Times 26829 – we like relevant surfaces

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
This didn’t seem much harder than Monday’s puzzle this week, it took me 19 or 20 minutes to decipher to my satisfaction; all the more enjoyable because many of the clues have clever surfaces which, while involving the usual wordplay tricks, also relate to their answers with a modicum of wit. If it had been a bit harder, it would have been up there with my all time favourites.
The setter must be a different chap from Monday’s as we’ve got the same philosopher appearing again, albeit clued differently.
I began with 1a and 1d, and finished with the SW corner, especially liking the definition of 25a, which gets my CoD award.

1 Disco near Bath accommodating 150 (9)
NIGHTCLUB – NIGH = near, TUB = Bath, insert CL = 150. I have been known to go to nightclubs, but not to discos, they aren’t synonymous, but there you are.
6 Reason heads of LEAs offer grants is controversial (5)
LOGIC – Initial letters of ‘LEA’ and the next 4 words.
9 Retiring in order, mainly, to pen note (5)
TIMID – TID(Y) = in order, mainly; insert MI = a note.
10 I have to follow wretched court order (9)
DIRECTIVE – DIRE = wretched, CT = court, I’VE.
11 One who studies a line in some way (7)
ANALYST – A L(ine) into ANY = some, ST = way.
12 State is defending Republican support for plants (7)
TRELLIS – R goes into TELL = state, IS.
13 The best hundred soldiers twice accepting poor deal (5,2,2,5)
CREME DE LA CREME – C (hundred) REME (soldiers), appears twice with (DEAL)* in the middle.
17 Finished article opposite can be sold legally (4-3-7)
OVER-THE-COUNTER – OVER = finished, THE = article, COUNTER = opposite.
21 Overly curious about for example a buttonhole (7)
NOSEGAY – NOSY around E.G, A.
23 Firm to consume beer to control depression (2,5)
AL DENTE – DENT = depression, inserted into ALE = beer. firm as in barely cooked pasta.
25 Dispose of reserve, cutting bank? (9)
SCRAPBOOK – SCRAP = dispose of, BOOK = reserve; fun definition.
26 Canter around top of Grampian range (5)
RIDGE – RIDE = canter, around G. Not the strongest clue.
27 Carrying no passengers regularly seems petty (5)
EMPTY – Alternate letters of s E e M s P e T t Y.
26 Political group to right wise, so to speak, to embrace role (4,5)
TORY PARTY – TO, R, Y Y (sounds like wise), insert PART = role.

1 Bird which interrupts new union chapter (8)
NUTHATCH – THAT = which, inserted into N, U, CH.
2 Delta follows it a short distance into Georgia (5)
GAMMA – A MM (millimetre) inside GA. Third and fourth letters of Greek alphabet.
3 Fluffy toy camiknickers, English, displayed in pub (5,4)
TEDDY BEAR – A teddy is some sort of cheeky female apparel, I believe, although camiknickers sounds even cheekier. Then insert E into BAR = pub.
4 Landlord briefly hugs poster girl who’s feisty (7)
LADETTE – Insert AD into LETTE(R) = landlord briefly.
5 Retired hatter, I believe, can stock priest’s headgear (7)
BIRETTA – Hidden reversed in H(ATTER I B)ELIEVE.
6 Philosopher left old Anglicans hosting king (5)
LOCKE – L(eft), O(ld), CE = Anglicans, insert K for king.
7 Craft crossing loch on annual check finds diver (9)
GUILLEMOT – GUILE = craft, insert L for loch, add MOT being an annual roadworthiness exam for vehicles in the UK.
8 Contents of board that’s said to make you smile (6)
CHEESE – Cryptic definition. Say cheese. Seems to be out of fashion.
14 What happens in autumn — bar the start — to earwig (9)
15 Stumble carrying drinks for journey there and back (5,4)
ROUND TRIP – TRIP = stumble, after a round of drinks.
16 Angers guy upended in dull vegetation (8)
GREENERY – GREY = dull, insert a reversed RENE being a chap from Angers in France..
18 Ring paper about unknown farm store (7)
HAYLOFT – HALO = ring, FT = paper, the pink one; insert Y an unknown variable.
19 Joke here in the middle? (7)
CRACKER – Well ‘that’s a cracker’ can be a good joke, and you might find one in a Christmas cracker.
20 Scrubbing top, doctor put on extremely intimate garment (6)
ONESIE – BONES is your doctor, decapitated; I E = extremes of intimate; another garment of which I have limited knowledge.
22 Stay to catch very soft fish (5)
GUPPY – GUY = stay, as in guy rope; insert P P = very soft.
24 Record low promotion among Northern Irish (5)
NADIR – AD = promotion, inserted into N IR.

