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Times 25673 - spot the wally

Solving time : Oh goody, still nursing the effects of the day after New Year's Eve and it's blogging day. 19 minutes and 8 seconds later, I hit the submit button with a whiff of hope - 2 wrong! Oh dear, it's going to be one of those days, since there's a large number of these I put in from definition alone.

There's some arcane stuff in here, though one of my father's (and I suspect many people's fathers) favorite shows puts in an appearance at 14 across.

Aaaah, I see my error, a typo has crept in to the crossing of 2 down and 9 across, that would explain the two incorrect. Phew - now I just have to unravel a few pieces of wordplay. This was a tough one!

Away we go...

1 TUTTI: TUT(mild rebuke) then IT(just what's needed) reversed
4 LOCK(security system), HORNS(sirens)
9 A MUG'S GAME: charade of the three components
10 TIGON: sounds like "TIE GONE" - though in the Merriam Webster dictionary it's pronounced TIE GEN (Chambers has both pronunciations). Cross between a tiger and a lioness, producing one has to be a dangerous task
11 JOBS COMFORTER: got this from the definition, but I think I can see it now - the website would be JOBS DOT COM, take away the DOT, then FOR, TER(m)
14 RUMP: take OLE(spanish word for encouragement) away from Horace RUMPOLE
15 PUSSYFOOTS: definition is "hedges" and it's an anagram of YOU, F(abulou)S and POSTS
18 EISTEDDFOD: 'EISTED (east end version of HEISTED), then first letters of Delayed For One Day
19 STOA: sounds like STOWER. I don't think I've ever said it out loud, though I've written it in plenty of grids
21 ACQUIRED TASTE: anagram of QUITE,SAD and CRATE(r)
24 ULTRA: hidden, reversed in pART LUnatic
25 PARTY LINE: double definition. To me, they never existed outside of "Pillow Talk"
27 BEDFELLOW: another from definition - it's D inside BEFELL,OW(n)
28 (em)PRESS

1 TEAR JERKER: JERK(silly) in TEARER(render)
2 TAU(t): a T-shaped cross
5 CREDO: the non-fighter would be a C.O. (conscientious objector), and a fighter typically stands in the RED corner (or the blue corner)
6 HIT(box),I,TOFF
7 RIGOR MORTIS: I think this is another homophone, this time for RIGGER MORTISE?
8 SAND: S(pole) then the N in AD(item promoting)
12 BUMP-STARTED: This was my last in and was also from definition alone. It's still worrying me - I had not heard of BIRTHDAY BUMPS, and as such the term is not in Collins or Chambers. Bump meaning to throw in the air and let hit the ground (really?) is in Collins. The rest is TARTED UP without the UP
16 SCORE DRAW: anagram of (ROAD,CREWS) - a score of 1-1 for example
17 SEAQUAKE: AQUA,(blac)K in SEE
20 STAY(guy, think ropes), UP(happy)
22 IMPEL: PE in 1 mL
23 CUR,B
26 1,R.E.


( 51 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jan. 2nd, 2014 03:39 am (UTC)
Only slightly better than yesterday for what is certainly a harder puzzle. So there's hope. Loved the dot.com device in 11ac. But had no idea ’ow to get ’EISTED in 18ac. Looking for a reversal. Thanks for sorting that George.
Jan. 2nd, 2014 03:40 am (UTC)
A toughie that took me almost exactly an hour though with some wordplay not unravelled. I won't embarrass myself further by listing every detail I missed; I'll just be thankful I didn't have to blog it! I'm still wondering if there's a definition anywhere to be seen at 24ac?

Edited at 2014-01-02 03:42 am (UTC)
Jan. 2nd, 2014 03:50 am (UTC)
I think it's meant to be an all-in-one clue, the entire clue is a definition leading to ULTRA
One’s backing in part lunatic? - ulaca - Jan. 2nd, 2014 06:23 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 2nd, 2014 03:50 am (UTC)
Surprisingly found this rather normal - about half an hour or so. I chuckled at 13Down, my COD. Good stuff

Jan. 2nd, 2014 04:43 am (UTC)
Over an hour, and one wrong
Haven't successfully completed a puzzle since last year.

Was delighted to guess STOA correctly, but failed to see TIGON. Wasn't thinking of the right sort of cross, so plumped for TUGON with about as much confidence as it deserved.

Never heard of a Birthday Bump, but what else could it be?

