Times 26113 – Infamy, infamy, they’ve all got it in for me!

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
When he was young, my brother had a thing about conspiracies – and apricot kernels, but that’s another matter. A book called None Dare Call it Conspiracy had persuaded him that the world was full of self-interested people who wanted to get very rich and rule the whole world, and who for that purpose banded together in groups with exotic names like Illuminati and Bilderberg. I think I disappointed him, because I always took a more pragmatic approach, in which self-interested people wanted to get very rich, didn’t care much about exercising sway over Haiti or Somalia, and were just as happy to form shifting alliances to further their ends, regardless of the presence of a Rockefeller or two to add a bit of cachet.

So, how apt that I should fall for the conspiracy clue today. But did I really fall or was I pushed? Already thrown off the scent by a dog I had never heard of called a Pekingese, the more I think about it the more I realise that I was the victim of a mind-control experiment designed by Beijin (sic) to render impotent those dissidents in their renegade southern province who refuse to accept their definition of “universal suffrage”. How else can it be that, after brave but ultimately futile resistance to their Manchurian techniques, I ended up with ‘cansamon’ as my spice? Who dare not call that a conspiracy?

Sounds a whole lot better than cock-up, anyway. 21’55” bar that, or around, I would confidently predict, 2.5 Penfolds. (Yes, I read your lament and it moved me.)


1. SCROUNGE – C[ape] in anagram* of SURGEON.
6. PLIGHT – ‘jam’ is the literal; FLIGHT (‘retreat’) with the F changed to P.
9. UNDER MILK WOOD – ‘radio drama’ starring Nogood Boyo et al; MILK (‘exploit’) in UNDERWOOD (which is exactly what it says, a bit like ‘longshore’, which my brother did the family with many years ago in our homemade edition of Call My Bluff).
10. SMOOTH – ‘iron’; S + MOTH around O (‘ring’).
11. CINNAMON; ‘spice’, not Cassamon or Cardamon, or indeed Cardaian; CINNA (see below) + MON (not ‘Ian’). In Julius Caesar, Shakespeare exploits the uncertainty over just who had it in for JC to create his own Carry on! moment, as the mob, having been told by Gaius Helvius Cinna (‘Cinna the Poet’) that he’s a scribbler not an assassin, decide there are too many versifiers in the world. However, JC’s erstwhile brother-in-law, the praetor Lucius Cornelius Cinna, dubbed ‘Cinna the Conspirator’ by Shakespeare – though he’s canny enough to know that when your sources include Suetonius and Plutarch you never actually name names – was very probably not a conspirator either. Weight is lent to this theory by the fact that he lived on for another dozen years or so. No mean feat in those days.
13. INCANDESCE – NICE DANCES*; am I the only person a bit worried about the image of a human glowing? Is the setter referencing this kid, or perhaps this one?
15. [au]GUST
16. ASTI – the literal is easy, but the wordplay tricky indeed: S[on] in AT 1 (pm – an hour after midday).
18. SHIRE HORSE – ‘animal’; SIRE round H[ospital] + HORSE (sounds like ‘hoarse’).
21. RIGHT OFF – ‘immediately’; sounds like ‘write-off’ (‘cause irreparable damage to’).
22. ANONYM – ‘unidentified person’ (‘anon’ to you and me); MY + NONA reversed. Apparently, Nona is a common girl’s name in the States, even if most women there no longer have nine children, well, at least not with the same father…
23. ARMS AND THE MAN – play by Shaw referencing the first line of the Aeneid; A + RM (‘jolly’, ie sailor > Royal Marine) + SAND (‘smooth’) + THE (‘article’) + M (‘originally marking’) + A + N[ew].
25. PHRASE – sounds like ‘frays’. A hat-trick of non-dodgy (for me) homophones in the acrosses.
26. LATINIST – LA (‘the [in] French’) + TIN (‘can’) + IST (‘is [in] German’).