63 comments on “Times 26829 – we like relevant surfaces”

  1. This was indeed an easy one, though quite fun. SCRAPBOOK was my LOI, if memory serves, because the definition, “cutting bank,” is so fiendishly oblique. But I wasn’t sure how the clue to CRACKER was supposed to work. CRACK also means “joke,” as a verb or a noun, and “here” in the middle is ER, which gives you CRACKER, which also means “joke” (noun)…? Something seemed missing, and something seemed superfluous. I was forgetting about British Xmas crackers.
    (Then I had to polish off the Quickie and again tackle Jumbo 1282, which I have finally finished, weary but somewhat the wiser.)

    Edited at 2017-09-13 05:49 am (UTC)

  2. 11:08 … agreed, Pip – lots of wit and a shame so much of it was biffable. I didn’t do a whole lot of parsing.

    I feel keriothe should wear his Chewbacca ONESIE to the Championships.

    1. I would, but for perhaps obvious reasons it is a very warm and somewhat itchy garment, so would make for a less then comfortable solving experience.
      1. On the other hand:

        “Well, yes, Mr. Goodliffe, technically you *did* get a faster time, but perhaps you should consider that keriothe has been known to tear other solvers’ arms out of their sockets if he loses…”

        1. This strikes me as impractical: it would require quite a lot of violence just to get myself into the final.

          Edited at 2017-09-13 08:37 am (UTC)

          1. I’d certainly look forward to the the report in The Times:

            8 injured as Wookiee takes crossword title
            “It turns out Wookiees really hate anagrams of obscure foreign words,” said a visibly startled Richard Rogan

            Edited at 2017-09-13 09:25 am (UTC)

              1. “Always let the Wookiee win” is a well known maxim, no?

                If you wear a Chewbacca onesie to champs, I will come in full C3PO regalia. You can’t say fairer than that.

                Edited at 2017-09-13 10:26 am (UTC)

                1. Deal. You wear your C3PO gear and I will wear my onesie. I definitely will wear it, I won’t ‘forget’ to put it on in the morning or anything like that. Oh no.
                  1. I’d like a picture of this. Can’t come because I didn’t enter (at least that’s my story).
  3. Finished for only the third time!

    Took an hour, wasn’t sure if the doctor in 20d was Jones (Indiana) or bones, all other answers parsed.

    Dnk nuthatch or biretta.

    Lots of good clues, tory party, cheese,
    and COD eavesdrop.

    1. I think I recognise you from the QC blog? If so, it’s good to see us QCers completing puzzles. My completion percentage seems to be going up slowly. I found today’s puzzle very enjoyable if on the easy side (even I completed in under 30mins). COD 14d as it seems appropriate for today’s weather – surely the third once-in-a-lifetime storm we’ve had this week? Thanks all
    2. Also nudged over from the QC, partly by the suggestion that this one would be a good one for a first go. I was surprised that the vocabulary wasn’t as obscure as I was expecting. The only word I didn’t know was Biretta which was spelt out in the clue albeit backwards.
      Fist go ever at the 15×15 and finished in 54 mins
  4. 9m, solving at 5.30am without caffeine assistance, so this must have been fairly gentle. Fun though, at least as much as something can be at that time of the morning.
    I have a Chewbacca ONESIE which I wore for Halloween a couple of years ago. It’s very dignified.

