Times 24626: I’m having a tea party!

Solving time : 21 leisurely minutes. I’m in Boston right now, and was solving this at the bar over a pizza and a few pints of delicious Harpoon Pale Ale at Ducali’s. If I had known they had wifi there I could be still drinking and writing this report, in which case it might come out a little less coherent, if that were at all possible. I enjoyed this crossword a lot, there’s one piece of wordplay that I don’t recall seeing in the Times before (2 down), and one that I hope comes to me during the writing of the blog. A few new words to me, fortunately with clear wordplay and I expect I won’t be the only one liking this offering, the only beef I could think of is that there are a lot of refernces. Away we go…..

1 ROLLING PIN: Let’s get the awkwardness out at the very beginning – I can see ROLL(rich pastry), I can see IN(at home), but that leaves a INGP that I can’t explain. I don’t think it can be anything else, am I wrong? Edit: missed that ROLLING is rich, so it’s a much simpler ROLLING,P,IN
6 our across deliberate omission
8 GOLGOTHA: GOTH in (GAOL)* – got this from wordplay. Apparently someone notable was offed there
9 RELISH: exceptionally well-hidden answer!
10 LEAR: Edward or King, but not Norman, he’s still with us
12 TIDE,D OVER: I had TIDES OVER for a while here, then noticed the port
14 HAULM: from the wordplay again – the HA is the contents of WHAT, and ULM is where that guy with the long name from Monty Python’s Flying Circus was from
22 SHANTY TOWN: the second part is an anagram of WONT, every time I see that expression I think back to Cassetteboy vs Jeremey Clarkson
23 REEF: inital letters of Recalling Edward Elgar For
24 PRO,LIX: LIX being 59 (almost 60)
25 NEAR GALE: anagram of A(end of Jamaica) with GENERAL
26 INDY: take your pick if you would like to decapitate CINDY or MINDY
1 RIGOLETTO: Prince IGOR with the R at the top, then LET,TO
2 LOL,LARD: I didn’t know the definition, but here’s a bit of wordplay I hadn’t seen before. LOL (Laugh Out Loud) has long been an online chat abbreviation
4 PRAIRIE SCHOONER: A in (HEROIC,PRISONER)* took a while to work this anagram out – got the PRAIRIE part from the checking letters, after that the second half was obvious
5 NORWAY: R in NO WAY. Not my day for references, but wordplay solid – didn’t know who Vidkun Quisling was
6 BILL,BOARD(sounds like BORED): until I got RELISH this went through incarnations as BUSYBOARD and BLUEBOARD until I had a head-smacking moment
7 NOSTRIL: cryptic def
15 MANSFIELD: knew it was a town, didn’t know it was in Notts
16 MOON,CALF: not a term I’d heard before
18 let’s leave this one as the down omission
20 INEXACT: AC (centre of attrACtion) in I,NEXT
21 LYNXES: SEX(congress),NY(state),L(egislature) reversed. Lovely clue to finish

46 comments on “Times 24626: I’m having a tea party!”

  1. 28 minutes: so on the slightly heavy side of medium gauge perhaps? Not as good as yesterday’s on the mis-direction scale; but pretty good for all that.
    Now that the there’s a crack in the door to the (chat)room of SMS/online-talk, whatever can we expect next? Ironic really, since Wycliffe himself was responsible for so many new-and-then-strange words. “Schism” comes to mind here as just one example.
    And George: as an ex-pat I’m surprised you didn’t immediately think of Lindy at 26ac.
  2. Good stuff. Neat clues, quite a few chuckles and some new words (MOONCALF, HAULM). All very fair, no quibbles, 41 enjoyable minutes.
  3. 59 minutes for this quirky number, which had a couple of bridges too far for me – calling for aids – at 14 (where I was derailed by ‘inside’, as I had identified a word like ‘eh’ or ‘ha’ for ‘what’ to be placed inside the three-letter city, e.g. _A[H]LM), and 26, where I was thinking ‘g’-deletion, as in the first letter of girl, which meant I was never at the races.

    A real mix of clues (with the erudite PROLIX and LOLLARD balanced by the Benny Hillesque MOONCALF) made this a worthy successor to yesterday’s fine puzzle. Quisling as a word meaning traitor/collaborator is pretty common in the UK – interesting that it appears not to have had the same impact away from Europe. COD to NOSTRIL.

  4. When I wrote in BAND I thought we were back on the nursery slopes but in the end a similar story to yesterday except today I needed to cheat for HAULM and to check dictionary to confirm NATATION. MOONCALF and NEAR GALE got from cryptic and LOLLARD from definition.
    Expecting the arrival of a “jungfrau” this morning (which explains my early comment) who no doubt would have helped with both ULM (German) and LOL (young).
  5. 9:47 – another good “middling difficulty” puzzle. Last in were 14 and 15 – like others, I suddenly remembered Ulm from another recent appearance (which I linked to the same Python snippet), and the word “haulm” from puzzle experience somewhere.

    23A is a direct reference to Elgar’s “Sea Pictures”, in which Where Corals Lie is one of the five songs.

