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Times 25709 - a frosty special

Solving time : 24:51 - I was utterly stuck on the bottom left hand side and needed to take a break, answer some text messages and see if things came together. They did, but this is not a puzzle for the faint-hearted, with there being five completions so far on the Crossword Club and none of them under 20 minutes. Every trick in the book here!

There's a fair bit of general knowledge here and an unusual word clued by an anagram which adds to the trickiness.

Doubt it was intentional by the setter, but I put in an appearance on the bottom right, so thanks!

Here we go...

1GUINEA(old coin),PIG(lump of iron)
6VATIC(an): didn't know the term but the wordplay is clear
9TETRA: T(h)E then ART(technique) reversed
10LONELIEST: ONE,LIES in LT(Lieutenant)
13CLASS ACT: take 1,ON away from CLASS ACTION
16R,WANDA: referencing "A Fish Called Wanda"
18BONHOMIE: NOB(head) reversed, then 1 in HOME
21THE MERRY MONARCH: THEME(subject), MONARCH(butterfly) surrounding R(right),RY - reference Charles II
23KETTLEFUL: sounds like KETTLE FULL. KETTLE can mean a police cordon, a meaning that is in Collins but not in Chambers
25VIOLA: ALIV(e) reversed surrounding O(disc)
26RIGID: RID(shot, as in if something is shot it's been gotten rid of) around GI(recruit)
1GET UP: triple definition
3ERASMUS: SUMS,ARE all reversed
6VOLCANO: cryptic definition
7TOE: since TIPTOE would be walk quietly
8CITY STATE: take R from TRYST, then put it in CIA,TE(note)
15FORMULAE: A,LUM(chimney) reversed in FORE(front)
17DUELLED: sounds like DUALED, as in make a road a dual carriageway
19HANOVER: HAND OVER withoutthe D
22HEARD: A(nimal) in HERD
24TUG: GUT reversed


( 50 comments — Leave a comment )
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Feb. 13th, 2014 02:00 am (UTC)
I wondered if this might be the same setter as yesterday as it's certainly another very inventive puzzle and it gave me similar problems although this time I was only marginally over the hour in solving it.

Didn't know INTERCALATE or VATIC and failed to understand 13ac as CLASS ACTION is not an expression I knew the exact meaning of.

GI = 'recruit' has come up before and raised a few eyebrows. I can't see anything in the usual sources (or in the American Dictionary.com) to support it.

I see 'clothes' and 'stand' for GET UP but not 'study'. Could someone explain it please?

Edited at 2014-02-13 02:00 am (UTC)
Feb. 13th, 2014 02:07 am (UTC)
get up...
It's in both Chambers (as learn up for an occasion) and in Collins (to study or improve one's knowledge of).
Re: get up... - jackkt - Feb. 13th, 2014 06:23 am (UTC) - Expand
OK, but still a bit dodgy - paul_in_london - Feb. 13th, 2014 08:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 13th, 2014 02:14 am (UTC)
Beaten all ends up by THE MERRY MONARCH and INTERCALATE, both unknown to me. I also couldn’t see RWANDA or DUELLED or FORMULAE within the 30 minutes I give myself before heading to bed. Clear win for the setter.

Edited at 2014-02-13 02:19 am (UTC)
Feb. 13th, 2014 03:01 am (UTC)
Even more trouble than yesterday. Didn't even spot the anagram for INTERCALATE, it was so well hidden. We may have seen our MERRY MONARCH before but, if so, I'd forgotten it. Most trouble, though, in the NE where finally spotting GODIVA got me into VOLCANO (a not-very-friendly CD ... for my money).

And a fine chuckle of recognition at 22dn. Setters 2, McText 0.

Feb. 13th, 2014 03:24 am (UTC)
A bit difficult, yes....
....although at first I thought it was going to be easy, putting in the obvious 'guinea pig' and 'vatic' right off. Well, it's obvious if you know it - 'vatic' is from Latin and 'mantic' is from Greek, so remember them both.

I didn't like the 'pathetic summer' clue, since my idea of pure mathematics is number theory or non-Euclidean geometry.

