Times 26613 – a tasty smorgasbord of a puzzle

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Appropriately, I had been catching up on the last few episodes of Professional Masterchef and feeling foodie friendly, just before tackling this challenge. What do we find? A feast of 1a, with a 17a or 19a of tasty culinary oddities like 12a and 20a, all delivered with 15a! All I needed afterwards was a glass of sparkling 14a or horseless 10a to calm me down.
I didn’t find it straightforward, mainly because I went wrong a couple of times, at 4d, 22d, and at first enumerating 2d as 4,5 not 5,4, which dented my time considerably; the bones of an hour by the time I had retraced some blind alleys and understood how it all could be explained.
I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

1 CREATIVITY – (VARIET)* inside CITY for town, D talent. As I had 4d beginning with G for a while, I spent too long looking for a town ending in GATE.
6 SHOO – SH! OO! being cries of surprise (well OO! is); D get lost. Ah, I was slightly vague here, (i.e. at sea), see first comment below where paulmcl explains it.
10 WHINE – Insert H for horse into WINE from Bordeaux; D plaintive cry. Not a MARE in sight.
11 LARCENIST – This was my LOI in spite of having all the checkers, because I couldn’t parse it, but now I think it’s a dodgy (well, criminal) homophone; L for left and ARCENIST supposed to sound like another criminal, arsonist.
12 BEARNAISE SAUCE – (AUSSIE A BEER CAN)*, D dressing; a delicious tarragon flavoured sauce best served with steak. The history is a bit confused, it’s not a speciality of the Bearn region, but supposedly named after (and first served to) old Henri IV who was born in that part of SW France.
14 COOLANT – CANT being inclination, insert a reversed LOO being the throne; D that’s rather chilling.
15 PANACHE – PAN means swing round, with a camera, ACHE for hurt; D dash. If you order it round here with an É you get a glass of shandy.
17 AMALGAM – MAG = little journal, LAMA = priest, all reversed to give D composite.
19 MELANGE – MEAN for base, insert L, add G(at)E; D confusion. I thought a melange was just a mixture and a melée was a confusion, but no doubt dictionary corner will allow it.
20 MOCK TURTLE SOUP – (PLUCK OUTERMOST)*, D tasty snack. Apparently it was in existence before Lewis Carroll created the “real” Mock Turtle from which soup could be sung about; it was invented as a substitute for the real green turtle soup in the early 1800’s, using calves’ brains, feet, and other surplus bits. Yes, I am in a looking up and learning mode today.
23 TROMBONES – MO = army medic, RT = right; reverse these, add BONES for surgeon; D instruments.
24 ATRIA – Hidden word in the alternate letters of A pTaRmIgAn. D Anatomical parts.
25 LIDO – LID for hat, O; D might one crawl here, i.e. swim.
26 ARMAGEDDON – ARM weapon, AGED of antiquity, DON put on; D battlefield. I think I’ve seen this one before, else I’d have been scouring my memory for WWI battles.

1 COWL – Double definition.
2 EMILE ZOLA – As mentioned, I drew the dividing line after 4 letters not 5 and ended with an author E*O*A who looked more like a virus. Then sanity was restored. OZ = weight, inserted into ALE LIME being beer and fruit; reverse the lot; D author.
3 THE GREAT GATSBY – THE, BY = times; insert GREAT GATS, gats being Gattling guns; D work. Biff it and work it out afterwards, I did.
4 VALIANT – V = see, vide; ALI = Dali losing top; ANT = worker; D courageous. For some reason in a senior moment I had first put in GALLANT (parsed as Cha-GALL – ANT) which caused a hold-up.
5 TURNS UP – TURNS = goes, tries; UP = in high spirits; D comes.
7 HAIKU – the 60s musical was HAIR, drop the R, add UK reversed; D lines, a short poem in English based on a Japanese form, three lines of a meaningful observation about nature and such. The shorter the better, I say.
8 ON THE LEVEL – Double definition, one meaning truthful.
9 PERSONAL ESTATE – PER ESTATE would be for each car; insert (LOANS)*; D what’s left.
13 SCRAP METAL – SCRAP = brawl, METAL sounds like METTLE, resolution; D recyclable items.
16 CONCURRED – CON CURED would be a report of prisoner’s reform; insert an R; D agreed.
18 MARINER – MINER being an excavator, insert Ar being the chemical symbol for argon, D one going in deep.
19 MELISSA – ELI = priest, inside MSS = papers, add A; D lady.
21 CROWD – CROW = triumph over, boast; D for Democrat; D press.
22 WARN – D alert; sounds like WORN, put on in the past tense. At first I had WARE as in BEWARE, and WEAR being the present tense of put on. But I was wrong, as Armageddon followed.

