Times 26797 – Time to hang out the washing?

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
A slightly tougher than normal Monday, which I think would be borne out by the Snitchometer, if it hadn’t gone into dock for a migration-induced overhaul. I’m doing this write-up on the iPad, unusually, so I will keep it short and sweet, so as to keep the time spent on it at a manageable level. 34 minutes for the puzzle, which contains a very high proportion of lengthy clues, according to my own internal Snitchometer.


5. PAID UP – AID in PUP (with a cross-reference to 3D).
8. DOES A BUNK – double definition.
11. PASTA – hidden.
12. LADDISH – [sa]LAD + DISH, where S and A are the first portions.
13. TEACH-IN – TE[rm] + ACHIN[g]. I’ve heard of a love-in and a laugh-in, courtesy of Rowan and Martin, but never of a teach-in, which sounds rather prosaic by comparison.
14. BELLES LETTRES – the literal is ‘literary works’, while the wordplay revolves around the fact that the Bronte sisters used the rather androgynous pseudonyms Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell, because, as Charlotte put it, ‘we had a vague impression that authoresses are liable to be looked on with prejudice’. So we have BELLES (‘Bronte to be read aloud’ i.e. a homophone, although the word would appear to require to be approached in a Frenchified way as a feminine plural, which gives a usually impermissible level of indirectness, unless I’m missing something) + LET + TRES. Not perhaps the world’s pithiest clue, accompanied, appropriately enough, by not the world’s tersest explication.
16. SIEGFRIED LINE – If every Wagner opera was abbreviated in this way, I might attend one. If I was paid, and dinner was thrown in. Plus a bottle of 1947 Château Suduiraut…The original Siegfried Line was built by the Germans in the Great War, but the one that was feted in song by various artists including Flanagan and Allen was the one built in the late 30s by the Germans opposite the Maginot Line: https://youtu.be/1mN8wZB8ae8
20. ABIGAIL – AIL on A + a rather cunning reversal of GIB[raltar].
21. UNCHAIN – UN + CHA + IN.
23. GLENN – If anything bores me more than Wagner, it is space travel. However, I’d just about heard of this fellow, who qualified for inclusion in the Thunderer puzzle as recently as last December. GLEN + [missio]N.
24. WOMANISER – SAW MORE IN * (anagram).
25. TUSSLE – T[h]U[g]S + SLE[w].
26. GREENERY – RY beside GREENE. I’d have thought by definition that greenery wasn’t especially colourful, given that it consists of shades of one colour.


2. TREAD – RE + A in T[elfor]D.
3. SPANIEL – PAN + IE in S[mal]L.
7. DISCHARGE – DI followed by CH in SARGE.
10. KETTLEDRUMMER – a kettle may refer to ‘a small area in which demonstrators or protesters are confined by police seeking to maintain order during a demonstration’. Here we have the past participle of the cognate verb followed by the equally recondite large glass (rummer). The kitchen is yet another allusive term, this time, for solving purposes, mercifully common in Crosswordland, referring to the percussion section of an orchestra.
17. FLANNEL – double definition.
18. INCENSE – IN + CE around [v]ENS, ven[erable] being the title for an archdeacon.
19. SNARKY – S[cornful] + NARKY.
22. AISLE – IS in ALE.

77 comments on “Times 26797 – Time to hang out the washing?”

  1. If anyone is interested in doing the crosswords on an iPad or when not connected to the Internet, I have a script for downloading them into Across Lite (.puz) format and could make them available for others if there were a demand.

    Across Lite on the iPad is particularly good as it has the look and feel of paper-based crosswords.

    Reply to this comment if you’re interested.

      1. Yes 🙂

        The links are
        ht tps: // dropfile. to / gkCuODH
        ht tps: // dropfile.to / S1hdA4a

        and the access keys are:

        (Remove the spaces in the links.)

      2. Yes and the text is a decent size too. 🙂

        I’ve tried to add a link to a sample, but the post is marked as spam.

          1. Thank you. Actually, you don’t need the access keys. Just visit the site and download. On an iPad, Open in … should appear if you have Across Lite (or any app that reads .puz files) installed.
      1. If anyone is interested in doing the crosswords on iPad then you’ll be glad to know that the Club site is now configured to work on tablets (and smartphones). With regard to downloading puzzles for mass resupply elsewhere, we would respectfully ask you to refrain from resupplying puzzles to other solvers as all Times and Sunday Times puzzles are under copyright.

