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23,433 - Tricky for Monday


Solving time 10:20

Quite a few bits of literary and other knowledge needed here to be sure about the answers. Both our well-known "Isle of ..." islands (excepting the Hebrides with their dozens) are included. (I'm not counting Dogs, Ely or Thanet - not real islands, and Sheppey never seems to get into crosswords.)

Across
1S(A,V=very)OY
4COCK(A TIE)L(e) - tie=knot, so no excuse for getting in a mess with the valid variant COCKATEEL or the dud COCKATEAL
9GENTLEMEN - apparently a euphemism for smugglers, as well as "preferring blondes"
15STATE,CRAFT - packet = ship/craft is standard Times xwd fare - possibly memorable if you've ever sailed the Irish sea with the magnificently-named Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.
18EU,LOGISTIC(s) logistics = the type of "management" practiced by all those companies with fleets of lorries you see on motorways - mainly getting desks and crates to the right place in office moves, it seems
19BEDE = "bead" - the Venerable B. was from Jarrow, along with those marchers, ships, and Steve Cram, still the holder of the European record for the mile.
21P(R)AYING,MAN,'TIS - Ellan Vannin cropping up again.
24SCI-FI hidden, reversed in 'specific situations'. A "filler" word.
25AX=axe,MIN(I)STER - minster/minister switches are as popular in the Times xwd as on the London Underground - "The next stop is Westminister" - nearly as good as "Action Town".
28STRAW = warts rev.

Down
2VAN - "Van Dyke" = artist, beard, star of Mary Poppins, etc.
3YELLOW - Yellow Dog Dingo features in the Just So stories (the Camel Hump one) - news to me.
4C(A,M.P.'s)ITES - a bit of time wasted looking for ???? CAMPS.
5CANTO(r) - the cantor in a synagogue leads the service
6AIRSP=anag. of Paris,ACE=pilot. Not terribly keen on this clue - "parts of Paris" seems a weak anag-indicator, and the "going over" with this word-order is rather a stretch.
7IM(PRE=rep. rev)MANENT - immanent = dwelling within
8LAYS - More new knowledge: Pertelote is the cockerel Chanticleer's "wife" in Chaucer's Nun's Priest's Tale, or Chanticleer and the Fox. Fortunately for ignorant folk like me, given 'literary works', LAYS is the only plausible choice for the checking letters.
12NEEDLEPOINT - the Needles are chalk "stacks" - a well-known Isle of Wight coastal landmark, near Alum Bay - the place where your parents or grnadparents got those glass tubes containing sand of many colours.
13OTTER SHREW - re. in anag. A new type of shrew to me - knew about 'elephant'.
16THIN,GUMMY
20C(ANNE)S - Anne = "dead queen". There's a statue of her outside St Paul's cathedral, and a rhyme about it with implications about her reign that I don't fully understand - something like: Brandy Nan, Brandy Nan, You left us in the lurch, Your face towards the drinking shop, Your arse towards the church.
22(p)IRATE - "Silver" = Long John S.
23A(S)T,1

No indie comments yet - paper boy didn't turn up yet.

Weekend round-up - worst ever?
No, but worst for ages. After a busy weekend, including corrupting a nine-year old honorary nephew by teaching him to play sixty-six, attempted various puzzles at about 1 a.m. today - really 2 of course as the clocks just went back. Not a good idea.
Times 23,432: stuck after about half an hour with two pairs of blanks - 6/10 and 14/20.
Guardian 23,909 (Brendan) 6:23 - a relief, with a gentle thematic element today.
Indie 6251 (Nimrod) gave up after about half an hour with the bottom long answer and 23,18 and 17 left.

Will report how well Jumbo (not looked at yet) and the other two get finished when revisited at a more sensible hour.

Blog to community swap
The new team are ready to go, at a location to be revealed tomorrow. I'll write the first entry on Wednesday, and also introduce the team on that day.

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
mr_babbage
Oct. 30th, 2006 01:08 pm (UTC)
Yeurgh, 6D is possibly the worst clue I've seen in the Times this year. It almost clues the direct opposite of what it's actually trying to say.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 30th, 2006 01:29 pm (UTC)
Nimrod
You'll kick yourself when you work out the long answer at the bottom. It's a beautiful clue, and one you get straight away if you're lucky enough to be on the setter's wavelength at that moment.

It's an entertaining puzzle, and fairly hard.

Best wishes,
Dafydd Price Jones.
petebiddlecombe
Oct. 31st, 2006 08:12 am (UTC)
Re: Nimrod
Wasn't anywhere near the right wavelength, but got there in the end - a bit of Alice I'd forgotten, rather like Haigha and Hatta with their Anglo-Saxon attitudes a few months ago.

i_am_magoo
Oct. 30th, 2006 02:32 pm (UTC)
Post-midnight blues
Like you, I am significantly impaired when trying crosswords at/after the end of the day. But I'm surprised you recorded an unfinished on The Times Saturday even so - I had thought my 12m25s was bad enough.

Back to sub-5m today (again by a matter of nanoseconds) but hadn't 'proved' 4,5,6d or 18a. Only remembered who PERTELOTE was after the time too.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 30th, 2006 07:33 pm (UTC)
24 across
Not sure about the equation of "Wells's writing" with "sci-fi", since he wrote so much more than that, and so many other people have written sci-fi. Maybe I'm being too picky.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 30th, 2006 09:35 pm (UTC)
Indy
Not sure if you ever got your Indy, but it was a debut by Mordred (familiar in other publications, books, advanced crosswords etc).

What was interesting for me was the references to contemporary culture that I do not usually expect - this may be a new trend at the Indy. I got them all in the end, I think, subject to confirmation tomorrow, of course.

NMS
petebiddlecombe
Oct. 30th, 2006 10:01 pm (UTC)
Re: Indy
No, didn't rget it, so feel free to say more!
(Anonymous)
Oct. 30th, 2006 11:24 pm (UTC)
Mordred in Indy
Three clues will give you the flavour

Artist not repeating intros for rapper (4)
Singer sacking public relations officer for public benefit (4)
Vin snuffs it, well flayed (6)

Answers (if I'm right!) below - scroll down in turn

NMS



















































EMIN (cf EMINEM)


























BONO (cf PRO BONO)



































DIESEL (Vin Diesel, an actor) Dies + (w)el(l)

_________________________________________________________________
(Anonymous)
Oct. 31st, 2006 05:09 pm (UTC)
No restrictions in the Independent, then, about using names of living people.

Conversely, "dead Queen" for Anne seems almost tautologous, given that there are far more dead Queens than living ones.


...Robert
petebiddlecombe
Oct. 31st, 2006 05:25 pm (UTC)
The Times puzzle is the only one I know to have the "dead people" restriction (exception: the current monarch). The Guardian and Indie puzzles are certainly both happy to mention the living.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )