Times 26361 – not an antelope

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Nothing here to cause equine panic, I feel; 14 minutes for this pleasant but straightforward challenge, with a few more to reflect on the parsing of 9a and 25a. I knew the word for 1a but had never seen it written down before, I’d have expected it to be hyphenated but it seems not.

Across
1 COMEUPPANCE – COME UP = rise, PAN = lambaste, CE = church; D just fate.
7 ROC – Bite head off CROC; D large bird.
9 BARRISTER – ST (outside letters of SUIT) inside BARRIER (ditch perhaps); D silk.
10 ROSIN – Hidden reversed in TOSCANI(NI’S OR)CHESTRA; D requirement of string players.
11 DIABOLO – Insert BO(YS) into DIAL, O; D game.
12 ENTWINE – EN (French for ‘in’), insert T into WINE (port perhaps); D knit.
13 LOCUM – COL (colonel) reversed, UM; D stand-in.
15 RELUCTANT – (RENTAL CUT)*; disinclined.
17 TRIUMVIRI – D rulers, of the Roman variety; alternate letters of T e R m I n U s M o V e I n R a I n.
19 CREDO – Breshnev was a red; inside CO for firm; D statement of belief.
20 REFUSED – FUSE = unite, inside RED (ball, as in snooker); D declined.
22 MATADOR – Anagram of answer to 23d with TO; D he aims to get a bull.
24 OKAPI – K (end of park) inside OAP, I; D hoofed mammal. Know your antelopes. The OKAPI isn’t one, although it looks like one, it’s a relative of the giraffe. Giraffes have no vocal cords, one reason to like them, I’m not sure about okapis.
25 WATERFALL – WALL (part of defence) is breached by (AFTER)*; D ? in the north. Or perhaps it is LAW (force) with (AFTER)* inside, and another L, all reversed ‘in the north’. Today’s opportunity for commenters to show off.
EDIT: apparently the definition is ‘in the north, force’ because ‘force’ is a term used in the names of various waterfalls ‘oop north’. As a Dorset-born emigré I don’t know that, or wish to know that.
27 SUN – NUS (National Union of Seamen) reversed; D star.
28 FAST FORWARD – fast = STUCK, FOR, WARD = somewhere to put patient; D move on quickly.

Down
1 COB – Double def; male swan, kind of loaf.
2 MARIA – A, IRA (Gershwin), M(usical), all reversed; D woman.
3 UNIFORM – UNI = higher education, FOR ME = I’m bent on, delete the E (last of ‘the’); D school garb, perhaps.
4 POT-POURRI – POT = prize, POUR = French for ‘for’, RI = Scripture; D perfume.
5 NORSE – R inside NOSE (move slowly); D like the Valkyries.
6 ERRATIC – (CRITER A)*; D inconstant.
7 RUSTICATE – Sounds like ‘rusty Kate’; D send down.
8 CONCERT-GOER – Insert ONCE R (formerly R) into CT, then GOER = energetic type; D music-lover.
11 DELETERIOUS – DELETE = cut out, RIO = port, US; D harmful.
14 CHIEFTAIN – (IF HE CAN’T I)*; D clan leader.
16 LEITMOTIF – LEIT sounds like light, undemanding, TOM reversed, IF (poem); D recurring theme.
18 MASTIFF – MA’S (old woman’s) TIFF (argument); D large dog.
19 CATERER – CAT, ER, ER = three queens; D one supplying needs.
21 DOWNS – DONS outside W; D uplands.
23 DRAMA – DR (doctor), A, MA (degree); D theatre studies.
26 LED – Double def; came first, Light Emitting Diode.

45 comments on “Times 26361 – not an antelope”

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Force

    I think that must be it for the definition, but doesn’t it break the capital letter rule? Perhaps oop North ‘force’ is a generic term for waterfall that’s not found its way into my dictionaries. My interpretation of wordplay was the same as your first suggestion, Pip.

    Aside from that, this was a most enjoyable puzzle that delayed me for exactly 30 minutes.

    Edited at 2016-03-16 09:18 am (UTC)

      1. Unspammed. Thanks for that. Unfortunately I can’t amend my earlier comment now but I have since found ‘force’ as ‘waterfall’ in all the usual sources. It has its own entry underneath the very long first one so got overlooked, I’m afraid.
  2. Force is a waterfall only used in the very North of England.

    A 25 minute stroll. FOI 6dn ERRATIC LOI & COD 1ac COMEUPPANCE

    17 ac TRIUMVIRI must have taxed the setter!

    I didn’t quite understand the relevance of ‘Source of’ in 1dn surely ‘Bread for male swan’ would have been sufficient?

    horryd Shanghai

    1. Maybe cob = source of corn = source of bread? Not all that comfortable with that, but the best I could manage.
  3. A raised eyebrow over WATERFALL, but not too troubling otherwise.

