Times 24994 – Where the heck is the puzzle?

Solving time:35 minutes

Music: Mahler, Symphony #2, Klemperer, Philharmonia

I was quite tired, and wanted to solve and blog this one quickly, but when I went to the Crossword Club I found only yesterday’s. Then I realized that the UK had switched from BST to GMT, while I was still on EDT, so I had another hour to wait. I filled the hour by finishing Saturday’s, which did not give me a lot of confidence in my level of solving skills tonight.

Fortunately, the Monday puzzle is usually not too bad. In this one, some very simple clues helped get me off to a quick start, but at the end I was done in by a wrong answer that added ten minutes to my time. I expect our usual crew will be much faster, although there were
a few tricky bits.

For now, I will continue the tradition of omitting the obvious ones. If I get a real toughie in which every clue is a gem of obscurity, then I may change my policy.

1 LIQUID L (I) QUID. I was thinking there must be some obscure slang term for fifty pounds along the lines of ‘pony’, but no, it’s just the Roman numeral.
4 BULRUSH, sounds like BULL + RUSH, where ‘barrel’ is used in a secondary sense, and the literal is quite indirect. This was my last in because of the wrong PM.
9 Omitted!
10 ARGENTINA, A + [u]RGENT + IN A. My second to last in because of the wrong PM. ‘Top priority’ is adjectival in sense, although a noun in the surface.
12 MOOCH, MOO + CH. The setter tries to fool you into not lifting and not separating ‘Low Church’. According to the OED, the usual slang meaning of ‘mooch’ in the 19th century was to loiter or to skulk about, but this has been
replaced by the freeloading meaning.
13 OGLE, OG(-r+L)E. A very simple letter replacement clue, where the cryptic is spells it out in detail.
14 WANDERINGS, W(AND ‘ER’)INGS. Most solvers will hardly bother with the cryptic.
18 TALENTLESS, TA LENT LESS. The Territorial Army is usually clued as ‘volunteers’, so the vague ‘soldiers’ makes this a little more difficult.
20 ICON, COIN with the ‘I’ moved. A noble was a gold coin current in the 14th and 15th
23 Omitted, look for it!
24 AVALANCHE, AV(ALAN CH)E. Another one where most solvers will not need the cryptic.
25 SPEEDBOAT, anagram of DEPOT, BASE. There are not many full or partial anagrams in this puzzle.
26 Omitted!
27 LASAGNE, LA(SAG)NE, where SAG is GAS backwards. Another starter clue to get you going.
28 BETTER, double definition, and a well-known one.
1 LOWESTOFT, L(O WEST OF)T, a port I had only vaguely heard of, but the cryptic gives it to you easily enough.
2 QUARREL, double definition, more or less. A ‘quarrel’ is technically a projectile fired with a crossbow that is considerably different from an arrow used with a bow….but why quarrel?
3 INSIDE, IN + S[team] + IDE, where ‘porridge’ is a slang term for a prison sentence, now obsolete due to the gourmet cooking in modern prisons.
4 BOGGY, BO(GG)Y. It is the literal that is cleverly disguised here, as ‘moorish’ = ‘like a moor’.
5 LANDMARK, L + AND MARK, where the overly elaborate clue hides a simple literal and simple cryptic.
6 UNICORN, UNI + CO,RN, i.e. Commanding Officer, Royal Navy.
7 HEATH, double definition. I admit, I put in ‘North’ without even thinking. That is the five-letter PM ending in ‘h’, and Scotland is in the north, right? Wrong!
8 MAINSAIL, MA IN (sounds like sale) SAIL.
15 DISTASTE, DI”S [s]TA(S)TE, where the ‘s’ of ‘state’ is moved down.
16 SONNETEER, anagram of ONE ENTERS. This may be an error; I cannot find any indication in either the OED, Webster’s Third International, or Google that a ‘sonneteer’ is a book of verse. An &lit – solved correctly, blogged wrong!
19 Omitted, another hoary chestnut
21 COCKPIT, double definition on historical principles, as one meaning gradually led to another.
22 GAUCHE, double definition, one in English, one in French
23 LOSEL, LOSE + L[eeds]. My first in, easy if you know the word, which was current from the 14th to the 17th centuries,
24 ALONE, [m]ALONE. Sweet Molly Malone is the legendary cockles and mussels seller in the Irish song. She is pretty close to being topless in the statue on Grafton Street – maybe that’s how the setter got the idea!