I had to think about 'intercalate', and force myself to lift and separate 'day's work'. The technical terminology of the calendar-maker does not often come up, but it's out there.
Feb. 13th, 2014 11:55 am (UTC)
Re: A bit difficult, yes....
I agree that arithmetic skill is totally irrelevant to pure maths - analysis was the branch I found it hardest to get my head around, so only managed a pass degree from the Tripos.
Re: A bit difficult, yes.... - joecasey - Feb. 13th, 2014 03:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 13th, 2014 04:03 am (UTC)
Similar time to yesterday for me, but this one I found a tad harder on account of the greater stretch it put on GK and vocab. Unusually for me, I had to parse the whole shebang, so that shows how tightly it was set. I finished up with FORMULAE, partly because I knew there was a weird word for 'chimney' ('col', 'lom'?) out there somewhere but couldn't recall it for the life of me.
Feb. 13th, 2014 10:07 am (UTC)
the Scots have a saying "lang may yer lum reek" meaning long may your chimney smoke = long life and happiness. Used particularly at hogmanay.
Feb. 13th, 2014 04:19 am (UTC)
Not sure how much time it took me, over 40' anyway, but at least I finished it, unlike yesterday's, which was the mother of DNFs. I made the mistake of throwing in 'admiral' at 21, hoping the rest would become clear, which helped delay things.I'm sure I've seen GET UP, if only in UK writers, as in 'I got up all the European rivers for Friday's geography test'. Irritatingly enough, I knew VATIC, but it wouldn't surface. I actually thought of 'attic' (città [vaticano] reversed ('rejected')); the wordplay certainly wasn't clear to me, George! And Monday's was so easy. David Kalakaua, incidentally, the last reigning king of Hawai'i, was known as the 'Merrie [sic] Monarch'; I trust the setters will not take note.

Edited at 2014-02-13 06:21 am (UTC)
Feb. 13th, 2014 08:10 am (UTC)
was determined to make a better fist of it than repeat yesterday's embarrassment.

Last 2 in were duelled (after yesterday's wield/weald), when I decided it was Charles = Merry Monarch, and not the name of a locomotive, or a butterfly (e.g. Darwin) or a book (e.g. Dickens).

Printed, started well, got stuck, fell asleep, woke up, finished. Delighted with my 100%, currently 21st on board, even with a total elapsed time of 6+ hours.

Thanks to George & well done to the setter (you can have a few days off now, please - my head hurts)
Feb. 13th, 2014 09:29 am (UTC)

I was determined to get make better work of this than yesterday's, and I did, but still failed to get two: with 3 checkers in place I should have got VOLCANO, which would have led to VATIC.

dnk: INTERCALATE (nor did I spot the anagram, so a lucky guess), TETRA, and couldn't parse FORMULAE, so thanks for working that out.
Feb. 13th, 2014 09:42 am (UTC)
Remember TETRA: it appears fairly regularly, most recently on Christmas Eve.
Feb. 13th, 2014 09:37 am (UTC)
28m. I thought this was an absolutely superb puzzle. Very hard, but in the right kind of way. There's some fairly arcane stuff but it's all fairly clued and most of the clues are difficult because they are cunningly constructed. Tellingly there was only one clue (POLITICO) I didn't parse before putting in the answer.
I spent ages at the end on 2dn. I saw fairly early that INTERCALATE would fit but I wasn't sure it was a word and I just couldn't see how it worked. When I finally spotted the anagram it was a big self-kicking moment. I don't think I'd have got this if I hadn't known the French word intercalaire, which is a file divider.
Bravo, setter, thank you.
Feb. 13th, 2014 09:38 am (UTC)
Another enjoyable start to the day. Always good to see my fellow Queensman at 3D.
Feb. 13th, 2014 09:43 am (UTC)
22:33 here, but I raced through the top half in about five minutes, thinking this was going to be a piece of cake! Ground to a halt down the bottom though, with only TUG going in at first look. Had to grind the rest out from the wordplay, although surprisingly my LOI was HEARD.
Feb. 13th, 2014 10:13 am (UTC)
Another difficult one with very similar time to yesterday (35 minutes).

One has to admire a real class act here by the setter with only the cryptic definition of VOLCANO causing me to wince. The only one I didn't have to parse was Charles (the second). A combination of Chas and butterfly led me straight to the answer.

