Times 26572 – did you finish in a 25?

Solving time : 9:27, so among the easier offerings. I suspect those that get the top and bottom answers at a first glance will have some lightning quick times, neither came to me immediately but once they were in place most of the rest of the answers were quick write-ins.

I’m glad 8 down wasn’t clued as an anagram!

Away we go…

1 A STUDY IN SCARLET: the first Sherlock Holmes mystery – anagram of CLEARIN’,STY after A STUD farm
9 STEAM COAL: anagram of A,M(iner),LOCATES
10 SUSHI: H,I after the first letters in S(ome) U(ncooked) S(eafood)
12 WATER HEN: W,A,N(est) containing an anagram of THERE
15 QUATRAIN: QUA(as),TRAIN(exercise) – this might trip a few up
18 TURNED ON: or TURN(fit), E, DON
19 GRATIS: GIS containing RAT
23 LEAPER: E,APE in L and R
26 RUMMY: remove S and C from SCRUMMY
27 TRIATHLON: half of TH(em) inside TRIAL(competition), ON(fixed for later)
1 ASSEGAI: EG in ASSAI(l). This weapon always reminds me of The Bank Dick with W.C. Fields – “He came at me with an assegai”
2 THETA: HE inside TT(Tourist Trophy, making its first appearance in awhile), A
3 DEMIMONDE: MIMED(acted) reversed, then alternating letters in cOnNeD mEn – needed wordplay for this one
4 ICON: I(single), CO, N
5 SYLLABUS: B, ALLY’S reversed, then US
6 AISLE: A then L removed from LISLE
7 LOST HEART: ART(painting) after an anagram of HOTELS
8 TRIANON: hidden reversed in newsmeN ON AIR Tonight
14 PERFORMER: REP reversed, then FORMER(one-time)
16 TORMENTOR: MEN (chess pieces) between two TORs
17 NOISETTE: NO 1 (top) SETTE(r)
18 TABARDS: TAB(label) then WARD’S(child’s) missing the W
20 SCRUNCH: SCH containing RUN(cross-country event) after C
22 DRY UP: YR inside PUD all reversed
24 PALMA: A MAP reversed containing L
25 JIFF: J, I, and two Fs(females)

46 comments on “Times 26572 – did you finish in a 25?”

  1. Not totally convinced that it was as easy as George says. He may be selling himself short.

    I do agree though that the long answers at the top and bottom were crucial to a speedy solve, and I failed to get these until quite late in the piece.

    TRIANON was unknown, DEMIMONDE eventually dredged up from previous puzzles, and I think I’ll give JIFF my COD.

    Good fun, thanks setter and George.

  2. Sluggish, with some DNKs adding to the slug: STEAM COAL, WATER HEN, scrummy. The top and bottom long ones came, but not early: I spent some time trying to arrange (work clearin sty) until suddenly I saw the title through a couple of checkers. I biffed TRIANON from checkers and def, but didn’t see the wordplay until George came along to remind me of my problem with hidden clues. I have the same association as George does with ASSEGAI; which I parsed post hoc (the clue, not the association); my COD.
  3. I didn’t find this particularly easy and needed the better part of an hour to complete it. The long answers didn’t go in until most of the checkers were in place, so that didn’t help matters.

  4. … a game of two halves. Rushed through the top then hardly dragged myself through the S. hemisphere. And there was no Z in 24dn!

    Don’t know why George is bothered about an anagram possibility at 8dn. Please explain.

    1. Isn’t it just the usual concern re obscure words being clued as anagrams?

      (Not that I’m suggesting this word is an obscurity, we don’t want the hounds of hell unleashed. It was obscure to me, but then so much of life is).

      Edited at 2016-11-17 06:35 am (UTC)

      1. If an anagram with a single-letter deletion, IGNORANT, ONTARIAN and ANTIPORN are on the agenda.
        1. If I could go back and tap Ximenes on the shoulder with a suggestion, it would be “do not clue proper nouns as anagrams” – it seems whenever this is the case I opt for the wrong option. There was a clue-writing competition a few years ago for the 100th anniversary of the crossword was the theme and the term to be clued was ARTHUR WYNNE and there were a lot of clues that included anagrams. The wordplay should allow you to piece together the answer if it is unfamiliar or partially familiar.
          1. I didn’t get a chance to comment yesterday but I’d just like to register my violent almost-agreement with you. For me it’s all about the obscurity or otherwise of the word. So I wouldn’t mind an anagram if the answer were ATLANTIC OCEAN, say, but I would if it were SATORI.
            This one took me 13 minutes and I rather enjoyed it.
  5. I was over the hour as I couldn’t initially hack 1ac, Conan Dyle’s A STUDY IN SCARLET. I was discombobulated and never recovered!

