Times Crossword 24023

Solving time: 26.12.

Found this really hard going – almost every clue seemed to present a problem. I actually had everything filled in after 18 minutes or so, but after my mistakes earlier in the week (PRECEDENCE for PREFERENCE, and then there was the whole ESTUARIAN saga yesterday that I decided not to try your patience with) I was in a more careful mood than usual, and went back to think some more over the ones I was unsure of, especially 4a and 6d.

  MI,S(H)AP – the definition being “blow”.
  PO,OP(D)EC,K. Took a while to figure this out. PO is the naval officer (Petty Officer, I think), OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) are the exporters of fuel, + K, chemical symbol for potassium, storing the large amount D (500),
  SH,RUB. Not sure it’s altogether wise to deal with the perennial loquacious masseur problem in quite such an abrupt way as this. They can thump quite hard.
  HA(PP)Y-CLA(PP)Y, an enthusiastic style of worship that might be practised at a Christian mission.
  H,AS – in the sense of “you’ve been had” (cheated).
  V(A TIC)AN, The definition is “See City”, as in Holy See, VAN=lead, and the brief moment is TIC(k).
  JUST,SO. JUST=fair; SO is an alternative spelling for SOL, the fifth note of the scale.
  LETITIA – (I + a title)*
  WOUNDED KNEE (nuke endowed)*. Saw right away that this was an anagram but couldn’t get it without the N of KNEE, which pretty much placed the K – even then it took a while to see it as I wasn’t on the lookout for body parts (for once).
  SO,DOM – being MOD (Ministry of Defence) and OS (outsize) all reversed. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed with brimstone and fire by the Lord, hence “City fired”.
  POP IN,J,AY, a fop or dandy, hence super-smart in the sartorial sense.
  OR PHAN. OR (other ranks) = men, and PHAN sounds like fan.
  MUS,TH(A V)E. MUS=Sum, up, then A V (a verse) inside THE – leaving just “requirement” which is the definition.
  S(WEE)P. SP = starting price, and SWEEP is a sweepstake.
  ADD – alternate letters of “Candide”, and cheers to the setter for not using “regularly”. (I think I’m in danger of starting to sound obsessive about this issue. I won’t mention it again. For a while.)
  PUSSY,F(OOT)ED. I spent a ridiculous amount of time at the end trying to justify this. Still not entirely sure I have it right, but here goes: The definition, “Stolen” is in the sense of “moved stealthily”. OOT is “too upset”, and “when handed round” means that FED, meaning “handed” in the sense of passing something to someone, has to go round OOT.
  KI,BOSH, with KI being “skin unclothed”.
  MUS(t) L,IN
  Y,ACHTSWOMAN. Y=”lady ultimately”, and the rest is an anagram of (who can + mast).
  TRU(MP)E,D UP. The party is DUP (Democratic Unionist Party)
  L,A,SERPEN(t). Took a while to get to SERPENT, thinking I needed a specific type of snake.
  O(PUN)TIA, being PUN inside AI TO all reversed. I fell into the trap of thinking “cracking” was telling me to put something inside something else, when in fact it’s just an adjective meaning “very good” (or A1). OPUNTIA is a kind of prickly pear, which I had just about heard of.
  LUD,WIG. LUD being a form of “lord” used when addressing judges.
  PAS,SUP – Pa’s sup being the drink he has.
  canNOT CHange – a neatly concealed hidden word.

35 comments on “Times Crossword 24023”

  1. Another stinker! But worth the effort. COD – just about the whole lot, but I will settle for 12 Ac since it made me smile.

    I am not absolutely sure about 28 Dn. “our” (of us) is the obvious answer. I get the “OR” for heraldic gold ringing another letter, in this case “U”. Is this used as a symbol for “For All”. When I did predicate calculus we used an inverted “A”.

  2. U = “for all” because of the film category U – a film people of any age are allowed to go and see. (I’d be in a lot of trouble if crossword compilers started using terms from predicate calculus.)
    1. Thanks for that, I should have known from my time in the UK. Here in NZ we have “G” General release, “PG” Parental Guidance and “M” Mature audience. Alternatively an age restriction can be imposed such as “R18”.
  3. 19 minutes. Thanks for the explanation, Sabine, on 28d. I couldn’t explain that ‘u’.

    PUSSY-FOOTED gave me pause (sorry), too. It’s an awkward surface with some tortured wordplay. I was going to question the definition until I saw that the dictionaries confirm an original, more literal meaning as well as the common metaphorical one.

    I loved the ROO joke, but the sweetly concealed and indicated NOTCH gets my COD nod.

