Times 26685 – stars of stage, screen and statue. And a Scottish word.

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I found this tough. The lower half went in slowly but the upper part took an age, in spite of having the longer answers quite early on. It requires significant general knowledge as well as some diligent deciphering of wordplay, if you’re going to get there without a biff or a guess. Looking back, there’s nothing really unfair or UK-centric, but I just wasn’t on the wavelength. I can’t give you a time because I took two stabs with an interval.

1 One of twelve put away, including American author (4,6)
JANE AUSTEN – I went astray for ages here, having the initial J and thinking the first word must be JOHN, one of twelve apostles, then looking for a writer with AM or US in his name. But no! JAN is one of twelve months, EATEN for ‘put away’, insert US.
6 Lead removed from copper, say, and the rest (2,2)
ET AL – METAL = copper, say; remove the lead as rhymes with deed (not the lead as rhymes with dead).
9 Convoluted nature? Follow fences to get out (10)
COMPLEXITY – Insert EXIT (get out) into COMPLY (follow).
10 Film talks (4)
JAWS – Double definition. 1975 Spielberg movie called Les Dents de la mer in French, not quite the same snappy title, ha ha. Same music, though; remember it?
12 Final communication from landlord on overpriced toilet (4,4,6)
DEAR JOHN LETTER – A real groaner. DEAR = overpriced, JOHN = toilet, in America, LETTER for landlord. Thought to have originated in WW II but allegedly the most such letters were sent during the Vietnam War.
14 More free time for reading (6)
LESSON – If you have more free time, you have less on, and a LESSON is a reading from the Bible.
15 Official state welcoming back king, say, shortly (8)
MAYORESS – I fooled about with MASS. for Massachusetts for a while, but I think it is not that; MESS = state, as in ‘what a state you’re in’. Insert ROYA(L) reversed, being ‘back king say shortly’.
17 One kidnapped by another monstrous villain (8)
ANTIHERO – Insert I into (ANOTHER)*.
19 Music producer, a scorcher? (6)
SINGER – Double definition, same spelling different pronunciations.
22 Little in surprisingly bad scoreline (14)
24 Transport system, however revolutionary, ultimately late (4)
TUBE – BUT = however, reversed, add (LAT)E.
25 Criminal, female punching Humphrey Bogart, perhaps? (10)
MALEFACTOR – F for Female inserted into MALE ACTOR such as Bogie. Seen this before somewhere recently.
26 Subsequent ten caught? (4)
NEXT – X for ten, caught in NET.
27 Consider jail, might you say? (10)
DELIBERATE – If you DE-LIBERATE someone you might be sending them to jail, geddit?.

1 Raise the flag (4)
JACK – Another double definition, flag as in Union Jack.
2 More than one song book (7)
NUMBERS – Yet another double definition.
3 Uncompromising Reykjavik parliament holding service in minor chamber (3-2-7)
ALL-OR-NOTHING – If you knew the ALTHING is the Parliament of Iceland, founded 930, it makes this easier to decipher. Into said parliament insert LOO = small chamber then insert RN = service into that.
4 Dish in the other cooking vessel (6)
SEXPOT – Political correctness where are you? SEX = ‘the other’ as in a bit of. POT a cooking vessel.
5 National service initially embraced by schoolboy (8)
7 secure oven opens for hot snack (7)
TOASTIE – OAST for oven, inside TIE = secure.
8 Hopelessly lost, tears consuming gambler finally — one more throw of the dice? (4,6)
LAST RESORT – (LOST TEARS R)*, the R from gambleR.
11 Old actress in alcove cavorting with rake (8,4)
VERONICA LAKE – (IN ALCOVE RAKE)*. I hadn’t heard of this sweetie, but Mrs K had, and now I’ve read her up on Wiki, I’m nearly smitten. She entitled her autobiography “The Autobiography of Veronica Lake”, very imaginitively, wanted to be a surgeon, and died an alcoholic.
13 Wretched, somehow able to get into suit, some figure! (4-6)
FLEA-BITTEN – (ABLE)* inserted into FIT (suit), TEN (figure).
16 Daughter has time after shower for removal of water (8)
DRAINAGE – D(aughter), RAIN = shower, AGE = time.
18 Gather buffet is source of schoolboy’s lunch? (4,3)
TUCK BOX – TUCK = gather, material; BOX = buffet. I was at school about 60 years ago, and we had lunch boxes, I think tuck boxes were more Billy Bunter.
20 Celebration drink for statuesque maiden (7)
GALATEA – GALA = celebration, TEA = drink. Galatea was a white statue (galataea = Greek for milk-white) who somehow came alive, all to do with Polyphemus. Verlaine will explain.
21 Arabian folk captivated by timeless Himalayan legend (6)
YEMENI – MEN are captured by YE(T)I.
23 Support mechanism put before European bank (4)
BRAE – Here we go again. BRA is supporting, I suppose it is a sort of mechanism, in some cases at least. E for European. Wiki says BRAE is Scottish for a protector of high lands? But I am none the wiser.

