Times 26524 – Don’t lose your 1 across

Solving time : 12:22 and I felt like I wasn’t at my best, and indeed I’m the third person to have completed the puzzle and have the slowest time (and just as I go to double-check this, Verlaine is also in with five minutes faster than me).

I suspect the key would be to get the two long entries straight off, but I couldn’t unravel the anagram quickly at the top and didn’t twig what was going on at the bottom the first time through. The rest of the wordplay is solid (one minor quibble at 27), and I don’t think there’s anything too obscure in the grid.

Away we go…

9 STINGIEST: anagram of GETS,IN,IT’S
10 VOWEL: the definition is “a, for example” – VOW(pledge) and then L(arg)E reversed
11 ODESSA: hidden reversed in pASSED Out
12 SPARE RIB: RIB(ridicule) with SPARE(free) – definition is course
18 PROPERTY: double definition
19 ESTEEM: definition is judge – MEETS(is introduced to),E reversed,
21 SPERM OIL: anagram of OR,SIMPLE
23 BASKET: ASK(sue, petition) inside BET
26 BRAWN: double definition
27 PREMIERED: PREMIER, ED – I have an eyebrow raised here, I’ve associated PREMIER with the leader of a state rather than a nation and not the prime minister – I was looking for the name of a PM followed by ED. Anyhoo I could be totally wrong, there’s a 475th time for everything
28 GOLDEN RETRIEVER: double definition with one based on Jason (spoiler alert) bringing back the golden fleece.
1 TOSS OFF: another double definition with a cryptic quality for one of them – the TOSS has to happen before a cricketball match starts
2 ELITE: TILE reversed, E
4 IBEX: XI(sportsball team) reversed containing BE
5 METAPHOR: sounds like MET A FOUR
6 ROVER: R, OVER(past)
7 LOWER CASE: LOWER(reduce), CASE(cover)
8 SOLUBLE: anagram of (g)LOBULES – quite fond of the term “deliquescent” for a compound that dissolves itself by sucking moisture out of the air, eventually becoming a puddle, as opposed to “desiccant” for something that absorbs water and keeps its structure
14 CLOSE CALL: CLOSE(complete), CALL(justification, as in “there was a call for this action”)
16 TOSCANINI: Arturo… the opera TOSCA followed by IN reversed twice
17 STRIPPER: double definition
18 POSTBAG: POST(after),BAG(appropriate)
20 MATADOR: DATA in ROM, all reversed
22 MANSE: MAN(staff),S(e)E
24 KIROV: ballet company – KIR(mixed drink), O(f), V(odka)
25 DEFT: D, then LEFT missing the L

44 comments on “Times 26524 – Don’t lose your 1 across”

  1. I suppose I should’ve waited for the morning. Made slow but steady progress anti-clockwise from FOI STINGIEST but held up by the two 15-letter lights, especially 1ac. LOI IBEX, which I couldn’t convince myself matched the plural of GOATS. (But it is okay.)

    Part of the problem is doing the crossword on the computer. I would’ve got 1ac much quicker if I’d jotted the anagram letters down in traditional fashion.

    Not many eye-catching clues today, though 11ac, 7dn and 25dn are good. Biff of the Day: LEGISLATE

    I think PREMIER = PM, is fine, btw.

    1. I find trying to work out long anagrams is the one drawback of solving electronically. I presume at some point someone will come up with a neat way of doing it.
  2. Unspectacular crossword and unspectacular time 41 mins.

    LOI 27 ac PREMIERED When I was a lad PM’s (Churcill, MacMillan)were also noted as PREMIERs but PMs appear to have became less and less special over the years.

    FOI 16dn TOSCANINI and WOD

    What is a META-FOR?

    12ac SPARE RIB without alluding to les femmes.


