Times 24955 – Back To The Wall

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Good to be back after my foray into China, my ancestral home, to run the 10th China Nash Hash along The Great Wall, indeed an imposing and awe-inspiring sight. Today’s puzzle is just my cup of tea with a generous helping of cryptic definitions and tichy references. Most entertaining.

ACROSS
1 BREATHING SPACE Ins of *(THEN AS PIG) in BRACE (couple)
9 EQUIPMENT Ins of QUIP (joke) MEN (staff) in ET (that loveable Extra-Terrestrial creature in Steven Spielberg’s classic who was stranded on Earth and had to phone home to ask to be rescued … the length and breath of knowledge and trivia that we, cruciverbalists seem to soak up and remember when we can’t remember where we left our reading glasses 🙂
10 NEIGH N (last letter of administration) EIGHT (figure) minus T. Cute def
11 WEDGE W (wicket) EDGE (advantage)
12 OFF THE PEG OFF (cricket side) + ins of HEP (fashionable) in TEG (the fleece of a sheep in its second year)
13 LARGESSE Cha of LARGE (great) SS (steam ship) E (Eastern) This is the only clue that forced me to go and read up about Isambard Kingdom BRUNEL, (1806–1859) that famous British engineer after whom a London university is named.
15 QUARRY dd
17 IMPISH IMPI (armed southern African native warriors) S H (first letters of sharpen harpoon)
19 WATERLOO What a splendid cd alluding to the fact that this battleground where Napoleon met his match in Wellington, is also a railway and London Underground station … tracked site indeed ! My COD
22 GIBBERISH G (first letter of government) + ins of BBE (rev of EBB, decline) in IRISH (European)
23 POWYS Ins of Y (unknown in algebra) in POW’S (captives)
24 OLIVE A tichy way of saying nothing (denoted by O) was filmed LIVE
25 SUPERHERO Ins of ER (Elizabeth Regina, ruler) in *(ORPHEUS)
26 THE GREAT GATSBY   *(GEAR THAT GETS) + BY (via) for the classic by that great American author F. Scott Fitzgerald. Congratulations (Anonymous) (88.14.49.215) for spotting today’s deliberate error 🙂

DOWN
1 BEEF WELLINGTON Another tichy cd for the dish of beef covered in pate and baked in pastry. For the newbies, wellingtons (name after the hero at Waterloo) are waterproof footwear made of rubber or other water-resistant plastic material
2 ECUADOR ECU (European Currency Unit, a former unit of currency whose rate was based on a range of European currencies, the notional single European currency before the adoption of the euro) *(ROAD)
3 TEPEE T (last letter of product) EPEE (sharp-pointed, narrow-bladed sword as opposed to a FOIL, a blunt fencing sword with a button on the point) for a Native American tent formed of skins, etc, stretched over a frame of converging poles.
4 ICEHOUSE Ins of U (uranium) in *(ECHOES I)
5 GET OFF GE (rev of EG, exempli gratia, for example, say) in TOFF (dandy, macaroni)
6 PENTHOUSE P (penny) + ins of O (old) in ENTHUSE (talk passionately)
7 CLIPPER dd
8 SHAGGY DOG STORY An amusing wordplay on the homophones, tail and tale SHAGGY (woolly) DOG (tail) STORY (tale)
14 EASTER EGG EAST (point on the compass) ERE (before) GIG (concert) minus I (one leaves)
16 CACHEPOT Ins of PO (Post Office) in CACHET (any distinctive stamp or distinguishing characteristic) for an ornamental container used to hold and conceal a flowerpot.
18 PUBLISH Another tichy clue around the PUB (where drinkers gather) which raised a smile
20 LAWLESS FLAWLESS (just) minus F
21 TISSUE T (first letter of Times) + ISSUE (put out paper) for a complex accumulation (of lies, nonsense, etc)
23 PARKA PARK (enter space) A

Key to abbreviations
dd = double definition
dud = duplicate definition
tichy = tongue-in-cheek type
cd = cryptic definition
rev = reversed or reversal
ins = insertion
cha = charade
ha = hidden answer
*(fodder) = anagram

52 comments on “Times 24955 – Back To The Wall”

  1. 13:31 spoiled by two silly typos which I’m going to pretend didn’t happen.

