Times 26684

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I thought this was going to be quite straightforward but time started to run away as I progressed around the grid and after about 40 minutes I came to a grinding halt with several incomplete answers in the NE segment. After spending ages on these I eventually resorted to aids to finish it off. I was very distracted by what turned out to be mistaken thoughts about 4dn and, to a lesser extent 16dn, and I think this added to my problems completing the grid. I’m only pleased that I realised my errors in this regard before expressing misgivings about the clues in public.

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

1 Bill, grabbed by impertinent girl, leaving coat on road? (7)
MACADAM – AC (bill) contained [grabbed] by MADAM (impertinent girl). I wonder if some may not have come across this colloquial meaning of “madam” as a conceited or precocious girl or young woman (SOED).
5 Glib accounts one ignored following travel books (7)
GOSPELS – GO (travel),  SP{i}ELS (glib accounts) [one ignored]. Books of the New Testament. This was among the clues that led to my downfall as I simply couldn’t see the answer even though I had considered GO for “travel” along the way.
9 Provision of refreshments that would suit a small congregation? (4,7)
ROOM SERVICE – A straight definition with a cryptic hint
10 Simple dwelling lacking home for vehicle (3)
CAB – CAB{in} (simple dwelling) [lacking home = in]
11 Deity to be celebrated with event coming round (3,3)
SUN GOD – SUNG (celebrated), DO (event) reversed [coming round]
12 Most considerate, giving information before learner enters exam (8)
GENTLEST – GEN (information), then L (learner) is contained by [enters] TEST (exam)
14 A bolder flirt, one plays around — it can be shocking (13)
DEFIBRILLATOR – Anagram [plays around] of A BOLDER FLIRT + I (one)
17 One ruined team, after transformation, went to great heights? (13)
MOUNTAINEERED -Anagram [transformation] of ONE RUINED TEAM
21 Commanding little devil, last in the den, retreating (8)
IMPERIAL – IMP (little devil), {th}E [last], LAIR (den) reversed [retreating]
23 Failure, I admitted in retrospect, making observation (6)
ESPIAL – LAPSE (failure) containing [admitted] I, reversed [in retrospect]
25 Maiden rejected by flood survivor — the one demanding obedience? (3)
SHE – SHE{m}(flood survivor = son of Noah) [maiden – “m” – rejected]. The definition refers to “She who must be obeyed”, the main character in a novel by Rider Haggard, and also to Hilda, the imperious wife of  “Rumpole of the Bailey” by John Mortimer.
26 Proper identification for additive in 2017? (5,6)
PRIME NUMBER – PRIM (proper), E-NUMBER (identification for additive). Will their name survive post-Brexit, I wonder. A DBE.
27 Town has to manage growth — that’s hard (7)
RUNCORN – RUN (manage), CORN (growth that’s hard). Industrial town in Cheshire.
28 It’ll be easy, not as we planned (2,5)
NO SWEAT – Anagram [planned] of NOT AS WE. A response I seem to come across almost daily when thanking somebody for a service they have provided e.g. in pubs or shops etc, along with “no problem”. Whatever happened to “thank you” or “you’re welcome”?
1 After a short time wine makes one anything but cheerful (6)
MOROSE – MO (short time = moment), ROSE (wine)
2 Loveless individual in army bashed on the head (7)
CROWNED – {o}NE (individual) [loveless] in CROWD (army)
3 Distress of female in US university after party (9)
DISCOMFIT – DISCO (party), then F (female) in MIT (US university, the only one I know apart from Yale and Harvard, and then only from crosswords)
4 Islamic ruler’s beginning to sink in boggy ground (4)
MIRE – E+MIR (Islamic ruler) has its beginning “sink” to make  MIR+E (boggy ground). My nightmare for parsing as I was convinced it was a contaimment clue with R{uler} in MIE (something Islamic???).
5 Female in uniform given old-fashioned punishment for making suggestions (10)
GUIDELINES – GUIDE (female in uniform), LINES (old-fashioned punishment). Another one that eluded me.
6 Loudmouth putting men off the tube (5)
STENT – STENT{or} (loudmouth) [putting men – OR – off]. And another. I didn’t know the word for “loudmouth” although I later recalled “stentorian”.
7 Property returned in the case getting knocked about (7)
ESCHEAT – Anagram [getting knocked about] of THE CASE. Another unknown. I thought it was an anagram but was unable to make anything recognisable out of the grist.
8 Thus heartless boss, political type, makes attempt to arouse sympathy (3,5)
SOB STORY – SO (thus), B{os}S [heartless], TORY (political type)
13 A bishop has way of speaking about a regrettable royal event? (10)
ABDICATION – A, B (bishop), DICTION (way of speaking) containing [about] A
15 A bit of fun with footballers appearing in bloomers (9)
LARKSPURS – LARK (bit of fun), SPURS (footballers)
16 Hindu god outside prison set up somewhere in India (8)
AMRITSAR – RAMA (Hindu god) contains [outside] STIR (prison), all reversed [set up]. AMAR might well have been the Hindu god for all I knew.
18 Lots of superior chaps keeping private (7)
UMPTEEN – U (superior), MEN (chaps) containing [keeping] PTE (private)
19 Something to make small hole, allowing river to enter in trickle (7)
DRIBBLE – DIBBLE (something to make small hole – usually for planting seeds or bulbs) containing [allowing to enter] R (river). DIBBLE is my WOD.
20 Holy woman with little time for wine (6)
CLARET – CLARE (holy woman – saint), T (little time). I guessed there would be a St Clare but didn’t actually know it. Wiki lists two of them, so take your pick.
22 Copy, somewhat inferior perhaps, on reflection (5)
REPRO – Hidden [somewhat] and reversed [on reflection] in {inferi)OR PER{haps}
24 Capital to suffer 1666 event as reported (4)
BERN – Sounds like [as reported] “burn” (suffer 1666 event). The year of the Great Fire of London. The capital of Switzerland that’s also spelt ending in “e”.

