Times 26,629 – Where there’s a Will there’s a neigh?

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I snuck under the half hour on this puzzle with a scintilla of a Shakespearean theme, which is always pleasing for a non-Olympian type such as I. The right-hand side yielded its secrets first, including the long idiom with the mind-bending parsing. (But have I bent mine in the right direction? I’m sure I will be told.)

A nice, if oblique, Homeric reference at 27 across will please my fellow classicists, who may be tickled by the fundamental humour of 24 down, while we have a quaint fabric for the Georgette Heyer aficionadi at 14 across.


1. PAPERCHASE – E in anagram* of SCRAPHEAP, where ‘prepared’ is the anagrind.
6. WARM – ‘eager’; W[ith] + ARM. I can’t find ‘eager’ as a meaning of ‘warm’ in any of the usual sources, but ‘ardent’ is there, and a host of other words in the same lexical field, so perhaps it’s close enough.
10. UNLOVED – VOL (book) in DEN (study) both reversed after U.
11. ILL WILL – WILL WILL minus a W; I think this would have worked better as ‘Nastiness of Shakespeare twice shrugging off first wife’, but since he only owned up to the one spouse, the setter had not that option.
12. BUCKS FIZZ – ‘bucks fizz’ is the drink of champagne and orange juice, where the latter arguably improves the taste of the former; it is made here by taking BUCKS (cheers as in ‘she bucks me up every time I am down’) + FIZZ (close enough to a hiss if you’ve had enough bucks fizzes).
13. GISMO – GO (meaning of green) in ISM (distinctive if unspecified theory).
14. TIMID – ‘shrinking’ as in violet; DIMIT[y] reversed.
15. GLENDOWER – AKA Owain Glyndŵr, who is most famous for the liberties Will Will took with him in Henry IV, Part 1; LEND in GOWER. A clue with a Cambrian flavour, as the Gower peninsular is west of Swansea.
17. CONCEITED – CON + a soundalike of SEATED.
20. ANGLE – [t]ANGLE; tangle is a seaweed (oarweed) also known as tangleweed.
21. INDUS – IN + DUS[t] gives us the River Indus, a crossword ‘flower’, because it, well, flows.
23. PARTHENON – ‘classic tourist attraction’ that has lost its marbles; PART + HEN + ON.
25. GUMBOOT – ‘protective gear’; MB + OO in (signalled by ‘to probe’) GUT.
26. CIRCLET – RELIC* in CT; the sort of thing worn by Hugo Weaving as Elrond in LOTR before he turned to cannibalism in ABC’s excellent cross between Minder and Rumpole called Rake.
27. NODE – ‘make small error’, as in the expression ‘Homer nods’; NOD + [simpl]E. Here’s the full monty: ‘Derived from the quote by Horace in Ars Poetica (c. 18 BC), indignor quandoque bonus dormitat Homerus (“I become annoyed when the great Homer is being drowsy”). The English translation “Homer nods” has become standard following Pope (1709), but is due to Dryden (1677).’ In his Essay of Criticism, Pope wrote: ‘Those oft are stratagems which errors seem, Nor is it Homer nods, but we that dream.’


1. PLUMB – PLUM (suspect professor – in Cluedo) + B (bowled).
2. POLICEMAN – a fairly innocuous cryptic definition.
3. REVISED VERSION – ‘good book’ (English translation of the Bible published in 1881–95); VERSION is an anagram (revision) of VIN ROSE, or indeed vice versa.
4. HEDGING – H (hard when describing pencil lead) + EDGING
5. SWIZZLE – not swindle as I had at first; SWI (Westminster code) + ZZ (mathematical unknowns) + [al]LE[ge] (central letters of the word ‘allege’).
7. ARIES – ARISE with the S (succeeded) moved down.
8. MELBOURNE – William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, who as PM was to Victoria what Churchill was to Elizabeth; BOURN (archaic word for boundary, goal, end, most famously used in Will Will’s description of death as ‘the undiscovered country, from whose bourn no traveller returns’) in MELE[e].
9. FLOG A DEAD HORSE – the literal appears to be ‘plug vainly away at course’, which leaves ‘lashings of meat’ to signify flogging of said deceased animal, with the ‘involving’ and question mark smoothing things out.
14. TUCKING IN – double definition, the second to be taken transitively.
16. WAGONS LIT – ‘sleepers’; WAG ON (keep moving about – nice) + [peacefu]L in SIT.
18. TIPSTER – a cryptic definition of no great nocuousness.
19. DIRECTS – ‘works in theatre’; DIRE + C + the outside letters of S[hor]T reversed. My COD.
22. DOMED – ‘like St Paul’s’ [Cathedral]; DO (work] + MED (sea). I have a slight quibble, as ‘do’ typically means work ON or AT in travailing contexts.
24. NATES – ‘part of body’ – the setter is too discreet to say which, but it is in fact the lower cheeks; SENT A*, with ‘for dissection’ performing the anagrindational function.

