Times 24627 – One Hump or Two?

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Time taken to solve: 45 minutes. I thought I was heading for about 30 but the SE corner, 15dn in particular, put up some resistance at the end.

Mostly a fairly straightforward puzzle with only a couple of possible obscurities (one word and one French poet) and two very loose definitions, one of which is a bit dodgy anyway. The wordplay is straightforward stuff too and it helped me to the answers whenever I thought I might be getting stuck. There were some good surfaces and a few forced ones. I particularly liked 1dn and 6dn.

1 Let’s start by leaving one out. Please ask if baffled.
9 NOCTURNE – Sounds like “knock turn”
10 IN,SOLE – Oxford’ as a type of shoe turned up only a few days ago.
12 HE,ROD – Just as well the wordplay is easy because the definition is somewhat vague.
13 RAINSTORM – ‘Brainstorm’ with the B of ‘brolly’ removed.
14 ARABIAN CAMEL – (animal a bear + c)* One hump or two? This has one.
18 IMPERATIVELY – I’M then (privately + queue)*
23 MOUSE – Hidden. I didn’t know ‘mouse’ = ‘black eye’ until it turned up in a puzzle several months ago.
24 V,ILL,ON – Francois Villon (1431-1463) a French poet whose name was somehow at the back of my mind but I knew nothing about him. I just looked him up and found that he wrote a line of verse which (in translation by Rossetti) is very famous and I never knew who wrote it: Where are the snows of yesteryear?
25 MA,KIN,G DO –  The third element of this one is (dog)*.
26 RaIDING – East, North and West Riding are three old admin divisions of Yorkshire but I’m sure they are still in current use.
1 HO,N,C,HO – Apparently this word for ‘leader’ comes from Japanese. I’d always assumed it was from Spanish American. Who was ‘the Honcho in the poncho’?
2 RECORD – Two meanings
3 British Lands, UNDER, ER
6 gRoUp NoTeS – ‘Runt of the litter’ doesn’t only refer to pigs but it’s fine for our purposes.
7 PRO F, OR(M)Al
8 DREAMILY – Y(LIMA)E,RD reversed
15 C(ALUMNI)EDe –  Collins and Chambers don’t have this word for ‘making false statements’, they have ‘calumniate’ instead. But it’s in the Oxfords.
16 AIR COVER – (very Cairo)*
19 B(URGE)aR – Another very loose definition. And who’s to say a burger is a snack?
22 Let’s end by leaving one out too. Please ask if baffled.

46 comments on “Times 24627 – One Hump or Two?”

  1. I found this one straightforward with the only hold-ups being in the SW corner where AIR COVER, CRACKDOWN, KNOWN and VILLON were my last four in. 30 minutes. VILLON was an educated guess – hadn’t heard of him – and I’ve always written PRO FORMA as two words not one.

    Re: CRACKDOWN… initially had CLAMPDOWN but couldn’t justify that and P???N for the famous knight didn’t look promising. At first reading thought the definition of AIR COVER was “planes” not “planes giving protection.”

    It was a coincidence to see TRIPOD in the grid. I’m off to Scotland tonight for a couple of days’ Munro bagging and last night packed my tripod to get some group photos on the summits.

    The half-pound burger I ate in USA last week would have fed two – it was definitely not a snack!

    1. Another with an initial CLAMPDOWN here, plus a very short-lived AIR CORPS and a longer-lasting REMARK (2D). 8:52 after sorting all these out.

      It’s a shame that group photos on summits always seem to include the trig point (so that you can prove you made it, I suppose) – otherwise you could put the camera on top of it and not have to lug the tripod …

      Research project for someone: explain why the link between crosswords and endurance sports (hill walking, long-distance running, orienteering) is nearly as strong as the link between crosswords and music.

      1. My tripod’s one of these lightweight flexible ones like this one which you can use on uneven surfaces and even wrap round tree branches:


        Group photos round the summit trig point are the best, capturing the “we made it” moment! I should think that everyone who climbs Ben Nevis for the first time takes a photo of themselves beside the concrete column.

