Times 26624

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
This took me 36 minutes but I ended with one careless error at 4ac. I also lost time along the way having biffed wrong  answers at 1dn and 17dn which gave me incorrect checkers for their adjoining answers and delayed solving them, but after my disaster yesterday this seemed a doddle by comparison and not far in excess of my target time, albeit with one wrong letter. Here’s my 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 Item on plate I note for diet? (6)
REGIME – REG (item on plate – car registration), I, ME (note – music)
4 Standard way to address queen touring hospital: “One’s cured!” (5,3)
PARMA HAM – PAR (standard), MA’AM ( way to address queen) containing [touring] H (hospital). My stupid error here was writing “Palma”, wondering how “pal” = “standard”, leaving it to review later and then forgetting to go back to it. I believe the formal way to address HMQ is “Your Majesty” but having said that to her once, one is expected to say “Ma’am” (to rhyme with “arm”)*. I don’t know if this less formal address is common knowledge outside the UK so it’s possible that some of our overseas solvers may be a little puzzled by this clue.
*On edit: I am assured by comments below that it’s pronounced “Mam” to rhyme with “jam”.
9 Ultimately how irrational that team should keep staring (7)
GAWPING – GANG (team) contains [should keep] {ho}W [ultimately] + PI (irrational)
11 Penny’s back on stage, wearing a type of bowler (3,4)
LEG SPIN – LEG (stage), P’S (penny’s) reversed [back], IN (wearing)
12 Reserve bunk, producing card (5)
TAROT – TA (reserve – Territorial Army historically, if actually TAVR now), ROT (bunk – as in “History is bunk” according to Henry Ford)
13 Evidently valley life all bad — but this corner’s cosy (9)
INGLENOOK – IN GLEN (valley) 0 – nothing is – OK, so it follows that life there is all bad. It’s a chimney corner in an open fireplace.
14 American I housed in my own refurbished holiday home (10)
WYOMINGITE – I contained [housed] by anagram [refurbished] of MY OWN, GITE (holiday home)
16 Take cream off small boy or girl (4)
SKIM – S (small), KIM (boy or girl)
19 Legendary Highlander: one’s got so far ahead (4)
YETI – YET (so far), ahead of I (one)
20 Hide after leading lady around old, imposing crash site (4-6)
FOUR-POSTER – FUR (hide) contains [around] O (old), POST (after), ER (leading lady – HMQ again!). A somewhat cryptic definition following complicated wordplay which took me a while to unravel as I had thought the R from “fur” was the one at the end of the answer.
22 Initially, all when in mountain have activity in mind (5,4)
ALPHA WAVE – ALP (mountain), then A{ll}+ W{hen} [initially] in HAVE
23 Measure essential to stop me talking back (5)
TEMPO – Hidden in [essential to] {st}OP ME T{alking} reversed [back]
25 The state of the loo’s atrocious (7)
LESOTHO – Anagram [atrocious] of THE LOO’S
26 What new divorcee could take to be cause of hang-up? (4,3)
RING OFF – Two meanings
27 Makes leap year visits to see secretive groups (3,5)
SPY RINGS – Y (year) is contained by [visits] SPRINGS (makes leap)
28 Field that’s no longer used for camping? (6)
EXTENT – EX (no longer) TENT (used for camping). Defined as in “scope”.
1 Immediately apply in writing for audition (5,4)
RIGHT AWAY – Sounds like [for audition] “write away” (apply in writing). I thought this was more complicated than it turned out to be and biffed RIGHT HERE based on “write” and “hear” and this gave me problems solving 14 and 19ac.
2 UK peninsula where travel used to be endless (5)
GOWER – GO (travel), WER{e} (used to be) [endless]. I probably shouldn’t admit that I’d only heard of this place since it featured in “Gavin & Stacey”.
3 Keep leading Tina astray (8)
MAINTAIN – MAIN (leading), anagram [astray] of TINA
5 Fleshy fruita large part oil, unexpectedly (9,4)
ALLIGATOR PEAR – Anagram [unexpectedly] of A LARGE PART OIL. Aka avocado.
6 Assailant who’s closer after one’s escaped (6)
MUGGER – MUGG{i}ER (closer) [after one’s escaped]
7 Place for flask, maybe, and with it pot (3,6)
HIP POCKET – HIP (with it), POCKET (pot – as a verb in snooker, pool etc]
8 Capital made out of son being unethically dressed? (5)
MINSK – S (son) in MINK [unethically dressed?]. The capital of Belarus. The lyrics of Tom Lehrer are useful for remembering names of the elements and former USSR cities and towns:

