Times 23902 – wordplay goes bumph

Solving time : 26 minutes. On a first read-through of the across clues I didn’t get a single one, and I was sure we were in for a dose of impossible Thursday. I fared a little better with the down clues, but was still left with a lot (mostly around the middle) distressingly empty. Bashing out wordplay and a few guesses got me a filled grid, but I don’t have the satisfaction of a job well done, I’m thinking more like “did I really get this”. And away we go…

1 FOREARM: EAR in FORM – probably should have got this faster, I was looknig for places to stick EAR in
5 DES,P,OIL: Nice construction. I don’t know any Des or Len, so I can’t ridicule them for being prime “little chap” candidates
10 RITES: Sounds like “Rights”, office being used here as the order or form of a religious ceremony.
11 A,LP,HA: this sweet little construction is my COD
12 SCRAWLING: CRAWL in SING(=Carol). Getting this corrected an error I had in 8d Edit: and corrected the error in my blog, I had CRAWL in SONG up originally, thanks jackkt
14 DEAD SEA SCROLLS: (LOCALADDRESSES)* – cunningly-concealed anagram, that
17 TARGET PRACTICE: cryptic definition, the centre of an archery target is gold
21 CAPE VERDE: Guessed this one from the definition and I’m still struggling with the wordplay. I have P,EVER in CAD, but can’t see where the last E comes from. Is there a rebel Cade I should know all about? Google tells me a Jack Cade led a rebellion against Henry VI, is he that well known?
25 PREDICATE: hmmm… not sure how I got this. Edit – see comments, it’s a double definition
26 THESE,US: Hero to be determined from wordplay
27 TIGHTEN: Sounds like Titan, thankfully one of the few moons I know
1 FRACAS: A in (SCARF)<=. Scarf here being a join between two pieces
2 RELAPSE: (h)ES,PALER<= had to write the whole wordplay out to see this
4 MINESWEEPER: Cryptic definition, didn’t see it until I had almost all the checking letters
5 DEE(p)
8 LAST,GASP: I had LAST DRAW and LAST PULL in here before getting the G
15 RETURNING: TURN IN in R, E.G. tricky wordplay for a not too easy definition
16 STOCKPO(r)T: another tricky subtraction and geography to boot
18 RIP(=final farewell),OS(=ordinary seaman),T(h)E – more cunning construction
22 VERGE: hidden. Can’t remember “goes over” being used before to indicate a hidden word, but it works.
25 PAS: a ballet move and Personal Assistants

29 comments on “Times 23902 – wordplay goes bumph”

  1. 20 minutes here. I took longer than I think I should have over the long answers.

    I had the same doubts about Cape Verde and Cade, but I assumed from the wordplay that there had to be a famously rebellious Cade – ust not famous enough for either of us to have heard of him. I’m sure his mum thought he was great.

    Predicate (v.) to base sth on. Predicate (n.) what’s left in a sentence after you take the subject out… “Chelsea were lucky” – “were lucky” is the predicate.

    No great clues here for me, but I thought 25 was nicely challenging for a 3-letter one.

  2. dorosatt – I think we were scribbling our posts at the same time. Great minds and all that.
  3. 23A is ROME,O – the See of Rome being the holy one with Das Pope. Thanks for clearing up predicate for me.
  4. 8:54 – started badly, trying to make DIPTYCH fit 5A – dip = rob like a pickpocket, tych =”titch”, though ‘quietly’ should have had me deleting it, which I did after getting 10A and 7D. 17 = my COD for the subtlety of ‘gold’ which at first I thought was the desired medal at the awards ceremony. 16D is pretty tricky when you’ve got ‘stock’ for soupy stuff and the Po.

    Jack Cade: the sort of historical character who was a dead cert for school history classes when they were mostly about Brit history. Therefore a traditional stock ‘rebel’ in the Times xwd. Best reference I can suggest for enough of this stuff to get by: Sellar and Yeatman’s 1066 and all that, which sends it up. Recently reissued and on Amazon UK.

  5. Most of the RH fell into place within 20 minutes but I struggled through the rest of it and gave up at the hour with four unsolved in the NW corner 1a/d, 2 and 11 and resorted to on-line assistance. I had considered FOREARM at 1a but I was thinking “fore”=”attention” (as in golf) and just couldn’t get the wordplay. The one I’m really annoyed I didn’t solve is 2d because I thought of “paler” at the very first glance but overlooked the reversal indicator.

