Times 24952 – Er, I didn’t recognize you, Ed…..

Solving time: 95 minutes

Music: Schubert, Lieder, Judith Nelson/Jorg Demus

If you are startled by the time, I completed all but two clues in 25 minutes. I did find the last two rather tough, and the answers turned out to
be completely different from what I expected.

Other than this one minor difficulty, this was a medium puzzle with a couple of tricky clues. Fortunately, I saw some of the tricky clues right away, or you’d still be waiting for the blog to go up.

I thank my honorable Australian colleague, Russel John, for filling in last week. Now I will do a couple in a row before we resume our regular rotation.

1 TACTIC, T + ACT I + C[lubs]. It’s nice to start with an easy one.
5 COCKATOO, COCK AT + OO, which are ducks in England, but not over here.
9 MONETARIST, MONET + AR(IS)T. If you thought ‘artist’ = ‘RA’, you will be stuck for a while.
10 Omitted, you’ll end up with the answer.
11 ADORABLE, A[rea] + DO(R)ABLE. I thought the answer was going to be some sort of witch’s magic circle, but not so.
12 PEAHEN, PE(A HE)N, where a ‘pen’ is a female swan, and ‘a male’ is not ‘am’.
13 LAOS, a rather weak double definition I didn’t much care for.
15 ELLIPSIS, hidden backwards in [drink]S I SPILLE[d]. If you wondered why there is no ‘….’ at the beginning of the next clue, that’s the literal you’re looking at.
18 TSAREVNA, anagram of A SERVANT, and a quite obscure compared to the well-known ‘tsarina’ and ‘tsaravich’
19 ORYX, O(RY)X. Not hard, and I still nearly put ‘onyx’.
21 WRITER, W + RITE + R. Quite a tricky clue, where I was expecting obscure vocabulary rather than indirection in the literal, which refers to Jack.
23 TRADE OFF, anagram D + EFFORT, a starter clue for most solvers.
25 PLAN, PLAN[t] or PLAN[e] or PLAN[k]…..all right, already!
26 AIRMANSHIP, anagram of MARINA + SHIP. The setter does well to get you thinking about the wrong kind of pilot.
27 PANCREAS, [St] PANCR(E)AS, better known to some as a railroad station. There were two saints of that name; it was the second one who had all the places named after him.
28 MURPHY, double definition, where a ‘King Edward’ is a breed of potato, but Edward Murphy is the lawmaker. Simple, elegant, and quite difficult if you can’t see it, my last in.
2 Omitted, but you won’t find this space empty.
3 THEORISER, THE + O(RISE)R. No, ‘upturn’ is not an inversion indicator, just a definition.
4 CRABBE, RC backwards + ABBE, pretty obvious unless you are weak on 18th-century poets.
5 CHINESE LANTERN, a double definition, one jocular.
6 CATAPULT, C(A TAP)ULT. Quite a clever clue, avoiding the cliched ‘cat’ approach.
7 ALPHA, double definition
8 OBSCENITY, anagram of SECTION BY. I needed the first letter to see this obvious one.
14 AUSTRALIA, A(US + ART backwards)LIA. The Latin ‘alia’ is known from the phrase ‘inter alia’, and does mean ‘others’.
16 PROFESSOR, PROF[it]. A rather clever cryptic that took me a long time to see.
17 OVERRATE, double definition, one a jocular cricket statistic.
20 SALAAM, SALA[d] + [h]AM. For a long time, I wanted this to be ‘salami’, but I couldn’t get it to work – wrong end of the stick.
22 TONIC, TON + I C, where the ‘ton’ is a rate of speed also called the ‘century’, highly illegal in nearly all countries.
24 FAITH, FA(I)T + H.

49 comments on “Times 24952 – Er, I didn’t recognize you, Ed…..”

  1. 24 minutes.

    Be interested to know which two clues held you up, Vinyl. My Lack Of Intelligence was LAOS. Also couldn’t see the cryptic for PROFESSOR — despite writing “PROF(IT) / essor?” in the margin. (It’s always the closest things I can’t see — don’t get me started on the times I’ve missed SMART ALEC(K)!!)

    15ac: Koro would have had something more to say about the single set of ellipses, I’m sure. Might even have been pleased to find an instance where one was enough?

    18ac: … mistreated a servant … presumably in shabby TAVERNAS?

    Edited at 2011-09-12 08:33 am (UTC)

  2. 89 minutes, so at least got home before one solver. The two that held me up for a long time were CRABBE (though I had him with ‘Coombe’) fairly early and my last in, the Thatcherite clue. Nice puzzle – only unknown, besides the poet, being the Russian youngster.

    Pure coincidence no doubt, but CHINESE LANTERNS fits very well on Mid-Autumn Festival. As does AUSTRALIA on the day Sam Stosur showed what sport is all about.

  3. 58 minutes and very pleased not to have been today’s blogger. Apologies to vinyl and thanks also for explaining the AMbit of SALAAM and how Murphy was a lawmaker. I must have been off my game today, unlike Sam Stosur. There was much to like about this one: ADORABLE, ELLIPSIS, WRITER, CHINESE LANTERNS & CATAPULT to name just 5, but COD to MURPHY. ELLIPSIS would have got the nod if 18 had started …, but even if such a feat were possible, they probably wouldn’t have appeared in the online version.