I have a friend in Minsk,
Who has a friend in Pinsk,
Whose friend in Omsk
Has friend in Tomsk
With friend in Akmolinsk.
His friend in Alexandrovsk
Has friend in Petropavlovsk,
Whose friend somehow
Is solving now
The problem in Dnepropetrovsk...

10 Fetching number available at a bargain (5,3,1,4)
GOING FOR A SONG – GOING FOR (fetching),  A SONG (number). The definition looks strange to me and perhaps should read “available as a bargain” or “available at a bargain price”?
15 Somehow co-opts US company in the end to make film (9)
OCTOPUSSY – Anagram [somehow] of CO-OPTS US, {compan}Y [in the end]
17 Blight that hurt top of flower in desert pea (9)
MARROWFAT – MAR (blight) then OW (that hurt!) + F{lower} [top] inside RAT (desert). With only the M from 16ac in place I biffed MANGETOUT which gave me the correct checker for 28ac so I was confident for some time that my answer was right. However eventually the arrival of other checkers  made me realise my error. I avoid peas labelled MARROWFAT so it was not a word that immediately sprang to mind.
18 US military base opposed strikes being talked of (4,4)
FORT KNOX – Sounds like [talked of] “fought” (opposed), “knocks” (strikes). Perhaps best known  for housing the US Bullion Depository where most of their gold reserves are stored. It was the target of the heist in GOLDFINGER, another James Bond title to go with 15dn.
21 Cocktail 3 down — forgetting name twice (3,3)
MAI TAI – MAI{n}TAI{n} (3 down) [forgetting name twice]. My only unknown today but with 3dn already solved this was a gift. I now understand it’s made from rum, Curaçao liqueur, orgeat syrup and lime juice.
22 City where de Gaulle would appear after church (5)
ARLES – {ch}ARLES de Gaulle [would appear after church]
24 How Jersey goes about finding sculptor (5)
MOORE – MOO (how Jersey – cow – goes), RE (about). Henry of that name.

55 comments on “Times 26624”

  1. For me at least. That is: printing the 8am puzzle and finishing it (and making a coffee) by 8:30.
    Good job 5dn was an anagram. Never heard of it by that name; though I eat it often enough. Next time I’m down at the local caff: “Get me an alligator pear sandwich … and make it snappy”. (Wonder how it got that name?)

    Serious problem with the mereological fallacy at 22ac. ALPHA WAVEs are found in the brain.

  2. I also biffed 17dn as MANGETOUT but eneded up with WOD MARROWFAT

    Time 34 minutes

    FOI ALLIGATOR PEAR (because of its knobbly skin) and LOI 20ac FOUR POSTER

    145ac WYOMINGITE- ‘GITE’ two days running!

    10dn GOING FOR A SONG ‘available at a bargain(price)’ is fine IMO

    COD 6dn MUGGER

    Edited at 2017-01-17 01:18 am (UTC)

  3. About 50 minutes for me. A few I couldn’t parse such as REGIME and ARLES, and some new words including MARROWFAT – doesn’t exactly sound appetising to me either. Nor for that matter does ALLIGATOR PEAR, which I’d also never heard of. I liked OCTOPUSSY and MINSK. Thanks for the reminder of the Lobachevsky song – I am never forget the day…

    Thanks to setter and blogger

  4. Thanks JKT. And thanks setter – I appreciate that the unknowns were clearly clued.
    Now: I’m sure there are places where Fort Knox sounds like Fought Knocks, but I’ve never visited any of them. Discuss please.

