Times 25844 – ‘O, had I but followed the arts!’

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
A 30-minute solve to start the week, with just enough obscure vocab and ancient references to give the grey cells a good workout. Not a scientist in sight, but a golfing reference to welcome our Rory to the pantheon of the true greats.


1 CAUSERIE – the sting in the head? According to ODO, ‘an informal article or talk, typically on a literary subject’, which had passed me by, as had the French word ‘causer’ (to talk) from which it is derived. Those who didn’t know the word are likely to have got it from working around AU (gold); the rest of the parsing is C (‘circa’ – about) and SERIE[s], where ‘son ultimately mislaid’ is an instruction to chop off the last letter of the target word, not the last letter of ‘son’. My last in.
9 CALIGULA – GU[y] inside LILAC reversed + A.
10 MAQUIS – MA[r]QUIS for the fine folks sent up in ’Allo ’Allo.
11 TOILET ROLL – TOILE (‘a translucent linen or cotton fabric’) + TROLL; the literal is simply ‘paper’.
12 CHIN – as well as being a joint of meat or a mountain ridge, CHINE is a verb meaning to cut along the backbone; delete the E to give the facial feature. Notwithstanding the above, what we’re really meant to do is take the K off CHINK – thanks, Jack.
13 UNSCRIPTED – for some reason I was playing around DENT rather than STUD; anyway, an anagram* of four sevenths of STUDent + PRINCE gives the answer.
16 SCHOLAR – CHORAL* + S[ymphony].
17 USUALLY – US (America) + U (united) + ALLY (one of the USA’s allies).
20 FIRST THING – the literal is ‘when newspapers are hot off the press’; the wordplay ‘leading’ + ‘article’.
22 THOR – the Thunderer is a nickname for our beloved newspaper; found hidden in ‘auTHORitative’, which describes what it used to be.
23 BRUSH ASIDE – RUSH (career) in BA’S IDE[a].
25 DRIVER – Tees is a river just south of the Tyne, upon which Durham is situated well, no, actually – Middlesbrough is on the Tees – thanks to deezzaa for putting me straight; so that gives us RIVER after [abandone]D, and arguably our Rory’s best club.
26 CAESAREA – ‘vintage port’ (on the Mediterranean coast of Roman Palestine), which crops up in the New Testament a fair bit; it’s ‘bars not stocking fine’ ie CA[f[ES with AREA (neighbourhood). Nice clue.
27 BAYONETS – ‘weapons’; obtained from YON (that) + E[ast] in BATS (clubs).


2 ANARCHIC – A + NARC (US drugs agent) + HIC (Latin for here; there is ille)
3 STUPENDOUS – STUD[i]OUS surrounds PEN (writer).
4 RESTAURANT – a write-in for many; the wordplay is RE (on) followed by (TAU + RAN) in ST
5 ECLIPSE – ‘obscure’; CLIPS in E[dific]E.
6 ALOE – alternate letters in tAlL rOsEs for the stuff they put in perfectly good fruit drinks.
7 JUT OUT – ‘project’; JU[s]T OUT.
8 BALLADRY – the collective word for ‘ballads’; BALL + A + DRY.
15 PLANTATION – PL (abbreviation for place) + T in A + NATION.
16 SOFTBACK – O + FT + B in SACK.
19 MINICAB – ‘taxi’ (though last time this came up, a professional driver popped by to say that a minicab is not a taxi); MI + N + I + C + A + B.
21 ROUTER – R + OUTER; our cricketing clue, or, if you’re English, clueless.
24 AIRY – ‘light’; RY next to the Great North Road (A1), which is itself a motorway for much of its length now.

44 comments on “Times 25844 – ‘O, had I but followed the arts!’”

  1. Had a good laff at 11ac, thinking of a cave-dweller in flimsy fabric. Capital I for “Internet” in that clue and lower case in 21dn: strange. Like Jack and Ulaca, CAUSERIE was last in. Needed all the checkers for that.

