Times 26443 – Fore!

Solving time: No time, watching the US Open on TV

Blogging Music: Schubert, Symphony #9, Boult/LPO

My elapsed time was about 54 minutes, but only about half of that was spent looking at the puzzle. Some of my answers are associated with specific events on the course, as Johnson started to shine on the final holes as Lowery faded.

Since I had managed to solve both Saturday and Sunday, and have made a fair start on Mephisto, I felt reasonably confident going in. The puzzle may have been a little harder than usual for a Monday, but it is hard to say under the circumstances. I suspect some of the wordplay was just a little tricky in places, with few chestnuts or write-ins. Fortunately, I am about an 8 handicap as a cryptic puzzle solver, which is 25 strokes better than my golf game!

1 ROUND THE BEND, double definition, spotted as Johnson was chipping on 17.
9 OTHER, OT HER, the opposite of NT HIM.
10 CINERARIA, anagram of ARNICA, I around ER. I saw at once how this worked, but didn’t know the plant, and thought it might start with ‘nica-‘.
11 BARGEMAN, NAME GRAB backwards.
12 TEASER, double definition, and a very simple one for this level of puzzle.
13 SPECIMEN, S + P(MICE backwards)EN. ‘Case’ is a nicely deceptive literal.
15 RENNET, TENNER backwards.
17 MODISH, MO + DISH. The obvious answer, but I’m a little uncertain about the ‘mo’ element – maybe this? With an assist from the anonymous comment from India, I now realize that ‘flash’ = ‘instant’ = ‘mo’.
20 ROAMER, ROA(ME)R – simple and elegant.
21 CUTPURSE, CUT PURSE. Not completely accurate, as a ‘dip’ slipped a hand into pockets, while his 17th-century predecessor used a knife to detach externally carried purses.
25 UTERI, backwards hidden in [requ]IRE TU[bes].
1 RHOMBUS, R[ing] H[unted] O[n] M[otorway} + BUS. ‘All kicking off’ indicates the first letters, but I just biffed it.
2 UTHER PENDRAGON, anagram of ARTHUR OPENED + G[awai]N. Since this legendary king was Arthur’s father, you shouldn’t have any difficulty thinking of him.
4 HECTARES, HE C[T[aken])ARES, my LOI, solved from the cryptic after Johnson birdied the final hole.
5 BANK, double definition spotted as Lowery was making a hash of the 17th.
6 NERVELESS, anagram of SEVEN REELS – E[ight].
7 PRESENT PERFECT, PRESENT + PERFECT in different senses, rather given away by the ‘for example’.
8 PARROT, double definition.
14 INSPECTOR, anagram of PRICES NOT.
16 BAGUETTE, B(AGUE, TT)E, where the outer letters come from B[riefcas]E.
17 MOROSE, [chas]M + O ROSE.
19 AMENITY, AM(EN[emies]ITY.
22 PLUTO, P(L[ady])UT + O.
23 LIEN, LIE + N(ewspaper).

60 comments on “Times 26443 – Fore!”

  1. This felt a lot harder than it was, if that makes sense; partly because I have a batch of work hanging over me, I felt that I’d never finish and was tempted to go offline, but. DNK CINERARIA, but was pretty sure that as a plant it wold end in IA, and the arrangement of vowel unches seemed the likeliest. LOI CUTPURSE, slow to come for the reason Vinyl indicates. Liked UTERI.

    Edited at 2016-06-20 03:53 am (UTC)

  2. My elapsed time was about 54 minutes, but all of that was spent looking at the puzzle.

    In the early morning mists of Shanghai I for some reason entered 10ac as CARNATION – anagram of ‘into arnica’ with ‘I’ suspect (thus don’t use)! To Queen in chess being to exchange (a pawn for a Queen or other piece), thus indicating the anagram! Silly me! CINERARIA it was.



    I concur, slightly meatier than most Mondays.

    horryd – Shanghai

  3. I like Vinyl’s idea of having, as in golf, a handicap for crosswordsmen/women.

    I too must be an 8! Magoo doesn’t have one and Verlaine is a 1 or a 2 – loitering on 6 minutes. Under 10 minutes consistently a 3. Anyone in the 10-15 minutes range is a 4 or 5 etc.
    For over an hour consistenly a 15 handicap would be set – a ‘rabbit’ or ‘bogey solver’!

