Times 26536 – you could ski straight through this one

Solving time: 9:33 – I thought I was going to be inside 7 minutes, but the ski resort held me up for a long time trying to work through the possibilities. Either I was on the wavelength of the setter to a great extent or this was a particularly straightforward one.

Hmmm – just as I am ready to submit there’s only one better time than me and it is Verlaine. So it might be more wavelength.

Away we go…

5 CHENILLE: inside CE, put HEN(female) and ILL(evil)
9 DEFENDANTS: anagram of SENT,DAD containing FEN(since 12 is MARSHY)
10 TOAD: this may trick a few – TOD is scots for FOX, stick A inside. Why knot? Some sources (though not Collins or Chambers) give knot as the collective noun for toads
11 SOLECISM: anagram of SEMICOLONS missing ON
12 MARSHY: MARS, H(astil)Y
13 M,EAT
15 TELEMARK: eventually dredged this up – L inside two targets – TEE(the mark in quoits) and MARK
18 SHILLING: SING(grass, spill the beans) around HILL
19 NODE: N,ODE – a work with several meanings
23 AMARANTH: AMAH (not our most common nurse, but one we have seen before) surrounding RANT
25 ERGO: or ER, GO!
27 BLIGHTER: B, and then once you shed pounds you are LIGHTER
28 DEN,TON: got this from wordplay
2 CREDO: CO containing RED
3 ELEMENTAL: ET AL surrounding LE(the french),MEN
6 ENSEMBLE: double definition
7 INTER: Harold PINTER’s plays have been described as comedies of menace, so chop his head off for the answer
14 EPHEMERAL: anagram of HARPE(r),LEE surrounding M
16 MANHATTAN: this raised a smile – MAN(guy),HAT(busby),TAN(brown)
17 DISMOUNT: I think this is a cryptic definition, I don’t think there is a mountain anywhere called Clydesdale
22 AMONG: hidden in gleAM ON Gabled

68 comments on “Times 26536 – you could ski straight through this one”

  1. I seemed to be on the wavelength too. Although the only reason I got TELEMARK is that I’d heard of a ski-turn with that name, although I assumed it was named after a person.

    I tentatively thought the long anagram would start CAMERA once I had the C, but it took several more checkers before I got it. I wasn’t even sure I had the right anagrist, it seems just too neat that there was an anagram of chairman and protege.

    1. I got the Norwegian clue from remembering that great film The Heroes of….not heard of that definition of tee. I like the image of a knot of toads.
  2. I was done and dusted in 27 minutes – as easy as they come – for me these days. I have the rest of the day to myself.

    FOI 2dn CREDO followed by a SCREAM 1ac. LOI EMBALM only cos I couldn’t read by own letter M – taking it for an H. [EMBASH!]

    Once the CINEMATOGRAPHER had revealed himself (sorry ladies but he was once the Chairman)at 5dn, it was plain sailing.

    A good’un for beginners.

    28ac DENTON rarely if ever gets a mention. Hats and batteries – ‘I told ’em OLDHAM’ were the mark of the town.



    horryd Shanghai

  3. Made a couple of missteps, like taking ‘extremely funny’ to be F,Y, and ‘angry tirade’ as (TIRADE)*, and wondered if there were a CONTON in Greater Manchester until I finally remembered ‘den’. I’d heard of TOD (probably here), assumed that toads came in knots. Didn’t understand the ‘menacing’, but didn’t need to. My LOI was BLIGHTER; I’d only ever come across the word with ‘poor’. Nice to get one quickly, and get it all right.
  4. A rare sub-20 for me, enjoying the distinctly non-Boolean obscurities along the way.

    Having once sat through No Man’s Land with Gielgud and Richardson, I get the menace part of Pinter’s work (as in, to society) but not the comedic bit. He certainly never gave it plenty of hoke.

