Times 26678

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
This one took me a few minutes over the hour though I think I may have dozed off briefly at one point – no disrespect to the quality of the puzzle intended, just that I was very tired. I found generally a very good mix of clues, some of which were of the highest standard, but there were some easy ones to keep things moving along, and a couple of very loose definitions were made accessible by helpful wordplay. There are quite a lot of geographical references today, and two scientists so our Dorset correspondent will be pleased!

As usual definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions are in curly brackets} and [anagrinds, containment, reversal and other indicators in square ones]

1 Way to load part-emptied revolver? (6)
PLANET – LANE (way) is contained by [to load] P{ar}T [emptied]. The very loosest of definitions here, completely biff-proof, I’d suggest. The question mark lets the setter off the hook, perhaps?
5 One at wheel sees rock looming in wet (8)
MOTORIST – TOR (rock) contained by [looming in] MOIST (wet)
9 Russian ace after old soldier left in sickroom (8)
SVETLANA – VET (old soldier) + L (left) inside SAN (sickroom), A (ace). Not exclusively a Russian name perhaps but most of the famous ones were born there or in former USSR states.
10 Spend colder months in Krakow in terror (6)
WINTER – Hidden in {Krako}W IN TER{ror}. Still in Eastern Europe. The answer has to be taken as a verb to fit the definition.
11 Key ruling on British intelligence (10)
BRAINPOWER – BR (British),  A (key – music), IN POWER (ruling)
13 Elgar’s initial piece in top musical setting (4)
LIED –  E{lgar} [initial piece] in LID (top). To England for the composer but Germany or Austria for the musical form.
14 Departing, upstanding character abandoned honour (4)
GONG – GO{i}NG (departing) [upstanding character abandoned – the perpendicular pronoun as Sir Humphrey would say]. Gong is slang for a medal.
15 Room for experimentation in political choice? (10)
LABORATORY – LAB OR A TORY (political choice?)
18 Spiteful ultra led in manoeuvres (3-7)
ILL-NATURED – Anagram [manoeuvres] of ULTRA LED IN
20 Current measures start to annoy politicians (4)
AMPS – A{nnoy} [start], MPS (politicians)
21 Chicken dish one devoured by man made homeless? (4)
KIEV – I (one) contained [devoured] by KEV{in} [made homeless]. Back to Eastern Europe.
23 Scientist woman’s cross with dull routine (10)
RUTHERFORD – RUT (dull routine), HER (woman’s), FORD (cross). “Climb every mountain, ford every stream…”. Ernest Rutherford (1871-1937) is described as “the father of nuclear physics”
25 Deliver gold in horse-drawn carriage (6)
LANDAU – LAND (deliver), AU (gold). Plenty of these were around in Austria and Germany in the days of The Sound of Music, though the horse-drawn carriages most usually seen in Salzburg today are Fiakers.
26 Bully in trouble after fracas in B&B (8)
BROWBEAT – ROW (fracas) in B&B, EAT (trouble)
28 Wander around quiet books launch (8)
MOONSHOT – MOON (wander around), SH (quiet!), OT (books). Another very loose definition as most launches aren’t moonshots.
29 Capable Conservative means to apply pressure? (6)
CLEVER – C (Conservative), LEVER (means to apply pressure)
2 Meat reserve supplies seaport (9)
LIVERPOOL – LIVER (meat), POOL (reserve). I’m not entirely sure whether “supplies” is part of the wordplay (with “reserve”) or just a link to the definition. Firmly on British soil for this one.
3 Love can mean this on flipping stormy night (7)
NOTHING –  ON reversed [flipping] anagram [stormy] of NIGHT. My favourite clue so far. With reference to zero in tennis.
4 Crew’s unable to finish meal (3)
TEA – TEA{m} (crew) [unable to finish]
5 Tom’s comment perhaps sent up without end? (5)
MIAOW – WO (without) + AIM (end) reversed [sent up]. I like this one too – very inventive.
6 Girder to be fixed outside with adjustable spanner (5,6)
TOWER BRIDGE – Anagram [fixed] of GIRDER TO BE containing [outside] W (with). Another excellent clue with a devious definition. Here we are in London.
7 Butterfly / circling part of Barnet? (7)
RINGLET – Two meanings, the second being cryptic with reference to hair (Barnet Fair in CRS). I didn’t know the butterfly. This is good too. Greater London now, though I still think of it as Hertfordshire.
8 Linnaeus for one married in southeast (5)
SWEDE – WED (married) in SE (southeast). A new scientist on me, the Scandanavian Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) was into botany, biology and zoology.
12 Recover from muscle injury completely (4,7)
PULL THROUGH – PULL (muscle injury), THROUGH (completely)
16 Counter for pressure unit (3)
BAR – Two meanings. With reference to a clue last week I was looking for b or B as an abbreviation for the pressure unit but couldn’t find it anywhere.
17 Technique used in documentary about transport (9)
REPORTAGE – RE (about), PORTAGE (transport)
19 Northern girl meets boy from Western state (7)
NEVADAN – N (northern), EVA (girl), DAN (boy). Out of Europe and across the Atlantic at last!
20 Warm female appears in a moral tale (7)
AFFABLE – A, F (female), FABLE (moral tale)
22 Shakespeare’s ensign holds maiden to be idealized figure (5)
IMAGO – IAGO (Shakespeare’s ensign – Othello) contains [holds] M (maiden)
24 Chinese region flyer has got to stay within (5)
TIBET – TIT (flyer) containing [has…within] BE (stay). And now across the Pacific too.
27 Soldiers caught by fierce monster (3)
ORC – OR (soldiers), C (caught)

