Times 26175 – Biffer’s bonanza

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I’m in a hurry again today, have to leave shortly; solving the puzzle correctly took me twenty-five minutes, but I have to confess, as I write this little intro I have not fully parsed two clues; it was a biffing day. So when you find two below not totally explained, please add your usual wise comments and I’ll amend the blog later to make it seem as if I knew all along. (No, I’ll give credit where it’s due). EDIT: After an hour of tootling through the peaceful Lot-et-Garonne paysage, the penny dropped on 10a, so am amending; thanks for the feedback below, seems this was not a piece of cake for most of us.

1 COCKER – Cryptic definition.
4 ASBESTOS – AS (while) BEST (the most suitable) O (old) S (perilous, ultimately); def. incombustible material.
10 POURBOIRE – French for a tip ‘have a drink, waiter; Insert I into pour (tip) and bore. Not PLUMBLINE as I previously had.
11 CRIER – Def. one calling, as in town crier; Reverse of RE (on) IR (Irish) C (community).
12 CHINWAG – Insert W (wife) into CHINA, then G(ood); def. conversation. A nice clue, I was looking for an -ING answer at first.
13 PONTOON – P (player’s opener) ONTO ON (cricket side); def. bridge.
14 TANGO – TAN (brown), GO (green light); it takes two to tango.
15 RHODESIA – (OH DEAR IS)*, old African state; my FOI.
18 MARMOSET – A MARMOT is a rodent, about SE(E) = to spot, tailless; def. primate.
20 AMPLE – ALE (drink) around MP, def. enough.
23 QUARREL – Double definition; a quarrel is or was a heavy crossbow bolt.
25 ISOLATE – I (current), SO LATE = very deep into the night; def. disconnect.
26 AIRED – AIRE (river in Yorkshire), D (dance’s first); def. broadcast.
27 UNLEASHED – (USE HANDLE)*; def. released.
28 EMMANUEL – EMMA (novel) N (name) U E (used, alternate letters), L (Handel’s last; def. Messiah.(
29 TERROR – T (far edge of bat), ERROR (slip); def. dread.

1 CAPACITY – A CITY (a metropolis) after CAP (top); def. role.
2 CAUTION – CATION (positive ion) insert U(niversity); def. discretion.
3 ELBOW ROOM – (ROMEO L)*, insert BOW (‘having ‘to submit’ in’); def. play. Did you spend a while thinking of names of stage plays with a W ending the first word? I did.
5 SHEEPDOG TRIALS – (ERASED SO PLIGHT)*; def. animal testing. My COD.
6 EX-CON – Double definition, ex-convict or ex-Conservative.
7 TRIPOLI – TRIP (gaffe) (OIL)*; def. Lebanese port. Not the one in Libya of same name.
8 STRING – STING = smart, as in hurt; insert (‘dresses’) R; def. strand.
9 BIG GIRL’S BLOUSE – Comic cryptic defiintion; Bertha being by reputation a big girl (or a big gun), blouse being a garment. I have a little golf club known to all as my ‘girl’s blouse wood’, magic on long par 3’s, so I twigged this quickly.
16 ELABORATE – Double definition; a chestnut, I think.
17 DEFENDER – DEFER (put off), insert END (goal); def. certainly no striker.
19 ANAGRAM – ‘IS ONE’ is an anagram of NOISE. Thanks Kevin.
21 POACHER – PO (river) A CHE (Guevara, red) R, def. illegal hunter.
22 SQUARE – Double definition.
24 RADON – RAN (managed) insert DO (party); def. that’s inert; radon being radioactive and after xenon in the Group 8 elements, the inert or noble gases.

39 comments on “Times 26175 – Biffer’s bonanza”

  1. Thanks to the anons, as I had exactly what Pip has, but am marked with one error on the Club leaderboard. I hadn’t the vaguest idea of what a plumbline would have to do with the clue, and if I had thought of POURBOIRE from the checkers I would have put it in; but I didn’t. I also had no idea why BIG GIRLS ETC., but again that’s all I could come up with from checkers. Biffed 5d, twigged after; my COD as well.
  2. I had ‘plumbline’ (unparsed, obvs) and a blank at ANAGRAM, which, now I see it, is very clever. Clearly too clever for me… (thanks KG).

