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Times 25,689

Reasonably straightforward today with only the Noel Coward work unknown to me. Most of the definitions are well signposted so that 10A for example can be entered without working out the cryptic. 20 minute solve.

Today is National Hug Day so proceed with care

1RECOURSE - RE-COURSE; an economic clue;
5PACK,UP - group=PACK; achieving success=UP;
10COMPANY,DIRECTOR - COR surrounds (part in comedy)*; must be Paul Allen as today is his birthday;
11CAPTAINING - CA(PTA-I)NING; school team perhaps=PTA=Parent Teachers Association;
13SHIN - S(H)IN;
15DASHERS - (harassed - a)*; "a" from (r)A(ce);
18PAPRIKA - PAP-"reek"-A;
21RORY - R-O-RY; McIlroy perhaps although it's Jack Nicklaus' birthday;
22INSTRUMENT - coach=instru-c-t then change c=circa=about to "men"; Joanna=piano;
25PRESENT,LAUGHTER - show=PRESENT; LAUGHTER=scorn; not a play I'm familiar with;
28HERTFORD - HER-(DR-OFT reversed); where stags (harts) crossed the river Lea;
1ROCK,COD - ROC-(DOCK reversed);
2CAM - CAM(ber); tributary of the Great Ouse that can be crossed at Cambridge;
3UNACADEMIC - (I'm a dunce)* surrounds C=modest exam grade;
4SPY,ON - S-(pony)*; what the US does to all of us?;
6AXES - (t)AXES;
7KITCHENWARE - KIT-C(HEN-WAR(m))E; CE from C(h)E(f);
8PARTNER - RENT-RAP reversed; who you must hug as today is National Hug Day;
9VIGNETTE - (given)*-T(i)T(l)E; Hollande's recent press conference;
12PAST,PERFECT - PA-(FRETS reversed surrounds P)-ECT; P from P(ills); ECT=Electro-convulsive Therapy (kill or cure?);
14MINI-BUDGET - MIN(I-BUDGE)T; much trumpeted admission of previous failures;
16STAGNATE - E(TANG)ATS all reversed; what economy does after 14D?;
24LEVI - hidden (humb)LE-VI(llage);
26TAO - T(hat)-A(ttracts)-O(ne);


( 45 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 21st, 2014 09:19 am (UTC)
16m and not much to say. I didn't know the play either, but that didn't hold me up. I don't pronounce PAPRIKA like that but I know that others do.
Jan. 21st, 2014 09:34 am (UTC)
Crosswording is such a strange pursuit. A whisker sub-Sever yesterday and well into the other end of the range today. But looking back, there doesn't seem much difference in difficulty.

Probably trying too hard to get the long answers early on held things up today. Didn't know the play and struggled with PTA at 11ac. Saw the musical connection at 22ac but was trying to figure a reversal of "tutor" in there somehow. Last in were the pair at 5ac and 8dn. The quack diagnoses a case of intermittent stupidity.
Jan. 21st, 2014 09:48 am (UTC)
35 minutes for this one, so my most respectable solving time for several days, though I wasn't able fully to parse 11ac or 12dn.

I had no problems with the Coward play as it's one of my favourites, right up there with "Private Lives" and "Hay Fever", and somewhat better than the very popular "Blithe Spirit", in my opinion. A classic West End revival from 1981 starring Donald Sinden in the lead role was recorded at the Vaudeville Theatre for TV and is available on DVD as part of the BBC's "Coward Collection". It's also interesting for featuring Julian (Downton Abbey) Fellowes as Roland Maule, a mad young playwright.

