Times 27145 – Play Opus?

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
A typical Monday offering, combining lightness of touch with well-crafted clueing. Not the easiest, but one for those wishing to migrate from the Quickie to have a stab at. 28 minutes plus change for me.

1 Finish off second young seal (3,2)
4 Chat with consumers of computer with a lock on the outside (5,4)
9 Give pounds and see famous sculptor (9)
10 Runs out of fast-going sauce (5)
11 Old city friend abandoning a young child (6)
URCHIN – UR (birthplace of Abram) CHIN[a]
12 Failed riverboat broken up without resistance (8)
ABORTIVE – anagran* of [r]IVERBOAT
14 Not a word, note, over Saturday crossword’s baffling jargon (5-5)
MUMBO-JUMBO – MUM B [musical note] O JUMBO
16 All-points bulletin? (4)
NEWS – not too tricky, methinks : N-E-W-S
19 Seldom-encountered poison’s killed copper (4)
RARE – [cu]RARE; CURARE kills quite a few pesky problems for crossword setters
20 Car — old one, mostly internal combustion with unlimited power (10)
AUTOCRATIC – AUTO (car) CRAT[e] (most of old car – crate as in ‘banger’) IC
22 Absent-minded don, not working, is characteristic (8)
23 Puzzle in game needs to be worked out (6)
26 Round fraction is a source of confusion to observers (2,3)
OP ART – O PART for the optical illusion style of drawing
27 Highwayman — time due, unfortunately, for his latest wickedness (9)
TURPITUDE – TURPI[n] T (time) DUE* (anagram indicator is ‘unfortunately’)
28 Strongly attacking East European claim that’s out of order (9)
29 Newly equip sappers before attack (5)
REFIT – RE (Royal Engineers) FIT


1 I had son interrupting old actor when Bottom played Pyramus (9)
MIDSUMMER – I’D S in MUMMER (old word for luvvie)
2 Confused rush and grass (5)
PANIC – double definition (DD), the second referring to the tropical grass panicum
3 Preferred it over obscure quibble about details (8)
PETTIFOG – PET (my pet student) IT reversed FOG; lawyer’s stock-in-trade
4 Ring road charge (4)
5 Very detailed autobiography of English baroque composer? (4-2-4)
BLOW-BY-BLOW – yes, there really was a composer called John Blow, who would toot his flute for you for a fee, presumably.
6 Sandwich, perhaps, and beer (6)
EXPORT – Sandwich in Kent was once the greatest port in England before it sold its soul to golf courses and fast food. Export is a type of pale ale: ‘In the nineteenth century, the Bow Brewery in England exported beer to India, including a pale ale that benefited from the duration of the voyage and was highly regarded among consumers in India. To avoid spoilage, Bow and other brewers added extra hops as a natural preservative. This beer was the first of a style of export ale that became known as India Pale Ale or IPA.’
7 Restrained muscles can experience nasty tension initially (9)
ABSTINENT – ABS TIN (can) ENT (initial letters of the final three words before ‘initially’)
8 Bank finally inclined to abolish penny coin? (5)
KRONE – [ban]K [p]RONE
13 Endless fun sightseeing? Oscar’s gone looking ahead (10)
15 Post guarding a non-working state water plant (5-4)
MARES-TAIL – REST (a non-working state) in MAIL
17 State capital abolishing old religious symbol (9)
18 Confines father over row (8)
21 For the time being basic learning is confined to the afternoon (3,3)
22 Decline operation under doctor who’s finishing (5)
DROOP – DR O (‘who’s finishing’, i.e. the last letter of [wh]O) OP
24 Good frill that’s starched is rather harsh (5)
GRUFF – G RUFF (frill that’s starched)
25 Not knowing right from wrong, losing a mark for exam (4)

47 comments on “Times 27145 – Play Opus?”

  1. The last 6 minutes of which time was devoted to 6d, playing with the alphabet –empire? expire? export?– and trying to figure out what any of the words had to do with beer (not to mention why Sandwich is no longer a port). I submitted without answering the beer question, which I have since Googled. Otherwise pretty Mondayesque.
  2. 22 minutes with no problems for me, so pretty quick. I liked the Sandwich clue once I clicked, and I even knew that it was no longer a port. Apart from Dover, I think the other cinque ports are no longer ports.

    I messed up for a moment at 15d since the first word was “obviously” MARSH but that didn’t last too long.

