Times 24,002 A Brief Encounter

Solving time : 25 minutes

I enjoyed this puzzle, which wasn’t difficult but had some nice clues. I particularly like ADAPTOR at 23A. PECK at 26A may give some problems since not everybody had to stand in class and chant about pecks, quarts and bushels. I haven’t seen Copenhagen for a while so perhaps Marengo is just around the corner

1 AURA – (l)AURA; Laura was Petrarch’s lady love
3 CHESSBOARD – when you lose in chess you resign and your opponent scores one point
10 TONSURE – TO-NS-URE(d); shaving (shearing) of the head
11 BRISKLY – B-RISK-L(earn)-Y;
13 ANTHEM – ANT-HEM; as sung by students in Tiananmen Square
14 AGONISED – AGO-N(g)ISED; before=AGO; reverse “design” omitting “g”
17 PEDESTAL – PE-DE(ST)AL; PE=physical education; ST=street=way; DEAL=wood
18 CORNER – two meanings; a corner in football is a set piece
23 ADAPTOR – AD-APT-OR; AD=plug; APT=suitable; OR=alternative; the whole is the definition; excellent clue
25 LOGANBERRY – LO-(began)*-RRY; another good clue
26 PECK – two meanings; a PECK was an old unit of dry measure being a quarter of a bushel
2 RENOVATED – RE(NOV-ATE)D; ATE=worried; NOV=november=weeks; all “in the RED”=in debt
4 HEELED – not that sort of hooker, Anax, a rugby one who “heels” the ball in the scrum; sounds like “healed”
5 SUBMERGE – (beer mugs)*
6 BRIEF,ENCOUNTER – BRIE-FEN-COUNTER; David Lean’s iconic love story
7 ASKEW – AS-KEW; reference Kew Gardens in southwest London
16 WARHORSE – Copenhagen was Duke of Wellington’s horse; music from Nick Stafford’s adaption of Morpurgo’s novel
17 PINTAIL – PIN-TAIL; a type of duck; pin the tail on the donkey is a party game for children
20 STUPOR – (PUTS reversed)-OR; tolerates=puts up with; OR=ordinary ranks=men

28 comments on “Times 24,002 A Brief Encounter”

  1. i liked 25 across as my COD…closely followe by 18 across…a lovely crossword with some pleasant allusions

  2. 40 minutes today with one answer missing (1ac) until I got to the office and looked it up. I knew I would not guess the Petrarch reference and the answer wouldn’t come to me via the wordplay because I was not certain of the checking letter at 2dn where I had pencilled in RENOVATED but couldn’t see the wordplay (I have since worked it out). I also didn’t understand “renovated” = “healthy”, and I’m still not sure I’m happy with it, so that introduced an element of doubt about the checking letter.

    I am definitely not happy with 7 as there is no way Kew is a garden, singular, that’s why the attraction is called Kew Gardens. The clue would have read just as well in the plural.

    But on the whole I enjoyed this puzzle. Few of the answers leapt out at me and I had to rely a lot on the wordplay, but progress was steady for the most part.

    COD: 20

    1. Having consulted the books at home I find Collins gives “renovate” as “to restore one’s spirits or health” so my remaining doubts were ill-founded.
  3. I thought this was very good indeed, although I failed to finish for want of 16D. I also choose 20D as COD, as the ‘PUTS up with’ trick is ingenious.

    Tom B.

  4. I thought of WARHORSE in relation to Wellington but a “familiar piece of music”? About as familiar as was “gaudeamus igitur” some time ago!
    Mike, Skiathos
  5. Finished without aids in about 30m which I was happy with as I felt this was moderately challenging. (ie any tougher would probably have been too tough for me). Didn’t get the wordplay for renovated until I came here: recovered seemed likelier until the checking letters ruled it out. BC.
  6. About half an hour, as commented above, had problems with warhorse, never having heard of it as a hackneyed piece of music rather than just an old hack.
  7. Having failed to get 16D, I looked it up in Chambers which gives it as any familiar piece of music.

    Tom B.

