Cityish Alt-ish Fortyish (verlaine) wrote in times_xwd_times,
Cityish Alt-ish Fortyish
verlaine
times_xwd_times

Times 27,587: Wide Sagacious Setter

Now this is what I want to see on a Friday - a tough, clever puzzle which keeps many of its secrets past the 10 minute mark and indeed into the parsing. 12ac, 20ac, 22ac, 29ac, 2dn, 8dn, all clues that I saw even more brilliance in after submitting, after I took it upon myself to discover *exactly* how they worked. (And that's not to even mention 16dn, 24ac, 26ac which I wouldn't have felt comfortable submitting without full comprehension of how to get there. Just as well really or I could easily have committed to EXER with a shrug!)

All of the surfaces are perfect and to be honest this a virtuoso piece of setting across the board, with several clues that go above and beyond the normal levels of originality in their devices - this is Monthly Club Special level stuff. Bravo, nameless perpetrator, bravo. Plus as a lifelong Doctor Who fan, even despite recent provocations, 28ac as well as the TARDIS noise at 18dn tickled me pink. Best puzzle of the year for me so far I think and I'll make almost all the clues by joint COD, apart from maybe 17ac which is a bit of an oldie and therefore somewhat self-descriptive.

Over to you lot then, what did you think?

ACROSS
1 Sets out with currency that’s been converted? (8)
EXPOUNDS - or, EX-POUNDS, as (British) currency that has been converted into something else, may be.

5 Pimp linking minister to a parliamentarian (6)
REVAMP - REV [minister] linked to A MP

10 Twice a year kid meets old cameraman (9)
PAPARAZZO - P.A. [a year, x2] + RAZZ [kid] meets O. FOI.

11 Back in Normandy: a Hungarian composer (5)
HAYDN - hidden reversed in {norma}NDY A H{ungarian}

12 First light sees one charmed by swan (4)
LEDA - L.E.D. A could be "first light", in the same way that L.E.D. B would be "second light", yes? One charmed by a swan that was actually Zeus, in Greek myth, that is.

13 Possible place for setter’s cryptic legend on back of book (3-6)
DOG-KENNEL - (LEGEND ON {boo}K*)

15 Mormon wandering in valley briefly finds place of rest (6,4)
COMMON ROOM - (MORMON*) in COOM{b}

17 Dodgy moment, not the first (4)
IFFY - {j}IFFY

19 Colour dry clothing with it (4)
TINT - TT [dry] "clothing" IN [with it]

20 Sudden change for American humorist into small red jumper (10)
SWITCHEROO - WIT [humorist] into S CHE ROO [small | red | jumper]

22 Was glitchy volume increased on a good day? (9)
HICCUPPED - CC [= cubic centimetre = volume] UPPED, on HI! [a good day (to you)]

24 Always apparently packing an extra five in a single square container (4)
EWER - EVER is always. Its second square contains a V or five - if you squished another V into that square it might look like more like EWER than EVER!

26 Logo for channel that is reversing its polarity? (5)
IDENT - ID EST, its S{outh} flipping to N{orth}.

27 Rude Finns could make enemies (9)
UNFRIENDS - (RUDE FINNS*). Though everyone knows that the actual, real-world usage of this word is as in "snubs on Facebook".

28 Feisty female to play Doctor Who, at last, enters (6)
TOMBOY - TOY [to play], entered by MB {who}O. The Jodie Whittaker era is... not yet good, but it's better than last year, so that's something!

29 True stories about river fronts producing algae (8)
SARGASSO - SO [true], "fronted" by SAGAS "about" R

DOWN
1 Finally, time is up, by clock (4)
ESPY - {tim}E {i}S {u}P {b}Y

2 Sweet Dot given fresh flower (10,5)
PEPPERMINT CREAM - PEPPER [dot], given MINT [fresh] + CREAM [flower (as in, the best of)]

3 Madness, having uranium near each child (8)
UNREASON - U NR EA SON [uranium | near | each | child]

4 Dropped off note and final letter (5)
DOZED - DO [note] and ZED

6 Did second check in English dictionary (6)
ECHOED - CH in E O.E.D.

7 Summons requesting company to go to court? (6,3,6)
ANYONE FOR TENNIS - cryptic def, simply a tennis court rather than a legal one.

8 Fine strike that’s spotted in football field (7,3)
PENALTY BOX - PENALTY [fine] + BOX [strike]. I assume the penalty box is spotted because it has a penalty spot? But my grasp of the beautiful game is notoriously shaky.

9 See books covering county’s missing years? (4-4)
LONG-LOST - LO N.T. "covering" GLOS. LOI

14 Repeatedly cold, this most unconventionally fine shower! (6,4)
SCOTCH MIST - (C C THIS MOST*) ["unconventionally"]

16 Fixing undiluted drink, suddenly left, upset (8)
RAWLPLUG - RAW [undiluted] + reversed GULP L [drink suddenly | left]. This unusual and deceptively defined word took me AGES to crack.