    Edited at 2017-01-17 02:30 am (UTC)

    1. It sounds pretty similar coming out of my mouth, with maybe just a slight additional click in the KNOCKS. The FORT/ FOUGHT Is identical.
      1. There you have it. With my American accent, and not that good an ear either, I usually stay out of these things. The one time it seems clear, turns out it isn’t.
        1. I don’t know about you, but at times I find it hard enough to work out how I say things myself, so commenting on the way others do it was always ambitious. 😉
  5. like Vinyl, I biffed ‘gawking’; unlike him, I wondered if ‘gawping’ might be the right one, resolved to go back and look, and as with all my resolutions this year, I failed to keep it. I had MA at the beginning of 4ac, AM at the end, thinking ‘standard way to address queen’ was one piece of the clue; that made it my LOI. I second McText’s objection, or would if I could remember what ‘mereological’ means.
  6. 14:49 – held up for a long time by the top left where I needed wordplay for GOWER and took a long time to piece together GAWPING.
  7. 25 minutes and normal service resumed. I enjoyed the fun of “imposing crash site”, “How Jersey goes”, “the state of the loo’s”, “item on plate” etc. Thanks setter and jackkt for parsing 9a which I forgot to do.
  8. Where I got stuck was in the NW with the Highlander and the American (or was it a holiday home?), so much so that I withdrew my (more or less) confident AWAY in 1d and made things even harder. I think the capital H on Highlander made me think I was looking for a name, such as Rob Roy or um…. Anyway, Wyomingite burst in like a sudden ray of sunlight, AWAY went back in and YETI with a smack of the forehead, but it all took time to almost 28 minutes.
    Thanks for unravelling FOUR POSTER: I eventually got the cryptic definition but not the cryptic wordplay. All part of the considerable, brow-furrowing fun.
  9. I’m a sucker for a sly definition and there were some good ones today. I particularly liked ‘item on plate’ for the REG in REGIME and ‘imposing crash site’ for FOUR POSTER.

    I spent a long time on my LOI, ARLES, having come close to giving up and bunging in ATLAS for no other reason than it fitted. I might need to coin a term for bunging in without definition as I’ve had a few recently!

  10. Enjoyable crossword with some entertaining definitions.

    I long championed the cause of terms scientific being included in these puzzles and slowly they have appeared. So I don’t like to have a dig at ALPHA WAVE which is how Alpha Rythm appears on a screen but as McText says its an occurrence in your brain and not your mind

  11. 13:23. MARROWFAT are the base ingredient for mushy peas, so that and the ALLIGATOR PEAR reminded me of the (sadly apocryphal) story about Peter Mandelson asking for ‘some of that guacamole’ in a chippy.
    1. Now that could have been in a Benny Hill sketch. He was quite an accomplished mimic, you know. His Roger Crook will live long in my brain (or is that mind?)
      1. To be fair to BH after yesterday’s comment, I should confess to having been a big fan of Ernie (And He Drove The Fastest Milkcart In The West). But I was ten years old at the time.
      2. One day Benny Hill will receive long overdue recognition for his contribution to TV comedy. In his early years he was an innovative genius who broke completely new ground. Later on he went along with the times and that’s viewed as dodgy now in retrospect but his humour was never remotely as vile and insulting as what passes for “comedy” these days on the right-on stand-up circuit.

