26350 And I believe that the devil is ready to repent! But..

I kept feeling there was some sort of message in this thing, what with two unlikely Presidents of the US of A (one past and strangely rather fondly remembered), and one yet to be. The across clues, with a bit of judicious and creative punctuation, almost read as coherent sentences, with the two long ones in the middle referencing our yet-to-be-president’s policy on aliens, Mexicans, Muslims – hell, anyone he just doesn’t care for. I dallied for 20 minutes on this, taking time to be sure of a couple that I couldn’t initially justify, but there’s not much to test the gaps in GK, except perhaps for the “flower” in 6 and the sticky (?) fluid at 26,
Here’s how I turned Wasser into Wein.


1 DISCIPLE Mark, for example
Not officially one of the Big Twelve, and not the sort of name you’d give to a good Jewish boy. Thought by some to be the “boy going around in the buff” when escaping from Gethsemane, exclusively seen in the gospel that bears his name. PLace “visits” IE (that is) attached to a DISC. Our grandchildren may well have to ask why “record” means disc.
5 EVADES  Shakes off
See what I mean? Disciple (sc Mark) evades…  Journalist translates by convention to ED(itor), and is inserted into SAVE, bar as in all bar one, before the assembly is reversed
9 TRUMP CARD  Winning move
Initially T(railing), behind = RUMP, and character CARD (Chambers “a comical or eccentric person” now rather dated). As a whole, the clue looks like a commentary on the current race for the White House: could this be co-incidence? I think we should either be told or turn it into a conspiracy theory.
11 SAFER  Less adventurous
Today’s hidden in travellerS A FERry. Trump card safer? Really?
12 CHERISH  treasure
C(aught) + HER (woman’s) + H(usband) with an inserted 1’S.
13 EQUERRY  Queen’s escort
Key (pick any one of 7) is E, doubt is QUERY, and add in an R(ex) for King. Cherish equerry – there’s a royal scandal in there somewhere, possibly involving Diana.
14 EXTERMINATION  genocide
A name no longer used would be an EX TERM. One country would be 1 NATION. Staple together.
16 COLD-HEARTEDLY  In an unfriendly way.
You need to get the letters of CHAT, ODDLY and LEER squiffy, to get the result you’re looking for. Extermination cold-heartedly? There’s a royal scandal in there somewhere, possibly involving Diana. Or maybe (see above) the great Donald’s foreign (and selective domestic) policy.
20 LOGBOOK  official record
Part of the United Kingdom is GB, as it’s not the UK until you include Northern Ireland. Appear is LOOK: try “that appears/looks familiar” You also need the O from Old before assembling the parts as instructed.
21 ECLIPSE  Obscure
Extracts of paper are CLIPS (though more commonly clippings, clips being bits of film), and the middle of speech is EE. Assemble insertionally. Logbook: eclipse? I found one! I also found possible product placement, as Eclipse Logbook appears to be a lorry driver’s essential record keeping programme. Anybody care to verify?
23 ISSUE Result
Such a lot of lies would be a tissue. Ignore the first letter like it says.
24 TWO-TIMING  Adulterous
Couple TWO, man TIM (might just as well be) and ING(e) our horizontally challenged Swedish girl.
25 NUDIST &lit
And rather a cute one. On the grounds that “boy” signifies a diminutive form of a name (in exactly the same way as “man” in the previous clue shouldn’t), it’s SID, reversed in a NUT, a buff as in, say, film buff.
26 GLUHWEIN  This German’s possibly drunk
Where, in keeping with German grammar, drunk is the verb. Play with the letters of WHILE and GUN. Gluhwein is “hot, sweetened, spiced red wine, mulled wine as prepared in Germany, Austria, etc”. “Issue two-timing nudist Gluhwein” in celebration of Freikörperkultur?


