Times 26711 – was this tough or was I below par?

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Just back from a tiring and somewhat socially excessive golf trip, in unseasonably cold and wet Catalonia, I found this quite tough in places; it took me the bones of 45 minutes to get through it without biffing. Anyway thanks V for subbing on Wednesday last, that’s why I’m on duty today.
A couple of chemical or biochemical clues helped me get along, and we’ve had the answer to 24a recently so I spelt it right this time. We’ve had the Belgian dog fairly recently too, not sure where, but it was my FOI at 1a.

1 Dog worried sheep: pick another, finally (10)
SCHIPPERKE – (SHEEP PICK R)*; a small Belgian sheepdog.
6 Grimacing, being devoid of fish in boat (4)
SCOW – SCOWLING = grimacing, remove the LING being a fish.
9 Theatre: something coming off there to loud cheers? Then
disapproval (7)
REPROOF – REP = theatre, the ROOF is raised when you hear loud cheering.
10 Composer the nation listened to (7)
BRITTEN – Sounds like BRITAIN. One of the few composers whose works I find un-listenable-to.
12 Insincere person is held by agent and broken down somehow (10)
FACTORISED – ACTOR (insincere person), IS, all inside FED = agent.
13 Money — about spent: what remains? (3)
ASH – CASH loses C (about).
15 One given sentence finally in jail for the ‘cooler years’ (3,3)
ICE AGE – I – one, CAGE = jail, insert E = end of sentence.
16 Achievement of female getting down (8)
FEATHERS – FEAT = achievement, HERS = of female.
18 Mark article penned by journalist who seeks to resolve problem? (8)
MEDIATOR – M = mark, EDITOR = journalist, insert A = article.
20 Quiet street abroad crossing a grand city (6)
PRAGUE – P = quiet, RUE = street abroad, insert A G(rand).
23 Having no end of pain, call doctor (3)
RIG – Took me a mo or two to reverse engineer this one, but with R*G it had to be. RING = call, remove the N being ‘end of pain’.
24 Artist’s faced with decline — specialist health advisers needed (10)
DIETITIANS – DIE = decline, TITIAN’S = artist’s. As noted above I put in diteician last time but the painter made it easier to get right.
26 Primate not half pious intellectual, I’ll be bound (7)
HOMINID – HO = pious (holy) not half; MIND = intellectual, insert I = I’ll be bound.
27 Believe I may go south in winter (7)
SWALLOW – Double definition.
28 Woman getting a husband after heartless lie (4)
LEAH – LE = heartless lie, A H(usband).
29 Racist perhaps managed to occupy home available for tenant (10)
INTOLERANT – IN = home, TO LET = available for tenant, insert RAN = managed.

