Times 26751 – un jeu d’enfant … or perhaps not, you say.

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
… or a piece of gateau, I thought, a rather bland puzzle, more Monday-ish than the usual Wednesday middle to hard fare. Several straightforward anagrams, a hidden word you could guess if you didn’t know it (at 25a), nothing else to scare the horses. Once you had 3d it probably made the sense of ‘willing’ in 15d easier to spot, but it’s a common crossword thing to think legal meanings when you see the word ‘will or ‘willing’. I’m struggling to find anything more interesting to say about it.

Definitions underlined.

1 Irritable, somewhat like our cats and dogs? (7)
PETTISH – Pet-ish would be somewhat like a pet.
5 Torture not recorded back on base (7)
BEDEVIL – LIVE = not recorded, reversed on BED = base.
9 Typically coppers on spot reported revolution (3,6)
SEA CHANGE – SEA sounds like SEE = spot, CHANGE = typically coppers.
10 Error after run out that makes for easier playing (5)
ROSIN – RO = run out, SIN = error. Rosin, a resin used on violin bows to make them slide better.
11 Once deprived of love, slacker’s a failure (5)
LOSER – LOOSER = slacker, loses an O = love.
12 Behind bars again, worker’s full of regret (9)
REPENTANT – RE-PENT = behind bars again, ANT = worker.
13 Increased personal charge incorporating time for rest (3,4,4,2)
PUT ONES FEET UP – Increased personal charge = put one’s fee up; insert T for time.
17 Works wherein US stardom came unexpectedly? (7,6)
21 Swine raving about port (9)
ROTTERDAM – ROTTER = swine, DAM = MAD, raving, reversed.
24 What’s done after engineers respond (5)
REACT – ACT = what’s done, after RE = engineers.
25 Antique shawl in specific hue (5)
FICHU – Hidden word in SPECI(FIC HU)E. A word I remembered from previous puzzles, as some kind of 18c female garment.
26 Old senior’s prepared to keep going (7,2)
27 Money, always from the East being invested constantly (7)
LOYALLY – LOLLY = money, insert AY (always) reversed, i.e. ‘from the east’.
28 Large weapon soaked in blood? Not on edge (7)
RELAXED – L = large, AXE a weapon, inside (‘soaked in’) RED blood.

1 Overcoming the French is something that bugs small club (6)
PESTLE – PEST = something that bugs, over LE = ‘the’ French. A ‘small club’ as in pestle and mortar for grinding spices.
2 Protestants resorted less to certain parts of church (9)
TRANSEPTS – You take PROTESTANTS, remove (less) the letters TO, anagram of the rest. (PR ESTANTS)*.
3 Come into home — solitary male’s gone out (7)
INHERIT – IN = home, HERMIT = solitary, remove the M(ale).
4 Back with church, having managed to admit impediment (9)
HINDRANCE – HIND = back, as in legs; CE = church, insert RAN = managed.
5 British PM raised alert (5)
BLEEP – B = British, PEEL = PM, reversed.
6 Old bird from ancient city cutting caper (7)
DURANCE – UR is your old city, inside DANCE = caper. Durance is an old word for a spell in the nick, a sentence, more often a long one.
7 Final bit of text in endorsement is something to behold (5)
VISTA – T = final bit of text, inside VISA = endorsement.
8 Row about books profoundly disheartened retired printer (8)
LINOTYPE – LINE = row, insert OT (books) and YP (ProfoundlY first and last letters), reversed = retired. Not strictly a printer but a typesetting machine which handled an entire line of type casting at once, replacing the earlier letter by letter hot-metal setting.
14 Security device ultimately saves frantic walker (9)
SCRAMBLER – Last letters of saveS and frantiC, then RAMBLER = walker. A scrambler was a device used to make analogue telecoms secure, before digital communications and encryption arrived.
15 Person willing to analyse data array missing millions (9)
TESTATRIX – TEST = analyse, (M)ATRIX = data array less M(illions).
16 Scoffing second cereal, almost replete (8)
SCORNFUL – S(econd), CORN = cereal, FUL(L) = almost replete.
18 Across the Channel, a peer’s not the same (7)
UNEQUAL – UN = ‘A’ across the Channel; EQUAL = peer.
19 Armed forces’ police chief from US mentioned (7)
MARTIAL – As in martial law. Sounds like MARSHAL a name for a US police chief.
20 Under the influence, doctor doesn’t (6)
STONED – (DOESN’T)* anagrind ‘doctor’.
22 Food by end of day almost dry, perhaps, and tasteless (5)
TACKY – TACK = food, Y = end of day. Two definitions follow.
23 What must be done to collect spades ready for cleaning? (5)
DUSTY – DUTY must be done; insert S for spades.

35 comments on “Times 26751 – un jeu d’enfant … or perhaps not, you say.”

