Times 27,077: Ignorance, Madam, Pure Ignorance

This was gentlish fare for a Friday, taking me no more than about 7 minutes on paper, but there was a light touch to the cluing and I chuckled and groaned in all the right places. I don’t have a runaway favourite clue of the day but let’s say 7dn because it’s a nice surface and managed to remind me of the old Samuel Johnson anecdote, always a bonus. Thanks to the setter, and now I have to rush off and spend all day trying not to forget that it’s (probably) my turn to blog a Jumbo and a Club Monthly this weekend!

If anyone is at a loose end tomorrow I think some setters, bloggers and lurkers will be meeting in the pub, possibly in Greenwich this time though that’s just a rumour. This kind of thing happens more Saturdays than not these days, so if you’re a London-area reader and ever get the urge to be sociable, drop me a line and feel free to join us any time…

1 This traps bachelor in messy rooms, the clot (10)
THROMBOSIS – THIS “traps” B [bachelor] in (ROOMS*) [“messy”]

6 Travel by air with a paper (4)
WAFT – W A FT [with | a | paper (= the Financial Times)]

8 Oz runner eventually caught rival (8)
EMULATOR – EMU [Oz runner] + homophone of LATER [eventually “caught”]. Emus, the second largest bird, live in Australia, are flightless, but can sprint at over 30mph if they’re in the mood.

9 First of cryptic clues on radio that may mean curtains for some (6)
CHINTZ – C{ryptic} + homophone of HINTS [clues “on radio”]. Do you now or have you ever had chintzy curtains? Own up.

10 County rejects a new border (4)
TRIM – {an}TRIM [(Irish) county, subtracting both A and N for new]

11 Putting cash up front, top businessmen bag river beast (10)
RHINOCEROS – putting RHINO [cash] up front, CEOS [top businessmen] “bag” R [river]

12 They must save old soak ultimately with divine inspiration (9)
THEOSOPHY – THEY must “save” O SOP {wit}H [O = old; SOP = soak]

14 Writing about sanctuary earns points (5)
MARKS – MS [writing] “about” ARK [sanctuary]

17 Suggest Dick should open unit (5)
OPINE – P.I. [Dick (= private investigator)] should “open” ONE [unit]

19 Being successful, this writer’s replacing last of belongings (9)
EFFECTIVE – EFFECT{s->I’VE}. Replace the last letter of a word for belongings with I’VE [this writer’s]

22 Kiss Adrian, drunk after beer and port (10)
ALEXANDRIA – X + (ADRIAN*) [“drunk”], after ALE [beer]

23 Tree has saccharin, shedding odd bits (4)
ACAI – {s}A{c}C{h}A{r}I{n}, with all the odd letters “shed”. Better known for its allegedly healthful berries.

24 Contain wider space by taking in suburbs of Oxford (6)
EMBODY – EM [wider space (as opposed to the narrower “en”)] BY, “taking in” O{xfor}D. “Suburbs” is a fun indicator for “outlying bits”!

25 It’s galling, using PA bar first (8)
ANNOYING – {t}ANNOYING [using PA, barring the first letter]

26 Cut Hibernian flag (4)
IRIS – IRIS{h} [“cut” Hibernian]. Chestnutty.

27 Chuck’s senior sibling’s wine supplier? (10)
ELDERBERRY – if Chuck Berry had older siblings, and he did, being the fourth child of six, each of them would be an ELDER BERRY…

1 How many players at Wembley figure in Heller work? (6-3)
TWENTY-TWO – an elaborate double def, being either the complement of two football teams or the number in the title of Joseph Heller’s most famous book, Catch-22.

2 One way to limit batting practice (7)
ROUTINE – ROUTE [one way] to “limit” IN [batting]

3 Where to go brush trousers at hotel (8)
BATHROOM – BROOM [brush] “trousers” AT H [at | hotel]. The very coy sense of the phrase “to go”.

4 Where is very ill patient heading? That’s easy (15)
STRAIGHTFORWARD – or else the ill patient is heading STRAIGHT FOR WARD. (If he was even iller they’d rush him to theatre, though!)

