Times 26533 – Pay More Heed

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I thought this was a little on the trickier side for a Monday. Well, a lot trickier if you include 10a, where I managed to fall into the heffalump trap like Pooh and his cerebrally challenged porcine friend. Arguably, the other main challenge in this puzzle is the former province of the former Zaire, which features the maternal figure of Roo’s mother, possibly the least memorable of all the characters from the AA Milne series. 35 minutes.

Congratulations to the USA for a well-deserved win in the Ryder Cup, and of course the Western Bulldogs (AKA Footscray Football Club) for their AFL Grand Final win.


1. WATERFALLS – ‘forces in the north’; anagram* of FATS WALLER.
6. HIKE – double definition.
8. INSTINCT – TIN (‘money’) replaces E (first letter of’ England’) in INSECT.
9. UPPITY – UP (‘in the saddle’) + PITY.
10. SHUN – double definition; SHUN is militarese for ‘Attention!’
11. TANTAMOUNT – ‘equivalent’; first letters of T[o] + A[pprentice] in TAN + MOUNT.
12. CHOP HOUSE – CHOP[in] + H + OUSE.
14. LILAC – CALL reversed around I (electric current).
17. LAITY – IT (vermouth AKA ‘wine’) in LAY.
19. HAILSTONE – ‘a bit of a storm’; HAIL + S + TO + NE: ‘provoking’ is the link word.
22. DAUGHTERLY – ‘like Little Dorrit’ – U[nwonte]D + LETHARGY*. Amy Dorrit (the eponymous heroine) is devoted to her father William. The book itself contains one of the most incomprehensible passages in the English language – a disquisition on Arthur Clennam’s parentage.
23. ALEC – ALE + C.
24. MEANIE – MAN + IE around E.
25. OMISSION – O + MISS + reversal of NO I.
26. MYRA – YR in MA; I was dabbling with ‘Maya’, but she didn’t seem to mind.
27. MONTEVIDEO – T + E in MO + N + VIDEO; means ‘I see a mountain’, because, I imagine, the explorer chappie did. Alternatively, he wanted everyone to ask him ‘Say, why did you name that place Montevideo?’ when he got back to Spain.


1. WHIMSICAL – LAW reversed around HIM + SIC (‘thus’ – not the thing you shout to a dog).
2. TESTUDO – TEST + U + DO for the tortoise-like effect you get when you and your soldier mates advance with your shields slung over your heads.
3. FUNCTION – economical double definition.
4. LET ONES HAIR DOWN – a whimsical definition which relies on the double meaning of ‘shock’ as surprise and the hair on your head.
5. SQUEAL – SEAL around QU.
7. KATANGA – the former province (and self-proclaimed state) and current region of the Democratic Republic of Congo; TA (our old friend the Territorial Army) in KANGA (Pooh’s personality challenged marsupial friend).
13. PATAGONIA – today’s Biff Banker; PAT (androgynous name) + AGO + IN reversed + A.
16. PLAYTIME – PLAY followed by EMIT reversed.
18. ACADEMY – AMY around AD in CE.
20. OILBIRD – ‘rooster in cave’; OIL (‘painting’) followed by initial letters of B[edecked] I[n] R[ed] D[ye].

76 comments on “Times 26533 – Pay More Heed”

  1. … a bit ordinary, except for the unknown avian entity (20dn). A. von Humboldt seems have had a hand in bringing it to Western ornithologogical interest. Talking of which, my LOI was — inexplicably — ALEC.
    1. I had almost exactly the same experience, chugging along nicely and heading for sub-30 minutes when I hit a wall with 20dn and 23 unsolved. After a further 10 minutes I resorted to aids for the wretched rooster and then of course ALEC fell into place. I’m absolutely furious with myself over the 4-letter name as earlier on I had actually considered C+ALE in accordance with the wordplay as I saw it. If only I’d written it down I might have spotted the obvious. Instead of which I sidetracked myself trying to remember a drink ending with C, eventually dredging up MARC and confusing matters further because at a pinch it can be a man’s name.

      Always delighted when Fats Waller is remembered but why is “in the north” part of the definition of WATERFALLS?

      Edited at 2016-10-03 06:02 am (UTC)

        1. Thanks.I remember it now. It came up quite recently I believe, probably queried by me!
        2. I had no idea. The first one I saw was in Shanklin Chine, about as far away from the North as one can get…
  2. No problems really, but another one who ended up with the bird (that I’d never heard of) and ALEC, where I too could only think of MARC. Never heard of KATANGA either, but the wordplay didn’t allow anything else. I put MONTENEGRO in for a time before I clicked and realized it isn’t a city, let alone a capital (and doesn’t fit the wordplay anyway). I guess MONT….O was just too tempting.

