Times 26,126

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Morning, all. I solved this when I got in late last night, but felt too tired to stay up and blog it. That means I can now see how my overnight time compared to others as an indicator of relative difficulty; and the scores on the doors suggest I was on the right wavelength, still on the first page and comfortably inside my arbitrary daily target of 2 Magoos.

The bottom row of the grid suggests a message to someone who’s celebrating today, perhaps aimed at the person named at 1ac; surely not also a 5ac? I suspect that will remain the setter’s secret. Anyway, this was a decent and occasionally testing puzzle, completed in just over 15 minutes.

Edit: it seems that the message was a 5ac after all, though the setter was only acting as a proxy. Full story here.

1 DELYTH – hidden in wiDELY THought. And straight away we get the clue which seemed to give most trouble, based on comments on the Times site; the wordplay is pretty clear, and I was helped by knowing the name existed (there is a BBC sports reporter called Delyth Lloyd, who I hear regularly on 5 Live, so I appear to have had an advantage over at least some solvers); however, I didn’t understand the “pretty” and had to look it up to discover that is simply what the name means, so it’s the Welsh equivalent of being called, say, Belle.
5 PROPOSAL – PROP (the rugby forward), (ALSO)*.
9 STILLEST – STILL(=however) + (SET)*.
10 TOLEDO – L.E.D.(=red light) inside TOO(=as well). I wasn’t sure why “red” particularly, other than for the suggestive surface, of course; I guess we have to read it as a light that can be red…but may be other colours, so it’s a bit loose linguistically and scientifically.
11 ANNO DOMINI – AN NOD(=agreement), O{ld} MINI. “What gradually gets you over the hill” is a pleasingly oblique way of clueing definition #2 of ANNO DOMINI as given in ODO, that is “advancing age”.
13 RIND – RID(=clear) around {transmissio}N; the sort of crackling one finds on a joint of pork. Some people go mad for it, but I find a little goes a long way. See also: pork scratchings.
14 CITY – C{old) + fIlThY. Sounds rather unpleasant on the surface, as opposed to the City of Bath, which is very elegant.
15 BUTTERMILK – BUT(=all the same), TERM(=name), ILK(=variety).
18 INFLATABLE – IN(=wearing) FLAT(=uniform) ABLE(=fit).
20 FLAX =”FLAK’S”.
21 WHIM – W{ife} + HIM.
23 LE MOT JUSTE – [M.O.T.(the annual test of one’s car’s roadworthiness), JUST(=only)] inside LEE(=shelter).
25 FIGARO – FOR(=because)A GIFT(=a present); reversed i.e. “returned” gives TFIGAROF; “unwrapped” to make FIGARO, hero of plays by Beaumarchais, but probably best known for the Rossini and Mozart operas based on them.
26 LET IT RIP – LET(=hindrance), 1 TRIP(=false step).
28 BIRTHDAY – BAY(=opening) contains (THIRD)*.
29 WISHES – W.I. is the Women’s Institute, + SHE’S.
2 EXTENSION – an EXTENSION on your house would need planning permission; and playfully, if one was relaxed, one’s tension would be an EX-TENSION, it would have ceased to be.
3 YELLOWY – LOW(=rather unhappy) in {aviar}Y, ELY(episcopal see which leaps to mind in Crosswordland whenever the word “see” appears).
4 HUE – HUGE minus G{ood}.
5 PUTTI – “little boys not dressed” i.e. the naked cherubs beloved of Renaissance painters; PUTT=”green strike” in the golfing world +1.
6 OUTSIDE LEFT – OUTSIDE(=slim, as in “an outside chance”) LEFT(=”was willing” i.e. handed over as an inheritance).
7 OIL DRUM – (LOUDIMR{ight})*; another playful definition in “contents could be crude”.
8 ADD-ON – AD(=promotion) DON(=academic).
12 ORBITAL ROAD – (ORATORADLIB)*; another word for a ring-road.
16 TUB – TUB{e} or TUB{a), as one can blow into either equally easily.
17 LEASTWISE – L{iberal) on top of EAST(whence the Magi came) and WISE(which is what they were). This all sounds a bit Blackadder: three things ye must know about the Wise Men…
19 LAMBAST – LAMB(=meat) AS(=resembling) T{ripe}. The two meanings of “pan” used to good effect.
20 FAUSTUS – FA(=note), [T{rained} in U.S., U.S.].
22 HAITI – H{aving} A{n} I{nteresting} T{ime} I{n}.
24 MALAY – M.A. LAY(i.e. “wouldn’t stand”).
27 TOW – O.T.(Old Testament) reversed, {Matthe}W.

34 comments on “Times 26,126”

  1. 48:54, so definitely at the hard end of the spectrum for me. Be interesting to see whether it was just me.

    At the end of my commute I was still missing DELYTH, PUTTI, EXTENSION and YELLOWY. DELYTH came to me as I got off the train then EXTENSION and YELLOWY went in once I’d arrived at work and typed in DELYTH. I then dithered over PUTTI for some while, only half knowing the word and not making the “little boys not dressed” connection. I thought I might be looking for some shortened boys’ names – PAT and SI maybe? Eventually I submitted my LOI on a wing and prayer and as with yesterday it proved to be correct. The crossword gods are with me this week!

  2. Couldn’t get FIGARO. After much struggle and bearing in mind some of the really obscure answers from time to time I opted for the unheard of character OITANO being the letters of DONATION reversed and unwrapped. Thanks for the real answer.
  3. 17 mins. I was happy with my time because I found it a chewy puzzle. Count me as another who had never heard of DELYTH before and I got it when I saw the hidden. RIND was my LOI after I finally read the wordplay the correct way.
  4. Fairly steady fifteen minutes—-thought “extension” was weak. “Buttermilk” was nice. 5 across—–“rude” to indicate an anagram—-presumably in the sense of “rough”—can’t remember seeing this used before.
  5. 20:36 … tricky. But a fascinating grid.

    Like Tim, I wondered if our setter was offering birthday wishes or proposing to Delyth (honeymoon in Toledo; or Haiti). I suspect a setter of Times crosswords would be too wise to risk a public proposal — hardly a month goes by that we don’t see another one of those end in tears.

    I liked the thematic combination of 9a and 13a, which conjured an image of an SOE agent (codename BUTTERMILK) struggling with a uncooperative radio set in an attic room far away.

    Tip o’ the hat to the setter (and Dyleth, or whoever)

  6. 13m. It seems I was more on the wavelength for this one than I realised while solving. I’ve never come across the name DELYTH but fortunately I spotted quite quickly that it was a hidden. I didn’t now this meaning of ANNO DOMINI either, but the I on the end was very helpful.
  7. No solving time as I retired hurt and resumed this morning but it was a lot more than 2 x Magoo. Never heard of DELYTH or know that it is Welsh for ‘pretty’ so that answer only came when I had all the checkers in place and realised it was hidden. I also queried ‘red’ at 10ac and am not totally convinced by ‘bay’ = ‘opening’.

    Edited at 2015-06-16 10:24 am (UTC)

    1. I was thinking in terms of a parking bay or some such, which if you can actually find one on the High Street round here definitely qualifies as an opening. Close enough, though.
  8. Slightly sluggish 26 mins or so – I had definition of 3d as “Canary rather” leaving the low to just be unhappy.

    Being of no artistic bent whatsoever, only know putto/putti from crosswords.

    Stillest held me up for way too long, in some kind of misguided determination that “still” = “lest”. Yes I know now.

    Similarly “oil firm” at 7d was an early write in, except that made a mess of 13a so had to go in the end.

    Nice to see “mini” and “MOT” in the same grid – I’ve just taken one for the other.

    All in all a “must do better” I think.

  9. 25:54 (or using the measurement of the day, less than three Magoos) but I had FLAK. Dunno why. Pity I did it online, as with my poor handwriting I reckon I might have got away with it.

    I’ve never met a DELYTH I didn’t like (or one I liked) but it’s hard to complain about a hidden.

    All up, another excellent challenge. Thanks setter and thanks Tim, especially for parsing LEFT.

