Times 26715 – held up by the underworld visitor

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I romped along through this, the top half done and understood in good time. The SE corner followed nicely. Then I struggled for a while with the SW, in spite of having the checkers from 14d and 18a. Eventually I stopped thinking about people playing classical music and re-thought ‘classical’; saw an answer and more or less parsed it. 30 minutes all told. It would be easy to fall into a trap at 16a but I think I avoided it.

Definitions underlined.

1 Last of my shipmates cast adrift are in accord (10)
SYMPATHISE – Anagram of SHIPMATES with Y being last of my.
6 Churl not allowed on loch (4)
LOUT – L for loch, OUT for not allowed. Easier than first sight suggested.
9 Left graphic symbol on former reference work (7)
LEXICON – L = left, EX = former, ICON = graphic symbol.
10 I’ll be caught by youngster with greater agility (7)
NIPPIER – NIPPER = youngster catches I.
12 Supreme surgeon’s work held back by ointment supply (10)
OMNIPOTENT – Insert OP reversed into (OINTMENT)*.
13 Overseas commander‘s range (3)
AGA – Double definition, one being a Swedish brand name.
15 Military men returned bags of traveller (6)
ROMANY – RO = OR (military men) reversed. MANY = bags of.
16 Slap-up celebration (4-4)
HIGH-FIVE – CD. Go down a snake if you put in HIGH-TIME because it fitted the checkers. I had originally said it was &lit. but the sticklers tell me it’s not because there’s no wordplay. Whatever.
18 Fumble, ultimately breaking fancy ceramic dish (3,5)
ICE CREAM – Anagram of E and CERAMIC, the E from end of fumble. Another one which threatened to be harder than it is.
20 Editor replaces first book of scripture suitable for course (6)
EDIBLE – ED replaces the first B in BIBLE.
23 Bag almost knocked over another (3)
SAC – I assume the ‘knocked over another’ would be CAS(E), but it could be CAS(H).
24 Disheartened, like rich man passed from host to client (10)
DOWNLOADED – DOWN = disheartened, LOADED = like rich man. A super clue;
I was misdirected to thinking of a word like DISPLEASED.
26 Classical musician to press hard for making a comeback (7)
ORPHEUS – As noted in my preamble, this was my LOI and didn’t spring quickly to mind, as no doubt it did for Verlaine. I knew Orpheus went to the underworld to rescue his missus but had forgotten, or never knew, he was a whizz on the lyre. All reversed: SUE = press, H = hard, PRO = for.
27 Devise case for efficient New World weapon (7)
HATCHET – HATCH = devise, E-T = case / outer letters of efficient. New World in the sense of used by indigenous Americans I presume.
28 Obscure appeal by maiden (4)
MASK – M for maiden, ASK for appeal; ‘obscure’ as a verb.
29 Cook’s equipment, initially damn funny source of rolls (10)
KETTLEDRUM – KETTLE = cook’s equipment, D = initially damn, RUM = funny.

1 Food store set up in metropolis (4)
SILO – Hidden (not very well), reversed in metropOLIS.
2 Greek character retires after saying most (7)
MAXIMUM – MAXIM = saying, UM = Greek MU reversed.
3 Game move blocked by United cross (7,6)
AUCTION BRIDGE – ACTION = move, insert U(nited), BRIDGE = cross.
4 Nudist leader wore clothes to leave (4,2)
HAND ON – HAD ON = wore clothes, insert N(udist); HAND ON = leave in the sense of bequeath, pass to on death. EDIT as Penfold 61 points out below, ‘wore’ = had on, and the ‘clothes’ is there to tell you to insert the N.
5 Type of spurious fairness (8)
SANSERIF – Typeface without serifs. (FAIRNESS)*. Nice concise clueing.
7 Oriental craft capsized one mile south of old port (7)
ORIGAMI – In crosswordland, ‘oriental craft’ is either origami or some weird kind of boat. O RIGA (port) then I M reversed (capsized).
8 Under attack, extremely tough Red Guards scoffed (10)
THREATENED – T H = extremely tough, RED guards EATEN = R(EATEN)ED.
11 Tossed pack around a couple of times in planned conflict (7,6)
PITCHED BATTLE – PITCHED = tossed, T T inside BALE = pack.
14 Roman Brit’s strange aberration (10)
17 Put rubbish in sack (3,5)
LAY WASTE – LAY = put, WASTE = rubbish.
19 Discharges nameless head, bringing in another (7)
ESCAPES – This and 26a had me delayed at the end, I wanted to put EX-something for another meaning of discharges. (N)ESS has CAPE inserted. Discharges = escapes, in the sense of e.g. radioactive effluents.
21 British reportedly flog rubbish north of the border (7)
BLETHER – B(ritish), LETHER sounds like leather = flog. An alternative spelling of blather, Scots word meaning to talk rubbish, or as a noun, rubbish being talked.
22 One-time bowler possibly superannuated (3,3)
OLD HAT – OLD = one-time, HAT = bowler. Nearly a cricket clue.
25 Trace a revolutionary word from Robespierre? (4)
ATOM – A, MOT (French for word) reversed. Not sure if atom is a real synonym for trace, as one atom would be pretty untraceable, but no doubt the non-scientific, poetic among us would disagree.