  5. An obvious LOI for me too. Totally distracted by the “knot”. J. Joyce would have liked 23ac. I found it rather obscure. DENTON from “A Touch of Frost” … perhaps?
  6. Half-knowing the nurse and the plant was almost enough. Just needed the last letter of AMARANT_. Faced with a choice between the vowels and Y, I opted for O. Pretty sure that if I’d considered H I’d have gone for it, but them’s the breaks.

    Can’t complain, as I was very lucky to get TELEMARK. No idea which murky depth I plucked it from, but I dithered over it for ten minutes as we all know that a tee is not a target. In the end I decided that maybe the setter knows nothing about golf, so in it went. Turns out he/she knows something about quoits. Or bowls, or curling apparently.

    Anyway, seven over par today, five over for the tournament. Big last round needed tomorrow, must remember to wear the red shirt.

    Thanks setter and George.

  7. I’d forgotten about ‘ayah’, but AMAH is yet another chestnut from the NY Times, so it came to mind quickly.
  8. I never heard of the plant so I was relying on wordplay to complete the parsing that seemed obvious, namely RANT (angry tirade) contained by A?A? (nurse). I was then delighted to remember a word for nurse I’d met before that fitted, namely AYAH (a nurse or maid servant especially of Europeans in India). I was not pleased then to find that this was incorrect as the word the setter had in mind was AMAH (in parts of the Indian subcontinent and the Far East: a wet nurse, children’s nurse, or house servant). An obscure answer clued with obscure wordplay where alternatives are possible. Rotten swizz, say I!

    Apart from TELEMARK (only known from the film as mentioned above) and 10ac which involved two further obscurities the remainder of the clues could have appeared in the QC on an easy day.

    Edited at 2016-10-06 05:16 am (UTC)

    1. And one of today’s QC clues would not have been out of place in the 15×15. In fact it would have been at the tougher end of the scale, IMHO. Unless you knew it, of course.
  9. Dnk TEE in that sense, but had to be TELEMARK. Assumed wrongly that a TOAD was a type of knot. AMARANTH just looked right, no idea what they are but have seen the word. Dnk DENTON either, since its the home town of the TV detective Frost thought it was in the South, must be a different one. Nonetheless, got there, thanks gl and setter.
    1. Seems you’re right. The Wik has:

      The series is set in the fictional South Midlands town of Denton, and is marked by a gritty tone. It is believed that Denton is in either Berkshire or Oxfordshire, though there are many references to Reading, Oxford, and in particular, Swindon. In the earlier episodes, the M4 and A417 were often seen, and the map of Swindon was seen in the control room, although a map of Reading was used occasionally. The programme is produced by ITV in Leeds, and most of the outdoor locations are shot in West Yorkshire. Several scenes are filmed in and around the city and district of Wakefield and neighbouring small towns of Pontefract and Castleford, West Yorkshire.

      1. I always thought Frost’s Denton was, well, Denton. I suppose that if you cross Swindon with Wakefield you wouldn’t be far away from East Manchester, in atmosphere, if not in map co-ordinates.
        1. Denton is also where Rocky Horror Show is set – not the one near Manchester though.
  10. Quick for me today, with all done in 20mins, but then another 3 with T_A_. Assumed Tod Fox was an actor (there are so many of them), and the knot bit… well, who knew? DENTON unknown, but so many of the clues seemed to be so very simple* (2dn, 13ac, 25ac) that it had to be that.

    * so very simple=using crossie conventions that seem to crop up fairly regularly

    PS Was wondering why AMARANTH was familiar to me, whilst unknown to so many others (note, this is highly unusual)… my route to it is through cooking: two of my sons are coeliac, and amaranth flour is one of many weird and wonderful gluten-free alternatives to wheat flour

    Edited at 2016-10-06 07:44 am (UTC)

  11. AYI is auntie/maid in Mandarin Chinese and AMAH is commonly used in Guandong Chinese in HK, GZ, KL and Singapore – a servant/maid who looks after the kids.

    TELEMARK is the Nowegian county where the Germans (IG Farben) were making heavy weather of making ‘heavy water’ during the WWII occupation. By the mid-thirties the Norsk Hydro at Vermorkas the world’s largest hydro power plant. It was ‘smithereened’ by the Allies in July 1943.