37 comments on “Times 24994 – Where the heck is the puzzle?”

  1. I think SONNETEER is a semi-&-lit. A sonneteer is one [who] enters output in a book of verse.

    And what order do you look at the clues in if 23D was your first one in. Or maybe that is a joke. I’d never heard of the word either.

  2. The worthless fellow, the jazz piano style and the arrow were all new to me – although the last two went in easily enough from the definitions and the question marks only arose later. I’m always a bit nervous about classifications, but I had SONNETEER as a semi &lit. as well. 30 minutes for me.
  3. 40 minutes with the last 10 spent on 1ac, 1dn and 2dn which had all eluded me to the very end. Other than that everything was straightforward except LOSEL which was unknown.

    I mentioned ‘stride piano’ in a supplementary comment to my latest blogged puzzle (21st October) so it was a bit of coincidence it should turn up today. I don’t think it has appeared before.

  4. 14 minutes, but it felt even easier than that. I didn’t know QUARREL or LOSEL but they were easy enough with checkers in place.
  5. 15 minutes, so in a zone above an “easy Monday”. I must be quite a bit younger than Vinyl as my memory does not stretch back into the 17th century, and LOSEL was my last in, entered on a whim and a prayer. I having living memory of HEATH, but not North.
    Next to last was SONNETEER, despite being one, and as already noted, it’s a cleverer clue than it initially appears – I too was looking for the anthology. My CoD, replacing the early favourite TALENTLESS. A decent start to the week.
  6. Well, I didn’t return to a guessed and highly dubious bulluch, and so a 19 minutes doesn’t count. Knew losel from Larkin’s poem ‘Toads’ -‘losels, loblolly-men, louts’. Maybe the setter has the second of these slouching in the wings. Is Argentina a state rather than a country? I can see it “passes” however. A straightforward enough offering with a slight twist in it but not much snap.
    1. LOSEL bothered me a bit because I had a feeling there was a bell ringing somewhere. This was it, so thanks.
    2. I’d forgotten that “losels” appears in Toads – a favourite poem of mine, along with Toads Revisited.
  7. Nice one this, partly easy but partly not – losel was new to me too and I know nothing about jazz, and care less. But both went in OK, from the wordplay. 18m altogether. I particularly liked 4ac and and 16dn for their elevated levels of misdirection..
    1. I doubt your average jazz fan would be familiar with the term ‘stride’, a somewhat specialist piano technique dating from the 1920s/30s. Probably the most widely popular exponent of the style was Fats Waller, and I wonder how many people under the age of 60 have even heard of him. And probably very few even of them would know that was the style he played.
      1. Sad to think that Fats Waller is probably largely forgotten now. I probably still have an EP of him playing (and singing) Ain’t Misbehavin’ and others, and I certainly still have The “Fats” Waller Album of favourite songs and piano transcriptions, the latter a joy to play.
  8. … and that was 4ac where, like Joe, I had bulluch. If pressed, I would have spelled the reed with two Ls. The arrow, the jazz style and the wastrel were also unknown, but the coin was remembered from a recent-ish puzzle.

    Hadn’t realised 16dn was an anagram (doh!), and couldn’t work out the parsing for DISTASTE, so thanks for that.

