Times 26251 – Slippery in places

Solving time: 41 minutes

Music: Schubert, Piano Sonatas, Kempff

I spent most of the day, on and off, trying to solve Saturday’s rather difficult offering. So I was hoping for a nice easy Monday puzzle, but this one presented a few challenges. Even after solving it, I am not all that happy with some of the answers. I’m sure they’re correct, but the setter has taken a few too many liberties for me.

I had finished all but two answers in 31 minutes, but I had a wrong word at 8 down. It took a while to get that straightened out, and then to conclude that ‘slipcases’ was indeed the only possible answer for 18, and that it did indeed fit the cryptic and literal.

1 RABBIT, double definition, but not the first ‘meat’ that comes to mind….I hope.
4 POTBELLY, POT(BELL)Y, where ‘potty’ is close in meaning to ‘dope’, but not an exact synonym.
10 INJUSTICE, I[effectual] + N(JUST)ICE.
11 LABEL, L + ABEL, where both ‘mark’ and ‘label’ should be taken as verbs.
12 FOUR-LETTER WORD, overlapping double definition, looking at both the number of letters and the slang meaning of ‘blue’.
14 ROWER, double definition.
16 EGLANTINE, E + anagram of GENTIAN around L[ilies].
18 SLIPCASES, SLIP(CASE)S. Both the literal and the cryptic are very vague, but fortunately this is the only English word that fits. My LOI SUITCASES.
20 CHEEP, sounds like CHEAP, as in a ‘cheap shot’.
21 BEEF WELLINGTON, cryptic definition, when presumably the boots as well as the beef are among the ingredients.
26 TASK FORCE, hidden in [conflic]T ASK FOR CE[asefire]. I didn’t see the hidden and just biffed it.
27 TALISMAN, [juggernau]T + anagram of ANIMALS.
1 RAIN FOREST, RA(INFO)REST, a bit of a chestnut.
2 BIJOU, JIB upside-down + O[r] U[ndisirable]. The literal is a bit loose.
3 INSULAR, anagram of URINALS, with another loose literal.
5 OBESE, O.B.E. + S[ublim]E.
7 LIBERTINE, LI(anagram of TRIBE)NE.
8 YELL, double definition. I had ‘Mull’ for quite a while, thinking it must be some obscure word for a loud noise. Yell is in the Shetlands, not the Hebrides.
9 MISTRESS, MIST + [d]RESS, very straightforward.
13 DESPONDENT, [livlihoo]D + anagram of NO END, STEP, another biff for me.
17 LISTLESS, double definition, a definite chestnut.
22 EXTRA, E.(X)T. + R.A., a compendium of crosswordland cliches.
23 THREE, last letters of [conten]T [wit]H [thei]R [nic]E [flexibl]E.
24 CHAT, double definition, my FOI.

49 comments on “Times 26251 – Slippery in places”

  1. But there’s only one T. I read it as POT=dope, BELL-Y “describing a clanger”.
    Also, 18ac is SUITCASES (the other word that fits): ‘Those taken away’

    Edited at 2015-11-09 02:31 am (UTC)

  2. I was worried at first, when I went through the acrosses without solving one clue, not even CHEEP. But things picked up with the downs, and went steadily from then. Like Vinyl, I didn’t spot the hidden at 26ac (I’m quite good at not spotting hiddens) until post-biff. I think I may have come across the island of YELL in the distant past, but it was as near as damn it to a DNK.
  3. 24 minutes, so pretty straightforward – apart from ignoring the instructions at 20a and putting in ‘cheap’.

    Edited at 2015-11-09 02:57 am (UTC)

  4. I agree with Kevin on the parsing of 4ac, and it’s with reference to drugs.

    And SUITCASES of course.

    I found this reasonably straightforward and only exceeded my half-hour target by a couple of minutes. I thought 12 and 21 were excellent.

    Liberties taken? You ain’t seen nothing yet! More on this anon.

    Edited at 2015-11-09 06:57 am (UTC)

  5. …with a few minutes’ delay at the end as I couldn’t parse POTBELLY.

    Otherwise not too hard today, and some nice surfaces. Thanks setter and Vinyl.

  6. 15:10 … a sub-10 sprint came to a shuddering halt at POTBELLY and YELL, the first of which I just couldn’t see, the second I didn’t know as an island.