    BLIGHTER doesn’t always go with poor – as per my grandfather: everyone was a blighter – which suggested criminality, rather than a misfortunate. Wasps were blighters.

    horryd Shanghai

  12. 20 minutes, had a rant but not an amah. Oh well.
    “Toad numbers fall by two-thirds in 30 years” was a news item on the way into work this morning.
  13. 11m. The clues for TOAD, AMARANTH and TELEMARK are all poor efforts in my opinion, reliant on double obscurities, and in one case ambiguous. I happened to possess enough of the arcane knowledge so I can’t be accused of sour grapes on this occasion!
    I did pause at the end wondering how a tee could be a mark, but eventually just bunged in the answer. I knew it as some sort of skiing-related thing but the association of skiing with Norway made it seem likely enough.
    AMARANTH has appeared before: as I think I remarked at the time I knew the word as the name of a hedge fund that went pop in spectacular fashion a few years ago. Now I also know it as the name of a flower that occasionally appears in crosswords.

    Edited at 2016-10-06 07:40 am (UTC)

    1. Based on the golden rule I’ve come to the conclusion that two of these are shining examples of the setter’s art and the other one is an utter abomination.
      1. I see that you are wisely applying my favoured definition:
        Obscurity (noun): a word that I don’t know in circumstances where not knowing it prevents me from solving a crossword clue’.
  14. A squidge under 12 minutes put me on page 3 this morning – this wasn’t a hard one, though had I been blogging I could have accurately predicted the complaints department.
    TELEMARK from the film, of course, skiing being only a passing interest. Serendipitous research reveals that, rather wonderfully, Joachim Rønneberg, who led the real raid, is still alive at 97.
  15. PS: I couldn’t fathom why Denton Ohio was more familiar to me than Denton Gtr Manchester. A step to the right, perhaps.

    Edited at 2016-10-06 08:54 am (UTC)

  16. Dont quite understand your comment on 17dn, George, although I am probably missing something. A Clydesdale is a horse.
    Anyway, under the 20 min mark with TOAD a complete guess from the crossers and ‘creature’. Other than that, a pleasant stroll so thanks setter and George.
    1. Ah! I’d assumed it was a horse, but didn’t know. My first thought, the image of someone dismounting from a Clydesdale terrier, was enough to point me in the right direction!

      Edited at 2016-10-06 12:13 pm (UTC)

  17. This was a bit like the Quick Crossword with three or four snorters added. Fortunately knew Amah so AMARANTH went in. I don’t think I’ve any left in the garden. Never heard of a KNOT of toads, but then they’re mainly encountered singly when weeding out the AMARANTHS. Eventually biffed TELEMARK, using tee as in golf when driving from the green. Finished in the half hour.
  18. A Monday puzzle on a Thursday? I’ve been thrown into a state of confusion. The only stumbles today were AMAH (really?) and LOI TOAD, which was my second guess after TRAP.
  19. 9 mins. I did this even earlier than I usually do on days when I’m not in work and it seemed to pay off. I finished in the SE with AMARANTH (after remembering AMAH) after the TORSO/DENTON crossers. I’d have struggled with TELEMARK if I hadn’t remembered the film title.
  20. Down to three left at the wire today. Let down by vocabulary gaps. I’d considered TOAD but knew neither the fox nor the collective noun; similarly I hadn’t got to the unknown TELEMARK or AMARANTH as I also didn’t know “amah” or that meaning of “tee”. Never thought I’d be sad that there wasn’t a golf reference!

    Glad at least that my watching of A Touch of Frost led me to remember “ton”, which I’ve recently added to my crossword vocab; it came up a few weeks ago.

