Times 26595 – one flu over…

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Those who bothered to read last week’s diatribe about blocked roads and the bird flu outbreak will be pleased to hear there have been no more mass duck-roastings (as far as I can smell) but the roads are still barricaded. However this week it hasn’t been an issue because I’ve been laid low with The Mother Of All Colds. Only today have my eyes stopped streaming enough to peer at the screen and ponder a clue or two.
No wonder, then, that this took me about twice the alloted 20 minutes, and even then I had a couple of ‘bung in and hope’ moments. Given that 20 of 24 had it all correct, and only 7 had all three Finals puzzles right, the next two Wednesdays could be tricky.

1 BRATPACK – A tricky start. After a time spent naming violin parts, I realised it was BACK = second, with (PART)* inserted; D precocious players, those in-your-face young actors in the 80’s.
5 CARPUS – CAR = vehicle, PUS(H) = propulsion reduced; D joint, wrist.
10 SPLIT INFINITIVE – SPLIT IN FIVE would be to make a handful of pieces; insert I NIT = one egg; D &lit., the beginning of the clue has one in ‘to maybe make’.
11 IRRATIONAL – I, RR = bishop, (N)ATIONAL = of a country, wanting leadership (N); D could be pi, 3.14159265359…. an irrational number.
13 STOP – ST = stone, OP = work; D finish.
15 GIBBOUS – GIBBO(N) is your tailless primate, add US for humans; D with asymmetry. Gibbous usually refers to the moon shape when it’s more than half full but not a full disk, but the word has a wider meaning of protruding or hunchbacked. ‘With asymmetry’ seems a somewhat vague definition.
17 KREMLIN – K = king, MERLIN was Arthur’s adviser, swivel his first half, to get REMLIN; D seat of power.
18 SUSPEND – Drink = SUP, insert (‘neck’) S; add END = stop as in 13a, D 13a for a time.
19 DEBRIEF – DEBRI(S) = most of wreckage, add EF being iron, Fe, reversed; D after operation, pump.
21 RAID – D offensive, as a noun; sounds like RAYED as in ‘bit of sun’.
22 CLAW HAMMER – C = constant, LAMER = less impressive, insert WHAM = sound of impact; D versatile tool.
25 PAR FOR THE COURSE – A bit convoluted but I think it’s PA = aide, RECOURSE = emergency action, insert FORTH for going forward; D what’s expected. Or in my case, 8 over par.
27 EMERGE – Hidden word in SCH(EMER GE)TS, D become known.
28 BLISTERY – LISTER was the pioneer of antisepsis, insert him into BY = through, D with effects of chafing or burns. As it was a word I’d never seen, although perfectly reasonable one, I’d put an S on the end not a Y at first until 20d put me right.

1 BASKING – SKI = runner, a crossword regular; insert into BANG = suddenly; D taking it easy.
2 AWL – This was my LOI and took me too long to twig. AWOL = bunking off, remove the O = nothing to lose. D useful to hide work, a tool for working with leather.
3 PETITIONER – PETER being the first bishop of Rome, insert I and (INTO)*; D supplicant.
4 CONGO – CON = argument against, GO = game; D equatorial country.
6 AVID – A VID(EO) = a recording, years ago; D showing passion.
7 POINTILLISM – PO = post office, IN = concerned with, TM – trademark, insert ILL IS = trouble consists of; D dotty representation. Don’t blame me, I don’t write these clues.
8 STEEPEN – STEEL PEN = instrument with metal nib; remove the L; D increase slope of.
9 HIJACKED – HID = cloaked, insert JACKE(T) = short coat; D taken on a journey.
12 ROBESPIERRE – ROB = rip off, ERE = once, insert SPIER = Observer; D powerful Frenchman.
14 MEMBRANOUS – (OBAN SUMMER)*, D as a film.
16 SODALITY – (LOT I’D SAY)*, D brotherhood.
18 SCRUPLE – S = small, CRU(M)PLE, D hesitation.
20 FORGERY – FORGET TRY = disregard attempt, remove the TT; D fake.
23 WHEEL – WHEE ! = I’m thrilled, L = large; D revolver.
24 PONG – P = quietly, replaces S in SONG musical number; D hum, smell. Thanks gothick matt for clearing that up.
26 RYE – RYE is a nice little port in East Sussex and a sort of whisky beloved of country and western types, a DD.