    Nice PDM on the 4-letter word. I’m warming to the definition of SUITCASES.

  7. Solving on an iPad allows you to check whether your solution is correct and points out wrong-uns. From this I can confirm SUITCASES. I thought that this was typical Monday fare. 14:32
  8. 17 minutes, no issues, liked BELL-Y for like a clanger. Such banter reminds me of the usually hilarious Uxbridge ED round in Radio 4’s I’m Sorry I haven’t a Clue. Is there a linguistic term for invented adjectives like this, which occasionally make for good clues?
    Surprised that SUITCASES was a DK for our blogger, do you call them VALISES or something else in NYC?
    1. My in-house expert on NYC usage assures me that so far as he knows he has never used the word for any kind of luggage. He says that if pressed he would think of it as a kind of briefcase. So it’s SUITCASES for him unless it’s just bags and baggage. No real hold-ups with this. 15.8
  9. Struggled with ROWER. Pleased to see that others agreed that 18a was SUITCASES – what is a SLIPCASE anyway?
  10. For me, it was the SW corner that held me up, failing to see ROWER, the government, HEAVE, TALISMAN and even CHAT for ages, although I did get SUITCASES quickly enough. Quite tricky in parts for a Monday I thought. I couldn’t get RAZOR out of my head for 14a, and when I did, I got distracted by RAPER (rapier being the blade), but clearly that didn’t work either. Once I saw ROWER, the rest fell into place.
    1. PS, I could only get to today’s blog by choosing the ‘previous day’ option on the calendar for 09/11/15 (or 11/09/15 if you are in the US of A).
  11. Wasted a lot of time eying potbelly in disbelief as couldn’t parse it and didn’t believe it was one word. Finally let it through. Also doubtful as to task force definition. Otherwise found it reasonably straightforward if uninspiring.
  12. 22:22. I invented CREWD for 20a which held me up for DESPONDENT so CHEEP my LOI. No problem with 14a – we have one of those blades on the wall, although as the wife was the cox she should have won a rudder. I also saw CASE in SUITS for 18a. DNK there was such a word as SLIPCASE. I enjoyed the hidden phrase as 26a, the piglets at 23d and the FOUR-LETTERED WORD.
  13. (Anonymous)
    Nov. 9th, 2015 10:31 am (UTC)
    18 ac
    18 may be suit(case)s. As in taken away on holidays. ?

    Edited at 2015-11-09 10:50 am (UTC)

  14. 22:01. A similar start to kevingregg, when a first pass of the acrosses only yielded the last two. But then their crossers proved fruitful and things fell into place from there.

    I was helped by there being no real obscurities today. EGLANTINE is fairly new to me but I remembered seeing it in crossword land not too long ago. I didn’t know the island YELL but being in the Shetlands I’m guessing it’s not as loud as its name suggests.

  15. The crossing 14, 15 and 18 were my undoing. 25 minutes until those three left. Like someone else I couldn’t get RAZOR out of my head, and for 18 I couldn’t get SPASMS for ‘fits’ out of my head. In the end I resorted to an aid to get 18, after which I got the other two myself.
    Definitely a bit trickier than a normal Monday.
  16. Another one whose first thought was CRUDE=”crewed”, and, er, no, that doesn’t work out, does it. Also among those who has always thought of POTBELLY as two words.

    On the other hand, I was qute original when it came to creating INELEGANT from the anagram fodder at 16 across, and had to come back to it when I suddenly remembered that it also helps in these stuations to create an answer which corresponds with a possible definition.

  17. An interrupted solve this morning, so my 23.25 time is revisable downwards if you’re feeling generous. On the other hand, I couldn’t break the wordlay for DESPONDENT, so I don’t think my speed is that high anyway. Likeable crossword though with more popenny dropping moments than arcade coin-pusher. I particularly liked the whimsical BELL-Y and the ****.
  18. Regardless of what the dictionaries say, I am happy to rely on that indispensible site potbellypigs.com for expert information about these fine animals, including how to spell them!
  19. About 40mins with one blank. Then I took the dog out and came back and got POTBELLY immediately. Funny how that happens sometimes…

    I too got bogged down with razor and raper before realising what sort of blade it was, and biffed DESPONDENT.

