26266 Reduced price offer in advance of Black Friday: a farthing for a clue.

22 minutes and 4 seconds, so dragging my feet somewhat. This was a crossword where, I think more than usually, you had to pay very close attention to where the dividing lines in the clues were, with some definitions rather well hidden, and a little smattering of inventive wordplay to think about. I also found in the process that I was only rarely looking for something in the further reaches of the great sea of vocabulary. My last one in 10ac, and I’ve yet to be convinced I knew one of the meanings used. Without further ado:


1 CLASSICIST  I understand Greek
And straight away we’re into spotting where the break comes. You can (I did) spend a while looking for Greek females, but instead you have female=LASS, in charge=IC, is=IS, and all of those inside court=CT
6 NUMB  Powerless to act
One, perhaps signals a definition by example: 1 is a NUMBer. the ER is disposed of by deposing Her Majesty. Come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough.
9 FORBEAR  desist
Horatius at the Bridge: “And even the ranks of Tuscany Could scarce forbear to cheer”. Pro provides the FOR, and stick the BEAR. How long could he stick/bear it?
10 SHADING a grey area…
…or apparently a slight lowering of price. I know something new
Just that, no time in the definition. Loose-limbed players are SUPPLE MEN, with which T(ime) needs to start.
13 OWE  Need to pay
Sounds like oh!, surprise, surprise.
15 INDEED certainly
A word for favoured, IN (ones good books, perhaps) takes a word for action, DEED
16 SCREAMER  headline
Particularly a sensational one, like GOTCHA! for those of us who can remember that far back. Insert M(illions) into an anagram (new) of CAREERS
18 GERSHWIN  Composer
That’ll be George then, since Ira wrote the words. Half a European turns out to be GER(man), quiet SH, and success WIN.
20 CHASTE  Maidenly
Pick the letter sequence from churCH A STEreotype.]
23 RAM  A group of stars
Aries in this case. Stick that in your Random Access Memory to double the available definitions
24 SAND MARTIN  bird
I thought this was cleverer than it turned out to be, along the lines of son and Zion, from Tuesday. Not quite that good, but not bad. One way of spelling “smart”  is in 2 stages S AND MART. Tack IN for “home” on the end to ensure you don’t spell it with an E.
26 ADVERSE  disagreeable
Our time is, by common tradition, Anno Domimi or AD. A bit from the Bible is a verse.
27 AVENGER  one looking for things to put right
Honor Blackman, Diana Rigg, Linda Thorson or Joanna Lumley? It’s important. A V(ery) plus an anagram (excited) of GREEN
28 LULU  Outstanding person.
One LU is prvided by L(eft) U(niversity), the other by half of LU(ck)
29 ANIMADVERT express censure
This person’s is I’M, which is placed within a commercial, AN ADVERT.


1 CUFF  beat
If it’s not sofltly, softly, it’s F(orte) F(orte). Place CU for copper on the two.
2 AGROUND lying on the bed.
What one gets if one adds together A G(ood) and ROUND for a lot of drinks.
Spent too long looking for the obscure but faintly tintinabulating German horse that was an anagram (out of sorts) of A CHEERLESS PET. Sometimes, it’s the easy answer.
4 CURSED  used foul language
Baddies are CURS, and our constant journalist, the EDitor, tags along.
Worth a quarter of a denarius, made up for us from the letters of SE CRETE different
7 UNIFORM  college blazer etc,
Higher education is UNI, and type just about stretches its definition enough to give the FORM needed
8 BIG HEARTED  generous
To a cruciverbalist, Anti-bigotry is just a collection of letters with BIG at its heart. Liked this clue.
11 AT THE SHARP END  In a (most) difficult position
And a rather more whimsical definition, where the pencil meets the paper. Unless you’re using the little eraser to rub out marks you no longer want, of course.
A fingernail’s quick does indeed go under. Liked this one too.
17 LINNAEAN  using botanists’s classification
Those unfamiliar with the great Botanist might struggle a bit with getting the letters of An ALIEN+N(ame) in the right order, but at least there are not too many alternatives
19 REMOVAL  Transfer (from)
Place E(nglish) inside RM for room, and tack on the people’s cricket ground at the OVAL. Currently it’s the KIA Oval, but don’t fret, it’ll be something else soon.
21 SHINGLE building material
One in this circumstance is SINGLE. Wrap it round H(ospital)
22 EMBALM  preserve
Bring your business expert (not that having the letters after your name guarantees that status) into the appropriate ELM tree
25 BRAT  Troublesome youngster
Nice and easy to finish off. Club is BAT, insert a R(un)

34 comments on “26266 Reduced price offer in advance of Black Friday: a farthing for a clue.”

