Times 26320 – look ma, no panto!

Solving time : 17:27, and going by some of the other times on the club timer, I made hard work of this one. It’s late and I’m still a little under the weather, but a lot of this didn’t quiet do it for me. There’s a ton of references and some unusual phrases, though the phrases are clued with good wordplay. Throw in a few unhelpful definitions and an iffy cryptic definition and you have a puzzle that is way off the nursery slopes.

Which will probably mean everyone else will love it.

Away we go…

1 MOONLIGHT FLIT: I got the MOONLIGHT part pretty quickly, but didn’t see FLIT until right near the end – MOON(satellite),LIGHT(not difficult),F(following),LIT(books)
9 NAIRN: AIR(show) in the middle letters of stuNNing
10 SIX-FOOTER: SIX-SHOOTER with SH replaced by F
11 HAMMER HOME: stress, and a possible dwelling place of the film studio
12 MEAN: double definition
14 SCANDAL: SANDAL containing C
16 NEURONE: RUN reversed, containing E then ONE(a)
17 ENTAILS: anagram of ALE ISN’T – the definition isn’t doing it for me – I can see ENTAIL is consequence, but not occasion
19 BESEECH: alternating letters in aBlE, then SEE, CH
20 CAGE: hidden reversed in bodEGA Climbing
24 TRACKBALL: haven’t seen one of those for a while the mouse and touch pad have definitely taken over. TRACK(song) and BALL(dance)
25 OBOLI: I,LOB,0 all reversed
26 HIGHLAND FLING: HIGH school then LANDING containing FL
2 ODIUM: sounds like ODEON, maybe. As pointed out several times in comments, it can also be ODEUM which is a bit closer
3 LINSEED OIL: (SELL,IODINE) – I associate it more with cricket bats with paints, but Chambers says there are many applications
4 GASOHOL: SOH(note) in GAOL(jail, jug)
5 TAXIMAN: bit of an odd self-referential cluel, based on a TAXMAN containing 1
7 TO THE FORE: HE(fellow),FOR(pro) inside(bags) TOTE(to carry)
8 PRINCE CHARMING: PRICE(charge) containing N, then C(caught), HARMING(abusing)
13 DUSSELDORF: DUF(f) containing RODLESS(missing staff) reversed
15 AUTOGRAPH: cryptic definition
18 SET SAIL: leave port – SETS(cakes) and sounds like ALE
19 BABYLON: BABY(mini), LON(g)(marathon not finishing)
22 SUOMI: IMO(in my opinion), US all reversed. Another vague definition
23 S,KEG

47 comments on “Times 26320 – look ma, no panto!”

  1. I certainly didn’t find this easy and needed 41 minutes to complete the grid. I rather liked TAXIMAN and HAMMER HOME. TRACKBALL was unknown to me (I never knew anything before mouse other than keyboard alone). SKEG was unfamiliar too as were OBOLI and NEURONE with an E on the end. Biffed DUSSELDORF and PRINCE CHARMING.
  2. George, I think the verb form of “occasion” as in “to occasion grievous bodily harm” gets us there.

    Quite a few unknowns, including the crossing SUOMI and OBOLI, but they must have been solvable because even I solved them.

    Linseed oil brings back memories of the TLC required when breaking in a new bat. Not these days, the modern monstrosities just split in half and you reach for another one. Meanwhile they’ve allowed the likes of KP to forge a career out of top-edging sixes. Don’t get me started.

    Anyway, nice puzzle again. COD to SIX-FOOTER (is six foot still tall? None of my son’s mates is under six foot, and they don’t seem to be exceptional. Though I guess it’s still tall for a woman).

    Thanks setter and George.

    Edited at 2016-01-28 06:26 am (UTC)

    1. Two Yorkshiremen.

      One: Where do bats go in winter?
      Two: Don’t know, but if you don’t oil em thee crack.

  3. 28 minutes. Pleasing to see Man City described as synthetic cream, but is it strictly accurate? Well, one out of two ain’t bad, I suppose.
  4. I’m reminded by Galspray’s comment that I meant to say of SUOMI that it’s something well-known to anyone who collected stamps in the days when most children did at some stage. I suppose “land to its natives” is a bit vague as a definition but it’s undoubtedly accurate for what the Finns call Finland, and the wordplay (America must turn over, suggesting US reversed )is quite helpful as a starting point, especially if one already has the S from STABILISER in place.

