Times 26605 – Like a Lambda to the Slaughter

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I ended the old year as I mean to carry on in the new one, cheating like a proverbial on this to finish in a half decent time. It seems like my new year’s resolution must be to mug up on my Greek dishes and my rough fabrics. Lots to like here, including at least one chestnut roasting on an open fire.

Not sure if the setter has Hellenic heritage or if s/he’s been watching reruns of The Guns of Navarone and Zorba the Greek. Never mind all that, anyway. As they would say over at Big Dave’s, how was it for you? Oh, and seasons greetings to you all, and may 2017 bring you all you wish for, so long as you’re still young enough to handle it.


1. RECIFE – RIFE around CE reversed for the place in Brazil with several pronunciations, the most authentic of which sounds nothing like you’d expect it to unless you happen to be Lusophone.
4. STARKERS – K and ER in STARS.
11. DUCAL – C in DUAL.
12. SWALLOW – literal ‘down’; LAWS reversed + LOW (deep).
13. GROGRAM – GROG + RAM; not gingham or any derivative thereof, whereupon I was working.
14. LOTTO – L + OTTO; the German cyclist is a palindromic wannabe comedian.
15. TOTALITY – literal ‘whole’; first letters of T[welve] A[udio] + LIT (books) in TOY.
18. LIME TREE – LI METRE (approximately 167 feet) + E (European); that pedantic German comedian’s back…
20. MARCH – double definition; I was working around the disciples/apostles, but realised soon enough that among all those Simons and Judases there wasn’t room for poor Mark.
23. STIFADO – anagram* of I DO FAST; now, come on, ‘sfitado’ sounds a hellas of a lot more authentic.
25. DONATES – anagram* of TO SEND A.
26. RHINO – IN in RHO; a Greek chestnut?
27. TONSORIAL – ON SO in TRIAL; a reference to the barber of Sevilla, whose story was a well from which both Mozart and Rossini happily drew.
28. TALENTED – first letter of T[ortiglioni] (no, never heard of it either) + AL DENTE with the D moved to the end.
29. NEWARK – gee, this is a real Cook’s tour – now we’re on the borders of Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Iran, where Noah’s craft finally docked.


2. CURRANT – sounds like ‘current’ for a good raisin.
3. FOOTLOOSE – FOOT + last letter of [hik]E around LOOS.
5. THOUGHT-READING – THOUGH (while) + TREADING for a phrase I don’t mind saying I’ve never come across; the dictionaries make it sound like psychobabble but then they’ve never met my wife.
6. RODEO – RODE + O; a 1943 ballet from Aaron Copland and Cecil B De Mille’s niece Agnes. Amazingly, my first choice – before cheating on GROGRAM – was Rodin, which – you’re not going to believe this – premiered in 2011 in St Petersburg!
7. EXCERPT – first letter of R[ailway] in EXCEPT (save).
8. SALAMI – A in SALMI (a game casserole).
9. HOT-WATER BOTTLE – ‘comforter’; BOTTLE follows HOT WATER.
16. LEMON SOLE – LEMON (something useless – the Morris Marina comes to mind) + SOLE.
17. SHASHLIK – S + HASH (pot as in hashish, in case you are wondering) + LIK[e]; essentially, the Russian version of a shish kebab.
19. INITIAL – ‘first’; anagram of LATIN + I + I (one repeated).
21. RETSINA – I’m sorry, but this is not a drink in my book; [c]ANISTER reversed.
22. ESPRIT – ‘quick wit’ (Collins defines it as ‘spirit and liveliness, esp in wit’); we’re back with the psychobabblers – it’s ESP + the musical notation RIT (abbreviation of ritardando or ritenuto – not to be confused with ralletando, of course).
24. ACORN – A + CORN.

