Times 26541 – worth the p-pain

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Had this not been a blog-day, I might well have put this one down after half an hour, with only two-thirds of it filled in. I wasn’t particulary enjoying it, my arthritic hip was sore and I had an unprovoked but persistent attack of hiccups (I don’t have curry and lager for breakfast). However, subscribing to our team maxim, “Never knowingly underblogged”, I soldiered on.
I’m glad I did, as the recalcitrant NW corner fell into place and raised a smile or two as the SDF decided to call it a day.
Parsing them all correctly was another matter; I’ll let the usual critics straighten me out where necessary.
I’ll be interested to hear whether others found it heavy going or it was just me today.

1 JUNKER – I had a vague idea Junkers were something to do with German aristocracy, but expected it to be spelt with a C before the K, as in our non-aristocratic Luxem-bourgeois EU President; I thought without the C it was an aeroplane. However I confirm, JUNKERs were Prussian aristocracy who treated their peasants like tom-tit, and a junker would be someone throwing stuff away. All a long-winded way to tell you it’s a DD.
4 PATHOGEN – PATH = way, O GEN = no information; D it makes us sick. I saw a similar clue to this answer a couple of weeks ago.
10 CORMORANT – I’d never heard of this as a synonym for glutton, but it seemed reasonable; the word play is COR! = my!, MO = second, RANT = angry outburst.
11 GRAIN – GRAN is your relative, insert I, D seed.
12 BOOTLEG – BOOTLE is a port town adjacent to Liverpool; add G for good, D not made legally. It took me a long time to see this because I had the G at the end and was hung up on an ING ending.
13 ROLLING – If you’re rich you’re ROLLING in it, and ROLLING STOCK will take you by train, unless you’re commuting on Southern Rail this week.
14 TOKEN – TO KENT would be south-east from London; ‘almost’ = remove the T; D without meaning it, as in ‘token gesture’.
15 GO POSTAL – An American expression I didn’t know, but the wordplay is clear; GOAL POST is a supporter on pitch, move the AL to the end = push A Large right back.
18 PASTORAL – PAST = former time, ORAL = not written down; D type of poem. My ignorance and dislike of poetry has already been recorded in this forum, but it sounded reasonable that there was such a type. Looking it up, I see I was right, it’s a drippy sort of ode about Utopian rural life.
20 LEHAR – This is more my kind of clue; musical. LEAR is the king, insert H for Henry, Franz Lehar of Merry Widow fame is your answer.
23 ELASTIC – (LACE IT’S)*; D used in knickers. Indeed it is.
25 GRIMACE – GRIM = serious, ACE = expert, D expression.
26 LODGE – EG (say) DOL(L) all reversed, where DOLL = pretty girl; D small house.
27 ABSORBENT – Insert ORB = the Earth, into ABSENT = off; D taking it all in.
28 GENDARME – G E = outskirts of Grenoble, insert END (aim) ARM (gun); D &lit. Neat.
29 SNOOPY – NOO(N) = almost twelve, insert into SPY = agent; D dog, Charlie Brown’s pet beagle.

1 JACOBITE – My LOI, although it’s fair enough once you start looking for a revolutionary. JAC(K) = sailor having lost foot, O = old, BITE = wound; D one involved in the Jacobite rebellion of 1745.
2 NORFOLK – AND NO PEOPLE would be NOR FOLK, and Norfolk is where one finds the Norfolk Broads, a recreational wetlands area made up of more than one ‘BROAD’.
3 EXOPLANET – Anagram of ANTELOPE around X = unknown; D distant world, a planet discovered to be orbiting a star other than our own.
5 ANTHROPOLOGIST – Serious misdirection here. An ANTHOLOGIST could be a collector of stories, little gems worth reading, then insert ROP being the central heart of EUROPOL; D customs investigator, one who studies traditions and human traits.
6 HEGEL – LEG = on, in cricket, EH? = what? All reversed (coming up); D philosopher. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich, German chap.
7 GRANITA – This clue really annoyed me; not knowing the expression at 15a, I was determined to get GRANITE in there but unable to see why. But the definition isn’t rock, it’s ICE; the end of granite = rock changes to A as in onset of Arctic. A Granita is an iced dessert.
8 NONAGE – NO = upside-down ON, NAG horse, E = exciting at first; D infancy.
9 BAGGAGE RECLAIM – Hands up, biffers. A BAGGAGE is a slang term for a saucy girl, then (MIRACLE)*; D her case comes up here.
16 SOLDIER ON – I blogged another clue to this answer a couple of weeks ago; SOON = quickly, holds L and R (hands) = SOL R ON, then insert DIE = fail; D keep going.
17 URGENTLY – hUrRy evenly = U R, then GENTLY = peacefully; D without delay.
19 ALADDIN – A LAD = a boy, D = dressed finally, IN; D rubber, as in the rubber of his lamp. Yes, you may well groan.
21 HEAVE-HO – I’m not 100% sure how this works. If you give something the HEAVE-HO, you’re rejecting it? And sailors are called upon to heave-ho?
22 JET LAG – Another one which took me too long to see, I wanted it to be SEA LEG for a while. JAG is the car, insert (LET)*; D travel sickness, of a sort I suppose, although jet lag is nothing to do with travelling only with time differences, you don’t get it if you fly from London to Cape town.
24 THETA – THEFT is stealing, drop the F = not using force, add A; D letter.