48 comments on “Times 26613 – a tasty smorgasbord of a puzzle”

  1. I had 6A as OOHS reversed (hence “echoing” that doesn’t make much sense in your parsing). I biffed THE GREAT GATSBY and still couldn’t work it out later. I took forever to get ARMAGEDDON, working on other battlefields. And I spent far too long, like you, on 22d wondering if WARE was a word meaning alert (like beware) before I twigged that I had the tense wrong.

    Edited at 2017-01-04 08:03 am (UTC)

  2. And you might want haikus to be shorter. But in fact they are always the same length. 17 syllables.
      1. Unfortunately,
        Syllables per line must be
        Five-seven-five, Pip

        Like Tony I wondered why the people from Berne couldn’t spell Bernaise when I noticed the empty light at the end. Avoided the WARE trap as it just didn’t work as alert. Even so ARMAGEDDON was LOI after many minutes racking brains – old battles are a particular area of ignorance for me (along with birds, painters, authors, poets, plants and trees, etc. I do know my periodic table, and a wide variety of African deer.)
        Town and city interchangeable colloquially for us from the ‘burbs: “I’m going into town” is the same as “I’m going into the city.”
        Cooking shows – sure I’ve seen Heston cook a turtle, specially caught in Louisiana bayous or nearby. Think he claimed mock turtle soup was made of rotten, greenish veal.
        Liked the smooth surfaces, complete in a reasonable 24:21.

  3. I too had WARE at 22dn, resulting in agonising minutes at the end trying to think of an obscure Civil War battle and a very dispiriting final time outside of the quarter hour. Very good crossword I thought!
  4. Writing a poem
    In seventeen syllables
    Is very diffic

    With you Pip on mélange, a mixture indeed. Sans mélange = unadulterated.

    Mock Turtle: calves’ brains etc. Tasty?

    At 3dn: is the def. really just “work”; or “comparatively little work”? If the latter … I wonder.

    Edited at 2017-01-04 08:15 am (UTC)

    1. I thought “comparatively little” was either that the book is actually fairly short, or more likely some sort of play on “great” in the title.
    2. The Great Gatsby is often referred to as a novella. Fitzgerald himself obviously thought so:

      The Great Gatsby, for example, was F Scott Fitzgerald’s third novel, around 50,000 words long, but did not sell as well as his first two. “It was too short,” he wrote to a friend. “Remember this. Never write a book under 60,000 words.”) [from this Telegraph article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/9609841/Ian-McEwan-is-lucky-to-be-allowed-to-publish-novellas.html%5D

      There was a bit of a TLS feel to this puzzle, and my suspicion fell while solving on a certain setter, but then I’m always wrong about these things.

      Edited at 2017-01-04 11:28 am (UTC)

  5. 21:21 .. agree with Verlaine that this is a quality offering, with plenty of opportunity for going on wild goose chases and catching red herrings. I did plenty of both.

    I watched a few of those Masterchef programs, too, Pip. I’m glad someone’s prepared to work that hard over a piece of offal and some mash but I’m always glad it’s not me.

    Last in MELANGE. COD to WHINE

  6. Ran out of time so DNF. Excellent crossword with economy of clues and some great surfaces (12a, 20a, 23a etc.).
    Thanks setter. I wish that I had had this over Christmas to solve at leisure). Thanks Pip for filling in my many gaps.
  7. Too much for me. I had five left at the end of my hour, and even stretching it a further ten minutes didn’t turn anything more up. Not sure I’d’ve got the crossers of SHOO and HAIKU; I was thinking completely along the wrong lines and looking for an obscure nation to fit __I_U… I’d agree that “oohs” backwards seems a bit more likely as a parsing, on reflection.

