Times 23,896

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

Solving time:13:49

This was good but seemed quite tough, with lots of answers that are on the borders of the level of obscurity one would expect in a daily puzzle. Fortunately, I have recently re-read Martin Chuzzlewit (for 22) and visited Costa Rica (saw 26), and I come from Scotland (handy for burns and braes). But I PURITANI, MACARONI (as penguin) and Jean ARP were all tucked very far back in my brain.

In my first run through the acrosses, I got every one on the right hand side and all the right-hand downs, but nothing on the left. I liked the long central down (GENERAL PRACTICE). It looks as though it should be an old chestnut, but I have certainly not come across it before, and it took me much longer to solve than it should have.


10 NUG + A TORY, NUG being GUN(rev)
11 C(ause) + HAV(o.c.) – defining as “lout” seems a slight stretch, but it may be I don’t understand current usage
12 GARNISHEED – (HIDES ANGER)* – I generally know these legal words, but I would not want to be asked to define any of them
16 (polle)N + ARK
18 BURN – two definitions, both rather clever. The second had me looking for P _ _ T or P _ _ E
21 VINTAGE CAR – not sure how to describe this. Perhaps as a cryptic, slightly punning, definition?
22 GAM + P, GAM being MAG(rev)
24 MACARONI – two definitions, the first one cryptic, the second obscure – Chambers gives “a rockhopper or crested penguin”, but the Compact Oxford doesn’t have it
26 (r)AGOUT + I
27 DIM P(i)LE – tricky to work out the structure of this one before solving it
28 E(ASTER)LY – Churches, in Europe at least, generally being in the form of a cross with the top pointing East


2 A WASH – for a mad moment I was going to guess ABATH
4 1 N(o) T(rump) + EGRAL, EGRAL being LARGE(rev)
5 GENERAL PRACTICE – two definitions
6 TIG(e)R IS
13 HAND IN GLOVE – ho-ho (should I quibble that only a one-armed boxer would hand in a singular glove? No)
17 STAR(WAR)S, WAR being RAW(rev)
20 I + G(N)ORE
23 MO TEL(l)
25 (h)ARP

22 comments on “Times 23,896”

  1. This was a bit of a struggle for me and took about an hour.

    The RH fell into place slowly but steadily though progress would have been quicker if I had not written MEDICAL PRACTICE at 5d. The obvious presence of an anagram at 12a alerted me to that error and fortunately I knew the term “garnishee order” which I picked up listening to legal phone-ins on the radio many years ago; the regular solicitor had a thing about them. I didn’t know it could also be a verb but it seemed logical that it might.

    The LH was another story. For ages I had only INTEGRAL, CHAV and WINDFALL in place. Everything else was uphill work.

    Is INT in 4d is clued by “bid”? If so, I don’t know why.

    I think “lout” is not what most people mean when they use the word “chav” but it’s specified in COED so I suppose it must be a variant; I have a feeling this has been discussed here previously.

    The less said about the SW corner the better. Obscure arty references (as far as I was concerned) at 15d and 25d and a dodgy definition at 20d scuppered me and made solving the intersecting Across clues very difficult.

    I found I PURITANI in a list of 100 greatest operas (it’s at number 76 if you’re interested) and guessed ARP from the word play. IGNORE eventually fell into place but I would maintain it does not mean the same as “forget”. Collins, COED and Chambers agree but Collins Thesaurus has “ignore” = “overlook” which I suppose might justify it. Hasn’t this also come up before?

    7d for COD as it’s a novel clue for a 3-letter word which always deserves recognition, and it made me smile.