    The partial anagram ‘clearin’ sty’ was on ‘a farm’ but said farm was in fact on the ‘clearin’ sty’ anagram. Perhaps a comma after out might have helped a tad. Another horrible Ikeanisation!

    8dn TRIANON was a write-in, as it the Grand TRIANON Palace where the Allies signed the Treaty with the Hungarians in 1920. The Palace is just north of Versailles – Napoleon had lived there. Today in a far smaller Hungary, TRIANON is still a dirty word. My WOD.


  6. In about 30mins, ending with TRIANON and NOISETTE, but all parsed along the way bar QUATRAIN and TABARDS. Couldn’t get 1ac for some time, but the long one at the bottom went in early, so very much solved bottom up.
  7. 19:09 … Tricky in parts and rather well done, I think. One of those that starts off feeling like a walk in the park before it turns out the park’s got quicksand and mantraps. I’m sure George is right about 1a being an ‘open sesame’ sort of clue, and I got it late, but that didn’t help much with the southeast. SCRUNCH my last one in.

    Well played, the setter. Hard to choose a COD but I’ll go for DEMIMONDE

  8. 30 minutes of good fun. The setter avoided being seriously immodest at 17d but played with us at 24d (as mctext suggests) by including “street”. CODs to QUATRAIN and JIFF.
  9. 16.17, but with the curséd ASSAGAI (sic) my undoing for ooh, must be about every time it’s come up. Once you put it in, obviously without parsing, it’s almost impossible to spot as you crawl through letter by letter trying to find your error.
    Apart from that, not that hard a puzzle, and indeed I thought I should have been quicker. When I really concentrated on each quarter, rather than skipping when answers didn’t immediately dawn, they fell pretty quickly. domino style.
    8 down could have been “A treaty signed with three crosses”. Would that have made it worse?
      1. ….though I bet it’s pronounced tree-anon. Still, as De Gaulle once may have muttered to himself: Admit le Royaume Uni to the treaty? Try a NON!
        1. You can probably hear my terrible French accent (think Allo Allo).

          How about, “Fight over settlement on train crash”.

  10. 54:53 for me. Slowed by unknowns and not-so-well-knowns; TRIANON, “stud” for “farm” and DEMIMONDE especially.

    In the end, though, it was the crossers of RUMMY and TABARDS that were my LOI, in that order. I should have spotted both DRY UP and PERFORMER a lot earlier, too. Still, happy enough to come in comfortably under my hour.

  11. No great problems here with 1A going straight in and as George says, that gives a good foundation

    Once in a while I’m reminded how useful it is to have been doing these puzzles for almost longer than one can remember. The words that are giving problems like DEMIMONDE have all been learned over the years by failing to get them the first time I met them.

  12. Haven’t got an accurate time for this one as I was dealing with the plumber at my daughter’s house again. New taps this time. Anyway it was somewhere between 45 minutes and an hour, so on the tricky side again, but I at least finished all correct. FOI, GRAMMY and LOI JIFF. The long ones went in about a third of the way through. THETA and DEMIMONDE gave me the Sherlock story. An enjoyable puzzle, thanks setter and George.
  13. 28ac in straight away but 1ac took far longer, SHALLOT fits the last word too, wondered if it were a sequel to the famous poem, but now realise it would be spelt wrongly anyway. Dnk TRIANON, but knew NOISETTE from when I paid £40 in a restaurant for four mouthfuls. ASSEGAI known since childhood from ‘Zulu’. 20’19”. Thanks George and setter.

    Edited at 2016-11-17 11:36 am (UTC)

    1. Yes; I think restaurants may have switched to calling them “noisettes” after the general public cottoned on to “medallion” meaning “too bloody small”.
  14. Had no idea what a NOISETTE was so had to look it up. SYLLABUS was so obvious but couldn’t see it, so looked it up in the end. I think I give up too easily…. Otherwise rattled through this very quickly.
  15. 13:48. Like others didn’t know the surely made-up steam coal and water hen, nor Trianon, thanks to which I now have a Fleetwood Mac earworm.

    Is everyone else happy with dingy as an anagram indicator?

    Speaking of Scarlet(t), did anyone else watch last night’s I’m a Celebrity? Probably not the sort of thing I should be watching as a Times solver but it kept me in the room with my family and was very funny indeed.

