Times 26505 – After Elizabeth, indeed.

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I don’t know yet whether I woke up thicker than yesterday, or this was hard. I certainly struggled to get going, littering bits of the grid with a few of the easier solutions, instead of the usual more orderly progression. It took me the bones of an hour and I have to say, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I usually enjoy tricky puzzles; had it not been a blog day, I’d probably have given up and read someone’s entertaining blog.
On review, there are only two words I didn’t know and one expression I found obscure, but some of the word play verged on the tedious, I thought. The redeeming feature for me was 11a – as far as I know, an original and witty clue to an everyday word.

1 KANSAS – KAN sounds like prison (CAN), SAS are crack troops; D State. My FOI, closely followed by 4d.
5 GENERATE – GEN = information, E = evidence, initially, RATE = judge; D produce.
9 MAY APPLE – I had the notion it was some sort of apple, from early on, but I’d never heard of a May apple. Eventually I guessed it from the wordplay and then found it – more usually spelt as one word – and it’s not an apple at all, it’s a mandrake or whatever. MAPLE = tree, around YAP = bark.
10 WEEVIL – WEE = tiny, VIL(E) = horrid, truncated; D bug.
11 POSTER – Elizabeth 1 died in 1603, so the years after would be POST ER. D bill. If this is the first time this has appeared, it’s brilliant IMO.
12 FUNCTION – F = force, UNION = agreement, insert odd letters of CUTS = C T; D work. A bit clunky.
14 BATTLEGROUND – BAT = cricketer, T = left finally. LEG = stage, ROUND = applause, put at the end. D = field. Another clunky bit of wordplay.
17 PROOF-READING – PROF = academic, insert O (old), READING is a university (one of many!); D correcting scripts. The definition gives the answer away, saving you from the need to run through a list of universities.
20 BESSEMER – This is an obscure answer with a dodgy bit of wordplay? BEE = worker maybe, ‘hole over’ must be MESS reversed, and R = entrance to roadway; D engineer. I remember the ‘Bessemer Converter’ was invented by this chap, for converting pig iron to steel, so I suppose he was an engineer, amongst other things. I think ‘MESS’ for HOLE could be something like ‘help us out, we’re in a hole here’ where mess would be a fair synonym.
22 LITTER – Ah, a double definition, at last, as in a litter of pups, and cat litter which cats ‘go’ on. Not in my house, they don’t, they go on my vegetable plot.
23 SEX-POT – Tempting to think the definition could be ‘wife, once’, but that would be non-PC. No, the wife once is EX, inserted into SPOT = pickle, and the D is dish, another not very PC expression still used in crosswords.
25 LIMBER UP – CLIMBER is mountaineer, avoid cold = delete his C, UP = at great height; D train. Or it could be &lit.
26 KNIGHTLY – K for king, NIGHTLY = regularly in the dark (!), D chivalrous.
27 TESTER – SET = class, repelled = TES, TER(M) = almost all of time at school; D examiner.

2 ACAJOU – Start wth A. Then a Louisiana native is a CAJUN (although I thought this was the food not the people eating it). Delete the N (nameless). Insert O for round, D wood. I knew acajou was the French for ‘cashew’ but it’s also apparently a name for a variety of mahogany.
3 SMARTY-BOOTS – Anagram of MOST BOYS with ART = skill, ‘intrinsic’ i.e. inserted. I knew of smarty-pants but had never heard smarty-boots, perhaps it’s a Northern thing. I had to have B-O-S before believing it was the answer.
4 SUPERSTAR – (PASTURES)*, R (right); D top performer.
5 GLEEFUL – GUL(L) = fool, shortly, insert FEEL = appear, reversed = upset; G (LEEF) UL; D happy.
6 NO-WIN – Hidden in K(NOWIN)GLY; D a hopeless situation. Easy once you see it, but until then, annoying. The enumeration misprint 3,2 instead of 2,3 didn’t help.(thanks sawbill for reminding me to mention it).
7 RYE – Double definition; grain some whiskies use, and coastal town in East Sussex.
8 TRICORNE – Another one I couldn’t get until I had crossers. TRIE(D) = put on, briefly, around CORN = ears; D hat. I’d never seen it spelt with a final E in English although I see it is a fair alternative.
13 THOUGHTLESS – Double definition, one whimsical (philosopher without thoughts) one ‘so remiss’.
15 GUILLEMOT – GUILE = cunning, insert L for large, reverse TOM = cat; D bird. Easy once you have it ending in M-T.
16 TREE FERN – T(YCOO)N = tycoon’s case, insert REEFER a drug-filled cigarette, D plant. Fortunately I knew what a reefer was, from a mis-spent youth.
18 AURALLY – A, U(nion), RALLY = march; D so we hear.
19 SECURE – S(hilling), ECU (foreign coin), RE (on); D safe. The European Currency Unit was never a note or coin, but there was once a small French coin called an écu, I guess that’s what the setter intended.
21 MOTET – M for mass, O(C)TET is a composition which loses its C (start of curious); D vocal piece. Dreaming up OCTET as a sort of composition is best done once you know the answer to the clue.
24 PEG – P for piano, EG for say, D fix.

