Times 26823 – don’t be a t*t, do the wordplay.

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I was feeling rather jaded when I sat down to tackle this one, so made heavy weather of it, taking around 45 minutes and one still not fully understood (11a). But I suspect it’s not all that difficult and I was just having a slow day.
Some of the wordplay I’d describe as ‘clunky’ although it does get you there if you persist, or resist the temptation to biff. It’s not going down on my list of all-time greats.

Definitions underlined as usual.

1 Run out, curious about stone in platform (7)
ROSTRUM – R O = run out, in cricket; ST = stone, RUM = curious.
5 Summon soldier for display (7)
PAGEANT – PAGE = summon, ANT = soldier. Easy once you see the ANT bit.
9 Article to note about East Poland’s foremost tourist attraction (5,4)
THEME PARK – THE = article, MARK = to note, around EP = East Poland’s foremost.
10 Knowledge from long ago about one European river (5)
LOIRE – LORE = knowledge from long ago, aorund I.
11 Received regular payment for energy that should be free (3,2)
LET GO – Well I see the definition but for now I can’t see what else is going on, sorry. GO could be energy, but why is LET a regular payment?
12 Minor illumination is recalled with pleasure (9)
SIDELIGHT – IS recalled = SI, DELIGHT = pleasure.
13 Remains of drink, say, put in box — heaps not started (6,7)
COFFEE GROUNDS – EG = say, put into COFFER = box, = COFFEEGR, then (M)OUNDS = heaps not started.
17 Ruined a night’s sleep with a bit of excessive wool-gathering? (5-8)
SHEEP STEALING – (A NIGHT’S SLEEP E)*, the E is ‘a bit of Excessive’.
21 Fruity stuff blighter presented in foreign newspaper mostly (5,4)
LEMON CURD – Insert CUR = blighter, into LE MOND(E) being a foreign newspaper mostly.
24 4 Turned on by male of athletic build (5)
LITHE – LIT = turned on, HE = male.
25 State current plan to lose a little weight (5)
INDIA – IN = current, DIA(GRAM) = plan losing GRAM.
26 Fellow leading subdued discussion about right plan of work (9)
FLOWCHART – F(ellow), LOW = subdued, CHAT = discussion, insert R(ight).
27 7 Bad weather encountered on way back? A nuisance (7)
TEMPEST – TEM = MET reversed; PEST = nuisance.
28 8 Military engineers having to handle a quiet place (7)
RETREAT – RE = Royal Engineers, TREAT = handle.

1 Republican head of government formerly diminished alarm (6)
RATTLE – R(epublican), ATTLE(E) being the former PM. Alarm as a verb.
2 Most of a little story about Charlie is a wonder to behold (9)
SPECTACLE – SPEC(K) = most of a little, TALE = story, insert C for Charlie.
3 Uncertain feel for list (4,3)
4 Satisfied about answer, Parisian is providing justification for payment(5,4)
MEANS TEST – MET = satisfied, insert ANS(wer), add EST = French for ‘is’.
5 Stabbed knife vacantly into peas? (5
POKED – KE = knife vacantly, into POD = peas.
6 An astronomer, I stay behind, looking up over constellation (7)
GALILEO – I LAG = I stay behind, reverse that, add LEO.
7 7 Carrying on dismissing leader no longer up-to-the-minute? (5)
AGING – WAGING would be carrying on, drop the W.
8 Study a pose taken up aboard plane, perhaps (8)
TREATISE – Insert A and then SIT (pose) reversed, into TREE of which plane is a variety.
14 Time in Europe no longer? Old lady sullen about end to Brexit (5,4)
GRAND TOUR – GRAN is the old lady, DOUR = sullen, insert T for time.
15‘Snag’ thief must crack? (5,4)
16 Source of prophecy enthrals second writer of religious texts (8)
PSALMIST – A PALMIST is the source of a prophecy; insert S for second, to get a chap who writes psalms. Would be my CoD except it rings a faint bell as a seen-before.
18 It may help you put a good face on emergency landing (7)
PANCAKE – DD. I’m not an expert on things cosmetic but I have heard of pancake make-up, presumably the too-thick sort.
19 One entering seedy clubs, getting it wrong (7)
ILLICIT – ILL = seedy, I (one) C(lubs), add IT.
20 Act like a fool? Get lost! (4,2)
BEAT IT – If you act like a fool, you could be said to BE A TIT, if such impolite expressions can creep into the Murdoch flagship.
22 Network data device in its thirteenth configuration? (5)
MODEM – MODE A would be the first configuration, so MODE M would be the 13th.
23 Inappropriate fine accepted by one (5)
UNFIT – F for fine inserted into UNIT for one.