    1. Down the years a Blaenavon miner’s voice echoes: STEAM COAL made up? If it was, we wouldn’t have to dig the bugger out the ground, look you. Powered the Royal Navy, it did, and made the trains go quick. Made up, he says. Pwlleli.

      Edited at 2016-11-17 01:28 pm (UTC)

    2. Mr. Penfold! I forgot about that! Outrageous! Novices beware!

      But I’m sure there are those who don’t mind or even care – whatever floats their dinghy.

      Meldrew – Shanghai

    3. STEAM COAL – think Flying Scotsman, Mallard, etc

      Didn’t strike me at the time but I’m also inclined to question “dingy”

    4. I don’t have a problem with it. I know a thesaurus is not definitive when it comes to shades of meaning but mine lists several words under “dingy” that would seem okay to me as anagrinds: murky, obscure, seedy, shabby, soiled and tacky.
  16. I made heavy weather of this, coming in over the 10 minute mark having stumbled over quite a few clues forcing me to parse them fully instead of just biffing them in as would normally be my preference: DNK (for sure) 9ac, 12ac, 8dn, 20dn, 24dn. LOI was 17d where I had _O_SETTE but just couldn’t see “top” for a while in “NOI”. NOISETTE was actually the first thing I thought of but being more-or-less vegan I thought “no, that’s a chocolate”. A couple of glasses of wine after a long (by my standards) period of abstinence may have had something to do with all of the above, or it could just have been a nicely constructed crossword resistant to the worst wiles of diehard biffers. Good stuff!
  17. A late post that probably no-one will read. I had a meeting and lunch in The Great Wen today so this was done on a mix of National Rail and London Underground. I don’t have a reliable time, or even an unreliable one, and I didn’t finish until I got home for a cup of tea. I was offered a seat on the tube, which left me both downcast and grateful. The use of dingy to indicate an anagram didn’t hit me for ages and I nearly LOST HEART. For some reason I thought there’d been a treaty at Trieste which I couldn’t parse but gave me a lettter for A STUDY IN SCARLET which proved eventually to be the key,. TRIANON followed after WATER HEN and QUATRAIN.
    1. Two years ago I went to a wedding in Holborn and left my car at my cousin’s in Northampton, getting the train to Euston. When I left the hotel next morning, Sunday, and grabbed a taxi to get back to Euston, the cabbie told there’d been an incident and Euston was closed. He was really helpful and told me I’d need to go from Marylebone instead. Yo, I said. Anyway my Midland ticket was accepted by Chiltern and I had to divert via Banbury and Coventry to get back to Northampton: a mere three and a half hour journey instead of an hour. Now, having rambled on interminably, I’ll get to the point. On the section between Banbury and Coventry, the train was stuffed to the rafters, but a young man was courteous enough to give me his seat. I was eternally grateful as it was before I had my knee joint replaced and I was suffering! There are some nice people about 🙂
  18. Had trouble with the long answers. I wanted 28ac to be something like GOING TO THE WALL and even when I spotted it was an anagram it took quite a bit of eking out. Meanwhile I was convinced that “work” was the anagrind for 1ac and the checkers fitted this possibility for a while, though I was nonplussed by the thought that there was a famous farm called A … OF SHALLOT.
  19. 15 mins so I was pretty much on the setter’s wavelength. Paying close attention to the wordplay stopped me misbiffing “broadest” at 21ac, and you can count me as another who was trying to put a Z into 24dn for a while. Robrolfe beat me to it with an alternative clue for 28ac, and I’d like to see Paul clue it in the Guardian. Not that I’ve been doing the Guardian puzzle for a while, so he may well have done already for all I know. TRIANON was my LOI after WATER HEN.
  20. About 25 minutes, ending with TRIANON and QUATRAIN, I think. No real problems today, although I didn’t think DEMIMONDE referred to a person, but to the milieu they occupy. But it couldn’t be anything else. By the way, both STEAM COAL and WATER HEN were new to me, but they also couldn’t be anything else. Regards.
  21. Having failed miserably to get 1ac first time through (despite spending a ludicrously long time on it) and then struggling with the rest of the clues (including trying to fit WHEAT EAR into 12ac (doh!)), I assumed I was in for another 2 x verlaine (or worse) time. So I’m amazed to find my 9:17 seems to have placed me ahead of him (though only just inside 2 x Magoo).

    Perhaps I’d have enjoyed this one more if I’d been feeling less tired.

  22. DNF here, alas, thanks to TRIANON. I completely failed to spot the hidden reversed word, which left me trying to parse the unparseable. So, once again, I have been done for by an ancient battle.
      1. Ah, but Google tells me that the treaty was part of the winding up of WWI, so it still counts!
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