Times 26,441: She Gets Hungry For Puzzles At Eight

An elegantly straightforward puzzle to conclude the week; perhaps they thought your blogger might be a bit the worse for wear after the England-Wales match yesterday (and in fact there exists photographic evidence on Facebook of him “celebrating” the decisive goal by being asleep in his chair, beer can between legs – oops).

Hangover or no hangover, I took 8 minutes over this, a good fraction of that spent on LOI 20dn, which didn’t spring immediately to mind from _E_R_T, though I’m sure it should have. As I say there were some rather elegant clues in here: highlights for me were 26ac, 28ac and 8dn, model surfaces concealing interesting wordplay all.

How funny to see 15dn clued as a “medical specialist” here when only two months ago, in another Friday puzzle, it was a “quack” – presumably to forestall allegations of journalistic bias. 7dn also raised an eyebrow here, being a word more slangy than we’re used to seeing in the 14ac old Times puzzle; but David McLean has been paving the way for such things in the Sunday puzzle, and presumably it’s the future. You can’t fight progress!


1 What clumsy ceramist might do is crazy (8)
6 Spy shelters South American plant (6)
SESAME – SEE shelters S AM
9 Shop close to station in Italian city (4,2)
TURN IN – {statio}N in TURIN
10 Be sorry about pungent gas that covers much of the continent (8)
11 Domestic employee to make black tea (4)
CHAR – triple def
12 Given applause when exiting, exhausted (7,3)
CLAPPED OUT – double def
14 Unshaven king gets stuck into booze (8)
WHISKERY – R gets stuck into WHISKEY
16 Cut large onions in regular slices (4)
LOIN – L + O{n}I{o}N{s}
18 Measure postgraduate’s work (4)
EMMA – EM + M.A.
19 Knife attack: sailor beginning to bawl in pain (8)
STABBING – A.B. + B{awl} in STING
21 A certain poet briefly enthralled by that female — Aussie bird (10)
HONEYEATER – ONE YEAT{s} enthralled by HER
22 Bank‘s response after mislaying coin (4)
RELY – RE{p}LY mislaying its P
24 Irritation and anger, going round a shopping arcade (8)
GALLERIA – GALL + IRE going round + A
26 Backward African country’s not about to show subversive material? (6)
SATIRE – backward ERIT{re}A’S, not RE
27 Potential danger which overwhelms some soldiers (6)
THREAT – THAT overwhelms R.E.
28 Pervert hopes to occupy seat for this? (4,4)
PEEP SHOW – (HOPES*) to occupy PEW, semi-&lit


2 Hooligan showing frog’s entrails — that’s disgusting (5)
ROUGH – {f}RO{g} + UGH
3 Cold dish outside venison producer placed prominently? (6,5)
4 Old man, placed under arrest, freaked out (8)
5 Song fellow included in play dramatist adapted (3,4,2,1,5)
6 Pickle assortment of capers (6)
7 Animal sanctuary’s in a whirl: one duck’s flown away, I regret to say (3)
SOZ – reverse (in a whirl) of ZO{o}’S or Z{o}O’S
8 Staff mostly stick around University of Manchester (9)
13 Thinks shop workers should welcome price cut (11)
DELIBERATES – DELI BEES should welcome RAT{e}
15 Medical specialist in operation at hospital (9)
17 Game scores adjusted, City at the top (8)
LACROSSE – (SCORES*), L.A. at the top
20 Do you say coastal road leads to port? (6)
BEIRUT – homophone of BAY ROUTE
23 Left old ship moving slowly (5)
25 Take flight, heading off for shelter (3)
LEE – {f}LEE

53 comments on “Times 26,441: She Gets Hungry For Puzzles At Eight”

  1. 11:17 here. 20D last in for me too, but it was 24A that cost me a sub 10-minute time as I spent ages trying to fit MALL into the answer.
    1. SW definitely seems to have been the hard corner today. Even 15dn slowed me down after I saw OPATH immediately but couldn’t work out what should precede it! I’m going to pretend it’s because I’m just too serious about science.
  2. 21:04 … I thought I was breezily heading for a sub-10 until I hit the SW corner, at which point I ground to a thudding halt.

    The Club’s morning-after facility now enables me to see that the mistake I couldn’t see in yesterday’s puzzle, despite countless checks, was INITITIATED. The human mind can be a scary place.

