Times 26632 – careful what you wish for

Solving time : 22:25. Yesterday I wrote that my slick time would mean that today would be the stinker of all stinkers. And at least to me, it was – there are some better times than mine in the club timer, so it’s possible I was just nowhere near the setters’ wavelength.

And what kept me from that wavelength? Mostly the top left hand corner where three of the answers rely on phrases that are not part of my vernacular making neither the definition nor the wordplay leap out. The top right accounted for at least 10 minutes of head scratching and writing out plausible strings of letters before it all dropped. I spent some time looking for a Z to complete the pangram, but no dice.

Australia Day y’all!

Away we go…

1 TRIPOS: TRIP(jolly, as in to get one’s jollies, I think), then OS(sailor) for a Cambridge exam that has appeared here before
5 CIVIL LAW: VILLA(country residence) in CI(Guernsey being a Channel Island), W(with)
9 PAWNSHOP: PAWNS(tools), HOP(skip)
11 SHINBONE: I wrote this in, erased it, wrote it back in again… apparently “barking one’s SHIN” is a thing? Follow it with vitamin B, and ONE. Would one give a dog a tibia?
12 LIQUOR: sounds like LICKER
13 SLAP BANG: I guess one could SLAP on make up and the report is a BANG
15 SPAS: remove the end from SPASM
17 LOCO: rather fun double definition – potty, and training would require a locomotive at the front
19 REPTILIA: hidden reversed in emAIL IT PERhaps – I was taken by the definition of “cold blooded order”
20 AMANDA: MA(graduate) reversed, then AN, DA(american attorney)
21 OLIVE OIL: O(love), LIVE(as it happens), OIL(painting)
22 EXITED: EXCITED(up) missing the first letter of Centre
23 INIQUITY: remove (presiden)T from TINY with I QUIT inside
24 KING KONG: GONG(one banged on) around K after KIN
25 DUKING: anagram of KID and GUN
2 ROAD HUMP: this was my last in mostly from checking letters and I had to look up the parts. We have ROD as the small boy, HUMP(the sulks, according to Chambers) surrounding A – definition is “a calming influence” referring to slowing down cars
3 PUNINESS: PUSS(pet) surrounding NINE(the square of three)
4 SCHOOL AGE: O, LAG inside an anagram of CHOSE
5 COPPER BOTTOMING: COPPER(busy) then BOOMING(doing well) containing TT
6 IN THING: HINTING with the H lowered
7 LOOK UP TO: LOOK(apppear), UP TO(capable of)
8 WATERLOO: double definition
14 NULLIFIED: U(film certificate) inside an anagram of FILLED,IN
15 SODA JERK: first letters of S(erving), O(ur), D(rinks), then A, JERK(yank)
16 AQUARIAN: ANTIQUARIAN(collector of relics) missing NT(books), I
17 LAME DUCK: LAME(lustrous material), DUCK(avoid)
18 CHRISTEN: anagram of CERN,THIS
19 REDNECK: NECK(kiss) after RED(wine)

67 comments on “Times 26632 – careful what you wish for”

  1. Congratulated myself on not biffing CIVIL LAW, spotting that Guernsey clearly had to mean COW. And COVIL LAW must be a thing, right? Not looking so clever now.

    Spent the last five minutes on TRIPOS, having never heard of it. George, I think “jolly” is just a term that’s used for a pleasure trip or a junket.

    Anyway, good puzzle, and I’m still three under par for the week. Thanks setter and George.

  2. No time, as I did this over lunch after spending 25′ online–well, a lot of time, actually. TRIPOS FOI, ROAD HUMP LOI. Unfortunately I didn’t think 13ac through, and put in ‘snap-bang’. I think we can bark our shins in the US as well; it was certainly a familiar term. Does REDNECK mean something different in the UK? Where I come from, it’s a white racist, probably Southern, probably rural.
    1. In UK – as per your description of a Southern American white supremacist who Trumps all.
      horryd – Shanghai
    2. The word ‘reactionary’ appears in all the usual dictionaries, which I assume is what the setter was driving at. Odd definition though, even for a Brit: it’s an American word, after all.
    3. Rural yes but not necessarily Southern Kevin. Around Rhinebeck NY you can get tailgated by a guy in a pick-up and just when you’re about to make a rude gesture out the window you remember you’ve got an Obama “yes we can” bumper sticker and he’s probably got an NRA custom license plate. If a deer runs in front of your car you’re road kill either way.
  3. Time off the scale for me, but eventually completed correctly. Yes, quite a bit of slang and a few UK references which made things more difficult. Still there were some good clues, including LOCO, COPPER BOTTOMING, the ‘calming influence’ and my LOI (and previously unknown), the &littish SODA JERK. I like PUNINESS as a word too.

