Times 26625 – middle of the road, on the road

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I don’t have a solving time for this one, as I did it in three bursts in transit from very cold and windy France to nearly as cold and windier Spain, where in theory Winter has less teeth. For no particular reason I found the lower half was complete before the top, with 6d and 11a my LOI. Reviewing it once completed, it’s a pleasant, medium level job with nothing especially contentious, a little GK needed for a battle but that only needs a few vowels dropping into place if you had forgotten it.

1 CHAPERON – CHAP for man, ON for working, insert ER being Her Majesty the prominent lady (the one Mr Trump’s Mum liked watching on TV); D &lit, a male escort looking after a posh lady.
6 A GRADE – A GRAD(uate); E for English; D top mark.
9 IN SHORT SUPPLY – IN SHORTS would be wearing casual clothes, currently inadvisable here; UP for at university, PLY for work; D rarely seen.
10 STRIPE – S for second, TRIP on drugs, E for ecstasy; D band.
11 BORODINO – BOD fellow surrounds OR = soldiers, IN O(ld); D battle site, 1812 in Russia where Napoleon won on the day.
13 BRIGHTNESS – B(ook), RIGHT = just, NESS = head; D clever pupil shows this.
15 SMEW – S(mall), MEW cat noise, D duck.
16 SHAH – SH for quiet, A(yatolla)H, D former ME ruler.
18 RECESSIONS – (CRISES ONES)*, D economically challenging periods.
21 BACTRIAN – Anagram of IN CABARET withouth the E; D one has the hump repeatedly, your double humped kind of camel.
22 HEARTY – HE ARTY could be bad English for a male is into culture; D blokeish.
23 SOUTH CAROLINA – (SCHOOL IN A RUT)*, A(cademy); D state.
25 MYRIAD – Remove AID from dairymaid and reverse the remainder; D legion.
26 TRAINEES – RAIN for lots of water, insert into river TEES, D they learn.

2 HOISTER – H for hard, (TORIES)*; D jack. Not sure I’ve seen this word as an alternative to hoist, but I expect it’s allowed.
3 PASSING SHOT – The definition is easy enough – Wimbledon winner – but the parsing seems a bit strained to me. SING for celebrate, SHO(E) for trainer, say, briefly, insert all into PAST for former.
4 RHONE – R(ight), HONE for smooth, verb; D wine from this area. Or &lit.
5 NOTABLE – D somebody, NOT ABLE being incompetent.
6 AQUARISTS – A, QUARTS number of pints, insert I’S for one’s, D people getting tanked, presumably chaps who keep fish for a hobby in an aquarium.
7 RAP – Double definition. Is rap pop music? Not my thing, I can never catch the words.
8 DOYENNE – YE = ‘the’ old, insert into DONNE the poet; D lady of society.
12 DESTINATION – DE = from, foreign, STATION = terminus, insert I(ra)N; D where to arrive.
14 TARNISHED – TARN for lake, IS, HE(L)D, where HELD = kept, free of last letter of OIL; D polluted.
17 HEARSAY – in this place ‘picked up’ = HEAR which sounds like here; SAY = for example; D gossip.
19 CONTACT – CO for business, N for new, TACT for form of diplomacy; D maybe phone.
20 NUTCASE – Double definition, ‘shell’ and a nutcase is ‘cracked’ i.e. potty.
22 HOO-HA – HO, OH = houses back to back, A, D row.
24 UNI – UNIT = one, loses T for time, D academic environment.

47 comments on “Times 26625 – middle of the road, on the road”

  1. 10:43. A gentle stroll this morning, and I’m just grateful at the moment when I don’t make a stupid mistake.
    I don’t really understand how AQUARISTS can be described as ‘people getting tanked’. Surely that’s what happens to the fish.
  2. It all went in pretty smoothly, although, showing my age, I had ‘bop’ at 7d at first. Also suckered into assuming ‘fellow’=’don’ at 11ac. LOI AQUARISTS. 3d was biffed from checkers, as I didn’t recognize the Wimbledon allusion. On edit: Seeing keriothe’s comment now reminds me that I didn’t much care for 6d. I suppose that if one gets a tank, one can be said to be tanked, at least if one does it with a question mark; but.

    Edited at 2017-01-18 07:51 am (UTC)

  3. At 29 minutes this is my first solve within my target time for a while, though I’ve had a few very near misses. The unknown AQUARISTS and BORODINO went in on the strength of wordplay and a prayer. HOISTER as “someone or something that lifts” is in Chambers.

    Edited at 2017-01-18 10:05 am (UTC)

  4. 35 minutes. Having a “sawbill” was useful.I had PARTING SHOT for a while (something to do with “party” and “shoe”). Didn’t think much of HEARTY or AQUARIST.
  5. 16:20 … I’m going to cut myself a break for my ‘nptable’ typo, which I feel can be classified as technologically induced. Not sure I can be quite so generous to the setter for the tanky definition, or for HOISTER. Nor can I let myself off the hook for not knowing my last one in BORODINO. After reading about the staggering casualty figures just now I’m wondering how I’ve never heard of it before.