    COD for its mischievous spirit … HOMEOPATH. Soz.

  3. 7dn SOZ LOI If that’s progress – then I’ll be a Chinaman!

    8dn MANCUNIAN COD and WOD I lived in Manchester for three years in the sixties – so I’ll be one of those too!

    FOI 11ac CHAR nice triple. 58 minutes.

    17dn We’ve had double LACROSSE this week!

    horryd Shanghai

  4. I’m not sure any zoo is much of a “sanctuary” for any of our fellow creatures. I was afraid that’s what was meant, though…
    Didn’t finish, as I had never heard of SOZ nor MANCUNIAN, and it’s 3:52 a.m. here and I should be in bed.

    Edited at 2016-06-17 07:54 am (UTC)

  5. Like Andy, I slowed myself down trying to wedge MALL into 24ac–even (unlike Andy, I’m sure) when I had the homeopathic A. I slowed myself further by flinging in ‘Eurasian’ at 10ac. I had the OPATH in at 15d fairly early on, but like Verlaine I couldn’t come up with something to put in the first 4 squares. BEIRUT actually came fairly early, after some time trying to make sense of ‘Heilat’ (don’t bother, it’s Eilat). My LOI was SOZ, which I’d never, I’m happy to say, heard of. I just looked it up (it’s not in my dictionaries) and find that it’s from the social media, which explains why I’ve never heard of it.
    1. I would have said it predates social media, but I can see how it would be useful on e.g. Twitter to save two precious characters. Well, apart from the fact that no one’s ever sorry for anything on Twitter, of course.
      1. It entered my consciousness through the BBC3 comedy Ideal (which started two years before Twitter) so I’d assumed it was MANCUNIAN slang.

        Hard to believe I’ve been on Twitter for nearly ten years. I wonder what the kids are using now?

        Edited at 2016-06-17 08:54 am (UTC)

      2. Frequently uttered in Emmerdale (one of my lowbrow indulgences) generally by Sam Dingle.
  6. SOZ is allowed in Scrabble. Parsed 20d as by-route, being unable to think of how bear could be coastal. COD 10ac for its allusion to the hole. LOI HONEYEATER, now thinking of alternative clues. Thanks setter and blogger, a good Friday workout, 22′.
  7. … as the SW proved too tough for me, with EMMA, BEIRUT and GALLERIA left blank. I too couldn’t get away from ‘mall’ for the shopping arcade, with those pesky A and L crossers. Started off very quickly, though, and thought I was heading for a, I dunno, maybe sub-25 minuter. Now that would be progress for me…
  8. Probably my best Friday effort so far; I was down to four left when my hour-bell went, and was right on the verge of getting EMMA.

    Given that I much prefer whisky, I can’t quite believe I was looking for boozes ending -Y and only came up with brandy and sherry. I’d probably have got WHISKERY in the end. Never heard of a HONEYEATER, but I was already pretty convinced it would be a somethingEATER and I’d even got as far as Keats, but not Yeates, oddly. I’d probably have got there.

    BEIRUT might be a different matter, as I was still desperately trying and failing to remember the word for a coastal road that’s come up here before — but having looked it up, apparently “corniche” would have been a complete road herring.

    Thanks for the parsings; I was wondering which African country it was…

  9. I somehow didn’t start the timer on this one but it took about 10 minutes. BEIRUT was my last in too: I spent a while trying to think of something beginning SEE. And I also tried to get a MALL into 24ac.
    I was also held up a bit by 15dn where the definition had me looking for a medical specialist.

    Edited at 2016-06-17 07:44 am (UTC)

  10. Unfortunately Sylvia Plath was my poet in 20A giving me the HONEPLATER bird and making BEIRUT an impossibility. My heart sinks when I know I’m looking for a port as most of the answers I tend to know as place names but not as ports, and BEIRUT was no exception. Perhaps it came to our blogger’s mind as he recently saw the indie-world music combo Beirut in concert?
    1. If it had been clued as “band” it’d have come to my mind much more quickly, probably!
  11. Technical DNF today as I eventually gave up and used a solver for 24ac. BEIRUT, which had also been missing up to that point, then fell into place immediately. I’d wasted ages on 20dn trying to think of the word for a coastal road, but having eventually remembered it as “corniche” it was of no help whatsoever.
  12. Pleased to get time to have a go at this and not disappointed – very enjoyable solve

