Times 24270 – The language of restraint?

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time: 25mins

I found this relatively straightforward with only two guesses required. Held up in the NE and SW for longer than was necessary, but otherwise steady progress. Some clues (e.g. 4, 20 and 27) were on the weak side, I thought, but there was enough difficulty and enjoyment elsewhere to atone for this.

6 O(u)NCE. Ounce is my conditioned response to “cat”, but I rejected it at first, thinking the whole meant cat. I must learn to have more faith in my gut.
8 MACARONI, double def. Dandy as in Yankee Doodle.
9 COP + TIC(k) for COPTIC, a language of the Copts. I spent too long rejecting “limited credit” = “cr”.
10 LEE(d)S for residue or deposit. One for our Yorkshire readers.
11 LIE + U + TENANT for LIEUTENANT or officer. “Invention” for “lie” is a welcome change. The apostrophe is possessive on the surface and a contraction in the cryptic.
12 BAR[B]ITONE for a sedative.
14 (Invernes)S TO IC(eland) for STOIC or phlegmatic; not given to displays of emotion.
17 EP[O]CH or a very long time.
19 UKRAINIAN being one associated with UK rain, presumably. The “fellow”, which belongs to the wordplay, is Ian. Thanks to Paulmcl for pointing out the deficiency in my explanation.
22 BAT inside (BASILICA – I)* for SABBATICAL, a form of leave academics used to get to keep themselves sane. Now you can only get it if a psychiatrist deems you already insane. Is that Catch-22?
23 G[O.B.]I for the GOBI desert. O.B. for Old Boy or former pupil.
24 PORT + I(t) A(lone) for PORTIA, heroine of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice.
25 I’M PO[LIT(erature)]E for IMPOLITE. Edgar Allan Poe, whose visage should be familiar to regular visitors to this site, makes yet another appearance.
26 (trac)K + N.U.R. for KNUR or knot in wood. I vacillated between the National Union of Railwaymen and National Association of Railwaywomen for some time before plumping for the former real collective. Either would have fitted the definition.

1 H[‘UMBLE] + BEE for a hard “g” stingy type. Heep is the ever so ‘umble Uriah of Dickens’ David Copperfield. Humble bees are synonymous with bumblebees, it seems, although somebody is sure to correct me on this. There are probably many species of both, some of which don’t actually sting. Bumblebees, like Chopper Read, don’t have ears, so I can say what I like about them (unlike Chopper Read).
3 (TELLS TOM)* for SMOLLETT, Tobias George, creator of Roderick Random.
4 ALIVE AND KICKING. Strikers in the football sense.
5 “In sight” for INCITE.
6 OR[PING]TON for a breed of chook. List makers take note. Joe Orton and not G.I. Joe.
7 CH(urch) + I(nstitute) + ANTI for CHIANTI, a red wine in a basket.
13 BACK[BIT]ER a slanderer in this instance and not a contortionist.
15 CONT[IN]ENT or exercising restraint. Is the crossing with stoic establishing a theme?
16 G[A + (PILL)<]OT for a GALLIPOT, an earthenware container once used to carry pharmaceutical goods in galleys. A guess on my part.
18 PLATO + ON for PLATOON, a lieutenant’s responsibility.
21 STRAIN, double def., an effort and the act of producing liquid for cooking purposes. The connection to cooking, however appealing, is a furphy. Reliable consensus attests that the second meaning is stock as in family line. The crossing with Portia was another nice touch, the quality of mercy being what it isn’t.

31 comments on “Times 24270 – The language of restraint?”

  1. koro: close to correct re the gallipot. The Mac OS dictionary (US Oxford) says gallipots were so called because they were brought in galleys from the Mediterranean. (It doesn’t say to where but.) It also says “knur” and “knar” are variants. But there ain’t no NAR available here.
    I’ll spare you the story about “The Koala-tea of Mercy” except to say that it’s not strained and is routinely served with little hard bits of paw and leathery nose.
    Under 10 mins for this one with PLATOON/KNUR being the last in and spoiling a PB. 18 just had to have LT in it — but it didn’t.
  2. 40 minutes for this one with far too long being wasted in the NW where having originally identified 1ac as an anagram but not solving it immediately, I then bunged in BUMBLE BEE at 1dn and wrote off the idea of the anagram because 1ac had to start with B. Crazy. Also in this quarter I thought of SMOLLETT quite early but didn’t know the “Random” reference so didn’t put it in until all the checking letters were in place. The other time-waster was GALLIPOT at 16dn which my my last in.
  3. Some obscure stuff today with Smollett and Gallipot (none of us seem to have heard of that one).

