Times 27,119: Like Taking Scandi From A Baby

Obviously things can go either way on a Friday, but this was a relatively straightforward puzzle and so I was able to finish it and bash out a quick blog in time to leave on my jet plane from YVR to LGW, phew! Normal levels of verlaine service to be resumed as of next week.

Some very likeable clues in here with a combination of fun ideas and good surfaces. I think my favourites were probably the cryptically simple but adorable 12ac (how does he smell? terrible!) and the excellent lift-and-separate “customs inspector” clue at 22dn. Thanks setter!

1 Kitty chasing second little bit (4)
SPOT – POT [kitty] chasing S [second]

4 Pact remade with island united behind surrender (10)
CAPITULATE – (PACT + I*) [“remade”] + U LATE [united | behind]

9 Confined by police — suspect one soundly beaten? (10)
KETTLEDRUM – KETTLED RUM [confined by police | suspect]. A punny definition, meaning more “one beaten to produce sound”, I reckon.

10 Elite soldiers bashing in middle window frame (4)
SASH – SAS [elite soldiers] + {bas}H{ing}

11 Many practise religion secretly at first (6)
DOZENS – DO ZEN [practise | religion] + S{ecretly}

12 My poor dog’s nose! (8)
GOODNESS – (DOG’S NOSE*) [“poor”]

14 Chatter idly when leaving King’s Head (4)
PATE – P{r}ATE [chatter idly, losing its R(=king)]

15 Bundle of nerves wrecking old car on short trip (6,4)
SPINAL CORD – (OLD CAR*) [“wrecking”] on SPIN [short trip]

17 Waste left in more open land running out to sea (10)
WILDERNESS – L [left] in WIDER [more open] + NESS [land running out to sea]

20 Two girls regularly finding work (4)
TOIL – T{w}O {g}I{r}L{s}

21 Woman must go without instant dessert (8)
SEMOLINA – SELINA [woman] must go without MO [instant]

23 Constant pain and temperature? Here’s capsule! (6)
CACHET – C ACHE [constant | pain] and T [temperature]

24 Fate of Scandinavians alternatively featured in news? (4)
NORN – OR [alternatively] featured in N N [(two) news]. The Norns in Scandinavian mythology were the goddesses of fate, and named Urd, Verdandi and Skuld, give or take an ETH from 8dn or two.

25 Cold rook shovelled in not fit to eat — or unusually good! (10)
INCREDIBLE – C R [cold | rook] shovelled in INEDIBLE [not fit to eat]

26 Rebel group in 19 having need for speedy action (10)
INSURGENCY – IN S [in | society] having URGENCY [need for speedy action]

27 One such being goat starts to meander on the heath (4)
MOTH – M{eander} O{n} T{he} H{eath}. Cossus cossus, the goat moth.

2 Right pair get over split (11)

3 Appropriate document to be landed with? (5,4)
TITLE DEED – cryptic def; if you are landed you are a land owner and may well have a title deed proving such…

4 Regime originally coming in stops wrinkles (7)
CREASES – R{egime} coming in CEASES [stops]

5 Training on rifle-range, shot blue bird (9,6)
PEREGRINE FALCON – P.E. [training] + (RIFLE RANGE*) [“shot”] + CON [blue (as in Tory)]

6 Drum roll to precede this lottery’s result? (7)
TOMBOLA – cryptic def, as you spin around a drum before picking a winner in a tombola

7 Wide open love Christian shows (5)
AGAPE – double def (very different pronunciations though!)

8 Sailor accompanies ancient character in spirit (5)
ETHOS – O.S. [sailor (Ordinary Seaman)] accompanies ETH [ancient character]. I thought ETH might have been Hebrew but in fact it’s that d with a cross at the top that you see in Icelandic.

13 Ritual discouraged in managed accommodation (7,4)
SERVICE FLAT – SERVICE [ritual] + FLAT [discouraged]. Flat as in “lacking interest/emotion”.

16 Problem is Mass involving eastern religious instruction (9)
CATECHISM – CATCH IS M [problem | is | mass] involving E [eastern]

18 Two swimmers, the first heard making complaint (7)
RAILING – the two swimmers (fish) are RAY and LING, but it’s just a homophone of the first one here.

