Times 27,269: The Punt Is To Change It

There are a lot of witty things in this puzzle, a *lot*, but the whole experience was sadly soured for me, and to judge by the state of the leaderboard at least a few others, by 6dn, where I took a punt on PUNT, which I maintain is an adequate alternative answer. “take a punt at” – British and Australian informal for “have an attempt or try at”, which is just the same as “have a stab at”; and my Collins app goes so far as to give “knock” as a direct definition of punt, alongside the kick one. Whereas “pink” as in the knocking of an engine and stabbing someone with a rapier (!) are, in my personal opinions, obscurer words in less common usage. None of this does anything to dissuade me from my firmly held belief that the double definition of a 4 letter word, requiring a long alphabet trawl to locate candidate options, is the worst kind of clue. Boo and indeed hiss!

7.5 minutes but a DNF then. Elsewhere than 6dn there was as I say an awful lot of colour and things to like. I’ll give COD to 13dn for its sauce and audacity. Thanks setter! But once again, 6dn… bah humbug!

1 Mechanic making a terrific mess (9)

6 Not such a fair job for host (3,2)
PUT UP – a PUT-UP job being a dishonest scheme

9 Take course of treatment to overcome fit (7)
CAPTURE – CURE [course of treatment] to “overcome” APT [fit]

10 New injection I must follow up, turning back tongue (7)
PUNJABI – N JAB I [new | injection | I] must follow reversed UP

11 Secret informer has serious love for European in danger (4,6)
DEEP THROAT – DEEP [serious] + THR{e->O}AT [danger, E for European becoming O = love]

12 Doctor comes to a halt (4)
WHOA – WHO [Doctor] comes to A

14 A feature on Cromwell rejected as corny stuff (5)
STRAW – reversed WARTS [a feature on Cromwell]. My ability to solve this clue was not helped by reading Cromwell as “Cornwall” for quite some time. Eye test required…

15 Exclude from hotel — I’m in a tent (9)
ELIMINATE – hidden in {hot}EL I’M IN A TE{nt}

16 Take too much in benefit, computer error offering a bomb (9)
DOODLEBUG – O.D. [take too much] in DOLE [benefit] + BUG [computer error]

18 Like a nail, perhaps, not quite dried? (5)
TACKY – or TACK-Y, as in a bit like a tack.

20 Cut access to computer, not good (4)
LOIN – LO{g}IN [access to computer, minus G for good]

21 Call regularly to keep order before old kingdom becomes profitable (10)
COMMERCIAL – C{a}L{l}, to keep O.M. [order] before MERCIA [old kingdom]

25 Checked both ends of bar were unoccupied (7)
BRIDLED – B{a}R at both ends, + IDLED [were unoccupied]

26 Smirk, as I’m in a sin-free state (7)
GRIMACE – I’M in GRACE [a sin-free state]

27 Cop rejecting a tedious occupation (5)
GARDA – A DRAG [a | tedious occupation] reversed

28 Rings ground, postponing a series of games in turn (9)
RESONATES – take REASON [ground], “postpone” its A till the end of the word, then add a reversed SET [series of games]

1 Lead lost in amusing play, departs discharged (5)
ARCED – {f}ARCE [amusing play, with its first letter lost] + D for departs

2 Perhaps fourth best outfit? (3,4)
TOP GEAR – or your top gear could indeed be your best outfit.

3 Artful howl breaking through — this to the house? (6,4)
FOURTH WALL – (ARTFUL HOWL*) [“breaking”], semi-&lit

4 Charlie king next, that’s obvious (5)
CLEAR – C [Charlie], LEAR [king] next

5 Traveller at table, maybe, having the usual? (9)
REPEATING – REP EATING [traveller | at table, maybe], semi-&lit

6 Knock or stab (4)
PINK – double def, but grr, see above.

7 Hydrogen in tiny amount over area where air passes (7)
TRACHEA – H [hydrogen] in TRACE [tiny amount] over A [area]

8 Collecting little stickers from Italy, help with sorting (9)
PHILATELY – (ITALY HELP*) [“with sorting”]. “Little stickers” here being stamps.

13 Monk having nun (so to speak) — one imprisoned? (10)
CISTERCIAN – homophone of SISTER [nun] + I [one] in the CAN [imprisoned?]

14 Doctor pulled up murder victim in slump, one lying over the wheel? (9)
SADDLEBAG – DD [Doctor] + reversed ABEL [murder victim] in SAG [slump]. Does the definition refer to a pannier on a bike?

