Times 26583 – j’ai perdu mon goose

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I see only 46% of solvers on the day in the second semi of the Championships completed this correctly. I found it a lumpy mix of facile clues, normal stuff and a couple of chewy bits, although in retrospect there’s nothing unfair; if you didn’t know the word at 15d you had a fair chance of plumping the four missing letters in the right places. Under exam conditions I’d have struggled to do it inside the target 20 minutes, and been less than 100% sure I had all the answers parsed to the point of certainty. Hats off to those who whizzed through it at warp speed.

1 CAMELOT – CAME = kept appointment, LOT = fate; D legendary town.
5 SURFACE – DD: 1. A ‘surf ace’ would be an expert on ‘waves that break’, D2. skin.
9 ALLOTROPE – ALLOT = grant, ROPE = line; D one of several? An allotrope being one of two or more ‘forms’ an element can take, e.g. carbon, graphite, diamond.
10 FRILL – F = following, RILL = stream, D gathered material.
11 ELOPE – PENELOPE wasn’t Mrs Homer, she was Mrs Odysseus, of whom Homer wrote at length; sheds the PEN = shuns author; D to leave with lover.
12 HAMMERING – HAM = third-rate actor, ME = the writer, RING = call: D noisy work.
13 MUSICAL CHAIRS – Cryptic definition, party game. EDIT as vinyl1 tersely points out below, it’s (also) an inclusion clue, CHAIR = seat inside MUSICALS = shows.
17 MIDDLE ENGLISH – Assembly needed here; put D D into MILE = race, then (IN LEGS)*, add H for horse; D language.
21 CONCORDAT – CAT = whip, insert ON CORD = attached to tie; D signed agreement.
24 FREYA – FR = French, AYE = always, reversed = EYA: D love goddess.
25 BIBLE – Insert B = book into BILE = anger: D good book.
26 FIELDSMAN – W C = FIELDS an old American comedian, MAN = staff, as verb; D does that make a point? Point being a fielding position in cricket, opposite square leg.
27 EMBASSY – Insert SS (Nazi force) into (MAYBE)*; D mission.
28 SILENCE – SINCE = because, insert LE = article abroad; D no talking.

1 CHAPEL – H = husband, in CAPE = cloak, add L: D (trade) union group.
2 MALFORMED – MAD = crazy; insert L (Labour’s leader) FOR ME (in my view); D faulty!
4 TOOTHACHE – Well ‘ampstead ‘eath is CRS for teeth, so trouble therein would be toothache, n’est pas?
5 STEAM – S = second, TEAM = XI: D power. A quickie clue normally.
6 REFRESH – RE = on, FRESH = forward, flirtatious; D jog, as in refresh one’s memory.
7 ALIBI – Initial letters of A ddress L egal I ssue B ehind I njunction; D defence.
8 EULOGISE – LOG = record of proceedings, insert into EU, IS, E(arning); D praise.
14 LIGHTNESS – LIGHT = radiance, NESS = headland, D delicate quality.
15 ICHNEUMON – I didn’t know this word (nor I suspect did the 54% of solvers on the day who didn’t complete the grid); as my LOI I had I-H-E-M-N and thought, put anagram of (ONE MUCH)* inside IN = home; there were a few possibles but I plumped for the right one and looked it up afterwards, it is an Egyptian mongoose, as well as a variety of parasitic wasp. No doubt “another straightforward Mephisto” Jimbo was familiar with the word, but I bet most of the correct solvers plumped like I did.
16 AMICABLE – AM = before noon, I, CABLE = wired messsage (?); D friendly. IMO it ought to be wire not wired, same tense as cable? Or maybe cable is a noun, a message that has been ‘wired’. Yes, that’s better.
18 LIONESS – D brave woman. Bliss jilting bachelor gives you LISS. Insert ONE = married. Well, I suppose it just about works.
19 INFIDEL – IN = cool, hip; (FIELD)*; D pagan. Another one where I needed all the checkers.
20 PAWNEE – PAWN = stooge, hErE used regularly = E E, D Indian. A North American tribe of which I had a dim memory, probably from another crossword.
22 NABOB – AB = sailor, inside NOB = head; D powerful man.
23 DAFFY – Insert F(ine) F(emale) into DAY = time; D foolish, eccentric, like Daffy Duck I suppose.