    1. So it does – thanks Tom. I looked it up in Collins when doing the blog but that says nothing about music so I assumed it was a reference to the book/musical
  8. I am no musician, but understand that a “warhorse” to an orchestra is not so much a hackneyed piece, but one which all the players know and can play well. Something which they can roll out at short notice and perform with credit.
  9. 15:30. Everything said above, really, except that I loved the cheese counter. Delightful puzzle.
    If I were looking for a quibble (thank heavens I’m not that sort of wretch) I’d say that the ‘puts up’ device, neat though it is, really needs ‘with’ to work as a synonym for ‘tolerates’. ‘Accomodates men…’ might be more precise.
    1. I think that the “with” is there in the full reading of the clue – i.e. tolerates men = puts up (with i.e. next to) OR.

      Accommodating men sounds a bit racy for a Tuesday.

        1. OK. See what you’re saying. That went totally over my head.

          penfold – you’re right. Better save that sort of stuff for a Friday, where it belongs.

  10. 20:10, agree with the quibble on Kew and I’m not sure that 2d works perfectly – if “a few weeks of debt” = Nov in red, then the “ate” is in the wrong place. Alternatively putting worried straight after weeks (novate) leaves “of debt” to cover “in red” which doesn’t work.

    Overall a nice puzzle though, with tolerates for STUP being very clever and like Jimbo I loved the &Lit at 23 which would have been my COD if we were still doing that.

    Q=2, E=7, D=5.5

    Right, I’m off to Lakeland Plastics now to see if I can buy a film cheeseboard.

  11. Occasionally I have a real doofus morning and today was one of those. No clue whatsoever on WARHORSE…
  12. Agreement on the warhorse sentiment. From a footy perspective, ‘warhorse’ tends to be wheeled out affectionately in commentary to describe an established substantial player in his twilight years; a kind of one-up from ‘journeyman’ – the hackeneyed piece in analogy.
  13. For Dorser Jimbo – Marengo turned up in yesteereday’s Bank Holiday Jumbo!

    Carole H.

    1. I had no idea. If I get to the Jumbos at all its after I’ve finished Mephisto and Azed (both good value this weekend if you haven’t tried them). For the future if they’re prize puzzles you shouldn’t post comment or answers until after the submission deadline has passed.
  14. 12:59 – for some reason most of the hard ones for me were at the top so had to work upwards.
  15. Put in recovered for renovated at first which slowed a little bit but otherwise pretty fast. Didn’t work out wordplay for 6d til afterwards – quite good.
    12.40 today
  16. About 35 minutes or so, late last night. I certainly didn’t know the name of Wellington’s horse, or Petrarch’s muse, but was able to guess them correctly from the wordplay. I agree ‘stupor’ is a great clue, as is ‘adaptor’, but I lean toward the former. My last entries were 1a and 2d, being unconvinced until the end that ‘renovated’ really means ‘healthy again’, but I succumbed to it at the end, seeing no alternatives. Regards all.
  17. Good puzzle. About 40 mins. I’m with the majority view that 23 ac, a delightful &Lit, and 20 dn, with its ingenious use of STUP[with]OR for “tolerates men”, are the stand-out contenders for COD. I agree with jackkt that “garden” should be “gardens” in 7 dn, and I share penfold’s unease with the cryptic reading of 2 dn. If NOV in RED = “weeks of debt”, and ATE = worried, then “worried after weeks of debt” can only yield RENOVDATE, a nonsense word. But perhaps others can come up with a different and more satisfactory reading.

    Michael H

    1. I think ‘of debt’ is supposed to mean ‘in red’, which I find unappealing.
  18. A really good ‘un. I did not know whether to put WARHORSE or SAWHORSE in at 16d because neither made any sense from the clue to me. I was blissfully ignorant of Copenhagen = (Wellington’s) warhorse and did not know the term applied to an orchestra either. I am glad to have been educated here about that – thanks Jimbo.

    There are 4 “easies” omitted:

    12a Make personal betrayal, the sale far too cheap? (4,7,4)

    21a How sitting should be conducted, anyway (15)

    9d Cover chest and back fully (3,4,5,2)

    19d Money-raising Joplin festival? (3,4)
    RAG WEEK. In other words – Scott not Janis.

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