Times 23,935 – The Bearded Lady

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I am glad to make my debut here on a soft easy day. Quite a standard Times puzzle with few hard-boiled eggs.

1 WHINGERS *(Gershwin)
5 BOWSER Cha of BOWS (gives way) ER (Cyclops’s Brenda)
10 INFANTILE Cha of IN (fashionable) FAN (cool) TILE (hat)
11 STOMA Rev of A MOT’S The British Ministry of Transport gives its name to the annual test of fitness (road-worthiness) for all motorcars older than a certain age. I well remember with great trepidation this annual torture when as a student, I could only afford used cars bought for around 100 pound, going through an Austin 1100, an MG Midget and a Singer Imp during my time.
12 STEM Omission of A from STEAM. Personally I found the extraneous “In” too obtrusive
13 GRANDIOSE *(raids gone)
15 UNATTACHED Cha of UNAT *(aunt) TACHE (moustache, facial hair) D (died) Was she the original bearded lady from the circus?
17 STAT Government or STAT(e)
19 ODDS Acrostic
20 ENDEARMENT I suppose an &lit *(tender name)
22 INTIMATES Removal of ID from INTIMIDATES (bullies)
24 GAPE Cha of G (good) APE (mimic)
26 AIRED Cha of AI (excellent) RED (radical)
27 PROPAGATE homophone for Proper gate (correct entry)
28 TESTER dd  Chambers gave tester1
   n a canopy or its support, or both, esp over a bed.
   [OFr testre, the vertical part of a bed behind the head, and testiere, a head-covering, from teste (Fr t*te) head, from L testa an earthen pot, the skull]
29 SPITHEAD Cha of S (start of sweeping) PITHEAD (mine area)
The “Spithead Review of the Royal Navy” is where the Monarch of the United Kingdom reviews a large fleet of warships.

1 WHIT Cha of W (initial of was) HIT (a success)
2 IN FITS AND STARTS in fit sands tarts
3 GUNSMITH *(stunghim) Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim (1840–1916) was an American born inventor who emigrated to England and made the Maxim Gun, the first portable, fully automatic machine gun
4 RUING Ins of I in RUNG (called)
7 SLOW ON THE UPTAKE I must be since I find parsing this too much …..
8 REAL ESTATE  re ale state
9 LEBANESE Ins of BANES (trouble-makers) in LEE (shelter)
14 AUTODIDACT A few days ago, I blogged another puzzle and declared that this was a word I have never seen before and was unlikely to ever see again. How wrong can I be 🙂
16 CENOTAPH Ins of the rev of PAT ONE (fitting person) in CH. Quite a clever clue, if I may say so, with the use of ‘exalted’ or elevated in a down clue to indicate reversal.
18 PREGNANT Cha of P (head of Patsy) REGNANT (ruling)
21 SMIDGE Midges (insects)  with s transferred to the front. I was surprised to find that SMIDGE is not in Chambers.
23 SCOOP dd
25 BEAD homophone of BEDE (scholarly monk)

Key to abbreviations
dd = double definition
dud = duplicate definition
tichy = tongue-in-cheek type
cd = cryptic definition
rev = reversed or reversal
ins = insertion
cha = charade
ha = hidden answer
*(FODDER) = anagram

14 comments on “Times 23,935 – The Bearded Lady”

  1. 5:43 – might have been quicker but wrote BEDE first at 25D. I guess the ‘here’ in “part of rosary here” is meant to show which is the def, but I read it as applying to the whole clue, so needed SPITHEAD to correct it. A bit disappointing, assuming the Times xwd still aims to make reversal clues unambiguous. Would have preferred “… said this part of rosary”.

    At 7D, the anag. is of “a town house” + L=light at first, + kept

    5A is quite a nice clue, though rather spoiled online – I guess “QE Two” is “QE2” in the paper.

