Times 27103 – From chemistry to drama?

Time: 50 minutes
Music: Shostakovich Symphony 10, Karajan/BPO

I was definitely not on the wavelength and really struggled.  While the Snitch seems to indicate that this puzzle was somewhat harder than average, it should not have taken that long.   The well-hidden literals were part of the problem, as I kept seeing how the clue worked and what the answer must be, and then dismissing it as absurd, only to discover ten minutes later that my first thought was indeed right.   I did this with ‘eclipse’, ‘charcuterie’, ‘clement’, and ‘moo-cow’. 

I had a lot of trouble getting started, and scanned the grid in vain for an easy one.   If your first in is ‘ulnae’, then it’s probably not going to be an easy puzzle.   In the end, this was the most obscure answer in the puzzle, as all the difficulty resided in interpreting the cryptics. 

1 Third of capital coming to nothing in Jersey? (3-3)
MOO-COW – MO[-s,+O]COW, a very well-disguised letter substitution clue.   I played around with LO[ndon] for a long time.
5 Food ending on nightie, dessert knocked over in bed (6,2)
TUCKED UP – TUCK + [nighti]E + PUD backwards.   Great misdirection on the literal.
9 Description of bottle found by team during arrest (5,3)
SCREW TOP – S(CREW)TOP, a chestnut that I wrote in immediately.
10 Bovine disease in insect not there (6)
ABSENT – A(BSE)NT, another well-hidden literal.
11 Odd characters in luck to see blurred image — long-sighted? (10)
TELESCOPIC – anagram of L[u]C[k] TO SEE + PIC.
13 War poet old, otherwise making a comeback? (4)
OWEN – O + NEW backwards.   Anyway, the only four-letter war poet I can think of.
14 Hard to save time, leave it (4)
STET – S(T)ET, with ‘set’ as in cement, which the setter is kindly given in the crossing clue.
15 I have to pursue square dancing oft in routine (4-2-4)
NINE-TO-FIVE – NINE + anagram of OFT + I’VE.
18 Summon artist to produce thrilling work (4-6)
PAGE-TURNER – PAGE + TURNER, another chestnut.
20 Adequate light (4)
FAIR – simple double definition.
21 Mucky duck possibly picked up? (4)
FOUL – sounds like FOWL, and comes right after FAIR, too!
23 Record seen at game in capital city (10)
MONTEVIDEO – MONTE + VIDEO, both an obscure game and an obscure record make this tough.
25 Sweet child, tell me, what might you do with that balloon? (6)
POPPET – Sounds like POP IT, the child’s presumed answer.
26 Expecting delivery soon, a short story by writer about Romeo (8)
PRENATAL – P(R)EN + TAL[e].   A compendium of well-known cryptic elements.
28 Warm soup’s unwelcome visitor diner anxiously pokes (8)
FRIENDLY – F(anagram of DINER)LY, another clever literal.
29 Archbishop feeding diocese in regular fashion (6)
EVENLY – E(VEN)LY, some more standard cryptic elements.
2 Actors improvised with her players (9)
3 Fine dash of liquor in what could become the hard stuff? (7)
CLEMENT – C(L[iquor])EMENT.  The ‘dash of’ locution seems to have spread from Mephisto into the main cryptic; get used to it.
4 Temple with a roof in Thailand (3)
WAT – W + A + T[hailand], an &lit that I just biffed.
5 A little more tummy exposed then? (3-2)
TOP-UP – Double definition, one humorous.
6 Fish pie dinner ends in lovely French shop (11)
CHARCUTERIE – CHAR + CUT([pi]E [dinne]R)IE, a rather busy cryptic that had to be worked out ex post facto.
7 Weight finally taken off feet, sofa designed to relax (4,3)
EASE OFF – anagram of FEE[t], SOFA.
8 Bones served up in mean lunch (5)
ULNAE – backwards yhidden in [m]ANE LU[nch].
12 Finished, coaster used harbours (11)
16 Bread that may rise just the same? (3)
NAN –  double definition, referring to the palindromic nature of NAN, which is retained in the more common spelling of NAAN.
17 System of storing messages I love, I am about to receive a hundred (9)
VOICEMAIL – anagram of I LOVE I AM + C.   I wanted to put ‘videotape’, even though I could see the required letters were not present.
19 Obscure snippets in the midst of tweets (7)
ECLIPSE – [tw]E(CLIPS)E[ts]. 
20 Naval vessel, scandal of the day? (7)
FRIGATE –  FRI + GATE, the scandal that ends the working week.   If you leave early, you may miss it!
22 Offensive at first, grim smell (5)
ODOUR – O[ffensive] + DOUR.
24 Of both temperature and speed, brisk? (5)
NIPPY – Cryptic definition.
27 Sense organ certainly aural? (3)
EYE – Sounds like AYE.

