Times 24,008 – Calling All Elf Fans…

Solving time : 12 minutes for me, suggesting the real speedsters will be having soft-boiled eggs for breakfast today; for the more leisurely in manner, another pleasant Tuesday puzzle. By my reckoning only one or two words which could be called obscure, and no references I can see to baffle the non-UK solvers. Q0-E6-D3.

1 METAPHOR – (MOTHER)* containing PA reversed.
5 GOTHIC – GO THIC(k), though come to think of it, it would be fine to leave the K on as well, should the extra letter be required.
10 PREPOSITION – REP in POSITION, cunning definition, i.e. “in” is an example of a preposition.
13 THEE – THE(m)E = “you”.
18 SNAFFLE – (ELF FANS)reversed – the bit in question being what goes in a horse’s mouth.
20 INKIER – IN KI(ll)ER.
23 TROT – TROT(h), short for TROTSKYITE. I saw Hamlet – and, for that matter, Osric – last week, and while I didn’t hear anyone saying “by my troth”, there was at least a “hey nonny nonny” from Ophelia.
29 HYMENEAL – (HELEN MAY)*, another, less widely used word for nuptials, named after the god Hymen.
1 MAGPIE – MAG + PI(l)E gives the indiscriminate collector.
2 TROOPER – O(ther)R(anks) reversed inside TOPER.
3 POPPING OFF – POP + PIN + GO + FF; a ‘pin’ being a beer cask which is half a firkin, or 4 and a half gallons. Mmmm…beer.
14 BASKET CASE – double def.
19 ANODYNE – A NO + DYNE, which is an old unit of force.
21 EYESORE – which sounds like “I saw” – and it even comes with a disclaimer from the setter for those who disagree with the homophone.
22 GLOBAL – LOB inside GAL – not entirely sure that a lob is a “special” delivery, in the cricket sense, mind, though it does help the surface. The term appears to have been coined by Wyndham Lewis and developed by Marshall McLuhan (while John O’Farrell appears to have taken credit for christening George Dubya the Global Village Idiot).
25 CHIT – double def.

24 comments on “Times 24,008 – Calling All Elf Fans…”

  1. As an American who after a few years can now solve the dailies in a reasonable time period, I am pleased to report this is the first week in which I solved all puzzles within an hour(ish) or sooner. The site has been a tremendous help and I thank you all.
  2. 18 minutes while watching Andy Murray rolling over a Swiss. Nice puzzle. The NE corner gave me most trouble, especially HEIGH–HO, the spelling of which I’d never really thought about before. QED – 0, 6, 6

    And well done, Terry. Good going.

  3. I got off to a flying start with a smattering of words throughout and the SW corner completed in no time but then I ground to a halt.

    The first problem was that I thought of PEGGING OUT for 3dn and although I could see it was wrong it prevented me from thinking of an alternative for quite a while. At 30 minutes I had all but 5, 8, 13 and 29 solved and spent another 15 minutes on these, getting GOTHIC and THEE, but I ran out of time without spotting CONVERSE.

    I’m afraid I had written 29 off despite having all the checking letters and having spotted the anagram material. I don’t know the word but I might have worked it out if I had thought of match indicating marriage. As it was, I convinced myself that it was referring to sport and would therefore be a technical term or colloquialism that meant nothing to me.

    I thought the wordplay at 27 was a bit obscure, never having heard of “sorb”, a family of trees to which the service tree belongs.

    QED: 0-7-7

    P.S. Can somebody please put up the link to where Anax explained the QED system? I just want to check I am using it correctly.

    1. Hi Jack
      I can’t search for the link, but:
      Q = Quibbles, i.e. the number of clues you considered dodgy (unacceptably obscure or technically unsound)
      E = Entertainment value (out of 10)
      D = Difficulty (out of 10)

      Right – off to get the paper, back soon.

        1. I know. Somehow “quibbles” sounds a bit more friendly, less uppity, more cute and cuddly. Ah, that’s it. Remember the old Star Trek episode?

          Any takers for changing Quibbles to Tribbles?

          1. A TED rating? hmmm…. maybe not. Actually, tribbles are very big in our house. We have about 100 little tinsel balls that we got from a craft shop and which make fantastic cat toys. They look just like the Star Trek critters, so we call them Tribbles in honour of those who boldly went.

            Your QED rating system has definitely caught on, Anax, which goes to prove that a good name trumps scientific rigour every time.

  4. Although there were a lot of very easy clues in there I got held up on a few others (hadn’t come across hymeneal before, for instance) and eventually limped in at 35 minutes.
  5. A very straightforward puzzle with a couple of awkward twists already mentioned by others. I guessed ORB and my thanks to Jack for explaining it. I liked the hidden SIESTA. About 25 minutes to solve.
  6. Note to self; stop trying to read more into clues than really exists.

    About 12 minutes in the end but really let myself down by struggling needlessly at 25D. Trying to marry up a note (must be C) with justification for HIT… couldn’t do it, but I hesitated over putting in the only sensible answer, didn’t think to look at the straight double def.

