Times 26618

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I had problems with this one solved over two sessions and probably need most of an hour in all. In particular I came to grief in the SW corner where the French word eluded me for ages. I don’t quite understand why we need to import a 9-letter foreign word when there’s a perfectly serviceable 3-letter English word meaning exactly the same thing but such are the mysteries of life, and it’s in the English dictionary so I suppose we have to accept its validity and that the setter didn’t feel the need to indicate its foreignness in the clue. This is all starting to sound a bit petulant so I’ll shut up and get  on with the blog…

As usual definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions are in curly brackets} and [anagrinds, containment, reversal and other indicators in square ones]

1 The same artist’s not in Radio Times cutting (5)
DITTO – {ra}DIO [artist’s – RA- not in] containing TT (times) [cutting]. Some abroad may not know that Radio Times is the UK’s leading TV & radio listings magazine, taking its title from before TV was invented.
4 Wild uproar about Tory leader has America very happy (9)
RAPTUROUS –  Anagram [wild] of UPROAR containing [about] T{ory} [leader], US (America)
9 I’d take temperature in sea at Calais around solstice (9)
MIDWINTER – I’D + WIN (take) + T (temperature) in MER (sea, at Calais)
10 Horse keeps dry round the bend (5)
BATTY – BAY (horse) contains [keeps] TT (dry – teetotal)
11 Oil supplier spreading a mess close to drive (6)
SESAME – Anagram [spreading] of A MESS, {driv}E [close]
12 City anger inspires good software (3,5)
BIG APPLE – BILE (anger) contains [inspires] G (good) + APP (software)
14 Mean peacekeepers to gather round hospital (10)
UNPLEASANT – UN (peacekeepers), PLEAT (gather) contains [round] SAN (hospital)
16 I leave to exercise joint (4)
WELD – W{i}ELD (exercise) [I leave]
19 Obscure endless stuff on jacket? (4)
BLUR – BLUR{b} (stuff on jacket – of book) [endless]
20 He pays for company guards trained to count yen (5,5)
SUGAR DADDY – Anagram [trained] of GUARDS, ADD (count), Y (yen)
22 A doctor in church nurses European character (8)
AMBIENCE –  A, MB (doctor), IN contains [nurses] E (European), CE (church – of England)
23 Funny guy collects Sierra from space (6)
COSMIC – COMIC (funny guy) contains [collects] S (sierra – NATO alphabet)
26 Hint of disgrace? It’s not said commonly? (5)
TAINT – T’AINT ( “It’s not”, said commonly)
27 Guide operates with northern language (9)
ESPERANTO – Anagram [guide] OPERATES N (northern)
28 Green light in spare room (9)
CLEARANCE – Two meanings
29 Gong duke going into dinner, say (5)
MEDAL – D (duke) in  MEAL (dinner, say)
1 Dud politicians who in Paris stop poor tipping (4,5)
DAMP SQUIB – MPS (politicians) + QUI (who, in Paris) contained by BAD (poor) reversed [tipping]
2 More than one current change, that is, ending on top (5)
TIDES – ID EST (that is) with its last letter changed by moving it to the front [ending on top]
3 I run mad occasionally in public haunt in old Chinatown? (5,3)
OPIUM DEN – I + {r}U{n} M{a}D [occasionally] in OPEN (public)
4 Service engineers set about computer systems (4)
RITE – RE (engineers) [set about] IT (computer systems)
5 Hairy pet for each Welsh girl on boat (7,3)
PERSIAN CAT – PER (for each), SIAN (Welsh girl), CAT (boat) – not short for  catamaran, but “a strong merchant sailing vessel with a narrow stern, projecting quarters, and a deep waist, formerly used esp. in the coal and timber trade on the NE coast of England”.
6 Cheerful, United lead Polish off (6)
UPBEAT – U (united), PB (lead), EAT (polish off)
7 Reveals quiet study, fully extended (9)
OUTSPREAD – OUTS (reveals), P (quiet), READ (study)
8 It bears a stigma, part of nasty lesion (5)
STYLE –  Hidden in [part of] {na}STY LE{sion}. In botany ” a narrowed frequently elongated projection of the ovary, bearing the stigma”.
13 Energy’s reduced — check period and switch cover? (10)
ESCUTCHEON – E’S (energy’s), CUT (reduced), CH (check), EON (period). I knew this word from heraldry but it’s also a protective plate over an electric switch or a keyhole.
15 Tip bucket one held in sink (9)
POURBOIRE – POUR (bucket – with rain, for example), then I contained by [held in] BORE (sink). Those without knowledge of French may be at a disadvantage here.
17 No boarding here in cool shady ground (3,6)
DAY SCHOOL – Anagram [ground] of COOL SHADY
18 I follow stuff about English or Chinese character maybe (8)
IDEOGRAM – I, DOG (follow) [about] E (English), RAM (stuff)
21 Check cheese is picked up (6)
FETTER – Sounds like [is picked up] FETA (cheese)
22 Old Greek version of ‘Room at the Top’? (5)
ATTIC – It’s an old Greek style of architecture and a top room so I’ve indicated two defintions but the whole thing comes together quite nicely as one cryptic
24 Dug stuff up (5)
MINED – DENIM (stuff) reversed [up]. “Stuff” is a term used for any type of woven cloth.
25 It’s used in fencing sheep, evenly erected (4)
EPEE – Hidden and reversed [erected] in {sh}EEP E{venly}. “In” and “fencing” can each be used as containment indicators but in this case I think they’re both needed for the definition which leaves the containment unaccounted for unless something’s doing double duty, but even allowing for that the clue doesn’t seem quite right to me.

