Times 26523 – nice package

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Last week I added a note that I wouldn’t be able to blog today’s because I’d be away. But here I am! Somehow, with the technical assistance of another TfTT blogger (let’s call him ‘Snowdon’) I worm-holed my way into the future, as held on the giant servers of the News International Empire, and printed off an advance copy of today’s puzzle. It’s not something I’ll do regularly – it takes away that frisson on a Wednesday morning of ‘will I get stuck today and have to blog a DNF?’ which to me is one of the main reasons for being a blogger. Also, when I used to blog the Quick Cryptic I was once caught out when I advance-blogged a puzzle which didn’t then appear on the right day (through no fault of mine), which was a bit embarrassing. So, advance-blogging colleagues, be ready to be red-faced. The future can be altered.

Enough of all that. This was a middle of the road puzzle with nobody or nothing too obscure; my LOI 18a took the last 5 of my 24 minutes, as I plumbed the possibilities of _L_ until the penny dropped and satisfaction broke out. And it’s a pangram, my first ever, I think. Or maybe just the first I’ve noticed.

1 APLOMB – A, PL(ace), O(ld), MB for doctor; D being collected, if you do it with aplomb you have your act together. One of my favourite words, originally from French meaning ‘done by plumb line’.
5 TOUCHPAD – (HAD PC OUT)*, D &lit, I suppose.
9 SIDE-EFFECT – Wordplay is a bit tortuous here. FEED IS = fuel is, ‘returned’ = SIDE EF, F = following, ECT = electro-convulsive therapy, treatment with current; D by-product.
10 LAPP – A chap from Lapland, sounding like LAP, and lapping a drink could be a slow way to consume it.
11 CONJUROR – CON = defraud, JUROR = panel member, D trickster.
12 WAXING – Double definition. I’ve never been subjected to a waxing but it looks and sounds painful.
13 WHEY – Stuff separated from the solids in milk, it sounds like WAY meaning method. Someone here will doubtless say there’s a difference in pronunciation, but it works for me.
15 MARQUESS – MARQUES are makes, of cars for example; add S for son, D member of the aristocracy.
18 FLY-DRIVE – I had the DRIVE bit early on, but as above it took a while for the light to dawn. FLY = smart, DRIVE as in hard drive, D sort of package. As you have to try hard to avoid, when just wanting to book a flight on Ryanair.com.
19 DOSH – DO or doh is a note, SH! means be quiet, can it; D it can’t buy you everything.
21 IDLING – I’D = one had, LING(O) = chopped tongue, D lying around, perhaps.
23 MOONROCK – MO = second, ON = acceptable, (well, ‘not on’ would be unacceptable), ROCK music; D one Armstrong picked up? Neil, not Louis.
25 EZRA – Z = unknown value, in ERA = time; D Pound, say, the weird American poet who went a bit more weird after being locked in a 6 feet cube of a steel cage for three weeks in Italy by the American army.
26 TAJIKISTAN – (A TASK J IT IN)*, J for jack, D land.
27 ONE-LINER – I = ONE, large vessel = LINER: D crack, joke.
28 EN DASH – END = stop, ASH = tree, D short break, in typesetting, smaller than an EM DASH.

2 PRIMO – PRIM = proper, O = (blood) group in circulation; D singer, one of two in a duo.
3 OVERJOYED – OVER = about, JOY, ED = girl and boy meeting; D delighted.
4 BEFORE – BEE = buzzer, FOR = pro, in favour of, inserted; D anticipating.
5 THE TRUMPET MAJOR – Cryptic def, book by Thomas Hardy, far from his best IMO.
6 UNTOWARD – (DRAWN OUT)*, D inappropriate.
7 HELIX – LI(T) inside HEX = some magic; D coil, as in DNA.
8 ALPINISTS – PIN = code, inside A LIST = top celebrities, S = foremost of social; D climbers.
14 HALF-DOZEN – If you HALF DOZE then you’re close to dropping off; add N = children finally; D a handful?
16 UNDERUSED – (RUE SUDDEN)*, D not greatly enjoyed?
17 KINGSTON – KINGS = two part book, as in Bible, TON = fashion, D capital, of Jamaica.
20 COOKIE – I think a double definition, ‘a person of a particular kind’, as in ‘she’s a tough cookie’, and a fortune cookie as offered in chinese restaurants. Cue for little message found inside one of mine the other day; it said ‘that wasn’t chicken’.
22 IN ALL – Hidden reversed in PUSI(LLANI)MOUS; D altogether.
24 CHAOS – CHA = tea, drink, OS = ordinary seaman; D disorder.