    A very entertaining puzzle with some great moments. 10A was begging for an almost invisible def, and got one. “Imagined being” is brilliant at 18A.

    Wasn’t sure about COD as there are several clues which look like being contenders but somehow just miss the wow factor – in the end I’ve gone for 22D which is nice image coupled with the very good “special delivery” = LOB.

    Q-O E-7 D-7 COD 22

  7. Almost the exact same experience as sotira; 18 minutes, in my case watching Serena Williams taking apart some hapless opponent whose name I’ve already forgotten.

    My main stupidity was looking ahead to 27a while writing in EYESORE, as a result of which I wrote EYESORB. And then took far too long to notice what I’d done.

  8. Another potentially quick solve impeded by a careless error that took me too long to spot, so 25 minutes again. The careless error was to write PSYCHEDELIC for 26a, which prevented me getting 14d (incidentally, I don’t really see this as a double definition). Otherwise pretty straightforward. I agree with Anax that “Imagined being” was a beautifully deceptive opening for 18a. I also liked the clues to 1d and 7.
  9. Thanks, Anax, and I see we both have the same QED score for today so I must be working on the right lines already.
  10. 9:18 for this one – should have been quicker but struggled with the pair of METAPHOR – hasty reading which omitted ‘agonised’ and had me writing MA___PA___ by the clue, and PREPOSITION – failing to see “in” as the def and looking for a non-existent anag. Also wanted 1D to be MAGNET, despite the fairly obvious IMP…. for 12A. Didn’t think of (s)ORB but with O?B what else is there?
  11. Most enjoyable puzzle, for all the reasons mentioned above. Agree with anax that 18 ac (my COD) was particularly nice, with both the reverse reading and definition beautifully disguised – I can’t imagine I was alone in wasting time searching for a word meaning “imagined being”, initially entering SPECTRE, which didn’t help. I also shared topicaltim’s enjoyment of the “in” joke at 21 dn, where the setter cleverly pre-empts possible complaints about the homophone from that small band of solvers who seem to pronounce the English language in ways unknown to anyone else.

    Re anax’s comment on 12 ac (IMPRISONED): I must say the definition did seem to me as invisible as makes no difference. It wasn’t an especially hard clue, with or without a definition, but I’d always thought in my inocence that it was a cryptic convention that the clue has to contain somewhere a reasonably clear definition of the answer. Evidently not. Is there a special name for an invisible definition clue?

    Michael H

    1. 12A Clue is Devil shamefaced to have one boy thus!. My reading was that this was an &lit – the cryptic reading being IMP=Devil,RED = shamefaced, with (I SON) = (one boy) imprisoned in it. The definition reading is a statement that a/the devil would be shamefaced to have a son imprisoned – presumably shame at his being caught, rather than shame about the crime. So a subtle def. rather than an invisible one.
  12. ‘A bit’ miffed as I would have been through in 14 mins but for not knowing SNAFFLE. Very nice crossword, my COD would be 10A, just ahead of 5A. I like the scrupulous ‘As some say…’ in 21D.

    Tom B.

  13. 10:02, with GLOBAL and ORB the last to go in, and without understanding the latter. I am sure I have seen something very similar to 21D very recently, perhaps in this month’s Magpie?

    My favourite clue was 1Ac – so neat to get mother and father both into the clue so naturally.

  14. I think I’m getting slower by the day… this one took me three sittings, and although I have a splitting headache (exacerbated by the construction going on in the other half of my building), I fell for every trap that was set by the setter – this is a good challenge.

    Trap 1: HEAVE(n)-HO. So convinced of this I had agonies over 10 and 13 inventing all sorts of words that mean “you” and have a E as the second letter

    Trap 2: PSYCHEDELIC. Even though I knew there was an A in the anagram and it didn’t really fit the clue. it was so tempting, and turned me into a 14 trying to get 14.

    Trap 3: COO(l), which kept me from both 1s forever.

    Error of ways seen eventually and completed grid with several sighs of relief. Several very good clues, 1ac was deceptive, 5 made me smile, 18 was a nifty piece of hide the definition.

  15. This took me quite a while, say 45-50 minutes altogether, having started last night and filling in the remainder this morning. HYMENEAL and SNAFFLE were the last to go in; I had never heard of either word, although with the anagram letters available I just guessed 29 started with HYMEN-. I saw the reversed ‘FANS’ for ‘supporters, but didn’t catch the ELF=’imagined being’ until reading the explanation here, and I agree it’s wonderfully hidden. In fact I’d suggest it as COD save for the thought that ‘snaffle’ itself is a tad obscure to everybody who doesn’t spend a lot of time around horses or other bit chomping animals. Fine effort by the setter today. Regards all.
  16. About 30 minutes in two sessions, the first on a very early train out of Doncaster (remember getting up when it’s still dark? yuk) the second on the train back after a day of meetings with guys from not one but two (count them) US investment banks. Ye gods.

    3d COD for me – they’ve been reading my wish lists.

    Q-0, E-7, D-7

  17. An easy tuesday puzzle particularly after last week. thanks for clarifying Sorb to orb…

    a late post

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