Times 26,867: Where Angels Fear To Tread

I’m afraid to say I’m going to skimp on my blogly duties today as I’m off to York for Sloggers and Betters tomorrow, and I’ve still got a Cryptic Jumbo to write up in time for the weekend. This was a pleasant enough puzzle to solve but not particularly colourful, I’d say – I’m struggling to find much to say about it, especially with the scars of Wednesday’s titanic battle still being fresh on my person. I did like it though, my highlights being 16ac with its clever construction, and 24ac, because you’d probably only get away with calling him a famous cleric in crosswording company, these days, wouldn’t you.

6 minutes and three quarters for me, so maybe not so very Fridayish as these things go. Yourselves? And am I going to see any of you in York this weekend?

1 Locum happy nursing in India, say (12)
SUBCONTINENT – SUB [locum] + CONTENT [happy] “nursing” IN
8 Follow after troops rush to advance (3,4)
RAT RACE – TRACE [follow] after R.A. [troops]
9 Saves signals from sappers? (7)
RESCUES – the “signals from sappers” are RE’S CUES
11 Detective ruled lines for notes concerning women (7)
DISTAFF – D.I. STAFF [detective | ruled lines for notes]
12 Whale led by pack round island (7)
MAJORCA – ORCA [whale], led by JAM reversed [pack “round”]
13 State leaders to support overseas sanction (3-2)
SAY-SO – SAY [state] + S{upport} O{verseas}
14 Destructive, and a pain, holding a night flier back (9)
CATABOLIC – COLIC [a pain], “holding” A + BAT reversed [night flier “back”]
16 Doctor’s left university for right case (9)
CARTRIDGE – CA{mb->RT}RIDGE [university, where MB (doctor) “has left for” RT (right)]
19 Headgear displayed by panto queen (5)
TOQUE – hidden in {pan}TO QUE{en}. These were completely de rigueur apparel when I lived in Edmonton, Alberta.
21 Unnaturally pale men put on list for service (7)
EMPANEL – (PALE MEN*) [“unnaturally”]
23 Harrowing account dogging Republican ruler (7)
RACKING – AC [account] “dogging” R [Republican], + KING [ruler]
24 Famous cleric by preference keeping close to bishop (7)
SPOONER – SOONER [by preference] “keeping” {bisho}P
25 On reduced allowance, writer’s become more focused (7)
SHARPEN – on SHAR{e} [“reduced” allowance], PEN [writer]
26 A fruitless mission, rum do for Arsenal (1,5,6)

1 Settle for one female model returning inside (7)
SATISFY – SAY [for one], with F SIT [female | model] reversed inside
2 See trouble with British artist fronting game show? (7)
BRAVADO – V ADO [see | trouble], with B RA [British | artist] “fronting”
3 Ingenuous old bird, female, given coat (4-5)
OPEN-FACED – O PEN FACED [old | bird, female | given coat]
4 Continuous murmur from Hard Right splitting corporation (5)
THRUM – H R [hard | right] “splitting” TUM [corporation]
5 Is competent professional perhaps in audition to provide cosmetic surgery? (4,3)
NOSE JOB – homophone of KNOWS JOB [is competent professional perhaps, “in audition”]
6 Colourless individual not taking sides (7)
NEUTRAL – double def
7 Deserter acts deviously to reveal them, perhaps (5,7)
TRADE SECRETS – (DESERTER ACTS*) [“deviously”], semi-&lit
10 Software providing instruction for transport police? (6,6)
SEARCH ENGINE – transport police might get an order to search an engine, in the course of their job
15 Philosopher arousing others’ ire (9)
THEORISER – (OTHERS’ IRE*) [“arousing…”]
17 Censure for each going up top (7)
REPROOF – PER reversed [for each “going up”] + ROOF [top]
18 Current cuts are enough to fund strike (3,4)
RUN INTO – IN [current] “cuts” RUN TO [are enough to fund]
19 A need for diplomat to accommodate firm over work? (7)
TOCCATA – A TACT [a | need for diplomat] to accomodate CO [firm], all reversed [“over”]
20 Course gone round by sovereign was full of cracks? (7)
QUIPPED – PPE [course] gone round by QUID [sovereign]. Cracks as in gags or jokes
22 Primate‘s teaching is used for English (5)
LORIS – LOR{e->IS} [teaching, with “IS” used instead of E for English]

