Times 26725 – Had I but followed the sciences!

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I enjoyed this but my scientophobia proved justified as I failed to get the excellent 14 across without cheating. 40 minutes, so perhaps at the harder end of the Monday spectrum. K-triangulation is expected to confirm this.


1. SOMETIMES – ‘a little’, as in ‘some freedom of speech is still allowed’; TIMES (by) with SOME (little).
4. SERVO – ‘servo’ is a mainly US abbreviation for a servomotor from what I can deduce; S + anagram* of OVER.
9. IGLOO – I +G + LOO.
11. PARTHENOGENESIS – ‘way of making young’, as in type of reproduction; ‘PERSON SEE HATING*. Solvers who put the vowels in the wrong order might be said to have come acropperlis.
13. NACREOUS – ‘of oyster shells’, or ‘relating to or consisting of mother-of-pearl’; ACRE in NOUS. One to remember for Scrabble.
14. GENOME – ‘blueprint for life’; GNOME (powerful banker, as in the gnomes of Zurich) around E.
16. GLITCH – G + LIT + CH. I’ve not come across this abbreviation for central heating in a dictionary, but, like Labour support, it may be out there.
18. TALENTED – TA + LEN + TED. If I heard I was due to meet a man called Len, I would prepare myself for someone wearing a flat cap who uses the word ‘aspirations’ a lot.
21. THE LADY VANISHES – a whimsical clue referencing the putative demise of The Lady magazine, which has been going strong since 1885. Along with The Thirty Nine Steps, the film is one of Hitchcock’s best pre-war talkies.
25. RHINO – R + IN + O around H.
26. TONAL – a hidden for a style of music one enjoys listening to.
27. AUTOMATON – U[gli] + TOMATO in A + N.


1. SKIMP – S + KIM + P.
3. TROCHEE – TREE around O + CH.
4. MERINGUE – [gatea]U in REGIMEN*.
6. STRANGE – ST + RANG + [thos]E.
7. RUN – ‘manage’; though the allusive bit might appear to refer to a member of the England football team, it actually refers to a member of its cricket team.
8. OVERSPEND – ‘excessive outlay’; PROVES* + END (downfall).
12. SHORT SHRIFT – ‘curt treatment’; R in SHORT SHIFT.
13. NIGHTSPOT – S in NIGHT POT (jerry as in chamber pot).
15. PARAKEET – A RAKE (bad egg, as in the villainous Robert Lovelace, anti-hero of Clarissa) in PET.
19. EPIGRAM – EP + I + G + RAM.
20. MYOPIA – MY + OP + I + A.
22. SPOON – SPOON[bill].
24. INN – a hidden at the easier end of the spectrum, cf. 26 across.

49 comments on “Times 26725 – Had I but followed the sciences!”

  1. I was wondering about Jerry; dnk it was a po, and biffed it. It took me a while to consider that for once ‘banker’ meant banker, and then GENOME became easy. Isn’t there supposed to be a one-hidden limit? Or did I just make that up?
    1. Strictly I believe the limit is two, though you don’t often see that many
  2. Well, glory be! I solved a 15×15 puzzle within my 30 minute target for the first time in a month. In fact with 2 minutes to spare (as with today’s QC). I thought this was quite tricky and quirky but I managed to be on the wavelength for most of it and used a bit of guesswork to fill in the remaining gaps.

    I first met GENOME a couple of years ago as the name of a project giving on-line access to complete day-by-day listings of BBC output (radio and TV) 1923 to 2009. It’s an amazing resource if one is into that sort of thing. More recently I met the word in another context and learnt its actual meaning.

    I’m fine with with SAGGY for “loose” and SHAGGY for the appearance of highland cattle (look at the pics on Wiki, if in doubt).

    DK SERVO but the wordplay was helpful. My only slight misgiving is the cryptic part of the clue to RUN which I feel is a little weak.