  2. 15 minutes, with the last in the resistant SW, with the half known VILLON. I too ventured CLAMPDOWN – I’ve seen some pretty hilarious clamps in my time.
    I wondered about calumnied, expecting it (quite wrongly) to have an S in it, but to get alumni into a clue instead of OB for former pupils is impressive enough to allow the verbalised noun whether or not sanctioned by the dictionaries.
    No real standouts today, but I liked DREAMILY for its tidy surface and construction.
  3. (Yet) another nice crossword, tricky but not too tricky, about 25mins altogether with a short break in the middle so a bit harder than average. Failed to remember mouse = black eye but put it in anyway.
    1. I didn’t know this meaning but put it in because a) it had to be and b) I thought it might be an &lit referring to Mickey Mouse (with an eye patch, admittedly).
  4. Another impeccably fair puzzle providing just enough of a challenge. Wasn’t pleased with good idea for (b)RAINSTORM until looking it up. COD to CALUMNIED (last in) for z8’s reason.
  5. Must admit I always thought ‘head honcho’ signified the leader. 14:30 today so pretty straightforward. No real COD but all very competently put together.
  6. I meant to ask about this. Does anyone else think it would be a good idea? I recall Araucaria, Xerxes etc from years gone by in another organ. Or should the veil of anonymity remain to vex and tease us?
    1. Anonymity is long settled Times policy and is unlikely to change. The question comes up from time to time, but there are points on both sides so no compelling reason to alter the policy. I like it because I think providing compilers’ names gives the solver preconceptions about the crossword which may well be wrong. I see this now with the ST Cryptic “I don’t understand this clue so as it’s the ST, the clue must be wrong” and sometimes with the Mephisto, which does identify setters.
    2. In short, “Vive la difference”

      This is an old debate, which I think is repeated among the setters and xwd editor from time to time. I suspect there are a few setters who’d like to be named, but others have pointed out that the Times xwd is much more actively edited than most other broadsheet xwds. So anonymity is good as they mind changes to their clues much less – it’s not “their puzzle” in quite the same way.

      Another advantage is that the solver starts without any preconception about the puzzle’s difficulty or quality – with the names, it’s very easy to say “Oh not him again, I can never do his”, or “His are far too easy, so I’ll not bother and solve something else today”. (Apologies to Joyce Cansfield, who I believe is still the only representative of 50% of the human race on the Times team.) Some of us think we can spot setters, and sometimes we’re right, but it’s very easy to get it wrong and aim praise or criticism at the wrong target.

      Finally, it means a much calmer discussion here. On the blogs about the puzzles with pseudonyms, there’s at least some degree of habitual loathing or adoration based more on the setter than the actual puzzle. Check out Anax’s new blog for more about this area.

  7. 14:11 here. Pretty easy puzzle but a slow solve where I got nearly every clue on the first look but took a long time to work each one out. For example, I got MOUSE from the ‘black eye’ definition, but spent ages puzzling over the “Famous entertainer”. In the end I shrugged and moved on, not spotting the hidden word at all until coming here!
  8. Just over an hour for this, with four in the NE (5, 7, 8, 10) accounting for the final 20 minutes. Would have been better served if I had gone back earlier to the easiest looking of the quartet (10), where I had tentatively entered ‘inners’. Once I had INSOLE, it was only a matter of minutes before the remainder fell, with DREAMILY last in. Had earlier wasted time by misparsing the anagram at18ac (spotting that there had to be an ’extra’ letter, but not seeing that it belonged to queuE, toying with the ‘w’ of ‘with’ and then looking for a noun rather than an adverb). COD to BLUNDERER.
  9. 18 minutes. Agree about the hidden at 23; quite elegant, don’t you think?
  10. MOUSE was last in, never having heard of that as a black eye, and would not “entertainer” be enough? Why “famous” to boot? Although I am put in mind of Andy Warhol, who when asked what single individual in history he would like to meet, said “Minnie Mouse – because she could get me closer to Mickey.”
    1. My thought when solving, too – but you need it to make the hidden word in “faMOUS Entertainer”.
  11. An excellent puzzle, I thought: scrupulously fair and with top-class surfaces. My only small gripe would be that I’m not sure ‘figure’ is fair for ‘one’ in 20D; isn’t the figure ‘1’ rather than ‘one’? COD to 10A for the ‘Home Alone’ gag. 12 mins, and I was another to fling in CLAMPDOWN initially.