2. CLUBMAN – ‘frequenter of St James’s perhaps’, ie a member of a London club; CLUB + MAN.
3. OLD-WOMANISH – ‘like fusspot’ – the setter resists linguistic hygiene; OLD WISH around OMAN.
4. NORTH – ‘Old PM’, Frederick North had a 12-year innings in George III’s reign; RT in NOH.
5. EVINCES – VINCE[nt] in ES (‘French art’, ie ‘tu es beau, M. North’); these days of course you can call your kid anything you like (even if they won’t like), but back in the day a nice boy called Vince (Hill, for example) would be christened Vincent.
6. PEKINGESE – ugly ‘dog’ more commonly styled ‘Pekinese’; PE (‘training’) + KIN (‘family’) + GE (‘eg’ reversed) + SE (‘home counties’).
7. IBO – hidden.
8. HIDEOUS – one can imagine Prince Charles saying it as he fiddles with his cufflinks; IDE in HOUS[e].
12. ANGLO-NORMAN – ‘like conquerors’; A LONG* + NORMA (by Berlini – pops up elsewhere in The Times today) + N (‘originally named’).
14. DISLOCATE – ‘put out’; DIS + LOCATE. Nice clue.
17. SPINACH – ‘leaves on plate’; SPIN (‘roll’) + A + CH.
19. INFIDEL – ‘one doesn’t believe’; INFIELD (‘part of square’) with the D raised. From the Internet: ‘A baseball field is divided into the infield and the outfield…Within the infield is a square area called the diamond, which has four bases.’ Which reminds me – pleased to see the Americans taking a closer interest in football these days. Should Anglos write clues about US sports? See Kevin’s comment immediately below.
20. SAYINGS – ‘saws’; YIN (‘one’ in Scots) in SAGS (‘hangs loosely’).
22. ASHET – ‘substantial dish’, AKA large plate oop north – today’s unknown; [Arthur] ASHE (winner of US Open and Wimbledon) + T[ackle].
24. MOA – extinct bird; MO + A.

41 comments on “Times 26113 – Infamy, infamy, they’ve all got it in for me!”

  1. I just now realized that I biffed a couple and hadn’t bothered to think about them afterward; maybe a good thing, as I wouldn’t have known what to do with SAYINGS. If the diamond is in the infield, how is ‘infield’ ‘part of square’? he asked. The infield itself isn’t a square. Along with YIN, DNK ASHET. Don’t know any Nonas, and wasted some time trying to work in ‘Doe’. LOI PHRASE.
      1. Thanks for letting me know, Olivia; I never look. I’m not sure what I’ll do with a WH Smith coupon, though.
  2. 21:11 … great blog, ulaca. You do realise that your own brother was almost certainly working for them, don’t you? Those Bilderbergers love a double-bluff.

    I’m sure to be in xP territory (where P=Penfold and x > 1) after making and slowly correcting a catalogue of mistakes in this. Among other things, biffed Anglo-Saxons became biffed Anglo-German (it is Monday morning) became, eventually, ANGLO-NORMANS. I also had a biffed SPORRAN, which I imagine is a Scotsman’s worst nightmare, at 20d for a while.

    Last in the unknown ASHET, after going up numerous blind alleys with ANONYM (had totally forgotten that Nona was a name).

    All in all, I was a lot more hare than tortoise this morning. Wisdom of old proverb confirmed.

  3. 18.40. No great shakes of a puzzle but admirably economical, in the latter respect balanced out by the blog. Interesting use of ‘believe’ in 19; I guess if you use the term ‘infidel’ you use ‘believe’ in that limited way also, so fair enough. Good to see two long play titles, a Latinist, an anonym, a phrase and some sayings.
  4. A gentle start to the week. I suspect the content of the puzzle as summarised by Joe may not meet with universal approval. No need to invoke baseball for INFIELD – it’s a reasonably common cricketing term.

