Times 26407 – Day by day

Solving time: 54 minutes

Music: Mahler, Symphony #7, Tennstedt/LSO

Well, as far as I’m concerned, this was not another easy Monday. I had a hard time getting started, then made good speed for a while, and then got most thoroughly stuck. My theories about how the remaining clues worked eventually turned out to be completely wrong, and they were in fact not that hard if you happened to look at them the right way.

So my time might have been much quicker if a few different notions had popped into my head at crucial times. My main problem is the inability to abandon theories that are going nowhere, and instead try something completely different. Of course, sometimes these theories turn out to be perfectly correct.

1 GROOVE, double definition, the first one a blast from the sixties.
4 FAST FOOD, double definition, the second one semi-jocular.
10 LEGISLATE, LEG + I + SLATE, today’s cricket clue.
12 CONSTITUTIONAL, CONSTITUTION + AL[l]. A walk approved by the Supreme Court.
16 IRONSTONE, anagram of SEROTONIN, my FOI.
18 SIDELIGHT, IS backwards + DELIGHT.
20 CARPI, CARP + I, an obvious one I was very slow to see.
21 LITTLE BY LITTLE, double definition, where ‘minute’ = ‘small’.
25 OCTET, hidden backwards in [concer]T, ETC, O[ften].
26 GINGER ALE, GIN + anagram of LAGER + E. I just biffed this in, and had a hard time figuring out the cryptic.
27 FINISHED, FIN I SHED. Not an anagram of MECHAN[i]SM!
28 INVENT, IN VENT. Simple, and clever.
1 GOLF COURSE, COURSE following FLOG upside-down. I worked for a long time on the theory that this referred to a well-known English horse-racing venue.
2 ORGAN, double definition, one a bit cryptic.
5 ALERT, ALE + [winte]R [fros]T. I nearly biffed ‘acrid’, but couldn’t make it fit the cryptic.
6 TEDIOUS, anagram of OUTSIDE, very smooth surface.
7 OPERA-GOER, [waterlo]O + P[iccadilly] + ER (AGO) ER. A rather elaborate cryptic for such an obvious answer.
8 DEMO, DEMO[n]. Is a ‘demo’ a ‘trial’? Whenever I did a demo, I made damn sure the thing was working before presenting it to management.
9 FARTHING, FAR THING, where ‘piece’ = ‘coin’.
13 SEMI-DESERT, DIMES upside-down + anagram of TREES. Nevada is more likely to be associated with silver dollars, but there you go.
15 BADMINTON, BAD MINTON, where ‘beyond’ is simply a placement indicator.
19 LITOTES, LI(TOT)ES, with an avowed definition by example.
23 TRACE, double definition, and quite a simple one.
24 WOLF, FLOW upside-down, a chestnut that gave me a lot of trouble.

42 comments on “Times 26407 – Day by day”

  1. A bit harder than your average Monday. LOI was INVENT which required an alphabet run.

    COD to TEDIOUS I think, neat anagram, clever surface.

    Thanks setter and Vinyl.

  2. Never did get WOLF or FINISHED (and I did think for a moment of *(MECHANSM), but just a moment). Rather rushed through this one, as I was delayed, and a bit rattled, by being attacked by a mental patient with an umbrella on the way to work. No big deal, but he’s an outpatient who goes daily to the handicapped center next door to my building, so we pass each other daily. Evidently he needs to have his meds adjusted.
      1. Mine is; I can’t answer for his, which was unfurled when he had at me (it was raining).
    1. Did he go at you because you’re a round-eye Kevin? Or maybe there was no eye contact at all which would be even more unnerving. Touch wood it’s only happened to me once decades ago going into Marble Arch tube station when a crazy woman walked up out of nowhere and slapped me. It certainly shook me.
      1. If that means, as the urban dict would have me believe, a Cauacasian, I’m intrigued to know what you know about this assailant that I am not privy to, Olivia!
      2. The odd thing is that, as I said, we pass each other almost daily, and have for at least a year, if not longer. He never looks at anyone, just walks, or runs, talking to himself. A few years ago, same vicinity, a shopkeeperish looking man pulled up to the corner where I was waiting for the light to change, got out, walked up to me muttering what sounded like his own language, and gave me the finger; turned around and drove off.
  3. 34 minutes with a hold-up over the first part of 13dn (Biffing GOBI was tempting but resisted it – only just) and the anagram at 16ac which I thought would be more complicated and solver-unfriendly than it turned out. Having completed the grid by writing DEMO at 8dn I used aids to find the word meaning “ace” that needed shortening, as running through the alphabet in my head had only produced “demob”.

