Times 26,537: Sauce For The Reverend’s Merry Goose

I’d better whirlwind this as due to the Crossword Club being inaccessible all morning, I did it on the old papyrus on a rainy station platform (in 9 minutes 40, my stopwatch claims) and I’ve had to write it up just now at work. An enormously fun puzzle I thought, though it may prove to be too far towards the Libertarian end of the setting spectrum for some. According to my notes 11ac was my FOI, I biffed or partially biffed 24ac, 2dn and 16dn, and my LOI was 17dn. My COD was the strange and wonderful apercu at 19dn. Alright, time to go not be sacked: over to you, my dears!


1 Article put on aircraft carrying journo from E London (6, 6)
BOMBER JACKET – BOMBER JET [aircraft] carrying ‘ACK [journo “from E London”]

9 Bones found in bag next to top drawer? (5)
SACRA – SAC [bag] next to R.A. [top drawer (= respected artist = Royal Academician)]

10 An element of comic book language? (9)
MANGANESE – Manga are Japanese comics, but if manga had a language, by analogy to Java’s Javanese, it’d be…

11 Where one takes off, but doesn’t actually undress? (8)
AIRSTRIP – Cryptic def: one “takes off” from an airstrip, but one doesn’t actually “strip” there

12 Glass raised to oneself daily? (6)
MIRROR – Cryptic def: not an alcoholic glass, but a looking-glass here. Pretty sure I drink more pints than I
tidy myself up in mirrors, but your own mileage may vary. ETA: I failed to spot that “daily” here refers to the Mirror
newspaper. I’m sure it would be on my radar if it had a better crossword, so it’s only got itself to blame

13 Belt for strangling with is a hazard of course (4, 4)
SAND TRAP – STRAP [belt], strangling AND [with]. The course in question refers to the sport with misshapen
whacking sticks and little holes

15 Lord’s conclusion perhaps is baffling (4)
STUMPS – double def, with STUMPS also being a possible conclusion at Lord’s, which is a venue for the sport
where people throw red spheres very fast at lightly armoured sentries who must deflect them

17 Female motorists requiring assistance briefly (6)
RACHEL – R.A.C. [motorists (Royal Automobile Club)] + HEL{p} [assistance “briefly”]

18 In place of patient article, engineer moves anticipating conflict? (3, 5)
WAR DANCE – WARD AN C.E. [place of patient | article | (civil) engineer]

20 Point after brother, making face (6)
BREAST – EAST [(compass) point] after BR [brother]

21 Tragedy of family left packing possessions (4, 4)
KING LEAR – KIN [family] + L [left] “packing” GEAR [possessions]

24 Old film about a ref, songs from the right shows (9)
NOSFERATU – hidden reversed [“from the right”] in {abo}UT A REF, SON{gs}

25 Bathsheba’s husband‘s backpedalling a shock perhaps for all (5)
URIAH – reverse [“backpedalling”] of HAIR U [a shock perhaps | for all (in the cinema)]

26 My small three wheeler: get off! (6, 1, 5)
STRIKE A LIGHT – S TRIKE ALIGHT [small | three wheeler | get off]


1 Concession to the elderly that’s enough to be getting on with? (3, 4)
BUS PASS – Cryptic def: with a bus pass an OAP has enough to be getting on (a bus)

2 Food processing areas come without specialist? (8, 6)
MACARONI CHEESE – (AREAS COME*) [“processing”] “without” NICHE

3 Praise no longer key (5)
EXALT – EX ALT [no longer | key (on a computer keyboard)]

4 Spot fine, then jail for West Indian (8)
JAMAICAN – JAM [spot] + A1 [fine] + CAN [jail]

5 99, maybe, or two more? (4)
CONE – A 99 is an ice cream cone, C ONE suggests to the trained solver “one hundred and one”,
which is two more than 99. Haven’t we seen this clue in another puzzle really recently?