    Edited at 2015-06-01 07:59 am (UTC)

    1. I don’t think this works either, as, if you are playing on a pitch prepared near the edge of the square, then the infield would be as much on the field as on the square.

      Edited at 2015-06-01 08:06 am (UTC)

      1. Indeed, and I guess the same applies to the area close to the wicket but behind the stumps at each end wherever the wicket is located. I shall just think of it as a DBE then!
      2. I don’t know very much about cricket but from what I can glean from Wikipedia and similarly authoritative sources, the square is part of the infield rather than the other way round.
        1. The problem with that is that at a ground like the Kennignton Oval in London the square is enormous – I would estimate 40+ yards across – so if a match is being played on the outermost pitch, then a fielder stationed square of the wicket on the far side of the square can hardly by any definition be said to be in the infield.

          Edited at 2015-06-01 11:20 am (UTC)

          1. Chambers links the infield with the square but Collins is more accurate “The area of the field near the pitch”.

            Edited at 2015-06-01 11:51 am (UTC)

            1. And as we have seen, the pitch can be on the edge of the square.

              One key aspect here is that the square is a discrete, definable entity, while the infield (which is not used a lot by cricketers and commentators – the”circle” is more common with the advent and growth of the one-day game) is not.

          2. From pictures the square at the Oval seems to cover the whole width of the ground!

            Edited at 2015-06-01 01:02 pm (UTC)

  5. 22 minutes which is nearly as good as things can get chez jackkt. Biffed the literary stuff, DK ASHET. One too many homophones for my taste.
  6. Hmm… held up at the end by having to revisit (the hidden) ‘ria’, thinking it may be another spelling for ‘rhea’, which I assumed to be extinct… oops. Oh, and I found the unknowns ASHET and ANONYM a tricky crossing pair. Thanks for the entertaining intro above, ulaca, always glad to see a convincing explanation for a ‘deliberate error’…
    1. I was fairly happy with RIA as an alternative spelling of “rhea” too for a while… and definitely agree on the trickiness of ASHET and ANONYM!
    2. My grandmother form Aberdeen used the term often for any large serving dish. It was thought to originate from Jacobean times “The Auld Alliance” between Scotland and France against the perfidious English……
  7. 16 minutes, with a few BIFFED or guessed and not parsed. ASHET only from word play. No problem with the conspirator clue or the dog, although the latter not usually spelt with a G in it. A gentle start to the week, but not a memorable example.
    Apparently ASHET is used in Scotland and comes from French ‘assiette’; odd that its usage was missed out the country in between.
  8. 13 mins. A biffed PLIGHT was my LOI after HIDEOUS, although I did parse it post-solve. I also spent a while over the ASHET/ANONYM crossers; I was reasonably sure that Ashe was the tennis player required but I don’t remember seeing the dish before, and I’d forgotten that Nona can be a girl’s name. I only realised as I was reading the blog that I had also biffed INFIDEL once all the checkers were in place. I’m fairly sure the wordplay relates to cricket rather than baseball.
  9. Completed in around 30 minutes, but held up considerably by 5d. I spent ages convincing myself that EVINCES was the only word that fitted both the checkers and the definition, and then just as long working out what the cryptic was all about. Random names in clues do irk me.
  10. Thought this was a real toughie, but apparently it was just me.

    Didn’t know the dog could be spelt with a G, although it makes sense. And why “former tennis star”? If he’s eligible for this crossword, he’s hardly likely to be a current star.

