Times 26548 – a fractured fairy tale

Solving time : 11:27, and I was the first one in on the club timer. Could have been a bit quicker if I knew how to spell, as a poor spelling of 7 down (since it was partially clued as a homophone, my bad spelling isn’t helped by the wordplay).

I suspect a few obvious definitions will make this one amenable to biffing, but there’s some fun wordplay along the way.

Just finished the write-up and I’m still on top of the leaderboard, so I may have been on the setter’s wavelength this time. Nothing particularly obscure I thought, but some cunning wordplay.

Away we go…

1 BEHOLDING: BEING(person) surrounding HOLD(cargo area)
6 ERROR: E(pick an end of ExpensivE), R(runs), then ROAR missing A
9 STRAFED: STRAW-FED(given stalks to eat) without the W(weight)
10 ARTEMIS: inside ARTS, put I,ME reversed
11 MEANT: MEAN(average),T
12 GUEST BEER: sounds like GUESSED BIER(what a body was on)
13 ANTIMONY: ANY(some) containing TIMON(miser)
14 ASTI: AS(like), then IT reversed
17 FLOE: L in FOE
18 ALPINIST: A LIST containing PIN
21 DROMEDARY: anagram of ROAMED inside DRY
24 VOLCANO: VOL(ume), then CA(accountant), NO(isn’t it)
25 ALASKAN: hidden in montreAL ASK ANy
27 FREE LUNCH: anagram of CHEERFUL and N(ews), referencing the phrase “there ain’t no such thing as a freelunch” or TANSTAAFL
1 BOSOM: MO(tick) and SOB all reversed
2 HARD ACT TO FOLLOW: HARD(stiff), ACT(law), TO FOLLOW(not yet ready)
3 LIFETIME: anagram of FILE, then TIME magazine
4 INDIGENT: INDIA missing A, then GENT
6 ESTATE: I suspect this is meant to be E-STATE referring to the E-type jaguar? mctext in comments suggests this is a double definition, though I kind of like the Jaguar rationalization
7 RUMPELSTILTSKIN: I’ll take issue with “Evil dwarf”, without him folks would have had far less gold! Anyway, it sounds like RUMPLES, then TILTS(starts), KIN
8 RESTRAINT: RT(right) containing an anagram of RETSINA
13 AFFIDAVIT: AFFI(x), then DAVIT(a hoist)
15 PLAY SAFE: two definitions, one cryptic
16 WINDFALL: another two definitions, the apple may have been blown off in the wind
20 SAW OFF: remove the middle from SAWN OFF
23 HUNCH: H then (l)UNCH

71 comments on “Times 26548 – a fractured fairy tale”

  1. Not-so-simple double def. ESTATE = condition, as in “man’s estate” (the human condition). Cf Malraux.

    Edited at 2016-10-20 12:14 am (UTC)

  2. A soundish 35 minutes (for me) with only 13dn AFFIDAVIT giving any real trouble – my COD.

    I must take issue with 5dn GOATEE – not all ‘you’ are able to sport one. Women by nature do not have them (bearded ladies excepted!) and therefore the clue doesn’t work for the ladies attempting this puzzle. No accusation here of sexism, just sloppy cluing. And do GOATEEs necessarily hang anyway? Some may be waxed-upwardly! Editor?

    FOI 7dn RUMPELSTILTSKIN making a second recent appearance – thus spelling no problem. LOI 1dn BOSOM – not much of a clue IMO.


  3. Definitely some biffable clues, e.g. 7d, where the K N was enough. My last two in were 12ac–where for the longest time I could see nothing but ‘Great Bear’, which of course was ridiculous; finally saw ‘guessed’, and remembered the previously unknown GUEST BEER from a recent cryptic–and 20d, where ‘ran off’ persisted in blocking more intelligent choices. COD to 8d.
  4. I struggled a bit to finish this off having made reasonable progress through the rest of it. Giving most problems were 13ac, 13dn and 24ac in the SW corner with GOATEE at the top as my last one in. Some of the wordplay was very neat but required reverse engineering to spot it after the answer had already been found.
  5. I managed to maximise the irony by pencilling in a random PLAY CAGE in at 15dn and leaving it there even unto submission. Shame, under 7 minutes would have been alright for a crossword done straight out of bed before 6am otherwise.

