Times 27,161: By Hooke Or By Crook

I’d describe this one as a “hard easy puzzle” – looking down through the parsings everything seems rather straightforward, but as a result of this sancta simplicitas it wasn’t always easy for me to find the required answer quickly. 1ac, 10ac and 18ac were the first three in, and quickly, but such things as the “service details in printed form”, the measuring “residue”, and the combinable synonyms for tax and limit, took longer to summon.

I also did exactly what I mustn’t do in November and, with the timer a few seconds away from the ten minute mark, banged in STAKEHOLDER for 7dn and hit submit. Very foolish! Very verlaine.

Various amusing clues in the mix here but I think my Clue of the Day goes to the slightly racy 24ac, for finding a more interesting homophone for HOARD than the chestnutty “horde”. Thanks setter for this and the rest of a fine puzzle.

1 A new hair preparation finds backer for production (5)
ANGEL – A N GEL [a | new | hair preparation]

4 Release detective’s service details in printed form (9)
DISMISSAL – DI’S MISSAL [detective’s | service details, in printed form]

9 Fresh maid organised beer and stout (9)
SOUBRETTE – (BEER + STOUT*) [“organised”]

10 Fine fish scraps (5)
FRAYS – F RAYS [fine | fish]

11 Means of measuring residue on vault (6,7)
SPRING BALANCE – BALANCE [residue] on SPRING [vault]

14 Article fifty covered by Times well (4)
ABLY – A [article] + L [fifty] “covered by” BY [times]

15 Land taken from previous county, in part hard to manage (10)
CUMBERSOME – CUMBER{land} [previous county, with “land” taken away] + SOME [in part]

18 Great unorthodox priest’s last sermon due (10)
TREMENDOUS – ({pries}T SERMON DUE*) [“unorthodox”]

19 Detailed plan to protect pound is futile (4)
IDLE – IDE{a} [“de-tailed” plan] “to protect” L [pound]

21 Additional levy resulting from attack on fighting force (7,6)
SERVICE CHARGE – CHARGE [attack] on SERVICE [fighting force]

24 Save used tart, we’re told (5)
HOARD – homophone of WHORED [used tart, “we’re told”]

25 Retiring storyteller, sedate, skirting a bar to avoid accidents (9)
GUARDRAIL – reversed LIAR DRUG [storyteller | sedate], “skirting” A

27 Today’s journalist held out (9)
PRESENTED – PRESENT ED [today’s | journalist]

28 Energy required in violent exercise (5)
WIELD – E [energy] in WILD [violent]

1 Those attending function entertained by jazzmen, bishop having left (10)
ASSISTANTS – TAN [(mathematical) function] “entertained by” {b}ASSISTS [jazzmen, minus B for bishop]

2 African nomad‘s regular display of genius (3)
GNU – G{e}N{i}U{s}

3 A source of roar in wild cat? (6)
LARYNX – A + R{oar} in LYNX [wild cat], &lit

4 Required tax limit (4-5)
DUTY-BOUND – DUTY BOUND [tax | limit]

5 Shall we put up with a boarding pirate? (5)
STEAL – reversed LET’S [shall we?], with A “boarding”

6 Troops recently formed line (8)
INFANTRY – INFANT RY [recently formed | line]

7 Monarch once imprisoning queen upset senior investor (11)
SHAREHOLDER – SHAH [monarch once] “imprisoning” reversed ER [queen “upset”] + OLDER [senior]

8 Beyond redemption at sea (4)
LOST – double def

12 Shifting end of rack, restore all detachable footwear (6,5)
ROLLER SKATE – ({rac}K RESTORE ALL*) [“shifting”]. Most of the roller skates I’ve seen are no more detachable than any other kind of footwear, but some do just clip onto other shoes I expect.

13 Richly adorned Eastern believer eclipsed by lovely daughter (10)
BEJEWELLED – E JEW [eastern | believer] “eclipsed by” BELLE D [lovely | daughter]

16 Laboured badly crossing very wide city street (9)
BOULEVARD – (LABOURED*) [“badly”] “crossing” V [very]

17 Reluctantly admit Dickensian’s supporting petition (8)
BEGRUDGE – RUDGE [Dickensian] is supporting BEG [petition]

20 Dog kept cutting inside pig (6)
SHADOW – HAD [kept] “cutting inside” SOW [pig]

22 Metal bar obscuring other exhibits (5)
INGOT – exhibited inside {obscur}ING OT{her}

23 Cold fruit flake (4)
CHIP – C HIP [cold | fruit]

26 A church provides one (3)
ACE – A CE [a | church]

37 comments on “Times 27,161: By Hooke Or By Crook”

  1. 52 minutes. FOI 1a ANGEL. LOI 10a FRAYS put in without too much conviction. I now see the fighting sense of the words… Also biffed SHAREHOLDER without considering STAKEHOLDER; glad it wasn’t the other way around (sorry V!)