19 Company very close to collapse in financial district (7)
SOCIETY – SO [very] + {collaps}E in CITY [financial district]

21 Offence attracts fine where law handed down (5)
SINAI – SIN [offence] attracts A1 [fine]; God’s law was handed down to Moses on tablets there.

22 Customs inspector hauling last couple up (5)
MORES – the inspector is MORSE; reverse the last couple of letters.

48 comments on “Times 27,119: Like Taking Scandi From A Baby”

  1. The last maybe 8 minutes were taken up with staring at 11ac, playing with the alphabet, and despairing. More time was wasted earlier on, with SCAT flung in at 1ac and not corrected for ages, and COILING at 18d. Also automatically took ‘company’ to be CO. 5d biffed from P_R and never parsed. I remembered TOMBOLA from an earlier cryptic; had no idea how the clue worked. Eth ð represents the ‘th’ sound in English ‘this’. COD to MORES. As anyone who does these on printed copies has found out, they’ve done it again at SNAFU Central, failing to print most of the clues.
  2. Not only are most of the clues missing in the printed version, they are also missing if you try to solve on-line via the newspaper Puzzles page.

    I managed to cobble together a print-out from screen prints taken from the Club on-line view but found it all very distracting to my concentration as I struggled shuffling two pieces of paper throughout the solve.

    I trusted to wordplay for unknowns such as NORN and the goat MOTH but it paid off. I had no idea about the other meaning of AGAPE and 5dn confused me as I included ‘ON’ in the anagrist which left the ‘C’ unaccounted for. I had wrongly assumed ‘blue’ was part of the definition.

    Edited at 2018-08-17 12:49 am (UTC)

  3. No idea of the capsule/wafer meaning of CACHET, so had ‘sachet’ for a time, reckoning that just about any letter of the Roman or Greek alphabets can be used buy those sciency types for their constants and whatnots.

    Anyway, I had to cheat on three in the NW to finish (DOZENS, PATE and TITLE DEED), even after changing ‘perrogative’ to PREROGATIVE, so not my finest hour…

  4. When Verlaine says this was ‘straightforward’ what he should have added was ‘for me’.
    I struggled particularly with the NW corner: 1ac, 2d, 3d ,11ac and 14ac. Like Kevin I had SCAT in 1ac for quite a while. Never did see the anagram indicator in 2d, and I got 14ac completely wrong. I had seen the headland in 17ac (NESS) but thought the ‘head’ in 14ac must be another like that so I wavered between CAPE and NAZE before settling on CAPE even though I couldn’t make it fit the clue.
    I have been told by David Parfitt that we will soon be able to bold, underline and italicise in comments on the club site. Can’t remember if he has said editing may make a return but my issue today with both the Cryptic and the Concise is that I cannot comment at all as no comments appear when I press the appropriate button.
    1. The SNITCH is currently sitting at 129 (in the middle of the ‘harder’ range – even if t tends to get lower during the day), so I think we may safely say that this was tough for those of a mortal persuasion.
      1. I’m obviously missing something here. I have seen the term before but what or who is The Snitch?
          1. Thank you, Kevin. To get to CON from ‘blue’ in PEREGRINE FALCON is definitely not straightforward in my book!

            Edited at 2018-08-17 03:21 am (UTC)

  5. I do like to hold a pencil and not a mouse for this sport.
    And it was unsporting with the lack of solving options as described by Jack.

    I waited to see if anyone back at base had realised the error but I guess it will remain like that – as no one bothers to check these things! I suppose with Aretha passing everything was in a spin.

    I did not finish – in 41 mins – with 24ac NORN unknown.

    FOI 4ac CAPITULATE I too had shoved in SCAT before that!



  6. 16:13 … very nice puzzle and mostly plain sailing, though the WILDERNESS / SOCIETY crossing held me up, as did the SWAMPy PATE.

    Can’t disagree with Verlaine’s choice of clues to highlight, GOODNESS and MORSE both earning a smile.