    Now it you’ll excuse me I’m just going to write out a thousand times, NO HANDING IN UNPARSED SOLUTIONS ON SATURDAY. NO HANDING IN UNPARSED SOLUTIONS ON SATURDAY. NO…

  6. About 30 mins for me. Surely RUMPELS… couldn’t be spelt RUMPLES… because then it wouldn’t be a hompohone, just the actual ruffles.

    I was distracted at 2dn since I was sure it was going to be a variation on a “hard bar to clear” with bar tying in nicely to the law (although not quite right now I think about it).

    Was also tempted by GREEN something. When the clue starts “newcomer” and the grid has “G-E–” it is obviously GREEN right?

  7. 14:29 .. with the last 5 minutes spent on GUEST BEER, where the checkers were demanding ‘Great Bear’, which I knew couldn’t be right. I had been sitting outside with my coffee a few minutes earlier watching the Perseid meteors so I had the heavens on my mind. Got there in the end.
      1. Sotira only tells us she drank Guest beers for the last 5 minutes. Clearly she was on the regular beers for a lot longer.
        1. That’s a possibility but I’ve long suspected that the superfast solvers like Sotira and Verlaine are not mere mortals and I am now convinced they are from another planet where the Perseids appear late October and small children are kept in cages.
          1. Orionids, Perseids … Now let’s not go getting all pedantic. Did I say I was an astronomer? They were shooting stars flying past the Pleiades, or close enough for me! I imagine Copernicus worked much the same way, especially after a guest beer or two. Talking of which, don’t go putting me anywhere near the same league as Verlaine!! I’m strictly a peloton rider, whereas V is a contender.

            1. My apologies for the outrageous pedantry…I just couldn’t resist it.She was only a peloton rider,and considered herself an outsider,but on grand finals day,all the clues went her way,and out came the yellow jersey inside her. Best of luck.

              Ps am plaanning on going to the George,what’s the best time to meet up with our combatants?

              1. Excellent.

                The first of the 2 eliminators so is at 11 so many of us will be traipsing into the pub soon after 12. The other eliminator is at 1pm, so another wave of celebrants and commiserants just after 2pm. Then the grand final is at 3, and some will decamp from the pub to take part in or watch that then come back for more, er, discussion.

                I imagine people will be in the pub from mid-morning as there is a Sloggers & Betters meet to coincide with the Champs, and I think that’s an all-day fixture.

                  1. Hope so, too. I may have the times a bit wrong for the second heat but it’s something like that.

                    I expect to be in the pub soon after 12, and I think at least a few other regulars from here will be around at the same time.

  8. 34 mins with biffed and totally unparsed GREAT BEAR. Spent too long convinced that ‘ready’ was the anagrind in 2d – all the letters i had confirmed it till i got 2 o’s….
    Didn’t know the miser so biffed that as well.
  9. Reading eniamretrauq’s comment made me realize that I’d never parsed ANTIMONY. If I recall–I only read the play once–Timon was the exact opposite of a miser; when he lost his fortune he became a misanthrope, but not a miser. Or am I overlooking something (I hate when that happens)?
    1. A Google search for miser Timon takes you straight to Thomas Couture’s A Miser (study for Timon of Athens) which hangs in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. It dominates the early results. So there’s at least someone out there who thinks Timon was a miser, but it also suggests he might be the only one!
  10. Sadly one biff too many here. Perhaps overly pleased with myself for remembering that I spelled RUMPELSTILTSKIN wrong the last time it came up, and confidently biffing it today, I carried on to biff “affadavit”, finishing in 35 minutes, but with one letter wrong. Damn! I could have sworn that was how you spelled it.

    I should have known that rushing through chasing my P.B. would have led to an error. TANSTAAFL, as they say.

