26362 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels….

A tough one, this, which took me past the 30 minute mark by 2.22, but hey, at least I was error free. At the time of writing, everyone else on a small sample has a single error, and I’ve already wasted some time trying to figure what this might be. For me, the main retardant factor was/were the many well-disguised definitions, leaving very little chance of bunging in from definitions. Just to throw you off the scent, there’s the odd barely cryptic clue which might well leave you floundering looking for something more complex.
It might help you to solve this thing if you are a charismatic Christian with a penchant for Yiddish, French and cricket, though I expect that narrows the field rather. Here’s how I extracted the wheat from the chaff.


1 PICOT Decorative loop
At a stretch, you could make this apply to François-Édouard Picot, purveyor of tasteful pre-photographic pornography to French salons, but it’s really just a loop of some kind in fabric. Easy wordplay, thank goodness: CO, the conventional crossword firm, held by PIT, that sort of mine.
As in seeing something before it happens. ORES are minerals, FIGHT is box. Insert part a into part b.
9 SQUARE LEG position in field
Easy if you’re into cricket, just giving you just, SQUARE, left L, and say EG. Roughly where the umpire stands when he’s not behind the stumps.
10 LIFERperson given sizeable bird
Bird is one of those many euphemisms for a prison sentence, here derived form CRS bird lime/time. Hidden and reversed in featuRE FILm
11 COZENS Tricks
I thought the wordplay was in the blink-and-you-miss-it category. You get the COS from “for informally”, deriving from “because”. ZEN is a branch of Buddhism (and a useful word in Scrabble).
Appointment provides you with the DATE to tack onto the back of E(nergy) MEN (people)
14 DRAG ONES FEETKind of &lit
If you want to go fast, you would have to take a revisionist attitude to dragging your feet. The revision of GO FAST? ER, NEED gives you the not-fast practice.
17 ALADDINS CAVE place of treasure
A boy’s gives A LADS. Watch is CAVE, public school slang for look out or beware, which you would know if you paid attention in Latin classes. The Romans used to warn people of the family dog with a mosaic including the words cave canem, this onefrom Pompeii. Tricky if the dog died: you’d have to rearrange al those little bits of stone, and cave gerbillinam probably doesn’t suggest the same threat level. Keep cave, by extension, means to keep a lookout.
When you’ve worked that out, set ALAD’S and CAVE around D(aughter) IN. Open sesame.
20 PINT-SIZE pocket
As in pocket battleship, a smaller version of the real thing such as the Graf Spee. “Unusual” telegraphs an anagram, count through the letters until you get to 8 and you’ll have ZIP SET IN.
21 BOWYER one provided for the Archers
The grammar works thus: one (of this profession) provided (material, sc bows) for the Archers. In the wordplay, the country cottage turns out to be a BOWER (especially if you’re being poetical) and Yen provides the Y, or I suppose strictly the ¥, to be inserted
23 CARPI Bones
Specifically of the wrist. You have three words all translating to CARP, two verbs and a noun. Add “one”.
24 OVERDRAFT a figure in red
Comprised of completed = OVER and sketch = DRAFT,a and not variations on DRAWN.
25 DIRIGISME state control
Desperate = DIRE, one is i (and all alone?) and device is GISMO, which for our purpose has to be cut short.
26 NASTY rank
Line is DYNASTY, from which you remove the leading couple of letters


