Times 26689 – Paging General Knowledge!

Solving time: 28 minutes

Music: Steve Turre, Viewpoint

As I was driving out of the grocery store parking lot this morning, the car immediately in front of me had a bumper sticker “I Love My Coton de Tulear”. Ooops, there’s another breed of dog I’ve never heard of, and I watched the most of the Westminster Dog Show on TV this year. I do hope that they don’t have bumper stickers like that in the UK, as we wouldn’t want to give the setters any ideas.

General knowledge is so vast, it is impossible to know everything. Today’s puzzle had some very clever clues based on very specific bits of general knowledge, and if you happen not to know a necessary bit of information, you’re going to be reduced to biffing. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

I was actually rather amazed to be able to solve this one as quickly as I did. I certainly had to dredge up a lot of half-remembered bits to explain some of the clues. Fortunately for our loyal followers, I will be sure to carefully research my vague memories as I write the blog, so that no one will be further confused by misinformation.

5 CASHEW, C(A S[econd])HEW, where ‘chew’ is used as a noun.
8 PALANQUIN, P(A)LAN + QUIN. A brilliant and tricky clue, with a cleverly concealed literal. Over here in the USA, it’s ‘quint’, not ‘quin’, so UK-centric as well.
9 ROUTE, OUTER with the R moved to the beginning, as is clearly stated in the very explicit cryptic.
11 EDGAR, anagram of RAGED. None the wiser? Edgar, Earl of Gloucester is disguised as Poor Tom in King Lear. If that’s not bad enough, EDGAR is also the SEC’s automated system to access corporate filings, so watch out for that one, too.
12 TRUMPED UP, TRUMPE[t] + D.U.P, the Democratic Unionist Party.
13 ANYTHING, an allusion to the Irving Berlin song “Anything You Can Do”. Never heard of it? Too bad.
15 MIRROR, double definition, with a question mark indicating that you may prefer a different publication.
17 DOMINO, DO + MINO[r]. Yes, besides being a game tile and a mask, a domino is also a cape.
19 BUNGALOW, BUNG (A) LOW, utilizing one of the lesser-known and UK-centric meanings of ‘bung’.
22 ACCORDIAN, ACCORD + AI reversed. I can’t explain the N, maybe my GK has run out? Er, let’s try this one again. ACCORDION, ACCORD + NO. I backwards. There we go…
23 DEBUT, DEB(U)T. Debt has only recently become the chief feature of a university education.
24 THORN, THOR + N, one of the few write-ins.
25 INVENTIVE, INVE[-c,+N]TIVE, a clever letter-substitution clue.
26 SEVERN, SEVER[e] N. The difficulty here is seeing that you are looking for a specific estuary.
27 REREDOS, R.E. + REDO + S[mall]. You may have wasted a lot of time looking for an anagram of S SCREEN.
1 PEPPER AND SALT, anagram of APPALS, PRETEND, a bit of an &lit. The title of the very mediocre daily cartoon in the Wall Street Journal.
2 FALL GUY, FALL + GUY, where the chief deception involved reversing the order of the elements.
3 INNER, [w]INNER, another easy one.
4 GLUTTONY, G(L)UT + TONY, presumably a glutton.
7 ECUADOR, ECU + A.D. + OR. As usual, it is unclear whether the 18th-century French ecu or the European Currency Unit is meant.
10 EXPERT WITNESS, EX (PERT WIT) NESS, constructed from stock crossword elements.
16 TURNOVER, double definition, or possibly a triple. ‘Pastry’ and ‘that firm makes’ – I’m not sure about ‘case’. Discussion invited.
18 MICROBE, OB in anagram of CRIME, where ob. = obit, ‘he died’.
20 LOBBIED, LOBB(I)ED, a very good and misleading surface.
23 DINER, sounds like DINAH, or it would if you were a non-rhotic proper chap. Now what was the name of that cat?

51 comments on “Times 26689 – Paging General Knowledge!”

  1. Just over half an hour for me. Wasted some time trying to find a word like “thingamajig’ that had SIE or DU in it (you in Berlin). Not how it worked at all!

    You spelt ACCORDION wrong, hence your puzzlement.

  2. Also, you mean “sounds like Dinah” in 23d. DINER sounds like DINER whether you are rhotic or just barely able to pronounce english.
  3. is the son of the Earl of Gloucester. Of course, he’ll be Earl soon enough, no doubt.
  4. Like Paul, I futzed around with ‘sie’, then just biffed. It came to me after I’d submitted. LOI DOMINO, and I see why; never did get the MINO part, just hoped it was a cape as well. Hoped for about 4 minutes, in fact. I wondered, still wonder, about ‘case’.
  5. Much the same experience and 45 minutes to boot.

    Not quite the usual Monday offering.

    I’m more used to SALT AND PEPPER rather than PEPPER AND SALT.



  6. An excellent work-out that gave me more than a few problems because I lacked the GK necessary to be sure of several answers i.e. DOMINO, PALANQUIN, EDGAR and DINER – the only cat I associate with Alice being the Cheshire one. I knew the Berlin song, though – one of his best. 45 minutes.