    Thank you to setter and blogger.

  4. This felt like the same setter as yesterday with very long convoluted clues in which it was difficult to differentiate between definition and wordplay and very little that was immediately biffable. I was beginning to despair that I would ever get started, let alone finish the grid but I eventually managed to do so without reference to aids in exactly 90 minutes. Despite all this I found it a very satisfying solve.

    The second meaning at 8dn I took to be a reference to “meeting one’s Waterloo” and was trying to think of who recorded the famous song of that name in the late 1950’s. I’d have put money on Lonnie Donegan but if he ever recorded it it wasn’t one of his hits, so in the absence of other info it seems I must be thinking of the recording made by Stonewall Jackson in 1958, although there probably was also a British cover version.

    Edited at 2017-01-26 06:02 am (UTC)

        1. Just about remember if, J. If not Lonnie, maybe Chas McDevitt on the six five special. Over the points, over the points…
        2. Done some more home work, J. In the UK in 1959, the Mudlarks (middle of the road group who did Lollipop and Book of Love) released it and Kenny Ball did a jazz version
          1. Thanks for your input. I’m sure I would have heard the Mudlark version as they were forever turning up as guests on TV variety shows of the time. And I see it was written by John D Loudermilk, a name from the past I have not thought of in decades.
  5. I think you have omitted this. Anagram of SUM TO invesT with wasted as indicator
    for UTMOST
  6. oops, forgot to log in
    anonymous above is me
    Forgot to thank setter and blogger

    For those celebrating the advent of the Year of the Rooster tomorrow Gong Xi Fa Cai

      1. Quite out-of-phase for people like me and the Australians. By the time, the blog is up, we would have completed long ago. In my case, I meet up with another cruciverbalist, Dr Gurmukh around mid-day to compare notes, have lunch and reward ourselves for completing Times, Guardian, FT and the Telegraph Toughie with a wee drop of Scotland’s best (hic)
        1. It all sounds very civilised! I’m afraid we don’t yet have a licensed bar at TftT to be able to compete on level terms with your scenario, but the blog goes up very early on some days now – shortly after midnight GMT. Alternate Mondays (ulaca) and every Tuesday (myself) are always posted early.
  7. Rushing to scrape under the 20-minute mark (which I did by a second) I messed up twice. After his performance yesterday I decided to peek over Galspray’s shoulder — how else could I have ended up with COVIL LAW? I also had a careless LIQUER.

    Some very satisfying, if brow-creasing, clues in here.

    Terms such as TRIPOS in crosswords feel like a relic of the days when Times solvers could be fairly relied upon to have followed a certain course in life. That time is long gone. Let’s move on.

    Edited at 2017-01-26 08:24 am (UTC)

    1. You may have got LIQUER from me as well Sotira. I had it for way too long.

      And as a foreigner I don’t feel qualified to comment on what direction the Times crosswords should take, but if I did I’d place a big tick (plus one, like, big ups, whatever) next to your final paragraph.

          1. Can’t see much wrong with TRIPOS either as it’s still the term used for a Cambridge BA degree. Having said that, as a holder of such a degree, it still didn’t stop me confidently entering CANTAB at 1ac based on the “merry” meaning of the adjective “cant”.