5 Small rise squeezes City branch (6)
SECTOR – S TOR [small | rise] “squeezes” EC [City]

6 Fry served with milk? Enticing stuff (9)
WHITEBAIT – WHITE [served with milk (as in coffee)] + BAIT [enticing stuff]

7 Iron bolt secures West End joint (7)
FETLOCK – FE LOCK [iron | bolt] “secures” {wes}T. A fetlock is the joint between the cannon bone and the pastern; the pastern is basically a horse’s knee, unless you actually care.

13 Nasty old boy, nervous, heading off carrying duck (9)
OBNOXIOUS – O.B. [old boy] + {a}NXIOUS [nervous, “heading off”], “carrying” O [duck]

15 Apparently home counties bishopric impresses China (9)
SEEMINGLY – SE ELY [home counties | bishopric] “impresses” MING [China]. Rather refreshing for “China” not to clue PAL or similar…

16 Servant‘s fee paid in advance (8)
RETAINER – double definition

18 Corrupt employer ignoring eastern compound (7)
POLYMER – ({e}MPLOYER*) [“corrupt”]

20 Current row involving church is more irritating (7)
ITCHIER – I TIER [current | row] “involving” CH [church]

21 Enemy managed to capture unknown catalyst (6)
ENZYME – (ENEMY*) [“managed”], to “capture” Z [unknown]

46 comments on “Times 27,077: Ignorance, Madam, Pure Ignorance”

  1. 17:09 … and pretty pleased with that.

    Stuck for several minutes in the NW corner until EMULATOR finally clicked and ROUTINE and THEOSOPHY followed. Tricky combo.

    Very entertaining stuff, though, and I’ll admit to Chuckling far too long over the elder Berry

  2. 18’32”, so most pleasing for a Friday. Not quite STRAIGHTFORWARD, with the unknown ACAI entered with a shrug. I see that half of those currently on the leader board have got one wrong….where is that?
    1. I nearly put EMULATER. It’s where the wordplay seemed to be pointing but fortunately I realised that it didn’t account for ‘caught’.
  3. Most difficult of the week for me, but still not too bad a solving time at 42 minutes. Didn’t know ACAI and struggled to find it defined as a tree when checking later. On-line Chambers doesn’t list it at all, Collins defines it as a berry and only the Oxfords have it as a tree. On further checking it’s in my printed edition of Chambers.
  4. I wonder how many, like me, reached for FLY in 6ac when they read ‘travel by air’. My undoing, though was putting EMULATER. Unlike keriothe, I didn’t appreciate the meaning of ‘caught’. Struggled with WHITEBAIT which is annoying as it is a speciality here in NZ.
    COD shared by STRAIGHT FOR WARD and RHINOCEROS, with ELDERBERRY picking up the bronze medal.
    1. I’m very envious of you being able to get your lovely NZ WHITEBAIT. I remember it as a birthday treat when I was a kid and I haven’t had the “proper stuff” for yonks. My Kiwi friends are very dismissive of the local version this side of the Tasman.
  5. I thought there were a couple of standout clues today. Like sotira I was particularly amused by Chuck’s brother but my COD to BATHROOM which I thought was very nicely constructed.

    A few years back ACAI was the latest wonderfood, guaranteed to give you eternal life until marketers moved on to the next thing.

    1. ACAI berries are one of the many foods that are supposedly good for you because they contain antioxidants. The whole antioxidant thing is of course a myth.
      1. I had an embarrassing moment some years ago when my uncle tried to recruit me to be part of his acai miracle health elixir pyramid scheme and I had to be diplomatic about my refusal. Lovely chap and a great family man but a total snake oil salesman, my uncle.
  6. Nice stuff, and an enjoyable solve.

    But should’t CEOS be treated as singular? CEOS ‘bagging’ surely? I realise we can say the letters C, E, O & S are four items, but not when the word is supplied via a synonym (it’s also hard, the way the clue is written, to get RHINO+CEOS to allow for the plural usage).

    I’d thought this to be seen as ‘inelegant’, or something else derogatory, in The Times.

