Times 26473 – Sting in the head

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
This was a pretty typical Monday offering, unless, like me, you mucked 1 down up, and then revised it in part so that it was still wrong in part. Heavens knows how much that took off my time.

I don’t do targets (well, finishing without cheating is my basic ambition), but today I was left shaking my head like people who don’t know much about cricket shaking their heads at a decision of no moment about whether to enforce a follow-on with more than two days of a Test match remaining…


1. IAMBS – because I cocked up on 1 down (plenty more on this supra and infra), I was stymied on this until near the end. It’s the not incredibly difficult I[ncised] + AM + BS (Bachelor of Surgery, though I think I prefer the uber-pretentious ChB, Chirurgiae Baccalaureus – try saying that when you’re half seas over).
2. ANAEROBIC – I in an anagram* of A CRAB ONE.
9. CARPET BAG – CARPET (reprimand) + BAG (ugly female). This clue provoked me to a do a little research into English slang terms for ugly men, and – you know – I couldn’t find any. On the other hand, I found some pretty stupendous ones for the distaff side…
10. CORAL – COR (my – as in ‘My, what a swamp donkey!’) + AL (as in a generic ‘boy’, who you can call Al, if you don’t remember if he’s an Alan, an Albert or an Alfred). I think the idea of ‘girlfriend, possibly’ is that if you went out with enough women, you might eventually find one called Coral.
11. DETAIL – literal ‘feature’; our old friend E.T. in DAIL (the Irish parliament, to be sure).
12. NO MATTER – MO (medical officer) reversed in NATTER.
14. NEIGHBOUR – NEIGH (sounds like ‘nay’) + B[othered] + OUR.
16. MINED – E in MIND (as in ‘I object to your sexist comments’, or, more accurately, ‘Who minds about his sexist comments?’ / ‘I object’).
17. ARTIC – AR[c]TIC – one of the two ‘abouts’ leaves the word – geddit?
19. DISGUISES – GUISE (sounds like ‘guys’) in DISS (a town in the sticks somewhere between Bury St Edmunds and Great Yarmouth).
21. MARYLAND – MD (yet another medic – I hope it’s not making you sick) around A + RY + L + A + N.
22. GLOWER – L[ost] in GOWER, see?
26. EMANATION – literal ‘discharge’ – moving on swiftly…E + MA + NATION.
27. CHEONGSAM – this tight-fitting number is fast becoming Crosswordland’s favourite item in the ladies wear department. HE + SONG* in MAC reversed.
28. HADES – HA[r]D + E +S[old]. You know, I don’t think I’d ever have known that had I not been blogging.


1. INCIDENTAL MUSIC – okay, I had first ‘orchestral parts’ and then ‘incidental parts’. It’s just a cryptic definition – a very pesky one…
2. MERIT – ER (you can have any of eight) in MIT (‘US research institute’ is very good, but personally I prefer ‘college’ for all the heat it generates).
4. AMBO – according to the dictionaries this is a raised pulpit – and there was I thinking they were all raised. Anyway, it’s hidden in the school against which I once hit 91* in the traditional two-day fixture between our schools. I believe Jonathan Agnew was playing for them. He always is whenever I tell the story. That year – 1976 – was the first time the match hadn’t ended in a draw in living memory. I received my colours after the game. Memories, memories.
5. ANGLO-IRISH – HANOI GIRLS*. This phrase is rather all encompassing, as it can mean both – as here – of mixed Irish and English parentage and also of English descent but born or resident in Ireland.
6. RECLAIM – RE (Royal Engineers) + CLAIM (‘mining area’).
7. BARITONES – IT in BAR ONE (beginning of piece – nice) + S[cored]. Prime biffing material.
8. COLORADO SPRINGS – COL + OR (‘other ranks’ – always on parade in Crosswordland) + ADO + SPRINGS.
13. WOODENNESS – O in WODEN + NESS. Woden was more his Old English name; he was typically Odin in Norse mythology. His other half was called Frigg, which must have led to a few jokes, though not when she was around.
15. INTERFERE – the literal is ‘meddle’, but, unless I’m missing something , something seems to be missing here. We have IN (home) and ERE (before), but what I can’t see is how ‘coastal mist lifts’ can legitimately indicate both that FRET should be reversed and that it should be placed where it is (between IN and ERE). I was – it’s IN (home) + TERF ERE (reversal of ‘before coastal mist’).
18. COLLEEN – CO-LL are your fellow liberals while EEN are various points of the compass (quarters) randomly assembled. Not my favourite clue, but I am reminded of the Nolan sisters, who I saw with my Irish belle at the Crawley Leisure Centre in 1980. It doesn’t get a lot more romantic than that. Ooh, I’m in the mood for dancing…
20. UNLEASH – UN + H around LEAS.
23. WEIRD – D[uke] after WEIR in its sense of an enclosure of stakes set in a stream as a trap for fish.
24. BALM – BALM[oral].