    “Less lucid than the others” = LOONIEST? I wonder.

    Ulaca: you have an A missing at 15dn.

    Edited at 2014-07-21 04:16 am (UTC)

  2. At 12ac I had “endless crack” as CHIN(k).

    30 minutes for all but 1ac and 26ac. I worked out CAUSERIE eventually but looked up the port.

    Edited at 2014-07-21 03:12 am (UTC)

  3. 21.52, with 1 hammered out from wordplay (unaccountably missing in personal vocabulary) and LOI TOILET ROLL delayed by looking at the wrong end for the definition. Not a bog standard clue, but then none of these were average Monday gimmes, and I console myself that I am less than 2 Jasons, for a change.
    Didn’t batter CAESAREA properly into submission, so thanks for doing it for us, Ulaca. A fair mix of helpful, “work it through and you’ll get it” wordplay, and clues that needed reverse engineering. Don’t think the Evening Standard’s available FIRST THING, is it?
    If tomorrow’s is tricky, I’ll have had a week of 20’+ crosswords. Where does the time go, eh?
    1. Precious few people, asked to name a newspaper, would pick the Standard. One or two of their editorial staff, perhaps. It’s available from about 11am, which is indeed first thing, for any civilised person 🙂
      1. Touché. As MacMillan very nearly said, the few people who would name the Standard as a newspaper are indeed precious.
        Arguably, for those with the price of a subscription, no newspaper is ever not available,and the clue harks back to a bygone time (perhaps befitting this venerable pastime of ours). If treeware versions finally disappear, what will the uncivilised do for for 11? That’s what I want to know.
  4. Enjoyed this, not too hard but just hard enough and some excellent clues, such as 3dn, 4dn. LOI causerie, I word that looked somehow familiar but not so I knew what it meant…
    A minicab is indeed a taxi to the general public (and to the dictionaries) but it is an infernal spawn of the devil, to a black cab driver. “Can’t speak English most of ’em, don’t know where Oxford Street is, nice comfy cars and no overheads while I’m stuck with this great lumbering heap and the Carriage Office…” (about 12 expletives deleted)
  5. Well, about 11 minutes for all but CAUSERIE and another 20 staring at that before giving up. I was stuck up the same blind alley as ulaca thinking I was looking for a subtraction of ‘N’, not ‘S’.
  6. As an alumni of Durham University may I strongly point out that this fine and noble city is on the bend of the River Wear NOT the Tees – and certainly not the Tyne as propounded by Roger Whittaker!
    Nevertheless, if you want some great scenery in a relatively tourist-free area, try Teesdale.
    Struggled with the last 4 of this puzzle (1, 3, 11 & 26) and had difficulty in parsing quite a few, so thanks ulaca for putting me out of my misery.

  7. 25 mins. I found the LHS much trickier than the RHS. In a couple of the clues I was flummoxed a little by words in the clue that appear to have only been there to help with the surface reading, namely “find” in 20ac and “all-round” rather than just “round” in 3dn. CAESAREA was my LOI but CAUSERIE also took me quite a while, and with the latter you can count me as another who was initially looking to remove an “n” rather than an “s”. Another reason that CAUSERIE took a long time to see, even with all the checkers, is I wasn’t sure if the “gold” in the clue was AU or OR. In other words I was having to think about both ?AUS?R?E and ?A?SOR?E.
  8. 28m. I found that really tough, particularly the last stubborn few at the end: CAUSERIE/STUPENDOUS, CALIGULA/BALLADRY, CAESAREA. In a couple of cases I thought I was never going to get there. Unlike others I needed CAUSERIE to get STUPENDOUS, rather than the other way round.
    Still, thinking you’re never going to get there but then wrestling tough but fair clues into submission is what it’s all about, so my thanks to the setter.
  9. This seemed harder than recent Monday offerings, with CAESAREA (unlikely set of checkers, and I’d forgotten that it was a port) and CAUSERIE (from wordplay only) slowing things down at the end.

