Times 24932

Solving time: Squeaked in under the hour at 59:14

A few new words for me – HECATOMB & LLANERO, also DAUBE. Plus several entered without full understanding. I particularly struggled in the NE corner, but in general I found this quite tough all the way through. Although that may be because, having forgotten to do the blog last night, I was feeling under pressure to solve it quickly.

cd = cryptic def., dd = double def., rev = reversal, homophones are written in quotes, anagrams as (–)*, and removals like this

10 NIHILIST – cd
14 Servile + NOB – an &lit if I’m interpreting it correctly
15 H(ASS)OCK – the ASS is ‘in hock’, i.e. pawned
17 DISCORD – the way to party being the DISCO RoaD
21 CAUL – cd – it covers the head of a new-born baby
22 HEL(I + GO)L + AND – As area of the North Sea between the Netherlands and Denmark. I’ve long been a fan of the board game Diplomacy which has the Heligoland Bight as an area on the board, so no problem for me.
23 TRIM + ARAN – although the word order is a little confusing
26 MILLINER – I’m struggling with this one. I can’t really see a definition anywhere. A felt can be an item made of felt, such as a hat, but not a hat-maker as far as I can see. I assume the ‘lots of litres’ is the LL, though I’ve no idea where the AA come into it. Thanks to the anonymous contributor for providing the crucial piece of information I was missing. The AA is a reference to AA Milne, the author behind the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. So it’s MIL(L + I)NE + R. Which means that the definition is ‘Felt one’s consuming lots’ which I still don’t really get, but it’s a lot clearer than it was.
27 rOB SERVER – A British newspaper
2 EXIT VISA = AXE rev about (VISIT)*
4 A + oVID
7 BASSANIO – cd – Bassanio was one of Portia’s three suitors in the Shakespeare play. The suitors are offered a choice of three caskets made of gold, silver and lead. Bassanio correctly opts for the lead one.
8 BE(DAUBE)D – I didn’t know DAUBE as a meat stew so this was my last in. The E-A checkers had me confused into trying to put an anagram of MEAT into something. I nearly invented HEMATOME to mean covered in blood, but then SNOB came to my rescue and the B gave it away.
15 HECATOMB = HE-CAT + (MOB)* – Tom for he-cat was quite sneaky.
16 STUPIDLY – another sneaky one. ‘Builds’ = ‘puts up’ or STUP, then ‘in vain’ for IDLY.
18 COL(A + tendoN)DER

28 comments on “Times 24932”

  1. Equally bemused by MILLINER, Dave. If AA is Milne, wouldn’t that make the definition “Felt one’s consuming lots”, since the inclusion indicator is “get … round” and L is hardly “lots of litres”?

    As for the rest, I had to seek assistance for BASSANIO, CAUL and DAUBE; I invented BEGARBED for 8. A complete rout for me, then, after so much effort. COD to WIDOWS PEAK.

  2. A much harder puzzle today, 25 minutes to complete

    I solved MILLINER from the AA which immediately triggered MILNE in my mind for some reason I don’t really understand. The definition seems rather contorted to me to produce a misleading surface reading

    I didn’t know or had forgotten LLANERO but the cryptic was very clear.

    Some good clues overall and an enjoyable tussle after the easier fare of earlier in the week

  3. I think I recognise this setter’s work and never like it much. A lot of it is very clever, but a lot is too contrived for my liking. For example I don’t like CAUL, which is too obscure for a cryptic definiton which gives no other way of getting to the answer (some may think the same applies to BASSANIO), the inadequate definiton of WIDOWS PEAK, the contorted definition of MILLINER, and “ravening” as an anagrind in HECATOMB.
  4. Lost track of time following an overnight break in solving but I’d guess an hour would cover it.

    DAUBE was new to me too but I worked it out from the wordplay. I failed on the Shakespeare character as I knew neither the name nor the lead reference so there was no way into it for me, and I still don’t understand 26ac despite spotting the AA Milne reference for myself.

    I also errored at 12 where I bunged in WIDOW’S NECK intending to go back later to check the wordplay but forgot to do so. Not a very encouraging morning.

  5. I found this one very difficult, especially the SW corner. Dorsetjimbo should remember LLANERO as he will meet it many times again!
  6. A tricky 30 minute solve. I was helped by seeing the Merchant of Venice recently at Stratford (the choosing of caskets was presented as a TV game show…) I like those cleverly indirect clues such as “pawned” meaning you need to find something in “HOCK”, but even after coming here, I remain baffled by the opaque MILLINER.
  7. 41:11 .. my longest solve in a good while, though something like 15 minutes of it was spent trying to ‘prove’ MILLINER, even though it was pretty clearly the answer once the crossing letters were in place.

    I think the def is a sort of Yoda-speak version of “One’s consuming lots of felt”, but who knows?

    AA only made me think of booze and cars (help! I’m turning into Jeremy Clarkson!) so in the end I just had to hope for the best. Again.

    Great challenge overall.

