Times 26841 – fifteen square fun with no F

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I really enjoyed this one, it has wit, a bit of general knowledge, some fine wordplay and a 14 letter anagram to make your eyes water. I thought it was going to be a pangram, indeed that helped me with 24d, but in fact there are all the “usual unusual” letters we need but no F that I can see. It wasn’t particularly difficult but I took half an hour because I was not in a hurry and having fun.

Definitions are underlined as usual.

1 Flinch from bells in church (6)
CRINGE – CE = church, insert RING. My FOI, before 1d.
4 Great loss of liquid for flushing toilet (8)
WATERLOO – What can I say? Brilliant clueing, IMO, although maybe we’ve seen it before. A Great Loss for Old Boney indeed.
10 Chair duly suffers damage linked to pressure and movement (9)
HYDRAULIC – A straighforward anagram (CHAIR DULY)*.
11 Aspire to constant rapturous reception (5)
CRAVE – C = constant, RAVE = rapturous reception.
12 Cocaine, perhaps unopened in a wrap (3)
RUG – (D)RUG = cocaine perhaps unopened.
13 Causing harm for the teeth eating alien marge (11)
DETRIMENTAL – DENTAL = for the teeth, insert (after the D) ET = alien, RIM = marge.
14 Rodent damage returning to motorway (6)
MARMOT – MAR = damage, then TO M all reversed.
16 Piano and old furniture fitter (7)
PLUMBER – P = piano, LUMBER = old furniture.
19 Very large birds get caught (7)
TITANIC – Two birds here, TIT and ANI, the latter being a tropical bird of the cuckoo family all good cruciverbalists should know. Add C for caught.
20 Eccentric boasted when cutting southern Yankee (6)
SCREWY – S Y being Southern Yankee, insert CREW = boasted.
22 Harsh policeman with reduced integrity in short case (11)
CACOPHONOUS – CAS = a short case, insert COP then HONOU being honou(r) / integrity reduced.
25 Mostly stressed foreign consonant (3)
TAU – TAU(T) mostly stressed; 19th letter of the Greek alphabet.
26 Jacket father used to cover chest (5)
PARKA – PA covers ARK.
27 Just thinking I am against being involved with golf (9)
28 Disinclined on time runs to ski diagonally (8)
TRAVERSE – T, R, AVERSE = disinclined.
29 Fish of poor quality (6)
MEAGRE – A double definition. The meagre is in fact a very tasty fish, not of poor quality, called maigre in France and corvina in Spain and USA.

1 Bind helium in nucleus (6)
COHERE – HE or He = helium, inside CORE = nucleus.
2 Aggrieved nitrogen is put in cocktail of gin and it (9)
INDIGNANT – Anagram (GIN AND IT N)*, the N being nitrogen.
3 Noble is good currency (5)
GRAND – G, RAND currency of South Africa.
5 Like St Augustine, reformed as a Hippo cleric (14)
ARCHIEPISCOPAL – (AS A HIPPO CLERIC)*. Slightly clumsy word simply meaning ‘related to the office of archbishop’.
6 Treasury reported former auditor (9)
EXCHEQUER – Sounds like “ex checker”.
7 Left meal unstarted? Far from the greatest (5)
LEAST – L(eft), (F)EAST.
8 Too much work? Right for a ruler (8)
OVERLORD – OVERLOAD is too much work, change the A to an R.
9 Worldwide movement ruins it with stale concept (5,9)
15 Second number scheme on European aircraft (9)
MONOPLANE – MO = second, NO = number, PLAN = scheme, E = European.
17 Engineered wrong bits for missile launcher (9)
BOWSTRING – (WRONG BITS)*. I did have ‘stringbow’ at first having thought of strongbow, but the checkers made me see the better answer.
18 Plant cannabis in container in the kitchen (8)
STOCKPOT – STOCK is a flower, POT = cannabis.
21 Tangle with philosopher over life being empty (6)
JUNGLE – JUNG is the philosopher, LE = life emptied.
23 Approximately round figure down by a third on area (5)
CIRCA – CIRCLE loses a third = CIRC, add A for area.
24 Capture a number of French (5)
SEIZE – Being French for sixteen, pronounced ‘sezz’ not ‘seez’.

83 comments on “Times 26841 – fifteen square fun with no F”

  1. Most of the trouble came with 5dn ARCHIEPISCOPAL – my LOI and WOD unfortunately.

    And 15ac PLUMBER – that sort of fitter! With the possibly of a comparative ending – I was truly deceived.

