Times 25449 – It’s a Scott, but not a Scot

Solving time: 45 rather distracted minutes

Music: None, the playoff at The Masters

Due to the events at Augusta, I tackled this puzzle with only half my attention. Fortunately, it proved to be another rather easy Monday puzzle, and I was able to recover from several casual guesses that I might not have put in normally. No, 1 across is not ‘picnic’.

Quite a few of my answers went in from the literals and the enumerations. However, I checked each one against the cryptic before proceeding, which prevented me from putting in wrong answers and getting thoroughly stuck like I usually do. So I came out all right in the end, under the circumstances.

1 PECTIN, hidden in [ex]PECTIN[ing]. A fine misdirection clue, considering that the setter is usually either the author of the puzzle, or a dog.
4 BESEECH, BE(S[ilenc]E)ECH. One from the literal.
9 LOADS, double definition. ‘Charges’ means ‘loads’ in various senses, starting with what the no-load mutual fund doesn’t have. I wasn’t too sure about ‘bags’, but finally decided that ‘loads’ = ‘lots’ = ‘bags’, as in ‘he has bags of money’, but a full set of luggage might be used for a more physical sort of ‘bags’.
10 EARNESTLY, E(ARNE)STLY, i.e. an anagram of STYLE. I thought for a long time I was looking for a composer until I realized no one fit the crossing letters.
11 SALAD DAYS, SA(ALADD[in]AYS. We just had ‘salad cream’ last week, so I was ready for this.
12 THERE, THE(R[esistance])E
13 OAST, O + AS + [ken]T.
14 Omitted, a chestnut, ask if puzzled.
18 FALSE TEETH, anagram of AS THE FLEET. Given away by the literal and enumeration.
20 STIR, double definition, where ‘nick’ = ‘stir’ = ‘gaol’ . There were a lot of possibilities before the crossing letters narrowed them down.
23 CHIEF, C(HIE)F, where FC is ‘Football Club’ backwards.
24 CROWS FEET, anagram of SCOT + FEWER. I had put in ‘brown spot’ after seeing Scot and thinking no further, but decided that wouldn’t do because the former PM is still around.
25 APOCRYPHA, anagram of APPROACH + [librar]Y. ‘Books’ is always ‘OT’ or ‘NT’, so it’s time we hit the middle.
26 ARENA, ARE(N)A, where the pole is the N Pole.
27 PITCH IN, PITCH + IN. I should have seen this right away and didn’t.
28 BLITHE, BLIT[z] + HE. ‘Blithe’ is often used to mean ‘unconcerned’, but that is not its root meaning, rather like ‘selig’ became ‘silly’ in English.
1 POLISH OFF, POLISH + OFF in different senses. A bit of a chestnut, since the Polish/polish pair is often used.
2 CHARLES, CH + ARLES. A very smooth surface.
3 INSIDE, double defintion, where ‘serving porridge’ refers to a spell in prison. We’ve had quite a bit of this term lately in both the Times and the Guardian puzzles.
4 BARTS, BAR + T[ube]S. A bit of London knowledge required here.
6 EXTREME, EX([pos]T)REME. The Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers strike again!
7 HOYLE, HO([Bingle]Y)LE. My first in, I followed contemporary astronomy and big-bang cosmology as a boy 50 years ago.
8 DE LA MARE, MALE upside down in DARE. How many authors fit this enumeration? I could only think of this one.
15 NOT SO BAD, BOSTON upside down over A D[emocrat]. Another one where the enumeration is helpful.
16 MARAT-SADE, anagram of STAR MADE A. I had to think a bit to crack this one.
17 Omitted, should be obvious from the crossers.
19 LAID OUT, L(AID)OUT. Another giveaway from the literal and enumeration.
21 THEREAT, TH(ERE)AT. I was rather surprised to see this with 12 across already in.
22 ASSAIL, A S SAIL. I had to guess the last component, but you could look it up: “A royal is a small sail flown immediately above the top-gallant on square rigged sailing ships”
23 CHAMP, CHA(M[ichael]P.
24 CAPON, CAPO + N. Not the kind of godfather I was expecting, but you never know.

