Times 26679 – all you could wish for, and a gazelle

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
About 25 minutes of amusement for me with this delightful puzzle, nothing unknown, a less obscure than usual “safari animal”, a cricket reference, lots of word truncation clues, nothing too UK-specific I think. All in all a fine example of the art of setting; what more can I say? No chemistry, but you can’t have everything.

I am experimenting with adding the clues and definitions underlined, so let me know if it needs more tweaking.

1 Fast runner in leading position backed, covered by stake (8)
ANTELOPE – POLE reversed inside ANTE
5 Endlessly put off covering a mark and smear (6)
DEFAME – DEFE(R), insert A M(ark).
8 Without yen, very little money (3)
TIN – TINY = very little, remove the Y(en).
9 Architect listened to great applause for modernising (10)
RENOVATION – REN sounds like WREN the architect, then OVATION = great applause.
10 Jacks in the drink: it’s bitter (8)
ABSINTHE – ABS for JACKS, sailors, IN THE.
11 Playwright pulling back from boundary (6)
BARRIE – BARRIER = boundary, pull off the back. J M Barrie.
12 Was told to ignore Resistance leader (4)
HEAD – HEARD = was told, ignore the R.
14 In drink, German is beside himself (10)
DISTRAUGHT – DRAUGHT = drink, insert IST = German for ‘is’.
17 Conjuror’s rueful remark, losing his stick occasionally?
NOW AND THEN – &lit: A conjuror’s rueful remark being ‘no wand, then’.
20 Bird’s tight feeling in stomach? (4)
KNOT – Double definition.
23 User of acid as anaesthetic about to be arrested (6)
ETCHER – ETHER being an anaesthetic, insert C = about.
24 Unlike you, in play I act badly (8)
25 In the shade, running water and glass that’s got left out
BURNT UMBER – BURN = running water, TUMBLER = glass has the L out.
26 Grassy area is a little piece of greenery short (3)
27 Go round one place several times (6)
TRIPLY – TRY for go, around I PL = one place.
28 Jargon on lease reinterpreted (8)
LEGALESE – LEG side – ON in cricket, (LEASE)*.

1 Incorrectly rank hat as lambskin (9)
ASTRAKHAN – (RANK HAT AS)*, typically used for warm hats.
2 Land fish: is one going to tuck in? (7)
TUNISIA – TUNA a fish, insert IS I.
3 Speaker’s cat catching a rook (6)
LARYNX – A R(ook) inside LYNX = cat.
4 God, number one of that name? I believe in them all (9)
PANTHEIST – PAN a God, THE IST = the first, number one.
5 Coupling a disadvantage as pair finally go for run (7)
DRAWBAR – A DRAWBACK is a disadvantage, substitute R for the CK = pair finally go for run.
6 Outlaw’s skill: poultry beheaded at end of day (5,4)
FRIAR TUCK – FRI = day, then ART = skill, (D)UCK for poultry beheaded.
7 Shark not female, like 6 (7)
MONKISH – A MONKFISH is an ugly looking fish in the shark family; Delete the F(emale). Monkish, i.e. like Friar Tuck.
13 Walk quietly up, skirting unusual threat from this? (5,4)
DEATH TRAP – PAD = walk quietly, set reversed around (THREAT)*. &lit, of a sort.
15 Losing footing, go down hard on board? It’s not beyond
TREATABLE – TREA(D) = go hard down on, losing D, TABLE = board.
16 Tickle bird, badly worried (9)
TITILLATE – TIT = bird, ILL = badly, ATE = worried.
18 Commander right about alternative to Hamlet, period (7)
OCTOBER – OC = commander, officer commanding, R = right; insert TO BE as in Hamlet (or not to be).
19 Too dry and hot unfortunately for visitor to Oz (7)
DOROTHY – (TOO DRY H)*, the H for hot, Dorothy as in the Wizard of Oz, no Australian climate involved.
21 Part of prison: a cell extended for engine casing (7)
22 Practise fighting soldiers: no comfort here (6)
SPARTA – SPAR = practise fighting, TA = soldiers.

43 comments on “Times 26679 – all you could wish for, and a gazelle”

  1. DNF – just could not see 11ac and 5dn. The rest took me about an hour. I also learnt how to spell TITILLATE as a bonus. Thought 7dn was a nicely misleading clue.


