Times 26707 – Hopes and Fears

Solving time: 26 minutes

Music: David Bowie, Low

I did this puzzle in good time, but I think perhaps less-skilled solvers may find it a little tough. It is full of references that are slightly off the beaten track, and some of the cryptics are quite clever. A number of the clues can be biffed, unless you have to write the blog and explain how they work. I’m still thinking about a couple of them right now.

OK, I have finished the blog, and all is clear. I am confident the answers are correct and the cryptics are properly analyzed. Now for the grand typo hunt and clue number check!

1 BUCOLIC, CUB backwards + [p]OLIC[e] – both ends missing!
9 ZAP, [la] PAZ backwards. The official name of the city is Nuestra Señora de La Paz.
10 CHOCOLATIER, CH (Companion of Honor) + O (COLA) TIER.
11 QUAYSIDE, sounds like KEY SIDE in dialectical regions where ‘quay’ is pronounced ‘key’.
12 COCOON, CO-CO(O)N. Only in crosswords are fellow criminals co-cons!
15 ERNE, found in [n]E[a]R [a]N[d]E[s].
16 SUPER-DUPER, double definition; if you manage to deceive a Police Superintendent, then you are a Super-duper indeed!
18 SCHOLASTIC, anagram of CLASH and STOIC. Of course, ‘scholastic’ has overtones that are lacking in ‘academic’, but they are close enough for crosswording purposes.
19 ORCA, hidden in [maj]OR CA[tastrophe].
22 APPEAL, APP([grac]E)AL.
23 VISCOUNT, VI + SCOU(N)T, a cryptic I had a very difficult time seeing.
25 FIN DE SIECLE, FIND + ES + I.E. + C[a]L[l]E[d], where our old friend “French art’ as a verb in the French lanaguage reappears.
27 IDE, souunds like I’D, a write-in for experienced solvers.
29 EVENTER, E(VENT)ER, what my niece is on weekends, when she’s not an algebra teacher.
1 BEZIQUE, BE + anagram of QUIZ + E[verton], my FOI – it’s obvious, right?
1 CAPTAINSHIP, anagram of PANIC, SPAHI + T[ook].
4 CLOUDBURST, C(LOUD BURS)T. ‘Burs’ are often spelt ‘burrs’, but both spellings are apparently equally valid.
6 ANACONDA, sounds like ANNA CONNED A, and in virtually all dialects.
7 OBI, O[ld] B[oy] + I. The sash of a Japanese kimono.
8 MARINER, MA(R.I.)N + ER. I don’t think it is really correct to equate ‘Scripture’ and ‘religious instruction’, since presumably the later involves some sort of interpretation.
17 CLEAVERS, double definition. I admit I just biffed this, but upon doing my research I find that ‘cleavers’ is indeed a vernacular term for goosegrass.
18 SNAFFLE, double defintion, with the elf fanciers taking a break this time around.
20 ANTBEAR, A NT + BEAR, where NT is not ‘books’ this time around, but the National Trust. Bears are not mentioned anywhere in the New Testament – I checked.
21 SCHEME, S((CHE)M)E, a rather over-elaborate cryptic.
24 LIVY, LIV[er]Y.
26 NOB, ON upside-down + B.

68 comments on “Times 26707 – Hopes and Fears”

  1. Another name for that part of the school curriculum also called (variously) “religious instruction” and “religious education”.
    1. Yep, was called Scripture at my school. I can still see every intricate detail of the classroom ceiling, which I stared at to avoid fixating on the minute hand of the wall clock, which always looked like it wasn’t even trying to get to the five.
      1. Much more interesting at ours where Spike Wootton — a young trendy — would find a suitable biblical passage as an excuse to tell us about sex.
        1. Yeah, that wasn’t really Sister James’ style. On the other hand she was a pretty good rugby league coach.
            1. I see that, as usual, our esteemed blogger has made no change to his blog.
              New solvers (who don’t necessarily turn on the comments) could be misled?
    2. When I taught the subject for a memorable term, it had transmorphed (more or less) into Personal and Social Development, or more accurately sex ‘n’ drugs ‘n’ rock ‘n’ roll. 2P, who I never got the hang of, clearly already knew more about all three that I did. It was an education.
  2. Submitted inside 15 minutes, but with a very sloppy FINY instead of LIVY (finery came to me before livery, and I just assumed FINY was a historian I hadn’t heard of. Whereas LIVY is a historian I think I’ve met in crosswords, so I should have taken a little more time, shouldn’t I? Yes Galspray, you should).

