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Times Crossword 25,690 - S or Z?

Solving Time: I breezed through this comfortably in 22 minutes, but on blithely typing and submitting it, was taken aback to be told I had two errors. I do hate it when that happens. What is the point of relaxing with a glass of wine, printing it out, taking the time to parse everything, if you still can't get it right? Hmff. On investigation, I messed up 12ac, so that's one, not a great clue perhaps but still, my mistake. As for the other one, unless I have overlooked something, it must be 7dn, a clue that may well cause widespread 21ac. It's a shame, because there are some nice clues otherwise, like 8dn or 22dn

cd = cryptic definition, dd = double definition, rev = reversed, anagrams are *(--), homophones indicated in ""

ODO means the Oxford Dictionaries Online


Across
1 buckle down - BUCK (dollar) + LED (light) + OWN (to have)
6 spiv - VIPs, rev.
9 grogram - develop = GRO(W) + GRAM, a light weight
10 ticking - jocular cd, ticking being what bombs are wont to do, as well as being a cloth used to make mattresses
12 tip up - I stupidly put top up, but it is, I think, tip up, ie more being left when paying the bill in a restaurant, and to overturn. Not my favourite clue of the day, though I might be somewhat biased
13 inebriate - AT in (W)INE + BRIE
14 leading question - "Who's to be captain?" is a question about leading... the rest of the clue being the def.
17 early retirement - Another cd, although surely an F1 driver would normally have either a retirement OR an accident? Certainly I would normally tend to think of retirements being caused by mechanical problems rather than collisions, though I concede a collision can indeed cause a retirement
20 rare earth - military groups, RA + RE, gunners and engineers, + ground = EARTH, for a rare appearance of a scientific word
21 anger - stove = RANGE, with the R sent to the back.
23 modulus - simple game = LUDO in total = SUM, all rev. Modulus is defined by Collins as "the absolute value of a complex number." Not my field really.
24 all hail - A reference to the witches in Macbeth, Act 1 Scene 3.
25 owed - = "ODE," a poem
26 call it a day - phone = CALL, + volunteers = TA in I'd always = I'D AY. The def. being "Don't work on." A bit of a clumsy surface

Down
1 bagatelle - stone = AGATE + LL in BE
2 croup - it is GROUP, with one stroke missing, the one that turns a C into a G.. Croup is an unpleasant illness affecting children, much more common once upon a time, but apparently still fairly common
3 lord privy seal - my = good heavens = LORD, + little room = PRIVY, + make sure of = SEAL (eg, a victory)
4 dumping - DUMP(L)ING
5 Watteau - pardon = "what" = WATT + letter = "O" = EAU," Watteau being a French painter I believe
7 privatize/ise - sounds like "private eye's," yes, but how shall we spell the answer? Take your pick, I chose a Z and I suspect the setter chose a S. The OED has only Z (Ha! You see?). Collins, ODO and Chambers each have both, though all three of them put the Z version first. Either way, highly unsatisfactory and an editing blunder, it seems to me, not that I care, oh no...
8 vague - Very + AGUE, a fever of which fits are a symptom.
11 corps de ballet - posh girl = DEB + entirely = ALL, in stiff = CORPSE + T(utu). A very neat clue indeed
15 air bridge - *(BRIGADIER)
16 naturally - Friend of the earth = NATUR(E) ALLY
18 Eurasia - is a herb = IS A RUE rev., + A(rea)
19 Ishmael - hidden in hellISH MAELstrom. Easy clue, especially if like me you have read and enjoyed Moby Dick, one of the very great novels of the world, both strange and wonderful. Required reading, not to mention being a good source of esoteric cruciverbal vocabulary.
20 Romeo - Vatican = ROME, + O. That makes Shakespeare 2, science 2.. so a score draw
22 guard - in other words blackguard, vanguard, bodyguard.. another neat clue

Comments

( 71 comments — Leave a comment )
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mctext
Jan. 22nd, 2014 01:57 am (UTC)
27:19
Unlike yesterday, got the long ones quite quickly. (Though I thought 17ac was about as weak as they come and was only prepared to pencil it in, despite its personal relevance — not in the F1 sense I hasten to add.)

