Times 26,603: Lord of the Wrongs

I, and others if the Club Forum is anything to go by, found this quite arduous in places – i.e. exactly what I’m looking for a Friday puzzle, excellent work setter! Of particular difficulty, if memory serves, were 11ac where I couldn’t see the very important “to” for the trees; 14dn, where I had no idea what was going on but fortunately it couldn’t have been anything else from the checkers; and most of all 7dn, where Gandolfo very quickly rang a bell, but of course I entered it as CASTLE GANDOLFO, leading to a long time scratching my head over how the wordplay of 15ac could *possibly* lead to ACCENT. At least I was fortunate enough to have little trouble with the (dodgy?) homophone at 25ac, having once known a very handsome Burmese cat going by that name. Anyway, it all took me perilously close to the 15 minute mark beyond which I start to feel like I’m letting everyone down.

Definitely some kind of Nina at work in the fifth and eleventh columns: could this be a milestone puzzle and has the setter even signed his name to this one for once? We may never know for sure. Anyway I’m going to submit quickly now as LiveJournal has been reporting “intermittent problems” to me all morning as I’m worried that this post may be lost to the aether forever if I push my luck. Have a lovely crossword-fuelled festive weekend this weekend and enjoy your 20ac and 23dn (okay, maybe it’s only in my vegan house that that constitutes an acceptable Christmas dinner). Ho ho ho!


1 Chap in great trouble having to catch European bird (7,5)
PAINTED SNIPE – TED [chap] in PAINS [great trouble] having NIP E [to catch | European]

9 Hard cutting tragic role for operetta composer (5)
LEHAR – H [hard] cutting LEAR [tragic role]

10 Mother alarmed when shunted about in jam (9)
MARMALADE – MA [mother] + (ALARMED*) [“shunted about”]

11 Damage to include a length of old coastal defence (8)
MARTELLO – MAR TO [damage | to]: include ELL [a length of old]

12 Sadist’s outside with strong desire for pain (6)
STITCH – S{adis}T [its “outside”] with ITCH [strong desire]

13 Hearing sound of bell on puss (8)
CATCHING – CHING [sound of bell] on CAT [puss]

15 Make figures half responsible for blocking street (6)
SCULPT – CULP{able} [“half” responsible], blocking ST [street]

17 First light never begins for blind (6)
AWNING – {d}AWNING [first light “never begins”]

18 Son gets on with everything except gym kit (4,4)
WALL BARS – S [son] “gets on” W ALL BAR [with | everything | except]

20 Do wrong breaking into reserved wine (6)
SHERRY – ERR [do wrong] breaking into SHY [reserved]

21 Reckon wrongly and nearly omit to come to a conclusion (8)
MISJUDGE – MIS{s} [“nearly” omit] + JUDGE [come to a conclusion]

24 Giordano’s composed in a rather overblown style (9)
GRANDIOSO – (Giordano’s*) [“composed”]

25 Excellent price reported for imported ice cream (5)
KULFI – homophone of COOL FEE [excellent price “reported”]

26 Ought the Queen note somebody on which her sword rests? (8,4)
SHOULDER BONE – SHOULD E.R. B ONE [ought | the Queen | note | somebody]


1 Critical speech revealed by microphone below boom? (7)
POLEMIC – MIC [microphone] below POLE [boom]

2 Levy on departures, hence taxi and train are badly used (11,3)

3 Number of runs acquired by the English (5)
THREE – R [runs] “acquired by” THE E [the | English]

4 Throw away fish savoury item (8)
DUMPLING – DUMP LING [throw away | fish]

5 Standard choice of starters on naff menu (4)
NORM – N OR M, as in the choice between N{aff} or M{enu}’s starter

6 French lake — it has fish taken all over for scientific examination (9)
PRACTICAL – reverse of LAC IT CARP [French lake | it | fish “taken all over”]

7 Where the Pope may be wrong as to Golden Calf? (6,8)

8 Rubbish cut by editor — he’s beginning to be very good (3-3)
RED-HOT – ROT [rubbish] cut by ED + H{e}

14 Hymn referred to as old, end-of-the-century? (9)
HUNDREDTH – The “Old 100th” is a famous hymn tune; and if a century is a hundred things,
the “hundredth” is the last of them.