        David Parfitt
        Puzzles Editor, The Times & The Sunday Times

        1. David,

          To obviate the need to supply files off the Club site, would it be possible to host a .puz file to download (like the NY Times does)?

          All that is needed is a text file in the format below (which might also be useful for bloggers.


          2017 Times Newspapers Ltd



          Arterial route in China or Taiwan (5).
          Branch installing new vault (6).
          Metal to conduct (4).
          Cute and rare wild animal (8).
          Wounded Romeo put inside cabin (4).
          Handed over dollar and avoided duty (6,3,4).
          Scottish king worried about old country seat? (8,5).
          Character from SW? (4).
          Former tie broken in WW1 battlefield (8).
          So far, one mythical hairy creature (4).
          Some girls have nails closely cut (6).
          Edna turned south for the mountains (5)’

          Deal with proposal (8).
          Most famous listed building here? (4).
          Silver used in renovated Christian emblem (5,3).
          Rough diamonds in Parisian street (4).
          Does it store all the letters one writes? (8).
          Hot wind causes shock (4).
          Lost son alive in the country (8).
          Mum boards tall ship for solemn celebration (4,4).
          Two coppers, married, live on river – it’s cool! (8)
          Sign from ladies losing weight (4).
          Potato small and sweet (4).
          What’s changed in warmer weather? (4)

          Notepad entry for the puzzle here. This section is optional and can be entirely omitted. All spaces and line breaks are preserved. A maximum of 1023 characters can be entered here. Longer entries will be truncated to the first 1023 characters.

  2. I liked the uninitiated archdeacon. Sadly for my score there turns out to be no writer named Preene, though it was pleasing when I thought of it. Preenery might not be a word, either.

    Edited at 2017-08-07 03:49 am (UTC)

  3. This was a little above the norm for a Monday but 37 minutes was my time – in two bouts as I had an early appointment.

    To preparefor the new regime I put the Times grid into Photoshop and gave myself a generous 5.5 inch grid and readably sized clues. It is in fact the numbers on the grid that are almost indiscernable to me.




    WOD KETTLEDRUMMER – easy when you know!

    Did Preene write Creighton Crock?

    Edited at 2017-08-07 05:33 am (UTC)

    1. Indeed. I’ve tried the same work-around without much success in that dept.
      Getting a bit SNARKY about the whole thing.

      I thought 14ac was OK though. Perhaps “a Bronte”?

    2. Everyone at The Times must have really good eyesight. The printed puzzle booklets for last year’s Championship were also in microdot format. As a lifelong four-eyes, I spent the better part of an hour hunched over with my face about four inches from the desk so I could read the clues!
    3. 28 minutes for this one. SNARKY might not have been familiar to me but somebody recently accused me of making snarky comments here, so it was fresh in my mind.

      In addition to the obvious specific meaning, Collins has GREENERY as ‘plants that make a place look attractive’ so ‘colourful dsiplay’ might work better in that sense. It’s a word I probably first came across in the song title ‘Mountain Greenery’ by Rodgers and Hart and recorded at one time or another by every great singer whose repertoire included the American Songbook.

      Those feeling brave enough might venture to listen to this track released in 1962 to celebrate ‘The Epic Ride of John H Glenn’. The performer is Walter Brennan best known as a bewhiskered ornery old varmint in countless Westerns such as ‘Rio Bravo’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQeonTNFs5k

      Edited at 2017-08-07 06:24 am (UTC)

        1. Goodness me, I wasn’t prepared for the shock of hearing Walter dubbed into German! I think I need a lie down after that.

          I have no recollection of the second song being in the film (which I’ve seen probably half-a-dozen times) and wonder if it was cut from some versions. Rick Nelson was a much better singer than he was an actor although he’d been on TV since childhood in The Adventues of Ozzie and Harriet.

  4. 15:48 … inevitably I’m getting over myself regarding the new site and starting to solve online. Not sure I’ll ever like it as much as the old one but it’s okay. Just wish the clues would stop jumping around and then fading when solved. On the plus side, it’s very nice to have everything — grid, stats and forum comments — on one page. Big improvement there.

