Times 24973 – oh no, not again (ref 18 across)

Solving time : 13 minutes – made one rather silly error at the start, but it came out when I worked my way through the down clues. Found the right half considerably easier than the left half and was rather surprised that 18 across was my last one in, especially since I figured on the right definition at the first reading, then had to come back to the wordplay a bunch of times to figure out which ornamental plant it was. And of course it was the one that fell out of the sky with a whale.

I havea late show, so I won’t be able to answer questions or clear fluffs for a few hours, but go ahead and discuss…

Away we go!

1 DISPLA(y),C.E.: wondered why civil engineer popped up in the clue, but our old friend CE for church is yet to come
5 SORT OF: a very well hidden answer
9 O.W.L.: saw a screech one earlier today
10 NON-VIOLENCE: (IN,LOVE)* inside NONCE (present time)
12 PRESIDENCY: SIDE(ally oneself with), N.C. (the state I live in!) inside PREY(game). Very nice surface there
13 BE,L,L(lines): I had BUZZ originally
15 FILLET: TELL,IF reversed
16 NUREYEV: V,EYE,RUN all reversed – everyone remember him on “The Muppet Show”
18 PETUNIA: TUN(container),I in PEA(vegetable plant). Edit: oops, just plant for PEA, vegetable is part of the definition, see comments
20 INSULT: anagram of NUT and ISL(and)
23 let’s omit this one from the acrosses
24 CINEMAGOER: (MAGIC,ONE)*, then ER is our ruler
26 ATTACHE CASE: ATTACH(secure) then C from CD-ROM in EASE
27 SAG: GAS(riot, as in fun time) reversed
28 YORKER: cricket delivery, and part of Long Island is in New York City Edit: and as pointed out by vinyl1, all of Long Island is in New York State
29 DEADBEAT: swap B for H in DEAD HEAT
1 DROOPY: POOR reversed in YD reversed
2 SALIERI: LIE(rest) in (AIRS)*
3 L,ON,GI’S,LAND: Part of Queens is in Long Island
4 CONTEXTUALISE: (EXULTATIONS)* in CE(there’s our church)
6 OSLO: hidden in alternating letters in cOnSuLtOr
7 TINDERY: TIN(preserve) then E(center of trEes) in DRY
8 FREE LOVE: double def, both a touch cryptic
11 INCONSIDERATE: ONSIDE(in a legal playing position) inside IN,CRATE
17 EPIPHANY: PIP(star as mark of rank – definition 4 in Chambers) inside EH? then ANY(whatever)
19 TRAI(l),TO,R: definition is “seller out”
21 LOOK SEE: K(thousand) in LOOSE, then E(uros)
25 let’s omit this one from the downs

24 comments on “Times 24973 – oh no, not again (ref 18 across)”

  1. … and much to be enjoyed. Strange game this: I can do without cryptic defs and double defs most of the time; but when they’re cleverly combined (as in 8dn, FREE LOVE, today) they seem to work.

    [[Note to self: rules are to be oriented to, not slavishly followed.]]

    Thanks to George for the parsings I was too lazy to work out: 17dn EPIPHANY & 11dn INCONSIDERATE.
    And thanks to Vinyl for the explanation of otherwise obscure American boundaries.

    Edited at 2011-10-06 06:13 am (UTC)

  2. 70 minutes, with much of the last ten trying to work out why ‘toaster’ (‘toter’ = ‘seller'(?) around, um, yes, what?) was wrong, but failing. Enjoyed this puzzle a lot, with COD to LOOK SEE and mentions in despatches to CINEMAGOER and DEADBEAT, ‘though TRAITOR is good too. Thanks to George for the parsing of INCONSIDERATE.
  3. > PEA (vegetable plant):
    Or is it just “vegetable”? With “plant” as part of the def?
      1. > vegetable is part of the definition.
        Actually, it’s “plant”.
        Sorry to be pedantic, George.
  4. 30 minutes for all but DEADBEAT and my last in, EPIPHANY, each of which added an extra 5 minutes to my solving time. But I still wasn’t done because I couldn’t justify the definition of TRAC(k)TOR at 19dn so I needed to revisit it and realise my error, so 45 minutes in all.

    I was unable to solve either 3-letter answer until I had a checker in place and as I had looked at these first I was pretty sure that the long-awaited beast had arrived at last. But then the answers came in thick and fast so I knew I was wrong and unless the editor has decided to give us an easy week it looks as if I am in for a bad time blogging tomorrow’s.

    George, there’s a typo at the last omission; it’s 25 not 23.

