Times 26584 – nine down?

Solving time : 18:43 but with one mistake, which on a glance back at what I submitted turned out to be a rather silly typo. I was so far from the setters wavelength on this one that it’s not even funny, though in the end I think I understand all of the wordplay.

It is the start of December and that means that I have been bringing you every other Thursday crossword (and Mephisto) for nine years now. It continues to be a blast.

Away we go…

Across
1 RED HAT: Spoonerism of HEAD RAT
4 FLAGSHIP: FLAGS(flowers), HIP(with it) leading to Nelson’s Flagship
9 TANK TOP: TANK(vat), TOP(maximum). Not sure how often they are knitted
11 NATURAL: A, RUT(pothole) in LAN(e) all reversed
12 FRYER: FRY(little fish), (h)ER(e) – an all-in-one clue
13 OUT OF LINE: double definition, with one cryptic (if you are out of the hereditary line)
14 IN GOOD NICK: another double definition with the police one being slightly cryptic
16 WOAD: first letters of W(orn) A(s) D(ecoration) containing O
19 GLIB: L inside BIG(large) reversed – definition is smooth
20 ASTRINGENT: anagram of NET RATINGS
22 APPORTION: PORT inside an anagram of PIANO
23 CAP,ER
25 PRIMULA: UM reversed inside an anagram of APRIL
26 EROSION: the statue of EROS with I, ON(leg side in cricket)
27 COGWHEEL: the source of jelly is a COW HEEL – insert G
28 AFFORD: (aren)A, F(following), FORD(car)
 
Down
1 RATIFYING: remove the first letter from GRATIYING
2 DINKY: D(diamonds), INKY(showing dark stain)
3 ANTERIOR: this was my typo as somehow I had ANTERIOT in the grid. ER inside ANTI(hostile), OR(troops at the front) Oops – “at the front” was the definition, as pointed out in comments
5 LUNATIC FRINGE: anagram of IN CULT FEARING, and a term that may need to be re-evaluated following recent elections
6 GET OFF: two definitions, neither of which I suspect are the usual use of this term
7 HERBIVORE: HERO(lion) RE(about) containing the first letters in B(uck) I(n) V(eldt),
8 PULSE: double definition
10 PROGNOSTICATE: PRATE(go on) containing O, GNOSTIC
15 GLIMPSING: G(enia)L, IMP(rogue), SING(pipe)
17 DETHRONED: sounds like THROWN(brought down) inside DEED
18 KNOCK OFF: double definition
21 TROUGH: THROUGH missing an H
22 ASPIC: ‘AS PIC
24 PRIMO: RIM in OP reversed – the lead part of a duet

46 comments on “Times 26584 – nine down?”

  1. I needed 54 minutes for this one which I do not think is easy by any standards, but very enjoyable. The LH gave more trouble than the right.

    Congrats on your anniversary, glh, you started blogging the day before me!

        1. Well done lads. I can’t believe I’ve done 9 years of Mephisto. As you say George, great fun
  2. I was held up by entering PROCRASTINATE at 10dn which made 14ac IN GOOD NICK impossible. So PROGNOSTICATE came off the subs bench and was sent on.
    The LH was far harder than the RH (as per Jack) with cow-corner being the most awkward. LOI 1ac RED HAT (I’d have that Spooner free-docked!)

    I bet 9ac TANK-TOP will give trouble to the millenials!

    FOI 8dn PULSE

    12ac as a clue FRYER was NQR IMO.

    COD 27ac COGWHEEL WOD WOAD

  3. A fairly steady solve, slowed down mainly by 14ac–I didn’t know the ‘well’ meaning, and thought ‘nick’ was ‘jail’ not ‘station’, but nothing else seemed to fit–and by the 1s, with 1d preceding LOI 1ac. DNK cow heel, but I figured if neat’s foot, why not? COD to 1d.
    Mazel tov, George, and thanks; I hope to see you here for another 9 years anyway.
    1. In TV’s Dixon of Dock Green (1955-1976) all the criminal elements were duly ‘nicked’ and taken down to the ‘nick’ (Dock Green Police Station) where they were locked up ‘downstairs’.
      1. Happy days! That was way back when you could still be a proper serving copper at 80, and despite being knocked off by a villain in your first outing. Good evening all.
  4. One over par, DNK WOAD, liked LUNATIC FRINGE and IN GOOD NICK.

