Times 26577 – motoring down the middle

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I presume this is puzzle one of semi-final two of the championships, although it doesn’t say so on the version I managed to get printed out. I thought it was another middle of the road job, with fair enough wordplay and nothing too obscure. It took me about 19 minutes with 1a my LOI as I wasn’t 100 per cent sure of its meaning although the wordplay was simple. Once I had the long down clues 2d, 7d, 13d, the rest flowed smoothly. A couple I have yet to parse fully, we’ll see if light dawns as I type.

1 DESCRYING – DES can be French for ‘some of the’ and CRYING means in tears, hence the answer. Apparently to DESCRY someone is to see them at a distance, as you all probably knew.
6 LATHI – Hidden word in BHOPA(L A THI)CK, a stick used as a weapon e.g. by the Indian and Pakistani police, and quite often waved about in crosswords.
9 TRIPPER – R into TIPPER truck, D one out for pleasure.
10 NEWGATE – GWEN the girl is reversed, then ATE = put away; D prison.
11 HIKER – HIKE is to put up e.g. prices, add R(iver); D wayfarer.
12 TED HUGHES – (HEDGE THUS)*, D poet.
13 CONTENTS – CONTENT = satisfied, S(econd); D section of book.
14 ANON – Initial letters of After Niece Or Nephew; D shortly.
17 LOPE – Skiers would be on a ski SLOPE, lose the initial S; D run.
18 AIR RIFLE – AIR = bearing, RILE = anger, insert F(emale); D weapon. As for bearing meaning air, I am reminded of Colonel Bloodnok, I think it was he: “He entered the room with a military bearing, which he tossed in the air and caught”.
21 MEADOW RUE – (WE MADE OUR)*, D plant, there’s always a plant or an antelope.
22 INLET – IN = admitted, LET = obstruction; D cove.
24 INTROIT – I think this works as: IN, TRO being TROC mostly, IT; D part of service. TROC is the French word for a shared part of an asset (a bien), or it could be TROC the usual abbreviation for the TROCADERO in Paris? Anyway the introit is the bit they sing at the beginning of a church service or liturgy. EDIT as horryd and other have pointed out, I was too obsessed with my local capital city and needed think ‘mythology’ for Paris the chap from Troy. Not that my theory doesn’t hold up!
25 ADIPOSE – s A i D regularly = A D, I POSE = I am a model; D fatty, as in tissue.
26 SIREN – To SIRE is to father, N being the end of browN, D femme fatale.
27 REPHRASED – Anagram of READERSHIP without the I; D in other words.

1 DITCH – D = 500, ITCH = yen, D get rid of.
2 STICKING PLASTER – STICK IN = stay at home, GP = doctor, L, ASTER = flower; D found in first aid kit.
3 REPORTER – RE = about, PORTER = drink; D one providing stories, occasionally true.
4 IRRITATE – R = robin’s first, add IT, insert RIT into IRATE = seeing red; D bug.
5 GONADS – The GODS would be the gallery, insert NA for not available, D organs. Ed Balls without the Ed.
6 LAWFUL – L(arge), AWFUL = pants, modern slang; D not proscribed.
7 TEACHING FELLOWS – (A WELL CHOSEN GIFT)*, D people at university.
8 IN ESSENCE – There are thousands (589) of Germans IN ESSEN, C for caught, E for the drug, D basically.
13 CALUMNIES – (UNCLE SAM I)*, D false statements.
15 FIREDAMP – FIRED = discharged, AMP = hi-fi component; D gas, methane in coal mines.
16 BRAINIER – B for black, RAINIER the Royal chap in Monaco, D with more up top.
19 MOTOWN – MOWN = cut, across (insert) TO, D Detroit.
20 CRATER – DEMOCRAT dismissing protest (DEMO) = CRAT, add ER = queen, D depression.
23 TWEED – T = that’s opening, WEE = small, D = daughter, D flower, river.

55 comments on “Times 26577 – motoring down the middle”

  1. does this rquire distance per se? – to espy is comparative as per Chambers.

    This was no hardship except that a 20 minute finish would be required on the day. On this day I was home in 31 minutes.

    FOI 2n STICKING PLASTER then 1dn DITCH making for a good start. LOI and my COD 26ac SIREN

    WOD 5ac GONADS

    TROC No! City of Paris is TROY – detailed!

        1. I now understand your sign-off ‘Other’ having now read Pip’s edit! Dear me!


  2. Felt like it would take longer, but somehow the answers presented themselves, even the unknown MEADOW RUE and the half known INTROIT, ADIPOSE, NEWGATE, DESCRYING and TED HUGHES.

    Might have taken longer under Championship conditions. Thanks setter and Pip.