    Anyone who has seen the majestic flow of the Tees at Middlesbrough would know in their heart that it must be a different river to that which trundles through Durham.

  10. Twenty minutes, back home now so printed out and easier to complete. Had to use a solver for LOI CAUSERIE and didn’t parse TOILET ROLL, otherwise a typical Monday stroll. Looniest for less lucid seemed a stretch.
    1. To be fair, it is ‘less lucid than the others’, which at least points to the superlative as much as the comparative.
  11. Same struggles as others when left with the uncommon CAESAREA and CAUSERIE, and rather liked the TOILE TROLL. All in all, slightly trickier than my brain would like on Monday, but perfectly enjoyable.
  12. Certainly the trickiest cryptic this morning – 11 mins for 99.9% of it and a further minute and a half on the vintage port.
  13. I was okay apart from LOONIEST which isn’t a word, and CAUSERIE which was one about 1500 years ago. Just before I was born, then.
    1. Well, not according to Eminem it isn’t. The word occurs in a song where the lyric appears to have monopolised the lexical content at the expense of the song title, which is somewhat more Anglo-Saxon.
  14. Nearly got there, but struggled with the usual suspects. Having said that, Toilet Roll went in easily (I played with spam for internet nuisance for a few seconds, but quickly got helped by troll). Also managed Caesarea without help, but was misled by 3d when I couldn’t get tremendous out of my head but couldn’t parse it either (not surprisingly). Likewise, I couldn’t parse stupendous, so thanks blogger.

    Do we need this level of difficulty on a Monday morning?

  15. 20:28 and much the same story as others, L4I were toilet roll (like Z I was looking at the wrong end for the def), balladry and the unknown CA- words.

    Certainly tricky for an RR-era Monday puzzle. I’m not keen on the grid – too many double unches and unchecked first letters.

  16. Has anybody got a clue as to when we are going to cease getting the crossword without a subscription. I am going to Ireland for a few weeks in August and do not want to find that there is no longer access.

    Thank you

  17. …CAESARIA instead of CAESAREA (something about bars=aria, which meant neighbourhood=cafes, amazing how dumb that looks now that I try to explain it).

    That’s four failures in a row for me, starting to understand how Alastair Cook must feel. Except for the 25 Test centuries I haven’t scored.

  18. I had a ghastly DNF with causerie, Caesarea and the old roll. Regarding the second of these I can’t say I like bars for cafes generally (can’t find the accent). Maybe in France?
    1. That occurred to me afterwards. Does the fact there are so many places which are described as café-bars (there’s your accent, right there), suggesting the two concepts are different, mean they can’t be synonyms? Possibly.
  19. About 30 minutes, the last several staring at the checkers for CAUSERIE, and then throwing in the white towel and going to onelook. When CAUSERIE popped up, I confess I was utterly unfamiliar with it. So a deserved DNF today, due to the whole in my vocabulary. I liked BRUSH ASIDE, though. Regards.
  20. 20:20 for me, never really finding the setter’s wavelength, with 26ac (CAESAREA) taking the lion’s share of the time. CAFE = “bar” doesn’t really work for me, I’m afraid, but I assume this is just another example of my ignorance of things to do with food or drink.
      1. I’ve only just spotted that the ODO definitions of CAFE include “North American A bar or nightclub”, which seems counter-intuitive (no pun intended). Must make a mental note of it!
        1. Yes, I’d noticed that too. Maybe it’s the height of cool in the PC era to go clubbing on skimmed lattes!
          1. Thinking things over in bed last night, I remembered London’s own Café de Paris (famously bombed in WWII).
        2. I love the pun, intended or not. When I open my hipster cafe in Shoreditch (same day hell freezes over) I think I’ll call it Counter-Intuitive. And you can have a skinny mocha on the house any time, tony.
  21. Can I ask why 6d is oddly rather than evenly?

    Gilesr – can’t log in on my ipad for some reason!

    1. I think you need to take “oddly” and “concealed” together, thus leaving the even letters.

Comments are closed.