57 comments on “Times 26618”

  1. Never ‘eard of POURBOIRE, never would have got it. PLUMBLINE fitted the checkers, so in it went.

    All pretty straightforward otherwise. COD to CLEARANCE I think.

    Thanks setter and Jack.

    1. Glad to see I wasn’t the only one. Left with P_U_B_I_E I confidently thought it couldn’t be anything but PLUMBLINE. Likewise, I don’t think I would have got POURBOIRE anyhow.
    2. Put me down as another ‘plumbline’. In fact, I wrote it in before getting 28a, so the checking E felt like confirmation. Ah well. 12m 06s with that error.
  2. Pleased to say I beat the AM, managing a total of 41 minutes with TWO wrong, the silly French thing (plumbline, bien entendu), and also 16a, where I wasted ten minutes at the end to come up with nothing better than ‘bend’. And that was after multiple alphabet runs and scribblings. Embarrassing…

    Félicitations, Jacques, et bon travail. Okay, I think that’s enough gratuitous (geddit?) French for one day.

  3. … except, as Jack notes, in the SW. Though ATTIC went in quickly to help with the rest. Struggled with POURBOIRE though knew the word. I’ll admit to quite liking its honesty re what the tip is to be used for.
  4. Sailing through this till I met a few snags in the SW and failed at the end on POURBOIRE. Overall took about 50 minutes in 2 goes.

    By the way, Capt. Cook’s ship Endeavour was a CAT. Not many people know that – or maybe they do.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

    1. I certainly didn’t but I’m glad I do now. Looking up images of “Whitby cat” reveals more of what they looked like (boxy). Having said that, I can’t see any reason why the cat in the clue can’t be a catamaran, but it doesn’t matter.
  5. 15:17 … vaguely knew POURBOIRE and happily I had pencilled in POUR— before dealing with the second bit of it, saving me from the biff-trap. CLEARANCE really is nice.
  6. As for others, slowed down in SW by the French which I knew but couldn’t call to mind – increasing problem these days. Never heard it used by an English speaker.

    Jack, I don’t see how 25D works either

  7. Someday they’ll spell English with an I (perhaps they already do, in phonics) but until then I have no excuse or reason for IDIOGRAM, chasteningly not for the first time. I think if it had been an across clue, I might have corrected it before submitting.
    Otherwise a slow and broken run, with the same Dartmoor quagmire as everyone else. The only other word I could think of for bucket was pail – much use that was.
    Much to my surprise, Homebase (other outlets are available) sells escutcheons. And calls them escutcheons, too.

    Edited at 2017-01-10 09:13 am (UTC)

    1. In Italian: Inglesi. Italian’s very phonetic – see a word spelled, know instantly how it’s pronounced.
      You’re getting this because I did a search to see if I commented last time POURBOIRE appeared.
  8. Ok so I clearly biffed 6d as I used lead polish for the P and convinced myself with next to no thought that Beat somehow means off.
    I took the Cat as a Catamaran and I guess it doesn’t really matter in the end.
    25d I just took as an all-in-one but again without much thought.
    COD , Clearance
  9. I have heard it used in Lunnon Tarn at L’Etoile, Mon Plaisir and L’Escargot but not Rules, The Gay Hussar or Wheelers – we English eschew tipping anyway, considering there is VAT on top at God knows what percent. My WOD – amazing that it only just appears to have reached Australia.
    35 minutes of moderate pain with COD also to 28ac CLEARANCE.


    LOI FETTER – one has to spell AMBIENCE without an ‘A’in the middle, apparently.

