Times 24976 – Not able was I

Solving Time: Forgot to stop the clock, but under the hour.

Some tricky vocabulary, which ultimately led (sic) to my downfall, as I rejected the only plausible answer at 4, thinking it was a double bluff. Hey, ho and a nonny, nonny, no. I hope you all fared better than I.

8 ASIA = A SIAm.
9 Deliberately omitted. I was going to say “Stone the crows!”, except they finished 4th last this year.
10 PLATINUM = A TIN for “can with a” inside PLUM
11 MAGYAR = MAG + RAY reversed. What Hungarians call Hungarian and we call Hungarians.
13 BRED consuming A + BOAR + D for died = BREADBOARD
16 The Greek character NU inside O.S. for over size = ONUS
17 SAW for “saying”, reversed + P for power = WASP
18 KAFKAESQUE = (QUAKE Knocking SAFE)*, a front runner in both the unlikeliest anagrist of the year and unlikeliest set of crossing letters of the year awards. Kafka did write The Castle, unlike Castlereagh.
20 PHLEGM = Hull LEG inside PM. Another unlikely set of cross checkers.
22 SHELDUCK = SHUCK for “open pod” broken by ELD. Eld is a literary term for “the past” or “old age”. Today’s task is to compose a rhyming couplet in the meter of your choice containing the word eld. e.g. Beware the approaching eld, anon ye’ll be befelled Anon.
24 SNEAK-THIEF. Thief as in “thick as” and grass as in “Ooh ahh! I’m telling on you!”. The latter use I’ve never encountered, but ODE does say that it’s British informal.
26 A + RUM = ARUM, as in lily.
27 TAKE THE PLUNGE, a barely double definition.

1 CASTLEREAGH = CASTLE for piece + REAGan + H for hour. I’m sure Mr Stewart must have written something in his eventful lifetime, but I think “writing” is what we are supposed to do with the wordplay elements to fill the empty squares. Here’s Shelley’s effort” I met eld Murder on the way – He had a face like Castlereagh. Byron’s is also good.
2 Deliberately omitted. To thee eld friend, no idle boaster, The bird’s a boiler, not a roaster.
3 SPRING OK around B for black = SPRINGBOK, the obligatory Rugby World Cup reference.
4 ENCOMIA = ENA around COMIc. I was determined not to give up on this one, and was very pleased when I abandonned Emma and Edna and spotted the comic, but then refused to believe Ena was a name and went for evcomia, from the Latin obviously. I should have known Ena from the other Coro.
5 AL + BUM = ALBUM. Thunderer of eld’s become Replete of bottom and of bum.
6 (Old LUIGI’S)* around IT = LITIGIOUS
7 TWO = Trading With Oman
12 A jUNCTURE around CUP = ACUPUNCTURE, our second Rugby World Cup reference
14 APPLE for Jonathan + JACK = APPLEJACK, the question mark excusing the definition by example. Both Monday bloggers get a guernsey in this puzzle.
15 DR + AWFUL around ER for hesitation = DRAWERFUL
19 F for fine + rESTIVE = FESTIVE
21 MOTET = MET around O.T. for Old Testament. Here’s two by the eld master.
23 DRAWN, double definition, the second in a feel this hat, there it’s felt kind of way.
25 NAT = NATion. I’ll let him take us out.

27 comments on “Times 24976 – Not able was I”

  1. … but it felt like a 40 minute job on a regular day which (see userpic) it wasn’t. Started off OK with the anagram in 1ac and got a few more. Then I was stuck in an Eccles-esque lull for a while until a few of the other biggies (CASTLEREAGH, ACUPUNCTURE, etc) fell. On a more Moriarty-kind-of-day, I think I would have enjoyed this.

    A morn of rampant raging sorrow.
    Wish I could blog like my eld mate Koro

    Edited at 2011-10-10 04:42 am (UTC)

  2. 23 minutes today, which is fairly brisk by my standards. Quite a few towards the end went in from the definitions alone – I’d probably still have been at it if I’d tried to parse SHELDUCK, and APPLEJACK was a lucky guess. The Tory viscount and ASIA were the last to go in.
  3. 25 minutes for all but 8ac, 17ac and 1dn, then needed another 10 for these.

    1dn was the real killer for me as I’d never heard of CASTLEREAGH and took forever to spot the wordplay in order to come up with the answer. Once again I wonder if we shall hear from the Colonel about the misuse of ‘castle’ as a chess piece.

    Other than that it all fell into place quite easily although I was unable to explain the wordplay in SHELDUCK as I didn’t know ELD or SHUCK.

    1. As an Australian living in Perth I’ve never heard of Castlereagh… except in a joke my father once told:

      A friendly and beloved old racehorse (in Sydney) retires, and is given to the police to be a police horse. Proves very popular trotting round the city, until one day he’s knocked over by a bus in Castlereagh St and killed.

      The sergeant starts writing the report, but is stuck on the spelling of Castlereagh. Displaying the acumen that earned him his lofty position, he summons a few constables, “You blokes, go and drag that horse round the corner into Park St.”

      And yes, google confirms there is a Castlereagh St in Sydney.

  4. It’s a variety of apple:

    a cooking apple of a red-skinned variety first grown in the U.S.
    ORIGIN mid 19th cent.: named after Jonathan Hasbrouck (died 1846), American lawyer.