    Roll on Friday.

    horryd Shanghai

  3. As one example of how I made this more difficult than necessary: since the top of a column is the capital, then surely the bottom must be the lower base. There is more. Thanks, GLH
  4. My LOI was 1ac, partly because I had ‘dash off’ at 1d, partly because, like Vinyl, I was looking for something like ‘Nude Descending a Staircase’, but with better enumeration; and partly because I took forever to sort out the anagrist. I slowed myself down further by, e.g. taking ‘extremely large’ at 10ac to be OS, and looking for MR in 22d (‘gutless Minister’). Like Adrian, I had brief qualms about IBEX=goatS (surely it’s ‘ibices’?); of course it’s OK as is, but the setter could have said ‘goat’, no? Liked 25d, but COD to VOWEL.
  5. Also held up by 1a, where I was swinging between ‘The alien something or other’ and ‘Die irgend etwas’ – when I was still keen on ‘dash off’.

    Speaking of which, am I the only one to have felt slightly disturbed/excited at the appearance of TOSS OFF in The Thunderer?

    37 minutes and change.

    1. You’re not, ulaca. I have a feeling it’s not just 1d,there’s also 13a and 21a. And a number of others yield quite shocking results when put into Urban Dictionary, but that may be true of any puzzle. Still, I’m guessing this is by the same compiler who writes the Viz crossword.
  6. 1dn reminded me immediately of the “Noel Coward” song in Monty Python’s “The Meaning of Life”: Good Evening ladies and Gentlemen, and here’s a little number I tossed off recently at the Caribbean…

    That aside, a most enjoyable solve requiring 37 of your Earth minutes with at least 10 of them spent, quite inexplicably, trying to find the answers at 14dn and 18ac. I seem to be losing my ability to finish off neatly once the end is in sight these days. Maybe it’s an age thing.

    Horry mentions the rarity of having SPARE RIB without “les femmes”. I would add BOAT RACE without CRS for “face” being involved.

    Edited at 2016-09-22 05:06 am (UTC)

  7. 20mins, so on the easy side today. 1ac was ‘The Angel …’ for some time.
    LOI: TOSS OFF, as I too was disturbed by this appearance. Not excited, though. And SPERM OIL? Well, I’d not come across this before…
  8. 11m. Nothing too scary in here. Like others I was looking for the wrong sort of controversy at 1ac (Tracey Emin’s bed?) so that took a while.
    I was a bit puzzled by 8dn because I took ‘deliquescent’ (meaning something like ‘delinquent’) to be the anagrind, leaving ‘liquid’ as the definition. It was obviously the answer though so I shrugged and moved on. Now I’ve learned a new word.
    The usage at 1dn must surely survive only in the form of double entendre.

    Edited at 2016-09-22 07:20 am (UTC)

  9. 19:29 … slow and steady of course no longer wins the race. It gets you dropped from Team GB on the grounds that you’re insufficiently committed to the programme of aggregating marginal gains.

    It doesn’t help when you type in TOSCAINNI and so spend 5 minutes staring at 27a quite bewildered. And I was mighty close to chucking in STEAM OIL for 21a, deciding at the last moment to take another look.

    Any setter who uses “deliquescent” to suggest an anagram is alright with me. And thanks, George, for the memorable deliquescent / desiccant primer.

  10. … rocket salad, I’d be unhappy to get a (single) SPARE RIB as a “course”. Happened to have several last night. Even then, the bulk of the pack (from McLoughlin Butchers, WA 6090) went to feed the magpies. Well, they’re related to the butcher birds.
  11. 30 minutes but it was clearly either TEST OFF or DASH OFF. Should’ve tossed a coin. “Should’ve” was used without the permission of Specsavers.
  12. 18:15, appropriately en route to Waterloo. This had a somewhat racy feel with the appearance of TOSS OFF, STRIPPER and SPERM OIL (I can just imagine asking for that in B&Q). LOI METAPHOR where M_T_P_O_ had me wondering if I had something wrong as I couldn’t think of anything that would fit. Finally got the ‘met a’ bit and the penny dropped.
  13. Annual varsity event (4,4) could perhaps have been a bit more veiled! Otherwise an enjoyably steady puzzle finished in just under half an hour, with all clues readily SOLUBLE. I’m pleased 1d and 25d weren’t too explicitly linked.
  14. In nearly fifty years in business writing reports at various speeds I never once came across this usage .
    1. I believe the definition is “quickly write” and “report of delayed start of match” is the other one.
      1. Its the “quickly write ” meaning with which I am unfamiliar . I think that “dash off” was the normal parlance .
  15. 19 min, so well under, and beating barracuda – and even sotira by a few seconds! Same thoughts as others on 1ac, though ‘The’ meant was’t distracted by DASH OFF at 1dn (though was by memories of Max Miller.)
  16. …after about 30 hours in the LiveJournal sin-bin. Not sure why, but I haven’t been able to access this site since early yesterday.

