Saturday Times 26586 (3rd Dec)

Solving time 16:05, which seemed a bit slow until I saw some of the times on the Crossword Club stats. It felt even slower to me as I was stuck on the last 3 or 4 for about 5 minutes. That top right corner with UNGAG and GOLDENROD had me struggling, but I was also held up by ENCIPHERED and VELCRO (why is the LOI often a simple hidden answer?)! I loved 6ac when the penny finally dropped so that’s my COD.

Across
1 Sweet drink for American to finish off (9)
LIQUORICE – LIQUOR (drink for American) + ICE (finish off).
6 Free to tell one about Dag Hammarskjöld? (5)
UNGAG Рone about Dag Hammarskjöld would be a UN GAG.
9 Two names wrongly associated with old Nicaraguan watercourse (5,5,5)
GRAND UNION CANAL – (N,N, old Nicaraguan)*.
10 Dim idiot swallowing most of lie (6)
TWILIT – TWIT (idiot) around LI(e).
11 Goodness and energy perhaps in Cheddar sandwiches (2,6)
BY GEORGE – E(nergy) inside BY GORGE (perhaps in Cheddar).
13 App – very elaborate – i.e. with costly programming? (3-3-4)
PAY-PER-VIEW – (app very)* + I.E. + W(ith).
14 Regularly avoided trouble by withdrawing smear (4)
BLUR – alternate letters of “trouble by” in reverse.
16 Cologne, maybe, is pronounced change from Colorado! (4)
CENT – sounds like “scent” (Cologne, maybe).
17 English, with nobody in goal, were scrambling? (10)
ENCIPHERED – CIPHER (nobody) + E(nglish), inside END (goal).
19 Shrouded in darkness is island’s fishing port (8)
MURMANSK – MAN’S (island’s) inside MURK (darkness).
20 Invention for making fast travel, crossing fences (6)
VELCRO – hidden inside “travel, crossing”.
23 A feature of packed lunch that’s not lacked punch? (7,8)
KNUCKLE SANDWICH – cryptic definition with a nice little Spoonerism in the surface.
24 Long range shot, say, ricocheting (5)
RIDGE – RID (shot) + E.G. (say) reversed.
25 Final part of story being composed for audience (9)
TAILPIECE – sounds like TALE (story), PEACE (being composed).

Down
1 What smoker may be requesting, but not demanding (5)
LIGHT – double definition.
2 Heat altering flavour of some toast? (10,5)
QUALIFYING ROUND – QUALIFYING (altering flavour of) + ROUND (some toast).
3 American grandfather clock? (3-5)
OLD-TIMER – cryptic definition, pretty obvious I thought. According to Chambers the only American-specific usage of the word is as a form of address to an older person.
4 Recalled a most important early Christian centre (4)
IONA – A NO. 1 (a most important) all reversed.
5 This used to surface, rotten, in prelapsarian setting? (5,5)
EPOXY RESIN – POXY (rotten) inside ERE SIN (in a prelapsarian setting).
6 Relations in France, one hints, heartless (6)
UNCLES – UN (in France, one) + CL(u)ES (hints, heartless).
7 Treating business rep accelerating rashly (7,8)
GENERAL PRACTICE – (rep accelerating)*.
8 Atlas for one crossing ancient river to find plant (9)
GOLDENROD – GOD (Atlas for one) around OLDEN (ancient), R(iver).
12 Disappearing from hospital department chasing drug vehicle key (10)
EVANESCENT – ENT (ear, nose & throat, hospital department) after E (drug) + VAN (vehicle) + ESC (key).
13 Dove, not the second, but the first in race (9)
PACEMAKER – PEACEMAKER (dove), minus the second letter.
15 Shed re-fitted with pipe that’s used for farmyard ducks (5-3)
SHEEP-DIP – (shed, pipe)*.
18 Warden cold when speaking (6)
PARKIE – sounds like PARKY (cold).
21 Old chestnut tree in centre provides shade (5)
OCHRE – O(ld) + CH(estnut) + (t)RE(e).
22 Pole and I in Adriatic port (4)
BARI – BAR (pole) + I.

18 comments on “Saturday Times 26586 (3rd Dec)”

  1. Mmmmm. DNQF I got 6ac Dag Hammarskjold UNGAG but it didn’t seem to pass muster. Yes, Dag was the Swedish Secretary General of the UN who died when his plane was almost certainly shot down in the Congo in 1961. As a devout Lutheran and UNSG he did not engender too much mirth.

