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TIMES 25692 - Aharr, Jim Lad!

I solved all but four clues in the SE corner within 30 minutes parsing as I went, but I needed another 15 to finish it off with 17dn and 19ac accounting for the last 10 of these. I thought this was an excellent puzzle with only a few clues running into a second line - always a good thing in my book. 4dn invoked joyous memories of Tony Hancock imitating Robert Newton playing Long John Silver. Along similar lines, 1dn had me thinking of pieces of eight and 20ac brought castaways to mind, Robinson Crusoe and of course Ben Gunn.
* = anagram

1 STEALTHY - ST (stone), hEALTHY (well, de-faced)
5 CHAFER - The letters from either end of 'forceps' swapped to change CHASER (hunter) into CHAFER (beetle)
9 VICTUALS - CUT* inside VIALS (bottles)
10 ITALIC - 1, T (time), ALICe (literary heroine)
12 POET LAUREATE - Cryptic definition
15 PIETY - PrIcEs TrY
16 MAKESHIFT - Double definition, one vaguely jocular
18 ROOSEVELT - (VOTE LOSER)*  FDR's presidency lasted 12 years and he was the only US president to serve more than 8, hence "long-term leader" is the definition.
19 ROUEN - ROgUE (wayward), N (northern)
20 TOURS DE FORCE - TOURS (explores), RC (Catholic) inside DEFOE (classical author, best known for 'Robinson Crusoe')
24 DRIVEL - DRIVE (road), L (left)
25 TABULATE - A + BULl ( papal missive) inside TATE (gallery)
26 YANKEE - AY (always) reversed i.e. 'from East', KEEN*
27 MODESTLY - timiD + peoplE inside MOSTLY (in the main)

1 SAVE - SAVagE (barbarian) with  Ag (silver) removed
2 ETCH - fETCH (realise, as in converting an asset into cash)
3 LEUCOCYTE - (EYE OCCULT)* an alternative name for a white blood cell. My only unknown word today.
4 HALF-TIMBERED - Cryptic definition with references to 'timbers' - wooden support frames in sailing ships - and Long John Silver, the cook and pirate leader in RL Stevenson's 'Treasure Island' who had a wooden leg. Remembering the traditional but fictional saying of old sea dogs, 'shiver me timbers' helped me solve this one. Tudor-style buildings are typically half-timbered with exposed wooden beams.
6 HATER - HATtER (party man, as in Mad Hatter - our second Lewis Carroll character today)
7 FALLACIOUS - FALL (trip), AC (bill), IOUS (promises to pay)
8 RECREATING - RE (engineers), CREATING (making a fuss)
11 JACKET POTATO - JACK (forcibly lift), (TEAPOT TO)*
13 SPIRITEDLY - (I TRIED)* + L (line) inside SPY (agent)
14 DEVOLUTION - D (Democrat) replaces R (Republican) in REVOLUTION (coup)
17 STRICTURE - RICh (wealthy) replaces the A in STaTURE (height)
21 SIEVE - I inside EVES (days before) reversed
22 WAFT - Wounded, AFT (away from the front)
23 DEWY - Reversed hidden


Jan. 24th, 2014 03:21 am (UTC)
23:29 … it took me a few minutes to get going but a steady, if challenging solve thereafter.

Last in WAFT
COD … well, HALF-TIMBERED, obviously. I’m still chuckling.
Jan. 24th, 2014 04:56 am (UTC)
4:40 and incredibly quiet on leader board (sitting 16th with longest time for a 600), here (only sotira), and the Times Crossword forum (not a single comment).

Was a bit worried about 8D, more commonly Frankenstein than Thomas Cook!

I too enjoyed yesterday's Cryptic's excellent NINA.
Today's NINA in the Concise is a good un, all the outside letters on all 4 sides are A. However, personally, I feel that the Concise's obsession with its daily NINA frequently results in distinctly substandard clues/answers, and I hope PB won't let that happen to the Cryptic.
Jan. 24th, 2014 01:09 pm (UTC)
As far as I know, PB is editor of the Sunday Times puzzles only. It remains to be seen what changes, if any, take place in the Times once Richard Rogan finds his feet.
Jan. 24th, 2014 05:03 am (UTC)
Slipped on 19A; otherwise a very good solve. Got WAFT but did not understand the wordplay until I came here. Thanks, jackkt
Jan. 24th, 2014 08:10 am (UTC)
Another WAFT sufferer, assuming we wanted a word for "wounded" minus its first letter (leader). Being a bit unsure about MODESTLY (27ac) helped not at all.