    Edited at 2016-01-28 06:35 am (UTC)

  5. … as George describes. But 11ac alone was worth the price of admission. Good to see the insects missing from 10ac. (Being right on the 183cm, I’ve never felt particularly tall. Especially around the Dutch and the Scandinavians.)

    Edited at 2016-01-28 06:38 am (UTC)

  6. 40 minutes but I made heavy weather of 1d, thinking early on that it was an anagram of CREAMS UNSEEMLY until TRACKBALL put paid to that. What is more galling is that for those of us completing it on paperware rather than electronically, the actual answer is literally two inches above the grid in a report on their match against Everton.
    All in all, a nicely constructed puzzle.
  7. I don’t understand 2d. Is it really a para-homynm for ODEON? I feel there’s more going on that I’m missing.
    1. There is.
      As galsppray points out above the homophone is ODIUM/ODEUM not ODIUM/ODEON, which wouldn’t be a homophone

      (Am I the only one fed up with these silly jigsaw puzzles btw? )


      1. Didn’t follow that last comment I’m afraid .. i don’t like jigsaw puzzles either, which is why I do crosswords instead
  8. Another DNF for me today… not a good week. 45mins for all but the unknown OBOLI, where I’d worked out the wp, but had a block and couldn’t see LOB. Doh. I had a ? at the dodgy odeon homophone in 2dn, but thanks Gal, I can see how it works better with ‘odeum’.
  9. 20:38 .. a joy to solve, apart from my 5 minutes frowning at the SUOMI / OBOLI crossing. I wandered up a couple of garden paths looking for a native American tribe in 22d and thinking “send up” in 25a was going to be ‘rag’ or similar.

    I loved MOONLIGHT FLIT and HIGHLAND FLING, both phrases to conjor with, and of course HAMMER HOME. Thanks, setter.

  10. Never really tuned in to this setter which meant it was an uphill battle all the way. Eventually I just ground it down whilst sharing George’s reservations.

    Chaos here yesterday as trains were suspended because of flooding, trees came down and New Forest became a lake. Just as water started coming up out of the storm drains it stopped raining. Phew!

  11. 23:18, not assisted by scribbling in SEEK, on the basis that a SEE is amongst other things a bishop’s throne. Revisited it when I got 1 ac. I knew SUOMI from my old day-job and NAIRN from Bonny Prince Charlie’s infamous night march from Nairn on the eve of (for him) the disastrous battle of Culloden. DNK SKEG and still don’t.
  12. Greatly helped by writing 1ac straight in, and actually owning a trackball (no longer in use though), Nairn from the oatcakes and Suomi from stamps.. I found this straightforward.
    But do please keep saying how hard you found it, as it cheers my few remaining grey cells up no end 🙂

    Edited at 2016-01-28 10:01 am (UTC)

    1. Gosh, that was hard, I can tell you.
      It’s the little things that make us feel good, isn’t it?
  13. This was different from most recent crosswords. As I got into it I really enjoyed the brevity and cleverness. The 4 long external clues were great. COD to 1d. Only 4 words with 2 anagram possibilities. A witty surface and simple deceptive indicator.
  14. Perfect example of how different two puzzles in the same paper can be on consecutive days. Any unknowns were there in the wordplay, so just a question of looking the right way. Also managed to hold myself back from entering (Stop!) HAMMER TIME at 11ac.
  15. 16.02, back to my “normal” time. I took a while in post-solve typo-spotting time to work out how DUSSELDORF worked, not having spotted the DUF’ bit and misdisentangling useless.
    In solving mode, as others have noted, my brain usually slips from SIX-FOOTER to ant, but (probably because it was the answer, not the wordplay) my brain mischievously slipped straight to Monty Python, where a six-footer is one of those things you don’t have to be to be a Roman Catholic. That’s going to be an all-day earworm: “let the heathen thpill there’s on the duthty ground…” Probably couldn’t be filmed these days.
  16. Found this harder than yesterday, 45 minutes in two sessions. Loi was MEAN which doesn’t seem to me a synonym for cause. Also it should be DUESSELDORF, if you ignore the umlaut?
    Fun puzzle though with a different flavour. DK SKEG and had STUB at first, until eventually twigged the Scottish dance.
  17. Rather slow to complete this in 45 minutes, and had similar feelings about it as the blogger. No unfamiliar terms among the answers, but unless there is a cake called a set, I wasn’t keen on ‘cakes’ for ‘sets’; a DBE in 24 (a track is not a song); and the cryptic syntax of 13 doesn’t work for me since I don’t really see ‘missing staff’ as an adjectival synonym for ‘rodless’.
  18. 11:06. I already knew the Man City anagram (probably for the same reason I know that Barry Manilow is an anagram of library woman so I look forward to that one in a future puzzle) so that gave me a solid start and off I went.

