Times 27183 – word play and word work

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I didn’t dislike this puzzle, but wasn’t enjoying it a lot either; nothing was particularly obscure except 1a which was clear enough from wordplay, but somehow it seemed more like work than fun. I’m not fond of onomatopoeic exclamations, often spelt in different ways, as clueing words. Perhaps it was just the cold weather. Around 24 minutes, with five more to see how 28a and 20d actually worked. I think 28a gets my CoD although once you see the meaning of ‘completely borderless’ it’s cracked.

1 Singer not allowed to be heard in transmission of sorts (8)
BASEBAND – It sounds like BASS (singer) and BANNED (not allowed). Well, it’s not the same as broadband, but it’s something like that to do with radio waves and modulating and carrier frequencies. I didn’t know the detail, but once I’d decided it wasn’t just BASSBAND and both words were homophones, I plumped correctly.
5 Mate excitedly clutches extremely useful trinket (6)
AMULET – Insert U L being ‘extremely useful’ into (MALE)*.
10 Question master in quiz broadcast between Greek and Italian men (5,10)
GRAND INQUISITOR – Assemble as follows: GR = Greek, AND IT = Italian, OR = men, ordinary ranks; insert IN and QUIS which sounds like (i.e. as broadcast) QUIZ. The Grand Inquisitor as at the Spanish Inquisition, and in a poem on that subject in Doskoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov.
11 Model Charley and Pat constructed (10)
ARCHETYPAL – (CHARLEY PAT)*, model as an adjective.
13 Function of heads of state in Near East (4)
SINE – Initial letters of S tate I n N ear E ast. Trig function.
15 Front torn off, making alterations to decorative fabric (7)
HANGING – Take the front off CHANGING = making alterations to, HANGING as in wall hanging.
17 Like colour of North African city, grey? Not right (7)
ORANGEY – ORAN is a large city in Algeria, GREY loses its R. Sandy more than orangey, I’d expect.
18 Wife wants absolute guarantee (7)
WARRANT – ARRANT = absolute, as in arrant nonsense; add a W for wife.
19 Escorted solicitor round old fair (4,3)
TOOK OUT – A TOUT is your solicitor, not the old family retainer; put him around O for old and OK for fair.
21 Detective frequently spotted in school canteen? (4)
DICK – Double definition, one being slang for detective, the other SPOTTED DICK is or was a sponge pudding with currants in it to make it look spotted. Not at my school, sadly.
22 Entreat her, nastily intimidating one (10)
25 Perky neighbour in a street in south coast town (6,2,1,6)
BRIGHT AS A BUTTON – Take A ST (street), insert ABUT = neighbour into ST, insert ASABUTT into BRIGHT/ON. Brighton and Hove is / are a city, but I presume Brighton alone is still thought to be a town.
27 Yikes! No turning back for statesman (6)
YANKEE – Reverse EEK ! (Yikes!) and NAY (no) to get this ‘States man’. I’m not a fan of clues like this which rely on odd exclamations and statesman lower case as a definition for an American.
28 Close friend frequently mislaying ring before journey (5,3)
ALTER EGO – After ‘second self’ Collins does give ‘a very close and intimate friend’ as another meaning, so I can’t complain about the definition, although I’ve never heard it used that way. To get there, I think it’s A LOT = frequently, mislay an O for ring, then ERE = before, then GO for journey. A L(O)T ERE GO.

1 Husband noticed gossip standing up in laundry (7)
BAGWASH – All reversed, is H SAW GAB = husband noticed gossip. I understand a bagwash includes a laundry process without pressing after washing.
2 Country with no popular resort (3)
SPA – IN = popular, so delete in from SPAIN. I went fruitlessly to BENIN and INDIA before getting to Spain.
3 Maybe one moving round capital city gets the bird (10)
BUDGERIGAR – Had we not had this recently, not exactly sure where, (Sunday?) I would have taken longer, but it was a write-in; BUDGER = one moving, maybe; insert RIGA Latvia’s capital.
4 Fool suggesting somewhere to eat in Times Square? (5)
NINNY – An INN in NY would be somewhere to eat in Times Square.
6 Somewhere to eat in Times Square (4)
MESS – Hidden but not very, in TI(MES S)QUARE.
7 Drop in property rental is disappointing (7,4)
LETTING DOWN – Double definition, one cryptic.
8 Dry, short reference penned by politician (7)
TORREFY – REF(erence) inside TORY.
9 Publish a book in anger (3,5)
PUT ABOUT – If you PUT someone OUT, you could anger them; insert A B(ook).
12 Notice of delivery agreement: I prematurely terminated one (11)
CONTRACTION – CONTRACT = agreement, I, ON(E). A wittier definition.
14 Kid coming in to consider employment as story-teller (10)
RACONTEUSE – CON = kid, insert into RATE = consider, add USE = employment. A lady story teller is now called a raconteur I assume, not a raconteuse, as we no longer have actresses and chairwomen.
16 What new school must first do to make progress (3,5)
GET AHEAD – A new school has to GET a HEAD(master / mistress)..
18 Geezer extremely wary about fish smell (4,3)
WIDE BOY – W Y = extremely wary, insert IDE a fish and BO = body odour. Arthur Daley, for example. In my book a geezer doesn”t have to be ‘wide’, it’s just a slang alternative for a chap, guy, bloke. Dodgy geezer, now yer talkin’ wide.
20 Storm cone atop completely borderless city (7)
TORONTO – No tornados, storm signals or things atop things are needed; take the first and last letters from each word = completely borderless, as in s TOR m   c ON e   a TO p.
23 One way to dispose of European dog (1-4)
E-TAIL – E for European, TAIL = dog, follow. To sell or dispose of something you could RETAIL or E-TAIL it online.
24 Here we go — breathing with difficulty, lacking energy (4)
WHEE – WHEEZING loses its ZING. Another of those clues I don’t much like.
26 Article you once left incomplete (3)
THE – THEE = you, once; when incomplete loses an E.