    Quite a few smiles here and a giggle over PUBLISH, which must surely be in the Uxbridge.

    Last in ICEHOUSE.

    1. Publish isn’t in the “New” Uxbridge which I always have to hand. There’s nothing between pubescent – intimate deodorant and pulpit – what to do with a Jeffrey Archer novel.
      1. …nor is it in the first, which resides in our loo…

        Nothing there between psychopath – crazy paving, and pulpit – Warren Beatty’s bed (but I prefer the more recent definition of pulpit).

  2. 27 mins, but despite the fast (for me) time, I found this rather unsatisfying as so many went in from the literals – LARGESSE, EQUIPMENT, NEIGH, OFF THE PEG, to name a few. I expect that, gardeners apart, I will not be alone in ending with CACHEPOT, where I was nearly blindsided by the fact that ‘cachet’ is used these days almost exclusively in common parlance to mean snob value. COD to WATERLOO, which nearly derailed me.
  3. Pretty easy today: 12m and might have broken the 10 if I’d worked harder. As Jim would say: a steady solve (in my case = plodding).

    PUBLISH might be OK on the model of SINGLISH (Singapore English), isn’t it?

    I read 19ac as a reference to the ABBA track! Whatever gets you through the morning?

    1. ‘Singlish’ and ‘Chinglish’ (here in Hong Kong), however ugly, are at least blends comprising two words truncated and then joined together to coin a new word. ‘Publish’, on the other, is just common-or-garden ‘pub’ + ‘-lish’. I suppose, by analogy, we might expect (‘though not in a crossword, where the literal needs to be in a dictionary), ‘innlish’ (a posher sort of hostelry language). The fact that the coinage ‘publish’ is also a real word with an unrelated meaning, and from a different word class, to boot, makes it weaker than, say, Singlish, in my opinion.
  4. Meant to say, isn’t the CACHET at 16dn from the philatelic sense?:

    a printed design added to an envelope to commemorate a special event“.

    Hence: stamp.

    Edited at 2011-09-15 09:05 am (UTC)

  5. 25 minutes, with 4d LOI. I suppose I must have come across CACHEPOT somewhere, although I had to look it up to be sure. Spent a lot of time on 15ac taking ‘caught’ to be C. And I heartily agree with jackkt on PUBLISH; although mctext’s appeal to Singlish (and there is also, I’m afraid, ‘Japlish’) carries some weight.
  6. 20 minutes for all but 16dn and after a further 10 minutes, as it was approaching 2am I gave up and used aids to complete the grid. I’ve simply never heard of CACHEPOT and was unable to think of a word ?A?H?T meaning ‘stamp’ to fit round the PO. Using a standard Google search and the search crossword blogs application I found no evidence that CACHEPOT has come up in the Times in recent years since I have been solving.

    Other than that, 18dn and 22ac were the only clues that gave me any problems, taking ages to decide between GIBBERISH and GIBBERING. I agree with the adverse comments regarding PUBLISH which was simply awful.

    But mostly it was very enjoyable and a welcome return to sanity after yesterday’s Guardian.

  7. Not too well this morning possibly as a result of celebrations following Surrey’s promotion to Div 1 yesterday. (Commiserations to any Northants fans out there), which might explain why I had GOT OFF instead of GET OFF (saw TURN in the clue and just stuck in GO). Some atypical clues for the Times I thought, enjoyable enough although PUBLISH could have appropriately been RUBBISH but for those pesky warriors.
    Note to cricket fans.
    Keep your eyes on this mercurial but exciting young Surrey team. Any number of these kids could be big England stars in the future. 2 in particular have the perfect ingredients, Stuart Meaker and Jason Roy, ie raw talent and South African lineage.
    1. Yes, well done Surrey – perhaps their best side since the giants of the 1950s that I used to sneak into the Oval to watch as a young lad?
      1. To throw in my cricketing 2d, solved while watching Warwickshire and becoming increasingly gloomy. There again, at the start of the season, the Mighty Bears (TM) were tipped for relegation, so still being in contention in the final session of the summer is pretty good.

