Times 27,113: Return To Pender

Your roving blogger is writing this from a beautiful forested peak on Pender, one of the Gulf Islands lying somewhere between Victoria and Vancouver (whither he will be travelling by ferry early tomorrow morning). Excessive holidaymaking has resulted in his being very much off the boil, so there would be no impressive time to report here even if he *wasn’t* still gazing in complete bafflement at 26ac and wondering what the cryptic of that is all about.

It was all rather jolly though, thanks for which to the setter – COD to 20ac for the nice play on “Fiat” – and I only hope I will be able to get back up to cryptic speed again in time for November. Additionally! I think I may actually be flying next Thursday evening and Friday morning – would anyone be able to take over my blogging duty in a week’s time? Very happy to swap for a different blog the following week… or just take a week off after my long and arduous holiday!

1 Fine letting on quietly (8)
PLEASING – LEASING [letting] on P [quietly]

9 Journey round old trailers along the way (8)
ROADSIDE – RIDE [journey] round O ADS [old | trailers]

10 Scraped a result worse than an F (6)
GRATED – a result worse than an F is G-RATED (I think)

11 High society leading couple away from sink with constant decay (5,5)
UPPER CRUST – {sc}UPPER [“leading couple away from” sink] with C RUST [constant | decay]

12 Work with a large gem (4)
OPAL – OP [work] with A L [a | large]

13 Sign of maturity? Comparatively less lustrous nous (4,6)
GREY MATTER – GREY [sign of maturity] + MATT-ER [comparatively less lustrous]

16 Sibling with problem returning shoes (7)
BROGANS – BRO [sibling] with reversed SNAG [problem “returning”]

17 What constitutes danger, when exploding close to one? (7)
GRENADE – (DANGER*) [“when exploding”] + {on}E, &lit

20 Fiat for the time being desire nice motoring (6,4)
DECREE NISI – (DESIRE NICE*) [“motoring”]

22 With Conservative ousted, pack in facility (4)
EASE – {c}EASE [“with C ousted”, pack in]

23 Hype needing a thorough looking at, we hear (10)
PROPAGANDA – homophone of PROPER GANDER [thorough looking at, “we hear”]

25 Can former nurse let go? (6)
LOOSEN – LOO SEN [can | former nurse]

26 Courses in which you’ll get soup in some otherwise unhelpful places? (8)
STARTERS – a starter is definitely the course of a meal in which one is most likely to get soup. Ashamed to say I haven’t worked out the second half of the clue at all… but I’m not going to worry too much, I am on holiday!

27 Briefs look carefully at couples (8)
SCANTIES – SCAN TIES [look carefully at | couples]

2 Mess about with branch in flower (8)
LARKSPUR – LARK [mess about] with SPUR [branch]

3 Realtors go crazy for expert on houses (10)

4 Favour clue ending in anagram (10)
INDULGENCE – (CLUE ENDING*) [“in anagram”]

5 Grand drunk getting excited (7)
GRIPPED – G RIPPED [grand | drunk]

6 Just one entering distant expo (4)
FAIR – I [just one] entering FAR [distant]. Or possibly a double definition sandwiching some wordplay in the middle…

7 High time embracing Greek character’s dance (6)
MINUET – (TIME*) [“high”] “embracing” NU [Greek character]

8 Scripture lesson books to deliver without regular charge (4-4)
RENT-FREE – R.E. NT FREE [scripture lesson | New Testament = books | to deliver]

14 Notes ruin, mother’s ruin, a mounting trouble (10)
MARGINALIA – MAR GIN A [ruin | mother’s ruin | a] + AIL reversed [“mounting” trouble]

15 Guide once to extend by several inches (10)
TENDERFOOT – TENDER [to extend] by FOOT [several (12) inches]

16 City growth — a blight (8)
BUDAPEST – BUD A PEST [growth | a | blight]

18 Separate record and notes (8)
DISCRETE – DISC [record] + RE TE [(two) notes]

19 Liberal turning to name in stupid testimony (7)
WITNESS – L [Liberal] turning to N [name] in WITLESS [stupid]

21 What’s sung in church examination? (6)
CHORAL – CH ORAL [church | examination]

24 Delight in single entry (4)
GLEE – hidden in {sin}GLE E{entry}

52 comments on “Times 27,113: Return To Pender”

  1. Sorry, my subject line is just a tease. It was the only one I couldn’t parse either. I hope someone will come along to clear up this mystery.

    Under normal circumstances, V., I’m sure you would have blazed right thru this one.