    Thanks setter and Pip.

  4. Like Horryd oop north (of me), I had no clue what ‘source’ was doing in 1d, and would be amaized if you could make bread from a corn cob. 16’09”, but with a 51 second interruption.
    1. A cob is a loaf. Like a farmhouse, or a tin. Or if you want to be cosmopolitan about it, a baguette…

      Jerryw not signed in

  5. Very easy puzzle that completely lacks subtelty with obvious definitions and clunky wordplay.
  6. As an émigré northerner I knew that force was a term for waterfall however I still failed to fully understand the clue although it was clear that waterfall was the answer and that it was an anagram of wall and after.
  7. 16:42, so my quickest for a while – an enjoyable solve with nothing too troubling. Probably a good one for any quick cryptic solvers to give a go.
  8. 7m. Very easy, with tons of biffing and even the unknowns obvious from wordplay. I remembered ‘force’ for WATERFALL: it’s definitely come up before.
    9ac is technically a definition by example, but a good illustration of why we shouldn’t be too rigid about them.
    Thanks for explaining UNIFORM, Pip. I didn’t see the FOR ME/’I’m bent on’ thing.

    Edited at 2016-03-16 10:21 am (UTC)

  9. A northern lad like me knows what a force is. Biffed Maria and stared at it, thinking wrong composer. It was another five minutes before Ira came to me. More than half an hour in total.
  10. After the spectacular result of the World ‘Go’ Champion from South Korea coming a cropper (1-4) against Deep Mind – might I respectfully suggest that the boffins construct a programme
    that will be able to challenge Verlaine at the World Times Cryptic Crossword Championships.
    I would suggest that Verlaine himself gets into trim as all games will take part on a Saturday morning!

    horryd Shanghai

    1. There was an article in The Times within the past week which said that an AI application to solve quick crosswords has been developed. It also said that solving cryptics is nowhere near so Verlaine and Magoo are safe for now!
      1. Funny you should we talking about this, ever since this AlphaGo kerfuffle started a full 60% of my brainpower has been devoted to the problem of “how would an AI go about solving cryptic crosswords, anyway?”

        This level of distraction possibly resulted in my 7m10 time on this one this morning, a good 2 minutes slower than the Jasons and Magoos of this world sadly… I’d be delighted with a 1-4 record against either of them!

    2. I seem to recall that when it was Kasparov v Computer, it was really Kasparov v Computer + 200 technicians/programmers etc who worked over every Kasparov move. Wonder whether it was the same here

      Edited at 2016-03-16 03:20 pm (UTC)

  11. Managed this in 19 minutes, so not much of a challenge – too many answers susceptible to biffing. Chambers defines ‘force’ as a waterfall with no reference to regional usage, so ‘In the north’ isn’t really necessary. That was probably the trickiest clue in a largely straightforward bunch.
  12. I was stumped by ‘in the north’, but eventually biffed WATERFALL. Everything else was relatively easy, and I have no idea why my LOI was NORSE. About 40 minutes for me, but I have had a bit of a break (prompted by the new TV drama series to use my train time to re-read ‘The Night Manager’).
  13. All done in just over 30mins, so about average I’d say. Same quibbles with WATERFALL, and also was confused as to the inclusion of ‘source’ at 1dn. Thanks from me too for working out the second bit of UNIFORM.
  14. 12:51 with biffing a-plenty. After going back over the biffs I was only unable to parse UNIFORM so thanks for that one.

    I’ve never come across ROSIN before which probably explains why the Stradivarius I’ve just given to the charity shop sounded so screechy.

    1. Did you hear about the bloke who moved into a new house and found a Stradivarius and a Picasso in the loft ? Unfortunately, Picasso made lousy violins, and Stadivari couldn’t paint fot toffee.

      Edited at 2016-03-16 10:59 pm (UTC)

  15. I found myself waiting for a blood test in JCUH without my pen, so I solved the clues by trying to fix a picture in my head of which answers I already had. Not an easy way to go but I had all the answers in 40 minutes. My appointment finally happened an hour and a half late by which time I’d read half the paper as well. FOI COB and ROC followed by the SE where force was no problem to a northern lad who has visited High Force, Low Force and various others on the Tees and other nearby rivers. Biffed LEITMOTIF without parsing, so thanks to Pip for explaining that. Yesterday’s paper came through my letterbox at 6am today with today’s paper, so I’ve just done that one having accidentally cribbed 1ac by glancing at the solution in today’s paper. Managed to tear my eyes away before noticing any more answers.
  16. As an oldie newbie, finished the 13×13 in record 27mins so had a crack at the 15×15 and managed to finish this too. Was born in Leeds but never heard of FORCE for WATERFALL probably because came south at age 5 but put it in anyway. Quite pleased with result.
  17. Congratulations jucrow and welcome here.
    18 minutes dead, without having any issues with the FORCE, as I have tramped around enough of northern England to have encountered many of them. Nevertheless, I am a bit in Jimbo’s camp as this being a clunky and unsubtle crossword.
  18. This took me 30 minutes, ending with LEITMOTIF, where ‘If’ as the poem again eluded me for too long. Otherwise, not much to say. Regards.
  19. Shared the general bewilderment re. how waterfall worked (thanks to all for the insights), cackled at Rusty Kate – lovely – and found the rest pleasant enough. Thanks to Pip and setter.
  20. After a PB of 5 min (plus change) for the QC today, I completed this in 18 mins which makes it relatively easy by my humble standards. As a Northerner who was 7 downed for a time from Oxford in the 1960’s, there was nothing to trouble my GK today.
  21. A pretty straightforward 10:42, with a bit of faffing around over the first vowels of LEITMOTIF before TRIUMVIRI clicked into place.

