Times 26371 – A quaaltagh, eh?

Solving time: 43 minutes

Music: Rimsky-Korsakov, Symphony #2,

I was all done in 30 minutes….except for two. Unfortunately, they proved strangely elusive, and in the end had to be tracked down through the alphabetical-search method, which is both tedious and error-prone. In the end, I had a pair of guesses that turned out to be right.

I thought this puzzle was a little difficult for a Monday, with plenty of tricky clueing that was needed to get many of the answers. Of course, highly-educated types could just biff words like ‘grisaille’ and ‘hwyl’ from the definitions. On the other hand, the two long ones in the middle were not at all difficult.

We are back on British Summer Time, and all in synch again. Spring is definitely here, and I celebrated with a round of golf under cool and cloudy conditions.

1 SPIN DOCTOR, NIPS backwards + DOCTOR [No], a Bond villain.
6 AGRA, AG(R)A, just about the only chestnut present.
9 REBUKER, anagram of BEER + [brewe}R around UK, where the setter and his editors live.
12 NIECE, EC + EIN backwards.
14 DOUBLE-BARRELLED, double definition.
17 SEE ONE’S WAY CLEAR, double definition.
20 FIRST FOOT, FI(R)ST + FOOT, in different senses.
21 TONDI, TON + DI, an obscure word you should be familiar with from crossword
puzzles. This can be either a painting or a sculpture.
23 ENHANCE, E(N)H + [fr]ANCE. Definitely a tricky cryptic, with lots of lift and separate in it.
24 OTHELLO, anagram of HOTEL + [vesse]L + O, one clue where the cryptic was probably not needed by most solvers.
25 HWYL, H[uw] + W[yn] + Y[oung] L[loyd]. I believe we’ve had this before fairly recently; the crytpics are usually generous.
1 SERENADES, S + E + DAN(E[lga]R)ES, all upside down. This one is very difficult one to biff, since ‘works’ doesn’t give you much help.
2 IMBUE, I’M B[l]UE. It’s only in the USA that the ‘conservative’ party is red!
4 CORNCOB, CORN + COB. It’s difficult to believe there isn’t an ‘h’ somewhere.
5 OUTDOOR, OUT + DO + OR, where ‘other ranks’ is given an elaborate definition, just to fool you.
7 GRISAILLE, GR(ISA)ILLE, where an ISA is a UK tax-sheltered investment account, what would be an IRA in the USA.
8 ASSET, double definition, looking back to the Thatcher days.
11 OYSTERCATCHER, anagram of CRY CHEERS A TOT, a rather far-fetched surface.
16 DORMITORY, I’M + ROD upside down, plus TO R[eall]Y, one that could easily be biffed by most solvers.
19 ALTHORN, A + LT + HO + RN. One of my last in, and I was very tempted by ‘alphorn’ for a while. But it’s alpenhorn, and it’s not made out of brass.
20 FRESH, H + SERF upside-down; now we get a ‘horse’ = ‘h’.
22 NYLON, hidden in [ma]NY LON[gboats], my FOI.

34 comments on “Times 26371 – A quaaltagh, eh?”

  1. 3D is actually DUKE OF WELLINGTON without OF W, which works slightly better than DUKE WELLINGTON which I’ve never heard hm called.

    I found this pretty easy and the whole thing was about 25 mins.

    And you have a typo HWYN instead of HWYL.

    Edited at 2016-03-28 01:32 am (UTC)

  2. Pretty straightforward, finishing with the unknown crossers ALTHORN and FIRST FOOT.

    Thanks setter and Vinyl.

  3. … for its few off-beat answers mixed with easy biffs.
    I see a certain mayor has been compared to Fink-Nottle and reminded of going (naively) first-footing in Canberra in 1976. Thank goodness there was a Scot in the street with a good single malt.
    Has anyone here every tried grisaille? It’s extremely difficult on the palette. Fifty shades of grey?

    Note to our esteemed blogger: there’s still a “hwyn” in the intro; and an “investmetn” at 7dn.