57 comments on “Times 26823 – don’t be a t*t, do the wordplay.”

  1. I think I read every clue in this puzzle before going back to the top and eventually finding an answer that leapt out at me (10ac after a full 5 minutes) so I was absolutely amazed to find only 32 minutes on the clock when I completed the grid. I biffed INDIA and never managed to work out the parsing. At 7dn I was torn between {w}AGING and {r}AGING for ‘carrying on’.

    On 11ac, if you owned a house and let it to someone you would have received regular payment for it.

    Darvid Parfitt wrote this in the Club yesterday and I’m pasting it here because it’s tucked away in a thread called “Is everyone on vacation?” where most won’t see it:

    Our technical teams are working through the major items of feedback. Progress is, I’m sure, slower than many here would like, but it is important that we and the tech teams ensure that the fixes are going to be sustainable in the long run and not cause undesirable knock-on effects elsewhere in the site. A number of releases are scheduled over the next few weeks that should address issues such as printing, the forum thread order, publishing at midnight and the print option for archive puzzles as well as implementing some less conspicuous tweaks – and the tech teams continue to contend with the access problems that a small percentage of users continue to experience.

    Edited at 2017-09-06 06:31 am (UTC)

    1. Thanks for importing DP’s update Jack – I certainly missed it now that the Club Forum is so confusing. If David happens to look here I’d like to thank him for the print option for the archive puzzles – the lack of it drove me over to the Guardian archive! I hope we get good notice of when the tweaks go into effect – it would be much appreciated.
  2. 30 mins with croissant and home-made blackberry jam. And I found it quite smooth – except for trying to convince myself sheep-stealing is a word. It is a thing, but a hyphenated word? I’m not sure.
    Mostly I liked: Summon soldier, Fruity stuff, ‘Snag’ thief (COD), Pancake and BeaT it.
    Thanks clever setter and Pip.

    Edited at 2017-09-06 07:00 am (UTC)

  3. 16.27, so continuing a trend of getting apparently easier as the week progresses. SPECTACLE was the clue I didn’t parse until checking time, not seeing SPECK as a little, though it obviously is.
    LET seemed OK to me as received a regular payment, because it’s at least the expectation when letting something.
    My inner snob rebelled at BE A TIT, but wrote it in for the sake of not being a tit with an incomplete grid.
    INDIA took me a while to parse, too. We don’t often get wordplay where the exclusion is more than half a word. That and the wordplay suggesting DIET for “lose a little weight”, which wouldn’t work.
    1. Expectations aside, if you aren’t receiving a regular payment, you aren’t really letting: you have squatters.
  4. I knew the makeup but not the aviation term. Since I refused to biff it, INDIA was my LOI. Nice puzzle, overall. But “speck” isn’t “a little,” it’s “little dot”(sans indefinite article) or a little bit OF something ; “a little” isn’t “speck”! Grrr… Got it anyway.

    Edited at 2017-09-06 07:11 am (UTC)

  5. 15:14. A funny experience, this one: I had almost all of it done in well under ten minutes, and then I spent almost the same amount of time agonising over two clues. I had a vague notion that a PANCAKE landing was a thing, but I was far from sure and didn’t know the make-up meaning (it’s theatrical make-up according to ODO). And I considered INDIA quite early on but couldn’t for the life of me see how the wordplay worked, and was wary of biffing it. I got there eventually.
  6. Found this easy and strolled through it

    Another trip down memory lane – this time FLOWCHART. In my aptitude test to become a programmer circa 1962 I was told to draw a flowchart of making a cup of tea!

