Times 24052 – blogging on a budget

Solving time : 8 minutes, which is good, things have been rushed lately, and so will be this report. One little quibble, a lot of straightforward clues, but some very concise wordplay. Good puzzle to hone skills on. And away we go…

1 STOMACH: double definition
5 GO(=game),DUTCH: Go used to be very popular in Australia when I was an undergraduate, haven’t heard much about it since then
9 TOP,SECRET: I think this is meant to be a double definition?
13 STRAIGHT(=poker-hand),FACED(confronted): not sure if this was intended as an &lit, the two halves go pretty obviously together
21 TO,MA,TILL,O: Woohooo! long construction/charade
24 PARMA: R in PA,MA
25 H,ENNA(=ANNE reversed): one of two of his queens
26 SHINTOIST: (THIS,IS,NOT)* – does one have to be oriental to be a Shintoist?
28 GALATEA: Guessed this from the checking letters. The statue carved by Pygmalion
1 SHTICK: H in STICK. So what’s the deal with all these politicians…
2 OPPRESSOR: I liked this, anagram of (PROSE,PROS)
3 ABETTER: TT in A BEER. Split a beer? I’d rather split an atom!
4 HER,BARIUM: Boom! Boom! Obviously, loved this for the gratuitous placement of an alkaline earth
5 G(h)ET TO
8 HOMICIDE: 1,CID in HOME. Get out of my house, CID
16 SNATCHES: two definitions
18 H,A,T RACK: cute
19 CAPITOL: The 17 one is in Washington, D.C.
22 M,ANNA: We have ANNE and ANNA in the same crossword, crossing each other

34 comments on “Times 24052 – blogging on a budget”

  1. 16 min. So must have been fairly easy.

    9 Ac: Allusion to sleeping like a top.

    21 Ac: Tomatillo was new to me, but couldn’t be anything else from the clue and checking letters. A physalis apparently, a close relation of the cape gooseberry. The latter a weed here, but great to eat. Brilliant on a pav.

    28 Ac: Galatea. Again, could not be anything else, and knew vaguely of a connection with Pygmalion.

    Similar thoughts about 1 Dn. It is nice to be led gently to less common answers.

    1. Bit of a d’oh moment on tomatillo – they’re pretty common in North America, and great for making a mildly spiced salsa
  2. About 20 mins, fast, for me.

    Surely it is one of Henry’s 6 Queens (Anne Boleyn) not 2. Or maybe the others weren’t officially queens or something.

    Nearly messed up writing MANTRA where MANNA was meant to go. Of course it didn’t fit!

  3. At the Tate a few years ago there were some beautiful statues (by leighton) of Pygmalion carving Galatea…
    a rather straightforward puzzle. Not as easy as yesterday. i guess like others that Friday may well be a stinker although PB says doesnt work lile that!
    we will see…
  4. 23 mins which is at the fairly easy end of the speectrum for me.

    Thanks Ross for pointing out the reference in 9A – I missed that.

    It must be blindingly obvious as George hasn’t mentioned it, but what is the meaning of “steaming” in 7D?

  5. I made a good start but after 20 minutes I had little in the NW quarter and 21 was still unsolved. It took me another 25 mintes to sort this out.

    The problem in the lower half was I had convinced myself early on that 14 would start with HARD and had opted for HARDGOING which seemed like a good idea at the time but on reflection was not, and this meant I was unable to crack 21 for ages. Eventually I worked out the wordplay to give me TOMATILLO (not sure if I have heard of this before) and revisited 14d.

    I found it hard to get properly started in the NW apart from 11 and I’m afraid solving each of the remaining clues was a bit of a struggle.

    I take some comfort from successful guesswork elsewhere, picking the right spelling at 19 and GALATEA at 28. I didn’t know the Pygmalion reference but knew of Acis and Galatea so decided to bung it in and hope for the best.

  6. I couldn’t get interested in this and plodded home in around 17 minutes. I can’t put my finger on it, but this didn’t feel like a Times puzzle. Maybe it’s just me. Grumble, grouch, humbug.
  7. Did quite well with this except for putting HERBALISM at 4D. This is one of my championship fears – finding an answer that seems to work as a cryptic def. when there’s actually wordplay involved, and then having to try to convince someone that it’s equally good as an answer. Whether this one is really good enough I’m not sure, and not sure usually means ‘not’.
    1. Toughie. But in the hope it gives you a laugh, I managed to put BE(ATT)ER in for 3D without thinking about anything as trivial as, say, whether it was a word or not…

      Guess those beattings from my father did the trick after all?

  8. To keep jackkt company, I took 40 minutes on this, and it was the NW corner that held me up. I’m getting very careless these days; I entered MANNA in 23’s light and entered REPRESSOR for 2. I spotted the first error quickly, but the last only when I’d almost given up on 1 across.
    I don’t really understand 9. Can anyone explain the significance of “the knack of sleeping well”?
    1. There’s a UK phrase “to sleep like a top” meaning to sleep well. So the top has a top secret – geddit? I thought it was tosh personally
      1. Thanks for the explanation. I’ve a very dim recollection of the expression now you mention it. When I sleep well I sleep like a log. Tops spin, so I wouldn’t want to sleep like a top.
  9. 12:15. I was really enjoying this until I got to 28a. Was half the clue missing because I only had the definition part? I suspect no, it’s just the setter trying to appeal to smart-arses. As it happens I guessed it correctly but that doesn’t make it any better.