        A mostly straightforward 8:52; on the plus side, I guessed CACHEPOT correctly, on the downside I mistyped one letter and ended up with EASTER EGE crossing THE EREAT GATSBY, so don’t win any prize at all.

  8. Easy one today, but, like ulaca, lots went in on literals, and then I spent time working out (or not!) the cryptics. I can see I’m in good company finishing with CACHEPOT (and also missing the station ref to WATERLOO, but getting the Abba track!)
  9. Does hep really mean fashionable? Or did the setter think he had a hip on his hands by mistake?
    1. This is a word known to 90% (99.9?) of us only by dint of being inhabitants of the strange world of Crosswordland. According to Chambers, it’s especially used in the field of jazz and really does mean ‘knowing, informed or well abreast of fashionable knowledge or taste’ (which is a lot wordier than ‘hep’ but doesn’t signify much more).

      In combination with that other cruciverbal obscurity ‘teg’, PLUS the tired cricketing term, PLUS the answer you could write in straight from the definition, this was right down there with PUBLISH for me.

    2. Yes, ‘hep’ is in Collins and the Oxfords as an earlier version of ‘hip’ meaning fashionable.
  10. A nice little 15 minute jog around the park with much to like and the usual couple of talking points.

    Is an animal “caught” a QUARRY – isn’t it still being hunted at that moment? PUBLISH might have been clued after a drink or three. CACHEPOT is obscure to say the least – and with this use of CACHE could be a Mephisto clue.

    Completely missed any Abba connection to WATERLOO as I do my best not to think about them.

    1. So you’re in agreement with my philatelic reading (above)? (Now I rather wish my youth was more mis-spent.)

      Edited at 2011-09-15 10:13 am (UTC)

    2. Chambers has prey, victim a hunter’s heap of dead game, a deer’s entrails given to the hounds.
      1. You never know when a word for deer’s entrails might come in handy so in Scotland at least you can also use “gralloch”.
        1. ….or indeed “umbles”. What’s so special about deer entrails to warrant such linguistic attention?
  11. 19 minutes mostly working hard to stay on the wavelength of a somewhat whimsical puzzle. CACHEPOT unknown to this non-gardener.
    Several I didn’t think much to, including both long downs, and the cluing of epée as “no foil” a sort of definition by exclusion. WATERLOO improved marginally as a clue when I was reminded here of the stations not the Eurovision version.
    CoD to Brunel’s open-handedness.
  12. I quite enjoyed this effort.. publish raised a smile for me and though I agree it is an awful pun, so are about half of all crossword clues, aren’t they? Proud to say I thought of the station not the popular singing combo. Hep as in hep cat no problem at all, being a child of the 50s. 20m so a little harder than average and last in was cachepot, which sounds rather rude to me, all in the mind no doubt..
  13. Once I got going, this was a straightforward sub 30 minute solve (excluding CACHEPOT which was unknown and went in on a wing and a prayer). I did know both HEP and TEG but did not spot all the nuances in the wordplays (especially for WATERLOO) so particular thanks for a fine blog.
  14. 12 minutes.
    As others have said, too many in from definition for this to be a really satisfying puzzle. For example with “nonsense” and G_B_E_I__ the trickiness of the wordplay (and the topicality of the surface) just didn’t register.
    Unknowns today were “teg” and CACHEPOT. I know what a hepcat is, and not only from watching the Fast Show. Nice.
  15. Cachepot a lucky guess, otherwise straightforward. Abba never occurred to me, DG. Knew Teg because I had a dog called that once. Couldn’t see the SS in the Brunel clue for ages. Under 30 minutes, though some of wordplay not worked out until afterwards.
  16. Actually it’s what a non-gardener uses as interior decor item to hide the homely pot the gardener has grown the the thing in. 19 minutes which is fairly speedy for me. Thanks for the blog – I couldn’t parse neigh.
  17. Rather easier today. I should have completed it in 25 minutes, but needed another 5 to come up with the unfamiliar CACHEPOT (at least avoiding aids this time); as I wasn’t convinced that WATERLOO was right I wasn’t even sure of the A initially, but then saw the pun. One error corrected at the last minute – I’d carelessly entered EQUADOR for 2dn and wondered briefly what an EQU was in old money.

