Times Crossword 24011

Solving time: 15.12. Quite a few clues with very helpful definitions, including the two long verticals, got me off to a good start and I saw the long anagram at 17a right away too, but then slowed down, with problems in the NW corner especially, and the final time seemed rather disappointing.

Messrs Roddick and Djokovic are just getting under way, and so for the second time in succession solving the puzzle and writing this blog has perfectly fitted the gap between midnight and the start of the late night sports session.

  PECC,AD(ILL)O. “Smack soundly” works out to PECC because it sounds like PECK which shares the meaning “kiss” with SMACK. I think. Then “I shall” is reduced to ILL and put inside ADO. I took ages to see how this worked; tried to anagram “I shall be” to get an “IBLE” ending; tried to justify DESHABILLE, which used all those letters but unfortunately made no sense whatever.
  (d)AVID. The reference is to Jacques-Louis David, of whom I had never heard.
  STUNNER – STUN = “cashews (NUTS) passed round”, replacing the DIN in DINNER.
  LA (alternate letters in cLeAn), U, N, DRESS. I think the word “regularly” in this sense (usually an instruction to take alternate letters) is over-used. 
  LORD PETER WIMSEY – a very neat anagram.
  PARA(b)LE,GAL – parable=story, then remove the “b” to mislay a book. “Brief” here is a lawyer – paralegals are people who assist them.
  A,IDA. A=area, and the mount is Mount Ida, on Crete.
  FRI ENDLESS – if Friday is endless Saturday never comes. I’m almost certain I’ve seen this word given a very similar treatment recently, though possibly not in the Times. Does any one else remember?
  PRACTI(CA)L, being CA=about inside (clip-art)*.
  CANON – meaning the recognized genuine works of an author, and also a law or rule.
  AIX-LA-CHAPELLE – A CHAP inside (exile all)*. I suspect a lot of solvers will have written this straight in seeing 3-2-8 and the definition.
  INSUL(t),IN. The definition was perhaps too much of a giveaway here. I put it straight in and figured out the wordplay later.
  LAS(H-UP)S. H=horse, UP=riding, all inside LASS. This gave me no end of trouble. I didn’t know “lash-up” – a slang word meaning improvisation, mess or fiasco, and took probably too long to get there via the wordplay. I was thinking of UP as meaning “horse riding”, which seemed to lead only to the unlikely “LASS-UPS”.
  VIN D(aloo),E PAYS. “Vin de Pays” – French “country wine”, the next step up from table wine apparently. The behaviour of the protagonist of this clue in no way resembles the eating, drinking or paying habits of any man I’ve shared a curry with (half portion? followed by wine???) but never mind.
  D(O)R, IS.
  UNDER MILK WOOD (worked in Mold + U)* – again, “Welsh play” will have been all that was needed for many solvers.
  HA(YSTA)CKS, YSTA being (stay)*.
  RE(LAPS)E(l) Reel = “feel giddy”, shortened to REE.
  PLANE, sounding like PLAIN, open country where trees rarely grow and the rain in Spain rarely falls.

34 comments on “Times Crossword 24011”

  1. 22:30 with one mistake, caused by Andy Roddick.

    Some excellent clues – I’ve ticked a dozen or so. But I’ll single out 20a PARALEGAL and 21a KAPUT. I was going to praise FRIENDLESS for its originality, but you say you’ve seen it elsewhere recently, Sabine, so I’ll berate the setter for cribbing instead (much more fun). LASH-UPS was unknown to me, too, but it was compelled by the wordplay.

    Then, of course, Roddick, two sets down, comes back in the third and in the excitement I clearly see 1 across as PICALLILI. Which, I maintain, is a fine answer, since piccalilli is wrong in so many ways. Have you seen the colour of it? I’m going back to watch the rest of the tennis. Come on, Andy.

    All round, I thought, a pretty classy puzzle. QED – 0,8,7

  2. 32 minutes for this one with the last 10 spent trying to fill in the blanks at the 20s ??R?LEGAL and ??S?A. I was convinced 20dn was MASHA until I considered an alternative meaning of “crush”.

    What is this obsession with the Turkish military? JANISSARY yesterday and PASHA today!

    Thanks for the explanation of (d)AVID at 6 with its reference to an artist of whom I have never heard either so I shall award it a Q-point.

    Other than that it was all quite straightforward and enjoyable.

    COD: I’ll stick with 26 despite the comments above as I don’t remember seeing it before.

    QED: 1-7-7

  3. 40 mins here, thanks to ‘lash-ups’ comme tout le monde it seems; I’d initially entered ‘last-ups’ (the passive man’s version of ‘shotgun!’ perhaps?) thinking it was some anagram of lass and put.
    It’s funny how those rat-a-tat clues just drop (11d), although cider with rosy (sic) was quite a compelling pastoral alternative.

    Tennis: For the first time I can remember, all four male semi-finalists have a decent chance of winning.

