Times 26680 – two 10s and a 14 walk in to a 19a in 19d

Solving time : 14:04, but with a typo, which was initially distressing because I had a few I was not 100% on, though it turns out I had put an extra T into 4 down.

I found this one very tricky – there’s some obscure words and not always the most helpful wordplay, such as 19 down where an ancient city is given as an anagram, and what I can only take to be a cryptic definition at 15 across. On the other hand we have new wordplay for an old word at 8 down, and an interesting use of a character from Siegfried at 11 across.

Away we go!

1 SUMMERTIME: I’m trying to wrap my head around this clue – it is either a straight-out cryptic definition, or a double definition with Summer Time being a standard in many countries. I could be missing something. And of course I am – thanks to vinyl1, the song Summertime from Porgy and Bess is a standard
6 IBIS: SIB(family group) and I(island) reversed
10 STOIC: I in STOC(k)
11 PANTOMIME: PAN(god), TO(nearly shut), MIME(one of the dwarfs in Wagner’s Ring Cycle)
12 MAKE A NIGHT OF IT: another long charade – MA(mother), KEA(parrot), NIGH(close), TO, FIT
15 AIRLINE: cryptic definition – “concern” here meaning business
17 HACKSAW: HACK(bad writer), then WAS reversed
19 MEGABAR: A, GEM(stone) reversed, then BAR – a lot of pressure, since atmopheric pressure is just over one bar
23 BATTALION: BATT(felt used in hatmaking), A, LION(hero)
24 EULER: E, then RULER missing R
25 EASY: remove SPEAK from SPEAKEASY. I don’t know if it has made it to the UK, but the US and Australia have gone cuckoo for speakeasy style bars, for example there is Bourbon and Branch in San Francisco where to get in you have to get the password from a guy in an alley and give it at a voicebox outside an unmarked door in a windowless building
2 MYOPATHIC: MY, O, PATH(walk), then the first letters of I(s) C(onsequence)
3 ECCLESIASTICAL: C inside an anagram of ST,CECILIA’S,ALES
4 TOPKNOT: TOP(first), KNOT(rate for sailors) – now called a man bun and still looking ridiculous
5 MANAGUA: MAN(work at) and the center of (Par)AGUA(yan) – the capital of Nicaragua
7 BRIEF: F(musical note) after BRIE
8 SWEETHEART: S, ART(skill) surrounding WEE(small), THE(article)
9 FORTHRIGHTNESS: RIGHT(just) between FORTH(Scots river) and loch NESS
13 FATHOMABLE: doubting THOMA(s) inside FABLE
16 IMBROGLIO: anagram of OIL,RIG,MOB
18 WOLFISH: FLOW(current) reversed, IS, H
19 MYCENAE: anagram of MANY and EEC
21 LOTUS: LOUS(e) around T(ulip)
22 T,RUE

69 comments on “Times 26680 – two 10s and a 14 walk in to a 19a in 19d”

  1. Was stuck for a while in the top half till HACKSAW released ECCLESIASTICAL and the rest all fell out in a tumble, pausing only to flirt with a TREAT instead of a NIGHT in 12ac. A good time for me. Now what to do with the rest of the day…


  2. and set in the west. 39 minutes for this rather endearing puzzle – all quite 13dn.


    15ac AIRLINE seemed so darned obvious but I held back.

    Enjoyed 1ac SUMMERTIME but DNK 23ac BATT(alion) as felt (but felt it must be). MIME a dwarf! – I studiously avoid most things Wagnerian.


    Roll on Friday!

  3. Pretty smooth going, although I made trouble for myself by thinking that ‘simple’=herb and not getting past ‘shebeen’ for the den. Biffed BATTALION (DNK BATT) and SUMMERTIME (never thought of that ‘standard’). COD to 20ac.
  4. … with Vinyl. The parrot clue (12ac) is a smasher. In fact, any clue with a parrot in it is my sort of thing. One of these days we’ll find 28s — frequent visitors to my garden.

    Spent a while trying to find out how “Alberich” could fit into 11ac! That’s the only Wagnerian dwarf I know of.

    Lots of odd defs and sub-indications were a feature here: ‘felt’, ‘cut’, ‘family group’, etc. And I’m still not sure how ‘bluff’ works in 9dn.

