Times 26708 – “I’m a substitute….

Solving time: 32 minutes

Music: Art Bears: Hopes and Fears

I got through this one fairly quickly until the very end, and then became thoroughly stuck. The three that did me in were the ‘attache’/’coati’/’naked eye’ crossing. Of course, ‘naked eye’ was the last one in, as I trawled through the alphabet with minimal success. The number of English words that will fit in ‘_ A _ E _’ is very large indeed, although most of them are clearly unsuitable.

For tonight’s music, I offer the solution to yesterday’s unposed question. Of course, Art Bears are not exactly antbears, but the ‘n’ was unchecked, and we did have ‘French art’ elsewhere in the puzzle.

1 PURCHASER, PUR(CHASE)R, my FOI, an easy starter clue
9 TIBER, RE BIT backwards, as in ‘Labour’s criticism of the PM is starting to bite’.
10 ENTANGLES, anagram of AS GENTLE N, where N indicates a knight in chess notation.
11 NUCLEON, NU(CLEO[patra])N. Here, ‘briefly’ does not just mean ‘take off a letter’, but rather a slangish shortening of the royal name.
12 IMPASTO, I’M PASTO[r]. I was beating my brains trying to see how ‘I’M PAST 0’ meant ‘leading the congregation’, and then I saw it.
17 INTELLIGENTSIA, anagram of ELITIST LEANING, a brilliant &lit anagram.
21 ERASMUS, SUMS ARE backwards, giving an entirely different Darwin than the one you expected. The grandfather of Charles, he was a fascinating character and anticipated some his famous grandson’s ideas.
23 ATTACHE, A + T(CAT backwards)HE. A very clever and difficult clue.
25 STIR FRIED. Anagram of FIRST + R(I)ED.
26 BRACE, BRA(C)E, a word commonly found in 17th and 18th century poetry but not much used since.
27 ARENA, A + RENA[l].
2 REBEC, the first letters of R[estaurant] E[xpenses], B[eing] E[xtremely] C[areful]. If you are not familiar with pre-modern instruments, you’re going to have to trust the cryptic here.
3 HORSESHOE, HORSE + S + HOE. For once, heroin is not just ‘H’, which may throw some solvers off.
5 RETSINA, RET(S)INA. Sulphur, eh? I wouldn’t be a bit surprised…
6 RUN UP, R.U. + PUN upside-down.
8 LISBON, backwards hidden in [s]NOBS, IL[l-mannered].
14 TENTATIVE, TENT + [n]ATIVE. If you thought ‘local’ would be bar, inn, or pub, you probably weren’t alone.
15 CONSTABLE, CO (N) STABLE, two ‘firms’ in entirely different senses, as is often the case in these sorts of clues.
16 NAKED EYE, a very difficult cryptic definition. If you don’t see it instantly, you may be stuck for a while.
18 LASTING, LAST IN G. Probably he is not very good if he is batting last; that would certainly be the case in baseball.
20 RED SEA, anagram of EAR containing ED’S. As often, ‘small boy’ indicates a shortened male name.
22 MAFIA, M[ake] A FIA[t]. Sounds like a possible punishment for the mafiosi – a life term in the Fiat plant.
24 COATI, COAT + I. The trick here is to make the solver think Hopi or Illini or something along those lines, No, it’s that South American raccoon again

45 comments on “Times 26708 – “I’m a substitute….”

  1. Between 30-35 minutes, with NAKED EYE being my last in as well. Fooled by the ‘local’ and ‘American native’ (maybe one should have helped with the other) until those trusty crossers came to the rescue. INTELLIGENTSIA – an excellent anagram and an &lit to boot – was my favourite.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  2. Thanks for standing in for me, Jonathan. Hopefully I’m on the mend now and will be back in harness ere long. Cheers to all!


  3. No problems that I recall, other than LISBON, which as hidden I managed to overlook until the end. I got the EYE part of 16d right off, which should have been enough to get me NAKED, but no, not me. Didn’t waste more than a second or two at 24d thinking of Indian tribes, since ‘native’ in a clue virtually always indicates a native plant or animal. COD to INTELLIGENTSIA, with IMPASTO taking the silver.

    Edited at 2017-04-25 03:34 am (UTC)

  4. 8:08, which at the time of writing puts me at the top of the leader board – woo hoo! The same three held me up a bit at the end, but fortunately NAKED EYE occurred to me reasonably quickly. It’s the kind of thing you could stare at for ages.
    I have been caught out before by an unshakeable belief that it’s BILL SYKES, so I was on my guard for that one.
    1. That belief remained sadly unshakable for me! The hubris of the long-time TLS blogger… Would’ve been 6:30 otherwise, boo.
      1. Curses. Me too! But I nearly missed that being wrong as I biffed HAZEL for 16d and was so far down the leader board I was unable to see I had 2 wrong.
    2. … that’s 2 out of 4 TLS bloggers done in by the literary clue. Now I think about it, I’ve also been caught out by this one before. Sygh.
      1. Nearly… convinced myself that it’s sometimes bykes, but hey, someone’s got to uphold the honour. From her position on the leaderboard, it seems Olivia makes it two all.
        (On edit) Ah. See below. Well done!