15 Elaborately sew Christian up during his fast day (9)
EMBROIDER – reversed DIOR [Christian] during EMBER [an Ember-day being a Christian fast day]

17 Nothing disturbed virile actor (7)
OLIVIER – O [nothing] + (VIRILE*) [“disturbed”]

19 Graphics files stack up endlessly among pending purchases (4,3)
CLIP ART – reversed PIL{e} [stack “endlessly”] “among” CART [pending purchases]

22 Wizard comic no good (5)
MAGUS – MAG U/S [comic | no good]. The not uncommon (in crosswords) abbreviation of unserviceable; nothing to do with, as most people will probably initially have considered, subtracting a G.

23 In city needs bandage perhaps having cut head (5)
LEEDS – {b}LEEDS [needs bandage perhaps, with its head cut off]

24 Not quite epic bones (4)
ILIA – ILIA{d} [“not quite” epic]

77 comments on “Times 27,269: The Punt Is To Change It”

  1. I enjoyed this but, as so often these days, I fell at the last hurdle with ILIA. Having looked that up I was then able to write GARDA at 27ac, I had considered it earlier but thought it referred only to the force (or is it service?) as a whole and therefore should have been clued as ‘cops’. Live and learn! 35 minutes for a tech DNF.

    Edited at 2019-02-08 07:24 am (UTC)

  2. Looks like I picked the wrong day to uncloak following an extended sabbatical. I do vaguely remember my dad talking about the engine ‘pinking’ on his Wolseley 18/85, but it’s even longer since I stabbed anyone with a rapier (the previous life for which I’m now being punished) so that was completely forgotten. Come on, Ed., enough with the antediluvian defs.

    So, 19 minutes or so before giving up trying to find anything ‘better’ than PUNT and correctly deciding there wasn’t anything.

    The rest of the puzzle is indeed terrific, my favourite of course CISTERCIAN.

    Nice to see our resident stamp man Horryd getting a clue all to himself at 8d, but if the setter’s trying to soften the old so-and-so up it won’t work — we all know where PHILATELY will get you.

    1. “It’s so nice to have you back where you belong”. Yes that was a very interesting piece about the sound of music and I’m assuming Vinyl must have seen it because it’s right up his street.
  3. Hello from stormy mid Channel.. No immigrants in sight though.
    Liked this one, and all the more for having thought of pink before punt…
    Not many cars around these days where 4th would be top.

    Edited at 2019-02-08 07:59 am (UTC)

  4. Welcome back, sotira!
    2d reminded me of a clue from almost exactly 4 years ago and which I made a note of:
    “Where to expect fourth queue for “Spellbound”” (9): ENTRANCED. That had me looking for a solution which ended in a D. Once I sussed out that wasn’t going to happen, I tried TOP DECK on the basis that if you deck something out you can be said to outfit it.

    Thank you, Verlaine, for MAGUS. On the basis of “no good” in the clue, I initially put MAGOG.

    Like everyone I chose to PUNT, so my near two hours of slog was all for nought.

  5. Glad to see I was not alone with PUNT after my 75 minutes. I liked the challenge of the rest of the grid.

    It’s always a good sign of contention when the SNITCH details show a large number of reference solvers with errors. These currently outnumber the correct solvers 10 to 9.

    Thanks, V, for the blog and to the setter for a mostly excellent puzzle.

    1. Love the snitch but don’t understand how the number of reference solvers sometimes decreases with time. Would love to know.
      1. Thanks for your interest in the SNITCH and for the question.

        The reason that the reference solver numbers decrease is that some get pushed out of the top 100 as we get more solvers completing the puzzle. I stop using them for the SNITCH calculation when this happens.

        I started the SNITCH when the club site only listed the top 100. I wanted the results to be reproducible (i.e. they shouldn’t rely on data that disappeared off the leaderboard if I tried to calculate them again at a later time without any of the in-day history). I have kept using the same method even though the club leaderboard now lists results for more than the top 100.

        At some point I might see how including a larger number would affect the SNITCH calculation, given that I could now do this. But I’ve only had limited time to spend on this over the last 18 months, so haven’t got round to this.

        Thanks again for the question. I’ll have to create an FAQ and include this as the top question.