    Edited at 2016-10-06 09:01 am (UTC)

  21. Much the same as many others – a collection of crossword cliches with a levening of obscurities gathered together in some below par offerings. Not one to remember.
  22. Raced through all bar 10a, 15a and 23a in about 15 minutes and then spent another 25 on those 3. Unfortunately while I correctly pulled TOD from the recesses of my brain and chose the vaguely remembered AMAH rather than AMAI or AMAO, I was unable to conjure up the Norwegian region, mombling TALIMSRA(it at least has L(ib) in AIMS) and mentally chucking in the towel. A definite sting in the tail to this apparently easy puzzle!
  23. Oh dear. I gave up a little after ten minutes with two gaps – having never heard of TEE (in that sense), TELEMARK, AMAH or AMARANTH, I couldn’t work out reasonable entries for 15a or 23a.
  24. Surprised that no-one has mentioned Beatrix Potter’s story ‘The Tale of Mr Tod’ – about (of course) a fox. fourlegger
  25. Just under 14 min, with 10ac LOI – I’d not come across the collective before, so spent a couple of minutes thinking about knots before recalling Tod from Beatrix Potter etc.
    15ac went in from checkers and skiing manoeuvre – assumed ‘tee’ was some sort of target, as referred to in expression “to a T”.
    At 28ac, Denton is a fairly common placename, so went in without knowing of the particular one mentioned.
  26. 10:01 .. several minutes on TOAD. I did know tod for fox but had to convince myself that toads could be knotty.

    How good to know that Joachim Rønneberg is still around. I hope it’s a good while yet before we’re reading his obit. Talking of which, there’s a cracking obit of one Andrew Vicari in The Times today. If you don’t read and wonder if your life is rather dull then I’d like to hear more about your life.

    Edited at 2016-10-06 12:23 pm (UTC)

    1. I had to check the date to make sure that wasn’t a poisson d’Avril! Don’t think much of his paintings, but I doubt he cared much for critical acclaim when they won the approval (and rewards) of the insanely rich.
      Joachim Rønneberg’s international collection of medals must be unrivalled: fair enough for the man who conceivably saved the world from a nuclear-armed Third Reich, and escaped with his entire team to tell the story
      1. I had never heard of Vicari (which is what obits are for, of course). The paintings don’t look that great to my ignorant eye, but the life was something. Really, if Truman Capote hasn’t opened the door to you wearing a babydoll nightie, you haven’t lived.
  27. I came in about on par with 19:51. Would have been a lot quicker if I’d not spent so long thinking about my LOI TOAD before I went with it unparsed. Also delayed by putting EARTHY instead of MARSHY not acknowledging that I’d lost an H.

    My FOI was CINEMATOGRAPHER, having spotted the anagram straight away which gave me a good start. When I had all the crossers in the flower at 23A I thought I was done for until I dredged up AMAH from somewhere. As with some others, I only knew DENTON as a fictional TV place.

  28. A silly thought has been ricocheting around my brain all day involving some quip about our age being more interested in the heroes of telemarketing than those of Telemark. Perhaps if I write it down, it’ll go away.
  29. As many of you will have spare time after this, I recommend today’s QC which I found harder than this overall.
    Annoyingly I did get one clue wrong in this -10a -rejecting Toad for Trap. David
  30. I thought I’d have a crack at the QC after some of the mentions here. Having finished, the ipad edition said it took me 2 hours something. How come each su doku has its own timer which pauses when you close the ipad? Why not do the same with each crossword? I’d mention it to The Times but on past experience it’s like talking to a brick wall.

    Rant over.

    1. Yes, I found the timer useless in just the same way today. Thank you for providing me the opportunity to rant a little myself! Bloody thing.
    2. You continue solving The Times crossword in your subconscious when off doing other things, so elapsed time as per Times’ timer is correct. If you could pause the timer you would get deceptively, incorrectly too-low times. The timer works properly, as it should.
      I’m not a sudoku-er, but I suspect there is no subconscious retrieval of answers possible, it’s more a logic & pattern recognition puzzle. So Id guess the sudoku timers work correctly, also.
      What’s the problem?

      Rob – knew TOD but not KNOT, knew AMAH but not AMARANTH, knew TELEMARK as a region, after saying to myself, “I couldn’t name a single region of Norway!” but not TEE. 3 poor clues I luckily got right. And CINEMATOGRAPHER needed all the crossers except second A.