1 POSTCODE conclusion to address?
Not if you’re a kid and adding England, UK, Europe, the Earth, Solar sytem, Outer spiral arm, the Galaxy, the Universe to your address to make it really complete. Following POST, joke COD, ultimately lame E.Took ages to spot that definition and that LUD is not a word meaning joke.
2 CHUTZPAH Audacity
Means dam’ cheek in Yiddish. A boy kills both his parents and pleads for mercy because he’s an orphan. CHurch, state is UTAH, unknown Z and Power for the P. Assemble. Nice to have a whole state and not just its abbreviation.
3 TORONTO BLESSING Varied reactions of worshippers.
Some of us were rather hoping the rest of the world had forgotten this, and it’s quite a surprise to find it both in a crossword and the dictionaries. The Toronto blessing has a specific start date and place, January 1994 at Toronto Airport Vineyard Church, and was a form of Christian revivalism characterised by wild and unpredictable behaviour. According to taste, it was either a wonderful outpouring of the Holy Spirit which we just have to import into our Church, or an outbreak of hysterical behaviour which we certainly wouldn’t want to see at Evensong, thank you very much. Derive it (if you can) from TO RON (boy) + TO (again) B(ritish) LESSING (novelist, Doris I think).
4 FOLD Triple definition
Perhaps deliberately in close proximity to the previous clue. Fold can mean gather, as in pleat, Church, as in “other sheep I have which are not of this fold”, and close as in what a company will do when bankrupt.
5 RAGAMUFFIN little scruff
As in street urchin. Paper is RAG (especially if our dear sister paper, the Sun) MUFFIN is, in some confectioners universe, a roll*. You need to tear a space for the innocent little A.
* for the benefit of our Stateside friends, a muffin is not an oversized, over sweetened cake with blueberries in it, but a bready thing you get your fag** to toast over an open fire, and you then consume it with butter. I believe you call them English muffins. In the current UK, sadly, it’s more likely to be an oversized….
** oh, dear, I can see this getting awkward.
…is the only definition I can conjure out of the clue. Or in the worplay is GOLD(EN) which in the proverbial sense is the equivalent to SILENCE. This might be a sort of strained &lit, or perhaps wordplay without definition. Not my candidate for clue of the day: needs more work, I think, though I’m open to enlightenment.
7 GUFFAW a loud laugh
Codswallop is, in one of its senses, nonsense, here represented by GUFF. Add A(nswer) and W(ith).
8 TURKEYFaiure
An old jailer is a TURNKEY. Remove his N(ame)
Chaotic signals a rather unlikely looking anagram. Use DOZENS RUE V(ery)
15 MAN YEARS such a lot of work
Split the answer 4,4 and you have MANY EARS, bags/lots of corn
16 SECRETLY in disguise
Flash provides the SEC(ond), count (more usually with on) gives RELY. Bottom of street in a down clue gives T. Assemble
18 SPICED with mace
The question mark shows we have an example of spice. An agent “tailed” (as in topped and tailed) gives SP(y). ICED for finished off turns up again
19 SNORER One sleeping soundly
Ie with a lot of noise. Almost a cryptic clue!
22 PEKE dog
Sounds like peak, top.

47 comments on “26362 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels….”

  1. 9ac SQUARE LEG I suppose that this is ‘just not cricket’ to our American friends, who may be stumped.Further where I come from Muffin was a Mule!

    However, on the other side of the coin 3dn TORONTO BLESSING is news to me – so biffed it.

    45 mins roughly held up in SE corner by 26ac NASTY and 16dn SECRETLY. And COD 15dn MAN YEARS.

    horryd Shanghai

    1. “Biffed” is derived from “BIFD”, meaning “bunged in from definition”. So what you (and I) did to get TORONTO BLESSING is the opposite of biffing.
  2. “Zen” is not allowable in Scrabble, z8, at least under conventional rules, as it takes a capital Z.

    As the hour approached I used aids to check the unlikely “torpedo” or “tornado” BLESSING and in the process chanced upon the correct answer. The unknown COZENS then made itself a likely candidate and I checked that too.

    Having effectively cheated at that point I gave up the ghost and decided to check another unknown, EMENDATE, that I’d constructed from wordplay, which proved to be correct. I also looked up DIRIGISTE, the only word I knew that fitted the checkers at 25ac but I couldn’t remember what it meant, and in the process discovered DIRIGISME.

    But where things really unravelled was the SE corner where I had “OVER (completed), DRAW (sketch), N (figure – number) with definition “in red” and was so convinced it was correct I used a solver to look for solutions to the impossible 16dn (?E?R?N?Y) where the only hit was “zebrinny” (the offspring of a male horse and a female zebra) which may be of some use to me in the future, but not today unfortunately. Having ruled out the impossible I looked for errors and eventually came up with OVERDRAFT as an alternative at 24ac.

