Times 27157 – Everything but a Norwegian Blue

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I solved this while watching the Ryder Cup so don’t have a meaningful time, but I felt that this was a bit trickier than an average Monday. Certainly, there were some very serviceable clues here, with a particularly cunning hidden containing punctuation that made it look as if it might be something else.


1 Unruffled church leader wearing tartan cloth (6)
PLACID – C[hurch] in PLAID; easy when you see it
4 Stocky bumpkins in first part of trashy film (8)
10 Estimated cost of passage from St Paul, perhaps? (9)
QUOTATION – I think the idea here is that a part of the Bible when cited can be called a quotation, but I am open to offers
11 More senior lord received by English queen (5)
12 Aquatic amphibian moved away, missing lake (3)
EFT – [l]EFT for the useful Scrabble word
13 Glaring politician’s photo initially unwanted round America (11)
CONSPICUOUS – CONS PIC U[nwanted] O (round) US
14 A way teachers recalled a cold, treeless zone (6)
TUNDRA – reversal of A RD NUT (National Union of Teachers)
16 Replacement of kidney involving theatre crew ultimately (7)
RENEWAL – [theatr]E [cre]W in RENAL (of kidney)
19 Apt to forget made-up names one coined originally (7)
AMNESIC – anagram* of NAMES I C[oined]; describes me well in my 60th year
20 I work in turfy ground, finding woodlouse, for example (6)
ISOPOD – I + OP in SOD (turfy ground)
22 Courier given keys by member of guild (11)
DELIVERYMAN – D E (random musical keys) LIVERYMAN
25 Signal agreement? Homer sometimes did (3)
NOD – ‘Even Homer nods’ is a proverb meaning that even the best sometimes makes a mistake due to a momentary lapse
26 Complaint from queen, perhaps, brought back without purpose? (5)
MIAOW – reversal of W/O (without) AIM (purpose)
27 Dimwit’s problem a boy soldier reversed (9)
IGNORAMUS – reversal of SUM A RON GI
28 Young bird in web disturbed by small fish (8)
NESTLING – S (small) in (‘disturbed by’) NET (web) LING (fish)
29 Huggy type not entirely happy — tho nearly (6)
PYTHON – hidden in [hap]PY THO N[early]; I was looking for something meaning touchy-feely, but this is not a creature you would want embracing you. Up to 5 metres long in parts of Asia, I believe.


1 Card-game in Paris that’s eclipsed by mine (6)
PIQUET – QUE (French for ‘that’) in PIT
2 Change of tack with regard to revolution (5-4)
ABOUT-TURN – ABOUT TURN; the crypticity level is not too high in this one
3 Man using current account to cover appeal (5)
ISAAC – SA ([sex] appeal) in I (current) AC (account)
5 Suspended Irishman in father’s toothless legislature? (4,10)
6 Time to leave street party — it’s getting noisier! (9)
7 Social misfit theologian introduced to Portuguese saint (5)
SADDO – DD in SAO (Portuguese for ‘saint’ as in Sao PAolo)
8 Employing son for second time, strangle singer (8)
THROSTLE – THROTTLE with S for the second of the three Ts for the bird
9 Quiet agreement at home about old instrument (5,9)
PIANO ACCORDION – PIANO (quiet) ACCORD O (old) in IN (at home) for the instrument famously played by James Stewart in Night Passage. Director Anthony Mann, who had made a number of films with Stewart including westerns The Naked Spur and The Man from Laramie, didn’t see eye to eye with Stewart about these musical interludes (Stewart was a keen amateur player, but not good enough to save him from being dubbed by a pro for the final cut), so by the time Mann came round to directing perhaps his finest western (and arguably the greatest of all time – Man of the West) it was an ageing and ailing Gary Cooper who got the lead.
15 Repudiation doctor said I for example talked of? (9)
17 Forest-dweller with sex appeal eclipsing dandy regularly (4,5)
WOOD NYMPH – D[a]N[d]Y in W (with) OOMPH
18 Musician and detective on island propping up bar (8)
BANDSMAN – DS (detective) MAN (island) on BAN (bar)
21 Inventor displaying lack of arrogance when given rise (6)
EDISON – reversal of NO SIDE (arrogance)
23 Roles for top players City picked up (5)
LEADS – sounds like LEEDS
24 Anxious French marshal clutching version of Bible (5)
NERVY – RV (REvised Version) in [Marshal] NEY

50 comments on “Times 27157 – Everything but a Norwegian Blue”

  1. Biffed a couple, like HUNG PARLIAMENT, WOOD NYMPH, or semi-biffed, satisfied eg with the ER in ELDER or the LING in NESTLING. Good thing we had ISOPOD recently, clued by the same woodlouse. I suppose ‘cost of passage from St. Paul’ was supposed to suggest travel from Minnesota, but I wonder how many solvers gave it a thought. Ulaca, you’ve got a superfluity of negatives at PYTHON.
  2. 6 minutes on the nose here, so either I was really on the wavelength or this was very easy. I don’t really understand the St Paul bit of 10ac.
  3. 21 minutes, so it must have been easy. I had the same explanation as our blogger re St Paul, but it’s a bit feeble if correct.
  4. 34 minutes, and one of those rarer occasions where I still have some coffee left at the end of the crossword. Steady solve from FOI PLACID to LOI the well-camouflaged snake at 29a. Good job I can tell my em-dashes from my hyphens or I might’ve mis-biffed it.