    1. I also took the dog out, had a couple of beers, came back and got potbelly immediately (that was 40 years ago).

      To avoid despondency, if you are looking for a blade may I suggest that you choose those that are dashing and young?

      Edited at 2015-11-09 03:17 pm (UTC)

  20. 11:00 so a normal-ish Monday experience. LOI rower as it didn’t occur to me until I had the W that belligerent could be a noun.

    I like the fun elements like belly and beef W.

  21. 29 minutes here, which is about my average. Sadly, though, I was counting on this to be my major displacement activity for the day, so I could have used something tougher. Ah well.

    COD was TASK FORCE, simply because I thought it was nicely done.

    Never did manage to parse EXTRA, which was a bit of an Ikea clue, and therefore my LOI.

  22. About 15 minutes going by which stations we were between when I finally realised that the ‘y’ in potbelly was attached to the bell and not the pot. Rather attractive clue, that one, along with the four-letter word.

  23. No problem with my SUITCASE – YELL was distant memory

    and I couldn’t shake off MOWER until ROWER turned up.

    34 minutes in all

    Living so long away from Blighty I have become ignorant of what a

    FOUR LETTER WORD is – can any one give me some of the more common


    horryd Shanghai

      1. Thanks. I was going to ask this question. Wikipedia has 31 meanings for PDM. It should have 32.
        1. Apologies for being obscure. I think I’ve seen it used most in blogs devoted to the ‘advanced’ puzzles like The Listener and Enigmatic Variations (which I go through occasional phases of tackling). The best of those puzzles have a big PDM when the theme or device that explains everything becomes clear. I may be committing some sort of crossword faux pas by using it to describe a single clue.

          Edited at 2015-11-09 06:58 pm (UTC)

  24. About 30 minutes, with similar reactions as vinyl to several clues like POTBELLY, INSULAR, and BIJOU. Odd, that last one, which I only equate with a theater (or theatre, with a bow to the home team). More thorny than the usual Monday. Regards.
    1. Oh, now I see. I have unearthed a live journal message from paul in London, who is apparently not in London but in NY, attempting to arrange a NYC get together. Paul, I’ve now seen the message. I will check the schedule for that date and see what I can do, and thanks very much for attempting to organize that. Regards. Paul, by the way, your original message ended up in a ‘suspicious messages’ folder in LJ.

      Edited at 2015-11-09 07:19 pm (UTC)

    2. Hi Kevin – See the message from Linxit at the top of the TFTT page today. His original posting on the subject was on August 22nd. In addition to the gathering in London there is to be one in NYC also on December 5th. Vinyl, Paul and I are attending along with one or two others. I’m going to send you an email message offsite now and do hope very much that you can come. P.S Our postings crossed. Very glad you are now au fait!

      Edited at 2015-11-09 07:25 pm (UTC)

  25. Decided that there must be an obscure Shakespearean reference … Felt like a puzzle where it took a while to get on the setter’s wavelength; like others, I was interrupted during my morning coffee and had more success when I returned to it later in the day. Quite pleased to have only two letters wrong, redundancy must be suiting me!
  26. 15 min. SUITCASES was my LOI after MISTRESS, the latter of which was definitely a Dean Martin for me. Before any of the newer visitors to the site ask, Dean Martin stands for Depressingly Easy Answer Needing More Actual Reflection Than Is Necessary. A tad more complicated than PDM methinks.
  27. Whizzed through this until I came to the much-discussed trio of SUITCASES, POTBELLY and YELL. Those took me about as long as the rest, somehow YELL seemed most likely for 4 which led me to POTBELLY.
  28. 7:50 for me, held up briefly by POTBELLY, which (like others, and as far as I can remember) I’ve only ever come across as two words.

    I’d heard of YELL because of the tune Nan frae Yell composed by folkie Pat Shaw when he retreated to Shetland for a while. I’ve no idea who Nan was though.

    A pleasant, straightforward solve.

  29. Not that it was the answer, but for those who have a problem with this, a slipcase is an extra sort of cardboard box that provides extra protection for a ‘treasured’ book, or at least one with the publishers are trying to punt as such. Remember ‘luxury skivertex’, was it ?

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