Times 26569 – Boldly going…

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Finally, after many a near thing and one unfortunate crash-landing, the time machine is safely in my possession. And what a work of art it is! I hope you will indulge me as I describe it in some detail – the temptation would prove too much for all but the least romantic, I can warrant you. But before I do that, I must record my gratitude to Jack, without whom none of this would be possible. He may claim to have only a Physics O-level, but take it from me that this – ‘machine’ hardly does it justice – this thing of beauty, this ethereal quintessence, combines functionality with aestheticism – despite, as we shall see below, having been treated with a regrettable lack of care by one or two of those to whom it has been lent as a sacred trust. Be assured I will not be so cavalier now that it has come into my stewardship on a fortnightly basis.

The first thing one notices upon passing through the portal is the sign ‘Strictly No Goats Allowed!’ One is then taken – ‘drawn’ almost, as if by a hand imperceptible – into a living area, which is spick and span, yet comfortable and homey, with range, fireplace, coffee machine and wine rack. To one side, a corridor branches off, leading into what is evidently the control room. All instruments and panels are neatly labelled, and it takes a careful eye to spot what looks like a gouge mark in the oak panelling. Opening a drawer, I found a slim book with the title ‘How to Dispose of a Goat Carcase’, then, glancing out of the window, noticed some still smouldering embers at the far side of the immaculate lawn. A pair of horns had been shaped into a saltire with copper wire and placed on the fence to deter unwanted intruders; next to it was a sign, which I could not read, as its back was towards me. Significantly, though, it was the same size and made of the same material as the one that had greeted me on entering this cosmic wonderland.

Time today to tell of only one more of the many rooms through which I wandered for what seemed like hours in a state part way between wonderment and awe. Entering this chamber I was struck at once by the mixture of the old and the new, the ancient and the modern. An Apple computer with a screensaver showing a group of particularly scruffy individuals, some of whom were holding electric guitars in what may generously be called deeply slung positions, dominated a modern white table with matching swivel chair with ergonomic headrest. Coffee had been spilt on the keyboard and only the most cursory effort made to clear it up. But it was to the floor beside the table that my gaze was drawn. Two identical cages, each housing bowls containing the remnants of shredded wheat and glasses of semi-skimmed milk, lay side by side, separated only by a witeboard with the words ‘Res agendae hodie’. The cages themselves had name-plates marked in a steeply cursive script: ‘Puella major’ and ‘Puella minor’. Stooping down low, I saw that each had a book inside it: in the former was Abbott and Mansfield’s Primer of Greek Grammar, while the latter housed Winnie Ille Pu. (To be continued…)

27 minutes for this, but I did it at Mach 2 so I may actually have finished before I started for all I know.


1. SHAFT – SH + AFT.
4. SET SQUARE – ‘class item’; SET (series) + SQUARE (four is 2 to the power of 2).
9. OARSWOMAN – anagram* of WAR SO + OMAN.
10. ATRIA – A TRIA[l].
11. TIMBRE – M[arginally] B[etter] in TIRE
12. HEATLESS – ‘cold’; H + ‘EAT LESS!’
14. MAN OF LETTERS – um, yes – moving along…
17. STAGE WHISPER – ‘aside’ ; SAW THREE PIGS* (the anagrind is ‘cast’).
20. AMORETTO – ‘little Cupid’ – easily confused – especially by an idealogue – with amaretto (a liqueur); A + MORE + OTT (reversed – ‘reclining’). Nice clue.
21. FAMOUS – MO in FAUS[t]. If someone had asked me before I entered the time machine to name two operas by the John Malkovich lookalike, I would have failed.
23. STING – ‘smart’; T in SING.
24. ELIMINATE – hidden across five words (or six, if you do not do contractions).
25. MAKE HASTE – ‘move it’; SHAKE* (‘dancing’ is the anagrindicator) in MATE (couple).
26. THERE – ‘told you so!’; THE + RE.