1 DETACH free
D(iamonds) + ETCH (cut) and the capital of A(ngola). Luanda doesn’t fit.
2 SAUCE  Impudence
Sounds like “source” for non-rhotics. Source may well not be the kind of author you were thinking of before light dawned.
3 IN PRINT  on the streets
I’m guessing there may be the odd careless imprint here. the even letters (overlook the odds) of signs are IN. Type gives you the PRINT.
4 LEATHERJACKET  a swimmer
I think it has to be the fish rather than the cranefly larva as the latter doesn’t swim. A biker might wear a leather jacket with a gap in the middle.
6 VISTULA  flower (sc river)
Though the Poles call it Wisła. Flows through most Polish towns you’ve heard of, some of which you can even pronounce. For our purpose, a view is a VISTA and the extremes of U(nusua)L provide the missing letters.
7 DEFORMITY Imperfection
A kind gives FORM, and God is DEITY, which choirmasters insist is pronounced dee-ity
8 STRAYING  aberration
OK, I think this is swindle: STING and note: RAY (“a drop of golden sun”, today’s free gift of an earworm. You’re very welcome.) Chambers confirms, not sure I would.
10 DYED IN THE WOOL  Incurable
And a “treatment” of OLDIE THEY’D NOW
14 EULOGISED  that’s raved about
“Trip” the letters of LOSE GUIDE.
15 SCALLION  Vegetable
CALL is provided by demand, one again gives 1, and your lad, your SON is required to eat the two. It’s an onion of several kinds. Or a leek.
17 HOOKERS  Rugby players
Gentlemen, there are ladies present. Another “alternate letters” feature, this time hEaRd, this time breaking into HOOKS, catchy phrases in refrains and such.
18 DOLTISH  Stupid
Officer is LT (lieutenant, prononce it how you will, though I can’t see the F) Idiot primarily I, both placed into DOSH, British (?) slang for money.
19 REAGAN  president
Almost back is REA(r), win is GAIN, from which you lose the I (current, physics). Here’s the song referenced in the headline.
22 PRIZE  Reward
Two forms of energy are E and ZIP: reverse them and insert R(ight)


57 comments on “26350 And I believe that the devil is ready to repent! But..”

  1. …an inexplicable IN POINT cost me a hat-trick of good solves.

    Also held up by having TWO-TIMERS until I went back to parse it correctly (which I obviously failed to do with IN POINT).

    GLUHWEIN was today’s word known only from crosswords. Couldn’t have countenanced such a weird arrangement of letters otherwise.

    COD to the &Lit NUDIST I think. Thanks setter and Z.

  2. It’s a pangram. I missed my 30 minute target by 3 minutes because I delayed before entering STRAYING at 8dn as I couldn’t see the wordplay and decided to wait for more checkers. When I eventually spotted STING as ‘swindle’ I didn’t know RAY as ‘note’ (despite having a degree in music) and pondered the absence of a homophone indicator for ‘re’. The German supermarkets that are taking over the UK offer whole shelves of GLUHWEIN in the run-up to Christmas.

    Edited at 2016-03-03 05:59 am (UTC)

    1. Do you know,  I didn’t get within a whiff of spotting the 26er, which I hope suggests this is that rare thing, a natural and unforced pangram. Or perhaps it’s just that all the Scrabble scorers are on unchecked squares, coyly hiding away. Good spot!

  3. Didn’t get that it was a pangram (not that unusual for me), but nonetheless, that wouldn’t have helped me with the last two, which both had ?s against them: IN PRINT (how does this even mean ‘on the streets’?), and STRAYING (as Jack, don’t think I’ve come across ‘ray’ for ‘re’).

    No problem with GLUHWEIN.

    cod: NUDIST (once I’d parsed it post-solve)

    1. I assume it’s something to do with newspapers that used to be sold everywhere on the streets but I don’t know for sure.

      On edit: Nope, I can’t find anything even vaguely official on this one. There’s ‘word on the street’ that’s used for a rumour going round but by definition that’s a long way from being IN PRINT.

      Every reference to ‘on the streets’ involves prostitution or homelessness.

      Edited at 2016-03-03 07:28 am (UTC)

      1. I think this refers back to when the printed news-sheet was the only form of mass communication. Rival political factions would print leaflets and then get them “on the streets” to spread their message. It does seem a bit of a stretch because as you say today the phrase has a very different connotation
        1. Yes, that sounds right and not a million miles from my first thoughts. It seems odd that this meaning is not reflected in any of the usual sources though.

