26302 Good grief, Penfold, I think I know where he’s hiding!

18.17 got me home on this one, but that did include being a good scout and actually parsing everything. I also lost time looking for my lucky penny so that I could get 5 right – it came down heads. A few clues needed to be guessed before you had any chance of working out how the wordplay went – I cite 8 and 14d as prime examples, but I suppose they were balanced by clues where, if you just followed the wordplay, the answer miraculously appeared – 2 the best exemplar. Nothing much for those who like a bit of obscurity to complain about, though the most frequent “never ‘eard of ‘im” composer makes a return visit.

Here are my workings:


1 STROGANOFF (meat in a) dish
Couldn’t quite get my head round the carniverous equine of the surface reading, but the wordplay goes: ST(reet) for way, ROAN for horse, G(ood) to be inserted therein, and OFF for bad. I briefly wondered whether there was a theme of cartoon villains to this (cf 12): Stroganoff must surely be out there in a cartoon, but I couldn’t find one.
5 QUAD bike
When a gang or SQUAD misses its leader, they turn to bikes. Pedant point: doesn’t a bike have just two wheels?
10 AMOROSO sweet sherry
So you write in A MO (second) ROSE (wine) and change the last letter to an O. Don’t think I knew this was a sherry designation.
11 AVOWALS statements
So we have the frst letter, A and add some similar letters, which must be VOWELS, mispelled (but not misheard) with an A
12 GREENBACK American ready
Advocate is BACK, tacked on to a GREEN politician. Still a slang term for the dollar?
13 NIECE One family member
Take regular letters from iN nInE aChEd
14 DWEEB jerk
A girl coming out is a DEB, or was when coming out had a posh society meaning. WE “stop” within.
15 ERRONEOUS wrong
If you corrrect the order of letters in USER OR ONE, that’s what you get.
17 LOTTERIES Drawers
Not, perhaps, the best known Wind in the Willows character, OTTER features in the episode where Ratty and Mole encounter Pan, cited by excited theologians who want to illustrate what numinous means. LIES  are tales, and post one into the other. And no, it’s not otliester, is it?
20 HEGEL Philospher
Well known enough to be included in the Philosopher’s SongList is HEEL (think yachts) into which you slip the close of beinG
21 TRUCK vehicle
STRUCK for collided missing its van, or front bit.
23 ABANDONED Rejected
Accespted is DONE as in the done thing, and a group is A BAND. One sits in the other.
25 ASHANTI African
KInd of the setter to give us the qualifier hard for the ASH tree. Attach “not for” ANTI.
26 NEMESIS downfall.
The odd letters of SpIeS is tacked onto the end of E MEN/workers after (half a?) revolution
27 EARN Make
My last, with the wordplay penny dropping only after I realised we hadn’t had a “hidden”. swimwEAR Not, “clothes” the inclusion indicator
28 IMPRESARIO D’Oyly Carte, say
The man who gave Gilbert and Sullivan their opportunities for silly opera. A capital once is A RIO, added to IMPRESs for stamp, briefly. I once employed a member of the posh side of the family tree, Sir Hadley D’Oyly Bart. Hi Hadders, if you’re out there!


1 SLANG jargon.
Take some misses, GALS, turn them upside down so that they become SLAG, and wrap them round N(ew). Make up your own sexist jokes.
2 ROOSEVELT President
Ok, so its (kanga)ROOS (jumpers), EVE (first lady) LosT once it’s vacated.
3 GROUND-BREAKING innovative
Straightforward word substitution, GROUNDING for foundation, and BREAK for opportunity, which is stuck into the middle. I so wanted this clue to be somthing like “New gun, rod?”, but it isn’t.
4 NEONATE Very young kid
Take ONE and NEAT and move ’em around.
5 FLANKER Rugby Player
It is indeed the rugby player you’re looking for, though I predict some gloomy complainants with “more direct” instead. FRANKER’s first R(ight side) is swapped for a L(eft)
7 USAGE way of speaking or writing.
EG (say) AS (like) and U (posh) are glued together and inverted.
8 DISPERSAL broadcast
Girl is LASS (ignore SAL, and for that matter, DI) Theatre is REP, and I had  is I’D. Assemble and invert
A well concealed anagram of WOMAN DIDN’T PUSH.
14 DELFTWARE pottery crockery items
Well, it’s the only word that fits. But for the record, English is E, then thewrong ‘un is a RAT, into which you insert the W(ife), and to which you add FLED for split, and then write the whole lot in “up”. Phew.
16 ORGANISER arranger.
A composition of FOR A SINGER without the F(emale)
18 IMAGISM School of poetry
Can’t say I’ve heard of it, but the wordplay gives it. Current is I, journal MAG, is is IS, and Metre is M.
19 STAINER composer
A frequent visitor to these shores, John wrote “The Crucifixion”. Here, he’s produced by putting the extremes of NegativE into STAIR, part of a flight
22 USHEREscort
I think “more dishy” is meant to lead us to LUSHER, from which we remove the first letter of Less.
24 DISCO &lit
One’s gives you IS, about C(irca) both placed in a DO, or party, a place where a DISCO might figure.

