Times 24,929

Timed at 21:41; Most of my struggles came in the top right, where 4 across and 7 down were reluctant to fall, as described below. Afraid I found rather too many slight quibbles to really enjoy this puzzle. Doubtless comments will tell me if I was alone…

4 FATSTOCK – i.e. FAT STOCK. Part of my problem here was that my brain, confronted with _A_S___K, kept seeing HAYSTACK. The other was that this is one of those clues which suggests rather than describes, if you get my meaning, though it didn’t quite ring true for me, even when I cracked it. The definition is in the &lit., so the whole clue; so one has to realise that a profitable investment might be referred to as a “fat stock” – but it seems to me that while you might well say a stock has made a fat profit, that dosn’t seem to my ear to be the same thing as calling it a “fat stock”…
10 COMFORT – [(MO)rev. + FOR] in CourT.
11 ISHMAEL – SH in (EMAIL)*. “Call me Ishmael”, the opening line of Moby-Dick, struck me as a well-known phrase, but I suppose it might just be one of those things which is easy if you know it…
12 RUDD – RUDDy. A Fish.; a duck.
15 SALTPETRE – SALT(=sea dog) + “PETER”. Peter as a strongbox (presumably from the same route as the name given to St Peter) will be familiar to anyone who’s observed fictional London criminals from Sherlock Holmes to The Sweeney. I didn’t know saltpetre as a preservative, but as a key ingredient of gunpowder.
16 DEPOT – (TOP ED)rev.
18 ATONE – i.e. AT ONE. The more cliched version of this clue usually involves lunchtime.
19 CUBBY HOLE – UBBY-H (HUBBY with the H put back) in COLE.
21 TABERNACLE – (CANLATERBE)*. Easy for Biblical scholars (and fans of Indiana Jones).
23 SECTINSECT. The obligatory cricket clue which manages today to combine the sporting meaning with the entomological one.
26 CORONET – N.E. (of England) in COROT. I didn’t know the painter, but deduced his existence without much delay.
27 LAUNDRY – U in LAND ReallY. I began by trying to fit LEWDERY or similar, before realising the habits were clothing rather than behaviour.
28 SLOVENLY – Son + [Name in LOVELY]. “Lovely” as a noun probably works best if one imagines it on the front page of the late News of the World, where unwary footballers were forever being caught in the company of a couple of luscious lovelies (cont’d p94).
1 OSCAR – O.S. CAR. Car is a definition by example, as is the whole answer. Hence both an Eg and a question mark, which makes this seem a somewhat hesitant clue.
2 ARMADILLO – [(MAD in RILL)] in lAOs. Some intricate nesting involved.
3 ENOW – Erode NOW. I got this easily enough but thought as I solved that it seems slightly perverse in the daily puzzle to use an archaism, and not a well-known one (that is to say, I couldn’t immediately think of, say, a Shakespeare line which uses it), though presumably the setter wanted the opportunity to use the admittedly elegant match of “in the past” and “at present”.
5 AMIABLE – i.e. AM I ABLE?.
6 SCHOOLDAYS – cryptic def., though not very, as one word does rather leap to mind when one sees “Tom Brown”.
7 OPALS – OPus + ALSo without Over. I found this troublesome because I had unhelpful checkers (__A_S) and it’s tricky to unpick what is required. Finally I came up with Work (=OP”), additionally (=”ALSO”), cut (=”ALS”); thus gems (=”OPALS”). So where does “over” come into it? If it’s “additionally over”, surely that’s tautologous; if it’s intended to indicate that OP goes over ALS, it’s got it the wrong way round. I’d be grateful for any offers of elucidation… Thanks to Jimbo for elucidation as requested.
8 KILOMETRE – (MORELIKETime)*. Note that “originally” is the anagrind, so one must take Time=T as given without it.
14 APPEARANCE – (ANACEPAPER)*; long definition in “Someone present has put one in”..
15 SPARTACUS – [PART in SA] + Central U.S.; I liked the lift-and-separate of Central America; rather less keen on “slave” as a definition of Spartacus…
19 COASTAL – A STreet in COAL.
20 BOLDLY – [OLD Lake] in BY.
22 BURRO – BURROw. This seemed very familiar, and a quick search revealed that it appeared in puzzles which I blogged in December 2010 and March 2011, both times clued in the same way. In fairness, I suppose we should be amazed this sort of thing doesn’t happen more often, rather than complaining when it does. On the happy side, I think three times makes something a tradition, so I can say it has become a tradition that I post this link to Fawlty Towers, which explains why in our house you will occasionally hear the phrase “Can you pass the burro, please?”
24 THYME – wealTHY MErchants.
25 JUNO – UN in JO. Anyone who’s ever played (English rules) Scrabble will know about the Scottish sweetheart, who is a great way of getting rid of a tricky ‘J’ from your rack.