    Nevertheless a good un’!



    Sort of knew 29ac MEAGRE but I don’t think it has been on my table.

    1. I like the 5dn clue – misdirecting by reference to both St. Augustines – Canterbury and Hippo!
  2. 35 minutes here; SEIZE/MEAGRE took me ages. And praise be to the crossword gods that I’d seen archiepiscowhatever somewhere else recently. The clueing of IMAGINING was seen even more recently

    Waterloo was my favourite too

  3. I felt dopey and slow this morning, even before I started this one, and it certainly didn’t do anything for my headache. A DNF in my hour, with half a dozen left over, including the tortuous anagram for the unknown word describing a saint I knew nothing about. Perhaps on a different day I’d have got there, especially once I’d got over my inclination to crowbar “de” on the end of 24d. I even counted up to at least SEIZE in French when trying to figure it out. Sigh.

    I was building on rather unstable-feeling sands, too, but it turned out all my question-marked ones were right, even though I didn’t know that a rug was a wrap, or an ani was a bird, or a meagre was a fish, or… So my instincts are clearly developing, at least.

    Let’s hope I wake up with a bit more perk tomorrow. Thanks to setter and Pip.

    Edited at 2017-09-27 06:43 am (UTC)

  4. 15:52 … so around average difficulty for me. As yesterday, some time was spent not so much finding the answers as convincing myself they were right — the fish and the ANI of TITANIC especially, and the ARCHIwhatnot took a bit of figuring out and a bit of believing.

    I really like the clue for JUNGLE, though I don’t really think of Jung as a philosopher. I guess he was. Perhaps we all are

    1. That statement shows you are! Indeed we all can be, although there must be some sort of quality control criteria that apply to philosophers?
      1. I think the criteria are well known. After all, Immanuel Kant was a real pissant who was very rarely stable …
        1. When I was ‘Up’ I tried to change after a year from boring chemistry to PPP ; philosophy and two other impressive sounding P’s that didn’t involve hours in the lab. They refused me, obviously I wasn’t philosophical enough; too matter-of-fact, perhaps. So I gave up going to the lab anyway.
    2. Jung was not a philosopher. I can’t imagine why the setter didn’t say “psychiatrist” or “psychoanalyst.”
  5. 35 minutes, with the narcotic the last to drop – not least because I held myself up be misreading 1d, appropriately enough, as ‘blind’.

    Meagre as a piscine was new to me. I can imagine horryd’s table can be very meagre, indeed, when he is at his most curmudgeonly.

    1. How dare you, Sir! It positively groans with sweetmeats, ortaniques, peacock, grayling and dim sum as one writes! You are most welcome to join – as long as you bring your own chopsticks!
  6. As much of a breeze as I have known for a good long while, finished in 12.24, which is about as quick as I get. Wavelength, I suppose.
    MEAGRE the fish I had forgotten if I ever knew it, and I hesitated over JUNGLE, thinking that describing JUNG as a philosopher seemed a bit like describing Sherlock Holmes as a violinist. He was, but his main claims to fame and his academic interests lay elsewhere. Or is there another Jung?
    That and trying to remember whether EXCHEQUER had an O or and E at the end, and whether the ANI (another wordgame filler) was a bird.
    Liked the accurately referential anagram for the Augustine clue. Very TLS.
    1. Die Philosophie von Jung is the new violon d’Ingres d’Holmes.

      Edited at 2017-09-27 07:26 am (UTC)

  7. 45 mins with porridge and banana – and quite hard going.
    I was pleased to nail 1dn as a write-in: CHORE – then realised that Helium wasn’t Hydrogen and there aren’t enough letters – pass me the rubber.
    I was pleased to see integrity as Honesty and invent CACOPHONESS, which didn’t help St Augustine – pass the rubber.
    Great to nail STRONGBOW as the anagram in 17dn – except the letters are wrong – pass me the rubber.
    Did know MEAGRE (hoorah), but DNK ANI.
    The finished grid looks a right mess.
    Thanks setter and Pip.
    1. … on chore, cacophoness AND strongbow! Sadly not ditto on MEAGRE, so I was left with two blanks (the fish, and SEIZE). Ho hum.

  8. Another solve in the region of 50 minutes instead of my target 30. Far to many of these at the moment from me.

    Not knowing (or rather failing to remember) ANI explains why I’m not a good cruciverbalist although I note the majority of its appearances over the years have been in Mephistos which I never do.

