Times 26517 – confessions of a hero-inventor

This morning our Orange Livebox and ADSL were very sluggish to wake up, after last night’s electric storm and promised rain (at last, but not enough), and so was I; it took me forty minutes to finish this and even as I write the blog I know there is one perhaps not fully unravelled; also I biffed 24a and looked up my mombled hero before the penny dropped on the real chap, so technically I had a three shot penalty.

I’m away golfing for three days next week, so if anyone is happy to swap my Wednesday duty for Friday, Verlaine, or Thursday Z8 or George, or do it for me and be owed one, please let me know.

1 BACKPACKER – Insert PACK for crowd into BACKER for second; D traveller. Is it a coincidence that the 1a clue in the Quickie is almost identical?
6 ABET – I’m a bit vague on this one. I think A moves from its position in BEAT to the front, D help, and at a stretch I can see BEAT meaning round, but it could be BETA for all I know. Sorry, bloggers are supposed to be categorical and not vague. Someone will explain it better then I can edit and look smart all along. EDIT keriothe below sheds some light, in the sense of a bobby’s BEAT could be his round?
9 EXTRACTION – EX ACTION would be an old (law) suit, insert TR being TeacheR vacated; D squeezing.
10 DUMA – Reverse MUD = damaging allegations, A; D legislative assembly, in Russia, from the verb dumat meaning ‘think’.
12 QUESTIONABLE – Take (SEQUEL)* to get QUES – LE; insert (IN BOAT)*; D controversial. I think ‘cops’ here means ‘gets inserted into’.
15 OVERBUILT – (LIVE TOUR B)*, the B from band; D put together too elaborately.
17 OCTET – O(bject), C (about), TET (tweet oddly); D group.
18 SHIFT – SHIFT(Y) = untrustworthy, mostly; D one group of workers.
19 FACE VALUE – FACE = clock, VALE = farewell (in Latin), insert U for posh; D apparent worth.
20 PRIZEWINNING – PRIZE = sounds like prise, force, as in prise open, W = with, INNING(S) = batting, mostly; D successful.
24 AJAX – My LOI and CU referred to above. I had this Indian prince chap rooming next to me in college, one Nawab of Pataudi, so I truncated him to create that lesser known Greek hero AWAB. Pataudi can keep his head; you truncate RAJA then add X = by, times, to get the real deal in heroes.
25 STRIKE HOME – Remove L from MOTHERS LIKE then solve the anagram; D have desired result.
26 TIER – TIE = match, R = supporter’s end; D row.
27 ADVERTISER – Insert TI (this, regularly) into ADVERSE (opposing), add R for resistance, D promoter.

1 BRED – D raised, sounds like BREAD for funds.
2 CITE – revolutionary here means reversed upwards, E TIC (movement out of control); D name.
3 PEANUT BUTTER – PE = exercise, NUTTER = eccentric chap, insert BUT meaning BAR; D food.
4 CUTIS – CUTIES might be attractive people, remove the E (close to impeccable); D skin. If I hadn’t seen this one before somewhere it might have been tricky.
5 EGOTISTIC – Insert GOT = became, into (CITIES)*; D bigheaded.
7 BLUEBOTTLE – BLUE for down, BOTTLE for confidence, D policeman once. My CoD, if it’s original. And it reminded me fondly of the Goon Show.
8 TRAVESTIES – TRIES = hears, about AVE and ST (two different short ways); D parodies.
11 INCONVENIENT – IN = home, CONVENT = sister’s place, insert IE N (that is new); D unsuitable. I presume, in the sense of an unsuitable time for an appointment.
13 HOUSE PLANT – H T = extremely hesitant, insert OUSE the river / flower, and PLAN = arrangement; D Aspidistra, for one. My Granny had an enormous one, never dusted or watered but it seemed to survive.
14 LEGITIMATE – LEG IT = split, run away; I = current, MATE = partner; D fair.
16 INFLICTED – Anagram of (L DEFICIT N), the N from negotiations, D imposed.
21 NOISE – Insert I halfway through NOSE = snitch; D commotion.
22 BOSS – Reverse S SOB, D person in charge. Here greet is a dialect (Scottish?) word for sob.
23 WEAR – Insert E into WAR; D assume, you can assume or wear e.g. an air of dignity.

