Times 26313 – an educational diversion

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
This puzzle has a rather different flavour I feel, with several answers gettable from wordplay or a vague “I think I’ve heard ‘of…”, but requiring some real GK to be sure.
It took me about 25 minutes, with some visits to Wiki afterwards to become better informed.
I’m hanging out in a pleasant little hut in the Costa Blanca for a few weeks to escape the worst of Winter, so am relying on Senor Vodafone for my ‘print, solve and blog’ duties; hopefully it will see me through.
Comments on others’ blogs may be less frequent – no bad thing, some might say.

1 BARBET – BAR for pub, BET for lay; D one of three families of squat parrot-like birds – Asian, African or American, take your pick.
5 FLATFISH – FLASH for sparkle, insert (FIT)*; D swimmer.
9 DEFORMED – Insert FORM (type) into DEED (act); D crooked.
10 TYRANT – TYR was an Old Norse God of the fierce warrior variety, ANT = worker; D big bully. TYR is consequently the name of a large American sportswear brand, but not as large as NIKE, the Greek goddess of Victory.
11 LILIES – I, L, inside LIES = lounges; D plants.
12 BONDMAID – D female slave, reference to the many lady friends of Mr James Bond; have an extra coffee if you can name more than ten (screen name and actress name). (If the Nespresso machine is now buzzing, you’re as sad as I am).
14 GRACE DARLING – GRACE = kindness, DARLING = lovable person; D rescuer. I used up a euro or two of Senor V’s megabytes reading about the heroic work of Ms Darling and her Dad, up Northumberland way in 1838; serious bravery.
17 LUNAR ECLIPSE – Anagram time; my FOI: (PECULIAR LENS)*; D astronomical phenomenon.
20 SEALSKIN – SEALS could be wax, KIN = KIN(D), sort mostly, ; D warm coat.
22 LASHED – Insert SHE into LAD; D beaten.
23 BALLAD – BALL = dance, A, D = small daughter; D song.
25 A BIENTOT – (NOTE A BIT)*, anagrind ‘botched’; D Parisian’s parting message, see you soon (maybe).
26 BEEBREAD – AUNTIE = the BBC, otherwise known as the BEEB; READ(Y) = prepared, endless (thanks deezzaa); D food for insects, the stuff bees make from pollen and store in their hives.
I wondered why or how the ‘Auntie’ name arose; even the Grauniad doesn’t seem too sure;
27 GREATS – GR(eek) EATS = food; D course. I watched most of the episodes of Celebrity University Challenge over Christmas, even though the celebs were mostly obscure authors and journos; There was one pompous chap who had read GREATS and insisted in telling us all, each time he was introduced, what exactly Greats was. I hope he reads TFTT.

2 AMELIA – A, ELI (priest) inside MA. I can’t find a genus of plants so called, but there is a well know rose variety of this name so I guess that’s our bloomer. Or possibly an American lady called Amelia Bloomer, of whom I had never heard, see first comments. I take pride in knowing zilch about American Feminists, and this one looks more formidable than most.
3 BOOKING HALL – Spooner would have said hooking ball = dispatching delivery; D station area.
4 TIMESHARE – TIMES = by (I was on to this like a flash because I had to be reminded of it in last week’s effort); HARE = fast mover; D holiday arrangement.
5 FADABLE – FABLE = tale, insert AD = our time, D that could die out. Not an everyday word, but seems credible.
6 ACTIN – Even if you had no biochemical expertise you might guess this; it’s one of two proteins that make your muscles work. ACTIN’ = DOIN’ somethin’.
7 FIR – FIRM would be not easily moved; get rid of the M (root); D tree.
8 SENTIENT – SENT = conveyed, IE = that is, N(O)T = not lacking heart; D feeling.
13 MALFEASANCE – (ALAS MEN FACE)*, D illegal act.
15 APPALLING – A, P (quiet) PAL (friend) LING (heather); D awful.
16 TUTELAGE – TU = Union, TEE = support on (golf) course, insert LAG = delay; D training.
18 LANYARD – LAND = put down, insert RAY reversed; D rope.
19 DEVOUT – DEV(ILS) = people who are wicked, half; OUT = exposed; D religious.
21 KEDGE – K = sank finally, EDGE = something sharp? D anchor.
24 LOB – A lob is a ball hit upwards; GLOBE has LOB in the middle, as Gandolf34 points out.

41 comments on “Times 26313 – an educational diversion”

  1. Seems to be a reference to Amelia Bloomer, American woman’s rights and temperance advocate, loose association with the clothing…


  2. I had several still unparsed when I completed the grid after 58 minutes but I’d sorted them all apart from GREATS by this morning. I could only think of course as food, but the reference to University Challenge was enough to remind me of the connection, although I think it’s something I learned only recently, possibly in a Times crossword. [On edit, it came up as recently as November 2015 in puzzle 26258]

    DK BARBET, TYR, ACTIN, BEEBREAD. And I guess one has to know more about sport than I do to understand how ‘hooking’ = ‘despatching’ at 3dn. Incidentally my heart sinks whenever I see Spooner in clues and I wish the editor would put a ban on them.

