Times 26269 – The Lady of the Lake

Solving time: 21 minutes

Music: Rimsky-Korsakov, Scherezade, Beecham/RPO

This was an embarrassing time for such an easy puzzle, but I raced through three-quarters of it in about ten minutes only to come to a most thorough halt in the SE. This was frustrating, because I knew it was an easy puzzle and I couldn’t understand how I could get so stuck. The answer was two wrong answers: ‘Costa Rico’ and ‘nostalgic’. It took a while to figure this out, but once the correct replacements were there, the rest of the puzzle was a write-in. The liqueur was the only word someone might not have heard of, but the cryptic makes it quite simple.

Ulaca and I are mixing it up again, and he will be your blogger for the next two Mondays. I hoped I haven’t slipped him any toughies, but Mondays are usually pretty safe.

1 BONANZA, BO(NAN + Z)A, an old TV show.
8 OURSELVES, anagram of US + RESOLVE.
9 SPURS, SPUR[n]S, easy even if you don’t know the team.
11 GUISE, sounds like a GUYS, a modern epicene form of address that has come a long way since Mr Fawkes.
13 TAHITIAN, T(AH)ITIAN, one of the usual painters.
15 IGNITE, G.I. backwards plus E TIN backwards.
17 OUTLAY, LAYOUT switched around.
24 KOALA, KO(A)LA. The peninsula may be obscure to some, but the answer should certainly be obvious.
25 HORSESHOE, sounds like HOARSE + SHOE. The first element is certainly well-disguised.
27 DIAMOND, double definition, where a ‘dealer’ is one dealing the cards.
1 BROUGHT TO BOOK, double definition, one jocular.
2 NORWICH, RON upside down + W1 CH.
3 NIECE, N[ormality] I[n] E[uropean] C[ommunity’s] E[arly].
5 DESIST, hidden in [merce]DES IS T[uneful].
6 NOSTALGIA, anagram of AGA LOST IN. Even when the answer is obvious, count off the letters!
7 HOUDINI, H(O (U) DIN)I, an elaborate cryptic for what 99% of solvers will write in from the definition.
10 SHAKE ONE’S HEAD, double definition.
16 MANNERED, M(ANN)ERE + D[istrict], another cryptic most solvers won’t need or use.
20 HEIGH HO, sounds like HAY + HOE.
21 LICHEN, LI(CH)EN. The ‘compound’ element may be taken for wordplay, but lichen really is a composite – see the Wikipedia entry.
23 ARENA, A + RE + AN upside-down.

48 comments on “Times 26269 – The Lady of the Lake”

  1. Under 14 minutes. As the setter got to the end (DEMEAN, LICHEN, MANNERED), I reckon he remembered it wasn’t a Quickie.

    At one point I thought I might be on for a BCS (Biffed Clean Sweep).

  2. A definite PB for me today, at 16.32 (and that included letting the dog in, and giving him a biscuit!). All parsed along the way. Nothing else to add.
  3. 11m. Mostly very easy indeed but I was slowed down a bit at the end by some slightly trickier clues (DEMEAN and LICHEN took a while) and a misbiffed ARMAGNAC.
    1. It’s the snob in you, I’m afraid.

      “Eveninks and morninks I drink Warninks” was part of my upbringing, along with Bisto and Oxo cubes, of course.

      1. Guilty as charged, although I don’t mind some liqueurs in the right context: the damson gin I made last year is very nice from a hip flask on a cold day, for instance. However in my book there is no right context for Bisto or Oxo cubes.
        1. ‘Oxo drink’ is popular as a comfort when feeling man fluey round our parts! Or as a highlight at the football on a cold wet nil/nil sort of a day.
  4. Under ten minutes. Armagnac not a liqueur, Keriothe! A spirit, and much preferable in every way
    1. Indeed. A brandy, to be precise, as I realised as soon as I looked at it a bit less carelessly. I wouldn’t say it’s preferable in every way though: crème de cassis is better if you want something to mix with sparkling wine…
  5. All done and dusted in 21 minutes – but not helped by putting in MORPH for 11a – well it fits the clue and the cryptic, just doesn’t fit in with any of the surrounding answers.
    Oh, and spelling 3d NEICE. I can never get that word right, even when the cryptic solution is right in front of my face.

  6. … at this end. And my brain lapses were all in the SW where the blindingly obvious flew past me: OUTLAY, OBSESSION, DEMAN and LICHEN in particular. Hands up those who actually knew the KOLA Peninsula? Doesn’t look very inviting as far as web images can show. A crappy isthmus to all?

    On edit: wondered why a certain commenter said nought about 9ac. Could be the disdainful clue? Or else the 0-0 draw with Chelsea at the weekend?