    DK MEAGRE as fish nor the two long Downs.

    Edited at 2017-09-27 06:33 am (UTC)

  9. Pleasantly surprised when my score confirmed that MEAGRE did indeed turn out to be a fish, ending my run of bad luck at guessing words I didn’t know. So did F today.
  10. I didn’t just think of ‘strongbow’, I typed it in, and left it there until it occurred to me that a) it might be why I’m not completing the puzzle, b) there’s only one O in the anagrist, and c) what’s a strongbow? ANI is so chestnutatory that even the NY Times has put it to pasture, but I remembered it. I think Sotira’s right; we’re all philosophers, so even Jung was. And L. Ron Hubbard. I remember seeing a snatch of an interview with George Lucas where he actually referred to the philosophy of “Star Wars”. Loved WATERLOO.
  11. This is the first time I’ve ever been helped by spotting a pangram. I was stuck with just SEIZE and MEAGRE left and it was only when I spotted the pangram that SEIZE went in. I’d never heard of the fish so MEAGRE went in on a wing and a prayer. I must find an easy way to solve the long anagrams on an ipad because solving the unknown ARCHIEPISCOPAL in my head was hard work!
  12. Very pleased to have got this one out, even if it took a while. The anagram for 5dn was inspired; he is, after all, St Augustine of Hippo…
    Liked 4ac as well. For some reason I just couldn’t see 11ac until the very end.

    Great fun.


    1. That is what is so nice about the clue – Hippo was a mere bishop, Canterbury was the archbishop! The Florentine.
  13. … and shoot me before I get worse. A slow 55 minutes on this good puzzle. I took a long time to give up on an ostrich and go down with the TITANIC. Mind you, the anagrams were stinkers today, particularly ARCHIEPISCOPAL with its strange ‘I’ in the middle. Perhaps I was too burdened by original sin once I saw Augustine’s name. JUNGLE LOI as I was determined HUME was the philosopher. I obviously needed some empiricism by this stage. I’ll never individuate with Carl Gustav thinking like that. COD WATERLOO, definitely met today. Thank you Pip and setter.
  14. I was so pleased to have finished quickly (21 min) that I didn’t check for typos, so didn’t notice I’d been caught by the letter-skipper and had -IIN at the end of 19dn. Thanks for parsing of 22ac, where I did avoid entering CACA- because of the policeman.
  15. A steady 21:52 with no real drama. Denied a sub-20 finish by the time it took to fathom out old Archie Whatsisname but pleasing nonetheless.
  16. Didn’t find this very hard at all, getting a bit bogged down at the end in the SE (because JUNG didn’t really feel like a philosopher and MEAGRE didn’t really feel like a fish) but still coming in inside 6 minutes. I temporarily flirted with SNOWPLANE before the light dawned. COD 5dn.
  17. Felt slowish in 32.14. Crew for boasted is suspect. What with sprung for sprang and sunk for sank creeping into Times reports almost daily I suppose past tenses are more and more up for grabs. Nothing wrong with language changing but a smudging over distinctions always dangerous. – joekobi
    1. If the language is changing–and of course it is–I’d imagine in this case the change is to ‘crowed’, as the trend has virtually always been to regularization; ‘holp’ is now ‘helped’, ‘clomb’ ‘climbed’, etc. In any case, ‘crew’ is well-established in these cryptics; I think I can recall three occasions at least in the last couple of years.
    2. A smudging of distinctions might be considered dangerous if there were any evidence that it leads to a reduction in the complexity or communicative power of language. However it never has and it never will. Distinctions of meaning appear, disappear and reappear all the time. The entire French-speaking population of the world gets by without a word for ‘shallow’.
      1. How deeply shallow they can be at times.

        We do not have a word for the area behind the knee-cap!

        Don’t the Cantonese use shh!? Bi-zoi! in Mandadrin.