    BTW just realized MONTEVIDEO is missing from the blog

    Edited at 2016-10-03 06:33 am (UTC)

    1. Yep, I too struggled with the capital / film bit of MONTEVIDEO (Montecarlo? Montenegro? Montecristo???), and the rooster. About 30mins, then another 15 staring at those two blanks before giving up and coming here.
  3. 23:09 for me. Ignore what the club timer might say, I opened up this puzzle then got dragged away for half an hour to (gasp) do some work.

    Felt all along like it was an easy puzzle that was somehow eluding me, but opinions so far seem to be mixed.

    Never heard of an OILBIRD, but I thought SHUN was pretty good. COD though has to go to ALEC, of course.

    One over par to start the week. Thanks setter and U.

  4. Not quite as hard as you state as I was bang on 30 mins.
    with 20dn OILIRD LOI – a v. poor clue IMO. An oilbird steatornis caripensis is a guacharo – a native of the caves of Venezuela nb setter and blogger.

    7dn KATANGA Tshombe’s playground – formed 1966 and finally dissolved 2015 to DRC.


    WOD 9ac UPPITY

    horryd Shanghai

    1. I know I shouldn’t ask, but why is it a poor clue? Your added research supports the setter and the blogger doesn’t it?
  5. 11m, held up at the end by the chap (like jackkt I considered CALE and MARC) and the unknown guacharo.
  6. I managed to get about 10 right, and understood most of the parsing from the blog, except:

    For 17a (laity) I don’t get why IT = vermouth/wine.
    For 2d (testudo) why does do = fleece?


    1. Do as in cheat or con = fleece.

      Besides being a chestnut for sex appeal (SA), IT is also a chestnut for wine = Italian vermouth, as found in the Nancy Mitford era.

      Edited at 2016-10-03 08:26 am (UTC)

  7. 19m all correct but still don’t fully understand how ‘function’ is a dd for party (fine) and ‘peculiar office’?
  8. gothick-matt beat me to posting about Lenny Henry but I do remember KATANGA as a separate state. In fact if I’m being honest, I probably thought it was still one. If not on wavelength, only slightly mistuned today and finished by checking OILBIRD after 25 minutes. Butter from birds, whatever next? Beans? Cows? COD INSTINCT where everyone since Hutton and Washbrook started going through my head.

    Edited at 2016-10-03 08:50 am (UTC)

  9. 27.02 with far too much on the dread 20/23. But worth every second to be reminded of the word ‘daughterly’.
  10. Oh well, for some reason failed to get DAUGHTERLY despite all the checkers. Liked OILBIRD as a great example of an unknown word you can extract from the wordplay, and learn something too. Have finally parsed FUNCTION, but do not know where ‘peculiar’ fits in. Was in the Lakes last month and walked by Scale Force, near Buttermere. Thanks setter and ulaca.
  11. Similar eperience to most, a bit harder than usual Monday, 25 minutes, ending with ALEC then guessing the rooster from checkers. Liked SHUN and UPPITY best.

    The Europeans lost the Ryder Cup because they can’t putt as well on American greens; hopefully it will make 2018 in Paris all the more exciting… if less raucous.

  12. DNF in 40 min – started well, with no holdups, but with a biffed MONTENEGRO, reached the dreaded 23/20 in about 25 minutes. After passing the half-hour unable to think of anything better than MARC at 23ac or any word to fit at all at 20dn, resorted to aids which put me right at 27ac, but didn’t yield anything remotely plausible, so filled in some rubbish and gave up.
    I should have looked further when ‘oilbird’ was suggested, but got stuck on finding the red dye, probably used for cave paintings. (OCHRE was suggested by the so-called Red Lady of Paviland which was featured in a recent repeat of Coast, but I couldn’t find anything to fit.)

    Edited at 2016-10-03 11:19 am (UTC)

  13. Thought this would be a pretty quick one until I ran aground in the SE: OILBIRD was very unknown and I struggled with 23ac, dismissing MANC as too silly early on, but getting mentally fixated on MARC, much to the detriment of finding the smart ALEC. Anyway, all this pushed me over the 10 minute mark, just, alas.
  14. 15:04 .. like the assault course scene in one of those fly-on-the-wall basic training for soldiers / marines documentaries where there’s always the huge wall at the end. “It’s day 43 and the one the recruits have been dreading”, moving scenes of Billy from Grimsby lying in the mud moaning “I can’t do it, sir. I’m f****ed”. This time the wall was guacharo-shaped. I made it over after 7 minutes of trying, just when I was about to sneak a leg-up from my old mate One-Look (from Swansea).