40 comments on “Times 27183 – word play and word work”

  1. It seemed just a little harder, and thus was more interesting, than the past two days’, yet nothing hung me up very long. My last ones in (right after TORREFY) were BASEBAND and BAGWASH, neither of which (especially the second) rang a bell. I don’t have a problem with EEK or WHEE, both of which I’d say are well-established elements of the language. COD 12 down.
  2. Yes, my eyebrows got some exercise whilst I was solving this but somehow I managed to complete it all correctly in 42 minutes.

    Unknowns were BASEBAND, TORREFY and ETAIL. I vaguely remembered BAGWASH, though knew not what it was, and lost time with WASHBAG until checkers came to my rescue.

    10ac relies on a homophone (quiz) of a component of the answer which taken in isolation (QUIS) is not pronounced as the homophone. Is this a first? Is it fair? Seems to me it could open up a whole new range of options for setters!

    Edited at 2018-10-31 06:20 am (UTC)

    1. Forgot to mention that ORAN is the name of one of the QC setters. He turns up only very occasionally (18 puzzles since April 2014) but his most recent outing was on the 19th of this month.
    2. Not a first by a long chalk – I’ve seen it a few times, and have done it myself (e.g. in Listener 3983 where MILIEU was clued as ‘That is OK for snobs after announcing dinner setting’)
      1. Thanks. I was specifically thinking of Times cryptics which have their own individual style and wondering whether other agree that today’s clue was a departure from the norm which I feel it is. It may well have happened from time to time, but it must be very rare or after 10+ years of blogging for TftT I’d be likely to be more aware of it as a possibility.
  3. Not on it, though I do know baseband. A slow almost 30 mins. It was torrefy which really troubled me, a never-heard-of which just didn’t sound right. That and dyslexically trying to make 18ac format as (4,3). Liked the “notice of delivery.” Coincidence of the day was Oran, having just read an article on the new Real Madrid coach describing their imminent trip to the Spanish enclave of Melilla in north Africa for a cup game. Didn’t realise Spain had any such enclaves, looked it up, and noticed Oran just up the coast from it.
      1. Well, I’m not British so I’d reckon Melilla is part of Morocco and Gibraltar is part of Spain and both Britain and Spain are being stupidly childish trying to claim otherwise. But that’s just me, you may think differently.
        But yes, international – and national – politics is full of hypocrisy, cant, lying, and absolutely vile protagonists. Seems the end of western democracy is imminent.
  4. DNF in 31 mins. 3 wrong. Bog wash for Bagwash, E-Mail for E-Tail and Raconteure for Raconteuse
  5. 37m, in a slow but steady progression from FOI 1a BASEBAND to LOI 24d WHEE. Took a while to see 3d BUDGERIGAR and, unaccountably, 16d’s cracker-joke of GET AHEAD. Took longer to convince myself that 8d TORREFY was really a word.

    One of those puzzles I could’ve come a cropper on if I were feeling less confident, I think, but luckily I was in the right mood today.

  6. 30 mins with yoghurt, banana, etc.
    I liked this much more than Pip. It has some nice wordplay elements (e.g. completely borderless, frequently mislaying ring, fish smell) and neat definitions (e.g. statesman, notice of delivery).
    Mostly I liked the examples above – plus COD to the Perky neighbour, excellent cluing.
    Thanks setter and Pip.

    PS Eating in Times Square duplication is worthy of an honourable mention too, IMO.

