Times 24,666

19:55 according to the new Crossword Club’s built-in timer, which has not met with universal approbation among Club members, but is extremely handy for bloggers here.

Back from the travails of Cheltenham, in which I suffered something of a mental block with one of the puzzles and recorded a DNF (still 5 short when time ran out), I was simply happy to complete this one! Congratulations to all from round these parts on their rather more impressive performances; and now I must get back to building the time machine which I have concluded is the key to beating Mr Goodliffe in the future (or, if it works, obviously, the past).

1 REPUTATION – Parsing this as [(Monro)E + PUT] in RATION, with “name” as the definition, that seems to make PUT=”signed”, which doesn’t quite feel right. Obviously it passes the substitution test in this context, but that doesn’t make the words synonymous…
6 WOLF – (FLOW)rev.
11 EVASION – (SAVE)rev. + 1 + ON
12 MODERN ART – [M(ondrian)ORATREND]* &lit.
13 EVERY – (booz)E + VERY.
14 JUNTA – (invasio)N in JUT + A.
15 EASTENDER – (athlet)E + AS TENDER.
20 THEME – E(ast) after THEM, who are those opposed to US.
21 YUMMYYUMMY and not MUMMY. Not sure I’ve seen “lid” used as an indicator of the first letter before.
25 ACRONYM – CRONY in A.M., which precedes P.M. when it’s Post Meridiem rather than Prime Minister, even though the word CRONY suggests one recent resident of 10 Downing Street in particular.
26 TADPOLE – TAD=a little, POLE=stick.
27 YANK – double def.
28 OSCAR WILDE – OSCAR + WILD + E(nglish).
1 REALM – L(over) in REAM.
2 PSEUDONYM – (DUES)rev. in PONY + M. Why “a pony” is £25 in old British slang is anyone’s guess.
4 TO SCALETOSCA + L(ohengrin)E(rnani).
5 ORESTES – (SOTERSE)*. Orestes and Electra were part of the house of Atreus, which meant things were never likely to go well for them.
7 OVINE – O(ld) VINE.
8 FANCY FREE – FANCY=want, FREE=for nothing.
9 CASEMENT WINDOW – CASE + [TWIN in MEND] + OW. “That was painful” providing a counterpart to “that tastes good” above.
14 JELLY BABY – i.e. BABY + JELLY (which sets and is thus a setter).
16 DIESEL OIL – DIE + (ILOSE)* + L(ine).
18 ARTEMIS – [T(ime) in (h)AREM] + 1’S provides the Greek goddess.
19 NAPHTHA – [A + H(ot) + T(emperature) + H(ot) PAN]all rev. I can imagine the stricter among us liking the loose definition “is flammable” as little as they liked “a virgin” in the previous clue.
24 SCENE – double def.

29 comments on “Times 24,666”

  1. Finally limped home in 84 minutes, with most of my trouble in the SW. Not helped by plumping initially for ‘the great yonder’ at 3dn, but after I’d sorted out my Turkish rulers, the rest fell slowly, with LAMEBRAIN (not a word I’m very familiar with) last in. Enjoyed the inference I, at any rate, generated at the 22/27 crossing. Liked OVINE and JELLY BABY best.
  2. If the short-lived mandatory grey printout was a nod to the environment then the clue for 28 requiring its very own page rather stuffs-up the good intentions. I solved that clue first and recycled the page.
    Another struggle for me and another DNF with the linked unknowns LAMEBRAIN and NAPHTHA my undoing. Slowed by for once trying the hare over tortoise technique of entering obvious answers and worrying about justification post-solve; so, for my opera I fearlessly entered LA SCALA once I had ?? S?A??. Never again.
    1. That is because your browser is set to print at 100%. Use the print preview to set to “shrink to fit” (or 95% say, if you prefer) and it will never happen again. not until the next jumbo, anyway..
  3. Ran out of time on the commute with three unsolved at 1ac, 17ac and 3dn. At 1ac I had thought REPUTATION or REPETITION but couldn’t fully justify either. At 3dn I had THE GREAT plus all the remaining checkers but still couldn’t get the third word. If only I had been able to remember the Turkish official. At 17 I was considering LAMPBRAIN, temporarily forgetting Times setters’ obsession with drugs which would have helped me out. Isn’t it LAME BRAIN anyway? I don’t have the usual books to hand.

    This was even worse than yesterday’s for me as in my first 20 minute session I managed only four answers, 27ac, 23ac and the 14s.