    Edited at 2017-05-15 02:27 am (UTC)

  3. Got Rudyard Kipling mixed up with Colleen McCullough (as you do) and came up with STIMP at 1dn.

    That was after bumbling through the rest of it in 18:37.

    Thanks setter and U.

  4. … as Jack above. Could be one for the Nursery folder?

    The shaggy cattle (perfectly fair clue … though I’m sure V was being facetious) reminded me of a pleasant trip to Porongurup where the place we stayed keeps highland cattle. Very shaggy indeed.

    Maton is Australia’s leading guitar maker. Have often wondered what an Auto-Maton (27ac) would look and sound like. Half guitar, half auto-harp? Yuk!

    COD has to go to the Hitchcock clue (21ac). His book of interviews with Truffaut is very insightful if you’re a fan. Almost all of AH’s films are covered there.

  5. I was quite surprised to find my time for this as only a few seconds over the five minute mark, as I’d actually managed to fill in only two or three of the across clues on the first pass. However the downs proved more tractable, and this crossword was a *very* fertile ground for biffing – loads of stuff was very easy to throw in from a couple of crossers, no need for the pesky business of teasing out the exact parsing. And that’s all to the good on a Monday…
  6. 8:17 … so a few seconds faster than Verlaine (when you take into account that I’m not Verlaine).

    A fair amount of biffing, but I found the wordplay in other clues very easy to follow — lots of one-letter indications leading you fairly sequentially to the answer.

    Easy as it was, there are some very nice things in this. PARAKEET is a crackerjack clue.

    Edited at 2017-05-15 06:57 am (UTC)

  7. Defeated by the part of church chancel, couldn’t see accident for chance.

    In 12d, why does garment = shift?

    COD nacreous.

  8. 36 minutes, so pretty quick for me. Helped by remembering “nacre” from past puzzles, by my stepmother subscribing to The Lady, and by a Christmas episode of House where PARTHENOGENESIS was a possible diagnosis for a virgin birth.

    Glad to find I was right on the unparsed IGLOO, NIGHTSPOT and SPOONBILL, but what else could they have been? Also glad MERINGUE was an anagram, as it occurred to me on writing it in that I wouldn’t have been so sure how to spell it without aids!

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

    Edited at 2017-05-15 07:26 am (UTC)

  9. Having moved house last week, I could really have done with a nice relaxing quick solve for a Monday and so it proved. NIGHTSPOT, SERVO and RUN went in on trust. COD to SOMETIMES for the sake of neatness. Only question mark goes to TONAL – is that really a style? Enjoyed the whole lot in any case.
    Many thanks Ulaca and setter.
  10. 10:43. Very similar experience to verlaine’s, just at half the speed.
    1. 12:15. Me too, at rather less than half the speed. I enjoyed post-entry parsing of the one or two I biffed – with those checkers 13a couldn’t be anything but NACEOUS, for example. 11a my favourite but I liked AUTOMATON too.
  11. A much interrupted solve which took me over 21 minutes, so I expect it was easy really. SHAGGY held me up, not because I failed to split the clue properly, nor because I doubted the hirsute appearance of highland cattle, but because I couldn’t break away from GG for horse, and couldn’t make SHAY mean anything but some sort of chair or carriage. I did so want to parse it, but in the end biffed it and came here. D’oh.
  12. Less than 30 mins with porridge and all straightforward – having remembered Nacreous from crosswordland (and it had to be Nous, didn’t it). Good to see an outing for Kim, a Gnome, a Trochee and a fruity tomato. Random chap, Ted brought his plus-one, Len, today. Crossing hiddens seemed cheeky. Thanks setter and blogger.
  13. In 7 down, that is. Despite that long hesitation, and not parsing, 13’4″. PARTHENOGENESIS helped a lot. Good start to the week. Thanks ulaca and setter.
  14. 30 minutes. Started slowly and finished quickly. CODs to PARAKEET and NIGHTSPOT.
  15. On my wavelength this one, quite science-related; 14 minutes all done and understood. Liked the GENOME and the long anagram at 11a.
  16. It’s not often I am cross with a time of 17.21 but I felt I should have been much quicker with this one. I allowed myself to be distracted by an early clue that wouldn’t quite work instead of moving on and then, unaccountably, stared for ages at SERVO, my LOI. On the plus side I navigated the potential scientific road blocks with some ease. Nice to see the now retired head judge of ‘Strictly’ get an outing.
  17. Apart from 7D – where I agree with Jack, its a bit weak – an interesting puzzle. Down clues easier than across. Liked GENOME

    My father in law was called Len – a philosophical London cabby who never went near a flat cap.

