Time 26716 – hope you didn’t get court out

Solving time : 11:23 – and I have a feeling I was the target audience for this puzzle, there is some smashing wordplay, and even a rare cryptic definition that I can tolerate. A few obscure words with strong wordplay making them accessible.

I wondered if we were heading to a pangram, and the thought of unused letters helped me see the entry at 25 down which was one of my last in, but there are a few letters missing.

This is another evening where I will be disappearing for several hours after putting up the blog, so check the comments if you have a query or quibble, and I’ll check back in when morning breaks.

Away we go…

1 AISLE: sounds like I’LL
4 CAFETERIA: C(onveyed), A, FETE then AIR reversed
9 ENRAPTURE: anagram of PARENT, then the river URE
10 ROMEO: NATO alphabet for R, the middle of TURIN
11 PAELLA: PA(father), then the singer ELLA Fitzgerald
12 STIRRING: the prison gang could be a STIR RING
14 GILBERTIAN: anagram of LIBERATING – Ralph Rickstraw is a character in HMS Pinafore
16 LIMB: LIMBO without 0
19 SUMO: O(vertly) next to SUM
20 MAKEWEIGHT: sounds like MAKE WAIT – got this one from wordplay
22 AQUATINT: A QUAINT(whimsical) containing T(his)
23 SCYTHE: SC(scilicet, to wit), Y(variable), THE(article)
26 PRIDE: sounds like PRIED
27 BRIC-A-BRAC: I inside an anagram of two CRABs
28 ACETYLENE: anagram of ETC, then Y(unknown), LEN(man)
inside A and E
29 TON-UP: NOT reversed, then UP(happy)
1 AREOPAGUS: A, then SUGAR(sweetener) containing POE all reversed – clever wordplay for a word that I did not recognize, Edit: apologies – I had na extra A in the wordplay when I first posted
3 ESPALIER: A,L with ESPIER surrounding
4 CLUB: double definition – playing card and a club for killing fish. Take that, bream!
5 FREE TRADER: FREE(deliver) then RED,ART all reversed
6 TORERO: TOO(as well) containing R and ER
7 REMAINING: RE(on), MAIN(sea), IN, (bri)G
8 AMONG: AG(silver) containing MON(day)
13 ATTAINABLE: A, IN inside AT TABLE(where we eat)
15 LIMOUSINE: cryptic definition, based on STRETCH LIMO
17 BUTTERCUP: C(onstructed) inside BUTTER UP
18 MERCHANT: MEANT(intended) containing RICH without I – and just savor that surface a moment – my pick for best clue
21 STEELY: (pries)T inside SE, ELY
22 APLHA: ALP(mountain), H(hotel), A
24 TURIN: TURN(stroll) containing I(taly)
25 KITE: KIT(tools), and E

48 comments on “Time 26716 – hope you didn’t get court out”

  1. a stupid typo at 22ac. Things were going fine, aside from the typo, until I hit a wall with 3 clues left: 9ac, 2d, 4d, and those took me about 7 minutes, with CLUB LOI. I didn’t know the fish-beating priest, but assumed, finally, that there must be a club. I agree with George on MERCHANT.
  2. Was going along at a Mondayesque pace until the last few. Main hold-ups at the end were CLUB (seemed like the best guess), MAKEWEIGHT (seemed like a wild guess) and AREOPAGUS (generous wordplay).

    Amazingly I recognised Ralph Rackstraw immediately, just didn’t realise GILBERTIAN was a word. Well apparently it is.

    Very enjoyable solve. Thanks setter and George.

  3. Struggled to finish as usual at the moment and eventually looked up AREOPAGUS where I had thought of A POE as the US writer but failed to spot the rest of the wordplay to arrive at the unknown word. Echoes at 16ac of a clue in today’s Quickie. To go with the Gilbertian Ralph Rackstraw at 14ac we have BUTTERCUP at 17dn, another character in H.M.S. Pinafore.

