Times 23,967 – Slow Love is not Sweet

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Quite a challenging puzzle which took me slightly more than 30 minutes including time to mull over and digest the wordplay; since I knew I had to blog this. Some of the definitions were tricky but the clues were very Ximenean and fair,

1    HISTOGRAM His (chap’s) TOGRAM (rev Margot Asquith)
(deliberately left vacant)
9    SUPREMO *(Euro mps)
10    YORKIST Sounds like you’re kissed (bussed)
11    YALTA Y (last letter of away) ALTA (r)
12    BLASPHEME *(lamb sheep)
13    PHARISEE Ins of  H (horse) Arise (to get up) in PE (exercise)
14    MAYA  Ins of AY (always) in MA (parent)
17    LODE L (line) ODE (poem)
18    CARLISLE Carl (Nielsen, the Danish conductor)  Isle (detached place) BTW, Carlisle is a cathedral city; hence defined as “see”
21    CAESAREAN Ins of S Area (southern region) in CAEN (French city) and of course, we know Macduff of Macbeth fame was not born naturally
22    INUIT  I (single) NUIT (French for night)
24    DEAD LEG  Rev of GEL D(A)ED, from ins of A into Gelded (neutered)
25    COTE D’OR Sounds like “coat door” (paint entrance) Red wine from this French place
26    GODLY  G  OD(d)LY
27    RETICENCE Ins of ICE (reserve) in *(recent)
1    HUSKY Cha of HUSK (the worthless outside of seeds/grain + Y (end of day)
2    SUPPLY AND DEMAND Supply as in supple-ly (flexible)
3    OPERATIC Op (work) ERRATIC minus an R
4    ROOT BEER Ins of BE in Root-er (one shouting)
5    MAYDAY dd May Day is first of May, International Labour Day and of course, the distress signal is Mayday
6    ABRUPT AB (sailer) In of UP (promoted) in RT (right)
7    WHITE MAN’S BURDEN *(semi brand new hut)
8    NOTRE DAME No + ins of RED (revolutionary) in Tame (peaceful)
13    POLICE DOG Ins of Iced (cooled down) in Polo (game) G (good)
15    WAINSCOT  *(tonic was) for wall panelling
16    ELLIPTIC Ins of PILL in CITE and the whole thing reversed
19    FAULTY  FA (c) ULTY
20    BEGGAR Beggars can’t be choosers…ins of Scotch EGG in BAR
23    TORTE A tortoise is slow but take away “o” & “is” and it becomes TORTE, a rich sweet cake

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

24 comments on “Times 23,967 – Slow Love is not Sweet”

  1. 7:36 for this – which felt much better than some recent times. Had to look up Margot Asquith to remember exactly who she was.

    Two tweaks to Uncle Yap’s notes: at 18, Nielsen did conduct (and play the violin) but is now best known as a composer. I can imagine the combination of his forename and the diocese of Carlisle ruffling a few feathers. At 23, it’s “O IS” that has to be removed from the tortoise.

  2. Another smashing puzzle full of interesting and amusing clues. It took me a little over an hour but there were a couple of short breaks in that time and lapses of concentration whilst commuting. Again I didn’t feel stuck at any point as there were always ideas to explore.

    The number of clues solved from the wordplay and working back to the definition was above average for me and cracking them this way often leads to a real sense of achievement when the penny finally drops so I found it an exceptionally satisfying solve.

    23 is my COD with 25 running it a close second. The one I liked least was 18 as the wordplay suggests to me Carlsisle rather than Carlisle. The definition here is “See” btw.

    1. In the cryptic reading Nielsen’s = Nielsen has, not Nielsen is, so the clue strikes me as perfectly sound cryptically, even if the surface misleads.
      1. Thanks for pointing this out, dyste, I have fallen into this trap too many times and still I haven’t learned my lesson. I considered the possessive and “is” but not “has” which, as you point out, makes perfect sense of the clue.

        Thanks too re my comment on 19. The element of uncertainty was about whether my example worked. I’m sure somebody could have come up with a better one.

  3. About 40 mins on this one. Grateful for the explanation of Carlisle from Uncle Yap.
  4. Thanks, Peter. I must have checked my blog about three or four times and yet missed the “o”. What? seven and a half minutes. Probably the only times when I can dip below ten minutes is when I solve a Monday puzzle from either the FT or the Guardian. No wonder you are the Times Crossword Champion !
    1. I saw the anag. at 9 and an LSE B.Sc.(Econ.) should get SUPPLY AND DEMAND easily. Then saw the old Times xwd trick bussed = KISSED at 10, which gave about three more downs including the other 15-letter one. Every across now had at least one checking letter, and just as important, confidence was high. As I didn’t get stuck, it stayed high. Everything worked on the knowledge front too – composers and wine labels suit me better than plants or constellations, and we read Macbeth at school along with Henry IV Pt 1, Twelfth Night and MND so they’re the right Shakespeare for me.
  5. A quick solve (for me, not for the hares) at 22 minutes. Mostly straightforward, but some nice clues here and there. I got the Macduff reference immediately, which helped to fill the bottom corner. CARLISLE was the last to go in, and I slapped it in, guided by the letters in the grid, without initially understanding it, then remembered Carl Nielsen. The clues that appealed most were 5,10,18 and 20. I think 20 just gets the COD nomination from me – both the surface and the wordplay are neat.
  6. A sprightly 22 minutes but I have a few moans about this.