1. SHOWTIME – WITH SOME* (‘somersaults’ is anagrinder).
2. ACRIMONY – ‘the spleen’; IM in A CRONY.
3. TOWER OF STRENGTH – ‘rock’; a play on words involving TOW and TOWER supplies the whimsicality here.
4. SUMO – SUM + O. Maybe it’s because I’m not Japanese, but I find it hard to think of sumo as a sport; more as a chance for men with long hair who don’t diet to walk around in nappies held up by a very large belt in front of their adoring fans.
6. QUARTER FINALIST – ‘one of eight left’; IRAQ AFTER INSULT* (if you want to know what the anagrind is, ask horryd).
7. AGREED – ‘you’re on’; REED (after) follows A + G[anja].
8. ELAPSE – ‘pass’; S + PALE (all reversed – ‘going north’) + E; POLE and PALE, meaning stake, look alike because they share the same Latin root (palus).
13. WEIGHTLESS – ‘floating’ – I have 2 Combined Science O-levels, and they tell me that if you are not apparently acted on by gravity you are likely to float, unless someone chains you to the floor of the capsule; W (with) + EIGHTLESS (without a crew).
15. UP-TO-DATE – if you are ‘up’ to date someone, then you are looking forward to the experience of going out with them.
16. GRASMERE – R in GAS + MERE; many beautiful walks start from this lake in Cumberland.
18. BALSAM – BALSA + [ny]M[ph] for the resinous stuff found in shampoos, etc.
19. KODIAK – AID + OK (all reversed) followed by K[oala] for the large subspecies of brown bear inhabiting the Kodiak Archipelago of SW Alaska.
22. FINE – double definition.

49 comments on “Times 26569 – Boldly going…”

  1. My goats, I take it! After a day in the naughty-chair I am on best behaviour.

    31 minutes of ordinary Monday fare with 14ac MAN OF LETTERS FOI and 18dn BALSAM LOI

    My only quibble was the G in 7dn AGREED with the G being ‘little taste of ganga’. Yes but no but!


  2. … clued puzzle I thought. Even the anagrams are first class. (Despite being lured by “quarter semitone” at 6dn.)

    17ac reminiscent of Pass the Pigs — a one-time favourite with my kids.

  3. You’re most welcome to use of the device, Hugh, and I ask for no reward, unless perhaps when you next return it you’d care to include a small sample of whatever you’ve been on today? Although I was responsible for some of the pioneering work in its design, the bells and whistles that ensure reliable performance were added by mohn2 (who blogs alternate Monday QCs) so he must take most of the credit.

    The puzzle was quite easy and I’d have finished within target (30 minutes) but for a problem at 7dn, my LOI, where I thought I was looking for an obscure drug-related word A + anagram [on grass] of YOU’RE.

    On another matter, I have decided to switch to Chrome as my default browser but now when I print puzzles in the Club (which I prefer as I like the print grey option), the lines and shaded areas in the grid are out of alignment (as shown in my user pic). In “print preview” they look fine. Does anyone have any suggestions please?

    Edited at 2016-11-14 06:51 am (UTC)

    1. I’m sure Chrome has many fine qualities, but printing doesn’t seem to be one of them .. last time I looked it had no print edit facility worth speaking of. You could try making the page smaller in the browser before trying to print it.. or use firefox as I do, which will do anything
    2. Used it for a while, then gave up when the puzzles started looking strange.
      Work around: expand the greyed window on the Club site so that the whole grid and clues are shown. Take a screen shot of that area and print it??
      1. Thanks to all for the suggestions above. As there appears to be no easy solution and I still have Firefox installed I shall continue printing the 15×15 from there each day.
    3. Chrome seems to work and print OK for me in the grey print option on Club site; although I more often use Firefox on my laptop W7 or Edge on my new W10 one.
        1. I have a vague recollection of someone in the past having problems printing only if their browser “zoom” was set different from the default. Perhaps try again after resetting it to “actual size” if it’s different from that? (I think the keyboard shortcut for that is control-zero on Windows…)
  4. Nice puzzle. Learnt that Amoressa’s don’t exist, in spite of seeming as though they should. Thanks Ulaca.
  5. Several senior moments slowed me down: failing to recall the -mony in 2d (palimony? antimony?), failing to come up with Faust (no, Kevin, not Norma), that sort of thing. Ulaca, if you had ever really watched a sumo match you might have risen above your philistine characterization. Or maybe not; God knows I haven’t.
  6. In answer to Jack’s insinuation about my emotional, nay, tired, state when writing the blog, let me say that I had indeed cracked open a bottle of 2010 Château Calon-Ségur, St Estèphe, but the full story of how that came to be must wait another day.
      1. What’s the point of drinking 2010 Château Calon-Ségur, when you could go and get a bottle of 1787 Chateau d’Yquem
  7. Pretty Mondayish, but not as Mondayish as Verlaine has made it look. Well played that man.

