Times 24799 – Verbal Acrobatics

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
What a delightful display of verbal and linguistic acrobatics in today’s puzzle. Some of the clues are deliberately misleading and even convoluted but extremely fair. A very good morning’s entertainment.

1 LEAVE Foliage = LEAVES minus S
9 SORCERESS Ins of OR CERES (Roman name for the Greek Demeter, goddess of agriculture and corn) in S-S (in vessel)
10 SWILL Ins of W (last letter of window) in SILL (window)
11 FORAYS Ins of O (old) in FRAY (battle) & S (succeeded)
12 DIVISION DI (detective inspector) VISION (imagination)
14 COSMOPOLITAN *(IMPACT ON SOLO) for a cocktail containing vodka, an orange liqueur, lime juice and cranberry juice.
17 MALNOURISHED Ins of N (any number) OUR (of us) in MALI (African country) + SHED (discarded)
20 INUNDATE I (one) NUN (sister) DATE (romantic get-together)
21 CARPAL Car Pal is a tichy way of saying driving companion. The carpal tunnel is between the bones of the wrist and the tendons.
23 HITCH dd
24 ITALICISE IT (the thing) + Ins of IS in ALICE (Wonderland girl having change of size … what an original and charming def 🙂 and the def for the answer is equally enchanting .. to make lean, indeed! My COD
25 HARD-NOSED Ins of *(DON’S) in HARE (race) & D (Democrat)
26 NUTTY dd Out to lunch is US slang for slightly crazy

1 rha deliberately omitted
2 AIRBRUSH Cha of AIR (the substance between planes and other aircrafts) BRUSH (minor collision) I pondered on between planes hard and long before the sen (Malaysian equivalent of the penny) dropped. Very crafty device to mislead
3 EVERY NOW AND THEN Ins of VE (Victory in Europe) in *(WaR ANTHONY EDEN). Very appropriate choice of anagram fodder as Robert Anthony Eden (1897 – 1977) was Foreign Secretary for three periods between 1935 and 1955, including during the Second World War before becoming Prime Minister from 1955 to 1957.
4 DYED Sounds like DIED (expired)
5 AUSPICIOUS A SUSPICIOUS (fishy) minus the first S
7 ELICIT E (Ecstasy drug) LICIT (allowed by law)
8 SOLENT Cha of SO (extremely) LENT (fast as in the time from Ash Wednesday to Easter) The Solent is a strait separating the Isle of Wight from the mainland of England.
13 DOWNSTAIRS Cha of D (daughter) OWNS (admits) T (first letter of The) AIRS (condescending manner)
15 SHOPLIFT Ins of O (ring) PL (place) in SHIFT (small change)
16 ADULTERY Fabulous cd If pots are made in a pottery, then adults (grown-ups) must be made in an adultery 🙂 The def, frowned-on relations is also quite enigmatic
18 EIGHTH HEIGHT (vertical span) with first letter H moved to the end
19 CUSTER cd Custer’s Last Stand aka Battle of the Little Bighorn was an armed engagement between combined forces of Lakota, Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho people against the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army in June 1876 in Montana. Of course, the rank of Custer was GENERAL, hence general knowledge
22 LAUD Rev of DUAL (double)

Key to abbreviations
dd = double definition
dud = duplicate definition
tichy = tongue-in-cheek type
cd = cryptic definition
rev = reversed or reversal
ins = insertion
cha = charade
ha = hidden answer
*(fodder) = anagram

40 comments on “Times 24799 – Verbal Acrobatics”

  1. I also thought this was a fun romp, many of the clues being clever without being particularly difficult. SHOPLIFT and ITALICISE, last in, dented my time though. A fast solve by my standards at 28 mins.
  2. In 2 dn I saw AIR-BRUSH simply as a fanciful description of a minor collision between planes (cf “road accident”).
    That may be perhaps what yfyap means, I’m not sure.
  3. I was feeling quite chuffed with a 22′ solve, only it turned out not to be a solve: I typed LOST FACE even though I had clearly written LOSE; and–much worse–I wrote in AIRCRASH while wondering how concealing details fit in, and forgot to go back and do some real thinking. I have done that which I ought not to have done, and left undone that which I ought to have done, and there are no brains in me.

    It hadn’t occurred to me that a shift is a small change; e.g. the Great Vowel Shift.

    1. Now you mention it, I am not sure why the word small figures in the definition of shift.
      1. I suppose the setter’s going with the Oxford definition (or another like it) of ‘move or cause to move from one place to another, especially over a small distance’. Obviously, ‘change’ gives a better surface than ‘move’ and ‘small change’ provides the setter with the context in which a ring can be stashed with other valuables.