33 comments on “Times 26523 – nice package”

  1. … got most in about 40 mins, but had a gap at FLY DRIVE, which I couldn’t have got, as I had brighton at 17dn (b+right on?), and another at PRIMO, which I would’ve biffed had I been confident of either the def or the wp (couldn’t justify omir as a group. Obvs).

    Same reading as Keri for LAPP.

  2. 21:51 … very enjoyable. Mostly solved quickly but then a long delay over FLY-DRIVE / KINGSTON. I guessed what the “two-part book” was driving at but took several minutes to come up with Kings.

    PRIMO last one in and unparsed, so thanks Pip.

    Talking of whom, I would shower Pip with praises for his highly entertaining intro, but as he’s not here, or living somewhere in the future, there’s no point. So I’ll thank the setter instead.

  3. 19m. I found this rather tricky, in a good way.
    Pip I read 10ac as LAP (drink) ‘lasting a bit longer’ by getting an extra P.
  4. Took me 35 minutes and I wasted too much time thinking the P in PRIMO came from the lead letter of proper. COD to 14a. Thanks Pip for parsing SIDE EFFECT.
  5. But in this case I had BOOKIE, meaning a person who likes books and one who makes money from gamblers, oh well. First dnf for five weeks! Spotted the pangram, FLY DRIVE LOI. Worked out EN DASH from wordplay and some knowledge of printing. Thanks pip (John Smith would be a better pseudonym re the TARDIS), and setter.
  6. Still battling at the end of the hour, but the last couple defeated me.

    Glad I plumped for PRIMO because it sounded right rather than PRITO (lead of “proper” + TRIO* (group)), an unknown singer I thought the cryptic was pointing towards.

    However, even though I’d considered FLY for the first part of _L_ DRIVE I hadn’t heard of it, so I was still looking. I’d also not heard of that meaning of “ton”, and I have no idea which books of the bible are two-parters, so KINGSTON never appeared before me.

    At least I managed to get through the difficult middle by spotting the pangram and using it to bung MARQUESS in.

    Thanks for the pointers, as ever.

    Edited at 2016-09-21 08:40 am (UTC)

    1. Matt,

      I can guarantee that TON for fashion will come up again so try and remember it.

      And I can almost guarantee that an indirect anagram like “group in circulation” for TRIO* would never appear in a Times puzzle.

  7. was unhappily incorrect so DNF plumping for LOI 2dn PALTO (p- alto) an imaginary platelet!

    FOI 5ac TOUCHPAD. COD 20dn COOKIE but only offered in chinese restaurants in America – never in China!

    horryd Shanghai

  8. Two over par today, even par for the tournament.

    Similar experience to Janie with BRIGHTON and OMIR, so nice to know I wasn’t alone. And saw straight away that 26ac was one of those STANs, but needed the crossers to complete it.

    Dug myself out of trouble eventually for a satisfying finish. COD to FLY-DRIVE which I thought (when the penny finally dropped) was quite brilliant.

    Thanks setter and Time Lord.

  9. Surprised by the loose (?) indicator for the extension in Lapp. Did not know (or guess) fly drive; clobbered by Tjjckisttan, missed cookie…day to forget.
  10. The sermon at our local Church was from 1 Kings and the wisdom of Solomon this week. I’ve always wondered what he’d have done if both women had agreed to slicing the baby in two. He wouldn’t have looked such a smart cookie then. Found this difficult today and finished in 55 minutes with LOI IDLING. Had to check that EN DASH was right en route.Gazed long at FLY-DRIVE which, when coupled with ‘holiday’, I’ve always seen as an oxymoron. My late brother-in-law was given some moon rock in his Harwell days. The last of his scatter experiments was with green cheese and that gave similar results. COD ONE-LINER simply because I thought it was a drug clue and I was pleased to find it wasn’t.
  11. The first puzzle I’ve had a chance to tackle this week and I thought I’d got rusty, but my 17:06 looks respectable against two of my main benchmarkees Keriothe and Sotira.

    FLY-DRIVE, ALPINISTS and DOSH probably took the last 5 minutes between them.

    I spotted the pangram for once (CONJUROR was my first in and that set the alarm bells ringing) but foolishly I didn’t use the lack of a V to help me with Fly-Drive.

    I agree with K’s parsing of LAPP.

    1. Lucky you weren’t around yesterday. Keriothe was Jasonesque.

      Sotira’s been slightly off her normal pace, but I’m pretty sure it’s all part of a cunning plan.