    1. Thanks, rvg, for explaining 4d (1 N.T.). I don’t feel I deserve the boot for not spotting this.
  2. 26 minutes – and I’m delighted with that. I only got there at all by making some fairly lucky guesses and working with them. This felt more like a puzzle for a leisurely weekend, head-scratching kind of solve. I wonder if our north American solvers were familiar with ‘chav’, which I agree doesn’t seem quite accurately defined here. Thanks for the explanation of 4dn. Smarty-Pants Award if you actually knew who Jean Arp was, but you should probably get out more.
  3. That was one tricky crossword. I thought I wasn’t going to finish at all but I extended my lunch break and eventually limped in at around 26 minutes. Had to trust my luck on ARP, I PURITANI, GAMP and GARNISHEED having never heard of any of them. Nor did I know the MACARONI/PENGUIN connection.
    Some really inventive and excellent clues today – 1,13 and 28 amongst them but my COD nom has to go to 21a for the laugh it gave me when the penny finally dropped.
  4. Like jackkt I put MEDICAL PRACTICE at 5, one of the early placements which sort of set the tone for a pretty abject performance (I’m claiming an excuse – the hard drive on my home PC failed completely yesterday, don’t yet know if it can be recovered, so as well as software I’m potentially losing all files, so I’m a bit preoccupied).
    OK, it’s a rubbish excuse but I need to blame 45 minutes on something.
    Some good clues today although the easy error at 5 points towards a clue that needed to be more specific, and I’m not sure about 13 where the plural GLOVES would seem to be better indicated by the wordplay.
    Favourite was 16, my COD nom.
  5. This was not a crossword to try to solve after 1am. 26 minutes, my question marks were at GAMP, NARK, and GARNISHEED which were all guessed from wordplay. I saw Jean and thought ARP (surely there’s a little Dada in every solver), but then didn’t write it in straight away wondering where the H went in RP. I’ll go on a limb and say my sick little mind liked 26 for the surface. Rat stew, anyone, there’s just a little rat.
  6. I found this an odd mixture. I filled the whole of the right-hand side in about ten minutes, starting with NUGATORY, but then came to a grinding halt on the left. Some of the clues were more like those encountered in ‘The Listener’. In the end, to fill the gaps in the SW corner I resorted to Bradfords and looked up ‘penguin’ since I was certain I didn’t know it, and it was indeed a new one for me. Once I had that, I got ARP, DIMPLE and confirmation of I PURITANI (an unfamiliar opera, though I think I have come across it somewhere).
    Too shell-shocked to search for a COD, but there were plenty of contenders.
  7. Couldn’t see “1 NT” for the bid, so had to go with partial wordplay there, and also struggled with 1/9/11 across and 2/3 down. That after struggling a bit with the SW, though I have come across those operatic puritans before.
  8. I had a similar experience, probably around an hour in a couple of sittings since I was doing other things too. Like most people I ended up with the bottom left hand corner blank, trying to decide if macaroni or rigatoni was more likely to be a penguin as well. Never heard of jean arp (who, per wikipedia, was hans arp when he spoke german) so not enough Dada in this solver.
  9. Too much obscure guff here. Took 45 minutes ending up with 4 missing (GAMP, MOTEL, ARP and DIMPLE) and one wrong (NEGAOTORY for NUGATORY).

    Don’t know my Arp from my elbow, never read Chuzzlewit and thought that order for tell in 23 was a bit marginal, expecially given the tricky agouti and Gamp providing two out of three crossing letters.

    I knew macaroni from having set a penguin-themed puzzle myself recently but that didn’t stop me having calamari in there for a while.

    Guessed the opera and the rodent.

    No particularly good clues here to save the puzzle either. In 2009 this would get a big raspberry and about 2/10. No more of these arts-elite puzzles please ed.

  10. I was shot down by ‘I Puritani’ and ‘Garnisheed’. I thought the definition in 28A was rather good, so that’s my COD choice.

    Tom B.

  11. Am I right in thinking that the Times daily crossword is supposed to be solvable ‘on the train’ i.e. without the need for reference books?
    1. Yes – but I don’t think having obscure words as answers prevents “on the train” solving if the wordplay is reasonable. I was a bit surprised by the trouble people had with ‘macaroni penguin’. Garnisheed is a weird word but guessable, and much the same with Arp once you get the right ‘stringy thing’.
  12. So, in summary…. you can do it on the train, but best if it’s the Hogwarts Express.
  13. Not to bad until got to bottom left corner. Had in rigatoni and i putarini then putriani then macaroni and puritani – which I probably should have guessed at earlier. So last to go in was vintage car. 29 minutes. On a good/lucky day would still have been about 20 minutes. Garnisheed was totally new word for me
  14. Holy Toledo. Spent an hour and still hadn’t solved 20 and 27, and was wrong with 25 (I put ‘air’, thinking Jean was referring to the song name from The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie) and wrong with 21 (where I put ‘Bitters Car’, which I think is a better answer anyway). With the errors I wasn’t going to get the last 2 answers, so I thus admit defeat. Well, better luck tomorrow, I hope. Congrats to all those who finished this one.
    1. If that’s the song, I’d be disappointed in the Times if they converted Jeanie to Jean (and if they used quite such a vague reference!).

      1. Worry not, Peter. Jean Arp was a sculptor (and indeed formerly Hans Arp as Paulmcl notes above). Nothing to do with the song, as far as I can see…
        1. Er, that’s kind of what I meant to say …

          kevin_from_ny mentioned a “song name from The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie”. I wondered if this was “Jeanie with the light brown hair” which sounds as if it should be an old folk song but was actually by Stephen Foster. No – there turns out to have been a title song for the movie – “Jean” by Rod McKuen. I understand kevin’s logic now, but it feels too obscure a song to lead to “air”. Yes I know: OK Peter, when did you last read Rider Haggard’s She, clued so often by ‘novel’? Never!

          Pedantic addition: I believe Arp was bilingual like many people from Alsace, and just switched between the synonymous ‘Jean’ and ‘Hans’ depending whether French or German was being spoken, rather than making any long-term switch from one to the other.

          Edited at 2008-04-25 09:20 am (UTC)

  15. A DNF for me I’m afraid as I did not know the MACARONI Penguin connection, could not get the hollow DIMPLE from the wordplay and was sadly ignorant of Jean (and Hans) Arp. I did get INTEGRAL at 4d but NOT with understanding of bid = 1NT for the wordplay. Nice one – congrats to the setter for setting it and to richardvg for spotting it.

    Just the 3 “easies” not in the blog:

    14a Sudden calm an unexpected blessing (8)

    19a (Retire an)* awful old servant (8)

    7d Tedious procedure? Not for stag (3)
    RUT. Puts a whole new complexion on “being in a rut”!

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