54 comments on “26302 Good grief, Penfold, I think I know where he’s hiding!”

  1. I flung in ‘down in the mouth’ myself, but was forced to change that to DOWN IN THE DUMPS.
  2. R instead of L at 5d, even though I did try to figure it out and thought I had. I only knew Toad and Rat from Wind in the W–never read it–but they didn’t work, and otter seemed to. Almost DNK STAINER, but I must have come across him here at some time. I associate IMAGISM with Amy Lowell, so I must have read something of hers in the distant past. On edit: quads are 4-wheeled motorcycles.

    Edited at 2016-01-07 03:55 am (UTC)

    1. Correct or not, everyone calls them quad bikes don’t they? Though funnily enough you never hear of anyone riding a uni bike.
      1. Actually, I had no idea there was such a thing as a quad bike, let alone how to call it; I had the vague idea when solving that I’d come across the term, and looked it up afterwards.
        1. Another example of the old suggestion mentioned recently that if you are running through the alphabet to find a solution and there is a U crosser, consider Q first.
        2. Maybe they have a different name over there. They occasionally make the news here when somebody famous (Ozzy Osbourne, Rik Mayall (RIP)) falls off one. Many European holiday destinations also offer “quad safaris”.
  3. 32 minutes, with IMPRESARIO last in and DELFTWARE only cracked post-solve.

    I think QUAD is defined as ‘bike’ as a kind of shibboleth, to sort out the very pedantic from the ordinarily pedantic. Or, then again, to sort out the careful readers from the not so careful.

  4. So I went sack, hock, asti, tent, port…yes port, that’ll work. AMOPORO, pretty sure I’ve heard of that, next clue please.

    Rose may have been next on my list, but I’ll never know.

    Ah well, thanks setter and Z. Nice blog as usual.

  5. One correction, the items in the definition of 14dn are not ‘pottery’ but ‘crockery’. This was one of my last in as I was fixated on ‘tableware’ which of course would have included cutlery, so didn’t really work. Fortunately I once visited one of the factories where it is made so DELFTWARE surfaced eventually as a possibility.

    I couldn’t find my lucky penny to decide which of the two possibilities was the correct answer at 5dn so I invoked the so-called ‘rule’ that, &lits aside, definitions come at the beginning or end of a clue, not in the middle.

    Edited at 2016-01-07 06:21 am (UTC)

  6. One wrong because I thought impresario was spelt empresario! However the anagram of “women dont push” is definitely down in the dumps or the crosser 23 could not be abandoned.
    1. Ah, but to be fair to Zed, it was getting early and those women weren’t very ghappy campers.
  7. Shouldn’t that be down in the dumps ? Not mouth
    Which is the anagram of woman didn’t push not
    1. He’s old and he’s doddery…

      Now, what’s your excuse for not reading the entry just two above yours?

