “underground” at 25D. I liked 18D with it’s definition “perhaps a” but my COD nomination is 19D for its overall surface reading and cleverly misleading use of “rules”. Jimbo.
  4. I too thought at first that Clue 18D does not need a question mark at the end.
    Where is any ambiguity that warrants the punctuation mark, I thought after examining the clue.
    It then occurred to me suddenly that the question mark is for the surface reading of the clue – these artic. lorries are long and turn cumbrously, so the clue-writer, after declaring “Perhaps a lorry needs an empty lane”, seems to add the question mark as if to ask whether we don’t agree with him/her. Incidentally, “articulated lorry” comes under the entry ‘article’ in Chambers.
    As for 19D, it is an &Lit clue where, for def, we need to reread the whole clue. Such a clue does not carry any question mark.
    This is my two paise worth. (In these days of inflation, coins of less than 25 paise value are no longer in circulation in India).
    1. WADR, I agree that the ? can only be there in 18D to (slightly) enhance the surface. But I would rather it weren’t there, as it plays no part in the wordplay.

      19D can’t be a pure &lit. and doesn’t meet my criteria for a semi-&lit. In which case, the definition has to be ‘does the honourable thing’. I think this is a rather vague definition for RESIGNS and would therefore wish to see a ?

      1. I think in common parlance “do the honourable thing” is taken within its context to mean resign, particularly in relation to cabinet ministers who by and large don’t when they clearly should. It used to mean commit suicide, then marry but I think these meanings have faded from modern usage. Jimbo.
  5. Thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle, unlike yesterday’s obscure-word-fest but was interrupted by a phone call and forgot to stop the chronograph, so can only guess that it took about 30 minutes. Loved the two double def clues at 13 and 16 of which 13 gets my nod for COD.
  6. 18 minutes, hungover, found the top half a slog, bottom half went in pretty much straight away. Smiled when SMALLS was the answer at 20d, wasted some time looking for ships that fit the checking letters (I had the L and final S, MAESTRO was the last to go in).

    UK folks, have a great time at S&B 4. I’m going to try to get in to hear crossword fan Bill Clinton speak at a local high school (NC Democratic party denied my offer to be an opening act).

  7. I had trouble with this, partly because of the four long entries, and partly because I could not concentrate, with a lot of loud talking going on around me, so I gave up with 10 clues to go; once I had a bit of peace and quiet I solved the last 10 in about five minutes, so realised it wasn’t as tough as I’d initially thought. I agree with others who chose 18 as COD, but I also agree with those who question ‘reclining’ as a reversal indicator in 27. I suppose it’s based on the idea of relaxing in the sense of ‘lying back’, but I’m not keen on it since OR is prone, and therefore reclining, whichever way it’s facing. ‘Underground’ in 25 strikes me as even more dubious; if anything it should mean the C disappears, since ‘underground’ means ‘not visible on the surface’ or ‘in hiding’.
  8. I decided to start with the downs today and got off to a flying start, getting 1,2 and 3 in immediately. Then I got a couple of the intersecting acrosses and started thinking about cracking 5 minutes. I even put my sandwich down so I could concentrate on it. Then I stupidly wrote in STICK IN ONES OAR at 9d, so couldn’t get SINGAPORE SLING into 15a and came to a bit of a grinding halt. Once my error was fixed things started moving again. In the end I came in at 9:35, still a very pleasing time. In retrospect I don’t think I would have got near 5 minutes anyway. Last in was HEARST, a semi-guess. Although quite straightforward, lots of nice clues, my favourite being 27a
    1. I’ve only got Chambers to hand but it defines read as to collect the meaning of, which I think is Ok for get to know. Jimbo
  9. I agree that the use of ‘reclining’ is unusual (21A), and I’m not very keen on it. What about ‘stopped’ in 12A to indicate a container (HIC)? Does H-IC ‘stop’ ETAP, or is it the other way round? Or is either acceptable?
    1. Again, I’ve only got Chambers to hand. It defines stop as to restrain. Jimbo.
    2. Given ‘restrain’ and ‘stop’ as in ‘stopgap’, I think stop can do both jobs – rather more happily for me than ‘wear’ which can also go either way in Times puzzles.
  10. I am a bit surprised that I am the first person to object to FOE as the answer to this. If FAUX was a proper English word, there would be no objection, but it isn’t!
    1. Here’s faux in the Compact Oxford – a size smaller than the Concise. So it’s as English as leitmotiv or sombrero.
  11. newcomer question – shouldn’t 20 down read ‘ship in which…’ rather than ‘ship on which…’ if ship is ss and mall is singular or have i missed something.

    1. “On board” = inside SS is such a classic xwd cliché that old hands are unlikely to notice. But I suspect strict Ximeneans might avoid this trick.
      1. You’re correct, I didn’t even notice and I’m by no means certain that dear old Derrick would have taken huge exception to it. It meets the basic rules and is fair but would probably not have received a “highly commended” rating. Jimbo.
  12. 6.50 here, including nearly a minute at the end on 1ac, which was making me doubt its crossing entries. Probably easy general knowledge, but eventually I remembered Patty and then finally Randolph.
  13. Pete: Thanks for your comment. I hadn’t looked for FAUX in an English dictionary, but it is in Chambers too. However…

    “Leitmotiv” and “Sombrero” are foreign words with no obvious synonyms in English. Let me ask two questions.
    1. Can you believe any native English speaker would use FAUX instead of “false”? (I exclude, of course, the use of “faux” in expressions like “faux pas”.)
    2. Would you be happy if the answer to a clue in the Times Xword was FAUX?

    My answer to both of these questions is NO, and so I stand by my original criticism.

    1. Faux
      I’d say usage is reasonably common. A typical example would be a faux leather sofa (marketing people would hate to describe it as “artificial” or “fake”).
    2. Even in the daily cryptic the criterion for inclusion isn’t “is this word in common use”, it’s “is it in at least one of the approved dictionaries”. As it’s in the dictionary as a stand alone word I see no problem with “faux” as an answer in the daily and certainly not in Mephisto. Jimbo.

  14. OK, I admit defeat today, at the hands of “Panel Beater”. I’d never heard nor seen that term, but after seeing the answer here I find that wikipedia calls it a common UK-ism for what we prosaically call the “auto body guy”. Oh well, at least I learned something new. See you next week.
  15. I encountered the unusual phenomenon tonight of scanning for a good starting point, and somehow finding that on first pass I’d put in about nine or ten downs before I got a single across. Not something I’d really considered before, but it throws you out when one or the other seems far more impenetrable than the other.

    About twenty minutes (following Friday night post-work pub visit, which these days seems to hinder progress rather than giving inspiration…)

  16. I have to admit that I bifd FOE at 11a as my LOI and did not parse the “Speak of false” but I don’t have a problem with the use of faux and wish that I had seen it.

    A mere 5 “easies” omitted in this blog:

    4a Teasing by son, out of control (8)

    17a (So rare) negotiating with (alliance)* in part of France (6-8)

    26a Order (greatens)* rank )8)

    2d Music broadcast (3)

    8d Overeating. so good to get thin (6)

Comments are closed.