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Solving time: 27:44

Third puzzle this week I’ve found quite difficult; particularly, in this case, on the left-hand side — though with a few simpler clues on the right to compensate. Wonder if it’s the puzzles or just my head cold?

Will post the blog for Times 25523 (Third Qualifier) tomorrow.

(* Here comes the Englishman with his usual bloody cold.)

1 BACKCHAT. B{l}ACK CAT; insert H (horse). The literal is ‘lip’.
5 SCARAB. SCAR (craggy outcrop) + AB (tar, sailor).
10 NÎMES. N (new), reversal of SEMI (house).
11 LANDOWNER. LANE+R inc DOWN (paradoxically a hill).
12 INTUITIVE. I’VE after INUIT, inc T.
13 SCONE. Two meanings; the biscuity cake and the place famous for its coronations, each with its own pronunciation ... or two.
14 TOP-HOLE. T{he} OP; and HOLE sounds like ‘whole’ (complete).
16 SCHOOL. Anagram of SOHO inc C{entral} and L (for ‘line’).
18 INSE(C)T. Traces of DBE here; though note the question-mark.
20 CURTSEY. CURT (uncivil), S{ervant}, reversal of YE (the old).
22 AZTEC. A and Z (extremists), TEC (investigator).
23 THUMBNAIL. Where Tom is Tom Thumb.
25 GRIMINESS. GRIM (stern), 1, NESS (head).
26 CHARM. Two meanings.
27 TEENSY. TEE (as in driving, golf); S{chool} inside NY
28 GRAND,SON. Sounds like ‘Sun’.

1 BANDITTI. BAN (bar); sound-alike for DITTY (song).
3 CASH IN ONE’S CHIPS. Two meanings, one more literal (‘fail finally’).
4 ALL-TIME. LT (lieutenant) in A, LIME.
6 CROSS THE RUBICON. Anagram: to scrub her coins.
7 RANCOROUS. The board RAN (the) company (CO); anagram of ‘sour’.
8 BURDEN. Two meanings again.
9 ANGELS. A + {e}NGELS. Sadly, my last in.
15 PINSTRIPE. P (pressure), anagram of ‘priest in’.
17 CYCLAMEN. AM in CYCLE; N (northern). Finally! A plant I’ve heard of.
19 TITTER. TT (tee-totaller) inside TIER.
20 CRUISER. C (conservative), {b}RUISER.
21 GADGET. {heedin}G, AD, GET (purchase).
24 AMASS. A (article) in A + MSS (manuscripts).


( 42 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 17th, 2013 01:15 am (UTC)
I must be psychic....
....since while solving a Guardian puzzle earlier in the day, I was wondering why 'backchat' never appeared in these cryptics....and there it was! Well, I didn't have any trouble with that, but I slowed down after half an hour with three to do, and limped home with 'burden', 'cyclamen', and 'charm'. The wrong kind of 'spell', and the wrong idea for 'around' made these difficult.

I thought the puzzle was pretty good, with a nice mixture of clues. Someday, some setter will come out with a puzzle with an entirely new set of non-obscure words that have never appeared before.
Jul. 17th, 2013 10:10 pm (UTC)
Re: I must be psychic....
>I was wondering why 'backchat' never appeared in these cryptics....

Well, not since 11 August last year with 1dn in No. 25,239 ("Second bird getting sauce (8)"), anyway.

(I know - you were just testing ;-)
Jul. 17th, 2013 01:22 am (UTC)
I found this straightforward, helped by seeing the two long down clues quickly. LOI 8dn, having not previously come across one of the meanings.. also nearly put Engels for 9dn until I parsed it properly.
Jul. 17th, 2013 01:36 am (UTC)
32 minutes, with a bit of time lost by dint of shoving in 'grubiness' (sic) at 25, which made the rather natty PINSTRIPE difficult. Nothing else to add which hasn't already been said - nice puzzle.
Jul. 17th, 2013 01:48 am (UTC)
I struggled to get going (again!) and dozed off with only 6 words in the grid. On returning to it somewhat refreshed I worked steadily and tidily through the remaining answers. It felt a bit strange, having called THUMBNAIL to mind when thinking of 'small picture' at 18ac, to find it was the answer needed at 23ac. Didn't know, or more likely had forgotten, BANDITTI.
Jul. 17th, 2013 02:02 am (UTC)
16:44 .. very nice stuff. I do like a puzzle where every clue fits on one line (at least on my screen). And some nice surfaces, like the one for CRUISER.