34 comments on “Times 26517 – confessions of a hero-inventor”

  1. Gracie Fields, in my memory. Keep it flying. Got on well with this today and parsed AJAX, the foaming cleanser, quickly. 35 minutes, no biffs.
  2. Struggled to start, with 13d FOI. Not knowing many four-letter heroes, parsed AJAX, did he go and live in Holland? 6ac LOI, after attempts to fit AIDE and CHAR, but the 7d cross helped eventually with the idea. Am still musing over 9ac, doesn’t EXTRACTION mean pulling out, as in teeth, coal, shale gas? A lemon squeezer, for instance, extracts lemon juice, and fracking extracts shale gas. Clue doesn’t quite work for me. A tough challenge, I thought. 37′. Thanks pip and setter.

    Edited at 2016-09-14 08:48 am (UTC)

  3. 30:41 … I felt like I was assembling flat-pack furniture and had lost the instructions, or was doing the Technical Challenge of the Great British Bake-Off (make a Schlossenknurdelstrudel with half the recipe missing). It’s not that the instructions aren’t there, it’s just that I couldn’t see them.

    OVERBUILT and INFLICTED were the only two things in the entire puzzle that I saw straight off.

    I have a nasty feeling this was just too subtle for me. Last in BRED. Doh!

  4. 14:08. I felt I was making heavy weather of this, but looking at the leaderboard my time doesn’t seem too bad. Nice puzzle.
    ABET was my last one in, and I struggled a bit with round = beat but then I thought of bobbies on the latter, which seemed close enough.
  5. My usual time but very slow to spot the BRED/EXTRACTION crosser. Thanks Pip for explaining TRAVESTIES which I forgot to parse.
  6. There was an opportunity for a pangram at 23dn but as it is we are missing a Y.

    No solving time to offer as having completed the lower half and made a start in the NE I had problems getting a foothold in the NW so I abandoned it overnight. On resumption the NE fell into place easily but I still struggled to complete the grid.

    Edited at 2016-09-14 08:43 am (UTC)

  7. 30 minutes, so one over for today and 11 over for the week (but, more importantly, no fails).

    Chuckled at the leg-it clue.

  8. 9 over, so thoroughly beaten by barracuda today. NW corner difficult, especially as was expecting a Y somewhere to complete the pangram. Eventually got 1dn, then the rest followed, with doubt about the definition of 9ac. (2dn could have been CITY, but opportunity was missed.)
    LOI though was 14dn, where I spent several minutes failing to find a word .E.I. meaning ‘split’, finally resorting to aid for anything to fit checkers, so technically DNF (with kickself).
    Liked 7dn – not deaded today!
  9. Quite a struggle. 1ac in todays QC is BACKPACK in the 15×15 1ac is BACKPACKER! Collusion!? My second to last one in.

    LOI BRED! Cow Corner was my undoing with 2dn CITE proving tedious. Also slow on the 3dn PEANUT. BUTTER went in earlier.

    FOI 13dn HOUSE PLANT (the biggest in the world)

    22dn BOSS was hard going as was 9ac EXTRACTION as I was convinced it was COMPACTION for a while – until it wasn’t!


    horryd Shanghai

    1. Horryd, please don’t directly quote the answers to other same-day Times puzzles in your contributions as it can spoil the enjoyment of other solvers. I did ask this of you (very nicely) within the past week or so, but perhaps you didn’t see it?

      I suppose you have a reason, as a regular contributor, for wanting to remain “anonymous” but it would aid communication if you were to open a (free) account with Live Journal and use a registered ID.

      Edited at 2016-09-14 01:16 pm (UTC)

      1. Jack,

        Sincere apolgies for my thoughtless mistake – it never occurred to me (but should have) that I was committing an error. Sorry, I did not see your previous note.

        I have tried a few times to stop being ‘anonymous’ but the Great Firewall of China apparently precludes this.

        horryd Shanghai

  10. 19.45, which I will take given that this detained both Magoo and Jason for over 8 minutes. Thought of abet immediately but didn’t trust it and tried for too long to make 3d a PEACHY confection. There were one or two others that I was slow to see, and looking through the blog I can’t even remember what they were. It’s this sort of form that will keep me confined to the Sky Bet league for the duration.
  11. Took an hour and 12 minutes to fail at the final hurdle with CUTES instead of CUTIS due to brain failure after my epic struggle. The 4 letter clues were among my last solves. I found this really tricky or else I’m losing brain cells! After 45 minutes I had less than half the grid filled in, so hats off to the setter for confusing the hell out of me! Thanks to Pip for explaining CUTIS, I was almost there but couldn’t turn the wordplay round properly. Liked LEGIT :-)FOI, OCTET, LOI CUTES (got it wrong again)
  12. 13m; as above, happy to have come in inside 2x Magoo. Quite enjoyed this without being blown away particularly anywhere (there are some awesome clues in today’s proXimal Toughie, incidentally). 1dn my LOI. The short words are always the hardest…
      1. Everyone (in The Other Place) hated Tuesday’s, except me!

