Times 26773 – Double Cross

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I was going along swimmingly (not Mark Spitz, exactly – more like a middle-aged bloke with a dodgy crawl stroke) on this one until I hit a wall at the 9d/18a crossing. Now, if I was American or could remember words from previous puzzles, the latter should have been no problem, but as it was I was completely stumped. As for 9d, it goes without saying that my chances of getting such a geeky clue were somewhere between zero and a paltry p-Value. (Hope I got that right – just Googled it.)

So, in a nutshell, I had to cheat to polish the thing off after getting the rest in 30 minutes. Anyway, as a certain Australo-American cruciverbal thespian would say, here we go!


4. OPENNESS – PEN in [ONES + S].
10. RADICCHIO – ID A CHICOR[y]* (anagram).
11. PROVE – PRO (for) + [le + a]VE.
14. SPELT – S + PELT (pepper, as in ‘The coast was peppered with hailstones’).
16. SIMPATICO – SIMP + AT + I (current) + CO. Simp is mainly American usage, I believe, although ‘moron’ would appear to be the insult of choice in the intellectual denigration arena.
18. MINUTEMAN – MINUTE + MAN (Tommy, perhaps) for the 18th century US volunteer. A pretty weak clue, I thought, but I guess I would…
20. METER – METE[o]R.
21. PHANTASMAGORIA – SIGHT PANORAMA A*. I had to check the anagrist carefully to make sure that the fourth A was not an O.
25. MOVER – M + OVER.
27. GANGLING – G[one] + ANGLING.
28. ASSENT – AS SENT. I guess A-S is a pukka abbreviation for the Old English descriptor, even though I don’t recall ever coming across it.


2. MIDAS – hidden somewhat in plain sight.
3. ENCHANT – [p]ENCHANT. In Crosswordland, ‘entrance’ is typically used in the bewitching sense.
5. PROWL – PROW (navy’s front – well, it is ‘front’ in navy speak, so I think this passes muster) + L (line).
6. NAPHTHA – reversal of H + PAN followed by THA[t].
7. ECONOMIST – ONE SITCOM* gives you JS…perhaps.
8. SHED – S + HE’D for given away, as in ‘he has shed blood doe the cause’.
9. CHECKSUM – okay, here’s Collins, since I’m Clueless in Gaza: ‘a digit representing the number of bits of information transmitted, attached to the end of a message in order to verify the integrity of data’. Wevs…
15. EINDHOVEN – E + [w]INDHOVE[r] (no, I’d never heard of it either) + N. Dutch city famous for Philips electronics and football team that gives Ajax and Feyenoord a run for their money.
17. MONUMENT – NUMEN in MOT for a commemorative thingy.
19. TENDRIL – TEND + RIL[e].
20. MUGGINS – GIN in MUGS. An excellent word, and surely Horryd’s WOD.
22. ARSON – S in [b]ARON.
23. RANGE – [o]RANGE.
24. SMOG – a reverse hidden – in a single word, unusually – with a deletion: take LO out of GLOOMS reversed.

By the way, well done Lions, and a tough call for the refereeing team at the end there. The ball actually looks to have gone backwards not forwards off Liam Williams and the ‘receiver’, Ken Owens, cannot with any certainty be considered to be intentionally offside, especially since he was running back towards his own try line, although he was in front of Williams. A scrum was very possibly the right call.

90 comments on “Times 26773 – Double Cross”

  1. Similar problems as faced by the blogger, with MINUTEMAN and CHECKSUM my LTI. Bit harder than the average Monday I thought.

    Thanks setter and U. Congratulations to the British, Irish and French Lions for splitting the spoils with the All-Blacks.

      1. Nah, I was firmly in the AB’s camp. Anzac spirit and all that.

        Which might explain why I saw the “accidental offside” differently. In fact I saw it the same way as the Lions player who clearly knew that he had infringed and even put his hands up to acknowledge it. And the same way as the ref that initially blew the penalty and the TMO that confirmed it.

