Times 24,923 Which Tube Exit Would That Be?

Solving time 25 minutes

Another puzzle that I found vaguely irritating. There are too few clever wordplay constructions and too many oblique references for my taste such as 2D IMMODEST and 4D CORRIDOR. I had finished this in just under 20 minutes bar 10A and I have stared at ?M?N for some time now. I’ve guessed AMEN as the answer but need my ever erudite audience to explain the rest of it – or correct my guess if I’m wrong

1 BIBLICAL – Job is a character in the Christian Bible – awful clue;
9 ALTHOUGH – A-L-THOUGH(t); “however” is the definition;
10 AMEN – a pure guess on my part based on a supposed definition “right” – I don’t see the rest of it; on edit – see solution provided by Jack. Another clue I’m not enamoured of;
11 DARBY,AND,JOAN – (any DJ or a band)*; the folks who live on the hill;
13 PENNED – two meanings;
14 ROLL-CALL – demand=CALL; revolutionary movement=ROLL; the start of the school day;
15 STIR-FRY – prison=STIR (slang); penal reformer=(Elizabeth) FRY;
20 ACID,RAIN – AC-I-DRAIN; (alternating) current=AC;
23 ABSENT-MINDED – “with fonder heart”=reference to “absence makes the heart grow fonder”; was caring=MINDED;
25 DASH – three meanings 1=throw=cast 2=mild swear word from yesteryear 3=just a little;
26 DILUTION – (until I do)*;
27 TUTORING – TU-TO-RING; TU=Trade Union (people not working collectively?);
2 IMMODEST – Jonathan Swift wrote not just of Gulliver but also a work entitled “A Modest Proposal”;
3 LONDON,BRIDGE – cryptic definition + reference to the old song “London Bridge is Falling Down”;
4 CORRIDOR – reference the phrase “corridors of power” (always said in the plural?);
6 ATONAL – A-TON-A-L(ock); “a ton” is slang for 100mph (160kph);
7 EURO – hidden (bibl)E (yo)U (refe)R (t)O; the Mark was the German currency (and may soon be again);
8 CHANDLER – C-HANDLER; clubs=C (playing cards); a second = a HANDLER (boxing);
12 JACOBS,LADDER – two meanings;
15 SEAWARDS – S(E-AWARD)S; E is from (pirat)E; SS=steamship so “escorted by vessel”;
18 UNREASON – (nuns are + o=old)*;
21 ANTRIM – A-N(o)T-RIM; “none the less not”=NT;
24 SILK – S-ILK; a SILK is an even more expensive barrister (advocate);

48 comments on “Times 24,923 Which Tube Exit Would That Be?”

  1. Similarly had major hold-ups in the top left, but I plumped for OMEN thinking there was no way that clue could lead to AMEN. Oh well…
  2. Thanks jimbo and jackkt! For once, I spotted the oblique references (Swift’s immodest proposal of infanticide is one of the few things I know about him and C.P.Snow’s Corridors of Power was part of my youthful education). So I enjoyed this 40 minute challenge, despite agreeing with jimbo over the relative lack of clever wordplay constructions. Amen.
    1. I put up another theory earlier but deleted it when I spotted the correct answer. Truly a ‘Doh!’ moment.

      I think 25ac has to be a triple definition to account for ‘just a little’.

  3. Several comical wrong turns today: first of all I came up with JOCKEY LADDER at 12dn as a means of getting on board, which sounds like an invention waiting to be made. Corrected that one quickly enough, but then stuck in INDECENT at 2dn, led astray by the dire Hollywood film.

    Eventually sorted that one out, before running into the same roadblock as everyone else with 10ac. The best I could do was OMAN, on the grounds that it’s on the right as you exit the tube of the Gulf. Desperate stuff, I know. 47 minutes.

