Times 26,717: Oh Say Can You See

A puzzle that should go down well with our Stateside constituents, I reckon, with at least 3 answers to be found on the American map rather than Surrey for a change, and a food item that I think one is much more likely to come across in the USA. The latter clue, 4dn, held me up a good while at the end because while I was pretty sure nothing else fit, I was worried about correctly accounting for all the A’s in the clue, pushing me over the 10 minute line. But in the end it was just what it had to be, one of those days where just bunging stuff in would have been better.

I find myself without a lot to say about this one, although the cluing was up to snuff and I enjoyed myself – thanks setter! DNK 7dn – my Canadian allegiances make me unable to think of that as anything but a type of mac ‘n’ cheese dinner (another one to add to the North American flavour of this grid?), but everything else was fairly straightforward? My COD to 20ac because “one of eight at the top level of England” raised a smile and reminded me of number 8, whose portly figure stood above the entrance to my school in Chester, which he founded with his ill-gotten monastery plunder. How’d the rest of you get on?


1 Bossy old man abroad, politician, one on the right wing (10)
PEREMPTORY – PERE MP TORY [old man abroad – i.e. “father” in French | politician | one on the right wing]
6 Runners embrace when the last one advances (4)
SKIS – KISS [embrace], when the last letter advances to the beginning of the word
10 Chatter behind gym, meeting American stars (7)
PEGASUS – GAS [chatter] behind P.E. [gym], meeting US [American]
11 Openings in colonnade showing dull interior (7)
STOMATA – STOA [colonnade] with MAT [dull] as its interior
12 Separate occasion around end of the month, hard to avoid (9)
DEMARCATE – DATE [occasion] around {th}E + MARC{h}
13 Progressed in game, getting century (3,2)
GOT ON – GO [game], getting TON [century]
14 Bit of a joint that’s eaten only if edges have been trimmed (5)
TENON – {ea}TEN ON{ly} after trimming away the edges
15 Place of burial ignorantly abused? Not unknown (9)
ARLINGTON – (IGNORANTL{y}*) [“abused”]. The hallowed Arlington Cemetery in Virginia.
17 Spooner’s elaborate, true bringer of a little illumination (9)
RUSHLIGHT – Spoonerised LUSH RIGHT [elaborate | true]
20 Physics unit — one of eight at the top level in England (5)
HENRY – Kings Henry I through VIII were “at the top level” in England.
21 Island‘s extremely old person (5)
WIGHT – double def, a “wight” being the old word for a person in Chaucer, etc.
23 A relation has transcendental meditation in a room (9)
APARTMENT – A PARENT [a relation] has T.M. [transcendental meditation] in
25 Happen to disagree (4,3)
FALL OUT – double def
26 Indiana native to plant willow at back of house (7)
HOOSIER – plant OSIER [willow] “at back of” HO [house]
27 Mistake, kind that has one letter wrong? (4)
TYPO – a one-letter typo for TYPE [kind]
28 Most moralistic minister enthralling every person individually (10)
PREACHIEST – PRIEST [minister] “enthralling” EACH [every person individually]


1 Like certain music in tube? (5)
PIPED – double def
2 ‘Tigers’, men trained for army units (9)
REGIMENTS – (TIGERS MEN*) [“trained”]
3 Rendering error that could be made by saint, mortal sin? (14)
MISTRANSLATION – (SAINT MORTAL SIN*) [“that could be made by…”]
4 Drunk upset a little bit, wanting a bit of food (7)
TOSTADA – SOT reversed [drunk “upset”] + TAD [a little bit], wanting A
5 River, very big source of water in New Mexican city (7)
ROSWELL – R OS WELL [river | very big | source of water]
7 Paper for something like origami, we hear? (5)
KRAFT – homophone of CRAFT [something like origami, “we hear”]
8 Inactivity of party man and woman (9)
STAGNANCY – STAG [party man] + NANCY [woman]
9 Grey, like a dental amalgam with enduring quality? (4,2,3,5)
LONG IN THE TOOTH – if your dental amalgam endures, it will remain long in your tooth
14 Have kittens in small blanket, one put in at the back (5,1,3)
THROW A FIT – THROW [small blanket] + I [one] put in AFT [at the back]
16 Children eating — sadly no child wanted fruit (9)
TANGERINE – ({child}REN EATING*) [“sadly”]
18 Grand speechifier, one making concessions? (7)
GRANTER – G RANTER [grand | speechifier]
19 Technique set up to restrict pain in part of body (7)
TRACHEA – ART reversed [technique “set up”] “to restrict” ACHE [pain]
22 Dance round piano following young female (5)
GALOP – O P [round | piano] following GAL [young female]
24 Caustic about old fortune-teller’s aid
TAROT – TART [caustic] “about” O [old]

48 comments on “Times 26,717: Oh Say Can You See”

