Times 23957

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
About 45 minutes to solve this one. I quite enjoyed it but when I came to write it up it occurred to me that much of it is rather unsatisfying and there is very little to say about it. I’ve noted only a couple of queries/moans so most of it is solid cluing but it lacks the quality of puzzles earlier this week. Maybe we have been spoilt.

11 ANNO,(victor)Y
15 ABBA,C(elibac)Y At last something to say! Doesn’t the rule about living persons apply to pop groups?
17 1,M(P)ALE Not the most elegant of clues and actually I’m not convinced it works at all
22 KIEL CANAL – Anagram of ALLIANCE + K from Denmark. I like the surface of this one
23 CAME,(impractica)L
24 EX,ACT I suppose the idea is that something improvised cannot be exact. Not sure I buy this.
25 SC,IN TILL,A  – SC = scilicet = namely.
1 S(LAP(l) AND),(T)ICKLE Best clue of the day
4 FRIES,IAN – Scotsman=Ian – Cliché of the day (typing this in an ancient version of Excel, it put the accent in automatically! I’m impressed)
10 TO SAY THE LEAST –  I thought the Trappist remit was to say nothing at all
21 UNUSED –  tUrN cUtS bEnD

13 comments on “Times 23957”

  1. 30 minutes, but I started it while trying to sober up at 2am, so maybe not the best of circumstances. Nothing too tricky here (though given my run for the week I shouldn’t be that confident). DOCUSOAP is a portmanteau I haven’t encountered before, and it sounds ghastly, but not too difficult to work out from wordplay. I liked 7D and 1D, though 3D isn’t a clue for an unsettled stomach in the early morning. Nice use of “inspire” as an inserticator at 9A.

    Last in was 15A, I thought CURACY or PAPACY (though neither fitted the wordplay), didn’t get ABBACY until the checking B from DOODLEBUG.

  2. A very relaxed and unhurried 10:18 here, one of the easiest of the week. As Jack said, not too much worthy of note, except for the excellent 1D.

    Santa’s always lived in Lapland as far as I know – where do you think he gets the reindeer from? 😉

  3. 8:16 – should have been a 5-minute romp but I got stuck on 11/3. ANNOY only took half a minute or so, but then I forgot my speed-solver’s mental crib list for O?A?Y (oracy, otary, ovary) and worked my way through the alphabet.

    ABBA have appeared before, so pop groups (of the era that crusty old Times solvers remember) must be OK.

    Maybe not the most inspired puzzle, but yes we have been spoiled recently.

    Edited at 2008-07-04 07:35 am (UTC)

  4. Time to solve was about average for me at 35 minutes. I thought it was quite a good puzzle. I liked 1d, the deceptive ‘evening out’ in 8a, 5d, 10d, for example. No real gems, perhaps, but there was enough variety to give pleasure and the clues were all sound.
  5. I really enjoyed this, though it was an easier one, for sure.

    I had most of it done in about eight minutes, but got snarled up around SOLICITOR and DOCUSOAP, compounding the problem by writing in IMPACT at 17a. Finished up at 15 minutes.

    No quibbles, and I enjoyed a number of clues. Again, we have a setter engaging with their inner serial killer, sending Death himself into Santa’s grotto (well deserved, after those Tim Allen movies) and turning AA Milne into carrion at 20d (though the clue prompted a far more satisfying JK ROWLING daydream).

    I enjoyed the Trappist clue, partly because it reminded me of the old “You’ve done nothing but complain since you got here.” joke. AVERAGING fooled me for a while, and OVARY startled then amused me.

    A nice even, diverting puzzle to end the week. COD I’ll give to 7d MAGENTA for the image of M presenting Bond with a pot plant.

  6. A good hour here, with most of that stuck up in the NE corner. None really stand out as COD, but I’ll go for 1d for the interesting wordplay.
  7. I know what you mean about this being unsatisfying Jack, at times it felt like “setting by numbers” and 1a and 23d were real giveaways. Still, Monday and Wednesday’s absolute stonkers were always going to be hard to match. One or two nice ideas in here but lacking razor-sharp execution.

    17 minutes, COD 1d.

  8. I enjoyed it and thought 12A worked well (very M25). However, while I solved the clue quickly enough, I share jackkt’s reservations about the definition in 24A – I’d have expected a reference to tightness or precision rather than degree of preparation.

    Tom B.

  9. This should have been a breeze but I carelessly entered FREISIAN at 4, giving myself heaps of trouble at 8.
    Some clunky clues but a relaxing way to end the week. Couple of niggles; didn’t like “to” at 13 (there was a similar dodgy one a week or so back), 25 might have read better as “…money is kept…”, the comma at 23 spoiled the surface and “with which” at 19 looks debatable.
    Placed a few ticks though – 1D is nice, 14 as well, and my COD is 22.
      1. It was a very close call between the two. I think the construction of 1D is excellent in terms of exploiting the wordplay components, but there were questions about Lappland. Other than that, perhaps I shied away because the answer fell into place very quickly for me. 22 kept me guessing for a while (OK, so I wasn’t all that familiar with the answer anyway), but I like devices such as “close to” = last letter, and the ALLIANCE anagram was an impressive find. I must confess “constructed” doesn’t work as well for me as “reconstructed” but that’s personal taste only.

        Actually, that ALLIANCE anagram fodder raises an interesting subject. I’m sure I’m not the only setter who has on hand various bits of wordplay software – I have Ross Beresford’s Wordplay Wizard and the Anagram Artist package. However, I regard both of these as last resort tools and avoid using them until I get really stuck on writing a clue. At that point Wordplay Wizard will rarely throw up anything I hadn’t already seen. Anagram Artist will at least defeat my efforts in spotting anagram fodder and can come up with the unexpected gem.

        The problem with becoming reliant on these packages is that you start to lose your own creativity. I’m not too bothered about noble sentiments such as “all my own work” – no matter how hard you try there’s always a chance that your apparently original treatment has actually been exploited similarly elsewhere; there’s really no way of being sure. But I’d never want to reach the stage where any reasonably long (9+ letters) answer immediately gets fed into an anagram generator to see what comes out. Quite apart from being nudged perilously close to the puzzle limit for full/part anagrams, you’re very likely to miss an opportunity for much better alternative wordplay.

        Were I the setter for this puzzle, maybe I’d come clean and say “Yes, I fed this into software and it showed me ALLIANCE as a part anagram”. It might be a very nice clue but I’d be happier if I could genuinely claim full credit for its construction.

  10. Certainly the Trappist monks say nothing at all; so undoubtedly, they say the least of all the monks.

    Rob Roy

  11. This was very entertaining I thought – and not too difficult. Except for 5a, that is, as in the online version the clue for 5a is not there! I am happy to say that I guessed the correct answer from the crossers for my LOI. M?D?M? can’t be much else I suppose – except MADAMS?

    There are 5 “easies” not in the blog:

    26a Become furious, as diocese embarrassed (3,3)

    27a Chap covers limb – with such an item? (7)

    2d In deep water, delivering impure cocaine (7)
    OCEANIC. Nice anagram.

    20d Wild animal beginning to eat children’s author (1,1,5)
    A A MILNE. Anagram of ANIMAL & E(at). Just the enumerator would suffice?

    23d Provide for some picnic a terrine (5)
    CATER. Hidden in picni C A TER rine.

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