Times 27130, Thursday, 30 August 2018 A Wimsey

Not the most testing of grids today, which I breezed through in 16 minutes, including parsing even when the answer was obvious and checking for typos, such is my devotion to duty. The top left to bottom right diagonal reads “pamper them” in Spanish* which is either completely accidental or the setters cryptic memo-to-self to be nice to us struggling solvers for once. There are several clues (more than usual?) where the majority of the word are there to offer up only their first or last letters. On the other hand, there are no random boys’ names or girls’ names, notes, or directions, which is refreshing.
My explications are presented with clues, definitions and SOLUTIONS
*So says Google Translate. Must be true.

[My workings (click to open)]

1 Cocktail — special quality about it (6)
MOJITO Typically made with white rum, sugar, lime juice, soda water, and mint. Our recipe is rather simpler: MOJO for that special quality (Muddy Waters had his working) and the IT (not a bad synonym for this meaning of MOJO, as it happens) dropped in
4 Solid start in heat hampered by second group (8)
THICKSET Start in Heat, “hampered by” here meaning contained by TICK: second and SET: group.
10 Great thinker, realist struggling to assimilate religious text (9)
ARISTOTLE An anagram (struggling) of REALIST containing (to assimilate) OT: religious text
11 Medium brain, say? (5)
ORGAN Two meanings, medium being, for example, our beloved Times.
12 Where my gravestone will be placed under no circumstances (4,2,4,4)
OVER MY DEAD BODY Two meanings, one literal, the other idiomatic
14 Three-quarters loaded onto empty lorry, relatively light (5)
LYRIC Relatively light when applied to tenors such as Caruso. Loaded suppies RICH, knock off one quarter and attach it to an “empty” LorrY
16 Romantic intro by a male composer is buoyant and fragrant stuff (9)
AMBERGRIS “An ash-grey strongly-scented substance, originating in the intestines of the spermaceti whale” which sounds vile, but like the equally unlikely “very uncleanly flux of a cat” used in perfume manufacture.  A + M(ale) + (Alban) BERG (composer of Wozzeck and Lulu) + R(omantic) intro+ IS. Those of you passionate about whale survival (and why not?) will be pleased to know there’s a synthetic alternative and sperm whales don’t have to die just so you  can smell nice.
18 Borders down, cross familiar Irish county (9)
ROSCOMMON Remove the borders from cROSs and add COMMON: familiar.
20 A little move by a militant to the left, perhaps? (5)
MAYBE No politics (dear me, no) but a rather nice reverse hidden in movE BY A Militant and a definition disguised as  an anagram indicator.
21 Sweet kid the girl shut out (7,7)
TURKISH DELIGHT (Yes, only nine days ago, also clued by an anagram) mixed from KID THE GIRL SHUT “out”.
25 Wings of harpy, hundred and four tails, a monster (5)
HYDRA HarpY wings + hundreD and fouR tails + A
26 Acquire evidence of debts without interest (9)
INCURIOUS A straight charade of acquire: INCUR and evidence of debts: IOUS
27 Extra brought to the table by beauty joining party (4,4)
SIDE DISH Party provides the SIDE and beauty provides the DISH, superannuated slang.
28 She wrote detective stories, they declare (6)
SAYERS Dorothy L, people wot say.