29 comments on “Times 25449 – It’s a Scott, but not a Scot”

  1. Mostly done within 30 minutes but I had problems finishing off with CAPON, MARAT SADE and ARENA delaying me for some time. I wondered about “baroque” as the anagrind in 10ac – it’s not even listed as such in Chambers extensive list – but on checking I find that it can mean “irregularly shaped” with specific reference to pearls, so I think that covers it.
    1. What a total waste of time that list is! Anagrinds are a part of the setter’s creative armoury anyway, so trying to list them is hardly in the spirit of the game
  2. A few things I didn’t know (capo, royal, and most notably the play abbreviated to Marat/Sade in the Frost/Nixon style) pushed my time out to 50 minutes. I never got past ‘library books’ for 25ac, so thanks to my fellow Monday-man for that one. Nice puzzle to start the week.

    I took the first part of the dd at 9ac (charge/load) as an electrical reference.

    1. Of course, I thought of “charge your glasses”. Guns would also work perhaps?
  3. Had to keep stopping for a rest because of a chronic left shoulder. But I’ll admit to the temptation of PICNIC at 1ac.

    At 5dn, there was another fortunate overlap where I took SPEC as “spot” (eliding the “almost” in the clue). As in “Let’s get to the ground early and get a good spec (= viewing position)”. All this from the days before ticketing and seats. But that probably derives from “spectate”.

    19dn was obvious from the literal, as Vinyl says. I’ve even performed such a practice. (We got an extra £8 for volunteering at the hospital I worked at in the early 70s.) But I did wonder why DIA was a leg!

    Very stupid this morning.

    Note to Vinyl: you have two 22dns.

    Edited at 2013-04-15 05:00 am (UTC)

  4. ..mine’s expired and I can’t get back on. Any further news from anyone please?
      1. Nothing yet from me but I’m hoping to hear something from the Times this week. Were you on automatic renewal or expecting to renew manually?
        1. Problem ostensibly resolved by going to the Worldpay site and changing credit card info whilst cancelling the rolling subscription.Thanks Jack. Hope this helps the others.
  5. Thought this was quite tricky, spending a few minutes on the double definition clues 9A and 20A. Didn’t know MARAT-SADE, ARLES, or the royal SAIL but the wordplay sufficed. LOI was LAID OUT, as I was half-wondering if it could be LAIN OUT and I wasn’t initially convinced by AID = a leg up.
  6. 20 minutes with the suspicion that 20 was a bit slow.
    Two clues (LOADS and STIR) where we were spoilt for choice by the def and wordplay didn’t help much, and I quite liked (and initially entered) THREE for and answer at 12 – “Voila!” as in one… two… THREE! THERE is duller.
    At 16, not having ever seen / in the enumeration, I worked on the assumption that is was a misprint and tried to make it DRAMA something. I wonder if we’ll ever have, say “rugby players” enumerated as 5/4 and have to enter THREE/FOUR? The floor is open to better suggestions.
    LAID OUT caused me much grief trying to work out which version of crosswordland “leg” went backwards into the frame.
    The elegant ARENA was my CoD, though CHARLES gave me that little frisson of pathetic pride for actually knowing where Van Gogh worked.

    Edited at 2013-04-15 09:10 am (UTC)

  7. My 16:50 was still good enough to put me on the first page of the leaderboard at time of writing, so I clearly wasn’t labouring too badly. As well as noting the prompt appearance of Mr. “Calm Down, Dear” not very long after his demise, my first thought was that Patrick Moore, who died only a month before Winner, was also going to make an appearance in 7dn, possibly with some anagram involving “room”, before I worked it out correctly. Incidentally, wikipedia reveals that Fred Hoyle actually was born in Bingley; always nice when there is an &lit. element to a clue that isn’t necessary to solve it, but makes the surface literally more correct.

