Times 24,971 – shortly I’m heading for a place to party (6,3)

Solving time 15 minutes

Not only is the Times Crossword site running on an out of date authorisation certificate but this morning I couldn’t access the site at all – had to go rushing down the road to buy a paper. If there is one thing that has run as a theme through my time blogging these puzzles it’s that awful website.

Nothing too difficult today and one piece of obscurity, a reference to Roman Catholic jargon that solvers may not have met before.

I’m off now to await my telegram from the Queen

1 VALENCIA – (cave in a)* surrounds l=lake; good place to celebrate reaching a milestone;
9 SABOTEUR – (boats)*-RUE reversed; the Times IT department;
10 WHOLLY – sounds like “holy” (reference Holy Island off NE coast of England);
11 DRUMSTICKS – two meanings 1=Henry VIII missile 2=used to produce drum roll (to mark a special occassion);
12 PICT – PI(C)T; C=caught (cricket); ancient broch builder;
13 SATURNALIA – S(A-TURN)A-AIL reversed; randan when you reach one hundred, perhaps;
16 REDCOAT – RED-COAT; old soldier or Butlins host for a holiday in celebration;
17 CULTURE – C-(v)ULTURE; chance for a science based clue missed – again;
20 TWELVEFOLD – (W+felt loved)*; your first dose of Christianity for today;
22 IRAQ – I(RA)Q; RA=Royal Academician;
23 TURTLEDOVE – “something turned”=TURTLE; “swooped over the pond (in US)”=DOVE (from dive); bird of love;
25 AVENUE – A-VEN-(m)U(s)E(s); what Fred Asatair and July Garland walked down;
26 RIESLING – SIR reversed contains E=last of “the” + LING; poor fare to toast reaching a target;
27 HESITATE – (ad)HESI(ve)-TATE; reference “he who hesitates is lost” – one of the sillier sayings;
2 ADHESIVE – A-D(HE’S)IVE; Governor=His Excellency;
3 ELLIPTICAL – LA-CIT(PILL)E all reversed; an elliptical clue;
4 CLYDESDALE – CL(w)YD-(leads)*-E; E=English; large Scottish horse and Scottish commercial bank;
5 ASQUITH – A-S(QUIT)H; old Prime Minister famous for his debilitating ability to 27 Across;
6 IBIS – I-BIS; I=current (electrical notation); encore=BIS (musical direction); Egyptian religion this time;
7 TERCEL – TERCE-(citade)L; more Christianity – TERCE refers to the Divine Office; a male hawk;
8 DRESSAGE – DRESS-A-EG reversed; ace=A; say=EG; not what you would do on 4 Down;
14 ROUNDHEADS – ROUND(HEAD)S; people not known for celebrating a special occassion;
15 ASTRINGENT – (trains)*-GENT; my thoughts on the Times IT department;
21 EARNER – E(ARNE)R; ER=leading lady=The Queen (who sends telegrams to those who reach one hundred);
24 ENID – DINE reversed;

47 comments on “Times 24,971 – shortly I’m heading for a place to party (6,3)”

  1. Managed it all pretty quickly, but was stumped by TERCEL (would never have got this) and TURTLEDOVE (should have got this). But I did get vULTURE in 17ac!
  2. Yeah. No way into TERCEL if you don’t know the hawk or the office, and too many possibilities to guess. So a cheat to finish. Otherwise straightforward at least once I had corrected my spelling of RIESLING. Confess post-solve I had started to google “er” to find out why she was a leading lady but penny dropped in time.
  3. 21 minutes. So no real trouble. (=Wait until Wednesday?)

    Re 18dn, I wasn’t sure that “more or less” => JUST.
    And not sure that the ordering of the clue to 3dn (ELLIPTICAL) was quite in the right order.

    > Scottish commercial bank …
    … and “a dog of a small breed of terrier”.

    And for those with TimessCC probs: you should have tried at 7:00am here (=midnight UK time). Nuthin’ for 3/4 of an hour.

    Any COD for any solver out there?

