Times 26701 – Right up Fry’s Alley?

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I nodded off and took a phone call during this one, but the fact remains that it was harder than your average Monday and will, I can confidently predict, have nudged Keriothe’s Monday graph a nanopoint north. Since I did it a little while ago, I have forgotten almost everything about it, but I am glad at least that I was able to parse everything, which is more than can be said for Saturday’s – which I have just finished – where 1d still eludes me. 48 minutes, with the excuses already noted.


1. DEBRIEFED – BRIEF in DEED. In my experience, ‘brief’ well describes the average grasp of facts possessed by the gun-for-hire we glorify with the title of barrister. I am pleased to see that Oxford is in agreement with me: ‘a summary of the facts and legal points in a case given to a barrister to argue in court’.
6. SCOTS – initial letters of Separate Clubs On The Scene; I have a strong aversion to the word ‘race’, preferring group, nation, people or anything else in the semantic vicinity. I AM grumpy today…
9. APHASIA – HAS (experiences) in APIA[n].
10. NOMINEE – NO + MINE + [futur]E.
11. TONIC – initial letter of Indian + C after TON.
12. RAM RAIDER – two forms of low-life, one urban, one rural.
13. SUTURING – US reversed + TURING.
14. BRAE – alternate letters of BaRrAgE.
17. EVEN – double definition.
18. UNDERCUT – UNDER (subject to) + CUT.
22. CLINK – two slang terms for jail (clink and bird); K (rooK’s last letter) on CLIN (cling minus the G)
24. HANDS UP – HANDS (as people working on a boat) + UP.
25. EXTINCT – INC in TEXT* (anagram).
26. PISTE – ST in PIE.
27. LATERALLY – if you turn up to a tennis match late, you might see no early rallies, just a late rally, or two.


1. DEALT – DEAL + T.
2. BEHIND THE SCENES – if you cause someone to lose their temper on a regular basis, you may be said to be behind their scenes. (I’m not sure these clues improve by being explained…)
3. INSECURE – take DUO out of IN [du]E C[o]URSE and make an anagram (signalled by eccentric) of the residue.
4. FLAGRANT – GRAN in FLAT. Sorry, no explanation this time.
5. DYNAMO – a reversal of MANY in DO; if a shrink said ‘dynamo’ to me, I’d respond ‘Kiev’. Probably do the same with ‘chicken’ too, come to think of it.
6. SAMPAN – a reversal of MAS + PAN.
8. SMEARIEST – ARMIES SET*; I can imagine Stephen Fry talking for 20 minutes about this word. Moving right along…
13. STEAMSHIP – HIP preceded by TEAM in SS, where ‘crew coming aboard’ is Crosswordese for ‘stick a word meaning something like crew in the letters SS, because then they are in the ship, or, “on board”‘. By an extraordinary coincidence, SS actually stands for ‘steamship’. Go fig, as some people like to say, usually with a !.
15. INHERENT – HE + RENT after IN (as in ‘Trump is in’).
16. MERCATOR – there’s no doubt that some of those medieval dudes had cool names, Gerardus’s being amongst them; we track the cartographer down here by placing a MERC on top of a reversed ROTA.
19. MOUSSE – yes, um, a mousse is a dessert and also the stuff that some people put in their hair (or locks).
20. CARPEL – reversed hidden in ‘poLE PRACtically’.
23. KITTY – a whimsical number to finish with, playing upon the fact that a female cat is called a kitty, at least until it is done, it is.

31 comments on “Times 26701 – Right up Fry’s Alley?”

  1. … not the easiest Monday in a while — with much not understood down here. (Is there a public hol. in the allegedly United Kingdom?)

    The first time I ever had a ride in a MERC (16dn) was in a taxi in Amsterdam. The driver told me they were just normal sorts of cars, like a Ford or a Holden in GodZone. Not “posh” at all. The dockers in Rotterdam that I had drinks with most days all had Mercs and BMWs.

    Anyone else notice the self-referential Nina in row 8?

    1. You don’t have Easter in Godzone? What’s your excuse for overindulging in the worlds most expensive chocolate?
    2. Beware Amsterdam cabbies. Once (stupidly) gave high denomination note. Waiting for change just got a shake of the head and a threatening look! Really annoyed not to finish this. If I’ve said it once I’ve said it etc… Always look for a hidden word. But I failed with Carpel doh! Lovely puzzle that rewarded the effort. Thanks Slogger
    3. I hate to ask, but could you explain ninas, including what it stands for and where this one is?
      1. Anon,

        NINA does not stand for anything but if you look across the middle line of letters, you will see THE TIMES. I will probably fail if I add the standard web reference but if you google ‘Nina crossword’, you will find an explanation.

  2. Yep, definitely harder than your average Monday, just right for a public holiday.

    Some great clues. I particularly liked PISTE, LATERALLY and my LOI APHASIA.

    Thanks setter and U.

  3. Not quite of the Monday oeuvre and I can’t say I enjoyed it.

    Very slow at just over an hour with trouble abounding.



  4. Curses – fell at the last with DRAFT for 1d which fits both parts of the clue nicely, if you assume D can stand for Delivered.
    I particularly liked 22a. Well done Mctext for spotting the Nina; I don’t think we’ve had one of those for a while.

    Edited at 2017-04-17 07:41 am (UTC)

    1. Well, there was last Thursday, which as a whole referenced my nom de blog, and which I will probably go on about for just about ever. Like this one, though, I really wish Id spotted it while blogging the thing.
  5. Slowed right down in the home counties, giving a time of 24.30. For me, a posh car is either a Rolls or a limo, and even a limo is sort of faux posh, for turning up at Stringfellows in (I got there in a hospital minibus, definitely not posh). My last one in, which I puzzled over for ages, was the really easy hidden for CARPEL. Lucky I didn’t give up and finish with the -tunnel syndrome variety in desperation.
  6. 17 mins. I decided to do this one early and it paid off, because I’m also of the opinion that it wasn’t the standard Monday fare.