49 comments on “Times 26,629 – Where there’s a Will there’s a neigh?”

  1. 10:43, with a little anxiety over NATES, GLENDOWER and NODE, the first two which came from wordplay alone and the last from definition. Overall a gentle start to the week (or end to the weekend, for those of us who solve late on Sunday night).
    1. I knew NATES from Mephistos. I seem to remember an amusing Mephisto by (?)Tim Moorey once which had a number of clues relating to that part of the anatomy.


  2. SOED has WARM: 5 Ardent, zealous, impulsive; eager for something; (of a debate etc.); excited, heated. Now rare.

    I took a while to get going on this one but then things flowed quite smoothly and I completed the grid in 34 minutes wasting time along the way thinking “Macmillan” at 8dn and “swindle” at 5dn. I didn’t know BOURN. The GOWER peninsula turned up here on my watch only last Tuesday.

    Edited at 2017-01-23 01:11 am (UTC)

  3. … after watching a replay of the debacle at Anfield on TV yesterday. So accordingly a bit slow on this one. The only real DNK was the NOD part of NODE. Thanks to Ulaca for his classical experience on that one. If not for his reminder of a certain Welsh city at 15ac. (Which needs a bit of re-numbering BTW.)

    Cheered up a bit by the surrealism of 9dn and its shades of the story about the bestialist, flagellationist necrophiliac.

    Edited at 2017-01-23 01:29 am (UTC)

  4. I got stuck since I knew neither GLENDOWER nor the GOWER peninsula that was the other route in. I guessed GLENDERRY (the GERRY peninsula is nearly as famous) but not knowing BOURN (and now having a Y checker) I had to make Google my friend. I hadn’t twigged how WAGONS LIT worked at that point before I looked up famous Welsh chiefs.

    I guess I’m too much of a computer scientist and not enough of a classicist So DNF

    Edited at 2017-01-23 01:39 am (UTC)

  5. really a DNF, since I looked up BUCKS what? I could only think of ‘mild’, which made no sense, since I had ‘swindle’ at 5d. Which also didn’t make much sense; where are the unknowns? Found BUCKS FIZZ, remembered ‘swizz’, and tidied up. CIRCLET for some reason took ages, and that kept me from getting DIRECTS for more ages. COD to WAGONS LIT. I’ve always thought the phrase was ‘Even Homer nods’, although I never knew its origin (in Japanese it’s ‘Even monkeys fall from trees’ [猿も木から落ちるsaru mo ki kara ochiru]).

    Edited at 2017-01-23 02:40 am (UTC)

  6. Dear Ulaca,

    A couple of points – 24dn NATES = ‘lower cheeks’ -well buttocks actually ! The way you have defined it might mean jowls to the ladies of Tunbridge Wells – although I know you were only trying to be PC!

    Secondly 27ac NODE – could you run me past HOMER NODS again (or should that be Homer’s Nod?) My Chambers is deficient in explanation. Wretched clue!

    32 minutes and most enjoyable Monday fare although it looked tough on first read through.

    Re-12ac BUCKS-FIZZ was also a ‘pop group’ who won the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest. I am reliably informed that a so-called ‘Tribute Band’ spoonerised the name to the horror of the ladies of Tunbridge Wells.

    FOI 11ac ILL WILL LOI 27ac the Homeric NODE.

    COD WAGONS LIT courtesy of IKEA

    WOD 24dn NATES

    Edited at 2017-01-23 02:51 am (UTC)

    1. H, Quickie solvers might have had an advantage concerning Homer’s NOD as it came up in QC #622 by Corelli published on 27 July last year.

      The editor had also mentioned it a week or so prior to that in an apology concerning a mistake in a 15×15 clue.

  7. Would have been quicker if not for some annoying interruptions. Might be time to retire.

    Couldn’t parse NODE, so a big thanks to our mega-brained blogger. Also didn’t know BOURN, but was fortunate to remember the Australian PM Stanley Melbourne, without remembering that he was in fact Stanley Melbourne Bruce. Oh well, it doesn’t matter how you get there…

    Enjoyed the partial chicken. Thanks setter and U.

  8. Oh, and I was expecting episode three of “Ulaca And The Time Machine” after the Christmas hiatus.

    What gives?

    1. It’s in for repairs at the moment, the mainframe that powers it having short-circuited when I challenged it to a game of online Scrabble.