    1. I printed off at midnight:10 and experienced no problems. Also I was on the forum pages around 6am and that was okay though I didn’t go to the crossword itself then.
  4. 15 minutes for the Times bit of this and then another 15 minutes before giving up on the interloping Mephisto clue at 7dn. I hate this kind of clue and it’s made me too grumpy to think about the rest of the puzzle.
  5. About 40 minutes but TERCEL went in on a hope and a prayer (seems almost appropriate) and could not parse RIESLING, so particular thanks, jimbo. I think I should have enjoyed this more than I did: but too many (e.g. ELLIPTICAL) went in on straightforward definition and then rather a lot of time spent working out how the clue worked.
  6. A straightforward enough 23 minutes. Tercel seems as reasonably clued as need be, even if the two items concerned are not-quite-so-general knowledge. In 3 if one imagines commas after ‘tablet’ and ‘without’ (as ‘outside’) it’s OK. I agree with the doubt about ‘just’. I lost time early on by writing ‘twelvefold’ in for 23 instead of 20 – something that happens all too often.
  7. 17 minutes with no real hold-ups today, though I accept that Mephistophiles are more likely to get TERCEL. Add me to those who both mispronounce and consequently misspell RIESLING. Thank goodness for the nice little EARNER.
    CoD (since Mctext asks) to TURTLEDOVE with that rather risqué “something turned” cluing.
    Is Jimbo trying to drop some sort of hint? I haven’t crackled the title yet, but I suspect a “many happy returns” may be in order. Have one on me, Jim – you’ve at least got a decent choice down there.
            1. Congrats, Jimbo! I think we started the same week, or thereabouts, but I haven’t been counting so I’ll celebrate on Friday.
              1. Hi Jack. Mine is slightly ahead of where it might ordinarily be because I’ve done a couple of extraneous ones like the 1950s puzzle about a year ago. We did indeed start in the same week so you must be there or there abouts.
  8. After a reasonable start, I finished in 90 minutes, with the NE last to fall. Not being RC, I needed Google to confirm that ‘peacel’ and ‘mercyl’ weren’t words before getting the office third time lucky, rather appropriately, as it turned out.

    I thought this was a fine puzzle, with my COD going to the Arthur Daleyesque EARNER. One day I’ll learn how to spell, and pronounce, RIESLING correctly. Until then, alas, I will never be able to bluff my way in wine.

  9. 40 minutes including half a cheat on TERCEL as my last one in. I knew TIERCEL as a hawk but not that it could be spelt without the I, and the wordplay made no sense to me apart from the L so I wasn’t going to solve it that way. Having seen the explanation I remember meeting some these offices of the church before but they obviously haven’t stuck.

    On 26ac, it’s a rule in German that with IE/EI one always pronounces the second letter so if one knows the wine is pronounced “Reesling” there shouldn’t be any confusion. Unfortunately it’s common for English speakers to pronounce it “Riceling” in which case knowing the rule might lead one to the wrong spelling.

    1. As a language guy, I know the rule but it remains a blind spot, a bit like Brent Cross shopping centre. However many times I parked there, I never knew which way to take at the exit.
  10. Easy one today, not surprised some had trouble with 7dn but surely we have all memorised the divine offices by now? All together after me, matins, lauds, terce, sext, nones, vespers, compline 🙂 I must have met the lot of them in one grid or another over the years.
    Don’t get me started on pronunciation.. my own pet hate is those who mispronounce KILometres as kilOmetres, to rhyme with gasometer, which means virtually everyone but me.. but you don’t say kilOgramme or kilOwatt do you? Or millImetre?
    1. Thing is with pronunciation of long words, the accent tends to shift to the right. So the kilOmetre is a natural change. ”Tis sweet and commendable in thy nature, Hamlet’ says the queen; no-one’s going to say it like that now. I still go mad hearing formIDable, nevertheless; and there are others. What’s right changes, and often through ignorance, or weird analogy, and it’s teeth-grindingly annoying, and it’s wrong to start with…and then old and new are both right…and then…well then, I guess, one’s probably lived too long.
    2. I’m with you 100%. I live in a country where we use KILometres, and I rarely hear anyone use the correct pronunciation. Other pronunciations that seem to have changed recently which really annoy me: CONtribute, DISTribute, REsearch, backBENCher. I could go on, but that’s enough for now.
      1. And with the first three the accent has shifted to the left! Sinister indeed.
    3. I’m surprised that the kiLOM pronunciation is so common in the UK; I assumed it was only us Murcans, with our miles and things, that used the false analogy with ‘thermometer’ and other measuring devices. I also didn’t like ‘just’ to mean ‘more or less’ when it in fact means neither more or less. Anyway, 26′. I liked 9ac for using ‘primarily’ NOT as an indication of initial letters; but my COD goes to 26ac.
  11. Thought this was going to be tough but I too completed in 15 minutes. If you think you are having trouble with the Times site, be thankful you haven’t subscribed to Telegraph puzzles – months of intermittent or non-existent access. Thanks for the blog Jimbo and many happy returns
    1. Oh yes, the Telegraph! And I thought I was the only one who had problems with them. I took out a month’s free sub which I cancelled after a week as I was seldom able to access the puzzles. I got in touch with them to cancel the pending direct debit for the next 12 months and informed them why I was doing this. They acknowledged and processed the cancellation but completely without comment. They don’t give a ****. By comparison the Times site is the very model of efficiency.
  12. 10:38, finishing with the unknown TERCEL (7dn).  Much of this felt slow for no good reason, the only other unknown being CLYDESDALE (4dn), but I’m pleased to see that Thomas ARNE (21dn EARNER) has finally wormed his way into my brain.