    Flew over the rest of this.

  15. 1a, the NE and the SW sailed in, but then I became becalmed and had to put my brain into gear. (I wrote WATERFALLS in as I read the clue.) I came back to the NW but struggled with INSTINCT and FUNCTION before spending the last 20 minutes of my 43 on 19a, 23a and 20d. I was fixated on HALLO as the greeting until I finally was hailed by inspiration. Like others I took forever to spot ALEC, but that gave me all the crossers to finally decode the unknown OILBIRD. I’d also considered CARLO and NEGRO for MONTE’s ending before giving myself a mental slap on the forehead when the penny dropped. A puzzle of two halves for me. Thanks setter and U.
  16. A fairly slow start but I got into the flow of things, finishing in 9m 06s. Like lots of others I was tempted by MARC and finished on OILBIRD. Less than three weeks of practice left before competition time!
  17. Galspray – I know I shouldn’t reply – but this puts me in mind of a crossword a few years back in Sixth Sense which contained the answer PANCHIKAWATTA (it’s a district of Colombo, Sri Lanka, where Toyota have a parts factory) – it was fairly clued but no one enjoyed it.

    Re-OILBIRD there was nothing in the clue that gave a lie to the fact that this particular rooster was really only found in Venezuela or even northern South America!

    I was lucky in that in 1996 I visited the Asa Wright Sanctuary in Trinidad where they had some hundred protected nesting pairs of the ‘diablotins’ (little devils)as they are called in Trini. In the sixties I remeber David and Barbara Snow made the first specialist study of them.

    Even then it was my LOI.

    I thought it was a poor clue as some geographical hint might have helped others. A joylessly uninformed and somewhat obscure clue IMO.

    horryd Shanghai

    1. It wouldn’t have helped me I don’t think.

      Setter: Do you know any birds that live in caves?

      Me: Nope.

      Setter: Do you know any birds that live in caves in Northern South America? Venezuela perhaps:

      Me: Well the oilbird obviously, but I can’t think of any others.

      1. I actually have quite a lot of conversations like this.
        SON: I’ve lost my football boots, do you know where they are?
        ME: No.
        SON: Are they in the car?
    2. Not just the clues that are “joyless” ..
      These comments are quite the moaning shop, aren’t they? Why bother at all, if it upsets people so?
  18. DNF with a Monday crossword! Shame and scandal!

    Fell into the MARC trap, and consequently didn’t arrive at OILBIRD even had I known what one was.

    (Fellow caught, i.e. heard = MARK becomes MARC, but now I see that the “with” in the clue doesn’t make sense, so a fair clue after all …)

    OILBIRD unknown, a bit unfair for a Monday morning I thought, otherwise an enjoyable canter, largely constrained by the speed with which I could write in the solutions, slowing down a bit at the bottom and grinding to a halt at the ALEC (MARC) / OILBIRD crosser. Hey Ho!

    Edited at 2016-10-03 11:40 am (UTC)

    1. I would have been happy enough with the MARC/MARK homophone idea (that I also had) if MARC wasn’t a man’s name in its own right…
    2. .. and of course the really irritating thing is that I had seen the B_I_R_D trick, and even though of OWL as the beginning, except that MARC was giving me the wrong (!) crosser. Grrrr.
  19. 18:52. A nice challenge with a similar experience to others. ALEC proved a little tricky, mainly because when I read ‘caught with alcoholic drink’ I came up with C + ALE. No reason it shouldn’t be ALE + C so I must get used to seeing such clues either way! My LOI was OILBIRD which I’ve never heard of but I thought was fairly clued. COD to CRESCENDO for a top quality surface.
  20. 17.23, getting OILBIRD from wordplay before sinking ALEC (a difficult right to left putt, I thought, with the wordplay elements the wrong way round) thus avoiding the MARC bunker which I would probably have plugged my shot into. I know people who, rather perversely, spell themselves that way.
    Something of a game of associations, this one.
    KATANGA: yes, from Lenny Henry (see above)
    PATAGONIA: Michael Palin’s Patagonian Bursting Rabbit
    MONTEVIDEO: The Battle of the River Plate, a much better Royal Navy movie than Sink the Bismarck
    TESTUDO: Asterix (the Legionary, I think)
    CHOP HOUSE Blackadder, though actually that should be Mrs Miggins Pie Shop. Possibly Alexander Pope
    MEANIE: the blue ones, Yellow Submarine
    CRESCENDO: repetitive shouting at football commentators that it’s not something the noise rises to.
    PLAYTIME: preceded by Workers’on the Light Programme

    This might well be a bit of a giveaway insight into my psyche, but it’s also an indication of Crossworders’ Syndrome, where word associations are virtually beyond control. It may also explain why it takes me 17 minutes and other, more disciplined minds, 6.