16 Am lifting well-boring plant, ancient garden annual (8)
MARIGOLD – reverse of AM [am “lifting] + RIG [well-boring plant] + OLD [ancient]

17 Appoint a second operator, perhaps (6)
ASSIGN – A S SIGN [a | second | operator, perhaps]

19 Unproductive anger follows set going wrong (7)
STERILE – RILE [anger] follows (SET*) [“going wrong”]

22 Card game Jack’s leading — no pressure (5)
JOKER – {p}OKER [game… “no pressure”], that J [Jack] is leading

23 Bento full — with this in it? (4)
TOFU – hidden in {ben}TO FU{ll}, something you might indeed find in a bento box…

44 comments on “Times 26,603: Lord of the Wrongs”

  1. The versions I am hearing on the Internet are not sounding very much like ‘cool fee’, sahib. Apart from that a most pleasurable 40 minutes.
    1. Woolly headed this morning, 34′ dnf, no idea re KULFI (and not sure at all how this can be worked out), and invented the composer LEHOR (h in tragic role). Thanks v and setter.
      1. That’s how I assumed the composer clue would work but fortunately LEHAR chimed in my memory. This puzzle was really rather cruel if you didn’t know the words, I guess!

  2. I had blanks at 7dn (ok, so I could’ve chucked the letters in at random, but felt there were too many variations to consider…), and at 16dn. This was because I confidently put in ‘grandiose’ at 24ac, and never went back to check the wp. Silly, silly me. Got KULFI, but it’s not how I’d say it!

    Best wishes to you too, V. I’ll happily join you in a drop of 20ac, but think I’ll pass on the 23dn on Sunday!

  3. Dashed through this until SE. PAINTED SNIPE needed the crossers before a semi biff, but CASTEL GANDOLFO was half -known and the anagram worked. Deduced SHOULDER BONE also which still doesn’t look right. Fortunately I have a penchant for KULFI after my Dhansak, usually keeping the rest of the family waiting. Under the half hour all in which was very quick for me on a Friday. Now off to the in-laws for pre- Christmas visit.
  4. An enjoyable 34 minutes.
    Held up by initially entering Castle for 7dn, but I’m in good company there, so no shame in that!
    25ac is a ridiculously bad homophone, but what else could it be with all the checkers in place….
  5. I got off to a bad start thinking this was an anagram of CHAP IN GREAT E. Why does SIGN=operator (I know I’ll feel silly)? Thanks for the blog V and Merry Christmas to all.
    1. Easy if you’re a computer programmer – “operators” are things like +, -, * and so on…
  6. We have a QC setter by the name of Joker, so perhaps this is his 300th 15×15 puzzle. I don’t like to bandy names of setters around unless they’ve already been publicly identified but Joker has initials JG if that means anything to any of the reugulars here.
    1. Joker’s identity is already revealed in the Crossword Who’s Who, accessible via Best for Puzzles in the Other crossword Sites side-bar.

      Sounds plausible.

  7. My solve bore a close resemblance to yesterday’s effort in that the LH mostly went in steadily but the RH presented too many problems for me to complete within the hour so I gave up and looked up the unknown KULFI. I didn’t know the Pope thing (why should I?) but worked it out from anagrist. Marmalade is not jam unless it’s a foreign word for jam in which case this should be indicated in the clue.
      1. Well one can argue the point I suppose as they are both “preserves”, i.e. preparations of fruit and sugar, but marmalade and jam are distinctive, so if you ordered the one and were served the other you would have legitimate reason to complain. The main differences are the choice of fruit, with marmalade being made from citrus, and traditional marmalade contains the fruit peel.
        1. If I asked for marmalade and got jam I would be outraged! But it seems fair to me to call it that in a technical sense. I don’t think the peel is the distinguishing factor, since you can buy marmalade without any. I suspect it’s just one of those funny quirks of the language. I seem to remember a similar discussion about breads that are cakes (like banana bread) and vice versa.
          Anyway, happy Christmas!
          1. I remember years ago being outraged that, due to EU rules, my favourite toast covering of ginger marmalade was renamed ginger jam. Same mistakes as others with CASTLE and GRANDIOSE, but managed to correct them. Didn’t understand KULFI, but I didn’t know how to pronounce it. 19:28
            1. Council Directive 2001/113, 20 December 2001, by the looks of it. Having looked it up (because that’s the kind of thing I like to do on Christmas morning) I see that jam made from citrus fruit is specifically mentioned, and whereas in the case of most fruits jam must be made from ‘pulp and/or purée of one or more kinds of fruit, […] citrus jam may be obtained from the whole fruit, cut into strips and/or sliced’. You live and learn.
              Happy Christmas.
  8. No great problems here, just a steady solve but with a couple of raised eyebrows. The awful homophone of course and I had no idea what the hymn reference was about.