60 comments on “Times 27103 – From chemistry to drama?”

  1. 25 mins, the last 5 on CONSUMMATED and MONTEVIDEO as like Ulaca I *knew* consumated had only one M. Finally saw MAT and went with it.
    Intriguing that after Keriothe yesterday asked, “Should we know (foreign language) Italian for crosswords?” we get (foreign language) French shops today. Personally I’d like some balance with a deli (common) and a salumeria (no chance – the “wrong” foreign language).
    Wondered if there was a third indicator in 5 dn: top upwards spells POT, exposing tummy?

    Edited at 2018-07-30 02:51 am (UTC)

  2. Most of the solving took place in the last 10 minutes or so; I started very slowly, then stopped. I helped slow me down by e.g. taking ‘third of capital’ as 1/3 of the letters (and like Vinyl played with LO for a while), and sticking with RA for artist. I felt sure, for some reason, of CHARCUTERIE & CONSUMMATED, but took forever to parse the first and never did get the second. CLEMENT my LOI.
  3. I thought this was fair dinkum tough, limping home in 70 minutes, held up by CONSUMMATED and MONTEVIDEO. I half think I always thought the former was spelt with only one ‘m’.
  4. was a bit weird at 1ac but it gets my COD for sheer silliness!

    This took me just under 35 mins

    FOI 29ac! EVENLY

    LOI 21ac the mucky duck – FOUL.

    WOD 6dn the CHARCUTERIE at Ikea – always a favourite.

    4dn ANGKOR WAT in Cambodia gave me this one. In Thai ‘farang wat’ is a church – foreign temple. I spent a happy year in Thailand.

  5. My LOI was FOUL, too—though now it seems pretty obvious. Glad to learn it wasn’t just me who found this a bit tough. I was taking my time but found it was taking more time than I expected. I wasn’t familiar with TUCKED UP, only TUCKED IN (but I didn’t enter that). I could hardly believe MOO-COW was the answer. I particularly liked WAT.

    Edited at 2018-07-30 04:06 am (UTC)

  6. Another technical DNF because as the hour approached I gave up the ghost and used aids to find the capital city at 23ac. Kicked myself afterwards for not being able to think of it but there was nothing of any help whatsoever in the wordplay to nudge me in the right direction – ‘recording’ might have led me to think of ‘video’, but ‘record’ and ‘video’ don’t go together in my vocabulary.

    Checking to see if MONTE has come up as ‘game’ before (it has several times) I found this clue in Jumbo 891, 2010: Capital game to record (10)

    Edited at 2018-07-30 04:26 am (UTC)

    1. It took me a while to see it, but one I realised it could be a verb, too—I’ve often videoed things from the telly.
    2. Not sure why not, Jack? I used often to record programmes on my video recorder… still do I suppose, though it has a hard disk rather than tapes these days
  7. 22 minutes with a silly POPPIT — a case of wordplay interference, I suppose.

    Really enjoyed the puzzle, though, which required a lot of actual thinking.

    Can’t see past MOO-COW for the Clue of the Day. Nice stuff

    Edited at 2018-07-30 06:22 am (UTC)

  8. 40 mins with yoghurt, granola, etc
    I liked it – all fair, no obscure vocab (except Monte), no MERs. Just clever wordplay.
    Mostly I liked Moo-cow, obscure snippets and Fri-gate.
    Thanks setter and Vinyl.
    1. Wow. Mostly I liked your heading. What a wonderful book that is. Finally got to Dublin for Bloomsday this year 50 years after reading the sequel.
      1. I’m currently in the middle of re-reading ‘Ulysses’, having just replaced my falling-apart Penguin edition.
  9. I don’t feel so bad feeling off the wavelength this morning now I’ve read the blog and the rest of the comments. That was quite a struggle for a Monday, and when I stopped the timer after filling in 23a MONTEVIDEO I was surprised to find that only 50 minutes had passed.