Re 7dn: I think we can assume the -ise spelling for most things Times, OED's convention notwithstanding. But, as in the past, the pronunciation of Jean Antoine's name (5dn) may be controversial. (What ho!) My lecturer in French Art insisted on "Vat—", though he did speak French with a Scots accent.

LOI: MODULUS. The wordplay gives it. But the obscurity (which will be popular in the county of the River Piddle) of the literal nearly done me in. What was wrong with MUDDLES or MIDDLES? (Guess they were excluded.)

Edited at 2014-01-22 03:38 am (UTC)
kevingregg
Jan. 22nd, 2014 02:01 am (UTC)
16:18
It is TIP UP and it is PRIVATISE; I don't think I've ever heard the first--went with TIP because of 'left on plate', not that I've ever left a tip on a plate. And I went with S because I grew up with the received wisdom that -ise was UK and -ize was US, period. Had no idea what F1 meant, but went for EARLY RETIREMENT from the clue and a couple of checkers. Glad to see another fan of 'Moby Dick' (source of one of my favorite quotes: "There is a wisdom that is woe, but there is a woe that is madness"); fantastic novel. COD to WATTEAU; after any number of scorers, it's good to see a canvasser.
sotira
Jan. 22nd, 2014 02:37 am (UTC)
I didn’t submit this one. After about 22 minutes I was left with W.T.E.U and thinking “What the ….?” I was never, ever going to get that one, though no doubt he’s popped up before. Will file him away in my memory palace.

'Canvasser' seems a bit of a stretch (sorry) for 'painter' but I guess all's fair in love, war and crosswords.

I did a double-take at the PRIVAT-IZE/ISE clue. Bound to end in tears.
ulaca
Jan. 22nd, 2014 02:52 am (UTC)
Memory palace
I will never now be able to shake my vision of you sitting in a director's chair in an empty room doing the crossword sans pen, sans paper and ... sans crossword.
Re: Memory palace - sotira - Jan. 22nd, 2014 03:14 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Memory palace - ulaca - Jan. 22nd, 2014 04:08 am (UTC) - Expand
jackkt
Jan. 22nd, 2014 02:38 am (UTC)
Another hour+ solve for me. I took ages getting started and wasted time trying to parse the unparseable as I went along.

I also had doubts about 12ac but settled for TIP UP as the most likely, having missed the gratuity reference.

I've still no idea what the setter was trying to achieve at 17ac.

I didn't understand how 2dn worked or know RARE EARTH or MODULUS but worked them out from wordplay.

Like Kevin G my default spelling of endings as in 7dn is -ISE rather than -IZE, so no problems on that front assuming -ISE is correct.
chrisw91
Jan. 22nd, 2014 12:11 pm (UTC)
Snap!
My experience of the last hour and a bit seems to exactly match yours. Nothing else to add except to agree with Dorsetjimbo that I make it two extra lines to turn C into G.
ulaca
Jan. 22nd, 2014 02:46 am (UTC)
53 minutes - with ticks against 1d and 22d, but I enjoyed the whole thing. Even three unknowns didn't stymie me.

In agreement with Jerry about 7d and 12a (surely 'more left on plate' is a much better definition for 'tip' than 'tip up'?) but not about Moby Dick. (Anyone intereted in my review can read it here.) Now, Hawthorne's Mosses from an Old Manse, on the other hand - magnificent stuff.
vinyl1
Jan. 22nd, 2014 03:48 am (UTC)
I think you need to give 'more' its proper force, so 'more left on plate' = 'tip increased' = 'tip up'.

This setter did not make any mistakes; we are just not fully appreciating the clues.
(no subject) - ulaca - Jan. 22nd, 2014 04:07 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - galspray - Jan. 22nd, 2014 07:04 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bigtone53 - Jan. 22nd, 2014 08:26 am (UTC) - Expand
kororareka
Jan. 22nd, 2014 03:32 am (UTC)
No argument with modulus?
30:43 with the ize one wrong, or is it right? I'm sure QI dealt with this topic at length and concluded ize was in fact preferred UK spelling, contrary to all that I knew and held dear. Then again, my blotting paper memory usually gets these things backwards. And, on a recent episode (in the Australian sense of that term) I heard Stephen admit to Mythbusters being a source for the program, so who can tell?