    Edited at 2016-01-20 09:56 am (UTC)

    1. A hook is a type of shot with a cricket bat Jack – like a block, a drive, a cut etc.
    2. If we’re voting on a ban then I’m against, I’m afraid. I rather like Spoonerisms: they appeal to my puerile sense of humour. The one thing they have against them is that they’re very obvious, but that can be said of a few other devices.
  3. Last Sunday’s Mephisto was a pot pourri of GK and this one isn’t far behind. Luckily knew both AMELIA and GRACE and the bread but could be a bit tough if you don’t

    Struggled a bit with this at times so for me a bit harder than some of late. Enjoyable puzzle.

    Uni Challenge is my favourite TV show but I was a bit disappointed by the Xmas Celebrity version. Contestants were not very good and I was regularly beating them to the punch – unlike the youngsters who continue to amaze with both speed and breadth of knowledge

    1. Quite agree, Jimbo, CUC was dumbed down for the so called celebs, who (considering their academic backgrounds) were mostly slow witted and poor. I am glad to see the main show is still top notch, I well remember my trip to Granada studios in about 1967 when the highlight was going to the pub with Bamber afterwards! We’d lost in round one of course.
    2. It wasn’t that they were not very good ; it’s probably because as time passes your response time gets slower and you become more specialised in your knowledge. I find those UC specials much easier because my response time matches the contestants.
  4. Re 12a. I thought the point of Bond was that once they won his affection they weren’t a maid any more??
  5. Isn’t the READ in 26 across READ(Y) i.e. “prepared” endless?
    Thanks for the parsing of 24d – I needed both the checkers to be sure – and of 4d (LOI).
    Otherwise about 30 minutes, which is pretty good for me. The RHS was pretty straightforward, the LHS less so.
    I was held up for a while with 14a thinking the second word must be GALLANT until I worked out what the first word could possibly be. A true heroine.
  6. DNF. Came up short on the bird today; with hindsight was quite gettable even though I’d not heard of it.

    Also didn’t know KEDGE, BEEBREAD or GREATS but managed the cryptic on those. The allusions above were just sufficient for me to Google ‘greats course’ and discover it to be a degree course. I wasn’t surprised to see that Boris Johnson studied it.

  7. Everything just seemed to take a little bit longer than usual. Not helped by lacking the GK for BARBET, TYR, ACTIN, BONDMAID, BEEBREAD, GREATS and AMELIA. Just goes to show that any old fool can do these things.

    Serious bravery indeed by young Miss Darling. If you enjoyed that story, check out the effort of her partial namesake Grace Bussell off the WA coast in 1876. (Call that a rescue? Now THIS is a rescue….).

    Anyway, another good puzzle. Thanks setter and Pip.

  8. 22:38 … wouldn’t want them all to be like this but it was satisfying to complete. I got in quite a mess by guessing at BONDMATE, finally corrected when the wordplay of SENTIENT emerged (nice clue).

    Pip – was that the same chap who kept telling us he got a double first? I think that was Mr Lane Fox, who is possibly anxious about being eclipsed by his overachieving, ennobled daughter (and fellow Magdalenite). Get-togethers in that family must be a hoot.

  9. DNF after 40 minutes. At 26a I had the BEEB bit and tried to produce a Beetle of some sort …. but lost the will to live.
    I heard Lane Fox say ” Grates” – which I found he did.
  10. Unfortunately we don’t get UC in the US. Had a good laugh seeing the comments about RLF. I met him a couple of times through a fellow pupil in chambers back when – he doesn’t seem to have changed at all… I can’t remember when but I know we had PPE (modern greats, or should I say grates) in the last year or so. 19.18

    Edited at 2016-01-20 11:19 am (UTC)

    1. I am so embarrassed to say that PPE means hard hats and High Visibilty to me. I should stay in more.
  11. 17m. A bit tricky some of this, mostly because of slightly arcane vocabulary/GK. BARBET, TYR, BEEBREAD, AMELIA Thingumabob. FADABLE: is that a word? And what on earth is a BOOKING HALL?

    Edited at 2016-01-20 11:09 am (UTC)

    1. A British term for a room or area at a railway station in which tickets are sold.

      This one was my last one in – I am not a fan of Spoonerisms and when I only had the xAxL in the second word I went badly off course trying to find some sort of rail, hence my time of 15:07

      1. Yes, my question was rhetorical really: I worked out what it must be, but I have never heard it called that. It looks like ‘ticket hall’ is vastly more common than ‘booking hall’ these days, and ‘ticket office’ is vastly more common than either. See here.