1 Marked low, a poor singer (10)
MEADOWLARK I was mildly surprised that this is not a native British bird but of the Americas. Alternatively one of these, or this celebrated Harlem Globetrotter. Anagram (poor) of MARKED LOW A
2 Liquid in pitcher unfinished, extra in glass? (5)
JUICE Your unfinished pitcher is a JAr and you might add ICE as an extra.
3 Venerated item toyed with in bed, turned over (7)
TOTEMIC An anagram (toyed with) of ITEM in a reversal of COT: bed.
5 Animal at altitude by the sound of it exhausted, needing air initially (5)
HYENA HY sounds like high, at altitude. Add the first letters of the remaining words (apart from initially, obviously).
6 Gear box (7)
CLOBBER Two definitions, gear as in clothes.
7 Cheese, very old, in European creamery’s basement (4,5)
SAGE DERBY Cheese that’s actually meant to look green. AGED from very old, your European is SERB, the Y comes from the end of creamerY.
8 Container smelt when lid removed (4)
TANK Take the top off sTANK: smelt.
9 Fast finish of Red Rum stuttering, where career of racehorse ending? (4,4)
STUD FARM Derive the anagram fodder from FAST, finish of reD, RUM and then – um – stir. Ironically, Red Rum would have been of little use in a stud farm.
13 Complaint when first love meets close family member (10)
ASBESTOSIS Assemble as follows: when: AS, first: BEST, love: O, close family member: SIS
15 Sensible grass skirts made a comeback, reportedly? (9)
RESOUNDED Sensible: SOUND (which) grass: REED skirts. I think the “reportedly” is in there just to indicate acoustic nature.
17 Monk heading for Cairngorms in check, Scottish peak further north (8)
BENEDICT Check gives you EDIT, Cairngorms (heading only) is inserted, and both are preceded by BEN for Scottish peak.
19 California city sure to bag a win (7)
OAKLAND Sure is OK, A is itself and is “bagged”, win is LAND
20 A river flooding nation with a disease (7)
MALARIA The nation you’re looking for is MALI, A R(iver) runs through it, and the other A is tagged on.
22 Pack members in fits (5)
SUITS Two definitions, think cards for the first
23 Hand warmer’s good warm feeling (5)
GLOVE G(ood) and LOVE: warm feeling. Ah! There’s nice! 
24 All kicking off, the hoodlums unfortunately swearing like that (4)
THUS All the “kicking off” start letters of the  rest of the clue

58 comments on “Times 27130, Thursday, 30 August 2018 A Wimsey”

    1. Posh juice? But of course, you’re correct and I’m not. But I was right with my actual entry and yes it is JUg + ICE. Let’s leave uncorrected and see who reads what!
  1. I never parsed JUICE, but now I suppose it’s JUg + ICE. Biffed a couple: ROSCOMMON from the M_N; TURKISH DELIGHT from a scan of what looked like anagrist; HYENA & THUS, in both cases missing the what should have been obvious initial-letter indicators. Fairly Mondayish for Thursday.
  2. Great minds… my LOI was also ASBESTOSIS. (My goodness, isn’t that like calling cancer a “complaint”?)
  3. 34 minutes, ending with ASBESTOSIS, with nary a dodgy homophone in sight. Then again, how would you feel if you were a Welshman called Hywel?
  4. I’ve no solving time for this because I nodded off twice whilst attempting it before a night’s sleep Eventually I gave up and resumed it this morning. That’s no adverse reflection on the puzzle, btw.

    Quite a lot of biffing went on here as some of the wordplay was a bit complicated and it took me far too long to see how TURKISH DELIGHT worked despite having blogged it myself as an anagram only 9 days ago.

    Unfortunately this was a technical DNF as I can’t remember the names of more than a handful of Irish counties and the other way to this one via wordplay didn’t leap out at me so I looked it up. I may have heard of it before but if so, it went in one ear and out the other.

    Another fact I can never remmeber is that Dorothy L Sayer’s principal sleuth was Lord Peter Wimsey.

    Edited at 2018-08-30 05:36 am (UTC)

    1. What I can never forget is that one of his names is Death. Didn’t realize at the time that it’s an actual surname.
      ROSCOMMON is not one of the counties that would come to mind–right now I can think of Mayo and Sligo and that’s about it–, although I did know it, but I think it showed up recently, I suppose in a Guardian puzzle.

