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Times 27,209: The Sporting Life

An excellent crossword with a real sense of cleverness about the cluing, and some excitingly unusual vocabulary to grapple with: a great combo. I was a little bit out of my depth (final time north of 10 minutes) with difficult sportsball terminology such as AFTERS, PYJAMA CRICKET and WING FORWARDs, but the puzzle more than made up for it with such answers as BEER PUMP, CLARET JUG and EGAD which a verlaine runs across on a daily basis, maybe even going for a boozy DHANSAK thereafter. Anyway, yes, I really liked this.

First one in 1ac (quite unusual to see the telescopic hidden at 1ac instead of bringing up the rear, no?), LOI possibly the tricksy 20dn, though 23ac and 24dn were both also late to fall. Very many Clue of the Day candidates but I think I might give a shout out to 8dn: brilliant both in terms of hiding the definition (the mind gravitating to "put up with" rather than "put up", or at least mine did) and the above-average sneakiness of "do perhaps". Well played, setter, well played!

1 Repeat of Crécy? Clearly, in part (7)
RECYCLE - hidden in {c}RECY CLE{arly}

5 Former champion from China, these days at home (7)
PALADIN - PAL A.D. IN [china | these days | at home]. Better known to me from D&D than Charlemagne's court, I'm ashamed to say.

9 Attendance record, perhaps, one might want to keep up (11)
APPEARANCES - cryptic def: "keeping up appearances".

10 Prime strip of land? (3)
ARM - double def

11 Like cave, maybe, or garden in city, close to cemetery (6)
ECHOEY - HOE [garden], in EC [city] + {cemeter}Y

12 Soothing stuff from peace-keepers following confrontation on pitch (8)
AFTERSUN - U.N. [peace-keepers] following AFTERS [confrontation on pitch]

14 Version of game giving coloured jacket primacy? (6,7)

17 Firing agent giving grass to actor’s horse (7,6)
TRIGGER FINGER - GRASS [finger, as in rat on] given to TRIGGER [actor's horse, the actor being Roy Rogers]

21 Necessity for pub social event: piano in rear (4,4)
BEER PUMP - BEE [social event] + P [piano] in RUMP [rear]

23 Hides out of panic, small creature (6)
ANIMAL - {p}ANI{c} {s}MAL{l} both being stripped of their "hides"

25 Passed on one’s charm (3)
OBI - O.B. [passed on] + I [one]

26 Extension serving part of hospital, one of fifteen (4,7)
WING FORWARD - or WING FOR WARD, [extension | serving | part of hospital]. One of fifteen rugby union players.

27 Parasite, large, in denial, plainly (7)
NAKEDLY - KED L [parasite | large] in NAY [denial]

28 Acknowledges characters involved in a tussle (7)
SALUTES - (A TUSSLE*) ["characters involved in..."]

1 Person taking off after touching farm machinery (6)
REAPER - APER [person taking off, as in mimicking] after RE [touching]

2 Nick takes short trip (3,4)
COP SHOP - or COPS HOP [takes | short trip]

3 Girl on small boat when Jack’s boarded vessel for Bordeaux (6,3)
CLARET JUG - CLARE [girl] on TUG [small boat] when J [Jack] has boarded. Bordeaux as in the wine.

4 Mature, upwardly mobile daughter, dated brother (4)
EGAD - reverse AGE [mature, "upwardly mobile"] + D [daughter]. An old-fashioned word for "brother!"

5 Coastal regions provided one with cover when lifting felon (7,3)
PACIFIC RIM - reverse all of IF I CAP [provided | one | cover], + CRIM [felon]

6 Fabric’s length: an inch under (5)
LISLE - L [length] with ISLE [an inch] under

7 Had snack prepared, leaving out cold dish (7)
DHANSAK - (HAD SNA{c}K*) ["prepared"]

8 Put up with bird gatecrashing do perhaps (8)
NOMINATE - MINA [bird] "gatecrashing" NOTE [do perhaps; as in do-re-mi]

13 What’s invested intelligently after small, momentary lapses (5,5)
SMART MONEY - after S [small], (MOMENTARY*) ["lapses"]

15 E-learning worked, mainly (2,7)
IN GENERAL - (E-LEARNING*) ["worked"]

16 Objections raised, presumably not made difficult (8)
STUBBORN - reversed BUTS [objections] + BORN [presumably not made]

18 What waiter might use to cover in sugar and cream (3,4)
ICE PICK - ICE [to cover in sugar] and PICK [cream, as in the best]

19 Defensive structure in the Suffolk area? (7)
RAMPART - RAM PART [Suffolk, as in the breed of sheep | area]

20 Name that’s good for a female (6)
GLADYS - G [good] + LADY'S [for a female]

22 Happy news about dad is handled inappropriately (5)
PAWED - hopefully PA WED would constitute happy news, though I'd say it might depend if you end up with a wicked stepmother or not...