    On the plus side I was pleased to dig out NAPHTHA from the depths of my mind having remembered school chemistry classes and experiments with mothballs. The two Greek names were pleasing too, ORESTES being unknown to me but it seemed a good bet from the available anagrist and I remembered the title The Oresteia which was on at the RNT many years ago though I never went to see it.

    Can we have an easy one tomorrow please?

  4. 11:33 for this one. This feels about the same difficulty as the Grand Final puzzles. Not much to say about individual clues while it’s still impossible to print a puzzle after choosing to solve it online.
    1. Not a requirement I have, since I seldom solve online, but if i did I would use Fireshot, a very slick add-on for either Firefox or IE
  5. 44 minutes. I did wonder if there was a theme here:“One can survive everything, nowadays, except death, and live down everything except a good reputation.” Oscar Wilde
  6. Tired for this as stayed up to have a crack at the three Grand Final puzzles (2hrs 25 minutes but I think at least two wrong answers – haven’t checked yet). This seems easier to me: 29 minutes, but with basement for casement and repetition for reputation, so not too creditable. On the annual school run this afternoon so can forget about words for a while.
  7. I found this straightforward, 16mins, and am greatly encouraged by Peter’s view that it was similar in difficulty to a grand final puzzle.. which I still can’t look at, it seems, not having been able to buy a paper yesterday and not wishing to subscribe to the online version..
  8. Pony, and monkey (£500), are thought to originate with 19th century servicemen returning from India, where the corresponding rupee bank notes bore images of these animals.
    1. I’m familiar with this explanation, but have to say I’m not necessarily convinced by it. As wikipedia is wont to say in such circumstances, citation needed…certainly as far as my on-line searching can tell, nobody has ever posted a picture of any of these notes, which would be pretty decisive.
      1. I was about to say the same – as well as there being no easily locatable picture, the OED, Eric Partridge and the very sensible Michael Quinion say nothing about rupees.
  9. I thought this was tough, and needed somewhere over 30 minutes to solve, though that includes changing trains. Neither of the long down clues made any sense: I knew there had to be a Bey in there somewhere, but couldn’t think of any words it was part of (d’oh). Both clues were brilliantly disguised/viciously devious (take your pick). Very few gimmes (YANK was one, WOLF, making an early reappearance, perhaps another), most of the rest a case of hunt the definition.
    I think I enjoyed it, in the way that one enjoys eventually winning a close fight.
    On the grounds that a still don’t like unspecified change letters, YUMMY was my least favourite, JELLY BABY, the shortest and neatest of clues, my CoD.
  10. I found this difficult and struggled at times finishing in 30 minutes. I thought the overall standard very good but like Tim had difficulty with put=signed at 1A. Also thought both 18D “virgin” and 19D “is flammable” very weak definitions – a pity.

    3D was my last in with the phrase derived from the anagram and a guess at BEY from checking letters. I see from Chambers that the phrase means “the after life”, which has in-built religious assumptions, rather than “life yet to come” which I took to mean “tomorrow” when solving

  11. 24:02 .. solved online on one of these teeny weeny notebook computers. I needed a magnifying glass. The grid didn’t fit onto the screen and I had to keep scrolling up and down the clues – didn’t it used to snap to the right clue when you clicked a light? It highlights the appropriate clue but doesn’t seem to scroll to it now.

    Tricky puzzle. If there was a wavelength, I wasn’t on it. But I’m in a hotel in sunny (really!) Cape Breton where I’m wandering around being all back-to-nature looking at mooses and whales and Canadians and other wonders of the natural world, so I don’t mind. Happy Canadian Thanksgiving.

  12. I did not find it as hard as the Grand Final Puzzles I did yesterday, and I must have been on the same wavelength as the setter. Finished in 6:51.
  13. Finished just under the hour, with most of the problem being in the LAMEBRAIN area, with last in REPUTATION. Indeed. COD to TO SCALE for making me go through all the LA and IL operas I knew, at least three times. (OK, so that’s not a long list.)

    Discovered that The Times online still has the crossword in the old format. Hurrah for black enumeration in the grey grid!

  14. Glad to see that others found this tough as I was ready to blame my 32:35 on a prolonged Cheltenham hangover. That said I plumped for Osertes rather than Orestes, thinking of Laertes to give me the “correct” order of letters.

    Most trouble was caused by lamebrain, naphtha and the great b, in fact I invented tophtha for 19 and only corrected it once I stopped being one myself and worked out lamebrain.

  15. Thought that this was pretty difficult: finally completed without aids in 55 minutes! Very pleased not to stumble over TO SCALE and ORESTES.