64 comments on “Times 26595 – one flu over…”

  1. Nice and chewy today, 32′. Did not parse 1ac or 22ac or 25ac properly, so thanks pip. 11ac straight in, as mathematician. GIBBOUS one of my favourite words, waxing or waning. Thanks to pip and setter.
  2. I nearly got there in my hour, but was defeated by the 1a/1d/10a/2d crossers. I clearly need to brush up on things like “ski” for “runner” and “nit” for “egg”; I’ve seen them both before and they may have been enough to lead me in the right direction today. Ah well. Happy enough to have got the rest in 60 minutes, including the unknown SODALITY. And at least I remembered POINTILLISM from a previous puzzle…

    Thanks to setter and blogger. I definitely needed a couple of the explanations for my biffs today; I was certainly pleased to get PAR FOR THE COURSE from only a single letter and without understanding how the clue worked!

  3. Needed help to finish, and then needed to come here for some of the parsing! Still don’t really get PONG…
    Thanks, Pip, and respect to all those who managed to finish, however quickly! Janie
    1. I understood PONG as “song”—musical number—with the “introduction” replaced by “p”.

      Edited at 2016-12-14 10:10 am (UTC)

  4. 27 mins but with ‘strophe’ at 18d, for which I’m sure I had some vague, and clearly erroneous, justification in mind. I think I glimpsed or overheard both BRATPACK and SODALITY on the day but as they were among my last in it didn’t help me much.

    Some wonderful clues here.

    Thank you, Pip, and good luck on the next two which I’m sure you’re right in thinking will be tougher yet. Love the blog title.

  5. Technical problems, of which there have been a few, permitting the Christmas Turkey puzzle will be out tomorrow. I’ll post a little sticky note with the link some time in the morning.
  6. Were there any claims for an alternative answer at 1dn? I had BUSKING which is “taking it easy” in the sense of not preparing for something with full diligence. The wordplay is then USK (runner – river) inside BING (suddenly – a variant of “bang” as confirmed by dictionaries).

    This was a horrible puzzle that I came very near to abandoning as too difficult but eventually completed it with a couple of resorts to aids. DK GIBBOUS or SODALITY, needed help with MEMBRANOUS and biffed PAR FOR THE COURSE with no idea how any of it worked.

    Is a reference to C&W music really the explanation of “country gentleman” at 26ac? If so, it’s pretty feeble in my view. I couldn’t think what it was doing there but had expected something a bit stronger than that. I’m sure many people who drink RYE are neither devotees of country music nor are they gentlemen.

    Edited at 2016-12-14 10:26 am (UTC)

    1. I believe it is a triple definition. Rye also means a “romany gentleman” as well as the whiskey and port.
      1. I see a ‘Romany Rye’ is a man who associates with gypsies but isn’t one by blood; so I see your point, but without Romany I think Rye alone isn’t a fair definition. But perhaps the setter did!
    2. I agree, Jack, a hideously difficult, but clever, puzzle for solution in competition conditions. I got there in the end, but only after a couple of hours and resort to aids. I am full of admiration for anyone who managed it in under 20 mins on the day.
  7. BRATPACK defeated me. I am in a run of completing everything in my usual 30 minutes but failing to get the last one or two. I prefer Gothick_Matt’s explanation of 24d to my own parsing.
  8. Thought this was as good as they get, and was delighted to get it done within the hour. Not sure I’d get the next two done in the remaining 83 seconds, so my Championship ambitions are back on hold.

    Thanks setter and Pip.

    BTW Pip, in 28ac I had BY=through, BLISTERY=with effects of chafing or burns. And in 12dn I had ERE=before, ROBESPIERRE=once-powerful Frenchman.

  9. Persevered and got there in the hour. DNK GIBBOUS, and only when I saw BASKING did the funky primate EMERGE. BRATPACK then LOI. I always confuse them with the rat pack, although none of them married Ava Gardner nor JFK’s sister as far as I know. Hard puzzle for me today, to be maybe made easier by FOI SPLIT INFINITIVE. On this rock, PETITIONER went in. COD AWL. To finish this at all was to be under par for me.
  10. A few seconds short of the hour mark. Had to come here to parse 1a (my LOI) and 25a
    This puzzle is a perfect example why I would never enter the Championship. I doff my cap to those that can complete three of these within an hour. Truly an amazing feat imho.
  11. If this was the easy one what will the others be like! I spent far too long trying to fit a baboon into 15a. And I always confuse it with a Gibus top hat. Like others, I needed everything else before seeing BRATPACK (and I notice that tftt’s spellcheck flags it as incorrect). I think Boltonwanderer is right, that it grew out of Sinatra’s posse. 28.22
  12. Though it pains me enormously, I must agree with Gallers that this was a cracking puzzle. I was over the moon to finish it in, I forget now, around 100 minutes, I think, with DEBRIEF really tickling my fancy. So many well-hidden definitions that I’m sure RYE makes more sense than it appears to.