    Edited at 2016-10-20 07:57 am (UTC)

  11. it took me nearly two minutes to start, and a further ten to finish, so this was a bit of a canter. I was almost tempted by the nautical flavour of 13d to adopt Long John Silver’s spelling of AFFY DAVY, but neither the wordplay nor the grid allowed it. Perhaps next time, or tomorrow in the TLS.
    As a big fan of the deliberate misreading of signs and notices, I was cheerfully drawn to 15’s “To minimise danger, secure container for child”, so reminiscent of such instructions as “keep locked up and away from children” (I try to) and this particularly delicious example.
    1. Yes, that’s a good one Z. The New Yorker used to have a regular feature on that kind of thing, to which I contributed a flyer from our local Peking Palace eatery which advertised “customer cooking”.
      1. Up until recently the snack bar type place at snow hill station in Birmingham (run by possibly the most charmless Chinese woman I’ve ever met) had a sign up saying “hot sandwiches serve here”. Always gave me a mental image of a giant bacon bap standing behind the counter saying “what you want”?
        1. I used to frequent a café in Kolkata whose menu under
          ‘Drinks’ said, ‘Only tea is not served.’
          1. My favourite was a sign in a golf club locker room.. “All clothes should be removed before leaving”.
    2. I got one of those silly letter grids on my Facebook page which suggests there is something significant in the first word you see in the plethora of letters. The instruction read “Don’t cheat! Type the first word you see in the comments & then look and see what everyone else saw. SHARE when you’re done & see what your friends say! SHARE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
      So I looked in the comments and the first word was Lois. Probably not for long.
  12. Did this at my favourite pace of about 35 minutes with no biffs and all parsed. I had ESTATE as a double definition as per mctext. COD shared by WINDFALL and GUEST BEER. LOI STRAFED. A nice puzzle for a quiet morning while watching England recover. Or not as the case might be.
  13. You would have loved (it’s out of print, alas) “Squad Helps Dog Bite Victim”, a collection of such headlines, put together by the Columbia Journalism Review.
    1. Today’s Times page 20 has “dump charges fuel rise in fly-tipping ” – okay if your first inclination is to read ‘dump’ as a noun but , if taken as a verb , …..!
    2. There used to be some books around with titles like ‘Funny Ha Ha and Funny Peculiar’. The one that stuck in my mind was a sign seen in a Midlands cafe
      “Customers who think the waitresses are rude should see the Manageress”
  14. 25 minutes but fell at the last with Guest Beer (not the first time). Great Bear was too easy.
    Being a toddler chez Verlaine sounds a bundle of laughs? I hope you let them out before you go to work.
    1. I was wondering if anyone was going to query my parenting style. But c’mon, PLAY PEN, PLAY CAGE, what’s the difference really?
  15. 19:44. Count me as another who misspelled RUMPELSTILTSKIN initially. If I’d read the clue properly the homophone indicator might have led to the correct spelling earlier.

    LOI ANTIMONY, which I was pleased with as I only half knew the word and I didn’t know Timon was a miser. This reminded me that not so long ago I’d often have one or two like this that beat me at the end but now most of the time I tend to get them. Proof that practice does pay off!

  16. Nice to get one all right after a few could-sit-here-till-kingdom-come shockers for me in recent days in the form of xyster, boogie-woogie and cognizant.

    Good point by a previous poster that in the run-up to Saturday it’s handy to fluff a couple just to put you on your mettle. However, when you just don’t know the word…

    Anyway, enjoyed today’s. LOI antimony, COD guest beer.

  17. Worked steadily through this without any pyrotechnics. Tempted by “cornfed” but avoided the trap.

    The story of Newton and the apple is substantially true. You can read an account by a contempory of Newton, William Stukeley, on the Royal Society website in which Newton explains how it set him wondering why the apple always fell straight down and he concluded that there was a force pulling it towards earth. 350 years later and we still don’t really understand how gravity works!