    Anyway, none of this explains why I found this so difficult. Perhaps the answer lies within.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

  11. 9m for a straightforward but enjoyable solve. Unknowns today the YIN part of 20dn and ASHET. A couple of years ago I would have failed on the latter because I only know of Arthur ASHE from doing these things. The same goes for Don Budge.
    I didn’t understand how the INFIELD was part of a square, and having read the various comments above I still don’t. But in this case a bit of sporting ignorance was probably quite helpful.
  12. 11.24 so that was a quickie for me. I knew ASHET from the very so-so Dorothy Sayers Five Red Herrings. (I don’t much like novels with a lot of laboriously rendered dialect). Like Kevin I don’t know any Nonas in the US or elsewhere, but I do remember Anona Wynn from my mother listening to the car radio. Same as others on INFIDEL/INFIELD so that was rather like the cartoon mention of 17d – http://imgc-cn.artprintimages.com/images/P-473-488-90/60/6079/UTUD100Z/posters/carl-rose-it-s-broccoli-dear-i-s
  13. Found this very easy. Almost half done in five minutes, but another ten to complete. Not many plays to fit 4,3,3,3 so threw in the answer on the basis of ‘jolly.’ 6a,17 and 25 were the only ones that slowed me down.
  14. Good puzzle — enough of a challenge to give one a work-out without being in any way impossible. Obscurities generally accessible via the cryptic parsing. I was unfamiliar with the Scottish YIN and had never met or heard of a girl called Nona. I also had to resort to a dictionary to check the required spelling of PEKINGESE and the existence of a dish called an ASHET.

  15. Penfold hasn’t arrived yet so I can’t compare myself to him but will be content at being between Magoo and Verlaine, finishing in 6:13. I used to want to spell the dog without the G but fortunately today remembered what to do.
  16. 18:57. I started quickly on the left hand side then slowed somewhat on the other half.

    Nothing too tricky today, ASHET the only unknown but straightforward from the cryptic. I did know the name NONA as my wife has an Aunt Nona. However I’d always assumed it was some sort of nickname until now so I’ve learned something today!

  17. 14:40 so Ulaca’s time is almost exactly 1.5Ps.

    Didn’t parse Under M.W., the girl in 22 and infidel and hadn’t heard of ashet but I can now imagine a drunk Scotsman trying to say plate in French and inventing the word, especially if he’s just been biffed in the sporran.

    Yin known from Billy Connolly, aka the Big Yin.

    Nothing spectacular, but I’m still marveling at the fairy tale CD in yesterday’s Anax.

    1. You’re a hard one to predict. I didn’t have you pacing the corridors today.
  18. My grandfather was the thirteenth of a family of fifteen all the rest of whom were girls. I had great-aunts Septima, Octavia, Nona and Decima, after which their parents evidently decided that Undecima was a step too far, and went back to non-numerical names.
  19. A Penfold and a half so not too bad today though I did my fair share of biffing. DNK ASHET which was my LOI.
  20. 23:18 for me. 1ac went straight in… and then I slowed down. Enjoyed the two plays and opera today. Was pleased to resist ANGLO SAXONS, or I would have been stuck. 14d LOI for me – was trying to find a synonym for annoy rather than joint trouble.
  21. About 0.95 Penfolds, with the house in a state of bizzarity while a new bathroom is fitted, so I was not exactly focused. Just as well this was gentle, then, and plenty of biffables – though the long ones in particular were rather decent clues if you got past UNDER–, radio play and ARMS—drama. Ditto INFIDEL. I rather liked leaves on a plate (in its context, its easy if you split it off) for spinach. I too would not have spelled the dog that way – indeed, I would probably have left out the INGES altogether.
  22. About a 15 minute jaunt today, ending where I had failed to start by finally seeing SCROUNGE. I didn’t know ASHET, or YIN either. The term ‘square’ is never used in describing anything about baseball, so I think that’s a home field reference for you UK folks, and I never met a Nona. Not much else to complain about, nice puzzle to start the week. Regards.
  23. 8:13 for me – so like crypticsue I finished between Magoo and verlaine, but sadly considerably nearer the latter (beating him by all of 2 seconds!) than the former, and with far too many other Championship regulars finishing ahead of me as well.

    I biffed INFIDEL – just as well since it took me quite a while to twig the cricketing connection. However, ANONYM went straight in: I’m in a very similar position to keithdoyle, my maternal grandfather being the 11th of a family of 11 which included my great-aunts Octavia and Nona.

Comments are closed.