Like others, loved 4dn. Reminded me too of our very strange geography master ("Curly" Ellis) who had a thing about mapping building materials. His insistence on our being able to draw Tudor draw pins (inter alia) led to the whole class failing O-Level geography. The detailed information was interesting but no use when the exam asks: "Describe the main practices by which the Ibo of Nigeria sustain themselves".
Jan. 24th, 2014 09:56 pm (UTC)
Re: Ibo
By sending phishing emails, obviously. .. thought everyone knew that!
Jan. 24th, 2014 08:52 am (UTC)
16m. I got a bit bogged down in the SE having bunged in RECREATION, and then WAFT, my last in, took ages to see.
No unknowns today, although if you'd asked me to spell LEUCOCYTE I'd have struggled.
Nice puzzle.
Jan. 24th, 2014 09:03 am (UTC)
20 minutes for a quiet unassuming puzzle that barely stirred the emotions and only occasionaly moved solving out of second gear. No complaints but thought 4D rather too obvious to be considered a good clue.
Jan. 24th, 2014 09:31 am (UTC)
Perhaps I am just grumpy today but I am not a particular fan of clues which ask you to find a word and then do something to it. Seems like a sort of double jeopardy. 2D and 6D are in point. That aside, it was an OK puzzle today.
Jan. 24th, 2014 11:53 am (UTC)
Re: 23:40
I thought 2d was rather good with it's use of 'realise' to indicate 'fetch'. The omission of letters is a common enough device in cryptic clues; here the setter's indicated very fairly that the missing letter is F, and the definition alone in 6d is enough to suggest the answer.
Jan. 24th, 2014 12:01 pm (UTC)
Re: 23:40
I am not objecting to these particular clues. Just moaning about the principle of a) solving a clue to get a word then b) doing something to that word. I have no issue with a word being built up from various bits.

I will probably be less grumpy later.
Jan. 24th, 2014 10:19 am (UTC)
36min. All went smoothly till stuck in NE for about 15min, as only heroine I could think of was STELLA, which can't be made to fit clue at all, and makes 8dn look something like REAGENTING. Eventually resorted to aid for list of words to fit other checkers, and so could saw how 10ac works, making that LOI.
Jan. 24th, 2014 10:21 am (UTC)
16 minutes, distracted by England maybe - just maybe - making a fist of it at last.
I might try half timbered on her indoors, who is also shy one pin. There again, I might prefer long life. Easily my CoD not because it was difficult but because it was funny.
Most time spent, like others, in the SE.
Jan. 24th, 2014 11:13 am (UTC)
8 dn
I didn't understand connection between 'off-duty' and 'recreating' Help!
John Mck
Jan. 24th, 2014 11:24 am (UTC)
Re: 8 dn
Recreation, an activity one pursues for pleasure as opposed to work or duty.
Jan. 24th, 2014 11:46 am (UTC)
Re: 8 dn
Thank you - I must think more laterally!!

Jan. 24th, 2014 12:22 pm (UTC)
Re: 8 dn
hence my 04:56 comment

"more commonly Frankenstein than Thomas Cook!"

regards, Keef
Jan. 24th, 2014 02:11 pm (UTC)
Re: 8 dn
Sorry, Keef, I must be a bit dim. I didn't understand your earlier comment and I am even more puzzled now that you have repeated it!

Edited at 2014-01-24 02:11 pm (UTC)
Jan. 24th, 2014 07:44 pm (UTC)
Re: 8 dn
I'm guessing on behalf of Keef but this is Re-creation (ie making Frankenstein' s monster from the dead) vs Recreation ( having fun with the UK's biggest travel agency)

Edited at 2014-01-24 07:50 pm (UTC)
Jan. 24th, 2014 11:48 am (UTC)
46 minutes, almost twice as long as yesterday's. I made errors on the way which had to be sorted out (eg DELEGATION for 14). As I hadn't solved 1a I was a bit stuck on 3 and resorted to an aid; it was vaguely familiar, so I might have got it if I'd been prepared to spend some more time experimenting with permutations. I thought the clues were very good.
Jan. 24th, 2014 01:08 pm (UTC)
14:20 with the last five minutes of that spent on STRICTURE/ROUEN, not helped by the fact that I put ION instead of ING at the end of 8d.
Jan. 24th, 2014 01:16 pm (UTC)
Fairly straightforward puzzle until MODESTLY and POET LAUREATE held me up for a good 10 minutes at the end - I even remember thinking while looking at the latter "I bet it's some %&*@£! poet I've never heard of". Hopefully it's just these new contact lenses.

Jan. 24th, 2014 01:27 pm (UTC)
Unrepresentative 49m 40s
Out of my routine today and solved at my favourite library haunt, so there have been lots of interruptions and distractions. However. I don't think my time would have been very good anyway as some of the clues took some pondering
Have a good weekend all.
Jan. 24th, 2014 01:50 pm (UTC)
The difference between my wavelength and the setters can barely be measured! After 30 minutes I was still stuck with ?A?T and nothing would come... but then I find I had HALF TEMPERED for 4 down thinking something about the way the pirate would walk being off kilter. Oh well... better luck next week!
Andy Borrows
Jan. 24th, 2014 02:26 pm (UTC)
21 mins so the trickiest of the week for me.

I completed the LHS a fair bit quicker than the RHS, although LEUCOCYTE went in with fingers crossed. There seemed to be more than the average number of letter removal/letter replacement clues, and I was convinced 22dn was another one until I saw the more obvious wordplay that led to WAFT. The NE only opened up once I got CHAFER, and I waited until I had solved 19ac before I decided which of RECREATING/recreation was required at 8dn. MODESTLY was my LOI after STRICTURE.