1 Desperate shop with tons to dispose of (4)
SORE – STORE = shop, dispose of the T.
2 Chemical pile, not a brown source of energy (7)
HEPTANE – HE(A)P = HEP = pile not A; TAN = brown, E = ‘source’ of energy. Saturated hydrocarbon with 7 carbon atoms and 16 hydrogen atoms. A minor but undesirable component of petrol as it burns too explosively and causes ‘knocking’
3 Label on boy without name in horrible prison compound (13)
PROSTAGLANDIN – label = TAG, BOY = lad, INSERT n )NAME) = land. Insert all of that, TAGLAND, into (PRISON)*. I could explain for you exactly what kind of ‘compounds’ prostaglandins are and what physiological roles they play, but I’m too tired; have a look in Wiki if you’re dying to know.
4 4 Endeavour to put very loud men in sci-fi film (6)
EFFORT – FF = very loud, OR = men, ordianry ranks; insert both into that old chestnut ET.
5 Put an end to rubbish culture ultimately absorbed by youngster (8)
KIBOSHED – KID = youngster, insert BOSH = rubbish, E = culture ultimately. An odd word, with several possible origins; I think the derivation from Irish an chaip bháis meaning ‘black cap’ or ‘cap of death’ is the most suitable.
7 Time in bed, a long time, in type of hospital? (7)
COTTAGE – COT = bed, insert T, AGE = a long time.
8 See guerrilla struggle’s origin in time of discontent? (10)
WINCHESTER – WINTER, of discontent as in Richard III. Insert CHE and S (struggle’s origin).
11 Deem itinerant drunk to be unsettled (13)
14 High-ranking officer in broadcast — American with a plan
being heard (3-7)
AIR-MARSHAL – AIR as in broadcast, MARSHAL sounds like MARSHALL as in George, who instigated the Plan post WW II.
17 God’s attitude I assume! (8)
POSEIDON – POSE = attitude, I DON = I assume. Neat.
19 Old letter in the morning glossy I’d flipped over (7)
DIGAMMA – AM, MAG, I’D all reversed. I’d vaguely heard of it being an old Greek letter but went to Wiki to learn more. “Digamma, waw, or wau (uppercase: Ϝ, lowercase: ϝ, numeral: ϛ) is an archaic letter of the Greek alphabet. It originally stood for the sound /w/ but it has principally remained in use as a Greek numeral for 6. Whereas it was originally called waw or wau, its most common appellation in classical Greek is digamma; as a numeral, it was called episēmon during the Byzantine era and is now known as stigma after the Byzantine ligature combining σ-τ as ϛ.. I’m sure Verlaine would have explained it without needing to look it up.
21 Group of baddies having trouble set up cell structures (7)
GANGLIA – GANG = group of baddies, AIL reversed.
22 Girl’s firm, concealing a catastrophe (6)
FIASCO – FI’s CO would be a girl’s firm; insert A. I spent a while trying to find a girl’s name based on C****O.
25 Tease son not joining in dance (4)
TWIT – TWIST for dance, as in Chubby Checker; remove the S(on).TWIT can mean to tease as well as being a silly person.

59 comments on “Times 26711 – was this tough or was I below par?”

  1. 18:44 … tricky in parts. I’ve rarely checked wordplay as carefully as I did with DIETITIANS!

    Last in FACTORISED and HEPTANE after finally seeing past a tentative ‘heptide’.

    Thanks Pip and the setter

    1. I wrote DIETICIANS at the bottom of my sheet of paper to see if I could make it fit the wordplay, spotted that it would work as TITIAN’S after DIE, but still wrote it as DIETICIANS in the grid and had to correct. Nasty word.
  2. a de facto DNF, as I put in ‘schnippeker’, didn’t like it, and looked it up. We had it recently, too. I threw in ‘Ireland’ before checkers taught me better. I’m with Pip on BRITTEN, but then I find most music of the 20th century unappealing.
  3. Not sure what went wrong today, but apparently I forgot to make a mistake. Same unknowns as Sawbill, but they must have been clued fairly. Not sure I could have spelt the dog properly without anagrammatical assistance either.

    After all that, LOI was an unparsed HOMINID, so thanks Pip for the elucidation, and for the blog in general.

  4. Fairly straightforward this, one or two unusual words but nothing obscure 🙂
    Learned discussion here about the interesting word kibosh
    As for Britten, I believe that apart from a couple of blips, it has been all downhill since Bach died..

    Edited at 2017-04-28 07:44 am (UTC)

    1. If you consider it unusual it certainly meets my definition of obscure. 😉

      Edited at 2017-04-28 09:32 am (UTC)

  5. Held up for a good while by prostawotsit, factorised (faliarised anyone?) and couldn’t see decline = die for too long. Also had PROW(ling) from the start for 6a, leaving me searching for a synonym of bed that began with R. LOI FEATHERS, having looked at it every which way but the right one, but was very chuffed to finally limp over the finish line. COD goes to the delightfully cheesy ICE AGE.
    Very much in Britten’s corner by the way – I think Hymn to St Cecilia is wonderful.
    Many thanks Pip and setter.
  6. About 50 mins interrupted by walk to Waverley to get a train to N Berwick with Fi. The sun is shining on the Bass Rock. So not too fractious. Anagrams of forgotten dogs, I ask you. And long compounds.
    I liked Winchester. Random ‘girl’ today is Fi.
  7. 35 minutes. Quite a lot of trust today in the setter with PROTOGLANDIN, HEPTANE, DIGAMMA etc. COD to POSE I DON.
  8. All correct today bar the composer, whom I first spelled Brittan, then Britton.
    I don’t like his music either.
  9. I knew SCHIPPERKE, HEPTANE and GANGLIA but not LOI PROSTAGLANDIN for which I needed all the crossers to be sure. I enjoyed factorising and also simultaneous equations at school which being from the north in the early sixties meant I had to read Physics and not other favourites English or History. It’s not something to regret though, as I can see why there can be no answers! Something INDETETERMINATE can never be settled. I was pleased Titian’s PR team got him another plug or I’d have struggled with DIETITIANS, having lined up clinicians and physicians for an unnecessary operation. COD KIBOSHED. 32 minutes, so about average but I thought I’d done well. Thank you Pip and setter.
  10. I carefully built the dog from the crossers and anagram fodder and was pleased to get it right. Reminding me that we had it not long ago (Dec 12, I think) quite punctured my sense of achievement and added to the realisation that there’s a lot of stuff that isn’t quite long enough ago to be a fixture in the memory banks.

