Times 24005

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
This took me a good hour, so that’s three consective quite difficult days for me and yet again I was very slow getting started. An enjoyable puzzle but nothing special. For a long time I thought we were in for a pangram but we’re 5 letters short if I have counted correctly.
QED score: 0 6 8
COD: 19dn because it amused me but there are several worthier candidates such as 3dn

5 POP,IN,JAY – A conceited person. J(ustice) sounds like JAY
9 BE(TRAY)ER – Nicely defined as “shopper”
12 B(oy),ASSET   –  TESSA (rev)
13 ALARMIST – Hidden
19 PEN NAMES – Samuel Langhorne Clemens and Charles Lutwidge Dodgson were their real ones
20 DUST-UP – PUTS + U(nmodernise)D (all rev)
21 ALFRESCO – (Close far)*
22 (f)AT-HOME(d)
23 INN,AT,ELY – See = Ely as usual
24 LIB,(r)ATION –
25 LUSTRE – Ulster with first two and last two letters reversed
2 EYE CANDY – “Get a load of” = “look at” =”eye”. Apparently when, as here, applied to people this expression means attractive but lacking intelligence or depth. Not sure that “Only” contributes anything apart from adding confusion.
3 ME(RID,1)AN – “Near” = “miserly” = “mean”
4 DAYS OF AWE – (A do say few)*  – Also known as High Holidays, apparently these consist of Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashana.
5 PARLIAMENTARIAN – (A rant ….an imperial)* –  “Originally” seems to be the anagram indicator here
15 HANDBALL – Double meaning
16 MEM(o),SAH,1,B  –  SAH = HAS (rev)
17 AS(BEST,0)S  – 0 = egg fooled me when I first met it but I’m getting used to it now, which as a tennis fan  is just as well
19 P(LUMME)T – Lumme (also lummy) is an expression of surprise that I associate with Billy Bunter. It’s a corruption of “(Lord) love me”, apparently.

22 comments on “Times 24005”

  1. i agree with jackt this was the third tough one in a row…i thought that some of the clues were nicely abstruse..and my COD would be 3 down. took around 90 minutes for me…a long haul ewdnesday to Friday.lets hope for some easier fare for tomorrow
  2. Hate to be pedantic, but ULSTER does not equal NORTHERN IRELAND. Ulster is an ancient province of Ireland, and contains 9 counties: 6 form the current state of Northern Ireland, and the 3 others – Monaghan, Cavan and Donegal – are in the Republic.
    1. Strictly speaking correct, but Ulster is also used as an alternative name for the 6 counties of N. Ireland. I don’t particularly like it, but it’s a fact.
  3. A very entertaining 25 minutes.
    Ulster may not equal Northern Ireland but NI is Ulster is it not?
  4. I found the NW corner of this particularly difficult. Like Jack I can’t see the purpose of “only” at 2D and it did confuse me as I tried to fit “but” or “one” or “sole” into an answer. I also failed for ages to remember clear=mean to explain what had to be MERIDIAN. The rest of it went in steadily but not particularly quickly. I was interrupted in the middle but estimate 50 minutes to solve.
  5. Nightmare left half, leading to a total time around 53 mins – irritating after fairly good times for the rest of the week. Fooled by some pretty simple stuff artfully disguised, like SEA,MED and HANDBALL, where I spent far too long looking for a H??(DRAW)L answer.

    NI = Ulster: posibly a signature – Richard Rogan and Brian Greer were both born in NI. On the correctness side, Collins and COD (latter in the def. for Ulsterman/-woman) recognise a ‘six counties’ meaning.

  6. Of the last three puzzles I found this by far the most enjoyable, and at a smidge under 30 minutes the easiest as well. Six ticks against really good clues, 21 & 23ac, 3, 6, 18 & 19d. I think I’ll go for 6 as COD for reminding me of Val Doonican.

    5ac reminded me of my favourite chapter in Catch 22:

    I also had a question mark against “only” in 1d – it just seems to be there to improve surface reading. It didn’t spoil a cracking puzzle, mind.