    Edited at 2016-03-28 03:34 am (UTC)

  4. All in OK with the help of a very vague recollection of terms from previous cryptics such as FIRST FOOT (my LOI, inappropriately enough), TONDI and HWYL. Had to guess the ‘savings account’ bit of GRISAILLE. Favourite was SPIN DOCTOR.

    A good mix of a few easy write-ins, head scratchers and uncommon words.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  5. 38 minutes fully parsed except I forgot to go back and have another look at 20 which had eluded me.

    I’d have happily sworn on anything available that I’d never come across HWYL before so I was surprised to read that it had come up recently and on checking confirmed this as 16 August last year when vinyl1 was also on blogging duty. And two days later our Rotter friend mentioned it in one of my blogs. It had also come up in May 2011.

    I was ready to biff ALPHORN at 19dn but before writing it in I glanced at 20ac which was so obviously FIRST-FOOT giving a T checker, so I was saved from myself there. It’s perfectly valid as an instrument name, btw, as a German variation of Alpenhorn. Apart from the T, “brass” would have been the clincher for the correct answer.

    Also perfectly valid I’m sure is our blogger’s parsing of 9 across but I thought I’d throw in a slightly alternative version as I had it marked up as {brewe}R then anagram of BEER around UK.

    17ac is a bit feeble, having “one’s” both in the clue and in the answer. A little more work was needed on that one, I think.

    Edited at 2016-03-28 06:01 am (UTC)

  6. 13.12, nearly undone by the ALPHORN (PH, Public House, RN Royal Navy, LO….um) but coming to my senses in time to realise that FIRST FOOP wouldn’t work. Penny didn’t drop on Dr No, but after SPIN at 1 across what else could there be?
    As an occasional visitor to Welsh Chapels in the ’70’s (Tirzah, Cwm was a favourite just for the euphony) HWYL was a write-in, though sadly for most folk back then a nostalgic reference to the days when you built 800 seat rival chapels in 2000 citizen towns.
  7. Easy today though not familiar with hwyl. So extremely annoyed to see that it has been seen before and not all that long ago. The ability to remember words is a key part of crossword solving .. usually when I find a word new to me I look it up in the online OED and read the entry, it helps to lodge it in the memory (usually!)
  8. Clock’s back in UK but no such thing in all of China. So 7 o’clock start – a much better time for me.

    FOI 13ac Croissant.

    Just under 30 minutes so par-ish.

    7dn GRISAILLE was unknown but easily done.


    horryd Shanghai

  9. Pleasant mixture of the easy and the tricky which I enjoyed. Agree with Jack about 17A.

    In the UK asset stripping was underway well before Mrs T. People like Jim Slater in the 1970s capitalised on the huge growth in property values to reorganise company balance sheets and shake up some moribund corporations

  10. This one just clicked with me. Knew hwyl from Harry Secombe, I think, or maybe it was Max Boyce, and Grisaille but don’t know how, and biffed Tondi. Had to resist putting in altosax, both my sons’ favoured instrument of torture. Just under 20 minutes.
  11. 9m. Straightforward today, and I too was helped by knowing words I can only possibly know from doing these things: FIRST FOOT, TONDI, HWYL. Now for the jumbo…
  12. 24 minutes today, so am pleased. However, had to write in TONDI, GRISAILLE by parsing and hoping thye were the correct words.
  13. 16.45. Nice mix of easy and (to me) obscure. Was glad to see my guess of TONDI was right and that HWYL is a real word. GRISAILLE unknown to me too. 1d down reminded me of Elgar’s Serenade for Strings. A fine piece.
  14. This was my type of crossword, being a straightforward top downwards solve. 11:02 is probably a PB for an iPad solve and would have been quicker on treeware. Many of these could be easily biffed (who else would a jazzman be if you have D***/**********?) and TONDI and HWYL pop up periodically in Crosswordland. Let’s see how the Jumbo is.
    Jimbo correctly mentions Jim Slater, possibly the original big asset-stripper but also with his partner, Peter Walker.
    1. Remember it well – Slater Walker organisation

      I did some work for them early 1970s to do with taking over a life assurer (Pioneer Life). They had £ signs before their eyes and couldn’t grasp the fact that the life funds belonged to the policyholders and were not for cherry picking!