34 comments on “Times 26684”

  1. Similar story as Jack, with all done bar the top right in about 30mins or so. Then spent far too long alphabet-running, and failed to get the last ones. I even had ESCHEAT in at one point, and discounted it as it looks so odd. GOSPELS and STENT never made an appearance. Also had a blank at ESPIAL, another weird-looking word. Oh, and I see now I had Rangoon in at 27ac. Dismal failure all around, really…

  2. I struggled with this one as well, held up in the NE, and for even longer at the crossing of LARKSPURS and ESPIAL. Got there in the end though, no lives lost.

    After our visit from EULER last week, COD has to be PRIME NUMBER.

    Thanks setter and Jack. (Jack, in your introduction you refer to 14dn. 14ac, perhaps?)

  3. Coming here early to see if 4D was MIRE or MARL. Guessed MIRE only because it seemed more likely, never did parse it. Devious. To me, tonight at least. About 40 minutes, after getting through the NW area.
  4. DNF after 50 minutes as I utterly failed to get 4dn MIRE – EMIR at first (I had at one time MSUD from the ‘Msood of Cairo’ by Erskine Childers – which it is way out of print!)

    9ac ROOM SERVICE sorted that out!

    14ac DEFIBRILLATOR has two LLs – well I never! Does it in the USA?

    NE was horrible especially STENT which took me 7 inglorious minutes – still believing that OR and IAN were the men! 5dn GUIDELINES did help.

    7dn ESCHEAT came early but failed to engage.

    COD 26ac LARKSPURS tough for our Colonial friends I dare say.

    WOD UMPTEEN and DIBBLE a close second.

    MOOD Meldrew

    Edited at 2017-03-28 04:14 am (UTC)

    1. I also considered MSUD, reasoning S{ink} [beginning] in MUD (boggy ground) and that if the definition is “Islamic ruler” then any answer however unlikely may be possible, especially as there would probably be any number of alternative spellings.

      I’ve seen enough now, comments here and in the club, to be satisfied it was in part a difficult puzzle, and not just me having a bad day (although that didn’t help matters).

      1. In retrospect I think Msud (Msood) subliminally came from last week’s shocking events on Westminster Bridge & Parliament. The knifeman was indeed Khalid Masood.
        horryd Shanghai
    2. Is that the same Childers who wrote Riddle of the Sands? I didn’t know of this book and would like to follow up.
  5. I didn’t know STENTOR but since I knew stentorian (didn’t it just come up in a crossword a few days ago, maybe at the weekend?). The most confusing was DRIBBLE since (a) I only knew dibber not dibble and (b) I knew that there was a river Ribble in Lancashire. So for DRIBBLE to be correct, there had to be a variant of dibber I’d never heard of, and Ribble in the answer was just a coincidence. And so it was.