    Is there a way to stop everything being GREEN after solving? What’s the point of this?

    As for this puzzle, literally half my time went on SIEGFRIED LINE and KETTLEDRUMMER, the latter a struggle after a typo in a crossing clue. The Siegfried Line was only dimly remembered and Wagner only leads to ‘Ring’ in my mental thesaurus.

    1. Don’t know about stopping it, but green means the entries are correct, the last letter entered being a dark orange, and (as I discovered to my chagrin this morning) your error(s) being highlighted rather helpfully in light orange. No more hunting around for that elusive typo.
      1. I don’t often do the Guardian puzzle but I solve the Everyman every week taken from the same site and have similar printing problems there (admittedly not quite so bad) as I do at the Times. I think they revamped a couple of years ago and before that the puzzle had printed perfectly to fill a page of A4.
        1. I do the Guardian cryptic most days and the print format is superior to the Times. the grid is larger and the typeface and print definition is much clearer. The Telegraph whilst the grid is the same size as the Times has larger clue numbers and the same print qualities as the Guardian.
  5. 32m here, with the top half much easier than the bottom. FOI 2d, LOI the astronaut, someone I should have known, but didn’t. My only other unknown-or-near was SIEGFRIED LINE, but after Colin Dexter passed away recently I did all my solving for a week to the cheery tunes of Wagner, so maybe some of it sank in.

    Am I missing the problem with 14a? Is the “belles” of “belles lettres” not normally pronounced in a Frenchified way, like “Bell”? I’ve only ever seen it written down. Personally, my problem with the clue was that I’d completely forgotten the Brontes used a pseudonym…

    Thanks to setter and blogger. I’d missed the GIB for Gibraltar, among other things, in my rush to see if I could bung in the last half as quickly as the first.

  6. On completion I felt my 19:58 was not as good as it should have been but I feel better about it now. I never remember that meaning of KETTLE until it has cost me too much time and the Bronte bit went over my head, otherwise I was relatively biff-free.
  7. Not sure how I managed to type DUUGHTER, even less how I failed to spot it. An error-free 10.31 would have been preferable. The notion that any of our bloggers could be called snarky has me baffled.

    Edited at 2017-08-07 08:29 am (UTC)

  8. 16.16 for me, except for inexplicably spelling the french snail with an initial A. As noted above, helpfully highlighted in my grid. If only it did that before submission.
    A shade above the Easy Monday, and a few sops to us bereaved TLS fans.
    Thanks Ulaca for going much further than I did with untangling the clues: the fuss about the Brontes passed me by, and I never did work out the anagram fodder for D-I-L.

    Space flight may have become boring, but John Glenn’s? The first American to orbit earth, in a spacecraft which barely worked and in which most things that could go wrong did? That takes something very special. To a younger me, enthralling.

  9. At the easier end for me. I appear at the moment to be either finishing quickly by my standards or not at all. KETTLEDRUMMER needed a lot of crossers and thought early on that the military defence might end in RING.
  10. Consistency is much over-rated though.. prefer individuality, myself. Craft beer, not Red Barrel if you see what I mean
    1. Agreed. I caught the school bus for 7 years waiting next to the Red Barrel brewery – so thanks for mentioning it. It might explain why I was one of the very first members of CAMRA.
      1. Re CAMRA, I have every Good Beer Guide since 1974, including the Infamous first edition of 1974, which described Watneys as ‘Avoid like the plague’. After legal action, unsold copies were withdrawn and reissued with ‘Avoid at all costs.
          1. Yup. You can see it on YouTube by searching there for Eric Idle Watneys Red Barrel
  11. <15, so a good start to the week. Liked BELLES LETTRES, which parses perfectly in French. LOI KETTLEDRUMMER, parsed in a flash of inspiration. Having been kettled a few times, it is extremely unpleasant and only leads to trouble. Thanks ulaca and setter.
  12. I found this easy today, finishing in 11 minutes. I spent five years visiting a Nursing Home and always enjoyed the concerts, happily singing about where the washing is to be hung. Saw BELLES LETTRES quickly, knew SNARKY as a word used in my past, also that KETTLEDRUMMERS were in the kitchen section, have read every Graham Greene novel in my youth and remember John GLENN well. He was a Senator too. Teach-ins were all the vogue in the sixties. If space travel bores you so much, U , I think you should confront the issue and book on Branson’s first Virgin mission. But you’ll have to be happy to fly on a rocket that doesn’t go the whole way.(Joke borrowed from Dave Allen and plagiarised from the airline.) Thank you U and setter for making me feel intelligent.
  13. So confused ahout the new site and how it works – I did this at midnight, but I don’t think I did it on the Club (somehow?) as in the morning I checked and all my puzzles were pristine. I could have taken the opportunity to reenter my answers and post a truly Magoovian time, but I’ve lost the will to compete a bit with the new, difficult to master format. Ho hum. This took 6 minutes something anyway.