  1. Never heard of SHADING, and had it not been for the gray area bit I’d probably have biffed ‘shaving’. Also DNK 11d, but. I knew Linnaeus, well enough to put it in before realizing no one wanted a U. 8d is a lovely clue, totally wasted on me; I had to come here to be enlightened. LOI NUMB, which I understood moments after I submitted. COD perhaps to 1ac, where, like Z, I tried for a Greek woman first; then GR …, then I forget what.
    1. When your beard is the colour of mine, SHAVING can definitely result in a grey area. Also considered SLATING – marking prices on a slate. The right answer of course never crossed my mind.


    2. I considered scaling, which in the part of the world where I live definitely priduces grey areas in my kettle. Scaling, with a tinge of “down” was just as satisfying for the other bit, ie not at all.

  2. 35 minutes, finishing with the excellent FINGERNAIL (when I finally got it, having already earmarked it), with hold-ups in the NE, where I kept thinking that OWE was a homonym of Ow! rather than Oh! Well, at least I finished. NUMB, like Kevin, post-parsed.
  3. Once again I thought I was in for a sub-30 minute solve to achieve my target but I was let down by four or five clues scattered throughout the grid and by the end I had taken 64 minutes to complete it with a little aid to get LINNAEAN. I am getting a bit tired of anagrams of foreign words or names which involve pure chance if you don’t happen to know the answer. In my deliberations over this one I had been missing the final checker as 29ac eluded me until 17 was solved. The first meaning of SHADING was also unknown.
  4. Was thinking about the second coffee by the time this was done. The dregs of the first had already gone cold.

    Several overlaps with others. E.g., cringed at MBA = “expert”; found the second meaning of SHADING a bit of a term of art (not one of my arts — I don’t have an MBA); LOI was NUMB which, I thought, a very good clue.

    Interesting how the most testing clue/answer often gets COD from bloggers and commenters here. Is there an element of masochism in the water?

    1. Masochism with a dash of magnanimity perhaps. If I were to follow Gallers’s example of awarding COD to the one that defeats, I would have had four or five of them yesterday.
  5. 50 minutes so quite a toughy for me. It seemed a mixture of quite clever clues (e.g. 1a, 12a, 20a) with a number of iffy ones (24a, 1d, 14d) which were a mite unsatisfying for my taste, still chacun a son gout.
    I initially biffed SONG THRUSH for 24a with 3 of the checkers in place, which made 21d a wee bit tricky.
    DNK ANIMADVERT, so no surprise that this was my LOI.
  6. 40 minutes. At 24a I immediately (but incorrectly) saw “formula for making smart” as S and M. So that was lucky. Maybe I was still thinking of Fifty Shades from 10a.

    Edited at 2015-11-26 11:27 am (UTC)

    1. Yes, I thought “two-stage formula for making smart” must be S & M too. I figured this must have been set by Anax using a little of his trademark Sunday Times smuttiness!
  7. Threw in the towel after about an hour, with several blanks (SHADING, ANIMADVERT (odd word, that one) , LINNAEAN, NUMB…). Thanks for sorting it all out, Z8.
  8. 12m, with a few at the end stuck on my last three: LINNAEAN, EMBALM, ANIMADVERT. I think I have only ever come across the last as a noun.
    I knew the required meaning of SHADING from somewhere, which helped a bit. I didn’t know the required meaning of FORBEAR, and neither does Collins. ODO does though. Chambers has it as obsolete.
    LULU has appeared here often enough but it is one of those words I have never encountered in real life.

    Edited at 2015-11-26 09:08 am (UTC)

  9. A puzzle of two halves split by the NW-SE diagonal. NE went almost straight in but struggled in the SW so 32:17. I liked 8dn. Thanks setter and blogger
  10. Just under 30 mins… I eventually dragged ANIMADVERT, LINNAEAN and SESTERCE from my memory and had to work through the alphabet to get SHADING. I struggled with 14d having put in NODDED for 15a at first. 24a my favourite.
  11. A solid work-out with some clever definitions, of which CLASSICIST was best. STEEPLECHASER for COD though, if only for the opportunity to say it was first parsed the post.
  12. One of those vanilla puzzles that leaves you thinking it needs a little flavouring to spice it up. All very fair apart perhaps from the anagram at 17D although the definition is so clear the cryptic isn’t needed if you know your botany. Enjoyed the blog more than the puzzle.
  13. …including a neighbourly interruption.

    Thought this was another excellent puzzle, particularly enjoyed FINGERNAIL and CLASSICIST. Nice to see the scientist get a guernsey as well.

