Times 25,151 Bee Gee’s Downfall

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time 20 minutes

Welcome on the 1st of May to a puzzle with a smattering of slightly unusual words but nothing overly difficult and nothing particularly contentious as far as I can see. As the flood waters mount around me I’m off now to contemplate Beltane ritual.

4 COMPASSES – COMP(rehensive school)-ASSES; used to find your way to the Maypole;
9 NANTUCKET – NAN-TUCKET; a flourish on a trumpet (to herald the May Queen perhaps)=TUCKET;
10 HAIFA – (matc)H-AI-FA; AI=Great North Road; FA=Football Association;
11 TRYING – two meanings (bench=judiciary); what Cromwell did to pagan Mayday worshippers;
12 JULIENNE – JU(LIEN)NE; shredded vegetables;
14 VACILLATE – VAC(I’LL)ATE; unsure about jumping off Magdalen Bridge, no doubt;
16 TOKEN – NE(KO)T all reversed; Lily-of-the-Valley on La Fête du Travail;
17 DOWER – DO(W)ER; a widow’s inherited house;
19 DEAD,MARCH – DE(AD)MARCH(e); not suitable for Morris dancers;
21 MARITIME – MAR(ch)I-TIME; the main=the sea; March 20th is actually the first day of Spring;
22 HUMBUG – H-UMB(o)-UG; most politicians;
25 GRIEF – (figure – u=university)*; what dowers mitigate;
26 SCINTILLA – sounds like “sin tiller”; more a hint or trace than flash?;
27 SKEDADDLE – S(KED)ADDLE; KED=small fly that infests sheep; do a bunk;
28 EVANS – hidden reversed (l)EVAN S(etalpmetnoc); the undertaker in Under Milk Wood;
1 PUNITIVE,DAMAGES – P-(I’m savage + united)*; what some victims of Chicago Haymarket Massacre might get today;
2 WENDY – W-END-(matrimon)Y; with=W; the May Queen perhaps;
3 DIURNAL – diary=(jo)urnal then replce “Jo” by “Di”;
4 COKE – C(OK)E;
6 ATHEIST – (tea + this)*; an ATHEIST does have beliefs, so I don’t like this definition;
7 SPINNAKER – (napkins)*-ER; lose one at sea and you may need a mayday call;
8 SNAKE,IN,THE,GRASS – wind=SNAKE; blades=GRASS; Deep Throat perhaps;
18 RATAFIA – RAT-(m)AFIA; almond flavoured drink;
20 MOUNTIE – MOU(NT-I)E; look of spurned suitor when May Queen fancies Morris Dancer=MOUE;
24 MILE – MIL(n)E;

54 comments on “Times 25,151 Bee Gee’s Downfall”

  1. Jim, your jumbos have served you well with “umbo”, “dower” and “tucket”. (Wot no limericks?)

    Did our setter have prescience re yesterday’s result in Manchester (10ac)? City are indeed now on the road to Newcastle (Sunday).

    Only query is the “AA” in 24dn — wot no punctuation?

  2. Also had trouble with 24dn, which took approximately the same amount of time as all the rest of the grid. I can’t complain about the clue but I didn’t like it much.
    Good work typing in the entry for 28ac Jimbo
  3. 22 minutes, but with MIME at 24 (M1 and ME, with no clue as to definition). If AA connects to Milne as it did for Jim (Hush! Hush! Giggle who dares – Christopher Robin has fallen downstairs) it’s easy: otherwise, given the many other possibilities it’s almost impenetrable.
    Otherwise I found this really chewy, needing a broad vocab and with some very devious cluing. Plus I’m prepared to bet, given this setter’s penchant for contemporary events (United v City, footballers everywhere you look) equating JUNE with Summer this year is exceedingly doubtful.
    I was so confident 3 ended in -ARY with a girls name on top, I pencilled it in, which scuppered the NW until I worked round and back up to it. Didn’t get 1d until checkers yielded DAMAGES, an anagram well concealed by the (very likely) story.
    CoD to SCINTILLA for annoying our rhotic friends.
  4. 35 minutes for all but 24dn and about 30 minutes more on that one alone! There were two possible stretches (LIFE and TIME as prison sentences) to consider, something possibly not included by Alcoholics Anonymous (WINE) and at least two road references (RIDE and MILE). No doubt there were even more candidates amongst the 133 possibilities found by Chambers Word Wizard for ?I?E. I suppose it’s a case of sour grapes if I say I don’t think much of this clue.

    Still, I was pleased to get all but that one within reasonable time considering the devious cluing and several unknowns including TUCKET =flourish, KED = fly and DEMARCHE = diplomatic move.

    1. Not sour grapes at all. I don’t think much of it either but “AA” even though it’s not punctuated as McText points out, just bellowed Milne at me for some reason.
  5. Thanks for the brilliant blog, jimbo, and thanks to the setter for a severe, but enjoyable, challenge. Some (about 6) of my answers went in on definition only: I needed enlightenment from jimbo to understand why they were right!
  6. Killed my chance of a complete grid by entering dewan, James Dean as the actor and a form of Muslim council, or house as I thought. Then invented a notafia cordial. Thanks to blogger and setter.
  7. Enjoyed this one… but as Martin several went in on definition alone, one of which was MILE, but I think that was just lucky – had I considered all Jack’s other possibilities, I’m not sure I would have plumped for the right one!

    Unknowns today: KED, LIEN, UMB(O), HAIFA, TUCKET. Many thanks to Jim for explanations.

