Times 23942 Double Meanings Galore

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time : 30 minutes

A compiler who likes double meanings and homophones but who also knows what kinetic energy is.
This is mostly a standard daily cryptic. I don’t fully understand 13A, which I have guessed nor the phrase “united say” at 22A. At 23D I believe we have a reference to a living author (see pie chart) or perhaps Jude The Obscure (see comment from Tom B. How do we distiguish between the two?).

1 HOCK – two meanings; a white wine; slang for to pawn
3 KNICK-KNACK – sounds like “nick” = slang for steal + “knack” = talent (thanks Jack for spotting my mistake)
9 MUNSTER – two places, a German city and an Irish province
11 MAN-HOUR – unit of work; cometh the hour, cometh the man
12 STAIR,WELL – sounds like “stare” + WELL=carefully; flight=stairs
13 THETA – two meanings (I think); it’s a Greek character and it also means “th” (on edit: first letter of “theatron” Greek for theatre. My thanks to Tom B and to the compiler – no comment)
14 CONCERT,PITCH – CON-CERT-PITCH; CON=study; PITCH=spiel; CERT=winner surely
18 DILETTANTISH – (lit den that is)*
22 MAJOR,SUIT – MAJOR=notable; SUIT=courtship; in bridge hearts and spades are the major suits; not sure about “united say”
24 TOUGHEN – t(est)+(enough)*
25 DRY,CELL – two meanings; a battery; decent prison accommodation
26 CARDPLAYER – CARD=eccentric; PLAYER=actor; a hand of cards
27 BYRE – BY-(he)R(d)-E; your cricket for today, a bye is an “extra”
2 CONTAINS – (sanction)*
4 NURSE – two meanings; a type of shark; to nurse a grudge is to harbour a grudge
5 COMPLAINT – two meanings (yet again)
6 KINETIC,ENERGY – yes, a science one and a good one! cryptic definition; a mass at rest (still) has no kinetic energy
10 THREE-LINE,WHIP – (here help win it)*; House of Commons politics at its worst
15 THEOMANIA – THE-OMANI-A; believing oneself to be a god – nothing to do with the Arsenal footballer
20 JAGUAR – J(ungle)-A-GUAR(d)

Category Score Clues
Religion 0
Literature 1 23D Jude Mason
Music 0
Visual Arts 0
Popular Culture 0
Sport & Games 2 22A bridge; 27A bye
Natural World 1 4D nurse
Science & Tech 1 6D kinetic energy
Geography 1 9A Munster
History 0
Other 0
Total 6

I shall be presenting some analysis of the cumulative pie chart this coming Friday

19 comments on “Times 23942 Double Meanings Galore”

  1. I’m also puzzled by 23A. In 13A, theta is the first letter of ‘theatron’, the Greek for theatre. In 23D, I think the ref. is to Hardy’s Jude (the Obscure one). This took about 22 mins, so longer than average. 9A plays fast and loose with the umlaut, which threw me.

    Tom B.

  2. Of course, “united” is mainly there to make the surface reading work, but I think the justification would be that it’s meant as “all the hearts cards taken as a whole” form a suit. As far the “say”, isn’t it a Times rule/convention that there’s some indication when the definition in the clue is an example of what’s being defined? In this case, MAJOR SUIT is “hearts, say” and not “spades, say”.
    1. As far as the rule is concerned, it went out the window long ago and definition by example is now common. As for united=all the cards, forgive me but if that’s the intention I don’t think much of it. “A heart” is one card; “hearts” means the whole suit. Jimbo.
      1. Well, “hearts” is both a collective noun meaning “the suit of hearts”, and also the plural of “heart” meaning “an individual heart card”…
  3. At 3, I think only the first half is a homophone, the second half being simply, talent = knack.

    I ran out of time on my commute with most of the NW corner incomplete. It might have helped if I’d written in KINETIC when I first thought of it but I ruled it out as I didn’t know exactly what it meant.

    What exactly is “quarter” doing in 9, apart from confusing me in the solving?

    Yesterday’s puzzle came in for strong criticism which I didn’t think was really very fair. I personally feel today’s has more for me to gripe about, but then its setter has beaten me and yesterday’s didn’t!