    Thought STAGE WHISPER was very good.

    Thanks setter, and get well soon Ulaca.


    Lots of crafty cluing with lateral thought required, but somehow still not too difficult or obscure, so kudos to the setter.

    9ac: I only had the first O and the only O nation (I think) is Oman, which turned out to be the one needed in the answer.

    6dn: made easier by the fact that there seem to have been a few similar clues of late.

    Edited at 2016-11-14 05:04 am (UTC)

  9. 8m, or just over 2 verlaines. Holy Moly.
    I’ve never tried 2010 Calon Ségur but I’ll be careful if I’m ever offered it.
  10. Usual time and very enjoyable start to Monday.COD to STAGE WHISPER. Ulaca’s description of his meeting at Trump Towers surpasses even Mr. Farage’s.
    1. The time machine makes Trump Towers look like Isengard. At least there you can stand on the top, survey the world and jump off – or not, as suits your pleasure. No, think Russian doll meets the tardis. As for the cellar, suffice to say that things get pretty scary down under.
  11. 13:11 .. finishing with GRASMERE (only one S, then) and FAMOUS (I’m sure Gounod was famous in his household but not so much in mine). I agree with McT that this was very nicely clued, though Verlaine must have seen as much of the scenery as Lewis Hamilton did in Brazil. “Oh look, there’s a …. no, missed it again.” Fab stuff, Verlaine.

    I already suspected that recent events had done wonders for worldwide sales of hallucinogens. Further, very entertaining evidence provided above. But heck, that’s obviously how Lewis Carroll got his best work done. Welcome to Monday, ulaca.

    Edited at 2016-11-14 08:20 am (UTC)

    1. I must confess I completely biffed 8dn in my reckless eagerness to post a sub-4-minute time… quite often that kind of thing doesn’t pay off at all but I try to lie low on those days.
  12. I thought I was going to continue my poor form of last week when I’d hardly started after 5 minutes, but then a couple went in and it flowed from there. I was helped by what seemed to me to be a higher than average number of helpful crossing letters.

    COD to SHOWTIME for a first class surface.

    1. While you and I and others were warming up in the first 5 minutes, Monsieur Verlaine, was home and dry, as they say in Brazil(Nice comparison from Sotira)! He probably had the Guardian sorted by the time you pootled in (most respectably) and the Telegraph, done and dusted, by the time I limped home after half an hour!

      1. I just logged into the crossword club to check out the time. 3:50 is sub-Roger Banister territory.
  13. All in my usual 30mins, but was held up a little at the end with ATRIA and ELAPSE. Couldn’t parse BALSAM, and didn’t parse TINSELTOWN. KODIAK is my WOD. Those bears on Planet Earth last night!

    Ulaca, you’re wasted here (…take that as you wish…)!

    1. Indeed those bears appearing to do some sort of Beyonce-style booty shaking whilst scratching themselves against a tree was priceless.
  14. It sounds like our esteemed blogger has had more than a little taste of ganja. A nice puzzle, solved easily in 25 minutes once anagrams cracked. LOI AGREED, the one clue I wasn’t keen on. My opera knowledge doesn’t run as far as Gounod, but biffed FAMOUS then parsed FAUST. I actually thought that was written by someone I’d heard of. Vaguely knew AMORETTO although I’ve been salivating for those little almond biscuits since putting it in.

    Edited at 2016-11-14 09:46 am (UTC)

  15. 14:12 but thinking not for the first time how much I am slowed down by using an iPad with The Times app. When typing in, you have to remember not to type an existing crosser again, and as I use a separate bluetooth keyboard and cannot touchtype, it means that I am constantly having to correct typed-in answers as I cannot watch the screen and the keyboard at the same time. Added to the fact that I cannot enter the Club board via an iPad and that the site periodically decides to check whether there are updates to the edition and there is a lot of slippage. Next Monday I will get treeware and a stopwatch to see if I really can get below 3 Verlaines.

    Whinge of the week over.