    All been said before but using anagrams to clue foreign names such as CASTEL GANDOLFO is a no-no as far as I’m concerned. I was lucky – I knew the place but otherwise how do you solve it other than by guessing?

    1. I doubt even the average ardent churchgoer wouldn’t know Old 100th by name, but choristers would. For the record, it’s the tune used for the hymn version of Psalm 100 better known as “All people that on Earth do dwell”.
      1. Rugby players of my era would know Old Hundredth as the tune to a song that starts ‘As I was going by St Pauls”
    2. I think anagram clues are often used for foreign terms because online anagram-finders are unlikely to be able to help. (Many solvers are not purists, and do resort to online tools to speed things up.)

      I made a hard puzzle harder by entering GRANDIOSE and GONDOLFO, so DNF.

      btw, dear setter, if you read the news you’ll know that it’s unlikely that the Pope will be at C.G.

  9. I made exactly the same error with CASTLE – but, unlike our blogger, failed to identify it and therefore gave up with 15a unfilled. I also failed at 11a, a word I didn’t know – and what seems to be very dodgy cryptic grammar (unless I’ve missed something).
  10. I still rate myself as an improver after a year of trying these. Some lovely disguises today which will, doubtfully, aid me in the future. Once I had the Pope clue (I’m afraid by trial and error) I finally made progress in the SE. 25a seems very poor for such a high quality puzzle and I don’t see why “imported” is used as this made me look for some inclusive word. Entered Grandiose carelessly which also held me up. So a DNF but I’m happy with a reasonable attempt. Thanks V for all the fun-filled blogs of 2016 and I suggest lots of 20a in your 23d fare.
  11. I personally plumped for “Loher” as the librettist, not realising that neither choice of my apparently-50/50 gamble would be right. LEHAR has come up before, but I didn’t remember him well enough.

    Thank goodness a friend of mine was involved in a bid to renovate a MARTELLO tower in Eastbourne a year or two back, at least. However, I didn’t know KULFI, nor the PAINTED SNIPE, nor the hymn, nor the Pope’s residence—though I’d at least got as far as working out it was likely CASTEL.

    All told, lack of sleep and a hangover—ironically due to SHERRY—and my lack of GK really didn’t help, and my hour ran out with much of the eastern half lacking in letters.

    Edited at 2016-12-23 11:52 am (UTC)

  12. Managed this one in 33 minutes with no crossing out! Luckily I never saw the possibility of LEHOR as I knew the composer, being familiar with his Gold and Silver Waltz for one. That was my FOI. I also got SCULPT before the Pope’s place, which was vaguely familiar also. Like Olivia I tried to make 1a an anagram of CHAP IN GREAT E for a while but eventually saw the correct WP. KULFI stirred a vague memory from a recent puzzle, I think, although I winced at the homophone. 14d went in after I got the crossers. My LOI was MARTELLO when I finally saw the significance of the TO. Nice puzzle. Thanks setter and V. Merry Christmas to all.
  13. This one took me longer than usual, 16:55 but relieved that the guesses from wordplay – CASTEL GANDOLFO and PAINTED SNIPE were correct. I rather liked the clue for PRACTICAL and shrugged at KULFI. I’m with Jim that there’s something unfair about clueing proper names (and in this case I guess a non-English spelling? I’ve never heard of the place and the mentions of old hundredth in the comments don’t help) as an anagram.

  14. Fell foul of the SE corner again today – this area is fast becoming my own personal albatross.

    Not helped, of course, by failing to check the anagram at 24ac and bunging in GRANDIOSE, thus rendering MARIGOLD impossible.

    I always assumed that Castel Gandolfo was where the pontiff went for the weekend after a hard week’s poping at the Vatican, to kick back and break out the brandy and cigars. I may, of course, be wrong. I often am.

    Time: Technical DNF but about 50 minutes to fail technically.

    Thank you to esteemed setter and blogger.