    I wondered if FAST FOOD is necessarily cheap?

  4. Would have been 14′ if it was 3 clues shorter, but ended up as 18’47”, the three being WOLF, FINISHED and DEMO, the last of which was very nearly DUMA on the grounds that the Russian parliament must have been a trial to someone. At least there’s an ace.
    There are too many potential meanings for bolt. I vote we deselect a few.
  5. About 35mins, with one blank (DEMO, which I thought of, but didn’t think of it as a trial, and didn’t get demon=ace), and one wrong: indent for INVENT. Just thought is must have been an old coin, like a FARTHING, or a foreign one, like a DIME….
  6. My last one in as well. Has no one ever bought a demo model of, say, a car? Only used by the dealer for trials? Maybe it’s a dialect thing?
    1. I was thinking of it as a computer game demo – which are definitely a “try before you buy” kind of deal. May have been completely in a world of my own there, of course.

      7’47” today which may not be the fastest time ever but IS pleasingly like a Jumbo Jet.

  7. Just the same as Janie above, all except DEMO and indent for invent. Good fun for a grey Monday.
  8. 20ac. Interesting puzzle, with an original feel to it somehow. Vinyl’s comment about looking at clues the wrong way describes quite a lot of my solving this morning. And it was tricky without resort to obscurity: in fact Minton was the only thing I hadn’t heard of.
    Very enjoyable, thanks setter.
      1. For Magoo? About 0.05, for normal values of 20ac.

        ETA: Jeez, I was just being silly, but I see that he knocked this one out in a whisker over 4 minutes. Oh well, at least I was inside twice his time today, I’m often not!

        Edited at 2016-05-09 02:35 pm (UTC)

  9. On a day of partnering up, I’m with Gallers on one last in and COD. 33 minutes, not helped by a ludicrous biff of ‘Chinese’ at 20d, prolonged by a pathetic attempt to persuade myself that ‘nese’ could be a dialect word for ‘ness’.

    Image of the day: Kevin being duffed up by the umbrella-wielding psycho.

    Edited at 2016-05-09 08:34 am (UTC)

  10. Sound advice from my youth which I’ve never taken and which I forgot yet again. So I got bad indigestion in the south-west, with the mechansm anagram indigestible also. COD FAST FOOD. 45 minutes before the penny finally dropped.
  11. 40:19. I spent ages staring at D_M_ at 8D at the end and in the end gave up and biffed DEMO not having seen the DEMON bit at all. Vinyl – regarding your comment about ‘the inability to abandon theories that are going nowhere’ that describes my daily solving experience! I’ve mentioned on here before that Magoo says that it is his ability to abandon ideas that are going nowhere very quickly that is key to his solving success.
  12. As a quickie graduate I took the advice to try today’s main crossword. DNF but was quite pleased with myself for doing most of it. A few biffable ones helped!


    1. Welcome aboard, Rita. This one is I believe harder than the usual Monday offerings so congratulations.
  13. 45 minutes with one wrong, having invented the NETI DESERT from N(evada) TIDE(change arising) in *(TREES). LOI was DEMO after getting FAST FOOD and seeing DEMON. I thought like others that TEDIOUS was very smooth. FOI DREAM, but the NE was the area I had most trouble completing despite getting DREAM and OPERA GOER early on. I Liked FINISHED and WOLF.
  14. Invented the Neva desert, a long way from Russia, and dnk CARPI though wordplay straightforward. Spent some time trying to truncate ORGANIC to get 2d. Has the above title appeared recently as a clue for 21ac, or is it obselete? Finished successfully, about 45 minutes altogether, in two sessions, had to deal with an emergency in the middle.
  15. 11:55. Thanks for the parsing of ginger ale and demo Vinyl, I had to biff both.

