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Times 25817 - paging Joe Orton

Solving time : Oh dear - well I'm the first one on the board at 17:10 and I'm listed as having one incorrect. Not sure yet if it's a typo or a misconception. And another look back to find it was a bit of both, one I had meant to go back and change and completely forgot to before hitting submit. Yay me!

I found it hard to get a handle on this one, there's a bit of general knowledge, some intricate wordplay, but what I liked best was the crafty definitions - often I get several by definition alone, that was not the case here. After writing up the blog I have a lot more appreciation for this puzzle, there's some really fun stuff in there. Thanks setter!

Away we go...

1CULTIVAR: C then (VIRTUAL)* - despite the wordplay being obvious from the clue, this word was unfamiliar to me and was one of the last in
5HAZARD: HARD surrounding AZ
9REAFFIRM: REF(whistle-blower) surrounding A, then FIRM(concern, as in business)
10PROPER: P then the one using guys is a ROPER
12SOPHIE'S CHOICE: I don't know it as a novel - it's SO(as),PHI(character) then ECHO,ICE surrounding S(son)
16VOLTE-FACE: L in VOTE, then FACE(address)
17WEIGH INTO: sounds like WAY IN TWO
20BANK(slope),STATEMENT(something pronounced)
22PLEDGE: hidden in peoPLE'D GEt
23MILKMAID: MIL(e), then KM for the metric measurement, AID - this was my downfall as I'd originally put in MILLHAND, and when I got 19 down saw the correct answer, but didn't change it on the way through. D'oh
26TELEPLAY: I have this as a cryptic definition, but I guess you could make a case for TELE(tube),PLAY(lines)
6AIRTIME: A1, then T in RIME and the waves are radio waves
8D,IRK(drive around the bend)
11WHALE OF A TIME: two definitions, one cryptic, as the contemporary one in a pod would be a whale of a specific time
13PLAY IT BY EAR: LAY(store),IT(the thing),BY(up, as in over), in PEAR
19SPECKLE: reversal of ELK and CEPS - outstanding clue, by far my favorite in the puzzle
24AWL: hidden alternating in cAtWaLk


( 34 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 19th, 2014 01:01 am (UTC)
Intrigued by the Orton reference, G, which I'm not getting. I'm disappointed that a puzzle which I completed all but one word in 35 minutes should end up as a technical DNF because eventually I got sick of staring at ?E?E?L?Y (at 26ac) for 10 minutes or more so I cheated and looked it up. Can't say I care much for the new regime including so many cryptic definitions but I know opinions are divided on this.
Jun. 19th, 2014 03:45 am (UTC)
Joe Orton got his start in teleplays
Jun. 19th, 2014 04:18 am (UTC)
Not knowing much about Joe Orton, I googled him and came up with an article by Michael Thornton about the role he may have inadvertently played in Orton's death. An incredible story, although it may be "GK" for many of you.
Jun. 19th, 2014 01:30 am (UTC)
...with 15 of those spent on my last in TELEPLAY - which I still like, notwithstanding the travails it caused me. I have it as a CD, since the abbreviation for television would be 'telly' rather than 'tele', I believe.

My favourite of a very good bunch was DIRK. Jack, I believe the blogger is referencing the anger he feels when he looks back on his entry at 23a.

Edited at 2014-06-19 02:05 am (UTC)
Jun. 19th, 2014 03:31 am (UTC)
36:35, one wrong.
It's unanimous (so far), LOI after a long time was TELEPLAY. Not helped by the fact that I assumed "lines" would be RY, so was looking for ?E?E?LRY. Frightening how close I came to entering REBELLRY before the penny dropped.

I did however make up a new word at 8dn. Convinced myself that there must be something sticky in Scotland called a DURD. I'm glad there's not, but if there was it would have been an excellent answer.
Jun. 19th, 2014 03:35 am (UTC)
About 40 minutes
Had a few interruptions so the timing was off. So I'm guessing what several sessions came to.
Like others, bogged in the SE with TELEPLAY the last in; which I got by George's prospective parsing. (ODO has "tele" as a non-standard spelling of "telly".) So that would make it &lit rather than cd. I also had MILLHAND until SPECKLED finally dawned. So I'm looking back more in sorrow (at failure) than in anger.
Jun. 19th, 2014 04:58 am (UTC)
TELEPLAY and AIRTIME my downfalls. Like Galspray, I was assuming that 'lines'=RY, and that led nowhere. I doubt that I'd have got AIRTIME, short of a thorough run through the alphabet, mainly since I would write it as two words.
Jun. 19th, 2014 05:15 am (UTC)
I failed to get INFLICT, and have never heard of TELEPLAY or SOPHIES CHOICE, so I wasn't going to get those. I enjoyed the rest though.
Jun. 19th, 2014 05:58 am (UTC)
Abandoned the puzzle with ?E?E?L?Y and even after reading George's excellent blog, feel unconvinced that this is a halal clue ... at best, weak
Jun. 19th, 2014 07:04 am (UTC)
Good to be in the illustrious company of Uncle Yap but a DNF with 26ac, of which I have never heard.
Jun. 19th, 2014 07:04 am (UTC)
23:26 .. last in by a mile was TELEPLAY. Did anyone get that straight off?