    Anyway, nice crossword today. One under par for me.

    I get why George queried Premier v PM. In Australia “Premier” specifically refers to the political leader of a state, but fortunately I was aware of its more generic usage.

    Hard to go past TOSS OFF for COD. LOI was PROPERTY.

    Thanks setter and George.

  17. In these post fifty shades days can I add 9ac to the list of disturbing words? At 6d and 28ac we have perhaps a reference to a beer, named for a punchline to a joke, equally disturbing. And the alliteration of 1d and 16d, the thematic resonance of row 7, and the pub meal 12ac in a 23ac are all noteworthy. Meanwhile, COD 1ac, which took a while, IBEX the day after ELAND, and I like the way gl assumes everyone knows that ‘boundary’ can be ‘four’. With Afghanistan and Ireland poised to join the Test nations, how long will it be before the US attempts a takeover? 15′, thanks blogger and setter.

    Edited at 2016-09-22 10:32 am (UTC)

  18. Just squeaked in under the hour, being held up for ages by having CRUDE OIL. Having worked in a refinery, I know just how complex the stuff is.
    1. Guessing that “scruffy” refers to the elephant in the room , I recall an edition of QI in which Professor Brian Cox legitimately used the expression in question and immediately the audience and the rest of the panel started making up their own jokes .
  19. 15 mins. This had the feel of a Paul puzzle that escaped from the Guardian for the reasons mentioned above. I enjoyed it. I saw 28ac quite quickly but 1ac took a while, probably because I would always use the plural “artworks” to describe THE ELGIN MARBLES so I needed a lot of checkers for it. When I had ?L?I? and B, A & R unused from the anagram fodder I was thinking it had to be THE BLAIR something, especially with “controversial” as part of the definition. ESTEEM was my LOI after LOWER CASE.
  20. The first one I actually finished correctly this week, also held off by 1dn (THE was obviously going to be the first word of 1ac, but then 1dn had to be DASH OFF, changed to TEST OFF when 1ac really did start with THE, and corrected to TOSS OFF at the last minute). Of course TEST OFF would have been a cancellation, not a delay. Otherwise quite an enjoyable puzzle. But it really is raunchy.
  21. I did enjoy GOLDEN RETRIEVER but thought that 15ac and 17d were not up to the normal high standard of The Times. 39m 42s true solving time.
  22. Sorry about this but just testing iphone. Enjoyed this one on treeware without having a clue what SPERM OIL was or what it was for.

    Edited at 2016-09-22 08:44 pm (UTC)

  23. Not much trouble here, about 20 minutes, ending with PREMIERED. TOSSOFF wasn’t a problem and whatever off color meaning it may have is unknown over here. SPERM OIL was what gave rise to the whaling industry in the US long long ago, I believe. Mostly used to light lamps, before kerosene became commonly available. I also couldn’t bring up live journal all yesterday, so couldn’t comment then. Nice to see you all again, and regards.

    Edited at 2016-09-22 09:53 pm (UTC)

  24. 9:08 for me. I thought I’d been faster, but looking back I spent too much time trying to justify DASH OFF (fortunately THE ELGIN MARBLES eventually put paid to that, once I’d got Carl Andre’s tiresome bricks out of my head, that is), and I struggled a bit with the SE corner.

    It’s possible that I’m missing something obvious, but I don’t really understand CALL = “justification” in 1dn. (Your example seems to point to the more familiar CALL = “demand”.)

  25. Well, I’m still a day behind, but got through this one in 34 minutes. I too was feeling somewhat titterish on seeing 1d. I am reluctant to draw attention to another answer which makes me question the setter’s frame of mind, and which nobody has yet commented on. Perhaps I have spent too much time on the internet (or perhaps the setter has).

    All in all, I thought this was an agreeable and fair puzzle, though without any particular high points. And now to Friday’s…

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