    Otherwise, a fairly Monday-ish outing despite the unknown BEZIQUE and the took-a-while-to-remember-and-assemble FIN-DE-SIECLE.

    All good fun. Thanks setter and Vinyl.

    1. I’m glad I wasn’t alone! I think Livy may have come up at some point in a Latin lesson at school, but that was a long time ago, and Finy seemed just as likely to me.

      Shame, as I was all done in forty minutes apart from that one; I spent another ten minutes to get it wrong.

  3. I finished this in 45mins during my lunch hour – good time for me, so it mustn’t have been too hard. But it didn’t seem trivial, so thanks to the setter.

    And thanks, Vinyl, for the blog. I didn’t know either goose-grass or its other name, so 17d was a hopeful LOI.

  4. 10:49 … yep, a fairly easy when you know how sort of puzzle.

    CLEAVERS was shrugged in, of course. CAPTAINSHIP is very neat, even if the clue makes me feel like a candidate for Pseuds’ Corner after nodding sagely at the clever use of ‘spahi’.

    COD to CLOUDBURST, which is as neat as a very neat thing, though I only got round to parsing it aprés solve.

    1. I don’t think knowing SPAHI gets you into Pseuds’ Corner, for which you were more than entitled to a sage nod. ‘Après solve’ meets all the necessary criteria though, but I’m sure you knew that and invented an inner Hyacinth Bucket for yourself. Your request for admission to this exclusive club is rejected.
      1. Pas! Ça va. Je ne rejoindrais aucun club qui m’accepterait en tant que membre.
        1. Sotira
          Why were you thrown out the first time?
          I also wouldn’t rejoin a club who accepted my aunt as a member.
          1. Donnez-moi une break, mon ami. J’ai appris tout mon français de Google, naturellement.

            I did notice what looked like a stray aunty creeping in there, but I think that’s a tante, n’est-ce pas?

            The reasons for my ejection from the club are the subject of a non-disclosure agreement (accord de non-divulgation, don’t you know).

              1. Tant pis, tant meilleur.

                (English translation: Aunt’s feeling better now.)

  5. Nice to have a proper, easy Monday puzzle on a Monday again. Didn’t quite manage to sneak under the 5 minute mark, but it was close. I would have gotten away with it too if it hadn’t been for you meddling goose-grasses.
    1. I’m at home for an hour or so before getting the train to London for a meeting and had just been pulling up some 17d from a flowerbed before deciding to do today’s Times at home rather than on the train, so that one wrote itself in without any cogitation at all.

      One of those where I wished I’d timed it properly as I was definitely close to my PB.

  6. Since half my time in the garden these days seems to be dealing Sisyphus-like with goosegrass, 17d was all too familiar.
    As Sotira intimates, if you’ve got the necessary then this was straightforward (BEZIQUE was my FOI as well).
    24 minutes, despite having HOODIE for 12a for a while.
  7. 20mins, and then another few to throw in ‘gleaners’ (nope, me neither!) at 17dn.

  8. One of those puzzles where you think you should be doing better than you are. FOI: CHOCOLATIER (first synonym that pops into my head happens to be the right one, joy of joys!). Couldn’t get MERMAID out of my head, so north-east held me up for longer than it should have done. Lucky guess with CLEAVERS and I’ve been stumped by LIVY enough times now for him to heave his way out from the back of my mind.
    COD: 16a (although I originally parsed it as ‘one super at duping’, with SUPER-DUPER slang for a police officer).
    Many thanks vinyl and setter.
  9. 12:34, of which a good five were spent agonising over 17dn. I had no idea about the goose-grass, of course, and it seemed slightly odd to describe a CLEAVER as a tool. I suppose that’s exactly what it is though, and in the end I couldn’t think of anything else.
    Nice puzzle. 4dn is good but 16ac is 16ac.
    1. I see what you mean about not thinking of it as a tool (unless you’re un boucher – the Franglais above is catching). I’ve got one that, so far as I know, has never left the kitchen knife block. There was a 50s 60s tv series here called Leave It To Beaver about une famille qui s’appelle Cleaver.
  10. 18 minutes today, a Monday time for a puzzle I never felt on top of. LOI CLEAVERS, needing all the crossers and still unsure then. I didn’t know that it was goose-grass, and hadn’t heard of SPAHI either, but fortunately the anagram was clear. But I had heard of LIVY even if for the last fifty odd years I’ve confused him with Pliny. and I did parse CLOUDBURST. Over Easter, I succumbed to the chocolatier’s art far too much, so that was a write-in. It moved from Scripture to RI in 1957 for me. Good puzzle. Thank you V and setter.
  11. CLEAVERS didn’t slow me down much–I figured what else is there?–but TEAROOM for some reason, and MARINER did. I wondered about ‘religious ed’, but assumed what Mctext and Galspray confirm. Liked CAPTAINSHIP, although ‘spahi’ certainly suggested an anagram, and one ending in ‘ship’. Are there dialects where QUAY is pronounced ‘kway’? I thought it was just a miscellaneous lot of people who mispronounced it.

