Times 27189 – more of a cat’s breakfast.

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I enjoyed this one. It has some novel wordplay, only two anagrams, a couple of cats, no obscure antelopes or plants, a bit of French geography, and a reference to one of my favourite bands. It took me around 25 minutes to do and parse before writing this up. As usual I was prompted to look up origins of things afterwards, on my endless search for new trivia to absorb for quizzes, so forgive me if I waffle on here and there. Maybe I’ll have a waffle for breakfast tomorrow  instead of 29a.

1 Naughty Zulus stop talking! (6)
IMPISH –  The IMPI (or an IMPI) are (is) a band of Zulu warriors; SH ! = stop talking.
4 Hiccup interrupting, say, Persian talk (8)
CHITCHAT – A Persian, say = CAT, insert HITCH = hiccup.
10 Because of every other character leaving jobless, take industrial action (4,5)
DOWN TOOLS – Because of = DOWN TO, O L S = alternate letters of j O b L e S s.
11 One creeping on round, sheepish? (5)
OVINE – O = round, VINE = one creeping.
12 Be deceiving: a protracted row starts (6,5)
STRING ALONG – A LONG = a protracted; STRING = row.
14 Dish in constant use, ultimately (3)
PIE – PI = constant, π; E = use ultimately. The other day I foolishly asked Alexa to tell me π to 1000 decimal places, I had to tell her to shut up before the end. But she knows! Try it if you’re lonely or can’t sleep.
15 Asylum seeker to cater for again, mostly, embracing universal good (7)
REFUGEE – RE-FEED would be to cater for again; delete the D (as in mostly) and insert U ang G for universal good.
17 Queen’s issue clear, one requiring king’s backing (6)
KITTEN – Regulars know that Queen in puzzles often refers to a lady cat. Clear = NETT, I, K, all reversed.
19 Back of garden behind houses in French city (6)
NANTES – Your NATES are your buttocks, from the Latin plural, insert N being the back of garden. I went to a few six lettered French cities ending in S, (Cannes, Rennes, Vannes, Tarbes, Troyes, Amiens…) before seeing why  it was Nantes, which is France’s sixth largest city, on the Loire, a thriving place and pleasant enough to visit.
21 Introduce first of paratroopers, then withdraw (7)
PRECEDE – P(aratroopers), RECEDE = withdraw. My hair withdrew 40 years ago.
23 That girl’s pa has lost weight? (3)
HER – FATHER = pa, no longer has FAT, so has lost weight.
24 Lip, with cheek very close (4,3,4)
NECK AND NECK – Both lip and cheek can mean neck.
26 Cash in silver, instantly withdrawn (5)
WONGA – Reverse AG = silver, NOW = instantly. Apparently (says Wiktionary) Wonga derives from wongar or wangar, Romany word for coal, and coal itself was also used as a slang word for money in the 18c and 19c.
27 Complex, getting neighbouring Greek island to squeeze in (9)
BYZANTINE – BY = neighbouring, ZANTE is a lovely Greek island (also known as Zakynthos), insert (“squeeze”) IN. The complex meaning seems to derive directly from either the architecture (many mosaics) or the complex layers of government which existed in the Byzantine Empire.
29 Breakfast is not a sausage, also refusing alcohol, in mess (8)
OMELETTE – O = not a sausage, nothing; TT = refusing alcohol, inside MELÉE = mess. I don’t much like this definition, an omelette is not exclusively, or even mainly, a breakfast dish. The spelling -ette is the usual British and omelet is more American, although both are permitted either side of the ocean it seems. A rather strange clue IMO.
30 Place where a long tooth shortened, by the way (6)
STATUS – ST = street, way; A TUS(K).