Good challenging puzzle IMHO.
Jan. 2nd, 2014 07:20 am (UTC)
Re: Over an hour, and one wrong
I associate "the bumps" with Billy Bunter and schoolchildren of that era although I remember them being given to birthday boys in the playground at my prep school in the mid 1950s.
Re: Over an hour, and one wrong - bigtone53 - Jan. 2nd, 2014 09:37 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Over an hour, and one wrong - dorsetjimbo - Jan. 2nd, 2014 09:42 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Over an hour, and one wrong - penfold_61 - Jan. 2nd, 2014 01:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 2nd, 2014 04:52 am (UTC)
Very much Michael Carberry to George's Mitchell Johnson today - more than two hours of torturous struggle before I dollied one up to mid off with 'tugon'.
Jan. 2nd, 2014 08:18 am (UTC)
DNF - not even close - if it is like this tomorrow, I think I will give up on 2014 and wait for 2015!
Jan. 2nd, 2014 09:48 am (UTC)
A difficult one again with a mixture of devious wordplay and a couple of not so good offerings

I also put in a number on definition and was grateful I didn't have to really dig out the detail. 27A is very well constructed as is 18A but I got both from definition + checkers

I don't like 5D - why should I associate RED with a corner of a boxing ring? And like Jack, despite the comments made above, I'm still struggling to see the definition of ULTRA
Jan. 2nd, 2014 10:03 am (UTC)
Red corner
I thought there were only red and blue to choose from. But I am to boxing what J.S. Bach was to plumbing.
(no subject) - ulaca - Jan. 2nd, 2014 10:26 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dorsetjimbo - Jan. 2nd, 2014 10:54 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 2nd, 2014 11:11 am (UTC)
15 minutes exactly on the club leaderboard. This is only 1.33 Magoos (and 1.4 Jasons today) so clearly I was on the right wavelength for this one.
It did feel like quite a tricky puzzle, though, and I took care to understand the wordplay before putting answers in rather than relying on my dodgy spelling for words like EISTEDDFOD.
I also remember birthday bumps, although the practice seems to have died out now.
ULTRA seems fine to me as an &Lit, albeit a bit clumsy. I think it's just a reference to extremists, rather than Italian football fans specifically, and whilst extremists aren't necessarily lunatic it seems close enough to me (perhaps with an implicit reference to 'lunatic fringe') and the question mark signals the slight obliqueness.
I loved the pointless employment website.
Andy Borrows
Jan. 2nd, 2014 11:24 am (UTC)
32 mins and I really struggled to get on this setter's wavelength. I had the most trouble in the NE, most of it of my own making. At 7dn with R???R for the first word I couldn't get away from thinking "razor" as a homophone of "raiser", and it took me ages to see the obvious. I wasn't confident enough to enter TIGON at 10ac without the G checker because I kept thinking that the "couple" in the clue was going to be a homophone of "two" rather than "tie", which I finally saw just after I'd finished the puzzle. PUSSYFOOT was my LOI because I didn't see the anagram fodder, and with Hedges in the clue and ?U? at the start of the answer I kept thinking of Gus Hedges from Drop The Dead Donkey even though such a reference would probably only occur in a Guardian or Independent puzzle. EISTEDDFOD and JOB'S COMFORTER went in from the definitions, so all in all it wasn't my finest solve ever, but it felt like a tough puzzle.
Jan. 2nd, 2014 12:24 pm (UTC)
I initially put in CREED for 5D, thinking it in some way referred to Apollo Creed from the Rocky films.
Re: References - penfold_61 - Jan. 2nd, 2014 01:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: References - oliviarhinebeck - Jan. 2nd, 2014 01:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 2nd, 2014 11:49 am (UTC)
Just under the hour: I almost gave up after about 40 minutes, with less than half done. Then I saw that the box in 6dn was HIT, not SET and the top half went in as soon as I saw 5 was CREED rather than CREDO (never saw how to parse it, or several others). Rest then followed with some help from aids to suggest possible words to fit checkers.
Not worried about ULTRA - 'lunatic fringe' came to mind after spotting the word.
Jan. 2nd, 2014 12:12 pm (UTC)
Well, I gave up after 45 minutes with three-quarters done and a complete block, and rather than leave it for a refreshed mind later had to come here and see what it was. And what it was was by and large very sharp, rapier-like, in my view, so congratulations to all the regulars who made it. On birthday bumps, in 1980 I was the form-master of a mixed sixth-form class in a London comprehensive and as the names in the register were accompanied by birthdates, when a boy's birthday was imminent I'd give the word a few days before and he'd get the bumps (everyone seemed to know what it was). They challenged me to let them know my birth-date so I gave it - it was several months ahead. I was convinced they'd forgotten it but I'm telling you, 37 bumps was not a joke.
Jan. 2nd, 2014 01:14 pm (UTC)
Such a comfort to find others struggled with this one too - I took 16:21 to sort it out.
Jan. 2nd, 2014 01:17 pm (UTC)
29:34 but with tugon.

Tricky stuff with credo, pussyfoot and eisteddfod not fully parsed and Job's comforter and stoa unknown.

I recall the bumps involving catching the "victim" rather than letting him or her hit the ground but then I went to a grammar school.
Jan. 2nd, 2014 03:48 pm (UTC)
My comprehensive school students were similarly considerate; but a "bump" that ends in thin air, after several repetitions still packs a wallop.
(no subject) - bigtone53 - Jan. 2nd, 2014 06:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 2nd, 2014 01:29 pm (UTC)
Crossword club
My subscription to the Times Crossword Club expired on December 31st, and I don't really want Tim Montgomerie's Times, so off to give the Grauniad a try from now on- yes, it may be a difficult transition to a different style.
I'd like to thank everyone for all the useful tips for the novice over the last 3 years.
Andrew K (occasional lurker novice cruciverbalist)
Jan. 2nd, 2014 03:22 pm (UTC)
Re: Crossword club
I don't see why online solvers of the Times Crossword should expact to have the puzzle and yet not the paper. When I go to the paper shop in the morning I don't ask the newsagent to cut me out the puzzle. The Times crossword is part of the paper. And personally I'm rather glad that that applies online now as well as in the world of the newsagent ...
Re: Crossword club - tony_sever - Jan. 2nd, 2014 11:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Crossword club - tony_sever - Jan. 2nd, 2014 10:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 2nd, 2014 02:17 pm (UTC)
We wuz 'eisted
Well Andrew K, good luck: that journal's xwd is a daily hymn to inconsistency, as today's Gordius puzzle may tell you. Not that I'm biased or anything.