    Edited at 2017-09-13 05:55 am (UTC)

  5. 28 minutes here. Stormed through the top half. From FOI 1a I think I got every answer without having to come back to any until I hit the centre line. Slowed down a bit on the bottom, especially with LOI GREENERY, as I had no idea Angers was a place, let alone where it was.

    I’ll go back now and try to appreciate the ones I biffed, but I was on such a roll I was hoping for a P.B., so I rather rushed things… COD 25a, WOD TRELLIS.

  6. 25 mins with pancakes and maple syrup (hoorah).
    Maybe it was the joy of the breakfast but I gobbled this one up lip-smackingly. Not chewy, I agree, but crammed with wit and verve and smooth surfaces. And such great, funny words: Teddy, onesie, cracker, cheese. Even Nuthatch and guillemot are funny. To me.
    Mostly I liked: Beer to control depression, cutting bank, ‘wise so to speak’, Angers guy.
    Lots to choose from – but COD to 14dn for the use of Earwig.
    Thanks uplifting setter and Pip.

    1. You say BIRETTA and I say “beretta” – which is betta? I’ve never known which from which except one is a hat and one is a kind of pistol which James Bond was forced to turn over to Q in exchange for a WaltherPPK and a Smith & Wesson.
  7. After writing in several answers having barely read the clues I thought I might be heading for the elusive 15-minute solve, but it wasn’t to be. Having completed everything else I got caught up by three clues in the SE corner.

    At 16dn, with the R and Y checkers in place I decided that ‘dull’ must be clueing DRY so I wrote in the D and put myself completely off the scent for a while. It was only when I remembered being caught out once before by ‘Angers’ as a French place name that I realised what was going on and gradually the correct answer emerged. NADIR came next and at that stage I had 20 minutes on the clock but I needed a further 10 minutes to think of anything that fitted A?, D?N?E at 23ac.

    Edited at 2017-09-13 06:01 am (UTC)

  8. A second puzzle this week giving change from 5 minutes – hopefully this means we’re due for a real stinker on Friday for the first time in weeks. As others said there was a high degree of biffability here but it was all rather likeable. Ladette, camiknickers etc certainly suggest a setter on the more hilarious end of the spectrum.
    1. M – 5 seconds – well done! And I’m guessing he wasn’t just off commenting this one on YouTube 🙂
  9. Count me as another who thought this might have been quicker after stopping the timer in 18.13. The top half went in so smoothly (complete with parsing) that the bottom half came as a bit of a stuttering surprise. I mean, I know the word ONESIE but finding it in the Times is a bit like finding your favourite maiden aunt listens to “My Dad Wrote a Porno”. (Analogy here courtesy of Ulaca, whose reference to Belinda Blumenthal was an eyeopener to me as well).
    I wrote in and erased CRACKER at least twice, not really believing there was a definition. And in AL DENTE, there clearly was a definition, but it looked so much like wordplay “firm to consume beer” that it took forever, especially not trusting the initial A.
    Similarly SCRAPBOOK, where bank is always RELY and nothing sensible went inside to mean dispose of, the obvious definition. As for “Angers man”… it was all very well, but surely Rene comes from Nouvion.
    Clever stuff from the setter, and well blogged Pip.
  10. 16 minutes, but would have been quicker if disturbing images had not been raised by the TRELLIS, immortalised by Rocky Flintstone. It was fitting, then, that my last in was the bizarre ONESIE – a garment that would never have been worn by Belinda Blumenthal, or, if so, not for long.
    1. I’d never heard of Belinda B, but Google has enlightened me. I must get out more (or ulaca should get out less)…
  11. Interrupted mid solve but about 15 minutes for this fluffy but fun offering. No hold ups, no quibbles, no problem.
  12. Solved this in 15 minutes before setting off for my geriatric flu jab. I intended to take it with me but it was over before I’d left. LOI ONESIE, a garment I’ve desperately tried to forget after the kids decided we should all wear one (not the same one) a few Christmases ago. No LOGIC or ANALYST can explain why John LOCKE keeps appearing, but empirically it is the case. COD SCRAPBOOK. A pleasant puzzle. Thank you Pip and setter.
  13. 14m57 on the clock today (with all parsed), so probs a pb. Liked CRACKER, and got it through CRACK+ER. Helped that we’d had LOCKE as recently as two days ago (I have a VERY short memory for names etc), and that the two birds were familiar, thanks in part to my dear old Dad who was an avid twitcher. No obscure gk (for me) today, and, for the most part, straightforward parsing. I’ll now go back and check for ‘surfaces’, which I rarely appreciate at the time.

