Times 23920: DD, XX, and trusting one’s instinct

Solving time : 15 minutes, with one unconfirmed guess. Blazed through most of this, some fun and fruity wordplay and two clues that had me outright laughing – not quite Clues in Blue territory, but on the periphery. I’d single out 12ac (because I am prurient), and 22ac (a clever twist using some old friends) as COD-worthy. 29ac is still bothering me, so I look forward to comments.

1 RIFLE: two definitions, the report being the sound of the rifle
4 HEADLIGHT: two definitions, a little iffy, but easy to get from checking letters
9 SEXTUPLET: (PUTS,TELEX)* and a little cryptic definition
10 BRO(w)N,X(=kiss): I’ll be there in two weeks to catch some of the last Yankees/Blue Jays matches at Yankee Stadium.
11 NAP,ALM(=money for poor): not sure why the “inadequate” is there
12 BRADFORD: BRA, then FOR in DD(a biggish bra). Boom boom!
19 LORY: hidden backwards in suddenlY ROLls. Tempting to put LYRO here, but then the “over” wouldn’t have any meaning in the clue.
20 ASTRONAUTS: NA in AS,TROUTS. Clever construction, wordplay retrofitted.
22 DOWN,TO,W(hich),N(ewsman): another clever construction and threw me a moment since I’m programmed to put ED or SUB in when I see newsman
27 IN,A,NI(=province of Northern Ireland),MATE
29 S,WEPT??? I am not sure if WEPT can mean greeted, but I can’t come up with a better option?
1 RESENTFUL: EN(d) in RESTFUL, more tricksy wordplay
3 EQUALLED: EQUAL(=peer), then (hous)E in LD(=lord). Worked the wordplay on this one out after getting it from the definition
6 LIBIDO: I originally had this as DIB(=a boy scouty effort) in OIL all reversed, but now I think it was meant to be BID(=effort to win tricks in cards) in OIL reversed.
8 TAXED: AXE in TD(=Teachta Dala, Irish equivalent of MP)
17 DI,SIN,F,ECT: another nice construction
22 DUCKS: Two definitions, one probably not used since the 70s (I remember it vaguely from a Peter Sellers sketch)
25 YALE: (r)ELAY reversed, and a member of the Ivy League

Now let’s take a stab at the pie-like chart. I’ve kept out of the discussion of this, because I’m not quite sure what is arcane knowledge and what is common knowledge. To me, there was not a lot too out there, I make it…

Religion: 0
Literature: 0
Music: 0
Visual Arts: 0
Pop: 0
Sport: 0
Natural world: 1 (19A, LORY)
Sci/Tech: 1 (11A, NAPALM)
Geography: 3 (10A, BRONX, 12A, BRADFORD, 23A, SAIGON)
History: 0
Other: 2 (Politics – TD in 8D, Academics – YALE in 25D)

42 comments on “Times 23920: DD, XX, and trusting one’s instinct”

  1. Thanks for confirming that – I looked up “greet” in Chambers and Bradfors and didn’t find weep in either, appears I was looking at the wrong page.
  2. OED has “Greet” (v2) as “To weep, cry, lament, grieve” in Scottish and northern English dialect. News to me.
    1. GHOSTWRITE was a neat anagram coupled with a vaguely cryptic definition, but you’ve got to be a really eye-catching anagram to get a nod from me – see 9d in Mephisto 2471. Looks like SWEPT has been confirmed, I wouldn’t have gone for SCENT because I don’t think it really fits either part of the clue, since it read “was seeker”, it had to be past tense.

      I think (with Ilan taking a sabbatical) that I’m the only US-based blogger at the moment, so when it’s my turn I set the time zone to get the crossword on Wednesday night and try to get the write-up done early, so expect earliness on irregular Wednesday nights!

      1. Thank you. Nice to have a north American enclave at work, even if some of us are imports.
          1. Coincidentally, sotira, I’m watching the replay of the “Canada on strike” episode of South Park, which is cracking me up – when I lived in Halifax, I had a little group of people who would try to solve the Times Jumbo at a bar on weekends.
            1. I’ve never watched South Park. I shall have to seek that episode out. I’ll give your regards to Falihax. I can see it across the bay from my window.

  3. Back down to earth with the inevitable bump after flying high yesterday. 33 minutes, not helped by writing HOURS AFTER instead of AFTER HOURS, which certainly made things lively. Couldn’t think what else it could be but SWEPT at 29 but this meaning of ‘wept’ was new to me, too.

    A good fun crossword, though – what you’d expect to get if you crossed Noah Webster with Benny Hill. I like it.

    1. Image to hold in mind before bed, Noah Webster chasing nurses in DD bras to the tune of “Yakkity Sax”
  4. I found this a tricky but immensely enjoyable solve with any number of candidates for COD, but I’m going to stick with my original choice, 20ac.