39 comments on “Times 24,929”

  1. At 7D O=over (cricket) so its “over cut”

    Didn’t like 4A FAT.. or 1D (DBE) or 6D (too weak for The Times surely)

    The rest is very straightforward for a 15 minute somewhat mechanical solve

  2. Thanks, tim, for the full explanations. With a father who reared FATSTOCK and a mother who made her own hams until she could no longer source the right sort of SALTPETRE, these presented no problem. I assumed the anagrind in 8dn was the question mark, allowing ‘originally’ to refer to the ‘t’ of ‘time’. I struggled much more with the SW, not knowing the French artist and, once the ‘n’ and ‘t’ were in place, assuming ‘Manet’ or ‘Monet’ was the envelope term.

    So, overall, a bit of a struggle and back to my usual 30+ minutes.

  3. Defeated by SAUCE got via solver. Rather enjoyed this. ENOW and FATSTOCK were guesses and JUNO from definition. COD to the elusive food-enhancer. Knew my Chambers would come in useful eventually.
  4. 36 minutes, hopelessly stuck in the SE corner; especially the 25/29 pair. Looked up (Chambers) the origins of CUBBY-HOLE and it seems to stem from “cub”, a cattle pen. And Chambers confirms that it’s a cosy place. We kept our boots and shoes in there, as well as myself when in disgrace. So my associations are with footwear and punishment rather than anything snug. But then my Great Aunt Lil took shelter in hers during thunder storms.

    COD to 27 for the Anaxic “dirty habits”.

    Edited at 2011-08-16 11:09 am (UTC)

  5. 70 minutes for all bar 4 across, then another ten minutes grappling with what was clearly going to be an unknown word clued by a cryptic definition. ONAGER also unknown, and second last in, while SLOVENLY tripped me up for no apparent reason. RUDD entered without understanding what part the duck played – Bombay Duck was my best guess. Not difficult with the enumeration given, but rather liked CUBBY-HOLE.

    Even though I didn’t know the quotation from Moby-Dick, it’s the sort of thing a seafaring man ought to say, when he’s not saying that them that die will be the lucky ones.

  6. 38 minutes, but only thought of FATSTOCK after submitting. Had actually gone with HAYSTOCK, which I won’t even attempt to justify.
    ISHMAEL was first in, but of course you either know it or you don’t. Moby Dick best summed up by Marieke Hardy on ABC TV….”I felt like I’d gone to a speed-dating event and said ‘So Herman, I hear you like whales'”.
  7. A smooth solve, although I was held up for a couple of minutes by FATSTOCK. I had the STOCK but had to trawl the alphabet for the FAT bit. ONAGER first in from definition. I felt some of the definitions, like TABERNACLE and ISHMAEL, were a bit obvious for a Times Cryptic. 20 minutes, which is a good time for me.
  8. I think Edward Fitzgerald’s translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayam is the best known use of the word. “A loaf of bread a jug of wine and thou……paradise enow”. And please pass the sauce. 43 minutes after fixating on haystack like Tim and making a couple of other things way too difficult.
    1. I was going to suggest this use of “enow”. I prefer Terry Pratchett’s version:

