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Times Crossword 26,085

Solving Time: I'm standing in for Pip today. This took me almost 30 minutes; but how much of that is down to me, and how much to the crossword is not clear. It certainly didn't feel as if it were a pushover, and had some neat clues and some tricky ones




cd = cryptic definition, dd = double definition, rev = reversed, anagrams are *(--), homophones indicated in ""

ODO means the Oxford Dictionaries Online



Across
1 despot - DES (small boy) + POT (cannabis, a drug). It seems to be a (fairly recent?) convention that any shortened male name - Ron, Ed, Les - is clued as "small boy." Small in the sense of curtailed presumably, and boy as indicator for male. I'm happy to accept the convention, but it does look a little bit strange to me
4 bedstraw - (BU)D in BEST (first) + RAW (green). Not the first plant that comes to mind, but green = raw was an early try and the rest followed
10 workforce - *(OK FOR CREW). A clever, misleading clue
11 cavil - (E)VIL (base), with the E replaced by CA (about, ie circa)
12 commonplace - COMMON (plain) + L(ake) in PACE (speed).
14 ago - dd. One trying would have A GO.
15 scarify - a triple definition: to scratch the surface of (eg, a lawn); to wound ("With harsh criticism" says Collins) and jocularly, to scare. "Scarified" came up earlier this year.
17 lead-in - LEAD (metal) + IN, (covered by). Collins says "the connection between a radio transmitter, receiver, etc, and the aerial or transmission line"
19 superb - PER (for one) in SUB, transport both ways
21 cringed - C(onservative) + RINGED, what we do to birds, or in fact any wild animal whatsoever that we can lay our hands on these days, if TV wildlife programmes are anything to go by
23 tup - PUT (place) rev. A tup is a ram, an uncastrated male sheep
24 respectable - RE (on) + SPECTACLE, with the C (100) replaced by B(owled)
26 drawn - (MOTHE)R in DAWN (birth)
27 Dover sole - VERSO (the reverse side of a coin, ie not the obverse) in DOLE (benefit)
29 amethyst - THY (Your, old) in *(MATES)
30 exempt - X (times) + ME (setter) rev., in EP (record) + T(ime) Where would we be without LPs, CDs but especially, EPs?


Down
1 downcast - what fledglings do is to CAST DOWN, rev. And nothing to do with learning to fly as I initially imagined
2 scram - S(ociety) + CRAM (force)
3 off - dd. Off and On being cricketing sides, & feeling a bit off today is in fact how I currently am (just overindulgence so self-inflicted) ie below par
5 eyeball - sounds like "I bawl"
6 secretariat - AI (first-class) RATER (assessor), both rev. in SECT (party). Some might remember the horse of that name
7 revealing - REV (clergyman) + EALING. Last time I looked, Ealing was in West London but I think it probably refers to healing, a la Cockney. Not 100% on that mind you, as it implies that one is not quite sound yet.. - that is because healing is "making sound," thanks Galspray
8 willow - ILL (badly) in WOW, variation in pitch usu. coupled with flutter
9 trophy - (A)TROPHY (decline)
13 olive branch - a cd. - No, OLIVE (green) + BRANCH (faction).. very clever clue, especially now I see it! Thanks mc
16 aquaplane - A + QUA (as described. Examples here) + *(PANEL). Apparently aquaplanes are like snowboards only on water: ie, what you use if you can't quite manage proper skis. I only knew the motoring meaning of the word
18 adherent - HE (man) in AD (commercial) + RENT (charge for letter)
20 besides - BE(D)SIDES. Raised a smile..
21 cleave - C(lubs) + LEAVE (will, as in bequeath). Cleave being one of those interesting words that also means its own opposite
22 stadia - AT in AIDS, both rev.
25 broom - B(ishop) + MOOR (fell) rev. A neat clue
28 Rex - (A)RE(A) + X (cross)

Comments

( 39 comments — Leave a comment )
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galspray
Apr. 29th, 2015 01:30 am (UTC)
49:58
Found this to be quite a challenge and needed assistance to solve BEDSTRAW. Wondered about "OVERS" for the side of a coin, nice to have that cleared up by the blogger.

BTW Jerry, at 7dn I think HEALING is clued by "making sound", not just "sound".
mctext
Apr. 29th, 2015 03:35 am (UTC)
Enjoyed ...
... the battle with this one and limped home a bit under ¾ of an hour. Glad to have SCARIFY cleared up by the blog. Only knew the "lawn" meaning. Most of the trouble came in the NE with, as per Galspray, BEDSTRAW unknown and causing problems getting into EYEBALL, SECRETARIAT and WILLOW.

COD to OLIVE BRANCH which I didn't take to be a CD, rather GREEN (olive) + BRANCH (faction) + the def.
jackkt
Apr. 29th, 2015 05:37 am (UTC)
I ground to an early halt trying to solve this at midnight, nodded off a couple of times and then abandoned the process. With less than a third of the grid completed I resumed this morning and struggled a bit but at least progress was steady if slow and I got there in the end.