  4. Another with INDECENT (something about indecent haste) here making 10 even more impossible than it already was, so DNF. Well done Jack for spotting it. An aside irritating me for some reason, Jack might know, did the lyric for The Folks who Live on the Hill originally have Darby and Joan or as Peggy Lee sings it, Baby and Joe?
  5. Not sure of my time; at least 20 minutes of it was spent staring at the NW corner. I was never quite sure of 1ac (not the finest clue) and I’ve never heard of the Swift work so the best I could come up with for 2dn was INDECENT. This made 10ac impossible so in the end I bunged in INNOCENT for 2dn and ANON for 10ac just to finish the thing.
  6. Thanks jackkt for 10ac. Folks over in The Times’ forum are having quite a time sorting that one out. My theory involving Ramen noodles has now been comprehensively blown out of the water!
    I actually thought this was a lot of fun.
  7. I found this hard to get started on, but then something clicked and I romped through the rest in good time, held only by the NW corner – 2dn which I had to look up Swift’s wikipedia entry for, 1ac and 10ac which I only now understand and don’t much like. ..stick to the right side, or right half, would have been better.
  8. Glad to be back from a couple of days or so in the cruciverbal wilderness … but with a DNF. (Lack of practice?) Took 26 mins without seeing the parsing for AMEN and called it quits — with that in as a sheer guess. OMAN and OMEN were out of the question. So Jack’s parsing is (as ever) brilliant. But where TF’s the def eh?

    Jim and I can now perhaps agree: Lit-stuff must be preferable to god-bothering??

    1. Welcome back – we missed you

      I think 10A is a truely abysmal clue. So far we haven’t had one contributor say that they solved it first off even with ?M?N in place – and that includes my fellow Mephisto blogger George. Jack did very well to finally see the awful truth. The intersection with the crummy 2D is also unhelpful.

      Anything is preferable to god-bothering.

    2. I’m afraid the definition is ‘It’. We had some discussions about this sort of nonsense only a few days ago.
      1. Indeed we did and I think we found instances with and without warrant. This must be one of the latter. Unless we’re al missing something??
  9. Managed all bar 2 and 10, but many without full understanding…

    Didn’t get the ‘absence makes the heart grow…’ ref, nor had I come across a HANDLER before. And I’d not heard of the DASH=cast meaning. And I didn’t know about the plant called a JL. I could go on…

    However, I did think there were some good clues: I particularly liked SEAWARDS and LAWYERS amongst others.

  10. When I saw that two of the first three across clues were religious, I instantly thought of Jimbo, having no idea that this was his blogging day. (Does anyone else have trouble remembering who’s when?) Jacob’s Ladder, Bible, Elizabeth Fry (a Quaker) and nuns to boot. Is someone trying to say something?

    Back to the puzzle, AMEN went in on a wing and, naturally, a prayer, while I managed to miss the Job as Jewish Bible character reference entirely.

    I’m wary of upsetting our esteemed blogger any further, but a metric ton was 160kph when I was last nabbed for doing it.

    1. Thanks – a typo I assure you – now corrected

      I too noticed the religious overtones and winced – we’ve seen this setter before!!

  11. Congrats Jack, I reckon I could have looked at 10ac for days without parsing it. Guessed OMEN, having already used Wikipedia to get IMMODEST, so a slightly unsatisfying DNF.
  12. Thanks jackkt – I think clue was unfair, as it doesn’t have a definition, but only a clue to one
  13. I got lawyers although “In Bar” is meaningless – the phrase as “at the Bar” or “At Bar”
      1. Also why ‘men’? I spent a long time trying to get ‘OR’ into the answer. Lawyers are no longer always men, surely?. .
  14. Add my thanks to Jack for explaining AMEN, which like most other commentators I entered without being able to parse. This is the sort of clue that you find either extraordinarily clever or completely ridiculous. The absence of any definition of the solution puts it in the latter category for me. I also agree with Anon above that “in bar” is nonsense in the clue to 5dn. I suppose the setter feared that “at the bar” or even “at bar” would have made the answer too obvious, but he might have got away with “bar men”. These complaints aside, there are some good things in this puzzle: I liked ABSENT-MINDED, LONDON BRIDGE and ALTHOUGH.
  15. 54:04 .. About 23 minutes to solve all but 10a. Another 31 minutes to figure out that pesky thing. I ought to feel a sense of achievement, but I don’t. I’m just not seeing anything that satisfies as a definition, and that makes the whole exercise feel rather arbitrary.

