Times 25,845 – A Stroll In The Park

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
We’re on the beginner’s slopes today with a straightforward vanilla offering about which there is little to say.

Across
1 ANALGESIC – A(legs in a)*C; Aircraftman=AC;
6 JOUST – J(O)UST;
9 POLEAXE – POLE-AXE;
10 PANACEA – P(A-N)ACE-A;
11 EAVES – reference “eavesdrop” which means to snoop;
12 ANCHORMAN – A-N(CH)ORMAN; Norman period was 1066 to say 1350;
13 GARRISON – (soaring)* contains “R” from R(aptor);
14 BULB – BLUB reversed;
17 ECHT – ECH(o)-T;
18 BASELINE – BASE-LINE; tennis reference;
21 HAPHAZARD – H(APH-AZ)ARD; AZ for “A to Z London Street Maps”;
22 OPALS – hidden (pawnsh)OP-ALS(o);
24 UNARMED – UN(h)ARMED; Albert Square is fictional place in East End of London;
25 INSPIRE – IN-S(P)IRE;
26 DWELL – D(o)-WELL; O from O(thello);
27 MILL-WHEEL – your cryptic definition for today;
 
Down
1 AMPLE – (ex)AMPLE;
2 ALL,OVER,THE,PLACE – PLACE sounds like “plaice”;
3 GOATSKIN – (skating)* contains “O” from O(ut);
4 SHERATON – S(HER)AT-ON; a chair from Thomas Sheraton all the rage circa 1800;
5 COPECK – CO-PECK; ready=slang for money; Vladimir=Russian; firm=company;
6 JUNIOR – JUN-I(st)-OR; OR=Other Ranks;
7 UNCOMMUNICATIVE – I-CAT-IV surrounded by UN-COMMUNE;
8 TRAINABLE – TRAIN-AB(L)E;
13 GREYHOUND – GR(YE reversed-H)OUND;
15 MANDRILL – MAN-DR-ILL;
16 TENON-SAW – (one wants)*;
19 MAMMAL – sounds like “mam will”; Geordie means from NE England where “mum” becomes “mam”;
20 RANDOM – R-AND-OM; ROM=Read Only Memory;
23 STEAL – sounds like “steel”; half-inch=slang for steal; a steel is a rod for sharpening knives;

51 comments on “Times 25,845 – A Stroll In The Park”

  1. 15.42, perhaps in recovery mode from all those splendid stinkers we’ve been having. The SW was my slow quarter, with MAMMAL, RANDOM and UNARMED only gradually yielding. If PANGRAM had six letters, I might well have tried it instead of RANDOM, because everything but the Q was here in an arbitrary collection, and I used some time trying to see how the Q could be squeezed in. Once I saw how RANDOM worked, it changed into my favourite clue.
  2. Typo: ROM means read-only memory (20 across)
    I was confused at 12ac (which had to be ANCHORMAN) since I didn’t spot the Norman
  3. Oh, and Jim, loth as I am to even suggest it, ROM is Read Only Memory, isn’t it?
    And pedant’s corner, which I so seldom seek to occupy: OR is Other Ranks.

    Edited at 2014-07-22 06:59 am (UTC)

  4. Not quite beginner’s level for people like me, who had no idea what Albert Square had to do with anything, who didn’t know ‘AC’, and who spells ‘copeck’ with 2 K’s and no C’s; but still fairly easy going. Except for the ‘half-inch’ part; it was only after I submitted, having gone for ‘steel’ in desperation, that the term surfaced, barely, from memory of an earlier cryptic. But I didn’t recall the meaning. I got HAPHAZARD from checkers, then recalled the street directory.
    1. Personally I don’t like these references to TV soaps – things I go out of my way to avoid watching. I once had to admit here that I didn’t know that Neighbours is one!
  5. I’d have been strolling in the park too if it wasn’t p***ing down this morning.
    Not sure that SHERATON is just a chair. Didn’t he do a few other things as well? So is this DBE? And we have supposed Geordie and Cockney crossing at 19dn and 24ac. A bit much!

    Nice bit of blogging Jim: lifting and separating “a French” and “colony”. Good to know that someone else knows that “commune” is feminine! (7dn).

    NB: the A to Z maps are published for other cities than London. When tired, emotional and nostalgic, I often look up my late 1960s A to Z Merseyside.

