Times 23980 – I should have known

Solving time : After 35 minutes and with an embarrassingly small amount filled out, I resorted to the aids, crawled home(I hope) in 49 minutes, one guess and a few peeks at Bradfords. There’ll probably be a few fast times, but some unusual definitions and vernacular kept me at bay.

1 JAM(=congestion),JAR(=shock): At least I think it is, I can’t find the phrase in my dictionaries here, and an online search brings up some references to the trams being called Jam-jars.
9 HOVERCRAFT: Cryptic definition
10 (t)OUCH: describes what this crossword did to me
11 BALLYRAG: ALLY in BRAG – needed the dictionary to confirm this
12 OP,AQUE(sounds like ACHE)
18 PAS(SAP<=),SWORD: I should have gotten this faster, we’ve had a few variations on this clue lately
21 CHOP,IN: Held up a little looking for something starting with IN
23 CULL,O,DEN: Battle determined from wordplay.
25 BUT,T: it took me about 5 years to stop giggling when I heard this word on a daily basis
27 WESLEYAN: Got this from the definition, but it’s W, then (NAY,ELSE)<=. Clever… COD material. Edit: I had ANY instead of NAY in the blog, not only was this tough to solve, it was tough to blog
28 EIGHTH: My stuffed shoulder parrot told me what the pieces were of
2 AGO,RA: bReAd giving the second part of the wordplay
3 JOE,BLOGGS: hmmm, JOGS around E,BLOG. The E seems redundant to me
4 RECORD: COR(=my) in RED. Although COR is popping up frequently, I never think of it straight away
5 REARGUARD ACTION: cryptic defintion, had the ACTION part long before the REARGUARD
6 LITTORAL: L,(TRAIL,TO), of the coast
14 ROADHOUSE: AD-HO(c) in ROUSE. Stared at R—HOUSE for a while before the wordplay came
16 SCHOOLING: CHOO(se) in SLING(support). Another one I got from the definition and got the wordplay later
17 BOUND,(f)A(i)R(l)Y: “four” from cricket being the definition. Anyone else get this and thought 4 down was some sort of term for boundary?
20 SLEAZE: S, then E in LAZE. Nice surface, scandal being the definition
24 EX(p)ERT: a gentle finish

34 comments on “Times 23980 – I should have known”

  1. George, my sympathies. I quit after about 20 minutes as I got that “life is too short” feeling (I had seven clues solved). I hope others found more to enjoy. For me, it was simply too arcane to be a pleasure.
  2. Similar experience here, gl. The RH wasn’t too bad but like you I was missing REARGUARD and so I was unable to open up the NW corner. After an hour I resorted to books and after 90 minutes to an on-line solver to finish off 5dn, 9, 3 (humiliating!) and 17.

    I say it was humiliating to discover the answer to 3dn via a solver because I had already considered JOE BLOGGS (after toying with JOE PUBLIC)but had ruled it out as I couldn’t explain it. I had thought of E-LOG and JOG being part of the answer but, of all things to miss, I didn’t spot BLOG as in “journal”! My only excuse is by that time I was almost past caring as my confidence level was zero.

    JAMJAR is rhyming slang for “car” so I assume the setter thinks that everyone in London is a Cockney.

    I still don’t understand 13. B+RIG seems to fit the wordplay but how does that mean “crew”? I wondered if it was a misprint for “crow” which would fit with BRAG but then the wordplay doesn’t work.

    Going for a lie-down now and pray for something easier tomorrow for me to write up.

    1. 13a ‘Crew can’ – ‘can’ as in gaol or prison. A ‘brig’ is a place of detention on board ship.


      1. 13A was infuriating till the penny dropped. It is now my COD because of the cunning surface. And surely 7D is rather magical. Indeed, an all round excellent brain workout, in spite of having to resort to computerized assistance.
  3. I hate these cockney rhyming slang clues – and I’m a Londoner. They NEVER enter my head. And I don’t like RECORD either. I knew RED was involved but COR did not occur to me in 30 minutes.
    Perhaps I should give up….
  4. 50 minutes here. jamjar=car=london transport is fine with me, but what was cryptic about the hovercraft clue? Why does cor=my? Don’t think eighth works either.
  5. 65 minutes for this – left hand side was the hardest area, with JOE PUBLIC refusing to leave my mind at 3D, the same trouble as George with ROADHOUSE (in particular, thinking that it was R(????)OUSE rather than RO(???O)USE, and PASSWORD/BOUNDARY the last pair. BRIG at 13A also took far too long.

