Times 26817

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Well it’s hotter than Lord Flashman’s pants here today, so we’re hunkering down indoors with shutters shut as if we’ve gone off to the seaside to join all the French in bouchons.
Not a difficult puzzle, I thought, but a good one, with a constant level of clueing, four substantial anagrams and a couple of tricky three-letter answers. It took me just under 20 minutes and the parsing seemed less tortuous than usual. Even though it was obvious from the wordplay, I did check the definition for 7d afterwards as it was an unusual spelling for this word which in my mind had a completely different meaning; it turns out there are several meanings, apart from the Alec Guinness character in Star Wars.
One easy bird, no plants, no antelopes, no poetry; is it really Wednesday?

Definitions underlined

1 Share room, perhaps, with ringer in the bell-tower? (6,2)
DOUBLE UP – I tihink this is; DOUBLE = (dead) ringer: UP in the tower. Not the best clue of the grid, though.
6 Look casually at hairy things, needing microscope ultimately (6)
BROWSE – BROWS, as in eyebrows, are hairy; E from end of microscope.
9 I control auntie, not wanting a tricky conversation (13
INTERLOCUTION – Anagram of I CONTROL (A)UNTIE, anagrind ‘tricky’.
10 Keeping mum and boy in squat (6)
SILENT – LEN is our boy, inside SIT = squat.
11 Almost everyone having weapon at home good? Dreadful! (8
ALARMING – AL(L), ARM = weapon, IN = at home, G(ood).
13 Competitor felt cheated somehow, first to be eliminated (10)
DECATHLETE – Anagram of FELT CHEATED with the F removed.
15 Theatrical male in type of headgear (4)
CAMP – M(ale) in CAP.
16 Vehicle taking load to one side of island (4)
TAXI – TAX, as in burden, add load to; I(sland).
18 Identify Eastern item of furniture ready for sale (10)
21 Groups getting even — observe love lacking within (8)
QUINTETS – NOTE = observe, remove the O (love) = NTE, insert into QUITS = even. As I had the U having solved 17d and was already thinking ‘see a U think Q’ it was a delay-free solve.
22 Quiet prayer, not right: a threat to life? (6)
POISON – P for quiet, softly; ORISON is a prayer (from French oraison), drop the R = not right.
23 Has one got a recording? A detective’s so excited (13)
VIDEOCASSETTE – (A DETECTIVE’S SO)*. When was the last time you actually played one? I have a few old ones of family, in a cupboard, and a VCR in the attic, but they’ll probably never meet again.
25 Demonstrate during an Ashes match? (6)
ATTEST – If you’re AT TEST, it could be an Ashes match, unless you’re not in England or Australia of course.
26 River to swell up round front of city train (8)
EXERCISE – EXE as in Devon is one of our usual rivers; RISE around C(ity).

2 Mineral, mostly black and blue, collected by individual (7)
OLIVINE – This sprang to mind as soon as I saw we needed a mineral starting with O. LIVI(D) = black and blue mostly (as in a bruise), inserted into ONE = individual. It’s green of course, not black and blue.
3 Old boy upset over the amount dished out becomes an inconvenience (11)
BOTHERATION – BO = OB reversed; THE RATION = the amount dished out.
4 Bird plunged in water gets up (5)
EGRET – A bird, hiding reversed in WA(TER GE)TS.
5 Certificate and mug perhaps received by the head (7)
PROBATE – ROB = mug perhaps, inside PATE = head.
6 Pests outside shed beginning to enrage Asian natives (9)
BHUTANESE – BANES are pests, insert HUT = shed, add E = beginning to enrage.There are only 750,000 of these ‘Asian natives’ living in Bhutan, a country twice the size of Wales, of who about half speak Dzongkha, the main Bhutanese language.
7 Sorcery using bird with wings cut off (3)
OBI – The bird is a ROBIN, cut down to lose the R and N. I thought an OBI was a Japanese sash, (it is), an old Indie band, a cardboard CD cover, a German DIY chain, or part of a footballer’s name; but it’s also an alternative spelling for OBEAH which is a form of Nigerian and Caribbean sorcery.
8 Rose may have got up as one (7
SYNONYM – slightly cryptic &lit.; ‘ROSE’ and ‘GOT UP’ are synonyms.
12 Is hectic man running around without thinking? (11)
14 Agree on London footballer getting dismissed? (6,3)
HAMMER OUT – A West Ham player could be called a ‘HAMMER’; then OUT = dismissed.
17 Adult to depart, having imbibed a very strong alcoholic drink (7)
AQUAVIT – A(dult), QUIT = depart, insert A, V(ery). The way my Swedish pals drink the stuff, you’d think it was as strong as water, but you’d be wrong, it’s gut rot.
19 Car plunged under river, say — not for the first time (7)
RESTATE – This took me longer than it should have done, I was fooling around with EG for ‘say’ and various rivers; but it’s R for river then ESTATE for a kind of bootless / trunkless car, a descriptor used in the UK.
20 Thieves in small room with heartless shows of emotion (7)
LOOTERS – LOO = small room, TE(A)RS = shows of emotion, made heartless by removing the A.
22 Permit English to be out of date (5)
PASSE – PASS = permit, E(nglish); acute accent ignored.
24 Female ruined, with name destroyed (3)
DOE – DONE can mean destroyed, as in done for I suppose; remove the N; I tried to parse DEE as a woman’s name but failed, so DOE it had to be.

