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Times 24828 — Hidden talents

Time taken: 56 minutes, without full understanding of several answers.

Had the devil of a time with this sucker. Mostly, I suspect, because of some of the stranger defs. Still, no real complaints apart, possibly, from the def at 14dn and the whole of 23dn.


 1 CA,R(J)ACK. Circa (ca), ‘roughly’; then J for ‘judge’ inside RACK (torture). Had to be the answer but couldn’t parse this one for ages. My guess was helpfully confirmed by mmagus — Ta!
 5 DONNE or DONNÉ. Two defs.
 9 WOO,DY. WOO for ‘court’, first and last of ‘DaintY’.
10 PAN(OR)AMAS. Our favourite men (Other Ranks) wearing straw hats.
12 SE(VENT)Y. Reverse YES (approval) around VENT (opening).
13 TRANSITIVE. Anagram of ‘art invites’. I like the def: ‘Taking an object’.
15 FLAK{e}.
18 S{h}ACK.
20 BELL THE CAT. This is BELT (band) with an extra L (lake); and C (caught) in HEAT (hot weather, shortly). Literally: “take the danger of a shared enterprise upon oneself”.
23 BOLS,HIE. Reversal of SLOB (sloven).
24 MI,ASMA,L. MI (say ‘my’); though the other pronunciation is OK: |ˈazmə; ˈazmə|. Then AS{th}MA and L{abour}.
25 UNDER,COAT. Cryptic def. I think we have to split the clue after ‘tin’.
26 ’E’ll ’ide this one inside.
27 B,ON,US. If you don’t have to pay, it’s on us!
28 GAR,OTTE{r}. The first bit is the garfish, so called, I believe, for its spear-like shape. (It’s also a restaurant in Manly — but let’s not go there again.) Then an OTTER, a creature that will kill fish, sans R for ‘river’.

 1 CRO,ATIA. Two homophones: ‘crow’ and ‘Asia’. Except that it’s |ˈā zh ə| and |krōˈā sh ə|.
 2 ROYAL,IS,T. The def is ‘For queen’. A royal is a sail (or, indeed, a mast).
 3 AT PAR. Reverse of RAPT (transported) by (next to) A.
 4 KINGS EVIL. Scrofula. It was believed the King’s touch could cure it. There's a pun here on ‘King is evil’.
 5 D(E)RIVE.
 6 NO,MINA,L. Had to look this up. A Mina is 50 or 60 Shekels (biblical), so a fraction of a Talent (3000 Shekels). See: the two parables.
 7 ES,SAY. The opponents are those at the game of bridge: East and South.
 8 TWELFTH,S. Allusion to Twelfth Night, a play.
14 THE(ME|SON)G. The middle bit is: “a subatomic particle that is intermediate in mass between an electron and a proton and transmits the strong interaction that binds nucleons together in the atomic nucleus”. Not overly-fond of the def. but.
16 KATHLEEN. Anagram: ‘the ankle’.
17 CHE(APE)ST. ‘Boxed in’ means ‘put inside a box (chest)’.
19 CEL,A,DON. Room = CELL with ‘just one L{arge}’; A for ‘area’; DON (get clothes on). My last in. A willow-green colour, “ORIGIN mid 18th cent.: from French céladon, a colour named after the hero in d'Urfé's pastoral romance L'Astrée (1607–27)”. Could have been Lord of the Rings for all I knew.
21 Omitted — as the setter does.
22 P(H)AROS. Refs to the Greek island in the Cyclades famous for its marble and to Ptolemy II’s lighthouse, one of the wonders of the ancient world. I was looking for RHODES, I’ll admit! 
23 BLUR-B. The first smear would be blur-A. Ho ho!
24 MATER. Two defs: one who mates and one who has kids.



( 56 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 20th, 2011 02:48 am (UTC)
32 minutes but undone by 5a where I plumped for DANTE, having no better idea what to do. Much the same process for CELADON but with happier results. Winced at 1d.

