Times 26,687: That’s When I Reach For My Winchester

This was a truly wonderful puzzle that I ripped through with great enjoyment in seven and a half minutes dead, only to find my experience soured by having ended 4dn with HH instead of the requisite TH. This is what spending the day making packed lunches for kids, dropping them off, picking them up, brushing hair, cooking pasta, mopping floors and emptying fridges of expired produce all day long does to a fellow’s brain! But I still feel pretty good from the unwonted surfeit of virtue.

First one in was classical civilisation clue 6ac, the last, inevitably, another of those pesky 4-letterers, 23dn. 15ac gave me the biggest chuckle as I filled it in but in the parsing I found myself full of admiration for the construction of 12ac, though it may depend on your tolerance for “pants” as an anagrind… 16dn is another understated yet immaculate clue. Top notch setting in evidence throughout and I offer maximum congratulations to the party responsible.

Going to post this straightaway today as tomorrow morning may be busy with me still on house-husband duty. But Mrs V gets back from her week in Morocco tomorrow night, at which point normal service may hopefully be restored… Oh, and have another reminder of the Times-Xwd-Times meetup after work on April 12th in the usual watering hole. I have recently also noticed that there should be a mid-May Sloggers & Betters get-together in the same place after the annual setters’ dinner… But what’s wrong with getting some practice in before the main event? Hope to see some of you at one or both!


1 Reason to fight roughly, with suspicion libel involved (5,5)
CASUS BELLI – CA [roughly] wiht SUS [suspicion] + (LIBEL*) [“involved”]
6 Moguls’ capital invested in bargains from the east (4)
AGRA – hidden reversed [“invested” … “from the east”] in {b}ARGA{ins}
9 Try to prevent dance craze gripping university (10)
DISCOURAGE – DISCO RAGE [dance | craze] “gripping” U [university]
10 Nothing stops just fight (4)
BOUT – O [nothing] “stops” BUT [just]
12 Accordingly dressed in pants in case it’s warm (12)
ENTHUSIASTIC – THUS [accordingly] “dressed in” (IN CASE IT*) [“pants”]
15 Choice between wood and bird is problem for rambler in US? (9)
LOGORRHEA – LOG [wood] OR RHEA [bird]? A rambler in speech, not the great outdoors.
17 I’m not impressed, getting over River Don (5)
TUTOR – TUT [I’m not impressed], getting O R [over | river]
18 Go astray, admitting touching femme fatale (5)
SIREN – SIN [go astray], “admitting” RE [touching]
19 See-through clothing for dancers worn by extremely prudish clergymen? (9)
SHEPHERDS – SHEER [see-through] + D{ancer}S, “worn by” P{rudis}H
20 Notion about future tense restricting new sentence (12)
PRESENTIMENT – PRESENT [tense] “restricting” N TIME [new | sentence]
24 Back away from national flag (4)
IRIS – IRIS{h} [national, with its “back” gone “away”]
25 Cops occupying room for very low rate (6,4)
SNAILS PACE – NAILS [cops] “occupying” SPACE [room]
26 Cheers about error from defence giving cover for Caesar (4)
TOGA – TA [cheers] about O.G. [error from defence]. We’ve seen a lot of O.G.s in the Times puzzles lately haven’t we? (Literally not figuratively.)
27 Old boy’s drunk malt whiskey, putting away litres (10)
WYKEHAMIST – (MA{l}T WHISKEY*) [“drunk”]


