Times 25836

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I found this one straightforward and therefore very welcome after the past few days of tricky puzzles. I completed all but two clues in 35 minutes but 5dn and 9ac delayed me for a little longer. There’s really very little to say about any of it so I won’t waste time trying to say more.


1 BALDERDASH – BALDER (plainer), DASH (taste, as in a dash of lemon)
7 PESO – Hidden
9 BUDDHIST – DD (Doctor of Divinity, hence divine) + HI (word of welcome) inside BUST (break). Definition: ‘prayer’ as in a person who prays.
10 ALLURE – A, LL (lakes), URE (river)
11 STAPLE – Double definition
13 GO TO TOWN – Double definition, one sort of cryptic
17 GLASS CEILING –  Barely cryptic definition
20 SUDANESE – DANES (people from Europe) inside SUE (petition)
21 SIGNET – Sounds like “cygnet” (ugly duckling, ugly or otherwise) [Edited, to reflect late anon posting below]
22 NO BALL – NOB (head), ALL (everyone). Our cricketing clue du jour.
23 TIMELESS – ‘Reason’ is ‘treason’ less T (time)
25 MULE – Double definition
26 TRENCHCOAT – Anagram of TECHNOCRAT. The enumeration is incorrect here as all the usual sources have it as two words. Even ‘One Look’ can only find it in Wiktionary, Urban Dictionary and other less than reliable on-line publications.


3 DUD – Single definition leading us to a palindrome
4 RHINE – First letters of Running High In Northern Europe
5 ANTIGUA – ANTI (fighting), GUAm (island, a US territory in Micronesia)
6 HEARTACHE – HEAR (catch), TACHE (something hairy)
7 PULL THE PLUG – Double definition of sorts. To do this is to stop something, hence ‘act as stopper’.
8 SCREWY – Double definition of sorts. Nuts, as in ‘mad’.
12 POMEGRANATE – ‘OME (‘ouse) + GRAN (relative) inside PATE (head)
15 FLAGEOLET – Double definition. The musical instrument is similar to a recorder. Edit at 07:05: I assumed the other meaning, a type of bean, would be well-enough known  not to warrant mention, but two contributors of those so far have said they didn’t know it so I’m adding this now.
16 UNDERSEA – ERSE (tongue) inside sUNDAe (ice cream)
18 SHEATHE – HEAT (warm) inside SHE (woman)
19 SUDOKU – The M (1000) inside SUMO (wrestling) changes to D (500, so 50% down), followed by the first letters of Kit Up
21 SUMAC – CAMUS (French absurdist, Albert) reversed. I know this tree only through crosswords.
24 LACbLACk (dark). This resin came up only last Tuesday so it was fresh in my mind

45 comments on “Times 25836”

  1. Correction –

    5d was second in but 25a held me up terribly making 19d tough until the U turned up.
    If it took jackkt around 40 minutes why describe it as straightforward? Starightforwardish perhaps?


    1. Welcome to TftT, h.

      I think you are confusing me with some of the other faster contributors around here! It’s all subjective anyway, but after the problems I had solving Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week, today’s was undoubtedly straightforward.

      Another factor is how easy the blog was to write. The structure of the clues is pretty basic throughout so there were no complicated explanations of parsing to go into, or obscure words or references.

      I deleted your first comment since you posted a correction. If you sign up for a free Live Journal account you will be able amend your postings yourself.

  2. I took a long time trying to fit (i)CECREA(m) into the too-available e and a crossers before the undersea penny dropped, and I needed the blog to learn the parsing of 9a and 19d. Thank you, Jack, and I agree that the dds and cds are the weak links today. Not much else to say.

    Edited at 2014-07-11 02:27 am (UTC)

  3. Reading the blog, I don’t know why I had so much trouble with this puzzle. Coming to the conclusion that I’m simply inconsistent (or inconsistenly simple). Last were the firework and the prayer. The literal for the latter was an interesting bit of cunning. Have to say though that I did like the “technocrat” anagram.
    1. Given my consistent simplicity, I’d still have you as a warm favourite for tomorrow’s showdown over coffee.
  4. 52′, with much head scratching over BUDDHIST and TIMELESS (thanks to Jack for these), and problems with 20a, as I had ‘flagiolet’ at 15d.

    Quite a foody theme to this one, which never plays into my hands, with both CREME FRAICHE and FLAGEOLET as a bean unknown. SUMAC, on the other hand, not a problem, as I am currently reading ‘The Plague’ – even if I haven’t been able to find much absurdity.