    1. Surely all London cabbies are philosophical!

      (As far as I know, Len Hutton didn’t wear a flat cap either.)

  18. It’s a miserable day here, and my muse doesn’t like greyness, so I did the crossword instead. Took only 18 minutes, which is fast for me. Must be Monday. After trying to make the Highland Cattle an Angus for a while, LOI was SHAGGY. It was me. COD split between PARAKEET and NIGHTSPOT. Thank you U and setter.
  19. A quirky but enjoyable Monday puzzle. I agree with Jack and Jimbo about 7D — a decidedly feeble clue, of the sort where you can’t believe the parsing is as weak as it appears to be and waste much time trying to find a more satisfactory explanation. But lots of other good things to make up for it. GENOME was nice and PARTHENOGENESIS an ingenious anagram
  20. As above solved anti-clockwise from SW and bifferama followed. All done in well under 30m which is a wonder for me. Now off to buy some bitcoins in case my Windows 3.1 PC throws a wobbly. I worked in NHS IT for many years and NHS England were very supportive of projects to get GP practices up to scratch, so little excuse for those still on XP. Microsoft offered to maintain patches (for a price) but many ignored the issue. Thanks blogger
    1. I still have am MS dos 6.2 laptop, but have never been able to connect it to anything: beyond that, I have at least one of every system up to Win 10, in various states of repair, mostly because I hate throwing tech away. Picking anything before XP when the nice Indian gentlemen calls to tell me I have an infection is always good for a laugh.
      I suspect those GPs whose Amstrad PCW is still alive (they all had those) are probably still OK but perhaps not terribly well connected.
      Cue for those using Linux or Apple to write in being all superior.
      1. I’ve still got a set of floppies to install MSDOS 6.2 from…and Windows 3.1. The old PC in the spare bedroom still runs Windows Millennium, but it’s not online, just runs games for the Grandkids:-)
  21. This solve was most odd. I went through the top half with almost nothing to write, and was feeling pretty embarrassed. The bottom half flowed in and I worked back to the top all in 12 minutes. I must have ‘tuned in’ to the setter as I went. Didn’t know trochee, but I do now.