  9. LOSEL was a guess from wordplay rather than obvious! With Janie on usual spelling of BULLRUSH but OED merely gives this as alternative to BULRUSH. LOWESTOFT has sadly suffered severe decline as a fishing port and, I suspect, is now more dependent on other products from the North Sea.

    Overall this was an enjoyable start to the week. Thank you setter and vinyl.

  10. 23 minutes, but could have saved a lot of that if i hadn’t originally put ARGETINAA in as the name of the country and not being able to see 14 straight off write in RANDOMNESS also with a question mark (in this case justified). BULRUSH from checking letters with a question mark and LOSEL from wordplay alone.
  11. 10 minutes with an educated guess at LOSEL, and following a revision of my initial stab at BULLISH. I know the editor always denies we get a nice easy start to the week on purpose, but this was certainly a gentle one for a gloomy Monday morning. Nothing wrong with that, say I.
  12. A mainly straightforward Monday offering which I managed to finish in 25 minutes over afternoon tea. A minor hold-up was my initial answer tpo 28, BOATER; the use of “cap” in another sense was a neat deception. I was quite surprised by the appearance of LOSEL, which I haven’t seen outside the Listener and other tough cryptics.
    I thought “output” a dubious anagrind, so I was not as delighted by 16 as some.
  13. Isn’t there a thought that it’s best to start with the later clues on the grounds that they’re more likely to be rushed or bored filler? For instance, the single good old container clue – 90% of which are gimmes – is nearly always in the lower half.
  14. Well I certainly didn’t find this an easy Monday puzzle clocking in at a dismal 26:56.

    My last two in were 1a and 2d and I’m far from happy with liquid defined as a drink. I wouldn’t drink liquid if it were bleach, acid, bats’ pee or whatever. I don’t think it’s any more valid than defining solid as food.


  15. This would have been my best time ever by a long long way(10mins) and it seemed so easy, but for losel. Just didn’t get it, and resorted to aids 10 mins later. One day….
  16. Nice easy 20 minute workout. Also thought 1A should be “drink perhaps”; not sure what “regarding” is doing in 2D; thought “he’s” should be “it’s” at 6D.

    Thought 16D SONNETEER a nice clue and knew LOSEL from somewhere.

  17. You’ve put 26 across twice – one of them is a 28! I sat with “boater” in that one for ages until I couldn’t think what else 22 down could be!
  18. About 50 minutes here, with the laswt 30 minutes fooling around with GAUCHE because I also entered BOATER for 28A, and was quite convinced it was correct. It still looks like a better answer than BETTER. Everything else went in the first 20 minutes, even though I also didn’t know of the stride jazz, the LOSEL or the QUARREL projectile. I’m also surprised that no one has yet quibbled AVALANCHE, which to me is not a landslide at all. So I toss that gripe into the ring, though it didn’t prevent me solving it. Regards to all. BTW, vinyl, I did the same thing as you at 7PM EDT (not EST, until we switch). Best.
    1. Kevin,it’s maybe worth noting that stride piano originated in your city. It’s also known as Harlem stride.
  19. …so BETTER the choice over BOATER for which a clue might be
    28. Punter’s lid (6). Spent a good ten minutes in the doldrums over MAINSAIL until my friend called saying he had just put his Arlberg 37 up for the winter and the light dawned. Also about 50 minutes but chuffed over getting STRIDENCY and GAUCHE so quickly.
  20. 9:01 for me. Not too keen on 4dn – surely not all moors are BOGGY? And I’m not all that keen on semi-&lits either, so two in one puzzle (16dn and 19dn) felt excessive.
  21. I don’t know why this took me a whole hour, but it did. QUARREL and STRIDENCY were new to me, but still. Did anyone think it odd to refer to a cockpit as accommodation for the fowl?
    1. One of the definitions in Chambers is “space for what is required” so a cockpit could be said to be the accommodation required for a cockfight.
  22. I didn’t know ‘Toads Revisited’. Just read it: it is good. But a tad dispiriting for one (myself) who’s just retired!

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