Times 27076 – put that bloody cigarette out!

Solving time: 24:15. The most difficult puzzle I have tried in a while, and although I’m three cocktails in I think this is a legitimate challenge, as most clues required an understanding of both wordplay and definition to solve. I thought that this grid may have been a pangram, but I think there is no V or X.

I only found out yesterday about the SNITCH ratings of puzzles (and I’m flattered that I’m one of the solvers that is used in the ratings, but a quick peek at the results to date shows that I am an outlier here, so apologies if I have killed the statistics.

The first definition is underlined in the clues.

Away we go…

1 Animated character‘s lad introducing troublemakers (7)
SIMPSON – SON(lad) containing IMPS – reference to the long-running US cartoon series
5 Ghastly waterproof sailor has on (7)
MACABRE – MAC(waterproof), AB(sailor), RE(on)
9 Kilometres to west of ancient city, largely cool mountainous region (9)
KURDISTAN – K(kilometres) next to UR(ancient city) and DISTAN(t) (cool)
10 A grassy area cut short for match (5)
11 Exploit golf club insufficiently in play (5,4,4)
13 Mischievous rogue ejects MP during political meeting (8)
RASCALLY – SCAMP(rogue) loses MP during RALLY(political meeting)
15 Collection of Old Testament men (3,3)
JOB LOT – JOB and LOT are OT characters
17 Assume girlfriend once gave kiss to speaker (6)
EXPECT – EX(former girlfriend) then sounds like PECKED(gave kiss to)
19 Novelist‘s name right on front of cover (8)
CHANDLER – HANDLE(name), R with C(over)
22 Birmingham houses this, I wrongly think: it’s in London (7,6)
BRITISH MUSEUM – BRUM(Birmingham) containing an anagram of THIS, I and MUSE(think)
25 Tree cut down unproblematically (5)
ROBLE – hidden in unpROBLEmatically
26 Wrapped up warm, worried after catching one bug (9)
INFURIATE – IN FUR(wrapped up warm), then ATE containing I
27 Note male actors regularly entering … this? (7)
THEATRE –  TE(note) containing HE(male) and alternating letters in AcToRs
28 Fired once again about article in Independent? Not so (7)
RELIANT – RELIT(fired again) contaning AN(article)

1 Scornful-sounding writer (4)
SAKI – sounds like SARKY(scornful) – pen name of H.H. Munro
2 French noble is attached to name, not English (7)
MARQUIS – IS attached to MARQU(e)
3 Winter sports journalist is uplifted (5)
SKIED – SKI(winter sports), ED(editor)
4 Talented folk succeeded after new order from Alan Turing (not half) (8)
NATURALS – S after an anagram of ALAN,TUR(ing)
5 Creature — insect — found in motorway services principally (6)
MANTIS – ANI inside MI, S(ervices)
6 Draconian measures: news welcomed by penurious drug addict? (9)
CRACKDOWNN inside rthe CRACK DON.  Whoops – as mentioned several times in the comments, it it the news that CRACK is DOWN and I invented wordplay that appealed to me
7 Over lake you’ll see a brown fluttering bird (4,3)
BARN OWL – L iside an anagram of A,BROWN
8 Measure to stop a politician making changes (10)
EMENDATORY – EM(measure), then END(stop), A, TORY(politician)
12 Commando‘s salute, welcoming new battalion leader previously (5,5)
GREEN BERET – GREET(salute) containing N B(attalion), ERE(previously)
14 Author’s note in a short page (9)
ARCHITECT – CHIT(note) in A, RECT(o)
16 Driver drops off one posh portable heater (8)
CHAUFFER – CHAUFFEUR(driver) missing a U
18 Easily influenced, likely to support head of party (7)
PLIABLE – LIABLE(likely) under P(arty)
20 Innocent woman joins dance (7)
LAMBADA – LAMB(innocent), ADA(woman)
21 Bird‘s piercing cry, tail twitching (6)
SHRIKE – SHRIKE(bird) with the last two letters swapped
23 Join in French function that’s endless (5)
ENROL – EN(in, in French), then ROL(e) (function)
24 Small amount of money enough for setter? Not me! (4)
CENT – CEMENT(setter) missing ME

48 comments on “Times 27076 – put that bloody cigarette out!”