    Edited at 2017-05-04 05:21 am (UTC)

    1. We had AREOPAGUS a while back; I remember being struck by how widely it was not known. But then I suppose no one reads Milton anymore. From his “Areopagitica”:
      I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversary, but slinks out of the race where that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat.
      1. Presumably one of the reasons he couldn’t praise it is because he couldn’t actually see it.
      2. Milton could have been writing about our current election, but I suppose he didn’t envisage a situation in which the adversary is running around in circles in the dust and heat, punching himself in the face.

        Edited at 2017-05-04 07:36 am (UTC)

  4. What felt like a dimwitted struggle over 32 minutes, with rather too many abandoned with all crossers until emerging out of the mist on revisiting. A pity, really, as there were some fine and entertaining clues here.
    I thought I remembered priest as CLUB from Dickens’ Oliver Twist, but the clubs Sikes and co carried were “persuaders”. Such were the fingertips I clung on by.
  5. 7m45, no real problems. Early morning whimsy caused me to bung in TRATTORIA at 4ac for a bit and then the even more unlikely ASPARAGUS at 1dn, though as a classicist there was nothing unfamiliar to me about the lofty Crag of Ares. Definitely quite enjoyed this throughout while finding it difficult to remember anything that definitively blew me away, I think you’re right in saying that the general standard of wordplay was a cut above. 4dn a bit cheeky though, if anyone didn’t just shrug their shoulders and give CLUB the old school try I’ll be quite impressed!
    1. As an intermittent angler, I actually possess a priest, so that was a write in 🙂
      1. Just don’t go round talking about possessing priests, people will get the wrong idea! (Just had to look up whether Satan was “an angler in the lake of darkness”, but of course it was Nero… same principle though.)
  6. About 40 mins over porridge – then left the court.
    I was glad of the “if there is a U, try a Q” maxim at 22ac – which I think has a whimsy of its own and is my COD. It reminded me of the bit at the start of Brideshead Revisited: “Oxford, in those days, was still a city of aquatint” etc.
    I raised eyebrows at a couple of synonyms today: Deliver (free), tools (kit), Eddy (surge). All ok I s’pose.
    The random bloke today was Len.
    Thanks setter and blogger.
  7. Stuck at the end on a few of those annoying missing-2-letters-of-4-letter answers, solving CLUB by choosing to ignore the ‘priest’ bit and eventually seeing KITE to finish in 40 minutes. SUMO unconsciously helped me with its neighbour MAKEWEIGHT which I’d never heard of before. No real stand-outs, but I liked LIMOUSINE.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  8. Club = priest (or vice versa) new to me. Helpful to see what was going on with ROMEO, so I put the R in before I’d solved TURIN, which proved tricky along with TON-UP, a phrase I’d heard but couldn’t for the life of me remember why. Useful to remember SC = to wit. COD = BRIC-A-BRAC, FOI = AISLE. Stretch for limousine has come up recently I think, so that saved me a few valuable minutes. Excellent puzzle.
    Many thanks setter and blogger.
  9. So determined was I not to be WOEful again today, that I alphabet-ran for a good 5 mins or so before plumping for CLUB (my first thought). Yay! This time the unknown meaning turned out to be right!

  10. dnk and could not work out AREOPAGUS in my allowed 30 minutes – a pity as really liked some of the clues – GILBERTIAN, AQUATINTand SURGE my favourites. Thanks gl and setter.
  11. Happy to have romped home in 45 minutes, my best time of the week so far. AREOPAGUS remembered from October 2015, apparently, where BUTTERCUP also came up—the same setter, I wonder?

    I knew “priest” for CLUB from one of the Dalziel and Pascoe mysteries, though whether the books, the TV version, or both, I can’t recall. It was definitely used as a murder weapon, though.

    Glad there was fair wordplay for TORERO as it’s been a long time since I’ve re-read The Sun Also Rises. I should also clearly watch some more G&S, as I’d assumed Ralph Rackstraw was some Dickensian fellow I’d not heard of until I put the anagram together…

    All in all, an excellent puzzle that I think would have defeated me a year or two back.

    1. We also have an overlap with today’s Philistine in the Guardian where AISLE and MERCHANT are featured.
      1. And despite me reading your comment this morning and doing the Grauniad puzzle at lunchtime, as is my wont, they still both came as a surprise to me!