48 comments on “Times 26583 – j’ai perdu mon goose”

  1. Managed this in 11 minutes but with quite a lot of biffing (allotrope, the English in middle English, fieldsman …) that I would never normally bother with. Especially proud of ichneumon, which I wrote in without the least idea of how to parse it, or even define it, having heard only of the wasp.
  2. 11m, including a break to let in some chaps come to clear our gutters. I found this a bit easier than the second puzzle in the first heat, but I found the last one harder, so overall I’m finding these very slightly harder. However it is statistically extremely likely that I will do as badly on the next one as I did on the third puzzle in heat one. There, that’s fate thoroughly tempted.
    ICHNEUMON is the kind of word that should never be clued with an anagram, IMO. The word is horribly obscure and there isn’t anything particularly outstanding in the clue to justify it, particularly in a competition. I did manage to put all the letters in the right places but it stretched my ‘what Greek words tend to look like’ skills to the limit.
  3. I entered ICHNEUMON correctly, without confidence, then decided to erase it and come back to it at the end of the solve, when a more feasible answer would emerge. When I came back I decided there was no feasible answer, but managed to re-enter it as ICHUENMON. All this is an attempt to convince myself (or delude myself) that I would have got it right in Championship conditions.

    Also didn’t parse TOOTHACHE, but it should have been obvious. Aside from that, as Pip says, the clues ranged widely in difficulty, with CONCORDAT and ALLOTROPE both holding me up until all checkers were in place.

    COD to FIELDSMAN. Thanks setter and Pip.

  4. 15:40 … in the comfort of home but laid up with the dreaded lurgey. As Pip says, a real mixture. The ICHNEUMON, FREYA, PAWNEE group would have had me quite anxious on the day so I’m glad I wasn’t in this heat.
  5. ICHNEUMON entered as the best answer to the anagram, partly based on a vague memory of the Greek New Testament word for fish, although what relevance that has to mongooses, or mongeese, I do not know. It’s a silly point, as is the close fielding position. Had to think long and hard to come up with pawn for stooge, but his Bobship helped me out. FREYA obvious from clue but DNK she was a/ the love goddess. Sadly I’ve never met anyone of that name. All done in 25 minutes. COD MIDDLE ENGLISH.
      1. A generation further back than usual for Les Dawson’s guide to family relationships, Mike. Your ex and her mother will be delighted not to be in top spot.
  6. Fortunately I knew 15dn ICHNEUMON as ‘enemy of the dragon’ from some distant board game.The mongoose is of the Indian Rat variety I believe.

    9ac ALLOTROPE had me ‘groping outside off’ but managed it OK.

    20dn PAWNEE was a goodie as was 26ac FIELDSMAN – I think we all went to the toilet first! So too 4dn TOOTHACHE which I managed to parse. Lovely pair of ‘AMPSTEADS!

    24ac FREYA : the only one I know of was exploress FREYA Stark who had ‘a marriage of convenience’ with Sir Harry Luke’s old mate Stuart Perowne.

    My COD was 13ac MUSICAL CHAIRS. My time 29 minutes – so not too shabby!

    With LOI ALIBI

  7. The ipad edition didn’t tell me this was a competition semi, so to find that out here after finishing with all correct under 20 minutes is very satisfying. I’m not sure I’d have managed it in competition conditions.

    LOI ICHNEUMON which seemed like the most likely arrangement of letters to me. The fact it sounded right might only have been that it reminded me of Dick Newman who I used to work with. For what I know it might not be pronounced like that though.