6 On reflection, short feature appeared wasted (9)
EMACIATED – reverse [“on reflection”] of DETAI{l} CAME [“short” feature | appeared]

7 Corrupt practice of daughter in marring energy recycling (14)

8 Girl who’d come out with gentleman heading north remains (6)
DEBRIS – DEB [girl who’d come out] + SIR reversed [gentleman “heading north”]</i>

14 Petty in the extreme? That is the way with adolescents (9)
TEENSIEST – I.E. ST [that is | the way] with TEENS [adolescents]

16 Work on hand satisfied patient of mine? (8)
MANICURE – If I am a doctor, a “satisfied patient of mine” might be a MAN I CURE

17 Artist‘s career’s having to be pigeon-holed (6)
RUBENS – RUN’S [career’s] having BE “pigeon-holed”

19 Condition, but not necessarily range, of person under discussion? (7)
EARSHOT – a person under discussion’s condition is EARS HOT (their “ears are burning”)
even though they are not in EARSHOT. Allegedly

22 Set to consume game, finding something less appetising (5)
GRUEL – GEL [set] “to consume” R.U., which is the sport where both the really beefy and
the comparatively weedy chaps chase around after some kind of leather egg

23 Bundle of cash one found in dry river bed (4)
WADI – WAD I [bundle of cash | one]. Real Scrabble players’ word, this

51 comments on “Times 26,537: Sauce For The Reverend’s Merry Goose”

  1. Managed to finish this in 40 minutes without any biffs, but not understanding MANGANESE. THE last comic I read was The Wizard back in the mid fifties when Wilson the wonder athlete ran a mile in 3 minutes aged 200 because he lived on a diet of herbs. Get along to Holland and Barratt before it’s too late.
    1. And what about Alf Tupper who used to work in a garage in the morning, then a quick lunch of fish and chips before beating all those toffee-nosed athletes in the afternoon?
      At least MANGA is one for the youngsters rather than loads of archaic references to days gone by.
      On an allied note, I spied references to 3 other sports today: cricket, golf and rugby. Is this a subliminal message from our dear Minister of Health to get out and exercise? In which case it hasn’t worked (1d was my FOI).
      Really enjoyable puzzle.

      Edited at 2016-10-07 11:46 am (UTC)

  2. Back on the setter’s wavelength today, finishing in 7m 49s without any particular hold-ups. I also biffed 24a and didn’t properly parse 12a; both 9a and 17d have come up in other crosswords I’ve done this week, which was helpful. LOI was 6d.
  3. Congratulations on a blog of any kind in the circumstances! I did this on the newspaper site which does that unnerving thing of going to the congratulations (or not) page as soon as you bang in the last letter, giving you the fleeting impression that the whole thing has crashed. My time just over 20 minutes, much enjoyed with all those well concealed definitions.
    I played MIRROR the same way you did, with a slightly grumpy “well I don’t”, my mirrors all being fixed. Makes sense as ulaca has it, as a proper double definition.
    MANICURE for my giggle of the day, NOSFERATU a spectacular “hidden”.
  4. A bad dnf today, with most of NW undone after 50′. Wouldn’t have got 9ac anyway. No complaints.
  5. 24 min on newspaper site, as club not working. 24ac from def & some checkers, as didn’t see it was cleverly hidden till after.
  6. 20 mins with RUBENS my LOI after BREAST. Although I was fairly sure the bones were SACRA I didn’t enter it until the “top drawer” penny dropped. I thought the clue for MANGANESE was excellent and I enjoyed the puzzle. For some reason I found the RHS easier than the LHS.
    1. I guess you could go through the striptease motions even though you weren’t wearing anything to start with? The Emperor’s New Tease.
    2. That’s how I parsed it Judge. Thought it was a pretty weak clue until I spotted that element.
      1. This setter would seem to be a master of the cryptic definition with the subtleties of AIRSTRIP and MIRROR passing many of us by!
        1. I kind of see the AIR STRIP but I still kind of don’t. So “AIR STRIP” would be defined by “where one… doesn’t actually undress”, by analogy to air guitar? Can you really prefix anything with “air” and have that effectively mean “pretend”? I always thought of air guitar as a guitar made of, or at least invisibly in, the air.
          1. Air guitar is playing the guitar but not actually playing the guitar. An air kiss is a kiss that isn’t actually a kiss. So the setter suggests, with a strategically placed question mark, that an airstrip might be a strip where you don’t actually undress.

