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Times 24814 - Suitable for beginners?

Solving time:23 minutes

Music: Symphony #4, Horenstein/LSO






This was an unusually easy puzzle that only caused me a little trouble. I couldn't see a couple of obvious ones in the SE, and got held up a little bit after racing through most of it in under 15 minutes, a good time for me. I mostly didn't bother with the cryptics, and may have to figure some of them out as I write the blog.

As indicated, rank beginners might be able to solve a substantial portion of this one, or even finish.

One hour later

After writing the blog, there are two cryptics I am not entirely satisfied with, even thought the answers are absolutely certain. I am not sure if I am obtuse, or the puzzle is not well-clued, or the real clues got mangled in the typesetting. Well, that's why we have comments here, so go at it.

Across
1SIGMA, middle letter of Aesop, but not really. His name is spelled alpha, iota, sigma, omega, pi, omicron, sigma, so the middle letter is actually omega. The setter must have thought he was third declension, but he is second.
4PROTOCOLS, PRO + TO(C)OLS. PRO is indicated by 'for', since a drill is not a pro tool, but is used by amateurs everywhere.
8CROCODILE TEARS. CROCODILE(TEAR)S. I suspect there is an allusion to a children's game or rhyme that I don' t know, so I open the floor to our erudite commenters.
10NUMERICAL, anagram of MAIN LUCRE.
11DREAR, DR + EAR. The cryptic is a little awkward, with 'demanding' not serving much of a function.
12TROPPO, OP + PORT backwards.
14FORGIVEN, FORG(IV)E + N[ote]. I never liked N = 'note', but there you are.
17NEONATAL, N(anagram of ONE)ATAL. The answer is telegraphed by the literal, no need for the cryptic.
18VESSEL, double definition, where a bark is a ship. I was expecting something a little fancier.
20NURSE, triple definition. I got it from the fish, and only then realized that Florence Nightingale was meant.
22ECCENTRIC, E(C + CENT)RIC. Another clue where 'fellow' can indicate any male name.
24WESTERNISATION, anagram of STEW IN ORIENT, AS. Why westernisation would improve the cuisine is not clear.
25PSALTERY, PSALTER + Y. Not the first book you think of, but reasonably fair.
25DINGY, DING[h]Y.
 
Down
1Omitted, need I say?
2GROOM, G[iven} + ROOM.
3APOCRYPHA, anagram of HAPPY, CORA. One of the most well-known books in that disputed seuuence.
4PRINCE, PRI(N)CE.
5OVERLOOK, OVER = deliveries in cricket, LOOK = butcher's hook in Cockney rhyming slang.
6OREAD, O + RE + AD. The Royal Engineers, however, do not in themselves constitute a whole army, so a little weak.
7OURSELVES, anagram of LOVERS SUE, a classic lift and separate, where 'us, emphatically' is the literal.
9TRANSLUCENCY, TRA[i]NS + ???. It ought to be a 'C' inside a particular city, but I don't see it. Suggestions? OK, Sotira has it. The crytic is LUCE inserted into TRA[i]NS, N(C)Y. My problem was taking 'Filmy quality of fish' as the literal.
13ODOURLESS, [p]O[p]S[y] around DOUR LES, another arbitrary man's name.
15GREENLAND, GREEN + LA(N)D.
16CAREFREE, CA (chartered accountant) + REF[e]REE.
19ACUITY, A(CU)IT + Y.
21EXTOL, hidden in [middles]EX TO L[ondon]. This meaning of 'crack up' is mostly used in negative phrases, e.g. 'not all he's cracked up to be'.
23REIGN, sounds like rain, i.e.CATS AND DOGS!

Comments

( 49 comments — Leave a comment )
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sotira
Apr. 4th, 2011 01:47 am (UTC)
I think 9d would be something like TRA[I]NS,LUCE,N(C)Y, the LUCE being the fish and the city NY.
ulaca
Apr. 4th, 2011 02:23 am (UTC)
8ac
CROCODILE is used in England for a line of children walking in pairs, on a school outing, say.
ulaca
Apr. 4th, 2011 02:27 am (UTC)
An hour for this, so back to the remedial class for me. Had all bar three done in 37 minutes, but then needed the rest to get 12, 9 and 18. I see no problem at all with 1ac.

For having VESSEL as my last in, when I was onto bark meaning a, um, vessel, straight away, I will be spending the rest of the day standing in the corner, wearing a dunce's hat and writing self-criticisms - detention with Chinese characteristics.
glheard
Apr. 4th, 2011 03:21 am (UTC)
11:23 online, which put me at the top of the leaderboard at the time, probably not by now. Had to get VESSEL from one definition, making it my last in, CROCODILE TEARS also from the definition. I liked the clue for TROPPO
kevingregg
Apr. 4th, 2011 04:27 am (UTC)
I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one whose LOI was VESSEL, especially as once I twigged, it seemed so obvious. But it cost me 5'40": I had the rest done in 19'. This was OK for a Monday puzzle, but nothing to etch in one's memory. Some niggles: 24ac: Why would one assume that Westernisation would be welcome? not to mention what a poor surface it was; 17ac & 13d: I got these instantly, from the definitions; 6d: was 'natural' necessary? 21d: Has anyone, anywhere in the known world, used 'crack up' to mean 'extol'? 'They cracked him up more than he deserved', 'It's a good plan, although I'm not ready to crack it up'. I ask you.
essex_man
Apr. 4th, 2011 05:37 am (UTC)
Include me in the VESSEL for LOI crowd. I ask you!