    1. I have noticed a few comments in recent weeks to the effect that the info relating to the competition puzzles is not on the online editions, but it certainly should be, and is there when I look

      Last week’s had the wrong info attached, for which I apologise

      RR (Crossword Editor)

  8. Having guessed ICHNEUMON correctly (the LJ spell checker doesn’t like it, btw) it was a bit ofa let-down to record a DNF as I was unable to complete 9ac without resorting to aids. I had ALLOT (grant) plus ?O?E but was looking for something meaning “form one of several” to complete a word meaning “line” instead of vice versa. I also lost time thinking SAP??? at 20dn.

    29 minutes to failing point.

    Edited at 2016-11-30 10:06 am (UTC)

  9. Another stretch too far for me. Seven left at the end of forty minutes, and I didn’t do much with them in the remaining twenty. Just a few too many unknowns for me to put together, I think, though I should have got ALLOTROPE.

    Didn’t help that I’d put in THUGEE without really knowing what it meant, other than having an Indian connection, because I didn’t know PAWNEE at all, and a thug is a kind of stooge…

    Seems to be one of those weeks where I’m going backwards, but hopefully some of my missing knowledge is at least being filled in for the future!

  10. Not sure how I knew this but it was either from the NY Times puzzles or Rikki Tikki Tavi. I got off on the wrong foot (apparently my brain thought it was doing the TLS) and flung Samarra in 1a but fortunately thought to cross check with 1d so it came right out again. And I also thought ALLOTROPE was something literary. Otherwise surprisingly straightforward for a competition puzzle. 15.04
    1. Allotrope (n): A significant or recurrent motif in a dated British sitcom
      ‘Listen very carefully, I shall say this only once’
        1. I have been thinking that for a while! Just that one comment warrants the entire software development time…
      1. I seem to be the only one who doesn’t get it. Please explain to this bear of little brain who didn’t know the word.
          1. Ah yes. No wonder I drew a blank – if it played here in the US (doubtful) I missed it entirely. Quelle trope…
        1. Look up Allo Allo on Wikipedia, Olivia. It is not lowbrow at all, it is perhaps the cleverest sitcom the BBC has ever produced. It has characters speaking four main languages, all of them represented in some form of English, including all of them also speaking one or another of the other languages, still somehow represented in English .. you have to watch one to understand it!
          No other country could (or would) ever make such a programme …

          1. Good Moaning. I was just pissing by . . .

            Love it!

            Apparently, the show now goes down well in France.

            Edited at 2016-11-30 08:41 pm (UTC)

  11. Would agree with the consensus that this was a fair to middling-difficulty offering with one potential stumbling block. I’m another who only knew the wasp and not the mongoose, but if you know the word exists, it’s not a huge leap of faith to assume that they must be related etymologically, if not zoologically.
  12. PAWNEE LOI, remembered from childhood comics with settlers having to circle the wagons. Really liked TOOTHACHE. ICHNEUMON half remembered, but no alternative spelling looked right. Used to be a FoC, so 1d fast in. The use of the word maybe dates from when Trade Unions were illegal, so groups would call themselves ‘chapels’, or may be just because early printing presses were in monasteries or abbeys. Did not notice this was a competition puzzle, finished in 18′, so….multiply by three, less than an hour…..the potential is theoretically…if…..

    Thanks pip and setter.

    Edited at 2016-11-30 10:27 am (UTC)

  13. A pleasantly deft puzzle. I don’t know whether it’s one’s vocabulary, general word sense or simply general knowledge that’s the most tested, but the combination is definitely state-of-the-art homo sapiens, and examples should be put in all spaceships and time capsules henceforth. 21.51, last in pawnee.
  14. Plugged away at this one for 39 minutes strolling over the finish line with all correct. Yet again I neglected to observe that this was a competition puzzle. I started with STEAM and then filled the NE before moving on in random fashion, finishing with PAWNEE. The mongoose(in its wasp guise) rang a faint bell, but I also had to juggle the letters into a feasible looking word, which I fortunately managed correctly. Didn’t quite manage to parse CONCORDAT, but unpicked the rest. Liked ALLOTROPE, especially K’s definition:-) An interesting challenge. Thanks setter and Pip.
  15. 13:30 – biffed MIDDLE ENGLISH and TOOTHACHE, but that FREYA/PAWNEE/ICHNUEMON corner took longer than the rest of the puzzle. This would probably have been my undoing as I tend to think and re-think anagrams of unfamiliar words so I bet under pressure I would have come up with something daft
  16. As one of the successful 28 who solved all three puzzles on the day (I finished 7th.) I would like to say to the faint hearted among you that I’m probably not alone in finding it easier in exam conditions ! I find that I focus better that way.