    Edited at 2014-07-11 02:09 am (UTC)

  5. A puzzle in two halves, at the end of a week in two halves. Some barely-cryptic clues such as STAPLE and GLASS CEILING (and NO BALL for many of us) had me heading for a fast time.

    Slowed down dramatically after that, with BUDDHIST, ANTIGUA and TRENCHCOAT (great anagram) proving particularly hard to crack.

    Then it all came to nothing, as I had no chance of getting FLAGEOLET, having never heard of the bean or the instrument.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

  6. 15.56, my two halves being more the top and the bottom.
    My apology, Jack, I commented on the club site before coming here – I should have known you would have been most thorough in your homework. TRENCHCOAT’s a fine anagram spot, and it didn’t occur to me while solving that it shouldn’t be (10).
    FLAGEOLET a write-in for me: ‘er indoors “makes” (that is to say, she directs ‘im indoors in the making of) bean salad for those occasions when it’s a bring and share supper, as it was on Tuesday last. The recipe goes “find as many different beans as you can on Tesco’s shelf, wash and mix together with petits pois and some sort of vinaigrette”. As it happens, they didn’t have flageolets this time, but they usually do.
    SUDOKU didn’t look as if it could be anything else, though I hesitated long until I saw the wordplay for what it was. What have the Romans ever done for us?
    Didn’t immediately think of Camus as an Absurdist, but did think of Jarry, the father of ‘Pataphysics, because I walked by the charming shop in Shoreditch yesterday. Sadly, YRRAJ isn’t a tree.
    1. Not at all, z8. I later thought better of my use of “reputable” and changed it in my blog, but then forgot to do the same in the forum.

      Edited at 2014-07-11 07:18 am (UTC)

  7. Needed help to finish because I just couldn’t recall the exact form of FLAGEOLET. I started out wanting it to be FLAGELLOT but that didn’t look right at all. Embarrassing, really, because like Z8’s ’er indoors I regularly use them in cooking (the beans, not the musical instruments).

    Also caused myself problems with a careless Rhone at 4d, before finally figuring out the BUDDHIST.

    Enjoyed this one very much. I think it’s all about surfaces for me, which is maybe why I still regularly tackle and enjoy The Telegraph — it may be much easier but it’s nearly always elegantly put together.

  8. Agreed, straightforward 20 minute meander to solve with just the weak cryptic definition slightly irritating. Opposite to Jack I knew the SUMAC tree (you will have seen them in your travels Jack) but not the “absurdist” though I’d heard of Camus. Needed all the checkers to spell the bean.
    1. Like Jack, I only know SUMAC from crosswords: it’s a regular visitor, last appearing on 10 May. It also appeared on 19 May 2009 as 22dn, and in that puzzle the clue for 1dn was ‘Author of 22 getting upset’.

      Edited at 2014-07-11 08:56 am (UTC)

      1. From Wednesday’s Telegraph Toughie buy Elkamere:
        Climbing tree, he pondered the human condition (5)
        1. Elkamere being the redoubtable Anax/Dean Mayer who also does ST & times cryptics. I think his clue is more amusing..

          Edited at 2014-07-12 12:10 pm (UTC)

  9. DNF by a mile today. Off the pace after my two-week crossword free holiday. Didn’t get the simple Balderdash, Sudanese, Mule and Heartache, let alone some of the more tricky ones (Buddhist, Timeless, Sudoku, Flageolet, Undersea). Thanks Jack for explaining everything.
    Think I’ll do the quick cryptics to get back the right thought process…
  10. Didn’t find this appreciably easier than the last couple of days, though my inability to figure out the ADULTERY and TRENCHCOAT anagrams suggests maybe I was out in the sun too long yesterday. Didn’t know that meaning of DUD.
  11. 16m for this. A relief just to finish after the last couple of days. I hesitated for a couple of minutes at the end over FLAGEOLET. The beans are a staple in my larder (they go extremely well with lamb) but I didn’t know or had forgotten the instrument.
    I was puzzled by ‘do well’ as a definition for GO TO TOWN, but I was reading it in the sense ‘didn’t he do well?’ rather than ‘if a thing’s worth doing…’.
    I don’t have a problem with the enumeration for 26ac. A quick google demonstrates that TRENCHCOAT is pretty common, so it’s just a question of the dictionaries catching up.