42 comments on “Times 26505 – After Elizabeth, indeed.”

  1. 28′ for this robust challenge, at least a third of it trying to get 3d, despite all the checkers – not until I looked repeatedly at possible wordplay did I get it. From what era is this? Is it a politer form of smarty pants? 1ac was a write-in after yesterday’s Wisconsin experience, and 2d was mentally pencilled in without much certainty. I did think BESSEMER was a good clue. COD SEXPOT despite the lack of PC. Thanks pip and setter.
  2. Challenging enough but worth the effort with some v. good clues. Just under an hour with a few guesses at some of the harder parsing. Held up by BESSEMER – a big thanks to my Form 2 geography teacher in 1969 for covering steel making processes (no, I don’t know why we did steel making in geography either) – and TRICORNE (with an E) in particular. The incorrect word letter designation in 6 was annoying, but easily enough spotted.

    This is probably completely wrong but I parsed 14 as ‘Stage’ = def, ‘applause after cricketer finally left’ = B{R}ATTLE (brattle is a clattering noise according to Chambers – yes a bit of a stretch), ‘field’ = GROUND. Your parsing is much more plausible though.

    ACAJOU and BRATTLE – even if it was discovered for the wrong reasons – were new words for me. COD and a real standout was SEXPOT, which raised a big smile.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  3. On the plus side, most of this one fell without trouble. I worked out the incorrectly enumerated 6d and derived the unknown MOTET and the odd TRICORNE spelling.

    If I’d had longer before a dentist’s appointment I might have put in the implausible ACAJOU as I’d been flirting with “Cajun”. Not sure I’d have ever biffed POSTER even with all the crossers, and it would never have been more than a biff for me.

    And then, even with the idea of a bee and ten full minutes I didn’t get the unknown BESSEMER. I and my hangover are glad we decided to come here and be let off the hook rather than struggling onwards and probably still being disappointed.

    Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be without hangovers and dentists and my solving will be smoother!

  4. After a couple of solves bordering on the disastrous for time taken I found this one quite easy and after 25 minutes had everything apart from the unches of 2dn. And that’s as far as I got without resorting to aids because I didn’t know the answer and found the wordplay impenetrable. If there’d been any hint of Louisiana food rather than natives I might have stood a chance as I did some research into Cajun cuisine only last week when discussing okra.

    Put me down as another who didn’t know TRICORNE with an E but trusted the wordplay.

    My O-level physics came in handy again having called upon it recently to come up with “anemometer” today I biffed BESSAMER.

    Can we have a break from US states at 1ac for a while please?

    Edited at 2016-08-31 09:12 am (UTC)

  5. I found this one hard, not helped by finding I had the meaningless ‘Now-in’ at 6d, set as 3-2 in the letter count. I also had trouble with 1d, having put in ‘alamos’ (poplar trees), which I couldn’t quite parse!
      1. I pondered AMAZON for a while but thought that describing it as a wood was taking understatement to new heights (or should that be depths).
  6. DNK MAY APPLE but do know OAK APPLE so in it went, despite not fitting the clue, thereby making 2d a non-starter. Conservative politician David (later Lord, obviously) Eccles, who did most of the legwork in planning the Coronation, was universally known as SMARTY BOOTS. Thanks setter and pip.
  7. An hour on the button for this, where the mis-enumeration held me up for all of ten seconds. I thought BATTLEGROUND was clever, and finished, as most will, in the NW with SMARTY-whattheheck and the weird tree. More accessible than BHINDI, whatever it might be…
  8. 41.03 but one wrong after some time at the end on 2 dn., finally giving alamoa a shot. Kind of knew Cajun so should have landed the unknown I guess. Liked the inspired 11 and (differently) 23.
  9. DNK or biff ACAJOU so DNF. I came across BESSEMER in Chemistry but I guess he was an engineer. 6d would have been easy as a 2,3 and I spent too long before shrugging my shoulders. Some good clues spoilt a bit by the error. Who was PROOF READING? ACAJOU was too inpenetrable. 45 minutes with the one pass.
  10. 58 minutes with the tree at 2d wrong. I was on the right lines but finished up using MAYAN instead of CAJUN giving AMAYOA. God knows why, Mayans were South American!! BESSEMER should have taken less time than it did, as Middlesbrough was a prolific user of the Bessemer Process until recently. FOI, KANSAS, LOI, the wrong tree. I only knew Smarty Pants, but it wasn’t too much of a leap to Boots. TRICORNE with an E with a shrug, trusting the wordplay. I did like POSTER too. An enjoyable battle. Thanks setter and Pip.
  11. Didn’t know ACAJOU or MAY APPLE but both relatively easy to get from the cryptic. BESSEMER was a write-in from the checkers. You can’t be educated among the iron-works and coal mines of South Wales without knowing about him. We had to draw diagrams of blast furnaces and the like. Enjoyable puzzle. 30 minutes. Ann
  12. 30 min, but really DNF, as being unable to think of anything to fit 2dn finally bunged in ANALOG derived somehow from ANON(nameless) and LOG(wood) – I’d also been toying with AMAZON (wood -> forest), but although I knew of Cajun cuisine Louisiana would have never brought it to mind.
    I had no interest in history at school, so had no idea what happened in 1603, but as ‘Bill’ was probably Shakespeare 11ac was pretty clear from …TER. (BTW, setters do seem to be on familiar terms with some famed poets – apart from Bill or Will, Spenser is usually Ed – though I don’t think anyone dares to call Milton Jack!)
  13. ACAJOU and TRICORNE did for me. Should have got them, just wasn’t on the ball.