    1. And didn’t it p*** down? I’ve got the insurance company coming out tomorrow to assess the damage.
    2. Our Tom certainly produced a whole range of furniture, including what are very distinctive chairs but I’m no expert on such matters
      1. Sheraton produced designs. He never produced a single piece of furniture. If someone tries to sell you a puece of furniture made buy him you are being conned.
    3. I think “sort of” gets the setter off the hook. Whreas you might not be happy with ARM or SWIVEL as the answer to “Chair” I reckon they would propbably pass muster as “Sort of chair”.
  6. But apparently my new policy is to leave a single imperfection in every crossword I do. That’s the only explanation I can muster for entering ECHO instead of ECHT at 17ac.

    Will try again tomorrow.

    1. A commendable policy, galspray, like the rug-weavers of the east who always insert a single flawed strand lest anyone think they’re trying to complete with the perfection of Allah’s creation.
      1. Yes, I couldn’t recall whether it was painters or sculptors or rug-weavers, but what a fantastic escape clause for shoddy work! I’ll try that one with Mrs G next time I stuff up a bit of DIY.
  7. This was only straightforward if you solved it the boring old conventional way. Those of us with a penchant for typos and doing things like getting the wrong end of the stick and putting in BLUB instead of BULB can always liven up a simpler puzzle.

    16:13 .. once all the self-inflicted hurdles were overcome.

    I rather liked the clue for SHERATON, and the couplet with “Vladimir’s firm kiss” .. steamy stuff.

    1. I say! Is it me? I don’t understand these so-called couplets. Whenever I look at them I fail to see any connection between the two (apparently connected) clues or their answers. Is there some quizzer’s shorthand going on that I am completely ignorant of? Or am I just too stupid to see it.

      Help greatly appreciated.

      1. 99 times in 100, particularly these days, the two clues stand alone and can be solved in that way. It all goes with the general rule of ignore the punctuation

        However, nothing is 100% guaranteed so you may come across exceptions

      2. I think the general consensus is that when you see those dot thingies, the clues have about as much in common as a couple of bounders who are connected by no more than their bounderdom.

        There have reportedly been occasions on which those dots have served some sort of useful purpose, but dashed if I know of them off-hand.

        1. Hmmm, thanks. That reflects my experience, but they must be there for something. Not seeing the connection that was in the compiler’s mind is a bit like not properly parsing the answer. It leaves me feeling puzzled and dissatisfied.

          Rotten form, what?

          1. In today’s case I suspect the dots are there just because without them 5dn doesn’t really work. Or at least it works better with them.
            1. Thanks again, but you have somewhat muddied the waters for me. 5d appears to be a perfectly complete, succinct and precise clue, perfectly parsed above by today’s blogger. Neither the clue from 4d, nor its answer, add anything. Indeed, I seem utterly incapable of seeing a connection between them, except that the latter starts with an ellipsis and the former ends with one.

              Remove two dots from the end of 4d, and remove all three from the start of 5d and nothing has changed (one would though need to capitalise the first word of 4d). What connection are you seeing that “makes 5d work” any better than it does in isolation?

              Sorry to be such cad about it.

              1. I suppose ‘doesn’t work’ is a bit strong. It’s just not a complete sentence, which makes the surface a little unsatisfactory.
                1. Just to summarise my understanding on couplets in response to The Rotter’s question (from the point of view of someone who’s relatively new to this), it seems there are (normally) three elements to a crossword clue:

                  1. The cryptic part, i.e. the ingredients that need to be broken down and added together to ‘build’ the answer.
                  2. The definition part.
                  3. The surface…the idea that when you put 1+2 together it’s not just a random collection of words but a sentence or at least a phrase that makes some kind of sense in its own right.

                  (Obviously there are exceptions such as &lits and cryptic definitions which merge some or all of 1,2 and 3 but the above is a general rule).

                  Parts 1 and 2 are the important ones for being able to solve any given clue, enabling all parts of the clue to have contributed to the answer and all parts of the answer to be solvable from the clue. The quality of Part 3 I suppose then lends elegance to the clue, and for many solvers makes a large difference to the quality of the puzzle as a whole, but (in most cases) is not actually a vital component in the actual solving process – you could argue that its purpose is really ‘cosmetic’.

                  This is where I think the confusion lies. In most cases – certainly today’s – couplets have no bearing on 1 or 2 (hence your point that the clues can be solved on a standalone basis), but are merely there to improve 3, i.e. the surface reading. Sometimes the surface reading of a couplet component doesn’t work at all without its ‘other half’ – I think in today’s, 4 and 5 would have been just about ok on their own, but the surface reads better when you take them together.

                  Sorry I know this is teaching grandmother to suck eggs but it feels like there was a disconnect in above conversation about what different people meant by a clue “working” and therefore thought it useful to think about what makes the clue “work” in terms of those three components.