    Edited at 2014-07-11 08:32 am (UTC)

    1. My Google search shows a majority of around 14 to 1 in favour of TRENCH COAT.
      1. But even on those numbers TRENCHCOAT is pretty common usage. I found quite a few examples of it in the Times! Interestingly Burberry seems to use TRENCH COAT consistently, which would support a preference for that form. But it would only be a preference.
        Personally I think it’s a better clue this way, because it’s a neat anagram and (5,4) would have been too easy.
  12. An enjoyable 9 mins. I thought this was almost as easy as Monday’s but from reading your comments it looks like I was just on the setter’s wavelength. CREME FRAICHE was my second one in after PESO, the F checker from it led me to FLAGEOLET straight away and I had no problem with its spelling or either meaning of it, POMEGRANATE was next in from its M checker, and I fleshed out the rest of the puzzle from those four answers. TRENCHCOAT as two words didn’t even occur to me. MULE was my LOI.

    Edited at 2014-07-11 09:34 am (UTC)

  13. I’ve no idea if this has been discussed here before but if not this may help to avoid some hair pulling. Apologies if old news.
    I was a crossword club member given a complimentary subscription to the Times site which ended 30th June. On email invitation I renewed via telephone (first 3 months half price etc) setting up a direct debit and so on. Since I have been able to access the daily cryptic as before (ie without entering the Times site) it was only yesterday when I decided to have a go at the Quick Cryptic for the first time (my level found at last) that I found that I was denied access and invited to subscribe. I tried to resolve using the chat line but that was annoyingly useless – the person I was chatting to kept insisting I had cancelled the sub – and eventually was told when I telephoned that there was a computer system problem with “some” former crossword club members whose renewed subscriptions were erroneously cancelled. So I had to set up a new sub, new direct debit etc.
  14. 29min – but had wasted about 5min on 23ac before noticing that I’d mistyped 18dn, so was looking for A.M.L.S.
    I’d call SUDOKU a puzzle rather than a game, as it’s not usually played against an opponent.

    Edited at 2014-07-11 10:17 am (UTC)

  15. New here! 7a and 7d were first in, and comfortably completed the top half whilst on the daily commute, despite the distraction of the girl sitting opposite. I struggled with the bottom half though (crossword, not girl) and despite looking for the trenchcoat anagram, managed to miss it.
    1. Welcome, therotter. Nice log-in name. Where’s the avatar of Terry-Thomas, though?
  16. 35 minutes. Mostly straightforward (the top half was very easy), but a few held me up at the end, particularly 16, 23 and 25 (which is an old chestnut so it shouldn’t have delayed me). I had a sumac in my garden at one time, so that was familiar. CAMUS has been making frequent appearances in crosswords of late.
  17. Dead on 8 mins for me so definitely on the ‘wavelength’. No problems with the bean as it is Mr CS’s favourite but given the amount of time he spends on number puzzles, I really should have got 19d earlier than I did!
  18. What a relief after the last few days to get a puzzle that was right on my wavelength. Off to make a salad for lunch now while playing my tin whistle.
  19. About 10 mins for all except 25ac. When it didn’t come right away I started having doubts about SUDOKU (as I hadn’t parsed it satisfactorily and to me it’s a puzzle rather than a game). About another 10 minutes went by before I justified SUDOKU and finally remembered the correct meaning of “cross” for the obvious DD. Not happy with myself!
    1. That’s how I got it, too, but the ‘50%’ has to do double duty for su and do. Jackkt’s explanation is obviously the correct one.
  20. I found this a return to normalcy after a few tough days. About 25 minutes, ending with TIMELESS, held up down there because I misread the SIGNET clue and entered CYGNET. After realizing that C???C was supposed to be S???C and thus SUMAC, I finally saw TIMELESS and finished. The sumac in 3 varieties are unfortunately rife over here, and not well thought of, especially the Poison Sumac variety, which causes a miserable rash when coming in contact with one’s skin. BTW, I thought TRENCHCOAT very clever, and I’ve seen both one and two word versions. Regards.
  21. Not too difficult, I was about to come on and whine about 15 being a cryptic definition, but I see it’s a double so that’s OK. Didn’t quite get the wordplay for SUDOKU so thanks for that.
  22. 12:02 for me. I’d made heavyish weather, but was at least heading for a sub-10-minute time until I got stuck on 23ac (TIMELESS) and 16dn (UNDERSEA). I also agonised over 7ac (PESO) for a ridiculously long time before finally spotting that it was a hidden word. (Doh!)

    At least my three latest Times crosswords from the archive have been comparatively easy (though still more difficult than the modern ones, for me at any rate).

  23. Loved the puzzle, love the blog, but a cygnet is not a “duckling, ugly or otherwise” – it’s a baby swan. As of course was Andersen’s foundling duck.
      1. Or just the first to care? The concept of a cygnet being described as an ugly duckling could hardly be better established
        1. To be fair to Anon, Jerry, the clue is, as you suggest, perfectly clear but my original comment muddied the water a bit. It comes from blogging in the middle of the night.

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