    1. Oh, and natation=swimming is one of those French words to remember from the name of an international organisation. FINA, the IAAF of swimming, is “Fédération Internationale de Natation”. (c.f. FIDE = ” … des Échecs”)
  6. Yes, 6ac was my first in and I thought if that’s the standard for today we are in for an easy ride, but it wasn’t to be. After an initial burst of success (14 answers in 10 minutes is pretty good for me) I ground to a halt and the next 15 minutes produced only 3 more answers. Then I got going and solved all but 2 clues before getting stuck again. And finally they fell into place making a total of 50 minutes.

    My main problem was not getting the long answers until quite late in the proceedings. Although I have heard of PRAIRIE SCHOONER as it has come up before I missed that this clue was an anagram. I had the A in place from GOLOGOTHA and since there is no A in “Heroic prisoner” I dismissed the possibility of an anagram. Should have counted the letters more carefully and realised it was a letter short accounted for later in the clue.

    HAULM has also come up before though I had no recollection of what it meant and ULM was in my mind from a couple of weeks ago.

    At 19 I thought of ACCORDIAN early on but couldn’t make sense of it because, to me, to accord is to agree rather than to give in.

    NATATION for “swimming” rang a distant bell but I didn’t write it in with much confidence.

    MOONCALF was last in. Again I have a vague idea I’ve met it before, probably only in a puzzle but it didn’t leap out at me even though I pencilled in CALF quite early on.

    George, there’s a typo at 13dn AT for AS.

    1. I’m not sure whether your reflection on 19 reflects your ‘process’ – in which case, apologies – rather than your ‘product’, but ‘accord’ here = ‘give’, as in ‘I hope I’m according you sufficient respect’.
      1. I’m sure that’s more respect than I could possibly be due! But yes, I’m sorry I didn’t make it clear that I was referring to my muddled thinking whilst solving.
  7. I thought this was gong to be really quick, working straight through the first across clues, but then things got a bit threadbare, and my tidal race slowed to a crawl. 20 minutes in the end, not counting a break between trains (I’d stopped thinking, honest).
    Loved the duplicitous use of Congress in 21dn, my CoD.
    My only concern with the introduction of SMS/Blogspeak is that, before long, every fourth clue is going to be about Hitler. Can’t stop progress, I suppose.
  8. A solid middle of the road offering completed in 25 minutes with no scares along the way, just steady if unspectacular progress. HAULM has appeared in AZED/Mephisto. I particularly liked 5D NORWAY. Surely Quisling must be known outside of Europe?
  9. About 20mins so roughly average. Another nice effort, can’t think of much to add. Natation straight from the French, haulm entered on the strength of sounding vaguely familiar.. cod LYNXES, one of several fine surface readings
  10. 47 minutes. Liked this a lot. Gardeners will know about haulms: this wet August has caused potato blight to blacken the haulms. Just realized that I put in MANSFIELD straight away for totally the wrong reason: the woman’s work I thought of was Mansfield Park!
  11. 29:14 .. it took me 20 minutes or so to get the really quite simple ROLLING PIN, after which everything quickly fell into place, changing my perception of the puzzle from ‘stinker’ to ‘middling difficult’.

    Smiles for BILLBOARD and LYNXES.

  12. Another entertaining puzzle. Some enjoyably erudite/deft and/or unusual wordplay clues – e.g. PROLIX, LOLLARD, HAULM – and others (MOONCALF, LYNXES) that drew an appreciative chuckle if not quite in LOL territory. Both the latter were welcome examples of the mildly risque clue that wouldn’t have been seen a decade or so or perhaps a bit longer ago. I agree that NORWAY combines good wordplay with a beautifully smooth surface read, but if you’ve heard of Mr Quisling (which surely most Europeans must have) the setter’s ingenuity is wasted because the answer is so obvious as to render the clue a straight GK rather cryptic one.
  13. I made a complete pig’s ear of this, putting in SHEFFIELD for 15dn when I had ____F_E_D. This then led to a wildly guessed TAILS (stalks) for 14ac, a real poser at 19ac and a right mess. My geography is pretty poor but even I know that Sheffield is in Yorkshire. However woman’s = she exerted a sufficiently powerful influence to overcome this and the numerous other ways in which the clue didn’t work and it then took an inexplicably long time for me to revisit it. Once I did everything fell into place quickly and I limped home in 48 minutes.
    Otherwise another super puzzle I thought as others have commented. HAULM and MOONCALF both new but put in with confidence (once I had the right checking letters that is).
    Personally I thought the cheeky appearance of textspeak at 2dn was gr8 but the day LOLCAT appears as an answer they’ll have gone too far.
    1. You need to tighten up your accuracy/fussiness a notch – as a direct synonym, “woman’s” could indicate “she is”, “she’s”, “she has”, “her” or “hers” (the last seems a bit iffy but just OK). Barring setter/editor mistakes, “she” won’t ever be indicated by “woman’s” in a Times puzzle, so you either need to find a different word for it to represent, or (if you think woman=SHE must be part of the answer) a role for the apostrophe-s in the cryptic reading.
      1. Yes I realise that: I should have said that woman = she that exerted the influence. This leaves the unexplained apostrophe-s but also a completely unexplained F in the answer. And the more obvious point that Sheffield ain’t in Notts!
        I just bunged it in much too quickly. What I really can’t explain is why I didn’t go back to it much sooner, because I wasn’t happy with it as it went in.
        As for TAILS… let’s not go there.
        1. OK – I’ll leave the lecture on deleting/marking the uncertain bits for someone else brave enough to admit a mistake …

          When I’d got HAULM, the first word I saw to fill M?N?FIELD was “minefield”, which would have been a nicely ironic wrong answer if I’d been really silly/desperate.