    Gobi was certainly tempting. Even having decided that Change in Nevada meant US coinage it was almost possible to justify Gobi on the basis of BIT, and the fodder for the crossing mineral had plenty of Os.

  16. Great crossword. Did not get DEMO but being at Badminton yesterday helped. 17 of the clues were one-liners so very concise.
  17. Fell into all the traps, a DNF, but liked it it, COD 19d which I got or 6d which I didn’t. Probably the most enjoyable DNF for a while.
  18. I’ve just discovered this blog – many thanks! I was stuck in the top left hand corner, read your comment on the clues being not too bad if looked at the right way and had a more successful re-look. LOI GROOVE : I hate it when it’s the first one you look at!
    Thanks again.
  19. A steady 36′ today. FOI 18d, LOI 8d, COD 6d – lovely surface and well disguised anagram. Mention in despatches to 24d, lateral thinking required, love it.
  20. Am I alone in having a problem with the definition for CARPI? These, surely, are bones not joints. Collectively they constitute the wrist, which is a joint – singular.
    1. My iPod version of Chambers defines carpus as the wrist, with carpal being one of the bones.

      Regardless of the medical facts that gets the setter off the hook.

  21. Agreed that this wasn’t easy at all, but I don’t have a real time to divulge. If I had to guess I’d say around 40 minutes, ending with DEMO. That’s a biff, as I didn’t see the shortened DEMON at all. The WOLF/FLOW reversal took almost as long, and was needed before I finally saw FINISHED, as yes, I was trying to solve an anagram that didn’t exist. Thanks to vinyl and the setter, and regards.
  22. Surely Lent starts on Shrove Tuesday or certainly Ash Wednesday, not after Ash Wednesday ?
    1. Shrove Tuesday is “pancake” day, so definitely not for fasting! It’s true that Lent includes Ash Wednesday and continues to Easter but “after” doesn’t invalidate the clue.

      Edited at 2016-05-09 05:07 pm (UTC)

  23. A knock-free 19 mins. I agree that this one is harder than a lot of Monday puzzles. LEGISLATE was my LOI after the ORGAN/GROOVE crossers. I confess that DEMO and SEMI-DESERT were biffed and then parsed post-solve. I probably went down the same wrong paths as vinyl and I mentally tipped my hat to the setter as the pennies started to drop, and I agree with keriothe that the puzzle has an original feel to it.
  24. 47 min, with DEMO LOI – spent too long thinking that ‘ace’ meant that there fad to be an A in it. The whole puzzle was more of a struggle than I expected, with many clues half-solved initially. (e.g ???THING, OPERA????, ????DESERT etc.)
  25. I don’t know if this was harder than most Monday puzzles, but I did take just over an hour (or just over three hours if you count the break I needed to get the last two entries, WOLF and FINISHED). Before the break I thought “steering” was going to be the definition for 27 ac and that “over” indicated a reversal — I nearly fell asleep over that. But after some TV and some whisky, I understood the correct parsing, not even all too difficult. I couldn’t really define LITOTES, but fortunately I did remember that it is a word. And IRONSTONE, when I got it, killed the GOBI DESERT, which didn’t make much sense anyway. All the rest was not too bad.

    Edited at 2016-05-09 09:59 pm (UTC)

  26. 11:16 for me, never really getting into the 1ac. At least there were several old chestnuts – OUTSIDE <-> TEDIOUS, GOLF <-> FLOG, WOLF <-> FLOW, BAD + MINTON, IS (rev.) + DELIGHT, and so on – otherwise my time would have been even worse. Not my favourite start to the week.

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