Having said that, I had a pretty tough tme with this one, a true beast, with its occasional weird word, including JOB'S COMFORTER, of which I had not hitherto heard. In all, a good caning, and 48 minutes.

Maybe this is something to do with my having indulged over Xmas and New Year in the extreme sport of drinking German beer, in Germany, with Germans. Whatever, I wish you all an excellent 2014.
Jan. 2nd, 2014 03:12 pm (UTC)
DNF .. About 40 minutes to figure out everything except SAND, and I just couldn’t for the life of me see where that was going so I gave up. This puzzle was just too clever for my festively-challenged brain. I’m off for a walk in the bracing (-21) air to clear the cobwebs.
Jan. 2nd, 2014 11:10 pm (UTC)
In a competition of dnfs, yours would be higher up the table than mine. We're having a touch of brace in the air right now but nothing, I guess, in your league.
"I'm a soft southerner, get me out of here!" - sotira - Jan. 2nd, 2014 11:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 2nd, 2014 04:51 pm (UTC)
Had to break away from this with PUSSYFOOTS and ESCAPE KEYS still missing after 25 minutes. Don't know about anyone else, but my keyboard only has one of the latter, and I'm putting that in for the feeblest excuse of the year to date.
Very tricky stuff, and congrats to George on a comprehensive blog. My favourites were jobs.com (which exists, by the by) and EISTEDDFORD just for having a brave try.
Lost a bit of time towards the end looking for the missing X and Z
This 21 of ours is sometimes a bit of a 9, so thanks and Happy New Year to all 11s and 27s!
Jan. 2nd, 2014 05:27 pm (UTC)
Sorry - maybe I'm missing something obvious, how does "couple in van" = "em" in 28 across?

Thanks for all the great blogging
Jan. 3rd, 2014 10:54 pm (UTC)
Re: van?
'Couple in van' merely means the first two letters, where the van is the front.
Jan. 2nd, 2014 05:43 pm (UTC)
'van' means vanguard or front (of empress)

so you guys didn't get the bumps as kids? i did. doubt i could do cryptics without once being dropped on my head . .
Jan. 2nd, 2014 05:54 pm (UTC)
Half an hour with two wrong - TIGON and SAND - still don't feel that SAND is a synonym for polish. After you've sanded, then you polish? Loved the JOBS one.
Well blogged sir, I had a few in correctly without knowing exactly why.

And a day without rain!
Jan. 2nd, 2014 06:51 pm (UTC)
DNF after an hour so gave up. Needed George's blog for help so thanks for that. I had a feelng that this puzzle was in places impenetrable but now seeing the explanations it feels as if this was the setter's equivalent of diving to get a penalty in places with some for me obscure definitions or cryptic : 24a as mentioned by others and 5d. Hope the setter's called Ashley!
Jan. 3rd, 2014 02:49 am (UTC)
If the setter's Ashley, the editor would have to be Howard!
Jan. 2nd, 2014 07:11 pm (UTC)
After yesterday's success way, way way off the mark.

Ah well! Proverbs 16:18.

Incidentally, I remember being given the "bumps" on my 21st birthday at an army camp in the middle of Salisbury Plain. And I still bear the scars...
Jan. 2nd, 2014 10:45 pm (UTC)
Without trying to turn this into some sort of shoot out, I have always gone along with Proverbs 9 : 9.

Edited at 2014-01-02 10:47 pm (UTC)
Jan. 2nd, 2014 08:36 pm (UTC)
Enjoyed this puzzle immensely. Thank you setter. Finished a few moments ago while watching last night's Sherlock, 11.5 hours after starting at breakfast.
FOI Leaf Mould, LOI Pussyfoots.
Thanks George for decrypting Eisteddfod & Jobs Comforter.
Jan. 2nd, 2014 11:13 pm (UTC)
Best mind TV on at the moment, in my opinion.
Jan. 2nd, 2014 10:03 pm (UTC)
32m 08s
Much enjoyment, but I echo pipkirby's comment that I entered several correct solutions without knowing why. I also had some ingenious parsing that was completely wrong, like trying to justify 'rogir' for a sort of homophone for 'Roger' indicating the radio acknowledgement of a message heard. Why do I try to make life so complicated?
Many thanks for the untangling blog.
Jan. 2nd, 2014 10:57 pm (UTC)
15:18 for me, so once again a bit slow but not a total disaster. A most enjoyable puzzle with lots of ingenious clues. Thank you, setter.
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