    My other sticking point was the SW corner, where a tentatively-pencilled “ware” wasn’t helping. DNK ARMAGEDDON as “battlefield”, either.

    Ah well. I count myself lucky to have got as far as I did, frankly; there was some cunning stuff in the MELANGE today.

  8. Really good puzzle. As Sawbill says – would have been an excellent one for Boxing Day with all those culinary references. No problem with WARE as I had ATRIA and ARMAGEDDON before I looked at 22D

    Didn’t understand the “comparatively little” reference at 3D so thanks to Sotira for the explanation. Not sure the clue needed it to work though.

  9. 30mins + a few more to amend ‘ware’ to ‘WARN’ and fill in LOI ARMAGEDDON (unparsed, was just glad to find something that fit). I too ‘parsed’ SHOO as Pip, but wasn’t happy with it, thanks Paul for explanation. Couldn’t parse MELANGE either, but that’s maybe because until I read Pip’s blog, I read ‘unopened’ for ‘unoccupied’. Guess it helps to read the clues…
    1. That’s exactly why MELANGE was my last one in, Janie — reading ‘unoccupied’ as ‘unopened’ for the longest time.
  10. 20ac does not exist in China – they prefer the real thing to calves brains and ‘surplus bits’.

    1ac CREATIVITY was my nemesis – as I hardly equate CITY with ‘town’ – they are by definition different.

    3dn THE GREAT GATSBY was somewhat tortuous – it is a surprisingly short book.

    My efforts were surprisingly long and I was happy to get there in 70 minutes.

  11. I got the anagram at 12a very quickly on the first run through and wrote in sauce bearnaise, this caused some confusion when solving the down clues and I noticed my error relatively quickly.
    I joined the “ware” club too.
  12. A very enjoyable puzzle where it was good to stop and savour the clue constructions. I’m also pleased to be back to original puzzles on Wednesdays instead of the second-hand fodder that’s been served up of late.
  13. 16m. I had trouble downloading the paper to my ipad this morning so I solved this with pen and paper standing up on the train, like the old days.
    Great puzzle, because of the geese and herrings mentioned by sotira, and a remarkable absence of biffing. In fact I don’t think I biffed a single answer, and the vast majority had to be fully parsed before I felt confident entering them.
    I considered WARE but didn’t put it in. The ghost of the E at the end still caused me problems with 26ac.
    Thanks setter, a very fine puzzle on which to break my 2017 duck.

    Edited at 2017-01-04 10:12 am (UTC)

  14. This was right up there with HP Sauce, infinitely preferable to Béarnaise, on bacon and eggs at least. Can never accept town and city as the same thing though as per 1 ac, in the same way I’ll never accept Bolton as part of Greater Manchester. I’ve been to Megiddo, where ARMAGEDDON will apparently take place, rather than as my envisaged Battle of Midway on the M61. Not a bad clue in this puzzle, though HAIR is usually the Sixties musical. Was Oh! Calcutta too late? Finished in 40 minutes, all parsed except for SHOO.
  15. A most enjoyable 42 minutes of solving, with parsing required before any bunging! The Great Gatsby did spring to mind when I had T_E _R_A_, but the parsing sprang to mind at the same time. Otherwise a chewy and satisfying offering. I scanned the NW and NE in vain for the first couple of minutes until 9d gave me a start. The SE then gave up its secrets, with even WARN going in correctly. The soup then gave me an opening into the SW and I worked my way back to the NW, finishing in the NE with HAIKU, then SHOO, which was the only one I had trouble parsing. I justified it with the echoing of an “(Ati)shoo”, but Paul’s parsing is much better. I dabbled with TEXTILE for 17a until the A from SCRAP METAL put paid to that thought. I had to check the anagram fodder carefully for the sauce, as I was a letter short, but found the spot for the extra A. Thanks setter and Pip.
  16. This went in smoothly – perhaps because, as Sotira observes, the cross-training with the TLS came in handy. Luckily I never thought of GAIN/GIN yesterday and similarly with WARE/WARN today. The arsonist homophone works for me. There’s the Cole Porter song At Long Last Love – Is this an earthquake, or simply a shock? / Is it the good turtle soup, or is it merely the mock. Good one. 16.10
  17. Another completion on the rehab road, 38′. Liked ARMAGEDDON, and should have got EMILE ZOLA earlier, Germinal being a brilliant book. Good stuff, thanks pip and setter.
  18. 33 min, but couldn’t get 22dn: having got 26ac, was left with -A-N where ‘put on’ suggested GAIN, but I needed a homophone. After several minutes trawling through alphabet decided to submit FAIN(feign) even though that only gave a pretence of alertness. (I didn’t think of the transitive verb,)
  19. At 4D I too had GALLANT, parsed as (Cha)GALL ANT, which I think at least as good answer as VALIANT.