    The rest was (also) a satisfying “trust the wordplay” event. Though all the words rang a bell when I got them (I’m not yet that far gone) it was kind of the setter to lead us gently by the hand.

    Many thanks to Pip for doing the research so I didn’t have to.

    Edited at 2017-04-28 08:42 am (UTC)

  11. 20m. Quite chewy this one, and I relied heavily on the wordplay throughout, which always makes for a very satisfying solve. It’s particularly pleasing to construct a word like PROSTAGLANDIN and be absolutely sure that it’s right, however unlikely-looking it may be.
    I remembered the dog, and saw how the wordplay worked fairly early on, but I still needed all the checkers to be confident of where all the letters went, so it was my last in.
    Like others I was helped by the fact that the artist appeared in person this time rather than subbing in his paint.
    Excellent stuff, thanks setter and Pip.
  12. Curses. Most done in an hour, pushed on further and got everything but 17d. Just couldn’t see POSEIDON.

    I shall blame the fact that the big statue of him in Bristol city centre has been covered up during the interminable Metrobus works, so I’ve not walked past him for a year or two. I think I may also have been over-thinking because of the exclamation mark, expecting something cleverer.

    Shame, as I recognised PROSTAGLANDIN, got HEPTANE from my GCSE chemistry, remembered—eventually—SCHIPPERKE from the previous puzzle, and even spelled BRITTEN correctly, all to fall at the last hurdle.

    Thanks to setter and blogger. Perhaps I should add “gods” to my list of long lists to practise.

    Edited at 2017-04-28 08:49 am (UTC)

  13. This was quite a slog for me, lightened only by remembering a limerick which my father told me over forty years ago, but had lain dormant waiting for this moment to pop up unbidden…

    While Titian was mixing rose madder
    A model lay posed on a ladder
    The position to Titian
    Suggested coition
    So he nipped up the ladder and ‘adder

    I’ll get my coat…

    Edited at 2017-04-28 08:59 am (UTC)

      1. I assume the limerick refers to all the paintings of “Venus” he did, with no particular mythological connection other than the female form.

        Many apologies if it sounded like I was having a go at The Assumption. It was in no way intended, and the painting is utterly sublime.

        1. i think the fault is mine, Esc. Apologies to all those who believe without having the need to take the mickey at the same time, a category that sadly I fall into. I was just making a weak joke about The Assumption taking place using a ladder. But I can see no sound theological reason why not, although Titian did manage to paint the scene without one. I agree that the painting is sublime.
          1. Ah! I see the joke now… Very good! It would’ve helped if I’d got it earlier – Apologies for that. I can only assume the crossword knocked the humour out of me!
    1. My favourite limerick of all time! I was beginning to think I was the only one who knew it. I’ve got “His model” and “her position” and “leapt up” but otherwise identical. Ann
      1. It’s very good and very funny. But my favourite has to be There was a young man of Devizes, who had feet of two different sizes. I’ve no idea now how the thing ends, but the whole point of the thing is in the word Devizes. Magical.
        1. Not “feet” in the version I know! (Ends: The one was so small it was no good at all. But the other won several prizes)
  14. Very enjoyable puzzle with excellent wordplay leading to derived answers – very much my favourite clues.