1 Firm notice about closing bars (4)
CODA – CO [firm] + AD reversed [notice “about”]
2 Insolence from two Nazi groups (4)
SASS – SA + SS [Sturmabteilung + Schutzstaffel]
3 Maybe Shylock, with fury, going after society’s privileged youth (6,6)
SLOANE RANGER – LOANER [maybe Shylock] with ANGER, going after S [society]
4 Top symbol of home ground (5)
EARTH – {h}EARTH [symbol of home, “topped”]
5 Cricket side misses the deadline to make rules (9)
LEGISLATE – LEG [cricket side] IS LATE [misses the deadline]
7 Grand entertainers and party person providing chilling entertainment? (5,5)
GHOST STORY – G HOSTS TORY [grand | entertainers | party person]
8 Adversary of Chartist in wanting reform (10)
ANTICHRIST – (CHARTIST IN*) [“wanting reform”]
11 No trouble covering stone and pottery with a mass of water (4,5,3)
EAST CHINA SEA – EASE [no trouble] covering ST [stone] and CHINA [pottery], with A
13 Fancy a beer, getting in round when trouble starts (10)
FLASHPOINT – FLASH [fancy] + PINT [a beer] “getting in” O [round]
14 A good composer filled with wine abroad is distressing (10)
AGGRIEVING – A G GRIEG [a | good | composer] filled with VIN [wine abroad]
16 Rolling in cash, yet exhibiting doubt (9)
HESITANCY – (IN CASH YET*) [“rolling”]
21 One cutting hair in a state (5)
MAINE – I [one] “cutting” MANE [hair]
22 Perhaps she’s governed India? (4)
RANI – RAN I [governed | India], semi-&lit
23 Socially progressive article in French paper (4)
LEFT – LE FT [article in French | paper]

49 comments on “Times 26,687: That’s When I Reach For My Winchester”

  1. What a fun crossword. I forgot to disconnect from our company VPN before submitting so the connection failed (the crossword club is blocked) so it threw away everything but I think I was all correct in about 40 minutes. Took far too long on SNAILS PACE (my LOI so with all the checkers in place)
  2. and that was with some biffing, including LOI EAST CHINA SEA. Started off biffing 1ac, with a vague grasp of the anagrist. Fortunately, we’ve had 3d and 27ac recently, or they’d have taken a lot longer. I think SNAILS PACE took the most time to solve of any clue, so I’ll give it my COD.
  3. 13:44. Smashing puzzle this, with a few that were biffable but most requiring proper engagement with the wordplay and several that induced some real head-scratching. Thanks setter & v.
  4. for this Friday Special. Got off to a good start in Cow Corner with FOI in CODA and then 1ac CASUS BELLI (the libel stood out like sore thumb!). However I soon got down to a 25ac SNAIL’S PACE.

    Once 13dn FLASHPOINT arrived the unknown 15ac LOGORRHEA was confirmed.

    LOI was 17ac TUTOR DTMO 19ac SHEPHERDS


    When will be seeing the Old Verlaine avatar? He is sorely missed in the SOUTH CHINA SEA area

  5. Very hard work needing help with LOGORRHEA although I had done the hard work on it and solved the -ORRHEA bit from wordplay. I was looking for a specific 3-letter wood e.g. ash rather than something more general. SHEPHERDS also required help and HESITANCY which I could see was going to be an anagram but I had no checkers at that point to help me organise the anagrist. Missed the “home and hearth” reference at 4dn but biffed the answer quite confidently. Not helped by having GHOST TRAIN as my first attempt at 7dn and conjuring up a C to give me WYCKHAMIST at 27ac.

    I was quite pleased to get through this at all.

    Edited at 2017-03-31 05:26 am (UTC)

    1. On my problems with Live Journal reported here yesterday I received this from Community Support:

      “Thank you for inquiry and I apologize for a delay with the reply.

      “This problem is caused by LiveJournal’s emails being rejected by your email provider, most likely because our server is incorrectly listed as a spam site on a few anti-spam services that are used by email providers. This usually happens due to the sheer volume of email that LiveJournal sends out for its users (comment notifications, other subscriptions, etc).

      LiveJournal is trying to contact those spam-lists holders to exclude our mail servers. However, it might take time to solve this issue. Until then you may wish to change the email address associated with your account to an address of another email provider (e.g. Gmail).”

      I’m pleased to report that having requested a validation email yet again it came though immediately and the validation was accepted, so I’m fully back in business at least for the moment but thought I’d pass this on in case other TftT members have a problem in the future.

      Edited at 2017-03-31 05:33 am (UTC)

  6. Couldn’t arrange the letters of WYKEHAMIST properly, though I know we’ve had it before. Will get it for sure (or sure forget it) next time.

    Agree with all the praise being heaped on this puzzle. Liked GHOST STORY and HESITANCY and lots of others.

    Thanks setter and V.