    As with others, I had a hard time getting started, eventually resorting to looking at the little answers and getting my EYE in at 27d. Liked 18a PAGE-TURNER, 26a’s “soup’s unwelcome visitor” and 19’s “midst of tweets”, but it was mostly the clever definitions that held me up, as with Vinyl…

  10. I’m glad I’m not losing it after all (and after 33 minutes -on a Monday?!). My last too were spookily like others’: CONSUMMATED and MONTEVIDEO: the latter’s clue is quite simply the wrong way round, as I don’t know a recording beginning with M or a game to take up whatever was left.

    MOO-COW took me so long to see, grumbling about having to work out something starting with LO or ND(?) or ON. Should have got ORCHESTRA, the most anagramable word in crossword history, to help much quicker, deceived by the innocuous “players” into thinking something like CHARACTERS.

    Of course MOO-COW is a shoo-in for CoD, but I want to put in a shout for the other one that made me giggle, FRI-GATE. Oh, my Woodward and Bernstein of yesteryear!
    All in all, a very fine, witty, hugely deceptive, but scrupulously fair puzzle. And thanks to Vinyl for legitimising my bewilderment.

  11. Same hold-ups as others – CONSUMMATED, MONTEVIDEO, MOO COW. I also liked the clue for the latter but it did get me wondering how one would use the expression MOO COW. Presumably it’s only used by POPPETs.
  12. 29.20 with the last ten minutes alphabet running everything to try and find anything that fitted in 23ac. Was it a record? Was it a capital city? Then I got to ‘v’ in the 3rd space and the penny dropped. Very enjoyable today I thought.
  13. All done bar 23a in 27 minutes, after 5 more minutes I gave up and looked up the capital city at 23a… and then kicked myself for forgetting MONTE came up in a recent prize crossword I did only yesterday and I had toyed with VIDEO as part of 17d. Never mind. A great crossword to start the week, I thought. MOO-COW took me ages to see, but I liked it when I did. ORCHESTRA and NIPPY got ticks too, but my COD goes to FRIENDLY for the golden oldie joke… “Keep it down, sir, or they will all be wanting want one”.

    Edited at 2018-07-30 07:56 am (UTC)

  14. 43 minutes. with LOI MOO-COW. I’ll make it COD though I suspect it’s one of those parsed only after the answer has become apparent from crossers. I didn’t know about MONTE so MONTEVIDEO not parsed even after the event. I also liked STET, PRENATAL, PAGE-TURNER and NINE-TO-FIVE, a working schedule that nobody seems to have nowadays and indeed never did have in my experience. Thank you V and setter.
  15. I only know three things about Uruguay: World Cups, Fray Bentos and Montevideo. 23′ 39”, and I thought I was struggling. LOI MONTEVIDEO like many others, possibly with an allusion to the video referee used in some international sports nowadays. Dnk MONTE. Liked FRIENDLY, after seeking an obscure foodstuff. Thanks vinyl and setter.

    Edited at 2018-07-30 08:54 am (UTC)

  16. Both SNITCH and our blogger’s comments came as a surprise as I felt this was traditional Monday stuff. The app timer came up at 21:15 and that included pausing to take a phone call. Only the same 12d/23a pairing noted by most others held me up at the end and I confess MONTEVIDEO owed more to geographical knowledge than wordplay decryption. A couple of smiles along the way with FRIENDLY the pick of the bunch.
  17. Isn’t “ven” archdeacon not Archbishop?

    Don’t mean to post anonymously. Haven’t posted before. How do I gain an identity?