At 15 I read 'surface of wound' as SCAR and knew the 'cause alarm' meaning so I biffed it and moved on.

sidcuppa
Apr. 29th, 2015 06:48 am (UTC)
A bit of a struggle but worth the effort. Some really good clues, including STADIA and COMMONPLACE. Took some time to see the CRINGED/bent connection and had to check BEDSTRAW to be sure.
(Anonymous)
May. 30th, 2015 05:10 am (UTC)
Cringed
Cringed = bent?
Not in Australian dictionaries; only in Chambers. So obscure, for me - guessed it with a shrug.
Otherwise quite difficult, eventually went for aids after 30 mins for aquaplane(unknown)/superb(shoulda got).
Rob
deezzaa
Apr. 29th, 2015 07:10 am (UTC)
A total disaster, not helped by having TAPS IN for 17a, CROOKED for 21a and TEG for 23a. After that, I didn't really stand a ghost of a chance.
One to forget.
beau_nash
Apr. 29th, 2015 12:50 pm (UTC)
Teg
You're not the only one who put "TEG" after "STADIA" :-(
sotira
Apr. 29th, 2015 07:37 am (UTC)
30:30 … that was a struggle and a half. I’m appreciating it more now I can look at it without frowning.

SCARIFY and AQUAPLANE both cases of ‘has to be but not quite sure why’, so thank you Jerry for the explanations.

BEDSTRAW … utterly unknown and took a long time to figure out. I’ve a feeling just seeing the word ‘plant’ in a clue causes instant brain freeze in many of us.

I spent a long time parsing DRAWN before the penny dropped. It’s one of many lovely surfaces. COD .. OLIVE BRANCH.

Edited at 2015-04-29 07:52 am (UTC)
z8b8d8k
Apr. 29th, 2015 08:11 am (UTC)
23.57 when I pressed the button, 24.17 by the time the electrons made it all the way to the scoreboard (there's obsessive for you). Speed of light's pretty slow today.
Unlike yesterday, when my quickish-feeling time turned up on page 6, no less, today's struggle merits a place on page 2. Wow.
Good puzzle though, though not if you're the blogger trying to explain everything - well done Jerry! The triple for SCARIFY (I only saw two and stopped looking), that VERSO bit (no fair, neither heads nor tails) and the mucking about with SPECTACLE all passed me by. Mind you, I thought recto and verso was paper. Isn't it obverse and reverse for coins?
AQUAPLANE (for me that scarifying moment on motorways when the wheels have stopped doing anything useful) and the connection between bent and CRINGED were shrug moments, and the leave bit of CLEAVE very nearly joined them. A better bunch of clues, perhaps, than the more desperate solver could recognise.

Edited at 2015-04-29 08:12 am (UTC)
jerrywh
Apr. 29th, 2015 08:19 am (UTC)
So, the early results are coming in now and there appears to be a clear lead for the "Difficult, this!" faction.. which makes me feel better. Thanks for the observations, esp. re "olive branch," my new cod :-)
bigtone53
Apr. 29th, 2015 09:00 am (UTC)
The clock said 42:17 but this was with more than the usual interruptions including having to google traffic problems on the M4. Confidently typed in FEVERFEW, changing it later to HEDGEROW before landing on BEDSTRAW and there were some like CLEAVE that I never parsed so thanks for the blog jerry.

Like z8 (and Chambers) I thought verso and recto related to pages.

Edited at 2015-04-29 09:00 am (UTC)
jerrywh
Apr. 29th, 2015 09:10 am (UTC)
Yes, verso does relate to pages.. but my Chambers (12th ed.) goes on to say "The reverse of a coin or medal"
janie_l_b
Apr. 29th, 2015 09:25 am (UTC)

Threw in the towel after well over the hour with a couple of blanks in the NE (BEDSTRAW, EYEBALL, SECRETARIAT…).

dnk the def of CAVIL, or WOW, or indeed that def of CRINGED (thought it was winced, rather than bent), and I too had crooked in for a while.

Like z8, I thought coins were 'obverse' and 'reverse', and like Jack I got SCAR for its connection to 'wound'. Was wondering what IFY could signify.

Thanks, Jerry, for helpful blog. Really needed it today!

melrosemike
Apr. 29th, 2015 09:33 am (UTC)
Quite a challenge.

Like Jack, at 15A (SCARIFY) I read the def as "scratch" and took the SCAR bit of the solution to be indicated by "the surface of wound", which left me wondering how IFY could be parsed to "cause alarm for some" (an unusual spelling of "iffy" perhaps?) I didn't know the "scare" meaning. Still, no other answer seemed possible, so in it went.

"Bent" = CRINGED at 21A struck me as a bit loose as a def, but on consulting Chambers I find "cringe" defined as "to bend or crouch with servility", so I've no sound grounds for complaint.

Thought OLIVE BRANCH very clever.
Andy Borrows
Apr. 29th, 2015 09:56 am (UTC)
29 mins. I'm very glad to see I wasn't alone in finding this one tricky. However, unlike some of you I had finished the RHS well before I started to make proper inroads into the LHS. I had the most trouble in the SW and finished with SUPERB after BESIDES. I agree with Sotira that this puzzle is one of those that is better savoured post-solve.
keriothe
Apr. 29th, 2015 11:20 am (UTC)
26m. This induced a sensation of struggling with a mind somehow structured in a completely different way to my own. A sort of reverse wavelength, and a feeling I associate with John Henderson's puzzles. So this was almost certainly set by someone else.
I figured out pretty quickly that it was going to be a stinker though, so I resolved just to knuckle down and enjoy it for it was. As a consequence I enjoyed it a lot.
crypticsue
Apr. 29th, 2015 12:02 pm (UTC)
Well that took some working out so I was pleased to see others thought it tricky too. 19:27 with Tippex.
therotter
Apr. 29th, 2015 01:26 pm (UTC)
A real struggle for me also, and in the end had to resort to aids, but eventually did finish, after well over an hour. Once again, I didn't help myself by stupidly putting in BEDSIDE, which screwed up 24, 27 and 29. That left me looking at INNER CORE as the only possible, but obviously unparsable option for 27. Stupid boy!

Excellent blog, thanks.
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