    I think 6dn should probably be spelt ASPHALT…

    1. Did you perhaps do this from the Puzzles section on the main Times website rather than the new Crossword Club? The infrastructure seems very similar (in particular the horrendous lag for Jumbos) but on the main Times website there is no connection to the leaderboards and you get a Congratulations/Unlucky message upon completion (for non-prize puzzles).
      1. I too was horrified by the lag on the Jumbos. It took so long to populate that I kept losing track of the cursor, and became the curser! I found it was better with Chrome rather than Microsoft Edge, but still most annoying.
  14. 17 minutes, a slightly harder than usual Monday as noted. INCENSE the only one unparsed. Liked the Kettledrummer and the Bronte clue.
  15. Felt a little slow in 20.35. Bronte is Bell (aloud); excl.-mark extends the immediacy of final two words; nae problem. I rather like the extra homophone to pave the way. Snarky eh? A bit like snippy, immortalised by Al Gore. I note His Beefiness is very concerned these days to promote the shooting of game birds. – joekobi
  16. Still feeling SNARKY (my LOI) about the new site. 33 mins on the main Times site.
  17. What’s all this about online problems? Am I the only one who gets the newspaper and doesn’t worry if I spill my coffee? Not much to add other than complete in about 45mins with many clues unparsed -so many thanks for explanations. A different feel for a Monday.
  18. 3 out of 5 completed last week, and fairly straightforward today, while making blackberry jam. At last I see signs of improvement…
    1. 14:30 with some dilly-dallying in the NW corner thanks to:
      – not being able to parse LADDISH (thanks U);
      – not knowing enough about Brontes or French literary works; and
      – looking at the wrong end of the spaniel, as it were, for the definition at 3d. This was further compounded by almost leaving 5a blank so the cross-reference that would have helped me didn’t.

  19. I found this puzzle slightly trickier than some, but completed it correctly in 33:22. My FOI was SET ASIDE and LOI was BELLES LETTRES. The Bronte pseudonym had passed me by or faded from my memory, so the BELLES bit was a bit of a biff from crossers. I failed to parse 10d until coming here as I didn’t know the glass/rummer bit. I was struggling with which end of 3d was which, until 5a gave me the definition through the cross reference. Otherwise a straightforward offering, and most enjoyable. Thanks setter and merci Ulaca. Are you off to Paris on a jaunt soon?

    Edited at 2017-08-07 02:09 pm (UTC)

    1. Would love to revisit the world’s best restaurant, Au Bob Coin, in Aubusson d’Auvergne, but fear it must wait for another year or two.
  20. I am very happy that now, as an Ipad user, I can solve on the Club website. Unfortunately (apart from this cryptic) I seem to conjure up 1 typo per puzzle which I rarely did solving on the online Times version. I hope that practice with this interface will gradually make perfect.

  21. Five of the longest hours of my life were spent trying to stay awake during a performance of Die Walkure ( sorry, can’t find the umlaut ), enlivened only by a visit to the pub in the equally lengthy interval. Apologies to any Wagnerites for my lack of enthusiasm….

    I found this slightly more tricky than a usual Monday.

    Time: all correct in about 50 mins.

    Thank you to setter and blogger.


  22. As mentioned, the SNITCH is being upgraded for the new Club format. My apologies that I was not able to complete it over the weekend.

    Thanks, Ulaca, for the entertaining blog.

    The crossword did seem a bit trickier than a normal Monday. KETTLEDRUMMER did seem to be full of obscurities, but I guess it couldn’t be anything else.

