Times 27165 – have I done the right puzzle?

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Even after four or more years of weekly Wednesdays, I still look forward to producing a blog, hoping it will test and titillate me (and you) and occasionally involve learning something new. Yesterday’s was a good example. Today was a disappointment. I even wondered if I’d printed the wrong puzzle and done the Quick Cryptic. It took me less than 15 minutes with nothing to slow me down, 29a being the LOI after a little thought and a smile at the end. I hope I’m not going to cheese off people who found it hard, if any, but it was unsatisfyingly easy and unmemorable. I’m struggling to find more to say about it, so I’ll just unravel the wordplay.
Favourite clue? 13a, of course.

1 Kitchen device to ruin plumbing fitment (10)
DISHWASHER – DISH = to ruin, WASHER is a plumbing ‘fitment’. Well, it’s just a little circular thing, not much of a fitment.
6 Item is piano tune (4)
PAIR – P for piano, AIR = tune; an item as in a couple.
9 Hell surrounding Biblical city seen by an austere religious follower (7)
PURITAN – UR that old city inside PIT = hell, then AN.
10 Note cut lines — join again? (7)
REMARRY – REMARK = note, is ‘cut’ then RY for railway lines.
12 Herd straying and straying? Don’t follow it (3,7)
RED HERRING –  (HERD)* then ERRING = straying.
13 Something that swoops near the ground, head right back (3)
OWL – LOW = near the ground, move the L to the end.
15 Stop last of dodgy group of settlers (6)
COLONY – a COLON : is a kind of stop, Y = end of dodgY.
16 Exciting about Conservative (not Republican) taking a broad view (8)
ECLECTIC – ELECTRIC for exciting; delete the R, insert a C a bit earlier.
18 Marine marker left by second person returning after start of month (4-4)
LIFE-BUOY – L = left, 1 FEB = start of month, then YOU reversed.
20 Nothing quartet recalled about old instrument (6)
VIOLIN – NIL = nothing, IV = quartet, reverse all and insert O for old.
23 Servant, giving one away, cracked (3)
MAD –  MAID = servant, remove the I.
24 Healthy as a pampered inmate? (2,4,4)
IN GOOD NICK – A pampered inmate could be in a GOOD NICK or jail.
26 Threatening to have party for graduate suffering grief (7)
DOLEFUL – BALEFUL = threatening, replace the BA (graduate) by DO (party).
27 Brand of motor ending in remote display area (7)
MARQUEE – MARQUE = brand of motor car, E = end of remotE.
28 Line chest for a bit of fun (4)
LARK – L for line, ARK for chest.
29 What you get up to in the way of tweeting (4,6)
DAWN CHORUS – Cryptic definition.

1 Party leaders in politics expect information (4)
DOPE – DO = party (yet again!), P E = initial letters of politics expect.
2 Most of certain area offloading millions of unusual paintings? (7)
SURREAL – SUR(E) = most of certain, REAL(M) = area, losing its M for millions.
3 Hunter perhaps reset gin, with transient opportunity for observation (8,5)
WATCHING BRIEF – a hunter could be a WATCH; (GIN)*, BRIEF = transient.
4 One guards small number of competitors (6)
SENTRY – S for small, ENTRY for number of competitors.
5 I creep about, going after each listening device (8)
EARPIECE – EA = each, (I CREEP)*.
7 6 ceding power left transport hub (7)
AIRPORT – 6a was PAIR, lose the P, add PORT = left.
8 Original shell of confectionery recreated in sugary coating (5,5)
ROYAL ICING – (ORIGINAL C Y)*, where C Y = the ‘shell’ of confectionery.
11 Crumbling Gothic remnant — it’s something of an attraction (8,5)
14 Representation to go up — way to attract Liberal (5,5)
SCALE MODEL – SCALE = to go up, as in scale a wall; MODE = way, L for Liberal.
17 Upset record number entering target country (8)
MONGOLIA – AIM = target, LOG = record, NO = number; insert LOG NO into AIM gives you AILOGNOM, upset it all to get the country.
19 Fine supplier of puzzles, overlooking first one cheating (7)
FIDDLER – F = fine, RIDDLER = one supplying puzzles, remove the first R.
21 Varnish nearly all fine material? Question stopping short (7)
LACQUER – LAC(E) = fine material, nearly; QUER(Y) = question stopping short.
22 Usual trick, hiding ring and military medal (6)
COMMON – CON = trick; insert O = ring and MM abbr. for a military medal.
25 Communiqué given no time in part of military base (4)
MESS – MESSAGE = communiqué, remove the AGE = given no time.