    1. “Now, first of all, I need to ask if you’ve done the necessary business analysis to make sure anyone actually wants a cup of tea…”
      1. Absolutely – to say nothing of a health and safety risk analysis. I remember I started off with “check is there sufficient money in electric meter?” – another sign of how times have changed
        1. As an IT architect, I can heartily recommend coffee as a cheaper more efficient substitute for tea.
  7. Just under the half hour for this, with LET GO doubtingly parsed as a payment for LETting the house with energy. LOI RETREAT, searching too long for a P or an SH. Overall, I found this as a strange mix of easy (eg GALILEO), in the middle (eg LEMON CURD) and tricky (eg COFFEE GROUNDS). I’ll give COD to RATTLE by a short head from MODEM. To build on Churchill, Attlee was a modest man with a lot to be immodest about. My principal memory growing up though was of his wife Violet, reputedly a Tory voter, crashing car after car. Not quite sure about 20d. I didn’t have an aunt who stayed a maiden, but if I had, I think she’d have both tittered and been shocked. Thank you Pip and setter for the fun.
    1. It’s not much of a claim to fame but I was born within 100 yards of the Attlee family home where he lived with Violet and their children. It was demolished long ago but there is a blue plaque in commemoration – of his residence, not my birthplace!
  8. Well, that was fun. One of those puzzles where I thought I was doing terribly for time, but it turned out to be only 46 minutes when I finally put the pen down. Felt like I was getting close to the hour.

    Like Jack I had problems getting started, but once FOI 5d POKED presented itself I managed a little run until I had most of the top half completed. Then I had similar difficulty getting into the south, until I convinced myself my only chance was to figure out the long anagram of 17a. Once I’d got that, again, the bottom half flowed fairly well.

    Quite a few times I had the answer but couldn’t quite see the wordplay, especially the crossers of MODEM and INDIA, but I parsed them in the end and finished with LOI PANCAKE. I knew only the theatrical makeup, but I convinced myself I’d heard of a “pancake landing” somehow.

    COD 20d, but I did like a lot of the rest of this. Plenty of those, “oh, of course it is” moments that I enjoy so much.

  9. …was my first thought; but this clue really is sublime – if the sheep are taken away you can’t count them. Undoubtedly my COW or even COY. Didn’t parse LET GO so thanks jack. LEMON CURD as bought in supermarkets seems to have little relation to fruit – and incidentally if you are a jam or chutney maker it is cheaper to buy value lemon curd and throw the contents away rather than buy the jars alone. 17’16”, thanks pip and setter.
  10. All in and parsed (inc MODEM and INDIA, get me!) in about 30mins, but then I spent another 5 or so looking for an alternative to PANCAKE before giving up and bunging it in anyway. I sort of half-knew both meanings, but was still doubtful. I too started slowly, and had the top half done before the bottom, which seemed to be somewhat tougher…

  11. A solid 18.06, so my time is currently reducing by around two minutes a day. This cannot last.
  12. Once I’d put the FLIPCHART away I was a bit more productive.

    My times improved when I learned how to biff. However, on my laptop the Times have now replaced their crosswords with an ever-spinning wheel. Having to solve on a mini iPad has had the opposite effect.. I have offered to take my laptop to the developers to show them the problem as, apparently, they ‘haven’t been able to replicate it on their machines’. No response yet received, but David P must be a busy man.

    BTW, ‘biff’ meaning ‘enter an answer in a crossword without a full understanding of the corresponding clue’ (?) is such an essential word here and elsewhere that I wonder why it took so long to have been come up with.

    1. Blame grestyman for not coming up with it earlier! It is however slightly more precise than your definition, being derived from BIFD, Bunged In From Definition.
    2. Perhaps they should try a different machine. Judging by comments on here the problem is extremely common.
  13. I have at last found what had prevented me getting the interactive puzzles on my desktop recently: it turned out that an adblocker had been interfering with javascript. As that didn’t happen before last Friday (or at all on the Guardian site), I guess there must have been some change in the way they use the language.

