Times 24,881 – Ooh ar ooh ar?

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Timed at 25:39, of which a lot of time was spent sorting out some carefully disguised wordplay, most especially why 13 across should be what it is. As we will see, I await the comments of residents of the county in question.

4 DISMAYS – MAY (one of several possible months, so worked out by elimination) in DISS.
9 LEVER – (REVEL)rev.; this didn’t immediately convince me, perhaps because though a lever is usually a rod or something quite like it, a rod isn’t always a lever.
10 OBVIATING – (VAINBIGOT)*, again didn’t immediately connect until I thought of it as, say, avoiding disaster i.e. preventing rather than dodging.
11 PERSUADER – (RED A U.S. REP)all rev. A surface which immediately made me think of The Manchurian Candidate.
12 DEIST – tiDE IS Turning.
13 IBEX – I BE (how West country folk say “I am”, for crossword purposes at any rate) + X (=”by” as in multiplying 8 by 4); the mountain dwelling ibex is, of course, a “high liver”. I must admit something politically correct got hold of me at this point, and I did worry that this clue might be reinforcing a lazy stereotype involving a man in a smock with a flagon of cider, or possibly someone in a pirate hat; however, in fairness to the setter, it does seem that this is a strictly valid linguistic observation about an ancient dialect. Thus I shall not be offended on behalf of any residents of Devon, unless they tell me I’m wrong, and should be offended. (Plus, it made me think of the Young Crone in Blackadder, and that always raises a smile.)
14 PREDICATED – Anticyclone in PREDICTED.
18 MOTHERLESS – the temptress is EVE; you turn MAEVE into EVE by taking away the family member MA, thus making her MOTHERLESS.
20 GAFF – GAFFe. I think there was some discussion recently about the many sorts of poles available for crossword purposes.
23 BLAZE – double def. I was initially misled by Conan Doyle, and the Sherlock Holmes story Silver Blaze, concerning a horse with such a mark on its head. The dictionary is quite specific, however, that the mark is white.
24 CELLARAGE – CELL + A RAGE; I spent too long trying to work out how corkage fitted in to this, which suggests I’ve invested far more effort in drinking wine than storing it.
25 GUITARIST – [1 in GUT] +(SITAR)*.
26 GRIPE – GRIP + Energy.
27 MIDWEEK – the cryptic nature of which dawns when you look at a calendar and see where the SUNday appears.
28 INTENT – IN(home) TENT(temporary shelter). Possibly a tribute to the upcoming Glastonbury Festival.
1 SOLIPSISM – [0 in SLIP] + [IS in S&M].
2 REVERIE – REVerend + ERIE. Oddly, also 2 down in the concise puzzle today.
4 DOVER – DOVE + River. Not unnaturally, given its location, one of the most enduring fortifications in England.
5 SHADDOCK – ADD in SHOCK. For obvious reasons, I spent most of my life vaguely thinking this was a fish rather than a tree.
6 ANIMIST – they can’t see because of A Northern Ireland MIST! Geddit?
15 DESOLATE – (LOSE)rev. in DATE.
16 DIFFERENT – [IF FE chancelloR] in DENT.
19 TOADIED – TO + Authorities + DIED.
22 JARGON – Just ARGON makes an elegant &lit.
23 BEGUM – E.G. in BUM.
24 CRICK – CRICKet. The traditional cricket clue making an appearance at the last.

28 comments on “Times 24,881 – Ooh ar ooh ar?”

  1. Time? Don’t ask — but it was over Vinyl’s hour when I stopped the clock and made another coffee.
    Bottom half was certainly the hardest and the SW hardest of the corners. I twigged to the IBEX but couldn’t parse DESOLATE even after I got all the crossers and it had to be that. Last in(s): (1) CRICK, thinking “now what kind of game can this be?” Ditto stupidity for (2) MIDWEEK, for which I duly thank Tim for the explanation. COD to MOTHERLESS.

    PS: anyone else getting strange formatting on the T4T site? I’ve had to go to the “View in my own style” option to be able to read the blog.

  2. 61 minutes for this, with one wrong, ‘shadduck’ for SHADDOCK – the definition bring ‘fright’, the tree ‘shuck’, and me the schmuck. Quite a few unknowns – SHRI, FOLDEROL, BEGUM and GAFF – but this in no way spoiled what was a quirky and fun puzzle. REVERIE was in this morning’s Concise so went straight in. My COD to DESOLATE, ‘though IBEX made me smile. It’s the type of thing you might expect to find in Shakespeare’s Henry V, if he’d shoved a Devonian into the scene where the stage Welsh-, Irish- and Scots-men are going hammer and tongs at establishing national stereotypes. Look you now.
  3. While I pretend to no detailed knowledge, or indeed experience of SM, my understanding was that the pain had to do with pleasure rather than cruelty.

    I will, of course, be prepared to submit to those with superior credentials.

  4. Found this tricky and weighed in at just over the hour. Liked Motherless as a clue..got stuck on Blaze and Generate… otherwise some nice wordplay. thought shrimp was clever! and midweek and Ibex
    well done setter
  5. Another disaster for me. I managed a handful in each quarter but was unable to extend any of these towards the middle of the grid so eventually I gave up trying to do it without aids.

    I solved 9ac by considering Laver (what with it being Wimbledon time) and immediately discounting him, but this put me in mind of the correct answer.

    I do think 13ac is taking liberties and in any case the stereotypical local yokel who is supposed to use this sort of dialect is not confined to Devon or even the West Country.

    How does AVARICE = ‘stinginess’?

    Not my sort of puzzle, I’m afraid.