    Thanks setter and George.

    Need to break 8 minutes tomorrow to finish par for the week. About as likely as England leveling the series in India.

  5. About 50 minutes, held up by the long answers. I had GET OFF as a triple def. Second appearance of the day for COGWHEEL so went in pretty easily, even if I’d forgotten about the ‘source of jelly’ bit. COD to PROGNOSTICATE which I thought was divine (Sorry).

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  6. Have not started today’s puzzle. But thought it was worth weighing in to say I have benefited from all 9 years of all three blogs. Thank you.

    Edited at 2016-12-03 01:58 am (UTC)

  7. Well I’m a complete newbie to these boards but please accept my congratulations on your 9 years of blogging.
    Horses for courses, I was completely on the setter’s wavelength and my time reflected that, it was close to yours, which I doubt will happen very often.
    I liked the link in the SW corner between Aspic and Jelly and I wonder if there is a link between today’s Gnostic and the Demiurge in yesterday’s quickie. I really need to get out more!
  8. Pretty even paced solve today, with nothing holding me up for too long.

    Well done on the 9 years George. Along with the other bloggers you’ve definitely aided my solving. I’m not quite sure how long I’ve been coming here but I reckon it’s got to be 4-5 years now.

  9. 24.37 in a slightly groggy solve, woken by one of those people who claimed to work for Microsoft but got his own name wrong. Time extended by falling for the trap in 7d with lion and meat eater in the same sentence inducing an unsupportable CARNIVORE. That transformed the easy Victory clue into a -CAP -CUP flower, which clearly didn’t work and necessitated much fiddling around with the endless possible variations of -OFF at 6d.
    A tiny correction, George, to the ANTERIOR: “at the front” is the definition in the clue and doesn’t qualify the troops. But hey, 9 years qualifies for a long service medal rather than a carp so fulsome congratulations!
    1. Ta – must have been losing it at that point, I had thought when writing it that the definition had already passed. Have to switch between one window and the other to see the clue and the blog
  10. PS: great title. I was just about to point out that there is no nine down. Many more to go!
  11. 10:09, tipped over the 10-minute mark by a long pause over 16ac, which is actually one of the easier clues… once you see it. I felt very much on the wavelength with this one for some unidentifiable reason.
    Congratulations and many thanks for the nine years, George.

    Edited at 2016-12-01 09:13 am (UTC)

  12. A steady solve, as others have said.Just under the half hour, finishing in SE with PRIMO and AFFORD. In the days of Nat Lofthouse, I used to go to the UCP restaurant in Bradshawgate before walking down the Manny Road to see the Wanderers and I’d have either tripe or COW HEEL. Delicious. COD KNOCK OFF, because it’s a while since I’ve heard it in the ‘finishing work’ sense. Enjoyable start to an exciting day. Next we’re putting up the Christmas tree.
  13. Like others cracked the RHS reasonably easily but struggled on the western side of the meridian. Took ages to get the long 10D and didn’t know TANK TOP was knitted. Chewy puzzle.
  14. About 45mins, ending with PROGNOSTICATE (which for some time was clearly going to be procrastinate‚Ķ). Was surprised with ‘ford’=’car’, as I thought brands weren’t allowed?
  15. 27′, with PROGNOSTICATE taking all the checkers and then some. Liked DETHRONED and RED HAT. Congrats George, and thanks today to you and setter.
  16. 20 min with no significant holdups, though at 11ac I don’t believe pothole=rut, as they’re quite different in appearance.
  17. 29:14 with the odd interruption and like others, found the east easier then the west. WOAD reminded me of ‘1066 and All That’ with the Ancient Britons and their dashing queen Woadicea but was held up for a while with NOT IN LINE.
    Congratulations George and indeed to all bloggers who give up time to tease out the fine points of clueing for the rest of us.
  18. Enjoyable solve on the train to London for lunch. Probably 35 minutes but putting in EROSIVE held me up.
    Congratulations and huge thanks to George and the wonderful cadre of bloggers. I do not know the collective noun for bloggers.
  19. Right on the money for this one,just 2 keriothes which is good for me.Suggest the collective noun should be banquet.
  20. I was also miles off the setter’s wavelength today. Stopped the clock on 16-something with 14a and 10d yet to go in, then almost immediately got them both. Call it a prudent 18m.
  21. 53 minutes for me, held up by the NW. Nothing unknown, but lots very cleverly hidden. FOI, WOAD. LOI, RATIFYING. I was saved from entering CARNIVORE by considering the buck in the clue. Liked LUNATIC FRINGE and ANTERIOR, for which I tried to use troops as anagrist around ER for quite a while. Lots to like in this puzzle, thanks setter. Thanks and congratulations to George on his 9th anniversary, and to all the bloggers who ease the life of the rest of us with their erudite explanations.
  22. Enjoyably tough challenge, as are the best Times offerings, so commendation to setter and happy blogaversary to George.
  23. 53 mins.
    Congratulations, George.
    A small correction: at 28a it’s (aren)A, not A(rea) – at least in my printed copy.
  24. I was remiss in not congratulating George on the 9 years hard labour when I posted this morning. It’s a pleasure to come on to this site each day and it’s the bloggers who make it work. Do you ever get totally stuck like us mortals do?
  25. Hello, this is a bit eleventh hour but the broadband is kaput at my house and there’s no guarantee it will be fixed even by the weekend… would anyone be willing to do the blog in my stead tomorrow morning, assuming I don’t sound the all clear before then? Sorry to be the most unreliable blogger yet again!