  5. Hard work again, but again got there without resorting to aids so felt rewarded by that for my efforts. Lots of unknowns or forgottens here: the parrot, BATT as felt, the dwarf, the capital city and SIB as something other than brother or sister. I managed to dredge up MYCENAE from somewhere and also EULER. Apart from having too many words in it for one of his clues (these days) 20ac is worthy of a certain Sunday setter.

    I think George is correct including “at” as part of the wordplay for MAN since it’s in the clue, but ref Jonathan’s point I’d be okay with “work/man” as in the expression “man the pumps” which works fine as a direct instruction to operate them, not necessarily to supply a man to do so, although it could mean that too.

    Edited at 2017-03-23 06:10 am (UTC)

  6. About 40 mins with a lot wasted on convincing myself that 26a was some sort of stone for 60th anniversaries (that would be diamond, which doesn’t end in stone anyway).”

    Bourbon and Branch isn’t quite so weird that you have to get a password off a guy in an alley, you get it online when you book. But the rest is true. If you go there, make sure to go out via the library, a hidden door built in to a book case.

    I doubt you can get them to do it, but since my daughter is in the industry, they gave us a tour downstairs, which is where the genuine old speakeasy was and where the escape tunnels lead from. The current bar is where the tobacconist shop was that hid the actual speakeasy beneath.

    1. aaah – we didn’t book, so had to get the password by more nefarious means. It was a fun time.
  7. the mysterious ways of LJ decided today was the day to log me out unexpectedly.
  8. I should always read down to the bottom of the page before wading in! In any case I do agree about “man the pumps”.
  9. 7m, possibly because for one I’d decided not to 12ac yesterday, but had fallen asleep at a reasonable hour, not even managing to stay awake to the end of my nightly book of The Iliad. Didn’t really parse MIME, SUMMERTIME, THREESCORE etc but in general I found this puzzle’s particular brand of tricksiness close to my wavelength, so hurrah!
  10. 21:24 … I made very hard work of this. ECCLESIASTICAL was my last in by a mile — just couldn’t see it. Wasn’t helped by really wanting 1a to be SPRINGTIME. The clever song reference passed me by.

    I was all at sea with the parsing of PANTOMIME, pretty much my only exposure to Wagner having been through watching Morse, later Endeavour, listening to it. RIP Colin Dexter.

    Hard to see past MAKE A NIGHT OF IT for the COD in yet another fine puzzle.

    1. Not Lewis? Of course not, no opera in that, just theology. ECCLESIASTICAL would be in quickly with Hathaway. As you say, RIP Colin Dexter.

      Edited at 2017-03-23 10:08 am (UTC)

      1. I had a real soft spot for the Lewis series — Hathaway was a perfect addition to the sidekick canon. I think it did often feature a spot of opera, especially in the opening credits, but offhand I don’t know if Wagner ever popped up.
        1. Yes, I’m just catching up with Lewis. Having ignored it the first time around, I find it’s available in full on Netflix in the UK right now. Hathaway is an excellent character, beautifully acted. And there’s definitely an episode where Lewis attends a Wagner recital of some kind, with him dropping a Morse line (“lovely chromatic leaps”, I think) to silence a snob who doesn’t expect him to be there.
  11. I got within 5 clues (11a, 26a, 5d, 8d, 9d) of finishing, although 8d was pretty easy in hindsight.

    kea = parrot.
    batt = felt
    mime for the dwarf

    Two things I don’t understand:

    In 11a, why does TO = nearly shut?
    In 9d – is the definition what’s bluff. Shouldn’t it be what’s not bluff?

    1. “pull the door to” = “pull the door nearly closed”

      “bluff” = “direct in speech or behaviour but in a good-natured way” as in “bluff and hearty”, not as in “calling one’s bluff”

  12. MAKE A NIGHT OF IT and MULTIPLICATION were great fun, but I can’t go past the mention of my third-favourite mathematician, so COD to 24ac.

    MANAGUA and MYCENAE (sounds like a line out of “Cargoes”) were unknown, but the clues were helpful enough.

    Excellent puzzle all round. Thanks setter and George.

  13. Got most of it it about 30mins, then limped on, with a couple still missing as the hour approached. Didn’t help by putting in crewcut at 4 down. Unknowns MIME, MANAGUA, MYOPATHIC made the top half particularly tough.