    Also couldn’t parse KNIGHTLY, but it had to be. Thanks setter and Pip.

  14. 23.30 for me, which seems to be around my new 17. I’m semi-ashamed to say that I was familiar with ACAJOU from online word games, mostly because it’s a good way of using unpromising letters, and because it was therefore in the same class as agouti. I had assumed it was some sort of animal a bit like a gerbil. I am now educated.
    All the other questionable stuff (see above passim) in with a shrug on trust-the-wordplay (if not the enumeration).
  15. All done in ten minutes except ACAJOU – which I don’t think I’d have got if I’d been trying for the rest of the day. Never heard of the word, and didn’t know that Cajun related to Louisiana.
  16. DNF 1hour The problem was 9ac MAY APPLE which I finally guessed as OAK APPLE.


    SOI POSTER why brilliant? As an historian IMO simples.

    No problem with ACAJOU either

    But 6dn NOW-IN was hardly acceptable 2-3!! Where was the Editor!?

    DNK TRICORNE with the E

    14ac BATTLEGROUND was clunky indeed


    A tough week so far!

    horryd Shanghai

    1. History was a closed book to me at school, having had the nastiest master on the planet (both sadistic and smelly), although in old age I am catching up. Most historians I know, when asked for a fact or date, come up with ‘ah well that wasn’t my period’ and know as little as I do. So I bow to your historically broad gamut, Horryd. I have to admit I thought Bessie was there longer than 1603 and had to look it up to check.
  17. Pip – my specialist area is the KGVI period 1937-1952-ish, so WII+

    but no bowing please. I should have a new book out early next year

    I think you’ll find it of interest.

    Elizabeth I and the Industrial Revolution (Englishman Henry Bessemer patented process 1856) are always of interest.

    Chemistry and Latin were my bete noirs at school.

    horryd Shanghai

    1. A learned-book-writing historian resident in China, I bow even lower. Chemistry and Latin were my top trumps; we should have been on the same UC team! My team lost in the first round, in 1967, I think.
      Let me know when book ready, I’ll message you my address for the signed copy (or can I get it on Kindle?)
  18. I was a little surprised to see my 11 minutes was the top of the timer about two hours in, though I wrote in NO-WIN without even looking at the enumeration. Also knew BESSEMER more from Chemistry. For once did not fat finger my way to an incorrect grid!
  19. Squeezed in under the hour, but with OAK APPLE as I’d never heard of the MAY APPLE. As far as I know, rye whiskey is always spelt with an E, whereas malt whisky isn’t.
  20. Thank you, Pip. I tried all sorts of alternatives for 1d but then had to research the answer. Didn’t help because I was convinced that the engineer was BESSAMER. Another fine MASS you’ve got me into, Stanley! Thanks, particularly for sorting out BATTLEGROUND. I always thought the 2d expression was ….-PANTS. Oh, well.
    I loved 11ac. Fortunately we are not yet in today’s POSTER age but, scientists tell us, we are now in the Anthropocene age. Coming to a crossword near you?
    51m 38s

    Edited at 2016-08-31 02:40 pm (UTC)

  21. My solution to 2dn was ALABOR — A LA BORN (Louisiana native) minus the N — which I decided was either an expensive sort of hardwood or some sort of golf club. Ah well.

    Apart from that, all done in my lunch hour.

  22. 26 mins of which 6 were spent on 1dn and 11ac. Never heard of the wood but Cajun chicken is one of my wife’s specialities so eventually worked it out. The Bessemer Converter was fortunately part of the 1963 JMB Geography “O”level syllabus. At the grand old age of 68, I am about to start an M.A. course at Reading in 3 weeks time – the one activity I definitely will not cancel to make time for my studies will be my daily attempt at the Times Cryptic!
    1. So you are the old academic entering Reading University at 17a?