    A Google search on TftT reveals that the blessing, EMENDATE and COZENS have not come up before and DIRIGISME only once, in 2008, when I was just starting out here but not as yet blogging, I think.

    For what it’s worth, like our blogger, I can’t quite see 6dn either.

    This started well enough for me but turned into something of a nightmare. I had also lost time looking for a pangram, hoping that any missing letters might be of some assistance with the unsolved clues but the setter had not obliged as J and X were never to be found.

    Edited at 2016-03-17 06:16 am (UTC)

    1. Fell into exactly the same trap as you wrt to OVERDRAWN, spending over 10 minutes staring blankly at _E_R_N_Y. And yes, I discovered the existence of a ZEBRINNY last night too.
      1. I too discovered ZEBRINNY, and was left wondering a) what the ‘inny’ stands for (an ecstatic whinny at the moment of congress?) and b) whether a female horse can successfully mate with a male zebra.

        Edited at 2016-03-17 08:32 am (UTC)

  3. All but one done within the thirty minutes, then I cheated to get DIRIGISTE, which was wrong anyway. Suspect that might be the one that brought several people undone.

    Nice chewy puzzle. COD to MAN-YEARS, perhaps.

    Thanks setter and Z.

  4. … not much of an idea about 6dn. Spotted the “or”, but that’s about all.
    Liked the rest of this difficult puzzle, with the 15/16/21/26 area taking lots of time by itself. LOI was SECRETLY which now has to be COD for the natty vampire image.
  5. Thanks to the setter for a very interesting, and fine, puzzle, the kind I would give my eye tooth to blog on a Monday. Sadly, this will never happen while the Illuminati convey coded messages through Keriothe’s graphs.

    A tip of the hat to Zed too for sorting all this out – though I did note with concern the absence of a superscript marking after a certain proprietary board game.

    On the “Tremeloes” clue, I think “Peace — or” can just about translate to “Silence is golden” if one adopts the pseudo-Verlainesque algebraic approach to parsing. (Interestingly, Collins lists the heraldic “or” as an adjective – “of the metal gold” – while Oxford gives it as a noun.)

    Regarding the Canadian clue, the Vineyard group of churches, of which the Toronto church in question was a member till it was thrown out in the wake of all the laughing and roaring, was founded by John Wimber, who was instrumental in the formation of The Righteous Brothers.

    As for the puzzle my experience rather mirrored Jack’s, and I needed a little help to finish the SE corner. Although I had NASTY, I couldn’t see how it worked till I came back to the puzzle later, and I too had “overdrawn” at first, which made the tricky SECRETLY even trickier.

    And I was another “dirigiste” for good measure, so a comprehensive win to the setter – or. in Toronto parlance, I was well slain by the Spirit.

    1. It seems the missing ™ was prescient, as the version of Scrubble that I play definitely allows ZEN, which Hasbro would therefore resent being associated with. I see in the Googlesphere that GEOCACHE won the competition to be the new legal word over ZEN in 2014, clearly a very poor decision. I will continue to use ZEN, not least in Words With Friends, where it’s legal.
  6. I could write about my experiences of this puzzle, but Ulaca’s matches my own absolutely exactly and said so much more elegantly.
    So I won’t.
  7. DNF because of OVERDRAWN (and I had DIRIGISTE anyway). Good crossword. Personally I did not have a problem with 6d as I took the line/dash (I don’t know what they are called) as the connector of “Peace” to “or”. I do have a problem now, however, as I cannot get the damn song out of my head.
  8. WOE – DIRIGISTE. DNK TORONTO BLESSING but stuck it in from the crossers. COD 15dn.
    1. …which was also in today’s Concise – not that that helped me much. Like the pangram that wasn’t. Why do I only spot them when they don’t exist?
  9. 29:04 … wowee. Had to recaffeinate half-way through this brute. Nice challenge, though. Last in by a distance was SECRETLY. I really enjoyed a lot of it, especially PINT-SIZE and LIFER.