    1. Have you logged in to LiveJournal? Do you have a LiveJournal account? If not, it’s simple to set up a free account.
  18. In 29a the abbreviation could only be Ven(erable) but that is the title of an archdeacon, whereas an archbishop is designated as Most Reverend.
    Thanks to V for much unscrambling today.
    Kind regards, Bob K.
    1. My searches on the web confirm your assertion: “Ven.” seems to be used only for archdeacons (in the Anglican church) — archbishops are styled as “Very Reverend”.
      Neither does there seem to be a historical usage of “Ven.” for archbishops.

      Well spotted.

      1. Fulton J Sheen, on his retirement as Bishop of Rochester NY, was made titular Archbishop of Newport, Wales. In 2002, 23 years after his death, his progress towards canonisation began, and he was declared to have lived a “life of heroic virtues”. As a result, he is now “the Venerable”, so our setter is not completely wrong: there is a Ven. Archbishop, if not by custom, then by coincidence.
        Be that as it may, I have it on good authority that Archdeacons up and down the country were spluttering into their cornflakes while timing their boiled eggs in the time honoured way. I believe Justin+ has permitted himself a sly smile.
      2. Sorry to be pedantic, but “Very Reverend” is used for a dean; diocesan bishops are “Right Reverend” (RR is sometimes used in crosswords) and archbishops (e.g. Canterbury and York) are “Most Reverend”. That said, I must admit to “Very Reverend” being my first referential port of call this morning. Kind regards, Bob.
  19. …led rather fetchingly to FAIR and FOUL.

    I’m having an awful run right now, and am going to tackle Saturday’s puzzle shortly in the hope of redemption. I only got to Thursday and Friday’s puzzles yesterday, having been away. The former was a four clue DNF after 105 minutes, the latter a two clue DNF after 35 minutes.

    Today I gave up and used a word search to get CONSUMMATED, then immediately got LOI MONTEVIDEO, but still a hat trick of DNF’s.

    Decent puzzle, no specific COD, but liked MOO-COW, NINE-TO-FIVE, PAGE-TURNER, and FRIGATE

    1. Over the years–nay, decades–I’ve tried many ways to get consummated, but never a word search. Was it good for you, too?
  20. I thought this was a really straightforward puzzle — and none the less enjoyable for that. Some of the solutions were write-ins: “war poet” = OWEN, no-brainer; ULNAE are the go-to ‘bones’ in pretty much every Times crossword I’ve seen; ‘bovine disease’ = BSE, natch; eminently biffable ‘thrilling work’ = PAGE-TURNER, and a few others. The ‘pop it’ clue was lovely, if a little too easy.

    Like others here, I lit upon that word meaning ‘finished’, and then rejected it as being one letter too short, and wrestled with the clue for at least another 5 mins before revisiting the spelling of that word.

    37 mins to finish, because of the rather more chewy clues. The surface for 28a was so convoluted that it took me several minutes simply to read it, and several more for me to twig the ‘fly in my soup’ trick — jolly fun.

    By the way, I would like to complain about the use of ‘anxiously’ as an anagrind in 28a. It may suffice if the solver is parsing ex post facto, but it really doesn’t work semantically as an element of the wordplay.

    Otherwise it had lots that was witty and fun. Thank you, setter, and thank you, vinyl.

    1. The thing is, given the run of the surface wording, the envelope eases to permit the stretch. Word-patterning as an auxiliary?

      Edited at 2018-07-30 11:06 am (UTC)

  21. Oh, and it struck me that using ‘Thailand’ in the wordplay for WAT was really too much of a giveaway: why not use ‘with a roof in Thessaloniki’ to lure us away from the solution a little bit?
  22. I guess it’s a matter of personal usage but I have always have said ‘taped’ or ‘recorded’, not ‘videoed’. It may just be a throwback to the days when I ‘taped’ or ‘recorded’ from radio. I never ‘audioed’ so why should I ‘video’.
    1. FWIW I would always record or tape things from the TV but if I might use video and record synonymously if I were using a video camera.
  23. 37 mins of grinding my way through the clues Nice to have no obscure words today. COD to FRIENDLY for its excellent Fawlty Towers reference. My LOI was FOUL which I managed to type in as FOWL in my haste to complete.
  24. Why is the Saturday Times 15×15 not retrospectively added to the SNITCH? Or am I missing something?
    1. I suspect it’s because of the plethora of 2 min scores as people post competition entries, which means our normal reference scorers for the Snitch fall off the bottom of the list of scores. Plus maybe the late verification of submissions?
      1. Like the old Pools Panel couldn’t a group of say ten TftT Bloggers provide their scores – one in six puzzles go un-Snitched.