    1. Hastings has a fishing fleet, and is described as a port .. but no longer has a harbour, if ever it did
  3. 28 minutes. I knew of John Blow but haven’t thought of him in many a year and I don’t believe I have anything written by him in my quite extensive collection of music from his era.

  4. I knew EXPORT was correct, but couldn’t see the definition. Fascinating history, the vanished Wantsum. I also can’t recall ever hearing about (let alone hearing) the composer John Blow.
  5. 12:47 … quite a quizzy feel to this with a fair few things I only sort of know about, such as the answer I Ninja Turtle’d at 9a, never having actually seen a DONATELLO sculpture or being likely to recognise one if I saw one. I’d put OP ART, KRONEs, PANIC grass, MARES TAILs and PETTIFOGging in a similar category. John Blow completely unknown but I’m grateful to him for having an admirably straightforward name.

    Last in the pleasing FRONTIER (cue fondly remembered Davy Crockett ear joke).

    AUTOCRATIC MUMBO-JUMBO? Sigh. If only we hadn’t been summarily banned from mentioning politics …

    1. Welcome home, S, much missed. All we need now is Horryd, our pantomime villain, back and we’re ready for Christmas.
  6. Happy enough to believe that Kurtis Blow might have been a baroque composer for the purposes of my submitting after a relatively speedy 5m37.

    FOI 1ac, LOI 3dn which is surely also WOD. Very enjoyable Monday offering though perhaps, as others have mentioned, too biffable passim.

      1. Baroques on a bus, baroques on a car
        Baroques to make you a superstar
        Baroques to win and baroques to lose
        But these here baroques will baroque your shoes
        And these are the baroques
        Baroque it up, baroque it up, baroque it up!

        Edited at 2018-09-17 08:18 am (UTC)

  7. A straightforward 35 minutes—almost too straightforward; it took me a while to get 1d because I was looking for something less obvious. D’oh. Didn’t know the history in 4d but I made up for it by having conducted years of thorough research on beer.

    FOI 1a MOP UP LOI 20a AUTOCRATIC, though it didn’t pose me too much problem. I spent more time on the less well-known PETTIFOG and OP-ART.

  8. Sandwich – port – beer, oh yes I thought, PORTER will parse later…. Really liked TURPITUDE, although it always seems to be prefaced by ‘moral’, is this a tautology? Under twenty minutes, only slightly longer than my QC effort today. 9ac is of course a real ninja turtle. Thanks ulaca and setter.

  9. This felt like something of a respite after I took much of the weekend to finish Saturday’s. LOI PETTIFOG for which I had to do a double alphabet trawl for _O_ to find the synonym for obscure.
  10. Easy, though 3dn took time to unearth and I lost more time correcting a hasty “marsh lily” at 15dn.
    Well done setter for resisting a mention of ninja turtles..
  11. 22mins – something of a record for me. Would have been considerably quicker if I had been able to spell ‘pettyfog’ correctly – made 11a unfathomable!
  12. … of being a dimwit. 18 minutes with the North-East PESTO/ EXPORT crosser last to fall, but with BOOK-BY-BOOK for the autobiography. Well, Manchester City once had a full back with that name. How did Dick Turpin lose his n, by the way. WOD PETTIFOG. COD MUMBO JUMBO. Thank you U and setter.
      1. Sorry, but can someone please explain the indication that the ‘n’ of Turpin should be discarded??
        1. The anagram of TDUE is to replace Turpin’s latest, ie his last letter, which was N. That’s what I hadn’t spotted.
  13. 12:26. Not hard, but not desperately easy either. Nothing held me up for very long (not even an inability to spell SACRAMENT, or the certainty that 15dn would be MARSH something) but quite a few required a bit of thought.
    I have seen works by DONATELLO somewhere but he’ll always be more of a Ninja Turtle to me. NHO John Blow but I just biffed that one.

    Edited at 2018-09-17 07:32 am (UTC)

  14. 17 minutes, with non-Monday clue time going on PETTIFOG (which would have been biffed as pedantry if I had been in the mood) and EXPORT, the latter needing two bits of relatively arcane knowledge. I assumed export referred to the sort of beer that chemistry set brewers tend to add to their brand names to suggest strength and quality, and I’m glad to learn of its more sophisticated history.
    I knew John Blow (amusing clue, I thought) but have a knowledge vacuum about Kurtis: even when I looked him up I had little better idea. If we could find a way of combining our knowledge bases, we would absolutely monster Eggheads.
  15. 15:10 with quite a few biffed more in hope than expectation of being right.