57 comments on “Times 27165 – have I done the right puzzle?”

  1. No real problem, although I didn’t know ROYAL ICING, but I fell down at DAWN CHORUS; no idea what was going on. No doubt my intense dislike of Twitter and tweets played a part.
  2. Well I didn’t find this particularly easy and needed 45 minutes to work my way through it. The top half went in steadily but I became bogged down in the lower half with SCALE MODEL, LIFE-BUOY and DOLEFUL holding out on the left and COMMON, MARQUEE, DAWN CHORUS and MESS on the right. I had also wasted time parsing REMARRY thinking RE for ‘note’ RY for ‘lines’ and wondering how ‘cut’ = MAR.

    All the usual sources have ‘lifebuoy’ as one word, Collins also has it as two, but none of them lists it with a hyphen.

  3. Not quite a personal best, but at 28 minutes still pretty quick for me. Slowed down a bit in the SW corner, where I couldn’t see the parsing for LIFE-BUOY or DOLEFUL for the life of me, but that might’ve been because I was rushing to try for a good time at that stage…

    FOI 1d DOPE (I don’t have a 1a DISHWASHER so it didn’t spring immediately to mind!) LOI 26a DOLEFUL. DNK 8d ROYAL ICING, though it turns out to be what my grandma used on her Christmas cake, so it’s nice to find out what it’s called!

  4. A shade under 20 mins with yoghurt, granola, etc.
    Yes, this was a confidence booster, and there’s nothing wrong with that mid-week.
    Mostly I liked: Dawn Chorus (COD).
    Thanks setter and Pip.

    Doctor, I keep thinking I’m a bar of soap.
    That’s life, boy.

      1. Fully agree with your blog Pip

        I was the same – looking forward to doing the blog and hoping the puzzle would generate comment. Always felt a bit deflated if they were as bland and easy as this one. Never mind – perhaps next time.

  5. I’m obviously feeling a lot more charitable than others as I really enjoyed this one, boosted no doubt by actually being able to complete it in a decent time (for me) of 25 minutes.
    As with Myrtilus, it makes some of us feel good to have a confidence-boosting success like this once in a while.
  6. Indeed, had the definition right but typed device when I meant fitment. Corrected thank you.
  7. Slowed to 22 minutes by ECLECTIC, which (for me) “taking a broad view” just didn’t gel as a definition, and by DOLEFUL, which couldn’t be anything else but refused to surrender its parsing. Thanks for finding it easy and sharing the result, Pip, or I still wouldn’t know! I’d still be trying to work out how a graduate was LEFUL.
    Has anyone else worked out how a LIFEBOUY (with or without space or hyphen) is a marine marker? Surely it’s one of those white rings with “Titanic” printed on it the camera pans to in B-movies to signal doom? Or it’s soap.
    1. I thought that too, but rarely get round to checking dictionaries for secondary meanings, particularly as I usually call those things lifebelts.
  8. … can repel or attract, as I find out regularly! Zipped through this until a short hold-up at the end in the south-east, with COD DAWN CHORUS taking a few minutes thought. This led to LOI MESS. 21 minutes. Having had a baker/confectioner mother and now with a wife who loves baking, for which I will be forever thankful, ROYAL ICING was a write-in. I know my place. I’m the DISHWASHER. My team uses LIFEBUOY. And they still stink. Thank you Pip and setter
  9. Quite tough, I thought, taking me 44 minutes. Bamboozled by REMARRY, though I’m probably too old anyway.
  10. Hmm, well I didn’t think it was all that easy. The current SNITCH score of 88 looks about right to me.. slightly on the easier side of average. I also think we need a range of difficulty, which of course must include some easier ones .. your trouble, young Pip, is that you are just too good at solving them. Must be all those TLS ones you’ve been doing 😉