Edited at 2014-01-21 09:55 am (UTC)
Jan. 21st, 2014 11:30 pm (UTC)
I agree with everything you say about Coward's plays. I see someone has made the BBC Present Laughter with Donald Sinden available on YouTube. At a first glance it looks a bit over-egged (as perhaps one might expect). There was an absolutely marvellous production broadcast on the radio (I think it must have been in the 1970s) with Paul Scofield as Garry Essendine - better than any I've seen on stage. I remember seeing Private Lives with Robert Stephens and Maggie Smith back in the day - also very good. I can't remember what productions of Hay Fever I've seen, but the one I remember best was by The Questors, our local amateur theatre group in Ealing.
Jan. 21st, 2014 11:54 pm (UTC)
I know that version of "Present Laughter" with Paul Scofield and still have a copy recorded off the radio when it was first broadcast. For some reason it's not included in the BBC's "Coward Collection" but I believe it's available to buy separately along with an equally good version of "Private Lives", also starring Scofield. I also have an ITV production of "Laughter" from the 1960s starring Peter Wyngarde and this is now available in a "Choice of Coward" box set.

I've seen a couple of amdram productions of "Hay Fever" though not the one at Questors, but the only professional production I saw on stage was in 1981 starring Glynis Johns and John Le Mes. The Coward Collection has a TV version starring Penelope Keith and Paul Eddington which is okay but nothing special. The recent RNT celebrations included clips from the 1960s revival starring Maggie Smith and I live in hope that this will be made available to buy on DVD at some point, assuming the whole recording has been preserved.
Jan. 21st, 2014 10:07 am (UTC)
18 minutes today, solving on android tablet with the not-crossword-club version, which still insists on entering letters in two places at once. So my last in was CAM, because that was the "other place" and was constantly being overwritten. Letter entry frequently needs more than one "key" press. Any suggestions?
All that led to a curious sensation of solving at arms length through a hedge. Neither of the long clues went in without most of the checkers, though I knew the Coward and the wordplay was, in retrospect, quite kind. I was looking for a name for the other one, definition at the wrong end of the clue, "this person" giving ME/I'M, "on board" some sort of boat/chess reference "I'm surprised" giving MY or GOSH (I didn't think of COR) - all that sort of thing. I guess that makes it a well disguised clue, especially for people who are old hands at spotting standard building blocks.
Thanks Jim for all the asides today, but I think I'll steer clear of National Hug Day - some of the dear ladies might take it amiss and I'd lose any prospect of a seat in the Lords! On edit: I'm sure that's sexist in some way, so I suppose my seat's gone anyway.
Jan. 21st, 2014 11:02 am (UTC)
Well disguised clue
Ditto: I went down all the same blind alleys and thought it rather a good clue for that reason.
Jan. 21st, 2014 10:31 am (UTC)
Another pleasant if unexceptional puzzle to go with yesterday's. One of those where pretty much every clue required some examination, but once it had been examined, gave a fairly obvious answer. I didn't know the play but it was easy enough to fill in the gaps; and I took a while to work out the UNACADEMIC anagram as I thought a modest grade must be at best an E - clearly this is why I was never a model student, or perhaps I just haven't kept up with grade inflation.
Jan. 21st, 2014 10:32 am (UTC)
32 minutes. I found the checking letters most unhelpful for the first half of the solve - all vowels. Noel Coward always game the impression of someone sending themself up. How he must have been dying to break free like Freddie Mercury when making the propaganda flick 'In Which We Serve'.

On a completely unrelated note, I recently completed last year's Grand Final puzzles and am stumped as to the parsing of one clue (17d) in Puzzle 3. Maybe a kind soul could send me a LJ message to put me out of my misery.

Jan. 21st, 2014 11:41 am (UTC)
Just sent you the 17d grand final3 parsing. Hope you get it. You can't get back to me via LJ messaging (I found out I couldn't loosen my settings when Sotira did the Christmas turkey) so post me a squib here.
Jan. 21st, 2014 12:14 pm (UTC)
Yes, I tried to send you a 'thank you' message - I had only 2 of the 7 letters accounted for.
Jan. 21st, 2014 12:15 pm (UTC)
Got it!
Jan. 21st, 2014 10:41 am (UTC)

Oops…two blanks today, but those were always going to be ungettable once I'd convinced myself that 'rock eel' was the correct answer at 1d. I'd not heard of ROCK COD, and had parsed 'eel' as being 'harbour picked up', i.e. 'in the lee of…'. Doesn't really parse at all well, so no surprise that it was wrong.