        Edited at 2017-05-04 12:33 pm (UTC)

  12. Just under the 10 minute mark today. I got a bit stuck for a couple of minutes with only AREOPAGUS, GILBERTIAN (no idea who Ralph Rackstraw was) and LIMOUSINE (don’t know why) left, but then I was able to construct 1dn outwards from POE, and once I had I remembered the court from its last appearance.
    No problems with ‘priest’ for CLUB: an entirely commonplace word, I wish people wouldn’t moan about obscurities.

    Edited at 2017-05-04 07:37 am (UTC)

  13. Stumbled on GILBERTIAN solving the anagram, wondering who the hell Ralph Rackstraw was. Told to mime at the wolf cub concert because I put the others off, I was never asked to join the G and S auditions later. I also opted for CLUB as a suit, but not being an angler, I didn’t know that fish received the last rites. LOI STIRRING, which I should have seen earlier. I’ve got a plum tree which I’m spreading the branches out in a vain attempt at an ESPALIER, surely the method and not the shrub? Managed to solve in 25 minutes without ever feeling comfortable with answers like AQUATINT. COD LIMOUSINE. I can’t think of a stretched limo without recalling the occasion when a very eminent colleague, chauffeur-driven in one each day, got stuck with the vehicle straddling a humped-back bridge. The sympathy felt could be heard all the way from the management dining room to the staff CAFETERIA that lunchtime as the word spread. Thank you setter and George.

    Edited at 2017-05-04 08:54 am (UTC)

  14. 21:47 of steady solving. AQUATINT fell to the ‘See a U, try a Q’ ploy, DNK TORERO but trusted the wordplay, and the KITEs were out in force this morning while walking the dog. Happy with PRIEST although if you had asked me what the short fish-dispatching thing was called, I would have answered ARCHDEACON. I can find no justification for this. Thanks setter and George.
  15. Amazed to complete this (about 45m) as on the hard side for me. Couldn’t get aspartame out of my head at first and haven’t heard of the sweetener before. Knew priest from mispent youth, but I always refused to kill a pike – such a gorgeous creature. Well done speed merchants, I still remain in awe. Off now to dast my vote for … Oops probably shouldn’t say! Come on you ….
  16. I meant to mention that I knew Ralph (‘Rafe’) Rackstraw and Buttercup from being a stagehand for a school production of HMS Pinafore. In an all-male boarding school, the only occasions when we saw girls, let alone get to talk to them, were the school play and the debating society. Both very popular.
  17. We had Milton for A Level back in the day so this went in smoothly. And like Kevin and Matt I remember the discussion on the word in the Club forum a while ago. Dispatching a fish with a club is supposedly an angling no-no. A friend of ours who knows taught us how to extract the hook from the rather formidable jaws of a bluefish – a neat trick. Good puzzle. 15.16

    Edited at 2017-05-04 09:36 am (UTC)

  18. Usual time with the FREE part of 5d holding me up. Cannot see why now. Looked up LIMOUSINE as I realised that I didn’t know where it came from.
  19. My daughter has just landed the role of Buttercup in Tees Valley G&S Society’s next production.
  20. A confidence booster today, finishing in 24:13 after yesterday’s disaster. 4d was a write in as I have to confess to owning one, among the rest of my(these days) rarely used fishing tackle. Had to use the generous wordplay for AREOPAGUS, ESPALIER and to drag AQUATINT from the depths. Biffed FREE BOOTER at first, but couldn’t parse it and deleted the BOOTER bit, coming back to it when I had the crossers, which made it my LOI. FOI was AISLE. An enjoyable puzzle. Thanks setter and George.
  21. Whizzed through most of this, then got bamboozled by 22 across, where I could only think of something else. Actually, I wouldn’t have known what an aquatint was if it had come up and poked me in the eye. And then Gallers knows about Ralph Whatsisface, who I’ve never heard of. A bad day all round.
    1. You’re off the hook – you didn’t comment on the puzzle the last time it came up on 29 April last year.
  22. A quick solve for me, all done in 36 mins on the train this morning but despite the relative speed I thought it was a good challenge with lots of unravelling from word play and PDMs. 4dn Club entered on the basis of suit rather than priest. The last 8 mins were spent on my last 3: 1dn, 14ac and 3dn. Twigged that Ralph Rackstraw must have been a G&S character once I saw the anagram. Espalier derived from word play. Areopagus came to mind from thinking of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite whose mystic text, The Cloud of Unknowing, I read at University some 20 years ago (funny the odd bits of flotsam and jetsam that stick in the mind), I worked out the word play for that one after seeing the word. FOI 1ac. LOI 3dn. I’ll give my COD to the Areopagus.
  23. 16:49 with CLUB and AREOPAGUS my only fingers-crossed entries.