    Never heard of SOZ but S?Z couldn’t be much else. Like others struggled with BEIRUT – not often I think a homophone is a good clue but liked this one. But COD has to go to PEEP SHOW – loved it

  13. Fortunately there’s a shopping centre up the road in Hatfield called that or I’d have messed around with MALL all day. I spent 10 minutes remembering CORNICHE first, and only the letters gave me BEIRUT as a biff. 35 minutes to finish. Being old and cantankerous, I’ve never liked SOZ on the grounds that if someone can’t even take the time to finish the word they can’t be that sorry.
    1. Part of the reason for me giving up on BEIRUT was not being able to remember corniche, but clearly it wouldn’t have helped anyway. I also knew GALLERIA from Hatfield, though there is the Hay’s Galleria in Southwark as well.
  14. 31:26 with the usual iPad holdups. Never having been on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace etc SOZ was a complete unknown but as Jimbo says, S-Z could not be much else. Had OSTEOPATH for a while and EUROPEAN elsewhere but things got sorted out. EMMA jumped out from the crossers as it is my daughter’s name. Thanks setter and V
  15. If anyone is feeling the lack of a tough Friday challenge, try today’s Telegraph Toughie — which is.
  16. Yep, I did that one on my way to work – definitely a Toughie worthy of the name, with some really clever stuff in it!
  17. Whizzed through the top half, thinking maybe I had printed off the QC by mistake (well not really) but slowed down below. A one hour phone call then ensued, after which the missing SW slotted in within 5 minutes or so. 21a and 20d my LOI, like Jimbo I liked the homophone, for once. Good stuff Mr Setter. Didn’t know SOZ before but will remember it for Scrabble purposes.
    1. What SOZ gains as a good way to dispose of your Z in Scrabble, it surely loses as being a terrible waste of an S…?
      1. Not if you put it on the end of an existing word to score in addition to SOZ. The S would surely present multiple opportunities for placement of the 3-letter word.
        1. Is it not the standard wisdom that an S is really “worth” about 50 points? I guess if the existing word was something with Q’s and J’s in it and you were also landing your Z on a triple letter space…
  18. You’re dead right about the zoos. Maybe the controversial definition of HOMEOPATH is meant to indicate that we should take some of this puzzle with a pinch of salt!
  19. 32 minutes for another enjoyable puzzle of average difficulty. I half-expected to find SOZ was wrong – if it was used in AbFab I must have heard it but I don’t recall it. BEIRUT was my last in after GALLERIA. I could have spent ages on it but once I had the R I saw it fairly quickly.
  20. Similar experience ending up with what would turn out to be BEIRUT and GALLERIA. Like everyone else, with the checkers, it “obviously” had MALL in it somewhere in one direction or the other. And I didn’t have a clue about the coast road (having live on the Cote d’Azur for years, I thought of corniche instantly for what it was worth). Then, as sometimes happens, my brain suddenly said “BEIRUT” and then I saw GALLERIA (not familiar with Hatfield but we have Stonestown Galleria in San Francisco).

    14ac only works if you spell whisky with an “e”. Since people who do crosswords tend to be fond of wordplay, do you know the rule for whether to put an “e” in or not. If the country the whisky comes from has an “e” in then so does the whisk(e)y. The only exception being Maker’s Mark, which comes from the United States (with an “e”) but unlike every other Bourbon spells it without the “e”.

    1. I’ve not heard that whisky spelling rule so thanks for that. The only rule I know is to drink the stuff if the day has a “y” in in it.
      1. I think I’ll try and get into the habit of drinking whiskey on Tuesday and Wednesday and whisky the other five days.
  21. Nearly an hour, after tripping over many stumbling-blocks – e.g. looking for an anagram at 1ac, making 18ac DROP (Dr post-graduate + OP) etc. Eventually needed aid to find anything sensible to fit checkers at 20dn.

    Edited at 2016-06-17 12:20 pm (UTC)

  22. Started off at a gallop, but was brought back to a crawl by the SW. Finished in 55 minutes after completing two thirds of the puzzle in 20 minutes. Was distracted by SHEARWATER until CENTRE STAGE and HOMEOPATH finally fell and YEATS came to mind. FOI, ROUGH, LOI, BEIRUT after I finally stopped trying to shoehorn Mall into 24a. SOZ was familiar, but I didn’t put it straight in as I thought it was too “slangy” for the Times, but EUROZONE confirmed it. Tough workout. Thanks setter and V.
  23. 11:56 but for a while I thought the bird, plant, port and Manchester clue would do for me.

