Times 26,306

Lovely stuff, this. Loads of clues where I started out baffled before suddenly realising what the clue was actually after, and who doesn’t love a good penny-drop moment? It also strikes me on reflection how concisely clued this is, another sign of a top-quality puzzle in my book. I tip my hat to the setter for 17 minutes of great enjoyment.

1 BURN IN EFFIGY – (FUNNYBIGFIRE)*. As in the November 5th type of guy who goes up in flames.
9 OWN UP – OW! (PUN)rev.
10 ENTANGLED – ANGLE in (TEND)*. No denying that spaghetti ends up like that.
11 MONOPOLY – the economic term and the board game which may feature the streets of Atlantic City, London, or another place entirely depending on your country of origin.
12 DRAW IN – DRAWIN[G]. Nice to know that the days are drawing out again, hard though it is to detect.
13 REHEARSE – RE: HEARSE. A darkly humorous take on the last form of transport one is likely to use.
17 MY FOOT – double def., literal and cryptic.
18 STAR WARS – WAR in STA[I]RS minus the 1. Apparently a new film in the series came out recently…they kept that quiet.
20 DAMAGE – i.e. the AGE of one’s DAM, and nothing to do with gin.
21 VIA MEDIA – two ways to look at it, as VIA(=using) MEDIA(=TV and papers, say) or the Latin phrase, literally meaning “the middle way”.
24 MULTITASK – (IMUSTTALK)*. I’m not sure there’s real scientific evidence for this theory, hence “they say”, but it’s certainly a widespread belief.
25 STOUP – T[IME] in SOUP.
26 PECKING ORDER – C[AUGHT] in PEKING(as it was “once” before becoming Beijing), ORDER(=demand).
1 BLOOMER – double def.
3 IN PUP – INPU[T], P[OWER]. The seal equivalent of being “in calf” or “in foal”.
4 EYEGLASS – [YE in E.G.], cryptically indicated by “say impressing you”, LASS.
5 FITS – double def., one noun, one verb.
7 BLOW HOT AND COLD – BLOW(=disappointment) + HOT AND COLD.
8 ODENSE – if everything is spread out, then 0 is DENSE. Denmark’s third largest city.
14 ALONGSIDE – LONGS(=is keen) in AIDE(=assistant).
16 STRICKEN – RICK(=strain) in (NETS)rev. For those from non-cricket playing territories, the nets are erected around a practice wicket so that nobody has to chase the ball when the batsman hits it (I think the baseball equivalent is called a cage).
17 MADAME – ADAM, the original Man, interrupts ME.
19 SCAMPER – S[ON] CAMPER, the VW dormobile type of van.
22 MISDO – D[IAMONDS] inside MISO paste. I think miso is much less of an obscurity in these days of Wagamama in the High Street. MISDO isn’t a word I think I’ve seen before, though…
23 LARK – L[EFT] ARK. According to the book of Genesis, Noah gathered all the birds of the Earth, though only the raven and the dove are specifically named, when they get sent out in search of land.

35 comments on “Times 26,306”

  1. 21 minutes, so on the wavelength apart from inventing an anagram at 12a and putting in ‘draw to’, which stymied ODENSE (known from football) – my last in.

    I’m not sure which of REHEARSE or MULTITASK I enjoyed the most – both had me tittering.

  2. Couldn’t get the VIA part of 21ac. Not knowing the Latin expression didn’t help, but I still should have seen it. Was desperate enough to consider AIR INDIA at one stage until I got MISDO (strange looking word).

    Also failed with the unknown ODENSE, though I think it flashed across my brain (not a long journey admittedly) at one point.

    Everything else was pretty easy! Well done setter, and thanks Tim.

  3. With the long anagrams at 1ac and 2dn. Then a pleasant passage to the SE which proved a bit harder. Not too sure about trading on folk myths about gender at 24ac — he said while writing this, priming a canvas, making coffee and editing a study guide! Odense: home of the world’s best marzipan.