    1. Jimbo – According to Einstein’s theory of relativity, gravity is not pulling us down but space is pushing us down.
      1. I always thought (presumed? Guessed?) that gravity was caused by the centrifugal force from earth’s rotation around its own axis.
        1. Gravity(related to the mass of an object) is what stops the spinning Earth flinging you off:-)
      2. A few different statements of gravity seem to be flying around. As a long-time-ago Physicist with a more recent Divinity degree let me give my two pennorth’. In Newtonian mechanics it’s the force between any two bodies with a mass, proportional to the multiple of the two masses divided by the square of the distance between them. For Einstein, working in the scale of the universe, it’s a distortion of space-time. In quantum mechanics,at the elementary particle level, it’s too small to be discernible, which is as well as there’s no working theory. In string theory, it’s in another 7 dimensions as well as the normal 3, which is why it’s too small to matter in the quantum world. The dualist ( or perhaps dual aspect monist) theologian in me says that the lack of any full explanation keeps the weight off all our shoulders, so that we can be burdened by the troubles of life.
        1. I’m curgently wading through Tom Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God. A propos of nothing really, except I wanted to mention it. What’s a dualist theologian? Sounds a bit, um, unorthodox…
          1. ‘Dualist’ wasn’t an adjective qualifying ‘theologian’. It’s the usual philosophical distinction between the physical and mental worlds dating back to Descartes and before, giving reality and possibly agency to both the physical and the mental. Dual aspect monism would recognise that both are inextricably linked but doesn’t give primacy to either. At the moment, a reductionist view that there is nothing more than the physical holds sway in most disciplines, although ironically possibly least of all in Physics, where uncertainty has become the answer and not the question. Also Godel has shown that no finite system explained in terms of mathematics can contain its own explanation. I’ve actually found that the only way I can really illustrate this is in story, which is why I’ve written the novel shown in my picture for this website. I guess logic itself ends up as reductionist. Good luck with St Paul. Now there’s a man who takes things to their logical extreme and beyond!
            1. Go on, what’s the novel called and did it get published (the really hard but as far as books are concerned, as I have found)?

              Physics has clearly gone a bit relativist. Bring back compulsory courses on Karl Popper, is what I say.

              1. Where’s Sailor Jack? by John Uttley. I nearly got a publisher as we all say. Second edition now out with Matador and Kindle. If you’re interested, I’ll gladly send you a copy. Same goes for any other site member. Popper would see his falsification in the rejection letters! Got a great review by Ray Connolly though.
    2. Curiously I’m reading one of the free monthly ebooks that come with the Times subscription, ‘The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science’, and read about Stukeley’s account just last night.
      1. Your comment prompts me that I no longer receive these ebook download offers although I am very much a paid-up subscriber . Is there now a cunning secret to receiving these ?
        1. I go to the Times+ section of the iPad edition. I guess there is an equivalent website area if you’re not using a tablet.
  18. A canter, (for me), through this one in 27 minutes, starting with MEANT, then filling in the NW, NE, SE and SW in that order and finishing with ANTIMONY. Failed to see the parsing for 13d, biffing it from checkers, but didn’t know DAVIT for hoist anyway. Spelt the evil dwarf wrongly at first and wondered if a newcomer to a pub might wander around in a GREAT BLUR until saner thoughts prevailed. Liked PLAY SAFE and SAW OFF. Thanks setter and George.
  19. 13m. Like gothick_matt I was pleased to remember that I spelled RUMPELSTILTSKIN wrong last time it came up, but also like gothick_matt I can’t spell AFFIDAVIT. I suspect I’ve done that before too: hopefully I’ll remember this time.
    I really hope I’m getting my silly mistakes out of the way, and not starting a period of poor form in time for Saturday.
  20. 22.50 after being stuck for a time at the end on strafed and saw(n)off. Whatever Timon was it wasn’t a miser. Interesting point horryd makes about 5 dn. and “you” – it seems natural enough to make the surface “go”, if technically an error of metonymy or something; but one can hardly see a bra clued offhandedly as something you wear. I find myself beholding the error-strafed Artemis in dismay at the clue in a hunting break.
    1. Timon of Athens (ie the Shakespeare play) is fiction .. but Timon himself is quite widely reputed to have been a miser; sc. Alexander Pope, who got into deep trouble by allegedly comparing the Duke of Chandos to him

      Edited at 2016-10-20 02:00 pm (UTC)

  21. And no issues with the dwarf, as GUEST BEER fell as FOI leaving no room for error. Once I’d worked out what word was meant to go there of course.

