Times 26713 – Well did you evah?

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I always feel a certain degree of pleasure when a film that has been slated by [most of] the critics is subject to what people around these parts like to call a revised verdict: Michael Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate is one example that springs to mind, Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon (Leonard Rossiter strutting his stuff and all) is another. So, I was as ecstatic as a treetop this morning to find Sinatra and Crosby in the same puzzle, bringing back memories of their 1956 flick High Society, a musical reworking of the classic comedy of remarriage The Philadephia Story, which starred three of the all-time greats: Katherine Hepburn, James Stewart and the incomparable Cary Grant. (Not to be missed are the other two Cukor films in the same genre: Bringing Up Baby and the under-rated Holiday, both starring Grant and Hepburn.) Which is all by way of saying that High Society was panned by many critics, but that I loved it with its Cole Porter songs (including the wonderful ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’), its stars (will there be another singer like ‘The Voice’?), its co-stars (Celeste Holm ensured the saccharine levels did not become dangerously high) and its visual beauty – this was the last film featuring Grace Kelly before she bowed out of Hollywood forever.

As if this were not enough for one day, this puzzle also includes a part of the brain with a sexy name. One of my beefs about the brain and the way it has been handled by boffins, is that the way they carve it up, it all sounds too prosaic: all those cortexes, lobes and fissures. So, a big vote of thanks to whoever it was who came up with hippocampus to describe a bit I’d never heard of. I am quietly confident that this was a person with a sense of humour, since it is actually derived from two Greek words – and not from one Greek and one Latin, as I had supposed, like ‘television’ and a number of other words – and means not ‘horse field’ as I had imagined, but rather ‘sea horse of a monstrous disposition’. Brilliant stuff! 36 minutes for me.

And now, without further ado, and an appropriate toast (‘Let’s drink to your health…Nah! Let’s drink to your wealth!), let’s get down to business.


1. CUT-GLASS – ‘refined’; G in CUTLASS.
10. BRACER – BRACE + R (rupees).
11. TROPHIES – O PH (abbreviation for public house in Ordinance Survey maps) in TRIES.
13. UP IN THE AIR – ‘hazy perhaps’; I’d have thought a ‘hanging’ mist is almost by definition down in the air, but I am going to a wedding later today and have been told to be on my best – least pedantic (it irritates some people, apparently) – behaviour, so I will say no more.
15. PUTT – UP reversed (‘winning’ round) + final letters of [shor]T [sho]T for a nice semi &lit.
16. FAIR – triple definition.
18. BING CROSBY – ‘gentle voice long gone’; CRY SOBBING*. A tribute to the Old Groaner. There’s a nice passing-of-the-baton moment in the duet ‘Well did you evah?’, when Sinatra and Crosby indulge in this interplay of asides: ‘Don’t dig that kind of crooning, chum’ / ‘You must be one of the newer fellows!’
21. PARADIGM – ‘example’; PARA + DIG + M.
22. SWAMPY – MP in SWAY.
25. AMAZON – double definition.
26. SOFT SELL – SO + TS (first and last letters of tastelessness) in FELL. It took me ages to get this, not least because, with checkers, I could only think of ‘safe’ and ‘sofa’ for the first word. Psychologists would have a field day with me.


2. UNSTRAP – NUTS* (the anagrind is ‘screwed up’) and RAP (hit).
4. ALDER – medial letters of [m]AL[e] + RED reversed.
5. SINATRA – hidden (and pretty well too).
6. BISHOPRIC – ‘see’; I + SHOP in BRIC[k].
7. TAO – reversal of OAT.
8. ELEMENT – double definition.
12. HIPPOCAMPUS – a slightly mind-bending clue that defies precise analysis while warping lexico-grammatical boundaries. But, credit to the setter, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts…like so much of the best in human endeavour. I will not ruin this by trying to explain it. Savour it on the palate with the second movement of Brahms’s B-flat major sextet.
14. HEBRIDEAN – now, either I have a too limited – or, thereagain, a too overactive – imagination or the setter is indulging in a bit more boundary-bending here. For the only parsing I can come up with is HE-BRIDE (‘man unusually in front of a train [i.e. long back portion of a wedding dress]?’) + AN. Is the reference to a cross-dresser, is this a plug for the LGBT movement more generally, or am I missing something blindingly obvious?
17. ANAGRAM – all this grooviness has clearly addled my hippocampi, as I can’t quite see the requisite anagrist to change something + ‘theme’ into ‘The Times’, if that indeed is what is intended.
19. NEMESIS – final letters of [thi]N [rop]E + ME + SIS.
20. BIPEDAL – ‘able to stand’; initial letters of B[lood] P[ressure] + IDEAL, all anagramatised.
22. STAFF – double definition. Cue football chant: ‘Are you Rufus in disguise?’
24. BOZ – BOZ[o]; Boz was an early pen name of Charles Dickens.