  6. 25:27 but… As I solve on paper only find out I’ve got one wrong when I read the blog. Another who found PUNT as the (perfectly reasonable!) answer to 6d. LOI ILEA. NHO FOURTH WALL so that went in on wordplay. Likewise DEEP THROAT, but now I’ve looked it up I remember the name in connection with Watergate. Otherwise lots of fun. I wondered if MAGOG was also a wizard as well as a giant – I ought to know as I drive over him on my way to work on working days, but 28A set me straight. 7 clues got an approving tick on my paper copy. I enjoyed the DD doctor at 14D and the quaint word for a mechanic at 1A and WHOA, but COD to CISTERCIAN. Thanks V and Setter.
  7. I’m another PUNT. I also punted on ILIA since I’d not heard of them and ULNA seemed too…singular. I think the plural is ULNAE not ULNI. But ILIA turned out to be good and PUNT not so much. I even know the word :pinking’ for pre-fuel-injection cars detonating their fule before the spark plug (diesling is another word) but not for the sword stuff. I took half the time on the top NE anyway, the rest having gone in fairly easily (althogh ILIA put up a fight).
  8. An hour and four minutes to come up with the same DNF as others! I found this very hard, but generally very fair, and just felt off the wavelength all the way through. Not knowing that Cromwell was famously warty, nor having heard of an Ember day, among a few other things, didn’t help.

    What’s worst is that I considered PINK for 6d first, but foolishly carried on looking for something better, not knowing the piercing definition, and decided “punt” was a better bet, as it were.

  9. It is not unknown for the same answer to turn up in both the Quick Cryptic and the 15×15 on the same day, but for it also to be the identically numbered clue? That must be a first.
  10. I read and posted in haste earlier so missed that I had also had PUNT for PINK at 6dn. I fully endorse V’s assertion that PUNT is valid as an alternative answer for the reasons given in his intro, which the SOED also supports.
  11. 26 minutes with of course the one wrong. I put in PANG, as in hunger pangs, which are sort of stabs, with PANG perhaps coming after Kerpow in Batman. I knew PINK as an engine tapping but I’d forgotten about anti-knock agents in petrol. It was a fair clue though. COD to the wonderful CISTERCIAN. The MAGUS clue took me back to my favourite comic. The Wizard was a comic full of words and not pictures. and in the mid fifties I loved it. Who could forget Bouncing Briggs, the scrap metal merchant goalie who went through a season without letting in a goal, or Wilson the wonder athlete who ran a mile in three minutes because he lived on a diet of herbs? I can’t remember the names of the main characters in the novel I read last week though! A good puzzle. Thank you V and setter.

    Edited at 2019-02-08 09:22 am (UTC)

  12. The left-hand side far flew but I was well stuffed by the right-hand side, with 6d the least of my problems.

    You know it’s not your day when you cheat on one to get you kick-started, and end up cheating on ten!

  13. I was wondering why I was so far up the leaderboard with a stately 21.35: I would venture there may be an editorial revision to allow our punters a measure of relief.
    I (obviously) enjoyed the Uxbridge TACKY, the little Italian stickers and the monk, but found my grid littered with short entries unfilled towards the end, trying with SET UP (and why not?) at 6a before realising it was a put-up job and (being old and grey, if not an artificer) thinking pinking before punting. One of these days I’ll see “cut” and think joint of meat, but LOIN was another late entry, where at least this time “not good” meant scratch the G.
  14. A struggle today, around 50 minutes but got there in the end. Took a long time with RHS, had Capucchino in mind for a while. Did get PINK though and ILIA was an early one in. Am always happy to see another Uxbridge dictionary clue so TACKY my COD.
    I think PINK is a much better answer than punt, which is ok for stab but a long stretch for knock IMO.
        1. Yep. Whether one is more or less valid is beside the point: once you’ve found a valid answer you’re not going to try and find another.
  15. Oddly perhaps, PINK went straight in once I’d thought of it, seemed too good a double definition to be anything else. Really liked CISTERCIAN.

    24′, and a small moan because this excellent time for me on a Friday still scores fewer than my average number of points….

    Thanks verlaine and setter.

  16. Excellent crossword. I am sure the setter regrets not checking the options for 6d. I had PASS initially (as in cards when you ‘knock’) then when PUNJABI appeared I rebuked myself and put in PUNT.
    Loved the monk and many clues but COD to the deceptive but simple LOIN.

    Welcome back Sotira.