          Just found in Chambers Slang Dictionary: put it on the street [1950s+](orig. US) to make gossip or information etc. available for general consumption. Still not quite there, is it?

          Edited at 2016-03-03 11:31 am (UTC)

  4. I’m having a sort of dumb and dumber week. Yesterday it was EXCENTRIC, today DIED IN THE WOOL (death by sheep).

    Thanks for explaining NUDIST, Z8. I’d never have seen it. GLUHWEIN was rather fun.

    1. Another DIED IN THE WOOL here (extermination of disguised wolves, maybe). Usual 30 minutes otherwise.
    2. Me too: my initial thought was ‘incurable’ = DEAD and I don’t think it ever quite left my head. But as I was solving (on my iPad) I was slightly frustrated that I didn’t have a pen and paper to hand to jot down the anagram fodder, and this was one of my last in. I have managed to convince myself that under ‘normal’ solving conditions, I would have written out the anagram and seen the Y. I have absolutely no doubt that the same argument applies to you, and I am not in the least interested in anything you might have to say to the contrary. I said I am not LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU.
  5. I never did work out why my LOI 25a was what it was (seriously toyed with NUDISM for a while – in a crossword sense you realise) until enlightened by Z.
    Only knew LEATHERJACKET as the crane fly larva and not a fish, though for me this has to be COD.
    Still, 38 minutes aint bad for me.
    Thanks Z for a great blog.
  6. Straightforward apart from 26A for which I had to cheat to solve. So technically a DNF or maybe in golfing terms a MDF.
  7. 22:39. I thought I might be on to a good thing when my second one in was the flower (normally they’re near the end). Screwed myself for a while though by putting TWO TIMERS which held up the SE corner. Eventually sorted it out and ended with my LOI and COD GLUHWEIN, which as well as being popular in the German supermarkets is also popular at the UK Christmas markets. Didn’t we used to call it mulled wine?
    1. Only just noticed Vistula was a river. So probably I’m still not good on flowers of the botanical type.
  8. Basic fare but neatly done so no complaints. Interesting that Collins gives re as a variant spelling of ray and Chambers gives ray as the Anglicised spelling of re. I’ve always thought re not ray.
  9. Nice blog, z8, thanks for taking the time to entertain not just spit out the parsing. I agree with Jim, not the best puzzle ever, but passable, 20 minutes with GLUHWEIN my LOI once I saw the anagram. And hesitated over parsing of the short Swedish lady. Also wondered how the ‘catchy refrains’ came in to 17d’s rugby players and ladies of the night.
  10. I was completely defeated by the sticky drink sometime in the last couple of years so it registered. The homophone part of SAUCE is defensible but the definition seemed a bit of a stretch. According to Ladbrokes Mr. Marmalade-face will not be President, but I see you think otherwise Z. I hope you’re wrong.
    1. Betting markets have tended to be a better predictor than polls recently, in the UK at least (they are also predicting that we won’t be leaving the EU by the way). However Drumpf has confounded so many predictions that we shouldn’t take anything for granted.
    2. My take, watching from afar to escape endless Europe in/out nonsense, is that it looks as though he’ll win the Republican Party nomination, and unless the GOP can find a way of disowning him, it’ll be him versus the lovely Hilary. So far, he seems Teflon coated. Even employing immigrant workers at low, low prices in his hotels hasn’t done any damage, and Hispanics and other minorities he clearly despises seem to be voting for him in large numbers. Will the US vote for Hilary? The answer currently hangs by a chad. Over here, we loved Rory McIlvoy’s response today when being asked a long and complicated question about the Trump: “I’m not American”.
      1. Yes, that is very very funny Z. Although I’m aghast at the reality which isn’t funny at all. I may have mentioned on someone’s blog last year that when my children were small I sang them to bed with “bedtime for babies and tiny ones – doo do doo doo” to the tune of Springtime for Hitler. It was many years before they caught on!
        1. 26193 in September last year – I remember it well (though I had to look up the locus) but still haven’t completed my version!
  11. I also toyed with NUDISM (only figuratively, of course) until I eventually achieved enlightenment, which I think means that clue was, indeed, rather cute. Glad to find I wasn’t the only one who, after solving 8dn, completed the puzzle with the voice of Julie Andrews in my head.
  12. Our local Church always serves Gluhwein after the kids Christmas service. With such a deep theological insight, incredibly I put disciple in last.
  13. I think I’m with Jimbo on this puzzle, which I found slightly irritating, mainly because of the far-fetched or loose defs: e.g.IN PRINT/on the streets, RAY/re and even EXTERMINATION/genocide. The latter was not difficult, but strictly “genocide” means the (attempted) deliberate extermination of an an entire race and not just any kind of extermination. Not knowing the musical reference, I eventually took RAY at 8D to be a synonym for “note” in the sense of “glimmer” or “hint” in such sentences as “the future seemed to be without any ray/note of hope”, which seems to work just as well.
  14. I expected a tough one after a string of fairly easy ones, but this was no different, completed in 32 minutes. I liked some of the clues (1a and 25 for example) though the definition for 14a is just inaccurate.
  15. Definitely not on wavelength today finishing in just under the 40 minute mark. Not sure why – there was nothing overly obscure. LOI was “straying”.
  16. 16:41 and I was way off the wavelength again. F’rinstance I couldn’t get beyond EP for record having to be the start of 1a and at 15d I took “one lad eats” to mean the answer had to start with I.