18 Moan endlessly about tablets for hearing and breathing problem? (8)
WHEEZING - WHING{e} "about" a homophone of E'S [tablets (which're good, according to The Shamen)]

21 Neat, I agree (4,2)
JUST SO - double def

23 Government department do: couple in the end have left (5)
DEFRA - DEFRA{ud} [do], minus its last two letters. What did my American compatriots made of this rather parochial reference to the British Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs?

25 Capital letters, initially and finally, turning up in ciphers (4)
OSLO - L{etter}S, reversed inside O O [(two) ciphers]
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I got and understood an amazing number of answers, but got stuck at the end. I started out well with 'expounds', 'revamp', and 'paparazzo', but the elaborate parsings those answers required showed that I was in for trouble. I did not know 'rawlplug' and did not manage to penetrate the secret of 'ewer', so I didn't make it to the end. I considered myself fortunate to understand the NHO 'defra', 'ident', and 'hiccupped'.
We were definitely in the same headspace today.

Moi non plus

guy_du_sable

February 14 2020, 04:50:17 UTC 4 months ago Edited:  February 14 2020, 04:51:46 UTC

I didn't make anything out of DEFRA, or, rather, D_F_A, and I don't know how anyone could expect me to!
But I'd already given up and used an aid to find RAWLPLUG. RAWLPLUG?! Rawly?!

Never heard of PEPPERMINT CREAM, tried …PATTY, …CANDY…, even …CANES.

IDENT? I dent git it.

"Enemies" is a funky definition for UNFRIENDS; "makes enemies" would make more sense, with the answer as a verb, but then "makes" would be doing double duty.

Liked the rest of it well enough.
I was puzzled by UNFRIENDS too but Collins and Chambers both have it as a noun.

RE: Re: Moi non plus

verlaine

4 months ago

Re: Re: Moi non plus

keriothe

4 months ago

Re: Moi non plus

jackkt

4 months ago

Re: Moi non plus

paulmcl

4 months ago

I had a bad feeling about this one once I realized that oh, God, they're using that meaning of 'pimp'. I hope that when WOKE shows up, I'll have found out what it means. Over the course of what seemed like hours, I managed to get, and understand, all but DEFRA (fat bloody chance), IDENT (see previous parenthesis), and thanks to IDENT, JUST SO. Unfortunately I didn't just not get IDENT, I tried IMAGE, and only gave up on that when I realized 'flower' wasn't a flower or a river. RAWLPLUG by looking up RAW...

jackkt

February 14 2020, 05:52:26 UTC 4 months ago Edited:  February 14 2020, 06:15:41 UTC

Could someone explain the definition pimp = REVAMP please?

I was very pleased to get through this in exactly an hour with almost everything understood (see above) but lack of detailed knowledge of soccer let me down as I never brought PENALTY BOX to mind. I knew the term 'penalty spot' but a) it wouldn't fit, and b) 'spotted' was in the clue, so I settled for the nearest equivalent and went for PENALTY DOT, since 'dot' is absolutely fine for 'strike' in the sense of 'hit'. I was focused on the actual placing of the ball rather than the wider area in front of a goal, but unfortunately my solution doesn't seem to exist.

DK RAZZ but my guess that it could mean 'kid' in the sense of 'tease' turned out to be correct. DK SARGASSO as algae but knew of the Sargasso Sea so bunged it in and hoped for the best.

The most satisfying moments were understanding how EWER worked and remembering LEDA and her swan. I'm sure she has come up here very recently but searching revealed nothing later than December 2018.

The newly formed DEFRA was part of my remit for a while when I worked for the Civil Service, so no problems with that one.

PIMP

kevingregg

February 14 2020, 06:18:43 UTC 4 months ago Edited:  February 14 2020, 06:19:15 UTC

I only knew this because of a TV show--which I never saw, I swear it--called 'Pimp My Ride' (qv, Wikipedia) where evidently a beat-up old car was, well, revamped.

Re: PIMP

jackkt

4 months ago

Re: PIMP

martinp1

4 months ago

Re: PIMP

jackkt

4 months ago

Re: PIMP

kevingregg

4 months ago

Re: PIMP

martinp1

4 months ago

Re: PIMP

John Scoble

4 months ago

RE: Re: PIMP

verlaine

4 months ago

RE: PIMP

paul_in_london

4 months ago

DEFRA

martinp1

4 months ago

...I fell into the bear trap in 24ac and put EVER.
Still, I am quite chuffed. Yesterday I successfully completed the cryptic in under 3 Verlaines. Today, with one error, it was just about 3 Verlaines. My norm is a minimum of 5 Vs.

There's been some discussion recently about product placement in the cryptic and today we have RAWLPLUG which is a trademark.

Many explanations to thank Verlaine for; among them were TOMBOY, PEPPERMINT CREAM, SWITCHEROO and DEFRA. With SWITCHEROO, I saw 'American humourist' and tried to fit Thurber in there somewhere!

No real COD as there were so many good ones, as Verlaine has said but I'll go for EWER because it fooled me.
I dithered for a while between Thurber and Twain.
Not knowing the myth, I threw in VEGA where I should have had LEDA. Possibly I should have persevered as I had correctly understood the parsing but couldn’t think of an appropriate word for light.