    Thanks for the blog, Z8. That must have taken a while. Do you think the Romans ever used their mosaics to spell out things like “Beware of the Dachsund”, like our neighbours?

  10. DNF after the hour… same u/ks as above, and I never went back to revisit ‘overdrawn’. So wanted to finish this one, as I really appreciated the 90% or so that I managed, but the tricky wp + my limited vocabulary made this quite simply a step too far. Sometimes I feel this crossword malarkey is one step forward, two steps back… *sigh!*…
  11. Struggled a bit with this as others have. Supposed “or = gold” had something to do with 6D but couldn’t make any sense of it and bunged in the answer from checkers.

    Had vague memory of the Tronto thingy and trusted the wordplay for EMENDATE.

    Overall not really my cup of tea but a reasonable challenge that I sort of enjoyed

  12. Another OVERDRAWN I’m afraid and many minutes spent locating the error. Great crossword with COD to PINT-SIZE. It seems silence isn’t golden to the TORONTO BLESSING people.
  13. Our Rhinebeck NY hardware store sells a sign that reads “Forget about the dog. Beware of the owner”. DIRIGISME is one of those words like “irredentism” or “semiotics” that I know without ever having bothered to find out what they mean. Didn’t know the Toronto syndrome – so that’s what they call nervous guffaws in church. For a while St. Patrick appeared to have banished the neutrinos from the club Board but now they seem to be slithering back in. 25.13
  14. … in having it all correct except for DIRIGISTE instead of SME.
    Thought 6d was OK given the or = gold angle.
    Guessed TORONTO once I had COZENS
    Very nice puzzle (with one wrong) 35 minutes.
  15. I got overdrawn too, wasting 10 minutes. Made it in 35 minutes eventually after good middle progress. Biffed in The Toronto Blessing which hasn’t visited the early communion service here yet.
  16. Took an hour to finish with 2 wrong: DIRIGISTE and CAZENA. Saw the definition “informal for” but had never heard of COZENS and couldn’t work it out. DNK TORONTO BLESSING, but worked it out from word play and crossers. EMENDATE and PICOT also from wordplay. Took a while to see NASTY and POSTCODE. A good workout. Liked LIFER. Wasn’t tempted by OVERDRAWN. Had BOWERY for a while until I saw SECRETLY which gave me the correct BOWYER and MAN YEARS. Tough puzzle. Excellent blog, as usual. Thanks Z and setter.
  17. Really struggled with this for an hour and a quarter. Three errors with DIRIGISTE, FILL (4d, couldn’t think of anything else) and OVERDRAWN, so couldn’t get 16d, though I did at one point think of SECRETLY, so I should have looked at 24 again, but by that time I was too exhausted to bother. Not my finest hour (and a quarter).
  18. Like many, DNF, but I wasn’t one of the OVERDRAWN crowd. Before I had any crossers for 6 down, I thought the answer was going to be ABSENCE OF MALICE, and had that pencilled in (mentally) for a while, but couldn’t make it work with anything else. Once some of the crossers revealed themselves, so did the right answer, but I wasn’t really happy with it, never seeing the OR = GOLD connection. Good tough puzzle, too good for me.
  19. 18:25 with DIRIGISTE changed to DIRIGISME on the basis that the def appeared to require a noun but I still had my carpi crossed as I didn’t know what sort of cutting device a GISM might be.

    A Toronto Blessing sounds worryingly like a Glasgow Kiss. “Are you looking at my moose buddy? Well stitch that!”

    I wasn’t exactly familiar with picot, cozens & emendate. I quite enjoyed the quirkiness of this puzzle and LIFER was a highlight.

    As usual my attempt to spot a pangram got as far as crossing off the first Z.

