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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
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