35 comments on “Times 26713 – Well did you evah?”

  1. I’m glad I’m not alone in being puzzled by those 3 down clues, although I’d be gladder to find out how exactly they work. I did think of ‘he-bride’, but didn’t convince myself. And what work is ‘Where’ doing in 12d, other than rendering the clue ungrammatical? Are we to take HIPPO as a plural? And while I’m asking questions, aren’t quadrupeds able to stand? SOFT-SELL biffed from enumeration, then parsed. COD PARADIGM.
  2. 45 minutes for me, so I’m doing well even for a Monday.

    It helped that I knew HIPPOCAMPUS—partly responsible for spacial memory, I believe, and measurably larger in London cabbies than ordinary humans—and I’m happy to’ve remembered BOZ from past puzzles.

    Count me as another who hadn’t quite worked out the ANAGRAM in 17d, but now that docjd has pointed it out, it has to be my COD. FOI 16a, LOI 1a.

    Thanks to setter and to blogger.

    Edited at 2017-05-01 08:05 am (UTC)

  3. Gradually getting back into form I worked steadily through most of this but eventually came a cropper in the SW corner. I still don’t understand what’s going on at 17dn.
  4. We can’t leave the High Society accolades without a mention of Satchmo and his band and “Now you Has Jazz”. It helps when watching the film to know that Crosby and Kelly had previously had an affair which Sinatra was jealous of.

    Also enjoyed the puzzle and the excellent 17D in particular

  5. Came to this puzzle both tired and elated after Wanderers were promoted at lunchtime yesterday and an absolutely brilliant Dylan concert at The Palladium last night. Found it tricky but got there with LOI ELEMENT, more a compound in modern science. Great to see Bing and Frank together again. I always liked their conversations, both the respect and the edge between them showing. COD PARADIGM. 32 minutes. Good puzzle. Thank you U and setter.

    Edited at 2017-05-01 08:32 am (UTC)

  6. About 40 mins in bed in a Glasgow hotel. I really liked the 17dn trick and the Rubber masseur. A nice mix of vocabulary today, I thought. Thanks setter and blogger.
  7. 17:33. I was also puzzled by 12d – I decided there was an ‘are’ missing between ‘wallowers’ and ‘at’. Never mind. All in all, good fun. I too enjoyed seeing Bing and Frank in the same puzzle. 21 (my COD) and 22a my last two in. Is the eco-warrior Mr Hooper standing for parliament next month, I wonder?
    1. Isn’t this paper’s theme an anagram of The Times perhaps…?
  8. Blimey. Yes. Even better. Didn’t twig docjd’s earlier point.
  9. About 30 minutes for this puzzle, though not much sign of International Workers’ Day. I think 12d has the word ‘are’ missing, or alternatively it should say ‘wallower’s’. LOI was PARADIGM, since I have only ever used the word to mean a basic theory, but now see that Chambers has ‘example’ as the first definition. Thanks ulaca and setter.
  10. 13 mins. It took me a little longer than it should have done to see some of the answers, such as BING CROSBY, SINATRA and GRAN CANARIA. ANAGRAM was my LOI after PARADIGM, and I only saw the anagram fodder post-solve.
  11. 30.16 for this quite testing puzzle that, for me, teetered on the border of amusingly quirky and irritating. The sun is shining (for the moment) so I will give the setter the benefit of the doubt.
  12. 17d: Is the definition ‘perhaps’? As in:
    it’s (this paper’s) + theme, when adapted to make ‘The Times’ would be an example of an anagram (perhaps)
  13. 30 minutes. I had 17d as an anagram of “its theme” as others have pointed out. I took 12d and 14d with a pinch of salt. I liked the anagram for Bing but COD to the elegant TAO.
  14. Took me a while to get going but I picked up speed nicely as I went along. COD 23ac just for having rubber=masseur. NCOD for 8dn since the “see” trick has become very vieux jeu.