    DNK 9a SOUBRETTE, but apart from that this was testing because it was really well-clued, I thought, especially 11a SPRING BALANCE, the nice definition in 25a GUARD RAIL, and the small but well-formed 20d SHADOW.

  2. 24 delightful minutes, every clue a well-crafted challenge requiring proper attention. Special mention to the &lit LARYNX, almost my last in, and of course to the used tart. Anyone going to complain that in their dialect they pronounce the W?
    A little curiosity for those solving on the club site. When I submit, the very last letter I inserted briefly flashes pink, producing both horror and relief. Do you suppose it’s a deliberate tease?
  3. 39 minutes, with another COD nod to the used tart, especially as I prepare to bake a lemon almond butter cake this weekend.
  4. With 1ac and 2dn going in straightaway I thought I was in for an easy ride but I hit the wall immediately after that and scanned through all the remaining clues at least half-a-dozen times with only 26dn falling at the first reading.

    Attempting to solve after midnight and following a rather tiring day I considered abandoning it for the night but I persevered and gradually it started to come together although almost every clue needed to be wrestled with. I finished eventually in 44 minutes which was not too bad in the circumstances.

  5. About 45 mins pre breakfast on IPad in Ripley.
    I really enjoyed it.
    Today I am Duty Bound to go shopping in Harrogate. I may need a restorative Fat Rascal in Bettys.
    Thanks setter and V.
  6. I had a sinking feeling for a while that the solution to 1d was going to be ATTENDANTS, but today was blissfully shelduck-free. The only shire I could think of was Rutland, so I spent some time trying to fit RUT into the solution. Only got Cumberland after SOME. Liked HOARD and LARYNX, but I can’t say I shared the enthusiasm for the puzzle expressed above.

    Edited at 2018-10-05 10:26 am (UTC)

  7. On the first run through, only saw ANGEL, GNU and ACE. But slowly things emerged, and I’m here fully parsed in 34 minutes. COD to HOARD, although LARYNX and GUARD RAIL were more worthy. LOI ROLLER SKATE, something I’ve always had an aversion to. Thank you V and setter.
  8. 13m but with CHOP. I don’t know how I did this, because I was thinking specifically of rosehip when I put it in.
    Nice puzzle though.

    Edited at 2018-10-05 09:01 am (UTC)

  9. 44’33 but with a gormless ‘able’. Found the going cumbersome on a lightly bejewelled course. In 20 the paper edition has ‘…interrupting cutting inside…’ Perhaps the second two words in fact replaced the first.
    1. Yes “interrupting” was in my copy too. I supposed “cutting inside pig” must be some obscure butcher’s cut. Not sure about 10ac “FRAYS” for “scraps”, version of “affrays”? The Times was rather forced into the clue for 14ac. Very dubious “hoard” and “whored” not true homophones for me.

      from Jeepyjay

      1. These two words are simply not homophones. I am surprised that so many commentators thought it was a good clue.
  10. Enjoyable and challenging, if not actually a Friday beast. There must be something about the construction of 7dn that causes word-blindness; having not yet worked out which fish I needed, I spent some time working on S____HOLDER, and kept trying (in vain, obviously) to make STOCKHOLDER work. During this process, at no point did my brain suggest “You know, there’s a well-known phrase, about dealing in stocks and…something else, also beginning with S, I wonder if that might be useful”. Stupid brain.
  11. 32min – was ready to protest about ATTENDANCE at 1dn, but soon saw what was needed when I didn’t have to get ANT from ‘function’ somehow. Thought the service details at 4ac particularly good, and of course 24ac’s tart.
    BTW Z – I’ve sometimes seen a red flash of the last letter – a feature which has been mentioned on the website.
  12. That particular anagram, and SPRING BALANCE took me what seemed like an eternity to spot.

    FOI ANGEL, and then GNU and LARYNX. I didn’t struggle to continue quite as badly as Jack, but there was certainly a brick wall to negotiate before TREMENDOUS jumped out at me. Any thoughts that this was un-Fridayish had been dispelled by then.

    LOI ABLY (I almost slipped up), to complete the NW where ASSISTANTS came late to mind.

    Excellent puzzle, but 29:20 is worrying for November if three of these appear together.

    I liked CUMBERSOME, HOARD, and ROLLER SKATE, but the elegantly clued STEAL was my COD.

  13. “also did exactly what I mustn’t do in November and, with the timer a few seconds away from the ten minute mark, banged in STAKEHOLDER for 7dn and hit submit”

    Yeah, me too. Obviously there was the small matter of a 17 minute difference but the principle still applies surely?