63 comments on “Times 26473 – Sting in the head”

  1. Don’t like to interfere, but doesn’t ‘before coastal mist’ all lift?
  2. Took about 55 minutes, with a good 20 minutes of that trying to get 26a. Tearing my hair out until I realised I had spelt WEIRD incorrectly after bunging it in too quickly. Overall though fairly gentle after a few tough ones over the weekend. Had never heard of a sea FRET and to me an AMBO is a paramedic, but we’ve had the crossword-land ‘stand for lessons’ a few times before. Favourites were CARPET BAG and CHEONGSAM.

    I agree with mrkgrnao above and parsed 15 as ‘home’ (=IN) and ‘before coastal mist lifts’ as a reversal of both ERE (a palindrome) and FRET.

    Thanks to setter and blogger

    1. My neighbour’s a scientist who works on various species, examining their proteins and nucleic acids. His spelling is heinous.
  3. I clean forgot about Woden, so I had ‘woodinness’; which looked wrong, possibly because it was, but until 1 nanosecond after I hit ‘submit’, I didn’t see why it was wrong.
  4. And more than a third of that was spent on my LOI, WOODENNESS. Just couldn’t see it until I did an alphabet run.

    Nice Monday puzzle. I wonder how closely the set of English-speaking people who know the word CHEONGSAM matches the set of people who do cryptic crosswords?

    Thanks setter and U. BTW, I’m with Cook. In lieu of a biblical weather forecast, the days of enforcing the follow-on are gone.

    1. I rather think Cookie might have been influenced by the last time he tried it: Sri Lanka racked up 475 in the second innings, threatening an unlikely win.
      1. First rule of captaincy is to ask yourself what the opposition most wants you to do, then do the opposite.
        1. That might explain why he didn’t open with Ballance and Vince, though goodness knows they need the practice.
    2. I have it in mind that either Steve Waugh or Michael Clarke started the modern trend not to enforce the follow-on. Any thoughts?
      1. I’d say it’s been a gradual trend Martin, but I think the fabled Kolkata Test in 2001 sealed the deal for Waugh and future Aussie captains (or should have).

        He tried it again in the 2002-03 Ashes, and got away with it (just). But it meant his bowlers bowled 210 overs straight, and England took them to the cleaners a few days later in Sydney.

        The follow-on worked much better in the era of rest days and longer gaps between Tests.

        1. Thanks, galspray. I had vague memories of the extraordinary feats of Very Very Special (VVS) Laxman but had rather forgotten the details of that epic Test in 2001 and had to do some research. Yes, that would have “sealed the deal”, as you say! Very good point about rest days. Mind you, I once heard Kerry O’Keefe talking on ABC about ‘surviving’ the rest day! Those were the days of Lillee, Marsh etc, of course.
            1. How many beers did he consume enroute to London? 20-something, 30-something?
  5. 26 minutes with time lost not putting AMBO until I had both its checkers in place, and working out the best arrangement of unches at 27ac. CHEONGSAM has come up twice before in recent years, the first time without comment from me and the second time I claimed I didn’t know it. On this occasion I recognised the word once I’d deduced it but had no recollection as to what it was. It could just as easily have been a place in Asia or a Chinese soup, as a piece of clothing
    1. Mmm, I was very glad that CHEONGSAM now feels like an old Times-Xwd-Times friend, because it’d probably have been a real hassle to have to work out from first principles…
  6. Helped on this tricky one by a recent weekend puzzle. Otherwise, I thought this quite easy.

    Why would a paramedic hold a holy book (4dn)?
    No matter.

    1. Paramedic? What’s he talking about? Then I looked again and remember that delightful antipodean contraction device, and on a whim checked a few online. Does anyone still use garbo or Salvo?
      1. I honestly can’t recall the last time I heard anyone use the longer alternatives in either of these instances.
  7. 8:52 … they don’t get much easier, just as long as you’re solved a few thousand of these things before.

    Ulaca – the Nolan Sisters at the Crawley Leisure Centre is positively Alan Partridge. Well done.

  8. A gentle, mostly uneventful 11.41, not stopping to do anything more than a cursory check on the parsing, so thanks to McT for taking the time. Thanks also to horryd for confirming that the cheongsam still sells in downtown Shanghai. I wonder if we’ll ever see the male equivalent changshan in a crossword, or is it just not sexy enough?
  9. Ulaca the golden rule re- 1dn (INCIDENTAL MUSIC) is to get 1ac first (IAMBS) – it was my LOI however! No matter I was ready for breakfast within 24 minutes – a proper Monday indeed.

    Where I screwed up was 6dn – entering READMIT somehow thinking an ADIT was smewhere concealed. RECLAIM it was!