        Edited at 2017-09-27 04:14 pm (UTC)

        1. A colleague told me the other day that there is a specific word in Finnish for drinking in your underwear. We don’t have that one.
      2. Interesting .. my Larousse has “superficiel” for shallow breathing, but for water the best it can offer is “pas profond,” not deep .. the Germans cheat by constructing new words at the drop of a hat; I’m not sure there is a language with a more varied vocab. than English
        1. English has no more or less varied vocabulary than any other language. What we do have (in the OED) is a better record.
          1. Surely they can’t all be the same? The Oxford dictionary you mention would appear to be on my side, in a rather measured way .. but this interesting Economist article points out that no accurate answer is even possible… perhaps our words are just better ones 🙂
            1. The Economist has it right.
              The ODO piece makes the assumption that the process of commingling (which is common to all languages to a greater or lesser extent – what’s French for ‘weekend’?) is always additive. Of course it is additive in the written record, and English wins at the game of who’s got the biggest dictionary. However there’s no basis for thinking this is necessarily true in the spoken language and if you measure the number of words people actually use there’s no evidence the speakers of any one language have a richer vocabulary than any other.
  18. Like others found this mostly straightforward but with the odd quirks along the way. Again derived a word and then used dictionary to verify – this time 5D. ANI known from Mephisto. Had to laugh at WATERLOO!
  19. Just over the 22 min mark so Angus the Dog did not have to wait too long for his first walk of the day. I have not gone back and counted them but there seemed to be a lot of anagrams today. Perhaps they are all bunched together. DNK ANI but it had to be TITANIC. An enjoyable solve so thanks setter and pip.

    Edited at 2017-09-27 10:48 am (UTC)

  20. Stopped after 30 minutes with MEAGRE unfilled, although written in the margin, am too anal to look words up, except on Saturdays. ARCHIEPISCOPAL is a brilliant clue – St Augustine, as distinct from St Augustine of Hippo – wonderful. Thanks pip and setter.
    1. You’re right, Rob, it was a great clue, perhaps COD more than WATERLOO. St Augustine of Canterbury, sent by Gregory when he saw that we were not angels but anglicans. Of course I have to nod to Sellar and Yeatman for that no doubt accurate reprtage.
  21. A rare one from me, done while waiting for my car to be serviced, so around 35 minutes.

    Very pleased to have wrangled 5d correctly.

    LOI MEAGRE, not knowing it as a fish and pondering for a while whether FE*G*E might work given the possibility of a pangram. Couldn’t get anywhere with that so bunged in MEAGRE from the first definition and came on here to check and see it is indeed correct.

    It then occurred to me, given this is the last clue, “of poor quality” might also signify an F (as in the exam grade) thus “completing” the pangram.

    Probably not! Either way, thanks to the setter for a most enjoyable puzzle.

  22. Reasonably straightforward. Got the ARCHI bit from anagram alone – seemed unlikely.. Just looking at the Snitch – is Tuesday the new Friday?
  23. An enjoyable 23:40 spent on this puzzle, with CRINGE starting the ball rolling and MEAGRE bringing up the rear after 24d. ANI as a bird and MEAGRE as a fish were unknown but didn’t hold me up. Like Myrtilus and Janie, I shoved hydrogen into 1d and wondered why I was a letter short. A useful sheet of scribbling paper helped enormously with 5d, with the ARCH.. and ..PAL going in first then …PISCO… and finally the IE filling up the gap in what looked like a sensible order. I wondered briefly if there was a philosopher named TUSS, but IMAGINING put an end to that, and my lack of detailed knowledge of Herr JUNG allowed me to bung him in without hesitation. Just after I completed the grid, an unexpected delivery caused me to haul myself to the door and take delivery of a nice Cross rolled gold ball pen, which, the accompanying letter informed me, I had won as one of 3 runners up for last weeks Sunday Times Puzzle(4762). Can’t grumble at that! 🙂 Thanks setter and Pip.
    On edit: Slightly puzzled as to which puzzle the prize is for, as the letter says Puzzle published 24th September, but that was 4765, for which the solution isn’t published, and 4762 was published on the 3rd September.

    Edited at 2017-09-27 12:38 pm (UTC)

      1. Thanks Hugh. I’m ensconced in a lovely B&B in Seahouses in Northumbria now, with a cohort of friends who graduated with me at Durham 45 years ago. Perfect end to a lovely day.
    1. If you live in Middlesborough John, and I suspect you do, it was 4762 .. see the website crossword articles/latest winners 18 September.


      1. Thanks Jerry. I do indeed, although at the moment I’m living it up in deepest, greyest Seahouses with a bundle of friends. If you want cobwebs blowing away, this is the place to do it 🙂
  24. My brain is clearly not in full working order today. Either that or I was as far off the wavelength as Z was close to it. I plodded along for over 25 minutes, wondering like others why the obvious CHORE didn’t fit 1dn and failing to unravel the relatively straightforward anagram for hydraulic without writing down a jumble of the letters.