    Edited at 2008-07-31 11:19 am (UTC)

    1. Good to see you back, PB. I’d have been very happy with 65 minutes unaided on this one! I had completed less than two thirds at that point and had been in the dictionaries for 5 minutes.
  6. Viola (which is a pansy) – second leter from each of “every minute someone plants” plus the ‘A’ – not a great clue as the final letter doesnt hang too well.
  7. Reading the above I feel less embarrassed about having to resort to aid after 50 minutes with 1,3,11,14,17,18 unsolved and likely to remain that way for a long time without assistance. I wasn’t even sure I had 9 right with ‘Hovercraft’ since I didn’t see the cryptic definition. I was sure that 11 was a container involving BRAG, but even if I’d come up with BALLYRAG unaided I wouldn’t have recognised it. That got me moving again. Once I had the J from ‘Joe Bloggs’I saw the answer to 1, but I’ve never heard of ‘jamjar’ as rhyming slang for ‘car’, so that was another mystery until I checked this site.
    I agree that 27 is neat,so that’s COD for me.
  8. Not much to add to the above. Managed about 9 clues before giving up the ghost (including 1ac, though I didn’t fill it in as I couldn’t see how it could possibility fit the definition, despite a quick Google search). Congratulations to all who managed to complete this!
    1. It was tricky to decide what to leave out of the blog on this one…

      26 is ANIMALIZED, anagram of M,NAZI,IDEAL. One of my first to go in, probably due to its similarity to an exceedingly average Kiss album

    2. Have you spotted it’s an anagram? You might get there quicker if you think of the Z as an S.
  9. Re comments by jackkt (especially) and others. The setter does NOT think that all Londoners are Cockneys, but that ALL persons attempting this crossword are Cockneys! This meaning of JAMJAR is not in my Chambers. The crossword editor is at fault for not banning this arcane clue. I got it eventually from the wordplay, but I had to ask a Londoner friend (in my gym class in Sheffield) to confirm this meaning.

    Thanks for the explanations of BRIG and EIGHTH.

    Easily the hardest crossword this month.

    1. Not sure about that, Philip, as one doesn’t have to actually BE a Cockney to know a bit of CRS (I knew it, for example, and I’m not a Cockney). However for the clue to work I thought it would need Londoners generally to refer to cars as jamjars, and I’m quite sure the vast majority would never dream of doing so. That was the point I was trying to make, even though I may be wrong on my interpretion of the clue.

      On reflection though, I agree with you that the editor ought to have disallowed it. It’s one thing having CRS in the wordplay but here it’s the definition and it’s not in any standard dictionary that I’ve been able to find, nor would I really expect it to be.

      1. Thanks jackkt.

        I don’t think we are that far apart. However another friend in my gym class (but from Glasgow!) suggests that JAMJAR=”tramcar”, not “car”. Who’s right?

        Also, if CRS is OK, whether in the dictionaries or not, where do we draw the line? Geordie, Glasgow, Scouse OK? New York, Sydney,…????

        1. Jamjar = tramcar sounds logical so both may well be “right”, though I was only aware of it meaning “car”, remembered from the early days of Dixon of Dock Green where no Cockney cliche was left unexplored in the script. I’ve had a tiring day so it won’t be long before I climb the apples and pear to Bedfordshire as I have the crossword blog to write tomorrow morning.

      2. Thanks jackkt.

        I don’t think we are that far apart. However another friend in my gym class (but from Glasgow!) suggests that JAMJAR=”tramcar”, not “car”. Who’s right?

        Also, if CRS is OK, whether in the dictionaries or not, where do we draw the line? Geordie, Glasgow, Scouse OK? New York, Sydney,…????

  10. H aving read the other comments I can’t believe I solved this (well, me and my computer) in 38½ minutes. Like Ross I found it a good brain workout depsite the need for electronic assistance here and there.

    George, 27 is NAY/ELSE rather than ANY/ELSE as you have it.

