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The Last Post - 23,434 - a bit of a killer


After 11 months of recording my Times for the Times puzzle here, it's time to hand over to a newer and better version, produced by a team. You can find this tomorrow by going here - http://community.livejournal.com/times_xwd_times - and replacing any bookmarks/favourites you've got stashed away with the old address. The first posting, which is already there, introduces the team. I may or may not continue posting here. If I post anything regular and xwd-related, I'll mention it in our new home.

Solving time 11:43

A tough puzzle, backing up something Mr Magoo said the other day about Tuesdays sometimes being difficult. Slightly spoiled for me by a couple of clues - a pity, as there's some very clever clue-writing, and not too much obscure 'general knowledge'. [Later addition: Both quibbles nullified by comments from the setter.] Possible "old chestnut" clue at 25. Pangram except for X. Beginner's points of the day: N=knight - chess notation, "good book(s)", and the setter's favourite muse making one of her regular appearances at 22. I think Clio is a fairly distant second.

Across
1POL=lop rev.,ARISE="crop up"
9WILD=angry=ballistic,FIRE=launch
101 A.M.,B,I/C
12O(ATE)S - Captian O of "I'm just going outside and may be some time".
13NAUGHTIER="nought,ear"
14IN=fashionable,VERT=green,EBR(A)TE - 'beret woven' => anag.
18BLACK=dirty,CUR,RA(N)T
231 NUIT = one night
26D(O.T.C.=over the counter)O,M - iffy, as stuff really means "stuffing". DO=make,M=millions. Setter's justification: It's Firm has "over the counter" stuff "make millions", which works much better.
27C,HUT=shed,Z,P,A,H

Down
1POW=report (i.e. noise, as of a punch in a comic),WOW="that's
exciting"
2LOLITA = rev. of A,TIL(O)L
3R.E.,FUSE,NIK=kin rev.
4STRANGE(Qu.)ARK - a "tiny bit" in physics
6AWASH - reversed 'regular' letters in "tHe SeA's WhAt"
7BIBLICAL - "good books" = the Bible - at least for this editor. My colloquial English understanding is that the "good book" is the whole Bible, but for Times xwd purposes "good book" seems also to any of the "books" of which it's made up. Has anyone actually heard Psalms, say, referred to as "a good book". If not, this practice seems a bit sloppy (second to "banker" on my personal hitlist). The setter has pointed out by e-mail that as Mr Magoo says, one may own more than one Bible = 'good book'.
8RE,CUR(R)ED - "successor to do" = RE (do, re, mi ...) - very clever. better = CURED
11B,UTTER,SCOTCH
15BON=nob rev.,VIVA,N.T. - a "bon vivant" enjoys the good things of life, esp. good food and wine
16A(BRIDGE)D - plug (colloq.) = AD, "spanner" = BRIDGE - very clever again
17WAGON-LIT = "sleeping car" (Fr.) - "dropping off" = going to sleep
19BUNYIP - anag. of pun,by,I=one - an Aussie swamp/lagoon monster
22E(R)AT,0


Indie 6253 (Virgilius) - 7:27
A cleverly-done literary theme for nearly all the acrosses, though with no wordplay for any of the "A quoting B" clues, it may annoy some solvers. Remembered most of them promptly, but 15 and (more embarrassingly) 17 took a while. I must have an Agatha Christie blind spot - when her picture came up on Univ. Challenge last night I confidently identified her as Enid Blyton.

Monday's Indie (Mordred's Indie debut) - about 45 mins, but one mistake.
Solved late last night after receiving a PDF version from the Indie xwd ed - thanks. Pretty difficult, but that's not too unusual for a debut puzzle (I don't think I've done more than one Listener Mordred). Slipped up on the clue about Tracy Emin, and struggled with some of the pop music stuff - not really my thing. But also failed on the classical side, not having come across Mark Eager, even though the trombone is my instrument (only at "weekend warrior" level these days).

Unfinished w/e puzzles
Times and Indie were finished with about another 10 minutes work on each, and a fair amount of self-kicking. Azed finished in a second sitting - about 45 mins of total solving time with Chambers. Jumbo 666 took me just under the hour late last night.

Comments

i_am_magoo
Oct. 31st, 2006 03:53 pm (UTC)
7m13s
Indeed quite tough (watch those Tuesdays!). I was quite pleased to (a) get a start in the top-right corner rather oddly, with the difficult JABBER, AWASH, NAUGHTIER, (b) to know immediately BUNYIP and REFUSENIK, (c) to work out STRANGE QUARK (which I didn't know) with some confidence. I loved the "successor to do" and "short stay in Paris hotel?"

A tenuous defence for BIBLICAL might suggest that if one has more than one Bible at home (I have none, I discovered recently when checking a theme!), a biblical reference will be in all one's good books. "Stuff" for "stuffing" is indefensible and I'm glad I didn't spend any time trying to grasp the wordplay there.
petebiddlecombe
Oct. 31st, 2006 05:35 pm (UTC)
Re: 7m13s
See italicised additions to posting ...