    So another error to end a week of constant stupidity and typos. 4 more weeks to get those out of the system, although my self-imposed rules do say that now I only solve on paper, and as an extra masochistic bonus, Wednesday to Friday puzzles will be done together on Saturday afternoon.

    Anything that can help to improve me from 82nd in last year’s prelim can only be good, no?

  14. Up at 6 this morning, meant to do the QC as a warmup, clicked the wrong button and ended up starting this with only a tiny amount of tea consumed.

    SHADOW and HOARD particularly good I thought. Thanks verlaine and setter.

    Edited at 2018-10-05 01:18 pm (UTC)

  15. 30 mins while sitting in a Birmingham pub with pop music whamming out from a big speaker above me :))
  16. “easy hard” says it all. I always like an &lit, so Larynx went down well. I took the opportunity to biff Fling at 10ac – and I’ll bet I’m not the only one – but thankfully Lost at 8d was so clear that I didn’t waste the usual time making the correction. Thx setter for a nice puzzle, and thx Verlaine for the usual
    Out of curiosity, what date are the finals? There’s a chance I’ll be in London in November, and would hate to miss the chance to be at The George.
    1. Saturday 3rd November. I’m in the morning prelim so I expect to be at The George for a good afternoon session.
  17. Easy hard. Yes I thought so too, finding several of the clues a bit convoluted. I guess I’m not a fan of verbosity. But good fun, nonetheless. LARYNX my favourite. By the way, as kids, we had roller skates that strapped on the outside of our shoes. Thanks V and setter. 29:35

    Edited at 2018-10-05 04:06 pm (UTC)

    1. Oh. And I enjoyed the reference to Hooke’s Law in the title giving a nod to 11a. Very scientific. Thanks V.
        1. I’m the only Times blogger who leaves his audience with more questions than answers…
  18. Embarrassed to be stuck on some very easy ones at the end ie FRAYS INFANTRY STEAL. DISMISSAL would have held it together had I heard of a MISSAL. PERSAL anyone!
  19. Not too tough today, with just a few head scratchers, such as remembering the fresh maid, and trying to reconcile a fish with the proper application of the ‘scraps’ at my LOI, FRAYS. I wandered through thinking about food scraps, then scraps as ‘aborts’, before coming to the needed meaning. As for ‘used tart’, well, that was a bit out of the ordinary, but not hard to see what was required. Say 20 or 25 minutes to get through. Regards.
  20. Well, clearly my SAS (seasonal affective stupidity) has set in for the winter. This one kept me busy for a full hour, after a measly two answers went in on the first pass. I would mention the clues that gave me the most difficulty, but they all did.

    Worse yet, I managed to blow it at the relatively simple 10ac, by putting in “frass”. It would be less embarrassing to claim that this was a simple typo, but alas it was not. I was thinking of a singular fish rather than plural, and managed to convince myself that “rass” was an alternative spelling of “wrasse” (which it isn’t). I then managed to dig an even deeper hole by misinterpreting “scraps” as “bits”, and finally nailed the coffin shut by deciding that since “frass” is the debris left by wood-boring insects (which, as it happens, it is), that had to be the answer. There can surely be few instances where such a complex chain of unreasoning results in a single-letter error.

    Edited at 2018-10-05 07:08 pm (UTC)

    1. But it would rank as a glorious failure! RASS is risk assessment for sourcing seafood as it happens so even closer than you thought you were.
  21. I was surprised to find Verlaine describing this as “hard” in any way, but it’s all relative. He surely took a much shorter time than I did. I took care to check STOCKHOLDER and SHAREHOLDER with the wordplay before entering the latter, but I wasn’t trying to beat the clock. I did the last few in a second session, but never had the feeling that I might not finish.
  22. 58m today but really enjoyed the challenge. I might have been 10m quicker had I not biffed DISPERSAL; only when the soldiers fell did I realise my error. Like others I thought LARYNX was the pick of a lovely bunch. Thanks V for the blog and setter for the hour’s enjoyment and avoidance of obscurities.
  23. 1 hour exactly with my LOI 10a FRAYS. Only DNK was 9a SOUBRETTE but I was able to solve from the generous wordplay.
  24. A busy day and evening saw me unable to get around to this puzzle until gone midnight when I finally got home. 39:17 elapsed before I got a set of all green squares. The RHS and SW gave me most trouble. ANGEL was FOI with GUARDRAIL and BEJEWELLED bringing up the rear. Liked LARYNX. Was extremely careful with SHAREHOLDER. Once bitten twice shy! Bedtime now methinks before I’m tempted to look at the Saturday puzzles. Thanks setter and V.

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