    Q=1, E=9, D=7

    Wish me luck for tonight – I’m taking my 12-year-old daughter to see Girls Aloud in the grounds of Harewood House. If I slip one of the security guys a tenner do you think they’ll let me up on to the stage to give the lovely Cheryl a kiss?

  7. Very tough for me as well, two sessions to solve. Lots of imagination and some great clues. I think ‘only’ is OK in 2D, as whenever I’ve heard the phrase used it’s been of women (regrettably, but predictably) employed solely for their physical attractiveness, a lack of other qualifications being implied. Like jackkt I liked 19D but choose 21A as COD. We seem to get regular refs to Ulster/NI – I wonder whether that’s a setter’s signature?

    Tom B.

  8. Found this on a par with yesterday. Tough with some uncommon words and deceptive clueing. I thought meridian was just a line – how does it equate to peak?
    I found all parts of the puzzle took some time with NW the final part.
    17.46 today
    1. Meridian: good question – COD drew a blank, but Collins has “peak or zenith” – ‘the meridian of his achievements'”. So difficult but legit.
    2. John, the original meaning was midday (medius dies)meaning the sun at its highest point. By extension then the culmination or highest point of something.
  9. This took me 23.48 and so just beat Wednesday’s puzzle as the toughest this week. I don’t like this grid much – the sight of all those relentless connected empty 8-letter spaces, especially in the NW and SE corners, is for some reason very offputting.

    21A gave me more trouble than it should because I had never realised ALFRESCO was one word. Italian has so often been my undoing (EXPRESSO, LA GIACONDA.. and various pastas too painful to recall.)

    1. I suspect this grid would have been ditched if it wasn’t a bit of personal whimsy on the part of Edmund Akenhead, the editor who dragged the Times puzzle kicking and screaming into the second half of the 20th century – repladcing some truly vile grids among other changes. The big Es either side of the 15-letter 5D are for Edmund – but apart from the the middle acrosses, only 5D joins the right and left halves.
  10. Got a start on this over an abbreviated lunch break, and had to take a second sitting. I really enjoyed this one, tricky clues but nothing too out there. 5ac definitely a nice clue, and the anagram at 21 kept me guessing until I had all the checking letters – that ambiguity as to whether the definition was “ridiculously” or “out”.
  11. Estimate of solving time was about 45 minutes, over a fuller 90 minutes that included cooking a late dinner, eating it as well, and family conversing. It was a tough puzzle, but came along grudgingly. Finished with with ‘meridian’, really as a guess, not understanding the wordplay at all til reading here. Didn’t understand ‘lumme’ either, so thanks for the explanations. Off to our long holiday weekend here in the USA, so see you later next week.
  12. I’m glad others found this tough too. Well over 1 hour for me. I liked 5 ac and 16 dn as COD contenders – both involving ingenious cryptic parsing and unusual, but not unfairly obscure, words. I was pleased to get 4 dn purely from the cryptic clues, having never heard of “days of awe”.

    Michael H

  13. Still running a day late. Started yesterday, but got stuck after only five clues solved (one of which I had doubts about), so solved Thursday’s instead. Went back to this one today and made far better progress, but I reckon I spent about 70 minutes in all. It was the little things that made it difficult, such as “Head of Justice, say,” for JAY.
    Tough clues but totally fair. Lots of clues to pick from for COD, but I’ll plump for 9 for the deceptive definition, “shopper”.
  14. My LOI at 25a – took ages to see the construction but thankfully that happened before I put in LOSERS! Difficult literal with DISTINCTION = LUSTRE but no problem with NI = ULSTER for me.

    Half a dozen “easies” here:

    11a Not radio broadcast relating to cooking style (8)
    TANDOORI. Anagram of (NOT RADIO)* – the only way to cook Naan Bread.

    15a Song from that bloke on the radio (4)

    17a Primate coming across saint in church recess (4)
    AP S E

    21a Ridiculously close? Far out (8)
    ALFRESCO. Anagram of (CLOSE FAR) – the ? is there for confuzles.

    8d Present time eruditely written about? Not right (8)
    YULETIDE. Anagram of ERUDITELY without the R.

    18d Singular person amusing a pedant (8)
    S TICKLER. To define the sort of person that we never see posting on this site? What was that about ULSTER?

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