  15. 23 mins, but I drifted mid-solve so I don’t think the time was too bad after reading the comments of others. I should have seen CASTEL GANDOLFO much faster than I did, and KULFI should have been a write-in but the word had slipped my mind temporarily and I was relying on the WP. I would always pronounce it “cull-fee” so that route didn’t help. It also took me a while to see how the BONE element of 26ac worked, while WALL BARS was my LOI. Have a good Xmas everyone.
  16. Not a continuous solve so no real time to report, but it wasn’t quick. My LOI’s were KULFI and WALL BARS, but I needed aids to find the ice cream, which I’ve not heard of before. So DNF today. The homophone for that sort of makes sense if you talk funny, but only if you’re aware of the dessert element, which I wasn’t. Everything else was OK, but I confess to knowing MARTELLO only through these puzzles rather than generally. Merry Christmas to all. Regards.

    Edited at 2016-12-23 05:50 pm (UTC)

  17. No problem with the GK – I knew all the references. But I didn’t see WALL BARS and gave up with *ALL *A*S. The things were my pet hate at school so maybe I’d subconsciously expunged them from my memory. Very enjoyable though not very fast. 41 minutes. Ann
  18. Third DNF in a row. Guessed KULHI (cool=ice, high=expensive) for the unknown ice-cream, and gave up on the never-heard of SHOULDER BONE – couldn’t get past SO or DO as the note. Shoulder blade perhaps, or collar bone, maybe – where’s Doctor Thud when you need him.
    Managed to deduce MARTELLO; and CASTEL GANDOLFO known from a Robert Ludlum book read 30-odd years ago.
    1. Toe bone connected to the foot bone
      Foot bone connected to the heel bone
      Heel bone connected to the ankle bone
      Ankle bone connected to the shin bone
      Shin bone connected to the knee bone
      Knee bone connected to the thigh bone
      Thigh bone connected to the hip bone
      Hip bone connected to the back bone
      Back bone connected to the shoulder bone
      Shoulder bone connected to the neck bone
      Neck bone connected to the head bone
      Now hear the word of the Lord.

      Edited at 2016-12-23 11:56 pm (UTC)

  19. But quite satisfying once the already-mentioned traps were avoided or corrected. With Galspray that the first syllable of KULFI should be as per “cull” rather than “cool” — the Oxfords confirm.

    21ac seemed like an odd clue. Couldn’t parse it at first because it was so obvious. “Reckon” and “come to a conclusion” seem semi-synonymous to me. But liked 8dn for the shades of the great Robert Johnson.

    Posting late because LJ was showing a “502 Bad Gateway” most of yesterday. Still … pleased to make a Friday post at all, the festives having changed my usual schedule. Expect I’ll now be on regularly having just been dumped from the Friday teaching gig I’ve been doing for the last 30 years!

    Edited at 2016-12-23 11:54 pm (UTC)

    1. Chambers has the first U in KULFI as in ‘good’, which is how I pronounce it. This may or may not be the sam as the U in ‘cull’, depending where you’re from, but one way or the other the homophone’s still dodgy.
  20. 15:11 for me, finishing with a grand dither over the foodie KULFI, even though it’s come up a couple of times in the cryptic Jumbo and no doubt more often in the T2 Concise. Must add it to my list of difficult words. (Why call a cat KULFI for heaven’s sake? All proper cats have five-letter names ending in Y reflecting their colouring: SMOKY, SANDY, SNOWY, SOOTY, … with RUDDY as the fall-back, as in “It’s that RUDDY cat again!”)

    Like Olivia and others, I wrestled with CHAP IN GREAT E for far too long. And even when the second P had finally ruled that out, I dithered over SNIP = “catch”, taking ages to twig that “great trouble” = PAINS rather than PAIN.

    I’m pleased to see that jackkt confirms that MARMALADE isn’t jam. I had a vague impression that that was so, but foodie matters are definitely not my thing.

  21. 21:28, slowed down a lot by a CASTLE at 7dn _C_E_T looking like a perfectly likely combination. I don’t mind anagrams for foreign/obscure words as long as the solver has a reasonable chance of working out where to put the letters, and I got there eventually, but let’s just agree this one tested where that particular boundary lies.
    I was fortunate enough to know the word but the homophone at 25ac is awful, which is not fair for a word like this IMO.
    I didn’t know the hymn at 14dn, but the answer was otherwise obvious, so I didn’t need to.
    Happy Christmas, everyone.
  22. Rotten word, rotten homophone, ROTTEN CLUE – like some of the contortions elsewhere.
    Hated this one.

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