    I spotted the possibility of a pangram as when the Z appeared I jotted some of the nastier letters underneath the puzzle with a view to crossing them off. I’m not sure what happened as that’s as far as it went so either the Q, J etc just passed me by or I forgot I was looking for a pangram.

    No problem with gluhwein although I can’t see what the “possibly” is doing in the clue.

    I assumed Vistula was just a flower, not a “flower”.

    Two earworms for the price of one at 8d for me as Dame Julie is competing with Marvin Hamlisch/Scott Joplin.

    1. The semi-presidential flavour today reminded me of a probably apocryphal tale from the annals of American political journalism. A broadcaster is said to have reported that he got his story from a “high White Horse souse”.
    2. Based on my experience of GLUHWEIN I thought the ‘possibly’ referred to a situation where it’s being served at a party and there’s a risk of the beer running out.
  17. I for one am not happy. There were twelve disciples and though their names vary a bit betwen gospels none is called Mark in the Bible.
    1. Are apostles and disciples the same thing? I wouldn’t have thought so. Not that I’m big on the bible, more of a Moby Dick and Catch-22 man myself.
    2. “Disciple comes from an educational context and is similar to “student.” So the word apostle defines a person in terms of their purpose or mission, while disciple emphasizes the person’s relationship to the teacher. In the case of the 12 apostles, all of them are disciples. But it doesn’t follow that all disciples are apostles!

      The term disciple is used more widely than apostle and is commonly used to describe people outside of “the twelve” (e.g., Mark 2:18 describes John the Baptist’s disciples; see also Luke 6:13, where Jesus chooses the 12 apostles from a larger group of disciples).”

      The setter is well within his or her rights to rely on what the dictionaries say about the meaning of disciple. Your beef is with the dictionaries and other sources like the one I’ve quoted above (bibleodyssey dot org), not the setter (or editor).

      Edited at 2016-03-03 01:51 pm (UTC)

    3. Very impressed to look up Wikipedia and find out who the apostles (as opposed to the disciples) were:
      Pete, Andy, Jim, Jack, Phil, Bart (not Simpson), Tom, Matty, another Jim, Thad (WTF?) Simon and Judas. Just like getting on the piss at an Australian barbeque. As someone above mentions, not the names you’d expect of a mob of Aramaic-speaking Jews 2000-odd years ago.
      Otherwise – mostly average, but a long time at the end on DETACH/DISCIPLE/SAUCE & GLUHWEIN. 25 minutes. Rob
  18. Glad it wasn’t my turn to blog as I had question marks next to ISSUE, NUDIST and IN PRINT, but didn’t have to do the legwork to figure them out, could drift off to sleep hoping they were correct.
  19. I enjoyed this one – my compliments to the setter. I didn’t find it too easy (but then again, this is increasingly true of many things for me), but it was fair and entertaining.