  14. Another very enjoyable outing, my FOI crewcut for 4dn, which took a bit of sorting out subsequently .. also managed to dredge up Asuncion as the capital of Paraguay, and a waste of time that turned out to be. Good stuff, setter!
  15. Enjoyed this puzzle, and completed during my 30-40 variable minutes on the rattler, but don’t have an exact time as I originally opened it when I was starting the QC to do my blog.

    I didn’t fully parse a couple (MIME and BATT), missed the song standard in SUMMERTIME (which I originally entered as SPRINGTIME), but otherwise no real problems.

  16. This site is very slow today for some reason. Chumley’s just re-opened in Greenwich Village but I hear it’s not worth bothering with. George, you have AUGA instead of AGUA in 5d. 17.30
    1. Maybe George is an Ontarian – that’d be the most valid reason for him to miss ‘is AUGA.
  17. 35 minutes having done the majority in 10. I was another delayed by the time taken on a CREWCUT. Eventually saw it had to be SUMMERTIME and then the living became easier. I never seem to spot this particular use of CONCERN quickly so AIRLINE LOI. IBIS put in with a shake of the head as to whether SIB for sibling was plural also. Or is their another explanation? COD FORTHRIGHTNESS if just for its length. Euler of course was a name and not a number.
  18. For the second day running I needed thinking time walking between Waterloo and the City, with MANAGUA and AIRLINE holding me up today.

    Tough but enjoyable workout.

  19. A hugely pleasing 18.44 for quite a tricky one. I am definitely making progress.
    One small point of order Mr. Speaker: how are we to know which R to remove from RULER in 24a? Given my scant knowledge of mathematicians, ERULE was entirely feasible, but luckily 22d was easy, giving the final R. Clueing it as “English monarch dismissing head mathematician” would have removed the ambiguity?

    Edited at 2017-03-23 10:14 am (UTC)

    1. I think it’s possible that 22d was deliberately pitched easily so you could get 24a even if you’d never heard of him. Sometimes disambiguation does come just from the crossers…
  20. I think we have a setter intent on keeping everybody happy: medics, philosophers, classicists, Bible readers, definitely not Bible readers, geographers, opera (even 20th century) lovers, mathematicians, Army & Navy, horticulturalists, bird fanciers, and people whose morose delight it is to take exception to the inclusion of any one or more of the above.
    “Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto” which roughly translates as “I am a Times crossword solver, I know a bit about everything”.
    23.14, exploring and expanding my store of knowledge of all things human in what has to be the most delightful way. Well, it is, it just is.
      1. They nicked it from Terence (Publius Terentius Afer), but, hey, I know something else now. So when I’m on 15 to 1, and they ask me “what is the motto of London Hospital Medical College?”, I can make the sound effect go ting and the lights turn green. Thanks!
    1. “I am a Times crossword solver, I complain a bit about everything” would be more precise … he complained …
      1. Ah, no, that would be “I am another Times Crossword solver altogether and…” he cavilled
  21. Was on the wavelength for this one, coming through in 30:18. I shoved in 1d, 10a and 3d almost at first glance and then flitted round the grid to finish with AIRLINE, which I also puzzled over for a while. Missed the song reference at 1a, and didn’t know BATT for felt or the Wagnerian dwarf, but the God and thinking of Tom Thumb got me there anyway, with IME left over. Managed to parse 12a just before submitting. A cracking clue! Saw the anagram for the ancient city, but it took a while to emerge from the mists. “OILER” was remembered from a previous outing mainly due to a discussion here on the pronunciation. A most enjoyable solve. Thanks setter and George.
  22. The wonderful Mr Feynman called Euler’s formula our jewel of mathematics. I clearly recall my awe at how the formula could bring together irrational numbers and trigonometry -it was much later that I got some insight to the linkage. Truly awesome and on a par with Einstein’s amazing formula. To the puzzle – I am pleased to be back on completing a puzzle (about 45 minutes) but held up by biffing “Make a fight of it” until I saw 4d. Blogging about crosswords is a good thing when misguided people are committing such atrocties. My sympathies to all victims and their families.
  23. 17m. I felt very off the wavelength with this one, but of course it’s much more fun like that, as long as you’re not obsessed with time. I am obsessed with time, but still I really enjoyed wrestling this into submission. A few things I didn’t know (dwarves, types of felt) to file away for later, which is always nice too.
  24. A 65m DNF for me, oddly just failing to see AIRLINE for the last ten minutes and giving up. I never even thought of it, perhaps expecting the clue to be more complex than it was. One of those where if I’d come back to it later I’d probably have got it immediately. Anyone got any tips for more quickly shaking one’s head out of the space it’s stuck in and having another run at a clue?