    My first stab at the bird was wheateater which I know is definitely a bird except it isn’t and I was confusing it with a wheatear.

    For the port I was coming down the coast road the wrong way and was tempted to bolt PROM onto PT (as in Pt Talbot?) to get prompt which might somehow be defined by “Do you say” in a theatrical sort of way.

    I was another trying to fit MALL into 24 but had no problems with SOZ which I’m certain I’ve used myself in texts so I must be down wiv da kids, init.

  24. Had a productive first stab at this on the rattler, after polishing off the Quick Cryptic… well, quickly (for me at least). Then, like others slowed down in the SW. A real penny dropping moment when BEIRUT surrendered. Similarly, the song title came to me in a flash of inspiration from the word length pattern and the first T. It wasn’t until I had entered the answer that I looked for the parsing and saw the anagram.

    SOZ is in my online Chambers. I think I knew it from AbFab.

    Nice puzzle, about 32m in spurts.

  25. 3 Verlaines today so a par for me. Nothing much to add – have shopped at Hatfield and BEIRUT was my last one in.
  26. 25 mins, so faster than some of my recent Fridays. My mind started to wander for a while but I don’t think I actually drifted off. Anyway, enough of the excuses. My experience in the SW was very similar to that of several of my fellow contributors. Count me as another who was trying to shoehorn MALL into 24ac before I remember visits to Hatfield a few years ago. I then saw BEIRUT, which in turn led me to my LOI, HONEYEATER.
  27. I wasn’t on the setter’s wavelength for the last few and it took me ages to piece together MANCUNIAN, SESAME, GALLERIA and BEIRUT (which was my last in). SOZ went in with a shrug – it appears to be in Collins, but not in Chambers (at least not the 12th edition).
  28. Just under three-quarters of an hour for me – a bit slower than my usual, but not bad for a Friday. I’d never heard of the HONEYEATER – I was under the impression that kookaburras and Germaine Greer were the only Australian birds. SOZ was a bit surprising, lol, but clearly clued.

    Quite a few were biffed, then deleted while I agonized over the parsing, then re-biffed so I could look at the word and deconstruct it. A couple were then re-deleted.

    As for HOMEOPATH, don’t get me started. Homeopathy has a very strong placebo effect: if a patient believes it will work, they won’t come bothering us doctors and hence we’ll feel better.

  29. About 25 minutes for me, mostly done as a sort of leisurely solve. To Paul: I actually thought 14A was king as ‘ER’ inside WHISKY, since I believe that’s the way it’s usually rendered in the UK. I believe it works either way though. (It can’t be king = K, though.). LOI for me was EMMA when I finally saw the light and stopped looking for a 4-letter measure. Regards.
  30. 22 clues completed today, absolutely chuffed! Another PB, and for the first time, I felt like I was within striking distance of a finish. SE corner was done pretty quickly, and then took a lot more effort to get the NE and NW corners sorted. But struggled to make any headway into the SW corner and had to call it a day. My COD was ‘centre stage’
  31. Question : I don’t use any reference tools in my attempts, just google any unknown words/terms at the very end. Do others use dictionaries or the like when solving, or is that seen as cheating?
    1. Stefan, I don’t think that there is any question of ‘cheating’. We all do these puzzles for our own satisfaction in the way we like. Different at the higher competition levels but most of us are not there!
  32. 11:18 for me, held up by BEIRUT (with CORNICHE ruled out, I thought the first half was going to be pronounced “sea”), ignorant of SOZ (which I thought of first time through from the wordplay but didn’t dare bung in), and raising an eyebrow at HOMEOPATH.

    A pleasant, straightforward solve.

  33. Late solve in 30m but my first completed puzzle for a while so had to post to say thank you, blogger and setter especially for PEEP SHOW!
  34. Heaven forfend, I thought ‘ceramist’ was a misprint for ‘ceramacist’ which is what the wife used to be, but I see the dictionary allows both.

    Interesting about the ‘e’ rule in the nectar. I only knew that the
    Scottish version had no ‘e’ and the Irish did. Living in Scotland I parsed it as ER in whiskey, like the comtributor above.

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