Really nice stuff everywhere, but DIRK and WEIGH INTO especially tickled my fancy.
Jun. 19th, 2014 08:35 am (UTC)
That this was, let's say, unusual is attested by the presence of my 18.57 in 4th place at 09.20. TELEPLAY not my last in (!) though much delayed by looking for something that ended in RY. My aversion to low quality cryptic clues, defined by the absence of a smile on solving, is enough to persuade me this is an &lit as suggested. Tube=tele not an issue for me.
My LOI was DIRK, which I'm afraid tilted me more to the "did not like", though I suppose a clue that teases you with so many conventions that don't actually apply might just qualify as devious. I liked DURD, Pip - the Urban Dictionary defines it as "to be informed of something important at the last minute by someone who knew all day about it." which only needs the highland reference to work as an answer.
I thought 3 of the the long ones (not 20) needed a guess first, untangle later strategy - does that make them good cryptic clues?
Chestnut flavoured CORKSCREWS my fave of the day.
Jun. 19th, 2014 08:39 am (UTC)

Shocking time, and finished with one blank and one error: my error was the momble 'durd' (as galspray), and the blank, well, I'm sure it's obvious from others' experience...
Jun. 19th, 2014 09:13 am (UTC)
25 minutes and a good challenge IMO. LOI was 26a. Thought of RY like others but thankfully didn't spend to much time Pottering about (sorry). I like clues (though not necessarily at the time) where the knee-jerk response is not the right way to go.
Jun. 19th, 2014 09:23 am (UTC)
33 min: but after giving up trying to think of anything but BEVERLEY, had to resort to the Chambers Crossword Companion for alternatives.
Jun. 19th, 2014 09:36 am (UTC)
There is some brilliant stuff in this crossword. Amongst many fine clues I highlight 9A and 16A as being particularly good.

It didn't occur to me that TELEPLAY was a cryptic definition. I associated "tube" with TV because it's old 60s slang so just saw TELE-PLAY. I didn't know the book/film so had to work it out from checkers and the cryptic - which can be done so again good clue writing.

Thank you setter and well done George. 30 minutes to solve.
Andy Borrows
Jun. 19th, 2014 09:42 am (UTC)
30 mins but a technical DNF because I got bored staring at 26ac and searched a list of words that contained ?E?E?L?Y. I then saw TELEPLAY and how it worked, and I'm really annoyed with myself that I hadn't seen tube=television, although the capitalisation threw me a little. The "lines" in the clue was also ambiguous because if it wasn't a CD (although I was fairly sure it was) then it could have referred to "ry", "l + ry", or "l + ley" with those particular checkers in place. I can't decide if the fact that it caused a problem for so many of us means that it was an excellent clue or a rubbish one. I'm leaning towards the latter, but probably only because I didn't get it until I used aids.

Having said that, I wasn't on the best of form anyway because it took me way too long to see WEIGH INTO even with all the checkers in place.
Jun. 19th, 2014 09:52 am (UTC)
Phew, very knotty, and not much under the half hour. I was one of the majority who was left staring at 26ac, trying to come up with something ending with RY, then something ending with LAY, and finally discovering it wasn't anything to with either trains or music at all. Left with the same feeling as Andy that this was either brilliant misdirection or unfair obscurity, but I wasn't entirely sure which...
Jun. 19th, 2014 11:58 am (UTC)
23:51 with the same LOI as most.

I caused a few problems for myself by confidently putting in Hobson's Choice (obviously without parsing) at 12 early doors which over-complicated three crossing down clues.

At 13d I'm more convinced that store the thing up / lay it by works as a phrase than individual compenents (up = by?).

I had a bit of a panic attack with corkscrew, think there was going to be a clever reference to an unknown term related to the Irish prison system (in much the same way that there are terms related to the Irish political system I know I don't know).

I thought the hidden pledge was good but I'll give COD to 9 for the whistle-blower.
Jun. 19th, 2014 02:13 pm (UTC)
Hobson's Choice
Same here, also with confidence and a cavalier lack of parsing.
Jun. 19th, 2014 12:01 pm (UTC)
Excellent puzzle which took me the best part of an hour to solve, last 15 minutes on AIRTIME (can't think why this caused such problems), and of course TELEPLAY.
Jun. 19th, 2014 12:03 pm (UTC)
Like Penfold, I put in Hobson's choice and then realised it didn't work with the wordplay. I also spent quite a lot of the 25 mins solving this puzzle looking at 26a before the penny dropped. One of those crosswords that looked as though it was going to be straightforward but turned out that it was far from so.
Jun. 19th, 2014 12:05 pm (UTC)
This went surprisingly fast for me - 35 min, excluding the DNF due to 26a. I liked most of the clues, 17a, 6d for the disguise. I get the connection, but I'm not convinced that spur is exactly an incentive - one pushes, one pulls.
Jun. 19th, 2014 12:20 pm (UTC)
England 23 Areyougay 24
Nice. TUBE LINES favourite, but a lotta really good stuff. And hard! 42 minutes by my watch.