55 comments on “Times 26678”

  1. I must have been right on the button this morning – even though very tired – all over in 22 minutes.

    FOI 10ac WINTER LOI 29ac CLEVER.


  2. Finished in about 35 minutes. I thought this was pretty gentle, though with a few trickier ones including RINGLET, which I had to guess from the def, and PLANET. A mini-theme with RUTHERFORD, CLEVER, BRAINPOWER and LABORATORY plus the reference to Linnaeus. Favourite was MIAOW.

    Thanks to setter and blogger

  3. Pretty straightforward. In one of those odd coincidences, I am in Reno for a conference and so everything out of my hotel window is NEVADAN. Interesting that Rutherford was the father of nuclear physics since he is also famous for saying that nuclear power was impossible precisely one day before Leo Szilard demonstrated uranium fission. Spent far too long trying to justify BEL at 16d (the unit that is more commonly found as a decibel) but it’s not a unit of pressure.
  4. I rather liked PLANET, which I think was my LOI; I was sure of the PT, but couldn’t get my mind past ST and RD for ‘way’. DNK the butterfly. With the M and W in, I biffed MIAOW, and never did parse it. I’d imagine there are a few people who might take issue with the characterisation of TIBET as a ‘Chinese region’. It occurred to me that KIEV was well-timed; I’m sitting in my office, waiting to be evicted and banished to the emeriti common office (where, I just confirmed, electric outlets seem to be at a premium).

    Edited at 2017-03-21 03:31 am (UTC)

  5. 9:13, which has me briefly on top of the club timer. I was very much on the wavelength of the setter, and although there were many tricky definitions, this was a good puzzle for a fan of wordplay. PLANET last in, and kicking myself for not seeing it earlier. Good challenge!
  6. “Chinese region” elicited more of a rueful smile than anything else in my particular Chinese “AR”. It may very well be accurate after a fashion, anyway, as, with the transmigration of Han, the place will soon have (already has?) more Chinese than Tibetans.

    I rather liked Svetlana, not least on account of the entertaining discourse such generic clues can generate. A nice puzzle, where the science did what it ought to do, staying in the background and facilitating the good things in life. 29 minutes.