  15. After a 5m 8s PB on the QC, I really struggled with this. I eventually finished in 28m but it felt much longer. Only DNK was “grisaille” but bunging in “dormatory” did not help my difficulties in the SE.
  16. 13 mins with GRISAILLE my LOI from the wordplay. I initially biffed FRESH because I thought the F was the “fellow” in the clue, and it was only post-solve that I saw how it worked. Eejit.
  17. 25 minutes, so a typical Monday solve for me, perhaps helped by getting the anagram at 11 very early on. I didn’t know hwyl, but a very fairly clued obscurity. GRISAILLE was also unfamiliar. I’m not sure what ‘up’ is doing since ISA isn’t reversed, as I initially expected, but I guess ‘eat up’ as a phrase is a justifiable container.
    I missed the Doctor No reference in 1a, so that was my one unresolved clue.
    I agree with jackt about the weakness in 17a.
  18. I’m a dope. Did the puzzle in about 30 minutes, held up by GRISAILLE, and by misspelling UNEARTHLY (as UNEARLTHY, of all things). FIRST FOOT is news to me, and I also didn’t know who Fink-Nottle might be, though that answer couldn’t be anything else. But my most egregious goof was neglecting to fill in 1D, SERENADES. Not hard, all the checking letters are there, but I left it blank and forgot to go back and fill it in. Putz. Regards.
  19. The German for “one” is “eins”, not “ein”, which is an indefinite article.
    1. ‘Ein’ translates to ‘a’ or one’ in English perfectly. Who said it was a number?
      1. Zipped through this one in a (for me) fairly fast 24min, so I’d like to think that this was a challenging and arduous puzzle. But, alas, I will probably have to concede that it was a fairly gentle one.

        TONDI and GRISAILLE were both NHOs, and HWYL was only half-remembered from an earlier puzzle – whn wll th Wlsh lrn t ncld vwls??

        I am still trying to work out whether the changing of the clocks means an extra hour of G&T time, or an hour less, or both.

      2. The clue contains the word “one”, which is a number, and “ein” does not translate to “one”, which is not an article, and the German for “one” as a pronoun is “man”.
        1. If you count (say) apples, you say ein Apfel, zwei Äpfel, etc.

          Ah – I see Penfold got there before me.

          Edited at 2016-03-29 07:48 am (UTC)

  20. Found this one quite tricky in parts. Fortunately knew Hwyl thanks to a teacher at school who used to stand on the touchline during rugby matches yelling “Hwyl, boys, bags of hwyl!”

    Missed the parsing of Enhance (thanks Vinyl), Grisaille went in from wordplay and LOI Tondi couldn’t be much else with all the crosscheckers. Thanks to blogger and setter.

  21. Another unpleasant puzzle especially 23a which I only half parsed eh what. In mitigation 20d was a good clue.
  22. 8:34 here for this pleasant, straightforward start to the week. (Should have been faster though.)
  23. Late solve and all correct in 35m with much biffing so glad of the blog to explain things. However I can’t see where the wine is in 26a. ‘It’ perhaps but why?

    Edited at 2016-03-28 11:01 pm (UTC)

    1. Yes, short for Italian with reference to vermouth – Martini, Noilly-Prat, Cinzano for example. Gin-and-It was very popular at one time.
  24. Ah now all is clear. I’d never twigged that ‘it’ was short for Italian though quite what I thought ‘gin and it’ was I really don’t know. Reminds me of a girl who came to me in the sixth form and her first piece of work for me was ‘An S.A. on myself’ which was at least phonetically the title I’d set the new class to do. When I asked her what she thought S.A. stood for she said she had no idea but had always written it like that and never been corrected before! Thanks, Jack, for finally putting me right too!

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