I was actually pleased to complete as much as I did correctly with RAWLPLUG and LONG LOST in particular holding me up. Thanks to the setter for a great puzzle and Verlaine for helping to make sense of it.
Fortunately 'Leda & the Swan' is a well known image in art so I knew it from that rather than the myth.

Re: DNF

gothick_matt

4 months ago

RE: Re: DNF

pootle73

4 months ago

RE: Re: DNF

verlaine

4 months ago

RE: Re: DNF

pootle73

4 months ago

RE: Re: DNF

verlaine

4 months ago

gothick_matt

February 14 2020, 08:22:19 UTC 4 months ago Edited:  February 14 2020, 08:26:09 UTC

Gosh. Seems I was on the wavelength today, across the line in 31 minutes—not often I squeak in under 3 Verlaines!

Enjoyed this all the way through, from FOI 5a REVAMP (personally I was a fan of Pimp My Ride take-off website "Pimp That Snack", which produced such things as Twiglets the size of a French stick) to LOI 26 IDENT, which took me longer as I was thinking the polarity switch was probably L to R or vice versa; the reality was actually more sensible.

COD 24a EWER, with 4d DOZED in second place. WOD IFFY. Glad I know that I don't know how to spell PAPARAZZO so followed the WP. Lots to enjoy along the way. Thanks to V. for explaining a couple of bits of parsing I couldn't see at the time, like the SO of SARGASSO...

johninterred

February 14 2020, 08:34:52 UTC 4 months ago Edited:  February 14 2020, 08:35:35 UTC

29:58, but with EVER without the second V. No wonder I couldn't parse it! The CREAM for the second word at 2D took a while to come. My initial CANDY was clearly wrong and fixed when I got IDENT, hence LOI TOMBOY. I failed to parse LEDA and SARGASSO. COD to DOG KENNEL. Thanks V and setter. Woof woof.
...a pun for older Wanderers, City and Derby fans. Well, Phil might get it. 32 minutes, gobsmacked that it was all correct. Ever, which I knew couldn’t be right, was only changed to EWER at the last moment. The meaning of RAZZ in PAPARAZZO was assumed. I gather it’s North American. I biffed WHEEZING without taking any pills. I’ve never used SWITCHEROO in my life but I might have heard it somewhere I suppose. At least this time we were told it was American. I put in PEPPERMINT CREAM, as I am partial to them in the plural, without twigging CREAM as the flower in that sense. I thought of it being poured out of a jug! COD to PENALTY BOX which I saw quickly. i liked IDENT too. Tough but fair. Thanks to V and setter.
Flew through, but fell at the last with the invented EXER (extra five, geddit?).

I remember peppermint cream: absurdly sweet, yucky and expensive.

Would have been twenty minutes :(

Thanks Verlaine and setter.
I also found this a treat, so many things to be unravelled! When you've been solving cryptics as long as some of us have (and I know that my ~40 years makes me a newcomer compared to some), it's rare you come across something you're pretty sure you've never seen before, so working out EWER was especially pleasing. Likewise, "first light" for LEDA is an instant classic in my book.

I seem to recall people (out there, not here, I should stress) getting huffy about "unfriend" being a word when Facebook made it popular, and being politely schooled by the Susie Dents of this world, so that was a usage which came back to me readily enough. And I've never seen an episode of 'Pimp My Ride', but knew the phrase, so it's clearly achieved some sort of cultural resonance. Also, I don't necessarily want all my puzzles to be self-consciously modern and down with the kids, but it's refreshing to be at the opposite end of the spectrum to a world where TREE=actor...
It would be great to have one puzzle that was both - then no one could solve it! We could call it The Etagere Rap!
HERA :(
THanks v.
I retired defeated from this one somewhere in the 18th minute, without LEDA (I had a stab at VERA), SARGASSO, EWER or DEFRA.

In the case of DEFRA I was fairly confident it must be the answer, but I couldn't think of a DEFRA?? meaning 'do'. For SARGASSO I had no idea it was algae - I've only come across the Wide Sargasso Sea, and 'come across' is generous there - and convinced myself that 'true stories' = BIOGS, with 'bio' a promising start for a word defining algae.

I was also an EXER, which now I understand it is a great clue.

Oh dear!
There probably is a difference between algae and seaweed, but I have to say I'm not 100% certain what it is.
Yikes. Just as well I wasn't going anywhere this morning. I only saw EWER at the nth moment when on the point of hitting submit. Thanks for the explanation of REVAMP supra - I didn't know that meaning but the answer couldn't be anything else. I only know DEFRA because my husband sometimes buys Country Life for me and the editorial page has definitely UNFRIENDed it. The Great Switcheroo is one of Roald Dahl's stories that's definitely not for children. I wondered if this was going to be a pangram but it was short J and Q. 28.29
P.S. In your intro Verlaine you mean 17A not D.
PPS (if I can do that to someone else's PS) in your intro Verlaine you also mean 24 & 26 A not D. In the explanations OSLO should be 25D.

verlaine

4 months ago

84801442

4 months ago

Good puzzle, apart from DEFRA, which I thought, as our American cousins might say, was pants.
You thought it was a pair of trousers?

vinyl1

4 months ago

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