Times 25446 – my guess is apparently better than most

Solving time : 20:00 – really because after 7 minutes of umming and ahhing, I bunged in an answer that half made sense at 13 across, and it turned out to be right. A peek at the leaderboard shows a lot of the ususal suspects having at least one incorrect answer, which I suspect is 13 across. I’ll leave it for last in the blog in case nothing comes to mind.

I’m writing this in Terminal E of the Charlotte Douglas International airport – I’m not going to be able to see comments for a while, so if there isn’t a great solution to 13 across in the blog, check comments. I’m sure within a few minutes all will be explained, but I may not be able to update it here.

Away we go…

1 BONELESS: ONE in BLESS(exclamation of benevolence)
9 DAW: DAWN without the ending
10 TALL STORIES: ALL,ST(stumped, as in cricket), in TORIES
12 CHERRY PICK: Sooonerism of PERRY CHICK – had to look it up for the blog to find PERRY is fermented pear juice
13 SAIL: my bugbear while I was solving – now I see it’s LIAS (Jurassic rock) reversed, and SAIL can mean ships collectively
15 S,LATER: hey, another beetle, only this one covers roofs
18 PAP(goo),ERE(before),R(enovation)
20 LAIRED: sounds like LAIRD
23 NOON: your palindromic time of day
24 DIGESTIBLE: anagram of DIETS and BILGE
26 AGELESSNESS: take the AGE out of SAGE and you get S(saint)
27 our across omission
29 STUDIOUS: STUD(young fellow after women) then O,U in IS
1 BODICE: since the BOD is on the ICE it could be skating
2 NEW DEAL: double def, one cryptic, in that a NEW DEAL may grow up to be a tree one could use for lumber
6 HOOK: could be in Peter Pan
8 RESOLUTE: LOSER reversed then alternating letters in hUsTlE
11 SACK,V,ILL,EWES,(plo)T: great wordplay of which I needed every bit!
14 SOVIETISED: anagram of VETOED with IS twice
17 SPONDAIC: another one I neeeded all the wordplay for – S, POND, A(larm), IC(e)
21 EMBAR(k),GO
22 our down omission
25 BEAT: BET around A

47 comments on “Times 25446 – my guess is apparently better than most”

  1. 1 mistake, and not the one predicted.

    I had most of this done in 10 minutes or so but the SW had me totally stumped. I was undone by BEAT where, after a lot of wavering, I went for ‘belt’, hoping the pound was doing double-duty. A serious ‘Doh!’ moment on coming here and seeing the right answer.

    COD .. PHONEME, a real penny-drop clue

    1. I also had BELT initially although I wasn’t happy with it. In competition conditions that’s what I would have gone for and that would have been 22 mins with one wrong. However, I decided to give it some more thought before I came here and had my own ‘D’oh!’ moment, realised it was BEAT, changed it, but didn’t time the gap. SAIL and SPONDAIC took the most time of the other answers.

      Andy B.

      1. Thank you for making me feel better! I was reluctant to go with ‘belt’ but I was nearing the half hour mark and attempting a second straight week on Tony Sever’s “Neutrino-free” leader board (30 minutes max.) so I had to make a decision.

        Edit: I should have linked Tony’s – Neutrino-Free Leaderboard

        Edited at 2013-04-11 09:12 pm (UTC)

        1. Thanks for the plug – though I don’t suppose people who aren’t members of the Times Crossword Club will be able to follow the link!?

          And commiserations over BELT. If you’re up against the clock like that, you’ve just got to go for it and pray.

  2. Again, with a sheer bet on SAIL. Good job it’s a favourite example of metonymy used by English teachers — along with “head” for cattle. But still had to look up LIAS. All the trouble today in the SW, with SPONDAIC holding everything up. POND for “lake” … hmmm, I wonder?

    With Sotira on PHONEME as the fun moment.

    1. When my wife was young, she nearly drowned in Walden Pond, which is definitely bigger than the name suggests, and obviously sprang to my mind. Can’t think of any other examples, I admit, but there’s one, at any rate.
      1. I’m reading “Not Dead Yet” by Peter James. In there it states that any body of inland water larger than half an acre is a lake. It doesn’t say what a pond is.
    2. I believe the Golden Pond on which Henry Fonda and Katherine Hepburn took their final (?) major roles was also a lake, both in the film and in ‘real life’.
  3. I dithered on SAIL (my LOI, after HOOK, which I had trouble connecting with ‘punch’ for some reason; I had the other meanings in mind), because I didn’t have the courage to follow Holmes’s advice. Never heard of lias, but then, so what? At 20ac I thought immediately of ‘laird’, of course, then tried to figure out how to get it inside ‘den’ (don’t try this at home); mightn’t a ? have been appropriate? I’d forgotten about spondees, but once I got CREATE (lucky to remember that word, which I probably learned from a cryptic) it came back to me.Thanks, George, for explaining NEW DEAL, which I got right away but didn’t parse; I didn’t know deal was a tree. In fact, according to SOED anyway, it isn’t.
  4. I explained SAIL the same way as in the blog, but had to look up both meanings to be sure it was correct. Apart from a fruitful period in the middle of the solve this felt like hard work and I was pleased to find it completed in 32 minutes(apart from SAIL).