Andy Borrows
Jan. 21st, 2014 10:42 am (UTC)
18 mins.

In 25ac I parsed LAUGHTER as UGH inside LATER which fits the "subsequently receiving very critical comment?" wordplay better.

I also entered a few answers from their definitions without bothering to parse the clues properly. 10ac, 11ac and 18ac fall into that category.

Jan. 21st, 2014 10:48 am (UTC)
I agree - had the same parsing for 25ac. Starting to judge my times by yours - just multiply by 2.5 - but at least I'm now finishing more.
Jan. 21st, 2014 10:55 am (UTC)
Yes, I think that parsing is better - thanks
Jan. 21st, 2014 10:43 am (UTC)
50 minutes with 5 spent on 11ac as LOI. In some kind of corrupt Holmes logic, I abandoned the obvious for the improbable and thought this must be a well known (by others) defeat in a war somewhere, sometime. When the penny dropped I still couldn't work out the parsing for this or 16dn so thanks to dorsetjimbo for the explanations.
Jan. 21st, 2014 10:53 am (UTC)
Pleasant, not too difficult today.
Who says it is "national hug day?" How do they know? And when is "Hand Tall People Money day?"
Jan. 21st, 2014 11:01 am (UTC)
National Hug Day is an annual event occurring on January 21. It started circa 20 years ago in the US (where else?) and has since spread to other countries.

As you didn't know it's probably just as well that I warned you!
Jan. 21st, 2014 02:55 pm (UTC)
Which reminds me: a chap having quarrelled with his wife sees in a s/h bookshop the volume 'How to Hug'. Inpulsively buys it and takes it home saying "Let's make up and read this". She says: "What? vol 13 of Encyclopaedia Brittanica?"
Jan. 21st, 2014 01:14 pm (UTC)
Yesterday was Penguin Awareness Day so it stands to reason that today would be National Hug Day.
Jan. 21st, 2014 12:14 pm (UTC)
Happy to complete this within the half hour.

Had never heard of the Noel Coward thing. Thought TITBIT was spelt TIDBIT so wasted a lot of time trying to parse it. And all I know about HERTFORD is that it's one of several places where hurricanes hardly ever happen. But all very gettable.

Good puzzle I thought.
Jan. 21st, 2014 12:55 pm (UTC)
Re: 28:47
"Tidbit" is the North Americal version, according to Chambers.
Jan. 21st, 2014 01:06 pm (UTC)
Re: 28:47
Yeah, so I see. It seemed more likely that people would mistakenly change TIDBIT to TITBIT than the other way around, which I guess is why I thought TIDBIT was correct. Didn't realise (realize?) it was one of those trans-Atlantic things.
Jan. 21st, 2014 02:38 pm (UTC)
Re: 28:47
My early memories of Titbits magazine (Tit-Bits before 1973, apparently) made me imagine, when I started coming across 'tidbits' regularly, that the latter was the correct spelling, on the basis that the first was so trashy, so I've used the 'Americanism' ever since. It was only about 20 years ago that I discovered I'd been saying 'scheduled' the American way. Still do, in fact.


Jan. 21st, 2014 12:15 pm (UTC)
... although technically DNF as I inexplicably typed in PAPRICA. Many went in unparsed so thank you jimbo.

Just for a change, attached is a very rare picture of the dog with his actual owner (apparently). She is in Bristol and the dog is in Berkshire.