    I’m firmly on the “very much enjoyed it” side of the fence on this one, with H home, autograph and six-footer particular highlights.

    I biffed Dusseldorf (like Z I was fiddling about with useless) and wasn’t familiar with the set/cake link (still not really).

    1. Collins has ‘to form or be formed into a hardened mass’, so I suppose one might have a sentence like ‘The goo caked on my shoe’.
  19. I really struggled to get going, but managed to get into the rhythm after a while. 10.09 in the end, for what I had feared might be a 20min+ effort when I started.
  20. 14m. I really liked this one. Chewy. SKEG was the only complete unknown. Like Jerry I got NAIRN from the oatcakes, which are a staple in our larder.
    My first memory of SUOMI is as the language you changed your mate’s mobile phone settings to if you wanted to really annoy them. Crazy times.

    Edited at 2016-01-28 02:29 pm (UTC)

  21. 25:40. From reading the comments above this seems to have been a bit of a Marmite crossword. I thought it was great – SIX FOOTER, HAMMER HOME, LOOK and TAXIMAN all stand out clues.

    LOI was SUOMI and I spent ages trying to work out how IMO meant ‘in my opinion’. Clearly I’m not down with the youth.

    1. You mean one that you can take or leave, except when you’re ill, when it has a curious power to revive and comfort, perhaps because of an echo of long-gone days spent home from school when your mother would bring it to you in bed, spread on hot buttered toast?
      Thinking about it that might just be me.
  22. I take back what I said about ‘missing staff’ in 13. It is adjectival when it follows the noun it qualifies, so the clue is perfectly sound. Apologies to the setter.
  23. I think it took about 35 minutes, longer than I’d say is usual due to some pretty odd-looking word forms emerging from wordplay. Such as OBOLI, SUOMI, SKEG and NAIRN. I put them in anyway and hoped for the best, but it made that whole portion (the last half of my solving time)unsatisfying somehow. But I found LOOK very amusing, worth the price of admission. Regards.
  24. 18 mins, but I probably lost a couple of minutes through nodding off. I thought this puzzle was a lot of fun with the biggest smile coming after I got HAMMER HOME. For the third day running the NE proved harder than the rest of the puzzle, for me at least, and I finished with GASOHOL after the SIX-FOOTER/TAXIMAN crossers. Before I snapped out of my lethargy I was wondering what on earth a “six-pooter” was ……… Eejit.
  25. An enjoyable 50m where the NE and SE went in quickly and then I hit the wall for some 15m before the panto character came to mind and the rest tumbled slowly but surely. I liked this because the cryptic seemed to lead me to the various unknowns including the unlikely looking juice; so a good puzzle for me with some amusing clues to boot: LOOK for example. Thanks setter and blogger
  26. 16:13 for me. I’m in the camp that didn’t really enjoy this one all that much, though I can see that there’s some clever stuff in there. I never really found the setter’s wavelength and made heavy weather as a result, dithering over the unfamiliar SKEG and the unfathomable (until I came here to read the explanation) MEAN.
  27. ‘Odeon’ is a simplified spelling of the Gr ‘oideion’ and is much more frequently found than the Latinised ‘odeum’, this being the (near-)homophone of ‘odium’. Interestingly, perhaps’ the Latinised form ‘stadium’ has totally ousted the Gr original ‘stadion’.
  28. Well, once again I am a day late, and once again I have an error. I completely failed to get TO THE FORE. In the end (after an unconscionably long time), I put in “to the rope”, on the grounds that it contained “hero” and “p(ro)”. Clearly I was short of a 16ac or two.

    However, I did enjoy the puzzle very much. I had a few NHOs, including SKEG (which seems a very obscure thing to name an entire ness after) and OBOLI. Hadn’t heard of “odeum” either, which made me hesitate over 2d. However, ODIUM sprung readily enough to mind, not least because I grew up* not far from its near-homophone, Odiham.

    (*there are some who would disagree)

    1. Just caught up on ypur comments from yesterday (on Thursday’s crossword), including the asterisked remark. Please don’t change.

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