    As for 25dn EPEE the more you think about it, indeed the less sense it makes. Would the word ‘too’ at the end have helped?

    Edited at 2017-01-10 09:20 am (UTC)

  10. … and that of course was POURBOIRE (plumbline, obvs! So confident of it was I, that when I read Jack’s intro, I assumed he was referring to AMBIENCE!). Damn that useless French degree! All rest done in 30mins, ending with alphabet-trawling for WELD.

  11. 17m. Most of this went in very quickly indeed and I thought I was going to be on for a fast time, but like others I got seriously bogged down in the SW. No problem with POURBOIRE but it’s a French word and should really have been marked as such IMO. Also if you don’t know it your chances of finding BORE from ‘sink’ aren’t that great.
    At 25dn I read the definition as just ‘it’, with the rest of the clue providing an indication of what ‘it’ is. We accept this sort of construction all the time in semi-&Lits (where usually the definition is something like ‘this’), so I see no reason in principle why we shouldn’t here, but it’s certainly unusual.
    Edit. And on reflection doesn’t really work even on that basis: apart from anything else having EPEE contained in ‘fencing sheep evenly’ requires an extraneous word, which isn’t allowed. So I will join everyone else in the ‘hmm’ camp.

    Edited at 2017-01-10 11:03 am (UTC)

  12. 23:56 will all but the SW going in quite quickly, although I unaccountably typed in DAMP SQUID which caused problems later. I could see what I was after for 21d but with all the crossers took a long time wondering whether LESTER was a sort of check. I knew POURBOIRE so I was not distracted by alternatives and when I finally corrected 1dn, 19ac was my LOI. 25dn biffed without thinking about it too much but I agree with all above that on reflection, there is something a bit odd about it.
    1. Damp squid is superb. I bet Attenborough has found a dry one somewhere on the planet and is awaiting to unleash it on us.
    2. I actually wrote down DAMP SQUID in my working space but transcribed it to the grid as DAMP SQUIB:-)
  13. Frosty wind made moan. I didn’t know POURBOIRE so DNF, completing the rest in 50 minutes. Neither Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody nor Simon and Garfunkel’s The Boxer came to mind though I did end up crying out that I was leaving in my anger and my shame. I’d laboured too long and hard in the south-west with CLEARANCE and AMBIENCE also taking time. Earth stood hard as iron. Is POURBOIRE the same as ‘have one for yourself’? I don’t seem to go to that sort of pub nowadays.
  14. 28′ but one wrong, probably lost patience with the alphabet search for 16 ac. POURBOIRE terrific word, but agree that nowadays the ‘service charge’ and the use of such to top up wages makes tipping uncomfortable. Incidentally there occurs today a three letter foreign word, won’t say which language, which is clued in exactly the same way in today’s QC.
    1. These days I always ask who gets the service charge, and if it doesn’t go to the staff I take it off and leave some cash.
      1. When I’m in UK I do too! But also claim the VAT back. I assusre Mr. Keriothe I am quite popular amongst resaurateurs the world over.

        Tipping is completely frowned upon in China as bad form!
        They actually have to pay the staff – unlike in the USA!

        Chinese taxi drivers look at you askance if you try to tip them -they suspect you might be trying to bribe them!
        Try not tipping a cabbie in London!

        Different cultures for POURBOIRE wherever one goes.