    Edited at 2017-03-21 05:53 am (UTC)

  7. 24:45, so just a bit trickier than usual for me. I always think of a lever amplifying force, not pressure, which took the shine off an otherwise scientific puzzle. Particularly liked 26 ac for the smooth and totally believable surface.
    Was Stalin’s daughter a Svetlana – yes, according to google. Was she Georgian or Russian?
    Quite OK with launch cluing moonshot – the general clues the specific, like plant cluing yertchuk, or antelope cluing grysbok. How most clues are, and the opposite of the sometimes-frowned-upon definition-by-example.
    1. Agree. Most chicken dishes aren’t KIEV, and most seaports aren’t LIVERPOOL either.
      1. … don’t agree at all. If we rule out OGIs (over-general indications), the setters would be banjaxed.
          1. Yes, I think it does, and McT’s comment was aimed in my direction, which is fair enough and perhaps I didn’t say exactly what I had in mind. “Chicken dish” and “seaport” clearly indicate the general area of the answer one is looking for whereas “launch” on its own covers a multitude of possibilities of areas of usage of which “moonshot” is a very specific and perhaps remote instance. I wasn’t saying it was unfair, only that it was loose in the sense of not giving much indication as to what one was looking for. One might also praise it for masterly misdirection used in conjunction with “book”.

            Edited at 2017-03-21 07:22 am (UTC)

            1. Slight misunderstanding. Not aimed at anyone. Just going from G’s surface comment. Guess we’re all in agreement: OGIs are OK, if a bit frustrating.
  8. Just rescued a par score after being trapped for ages in the rough in the NW. Finally RINGLET (my COD) fell, followed by LIED.

    Very nice puzzle. Thought PLANET and TOWER BRIDGE were very good as well.

    Thanks setter and Jack.

  9. at 33 minutes. I found this one easier than yesterday’s, which I did not finish. I must have been on the wavelength today. Gradese
  10. Trickier one for me today, but all good in the end, finishing with MOONSHOT. Several biffed from checkers (MOTORIST, BRAINPOWER, RINGLET), and RUTHERFORD biffed from woman=RUTH… (!)

  11. 12:37. Very good stuff I thought, for reasons already mentioned. I particularly liked MIAOW and TOWER BRIDGE. I didn’t know the butterfly.
    I did biff PLANET. Or perhaps to be more precise I saw that PLANET would fit the checkers (it was one of my last in) and then spotted the definition. In any event I put in the answer before I figured out the wordplay.
  12. 12:46 … that was fun, though like ulaca I winced at the TIBET def. — what is and what should never be, as the song said.

    Lots of smiles, though. GONG, MIAOW, BRAINPOWER … good stuff.

  13. Excellent puzzle where as George says, wordplay is important which always makes for an enjoyable solve. Also some excellent surface readings. Thank you setter.

    The scientific leaning is a bonus that I do appreciate. We have come a fair way in the last 5 years as far as these puzzles are concerned. Very good to see nobody has yet claimed to never have earned of Ernest Rutherford!

  14. Sprinted through this in 15 minutes then held up for 10 by the unknown 7d and LIED, had to check the butterfly existed afterwards. Liked MOONSHOT and NOTHING.
  15. Last two in 7&13 as Galspray. looking like a good time for me but a misbiffed roc and much dithering about ringlet, musical setting took me to 25. Had never realised there was a second def of imago only knew the insect stage. TY to J and setter
  16. A DNF in my hour, having forgotten whether the musical piece was “lied” or “leid”—German spelling’s not my strong point— and not seeing the “wed” for SWEDE. Probably one of those where if I’d come back to it after making a cuppa I’d have got there immediately. Not knowing who or what a “Linnaeus” might be didn’t help…

    Still, at least I managed to get IMAGO despite not knowing the Shakespearean reference, and remembered the butterfly from a friend pointing one out on a walk in Suffolk last year.