    1. Thanks Z, I’ve just realised that I’ve misunderstood crescendo for all these years. Probably because most of my “education” comes from listening to commentators!
      1. It’s probably used so frequently that way that the dictionaries will pick it up, leaving only us Direct Grant School chaps who learned Latin for free to mutter “but it’s Latin, it’s crescendo, ablative of gerund of crescere, to increase, dammit” into our G&T, knowing in our heart no-one cares.
        1. Collins: a peak of noise or intensity => the cheers reached a crescendo.
          ODO: the loudest point reached in a gradually increasing sound. ‘the port engine revs rose to a crescendo’.
          Chambers: a high point, a climax.
          1. Well, the dictionaries are wrong. As a musician I will assert, without accepting any argument, that ‘crescendo’ is the act of getting louder which then proceeds (or rises) to a CLIMAX. Anything else is a malaprop.
            1. Assert away, if it makes you happy! The rest of the world will just get on and use words however they please, and the dictionaries will reflect that usage, since that is their job. The meaning of words changes: it’s just an intrinsic feature of language.
              By the way I am a musician (of sorts) too, and I would not use CRESCENDO in this way either. However whether you or I would use a particular word in a particular way is not the relevant test.

              Edited at 2016-10-04 09:29 am (UTC)

    2. Can’t hear mention of Workers’ Playtime without remembering from my youth the same joke cracked on three successive broadcasts. “My battery’s flat.” “Why, what shape should it be?”
    3. Well, River Plate was helmed by Powell (+ Pressburger) so it’s bound to be better. Not to mention Gregson v More.
  21. 16:23. No issues with Alec but the capital and of course the not-a-bat-then slowed me down a lot. I don’t know if Montecarlo can be one word or is even the capital of Monaco but I spent an age trying to justify it until the penny dropped with a clatter like a Betamax machine ejecting a tape.

    That left the very nasty 20 which could be looked at in so many ways. Know any red dyes? Know any bats that aren’t called a something bat other than pipistrelle? Could it be OWL-something. Is it “painting originally” or “originally bedecked”?

  22. Just reading Andrea Wulf’s The Invention of Nature which is a biography of Humboldt. Amazing man.
  23. 15 mins. Like others I struggled in the SE and the OILBIRD/ALEC crossers were my last ones in. In terms of persistence in defending the indefensible (IMHO) I think Horryd might have a future as a spin doctor for Donald Trump. The oilbird obviously isn’t that well known but it was fairly clued, and there was a decent element of misdirection in the clue because with “rooster” and “red dye” in it I was initially trying to see if “hennaed” would somehow work, although a couple of checkers soon disabused me of that notion.
    1. And such a useful Scrabble word too. I worry that horryd may be meldrewing himself into a dark corner under the back stairs. Just hope he pops out tomorrow in his normal frame of mind.
  24. Nice one Penfold – tres amusant. Here’s my read on the setter’s last few seconds of construction.

    He/she had it all nicely worked out except for 20dn and 23ac so picked up the old FRANKLIN and noted only one word would satify O—I-D the computer says OILBIRD it is the only solution.That will do nicely as HAILSTONE,OMISSION and MONTEVIDEO are stet.

    What the f*** is an OILBIRD – check dictionary – simple, the guacharo can’t use that straight-up – check GUACHARO – ah! a cave dwelling bird – add BLOC, FLOC or ALEC – the end.

    Hence the hopeless cluing, my dear Galspray.

    horryd Shanghai

  25. Sorry, dreadful crossword.
    North really has nothing to do with waterfalls
    I go into a rage every time the word IT is used for wine (or even worse sex appeal)
    Oilbird – give me strength
    At least we didn’t have bra=support
    What is it with some setters?
    No doubt everyone will think I’m wrong but these conventions need assigning to a bin similar to where this puzzle is residing (recycling of course). Waste of 30 minutes or so.
    1. Alan, are you horryd’s brother? I think a lot of us would be happy to see the demise of IT, but then the setters do have a habit of reading these comments and tucking away our rants for future use. You have to see it from their point of view: they’re underpaid, undervalued, criticised by riff-raff like us, and sworn to silence when they take their anonymity vow.