      1. My form is alarmingly erratic at the moment. Two DNFs in the last week and a half, and solving times between 8 and 36 minutes. Doesn’t bode too well for the championship.
  12. Very interesting and inventive puzzle with some gems like “group in circulation” for O. Thank you setter and well done Pip, no matter which time zone you’re currently in
    1. I agree with you about “group in circulation”, Jim, but it has appeared at least once before – in No. 23,856 (8 March 2008). Same setter, perhaps?
  13. A very enjoyable toughie that was stretched to a full hour mainly by 2dn, 10ac and 9ac which had to be SIDE-EFFECT, surely, but I was unable to parse until I revisited it after a night’s sleep.

    I’m pretty sure our friends north of the border pronounce the ‘H’ in WHEY so the homophone won’t work for them.

    Edited at 2016-09-21 09:22 am (UTC)

  14. 28 min, so 2 under par, and did beat barracuda. Pangram was very helpful, as with all done but NW corner was looking for B F & V, so put on right track for 18a. Finally, I needed the B to finish with the 1a/4dn crossers.
    Thanks Pip for explaining 2dn, where I only got as far as thinking ‘circulation = going round’ was a poor way of indicating an O.

    Edited at 2016-09-21 10:44 am (UTC)

  15. 44 minutes, with a typo and a silly ‘conjurer’.

    But that pales into insignificance besides the shocking news that Jack is not the only timelord in the village. There’s another one – in France too. Zut alors!

  16. After several DNFs recently, it was a relief to finish with all correct in 43 minutes. My LOI was PRIMO after flirting with PRITO like Matt for a while, but finally I spotted that proper referred to PRIM rather than P, although I missed the clever reference to the blood group. FOI was APLOMB. I couldn’t work out which was the anagram fodder for 26a until I’d biffed it from crossers. Managed to spell CONJUROR properly as we had it recently with a couple of people, myself included, getting it wrong then! EN DASH went in from wordplay and knowing that EMs and Ens exist in the printing world. Nice puzzle. Thanks setter and Pip

    Edited at 2016-09-21 11:03 am (UTC)

  17. I liked this though found it a bit harder than others here and ended up falling at the last by bunging in ‘bookie’ even though it didn’t feel right. FLY-DRIVE, ONE-LINER, DOSH and the wordplay for SIDE-EFFECT were my favourites among many good clues.

    Thanks to setter and to our time-travelling blogger

  18. 23ish minutes, but I forgot to note exactly. Though I haven’t confirmed it this had a very pangrammatic feel with X, Z and J twice appearing as crossing letters.

    When I had C_A_S at 24D I kept thinking AB for sailor but thought it unlikely that The Times would have CRABS as a disorder. Eventually I recalled OS before finishing with PRIMO.

  19. It took me 10 minutes to put in my first answer: IN ALL. So I started in the SW corner and worked slowly up. I got there in the end in just under the hour. A struggle. Not helped by having AERIALIST at 8d. I assumed ERI was some sort of computer code I’ve never heard of. I spotted the pangram as soon as I saw a word beginning T*J*K at 26a. Whew! Ann
  20. 26 mins. I found this one tricky and didn’t have the excuse of a most of 14dn. PRIMO was my LOI and seemed to take an age, as did DOSH and FLY-DRIVE. I didn’t help myself early on by entering SCOT(CH) at 10ac without thinking too much about the wordplay, and I only saw the correct LAPP after I realised 7dn had to be HELIX. A tip of the hat to the setter for the inventiveness on display in this one.
  21. Thanks, Pip, particularly for the parsing of 9ac and 14d. I was correct with both but didn’t understand how I had got there until I read your blog.
    The Trumpet Major was a set book at ‘O’-Level and gave me a long-lasting love of the novels off Thomas Hardy.
    Another one who decided that there must be a drink somewhere called CR, so entered CRABS.
  22. Very few comments today. It must be the puzzle. Well over an hour and DOSH defeated me utterly (well not quite utterly — just one letter wrong and I couldn’t figure out what the can was doing there). That I actually understood all the rest of it (including the Hardy book I have never heard of, the book of KINGS and the blood-group O) amazes me no end and somehow makes up for the one mistake.
  23. (I couldn’t access the site last night, so this is even later than usual.)

    14:05, with the last couple of minutes spent dithering over FLY-DRIVE, which I don’t think I’ve come across before. (My holidays abroad are almost invariably spent in large cities with lots of art galleries, concert halls, theatres, etc – and a decent public transport system.

    I dithered a bit over PRIMO as well, as I felt it should have had a question mark: whenever I’ve come across PRIMO in real life, it’s been as the top part in a piano duet.

    An interesting and enjoyable puzzle for all that.

  24. Well, goodness me.

    I went back to this one, catching up after my recent exile to the Colonies, and blitzed through it in an unusually fast (for me) 18 minutes. This puts me at a hitherto unheard-of 1.3 Severs! Just my luck to be several days late.

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