Times 23918 Hyroglyphs from Hi-De-Alloa

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time : 35 minutes

I enjoyed this puzzle but I have a feeling parts of it may cause some problems. Some of the clues, 14A for example, have a Mephisto feel about them and some call for very obscure knowledge. I don’t know what to make of Alloa Athletic, an extremely obscure football club and the reappearance of Hi-De-Hi which I knew because it came up only a few weeks ago. What with that and Coronation Street two weeks ago I’m going to have to watch more telly. I happen to know about gunpowder tea because it has occurred somewhere before in a crossword. Overseas solvers may struggle with tied house.

1 SPECKLED – S-PECK-LED; you either love this construction or hate it. I like it.
9 ESAU – ES-A-U; unhappy son of Isaac and twin of Jacob
10 VETERAN,CAR – VET-(rear can)*
13 PIKE – (s)PIKE
14 HIERATIC – HI-ER(r)ATIC; cursive hyroglyphs – you knew that didn’t you?
16 DOSAGE – DO-SAG-E; G(r)A(s)S reversed in DOE
18 PENSEE – PEN-SEE; the See is the diocese – regional headquarters
20 ON,REMAND – ON=possible; REM(edy)=cure; + AND; awaiting trial; nice clue
22 TWIN – T-W-IN; W=wicket (cricket again) in TIN=preserved
24 HIS,LAST,BOW; final Holmes story
26 WIND,TUNNEL – (nun dwelt in)*
28 HIDE – HI-DE-(hi); second appearance of this nonsense programme in very quick time
29 FLEECE – two meanings
30 LOAN,WORD – LOA-N-(ROW reversed)-D;
2 PESTICIDE – (septic)*+(die)*; nice clue
3 CRUISER – sounds like CREW’S + ER (King Edward for a change)
6 MARY,TUDOR – (mortuary + d)*; this one was Queen Mary 1516-1558 who married Philip of Spain
7 CANOPUS – CAN=slang for prison + OPUS; the brightest star in Carina
8 WHACK – W-HACK; your WHACK is your share or ration
12 GECKOES – G-(n)ECK-OES; neck=isthmus; Central American lizards
15 TIED,HOUSE – T-(hideous)*-E; a pub that is owned by the brewery
17 GUNPOWDER – two meanings (yes, there is a tea called gunpowder!)
19 SINE,DIE – SIN(n)ED-IE; that’s=that is=IE; latin for undated
21 MATTHEW – MATT-HEW; why “good” and why “if”? On Edit: I think the “if” is OK thanks to linxit (see comments) but I still don’t buy “good”
23 WEILL – W-E-ILL; reference that well known composer Kurt Weill
25 ALLOA – A-L-LOA(n); L=libre=pound; ALLOA Athletic Club is a Scots football club – more common knowledge

15 comments on “Times 23918 Hyroglyphs from Hi-De-Alloa”

  1. I got stuck for about 5 minutes in the SW corner, with WEILL and TWIN the last to go in. 20:49 in the end.

    21D – ‘Good’ because he wrote a gospel, I guess! And if ‘dull’ gets ‘cut’, you’ve got his name. No problem with that.

  2. 6:42 for this one. I don’t mind ‘hieratic’ much as the resemblance to ‘hieroglyphic’ makes it quite guessable. Are we really moaning about Kurt Weill? Mack the Knife, Surabaya Johnny, and all the rest? At least it makes a change from Shakespeare and century-old fiction – or composers like Pergolesi for that matter. More sympathetic about foreign solvers and Alloa Athletic, but like jackkt, most folk who’ve lived in the UK will have sat through the tele-/vide-printer football scores a fair number of times and had the lower division names like Plymouth Argyle and Hamilton Academicals filter into their mental lumber room like the names from the shipping forecast.
  3. I needed a few guesses to finish this off as I didn’t know 7dn or 14ac, nor 39ac really though it was pretty obvious from the wordplay and apparent meaning.I also had to search for a beheaded word to explain 12ac; I think I have met “neck” for “isthmus” before. And I didn’t know the literary reference at 24ac but having established there actually is a Holmes story with that title the clue raised a smile so it’s my COD.

    My efforts were not helped by hastily writing in ROAD HOUSE at 15dn instead of working out the anagram properly. This caused problems trying to solve 14ac which I had correctly assumed was a word I didn’t know. Fortunately I had learnt 18ac in a recent puzzle so I eventually concluded there was an error and revisited 15dn.

    I imagine 28ac may cause some problems for our non-UK friends, though the programme has come up before so they may remember it.

    As a non-football person I was pleased to get 25dn. Years of sitting through the football results waiting for Children’s TV to start on Saturday afternoons in the 1950s have paid off at last!

