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Times 25674

Solving time: I couldn't time it as I did it in bits on the train/tram on the way to work. From start to finish probably about forty minutes, but there was a 10 minute bike ride and good deal of changing trains, etc. in there so probably no more than 20-25 minutes actual solving time. I should also point out that I've not had a chance to enter my answers online yet, so it's unchecked, but I'm pretty confident about it all.

I completely forgot it was my turn to blog last night so I was grateful for an easy one that I could sprint through on the train and then quickly type up when I got to work. No time for more preamble now.

cd = cryptic def., dd = double def., rev = reversal, homophones are written in quotes, anagrams as (--)*, and removals like this

1SET ASIDE = contenT in (SEA + SIDE)
5PRELIM = R + (LIE)* in PM - 'heat' was the definition - an excellent clue with a good surface and good misdirection. My COD
9newspapeR + UN
12CORIOLANUS = vIOLA in COR (My!) + NUS (students)
13BORE - dd
15SMYRNA = MaYoR in SuburbaN + A - I know this one from the Diplomacy board game, so is it that ancient? On edit: It was known as Smyrna until 1930, so relatively recently, but it is at least 3,500 years old, so it's certainly ancient from that perspective.
16SHIFTED = (FISH)* + Tons Eaten Daily
18REVENUE = EVEN (stable) in EURope rev
20ON TICK - hidden
26OLIVER TWIST = OVER (finished) + TWIST (unexpected plot development) all about (I + L) rev
27LAB = BALl rev - informal word for labrador
2TANTRUM = T after (T + AN) + RUM (odd)
3SKI-TOURING = KIT in SO + U + RING - I've not heard of the sport so I had to work it out from the wordplay
6RAT + sentencE
7LOOKOUT - dd - 'cave' in its Latin meaning of 'beware'
8MISLEADS = M + (LADIES)* + Seducer
14TINTORETTO = RE (about) in TINT (shade) + OTTO (German)
25SE + MI


( 45 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 3rd, 2014 09:12 am (UTC)
42 minutes.

I wasted time at 21 because of "English" in the clue which is both unnecessary and misleading but I guess that's what cryptic puzzles are about.

I'd also never heard of SKI-TOURING which from its description sounds more like an activity than a sport, and Collins agrees, adding that it's non-competitive. Chambers gives the okay to 'sport' though.
Jan. 3rd, 2014 09:17 am (UTC)
44.15, one wrong
Bit easier today, but managed to stuff it up by not knowing the play. Although of course I do know it, so no excuse, just got baffled by the parsing.

Was held up for a long time by TINTORETTO. When I see Italian painter, I run through the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. If that doesn't work I'm in trouble, but today it was gettable from the wordplay.

Still looking forward to breaking my duck for 2014. Maybe on Monday.
Jan. 3rd, 2014 09:46 am (UTC)
Re: 44.15, one wrong
Ha! I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who has to resort to TMNT for my knowledge of Renaissance painters! That was my LOI as I was expecting to have to look it up, but the wordplay suddenly clicked as I was about to put it aside.
Jan. 3rd, 2014 09:43 am (UTC)

Managed all correct (first for little while, so must have been on the easy side…), and managed to parse all but CORIOLANUS.
Jan. 3rd, 2014 09:49 am (UTC)
I'll admit that I'm not familiar enough with 12th Night to know Viola as a character from it. I got it late on from the checkers and looked up the character post-solve for blogging purposes. I'd spotted the COR and the NUS though, so Viola was what I was expecting.
Jan. 3rd, 2014 09:59 am (UTC)
Not sure but under 30mins
Some nice clues here and good to see our old friend KV again in 7D
Jan. 3rd, 2014 10:04 am (UTC)
Easiest puzzle so far this year that took 20 gentle minutes. Had to guess the play, not knowing the decapitated 12th Night character, and had never heard of the "sport" but otherwise no great problems.

Didn't like the "English" in 21D and post solve looked up "Alan" in the The Oxford Names Companion. It's of Celtic origin, originating from Alan Earl of Brittany who was a Breton follower of William The Conquerer who was rewarded with large estates in England after 1066!