    I’m also not sure that agitation alone is enough to produce a STIR-FRY, though in my kitchen it has sometimes been the sole consequence.

    It’s hard to look objectively at the rest of the puzzle after 10a, but I did admire a few clues – CELERY, in particular, is a gem.

  16. Slightly disagree with the parsing of chandler, I think the second refers to a second type who deals, i.e. a handler, but I could well be wrong.
    1. With respect, I think you are. The blogger’s parsing is simpler and works perfectly. No need to look any further.
      1. For what it’s worth I interpreted this clue in the same way as Anon when solving, and thought it a bit Guardianish!
        I didn’t know this specific meaning of either “handler” or “second” but a quick check in Collins leaves no doubt that the boxing interpretation is correct.
  17. 30 minutes, but only because I simply gave up on 10ac and followed Sherlock Holmes’s method to exclude ‘omen’ and ‘oman’. Brilliant of jackkt to solve it; did anyone else? As always, I’m struck by how often what’s obscure to A is a giveaway to B; ‘Swift proposal’ was a giveaway for me, one of the clues misleading me into thinking this would be a quickie.
  18. The literary references in 2 and 4 were familiar enough to make these easy clues to solve, but I’m with others in disliking “Men in bar” as a definition for ‘lawyers’ and finding the clue to 10a (correctly guessed by pure luck) dreadful. As has been pointed out there is no definition, merely an inadequate clue to one. I’m not keen on “class action” as a definition of TUTORING; it’s misleading without being clever.
    Forty minutes, but a wrong answer for 24d, which I had as SELL, thinking that ELL = EL = the letter L, which could be a piece of type. I admit that the correct answer is obviously better.
  19. I’m one of those who put in AMEN without understanding. However, 2d was my first in, closely followed by 3d so I had ?M?N from the very start. I wasted ages on it. Sort of finished in 28 minutes but then found I had written DERBY instead of DARBY at 11a, which is what happens when you spot an anagram and don’t bother to work it out properly.
  20. I certainly never saw what Jack saw, and threw AMEN in thinking the definition was ‘also’, and stopped bothering with tube exits since I suspected some UK-centric stuff was required that I wouldn’t know. Well spotted, Jack. Having had our collective eyes opened by Jack, and even though the defintion is merely ‘it’, which doesn’t contribute anything, the answer is so clearly AMEN that we should stop complaining, I think. I did know both 2D and 3D right away, though, and started filling in from there. I was lucky DARBY AND JOAN, was an anagram, because I didn’t know of them either, nor SILK as a lawyer, but there the wordplay was pretty obvious. My hold-up was in the SE, where I just couldn’t find any word to make from ‘nuns are’ plus ‘o’ for the longest time, and I don’t think UNREASON really means ‘foolishness’. But once I got it, the checkers led me to DASH, and the very clever CELERY, my last entry. Puzzles like this with a large helping of allusions used to point to something else seem somewhat imprecise, but every once in a while we can all use a change of pace and exercise a different part of the brain. Regards to all.
  21. Not living in London I was confused by the “Bank linkage” bit of LONDONBRIDGE. But having looked at a tube map online I see they are adjacent stations. Or is there something else I don’t know.

    Guessed AMEN simply because OMAN, OMEN and AMIN seemed even less likely.

    Didn’t know who the penal reformer was but it has to be Mr Fry (turned out to be Ms Fry).

    1. @paulmcl
      I think the adjacent tube stations bit here is either coincidental or a piece of misdirection. The bank here refers to the bank of a river. A bridge being something that links two banks – hence bank linkage. Bank or banker are used quite a lot for river related issues.
  22. Another miserable failure for me, missing both IMMODEST and AMEN. BIBLICAL took me far too long (I was hoping for something to do with “patience”) and I then bunged in INDECENT (which seemed better than IMPUDENT), and UDON (which I knew to be cylindrical, though I wasn’t at all convinced they were tubes – and they’re not!).

