Times 24925 – the blog that almost never was

Solving time : 17:40 on the crossword club clock (CCC?) but I was being distracted here and there by texts and calls and I think this was on the easier side. I nearly didn’t get back to blog this, I was returning to the US today and my first flight was delayed and it looked like I was going to spend a whole day in limbo, but I managed to get on the last flight home and this blog is the last thing I do before collapsing. So I might not get around to fixing any mistakes for a while. But I’m sure they’ll come out in comments!

Away we go…

6 COCO,A: Coco Chanel is the reference
9 COLOGNE: C(ommerce), then LOG in ONE
10 EN MASSE: (MEN)* then ASSE(s)
11 LO,CAL(ler)
13 SCREAMING: CREAM(the top) in SING
14 DUN,STABLE: DUN meaning to exact payment is new for me, I got this from the definition
16 AGAR: RAGA reversed
18 CLEF(t): figure showing what pitch the lines on the bar of music represent
24 PIETY: E(end of CRIME) in PITY
25 CH,A,GALL: another one I got from the definition – CH is companion of honour
26 CO,LOSS,I: I is from the start of INSOLVENCY here
28 let’s omit this from the acrosses
29 EX,T,ROVER,T: two times, a has been and a dog all in one
1 PICKLED: L in PICKED(chose)
2 NIL(e): a duck in cricket is no runs
3 REGULATE: E.G. in R.U., then LATE(certainly not before time), nice definition using POLICE as a verb
4 MEETS: MEET(appropriate, fitting, adjective), S(leep) giving MEETS as in touches
5 CHEERIEST: HE in CE, then (TRIES)*
6 COMBAT: MB in COAT giving rise to the word defined
7 CASTING VOTE: if you cast(jumble) VOTE you can get VETO
15 let’s omit this anagram
17 ACAPULCO: (COLA,A,CUP) – Elvis had some fun there
18 CORACLE: nice clue – L in RACE, and CO(officer), assembled in the order given in the clue
23 DUCAT: hidden
27 SEE: SEER without that kingly R

34 comments on “Times 24925 – the blog that almost never was”

  1. A long drawn-out 51 minutes, which would have been an awful lot quicker if I hadn’t got it in my head that the record in the foreign city was an LP.

    There’s a name for this inflexible way of thinking, apparently: Einstellung. According to Wikipedia that’s “a person’s predisposition to solve a given problem in a specific manner even though there are better or more appropriate methods of solving the problem.” I only chanced upon this because there’s a band of the same name that I rather like.

  2. Am I getting better at this or have we just had a string of gentle puzzles over the last few days? Same in The Guarniad which might have been gentle yet but for the renaming of Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony as the Erioca. Didn’t know DUN and spent 10 minutes looking at M?E?S before finishing.
  3. Thought I was on for a rare sub-30, but was held up by the Franco-Belorussian painter in the SW, finishing in 36 minutes. Wasn’t caught out by the petri-dish fish this time. COD to the character propping up the bar. Chestnut of the Day to 29ac: when you get a wordy clue with 9 letters ending ‘going out’, in goes EXTROVERT.
  4. Nearly all done in about 15 mins then serious hold-up in SW with Chagall and vacant proving especially elusive. 36 mins after all that! But a pleasurable way to start the day.
  5. Easy one for me today, with DUN being the only unknown. Held up slightly at the end with CLEF. No particular contender for COD.

    I’m off on holiday this afternoon, so last one for me for a little while. Will be back in a couple of weeks. Hope I don’t get withdrawal symptoms!

  6. Finished in sub 30 minutes (so pretty strightforward) but without full understanding of DUN or AGAR; CHAGALL, with all checkers in place and confident that it began with ‘ch’, took some painstaking plodding through the alphabet until I came up with a name that I recognised.
  7. Same old story for me for these days. All but four in 30 minutes and then I ground to a halt, this time in the SW where the 18s, 25 and 28 delayed me for a further 20 minutes. I’ve no idea what my problem was in seeing EVENT. In the end I cheated to get the painter if only to disprove my theory that the answer was TRAVAIL and the remaining three answers fell swiftly into place.

    The required meaning of DUN has come up here at least once before but I had forgotten it. Unfortunately DUNSTABLE is quite near to where I live so I had no problem thinking of the town. I was pleased to remember AGAR from only a week or two back.

    I mentioned the other day that I had acquired a new Collins (30th anniversary edition). If you have bought one it’s worth spending some time checking the page numbers because my copy had some pages missing and others duplicated. Looking at the feedback on Amazon I note that others have had this problem too.

    1. Jack, my daughter’s doing a project on boy bands and was incensed to find that Chambers defines one as a group of attractive men, who can dance “and sometimes even sing” (a Johnsonian definition if ever there was one, which has bolstered my faith in C!) She checked ODE and was wondering what Collins might have. It would be much appreciated if you could do the honours.
      1. My new Collins is boxed up awaiting collection and replacement so I can’t check it at the moment, but the 9th edition (published 2007) defines ‘boy band’ simply as “an all-male vocal pop group created to appeal to a young audience”.
        1. Thanks for that. My hunch was indeed that Collins might avoid what my daughter felt was the unfair stereotyping of the other two reference books, which had ‘attractive’ and ‘look good’ (from memory of what she told me over the phone). A lexicographer in the making, perhaps?
  8. Another untimed I’m afraid: six answers in quickly before shuffling off to see the quack — the rest in the waiting room. Felt like a 30 minute puzzle to me and that should be about right.