  1. Well, definitely on the easy side Pip, but I thought it had some nice touches.. and some very neat surface readings. 2dn for example.
    Durance is always vile, in the same way that lucre is always filthy

    Edited at 2017-06-14 05:52 am (UTC)

    1. I agree, easy but still elegant, in 2d the use of the instructions “re-sorted” and “less to” in a surface that made sense was clever.
  2. Bland indeed. I biffed 9ac from the enumeration, and 15d from the X, assuming as Pip says, that ‘willing’ meant what in fact it meant. DURANCE as in ‘durance vile’. And I can’t think of anything else, either.
  3. Well, this was fairly hard if tackled half asleep. Never heard of the DURANCE which is presumably now extinct like the Dodo, poor thing. ROSIN put up some resistance until, voila, VISTA appeared. My ‘amster can be a bit of a swine but,no, that can’t be it. Etc. Etc.
  4. 15:21 .. I didn’t think this was very easy at all and was very pleased with my time!

    I only got started after reaching DUSTY / SOLDIER ON, which provided a foothold for climbing back up the grid.

    Last in the totally unknown DURANCE.

    Some lovely touches and surfaces, as Jerry says. COD to BEDEVIL

  5. 43 minutes with unkowns (or forgottens) DURANCE and FICHU taken on trust.

    The definition at 10ac is accurate that ROSIN “makes for easier playing” but this isn’t by making the violin bow slide easier, Pip. It’s to make it grip and produce a good quality note. A bow without rosin will slide very easily across the strings but if it produces any sound at all it will be thin and squeaky.

    1. Ah apologies, both Wikipedia and I were in error, and I have never picked up a violin with intent to make a noise.
      1. Sorry, I didn’t mean to sound picky. It’s the same principle as chalking the cue in snooker to create friction.
  6. This didn’t strike me as overly easy either… but then I did it post-boardgames night, so there is the several pints factor to contend with. Still came in under the magic 10 minute mark, at 8:52, but could presumably have done better clear-headed, ho hum.
  7. 40mins, so not so easy for me either…

    The unknown DURANCE, and BEDEVIL, took some time at the end.

  8. 25ac was my FOI which was a surprise to me as I’d had little luck ‘upstairs’!

    LOI 6dn DURANCE which was new to me, as I have managed to avoid ‘The Nick’ thus far in life.

    COD for its simplicity 5dn BLEEP

    WOD TESTATRIX (I couldn’t quite fit DOMINATRIX in).

    I was constantly interrupted so no time but say 50 minutes -ish.

  9. Simple but elegant, as others have said.

    An excellent example was SOLDIER ON, not a challenging clue but a lovely surface.

    Thanks setter and Pip.

  10. I was happy to get home in 24.38 having drawn a blank with the first few and resorted to plan B – start at the bottom. (the old, scientifically unsound, setters run out of steam theory). DURANCE entered on wordplay alone and I like the definition now I know what it means. In the end an average time for an average difficulty puzzle.
  11. About 35mins on train to Glasgow. I agree, straightforward but elegant at the same time. Like putting one’s feet up with a costume drama. Thanks setter and Pip.
  12. Never quite hit my stride on this one, and only just scraped in in two minutes under the hour. FOI SEA CHANGE, LOI SCRAMBLER—gawd knows why; it was BEDEVIL and LINOTYPE I found tough.

    Wasn’t helped by thinking of “tier” instead of “line” in 8d and trying to do something with “tintype”, which I know is an old method of photographic printing. Pencilling in “reply” instead of REACT was silly, too.

    Ah well, glad to have finished within my hour. Three out of three on the week so far. Thanks to setter and blogger.

  13. I’ve got one (with its mortar) somewhere in the kitchen but I’ve never been sure which was which – now I know. Although I should have remembered “the vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true”. 15.32 P.S. In a costume drama a FICHU would be that wispy piece of fabric used to fill in a neckline that would otherwise be too decollete.

    Edited at 2017-06-14 11:25 am (UTC)

    1. At school I was Rafe (Ralph) in The Knight of the Burning Pestle (Fletcher and Beaumont c.1607). I had to carry the flaming Pestle even beyond the fourth wall.

      “By Heaven, methinks, it were an easy leap
      To pluck bright honour from the pale-faced moon;
      Or dive into the bottom of the sea,
      Where never fathom-line touched any ground,
      And pluck up drowned honour from the lake of hell.”

      It was a parody of several plays including Henry IV Part I.

      Edited at 2017-06-14 12:53 pm (UTC)

  14. Now it’s been pointed out, I had heard of durance vile, but didn’t associate the definition of the clue with prison. I trusted the wordplay, however, and was rewarded. DURANCE was my LOI. I started with PESTLE and TRANSEPTS. FICHU was also biffed from wordplay and the starting F from 16d. The NE held me up for longest, despite having rosined my bow just two days ago! 30:32. Thanks setter and Pip.
  15. Similar to above, I got started at the bottom and worked my way up. 50 mins with a lot of nattering to customers in between. Am I the only one whose never heard of LOI PETTISH?
    1. No, me neither. I wanted it to be PEEVISH for the longest time, but good luck making that work out.