    I only thought of IMMODEST after my half-hour was up, and would have chanced it if I’d thought of it earlier, but I’d forgotten Swift’s essay. I’d then have guessed AMEN as the least unlikely solution, but I had to come here to find the explanation.

    All good old-fashioned Times clues, but not ones I was expecting in a modern Times puzzle. I wonder if they’ll spring something like that on us in this year’s Championship.

    I’m not helped by feeling extremely despondent at the moment. My wife was born and bred in Ealing, and I’ve lived there for the past 40 years, so we’re both horrified at the wanton damage.

    1. These are crimes and the perpetrators should be treated as such. Arrests, convictions and proper sentences is the answer that the people who do this will understand.
    2. Like you we are both Londoners and can’t quite believe what we are seeing. Whilst we didn’t approve of the Brixton riots we could understand what led to them but this appears to be just orchestrated robbery with violence. Perhaps the Victorians knew a thing or two with their maxim of “spare the rod and spoil the child”?

      Interested to see you didn’t get AMEN. Not one contributor has said they solved this in the normal course of completing the puzzle – which I think says a lot about the clue. I’m by no means certain that it would have been allowed years ago.

      1. So it should really be londonjimbo? I’m from Yorkshire myself, but I’ve lived in Ealing longer than I lived up north and have grown very fond of the place.

        I’m in the middle of a bad patch at the moment, and, after pondering over BIBLICAL, IMMODEST and AMEN for several minutes, more or less lost the will to live. I’m kicking myself for not spotting AMEN though, and like to think that I’d have picked it up in my heyday, or even nowadays in other circumstances. With hindsight, the three four-letter words leap out at you. I’m pretty sure this sort of thing came up in the past, though I can’t immediately point to an example.

  23. I appear to be a sole dissenting voice. I think 10 ac is a great clue. Isn’t it merely a cleverly hidden & Lit or am I missing something?
    1. First it’s not a clue to AMEN. It’s a clue to the phrase “so be it” without a definition other than “its” which most don’t consider very satisfactory here.

      Second the instruction to take the last two letters of each word in the phrase is not particularly clear.

      When nobody solves a clue except after ages of time looking at the checkers it’s often a sign that the clue isn’t very good. In this instance several very experienced solvers failed to see it. But if you like it – that’s great and I’m pleased for you.

      1. Quote from http://www.biddlecombe.demon.co.uk

        “All in one” is a new name for these clues, invented by Tim Moorey in his excellent 2008 book on “How to Master the Times Crossword”. I’m using it here because I think it’s clearer than the old name & lit., which is short for ‘and literally true’. These clues are ones where the whole clue is simultaneously wordplay and a definition of the solution. Does not ‘So be it’ qualify as a definition of ‘Amen’?

        Perhaps the Amen clue would have been more acceptable to solvers had the initial ‘It’s’ been omitted – it surely qualifies as an & Lit according to the above criterion.

    2. Can you explain how it’s an “& Lit”? If it really is, then I can’t see anyone could have any objection to it. Even if it isn’t, I don’t actually have any objection to it myself – except that it caught me on the hop, and that’s just me being thick.
      1. I rather agree with Jimbo: if no one as far as we can tell solved it by actually cracking the clue then that must say something about it.
        The clue has no definition so far as I can see. Fair game in the old days but particularly unfair nowadays – at least back then you could expect such devilry!
        CELERY v good though
  24. First, on the off chance that anyone ever follows these threads a month later, thanks – your blogging work is greatly appreciated by this Antipodean, a month behind you.

    Second, as an Anglican minister who’s fine with god-bothering (as long as it’s done nicely!), I thought this was terrible. 1ac a double definition defining the same term the same way? Ugh. And 10ac has had enough complaints levelled at it, bar one: both LUMEN and RUMEN fit the tube exit description, and the clear absence of a definition led me to guess it wasn’t there because they didn’t want a real word, so UMEN went in.

    Third, at least I get a weekend to get over it!

    1. Always nice to hear from you no matter how long after the event and good to know that you find the blogs useful

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