    PROSTAGLANDIN are very important – they regulate your hormones for example and initiate child birth. Fascinating world.

    Well blogged Pip and thanks setter

  15. Untimed due to having to do it in fits and starts, but probably around 30 minutes for a rather pleasant puzzle. I too had heptide, which meant 12a was rather difficult to get as a result. I knew 1a thanks to the educative nature of previous Times crosswords and worked out 3d and 19d.
    FOI was 10a and if I can wade into the argument, I find Britten a really frustrating composer: some of his work is very listenable to (Simple Symphony, English folk songs),some sublime (War Requiem), some harrowing (Peter Grimes) others totally excruciating (string quartets). Trouble is you never know which Britten is going to turn up.
    1. The Young Person’s Guide and the Gloriana Dances are also very easy to listen to. I sang the War Requiem on May 8th 1995 in a joint concert with a German choir in Mannheim. A commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the end of the war in Europe. I hadn’t thought of Britten as being very accessible but some people in the audience actually fainted. There was no immediate applause. We thought they hadn’t liked it. But then one man stood up and slowly the rest of the audience joined him. They just stood in silence for a minute before applauding. Britten is not always easy but sometimes, like then, he hits the spot! Ann
      1. Living in Suffolk for nearly 20 years, I have to stick up for him. I did enjoy singing his choral music. I too have performed the War Requiem – in about 1979 in Kings College chapel Cambridge. What a piece! People were asked not to applaud and at the end you could have heard a pin drop. Then everyone left in silence. Somehow that was much more of a tribute than wild applause.
  16. And there I was thinking childbirth was initiated by, for example, Titian nipping up the ladder. I clearly have a lot to learn.
    1. I’ll leave the women in your life to explain the difference between conception and birth! All this stuff about ladders goes right over my head.
  17. You’re correct that I knew digamma without having to look it up. The best way I can explain this “lost” letter is by telling you, you know how the Greek word for wine is “oinos”, as in oenology? Well, originally that word apparently started with a digamma and so was “woinos” – basically the same word we have in English.

    Don’t get me started on koppas and sampis though, we’ll be here all day.

  18. DIETITIAN(S) again then. I liked the ‘faced with’ bit of that. DIGAMMA was clued fairly I thought, because, I mean COME ON, it is a bit obscure.
    1. Actually, I should have moaned about SCHIPPERKE being anagrammed, for the same reason I kicked off yesterday with that Russian writer. Probably boring to say this, but if you can’t enter the answer having solved the clue via its mechanism, it’s gotta be a wrong ‘un.
  19. Similar to the above, I had SCHIPPEKER which made a bit of a problem for 5d. Having finally looked it up, I then decided that KEBABBED
  20. Done it again! that KEBABBED meant put an end to, which delayed my completion. excellent Xword today.
  21. Disaster today with 3 wrong: BRITTON, DIETICIAN and HUMANID(don’t know where I got that from). In my defence I was itching to jump on my bike and go to collect my car from the garage where they’d found a broken rear coil spring and impounded it overnight. All’s well now (for the moment). I don’t think my mind was fully on the puzzle as I had SCHIPPEKER to start with and had to look up the correct spelling before I was able to get KIBOSHED. 38:15 for this car crash! Thanks setter and Pip.
    1. I was another humanid John, glad I’m not the only one who likes to make up the odd word here and there!
  22. 26:41 so I’m definitely not on form this week. I remembered that we’d had the dog before but couldn’t remember it well enough to stop me creating a scheppeker (which didn’t even contain all the right letters) which I corrected one I saw kiboshed. That took a while too as I was fixated on BISH rather than BOSH.
  23. Started quite well down the RH side but soon came unstuck and struggled. Used aids a couple of times to kick-start the solving process, but finding answers such as DIGAMMA, GANGLIA, SCHIPPERKE, and PROSTAGLANDIN just made me realize I was out of my depth with this setter on the day. Completed the grid eventually but with no sense of achievement whatsoever.
  24. I’m an idiot. Despite knowing full well how to spell Britten I wrote it in as Brittan. That error messed up a decent 18 mins, with FACTORISED my LOI after PROSTAGLANDIN.
  25. An enjoyable struggle this morning. Checked out at 50 minutes. Didn’t know PROSTAGLANDIN, SCHIPPERKE, and HEPTANE. I finally got them from the cryptic. It’s a pity they were all in the same corner. I hope the clue for 24a will remind me in future how to spell DIETITIAN. Ann
  26. Well, that’s a bunch of obscure words there today. This took me full 40 minutes fighting through the unknowns, but my LOI was the perfectly recognizable POSEIDON. Maybe I was looking for something less well familiar. Regards.
  27. A DNF for me, very annoying. I thought this was on the tough side so I was careful to parse the unknowns Heptane, Prostaglandin and Digamma, took care with the spelling of the dog remembered from its previous crossword outing and especial care with the spelling of 24ac having mistakenly spelt it with a C on its previous outing. All that care only to stupidly come a cropper on 26ac where I bunged in Humanid. I cannot tell you what I was thinking or how I managed to even half-parse or justify it. Nor is the word Hominid an unknown for me. Bah!
  28. I managed all the aforesaid boobs (no offence meant, Titian) plus one of my own, inventing kyboshed. Needed to look that up as I felt more insecure than normal, as well as the ugly dog, where I was pretty darned pleased to tease out shippeker. Then I go and ruin it all by writing something stupid like dietician, even though my sister is one. And I somehow managed to get all the scientific stuff, one of which I’d even heard of. Oh, and JD, I too dabbled with humanid, or was it hominad…or hominud? Digamma not a problem, though.