    Q-0, E-6, D-7

  4. … which I assume was a little challenge the setter set him-/herself. Did well with most of this, finishing in 12:00, with about the last 4 minutes on 27/21/18. I wonder if ‘Stolen – by cat burglar?’ would be OK for pussy footed, or just a ‘floppy CD?’. HAPPY CLAPPY next to VATICAN might have generated the odd snigger over a vicarage breakfast table.

    COD 28 for a new (I think) clue to a common word, which reads well and fools you despite using standard stuff.

    Edited at 2008-09-19 08:10 am (UTC)

    1. After reading comments below, i see that at 10 I’d gone for SPEED TRAP, and at 9D the completely unforgiveable DRALON.
      1. It’s a little ironic. I had filled in ‘speed trap’ and was about to write in ‘dralon’ despite knowing it didn’t make sense, when I thought: “Now, Peter B wouldn’t do that, would he?” Turns out he would!
        1. Alas, no-one is infallible. It’s probably good for me to wear that dunce’s cap a couple of times in the run-up to the championship – better now than on the day.
          1. Absolutely. But I thought you’d appreciate knowing that there’s now a sort of ‘virtual Biddlecombe’ in my head – an imaginary crossword solving conscience – that has saved me from foolishness on a good few occasions.
          2. 26:34 for me, an awful lot of which was spent pondering over SPEED TRAP (justified, I reckoned, because of the shock when the penalty notice arrived in the post) and DRALON, or something derived from ORLON or RAYON (RAY = “light”), or some other synthetic material which I’d never heard of. Eventually I realised that the wordplay could lead to LIN as an ending, and light (not RAY) dawned.

            But (and I address this to sotira as well) …

            Imagine you’re in the championship final with this one last clue left, you’ve whizzed through the other puzzles and the other clues in this puzzle (12:00 is certainly a damned sight faster than I would have done for this one, though the other puzzles this week went pretty well) and no-one else has yet stuck their hand up. Do you take a chance with DRALON or think on?

            Tough decision!

          3. I forgot to mention that I spent another minute or so trying to justify URCHIN, but eventually thought of ORPHAN.

            Cave testudinem ;-).

  5. This was a bit of a disaster for me with only 8 answers in after 30 minutes, but then my solving rate picked up and I got there eventually in exactly an hour.

    I had one error, URCHIN for ORPHAN at 30. I thought it was probably wrong when I wrote it in but I forgot to go back and look at it again after completing the rest of the puzzle.

    17 is my COD.
    QED: 0-8-7

  6. I’ve concluded this crossword editor has got it in for me. I spend 7 days in the dappled quiet of Monchique solving pleasant but not overly taxing puzzles and then get hit yesterday whilst in the din of Faro airport by phanom tarts from Nuneaton and today, struggling to come to terms with reality again, by this little beauty.

    I laughed at both 11A and 17A and thought 13D, 25D and 28D outstanding in a very high class field. I’m relaxed about the partial homophone at 30A and liked “child left” as the definition. About 40 minutes to solve.

  7. Great fun, 8d did for me (appropriately enough). 12A is my COD, quite brilliant. However, 30A doesn’t work for me – it seems to be a new type of homophone in which the actual pronunciation of an element within the light is irrelevant. I’m not a phan.

    Tom B.

  8. U is a universal abbreviation for universal. Hence its use in film classification. Excellent crossword.
  9. I couldn’t get 2 down because I had STAND PUMP for 10 across (not convincing, but I was deceived by ‘stepped’). I suppose it’s SPEED BUMP. Sometimes I get the cryptic definitions immediately, at other times I take ages, or, as in this case, fail to get them at at all. I cannot see that 30 works; the normal pronunciation of ORPHAN is OR F schwa N. The setter has an odd way of pronouncing either ORPHAN or FAN.
    1. I initially had ‘speed trap’ for 10a. Without the checking ‘u’ of muslin, I wouldn’t have corrected it. Not the most definitive of cryptic clues.
      I’m with you and Tom B on the ‘homophone’ in 30a, which I hadn’t picked up when solving but which is certainly worth a notch on the quibble stick.
  10. A delightful challenge and a reasonably quick solve (considering the quality) of 18 minutes. Like rosselliot I’d probably get my yellow highlighter pen out and COD the whole lot. Extremely difficult to pick just one and laborious to list here the tick-worthies, but I’d go along with Pete and say 28 deserves it for a remarkable fresh treatment.

    Q-0 E-10 D-7 COD 28

    Yes, 10.

  11. I had speed trap at 10 (if you go too fast pass one such device you get the shock of a nice letter from the local Chief Constable). That left dralon as the only material to fit 9d which I put in despite it making no sense. There’s a lesson in there somewhere.