BANDITTI was new to me but easy enough to figure out with the wordplay.

Last in ... BURDEN. I didn't know the choral meaning but nothing much else seemed to fit with 'oppressive duty'.
Jul. 17th, 2013 02:30 am (UTC)
I thought this was going to be easy, then I thought I'd never finish, with 17d, 1ac, and 25ac resisting vigorously. Finally thought of 'lip' as the definition, and finally realized that 'in the morning' didn't mean A______M. I knew BURDEN, but I was thinking of chorus=singers, so that took a while. Has anyone used 'top-hole' since Bertie Wooster? COD to CRUISER.
Jul. 17th, 2013 03:01 am (UTC)
Well at least it raises the tone a bit after yesterday's 'ta-ra'!
Jul. 17th, 2013 04:46 am (UTC)
Of which ...
... The Wik tells me that Scotland was once called the Kingdom of Scone for similar reasons that Ireland was called the Kingdom of Tara. Coincidence?
Jul. 17th, 2013 03:10 am (UTC)
From Poe's 'The Raven':

`Doubtless,' said I, `what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore -
Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore
Of "Never-nevermore."'
Jul. 17th, 2013 11:17 am (UTC)
Re: burden
Ah, I see why I didn't know BURDEN: my entire knowledge of Poe comes from The Alan Parsons Project's concept album Tales of Mystery and Imagination and they left that bit out of The Raven!
Jul. 17th, 2013 06:19 pm (UTC)
Re: burden
But you probably know the song of the Jolly Miller.

There was a Jolly Miller once lived on the River Dee.
He worked and sang from morn till night
No lark as blithe as he.
And this the burden of his song forever used to be:
"I care for nobody, no, not I. And nobody cares for me"
Jul. 17th, 2013 08:01 pm (UTC)
Re: burden
Not sure if this means I had an incomplete childhood but I've never heard of it!
Jul. 18th, 2013 01:17 am (UTC)
Re: burden
Whereas I never heard of the Alan Parsons Project. Eugene Wrayburn in 'Our Mutual Friend' mentions the Jolly Miller, but in the plural: they care etc.
Jul. 17th, 2013 04:56 am (UTC)
18'30" including checking for typos - heaven forfend they should put the championship on keyboard.
INTUITIVE caused the significant hold up because I had the equally authentic INTUITION (the writer has "on") so ENGELS was inaccessible and I was looking for "a German" to give EIN, condemning the clue to obscurity. Crossers to the rescue.
In my experience, GADGETs are often useful only in parting the gullible from their money, usually costing something ending in 9.99 and disappearing into the forgotten drawer.
Jul. 17th, 2013 05:54 am (UTC)
Took about an hour or so, but was pleased to finish (albeit with a careless 'banditty') as it took a very long time to get going...

I found the NE corner tough, as I didn't know the second meanings of SCONE or BURDEN (tricky that they crossed), and couldn't parse SCARAB;


A family story that my 18yo will never live down: having heard about the native Arctic eskimoes he took it upon himself to ask his Canadian teacher in front of the class if she was a NITWIT! She saw the funny side, he was only 5!

Jul. 17th, 2013 06:11 am (UTC)
Just as well he hadn't been taught 'Athabascan'...

