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Times 25688 - A bargain at half the price!

Solving time: 51 minutes

Music: Chopin, Ballades, Arrau

As you can see, this one gave me a little trouble. I had most of it filled in after 25 minutes, but two of the corners proved a bit stubborn. Eventually, I was left contemplating 1 across for about 15 minutes before seeing the obvious.

When I was in rapid-solve mode, a lot of the answers went in from the literals. This puzzle would have been a lot harder if the literals had not been so easy to spot, but it is Monday after all.

1A BON MARCHE, A BON(MARCH)E. Simple, eh? I contemplated every possible meaning of 'rib' before finally considering that it might be a bone.
6ITEM, concealed backwards in [beca]ME TI[red]. I put this in from the literal; it's becoming a bit of a puzzle cliche.
9IMPASTO, IM(PAST)O, where IMO is the texter's In My Opinion.
10DISDAIN, D(I'S D.A.)IN. The obvious answer, but I didn't understand the clue while solving. Subsequent research shows that D.A. = Duck's Arse, a formerly popular haircut. Makes a bit of a change from the District Attorney.
12BENEFICENT, BEN + E + IF backwards + CENT.
13ELM, [r]E[c]L[i]M[b].
15NASEBY, BE + SAN backwards + Y. The key battle of the Civil War.
16CORNMEAL, CO + R(N[ottingha]M)EAL. Not much of a food, but easy enough.
18HYACINTH, anagram of H + IN YACHT. I was afraid this was going to be some dreadfully obscure plant, but not so.
23RID, RID[e].
24DEBRIEFING, DEB + anagram of GRIEF IN, another one that went in from the literal.
26EMBARGO, E(MBA)RGO, not the sort of degree that is often seen in puzzles.
27BANQUET, BAN + QU[i]ET, with a useless cross-reference that did not help with 26 at all.
28SEED, DEE'S backwards.
1AXIS, A + SIX upside down. I wanted to put in 'amir' until I realized this was a cricket clue put in to deceive American solvers.
2ORPHEUS, OR(P[ublic]H[ouse])E + US. My first in, from the literal.
3MASTER BUILDER, M(ASTER BU[lb])ILDER. Also a play by Ibsen, one of the few I've heard of.
4ROOKIE, RO(OK I)E, my last in. As used in the US, a rookie is not really a recruit, but my chief problem was my belief that 'eggs' = 'ova', and that the last four letters must therefore be 'ovia'.
5HEDGEROW, HE'D G([th]E)ROW. This one gave me a lot of trouble until I thought of 'grow', and then it was obvious.
7TRAPEZE, ART upside down + P.E. + Z[on]E, very easy to put in from the literal - what else would they use at the circus?.
8MINIMALIST, MINIM + A-LIST. This is bound to fall into place once you see A-List, right?
11SAT ON THE FENCE, double definition, where the first one should be interpreted as 'Sat, On the Fence', like an accusation in Clue.
14ANCHORLESS, ANCHOR(L)ESS. I started to put in 'anchoress' from the literal, realized I was a letter short, and made a quick adjustment.
17STUBBORN, BUTS upside down + BORN, sounds like borne. They should sound alike, they're the same word, a strong Germanic verb of Class IV; the original past participle was 'boren'.
19AUDIBLE, anagram of [co]U[rt] + BAILED. In US football, this can be a noun.
21CONSUME, CON(SUM)E, a write-in.
22TIMBRE, TIM(B[ecome] R[esonant])E, where 'eventually' = 'in time'.
25STET, S(T[rainee])ET, the third person imperative singular of Latin 'sto'.


( 40 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 20th, 2014 02:43 am (UTC)
Not a lot to trouble the clock this morning. Thought the clue for AUDIBLE (19dn) was very good.

Strange how "mild"/"milder" can change with latitude (3dn). Right now, right here, "milder" means "cooler". (Or it would, if it were.)
Jan. 20th, 2014 03:39 am (UTC)
...or DNF really, as I had to cheat for NASEBY. Didn't remember the battle (rings a vague bell now), but still should have got it. Expected remain to be ash, and couldn't parse anything from there.

Thought this was pretty tough and was pleased to get the totally unknown A BON MARCHE.

Had exactly the same thought as McText regarding the use of "milder", but then I believe we live in the same hellhole.