  2. 12:50 for me, slowed down by putting in AUTOMOBILE at first for 14D, then taking ages to get 7D. My COD nomination is 15A, great surface reading.
  3. I was caught out by 25 too. And welcome, yfyap, but I didn’t find it so easy, especially the RH side.
  4. 5 & 15 were my ticks as well, great pair of clues. Of the two I’d give COD to 5, very nicely observed even if not as funny as 15. 4 & 9 were also worthy of mention in dispatches.
    Like Pete, didn’t enjoy the ambiguity of 25 but, thankfully, I’d already placed SPITHEAD so didn’t get thrown by it.
    Nice start to the week, although I thought the full/part anagram count was a tad high.
  5. 7D summed me up this morning; I got stuck in the NE corner. 4D and 9D were my favourites, even though both went in instantly. 4D just clinches it for COD.

    Tom B.

  6. I thought I was going to achieve something a bit special today. I started out like…erm…something really quick, but then got bogged down on my last four 5a,11a,6d and 14d. I limped in eventually at 17:40 with about 12 minutes being spent on these. Like others I was unsure of which BEAD/BEDE was the right one until I had the checking D. Never heard of a TESTER canopy, but thankfully chose this rather than TASTER. 15a gets my vote for its great surface.
    Welcome and thanks to yfyap.

  7. Another day, another Hiram. Got 3d GUNSMITH by elimination but had no idea who Maxim was. Must bone up on my firearms (Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition, Billy-Bob).

    21 minutes for me. Like jackkt I struggled on the RH side, being very slow to see the long anagram at 7d. ONSIDE at 6d must have been a blast for those who like neither cricket nor soccer.

    Good, enjoyable challenge, this one with plenty of the ‘Doh!’ factor in clues that look easy after the event. AUTODIDACT and BOWSER are excellent, and UNATTACHED is just a hoot. Haven’t we all had an “unusual aunt”? (actually, mine was a great aunt who secretly married a spy and kept him prisoner for 30 years… long story).

  8. 23 minutes, checked definitions of autodidact, tester and stoma after the event. Was also put off by the ambiguity of 25 so only put in the BE until I got spithead. If “here” at the end was supposed to help, it failed.

    I thought 17, 20 & 16 were a bit weak but overall it was an enjoyable puzzle with 15 getting COD for making me laugh (haven’t we all, as children, had to kiss an aunt with stubble? Yech) but something like “eccentric” might have been a stronger anagrind than unusual.

    Thanks to Uncle Yap for the blog.

  9. It looked like a classic gentle Monday long-hop that sat up and begged to be swatted to the boundary. And so it proved to begin with. Some of the clues almost absurdly easy – e.g. 9 dn – where I was actually held up for a while because I couldn’t believe the answer was as obvious as it seemed. I thought I might be heading for a PB but then got bogged down in the NE corner, with BOWSER, ONSIDE and STOMA all taking longer to emerge than they should have done. In the end about 30 mins.

    7 dn is my COD nomination: a slightly far-fetched but ingenious and perfectly fair anagram in a puzzle that had perhaps rather too many of same.

    Michael H

  10. Dodn’t know tester was a canopy but it was an easy guess. However was held up by bowser for a while but guessed it eventually. Another cricket reference at 6d which would have stumped a few people.
    12.50 today of which probably 3 minutes spent getting 6d/5a
  11. 23 minutes, took a while to get into this (feeling self-inflicted today), but slogged there a clue or two at a time. I feel this is one I would have ripped through if I’d put it down and come back to after more coffee and water.

    Did love the clue at 5a, one of the last to go in (final was of all things, STAT, shortly after AUTODIDACT). And a very quirky anagram at 7s! Had to work a bunch out from wordplay – GUNSMITH, SPITHEAD, WHIT. Nice fair clueing on these tricky words. My “fellow” Americans may not like 6 or 29.

  12. Why did the setter say “a church monument” rather than simply “church monument” in 16dn? So far as I can see the “a” doesn’t improve the surface, and one could argue that it mars the wordplay: does “a church” = CE? Perhaps just about, but the clue seems to me to be better without the “a”.
  13. Welcome Yfyap, thanks. Took me a long time due to cricket reference and being totally unfamiliar with ‘bowser’, a guess that took me a long time to make. Regards all.
  14. I forgot to say – thanks for blogging this, Yfyap, and congratulations on joining the ranks of those “there to be shot at” (mind you, not half as much as the setters – the tradition of setter anonymity must have been started by a particularly prescient editor). Welcome.

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