    Enjoyed the rest. FOI 1d, COD 5d. Despite listening to the Ring quite a lot this week, and reading a little about it here and there, I hadn’t clocked that one of the dwarves was called Mime, but at least that one was very biffable.

    There are at least a couple of speakeasies in Bristol that I know about, and presumably a couple I don’t… 😀

    Edited at 2017-03-23 11:45 am (UTC)

    1. I find that browsing the ‘paper’ (can I call The Times app a newspaper?) for as little as 5 minutes then coming back to the crossword can be enough to help me look afresh.
    2. Wasn’t Mime the one with the tiny frozen hand? Or is that Trump on meeting Merkel?
  25. 20:52 but I can’t say I enjoyed this much. Whereas I’m happy that “to” can mean “nearly shut” I don’t accept that “nearly shut up” is the same thing.

    I thought the CD at 15 was very weak and didn’t care much for the Summertime clue either.

    So there.

  26. Just over the hour for this, but, unlike the V, I did 12 across it at the Valley on Wednesday and wasn’t tucked up in bed till 4 o’clock. Comment of the year must go to the same man, for his “nightly book of The Iliad”. I can’t get the image of nightshirt and Scrooge-style cap out of my mind now. Still, it may motivate me to dust the old Autenrieth down and contemplate the wrath of Achilles anew.

    Thanks to the recommendations above, I may give Lewis a try, even though he’ll always be a plodding sergeant to me, just as he was indeed to the production team behind the equally plodding English Patient. Endeavour was a disappointment. The actor said he’d never seen an episode of Morse when taking on the role, and my response after watching him was “I wish you had.”

    1. I did wonder if anyone would accuse me of having become a caricature of myself, as I typed that!

      You’ll be pleased to hear that I’m currently reading Doeblin’s Berlin Alexanderplatz on my commute, so as to stay a bit more “down with the kids” than a diet of solely Homer could accomplish.

      1. I might be pleased if I’d ever heard of either author or book. Heard of Berlin, though…

  27. Another CREWCUT for 4d. held me up in the northern half for a bit, but otherwise a steady solve.

    How can you not love a puzzle that includes the apparently antithetical activities LIMIT COPULATING FREELY and MAKE A NIGHT OF IT?

    Time: circa 45 mins.

    Thank you to setter and blogger.

  28. Unfortunately, it turns out there was a mathematician callled Ehler, and as he or his sib or kin also gave his name to the collagen mutation that makes my body determined to fall to bits while I’m still trying to live in it, in he went. I so want titanium talons instead!
  29. I obviously found this more straightforward than some (unlike yesterday). 24 mins with no major blockages though I too could not get Alberich out of my mind – my LOI was AIRLINE.
  30. 16 mins. I was thankful, if a little surprised, that I stayed alert for the whole solve. Count me as another who didn’t know the dwarf MIME or the felt BATT, but the answers were obvious enough. I thought of V as soon as I twigged 12ac, which was after I’d stopped trying to make “make a fight of it” work by parsing the clue properly rather than semi-biffing it. MYOPATHIC was my LOI after SUMMERTIME.
  31. I’m anonymous because I rarely post, mostly because I don’t finish that many and if I do so it’s last thing at night and the board’s gone quiet.
    Only want to say that yesterday I was stuck after three answers and felt to be going nowhere so gave up and went to the quickie. Today’s regular crossword I have finished in a barely believable 20 minutes, and I’ve no idea why. Does anybody else find the same thing?
    1. Although some solvers will deny it exists, a lot of other solvers believe there is such a thing as being on the setter’s wavelength. It sounds like you experienced it today.
    2. Welcome Anon and congratulations. You were quicker than I was, and this worries me about the future!

      No need to get a picture (although it is very easy) but you might consider signing off with a name, however made up, to distinguish you from the other Anons here

  32. I dragged this one out for the best part of an hour, never really getting into anything approaching a stride. A few were unparsed and, like some others, I balked at the unusual meaning of “sib”, and at what I felt was a very feeble attempt cryptification (or do I mean ‘encryption’) at 15ac.

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