  4. This is a fun puzzle, not difficult but with a lot of interesting clues and a few excellent ones. I particularly like 13A, 21A and 4D as examples of accurate clueing plus good surface reading without the need for any surplus padding. About 25 minutes to solve.
  5. I was surprised to see that this had taken 25 minutes to complete as most of the answers went in without too much thought,just a couple of minutes deciding there was no alternative to canon.
  6. 9:18 here – unless tomorrow’s is a real stinker, almost back to normal times this week. Some room for improvement today though, as UNDER MILK WOOD wasn’t an immediate write-in despite having seen stuff about it on the box last night. The Indian bloke with the pink turban is a very amiable presenter, but can’t read poetry to save his life (he tried the “starless and bible-black” opening). Someone editorial should have saved his blushes. Back at the crossword, also suffered the “hidden word = last answer” embarassment at 12A, initially wanting it to be TAIGA = a stretch of forest, and wasted time worrying about beech=”beach” as a possible at 22, even though PROSAIC was solid.

    Other things:
    last pairs to be solved: 21/22 and 2/12.
    1A solved from def., “peck” and checking letters
    6 Vaguely familiar with David = artist – there must be more than one, unless the one mentioned in Wagner’s Mastersingers of Nuremberg is an anachronism.
    10 Saw nuts rev. but not the (din)ner part.
    26 Also thought this had been done somewhere recently (maybe a jumbo?).
    3 Sabine’s suspicion 100% correct! Though Aix-en-Provence also fits – a warning to the hasty if the def. is looser in future
    5 lash-ups known here – maybe from computing jargon

    Best of luck to Andy Murray though I suspect he’ll need it.

    1. I can confirm the “lash-ups” IT connection. We used to use the term 40 years ago to mean a quick fix that kept the system running whilst a more permanent solution was developed. Too many lash-ups led to what was dubbed “spaghetti code” that became almost impossible to maintain.
  7. I am stunned that he could be unknown. An enormously productive and influential artist, responsible for some of the most iconic and enduring images of the late eighteenth, early nineteenth century. “The Death of Marat” and “Napoleon at the Saint-Bernard pass” to name but two.
    1. Well, everything’s easy if you know the answer, get the reference and so on. I’m often amazed by what people don’t know but I see things differently when the boot is on the other foot, so to speak. Nothing much would stun me these days.
      1. Fair comment. It does sound a bit precious on re-reading this morning. My excuse would be that Constable, Reynolds, Turner and even Rossetti and their works are frequent denizens of the Times cryptic, and David is a part contemporary and at least their equal. Could be the Anglo-French thing I suppose.
    2. I’m delighted to hear from someone who might have been as stunned as I was that a number of solvers earlier this year hadn’t heard of Burne-Jones!

      9:11 for me for this, the last of this week’s six puzzles that I’ve just done in a batch – all pretty straightforward apart from this Saturday’s (6 Sept.), which I found tough but most enjoyable. I enjoyed this one too, but wasted about a minute at the end wondering whether there was a better alternative to PLANE for 22D (being worried about “plain” = “where it rarely grows”).

  8. Well,well, as it turns out, easyish for a Friday – as I rather prematurely announced on Thursday! Very enjoyable. About 35 mins.

    Was held up by DORIS at 8 dn. DR was new to me as an abbreviation for debtor, and I was wrong-footed by the use of “put away” as an insertion indicator (I think), spending fruitless minutes trying to work WER (being OWER with the O “put away”, i.e. removed) into the answer.

    Like Jimbo, I can’t understand anon’s objection to 20 ac. Paralegal is a common term and the cryptic reading works beautifully.

    I agree with sabine that 3 dn comes too close to being a straight general knowledge question, rendering the cryptic reading superfluous.

    26 ac is my COD. Even if it has been used before – not in the Times I’m pretty sure – something as good as that deserves a second outing.

    Michael H

  9. 5D did for me as well; would have been about 14 mins otherwise. Like Michael H., I was surprised by dr=debtor in 8D; is that really on the Times’ restricted list of acceptable abbreviations? I enjoyed this one a lot and would point out that the Theatr Clwyd (Welsh National Theatre) is in Mold – hence 11D is very appropriate. 4D is an interesting and clever example of a semi-&lit., where the full clue (arguably) more fully defines the answer than the ‘definition’ – I’ll choose it as COD.

    Tom B.

    1. I think this is a case of age/exerience. If you studied accountancy around 1980, or had a bank account which ever went into the red in the same era, dr. = debtor would count as easy meat. It’s in Collins and COD though the latter gives ‘debit’ as the first meaning and calls debtor an older meaning.

      I’ve never seen the list (Anax offered me a look but I decided to avoid any possible view that knowing a setter gives you unfair help as a championship competitor). But I’m about 95% sure that it only covers one-letter abbrevs – for others, inclusion in at least one of the standard dictionaries should be enough in theory, though I’m sure there are obscure ones that have never been used yet, so some judgment may apply too.

      Edited at 2008-09-05 11:18 am (UTC)

    2. …although, come to think of it, perhaps a ‘play for voices’ doesn’t need a theatre!

      Tom B.