        horryd Shanghai

        1. I usually tip cabbies in London and they always seem surprised and grateful, so I’m not sure things are what they were. Mind you the fares aren’t what they were either.
          I also tip the people who deliver pizza, which I think is very unusual in the UK.
          It’s a minefield.
  15. I did very well with the first three quarters of this, then ran aground on the SW. Glad to see I’m at least in good company. Oddly, of my few missing answers, I was probably closest to getting the unknown POURBOIRE, as I’d figured out it was unknown and likely started with POUR, and came from French… But just couldn’t see “bore” for “sink”. Ah well. Another defeat in my hour.
  16. Another one shipwrecked in the SW region; clearance, escutcheon, fetter escaped me. And wanted to put in BUMF for 16a. Not a good day at the office.
    I knew what a pourboire was but in 9 years in SW France have never heard the word spoken, although a small tip is de rigeur – but usually not enough pour une boisson!
  17. I also came to grief in the SW. I managed to get POUR but using tip as the partial definition, and still looking for a word for bucket with one in to give sink as the overall definition. I wasn’t helped by sticking TACIT in 26a finishing up with POURBACIE. So a DNF with 2 wrong in 49 minutes. Glad to see I’m not the only one who struggled in that corner! My FOI was SESAME. Last correct one in was WELD, with a spot of inspiration finally bursting from somewhere in the depths of my consciousness before I had to do a full alphabet trawl. Thanks setter and Jack.
  18. Some grumbling about the homophone on the Club Forum. Here in the Big Apple it works because many locals don’t pronounce the final R in fetter (unlike other Americans). There seemed to be a mini-theme in the SW with the taint on the escutcheon and the sword. That may be one reason why the Christmas Turkey was unexpectedly hard to solve – with 30 wavelengths rather than one. Garcon, vous avez oublier le fromage, pas de pourboire pour vous. 17.26
    1. Here in SE England it works too, because we don’t pronounce the R in ‘fetter’ either! I really don’t understand the objection.
      1. Here in the SE, I cannot imagine how to pronounce the R in FETTER unless you are Scots. I will check with the Scots wife (as opposed to the other one) when she reappears from work.
        1. The R is certainly pronounced in many parts of the world but I don’t see it as a condition of validity that a homophone remains valid in any and all versions of spoken English!
      2. I understand not pronouncing the r in fetter. But who doesn’t pronounce the a in feta? Ghastly, ghastly homophone.
          1. The a in ‘feta’ is a schwa, as is the ‘er’ in ‘fetter’. The way I say them the homophone is perfect.
            And it’s not just me: the phonetic notation is identical in both Collins and ODO: fɛtə.

            Edited at 2017-01-10 09:53 pm (UTC)

            1. I’m with keriothe on this. I think the homophone is spot on and I can’t imagine feta being pronounced any other way.
  19. The bottom has fallen out of my world – can’t believe you don’t make your own pizza.
    1. I’ve tried, but without a wood-fired pizza oven it doesn’t really work. A friend of mine has one in his garden.
      1. Something to consider if that mega bonus materialises. The oven not the garden, unless it’s the mother and father of mega bonuses, I suppose.
        1. I don’t think they’re particularly expensive, but the whole process is a right old faff. Pizza is one of those things – like chips – best cooked by someone else.
  20. If they are hidden there could be any number, without anyone realising!

    Has Verlaine fallen overboard? My VPN has!

    horryd Shanghai

  21. With the checkers D and S in place, I couldn’t get the ( obviously wrong ) DEAD SQUID out of my rapidly tiring mind. Together with FETTER/FETA cheese, and the BIG APPLE this would constitute my own personal culinary hell for which nobody would be offered a POURBOIRE.

    Time: Out of mind.

    Thank you to setter and blogger.

  22. Didn’t know of the French tip, so had to look it up. BORE for ‘sink’ doesn’t strike me as something I should have known, so I’m not planning on being too hard on myself. WELD was good, though, so thanks setter and Jack. Regards.
  23. 19 mins, and like others I struggled in the SW with five clues unsolved for what seemed like ages. POURBOIRE was the first of the five to be solved after I belatedly realised “bucket” could refer to rain and thought of POUR, it was followed by UNPLEASANT, ESCUTCHEON, CLEARANCE and finally FETTER (which I had thought of earlier but I wanted the final checker before I was prepared to enter it). To be honest the need for “fencing” to do double duty for EPEE didn’t occur to me. I was glad the penny dropped for WELD relatively quickly because I thought I was going to have to do an alphabet trawl.
  24. Now I’ve read the comments I no longer feel bad about my 8 wrong letters in 3 wrong words. I’m also one of the PLUMBLINE crowd and although I know the word POURBOIRE, it would not so easily have come to mind in an English puzzle. The wordplay is not any help at all, bucket=POUR and sink=BORE being very BLURry indeed. Which brings us directly to my other mistakes: I would never have gotten DAMP SQUIB and although it didn’t seem much more likely I put in DUMP SQUID instead, imagining some kind of rubbish dump facility for poor people or the result of fly tipping — anything is possible in a culture which has pearly kings and queens, for example, and swan upping and cheese rolling. The wordplay would fit: MPS+QUI in DUD. And that of course made BLUR impossible — I had DAUB instead, which could be a way to obscure something. It shortens DAUBE, which is also a real word, unfortunately having nothing to do with jackets.

    Well, it wasn’t my day. But it also was hardly anyone else’s day…

    Edited at 2017-01-10 10:09 pm (UTC)

  25. 15:28, two or three minutes of which must have been spent trying to justify PLUMBLINE. But having failed to do so, I looked for an alternative, and fortunately POURBOIRE came to mind fairly quickly.

    I didn’t notice anything wrong with 25dn (EPEE) until going over the clues again after I’d finished. I suppose it isn’t quite kosher, but I can’t say I’m too bothered.

    A most interesting and enjoyable puzzle.

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