  1. I had the same worry about TOSTADA, since ‘a little bit’ just had to be A TAD; but it doesn’t, does it? It took me a while to get beyond ‘hertz’ at 20ac, even though it clearly wouldn’t do, and even though we have H all the time. HOOSIER was a gimme, with ‘willow’ icing on the cake. I knew the fruit had to be TANGERINE, but I just couldn’t see why, until after solving. Liked HENRY, but I think my COD goes to DEMARCATE, in part because it caused me so much trouble.
  2. Less than 35 mins with pancakes and maple syrup: quite apt for this US friendly offering. That’s quick for me which shows it was generally trouble free. Today Nancy has to be content with being just a woman. Maybe COD to the kittens for the cute surface. Thanks to setter and V.
  3. 7dn hard, since I hadn’t heard of it .. no problems though with Henry, Hoosier (from the Outlaw Josey Wales) or tostada (visits to Spain)
    1. Didn’t solve a single clue until I got all the way to TYPO down at the bottom (which is also my COD). Rather smugly, I can say that origami = craft occurred to me fairly quickly, but ran into some big problems with that pesky Spoonerism, and convincing myself that 9d was DOWN IN THE MOUTH (kind of grey, 4 in the dental region? Tenuous I know). TM for Trans… Med… new on me, as is Wight. Entertaining and informative, as ever.
      Many thanks Verlaine and setter.
  4. As verlaine suggested was the order of the day, I ended up bunging in my last three – TOSTADA, KRAFT and RUSHLIGHT and hoping for the best, which worked out well for me today.

    Despite having heard of the Hoosier Dome and the one hit wonder eighties band The Hoosiers (Satellite their one hit) I didn’t know what a Hoosier was so happy to learn something.

    1. I think you’ve just been struck off The Hooters’ Christmas card list.
      1. Good spot! I see The Hoosiers had a number 5 hit with ‘Worried about Ray’ in 2007 which I vaguely recall, but they also had another three in the top 40 which makes them four hit wonders. I’ve confirmed The Hooters were one hit wonders, though they had more success in the US. Maybe they were big in Indianapolis?
  5. Hard work with several unknowns including KRAFT as paper , WIGHT as old bloke.

    Edited at 2017-05-05 07:12 am (UTC)

    1. You summed up my experience exactly. Nothing to add.

      At least I got SAWBILL in yesterday’s FT.

    2. Yes. Knew it as that orange American cheese, but it fit right in.
  6. Beyond me today and towel thrown in after 40 minutes, with as it turns out the hold ups being obscure words, all unknowns. Also entered Tort for TYPO (sort with one letter changed) so blocked myself in the SW as well. Enjoyed the blog if not the puzzle!
  7. Good puzzle, apart from not finishing. How is KISS embrace? A kiss in snooker means a touch, a kiss among humans…Dnk KRAFT, although had considered and rejected it. Thanks V and setter.
  8. 51 minutes for me, so pretty comfortable for a Friday. Thought it was going to be much tougher, but things started falling into place more quickly once I was going down rather than across.

    Would’ve been quicker if I’d successfully memorised “osier” from past puzzles. I only recognised “stoa” when working backwards from the biff, too.

    “TM” no problem for me, as someone with an interest in meditation, though it feels like US usage more than British, so perhaps that’s part of the general American theme.

    I must have eaten a TOSTADA or two because that sprang to mind well enough. KRAFT and WIGHT just had to be trusted. Didn’t spot the wordplay for TANGERINE, so that was my last one in with a hopeful shrug. FOI REGIMENTS, COD TYPO.

  9. Felt very slow but for me a reasonable 29. LOI 8 having inexplicably entered stomato…obviously been in the greenhouse too much recently. Otherwise a fair offering with little to embrace other than Henry which gets my x. TY setter and Verlaine.
  10. Very US orientated today. I did try for an Argentinian flavour by first going for Rosario for 5d, thinking there may be one in New Mexico too and that a Rio was a source of water there. I did quickly amend to Roswell, although that rang no bells. HOOSIER did fortunately, and I have walked round ARLINGTON. Even HENRY was a Yank. Vaguely remembered WIGHT as a man, although having W-G-T for an island was somewhat helpful. DNK RUSHLIGHT either but I tried lots of L-S- combinations for elaborate and settled doubtfully on LUSH. Nothing else worked though. COD PEREMPTORY. FOI PEGASUS. About 35 minutes. Thanks V and setter. I will only be posting occasionally for the next few months as I’m going to try to write a second novel before I’m totally in my dotage.
  11. Where ufologists and US conspiracy theorists like to believe the government covered up an alien invasion. Or something. 14.10
    1. Yes; last year I re-watched The X-Files from start to finish, so I was very familiar with the name.
      1. I feel like I know Arlington from American TV shows too – possibly even from the X-Files. Perhaps the setter is a fan…
        1. Apparently some of a second season episode is set in Arlington itself, but the strongest X-Files connection is that Skinner arranges for The Lone Gunmen to be buried there, after they sacrifice their lives to stop a bio-terrorist releasing his weapon.
  12. Safely negotiated my way around the US of A for a moderate time of 22.30. I thought TANGERINE a clever twist on the anagram theme, and actually worked it through that way rather than guessing fruit and working back.
    Had to take Kraft on trust (Werked for me), as I thought comparing the processed rubbery slices to paper was unfair to paper.