    I was a non-negligible number of seconds slower than the justly famous keriothe on this one, having a bit of trouble in the NW before evertthing finally clicked into place.

  26. 24 mins of wide awake solving, and I definitely wasn’t on the setter’s wavelength. Count me as another who finished the RHS well before the LHS, like Ulaca I finished with the RATIFYING/FRYER crossers, and DINKY and ANTERIOR also took a long time to see. The LHS only really opened up once I got PROGNOSTICATE.

    I’ll add my congrats and thanks to George for his 9 years of service to the cause.

  27. 31m here with the last 5 on the RATIFYING/FRYER crossing so pleased I was not alone finding them hard. Thank you George for your blogging longevity. You and your colleagues in the blogiverse – Timelords all I’m certain – make me a better solver. BTW I wonder – given Verlaine’s propensities, for one, and reports arising from the sloggers and betters gatherings – if a ‘bevvie’ of bloggers might be the correct collective noun?
  28. About 25 minutes ending, like others, with FRYER/RATIFYING. Well done glh, as you can see your work is much appreciated by the hoi polloi, including me. Same wishes to Jimbo and Jack. While I’m at it, thanks to the setter also for today’s offering, especially the clever NW corner. The cow’s heel bit was news to me, but it seemed likely. Regards.
  29. About an hour, ending with DINKY and then FRYER (after wondering for a while if it mightn’t be FLYER, with FLY fishing and all that; but having called my children small fry for most of their young lives I did eventually plump for the correct answer; of course now the GRANDchildren are small fry).

    Congrats and thank you to George and Jack and Jimbo for their long service — I wouldn’t last 9 days, with my solving times.

    Edited at 2016-12-01 08:39 pm (UTC)

  30. 13:48 for me, finding this one quite tough going.

    There’s some good stuff in there, but I’m not keen on THRON sounding like “thrown” in 17dn or “butcher” for KNOCK OFF in 18dn, and “shed” for GET OFF in 6dn only just scrapes home.

    Oops! Forgot to add my congratulations.

    Edited at 2016-12-01 11:32 pm (UTC)

  31. This one took me eight hours and 39 minutes, but eight hours of that were due to the time difference between Cambridge (where I started it) and Kuala Lumpur (where I finished).

    Like Tony, I wasn’t keen on “shed” for GET OFF – I can’t think of any instances where one is an adequate substitute for the other. “Butcher” is just about serviceable for KNOCK OFF, but only just.

    At 5d, I did accidentally stumble across “guilt in France” as another anagram – perhaps a suitable clue for LUNATIC FRINGE after their next election, depending on the outcome.

    And congratulations to GLH!

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