  1. The last 5 minutes were taken up with trying to think of something other than ARCHITECT or trying to justify it. Couldn’t do either, so I flung it in and hoped for the best. There’s a town called Paso Robles in California (‘Robles’ rhymes with ‘nobles’, of course), which helped me. GREEN BERETs are the only commandos I know of; I parsed after putting it in. Fortunately I knew BRUM, and filled it in. I put in SAKI because it had to be; afterwards I looked up ‘sacky’ and ‘socky’, but of course it didn’t occur to me to try ‘sarky’. DNK CHAUFFER. Some nice misleading in the clues, like ‘on’ in 5ac and ‘setter’ in 24d. COD to BRITISH MUSEUM.

    Edited at 2018-06-28 05:43 am (UTC)

      1. Thanks; I’ll try to remember that. Hard to think of them as ‘jollies’!
      2. I wonder if Leathernecks for US Marines derives from that. USMCs are less respectfully known as Jarheads.

        Edited at 2018-06-28 12:46 pm (UTC)

        1. I believe both terms derive from a large leather collar that troops wore to protect their necks from slashing by swords. The collar protruded above the uniform and looked like the top of a leather boot
  2. Didn’t know ROBLE, CHAUFFER or EMENDATORY but it was the SE corner that gave me the most trouble, especially 26ac and 28ac. Only once I had worked out that ‘bug’ equalled INFURIATE did I make the connection between ‘wrapped up warm and ‘INFUR’.

    Edited at 2018-06-28 05:41 am (UTC)

  3. I didn’t know or remember “sarky,” but I did think of the right author after getting the S. That’s the only one I didn’t parse before coming here. But I don’t see CRACK DON with an N inside (that is only one “new,” not “news”—and the letter that is missing is W, not N). The tight-fisted drug user is glad to hear that (the price of) CRACK (is) DOWN. A “crack don” would be a dealer, not a user. And the watchword in the biz—so I hear—is “Don’t get high on your own supply.” (And what are you smoking? Ha ha.)

    I got CHAUFFER when I stopped trying to think of a word already in my vocabulary. Must have seen the aforementioned town name before, but ROBLE was only a guess. Last ones in were ARCHITECT and CENT. Nice surfaces here, although 21 ends with a bit of a dangler.

    Edited at 2018-06-28 06:13 am (UTC)

    1. Your CRACK DOWN interpretation is clearly right. George was probably fine until that third cocktail
  4. 33 minutes, so this rates as the easier end of the spectrum for me. I’d have achieved my target half-hour but for the unknown ROBLE and CHAUFFER, and the somewhat tricky EMENDATORY which all needed a little extra brainwork. CHANDLER as ‘author’ came up as recently as 11 June in QC 1110.

    Edited at 2018-06-28 05:10 am (UTC)

  5. Knew Green Beret from the film starring a 60-year-old John Wayne. I didn’t think much of it as a 9-year-old, although I’m no bleeding heart liberal, or, as my daughter tells me it’s called now, ‘woke’. Ebert thought little of it too:

    ‘”The Green Berets” simply will not do as a film about the war in Vietnam. It is offensive not only to those who oppose American policy but even to those who support it. At this moment in our history, locked in the longest and one of the most controversial wars we have ever fought, what we certainly do not need is a movie depicting Vietnam in terms of cowboys and Indians. That is cruel and dishonest and unworthy of the thousands who have died there.’

    Anyway, that corner was the last to fall, my time being an even more outlying 43 minutes.

  6. 20:35 .. tricky, and a bit technical for my tastes, but all very fair.

    Last in and a total hit-and-hope was CENT, where the wordplay completely eluded me.

    Problems with CHAUFFEUR, too, never being sure of the driver’s spelling and not knowing the heater, but I vaguely surmised what was going on.

