Times 24982 – The Fate of….er, a football team?

Solving time: 29 minutes

Music: Sibelius, Symphony #2, Schippers/NYP

Another Monday walk in the park for the experienced solvers, but a good chance for beginners to finish one. Neither the cluing nor the vocabulary is at all obscure. I would have made a much better time, but struggled with ‘copilot’ for 10 minutes before seeing it.

As the title suggests, this is a slightly literary puzzle, but if you did a bit of 8 across in school, there is nothing to it.

1 ENTERPRISING, ENTER, PRISING. Almost a stage direction, perhaps one for Tree when the scenery door got stuck.
8 READING, double definition.
9 AVENGED, anagram of GENEVA + D[eparts].
11 COPILOT, COP I(LO)T. I suspected this was a compound word for a long time, but thought it was broken up 3,4. Only a full rehearsal of the alphabet gave me the answer.
12 THISTLE, anagram of THE LIST, symbol of Scotland.
13 OVERT, OVERT[urn]. I never saw the cryptic just banged it in.
14 WAKEFIELD, WAKE + FIELD. Dr Primrose is the fictional vicar there, and we’ve had the same trick before, so I saw through it right away.
16 TOM SAWYER, anagram of WE MAY SORT. Huck’s other friend is unlikely to be found in puzzles these days.
19 CORFU, C(ORF)U. Fortunately, the only island that starts with C and ends with U, so just entered from the definition by most solvers.
21 EMOTIVE, [coffe]E + MOTIVE. Not a word that come to mind often, and I needed all the checkers.
23 Omitted.
24 THITHER, hidden word in [ge]T HIT HER[e].
2 TRIPLET, TRIP + LET, a musical term, but not an esoteric one.
3 Omitted.
4 ROAST, TSA(O)R upside-down.
6 NIGHTIE, NIGH + TIE. I wasted some time by putting in ‘neglige’ without regard for the cryptic – and that’s not even the correct spelling!
7 TRICK OR TREAT, anagram of CRITTER TO ARK. Before I started, I was thinking that the next puzzle I blog will be Halloween’s, so this came readily to mind.
10 DREADFULNESS, D(RE)AD + F[o]ULNESS. I had never heard of the island in Essex, but the answer is obvious enough.
15 KERFUFFLE, anagram of [tric]K + FEEL RUFF. Regular readers of ‘Best of the Web Today’ will put this in automatically.
19 CHIANT, CHI + ANTI, and the most likely wine ending in ‘i’.
22 EYRIE, EYR(I)E, the final literary character.

32 comments on “Times 24982 – The Fate of….er, a football team?”

  1. Fairly gentle, but I was held up in the SE by the crossing unknowns ROOTLE and ORF. Had dabbled with ‘croup’ for the ovine disease, which had the CU but not much besides. Also very slow to get DREADFULNESS, perhaps because it is such an ugly word and one I’m sure I’ve never used. 38 minutes – last in FINALES. Thanks to Vinyl for the parsing of OVERT.
  2. 29 minutes, so “Snap!”, vinyl1.

    I didn’t know the Primrose reference, although I expect I have come across it previously, nor the disease of sheep required for fully understanding 19ac.

    2dn was my last in and probably for that reason I was not happy with its definition on completing the puzzle last night, however, having slept on it I suppose it was fair enough.

  3. That was me; got signed out I suppose, when I had to de-install and re-install Firefox in order to do Concise puzzles online and submit them.
  4. Not sure of the time, but must have easily been a PB for me, managed it before Mr B came down for breakfast!

    Wasn’t familiar with the WAKEFIELD ref, nor the sheep’s complaint, but all others went in fine.

  5. I was so caught up in my speed –finished in 16′, should have been a PB–that I didn’t bother to think; another reason why I don’t do the cryptics online. So I didn’t try to figure out why WAKEFIELD, say, or DREADFULNESS (although I actually had heard of the island), etc. And I put in TRIOLET instead of TRIPLET (notes, trio; I don’t know). Surprised in retrospect that that was my only mistake.
  6. The only pause here was after working out COP IT and knowing I needed to fit LO in somewhere I thought I have never heard of a mariner called a COP ILOT.

    Jack or any other Guardian solvers – I could only access the puzzle at the weekend via the “Standard Version” using the print option, but today I can’t access by either route? Hope they don’t want money now. Needed it this morning after finishing The Times rather quicker than usual.

  7. gentle stroll this morning, but some nice clues anyway. Not heard of the sheep disease but bunged it in happily enough anyway.
  8. 9:24, and with an eye on the competition this weekend, was thinking more about speed than complete parsing, so WAKEFIELD and CORFU went in without knowledge and certainty respectively. Unfortunately so did CAPULET, (even as I pencilled it in, as a guess from the checkers, the definition “crew member” seemed a somewhat playful one, but I failed to go back and confirm my suspicions).

    Note to self: more haste, less speed, doofus. (For those who haven’t read his previous tips on doing well in the competition, one of Biddlecombe’s Laws is that by taking 30 seconds to check your answers you are far more likely to spot an error and stop yourself plummeting down the table than you are to be overtaken by those people while you proofread.)

