Times 25826 – Off to an easy start….

Solving time: 58 minutes

Music: Resphigi, Ancient Airs and Dances, Dorati/HPhil

This puzzle should not have taken as long as it did. I put in most of it in twenty minutes, only to get most thoroughly stuck. It was mostly the SW corner that did it, where I could not get a single thing until I realized Caliban must be an ‘islander’.

This is my second week in a row on the Monday blog, as I will not be around for the holiday weekend and so have swapped with Ulaca, who gets the next two. I will be out of town, and probably out of touch with the puzzles and that sort of thing, for about a week.

1 PARISIAN, PARIS + IAN, quite easy if you know who Priam’s son is.
9 FAD, every other letter in F[r]A[u]D[s].
12 LOCKER ROOM, LOCKE + R[un] + MOOR backwards. I can never remember Locke, and he pops up quite often.
13 ITCH, [d]ITCH. I couldn’t parse this for the longest time, then saw it.
15 BEHALF, BE HALF, or on someone’s BEHALF.
16 THEOREM, THE(O[ld] R.E.)M. At first I thought the soldiers were O.R., but that doesn’t work.
18 SPECIES, SPEC(I E[xtolled])S.
20 EGOIST, E.G. + O + anagram of IT’S.
23 ARCH, A(R.C.)H, an surprisingly elaborate clue for such a short word.
26 DUAL CONTROL, sounds like DUEL + CONTROL, which is not actually spelled out on your CNTL key, is it?
27 AXE, EXA[m] backwards.
28 REMAND, RE(MAN)D. ‘In the red’ for owing or in debt is a common trick.
29 ADHERENT, A D[uke] HERE N.T. A compendium of cryptic cliches.
1 PIFFLE, PI(F,F)LE, my first in.
2 RADICLE, R.A. DIC(L)E. I tried to use ‘dare’ for a while, then saw the answer from the literal.
4 AFTER A FASHION, double definition, one rather literal-minded. It took me a long time to think of this, although it was on the tip of my brain.
6 LAID, DIAL upside down.
7 ARBITER, A ([c]R[ufts] BITER. Crufts is the UK dog show.
8 EYE RHYME, cryptic definition by example. My last in after going through the alphabet, and I’ve blogged it before! Same sort of clue, too. See puzzle 24515, April 19, 2010.
11 SHORT-TEMPERED, SHORT + TEMPERED in different senses.
14 DEMOISELLE, DE MO(I)SELLE, where ‘single’ = ‘I’. A very clever clue that was tough to crack.
17 ISLANDER, anagram of IN LEAR’S + [moul]D. Better Caliban than a goalie, I suppose.
22 ASSERT, TRESS + A, all upside down
25 ICON, double definition.

37 comments on “Times 25826 – Off to an easy start….”

  1. Tough to crack indeed when you don’t know the word. All bar 8, 14 and 24 in around half an hour, then got DISPOSSESS quickly and EYE-RHYME (I managed to get through school without learning this one – what’s the ‘my’ doing in the clue, by the way) less so, before grinding to a halt with that well known West country wine ‘Devonsolee’, the best I could come up with.

    A nice puzzle, but definitely one for those who did French A-level.

    1. U, “my” rhymes with “eye”, and is therefore an example of an “eye rhyme” in a different sense? Maybe?

      This from someone who had never heard of an eye rhyme until it appeared here recently.

    2. No. It is also a type of dragonfly, a type of crane (bird) and a pre WW1 aeroplane
      1. I stand corrected. Entomologists, ornithologists and aviation historians are exempted from French A-level. 🙂
  2. All done but eye rhyme, seepage, and demoiselle in about a half hour, then quite a while for the first two pennies to drop, and finally for aids to rescue me. I lost some slightly more pleasant time trying to get George (Smiley) or agent, spy, etc into four letters.
    Have a good holiday, vinyl

    Edited at 2014-06-30 02:50 am (UTC)

  3. Similar to others, was racing through until held up in the Margaret River corner. Then held up further by the unknown but ultimately gettable DEMOISELLE.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

  4. At 28 minutes this was an increasingly rare visit for me these days into sub-30 territory despite a hold-up at 14dn and 26ac as I tried to close things out. I don’t have French A-level (only an O-) but it’s not much of a leap from the familiar ‘Mademoiselle’ to the required answer with perhaps a thought of the English ‘damsel’ along the way.