24 comments on “Times 26605 – Like a Lambda to the Slaughter”

  1. Ingredients:

    Google various likely-looking anagrams of “I do fast” until Bob’s your uncle.
    Realise that 167 ft equals 50 metres but research various imperial measurements until the penny drops.
    Biff TONSORIAL after discovering Figaro’s occupation.
    Rack brain for “coarse stuff” featured a few weeks back.
    SWALLOW pride by entering E—R-T into online aid.

    Simmer for 55 minutes. Serve without RETSINA.

    Edited at 2016-12-26 03:30 am (UTC)

  2. I dithered between ‘swallow’ and ‘shallow’, since I couldn’t make sense of either, and went unerringly for the wrong one. Never heard of STIFADO, but it pretty much had to be, once the S, A, & O were in place.
  3. Bah. Boxing Day, my favourite day of the year, until the cricket gets rained out and the crossword (like my fridge) is full of obscure foodstuffs.

    To be fair, I got STIFADO (as Kevin says, what else could it be?) and I would have got SHASHLIK if I’d thought of the right sort of pot. And I’ve got no real excuse for SCATLOW which I decided must be some sort of plumage, so I guess it’s really just the cricket I’m annoyed about.

    So, eight over par to start the week. Four more days for the Test match / solving week to take a turn for the better.

    Thanks setter and Ulaca.

  4. The SW corner went in easily enough but I struggled everywhere else with the NW putting up the most resistance. I guessed SHISHLAK at 17dn and because I was fed up with lack of progress by then I looked it up immediately to check and found it was wrong. I biffed SALAMI, having no knowledge of the beef stew. Didn’t know the German cyclist (German on its own usually does for OTTO). Didn’t know the SA city. Retsina smells like Izal disinfectant and would probably be better used for the same purpose. Far too much obscurity and exotic food and drink for the day after Christmas.

    Edited at 2016-12-26 08:03 am (UTC)

  5. 25 and a bit minutes, with most time taken up in the NE.
    LOTTO raised an appreciative grin: I rely on the Otto cycle every time I drive someone else’s car with a petrol engine: Induction, compression, ignition, exhaust, indelibly printed on my brain from a history teacher (that’s how he taught it) who proudly took us out of class to see his vintage pride and joy, a 1936 SS Jaguar 21 2 litre Tourer.
    Think I’ve tried all the foodstuffs named, but am now looking forward to a leftovers fry up, surely the best way to enjoy brussels.
  6. I think this is a puzzle that was rejected earlier in the year and then dug out for Boxing Day as a quick fix in the schedule. Poor stuff and yet another anagram of a foreign word STIFADO

    Well done Ulaca

    1. Ah, come on Jim, did you not like the German cyclist as a nod in the general of proper engineering? All together now: “Suck, squeeze, bang, blow”

  7. 26:12 but 2 wrong – I had SHALLOW and a guessed GOODRAM – my daughter’s pancake batter yesterday was rather gooey. I was about to say I still didn’t understand GROGRAM, but just seen it is the battering sort. Thanks for clearing up a few others I didn’t understand, Ulaca, but I still don’t like RODE for “depended on” in the Copland ballet.
  8. Like Galspray I spent time trying to make an anagram of ACTS. This fell within my GK range so no big problems. GROGRAM is similar to buckram and if you know anything about tailoring or dressmaking (or Georgette Heyer) it’s a write-in. It’s used to provide hidden stiffening for a collar etc. Unhappily I attended boarding school in the middle of nowhere and there was nothing else to do on a wet weekend if you didn’t have anything you wanted to read – so I learned how to sew. Happy New Year to you Ulaca and to all! 16.47

    Edited at 2016-12-26 12:18 pm (UTC)

  9. I’ve had stifado in Greece and shashlik in a curry house so they didn’t cause me any problems but I did manage to join the SCATLOW brigade and I went with GOODRAM (GOO + DRAM) after rejecting GOOD RUM.
  10. Some excellent clues and then…..Liked LIME TREE, and LOTTO, and TONSORIAL, and the use of the phrase ‘German cyclist’ above. Half-guessed STIFADO, and misremembered GROGRAM, and dnk SALMI, so a dnf. Humbug.
  11. I thought my time of 16 mins was ok until I realised after coming here that I’d forgotten to go back and give “scatlow” a rethink. At least I wasn’t alone. EXCERPT was my LOI and for some reason I always have trouble seeing it.