        Edited at 2017-04-25 05:00 pm (UTC)

  5. Flew through everything except the SE corner, where ATTACHE, BRACE and COATI held me up for a while, but the real stopper was NAKED EYE. Stared at that _A_E_ arrangement for about 5 minutes before the penny dropped. Not a bad clue as it turns out.

    Never heard of REBEC, but it was generously clued. Agree with Bletch and Kevin that INTELLIGENTSIA was COD.

    Thanks setter and Vinyl. Get well soon Jack.

    Edited at 2017-04-25 04:37 am (UTC)

  6. All went in quickly in about 15 minutes until NAKED EYE. I had to do an alphabet trawl, and as already pointed out, there are a lot of words that fit the letters but have nothing to do with the clue, but since you know you are looking for a word that probably has a somewhat indirect association with the clue, you have to eliminate many of them carefully. In the end, of course, it was obvious.
  7. About 30 mins then stared at .a.e. for ages and tried camel. There must be someone who gives you the old ‘camel eyes’ when they need some help, surely? Only the random small boy to deal with at 20dn today. I enjoyed this a lot. Thanks to setter and blogger.
  8. Would’ve been a personal best if it wasn’t for that pesky NAKED EYE. Chalking this one up to ‘win some/lose some’ philosophy. FOI: ENTANGLES, BIF’d LASTING and made pretty light work of all except 16d. 17a my favourite too, although ‘LET THE MEAT CAKE’ made me laugh out loud. Music degree meant that REBEC was a write-in, but convinced myself that 24d was a hidden (LISBON came much later), so was severely delayed by that.
    Many thanks, Vinyl and setter.
  9. Easy puzzle but worth doing just for 17A – if it’s been done before I don’t remember it. Great anagram.

    As for others last in was NAKED EYE. Not my favourite type of clue

    Hope you’re feeling better soon Jack

  10. 30 minutes but another who couldn’t tell his Bill from his Eric with a lazy Y rather than a lazy I. Nervous of trusting REBEC until everything else was in.
  11. Took my time on the two tricky but well-clued anagrams (ENTANGLES and INTELLIGENTSIA) but then it all fell into place in 25 minutes overall. (From yesterday, the INTELLIGENTSIA is the club that won’t have me in, if you’re reading Sotira, and I do want to be a member.) I can’t make up my mind if LET THEM EAT CAKE is brilliant or awful. Didn’t know ERASMUS Darwin but the cryptic gave it. I guess I always see the GRAPEVINE as the medium and not the message as per Marvin Gaye but Marshall MacLuhan made them the same thing sometime around then. Thank you substitute blogger (born with a plastic spoon in your mouth?) and setter but I’m not coming round your house for tea.
  12. It seems that I was lucky to think of NAKED EYE quite quickly, though it was among my last in. It also helped that I had to trust the wordplay alone for BILL SIKES. All done in 38 minutes, so pretty quick for me. FOI PATENTLY, LOI COATI, COD INTELLIGENTSIA.
  13. 23:16 I have been caught out by Mr Sikes before but the wordplay made it clear. 16dn was going to be something EYE from the crossers and it was a short step to NAKED from there. Agree with others that 17ac is a cracking clue. Thanks setter and V.
  14. Relatively easy puzzle, but with some cracking clues. I can only echo the chorus of bravos for INTELLIGENTSIA, a brilliant anagram. I also liked NAKED EYE and LET THEM EAT CAKE.

    I agree with boltonwanderer’s mild quibble re 28A. The GRAPEVINE is surely the source of rumours, and means by which they are transmitted, and not itself the rumour. The surface read could have been emended without great difficulty to reflect that.

    Thanks to the blogger (whose time was exactly the same as mine).

  15. 16.03, so apparently relatively slow but with Bill leaping over the rooftops celebrating another one of us getting the spelling right. Bulls-eye! Does that make me eligible for an Olivia award?
    Elitist leaning? Could they mean us?* A very fine anagram and &lit.
    * Certainly me when complaining about a dodgy clue, given that another anagram is SENILE LITIGANT. There’s lovely.
    1. The award for excellence in blogging is ready engraved with your name Z. Other readers, who may not follow the TLS threads, might wish to know that this is a reference to one of our distinguished quartet of TLS setters, Myrtilus (vide supra), who includes a signature pun in his puzzles. One of his recent ones featured “Lawrence Olivia”. As for ZABADAK – I was trying out- Priest hacked by graduate changes grade to A. Will he comment?
  16. About 20mins or so, but I couldn’t for the life of me think of what the EYE should be, even after numerous alphabet runs…