This seemed hard. Very, very hard.
Apr. 20th, 2011 03:04 am (UTC)
Perhaps McT could do the honours and release my impounded comments. Let's hope this one doesn't meet the same fate.
(no subject) - mctext - Apr. 20th, 2011 03:05 am (UTC) - Expand
Perish the thought! - ulaca - Apr. 20th, 2011 03:48 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 20th, 2011 03:13 am (UTC)
Damn! I bunged in DANTE as well, without pausing to consider why.

Love the Aussie 'but' in your explanation for 14d. Not an English locution as I recall.
Apr. 20th, 2011 08:17 am (UTC)
Aphis, that's definitely a usage that we're a bit guilty of down here. Only a bit but.
(no subject) - mctext - Apr. 20th, 2011 08:23 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - aphis99 - Apr. 20th, 2011 10:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 20th, 2011 04:13 am (UTC)
45', at least ten of them spent trying to think of Greek islands; I toyed with 'chorus' for an embarrassingly long time, since Cos was one of the few I could come up with. I liked 12ac and 13ac, but my COD goes to (may I have the envelope, please) 19d. This is the first time I have seen that word since I was a 2d-year student trying desperately to translate a Japanese passage. (Japanese 3, and we're supposed to learn the word for 'celadon'; I ask you. No wonder the jury found me not guilty of manslaughter.)
All in all, I enjoyed this one, but a) I'd never heard of Croazia; b) cheap=vile?
Apr. 20th, 2011 04:16 am (UTC)
Deserving of contempt? Cf. "cheap trick"?
Re: Cheap - kevingregg - Apr. 20th, 2011 06:42 am (UTC) - Expand
Croazia - (Anonymous) - Apr. 20th, 2011 07:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Croazia - kevingregg - Apr. 20th, 2011 08:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 20th, 2011 07:17 am (UTC)
Whirled through most of this but destroyed by SW. Still don't understand Pharos though I got it, remembering the lighthouse. Ah, I suppose Paros is an island also. An entertaining jaunt especially Blur B. 36 minutes eventually.
Apr. 20th, 2011 07:24 am (UTC)
Paros is an island also ...
Link now added to blog.
Apr. 20th, 2011 07:43 am (UTC)
DNF. Done in by PHAROS. I've had trouble remembering what the seven wonders of the world were ever since I saw Lowell Thomas's film of the same name, which was so full of its own importance that it forgot to mention any of them; at least that was my recollection of it the next day when my parents asked me to name just one and I couldn't.

Not that I tripped merrily around the rest of the puzzle. I had question marks in abundance, next to NOMINAL, KING'S EVIL, MIASMAL, AT PAR (eh?) and so on and so forth. Fortunately, we did Donne at school and celadon is my favourite glaze. COD to LITTLER, which tickled my fancy.

I've think I've eaten at the Garotte in Manly; it used to do a battered sav to die for.
Apr. 20th, 2011 07:45 am (UTC)
Sorry, I should have given myself a balloon for my efforts.
Pharos etc. - kevingregg - Apr. 20th, 2011 08:07 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Pharos etc. - mctext - Apr. 20th, 2011 08:11 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 20th, 2011 08:02 am (UTC)
About an hour, before and after a long lunch. Needed help to get CELADON. Fancy not knowing that. Makes me wonder how I make it through the day.
Apr. 20th, 2011 08:04 am (UTC)
Well blogged. Just over the hour and struggled with a couple. cant say i had herd of Celadon before. Bell the cat is a strange phrase isnt it!
Apr. 20th, 2011 08:08 am (UTC)
... a strange phrase isnt it!
Apparently it's from the fable where the rats get together and decide they can all get an early warning system, if only one of them will take it upon himself to stick a bell on the cat. The last time I heard the phrase, it was used by a Vice-Chancellor. He has since left the sinking ship! So quite appropriate; if I may mix my fables.
Apr. 20th, 2011 08:10 am (UTC)
BTW, thanks for the blog McText. But can you please elaborate on the double def for DONNE? I got the right answer, being the only poet I could think of that fitted, but I don't see another definition (bracing myself for humiliation here).
Similarly with BLURB, I got it without "getting" it until reading your blog. Nice.
Apr. 20th, 2011 08:13 am (UTC)
The latter is (literally, in French) a given. So "admitted fact". Now composing a song called "Don Donné" on the Bowie model!
Re: Donne/donné - galspray - Apr. 20th, 2011 08:21 am (UTC) - Expand
done for - (Anonymous) - Apr. 20th, 2011 10:40 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 20th, 2011 08:33 am (UTC)
After 65 minutes, I was missing 8 down....
....so I did something else for a while, and went back, and saw it right away. It is one of those clues which seem like they must be very complex, but turn out to be very simple.