    2. 37:52 but 2 wrong. I found this a bit hard. Another COVIL LAW here. And did anyone else imagine an obscure american composer AMANDE at 20ac? Never herd of SODA JERK, but it left me with the crosser I needed for my LOI, 22a.
  8. Looks as if I might have done rather well today, only 31.21 and all in place. I was thinking that, far from a British slant, this had a Trumpton disposition. I’ve never, ever been served by a SODA JERK (good &lit clue), DUKING (defo US slang) and the DA (barman, indeed!). And where I live, ROAD HUMPs, as well as being a bloody nuisance, are speed bumps.
    Another who flirted with COVIL LAW while repeatedly yelling “CIVIL LAW, dumbo!” at the over-trusting section of my brain. Couldn’t make the wordplay work, until that hidden in plain sight “with” obtruded.
    Really good stuff, with a touch of forced retrograde hedge transition. Sympathies to all who got one or more wrong: deeply frustrating after the long struggle.
  9. An argot bean feast. I found it a mix of UK and US slang and knowing it was George’s blog wondered if he might struggle a little with some of it

    I solved the entire eastern half without a single entry in the west then made my way back to the top via the southwest to finish in the northeast.

    My only slight query is the definition of REDNECK which means parochial to me. I thought SODA JERK the best of a very good collection of clues

  10. Put me in mind of possibly the worst of all tongue twisters.
    The lady of the house to the tinker:
    “Are you copper-bottoming them my man?”
    “No, I’m aluminiuming ’em, ma’am”
    Fractionally easier in American.
  11. 29:13 but got there in the end. 5dn reminded me of my old Cambridge pal Max whose favourite tongue-twister involved a lady talking to a tinker who was working on her pans
    “Are you copper-bottoming ’em, my man?” “No, I’m aluminiuming ’em, Ma’am”. Quite a bit of slang from two countries but fair enough. Thanks Setter and George.
  12. Here at last, 50 enjoyable minutes later. All my many biffs are correct, that’s if our blogger is! Never given my dog a SHINBONE, LOI, nor said I just barked my shin, and I am English. Never heard of a SODA JERK either which sounds distinctly US. When dragged to Nandos by my family, I’ll have the refillable Diet Coke, but have to go and get it myself, unless one of the kids can be persuaded. More than one is a bad idea anyway. I knew DUKING but it’s not a word I’ve ever uttered. I always pitied the first-year Cambridge guys with their Natural Science TRIPOS. As a design point, SLAP-BANG wasn’t quite slap-bang in the middle. ‘Making up a report’ provided the temptation to put in FAKE NEWS, one I only just resisted. I did parse UTMOST for 10 across. FOI SPAS. LOI ROAD HUMP. COD COPPER BOTTOMING.

    Edited at 2017-01-26 10:35 am (UTC)