      A summer palace underneath the bough,
      A flask of wine, a loaf of bread, some lamb couscous with courgettes, roast peacock tongues, kebabs, iced sherbet, selection of sweets from the trolley and choice of Thou,
      Singing beside me in the Wilderness,
      And Wilderness is Paradise …

  9. I was finding this fairly easy until near the end, when I took ages to see 28 and couldn’t come up with anything for 7 because I’d entered HAYSTACK for 4. After ages staring and going through possible answers I realised 7 must be OPALS and my answer to 4 was wrong. Finally limped home after 55 minutes.
  10. I didn’t find this difficult, mainly because I had no trouble (for once) with 1ac, 1dn and 4ac so could solve downwards instead of up as I often do. 16mins.
    I think sometimes we are overcritical. I see nothing wrong with definitions by example and wonder what or whose rule it is that says they are unacceptable? One may not like them personally but that is different; it is wrong and a teensy bit arrogant to assume everyone else feels the same, or that they are somehow infra dig. If we really want some category of clue to eliminate, I would much rather we went for the “just a cryptic definition, with no wordplay at all” clues, which sometimes seem terribly weak to me, 6dn being an example
    1. I would agree with you about the “not-very-cryptic” cryptics which occur from time to time.

      And I may not have expressed myself clearly as far as 1 down goes; I wasn’t criticising so much as pointing out that there were two examples of D by E, and two corresponding indicators. My take has always been that it’s unindicated D by E which irks the purists, and perhaps as a result this takes (excessive?) care to be the indicated sort.

      Interesting discussion on the subject here.

      1. And I certainly wasn’t criticising the blogger, I almost never would do that!

        I am afraid the “bottom line” so far as I am concerned is that rules are for the guidance of wise men and the observance of fools, possibly the most undervalued proverb of our present age. Especially when the rules are not written down or agreed! If a clue is elegant and fair and I can solve it I don’t mind how it is constructed, and I don’t construe “fair” to mean “an arbitrary set of rules not generally agreed.” Just wait until I next see Ximenes…

        1. Glad to hear it 🙂

          As I and others have regularly observed, perhaps the ultimate test shouldn’t be “Is this clue insufficiently Ximenean or in some other way “unfair”?” but “Did I happily solve it in spite of any perceived irregularity?” If the answer to the latter is “Yes”, then it’s hard to argue a clue is in some way inadmissible.

          1. Hear hear!
            The sort of clues I’d like to ban are those in which solving relies on knowledge of one or more words that I’ve never heard of. Admittedly I can see this principle is unlikely to catch on…
    2. The traditional criticism of DBEs here is when they are not indicated by some means and I admit I’m not keen on those, but I’m at a loss to understand the complaints about today’s clue.
  11. 50 minutes very steady solve with no major hold-ups.

    I took for ever to see the reasoning behind OSCAR at 1d and at 12ac (my last one in) I knew the fish but not the ruddy duck. I don’t have any objections to 1dn and am not sure why it has come in for criticism. It has two DBEs, the lyricist and the car so it’s fitting it should have both an e.g. and a question mark.

  12. 23 minutes with not-haystack the last in.
    I notice that you can now google “wild ass” without unexpected pictures popping up, but I can’t work out whether that’s a pity or not.
    CoD to LAUNDRY for the dirty habits jest.
    1. Now? When you did so in the past, the results were different?
      I felt compelled to try this and found that if you click on “more results,” at the bottom, so to speak…
      1. I so sorry to have led you astray. How can I purge these images from your assaulted probity?
        Actually, you still get “results” (nudge nudge, say no more, a nod’s as good as a wink to a blind bat) if you include the word “asian”, as the possibly apocryphal original has it.
  13. Undone by carelessness at 15d. As motivational coaches at the Colosseum probably didn’t say: there’s no ‘I’ in Spartacus. Unfortunately, I put one there.