    12dn: a “hippo campus” is where wallowers (are) at home when studying. 14dn: a “he-bride” is a man unusually in front of a train. Corny but hey ho.

    Oh, and the penny’s just dropped for “long-distance runner”… D’oh.

  15. Loved this one, although don’t quite understand 14d and a pity about the typo or missing word in 12d. Twigged the anagram in the excellent 17d; and pulled a face at ‘water’ as an element but maybe it’s from the days of fire, earth and so on. 20 minutes all done, before staring at the Monthly toughie for a while.
  16. Not only did I like very much, I was well and truly on the setter’s wavelength clocking in at 8:14. Fun puzzle.
  17. LOI ANAGRAM. Nice anagram, but slightly strange clue.

    DNK STANDING STONE, nor the requisite meaning of CUT-GLASS, but neither left much room for doubt.

    Good puzzle, COD to PARADIGM. Thanks setter and U.

  18. A personal best! Totally on the setter’s wavelength – a shame about what appears to be an error in the otherwise definitely Brahms-worthy HIPPOCAMPUS clue. Remembered Boz from somewhere, saw ANAGRAM from checkers (definitely COD), but special mentions to STAFF, AMAZON (what’s the point in having chestnuts if they don’t get used) and the delightful PUTT.
    Many thanks indeed go to Ulaca and setter, I feel all smug now.
  19. Did this bottoms up (for a bracer). Going South to North is by far the best route of course. I declare a DNF as I couldn’t see 21a (doh). Just a mention to Notlob – well done on promotion and well done Fleetwood for a close finish. Now where did I put that Hebridean single malt?
  20. Apologies in advance, I know this isn’t related to this particular crossword, but could anyone help out in advising how wood = deal (or vice versa) in cryptic crosswords??
    1. Deal is “a type of cheap wood, usually from Scots pine trees” (reference: Wikipedia, inevitably).
  21. Well, I got the ANAGRAM – great clue – and actually enjoyed the HIPPOCAMPUS idea and the appearances of the Ol’ Bingeroo and Ol’ Blue Eyes. I didn’t like my LOI though, which was ELEMENT. I should have paid more attention to the “perhaps?” bit at the end and realized I needed something odd. Water as an ELEMENT surely qualifies as odd, or at least archaic. So that stretched me out to 30 minutes or so. My experience with kettles ends with those that go on the cooktop/range, so equipping them with an ELEMENT wasn’t springing to mind, at all. The rest was fun, thanks to the setter and ulaca, and regards.
  22. A 40 minute canter for this swellegant and enjoyable puzzle. I was another who bunged in 17dn without full parsing thinking I might be looking for a partially indirect anagram of “its” meaning this paper and “theme” so thanks to the other contributors for explaining the full anagram in all its glory. Also had question marks at He-bride and the possible missing word or apostrophe in 12dn but I liked the image of bespectacled, bookish, hippos wearing their varsity scarves in the neuroscience faculty. FOI 9ac. LOI 8dn where I had a momentary brain freeze with all those E checkers. COD to 23ac.
  23. An “at home” or at-home (Chambers) is a party/reception, so I dare say a dictionary somewhere has it as a verb. In which case, the clue makes sense to me without the “missing” are. (Where wallowers party …)
  24. No idea of my time as I’m watching the snooker at the same time. I was glad that 3d wasn’t an opera, as my heart sinks every time I see the word (ref today’s Jumbo). LOI PARADIGM, which is an unusual word and didn’t jump out from the given letters.
  25. 11:37. Lovely puzzle, I thought.
    This ANAGRAM trick had me completely stumped the first time I encountered it. I’ve gradually got better at spotting it and saw it more or less immediately this time, with the help of a few checkers. This is a great example though.
  26. 10:35 for me, nowhere near the setter’s wavelength and so wasting lots of time on wild goose chases.

    Nice puzzle, though.

Comments are closed.