      Edited at 2018-08-30 06:11 am (UTC)

        1. So now, I can think of Mayo and Sligo and Down (and Roscommon). Don’t mock the afflicted.
      1. Only found out last week that it’s pronounced “Deeth”. Another illusion ahattered.
    2. Whereas I can remember Lord Peter Wimsey and “Dorothy”, but never seem to be able to come up with Dorothy Sayers rather than Dorothy Parker. Odd things, memories.
  5. 54 minutes here, so I didn’t find this easy, but I did find it enjoyable. Still don’t quite seem to have got back into the swing of things following my holiday, so it’s just nice not to be beaten in my allotted hour…

    FOI 10a ARISTOTLE (having immediately thought of MOHITO for 1a and then dismissed it because I didn’t know what a MOHO was. D’oh!), LOI 22d SUITS, where I was just being a bit dense about seeing the second definition. COD 15d for the misdirecting definition, WOD AMBERGRIS, temptation of the day TURKISH DELIGHT, which I will try to avoid buying now.

  6. 25 mins with a croissant (hoorah) and the incredible G&L marmalade. So zingy.
    No real hold ups – although I’m glad I’ve seen Sage Derby here before.
    Mostly I liked: Over my dead body and COD to Maybe.
    Thanks setter and Z.
  7. Agree this puzzle is less taxing than usual. Never tasted a mojito (not in Chambers !) but wordplay is fair. 9Down reminds me of those heady student days in Newcastle when we each put in a pound to back Red Rum at 10-1 and what a feast we had with the proceeds. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be (sigh)
    1. It is in my Chambers, Uncle Yap (13th ed. revised)

      … meant to say, Red Rum is the greatest racehorse ever, at least in my lifetime. His feats were extraordinary… And when he appeared on “Sports Personality of the Year” he stole the show.

      Edited at 2018-08-30 08:21 am (UTC)

        1. Hmm, it appears not .. it is all apps, nowadays. Get one of your grandchildren to sort it out, that’s what I do 🙂
          Your cd is the 9th edition, there have been four more since then.
  8. After HARPOONER recently we have AMBERGRIS, which gets my COD. TURKISH DELIGHT and OVER MY DEAD BODY written without much trouble, OAKLAND took a while. ARISTOTLE FIO, and I liked MOJITO.

    20’18”, thanks z and setter.

  9. I always begin with a brief look at 1ac and 1dn and this time got both, so kept going and it didn’t take long, just long enough to be interesting.
    Given the way setters play fast and loose with capitals, I was surprised “down” was not capitalised in 18ac. Though Roscommon doesn’t border it, of course
    1. As far as I understand it the rule or convention is that capitals must not be omitted in proper names, so ‘down’ in the clue here can’t refer to the county but has to be part of the deletion indicator, ‘borders down’ – i.e. remove the borders from ‘cross’ to leave ‘ros’.
  10. A less than impressive 27:31 with the mitigation of continuing pile driving activity next door causing our walls to shake every five seconds. It wasn’t that hard but the last few were slow to fall.
    It’s probably just me being grumpy but I found this irritatingly wordy in places.
  11. Another relative stroll around Durdle Door. No idea what MOJITO is but wordplay made it easy

    ROSCOMMON famous for the great famine caused by potato blight circa 1850

  12. 25:04. I didn’t find this as easy as some did, but got there in the end. I should have remembered TURKISH DELIGHT sooner and went astray a few times… thinking 1d would start with a MOO, 4a SH… and 19d LA, for example. I was puzzled why 9d finishes with ‘ending’ rather than ‘ends’ or ‘ended’. I thought it a shame ROSCOMMON does not border County Down. SUITS my LOI.
    Well done spotting the Nina Z. And for those who enjoy spotting them, there is a particularly neat one in today’s Concise.
        1. Of course – I had been looking of the Quick, as I’d not actually done the Concise
    1. RR the Crossword Editor has said that he does not like NINAs as they can lead to forced/distorted grids. He also said that some apparent NINAs are accidental. Perhaps there is a change of heart or he had one slipped past him. All this does not apply to the Sunday Times where PB does what he likes.