24 States field officer should cut unexplained overheads? (4)
UFOS - U.S. [states] that F.O. [field officer] should "cut"


( 50 comments — Leave a comment )
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Nov. 30th, 2018 02:50 am (UTC)
Top notch
Agreed, an excellent crossword which was very satisfying to solve - some nice oblique definitions too. I was picturing an ICE PICK in the hands of a crevasse-scaler or the like, but I guess it can have restaurant applications.

Unsure how AFTERS can mean 'confrontation on pitch' however.
Nov. 30th, 2018 08:19 am (UTC)
Yes, I was wondering this too. Collins online has “(slang) a confrontation or physical violence between footballers immediately after they have been involved in a challenge for the ball”. That’s pretty much what I assumed as I hit submit.
Re: AFTERS - penfold_61 - Nov. 30th, 2018 01:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: AFTERS - penfold_61 - Nov. 30th, 2018 01:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: AFTERS - z8b8d8k - Dec. 1st, 2018 04:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: AFTERS - harmonic_row - Nov. 30th, 2018 04:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 30th, 2018 03:15 am (UTC)
In puzzles that I particularly enjoy there is often an early clue which says "Ah! So this is going to be like that, then.". Today, for me, it was Paladin. Just unusual enough of a word, just unusual enough of the use of AD, just, as Aphis says, an oblique enough definition. Nice blog, Verlaine. Thank you, setter.
Out of curiosity, how many non-race horses do we know by name? Silver, Trigger, Traveller, Copenhagen, Bucephalus. Who else? Mr Ed?
Nov. 30th, 2018 07:04 am (UTC)
We had a converstaion here some years ago about cowboys' horses, which unfortunatly I can't find at this moment. Ones that I can remember were Scout (Tonto), Champion (Gene Autry) and Topper (Hopalong Cassidy).
(no subject) - jerrywh - Nov. 30th, 2018 10:07 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dorsetjimbo - Nov. 30th, 2018 10:08 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gothick_matt - Nov. 30th, 2018 11:23 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - phmfantom - Nov. 30th, 2018 11:45 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - penfold_61 - Nov. 30th, 2018 01:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - verlaine - Nov. 30th, 2018 01:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - oliviarhinebeck - Nov. 30th, 2018 12:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 30th, 2018 04:29 am (UTC)
Nice crossword. I originally thought FRENCH CRICKET on the basis of (a) I'd heard of it and (b) the leader in the tour de France wears a colored jacket. I'd never heard of PYJAMA CRICKET and when I realized what it must be carelessly put in PAJAMA CRICKET. So one wrong.

ECHOEY took far too long and even once I put it together and looked at it, it took a moment before I realized it wasn't a momble.
Nov. 30th, 2018 07:06 am (UTC)
10 minutes over the hour. Great fun, with unknowns too many to mention in detail. Fell at the last hurdle with UFOS. In what circumstances does a waiter have need for an ice-pick?

Edited at 2018-11-30 07:08 am (UTC)
Nov. 30th, 2018 09:25 am (UTC)
I've seen a cocktail waiter use one in real life, but only the once.

I've come across them more in older American murder mysteries, where they were used as a murder weapon, often with the handle loosened, so one could do away with an enemy, leave the pick embedded, and walk off with the fingerprints.

Edited at 2018-11-30 09:29 am (UTC)
Nov. 30th, 2018 07:59 am (UTC)
Yeah, this was great. I still have only a vague idea of what "afters" is about in… cricket, ain't it? And I didn't really parse RAMPART. I thought the clue for PYJAMA CRICKET was merely a cryptic that would make sense to fans of the sport than it did to me, as I didn't recognize "coloured" as an anagrind (has anyone ever seen the word used as such before?)… so I wasn't prevented from spelling it "PAJAMA…," American style. But I loved the shy creature, the marrying father and much else. It's a different definition for OBI here from the one you usually find in crosswords.