    COD to JELLY BABY: lovely!. Haven’t seen one for years. Are there any still around?

  16. 50 mins, done on paper, since I still can’t get the online grid to work correctly (although I don’t seem to have any problems with printing, go figure….)It was a struggle, particularly on the left-hand side, but I was pleased to get to the end without resorting to aids, and my answers all seem to be correct.
  17. 10 minutes exactly – a curiously neat time for a neat crossword. On the topic of the weekend’s championship I’d like to thank David Levy for his urbane and helpful stewardship. A very pleasant event, would that it happened a 100 miles to the north! For a resident of the Yorkshire Dales the car/rail day trip to Cheltenham was really stretching things – a weekend away seem unjustified for a one horse race (Mark Goodliffe in the role of Arkle).I’d over-optimistically counted on a meal at the venue(effectively my only opportunity all day)so after the second heat,from which I assumed I’d qualified,I waited as long as I could for the results to appear then opted instead for a scout around the neighborhood for food. On returning I could see no result list and chatted for a few minutes. However,when I glanced into the hall I saw 23 graven figures and one empty desk – yup, they were waiting for me. I legged it to my jacket for pencil and reading glasses and then back to an immediate kickoff. Eventually the gentle, self-exasperated wheezing of PB at my right hand became audible over the pounding in my ears but the first crossword never came fully back into focus. Good fun nonetheless,a great winner and a relocation next year to London, an easier commute for the North Britons who sat this one out,as I had done previously.
    1. Sorry about the racket – I’m surprised you didn’t detect any of the oaths I was very close to uttering as my worst final for about 14 years started to look a very strong possibility. David Howell on my other side looked slightly cross when I sat down next to him, wrongly thinking that my hand would go up before his. He finished well ahead of me (as he had in the morning), though with a mistake shared by several others.
  18. If this one was Grand Final standard then I’m chuffed to have finished it unaided in forty-five minutes over two sessions. I found yesterday’s much more difficult – only managed 2/3 of that one before turning to aids.

    Made a very slow start today (1D was the only one of the downs I got on first read through) but EVASION, EVERY, JUNTA, YUMMY, TIPSINESS, TADPOLE and YANK from a first go at the acrosses gave me a lot more letters to work with for a second go at the downs.

    Three mistakes to own up to (REPETITION, OLIVE & LAMPBRAIN) so let’s say 27 puzzle points.

  19. Congratulations to those who competed over the weekend, and best regards. I found this very difficult, about an hour over two sessions, and pleased to finish. Lots of unknowns, so I won’t bore you with a list of them. Sotira, be mindful there on Cape Breton. I hear the mooses and the Canadians both may bite if you get too close. Best to all.
  20. Better than yesterday – about 8 mins. Pace Peter, this might have been of similar difficulty to puzzle #2 in the Grand Final but I’m sure it was easier than #1 or #3, partly (I think) because the definitions were not so disguised even if the wordplay was occasionally complex and a few answers were obscure.
  21. It didn’t SEEM too difficult, but I got off to a very slow start and after two hours still had 2d, 17a, 9d, 28a and 24d to go. Strangely enough the last three came very quickly at the end, whilst I was Skyping with my daughter in London. I just don’t know exactly why, when staring at the two checked letters I had, the word OSCAR popped into my brain, after which the rest followed without problems.

    Peter very kindly replied to my post yesterday, commenting on similar remarks I made then, but I shall never understand what really goes on in one’s brain while one is solving these puzzles — sometimes a light just shines in the dark for no particular reason and the right starting idea presents itself, and, well, sometimes it doesn’t.
    An example: I really had no idea who Electra’s brother was, but knowing it was a Greek name (and thus likely to end in ES) and it was an anagram eventually made me certain that ORESTES would be correct; it was merely a matter of finding the most suitable anagram!

  22. I had finished this by 9.30 but have only just had the chance to look here. What you might call a busy day.
    It took me about 50 minutes with the same error as penfold_61: OSERTES. If you don’t know you don’t know.
    Very tricky in my book, for all the reasons amply described here, but unlike yesterday’s it didn’t annoy me in the least. I’ve no idea why: perhaps I drank more coffee than usual before getting on the tube.
    I had a crack at the grand final puzzles last night. About half of the first and a third of the second completed after half an hour before I had to stop. My hat goes off to the finalists, particularly (but by no means exclusively) those who finished these devils in time and with no mistakes. I am some distance from even thinking about entering.

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