    Edited at 2017-04-03 03:25 am (UTC)

  7. Happy to get a par score after numerous work interruptions. Haven’t these people got anything better to do?

    Probably a tad tougher than the usual Monday, not too scary though. Thought PALANQUIN was very good, but my COD must go to STRIPLING. Fans of the Banjo will know never to underestimate one on a small and weedy beast.

    Thanks setter and Vinyl.

  8. About 20 mins, but with a couple of letters (=answers!) wrong: palinquin, where I’d vaguely heard of the word, but couldn’t work out all the wp, and strapling, where I’d confused ‘a strapping lad’ with ‘STRIPLING’, and forgotten that ‘one place’ can never => APL, always IPL (is that correct?) in crossword lore. Hmm, a case of more haste less speed, methinks.

    Almost had touched up=bogus for a little while.

    dnk Dinah, Alice’s cat, or the Berlin song, but did know the King Lear ref and the estuary, which helped.

  9. 25:52 … phew! Not what I needed after being invited to sample my neighbour’s home brew last night (it got better after about the third one). Excellent puzzle, but too hard with a hangover.

    PEPPER AND SALT was my second-last in, which didn’t help, but then it sounds all wrong to me this way round. Also wasted a lot of time trying to find an antelope at 14d. I don’t really know why.

  10. I trust the reference to setters in your preamble was an unintentional pun, Vinyl. Also ashamed to say I didn’t know of Steve Turre (I do now)
    This was a puzzle where there was a palpable sense of achievement on completing it without aids in 40 minutes, though parsing 13a defeated me. With the exception of 17a (LOI) I was pleased to have the requisite GK. Just surprised then that 24a didn’t make reference to an archaic letter.
  11. No difficulties on the GK front here – all done and dusted in just over 6 minutes. I appreciated the several gently-TLS-style clues a lot and found the overall (EXPERT?) wittiness of the puzzle very congenial to my taste. Top notch Monday fare!
  12. 16:39. Tricky this, but very enjoyable. The GK quotient is high but you never need it to find the answer. My last in was DOMINO: I had no idea about the definition and it took me ages to spot the wordplay and pick the right answer over DEMAND.
  13. Had the GK so no problems

    A MICROBE need not be a spreader of disease. Indeed various ones are vital to life as we know it.

  14. Tough for a Monday. GK testing too. Knew Dinah and EDGAR, but not LOI PALANQUIN nor that meaning of DOMINO. I did waste too long on an anagram of SSCREEN too before banging my head on the disguised COD REREDOS. Must have had too much Communion Wine again yesterday. 45 minutes. Thank you Vinyl and setter. Do you want a lift?
  15. Held up at the end by the unknown REREDOS and the unknown as a cape DOMINO.

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard PEPPER AND SALT said that way round. Maybe it goes with chips and fish.

  16. I was missing plenty of the GK, and fell at the last hurdle by bunging in a knew-it-was-wrong “demand” (well, it’s vaguely “make most of”) instead of DOMINO as my hour timer was going off.

    I got everything else right, so it was nice to come here and have them all explained, in particular EDGAR, PALANQUIN, CASHEW and DINER. Someone borrowed my Alice and never gave it back. Must get a new one.

  17. Found this harder than usual and was undone by 6 (8a, 17a, 22a, 26a, 14d, 16d).

    In 8a, why does mean = plan?

    Although I got salt & pepper, I still don’t get what the “such hair” and “that’s fashionable” is for.

    COD Puffing.

    1. “I plan to do this”/”I mean to do this”.

      I’m not too sure about 1d, either, though I’m guessing “fashionable” is some kind of anagram indicator?

      1. Thanks Matt, I got the anagram from APPALS, PRETEND having 13 letters, but couldn’t convince myself that’s fashionable was an anagram indicator.
        1. In the sense that ‘it can be fashioned’, i.e. shaped. Not an anagrind I’ve come across before but all the better for its originality (to me, at least).
    2. “Such hair” is the definition. Mine is a case in point, although these days nearing salt and pepper.

      Edited at 2017-04-03 11:25 pm (UTC)

  18. Another SSCREEN here. And I got somewhat held up in the SE corner because I’d tried “incentive” for no particular reason. The Berlin song is from Annie Get Your Gun which is chock full of his good ones including No Business Like Show Business. 16.31
  19. In the blog I think it should be
    INVE(-C, +N)TIVE

    rather than: INVENTIVE, IN[-c,+V]ENTIVE

  20. I mean to go shopping tomorrow. Dark hair streaked with white. Appals, pretend are fashionable into the answer. Nicely-pitched puzzle. 21.45. – joekobi
    1. Ah! Yes, “fashionable” makes sense now. Yet another misdirection that got me. Thanks!
  21. 30 minutes. Back from my travels abroad and an enjoyable Monday. Domino the last to fall, appropriately. I think that I was about to consign PALANQUIN and REREDOS to my mental off-site archive.