  17. Totally agree with V’s opening remarks. The setter has chosen the wrong type of clue construction for the word in question. I was lucky in that PINK featured in a Mephisto I blogged a short while ago so I had recently studied the huge number of meanings attributed to it. Had I thought of PUNT I would have entered it

    The rest of it is very good. Well blogged V

  18. Another of the few PINKs – remembered the knocking def from a Times puzzle within the last year or so, knew the stabbing one. Unusual to remember it – for instance I visualised embroidery as soon as I read the clue, but couldn’t bring the word to mind until most checkers were in, and the cryptic was no help, never heard of embers. Slow elapsed time >2 hours as two recalcitrant words wouldn’t go in, resonates and NHO Cistercians, and I had to go out with them empty.
  19. 18:07, but another PUNT here. I entered it without hesitation or doubt and it’s a perfectly valid answer as far as I’m concerned. I was aware that PINK has loads of different meanings (mostly terribly obscure, as in this case) but once you’ve got PUNT why would you consider anything else?
    A bit of a shame because otherwise I thought this was an absolutely superb puzzle.
  20. ….WHOA, but I eventually nailed it with an alpha trawl. Verlaine’s comment in respect of PINK didn’t apply to me, as I’d done the Mephisto that Jimbo refers to, and remember it as a very clever clue, but it did apply to WHOA in my case.

    Like Jack, I’d never realised you could have a single GARDA, and I biffed FOURTH WALL and CLIP ART.

    Excellent puzzle, the time indicates Championship standard.

    TIME 20:41

  21. All has pretty much been said. Very much enjoyed this until I was left with 6dn; and as I couldn’t see which was the obvious “right” answer from my alphabet trawl (PINK was clearly a better answer for “knock”, PUNT for “stab”, so which to choose as having the obscure secondary meaning?), decided I would just abandon it, and come here to be enlightened, which is the most unsatisfactory end of all to a solve. Oh well, tomorrow is another day.
  22. 10m 35s but with another PUNT. I can confirm that Chambers also has knock as a direct definition of punt; if this came up in competition I would certainly argue that it was an entirely legitimate answer. In fact, I thought of PINK first and rejected it – although I’d never come across this engine malarkey. My first answer for it was BASH, in fact, although I didn’t write it in. All in all, a poorly chosen clue.

    The rest of the puzzle was enjoyable, though, with a lovely hidden word in 15a probably my favourite. I got lucky on my spelling of CISTERCIAN.

  23. Means never having to say “touche”. I never thought of “punt” and just as well. It took a while at the end but I finally saw it (and can replicate Sotira’s memory with my father’s Wolesley and the occasional pinking noise). What a lot of trouble such a little word can give, and there’s yet another pesky aspect to it because there’s a dressmaking/tailoring tool called “pinking shears” which gives a saw-tooth edge to the inside of a seam to prevent fraying.

    DEEP THROAT was the deputy director of the FBI Mark Felt who was Woodward and Bernstein’s informant in Watergate. So-called after an infamous porno film of that era (which I haven’t seen). Good puzzle. 19.18

    1. It seems very appropriate that DEEP THROAT should have turned up to blow the whistle on PUNTERGATE.
  24. Trouble aplenty in the south-east.

    22dn I went for the old comic The MAGNET without the G!

    I went for PING at 6dn – isn’t it the same as PINK!?

    ‘I’ll have a ping at that!’ and to ping someone is to knock ’em? – pink – mon arse!?


    COD 11ac DEEP THROAT (which I have seen)

    WOD SOTIRA (welcome back!) and 8dn PHILATELY or philatology it was once called!

    1. Fair point on ping – that is the Australian slang word I know for engine knocking/pinking. Also comes up on the Wikipedia page so is probably US slang for knocking, too.
      en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Engine_knocking
  25. Although I knew about engine pinking, I didn’t know the fencing term, so thought PUNT the better option. Bah indeed! and Humbug! 54:31 of blood sweat and tears, only to be foiled at the end! LOIN was my FOI. The SE took me at least 20 minutes before I discarded (t)URBAN at 23d as it made 21a 26a and 28a ungettable. Well it is a bandage with the first letter off and it means “in city!” Proper misdirection. A good puzzle spoiled by 6d in my opinion. Thanks setter and V, with whose comments I totally agree. Welcome back Sotira.