    Edited at 2016-01-12 03:21 am (UTC)

  4. A technical DNF here as I needed aids for the first word at 21ac (could only think MID) and 22dn where I didn’t trust the wordplay and ruled out -SDO as a possible alignment of letters without considering it closely enough. On reflection I should have got both answers unaided and although I have never actually come across the expression VIA MEDIA both words are known to me of course. The other unknown was ODENSE where I trusted to wordplay and got it right; on checking I found it came up before in October 2008 and also in a couple of Jumbos – not that I often do those.
  5. doubly so, since I accidentally saw MONOPOLY here when scrolling to see if the Quickie blog was up, and since I never got MISDO. I actually entertained M_SDO, but without giving it enough thought–as Galspray says, it’s a strange looking word. I knew ODENSE–was there at a conference some years ago, and it’s Hans Christian Andersen’s birthplace.
  6. Forgot to say cf “Son takes sort of van to run fast” and “Son takes holiday vehicle on run” in today’s Quickie.
  7. DNF. Couldn’t get VIA MEDIA and MISDO. I was convinced that the mess in 22d was GOO, so I didn’t even have the luxury of AIR INDIA as a possibility. Luxury and Air India in the same sentence …. whatever next?
  8. Very enjoyable solve – not too taxing but a gentle stroll in the park

    Interested in the remarks about MISDO and thinking ..SDO wasn’t possible. If you do the bar crosswords you lose all those hangups and just trust the cryptic

    A lot of rubbish talked about multitasking – nothing to do with gender at all

    Edited at 2016-01-12 09:33 am (UTC)

  9. 24m. I started very slowly on this, with only OWN UP going in on my first pass through the acrosses. I got a foothold with the downs though and progressed steadily after that with only one left to solve after 15m. I nearly gave up on 21ac but got there eventually on my third or fourth run through the alphabet. A very difficult clue for those like me who have never heard the Latin expression.
    No problem with MISDO: I’m sure I’ve seen it somewhere before, and miso is pretty common these days, at least in the sort of sophisticated metropolitan establishments I frequent (Pret A Manger). And I’ve been to ODENSE, which helped.
    A great puzzle, overall. As Tim says the quality of a puzzle can be measured in penny-drop moments, and there were plenty of those today. REHEARSE definitely my favourite for ‘last thing in transport’, which is very witty and a cunning piece of misdirection.

    Edited at 2016-01-12 10:19 am (UTC)

  10. Another fine puzzle like yesterdays. solved steadily from top down, ending after 31 minutes with all but *I* MEDIA for 21a, as jackkt, wanted to put MID but couldn’t see why; should have twigged VIA but gave up so a DNF.

    Liked 24a, agree with Jimbo it is a myth, although one theory would have you believe it is a genetic hangover from early Man where the woman guarded the ‘nest’ (needing peripheral vision and multitasking ability) while the man hunted (needing tunnel vision and ability to concentrate on one thing). Certainly a theory worth invoking when you’re doing the crossword and therefore not listening to Madame.

  11. I think it’s usually to be seen in the form of “misdeeds”. REHEARSE seemed vaguely familiar either from here or that other paper. Had to conjure up my inner Falstaff for STOUP – around here it (or stoop) is what people call the front steps of a townhouse for sitting purposes in fine weather. Probably from the Dutch.

    How I do agree with Pip and Jim about multitasking. I recently saw a man nearly knocked down by a bike when crossing our avenue – of course he was checking his phone. And in the supermarket the other day the woman in front of me was talking on hers at the check-out and then realized she’d forgotten something and pushed back past me saying, you don’t mind do you. Gave her a piece of mine when she came back… After a slow start, on the wavelength like Ulaca – 14.34

    1. Nope.
      Can’t fit any possible definition or cryptic construction.

      Like many undone by *I* MEDIA not knowing it was a Latin phrase, rather than just a couple of random English words. Otherwise definitely off the wavelength.

  12. 15,48, and yes, one of those puzzles where when you first read a clue you think wha..? Read it again (with barely a pause) and it makes crossword sense. Clever.
    On multitasking, I was introduced to this yesterday – might be old hat to many, but it staggered me.
    1. I have seen that before: I was at a conference where a speaker showed it and the result was astonishing.
    2. I can’t even unitask: failed the test and miscounted the passes. The wife would be nodding sagely.

      PS I’ve been singing your praises on the other thread: would hate you to miss it.

  13. 19.26 … agreed, lovely puzzle. Last in MULTITASK, partly thanks to a mistyped ‘alongsade’ which was probably the result of attempting to 24a.
  14. About 40 minutes for me after an extended Christmas break, which is about my normal time. This was a very satisfying solve, and I agree with others that it was up there with some of the best. ODENSE was my LOI in the top half, which I completed before getting any kind of a start down below, and STOUP was the very LOI. I never saw the anagram at 2d and forgot to go back to parse it before coming here. Didn’t stop me getting it from the cryptic. Thanks setter and blogger.
  15. First-class puzzle, as Tim and others have said. Not sure I’d agree with Jimbo that it was a gentle stroll in the park — more like a stiffish uphill walk for me. Possible a bit heavy on anagrams for some tastes, but no complaints on that score from me.