    I was puzzled while solving by the apparent ski=winter sports equivalence, but I suppose it’s to be taken as an adjective, as in a ‘ski ed’ being a winter sports journalist. Is that right?

    Otherwise … Germany, eh?

  7. A bit harder than the first 3 puzzles for the week. Spent too long unsuccessfully trying to make sense of BRITISH MUSEUM and ARCHITECT and wondering if CHAUFFER was correct (like ‘nesh’ yesterday).

    I liked (and can identify with) the ‘Exploit golf club insufficiently’ and the almost cryptic def. for 1a.

    Done in 51 minutes.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

      1. I laughed there, keriothe, very good.

        I’m a big fan of the ‘some say’ ruse: setters off the hook everywhere.

        Thanks to commenters for the CRACKDOWN easement. That was annoying me quite a bit.

    1. It’s fine for many English speakers – only a few outliers (some Americans and Scots) might quibble.
      1. I certainly wouldn’t quibble; it’s simply not a homophone for speakers of my dialect. Hard cheese for speakers of my dialect. I was wondering, though, if anyone pronounces his name ‘sacky’ (as I said above, I tried that pronunciation, never thinking of ‘sarky’). How, for instance, do you pronounce the Japanese wine?
        1. for sake/i, Chambers helpfully gives a as in grass or path, and e as in lean or i as in pin. So that’s a perfect homophone for sacky, or sarky depending on your regional preference.
  8. Again, straightforward steady solve with no pyrotechnics along the way. I liked the construction of BRITISH MUSEUM.
  9. Hugely enjoyable challenge, if larded with a few (let’s say) unfamiliar entries.
    UNDER-MILK WOOD!! CRACK DOWN (the headline version, that is)!!
    JOB LOT must have been in before, but an elegant clue.
    George got that bit about “most clues required an understanding of both wordplay and definition to solve” spot on. ARCHITECT I entered twice, not trusting the first time: where was the author, the note, the reduced page?
    ROBLE on trust (isn’t quercus robur a species of oak?), likewise CHAUFFER. SAKI’s been clued that way before.
    Chapeau to setter and nearly-sober George.

  10. My kind of puzzle; done in 20 minutes ending with the SE corner. I think SAKI is a fair homonym for SARKY, I remember my father liking his stuff and saying it thus. Wondered about CENT for a while until I saw the CEMENT idea, then thought we had seen it before but I had forgotten?
    Some beautiful work in this one.
    CoD JOB LOT for me.
  11. 25:46 with one wrong. Rubbe for Roble. I was on for a decent time until grinding to a halt with what looked like Archivist and Rabbi the only two left.

    I didn’t know about the SNITCH-ometer either. Thanks to our blogger for pointing this out and to Starstruck for doing this. I have been benchmarking myself against 5 regulars on here for a while. I won’t embarrass them or myself by identifying them! I won’t need to do this any more. Now I can SNITCH on the lot of you.

    Edited at 2018-06-28 09:14 am (UTC)

    1. Thanks. I’m glad you’re enjoying the SNITCH.

      It’s an interesting pattern today – a few regular solvers finding it hard, but almost none of the solvers recording an error. Often when there’s a big spread in the results, there are a few clues that people struggle with. My guess is that: some have the right knowledge and insight and write them in quickly, others wrestle and find the right result and others will guess with an error or two. Today’s must have been hard but fair, as nearly everyone got there in the end.

      For myself, I had one wrong also – with both the author SAKI and sarky unknown. I wondered whether it might be Oliver Saks (alas, it’s Sacks) but had no better option. I did toy with archivist and rabbi for a long time till the penny dropped on ARCHITECT.

      Edited at 2018-06-28 01:30 pm (UTC)

  12. 42’48. Slow going; glad to get there. Oddly flat puzzle in a way though nifty – but refreshed by the play for voices and the architect of The Long Goodbye.
  13. ….had lost its charm by the time I got to LOI, the unknown ROBLE, which took 25% of my 17:30 solve. I seem to be having trouble spotting encapsulations just lately.