46 comments on “Times 26715 – held up by the underworld visitor”

  1. … experience to Pip’s. Thought the “Classical musician” was a nicely deflecting def., even though it made this last in for me too. Also that the “New World” (27ac) addition was probably unnecessary. And further, had do a bit of cranial wracking to make “Discharges” into “escapes” (19dn); with a lingering worry about active vs passive voice usages.

    When the newspeak crowd talk of “brainstorming” an idea, I hope they remember that it also means “a moment in which one is suddenly unable to think clearly or act sensibly” (ODO).

    Read 16ac as a cryptic def. rather than as &lit.

    1. This one slowed me down, because in my dialect the everyone-say-the-first-thing-that-comes-into-their-head meaning is the only one, and the desired meaning took a while to surface. It pleased me no end to learn that research strongly indicates that brainstorming is as stupid an idea as it sounds, generally producing no useful results.
      1. That’s so true of those corporate blue-sky away-days thinking outside the box. As a result of them, long and wasted years ensued. When I eventually became a Chairman I tried for a ban on all flip-charts and felt-tip pens. (I was happy to keep the lime juice and the mint imperials.) Taking them away from a CEO was like taking a dummy from a baby though, so I ended up wasting more years of my life. And now there’s only the Times Crossword.

        Edited at 2017-05-03 10:02 am (UTC)

  2. 20:34 … I loved this — lots of original ideas. I especially liked DOWNLOADED and the surface for THREATENED.

    Ages at the end pondering _I_H-_I_E, considering everything from a FISH-WIFE to HIGH-LIFE and a HIGH-DIVE before finally seeing the light.

    Thanks be to the setter.

  3. … and yes that One Error was ‘high time’. How did you guess? I found this a pretty tough challenge, ending with SANSERIF. Took far too long to get the PITCHED bit of 11dn, and the AUCTION bit of 3dn.

  4. Near enough 25′, with a lot of the time dithering around some great clues in the SE. Is there an adjectival form of Dives, “like a rich man”? I think I can safely say no, after chasing it around exhaustively.
    I think the (non-scientific) use of ATOM as anything really small justifies the trace definition: “there wasn’t an atom/trace of sense in anything Zabadak wrote” works for me.
  5. I, too, wanted an EX- at 19d, and by God I got one: ‘excepts’ because a) it fit the checkers and b) I was running late. Fortunately, we had BLETHER or some cognate form recently, or it would have been DNF for me (well, with 19d it pretty much was anyway, but). Like Sotira, I liked DOWNLOADED & THREATENED, and also ORPHEUS, once I parsed it post-biff.
  6. Very steady solve but with no holdups along the way

    Don’t understand “new world” in 27A – tomahawk would be new world surely?