  9. 30mins, but with ‘algae’ (biffed) for ANGLE. Bah.

    WAGONS LIT also went in unparsed, and dnk Homer’s NOD, BOURNE, NATES or GLENDOWER.


    Janie (unexpectedly logged out, and can’t remember password to log back in again…)

  10. Got through quite a lot of this, very enjoyable.

    Why does WAG ON = keep moving about, is it dog and tail related!?

    1. Flash, if something wags, it moves about (and yes, the most obvious example is a dog’s tail). If it continues to move about, or keeps moving about, you could say it WAGS ON. And on and on, possibly.
  11. 14:58 … the more I look at this one the more I like it. ‘Part hen’ from ‘not entirely chicken’ gets a round of applause from me.

    Nice moments when the light dawned with WAGONS-LIT, PLUMB the prof (which defeated me last time it cropped up) and GLENDOWER.

    Thanks for setting ‘bourn’ in memorable context, ulaca, with the Spokeshave quote. Not sure I’d ever thought about the word before but, like a lot of stuff in Shakespeare, you sort of know what it means without looking it up.

  12. Very enjoyable number, which I cleared in 22.35, slowed considerably by a typo in 9d which had me looking for an F…. at the would-have-been-a-shoo-in GISMO. That turned up on my watch last Thursday with the more traditional clue “Device supplied by medic to US army?”. I appreciated the semi chicken thing, and the clue as answer for the RV. Perhaps on the reverse side, the clues for both POLICEMAN and TIPSTER only just made it into the cryptic fold, but I thought this was a witty and grown up puzzle.
  13. 15:40. Most of this went in very quickly, but I got bogged down on the right-hand side.
    I also had SWINDLE initially, but fortunately BUCKS FIZZ came to mind pretty quickly so I thought I’d have a look at the wordplay for a change.
    MELBOURNE caused me quite a lot of trouble, and in the end was a guess based on checkers, since I didn’t know either this PM or the required meaning of BOURN. I’ve always taken it to mean ‘boundary’ in the Hamlet context, but as sotira says it’s one of those words where you sort of assume you know what it means. See also contumely, quietus, fardels, orisons.
  14. This should have been right up my street but I was another “swindler” and had completely forgotten about BUCKS FIZZ (they’re called mimosas in these parts). Nice puzzle. 17.17. P.S. I just remembered that my parents used to have little things called swizzle sticks in their drinks cupboard which were supposed to take the fizz out of champagne – rather defeating the purpose one would think. Perhaps the setter had an association of ideas in that corner.

    Edited at 2017-01-23 10:32 am (UTC)

  15. Perhaps because of the classical bias, I found this near-impenetrable, and recorded, I think, my worst ever performance for a Monday, giving up with only 10 completed answers. Yesterday I had my best ever performance for a Sunday, so I’m currently on a bit of a roller-coaster, it seems.

    Edited at 2017-01-23 12:22 pm (UTC)

  16. It was Professor Plum in the library with the dictionary. COD WAGONS LIT although I’ve never managed better than a couchette. I can recall the RV being used in my youth, but now it’s always the RSV (earnest but unpoetic) or back to the glorious King James. LOI DIRECTS biffed more than parsed. FOI PAPERCHASE, a game in my youth, and the bane of the rest of my life. A late start today after accompanying our old dog round the garden at 3.15 am down skating rink paths and through haunted, frightened, frozen leaves, trying to forget about tomorrow until today. Which is now. I was lucky not to end up on my 24 d. About 30 minutes.
  17. No prizes for guessing that this was not my favourite crossword – an experience capped by finding NATES described as “lower cheeks”. They’re your arse where I come from.

    Mephisto solvers note – a mistake at 19D in 2943. It’s a 3 words solution rather than 2.