    Edited at 2015-11-30 09:25 am (UTC)

  7. Very easy. Given that I did get stuck on SHAVE ONES HEAD for a bit, I might restrict my Advocaat consumption to just evenings.
  8. 11 minutes, easy Monday, with (like keriothe) 3 or 4 of those spent on LICHEN and DEMEAN. But no arguments, some good if simple clueing. The long ones at 1d and 10d made the rest even easier.
  9. With at least three interruptions, so could have been my second-ever sub-10. (Though as a wise man once said, look at the scoreboard).

    Lots of defs that were immediate write-ins, including “windfall”, “London team”, “long run”, “marsupial”, “escapologist”, “Put into French, say”, “having left a will” and “stadium”.

    I won’t say “too easy”, but definitely a good one to encourage those looking to migrate from the Quickie.

    Thanks setter and Vinyl.

  10. Easier than some quickies, I think. I almost finished in 10 mins, but I got stuck on SW corner with DEMEAN and LICHEN (my last 2 in) and trying to find what to do with my head in 10d – I knew it couldn’t be SHAVE. 16:02
  11. Under 15 min, but probably not a PB (I don’t know what my best really is, because on an occasion when a connection problem forced me to retype I forget to choose ‘not leaderboard’ so finished among the neutrinos)
    LOI was MANNERED, as failing to ‘lift and separate’ got me wasting a couple of minutes thinking about the area round Scafell
  12. Comfortably completed on the Rattler even before we reached Surbiton, so probably a PB for me (although I don’t time it very accurately when doing it on the ipad). I also found yesterday’s easier than usual, so it could be that I am getting on the right wavelength, or am I kidding myself.
  13. Certainly easy, even by Monday standards. About 20 mins– embarrassingly slow for Vinyl but fast for me. I thought today’s Quickie was harder.
  14. A minor point, for 13ac should the painter be Titian and the cry ah?
    Thanks to all for their inputs; probably was easy as even I finished today in just over 30 minutes.


  15. 8:46 which might be a pb but I’d have to check back through my previous posts to confirm. It’s certainly not often I go sub-10.

    Good to see reference to the superior North London football club.

    1. Touché, good timing if wishful thinking.
      I was so subconsciously reluctant to enter the correct answer, I biffed SNUBS at first.
        1. Hook line and sinker. Not allowed to refuse an opportunity, even if can see the fishing rod.
  16. First sub 15 for a while at 14.40 and even then delayed by SW usual suspects for 5m so an easier one for me! And none the worse for that!
  17. The quickie is my level but following a recommendation from jackkt tried this one. Took some time to get going but then the rest, bar 4, fell into place. Took a long time but got the last 4 HORSESHOE, MANNERED, LICHEN and DEMEAN without aids. I recognise this was an easy puzzle but chuffed I was able to do it.

    Favourite COSTA RICA.

  18. Just a general point, please don’t knock individual puzzles for being too easy. If you find the level is consistently at the easy end of the spectrum then you may have a point, but if every puzzle is challenging to experienced solvers like yourselves we’re never going to encourage newbies on board and interest will fall and we’ll all be losers.
  19. Thanks, Jack for your last comment. As someone who usual level is the quickie I was encouraged (by your comment on the quickie blog) to do today’s main crossword and was really pleased to be able to finish it. I am getting better slowly but we all have to start somewhere.
  20. A PB for me by a fairly comfortable margin. O.K. I won’t say that it was easy, but, as others have mentioned, it should have been straightforward for anyone solving crosswords for as long as I have. Whateva, a PB’s a PB innit?

    Edited at 2015-11-30 04:03 pm (UTC)

  21. Well I ripped through this one until getting stuck for about five minutes on the MANNERED/DIAMOND crossing. Both ended up being a biff eventually.
  22. Not as quick because I biffed in BROUGHT TO HEEL, which delayed matters in the SW area. The OBSESSION showed the error of my ways after which the rest went in without undue trouble, so overall about 20 minutes. Regards.
  23. 8 mins. I would have been a tad quicker if it hadn’t taken me so long to see SHAKE ONE’S HEAD. Like a few others the LICHEN/DEMEAN crossers were my last ones in.
  24. A slow 45 minutes for me although, in my defence, that included about 15min spent dealing with the morning’s workload. Still, not a blinding time for what was a fairly gentle one.

    Like some others here, I took longer than I should to spot “SHAKE ONES HEAD”, and never did parse KOALA (Kola peninsula? Who knew?).

    4d brought back some awful memories, or at least memories of some alarming loss of memory. No good ever comes of adding food to perfectly good alcohol, in my experience, with the notable exceptions of olives and lemon zest.

  25. A distinctly pedestrian 16-odd. Warnink’s (other brands may be available) looks buttock-clenchingly awful: I have never been able to face trying even a sip at any time of the day, let alone morninks or eveninks. Didn’t they once try flogging something similar in blue? Must have been for a bet.
  26. 7:27 for me after another ridiculously slow start, including thinking of both BOA and NAN at 1ac but still failing to come up with BONANZA. Sometimes my brain seems to behave like an ancient valve wireless taking its time to warm up. (Sigh!)

    A pleasant straightforward start to the week though.

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