Times 26667 – finding the birthplaces of Zeus

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I really enjoyed this one, a tad trickier than my recent blogging challenges but not unreasonably difficult; about half an hour to finish, parse and check a couple of ‘must be’ answers. It seems to have an ancient world flavour, no doubt to V’s liking, and 3d is probably a mystery to non-UK (or even non-London) readers although it is accessible from the wordplay. No chemistry or cricket today, sadly, but there is a golfing clue and only one poet to remember.

1 WALES – SE LAW would be the rule in the Home counties, South-east England; D country. Is the setter suggesting there’s a referendum coming there too?
4 SPARTACUS – Take the odd letters of SEA SCOUTS to get SACUS, insert PART for role; D Hollywood movie, not the worst one of its type.
9 RECTORATE – Dodgy homophone time; RECT sounds something like WRECKED, OR for men, AT, E end of service; D cleric’s office. I quite like dodgy homophones, the perfect ones are boring.
10 REPRO – REP is a sort of material, OR is gold, reverse it; D not original.
11 INCONSIDERATE – IRATE for angry, goes around N CON SIDE for new Tory faction; D showing no concern.
14 GANG – Hidden word in BE(GAN G)ROUTING, D workmen.
15 FELT-TIP PEN – FELT for considered, TIP for advice, P for page, EN for in, French; D writer.
18 MAZE – Sounds like “MAY’S” being ‘of the month’; D puzzle.
21 ANCIENT GREEKS – (TEENAGER NICKS)*, bubbly is the anagram indicator, (I’m not scholarly enough to use Ulaca’s ‘anagrindative role’), D old folks.
24 HEINE – EIN German for ‘a’ so as ‘in Der Spiegel’, (which isn’t much like our Daily Mirror), inserted into HE; D German author, Heinrich Heine was an 19c poet and writer of whom I was blissfully ignorant.
25 PREVISION – P pupil originally, REVISION exam preparation, D rare foresight. The word ‘rare’ seems superfluous to me.
27 SINUSITIS – SIN = what’s wrong, US = you and me, IT IS for it’s; D a form of inflammation.
29 HOARD – HARD = solid, cases O for ring; D keep.

1 WARDING OFF – WAR = fighting, DINGO = dog, F F for force twice; D repelling.
2 LAC – LAC(E) = briefly tie up, D money in India. Apparently a LAC or more often spelt LAKH is 100,000 rupees, worth around 1,500 euros today. Given L blank C it had to be lac or loc. I preferred ‘lace’ to ‘lock’.
3 SLOANE – SANE = not mad, around LO London’s leaders; D Knightsbridge lady, abbr. for Sloane Ranger, apparently a dying breed, see http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/diana/11421941/Sloane-Rangers-are-heading-for-extinction.html
4 STAGINESS – S S from ‘sightseers on vacation’, insert TAGINES being North African dishes, either the cooking pot or the food inside. D dramatic quality.
5 ADELE – Anagram of DEALE(R), D woman.
6 TERRAPIN – In golf a very short putt is a TAP-IN, a sitter, insert ERR for stray, to get the creature.
7 COPPERPLATE – I was misdirected here at first. COP, for busy, PREP homework, reversed, LATE for well into the night, D writing.
8 SHOT – S(ingular), HOT for spicy, D drink.
12 CONVOCATION – CO (business) N(ame), VOCATION (calling); D meeting.
13 UNSEASONED – AS ONE (like one) inserted into (NUDES)*; D immature.
16 TEMPTRESS – MET for police, turned up = TEM, PRESS for crowd, insert T being last letter of LOST; D vamp.
17 CIRCLETS – Insert LET = allowed, into CIRCS being short for circumstances; D rings.
20 DRYISH – YR for your, rolls = reversed, inside DISH; D somewhat stale.
22 EXPAT – EAT for worry, around XP old Windows OS; D former emigrant. Am I a former emigrant, or just an emigrant?
23 THUS – THE US = America, remove the E(cstasy); D so.
26 IDA – Double definition. There seems to be some confusion about the official abbreviation for IDAHO, being ID rather than IDA, but never mind. There are six Mount Ida’s to choose from, two of them in the ancient world – in Crete and Anatolia. I have visited several places claiming to be the birthplace of Zeus, the one in Crete being the popular favourite, but perhaps, with randy old Zeus being able to transform himself into a swan, an ant, a bredraggled cuckoo, a dove and various other odd things, he was born more than once.

