Times 25829 – welcome to my nightmare

Hmmm… well about 15 minutes into this one, I accidentally closed the window. So reloading it, and trying to remember what I had typed in the first time, I managed to get a little further. I then crawled, limped and sauntered towards the finish until I was left with just 5 across. With the timer at 42:27, I bunged my guess in to 5 across and submitted, only to find that I have one mistake.

I found this one really difficult to get into, and I’m pretty sure my error is in 5 across, but it could be somewhere else – the difference between my wavelength and the setters may not even lie in this universe.

To compound things, I probably won’t be conscious much longer, so the hive mind can correct my wrongdoings shortly, but the true answers will most likely live in the comments until mid-afternoon UK time.

So like Lou Vincent on his way to the bookies, away we go…

Edit: I’m back in the land of the living. A few typos and mistooks are being edited, thanks for the “patience” of those of you in commentland

1 DIPS(declines),TICK(give a good mark) – what I said in the preamble doesn’t apply to 1 across which was a fun clue for a standard piece of schoolboy slang in Australia in the 70s
5 MANTLE?: I had this as a double definition for a heat-resistant material and a part of a bird, but it was the one I was least sure of And in the first comment we are corrected – it’s WATTLE, double definition
10 PHENOMENA: PEN, then OMEN, A(about) containing H Edit: misparsed this last night – the A is a note
11 G,LINT: LINT is a wound dressing
12 BET(chance),A
15 ASTRINGENT: A,STRING(twine) then an anagram of NET
17 STUD(y)
19 LOOM: cryptic definition referencing “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” where Bottom is a weaver
22 COSTA RICA: STAR,1 in COCA(drug crop)
24 AIR,E
27 UNIT(company),TRUST(expect)
29 POSEIDON: POSE(present) then DO(as, ditto) in IN
1 DOPE: or DO PE
2 PRETENTIOUSNESS: TENT for C in PRECIOUS, NESS Edit: I had missed the comma originally
8 ESTATE(car),DUTY(tax)
14 TABLE(propose),CLOT(thicken),H
16 GLORIOUS: I got this from the checking letters and a definition – I think the other comes from the first day of goose-shooting being known as the glorious twelfth
18 IOLANTHE: anagram of E,LOTHIAN
21 PASTE(artificial gems),L
23 AMIGO: AGO(back in town), holding MI(another name for the musical note ME)
25 S,TUN

62 comments on “Times 25829 – welcome to my nightmare”

  1. Just back from a bush-walking hol. and not quite into solving yet. Had a go at yesterday’s — with much difficulty. And much the same today. Like Ulaca, POSEIDON proved most difficult. Should have seen it after the TRITON thing yesterday.

    George: slight typo at 16dn.

    Edited at 2014-07-03 04:15 am (UTC)

      1. Passed the Bibbulmun a few times while in the Warren National Park. Lots of water flowing down there.
  2. Might have been different if I had got 7dn, but despite working around ‘ground’, I just couldn’t see it. Without 7dn, 5ac was impenetrable, and even with the letters -O-E-D-N at 29ac, that one proved too difficult for me, POSE never being considered for ‘present’.
  3. I went offline after the half-hour, thinking to finish the half-dozen remaining clues over preprandial drinks, but came back and got 7d, 20ac, 18d,16d in maybe 10′. I was going to submit without 29ac, when just as I was scanning the screen one last time POSEIDON hit me. Like Ulaca, I never would have come up with POSE from the clue. I’m irritated that IOLANTHE took me so long, partly because I’m a G&S fan. I knew WATTLE from Yeats’s ‘Lake Isle of Innisfree’–there’s a wonderful old Caedmon recording of him hamming it up. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGoaQ433wnw

    Edited at 2014-07-03 05:21 am (UTC)

  4. Second day in a row over 30 minutes, though this time only just, allowing enough checking time to spot a typo. I find it doubly frustrating to complete a demanding grid only to find I’ve got an unforced error, so today checking time was well spent.
    Couldn’t even reverse engineer POSEIDON, so glad it wasn’t my turn to blog this week.
    I also puzzled over why UNIT=company: I can only assume we are talking military, as it surely can’t be as in unit on an industrial estate. And I wasn’t mad keen on “constricting” for ASTRINGENT, though I see from Chambers that they dog-leg around “contract”. But this is just nit-picking round a challenge that was clearly far from easy for everyone and where I’m still 4th on the list at this time of the morning.
  5. I’m encouraged that regular early-birds in the Club seem to have had problems with this. I wasn’t aware it was so tricky for some time because I solved away merrily and had all but six answers within 30 minutes but I spent nearly as long again sorting these out.