    SMEW stood out for me – very nice.

      1. Thank you. That’s what we need — an official Times pardoner for cruciverbal sins. Pip the Pardoner?

        Edited at 2017-01-18 01:04 pm (UTC)

  6. 17.18, so as middle of the road as it gets for me. AQUARISTS went in with a raised eyebrow, but it was an amused eyebrow. I don’t really see why in the world of crosswords (and in the clue’s surface context) tanked shouldn’t mean “equipped with tanks” in the same way that “mid-engined” describes a car so equipped. And there is the setter’s excuse me question mark.
    CHAPERON was as good an &lit as you’ll see, though I didn’t recognise it until I realised that the missing E at the end was significant.
    1. Re aquarists I agree with you, z .. but your example is *much* better than mine, of someone who buys a car becoming vehicled …
  7. Straight through today with few blockages. BORODINO well known from War and Peace .Dnk AQUARISTS, what are they? 15’13” thanks pip and setter.
    1. We’re fish keepers (as in an aquarium).

      Or – more accurately in my case – “pickers of dead piscine bodies out of 100 gallons of water”

  8. Not hereabouts!13ac was a horridly disjointed affair.

    I did not enjoy 3dn PASSING SHOT much at all – courtesy of IKEA SW19

    9ac IN SHORT SUPPLY wasn’t much cop either.

    Neither indeed 6dn AQUARISTS – my LOI.

    I opened with 2dn HOISTER


    Time 55 minutes – Meldrewness

  9. In its defence, I thought this crossword had some very nice touches .. I particularly liked 25ac, 9 & 11ac also well-constructed. Overall a very pleasant start to the day.
  10. Didn’t get on with this one, though I limped home in 45 minutes. When I eventually got COD NOTABLE, I saw BORODINO which I did know from reading War and Peace in my bedsit years (not impressive as it wasn’t in the original Russian). This came in very useful when the bed leg broke. Biffed PASSING SHOT from crossers, not spotting SING for celebrate. Well, Wanderers lost last night and we only sing when we’re winning. Didn’t like AQUARISTS which I saw early but didn’t want to put in as to me number implies more than two. I suppose you can call a jack a HOISTER (LOI), but I never have done. FOI DOYENNE. Rave on John Donne.

    Edited at 2017-01-18 10:28 am (UTC)

    1. Yes, but here it’s “quarts” so at least four pints (unless it’s Whitbread “big head” Trophy bitter, the pint that thinks…

      Edited at 2017-01-18 01:14 pm (UTC)

      1. I guess you’re right. I was thinking two pints in a quart, and missed the plural making it at least four. I just about remember the Whitbread advert. I was drinking Hook Norton back then in deepest Oxfordshire and in the Turf. It’s red wine now. Pints of beer and ageing bladders are an accident not waiting to happen.
        1. Hook Norton is one of my absolute favourite breweries. I’ve even been in the Pear Tree and the Gate Hangs High a few times and had a polypin delivered for Christmas. Coincidentally bought a bottle of Hooky Gold today.
          1. I’m very fond of Haymaker. Never had it on draught, but it’s great from the bottle — nice and gingery.
  11. DNF as never got near the humps having failed to spot the anagram. Rest completed in 20m. Honourable mention of my local river gets a special tick from me as it reminds me the fishing season is only a few weeks away. I enjoyed the puzzle so thank you setter and blogger today.
  12. Like Pip, I had the bottom half completed before I got a foothold in the top section. FOI was SHAH. Didn’t know the battle site and toyed with DON for some time until I got NOTABLE and saw the construction. Hadn’t heard of AQUARISTS which was my LOI. I had no real qualms about a jack being described as a HOISTER. An enjoyable 35 minutes. Thanks setter and Pip.
  13. I too agree with Z- one could say that scuba divers wearing tanks are tanked as people wearing shoes are shod (although if they’re wearing socks they’re hosed rather than socked). One could go on…. 12.09 and I’ll join Z in a tip of the hat to CHAPERON.

    Edited at 2017-01-18 12:03 pm (UTC)

    1. This would work for me if the AQUARISTs were wearing the tanks, but if I buy cabbages am I ‘cabbaged’? It’s not an English usage that I recognise, question mark or not.
      Still, I finished the puzzle, including that clue, without problems or silly mistakes so I’m not really complaining.
      1. Oops – should have looked it up first. I thought it was just a fancy word for divers and didn’t know the specific meaning having to do with aquaria.
  14. 23.21 of steady solving, assisted as so often by the ‘See a U, try a Q’ ploy. I am sure that in the following months, Napoleon sincerely wished that he had not won at Borodino, as it was all seriously downhill from there. Thanks setter and Pip.
  15. 8m 51s after a slow start, but unfortunately I went for BOREDINO on the basis of RE in BOD. I’ve had a few moments like that over the last week or two.
  16. 15:24, no real dramas apart from those caused by a rather silly OMEW at 15. What was I thinking? Actually, I probably wasn’t.