  5. What I thought was a triumphant 12:39 till I realised I’d gone with TRAC(e)TOR, ignoring the fact that a tractor really can’t sell anything, out or otherwise. Good puzzle.
  6. Managed all ok, and really enjoyed this one. Ended in SE corner, with CINEMAGOER my LOI. Didn’t know NONCE, and hadn’t managed to parse PRESIDENCY. Was slightly held up by carelessly writing in the wrong PEAK. Had 22dn with a ? to start, as doesn’t grotesque=fright(ful)? Or can it be a noun, too?
  7. I found this a little uphill, lumbering round in 43 minutes. COD to Sort of, a gem of its modest kind. Not quite sure a fright can be a grotesque. I suppose in some strange party animal they might merge. ‘Going to the flicks’ is a nostalgic memory, somehow more satisfying as a proposed activity than the cinema, even if the words mean more or less the same. Maybe there’s a bit too much classy overlay to the language.
  8. Looking forward to seeing a jimbo blast about EPIPHANY! Mostly enjoyable but SW a real grind. Thanks George for the blog and, in particular, for parsing PETUNIA and TRAITOR: as far as I could see, they fitted the grid and sort of nodded towards the clue – but the detailed wordplay eluded me. I share others’ reservations about FRIGHT.
  9. 25:43 .. enjoyed this. FREE LOVE is a hoot (the clue, that is… obviously can’t speak for the philosophy), and I rather liked the EPIPHANY.

    Solving in the mornings in England seems to take me about 8 minutes longer than solving in the evenings in Canada. Must be a time zone thing.

    Last in: TRAITOR, though the word was fresh in my mind from a book I was reading last night.

  10. Found this hard but enjoyable. Gave up on DEADBEAT (I’m rubbish at letter substitution clues) a LOOK SEE despite being a sort of cockney. On the positive side had no trouble with EPIPHANY (pip came up somewhere else recently) or TRAITOR. I took GROTESQUE as a noun in which case it is a FRIGHT.
  11. I made heavy weather of this. I wasn’t doing too badly because at least 10 clues were very easy, but I became mired in the bottom half, where 17, 19, 26, 28 and 29 all gave me trouble. Once I saw ‘whatever’ must be ANY I got EPIPHANY and then made some further progress, but failed to get 29 until I checked a list of synonyms for ‘draw’, and got 19 wrong with TRACTOR, thinking there must be some arcane meaning to fit the definition. So, 50 minutes with one bit of help and an error. Not a good day. Still, it was a pleasure to solve because the clues were very good.
  12. 15 minutes for this, with PIP the only unknown. A relief after the last couple of days. A couple of minutes at the end resisting the urge to bung in TRACTOR.
  13. Steadily got through this one without any problems. It did though provoke a lunch-time argument about whether pips were stars, and I hadn’t worked out why INCONSIDERATE was the right answer.
  14. A little thrown by the lack of a hyphen for “seller out” given that the comparable noun “sell-out” takes one, but that was the worst of it.
  15. The ‘pips’ worn by British officers are properly called ‘Bath Stars’ although they are usually more square than a traditonal star.


  16. I breezed through quite quickly before getting stuck on EPIPHANY, PEAK and YORKER. I had actually tried BORNEO for 28, with ‘borne 0’ being a difficult delivery, and Borneo presumably being a long island (!). I eventually realized that a ‘b’ as the last letter of 17 was jusy too unlikely, and saw the ‘eh?’ and the ‘any’, so I finiished in 30 minutes or so. YORKER and PEAK became readily apparent after EPIPHANY, although the latter required a spin through the alphabet. Regards.
  17. A disappointing 13:38 for me – on another of those days when I just couldn’t seem to find the setter’s wavelength. Some nice clues.
  18. A bit over an hour, with a number of false starts on some clues (ARTICLE CASE? SIT rather than SAG? and for some reason I even tried to fit LAO TSE into 21dn, even though it has the wrong number of letters). Quite enjoyable though, with a number of wonderful clues: EPIPHANY, DEADBEAT, LONG ISLAND (where I originally hail from), YORKER (where I even more originally hail from). I was born in the city and grew up in the suburbs, but although I only spent the first nine months of my life in NYC, when I speak of New Yorkers I primarily mean city people (although technically speaking, even Buffalonians are New Yorkers, I suppose).

    Of course I had some transatlantic problems, but managed to solve the corresponding clues nonetheless: for me, DEADBEAT is someone who doesn’t pay debts, not an idler, and I had no idea what the butcher was doing in the clue for LOOK-SEE, but I now see it’s rhyming slang, almost worse than cricket.

  19. The wordplay for 20 across is slightly more clever than an anagram, as it points to the word ‘NUT’ and the ‘ISL’ of island slotting neatly into each other – InSuLt (‘turns taken’ being the wordplay).

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