60 comments on “Times 26685 – stars of stage, screen and statue. And a Scottish word.”

  1. Yes, I too found this hard going. Dnk GALATEA, VERONICA LAKE or BRAE, and finished with several minutes spent on JAWS. At 27ac ‘might you say?’ pointed to a homophone, so that took an age, too. MAYORESS, ALL OR NOTHING and ANTIHERO all went in unparsed, so thanks for those explanations, Pip.

  2. 20:26 … tough, yes, with a shrug here and there. Thanks for the parsing of MAYORESS, Pip (my LOI) where I never got past MASS for state.

    BRAE is just Scots for a river bank etc., Pip. I know we’ve often complained about the overuse of ‘supporter’ for BRA in the past but I don’t think switching to the absurd “support mechanism” is the answer!

    1. …But Ah! she left the thorn wi’ me. A Dear John letter from 1791 as written by or maybe to Robbie Burns. “Ye banks and braes o’ bonnie Doon. ” We used to sing it in primary school.
      1. I want to say yes, but then keriothe will probably come along and tell us it’s a pleonasm. I’ll leave it to him, in much the same way as you shrewdly left further elucidation of Polyphemus to Verlaine.

        Edited at 2017-03-29 09:38 am (UTC)

        1. Actually I’d be the one saying that using ‘tautology’ like this is absolutely fine, while others might insist on the logician’s meaning (a necessarily true statement). I do like the word ‘pleonasm’ though.
      2. A brae is a steeper hillside rising from a river. A bank is a once-proud financial institution founded in Edinburgh.
    2. Gah! I thought I had it with ‘ERME’ ERM being the, admittedly non-functioning, exchange rate mechanism supposed to support the Euro, thought I had been clever with the European mention, saw there was a river Erme, thought that, finally, we’d moved on from ‘BRA’, and that I had my LOI!
  3. Couldn’t get five today (15a, 2d, 3d, 5d, 20d).

    I think this was the same setter as the qc. Fit for suit both used.

    Liked 27a but COD to 25a malefactor.

  4. After yesterday’s debacle I was determined to finish this without resorting to aids and got there eventually in 55 minutes. It was very enjoyable with the lower half easier than the top, so that’s where I started and worked upwards, which is always a handicap. MAYORESS was my LOI. Looked for a pangram but we’re missing Q and Z.
  5. I thought this brilliant, but may have made it look harder than it was over nearly 28 minutes, 27 of them going through the alphabet many times for JAWS. I think if you twigged that straight off you are blessed indeed.

    I confidently wrote in PSALMS of course, and considered an exclamation mark to fill in the hole at the end.

    Special mentions for DE-LIBERATE, a fresh take on the old GALA TEA, the “DEAR JOHN”, “support mechanism” as a (possibly fresh) attempt to clue the letters BR and A without making us solver’s groan, and finally hats off to Pip for parsing MAYORESS, where Massachusetts took an unbreakable hold.

    Edited at 2017-03-29 08:04 am (UTC)

    1. I did twig it straight away, think of a 4 letter movie, and I’m pretty useless on movies (as watching Pointless proves). If I hadn’t seen it immediately it might have taken ages. But blessed, I don’t feel at the moment.
  6. 39 minutes in total with LOI MAYORESS parsed after about 5 minutes delay. I’ve had one or two COD 12 acrosses in my day. Took a long time on TOASTIE, a word from a later generation than mine? Having lived in both Blackpool and Southport (numbers 1 and 2), I confidently proclaim the LAST RESORT as Brighton, where my nephew has betrayed his roots by settling. I brought up VERONICA LAKE from the murky depths, but the AKE was helpful in the anagram. Good puzzle. Thank you Pip and setter.