53 comments on “Times 26,867: Where Angels Fear To Tread”

  1. 1a immediately and then clockwise from NE

    Couple of unknowns (toccata & catabolic)

    Liked loris, and trade secrets wasn’t bad either

    Ho hum

  2. 68m but I might have nodded off in the middle, I fancy. Time for bed now. Thanks for blog, V.
  3. 50 odd minutes for me. Had OPEN-FACED for ages before I realized that the F wasn’t female, and I didn’t have to make ACED be anything to do with coats. Also conused at QUIPPED since I was sure the sovereign given the QU. And I wasn’t sure about RUN INTO (strike seems a weird definition even in the car-crashing sense). In the end it was all correct. Took far too long to think of Cambridge (given that I went to university there).
    1. What with Cambridge, PPE and a smattering of Latin and Greek cluing, this felt like a good crossword to have gone to Oxbridge for…
      1. No. I went to the right Cambridge. Not that one with Harvard and MIT. Although there was no shortage of ivy in East Anglia.
  4. Never on the setter’s wavelength and wasn’t sure I’d finish, with THEORISER, RACKING, SHARPEN and QUIPPED all staring blankly at me for some time. I did finish in a tad under 20 minutes but with an under-considered ROCKING.

    Sometimes you and a puzzle don’t speak the same language.

    Edited at 2017-10-27 06:01 am (UTC)

  5. Almost identical comments to paulmcl. Learned (again) where all the letters in toccata go by following the instructions. Learned an intriguing fact about Edmonton by reading the blog. Somewhat uncertain as to which piece of new knowledge will be of most value in the future, though I’m hoping it will be the one about Canadian foibles.
    1. As far as I can tell they pronounce it “tuque” in Edmonton, but still spell it “toque” – unless they were teasing me, it’s quite hard to tell with Canadians sometimes.
      1. The French-candian word tuque has been adopted by the rest of Canada, where it was assimilated with the English toque, which in Britain referred to a (usually) lady’s cap with a very narrow brim. However the Canadians apply it to a woolen cap (originally the night cap of fur-traders, who kept it on during the day ‘cos it’s so cold up there), which in Britain one would call a beanie or watch cap. For some reason, the tall white jobbie worn by chefs is also called a toque. Sorry to be so nerdy, buit I found this quite interesting. Crossword was OK but not too demanding. Liked distaff and cartridge.Forgotten my password…
  6. Again I forgot to fill in a hard copy of this, and since I’m now on a different computer I can’t review my submission. But I do remember toying, like Sotira, with ‘rocking’, but not for long. My main problems were that I flung in ‘state secrets’, having more or less established that SECRETS was part of the anagrist; and ‘metabolic’, once I had the BAT and the IC; DNK CATABOLIC. Never did parse QUIPPED, and probably wouldn’t have come up with PPE. Other than that, I enjoyed this.
  7. Catabolic held me up for some time, but like Sotira I felt this was an unfamiliar language.
  8. Similar problems to others e.g. thinking OPEN FACED at 3dn but not writing it in as I wondered how it could possibly mean ‘ingenIous’. As the hour approached I used aids to get me past the philosopher (for whom I had few checkers in place) convinced that I was looking for an unknown foreign name, only to find that I wasn’t. I also looked up CATABOLIC which I’ve never heard of – the ATAB bit which I had worked out made me realise I needed help with the rest of it.

    Failed to understand QUIPPED and am still not entirely convinced by the definition at 18dn. On that one I had taken I as ‘current’ and was left wondering where the N came from.