        How we got from there to a scrum will remain one of the eternal mysteries of the rugby universe.

        Great series though. The poor old Wallabies wouldn’t have got within 40 points of either team.

        1. But the chucking the ball down and putting the hands up showed it was unintentional. “Whoops! What did I just do without thinking about it?”
  2. I never heard of CHECKSUM either, but U made more sense than the other vowels. Finally got MINUTEMAN once I finally got CHROMOSOME, which I got by finally twigging to ‘fluid room’. The Minutemen, by the way, were not to be found in the States, as they were active before there was a United States.
  3. I got through this in about 45 min, particularly liking the hint of less than certainty (‘seen as’) in equating spelt with health food. I got checksum from the crossers and definition, and still have no idea where Bohemian Rhapsody fits in. When I saw nuclear structure and chrom.., I was hoping for chromodynamics to keep dorsetjimbo happy with a complicated science GK. Thx, ulaca

    Edited at 2017-07-10 01:46 am (UTC)

    1. Indeed. One can see that Bohemian gives “check”, but not how rhapsody gives “sum”.

      Edited at 2017-07-10 02:21 am (UTC)

        1. Or is it SUM = score? After all, score isn’t required for the definition. Which would mean that Bohemian Rhapsody “sounds Czech”. As Ulaca says, wevs.

          Might have to send this one upstairs for a ruling.

          1. I was with Kevin. Czech-some as in “toothsome” etc, meaning “like Bohemia” to the extent that Bohemia approximates to the Czech Republic.

            On another clue, AS for Anglo-Saxon is familiar as the middle of the US acronym WASP, n’est pas? White Anglo-Saxon Protestant.

            1. I could be convinced, but how do we explain the role of “score” in the clue? A checksum has nothing to do with scores, musical or otherwise.

              Having said that, I’m not particularly impressed by my own explanation ether.

              As for AS in WASP, I think we’ve had this discussion before. Being part of a known acronym isn’t good enough. For instance the best known acronym in my industry is RTFM, which stands for “read the manual”, but that doesn’t justify the use of R for read, or M for manual.

              1. Actually, RTFM isn’t an acronym, it’s an initialism, but your point is well taken. On the other hand, ODE sv AS has ‘abbreviation for Anglo-Saxon’.
              2. OK – I’ve come round. “Checksum” can only be “help to find errors”. (If the checksum agrees, you only have 99.99…% certainty the data is right. If it disagrees, the data is definitely wrong – barring my war story from 1982 that I’ll mercifully spare you!)

                So “CHECK” must be “sounds Czech”, and SUM must be score.

                1. Yes, that’s it.

                  LOI was MONUMENT, unparsed. MOT and NUMEN are obscure to say the least. An enjoyable puzzle otherwise, with a bit more JNSQ than your average Monday puzzle. COD: TOURNAMENT.

        2. In response to Kevin, I thought that too, to account for “Help to” at the start of the clue – if helping to check one would only “check some”.

          Still not the best of clues in my view.

          Edited at 2017-07-10 05:18 am (UTC)

            1. Yes, I hadn’t seen his comment when I posted originally. It’s another theory, although it wouldn’t account for “help to find errors” instead of simply “find errors” or “look for errors”.

              Perhaps the setter will confirm what he had in mind. I still think it’s a flawed clue and being of an obscure word the wordplay should be completely transparent so that we’re not scratching round to explain it.

                1. Yur; as a verb “checksum” could mean “find errors”; as a noun it is a “help to find errors”, so the definition part is fine.

                  Edited at 2017-07-10 08:22 am (UTC)

                2. Yes, thanks. I realise now I was completely wrong on this one – apart from solving it correctly which is the main thing. It should teach me not to hold theories on things I know nothing about but I doubt very much it will be last time I do that!
                  1. I share the general puzzlement over the parsing of 9D. None of the ingenious explanations above seems to me to account for both the “score” and “rhapsody” bits of the clue. If “czechsome” really is the explanation, this must surely be one of the most ridiculous clues on record.
                    1. My reading of it is that ‘how Bohemian Rhapsody sounds’ gives CHECK. Such a rhapsody would be Czech, and hence would sound (like) CHECK.
                      That leaves ‘score’ to give SUM.
                      The whole thing is certainly a bit odd though and I’m far from sure.
                      1. Many thanks K. I never had any problem with “help to find errors” as the def, but your accounting for “score” and “rhapsody” seems to me by far the most convincing so far offered. The “checksum” = “czechsome” homophonic reading seems to me quite absurd.