  2. 20m. I found that tricky, with quite a lot of obscurity: ‘user of acid’, BURNT UMBER, ASTRAKHAN, ‘shark’ (really? Fancy that), ‘coupling’ = DRAWBAR, NACELLE. No complaints though: it forced me to rely on wordplay which is how I like it, and it’s all fair. Even with the anagram-indicated lambskin there’s nowhere else to put the letters.
    Not sure I understand how ATYPICAL is ‘unlike you’ though. How does the setter know?
  3. A rare sub-K for me, LOI LEGALESE. Enjoyed DISTRAUGHT, NOW AND THEN and BURNT UMBER.

    Same thoughts as Keriothe on ATYPICAL, but the answer was obvious enough.

    Thanks setter and Pip. (And FWIW, the new format gets a thumbs-up from me).

  4. 24ac works for me!

    Struggled with this excellent crossword puzzle – limped home in c. 50 minutes mainly because of 6dn -which just wouldn’t materialise. (An attempt at a Spoonerism by the setter, might have been helpful!) The NE corner was a tough chew.

    11ac BARRIE was used at least once recently!

    FOI 1dn ASTRAKHAN (Hancock’s Collar) LOI 5dn DRAWBAR


    1. I was going to mention it but you beat me to it! Worn with a Homburg hat IIRC. It featured particularly in episodes which referenced his pretensions as an actor. Robert Newton impersonations usually came up in these too.
  5. 17:57 … with a few minutes at the end trying to decide why BARRIE was Barrie or whether it should be something else. The penny did finally drop.

    Great fun yet again. The rueful conjuror gets a big thumbs up from me, and the whole of the NE corner is a treat.

    I suspect the ‘unlike you’ of ATYPICAL is meant a bit facetiously, in the same way that we tend to define ‘obscure’ as “stuff I don’t know”.

  6. Must be a wavelength thing… all got and parsed, bar NOW AND THEN (unparsed), and NACELLE and DRAWBAR (=’tow bar’?) which were both u/ks.


  7. 29.54 of fairly intense concentration, with only a few in the SE corner coming easily. Lots of satisfaction to be had from first seeing and then following the wordplay, although it did involve rather a lot of letter deletions.
  8. Off the pace today at 38 minutes perhaps more typically than ATYPICALLY. Finished in the NE with DRAWBAR, having tried and failed to justify DRAGBAR, and then saw BARRIE. I thought it must be UMBER straightaway but took me a long time to set fire to it. COD PANTHEIST. Nice puzzle.

    Edited at 2017-03-22 09:24 am (UTC)

  9. A half hour dnf, with the unknown DRAWBAR not appearing. Is this an English word? Generaaly a good challenge, liked LARYNX. Thanks pip and setter.
    1. DRAWBAR is indeed an English word but you probably need to be a trucker, farmer or caravanner to be familiar with it!
  10. I’d done most of this within 20 minutes or so, but just couldn’t see DRAWBAR or BARRIE. Eventually they came to me on the walk between the train and the office.

    I never knew a monkfish was a shark, so nice to learn something.

  11. I thought atypical was bizarre, but the rest was pleasant enough, though the puzzle allowed quite a bit of biffing. I’m not quite sure why tread involves coming down hard on something or someone – I’d have thought that was a stamp. Ask Ibrahimovich – he should know.

    And congratulations to Janie for trouncing K and the AM.

    1. Thanks, U! Not sure what happened. Can’t say it’ll happen again any time soon …

  12. Hard work, particularly in the NE corner which took me over the hour but I felt so close to cracking it that I was never on the brink of giving up. It was very rewarding to get there in the end without aids. My only unknown was DRAWBAR but the wordplay led me to that eventually.
    1. Oh yeah, thanks.
      I seem to have been off the pace today. I’ll blame a 4.30 start.
  13. That I was happy to finish in just over an hour without aids. Like many the DRAWBAR/BARRIE crossers were my last in, as I know drawbar as towbar. Thanks to the setter and Pip. The full clues with underlined definitions worked well – thanks!
  14. Had to have my quarterly injection first thing so came to this a bit later than usual. No problems because the wordplay is excellent throughout. Thank you setter.

    Funny how the memory works and ASTRAKHAN prompting memories of Railway Cuttings, East Cheam!

