Times 24,959 – Bewitched

Solving time 12 minutes

As easy a puzzle as you’ll find in the Times – difficult to find much to say. I have a mental block over the cryptic for 5A. A doff of my cap to those who help to provide the answer

1 DIVISOR – DI-VISOR; the number on the bottom of the fraction;
5 ALLOWED – “let” is the definition;
10 AORTA – hidden (victori)A-OR-TA(smania);
11 ELEMI – MELE(e) reversed-I; honey-like resin canarium luzonica (what a mine of useless information);
12 TICKED,OFF – TICK-E(vacuate)-DOFF; to doff is to remove clothing, not just ones tile;
14 BY,THE,SAME,TOKEN – (that monkey + bees)*; I thought only bears eat honey;
17 PENNY-FARTHING – PENNY-FAR-THINGS; Victorian bicycles that made doffing difficult;
23 GENIE – GEN-I(=one)-E(ternal);
24 FLEET – F(LEE)T; daily=newspaper=FT;
25 PLUMMIEST – PLUM(MI)E-ST; not the most desirable accent;
26 LINCOLN – NIL reversed-COL-N=new; apart from that how was the show Mrs Lincoln?;
27 HAYSEED – (had eyes)*; rural tile doffer;
1 DIFFER – RE(FF-I)D all reversed; what you beg to do without doffing;
2 VARIETY – (it a very)*;
4 RIGHT,AS,RAIN – (I grant hair’s)*; meaningless phrase that means everything is going swimmingly;
5 ACT – A-CT;
6 LEASE – L=short form of length + EASE;
7 WARLOCK – WAR-LOCK; Samantha Stephens’ dad;
15 THINGUMMY – THIN-GUMMY; word used increasingly with advancing years;
16 SPITEFUL – (flies put)*; Samantha Stephens’ mother;
25 PAN – NAP reversed;

45 comments on “Times 24,959 – Bewitched”

  1. ALLOWED = LOW in A + LED

    I managed to race through this one in double quick time, until I got to 18dn, where I came to a complete standstill, as I could think of a word fitting the definition and checkers that meant either bread, anxious or cloth.

    Oh well…

  2. Something under 20 min, but interrupted by workmen (new kitchen – Oh the mess!) Two typos, both in the downs which I suspect will a bit of a trap for many westerners not used to reading vertically. Nothing outstanding but no complaints. A good hangover solve. (Just had to repair this post after resident tortoiseshell had a grand adventure on the keyboard).
    1. Cats seem to have their own distinctive programming language. Our new boy Baxter (pictured left) at five months and 7 pounds discovered our keyboards early on. He’s a Maine Coon like his predecessors Smudge and Lester who both sadly passed away
      this past summer after a dozen years of loyal friendship.
      As to puzzle a relatively easy but enjoyable 20-30 minutes with only EMELI needing
      verification…but I did get it from wordplay.
  3. 21 minutes, shoulda been faster, too much walking on eggshells when none around I think. (At least not tortoise-shells z…) Not too sure about bitter/heated. There’s something cold or lacerating in bitter (quarrel e.g.) that’s a degree or two shy of heated. All a little 1-2-clunk generally; not quite insipid.
    1. I think so too: pen=name would be too much of a stretch even in this grid – sort of cluing by association.
      1. I don’t think you can pick and choose when to allow DBE and when not. Once you allow DBE, pen=name becomes an OK device. If you don’t then your parsing is the only possibility. As it is I think both will do, although I personally don’t like most DBE and certainly not this one but the Times has started down this slippery path and who can say where it will end?
        1. I think there’s a difference between DBE such as terrier=dog and this, which I would call definition by association. “Pen” is not a kind of name in the way that terrier is a kind of dog. “Pen, perhaps” wouldn’t lead to “name” but swan, enclosure or writer as examples.
    2. I think you have to be right about NO=NOPE. PEN=name is absurd: virtually any noun in the OED would qualify as a “name” in that sense.
  4. Ok, a quibblet. Anxious has negative connotations, keen, positive. Not really interchangeable, since they would substantially alter the ambience of the passage? Damn! does anybody out there fancy a furry keyboard. She’s now sitting on it and I am having to type around her.
  5. 25 minutes with a brief delay on the last one in at 11ac where I needed to get the wordplay in order to fill in the unchecked letters.
  6. Initially entered GENES for 23ac; otherwise a very comfortable sub-30 minute solve (fortunately NANKEEN existed somewhere in my memory). I assumed the ‘name’ in 21ac was referring to a ‘PEN name’.
  7. Nine minutes today, so feeling a bit chuffed even if it is an “easy one”.
    There were some issues with this one: the containment devices in ALLOWED (“stay”) and FLEET (“going over”) and a containment signalled but superfluous in GENIE (“In first chapter”) which made me question my spelling briefly.
    And as noted above, there’s quite a bit of cluing by Thesaurus, particularly HEATED=bitter, anxious=keen and plume=smoke. They all work (sort of) but might evoke cries of “no fair” from novice solvers.
    I like the droll, slightly macabre definition of LINCOLN as “theatre casualty” which made it stand out from the bunch as my CoD.
  8. Deffo an easy one cos I beat the 10m barrier: 9m. Agreed with Barry on “stay” = containment. And with Jane that “no” = NOPE.