    My jury is still out on whether GIBBOUS is a brilliant word or a really stupid one.

    Edited at 2016-12-14 11:07 am (UTC)

  13. Tough puzzle that I found challenging. Got it all in the end but held up trying to remember how to spell Semmelweis at 28A until I realised it was Lister. Poor old Ignaz still goes unrecognised.

    Some superb clues here and if the next two are even harder we’re in for a treat.

    1. I did slightly (very relatively) speaking better on the next two but all three were beasts – even the mighty Magoo commented on how he thought they’d made the finals puzzles even harder this year – didn’t stop him though, did it?
    2. I didn’t try to shoehorn him in, but I had the same feeling about credit not being given where due. Was he ever recognized?
      1. To an extent I think although it took Pasteur to provide the theory and then Lister the practice before his “method” was accepted but not really credited to him

        I learned about him when studying the so called “semmelweis-reflex” which uses his awful treatment to demonstrate how people often react to new ideas. You can still see evidence of it from time to time!

  14. 7dn was my FOI quickly followed by 6dn AVID.

    I enjoyed this one immensly and came in at 49 minutes – although it actually felt quicker!

    LOI 2dn AWL – my COD


    Early on I was fixed on 22dn CLUB HAMMER but CLAWED it back.

    A couple did not parse understanding – 24dn PONG and partially 26dn RYE

    1. I started with “jack hammer” (we’ve had them at all hours in the street outside) and SODALITY isn’t a word that exactly crops up in conversation. It’s another that the spellcheck here doesn’t recognize – not to mention that it also sounds like something that might be unmentionable.

      P.S. Meant to say – great blog Pip!

  15. Took me nearly half an hour so I would have been toast in the championships, but this was a very good if difficult puzzle. In the end the only question mark I have is from BRATPACK as a single word – Chambers only has it as hyphenated or two words, but Collins has it as a single word.
  16. 27:32 so I’m not ready for the Grand Final yet, that’s for sure. Anyway, it was a puzzle befitting the occasion.

    GIBBOUS and SODALITY were unknown and I biffed BRATPACK, SPLIT I and PAR FOR THE C. My sheet has “workings out” all over it.

    26 just had to be RYE but I’d be interested to hear the full explanation from RR or the setter.

    1. So shall I. It’s possible sawbill is right, a triple def, but the leap from ‘country gentleman’ to Rye without its Romany seems past Mephisto-land to me.

      Edited at 2016-12-14 01:53 pm (UTC)

  17. After a year of intensive training to go off piste, I’m definitely piste off to be back on the nursery slopes. I scraped by through biffing the Frenchman and the golf term (which I also never achieve). Thankfully my mathematics background helped with pi (which I first thought had an alternative meaning). But the NW proved beyond me and my Brotherhood vowels were wrong. Good use of Clawhammer in Sparklehorse song sang by Tom Waits. Hats off to all you brainy people who can solve such mysteries.
  18. You can keep your hat on for me, Alan. I was beaten by BRATPACK and BASKING.

    Vexingly, I did think of BRATPACK, and then dismissed it because I failed to unwrap the multiple, duct-taped layers of parsing. I considered “resting” for 1D, but it didn’t parse either; for “runner” I could only think of either “h” or “r” (abbreviations from horse-racing, I believe) – “ski” didn’t even cross my mind.

    I also mangled the parsing of a few others, such as SCRUPLE, for which I took “mass” to be the definition (a scruple being a small weight).

    No problems with pi being IRRATIONAL, though a more interesting and uncommon property of pi is that it is transcendental.

    1. Ah, just read up on this in Wiki, expecting something to do with meditation, but it just made my brain hurt.
      1. I always say, if I can leave someone more confused than when they started, my work is done. But it’s embarrasingly simple. A rational number can be expressed as a ratio (like 2/5ths or 17/22nds). An irrational number can’t be, but many irrational numbers can be written as an equation (for example, the square root of two is irrational, but it can be written as the solution to X in the equation X^2-2=0).

        Transcendental numbers are even more strange, because they can’t be expressed as an equation at all (without some serious skullduggery). The fact that many of the numbers built into our universe (like pi and e) are transcendental probably means something, but nobody knows what.