                        Perhaps the setter might let us know what he/she had in mind?

                        1. The problem with the ‘czechsome’ explanation to my mind is that it doesn’t account for ‘score’. It’s also very silly of course, but that doesn’t bother me!
                      2. Keriothe has correctly divined my intention with this clue, which I believe sound, even if it proved tricky for many.

                        Today’s setter.

                3. Isn’t is what a checksum _is_ rather than what it does; a checksum is a help to find errors, no?
  4. Some time in server administration meant CHECKSUM was a write-in (the CentOS updater still uses it). It was MONUMENT that gave me the most trouble and kept me to just over 10 minutes.
  5. This was not quite Monday fare -it (9dn) had to be CHECKSUM but how did SUM equate with Rhapsody? – rotten clue and thus I failed to get SIMPATICO! DNK SIMP so retired hurt after just 27 mins.

    The rugger was ‘awesome’ but extra time should have been played or even ‘penalties’! (Five each from 35 metres, five different kickers) There was a feeling of hollowness abounding for such a momentous ocassion.

  6. Hi all, you might be interested in my attempt to put a score to the degree of difficulty of the Crossword. I have created a site at the following link: https://xwdsnitch.herokuapp.com.

    I also attempt to answer the question of whether the Monday crossword is easier and/or the Friday crossword is harder.

    Let me know if you have any feedback.

    1. Unspammed. Starstruck has also posted this in the Club General forum, so those interested might care to follow feedback there too. It all looks very impressive but it’s completely meaningless to me I’m afraid; I’d need a Janet & John version.
      1. Thanks for unspamming. And sorry for not having a simpler version.

        Today’s crossword is currently running at a score of 87, easier than the average difficulty of 100, and only slightly higher than the Monday average of 83.

        Verlaine’s impressive solving in under 6 minutes is making it look easier than others might find it.

        1. This is a very cool idea! Could you render a view by user, so an individual could see whether they’re getting better or worse by ongoing comparison to their average time? I feel like you’d get a lot of obsessive “repeat traffic” that way…
          1. Thanks – a great idea on individual improvement measures. Let me work on this.
    2. Brill idea and clever programming (IMHO). Also, istm it would be easier to read if the chart scales were constant. Bookmarked.
  7. Sorry – I forgot I wasn’t logged in. And someone will need to unspam the link.
  8. I had little chance on 15d, knowing neither the bird nor the town. Perhaps I should have known the bird having had to study Gerard Manley Hopkins at school.
  9. … I’ve slightly gone off Mondays.

    CHECKSUM was fiendish. And I’m still tossing up between Galspray (score = sum) and Kevin (Czech + some). Though the word “checksum” isn’t that obscure. It’s built into spreadsheet apps that even a muggins like yours truly can use. (All too horribly aware of this having just done the tax return.)

    Of MUGGINS: do any of the cribbage players on the site use this option? Doesn’t it make the game a bit too cut-throat?

    Overall: less 16ac than most starts to the week.

    1. I think the ‘muggins’ rule is that a player is allowed to claim points missed by his opponent when scoring hand or crib. I’ve never played the rule but wouldn’t be averse to doing so.
      1. I’ve never played the rule either. But it’s easy to miss combos such as 6,5,2,2. Best to tell the opponent (pone?) I think.
  10. Very similar problems to our blogger today, wnat with there being something I didn’t know in every quarter: SPELT, CHECKSUM, SIMP, NUMEN and WINDHOVER. Also I wasn’t entirely sure that NAPHTHA was an oil. No solving time to offer as I nodded off.