    In other news: dnk QUARREL as a missile, or CATION.

    Yes, def COD for SHEEPDOG TRIALS

  3. Guessed CAUTION from the definition but have never heard of CATION. Is it pronounced CAT ION – as a form of ION? I was thinking of protons, neutrons etc but couldn’t make any of them fit. Got POURBOIRE from definition but it was another one I failed to parse. I can’t see why the answer should be PLUMBLINE. 35 minutes. Ann
    1. A Cation is a positively charged ion, an anion is a negative one, it’s pronounced cat-iron.
  4. Same problems as others parsing POURBOIRE (French for “have a drink on me” so solved from just “Tip” plus checkers – well done anon). Thought COCKER a bit weak and QUARREL a bit obscure.

    Also solved quite a bit from definitions, like ASBESTOS for example, and then reverse engineered the cryptic. Not my favourite way getting answers.

  5. 61m and then abandoned with NW incomplete – 1a, 10a, 2d, as well as 23a. All typically daft obscurities now I know the answers (or put differently, things I didn’t know already). 5d and 19d both worth the admission price, though. Blog much appreciated, Pip, thanks.
  6. I think it’s POURBOIRE. ‘Tip’ (pour) held (bore) to cover one (I)…pourboire being a waiter’s tip.
  7. I can’t parse it nyet either, but POURBOIRE is at least French for tip (to a waiter, to have a drink)
  8. 21.30 and my goodness Pip, you gave me a scare with PLUMBLINE. I only saw POURBOIRE and immediately recalled my grandmother saying “It’s tipping down outside”. ANAGRAM LOI with a chuckle when the penny dropped and I liked the disguised ‘play’ for ELBOW ROOM.
    1. Yes, ELBOW ROOM was very fine. I Googled for a play of that name before I twigged.

      Edited at 2015-08-12 09:19 am (UTC)

  9. I didn’t submit this one because after about 15 minutes I was left with 10a unsolved and I was sure plumbline wasn’t right. I had to go looking for the answer elsewhere. POURBOIRE was completely new to me and, while there is a cryptic path to it, I congratulate anyone who did not know the word but got there from wordplay alone. I was never going to.

    But I like the word. And it did, I’m afraid, start the part of my mind I can’t control (nurse!) off on a rewrite of Bohemian Threnody …

    I’m just a pourboire,
    Absinthe pours into me
    Because I’m easy come, easy go,
    Little high, little eau,
    Hit me with the vin chaud —
    Doesn’t really matter to me ….
    To me …

  10. I struggled with this, and like others above plumped incorrectly for PLUMBLINE at 10ac. Didn’t know or failed to remember CATION, nor that there is another TRIPOLI in Lebanon.

    Edited at 2015-08-12 08:13 am (UTC)

  11. 23:14…. but with PLUMBLINE. Some great clues today – 5d and 19d my favourites.
  12. Same story as most everyone else: POURBOIRE unknown, SHEEPDOG TRIALS the pick and BIG GIRLS BLOUSE a blast from the past. I’m pleased ‘plumbline’ fitted, as otherwise I might have pondered longer and I’d never have got it.