    Pleased to get ESCHEAT and AMRITSAR without any difficulty, but ESPIAL took some time, and still looks wrong when I look at it typed out. But it was one of those answers that was really obscure, but once I had it, it couldn’t be anything else.

  6. Stuck up in the NE corner as well. Ended up taking about 90 minutes in several goes. My ‘msud’ was ‘maim’ until the v. good ROOM SERVICE went in. Vaguely remembered ESCHEAT from Latin and probably somewhere else, but only solved STENT from ‘stentorian’, never having heard of the noun.

    Lots of good clues including the unusual ESPIAL, UMPTEEN and PRIME NUMBER.

    Thanks to setter and blogger

  7. As others, NE the problem after a steady half- hour. I uncertainly entered ESCHEAT when all other anagrams had failed. About ten minutes later I saw GUIDELINES. GOSPELS was biffed after another 5 minutes, not thinking of SPIEL as a glib account, unless boilerplate is a synonym for that. 48 minutes altogether. LOI GOSPELS. COD PRIME NUMBER. 28a not the way I can sum this up.

    Edited at 2017-03-28 07:50 am (UTC)

  8. Another of those days where my only consolation is to come here and find that others had problems, too. A DNF in the north, having really enjoyed the southern half, especially 26a—fantastic clue. However, ESCHEAT, STENT, the GOSPELS and a couple of others defeated me in the north. Bah.
  9. Couldn’t get 1d (easy looking back), 6d (dnk either word) or 16d (dnk rama).

    4d I had Emir and so got mire, but also had no idea where the final e came from.

    Biffed dribble as dnk dibble. Also biffed sun god and crowned. Flood survivor = noah so had to biff she so thanks for the explanation Jack.

    For escheat, I had all the checkers so it seemed the most plausible.

    Also dnk espial but was pretty clear from the wordplay.

    Favourite clues: 26a prime no, 27a Runcorn and 18d umpteen.

  10. At 16.18 I laboured under the misapprehension that this was of just below average difficulty, only to find that, as things stand, I have earned free entry to tomorrow’s puzzle. I found that ignoring the trickiness of the NE paid dividends. Escheat I remembered from my legal days and the Law of Property, though I couldn’t have given as clear a definition as the clue did, which is why my legal days were short.
    AMRITSAR in part from the 1919 massacre, as portrayed in “Gandhi”, one of the most contemptible acts of the British Raj.
  11. …so my ipad’s recorded 50 minutes was probably 30-35 of actual solving. And what a hard- fought battle it was, one of those days when the instructions may have been clear but the answers were not. Like most it seems, the NE was the biggest problem and I was just about to throw in the towel on EMIR when the penny (like the E) finally dropped.
  12. 18m. I found this tricky, and made it trickier for myself by putting in SON STORY and SUM GOD. The perils of iPad solving.
    I also wasted time on 14ac when DEFIBRILATOR didn’t fit. After my careless error with CLAUSTROPHOBIC yesterday I wanted to be sure of the extra letter, which isn’t too easy when you can’t write the anagrist out on a piece of paper.

    Edited at 2017-03-28 07:58 am (UTC)

  13. I was pleased to get ESCHEAT and saw MIRE straight away, but missed a depressing 7 in total, including all the problems mentioned plus 5ac (didn’t think of spiels, but had ARTLESS in to confuse things for a long time). 18dn would have helped me get 25ac but I couldn’t see it, even though I’d thought of SHEM at one point.

    Oh well… tomorrow is another day.


  14. 36 minutes, 10 of which struggling with 5a, 6d and 7d. But had bunged in MARS at 4d, being a truncated MARSH, for no good reason, so a black mark day. the rest was all good stuff.
  15. This was the one I didn’t understand. Jack – if you have time – what is an “e number” and the Brexit connection? I’m probably being a moron.