  3. 35mins with INTROIT unparsed (oh….THAT Paris (thanks Gal and Horryd)! Doh!). A couple bifd and parsed post-solve (GONADS, e.g.). Liked wp for MOTOWN, but given Detroit I guess it was a write-in.
  4. 31 minutes here too. Can’t say I really knew TEACHING FELLOWS (though “don” is clued by “fellow” often enough) or the plant at 21ac which surely had to be “something RYE” before I realised it was an anagram.

    The Club edition confirms this was a Heat Two puzzle in the championship but only 65 of 80 completed it correctly.

    Edited at 2016-11-23 07:43 am (UTC)

  5. 13:08 … first time I’ve seen any of the Heat 2 puzzles.

    I’ll admit to having had no idea what DESCRYING meant. I might have spent a while second-guessing that under comp conditions. Much easier to say “Gotta be” when sitting at home.

    1. I agree, it’s the kind of word which the language doesn’t need as ‘see’ does the job fine, I had never heard it before. Is there some Authority who removes unnecessary silly words from dictionaries, as new ones are constantly added? If not there should be.
      1. I sort of thought that, but the example Collins gives from Tolkien gave me pause:

        “Dimly through the mists they could descry the long arm of the mountains rising on their left.”

        Which is somewhat different to just seeing, though it does sound a bit mannered. I suppose today he would write ‘make out’ Phrasal collocations have ousted a lot of these ‘antiquated’ verbs, which makes things easier but perhaps a little less colourful.

        Edited at 2016-11-23 08:27 am (UTC)

        1. I think it it is more akin to crystal-gazer. In the Bruno Giordano novels John Dee is a real character who dabbled in magic and used a scryer.
      2. I have had that silly and irritating word ‘anagrind’ removed from all printed dictionaries – Chambers, Collins,Cambridge, OED, Merriam Webster, Roger’s Profanisaurus et al – just a few novitiates now use it.

        I wish you well with the obliteration ‘descry’!


  6. Just snuck in under 25 minutes. I reckon I am the Spurs of the crossword world – will never quite make it at the top level.
  7. a stupid typo, LOPR. So I can comfort myself that I wouldn’t have made such a slip writing by hand, but on the other hand I would no doubt have taken 16:19 just to calm down.
  8. 14:44, with the knowledge that this was a championship puzzle somehow inducing a mild case off match-day nerves, despite the fact that it isn’t, and I solved this sitting at my desk with a cup of coffee to hand. It’s a funny old thing, the mind.
    I’m glad I didn’t encounter this at the champs. I struggled to find the wavelength and there were lots of clues that gave me the feeling I’d never solve them, resulting in mild anxiety which under competition conditions would probably have manifested as blind panic.
    1. Same here, butterflies kicked in immediately, suspect I’d have been a basket case on the day.
  9. I note that only 33 of the finalists solved this correctly, and that 30 of those solved all three correctly. Was this the third puzzle? No matter, I have a long way to go but was chuffed to complete this in 21 minutes. NW was last in. TEACHING FELLOW is as opposed to RESEARCH FELLOW. Needed the checkers for MEADOW RUE. Have sung many an INTROIT and parsed it via Troy, while ADIPOSE put me in mind of the Doctor Who episode. Thanks pip and setter.
    1. I was one of those who solved this one correctly but made an error elsewhere (although, from memory, there were a lot more than 3 of us. Either my memory is wrong or the Times is!). This was the first of the three.

      Considering that I got it all right on the day, it took a surprisingly long time to complete it today.

    2. According to my printout 65 of 80 solved this one correctly but only 28 managed all 3 in the hour.
  10. Found this pleasantly challenging, with all answers lurking in my head somewhere, so again finished in 25 minutes. Ted Hughes was the first poet that came to mind as Dick Straightup ( I hope this name won’t fall foul of the decency standards rightly expected on this site), a character in an early poem of mythical strength and supernatural beer drinking capability, is reputed to be based on a member of my family. I guess that makes me a great disappointment. Solving the Times crossword wasn’t mentioned by Ted. COD INTROIT. FOI AIR RIFLE.
  11. Nothing to frighten the horses here – a steady top to bottom solve. Trusted the cryptic for DESCRYING and was pleased 7D was an anagram, not being familiar with the phrase

    Love your parsing of INTROIT Pip if only for reviving memories of the Troc. I remember myself when blogging the daily puzzle inventing some wonderful solutions that completely overlooked the simpler answer!