1 Asian runner getting taste for work (8)
INDUSTRY – The river INDUS runs 2,880 km through Asia, and TRY = taste.
2 Influence someone £0.01 overdrawn? (5)
POWER – Well if someone is a P OWER they owe someone else a penny, I suppose, so are that overdrawn.
3 Some dipso then? (3)
SOT – Hidden in DIP(SO T)HEN.
5 Cushion can keep foot warm? (7)
HASSOCK – A foot which HAS SOCK should be warmer.
6 Interpret ideas, however ahead of the pace (7-4)
THOUGHT-READ – However – THOUGH, TREAD = pace. Not sure the definition is quite on the money.
7 Rug is cheaper one I replaced (9)
HAIRPIECE – an anagram at last. (CHEAPER I I)*.
8 Ancient city, above all, unfinished (6)
THEBES – Above all = THE BEST, unfinish it.
9 Heart of gold in fellow (6)
MORALE – OR = gold inside MALE.
13 About to appear, sense of anticipation overwhelming a singer (11)
NIGHTINGALE – NIGH = about to appear, a TINGLE could be of anticipation, insert A (i.e. A is overwhelmed).
16 Bouquet guy found in Bordeaux, perhaps? (9)
FRAGRANCE – RAG = guy, tease, insert into FRANCE where Bordeaux definitely is.
18 Liking snakes, we must be crazy (8)
20 After pillage, save brass instrument (7)
SACKBUT – SACK = pillage, BUT = save, as in but for, save for. Seen a few times before.
21 Square food item topped, article covered (6)
PIAZZA – a PIZZA is a ‘food item topped’ and it covers A an article.
22 Band still in fashion? On the contrary (3,3)
THE WHO – Well, I still like them,at least the original band’s stuff if not the reconstituted version. I even use the intro to ‘Won’t get fooled again’ as a ring tone, to annoy Mrs K. If they were out of fashion and forgotten and someone mentioned them, I guess you might say ‘THE WHO?’ At least I think that’s where the setter is going with this. EDIT thanks to Paul below, we now see there’s even more to this, or at least a proposal to that effect. Very clever.
25 Number in team half lost after capsizing, survive (5)
EXIST – Put SIX (a number) into TE(AM) = team half lost, then capsize or reverse it all. E(XIS)T.
28 Fastener, one with screw loose? (3)
NUT – Double definition, one whimsical.

98 comments on “Times 27189 – more of a cat’s breakfast.”

  1. The trouble with the FRAGRANCE clue is that Bordeaux does not equal France, as far as I can tell.
    1. Wot ulaca said, and if one is ‘in Bordeaux’ as the clue has it, one is undeniably in France as is RAG in the answer.
    2. I don’t think the clue requires Bordeaux to equal France: F[RAG]ANCE is RAG in FRANCE and ‘in Bordeaux’ is an example of ‘in FRANCE’. It requires a bit of a leap between the surface reading and wordplay but we see a similar trick quite often in clues that indicate something contained in RED as being ‘in debt’, where ‘debt’ doesn’t (in isolation) equal RED.
      1. I think we’re saying much the same thing here, but as ‘in France’ is in the clue here it’s not much of a leap.
        1. Yes the link is a little more direct but ‘Bordeaux’ doesn’t mean FRANCE any more than ‘debt’ means RED, so to that extent ‘former pupil in debt’ is to ROBED as ‘guy in Bordeaux, perhaps’ is to FRAGRANCE.
          1. But ‘in debt’ is equivalent to ‘in [the] red’ in a way in which ‘in Bordeaux’ is not equivalent to ‘in France’. There the equivalence would be found in ‘town/place in France’.
            1. The question element of the clue is important: in Bordeaux, perhaps? = in Bordeaux, for example = in France.
              A real pedant might argue that ‘the’ in the phrase ‘in the red’ is more problematic.

              Edited at 2018-11-07 11:49 am (UTC)

        1. Yes, the crucial ingredient is the QM, if that’s what penge_guin is saying. Then a guy in Bordeaux is unarguably a RAG in FRANCE.
      2. I think it’s somewhat different (and certainly less felicitous) than your example. There you have words from different lexical fields (at least on the surface) being cunningly manipulated to good, sportive effect; here we have a simple case of synecdoche leading to some confusion.
        1. The difference is just that in one you have to make a leap between a geographical concept (being in Bordeaux/France) and a wordplay construction, whereas in the other you have to make a leap between a idiomatic concept (being in the red/in debt) and a wordplay construction. It’s still a little conceptual leap that is required because Bordeaux doesn’t mean FRANCE (even as a definition by example) and debt doesn’t mean RED.
          For the avoidance of doubt I have absolutely no problem with the clue!
            1. I just presumed the “guy” was me.

              Thank You to every contributor for all the help this year.

