jackkt (jackkt) wrote in times_xwd_times,

Times Cryptic 27968

Solving time: 34 minutes. Many thanks to mohn2 for updating the template script to suit my new blogging style so that I don't have to remember to press Enter after every answer.

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Easy enough for me in just under 13 minutes. For quite a lot of that time I was wondering if there were some other COLOURS that weren't FLYING, as I couldn't make sense of the dependent entries. The cleverly defined FIRE HYDRANT assured me that the F was OK, and I put in YONKS on the basis that it was a long time and Jack would explain the wordplay.
The relatively benign TWEET was LOI, TWEE being not the most obvious synonym for lovely.
Lots to like, though COOPERANT is not a word I'm likely to use much now I've been introduced.
10:46. I had a couple today where I bunged in answers based on a quick read of the clue which turned out to be wrong:
> 9ac COLLEAGUES: I’m sure there was a Colonel Tommy at some point and LEAGUES could be soldiers if you don’t think about it too much.
> 20ac UMPIRE: weak cryptic definition.
So that took a bit of sorting out. I also hesitated over 11ac where I had (SAID)*, ST and couldn’t account for ‘force’. It’s a strange anagram indicator.
I always write COOPERATE without a hyphen. Just a personal preference. We should be thankful the grid doesn’t allow the silly diaeresis nonsense of the Nëw Yörkër.
A steady solve.

A slow start, with IRAN and CHESTNUT, then 1a went in and it flowed quickly. All done in 18 minutes ending with the awkward-sounding COOPERANTS and not twigging the Tommy Cooper reference until afterwards. The lower half seemed much easier.
Thanks jackkt for parsing TAMBOURINE which I biffed.
The numbers for the final clues across and down are to pot in the print copy, but the grid works
Very gentle. I'm grateful for the explanation of Iran.

Almost persuaded myself that SNAP should be SEAM.
COOPERANTS does look odd. Will no doubt lead to a nightmare about fez-wearing insects.

Thanks to Jack and Setter.
Right on the wavelength, so even though I'm not the first to say it, hard to avoid thinking "Just like that". Apparently TC once went to Morocco on holiday and when he was in a market, a vendor tried to sell him a fez and did an impression of him as part of the sales pitch - not because he recognised Tommy, but because literally every British tourist who had come to his stall for decades had put the fez on and said "just like that" and he had no idea why...
Nice and easy, just as well as I have to go out. However thanks for TIRANA, I had no idea, and somehow missed the A when parsing VIVA so had to come here to find out why. BTW is VIVA the word du semaine?
YONKS was my flying start. The COLOURS arrived later, greatly assisted by CROATIA and UP AND OVER. I was sure 9a was going to be IRAN, but didn't enter it until FIRE HYDRANT confirmed it. I then managed to parse it. The COOPERANTS helped with NO CONTEST, but I had to write it in before I spotted Mr "Just Like That" rather than the Rock Opera. ATTEST allowed me to see LEASEBACK, which led to LOI, ADULTERATE. Fun puzzle! 22:40. Thanks setter and Jack.
Feel more like identifying with the Prince, morosely addressing whoever the crossword goddess is, than the tambourine man finishing in four minutes. The darn printed ed. told me 24 ac. was 9 letters so I knew it wasn't the seen/animal anagram ... but that was only part of the reason for a poor time. 36'41. Either everyone else is improving rapidly or I'm doing the opposite. Or both.

Snitch at 72 feels about right. No difficulties, and I'm sad I failed to get in under ten.
I seem to be alone in struggling a bit with this one. Oh dear. In mitigation, I was interrupted a number of times but 50 odd minutes seems like a lifetime. FOI EAT (my first problem) SOI TAKE THE PLUNGE, and so it went on slowly creeping northwards. I did like FLYING COLOURS, SAVING GRACE and ADULTERATE. MELANESIAN was a question of throwing the letters up in the air and entering wherever they landed luckily correctly. Thanks Jack and setter.
Mildly surprised at the lowish SNITCH — 70 when I looked.

DATA was my LOI too — don't like alpha trawls.

Slowish start — four in on first pass but completed most of the bottom half second time through.

1a was the sticking point for me — if I'd thought of that earlier then my time would have been far quicker.
I presume that jackkt did the crossword online! The version in the paper has missing and muddled up clues, numbering and errors. Proof reading...? Let Customer Services know in case others may be a tad annoyed!
Yes, I did, and the e-paper seems to be okay too. A cause for concern as I had always understood the e-paper is a facsimile of the printed edition.
Not as easy for me as the 70 or so suggested it would be.

TWEET, ATTEST and DATA were the ones that held me up the most.

Though it wasn't that long ago that completion in 22:54 would have made me v. pleased.
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