Overall a bit weak, I thought.
Damning with faint crack-up? - ulaca - Apr. 4th, 2011 06:24 am (UTC) - Expand
maestrotempus
Apr. 4th, 2011 04:58 am (UTC)
Monday
Dificile non trope!
Agree with all comments
Not quite a walk in the park
jackkt
Apr. 4th, 2011 06:44 am (UTC)
VESSEL was my last but one going in a few seconds before NURSE.

28 minutes for this, which turned out better than I first thought it would as I had needed to read a lot of clues before eventually solving one. Once under way it came together steadily but I don't think it was all that suitable a puzzle for beginners

On the quibbles, I'm afraid I don't even understand the one about SIGMA but then I never studied Greek and have picked up any knowledge of the alphabet through crossword puzzles. EXTOL for 'crack up' seems fine to me too and I was happy with 'demanding' at 11 as it belongs naturally in usage with both 'attention' and EAR. But like others I had been wondering about the assumption behind WESTERNISATION and RE for 'army'.

My quibble that hasn't bothered anyone else so far was 'followed by' at 23dn.

I didn't understand how the second part of TRANLUCENCY worked until coming here.

richardvg
Apr. 4th, 2011 06:52 am (UTC)
7:09, achieved by rattling through without worrying about justifying answers. And could have been absurdly fast if I hadn't put in "transparency" instead of "translucency" first time round.

I think that 24A makes more sense if you forget that "stew in Orient" seems connected to Asian cuisine and think of it instead as a troublesome situation or an agitated mental state brought about by being in the east.
mctext
Apr. 4th, 2011 07:22 am (UTC)
13 minutes: so I agree -- one for the Nursery. Another one whose last was VESSEL. I have "ugh!" written next to the clue. No other real complaints, but I will say ...

Re 1dn: I'm not the only wun in the universe who doesn't pronounce NONE as 'nun'. Yes, I know the RP-ers do. I found that out to my chagrin in my first university phonetics test. The tutor spoke immaculate RP for the purposes of the transcription. But my brain still heard Scouse.

Edited at 2011-04-04 08:14 am (UTC)
topicaltim
Apr. 4th, 2011 07:41 am (UTC)
12:49, with similar feelings to those already expressed. I think the expression that the young people of today would use is "meh". Not appalling, just not terribly inspired.
jerrywh
Apr. 4th, 2011 08:30 am (UTC)
Very easy indeed, this one, ten minutes or so. However I didn't quite understand 9dn til coming here, thanks for that.
Jack, 23dn is correct if you think of someone saying "it will rain/reign cats and dogs," in which case the c & d do literally follow the r..
jackkt
Apr. 4th, 2011 09:56 am (UTC)
Doh! Of course they do. I hadn't thought of it as literally as that. Thanks, Jerry.
z8b8d8k
Apr. 4th, 2011 08:41 am (UTC)
14 minutes, with 1ac and down going in with a grin, and the rest, if not exactly 11 and 26, no more than decent standard fare. I too had TRANSPARENCY at first pass, with par being the fish and a stray E drifting in from nowhere in particular - in any case, it took me a while to work out how the nesting worked, since the fish wasn't in the I-less school. PROTOCOL and OVERLOOK needed extra decrypting too, though both felt right on entry.
24ac doesn't seem to make much sense to me either: while the anagram is obvious, why the result should be "welcome" is opaque. I think there's a decent clue in there somewhere, but it's not yet reached its final form.
CoD to 1 down - I can't resist a really bad pun. Though I'm made curious by mctext as to how Scouse nuns are pronounced that makes them different from Scouse nones?
mctext
Apr. 4th, 2011 09:12 am (UTC)
Learn yerself Scouse
"Nun" as in "bun"; "none" as in "gone". And the first pair aren't schwa-ised as they are in RP. If you can't pronounce that pair, go here: and check out the vowel in "butter".


Edited at 2011-04-04 09:28 am (UTC)
Bun/Nun - ulaca - Apr. 5th, 2011 05:01 am (UTC) - Expand
janie_l_b
Apr. 4th, 2011 08:49 am (UTC)
Yes, not too bad, but for me VESSEL was not even my LOI, but my one blank for today! Had not heard of the term 'bark' used for a ship.

I also put in TRANSPARENCY first, and didn't fully understand the correct version until Sotira explained it (LUCE=fish, that's another new one for me). Welcome back, Sotira!



jerrywh
Apr. 4th, 2011 10:47 am (UTC)
more usually it is spelt barque.. also a barquentine is related
martinfred
Apr. 4th, 2011 09:05 am (UTC)
Much the same as everybody else.

I, too, wondered about WESTERNISATION and its welcome in the Orient. I assumed that the final question mark in the clue implied that it would NOT be welcome.
mctext
Apr. 4th, 2011 09:18 am (UTC)
Or: if it were to be welcome, there'd possibly be a stew?
(Anonymous)
Apr. 4th, 2011 09:22 am (UTC)
18a BARK
BARK isn't a ship/vessel, but BARQUE is...
mctext
Apr. 4th, 2011 09:30 am (UTC)
Re: 18a BARK
Re: 18a BARK - (Anonymous) - Apr. 4th, 2011 01:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: 18a BARK - jackkt - Apr. 4th, 2011 10:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
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