    1. Sometimes as blogging is no longer quite the tingle it was to begin with, I feel like inventing ridiculous but perfectly feasible parsing instead of the number one option! But this wasn’t deliberate…
  12. A couple left over at the end of my hour. I might have got LOPE if I’d had any time left. On the other hand, I doubt I’d have ever got INTROIT—I knew I was looking for a religious thingy, but that doesn’t help if you’ve barely ever set foot in a church, and sadly the mythology was beyond my grasp, too.

    Ah well. Given that I started well off the wavelength, only getting a couple in my entire first pass across the grid, I think I did fairly well to wrench my mind into roughly the right direction today!

    Edited at 2016-11-23 03:31 pm (UTC)

  13. 19:46 so just under the ‘required’ 20 mins and I would certainly have been a bit quicker with pen and ink. On the other hand, it has only today occurred to me for the first time in my relatively long life why Detroit is known as Motown. I will go to bed wiser than when I woke up, which is not always the case. Thanks S and pip
    1. For me – for me, I stress – it all depends whether the wife has shared some of her wisdom with me before I nod off.

      It has to be said that such sharing sometimes triggers the nodding off process, which leaves the whole thing as a bit of a grey area.

      1. This sharing can take a while. I have woken up in the morning refreshed and ready to face the day with the first words from the other side being ‘And another thing . . . ‘
  14. Continuing the Spurs theme above my solving has been like their Champions League campaign over the past 2-3 weeks. Today I managed to hit form, as Spurs will in time for Chelsea at the weekend.

    Given my recent run I hesitated to submit my LOI INTROIT, with it being unknown and half-parsed and my main rationale being I couldn’t find two other letters likely to go in I_T_OIT.

  15. 10:57 for me – no real hold-ups though I mistyped a ton of answers along the way – needed the wordplay to get MEADOW RUE
  16. As usual I totally overlooked the fact that this was a competition puzzle and just chugged away at it, slowed down by having one ear and eye on the TV with the chancellor’s statement unfolding, and bunged in my final answer at the 39 minute mark. I was delayed in arriving at my LOI, CRATER by guessing MEADOW URE instead of RUE until I revisited it, at which point the DEMOCRAT visually ejected its protest and the hollow became clear. I put in DESCRYING quite late in the solve as I didn’t know the meaning, although the wordplay was quite clear. I interpreted INTROIT using TRO(p) (much of, mostly, except it’s too much isn’t it)but I can see that the mythological explanation is more elegant and correct. Knew Teaching Fellow as my younger daughter describes herself as such when she’s teaching anatomy to budding vets. MOTOWN took me a lot longer than it should have. FOI, ANON. Liked this puzzle. Thanks setter and Pip.

    Edited at 2016-11-23 05:38 pm (UTC)

    1. Crater last in after correcting the incorrect but well-known Meadow Ure (he was the bloke who sang “Vienna” all those years ago). Missed the Parisian parsing completely, but otherwise quite straightforward. 25 mins or so.
      Saw an extra thing to like in 9 ac, “out” going with “tripping” to make tripping out – not sure if it was intentional or not, but I hope so. And another who liked Motown.
  17. Not timed, but I think I went over the allotted twenty for this one, but not by a lot. The SW held me up, and my LOI, inexplicably, was CONTENTS. My brain wasn’t firing on the usual number of cylinders, apparently. And I’m happy to be well sheltered from such competitions. Regards.
  18. 11 mins. This is the fourth straight championship puzzle that I found very straightforward, but I’m sure I’ll come a cropper somewhere along the line. Like Kevin CONTENTS was my LOI after I went back to it, and in retrospect I also can’t see why it took me so long.
  19. One thoughtless error. I had LAPS instead of LOPE for 17a. I imagined the skiers were in the ALPS and bunged it in without thinking. Otherwise 30 minutes. No problem with Paris’s Troy. Ann
  20. Once again, I have proved to my own satisfaction that a trip to the championship would be a waste of bus fare. Thirty-one minutes for this one, with INTROIT my LOI (or would that be “my extroit”?). I completely failed not to miss the significance of Paris, which meant that INTROIT went in reluctantly and unparsed.

    MOTOWN also took a while to click, and LATHI was facilitated only by its having been seen here recently, though I suppose I’d have got it anyway with all the checkers and the obvious packaging. Quite a few of the clues had some nice misdirection (or perhaps I was the only misdirectee amongst us?), and I thought this was a nicely-built puzzle all round.

  21. 7:26 for me – faster than expected, as I kept feeling I was taking a ridiculously long time to unravel the wordplay of some of the clues.

    A pleasant, straightforward solve, but any nerves I had today were as nothing to my nerves when actually competing.

  22. 18′ for the QC this morning, 14′ for a championship 15×15 late this evening (after imbibing well at a league snooker match). Can’t really come up with any logical explanation apart from hitting the wavelength.

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