Jan. 3rd, 2014 02:14 pm (UTC)
Cronyism, huh? Always with us.
Jan. 3rd, 2014 10:20 am (UTC)
Straightforward puzzle but very much enjoyed the ludicrous surface of 11D. LOI SITE, which I'd seen early on but couldn't get out of my head the idea that the homophone was for "sight".
Jan. 3rd, 2014 10:47 am (UTC)
30 minutes on the Club timer, but I'll claim a sub-30 with a couple of interruptions. Initially had 'eruption paint' for 11. Alan is surely as English as they come. Both my surnames on my dad's side are Norman and I'm 'Celtic' on my mother's, but by identity I'm 100% English. Except when Murray's playing, when I'm a Brit.

I note with relish how my reverse mental disintegration is working on our Aussie. :)
Jan. 3rd, 2014 01:15 pm (UTC)
I'm 100% British except when Murray's playing, when I'm English (or Spanish, or Swiss...)
Jan. 3rd, 2014 02:11 pm (UTC)
30 minutes? Nice work. At that rate you could knock a couple off during England's first innings tomorrow!

(Oooooohhhhhhh says the crowd, nasty delivery).
Jan. 3rd, 2014 04:26 pm (UTC)
Getting bored with the way your top order folds and then Haddin and Smith take over.

Thought you might like this: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rrWcQfcviqo
Jan. 3rd, 2014 11:07 am (UTC)
33.45 with some of those at the end working out how ski-touring could be correct. Parsing's worse than it was - maybe just a blip. A decent enough puzzle on the easy side but flawed by the lazy giveaway in 25. The Times is for people with teeth - this is pap. Whereas 27 say though quick to be dealt with isn't - there's a difference.
Jan. 3rd, 2014 11:28 am (UTC)
32 min - had to look for 3dn, as DNK - succeeded when I realised that 12ac, which I couldn't parse was not CARACTACUS.
Jan. 3rd, 2014 11:30 am (UTC)
Screwed up and put SKI SOARING (which is a sport, vol à ski when I lived in France). I just figured that A-RING was like the A-LIST or something. The rest fits perfectly of course.

Did 12th Night for O-level English Literature. I know way more about Viola and the other characters than for any other play.

Edited at 2014-01-03 11:31 am (UTC)
Jan. 3rd, 2014 01:23 pm (UTC)
That way you'd have to justify gear as kis. Or did I miss some irony?
Jan. 3rd, 2014 11:31 am (UTC)
An easy but enjoyable 24 minutes. I spent a short while wondering if 3 could be anything else, since SKI-TOURING didn't sound like a standard expression to me. I also didn't enter CATALAN for some time since I, too, was fooled by 'English'. Nice clues for 1ac, 16, 29 and 11dn.
Jan. 3rd, 2014 12:46 pm (UTC)
Quite easy after yesterdays...
....which I am still working on.

I put in a lot of them from the literals without thinking too much, which you can do in a puzzle like this. At the end, I got stuck on 'Tintoretto' and wasted another 15 minutes before I saw the obvious.
Jan. 3rd, 2014 12:56 pm (UTC)
It was lucky that ski-boarding didn't fit because I'd never heard of the other. I know 12th Night thanks to my name - the most tedious woman in all Shakespeare. It just so happens that Sir Andrew Aguecheek is in today's TLS puzzle. 17.6 and I agree with Dave that PRELIM was excellent.
Jan. 3rd, 2014 01:21 pm (UTC)
Pretty straightforward at 12:51 and no boo-boos.

Threw vitriol in without stopping to parse and conversely had to rely on wordplay for the "sport" and the ancient city.