    Same as Z on ESCHEAT – first year property law (interesting that Live Journal flags it as incorrect when you type it in). Also similar to Z, I had AMRITSAR from the Raj Quartet. The 1919 massacre at the Chillianwalla Bagh provides a sort of subplot in which Mabel Layton goes against all the other memsahibs and contributes to the Indian vicitms’ families, rather than General Dyer’s retirement (he was responsible and was cashiered). 18.4

    1. Hi Olivia, in short (and I’ve copied and pasted this stuff):

      E-numbers are simply the code numbers used to identify food additives that have been shown to be safe and officially approved for use in food across the EU.

      Blocks of numbers are allocated to specific groups of additives. For example, the colours are all in the E100 series (eg E150 caramel and E162 beetroot red); the preservatives are in the E200 series (eg E202 potassium sorbate and E211 sodium benzoate); the antioxidants are in the E300 series and so on.

      1. Thanks so much for explaining this, p61, and saving me from having to check the detail. I knew it only in the broadest of terms.

        Edited at 2017-03-28 12:57 pm (UTC)

  16. I got absolutely nowhere with the three nasty clues in the NE corner so this was a pretty convincing fail.
  17. A similar story to everyone else – a fairly fast start followed by getting bogged down and finishing up well over the 10 minute mark, sigh. I had no problem with EMIR or the vociferous STENTOR, which are very verlaine kinds of word, but stumbled elsewhere on e.g. GUIDELINES and GOSPELS. C’est la vie…
  18. 27:13 which would have been less if not doing this by iPad.
    Noisy person = STENTOR is a standard here but I did have trouble in the NE. GUIDELINES these days seem to be not so much advice/suggestions as instructions.
    Thanks anyway S and B
  19. A right battle! A DNF with GOSPELS unsolved and a biffed GUIDESS spoiling my STENT(which I derived from stentorian and those things they stick in your arteries) by overwriting the S with an I. I’d been going for 59 minutes by then and had lost the will to live. Still just the one wrong if you ignore the typo at the top of 6d. I have to admit I did Google BERN and ESCHEAT after I’d entered them as I was unsure if Berne had an alternate spelling and wanted to confirm ESCHEAT as I was having enough trouble with 5a. I didn’t get CLARET until I had ESPIAL which I constructed from lapse backwards with an I in even though it didn’t look like a word until the penny dropped. An unusual word. One of many in this puzzle methinks. The Poor Clares are an order of nuns, so I didn’t worry about whether there was a St Clare. Rama is one of the Indian gods I do know, mainly from the SF novel Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C Clark. Thanks setter(I think) and Jack.
  20. Nice Mondayish Tuesday puzzle, slowed up like OGH in the NE, where “stentor” wouldn’t come to mind.
  21. Nothing to add to previous comments. Enjoyable puzzle. I was held up in the NE corner. 37 minutes. Ann
  22. 16 mins, so it looks like I was on the setter’s wavelength. On first read through I didn’t get an across answer until I came to NO SWEAT, but I picked up the pace after that. Like just about everybody I found the NE the toughest and I finished with GOSPELS after STENT. I vaguely remembered coming across the required meaning of DIBBLE somewhere, but I think that’s only because the last time I saw it I was reminded of Top Cat, as I was again today.
  23. Managed to finish in just under the hour, but never got round to parsing MIRE, which couldn’t really have been anything else once the cross-checkers were in place.

    Good puzzle, and thanks, as ever, to Jack for an excellent and well laid out blog.

  24. Was doing this while waiting for an appointment with the cardiologist following my heart episode in December and was amused to see DEFIBRILLATOR, but only picked up STENT when I came here!
    1. Been there, and survived to tell the tale (see entry below). Good luck with whatever they come up with as a solution.
  25. 20:31 for me, following the pattern of yesterday’s puzzle: going quite well until coming to a stand in the NE corner with STENT, GOSPELS and GUIDELINES.

    Annoyingly I thought of STENTOR almost immediately, but didn’t put two and two together – perhaps because my arteries were so blocked back in 2012 that I was told that a quadruple bypass was the only real option. (I actually encountered my surgeon, Mr Chukwuemeka, for the first time recently in BBC2’s “Hospital” series, where he appeared as “Clinical Director of Cardiac” at Hammersmith Hospital.) STENT and DEFIBRILLATOR in the same puzzle seems a bit OTT!

    As for GUIDELINES (my LOI), without the G from GOSPELS, this was a vocalophobe’s nightmare and I was completely spooked by it.

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