Times Crossword 24059

Solving time: 7.45

I found this pleasant enough to solve, but there was nothing in it that held me up for long. The SW corner was the last to be finished – mainly because I first thought the degree (MA) in 26 ac went at the beginning of the answer, and that the definition was therefore ISSUE. This is a similar sort of mistake to the one I made on Wednesday with MISUSE – finding a place where an element of the wordplay fits and penciling it in too confidently. Perhaps I did learn something, though, because this time I sorted it out much more quickly.

  IDE(ALGA)S. Ideal gas is a hypothetical gas which obeys physical laws under all conditions, I hadn’t heard of it but it was clear enough from the wordplay after I’d realised my first guess for the seaweed (AGAR) was wrong.
  SHANGRI-LA – (A, N, girl has)*. “Wonderful place” (7-2) was never going to be anything else.
  OVA, sounds like OVER (done).
  SORT OF – (soft or)*
  DIL,EMMA – “rejection of top” being LID reversed.
  EX,T(A)NT. “Old” and “banger” have to be separated, with banger being TNT.
  DOLLY, VA(RDE)N. A dolly is an easy catch in cricket, and VAN (short for vanguard) = the forefront, and therefore lead. All I knew of Dolly Varden was that she was a character from Dickens. I wasn’t surprised to find out that she is also a hat, but was definitely surprised that she is also a large American fish.
  INN,O(VAT)OR. “The needy, though non-starter” reduces to (p)OOR.
  NO-SHOW – “HOW” is the enquiring word, after SON reversed (boy turned up).
  P,LACATORY – you have to remove the V from “lavatory”, indicated by “not very”, and replace it with C (cold).
  LAGER – “Regal” reversed.
  DIAMOND WEDDING – (I, goddamned wind)*. Useful to remember that “one” in a clue can indicate I but not A, though I suspect in this case a few crossing letters will have been enough to solve the clue without deep analysis of the anagram fodder.
  AU,TO,P(I)LOT. I’ve seen GEORGE=autopilot (it’s RAF slang for the automatic pilot of an aircraft) so often that I wrote it in without much thought, and went back to figure out the wordplay later.
  GREE,K – “match won’t kick off” is an instruction to remove the first letter from “agree”.
  SIDE,REAL. Following on effortlessly from the previous clue with the European football theme.
  TI(PSY C)AKE, being PSYCHE without the HE (“he neglected”) inside TAKE (nick).
  MAN(HATT)AN – (that)* inside MANAN(a) – “tomorrow shortly”.
  WOO,DSM,AN – the award is the Distinguished Service Medal.
  LEGIT – “leg it”, as a single word

19 comments on “Times Crossword 24059”

  1. Hi, I’m early today, as this is last night over here. Fairly easy, about 15 minutes, except for 2D which held me up another few minutes at the end. At length I saw the ‘lavatory’=’small room’ bit, but it still wasn’t immediately obvious, so say 25 minutes altogether. Didn’t know what a ‘dolly’ is either, but figured it must be an easy catch in some way over in the UK. Regards.
  2. 13:39 (I got a stopwatch at last and I’m not afraid to use it! Mind you, it was $5 from a Canadian Del-boy, so it’s probably miles out, but it makes cute beepy sounds).

    1ac – eek
    12a – uh oh
    24d – tee hee, my COD

  3. Crikey, some quick times there! I took about 30 mins (over lunch) mainly through being held up in the SW corner. Hadn’t heard of TIPSY CAKE before, but I think a large piece would just set me up for the afternoon.

    I thought “though” was overused at 11,15,and 27. It seems OK in 15 as it qualifies “needy”, but it doesn’t seem to serve any purpose in the other two, where I can’t even make sense of the surface.

  4. 41 minutes today. I was off to a flying start and wrote in most of the top half in under 15 minutes. Then I had 8 minutes with nothing going in whilst I pondered the SW corner, but once I got going it fell into place quite suddenly. It was a similar story in the SE corner where 21 and 29 caused real problems.