    I wonder how it might work?

    horryd(8) Shanghai

  4. … just a bit harder than most Mondays. (But then Fridays seem to be turning into Mondays these days!) No idea why I didn’t know that MARSUPIA are pockets.

    It would seem the close-to-home is often hidden in plain sight. Just like certain marsupials in a weekend puzzle and HONEYEATER in 26441. In fact, I was watching a mob of Brown honeyeaters outside my study-area window when trying to solve that one. (They’re not in fact brown, but named after someone of that ilk.)

    Reminded me of the time I found a baby honeyeater on campus one evening looking sick. I took it home and then to our university Vet Centre early next morning. When I told the receptionist that I had no idea what to feed it, you can probably guess what she said. Mortifying!

    As for the puzzle … finally … the only other thing I didn’t get was “grace” = AMENITY. Can anyone help on that one?

      1. Thanks Jack.
        I had no idea re the overlap.
        No doubt you found that in one of the usual sources.
        I scoured Chambers, Collins … usw.
        With no satisfactory result.
        1. As I was at the computer my first port of call was SOED which I have loaded from a CD ROM. But I’ve now checked Collins (printed) which mentions pleasant or pleasing quality for both.
  5. Very enjoyable and might have solved quicker than my 50 minutes if I’d known the legendary king at 2dn which I guessed would be a write-in for some. No doubt I knew it at one time. CUTPURSE was my LOI although PURSE had been in for some time before that. What is the significance of “particular” in 4ac?

    Edited at 2016-06-20 06:09 am (UTC)

    1. Don’t think it’s doing anything except alerting you to the idea of looking for a named measure, though I’m not sure what an unnamed measure would be. Unnecessary perhaps, but neither misleading nor unpleasant.
  6. 26:56 … terrific puzzle but I wish someone had warned me! I was so sleepy it took me 10 minutes to realise this was a lot smarter than the average bear, by which time, and talking of which, Verlaine was already back in the clubhouse and getting stuck into his second pint of Crème de Menthe.

    Last in were the plant (of course) and Arthur’s dad, whose questionable existence I had all but forgotten. Nice to see CRINGEWORTHY — a word that crops up a lot in these parts whenever dodgy homophones raise their heads.

    Lots of little penny-drop moments, especially for me with the ‘M’s … MODISH, MARSUPIA and most of all MOROSE.

    Excellent stuff. Compliments to the setter, thanks to the blogger.

    Edited at 2016-06-20 06:51 am (UTC)

  7. Agree with comments about cutpurse but I’m still grumpy about the definition “army parts” in Saturday’s prize offering , even though it was mitigated somewhat , in a modern sense , by the splendid “Rubbish English gallery (4)” in the Jumbo !
    1. I got “army parts” from the cryptic and didn’t think more about the definition until reading your comment. It might be CRINGEWORTHY but I like it!
  8. 18m. Glad it wasn’t just me. I found this tough but rewarding. A few unknowns but I had as much trouble with simple one like MOROSE. Remembering UTHER helped a lot.
    1. Remembering UTHER helped me too, but sadly I remembered him as Uthar and didn’t check the fodder.
        1. I was temporarily excited just then to be able to Google up rumours that Idris Elba was going to play Sir Bedivere in Guy Ritchie’s forthcoming King Arthur movie – Luther being the right-hand man of Uther, in other words – but alas, apparently he’s subsequently been replaced by Djimon Housou. What a shame!

          Edited at 2016-06-20 12:24 pm (UTC)

  9. A 30 minute dnf today, much spent failing to get 4d, was definitely misled by ‘particular ‘, looking for HOC somewhere. Otherwise a good experience. Liked MARSUPIA, and COD to 7d. Thanks setter and blogger.
  10. 24:52. When ROUND THE BEND went straight in I thought I might be in for a quick one but was slowed down in places. I didn’t know UTHER PENDRAGON but once I had the crossers and the anagrist it was straightforward. Also took an educated guess at the correct vowel arrangement for CINERARIA.
  11. Just spent an enjoyable 35 minutes searching in the rough. Found all of the balls eventually. Thanks to the Course designer and the Club Professional.
  12. I returned from holiday and had a practice round on Friday that must have set me up for a 14.20 today. This would have been quite a bit longer had the checkers not fallen kindly, enabling me to bung a couple in before trawling the clues for a likely definition.
  13. A gentle 20 minutes, with Mrs K (my plant expert) confirming CINERARIA was such; so, consistently in line with my 9 or so crossword and golf handicaps. Wasn’t sure about King Pendragon’s first part but U_H_R and the anagram fodder left little room for variations. Might have been faster if I wasn’t half asleep this morning having watched US Golf until all hours.
  14. Good puzzle, hard for Monday, finishing with a flourish in 45 minutes. Feel like a bandit playing off 18. Last one in MARSUPIA. Biffed CUTPURSE. Parsed SPECIMEN incorrectly. But the ball kept going in the hole. They won’t tomorrow now.
  15. I’m glad people found this tough for a Monday; I DNF in my hour, with five leftovers on the east side. The unknown plant really wasn’t helping, but I’d also completely fluffed the wordplay on NERVELESS, and not spotted it at all for PRESENT PERFECT.