    Thanks setter, thanks Z. (Joanna Lumley, BTW).

  14. 37:35. Fairly tough going, with particular hold ups at FINGERNAIL and SESTERCE. I managed to drag LINNAEAN from the depths of memory relatively quickly which makes me suspect we’ve seen it before.

    I only found out very recently that LULU is an outstanding person, conveniently enough. Before that it was just a Scottish singer and a musch maligned concept album by Lou Reed and Metallica. An unlikely pairing indeed.

  15. One of the most enjoyable puzzles for some time in my view. Really well constructed and some lovely surfaces. Took about 15 mins but don’t know exactly. Struck lucky with Linnaean and Shading. Thought Fingernail, Sand Martin and Gershwin were especially good. Thanks setter very much for a great start to the day up here by the Holy Loch.
  16. Been a good few days since I last pulled off my signature Verlaine move, so I loaded myself up with beer and wine last night and went off by one at about 11 minutes after midnight. SHADING was my first thought for 10ac, but I just couldn’t see how it would mean price reduction. Then I remembered my mother’s anecdote about how when her brother Paul started using an electric razor he ended up with a blue-grey chin all the time. SHAVING it was, and the rest is ignominy!
  17. LINNAEAN and ANIMADVERT were unknown words to me so I needed the iPad. Nearly parsed ANIMADVERT but I just couldn’t believe there was a word like it. FINGERNAIL was my other failure but I liked the clue once I knew the answer.
  18. All done in 20 minutes except 10a, wrote down several options for it and couldn’t decide which was best, so read the blog. Still not impressed by SHADING for price reduction, but c’est la vie as they don’t say.
    Otherwise a nice puzzle, not entirely vanilla IMO Jimbo, but not scotch bonnet either. Nice blog Z8. COD 8d.
  19. I arrived at the correct solution for 24ac by what Kevin G might describe as a Gettier method. I decided that “two-stage formula for making smart” must be S & M. Add IN for ‘home’ and ignore ART and, hey presto. I thought this must be an Anax puzzle, with a touch of his trademark Sunday Times smuttiness.

    I was among the SCALING set on the basis that one of the print options I get is ‘greyscale’.
    My other error was more egregious. I decided that my ‘expression of surprise’ was ORE, a Scandinavian unit of currency. Probably not even worth Z’s farthing.
    Yes, very enjoyable blog, Z! 51m-31s with two errors.

  20. 12 mins. I knew LINNAEAN and had come across ANIMADVERT a few times before so neither of them held me up. I finished with SUPPLEMENT after STEEPLECHASER, and I might have been a tad quicker but for some muppetry at 24ac where, with all the checkers bar the first one, I had confidently biffed “pine martin”. Yes, I know it isn’t a bird and it isn’t spelled like that ……….
  21. Good enough. Yes, I did have trouble sorting out the spelling of ‘Linnaean’ but, as our esteemed blogger has said, there wasn’t much choice of letter order once the anagrist had been sorted out and checkets were in place. I’ve come across ‘animadvert’ before, but only in crosswords.
    Thanks to setter and blogger, I enjoyed both your efforts.
  22. Well and truly beaten, which serves me right for tempting fate yesterday.

    For some unfathomable reason*, I had entered 8d as “BIG HEAETED”, and sat staring at 16ac without noticing my mistake, making SCREAMER an impossibility.

    Equally inexplicably**, I failed to get INDEED, and didn’t even have a sniff at FINGERNAIL. I may be being a bit dim here, but I still don’t get the clue for FINGERNAIL, beyond the fact that “quick” is the base of the nail. What’s with the “going under”?

    Oh, and I had “slating” at 10ac, for a complete hat-trick of failures. No, wait, a hat-trick is three.

    *Actually it was probably just stupidity.
    ** Ditto.

    Edited at 2015-11-26 11:14 pm (UTC)

    1. Quick as in ‘the quick and the dead’ and going under as in ‘six feet under’ to reference the possibility (and, certainly, urban myth) that fingernails grow – even if just a tad – after the brain is dead, with the help of a smidgen of oxygen.
    2. The way I read it (once I knew what the answer was from reading the blog) was that one’s is short for one has. So the clue says ‘One has quick going under’. The quick is the soft tissue that lies underneath the fingernail, and therefore the clue is implying that the thing we’re looking for has this soft tissue underneath it. As noted, it snookered me, and so did animadvert and linnaean.
      1. Hmm. Well, I sort of see it but I think it was a bit of a woolly clue. No doubt if I’d got it, though, I’d have thought it was clever and subtle!

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