    I had WARE, too, at 22D, but eventually got ARMAGEDDON andcorected it.

  20. 39m today and all correct. Steady solve with no major hold ups but also no bursts of inspiration either. Like Horryd I struggled with the city/town a bit but eventually got there after realising one of my very few biffs (gallant) at 4d was simply wrong. Glad the sauce was an anagram or else I’d have really struggled to spell it. Most enjoyable puzzle and blog today so thanks to both creators.
    1. I think it comes from “sawbones”. Anyway it’s an old colloquial expression.

      OED has this as its earliest reference: 1837 Dickens Pickwick Papers ‘What! don’t you know what a Sawbones is, Sir?’ enquired Mr. Weller; ‘I thought every body know’d as a Sawbones was a Surgeon.’

      Edited at 2017-01-04 05:08 pm (UTC)

      1. Star Trek afficianados will also recall that Captain Kirk invariably referred to his medical colleague Dr McCoy as “bones”
    1. Anonymous, It may be that the two earlier questions were from others but while the guys and gals here are always happy to help, it does seem polite to identity yourself a bit. No need for a photo (although it is very easy) but perhaps signing yourself as something, however made up, to distinguish you from the other Anons. In any event, welcome here.

      Edited at 2017-01-04 11:12 pm (UTC)

  21. Loved the Aussie beer can clue. I spent far too much time back in the 60’s knocking back (expensive) cans of imported Foster’s lager in the Australian bar underneath the Cheshire Cheese in Surrey Street, just off The Strand – coincidentally bang opposite the Kings College Student Union…….

    Time: All correct in about 50 mins.

    Thank you to setter and blogger.

    Edited at 2017-01-04 05:54 pm (UTC)

  22. 21 mins, and you can count me as another who was held up for several minutes at the end by having confidently entered “ware” at 22dn. It was only after I finally twigged ARMAGEDDON that I realised “put on” was the past tense so WARN was my LOI.

    1ac went in as soon as I read the clue, and I don’t have a problem with city and town being synonymous. Although there is a difference between the two in some parts of the world they are most definitely interchangeable in the USA.

  23. 38 minutes and no mistakes, so I had a good day today after much recent frustration. A rare puzzle with no unknown trees or hedges or anything else, except perhaps for ATRIA in the sense used. Maybe I am just awake for a change — after a while I even saw the parsing of the echoing SHOO. And even the long anagrams just popped into my mind.
  24. No real problems today, even went with WARN right away. Only issue was what to put in C?W? at the end. COWL being the only thing I could think of, it went in. I see Jack says it’s a double definition. I don’t think I know either one. Don’t take any trouble if you see this, please. I’ll look it up. Regards.
    1. Kevin that was I, or perhaps that were me, saying DD. Cowl – loose hood part of monk’s habit. Cowl – hood shaped chimney cover, to improve the air flow. Regards Pip
      1. I’m so sorry Pip, of course it was you. My mistake. I actually knew the monk’s hood def., but the chimney related one was beyond me. Thanks much.
  25. Another disappointing day – my 15:40 reflecting my inability to tune to the setter’s wavelength properly.

    I was grateful for the anagram for the foodie 12ac as although I’d heard of it, I didn’t know how to spell it, and (assuming it came from Bern(e)), bunged in BERNAISE SAUCE, ending up a letter short.

    At least I got ARMAGEDDON before WARN, so didn’t have the WARE problem.

  26. I enjoyed this one very much, even though I never really got into gear with it and took 40 minutes to finish.

    Like some others, I had “gallant” at 4d which held me up for a bit, especially as I thought I was looking for the name of a town at 1ac.

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