  18. Erudite crossword today. First heard of Homer nodding in a biography of Churchill by Roy Jenkins. Knew BOURN but thought it was spelt ‘bourne’ and meant a stream which you had to cross….although I knew the Shakespeare, it is more familiar as the title of Star Trek VI. For 9 down I parsed it as ‘plug vainly away at’ (definition) – plus the cryptic ‘course involving lashings of dead meat’, giving the imagery of having to eat the thing too. Dnk tANGLE or NATES. Really enjoyed today. 25′, thanks ulaca and setter.
    1. We used to sing The Road to the Isles at primary school. I can remember asking what tangle was and Miss Honey (OK, I’ve invented that. It was a Mrs Wild) didn’t know. She checked out for me.
  19. As usual I finished up with 2 unfillable holes,which I biffed correctly as it turns out,(NODE, ANGLE) and had to come here for the reasons why. I must say that the nod bit is very obscure.
  20. Surprised to be all correct in 43 minutes today as I had several unknowns: Dimity, The Homer bit of NODE(although I knew the knot meaning), and NATES. Took a while to remember MELBOURNE, which gave me GISMO. I did spot the MELE(e) bit of it early on though. Toyed with SWINDLE until BUCKS FIZZ put me right. I enjoyed this puzzle a lot, especially the bit of chicken. Thanks setter and U.
  21. I made one of my very rare forays into the online version of the crossword today – typing in the answers still doesn’t come naturally – and managed an 8m 07s time, opting for NATES as slightly more plausible than NETAS. I also wasn’t entirely happy with the ‘bourn’ in MELBOURNE, but was confident enough it was the right answer.
  22. Unlike Jimbo I enjoyed this a lot and got it all right in 30 minutes, although there were quite a few I pretended to understand but didn’t really – Homer and Shakespeare being nearly as grim as poetry in my universe. In between the arty intellectual stuff there were a few smiles such as the lashing of meat and the domed building.
    I often sample the fizzy drink but didn’t equate hiss to fizz; The Eurovision band I well remember, as naff as they come.

  23. Thought I had this sorted in just under an hour until I came here and found that 20 across wasn’t ALGAE. What else would A-G-E be with “seaweed” in the clue? Haha!

    COD has got to be WAGONS LIT – took me straight back to A Level French and the plurals of compound nouns –
    excruciatingly tricky.

    Time: DNF in about 55 mins.

    Thank you to setter and blogger.

  24. 15 mins. I had much the same experience as quite a few of you, such as not knowing the required meaning of BOURN but biffing MELBOURNE anyway, misbiffing “swindle” until BUCK’S FIZZ set me straight, and not knowing the NOD part of NODE which I entered with a shrug as my LOI. According to Wiki Buck’s Fizz is two parts Champagne to one part orange juice, whereas a Mimosa is equal measures of each. One lives and learns.
  25. 26 minutes for me, which is about my average (although not of late, alas). LOI MELBOURNE, as I knew neither PM nor “bourn”. In the end, I figured that the Australian city had to be named after someone and, given that they didn’t have anyone to name things after at the time, a British PM was possible. Hesitated a little over (t)ANGLE, but decided it had to be.
    1. A quick google shows that the Australian city was founded by Batman(!) in 1834, the same year Lamb became PM. It’s thus quite possible the Prime Minister was named after the city.
      15:50, so easy and enjoyable. Had Buck’s Fizz before coming to the swizzle clue, so no problem there, and same unknowns as others: bourn and nod. Knew bourn the word but not the meaning from the soliloquoy.
  26. Hi all. About 25 minutes, held up at the end by my LOI’s, and had to look up the unknown BUCKS FIZZ. That made me realize that SWIZZLE was the answer required where SWINDLE looked to be right but wasn’t entered because ‘ND’ doesn’t mean ‘unknowns’. Never heard of the drink although vaguely fearing it has appeared here before and has been forgotten by me. As Olivia says, it’s a mimosa over here. And the only use of SWIZZLE I know is the name for the little stick that stirs drinks. Whether it’s supposed to take the bubbly out of champagne, I don’t know. Regards.
  27. 15 across: don’t know if anyone might have been temporarily misdirected, like I was, to LLEWELLYN (a Welsh chief), as that answer too would have been bookended by a five letter peninsula, Lleyn. Couldn’t parse ‘well’, though, and neighbouring answers did cause the penny to drop.
    We’ve had Gower recently, haven’t we?
  28. For the life of me I just don’t see it. Managed this in about a half hour and banged in the apparently obvious ‘policeman’ at the last moment. Would someone please provide me with a doh moment and explain the clue. Ta
      1. Doh! We call them speed bumps in the colonies (Canada, eh?) Thanks for that; I am relieved.
  29. Despite being hopelessly off the setter’s wavelength at 12:34 (not helped by biffing TWEED, ISH for the last three letters of 4dn, and SWINDLE), I actually enjoyed this puzzle quite a lot.

    However, WAGONS-LIT appears to be a solecism supported only by Chambers. According to Larousse (online), Collins-Robert, and Collins English the plural of WAGON-LIT (or WAGON-LITS) is WAGONS-LITS.

    Edited at 2017-01-23 11:07 pm (UTC)

    1. Good spot. The plural is seen in the name of the company that used to operate the Orient Express: Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits.
  30. How is ‘works in theatre’ directs? A director works in theatre. Directions work in theatre. But directs just doesn’t seem to me a nice description for ‘works in theatre’. Perhaps I just need to accept it?
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