Times 24937 – someone call the DA!

Solving time : 21 minutes, though I was starting to despair about 15 minutes in looking at a half-empty grid on my blogging day. Fortunately getting a part of two of the long answers helped out. This was an interesting one for me, since I expect the two long anagrams in the acrosses were meant to get you started, but in my case neither were familiar terms (though I think I recall seeing 14 across somewhere before). A flash of inspiration to get 7 down and I have a complete grid.

So this may be actually difficult, or I was just not on the wavelength, would love to hear your thoughts.

Away we go…

5 DROWSED: WORD(promise) reversed, S(small), ED(boy)
9 LOCUS STANDI: (LAD,IN,SCOUTS). I was waiting to find out it was LACUS DTONSI or something like that
10 ARC: hidden
11 MILLE,D: MILLE is a million thousand (I was taking inflation into account originally), so a French Cardinal number, then the D from the end of gaineD
12 GEARED UP: G(reat) E(xpectations), ARE, and then DUP, the Democratic Unionist Party
14 CLARENCE HOUSE: A in (HERCULES,ONCE)* – apparently the official residence of the Prince of Wales
17 SQUARE-BASHING: SQUARE(old-fashioned), BASH(hammer), IN(home), G(uard). That is unless you’ve got something better to do
21 0,VERS(e),HOT
23 ESTATE: wondered about this, got it from the will part, but it can also mean an area for producing tea or coffee
25 our acrossly omission de jour
26 CHEEK-BY-JOWL: B(black) in CHEEKY,J then OWL. An outstanding chance and another word that I know thanks to Monty Python’s Flying Circus
27 LINE-OUT: possibly sounds like LIE NOWT.
28 TRENTON: R in TENT, ON(working). The capital of New Jersey
1 SOLEMN: SOLE MAN without the A
3 DISREPAIR: S in DIRE PAIR – this one made me laugh
4 our down omission, ask if you can’t carry it out
5 DANCERCISE: Desperate DAN and then C(cape) in CERISE. Where’s my spandex and fluffy headband
6 OSIER: ROSIE with the R moved to the bottom
8 DECIPHER: anagram of (HARD PIECE)* without the A
13 HERB ROBERT: I had never heard of this plant (I guess clued by SIMPLE – botanical term for not divided into leaflets) and the wordplay was a beast! HER, then R in BOB(since 15D is HAIRSTYLE), then sEcReT
15 HAIR(musical),STYLE(title): and DA for Duck’s Arse reappears (yes, definition by example, but it has “possibly”)
19 GO ABOUT: double definition
20 FELL IN(i)
22 SEC(moment),CO: a painting on dry plaster
24 SKAT(e): a card game

58 comments on “Times 24937 – someone call the DA!”

  1. 46 minutes, but with much not understood. E.g., DUP in 12ac; the capital of NJ in 28ac; how 6dn worked; the game of SKAT; “the ability of a party to demonstrate to the court sufficient connection to and harm from the law or action challenged to support that party’s participation in the case” — whatever that means (Wik) in 9ac; the painting technique in 22dn. The only (relative) obscurity I knew was “simple” = HERB (something).

    As we say … let the dog see the rabbit.

    Edited at 2011-08-25 12:52 am (UTC)

  2. My thoughts (since you ask, George)are that this is a good technical display of the setter’s art, but not necessarily a lot of fun to solve. I think that apart from DANCERCISE and TRENTON (both of which were new to me) every other answer went in on definition first. I liked yesterday’s puzzle because it was just the opposite, most answers appearing from working through the wordplay.

    This was more of a study than a sonata.

    1. Just to clarify, I still think this is a puzzle with some excellent and clever clues – I like SQUARE BASHING and HERB ROBERT especially. My comment just reflects the way I went about solving it and that I found it, sort of, well..technical.
  3. 24:05 .. I’d file it under ‘tricky but very doable’.

    I rather enjoyed it, especially SQUARE BASHING for that ‘Home Guard leader’ to give ‘-ing’. Is this original? If it is, it’s a brilliant spot.

    Last in .. ESTATE

    1. … mine too. This prompted me to look up LOI in the acronym finder (which also finds abbreviations) and found: “lack of intelligence”. Apt for me today though not your good self.
  4. I’m not sure what I think about this one, but unlike Essex Man, quite a few of mine went in on wordplay alone – they had to, I had no idea what so many of the words meant, like DANCERCISE (candidate for ugliest word ever) and HERB ROBERT. And it was the same with some of the words I did know, such as my COD, ESPOUSAL, which I was only able to get from the wordplay.

    Kudos to the setter for getting CHEEK BY JOWL into the puzzle (I always think of Geoffrey Palmer when jowls come up). CLARENCE HOUSE is perhaps best known to most Brits of a certain vintage as the long-term residence of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. On reflection, I think I rather liked it with its retro originality, musty law courts, barnets, Jane Fonda video vibe and all. 62 minutes.