    So I got this done in 19 minutes, with a delay caused by entering SHEEP-SHEARING, not having checked anagram properly – also couldn’t parse INDIA properly, having been trying to get a W in somehow.

    1. I was spared from entering my first thought of SHEEP SHEARING by having already solved MEANS TEST.
  14. Just over the 20 minute mark, slowed down as always by using an iPad on The Times site with its very annoying requirement not to type in existing crossers. Laughed out loud at 20dn. Thanks setter and pip.
    1. If you click on the cog wheel next to the timer, there is an option to turn off the skip filled squares “feature.” It was a great relief to me!
  15. Didn’t get to grips with this one at all, ending up well over 30 minutes.

    Biggest issues were in the SW corner, couldn’t see LEMON CURD for love nor money, and didn’t know the make-up or the landing at 18, so that was LOI with a shrug and crossed fingers.

    No issue with BE A TIT other than, well, clearly being one at points – it’s one of my favourite put downs so was FOI.

    Edited at 2017-09-06 11:28 am (UTC)

  16. This one addled me too and like Pip and Jack I was very slow to tune in altogether. I had a mental image of Myrtilus and his breakfast for LEMON CURD. Like “sweetcorn” earlier this week I think of FLOWCHART as 2 words so that held things up a bit. And for a while I couldn’t get past Lady Macbeth walking and talking in her sleep at 17a. 17.08
  17. I surprised myself by finding that only 20:43 had elapsed when I hit submit, but as I’d managed to parse everything as I went, wasn’t quite so surprised to find I had no errors, so a bright spot in a day so far made intolerable by neighbours wielding hammers, drills and noisy powered pressure washers! ROSTRUM went in at first read, and after a steady progression through the grid, ILLICIT was my LOI. It’s not too long since we had BE A TIT, so that didn’t hold me up. Had to think a little about LET GO, but I did sort of get it. Nice puzzle. Thanks setter and Pip.
  18. Hi all

    Its been quite some time time since I posted a comment but daily reader of the blog – thank you all bloggers – your help is absolutely invaluable to those, like me, trying to improve daily

    Could you give me some illumination on why “Time in Europe no more?” – equates to Grand Tour – I got it from wordplay and I am assuming this is a reference to the bike race but the definition is lost on me



  19. I live in sheep country but I didn’t know SHEEP STEALING was a specific crime. I looked for an alternative. Unfortunately SHEEP SHA**ING didn’t fit the crossers. 24 minutes. Ann
  20. 21:29. Puzzled by LET GO as others were and never parsed 20d. Doh. My mum liked LEMON CURD, but I haven’t had any for many years. I found it a bit too lemony… and too curdy. Like Olivia I wondered whether it ever features in Myrtilus’ breakfast.
    1. It is kind of you and Olivia to be interested. It is a very rare occasion when I have Lemon Curd, or Lime Curd.
  21. I biffed the bejabers out of this (I marked 6 clues to go back and look at post-solve) so was able to whizz through in 10:13.

    It’s late, so I’ll leave it at that.

  22. Thirty-one minutes in total, with almost nothing on a first pass. I failed utterly to parse either INDIA or LET GO, and I don’t really like the latter even now it’s been explained to me.

    Good to know the techies are working on fixes – I still can’t get in through the club page.

        1. Have you tried disabling pop-up and Ad blockers and adding the Times to the list of trusted sites?
  23. I never really found the wavelength today and took my time over this one in a slow top to bottomish solve over a couple of sessions. I also had trouble seeing 11ac and bunged it in with a bit of a shrug. Didn’t really think of sheep stealing as a specific term in its own right any more than cat stealing, apple stealing or book stealing but it was nicely clued. 21ac went in unparsed. Wasn’t sure about ill for seedy in 19dn but the answer was clear. I thought the grand tour and the night safe very good clues amongst an interesting collection.
  24. If you let a property out you receive rent which is a regular payment i think that the definition to let something out

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