    Tom B.

      1. Fair enough, then; Chambers doesn’t give ‘number’ for ‘figure’, but does offer ‘amount’, which just about passes muster. Jimbo’s reservation below about ‘disposed of’ as anagrind seems reasonable, though I didn’t notice the problem while solving; I can’t find a sense of ‘disposed of’ that works very convincingly.

        Tom B.

        1. Collins has “dispose of” meaning “deal with or settle”. Not very convincing, but I suspect just convincing enough for some people. Because “of” is so often a wordplay/def link, I suspect many solvers’ brains are ready to ignore it if that helps to make sense of a clue.
  12. Clearly on form today coming in under 15 minutes with no hold ups.

    Like Jack liked HONCHO and was mildly irritated by some of the loose definitions and not entirely convinced by “disposed of” as an anagrind at 25A. Hadn’t heard of the poet and had to solve from wordplay – one of the few in a puzzle in which the good definitions were a bit of a give away.

  13. thought this was going to be a quick one, having done all bar one in about 10 mins. however then not only sat looking at CALUMNIED for another eight before getting it from word play (never heard of the word) but also when I checked in here I recall putting NOCTURNA for NOCTURNE which is clearly wrong. I dont have the clues to hand, but by logic was that the “audibly” bit referred to NOC only, and that there was an “a” in the clue which could have given the last letter. Someone will no doubt tell me that NOCTURNA doesnt mean anything, but given my scant grasp of classical music, they are as plausible as each other.
    1. “nocturna”: non-existent but very forgivable – Italian has “notturno” and Spanish “nocturno” – switch the Spanish gender and you’ve arrived at “nocturna”.
  14. 8:35 .. only real pause for thought was in the southwest.

    I’m another who didn’t see the hidden mouse – I’m not sure if many of these were ‘gimme’ definitions or if it’s just luck in terms of one’s solving sequence and the checking letters one has to work with.

    I’m going to look for a way to use CALUMNIED today – too good a word to let slip away.

  15. I found this easy, finishing in 17 minutes, which is rare for me. The only very brief hold-up was a wrong entry of CLAMPDOWN in 21. I see I’m in exalted company there.

    No single clue stood out, but they all had convincing surfaces and, in some cases, interesting wordplay.

  16. thought i was on for a PB today but held up in the south west..so in in 35 minutes…which pleased me!
    back in the UK after wine tasting
  17. Beaten by a mouse of all creatures. Even worse – I wrote down calumnied very early on but decided no such word existed. Therefore spent a further 30 minutes playing with other options before admitting defeat and turning here for the final two answers.

    I have only just discovered this page. I like it.