    There is a long line of (27ac) CHEONGSAM shops on Chang Le Lu (Road) in downtown Shanghai. These emporia offer bespoke tailoring to ladies of a certain slimness. Highly recommended – especially for crossword enthusiasts.(WOD)

    COD 5dn ANGLO IRISH it took a moment. FOI 4ad ANAEROBIC

    I thought 10ac CORAL was a poor do.

    horryd Shanghai

  10. Following on, what weather is Manchester famous for normally, yet alone the forecast? Also, I know we had a discussion last week about non PC setters, but ‘ugly female’ ? – fhs. I too messed up 1d, starting to write ‘instrumental’, then stopping, then leaving the S when considering 9ac. Nonetheless, a PB for the second Monday in succession, 10′ 21″. Thanks Ulaca and setter.
  11. I reckon that there is not much difference between the 2 crosswords today. I think that the QC was more fun? Especially 10d but I would say that, wouldn’t I?

    I suggested to my girls that their school motto meant, “Use just one hand to apply the sun cream.” Apparently, it has something to do with a healing BALM.

    1. Thank goodness you explained that; shove the motto into Google Translate and you get “the hands are just couch”.
      1. Thanks, I have never Googled it. My school motto was Fiat Lux – which is a very unlikely European merger.
    2. My School had “Mediocria Firma” which apparently derived from the Bacon crest. It was variously (and often maliciously) translated and looked like a disparaging 16th century Ofsted report. Latterly changed to Non Nobis Nati, which is much duller, but may have been influenced by alumni the Zombies and could (just) mean “we are the unborn”
      1. ‘The solid virtue of moderation.’ It’s a crying shame that ‘mediocria’ became associated with its English cognate and thus the lessons that one of the four cardibal virtues had to teach us – needed in this impatient world more than ever – got chucked out.
    3. Splendid! Almost as good as Sellars and Yeatman’s “Honey, your silk stocking’s hanging down” :-).
  12. 15:16 of steady stuff with INCIDENTAL MUSIC being the FYI, but then handicapping myself by writing IAMBI (I dont know why either). A near surefire way of seeing a sea-fret is to pay to get into Brighton Racecourse, which is on the cliffs above Brighton. As soon as you have paid your money, the fret will roll in and you wont see any racing. Thank you setter and U
    1. I also initially had IAMBI, firstly because I thought it was more correct, at least in a posh crossword like the Times, though I wasn’t sure where the second I came from. Round where I live, Iambs looks and sounds suspiciously like dogwood.
  13. Early on I’d decided the mixed parentage at 5D was going to be something cross. I didn’t revise this view when it was the only one I had left so ended up with an unparsed ANGLO CROSS. Will I ever learn not to challenge my assumptions? Probably not.
  14. Tried to whizz through today, for a change, found it easy enough, put down pencil with a satisfied sigh after 12 minutes, then found I had wrongly biffed CAROL for CORAL (Carol being a more usual girl’s name), so slid back down the ladder to GO again.
    WEIRD is one of those words I dither about spelling, which is odd because I’m ace at spelling, but once I had the crosser I stopped dithering.
    CHEONGSAM I remembered from earlier puzzles.

    I agree with z8, Cookie may have remembered SL’s valiant attempt; When showing us the record scores to win, 418 tops, those commentators don’t show the even bigger 4th innings scores which got draws or nearly won. Hopefully Vince and Ballance will be replaced by Rashid and ANO new boy in the next test.

  15. 20mins + another 5 for WOODENNESS. But, I put in intervene. Couldn’t parse either that or INTERFERE (dnk FRET), so I opted for the wrong one…
    Off to Hanoi on Friday for holiday! Yay!
  16. 9 mins. I took advantage of a day off with a morning solve and I was surprised when I looked at the clock at the end because it felt a couple of minutes quicker. I must have been held up longer than I thought in the SW, and like some others WOODENNESS was my LOI. As Sotira said, this was a puzzle where years of experience definitely helps.
  17. Done in fits and starts. CHEONGSAM not known, with AMBO ringing only a distant bell. Never been out with a CORAL, nor known one personally. 35 minutes with the two correct biffs.