    Edited at 2017-07-10 05:01 am (UTC)

  11. While having not heard of Checksum (doesn’t come up in conversation exactly) I have certainly seen it in the coding of many an unfathomable computer programme whilst searching for a semi-colon that should be a colon or somesuch. As LOI didn’t stop me sloppily mistyping it though while watching Austrian Grand Prix highlights (only half-engaging) and creating a second error in a crossing light. Loving the look of https://xwdsnitch.herokuapp.com./ if only i could draw a conclusion from it that would significantly better than my intuition. Still mystified by who the Aussie thesp is. Would i know if I’d watched the rugby?
  12. 25 mins over pain au raisin – then another 15 to get the Monument/Minuteman. Also took an age to parse the Leave abandoning Le,a, Gone letting one go and Look out for gloom. Pah! Good news is Checksum was ok – and I’m sure score=sum. Thanks setter and Ulaca.
    1. How the other half live! No pain de raisin here in Meldrewville, in fact no breakfast at all, as l had to have my regular blood test!
      I trust you stray on ocassion to boudin noir or even le blanc.
      Tomorrow will be congee and coffee – the Chinese austerity breaker, as enjoyed by good party’s members + an egg if one’s been particularly good! But I haven’t.
  13. DNF … like George, the one that gave me trouble was MONUMENT. Unlike George, I never solved it. I’m presuming I’ve seen NUMEN before but it hadn’t stuck, and I had the wrong end of the stick for the definition.

    Everything else straightforward.

    Very much enjoyed the Czech-some Bohemian Rhapsody.

  14. In my peek I forgot to give my WOD but Time Lord Ulaca suggested I would go for 20ac MUGGINS! Close but no Havana! I really like 21ac PHANTASMAGORIA or my early biffed version PHANTASMAGORIC!!

    As for COD 14ac SPELT which is sadly unavailable from bakeries in Shanghai. So rye bread it is.

  15. 10:56. No real problems this morning. I didn’t know the bird but I did know the town, and I’d vaguely heard of CHECKSUM. I believe there’s one incorporated into credit card numbers to detect typos. I read the clue like galspray when solving, although I’m not sure about score=SUM. You might refer to your score as your total, but SUM? Hmm.

    Edited at 2017-07-10 06:34 am (UTC)

  16. 40 minutes for me, spurred on by an impending Ocado delivery (middle class problems, so forth.)

    I was lucky in my vocab knowledge today. It’s an an unusual week where I don’t see a CHECKSUM popping up. I also knew MINUTEMAN as a word, but only from the Cold War rather than the Revolutionary War. “Numen” rang a vauge bell, and PHANTASMAGORIA was, of course, the title of The Damned’s sixth studio album and herald of their goth phase…

    My only dangerous moment was not knowing whether it was “simpatico” or “sympatico”; if I’ve seen the word written down it wasn’t recently. I think it may have popped up in an episode of Yes Minister or two, but that doesn’t help with the spelling. In the end “simpleton” struck me, and I made the right choice.

    Thanks to setter and Ulaca.

    1. The clue to the spelling is in the cryptic: SIMP is likely a word (not here, maybe in US) but SYMP is unlikely. I believe both SYMPATICO & SIMPATICO are common in English, but SIMPATICO was first – a direct translation from Italian for nice.
      No problem with CHECKSUM (used often), EINDHOVEN (lived there 4 months though never heard of windhover) or MINUTEMAN (remembered from past puzzles) but a few minutes at the end on SPELT’s alphabet trawl, and MONUMENT (numen unknown) as a mnemonic aid rather than an awesome sight – my bad vocab. 23:20
  17. All quite straightforward but I couldn’t see EINDHOVEN. I’ve not heard of a windhover and assumed I’d not heard of the city so I threw in the towel. I still didn’t think I’d heard of it until I saw ulaca mention the football team above then I finally realised of course I know PSV Eindhoven.
    1. PSV – who Guus Hiddink took to victory in the European Cup. Without winning a single game in the competition in the year they won it – all games were drawn, some ties “won” on away goals, some including the final “won” on penalties.
      Back in the day they were also first stop for Brazilians – Romario and Ronaldo both started their European club careers at PSV.
      1. According to Wikipedia they won their first and second round matches, but it was all draws from then on. Damn Wikipedia, it’s ruined the old maxim of “never let the truth get in the way of a good story”!