I really this sort of puzzle, it makes you use the whole clue and not just bang them in. I thought of a few of the answers early on, but didn't put them in because I didn't understand the cryptic: 'bolshie', 'essay', 'cheapest'.
Apr. 20th, 2011 09:01 am (UTC)
Quite surprised by the comments so far as I can't see what the fuss is about. Seemed like a very straightforward 20 minute solve to me. Where the word is obscure, such as CELADON, the word play is very specific and leads directly to the answer. The homophone is groanworthy (aren't most of them) but we've had far, far worse dumped on us from time to time. My piece of paper has no question marks and no ticks on it - a good sign of a standard Times daily.
Apr. 20th, 2011 09:05 am (UTC)
At least you got a meson for your poet!
(no subject) - dorsetjimbo - Apr. 20th, 2011 09:09 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rosselliot - Apr. 20th, 2011 10:44 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 20th, 2011 09:35 am (UTC)
A very strange puzzle. It obviously wasn't going to flow for me but I bunged in my first 11 answers scattered around three-quarters of the grid in fairly quick succession and thought some of them were extremely easy [9,2,1dn,13,18, 16,15,21,26,28, 20]. After that I started my commute and managed only five more answers before arriving at the office.

Then I resorted to aids to plug the gaps but apart from SACK and UNDERCOAT I had nothing in the SW for ages. I got there eventually but my time was off the scale. I hope this is the worst the week has to offer.

BELL THE CAT has come up here before at least once (in a Jumbo last October) and fortunately I remembered it.
Apr. 20th, 2011 10:53 am (UTC)
About 50 minutes, with one wrong, having desperately bunged in CILADON. I forgot to go back to it, but wouldn't really have had the energy if I'd remembered.
I found this extremely tough, and not in an enjoyable way. There was a lot of obscurity and some distinctly dodgy elements I thought. How does "mate" mean "marry"? Is "donné" an English word? How does DERIVE mean "issue"? "Number" as a definition for SEVENTY? All gettable, but to me it felt like a grind and too often I saw the answer with a sense of grudging acceptance ("well, yes, I suppose if you insist that just about works") rather than Eureka!
I generally enjoy a cheesy homophone, and take a pretty liberal view of whether they work or not. However I thought this one was genuinely awful: does anyone pronounce CROATIA like this? The weather in Dorset must be particularly delightful today!
Enough moaning. I very much liked TWELFTHS and (cheesy I know) BLURB. I also love the expression BELL THE CAT. I've seen it before: must have been in a Times crossword.
Apr. 20th, 2011 11:18 am (UTC)
All the definitions you query are in the dictionary (Chambers) and donne as a datum is surely reasonably well known.

My yardstick for a truely awful homophone is the answer "sandpiper" which supposedly sounded like "sandpaper" and whilst this one is bad it's not for me as bad as that

The weather in Dorset is delightful and we are being inundated for Easter. Expect pictures of a packed Bournemouth beach in the popular press
(no subject) - keriothe - Apr. 20th, 2011 11:55 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jerrywh - Apr. 20th, 2011 03:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
Croatia - (Anonymous) - Apr. 22nd, 2011 11:30 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 20th, 2011 11:36 am (UTC)
My overall response was very similar to that of keriothe. However AT PAR eluded me; CARJACK went in reluctantly as not necessarily a violent crime.