    REHEARSE, MULTITASK, ENTANGLED and MONOPOLY were stand-out clues, I thought. ODENSE and MISDO were my LOIs. I had forgotten, if I ever knew, the name of the Danish port city and had to resort to Google to confirm that such a place exists, but the wordplay was clever. I was vaguely irritated by MISDO — one of those words that are to be found in dictionaries but which no literate person would ever use in real life. According to my Chambers, it can serve as both a transitive or intransitive verb. When did you last say “he seriously misdid”? But then again, as JImbo advises, it’s best to ignore such objections and “go with the cryptic”.

    Thanks for the blog, Tim, and for informing me that the dove and the raven were the only birds specifically named as having been saved from the floods by Noah.

    Edited at 2016-01-12 12:15 pm (UTC)

  16. Like so many others I was undone by “VIA” and “ODENSE”. At one point I thought of GDANSK but persuaded myself that STROVE was indeed correct.
    My theory about multitasking is that it’s a myth perpetuated by both sexes: by women to make them feel superior to men, and by men so they only need to do one thing at a time and not be criticised by women for not doing everything at once. It is, of course, an absolute myth, but don’t tell Mrs Deezzaa.
  17. 38m but had to check the Latin which I’d never heard of. I enjoyed this with entertainment at 11 and 24 – another puzzle where I failed to solve anything on the first run through and feared the worst but second time around OWNUP fell and I was away. Thanks for the blog and to the setter.
  18. 17:13 and an enjoyable solve so thank you setter (and blogger). I liked 13ac and did not know 8dn but prised it from the clue. No problem with. 22dn. After all, we have MISDIRECT and other combinations as Olivia points out.
    My recipe books all talk about miso paste but I have never found it. In my part of the world, it comes in a powder to be added to hot water (even in Pret a Manger). I need to keep my eyes more open.

    Edited at 2016-01-12 04:34 pm (UTC)

  19. Tricky one, very fun – I was agonizing at the end over MIX MEDIA or VIA MEDIA but remembered the phrase. Loved PECKING ORDER!
  20. As someone trying to graduate from the QC, I tried this after being knocked for 6 by yesterday’s ‘easy Monday’ offering. It took all afternoon, but got there bar Odense, which I should have seen from the cryptic and checkers. Invariant
  21. I haven’t had a sleepy solve for a while but this was one, so my time of 33 mins isn’t a true reflection of how this puzzle compared to others in terms of difficulty. FWIW my last two in were the MISDO/STOUP crossers. Even allowing for my tiredness I enjoyed this one far more than yesterday’s.
  22. About 30 minutes, ending with the very faintly known VIA MEDIA, more from the Latin than English. I liked ODENSE. And 16D was a pure biff, without any understanding of ‘rick’ or cricket terms. Regards.
  23. No reliable time as a series of quick-fire interruptions caused a stopwatch blunder but I’d say about 12 minutes so I was definitely on wavelength. Clever and enjoyable.
  24. Apparently there is something called mid-media, which is distinct from mass-media in that it attempts to reach a smaller audience, say a town rather than a whole country. The online grid on the Times website accepted it. Seems to fit the rest of the clue quite well.
  25. I agree: a first-class puzzle, which I should have made short work of (and probably would have done in the past, so my 12:45 left me feeling old and slow).

    COD to 8dn (ODENSE), a city particularly associated with one of my favourite composers, Carl Nielsen.

    1. My family comes from Ejby, near Odense, so that clue was never going to be difficult for me.
      Ejby is actually a little bit closer to Middelfart than it is to Odense. But we always say Odense, even so..
  26. DNF – I was triply beaten by this one. And that includes 40 minutes of sober solving, followed by a further 20 with artificial stimulants.

    MISDO – even seeing the answer I had to say it to myself five times before it registered as “mis-do”. ODENSE – not a hope in Hull. And who knew Denmark had a third city? SCAMPER – absolutely no plausible excuse for not getting that one.

    This would have been a clever, challenging puzzle if I’d finished. As it is, it is clearly the work of a malicious obscurantist.

  27. I did pretty well on this; got it all except _I_ for VIA, and I got IN PUP but this didn’t fit with 11a, where I convinced myself that “The only outlet”, with checkers M_N___L_, must be a MANIFOLD, as in exhaust manifold, which is a combined outlet for gases from each cylinder – though the “for this game” I had to assume there was some unknown game of that name. An intentional misdirection? If so, very clever.

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