              Gra (not in France)

  2. A number of DNKs and ?s, some of the latter finally disappearing when I went through it after submitting, like 10ac and 17ac–I’d forgotten about the TT in NETT (we have just one). NHO WONGA, and guessed THE WHO works as Pip says. I had trouble with EXIST, since I was taking XI as the number, and couldn’t think what EST would be half of. DNK ZANTE. COD maybe to NANTES (another one I couldn’t parse until post submission; I was working with the wrong N).
    1. Not so numbskullish now at all, I see, but an omen that next year I too might make the Championships????
      1. I had HORACE too. An error I didn’t mention in detail in my earlier comment because I thought I’d be alone!
  3. I struggled with the last two answers (9 and 18)and as my solving time approached an hour I bunged in what I had, hoping for the best, and both guesses turned out to be incorrect. Note to self: If an answer won’t parse it’s more than likely wrong. I won’t embarrass myself further other than to say I have no idea how I missed that 18dn was an anagram. On refelection, I think maybe I considered it but miscounted the possible grist and dismissed the idea.

    I made the same mistake as Kevin when trying to parse EXIST and I also had not heard of ZANTE.

  4. I think THE WHO works by being HEW (fashion) in THO (still). With the last bit of the clue saying they go in the other way around from what the first part of the clue says.

    I found this a great crossword. Did it in two sittings (not because I got stuck but I had to get off mute on a conference call).

    Edited at 2018-11-07 07:10 am (UTC)

  5. I have a feeling I may be in exactly the same camp as Jackkt here for 18d. I’d correctly biffed quite a few others without understanding the wordplay (not knowing the Latin buttocks, for example) and I was already at 53 minutes, so I didn’t double-check…
  6. 25:23. I found this mostly straightforward but then got badly stuck in the NE corner and then completely stuck on 9dn. I came close to bungling in HORACE, just on the basis of ‘fellow’, but eventually saw the right answer. It seems so obvious now.
  7. 43 minutes, helped by IMPI(SH) suddenly hitting me out of nowhere, when I was slow to get going. I can remember COD DOWN TOOLS being the instruction to the men in one of the Carry On films when the demands being placed on them by the women were too great. I didn’t parse NANTES, nates not being that familiar a word. I thought it was my elbow. Good puzzle. Thank you Pip and setter.

    Edited at 2018-11-07 08:38 am (UTC)

      1. The Lion of Vienna in an LMS maroon carriage on Sunday, May 4, 1958 at Euston Station, I think.
    1. Sorry BW – I can’t resist this …

      … does this mean you can’t tell your “nates” from our elbow?

      1. There’s me thinking I’m a comedian and I still end up as the butt of the joke
      2. Welcome to real time, npbull! I may be doing you a disservice but I only recall seeing your name with regard to past puzzles where you are doing sterling work picking up the slack from the days when TftT bloggers were obliged not to parse every clue. And long may your efforts continue.
        1. Thanks Jack – I am a regular reader here but, by the time I have finished the daily 15×15, most things have already been said. However I could not let BW’s very fine subtle jest go un-noticed. I’m on to Mon 27 Oct 2008 right now.
          1. Thank you, npb. That’s not quite how Mrs BW reacts to my jokes! Or were you rolling your eyes too?
              1. I think it was Ken Goodwin on The Comedians who would say, “I’m too good for this place.” I can’t say my solving times bear that out though!
                1. I saw BW’s little jest, very droll, but thought I’d e told off again for promoting it!
  8. I was surprised to see The Who appear. Doesn’t the living persons rule apply to bands? Or do a certain proportion of the members have to be dead to count? Not that I’m complaining – it’s good to see some lowbrow culture that I’m familiar with.

    I spent quite some time looking for an item of food I could remove the first letter from for ‘food item topped’ so well done the setter for the misdirection!