        Still a good story though. Good old Guus, even did a decent job with the Socceroos.

  18. No chance as a 15 year old with Hopkins, but remembered the bird. Some difficult words, RADICCHIO, SPELT, NUMEN. <20′, thanks ulaca and setter.
  19. In the sense I frequently use the word, “And Muggins had to clear up the mess,” it’s not as in ‘daft as a brush’, but more ‘the stooge’. It’s a great word though. A whole lot of biffin’ goin’ on this morning, all correct. If I ever knew SIMP as a fool I’d forgotten but it had to end with ATICO. CHECKSUM totally unknown but only the U had to be guessed. NUMEN was remembered once the MONUMENT zoomed into view. MINUTEMAN just about dredged up from American Independence reading. PHANTASMAGORIA required three attempts at correct spelling. But all correct in 45 minutes, hard for a Monday. It’s also pretty disconcerting to come on here before ten o’clock and find 42 comments already up. Those of us who pick up the paperfrom the letterbox after breakfast are living in a forlorn past. It’s not treeware. COD MUGGINS. Thank you U and setter.
  20. About 25 min, lat 5 or 6 spent on 14ac, where I couldn’t think of anything but SWEET, which is clearly very wrong. Last before that was 17dn where MNEMONIC came to mind at first, and then MANA rather than NUMEN. No problem with 9dn as definition was plain enough, so didn’t think hard about exactly how to parse.
  21. Don’t see what all the fuss is about; MINUTEMAN was the only one I had to plump for from the obvious wordplay.
    Surely SCORE in 9d is ‘musical score’ i.e. Bohemian Rhapsody (possibly the best rock single ever made?) being a CZECH SCORE = CHECK SCORE = CHECK SUM which is a method of finding errors?
    I’d have spelled SIMPATICO with a Y as the French do SYMPA, but I guess it’s Spanish or Italian here.
    20 minutes
    1. How does CHECK SCORE = CHECK SUM? If the score is a musical score where does SUM come from?
  22. Phantasmagoria also an early 70s album by Curved Air, notable if I recall for synthesised voice. The lead singer was prone to a bit of a display. I also used to love a now defunct bar in Amsterdam called Maximilians – they brewed a lovely SPELT beer. I found this strangely easy, including Checksum (I used to write software requiring such) but had no clue about Monument so DNF. Well done to the B&I Lions. My nerves are just recovering.
    1. Well, that’s two things they’ve got in common with The Damned, then. Though arguably guitarist Captain Sensible was even more prone to a display than Dave “Transyl” Vanian, especially when he put on the nurse’s uniform…

      Edited at 2017-07-10 12:35 pm (UTC)

  23. What a good idea! Site bookmarked. I don’t think though that this methodology can answer the question of: is the community as a whole getting brighter or am I getting dimmer? I suspect from separate observations that the answer is clear.
    1. Thanks for the positive comments. Most of you are so far ahead of me in speed that I don’t feel competent to comment on anyone’s dimness or otherwise.

      Your blog comments from a background with a combination of physics and theology are, however, very much up my street.

      Thanks again.