      1. There is one cumulative timer for all three crosswords. If I start with the cryptic I’ve not been subconsciously solving the concise before I’ve even looked at it.
  31. There is a mention of AMARANTH on page 5 of today’s TIMES 2.

    Apparently it bears comparison with quinoa.

    1. I often find that there’s a word I don’t know in the crossword that I then see somewhere soon after. A case of life imitating crosswords?
  32. All done in 20 minutes except TOAD, for which I had no answer. Mrs
    K being from up north knew Denton was in MCR. The rest was fine.
  33. About 15 minutes, only hold ups being why a tee is a target, and to make a guess and get TOAD. Didn’t know of tods or knots, but I read the clue as needing a creature for the answer, so it seemed likely. No problem with the amah, as stated it has been a perennial in the NYT. Regards.
  34. Am I the only one who can’t access any puzzles on the Crossword Club homepage? I just get a strange error message telling me that “(Type Error): null is not an object…”.
    1. Nope, you’re not the only one. Just got exactly that when I tried. I don’t know if it’s been doing it all day—I did the puzzles within the Times app on my iPad today. I also got a “Too many redirects” error when I tried to see if anyone had reported it in the Forum.

      Edited at 2016-10-06 06:31 pm (UTC)

      1. Glad it’s not just me! I expect it’s leaves on the line, or the wrong kind of snow. I expect they will ensure that null is an object in due course…
  35. Can anyone help please? The Crossword site says that I am logged in but when I try to access any crossword, I get the error message (Type error) PU(…) is null.
    1. Same here and can’t get the forum either. Glad it’s the site that’s buggy and not my computer!
  36. Aah I see I am not the only one! Should have read the comments before posting. At least it isn’t my technological buffoonery as is the usual case. Let’s hope it works itself out. I will pour another glass of wine and have a go at the Guardian on line crossword.
  37. I’m glad other people are having problems with access to the crossword club (well no, not really. But I am glad I’m not the only one, so I assume the Times will eventually take note). I am NOT glad that the Times is taking so long to take note, though. This should be a simple problem to put right.

    Especially annoying that the Forum is not accessible, so it’s not easy to complain. But I was able to solve the puzzle simply by accessing the newspaper and then proceeding to the Puzzles section. You can solve the puzzle online, there is a timer (but no leaderboard), and you can check the solution when you are finished and it shows you where your mistakes are. You can even edit them after submission and you don’t have to wait a day to see the solution.

    By this method I did manage to solve correctly in 61 minutes, my LOI being DENTON (a good thing I was skeptical about BOW being a fashion).

    Edited at 2016-10-06 10:07 pm (UTC)

  38. I wondered if the Crossword Club had finally terminated my membership, but it seems not :-). Anyway, at the end of a busy day (and after doing tomorrow’s puzzle, No. 26,537) I was quite glad to have an easy one that I could fill in in 7:24 despite feeling desperately tired.

    Like others, I hadn’t heard of a “knot” of toads, nor had I heard of DENTON, but the rest was straightforward enough – though trying to start 5dn with CON made it my LOI.

    Ballroom dancers will be familiar with various forms of TELEMARK (Open (in Waltz possibly followed by Cross Hesitation or Wing), Natural, Hover, Natural Hover … or just plain). I assume they’re named after the skiing manoeuvre, but I could be quite wrong.

  39. Came back to this one after being unable to access it on Thursday, having tried to avoid reading any clue-related comments here! That said, DENTON did catch the corner of my eye when I was posting my question about the site being down, though I think I’d have got it anyway from the wordplay. Twenty-three minutes, which is a good-to-middling time for me, with TELEMARK my LOI.

    Not too much trouble with a “knot” of toads, though I was distracted by thinking it was a collective noun for some sort of bird (which it isn’t, of course – it’s just a bird, silly me), nor with AMARANTH (“Amah” was hiding in a dusty corner of my memory).

    My only dislike was 9ac, where “12” for “marshy” was a bit clunky and unsubtle.

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