    I took FAIR to be a double definition interrupted by a charade, because otherwise “Just” is extraneous filler.

    Edited at 2018-08-10 05:46 am (UTC)

  2. Glad to find the wordplay in 26a baffled our illustrious blogger, too, as I don’t feel quite so dopey having spent the last fifteen minutes of my hour on it before finally putting in STARTERS without much conviction… (Thanks Jack!)

    Otherwise fairly straightforward, starting with FOI 1a PLEASING and progressing steadily. DNK BROGANS or SCANTIES and was very glad I’d heard of a DECREE NISI despite never having been married, let alone divorced!

  3. 26ac The first letters of S{ome} O{therwise} U{nhelpful} P{laces} are STARTERS giving us ‘soup’ in the clue.

    An excellent if somewhat challenging puzzle that took me exactly an hour to complete. I didn’t know BROGANS and was only vaguely aware that TENDERFOOT had something to do with the Girl Guide movement. Wasted far too long trying to make 1ac start with F (for ‘fine’).

    I agree that 2dn has to be a double definition but it’s certainly unusual to have wordplay between the two.

    V, I have sent a message to your LJ account. Please just ignore if it doesn’t suit.

    Edited at 2018-08-10 05:57 am (UTC)

  4. 40 mins with yoghurt, blueberries, banana, etc.
    Took 6dn as a sort of triple and couldn’t parse 26ac.
    DNK Brogans and I think several inches are five short of a foot.
    Mostly I liked, COD, Proper gander.
    Thanks setter, V and J.
  5. 57 minutes of hard slog. Talking of which, I have just read Audie Murphy’s To Hell and Back, a fascinating account of war from the foot soldier’s perspective. Decent movie too, with Murphy playing himself in his own biopic.
  6. Another non-parsed STARTERS which was my LOI and almost my afters. I parsed FAIR as a double def. with wordplay in the middle. If that’s what was meant, rather than ‘Just’ being a filler, I thought this was an original clue.

    I’m wearing a pair of DB’s at the moment – the original of course, from Street in Somerset, only they’re made in Vietnam. I wonder if they count as the previously unheard of BROGANS?

    Finished in 54 minutes. GREY MATTER was my favourite.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

    1. 22:04 so pretty much in line with the SNITCH. I liked that 26a gave a clue to the wordplay in the answer. I also thought it funny that the ANAGRIND in 4d was “anagram”. Enjoyable middle-of-the-road puzzle. Thanks setter and V.
    2. Apparently not. Post-solve, Chambers claims brogans are an alternative to brogues, so good leather shoes with decorative holes punched in the leather panels. DBs were popular in my Oz childhood; then saw them one day on a North African war movie and realised they really were desert boots (from memory Michael Caine et al were behind enemy lines, shot at the end by Brits while ‘surrendering’ to get back home).
      Off the wavelength for the puzzle, not helped by considering and rejecting PROPAGANDA as not being hype (and not seeing GLEE), and then it didn’t fit anyway, because I misparsed and misspelled CORALE (sic). Went away to clear the mind then came back, so probably more than 2 hours elapsed start to finish. Thank’s Jack for STARTERS about which I was nonplused, otherwise a typically elegant Times puzzle. Liked the GRENADE, the DECREE NISI and the ASTROLOGER, didn’t know TENDERFOOT.

      Edited at 2018-08-10 10:45 am (UTC)

  7. 26 across, of course, where I chucked the metaphorical bread rolls around to come up with STARTERS. My friends, I even used my alphabet soup strainer to come up with anything other than STARTERS: there are about 3½ thousand possibilities. In the end I threw in the paper napkin of doubt and took up the soup spoon of what the heck and submitted with STARTERS, hence 24 minutes. Well elucidated Jack. First time I (haven’t) seen that particular reverse cryptic.
    Never having been a Girl Guide, I thought TENDERFOOT was a kind of wild west lubber, so couldn’t make that clue work prettily either. But heigh ho.
    I thought the Fiat clue was clever, though I thought fiats were normally papal (when they’re not scuppered by rust), and to get his holiness to issue a decree nisi I think you have to be Henry VIII.
    My BROGANS were BROGUES until I fathomed the brilliantly disguised anagram of 4d. Who’d have thought “anagram” meant “mix up the letters”?
    Good stuff, made you think.
  8. 29 min 41 with one wrong. 1 ac Fleasing. I knew it couldn’t be right but was determined that F = fine.
    1. Almost, but not quite, an anagram of Grealish! Congratulations on beating off Levy’s impertinence. We’ll just have to make do with Harry and co.
      1. Let’s hope he doesn’t pull a fetlock or it could all go pear-shaped very quickly. Alistair Campbell would be proud of the ‘prudence is the new daring’ spin coming out of Hotspur Way yesterday!
      2. Whenever I see Grealish, however much I try and do otherwise, I knock over his lager.
            1. Lilian GISH was a megastar American actress spanning from the silent movie days to her final performance in 1987. REAL Madrid goes round. Your man emerges from the tunnel.
      1. I was toying with FLEAKING to, but I just couldn’t believe it could mean quietly, so I kept at it until the P dropped into view. It was my LOI.
  9. Like V, I took 6d to be a double definition with a cryptic thrown in for good measure: just, expo and I in FAR.
    However I fell foul of 26a so DNF.