      Edited at 2017-06-14 02:15 pm (UTC)

      1. My recent reading list of books referenced in crosswords paid off today: “pettishness” is used in chapter 3 of Jane Eyre, which may be why PETTISH sprang fairly readily to mind.

        (I’m getting the next one on Kindle. I do prefer paper books in general, but when the vocabulary is a little out of my reach it’s very helpful to have a built-in dictionary available!)

        Edited at 2017-06-14 02:53 pm (UTC)

  16. Me thinks our blogger is a bit grumpy today. If you experts tell us improvers that this is easy then it tends to dishearten them. It takes time to learn some of these techniques (willing = legal etc) and Linotype doesn’t easily come to mind as a printer. I wouldn’t want to tackle a hard puzzle if this is the case! Took me over an hour from bottom to top.
    1. Please don’t be disheartened by what the experts say, or what their times are. An expert, by definition, is going to find things easier than the rest of us. And they’re not, by and large, talking to the improvers when they comment on how easy or unchallenging a puzzle is; the contributors to this blog have less side than any group of people I’ve ever come across. As you say, it takes time to learn that e.g. ‘willing’ suggests wills, or ‘priest’ is likely ‘eli’ etc. etc.; time, not talent.
    2. Sorry, norfolkn… I did not intend to depress ‘improvers’, but for me there was such a contrast between, say, the one I blogged a week last Friday, and this one, in terms of time and head-scratching. I’m not a speed merchant like Verlaine and co, indeed I don’t even try to do it especially quickly, but am a bit disappointed – you might even say grumpy – if I’m done and dusted in a few minutes and it seems like a quick cryptic instead of a challenge. I did add to the headline above, when I saw that not all the regulars were agreeing with me. Keep improving – as I am still trying to do, too. One of these days I’ll finish a Club Monthly.

      Edited at 2017-06-14 06:04 pm (UTC)

  17. 21 mins. For the second straight day I struggled to see some answers that should have been close to write-ins. LOSER was my LOI after PESTLE. Like a few other contributors DURANCE went in from WP and I had to check my Chambers post-solve to see what sort of “old bird” it referred to.
  18. 13:24. I’ve been ridiculously busy this week so haven’t had much time for solving or commenting. I just did this and yesterday’s in quick succession, and found this slightly the harder of the two.
    I liked it though: there are some interesting words in it. Like John I thought I didn’t know DURANCE but actually I did, in its vile incarnation.
  19. 10.28 so I found this on the easy side. DURANCE (VILE) was very familiar and I’ve spent the rest of the day puzzling over why that should be. A less than rigorous search came up with a Burns quotation but I don’t think that’s it.
  20. Not too taxing as the wordplay was easy to follow for those words that are new to me: DURANCE, FICHU, PETTISH. But I screwed up ROSIN, with RESIN, since I’m unfamiliar with violin upkeep, and I’m also apparently unfamiliar with why ‘run out’ gets you RO-. Of course, ‘run out’ doesn’t get you RE- either, but I had figured that RESIN looked right. Oops. Regards.
  21. Does anyone have an idea why it’s always DURANCE VILE, rather than VILE DURANCE?
  22. I found this tough and definitely not a jeu d’enfant or piece of gateau. Chapeau to those that did. No time for me, I was just pleased to finish all correct. I can sort of see that it is straightforward with hindsight but I got quite bogged down when solving. Durance was unknown vile or otherwise and entered on the basis of wordplay. Linotype unfamiliar. Pettish not my go to synonym for irritable. Bit of a yoda-ish containment indicator at 4dn “having managed to admit”. Couldn’t quite fully parse the wp and two defs at 22dn which was entered largely on the basis of end of day and tasteless (even “tack” for “food” wasn’t quite the open goal for me). I entered “testatrix” eventually but overcomplicated it horribly for the longest time. I liked the use of “constantly” in 27dn. COD 13ac: sounds good to me. Thank you blogger for explaining “tacky”, “durance” and “linotype”; and thank you setter for the challenge.
  23. Well, the dog got his first walk relatively early this morning as I steamed through this one (for me) in 13:17. No problem with DURANCE vile and as a regular user of Pestle and Mortar, I knew which was which. Sadly, I always have to make an effort to consider the female versions of things (TESTATRIX, barwoman etc) but am getting there. Thanks setter and pip.
  24. After a slow start (spending far too long trying to get RAIN into 1ac), I found the setter’s wavelength and managed to post a half-decent time (7:49) – faster than that verlaine’s anyway, though I now see he was in his cups. Again.

    I’m afraid I’ve never seen (much less acted in) The Knight of the Burning Pestle (sadly I just missed the production which was performed in the Provost’s Garden at Queen’s the year before I went up), but I have sung some of the words from it that Britten included in his Spring Symphony

    A pleasant, straightforward solve.

  25. Only managed the bottom half and a few from the top. 2dn caught me out – I know “transepts” but couldn’t parse it.

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