Thank you setter and well done 22D

Edited at 2014-02-13 10:14 am (UTC)
Andy Borrows
Feb. 13th, 2014 11:01 am (UTC)
26 mins and I agree that this was another top quality puzzle. After the doddles that were the Monday and Tuesday puzzles the old grey matter has certainly been stretched the last couple of days.

If I had seen the CD for VOLCANO, my LOI, my time would have been quicker, but I needed VATIC before I saw it. I was misdirected with the latter when I had ??T?C because I was thinking that the definition was "prophecy", the "rejected article" was "it" reversed, and the "about" was the final "c", so I was looking for a two letter word for the front of the answer that meant "religious centre". It took me a while to read the clue the proper way.

I also spent a lot of time on INTERCALATE like quite a few of you seem to have done. I didn't see the anagram fodder for ages, and then it was a matter of seeing what looked like the most likely answer. Once I saw that the definition was probably "put in a day" I realised "calate" probably related to "calendar". Tough but gettable, so no quibbles there.

Even though the bottom half of the puzzle had some cunning cluing I managed to get onto the setter's wavelength for the most part, although I'm not sure I like "on" as an envelopment indicator for the "RRY" in 21ac.
Feb. 13th, 2014 12:22 pm (UTC)
I don't think there's envelopment here, is there? THEME goes first, then quite separately "butterfly that's on the right track" clues MONARCH (on i.e. adjacent to) R,RY without specifying which of the two elements goes first.
Re: 21ac - allan_sidcup - Feb. 13th, 2014 03:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: 21ac - jackkt - Feb. 13th, 2014 03:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: 21ac - Andy Borrows - Feb. 13th, 2014 06:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 13th, 2014 11:21 am (UTC)
Great Crossword
I looked at this crossword having just woken up and thought "Oh B****R" and then after a cup of tea, I spent a most enjoyable 90 mins or so, slowly extracting the answers.
I can understand the sense of achievement with a speedy completion, but sometimes a great crossword can be drawn out and enjoyed like a great cigar.
Well done you speed merchants, i.e. just about everyone but me!
COD 21ac

Edited at 2014-02-13 11:22 am (UTC)
Feb. 13th, 2014 08:05 pm (UTC)
Re: Great Crossword
saw your comment, so when we went to the shops, I bought myself some big fat cigars. Roll on tonight's crossword!
Feb. 13th, 2014 12:24 pm (UTC)
Merry Monarch
Another dnf so that's 2-0 to the setters. To quote whoever is in charge of the English cricket team, "We need to break this losing streak."

Didn't get Merry Monarch which is embarrassing as I studied Tudor/Stuart history at university.

Didn't find this as inventive or fun as yesterday but good to be mentally stretched. Good blog, thank you.

Nairobi Wallah
Feb. 13th, 2014 12:49 pm (UTC)
An excellent and enjoyable 25 minutes of head-scratching, ticking VOLCANO as an example of what a CD should be, witty and illusive (on edit: that was meant to be elusive, but it nearly works anyway), but perfectly fair once you throw all the words in the air and they come down the right way.
As commented supra, many clues where careful working out of the wordplay led to the right answer, rather than having a stab at the definition and then seeing how the wordplay worked. Takes particular genius in a setter, methinks.
Glad it was your turn this week, George, and thanks for the unravelling where I had the luxury of not having to work it fully through.
And well done Woodsy on a commendable (and probably painful) fifth!

Edited at 2014-02-13 12:50 pm (UTC)
Feb. 13th, 2014 01:04 pm (UTC)
Another tough one - 22 mins with Tippex!

Well done Woodsy from me too.
Feb. 13th, 2014 01:15 pm (UTC)
Another huge "well done" to Woodsy. Heroic stuff from young James. Congrats to him and to chrisw91 and family.
Feb. 13th, 2014 01:17 pm (UTC)
19:26 so I must have been pretty close to the proverbial w/l on this one.

I have to agree with Z8 and disagree with others that VOLCANO was pretty much the perfect CD. It was my LOI but once I saw the V the penny dropped with a massive clang. I also ticked PREFAB as being a great clue.

Seeing Charles and butterfly I instantly thought of monarch (I had the I Spy book of butterflies as a lad) and whilst I didn't know which monarch it was, I'd encountered the term before.