  13. 22:29. Hard, and with more ‘oh all right then’ than ‘Eureka’, for me at least. ROAD HUMP, for instance: sure, it’s the official term but nobody actually says it. Or the definition of REDNECK.
    I’d normally blame this sort of reaction on my mood but the sun is shining and I’m feeling relatively chipper today.
  14. A really excellent puzzle today, completed in 36′. I once barked ny shins, in fact scraped them both deeply, on a broken concrete slab on a demolition site. My mother bathed them in surgical spirit. Spent some time over SODA JERK, it not being a phrase I know. Enjoyed SLAP BANG and TRIPOS, without getting the hump. COD 5d, needed to protect wooden ships from shipworm. Thanks George and setter.
  15. A real struggle this one after a week of relatively benign stuff. SE,NE,SW,NW was the order in which they fell, albeit in a very slow way, excepting SE which was completed quickly.
    LOI 1a and COD was 21a
    Thank you setter and blogger
  16. Sign of a really crafty puzzle, that I got there, and once I’d got there, I could see how I’d got there (admittedly pushing the envelope of my US lexicon), but wasn’t always certain that moment would arrive. Followed the same diversions as others, wondering what COVIL LAW might be when it’s at home, asking myself if there could be such a thing as a REDPECK etc etc. Good work.
  17. 53m DNF; with 1a and 2d undone, boredom set in and I guessed one would be some out of date or loosely defined thing I’d never heard of. But in fact it was both! Never heard of the SODA JERK either – given the ‘who’ I guess it is an actual person. Is that right? Overall not my cup of tea this one with 13 question marks and as others have noted a good dose of slang. I did appreciate the blog though putting me out of my misery!
  18. I was enjoying it, so pushed on past my normal hour limit, but still failed to finish and came here with TRIPOS and ROAD HUMP missing. We had “sleeping policeman” recently, too, didn’t we? And I think TRIPOS has come up once before for me; certainly not enough times yet for me to have it in my vocabulary. Ah well.
  19. 38 min, with 1ac FOI (I only managed pass standard in the Maths Tripos, as wartime meant I had to take final in second year). Held up in NE for a long time by solving 8dn as TERMINUS, and in SE by having SILK for the fabric.
    I don’t like this grid much, because having 5dn early (the tongue-twister is fun) makes this puzzle almost one of four separate parts, with NW done first and SW last. I had heard of 15dn – as it felt “30s US”, probably from reading fiction set in that era – but 22ac was LOI, as I’d been thinking of the wrong sort of bar.
  20. SW took nearly twice as long as the rest, in all about 45 min. An interesting puzzle idiomatically but the dog-treat’s a bit casual and the redneck def. more so (too tangential). About Tripos, like it or not there’s a fair percentage of Oxbridge alumni/ae who waste up to a year or more of their lives on this thing, at least judging by comments here, and it’s not an unfamiliar term at large. It’s hardly like joining an Oxbridge club to know it. – joekobi
    1. As a 1964 matriculation Oxford Physicist, I’m not aware that TRIPOS was used at all at Oxford, or anywhere else but Cambridge, Joe. If there are exceptions, I don’t know them. People who do The Times crossword have of course to know plenty, so I’m trying to work out why at a visceral level I didn’t care for TRIPOS being clued. It’s either because I think it’s too exclusive socially, or as a northern grammar school boy I’m still chippy after all these years! Or both.
      1. It’s not an Oxford term – that’s not Sotira’s point, or at least I don’t think it is.
  21. We had a sleeping policeman recently which was fine, but this required an alphabet run for both words and still seemed unlikely until I just about remembered seeing “traffic calming” signs around on my last venture to the mother country. Otherwise the moon was in the 7th house for me on this one. Same as others on REDNECK. 21.30
  22. I stared at a blank grid for over 20 minutes before OLIVE OIL loomed through the mist. DUKING also came to mind, but I waited for checkers before writing it in. My brain fortunately short circuited to Channel Islands for 5a, so I wasn’t caught in the cow trap. After 45 minutes I had a grid that looked as though it might eventually come to fruition, as the abundance of Ks started to give me some encouragement. Knew SODA JERK. Didn’t know TRIPOS but constructed it after the ROAD HUMP jolted me. Knew barking shins from painful experience. LOI was UTMOST after eventually spotting the cunningly disguised(or maybe I was just being thick) anagram. Total time 66 minutes. Une piece de resistance. Thank you setter and George for the full parsing of 5d where I skipped over the TT bit using “doing well” for the whole BOTTOMING bit, as when a cleaner in t’north bottoms the house during a spring clean.
  23. Quirky, slangy, oblique, but basically clever and for my money almost all according to Hoyle.

    I can see its difficulty. It is definitely the sort of puzzle that SHOULD have caused me problems and normally it would have done so. But for some reason I just found myself floating through the ether on the setter’s wavelength, not quite at the speed of light, but faster than my usual plod. I had to dig briefly in my transatlantic cabin baggage under some old DVDs of American Graffiti, Lemon Popsicle and the like to find a SODA JERK but that was the only point of difficulty and I knew it was under there somewhere. Like a lot of others I didn’t get the REDNECK definition but it was so obvious from the cryptic and ultimately the checkers that it couldn’t be anything else.

    Many thanks setter and blogger, highly entertaining and ultimately satisfying!

  24. Yup, this was tricky. Took ages to get started, made decent progress through the mid-section, then took a while to get finished. Familiar with all the vocab. but had trouble parsing a number of clues.

    ROAD HUMP is rarely used up here in Yorkshire – they are more commonly known as “those ********** ( choose appropriate sweary term ) things in the road.”

    Time: all correct in around 55 minutes.

    Thank you to setter and blogger.

