Times Crossword 24047

Solving time: 9.24, which felt as if it should have been faster. I didn’t think this was a very interesting puzzle; quite a few of the clues just seemed to lack inspiration and to be the most obvious treatment unlightened by very much in the way of subtlety, surprise or humour. Hope people don’t think this too harsh a thing to say.


  TRIP,OLI. So maybe the people who put this instead of NAIROBI yesterday were just thinking ahead.
  MISTLETOE (motel site)*.
  RICEPAPER. Archie Rice is the central character in John Osborne’s play “The Entertainer”, and “rag” can mean a newspaper. I thought the Scott Joplin surface was quite neat. Isn’t rice paper usually two words, though?
  TIT,ICACA, a high lake on the borders of Bolivia and Peru, with ICACA being a reversal of ACACI. “Wattle” is a kind of Australian acacia, and ACACI is therefore “short wattle, perhaps, over”. Thought at first the high lake would be wordplay and the answer a bird, something like TITHATCH.
  RAVEN,OUS, with OUS being the middle of mouse and therefore a skinned rodent.
  W,EDGE – a wedge is a golf club.
  EVAD,E (E DAVE all reversed).
  OVER,SLEEP (PEELS reversed)
  TWEE,TER, with TER being alternate letters of “they’re”, as (regularly) indicated by “regularly”. A tweeter is a kind of loudspeaker for high-frequency sounds, the low-frequency counterpart being a woofer.
  TIME AFTER TIME – Time is said to be the great healer, and “late” = AFTER TIME.
  O(GL)ED – OED being the Oxford English Dictionary.
  INCAPABLE – AB = “tar” (sailor) inside pelican*.
  AGRIPPA – and not CLUTCHA, SQUEEZA or GRASPA, who were my first thoughts. Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa was a Roman statesman and general.
  STREET SWEEPER. This took me a while to get as I was assuming the “see” element of the clue would be more meaningful.
  CROWS NE,ST (crews on)*
  ODD, MENT – sounds like “meant”, therefore “intended, for the speaker”.
  ME(n), M OR Y. – “either section of my” being “m or y”, I had this solved in my head almost at once without really understanding how it worked – clearly the M and Y of “my” were involved, but which M was it? If “men” can be OR (other ranks), then can chaps? And where did the “come to” bit fit in? (Nowhere, really.)
  WASTE – “A STEW” with the W moved right up.

24 comments on “Times Crossword 24047”

  1. An early but late night entry for me. I agree, a relatively middle of the road puzzle, about 16 minutes worth. Challenged by TWEETER because I tried to make ‘ter-‘ go at the beginning for a time. Sorry I missed yesterday’s, which was harder, and where I was held up by ‘crepitate’, so it was too late to enter by the time I finished that one. My job has been demanding of time of late, like many others I’m sure, so I’ll enter when I can. Regards to all.
  2. 9:30. Definitely on the easy side, and yes, somewhat uninspiring.

    I was one of the augurs of Tripoli yesterday, so an easy start and nothing to scare the horses thereafter.
    No champagne moments, but half a glass of Blue Nun for the BUS LANE.

    Q-0, E-4, D-3

  3. About 20 mins for me (fast for me). Took several minutes at the end to get “street sweeper” even with all the checking letters. For some reason I couldn’t get off the “xxx sleeper” theme.

    Surely “memory” works as ‘chaps mostly’ = ME and then ‘either section of my’ has “or” (just the word meaning an alternative, not the other ranks stuff) in “my”.

    I had no idea who “rice” was but it couldn’t be anything else.

    1. Yes, that’s how “memory” works, most of my comments on this clue were just an account of the wrong turnings I took while trying to figure it out. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.
  4. Raced through, got the wobbles on tweeter, then crashed and burned on 23 Ac wedge. Don’t know why, but I just couldn’t see it even though I had it written in the margin. A senior moment perhaps.
  5. 13min for me which is probably about as quick as I get. As you say, all a bit flat. Too many clues were given away by obvious definitions.

    The OED has only RICE-PAPER.

    7D: or SEIZER perhaps?

    Wattle (which as sabine says is the Australian name for an acacia with bright yellow flowers) is the Australian national flower. I believe the plant was so-called as the early settlers used its branches as wattle for building “wattle and daub”. (That’s my antipodean contribution for the day.)

    1. It’s interesting that the OED has only RICE-PAPER because the COED has only RICEPAPER. Collins and Chambers (2003) list it as two words, though Collins also mentions “Rice-paper plant”.

      37 minutes for me, but I’m never a speed-merchant. I raced through the NW but lost time in the SW having hastily written INTENSIVE at 22 and had to rethink the answer when I spotted CROWS NEST at 14.
      And 10 would not be solved until I had all the checking letters so that lost more time.