    Edited at 2018-06-29 08:08 am (UTC)

    1. I’m not sure I understand the issue at stake – CEOs seem decidedly plural to me?
    2. Perhaps I’m being dense, but isn’t (aren’t) CEOS plural? Businessmen bag, Chief Executive Officers bag, CEOs bag. Sidenote: if I were on a market stall, I’d write CEO’s.
      1. I almost wrote CEO’S in my writeup but I just knew *somebody* would give me grief over it. Griefgrocer’s apostrophe.
        1. That’s to fall into a surface trap though, isn’t it? If you’re cluing that element, CEOS, using a synonym, for grammatical exactitude it must be referred to as a singular entity. That ‘CEOs’ is a plural in the real world is of no relevance here.
          1. Oh, right, I see what you’re getting at now. Without resorting to looking at lots of clues, I can’t actually recall whether a plural noun, used as a clue element, generally takes a singular verb or not!
          2. I just found this on Danword, but I definitely don’t like it much:

            Where businesses contain something of an enigma (5)

            1. In this case, it could be argued that it is two words that contain REBUS, justifying the plural.
          3. Also from Danword:

            Gassy state? Deep-fried Indian breads contain zero gas (9)

            So it definitely happens, no idea whether it’s elegant or not.

            ETA: This clue turns out to be from a recent (April 2018) Independent puzzle by Hob.

            Edited at 2018-06-29 09:51 am (UTC)

            1. Hi Verlaine

              I am no fan of this as you might have gathered: I think it flaws the cryptic grammar.

              What is Danword?

              1. Just a site on the internet that acts as a database for cryptic clues. I’ve always been highly confused by it because it seems to me that it has its clues (and their answers, if you’re that way inclined!) almost immediately the puzzles come out. But how?!
          4. You are right. As a crossword editor, this is one of the things I watch out for. What bags the R here is not the businessmen but a word that means businessmen.
  7. 12:45. That was a fun one, and I learned this morning that I have reached the age of 45 without ever really knowing what a FETLOCK is.
    1. I wanted to spell it -OR, known correct, but LATER clearly pointed to -ER. I too caught out by ignoring caught. Otherwise microseconds harder than average, no 7 minute romp for me.
  8. 22:48 but with a careless THEOSOTHY where blindly following the wordplay with SOT for soak led me up a blind alley. It didn’t look quite right, but I moved on too quickly. Bah! Like the catch at 1d. BATHROOM was very good too. FOI, WAFT, LOI, EMULATOR. Thanks setter and V.
  9. A spoiled 15.05, (see above under Robrolfe’s entry and Keriothe’s conjecture). On a par with Monday and Tuesday, though I like ELDERBERRY. A cinch for me: Chuck’s fabulous opening guitar riff on Johnny B Goode provides the world’s greatest ringtone on my mobile. Plus, now that my FETLOCK’s out of plaster (having successfully avoided THROMBOSIS) an OBNOXIOUS and ANNOYING reaction (caused by ENZYMES, for all I know) makes it ITCHIER than is comfortable. Can’t scratch, I’d leave MARKS. Bit of a Catch 22, really. I could go on: this grid is almost spookily personal, except that I’m not into THEOSOPHY.
  10. 32 minutes on my ring-rusty return from holiday. Thank you AV for your concern, by the way, which I’ve just read. TfTT just wouldn’t load on the ship internet, the MV William Shakespeare. England have started losing as soon as we’re back. The cities of the Danube were gorgeous, the weather less so. We’ve probably missed this summer now. We’ve managed to rescue Richard Coeur de Lion (Gare de Lyon?) from Durnstein Castle though, when he joined in singing The Happy Wanderer. Valderi-Valdera, you know the rest. Perhaps you saw the reports of us carrying him out on Fox News. It didn’t make CNN, our other English language source. I took ages to get STRAIGHTFORWARD. COD to the exquisite CHINTZ. LOI BATHROOM, a place a 72 year old tourist wishes there were more of in middle European cities. A pleasant puzzle. Thank V and setter.
  11. ….so not the Friday beast I predicted yesterday.

    FOI CHINTZ, which set me on a fruitless pangram trail. Also lost time trying to fit NET into 2D.