    1. Right. With you, Janie. Gave up after just a few minutes whizzing through the alphabet and inventing words like ‘lazey’. Sometimes a swift cheat is just what the doctor ordered.
      1. After 15 minutes of cogitation I lost the will to live and stuck HAZEL in. It didn’t really matter as I’d already been undone Mr Mr Sykes 🙁
        1. Finally got Sikes right but only because I checked the anagrist. Read the book and all, but it does no good. I blame Eric – and I never even found him funny
    2. What does naked have to do with helpless? With which one looks is eye, ok, but why naked?
    3. What does naked have to do with helpless? With which one looks is eye, ok, but why naked?
  17. Actually I was ok on that, having made that mistake in the past – so one of the TLS bloggers is keeping the side up for now. As has been noted before, I’ve yet to see TENT on a wine list but it’s one of the setters’ favourite tipples. BRACE is in current use if you happen to frequent grouse moors and pheasant shoots (I do not). Hope you’re doing better asap Jack. Nice puzzle. 14.15

    Edited at 2017-04-25 09:33 am (UTC)

    1. This is frequently used by tv commentators of rugby matches here in the UK when individuals score 2 tries.
  18. Found this straightforward until I entered CONDENSER for 15d. It kind of fits! DNF After that. Can someone explain how Naked Eye=Helpless? Forgive me if it’s already above. Thanks all
    1. Took me a while too nfng. It’s looking (or seeing) without help, ie without glasses or any other visual aid.
    2. Also a bit dense here! But I think that it means you look at something without any glasses or telescope, binoculars etc. I.e. Wthout help.
      1. Ahh… Thanks to both of you for explaining this. Should have seen it (ho ho) – what a silly bunt as (I think) Eric Idle once said
  19. Two FAILs in a row. Like Janie I couldn’t bring to mind the right sort of eye and went with a desperate mare’s.

    Edit to wish Jackkt well. I haven’t been hereabouts every day and missed that you were ill.

    Edited at 2017-04-25 12:02 pm (UTC)

  20. Good &lit, pity re GRAPEVINE, which I too felt wasn’t quite on.

    Re BILL SIKES, I remember a lot of disappointed misspellers at one Championships after LA GIOCONDA came up.

  21. Tent=wine? Well, I’ve learned something this week. Many beautifully crafted clues today; and unafraid to be “giveaways” from time to time. Thanks all.
  22. 11 mins which included having to answer the door to receive a package that had been left with a neighbour. Unlike others PATENTLY was my LOI after TIBER.

    I agree that 17ac was a cracking clue, and I also liked the “helpless” misdirection for NAKED EYE, although the penny dropped fairly quickly. I saw COATI and ATTACHE a lot faster than some of you, and I had no problem with the correct spelling of 7dn.

  23. Another relatively quick solve for me in around 15 minutes, ending with COATI/ATTACHE. The NAKED EYE went in right away, so that didn’t hold me up, although REBEC did for a minute or two, as in “is a REBEC a real thing?”. I agree with the apparent consensus that INTELLIGENTSIA was very good. Regards.
  24. A miserable 2 errors in 44:12, with 15 of those minutes spent not seeing NAKED EYE and flouncing out of the puzzle with a HAZEL to belatedly go and stick my chicken fillets in the oven. I may as well have given up earlier as I’d already missed the Bull’s eye at 7d. Good puzzle though. Liked INTELLIGENTSIA and LET THE MEAT CAKE. Thanks setter and Vinyl. Get well soon Jack!
  25. The top half of this went in very quickly (relatively speaking). FOI 1ac. I slowed down a bit in the bottom half. After 24 mins on the train I had three left, the tricky 23ac, 24dn and 16dn. When I returned to the puzzle at lunchtime I took another 12 mins to complete. I just couldn’t see any of them for ages. I spent too long thinking Navajo or Sioux at 24dn. COD to attaché. I saw eye quite early but couldn’t identify which type for some time so 16dn was my LOI. Managed to spell Sikes correctly but only because of the word play, might have struggled otherwise.
  26. 17:15.. of which 3 minutes spent gazing unseeingly at 16d… and I see I was not alone, but at least I saw NAKED eventually. Guilty of biffing IMPASTO validated by checkers alone – thanks for the explanation Vinyl. Nearly fell for the SYKES trap, but I’ve never ridden a BYKE, so corrected my initial spelling. Nice crossword. Get well soon Jack.
  27. 8:55 for me, held up unsurprisingly at the end by the vocalophobic NAKED EYE.

    It’s possible that I once spelled BILL SIKES wrongly long ago, but I’ve competed against John Sykes (the Mark Goodliffe of his day) often enough to be in no danger of mixing up their surnames.

    An interesting and enjoyable puzzle.

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