    I predict an absolute beast tomorrow….

  14. 31:38. I found this incredibly hard, but clearly I was just miles from the wavelength. I can probably blame booze too: in my case it was all consumed yesterday but I’m not sure I’m sober enough yet to call my current state a hangover.
    Thanks to anon for confirming the iron law of crosswords that there’s no homophone so perfect that someone won’t complain about it.
  15. Clocked in at 47 minutes, but actual solving time about a quarter of an hour less, as my machine stopped responding when I clicked submit, so went for a cuppa.
    SE corner was hard, not helped by having biffed EMENDATION at 8dn. The hitherto CHAUFFER came to mind when I remembered that the chauffeur was originally not the driver, but the fireman, when cars were driven by steam.
  16. Very diverting. Like just about everyone else, it seems, the ROBLE and the CHAUFFER required me to trust the wordplay, but both seemed reasonable. Today’s earworm, courtesy of 13ac, is Michael Palin in Life of Brian, offering to welease Wodewick, or some other wascally wogue.
  17. I found this a strange one, sailing through the top half of the grid (with the exception of 13a) and hoping to push towards a record time, before hitting a wall completely on the bottom half. After a while CHANDLER fell, then SHRIKE, and the rest followed (with CHAFFEUR and ROBLE unknown but kindly clued). 10m 09s.
  18. I slowed the SW corner down for a while by biffing SCIENCE MUSEUM, until GREEN BERET made me rethink, at which point I saw the proper parsing. The NW took me a while to sort out too. Eventually spotting SIMPSON took care of that. Didn’t know CHAUFFER or ROBLE, but went with the wordplay and crossers. I toyed with a short RECTO for some time before seeing ARCHITECT, and that was my LOI. 39:35. Chewy puzzle. Thanks setter and George.
  19. This was a long solve for me – well over the hour, and no alcohol to carry the blame.

    I was helped by seeing Recto right away and knowing Saki (though not sarky), but not helped so much by deciding that there must be an Odd somewhere in the OT to justify Odd Lot.

  20. 12:26. There was some lovely stuff in here. I particularly enjoyed IN FUR for wrapped up warm. We’ve probably seen it before but it’s a neat device.

    I reckon Chandler has a quote for every occasion. Here’s one for Keriothe:

    “I’m an occasional drinker, the kind of guy who goes out for a beer and wakes up in Singapore with a full beard.”

  21. Back in the world of the “living” and amended the goof from last night. Something nudged me that I had heard of SNITCH ratings before, but didn’t quite know what they were, and I found the time I completely broke the system by doing the puzzle during breaks in a show, and so submitting a time of two hours… https://xwdsnitch.herokuapp.com/crosswords/625 (my time was removed from the stats)
  22. This was slow for me too – at 37 minutes, somewhat over what I flatter myself is my half-hour average. A first pass yielded only CHANDLER, but I finally tuned in and got through the rest of it steadily, finishing with CHAUFFER (unknown but gettable) and INFURIATE. NHO ROBLE, which Wikipedia tells me is oak. All good clean fun.
  23. No time to post due to stops and starts, and not fast on the solve either. I also confess to looking up CHAUFFER and ROBLE (I saw the hidden but looked it up anyway because I didn’t believe). SO a DNF, really. SAKI went in as the writer, didn’t know of ‘sacky’, or ‘sarcky” either. Regards.
  24. A sleepy 39:59 here, solving whilst all tuckered out after a day trip to some botanic gardens in the Wirral in today’s hot weather. Under Milk Wood and job lot raised a smile. Roble and chauffer unknown so taken on trust. Nice puzzle, bit fiddly in parts – architect and infuriate for example.
    1. Munro’s last words: he was a soldier in WW I, and was shot by a German sniper who took advantage of the light from the cigarette.
  25. Clocked at over 4 hours due to forgetting to pause… a lot of fine clues here. My trick of coming back to a crossword after getting stuck and just filling it in as though I’d worked all the clues out in my subconscious in the mean time, worked extremely well today. COD has to be JOB LOT

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