    I followed the crowd with an early SCAT, and tried to go one better by also biffing PASSENGER PIGEON for the bird in stubborn defiance of the wordplay. Fortunately the easy INCREDIBLE quickly prompted a rethink (or possibly a think)

  7. 45 mins with yoghurt etc.
    I printed the grid and the eight clues provided in the pdf version – and used the club site on iPhone for the rest. I suppose I could have completed the mixed-media approach by filling it in with aquatint.
    DNK the other def of Agape.
    I liked it. Mostly I liked: the police beating, Do Zen, Morse and COD of course to the dog’s nose.
    Thanks setter and Z.
  8. Count me as another who had a tentative SCAT at 1A before changing it to SPOT later. At least I managed to avoid my usual trick of forgetting I’ve put something in tentatively then later taking it as gospel.

    LOI AGAPE because I thought it had to be that early on but left it in the hope that the Christian Love bit would come to me subconsciously. It never did but thankfully the biff proved correct.

    1. In my experience, a lot of Christians are a bit hazy on the AGAPE bit too, especially when they think you’re wrong on some arcane point of doctrine.
  9. The obvious SCAT made this much harder, especially for those of us who refused to believe it’s wrong until 2d was completely impossible. And since that involved accepting that 14 across was _A_E that took a while.
    I was also very reluctant on CACHET, and I’m still trying to imagine what a flat capsule looks like.
    Only when TOMBOLA couldn’t be anything else did the drum roll bit finally make sense.
    The coupling of 26 and 19 didn’t help, especially when I was sure the rebels were INSURGENTS and tried to make sense of IN SS to solve 19.
    All contributing to a 26 minute time. And I had all the clues!
  10. I seem to have been on song today, finishing in 28 minutes with LOI DOZENS. DNK NORN but I wrote it in lightly early on from cryptic. I think SE(MO)LINA is a bit of a long name not to be clued separately but the memory of the one disappointing school pudding lingers on. That splodge of jam could not redeem it. Didn’t twig the roll in TOMBOLA but the crossers left no choice. COD to MORES which I saw straightaway. Liked this. Thank you V and setter

    Edited at 2018-08-17 09:46 am (UTC)

  11. Many clever definitions made this harder for me, though for the right reasons, but respite/ levity also supplied, especially with GOODNESS, which I thought excellent for a simple clue.

    Anyway, not as easy for me as for Verlaine, but loved this one.

  12. ….o MORES, as Morse himself might well have remarked.


    I didn’t SPOT my error (yes, THAT one !) until I’d spent almost three minutes stuck with only three clues to solve. When DOZENS finally hit me, I realised that PREROGATIVE was an anagram that had completely passed me by. Which left 14A. The required alpha trawl before spotting PATE increased my solving time by almost 50% to 19:12 and I was a little annoyed with myself if I’m honest.


    I thought this was a top drawer puzzle. Thanks to the setter, and to V for his consistently excellent blog.

  13. I’d better not use the s——————————-d word, but I did this in 14′. I have been KETTLEd, it is an awful experience only likely to make things worse. Thanks verlaine and setter.
  14. 28:12 with a lot of time wasted on the five clues in the NE with no initial letter, although SPOT went straight in. Quite a lot of head scratching over some of the parsing and I still can’t reconcile ‘hauling the last couple up’ with reversing, but everyone else seems fine with it so it’s probably just me.
    1. We thought that “last couple” was “e”, which would work OK

      [I’ve not seen this elsewhere in the blog]


  15. Clearly on the wavelength today, and very much enjoyed untangling some interesting wordplay. ETH always makes me think of June Whitfield (“Oh, Ron”), though it would be ungallant to call her an ancient character.
  16. Difficult. And not helped by having “wailing” for the complaint in 18d which almost makes sense. No time because I had to do this in bits.
  17. 36’22 with a long grouch at the end for Dozens. Something of a toil in the wilderness. But satisfying fare, all said and done: thanks setter. And bemused respect, as so often, to v. On edit: and t.t.

    Edited at 2018-08-17 10:11 am (UTC)

  18. 18:45 with one wrong. Nors for the unknown Norn.

