Times 23,972 – Yaroo!

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time : 9 minutes. I shall take my cue from the setter and descibe this Tuesday puzzle as a nice straightforward vanilla puzzle. Nothing wrong with vanilla, say I, though you wouldn’t necessarily want it seven days a week.

4 PROPOSER – a poser for the pro
10 LAMEBRAIN – (maleinbar)*, what I would call a not very Times-ish word, but it appears to date back to the 1920s, so less contemporary than I first thought
15 SQUELCH – hmmm, clas(S)room + QUELCH = silence. Not sure how familiar the characters of Bunter and his form-master will be to a non-UK audience or those not of a certain age.
17 WIGGED – double def: I suspect it was people of Bunter’s era who were given a thundering good wigging, but rug=wig is a more modern usage
21 VANILLA – (m)AN in VILLA. Once it was just ice creams but I’ve heard everything from cars to DVD releases described as vanilla recently
23 OWN – for once the butter was not a ram or goat, BROWN without the (B)utte(R) gives own = “have”
26 PILOT (PI)ous + LOT, another step into the world of Bunter, who frequently copped a lot of pi-jaw from his teachers
27 AMENDABLE – D(aughter) in AMENABLE
30 IMPACT – as in the act of an imp
1 POLEMIST – misread this as Scot, so was looking for Mac or Ian before realising it was this Scott with the Pole-ish connection. Means the same as the (to me) more familiar polem-ic-ist
2 LA MER – song made famous by Charles Trenet and apparently very popular at the cinema
5 REN(FR)EW – not a place I imagine will be well-known to all UK solvers, let alone those further afield
7 SPEEDWELL – not caught out by botany today, and worked out correctly that the speedwell family must be veronica, the story behind which can be found here
8 RATTED – RED around A T(ee)T(otaller)
9 WAHWAH – reverse Lord Hawhaw and you get a musical effect which does what it says on the tin
20 PRIMACY – RI+M inside PACY
22 OOMPAH – (MOO)rev + P + A (loudis)H, another onomatapoeic musical word
25 LIBRA – reversed in wARBILlericay; a sign of the zodiac, and, in old money, the £ of £sd, or Librae, solidi and denarii. What have the Romans ever done for us, eh?

34 comments on “Times 23,972 – Yaroo!”

  1. 20 mins or so for me. Only one causing any problem was squelch, since I am old enough to know who Billy Bunter was but not old enough to have ever bothered to read the books so had no idea who Quelch was although I presume he was the headmaster or something. I also made the false assumption that the silence probably meant it ended in sh, before deciding nothing ended lsh.

  2. Around 35 minutes…

    Had no clue who Quelch was but finally guessed the answer and went from there. I had real trouble up in ‘Scouse Corner’. Is 1a PALATE? If so, does ‘relish’ define that? Found some parts of this puzzle quite perplexing, but that’s all I’m gonna say.

    1. I too was a bit doubtful about about palate, but my battered old Chambers has relish as a definition.
  3. 10:55 for me – took a while to find Quelch as I never read Bunter. At 2D, I’m pretty sure they mean Debussy’s La Mer, part of which was written at Eastbourne. (Complusory knowledge for anyone who had music lessons at an Eastbourne school!)

    1A relish and palate both have a “flavour” meaning.

    1. I must confess that Debussy’s “La Mer” passed me by, but I never had music lessons in Eastbourne while the Trenet happens to be in my virtual record library, so obviously I stopped thinking after that…
  4. Yes, a fairly straightforward puzzle but with enough quirky references to make it interesting and not too easy. I came in at 30 minutes which is as good as I usually get. Last in were WIGGED swiftly followed by RENFREW when I had written the W in.
  5. Another 20 minuter – would quibble about vanilla – my kids would have “plain” ice-cream, not “ordinary”.
  6. I made hard work of this. About 40 minutes to solve. I stupidly entered haw-haw instead of WAH-WAH and couldn’t see the link between POLEMIST (new word to me) and “polemicist”. Then, despite being a regular Knockout reader couldn’t remember Henry Quelch – very poor.