33 comments on “Times 26817”

  1. 37 minutes on the hoof, on what appeared to be a typical Monday puzzle!

    FOI 11ac ALARMING quickly followed by 9ac INTERLOCUTION.

    LOI 21ac QUINTETS after 17dn ACQUAINT a pangram seemed less likely.



  2. I found this tough, and stretched it out to 59 minutes and 30 seconds! Quite a few unknowns here in the answers and the wordplay—orison and OLIVINE, for example—but I managed to get there in the end.

    Like Jack, I wanted to put in ADVOCAT for the unknown 17d, but eventually got to AQUAVIT rather tortuously through knowing that “usquebaugh”—water of life, also—is a Scots name for whisky. I leaned that from Robin Laing (Spotify link) at the Islay festival a few years back.

    FOI 4d EGRET, LOI 6d SYNONYM, where I rather like the allusion to “A rose by any other name…” Deliberate? Or did I just see Romeo and Juliet too recently? WOD BOTHERATION

    Edited at 2017-08-30 06:37 am (UTC)

  3. I found this much the easiest of the week so far, and polished it off in 16.48, which is what counts as quick for me these days. RESTATE my last in, because I was convinced it started with R(iver) AS (say), so completely missed the definition.
    I have dozens of videocassettes and a non-functioning VCR, a tribute to my inability to throw out technology even when obsolete. What amazing things they were, setting us free from the tyranny of being present when a crucial programme was being broadcast, so long as we could figure out how to programme the things.
    1. Do you remember thinking it was wonderful when videoplus codes were invented so we didn’t have to mess about setting hours and minutes, and the recording didn’t begin until the programme actually started? It’s not all progress though as the BBC still prevents us recording Andy Murray playing tennis by making unscheduled channel switches.

      Edited at 2017-08-30 07:11 am (UTC)

      1. I think the BBC is performing its public service remit in not allowing Murray’s matches to be recorded automatically (we don’t want to frighten the fhildren). Even better If SKY could do the same for the English (and Welsh) cricket team, not to mention football too. Any others? – automatic volume reduction during women’s tennis. I fould never work those blasted VCRs and always managed to ruin the children’s Thomas the Tank Engine tapes through aggressive fast forwarding. Found today ok in about 45 mins with slight hesitation over 22a. Thanks all
  4. Today’s antelope is in the Quickie.

    I found this very hard and with only about a third of it completed I nodded off for an hour or so. On waking I set about the remainder wih renewed mental energy and managed to complete it although I still wrestled with wordplay for ages to come up with the unknown OLIVINE and the unfamilar BHUTANESE.

    My favourite for 17dn was ABSINTH but as I already had the first and last checkers in place which ruled out that idea I biffed ADVOCAT which at least has a V in it to account for ‘very’ in the clue. That gave me two incorrect checkers for 21 and 23ac which presented me with further problems.

    I still have a number of videocassettes and a VCR hooked up to my TV system on which to play them. Unfortunately they are in US format, copyproof and not available commercially on DVD so as long as the machine works I plan to hold on to them.