    I had a few quibbles with the clues along the way but I think they had more to do with my difficulty solving them so I won’t say anything unless somebody raises any of them later.

    One minor typo at 12, glh, “sing” rather than “song”.

  6. About 11 mins, perhaps helped by solving later in the day than usual. Lots of nice clues, I think my favourite (COD) is 25D which manages to create a nicely distracting image of karaoke-type activity in a double definition. Also enjoyed 15D, 14A…

    Tom B.

  7. I found this a relatively straightforward solve (I certainly found it easier than yesterday’s), and had no quibbles about any of the clues. Did someone query “Top star” in 11 ac? There are alpha stars and beta stars, etc; an alpha star is the brightest. My only problem came at the end when I had to choose between the four possibilities that I could think of to match the checked letters in 15. In the end I slapped in RETURNING on a hunch, but didn’t quite see the definition. Like someone above I was looking for something meaning surrendering. I better nominate 15 as COD since it was nicely deceptive and had a convincing surface. I was also pleased to see how the H was removed from “he’s” in 2dn. I hate clues with “‘es…” – they always stand out like a sore thumb.
  8. I’d rate this as the most exciting of the week’s puzzles so far with much more by way of cryptic cleverness and smooth surfaces (there’s been an interesting little thread on the Crossword Centre message board over the past couple of days regarding whether or not smooth surface is important – opinion seems divided).
    Among many candidates my COD is 14; good reading and a delicious anagram.
    The only question mark was the ref to Stockport as an industrial town. In the days when everybody wore hats it was a centre for that, but these days it’s no more industrial than, say, Taunton. I’m not saying there’s no industry in Taunton, just that you’d never define it as an industrial town. Stockport has a small claim to trivia fame though, as Stockport County is the answer to “Which football club’s home ground is closest to the River Mersey?”
  9. The third day in a row where I just threw an answer in in desperation. This time though I got PREDICATE right. I looked it up in a dictionary and I still don’t know what it means. I’ll file it in the same drawer as iamb which is another word I can’t fathom (it’s a metric foot – that’s about 30cm then is it?) Not a bad one today, the bottom much more difficult that the top. I’m sure Cade is the crossword rebel when Che has the day off. Stockport – you know what these southern softies are like, Anax, it’s up north so it must be industrial! Pass us me flat cap I’m tekkin’t whippet fer a walk.
    Anway, 13:10 and COD to 14a
    1. Ashamed to say that’s exactly how I saw it. I learned with school geography essays that for anywhere north of Leamington Spa you could say “the industrial town of ______” and the teacher would put a little tick by it. Naturally, I’ve never been to Stockport.
      1. And I can tell you from personal experience you’ve not missed much.
        To be fair I’m not sure exactly how you’d describe Stockport without offending those unlucky sods… er, sorry… without offending its noble inhabitants.
        Market town? It does have a very big weekend market – but I can’t say I’ve seen it referred to as a market town.
        It’s far easier to describe, e.g., pleasant coastal villages like Oxford.
        1. Not sure which Oxford you’re on about Anax. The only one I know is south of Birmingham, north of Newbury and is a land locked city – and I’ve been to Stockport. Jimbo.
  10. So, there you go: you’d shoot me down in flames on Jeopardy. Apart from his mum, you may be the only person who’d heard of him.
  11. 22:44 here, had twice as many questions marks next to not fully understood clues as ticks next to good’uns.

    I don’t see why alpha is a top star, hadn’t heard of Mummy’s boy Cade, wasn’t au fait with scarf as a joining thing and wasn’t convinced by “goes over” as a containment indicator.

    Two ticks were for 2 and 4, of which the former gets my COD nod. Interesting to see so many different suggestions for best clue.

    1. ‘alpha’ = the brightest star in a constellation, used in names like Alpha Centauri = the brightest star in Centaurus (which is a southern hemisphere one so most of you shouldn’t panic too much over not knowing it).
  12. The setter thanks you for all comments so far. Definitions are always checked most carefully and ‘industrial’ came straight out of the 2003 Oxford Dictionary of English (apologies from Oxford no doubt!).
    1. I have some sympathy for the setter here: when ‘industrial town’ was a category worth using, Stockport was in it. In these days when all towns are pretty much the same, ‘Northern town’ or similar is about all you can safely say.