    Edited at 2019-02-08 02:26 pm (UTC)

  26. Got through this successfully in a leisurely 45 minutes. As a Morris Minor driver of yore and a fan of Anthony Burgess’s Enderby books, I was ideally placed to solve 6dn straight off the bat. My old Moggies used to pink now and then, and in one of the Enderby novels the eponymous hero confronts a bunch of yobs on a train and whips out his swordstick: ‘Enderby at once pinked one of them in the throat and red spurted.’ I love Enderby – he doesn’t seriously hurt any of them; he just gives them a little prod to get them off the train 🙂
    Good blog, v, thanks.
  27. Sorry, the picture of a Nun or two in the can was too much…

    Like most others, wavered on 6dn, where I knew the knock bit of pink, but not the stab, and couldn’t quite reconcile punt with knock, and not 100% convinced that taking a punt (risk/gamble) is quite the same as having stab at something. So I am reluctantly on the side of the setter on the technicality, but share the view of V and others that 2 very obscure definitions of a simple 4-letter word with hundreds of crosser permutations gives no satisfaction whatsoever to the solver!

    Gandolf 34

  28. Pretty poor crossword IMO. The trouble with one obviously bad clue (6d) is that it throws other ‘sort-of-bad-but-forgivable’ clues under a bigger spotlight, and certainly makes me less tolerant of the whole. Not sure whether ‘deep throat’ was supposed to be generic or specific. Whatever, the term was last used in 1974. Once. In a specific case, which no-one born after that year would be immediately familiar with. Unfair. Straw is a by-product of all cereal crops, not just wheat. The random reference to Cromwell is. . .well, random isn’t it? Bridle=check and grimace=smirk are loose definitions at best. Garda, ok but yet another foreign word. Why not clue 2d as ‘fifth best?’ Saddlebags go on horses, bikes have panniers. And if bikes had bags they certainly wouldn’t sit above the wheel. Apart from all that it was ok. Mr Grumpy
    1. I certainly had SADDLEBAGS on all of my bicycles. Usually manufactured by the Lancashire company, Carradice of Nelson, they sat immediately behind the saddle, and thus above the wheel. In 2D, “fifth best” gives an E rather than a D. DEEP THROAT should be certainly be familiar to anybody who’s watched “All the President’s Men” (or those who recall Linda Lovelace !). I slightly take your point with STRAW, but Cromwell’s “warts and all” quote is very well known.

      Edited at 2019-02-08 04:31 pm (UTC)

    2. Hi Mr G. I rode a bike to school every day for ten years in the fifties and sixties. We always called the bag attached behind the saddle and above the back wheel mudguard a saddlebag. I mainly used it for my bike cape, for that very rare occasion in Lancashire when it rained. When on a whim in the eighties I bought a new bike, it had a pannier rack attached, designed by the same guy who’d come up with the mousetrap. I assume that if I had bought a bag to fit on there, it would have been called a pannier, but I valued my fingers too much. I notice that Verlaine had the same doubts as you expressed. Whether the usage is different across the regions or generations I don’t know, but for me it was a fair clue.

      Edited at 2019-02-08 04:31 pm (UTC)

      1. Thanks for your points. I’m just in a bad mood. I don’t quite understand your reply (Phil) re fifth gear. I must be missing something. But yes, I used to be a cyclist and I had a small bag which was securely fixed under the saddle. I would say it was defined by being ‘under the saddle’, rather than ‘above the wheel’. I think we may be talking about two different things though? Thanks again. Mr Grumpy
  29. Had to leave this one and forgot to pause, so no idea on the time. Aside from 6d, this was an extremely enjoyable crossword, with each clue being PANGFULLY or even PINKLY worked out. Thanks V for the reasoning for RESONATE – at that late stage in completing the crossword I gave up trying to work out why.
  30. Hi all. All correct here, only because I knew the fencing meaning of PINK. I didn’t know the engine knock meaning of it though ( we use ping as vinyl says, but most commonly we use knock). I didn’t consider PUNT. Mainly due to there being seemingly a limitless set of meanings for PUNT in your usage, and I can’t remember them all, except the betting reference, and the rowboat. But since PUNT apparently fits as closely as you all say, I sympathize. Regards.
  31. DNF. Bah! 1 hr and 4 mins of ultimately unsuccessful struggle. Of course I was another punt. This was a top quality affair, or “wow – v. tough” as I wrote on my paper after my attempted solve. I’m not too aggrieved about failing on punt I don’t think it is a valid synonym for stab, much as I wanted it to be. Pink clearly fits both defs but they were just a bit outside of my ken. I knew things were going to be tough when none of the across clues yielded on a first pass. FOI 3dn. Even that gave me pause to consider the Def though, until I twigged that house in the clue must be house in the sense of a theatre audience. I wondered at warts plural for a singular feature in 14ac but I think it’s ok, besides the “warts and all” portrait quote attributed to Cromwell is one of the few things I remember about him. LOI resonates. COD Philately (wasn’t he in The Human League?)
    1. This was my reply to RR on the Club Site: A cursory Google comes up with the following, especially the bit after Phrases: verb: punt; 3rd person present: punts; past tense: punted; past participle: punted; gerund or present participle: punting
      (in some gambling card games) lay a stake against the bank.
      bet or speculate on something.”investors are punting on a takeover”
      noun: punt; plural noun: punts
      a bet.”those taking a punt on the company’s success”
      take a punt at — attempt to do (something).
      1. Ah! I had not seen that. So there is an informal expression, chiefly used in Australia and NZ – “take a punt at” – meaning “have a go at / have a stab at”? Mmm. My initial thoughts on this are that I’m not sure you can take one word out of an idiomatic construction and have it convey the same meaning on its own. I agree “take a punt at” when all those words are used in the construction means “have a stab at”. I am not convinced that “punt” when not surrounded by “take a” and “at” is a synonym for “stab”.
        1. It’s an expression I’m quite familiar with, Australian or not. If you substitute STAB for PUNT in the phrase, it’s a direct fit. They’ve used pm(afternoon) to clue the Oz expression ARVO(which I didn’t get) before. And if PUNT is good enough for Verlaine and Keriothe, it’s good enough for me:-) A very poor clue, whatever the arguments IMHO. After all there are many clues which one has to look at from oblique angles to get the setter’s intention. Apart from that, it was a particularly good crossword!

