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A rare Nina in the cryptic, i.e. GOODBYE RICHARD in 11 and 12 across, and I'm sure we all wish the outgoing editor Richard Browne all the best for a happy retirement, and the new editor Richard Rogan the best of luck in his new job. I made the mistake of trying to solve this while half-asleep on the train home on Monday night, and failed miserably. Probably took me about 40 minutes in total, and I still had to look up 25ac. I didn't even spot the Nina until I started writing up the blog entry - nor even the obvious hints in the clues to 11ac and 24dn! Such a shame that the online version had an error in 6dn at first (although quickly corrected, and well before I typed in my own entry). Anyway, on to the puzzle...

Across
1 FEINTED - sounds like "fainted" (passed out). Care required, as the only changed letter is unchecked, but I don't think there's any ambiguity.
5 COPER - COPIER (equipment for the office), minus the I.
9 REALM - REAL (not supposed) next to M(otorway).
10 REWORDING - REWARDING (lucrative), with one letter changed. Again, the changed letter is unchecked. Not quite so cut-and-dried as 1ac, but I still think there's no ambiguity.
11 GOODBYE - GOOD (fine) + BYE (run).
12 RICHARD - I CHAR (do, as a charlady "does") inside RD (way).
13 TURTLE DOVE - (true love, Told)*. Do they purr? Not according to Chambers, and definitely not if caught by a cat!
15 MESH - hidden in "game show".
18 REDO - RED DO (Communist Party, geddit?) without one of the D's.
20 STIRRUP CUP - STIR UP (agitate) around [PC (computer) after RU (Rugby Union, game)].
23 LACQUER - sounds like "lacker" (one may have nothing).
24 DA PONTE - OP (work) reversed inside DANTE (poet). I'm sure we've all heard of DANTE the poet, so easy enough to work out from the wordplay once a few checking letters are in. Lorenzo da Ponte (1749-1838), who I'd never heard of, but having looked at his Wikipedia entry he probably deserves a bit more recognition.
25 AGRIGENTO - (not)* after A + GRIG (cricket) + (gam)E. I've never been to Sicily and didn't know the town. I looked it up, I admit it, but then realised I did know the word GRIG as a dialect word for a cricket (probably from a Listener or Mephisto puzzle). Last one I got, as I try not to resort to aids unless I absolutely have to.
26 ELATE - E(conomics) + LATE (dead). A rare adjectival meaning of the word, but one I'd come across before, so no hesitation in putting this one in. At least the wordplay was very straightforward.
27 EMMET - alternate letters of sEeM + MET (satisfied). Cornish word which also means "ant".
28 DUE DATE - DUE (expected) + DATE (become old-fashioned).

Down
1 FLAVOUR - L(itre) "in FAVOUR" (approved).
2 IMMOBILE - I'M + MOBILE. The story of my life!
3 THROE - THRO' (as a result of) + E(cstasy).
4 DOWNRIVER - OWN (have) inside DRIVER (chauffeur).
5 CURACY - CC (copy) around URA(nus) (half the world) + Y (unknown).
6 PRIMATE - A + T(ime) inside PRIME (prayer for monks, first of the day at 6am apparently).
7 RIGID - R(ight) + I (one) + "DIG up" (exhume).
8 BRIGHTER - BRIG (officer, short for BRIGADIER) + (the)* + R(egiment). R for regiment doesn't seem to be a standard abbreviation. But we'll let him off, it is his last day!
14 DETHRONED - (not herded)*. Do I detect a touch of dissent? Maybe he wasn't ready to go!
16 HYPHENED - HYPED (exaggerated) around HEN (female).
17 SUBPOENA - B(lack) + POE (author) inside SUN (newspaper) + A.
19 DECORUM - ECO (green) inside DRUM (part of the ear).
21 CONCAVE - CON (study) + CAVE (hermit's dwelling perhaps).
22 BUDGET - double definition.
23 LEAVE - LAVE (wash) around (stag)E.
24 DRONE - last letters of "Crossword editor to turn aside". Nice one to finish off with, and a touch of humility too!

Comments

( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
ulaca
Feb. 8th, 2014 05:11 am (UTC)
2 hours over Lunar New Year, but pleased just to finish without aids, especially given the Sicilian town and the cricket were unknown. The other Italian was also unknown but much more accessible. Specially liked 'decorum' and 'throe', but the whole thing was up my street - an old-fashioned challenge geared as much to the synthetic as to the analytic thinker. The Nina went right over my head, as they always do. Does any dictionary support primate as important?
linxit
Feb. 8th, 2014 06:58 am (UTC)
PRIMATE
The definition in 6d is "bishop that's important".
ulaca
Feb. 8th, 2014 10:37 am (UTC)
Re: PRIMATE
Thanks. I should have known that!
jackkt
Feb. 8th, 2014 06:49 am (UTC)
80 minutes with multiple use of aids once the hour had passed. Didn't know the town or the required meaning of ELATE but DA PONTE was familiar enough.