    Over all I thought it was a good puzzle and I liked most of the clues

  5. The tension is palpable. Too many pleasant and reasonable puzzles. Take my word, we will pay for this!
  6. Another easy one today, about 20 minutes. For those who like a challenge, take a wander over to the Grauniad where Enigmatist awaits.
  7. Five in a row (and a bonus point?). Just over 20 minutes today. Nice, quiet, straightforward puzzle with a lot of the type of clues that I enjoy such as 17D and 18D with 2D my favourite. Again the long clues were very easy with both 5D and 9D requiring no real thought. I too feel a difficult one looming over the horizon. Who is blogging next week….
    1. Well, Jimbo, the last beast was Friday 24th when I was on duty and knowing my luck they’ll save the next one for Friday 7th.
  8. A slowish 28:22. The left hand side filled itself very quickly but then I slowed down, like Jack spending an age on the similar intersecting clues at 21/29. Greek and ideal gas were the last to go in.

    Quiblettes – 4 was a tad obscure throughout – I can’t say I’m familiar with the answer or either of the wordplay elements so I had to take an educated guess based on the checkers. What is “course of” doing in 17?

    A good puzzle for all that with some nice clues especially 2, 6, 20 & 23.

    Re 3dn I’d have loved to have been in the meeting when the marketing guys at Joseph Holt’s Manchester brewery came up with the idea of calling their lager “Regal”. Genius. Almost as good as the um bongo people naming a different blend um ognob.

    Q-0.5, E-8, D-7, COD 6

    1. I only know IDEAL GAS because it’s come up here before, and not that long ago, though it may have been in a Jumbo or ST puzzle.

      I took “during the course of” as a rather elaborate insertion indicator.

    2. It’s worth remembering “ide” as a fish and also the common seaweeds for example: agar;alga;kelp;ore; tang and wrack come to mind but there are lots more.

      IDEAL GAS (also known as perfect gas) was O Level physics in the 1950s as I recall. It’s a sort of imaginary standard against which other gasses are measured if my memory serves me well.

  9. A hat trick! I was ever so pleased to squeeze out DOLLY VARDEN then forgot to bother to check 23d and just wrote in LIGHT, so yet again a perfectly good crossword ruined by an idiotic solver.
    1a was scarily good and gets my COD nod.
    Penfold, stop being so fussy. HATT is “during the course of” MANAN[a]. 4a IDE is a (the?) standard crossword fish and you have heard of ALGA.
  10. 9:59 – slow on a couple of pairs in bottom corners – 21/29, then 23/26. Couldn’t have told you Dolly V was a fish but I had a vague idea there was something other than Dickens character and hat.

    penfold: if you aren’t familiar with ides as fish, I think you soon will be – though I saw the alga first and added the ides to complete the gas after the anniversary.

  11. Defeated! By 4ac (having not heard of the gas, fish, or seaweed), 22ac (not following cricket, or the seamingly rare RDE, or for that matter the Dickens character or hat), 15d (a what?)… Manana was completely new to me, which didn’t help with our cocktail of the day. The rest, luckily, I found straightforward enough!
    1. Manana has a tilde over the “n” and is pronounced man-yana. It’s used in everyday English, particularly to represent something that actually wont get done because tomorrow never comes.
  12. Plain sailing apart from the SW corner, like Sabine and others. Was looking for ‘hot stuff’ to be food of some kind,and although had the wood of woodsman quickly took a bit to get the dsm=award bit.
    6,8&13 were all vaguely familiar clues. Don’t think I’ve seen ‘opening’ used before to indicate insertion of one word into another as in 21 SH(ERR)Y.
    9:27 today
  13. Printed it off last night, realised I was too drunk to try it, did it first thing in the morning, 9 minutes. Woot.

    DOLLY VARDEN is popping up regularly, so wasn’t thrown by it. Got MANHATTAN from definition and part wordplay, TIPSY CAKE from wordplay (very nice wordplay too), PLACATORY without completely getting the wordplay until afterwards, and AUTOPILOT from the definition without understanding all the wordplay, so a few luckies in there.

    And now to write my other blog, it’s going to be a doozy.

  14. I nearly left the unknown (and indeed non-existent) PLAVATORY in 2d after finishing with 17d MANHATTAN. I read the clue again and finally twigged what the “cold, not very” was doing there to get PLACATORY. The only significance of this was to give me the satisfaction of not getting one wrong.

    There are five “easies” that are not in the blog:

    13a Blooming sensational game? (3-3-5)

    19a Old play I’m to adapt for London venue (7)
    OLYMPIA. Anagram of (O(ld) PLAY I’M)

    25a Tree – after forest fire? (3)

    26a Issue degree for hot stuff (5)
    MAG M.A. Good to see some geology.

    24d Something to contemplate held up by televangelist (5)
    NAVEL. Hidden backwards in te LEVAN gelist.

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