    So 31:06 with two boo-boos. Agree that this was a brilliant puzzle and I’d ticked 9 clues as potential COD contenders, some for making me laugh, others for sheer cleverness – for instance I didn’t see the container for notch until I had all checkers in place. Also agree that the phan/fan thing doesn’t work however.

    Q-1, E-9, D-8, COD 18

    1. I forgot to mention – I too fell for SPEED TRAP / DRALON. It was a bit of a self-kick moment because if I was clueing something with BUMP I’d be looking at the “shock” idea too. On this occasion I tried to read an unnecessary alternative into it.
  12. 1 hour for me.

    I liked the double -pp- move at 12.

    6 is a good instance of inane toughness in my book; there comes a point in clueing difficulty where the intuitive appeal is completely lost (for me at least!). I suppose that’s the big thing in construction, balancing the aesthetic wordsmith aspect with the logican aspect (Anax?)…

    1. On longer answers like this I always make the assumption that at some point the cross-checking letters will make only one answer possible. If the setter sees that as an opportunity to be a bit of a devil I really don’t mind. Indeed, the instinct to place the answer without understanding the wordplay and perhaps go back to unravel it later is a good thing. There have been plenty of occasions when I’ve placed an answer while only partly seeing the wordplay but, since I’ve “sort of” got the gist I don’t return to examine it.

      PUSSYFOOTED was one where I only grasped a little of the wordplay at first. Going back to it and giving it some decent parsing time allowed me to appreciate the setter’s ingenuity in disguising the def and wordplay elements. The experiences for others is bound to vary, but for me it was a case of finally spotting things which I immediately kicked myself for not having seen earlier.

      We couldn’t have puzzles filled with this type of clue, of course, but the chance to delve deeply into clue make-up for one or two of this type is a good way for solvers to latch onto more devious (or, simply, more cleverly executed) techniques.

      1. Additional…
        FWIW I’d possibly place a small quibble tick for the use of “when”. Grammatic pedantry would suggest “when handed is around” or similar – nonsense reading, of course, but on its own “when” isn’t quite right.
        From an editor’s point of view, though, the whole thing is so convincing I’d probably give it the nod despite the slightly questionable shorthand used.
    1. A good question! I put in bump initially then changed it to hump. Chambers and COED support both as alternatives, on-line Collins doesn’t appear to have either.


  13. I had a hard time deciding which clues to leave out when I was writing this puzzle up, and it seems I got it wrong, omitting both OUR and SPEED BUMP, both of which I wrote in without much thought when solving. Sorry.
    1. Don’t beat yourself up Sabine, it’s impossible to get it right. You just never know what will cause debate. I certainly wouldn’t have included SPEED BUMP because (luckily) no other alternative occured to me at the time and it was hardly a screamer of a clue. With OUR the use of U=Universal, so common in film ratings years ago, has disappeared from common use today but you can’t blame yourself for not thinking of that.
  14. Some absolutley brilliant clues today…Not sure i fully understand why 11 across is Shrub could it be scrub? COD 16 down or 17 across…About 50 minutes
  15. A great puzzle. Took me well over an hour. I made one mistake: URCHIN instead of ORPHAN. I guessed OPUNTIA and then checked it in the Concise Oxford. My COD would be POOP DECK but there were many other enjoyable clues!
    Have a nice weekend.
  16. Found this site by accident while searching for the answers in desperation, having failed miserably and spent most of the weekend looking at the thing balefully. Thank you for preserving my sanity! I too had urchin for orphan and misled myself by having heartiest instead of earthiest.
    No way can I do the TC in anything less than 2 hours… will try harder 🙂
  17. A little cracker. I fell in to the SPEED TRAP er trap at 10a but corrected it to BUMP on solving 9d MUSLIN correctly without falling into the terrible DRALON trap.

    Not so with the unchecked URCHIN at 30a – I wondered why I could not parse the clue – Doh!

    There are 6 “easies”:

    10a Device delivering shock if one steps on it? (5,4)
    SPEED BUMP. The “shock” in the form of a large fine in the post from a SPEED TRAP has been mentioned above. You need the crossers correct to get this.

    23a It has leads to aid musical performance (3)
    AMP. Aids Musical Performance – and it has leads except these days with wireless connections.

    27a Lean over, showing scalp (4,2,3)
    THIN ON TOP. Guilty as charged.

    5d Exam may be in theory (2,5)

    7d The most coarse material for a tee-shirt (9)
    EARTHIEST. Anagram of (a tee-shirt).

    28 Gold rings for all of us (3)
    O U R. Gold = OR (heraldry) “for all” = U (film certification) and “of us” is the literal.

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