I wondered about transfix as an inserticator but it can mean to pierce which I guess is OK although it's not a meaning I knew.
Jan. 3rd, 2014 01:28 pm (UTC)
Just over 40 minutes for me but that included a couple of reasonably large interruptions. Coriolanus went unparsed despite Twelfth Night being one of my Eng Lit. 'O' level books. Shame on me! LOI was the aforementioned excellent PRELIM. Hoping for some better times in January due to my decision to renounce alcohol for the month. Regards to all.
Jan. 3rd, 2014 10:03 pm (UTC)
Renouncing alcohol
Me too, as I do every year. I'm not sure it's improving my performance at the moment but then I think I've still got a hangover.
Jan. 3rd, 2014 01:36 pm (UTC)
Straightforward for me too at 9 mins exactly.
Jan. 3rd, 2014 01:57 pm (UTC)
After yesterday's miserable effort, glad to be back on track with a 30 minutes stroll.

As I played Feste the clown in Twelfth Night in my callow youth, the 12th Night reference came pretty easily. Can't agree that Olivia is "tedious" - after all she falls in love with a boy that's really a girl dressed up as her twin brother, then she mistakes the brother for her/him and...oh, the fun!

"Still that's all one and our play is done and we'll try to please you every day..."
Jan. 3rd, 2014 02:08 pm (UTC)
After the last few days this was a bit of a walk in the park, didn't time it but I finished this and the Quixote puzzle in the Guardian while watching the second half of a half-hour TV show. Didn't see all of the wordplay for TINTORETTO (to the point I originally wrote it in as TINTORETTI not quite remembering the name of the painter), but the rest came easily.
Jan. 3rd, 2014 02:15 pm (UTC)
About 12 minutes but with a half-baked ‘misdeeds’ at 8d, one of those that I ‘saw’ straight away.

COD .. PRELIM, for sure.

I’m impressed, Dave, with your cerebral take on the biathlon - bike riding and crossword solving. Could it catch on? How’s Magoo on a bike?
Jan. 3rd, 2014 03:10 pm (UTC)
I doubt it'll catch on - it plays havoc with one's handwriting!
Andy Borrows
Jan. 3rd, 2014 02:24 pm (UTC)
14 mins and definitely on the easier side after the last couple of days.

I completed the RHS much faster than the LHS. CORIOLANUS went in from the definition, SKI-TOURING from the wordplay, and then my last three in were REVENUE, BRUSH-OFF and VITRIOL in that order.
Jan. 3rd, 2014 02:47 pm (UTC)
26.20 and all correct so this was definitely on the easy side of average. Did this in a break from reading essays on CORIOLANUS so felt as if I was being nagged back to work! Thanks for blog as I couldn't see how VITRIOL worked - easy of course once it's been explained.
Jan. 3rd, 2014 03:04 pm (UTC)
20 minutes, working on the newspaper's online version on my android tablet. Not sure which part of that chain slowed everything down, as for once the letter entry couldn't keep up with my fingers and most things had to be entered more than once. Frustrating.
Not much excitement, either. Ski touring looks weird.
Jan. 3rd, 2014 03:33 pm (UTC)
Almost a breeze after yesterday's tortuous, and at times too clever by half, effort. Nice puzzle. PRELIM was particularly good. Initially I too quibbled about the use of "English" at 21D (CATALAN), but I guess that there's no doubt that Alan is a common (if by no means exclusively) English name and that its so being described here adds an element of legitimate misdirection to the clue.
Jan. 3rd, 2014 05:52 pm (UTC)
I think the setter has been rather clever here: it's a dd as Dave says, but it's also a triple definition: suffered = bore, pain = bore and drill = bore
Jan. 3rd, 2014 05:57 pm (UTC)
Well, that was nicer than yesterday's - a steady solve. Didn't we have a TANTRUM recently?

Failed to parse CORIOLANUS, and a lot of the others were parsed after they'd been filled in. SMYRNA was one of those things I know but don't know why I know it - history and geography were never my strong suits, and I kept trying to fit UR into it, but got there in the end.

I'd never heard of SKI TOURING, but since I can't ski that is not surprising.