    My downfall eventually was 16dn (where you have two typos, George, one letter omitted in answer and ‘goose’ for ‘grouse’ in the explanation). Unfortunately I happened to know the actual date referred to was 12th August but I couldn’t for the life of me see how that could be fitted into the answer. I was also stuck on the first word at 20ac so I was missing one of the checkers at 16 and the only word I could think of that fitted was ‘gracious’, and I became fixated on that even though it was so obviously incorrect. I’m really mad with myself because the date in question was that of a family anniversary and my father was always going on about ‘the glorious twelfth’, yet it never crossed my mind for a moment.

    I knew both meanings at 5ac but might still have been stuck on it for a while if WATTLE hadn’t come up on Countdown only yesterday when both meanings were discussed, so it was fresh in my mind and a write-in for me.

    The definition part of 8dn makes no sense to me: “…paid after one had to the end of the road” and I suspect a word has been omitted after “had”, possibly “got” or “driven”.

    No problems at all thinking of POSEIDON and reverse engineering to understand POSE for ‘present’.

    Edited at 2014-07-03 06:09 am (UTC)

    1. I hesitated as well, thinking there must be a missing word in “one had [come] to the end of the road”, possibly caused by re-writing “one has reached the end of the road” and messing it up, but it always looked like a proof-reading slip rather than some cunning device I didn’t understand.
  6. Well I’m still here, although expecting each day to be my last.

    I enjoyed this – I found it a bit tricky but finished with everything accounted for.

    At 2dn I confidently started to write in BOMBASTICNESS (BOMB(as in “da bomb”)+ASTI+C+NESS) before realising that it was a couple of letters short. Also, and just as persuasively, it’s not a word.

    George 5ac is your national flower!

    Edited at 2014-07-03 07:42 am (UTC)

    1. “This ‘ere is the wattle,
      it’s the emblem of our land.
      You can stick it in a bottle,
      You can hold it in your hand”
      Irresistible, especially as I’m off to the O2 tonight.
      And on edit: I’m not that surprised those who might otherwise be ex-subscribers (having run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible) are still with us. The Times’ IT guys only know how to cut people off accidentally.

      Edited at 2014-07-03 07:56 am (UTC)

      1. You lucky, lucky…

        But thanks for the timely reminder to book cinema tickets for the final night.

  7. Slow again, had to cheat for WATTLE. It may be our national flower Derek, but it’s not our national turkey part or our national building material!

    Took way too long to see answers that should have come more quickly, especially ESTATE DUTY and POSEIDON.

    Not helped by having GLEAM at 11ac for a long time. Was so looking forward to coming here to find out what a leam is.

    Oh well, there’s always another one tomorrow. Probably.

    1. I had gloam for ages, with loam being something gardeny and quite possibly a form of lawn dressing. Turns out gloam isn’t a word though.
  8. As a proof of how unpredictable this wavelength thing is, I thought this was definitely a tricky puzzle but not nearly as hard as, well, yesterday’s for a start. I certainly had all the GK, which is half the battle, of course, and only toyed briefly with one made-up word, the majestic River Sece.
  9. Hard work but luckly I had all the GK – once watched a guy make WATTLE fencing out in the New Forest – real skill. Made life difficult by writing in “amego” for some reason so UNIT TRUST became a struggle and my LOI

    Overall I enjoyed this puzzle which is tricky but fair. Thanks setter for 25 minuites of fun.