  9. 8:40 so a bit of a doddle. I always wonder how some of the real speed merchants atually manage to read, solve and then write in the answers in such terrific times (ie sub 5 mins). I will be giving it a bash at the weekend too, so maybe see some of you there. Regards.
    1. I suspect the real speed merchants (2 minutes and thereabouts) cheat, i.e., they solve the printed puzzle at leisure and then bang in the solution online and post to the leaderboard. Very annoying, especially for the Saturday puzzle where this misbehaviour seems to be rampant.
  10. Went quite well here and even slowing considerably at the end came in at 17 minutes. I too thought a mispronounced copilot a very strange and obscure crew member. Surprised at controversial for emotive. The only justification I can see (apart I suppose from a dictionary definition somewhere) is the snide “That’s an emotive argument, dear”, i.e. open to doubt and controversial discussion.
  11. Under 9 minutes here, so a season’s PB in terms of time. COPILOT was last in, even though I had LO in as probable very early on. Wakefield’s vicar was an unknown (blushes with shame), and I thought the sheep disease was a fish. Research shows the fish has to have an E on the end.
    Otherwise (obviously) no issues. CoD to the traditional ENTERPRISING.
  12. Crikey. 7.29 here, so yes that was easy, in spite of not knowing the WAKEFIELD reference, the disease or the island.
    The definition of TRICK OR TREAT is a bit out of date now: the victory of Hallowe’en over Guy Fawkes seems complete, around here at least. My cultural instincts tell me to revolt but my kids love trick or treating and (whispers) it’s more fun.
  13. Well, it looks as if everybody is going to be able to get on with their life today! About 20 minutes for me, confidently entering WAKEFIELD on the worplay expecting (correctly) to find the explanation of ‘Primrose’ here. Thanks, vinyl, for the blog. COD to
    TRICK OR TREAT if only because of its correct emphasis upon it as an ‘American custom’. My irritation with the way this abomination has been infiltrated into British life only increases with age!
  14. 33 minutes, held up by COPILOT. I saw the wordplay easily enough but my brain kept rejecting the word (it doesn’t like ‘cooperate’ either; always feels there should be a hyphen in there). Would have been nice to see a reference to the Trinity at 14ac – I live in hope.
  15. 11:59 here with one interruption which probably added less than a minute to my time. Looking at the times of some fellow competitors above I’ll need to improve a bit by Saturday! WAKEFIELD and DREADFULNESS put in without full understanding, nor had I ever heard of the sheep disease ORF, but none of those slowed me down much.
  16. 24:10 – I had most of it done in about 18 minutes, then spent 6 or so staring at 2/11/12. I’d put OVERT in before, but then removed it when I couldn’t see the wordplay. Eventually put it back in and the rest followed.

    Didn’t understand the wordplay for WAKEFIELD or OVERT before coming here, so thanks to Jonathan for those. Having grown up in Essex, I had no problem with FOULNESS.

  17. An easy one that I managed to solve in 17 minutes. On first reading I thought 2 was one of those awful clues where you take your pick from a selection of ABCDEFG and N to get the answer. Fortunately it wasn’t.

    I wasn’t keen on the definition for 21. Although there may be an area of overlap in specific cases, ’emotive’ and ‘contoversial’ don’t mean the same thing at all.

  18. 10:51 after seventeen hours of travelling and four hours of sleep, so it must have been easy.

    I think ORF is transmissable to humans. Isn’t it what posh gals get after riding a horse?

    I’ve just got back to Canada after several weeks in the UK (and France). Next year I’ll try to time it better so I can come along and be very average at the Championship (if they’ll let me in). Good luck to all those warming up for this weekend’s challenge – I suspect the puzzles will be a mite harder than this one.

  19. 5:14, ending with the controversially-defined EMOTIVE (21ac), on which I’m with joekobi and dyste (and am disturbed that the editor isn’t).  Unknowns: Dr Primrose as the Vicar of WAKEFIELD (14ac), ORF (19ac CORFU), the musical TRIPLET (2dn), Foulness (10dn DREADFULNESS), and ROOTLET (20dn).

    I should be starting another term’s worth of crossword classes for undergraduates tomorrow – assuming my colleague has booked us a room, that is – and this will do nicely as our first puzzle, so I’m grateful for it.  And while I’m being grateful: sotira, thanks for the ORFul joke.

    Clues of the Day: 16ac (TOM SAWYER) and 3dn (RIGHT AWAY), which read less like crossword clues than most of the others.

  20. As for others very easy, even after a spell in the 19th. With those that looked twice at the EMOTIVE definition. In such an easy puzzle I don’t see the point in trying to be a bit misleading – why not delicate of sensitive?
  21. 32 minutes for me; so not so easy. My ignorance was mostly the sum of all previous unken. I was going to plead fatigue, but Sotira has blown that excuse out of the water. COD to RIGHT AWAY.
  22. May have done in my previous best at 6 minutes, though it seemed longer. OVERT and CORFU from definition, WAKEFIELD from checking letters.
  23. Exceedingly easy and I finished in just under 30 minutes, definitely my personal best time. Nothing very difficult and the clues where I didn’t understand all the bits of the definition were very clear from the parts I did understand (CORFU, WAKEFIELD, ROOTLET, EYRIE). My last in was TRIPLET as for a long time I was thinking along the lines of FIST containing some A to G letters, the whole thing to mean travel permit. COD to NIGHTIE.
  24. This seemed to fill itself in a relatively quick time. Needed the explanation of the wordplay for OVERT: spent a while trying to think what the clue was getting at, getting nowhere!
  25. Almost as fast as it can get for me. With eyesight problems it takes me a while just to read the clues and work out which bit of the grid they go in! 15 minutes. The only time I’ve ever been glad that I had to read “The Vicar of Wakefield” at school. A thoroughly miserable book for 13 year olds!
  26. About a half hour while watching the baseball playoffs. I presume an under-twenty were it not for the distraction but then again I’m not a real speed-merchant when it comes to these things…I savour them.
  27. 4:54 here. Sadly sub-5-minute times are a rarity for me these days, so this came as a pleasant surprise. (I expect they’re saving up the difficult ones for Saturday!)

    I didn’t know (had perhaps forgotten?) ORF, and, like others, I raised an eyebrow at EMOTIVE, but otherwise plain sailing.

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