  10. Another unexpectedly straightforward one. Black mark against 26; I suppose I should have been grateful since I didn’t have to think about the answer, but the wordplay is identical to that in a recent puzzle, and I prefer some variety. 3d was a give-away with X in the anagram fodder, and 17 wasn’t hard to tease out either, though it’s a nice anagram. I didn’t know 20a, but the wordplay was clear. I also liked 6, 10(use of ‘dish’), 21 and 4. So not a tough’un but an enjoyable range of clues
  11. Well recalled, Tony. I prefer today’s treatment. Perhaps a case of ‘Mediocre writers borrow, great writers steal’.

    Out of interest, can someone enlighten me: do setters of the Times daily puzzles also set Jumbos? I don’t solve Jumbos these days, but I seem to remember a lot of cross-fertilization between the two.

    1. As far as I know, all current setters of the Jumbos are also setters of Times daily puzzles (though I don’t think the reverse applies). I think there was a time, maybe during the editorship of Mike Laws, when at least a few jumbos were accepted from other setters. Maybe one or two recent additions to the Times team were the result of good jumbos?
      1. Thank you, Peter. Interesting stuff. Trying to get a handle on these shadowy setters feels a little like being in a Le Carre novel – compiling mental dossiers on them based on their ‘Morse signatures’ and echoes of content. The uncertainty is hugely enjoyable.
  12. About 35 minutes, so about average if not under par for me. Only real problems were with 5d / 8d / 22d.
  13. 20:10 which is pretty much my standard score these days, which naturally should lead to a “D” score of 5 (or should that be 5.5 if 1-5 is easier than normal and 6-10 harder?)

    I think we’ve had David the artist in a Times puzzle this year which helped, didn’t know Mt Ida but Aida is one opera I do know (at least in name).

    COD stunner – not the smoothest surface but a combination of clever def and interesting treatment gets it the nod.

    Sabine – my better half works for a wine merchant and one of their best customers is a chain of indian restaurants so the wine/curry thing does exist (although I can’t vouch for male consumption thereof and the half-eaten vindaloo).

    Q-0, E-7.5, D-5.25

  14. >PICCADILLO was last to go in.

    That’s odd, because The Uxbridge defines PECCADILLO as an armour-plated condom.

  15. After a sluggish Thursday , a fast Friday. I got the long entries easily enough with one or two checking letters.Never heard of a lash up but it had to go in. Dr/Cr debtor – creditor is my vintage and I remembered having struggled horrendously with friendless last time so it came immediately – even though I can’t for the life of me remember the clue it instantly rang a bell – Saturday never comes… Billy-no-mates being enough
    Murray to beat Nadal would be braw.. and Scotland to beat Macedonia as a double (but I won’t put any money on it)
    7.33 today
    1. Doesn’t that make him a Virgo? Surely some mistake?

      Many happy returns of tomorrow, Anax

  16. As a Chartered Accountant from the 70’s I can confirm that the debit (Dr) side of a set of double-entry books is always the side nearest the window.

    What is not known generally even amongst accountants is that a bank statement is a copy of their account with you in their books. In ordinary parlance, a creditor is someone you owe money to. From the bank’s point of view, if you have deposited money with them, they owe you and that it why a credit balance on a bank statement is a good thing for you. Credit balances on your own books are a bad thing.

    Gosh, accountancy is so exciting!


  17. Thank you chaps!

    The later than usual post is, of course, the result of having been out for birthday lunch during my usual solving time. I’m furious. How dare they?

    Just got home and somehow managed to rattle this off in 10 minutes with a couple of guesses here and there; wasn’t aware of the colloquial shortening of “passion” at 20A, for example, and PARALEGAL, by no means unfamiliar to me, was nevertheless stubborn in terms of revealing itself.

    A highly enjoyable if slightly brief romp, with some very well constructed and maintained themes.

    Q-0 E-8 D-7 COD 4

  18. I did everything except the crossing 5D/10a pair in about 35 minutes last night while watching the US Republicans finishing their convention. Thereafter, I kept staring at them, put it aside until early afternoon today. When I returned to these 2 I resumed staring until finally checking the on-line dictionary to find that ‘lash-ups’ exists as a real word. Only then did I finally see ‘stunner’. That had me totally misled. So solving time overall 14:30. In hours and minutes, that is. Regards for the weekend all. My COD is 1A.
  19. Yesterday dorsetjimbo wrote “I now fear that I’m participating in a slow decline of standards of which extraneous words is but one symptom.” Today’s 10ac supports this (although several people seem to like the clue). An appalling example of definition by example (“Dish with cashews passed round replacing first half of meal”).
  20. Another nice Uxbridge dictionary definition from Penfold at 1a. A not-so-good definition by example (cashews used to clue nuts) at 10a. After extra unnecessary words yesterday – whatever next.

    There are 5 “easies” left out here:

    9a Illegally seizes outbuildings (7)

    12a Stretch of forest on Galapagos Islands (5)
    TONGA. … fores T ON GA lapagos …

    14a Pause for inspiration? (5,4,6)

    15d In reversal of fortunes, become obese (4,5)

    18d High tension? With wild animal round about, you’ll get even more tense (7)
    TIG H.T. ER

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