  5. Enjoyed the mix here. Kafkaesque cluing, words of eld; a hybrid ritual’s upheld. Had to take the plunge (as at least one other) on shelduck and applejack. 24 minutes.
  6. Pretty quick (for me that’s anything under the hour). Got the REAGH bit of 1d early but held up by “writing” in the clue. APPLEJACK just a guess, SHELDUCK from wordplay and SNEAK THIEF from definition. Might have worked the last out if I had a few hours to spare but am off to gawp at the gorgeous Nicola Benedetti for an hour at the Wigmore Hall, playing I think Beethoven and Brahms, but who cares?
  7. Couple of queries.
    • Could the def in 19dn (“so celebratory an occasion”) be the wrong part of speech?
    • Could the SHUCK part of SHELDUCK just be “pod”?
    SHUCK: an outer covering such as a husk or pod, esp. the husk of an ear of corn. (NOAD)
    1. Re second bullet: Yes. I suppose it depends whether you’re prepared to accept “breaking” as an inserticator. “Breaking open” is perhaps more explicit.
      On the first point: I took the definition to be “so” with the “celebratory an occasion” the nounal modifier. That’s probably bollocks, but what can you do?
      1. The wrong PoS seemed so “Australian Sunday Times” to me. (The editor-less free-for all = both.) But we don’t want to go there. Eh?
  8. 23 minutes, mostly because it’s so long since I did O level History that I’ve forgotten how to spell CASTLREAGH, reasoning that after the Rook, it was RE=on, (H)IGH=President (somehow) without its first H. Not too much of a problem, except that it left me with a worrying PIMP for a social worker. Hm. Also didn’t spot the anagram at 1ac until all the checkers were in – isn’t “sporting lord” always Coe?
    I thought there was some excellent cluing in this one, with DRAWN, DRAWERFUL and PHLEGM worthy of special mention, the last, like my CoD KAFKAESQUE for dealing smoothly with an awkward set of letters.
  9. Set off at a spanking pace ala a normal Monday but brought up short by a few in the SE corner. Once I got Kafka the rest fell into place, about 22 mins altogether ie harder than average. Phlegm came up, so to speak, in a recent jumbo tho with a different clue.
  10. A remarkable sub-15 minutes for me (certainly one of my fastest solves ever). I must have been absolutely on the setter’s wavelength: everything fell instantly into place with, very unusually, my first thoughts proving to be correct thoughts. 1dn was well-known as part of that celebrated early nineteenth century double-act, CASTLEREAGH and CANNING (a beloved pairing amongst History examiners). Even KAFKAESQUE sprang immediately to mind …
  11. This looked easy to begin with, but I got held up by a few in the bottom half, notably 14, 17 and 22, all of which took the last five minutes of a 30-minute solve. I thought of APPLEJACK earlier, but it was only vaguely familiar and I didn’t see the relevance of “Jonathan’s” until very near the end. Once I knew which end of the answer P went in 17 I tumbled to that, though I should have seen WAS from “Saying about” far earlier.
    Nice Monday puzzle with an enjoyable range of clues.
  12. 19:42, Castlereagh and encomia from wordplay, acupuncture from definition (thanks to Koro for the explanation) and applejack from goodness knows where.
  13. 11:47, ending with ARUM (26ac).  Unknowns: CORPS DE BALLET (1ac), SNEAK-THIEF (24ac), spathe (26ac ARUM), CASTLEREAGH (1dn), AL Jolson (5dn ALBUM), APPLEJACK and for that matter Jonathan as an APPLE (14dn) – quite a list!
  14. No time to comment here. (Am in mad rush to catch up with things after a weekend of rugby euphoria.) I enjoyed this puzzle very much. 35 minutes.
  15. A very good, fun puzzle – pity about APPLEJACK – DBE and an ‘s for padding. Very much liked the rest of it done in the usual 20 minutes after my best game of golf for quite some time. Some evidence of otters discovered on a fairway near the river:

    found a dead fish on the links
    eld my nose because it stinks

  16. Did anyone else put Peter as the answer to 2 down. (I do the downs first) – I did until 1 across could not be anything else but corps de ballet. Tried not to get too down (2 down) about it, as the true answer was obvious except to me.


    1. Didn’t think it myself, but if I had, it would have been quite hard to shake off, the only disincentive being the possessive apostrophe. Plausible but wrong answers are the worst crosswording nightmare. I’ve done it twice at championships now – the first a long time ago when I had S?I? with the tide and instinctively put “sail”. It was “swim”.
  17. 13 minutes. Would have been a sub-ten without APPLEJACK, which took me a while to crack. Both this clue and ARUM strike me as bordering on unfair, with elements of obscurity in both clue and answer in both cases. Fortunately for me the apple Jonathan has come up here before, and ARUM featured in a very recent crossword somewhere else. Probably the recent FT puzzle with a botanical theme: my worst nightmare.
    Nice to finish one properly after three failures last week and a weekend of typos.
  18. 8:50 for me – horribly slow given that there was nothing that I wasn’t thoroughly familiar with. Nice puzzle.
  19. 35 minutes, with a couple going in without my knowing quite why: what’s a spathe when it’s at home? I only got ACUPUNCTURE when I came here; I guessed SHELDUCK because we’ve had ‘sheldrake’ a couple of times, one fairly recently.
  20. I think there were quite a few that year! I nearly started a campaign to have it retrospectively inserted in Chambers.

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