          1. Recent recalculations based on data from the Large Hadron Collider actually place it at 42.03741, approximately.
  19. 20m, keeping my hopes for a completion of three puzzles within the hour alive… just.
    I biffed quite a lot today, including EMBARKED at 9d, which makes even less sense than you might think because my ‘short coat’ was a PARKa. Actually I suppose that’s not really a biff, is it? What do you call it when you put in something that doesn’t fit the definition from an erroneous reading of the wordplay?
    I didn’t know SODALITY but it seemed much the best arrangement of the available letters. I suppose ‘country’ in 26dn is being used here to indicate ‘in the country’ and hence ‘a gypsy word for’, which seems a little loose now but as I didn’t have a clue what was going on one way or the other it didn’t bother me while solving.
      1. Somehow I feel that restricting my nom de mots croisés to just one form of sloppy, over-hasty error would cramp my style a bit.
          1. The thing is I didn’t completely ignore either. What I did was in a way even dafter than that.
  20. RYE is in Collins as just ‘dialect’ with no reference to Romany/gypsies which I guess gets the setter off the hook.
  21. This one led me up the garden path in so many different ways.

    Anyone for that well-known Italian film UMBRAMESNO,
    presumably by the famous auteur Antonio Dyslexio?

    Staggered over the finish-line eventually with a huge sigh of relief.

    Time: far too long.

    Thank you to blogger and setter.

    1. Umberto!? … I knew him well enough…we fist met in Torino at the Hotel Jolie.. he was a fabulous mimic. Tragic end.

      Dyslexio was very diferent – he was something in the war in Rome – rather good dancer – addicted to Strega- I was haunted by Antonio’s intercity. We dridfted apart.

  22. About 25 minutes but with STROPHE where apparently SCRUPLE should be. Why, you say? Well, because it fits, and also because I have no idea why ‘crumple’ and ‘concertina’ have anything in common. Any equivalence there must be a UK-ism. My LOI’s were KREMLIN after finally seeing HIJACKED, which is clever and suitable in a championship competition puzzle. Regards.
    1. Kevin to ‘concertina’ is to ‘collapse or fold up like a concertina’ (Collins). The front of a car is sometimes said to have concertinaed after a head-on collision, for example. I guess it is a UK-ism: it’s certainly quaint.

      Edited at 2016-12-14 06:26 pm (UTC)

  23. 29 mins of wide awake solving. I knew it was going to be a struggle when I didn’t see a single across answer on my first read through, and it was only when I got a few downs that I started to make inroads. I had the bottom half finished a while before the top half, and I eventually finished with HIJACKED. Definitely a puzzle worthy of the grand final.
  24. Slightly amazed to have finished and parsed this, in some multiple of the par for the course 20 minutes. Quite a tester.
  25. I did give up on this after about an hour, with only about half done. Returned to it later in the day, starting by using aid for 14dn, where I hadn’t been able to sort the anagram, then thought of FORGETS at 22dn (though it doesn’t parse properly). After failing to make anything of TRIP or TILT at 22ac, being fixated on T..AMER, looking at a list of HAMMERs put me on the right track, and rest of bottom half fell quickly. (Vague memory of Borrow was a help for RYE.) LOI was 2dn after again resorting to aid to find anything other than BACKPACK to fit checkers at 1ac.
  26. On the day (but in the audience), I finished this puzzle last with just 12 seconds of the alloted hour to spare, with AVID the final clue to fall after a frantic run through the alphabet searching for its second letter. Definitely a tough set of three.

    Back in the 1960s when I started out, and certainly carrying on into the early days of the Championship, you needed a fair knowledge of the works of George Borrow, so solvers from those days would have bunged in RYE without a moment’s hesitation.

    1. Whereas I spent three years studying Eng Lit in the 1990s and I have never even heard of him!
      I’m OK on whisky though 😉
  27. Hells Bells! This was a tough one! I came to this late in the afternoon after a convivial lunch with some retired colleagues from the erstwhile Burroughs Machines crowd. It started badly when the laptop refused to connect online after a Win 10 update as I tried to get electronically up to date before commencing the treeware experience. Having gritted my teeth and sorted the issues, the puzzle gave me more grief with a hour spent getting a smattering of entries. However I stuck at it and after 90 minutes or more of torture, completed the grid. Coming here I was amazed to find it all correct, but had to dash out to the granddaughter’s concert with Marske Brass Band at the Zetland Church in Redcar, where I was once again royally entertained. Then it was off to the pub for a pleasant interlude before arriving home and finally getting round to commenting on the puzzle. I find now that everything I could possible say has already been said so I’m off to bed. Hold that thought, there’s half a bottle of shiraz that I won at the folk club raffle on Monday still lurking on the other side of the table. Cheers and night night.
    1. I’m surprised that hasn’t been mentioned in one of the previous 58 comments.

      Hang on…

      Edited at 2016-12-15 08:34 am (UTC)

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