    Liked 5d SANSERIF and 24A DOWNLOADED

  7. Stretched to an hour by the Five in High and Blether even with all the checkers. It’s funny what you can’t see until the penny drops.
    Given some of the delightful misdirection in this one, I was sure ‘like rich man passed’ had to be ‘unable to enter the kingdom of heaven’ and therefore DIS was in there somewhere. In the end DOWNLOADED was a real Doh! moment so it gets my COD.
    Bowler hats off to setter and Pip.
  8. I always thought this phrase came from the Native Americans, so no probs there. Hesitated over HIGH …. like others, had AUCTION BRIDGE without parsing. Last two in were ORPHEUS, ignoring the fact that I didn’t know he was a musician, and BRAINSTORM. Incidentally, the politically correct term is ‘thought shower’, just as ineffective. < 17 minutes, thanks pip and setter.
  9. Once again, cryptic definitions prove to be my downfall. Perhaps a question mark wouldn’t have gone amiss, or am I just looking for excuses (I went for HIGH-LIFE in the end, still my COD – no hard feelings). Looking for anagrams in 29a and 3d which weren’t there slowed me up plenty. Thank goodness I couldn’t remember DIVES, otherwise DOWNLOADED would’ve taken me even longer. Bit of a slog, but enjoyed very much.
    Many thanks Pip and setter.
  10. I can’t parse 12a omnipotent. surgeon’s work held back by ointment supply

    Work held back is po. and the rest is an anagram.

    What is surgeon for and is “supply” the anagram indicator as in to mean supple?

    1. A surgeon’s work is operations; so here for once it isn’t just work=op. Right about ‘supply’.
  11. I don’t know that definition, flashman. ‘Supply’ is indeed from ‘supple’ however. I see some references to the ‘omnipotent surgeon’ online, but I am stumped as you. On edit, I see that SUPREME is the def, and ‘surgeon’s work’ is OP.

    HIGH FIVE is a CD not an &lit as far as I can see.

    Edited at 2017-05-03 08:31 am (UTC)

    1. I don’t see the contentious point here; OP is short for operation = surgeon’s work, ‘supply’ as in ‘supply the letters’ is the anagram indicator, relating to ‘ointment’,’supreme’ is the definition.
      As for &lit v CD, I am happy with either or both, the whole clue defines the answer. I’m more concerned with getting it right and parsing it. Pip
  12. Seems my time was a good one today, particularly seeing keriothe above me whose times I rarely beat. As with others I struggled in the SW with ORPHEUS my LOI. I had no idea of the parsing, so thanks to pip for that.
  13. I assumed HATCHET was new world because of George Washington and the cherry tree, but I cannot tell a lie, I don’t know if he used an axe or a hatchet. After 55 minutes I used checkers for SANSERIF so a DNF. Spent too long contemplating the high life before seeing HIGH FIVE, a mode of congratulation that thankfully post-dates my sporting career. I spent too long with Trueman and Statham on 22d, so my brain was only storming in the clued sense. Hard puzzle. Thanks Pip and setter.
  14. I enjoyed this one, but ultimately failed in the NE corner. I couldn’t see the definition of HAND ON, I’d never heard of that spelling of SANSERIF and hadn’t spotted that it might be an anagram, and not knowing what a “churl” was stymied me for 6a, too. I thought of “pout” about nineteen times, but never LOUT.

    Loved many of the clues, often of the kind where one goes from “I have no idea how this clue even works” to “ohofcourseitbloodyis” in seconds. Speaking of which, COD to DOWNLOADED. I also liked the definition for KETTLE DRUM.

  15. Found this tougher going than yesterday’s, which I thought better constructed, but got there. 16a last one in and not very keen on the clue .. (technically, Penge, it is a cd&lit .. that is why the &)

    1. An &Lit is a clue in which the whole clue is both wordplay and definition. I can’t see any wordplay in this clue, so I’d just call it a CD.
      1. Yes, that’s my reading too keriothe. Everything does double duty in &lit clues, not the case in today’s HIGH FIVE. I like it very much nonetheless.
  16. 23:26. I found this very hard, but very satisfying.
    Last in was ORPHEUS: I had no idea he was a musician. Last time I saw him he was Juan Diego Flórez, but I don’t think that’s what the setter meant.
    I assumed that ‘New World’ referred to the fact that in any other context a HATCHET would be a tool for chopping wood. Collins seems to agree:

    hatchet (ˈhætʃɪt )
    1. a short axe used for chopping wood, etc
    2. a tomahawk

    Of course in this context the users of the HATCHET might object to the description of their world as ‘new’, but that’s another question.