    Edited at 2018-10-31 08:17 am (UTC)

  7. Couldn’t see BASE and BAG so, after an alphabet trawl, came here to find the answer (thanks, Pip). DNK TORREFY or E-TAIL. Didn’t like YANKEE and GRAND INQUISITOR. COD to CONTRACTION.
  8. Much enjoyed this, tricksy but fair.
    Torrefaction is what is done to coffee beans, to get instant.
    Confession time: I put bassband. I would have preferred baseband had I thought of it, but I didn’t.
    1. I believe torrefaction is the roasting process that turns green coffee beans into black beans for preservation, flavour and ease of grinding.

      Edited at 2018-10-31 08:45 am (UTC)

  9. 15:03. I found this partly very enjoyable, and partly rather annoying. For the enjoyable parts, see myrtilus above. The annoying stuff included the crossing funny words at 1ac and 1dn: I confess I looked the former up to resolve the ambiguous wordplay, even if BASE seemed marginally more likely.
    I also had reservations about ‘statesman’ with a lower-case S. If it’s meant as a reference to the US I would say the capital is required, so I have to read it as meaning ‘a man from certain states but not others’, which is a bit awkward.
    And I share jackkt’s dislike of the homophone element of 10ac.
    TORREFY is a word I associate with coffee.
  10. “E-TAIL To be honest, I only believe this because the cryptic is so explicit: L(eft), I(nvestors) and worried ATE all reversed. Presumably by analogy with retail, but I’d rather not look it up. Barbaric.” Me, back in July, which is how I abandoned the more obvious E-MAIL and put in the right answer at 23. My opinion hasn’t changed.
    24 minutes for the whole thing with TORREFY unknown but workable (I’ve never had to make my own instant coffee). BAGWASH and BASEBAND both plausible additions to the vocab.
    “Notice of delivery” worth the price of entry (and the grimaces elsewhere), though I wonder if those who have experience may find the offhand description irksome.
    Delightful blogging – cheers!
  11. From the editor:
    What would be unfair would be if QUIS was pronounced as such in the answer, but it isn’t of course, so provided you don’t mind parts of answers clued as homophones then it’s perfectly fair.
    1. Thanks for taking the trouble to reply and I’m certainly with you on your first point, but I’m having difficulty at the moment recalling how frequently (if at all) we have had parts of answers as homophones, so I shall think on it some more. Perhaps others will comment on that one.
      1. The slight difficulty I have with this one is that we are generally expected to consider each wordplay element independently of its context in the clue. So for instance when considering the capitalisation of non-proper nouns in the middle of a clue we are required to take the word in isolation and recognise that it can be capitalised at the beginning of a sentence. Here we are being asked to do the opposite: interpret a wordplay element (QUIS) on the basis of its pronounciation in context.
        I’m not desperately bothered about this but it does induce minor eyebrow-raising.
      1. Is the partial homophone not Michael MacDonald-Cooper’s last refuge of a scoundrel? Something like that!

        I enjoyed the puzzle actually, it was engaging, fun, and well-written.

  12. After 25 minutes, I cheerfully biffed YANKEE without parsing and was left gazing at a correct set of answers, apart from E-MAIL and TERSELY for 8d, both of which I knew were wrong. I changed It to E-TAIL with a shrug but then was another 5 minutes constructing the unknown TORREFY, so just over the half hour. DNK BASEBAND but it fitted once I came up with BAGWASH, a concept I vaguely remembered. COD to CONTRACTION. Thank you Pip and setter.
  13. 19m for me today. Doing my best to practise for Saturday morning! Like others, I was iffy about ‘torrefy’ but it had to be that; baseband very familiar as I studied communications engineering in the dim and distant. No problems with the clueing of ‘grand inquisitor’ even though he wasn’t expected.
    A very enjoyable solve; thanks Pip for clarifying ‘alter ego’ which I just biffed.
  14. Thought this was going to be a third doddle in a row, only to grind to a halt in the southeast corner. E-tail (LOI), Toronto and Alter Ego took ten minutes – though when one fell they all did. Had to guess Bagwash and Baseband, and a fair few were bunged in without me really knowing why. French helped ( as it often does) with 8 down – Torréfaction is what they do to coffee.
  15. Having seen a reference, from Will in the QC blog, to the recent sad passing of David Crossland aka, Dac/Flamande/Smokey this morning, I also spotted a Tweet from Richard Rogan, aka timescrosswords, mentioning that by coincidence, today’s 15×15 was one of David’s last puzzles, so I approached it with a bit of sadness. I quite enjoyed the puzzle, despite a couple of unfamiliar words, which I managed to solve from wordplay: TORREFY and BAGWASH as it happens. BASEBAND was a familiar word to me as a former computer/network engineer. Loved “notice of delivery” and NINNY. BUDGERIGAR we’ve had quite recently somewhere. No issues with WHEE and YANKEE, for which I biffed YONKER at first, but then saw the correct parsing. Thanks to David, for the puzzle, and to Pip for the blog.
  16. ….if I’m to have a spotted DICK” That’s quite enough of that one !