    In 11, I think “…money for poor,inadequate…” indicates ALM(s).

    I wondered about “author” in 1ac. I know it can mean an originator or creator of anything but usually it refers to a person and I’m not sure I have seen it with reference to an inanimate object before. I don’t have my dictionaries to hand so I can’t check.

    My last one standing was 25dn. I had considered YALE but couldn’t explain it so I decided to look for other possibilities on-line where I was offered 160 choices for ?A?E. I promptly gave up having first checked that there is no word VAJE or JAVE because I was sure we were in for a pangram and V and J were the only letters missing.

    1. Right, I’ve now checked COED, Collins and Chambers and I can’t find any meaning where an author is other than a person. Am I missing something? I see nobody else appears bothered by it.
      1. Jack, Collins gives author=creator without mention of a person so I think it just about squeaks in. Jimbo.
  5. Fairly slow with this one at 12:35. SE corner was the tricky part for me, with 16A the last to go in. A simple ‘last letters’ one, so nearly as embarrassing as being held up by a hidden word – which nearly happened on 19. 25D brought back happy memories of the London Colleges Cross-Country League – where I’m pretty sure there was one runner who used to warm up with a crossword in one hand to think about.

    Lots of very craftily worded clues, with “before one in red cape”, for example, only understood afterwards. Also lots of very smooth surface readings, and interesting but not obscure answers.

    1. I still don’t get “before one in red cape”. Please explain. In 4d, how is H sufficient for horse?
  6. This is a really good puzzle, exactly my cup of tea. A very high standard “average” clue and then a smattering of really good ones that rely on clever wordplay and misleading definitions, 27A for example to pick just one of many. No reliance upon specialist knowledge or other poor quality devices. 35 minutes to solve.

    To greet should be well known to bar crossword enthusiasts. In times past the wealthy Scots would hire greeters to weep at a funeral. It also means a period of weeping not just to cry.

    Ducks was a sweetheart that became a Dutch once married (rhyming slang – Dutchess of Fife). My mother and grandparents were cocknies and used the terms all the time. Jimbo.

  7. taking a brief moment from my sabbatical I solved this in about 1/2h — other than the SE corner — couldn’t get SWEPT. I loved GHOSTWRITE which is my COD. I also liked ‘long distance travellers’ for ASTRONAUTS. Oddly enough I saw BRADFORD long before I understood the BRONX (which is just at the other end of Manhattan).
  8. 20:55, probably 8-10 on 23,24 and 29. I nearly gave up until GRAZE forced its way into my head. What a marvellous crossword this was with almost every clue a cracker. It’s almost impossible to choose the best so I’ll plump for 20a – the setter presumably knew I’d be eating a prawn sandwich while solving. Ten out of ten to the setter.
  9. I gave up after an hour with 6 clues unsolved, 3 in the NE corner and 3 in the SE corner. Lots of excellent clues, with several taking a while to fathom even after I had the answer (I still don’t understand 26). I loved the anagram in 13. Difficult to pick a COD with so many candidates.
  10. I had to do a hasty edit of this before posting because I nearly put my foot right in it. It’s because I feel greatly honoured, to tell the truth.
    I received a message asking if it was one of mine, based on the fact it’s “that good”. And, having solved it, I concur with all the compliments – there is some outstanding stuff here and my page is littered with the ticks I tried to restrict to just those that made me laugh out loud.
    Oddly though, my two COD noms are not of the fruity variety. In appreciation of their technical excellence I almost split my vote between 20 and 7 but, on reflection, preferred the latter as I’m unsure about the plural TROUTS referred to in the ASTRONAUTS clue. So, 7 it is – it’s not until you examine the wordplay of this that you see just how well it’s been put together.
    But let’s not labour on any niggles. This is a fantastic puzzle and the setter deserves full praise.
    Which brings me back to the nearly putting my foot it thingy; I’m both stunned and delighted that a puzzle of this quality should be (albeit erroneously) attributed to me. I’m worried, too. If this is the yardstick I’m judged by…
  11. Tough but very enjoyable, taking about 55 minutes with help needed on 3, 11 & 29.

    Lots of ticks for good clues, including 12, 20 & 28ac and 13 & 22dn.

    I wonder if anax will comment on this puzzle. *cough*

    1. The Daily Mail crossword that is reproduced in an Indian newspaper had this clue in a puzzle some months ago:

      8 Hi – when a Scot is feeling low? (8)

      A solver in an Orkut community that I co-own and moderate got the answer but needed an explanation.