    Edited at 2017-04-24 08:31 am (UTC)

    1. The first verse of “Reckless” by 80’s group Australian Crawl has “Quay” written to rhyme with “spray”. They don’t sing it that way (would be ridiculous) but it always made me wonder whether the lyrics were computer-generated.
      And not a very good computer, now that I read the rest of the lyrics.
      1. Shane MacGowan in the Pogues magnificent rendition of “The Band played Waltzing Matilda’ hedged his bets by singing both at different times. I think the Irish can say ‘kay’, as they can also drink a cup of ‘tay’.
        1. As did the English once, as in Alexander Pope’s
          There thou, great Anna, whom three realms obey,
          Dost sometimes counsel take, and sometimes tea.
        2. Since we’re all frenchified this morning, I always thought “tay” for tea came from le mot Francais.
          1. I’ve been on Wiki. Tea wasn’t popularised in England or Ireland until the 1660s, so I don’t think we can blame the Normans, my usual bête noire, or nos noisins français for the alternative pronunciation. (All of us seem to have a bad bout of Frenchitis today.) Catherine of Braganza from Portugal insisted that Charles II drank it apparently, and it caught on. But the pronunciation probably came from Dutch traders interpreting the Min Chinese Te, which I guess could fall either way. The Cantonese and Mandarin pronunciation is nearer to Cha. Kay for Quay is thought to be of Celtic origin, with the Qu coming later. Another misspent afternoon!
  12. 11 minutes, equal PB. Bezique was FOI, cleavers was LOI as only tools that fitted, no idea about the grassy bit. BUCOLIC gets the nice word of the day award.
    1. I’m still blogging Wednesday’s puzzle, is that right Pip?

      Edited at 2017-04-24 04:19 pm (UTC)

  13. 15 minutes. My fastest time for months. I knew all of the GK for once and I thought that all of the constructions were pretty straightforward. Well, the toast has got to land butter side up once a year?
  14. 15.03 so I must be accumulating the experience needed to take advantage of opportunities like this.
  15. 16:41 of steady Monday solving with FOI BUCOLIC. CLEAVERS unparsed. I like the idea of NOB ON from vinyl’s blog for 26dn and I will add this to my repertoire (Nob on, Tommy?). Anyway, I now have time to commence my third hour on yesterday’s Deano, which is still only half-finished. Thanks setter and V

    (On edit) OK, got there with the Deano but will be looking for much parsing at the end of the week. 4 hours +

    Edited at 2017-04-24 01:41 pm (UTC)

  16. You people who spent so long over CLEAVERS don’t know how lucky you are. Due to a mis-entered SCOLASTIC I was working through the alphabet on ?A?A?E?S and got as far as parapets before I realised SCOLASTIC didn’t reach the end. Funnily enough, it’s about time I went to Specsavers anyway.
  17. Very biffable today but lucky with my Cleavers. Nothing to add to above so I won’t post. Oops just have. Thanks as usual.
  18. The club clock carried on for 50:31 before I submitted this one, but I was interrupted by the garage ringing back from an earlier request to arrange my car’s annual service and MOT, which took up somewhere between 10 and 15 minutes. Still a sluggish time, due to LOCUST, CLOUDBURST, QUAYSIDE, LIVY and ANTBEAR, keeping me guessing, but most of all due to being unable to parse CLEAVERS, as I’m not a gardening fan. I must have spent 5 minutes trying to find a cryptic dimension to this clue before shrugging it in. I hadn’t a clue what Spahi were(I do now, thanks to Google) but saw the anagram immediately. An enjoyable puzzle though. Thanks setter and Vinyl.