  14. I didn’t enjoy this puzzle at all because I spent the whole time knowing I ought to know the phrase at 4dn which would have sped things up significantly – a ‘Bernese Oberland’ moment (and no fault of the setter’s!). In fact I started to write in ‘phaeton carriage’ before realising it was nonsense, and also had ‘tidal’ in at 12ac for a while. Fortunately avoided ‘Rigaletto’ which I think I’ve fouled up before, and correctly guessed MOONCALF. About 6 mins by the time I’d unscrambled the schooner.
  15. 10.55 Unusual timing in that I was probably left with 8 or 9 to get after 9 minutes then they all fell like dominoes. I liked the nice pairings of Middle English definitions with the Newspeak of LOL and MOON – the latter gave me a chuckle. I first came across LOL in text messages and assumed it meant Lots of love – a bit of a knife to the heart to be eventually put straight on this point. Also remembered ULM from a recent puzzle otherwise might have been a bit slower. Not helped by reading Barbarian as Barbican
  16. I made painfully slow progress through this from left to right. Turned to aids after 40 minutes with eight left and then called time a short while later with HAULM and MANSFIELD unsolved. A word search turned up too many possibilities for ?A?L? to be helpful. Note to self: when you next read the word “inside” in a clue remember to look for interior letters.

    I could have sworn I’d already entered a hidden answer in the grid before solving RELISH but then remembered that that hidden was a clue solved over breakfast in a puzzle in the Times 14 book (of which 65 solved, 15 to go…)

    Put me in the never-heard-of-Quisling camp too!! Hadn’t heard of MOONCALF either, and my weakness for CDs cost me NOSTRIL.

    1. I found this one tough and ended up needing help with about 8 clues. Like most, I needed help with HAULM. I liked the NOSTRIL clue a lot.

      I LOL’d at Daniel H’s comment above: “Note to self: when you next read the word “inside” in a clue remember to look for interior letters.” I’ll have to remember that as well!

  17. Regards all. We in the US certainly do use ‘rolling in it’ to mean ‘rich’, and those of us with a passing knowledge of WWII also know about Quisling. We don’t usually use ‘HAULM’, however, and at least one of us (me) never heard of BILLBOARD as meaning ‘hoarding’, so those two were my last entries, after about 40 minutes or so. Nice puzzle, especially PROLIX and LYNXES. Best to everyone.
    1. ‘I think that I shall never see
      A billboard lovely as a tree.
      Perhaps, unless the billboards fall,
      I’ll never see a tree at all’.
      Hey, Kevin from NY, Ogden Nash awaits you.
    2. How strange – I and I think most other English people would think of ‘BILLBOARD’ as the American word for advertising hoarding!
      1. The only meaning of ‘hoarding’ I knew (until today) is the accumulation of things, against the possibility of scarcity or for some other reason. A further glance at Collins online shows that you folks in the UK call a billboard a hoarding, labelled as ‘British’. The US dictionaries agree that it’s chiefly British. That usage was news to me.
          1. Sorry – that was me again. You must read Nash – brilliantly skilful, genuinely funny.
            1. Yes, but if this search is accurate, Nash never used the word “hoarding”, which Kevin has clarified as the British colloquial word in the clue that made it difficult for him.
  18. As an ex-pat who collects these language differences, I’m curious to know: is “rolling in it” simply not used as an expression for rich in the USA?
  19. A slow 37 minutes here but a good few of those were spent lookin at -A-LM. I like ‘what’s inside’, also ‘Oriental lost as’, simply for the blind spot they found. Hadn’t heard of ‘prairie schooner’ but the anagram led me there. COD to 14: I was fairly sure Ulm was about and it still took far too long. Is ‘near gale’ an official wind-strength?
  20. How delightful to see that I’m not the only one who has problems with these, but actually this one went fairly smoothly for me: under an hour to complete all but HAULM and MANSFIELD (super time for me), and those came immediately when I returned to the puzzle after a few hours’ break. Got HAULM from the wordplay, but believed it because HALM is the German word for a straw or a stalk. I did have to confirm MANSFIELD with Wikipedia, and I got BILLBOARD by suspecting, but not knowing, that BILL was a term for the police.

    COD to 21 (LYNXES), a lovely deceptive clue.

  21. Please explain the wordplay for this clue.
    Role at Stratford as writer of comc verse (4)
    How does ‘role at Stratford’ work here?
      1. And the fact that at Stratford-upon-Avon (his home town), the RSC have several theatres or sites for outdoor performance.

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