Many thanks, especially to Cryptic Sue for mentioning the Engerlaond manager there, Woy Hobson.

Jun. 19th, 2014 12:51 pm (UTC)
After 40 minutes I still had several gaps. I then came back to it and knocked all bar one off in about 5 minutes (funny how often a break helps). No prizes for guessing the bar one. Spent a long time with RY at the end for lines, then changed tack and considered throwing in REDEPLOY as it fitted then finally saw TELEPLAY (though I've never heard of the word).

In one of those strangely frequent crosswordland coincidences I drove past a restaurant in Sidcup yesterday called Sophie's Choice.
Jun. 19th, 2014 01:53 pm (UTC)
11:15. Blimey, not sure what's happened today, but I appear to have been about as on the wavelenth as is possible for this one. Can we have three puzzles by this setter in the championship please?
Like others, TELEPLAY was my last in, and like others I wanted it to end in RY.
I nearly came a cropper: like Galspray and Janie I put in DURD for 8dn. Thankfully I reconsidered: it could easily have existed as an obscure Scottish word but that just seemed too Mephistoish.
Jun. 19th, 2014 02:01 pm (UTC)
I was also ready to go for DURD, feeling sure it was a word. After a bit more thought I realised I was thinking of DORD, which is a word even though it shouldn't be - a sort of anti-matter momble.
Jun. 19th, 2014 02:06 pm (UTC)
According to t'internet 'Dord is a notable error in lexicography, an accidental creation, or ghost word, of the G. and C. Merriam Company's staff included in the second (1934) edition of its New International Dictionary, in which the term is defined as "density". Whatever it is, I'm glad I didn't know it or I might have stuck with DURD.
Jun. 19th, 2014 03:49 pm (UTC)
me too
TELEPLAY my LOI, after deciding on _E_EPLAY and rejecting the -RY thesis; had to use an aid to find it and still not impressed, Orton or not (ORTON)*. Otherwise 35 minutes, well done George, like yesterday it wasn't as dense as it seemed at first sight, the sign of a good puzzle IMO. Surprised CULTIVAR was an unknown to you, obviously not a green fingers type.
We recommend the Sophie novel, if you haven't already.
Jun. 19th, 2014 05:40 pm (UTC)
About 30 minutes, and to make it nearly unanimous, I ended with TELEPLAY and along the way I certainly considered DURD and HOBSON'S CHOICE. COD from me to SPECKLE. Overall, a very good puzzle, although the widespread difficulty with TELEPLAY, I think, indicates it's a bit too murky to be a good clue. Regards.
Jun. 19th, 2014 07:21 pm (UTC)
Over the hour mark; like others had Hobson's Choice until I remembered it meant no choice, and therefore the antithesis of a dilemma. Then wanted to put REDEPLOY for 26ac until the penny dropped, but didn't like the clue much. DIRK and SPECKLE definitely superb clues!
Jun. 19th, 2014 08:14 pm (UTC)
Nice one, completed in one sitting in about 35 minutes. FOI CULTIVAR, LOI, unoriginally, TELEPLAY (tube+lines), after I'd tried for some word, any word, ending in -LRY.

The trouble with "cryptic definitions", I find, is that I can never be sure whether I've hit the setter's lateral thinking wavelength and keep my supposed solution blank until a good few crossers are in place. This can make for many blank "virtually completed" clues until conventional wordplay clues point the way.

Also nice to have a crossword with no contentious GK! Apologies if anyone felt patronised yesterday - the reference to the late and much missed Michael Flanders should have signalled that my tongue was firmly in my cheek.
Jun. 19th, 2014 10:14 pm (UTC)
23:34 for me, with about 10 minutes of that spent on 26ac. Eventually I resorted to working through the alphabet for the first letter, but even when I reached T and realised that TELEPLAY might be the answer, I still struggled on to Z in the hope of finding something better.

Not really my sort of puzzle.
Jun. 19th, 2014 11:07 pm (UTC)
37m 24s
Slow going and had the same experience as Tony, trawling the alphabet (a couple of times in fact) until the 'teleplay' penny dropped.
Not exactly a fun puzzle, but satisfying to finish it unaided, though I admit that I did not parse 'Sophie's Choice', and I'm not sure I would have done so however long I looked at it.
( 34 comments — Leave a comment )

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