    Loved HASSOCK

    1. Either Yoda-speak, or WWII military like ” ‘Oles, shovels for the diggin’ of”
  8. Much impressed, and a tad depressed, by Jimbo’s 25 minutes. A toughie, after a run of easy ones, which took me over an hour to complete. Some very clever stuff – I particularly liked WIDOW’S PEAK, HASSOCK, NIHILIST, AMPUTATE, CAUL and HELIGOLAND. MILLINER went in, accurately as it turned out, but as for others above without my understanding why. The Milne reference eluded me completely. Once MIL(LI)NE is in place it’s clear the definition has to be “felt one’s consuming lots of” since, as Kororareka says, one L can hardly = “lots of litres”. The idea presumably is that a maker of women’s hats is “one who uses a lot of felt”. This is the sort of clue you either find extraordinarily ingenious or a bit too clever-clever and far-fetched. In this instance I can’t quite make up my mind which. As is evident, I don’t agree with Essex Man about CAUL, but I’m with him in objecting to “ravening” as the anagrind in HECATOMB. The word means “rapacious” or “voracious”. It is hard to see how this could reasonably signal an anagrind on any reading.
    1. It says something that by 2pm UK time there were fewer than 50 submissions, correct or otherwise, on the Club website. I can’t recall seeing so few for a regular puzzle.
      1. Could I suggest a couple of non-crossword factors? There was a late start this morning, and those of us with time on out hands have some rather good cricket to watch!
  9. Does a milliner use lots of felt? Possibly.

    Felt – one’s using lots – from (of) – litres I (LI) – with Milne round.


  10. Feeling more chuffed than I was with 27 minutes now. I actually thought I was in for another sub 10, but that NE (and a bit in the SW too) was a real piece of turf. Like many others, I suspect, I was working around an anagram of meat with some sort of base (e?) and maybe a hen of some kind round it. Also couldn’t get (despite very recent family experience) AMPUTATE even with three checkers.
    CoD to WIDOW’S PEAK, witha side order of Not the Meaning of Life.
    AVID nearly scuppered me by trying to be ACID (triple stretched definition).
  11. Like others I found this very tough and ended with 8 and 14 unfilled after an hour. With the former I was fixated on an anagram of MEAT in there somewhere I’m inclined to agree with essex_man that there are too many contrived definitions, making for some very inelegant definitions such as 9 and 26 (an awful clue in my view). ‘Ravening’ is hardly satisfactory as an anagrind, but I did like the clue to Bassanio, one of the few clues where I saw through the subterfuge straight away.
  12. I spent over a half an hour yesterday, while watching a very irritating baseball game –the Giants can’t hit to save their lives — and managed only a half-dozen solutions. This morning after breakfast I finished in a 20-minute spurt, largely helped by simply ignoring 26’s meaning, whatever it was. So 54 minutes, and a lot of fun, in the masochistic crossword-puzzle solver’s sense of ‘fun’. But I seem to have mistyped something; will have to go back and check. I suppose I agree with Essex Man about the weak definition of WIDOWS PEAK, although I was amused; but I thought CAUL was lovely. BASSANIO was one of those that’s either a giveaway (I’ve read the play a score of times) or a Google-it. COD to 11ac, 16d, 5d.
  13. 28:14 for me – the last 10+ minutes spent pondering CAUL and MILLINER as I was anxious to avoid making any more unforced errors this year.

    I’ve been doing some puzzles from 1962 this week, and if “First-day cover” had appeared then, I’d have had little hesitation bunging in CAUL; but it seems perhaps a little unusual nearly 50 years on. However, I’ve really no objection to it.

    MILLINER I simply parsed wrongly, stupidly failing to spot MILNE.

    All in all a cracking puzzle. My compliments to the setter.

  14. …Thanks to the S.W. corner. I’m glad to see others have trouble with MILLINER. I also had problems with HECATOMB, LLANERO, CAUL and DAUBE. Those were all new words to me, although I have a vague memory of DAUBE. Lots of aids were used in this one. After some of the easier puzzles this past two weeks, this brought me back to earth with a thud.
  15. A very late post today (I’m about to download tomorrow’s puzzle). I was pleased to finish this excellent challenge in a bit over the hour. SW corner gave the most trouble. Thank heavens the wordplay for HECATOMB and LLANERO (both unknown) was sufficently clear for me to enter them with some confidence. Joint COD to the elegant, and brainteasing, CAUL and STUPIDLY. Same problems as most others with MILLINER.
  16. BASSANIO is a terrible clue in my opinion. If you’re not familiar with the play, there’s no other way into the solution. Might as well ask who won the hammer throw at the Helsinki Olympics.
  17. I have never read through or seen a performance of the Merchant of Venice to my recollection, but still had no trouble with 4dn.. all you really need to know is that Bassanio is a character in the play, which seems basic enough to me.

    Milliner is just a dreadful clue and caul is poor too. Contrived.

  18. That would be József Csermák of Hungary, in case anyone’s wondering. I don’t think it’s too much to ask of solvers to have some familiarity with Shakespeare.
  19. Very late (probably pointlessley so) entry – I was at the Oval yesterday, which was rather nice.
    This took me about an hour. I mostly enjoyed the clues, although it felt like I’d picked up the Guardian by mistake.
    However it was spoiled for me by CAUL and BASSANIO. I think the former is too obscure for a cryptic definition like this. The latter is just a knowledge test, not a cryptic clue. If you don’t know the play you can’t get it. As it happened I knew CAUL but not BASSANIO, so a DNF for me.
    1. Still and all, Bassanio is a major character in one of the world’s most famous plays of all time, so if any general knowledge whatsoever is expected from the solver, that would seem legitimate, don’t you think?
  20. I think the clue to STUPIDLY is monumentally unfair. IMHO builds = puts up = STUP equates to an indirect anagram in the unfairness stakes
    And the MILLINER dsurface was unbelievably tortuous.
    Still, apart from that … 🙂

Comments are closed.