Edited at 2018-11-30 08:05 am (UTC)
Nov. 30th, 2018 12:44 pm (UTC)
This one is more often spelled 'obeah'.
Nov. 30th, 2018 08:07 am (UTC)
Dhansak me now, I'm having such a good time...
40 mins pre brekker. Mrs M has gone out for bananas.
I really enjoyed it. I have never seen a waiter use an Ice Pick. Sharon Stone yes.
DNK Pyjama Cricket.
Mostly I liked: Stubborn
Thanks setter and V.
Nov. 30th, 2018 08:39 am (UTC)
Excellent Friday fare that needed concentrated effort. Kept going back to E-H-E- and desperately trawling the alphabet even though it clearly had to end in Y and EC is a real chestnut. Only to discover that the struggle naught availed thanks to SMMRT MONEY - and that after checking the grid. Clearly one sees what one expects to see.
Nov. 30th, 2018 08:51 am (UTC)
Lovely balanced offering. I had a wonderful doh moment with UFOS. Thank you oh great setter!
Nov. 30th, 2018 08:59 am (UTC)
35 minutes
Excellent crossword. Enjoyed every clue with only ECHOEY making me think that the clue was wrong but I see how it might work now.
Nov. 30th, 2018 09:01 am (UTC)
Lovely puzzle, I thought, despite me finding it NAKEDLY STUBBORN, and finally coming home in an hour and ten. That was partly my own stupidity: I'd entered APPEARENCES at 9a, making 4d my LOI. Not sure how I did that. I'll happily admit that I couldn't spell DHANSAK, but I should be doing okay with the straightforward English...

Slowed as much by the devious definitions and wordplay as by the (to me) obscurities. I might've got into double figures in my "words to add to my difficult words list" today, not knowing a single one of the sporting references, for example.

Still, I got there, and I'm happier for doing so. Thanks to setter and V.

Edited at 2018-11-30 09:01 am (UTC)
Nov. 30th, 2018 09:09 am (UTC)
Yes, a great one today. 39m of pleasure; thank you setter and V for clearing up 'afters'. And I didn't even notice that 'jacket primacy' was anagram fodder; I simply took 'game' as cricket and 'coloured jacket' as pyjama first (having primacy), with the definition being 'version of game' (game doing double service). Well, how wrong can you be.

Edited at 2018-11-30 09:11 am (UTC)
Nov. 30th, 2018 09:16 am (UTC)
Pick of the crop.
I concur that this is another goodie, with lots of diversions on the way, all leading in wrong directions.
I rather think there's a certain not-quite-up-to-dateness about it too, especially in the sports arena: WING FORWARDS are now flankers, PYJAMA CRICKET is Packer era, and now more usually white ball cricket. As for AFTERS, I get it from Starstruck's elucidation but I can't recall Motty or even Eddie Waring coming up with it. It's handbags these days, isn't it?
The most famous ICE PICK (nice clue) in history, the one embedded in Trotsky's skull, turns out to have been more of an ice axe. I like crosswords like this that send you spinning off into such snippets of knowledge.
Nov. 30th, 2018 09:34 am (UTC)
A four-legged friend...
38 minutes on a puzzle which played to my knowledge base. As a UK based cricket and football fan, AFTERS(UN) and PYJAMA CRICKET came quickly to me, although I haven't used the latter for a long time. My school oval ball days made WING FORWARD straightforward too. Saturday morning matinees from the early fifties furnished TRIGGER, along with a short diversion around Bullet, Dale Evans and Gabby Hayes in the Roy Rogers memorabilia section. LOI ICE PICK. COD APPEARANCES. A good puzzle. Thank you V and setter.
Nov. 30th, 2018 10:10 am (UTC)
Not the Scottish puzzle then
Echoing above, excellent puzzle 35 minutes with a few light bulb moments but no unhappiness. UFOS brilliant COD for me. Dhansak tonight, home made as no Indian restaurants here.
Nov. 30th, 2018 10:11 am (UTC)
Agree with others - great puzzle

Didn't know AFTERS as a football punch up or why a waiter might use an ICE PICK but the rest was within my compass

Thank you setter and well blogged V
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