  4. Completed in two sessions overnight and lost track of solving time but it was certainly more than 30 and under 60 minutes.

    I’d heard of CRABBE vaguely but didn’t know TSAREVNA. I should have guessed this from the anagrist left over when the checkers were all in place, however I never considered T as a starter so I picked ESTRAVNA as more likely than ASTREVNA.

    This puzzle was too difficult for a Monday when I am still suffering from sleep deprivation during the US Open.

  5. Mr Moorey back in Mephisto mode on Sunday so this was a relief – us strugglers rely on Sunday to give us a bit of confidence Mr Editor whoever you are. Still managed to get one wrong but. MASS = land = lots of people, instead of LAOS.
  6. I thought people from Laos were Laotian, so are people from China also Chinas?

    Also still clueless as to professor, regarding the essor bit.

    1. PROF is short (“briefly”) for PROFESSOR. It is also “profit” without “it”. I didn’t get it either.
  7. 15:54 so moderate for me. Also toyed briefly with salami, and “trade off” took a while – I was looking for a try to reward my effort. Also being pernickety, it’s an anagram of “A D” = “effort”. Murphy leapt into place.
  8. 30 minutes though went blind on tsarevna and professor but seemed safe. Laos also grabbing at straws. Otherwise I thought I was being obtuse – expected faster times all round. COD to the professor.
  9. 39 minutes.
    I found most of this easy but after 15 minutes I was missing PROFESSOR, MURPHY and SALAAM. I didn’t help myself by putting in SALAMI, but I had a feeling it might be wrong. Unfortunately I didn’t understand the cryptic for PROFESSOR so I had a feeling that might be wrong too so only had ????H? for 28ac. Eventually something clicked and I got it from the law.
    So a real struggle this morning in spite of only two unknowns (TSAREVNA and of course the plant).
  10. 16 minutes today – and I did Mephisto yesterday without aids, a rare enough event for me. Lots of decent clues today and definitely not a Monday gimme.
    I thought LAOS was a decent clue, and credited solvers with a knowledge of basic Greek, but perhaps not a clue for οἱ πολλοί.
    I did this on real Times paper, where the ELLIPSIS slipped a line and was barely noticeable – online (I checked) it was more obvious. Even when I had SALAAM right (not knowing any words that went I?R?H?) MURPHY had to be parked in the mental undergrowth for a while to register – a fine clue inviting an an admission that you hadn’t concentrated enough in History. I could only remember Warwick the Kingmaker.
    CoD though to last in MONETARIST
  11. Since I got it wrong, let me reveal the identity of the ‘easy’ across, on the offchance that anyone else was dull enough to put ‘pest’ like me.
  12. DNF on a grand scale today! Quite pleased with some that I worked out but the brain froze on LAOS, MURPHY and SALAAM. PANCREAS ought to have been gettable given personal issues – but even this eluded me despite having all checkers in place.

    Thanks vinyl for an excellent blog.

  13. Same as Martin, except I put in LAOS (with a ?). Ooh, and, as far as I know, I don’t have personal issues relating to my PANCREAS.
  14. Too windy for golf today so in a grumpy mood before tackling this offering.

    Most of it very easy but with too many literary references and no balancing entries from the world of science. 13A LAOS is just awful. Got MURPHY from checkers and “King Edward say”. 20 minutes to solve.

    A MONETARIST is an adherent to a particular doctrine rather rather than an expert. Anyway, is there such a thing as an “economic expert”? Isn’t economics the subject where they set the same exam questions every year but change the answers?