    Several niggles today: ‘Rescued’ as a container indicator strikes me as dubious (whereas ‘saved’ would be fine); to define an animal sound as a ‘comment’ is twee; “no foil” as a shorthand for “what’s not a foil” (or similar noun indicator) seems suspect, and the clue to PUBLISH is pretty awful.

    I was going to query the synonym for ‘flawless’ (“just so”, not just “just” as in the blog) but I see Chambers defines “just so” as “impeccable”, so that’s OK.

  18. Didn’t record my time today as work kept interrupting but it all went in fairly easily so I would imagine one of my quicker solves. I always thought a CACHEPOT was something that covered an indoor plant pot, but I suppose that could technically be called gardening.
  19. 27:29, with the last three minutes staring at 16d before plumping for CACHEPOT out of desperation without much hope of being correct. Pleasantly surprised to find it was. Enjoyed it overall, but disappointed not to be getting this tomorrow when it’s my turn to blog!

    I liked PUBLISH. I know it’s not very Ximenean for the purists out there, but it wasn’t difficult and it made me smile.

  20. What’s not to like about a puzzle I can finish in 19 minutes, especially after yesterday’s effort. I liked PUBLISH, being a sucker for a pun, and only “rescued” struck me as being dodgy. The entertainment value was high for an easy one.

    Have I told you about the time I had to pay 10p for a pee in Powys on a wet Sunday morning when the attendant and I were the only people in sight. He might have made enough for a pint by tea time. I still have the ticket to prove it.

    1. I remember driving through Powys and my husband saying “We’ll stop at the next pub for lunch”. Over half an hour later… And that was in the days when Welsh pubs closed for the afternoon.
  21. 7:31, ending with 16dn (the unknown CACHEPOT) and finally 19ac (WATERLOO).  Also unknown was the SS Great Britain (13ac LARGESSE), and ICEHOUSE (4dn) was unfamiliar.

    I suspect this puzzle will have been a lot harder for novices than the comments suggest.  For instance, I bet most of us know “impi” (17ac IMPISH) as a crossword word (though I happen to know it from E. A. Ritter’s Shaka Zulu), and “detailed” in 10ac (NEIGH) is obvious when you’ve seen it before but a bugger when you haven’t.

    1. I’m not so sure about that. I’d never met Impi, but didn’t need to have, given the checking letters, and again NEIGH was shoved in from the definition.

      Maybe a novice would like to comment?

  22. 13:33 so pretty straightforward apart from the pot holder which was a lucky guess in the end.

    I’d probably have been quicker if I’d been able to start with the two 1s rather than the long clues down the RHS and along the bottom.

  23. I only had half an hour to spare for this today so was relieved to find it relatively simple. 23 minutes. I was greatly helped by the gettableness of the long clues around the perimeter. CACHEPOTs known as useful things to cover brown plastic flowerpots . Also, because they don’t usually have holes in the bottom, they protect your indoor surfaces from water stains.
  24. Foiled by CACHEPOT, which I didn’t know, so I went for aids. Other than that, a lot of fun with clever definitions, but I hadn’t managed the wordplay for LARGESSE or WATERLOO before coming here, so thanks to Uncle Yap for those. Thanks to the setter, but please don’t use CACHEPOT ever again. Regards.
  25. As a novice and a regular DNF I completed all of this, except cachepot, in 45 mins so this would rank as on the easy side for me. I think this is helped by having a long across and down giving lots of starting letters.

    A big thank you to all the bloggers for helping me improve. I marvel at your skill. I’m a particular fan of Jimbo and his posts.

  26. Didn’t get to this until after lunch, but a pretty slick solve, with CACHEPOT a guess based on checking letters and PO.

    Count me in on the ABBA reading of 19 across!

  27. I’m having another week off the pace, finishing in a disappointing 10:16, with CACHEPOT finally stopping me from breaking 10 minutes. All straightforward stuff which, looking back over the clues afterwards, I ought to have romped through. (Sigh!)
    1. 10:16 and a sigh?
      While traveling a month or so ago I bought a paper copy of “The Times” and did the crossword. 4 weeks later did the same crossword again in “The Australian” – recognised half the answers immediately on reading the clue – but it still took me about 15 minutes to work out the rest of them, again.

      Rob

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