          Edited at 2019-02-08 08:51 pm (UTC)

          1. I agree 100% with the above. I would say something like “I’ll give it a punt if you’d like”… not betting on anything, but giving something a go.
          2. Although I wrongly went for PANG and didn’t think of either PINK or PUNT, I agree with you. I’ve said “I’ll give it a PUNT,” meaning “I’ll give it a go,” whereas I’ve never given fencing a PUNT. I have had a car that ‘PINKed’ though.
            1. My argument would be that although one might say “give it a punt” (although I’ve only ever heard or seen “have a punt”, it doesn’t justify “stab” as a definition of “punt” because I don’t think “have a punt at” is feasible at all, and “stab” = “go” only works in the expression “have a stab at”


  32. Fair enough, JD. I hadn’t heard it before. If Richard Rogan says he would have to think long and hard about it as an alternative answer in a championship and might reluctantly accept it then that’s probably a good indication that there is a strong enough case for it, or at least enough ambiguity between pink and punt for the answer to have been clued differently. It does mar an otherwise very good puzzle. I think a championship contestant who had entered pink might need some convincing though if they lost out to someone with a quicker time but a punt instead. Fortunately I’m a very long way off being in either position!
    1. It doesn’t look as though any of Magoo, Mohn or Jason were fooled into taking a “punt”, so the final podium would likely be unchanged by any of this tomfoolery!
  33. Fortunately I never thought of PUNT, despite living in Australia. Unfortunately getting it right means my average time was lowered fractionally (boo hoo). If not for the bar on living persons, perhaps the setter could have clued the popular artiste PINK – requiring the answer to include an inverted exclamation mark as I understand she prefers. Now that would be a controversy.
  34. 13d was mentioned in several comments as an excellent clue. Did anyone notice that the stressed syllable in sister is different from the one in the solution. This would change the symbol for that sound in a phonetic transcription.I’ve come across this kind of “homophone” fairly often, “fur” for the second syllable of gopher being a recent example (from a Telegraph Toughie, I think).
  35. 22 Down: My interpretation of MAGUS was to remove the G (no good) leaving Maus possibly referring to Frank Maus the American humorist (comic).
    3 Down: Why does one enter a house through the Fourth Wall? Isn’t the door in the first wall?
    2 Down: I’ve always thought the top gear was the First. No doubt why I was such a bad driver!

    from Jeepyjay

  36. Thanks setter and verlaine
    This was very tough and almost the 100 minutes to get it done. Had no issues with PINK apart from trying to remember the engine noise component of it and it was one of the early entries. Couldn’t parse the first part of DOODLEBUG and had no idea of the second part of MAGUS.
    Did have trouble getting SADDLEBAG even though was able to put an upside down ABEL in the correct spot. FOURTH WALL was the only new term and didn’t help myself by confidently filling in HALL initially.
    Finished in the SW corner with GARDA (that I vaguely recalled, but thought that they were somewhere other than Ireland), BRIDLED (a tricky verb) and ILIA (even trickier) as the last one in.

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