  16. Well, I’d certainly need a time machine to catch Verlaine. However, without one I was just glad to get there in 57:39, so at least under my standard-length hour. I found the west a lot easier than the east today, but a late inroad from QUARTER FINALIST was the key.

    I’d probably have managed a better time if I’d not dopily put in “post haste” for 25, but the lack of anywhere sane to put a K in 19d made me suspect a mistake and it all came right in the end. KODIAK and BALSAM therefore my last two in.

    Some lovely clueing here, I thought, with HEATLESS prompting the loudest groan for me.

  17. Liked 4ac SET SQUARE. In my professional experience, most students have them, virtually no-one knows what they’re for, and a vanishingly small number can tell you the ratios of the sides. 17′ 16″ today, no TARDIS needed but got up late. Thanks ulaca and setter.
  18. For the second day in a row I managed to press the reset button when over halfway through, so my time of 19.15 should have read a tad under 3.50 (come on V, try to keep up!). Today’s hidden at 24 was a mantelpiece of the genre, almost making decent sense.
    I also possess a time machine, but mine is stuck on forward, roughly at one minute per minute. I have no idea how it works.
    1. You’re Rio Ferdinand, and I claim my 5 quid.
      I didn’t find it as easy as the rest of you today, not on the wavelength, but nice puzzle nevertheless.

  19. Very amusing preamble, ulaca. I can’t help feeling you’ve slipped through a wormhole into a different sort of Tardis – Air Force Trump … as it no doubt will be re-named. Were there gold taps?

    This was moderate for a Monday, 20 minutes, although I struggled to finish the NW corner AGREED and ELAPSE giving me 5 minutes of grief.

    Verlaine I learned a lesson the hard way when I was aun undergrad, never drink from an unlabelled bottle or a punch whose contents are unknown. My tutor had a do at his house and plied us with punch with added Teepol, I of course wolfed it down and was bubbling nastily for days, lesson learned.

  20. I thought this was a gentle start to the week, keeping me busy for 28 minutes, this being confirmed by V’s amazing feat! I started slowly, not getting anything until TIMBRE surfaced at 11a. STAGE WHISPER then gave me my break and I trotted through the rest of the puzzle, parsing as I went. An enjoyable puzzle and an entertaining, if Ulaca in Wonderland sort of blog. I myself slept rather well after a day spent at my daughter’s residence, being well fed and watered with various red wines, and awoke to find the treeware had been stuck in my letterbox for several hours, with the back page uppermost, getting slightly damp and crumpled. It nevertheless fulfilled its purpose. Thanks setter and U.
  21. 12:34, nothing else to add.

    Actually, on edit, I’ll just say that whilst Ulaca’s preamble made virtually no sense to me it was far more enlightening than the Sharepoint training I was on this morning.

    Edited at 2016-11-14 01:59 pm (UTC)

  22. 16m today so that’s an easy one for me. For some unaccountable reason our blogger’s tour de force put me in mind of ‘Prosprero’s books’ – a similarly disconcertingly disorientating experience.
  23. 8 mins. I started this one at a decent time thanks to a day off, and like Sotira I finished with the FAMOUS/GRASMERE crossers. It actually felt like it should have been a quicker time, but afterwards I realised that unlike V I wasted some time parsing ELAPSE before it went in, although that hardly accounts for four additional minutes. Excellent time that man.
  24. Time machines? Bah – they’re rubbish. I had a go on one next year, and now I find I’ve got to re-experience not only the election of Donald Trump, but also every single Monday of 2016. I’ll have been about to have asked for my money back if I had any sense.

    As to the puzzle, I enjoyed it and found it a bit chewier than the average Monday, taking 37 minutes. AGREED/ATRIA were my LOsI – I didn’t get the “detailing” thing at all, and therefore floundered. AMORETTO was unknown, though I’m familiar with the near-namesake liqueur, a traditional pre-hangover drink.

  25. A rather staid 36 minutes, but I was eating a particularly challenging salad at the same time.
  26. 8:52, which didn’t feel too bad at the time, but which now – in comparison with verlaine’s time in particular – seems depressingly slow.

    A delightful start to the week, though.

    (My time machine has a mind-reading dongle attached to it and keeps trying to whisk me back to the days when Edmund Akenhead was Times crossword editor.)

Comments are closed.