    Anyone else tempted by AMENDER at 8dn with some play or other on “a me{a}nder” (twist)?

    Liked the “anagind in answer” in CASTING VOTE. But COD to CLEF for semantic deflection — unless you’ve ever been the resident pianist in a pub.

    1. Oh … and note to George. When you fix up your [/strike] problem, you might like to use the simpler HTML: [s] and [/s]. With the brackets suitably altered.

      Edited at 2011-08-11 08:46 am (UTC)

      1. ooops – fixing the strike. I thought s by itself had a different meaning in HTML 2 or whenever it was I learned to do markups.
        1. Works for me in the LJ HTML window. And there’s the ABC clicky-thing in the Rich Text window.
    1. I immediately thought of this and it occurred to me that in this instance it’s the crucified, rather than the crucifier, who needs to get the cross, ha ha.
      But in fact the word is “crucifer” and no-one is actually getting crucified.
      1. But a crucifer is a person who carries a cross (as in his case, before crucufixion). Made me chuckle anyway.
        1. Oh, it made me chuckle too. I’m not sure someone carrying a cross to their own crucifixion can be described as a crucifer but I’m not going to get cross about it.
  9. 14 minutes. Straightforward but smooth, a good typical Times puzzle on the easier side I thought.
    I didn’t know DUN but to the extent I was held up it was mostly in the SW, like others. Partly because I thought CHAGALL only had one L.
  10. 35 minutes, finally held up by CLEF, which gets my COD.

    Well done on the blog, George, done in obviously trying circumstances. There’s no reward here on earth, of course, but I hope you got a receipt for those you laid up in heaven.

  11. Steady solve in 30 minutes, though 4d puzzle me for some time; I was convinced that this was the old trick of “appropriate” meaning ‘take’. I didn’t understand the DUN element in 14, but the B meant the answer must end in STABLE, so no sweat over that one.

    I felt the definition in 29 was slightly iffy, but I liked the clue to CLEF and smiled at GET A CROSS.

  12. How does “duck” work for NIL? Surely has to be “a duck”? If you’re out for nil, you’re not out for duck, you’re out for a duck.
    As I’m the first to raise this, I assume I’ve missed something. Can someone please set me straight?
  13. Interesting that nobody is upset by COLOGNE being the English name for KOLN but clued as foreign city. No problem because the wordplay is obvious C+LOG which has to be COLOGNE.

    Duck has been signalling nil for decades so I can’t imagine anybody getting too worked up by the missing “a”

    Very straightforward puzzle finished in 20 minutes after best round of golf for some time – my cup runneth over.

    1. Thanks, but that doesn’t really answer my question. I still can’t think of a context where you could replace nil with duck in a sentence.
    2. Surely spelling COLOGNE in the English way doesn’t make the city any less foreign? Would you accept “foreign country” for GERMANY, or do you think setters ought to reserve that for DEUTSCHLAND?
      1. Reminds me of the story of the British fellow who got fed up with his compatriots pronouncing Munich incorrectly and told them to say it the German way with the Scottish “loch” sound at the end!
    3. It occurred to me to say something, Jim, but I decided to let it go. I wonder if the E that can be used to replace umlauts in German words has ever appeared in the Times crossword e.g. Koeln.
      1. I have comparatively few gripes with the Times crossword, but representing German words with umlauts by simply dropping the umlaut when there’s a perfectly acceptable English representation with an E is something that grates almost every time.

        I think I’m right in saying that Röntgen has always appeared as ROENTGEN, and Löss (or Löß) has always appeared as LOESS, but even Schoenberg (who was canny enough to change his name from Schönberg to stop the Americans mangling it) recently appeared as SCHONBERG. (Grrr!) All the others end up E-less and looking (to me) plain silly.

        The case is altered with languages like Finnish where (for example) “ö” is distinct from “o”, so I’d be prepared to accept vanha Väinämönen as VAINAMOINEN (though I can’t remember him ever appearing).

      2. A few years back we had, from memory, Roentgen and Moenchengladbach on successive days. (24490/24491 according to google.)

        Roentgen had the first E in lieu of the umlaut, Monchengladbach (sic) didn’t have the first E.

        As an Italian speaker I struggle getting foreign cities such as Genoa, Turin, Naples etc. as to me they’re Genova, Torino, Napoli etc. No-one ever mentions that, so why start on Cologne?

  14. I didn’t race through this like some others, needing 40 minutes, albeit with interruptions. I ended with CLEF, very clever, but a bit thick of me not to have seen it earlier. DUN is common over here, so no problem with that. Overall, I enjoyed this a lot, so thanks to the setter and George also. Regards all.
  15. 9:06 for me – again slower than I felt I should have been for a straightforward puzzle with no unknowns.

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