72 comments on “Times 26667 – finding the birthplaces of Zeus”

  1. Came here to see if you were any the wiser on 26dn than I was! I thought of the mountain very quickly, but held myself back because it’s the sort of obscure classical knowledge that I might bung in before realising that it’s a bit TOO obscure and there’s a much saner answer. And IDA just didn’t seem like the right abbreviation for the state, FLA and CAL notwithstanding. Still, what else could it be, eventually… robbed of a sub-10-minute time, robbed I say!
  2. For me a DNFF as I failed to get two tiddlers: 2dn LAC and 26dn IDA – blissfully ignorant that India dealt in such large sums, after their recent problems with ATM money supply.
    And assumed that all US states were represented by two letter abbreviations, not three occasionally.

    Rest was fine except perhaps 24ac Herr HEINE who has never previously darkened my portals. Didn’t bother to parse.

    The SE corner was the trickiest. FOI 5dn ADELE. LOI 26ac HOARD


    Mood Meldrew.

    Edited at 2017-03-08 07:55 am (UTC)

    1. The Lac is familiar enough from Cricket presentations in India, where the winner of player of the match and so on is presented with a 1 lac/lakh cheque. Spelling apart, I’ve never understood the number version, which is always 1,00,000 (sic). Enlightenment, anyone?
  3. … and that One Error was ‘unreasoned’. Don’t quite know where the errant ‘r’ came from, since I saw the wp, but filled it in and moved on. Guessed at IDA (not knowing the Mount), and is there anything more to the Das Spiegel clue other than that EIN is a german article? So it could have been Die Welt (or any other German newspaper)? dnk the author, nor did I know TAP IN=sitter, but then that’s sport, so no surprise there…

    1. As you say, I think any German publication could have fitted the bill, but as Die is another ‘article’ and Der isn’t (it means ‘that one’ or ‘which’), I guess Der Spiegel is less ambiguous?
      1. Der, die and das all mean “the,” surely? M, F and N.. though I know they have other duties too on occasion ..
        1. You’re correct, Jerry, of course, I was perhaps trying too hard to find an explanation for why Der Spiegel and not Die Welt. Since both were founded more than 100 years after Herr Heine passed away, it’s a hypothetical question but I guess he’d have been more likely to pen something for the magazine!
  4. Including at least three minutes at the end to fill in the middle letter of a three-letter word. Bah. I can’t find a lot of support around the net for IDA as an abbreviation for Idaho, but there’s just enough to get the setter off the hook.

    Still, it wouldn’t have been a problem if I knew my Greek mythology better. Having been described on this site as possessing “rubbish GK” because I didn’t know “oread”, I certainly won’t be complaining about this one.

    Nice meaty puzzle, COD to felt-tip pen, which I feared was going to be an unknown French expression (my French is rubbish as well).

    Still one under par for the week, hanging on grimly.

    1. I sympathise: I think I’ve been badly caught out by Mount IDA in the past. The good news is that you tend to remember these ones. Several of us who compete in the championships will never forget OGHAM, for instance. Mind you there was another one in that puzzle and i have forgotten it. Penfold will be along shortly to remind me.
      1. At least there was another way in to this one. I mean, IDA isn’t exactly unreasonable for Idaho.

        I briefly considered ISA, but figured, a la Verlaine, that the outback Queensland town was probably an obscurity too far, despite having produced a dual Wimbledon finalist.

        1. Yes, fair point. I did worry there might be another state that’s susceptible to abbreviation to I_A. There isn’t, but it’s a lot easier to say that with complete confidence after googling ‘US states alphabetical order’.
    2. In the old days many States had 3 or more letter abbreviations – ILL, IND, MICH, MASS, TEX, MINN etc. Even N DAK and S DAK, which could easily have been two letters. The Post Office standardized them to two letters for US Mail in, roughly, the mid 1960s, about the time it began ZIP codes.

      If that gives our setters fodder for additional complex clues, I guess I’ll be sorry I mentioned it.