    1. Shouldn’t it be ‘economics expert’ as well? You don’t get ‘physic experts’ – unless they’re taking pomp I suppose!
  15. 25 minutes. I vaguely remember hearing the term Pathet Lao on the radio when a kid. And as kids do I misunderstood the words Laos and guerrillas and had thoughts of louse infested gorillas. Took far too long to twig the lawmaker part of Murphy – great clue.
  16. Can I come back in again on the opprobrium meted out to the LAOS clue? It’s the Greek for “people”, from which we get lay, laity and such like, and should be well within the GK of most Times solvers. Back in the day, you were expected to know your Homer, for Ζεύς’ sake, and we have at least one other Greek clue (άλφα) in this very crossword. Sure, the nation and it’s people are known as Laos, though the people now are more commonly Laotians, which doesn’t work.
    The Greek version is how I solved the clue, anyway – perhaps we should allow for a little γνῶσις and allow a little more κῦδος to the setter’s Σοφíα. And accept that the solvers should be credited with more νοῦς than the complaints would suggest.
    Footnote: that’s (in order) laos, Zeus, gnosis, kudos, sophia and nous.
      1. Dam’. And I was reading the Times essential guide to punctuation on Saturday, and feeling pretty smug about it too. There’s ὕβρις for you.
  17. Sweated forever on MURPHY and LAOS, still not totally happy with the latter. Rest went in pretty quickly.
  18. 10:54, but with a carelessly written-in TSAREVRA for the unknown TSAREVNA (18ac).  Other unknowns were LAOS as a plural (13ac), George CRABBE (4dn), and CHINESE LANTERNS as plants (5dn).  I couldn’t make sense of “something for a sandwich, commonly” for AM (20dn SALAAM), and quite generally felt rather decaffeinated.  Time to rectify that, methinks…
  19. Found the top half very easy, completing all but ORYX in 9 minutes, but the rest took me twice as long and even then I failed to finish, being completely floored by 20 and 28. 28 minutes for all but those last two. Having stared at them and toyed with various wordplay elements for five minutes I got nowhere and gave up. I’m afraid I lack persistence these days. I was pretty sure that King Edward referred to the potato and was tempted to write EARTHY. Good clue, as was the deceptive use of ‘London’ in 21, but I agree that the clue to LAOS was awful despite z8b8d8k’s erudite defence of it. Incidentally, I question whether that Greek knowledge is within the scope of most Times solvers. Those who opted to study Greek at my grammar school 55 years ago were in a small minority.
    1. Part of my point is that we all know more Greek than we think we do – it is a huge part of our mongrel language and many words are absorbed as straight transliterations. It’s (right this time) a pity that we so seldom find out what was in the setter’s mind. In this case, I think the coincidence of meanings is actually pretty strong and can only repeat it’s (right again!) the way I got it.
  20. Why does “is okay” appear in the clue to Theoriser? Please advise.
    Found this ok, but was sure “Laos” was just too weak to be correct.
    1. I don’t think it serves any function other than rendering a smoother surface. Could have been “will do for” or similar.
  21. Thought this was going to be easy with the first four across clues going in straight away. but found the rest on the difficult side – took just under an hour altogether with one wrong – put in ‘Mass’ instead of ‘Laos’ like Barry above. Also lost time trying to work out why er=ok in 2 dn before the penny dropped. Didn’t fully understand ‘professor’ until coming here, so thanks to Keriothe for the explanation.
  22. Am I missing something? What’s the objection to LAOS? I wasn’t mad on the clue but LAOS seems to be an alternative to LAOTIAN according to the dictionaries I’ve looked at.
  23. I galloped through all of this crossword except 27ac, which took me about as long (20m) again as the rest. I seldom give much thought to my pancreas, I’m afraid.

    Also, add me to the camp that does not like Laos, monetarist or Professor. I thought a number of these clues were rather ramshackle, arts-centred, or just a bit too clever for their own good. Sorry.

  24. I must have a mental block about this. Please explain the cryptic part of the clue.
    Despite Keriothe’s comment, I am none the wiser.
    1. Briefly returns without it = briefly profit without it = briefly prof
      “Briefly prof” here means basically “briefly expressed as prof”.
      Any clearer!?
  25. I didn’t know that LAOS meant “people” in Greek. But I do now.I had guessed the answer correctly but thought it was weak until I read Zabadak’s brilliant explanation. I spent 35 minutes on this and then had to abandon it with the NW corner still unsolved. Went back and completed it later – probably another 10/15 minutes. An enjoyable solve.
  26. Dont often find much to add by the time the UK evening comes around, but I wonder if anyone else stuck in PEELER for 28A. It was my first in and I was fairly amused by it, and didnt over-write till fairly late on when checkers appeared (esp since the three downs were my penultimate three). Seemed to work fine, even if the police are perhaps not precisely lawmakers, but “for King Edward, say” was probably ok for the kitchen utensil, and the say could have doubled up on the lawmaker part in whimsical fashion!
  27. 10:53 for me, of which 2-3 minutes were spent agonising over LAOS – I vaguely remembered LAO but wasn’t sure of it, so wasted time working through the alphabet for an alternative. Nice puzzle though.
  28. An hour and 17 minutes, and strangely enough it didn’t feel difficult even though there were a number of clues on which I simply had to venture a plausible guess (ORYX, CRABBE, PROFESSOR, PEAHEN for that matter, as I didn’t understand the wordplay). LAOS was okay once I reached that part of the alphabet while seeing what would fit. But after successfully wading through all the hard stuff, I did have one mistake: COCKADOO (with a bit of Latin, not Greek, in the wordplay), perhaps thinking too much of chickens, what they say, and leaving off the DLEDOO at the end. Well, at least a really dumb mistake which I can attribute to fatigue or some other suitably lame excuse.

    What is the “briefly” doing in PROFESSOR (or are returns PROFITS, “briefly” removing the S before IT is dropped explicitly)?

  29. I just assumed Murphy was the guy from Murphy’s law and nothing to do with any historical lawmaker
    1. According to Wikipedia Murphy’s law is named after a real person, which was news to me.
      My searches for the man called Sod who coined another expression with a similar meaning have so far drawn a blank.
  30. I had a ton as another cricket reference. Is a TON = 100 mph also called a century? Not by me, but that doesn’t mean much.

    And while a TON = 100 mph might be an illegal speed to drive in most countries, I reckon a century would be legal in more than 200 countries… 100 kph is not so fast.


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