    I think I’ve also learned from a crossword before that MARSUPIA are pockets, which I’m sure also made perfect sense the *last* time I worked it out, yet still hasn’t quite made it into my long term storage… Ah well. Maybe next time.

    I enjoyed the rest, at least. Happy to have biffed in UTHER PENDRAGON with the correct spelling with only a couple of crossers. Big fan of the sprawling, odd monstrosity that is John Boorman’s Excalibur, which helped.

    Edited at 2016-06-20 09:48 am (UTC)

  16. Still topping the leaderboard almost 12 hours later (Magoo hasn’t showed up yet, mind you), I can only conclude that a classical education must have been a big advantage for this one, q.v. 10a, 18a, 25s, 1d, 2d and 4d (maybe), 7d, 22d…

    I think my LOI was 8d: if only it had been something easy like PSITTACOID.

    Edited at 2016-06-20 10:45 am (UTC)

    1. “if only it had been something easy like PSITTACOID”

      I’m gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that might be an original utterance.

  17. I seem to be at odds with many here, as I didn’t find this one too tricky (I’m sure the position will be reversed later in the week). 8m 48s with no real hold-ups; 21a was LOI.
  18. I found this very tough, even allowing for the fact that I was feeling very dozy. A full hour, and had to resort to an aid for 18.

    The tiny grid didn’t help matters. What has happened? I ditched Saturday’s Jumbo because I couldn’t cope with the eyestrain caused by the tiny grid. I persevered today but I’m going to have to abandon the Times Crossword if the grids don’t return to what they were. It didn’t matter which ‘print size’ I chose, I always got a small grid where I could barely read the cell numbers. It was fine until Saturday. Is this some so-called ‘improvement’ inttroduce by the web designers at the Times?

    1. I haven’t noticed a change; today’s print is the same size as last Monday’s. Might be worth getting in touch and asking them about it — or perhaps trying with a different web browser?
      1. Thanks for your assurance that the site hasn’t changed. When I printed today’s puzzle I checked my browser’s print preview window and saw it was set to 70%. After re-setting that to 100% it was fine.
        1. Glad to hear you’re back in business. I’ve just reached that time of life where I’m starting to hold things just that little bit further away, so I daresay it won’t be long before I’m needing to print everything out a little larger…
  19. 14:27, tricky for a “Monday” puzzle. Not happy with the plant clue of course, but the letters somehow landed in the right places when I threw them up in the air.
  20. Back in rainy Blighty after a 2 day drive with a howling cat on the back seat of the car. Will be repeating the experience in reverse in 4 weeks time. Found this puzzle reasonably straightforward taking 24 mins with 4 taken up with my LOI which was HECTARES.
    1. “Back in rainy Blighty after a 2 day drive with a howling cat on the back seat of the car.”

      I’m curious to know how far you drove. 10 minutes to the vet’s with a howling cat just about gives me a nervous breakdown.

      1. On Saturday about 8 hours from our holiday home just north of the Spanish border to Orleans and then another 8 hours yesterday from Orleans to home. We only got the cat in the first place because of his howling when he was abandoned at 6 weeks old outside our apartment in Shanghai – Mrs M took him in. 3 years later he had a 12 hour flight in a 747 to Holland where he spent a couple of years before I retired back to the UK – his first experience of a car ferry. He is the noisiest cat I have ever come across.
        1. Oh, good grief. Well bless you (or Mrs M) for taking him in. He’s ever so well-travelled. We brought two over from Canada a couple of years ago. One of them was deeply traumatised by the experience and now yowls and hides under a bed any time he hears a plane go over. I spoil him a lot to compensate.
  21. Beaten. I had a half a memory of an UTHER-somebody, but could piece together the anagram. Failed spectacularly on PRESENT PERFECT, having convinced myself that “percent” was the only plausible second word. Equal lack of success with MODISH.