            That was my read on it at least.

            1. A ? covers a multitude of sins but my own feeling is that air guitar is playing the air, and air kisses are kissing the air… I guess by that token an air strip could be a strip where you remove only successive layers of air, but I don’t know, you might need to start off undressed for that!
              1. Yes, I see your point now. The two examples I cited, as well as being fake, actually involve interacting with the air.

                So is air synonymous with fake? Perhaps not now that you mention it, but I think it’s what the setter intended. And I still like it!

              2. Why would you need to start off undressed? The layers of imaginary clothes could easily be outside your actual clothes.
                1. You don’t play air guitar with a real guitar co-occupying your air guitar’s space though.
                  1. Crikey, when it comes to accuracy of tongue-in-cheek analogies you are extremely demanding!
                    Perhaps the AIR STRIP here is closer to an air kiss: the cheek is there, you just don’t make contact with it.
                    1. What the heck, I’m a Libertarian/Guardian solver… far be it from me not to be into crazy nonsense like this!
                      1. For what it’s worth, galspray’s reading was what was intended, although verlaine’s works too

                        The Setter

            2. You sound as if you speak from experience. Amazing things they get up to in the bush…
  7. 25:23. Thus ends a good week, with all complete and about on par time. As with yesterday a long anagram – GERRYMANDERING – jumped out early and set the tone for the rest of it. I managed to biff NOSFERATU without knowing what one was, but doubting that anything else was going to fit. I’m with Verlaine on EARSHOT as COD, though my vocabulary wouldn’t allow me to call it an apercu (well it could now I’ve looked it up).
  8. I think the Mirror as a daily newspaper is being referenced in 12a.

    This one took me 38 minutes, on the Times website, where previously I had only done quickies. Nice puzzle, with BOMBER JACKET late to fall, and the unknown SACRA last of all, AFAIR.

  9. 14m, but with a fail on 9ac. SACKA never looked like a word but after several minutes trying to think of something better I biffed it in desperation. The idea that ‘top drawer’ might mean something other than ace, A1, sick, rad, wicked never even occurred to me.
    Better to make these daft mistakes now than on the 22nd though, right?
    1. If you do make a daft mistake the chances are you won’t be on your own given the available evidence, namely ophod, madro and now sacka.
      1. Thanks, that’s a comfort… I think!
        I’ve just realised that I obviously didn’t ‘biff’ SACKA, since it doesn’t have a definition from which to be bunged in.
    2. I didn’t have much difficulty with SACRA as, in my past(touch wood), I have been troubled by lower back pain caused by problems with the sacroiliac joint which is where the spine plugs into the pelvis, so it was a short leap from sacro to sacra.
  10. 30 minutes and liked it very much. Thanks Ulaca for parsing Mirror (should have got it on reflection).
  11. Devastated by not being able to get to this last night, and this morning I couldn’t get uninterrupted time, so I’m in at 39:52 with several breaks to discuss thermodynamics and methods of teaching. Tricky stuff there, though in the end the only one that went in with a raised eyebrow was CONE not knowing the ice-cream. Loved MANAGANESE and now want it on a t-shirt.
  12. Seems the only thing working this morning was the timer. My actual time was closer to 30 minutes, so a few shots over par.

    Liked the def for WAR DANCE, but have we seen it before?

    Anyway, very nice puzzle, sadly let down by the failure of the club site. First-world problems eh?

    Thanks setter and Verlaine. Have a good weekend everyone.

  13. Had done 50 minutes with two to finish – but then got busy and clean forgot all about it!

    So a DNF with 17dn RUBENS in the waiting room and 20ac BREAST which I don’t think I would have managed to be honest – the wrong way round for my brain.


    horryd Shanghai

  14. I managed to make a balls-up of both timing myself and solving the bones clue so I’ll quietly exit stage left.

    Re breast / face, when I told that lady I was looking at her face I was telling the truth after all.