The irony of modulus, of course, is that its polar co-ordinate companion is called the argument. I wonder if this is the setter's little joke on us.
vinyl1
Jan. 22nd, 2014 03:56 am (UTC)
First the good news, my answers were 100% correct....
...unfortunately, it took nearly two hours of hard thought. I was ready to give up with the grid half-filled after 90 minutes, but pressed on. As I said before, I get the wooden spoon for the slowest time with a correct solution.

I put in 'privatise' without even thinking; in a UK puzzle, all such verbs end in -ise. I didn't understand the 'guard' clue very well, but the answer seemed likely enough. Everything else was laboriously worked out from the cryptics and literals. I was expecting the typographical trick for 2, but even then couldn't see the answer.

Some brilliant cluing, including 'Eurasia', 'privatise', and 'Watteau'. Only the 'spiv' clue was anything like a chestnut.
galspray
Jan. 22nd, 2014 06:19 am (UTC)
1:44:28
But with a very long interruption, so let's call it about 50 minutes. No, let's call it DNF, because I didn't know WATTEAU (we spell it Watto down here, he bats at number three).

Didn't like WATTEAU (don't mind Watto) because I'm not sure you could get to it with any certainty from the wordplay. I considered WATREAU (as in rho) before resorting to Google. The other reason I didn't like it is the more familiar one, that I failed to get it.
ulaca
Jan. 22nd, 2014 06:36 am (UTC)
What ho?!
Don't mean to sound churlish, but it's a small step from WAT to WATT, working from 'What?'. Once you have WATTE-U, there aren't too many alternatives. I'd let the setter off on this one.
Re: What ho?! - galspray - Jan. 22nd, 2014 06:58 am (UTC) - Expand
mctext
Jan. 22nd, 2014 06:28 am (UTC)
Slight correction
3dn: I'd have thought PRIVY = "little room outside".

On edit: Oh ... and ... we had Watteau here:
http://times-xwd-times.livejournal.com/728135.html

Edited at 2014-01-22 06:34 am (UTC)
ulaca
Jan. 22nd, 2014 06:40 am (UTC)
Re: Slight correction
Also 4 months before that: http://times-xwd-times.livejournal.com/685363.html

Gallers commented on each!

Edited at 2014-01-22 06:45 am (UTC)
Re: Slight correction - vinyl1 - Jan. 22nd, 2014 12:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
dorsetjimbo
Jan. 22nd, 2014 07:40 am (UTC)
Not my cup of tea - the sort of puzzle that irritates me. Far too many controversial clues. A couple in any one puzzle I can live with but this offering is littered with them.

Not to beat about the bush 12A is rubbish "more left on plate" - eh? What is 17A all about? 26A should say "stop work" not "don't work". At 2D how does "not one stroke" make G into C - two strokes surely? 5D can really only be reverse engineered - tough if you don't know the "canvasser". And 7D has absolutely nothing going for it.
galspray
Jan. 22nd, 2014 08:59 am (UTC)
Jim, as much as I share your dissatisfaction, I think the def for 26A is "don't work on", not "don't work".

Agree on your other points.
(no subject) - ulaca - Jan. 22nd, 2014 09:54 am (UTC) - Expand
bigtone53
Jan. 22nd, 2014 08:33 am (UTC)
22:18
I did not find this crossword objectionable. I knew all the solutions from somewhere and while I did not parse every answer completely, I have got it right ( assuming that unlike the ST apparently, the setter has inserted the correct answers into The Times app).This suggests -ISE.
I enjoy 17A, not because of the brilliance or otherwise of the clueing but because I do not have to go to work.