        Whatever, it did for me!

        1. Well that will do for me too. It’s just there is no reference to scale in the definition of shift in Chambers which is the only one I checked.
  4. One wrong and one from aids, blamed on my hangover from last night at Happy Valley races. Since I got ‘sill’, I really should have worked SWILL out, even though my idea of ‘swilling’ has more to do with rinsing than washing – and most to do with boozing. Putting ‘still’ marks the nadir of my cruciverbal career thus far!

    Had all bar three (9, 15 & 18) done after 35 minutes – 9 and 18 fell quite quickly, leaving me puzzling over 15 for a further 10 minutes or so before resorting to aids and aiming a hefty kick in my own direction. I was onto the steal meaning of swipe but got bogged down in ‘whip-‘.

    Nice puzzle and a fine blog as ever. Slight tweak on your explanation of 16dn. Adults might whimsically be described as being made in ‘a dultery’, by analogy with a pottery or a factory.

  5. I found this on the easier side, less than 15 minutes to solve, ending with NUTTY, in a mostly top to bottom, right to left effort. I solved the long downs right off, and the long acrosses right after. Not much af a challenge, but I did like ITALICISE for the appearance of Alice as a girl changing size. Thanks for the blog UY, but I think you’re being too generous for what was a rather tame affair. Not a complaint; it’s good to have a gentle effort EVERY NOW AND THEN (great anagram). Regards to all, setter included.
  6. In something approaching an out-of-body experience, I flew through this in 17:54. I waited for the inevitable stumbling block, but today it never really came. Last in SOLENT, never heard of it, but today it was like words were finding their way from the clue to the grid without actually being processed by my brain.
    I might quit now, I’m never going to beat that time.
  7. Don’t know why but out of sorts on this one, unfairly criticising various clues on the way while not seeing the twist. Mind you I still think 16 is hopeless. 26 minutes with still and aircrash so one to forget for me.
  8. 28 minutes again today with one letter incorrect. EitherI’m becoming a bit more consistent or the puzzles are a bit easier than average so far this week.

    Unfortunately I didn’t think 24ac fully through as I pondered Z or S and plumped for Z.

    The definition at 21 is “Type of tunnel producing complaint” referring to “Carpal tunnel syndrome”. I can’t say I knew this or of the carpal tunnel, but I knew the bone, and the wordplay clinched it.

    I didn’t think many alcoholic bevrages had escaped my notice over the years but if I ever knew of COSMOPOLITAN as a cocktail I had forgotten it.

    1. The Cosmopolitan appears to be a ladies drink for ladies (it’s got cranberry juice in it, apart from anything else), and probably, like the magazine, a pleasure men wouldn’t admit to.
  9. 23 mins of which 15+ were spent trying to justify ‘italicise’ and work out 15D which I was convinced must start with ‘whip’ (ie pinch or swipe). I really like italicise now though thanks to the blog!
  10. In a rush this morning but safely finished in under 20 minutes, with time to comne here. Never heard of COSMOPOLITAN as a drink but this went in first: the anagram leapt out at me. Last in: AIRBRUSH (after considering ‘aircrash’). An enjoyable sprint by my standards.
  11. 16 minutes, so gradually stretching out over the week. Had a slow start with the top left, despite putting LEAVE and LOSE FACE in straight away. The complex 3d was just a bit to complex to give an idea of what sort of answer it might be, with all that stuff about diplomacy and its continuation by other means. I was also hazarding AIRCRAFT until I spotted COSMO, so decided to do the rest of the puzzle in the hope that light would dawn with crossing letters.
    Loved the bottom right. I see the apposite question “do infants enjoy infancy as much as adults enjoy adultery?” is variously attributed, including to A.Nonymous, but easily sprang to mind.
    The Alice clue is delicious both in wordplay and definition, and my CoD
    I took AIRBRUSH (when I finally got it) to be a whimsy from the same linguistic stable as air miss.
  12. Easy one, this, but v. enjoyable.. some pretty surfaces, especially 15dn, 12ac & 5dn my COD.
    Never heard of a cosmopolitan, but then I know nothing about cocktails, and care less.
  13. 23 minutes; so a pretty average puzzle of about 5/10 difficulty. I was quite impressed with the clue for ITALICISE; though I probably wouldn’t quite run to “lovely”.
  14. Finished all but 22, 24, 15 in quickish time, then got LAUD, followed swiftly by ITALICISE (loved the Alice ref!). Took an age to get SHOPLIFT, stuck on WHIP something, like others.