    Edited at 2017-08-30 06:10 am (UTC)

  5. 17:42. I struggled with this, I’m not sure why. I didn’t help myself by bunging in PERUSE at 6ac, thinking it might have something to do with some derivative of ‘peruke ‘, but I reconsidered after a minute or two struggling with 6dn and 7dn.
    I don’t know if I’ve ever come across orisons outside Hamlet but that was enough.
  6. Stretched to 55 mins with toast and damson preserve. Most of the stretching in the SW over the two Qs. Like others, Absinthe, Advocat, and a pleasant memory trawl through liquors I have known.
    I found this very difficult to get a proper foothold. Mostly I liked: Hammer Out and Synonym.
    Eyebrow half raised at: Load=Tax, Ruined=Done, but only half raised, before I get told off for raising it at all.
    Thanks clever setter and Pip.
  7. Very steady top to bottom solve with no real problems along the way. Not sure how overseas solvers will get on with HAMMERS for West Ham. Agree AQUAVIT is well worth avoiding.

    I threw away my VIDEOCASSETTE a long time ago

  8. I found this quite difficult, taking 50 minutes. The anagrams were unyielding and there were few gimmes. All the family action shots of the children growing up and holidays were taken on VIDEOCASSETTE and then lovingly transferred to DVD about 15 years ago. Nobody ever watches them now while sepia photos of grandparents and further back are studied with reverence. Liked HAMMER OUT as for some strange reason Bolton nearly always beat them and have done since 1923 Cup Final. We won’t next week in the League Cup though. COD RESTATE as it was LOI and damned obvious. Thank you Pip and setter.
  9. It’s far from scorching here in Kilmarnock – I’m officially on my hols now, so this was done in the non-ideal conditions of snuggled up with two small girls on a sofabed, one of them angrily asserting every seven seconds exactly that a much better use for a laptop would be playing CBeebies games. No major holdups in the ACTUAL puzzle, although it took me a long time to think of something to go at the end of 23ac even when I had VIDEO at the start, which is probably the final proof that it’s a dead format now. Finished I think just inside 1.5 Magoos which is the new 2 Magoos. LOIs 20dn into 22ac. Fun puzzle!
  10. We have a bottle of agavero (tequila liqueur) at home, which unfortunately parsed perfectly for 17 down, so I was held up for ages
  11. Finished only by cheating on quintets and olivine.

    Biffed quite a lot e.g. poison as orison was unknown, and the anagrams helped, but definitely harder than Monday.

    Dnk pate = head, and haven’t seen Adult for A before.

    COD browse.

  12. Unremarkable pleasant offering – a little 12 somehow. Wit but no poetry. 22.40. – joekobi
  13. Mucked about for ages in the same corner as others, toying with the single A version of ADVOCAAT. Knowing there was a V in there somewhere then led me to the superficially plausible (but ultimately unparseable) AVENGERS for “groups getting even”, which didn’t help at all by sending me down the alt. sp. route of AKVAVIT. Still, all part of life’s rich pageant.
  14. Never mind whether this has escaped from a Monday, the top half went in so quickly I thought that it had escaped from the Quick Cryptic. Nemesis followed with the bottom half but nevertheless posted a respectable (for me) 21:14. As mentioned earlier, the ‘See a U, try a Q’ tactic helped me today. Thanks setter and thanks pip for the comprehensive blog.

    Edited at 2017-08-30 11:30 am (UTC)