      The best fun they ever have is not THAT brilliant clue that will be featured in the crossword column of The Guardian, but when they elicit an ‘Angry from Tunbridge Wells’ reaction from us. When Jimbo throws the toys, I am told they go on a bender to end all benders.

  26. I have read all the comments and I still do not see why waterfalls are forces in the North. Could someone please explain it to a bear of very little brain
    1. It’s just that waterfalls, particularly in the North, are called Forces; ie High Force and Low Force in Teesdale, and Hardraw Force in North Yokshire to name but a few…
      1. Thanks. They say you learn something new every day but it is not wholly true. One is exposed to some new information every day. I’ll try to remember.
    2. The word ‘force’ is categorised specifically as a Northern English word in both Collins and ODO.
  27. Ulaca! meldrewing as a verb – how wonderful!

    An ulacarisation or am I being horryd?

    My normal frame of mind! Conspiratorial I assure you!

    Surely setters use ‘aids’ to hasten the process of ‘construction’ – I certainly have in the past: saves a lot of time. They would assuredly deny it! Is it against the rules? I would have thought not and damned hard to prove in any case.

    OILBIRD is I agree a fine ‘Scrabble’ word – is it in the ‘Scrabble Listings’?

    Scrabble is forbidden hereabouts by Mrs Meldrew, who being Chinese thinks it a waste of time preferring mahjong as more profitable. Fortunately she loves Polish Bezique.

    meldrew Shanghai

    1. Horryd / Victor

      If you click “Reply” under a post you’re replying to, rather than on “Leave a comment”, the reply sits nicely underneath the original post, like wot this one is. It’s then easier to follow the conversation.

    2. Ulacarisation is rather neat, if a little smug – as if anything I come up with will enter even the TfTT lexicon. (Uriah Heep impression)

      I believe the setters use all types of software, grid thingies and aids of various kinds, but at the end if the day, it’s the human element that makes the difference. Take OILBIRD, for instance, brilliant clue…

      (In competitive Scrabble in HK, we use an online dictionary called CWS15, and every word known to man – plus some others – are in that. Schoolkids here play bizarre 7-letter words with no vowels with aplomb and then challenge a word like ALAR. When I told the 15-year-old kindly that it was an adjective, it went straight in one ear and out the other, as in his next turn he played ‘alars’.)

      1. The “official” Chambers Scrabble checker has OILBIRD valid as a US listing so its validity would depend on rules being played to.
        1. CSW15 draws on Collins English Dictionary (12th edition), Chambers Dictionary (13th edition), and, in the case of those words only to be found in US sources, Merriam Webster’s Official Scrabble Players Dictionary (5th edition). So, pretty comprehensive!
  28. A spin doctor for Donald Trump!!?

    A curse on your 15 minutes of fame!

    horryd Shanghai

  29. Slow again today. Slipped up by trying to work out the Fats Waller anagram, failing, and not having another go when I picked up the crossword again later. A few words were eminently biffable but I couldn’t parse the clues: LAITY, INSTINCT. Maybe odd that there should be such a wide range from dead easy (HIKE) to very complex. But a good puzzle and plenty of food for thought.
  30. Hi all. I’ve been away for a week and returned to this more than usually difficult Monday offering. That said, I got OILBIRD from wordplay with absolutely no idea of what it is, ALEC didn’t present much of a problem, but KATANGA puzzled me at the end. I know of the primary Pooh characters, but Kanga wasn’t on my list. But there aren’t too many variations possible when faced with K?TAN?A, so a lucky guess. Good thing 1A was an anagram, since I had no idea that WATERFALLS are called ‘forces’ on your next of the woods. About 30 minutes or so. Regards to all.
  31. wow there’s a lot of comments today – windows updating relegated me to finishing this after work, tomorrow’s is only an hour away. I rather liked it – 10:13 and KATANGA and OIL BIRD were from wordplay, though the wordplay left little other option. I didn’t bother parsing MONTEVIDEO
  32. 14:22 for me at the end of a tiring day (following a tiring weekend). I started off not too badly, but flagged towards the end and (like others) struggled with 20dn. I’ve an uneasy suspicion that I’ve met OILBIRD before (probably in a crossword), at any rate the definition seems familiar.

    No complaints though.

  33. Once again I find myself a day behind, which explains why today has felt like a Monday from the outset.

    No idea of time, but certainly the better part of an hour – if there was a wavelength, I was clearly listening in digital. Took me forever to disentangle DAUGHTERLY, and MEANIE was my LOI.

    And so to Tuesday…

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