    On the day I biffed FREYA but knew ICHNEUMON. COD was 4D, LOI was 5A (more due to position than difficulty).

    Advance warning : all three final puzzles were DNF for me, and I still managed 19= of 24.

    Phil Jordan

  17. 10:22 and I’m another who knows more about parasitic wasps than mongeeses.

    I loved “expert on waves that break”.

    There’s some interesting maths in the blog Pip. If 46% of solvers completed this correctly (preamble) and 46% of solvers didn’t complete the grid (Ichneumon) what happened to the other 8%?

    1. I’m a southerner and I didn’t know this either. I put it in from checkers and the word ‘trouble’. I wondered briefly what it might have to do with wives.
        1. Wonderful stuff .. written by Ronnie Barker as well as performed .. never could work out why mozart = pissed
  18. 15 mins of incorrect solving because I rushed 15dn and entered “ichuenmon” on the basis that it looked more likely that “ichoenmun”. I didn’t consider the correct ICHNEUMON but, like Galspray, I’d like to think I would have done in the competition because I’d have had the time to based on my solving times of the previous competition puzzles. I’m another who biffed TOOTHACHE, and I honestly don’t think I’ve ever come across the ‘ampstead ‘eath/teeth CRS before.
  19. Totally bamboozled by this one. Three or four required cheating. A fa lot of good my Greek did me – my guess for the nasty wasp from the anaground letters wasn’t in the same parish.
  20. Well, no hope in competition for me, apparently. The mongoose was so unknown I had no chance whatsoever of getting him, once it was clear that Rikki Tikki Tavi didn’t fit. I’m quite surprised he’s so well known to the rest of you erudite folks. Had to look him up. And to compete on the lowbrow scale, the only Homer’s wife that came to mind was Marge. I biffed ELOPE in from the crossers, but Penelope wasn’t going to come to mind, even had I read the clue correctly. Congrats to those in the 46%. I’d clearly have been with the majority. Regards.
  21. 35m today but it helped knowing the mongoose. Guessed ALLOTROPE and liked 6d, my COD. I also struggled, like Kevin, to get Marge out of my head but eventually the penny dropped. Good puzzle and blog today. Thanks to both providers.
  22. 53 minutes but wow! everything correct including ICHNEUMON (which I must have seen somewhere before), TOOTHACHE (also biffed from crossers and suspecting CRS might be involved, but God knows how) and then ALLOTROPE using the O from TOOTHACHE. I know why I don’t come to London to actually compete in the championship.
  23. 24:48. Cockney trouble to me means wife as in ‘trouble and … ‘ so this took longer than it ought. Took a complete stab at the mongoose and the Indian was a lucky one. Would have got nowhere under exam conditions.
  24. I was living in France when ‘allo ‘allo was on and they dubbed it into French on Canal+. They kept the spirit that the French spoke normal French, the English spoke French with an appalling English accent and so on.

    I asked a French friend what they did with those Peter Sellers Pink Panther movies and he told me they didn’t make any effort, so those “i’ve come to fix your fern” scenes fell totally flat.

  25. 8:22 – another puzzle I found straightforward enough, so perhaps the third one is going to floor me, as it did in the first heat.
  26. This was my downfall on the day – plumping for ICHOENMUN on the basis that OE often represents an umlaut (e.g. danke schoen). Flora and fauna are never my best topics, and I’d never heard of this one in any of its forms.
    That mistake took me from 9th place (I think) to 30-something. Ah well, next year.

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