44 comments on “Times 26541 – worth the p-pain”

  1. 16:41 .. another excellent puzzle, though I felt much more in tune with this one that yesterday’s.

    A few minutes at the end to work out GRANITA and JUNKER, and to parse URGENTLY, which was bothering me as a biff. Not sure if cormorants are gluttons. I only know where they hide their eggs.

    Well done, Pip, for soldiering on in trying circumstances. I promise I didn’t smile at the thought of the hiccupping blogger.

    GENDARME is a cracker.

  2. Found this quite straightforward Pop .. perhaps give lager and curry for breakfast a try?

    But your blogging seems top class!

  3. Really enjoyed this and solved fully in 35 challenging minutes, with lots at the edge of my knowledge like JUNKER and CORMORANT. Never heard of GO POSTAL, presumably because I’m either too old or too English, but the cryptic was clear. I can remember sitting on Marsh Lane and Strand Road station in beautiful downtown Bootle in the late sixties reading Tolstoy while waiting for a train. Solved HEGEL dialectically. COD ANTHROPOLOGIST. Pun of the day ALADDIN.
  4. Ingenious puzzle. After half an hour I had no more than a handful of solutions in place, and was doubtful about several of them. Then it all came together quite rapidly. I’d never heard of EXOPLANET or GO POSTAL and awarded myself an extra sausage at breakfast for working them out from the cryptic parsing. As Sotira says, GENDARME is first-class. ALADDIN, I suspect, will divide solvers into those who find it either groan-worthy or chuckle-worthy — I’m in the latter group.

    Excellent blog, Pip. I am pretty sure that your explanation of 21D (HEAVE-HO) is 100 per cent — unless I’ve also missed something. Thanks for explaining THETA at 24D, which I never got round to parsing correctly.

  5. For the third day in a row I found the puzzle harder than average, and was quite surprised when I finished in 23:12. The JUNKER/JACOBITE intersection held me up longest.

    Sad to realise that if the usual Times rule is true, then Snoopy is no longer with us.

    1. If he were, he would have been 66 last week … heaven knows what that would be in dog years

      Edited at 2016-10-12 03:00 pm (UTC)

  6. Spent about an hour, ultimately failing on 22 for which I also lazily put in ‘sea leg’. A few new terms including CORMORANT for ‘glutton’ and GO POSTAL as well as some top notch clues of which my picks were the surface for ELASTIC and the ‘Customs investigator…’

    Thank you to setter and blogger

  7. … to learn the origins of GO POSTAL via ODO. A celebration of mass shootings? Oh well you get that there I suppose. But a great clue eh?

    I’m all for SNOOPY as the best of em.

  8. Happy to have completed for the first time in a while. Got all but 1a and 1d in about 45 minutes, confident with all bar LEHAR, then sat there for another ten until my trick of reading a clue backwards, word-by-word, to get around a blocked mind finally found JACOBITE and JUNKER, neither of which I’m terribly familiar with.

    HEAVE-HO was familiar from both “she’s given him the old heave-ho” and of course, “Heave-ho and up she rises…”, so I’m sure you’ve got the parsing right there.

    Lovely puzzle, I thought. COD 15a.

  9. I fully sympathise with Pip – three on the trot that have been v. stiff – probably warming up for the Championships. The NW Passage was rough going – was over the hour again – two sittings.

    15ac GO POSTAL was a write-in as it appeared about a year ago in the 15×15 I believe and caused consternation then – my (COR!) WOD.

    My LOI was 6dn HEGEL once 8dn NONAGE and GRANITA were nailed in.

    19ac ALADDIN went in early but I never parsed it! Groan indeed!

    FOI was 14ac TOKEN.

    COD 28ac GENDARME my respects to 29ac SNOOPY

    GANNETS and 10ac CORMORANTs are synonyms for Mr. Greedy Guts.