    Edited at 2017-04-24 11:10 am (UTC)

  19. Antbear?? Anyway, thanks for a Mondayish puzzle (except for the bits that weren’t).

    Seems that some among us are spending just a tad too much time solving to enjoy the glorious British countryside, cleavers and all. 🙂

  20. About 40 mins over lunch today. Enjoyed duping the super and Bezique and an outing for Circe and Livy. The two women I had to watch out for today were Vi ( sadly, just a female) and Anna (just a girl sounding off). Can you tell I’m not a fan of random proper nouns in wordplay?
  21. I wholly concur with askival’s viw that this was “one of those puzzles where you think you should be doing better than you are”, although the many “easy” clues were interspersed with enough not-so-easy ones to make this a rather uneven puzzle, IMHO.

    I also concur with the exalted company who have decreed that FINY is as likely a Roman historian as the alternatives.

  22. All finished in two bursts around dog walking. Remembered spahis from reading Beau Geste many years ago. I know goose grass as robin run the hedge, but that would never have fitted…..
  23. Had a look at this before doing the QC to see if it was “normal Monday fare”. It was… I solved two thirds of it quite quickly, then did the QC and then came back. Probably finished in just over an hour.
    Guessed Cleavers; LOI was Semicircle. Did not know Antbear -or Spahi for that matter.
    My five years of Latin did leave me with a memory of Plutarch and Livy (at least their names). Good to see Erne again -it used to appear almost daily in the Evening Standard crosswords which I solved after work. David
  24. 27 minutes on this, with the last 10 on Cleavers.

    Am currently reading the Bible cover to cover, though not exactly in order. Beats most modern stuff – orLivy, for that matter – hands down.


    1. For some lively speculation as to who really wrote the New Testament, try Emmanuel Carrère’s recent novel The Kingdom. I don’t think he’s altogether right but it’s a great intro.
    2. Spoiler alert. It’s “live – die – live” in whichever order you read it.
      1. Well, if I were an actuary, I think I’d settle for two out of three pluses.


      2. At the risk of being serious, there’s actually very little emphasis on the afterlife in the Hebrew Bible. More about covenant, really.

        U again – sorry, will log in tomorrow.

  25. I had all but 17dn done in 7 mins and then spent another 3 mins cogitating before the CLEAVERS penny dropped. Like others I had no idea about the goose-grass element of the clue, but the “tools for chopping” part of it should have come to mind a lot quicker than it did because I recently re-read Titus Groan.
      1. I just asked about this too, and have now spotted your comment.

        French art = (tu) ES.

        Too devious for me!


  26. Fairly gentle Monday offering. After 25 mins on the train this morning I had four left which I tidied up in 6 mins over lunch. They were 21dn (where I spent too long trying to reverse a word for plan in SE to get a “is there anybody there” charlatan style of medium), 23ac which fell once 21dn did, 4dn and my LOI 16ac, I often struggle to spot cryptic defs and always spend too long trying to break down the clue for some sort of wordplay. By some serendipitous happenstance I mentioned Livy in a recent comment so he went straight in. I was one who bunged in cleavers on the basis of checkers and tools for chopping, rather than knowing the goose-grass.
  27. A pretty Mondayish outing for me, a bit under 15 minutes. I ended with MARINER, after recognizing the SUPER-DUPER. CLEAVERS biffed right in without stopping to worry, but I certainly didn’t know of the goose grass connection. In fact, I don’t know of goose grass at all, so I’ll go look it up and see if I know it by another name. Regards.
  28. 26 Down: VIP upset acting bishop (3)
    As I had ‘N’ in the first slot and guessed that “bishop” gave ‘B’, I guessed at NOB as the solution, which it is! Hooray! Except the analysis gives no explanation or hint as to why “acting” gives ON or NO! Thanks for helping out a novice.

    Also, for 25 across, could somebody confirm that “French art” gives ES, as in ‘thou art’?? I wish the analysis could have made that clearer!


    1. Hi. in 26D, ‘acting’ is ‘on’, as in ‘on stage’. And yes, French art is ‘es’.
  29. 8:28 for me, feeling desperately tired after a busy day, so relieved to have an easy puzzle, but at the same time rather disappointed that it made for a much slower time than I might have posted otherwise.

    No problem with CLEAVERS (or anything else really).

    Older Listener solvers who remember Peto’s “Nesting Birds” series will be familiar with SPAHI, which (for some reason which I’ve forgotten) always used to appear in one of the nests.

  30. Not too difficult but missed the ‘French art’ and had to biff CLEAVERS from the ‘tools for chopping’ bit.

    You can argue the toss, but strictly speaking Sucre is the capital city of Bolivia, not La Paz. Lots of info. on the web about this if you’re interested.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

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