    1. I reckoned “dirigiste” WAS a noun, which makes me wonder what the point of all those linguistics degrees was…
  20. 22 min, but with 25ac wrong (and unparsed) – also resorted to aid for 16dn after several minutes looking vainly at checkers, even though I had 24ac right.
    Had vaguely heard of 3dn, but wordplay was clear enough, which was not the case for 6dn, though it was pretty obvious what was needed there.
  21. Another OVERDRAWN here, and even when I revisited all the crossers after staring at 16dn for God knows how long I saw no reason to change it. So after another God knows how long I came here to find out where I had gone wrong.
    A very good puzzle though, I thought: meaty and unpredictable.
  22. I started well but hit the buffers after 30 minutes because I’d never heard of the religious hysteria and because I was overdrawn at 23a. It took another 20 minutes to sort out by which time I’d lost the will to live. A good puzzle though. And the plus side is I learned a new word, ZEBRINNY. I hope it turns up soon in a pangram. Ann
  23. OVERDRAWN yes so no chance with 16d but didn’t get as far as the zebra/horse connection thankfully. And another DNF because I never worked out the ‘religious’ clue nor the odd word at 25a so a futile 45m. Strange puzzle overall I thought but excellent blog.
    1. The puzzle doesn’t say anything about her nationality, but wiki says she was British.

      Edited at 2016-03-17 08:14 pm (UTC)

    2. Anon, it has already been said, but just to clarify that you’ve made a fundamental error by associating ‘British’ with ‘author’. ‘British’ is clueing ‘B’ whilst ‘author’ is clueing ‘Lessing’.

      Edited at 2016-03-17 11:51 pm (UTC)

  24. I try to find time to do a cryptic crossword everyday, but never The Times. However, dining alone in a restaurant tonight with a copy lying around to hand I attempted this.
    What a waste of my time! I’ve never come across such self-indulgent clueing – not even in The Guardian!
  25. I’m another dirigiste, so DNF. Also put in overdrawn, but finally twigged after staring at 16d for an eternity.

    Despite all that, very enjoyable puzzle, I thought.

  26. Attempted this en route from Stansted to Carcassonne this afternoon. The usual suspects “overdrawn” and “dirigiste” were my downfall but having read the blog I don’t feel as bad now I see I am in good company.
    1. 15:26 for me, with the SE corner taking about half of it and SECRETLY holding me up particularly badly at the end. If MAN-YEARS hadn’t been so fresh in my mind from today’s T2 Concise, I suspect I might have taken even longer.

      Luckily I didn’t think of OVERDRAWN, but did think of both DIRIGISME and DIRIGISTE and had no problem choosing the right one. I don’t recall coming across TORONTO BLESSING before. Don Manley’s handiwork, I wonder?

      An interesting and enjoyable puzzle.

  27. Beaten by the TORONTO BLESSING. If I’d got it, then it clearly would have been a challenging but well-crafted clue. As I didn’t, I can only grumble that the wordplay was too contorted to compensate for the lack of some fairly obscure GK.
  28. Got there in the end, without aids, but only after stumbling over the same hurdles as others. No time recorded, but certainly took an age while I located and corrected the incorrect entries and, finally worked out the wordplay of ‘Toronto Blessing’, which was unknown to me.
    I too suspect the work of the Don.
  29. Since we’re indulging in a bit of harmless speculation about the author of the puzzle, I’d say it definitely isn’t Don. Toronto Blessings? Not something within his incorporeal ambit, I would submit, and not the sort of thing he would wish to give the oxygen of publicity to.
    1. You could be right, but I think the way we’re returned to the FOLD in 4dn could be a pointer.
      1. Not to mention the fact that I came a cropper – as I typically do on the named Pasquale puzzle.
  30. In today’s South China Morning Post….

    I also had dirigiste, overdrawn and zebrinny.

    Doris Lessing was a guest speaker at my high school (Waterford KamHlaba) in Swaziland in 1990 or 1991. Although she might technically have been British, (through her parents – she was born in Iran), she was very much Southern African (Rhodesia/Zimbabwe mostly). She was one of two Nobel prize winners that I met at my old high school, the other one being Nelson Mandela in the time between being released from gaol, but before he became president.

    Jezz in Hong Kong

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