    1. So, easier than average. Some days the lights are on here, some days they’re pretty dim. Yesterday was a toughie, I can’t always whizz through them. And the TLS is often more of a learning curve courtesy of Google, than a solve in vacuo. Young Pip? Not if you’re as young as you feel, no hiking miles up Snowdon for me. Hip job has been put back to Jan 2019 with a change of hospitals.
      We’ll soon be into the TCC season with vintage puzzles on Wednesdays, unless Ed. changes the routine, so that will be a horse of a different kettle of fish.
  11. 30 mins, 12 of which went on DAWN CHORUS. Just couldn’t see it – it took a grinding alphabet trawl on _A_N to finally arrive at ‘dawn’, at which point all was revealed. Needless to say, having figured out that I, R and W were the only serious candidates for letter 3, I trawled in that order, leaving W to the end. I know on another day I would have written this one in without a second thought, as it’s not really a hard clue. I guess the absence of a starter letter in both words added to the problem. Great blog, thanks.
  12. ….DAWN CHORUS, you won’t hear an OWL.

    And you won’t hear much ‘owling from me today, as I saw this off in 14:12 without too much difficulty.


    Biffed ROYAL ICING, thanks for parsing Pip.

    LIFE-BUOY (sic) went in without too much consideration, but post-solve I agree that it doesn’t meet the definition, and isn’t hyphenated. Only hiccup by the setter today though.

    COD DAWN CHORUS, which I needed for LOI MESS.

  13. 10:24, so not exactly hard but not super-easy either.
    I’ve never heard of ROYAL ICING before but now I know why icing sugar is labelled royal icing sugar.
    Like z8 I wondered about the definition at 18ac, which strikes me as plain wrong.
  14. No time as interrupted but not very rather than un-challenging. I’m another who’s not quite happy with the definition of eclectic as taking this and that from here and there is as lLkely to indicate shallow- as broadmindedness. Liked the parsing (which I didn’t get) of 10 and 26.
  15. So that’s what that was all about, thanks Pip. Is Lifebuoy soap still around? Perhaps it’s a bit like Irish Spring which smells so bad it’s supposed to repel mice and deer. It reminded me of Dud and Pete and their Bollard cigarettes. 14.16
      1. Hi there
        I always enjoy the Times for the Times blogs; since I am a beginner and slow learner they are most helpful. But what I would love to know is how I can become a contributor to the blog with a synonym. I have been unable to find a way to do this, so if you can advise I would be very grateful. I don’t even know how I can receive a reply to this message, but my email address is franceswillia@gmail.com. I hope you can help!
        Frances W.
  16. Not the most exciting of puzzles, I’ll grant you, but by no means insultingly easy, either, at least to my mind (one of the fascinations of these puzzles is how much everybody’s mileage varies on the same puzzle). Steady solve with the only long-term hold up being LIFE BUOY, which I wrote in and then removed on the grounds that it clearly didn’t fit the definition; then re-typed because it was even more clearly the intended answer.
  17. LOI DAWN CHORUS as most. There wasn’t much to work with there… also had trouble with DOLEFUL. was working with MALEFIC not being able to remember what it meant so maybe DOLEFIC? Then the penny dropped, but I had to come here to find out about BALEFUL
  18. As a beginner of 15×15 I can say I really enjoyed this. I completed it in 44 mins with only one aid, an alphabet trawl for 29a DAWN CHORUS. The rest of the grid was completed in 36 mins with only OWL biffed. A thumbs up from me for the lack of obscure words.
    1. Well done desdee…. sorry if I sounded a bit dismissive of what some found a good one. Nice avatar, what’s it about?
      1. The avatar in combination with my pseudonym is a clue to my real name.