    Edited at 2018-08-10 08:25 am (UTC)

  10. After a couple of days when I couldn’t enthuse about the cryptic, today’s was enjoyable.
    Thank you, Jack for explaining 26ac. It had to be STARTERS but why?
    An unusual puzzle in that anagrams were indicated by ‘high’, ‘motoring’ and…’anagram’!
    PROPAGANDA was not a problem as we have had PROPA…before, notably in PROPAGATE, a real scandal!
    I, too, initially put BROGUES but am wondering if BROGAN is in any way related to the Aussie word, BOGAN. ODO defines the former as “A coarse stout leather shoe” and the latter as “An uncouth or unsophisticated person”. Perhaps the latter wear the former. Incidentally, the ODO also tell me that a “Bogan shower” is Aussie for a dust storm!
    COD to MARGINALIA. That took a little working out.
    BTW, Thus far I have not been able to comment on The Times Crossword Club site. The online paper has ‘upgraded’ the way in which readers can comment. In this case, for ‘upgraded’, read removed.
    1. I had the same trouble with Chrome. I cleared browsing data for the last 7 days and it now works again. I find I need to do this regularly when I get hiccups with the Club site.
  11. 22:57 with all my troubles in the SW corner, thanks to the unknown shoes and unparsed 26a. The double unches and not knowing what DECREE NISI actually means didn’t help much either. Unlike most of my generation, or so it seems, I have managed to navigate 42 years without recourse to the divorce courts.
      1. “unches”=unchecked squares, “double unches” are…well, I reckon you get the idea.
  12. Seem MARGINALIA somewhere else recently. Maybe in the independent. Middle of the road puzzle with some curious clues. COD to STARTERS now that it’s been explained. Another one where the clue is only gettable after getting the answer. Enjoy your hols!
  13. I was quite satisfied with my 43 mins to complete this well-crafted puzzle. I chuckled at PROPAGANDA, admired the tricksy ‘fiat’ (and enjoyed that smug feeling when I immediately recognised the Latin original and wrote in the solution), appreciated the witty use of ‘in anagram’ as an anagrind and so quickly corrected ‘brogues’ to BROGANS, abandoned my attempts to parse the clue after biffing STARTERS and all in all had a lot of fun.

    I was absolutely certain that TENDERFOOT was a word to describe a generic Tonto or Man Friday — you know, rattlesnakes, machetes, walkabouts and pith helmets — but Girl Guides?!!? Pah!

  14. Not a Friday Horror, but certainly needed some thought (this has been quite a week for some unusual devices across the various puzzles, so we are being kept on our toes). Also, we may find someone in the comments who already knew all about BROGANS, but I am not that person.
  15. Late starting today. Last night’s theatre visit meant that I had to watch a recording of Lancashire’s win over Yorkshire this morning. Whey hey! From Katherine Parkinson to Matthew Parkinson, who can ask for more? And now the Test Match has started. Jimmy’s just taken his second. I took about three quarters of an hour, frequently interrupted, with STARTERS LOI, not parsed. DNK BROGANS nor SCANTIES but cryptics clear. COD to INDULGENCE, as I wasn’t sure it was an anagram! Thank you V and setter.
  16. 48m today on a rare solve over the past few months. Most enjoyable and some entertaining clues and ‘Of course!’ moments along the way. Thanks for vacational blog, V, much enjoyed as ever.

    Edited at 2018-08-10 11:13 am (UTC)

  17. at 1ac was a very pleasing FOI. FLEASING – FLEAKING! Very Tucker Carlson!