      I don’t have the Oxford Dictionary he was using, but the entry in my 1991 Collins has “early textile centre” and not much else to say. My other ‘places’ reference is an older (1971) Penguin Encyclopedia of Places, with the description ‘industrial town’.

  13. I liked this puzzle which contained a nice mixture of clues, none of which gave me problems but none of which made me wince either. My last to go in was 25D simply because it was the last clue I came to. About 25 minutes to solve. As I don’t use a COMPACT I wasn’t sure if “handbag” might have been better than “case” at 19D. I knew Mr Cade not from any history lessons but from doing crosswords! All the best clues have already been mentioned and I’ll leave Anax to pick the best selection. Jimbo.
  14. A very pleasant puzzle, that I probably did in about 35 minutes, correcting for several interruptions. I note the hovering presence of the setter assuring us that the citation for Stockport is correct, so I hesitate to quibble, but, as an aside, I respectfully think that ‘rites’ = ‘offices’ doesn’t seem right on. Regards to all.
    1. He’s done his homework on this one too – lurking in the defs for ‘office’ in your dictionary will be ‘Christian ceremony or service’.

      Edited at 2008-05-01 06:19 pm (UTC)

  15. Just thought I’d mention this as it made me laugh. There I was scratching my head looking for a double definition and it was a cheeky little cryptic definition all along.

    At least I’m assuming I got it right. I wrote in STRAW. Correct?

    Enjoyed many others too but they’ve been mentioned.

    1. I think it was SCREW, a double definition (a screw is a horse in poor condition)

      Tom B.

  16. Glad someone else had problems with 6d We had straw – something a hack = horse might eat, but screw sounds better. Very hurtful for us weaker brethren when the answer is deemed too easy to be included. Is it screw?
    Mike & Fay
    1. SCREW must be correct. I plumped for screw – mainly because it’s slang for “salary”. I didn’t know the horsey meaning, but imagined that ‘screw (up)’ = bungle and hack = ‘achieve in a rough way’ were synonyms. This isn’t quite supported in the dictionary.
    2. I had SCREW with the double definition. The policy on blogging is to not include all the answers (see “about this blog” for more details), but the regulars will often answer one we didn’t include.

      From Chambers (I know it’s not the official dictionary, but it’s the one I have closest to me)

      screw: …a broken-winded horse; an act of sexual intercourse (vulgar, sl); a sexual partner (vulgar, sl); salary, wages (sl).

  17. Extraordinary coincidence: Today I was doing an Everyman from a few weeks ago and what should be 17ac but ‘local addresses misprinted in old documents’.
  18. I thought this was a very good crossword with some interesting literals. There were also some things I did not know but – for once I guessed the correct answer.

    6d was one of these. I guessed salary = screw as in “he’s on a good screw” for he has a well paid job. I did not know the horsey definition though and could find neither reference to screw = salary nor screw = hack in any online dictionary but I only checked a couple.

    There are 8 omissions from the blog including 6 down! I had to check the solution first to see if I had 6d correct before I came to this blog.

    9a A local with ten getting drunk suddenly (3,2,4)
    ALL AT ONCE. Anagram of (a local ten).

    23a See love offered by suitor (5)
    ROME 0. Rome must be a See as in “has a bishop”. The Holy See is the Vatican I think and not all of Rome? Or do we have an interesting paradox where geographically the Vatican is part of Rome but ecumenically (perhaps) Rome is part of the Holy See? I’d look this up but … Cerro Buenos Aires (my version of CBA).

    24a Bill has no time for a pseud (5)
    POS (T) ER

    3d Sat awkwardly on rickety ladder with legs wide apart (9)
    AST RADDLE. Anagram of (sat ladder). Not a modest pose?

    6d Hack’s salary (5)
    SCREW. Double definition obscure enough for neither definition to be found in the usual dictionaries.

    7d Being tested, gets nothing right in Latin sadly (2,5)
    0 N T R IAL. Nothing = 0, then R in anagram of Latin.

    19d Close agreement, in woman’s case (7)
    COMPACT. I think a compact is the case that the ladies keep face powder in – a powder compact? Maybe not so commonplace these days?

    20d Surrounded by noise, individual becomes exhausted (4,2)
    D ONE IN

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