    PBs are overrated. I must admit, I’m with Verlaine in hoping for something a bit more challenging on Friday (and then if I do finish it, I probs won’t post as it’ll be so late, and reading through all the comments in order not to duplicate another poster will take forever….)

  14. I’ll raise keriothe’s Chewbacca with my mankini,doubt they’ll let me in but certainly no opportunity for concealing cheats.Same experience as z8 discombobulated in the SW scrapbook and onesie took far too long. 20 TY Pip and setter
  15. My experience of teddies is limited to a failure to appreciate the complexities of undoing the poppers one-handed, but it made 3d a write-in. Not met Angers guy before so my COD. <13′, thanks pip and setter.
  16. This was a sub-15 minuter for me, which on an iPad is up with my best. Top half went almost straight in but bottom half slower. Agree with others though that there is something a bit unsatisfying about clues that you don’t need to parse, but I am probably missing out on the subtleties. Thanks anyway S&P (which in typing, I see was the name of my first ‘proper’ employer)
  17. 12.40 for a rare sub-15. Managed to get rid of an 8 dn crease. Good old nuthatch (guillemot, guppy) – adorner fauna over the years, maybe a onesies theme for the Finals. – joekobi
  18. I have a selfie of me in a two twosie (Grateful Dead T-shirt and All Black shorts)! What nonsense our language is turning to! Has the New Yorker used the 22dn ONESIE word outside of the cartoons as yet!?

    This was like a Monday QC even Meldrew was there in 22 mins -top down (Thelma and Louise as it’s known in the trade.)

    FOI 1ac NIGHTCLUB SOI 1dn NUTHATCH LOI 23ac AL DENTE who I remember well from The Godfather.

    COD 23ac Al DENTE but….


    Lord Verlaine is right – tomorrow will be a scorcher and I will suffer as I have to be on my ipad as I am on the road very early in my rick-sha!

  19. just over 6 minutes and with a characteristic typo I saw just as I hit submit, oh well. My only question mark was CRACKER and it remains. Fun puzzle, and I wondered about whether ONESIE was used in the UK – I’ve also seen it called a union suit and a romper
    1. I believe Churchill’s version was a siren suit.
      As for a British “onesie”, my family from next generation down all have one or more.
  20. I’ve never gone sub-5 mins, and thought this might be the one after completing the top half fairly speedily. Plenty of biffing, and nothing held me up too much, but in the end I was slowed enough to get 6m 25s. I agree with others, an easy puzzle but a fun one (although I’m not a big fan of the ‘wise’ element of 28a).
  21. Another one with a very quick top half and a slower bottom. I took nosegay on faith – buttonhole seemed enough like boutonniere, but I was only familiar with nosegay as a fistful of flowers. I’m still not sure if I like the roguish ladette in camiknickers, the clever word play in creme de la creme, or the deceptive Angers cutting bank best.
    Regarding Locke Locke: have we ever decided if repetition comes because the setters periodically pick a word and then have a pro-level clue-writing contest, or does one setter realise that there are several good clues for a particular word, and so work it into several grids so as to use them all?
  22. Done in a hotel over breakfast. Loved “firm to consume”, “Angers guy” and “cutting bank”. A more difficult crossword by this setter would be even better.
  23. I think I must have been 7 when I read YYUR YYUB ICURYY4ME and remember CRACKing up.
    No idea on my time because of reps and customers, but i’d guess about 20 mins. Nothing taxing but had to come here for a few explanations, esp RENE
  24. A very pleasant solve, giving me, I think, a PB at 16:48. As with others, the top half flew in, but I was slowed in the SW and by my LOI, AL DENTE. NIGHTCLUB went in first. I missed the subtlety of the Angers guy, as I saw GREY and vegetation and biffed it. My grandkids all have onesies of various types. I still don’t know how my granddaughter sleeps with her stegosaurus spines! Didn’t know that a teddy was also a garment. Raised my eyebrows somewhat, having investigated Ulaca’s Belinda!! I wonder if she’s any relation to the chap who was CEO of Burroughs Machines in the dim and distant past. Thanks setter and Pip.
  25. I think someone already pointed this out but no-one seems to have noticed so
    CRACKER = crack (joke) + er (middle of “here”) and the def is the whole thing
  26. My son-in-law produced this as a CRACKER joke a few Christmases ago – it was said to be what HM the Queen calls a selfie. I’ve never actually worn a teddy or camiknicks – I think they originated in the days when the elastic in women’s underwear was rather unreliable and this arrangement ensured that the things wouldn’t fall down at the wrong moment. I did have a rather elegant black satin and velvet jumpsuit however which my elder daughter appropriated. 11.21