    Methinks Jimbo got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning ……

  12. I’ve eaten STIFADO, SHASHLIK and SALAMI but happily never together, so they went in without problem.

    My recent travails in the SE seem, at least temporarily, to be over and that corner was completed first.

    I then ground to a complete halt with GROGRAM, SWALLOW and LIME TREE missing.

    I begin to wonder just exactly how many words there are in English for rough cloth and how long it will take me to learn them all. I was convinced that 13ac. ended in -RUM so that held me up for a good 10 minutes.

    The last three went in on a wing and a prayer, and, mirabile dictu, were all correct.

    Time: About an hour.

    Thank you to setter and blogger. Season’s greetings to all.

    Edited at 2016-12-26 03:14 pm (UTC)

    1. Going in easily was never a problem. My experience is that digesting and disposing could be!
  13. I was the first one in last night, and this morning my 12:37 is still looking decent on the club leaderboard (one second slower than Verlaine). Glad I reconsidered SCATLOW, though I did biff SALAMI (not a clue for a vegetarian, I guess) and needed the checking letters and mildly helpful anagram for STIFADO – at the end I had to google STIFADO – it doesn’t appear to be in either Chambers or Collins. Must be a favorite of the editor or setter?
  14. 18m. The required obscurities happened to coincide with the random scattering of my knowledge today, and the things I didn’t know were generally not needed to solve the clue: the ballet, how OTTO was a cyclist, what Figaro was doing in 27ac. I didn’t know (or had forgotten) STIFADO but it seemed the most likely arrangement of the letters and probably something similar to the French estouffade, which indeed it is. I wanted 13ac to be something ending RUM for a while, but I remembered the correct cloth after a while.
  15. Considering the number of foodie clues today, I’m quite pleased with my 8:40. Remarkably there was nothing I hadn’t come across before, though I don’t think I’ve ever eaten STIFADO.

    Elsewhere I was far slower than I ought to have been to get THOUGHT-READING. And, like others, I spent far too long trying to make 12ac start with an anagram of ACTS (but at least I eventually twigged LAWS). A pleasant start to the week.

  16. Never would have got the metric tree. This effort was made tough by the grid. Having nailed the NW and the long downs, I was left with three quadrants that were self-contained, so that eventually solving one gave no new checkers for the others. Made it in the end, having entered pine tree with a shrug.
    Like Jimbo I hate anagrams of unknown foreign words. Should be banned.
  17. I did this one in two lazy sessions before and after Boxing Day tea(turkey and orange glazed gammon with the left over veg turned into bubble and squeak)with the family. Due to the exotic nature of the foodstuff in the grid and the holiday atmosphere I allowed myself the luxury of conferring with the family for STIFADO and SHASHLIK as well as the never heard of RECIFE. I did manage to deduce the latter pair, but needed confirmation. The STIFADO eluded me. However the rest of the grid turned out correct, but my time was off the scale, possibly due to the seasonal overindulgence, or the fact that this was a bit of a snorter! Thanks setter and U. Now back home and settling down with a cup of tea and today’s crossword.
  18. Well, once again I find myself several days behind. This is largely due to the insistence of various people (some of them relatives) that I be “sociable” during the festive season. Count me as a bah humbugger, but I believe that Christmas is a time for quiet reflection, drinking, and crosswords.

    I was beaten by SWALLOW. I took “twisted” to be an anagram indicator, giving me “scatlow” which, as those of you from the North of England will know, is the name for the downy covering of a newborn animal. Or so I thought.

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