  22. I scanned the clues with no answers forthcoming until I reached TALENTED. The bottom half then steadily filled up and I progressed Northwards until I returned to the bottom half to fill in my LOI THE LADY VANISHES. 33:44. Nice puzzle. Thanks setter and U.
  23. 10:42 so pretty gentle stuff. My only queries were at 1d, where I’m not convinced that “towards” is doing much and 3d, as I knew a trochee was a “thing” but not exactly what. Like others I started at the bottom and worked my way up, a bit like Lord Sugar I suppose.
  24. A much interrupted solve which was almost completed in 50 mins but was probably about 15 mins, but then as usual I got stuck on the last few. My downfall was the word ‘over’ in 6a which is used for so many functions that I failed to see the anagrind. Nice and Mondayish.
  25. I normally tackle the crossword having read the paper. Today’s puzzle is just below “Allardyce sends Hull down” ( not quite the ring of the immortal sports headline -“Queen in brawl at Palace”).
    Anyway my eyes drifted to the puzzle;I got 1d immediately then 1a and saw Parthen … as well so was off to a good start. A pause at half-time to do a quite tricky QC then back to this finishing in an hour or so with 6a -Servo. This confirmed Run for 7d.
    I know it’s Monday but I feel I’m improving. David
  26. 33m and a rare all correct puzzle for me of late. I enjoyed some of the interesting cluing today so thanks setter and blogger today.
  27. 13 mins. GENOME was my FOI despite my initial feeling that “powerful banker” was going to be the name of a river. I didn’t do any biffing so NIGHTSPOT only went in after I realised what a “night pot” might be and assessing the odds of it being called a “jerry”. SPOON was my LOI because it took me way too long to see that bill=bill, although I should have considered the possibility after the my=my in MYOPIA.
  28. About 20 minutes or so, ending with the unknown SERVO. Not trying to be disagreeable, but Ulaca, if that is a US usage, it’s news to me. I never heard of it. That doesn’t mean you’re not correct, of course. I also didn’t know of the Lady magazine, the Jerry, or that Highland Cattle are SHAGGY, but no problems with any of those. Regards.
    1. The ‘US’ was in an English dictionary, so maybe not the most trustworthy source.
  29. Was motoring quite well until I hit a wall. For some reason I had SPITE for 1 dn and this precluded me getting 11ac, and many others. Gave up after about 50 mins after staring at 14 ac for an age, not having any idea what was being asked. I did light NIGHTSPOT and TALENTED though. So another DNF. Ho hum, roll on tomorrow.
  30. Quick solve today (32 minutes, for me that’s quick) and my first chance to post after three weeks in the States, occasionally trying what appeared to be yesterday’s puzzle (because of the time shift) but never having time to finish them or look at the blog. One highlight of the trip, among many, was the zoetrope on the wall of the subway tunnel on the Q line from Brooklyn to Manhattan just as you leave the DeKalb Ave station: http://web.mta.info/mta/aft/permanentart/permart.html?agency=nyct&line=Q&artist=2&station=7

    I agree that this puzzle was easy but had many nice clues.

    1. Crikey! Sorry, I got completely hooked on the idea that the “behind” part of the clue was indicating the position of the “cooker” in the answer even though “range” is at the end of the word! Thanks. Makes perfect sense now!
  31. Change things behind cutter (10) = Rearrange

    Am I missing something? “Range” is a type of cooker but how is “rear” (which is in front of it) meant to be clued by “things”? I struggled with quite a few on this puzzle. Never heard of “servo” or “PARTHENOGENESIS.” I had the puzzle on my desk all day at work and it took me hours to get through the 90% I completed. It’s called being a civil servant.

  32. This took me 17 mins on the train this morning and 23 mins at lunchtime to finish. I thought it was very easy, even for a Monday and perhaps a little unsatisfying in that every time I came to a clue I rarely had to apply much thought or twisting of things around in my mind to derive the solution. Perhaps I was just on the wavelength. FOI 6ac. LOI 15 dn (I did get hung up here wanting the bad egg to be a cad not a rake). The only other hold ups were deciding that there wasn’t a Kipling novel called Ite and deciding where the vowels went in 11ac. COD 1ac which I thought more subtle than some of the others.
  33. A rare completion for me…or so I thought until I came here and learned I had ordered two vowels incorrectly in 11a. Now if only the setter had clued it as a charade of “part”, “hen”, “O” & “genesis”…hmmmm…never mind, as near as dammit I suppose… 🙂
  34. Oh dear – vocalophobia strikes again. After a slow start, I had a fairly decent run until I was finally left with 14ac. Could there possibly be a word REHONE? Eventually I realised that “banker” might not necessarily be a river, and the answer came annoyingly quickly, but I only just scraped home under the 10-minute mark.

    WW2 joke still doing the rounds when I was young: “Winston Churchill always used to sleep with a rifle beside him in case he found a jerry under the bed.”

  35. Put this down about 80% done, and found it again during a de-clutter exercise. The final 6 clues all fell in about 2 minutes. This suggests that my main blocker to finishing is being stuck on viewing the clues one way. I must just see them afresh. DNK: NIGHTPOT, Jerry, TROCHEE, NACREOUS, but they are easy biffs.

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