Times 23932 – Phwoar indeed!

I didn’t time myself on this one, I think if I solved it under usual conditions, it would be a 20-25 minuter. Clues were good, some nice wordplay, I solved this one in front of friends who laughed and groaned at the right places.

Where I am at the moment, I can access a lot of internet trickles – hooray for scab internet.

1 VINTAGE CAR: (GET,AN) in (VICAR)*. My last entry, done from wordplay – for a while I was looking for an anagram of CLERGYMAN,I
7 TRAP: (PART)<=
9 SLAPHEAD: (PAL)<= in (A,SHED)*, and lock refers to hair here
10 SEX(=”the other”),TON: great to be solving a puzzle in front of friends, explaining that “the other” means sex and then to be reminded that there’s no way I should know that
13 IN,DUST,RY: I love clever constructions, so this was right up my alley (no reference to previous clue intended)
14 RISORGIMENTO: (ROME,RISING)*,TO – fooled me in a Mephisto a few months back.
17 TRANSCENDENT: ANS,C,END in the council of TRENT. Another nifty construction
21 CAMPER: Double meaning, RIP Harvey Korman
22 DOMINO: (ON,I,MOD)<= – got from definition, retrofitted wordplay
25 T(i)RE,K
26 SOMERSAULT: sounds like “some assault”
2 IL,LI,NO,IS: neat construction
5 CADMIUM: I in (MUD)* in CAM. I was held up for a while by typing IRIDIUM in here initially
6 RE,SIDE,(si)NCE: at least I think that is the wordplay. Edit: and thanks to pros958, I see the error of my ways, it’s RE,SIDE,N(i)CE
7 TEXAS,HOLD,’EM: (HEXED,ALMOST) – popular form of poker in the US, requires little to no skill
12 SPOTTED,DICK: boom boom
16 INTEGRAL: (LARGE,T,NI)<=, fair bit of reversing going on today
18 SIKHISM: sounds like “seek, ism”… eh…
19 PH(=Public House),WOAR(=O in WAR). This may catch a few non-“Viz” readers

33 comments on “Times 23932 – Phwoar indeed!”

  1. A few very easy clues (21, 23, 4, 15), but lots of good stuff – ‘the other’ = sex in 10A, and (I think) Times xwd debuts for SLAPHEAD and PHWOAR. 23 is a great example of an easy but very pleasing clue which I don’t think I’ve seen before – so my COD nom as an alternative to these two. Only a couple of tricky answers outside the slang, but the wordplay for SHADDOCK is easy, and the clue for RISORGIMENTO is worth any difficulty. (Daft thought while solving: “Isn’t Rome too far north?”. That’s MEZZOGIORNO, stupid boy!)

    Seeing the Cam again was ironic, one day after telling you it wasn’t used as often as some other rivers.

    I’ll be interested to see how US-based solvers get on with this – 2 British-sounding slang terms, one pudding and the London-Brighton run. I don’t think Illinois and Texas quite make up the difference.

  2. Much more enjoyable than yesterday’s effort, this was both interesting and amusing and took me about 45 minutes.

    I had only two things to check on arrival at work, firstly that Texas Hold Em is a type of poker (apparently it’s the most popular version played in casinos and gaming rooms in North America and Europe but I’ve never heard of it, so you can see what a blameles life I have led, at least in one respect!), secondly Risorgimento, which I convinced myself must be a musical term, though I was surprised I didn’t know it having studied, played and taught music. I was quite pleased to find that it wasn’t a gap in my musical knowledge.

    My COD was going to be 9 because it made me laugh but it was knocked out of first position when I solved 19.

    One quibble: I thought 11 was a bit feeble. I know “son” is only cluing the “s” but the presence of “son” in the answer makes it fall rather flat. Nearly as bad as “hen” cluing “hen” in the ST a couple of weeks ago, but not quite.

  3. For this one I had the wordplay as RE,SIDE,N(i)CE?

    Otherwise, easiest of the week so far….

  4. I think I need a bit more clarification on this one please. I don’t really get END=bound and why does TRENT=church council and why can’t it be TRING church council? Wiki tells me that Trent “was the 19th Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church” but that’s a bit obscure innit? A bit like Cavarellio Plasticoro (I can’t be bothered to check its real title) being the 21st most-performed opera.
    Apart from this single clue, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Can’t agree with pros958 that it was the easiest of the week because I found it quite difficult (not too difficult but just difficult enough).
    A warm welcome to PHWOAR and SLAPHEAD to the crossword world.
    I don’t expect many others to agree, but I’ll give 21a my nod for COD.
    1. My extensive research (which knows no bounds) has revealed that whilst Tring has a church and a town council it doesn’t have a church council per se.
      1. Slight addendum, the minutes of a Tring Town Council meeting in 2001 contain reference to the following planning application:

        “4/1757/01 Fell Lime and pollard Limes at St. Peter and St. Paul Church, High Street for Tring
        District Church Council.”