        Edited at 2017-01-17 02:19 pm (UTC)

    2. Back in the mid-70s, my standard working lunch at the Salisbury Arms in Cambridge (possibly the first CAMRA-owned pub) was a pork pie in a bowl, covered with mushy peas (not Bachelors), microwaved and slathered with mint sauce. Was nice then. Sounds revolting now.
      1. If I was working around Durham, which was not infrequently during the 80s, I would call at the Dun Cow opposite the prison and have a pint of Castle Eden Ale with pork pie and mushy peas for lunch. The landlord brought the peas in flasks from home as he didn’t have any way to warm them up in the pub 🙂
  12. Another enjoyable puzzle solved in under 30 minutes. FOI ALLIGATOR PEAR followed by COD PARMA HAM and then from the back of my hand, LEG SPIN. Struggled for too many minutes with WYOMINGITE. Couldn’t they have been more original? Liked MOORE, although I might have struggled if I knew more sculptors. DNK MAI TAI which was a bit lame as a clue after MAINTAIN. My idea of a cocktail is a glass of Rioja. Marrowfat peas were a canned winter staple in my youth as an alternative to cabbage. Never have them now, more’s the pity, other than as mushy peas. LOI ALPHA WAVE. The old dog always helps me with the crossword, including yesterday. Today when I gave him his regular Tramadol pill for arthritis, in a pitta pocket, he ate the pitta, craftily dropped the pill while simultaneously covering it with his paw and sliding it under his body. You could hear him thinking, ” That’s what you call a THIMBLERIGGER.”

    Edited at 2017-01-17 10:13 am (UTC)

    1. I meant to mention that, far from not knowing what a MAI TAI is, I actually solved it first and used it to derive MAINTAIN. I’m not sure I like what this says about me, particularly as I think MAI TAIs are disgusting.
    2. Cunning buggers those Border Collies but agree that he is of great assistance with the crossword.
  13. Same good experience as Jimbo and others, so won’t repeat. Also did MAI TAI first before 3d. Clever definitions in here. Was tempted by ALPHA MALE and ALPHA GAME for a while as couldn’t see WAVE being really a mind activity, but in the end it seemed best fit. Liked the Mandelson story, could be true…
    1. Said to have happened at the Blackpool Conference. He no doubt enjoyed the meat and potato wellington he had with the guacamole too, along with the tarte tatin and sauce anglaise for pudding if h’d eaten in. On every level but the historical, the story is true.
  14. I loved this – I must have been in the right frame of brain.

    Re the pronunciation of “ma’am”, no less an authority than the Firth flick “The King’s S-s-peech” tells us to rhyme it with jam. As does the OED (*now*, but who knows what they were prescribing in the past): “Buckingham Palace protocol (c1990) directed that ‘the Queen should be addressed as “Ma’am” (to rhyme with jam)’.”

    Last in the wavey thing – where I was toying with alpha male.

    1. Oh well, maybe I got it wrong in my many conversations with Her Majesty, but she was always too polite to correct me.
  15. As I recall, another queen, Helen Mirren in “Prime Suspect”, used to tell her boys to call her “mam to rhyme with jam”. Goodness knows what Elton John instructs his entourage…
    1. Mirren also told them not to call her that – “I’m not the b****y queen”. I think she preferred “guv”.
  16. A puzzle of two halves for me, with a “not in the mood/on the wavelength” first forty minutes followed by a quick rally, but not quick enough. I was left with 18d unsolved; it might have struck me in the end, but sadly I didn’t know FORT KNOX was a military base, so it didn’t spring to mind readily enough. So: a one-hour DNF.

    I was not greatly helped by knowing LESOTHO but not remembering where its “H” went, not knowing about cricket, as usual, and not remembering what a “gite” was. Ah well.

  17. I seem to remember watching a real documentary where a Palace official instructed those about to meet the Queen that Ma’am should rhyme with HAM not FARM. COD FOUR POSTER. I am not ready for a discussion on mind/body dualism. 18′, thanks jack and setter.
  18. Needed all the wordplay for INGLENOOK, MARROWFAT, PARMA HAM and GOWER, and though the clues were challenging, they were unambiguous. Nice work setter.

    My other unknown for the day was that FORT KNOX could be pronounced differently to FOUGHT KNOCKS. Funny old world.

    COD to the atrocious loos. Thanks for the blog Jack.