  17. Are the setters reading our posts? Only last week I quoted Ernest Rutherford. Anyway, it gives me another chance to wind up any life scientist reading this: “All science is either physics or stamp collecting.” Sorry LINNAEUS. Zipped through this in 19 minutes today with LOI LIED, having twigged RINGLET, or is that ringed TWIGLET? I think the setter’s been stalking me in other ways too, as I now live just outside Barnet, coming here 30 years ago from a village in Oxfordshire where the rest of the cricket team worked at the Rutherford. And also last week, I mounted a defence of my colleague Lancastrians from LIVERPOOL. COD the innocuous looking PULL THROUGH. Thank you J for blog. I’ll just pop out of the door to thank the guy sitting in the car parked outside for the puzzle.

    1. Puts me in mind of Wittgenstein who suggested, somewhere or other, that all mathematics is tautology – that certainly got Bertrand Russell all hot and bothered.

      Scampered through this in about 35 minutes, but not before wasting a couple of minutes pondering the existence of a tool called a tower bridge – I mean, seriously, doh………

      Thank you to setter and blogger.

      1. And then there’s Gödel’s proof that no complex system can contain its own explanation, which I think can be read as either agreeing with Wittgenstein or as entirely opposed.
        1. Gödel brought to mind 2 days ago, with Achilles & the tortoise. I knew it from Zeno, but in solving I’d been thinking about the parable of the hare and the tortoise being the parable of Achilles & the tortoise – idiot. Didn’t know Lewis Carroll’s version. Did know the brilliant book “Gödel, Escher, Bach” by Douglas Hofstadter, which opens each chapter with a Carrollian dialogue between Achilles and the tortoise, using them to build to a proof of Gödel’s theorem that was simple enough for even me to understand.
          1. I know of it, Isla, but not read it. It’s going on my list as a result of your prod. If the system was infinitely big, then I gather his theorem breaks down, but I’ve never been able to get my head round physical infinities.Nor can he, and he prefers the infinite outside the system.
  18. 22.07 but with MIAOW unparsed having missed the without bit. MOONSHOT also appears in another place today so that went straight in. Got absolutely 3d in the NW at first look so finished up there with five left until the scousers came to my rescue. Good fun I thought..
  19. Like yesterday, I started really slowly, on a nothing in for 5 minutes sort of way. A further hold up because I put in PULL TOGETHER without noticing that it didn’t fit, though it works with the wordplay. Another 5 minutes in midsolve sending a message cleared the way for a swifter finish, so I suppose 24 minutes will have to do. We seem to be fairly unanimous in our knowns, unknowns and appreciations today. Happy to subscribe to the majority opinion.
  20. I was transported back to the 80s with the appearance of the chicken KIEV. I ate many of those in the day.

    LOI SVETLANA, with me wondering who the ‘Russian ace’ was. One word definitions like this are a bit of a blindspot for me.

  21. Finished, although with a fair bit of biffing, and checking as I went along.
    Spent the longest on 9a, 13a, 28a and 6d.

    dnk reportage or ringlet for butterfly.
    COD 3d.

  22. Struggled to get a foothold until WINTER, then saw MIAOW and got the NE apart from 7d and 13a which stayed blank until near the end. The SW held me up longest with a biffed AMIABLE preventing RUTHERFORD until the penny dropped. Some well disguised clues here. I particularly liked TOWER BRIDGE and MIAOW. A most enjoyable puzzle keeping me busy for 44:12. Thanks setter and Jack.
  23. About an hour and I found it all a bit tricky today, though now I have Jack’s explanations of my biffs I am not sure why. Enjoyable struggle which I expected to lose but didn’t. Thanks to our blogger and setter today!
  24. Found this easier than yesterday’s, a matter of wavelength, I think. Enjoyable, elegant clueing. Biffed a few – completely missed OW AIM, never heard of a RINGLET butterfly, nor the non-insect sense of IMAGO. And I thought that describing TIBET as a Chinese region – despite the fact that it is a fait accompli – was a trifle crass.