    TWELVEFOLD (10ac) is surely at best an odd way of describing a group of twelve people.

    Clue of the Day: 23ac (TURTLEDOVE).

  13. After yesterday’s easy puzzle I expected something far harder, but found it only slightly harder, finishing in 27 minutes. TERCEL presented no problem, being common enough in Listener puzzles, but I sympathise with those objecting to the obscure wordplay. It was 23 that took my time over 25 minutes. For most of the time spent on this one I assumed that “Something turned” denoted TI (IT rev.). It was only when I realised that “swooped over the pond” was probably DOVE that the answer came immediately. A nice clue.

    I’m puzzled by the apostrophe in 14. It’s obviously needed for the surface but it presents problems in the cryptic reading. In the case of a singular noun answer ‘s can stand for ‘is’ in the cryptic grammar, but masquerade as a possessive on the surface. In the case of a plural noun the only function of the apostrophe is a possessive one, which means the answer should be adjectival, meaning “relating to parliamentarians”. This is a trick frequently exploited in tough cryptics. Here, it just seems wrong. I don’t recall similar instances in the past. Perhaps there have been and I haven’t noticed.

    1. Perhaps the answer to 14 is actually ROUNDHEADS’ (with an apostrophe which has been suppressed in the usual way with clue answers).
      1. Hmmmm. It’s true that if I write a clue for D’Artagnan I’m not required to account for the apostrophe in the wordplay; the same goes for any words of foreign origin with accents. However, these are integral to the word/phrase clued, which is not the case here, so it seems a little far-fetched. I think it far more likely that the setter sacrificed the cryptic to the surface rather than find a way round the problem. No matter. There were a number of clues to admire, but this wasn’t one of them.
  14. 19:28 but I had to cheat to get 7. I had absolutely no way of getting it otherwise. Bah.

    COD to the 2nd day of Christmas.

    Congrats to Jimbo on the milestone.

  15. About 30 minutes to complete, ending with the doubly obscure TERCEL. This was a guess that came to me from recalling the Toyota Tercel, a smallish car that isn’t offered any more, I think, and maybe only over here. I confirmed afterwards that it was indeed a hawk, and found out what a ‘terce’ is. And why Lindisfarne is holy. I thought the wordplay for ELLIPTICAL far too dense. Other than that, no real problems. TURTLEDOVE is good, but I’ll cast a COD vote for the neat SABOTEUR. Regards to all, especially Jimbo as regards his milestone.
  16. I found this relatively easy. I’ve been watching reruns of “Minder” on the oddly-named “Dave” channel, so 21d just fell into place (and helped with the spelling of the German wine) It was a help to know both TERCE and TERCEL. I’m pretty sure I’ve come across the church office in previous crosswords and both words have cropped up in the historical novels which I enjoy reading. Light fiction may not broaden the mind but it does wonders for the vocabulary! 20 minutes.
    1. TERCE came up in No. 23,982 (2 August 2008) as the answer to “Broadcast of short church service (5)”.
    1. JIMBO’S TON parsed as “shortly I’m” = JIM; “a place to party” = BOSTON
  17. 8:07 for me. Nice puzzle – apart from 18dn where (like others) I don’t understand JUST = “more or less”.
    1. The SOED has: JUST 6a Neither more nor less than.

      Not sure if that squares with the clue though.

      1. The (online) OED includes the same definition – but I couldn’t square it with the clue as it seems to be saying the exact opposite. But perhaps I’m missing something obvious. (It wouldn’t be the first time!)

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