  10. Hard; took me over an hour. Too much time spent trying to sort out 8: as others have mentioned above, the clue doesn’t make sense. Could have been worded simply “Car tax that’s paid at the end of the road”.
  11. After 38 mins, the last several of which were spent staring at 29ac, I resorted to aids, saw that POSEIDON had to be the answer, and still couldn’t parse it! I’m glad I wasn’t the only one to struggle with this because I was beginning to think I was losing my solving mojo after yesterday’s struggles both here and with the Nutmeg in the Guardian.
  12. Found this significantly easier than yesterday’s though I’d still rate it as harder than average. Not sure if I’m just misreading George’s shorthand, but I had 10A parsed with the final A being referenced by “note”, since “about” is the inclusion indicator for H. WATTLE and daub rang a bell from secondary school history lessons.

    Though my Crossword Club subscription seems to be sailing merrily on, I did notice yesterday that my subscription to the main Times site had ceased, meaning that the Quick Cryptic is currently out of reach.

  13. 28:17 so better than yesterday. Agree that there is something odd about 19ac and 8dn. I guess that you have to be a certain age to remember estate duty, abolished in 1975. At least it wasn’t Betterment Levy or Surtax.
    1. I only recall Estate Duty because I had to study it. It was the tax on the toffs that could be settled by judicious arrangement of insurance policies written in trust thereby ensuring that the paintings and horses didn’t have to be sold. I think it’s all a bit tougher now but I’m rather out of date on those things.
      1. Estate Duty was widely known as the voluntary tax. Life was a bit harder with its successor (Capital Transfer Tax) and the current Inheritance Tax but things are still certainly possible
  14. 36m. Another stinker, and one I didn’t enjoy at all. I almost gave up with COME TO REST and POSEIDON unsolved, but persevered with going through the alphabet for another ten minutes or so. Like many other clues in this puzzle I only got these from finding something that fitted the definition and checkers and figuring out the wordplay afterwards. Or in the case of POSEIDON, not.
    How is 19ac supposed to work? Bottom is a weaver, but how does this mean he was ‘raised’ on a LOOM? In any event this doesn’t seem that far off the old ‘like quills upon the fretful __________’ style clues.
    Can someone explain why IOLANTHE is a ‘show of peers’? [Edit] Don’t worry: got it. I now know that it’s Iolanthe, or the Peer and the Peri. Somehow I don’t feel that this knowledge has added a great deal to my life.
    Funnily enough WATTLE went straight in, because I happened to know both definitions. WATTLE often appears with daub. Well not exactly ‘often’, but you know what I mean.

    Edited at 2014-07-03 10:06 am (UTC)

  15. I might be misinterpreting your explanations, but the A in ten across is not from “about”, but it’s a note (musical). The about refers to the whole so far being “about” H.

    Probably what you meant, but reading the blog it looks as if you can somehow get an A from about!



  16. Enjoyed this one, solved in 25 minutes with POSEIDON last in from checkers, unparsed. After yesterday’s classics fest tried to think for too long of an ancient province in what is now Turkey before the penny dropped. I read 19ac as Bottom having been brought up (working) on a loom.
    1. My question remains: how can you be ‘brought up’ on a LOOM? Can raise/bring up mean something like ‘train’? It doesn’t seem to be in any of the dictionaries I have access to.

      Edited at 2014-07-03 01:03 pm (UTC)

      1. You can’t but this is one of those “you must include a cryptic definition” clues from a setter who isn’t very good at that sort of thing. Hopefully, one day, the new editor will clock that some of his otherwise excellent setters are in the majority that can’t cope with cryptic definitions and common sense will prevail. Until then we will continue to suffer this sort of clue.
        1. I can see that in the literal reading but I can’t see how the other meaning in which Bottom is a character from MND works.

          Edited at 2014-07-03 01:49 pm (UTC)

          1. To bring someone up on something means to provide it while raising a child, so I reckon Nick B could have had a second-hand loom in his yard/parlour/stable.

            Whisper it softly, but the answer came to me from the place where one sits and thinks, though I have to admit I was struggling to account for the ‘m’.

