Times 24972: Four or five Johns?

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time: 19 minutes.

So getting quicker by the day this week. Slight hold up in the top right where I failed to know the ducks or spot them from the (as it turned out) quite simple wordplay; leaving some doubt about 6ac, 10ac and 17ac. Got there in the end though.

Nowhere near Jim’s milestone yesterday: but this is my 50th daily puzzle blog. Only know this because my /Déjà_blogged folder had a count of 49 when I opened it this morning. (And I’m still feeling like the new kid on the block.)

Et pourquoi est-ce que LJ me parle en Français tout d’un coup?

 1 MONOPOLISE. MO (doctor); anagram of ‘lesion’ inc. OP.
 6 LONG. L{in}O (‘not fashionable’ = delete IN), NG. John I, as in ‘Arrrh, Jim lad’.
 9 MAN,DR,AGORA. Poetic for the mandrake.
10 PEA{r}L. John II, allowing for homophonic licence, d’ye ken?
12 D,IS(CONSOL)ATE. Take the E from ‘console’ (cabinet).
17 VALSE. Reverse: E,SLAV.
18 ARENA. Anagram of ‘near’ + {newc}A{stle}.
20 RULE THE ROOST. Anagram: ‘our lot’s there’.
24 Omitted. John III; shouldn’t take you 4’33”.
25 D(IS)TRIBUTE. {receive}D, IS (one’s), TRIBUTE (payment). The def is in the last two words.
26 LUTE. Odd letters of ‘LoUd’ and TE (sol-fa note).
27 BED,RAGG(L)ED. Felt pretty bed-raggled myself this morning at about 6:00am.
 1 ME,MO.
 2 NINE. Light inclusive/hidden answer signalled by ‘clothes’.
 3 P(ARTIC)IP,ANTS. PIP for ‘spot’; ARTIC for ‘lorry’.
 4 LO(GI)C. COL is our officer.
 7 OPERA CLOAK. Anagram: ‘cool parka’ inc. {sh}E
 8 GO,L,DENE,YES. DENE = ‘valley’.
13 THEATRICAL. (Noun or adj.) Anagram: ‘a lithe actor’ minus O{thello}.
16 AM,B(L)ESIDE. BESIDE (close to), inc. {trai}L.
21 {r}OTTER.
22 Omitted. John IV.
23 HEAD. Two defs, and John V if you’re caught short in the main.

37 comments on “Times 24972: Four or five Johns?”

  1. Messed up at 8dn seeing valley (glen) and L and course and bunged in GLENEAGLES without worrying too much about the ducks.

    MANDRAGORA I’d never heard of and it took a long time to get.

  2. Fairly quick by my standards and would have been quicker had I been sharper in my recall of the standard AGORA for market. GOLDENEYES and AMBLESIDE from cryptic and COD to DISTRIBUTE.
  3. Completed most of this in 40 minutes – much of that very easily – but then ground to a complete halt in the SE where I had only AMBLESIDE, ROOST and CONVALESCENT in place. Of course having -SCENT instead of -SCING didn’t help matters but that shouldn’t have prevented me solving OTTER, BULL and HEAD. In the end I resorted to aids for the Acrosses and then those three then fell into place. I also needed aids for 9ac as I realised I didn’t know the word and the couldn’t get to it through wordplay.

    The duck was new to me too, or I had completely forgotten it.

    Mct, you have a typo in the anagrist at 18ac.

  4. Held up by some of the long ones even with most checkers. 25 minutes finally. I wonder if many will know mandragora apart from the ‘Othello’ reference (‘Not poppy, nor mandragora…’ gloats Iago over the Moor who’ll never sleep soundly again). Not I for one. COD to 5 in a fairly average field.
  5. 25:05 .. much time towards the end on MANDRAGORA, which sounds like a word somebody made up for a sci-fi comic book. Only one thing could rob Solvoman of his special powers…. mandragora.

    Solved on the beach, watching surfers in wetsuits catching the early morning waves.

  6. We do seem to be in one of those longish spells of easier puzzles. This is mainly very straightforward and it makes for awkward blogging because there’s so little to say about it.

    I must have come across the GOLDEN-EYE before but had forgotten it. Luckily the definition really had to be “ducks” so it wasn’t difficult to derive. I think MANDRAGORA has appeared before because I knew it immediately and it’s not really my sort of word!

  7. I found most of this about average and had it done in about 20 minutes. Slowed down a bit compared to yesterday by a few unknowns (OPERA CLOAK, GOLDENEYES, AMBLESIDE) and by initially putting in CONVALESCENT.
    Then just like yesterday I found myself staring for ages at a clue that I just couldn’t crack. Like yesterday it turned out to be a clue that required knowledge of one of two obscurities. Unlike yesterday I can’t complain because AGORA is only obscure in the real world. In Crosswordland it’s commonplace so I really ought to have got it.
  8. Goldeneye and mandragora were both sort-of-(k)new to me.. dragged up from some subconscious storage pot.
    I thought there were lots of beautiful surface readings today.. eg 19ac, 16dn.. one after another, if you read through them
  9. When I saw all the long words in this I thought it was going to be tough, but it panned out without too much difficulty. I liked it, with quite a lot of answers appearing from working through the wordplay.