  10. 25:44… which I was pleased with as I thought there were some tricky clues. Like others I’d never heard the name DELYTH before. I struggled with SW corner after putting in WISH for 21ac, thinking ‘Fancy’ was doing double duty signalling an anagram of HIS, but got there when I saw the light. Interesting combinations in the grid. In addition to what’s already been noted, we also have ‘The Marriage of FIGARO’ to go with the PROPOSAL, and ADD-ON as well as an EXTENSION and a YELLOWY HUE. 6d caused a raised eyebrow. Does anyone play a 2-3-5 formation any more?
  11. A phone call in the middle did me no favours, but I got extremely bogged down in the NW corner to the tune of many minutes, so it would probably have been over 20 minutes or so anyway. Rather sad not to have gotten DELYTH sooner given that it was my childhood best friend’s mother’s name!
  12. An enjoyable 40 minutes solving clockwise from the NE. Took ages to see the hidden Delyth, despite having lived in Wales for 15 years.
  13. Almost an hour, effectively DNF – the ‘uniform’ at 18 convinced me it had to start with U, so eventually entered UNSUITABLE, which doesn’t quite parse, and made 19 impossible. I’d also put RING at 13, ‘crackling’ (and RIG)suggesting a poor landline.
    I remember that initially the only LEDs commercially available were red, but shorter wavelengths have been sold for many years now.
  14. 44 minutes and another unparsed LEFT. Very nice puzzle – we could be in for a vintage week.
  15. Drowned on the golf course, then stumped on the crossword, lost patience with 1a, 2d and 5d unsolved, after half an hour. Didn’t know or see Delyth although Mrs K now tells me our niece’s best friend is so called. Never heard of PUTTI and didn’t twig the green = putt idea in spite of having too many putts today.
    A good puzzle but some days it’s just not going to flow.
  16. Had this finished by 8.00am in less than 20 minutes but then had to go out.

    I know a DELYTH but thought 1A would cause difficulty and don’t like the clue, “pretty” being 100% padding – remove the word and the clue works just as well. Also “red” in TOLEDO.

    Enjoyed PUTTI and “was willing” for LEFT

    1. Padding or not, I think if I was being proposed to via a crossword, it would be nice to know that my intended thought me pretty.
  17. Sorry – my previous post was inappropriately places in the “Quick” thread.

    To reiterate – I thought this was the toughest for some time and I do not like 25A at all. My brain hurts getting around the obscurantist clue – awful in my opinion.

  18. All done and dusted in about 35 minutes. Didn’t parse BUTTERMILK, and only saw that ‘was willing’ = LEFT post-solve. Didn’t know of DELYTH, but then nothing would surprise me about the Welsh language.
  19. Ouch. A big fat DNF for me today. I didn’t see the hidden, and even if I had I wouldn’t recognize it as a name. YELLOWY also missing altogether. That corner as a whole was something of a challenge for me, which I couldn’t see through. Regards.
  20. Solved it all in a good time for me (under half an hour), but could not see 1a and entered Veryth (seemed as plausible as any other unknown Welsh name!).
  21. I know that “adopted” foreign words are acceptable in an English crosswords but I thought there was a rule that foreign words were not acceptable? I,m obviously talking about 23A, which I believe is common in French, but I don’t believe it is in common usage in the English language! Discuss.
  22. 14:08 for me – so not a total disaster, but FIGARO induced a severe bout of vocalophobia which held me up at the last hurdle.

    Like others I’d never heard of DELYTH. And I wasn’t too keen on the “red” in 10ac (TOLEDO): surely it would have been possible to make it clear that this was only an example without destroying the surface reading.

    An interesting and enjoyable puzzle, though. And if the setter really is proposing to the pretty Delyth on her birthday, then I hope she accepts and they have a long and happy marriage.

  23. Once again I appear to be running behind by a couple of days, and not helped by spending 86 irrecoverable minutes on this. EXTENSION held me up for a long time, for no good reason. That left me with 1ac, which had me stumped for a long time. I had got as far as concluding that it had to be something-ELYTH or something-ERYTH, and then finally saw what the clue was about.

    All in all, chewy.

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