    (For the literal reading, of course, it would be even better if Hoyle had chosen to have his remains launched into orbit a la Gene Roddenberry. Sadly, there is no public record of the matter, other than the fact that he died in Bournemouth – feel free to add your own joke about lifeless vacuums here…)

  8. 14m here. Straightforward Monday fare I thought.
    My last in was the play. I’m sure I must have come across it before but I didn’t remember it when solving. Fortunately there isn’t really anywhere else to put the letters.
    Unkowns today: the Arles/Van Gogh connection and “royal”, although I’m sure that must have appeared before.
    It didn’t take long for Michael Winner to put in an appearance here.
  9. I sailed through most of this and expected to be finished in 20-25 minutes, but got bogged down in the NE corner and it was 30 minutes before the last entry went in (10), where I was looking for a composer most of the time. I also toyed with MOORE for the astronomer, but there had to be a Y in there.
    I liked the “Ascent of Man” clue and several others.
  10. 24.10 for a not too demanding work-out. Neat moments enough to stop me getting any speed up. COD Hoyle for the surface, now all is explained. I liked his novel ‘The Black Cloud’ – does anyone remember it?
  11. Really appreciated the clever, succinct clues of the type you can sit back and admire when you’ve finished. A most enjoyable puzzle that took exactly half an hour.

    Once heard of a genteel old lady who always referred to FALSE TEETH as “bought teeth”; can’t think who it was.

  12. 20:26 .. coming off the back of a migraine so happy just to get through it.

    As John says, some really elegant things in here. I love that “baroque style”.

    Two went in without, as we say, full understanding: ASSAIL, where nothing else seemed plausible, and MARAT-SADE, which fell into that strange category of things familiar despite knowing nothing whatsoever about them. I didn’t even know it was a play. I just knew there was something called Marat-Sade. I’m now one Wikipedia entry better read than I was this morning.

    COD .. EARNESTLY or PECTIN, which eluded me for ages

  13. One silly mistake today (Loans not Loads at 9ac). Held up in the SE corner by putting Thereon initially at 21dn. LOI Blithe. Liked the Michael Winner reference and Pectin, Arena and Mainstream. De La Mare and Marat-Sade from wordplay – both previously unknown to me.
    Delighted that Adam Scott won the Masters after his meltdown at Lytham last year.
  14. I thought this not difficult but far more witty than average. Is 14ac really a chestnut? I had it as my cod..
    Lots of neat surfaces here, look at 25ac for example
    1. >…
      >Is 14ac really a chestnut?

      I wouldn’t have classed it as such, but in No. 23,699 (6 Sept. 2007) we had: “Common mum having a country swim? (10)”, and I expect that’s not the first time something similar has come up. However, that could probably be said of a fair number of clues.

  15. Very bizarrely, I was doing this puzzle as we travelled to Bingley for a funeral. I had already commented that 19 down was somewhat appropriate given our destination, when we passed Sir Fred Hoyle Way!
  16. 9:36 for me. A delightful puzzle to start the week. So many good things, but I particularly liked 7dn (HOYLE). I’d have been faster if I hadn’t wasted time trying to fit DRAMA into the first part of 16dn, and then agonised over STIR as my LOI, worried about “prompt” (which was perfectly OK, once I’d thought about it a bit).
  17. Not sure if anyone will see this, but if anyone does and is kind enough to offer an explanation then I have a few queries

    21d How does Thereat = “or after that”? (I think) I understand the cryptic part.
    26a What indicates that the N from circumpolar should be put inside Area? I looked at this for ages trying to work that out.

    Also, I thought that capital letters weren’t used for things that should be lower case. For example, Winner is capitalised when the solution is champ, but in this context it would not be capitalised.

    1. I just saw your request – this puzzle is published today in Australia.
      21D: thereat:- the second def. in CED is “on account of or after that.” I had the same query.
      26A: The word “circumpolar means “around the pole”, hence AREA around N (or S)
      Capitalisation can be used if it is “correct” in the surface reading or the wordplay, but a proper name MUST be capitalised if the wordplay refers to the name or place.
      See the discussion at

      I have modified the link address by replacing all full-stops with #dot# to avoid rejection as spam

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