      1. Do you have a background in either discipline? My Physics degree was concluded 50 years ago (the divinity degree about 10) this summer, but my youngest boy is reading Mathematical Physics and bits come back to me. The novel I use as my User Pic is my attempt at fusion between the two in an otherwise traditional family saga with my usual feeble attempts at humour. If ever you feel the need to read something like this, give me a yell and I’ll get a copy over to you. Cheers, J
        1. Thanks for the additional info. And, yes, I have a degree in Physics (along with my electrical engineering) from the early 80s and a Bachelor of Divinity (part time while working) from the early 90s. I also have a son studying maths at uni, though he’s combining it with biology rather than physics – more options for this than in my day. So we have a good match on a number of fronts. Thanks also for the book reference – I’ll look into this further.
          1. I spent most of my career in the electricity industry. Knew a whole load of electrical engineers, heavy current guys trying to solve light current problems! We’re all that nowadays. If you go on Amazon, it’s available on Kindle. There are two paperback versions. Amazon will try and sell you their Createspace second-hand version first, now out of print. The new edition is the Troubador one, which is available if you press View All Editions.
  24. DNF with a biffed MNEMONIC creating an impossibility for 18a Once I had come here for the answer to 18a, I still didn’t understand MONUMENT. Otherwise, including the controversial CHECKSUM, reasonably straight-forward.
  25. When I was playing offside was only accidental if you couldn’t get out of the way and the ball hit you. Catching it and then letting go when you realised what you had done was no excuse. But I think perhaps the ref had a Jack Nicklaus/Tony Jacklin moment – neiither of these side deserves to lose. And Keiran Read was very gracious.
    1. An interesting parallel with the Grand Prix start. Owens was offside and caught the ball illegally but then released it ahead of the whistle. Was his reaction time within the 0.2 seconds allowed in F1, athletics etc to prevent anticipation and “jumping”. Probably; and maybe the laws should allow for it but as things stand they don’t, so I’d say we were lucky to get away with it within the spirit ,but not the letter, of the law.

      Tony D

  26. About 20 minutes, ending with CHECKSUM, which was a guess that, since I’ve never worked in the tech world, was unknown to me. But it seemed the most likely entry given the crossing letters and the Bohemian reference. I also had no idea of what was going on re EINDHOVEN and kestrels. We call a kestrel: a kestrel. So I just biffed that in. Regards.
  27. Twenty minutes, and no problem with CHECKSUM other than the parsing. It was a toss-up between SIMPATICO and “sympatico” at 16ac, since I wasn’t sure if the idiot was a “simp” or a “symp”, but the former seemed more likely (as in “simpleton”). Everything else seemed fairly straightforward.

  28. DNF. Bah! I got all but my last 4 (16 & 18ac; 9 & 17dn) in about 30 mins but struggled for ages to get anywhere with what was left. I eventually managed to get simpatico and monument but never managed to get the other two. I knew it was “check” something but the word was unfamiliar and “sum” for “score”, which is how I read it, just never came to mind. Minuteman also unfamiliar although I think I may have come across it in a previous puzzle, possibly with slightly more generous wordplay. Apart from that I knew PSV Eindhoven and so guessed that “indhove” had to be the innards of a kestrel. Tough and un-Mondayish.
  29. A nominal 12:55, but I was so tired after a particularly busy day that I dozed off for a short period (I’m not sure how long) while checking through and resurfaced to find that I hadn’t yet clicked on Submit.

    No problem parsing CHECKSUM once I’d actually thought of it (which unfortunately took rather longer than it should have). Basically a pleasant, straightforward solve.

  30. spot on about the decision!! great performance by the Lions. result about fair and right I think.
  31. check out the famous poem by gerald manley hopkins. I woke this morning mornings minion etc etc ….something like that…..
  32. Tackled this after a heavy weekend involving a 4 day College Reunion, and Golfing Weekend(separate events) and a 380 mile drive including repacking, to achieve both. Both events entailed a certain amount of imbibing, so I was perhaps a little bit less than fresh for this not quite so Monday-ish offering. I got completely stuck at the CHECKSUM/MINUTEMAN/MONUMENT intersections and had to resort to aids. No time as I had to stop when my cleaner chucked me out of my chair so she could hoover round me, and then got bogged down at the aforementioned juncture, but things had looked promising up to that point. Managed to pick the correct SIMP/SYMP and knew Eindhoven as I went to a Motor Museum there when my now 39 year old daughter was still in a pushchair. Still catching up on the weekend and Monday puzzles. Thanks setter and Ulaca.

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