    Edited at 2017-01-18 01:16 pm (UTC)

  17. Quite Mondayish apart from the few obscurities. “People getting tanked” is a daft definition of an obscure word. OTOH “One has the hump repeatedly” was a write-in.
  18. 12:26 – and a fair chunk of that agonising over BORODINO which looked plausible from the wordplay but never quite struck me as the name of a place to go do battle. On the other hand, I didn’t mind “getting tanked” for AQUARISTS, maybe some jealousy as I am not quite over this bug that has kept me from getting tanked for several days.

  19. According to the Environmental Science Jobs website ( not one of my regular haunts ) an AQUARIST is an individual who cares for the marine life in aquariums. Accompanying the definition is a photo of one of said individuals not only IN the tank but also WEARING a tank whilst seemingly putting his/her hand dangerously close to the mouth of one of the denizens of the tank.

    We live and learn.

    Time: all correct in about 50 mins.

  20. 25 minutes, and I liked this one too. Tolstoy’s description of the battle at Borodino is a masterpiece, equalled later in the book by his magical description of the dog hunt.

    Though I’m a Dostoyevsky man, I have to admit that War and Peace is the finest novel I have ever read.

    1. I agree, and the 10 hour 10 part BBC dramatisation in Jan 2015 was fantastic, I was stuck in hospital for 12 days and listened through it twice. Download it if you can find it.
      1. Wish I could say the same for the 6 part BBC TV version broadcast last year. One of my favourite books so frustratingly truncated and miscast (apart from Pierre).
    2. In my bedsit years, sorry to sound like Adrian Mole, nearly 50 years ago, I ploughed through War and Peace, Anna Karenin and Resurrection by Tolstoy, Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky. The story line best remembered through time is unsurprisingly Anna Karenin. The most impressive was of course War and Peace. The others with their message of redemption were the most powerful. But they were all read in translation. I wonder if Putin has read them.

      Edited at 2017-01-18 05:32 pm (UTC)

      1. I’ve read 4 different translations of War and Peace. The 19th century version reads like a completely different novel. I suppose if we haven’t read it in Russian then we haven’t really read it at all.
  21. 16 mins. For some reason it took me a while to see some straightforward parsings, such as those for TARNISHED, CONTACT, NOTABLE, DESTINATION and my LOI HEARTY. I was thankful for the WP for AQUARISTS because I don’t recall having come across it before. The definition of it didn’t trouble me too much.
  22. Not that difficult, but it still took me 53 minutes, struggling to stay awake after some dental work today, and struggling in particular with PASSING SHOT, AQUARISTS, BORODINO and HEARTY, both for the parsing and in the case of BORODINO with the battle. Actually I am currently reading about an earlier murderous military encounter in Russia, the battle of Poltava, which cost Sweden its great power status and could have taught both Napoleon and Hitler a lesson had they only paid attention.
  23. Well, none of the four historical battle-sites I know would fit at 11ac, and I plumped for “Boradino” (RA in “bod”) rather than “BORODINO” (OR in “bod”). Of course there was a 50:50 chance of getting it right, and therefore a 100% chance of getting it wrong.

    AQUARIST was no problem, as I was a subscriber to the magazine of the same name for many years. PASSING SHOT held me up for a while; I rejected several possibilities allowed by the checkers I then had (largely on the grounds of decency), but got hung up on “parting shot”. Fortunately, IN SHORT SUPPLY gave the necessary checker.

  24. Usually a QC-Er, but gave this a good shot, finally falling short with AQUARISTS, I saw the QUART and Aqua connections but couldn’t quite put it together. If this had dropped, I would have had BORODINO for LOI. So close to a finish.
  25. Did this in bits and bobs throughout the day. Several words were new to me — if you’d asked me this morning what an ‘aquarist’ was I’d have said a watch — but they were all gettable. COD goes to ‘Smew’ just to cheer the poor bird up. What a dreadful name!
  26. If you can get hold of it, the 1967 Soviet version of the film (all 6.5 hours of it) is first rate. No expense spared for the glory of the Fatherland!
    1. I’ve got an old video of the Russian film. I remember being disappointed when I watched it because the Borodino part was so long and beautifully detailed that the rest of the story was rushed. I couldn’t believe they missed out the Nicholas/Princess Mary segment of the plot. It’s probably a bloke thing. All the male critics loved it – probably because men like the War more than the Peace. I’ve also got a couple of episodes of the old BBC version with Anthony Hopkins as Pierre.

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