    19 – what’s the def? Faulty is an adjective. Error is a noun, ‘in error’ is an adverb. Can’t see it.

    1a – Who? The only Margot I know is in The Good Life. The only Asquiths I know are the PM and the “Confessions of…” actor.

    18 – Who? (again). The only Nielsen I know is the killer (an ex-girlfriend’d mum turned down a date with him). Also see Jack’s comment on Nielsen’s = Carl.

    21 – why should I know that MacDuff had a ceasarean birth? Elitist twaddle. The setter could easily have clued this some other way.

    7 – so now we’re supposed to know what poems Mr Kipling wrote? Jeez. And how does it fit “colonial duty” anyway? Pah

    Rant over, COD 16, elliptic.

    1. 19 Trying to think of a mutual context. How about “His logic was in error” “His logic was faulty”? Not sure.
    2. Just an aside on your complaint about CAESAREAN:
      I had no idea that Macduff arrived that way either but it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the clue.
      I don’t mind literary etc obscurities if there is “another way in” to the answer and, furthermore, the reference can at least be understood.
      And I now know a useless fact about a Shakespeare play which is consequently stored away for possible pub quiz usage 🙂
  7. About 20 pleasant mins. Nice to see a modern definition of 13A. I suppose that ‘I would say’ in 25A allows for the fact that English speakers pronounce the answer in a variety of ways – it seems fine to me, and I liked the clue. 4D’s my COD. Not keen on ‘trouble’ as anagrind in 27A – as with ‘error’ yesterday.

    Tom B.

  8. 26 minutes, another late-night solve that I made hard work of. Got there in the end from definitions and muddling, didn’t get the wordplay for CARLISLE at all. Remembered about MacDuff that no child of woman born could do something or other.

    Some nice wordplay in there, 16 was a clever construction, but for the surface and making this heathen smile, I’ve got to go for 26 as COD.

  9. Carl Nielsen was too obscure for me too, and without the A for a while was trying to shoehorn an anagram of Nielsen in there.

    I don’t think the Caesarean reference to Shakespeare is that obscure – is it elitist to have to know some Shakespeare? Boris Johnson was talking about Mercutio yesterday in reference to knife crime … OK, perhaps BoJo *is* elitist.

    I got White Man’s Burden without knowing it was related to Kipling, just the ‘colonial “duty”‘ meaning.

    All in all I thought today’s a standard Times, whereas yesterday’s had cleverer clues in general.

  10. I think Penfold_61 is being harsh. I don’t think a reference to a well-known Shakespeare play is “elitist twaddle” at all. Since the whole point of Macbeth’s fate is dependent on Macduff’s “unnatural” birth I don’t see that it’s that obscure. True, a solver might not be familiar with the play, just as he/she might not have heard of a French city called Caen, but that’s no reason for a setter to write a different clue. Apart from the oddity of Macduff touring a French city, I thought it was rather a good clue. A possible criticism, if any, would be that if asked how Macduff arrived (into this world) I would answer “by caesarian (delivery)” rather than just “caesarean”; i.e. the clue seems to lead to an adverb/adverbial phrase rather than an adjective or noun. But I can see a way of interpreting “How” so that an adjectival answer is justified.

    The definition in 19 is not “error”, but “in error”, which equals faulty. I know jackkt has already suggested this, but there was an element of uncertainty in the comment.
    There’s far less to complain about today than yesterday, in my view.

    1. I agree with dyste – this is the Times crossword, after all, and I feel a slight glow of pride at reading a newspaper that expects its readership to know Macduff was from his mother’s womb untimely ripped. Like Emma’s surname a few days ago, this is fair game.

      However – and perhaps this is a personal thing – I’m not sure Carl Nielsen is quite such fair game. I have to admit the composers, cities, flowers, wines and coinage are not strong points of mine, so I dread them coming up.

    2. Disagree that in error = faulty. Give me an instance where one can be substituted for the other. Faultily maybe, but not faulty.
      1. Surely jacktt has already provided an example where ‘faulty’ is adjectival, not adverbial. In a sentence such as ” I ordered that book in error”, “in error” is certainly adverbial, but there are plenty of examples similar to jacktt’s where the phrase is used adjectivally (“He is in error to suppose that…”, for example). It’s true that in many such examples “in error” might be replaced more effectively by ‘wrong’ than by ‘faulty’, so I could agree that the definition is possibly rather loose, but it’s not necessarily the wrong part of speech.
        I don’t like the past tense (lost) used for the deletion of C, so I wouldn’t defend this as a good clue but that’s a separate issue.
      2. Surely jacktt has already provided an example where ‘faulty’ is adjectival, not adverbial. In a sentence such as ” I ordered that book in error”, “in error” is certainly adverbial, but there are plenty of examples similar to jacktt’s where the phrase is used adjectivally (“He is in error to suppose that…”, for example). It’s true that in many such examples “in error” might be replaced more effectively by ‘wrong’ than by ‘faulty’, so I could agree that the definition is possibly rather loose, but it’s not necessarily the wrong part of speech.
  11. The NE corner defeated me. Guessed YORKIST and MAYA, even if I didn’t pencil them in, but for the life of me couldn’t get NOTRE DAME.
  12. Crosswords are published a month or so later in Australia.

    40 mins – 18 was a bit obscure. The only reason I remember Margot Asquith was because of a supposed conversation with Jean Harlow reminding her of the correct pronunciation of her name – “No dear, the “t” is silent, as in “Harlow””. Apocryphal I’m sure, but memorable.

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