    I’m another who had an early Scat.

    COD: GOODNESS. Easy but excellent!

    A good week for me. All five puzzles solved, each in an average time of just over 20 mins -with just one wrong in two of the puzzles.

  19. 48 minutes: after a pretty quick start in the SE corner came to a halt with not much on left side bar a tentative SCAT – also having WAILERS at 18dn meant 17ac looked like WINDOWLESS, which didn’t make sense at all. Eventually realised that I didn’t need to look for wordplay at 6dn and that 2dn could be an anagram if I cleared 1ac, so rest followed except for 14ac, where I needed Bradford to give me the chatter.
  20. 35:48, but with a wrongly biffed SECRECY at 19d. I put it down to yesterday’s excesses and a lack of sleep. I was another SCAT for a while, NORN was from wordplay and DOZENS was my LOI. Some tough stuff in this puzzle. Thanks setter and V.
  21. As someone who has just about mastered the QC, it’s really great when you flag up that the 15×15 is on the easier side. Gives people like me the confidence to give it a bash. Thank you.
    1. Don’t forget that the blogger might have found it on the easy side but that doesn’t mean the rest of us have (particularly when the blogger is verlaine)! There is an excellent website at https://xwdsnitch.herokuapp.com/, created by one of our contributors – starstruck – which gives each puzzle a difficulty rating based on the times of regular solvers on the Times crossword site. Today’s actually ranks on the hard side.

      Also, why not join in the fun and reveal yourself to us? It’s always good to welcome new posters.

  22. Fortunately my SCAT got corrected earlier than most I reckoned that a Friday puzzle wouldn’t have so easy a clue at 1a… After rattling through and feeling very pleased with myself, I got stuck with …URGENCY. It was that S for society that I never thought of. Also king as R instead of K also stumped me. I can obviously do the difficult bits. It’s the easy bits that I can’t do
  23. 19:54. Well I found this pretty tough. I only had a couple of answers in after my first pass through the clues. Once I had adjusted mentally for the challenge they fell steadily but it was hard work. Very enjoyable and rewarding though.
    I will be flying from YYZ to LHR a bit later. It’s a curious fact that Canadian aiport codes tend to start with a Y for some reason.
  24. A Did Not Start today. I printed this out without noticing the lack of most of the clues, so I did not start. I solve on paper, usually far away from any other electronic thing, so I took the day off from the Times. Hope it was a one time thing. Regards.
        1. Is not an apology appropriate from The Times?

          I do hope that Kevin from New York robbed a bank on his day off!

  25. I was late printing this which, judging from the comments, was a good thing. Everything as normal. I found this quite difficult. Didn’t see CON as “blue” or get the Inspector Morse reference. But managed to finish in 37 minutes. Good fun. Ann
  26. 52:31. On the whole I found this at the tougher end of the spectrum. I was familiar with wasteland for wilderness, less so with waste for the same meaning. I didn’t know that meaning of cachet and was getting it a bit confused with both cache and sachet, so decided to just follow the wordplay. The goat moth was unknown. I also missed the con/blue end of 5dn and was wondering how that worked. I completely missed the parsing of tombola. The main hold up was the dreaded -o-e-s at 11ac and the even more dreaded -a-e at 14ac both of which required alphabet runs of some perseverance.
  27. 45 minutes (for me that means not too hard) and a very pleasant puzzle with lots of tricky but pleasing clues and few unknowns (NORN, for one, but it sounded likely and fit the wordplay). I rejected SCAT right away at 1ac and saw SPOT immediately, so that was my FOI. Wasn’t sure about that meaning of KETTLED until I realised that you actually say the same thing in German (eingekesselt), so it didn’t seem too unlikely and I couldn’t think of another kind of drum to fit. I liked MORES, but DOZENS even MORE(S).
  28. I gave up last night with two to go, resumed this morning with 26a a correct guess, and finally 19d where I flung in secrecy. Must remember that so means very. Thanks for the excellent blog V, and to the setter. Has anyone seen the new HP television channel? Apparently if you miss a programme you can watch it on Ketchup

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