  5. 16:21. Tricky, and very enjoyable.
    I had HESSE originally at 24ac, which is wrong in at least three ways, but 12dn looked so much like it wanted to end in ATION that I had another look almost immediately and it didn’t really slow me down.
    I hesitated a bit over IDA but I dimly remembered the mountain, and that US state abbreviations sometimes appear in three-letter incarnations, so put it in and crossed my fingers.
    Thanks to setter & blogger.
  6. I found this one quite hard work (yet again!) but enjoyable because I always felt I was going to get there in the end, which indeed I did eventually and without resorting to aids.

    My biggest problem was at 2dn thinking that LEC seemed familiar but if it was correct I was unable to justify the wordplay. I then thought of LAC{e} and trusted to wordplay whilst not knowing currency. I later realised that LEC was the brand-name of a fridge I once owned.

    I knew HEINE as Schubert set several of his poems to music in the collection Swan Song, although I also considered HESSE for a while, known also from German Lieder.

    PREVISION was new to me, I think.[Not so, as on checking I find it came up once before in 2009 and I didn’t even query it then. Mind you, that day I had also had to cope with GOBY, GOATSUCKER, SCORPION GRASS and VIZSLA, the well-known Hungarian hunting-dog, so perhaps the list of unknowns in my comment was not exhaustive].

    Edited at 2017-03-08 09:04 am (UTC)

  7. The clue was ” mountain IN US state ” so why does it have to be an abbreviation …IDAho?
    1. But that would require an indirectness that we don’t see in these puzzles wouldn’t it? If “in” is used as a containment indicator, the actual solution would appear as part of the clue.
    2. Well, if you’re going down that path, it’s in FlorIDA too…

      Bit as already pointed out, that would be unusually indirect, so it would still necessitate a long pause for thought, from where I’m sitting!

      1. Which is all to the good, ne c’est pas? Personally I think that is a perfectly sound parsing, or ought to be..
        1. Would you be happy with ASH being clued as “tree in US state”? ASK, ALI, EVA, BRA… OUT?
          1. I would say it depends… not on “conventions,” which I think we should learn to grow out of, but on whether the clue is solvable and fair in practice.
            The thing about Ida is that is it 60% of the state and the first 60% at that so not a great reach to get to.
            The only state I can think of with “ash” in it would be washington, and I agree that if you want to bury it that deep, some extra indication would be needed to make the clue fair
  8. 35 minutes with LAC only from clue and IDA put in uncertainly thinking that IDAHO was just ID. LOI DRYISH, although i had seen YR before, so should have seen it quicker. I like to see the mould before pronouncing an item stale.Having decided it was HEINE and not Hesse, I found Der Spiegel more of a hindrance. Is there no escaping ADELE? As an ex golfer, I took a while to parse TERRAPIN. There were no such things as Tap-Ins with my yips.
    1. I’m sure the setter meant a football sitter/ tap in but would do for golf I suppose
      1. This got me thinking. I’m far more a football man than a golfer and played for over 30 years, the last serious time admittedly now 30 years ago. I’ve only ever been an occasional golfer. I can hear modern day football commentators and pundits talking of tap-ins. Not Kenneth Wolstenholme though. I solved the clue by getting TERRAPIN from crossers, seeing ERR and finding TAP IN left. I thought then of golf, despite football being the better answer. Is that because my mind is more likely to recall 50 years ago than last year or last night, and back then the football expression would have been SITTER? Or is it because I played golf more recently? Tricky business, getting old. I’ve certainly missed more sitters than tap-ins. I’m pretty sure I was back in the past.
  9. I enjoyed this, neatly clued and some excellent surface readings … better than yesterday’s.
    I know Schiller, Goethe and Heine, and that’s about it for German poets.
    Collins has Ida as an abbreviation for Idaho, which would seem to settle the matter in the setter’s favour ..
  10. As others knew the mountain IDA but was unhappy about the state. Abbreviations are meat and drink in Mephisto-land so ID well known but IDA is new to me

    Liked 12D as a well constructed clue and a trip down memory lane all in one.

    Edited at 2017-03-08 09:10 am (UTC)

    1. Ida is probably new to most solvers since it is never used. The standard 2 letter abbreviations are used 99% of the time. Yes, there is the odd Cal. or Wash. used occasionally, but Ida for Idaho, never seen it. Haven’t seen Iow for Iowa either.