  4. Finished this at the second sitting this morning. Took me a long time and involved a couple of guesses.

    Two quibbles. Isn’t HIERATIC an adjective, and doesn’t the clue definition require a noun (‘letters from Egypt’)? And I think 12dn Geckoes is a tad unfair, given that geckoes are found throughout the world’s warmer climates.

    On the plus side, some neat, funny clues and good puns (which always work for me). I enjoyed 5a MACAWS and the excruciating Holmes reference. Fine wordplay for 19dn SINE DIE and a top-notch surface for 2dn PESTICIDE. Clever constructions for WEILL and TWIN.

    I guess the ‘good writer’ in 21dn MATTHEW is a reference to the Middle Eng. root of ‘gospel’ as ‘god spell’ = good story/news.

    So, pretty easy for everyone who enjoys third tier Scottish soccer and 1980s British sitcoms.

    1. Hieratic – part of speech: Collins has a noun – hieratic = the hieratic script.

      I think ‘good writer’ is just from the ‘good book’ association. I’m lukewarm about it as a device (accidental pun, honestly).

      With you on the geckoes – haven’t been to Central America, but have seen them elsewhere, and note that the word comes from Malay!

      1. Okay, ONE quibble… I stand corrected on the cursive script.

        Lukewarm? Puns like that will only lead to trouble, mark (!) my words.

        1. John is blogging the Indy tomorrow and you can bet he won’t use so many dreadful puns.
  5. Thought I was done for on this one until I spotted WEILL, which was the last to go in. 27 minutes, lots of clues that had to be squeezed out through wordplay – LOAN WORD, TIED HOUSE (sat there as -IED HOUSE for at least 10 minutes with me wondering if it was going to be LIED, TIED, or an outside chance, RIED), GECKOES (after I got it, that became my COD), CANOPUS, ON REMAND, HIERATIC… definitely a puzzle for fans of tricky wordplay, the definitions weren’t helping much at all.
  6. A bit quiet on here today and I nearly joined the AWOL crew – one of those days when even the lunch break seemed to offer no better than 5 uninterrupted minutes.
    After resorting to my occasionally used “find one answer then looked at the checking ones” technique I got the left half of the grid filled rapidly, but t’other side was a frustrating crawl. For once I can’t blame ineptitude – it just seems the clues in that half were a touch tougher.
    I think GECKOES was OK. There are geckoes in the garden of my parents’ house in Italy but I’d generally associate them with the Americas. The geckoes, I mean.
    My only doubts were 1A where I wouldn’t readily associate “search” with “peck” (the latter suggests nibbling food that’s readily available rather than trying to find it) and 24 which really needs a proper def to accompany the wordplay.
    Apart from that, plenty to enjoy. Ticks placed alongside 10, 13, 22, 29, 6D, 8 – COD, after some deliberation, finally falling to 13.
    1. I can understand you not having heard of Allos Athletic, but AILSA doesn’t work, because:
      * it doesn’t account for ‘athletic’
      * “adds a pound to sub, nearly” can account for A,L,SA or maybe 1L,SA – but not A,1L unless the ‘a’ does two jobs at once (and as one pound = £1, your 1L should arguably be L1.)
      * Ailsa is the name of a golf course, not a club. The club is Turnberry (who also have an Arran course).
      * This one last as it relies most on experience of Times clues: relying on a two-step process like sub = sub-par = sad is skating on thin ice.

      Edited at 2008-05-20 10:08 pm (UTC)

    2. >”My only doubts were 1A where I wouldn’t readily associate “search” with “peck” (the latter suggests nibbling food that’s readily available rather than trying to find it)”

      Having been a poultry keeper for, ooh, almost 5 weeks now I can confirm that when hens peck about they do a lot of “moving stuff out of the way so they can get at other stuff” as well as yer actual eating, so I think it’s fair.

      Had to go out yesterday lunchtime and didn’t have a chance to start this puzzle until 10:30 last night by which time fatigue and beer made it too much of a challenge. Looking at other comments I may have struggled anyway. Today will very likely be a late solve as well.

  7. Sorry for the late posting, but I was away all day on necessary business, no access to blogging. Utterly stumped, missing 8 answers. I found this indecipherable. See you tomorrow.
  8. Don’t ask – I thought that GOES around NCH (Inch without it’s heading) would give us some Guatemalan cowboys similar to GOUCHOES. My thinking was that INCH could be an isthmus as well as an island. Maybe not?
    I was completely thrown by GECKOES being referred to as Central American. I have been in the tropics a lot and they are widespread.
    I am in the corner with the dunce’s cap on.

    Just the four “easies” omitted by our Dorset correspondent:

    6a Parrots master, with sound reason (6)
    M.A. CAWS

    11a Instructions for enjoying cigarette at start of day (5,5)
    FIRST LIGHT (the fag).

    5d What’s the point of Morse?(3)
    DOT ( -.. — -)

    27d O’Neill’s regular contributions come to nothing (3)
    o’ N e I l L = NIL. Ryan must try harder.

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