      1. Thank you: your kind observation of my mental and physical state has elevated me several steps above where I thought I was. I feel young again! I’m happy!
  8. All done in 20mins, with DELFTWARE the only unparsed one. Ooh, and I wasn’t too familiar with Otter at 17ac. Like Jack, I assumed the def at 5dn to be at the beginning. Not sure if that holds water ALL the time… AMOROSO came to mind following a fabulous cooking-wine tasting holiday last autumn in the pretty little town of Vejer in the sherry area of Andalucia. Could thoroughly recommend!
    1. Personally if I went all the way to Spain for it I’d want to taste something other than cooking wine. 😉
        1. Impossible to say: these aren’t objectively definable categories. I usually cook with the dregs of what I’ve drunk, which might be quite decent. On the other hand I wouldn’t cook with the stuff my mother-in-law drinks if I was making food for my dog.
  9. 16m, slowed down by misbiffing OLOROSO and DOWN IN THE MOUTH.
    5dn is a terrible clue IMO: ambiguous at best and the wordplay leads more naturally to FRANKER. In the end I put in the right answer from an assumption that the definition would probably be at the front (which certainly isn’t a rule) and a general hunch about how these clues tend to work.
    I had a couple of other queries but I find that LUSH has a meaning I wasn’t aware of. I’m pretty sure DWEEB and ‘jerk’ aren’t synonymous though.
    No problem with QUAD: as galspray notes these things are commonly referred to as ‘quad bikes’, and usage trumps etymology.
  10. Incidentally in the interests of furthering the knowledge and understanding of this community, I have taken the opportunity afforded by the end of another year to do a little empirical research into the ‘Monday’s are easy’ question. This userpic is a graph, based on a tragically nerdy spreadsheet, showing my average times for each day of the week, in each of the last five years. As you can see, the pattern is remarkably consistent, and clearly shows that I find the puzzles easier on Mondays than on any other day. However it is equally clear that I find the puzzles progressively harder as the week goes on. In my view it is out of the question that this effect is created by the editor: I don’t think he could do it even if he tried. I conclude that the puzzles get progressively harder as the week goes on because I get progressively more tired, and the ‘Monday effect’ is, in my case at least, an illusion.
    1. In the interests of science, surely you should spend this year saving up each week’s puzzles and solving them in reverse order the following week, yes?
      1. I’m afraid this is as far as I can go under my current remit. We could discuss extending the scope of the research but I would have to charge my customary fees.
  11. 13 minutes, but … I’m off to a rocky start this year with a succession of silly mistakes. I’m also working at raising my irony quotient — today’s NEMESIS was indeed NEMISIS. I have no idea why I did that.
  12. Yes I was down in the mouth too until the impresario sorted me out. Perhaps Z was thinking of the cartoon character Boris Badenov in Rocky and Bullwinkle for Stroganoff. Keriothe’s mother-in-law’s awful wine reminded me of my late MIL who had a way with malapropisms. She liked Harvey’s Bristol Cream (which could be an oloroso or an amoroso for all I know) which she called Harvey’s Bristol Myers. Thanks for the parse on DELFTWARE Z. 15.51
  13. A breezy 19 minutes, with all done and parsed except DELFTWARE; had no idea how that worked (I see it’s a really clunky bit of wordplay). IMAGISM too was from wordplay alone.
    Big fan of W in the W, a kids book with adult-life messages aboard, like Alice (but not nearly as deep).
    No argument with QUAD BIKE as a known item although it does seem an oxymoron when you think about it.
    Interesting analysis, keriothe, I might try assembling something similar on a subjective ‘Richter scale’ score, as for me times are not always relevant; some days I like to take my time and make it last.
  14. 19.15 after finally managing to get away from ukase for 7. All clues seem OK to me, no sizzlers or clunkers. Incidentally in the paper today somebody’s reported as getting away with naming his daughter Lanesra, his wife finding it unique and romantic, and not seeing it in reverse till two years later. No solver she.
    Must disagree with pk above on WW – deeper than Alice for me. The Piper at the Gates of Dawn made a permanent impression on me at age of about ten, undented by Pink Floyd’s hijacking later.

    Edited at 2016-01-07 10:48 am (UTC)

    1. Agree about the piper aspect, but if you read The Annotated Alice by Martin Gardner (if you’ve not already read it) it opens a whole new vista. But I’m biased, being a House man.
  15. I lit on the required solution by reasoning that if you start with FRANKER, you have two opportunities to change R to L, of which you are directed to choose the first (Frankel looked like a possible name for a rugby player). This seemed to me better than choosing one of two different changes, of which the latter gave the meaningless FLANKEL,
    1. That is a very good point. I humbly withdraw my objection with abject apologies to the setter and editor.
      Edit: actually I’m not sure I do. Whatever the required change is, it’s not clear whether the required answer is before or after the change. Is it?