Edited at 2013-07-17 06:11 am (UTC)
Jul. 17th, 2013 07:23 am (UTC)
I thought that this was going to be my fastest for a long time at 17m 52s, then I checked the blog and found that I had stupidly and overhastily entered 'banditty' at 1d. All the more annoying since I know the word 'banditti'.
I think I shall have to revert to not timing myself, and be more careful.
George Clements
Jul. 17th, 2013 08:01 am (UTC)
23 minutes, held up at the end by backchat which I rather like. Little to comment on, all rather one-two-clunk ('spell "desirability" ' etc.) without that dash of malicious humour to prove one's alive. - joekobi
Jul. 17th, 2013 08:18 am (UTC)
15m. Fairly standard stuff but the Times standard is of course high. No real hold-ups and only one unknown: one of the meanings of BURDEN. I'll leave you to guess which.
Actually I didn't know about the Roman history of Nîmes either, but "in France" was enough.
Jul. 17th, 2013 11:39 am (UTC)
Way back, my young family and I made our way into the amphitheatre at Nimes, still much used for concerts and bullfights. Nobody stopped us getting into the centre of the arena, where we played Christians and Lions. The Lions won. A fabulous place, far more complete than the Rome version
Jul. 17th, 2013 08:20 am (UTC)
This is one of those "meat and two veg" puzzles where one works steadily through a nutritious but somewhat uninspired offering. The only difficulty is the SCONE BURDEN crossing where both are the same style clue and each has a somewhat obscure meaning to one thread. Other than that just do what the cryptic tells you and the answer emerges. 20 minutes to solve.
Jul. 17th, 2013 08:44 am (UTC)
Didn't know the musical BURDEN or the BANDITTI but the clues didn't offer many other alternatives. Similar feelings to Sotira re the one-line clues.
Jul. 17th, 2013 09:32 am (UTC)
When 'qiviut' first appeared in Chambers, the derivation was given as 'Imit': an unlikely way to represent the sound of musk-ox wool!
Andy Borrows
Jul. 17th, 2013 09:52 am (UTC)
17 mins. I didn't see either of the long down answers as quickly as some of you did, which is disappointing because neither of them were that hard in retrospect. Count me as another with BURDEN as my LOI due to not knowing the chorus meaning.
Jul. 17th, 2013 11:07 am (UTC)
Following on from the management training experience I shared with you last week, I've just done some (thankfully much shorter) 'elf and safety training (when sorrows come, they come not single spies...). This includes (honestly it does) the following advice:

Remember to blink regularly
Sorry, off topic I know but I thought you might enjoy it.

Edited at 2013-07-17 11:07 am (UTC)
Jul. 17th, 2013 11:28 am (UTC)
Well, thank heavens you did. I can't even remember the last time I blinked. I'm going to print that one out and stick it to the wall over my computer.
Jul. 17th, 2013 11:29 am (UTC)
Perhaps you could set up your computer/device to flash blindingly every few seconds. That should do it.
Jul. 17th, 2013 12:12 pm (UTC)
Wizard idea! That should certainly help with the headaches ...
Jul. 17th, 2013 11:10 am (UTC)
Not cricket, cricket
24 minutes to success with the second meaning of BURDEN a learning experience, as other have said. My CoD 18 ac for the nice topical surface. A top hole puzzle!
Jul. 17th, 2013 11:54 am (UTC)
9.29 - did know BURDEN didn't know BANDITTI.