    Edited at 2016-10-07 01:53 pm (UTC)

    1. If I recall correctly Penfold was always saying “ooh, sacrums” in the cartoon instead of the more correct “ooh, sacra”, so I can see how you might have had trouble with the bones clue…
  15. I forgot to time myself on this one, which was interrupted 2/3 through, by my having to rush off to the dentist for a checkup, which happily revealed that no intervention was required. I was also shunted straight in to the hygenist for a scale and polish, negating the need for a return visit. 10 minutes in the waiting room was all I needed to finish off the puzzle which I quite enjoyed. I guess just under an hour all told. Manganese was the only one I didn’t quite understand as I haven’t come across the Japanese comics before. FOI EXALT, LOI MANICURE. A lot to like about this puzzle, particularly EARSHOT. Thanks setter and V.
  16. About 30 minutes, ending with BREAST and RUBENS. Happy to have sighted GERRYMANDERING right off, and the rest went in steadily, except SACRA, which did go in although I never realized that “RA” was indicating ‘top drawer’. No knowledge of ’99’ ice cream cones either, but C + ONE was pretty clear. Regards.
  17. As a down clue it can also be both One under C = 99 and C One = 101. The ice cream cone has to have a chocolate flake I believe.
    Barry J
  18. Very heavy-going but there were some good clues here esp the one to SACRA. Needed to look up Bathsheba’s husband though to finish off the SE corner as without the final checker I was unable to solve 19dn, another rather fine clue once I had the answer.
  19. No idea of a time. I’m not a fan of the newspaper’s puzzle interface at the best of times but this morning I discovered that it’s definitely not designed to run on an ancient PowerPC iBook. I would click a light then have time to make a cup of tea before anything responded. All very Zen.

    Anyway, frustrations aside, the puzzle was a lot of fun with what felt like an above-average amount of punnery, which suits me fine.

  20. This was too tough for me, but I was enjoying it so much that I carried on for another hour on top of my norm. and got most of it done.

    I thought I was in luck after I bashed in 1a as my FOI in seconds. However, my knowledge let me down here and there — I missed the STUMPS and only got the SACRA through luck, really. I did get URIAH in the end, but as the only Uriah I knew was Heep and the only Bathsheba was the one in Far from the Madding Crowd, it took a while. (It really didn’t help that I remembered enough to play with both “Troy” and “Oak”…)

    Glad to have got the excellent MANGANESE, and sad to have missed the now-obvious NOSFERATU. Having studies the classics* I should have got that. Thanks to setter, and to Verlaine for letting my brain off the hook in a few places…

    * Buffy.

    Edited at 2016-10-07 06:34 pm (UTC)

  21. 11:07 for this delightful puzzle, held up at the end by vocalophobia-inducing MANICURE.

    AIRSTRIP is something you do before qualifying for membership of the Mile High Club.

  22. I was misled by ‘respected artist’ in the blog for 9a and the penny still didn’t drop – that the drawer was someone who draws.
  23. Well, the Crossword Club finally came back online, although I must say that I wasn’t much faster for being able to see the clues. Over an hour for this one, which is slow even by my standards – RUBENS/BREAST held me up at the end.

    But despite it’s (for me) chewiness, I loved this puzzle. MANGANESE made me smile, as did NOSFERATU. Is there a record for the maximum number of words across which an answer can be hidden? I also greatly enjoyed EARSHOT, and particularly STRIKE A LIGHT.

    For some reason, at 5d it took me a while to get “Toni” out of my head – he being an omnipresent seller of ice creams, and also being “one hundred and one”.

    Full marks to the setter. And congratulations to Tony Sever – who’d have thought?

    1. I think it was keriothe who came up with a beautifully lyrical and anguished clue for SPANISH OMELETTE:
      “Overcome by sadness, Pan is home. Let tears course (7,8)”
      Hidden across 6 words.
      DNF… tiredness and alcohol don’t help me, as they do Verlaine.

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