    Didn’t know SPONDAIC or PHONEME.

    Rather surprised to find 22dn omitted as it was my LBOI and the checkers were unhelpful with 99 possibilities (apparently).

    Edited at 2013-04-11 02:16 am (UTC)

  5. Bang on the hour, having found this a right old tussle, SAIL not excluded. (Fortunately, it was the only thing I could think of to fit -A-L having something to do with ships.)

    Last in LAIRED; COD to BEAT for the surface.

        1. I didn’t think of YAWL either, but if I had I’m reasonably confident I’d have picked “lias” over “lway” for the series of rocks.
  6. Since deal appears to mean only wood as a building material, I wonder if ‘time’ in the clue refers to the maturation process thought to be desirable when using it. I found this in ‘Mrs Beeton’ of all people:

    ‘The table should be made of good, well-seasoned deal or other white hard wood; the top must be smooth, without cracks, and substantial, and the legs perfectly plain and strong.’

    1. I’m pretty sure you’re right about “time” referring to the time taken for the wood to mature. At any rate that was my conclusion before I moved on to the next clue.
  7. Does that make the NEW DEAL actually a RAW DEAL?

    Edited at 2013-04-11 06:33 am (UTC)

  8. Like Ulaca, pretty much an hour taken over this one. Perhaps I started too early, or hadn’t ingested enough caffiene, but there it is.

    CoD definitely PHONEME, lovely one.

    Many thanks

  9. Also taken in by 25 and uncertainly offering ‘belt’; otherwise 26 minutes. Great Beeton quote ulaca. 19 an ace of course but 17 also rather pleasing. Moments of craft and craftsmanship lurking here and there in otherwise relatively easy terrain. I hadn’t realised ‘Peter Pan’ was a play i.e. theatrical before it was a novel. About to fulminate till (for once) I checked. On edit: A trace of fulminic acid however in my thoughts on the sentimental exclamation of benevolence!

    Edited at 2013-04-11 10:25 am (UTC)

  10. 22:15 on the club timer.
    I finished most of this very quickly, but then got completely stuck with about 7 or 8 to go, and from then on it was a bit of a grind.
    I confess I looked up “lias” before submitting, but I’m allowing myself the time because I couldn’t think of anything other than SAIL. In competition conditions, without a dictionary, the outcome would have been the same, only with more worry.
    Another very fine puzzle that is easier to appreciate when the struggle is over.
  11. 15:44, having dodged a bullet by thinking twice about my first stab at BELT, possibly because of the recent puzzle where that turned out to be a plausible alternative answer, if not necessarily the one the setter envisaged. I think everyone hates finding the right word for those _E_T ones, don’t they?

    As so often, my knowledge of old pub names came to my rescue (in this case, the Blue Lias on the Grand Union canal in Warwickshire where I’ve had a drink once or twice). Lucky for me that beer and crosswords go together so well.

  12. I think that 25D (BELT instead of BEAT) is probably what has caused problems – at least, it caught me out. I didn’t know the “series of rocks” part in 13A but there weren’t (m)any other likely alternatives to SAIL.
  13. I thought this was going to be a drag strip of a time with NEW DEAL entered with conviction despite not understanding – or barely reading – the clue. Then, on a whim, I tried the NE and came unstuck on beetle (furrowed brow?) as an anagram of I/A FRET R, making could-be-anything 6d impossible to guess. So I switched to the SW (my normal route) and crashed again. Is pap at 18 gooey? Couldn’t touch it until I got SPONDAIC in a moment of inspiration (heavy footed indeed!). SW fell pretty easily, though SOVIETISED was a struggle while I tried to remember a word for reform I could drop IS from twice. Then a wild stab sort of approach to the resistors bore fruit for 28 minutes total.
    I thought LIAS has two S’s, but that’s loess which could still be a series of very, very tiny rocks. Just as well it doesn’t work in place.
    PHONEME in last, ironically trying to make it a sounzlike (on the mobile) and toying with something-EWE. Clever enough clue designed perfectly to delay pennies dropping.

    Edited at 2013-04-11 09:14 am (UTC)

  14. Managed it all today with one ? (SAIL, didn’t know anything about the series of rocks) and an omission. Which is also one of today’s blog’s omissions. How absolutely infuriating that is!!! I have already spent forever looking at _E_E_S, and cannot think of anything appropriate. Honestly thought I’d come to this board to find a complete unknown word / meaning, but, since it’s an omission, probably not… Don’t think anyone’s mentioned it in the comments above (I’ll have another look), so I’ll have to try a bit longer…

    Despite this, thanks to our blogger for explaining the wood bit of NEW DEAL. SPONDAIC and CHAFER from wordplay.