    I believe you could throw a fit better if you tostada…

  13. LJ is coming up on my screen at present as if my screen were zoomed to 50%, making for text I can barely read. Increasing zoom solves it of course, but is this an error for anyone else?
    1. Looks normal here, and there’s nothing on the Known Issues page. Desktop or mobile? Have you tried a different browser, albeit temporarily?
      1. Desktop, identical on Chrome and Edge. No problem on android app. I could easily be doing somthing stupid, of course, but other pages look normal

          1. Yes, no change. Think it may be one of those things that changes back without warning. In the meantime – since it’s not apparently affecting anyone else, I’ll continue compensating with zoom. Thanks!
          2. Yes, no change. Think it may be one of those things that changes back without warning. In the meantime – since it’s not apparently affecting anyone else, I’ll continue compensating with zoom. Thanks!
  14. 31min, with DNKs like Hoosier and Kraft put in on trust.
    When ex-Friends Matt LeBlanc felt it appropriate to burn rubber in Whitehall around the Cenotaph, London’s national war memorial, as part of Top Gear, it was suggested that he try the same at Arlington National Cemetery and see what happens. Thanks setter and V
  15. 19m. A very enjoyable puzzle, and the second day in a row with obscurities that happened to fit with the random knowledge rattling around in my mind. My job exposes me to lots of different industries, and it so happens that I have come to know a little about paper over the years, so KRAFT was a write-in. I look forward to GLASSINE appearing in due course.
    My last in by some distance was HENRY, and it induced a major self-kicking moment.
    Thanks setter and v, and good weekend everyone.
  16. FOI was 14d, which left F*** ***, which was very suggestive, but I felt that ‘disagree’ wouldn’t be strong enough. Relatively straight forward until the STAGNANCY and HENRY crossers held me up for ages. LOI HOOSIER which I knew but had forgotten
  17. Completed (fortunately) in around an hour. I now have to slowly untangle my fingers and some toes. Took ages over the burial site for some reason. Will now go and listen to my Kraftwerk vinyl!
    Thanks Slogger
  18. 35 minutes, another one who had TORT (sort changed) at 27a until the dance was obvious. HOOSIER only from wordplay. Liked HENRY a lot. Don’t know why it took so long, maybe because I was trying to munch and think simultaneously.
  19. 23 minutes. Learned what a Hoosier is when I stayed in nearby Kentucky years back. And Letterman is one too.

    Used to have a boss who got his tarot cards out when I wasn’t in the office (actually, Portakabin in an unregistered warehouse in Lowfield Heath). No, the business – a magazine called The Cargo Herald (I jest not) – didn’t last long…

  20. 21 mins. I made heavy weather of some of this, and taking far too long to see ARLINGTON is just one example. At least I didn’t make any stupid errors today. RUSHLIGHT was my LOI when I went back to it after finally nailing the PIPED/DEMARCATE crossers. 1dn is another example of the penny taking far too long to drop; without the final checker I was finding it hard to think of anything but “poppy” even though I was 99.9% certain it had nothing to do with any definition of tube and 12ac wasn’t going to start with a Y.
    1. No explanation from the setter Sawbill (not at this stage anyway). The David that brought it to our attention also posted about his experience of solving the puzzle, so I’m guessing he’s not the setter.
  21. No real problems today; as you might expect, the US places/term went right in. DNK KRAFT but what else could it be? Same for w RUSHLIGHT, which I haven’t looked up yet, but I now will. Regards to all.
  22. On the easy side. 34mins on the train followed by 10 mins at lunchtime to polish it off. FOI 1ac. LOI 20ac. Did not know the SI unit of inductance, equal to an electromotive force of one volt in a closed circuit with a uniform rate of change of current of one ampere per second (and have no idea what any of that means). Fortunately did know there were eight Kings Henry. DNK the Indiana native but had heard of the band. Kraft and rushlight were also half knowns. COD to 6ac – quite easy to solve but neat and with a nice surface. Thanks setter and thanks blogger.
  23. 12:33 for me, having wasted ages trying for another clean sweep. With just the K to go on, I had no chance of getting KRAFT, which rang only the faintest of bells even when I had all the crossing letters in place. I’m not sure I’d have got TANGERINE either as I desperately wanted TOTS to appear round something, but decided to move on since the sweep had already been abandoned.

    Most of the rest was annoyingly easy, though initially TOSTATA came to mind for 4dn and it took little while for the wordplay to guide me to the correct answer.

    No complaints though.

  24. Late posting as I’ve had a busy couple of days golfing, folk clubbing and going to Thirsk Races. 42:28 but WOE. I had ROSELIGHT. Never heard of RUSHLIGHT. Also DNK HOOSIER, KRAFT, WIGHT or TOSTADA, but worked them out from wordplay. Thanks setter, and thanks V for the entertaining blog.

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