    Ukranian is surely not just one associated with UK rain but IAN is the fellow: UK RAIN IAN

    1. You’re perfectly correct on Ian. I’d too easily dismissed this as a lame construction, proving the adage “If you think it’s lame, it’s more likely to be a reflection on you than them.”
  4. Time taken – 1 drawn-out, strained, cup of tea. PB by a country mile but 1 mistake. I thought of Heep “going about” ‘umbly.
    Post-solve checks for GALLIPOT, KNUR and O(U)NCE for big cat. Also to see if SMOLLETT wrote something called Random.

    Was the easiness of this I wonder by way of the editor’s apology for this weekend’s Jumbo which had a composer so obscure even his own mother would have been surprised to find him making his way into a Times crossword (fame at last). Mephisto (3rd finish from 6 attempts) took half the time of the Jumbo, but this might just be because Mr Moorey compiled it while contentedly sipping a glass of chianti, holidaying in an historic Italian port.

    1. Yes, that composer was a one-hit wonder but most people of a certain generation would know his name from that. Fortunately the answer was an anagram and there was no doubt which letters were to be used.
    2. Congrats on your success; if it is any comfort I first met that composer in a crossword too long ago to admit, and had to ask my parents who it was, not listed in my Petit Larousse of the day!
  5. 35 mins without resorting to aids, so a good time for me, particularly as i think this was a level above the easiest. unfortunately i wrote in confident for 15d without checking wordplay so close but no cigar.
  6. Was it the orange juice and coffee? Under 10m and as fast as I ever am. Top left to bottom right and I don’t know why it seemed easy, perhaps luck with the lit refs. and I agree a few weedy clues. And bumble bees are indeed quite reluctant stingers compared with their honey relatives.
  7. Very gentle start to the week, solving time about 7 minutes which should have faster but for a needless struggle at 25A. SMOLLETT and GALLIPOT were slightly obscure but dragged up from vague memory without too much trouble.

    No exciting clues but some bits of wordplay may be challenging for newer solvers – for its clever insertion indicator I’d offer COD to 6D ORPINGTON.

    Q-0 E-6 D-6 COD 6D ORPINGTON

  8. 6:57.  Thought I was in for a blinder, but got bogged down in the SW corner.  Last in were BACKBITER (13dn), PORTIA (24ac), PLATOON (18dn) [which, yes, had to have LT in it] and finally the unknown KNUR (26ac).  Other unknowns were BARBITONE (12ac), Bassanio (24ac), HUMBLE-BEE (1dn), Random (3dn), and GALLIPOT (16dn); LEES (10ac) was unfamiliar, and I only knew ORPINGTON (6dn) thanks to Saki.

    In 21dn, “to produce stock” as a definition of the culinary verb STRAIN would be rather like “to make cake” as a definition of ICE.  I think “to produce” is just a link phrase, the second definition being “stock” as in breed, variety or STRAIN.

    Minor criticisms: in 22ac (SABBATICAL) “perhaps” is an unusually weak anagram indicator for the Times; and in 1dn (HUMBLE-BEE) it’s a shame that BEE is used the same way in both definition and wordplay.

    Clues of the Day: 19ac (UKRAINIAN), 24ac (PORTIA), 26ac (KNUR), 5dn (INCITE).

    1. I have to admit that your explanation of STRAIN was the first which occurred to me, but I rejected it in the end as being more of leap to stock than “to produce stock” was to strain. If it was a “wordplay to produce X” type of clue I would have accepted “stock”=”strain”, but to me the clue is a double definition and “to produce stock” is the second; and “to produce stock” you strain the potage as the final step. I don’t have a problem with this explanation, or much of problem with your alternative.
    2. STRAIN: Mark’s interpretation is the right one – the clue is just a double meaning, “make intensive effort” to produce (to also give an answer meaning) “stock” as in breed/line of descent.
      1. I should know not to start an argument I can’t win. I’ll amend the blog. Please disregard my earlier comments below.
  9. This made an entertaining and not too demanding start to the week Orton made a nice change for Joe and it was good to see the usual cluing reversed: “Orpington perhaps…” usually clues chicken. Smollett would have been difficult if he had not cropped up a couple of months ago. In checking him then I noticed that he wrote Roderick Random. I don’t know where I dredged Gallipot from. It probably caught my eye one day when I was flicking through the dictionary.

