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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

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.