    Unbelievably, I knew CATION…

  13. I finished in 20 mins with the exception of 10ac. Like several others all I could think of was “plumbline” so in a competition I would have bunged it in and hoped for the best. I resorted to aids, realised I had forgotten POURBOIRE existed, knew it had to be the answer from the “tip” in the clue, but still couldn’t parse it! A tip of the hat to the setter for that one. I enjoyed some of the definitions in this puzzle, such as “play” for 3dn, “wet” for 9dn and “animal testing” for 5dn.
  14. Yikes Sotira! My ear worm (also a nice one) was from ASBESTOS. I won’t dance, don’t ask me. Heaven rest us, I’m not… I know we had BIG GIRL’S BLOUSE some time ago – probably in an Anax – and I’d not heard it before so it stuck. The tip just went in sans parsing. I agree with Jimbo about COCKER. Dithered over QUARREL because I kept wanting to make it “quivver” – it’s a long time since I was in Sherwood Forest. 20.32
  15. I was never happy with plumbline or speedhog trials and perseverance paid off in the end. Also thought COCKER a bit weak but ELBOW ROOM and ANAGRAM were very good indeed. An enjoyable crossword.
    1. Pig racing – you may be on to a winner there, sidcup… I’d go. Greyhounds go too fast to see what happened.
  16. About 45 minutes for me, after nearly a week off with the galloping lurgy. I managed to drag POURBOIRE from the dark places in my head, but was unable to parse it, just seeing the tip connection. I also had a penny dropping moment with ANAGRAM, then distrusted the answer before I finally put it in.

    Nice puzzle with plenty to get ones teeth into.

  17. For obvious reasons, SHEEPDOG TRIALS went straight in and too much time spent in alcohol-serving establishments around the world made POURBOIRE a write-in. Liked ANAGRAM when I saw it. Oh, 34.18
  18. About 25 minutes, but I had to look up POURBOIRE. Totally unknown as I guess I don’t frequent enough French bars. So technically a DNF. I put in BIG GIRL’S… from the checkers and with absolutely no understanding why or what it meant. Really? I sometimes get the feeling that if I was walking around in the UK and listening to the locals, I wouldn’t understand a word that was said. And what are SHEEPDOG TRIALS? I suppose they’re just what they sound like, but I would never have imagined seeing one. Anyway, regards to all. Oh, COD to ANAGRAM.
    1. In Scotland once we watched a sheepdog trial. Master and dog have to herd sheep over a course to a pen. Amazing what they can do.
    2. Kevin – 20 years ago we had young children in the house and they loved the movie “Babe” about a young pig who longs to be a sheepdog. He triumphs in the end in the sheepdog trials. The adults actually enjoyed it too. As for the “speedhog” trials, they have them at the Dutchess County Fair later this month – my now grown-up children love them. We give the husband-calling a miss though. Are you going?
      1. Thanks everyone for trying to explain the sheepdog trials to this philistine. Olivia, I can’t say yet whether I’m going to the Dutchess County Fair. I have gone on many occasions and admit to having never noticed the speedhog trials, whatever they are. No need to explain, thanks. If I am going I will let you know, as it would be a pleasant first for me to actually meet someone else from this blog. Regards.
  19. 13:28, with several minutes at the end on the ANAGRAM clue. This trick gets me every time.
    I liked this one: there was some neat misdirection. And I have to disagree with those who don’t like 1ac: I think it is a very fine clue, and I am in no way biased.
  20. Fine with POURBOIRE (but admit to being a French teacher). However, I was nailed by the very clever ANAGRAM, so DNF, I’m afraid.
  21. 30-odd dozy minutes, with POURBOIR and ANAGRAM falling in the way I described yesterday: put available letters into Electronic Chambers, see the answer just before pressing search.
  22. Spent 41m 30s wrangling with this one. Most of the time looking at 10a, before bunging in ‘plumbline’ in desperation. I do remember the term ‘pourboire’ from my pathetic knowledge of French, but did not realise that it had found a foothold in English, and I never would have got to it. ‘Anagram’ also held me up for a while: like others, I had also fallen for this trick before, but eventually saw it.
    Many thanks to Sotira for the ‘Mercurial’ parody. Brilliant.
  23. 13:38 for me. Not really my sort of puzzle. I thought of several answers reasonably quickly, but found them hard to justify from the wordplay and had to wait until I had some crossing letters in place. For example, I spotted the anagrams “is one” and “noise” straight away (for once!) but, without any checked letters in place, wasn’t certain enough of ANAGRAM to bung it in. And I was slow to get SHEEPDOG TRIALS as I found it hard to stomach “controversial” as an anagrind. So although these clues were others’ CODs, they weren’t mine.
  24. No-one has drawn attention to 15 ac, which while easy and undeniably true, might be deemed a political comment.

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