    Thanks for words of encouragement yesterday, Ulaca, much appreciated!

  15. Reasonably easy and very enjoyable. Took a little while to get Hospitalisation and slowed down in the South East as was slow to get Adultery and Shoplift.
  16. Finished after 30 minutes with CARPAL, checked it in the dictionary, decided it must be wrong, spent another ten minutes looking for alternatives, gave up, came here, was duly enlightened.

    I agree it was on the easy side of average, but fun all the same. I think a similar clue for ITALICISE cropped up when I first started doing the puzzle regularly a couple of years ago, so my COD goes to the neat and economical SOLENT.

  17. Agree this was quite gentle, taking us about 45 mins. Surely Louise is to be commended on missing both shoplifting and adultery? Excellent blog as always.
  18. Had all but LAUD in 25 minutes. Can’t really understand why it took me so long to see such a simple clue. I had to go through the alphabet for it! 30 minutes. My COD today is ITALICISE
  19. I laughed out loud at ADULTERY. For me it is as memorable as the relatively recent clue that contained House of Congress. Also enjoyed Solent, Airbrush, Italicise and Carpal. A very amusing and, for me, relatively easy puzzle; 55mins for all but 5 clues (all in the SE Corner) but a further 47mins for those 5. Not helped by a hyper-active kitten running amok in our lounge while my wife and I were watching TV and I tried to keep my Netbook safe from kittenish claws.
  20. 16.38 online. Good puzzle although didn’t fully appreciate some of the clues until coming here. Found it a fairly easy solve – about 10 minutes apart from SHOPLIFT which had me struggling as much as the England cricketers but I got there in the end – have to wait and see about them though. Liked ADULTERY (as a clue that is) and AUSPICIOUS
  21. Byron wrote
    “What men call gallantry, and gods ADULTERY,
    Is much more common where the climate’s sultry.”
    – a rhyme worthy of Ogden Nash.
  22. 30 very enjoyable minutes. Liked ADULTERY, ITALICISE & SOLENT only a bit more than some other strong contenders but COD to EVERY NOW AND THEN for the most unlikely & indeed astonishing anagram. More like this one please.
  23. A common experience it would seem. On the easy side but fun to solve. I’ll go with that.
  24. Saw the two 15-square solutions right off and, with visions of Cheltenham swirling, knocked off the rest (almost) in ten minutes or so. Stuck on SOLENT and SWILL so had to resort to aids. 17 or 18 minutes I reckon with some of that time chortling over ADULTERY and ITALICIZE.
  25. I found this quite easy and straightforward, well, once I got going, that is. The first time through I saw one across entry and perhaps three down entries, but as the grid started filling up there were no more problems. At the end I took just over 50 minutes. Unfortunately the first time I tried to submit the solution I received a warning that I would no longer be able to solve interactively if I viewed the solution (which is not yet available) and indeed, after that all I could conjure up was an empty grid and I had to type everything in again. So my official time is just over an hour.

    Some clues were very nice (EVERY NOW AND THEN and ITALICISE, for example), but ADULTERY seemed like an ancient and well-worn joke and CUSTER was, well, just dull (perhaps Custer’s last stand was just very current when I was a lad, a long time ago and perhaps not too long after it happened).

  26. 9:42 here – another puzzle I felt I made unduly heavy weather of. I liked the clue to ADULTERY (I don’t recall coming across it before). Rather less keen on the clue to CUSTER.
  27. As no one seems to have picked this up and unlikely to at this late date! At least it will get it off my chest!!
    Not happy with 26 Ac. as I think they are stretching the meaning.
    “Out to lunch” is vague, not with us, not concentrating, in another world – would hardly call that “nutty”.
    1. According to Chambers :

      out to lunch (informal; orig US) slightly crazy, in a world of his or her own.

    2. Thank you for your prompt reply yfyap – I had read the explanation in your first post, but I’m not totally convinced, although I see that maybe in the U.S. it may well be applicable.
      Still think that sometimes the setter is stretching a point.
  28. My first comment in this forum which I discovered a little while ago. Became fascinated with cryptic xwords a few months ago and started trying to do the times crossword reproduced in our local Hong Kong newspaper (the SCMP) (they always date from 2 or so months before). This is the fist one I managed to solve completely and without aids..and in under an hour! Could not figure out the reason for some of the answers (solent and hardnosed) but knew they must be right.
  29. I’m also solving in Hong Kong and began a few months ago. I’ve been reading the blog faithfully, but not commenting, due to the 2 month lag. Have only successfully finished a few (about 4) without aids, but this was not one of them!

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