    At 19 I saw the definition and went through TERMAGANT and XANTHIPPE before getting to BATTLEAXE. Odd that we have so many words for a carping woman – I don’t believe that women really have the monopoly on that disposition.

  10. An enjoyable 30+ minutes, but I had to rely on the clear wordplay for MANDRAGORA. I agree with jerrywh about the quality of the surface readings. My personal COD was NINE (almost my LOI): lots of erratic meandering to try to justify the answer (including ‘dressed up to the nines’) until I finally spotted the well-hidden solution.
  11. 16 minutes. Just held up a bit by 9a but the wordplay was fairly obvious, I suppose.
  12. I first came across MANDRAGORA in school when we did Webster’s “Duchess of Malfi”. It’s in her last speech as she’s being strangled. I had to learn it off by heart for an exam! Though, until coming here, I didn’t know that it was mandrake. I was held up a bit by GOLDENEYES. I associate the word with James Bond and didn’t know about the ducks. 28 minutes.
      1. It’s funny how certain quotes stick in your mind. One of the things I most like about this crossword is the way it forces you to dredge up remote memories.
        1. >…
          >One of the things I most like about this crossword is the way it forces
          >you to dredge up remote memories.

          Sadly not nearly as much as it used to in the old days. But it was nice to be reminded of Othello:

          Not poppy, nor mandragora,
          Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world,
          Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep
          Which thou ow’dst yesterday.

  13. We really are having an easy time of it this week. 18 minutes was all I needed for this, and it’s very rare that I get a sub-20 time.
    There were several answers that I slapped in without wasting time to unravel all the wordplay, but I rather enjoyed going through them at the end because there were some very nice clues, the answers to which I got quickly only because I had so many letters in place (3, 11, 25, for instance). In this respect it was a more interesting puzzle than Monday’s. I completely agree with jerrywh’s comment above about the surfaces.
    I expect tomorrow’s will be a horror.
  14. Managed all but one in a couple of sessions, despite not knowing DENE=valley, nor HEAD=bean. However, I guess I haven’t been doing the cryptic for long enough for AGORA to spring to mind for market, so 9ac remained unsolved. A-level Latin clearly long forgotten!
    1. Latin might not have helped for this Greek word.

      Known to me as an open space since student days – Latrobe Uni in Melbourne has The Agora at its centre.


  15. 25:30. I found this a rather uneven mix of very easy and rather tricky.

    My first stab at 8 with the G and the first E in place was GOOSE- something, with “course” being the def and GOOS being ducks (Os) (with) travel (GO) over.

    Mandragora from WP and checked post-solve. Thankfully I remembered agora from a DNF long ago.

  16. Tripped up by not knowing 17ac (which is French, yes?), despite writing it twice in the margin, and a lack of knowledge about duck breeds.
      1. Thank you. I should, rather, have asked the question I wanted answered, which was: is there any special reason a non-French speaker might know this? The Greek in 9ac being familiar without knowing ancient Greek, for example.

        That said, it was pretty simply clued; I blame the ducks (not the frogs). Thanks again.

        1. Anyone with a bit of musical knowledge is likely to know VALSE. It’s in the title of a lot of works – especially piano pieces. But I agree that, apart from this usage, the word will probably be unfamiliar to non-French speakers.
  17. About 30 minutes, edning with VALSE, which I didn’t know right after I had put in AMBLESIDE and MANDRAGORA, two other things I didn’t know. Beyond that, not much else to say, except that it was pretty simple otherwise, and that yes, many of the surfaces were nicely done, especially DISTRIBUTE. Regards.
  18. Up against outside time pressure today, and ran out with DISTRIBUTE not parsed but likely – one of those where the surface kept bludgeoning you in the wrong direction. Once understood, my CoD for deception.
    A lot of clues looked to be candidates for hidden words – don’t know if that was deliberate. NINE, which was, didn’t.
    Nice to be back amongst the Greek scholars today, with agora, one of hoi polloi known these days because it gets stitched to -phobia. Glad to see a certain diminishing here in xenoglossophobia.
  19. Took ages to get 2d NINE …damned clever or I’m not. MANDRAGORA and GOLDENEYES I to use OneLook while the rest fell neatly into place. Liked HEAD for BEAN. Baseball playoffs are with us for several weeks so no times likely.
  20. Exactly an hour for me, with GOLDENEYES going in last; GOL was clear from “travel over lake” and of course “of course” had to have some function, so I saw the YES at the end and then everything fell into place. STRINGENT is my COD, not for being difficult or brilliant but for being amusing. AMBLESIDE I got only from the wordplay — I think I have been in (or rather through) the Lake District only once in my life and remember none of the geography.
  21. 9:22 for me. I’d have been faster if I hadn’t rashly bunged in CONVALESCENT (and spent far too long trying to justify NUNS for 2dn). A charming puzzle.

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