    Bogged down like Vinyl at 20a, and didn’t remember “liveryman” at 22a. I did remember 12a EFT and Homer NODding at 25a, though, so some of my crossword-acquired GK is sticking!

    I was watching the excellent Anna Friel playing DS Marcella Backland last night, as otherwise I might’ve stuck with the more usual DI at 18d and stuck in a BANDIMAN, which was my first thought…

    Edited at 2018-10-01 06:47 am (UTC)

  5. 25 mins with yoghurt, granola, etc.
    I liked its gentleness. I quite liked the passage from St Paul.
    Mostly I liked: Crescendo, Did a vowel and COD to the Stocky bumpkins (what an image).
    Thanks gentle setter and U.
    1. The edge was taken of CRESCENDO by this having appeared on 21 September:

      Getting louder? Time to exit street party! (9)
      CRESCENDO – CRESCEN{t] [street, minus T] + DO [party]

      (as blogged by Verlaine)

      Edited at 2018-10-01 08:46 am (UTC)

  6. Straightforward start to the week with lots of biffing. I read today that Magoo won the Times Sudoku championship again. No doubt a nice warm up for the crossword championship next month.
  7. 18 minutes with only SW slowing me down. LOI was LEADS, with BANDSMAN, the key to the corner, taking his time to appear. I found the attribution to St Paul in QUOTATION strange, not that I need much of an excuse to be a sounding brass or tinkling cymbal. COD to DISAVOWAL. Thank you U and setter.
  8. Nothing I didnt know here apart from Marshal Ney. Just a brief hold up in the bottom left for a relaxing 40 minutes on the Glasgow train. FOI PLACID. LOI MIAOW – did not quite see that until LEADS fell into place.
  9. 14 minutes, which would have been OK had I not persuaded myself that (w)ENT was another aquatic beast. It’s not, I checked. And I don’t know how w is lake either. My second preference was an EWT, maybe a bit Mephistoish for the daily and again LEWT isn’t anything much. I seem to be on a run of pink squares at present, so it’s just as well I checked the wordplay for the ACCORDI(A)ON
    On the quotable Paul, I am reminded of the guy who objected to Shakespeare because it’s full of quotations. You read it here first (or not, as the case may be).
    1. I nearly used “better to marry than to burn” too, but I ‘m not sure they’re mutually exclusive.
  10. MIAOW LOI, COD. Pretty Mondayish. Briefly thought of Minnesota, but not too much of a distraction. Very nearly put HYPHEN….

    Thanks verlaine and setter.

  11. ….Nelson PIQUET in 6:39 with no biffs or problems. I could have overthought QUOTATION but I was on a roll.


    I certainly wouldn’t relish being hugged by a Python (though Carol Cleveland made some appeal back in the day !)

  12. Could hardly write the answers in quickly enough! Enjoyable but it did seem extremely easy today. 8m on the nose, my second fastest time ever.
  13. Just under fifteen minutes, which means this must have been an easy one. Only PIQUET held me up for a moment, everything else just flew in. Nice to see the PIANO ACCORDION making an appearance – a little-known fact is that it was invented by an Edinburgh instrument maker who wanted to combine the easy portability of the harpsichord with the mellifluous expressivity of the vuvuzela.
    1. Ha! Vuvuzela — now *that* word must surely find its way into a Times cryptic soon: I shall make a mental note.

      [jackkt will no doubt tell us precisely when vuvuzela has already appeared in the Times cryptic.]