Edited at 2014-01-22 12:17 pm (UTC)
z8b8d8k
Jan. 22nd, 2014 08:47 am (UTC)
14'6" so very quick for one who never looks at the screen when tapping away. What we need is a crossword app that works with a stylus. With auto-correct.
Where would we be without foreign artists with funny sounding names, eh?
The "strokes" thing went right over my head. I write my capital Gs in one fluid motion. CROUP went in with a shrug.
The Z/S thing is all about the OED's "I know Greek, me" snobbery, isn't it? Words like baptize are direct from Greek versions with a Zeta. As far as I know, the Greeks didn't have ΠΡΙΒΑΤΙΖΕΙΝ (apart from anything else, no V and no ΘΑΤΧΕΡ) so it can only really be argued from analogy. I put in the S spelling while thinking "there will be letters". I suppose it could be the first signs of infection with Litsups disease, where there's always one clue with alternative spellings, or sometimes bogus answers, to act as tie-breakers. It's already spread to the ST, with an interesting new spelling introduced this week with no lexicographical or wordplay back-up which you had to guess to get an all-correct. Or just misspell.
There were bits I liked in this one: Veronese (another canvasser?) to clue Romeo, and the one which had me scratching my head longest, RANGE (couldn't work out how to fit in Aga). A rather friendly, if a bit loose sort of crossword, I thought.
dorsetjimbo
Jan. 22nd, 2014 09:06 am (UTC)
For me S or Z has nothing to do with Greek and everything to do with loose setting.

Here we have two very obvious alternatives and the setter should in the wordplay make it clear which is required. Not only does the clue not do that it also relies on an at best debatable homophone - not good enough in my book
(no subject) - z8b8d8k - Jan. 22nd, 2014 12:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
Andy Borrows
Jan. 22nd, 2014 10:01 am (UTC)
14 mins, and unlike some of you I enjoyed this one, although that may have something to do with being on the setter's wavelength. At 7dn "ISE" went in without a second thought because that's the ending I would expect to see in a Times puzzle, and I thought it was a decent clue. I saw the gratuity reference at 12ac and thought that was also a good clue. EURASIA was my LOI after ROMEO and MODULUS.

Having said that, if I had entered "IZE" at 7dn in a competition I would expect it to be accepted because the clue doesn't specify which of the alternatives is required.
janie_l_b
Jan. 22nd, 2014 10:06 am (UTC)

Glad to have it all finished correctly today, but it did take quite a while. Didn't really get TIP UP, so thanks for that.

Some unknowns: GROGRAM, RUE=herb, LPS (my LOI), but I did like canvasser=painter.
phmfantom
Jan. 22nd, 2014 10:26 am (UTC)
19min: 7dn LOI- I agree there should have been something to indicate S was needed, though I did choose correctly.
(Anonymous)
Jan. 22nd, 2014 10:27 am (UTC)
G into C with 1 stroke missing
In Spanish crosswords,they often use the clue for G, as ' C con bandeja', which translates as a C with a tray, so in this case they would put 'G sin ba déjà' for C.
john_from_lancs
Jan. 22nd, 2014 10:31 am (UTC)
Well, I enjoyed the puzzle very much, even though it took me nearly three-quarters of an hour. It had an old fashioned feel to it, which I always like, and some very neat, clever and innovative clues (assuming you can be both innovative and old fashioned).

Although I normally use ize in preference to ise, I went with the latter as that is what I usually see printed in the paper.

I didn’t ponder too long about 17 and (perhaps mistakenly) assumed it was something to do with having to change the (US) tyres.

I wonder if there’s such a thing as late-onset dyslexia: I regularly reverse the order of letters as I write them into the grid. Usually, it holds me up for no longer than a minute or so, but today it took me a while to spot my error. Add that one to the list of our excuses you’re compiling, Sotira.
pipkirby
Jan. 22nd, 2014 11:29 am (UTC)
disagree Jimbo
I thought it was a cracking puzzle with all clues fair and many entertaining, tip on plate, the painter, good stuff. It took me an hour while watching Murray cling on. Loved PRIVATISE (always think of Z as an Americanism). LOI GROGRAM which Mrs K had to confirm was a fabric once we had the checkers.
And the rain in Spain is falling on me today, not on the plain.

Edited at 2014-01-22 11:30 am (UTC)
keriothe
Jan. 22nd, 2014 11:33 am (UTC)
13m. I didn't even notice the various problems with the puzzle, although I didn't understand TIP UP. WATTEAU went in without a thought but if I hadn't heard of him I'm sure I'd have struggled.
I have worked in the city for the best part of twenty years and I don't think I have ever seen the word PRIVATISE spelled with a Z in a UK context. The S version also appears to be the preferred spelling in the FT, Times, Guardian, Independent and Telegraph. Just saying...
sotira
Jan. 22nd, 2014 12:21 pm (UTC)
The Times only switched to the -ise spelling in the 90s. Previously, its style guide went with the"Oxford spelling". Apparently The TLS still does:

Oxford spelling ..
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxford_spelling
(no subject) - keriothe - Jan. 22nd, 2014 01:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - melrosemike - Jan. 22nd, 2014 05:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
dyste
Jan. 22nd, 2014 12:09 pm (UTC)
45 minutes. I thought this was going to be a quick solve until it came to getting MODULUS and some of the NW corner. Once I had DUMPING I guessed GROGRAM, but I've never heard of it. Wasn't sure of TIP UP but couldn't see what else it could be, so finally entered CROUP, mystified by the wordplay. I think it's a poor clue that's dependent on idiosyncrasies of the solver's writing; it takes the removal of two strokes to make my upper case G look like C; ditto the Times New Roman font, so it's particularly inappropriate for the Times. I also agree with those unhappy with 'more left on plate' for TIP.
On the other hand 11 and 22 were very good clues.
vinyl1
Jan. 22nd, 2014 12:35 pm (UTC)
'Grogram' appeared in Sunday Times puzzle 4503, only about a year or so ago. Otherwise, I would not have got it.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Jan. 22nd, 2014 01:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dyste - Jan. 22nd, 2014 03:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
crypticsue
Jan. 22nd, 2014 01:04 pm (UTC)
9 mins - I went for the ISE as that seems to be the convention in most places these days.
(Anonymous)
Jan. 22nd, 2014 01:50 pm (UTC)
Privatise
Whatever QI, or the OED, or any other dictionary may say, the normal spelling in this country is "privatiSe". A google search comes up with 198,000 entries with the "S", and only 41,700 with the "Z".

If the dictionaries have not kept up with this then they are wrong. But who uses a paper dictionary when they have access to the internet? I was going to suggest throwing them out since it is unwise to keep a guide that could mislead you, but I suppose they might be useful in he event of a power failure: you could burn them to keep warm.
jerrywh
Jan. 22nd, 2014 02:33 pm (UTC)
Re: Privatise
Don't you have a name?

First, when I do a google UK search for privatize I get 713,000 results. When I do one for privatise I get 323,000 - and the first three results are spelt with a z!

Second, who is talking about paper dictionaries? OED online, ODO online, Collins online and Chambers, each use the z spelling as their primary entry and then say "or -ise"

I am not saying that privatise is not a normal UK preference. I am saying that both are valid..
Re: Privatise - dorsetjimbo - Jan. 22nd, 2014 03:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Privatise - killary45 - Jan. 22nd, 2014 05:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
heaton_daniel
Jan. 22nd, 2014 02:29 pm (UTC)
All correct today with FOI Spiv and LOI Privatise (on which I almost gave up but having just that one to get went through the alphabet trying second letters and the answer popped into my head when I got to R. It didn’t occur to me that it might be spelled with a ‘z’).

Tip Up, Croup, Watteau and All Hail all went in without any/full understanding of wordplay or definition so thanks Jerry for explaining those.

I enjoyed Moby Dick when I read it a few years ago. I'd chosen it for my ‘cruise holiday’ read and being surrounded by sea and waves put me in the right frame of mind.
keithdoyle
Jan. 22nd, 2014 03:08 pm (UTC)
LORD PRIVY SEAL
46 minutes, so pretty good for me, with no queries.
3d reminded me irresistibly of an item from The Frost Report. (Please unspam)
jerrywh
Jan. 22nd, 2014 04:43 pm (UTC)
Re: LORD PRIVY SEAL
Duly unspammed.
Many thanks for providing the link.. I thought of that too, but couldn't find it on youtube
Re: LORD PRIVY SEAL - bigtone53 - Jan. 22nd, 2014 05:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: LORD PRIVY SEAL - jerrywh - Jan. 22nd, 2014 05:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: LORD PRIVY SEAL - bigtone53 - Jan. 22nd, 2014 05:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
mohn2
Jan. 22nd, 2014 03:30 pm (UTC)
Spotted TIP UP and CROUP from the definitions early on but couldn't parse either of them to my satisfaction, which distracted me for the rest of the puzzle and it seems that others also found them underwhelming. Put in WATTEAU from the checkers and was surprised canvasser didn't merit a question mark. Didn't even think of privatize as an alternative.

COD to BAGATELLE
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