I see GOODBYE and the relevance of the wording in 24ac but if there's more than that to the Nina it's still lost on me.
jerrywh
Feb. 8th, 2014 08:43 am (UTC)
Pleasant enough crossword, I had not heard of 25ac but managed OK.
It might be worth explaining the nina Andy.. I assume you are referring to 11ac and 12ac, goodbye Richard (Browne).. I don't think there is anything else, is there, beyond the clue wording for 24dn? Couldn't see anything, anyway
linxit
Feb. 8th, 2014 10:29 am (UTC)
OK, I've made it more clear :)

No, I think that's all there was. I tried (tongue-in-cheek) to make 14D part of it as well, but I don't believe that's the case at all.
Andy Borrows
Feb. 8th, 2014 09:49 am (UTC)
37 mins and definitely on the tricky side. I should have spotted the nina, especially after seeing the clue for 24 down.

I didn't know DA PONTE but the wordplay led me to the answer easily enough. AGRIGENTO was my LOI after BUDGET. I had a vague memory of the town and took a chance on "grig" being a cricket.

As far as the homophones are concerned 1ac was very unambiguous but I thought 10ac less so. Friday's 1ac proved that the definition doesn't have to be at the beginning or end of a clue.
keriothe
Feb. 8th, 2014 10:07 am (UTC)
46m for this, but I didn't know the town or the cricket so 25ac was impossible. The kind of clue that really irritates me, so it spoiled an otherwise enjoyable challenge.
I can't see any ambiguity in either 1ac or 10ac.
(Anonymous)
Feb. 8th, 2014 10:35 am (UTC)
25 A
I strongly agree, IMHO, that it is unfair to clue an obscurity with another obscurity, even if the answer is easily looked up.
mohn2
Feb. 8th, 2014 12:32 pm (UTC)
Struggled through this one, ending on AGRIGENTO where I knew neither the town nor the cricket, resulting in a DNF (or rather a FBWAIG). Also hadn't heard of purring turtle doves or DA PONTE.

This puzzle contained GRIG, CHAR, ELATE, and EMMET, which Chambers classifies in parentheses as dialect, Scott, rare, and archaic/dialect respectively. It struck me as odd that these classifications are generally alluded to in "harder" puzzles such as Mephisto and the Listener (e.g. GRIG would probably be clued by something like "local cricket"), but not in the "easier" daily. Not that it would have helped (me) - just an observation. We rarely get such words in the daily so it was notable to have four in one puzzle.
bigtone53
Feb. 8th, 2014 01:10 pm (UTC)
25:18
I dont recall any particular difficulties although I did have to look up 25 and on quite a large scale map so technically a DNF.

Out of interest, how many of us actually submit prize crosswords in the hope of a prize? I do for the ST ones but not Saturday cryptic or Jumbo.
mohn2
Feb. 8th, 2014 01:40 pm (UTC)
Re: 25:18
I think anyone who does the puzzles online is automatically submitted (assuming they get it right), but my ~150 correct submissions for the ST/Saturday cryptic/Saturday jumbo over the last year and a half have resulted in precisely zero wins (which is probably to be expected as I would guess there are several thousand entries each time). I don't think I'd bother if I was actually having to send in an entry by post.
mohn2
Feb. 9th, 2014 04:38 pm (UTC)
Re: 25:18
I've had better luck with the Azed, which I only started this year and have already won once, though the prize is £25 of book tokens rather than a couple of hundred quids' worth of pen.
paul_in_london
Feb. 8th, 2014 02:25 pm (UTC)
Re: 25:18
I usually need to look at least one word up, but in the rare case where I both finish legally and am near the desktop. Maybe two a year.
Thanks for the blog today - there were more than one which benefitted from some explanation.
And, of course, thank you to Richard B - you've provided me with some good fun, and I appreciate it.

Edited at 2014-02-08 02:26 pm (UTC)
sotira
Feb. 8th, 2014 03:01 pm (UTC)
Re: 25:18
from the Club's FAQ section:

Submit - Allows you to submit prize crosswords or those you'd like to be entered into the leaderboard or for personal performance tracking. Only available for selected puzzles. 


Which crosswords can I submit online?
You can currently use the submit button to send in your answers for the Times Saturday, Times Jumbo, T2 Jumbo, Sunday Times Cryptic, and Club Monthly puzzles. Go to our prize puzzles page for more information.