    All in all, I need a bigger brain.

  22. 31m pleasant solve, helped by remembering Arthur’s Dad (and Nicol Williamson’s Merlin shouting to him as he rode through thin air ‘Ride! Ride! Your lust will hold you up! Or something like it in the aforementioned ‘Excalibur’). A day of nostalgia as CRINGEWORTHY took me straight to The Bash St Kids via Cuthbert and the days when (feeling smug) I used to write scripts for The Beano and the Dandy! Happy far off days!
    Good puzzle and blog – thank you setter and blogger!
    1. Goodness, yes, it’s a fine piece of acting. He doesn’t just steal every scene, he wanders off with the whole film.
  23. 23 mins but I lost a little time through drifting away in the middle of it. I found the RHS much trickier than the LHS. I’m another who guessed right for the arrangement of the vowels in 10ac, although I’ve probably come across CINERARIA before. PRESENT PERFECT took much longer than it should have done, as did PARROT, my LOI, because I’d been trying to think of a monkey that shared a name with an aircraft. Another wrong path I went down for a good while was thinking that “pockets” was going to be something akin to ravioli, although I suppose that if MARSUPIA had been defined as “pouches” it would have made the leap to Skippy and his ilk a little too easy.
  24. Cantered off Round the Bend and slung in Arthur’s Dad with a brief pause to check the anagram fodder to make sure he wasn’t UTHUR. Muttered about the plant until I got the crossers and guessed it correctly. DNK MARSUPIA or CUTPURSE, but worked them out from wordplay. Tailed off to a walk by the time I came back to the NW with SPECIMEN, HECTARES and BARGEMAN last to fall. 45 minutes in all. Thanks setter and Vinyl.

    Edited at 2016-06-20 04:30 pm (UTC)

  25. I found this a bit tough, for a Monday or any other day. I was unaware of the plant, good thing it was an anagram. But the wordplay didn’t help at all for PRESENT PERFECT, which I threw in only on the theory that I couldn’t think of any other two-word phrase or term that would fit. I did know Uther P., though. Thanks to vinyl for the explanations. Regards.
  26. Did this in two coffee breaks at work, so didn’t get an accurate timing, but wasn’t held up by much until the MARSUPIA/PRESENT PERFECT crossing, which took about as long to piece together as the rest of the crossword. Rather fun, I thought.
  27. Enjoyable 39 minutes with fair amount of biffing. Thanks to setter and blogger.
  28. is it permissable to buy the times , solve the xword , go on line and post an awesome time?…just a thought!
  29. Another rare reminder that I am much faster with treeware than poking about on an iPad. Just over 12 mins with a lucky guess for the order of CINERARIA. Enjoyable stuff.
  30. 13:29 for me, not really on the setter’s wavelength.

    Unlike others, I wasn’t too keen on 7dn, which I’m sure I’ve seen done better, though I can’t give chapter and verse.

    I hadn’t come across MARSUPIA before, and was a little nervous of it as I tend to think of SUP as referring to eating rather than drinking.

  31. Could someone please explain 24a?

    Not that ‘shortlist = short + list’ wasn’t helpful…

    As a relative novice it would be nice if the explanations explained clues in a way that people who didn’t get the clue could understand.

    1. If you are SHORT with someone, you are brusque, and LIST is tip, as in a boat. It always helps to give yourself a name, even if you don’t like the pictures and just sign off with a made-up name. It makes it more inclusive in our friendly little world.

      Edited at 2016-06-20 11:53 pm (UTC)

  32. Quite a cringeworthy puzzle (is that really a word? It is in crossword land, of course) — just over an hour and very enjoyable. Today the words I made up to complete the puzzle were real and a bit fascinating. I’d never heard of UTHER PENDRAGON but given the crossing letters and knowing it was an anagram, it was the only likely possibility for a British legendary king. CINERARIA and MARSUPIA were other unknowns entered on general linguistic principles. My LOIs were CRINGEWORTHY, PLUTO and CUTPURSE (fortunately I couldn’t quite convince myself that SUBPURSE might be an archaic synonym of SUBMERGE) and of course the finishing touches on the legendary king, once BARGEMAN had fallen into place.

    Edited at 2016-06-20 10:38 pm (UTC)

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