    Edited at 2017-03-29 08:28 am (UTC)

  7. Veronica Lake co-starred with Alan Ladd a few times because she was the only actress to make him look tall. The best film she appeared in is Sullivan’s Travels, and the best known The Blue Dahlia. But arguably better known for the hairstyle named after her than for any of her films.

    Enjoyed this, finishing in 45 minutes, on a par with yesterday’s. Liked Sexpot and Singer, and indeed the support mechanism at 23. Took an age over my last one, Jaws. I’m glad I kept going through the alphabet, as Gabs has, I believe, not yet been made.

    1. I didn’t cotton much to Sullivan’s Travels when I watched it recently – he’s an over-privileged under-perceptive jerk, and as for VL, she’s so little thought of by the script that they don’t even bother giving her character a name! That scene in the black church is pretty amazing though…
      1. Preston Sturges was a real one-off. Of his early stuff, The Great McGinty and The Lady Eve (with the incomparable Barbara Stanwyck) stand out, and of his later work Miracle at Morgan’s Creek and Hail the Conquering Hero are first-rate too.
        1. Now The Lady Eve I did really enjoy, especially the first half (the second half was good too, but a bit OTT)… must continue working my way through the box set!
  8. This was a complete bastard! After 70 minutes I gave up with neither 10ac JAWS (drat) or BRAE (double drat) in place. Defeated by a shark with ladies underwear!

    At first I considered 1ac as JURY (one of twelve). But eventually JANE AUSTEN arrived – I was looking for a male American writer! Not too PC.

    9ac COMPLEXITY took a while untul 4dn SEXPOT tipped up.

    Everthing else was pretty OK. FOI 1dn JACK


    Edited at 2017-03-29 08:41 am (UTC)

  9. Clearly a setter who is a fan of 1940s films with both Lake and Bogart featuring.

    Good crossword with some nicely misleading constructions, apart from BRA for which “support mechanism” is just getting silly

  10. I must have been on the wavelength. My first completion of the week, and in a speedy (for me) 45 minutes.

    I did worry a bit at the beginning as nothing seemed to yield, but then from SEXPOT to BRAE I was never held up too much. Not sure how I dragged VERONICA LAKE and GALATEA out of their clues so quickly; perhaps I just have an affinity for beautiful women…

    COD 27, or possibly 26. My only real hold-up was, appropriately enough, knowing exactly what I was looking for yet being unable to come up with a “yeti”…

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

    Edited at 2017-03-29 09:04 am (UTC)

  11. LOI Jaws says it all. Went all round the houses on this one cleverly avoiding the obvious. Like our blogger took an age on 1a convinced that there was a theme 12 Angry Men thus jury must be in there. A misbiffed and mispelt indiscernnable @ 22…more haste less speed. Bra oh dear when are we going to get.. lifts and separates or have we already?. About 40
    1. Funnily enough, you’ll see “lift and separate” here often enough in reference to the correct reading of clues, particularly separating definitions from wordplay. If juvenile memory serves, that was the Playtex bra, fetchingly advertised on B&W TVs with appropriate actions.
      1. I remember them well along with Health and Efficiency and National Geographic. Just about all the titillation a young schoolboy got in those days.
          1. Occasional articles on African trbes whose woman folk were just about separated but not lifted. These editions had a long shelf life in the common room.
            1. Have to agree with toff here. 55 years ago at boarding prep school, National Geographic was an essential.

              Edited at 2017-03-29 01:41 pm (UTC)

  12. I didn’t find this too bad until meeting with what turned out to be a terminal roadblock at 15a, so ended as a DNF in 50 minutes. VERONICA LAKE – now there was a beautiful woman even if her private life was a bit chaotic. I found the idea of JANE AUSTEN providing the ‘S’ in SEXPOT strangely unsettling.

    Thank you to setter and blogger.

  13. Really enjoyed this but wasn’t helped by biffing Eric Ambler for 1 ac when I just had the checkers from 3 dn and 5 dn. Am for America, right? Wrong. Gave up trying to parse it after a minute or two but I was convinced for a while. Anyway, much prefer him to Jane Austen.
  14. I drifted off to sleep half way through this one, no fault of the setter. Would like to say I slept for 45 minutes, but I think it was more like 15.