I can't see a Prize Puzzles page. A few things seem to be out of date on the FAQ page, in fact.

Personally, the only one I submit by post is the Listener, and only if I get it finished the weekend it comes out. Any longer (which is often the case), and there's not much chance of it arriving in time thanks to the appalling postal service where I live.

I did once win £100 for the Saturday (?). I wish I'd copied and framed the cheque - probably the only time Rupert Murdoch will ever give me>/i> money.
mohn2
Feb. 8th, 2014 03:16 pm (UTC)
Re: 25:18
The prize puzzles stuff is under Club News then Prize Crosswords - there's a section for How to Enter, and one for Winners. The latter is useful for developing conspiracy theories regarding a geographic bias against submissions from one's particular region.
sotira
Feb. 8th, 2014 03:24 pm (UTC)
Re: 25:18
Heh, that'll give me a nice break from working out how the CIA are watching me.

Thanks for the steer to that page. Looking at it, I must have won a Club Monthly prize.
mohn2
Feb. 9th, 2014 04:30 pm (UTC)
Re: 25:18
I only just got LiveJournal's notification for your comment, which makes me wonder if it's actually the Russians that are watching you, what with LiveJournal being Russian and the workforce no doubt being stretched by the demands of the Olympics.
sotira
Feb. 9th, 2014 05:05 pm (UTC)
Re: 25:18
And I only just got your original comment notification.

LiveJournal is Russian, but it hosts a lot of blogs critical of the current government there. It's widely believed that the DoS attacks which often plague LJ are co-ordinated by the powers that be. So, you could be right. Damn, so it's the Russians tapping my phone. Good think I never use it.
mohn2
Feb. 11th, 2014 06:13 pm (UTC)
Re: 25:18
Were you able to claim your prize? I only just noticed I was one of the Saturday puzzle winners in November 2012 but I didn't receive anything at the time and it's probably a bit late to report it.
sotira
Feb. 11th, 2014 06:36 pm (UTC)
Re: 25:18
The prize just turned up in the mail, which was the first I knew about it. You should definitely contact them. I can't see why there would be a Statute of Limitations.
jerrywh
Feb. 9th, 2014 09:18 am (UTC)
Re: 25:18
I've won prizes for the Mephisto twice, and for The Week twice.. but never anything for The Times, though I submit all four weekly prize puzzles (online) and the Club Monthly. In fact I've been submitting the Saturday cryptic since the mid 1970s, heaven knows what it's cost me over the years...
bigtone53
Feb. 8th, 2014 04:07 pm (UTC)
Re: 25:18
Thanks. I do not use the online solving facility so mine get sent in by post. For this reason I only do the ST as the cost:reward ratio is much greater for a £200 gold pen. Have never won anything though although I did get a book once from the ST chess puzzle.

I have never solved a single clue in The Listener.
linxit
Feb. 8th, 2014 07:45 pm (UTC)
Re: 25:18
I won the gold pen for the ST puzzle sometime around 1992-93, can't remember exactly. It was worth £225 then. If the prize is only worth £200 now, it must be an inferior model!
bigtone53
Feb. 8th, 2014 07:59 pm (UTC)
Re: 25:18
The current offering is a 10-carat rolled gold Cross Century pen worth £220. I hope that you use your fine pen! I use my Mont Blanc for nearly everything (but not paper crosswords)

Edited at 2014-02-08 07:59 pm (UTC)
linxit
Feb. 8th, 2014 11:03 pm (UTC)
Re: 25:18
Mine was a Cross rolled gold pen too, can't remember how many carats. I used it regularly for about 10 years, but hard times came and I got £100 for it from a pen dealer. These days I prefer rolling-ball pens (of which I have several - Cross, Porsche, Waterman), but I also have an old Sheaffer which I used to use at school, must be at least 60 years old, got it from my dad. It needs a new nib and I can't get one, so it's in retirement.
keriothe
Feb. 9th, 2014 11:32 am (UTC)
Re: 25:18
Damn. I won the pen for the ST puzzle a year or two ago. I had no idea it was so valuable so until today wasn't particularly annoyed with my wife for losing it.
sotira
Feb. 8th, 2014 02:50 pm (UTC)
A very nice valediction, maybe set by Richard Browne himself? or a group of setters?

I had the same problem as most with the Sicilian town, but once I hit on the right infill for the checkers it looked vaguely familiar, perhaps from Michael Dibdin’s Blood Rain, where I’m sure it gets a mention.

Wishing Richard B a happy and busy retirement. My remaining grey cells are forever grateful to you.
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )

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