  8. 36 minutes. AA caused no problems – my delays were in the NW, where the only tricky clue was the diary one, but where I made life hard by fixating on ‘us’ at 1ac and forgetting the function of ‘with’ at 2dn. COD to SKEDADDLE, as I like and use the word, even if the fly was new to me.
  9. I hope this won’t be seen as nit-picking when someone has gone to the trouble of writing a comprehensive blog, but scintilla=spark=flash seems unexceptionable, and believer to denote an adherent of a religion is in both common usage and Chambers,so nothing to dislike from a crossword viewpoint.
  10. 20m, with a couple at the end resisting the urge to just bung in MILE and figuring out the wordplay.
    KED, TUCKET and UMBO all seem to have escaped from a Mephisto somewhere. I’m sure they’d be happier back in their natural habitat.

    Edited at 2012-05-01 11:38 pm (UTC)

  11. Good puzzle, good blog. KED, TUCKET and UMBO all new to me, but the solutions getable from the cryptic parsing. MILE was also my LOI. Like some others, I wasted much time on the alcoholic and motoring possibilities of AA. I can’t decide whether the omission of the punctuation points is unfair or legitimate misdirection. I guess the setter felt that A.A. would have made the reference to Milne too obvious. But I’ve no quibbles about SCINTILLA=flash (the word presumably comes to us from the French “scintiller” meaning to sparkle or twinkle) or, as an atheist myself, with the def at 6 dn. An atheist is indubitably someone who doesn’t believe in God, whatever else he/she may or may not believe in.
    1. It’s been the convention in newspaper typesetting for more than 20 years (the time I spent as a sub) that full stops are omitted after abbreviations (Mr Mrs) acronyms (RSPCA, FA) and people’s initials (TE Lawrence, PJ Proby). So there should be no problem with AA Milne.

      Edited at 2012-05-01 12:26 pm (UTC)

  12. 23:19 .. bit of a struggle, especially with MILE at the end.

    Another vote of thanks for a richly entertaining blog, jimbo

    1. Hi Sotira, just had to tell you this. Writing my blog for last Sunday’s Mephisto I’ve discovered that there is a World Porridge Making Championship – current champion one John Boa! You couldn’t make it up!
  13. I got to MILE from remembering that the AA didn’t come out to motor breakdowns at one’s house. I think one had to be a mile away.
    1. For the record, they do come to the home but you have to pay a higher sub if you want that option.

      Edited at 2012-05-01 11:39 am (UTC)

  14. Did this during breaks in the pub quiz last night (2nd place!) most of it came easily, but NANTUCKET, DIURNAL and SKEDADDLE went in from the definition without working out wordplay. No problem with MILE, I think I’ve seen a clue very similar to that before recently.
  15. Only problem I had was Milne never came to mind. Alcoholics Anonymous, battery and Automobile Association, yes. DNF, so Pooh! Congrats to blogger and setter.
  16. A leisurely finish while watching a fantastic (I believe you’d say ‘cracking’?) quarter-final match between Neil Robertson and Ronnie O’Sullivan.

    Plenty of unknows for me, as usual: comp, tucket, FA (I knew FC), dower, dead march, demarche, humbug, ked, coke, spinnaker, dom, dice = risk (makes sense from ‘dicey’), and ratafia.

    I was thinking of something like ‘gruntie’ for 20d, thinking ‘grue’ was a word before I remembered ‘moue’. I also toyed with TAKEN instead of TOKEN, which half-worked for ‘fell into trap’.

    I needed the blog to understand ‘on horse’ = ‘in SADDLE’ and the A. A. Milne, even though I’ve seen AA = Milne used recently! ::head slap::

    Edited at 2012-05-01 06:19 pm (UTC)

  17. 27 minutes with Mile on a wing and a prayer. I find AA (Milne) a little too much: the initials just aren’t that fixed into the collective whatever (trivia-pouch?) as a separable item. Much as I like him. Otherwise a perfectly accceptable offering.
  18. About 40 minutes, held up by those most mentioned already. I actually figured out the puzzling wordplay for MILE and DIURNAL as my LOI’s. Didn’t know umbo, ked, tucket, RATAFIA, and had also been long pondering over RANDOMISED and TAKEN vs. TOKEN. Nice puzzle though, despite holding me up, and thanks to Jimbo for the entertainment, and the revelation of the Porridge Champion. Regards to all.
  19. thanks for fine blog, jimbo. I don’t much like ‘being on horse’ = saddle, and didn’t know ked, so DNF, clocked AA Milne as I love WTP, and I guessed Nantucket. My Cod was compasses, made me smile for a second, maybe because the sun has appeared at last.

    Edited at 2012-05-01 07:13 pm (UTC)

    1. Pip, ‘on horse’ = ‘in the saddle’ and that’s where the fly goes.
  20. 16:14 for me, with over a third of that spent on MILE (not helped by tiredness at the end of an even more exhausting Tuesday than usual).
  21. One mistake tonight – a guess that Dewar was a type of house and Dear an actor. Thanks for explaining Nantucket and Mile Jimbo. I didn’t understand those two.

    Captain Ahab departed from Nantucket on his quest for the white whale (ref last week’s Championship qualifier).

  22. Didn’t finish- found this one fierce, but loved the United and City references (1dn; 10ac) as a bow to the previous night’s great victory. Not accidental, surely. Kudos to the setter
  23. I took well over an hour to slog my way through this one, but did finish correctly, with MILE LOI, more through luck than judgement. Missed the Milne reference but thought of M1 for road and stuck L in the gap. Unknowns were UMBO, TUCKET=flourish and RATAFIA which I got from the wordplay. Thanks to Jimbo for the explanations and blog.
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