    DNK ACAI, but it was a giveaway – biffed LOI ANNOYING (thanks V, I was thinking of the wrong sort of PA).

    COD TRIM, easy enough but very topical. Also liked WAFT.

    15:53 with thanks to the compiler for a most enjoyable puzzle.

  12. Good grief – was that Friday? I was hoping against hope that I’d come here to find that everyone thought this was a tricky one, making me a clever-clogs with my 19m solve. Alackaday – it seems that everyone else found this straightforward too.

    I note with some distaste that, what with today’s ACAI and yesterday’s ROBLE, we’re going through another phase of obscure plant names. Aside from that, very enjoyable puzzle – thanks to setter and blogger alike, and a good weekend to all.

  13. 23 min, but 8ac wrong, entered with MER, having missed significance of ‘caught’. It was hard to see 4dn with only a few checkers at beginning and end – rest fell quickly after seeing it, with 16dn LOI. I dislike the euphemism at 3dn, as the loo is often a completely separate room – when John Snow was talking about the lack of facilities for railway passengers during the restoration of one of the carriages, he spoke of bathrooms at stations. I don’t think a railway station equipped with a bathroom exists, except when it is combined with a hotel or a staff residence.
  14. Perhaps we had an American or Ameriphile setter – it all seems to be bathrooms, restrooms and washrooms on that side of the pond.
  15. 20:19 but with two wrong. I fell in the emulator trap and had Theosothy for Theosophy. Silly and lazy second mistake as I was pretty sure that Theosothy wasn’t a word. But I didn’t want to abandon the old SOT.


    Edited at 2018-06-29 10:41 am (UTC)

  16. Should have been quicker but I failed to lift and separate the river beast for too long. As others I failed to understand EMULATOR. I don’t think I’ve seen that use of ‘caught’ before surprisingly. Used to sell AÇAI in my health food shop. Nice of spellchecker to give me that free cedilla by the way!
  17. … for me, just over half an hour of pleasure and a few chuckles. Impressive as ever V that you can knock this off in 7. Too many good clues to pick a winner. Was held up for a while by EMULATOR as was looking for EQU and the pangram, and not very convinced by the synonym – surely an emulator is a copier or plagiariser not a rival?
    Anyway a small quibble over an excellent puzzle.
    On reflection, Chuck and his big brother get the vote for CoD.

    No footie today! Or cricket. Withdrawal symptoms may set in. Will have to be the tennis then.

    1. I didn’t pause over “emulator” – there are a lot of “emulous princes” in Troilus & Cressida where emulous seems to mean “motivated by a spirit of rivalry”, so I just assumed an emulator was someone thus motivated. Which is possibly controversial now that I slow down to think about it.
    2. You can always entertain yourself watching endless gifs of Batshuayi almost knocking himself out with a football. I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of it
      1. I cringe when I see it. It reminds me too much of the many occasions when I’ve made a pillock of myself.
  18. Speaking of ANNOYING – I thought I was doing very well at just over 8 minutes, but lazily put EMULATER as my LOI. The lesson (as ever): don’t ignore any of the words in the clue.

    9a has my least favourite device of a partial homophone that doesn’t sound that way in the final answer; I’m not entirely convinced by ‘suburbs’ for extreme letters. Otherwise fun.

  19. I rarely hit this sort of time for a Friday solve so it is definitely on the easy side. Put in EMULATOR then changed it to EMULATER and then back to EMULATOR for reasons I cannot fathom – probably an age thing.

    Time: all correct in 29 minutes.

    Thank you to setter and blogger.


  20. Exactly on the half hour for me. Gentle for a Friday with a few old friends such as ‘Oz runner’ to help. BATHROOM has also appeared somewhere else recently and there were similar comments about it being an American euphemism but (as a non-American) it seems fine to me.

    I liked Chuck’s senior sibling (my last in), probably much more than I would the wine which I’ve never been brave enough to try.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  21. Around 25 minutes, but EMULATER. Can’t win ’em all. My LOI was a biff for ANNOYING, since I am unaware of ‘tannoying’, which I just looked up. I liked CHINTZ, and of course Chuck’s sibling. Regards.

Comments are closed.