        I should also say that I very much appreciate the time and effort you put in to the blog. Without the bloggers I think I would have never attempted the 15×15. Your comments translate to doable in my dictionary.

        Edited at 2018-10-10 12:56 pm (UTC)

  19. A merry romp for me, with a MER over LIFE_BUOY, which I was convinced had to be the answer and fitted the wordplay, but didn’t really seem to fit the definition. DOPE was my FOI. SCALE MODEL was my LOI once I realised the second bit wasn’t going to be MEDAL after all. Biffed MAGNETIC NORTH after a brief glance at the anagrist, and also biffed ROYAL ICING. My Mam was a prolific baker too. I seem to have developed a short cut in my brain which screams WATCH whenever I see Hunter in a crossword. Took a while to spot COLON as the Stop at 15a though. I have to say I enjoy the occasional puzzle I can zip through, as well as the chewy ones. 18:59. Thanks setter and Pip.
  20. Just off my PB at 32mins, found this pleasantly straightforward with only DOLEFUL my LOI not quite understood before coming here. No latin and very little historical does not make Mike a DOLE(FUL) (LIFE)BUOY.
  21. As a spaniel owner, when you see hunter you think wellie… This held things up a bit but as a real plodder it was nice to finish a Wednesday puzzle without resort to aids. It gives us slow coaches a boost!
    Thanks for the blog.
  22. 14:29 with two typos.

    I’ve not had a good run of times recently but hopefully I’ll get back on RY after today.

    COD. Dawn Chorus. I was onto this one straight away but it still made me smile. I was also distracted by Birdsong. In Fine nick also slowed me down.

  23. Pip, just ignore the above rude message. Honesty on this site is how it must be so if you found it easy/boring then fine. I occasionally post that I find some clues forced (eg when using abbreviations for horse colours!) , but then I also accept crosswords have a long history along with conventions. I find the occasional easier puzzle a relief so happy to complete in 35mins. I liked Red Herring as it was quite literal for me. Thanks all and I reiterate my thanks to all you bloggers who put in the hard yards.
  24. Would it be possible for the bloggers here to post the answers without the supercilious boasting that accompanies them?

    It’s fine to record your speedy time, and acceptable to opine that you found the solutions simple, but there is really no need to make mocking remarks about wondering whether you had downloaded the quick croasword by mistake.

    Like many who use this site, I suspect, I tackle the Times crossword most days, usually filling some answers in at the first sitting and returning later to attempt the remainder. About half the time I complete it; on other occasions (like today) I hit a wall – quite early today – and come here to read solutions and explanations.

    The experience is not enhanced by the sensation of being sneered at as if my failureto complete the crossword in under 10 minutes makes me some sort of simpleton, and I don’t think that’s very helpful to this online community of fellow enthusiasts.

    It also has the overall effect of making me feel that today’s blogger is behaving like a “Contemptible fellow – aristocrat has nothing to lose” (4)

    1. Abuse from an anonymous commenter is not appreciated, especially the four letter word insult.

      I did say ” I hope I’m not going to cheese off people who found it hard, if any, but it was unsatisfyingly easy and unmemorable.” I can only call it how it was for me. It wasn’t less then ten minutes – my PB is nearer 15 and my usual 20 – 30 minutes. I don’t see how my remarks are ‘mocking’ or ‘sneering’ at anyone. But if offence was taken, accept an apology. And don’t hide behind anonymity, it’s regarded here as rude.

      1. One of the things I’m really proud about when recommending this blog to others is the extraordinary gentleness and urbanity of its participants. Even when we disagree we are generous and polite, and we never, everresort to personal abuse let alone vile tetragrams, however disguised. I hope I speak for all of us when I invite Anon to withdraw his/her “clue” and apologise to Pip, whose contributon, as ever, is highly prized.