  15. Did the 2 Teles beforehand and hit the wall on this one. Couldn’t see 14 for ages not helped by bunging in ist at the end and trying doppelgangeresque connotations. Monkfish got me back on track to finish in 40. TY P and setter
    1. Of course I did and was joining with you in remarking how strange our minds are that we associate these obscure things with scenes from our past. That collar will simply always be Hancock
  16. Even with a hangover I enjoyed this one from start to finish. With a fully-functional brain I’d like to think I’d have come in inside my hour, but I had to push to 65 minutes to get the last couple—DRAWBAR, and DISTRAUGHT, which I was trying to overcomplicate by thinking it might be a German word.

    FOI 1a, LOI 14a, COD 18d, though it was hard to choose among so many great clues.

    WOD ASTRAKHAN, which I learned in Adam Hall’s Quiller novels; he always wrapped up warm on missions the far side of the Iron Curtain.

    Thanks to setter and blogger; I definitely needed a few parsing post-solve!

    I did this puzzle with a chunk of Die Walküre in the background.

    Edited at 2017-03-22 12:43 pm (UTC)

  17. Outlaw – 5,4 – who else could it be? Except it was the other one… Nearly finished in 40 mins, but as above left with DRAWBAR (dnk) and BARRIE plus ?E?ALESE which as a cricketing enthusiast I should have got instantly. Doh moment!
  18. My second DNF of the week, with the 5d / 11a doing for me. Quite a few clues answered without really knowing – 1d especially and thanks blogger for explaining “now and then”. Kept looking for the anagram of Water at 25a before I finally had to resort to an alphabet scan which then gave me October. Not really much to add hoping the German is distraught with tonight’s footie (not betting on that one!).
    1. So do I! A most pleasant pint. As I write, there is a bottle on my kitchen sideboard, in the company of a few Bengal Lancers and a pair of Hobgoblins. Inventive lot, today’s brewers, when it comes to names.
  19. 31 mins ending up in the NE with BARRIE my LOI. Having COWLING at 21 dn for a while didn’t help – well it contains the letters of wing (part of prison) but admittedly not much else related to the clue.
  20. A pleasant post-lunch 40 minutes or so. Left with five unparsed – Thank you pipkirby for pointing out BARRIE(r) and TREA(d)TABLE. KNOT, DRAWBAR and MONKISH went in because they couldn’t be anything else. I now know that a Knot is a bird and a Monkfish a type of shark. My continuing education! FOI TIN, Last two in DRAWBAR and BARRIE (I’d got Barrie quite early on, but was clueless as to why). Smiled at FRIAR TUCK – as (5,4) is also Robin Hood and Little John. My COD ABSINTHE, another nice surface.
  21. Very enjoyable .. a bit tricky but very fair. No problem with atypical, we all do atypical things now and then.. struggled with triply, just didn’t recognise it as a word, to start with..
    1. I am also drunk now and then, but I wouldn’t think much of ‘like you’ as a definition for ‘drunk’. Verlaine’s explanation has to be the key to it: I saw you rubbing cake in your hair, that’s not like you/that’s atypical.
  22. 22 mins. I got through all but the NE quadrant quite quickly but then my first day’s work for almost three weeks caught up with me and I started to drift badly. Like many others the DRAWBAR/BARRIE crossers were the last to go in. I notice nobody rose to Horryd’s 6dn Spoonerism bait ………
    1. Thank-goodness for that! But I can’t think of a better/worse example; this is afterall where Spoonerisms most commonly encountered these days!
  23. Also held back by DRAWBAR/BARRIE, but my LOI was TREATABLE, because I wasn’t convinced about ‘tread’ being correct for the shortened first bit, and kept looking for something that felt more appropriate. Never found it, though, so I went with it. Thanks and regards.
  24. Did this in bits as I had lots of interruptions including the delivery of my new broadband hub and Virgin TIVO box. The leader board says total time was over 1hr15min, but the actual time recorded after pauses was 57:55. I found it quite tricky with the NE giving me most grief. I was quite pleased at getting a lot of the less common words. My FOI was TIN and most of the NW followed easily. My LOI was BARRIE. A really enjoyable challenge. I’ve only just got round to commenting as I had to rip the house apart to rearrange cabling to suit the new TV box and router/hub, only to find that the Virgin system for activating new hubs was offline for most of the afternoon. Even after that I had to make several calls to the help line to get it to actually work, so I had about 6 hours with no internet. Its like having an arm cut off! Thanks to setter and Pip.

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