    I had three unknowns, two of them crossing, but like Pip I plumped correctly for BASEBAND. I whimsically thought BAGWASH might be a compilation on CBBC featuring the best of Bagpuss and Captain Pugwash. Fortunately, TORREFY was parsed immediately.

    Luckily I knew E-TAIL, so didn’t get stuck up the Amazon without a paddle.

    LOI DICK, immediately after COD CONTRACTION. Finished in 8:11 with a few smiles along the way.

  17. 32 mins, so not easy, but not too hard either. LOI TORREFY, when eventually I looked it up to see if such a word exists. I didn’t like the def for ORANGEY — just naff. But I was enchanted by ‘completely borderless’ in 20d and, though it wasn’t hard to biff, the wordplay for DICK was jolly good. And I think the ‘in quiz’ as a homophonic element for INQUIS-itor is fine. What is unusual about it is that the literal characters of the homophone are present in the clue, when normally (cf. BASEBAND = bass + banned = singer + not allowed) the solver is required to find an appropriate near-synonym before testing the homophony.

    Thanks for the blog, and thanks to the setter.

  18. 17 minutes, but after getting stuck on 20dn (thanks for parsing), biffed TORNADO and submitted without noticing it made 25ac wrong. I did recall 1ac and 1dn, which put me on the right track for 10ac (‘Greek’ had suggested CHIef to start with).
  19. There had to be a wash in there somewhere and I spent time with “hogwash”. The only connection I knew of with BAGWASH was a character called Nausea B from an old radio show called Bandwaggon with Arthur Askey that my parents used to go on (and on ) about on long car trips. Several I skipped parsing (the inquisitor and the alter ego, thanks Pip) which tends to leave me feeling a bit meh – not the fault of the setter I hasten to say and may he RIP.

    I also took a long time to arrive at BASEBAND because I was looking for some sort of barred bird to turn up. I really do not recommend eating anywhere in Times Square – or even going there if you can avoid it. Good clues though. 20.33

    Edited at 2018-10-31 11:24 am (UTC)

  20. 18 minutes but, in my numpty-esque theme of the week managed to submit without adding to the leaderboard.

    I actually do worry myself sometimes..

  21. I struggled to get on the wavelength here, and had the obviously commonplace difficulties with BASEBAND and whether it might be BASSBAND, and 8dn, where the Latin root gave me a word which I’ve never knowingly encountered in English. 20dn was clever, and it was nice to find wordplay where “energy” was something other than E.
  22. 15:38, but had to rely on wordplay for unknown BAGWASH and only vaguely remembered TORREFY. I enjoyed this more than our blogger. Joint COD to DICK the YANKEE WIDE BOY.

    Edited at 2018-10-31 01:33 pm (UTC)

  23. 45 mins on the online club but I once again had to rely on the wordplay for my LOI 1a BASEBAND and also for 8d TORREFY (both DNKs). I also biffed 24d WHEE and had to look up the meaning of arrant before settling on 18a WARRANT. E-TAIL has also cropped up recently and I didn’t like it then and I still don’t like it now but thankfully resisted writing in e-mail.

    Edited at 2018-10-31 04:05 pm (UTC)

  24. More tricky than those earlier in the week. Needed to rely on the wordplay alone for the unknowns at BASEBAND and BAGWASH. And I confess to reaching TORREFY from wordplay (as LOI), but looking it up before entering it. Apparently I’m not up to speed with coffee processing terminology. About 35 minutes more or less. Regards.
  25. I thought this was a lovely crossword, full of nice things. But I would, wouldn’t I, being a fully paid-up member of the Dac appreciation society. He was in my opinion one of the very best setters, better than some who have received far greater adulation. Because his Times crosswords have been anonymous people may not have been aware of him, but over the years he produced hundreds of crosswords for the Indy under the name Dac, so I recommend the i, where his crosswords still appear. After his sad death at the weekend it would be a fitting memorial to him if a book of his best offerings could be produced; but that would be difficult, since Homer never nodded.

    Edited at 2018-10-31 06:35 pm (UTC)

  26. 10:45 for a late solve as part of of a set of 3 as practice. Peaking at the right time or just too early?

    I was staggered to find that TORREFY was correct and I wasn’t too sure about BASEBAND come to that. I’m in the “enjoyed it” camp, especially the definition for CONTRACTION.

  27. DNF. Bah! My error was bass instead of base at the unknown 1ac. After the Monday and Tuesday strolls in the park this one required a bit more elbow grease. It took a long time to see that dry was a verb not an adjective in 8dn and to enter the unfamiliar torrefy (what former Liverpool striker Fernando Torres used to do to Premier League defences – and stopped doing as soon as he moved to Chelsea?). My dick was not spotted so to speak for quite a while. Alter ego unparsed so thanks for explaining.

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