    INHERENT was my LOI after UNDERCUT. It took a while for me to see CLINK, and it took a certain amount of self-control not to misbiff “chick” and move on. EVEN also took a while because the required meaning of “flush” didn’t spring readily to mind. On the other hand, I saw CARPEL almost immediately.

  7. I found this a bit chewy, extending the toast and Plum jam to 48mins. The SE took a while to unlock and 7dn was tricky with too many anagram indicators to choose from. A very nice one for a public holiday.
  8. Must have been in holiday mood, <20 minutes. Liked APHASIA, having toyed with various considerations of HIVES. Am sorely tempted to be oblique about Saturday 1d, but won’t. Thanks ulaca and setter.

    Edited at 2017-04-17 09:41 am (UTC)

  9. 17:27, so yes this will increase the Monday (and overall) average when I get round to putting it in my sad little spreadsheet.
    6dn is a bit unfair, IMO, since SAMPAN isn’t exactly everyday vocab and there are several other words meaning ‘vessel’ that fit.
    1. Yes, as I’m grumpy and ill today, I think 6d was the flummoxing point I used for an excuse to give up. I’d never heard of SAMPAN, and “samcan” or “samjar” seemed just as likely—one thing I’ve learned over this last year is that any even vaguely-pronounceable collection of letters could be an unknown fish, plant or boat!

      So, I retired hors de combat with a few left in the SW corner. Perhaps when I’m over this cold/flu/whatever it is I’ll be a bit more positive…

  10. 27.10. Never got any flow going and hopped around the grid getting a foothold where I could. Not helped at the end by having to unpick the mess from a couple of bits of careless biffing too embarrassing to reveal. It could have been much worse.
  11. Thanks for the offers, but I went to the answerbank, which like its online cousin crosswordsolver is a godsend in these situations.
  12. 25:46 – so, yes, a bit harder than an average Monday. LOI UNDERCUT which was a new meaning for me. Thanks for pointing out the nina, mctext. I forget to look for them here as there is usually some fun to be uncovered in the times2. I think we’ve had MERC for posh car fairly recently… with similar comments about lack of status. Even my schoolteacher sister has one.
  13. An enjoyable crossword I felt a little slow on in 35 minutes. Grateful to ulaca for the blog but, though I shall no doubt be excoriated by the usual crew, momentarily repelled by the contrived rudeness of the noisy little boy at the back of the bus regarding a public figure. It does matter.
  14. Became becalmed for ages with a few random letters in the LHS, eventually grinding to a finish in just over the hour, but with a careless EVER instead of EVEN. Hard work I thought. I think it’s now time to jump on my bike and go and collect my car from town, where I left it outside my friends’ house after helping them celebrate their Ruby Wedding Anniversary. Come to think of it, maybe that’s why I found this hard work! Thanks setter and U.
  15. Tough for a Monday, possibly about par for a bank holiday Monday? 57 mins for me, the last 7 of which were on my last two, 15dn and 18ac. I felt that the checkers probably allowed for a few possibilities and took some time to parse the “in” for “ruling” bit of 15dn to avoid any errors. FOI 11ac. LOI 15dn. Not expecting to put the gran IN a flat at 4dn. 9ac and 6dn were half-knowns. Full parsing of 13dn and the Nina in row 8 only spotted post solve. COD to 13ac.
  16. About par at near 20 minutes. Only unknown the UNDERCUT for the tender steak, my LOI. INHERENT went in just prior. I also didn’t think ‘Merc’ really could be a posh car, but it had to be. Regards.
  17. Yes, this was quite hard work for a Monday puzzle. FOI 6a SCOTS (aye, bring on IndyRef2!) quickly followed by 14a BRAE (that steep hill-of-independence I hope & expect we’ll have to climb following IndyRef2). The rest of the puzzle eventually fell into place, all except 9a. I knew the difference between an aviary and an apiary but DNK APHASIA so technically a DNF, having biffed APHESEA after treating “mainly related” as a pointer to a word ending in SEA. One of the joys of tackling these crosswords via treeware is the benefit of lots of space to work out solutions, esp where anagrist stuff is involved. I just love it when there’s lots of blank space on a page, so my grateful thanks to all advertisers who include acres of empty space in their not-cheap display ads.
  18. Spent all day sporadically on this one and finished with about 6 unsolved in the NW which I eventually submitted to Zarf for solutions. I think being on holiday rots the brain. DNK aphasia or apian which didn’t help
  19. 14:34, with CLINK and MERCATOR holding me up at the end (and biffing APHASIA, though it didn’t take me too long to twig the parsing after I’d submitted).

    I associate DYNAMO with Moscow rather than Kiev, at least when singing “Red Fly the Banners O”.

    An interesting and enjoyable puzzle.

  20. Like many others I found myself entirely off the wavelength for this, ending up well north of the 10 minute mark. I’d completely missed any Ninas involved too! The Easter long weekend is a hard time to focus properly it seems…
  21. Seeing as it’s Tuesday already I decided I better not give this one any longer. Missed BRAE, PISTE and MOUSSE. DNK UNDERCUT and I was a bit mystified by KITTY and DYNAMO. COD SUTURING.

    Still, a good challenge, and a lovely NINA.

    The bonus Monday Jumbo is much more crackable, even if I did wonder if 6dn somehow involved the word “poo”…

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