Times 24267 – can you 29 28 to be a 17?

Solving time : I worked on this during breaks in a rehearsal so didn’t really get a chance to note down a time, but I found it a pretty steady solve with a few falling each time I grabbed it for a look. The main sticking point was around 20 across – twigging that helped get the bottom half, leading to 25 down being the lucky last here. Some interesting definitions…

1 THREW: sounds like THROUGH, and even does when I say it
4 SEPARATED: (APART)* in SEED(=beginning)
10 DRACO: O,CARD reversed. Lawgiver from the Greek
11 TOMB,O,Y: Nice to see the version I’m used to after several helpings of LADETTE
12 LUNCHEON: cryptic definition as being the long form of LUNCH in “there is no such thing as a free lunch”
16 FLEW: L in FEW – found this tricker than it should be and needed both the checking letters
20 MAN,OEUVRES: applause for the surface
22 MORALIST: ORAL in MIST – the long definition of mist works well with the surface
26 DIARY: at least I think so, but Evelyn Waugh didn’t write “The Diary of a Nobody” Edit: Now I find that John Evelyn wrote a diary
28 MAN(isle),FRIDAY(war/rebellion): along with a cryptic definition Pointed out in comments, I made a mess of the wordplay here, it’s I’D in FRAY
1 TAHITIANS: HA in TITIANS – Gaugan painted a lot of them
2 REARM: EAR in RM (Royal Marines)
3 WALKOVER: double definition, really liked the first one
5 PERCUSSION: (NICER SOUPS)* – the kitchen is an orchestral/symphonic term for the percussion section
6 RED,ACT: when you line out things you don’t want the general public to read
7 TRAVELLER: RAVE,L in T(hat) L(oudly) E(xpresses) R(age) Edit: following comments, I have made the first letters clear
17 WE,STERNER: those bridge partners again
18 SUBTRACT: CART,BUS reversed on T, clever wordplay
22 MA,DAM: union of two words for mother
25 BEV(v)Y: do people still use this? Or would you get the same queer look if you asked for a “Brewski” in the U.S.?

31 comments on “Times 24267 – can you 29 28 to be a 17?”

  1. Far too long on this one. But I liked the big anagrams at 5dn and 15dn. Toyed with CROUPINESS and SUPERSONIC at 5dn and CARTESIAN at 15dn. Such is the nature of anagrams.
    The Evelyn we need at 26 is John. Another lousy pun.
  2. Thought this was going to be a doddle with some early easy gets and then slowed to andante and finally largo to finish in 40mins with MADAM (good clue) and DIARY, not knowing Evelyn, Pepys’ penpal. Tricked again by the kitchen, looking for epicur-something. Having once played cymbals publicly you’d think I’d know. (Cymbalists can run, but they can’t hide.) Enjoyable puzzle with COD SUBTRACT.
    1. >(Cymbalists can run, but they can’t hide.)

      A comedian I saw on TV recently (can’t remember who) started his act with: “before I start I’d just like to say to the man on crutches wearing a camouflage jacket who stole my wallet earlier today – you can hide, but you can’t run”.

      1. That’d be Milton Jones then, from all accounts, with a bit of the old implied chiasmus. Actually he seems to have stolen it from somebody called Alan Williams(?)-

        “As the cheetah said to the chameleon:
        You can hide, but you can’t run!”

        who probably borrowed it from …

        1. Reading some of that stuff on the chiasmus site makes me think the author writes those quips in Reader’s Digest. – koro
  3. Had never heard/forgotten that the percussion section was the kitchen but got the anagram and thought it might be a play on kettle drum so went for it…apart from this and the NE corner which i found hard i thought it a delightful early morning limber up. expect the speed merchants wil have a field day…around 40 minutes for me, Liked 12 across which was subtle and Draco a stern test of a clue!
  4. Finished OK but then 10 minutes with the dictionary for HEAD as understanding, kitchen as slang for PERCUSSION section. Yet again failed to see the bridge stuff in WE(STERNER); it’s a good job I know my cricket otherwise I might have to give these things up.

    Quibble (I am always wrong when I quibble, but here goes):-
    I would spell BEVY the same way for crowd or drink. Chambers has both bevy and bevvy, so I don’t think this clue quite works.

    RCOD (Rotten clue of day) TRAVELLER
    COD Luncheon as it at least approaches wit.

    Sorry, a bit grumpy today.

    1. I mentally spell the drink version bevvie to go with tinnie & think of Oz slang. of course it is not “dictionary correct2!
    2. The standard spelling of the contraction of “beverage” is BEVVY, which is the only spelling given by Collins and the Concise Oxford (the standard Times crossword references).  The Shorter OED gives BEVY as a variant, and Chambers lists both without preference.

      Even if both had been listed without preference in Collins and the Concise, though, the clue would still work.  It’s part and parcel of cryptic clues that each component allows various possibilities, the idea being that only for one combination of these possibilities will everything fall into place.  So whether or not BEVY was also a valid possibility for “Alcoholic drink” is irrelevant – what matters is just that BEVVY itself was a valid possibility.  (Put it this way: if a clue for HELM used the wordplay “hard wood” for H + ELM, you wouldn’t complain about it on the grounds that OAK was also a type of wood, so that the answer could just as well be HOAK.)