      Edited at 2018-08-30 10:52 am (UTC)

      1. Interesting bigT. I’d never heard of NINAs before I came here over a decade ago but there have definitely been quite a few clearly intentional NINAs in that time, and some of them long after RR took over as editor.

        I don’t keep records of the 15x15s but there have certainly been at least 10 clearly intentional NINAs in the Quick Cryptics which I believe also fall within RRs domain and are intended as a training ground for the main puzzle for newbies who aspire to learning and moving up to it.

  13. … I think that no self-respecting Buddy Holly aficionado can avoid saying that. 38 minutes with LOI the unheard-of MOJITO, so my mojo wasn’t working that well. I needed JUICE first, and I’ve since gathered from Mrs BW that it should be lime. She’s high maintenance. I’ve never been one for cocktails. ASBESTOSIS brought back memories of the year I was a judge on the CEGB Good Housekeeping competition. Not everybody wanted the honour of winning, as inevitably you were then saddled with a year of bigwig visits. At one station, right in front of us, a guy brushed some grey material on to his shovel and put it in a bag marked ‘blue asbestos’. COD to SAGE DERBY, always welcome on the cheeseboard. Thank you Z and setter.
  14. At least the ‘Complaint’, ‘disease’ and ‘singer’ didn’t put up too much of a fight so I finished in 43 minutes with a few loosely parsed.

    I liked AMBERGRIS, but the reverse hidden and def. of MAYBE were my favourite of the day.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  15. 25 minutes, with only holdup trying to recall 18ac, but had a typo (I for a T) which I failed to spot on pre-submit check.

    Edited at 2018-08-30 10:14 am (UTC)

  16. Spent an hour or so in the Kelham Island area of Sheffield yesterday. Nice glass of Pale Rider in the Fat Cat next door to the brewery. Cocktails ? OVER MY DEAD BODY (FOI). They’d possibly bar me for asking, and as MOJITO was a DNK, I couldn’t nail JUICE either.

    I’d progressed with relative serenity to be left with that pair in around 15 minutes, but abandoned an unequal struggle 5 minutes later.

    COD MAYBE, my only biff, which I was happy to parse later.

  17. I was a bit slow getting started with this one, but HYENA and TANK eventually got me moving. JUICE and finally MOJITO brought up the rear. SUITS took far too long to see even though I thought of a pack of cards early on. BENEDICT and TURKISH DELIGHT opened up the grid nicely. 33:19. Thanks setter and Z.
  18. Like our blogger, I breezed through this – but in my case, “breeze” refers to a particularly slow-moving current of air. At three quarters of an hour, I spent longer on this than should have been necessary. I wasn’t convinced about the clue for RESOUNDED, but got there nevertheless.

    Edited at 2018-08-30 12:40 pm (UTC)

  19. I’m surprised to see so many of you being unfamiliar with the MOJITO as it’s pretty commonplace as cocktails go. Not my usual tipple but very drinkable when made well.
    1. Quite so. A well-built Mojito is an excellent summer drink. Breakfast of champions!
      1. As long as you eschew the horrible hipster trend of serving them in jam jars! Best sampled somewhere tropical in my experience – looking out over Miami Beach was a favourite location.
  20. 16:35 – it was late, but I really struggled with the last few here, the county, JUICE and MOJITO causing much head-scratching (maybe it was lack of one – they are sweet, but rather good).
  21. I’ll have an Aperol spritz thanks, but enjoyed a Mojito here today. Entertaining and to me a quite easy puzzle, unless the brain was having one of its good days. It never lets me know…
  22. With a good deal of confident biffing, this one fell in 19 mins and made me feel very pleased with myself. TURKISH DELIGHT was still available in my shortish-term memory. ROSCOMMON went straight in because we’d toured all around the Republic in the motorhome for 5 weeks earlier this summer. FOI MOJITO. I, too, am surprised that this cocktail is not more widely known. And I’m TT. 12a gave us 14 letters virtually free, gratis and for no effort. Biff bash bosh.