      1. I’d want an explanation too. Assuming the answer is GREETING, equating “when a Scot is feeling low” with “what a Scot might be doing when feeling low” is really poor. Adding a question mark can excuse a bit of whimsy, but not this.
  12. Re anno for 26 –

    Crouch – def
    before – position ind.
    one in [the] red – OWER
    cape – C. as in the maps, e.g., C. of Good Hope

    – Rishi

  13. H = horse: I was going to say that H must be an abbrev. for horse that I’d forgotten about, but on looking up H to check, it’s not. But it is slang for heroin – and so, of course, is ‘horse’.
  14. The trickiest so far this week… Got about 10 clues fairly quickly, then slowly made my way through the rest. 29ac and 25dn I had to look up here… COD 12ac!
  15. Not that there’s any connection between them. I couldn’t see how ‘One arriving in company’ was an adequate definition of ‘sextuplet’, and ‘being old man’ seems to me to be slightly wrong for ‘fatherhood’. Is it quite the right part of speech?

    But otherwise a great crossword.

      1. Fatherhood – I’m happy that “being ‘old man’ = father” is fatherhood.
        Sextuplet: arrive is (informal) ‘to be born’, and if you give the number it’s a complete giveaway, so I don’t mind the possibility of SEPTUPLET. Easy for me to say, as I confidently put in the right one and didn’t think of the other at the time.
  16. A lot of good stuff and took about 25 minutes to finish. In my part of Scotland (Dundee) we would have used “gret” rather than “greeted” in what would be a commonly used verb although this may be local dialect.
    I needed the explanations for 12a and 26a. Both brought a smile
  17. This was an excellent puzzle – and is surely my favourite setter if I can detect the style of different setters.

    All those verbs appearing to be nouns – ‘drinks’, ‘sandwiches’, ‘dance’ are so clever with smooth new surfaces.

    15D – a ‘throw’ is a ‘cover for furniture’ i.e. a rug-type thing you put on your chair or sofa.

    1. I also think it’s one of my favourites, but I’ve made many misattributions in the past so I’m saying no more.
    1. I’ve been begging for more up-to-date cultural references and now I get it (albeit 30 year old references and nobody noticed!) I started college in Leeds in 1978 and the Mekons and the Gang of Four were being hailed as the local (student) boys made good. Unfortunately it all passed me by a little at the time but you’ve spurred me to have a delve into the Mekons ( I recently had a most enjoyable foray into Gang of Four) I’ll be looking out for a nina for the latest Leeds boys made good, The Kaiser Chiefs and The Pigeon Detectives. The Leeds connection has made me reconsider who I think the setter is -probably wrong again!
  18. I “knew” it was THROWAWAY, but I still don’t understand the wordplay. What has furniture got to do with it?
  19. I can only add my plaudits for the setter of this excellent puzzle. Around 1 hour for me, and then I still had SCENT instead of SWEPT at 29 ac. I knew the former didn’t really work but couldn’t think of anything better, “greet” = “weep” being hitherto unknown to me

    My instant choice of COD was 20 ac until I read anax’s comment, which gave me pause. But the COED, I discover, allows both “trout” and “trouts” in the plural, which seems to remove that objection. So I’ll stick with 20 ac as COD. “Sandwiches” was a brilliantly disguised container indicator.

    Michael H

  20. This was the best, trickiest puzzle in a while, and took me about an hour with a couple of breaks. There was no mere smattering of good clues, most of them were real winners. And thank you setter, I also once lived in The Bronx ( in which the ‘The’ prefix is required, or, when spoken by us natives, changed to ‘Da Bronx’). So lately we’ve seen Manhattan, Yonkers and The Bronx, all of which I’ve resided in. Dear Setter, if you want a challenge, I now live in Poughkeepsie. Regards all, see you tomorrow.
  21. I echo all the good comments about this one – a cracker.

    There are XI answers on the bench in this blog:

    14a (Head for hot)* resort, being old man (10)

    16a A shade unnatural, finishing discrediteD bY thE enD (4)

    23a One in depression about Asian city once (6)
    SA 1 G ON. Now called Ho Chi Minh City. I think I prefer Saigon.

    26a Crouch before one in red cape (5)
    C OWER. Where the Cape (C) is before the one “in the red” (OWER).

    28a Pronounce snack filling and smile! (3,6)

    2d Provide spot on horse! (3,2)
    FIX UP

    4d Fell from horse, unwell (4)
    H , ILL

    5d Late (rush for tea)*, unexpectedly (5,5)

    7d Words of praise turn round academic year at Oxford (4,2,3)
    GO O DON Y OU. A bit tricky for me as OU is OPEN UNIVERSITY in my lexicon. In 1976 I turned down a place on an MSc course at Oxford in favour of a PhD place at the Open University. The rest is history.

    18d Medicines offer (scant aid)*, sadly (8)

    24d Get one’s oats or just kiss? (5)
    GRAZE. Kiss is what snooker balls do when they touch faintly. Could be equated to graze. Involves nosebag perhaps?

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