    I am in London on the 12th April if any of you are still intending to meet up.

  22. As you can see from my picture I can now grow a cat from seed. As all you wunderkids who know words like Palanquin and Domino (the two words for my normal DNF), I suppose you also recognise the breed of cat? A gold star for the first correct answer
    1. It looks like a Siamese but I assume the QI Klaxon is about to shatter the peace of the afternoon.
      1. Close but no cigar Mr Wanderer. She’s a Serengeti Siamese. I assume dog lovers would sound the QI klaxon if some called a Norfolk Terrier just a Terrier! Need a result tomorrow night…
  23. Much to get done today, so I thought “it’s only a Monday one – I’ll rattle it off”. Ah well! Now about that stock take that I was going to finish off…
  24. 14:18 and this felt trickier than a “normal” Monday as others have noted. I used up a couple of minutes trying to decide what to put in 17, eventually plumped for DOMINO for no good reason and only afterwards spotted the wordplay.

    I discovered PALANQUIN in a Jumbo I blogged a while back, and now go everywhere in one.

    1. I remember palinquin from reading Travel
      Robert Louis Stevenson to the kids.

      Where in jungles, near and far,
      Man-devouring tigers are,
      Lying close and giving ear
      Lest the hunt be drawing near,
      Or a comer-by be seen
      Swinging in a palanquin;—

  25. The NW yielded nothing at first glance, so I moved to the NE where ROUTE became my FOI. MIRROR followed, then I moved in a clockwise direction, finishing with PALANQUIN, an unknown along with DOMINO, EDGAR, and Alice’s cat. The wordplay was helpful where the GK was lacking, and I finished in 40:48, the last 3 or 4 clues taking the final 10 minutes. Didn’t spot the song reference at 13a, but very good now it’s been pointed out. A satisfying workout. Thanks setter and Vinyl.
  26. The picture isn’t clear enough to identify fatty, but my guess is it’s a Siamese who has either been fed too much too often, or has been sneaking off to the kitchen in the middle of the night for a snack.
    Barbara, another cat lover.
    1. Hi Barbara. Why not sign up and enjoy the fun you can have when you constantly have to admit to being a crossword beginner. She’s a Serengeti Siamese. Very thin too!
  27. 15 mins, and I agree it was a little trickier than the usual Monday puzzles. The final minute was spent on DOMINO, which I vaguely remembered as a cape, but I didn’t want to put it in until I could parse it. EDGAR went in with fingers crossed because I had no idea of who POOR TOM was, and PALANQUIN was only parsed post-solve.
  28. Undone by DOMINO. I didn’t know the definition, and since DEMAND clearly wasn’t right, I confess I had to leave it blank entirely. Obviously, I failed to spot the wordplay as well. Shame, as I was very satisfied with myself for finding PALANQUIN and immediately twigging to the Berlin song. Better luck tomorrow to me, regards to all of you.
  29. Hello, all have recently joined and hope to contribute regularly. I found this chewy for a Monday as others have said. Took 30 mins on the train to do about 3/4 then another 17 mins at lunchtime to polish it off. FOI Edgar remembered from seeing Simon Russell Beale as King Lear a couple of years ago. The real problem was the SW corner struggled to get 14dn, 18dn, 22ac and LOI 17ac which was unknown as a cape but guessed from wp. DNK Alice’s cat but got from Cafe def and checkers. Honourable mention to Fat Tony in 4dn but COD to palanquin, a word I knew but still had the pleasure of watching it appear as I constructed it from wp.
    1. Welcome aboard! Must say the SRB version of King Lear was fab! Only got to see it in the cinema (NTLive), but still magical.

      1. Hello Janie, I wanted to reply yesterday to thank you for the welcome but live journal was off line for a bit last night. I agree SRB was spellbinding. The change in his countenance from pompous but assured dictator to bewildered, lost and frightened old man was quite the most extraordinary feat of acting I can recall. Some confident glint or other just vanished from the eyes. Never seen anything like it.
  30. 8:53 for this delightful start to the week. The GK required had a rather old-fashioned feel to it (Lewis Carroll, Shakespeare, …), so no problem there, but I still missed some easy wins at a first reading. (Sigh!)

    I see that my name appears at the end of 4dn and the start of 26ac, but I assume that’s not deliberate. (I used to play the (piano) ACCORDION, but no longer do so, thus qualifying as a “gentleman”: someone who knows how to play the piano accordion, but doesn’t.)

  31. Sorry I called your Serengeti Siamese potted kitty a fatty.
    The picture wasn’t very clear and was misleading. I’m sure she’s gorgeous and slim. BTW, I think you have mistake me for a different Barbara who claims to be a beginner at these puzzles. I have been doing and loving them for the past 100 years. Another Barbara
  32. That was tough! I usually find Monday’s crossword doable, and use it as a bridge in my effort to improve from quickie to 15X15, but not today. DNF, but found the blog helpful to explain all the gaps – thank-you.

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