    25ac: Didn’t know PLUMMIEST could mean “most desireable” — thought it was just the toffy accent. But NOAD has: “Plummy: Brit., informal, choice; highly desirable: there are some plummy roles for the taking here“.

    26ac: “What was the rest of the opera like Mrs Lincoln?”, is how I first heard it. Ditto “motorcade” and “Mrs Kennedy”.

    Edited at 2011-09-20 09:14 am (UTC)

  9. 9:03, so as Jimbo says, one probably won’t get much more straightforward on a Tuesday. The odd word which is “crossword easy”, of course, rather than something you’re likely to hear someone actually say in real life – now, I’m off to the haberdasher’s for a couple of yards of nankeen, then the herbalist for some elemi.
  10. 10 minutes, so another straightforward one as all have said. Several absolute gimmes and some slightly loose clues (see z8b8d8k for details) made it feel more like an FT puzzle than a Times.
  11. Yes, very easy, allowing me to finish in 20 minutes. ELEMI and HAYSEED were only vaguely familiar, but the wordplay was so straightforward it didn’t take long to get them.

    I don’t see anything wrong with ‘stay’ as a container; it’s surely as valid as ‘restrain’, which it means here. I thought it was quite a good clue because of the ambiguous tense of ‘let’ and the use of ‘stay’. I also liked the indirect definition for LINCOLN.

  12. Had all bar two in 20 minutes, with NANKEEN and especially ELEMI holding me up for a further 7, as I knew neither and had to get both from the wordplay, which makes me feel just a little more intelligent than usual.

    Like McT, I had only associated ‘plummy’ with upper-crust accents, and ‘pan’ puzzled me – even if it didn’t hold me up – as I didn’t think of the gold rush meaning.

  13. Not much to say about an easy puzzle. In 21 it must be ‘nope’ I think. Briefly thought that ‘pen’ could be an abbreviation of ‘penelope’, but we already have her at 17. ‘Stay’ as a container in 5ac had me flummoxed for a while.
  14. I have to agree that this was an easy one. I was interrupted by doorbell and phone but finished in 25 minutes, which is not a bad time for me. I have a question mark by HEATED which I can’t see as meaning “bitter”. My last in was ELEMI. I recognised the word from crossword-land but didn’t spot the reversal in the cryptic and was looking for word meaning “brawl” starting with E! Need new brain..
  15. I think it’s all been said – scarily on the Jim wavelength here down to putting in ALLOWED (my last in) without thinking of the wordplay just before 8 minutes in.
  16. Yes, very easy (for me that means under an hour but it didn’t quite register on the leaderboard because before going to bed I clicked on the wrong link and opened the puzzle without being able to start solving it, when actually I just wanted to take another look at yesterday’s, still showing as the current puzzle at the top of the page).

    Only two words I had never heard of this time (ELEMI and NANKEEN, both solvable from the wordplay). I also couldn’t parse ALLOWED for a while and TIN OPENER at all before coming here. Rather too many anagrams in the puzzle to make it interesting (but they did make it easy).

  17. 7:44 for me, slowing towards the end after a reasonably brisk start. I’m firmly in the “no” = NOPE camp for 21ac.
  18. OK, so it WAS easy. But it’s nice that we novices have a bone thrown in our direction every now and then
    First time I’ve ever been able to walk through a puzzle – it’s a good feeling
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