  19. A fun puzzle with lots of cunningly disguised definitions. 31 minutes with FOI PARMA HAM and LOI FOUR POSTER which I puzzled over for at least five minutes before the penny dropped. Took me a while to parse INGLENOOK after biffing it quickly from the checkers. Missed the parsing of GAWPING but managed to biff it correctly. MOO-RE made me laugh out loud. WYOMINGITE took a few moments before GITE for holiday home hove into view. Great stuff! Thanks setter and Jack.
  20. 15:32, top-notch stuff, especially the cow sound.

    If God hadn’t wanted us to eat marrowfat peas (albeit mushed) he wouldn’t have invented fish n chips.

    Like Jack I caused myself problems with misbiffs, namely WASHINGTON and MANGE—-.

  21. Thought I was off to another flyer here as the first two across clues and all the downs leading off them went in pretty much straight away, but the puzzle rallied as a good one should and in the end I felt lucky to finish inside 10 minutes. Lots of witty little clues to enjoy. Word of the day to the fabulous WYOMINGITE – I always stumble on statesmen!
  22. After a quick start I slowed down a bit – and spent longer than I should have trying to think of a word with two Ns that means maintain! – but managed 7m 47s in the end.

  23. It’s always fun to amalgamate food and drink clues into a menu. MARROWFAT peas, PARMA HAM and ALLIGATOR PEAR, washed down with a MAI TAI is actually less unprepossessing than some of the setters’ more recent combinations. However, I may be wrong. I often am.

    Sorted WYOMINGITE by analogy with WEDNESDAYITE and UNITEDITE – the two opposing flavours of football fan up here in Sheffield.

    Time: 45 mins., give or take.

    Thank you to setter and blogger.

  24. One day I may have the courage to be identified here! But very pleased to stop my long run of “2 or 3 missing” to complete this in about 45 minutes. Im not sure if I enjoyed this though as I thought Fort (fought??) a tad stretched and couldnt parse 11a for the life of me. Good to see the reference to one of the best left hand batsmen of all time at 2d. COD 20a for a chuckle.
    1. I still have the blonde wig ( nothing to do with cricket).
      With 2/3 wrong typically and 45 minutes today, you are the envy of many on this blog.

      Join in and crow when you do it in 5 minutes and cry when it takes all day. What’s to lose?

  25. A wide awake solve today helped by leaving work early and having half an hour shuteye on the couch before I attempted it. I finished in 13 mins so if I could leave work early every day I’d probably be fine until the trains start running again in mid-February. Unfortunately …………. Anyway, back to the puzzle, I initially misbiffed “gawking” at 9ac before I looked at the clue again, realised that “ki” for irrational was nonsense, and entered the correct answer. I confess that I biffed LEG SPIN although the parsing is fairly obvious in retrospect. WYOMINGITE was my LOI.
  26. I like the clever clues, but if the definition is cryptic, is it really necessary to have the rest of the clue?


  27. 52 minutes, but at least it was correct. Very subtly clued puzzle in places (and not at all in other places, like MAI TAI once you had MAINTAIN), which held me up a bit along the way. No idea what MARROWFAT peas are, but the wordplay saved me eventually. Like many others, I had GAWKING at first but couldn’t find the irrational (there’ll be PI in the sky when you die?), so I corrected it. LOI was WYOMINGITE, as it took me ages to identify GÎTE with holiday home. And strangely, it also took me a while to fit SONG into GOING FOR A ???? — just getting old, I suppose.
  28. 42 minutes, with the south-left corner holding me up. I kept oscillating between “upper case” and “alpha male” for 22ac, only one of which made even partial sense. Fortunately, a quick G&T lubricated the gearbox and the answer fell into place.
  29. A sluggish 13:06 – brain (or should that be mind?) feeling very fuzzy and more or less seizing up towards the end, with SPY RINGS and WYOMINGITE taking me an age.

    I share others’ enjoyment of the cryptic definitions.

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