Thanks mctext for a great blog and comments, filling in details of the wordplay which I had missed, notably the explanation of BELL THE CAT.
Apr. 20th, 2011 12:03 pm (UTC)
I didn't mention it but AT PAR doesn't really mean "for original cost." You don't necessarily pay par. I thought I'd complained enough...
At par - joekobi - Apr. 20th, 2011 09:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 20th, 2011 11:52 am (UTC)
Mesons are composed of quarks, so are not elementary particles; or am I mistaken? Thought this a very good puzzle with ticks for BONUS and BLURB
Apr. 20th, 2011 03:18 pm (UTC)
Re: mesons
Mesons used to be considered elementary particles, but have been downgraded and now are merely subatomic. so yes, an error.
Re: mesons - (Anonymous) - Apr. 20th, 2011 07:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 20th, 2011 12:17 pm (UTC)
Nice to have a challenge
16:32, ending in the SW.  Several unknowns: DONNÉ (5ac), BELL THE CAT (20ac), AT PAR (3dn), CELADON (19dn), and Paros (22dn).  KING'S EVIL (4dn) and meson (14dn) were unfamiliar.
Clues of the Day: 9ac (WOODY), 27ac (BONUS).
Apr. 20th, 2011 12:21 pm (UTC)
Suspicious commenter
... as I was described in my initial, rejected, offering. Count me among those who found this very tough, resorting to aids for TWELFTH and LITTLER (ugh!) and managing to beat my effort last week by getting 4 wrong this time, including the Greek island. Phoros, anyone? Oh ... and 90 minutes plus.
Apr. 20th, 2011 03:14 pm (UTC)
I found myself struggling a bit with this and was gratified, on coming here, to see that some others had problems as well. 38 minutes, but it felt longer. I'd never heard the phrase AT PAR but, apart from that, all the vocab was familiar. I'm puzzled about how other people pronounce CROATIA. I've always called ir "crow + asia" and am wondering if I've been mispronouncing it. How else can it sound? Maybe someone can enlighten me here.
Apr. 20th, 2011 03:20 pm (UTC)
Asia and ..atia are not quite the same, as MCs blog explains.
(no subject) - falooker - Apr. 20th, 2011 04:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
U or non-U, I haven't a clue - ulaca - Apr. 21st, 2011 08:01 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: U or non-U, I haven't a clue - falooker - Apr. 21st, 2011 09:37 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 20th, 2011 04:46 pm (UTC)
I'm new here
Stumbled upon this blog by accident whilst Googling a recent clue. Great stuff here, really useful. Started with the Torygraph 20 years ago, graduating to the Times about 10 years ago. I can manage a finish roughly 3 times a week, but, alas, not today. Hardest grid for a while I thought. Keep up the good work!
Apr. 20th, 2011 10:04 pm (UTC)
Re: I'm new here
Our experience has been that those who can't finish most or some puzzles show substantial improvement after reading this blog for a few months.
Apr. 20th, 2011 05:01 pm (UTC)
Found this very tough this morning - 32:35, one of my slowest times this year (if not the slowest. No problem with any of the vocabulary (although Paros wasn't the first 5-letter Greek island I thought of). Still, I got there in the end and understood all the wordplay. COD to 23d BLURB.
Apr. 20th, 2011 05:16 pm (UTC)
After DANTE went to PEEL THE CAT, I was done (and not donne).
Apr. 20th, 2011 05:21 pm (UTC)
About 40 minutes, ending with PHAROS, due to my lack of familiarity with Greek islands. I got a kick out of BLURB, and TWELFTHS. Wordplay only for CELADON and BOLSHIE. Certainly on the tougher side of average for me. COD to TRANSITIVE, clever. Regards to eeryone.
Apr. 20th, 2011 10:31 pm (UTC)
10:29 here, which seems to compare reasonably favourably with the likes of markthakkar and linxit (both targets for me), but felt pathetically slow at the time.

I'd assumed that DONNE was simply a homophone (signalled by "admitted") of "done" (= "that which is done or accomplished" (OED)) = "fact" (= "a deed, act, or anything done (archaic)" (Chambers)), but I think your DONNÉ explanation is better.
( 56 comments — Leave a comment )

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