    I was just about to say I don’t think that Strain here has anything to do with producing liquid for cooking purposes but Mark beat me to it.

  10. given it was fairly clear what the answer was I didnt spend much time thinking about the exact wording, however having read the commentary above can I just throw in a third possibility, that is “make intensive effort to produce” as def 1 and “stock” as def 2. Probably the worst of the three, but I tend to think of strain as something you do specifically to produce/achieve something.
    1. (Deleted and re-inserted since I couldn’t figure out how to edit…)

      On re-read I’m with Mark. But I see “produce” as part of the second def. That is “produce” (meaning something produced and intended for sale rather than the vb. to make) and thus “produce stock” =

      a group of plants distinguished from other plants of the variety to which it belongs by some intrinsic quality, such as a tendency to yield heavily;
      an artificial variety of a species of domestic animal or cultivated plant.

    2. I hesitate to rejoin the fray, since, as you say, everybody got there whatever the particular route they took. I did go down the “make intensive effort to produce” route but decided that would be definition by example, for, however much one associates effort with production, the possibility exists that strain produces nothing but grunts or sweat ot just nothing e.g. Sisyphus. The “produce as noun” route is plausible, but again leaves a dangling “to” to be explained. From my perspective the “to produce stock” route is the best clue; a straight dd with no mess. The other alternatives result in lesser clue constructions; with unnecessary padding or unindicated d by e’s. The proviso is that “to produce stock” actually equates to “strain”. Dictionary.com gives “strain: to draw off (clear or pure liquid) by means of a filter or sieve”. If that doesn’t describe stock production, I don’t know what does. It also gives “strain: the body of descendants of a common ancestor, as a family or stock”. So there’s no quibble with the definition “stock”=”strain”. I’m giving the benefit of the doubt to the setter here, knowing that all clues are for the best in the best of all possible worlds. I’m obviously cracking under the …
  11. dont think anyone disagrees that it describes a part of the stock making procedure, but if we use the “rule of thumb” that suggests that one may replace the other in context then it falls down. Similarly to how Mark explained it with cakes and icing, you would not clue WHISK with “produce scrambled eggs” unless there was a perhaps, or question mark or the like, yet it is a key/only component in the production.
    1. forgot to reply then, so started new comment. Just as well, as also forgot to mention that an effort to do something does not necessarily mean that the outcome happens. Surely all competitors strain to produce victory, however all bar one will not. Likewise schoolchildren make an effort to pass exams even though some do not achieve this. HOWEVER, I retract the initial suggestion on the basis that there is no way to contextualise strain followed by a noun such that it replaces the phrase “make effort to produce”. You would in all cases have to repeat “to produce” thus making it semantically incorrect.
  12. 12 minutes. Fortunate to get 1a right off which prevented me from putting in BUMBLE BEE (which I certianly would have) but it didn’t stop me thinking HUMBLE PIE which slowed up 12 a tad. Had never heard of an ‘umble bee. Took far to long to see the Eastern European despite having the -K start. Mental block.
  13. 8:45 here. I also got 1A straight away, so no problem with HUMBLE-BEE. I knew SMOLLETT and GALLIPOT too, and nothing much else held me up apart from PLATOON/PORTIA (I also wanted there to be LT in 18D, and didn’t know Portia as Bassanio’s wife.
  14. Regards to all. About 35 minutes for me, the obscurities being too many to have me classify this as easy. Those include KNUR, SMOLLETT, GALLIPOT, and, to an American, ORPINGTON esp. when combined with Joe Orton, with whom I’m not familiar. I interpreted STRAIN in the same fashion as Mark, for what it’s worth. See you tomorrow.
  15. A humbling, bumbling 28 min, and then only with assistance. Lost the plot 75% in, making an awful meal of the ones mentioned by Kevin above, and (blush) LIEUTENANT. Must have been something wrong with all that dark red grape juice consumed last night.
  16. 10 minutes, big fan of Joe Orton so nice to see him in there. Most of the rest has been said already!
  17. 9:37 – struggled at the end with 16, 22, 9, 6D, 19 – solved in that order.
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