    But then to top it off I “invented” detrEmental, wondering at the time if REM was an abbreviation for the chemical name for margarine (Ribo Ethyl Monounsaturate anyone?). That, of course, left me with archeipiscopal at 5d.

    Edit to say that this certainly isn’t the first time we’ve been an F away from a pangram.

    Edited at 2017-09-27 12:27 pm (UTC)

    1. 21:55. This is another example of you and I being on the same wavelength, which in this case was a long way from the setter’s. I didn’t help myself by putting in ARCHIEPISCIPAL but I also struggled mightily with STOCKPOT (I actually saw it quite early but just couldn’t believe STOCK for ‘plant’) and MEAGRE. SEIZE also took me a disgracefully long time to see.
  25. I suppose I’ve seen it before but I couldn’t remember it, much like MEAGRE. Glad to see I wasn’t alone in initially reversing the components of 17d and in making a noun instead of an adjective for 22a before the partly guessed 5d crossing letter showed me the error of my ways. Annoyed at taking so long to spot SEIZE; I stopped counting at ‘treize’, thinking that was the end of the ‘short’ French numbers. Faultless logic of course.

    Finished in about 55 minutes. Worth it for WATERLOO and ARCHIEPISC… whatever.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  26. I must have hit a purple patch this afternoon, as my time of 33:11 is blisteringly fast for me! Perhaps it had something to do with doing the crossword in the afternoon instead of the morning.

    Needless to say I didn’t know ARCHI*.* so that prompted a fair bit of head-scratching, neither did I know MEAGRE as a fish, so fingers were crossed and cheeks were clenched as I hit “submit”. Quite a relief to get the all-clear.

  27. Just for once, a tad slow but it has been a busy day. Very enjoyable crossword but frankly, an even more enjoyable set of comments, which must annoy the setter a bit I suppose..
    Meagre is a strange name for a fish that can weigh more than a hundredweight (50kg to you modern young things)
    I love marmots .. they are my second favourite rodent, after capybara..
    I tend to think of Waterloo as more of a win than a loss, but I suppose everyone’s win is someone else’s loss, since we are being philosophical today
    I cordially dislike Jung (and Freud)for pretending to be scientific but actually not being .. just opinionated. We still suffer today from the foundations of psychiatry being pseudoscience, built on sand, as various statistics such as reoffending rates demonstrate.

  28. I spent 25 mins on the puzzle this morning and finished it off in another 19.5 mins at lunchtime. I found it mostly straightforward but had a few question marks along the way, now all answered by the blog and comments I think: dnk rug for wrap in 12ac, dnk lumber as old furniture in 16ac, dnk (or did not remember) meagre as a fish and hoped that the checkers did not allow for anything else, unsure about the plurals in 1ac and 19ac, dnk plant for stock in 18dn and did not think of Jung as a philosopher. I think meagre was the one I was most unsure about. However, nothing in the end to prevent a successful solve. FOI 14ac. LOI 29ac. COD Waterloo.
  29. Lacan, Szasz, Adler, Klein, Reich, Laing, Frankl, Rorschach, Bleuler, Jaspers, Alzheimer(!), Krafft-Ebbing… You could call him a psychologist, too, and cast a wider net.
  30. No sorry, got confused .. well, they do both begin with P .. and a comment above mentions philosophers.
    My knowledge of psychiatrists remains at two as already stated – though there is an interesting list on wiki with a few names I recognise: Alzheimer, appropriately enough, Kandinsky, Rorschach..
  31. I am wondering whether 9d PLATE TECTONICS is a coincidence or does it give a nod to the 50th anniversary this year of the Plate Tectonic Paradigm that was first proposed fully in 1967?

    The Geological Society of London is having a 3 day meeting to celebrate this anniversary at Burlington House 3 – 5 October 2017.

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  33. So why no F to complete a pangram?
    – My LOI MEAGRE took longer because I was trying to find a word with F.
    – I echo others’ COD joy at Canterbury & Hippo.
    – WATERLOO as in “to meet one’s Waterloo” hence loss not win.
    – I guess “psychoanalyst” would have been too easy, I’m ok with Jung as philosopher, while Freud imho clearly wasn’t.
    1. It would have been pretty easy to squeeze in an F. E.g. replace CRINGE by COIFFE or CLIFFS, and GRAND by FRAUD. I am a bit surprised this wasn’t done.

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