Edited at 2014-01-20 03:39 am (UTC)
Jan. 20th, 2014 06:16 am (UTC)
69 minutes. Unlike the blogger I had a lot of trouble spotting the definitions in a set of very wordy clues and took ages to get any flow into the solve. After 30 minutes I realised I would have been in panic mode if it had been my day for blogging.
Jan. 20th, 2014 08:07 am (UTC)
I was hoping to squeeze in under the half-hour, but it was not to be. I saw A-LIST at 8d, but was stuck on do,re, mi, etc. for 'note', wasting bags of time. I also took a long time on DISDAIN, partly because--although I used to wear my hair in a DA, it never occurred to me to refer to that bit of styling as a haircut; an afro, a conk, a crewcut, a Beatles-cut, yes, but not a DA or a mullet, say. Also, I had trouble with the definition: a slight is an action, disdain an attitude. Still, I enjoyed this one, although I enjoyed it more in the first 29 minutes.
Jan. 20th, 2014 04:52 pm (UTC)
Re: 33'
Try 'disdain' and 'slight' as verbs.
Jan. 21st, 2014 12:04 am (UTC)
Re: 33'
I did; to slight is to do something expressive of disdain, to disdain is to stand in a disdainful attitude toward someone or something.

Edited at 2014-01-21 04:34 am (UTC)
Jan. 20th, 2014 08:47 am (UTC)
Who else fell foul of the Sunday Times Cryptic marking problem with 16D yesterday? Just checked, still not resolved, stats 1-8 = 0 error, 9-100 (+ no doubt many more)= 1 error.

Today shot myself in the foot - having had "Murphy's Law" recently, I dug my own grave trying to make it a food "A -O- Murphy" - perhaps something like the disgusting potato "scollop" that chip shops sell.

Enjoyed the rest.

Edited at 2014-01-20 08:48 am (UTC)
Jan. 20th, 2014 12:42 pm (UTC)
Will have to look back at yesterdays ST. I thought that it all went in quite easily so I must have missed something.
Jan. 20th, 2014 01:14 pm (UTC)
There's a note from PB in the forum confirming an error in the online solution. Any entries submitted today should be marked correctly. There's a technical problem holding up the process of correcting yesterday's incorrect marking.
Jan. 20th, 2014 04:46 pm (UTC)
Thanks for alerting me to PB's note about the error in the online solution to yesterday' ST cryptic, Sotira.

Those who do the ST Codeword puzzle might also like to know (if they are not already aware) that when I tried to send in my solution by text message yesterday in the usual way, I got back a message from the ST saying "sorry this service is closed". The reason for this, apparently, is that prizes are no longer being offered for the Codeword. If and when Mr Murdoch feels able to afford prizes again, the service will be resumed, or so I understand.
Jan. 20th, 2014 08:50 am (UTC)
Quite straightforward, no question marks today but three exclamation ones, for 18ac, 29ac and 19dn which I thought excellent clues indeed. Some very good stuff in this.
Oh, to live in a climate where milder might mean cooler!
Jan. 20th, 2014 09:16 am (UTC)
You'd probably change your mind after a series of +40˚ days.
Jan. 20th, 2014 09:00 am (UTC)
Thought this was quite tough, with the first minute or so trying to find a clue I could answer, and the last couple of minutes spent trying to parse TIMBRE even if the answer looked obvious. Slowed down in between by wanting to put in munificent instead of BENEFICENT.

Like the blogger, also considered amir (and apil) for 1D before seeing the light (the surface was more helpful than I initially realised). Unlike the blogger, 27A gave me 26A straight away. D.A. was in a Guardian puzzle a few months ago. I'd always thought milder was a relative term, i.e. warmer after a cold patch or cooler after a hot spell.

Jan. 20th, 2014 10:55 pm (UTC)
I'm glad to see I wasn't the only one who spent the last couple of minutes trying to parse TIMBRE - even though I must have seen that use of "eventually" several times before!
Jan. 20th, 2014 09:46 am (UTC)
Tough going at 28 minutes, and a spookily similar experience to Vinyl, with French cheapo and ROOKIE my last two in and toying with ???OVIA for ages.
At one point, I gave up altogether on the hard frost of the northern latitudes for the milder south, where TIMBRE was my CoD for that in time device.
Good stuff, much more challenging than any of last week's gentle series.
Still waiting for Peter to fix the ST scores!
Jan. 20th, 2014 11:11 am (UTC)
The thing I found bizarre about yesterday's ST incident was the number of people whose one mistake just happened to tally with the mistake in the solution - of all the words in that puzzle, I wouldn't have picked that one as the likeliest to be misspelled.
Jan. 20th, 2014 10:13 pm (UTC)
It didn't surprise me, because I initially misspelled it in exactly this way! Easily done, considering the commonest word from that root is spelled that way. Fortunately or unfortunately for me I checked the anagram fodder.