    Well done blogger and setter! More, please.

    Edited at 2017-03-21 02:11 pm (UTC)

  25. I did this after coming home from an excellent pub quiz (which we won), so I don’t remember much of it. Instead I shall note that my crossword-honed skills came in very handy for at least one question – what woman’s name is an anagram of REVIEWS ANGER YOU? Also was pretty happy that the last question before the bonus round was the eminently classical “What is the third order of classical architecture alongside Doric and Ionic?” An immediate write-in!
    1. I’m not going to let on how much time I wasted solving that anagram! I thought I might go mad.
      I generally find with that sort of question in a quiz that my crossword training enables me to get the answer more quickly than most, but people have time to work it out so it’s not much of an advantage. In this case it would have had to have come at the beginning of a very long round for me to have a prayer!
      1. When the answer didn’t leap out at me immediately, I chickened out and used TEA, which I suspect was a wise decision. I find that having the number of letters for each word makes all the difference.
        1. Staring at the letters and waiting for the answer to leap out is always my first port of call, and it usually works. This is a skill born of practice, I’m sure.
          When that doesn’t work I look at each of the letters and see if a first name or surname leaps out. The problem here is that there are so many, including GUINEVERE! Eventually, the second or third time I tried this with W I saw WEAVER and that was that.
  26. 10 mins. I took advantage of a further day’s holiday and did this at a reasonable time, but I can’t claim to have been exactly on the setter’s wavelength because I biffed MIAOW, TOWER BRIDGE and BRAINPOWER and I didn’t bother to try and parse them. Knowing of Uncle Joe’s daughter helped me see SVETLANA sooner than I may otherwise have done. REPORTAGE was my LOI after RUTHERFORD.
  27. So sad to be reminded that Tibet is effectively a province of China, the most despicable unpunished crime of my lifetime. Technically correct def. I suppose but in poor taste

  28. Under 20 mins and would have been less if not struggling with a new (but cheapo) bluetooth keyboard. A PULL THROUGH takes me back to my CCF days when it was the required way of cleaning a .303 Enfield at the end of the day. Did not know the butterfly but Barnet in Crosswordland means only one thing. Thanks setter and Jack.

    Edited at 2017-03-21 04:50 pm (UTC)

  29. I have been doing reasonably well recently but was stumped today by the NW corner missing the Planet / Svetlana / Nothing trio. But the clues were very fair and I will now remember revolver can be something that turns (aka a flower can be something that runs). Dont you just love the “English” language!
  30. It’s widely known that the Times Cryptic is run by the PRC.

    Honestly, how ridiculous.

  31. A gentle 21 mins today – easier than yesterday’s I thought. I spent 3 days in Tibet in 2009 with day two spent in bed with food poisoning so missed the sky burial. I could not believe that at Yamdrok Lake (elevation 14,400+ feet) there was no snow even at the end of December.
  32. About 25 minutes, ending up in the NW area with PLANET and LIVERPOOL. My mind was on different meats. Other than that nothing too taxing, although I certainly didn’t race through it. Enjoyable. The butterfly was new to me, but everything else was OK. Regards.
    1. I did think it was rather unfair to give no hints beyond “female”! Still, perhaps the word REVIEWS in the anagrist might have suggest an actress…
      1. Aha! Just got it! Narrowing it down to actresses helped. Thank you, Verlaine. And then, of course, it almost leapt out at me …
    2. You make me feel like a gorilla. I just chucked it into Google and realised what I had mist.
  33. 30 min, with 1ac LOI, as I’d been thinking of ‘revolver’ as a reversal indicator, as it clearly wasn’t an anagram.
    Having Rutherford there to exemplify physics, it was apt to include Linnaeus – the great pioneer of the philatelic aspect of science.
  34. 10:07 for me, slowing badly towards the end.

    Another interesting and enjoyable puzzle. My compliments to the setter.

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