    IMO I don’t think this was contextually suitable for his name to be associated with a gag! Respect!There were alternatives.

  2. No problems with NE – vaguely knew Dag. VELCRO third-last in, then went away to walk the dog completely stuck. Second LOI MURMANSK would have been much quicker without “fishing” in the clue – I had thought it was a naval base. PARKIE a total guess, not having heard of either usage, but seeming the least impossible after repeated runs through the alphabet.
    Liked some of the definitions – treating business, farmyard ducks, invention for making fast.

    Edited at 2016-12-10 10:34 am (UTC)

  3. No problems accept for the full understanding of UNGAG. Like Horryd, why choose Dag? Was Dag meant to help with Gag? For me, a joke about someone who was, among other jobs, a UN SG is not necessarily a UN gag. Why not choose U Thant which is a shorter name? Oh well, enjoyed today’s much more.
  4. Main memory of this was spending almost 10 minutes getting ENCIPHERED. Haven’t seen that use of were + -ing to clue a -ed verb for ages and it always catches me out. Never quite seems like cricket.

    Did enjoy the UN gag.

  5. I can’t post my time, as I had to spread this one out over the course of the entire day, finding it very hard indeed. At least I now know who Dag Hammarskjold was; I just hope I don’t have to spell him if he comes up again.

    Would have been a DNF anyway, as I had “parkee” for PARKIE, though “parkee” does seem from a bit of searching to be a valid alternative spelling, perhaps.

  6. As I remember it, enjoyable job, around 20 minutes done with the UN GAG not understood, although I did know who old Dag was, from quizzes. Didn’t quite understand 2a, I get HEAT as the def but why ‘flavour’?
  7. Defeated this week after completing the two previous puzzles. Got a few clues on the Saturday including 9a but struggled. Managed to put a few more in during the week.
    Anyway, to sum up, the following were unanswered:4d, 8d, 17a, 20a, 21d, 25a.
    I put Unguy for 6a presuming that a guy rope could be involved. This made 6d impossible but the answer was unknown anyway. Did not know Cipher = Nobody. Peace =Being Composed still looks peculiar even though I get the piece bit. And I got 14a wrong putting Slur.
    However, I will stick to the task like the brilliantly hidden Velcro. David
  8. I understand horryd’s reservations re 6a, but I actually thought the clue was particularly good for the very reasons he found it to be in questionable taste: I don’t think there’s any need to make a kind of fetish of someone just because they die in an air crash or in any other kind of unusual way. And I have always been partial to a bit of black humour, and have never been especially partial to the UN – or indeed to any other large global body that doubles as a junket for the unelected.

    Parkie I had to cheat to get, as I recall, being required to go out, and keen to complete before I did so. Now if it had been clued by means of a chat show host, it would have been a write-in, but I imagine, and hope, that it will be a few years before the Barnsley Bomber shuffles off his coil and thus becomes eligible for inclusion.

    Edited at 2016-12-10 02:50 pm (UTC)

    1. ulaca old bean, not a fetish – there were alternatives as I and sawbill pointed out. Boutros-Boutros Ghali was a fine ‘running gag’ in ‘The Fast Show’. He might have been slightly more appropriate.

      Perhaps the fetish is with The Times who only allow the dead to appear in their crosswords – except on a Sunday!

      Ban Ki Moon fine Kurt Waldheim bad taste?

      1. It was just a crossword clue, that’s all. Maybe it’s an indication of an older setter that the first UN guy they thought of was Dag, but anyone associated with the UN would have done equally as well. We don’t need to delve into the suitability of their personality for being used in a clue – it’s just word association!
  9. Managed to stuff this one up by putting in SLUR (based on smear def.) for 14ac – and not surprisingly being unable to parse it! Thanks for the explanation Andy.

    Very enjoyable puzzle, and particularly liked the slightly dark humour of 6ac, which I thought was quite clever.

  10. No idea who Dag was but the checkers sure helped.

    Murmansk as a fishing port had me for a long time, submarine base / shipping base / nuclear base would have been more accurate.

    Nice crossword though.

  11. A technical DNF as after an hour had passed I used aids for EPOXY RESIN and ENCIPHERED. I liked the VELCRO and SHEEP-DIP clues.
  12. Well, now I know why I didn’t get 18d: didn’t know PARKIE and didn’t know ‘parky’.

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