  5. Well, I saw the HERB (simple) and the ERT (regularly secret) but all I could think of was a certain Tijuanan trumpet player, so a cheat for HERB ROBERT and, despite having DAN, the awful DANCERCISE. Happy though because otherwise quick by my standards. COD to ESPOUSAL for the definition.
          1. We were attempting to be droll, playing on the name of the band with which Mr. Alpert is associated, but have, I fear, become as a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.
      1. Okay, is it pronounced ‘Erb Alpert in the USA? And if not, why not?

        I’m thinking, of course, of that ‘erbal tea pronunciation which has always intrigued me. Is that ‘erbal Pan-American? Or localised? Is it another case of Americans preserving a pronunciation lost in parts of the UK?

        Could someone who knows about these things tell me? Thank you.

        1. The name being Herbert, and none of us Murcans pronouncing it Erbert, Alpert is, or was, Herb. For whatever reason, –and now you’ve made me curious– most of us pronounce the botanical ‘herb’ without its H.
          1. I’ve often wondered about this too. To my urban English ear North Americans talking about herbs always sound like they are talking about marijuana.
        2. I just lifted this from a BBC piece from October 2010:

          In the 19th Century, it was normal to pronounce hospital, hotel and herb without the h. Nowadays “aitch anxiety” has led to all of them acquiring a new sound, a beautifully articulated aitch at the beginning. America has perhaps hung on to its aitchless herb because it has less class anxiety attached to pronunciations.

          1. Ah, thank you, Kevin.

            As suspected, then, the ‘Americanism’ is the more traditional.

            “Class anxiety” is a new one on me. Now I know about it I’ll probably start feeling it.

  6. Really liked this one. 24:30. As a one-time soldier I liked square bashing, fell in, Spandau (was in Berlin when Hess was still being held there) but had to assume Trenton, and locus standi because it was clearly Latin and of the right construction. Much to commend in today’s offering – thanks, compiler.
  7. 65 minutes and much of what I had to say has already been said. My unknowns were SKAT, LOCUS STANDI and TRENTON. I was going to add the French cleric Cardinal MILLE to this list but now understand that I was barking up the wrong tree trying to explain 11ac.

    I got SECCO from the wordplay.I’ve always thought of a sec as being a shorter period of time than a mo and therefore they might not be interchangeable although I’ve no idea whether there are any actual grounds for this assumption.

    At 23ac, I thought such places for cultivation of crops were called ‘plantations’ but Chambers and COED provide the required meaning of ESTATE although Collins does not. This clue is interesting following discussions on Tuesday about DBEs. Tea and Coffee are of course only two examples of what may be seen on an estate but ‘or what you will’ opens up wider possibilities, making a change from the usual ‘perhaps’ or question mark to excuse the DBE (or not, in Jimbo’s case), whilst also providing an alternative definition of the answer. Clever stuff!

    1. I meant to add that I have cancelled my trial period on the Telegraph crossword because my experience of their crossword site is that it is unstable and I was unable to access the puzzles without faffing about for hours trying and trying again to navigate through the mire. After a week of it I’d had enough.

      And what’s more, having taken subscribers’ money they appear to have no interest in sorting it out. Not an experience to recommend.

  8. 35 minutes.
    Unlike essexman and like ulaca much of this went in from wordplay, which is always more enjoyable so I thought it a first class puzzle. In this my enjoyment was greatly enhanced by my ignorance, because I didn’t know DROWSED, LOCUS STANDI, SQUARE BASHING, DANCERCISE, SECCO, HERB ROBERT or SKAT. I also constructed TRENTON from wordplay, and although I didn’t consciously know it I somehow associated it with New Jersey. Funny thing, the mind, what?
    My last in was ESTATE too. I thought “place for tea or coffee” was a bit loose but I liked “or what you will”. I thought for a while we might be looking for an oblique reference to Twelfth Night.
  9. I thought it was tough, too, George. 55 minutes for me, with LOI ESTATE. Quelle surprise! Other unknowns were largely unknown to me as well. I didn’t help myself by penning HONORIFIC at 15, HONOR being the DA (obviously American), IF the provided, and IC the musical; if you missed it on Broadway catch it in Burpengary all this week. COD to DISREPAIR, just ahead of CHEEK BY JOWL and others too numerous to mention. Oh, all right – SOLEMN, OVERSHOT & DANCERCISE, say. The judge in 26 had obviously read about Napier’s proof of guilt by the method of the black rooster.

    Isn’t mille French for a thousand?

  10. Could someone explain the secondary definition please? Presumably ‘t’ = time, so where does ‘so’ fit in?

    Paul S.