        I have a big soft spot for the Don. I feel a strange kinship with his vocabulary.

  13. This took about 16 minutes and I was distracted a few times, but I found it trickier than usual. Thinking we were heading for a pangram helped AJAX and QUESTIONABLE come to mind.
  14. A toughie – some very crafty synonyms and indicators at play here. Greet=sob is new to me and I wonder whether dialect words should be additionally indicated.

    LOI 1dn – great minds stumble alike?

    Edited at 2016-09-14 04:00 pm (UTC)

    1. Maybe once the Union is dissolved such words will be thus indicated [sob]. Greet is actually pretty common in Scott, etc. – not to mention, crosswords – so an extra indicator would be considered de trop, I imagine.
  15. I am surprised that no one has commented on this: The Greeks themselves write Aias which would fit the pattern A.A. I considered this but the clue made the answer clear.

    In the USA “prise” is pronounced as “preese” so far as I know, and in India it is not pronounced at all! So it was good to learn that in the UK it is pronounced as “prize” (or at least, I presume so). MVS

    1. In my youth I managed to read the whole of the Iliad without ever once twigging that “Telamonian Aias” meant Ajax.. you could see he was a good fighter though
  16. 24 mins, but not a “proper” time because I drifted badly in the middle of it after completing the bottom half quite quickly. Once I was alert again I finished the top half in fairly good time. Like a few others BRED was my LOI, in my case after BACKPACKER which I really should have seen much sooner. I never look for pangrams so I wasn’t distracted by trying to fit in a letter than wasn’t there.
  17. Looks like I have some company here, getting through the bottom half much more quickly than the top, and finishing with BRED only after finally seeing BACKPACKER. I thought this was on the harder side of things overall, and got through in 30-35 minutes. I thought the eccentric chap in 3D was just a nut, inside ‘a bar’, which I assumed was ‘a butter’, after the PE. I don’t know if butter comes in bars over in the UK; it does (for the most part) over here. But I see ‘but’=’bar’ is a more elegant connection, though ‘nut’ is quite common here, ‘nutter’ not so. But I got there anyway. Regards to all.
  18. Nice puzzle, not too easy, but I spent ages poring over BOSS because, of course, I did not know the Scottish meaning of “greet”. After a while, sitting on the balcony thinking, I convinced myself that the clue said “Greets …” and that the answer would be BOWS, the upwardly mobile BOSS moving his first S halfway towards N. When I returned to the puzzle and saw that the definition said just “greet”, it could only be BOSS again, so that’s what I filled in. Phew!
    1. Same Nawab of Pataudi that Keith Stackpole (Australian cricketer circa ’65-’75) mentioned in his autobiography? The Nawab, fielding, let a ball through for four. Apologised to the captain, “Sorry, I should have kept my legs together. “No,” the reply came, “Your mother should have, 25 years ago.”
      Same as everyone: top half tricky, BRED last after alphabet trawl, slowish 25-30 mins.
  19. BOSS was nice but I have a nissue with 4d. When I see “needing” in a clue I think it means to add something. Here it means to delete so I think, “lacking” would have been a better indicator and provided a better surface reading.
    1hr 5m 44s
    1. That was my take on it too, and why I failed to solve it. I found this setter very devious. On the other hand the clue was fair if you looked at it the right way round, in that CUTIS(skin) needed an E adding to make CUTIES.
  20. I suppose I should be reasonably happy with my 12:20 (well within 2 x Magoo and ahead of both verlaine and keriothe), but I can’t say I derived much pleasure from this crossword, which didn’t raise even a flicker of a smile.

    I don’t understand what “for” is doing in 25ac (I’m probably missing something obvious), but apart from that I found this sound but boring, with nothing to mark it out as a Times crossword.

    Edited at 2016-09-14 10:25 pm (UTC)

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