      Edited at 2016-01-07 04:13 pm (UTC)

    2. FRANKEL of course being probably the greatest racehorse that has ever lived, and still going strong at stud. Sorry SECRETARIAT fans.
        1. Not to mention Black Caviar.
          Surprisingly quick, all parsed in 14:17 including a minute or two at the end to get QUAD. Beat most of those who usually beat me, but with one error FRANKER for FLANKER. Even after careful consideration of what the clue was asking for. Bugger.
  16. Very nice puzzle without too many hold-ups, apart from the woodland creature. I was another who assumed it had to be RAT until it became clear that it wasn’t, making that my last in by some distance.
  17. 9.53 for me. I had the opposite experience to others here on 14d, where I knew exactly what I was looking for but spent the last portion of solving time trying to think of _L_D words meaning ‘split’. DELFTWARE might have been in the recesses of my mind somewhere, but nowhere near the front.
  18. 12:48. As Z foresaw I had to guess at dispersal and Delftware before reverse-engineering the cryptic but my nomination for “follow the wordplay and the answer will miraculaously appear” is USAGE.

    Surely it can’t be accidental that Greenback and Nemesis both appear?

    I didn’t know that ASH was known for being strong.

  19. 11:01. After a terrible start to the solving year, I’ve finished one correctly for the first time this week. Whew!

    This seemed to be going well when I got the meaning of “American ready” and “flight” in STAINER straight away. This encouraged me to biff towards a sub-10, which didn’t quite happen, but at least it was a finish!

  20. About 15 minutes, ending with the ABANDONED/IMAGISM crossing. I really enjoyed HEGEL for the surface. GREENBACK is still recognized as US slang for dollars, though little used, and over here I think a QUAD is more commonly called an ATV. ‘Four-wheeling’ is another term for bouncing around the backwoods on a ‘quad’. Regards.
  21. Gloomy complainant here. My problem is that the clue talks of ‘changing sides’ which can mean R to L or L to R. So, if you start with FLANKER, you have two opportunities to ‘change sides’ L to R in the case of the second letter or R to L in the case of the final letter. You are directed to choose the first one which produces FRANKER which seemed to me an equally plausible answer to FLANKER ( I don’t understand how you can get to FRANKEL without ignoring the first change instruction). Anyway, the coin came down heads so I chose the right one of the two but I still thought it was a bad clue. Over and out.
    1. I think I agree with you (again! – see above). It doesn’t seem to have caused much trouble to many others though, so I can’t help wondering if we’re missing something.
  22. I didn’t have an issue with FLANKER – I’ve treated a few of them (as well as a few QUAD-bikers), and I’m pretty sure there are no frankers, flankels or frankels in rugby.

    My gripe, instead, is with DELFTWARE. Not the word (or definition) itself, but the construction of the clue, which so convoluted as to be perverse. Got there in the end, but it was my LOI because I wanted all the checkers before being convinced.

    No idea of my time for this one, but not under 40 minutes.

  23. After yesterday’s triumph, I got three clues in today’s puzzle before giving up, one of which was Nemesis. David
  24. 14 mins, with STAINER my LOI after IMPRESARIO. I confess to biffing DELFTWARE and I didn’t bother to try and parse it post-solve, which is probably no bad thing. Count me as another who thought the wordplay for 5dn led to “franker”, but I went with FLANKER on the basis that the definition was at the front rather than the middle and I’m glad to see I wasn’t the only one who made that assumption.
  25. 48m until abandoned with QUAD and USAGE not done after 15m gazing blankly and getting distracted firstly by Brahms and then by a flock (is there a specific collective noun I wonder?) of siskins arriving on the bird feeders. I too guessed the rugby player but thought it a weak clue and the crockery was simply biffed with no idea of the parsing beyond W for wife. So thanks for another entertaining blog, Z.

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