Regarding piecing clues together, that's how I arrived at City state and it gave a feeling of satisfaction like putting the last piece in a jigsaw puzzle.

Props to Woodsy, a brave performance and coming 5th in any Olympic event is a massive achievement.
Feb. 13th, 2014 02:52 pm (UTC)
I didn't mention it before but FWIW I agree with you on VOLCANO. In fact the only clue I disliked at all was 17dn, but that's only because I wrongly assumed the setter had invented "dualled".
And very well done Woodsy. Extremely impressive.
Feb. 13th, 2014 02:31 pm (UTC)
Just over 40m but went for INTERLACATE for no good reason and though I can see the CAL link to Calendar if you didn't know the word there was an element of guess work about the consonants - at least that's my defence. But overall this was for me not as stretching as yesterday's offering but just a enjoyable. Once again really glad of the blog to explain the mysterious so thanks to George and the setter.
Feb. 13th, 2014 03:28 pm (UTC)
Having wished for more meat after Monday and Tuesday's easy puzzles, I certainly got what I wanted. I sure I would have given up on yesterday's and resorted to aids/this blog had the storm not knocked out our electricity – but it shows that perseverance pays off, as I finished at last in about an hour and a half. Slightly quicker today, but not much. Hoping for something of middling difficulty tomorrow!
Feb. 13th, 2014 04:01 pm (UTC)
Superb crossword. Agree with z8b8d8k that many solutions had to be teased out of the wordplay. Stared at a blank grid for quite a bit before VIOLA gave me the way in, closely followed by the much missed IRIS MURDOCH and history's favourite bare lady GODIVA. Liked the poignant crossing of the Stuarts with their eventual usurpers. HANOVER and RWANDA my CODs, for their surface and wit respectively.

One forgotten word today - "lum", the key to parsing 15dn, but three too many unknown words - INTERCALATE, VATIC, TETRA, all approachable via wordplay, but that's not the point. I'm old (or arrogant) enough to think that if I haven't come across a word in a lifetime's reading, it's well and truly obscure. Dictionaries are for weekend prize crosswords, Mephistos and Spectators, not for the daily Times. Grouse over.

Agree with cozzielex that much enjoyment was to be had from the slow unravelling of the solutions - I wasn't counting today, but somewhere just under the hour.
Feb. 13th, 2014 06:59 pm (UTC)
I hate to break it to you but you have come acros TETRA before. It appeared in the Christmas Eve crossword and you commented then that you'd never seen it before! It happens to us all.
More generally I can't agree with you: I find getting unknown words from wordplay the most satisfying part of solving. This is fortunate really because it happens a lot.
(no subject) - Londiniensis - Feb. 14th, 2014 12:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 13th, 2014 04:47 pm (UTC)
Another tricky and very good puzzle. I seem to have been on the wavelength, well below 2xMagoos today on the (refreshingly neutrino-free) leaderboard. Reading other comments, I guess I was lucky that today's required knowledge fitted exactly with what I call "acceptable in a daily puzzle" i.e. "Things I happen to know". The only big misapprehension was thinking 21ac had to involve an admiral.

I hope our man Woodsy is pleased with 5th rather than disappointed not to make the podium (based partly on the impression that the freestyle skiers are a bit more relaxed about competition than most sportspeople).
Feb. 13th, 2014 11:05 pm (UTC)
I wasted time thinking 21ac had to involve a comma!
Feb. 13th, 2014 07:10 pm (UTC)
Well done Woodsy.
Well done setter. Well done editor.
Good fun, and a long time here. I couldn't pick a COD if I had to; too many choices.
Feb. 13th, 2014 09:07 pm (UTC)
Time To Watch and Learn!
The last two offerings have reaffirmed to me how far I have to go in this magnificent discipline. Just after you've smashed a couple of straight sixes and foolishly believed you're starting to got your eye in, along comes a Mitch Johnson bouncer followed up by a swinging yorker that harshly lay bare the inadequacies of your technique. Dented helmet and stumps all over the place.

Managed to get about half of today's (a significant advance on yesterday's dismal effort), but this has been a time to watch and learn from the majestic strokeplay of the top order. Thanks for the excellent blogs and further elucidation from the comments - have learned a lot.
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