  10. 40 minutes (quite quick for me!), with most of that in the bottom half, and in particular the SE corner. It would have all have been a lot easier if I wouldn’t quickly whipped in PARIS for 24ac, causing myself untold grief. My only question marks were 28ac, which remained obscure until a couple of Google searches cleared things up, and 11ac, where I completely failed to spot the definition, though the wordplay was straightforward enough.
  11. 8.02. No real difficulties; slowed myself down a bit in the SW corner by originally pencilling in SNAPPER for the celebrity follower, thinking we had a paparazzi chase going on. Otherwise all pretty straightforward.

  12. Made the same rick as Peter on Herbalism and agree that it ultimately doesn’t quite work as a metaphorical double.

    Galatea, as for others, was a twilight entry and a bit of a crappy clue I think.

    Was ignorant of the ‘sleeping like a top’ idiom.

  13. What did I say yesterday? “I now believe I’m capable of a sub-10”.

    So what happenned today? Cue Jeremy Clarkson: You did it….



    …eight minutes thirty.

    Woo hoo.

    Lucky guess for Galatea and tomatilla from wordplay. Apart from that it couldn’t have been much more straightforward.

    Q-0, E-5, D-1 COD dunno.

    10 reminds me, up here in Yorkshire partygoers have started injecting ecstacy straight into the soft tissue in their mouths. It’s known as taking e by gum.

    1. As I was saying earlier, an outstanding puzzle and I take my hat off to anyone who solves this is less than ten minutes.

      Congrats, Penfold. You’re a star with a reasonably priced biro.

  14. I trundled through this never being inspired nor held up unduly until I came to 28A. With all the checking letters in I just guessed GALATEA. What a poor clue!
  15. I completely forgot (since it wasn’t the case when I wrote the blog), today (Part of National Chemistry Week in the U.S.) is Mole Day, 10/23. So with the appearance of barium in the crossword, the setter was obviously celebrating Mole Day.

    Happy Mole Day everyone!

    1. George you should explain it’s only beteen 6.02AM and 6.02PM and that a mole is a number of molecules. I can’t quite see the connection with barium but then I’m just a humble mathematician.
  16. A poor clue? A crappy clue? I think it had a rather clever surface reading. Pygmalion was a play by George Bernard Shaw on which My Fair Lady was based. So initial reading of the clue might send one in the direction of looking for a cartoon version of one or the other of these. Only when you rumble the fact that Pygmalion was a mythological character who carved a statue of Galatea, which Venus brought to life, does the clue fall into place. I think the setter deserved better than he got from some quarters.
  17. Regards all. About 20 minutes for me, a tad more of a challenge than yesterday’s. TOMATILLO is very common over here, but ‘sleeping like a top’ is not. Survivor’s comment about GALATEA makes me feel the clue is very fair, although my poor knowledge of mythology or whatever made it pretty obscure to me until now- it was simply a clear guess from the checking letters. See you tomorrow. COD: SHTICK, cute.
  18. A few days in Italy shouldn’t really have been a break from the puzzle but the loss of broadband connection forced a three day gap. So I thought I’d be comprehensively … well, not beaten, just slow. 6 minutes as it turned out so, as the ladies keep telling me, I’ve still got it.

    No real problems although I didn’t know the GALATEA reference. A few pretty numb clues, some very good ones and I think 4D is fantastic.

    Q-0 E-6 D-6 COD 4D

    1. Wow, 4dn is indeed fantastic. Until looking here I had no idea there was wordplay too (though luckily ‘herbalism’ didn’t occur to me first). I think this took me a shade under 5 minutes, but I’m wearing a dubious analogue watch after its digital equivalent broke so I’m not totally sure.
  19. I didn’t quite see how HER could be justified in the clue. This had a clever idea for a cryptic definition, but surely Rosemary as a herb should be gender-neutral? Am I missing something?
  20. “Split a beer? I’d rather split an atom!”

    Yahoo Serious did both, when he split the beer atom.

  21. I quite enjoyed this one. My last two in were HARROWING at 14d – one of the “easies” and then GALATEA at 28a. I recently read Stephen Fry’s “Mythos” which includes the tale of Pyg and his statue but I needed all the checkers in order to drag the name out of the back of the brain. This clue assumes a knowledge of that classic tale. You either know it or not. Hence – in a cryptic and not a general knowledge crossword – it is quite justifiable for some comments above to regard this as a poor clue.

    There is a footy XI of “easies”:

    10a It’s emphatically uttered through part of one’s mouth (2,3)
    BY GUM. I doubt that this gets uttered emphatically any more – even in the darkest depths of the north.

    12a Acting so violently when capturing one belligerent (9)
    AGONIST1C. Anagram of (acting so) and 1 = I. New word for me.

    17a Unfortunately, not a richer man like Getty or Rockefeller, say (5,8)
    NORTH AMERICAN. Anagram of (not a richer man).

    27a Second speaker who follows a celebrity? (7)

    6d Ask questions after operation re bed if poorly (7)
    DEBRIEF, Anagram of (re bed if).

    7d Steaming with limited room to manoeuvre (5)
    TIGHT. One of the large – and increasing – number of words for being drunk. For example recent ones might include trolleyed (perhaps derived from the drinks trolley) and Michael McIntyres gazebo-ed.

    14d Breaking new ground can be stressful (9)
    HARROWING. My POI – shame for a country lad not to see this one sooner.

    15d Constable, say, supporting part of case against swindler (3,6)

    19d Senate building or temple in Rome (7)

    20d Aid to meditation used by shaman traditionally (6)
    MANTRA. Hidden in last 2 words.

    23d Laboratory apparatus some expert researchers initially put together (5)
    L A S E R. First letters of first 5 words.

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