I wish this had been trickier, since I'm off duty tonight and therefore at a loose end. Pity to miss the all-night party that is A&E on a Friday night, but you can't win 'em all. I might dig out my box-set of House so that I've got something to shout at.
Jan. 3rd, 2014 06:28 pm (UTC)
About 30 minutes - quick for me, seemed easy enough. Initially had PAGE for 23 across but dictionary does not support it as a noun meaning a name that is paged. My only query with 21 was the definition SPANISH for CATALAN. Presumably refers to the region, obviously not the language.

Edited at 2014-01-03 06:29 pm (UTC)
Jan. 3rd, 2014 06:33 pm (UTC)
90 percent went right in - fortunate to know both SKI TOURING and TINTERETTO. But not knowing NUS or having 12th Night familiarity did for me. Not sure I agree that competition is necessary to be a sport - consider fishing, surfing, shooting.

Meantime, how deep in snow are the Hudson Valley and Nova Scotians? How deep in water is Dorset?
Jan. 3rd, 2014 10:32 pm (UTC)
A foot or so of snow in today's blizzard in NS, Paul, and a couple of brief power outages (fingers crossed it stays that way). Nothing too bad. Looks like some parts of the UK have rather more to deal with tonight.
Jan. 3rd, 2014 07:50 pm (UTC)
23m 08s
Satisfied with my solving time, especially as I was somewhat hampered by border terrier on lap. Also queried English in relation to Alan, had doubts about 'transfixing' in 12a (though I accept that it's o.k. As penfold_61 explains), and I wanted to make some variation of 'tail' work at 27a until the proverbial penny dropped.
Nice to see thud_n_blunder back. Happy New Year.
Jan. 3rd, 2014 09:50 pm (UTC)
Re: 23m 08s
Stick with Border Collies!
Jan. 3rd, 2014 11:26 pm (UTC)
Re: 23m 08s
Hello bigtone
I love border collies, but they have two big drawbacks:
1. They are so active you can never tire the beggars out,
2. They are so intelligent they make me look even more stupid than I am.

Until last June, I also had a Labrador/Staffie/Rottie cross. He was a big lad, and when he sat on my lap there was no way to even attempt a crossword (or anything else), but I can't tell you how much I miss him.
Best wishes, and I hope that Mrs bt is now fully recovered from her accident.
Jan. 4th, 2014 10:11 am (UTC)
Re: 23m 08
Thanks George. Mrs bt is fine now and as I write is doing the first of the three dogwalks of the day..

As to the border collie, tell me about it! I have never let on but he helps me out with the crosswords!

Edited at 2014-01-04 12:12 pm (UTC)
Jan. 3rd, 2014 08:35 pm (UTC)
Not easy for me, about 45 minutes, ending with the painter. Like others, I couldn't parse CORIOLANUS, but put it in anyway, and SKI-TOURING arrived via wordplay only. PRELIM was very good, but I also liked OLIVER TWIST. Regards.
Jan. 3rd, 2014 10:13 pm (UTC)
14:24. I seem to have been relatively off the pace for this one compared to yesterday, but it was straightforward enough.
I wondered both about the Englishness of Alan and the Spanishness of CATALANs. The latter is a political fact of course but there's no need to rub it in. Alan Greenspan might feel the same way.
Jan. 3rd, 2014 11:10 pm (UTC)
A disappointing 10:53 for me, never getting into my stride and making heavy weather of some easy clues.

No problem with TINTORETTO (seen plenty of his paintings in Venice :-), but (like others) I hadn't come across SKI-TOURING before.
Jan. 4th, 2014 12:34 am (UTC)
Sat down to this over supper, with one eye on Goldeneye, so no true timing possible, but all completed within two and a bit hours elapsed time. Found the "way in" to this one difficult, but once a few fell, the rest proved tricky but not fiendish. Went RHS, then NW finally SW, LOI SITE/VITRIOL. Some nice surfaces, agree PRELIM is excellent.

Enjoyed putting together CORIOLANUS - involving two plays for the price of one! Twelfth Night was our college summer play back in the day. I still remember my wig - it certainly hung "like flax on a distaff"!
( 45 comments — Leave a comment )

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