    Edited at 2017-09-13 01:18 pm (UTC)

  27. I’m surprised that no-one has offered memories of Dr Spacely-TRELLIS from Peter Simple’s “Way of the World” column, of which I have only a vague memory.
    I’m sure we’ve seen LOCKE recently as we have TSETSE which appeared in today’s Concise.
    I particularly enjoyed “Angers guy” and “cutting bank”.
    No ONESIES here and I prefer to draw a veil over the time I was stopped for DUI while returning from a fancy dress party dressed as a Roman centurion. I was the talk of the Gatwick Airport nick for while after that.
    1. Love it!!
      My daughter was en route to her office Christmas party two years ago and was stopped for speeding, dressed in a naughty nurse outfit. She got sent on a naughty driver course:-)

      Edited at 2017-09-13 04:19 pm (UTC)

    2. Happy memories. Among my favourites were Dr Heinz Kiosk (We are all guilty) and Duke Len of Erdington.
  28. Similar to everyone else, sped through the top and a bit longer in the bottom, ending with CRACK-ER. I’d not heard of a cami-whatever, but the answer was clear. Over here a ONESIE is an infant’s garment. I think I was under 15 minutes by some distance when done. Regards.
  29. I tackled this whilst waiting for a granddaughter coming out of school. I originally manually entered LOGIS for 6a and immediately received an email from Hôtels Logis. What a coincidence I thought. It wasn’t until I looked at 8d that I saw the error of my ways. I then thought I must have been influenced by some supernatural force as the email came though the ether. In any case, the granddaughter was not impressed by this or the fact that her name appeared in the clue for 2d which I answered as she got into the car.
  30. I fairly zipped through this one in twenty minutes, and would have been faster if I’d taken less time. It all seemed very straightforward, with only ONESIE (which is considered an item of formal attire in these parts) and SCRAPBOOK (which I was trying to parse inside out) causing a little delay.
  31. Don’t normally attempt the 15x15s apart from Saturday, but today’s QC blog said this was at the easier end. I agree.
    My last two were Scrapbook (very clever I thought) and an unparsed Cracker. Liked Al Dente and enjoyed the puzzle overall. No exact time but quite quick for me as it’s still Wednesday. David
  32. First ever 15×15 solve with no aids. Quite a step up from the QC, figured about 3 hours. LOI SCRAPBOOK.

    1. Well done that man!!
      The first 15×15 I tried was over 6 years ago, before the QC existed. It took me 3 days, with aids, to get 75% of the way through it. Then I discovered the blog and got my average time down to 90 minutes or so.

      Edited at 2017-09-13 11:11 pm (UTC)

    2. Excellent work! Yes, it’s a fair step up from the QC, but it does get easier as you go along, honest.
  33. and the literary lot, Eric Lard and Julian Birdbath, Jon Glasse-Derkely. WikiP has a list of characters. Happy days…………

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