      COD was 12. Q=0 E=7 D=7

      1. That’s at least three of us with ‘intensive’ for INSISENT – I think the “very” in the clue must have inserted a subliminal “V” into the anagram, even though I knew “tennis it’s” supplied all 9 letters.
        1. The V-factor was definitely part of my thinking process. I’m consciously trying to improve my timings at the moment and this is leading me into careless errors. Bung-it-in-and-move-on-to-the-next-one is not always the best policy.
  6. I too fell foul of 22a and put intensive down instead of insistent. This messed up the SW corner. I thought EVERYONE knew about Archie Rice… Olivier’s finest comic role on film….
  7. I agree Sabine not just easy but a mundane 15 minutes. My only slight hiccup was reading 10D and immediately writing STREET CLEANER into the grid. 23A WEDGE went in OK but then 25A had to be OVERSLEEP and that corrected the error. I don’t think anybody sweeps the streets these days, its all done by a cleaning machine (when it’s done at all). Like the lamplighter I can remember real street sweepers but haven’t seen one for years.
    1. We have a street-sweeper in our town but I’ve never seen him actually sweeping, only pushing his barrow and brush around.

      I’m reminded of the tale of Trigger’s broom…

  8. 7:24 – irritatingly slow, as a couple of ones like 5D and 9 that would have opened up the Geordie corner took two or three attempts despite using the same simple ‘R in something’ wordplay (5A, 7, 10 were the other last few entries).

    {Insert standard text about mundane/easy puzzles and less experienced solvers here} – 12, 2 and 6 presented some interesting images, at least.

    Edited at 2008-10-17 10:21 am (UTC)

  9. A leisurely 11:30 slowed by simultaneous soup slurping and people asking if I “have anything exciting planned for the weekend”. I told them that Cheltenham last Sunday was all the excitement I could manage for a good few weeks. Hampered also by confidently writing in WINDOW CLEANER in 10d (“see his way clear”) then STREET CLEANER and finally the correct answer. It seems I got more out of it than most even though it was on the easy side. 18d was a beauty. Shortening and reversing ACACIA from wattle made me thank heavens for easy definitions. Well done to the setter for adding “some say” to the unsoundalike in 7d.
  10. Filled most of the left-hand side in under ten minutes, but took longer to get some of the answers on the right, but still completed it in 20 minutes, which I don’t often better. I had no hesitation in entering TITICACA when I had the the initial T, but I didn’t understand the second half of the wordplay; thanks for the explanation. The easiest puzzle of the week by far.
  11. I got myself into a bit of a mess with 5d, by misspelling 8ac as MISTLETOW, which left me trying to justify THWACK… Apart from that, only 18d held me up for any time. About 40 minutes overall… What are the odds, BTW, of 1ac coming up today after so many of us mistakenly assumed it was 20d yesterday!
    1. Smaller than you might think – apart from a couple of pretty obscure words, Tripoli and Nairobi are the only show in town for ??I?O?I (possible exception: other towns or proper nouns). These ‘filler’ words crop up pretty often – EVADE is another in today’s grid (ELATE and ERASE are other choices here), and OKAPI/OMANI is another familiar pair. An entertaining crossword blog across the pond has a list of these called the Pantheon. The different grids over there mean the membership is a bit different, but there are words like ARIA and EPEE that would be included here too.
  12. 10:35 today, a new PB (previously 11:25 set about 3 weeks ago) and almost within sight of the TMB (ten minute barrier). 1a/1d went in straight off and I was then able to work my across without too many holdups. Ablaze was the last in.

    Did someone mention the wattle? Definitely one for George as an antipodean pythonofile:

    Q-0, E-7, D-2.5, COD, no real highlights but I’ll pick 22 as I play tennis

    1. …and the really sad thing is that I can recite the entire sketch without looking at the script.

      Yours etc.
      Michael Baldwin

  13. Didn’t get a chance to do this until after lunch, and then I kept getting interrupted by the weirdest thing… my building was announced in the local paper as a place where there were give-aways for a free James Talyor concert (it was the car park outside the building, and they ran out almost four hours ago). As the only person in this cubicle hell who keeps his door open, I’m the target of all sorts of ridiculous questions about free concert tickets that I had nothing to do with.

    Oh, and there was a crossword. I thought it was pretty easy, and that’s a relief since I’ve had one of my worst weeks ever, Times-wise. No guessing or unfamiliar words, I’d say a very good puzzle for beginners, and if you are feeling unfulfilled crossword-wise for today, there’s a new Listener I’ve just printed off that I’m going to sneak a peek at.

    For Penfold… that’s going to cause a bit of confusion, mind if I call you Bruce?

  14. I enjoyed this one – not as dull as everyone seems to be making out in my opinion. For a start I learned that Wattle is an Acacia. I am familiar with the African acacias – Acacia Tortillis that giraffes like eating for example – but I thought that the Ozzy Wattles were a completely different thing. I did see TIT and ACACI (A) backwards in 13a so learned something whilst I solved the puzzle.

    There are 2 “easies” left out – not many for a puzzle rated to be “super-easy”:

    5a Test game’s keeping British socially divided (6)
    TRI B AL

    22a Playing tennis – it’s very demanding (9)
    INSISTENT. Mentioned quite a bit above – anagram of (tennis – it’s).

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