  23. 12 mins so I was pretty much on the setter’s wavelength. I thought I was going to be in for a much faster time when the NW corner went in straight away, but I slowed a little after that and for some reason the SW took a while to unravel, with BEEFINESS my LOI after after GLENN. Solving on treeware meant I didn’t have any of the “fun” a lot of you seemed to have had this morning.
  24. 28m for this pleasant puzzle – no real hold ups apart from a nap of indeterminate length rudelynended by the dog licking my face, I presume as a canine request to stop snoring. Enjoyed the blog, thanks U and setter.
  25. I was on the wavelength this morning. 17 minutes – which is good for me. I quite like literary/musical gk in a puzzle. I printed it OK but this pm I’m getting an error message when I try to solve other puzzles online. Can anyone here explain:
    “Your browser sent a request that this server could not understand.
    Size of a request header field exceeds server limit.”
  26. 16 minutes, which is less time than I spent on the quickie. (I decided to give up on that as I couldnt think of anything sensible for 16ac)
  27. Around 15 minutes, held up by the undecipherable wordplay to KETTLEDRUMMER, and my own mental thickness in taking too long to remember the ‘RY’ = ‘lines’ thing. Other than that, no problem, and I liked SIEGRFRIED LINE. Regards.
  28. I did about half of this in 18 mins on the morning commute and finished it off in another 17 mins at lunchtime. I had an incorrect stout at 22dn I’m not sure if porter and stout are quite the same thing but I thought perhaps a stout fellow might be stout enough to block the gangway. Soon corrected though when aisle went in. FOI 11ac. LOI 26ac. Kettledrummer took a while despite being chock-full of crossword favourites but no real hold ups. COD 24ac.
  29. Crossword site just started working normally again. It must have been their error. Panic over.
  30. 7:16. I seem to have been on the wavelength for this one.
    I biffed 14ac but I don’t understand the objections to the homophone. That’s how it’s pronounced: it’s not Frenchified, it’s French!
    1. What I was trying to get at was that it seemed unusual, if not unprecedented, to have a French word being the referent of a homophonising instruction. No big deal, but will watch out to see how common this kind of thing is, or if it were just a case of blogger over-analysis.
      1. It doesn’t strike me as unusual. It’s also an English word by adoption, and I don’t think anyone would even notice if other adopted words (pasta, say, or kaput) were indicated like this.
  31. 13:51. I wasn’t convinced that SNARKY was word, but shrugged and put it in anyway once I had got GREENERY. 26a would be better clued as ‘monochromatic display’, but maybe I’m being unpleasantly critical.

    Edited at 2017-08-07 08:22 pm (UTC)

  32. Well, I finally got to the puzzle after struggling with the new site.

    I zipped through this one in nineteen minutes but, as I typed the last letter of my last clue, the site helpfully chimed in with “That’s not quite right”, or words to that effect.

    I quickly spotted my error (incence instead of INCENSE), but what really annoyed me is that I didn’t have any chance to review my answers (and just possibly spot the mistake on my own) before the site told me I had an error.

    Does anyone know how to turn off this annoying feature?

  33. Unfortunately, when I follow your link to the Club site, the puzzles won’t load for me – I just get a “loading…” icon.
  34. Not sure how the ordinary bloke is supposed to grasp refs to Bronte pseudonyms and Wagner, no matter how good at cracking codes. If this carries on, there’s not much point starting.
  35. I’m impressed that ulaca has experienced so much space travel to have become bored with it. But that’s the Dan Dare variety ; the pedant in me though has to pipe up to point out any movement involves travel in at least one of the space dimensions therefore . . .
  36. I get better value out of my crosswords than most of you. That took me a day and a half on and off, though I completed it correctly. Strangely, given the debate, ‘Belles-Lettres’ was the first one I got and ‘Siegfried Line’ was a very early hit too. For some reason ‘Teach-In’ and ‘Set Aside’ took ages. Enjoyed the challenge. I think I’m getting the hang of it now.
  37. Back from hols so 2 days late. 35 mins over lunch (Tuna sandwich) – so standard Monday fare done on a Thurs. COD to 9ac – for what it is worth. Thanks setter and Ulaca.

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