  5. Not a single strange or tricky word, and a good selection of classic clue-forms even if some were rather dull. 15 m and hardly a struggle, I wonder if anybody will complain? The quick brigade should whistle through it.
  6. Once again I didn’t get an uninterrupted run at this one and it took me a total of 29 minutes over four sessions with several tricky clues unexplained.
  7. needed small amount of help at very end. was totally confused by 7d until coming here. i assume that traveller = travelling salesman and i spotted “that” rather than the obvious who in the clue but still didnt help. i think party line is great word play.
  8. Some far tricksier stuff here than in recent puzzles, so a pretty rewarding 12-minute solve. Like fmks I thought there were a couple of uninteresting clues but there were plenty of tickables.

    All good clues (for me) were THREW, MORALIST, STAPLE, OPERATION, MAN FRIDAY, WALKOVER, SONG, and DROWN – could have ticked more that were perfectly sound but they were re-interpretations of clues I’d seen before.

    Q-0 E-8 D-6 COD 4D SONG – simple but very well hidden.

    1. Very traightforward for me apart from the NE corner, generally trickier and in particular not knowing kitchen = percussion held me up. I also misremembered drago for draco, although this didn’t affect any checking letters. bc
  9. About 19 minutes for me. I rushed through the top half in just 3 or 4 minutes, but then ground to a halt for a while. After 10 mins I was left with just 4 in the SW corner. I eventually worked out MAN FRIDAY and the rest took a matter of seconds.

    In Southampton (where I’m originally from) you wouldn’t ask for a bevvy, but you’d certainly talk about it. “Fancy a bevvy?” or “I got totally bevvied up last night” etc.

  10. 7:35, with PERCUSSION (5dn) the last in.  I didn’t know that sense of “kitchen”, or Gaugin’s association with TAHITIANS (1dn), or the use of TRAVELLER to refer to a travelling salesman (7dn).  Otherwise, the definitions were mostly straightforward, so quite a few answers could go in with only vague confirmation from the wordplay.  The AMATEURISH anagram (14ac) was surprisingly hard, and the other thing that held me up (…) was the 4ac/4dn SEPARATED/SONG crossing.

    Clues of the Day: 28ac (MAN FRIDAY), 3dn (WALKOVER), 4dn (SONG), 15dn (ASCERTAIN), 22dn (MADAM).

  11. I’m with those who found this very easy today. Only held up by a couple of tricky anagrams, Ascertain and Percussion that required all the checkers. I did a double take when I got Percussion but something on the frontiers of my cortex told me that Kitchen is orchestral slang for the percussion section. Redact would also have been difficult but the British papers have been full of stories about redaction in the last couple of weeks so that went in easily too. Minor quibble: “nobody” should have been capitalised. The clue would be better as: “Nobody wrote one as well as Evelyn”.
    1. Have to disagree on “nobody”. The capitalisation in Diary of a Nobody is just book title convention. The bloke’s name is Pooter, and as far as I can remember, “nobody” is never used as a name in the book.
  12. Another easysish puzzle, taking 25 minutes to solve, which has been pretty constant this week. Initially I was hoping for far quicker, since I filled 2/3 of the grid in about 12 minutes, but I struggled a bit with the NE corner, eventually getting LUNCHEON, and PERCUSSION when I remembered the ‘kitchen’ reference (quite common in the last few months). I think TRAVELLER went in last.
  13. Could someone explain 24 DN to me – all I can see is PUTIN (viz. political leader!)


  14. Political leader = P. Isn’t commonly = AINT. Giving PAINT as the answer
  15. 14:40 with 4 question marks over wordplay – I didn’t see Fr(id)ay, don’t know the diarist, couldn’t work out why madam was right and didn’t see how head could mean understanding, but seeing Barry’s comment above it must be OK.

    COD Tahitians, a clever spot by the setter, and for those unfamiliar with Gaugin’s association with Tahiti at least the wordplay was fair unlike yesterday’s pelisse.

    I’d associate bevvy with Glasgow.

  16. 16:28 – rather slow today. Did 3/4 in about 7 minutes, the NE corner the stickler.

    Last in MANOEUVRES, would have got that if thought of MAN for soldier faster. Wrote ‘mistress’ instead of MORALIST, thinking it mist re (about) ss (test – a test that doesn’t exist, mind).

    Didn’t know kitchen for PERCUSSION. Wanted WESTERNER to end in KEENER for some reason.


  17. 19:03, with several minutes at the end figuring out LUNCHEON. Enjoyable.
  18. 22 min, but with a cheat. As so often recently, I raced through nine tenths of it before inspiration took leave. In this case the NE just stared blankly back at me, with “nicer soups” thumbing its nose. I could have kicked myself when my anagram solver popped out PERCUSSION. It has appeared so many timed before that it is almost a cliche. Some nice clues, with COD MANOEUVRES.
  19. 5d: “Nicer soups” caught my eye,and I transposed to “supersonic” without reading the rest of the clue. This led to delay in solving other clues around it, so when I realised it was actually “percussion” I couldn’t see why. Have to confess I came into this blog to check!
  20. Solved in 8:15 – quickest of the puzzles during my break. Another who recalled ‘redact’ from recent news stories.

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