    1. Mêlées, one more for my campaign to have crossing accented letters matched. This person ME and dregs LEES

      1. Many thanks, I don’t think I’d ever have got this one (despite being French teacher in an earlier life…).

        I don’t usually mind omissions, but maybe this one was a little unfair, seeing as it was made up of a pretty obscure (or is that just me?) word (LEES) to give not only a foreign word, but one with accents!

        1. It’s probably no consolation but I thought this one might cause problems with, em, younger solvers. I only became familiar with the word at school when we had to translate from one of the Classical languages, and the Victorian era dictionary said ‘lees’ rather than sediment or dregs.
          1. I’m reading the 2nd book of the “Game of Thrones” series. I’ve just come to a MELEE. It’s a sort of mock battle between armoured knights where the prize goes to the last man standing. (Btw, in Game of thrones the winner is a woman – but it is a fantasy!) Ann
  15. A mix of the tough and straightforward. Quite a few solutions went in without fully working out the cryptic construction (thanks to George for his explanations). SACKVILLE-WEST was a case in point, where the clever wordplay was rather wasted if you happened to be familiar with Sissinghurst and its creator. NEW DEAL, SPONDIAC and PHONEME were all very good. Alas, like several others, I fell into the BELT trap at 25 dn and thus ended up with 1 wrong answer.
  16. I didn’t have much trouble with this but it did take me a solid 40 minutes.
    I haven’t come across ‘stumped’ for ST in a crossword before. I thought 17 was a really nice clue – good surface and some neat deception with ‘melting’ suggesting to me anagram material rather than deletion until I had the answer.
  17. 23:35 and I’m another who finished up with sail bunged in as a desperate guess.

    I also considered belt at 25 on the basis that there is such a thing as a money belt but fortunately spotted the more convincing and correcter alternative.

    Spondaic unknown, chafer only known because a cock-chafer once landed on a friend’s back and I dislodged it. Big fecker it was hence the post-dislodge visit to the insect books to find out what the hell it was.

    For reasons I don’t need to go into here I’ve had a 20 litre box of perry in my car boot since February.

    1. Cock-chafer – got to say that made me smile, especially in the proximity of fecker…
  18. A bit of a struggle today after my second round of golf this week – truly my cup runneth over

    Got there in the end with guesses of SAIL and BEAT. Amazed to see 22D omitted – difficult clue in my book with a slightly obscure LEES and a foreign word as the answer. Surely an argument for not leaving answers out at all?

    1. I’m with you all the way on not leaving any answers out. Some of you do and some of you don’t, and I haven’t noticed any wrath falling from on high, or wherever such wrath would come from. I understand the historical reason for the omission policy but that is surely past its use-by date.

      Andy B.

  19. Too difficult for me today. I could not crack the SW corner at all and ended up with all six there missing. Might have been a different story if I’d heard of Spondaic… but I hadn’t. Pity – brought my run of three all-correct-without-aids to an abrupt halt. I guessed Sail.
    Thanks for explaining everything I didn’t get George.
    Back to the golf at Augusta…
    1. There is a whole world of appalling words out there that are to do with metrical verse. Reading this wiki article will give you a clue. They crop up all the time… I hadn’t heard of spondaic either, but I had heard of spondee, which sufficed
      1. Thanks Jerry. I hope those words are reserved for Mephistos and don’t appear in the dailies!
  20. Do you think we can please all agree not to leave clues out any more? I never have, since I started blogging, and I haven’t been tarred or feathered yet
  21. Quite a straightforward 32.42 today with no serious holdups though a slow finish with SAIL and BEAT having pondered yawl and belt for sometime. Thanks to the blogger as I couldn’t explain NEW DEAL about which I was more nervous than anything else.
    1. But that would mean the definition would be “Money” and that doesn’t mean belt.
  22. Too late to say anything that hasn’t already been said. I too had problems with the SW corner – specifically with 17d. I got as far as SPONDA but forgot that SPONDAIC was actually a word – although I must have known it in my schooldays. I was toying with SPONDATE but that meant an initial E for 28a which stumped me. The penny dropped eventually but it made for a slow time. 42 minutes. Ann
  23. 10:37 for me. I was plodding along quite well, but then got stuck in the SW corner.

    BEAT was my LOI. I thought of BELT even before I had the final T, but couldn’t fully justify it, so thought a bit more. (Phew!)

    I was a bit slow with PHONEME as well, assuming that the answer was going to be based on some modern expression related specifically to a mobile phone rather than something that would do equally for an old-fashioned landline job.

    Nice puzzle.

  24. I agree that this is irritating. It happens quite often that the ones I don’t understand (even though entered)are not explained. Was this a PB notion? And if the cat is now away surely we mice can amend the policy?
  25. Was I the only one who thought 25 down was obviously ‘punt’ (Irish of course) which completely frustrated my attempts to solve 26 across.

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