    After post-solve reflection, I thought the misdirection of ‘reportedly’ in 15d was excellent and worthy of COD; the concise double-def of ‘gear box’ was neat; and the concealment of MAYBE was jolly good.

    My thanks to setter, and to Z for the blog.

    1. O my giddy aunt! How could Z (how could anybody) spot the Nina-ish message in the diagonal letters? That’s quite amazing. Pah! it’s a weird coincidence, surely. Isn’t it?
      1. Only the setter knows. When it’s my turn, I like to check the unchecked letters and the diagonals just in case. Usually it’s just chaff, but occasionally you see stuff. and today’s was, at least, amusing.
        Mind you, when the setter once larded the grid with Zs on my blogging day, I completely missed the significance until someone else pointed out the links to my pen-name.
        The ones using, for example, binary (26,000 is a case in point) I’ve no chance with.
        1. I suspect that the setter has won his bet with a colleague that he couldn’t throw in a nina in a language other than English, and that somebody would spot it. He should buy you a mojito….
            1. On balance I’d go for the coincidence theory, Z; miman means they pamper, and los means them, but they pamper them would be los miman, whereas the command pamper them would be one of 4 options: mimalos, mimadlos, mimelos or mimenlos, depending on who you’re telling to do it (sorry, there are acute accents on the i in 3 of those but I can’t find it on this iPad). Mimanlos isn’t really possible. The Spanish imperative is a tricky old thing, as it uses a mixture of subjunctive and pure imperative forms depending on which of the 4 yous is being addressed, and whether it’s a do it or don’t do it command. Incidentally, if it had been don’t pamper them the pure imperative in the singular and plural familiar forms would have been replaced by the subjunctive; no los mimes or no los mimeis, with the pronoun moving back before the verb, just to add a bit more of a complication! Great blog, cheers.
  23. My post golf snooze coincided with doing this crossword so ignore the time. Most difficult was mistyping TURKSIH and trying to fit IVIES into 22down.
  24. Yes, the reprise of the now recognized TURKISH DELIGHT helped me out today, as did familiarity with the MOJITO. The drink can be too sweet for me, though. LOI was the cleverly hidden MAYBE. I think this lasted 25 minutes or so. Regards.
  25. Reached halfway before hitting the buffers. After a ten minute head scratch, the rest started to flow. 46 mins. Did not see 20a which was also my LOI….
  26. 42 minutes, nothing hard, but despite putting in the ROS in ROSCOMMON right away, I was tempted for a while to make 15dn REBOUNDED (until I figured out how to parse it). LOI ASBESTOSIS once I found BEST as “first” (I was trying to invent a disease called ASPERTOSIS, but PERT doesn’t really mean “first”, does it?
  27. 10.23. Another no-problem puzzle.
    I’m also surprised that so many are unfamiliar with the ubiquitous MOJITO. A great cocktail if made properly but it very often isn’t. It certainly shouldn’t be too sweet.
  28. 49:21. I felt a bit slow on the uptake today. Great thinker? It took me so long to get Aristotle that I am driven to the conclusion that I’m not one. Suits was a long long alphabet trawl. I have on a previous occasion, in public, wilfully and with malice aforethought, ordered, drunk and enjoyed a mojito, so 1ac held no fears for me, though beer is generally my preferred beverage. 12ac was a very easy FOI and Dorothy L my LOI. I daresay that had he entered it, Red Rum would probably have won the Sage Derby too.
  29. With two deadly diseases, a gravestone and a Hydra!

    I just assumed that there must have been a revolutionary called “Mabey” – got the right answer for the wrong reason – hope that counts.

    I also had “rebounded” for a while until it clicked that there is no County Robcommon.

  30. “Miman los” would mean they/you(pl) pamper them.

    Instruction to self to pamper them would be “mime los”, I believe.

    1. Google translate was not that specific. For miman los it gave the uninspiring “pamper the”. “Pamper them” emerged from entering mimanlos with no break.

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