    I think the modern use of VANILLA comes from marketing jargon. I recall being presented with reports that talked about “the vanilla or core product”. I agree this puzzle is going to pose some problems for younger and overseas solvers. Jimbo.

  7. I thought this was a bit harder than Monday’s – about 10 and a half mins. Sadly, I can remember Mr Quelch very well, so it didn’t hold me up.
  8. Just by the by, last night I had to use a back door method to get at the crossword online, having got the old 404 error persistently when logging in no matter what I tried. I dropped the Times tech people a note, and just received a reply saying that “due to circumstances beyond our control you may have experienced technical difficulties accessing our site”. I’m a bit intrigued by that “circumstances beyond our control”. Is it a euphemism?
  9. I found this a very straightforward puzzle that occupied an enjoyable twenty minutes. Brief hold-ups were 1d, since I’m familiar with ‘polemicist’ but not ‘polemist’ and ‘high days’ is a new expression for me. Somehow ‘Quelch’ came to me immediately, a relic from the comics of my misspent childhood, though I’d have thought anyone under 40 might have trouble with this reference. None of the clues really stood out, but they all had good surfaces.
  10. Exactly what I was about to say! For me this puzzle was all about good surface readings, although there weren’t any that saw me genuinely deceived and I got home in just over 9 minutes. My only quibble was 23 which I thought stretched the bounds of fairness a little, although it didn’t hold me up too long. 8D would have been fine, I think, without “…” (which has a name, eluding me at the moment).
    I enjoyed the topicality of 21A, my COD nom.
  11. Hmmm… 16 minutes, but there was a lot of “pretty sure” guesswork.

    No idea who Quelch was, but SQUELCH seemed the most likely combination. I was thinking “could this be HAWHAW, but how” for 9, until getting the H from SQUELCH. RENFREW came from wordplay, sounded like a place, so did SPEEDWELL.

    COD tip to 13 down, nice construction, and reminds me of a few students I’ve encountered who hit university after the dreaded home-schooling.

  12. 26:45, an enjoyable puzzle that provided a good brain work-out from start to finish.

    As there are so few COD nominations above I’m going to take someone else’s go as well as my own and nominate polemist and oompah, the former for its originality, the latter for its clever construction.

    Vanilla (or more normally “plain vanilla”) is often used in the murky financial world I frequent to describe a bog standard financial instrument (an interest rate swap, say) with no bells and whistles, as it were.

  13. Vaguely remebered Quelch which helped, but was held back by both 1d and 5 for a while (looking for a French town somewhere in the answer) , more shame on me being Scottish and currently sitting about 1 mile from Scotts ship ,Discovery. Had never come across vanilla= ordinary before
    10.57 today , definitely a bit more difficult than yesterday
  14. I just found this forum today and I’m sure I’m going to be a frequent visitor.

    My source for the Times Crossword is the New York Post, where it is reprinted each day, but about two weeks later than its original publication. Today’s crossword, for example, is No. 23,960. I scavenge abandoned copies of the paper from my commuter train, taking just the crossword page.

    Could I make a request for the ability to search the crossword archives not only by publication date, but also by number? This would help to prevent me from seeing the answers before I’ve had a chance to read the clues! I know it’s not a trivial undertaking, but it would certainly be appreciated, if it can be done.