    Some very easy fare for a Friday IMO. So I was home in 29min and 59 seconds – talking of which I did not parse 26ac STARTERS. Alphabetti spaghetti is made up of letters too, I’m informed.

    LOI 27ac SCANTIES and am familiar, having had two 20acs –

    WOD 16ac BROGANS

    12ac OPAL!! Evening Standard Award!

    Lord V. – whilst in Vancouver, pop into the Cricket Ground – it was John Arlott’s – favourite in all the world! His favourite tipple – Krug.

    Victor Meldrew is on holiday for a fortnight.

    Edited at 2018-08-10 12:14 pm (UTC)

  18. About 37 minutes for this. I couldn’t parse STARTERS and felt stupid until I came here and discovered I wasn’t the only one. This was quite challenging for me but very satisfying – which is my favourite type of puzzle. Ann
  19. Glad to see I’m not alone in failing to parse STARTERS. Well done Jack! My BROGUES eventually segued into BROGANS. My LOI was PLEASING after I discounted FLEAKING. FOI was FAIR which sat on its own for some time before I saw OPAL. LARKSPUR was a welcome write in. MARGINALIA remembered from recently, so the Ikea instructions were followed to the letter. RENT FREE developed from SCOT FREE after 9a refused to need a C at the end. A rather fine puzzle which kept my GREY MATTER busy for 44:56. Thanks setter and V.
  20. 42:51 held up at the end by larkspur due to botanical ignorance and LOI pleasing due to not having the handy l-checker until solving the aforementioned larkspur. Did not parse grey matter. Knew brogues but not brogans, was confident about the reversed snag though so it had to be. I liked the high time in 7dn. Tenderfoot was a bit of a biff. A neat crossword and satisfying to solve.
  21. ….but never (G)RIPPED ! “RIPPED” is now used to describe a man who has a six-pack, rather than one who has just consumed same with a dodgy kebab.

    FOI OPAL (what a giveaway !)

    LOI MINUET (not sure why this added two minutes leaving my finish at 14:45)

    Thanks to Jack for parsing the pesky STARTERS, which I now award COD. Also liked WITNESS.

    My two helpings of DECREE NISI were in many ways more enjoyable than much of the combined 27 years of my life that I’ll never get back.

    DNK BROGANS (I’m another to have biffed “brogues”)

  22. I think you can use about any term to indicate drunk… he’s ripped, he’s blizzery-boggled, he’s half way to the store with his socks on.

    12:01, and like many, didn’t appreciate the clue for STARTERS until later. All great fun!

  23. Seemed easier than usual Friday job, 25 minutes in the usual taxi on the A62. Some nice stuff here, like others ended with STARTERS without seeing the soup initial letter thing so thanks jackkt. CoD PROPAGANDA for an amusing homophone for a change.
  24. Ended with the STARTERS but I didn’t understand it either. Thanks to Jack, and like others now that I am enlightened, I find it’s a very fine clue. Well crafted, that. Normal solving otherwise, about 20 minutes. Regards.

    Edited at 2018-08-10 04:10 pm (UTC)

  25. Not sure of time – I was interrupted and left the timer running – but definitely on the long side of 30min. I do enjoy this level of chewiness. I spent quite a while under the misunderhension that “engarde” (17ac) was a word, and that it was a better answer than grandee, angered, derange or enraged.

    I was another non-STARTERS-parser. In the end, the closest I could get was the notion that “for starters” means you haven’t got very far. Thanks to Jack for the explanation. I think this was one of those clues that was just over-engineered. Apart from that one, excellent clues overall.

  26. 21:05, impaired by a browser that has decided to start freezing for 30 seconds every other minute. Fun puzzle. Like almost everyone else I failed to parse STARTER but it seemed like the only possible answer.
    I’d offer to take over your blogging duties next week, v, but I will be flying back to London at exactly the same time!
  27. I’ve given up timing myself for now. My goal is to finish my first 15×15 without any aids. This is my closest yet. I was left with just two, 25a LOOSEN which I solved whilst eating supper and 15d TENDERFOOT which eluded me to the end. I confess to biffing 26a STARTERS but just couldn’t see what else it could be, so thank you to Jack for the explanation.
  28. Seem MARGINALIA somewhere else recently. Maybe in the independent. Middle of the road puzzle with some curious clues. COD to STARTERS now that it’s been explained. Another one where the clue is only gettable after getting the answer. Enjoy your hols!
  29. I have seen note as’re’ several times in the crossword. Why is this? I always thought re was a contracting of regarding and I wouldn’t say note and regarding have the same meaning.

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