    I don’t want to be the one to break it to Penfold that he solved ROSIN, that word he’s never come across before, last October. Been a long winter, mind.

    1. I can’t remember what Mrs Penfold asked me to do 5 minutes ago so 5 months is positively ancient history.
  22. Just over two and a half hours for me. However, I left the timer running while I attended to some trivial and uncalled-for medical crises, so my actual solving time was probably about 30min.

    Like others, I was befuddled by WATERFALL but gave in because I couldn’t think of anything else that fit. John Dun – sorry you had such a long wait, but I am intrigued by your discovery that the Times Crossword comes with a free newspaper. Who knew?

    Regarding algorithmic solving of cryptic crosswords – I don’t think it would be that hard to implement if anyone tried. For example, pick any group of three interlocking words; there are probably a couple of thousand words with the right number of letters in each case, giving only 8 billion combinations. Of these, only a very small number (maybe 10 million) will “mesh” where they cross. For each of these 10 million, score them against the clue by looking for related words (eg “spotted” in the clue and “leopard” in the answer) – perhaps 10,000 triplets of words will score higher than the background noise. Now add another crossing word to the set (10,000 x 2000 = 20 million), and repeat. At each stage, most combinations will fall by the wayside because of incompatible checkers; more will fail because they lack any connection to the clues; and a few will score quite highly. I am pretty sure that a desktop machine with a large memory and a good linguistics engine could solve most cryptics quite quickly (minutes or hours rather than days), with a fair chance of being correct.

    1. “A fair chance of being correct” is surely right. Reliably solving a week of The Times, though, would be something else.

      Perhaps as these things develop we’ll also see some evolution in the puzzle, with maybe a return to a bit more setter’s licence and even more in the way of disguised or cryptic definitions, and perhaps some entirely new tricks to beat the machines.

      My money’s on the setters for a long time yet.

      1. Agreed – there will always be cases where the decision between two or more alternatives depends on some subtlety of language outside the computer’s knowledge. But I think you’d be surprised how far a computer could get.

        It will indeed be interesting to see whether, and how, setters respond
        to computational solving engines.

        1. I’m sure the setters will respond. At least with crosswords, unlike chess, we get to change the rules!
  23. Usual football distraction, but enjoyed the puzzle. As an immigrant to the North East, like John I have visited High Force and Low Force, both set in beautiful countryside.
  24. Thirty-eight minutes (for me that’s a good time) and a rather easy puzzle despite the usual trio of words I’ve just about never heard of: RUSTICATE (British and chiefly at Oxford and Cambridge, says my COED, so I’m excused from knowing it), force as a WATERFALL (but good intuition in supposing it might be a northern name for one) and COB as a loaf (or a male swan, for that). Usually the words I make up to complete the diagram exist only in my imagination but today I had better luck. Found the CATERER’s three queens rather amusing.

    By the way, my COED also says force, as a waterfall, is like the Valkyries, i.e. Old Norse (as if it matters). And isn’t COMEUPPANCE a wonderful word, when you come to think of it!

    Edited at 2016-03-16 11:40 pm (UTC)

  25. A disappointing 10:59 for me at the end of an exhausting day. I rattled through the NE, SW and SE corners (as a northerner by birth and upbringing, I had no problem with “force” = WATERFALL), but made ridiculously heavy weather of the NW corner, not helped by somehow failing to read the word “initial” in 2dn (MARIA). Once I spotted that, the rest slotted into place annoyingly quickly.

    Another pleasant, straightforward puzzle.

    1. A spookily similar experience to mine – 11 min completion time, just before midnight after annoying delay in NW corner. COD for me was 17a, an unusual word ingeniously hidden – chapeau to the setter for that one.
      GeoffH
  26. My new pursuit during lockdown (and then some) has been to attack cryptic crosswords. And this is the first 15×15 I’ve completed. What a feeling. Thanks so much for the help from this blog.
    Tim

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