  7. 23:37 .. yep, a grade A puzzle. I made it significantly harder by mis-biffing a couple (pronouncement and preachers, since you ask) and throwing in a couple of typos for good measure, but it was ultimately a pleasure to untangle all this. LOGORRHEA was especially satisfying.

    For those who occasionally read books, the latest TLS blog is now up.

  8. Yes, a very satisfying solve, even though it did take about an hour all told, ending with FLASHPOINT and IRIS (which I should have seen earlier). Not much biffing here, as the definitions were not always evident, so needed to untangle all the complicated wp.

    HESITANCY best of a good bunch.

    Do SLOANE RANGERS still exist? Seem to be a bit of a throwback to the 80s.

  9. Excellent puzzle where if you followed the cryptic you derived the answer and no queries. Thank you setter.
  10. V squared,and 1 wrong siss entered using woolworths pic ‘n mix gambit. 11 went in early after that junk for brains. Great crossword. Thanks to V and setter. PS anyone know how to insert squared,cubed symbols on this site… would be useful for me.
  11. Note quite as famous as 27ac, but I am a Woolverstonian, and it was there I first learned to do cryptic crosswords. An enjoyable Friday puzzle in 26′, with LOGORRHEA LOI. Thanks v and setter.
  12. 1a straight in, knowing the man from Hippo. I think it’s fair to say that few wars fought by the west since 1945 would qualify as ‘Just’. Also straight in when reached was 27a. An ex New College man can usually recognise a Wykehamist quickly. I can tell one from an Etonian by the walk. SHEPHERDS took some sorting too. I must know the wrong sort of clergymen (and women), not that I’d quite see them as the 8d! Took about 35 minutes all in which I was pleased with on this excellent puzzle, particularly constructing COD LOGORRHEA. Thank you V and setter.
    1. I was at New College too (in the Eighties)

      Coincidentally I’m reading a fascinating book about HLA Hart which has quite a lot of fascinating stuff about Oxford and New College in the pre and post-war periods. Don’t know if you studied Law or Philosophy? (I’m a lawyer for my sins).

      Ps I always enjoy your posts and as a Toon fan particular the footie related ones

  13. 27:08, of which the last 7 minutes were on SLOANE RANGER and SHEPHERDS, but I got there unaided in the end. A good Friday-level test, I thought, with some nice chewy clues. I knew the word at 15a but not how to spell it without the wordplay. I hadn’t realised it was spelt differently in the US. 12a my favourite.
  14. Yes, re, touching on, concerning.

    I think “copping” and “nailing” are both more or less terms for “apprehending a suspect”.

  15. 32 min. plus another five for Left which I refused to accept as ‘socially progressive’ till the two-part cryptic forced it. I suppose the def. is subjective enough to get by. Yes, admirable puzzle, though maybe it’s time to reconsider special entry for the Wykehamists. – joekobi
  16. But you cannot tell him much!

    Not much to say except to add my praise for an excellent and enjoyable puzzle – second solve on the trot without resorting to aids (unless you count coming to the blog for some of the parsing).

    Thanks Verlaine and setter.

  17. After a week of 10-ish minute times, this one was just too good for me.

    Don’t think I’d ever have got 15, 27 wouldn’t show itself, even though I’d seen it was clearly an anagram and just don’t ask about 19.

    Hey-ho, there’s always next week……

  18. 30 minutes for a great crossword, thank you Mr Setter. Hesitated over the correct bird in LOGORRHEA but eventually saw it, my LOI. Fortunately used to stay at the splendid Wykeham Arms opposite the said college when daughter was at the Art college in Winchester (although it was not my school) so knew that one.
  19. An enjoyable challenge, spoilt for me as I confidently entered LEFT at 23d, only to find after submitting that it had gone in as LFTT. That’ll teach me to watch what I’m actually typing(or more likely it’ll happen again and again). Of course that bu**ered up SNAILS PACF as well. Boo hiss! On the other hand I did have to use Google to confirm the CASUS bit of 1a. 58:31. Managed to work out 12a which gave me EARTH which I failed to parse. A great crossword. Thanks setter, and V for another great blog.
  20. 20:31, definitely a chewy one and my well-publicised lack of anything even remotely resembling a grounding in the classics made 1a a bit of a battle.