    1. I think we had a discussion about this many years ago and IIRC it was established that groups of people are excepted from must-be-living convention.
      1. I have a feeling this applies to ‘a living person’. So Roger Daltrey not allowed, The Who okay. Or indeed Keith Moon or John Entwistle okay.
        1. IIRC, the clue on that occasion involved ABBA, and I think the ruling from the Times style guide was that collective bodies such as bands are fair game, regardless of whether the members are alive or dead.
  9. 22.43, considerably slowed mostly by the right hand side. MORALE was my last in: that’s another nasty set of crossing letters, even if you you surmise the O is followed by an R.
    I tried ICE for 14ac, i’ for IN, C for constant, E as given. It works, though didn’t quite feel right and I was relieved when the P became unavoidable.
    I suspect there are enough Greek islands to furnish most random letters required by setters. As is my wont, I visited the place through Streetview post solve: looks pleasant enough.
    I very rarely have omelette for breakfast at home, but most hotels I’ve stayed in have it as a standard item. Even then, it’s really only part of breakfast, unless the hotel has run out of the other bits.

    Edited at 2018-11-07 09:12 am (UTC)

  10. Dnf – one wrong. All but 9 down completed in 19:43. I couldn’t see MORALE and went for MORATE, having discarded Dave as an unlikely fellow.


  11. ….WHO are you ? THE WHO deserved a medal for getting songs about cross-dressing (I’m a Boy), and masturbation (Pictures of Lily) past the BBC censors in the late 60’s. Always one of my favourite bands. If I had to pare my collection of 1000 or so CD’s down to 10, “Who’s Next” would certainly be one of them.

    TIME 12:20

    There were a number of COD near misses in this excellent puzzle – I quite enjoyed NANTES (a “bum” clue in a good way), and OMELETTE (with Blue Stilton – yum !)

    Thanks to Pip for clearing up EXIST

  12. 23:17 After a fast start I went completely blank for a while and then clawed my way back in. Never did parse THE WHO and OMELETTE was one of several that went in with a ?? rather than absolute confidence. I am pleased to have got there but I can’t say I enjoyed it much.
  13. I seemed to be on the wavelength for this one with very little stringing me along. A lot of clues showed the setter in an impish mood and raised a few smiles from me. The Byzantine nature of 22d, as decoded by Paul, passed me by. My morale was raised by an early spot of 9d, assisted by the thought that “of gold” could be jocularly described as OR-AL, but why is ME a fellow? At which point all became clear. 4a helped with a bit of lateral thinking for KITTEN. I’d come across NATES for behind in one of Hoskins Indy puzzles, so eventually spotted the parsing for NANTES. 24:39. An enjoyable puzzle adding to the feeling of bonhomie induced by my trip to South Shields to see Ralph McTell in concert last night. Thanks setter and Pip.
  14. Good middle of the road offering slightly spoiled by the definitions at THOUGHT READ and OMELETTE, both of which are way off beam. Thanks to Paul for parsing THE WHO – very clever setting.

    DOWN TOOLS was common in the 1970s and was sometimes done in a very destructive manner with operators encouraged by union convenors hitting the emergency stop buttons on power tools often wrecking the work in progress if not the tool itself.

    1. The work force is disgusted, downs tools, walks….(Dire Straits : Industrial Disease).
      1. Sadly Philip it frequently had little to do with disgust and much to do with power politics
  15. 28 minutes with ten of the blasted things on 9 down. Why do the most obvious things become obscure when it’s the last clue? COD has got to be 22 down. Wonderful. I too remain a fan of their original stuff, in particular the Live at Leeds album.
  16. The Who rightly picked out by many as CoD IMO, in a very good puzzle. I’d like to put a vote in for OVINE however, liked that a lot too.
  17. I also enjoyed this. I’m not sure of my time but I completed it well within the hour. I think I enjoyed it because I did not use any aids. The last ones to fall were 18d WEAKNESS due to a wrong checker from 21a for which I had initially biffed ‘present’ and 24a NECK AND NECK which was obvious when I finally got there.
  18. 30’40. No problem with clues for thought-read and omelette. There’s a wavering touch of latitude that needs to be allowed in the majority of crossword definitions as they apply to the world about us, in which if we don’t have an omelette for breakfast we probably know a chap who does. (Wonga seemed a stretch, mind.) Forgot the nates and never knew Zante but they seemed right, once I’d got out of Cannes for the former. Nice work, setter.
      1. Oh sure; it’s just the word’s currency,so to speak. I believe ‘rhino’ was cruciverbal for ‘cash’ of yore; would it be now?
        1. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered ‘rhino’ outside crosswords. Wonga, on the other hand, is pretty common in my experience.
          1. I was delighted to spot “rhino” being used as a word for money in a Doctor Who episode (some time last year, I think.) The character who used it was among a group of Napoleonic-era soldiers, from from I recall, but at least it was spotted “in the wild” on modern telly…

            Edit: Aha! It was Empress of Mars (season 10 ep 9):

            JACKDAW: Oh, go on. Be a sport. You’ll get your share of the rhino, I promise!