        Edited at 2018-07-30 11:40 am (UTC)

  25. A nice Monday puzzle. No real problems though I couldn’t parse CONSUMMATED (I didn’t get the MAT = Coaster). FOI was MOO-COW, LOI was FRIENDLY as I worked steadily from top to bottom. 29 minutes. Ann
  26. Interruptions but about half an hour. Found it a bit nine-to-five, to be honest, with a few nice touches (esp. Frigate, and the extra pot in 5 dn.)
  27. Like almost everyone else, I finished on MONTEVIDEO – and I’m another person who was surprised to discover a double M in CONSUMMATED. 9m 47s all told.

    Some nice clues today, but I’m struggling to understand what the surface of 10a is trying to say. Does the insect not have the disease? Or is the diseased insect somewhere else?

  28. For some reason I saw MOO COW right away and then froze solid and thought uh-oh this is another brute to join last week’s trio. Then steam gradually picked up. For a fellow New Yorker Vinyl I didn’t think MONTE all that obscure. Even if you never saw them in person you will recall the 3-card monte games in Times Square that used to lure unwary tourists. Nowadays it’s hustlers dressed in Elmo and Spiderman man costumes strong-arming wretched parents to cough up $50 for a pic with the small fry. 18.44
  29. My last 2 in were also CONSUMMATED and MONTEVIDEO. I only know the game from Times crosswords. I completed in 35:11, but my time was nullified by a careless FOWL at 21a, despite knowing that I wanted a word for mucky, not duck. Bah! Liked MOO-COW and FRIENDLY. TUCKED-UP was my FOI. Witty puzzle. Thanks setter and V.
  30. 12 mins so I must have been very much on the setter’s wavelength judging from the comments above. Like most others the CONSUMMATED/MONTEVIDEO crossers were my last ones in. I saw MOO-COW immediately which certainly helped, and I didn’t spot the “VEN” problem.
  31. 15:54. I was a little disappointed with my time as I couldn’t really see what led to my exceeding my “par” tome of around 12/13 minutes, so I was somewhat gratified to discover that many people found it on the tricky side (as borne out by the snitch).

    Has anyone mentioned that a Ven is an Archdeacon? 🙂

  32. Like my esteemed colleague above, I felt that I was on the right wavelength almost from the off, as the excellent 1ac sprang instantly to mind. Very nice puzzle all round. I was probably also lucky that I’ve been brushing up my capital cities for quiz purposes, and the South American ones spring to mind a lot quicker than those of Oceania, or the lesser African states.
  33. 12:50. This was clearly a wavelength puzzle: you were either on it or you really weren’t. I’d have been well under 10 minutes if it hadn’t been for MONTEVIDEO. Neither the game nor the capital is the first that springs to mind.
  34. 21:43. Very pleased with my time, seeing that this troubled the SNITCHers.

    My first puzzle since returning this morning from a 17 holiday in Vietnam and Cambodia. We had a fascinating, really enjoyable time.

    I have become directly acquainted with, Tet, Pho and Wat. So I will now look forward to offensive soup and temples.

  35. Well, I wasn’t really on the wavelength, but it didn’t hold me up too long, say 30 minutes. I was delayed seeing CONSUMMATED, then MONTEVIDEO, but my LOI was MOO-COW, because, I suppose, for the obvious reason that it really isn’t a word. I expect it’s in some dictionary that justifies it being here, but seriously, it’s not a word. Anyway, regards.
  36. 57:01 a slow time but I think that had less to do with the puzzle and more to do with being preoccupied at work and running around like a headless chicken all day. That also meant this wasn’t the usual relaxed lunchtime solve and when I did come to it my head was cluttered with all the day’s nonsense. It just meant I was very slow to see a lot of this. Like lots of others consummated and Montevideo were my LOIs.

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