        But you’re still wrong.

        1. Is TRENT=church council one of those things that everybody knows except me? We had Jimbo having never heard of Neighbours last week and Jackkt not having seen the Wizard of Oz yesterday. When I see TRENT I think River, Jackie or Stoke-On-, not church council. Am I also the only one who sees TRING and immediately thinks “church council”?
          I’m claiming correctness on this one. Surely if TRENT is an example of a church council, then TRING must be allowed too. If anybody from Tring church council is reading this, I think it’s about time those limes were pollarded again
          1. In short, yes!

            The Council of Trent is probably the second best-known Church Council after Nicaea (where the Nicene creed was written) – it was essentially the Catholic church attempting to put together a response to the Reformation. See
            for a long list, but except maybe Lateran, don’t bother to remember any others.

            Given the relative importance attched to religion at the time, these were both significant historical events.

            The kind of church council that Tring has is shared by every town and village in England, so this would not be used to clue Tring, any more than “School” or “Rugby Club”, picking a couple of examples from a Google search.

            1. Thanks Peter. Fair enough. Objection dropped and dunce’s cap donned
              1. For what it’s worth, I solved the clue from partial wordplay, and then when I came to write the blog, thought “Isn’t there a council of Trent?” which was a remarkable leap of logic for the time. I couldn’t have told you what they did or whom they were.
  5. Despite getting 1, 7ac,4 & 5 within the first minute or so, and despite some other easy clues, I ended up taking exactly an hour on this. ‘Risorgimento’ came quickly once I had the G in place but I took a long time to get ‘transcendent’ and ‘integral’. I’ve never heard of 7dn and couldn’t enter the last two letters (‘me’ or ”em’) until I had ‘camper’, another clue I was slow to solve despite the straightforward double definition.
    Not particularly keen on the surface for 19, but 10’s neat. My COD goes to 17 for the good surface and cryptic construction.
  6. Thought I was in for a romp as well – in fact it felt that way – but stopped the clock at about 9 minutes. Can’t really identify much that would account for a delay, although I did puzzle over 17’s ending (“ding” or “dent”) for no good reason.
    A future puzzle of mine will not now mark the debut of PHWOAR, dash and blast it. Great to see it used here, though; similarly SLAPHEAD. COD noms for these two, however, would seem to be based on the novelty of their inclusion rather than their clues, which I didn’t see as anything special.
    One small gripe was the “ism” part of 18, defined according to the role it plays in the whole answer.
    Good puzzle all round but no real wow moments.
  7. A real struggle here. Ended up with the NW and SW corners incomplete – not helped by guessing ‘veteran car’ for 1ac… However many times I tell myself to check the wordplay after guessing an answer!

  8. Sex on the brain, these setters. That, and James Bond – wasn’t Texas Hold ‘Em the game they played in Casino Royale?

    Took me about 20 minutes, a good deal of that wrestling with RISORGIMENTO and TRANSCENDENT.

    The slang expressions were very well-judged, being commonplace, inoffensive and ripe for punnery. ‘Unlocked’ here gave me a good giggle. A puzzle with a bit of everything – a bit of this, a bit of that, and, of course, a bit of the other.

    The tone of some of this, and Anax’ chicken anecdote from yesterday, prompt me to throw in a gratuitous Carry On moment:

    Matron: Young chickens may be soft and tender but the older birds have more on them.
    Sid James: Yes. And take a lot more stuffing.


  9. I thought I was on for a record time as the clues in the NW corner all went in on first look but I slowed after that ending up with a still respectable time of 18:14.

    Had to look up risorgimento and shaddock after the event to check they were right.

    Agree that there were some excellent clues, expecially 9 & 19.

    I agree with pros958’s parsing of 6, i.e. the NCE comes from taking i (single) out of nice (fine).

  10. I was quite disappointed by this crossword, though I see I am in a minority. I struggle to find words like “phwoar” and “slaphead,” even in this dumbed down Murdoch era. And vintage cars are NOT eligible for the Brighton run.
    1. You’re right about the cars. That’s just sloppy. The Veteran Car run from London to Brighton is only open to cars manufactured before 1905 whereas vintage cars date from between 1919 and 1930.

      Tut tut.

    2. I honestly think that if someone did a serious investigation into the effect of Rupert Murdoch on sections of the Times, the crossword would turn out to have been one of least affected. Using slang is not dumbing down unless the clues to the slang are giveaways.