    One of the few where I could have been just as fast solving online as my preferred route of treeware – all anagrams put in without need to write down and shuffle first.

    both the 13s biffed from checkers, LOI, for no logical reason, 6d.

  22. 24 min. Held up for a while at 13ac, as I knew that the convention for naming non-metallic elements is -on if inert, -ine for halogens, so I was looking for a miser in CHLORINE or ASTATINE.
  23. 10m 28s and I also messed up RUMPELSTILTSKIN at first. I had more problems at 13d, where I had to write out a number of possible spellings for AFFIDAVIT before, fortunately, plumping for the right one. The kind of luck I’m hoping stays with me on Saturday.
  24. I toyed with play “date”, having had my grandsons (5 and 3) for a looong one last Saturday, after which Verlaine’s cage idea sounds appealing. No trouble with the beer because when it was a DNK some eons ago it gave me a double error, after which it became a BSTR (be sure to remember). 11.26
    1. Ha, my two older grandchildren are 4 and 6, I feel for you Olivia. So wonderful to have them come, so wonderful to see them go .. then a day or two clearing up!
  25. 8:59 with more biffs than Batman fighting the Penguin’s henchmen.

    Thanks for explaining affidavit which I spelled correctly despite not being able to parse any of it.

    Tiny typo at 7d George where you haven’t accounted for the first S.

    I liked the play safe clue.

  26. Finished this in the warm west walian sunshine, pleasant all round. Another tripped up by the evil dwarf but corrected when I cracked the GUEST BEER, the best definition of the day, definitely – but how hard would that be to get if you weren’t a bit familiar with the Beer Regulations? Anyone else have a problem with the definition of ASTI?
  27. 16 mins. I’m another who started slowly, but once I had a few answers the rest followed relatively quickly. ANTIMONY was my LOI after the INDIGENT/GUEST BEER crossers. Good luck to everyone competing on Saturday.
  28. About 25 minutes, ending with PLAY SAFE, where one definition was obvious, the other less so. I enjoyed GUEST BEER, although I don’t remember it at all from any prior appearance. The homophones were clear (after the checking letters appeared, that is), so in it went. Do you really call people that over there? We should use it over here, too. Regards.
    1. Kevin,

      No, we don’t call people “guest beer”, alas. the clue’s definition, “Newcomer to pub”, was an attempt to mislead but really just indicates a beer that isn’t normally on sale in that establishment.

  29. Well, I always said I liked Thursdays. Zipped through this one in 19 minutes – fast for me. I spent a while with a mis-spelled “Rumplestiltskin”, but couldn’t see “guest blur” being a viable answer to 12ac. What with GUEST BEER, ASTI and retsina all making their appearances, this was a nicely alcoholic puzzle which I enjoyed.

    Not quite sure about Newton’s apple being a WINDFALL – I thought the point of it was that it was pulled off by gravity?

  30. 7:46 – rather faster than I felt I’d been as I made heavy weather of one or two clues.

    Managed to resist biffing GREAT BEAR (once GREEN BEER had been eliminated) and PLAY MATE.

    Another pleasant, straightforward puzzle.

  31. Police shoot man with knife.
    Allies push bottles up Germans
    Woman says body in garden was a plant
  32. This was my first finished 15×15 with no aids of any kind, I even had most of it parsed (except Antimony). I’m chuffed indeed. It’s been a long time coming and wouldn’t have come at all without the excellent instruction and encouragement in this blog, many thanks to all!
    Sorry for anonymous post
    Cat Pan
    1. Well done! As a relatively recent newcomer to the Times 15×15 myself, I know that’s a good moment 🙂

      PS: Don’t be surprised if everyone else is a bit quiet this weekend; it’s the annual championships in London today, of course, starting pretty much as I write…

  33. 7d – the definition for TILTS is surely “starts to upset”, not “starts”.

    All done except the one letter in affidevit. And a few years late!

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