                  Dave from N London

                  1. I agree with that. 4dn is clearly fine on its own, and indeed it’s been used before! 5dn less so, because I don’t think you’d normally see a fragment like this: the clue would somehow indicate who is ready for Vladimir’s firm kiss.
                    1. OK, my very last word on this, and thanks to all for trying to explain the unexplainable to the insensible.

                      So it would have been equally valid to have given the clues “Ready for Vladimir’s firm kiss,…” and “…subordinate soldiers were employed after beginning of month” for 5d and 6d respectively?

                      1. I guess so. The surface doen’t make much sense, but then the concept of a woman using a chair in the correct manner for receiving a kiss from a Russian when outside is also a little surreal.
  8. 17 minutes or 0.425 of a commute by my measurement. The last 3 minutes were spent on BASELINE – I was somewhat concerned when I was left with _A_E_I_E but thankfully the hold up was not too great.

    This started with a groan for FOI, ALL OVER THE PLACE and elicited another one for MAMMAL. Redemption arrived in the form of my COD, SHERATON.

  9. 33 minutes – SHERATON last in, as I needed to half-parse it (ie HER) rather than just bung it in, having semi-forgotten it from the last time it appeared. I have high CD-tolerance, but thought this one was pretty ordinary. Spent a while trying to make ‘tract’ mean followers at 8d.
  10. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. Every now and then I have a few minutes where I think I can do this thing, and then log in here to find the big boys and girls have come along and run away with it by halving (or better) my (personal) record time.

    Comfortable finish on the commute this morning, with AMPLE LOI.

  11. 17.07. Unexpectedly straightforward. Feels a bit like a Quick Cryptic on the wrong page. Though I didn’t know the geographical index meaning of gazetteer. No sense of a work-out – feel I’ve been walking rather than running.
  12. 11m. Straightforward, with a number of giveaway definitions like ‘it supposedly cures everything’ and some crossword standards like the TENON SAW. Nothing wrong with something a bit easier after the last week. SHERATON the only unknown (or not remembered).
    Edit: I googled to find out which of the two SHERATON was. It was last used with this meaning in 2007, with exactly the same clue. The combination of this blog and google must be a setter’s nightmare.

    Edited at 2014-07-22 09:06 am (UTC)

    1. I must have been thinking of Rufus in the Guardian (26078), who clued it with ‘She hurried round to a furniture designer’ last year.
  13. This felt as though it was from the same hand as the usual Monday setter. Not a single clue more than a line long – lovely. Mam is also used in non-Geordie areas of the NE such as Middlesbrough. I liked JOUST.
    1. You’re quite right — it is a lovely puzzle. I forgot to say how much I enjoyed it.
  14. 16 mins. Count me as another who enjoyed this puzzle. Although I thought of DWELL for 26ac as soon as I read the clue I couldn’t immediately parse it for some bizarre reason, and it ended up being my LOI after MAMMAL and GREYHOUND. I needed all the checkers before I could see 7dn.
  15. 30 minutes for this. I was pleased to finish, having been defeated by yesterday’s port. I thought the puzzle was mostly straightforward but not as bland as suggested in the blog.

    Re the dots, it’s very rare these days to find two linked clues where the second depends cryptically on the first (I can recall one such Listener clue in the last six years). Mostly, as has been said above, they’re cosmetic.

  16. 11:55 and I enjoyed this lively offering. I think you’re being a little unfair on it Jimbo by saying there’s little to say about it.

    I particularly enjoyed the SAT ON device, its previous outing having predated my dalliance with the Times daily.

  17. I came to this later in the day than usual and perhaps I should do that more often. I enjoyed this.
  18. Most of it whizzed in but then I was left pondering over STEEL vs STEAL, figured it had to be something that sounded like STEEL and plumped for the correct option. Not usually my style!
  19. I also ended by pondering over STEEL vs. STEAL, and confidently entered the wrong answer. I have no recollection of meeting ‘half inch’ as ‘steal’ before, and I certainly had no clue as to the Albert Square reference. Other than that I was OK, although like the other Kevin, the COPECK spelling feels like an obscure variant. About 25 minutes. Regards to all.
  20. I had thought this was something to do with the ‘Imperial Gazetteer of HAZARA’, along with the AP H(erbert), but couldn’t account for the missing D and extra A, only to come here and find he had absolutely nothing to do with it – still, quite a coincidence.
  21. 5:35 in a clean sweep for me. A nice straightforward Mondayish sort of puzzle.
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