      Edited at 2017-03-08 10:10 pm (UTC)

  11. A lakh is 100,000, used of, say, crowd numbers etc. as well as number of rupees; the clue’s a bit pushy both in spelling and definition. Otherwise a good puzzle. Ida as part of the word Idaho seems perfectly OK to me; no need to have the whole thing laid out in front of you. Wrote in sinusitis wrongly like a fule. -joekobi
  12. I seem to be out of sync with most of our esteemed correspondents above, having no difficulty with IDA and LAC, but still don’t get COP = busy, and as a result got stuck in the NE, Saw SPARTACUS,
    1. A Busy can be used for a policeman. I think I’ve only heard it that way in Scouseland.
      1. the name for a ‘policeman'(beadle?) in Bartholomew Fair – by playwright Ben Johnson which was first – staged in London in 1614. The Fair was held annually on the frozen Thames.
        1. I’m not sure how much following I Rare Ben Johnson has on Merseyside. I think it originated as a contraction of ‘busy-body’ as in always poking their noses in where unwanted. It is more commonly seen written as ‘bizzy’.
  13. Knew lakh but went for the invented LOC(K). Dnk TAGINES so had SCARINESS. The ‘rare’ in PREVISION clue is because it’s a rare word for foresight? 26’dnf. Thanks pip and setter.
    1. Not sure I understand your query? You have the alternate letters of SeA sCoUtS to give you SACUS, then insert PART. Pip
  14. An hour for this, with staginess and repro (where I wanted retro) holding me up. When I got to 2d, I had what the Aussies call a brain fade, looking up to my mental dressing room for assistance, which seemed to do the trick, as the bizarre number fell into place without any need for DRS.
  15. To me, a bit tougher than usual, which took me marginally over the 30 mins mark. An enjoyable solve though. Was lucky with IDA as I had never heard of it/them. Knew about LAK(h) though. Thanks setter and same to pip for explaining the ones I got without parsing or biffing, just from crossers.
  16. I had COL(orado)which rendered SE corner impossible to finish. Not a complete mountain unfortunately.
    John Mac
  17. Thanks Pip for the parse on TERRAPIN and COPPERPLATE. Golf is a closed book to me and I also had “copper” for the busy so there was a spare P floating about and no prep.

    We had SINUSITIS in the TLS a few weeks ago, clued as follows: Pity, America is occupied by first sign of Trump’s ego – that may give them a headache. 19.42

        1. It’s a beautiful clue, everybody says so, nobody knows more about crossword clues than me by the way, etc etc ad nauseam.
      1. Collins Thesaurus lists the informal use of “sin” as an alternative for pity in the sense of “a crying shame”.
      2. JK – If you go back into the archive for the blog for this puzzle (TLS 1161 Three Down by Praxiteles February 3, 2017) on February 23rd you’ll find it mentioned within the blog and in an exchange about this among the comments.
  18. Took me 25 minutes to solve, though in unfamiliar circumstances and subject to interruptions.

    The first word that occurred to me for 19ac was DAZE, since a month is made of them and daze is ok-ish for puzzle. Didn’t quite feel right though. Might have made for an interesting appeal to the 3rd umpire.

    Doesn’t FELT TIP PEN look weird in the grid with no spaces?

  19. Felt as though it was a slow one – so pleased to see the clock stopped at just under 18 mins – 3 out of 3 complete injnder 20 this week….

    Only German writer I could come up with was Hesse, but like others the obvious need for …TION at the end of 12d put paid to that theory without any real loss of time.

    IDA and LAC last 2 in, and both thrown because they vaguely fitted, familiar with Lakh as the 100k rupees (cricket fan so IPL auction is still fresh in my mind), but not the alternative spelling. Also wasn’t sure about the state abbreviation but what else could it be?