    I found this difficult (around 30 min) though I’m not sure why. No real gripes while solving apart from a couple of ‘Surely there’s more to it?’ moments with OSCAR and SCHOOLDAYS. For 4a, which isn’t my favourite clue, I wasted a lot or time thinking _A_WORK.

    COD… LAUNDRY is most excellent.

  14. 28 minutes here. I for one enjoyed this: I like figuring out unfamiliar words from wordplay, and there were a lot of them here: ONAGER, RUDD and FATSTOCK went in on a wing and a prayer, and I didn’t know “Jo” for sweetheart, that the TABERNACLE was a movable tent, or that SALTPETRE is (or was) used to preserve meat. “Peter” for safe and ISHMAEL are things I only know from crosswords.
    COD to 14dn for the cunning definition “someone present has put one in”, which had me scratching my head over what the anagram fodder was supposed to be. I thought had to insert an I somewhere, which gave me the wrong number of letters.
  15. As the instructor at the Naval Academy said –
    A burro is an ass: a burrow is a hole in the ground; and a naval officer is expected to know the difference.
  16. DNF for me. I didn’t have much of an idea at 4, even though I knew it must end in STOCK. On the other hand, LAUNDRY was indeed a cracker.
  17. Spare a thought for those amongst us (e.g. Scots) who speak correctly and pronounce the letter “r”, and who pronounce “ou” different from “au”.
    1. No sympathy… pronunciation is 1950s BBC English unless otherwise indicated. (And that’s not the my accent; I have to translate, too.)
  18. Took me 33 minutes to not finish this, 4ac being my undoing: Went through the alphabet but not thoroughly enough to dredge up FATSTOCK, which I didn’t know anyway. I was also slowed down by putting in ‘kilometer’, which postponed the solution of 19ac by untold minutes.
    I’ve been trying for ages to muster up the courage to ask, What’s wrong with DBE? so I was much relieved to see today’s discussion. And let me add my rhotic voice to Anonymous from Scotland; it’s clues like 29ac that make me a homophonophobic.
    1. I’d apply the same test to homophones as to DBE. The words “source” and “sauce” sound exactly the same where the Times is published. Obviously this pronunciation isn’t any more correct than any other but does the fact that you don’t pronounce the words the same increase the difficulty of the clue unacceptably?
      1. Well, if I’m compelled to be honest — I hate it when that happens — I don’t suppose it does, certainly not unacceptably. This one, as it happens, slowed me down a bit; but them’s the breaks. But as with cricket-based clues, while I have no grounds to object to them, I don’t have to like them.
        1. Of course not. I rather like cheesy homophones but this is purely a matter of personal taste and a puerile sense of humour. Helped by the fact that I speak like the Times crossword.
          At least we can all agree on botany…
  19. About 30 minutes here, ending with FATSTOCK as a wild guess over my invented alternative, PAYSTOCK. They both seemed equally unlikely to exist, but FATSTOCK matched the wordplay better. COD to the LAUNDRY. Held up by spelling KILOMETRE the American way at first, which held up the CUBBY-HOLE, and also delayed near the end by SOURCE/SAUCE, which do not sound at all alike over here, and I’m surprised to find they are homophones over there. I was expecting the usual groans and moans in the comments, but apparently it’s only Kevingregg, anon, and myself who were flummoxed. And flummoxed I was, it was my second last entry, accompanied by an inner “you must be kidding”. Regards all.
    1. I suppose, as a committed Savoyard, I should be more accepting of source/sauce, given Major-General Stanley’s problem with orphan/often.
      1. My grandmother actually did pronounce “often” and “orphan” in exactly the same way. I have never heard this anywhere else. She also pronounced “golf” as “goff”. I suspect both were affectations, perhaps based on too much G&S.
        1. Given that Gilbert was not above yoking caravanserai/chancery or executioner/ablutioner, I wouldn’t be that surprised if your grandmother was alone in her pronunciation of orphan/often, although it sounds convincing enough when John Reed says it. And how can one have too much G&S?
  20. 9:28 for me. I was worried that I might not have heard of the “food-enhancer” at 29ac, and relieved when I found I had.

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