      2. Admirably restrained indeed, Pip. I’d have just deleted it, after restraining my instinctive two-word response.
        Needless to say the accusation is complete nonsense and your blogs are always much appreciated.
      3. Pip, I didn’t see this yesterday but let me add my support and thanks for your admirable reply. We must not let such cretins prevent us from expressing our valid and honestly held opinions
  25. Today I had nearly an hour available to do this, albeit sat in my car near Corfe Castle. So, without my normal 30 minute limit, was looking forward to a challenge. Did this in 20 ish minutes including looking for that old biro that fell down behind the seats.
    REMARRY last one in and COD to the noisy birds (although all I heard when I left this morning in the fog was an owl).
  26. Almost done in 15 minutes, but held up for 8 minutes by my last 4 – ROYAL ICING – never heard the term, (and I didn’t know dish for ruin either) ECLECTIC (which was just tricky), DAWN CHORUS (which required a PDM and my COD) and MESS – taking an age to see the missing um… AGE. I thought this was a nice standard difficulty crossword.
  27. I stand by Pip. In the very unlikely event that I got a sub-15 minute time, I would be pleased to share it too. And given that this site is about “Times for the Times”, and given the very variable difficulty of the puzzle from day to day, I think it’s fine to comment on the easiness (or otherwise) of any particular day’s. And fear not, Anonymous – I too used to DNF more often than I F’d, and even now I seldom F anything in less than 25 minutes.

    My time of 28 minutes was nothing to write home about, but then again I’m already at home so it would have been a waste of a postage stamp and envelope in any case. My LoI was DAWN CHORUS, which should written itself in given all the checkers, but didn’t. Hadn’t come across “dish” for “ruin” before.

  28. The QC blog said this was doable so I had a go.
    I managed to get all of it bar Royal Icing (NHO) and Eclectic in about an hour. Enjoyable puzzle I thought.
    Now I’ve got to do something about my Salty Dog ear-worm; I was at The Palladium for Procol Harum last night;still going after 50 years. David
  29. 29:07 a fairly gentle one, still enjoyable though. I managed to hold myself up quite a bit by getting it into my head that the enumeration for 11dn was (5,8) not (8,5) and was very slow to realise it was the other way round. I didn’t parse doleful or remarry properly, like Jakkt my note in the latter was re from the do re me scale and I thought mar must in some way equate to cut. Red herring was a nice clue and dawn chorus a decent pdm at the end.
  30. I got through a bit more quickly than the usual time it takes, but not a total breeze. DAWN CHORUS was LOI for me, helped by the checking letters. And we call the circle thingy a life preserver, so that caused a pause for thought. Anonymous should refer himself to the “About this blog” tab above, indicating the original of this forum purpose was to compare times. I second the comment that one of the outstanding features of TfTT is the civility of the bloggers and other participants, collectively a refreshingly polite crowd of folks. Regards.
  31. DNF for me. I put ECCENTRIC at 16a and meant to come back and check, then I didn’t notice when later I filled in the crossign clue (I forget what it was) that the letters didn’t match up. Otherwise quite fast.
  32. So it wasn’t DAWN CHIRPS? Obviously, I didn’t finish correctly, but my version fits the clue much better. It is what you get up to, and when you tweet, you do dawn chirps, no?

    Yes, DAWN CHORUS is perhaps a more familiar expression, but only if you can manage to think of it at all!

  33. I sometimes finish the two Times cryptics which appear in The Australian each weekend, but even when I do finish, I am amazed at how quickly some of you folks got it done!

    However, one point I would make is that I am surprised ‘anonymous’ is an option, in light of comments made here. But it appears to be, as I have no idea how I would become a ‘crossword contributor’, with a name and a persona! And the other thing? Sometimes I want to say ‘there were some tough clues there for an Aussie’, even one born in the UK!

Comments are closed.