        Edited at 2016-01-20 02:04 pm (UTC)

  12. So continuing a good run, a few DNKs (bird, insect food, Grace for a start) but managed to get from wordplay. Far too long spent at 17, where CLEAR refused to leave my head until I finally twigged TUTELAGE and it went way.
  13. 45 minutes.Found this a bit tough. I had TANNED as a perfectly justifiable answer for 22, thus making problems with 12 and 15. Then became convince that 14 ended in GALLANT. 1dn was easy enough from the wordplay but I didn’t understand the definition, never herd of beebread and the meaning of kedge was pretty unfamiliar.
  14. 19.36, slowed by two “near enough” anagrams in MISFEASANCE and TOTAL ECLIPSE. I knew (sort of) both the BARBEL and the BARBET, both of them as bish or firds, and eventually put the right one in on wordplay.
    Is the Grace Darling story still a national paradigm of bravery? It was when I was at school, but I wonder if she has been edged to one side now by other (equally worthy, no doubt) heroines and heroes?
  15. 19:55 with as long a list of unknowns as anybody else.

    I assumed that Grace Darling was in Peter Pan and had a rescuing role in that. Thanks for the parsing of lob.

  16. Longer than average on therotterometer at about 50 minutes, but all correct and parsed at least partially. I had BEE (Auntie endless) and Bread (food), but for that to work, food needs to do double duty as part of the def as well as the cryptic, so the READ(y) interpretation is much cleaner. For some reason, I wanted to put an extra L in LILIES and that held me up a while. LOI LOB.
  17. Around 40 minutes as I recall, but it’s so long since I did it. Ooh, hello, stop messin’ about! Sorry, it is my current mission in life to watch all 30 Carry On films before writing up a Top Ten. Talking of which, one of the dishiest Bond maids was Shirley Eaton, who graced a couple of the early Carry On films – most notably as the object of Leslie Phillips’ marriage counselling skills – before passing out as a Golden girl in the 007 series.

    Absolutely no clue how LOB worked, so thanks to the wizord for that.

  18. So much obscurity I congratulated myself on getting this one. And as a Vodafone shareholder, I applaud the blogger twice over.
  19. Too tricky for me today… was left after an hour with two blanks (BARBET, BOOKING HALL). Was convinced 3dn was ‘something RAIL’. Also had a ? by LOB, so thanks for sorting that one out. So many unknowns went in on wp. Not so enjoyable for me…!
  20. Another DNF and another anti spooner vote especially when used to clue an obscure word/phrase! Shared all of the unknowns already mentioned and found the puzzle irritating rather than difficult; when the setter peppers the puzzle with obscurities any hold up leads to me assume I won’t have heard of the word so in goes the towel! I was right on each occasion today. I did appreciate the blog, though.
  21. Fell asleep doing this and listening to the cricket last night and managed to rattle off the last few in quick order this morning. I think this one is being damned with faint praise, because even though BARBET, BONDMAID, GRACE DARLING, BEEBREAD and BOOKING HALL were all unfamiliar, the wordplay did lead directly to the answer.

    University Challenge had a very short life in Australia, but I tried out unsuccessfully (not sure if I took it seriously or not) for the Melbourne University team in 1988

  22. This kept me busy for 35 minutes, I suppose due to the relative unknowns. One of which, BEEBREAD, was my LOI since my brain was quite slow to see READ(Y). Ms. Darling must have appeared here before, because I was able to dredge her up from somewhere, and I doubt I’d have heard of her elsewhere. Regards.
  23. 16 mins. BEEBREAD was my LOI after I finally saw the wordplay for the last four letters, and the unremembered/unknown BARBET was my NTLOI after I finally saw lay=bet. For some reason LILIES took much too long to see. AMELIA went in from wordplay alone, and I’m with George on the quality of the puzzle. I quite enjoy Spooner clues, and I’m a little surprised that a few of you think that BOOKING HALL is relatively obscure.
  24. The advantage of not being a native UK speaker is that Booking Hall seems very reasonable. The disadvantage is that Grace D is completely unknown. Was pleased to dredge Actin and Kedge out from somewhere. Otherwise, points go to the setter today.
  25. 11:48 for me, a bit slow considering this was my sort of puzzle and all the references were familiar.

    I’m with dorsetjimbo regarding the Xmas Celeb UC. Almost all the participants seemed terribly slow when compared with some of the younger ones in the main contest (where the questions seem significantly tougher), and I don’t accept their age as an excuse since I suspect they were all younger than either Jimbo or me (RLF included, who I’m sorry to say seemed worryingly scatty).

    I don’t object to Spoonerism clues even though I’m usually very slow to get them. Fortunately today’s was an exception: I had only a comparatively brief hang-up and twigged it before moving on.

    Overall, an interesting and enjoyable puzzle.

  26. 58 minutes here. And that’s before I gave up with many unfilled cells. Admittedly, a few of those minutes were spent in fixing myself a G&T; then fixing a very much larger one as I realized what I was up against; then fixing a third one because the second one had stopped working.

    NHO BEEBREAD, AMELIA, GRACE DARLING or BARBET. Nor had I heard of Tyr, though I figured out TYRANT. Had vaguely heard of GREATS, which I presume is one of those recreations that people pursue in lieu of a subject. And there was I feeling all smug over ACTIN.

    As for University Challenge, nowadays I only watch it to hear Jeremy Paxman finding novel and imaginative ways to pronounce scientific terms.

    So, grumpy and defeated, I go in search of a fourth G&T (not counting breakfast).

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