    Edited at 2017-10-27 05:18 am (UTC)

    1. I’m thinking that if you run your car into another car, you strike it. Or perhaps just “run into problems”?
      1. Yes, I sort of see it, so Titanic struck an iceberg by running into it, but the second example is not the most obvious choice of words.
  9. 57 minutes, so not exactly on the wavelength! As with others, a few biffs here and there with a shrug and an it’s-got-to-be. FOI 1d SATISFY, LOI OPEN-FACED, though only because I couldn’t parse it and waited for CATABOLIC to arrive before I was sure enough…

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  10. 35 mins on train to client meeting in Glasgow. But not before croissant and locally foraged blackberry jam (all together now – hoorah).
    As V says, not colourful. Spooner and Bravado probably the funniest words: don’t know why.
    Mostly I liked: ‘game show’, Cartridge.
    Thanks setter and V.

    On short reflection, colourless is a bit mean. There are some very neat clues, e.g. 1ac (COD).

    Edited at 2017-10-27 07:23 am (UTC)

  11. 35 minutes, never quite comfortable. I’d biffed OPEN-FACED and then had to gawp at your explanation for ages, V, before finally it dawned that FACED meant ‘coat’ or maybe even ‘given coat’. COD SEARCH ENGINE (the one occasion when Google was allowed to provide the answer?) with BRAVADO and CARTRIDGE just behind. Thank you V and setter.
  12. 13:35. Much like yesterday I had very little to show for my efforts after my first pass through the acrosses, but again I picked up speed after that.
    Like others I was slowed down by OPEN-FACED and QUIPPED because of misreading bits of the wordplay. And I’m not sure I’ve come across OPEN-FACED meaning ingenuous (as opposed to something to do with sandwiches or mining) before. And bunging in STATE SECRETS caused me some problems.
    CATABOLIC was my only unknown today. Like our blogger I am familiar with the TOQUE from exposure to Canada in general and the musical oeuvre of Bob and Doug McKenzie in particular.

    Edited at 2017-10-27 07:18 am (UTC)

    1. v = vide = see, refer to, consult. Used as a direction in a text referring the reader to a specified passage, work, etc., for fuller or further information.
        1. I was under the impression that V=Vatican City (as seen on the back of cars)=the See of Rome. But there again who am I…
  13. I was another one completely lacking a wavelength. OPEN-FACED usually means a sandwich around here. CATABOLIC seemed a pretty safe guess although I did start off with “shambolic”. I’m supposed to be EMPANELed as a juror right before Christmas and I’m just hoping the lawyers and judges will be as anxious to skive off as I am. 21.03
    1. Just tell them you don’t believe in the death penalty, Olivia; the prosecution will drop you like a hot potato. Even if it’s a shoplifting case; even if you’re not asked.
  14. 27m. Neat bordering on deft; unflashy. Liked it. Poor old Spooner, almost an eponym’s parody. Liked 16, and the excellent female of 3.
  15. I slowed myself down in the NW by biffing DIGRAPH for 11a. This made OPEN FACED and SATISFY rather tricky until I returned to this corner after completing the rest of the puzzle, at which point DISTAFF came to mind as I mentally slapped my forehead. I knew a TOQUE was a hat, but until Googling it just now, I couldn’t have described it, but I now see that I have several of them to keep my sparsely covered noggin warm as I stride to the hostelry on cold evenings. My only unknown was CATABOLIC, but it was easy enough to construct from wordplay and checkers. I failed to parse QUIPPED, but was happy enough to biff it. Liked 2d and 16a, and SEARCH ENGINE made me smile. Another foray into sub 30 minute territory at 28:16. Enjoyable puzzle. Thanks setter and V. V, I’ll look forward to meeting you in York!
  16. As usual, I got hooked on a particular interpretation of a clue and seize up – in this case it was 1a where I wanted India to be I, whereas it was the definition. LOI RAT RACE, biffed, but yet again my brain atrophied, and I had to come here to understand it. Perhaps I found this a bit less NEUTRAL than our blogger!
  17. Count me as another who never felt really in tune with the setter despite coming home in a respectable 26 mins. The same ‘if you say so’ moments as others in the main.
  18. Being a doofus, I hastily chucked in ‘Menorca’ and then spent half an hour wondering what a ‘nose nib’ could be.
    Catabolic – blimey, who knew?
    1. Insert usual pre-Champs comment about how if we made Magoo have to fill in all his puzzles with a nose nib the rest of us might stand a ghost of a chance….
  19. 46 minutes – still having to use tablet, so input slowed. However also prevented myself from getting anywhere in NW by biffing STATE at 7dn, and being sure of India=I at 1ac so that definition had to be ‘locum’.
  20. 46:48 not bad for a Friday (even though Tuesday is the new Friday) but I was a bit hesitant with quite a few answers. Dnk the headgear in 19ac but it had to be, ummed and aaahed a bit over run into, could not quite work out whether aced or faced meant given coat in 3dn, I don’t think I knew this meaning of “faced” and was certain that 15dn was going to be an ancient Greek until a couple of checkers and the probability of a word ending -iser arose. Had no idea of the parsing of quipped where I also saw the sovereign as “qu” for queen. FOI 9ac. LOI 14ac which was a sort of half known, I think. Among others I liked the “game show” definition at 2dn, the search engine, cartridge and Spooner clues.
  21. Plodded through this in 35 minutes, no real hold ups but agree with our blogger, not very exciting. Wondered about BRAGADO, the G from fronting Game, but ditched it. Why is game there?
  22. I did finally manage to finish and parse the lot, but it was struggle! Time withheld.