    The rest of the week bodes dodgy!

    horryd Shanghai

  10. Another excellent crossword. Average time but actually a DNF because I lazily found my sea legs (Thanks Pip). Loved ‘Customs investigator’, ‘rubber’ and ‘her case comes up here’. Plus the setter teasing the eland-o-phobes with a non-existent antelope.
  11. Nonage comes up in crosswords quite often but I’ve never been sure, is it non-age, as in non-stop, or rather nonage to rhyme (approximately) with tonnage? Obviously a dotard in his dotage dotes, so does a nonard in their nonage, er, non?
  12. Another battle here, and once again I eventually resorted to aids to come up with JACOBITE at 1dn which then easily led to JUNKER at 1ac though I have never heard of the title before despite studying German at A-level and spending many a holiday in the country visiting museums and castles etc where you’d think the term might have come up.

    I had been fixated on “backbite” at 1dn which in the sense of slandering someone might just have stretched to wounding them.

    I was also stuck for ages on the GO POSTAL / GRANITA intersection. As horry has said, the former has come up previously. It was in a Sunday puzzle in October 2013 and in a Quickie in July 2014. I remember not knowing it the first time but didn’t comment adversely on either occasion so perhaps the wordplay was kinder than today. For the other one I was at first fixated on “granite” with “rock” as the definition but the rest of the clue unexplained. Then I thought “glacier” with “Arctic ice” as the definition. Then perhaps it was “glacial” defined by “of Arctic ice”. It was only suddenly remembering GO POSTAL that finally resolved this dilemma

    I liked ALADDIN. SNOOPY has appeared here somewhere within the past week or two.

    Heave ho, me hearties! I be off to feed me parrot.

    Edited at 2016-10-12 09:58 am (UTC)

  13. I thought this was about the same level as the most recent two, but I completed in 16.35, half the time of one and a third of the other. ALADDIN is my kind of clue, an awful (both senses) pun. I’ve been trying all morning to scratch a particular itch that says CORMORANT=Glutton is an Aussie thing, only to discover here that it’s gannet, at least in my social world. Never could distinguish between the two. We have one, or the other, or possibly both on our local lake.
    Pratchett’s title “Going Postal” at last makes sense.
    Thanks Pip for a masterful and amusing blog, and for breaking ANTHROPOLOGIST down into its constituent parts. I couldn’t get past seeing a lot more of the word in Europol and wondering how to justify that, and the collector of gems threw me completely, because you know there is a word for that but you can’t recall it.
  14. … after an hour I had a blank at URGENTLY. Doh! And I had the 1s as ‘binner’ and ‘backbite’. Not quite sure why, but they seemed to fit…

    I liked ALADDIN, and assumed that ‘GO POSTAL’ was what happened before the internet to all the stuff that now ‘goes viral’…

  15. Four over today, the third toughie in a row.

    Interesting that GO POSTAL was unknown to some. I guess we get more American popular culture here than you do in the UK, for better or for worse, but this expression’s been around for a while. Since Son of Sam I guess.

    On the other hand I was held up by not knowing JUNKER, EXOPLANET or the required meaning of BAGGAGE (still unsure). Also took ages over ALADDIN and LODGE for some reason.

    Nice chewy puzzle overall. COD to ANTHROPOLOGIST I think.

    Thanks setter and Pip.

    1. Shakespeare quite like the word, as in this bit from The Merry Wives of Windsor: ‘Out of my door, you witch, you rag, you baggage, you polecat, you ronyon! out, out!’
  16. Yes, I toyed with both “binner” and “backbite” too, thinking “BA” for the revolutionary sailor. Took quite some staring and frowning before I gave up on those.
  17. 58 minutes and left thinking that snared Chinese cormorants must be the most frustrated creatures in the world. I don’t think a gannet would stand for it.

    My favourite was BAGGAGE RECLAIM, but then I watched some Dick Emery excerpts on YT last night…

  18. Call me totally unscientific, but I can’t see how jet lag has nothing to do with travel. Unless you can be in two places at the same time. But then would you get jet lag?
    1. Well I suppose you have to travel a long way east or west to experience it, but calling it ‘travel sickness’ implying the travel causes the sickness seems more than a stretch; it’s just the change of time zones and daylight hours affecting one’s body clock wnd it’s hardly a sickness.
    2. I challenge you to develop JET LAG without travelling! Funnily enough I was perfectly happy with the travel aspect of this but wasn’t that keen on describing it as a ‘sickness’.
  19. 49 minutes but with one wrong. Being unable to parse GRANITE, and then solving GO POSTAL, I figured the definition of 7d was ice, but assumed it was some form of glacial deposit, not remembering the dessert, thus mombling GLAMIDA which gave me the GLAM(rock) and the finally (covere)D by A but didn’t account for the I. Otherwise an interesting puzzle where I found the shorter words more difficult than the longer ones, with FOI ANTHROPOLOGIST, shortly followed by BAGGAGE RECLAIM, both of which made me smile. LOsI before the momble were JACOBITE and JUNKER. Was able to parse them all apart from GRANITA, so thanks to Pip for that, and to the setter for an enjoyable challenge.
  20. Just over my target hour, needing a dictionary to check on NONAGE and GRANITA.