    2. If I lived in a country which played all its music on bagpipes I’d be inventing the piano accordion or the vuvuzela as well.
  14. At just over 11m, close to a PB on an iPad, where you have to keep your wits about you to avoid retyping existing crossers. Marshall Ney (‘The bravest of the brave’) seems to pop up regularly and the two long ones were bashed in from the crossers without too much attention to the clues so thanks ulaca for the explanations.
  15. An error against my name on the leaderboard, but I will forgive myself on the grounds that deep down, I know I don’t really think there’s any such word as THRSOTLE. The slightly obscure, like EFT, reminded me of trying crosswords for the first time as a boy, and discovering that there were quite a few words which I had never heard anyone use in real life (and 40 years later, still haven’t), but was now going to have to treat as if they were perfectly common vocabulary.
  16. 22 mins. It looked like being a really fast one for a while and then I slowed in the bottom half, wasting time with BANDIMAN or even MANDIBAN before demoting my detective inspector. And as I biffed WOOD NYMPH I paused to consider whether the dictionaries would endorse ‘woomph’ as sex appeal. And (aha!) that Dyson chap is an inventor, isn’t he?
    The QUOTATION clue seems completely uncontentious to me; a passage taken from, say, the Bible is surely a ‘quotation’ — am I missing something?
    I loved the stocky bumpkins for COD.
    Thanks for the blog.
  17. When I’m on for a quick time, I must remember to check parsing words biffed before submitting (should use ‘pencil’ but too much hassle). Today had left HYPHEN there to get under 20 minutes.
  18. Got a bit bogged down by biffing DISCUSSED and MAINS for a while at 15 and 23dn, forcing me to reevaluate the whole corner and limp home in a sluggish four and a half minutes. Yeah, still quite Mondayish probably…
    1. Managed finally to get away from hyphens and syphons, not to speak of pshaw with a doubtful queen wasp. 17’06. Rather like surface for 17.
  19. Well that would’ve been a PB at 10:52, but I had a careless ACCORDIAN. Should’ve read the clue instead of biffing! Dagnabbit! Definitely an easier offering to ease us into the week. PYTHON, my LOI, was well hidden. I was tempted by HYPHEN but couldn’t parse it. PLACID was my FOI and it was then a top to bottom solve. Those CRESCENDOS are getting everywhere. Thanks setter and U.
    1. Does the ed not keep a database of clues and dates? I doubt compilers would ever knowingly crib, but I suppose such anomalies might be managed.

      Edited at 2018-10-01 12:24 pm (UTC)

        1. I don’t have any records of clues set previously but there’s a search facility in TftT of past blogs that’s available to all. Just click on the magnifying glass at the top RH corner of any TftT page and type the word (or words) you are looking for in the Search field that appears to its left.
      1. Take a look at Saturday’s two cryptics and you’ll find virtually the same clue clueing the same solution.
        1. I think Saturday’s were the same idea worked two different ways? STAY + R = STRAY and STRAY – R = STAY.

          There’s been a bit of that lately, but I can’t find another example at the moment.

          Assuming the puzzles are submitted some time before publication, I guess the setters get together to discuss ideas and then don’t check which have been used.

  20. I thought this was going to be one of my rare under-10s but bogged down at the last minute thinking 29a might be “hyphen” what with the dash in there. One day in the very hot mid-summer of 2017 I was on the subway when a man hung with lots of bling and a PYTHON got on. I got off at the next stop and waited for the next train – didn’t want to be stuck in a tunnel in company with that thing. 11.03
    1. Side is a more or less informal word for snobbiness, arrogance; so the reversed inventor has a lack of same.
  21. Done in several short sessions today so not sure about the time. 3 clues held me up at the end. Especially BANDIMAN as mentioned previously. I am not that well up on famous musicians but didn’t think he was familiar. It was the Q at 1d that finally threw me…
  22. Which means I’m going to claim my second PB of the day, even though I had a couple of typos. Obviously I know it’s not PYHTON, especially as I already had the H at the end of NYMPH!

    COD to 26a because I toyed with various combinations of BEE, EEB, ANT and TNA before the penny dropped.

    Thanks as always for the blog.

  23. I’m something of a dope, as I went with HYPHEN due to not seeing the not very well hidden answer. But very well hidden from me, evidently. No excuses here, just perhaps some impatience, and not being able to think of anything else that fitted ?Y?H?N. Oops. Regards.
  24. But for my one mistake, it would have been my best time. But I never thought of the detective sergeant and convinced myself a BANDIMAN was perhaps the player of a bandoneon (well, why not, actually?). Everything else was a snap. COD to DISAVOWAL.
  25. 13 mins, with solving time limited by my ability to write quickly with the paper on my lap; pretty much a write-in all round. Great blog, cheers.
  26. 24:45 I’m not surprised by all the fast times. I solved this when feeling a bit tired after work but the top half was pretty much a write-in. Some: ignoramus, saddo, hung parliament, Edison were entered on autopilot without needing to pay much attention once a checker or two were in. It was only when I got to the SW that a few managed to stretch my tired noggin beyond the 20 mins mark: deliveryman, miaow, nestling, bandsman (I also struggled to find an alternative to bandiman) and the clever 15dn.
  27. Thanks setter and ulaca
    Found an old Australian in a cafe, took a photo of the puzzle and got to it well after publication date here and even longer from publication date there.
    Afraid that I was a long way off the times posted here with a tad over the half hour which is still quicker than my average. PYTHON was not an issue, maybe helped without having the hyphen in the copy that I had and saw it as a straightforward hidden clue.
    BANDSMAN gave the most trouble with parsing and still didn’t have it right before coming here.
    Finished with MIAOW, that BANDSMAN and THROSTLE (which I’ve heard of before, was the tricky wordplay that slowed things up).
  28. Second time through 34 months later, cutting my time nearly in half.

    Still don’t know who Marshal Ney was.

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