    I was slowed by many self-created booby traps.

    A careless STATE SECRET @7dn my LOI with TRADE in place. 20dn QUIPPER instead of QUIPPED. 12ac MINORCA instead of MAJORCA!




    Talking of which I note CATALONIA is playing up. Will Real Madrid top Barca!? I sincerely hope not!

    A rehearsal for WWIII? – remember Guernica….

    Modo Meldrewviano

    Edited at 2017-10-27 03:50 pm (UTC)

  23. Took a while, and didn’t previously know of CATABOLIC. I threw it in after finally seeing how OPEN-FACED actually worked, giving me the ‘C’ to start with. But I realize I didn’t read the enumeration of RAT RACE at all, or at least properly, thinking it was a single 7-letter word, and had RETRACE. Oops. Regards.
  24. Far from it ; kept the bowels moving , but no nutrition , taste or resemblance to normal food whatsoever.
  25. I don’t normally attempt the Friday puzzles but I saw Nose Job quickly and went from there.
    After a couple of sessions I was nearly there so just bunged in whatever words would fit to complete the puzzle. My first Friday finish and I see I got it all correct.
    DNK Catabolic Racking and Toque (a dim memory perhaps and a big breakthrough which allowed 20d and 25a, my LOI).
    Could not parse several so many thanks for the blog -and good luck on 4 November. David
  26. No idea of time on this one, but it felt like something between thirty minutes and half an hour.

    TOCCATA and RACKING held me up (or, at any rate, were my LOsI), otherwise all quite straightforward and very enjoyable.

  27. 13-Jan-2018 SCMP

    A bit over 40 mins, biffing RUN INTO & TOCCATA in order to get on with the day. Must remember that current is not just I for electric current.

    I was a bit shocked*by the “A” at the beginning of “A FOOL’S ERRAND”. That seems to me a major defect in the grid. Why not allow A SEARCH ENGINE, THE TRADE SECRET, TO SATISFY, etc? Even plurals are deprecated, although would be tolerated.

    COD: 24A for resisting temptation to include spoonerism in the clue.

    Very smooth surfaces made solving some of the clues quite hard. Thanks setter, blogger and commenters.

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