  15. After 35 minutes I was left with 2d, 17d and 21a unsolved, and was going nowhere, so I looked up the liquor, and was then puzzled, like Tim, as I’d been considering AVENGERS for 21a and saw that AKVAVIT would fit but then neither of them would parse. However, the easily parsed AQUAVIT was bunged in and I immediately saw QUINTETS as I’d been dabbling with ___NTE_S for a while. I was still totally stumped by the NHO O_I_INE however and looked that up too. Eventually submitted at 47:04. I have loads of videocassettes and a several players too. One of them is a multi function unit that allows me to copy to DVD or HDD. I have hours of cartoons on Betamax, recorded faithfully, for the kids, when they were on for five minutes each day around teatime, although the Sony player I have doesn’t work properly and I haven’t found the inspiration(or time; who said retirement was boring?) to try and fix it yet. I also have a usb video grabber which allows me to copy any video signal to my computer as an mpg as long as it’s not copy protected. Like BW I copied all my camcorder footage of the children growing up to DVD years ago. Happy days! A tricky puzzle for me at least. FOI DOUBLE UP, DNK ORISON. Thanks setter and Pip.
  16. 13:20 so little in the way of botheration. OLIVINE last in as I was wondering if “black and blue” could mean angry when I should have been remembering that LIVID can mean the colour of a bruise.
  17. Another good day for “if you see a checked U in the second letter of an entry think QU” to get me over the last hurdle. I did this not long after it appeared on the crossword club site (it seems the CC puzzle appears kind of randomly somewhere between 12:30-3:00am GMT), so I can’t remember the time, but I think it was 11-12 minutes.
  18. Halleluja! I have finally managed to get the crossword through the new site. Completed with some difficulty (I think all my comments have been used up above) only to find that I can’t submit…. Could someone tell someone about this??
    Just finished a Ken Follett book about Denmark, and they keep drinking that stuff all day, so a nice write-in.
    1. I’ll try to help. Politely – gave you an angry rant of a reply the other day (trying to write a webpage, so I now hate ALL browsers, and was scathing towards them all).

      You need to be a “Leaderboard” player to submit your times, not a “Private” player. Click on the “Your Profile” icon at the top right of the screen, you change your status on the page that appears. Then when you complete a puzzle on the Crossword Club site (but not the newspaper site!) you get the option of submitting your time to the leaderboard.

      The FAQ – frequently asked questions – on the Crossword Club site are compendious and well-written, worth a scan. Questions 1.4 and 1.5 answer your query.

      Revisiting your question from a few days ago: I was locked out of the Club site one time since then. Clearing cache & cookies in browser and re-logging in to the newspaper site got me back in to the Crossword Club site.

      Hope this helps.

  19. What’s a videocassette??!! I,too, wonder how non-Brits will get on with ‘London footballer’.
    Anyone thinking of visiting Bhutan might like to take a look at one of the videos available on YouTube of landings at Paro Airport. Interesting!
    It might be “hotter than Lord Flashman’s pants” where Pip lives but up here on the border with Lower Normandy it’s wet and ‘orrible!
    47m 47s
  20. 32 minutes for this, with ‘olivine’ unknown but kind of likely looking. As I wrote in ‘quintets’, I sent up a quick orison of thanks that Thomas Stearns never got that far.
  21. About 20 minutes, but that’s after guessing or biffing both QUINTETS and OLIVINE. The wordplay for the former just didn’t make itself clear to me, while OLIVINE was a half remembered thing. Livid as a bruised color wouldn’t occur to me, as I don’t recall seeing the usage too often. On the other hand, I had no problem with HAMMER OUT. Regards.
  22. I finished this one pretty quickly, was off to a flying start with MECHANISTIC as FOI and right on its heels BOTHERATION. My LOI was PASS, but OLIVINE was the penultimate. The definition of HAMMER OUT eluded me, and I sure didn’t know any London footballer. I just now Googled “Ashes match.” Thanks to Pip for the parsing of QUINTETS.

    Edited at 2017-08-30 05:00 pm (UTC)

  23. . . was a right in as i know it from my space science being prevalent in asteroids, earth subsurface and cosmic debris generally and of interest in the formation of solar system
  24. DNF, my efforts foundering upon a rock of olivine. The mineral was unfamiliar, as was livid for black and blue rather than its usual Gerald the gorilla sense. That said I have heard “post mortem lividity” in a few police procedural dramas on telly, so maybe it wasn’t that much of a stretch. I even pondered a word meaning bruised containing “x” “i” for “by individual” before admitting defeat.
  25. A round half hour for me, with (unusually) no unknowns apart from the tangential “orison”. Once again I am indebted to my geology teacher, this time for 2d.
  26. Don’t like 16ac:”Vehicle taking load to one side of island.” “Vehicle” is a fair definition of taxi. “Load” could be “tax” especially as a verb and “island” is i. Where does the “one side of” go?
  27. So this appeared Tuesday 14 Nov 2017 in South China Morning Post. I must see if UK problems are published in sequence here. I don’t get to see the crossword every day, though.

    Three long anagrams allowed an easy assault, and there was no hold-out corner.

    To Pip: 8d SYNONYM seems to be a twisted definition rather than “&lit”. I.e.: just “lit”. If I am missing something, please explain.

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