    As for Britten ( who I can never hear of without thinking of the joke about finding him under Peter Pears in the Oxford Dictionary of Music), having done his War Requiem with Lorin Maazel a few years back, I have a theory about his music: better to look at than to listen to. With a couple of orchestras, a couples of choirs (one off stage), soloists, organist and conductor, there’s lots to take your mind off the music.

    For a nice bit of English 20th century, it’s difficult to go past Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast, and both Delius and Finzi are very melodic. Ivor Gurney is a bit of a gem too. Having said that, Jerry is not far off the mark with his comment about the Thuringian. His cantatas alone would do me in the afterlife, should I make the cut.

    Edited at 2017-04-28 05:27 pm (UTC)

    1. Thanks U. I feel much better now :-)I also have to admit I was feeling quite pleased with myself for teasing out GANGLIA, HEPTANE and PROSTAGLANDIN until I was brought crashing back to Earth!
      On yet another edit:Oh yes and DIGAMMA!

      Edited at 2017-04-28 08:18 pm (UTC)

  29. My 12:56 seems to have held up pretty well – at least according to the TCC leaderboard – for this interesting and enjoyable puzzle.

    I’m very fond of almost all of Britten’s music. His Spring Symphony was one of the first works I sang with the LSO Chorus, and that and his War Requiem are both wonderful sings. He and Shostakovich are much my favourites of the (mainly) post-war composers, in fact almost the only ones I really like.

    Those who put (or were tempted by) HUMANID were perhaps thinking of HUMANOID – as I was. However, it didn’t feel right and when I failed to justify it from the wordplay, I thought again.

    In the substitute crossword for the first Championship Qualifier, the clue to 19ac was originally “Spade-work morning after morning is obsolete (7)”, but the answer had to be changed to DILEMMA to avoid the N-word in 16dn (which was changed to GOLDEN BOY).

      1. Same as for 19dn in the current puzzle – so presumably the clue wouldn’t pass muster nowadays (unless I’m missing something).
  30. 43:53. Several unknowns for me. Tried hard to make 26a GORILLA, but DIGAMMA killed that. The tricky little 23a RIG my COD.
      1. Hi Tony. Yes… one of my first ones in. And what a fine composer he was, especially for the voice. Alas I don’t sing much any more, but I have enjoyed performing many of his choral works. His Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes was one of my set pieces for music ‘O’ level back in the seventies, but it is only now I live in Suffolk that I get to appreciate the landscapes that inspired him. I get to Snape quite regularly with my children performing in Suffolk Young Strings/Suffolk Youth Orchestra and usually take time to visit the sea at Aldebrugh too.

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