    1. Miserliness has long been associated with avarice, along with greed and covetousness. Hume actually wrote an essay “Of avarice” which equates avarice with miserliness.
  6. I was over the hour as well, but got there in the end. Hard but enjoyable – mental S&M, I guess. IBEX was last in.

    We had SHADDOCK a few months ago when I think it was clued as ‘fruit’. It’s lodged in my brain because I regularly see a sign for Shaddock Avenue; there are two in Sydney, according to the street directory.

  7. 28:30 for this excellent offering. Got stuck on Maeve thinking of Binchy but eventually saw motherless as the obvious answer; thanks to topicaltim for the explanation. Never heard of gaff as a pole but it had to be that. Many lovely clues though.
  8. …with some of the anagrams going in very quickly (AVARICE, GENERATE, OBVIATING), and then some very tricky, for me, wordplay.

    Thinking tennis, I did put in LAVER at 9a (but then, he’s not dead yet, is he?), as I’m always looking out for names used at the beginning of clues. I didn’t get IBEX, and threw in IVES (although, in my defence, I had considered the X=by hint). Also left a gap at FOLDEROL, an unknown, although I had worked out the wordplay correctly.

    COD to MOTHERLESS (now I understand the wordplay, thanks Tim!)

  9. I think this is close to being what I think of as a typical average Times cryptic. Neither ridiculously easy nor tortuously difficult but containing clever wordplays and some humour.

    “I be” for “I am” can be heard all over the South West including Somerset and the west of Dorset beyond Dorchester, and not just spoken by yokels, so no problem there.

    Weakest clue 27A. I thought JARGON very clever and spent too long trying to justify “oxygen” until I twigged CELLARAGE. 25 minutes to solve.

    1. In which case I shall not worry about tipping my hat to a clever clue 🙂
  10. 28 minutes, humming and hahing over SHADDOCK before putting it in as a fright, probably related to dybbuk and having heard vaguely of shock as a tree of some kind. Thus doth Mephisto make desperate guessers of us all.
    Otherwise, lots of meaty clues. IBEX went in because I needed the X for the pangram (it is, isn’t it?), though I toyed with something beginning with che for quite a while, messing up my chances with 1d.
    Two of my confident answers in the bottom half didn’t fit, namely MIDNIGHT and CORKAGE, and I wondered a while about power=GRIP and directory=FOLDER: in all my years playing with computers from DOS 6.1 and Mallard basic onwards I’ve never thought of it that way. I nearly spelt the entry FOLDIROL for that reason, fol(low) stretched to mean get.
    CoD to PERSUADER for being a decent surface for a reverser.
  11. 50 minutes. I found this by far the most difficult puzzle for a long time. I wouldn’t have finished at all if I hadn’t spotted the pangram, which enabled me to bung in IBEX and BLAZE pretty confidently without fully understanding either. Many thanks to Tim for explaining them.
    I did make life difficult for myself by making very heavy weather of some easy clues (CRICK, for example) but still I’d say this was much harder than the average. All absolutely fair, though, and putting in unknown words like FOLDEROL and SHADDOCK with full confidence is most satisfying. First class stuff: I be grateful to the setter!
  12. A pangram indeed though didn’t notice myself. 30 minutes with 5 of them at the end on folderol. Relieved to get ibex – didn’t see the rationale and wondering about (St) (surv) even (Burl)Ives. Mildly surprised gaff not so well known. COD 13 once seen – a charmer.
  13. Am I the only one who thought 24dn was CAROM, being an anagram of O[f] CRAM[p]? Carrom (also spelt carom) is a billiards-like game from India.
  14. I just accidentally left an anonymous comment which I can’t find. There were over 20 comments but they have now shrunk to just 8. Mine is one of the ones missing. What fun!
  15. Done in two stages with a hospital appointment in between. I took some time to get back into the rhythm of this and ended up bunging in several answers without understanding the cryptic. I eventually worked out that the Eve in Maeve was significant and that the answer was MOTHERLESS but before that I had been trying to justify FATHERLESS! I didn’t notice the pangram – wish I had, it would have helped with IBEX which was my last in. Enjoyable nevertheless. 40 minutes.
  16. At 27 minutes this was one of those wavelengthy ones which was lucky because it was only after coming here that I understood 13 and 18 (thanks Tim). Always thought solipsism was a fancy description of a characteristic of certain people I dislike – didn’t realize it was a philosophy first so I learned something. Good puzzle.
  17. I was plodding along well enough, chipping away bit by bit, but IBEX, MIDWEEK, & CRICK stopped me. Those three took me about a half an hour, and only IBEX was correct. I put in ‘midyear’, which of course made 24d impossible to solve. Feh.
    I hope I’m not repeating someone, but 1d reminded me of Bertrand Russell’s story of the woman who told him she was a convinced solipsist and was surprised that there weren’t more people like her.
    1. I hadn’t heard your Bertrand Russell story before, Kevin. Very droll.

      I’m intrigued by Ring Lardner and I Gaspiri as well – clearly an interesting guy. (I’m vaguely aware of having come across his name somewhere in the past.)

      1. His day job was as a sports journalist, but he wrote some wonderful short stories (including the only fiction I know of with a character named Gregg); I’m surprised the Library of America hasn’t come out with a volume. In one of those stories is the classic line,
        ‘”Shut up,” he explained.’
        1. Not sure how Lardner crops up here but many thanks for the reminder Kevin. I’d almost forgotten about the Grand Concorpse in the Bronx!
  18. A sluggish 10:33 for me – probably down to some unusual definitions which I kept having to mull over. I found it difficult to get on the setter’s wavelength.
  19. 17dn: ‘Father troubled by teenager’. If the clue had been ‘Father troubled teenager’ it would have made sense to me, but the ‘by’ is only there for the surface, it seems. Or am I missing something?

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