    COD to viola, also liked opaque and boundary, although solving the online version one never knows if a number such as this is supposed to be 4 or four. What was it in the paper version?

    Welcome back Peter by the way, glad it went well.

    1. You’re right… my post-midnight blogging head really thought it was ANY, about to edit…
  11. I thought this was a terrific puzzle with the VIOLA clue top for me. Also honourable mention to ANIMALIZED and WESLEYAN.
    Bit of a raised eyebrow at the Wordplay “from” def for CULLODEN, but I love it when interesting words such as JAMJAR and JOE BLOGGS appear at the eleventh hour …
  12. Back from a golf tournament to 40 minutes of real solving pleasure. Easily the best puzzle for a long time. Nothing held me up and I worked steadily down from JAMJAR (great clue in my opinion, can’t see what the fuss is about but then I grew up in the London suburbs) to EIGHTH.

    A lot of excellent clues and I wondered if it was an Anax puzzle, it has something of his style about it.

    1. Jimbo, I was wondering the same thing, especially given the noticeable absence of same from today’s comments. I’ve had a good look through it again, with the help of all that’s above, and I think it’s a first rate puzzle. I hate it, of course, but I can see that for those with a taste for intricate wordplay, this must be heaven. It’s out of step with the usual pace of the Times daily, and it certainly isn’t one to solve on the train (unless you commute on the Trans-Siberian railroad) but I don’t have a problem with the occasional one being thrown into the mix. It’s clear that solvers like you and fgbp relish this sort of challenge. Next time we have an Enigma code to crack, we’ll know who to turn to.
  13. I enjoyed this one too. One of those that seem impossible at first, but which respond to persistence.

    No problem with JAMJAR (eventually), I thought it was better known than it apparently is.

    About 45 minutes (Average x 1.5).

    Paul S.

  14. Well, I got the right side in about 20 minutes, and most of the SW, but the NW is blank save for AGORA and BRIG. After reading the blog I realize I’d never have solved 3, 4, 1a, 17 or 11, no matter how long I stared at them, but I should have gotten a few I missed. The setter wins today, hands down. See you tomorrow.
  15. Well, I don’t feel too bad about missing a few, now.
    Actually, just before checking here I got ‘rearguard action’, then fitted in several with sudden inspiration or (more frequently) thinking that, if it’s not that, it’s not anything – eg Littoral and ballyrag.
    For 28a, does ‘real’ simply mean that it has no imaginary part? Or am I missing something?
    Agree 7d is nice – now I understand it.
  16. The old Spanish silver dollar was worth 8 real (or reale), and frequently physically cut into “quarters” and again to “bits” to give more useful values – pieces of eight.
  17. Feel very cheered after reading all these comments. I got most of the answers although again an all day thing.Wish I could have seen 5d though.Susie
  18. This was a really good one – not great for the speed merchants perhaps but a great one to enjoy taking time over. And I did.

    A new word for intimidate at 11a BALLYRAG derived from wordplay (eventually).

    Shakespeare’s love interest (allegedly) at 7d and her fragrant bits at 22d.

    An “American” spelling at 26a ANIMALIZED except that did someone not say on this site at some stage that English English used the Z in such words until someone decided to “posh it up” by substituting S for Z? The “Nazi ideal” in 26a soon put me right.

    There are 7 “easies” not in the blog including the large green chap at 19a. Incredible.

    13a Crew can start to build equipment (4)
    B RIG. As someone pointed out above, the literal = CREW CAN or prison on board a ship.

    15a Putting together a particular piece of church music? (8)
    A MASS ING. Meh.

    19a Hot, oddly unlike old prison ship (4)
    H U n L i K e = HULK. Where the whole ship is a BRIG?

    26a Millions taken by Nazi ideal stupidly turned into brutes (10)
    ANIMALIZED. Anagram of M & NAZI IDEAL.

    7d Every second of every minute some one plants a flower (5)
    V I O L A. eVery mInute sOmeone pLants A.

    8d Prisoner recalled having shot gangster at night (9)
    NOC TURN AL. Prisoner recalled = CON backwards, shot = TURN & gangster = AL(fonse Capone).

    22d Page & Co, part of seven (5)
    P et al

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