4dn may not have been the hardest of the clues today but it certainly raised a smile.
Jan. 24th, 2014 02:37 pm (UTC)
56:23 tonight, after a funeral in the bush, and welcoming my baby girl (15yo) back from Italy. Bit of column A, bit of column B.

With all that happening I managed to miss most of the cricket. Good thing too.

Nice puzzle I thought.
Jan. 24th, 2014 04:49 pm (UTC)
I managed to miss most of the cricket. Good thing too.
Really? Who won (innocent grin)?
Jan. 24th, 2014 05:21 pm (UTC)
Re: I managed to miss most of the cricket. Good thing too.
Heh. Will leave it to Ulaca to spread the news, and do his gloating.

Actually, where is Ulaca? And where's that bloke who was whinging about the cricket being boring and meaningless (after the thrilling and significant series in England)? Hope he's having a better day today.
Jan. 24th, 2014 03:39 pm (UTC)

Took longer than yesterday's, but managed all correct eventually, ending, as others, with WAFT and then MODESTLY. Should've been quicker as there were no unknowns, but I did manage to parse all correctly as I went. Lots of the substitution type words seemed to take quite a while to sort out.

I agree that HALF TIMBERED (my FOI) is too obvious to warrant COD status.

Jan. 24th, 2014 04:52 pm (UTC)
Very much a wavelength puzzle, it would seem. I found this much more of a challenge than some others above. I very much liked HALF-TIMBERED, though I take the point that the literal was a bit too easy to spot. It would have been tougher if the setter had managed to find a way to avoid the word "tudor", which did rather give the game away. "Stockbroker's favourite style etc..." perhaps?

I thought WAFT and DEWY, my LOIs, were excellently clued short solutions.
Jan. 24th, 2014 05:23 pm (UTC)
About 30 minutes, and yes, I ended with WAFT. I spent too much time trying to find a word meaning 'front' to remove a 'w' from. Nice misdirection, and describing Long John Silver's walk as half-timbered is funny and clever. Regards.
Jan. 24th, 2014 05:29 pm (UTC)
A gruelling DNF and very glad of blog to end the misery with a fair number of blanks after 45m. I found it a bit tortuous and long-winded even frustrating at times : classical author DEFOE - really? Off-duty and recreating ( can't imagine anyone saying that : a recreating fireman?) and why is HATER 'he' loathes especially after having to guess hatter for party man in the first place? Add in wavelength and my own dimness for an unsatisfying time.

Edited at 2014-01-24 05:33 pm (UTC)
Jan. 24th, 2014 09:49 pm (UTC)
About 50min (do people really do this with a stopwatch?), with POET LAUREATE holding me up inordinately. However, if [geoclements] can claim an "Unrepresentative 49m 40s" due to "interruptions and distractions", then I'll claim an "Unrepresentative 50 minutes due to its taking me a long time to think of the answers."

I can't say I thought much of RECREATING - it's an ugly word at best. If those engineers were recreating whilst on holiday, would they be VACATING? No? Thought not.

Otherwise, though, a chewy and satisfying puzzle, I thought.

Once again, I have drawn the short straw and am off duty tonight. This is a shame, because it's a Friday night and it's raining, which is always good for business.
Jan. 24th, 2014 10:52 pm (UTC)
8:45 here for a straightforward, enjoyable solve.
Jan. 25th, 2014 12:20 am (UTC)
Well, I did finish after more than an hour (10 minutes more, to be exact), with the NE quadrant holding me up most. POET LAUREATE was my LOI and it was one of the clues I was only able to solve by running through the alphabet to fill in the blanks, especially as the pattern I got from crossing letters only suggested things like POST MARRIAGE (but "court" would have been PREMARRIAGE, wouldn't it?) or FOOT CARRIAGE and similar hallucinations. I did get RECREATING but only because I decided to ignore the fuss -- to me, CREATING is making just about anything and not just a fuss.

Otherwise, a fairly straightforward puzzle which, rather unusually, didn't contain a single word I have never seen before (not that LEUCOCYTE comes up frequently in my vocabulary). No COD, but I thought STRICTURE with the two dropped letters in the wordplay rather clever.

By the way, the Livejournal spelling checker doesn't like LEUCOCYTE -- it wants to spell it with a K.

Edited at 2014-01-25 12:21 am (UTC)
Jan. 25th, 2014 12:24 am (UTC)
Most of this went in fairly quickly - the first dozen too quickly - on my two commutes, and then I got unaccountably stuck in the SE and began wading through treacle, lost interest, and kept coming back from time to time. LOI WAFT/MODESTLY, and I just don't like modestly=fairly - really wanted to put in "honestly", but knew it didn't parse. Did like the "vote-loser" anagram, and three of the four long ones, but thought HALF-TIMBERED weak. Some nice misleading surfaces along the way.

The crossing of the Mad Hatter with Alice was neat! Nice to see a Lewis Carroll clue (or two!) occasionally. Now I wonder if the well in 1ac was the source of the treacle I was wading through ...

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