    V, I don’t know if that’s a typo at 26ac, but my keyboard has Ctrl.

    Edited at 2014-06-30 03:00 am (UTC)

    1. Sadly, I was unable to break down mademoiselle into ma (my) and demoiselle (lady). (The word has hitherto always been an “unanalysed whole” for me.) Another thing that passed me by at school…
      1. Cf “Monsieur” but I think SIEUR might be a bit arcane for a daily cryptic!
        1. Might have actually go that one. The problem with ‘mademoiselle’ is that I rather imagine I have always parsed it as ‘madam’ followed by ‘moiselle’. Triste, mais vrai.
  5. 9m here, helped no doubt by knowing DEMOISELLE. It was still my last but one in, just before DUAL CONTROL. In my experience Moselle is more usually spelled Mosel these days, so I didn’t think of it.
  6. 25 minutes. Good puzzle; particularly liked the ex-clam. Thanks for explaining the “my” in 8, Galspray; it’s a very clever clue and my last one in.
  7. 18:08 .. the morning after a housewarming. It turns out our Cornish neighbours like a party — really like a party — so I rate that as a blistering time.

    Same DAMOISELLE issues as many others.

    Like Paul, I was pleasantly misled into thinking about George Smiley, cleaning his glasses on his tie (must have been the specs in 18a that did it).

    Very much enjoyed EXCLAIM

  8. 11 mins so I think I must have been on the setter’s wavelength. EYE-RHYME was my LOI and I seem to recall I struggled with it the last time it appeared. Count me as another who was helped by knowing DEMOISELLE. An enjoyable puzzle IMHO.
  9. 19 minutes on this one, back on paper after a series solved online with stupid typos featuring. My hold up was in the SE corner, with the crossing pair of AXE and SEEPAGE, the second of which, after solving, is my CoD. I think knowing that exudate was something to do with sweating (clever me!) I was trying to finish the SEE-something with an appropriate damp and sticky word cut short.
    I managed to go from key to control without troubling the user interface device, though now I write it down I’m not sure how.
  10. I found this a fairly straightforward solve, with no unknowns. The DEMOISELLE reminded me of this


    If the Crossword Club finishes today as promised I think this will be my last Times puzzle. The only access for non-UK solvers seems to be a digital pack at GBP6 per week which is well beyond my means . I wouldn’t mind paying a bit more for the Crossword Club, but being forced into a full subscription when all you want is the crossword is frustrating.

    Thanks for the fun. From tomorrow I shall be a Guardian and Indie solver.

    1. no. The digital pack at £1/week for three months and then £2/week for the next nine is available to all current subscribers worldwide. See the relevant thread on the Crossword Club forum
  11. 30m, which felt like a good time considering how many question marks I still had half way through that time.

    When left with _E_O_S_L_E at 14D I resorted to alphabet trawling hoping that the 9th letter would be revealing and thankfully this proved right when I hit L and somehow made the leap to DEMOISELLE. I still wasn’t confident as I only knew MOSEL without LE at the end so was relieved when I came here to check.

  12. 8:05 helped by the fact that while I was muttering ‘Eye… Eye’ I suddenly remembered the struggle I had with EYE RHYME before. A nice Monday level crossword. Thanks for the blog
  13. 19.21. Relieved to be able to function after playing cards all night. Held up at the end (appropriately enough) by 21. Maybe we cruciverbalists are all part of an evolutionary switch to homo ludens. Need to sleep on it. – joekobi
  14. I think Mosel is the German wine region and Moselle the French, on the same river.
    Had no problems with this in 20 minutes, all except the ITCH – EYE RHYME cross, then went into town for market day coffee, returning to find Mme had inadvertently tidied my printout into the recycling. So DNF on paper, only in my head while out and about.
    My Cod SEEPAGE.
    1. So it is. Collins and Chambers both define Moselle as a German wine. Chambers has Mosel and Moselle as interchangeable, wherase Collins doesn’t have Mosel at all (or at least not in the 2003 edition which is the source for free online version).
      1. ‘Mosel’ is in the printed Collins towards the end of the entry for ‘Moselle’ as the German alternative spelling. They’re pronounced differently too.
        1. It’s in the online version too, but only in the definition of the river, not the wine.
  15. I got this, but don’t see how it means “Play in team”. It seems horribly loose to me, but I suspect I am just missing it. Help!
      1. Not to mention football if you’re of a certain age – wing-half, centre-half, outside-half…
  16. 11 minutes, so a breezy start to the week… I saw DEMOISELLE before the wordplay, and got EYE-RHYME from the generous checking letters.