    Overheard at a party:
    “We’d better get some food before the gannets get here.”
    “The Gannets? I don’t believe I’ve met them.”

  21. 21m. Another enjoyable challenge, with JUNKER my only unknown. Oh, and the fact that LEHAR was a Franz. I do like it when the clues are hard but the words aren’t.
    I knew both the meaning and origin of GO POSTAL, but I think I first came across it in Canada.
    I know gannets as archetypally gluttonous birds but I don’t think I’ve ever heard a greedy person described as a CORMORANT.

    Edited at 2016-10-12 01:03 pm (UTC)

  22. Interesting puzzle that caused some head scratching, especially GO POSTAL which went in on the cryptic and checkers

    Unlike others, had no problem with JUNKER. JU88 was a very versatile German WW2 fast bomber that operated in Battle of Britain where it suffered more losses than other makes like the Heinkel and Dornier. As Luftwaffe ace General Adolf Galland said to Goering “Get me a squadron of Spitfires”

  23. 18 mins. At one stage I thought it was going to take me a lot longer and I was starting to drift with about half the puzzle still to complete, but I suddenly realised that there were probably plenty more quirky definitions, I adjusted my thought processes accordingly, and I finished it relatively comfortably in the end. GRANITA was my LOI after the PATHOGEN/NONAGE crossers. Despite having been raised in Bootle I didn’t get BOOTLEG until I had the B checker. Count me as another who had no problem with JUNKER, and it was my FOI almost as soon as I read the clue.
  24. About 30 minutes, but should have been quicker. Thick-headed while solving, apparently. The NW corner held me up, LOI being TOKEN. My UK geography isn’t the greatest. Didn’t really know of the ‘baggage’, or the ice, but they weren’t too hard. My familiarity with the JUNKER derives from Yonkers, NY, supposedly named because it was originally the estate of one such Dutch gentleman, which was known as ‘the Junkeer’s land’, morphed into the present name. Regards.
    1. “Heave to” is a nautical expression but it means to bring a vessel to a standstill without anchoring, and is nothing to do with a call for effort; that’s “heave-ho”.

      It also doesn’t fit the other meaning required here, “rejection” as in being given the “heave-ho” from a job.

  25. I zipped through this one in about twenty minutes (for me, that’s a zip), grinding to a halt 1d/1ac.

    I got the parsing of 1d completely farce about ace, looking for a “wound” and a “revolutionary sailor”, and could only come up with “backbite” which satisfied those requirements to some extent. That left me with a B at 1ac, and no plausible answer would suffice. In the end, I concluded that a “binner” (yes, it does look silly now that I write it here) was some kind of middle-eastern aristocrat. I then decided that neither of those could possibly be right, but by that point I was in an ‘oh b****x’ frame of mind and hit submit.

    I blame it on Wednesdays. I’ve never been particularly fond of them, and believe that having one every week is completely unnecessary. I may skip next week’s altogether.

    1. Well you were not alone re 1dn, Dr Thud. I wasted ages on “backbite” as mentioned above and also considering “binner” as the foreign aristocrat – but I bet at least you didn’t get as far as looking it up to find out if it existed!

      Edited at 2016-10-12 09:01 pm (UTC)

      1. True, I didn’t get quite that far – I was more in a “well, if it’s not that then the puzzle is wrong” frame of mind.
  26. After a fortnight’s break from crosswords came back to this one. 39 minutes, although I failed to parse several of them. ‘Customs investigator’ is brilliant.
  27. 12:07 for this exceptionally fine puzzle, a delight from start to finish. My compliments to the setter.

    No problems with any of the vocab (I can’t remember when I first came across GO POSTAL, but I’ve known it for years).

  28. Nice puzzle. Can anyone clarify how 7 dn works – in particular, where the indicator is that tells you to exchange the final E of granite for an A? Or does ‘covered’ imply that the the E remains in place, but is overlaid by the A, rather than being replaced by it? Thanks.

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