    Can’t say I cared much for the LIMO clue myself – “at a stretch” doesn’t mean the same as “when stretched” so for me it doesn’t really work

  24. As others, bunged in CLUB from one def without any idea of the priest connection; held myself up for a while by mis-spelling it AEROPAGUS and therefore baffled by 9a until the error was corrected. Quite a nice puzzle, but not exceptional, 25 minutes.
  25. That didn’t feel like a Times cryptic. Too many clues that sounded as if they came from somewhere else such as the D.T.
    Anyone else querying ESPALIER. The clue seems to be looking for the name of a shrub not the device designed to keep it flat to a wall. Or maybe I’m being too pedantic.
    24m 50s spoiled by a typo in Turin.

    Edited at 2017-05-04 04:03 pm (UTC)

    1. My Oxford Dictionary of English has:

      • a fruit tree or ornamental shrub whose branches are trained to grow flat against a wall, supported on a lattice.
      • a lattice for an espaliered tree or shrub.

    2. Well it felt like a Times cryptic to me, though perhaps one from a slightly earlier time. These were well-constructed clues demanding knowledge that some people seem have found beyond their ken today, but which I suspect most experienced Times solvers of my generation would have had no problem with. If this is the sort of thing the Daily Telegraph is coming up with, then good for them.
  26. A technical 12 min fail. Despite parsing CAFETERIA as I read the clue I managed to write it in as “cafetaria”. Muppet. Of the answers I didn’t balls up AREOPAGUS was my LOI after GILBERTIAN.
  27. As George says, I was court out by 1D. I saw that the wordplay could lead to the actual correct answer, but they only seemed an oddball combination of letters leaving me saying ‘huh?’, so I gave up and looked it up. To see how dopey I look, I followed Matt’s link above back to the earlier puzzle where it appeared, unremembered by me, but I found I didn’t comment that day so maybe I missed that puzzle. In any event, I didn’t know of AREOPAGUS today. Ah well. Regards.
  28. 7:23 in a clean sweep for what was very much my sort of puzzle. I dithered far too long at the end over FREE-TRADER (even though the wordplay should have put it beyond doubt) as I don’t recall coming across it as a “smuggler’s vessel” before, but apart from that I found this a pleasant straightforward solve.
  29. 15:27… which is pretty quick for me – the first 6 across clues went straight in before I started coming up blank. Count me as another who didn’t know that commonplace meaning of ‘priest’, but a card had to be a CLUB. AREOPAGUS unknown but constructed from the wordplay once I had all the checkers. AQUATINT my LOI. Good puzzle. Thanks setter and George.
  30. Surprised that so many didn’t know it, yet a non-angler non-U non-Brit like me did. Like Matt it was a murder weapon in a book, perhaps (I’m ashamed to say) a Jeffrey Archer book. And only normally used on salmon along Scottish rivers, never bream.
    So quite quick at 22 mins, even recognising that areopagus was a word I didn’t know but that I knew it had appeared before, if that makes sense.
  31. A week ago I did this crossword, looked up “espalier” after completing it, and thought, “I’ve never even seen one…”

    Today, of course, I walked down Bristol harbourside on a route I’ve trod dozens of times before, and realised I was walking past multiple giant espaliered trees, which I’d previously just thought of as “that weird structural planting near the ugly modern flats”, if I’d noticed them at all…

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