    Took ages to get my LOI MAYORESS, despite seeing the possibility of MESS quite early.

    COD 12ac. Reminds me of the guy whose wife left him for a tractor salesman. She sent him a John Deere letter.

    Thanks setter and Pip.

  15. 11:04, taken over the ten-minute mark worrying about how 15ac worked and wary of biffing it. I had MASS for the state and R, or possibly ER for the king, but couldn’t see how OY came into it. I got there eventually.
    Two actors from the olden days I’ve actually heard of, which helped.
    Nice puzzle.
  16. Wavelengthed it today at a tad over 7 minutes – a fair chunk of which was spent at the end alphabet trawling for the cleverly-difficult-to-spot-from-the-crossers BRAE. Of course I’ve spent the last 150 consecutive weekends watching the first 150 spine numbers of the Criterion Collection, so Veronica Lake, Humphrey B and Galatea (see Anthony Asquith’s adaptation of Pygmalion, spine #85) did little to slow me down.

    I was recently discussing on Facebook what “the most famous movie you’ve never seen is”, and it turns out mine may well be Jaws (other contenders are Scarface, and Tokyo Story, which I reckon is probably the BEST film I’ve never seen).

  17. I wasn’t on the wavelength either and also did an alphabet run for JAWS – I mean it wasn’t “cats”. Another “John” at 1a too, and flailed around with “Buchan”. While we’re on the subject of movies, I think of ANTIHERO as Michael Caine in his early ones rather than a villain. Kim Basinger appeared as a VERONICA LAKE look-alike in L.A. Confidential. 20.22

    P.S I meant to say that my boarding school TUCK BOX contained all kinds of unhealthy snacks intended to remedy the deficiencies (spam fritters anyone?) of the school lunches.

    Edited at 2017-03-29 11:34 am (UTC)

    1. You were lucky to get spam fritters. In my memory, we had stringy beef, lumpy mashed potato and overcooked cabbage every day for seven years. I’d have given a lot for the earlier invention of instant mash, and for the more liberal later sixties to permit chips on a school plate. The puddings were fantastic though, apart from the semolina day. I do associate Tuck Box with reading Billy Bunter, and not with lunch, which I think would have been served in a sandwich box.
        1. Snap is from Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire, not that we’d have used such an expression at King George V School, Southport, one of the finest grammars in the land. The lunchtime meal was of course called dinner in all state schools, and that’s what we’d have called it at home. It was only boys with special dietary needs that could take a packed lunch. In Lancashire, the mid-morning snack taken to work in greaseproof paper was called Baggin. I still can’t resist appalling my wife by saying I’m having my baggin when having a morning biscuit.
  18. Defeated by the MAYORESS, biffing CANONESS in despair, with ANON for shortly the only excuse, after tussling for just over the hour. FOI was ET AL and last correct one in BRAE(smacked forehead!), followed by the above mentioned church official. I dredged VL up from the depths and GALATEA from the wordplay. Smiled at 12 and 27a. Didn’t bother to parse JANE AUSTEN once I had the flag and some crossers, but quite neat when it’s pointed out. Thanks setter and Pip.

    Edited at 2017-03-29 12:10 pm (UTC)

  19. Count me as another bang on wavelength at 11:53, with some of that trying, and failing, to justify DELIBERATE so I just trusted to luck. I managed to work out MAYORESS for myself but not ALL OR NOWT.

    Splendid puzzle, especially the Dear J L and I also admired the clue for Jane A, where I suspect I wasn’t alone in thinking “One of twelve” was a def for JURY something.

    I see that Article 50 is having an effect already – Chris Eubank is now just Chris Bank

  20. Much puzzled by MAYORESS, so thanks to Pip for the explanation.
    Spent far too much time looking for an author called JOHN something or other at 1ac. until the penny ( or groat ) finally dropped. Otherwise not too bad for me.

    Time: 45 mins.

    Thank you to setter and blogger.

  21. According to a recent edition of the Archers a mayoress is simply the wife of a mayor and so is not an official at all. A lady mayor is a mayor. There, my pedantry muscle has been exercised for the day.
    1. I would normally have questioned this but if it appears on the Archers, it must be correct.
      1. In Rumpole, the chambers clerk Henry has a wife who is the mayor of Bexleyheath (was it?) thus emasculating her husband (the mayoress) who then has to drown his sorrows at Pomeroy’s with Chateau Thames Embankment.
        1. Pomeroy’s is apparently based on El Vino’s, a Fleet Street operation that is still there. When I first started working in the area (nearly 40 years ago), the in-house rule was that while they were delighted to serve females, they would only do so at tables, not the bar. Were taken to Court and lost.