  25. Stumped by the SE corner, and ROAD HUMP, which I did not know was a term used for speed bump. Never heard of SODA JERK either. I liked the right hand side though. CoD Waterloo.
  26. 24 mins, but I was tired and drifted off in the middle of it so it was a decent time under the circumstances based on what everyone else thought of the puzzle. I finished with EXITED after SODA JERK, a term I was familiar with so I should have seen it sooner. Like Sotira I misspelled LIQUOR to start with but managed to spot and amend it.
  27. About 35 minutes for what I think was a very clever and difficult puzzle, but with one wrong: I went with SLAM BANG which to me actually means something certain, having forgotten the ‘slap’ makeup thing. But a good offering overall. Regards.
  28. Another who enjoyed it, another who laughed at soda jerk – though it’s a phrase I hardly know – and another who took over the hour (64 minutes).
  29. Over the hour with a blank at TRIPOS, and wrong ‘uns covil law, and slam bang. Glad to see I was not alone…

  30. I was stuck on 10 across and was looking forward to seeing the solution. What was it?
    1. In an earlier comment, Uncle Yap added the parsing. To reiterate, it’s an anagram (wasted) of “sum to (inves)t”. Definition of maximum being UTMOST.
  31. I buy The Times primarily for the crossword which I nearly always enjoy and, with some head-scratching, usually complete.

    However, occasionally I encounter an impenetrable puzzle which seems to have been set for the setter to indulge in how clever and obscure they want to make themselves appear. I’m afraid this was one of them – if I want to attempt The Listener I’ll do it on a Saturday, not mid-week.

    Not a suitable daily cryptic in my opinion. Sorry!

    1. The Times has always provided a wide range of puzzles, from easy ones, suitable for beginners, to more difficult ones that will give experienced solvers something to chew on. Today’s setter simply provided one of the latter. Nothing to do with self-indulgence.

      If you’re a beginner, then take heart: you’ll find the difficult puzzles become easier with practice. If not, then chin up: tomorrow’s will probably be simpler.

  32. Just over an hour, which seems to be not too bad, and everything correct for a change, including TRIPOS which I vaguely remembered having seen somewhere years ago, and my LOI ROAD HUMP, which took me ages to parse (but there seemed no other way to take care of the s in “sulks” when there was already a P at the end from the crossing word). Actually, I stopped to watch TV after 58 minutes with TRIPOS just entered, and then finished the last clue within a minute or two when I returned. My COD would be OLIVE OIL (for “as it happens” giving LIVE), but I also liked SODA JERK and the Yank in it. Like many others I toyed with COVIL LAW for a while, but that made no sense and then I did see that CI at the beginning would fit Guernsey too.

    By the way, Sotira, where did you get that wonderful picture? (Is that in front of Trump Elementary? He can’t have more schooling, sorry, shcooling than that.)

    Edited at 2017-01-26 10:29 pm (UTC)

  33. It took ages for me to get started. INIQUITY was my FOI after 10 minutes staring at the clues. I finally began to enjoy it and finished in 55 minutes with SODA JERK. Now I can’t see why I had so many problems… Ann
  34. 20:00 after an even slower start than usual and a lot of head-scratching along the way. Like others, I pondered over why the wordplay pointed to COVIL LAW when the answer clearly had to be CIVIL LAW? (Didn’t it?).

    I’m pretty sure I’ve come across SODA JERK quite recently (in the last couple of years, anyway), but I’m blest if I can remember where.

    An interesting puzzle, which I’d have enjoyed more if I’d been a little less tired.

  35. and training would require a locomotive at the front.

    I can understand a train might need a loco at the front. But I don’t understand why training would?

  36. One of those (to me) satisfying puzzles that yielded absolutely nothing in a quick first run through, but which all fell into place correctly in the end.
    It probably helped that though a Brit I have visited 49 US states! – loco is American slang too, isn’t it? I would say tripos is only Cambridge University – to apply to Oxford is a solecism. Its equivalent may be ‘School’; and one takes the exams in ‘Schools’.
  37. I started out knowing that this would be a slow one, then realized that it would probably require a calendar rather than the club timer. My eventual time can probably only be determined by radiocarbon dating. Hence my late arrival here. To be fair, I did take a little time out to sleep, eat, go to work and do a few other essentials.

    As an English solver, I can’t really plead that the peculiarities of SHINBONE, TRIPOS or ROAD HUMP held me up and, in retrospect, I can’t put my finger on why I found this one so hard. I even tried solving half of it sober and the other half very much otherwise, but that made no difference. The north-left corner was last to fall, with ROAD HUMP my LOI.

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