In addition to blinking with regularity, we are encouraged to have a program on our computers called Workrave which encourages us to do all sorts of stretches and head moves and all sorts in the hope that we won't get RSI and the like - you do get very strange looks when you use it though!
Jul. 17th, 2013 12:40 pm (UTC)
30.24 so average for me. Enjoyable though with problems In the places already highlighted except for BURDEN which was familiar in this sense from Chaucer's Pardoner who when singing had the Summoner 'bearing to him a stiff burdoun' - one of Geoffrey's more graphic inuendos.
Jul. 17th, 2013 12:51 pm (UTC)
Two missing today and in opposite corners: Burden & Teensy. Banditti and Top-Hole both unknown but wordplay clear.
Loved the Black Cat at 1ac.
Jul. 17th, 2013 06:28 pm (UTC)
I had a lot of problems and interruptions yesterday so was seriously distracted. (One of the problems was my bank telling me my savings account was empty when I knew there was over 28 grand in it. I think my slowish time can be excused. I did the puzzle while they were looking for the money!!) Today all was right with the world and I managed this in 21 minutes, which is a good time for me. A steady solve with no hold-ups. Have quoted "The Jolly Miller" above as a good source for BURDEN. Some of you lot must have sung it in school. Ann
Jul. 17th, 2013 09:56 pm (UTC)
HI Ann. Having had many similar run-ins with banks over the years, including their insistence that a dead person's signature (at the bank) was essential to release funds, I'm sure I can help with your difficulty. If I could have your account details...
Jul. 17th, 2013 11:44 pm (UTC)
Thanks for your offer but I did finally get the problem sorted. But for a while I thought I'd been cleaned out!
Jul. 18th, 2013 01:52 am (UTC)
I should have read your reply more carefully! Very funny...
Jul. 18th, 2013 12:48 am (UTC)
>Have quoted "The Jolly Miller" above as a good source for BURDEN.
>Some of you lot must have sung it in school.

Yes indeed - in fact I'd probably have quoted it myself if you hadn't got there first.

By coincidence, I've just gone back to Vaughan Williams's arrangement of The Water Mill by Fredegond Shove (who, as far as I know, has yet to appear in the Times crossword, though her surname is clearly begging to be used :-). I was given it to sing by one of my old singing teachers, Richard Standen at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, as he'd worked on it with VW himself, and had (I believe) been one of the first, if not the first, to record it. It's a strange poem, but it works for me as it paints such a vivid picture. (Perhaps you know it anyway. You can find VW's setting on YouTube.)
Jul. 18th, 2013 01:53 am (UTC)
I don't know it but will definitely have a listen. I haven't come across Fredegond Shove. It looks like a German name. VW had good taste in lyrics I think. One of the reasons I love singing "The Sea Symphony" is the Walt Whitman poems. And Robert Louis Stevenson's "Songs of Travel" was a favourite in our family. I used to play them for my late brother who was a very good amateur baritone. Btw, I surprised myself when I found I was able to remember all the words of "The Miller of Dee" in spite of not having sung it or heard it for almost 60 years! Stuff you learn young tends to stick.
Jul. 19th, 2013 12:26 am (UTC)
FS is in wikipedia (as is Fredegonde - redirected to Fredegund). I'm absolutely with you as regards VW's Sea Symphony, one of the best sings going, with Whitman's poems inspiring VW to his best. Songs of Travel too - great stuff, both to sing and to play. I'm particularly fond of The Vagabond, but perhaps that's everyone's favourite.

I can certainly recall two verses of The Miller of Dee, but some versions seem to include others which I don't remember at all. It's wonderful how the stuff you learnt when young sticks, but alarming how the stuff you learn later vanishes so quickly. (Sigh!)

Jul. 17th, 2013 09:08 pm (UTC)
Oh well, I put in BANDITTY thinking that "heard" was just part of the surface, didn't know the word.
Jul. 17th, 2013 10:03 pm (UTC)
Still of the pace with a slightly disappointing 10:12 (but at least I'm getting faster - said he, tempting fate).

Some nice clues, but am I the only one worried by the apostrophe after "Robbers" in 1dn?

Afterthought: part of the reason for my slow times could be because I'm on the flightpath out of Heathrow at the moment, and with the windows wide open beacuse of the heat, the noise (every couple of minutes) is more disturbing than usual. (I'd thought I might have a late-night bash at the final Championship qualifier just now, but we're currently being buzzed by a helicopter for some reason so I think I'll leave it till tomorrow. Sigh!)

Edited at 2013-07-18 12:14 am (UTC)
( 42 comments — Leave a comment )

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