    GLUHWEIN/REAGAN were my next-to-last two. Somehow, Reagan never seems quite like a president to me – more like an entertainer they brought in while they took a break – so he never springs to mind. I’m almost hoping that Trump gets in, simply for the schadenfreude of imagining 320 million Americans waking up the next morning and saying “we didn’t, did we??”. Trump for the Whitehouse, I say.

    NHO VISTULA, and “Vistula of Silesia” sounds like something we’d send for surgery.

    NUDIST was my LOI, because it seemed too obvious and I couldn’t parse it. I eventually got there, although I assumed wrongly that nut=brownish=buff, somehow missing the obvious nut=fan=buff. Still, as long as you make the sutures neat, nobody can see the underlying hash.

  20. 19 mins. I had brain freeze in the NW corner and it was only after I’d finally seen SAUCE that DISCIPLE and DETACH became my last two in. I also couldn’t see STRAYING/aberration for quite a while, and I never bothered to parse NUDIST.
  21. Not much to say here, only hold ups were STRAYING, GLUHWEIN and NUDIST, with the last my LOI after I finally sussed the ‘nut’, but in the same way as old Thud. No other commentary from me, other than regards to all, and thanks to z.
  22. 24:59 which is a whisker under target for me. VISTULA was an unknown for me and I never parsed 24 or or 25a – I had TWO TIMERS for a while. Thanks, as ever, for the hugely entertaining and enlightening blog z.
  23. 15m, quite late in the day, with a silly error at 10dn as noted above. This struck me as fairly standard stuff at the time. As others have noted the blog is at least as good.
    I thought VISTULA must be a plant too. I’m so used to whacking in things I don’t know that it never occurs to me to check that I’m not not knowing the wrong kind of thing.

    Edited at 2016-03-03 10:22 pm (UTC)

  24. Need I say more?
    Couldn’t decide between nudist and nudism, as I couldn’t parse either option. I gave up and came here for enlightenment.
  25. Like edinburghian I couldn’t decide between NUDIST and NUDISM as I didn’t spot the nut-buff link, and plumped for the wrong one. Having never heard of the German beverage, I threw the letters up in the air to see which way they landed, and having written in GLUHWEIN, decided it didn’t look right and changed it to ULGHWEIN. Doh! Also had brain failure on 2d and biffed SHUTE for no valid reason. So 3 wrong and an hour to do it. I quite enjoyed the rest of the puzzle, although I was prepared to classify VISTULA (my FOI) as a plant rather than a river, or even Dr Thud’s uncomfortable ailment of the lower alimentary tract. Thanks again to z for his erudite and entertaining blog. John

    Edited at 2016-03-03 09:41 pm (UTC)

    1. SHUTE was my favourite for 2dn for ages but I just held out writing it in until I found something that sort of parsed better, though I wasn’t completely happy with what turned out to be the correct answer.
  26. 16:09 for me, not really on the ball at all today.

    I hadn’t come across HOOKS as “catchy refrains” before – making two unknowns in two days (after CRATON yesterday).

    I nearly came to grief trying to fit DULLISH into 18dn, thinking that the “officer” must be DULL, the constable in Love’s Labour’s Lost.

    SCALLIONS seem popular this week (making an appearance in a clue on Monday).

    I particularly liked the last two across clues (leading to NUDIST and GLUHWEIN).

  27. Another good puzzle, but solved untimed as I tackled it in fits and starts as time allowed during the evening due to attending a concert at the Sage. It’s being broadcast on Radio 3 on Monday, and the two Mozart pieces, especially, are well worth catching.
  28. The twelve, those present at the Last Supper and of whom Mark was not one, are strictly speaking the apostles, a subset of a much larger and indefinite number of disciples of Christ. Of these, Mark is assuredly to be counted one.

Comments are closed.