  11. Sorry – that was me. Didn’t mean to hide my identity. I don’t think I’ve needed to log in before.
  12. 22:28 today so yes, it was quite difficult. And are we sure mille is a million? I thought it was a thousand? (Schoolgirl French learning the date – Mille neuf cent soixante quatre springs to mind for some reason)
  13. And I thought I was so original to think of spandex but GL got there way ahead of me. But then the free-association lead to Spandau ballet and so on… Vallaw is right about mille meaning thousand. I spent some time fussing with Mazarin in that one. 31 minutes, probably thanks to living stateside so having no trouble with DA, New Jersey etc.
  14. This the fastest solve of the week so far – so for me was easier. Never heard of dancercise or Trenton, but both easily gettable from the wp. Thought ‘estate’ was a bit weak
  15. …Thanks to DROWSED, DANCERCISE and SPANDAU. The last is a definite d’oh moment but the first two beat me. I think SECCO is pushing the boat out a bit as it refers to a method of painting rather than an actual work of art which the clue implies. I also have issues with HERB ROBERT. “simple”?
  16. 16:00 dead today – had to get LOCUS STANDI from the anagram fodder and checking letters, but no problems with the rest of it.

    Changing the subject slightly – is this a record? I had a “Reply to your comment” email today for puzzle no. 23456, which I posted on 1st December 2006. This was a bit over a month after the community blog first started! It was just a gibberish spam so I deleted it, but I wonder if anyone knows why these idiots would spam such an old post?

      1. So I’m not the only one who can’t spell weird! I misspelled it – again – only today in a letter to my mum in the UK about how Tuesday’s earthquake felt in NYC. Thought there was a mouse rippling about in the upholstery, truly wired.
    1. I’ve had several of these replies to distant blogs of mine. At first I deleted them but then found the gibberish so compelling that I left them for posterity. If they aren’t computer generated from snippets of Ask Jeeves, they must be the work of a deeply troubled soul. Properly orchestrated they could become youtube classics. I can’t help you on the spammer’s motivation, I’m afraid. I thought they might be echoes from the DDoS attacks.
  17. A sort of steady slog through clues that rarely yielded anything easily but were all solvable with application. A good quality artisan puzzle rather than a work of art – but appreciated none the less. About 25 minutes after a soggy session on the golf course.

    “Simple” for the plant always catches people out the first time they see it so store it away for next time good people.

  18. This took me forever, partly because I was trying to solve it while watching baseball — a game with useful long silences where you can turn your attention elsewhere, but still it doesn’t sit will with cryptic-solving — and partly because I just couldn’t get a handle on most of the clues. Finally cleaned up after breakfast, with what I’m sure was a shocking total time. But no complaints, although I hadn’t associated desperation with Dan (dapperness yes, desperation, no). I knew SQUARE-BASHING, but couldn’t fully parse it until now; thanks, George.
    1. Desperate Dan was a comic strip hero in either the Dandy or the Beano – can’t remember which. He ate cow pie which contained the whole beast, including horns, and sported stubble before it was designer. I remember him from my childhood in the 1950’s – don’t know if he’s still around
      1. Where I come from, cow pies are what the cow leaves behind her as she completes the digestive cycle!
  19. A number of oddities made this a slow solve for me despite a handful of giveaways. LOCUS STANDI, SECCO, TRENTON, DANCERCISE (for which I had to resort to an aid)were all unfamiliar. Even though the wordplay for TRENTON was straightforward it seemed so unlikely a capital (I’d forgotten about US states)that I didn’t enter it for a long time. No idea of time as I completed it in dribs and drabs.
  20. I meant to add that I thought the clue for ESTATE was very neat, not at all “weak”.
  21. Another great puzzle, plenty of unknowns that were solvable, but ruined a good time by opting for SKIT instead of SKAT.
  22. Pretty straightforward today – early ones in were HERB ROBERT, DANCERCISE, HAIRSTYLE (though briefly tempted to insert HAIRSPRAY, until the DA reference clicked) and TRENTON. How many capitals are there ending in -ON? Trenton springs to mind!


  23. No time today, done online without being logged in, but it felt about 25ish. Trenton is immediately followed by Ohio in my States inventory, and not knowing it wasn’t the capital turned out not to matter.
    Like-able but devious, this one. CoD to um… let’s say marching up and down the square.
  24. For what it’s worth I’m familiar with this meaning of the word from Larkin’s Church Going:

    Or, after dark, will dubious women come
    To make their children touch a particular stone;
    Pick simples for a cancer; or on some
    Advised night see walking a dead one?

  25. A sluggish 17:26 for me – down to tiredness (and to ESTATE holding me up at the end). Most enjoyable puzzle though – my compliments to the setter.
  26. “Place for tea or coffee” doesn’t look like a DBE to me, any more than “place to drink tea or coffee” would be a DBE of café.

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