    Had to piece LOGORRHEA together from wordplay as well. I vaguely knew it was a thing (possibly caught off a wooden toilet seat) but the fact it was a US spelling passed me by.

    1. possibly caught of a wooden toilet seat! MATRON!

      Tee-f-hee!The tears are running down my legs!

  21. John that’s escargot in my book – as long as you add the garlic and a little seasoning!
  22. A game of two halves for me: first was my normal morning hour, in which I got a modest fourteen of the answers and spent a long time staring and frowning.

    I was enjoying it, though, so I came back at lunchtime and polished the rest off in another half-hour, nearly fully-parsed, too. Clearly a bit of a break along with some sunshine and extra caffeine was what it needed.

    It’s been nearly a year now since I started trying to do the 15×15 daily, and even though I’m still quite slow I know with certainty that I’d never have got such out-of-my-way answers as LOGORRHEA, WHYKEHAMIST or possibly even IRIS, my LOI, back when I started.

    Thanks for all the help along the way, setters, bloggers and fellow solvers!

    1. When I first started the Times Crossword about 6 years ago it regularly took me 90 minutes or more. In fact the first one I tried took 3 days with aids, and I still only completed 75% of it!
      1. Thanks John! I think I also had the advantage of my dad showing me a bit about how to do cryptics when I was a kid. That was with the Telegraph, rather than the Times, but I’m sure it gave me a bit of a leg-up.

  23. Started off quite jauntily but slowed right down with about half of it done. From then onwards it was like pulling teeth.

    Pleased to get it all correct in about an hour.

    Thank you to setter and blogger.

  24. 19 mins. It felt like I made heavy weather of this one so I was pleased to see some of you didn’t find it so easy either. I didn’t get an across clue on first read through until I came to IRIS, although how I didn’t see AGRA straight away like V did is beyond me. I was very glad of the helpful wordplay for LOGORRHEA. WYKEHAMIST was my LOI after EAST CHINA SEA.
  25. About 25 minutes or so, ending with WYKEHAMIST after finally seeing it was an anagram, removing the ‘L’, and then putting the remainder in the most likely order among (all) the crossing letters. My only quibble is how the ‘dancers’ in SHEPHRDS morphed into just DS. Overall, a nice puzzle though. Regards.
      1. Whoa! Thank you Matt. I agglomerated ‘clothing’ onto ‘see-through clothing’=Sheers, and was totally flummoxed as to where the D fit in.
  26. Well I don’t mind admitting this was beyond me, but I got all but 3. But some useful clues for the future (eg cops=nails which I have not seen before). My brain was perhaps affected by the afternoon tour of the excellent Adnams brewery in lovely Southwold. After the tour the guide showed us to their private bar and said “help yourselves”. Oh dear. Thoroughly recommended.
    1. Excellent place; went there last year. Though taking a bottle of their whisky back to the holiday home was a dangerous move.

      There’s also a big Adnams store in Woodbridge, which is a fine town to poke around in if you’re in the area and need to restock your beer. I also found Aldeburgh was pleasantly photogenic and had a good bookshop or two…

    2. The reason why I support RNLI is that they rescued me from near Southwold. A bunch of us lads had strolled around to the lifeboat station south of Southwold and it started raining bigtime. As it happened, one of the RNLI guys dropped round and gave us a lift back to town. Saved by RNLI.
      Nice puzzle. Thank you set and blog
  27. About 60m for this enjoyable challenge with some biffs and some outright guesses! Thanks V for the parsing of the ungettables and setter for a tough but fair challenge.
  28. 12:45 for me. I’m afraid I didn’t enjoy this one as much as others did. Some of the clues were rather too convoluted for my taste, and none of them actually raised a smile – which is comparatively rare for the clues in a Times puzzle.

    You don’t mention it, but I’ve a suspicion that the setter has placed “Adversary” at the start of 8dn to take advantage of the capital letter and the meaning of “the Adversary” as Satan. I’m not completely sure though, as I’ve a feeling that experts on theology may regard the ANTICHRIST and Satan as different entities.

  29. Is there a calendar of upcoming events? I will be in London in mid-June, and it would be nice to catch up with a few other solvers.
  30. Hello Verlaine; this was pretty tough but a great puzzle. Took me ages to get the 16d anagram for some strange reason.

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