Edited at 2014-01-20 10:13 pm (UTC)
Jan. 20th, 2014 11:44 pm (UTC)
I think by the time the nul point entries went in, the mistake had been identified in the comments and acted upon by the dozen or so who adjusted accordingly. Peter will no doubt pull the switch when it can be made to work and the enterprising firsts shall be last &c. There were certainly no all correct entries until the discussion reached 5 pages. I had thought it could only have been the kick i the balearics, but the best laid plans...
Jan. 20th, 2014 10:18 am (UTC)
A bit of a 25 minute trip down memory lane for me. BON MARCHE was a shop in Brixton High Street when I was lad and sporting my DA (I know, it's hard to believe but I had a large quiff at the front as well)

Nice puzzle with ANTECEDENT, AUDIBLE and TIMBRE all top class
Jan. 20th, 2014 12:55 pm (UTC)
In my childhood, a trip to the Bon Marché department store in Gloucester was quite an event. We referred to it as the “bon marsh”, showing proper British disdain for those fiddly foreign accents.

There’s an interesting little history at the link below, jimbo. Turns out your Bon Marché was owned by Selfridge’s and classed as a “provincial store”.


[on edit: I had thought the Gloucester and Brixton stores were part of the same enterprise but have just been reminded that the family who founded and ran the Gloucester store before selling to Debenhams used to live down the road from us. Same name, different business]

Edited at 2014-01-20 01:07 pm (UTC)
Jan. 20th, 2014 03:30 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the link Sotira - loved it, not least the old trams that used to clank their way up Brixton Hill and on to the posh area of Streatham

Mind you, central Brixton looks quite afluent in the pictures - just shows how the fortunes of areas changes over time
Andy Borrows
Jan. 20th, 2014 10:33 am (UTC)
19 mins, and I thought this was an excellent puzzle. Count me as another whose last two in were A BON MARCHE and ROOKIE. For some reason I have a mental block over the spelling of BENEFICENT because I always think it should have an "I" after the "C", and for quite a while I was fixated on "benevolent" but obviously couldn't parse it. I thought the clue for TIMBRE was top quality.
Jan. 20th, 2014 11:50 am (UTC)
i struggled a bit with this and spent almost an hour over it, despite some giveaways such as 13, 23, and 25. I found the NW corner the most difficult, finally getting 1a when I had the M from 3d. I also it found it difficult to get away from RUDDERLESS for 14, even though RUDDERESS did not sound like a female recluse, so 15 and 18 were slow coming too.

Enjoyed the clues; some of the anagrams were very well disguised.
Jan. 20th, 2014 12:58 pm (UTC)
Rookie mistake
One mistake in my 29:46. Trying to duck under the 30 minute barrier I had no time to check the grid and missed my half-baked ‘distain’. Aw, 20a.
Jan. 20th, 2014 01:06 pm (UTC)
25:10 for me so certainly much tricker than any of last week's puzzles. (Either that, or the "dry" January pattern of abstaining Sunday-Thursday and caning in on Friday and Saturday is taking its toll on Monday's brain power).

My last pair were Naseby and anchorless, with "out of" being a tad misleading in the former and anchoress being totally unfamiliar.

I considered rookie for 4 early on but thinking that the eggs were the Os I couldn't justify the rest.

Good challenge.
Jan. 20th, 2014 01:11 pm (UTC)
Definitely trickier 20 mins with Tippex - my last two being the Bon Marche and the Rookie.
Jan. 20th, 2014 02:17 pm (UTC)
Definitely tricky for a Monday offering. Thanks to Vinyl for explaining fully how DISDAIN and TIMBRE worked. Had completely forgotten about haircuts and "duck's arses", let alone the DA abbreviation for same. Excellent puzzle with many good clues, all mentioned above.
Jan. 20th, 2014 04:21 pm (UTC)
About 20 minutes here, although at least 5 of them were spent on 28ac, as the only river I could think of at first was TEES. Eventually after running through the alphabet in my head a couple of times I got the answer, but I thought the rest of it was pretty straightforward.
Jan. 20th, 2014 04:34 pm (UTC)
No time to post due to watching US football, but it felt 30 minutesish, ending with DISDAIN. I didn't know of the anchoress and never parsed TIMBRE, but no problems otherwise. Regards.
Jan. 20th, 2014 04:49 pm (UTC)
DNF today after 40m and was grateful for the blog once again. Stuck in the SW and never got near ANCHORLESS though had endless fun trying to find a FHERMITAL sort of word. My hat therefore doffed respectfully to the setter!
Jan. 20th, 2014 08:35 pm (UTC)
Not straightforward today, and I had to take it home to finish after my commutes! With staring at the last few for ages, took about an hour in all.