      Congratulations and good luck! MA in which subject?

      1. Thanks! Medieval Studies – after 40 plus years in IT I thought it might make a pleasant change. In view of my general ignorance regarding plants, perhaps studying Botany might have been a better choice!
        1. Make sure you read some CS Lewis. The Allegory of Love is his best known medieval work, but The Discarded Image (written at the end of his life) is very interesting on the medieval worldview. Some good essays too on Chaucer, Dante, Boccaccio, etc. Mail me if you want to chat more.

          Edited at 2016-09-01 03:35 pm (UTC)

  23. 15 mins so, yet again, a puzzle for which I was on the setter’s wavelength. Having said that, I was definitely helped by having most of the required GK. I got KANSAS as soon as I read the clue, looked at 2dn, thought of “Cajun” immediately, and ACAJOU rang a faint bell so in it went. I remembered the Bessemer converter from school so that answer didn’t prove difficult, and neither did the amusing POSTER because I knew Elizabeth’s reign ended in 1603. MAY APPLE went in from the WP, and I’m another who didn’t notice the incorrect enumeration of 6dn because the answer seemed obvious enough. I finished in the NE with TRICORNE after the FUNCTION/GLEEFUL crossers. I don’t remember coming across the alternative spelling of the hat before, but that may be a memory problem.
  24. DNF as I neither knew nor could work out the tree and I also bunged in oak apple without noticing that it did not parse. My excuse is that I was mostly in a large noisy and hot play barn with the Grandchildren having taken in The Secret Life of Pets (great fun for little ones and made me laugh too) and a large jacket potato so really it was a wonder I did all the rest in about 40 minutes. Enjoyed it so thanks to setter and blogger too. Bessamer was still loosely lodged in my brain from 1960 General Science. At the time I thought it was all likely to prove pretty useless to me but clearly I was wrong.
  25. About 20 minutes or so, leaving the unknown tree until the end. I immediately knew of Cajun for the Louisiana native, and ACAJOU seemed to fit the wordplay, but I’d never heard of it, so I went through the rest of the puzzle to see if anything else popped into my head. Nope. So I threw it in. Then I looked it up, and lo and behold, it exists. No other real problems except ‘hole’=’mess’, which was weird. I’m another who didn’t even notice the enumeration mistake. Perhaps I should pay more attention, but if I had, it would have held me up no end. Regards to all.
  26. Finished today (unlike yesterday) in just under an hour, with a number of clues slightly misparsed, though correctly solved (BATTLEGROUND for one, and the mis-enumeration of 6 dn convinced me there was a similar mistake in WEEVIL, which I parsed as WE(E), ultimately eliminated, plus EVIL. Oh, well).

    No misspellings today (there is a Bessemerstrasse where I live), unlike yesterday, where the Egyptian queen had an O in my version of her name because the spelling I usually see, the German one, is NOFRETETE.

    Edited at 2016-08-31 06:50 pm (UTC)

  27. It’s interesting how different puzzles strike different people, so I’d be fascinated to know what you thought of the latest Bank Holiday Jumbo. I found that indescribably dreary, but I just loved this one – eleven-and-a-half minutes of pure pleasure. My compliments to the setter.

    I don’t recall coming across MAY APPLE before, but, like Andy B, I thought of CAJUN straight away, and as ACAJOU rang a faint bell, I bunged it in an moved on.

  28. I liked it, and had an easy time with all except the NW. Didn’t know ACAJOU, do know CAJUN, ARCADIAN, and ACACIA – so I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to convert the D to a C and drop an R. I agree that POSTER is remarkable.

    Edited at 2016-09-01 12:07 am (UTC)

  29. Cajun comes from Acadian, the French settlers of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia who were forcibly expelled by the English and sent to Louisiana in the 1750s.
  30. Thanks for the recommendations, U. I may get back to you when I know what options I will be taking. Mark
  31. Well, once again I have arrived a day late for the party, but this can be explained by my coming via Washington. Quite extraordinary place. They’ve no idea how to organise a climate (it was some 32°C when I was there), but otherwise it seems to be a well-run sort of place. My only complaint (apart from the temperature, which they make worse by measuring it in Fahrenheit) is that their hotels appear to be inside out, with all the rooms overlooking a vast lobby rather than the outside world. Very strange.

    But I digress. I was held up (though not for a whole day) by the north-left corner. POSTER took me forever to spot, and I was afraid that my comprehensive and deep-seated lack of knowledge about history would let me down. In the end, I inferred the fact that Elizabeth died in 1603 from the answer, rather than vice versa. ACAJOU was a complete NHO, and I wasn’t sure that Cajun was the right word either, so I consider myself lucky to have got it.

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