            1. Thanks Ulaca. I was raised on herrings, porridge and the Evening News picture crossword. A loom was an undreamt of luxury.

              Edited at 2014-07-03 03:16 pm (UTC)

              1. Frosties, Bisto and The Beano for me – with just a Scalectrix in the attic.
      2. Collins has loom as “a rising appearance as of something far way”. Another possibility is that it’s a reference to the expression “loom of youth” as used by Alec Waugh in the title of an autobiographical novel. It refers to the period of childhood and adolescence when one’s character is formed.

        Edited at 2014-07-03 03:27 pm (UTC)

        1. This is fast turning into the best cryptic definition ever. The equivalent of a quintuple – or should that be a Quincetuple?
  17. Like yesterday’s but less meaty. 31 mins (yesterday I had 42 mins).

    Are you guys serious about Agamemnon and Antigone being ‘Greek GK’? I mean, I never studied Classics or anything, but just by general reading, surely you’d come by it. Or on the bloody telly. Amazing.

    1. Yep, I’m serious. I can confidently state I’ve never encountered Agamemnon in my general reading, and certainly not on the telly.

      Pleased that I could bring you such amazement.

  18. Didn’t complete it? I’m in awe of people who didn’t complete it. I barely started it.

    I had an Andy Murray day and sort of mumbled and stuttered and made a few half-hearted attempts before losing the will and coming straight here for the post-match press conference.

    There must be something in the air.

    1. sotira,

      I hope that the Andy Murray day did not involve the swearing.

  19. I’m glad to see I wasn’t alone in finding this hard. Having whizzed through the QC in 4 minutes I concluded that I’d shaken my brain into the wrong sort of solving mode and expected to come here and discover that you’d all found it straightforward.

    I can’t compare with yesterday’s as I haven’t had time to tackle that one yet.

    Oh, forgot to say that after 30 minutes I gave up with Poseidon missing.

    Edited at 2014-07-03 12:41 pm (UTC)

  20. 20 minutes (being interrupted to talk about holiday packing)then 10 minutes in a second session, finishing with ESTATE DUTY which looked a bit weird structurally to me. Sorry George for your nightmare, I thought it was just as hard as yesterday’s although less deep into Greek GK. We lived in a wattle and daub house so the Turkey clue brought a quick smile.
  21. Forgive me, but I nailed this and thought it was great. Came on here to see how you all enjoyed it too, and felt even better when most of you, who are usually out of my league, struggled a tad. Lovely jubbly!
    Missed the poor “Loom ” cue as I put it straight in without really thinking.
    1. Nice to hear from you Anon and congratulations on the nailing. Do feel free to give yourself a name and be part of the gang. The connection ‘Create an Account’ is at the very top and does not seem to have other consequences.

      Edited at 2014-07-03 03:24 pm (UTC)

  22. A big fat DNF here, for what I felt was a very tough outing. I had to go to the aids after 1 1/2 hours to find POSEIDON and IOLANTHE, though in my defense my wife spent much of that time distracting me with family issues. Ouch, on both counts. No wavelength at all, lack of GK most especially anything having to do with G&S, and some UK-centric stuff that flew over my head like the ‘glorious twelfth’. Heavens. There’s always tomorrow. Regards to all.
  23. I have belatedly left a comment about the antique nature of yesterday’s puzzle. I would be interested in reading reactions from seasoned solvers.
    1. I agree with you, Anon: I’d prefer not to see such terms. Why don’t you sign up and join in the discussion properly?
    2. Your comment about 1946 has some degree of truth but as Tony has pointed out “all” is a bit strong

      With you on “street arab”

      Don’t stay an anon – sign up and join in the fun properly

  24. 16:22 here for another challenging puzzle.

    The intricacy of the clues (particularly when compared with the puzzle from 1946 I’d just solved) made me suspect this might be one of Dean Mayer’s.

  25. DNF, and slightly relieved to see that this one pushed Tony Sever over the 15min mark for a change.

    If I’d finished it, I’d be entitled to grumble that 16d was a very feeble clue.

  26. HB0054 I cannot thank you enough for the blog post.Thanks Again. Will read on…

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