TIMBRE an excellent clue - my COD. One of the AMIR brigade, so I suppose one wrong - well an Amir is a power, isn't he? It was one of the first ones I got, but didn't fill it in till the end, as I was unhappy with it. But I like the subtlety of AXIS. Also enjoyed CORNMEAL and ROOKIE, though the latter only when the lightbulb suddenly, and eventually, lit up!

Like others, I found the DISDAIN=slight link slight, to say the least, but agree it's there nevertheless. Sort of.

Never heard of a duck's a---. Finding out what one is, I'm glad this bit of "yoof cultcha" passed me by. Duck's bottom now, entirely different - the sort of pouty face children sometimes pull.

Jan. 20th, 2014 08:38 pm (UTC)
PS Also spent ages looking for a word with OVIA. No, I take my hat off to ROOKIE!
Jan. 20th, 2014 10:13 pm (UTC)
Looking at the comments above, I'm quite chuffed I was able to finish in about 40 minutes. However there were 2 examples of something I hate: proper names clued with "man", "woman", "girl" or "boy". With the number of possibilities, it's too difficult to work out cryptic clues from these. I also think it's lazy clueing. It used to annoy the hell out me when doing the Sunday Express Skeleton crossword where it was a frequent device (don't worry - I didn't buy the paper, it was my mother's copy)
Jan. 20th, 2014 10:28 pm (UTC)
25m. I felt a bit like Goldilocks solving this: most of it was too easy, but some of it was too hard.
I had most of it done in about ten minutes, with a lot of answers bunged in from definition. I then spent ages staring at my last three: ANCHORLESS, NASEBY and DISDAIN. The battle isn't surprising, because I never studied the English Civil War at school so I'm pretty ignorant on the subject, but I can't see what held me up in the other two. I even considered DA, which I'm familiar with because my dad had one (although I'm too young ever to have seen it). A case could be made that this is hopelessly obscure these days but it seems to crop up fairly regularly.
Hopefully tomorrow's will be just right.
Jan. 20th, 2014 10:52 pm (UTC)
17:57 for me. Despite having difficulty finding the setter's wavelength, I thought this was a very fine puzzle.
Jan. 20th, 2014 11:41 pm (UTC)
All done pretty sharpish at around 25m with distractions.

Thanks for the link sotira. I do not remember any trams but the trolley-buses in Teddington were a fascination for a young BT.
Jan. 21st, 2014 01:01 am (UTC)
45min, and glad of it. This one was riddled with French, Italian and American, not to mention history, art and cricket, all of which are hitting below the belt as far as I'm concerned. So, I was content to get out alive.

Had never heard of impasto, and hadn't come across "IMO" as an abbreviation (I'm used to seeing "IMHO"), but got there in the end.

My LOI was MINIMALIST, because I was hung up on "memo" until I had got...

...my NTLOI, which was DISDAIN. I had always thought that "disdain" was an opinion (as in "to hold someone in disdain"), rather than an insult ("slight"). Well, live and learn.

And my JBNTLOI was SHUCKS, which I failed to parse (along with TIMBRE).

Today's award for Most Creative Accident goes to a young gentleman who (and at this point, I fail to follow the reasoning) was trying to impress his friends by demonstrating how many chopsticks he could insert into his nostrils. All would have gone well had he not then fallen over and met a kitchen worktop on his way down. That's the problem with working in A&E in East Anglia: the truth is generally so much stranger than fiction that it wouldn't even make good fiction. Fortunately, the chopsticks missed his brain by about two and half feet.

And the award for Most Creative Explanation for an Embarrassing Injury goes to a young lady who had been bitten. Where*, and by what, are not suitable topics for this forum.

(*OK - I can tell that you're itching to know. It was in the Histon area.)

Jan. 21st, 2014 01:00 am (UTC)
A, thankfully, infrequent dnf for me today. Simply did not know 'A Bon Marche'. I also failed to parse 'timbre'. Fine puzzle though.
Jan. 21st, 2014 09:04 am (UTC)
Rather a late entry - just wanted to thank vinyl1 for explaining some parsing. I was out and about yesterday so did this in snatches throughout the day - must have taken well over an hour on it. I fell into every trap as described in the blog but eventually managed to work my way out of each. Really happy to complete when I got LOI 14 dn late last night but had never heard of anchoress - or anchorite now I come to look it up this morning. Got timbre easily enough but couldn't work out the parsing - thanks for the blog.
Jan. 21st, 2014 09:06 am (UTC)
Not anonymous!
Sorry - this comment is from me, didn't realise I wasn't logged in.
( 40 comments — Leave a comment )

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