    Edited at 2016-07-25 09:31 am (UTC)

  18. No idea who Jonathan Agnew is when he’s at home, obviously given my commitment to barbaric ignorance in so many fields of human endeavour, but having Googled him I discover that he is *exactly the same height as me*, which I must say does predispose me to liking him.
    1. Suggest googling (or perhaps YouTubing) the excellent radio exchange between Aggers (Agnew) and Johnners (Brian Johnston) on live Test Match Special. Wish I knew how to give you a link.
      (On edit) try this https://youtu.be/IzEBLrz3S1o

      Edited at 2016-07-25 08:05 pm (UTC)

  19. Second-best time ever (19m 39s) so a day to remember….unlike the last time I saw DISS in a crossword. That must have been decades ago when I started on the cryptic foothills with the D.T. version. I do remember it was a favourite in that paper.
    FRET was no problem for someone who used to be a member of Sussex CCC and has seen a few roll in at Hove. (“No idea who Jonathan Agnew is when he’s at home”?! Steady on!)
    I wonder how many other folk saw KING EDWARD and thought ‘spud’?!
    And CHEONGSAM was a write-in as my wife once painted a lovely portrait of her daughter wearing one.
  20. I started slowly (with IAMBI as it happens) but once I’d sussed that this was going to be a walk in the p I sped up and went on a bit of a biff fest (the definitions weren’t exactly obscured by a fret, were they?) and lunged for the tape at 9:08, pausing only to toggle the vowels in weird and change CAROLINA to MARYLAND in order to accommodate the M in music. As I’d worked more or less clockwise that made DETAIL my LOI.

    As has been said, CHEONGSAM was only familiar through being unfamiliar the last two times it came up.

  21. All completed apart from a gross error of “moodinness” at. 13d. I knew it must be wrong of course but got stuck with Odin. Pet hate of EEN= Quarters. best cricket match was Farnworth Grammar being all out for 11 (I top scored with 3). We won by 3 runs. Sat in same desk as Alan Ball (World Cup winner) – our PE master said he was second best player in school. Take a bow Jimmy Phillips.
  22. So probably on the very easy side for you chaps!

    Cheated a bit because I had to look up DAIL, but that still counts as a finish for me…

  23. Twenty minutes here, which means it must be Monday. My first NHO was CHEONGSAM, which I got despite mis-parsing the clue, by assuming that Mr. (or Ms.) Cheongsam was a revisionist of some sort. I had also never heard of an AMBO, apart from the curiously unapostrophised Wendens Ambo.

    I’d also never come across “fret” as a sea mist, and toyed with “intervene” and “intercede” for a while before chancing upon the right answer.

    Edited at 2016-07-25 02:55 pm (UTC)

  24. A gentle start to the week which I needed as I am in a state of upheaval with the kitchen/family room having been emptied for redecoration so I can’t find anything and am perched by a low coffee table in a cramped corner to use the computer. Misspelled anaerobic which held me up for my last one in:6 down. Around half an hour either side of a huge filling at the dentist which has left me with a numb mouth.
  25. Could the answer be Carol i.e. not gender-specifc; ‘possibly’ referring to girl’s boyfriend?
    1. But would that account for the words in the clue, ‘my’, just to take the first one as an example?
  26. 12m, and then another 6 or so to retype all the answers twice before finally managing to submit. We are on holiday and the wifi is pretty feeble here. Success only came when I asked eldest daughter to tear herself away from Instagram for a couple of minutes.
    I muffed this up for myself by putting in RETRACT and then not reconsidering for a long time: it seemed perfectly feasible that TRACT could have a mining-related meaning.
    Like others I bunged CHEONGSAM in from the definition, having been completely stumped by it in past puzzles.
  27. Well, I agree that the 10A wordplay leads to CORAL, but I refused to believe that would actually be the correct entry. CORAL as a girl’s name? I couldn’t accept it, and entered CAROL, which has the wordplay elements jumbled up, at least, and in my mind, hopefully justified by the “possibly?”, at the end of the clue. Lousy clue, says me. But I probably don’t carry a lot of weight around the editor’s desk. Otherwise, 15 minutes despite the also obscure AMBO. Regards.
    1. As well as Coral Atkins, whom Andy B mentions below, there’s Coral Browne, another actress, whom I remember particularly from the Alan Bennett TV play An Englishman Abroad in which she played herself.
  28. 47 minutes, but surprised I finished at all, as I didn’t know DIS……S the Norfolk town nor CHEONGSAM nor the FRET in INTERFERE nor AMBO and I was also somewhat unhappy (or unsure) about CORAL as a girl’s name and the spelling WODEN. A few other things were a bit touchy, too. But fortunately the wordplay and general common sense didn’t leave too many other choices.

    Edited at 2016-07-25 06:19 pm (UTC)

  29. I don’t know how many “Corals” are out there, but I remember the English actress Coral Atkins so didn’t think twice about the answer.
  30. 7:23 for me, held up by rashly bunging in IAMBI and RETRACT (I’m relieved to see I wasn’t the only one). A pleasant, straightforward start to the week.
  31. 26 minutes for this one which I tackled a day late as I was travelling across country yesterday. Started with IAMBS and finished with CHEONGSAM, which rang a faint bell eventually. Hadn’t heard of AMBO but it had to be. The rest of it was a steady solve with no real holdups. An enjoyable puzzle. Thanks Setter and U.

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