Edited at 2014-01-21 12:15 pm (UTC)
Jan. 22nd, 2014 12:06 am (UTC)
Re: 23:56
Where do you get the strange idea from that anyone can own a dog?
My dear eldest daughter bought me a fridge magnet with the message 'My dog adopted me', which just about sums things up.
In my world, dogs have keepers and cats have servants.
Jan. 21st, 2014 12:50 pm (UTC)
Using mostly literals....
....I was able to finish correctly in 39 minutes. About the same difficulty as the one I blogged yesterday, but no French. Some of the cryptics were rather forced.
Jan. 21st, 2014 01:02 pm (UTC)
A pleasant 13:08 for me.
Jan. 21st, 2014 01:13 pm (UTC)
Under 45 minutes over elevenses. Lots of fairly straightforward, none-too-elegant, clues which I obtusely failed to see. Stuck for a long time trying to parse the extraneous "k" into rock-eel for 1dn, until DASHERS put me right. CAPTAINING a technically correct, but very ugly word - smacks of desperation. LOI RECOURSE (that's the second day 1ac is my LOI). All in all a rather laboured effort - and not only on my part.
Jan. 21st, 2014 01:20 pm (UTC)
How to Hug
14:59 .. as McT says, it’s a funny old game, this solving of crosswords. Yesterday the clues might as well have been written in Sanskrit; today was a stroll. Last in the Noel Coward play — I know a lot of his songs but have never seen any of the plays. Jackkt has inspired me to put that right.

Wasn’t there a story about an elderly clergyman who was most excited to receive a book called How to Hug under plain wrapping, only to discover it was Vol. 11 of the OED?

Edited at 2014-01-21 01:20 pm (UTC)
Jan. 21st, 2014 01:30 pm (UTC)
Re: How to Hug
Who would have come across MARKWORTHY if it was not for the two volume Shorter OED?
Jan. 21st, 2014 01:34 pm (UTC)
Re: How to Hug
You've now made me think of its counterpart MARL, which certainly suggests these things stick, even if you don't realise it...
Jan. 21st, 2014 02:40 pm (UTC)
Re: How to Hug
The other volume ordered was "Scouting For Boys".
Jan. 21st, 2014 03:00 pm (UTC)
Re: How to Hug
snap - I posted the same story before I reached yours
Jan. 21st, 2014 04:35 pm (UTC)
About 30 minutes, ending at PACK UP, which doesn't mean 'stop working' to me. Other transatlantic problems arose at TITBIT, MINI-BUDGET and Joanna. The latter I reached via wordplay, and was pleased to arrive at an actual word. A post solve check for it in on-line Collins tells me it's CRS for piano, but doesn't tell me why, so if anyone wants to enlighten me about who Joanna is, thanks in advance. And regards.
Jan. 21st, 2014 04:47 pm (UTC)
It's just Aunt Joanna which when said in the dialect rhymes with piano. I have a memory that an Aunt Joanna was a euphamism for a chamber pot but I can't swear to that.
Jan. 21st, 2014 04:53 pm (UTC)
Thanks much Jimbo. I've tried it in my idea of what dialect would sound like. That must be some helluva heavy accent.
Jan. 21st, 2014 05:02 pm (UTC)
Better than Dick Van Dyke I am sure.
Jan. 21st, 2014 05:11 pm (UTC)
It's "pianer" you have to change to make it rhyme. Like sparrer and wheelbarrer.
Jan. 21st, 2014 06:53 pm (UTC)
Might be easier with PEA-ANNER, like spanner (ie not a wrench)
Jan. 21st, 2014 07:47 pm (UTC)
33.20 and all correct so by my standards an average puzzle. No stand outs today for me. LOI was the unlikely CAPTAINING.
Jan. 21st, 2014 09:58 pm (UTC)
I struggled with this, though I did about half of it while hooked up to an electrical stimulation machine at the physical therapist's office so I may not have been in the best mental state. Had to guess INSTRUMENT from wordplay, ditto PRESENT LAUGHTER and HERTFORD and did not see the wordplay for KITCHENWARE
Jan. 21st, 2014 11:17 pm (UTC)
10:57 for me - perhaps not too bad considering I was feeling very tired after a busy day. Nice puzzle.
Jan. 22nd, 2014 12:02 am (UTC)
28m 42s
Not a great time, but at least not a dnf like yesterday, and I was glad that I took time to look over the grid as I almost overlooked 9d in my haste to record a time.
Enjoyed the 'How to Hug' gags, so thanks for those.
( 45 comments — Leave a comment )

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