    1. Would you believe I was thinking about the same thing last night? My guess is that the format of LiveJournal is such that it may be difficult to implement – as far as I know, no Searchbox tool apart from the one at the top of the page which just searches for communities sharing interests. The only alternative would seem to be an exhaustive links column on the right, which would be a swine to set up.
      I’m toying with the idea of dedicating a page on my own website which, although it will need some time to complete, would be part of a site I generally update daily anyway. Each link (in the form of a Times puzzle number) would be to the blog entry here.
      Like I said, it’ll need some time to set up and I’d like approval before starting.
      I’ll try to keep everyone posted.
      1. I considered how it might be managed in LiveJournal using tags but I guess each puzzle would need its number as a tag, and the list would quickly become unmanageable…
      2. A less complicated workaround, which doesn’t require much expertise in HTML, javascript, or whatever, might be to name the HTML page based on the crossword number, so that today’s page might be “N23972.html”, instead of “287149.html”.
        1. As a former NY Post solver, I would click on the ‘view all archives’ link under this month’s calendar in the upper right side of this page, whence you’re delivered to a larger calendar showing a number of months and the number of entries here each day. In the appropriate month click on ‘view subject’ and you’ll see a list of the titles of these entries, which almost always includes the daily puzzle number.

          I since chose the expedient of subscribing to the LT premium xword club, and do the actual days puzzle along with the rest of the regulars here, which allows one to participate in the exchanges.

          Best of luck. If you do join the LT club someone here can give you the daily shortcut link directly to that days puzzle, since as you might see above, the LT web site has been erratic and somewhat unsatisfactory for a time.

  15. When I finished I saw it took me about 30 minutes, although it seemed easier than that, despite a gaggle of UK-isms that were unknown to me: ‘quelch’, ‘high days’, ‘easy meat’, ‘renfrew’. Haw Haw and the ‘union flag’ are certainly very UK-ish references also, but so widely known that they shouldn’t/didn’t cause any problems. I confess I thought the Veronica in 7 was a person, not a flower, so I learned that today as well. I liked ‘oompah’ and ‘impact’ as COD’s today. Enjoyable, and educational! Regards til tomorrow.
  16. As a new reader of this site(and a wonderful discovery it is) can you tell me why you do not give answeds to all the clues? In today’s puzzle I still cannot get 21d.
    We beginners need all the help we can get.
    1. Susie, as expanded upon in the FAQ (see “About this blog..” in the top menu), i) we don’t wish to be accused of treading (too much) on the toes of the newspaper’s premium rate phone line, and ii) sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the week for every blogger to solve every clue. However, if you ask about an unblogged clue in comments, the answer will usually appear as if by magic, a bit like this!

      In this case the missing solution is VIEWED, as in VIE=contest + WE’D.


  17. As a new reader of this site(and a wonderful discovery it is) can you tell me why you do not give answers to all the clues? In today’s puzzle I still cannot get 21d.
    We beginners need all the help we can get.
    1. Susie, welcome. It’s VIEWED – vie=struggle + we’d. Def. -‘seen on tv’. The convention, except on Sundays, is to blog those clues which strike the blogger as especially interesting or tricky, but of course that’s always a subjective matter. I think the idea is to avoid the site becoming a simple crib sheet or an alternative to the Times own online solutions, available 24 hours later through the Premium Club. But you can always post a question, as you just have, if something is driving you nuts.
    2. Hi, and welcome. Those blogging the puzzle exercise their own discretion on which clues are parsed here, and in the interest of time do not explain each and every clue. The answer I have for 21D is VIEWED, where ‘contest’ is ‘vie’, and ‘we had’ = ‘wed’. Best of luck.
      1. Now you don’t get service like that everywhere. It’s like one of those posh restaurants where you raise an eyebrow and three waiters come running.
        1. >It’s like one of those posh restaurants where you raise an eyebrow and three waiters come running.

          I think that’s just you and your womanly wiles.

    3. It’s VIEWED, VIE = contest and WE’D = we had. The bloggers only cover a selection of clues each day to reduce their workload. It must be a difficult choice to make, and people often ask about clues which haven’t been included.

      Tom B.

  18. I feel like I have just found a whole group of lovely new friends. Thank you all for replying to my question, and not being rude about my mis-typing.
  19. I’m impressed that everyone found this so easy. I had to have 2 goes at it – the first time I could not get into the NW corner. ( Mind you I started on the train home from work after a hard day so maybe the brain was not on top form.) Polemist (rather than usual polemicist) only fell into place at the end. Wasn’t sure about 8D – “ratted” is in the OED but not in Chambers

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