          Edited at 2017-03-29 03:53 pm (UTC)

          1. I remember El Vino’s very well Bigtone. My father used to pick me up from chambers in Lincoln’s Inn and we’d walk through via Carey Street. When he got home my mother (“She”) would sniff and say – you’ve been out drinking with Olivia again. Happy days!
            1. You are bringing back many memories.
              Carey Street (aka Queer Street, the old home of the Bankruptcy Court) has a pub, the Seven Stars, which for most of its long life had no loo facilities. Blokes could wander down the road and up an alley to a clochmerle-type facility behind wigmakers, Ede & Ravenscroft but to this day, I have no idea what the ladies did.

              Edited at 2017-03-29 07:45 pm (UTC)

          2. I would have thought El Vino’s was best known as the favourite haunt of Lunchtime O’Booze.
  22. 15 mins, so I was pretty much on the setter’s wavelength for the second straight day. Unlike others I had the most trouble in the SE and SINGER was my LOI after the GALATEA/DELIBERATE/BRAE crossers. Again, unlike a few of you, I thought cluing BRA as “support mechanism” was quite original and misleading rather than silly.

    Olivia beat me to it with her comment about Kim Basinger’s VERONICA LAKE lookalike role in L.A. Confidential.

  23. I never got Toastie, which I don’t know. I might have gotten there, but I was so sure of the crossing TEDS (there are at least two in the Ted, Ted II, series of modest-budget films, so the plural seemed plausible). I found this enjoyable, but definitely requiring work.

    Edited at 2017-03-29 04:52 pm (UTC)

  24. Very hard for me. As others I got the hottom half eteadily (Brae being FOI and yet anothe use of Bra=Support which I HATE WITH A PASSION). Got stuck at 1a thinking it myst be Paul or Saul and struggled from there. So thats 3 DNFs in a row for me.
    1. Welcome anon. Have you considered opening a (free) Live Journal account? Amongst other benefits it gives posters an opportunity to edit their contributions in order to remove typing errors.
  25. I haven’t seen this film which I am told is quite good. Yet another DNF for me, stuck at 1a with apostles. Nearly completed otherwise (in about 90 minutes of head scratching). Back to the QC for me this week! A glass of shiraz is now easing my pain.
  26. About 30 minutes here ending with JAWS after an alphabet scan, like others. Also thought 1A must start with John, so it took a while. I must say that the succinct JAWS clue is an admirable invention by the setter. At least I’ve never seen it before. Regards.
  27. Threw in the towel.Anyone know the answer to “oh roly poly rich and full” 7( or 6 ?) letters ?
  28. Well, TACK BOX was my only mistake (and that is UK-centric, but I should have known it), but I’m still quite pleased I got the rest. Couldn’t parse MAYORESS for the life of me (MASS the state? ROY the backward king in old French spelling? E(G) the say, shortly? A good try, anyway). SEXPOT and DEAR JOHN LETTER would be my CODs, too. And of course I needed the S and an alphabet scan for JAWS (apparently there is no film named GABS).

    Edited at 2017-03-29 10:18 pm (UTC)

  29. For the third time this week I’ve been discombobulated by vocalophobia. This time it was 15ac, which must have occupied me for around half of my 17:07 as the rest of the answers had gone in reasonably smoothly. Even when I’d thought of MAYORESS, I was in such a state (MASS / MESS?) I couldn’t fathom the parsing for simply ages and was reluctant to biff.

    That’s not to say that I haven’t enjoyed the rest of these puzzles. It’s just that in all three the final clue, although perfectly respectable, has been a bit of a downer.

  30. Was the biggest cryptic message hidden on the day of Article 50?

    Raise the Flag (Union Jack) – is today’s 1 Down – and so it now seems is the EU!

  31. 10 across I had RATS (as in what a traitor does) which works as well, although I think JAWS was the intended solution.
    Also 15 across could (at a stretch) be parsed as MASS with (L)EROY backwards. Google LEROY and KING.

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