  20. I managed to get 17d CIRCLETS because of all the crossers, the allowed = LET part of the wordplay and the definition Rings but I am “totes” surprised that there has not been more comment here about CIRCS being “short” for CIRCUMSTANCES. Is this a Sloane-speak perhaps?
    1. “Under the circs” is a favourite of my mother’s and I think she picked it up in the Wrens in WWII.
      1. Thanks for the enlightenment Olivia.
        I shall probably start using this now – it will probs really annoy the rest of the family.
  21. I had a quick look at this. Heine was my FOI and then I got Thus;then I gave up. My time was two minutes.
    Agree Lac is very tricky. I knew Lakh.
    You may be interested to know that Heine spent time in London, in a house on Craven Street- there is a plaque. It’s near The Ship and Shovel which some will know;under Charing Cross station.
    Also in Craven Street is the Benjamin Franklin House -which is open to the public. Best to book a tour in advance;it’s well worth it and afterwards you can see the Heine house and go to the pub. David
    1. It’s the Ship and Shovell (named after Sir Cloudesley, whose portrait is displayed on the inn sign). Still at least you didn’t change the “p” to a “t” as well.
  22. I didn’t get CIRCLETS and went for DISCLETS which isn’t actually a word but plausibly could mean rings. Held up for ages too since I put RETRO for REPRO on the basis that the clue worked differently. There was probably a material that had RET after a first letter removed (“not original material”) and the literal being “back”. But then I couldn’t fit anything in for the writing. I even had thought busy=cop and homework=prep but it took an age for the penny to drop. It is funny just how long an incorrect answer can hold you up.
  23. I tackled this at 1am just as I should’ve gone to bed, and finished with 2 wrong in 49:20. I had HAINE for the German author as in “article in” penned by HE without really parsing the clue fully. I meant to go back to it but sleepily forgot. I managed to get LAC and IDA, but for no other reason than it fitted, put AGENT for 5d, not even noticing that INCONSIDERATE changed it to AGENE. The perils of switching to electronic solving! I used to be more awake for solving when the paper didn’t arrive until 6:30am. I should’ve been warned, when the stats showed Verlaine took over 10 minutes, that it would be tougher than usual. I must discipline myself not to start just before bedtime! Otherwise an enjoyable and challenging puzzle. Thanks setter and Pip.
  24. Well, I got past all of the difficulties in nearly an hour, but some of my answers were hanging on a thread. Never heard of Sloane Rangers, so I assumed there was some famous Knightsbridge lady after whom Sloane Square was named (and incidentally, the director of the municipal orchestra where I live in Germany is also named Sloane — not a German name, but he’s from Los Angeles). And I had no idea what TAP IN might have to do with a sitter, but ERR fit the wordplay so well that TERRAPIN was the only creature that would fit 6dn. I also found “rare” superfluous in 25 ac and kept trying to fit RED in to account for it (also in 13dn to account for the embarrassed nudes). As for state abbreviations and IDA, they are now all two letters, but in the bad old days when crossword setters were in their formative years they were not so standardized and could be longer (CAL, MASS, ILL and so on).
    1. Sloane Rangers (or just Sloanes) drive Chelsea Tractors. They sometimes pop up in crosswords as Hooray Henrys or Hooray Henriettas. The shop at Harvey Nicholls or Harrods.
  25. 15:22 for me, never anywhere near the setter’s wavelength.

    My knowledge of Heine’s poetry is mainly from Dichterliebe, whereas although I’ve read some of Hesse’s novels (though only in translation) my entire knowledge of his poetry is from Vier letzte Lieder.

  26. Well, bless my goodness me. I got through this one in 30 minutes, which I considered pretty good going for me. LAC was possibly half-known, but seemed likelier than “loc”. I had never heard of the mountain, and wondered if the abbreviation for Iowa was “Iwa” and, if so, whether that could be some kind of mountain. In the end, though, I decided that “I’m off to mount Ida” sounded far better, and plumped for that.

    I pondered FELT-TIP PEN for a while, since I’d always thought it was “felt-tipped”, but couldn’t think of anything better. HEINE was also an NHO (I doubt he’s read any of my stuff either), as was STAGINESS. I can thank my daughter (who brought back a tagine from Morocco) for that one.

    I am also flushed with a most unbecoming pride, having received a congratulatory ball-point (rather than felt-tip) pen as a runner-up in the Sunday puzzle. Quite how this happened I do not know since (a) I am phenomenally slow compared to many of you and (b) I had no idea I had entered any sort of competition – I presume that submitting the puzzle online is an automatic entry.

    1. Congrats on the pen Dr. Thud! To my chagrin the green eyeshade types at the Times seem to have decided (sometime in the last couple of years) that non-UK residents no longer qualify for the draw – saving on the postage are they? Moldy chiz.
    2. Pah! The cheapskates! Rest assured, Olivia, if I win a second pen it shall be yours.

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