  18. Straightforward puzzle, 20 minutes. I felt it should have been quicker but the embarrassing amount of time it took me to get CAMEL from the anagram after working out the first word was ARABIAN is clear evidence of an abnormally slow brain.
    1. You win today’s honesty award! I think I might have kept quiet about that one …
      1. I’m not proud!
        I could try and defend myself by saying that it didn’t take me all that long to see it but the reality is that to get the word CAMEL from the letters MLAEC and a clue that includes the word “hump”, anything beyond instantaneous is, as I say, embarrassing.
        So I will just fall back on the excuse of a five-star hangover.
  19. Back to trying this crossword after too long away. This was second puzzle I managed to finish this week albeit with help from this blog and aids. Getting to remember the tricks of the trade which helped with 5a, 13a, 6d, 19d and 22d and saw how 1a and 21a worked very quickly. Needed to look up the French poet and Yorkshire plus a couple of others. Total about two hours I supposed but I understood all the clues and need to remember that Oxford is not solely about universities…
  20. I entirely fouled up on 25A by disposing of the dog with ‘git!’, and thus MAKING IT instead of MAKING DO. I should have thought to revisit that one, but it was late, and I was tired, not to mention convinced. That rendered the relatively simple 20D impossible. Overall I managed that in about 20 minutes, but have to admit the 2 missing answers. Better luck tomorrow, I hope. Regards to all.
  21. Up with the hot stuff today, almost vying for a podium, 14 minutes something, will have to get a stopwatch if this goes on. Good to see Villon there. Mais ou sont les neiges d’antan is about the most untranslatable line of poetry I should think, with the amazing depth and softness of antan (last year). ‘Where are the snows of yesteryear’ is as good as anyone’s done. I’ve had a go at the poem, with the refrain (this line) ‘But yesterday’s snows, where are they?’ – no snow-depth or softness at all but the reverse unfortunately. I find even some with a degree in French don’t know of Villon but long may the Times at least promote the tenderest of rascal-poets.
    1. I know the “snow” line from its appearance in a lyricby Brecht but I wasn’t able to remember its title when I wrote the blog this morning. I’ve now tracked it down and its title is (in translation) Nana’s Song. It’s mentioned in this article about the Villon poem on Wikipedia, but they have misattributed the music to Kurt Weill when in fact it is by Hans Eisler.
  22. After an hour most of the NE corner and MOUSE were unsolved, and the NE corner came in fits afterwards. Didn’t understand the wordplay for PRO FORMA but did get the answer after PROF was clearly the teacher. MOUSE was last in and my COD, since it was so well hidden in plain view that almost no one saw it. I didn’t know it was a slang term for a black eye and for a time was thinking of MAUVE, with MAE being the famous performer and UV=black (since ultraviolet light is also called black light!), but when Chambers refused to reveal any meaning of MAUVE having a connection with “eye”, I did put in MOUSE at the end.
  23. Didn’t get to this until very late in the day, and thought I would have major brain fry, but rolled through in 11 minutes – last in CALUMNIED, which needed all that wordplay (as did VILLON). DREAMILY from definition.
  24. The Villon line was further popularised by the novel Catch 22 (do poeple still read it?), because the airman Snowden dies in the arms of the hero, and he is tormented thourghout the novel by the line “Ou sont les Neigedens d’antan?”
    1. Thanks for that – it’s enough to send me back to ‘Catch 22’ which I read a very long time ago, probably when it came out.
  25. An enjoyable 56 minutes to solve all but CALUMNIED. I was a little unsure of NOCTURNE, didn’t know what to make of the ‘a’, but didn’t think NOCTURNA existed. COD to 1dn.
  26. I’m becoming increasingly uncomfortable with this whole definition by example thing, but why has the setter bothered to say ‘perhaps’ in 10ac when the clue would be just as good without it? I know that an insole is part of many other shoes but Oxfords, but it is indeed part of an Oxford so to leave out the ‘perhaps’ wouldn’t offend any pedants like me.

    Funny that there was a difficulty with ‘camel’ after getting ‘Arabian’. I had the reverse problem: got ‘camel’ quickly but couldn’t immediately see the rest. Kept thinking of Bactrian camels or whatever they’re called.

    1. Oxford perhaps: well it (obviously) wouldn’t have offended me, but my guess is that someone would have had a moan.

      Camels: similar here – initially thought “must be Bactrian/Dromedary”, but neither matched ?????A? which I think I had for the first word, so I looked at the remaining fodder after extracting the CAMEL+A. As I’ve only ever seen Dromedaries abroad, mostly in “Arabian” countries, it made sense as an answer. Bactrians (2 humps) turn out to be from the central Asian steppes.

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