    COD Export.

    According to Wikipedia not much of note happened in 1510. Apparently Sunflowers were first brought to Europe by Spanish invaders of the Americas in 1510. In other news, the Jerusalem Artichoke is a species of Sunflower.

  16. 17’28, semi-biffing a touch. Ninja turtles crawling all over the comments and I know not why. I suppose there’s one called Donatello. Is it really snobbish to say this almost physically hurts?
  17. 20 mins precisely with plenty of confidently biffed ones. And I was so-o-o frustrated with my LOI, DISTRAIT, which was unknown to me and held me up for over a minute while I hunted for a word meaning ‘feature’. I also bunged in MARSH-something for a while. I guess the setter acknowledged the obscurity of John Blow by providing the helpful extended reference as ‘English Baroque composer’.
    This felt like a good, classic Monday puzzle.
    Thanks, ulaca, for your blog.
  18. ….who I’d never heard of, but “Bach by Bach” wouldn’t make sense unless you were Bach-ing mad (I’m here all week).

    12:14 being delayed by inserting “marsh” and then scratching my head in vain.

    We had a not very bright radio controller, who would protest when a few of us called over the air together that all she could hear was “mumble jumble”. A Malapropism it may be, but it works !

    COD EXPORT – nowadays inextricably associated with Carlsberg’s high strength lager which is much revered by “serious drinkers”.

  19. Puzzle which felt pleasantly Mondayish. I managed to dredge up BLOW from the lumber room of my memory, but only once I had B_O_, twice. When it was just B___, I was distracted by thoughts of BYRD, even though I knew he wasn’t baroque, and would probably only be useful in this sort of clue if his name was spelt BIRD.
  20. I mopped this one up in 17:21, which is speedy for me, starting with 1a and finishing with AUTOCRAT, which took a minute or so. 30 seconds of proof reading didn’t reveal any errors, so I hit submit and was rewarded with no pinks. Fortunately, I saw PETTIFOG quickly and that helped set me on a roll. I didn’t know the composer at 5d, but I did know the expression, so in it went. An enjoyable start to the week. Thanks setter and U.

    Edited at 2018-09-17 11:23 am (UTC)

  21. I thought I was the only muppet here.

    After a terrific start, I slowed down on the last four – took ages over PETTIFOG and OP ART (never heard of), consequently MARES TAIL was my LOI. so 38 mins.

    Would have thought that any ale drinker would have guessed EXPORT without much ado.

  22. I’m putting my marker down for dummy of the day (if not wazzock of the week and muppet of the month).

    I carelessly biffed AUTOMATIC and accounted for the extra letter by spelling it AUTOMAITIC. That meant that 18d could only be PAONTIER which, as mombles go, is spectacularly un-word-like.

    The happy triumvirate was topped off with PETTILOW.

  23. 25 mins with a few qualms finishing with PETTIFOG and EXPORT neither of which seemed obvious to me. Not much to add to previous comments. Nuff said!
  24. Not the easiest Monday puzzle, but nothing too too obscure. Other than Mr. Blow, of course, and why Sandwich is an ex-port. Took around 25 minutes. Regards to all.
  25. 28:05. I went off like a rocket at the start and thought I was going to complete this in a (for me) very quick time but things began to slow and I found some stubborn opposition in the NE. John Blow was unknown but it wasn’t too hard to see what was going on at 5dn.
  26. DNF, since the word I made up this time (PETTIBON) surprisingly turned out not to be a word (after several weeks in which the words I made up surprisingly turned out to be real). I had a vague feeling that I had seen it somewhere, but I obviously couldn’t have. The rest was fun, though.
  27. Seventeen minutes for this. Given my normal slowness, coupled to the fact that I’m at the wrong end of a long flight, this can only mean that it was an easy one. I’m currently in Washington (Virginia, not Tyne and Wear), and once again find myself baffled as to why the whole world doesn’t simply keep GMT (or BST, as the case may be).

    All fairly straightforward, though I’d never heard of a KRONE; however, I figured that kroner had to be the plural of something. Nice gentle puzzle, just what was needed after a long flight.

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