Times 26135 – best of the week, for me.

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Sorry for monopolising the blogging rights today; I am subbing for Verlaine, who, as we read this, is most likely crawling out of his sleeping bag in a damp field in Glastonbury. I hope V you are not sporting the top hat and monocle and embarrassing Mrs V and the Verlaine minors. Personally I can’t imagine anything less like fun, I abhor large crowds; my last gig of any size was at the Stones at Slane Castle in 1982 where I was carried, half crushed and feet off the ground, by some of the 80,000 rockers all trying to pass through one farm gate at once.

Enough irrelevant waffle (well I did have to promise him I’d be verbose if not entertaining). At first read this puzzle looked impenetrable. Then I got going with the NE corner and things went along reasonably smoothly, ending in 25 minutes or so with the cunning 1d and the slightly obscure 12a. At the end I felt this was a superb puzzle with plenty of wit and scope for admiring the setter’s art.

1 SEAFARER – Insert AFAR = from a distance, into SEER = observant individual, def. traveller.
5 PRIMER – Insert RIM = edge, into PER = for each; def. undercoat.
9 AUTOBAHN – Insert (U BOAT H)* into A N ; def. route to Germany.
10 CRANIA – RAN = managed, infiltrates CIA = spies; def. top compartments. Very droll.
12 CHERT – CERT = event that’s sure, insert H, def. rock; chert is a form of microcrytalline quartz.
13 BE ALL EYES – BEES = potential swarm, insert ALLEY = garden walk; def. carefully watch.
14 FOR THE RECORD – FORT = perhaps keep, CORD = string, around HERE = present; def. just so things are clear. I spent a while with TIE… before the PDM.
18 GAINSBOROUGH – GAINS = proceeds, BO = Boz, mainly, ROUGH = in the manner of sketches; def. artist. Thanks alanconnor for clarifying ‘in the manner of’.
21 INNERNESS – INVERNESS = Scottish city; replace the V with an N; def. hidden quality.
23 MOTTO – Insert OTT = too much, into MO = second; def. piece of Xmas paper? Brilliant.
24 ORIGIN – O = round, RIG = drilling equipment, IN; def. wellhead.
25 CLOTHING – CLOG = hard shoe, insert THIN = weak; def. materials designed to wear. I think this is a chestnut or at least has been seen before.
26 YELLOW – YEW = tree, insert LL O (lines with ring); def. showing signs of age. Once you have the initial Y it’s easy enough.
27 REARREST – REAR = bring up, REST = remainder; def. book again.

1 SEARCH – The SE arch would be opposite the NW bank, where arch = span of bridge; def. fish around. How many fish did you trawl through before the PDM?
2 ANTHER – Today’s hidden word in PL(ANT HER)BALIST; the pointy bit of a flower.
3 ALBATROSS – Def. source of guilt; (BORSTAL AS)*; a reference to the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, which was an O level text for me.
4 EXHIBITIONER – EXHIBIT = display; I = unit; ONER = remarkable individual; def. award winner. The second tier of financially benefiting award-winners entering Oxbridge colleges (and elsewhere?), the higher being a Scholarship. I had the longer gown and the £60 a term but disappointed my tutors by doing too much punting, spending too little time in the laboratory poisoning myself, and so failing to get a First. I don’t regret it though.
6 RURAL – RUL(E) = exert power over, mostly, insert RA for gunners, def. country.
7 MONEY BOX – MONEY = possible prize, BOX = fight; def. a case for the coppers?
8 ROADSIDE – (B)ROADSIDE = strong attack, remove B for bishop; def. by the way.
11 MADEMOISELLE – MADE MOSELLE = crafted German wine, insert I; def. Bordeaux girl, say.
15 ERGOMETER – ERGO = so, therefore, in Latin; MET ER = satisfied the Queen; def. a measure of effort. There’s one in our spare room, like a bicycle with no wheels, but it’s very dusty.
16 AGRIMONY – ANY = some, insert GRIM O = unattractive old; def. plant. I’d vaguely heard of it although I couldn’t point to one and say ‘that’s agrimony’.
17 BIENNIAL – B = book, (ALIEN IN)*; def. plant.
19 STRIDE – ST = a little way, RIDE = to take the bus? Def. walk.
20 FORGET – FORGE = furnace, T = temperature, def. overlook.
22 RHINO – R = river, H = horse, I = one, NO = certainly not, def. one of the big five. Being lion, elephant, leopard, rhino (white or black) and Cape buffalo.

28 comments on “Times 26135 – best of the week, for me.”

  1. Nearly finished in twenty, but the crossing of GAINSBOROUGH and AGRIMONY held me up.

    Without the G, the checkers for GAINSBOROUGH looked bewildering. But when I inserted the G on spec it was blindingly obvious, even though I’m not particularly familiar with the artist. Funny how that works.

    As for AGRIMONY, crosswords have taught me that almost any random combination of seven letters or more will match the name of a plant.

    Great fun, solid week, thanks setter and blogger.

  2. BTW Pip, that feeling of being carried along by the crowd reminds me of entering the SCG for the first time for a Grand Final in 1979. Having grown up in the bush it was a totally surreal experience. I thought I was in heaven at the time, but now the very idea of it fills me with dread.
    1. Carried along by the Grand Final crowd… I was working in Melbourne for a few months in the Antipodean spring of 2006 and watched the Grand Final on a big screen in Federation Square. The night before as I was walking down the street, one of a small group of West Coast Eagle fans coming the other way picked me up and carried me 5 yards down the street and set me down again. I was so surprised I didn’t know what to say.

      Edited at 2015-06-26 09:04 pm (UTC)

  3. Also starting in the NE I thought this would be a doddle but it soon turned into a nightmare with all my problems on the LH of the grid. Plants and rocks and rivers etc are not my strongest suit. Also didn’t know about the “big five”.
  4. 23:50 … Friday now seems to be workout day for the grey cells. Cap duly doffed to the setter.

    One quibble. Surely ALBATROSS is spelt with an exclamation mark?

    As we’re swapping crowd stories … as an undergrad in Liverpool I was persuaded that it would be a great experience to go to a match and stand in Anfield’s famous Kop end. It was definitely an experience but involved very little standing. Of the first forty-five minutes, my feet were in contact with the ground for perhaps five of them. I escaped at half-time, shell-shocked and somewhat thinner. I did go back a few times to enjoy matches from the safety of an actual seat (proper football fans shake your heads and sigh here).

    btw, writing that prompted me to search for the origin of the name ‘kop’, used at more than one sports ground: “The steep terracing resembles a place called Spion Kop, the site of a battle in the Boer War.” Had I known that before I was offered a ticket …

    1. In the good old days, I always went and stood in the most atmospheric end of a ground. I was lucky enough to be in the Kop (not many United fans will have had the experience) when Jan Molby curled in a beauty. Quite a charcater- some of his after-dinner efforts are available online.
  5. 18 mins. I agree that this was a fine puzzle, and I finished in the SW with AGRIMONY after ORIGIN. I did myself no favours by reading the clue for the plant the wrong way and with checkers of ?G?I???Y I was trying to think of a word for “some” to go inside “ugly”. Muppet. As Galspray basically said, there are some weird and wonderful names for plants, and I certainly don’t know them all, but I had certainly come across agrimony before and could have kicked myself when I realised how stupid I’d been. Count me as another who thinks the clue for SEARCH is excellent.
  6. I found this tough… about 49 minutes. 23a my LOI after I eventually twigged the definition was ‘piece of christmas paper’, but I never saw the OTT – thanks for the explanation, Pip. Did anyone else get misled in 11d by thinking the “Bordeaux girl, say” was MARGO and the answer was that inside an anagram of I plus GERMAN? That had me scratching my head for obscure grape varieties. Doh! 1d my COD too.

    Edited at 2015-06-26 10:12 am (UTC)

  7. About 45 minutes, but not closely timed. Id and the SE corner were almost my undoing. Until then I was heading for around 30-35 minutes. By contrast AGRIMONY was dead easy as it’s appeared very recently in another puzzle somewhere.
  8. I am another person who spent (relatively) ages trying to fit a fish in 1d. I note that I also have to add obscure rocks to my list of things to learn for crossword purposes.

    My cryptic grey matter seems to be picking up again as I finished this one in 12 seconds on the stopwatch, although if I hadn’t had two interruptions it might have been nearer the 11. It’s lunchtime and the door’s shut, what makes you think I want to talk to you??

    1. “… as I finished this one in 12 seconds on the stopwatch, although if I hadn’t had two interruptions it might have been nearer the 11”

      Always knew you were playing in a different league to me, Sue!

      1. Don’t know why I put seconds, silly me I meant minutes of course. I can’t edit my post because ‘someone’s replied to it’.

        Edited at 2015-06-26 12:26 pm (UTC)

          1. Indeed – I’ll have to have a word when we meet up in October – I presume you’ll be there??
            1. They’ve let me in again, the fools. Unfortunately I’m in the second qualifying group this time (starts around the time I’m falling asleep). You?
              1. I’m in the first session – I like that one – less time to panic, more time in the pub when I disappoint Penfold again.
  9. No time as I did this and the Guardian by the pool in Macau, but it was definitely the tougher of the two. Interestingly, part of my last in – the ‘Dickens’ clue – also popped up in the other one.

    CHERT one to remember for Scrabble.

  10. Like almost everyone else, I found this much harder than most of this week’s offerings, and took over an hour on it, although they all eventually got entered and properly parsed in that time.

    Regarding galspray’s comment about random combinations of seven or more letters giving a plant name, even with only seven letters, the number of possible arrangements is more than 8 billion (allowing repeat use of letters), compared to only about 400,000 known plant species, although many of them have more than one name. They’d each have to have at least 20,000 unique names for galspray’s assertion to be correct. Sorry for the pedantry, but his point made me think a little about it.

  11. A very enjoyable 35 minutes on the oven timer. The four long lights are good, especially GAINSBOROUGH, and SEARCH is probably the best of all. Thankfully nothing like an egonina that I can see, although I did miss the latest one. No hidden clues again?
  12. Thanks to Keith above for explaining what in heaven a MOTTO has to do with Christmas paper. I’m another slow to start on this but the eventual entry of crossing letters eased the way and I finished in 30 minutes. LOI was CHERT, the big five are far beyond the boundary of my knowledge, and I confess to biffing GAINSBOROUGH. I agree SEARCH was excellent. Regards.
  13. Although I was a million miles from the setter on wavelength, and complained over email it was a slog, in the end I admire this one. It’s tricky, but very fair – only got three from wordplay alone – didn’t know RHINO as one of the “big five”, CHERT has probably popped up here, but not in my tiny brain, and that obscure definition of MOTTO. All the wordplay is first rate!
  14. 10:35 for me, starting off briskly and hoping for a fast time, but then losing the thread in the SW corner: I hadn’t come across the “big five” before and wasted time wondering if the answer could be RHONE; I wanted the drilling equipment in 24ac to be BIT; and I tried to find a three-letter “book” containing an anagram of “alien” for 17dn; and I was fazed by the possibility that the answer to 16dn might be UGLINESS or something of the sort.

    Eventually I got YELLOW (why on earth didn’t I twig that straight away?) after which everything fell into place annoyingly quickly.

  15. 23m, the first half in the morning before a wedding, the second half after said wedding and about six hours of getting gradually sozzled. Guess which half I enjoyed more.
    My last in was 4dn, which is silly because it was something you could be if you did well in your first year exams in my old college. If you did really well you were a Postmaster. I was allowed to stay.

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