    Edited at 2017-05-03 08:50 am (UTC)

  17. Undone by 17 where bag waste seemed so practical.Otherwise an enjoyable ride, though concerned that in my dotage nipper took a little while to surface, nifter…nimber… oh dear.
  18. 18:03 of enjoyable solving with COD HIGH FIVE going straight in. Orpheus came from the crossers but I knew that he was a musician (cf the fine Orpheus String Quartet). Being long married to a Scot means that I have come across BLETHER many, many times. Thanks setter and pip.
  19. I seemed to do lots of alphabet scanning around the checkers. So on 4d I tried “hung” but thought that may be too much for The Times (excepting Mr Mayer). Did ok but failed on the SW bits where others struggled. Also couldn’t see High Five (and still don’t get thus). COD Blether as I think it’s good to have such words (grandad used to say yedwach for headache!).
    1. Think about how you do a High Five, namely slapping one hand together with the other person’s one hand above head height. It is a celebration slap up.
    1. Nope

      a battle in which the time and place are determined beforehand, rather than a casual or chance skirmish.

  20. 20:51 *shakes fist at Sotira* so definitely a bit trickier than average. Until today I didn’t actually know that pitched battle had such a precise meaning, I though it was just a general melee. Maybe I should participate in them more often.

    Pip, I think you need to amend your parsing of HAND ON just a tad. If “wore clothes” accounts for HAD ON there’s nothing to indicate that the N has to go inside (it would parse as NHAD ON), so I think HAD ON just comes from “wore”, with “clothes” indicating that HAD ON goes outside N.

  21. Another HIGH TIMER here – I just chucked it in thinking that it can’t be right, and forgot to recheck. Also DNF because I totally misparsed 6a and never thought of L for loch.
    A very good puzzle with lots of eureka moments throughout. I think it’s those eureka moments that make crosswording such a joy.
  22. I almost gave up on this after 15 minutes without solving a clue. I eventually started with EDIBLE, and after another 90 minutes limped over the line with no errors, but feeling as though I’d suffered a 14d. LOI was DOWNLOADED with a Eureka moment. Great clue. Took ages for the penny to drop re the anagram indicator for 12a. I think I’ll go and lie down in a darkened room now. Thanks setter and Pip.
  23. Whew. I found this definitely on the ‘not easy’ side of things. It took me about 45 minutes, which is twice my usual or thereabouts. BLETHER and ORPHEUS weren’t obvious to me, nor BRAINSTORM as an aberration. But I did very much appreciate DOWNLOADED and HIGH-FIVE. Regards.
  24. 36 mins. I felt completely off this setter’s wavelength, and although I was tired when I started the puzzle I don’t believe I lost too much time to drifting. It took me much too long to untangle some of the anagrams, and MASK was my LOI after ESCAPES even though it should have been close to a write-in. Not my finest solve, and to be honest I found it more of a chore than a pleasure, although I did like the “source of rolls” definition for 29ac.
  25. I never real!y got stuck with this and it never really felt like wading through treacle but nonetheless whilst progress was steady it seems to have been relatively slow: 39 mins in the morning before work intervened and then 33 mins at lunchtime to finish it off. FOI 12ac. LOI 16ac – I also pondered high time for a while before doing an alphabet trawl to get the second word. I am always slow to spot a cryptic definition and spent too long looking for wordplay. I was also slow to spot that 5dn was an anagram. I liked 1ac, 24ac, 26ac, 4dn and 5dn but give my COD to 26ac because the misdirection led me to think alto, tenor, pianist, violinist, Chopin, Mozart etc etc ad infinitum before following the wordplay to derive the solution and a nice PDM. I did wonder if describing the humble kettle at 29ac as “cook’s equipment” might be giving it ideas above its station.
  26. 11:21 for me, much closer to the setter’s wavelength than yesterday and the day before. Even the vocalophobic HIGH-FIVE went in more or less straight away, as did ORPHEUS.

    Nice puzzle.

    PS: Did people really no know that ORPHEUS was a musician? I can recommend Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld (or Orphée aux enfers if your French is up to it, but you really do need to understand the language to appreciate all the jokes). I remember Wendy Toye’s production at Sadler’s Wells back in the early 1960s – an absolute hoot. Look out for Natalie Dessay as Eurydice on YouTube.

    Edited at 2017-05-03 10:28 pm (UTC)

    1. O tempora! O mores! Mind you it’s probably quite easy to get him confused with Orestes and Oedipus, neither of whom had a musical eye in their head.

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