    Will it be a ghost town around here tomorrow? I plan on continuing if it’s not too big a hit, but actually trying to sign up for things on that silly site seems to be a bother.

  17. About 25 minutes, ending with DUAL CONTROL. When looking at D?A? in that clue I became convinced that some kind of drag racing vehicle was needed, but I couldn’t think of anything. All the rest OK, though I was only vaguely familiar with DEMOISELLE. Regards.
  18. Well, farewell to those who are going but staying does not seem to be expensive as suggested. Hope to see regulars (and newcomers) later.
  19. Maybe we should have a roll-call tomorrow.

    By way of comparison, the NY Times is $2 per day at the newsstand ($5 on Sunday) and my online sub, which doesn’t include the crosswords @ an additional $7 p/m because I don’t do them much, is $24 per month. My crossword webpack is $14p/m. In other words bigtone has a point about the expense (or not).

    However I quite agree that the whole thing was handled very badly from the get-go so I don’t wonder that many are fed up. If only the suits had asked us I daresay most would have been quite ok with a reasonable increase in the club membership fee – L25 per annum was pretty much a steal. And then we wouldn’t be having all this upheaval.

  20. 25 minutes, which is good for me. I got “demoiselle” thanks to a combination of past and current hobbies: tropical fish and alcohol.

    Theorem was my NTLOI, after which I had to trawl the alphabet for the “rhyme” of EYE RHYME, which is also my COD. I do think that the “my” in the clue was a bit surplus to requirements, though. I also liked PIFFLE, which I think would have delayed many of our colonial brethren – not only is PIFFLE a gloriously English word, but “pile” for a stately home couldn’t originate from anywhere else.

    ISLANDER was a bit of a guess, as the Caliban reference was over my head – my knowledge of Greek legends/Shakespeare/the Bible [delete as appropriate] is completely non-whelming.

    Today’s award for Best Performer in an Ealing Comedy went to a child who, endearingly, got his head stuck in railings. It warms my heart to know that there are still children who can do this, rather than developing carpal tunnel syndrome from their Gameboys. Somewhat less endearingly, his friends (and I use the term cautiously) reasoned that he could be extricated from the fence by them all pushing on the top of his head. In theory, that should have worked; in practice it resulted in his ear being torn halfway off. As with so many things in life, a lubricant is always advisable. Still, it’s just as well they didn’t try pulling from the other side.

    1. There are two definitions in this clue:
      1. ‘For example, my’, because ‘my’ rhymes with EYE, so it is an EYE RHYME in one sense.
      2. ‘Move in relation to love’, because ‘move’ and ‘love’ constitute an EYE RHYME in the conventional sense, i.e. words that look the same.
  21. A jaded 10:09 for me. 1ac set the general trend: I had a ghastly senior moment where the only children of Priam I could think of were Hector and Cassandra; and I then assumed that the answer was going to be some architectural term. I limped on to the end, but it was heavy going.

    This could be my final comment on the Times crosswords from Monday to Friday, as I’m expecting to lose access to the Times Crossword Club imminently – though at the time of writing (between midnight BST and midnight GMT) I’m still hanging in there! I may well join in at weekends (I’ll continue to buy the paper on Saturdays), but I’ll miss the day-to-day exchanges.

    Meanwhile I plan to have an occasional skirmish with the Guardian, Independent and Financial Times crosswords, and I’ll be tackling five crosswords chosen pseudo-randomly from the years 1930 to 1969 (inclusive), which I’ll be reporting on – and asking for explanations of any clues I don’t understand – in my RTC3 blog (see the side panel) which now enters its third incarnation as “Recherché Times Crossword Clues Considered”.

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