    1. Thanks Jack for spotting the “nack” mistake. A quarter is any region and Munster is such (also France, where the cheese comes from – but I digress). Jimbo.
      1. It’s more precise than that – Munster is one of the “Four Provinces” of Ireland (Leinster, Ulster and Connacht being the other three).
  4. 15 minutes is becoming about par for me and probably 10 minutes or so better than a couple of years ago.
    A very good puzzle all round although the concentration of single letter indicators in the SW corner made that region feel a bit samey.
    I thought 6D was excellent; clever def presented as a social comment.
    My other big tick went to 1A – a straightforward (supposedly) double def that actually ehld me up for some time, the word “A” being crucial. For its smooth deception it gets my COD nom.
  5. Jun. 17th, 2008 12:22 pm (UTC)
    I found this a much more enjoyable puzzle than yesterday’s (on the whole) but I guessed at theta, and had to check that Jude the obscure was a mason. Nearly put concert piece at 14 thinking study (as in etude) was the def but couldn’t unravel any wordplay on that basis and was nagged by study/c*n, eventually spotting spiel=pitch.

    26 minutes dead, thought 1a was a good concise clue but had a bigger tick against knick-knack.

    Today’s Uxbridge definition:
    knick-knack – an ability to steal (spookily close to the clue)

  6. 19 minutes, a late-night-sobering-up solve, and I think that might have been the right state, I bumbled and guessed my way through this one and managed somehow to get there.

    Complete guess: MUNSTER (knew the German place, didn’t know the Irish)

    Guesses from definition without getting wordplay: MAN HOUR, MAJOR SUIT, HOCK, JUDGE (though it had to be G in something wordlike)

    Guesses from wordplay: THREE-LINE WHIP (though I knew a Whip was a guy who went around waking sleeping senators to vote), BYRE, THEOMANIA.

  7. I think there’s also a bit of social/political comment in 10D, which immediately made me think of Eurovision. I forgot to choose a COD earlier, so I’ll take that one. 9A may also be a topical reference to Munster’s recent Heineken Cup triumph. A curate’s egg, this crossword – 1A’s great, but 1D doesn’t work for me at all.

    Tom B.

  8. Around 18 minutes.

    A strange puzzle with a lot of good things and some oddities. But even the oddities were odd in a good way (like Eric Olthwaite’s mum’s black puddings – so black, even the white bits were black).

    I loved THETA when the penny finally dropped (I speak Greek and it still took forever). I wonder if a non-crossword solver would have got this a lot quicker. It’s cryptic and it’s not. BYRE has a sweet surface, especially with the little internal rhyme (The Third of Herd sounds like some minor rural nabob from Edward Lear). KINETIC ENERGY is sublime, and my COD. Polite applause, too, for HOCK and KNICK-KNACK.

    Slight gripe over MAJOR SUIT where that ‘united’, while supportable, just feels like a low blow. And HOMESICK is very awkward – would “No inpatient is suffering so” have been better?

    This puzzle feels like the product of a playful, linguistically curious mind, and gave me plenty of enjoyment. Nice one.

  9. This took me forever, it seemed, but it came together at long last. I have no idea what ‘three-line whip’ means, and ‘mason’=’Jude’ in 23 is over my head. ‘Concert pitch’ is new to me also, and I was lucky that their is a semi-famous American quote, “The man and the hour have met!” from the inauguration of Jeff Davis as president of the Confederacy during the American Civil War, that led me to put ‘man-hour’ in 11. That speaker probably lifted the allusion from whatever jimbo quoted above. Like others I thought 1A and 3A were great clues, and also the misdirection of 7D, where I took ‘declared’ to be indicating a homonym; that held me up forever. So I was about an hour altogether. See you tomorrow.
    1. “Three-line whip” comes from Brit parliamentary jargon. A “whip” is both a party official responsible for ensuring that MPs are present to vote (from “whipper-in”, someone who controls hounds in a hunt), and the document they send out from time to time indicating which votes are most important – by, as you’ve probably guessed, degrees of underlining – or at least that’s what they used to do. Used colloquially for events you must attend.
  10. 13:00 for this. I wonder whether the setter had a bet with someone about the top row and the letter K.
    DILETTANTISH was last to go in – easy to understand but I don’t think I’ve seen it before. Wasted some time with STAIR/CASE (as in cassing the joint) for 12A. Didn’t mind the Gk stuff for theatre as it was fairly easy to guess that theatre might have come from Greek.
    Not very convinced by “hearts united” but if writing the blog would invoke my personal rule that if I have just one minor niggle I don’t mention it.
    1. Be careful Peter – dark forces are at work and if you fail to mention a minor niggle it will be taken as a clear sign that you’re prepared to justify badly-designed clues and we wouldn’t want that, would we?
  11. Shouldn’t 27A be ‘Quarter of herd…’, since ‘herd’ has 4 letters, and ‘r’ is one of them. Can anyone produce a counter-argument?

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