      Vintage cars: fair point – a mild slap for the setter/editor. The Brighton run is indeed for pre-1905 cars, called “veteran”. (Though I wonder exactly how much of one of these actually is 103 years old). 1906-18 ones are apparently “Edwardian” unless you use the Collins def in which veteran is the bet-hedging “pre-1919, especially pre-1905”.

  11. A very nice puzzle that I really enjoyed – about 40 minutes to solve. Anax, at 18D “ism” means a doctrine or practice (certainly in Chambers). The parsing is I think, “sounds like look for=seek + ism=doctrine”. I also don’t recall PHWOAR in the Times ever before.

    Sorry Ken but I had to laugh at you not knowing about the Trent Council and batting on about Tring (famous I believe bacause the guy who built the railway line lived there and had the track diverted to this little piece of heaven). I think that makes us one each. Jimbo

    1. Apologies for my poor explanation, which was a bit rushed. The clue is of the type:

      Sally’s after work, being lazy (4-3)

      …where the component WORK isn’t given a new definition in the wordplay. At 18, the def given for ISM is the same as its usage in SIKHISM.

      I’m babbling on now.

    2. To me, Tring means the edible dormouse, just in case anyone’s peckish. They were introduced there by one of those well-meaning, and slightly mad, aristocrats.
      1. You don’t want these little fellows in your house, by all accounts (protected species, so you can’t call Rentokil). Not the only non-native wildlife round here. Muntjac deer escaped from Wooburn Park (and possibly Whipsnade zoo too). At least the local red kites (reintrodcued 20-odd years ago, now very common) used to be common Brit wildlife.

        The aristo concerned apparently used to go around in a carriage pulled by zebras, which sounds more fun than struggling down to Brighton in an old car. See Wikipedia on Tring for more…

        1. Did I say “slightly mad”? Okay, barking. I wonder what the zebras made of Hertfordshire.
    3. The railway (and canal) go to (well, near) Tring simply because there’s a gap in the Chiltern ridge there.

      1. True but not the whole story. I was pulling Ken’s leg and the story about the railway line, which appears to bend towards Tring for no apparent reason, is an old railway history gag. The line was built circa 1830s by the Stephensons as the main London to Birmingham line. It met huge opposition, including being turned down once in The Lords. To overcome such protest the Stephensons decided to avoid Hemel Hempstead and Goddesden and to go instead via Berkhampstead and the Tring gap. This involved building the really famous Tring cutting – a real piece of engineering genius. Jimbo.
        1. Fair enough. Another odd bit of railway history just found: the reason for the one-stop Metropolitan branch from Chalfont & Latimer to Chesham is that the original intention was to link up with the London to Birmingham line at …. Tring.

          That’s enough trains! Ed.

  12. Had a smile at phwoar and liked “the other” getting a mention.About 10 minutes.
    Good fun
    John Marshall
  13. 8:41 for me, but should have been quicker. I took ages to work out the anagram for TEXAS HOLD ‘EM when I thought that would be an easy starter. Loved the introduction of SLAPHEAD and PHWOAR, although I think I’ve seen PHWOAR in a Paul puzzle in the Grauniad before.
  14. Sorry to continue, Ed,

    I travel through Tring by train on my commute doing my Times crossword, and this morning my solving was disturbed by a conversation between a nearby couple who had boarded there, saying that a recent plan to develop Tring station as “Gateway to the Chilterns” has been turned down, and all that is proposed in its place will be 100 new parking spaces. Apparently the existing car park is never full anyway.

  15. Phwoar: I learnt this word a couple of years ago from postings on a UK messageboard.
    When I am out with my wife I use it sometimes upon noticing a passing dish. My wife does not solve crosswords so she turns her head and wonders why I am making a peculiar noise.
    If I visit the UK I will probably use a Tamil word in similar circumstances.
    in Madras that is Chennai
  16. I did not get PHWOAR at 19d and I’m quite pleased about it.

    I also thought that 14a was a musical term but Mr Google has educated me on that front.

    There are 8 “easies” in this one:

    11a Togetherness evident, as son welcomed into marriage (6)
    UNI S ON

    20a Son takes fish and fruit (8)
    S HADDOCK. Same son as in 11a?

    23a Green, turning (ripe next)* (8)

    3d Prize lifted – one having finished here? (3)

    4d Good tip to gather (5)
    G LEAN

    8d Bill carries pig on ship (6)
    A BOAR D

    21d Fair to acquit (5)

    24d Primate’s head lowered, seeking vegetable (3)
    A PE => PE A

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