            Edited at 2018-11-07 05:15 pm (UTC)

          2. Your experience is broader than mine… I’m glad to withdraw my reservation about the word, as now I have none about the whole puzzle.
            1. Not broader, I’m sure. Just different, and perhaps a generational thing that I’m at the older end of. They named a whole company after the word ‘wonga’ so it is clearly very familiar to a certain demographic.

              Edited at 2018-11-07 10:37 pm (UTC)

  19. I liked lots of this one: NECK = lip = cheek was very neat. OVINE jolly good, too. THE WHO, excellent clue. (I never had any interest in the music of that band when I was a kid, and I was always baffled by the strange album title — why tell me where they live? and anyway I thought they all lived around the London area.) MORALE one of my first ones in, very straightforward. The cities, French NANTES and ancient THEBES went straight in so I must have been on the wavelength. LOI was EXIST, and I couldn’t parse it: like others I wanted the team to be XI. Agreed that OMELETTE = breakfast is a dodgy def. 40 mins.

    Superb blog, Pip — many thanks.

    Edited at 2018-11-07 10:57 am (UTC)

  20. Same trouble as others with this – *o*a*e not being particularly promising. I spent time staring in disbelief at “molate” (OL=heart of gold in MATE=fellow, no I don’t think so). Light dawned in the end.

    The juxtaposition of 15 and 19a jogged my memory. The revocation of the Edict of NANTES by Louis XIV led to a nasty episode of ethnic cleansing of the Huguenots who had been specifically protected by the edict for the previous 100 years or so. However the exodus of REFUGEEs greatly benefited London, Canada and America. 18.11

    P.S I’ve had trouble loading this site this morning.

    Edited at 2018-11-07 11:49 am (UTC)

    1. I had trouble as well. I got the dreaded “bad request”. Logging off didn’t work and in the end I had to completely shut down. Fortunately that did the trick. An irritation and something which only happens on this site. Further to your post; we Brits benefitted greatly from the influx of Huguenot weavers fleeing persecution. An early case of immigrants bringing specific and much-needed skills. (Btw, have discovered a Georgette Heyer appreciation group on Facebook. It’s like being in a warm bath…) Ann
      1. And the site is still acting up Ann – glad it wasn’t just me. Thank you for the Heyer tip. I’ll take a look later today – looking forward to it!
  21. Pleased that my solving skills haven’t deserted me after a succession of non-completions even yesterday’s quickie embarrassingly. Can I add WEAKNESS to the list of dodgy definitions?
    Was only playing Dans les prisons de Nantes last week at my folk club. Here’s a link for those folkies out there
    1. Again I think the clue’s fine. An accepted meaning of ‘liking’ turns out to be what we’re after. We solvers should be literal-minded, even pernickety, in the narrow lanes of parsing, but perhaps a little more broad-minded as to the realm of definitions in use or memory.
      1. I didn’t have a problem with this definition, so didn’t elaborate on it; if you have a weakness for Creme Eggs, you have a liking for them.
  22. I was running late this morning and only had half an hour to devote to the crossword. Fortunately, I finished in 25 minutes. Very enjoyable. I spent the last 5 minutes on MORALE. I had bunged in HORACE in desperation but couldn’t parse it. Then I saw M**ALE and it fell into place. Ann
  23. So almost exactly on my recently acquired personal nitch despite a slow start. Happy with most definitions that some have balked at – liking/weakness, thought/idea and read/interpret are all straightforward dictionary equivalents, and I have only come across wonga in current use. I forgive FRAGRANCE for the question mark and the surface but if OMELETTE can be clued by breakfast then so, in my experience, can ‘beer’, ‘devilled kidneys’ and ‘what remains of last night’s curry’.
    1. In my bedsit years, I would buy a cold steak and kidney pie at the grocer’s round the corner and eat it as I drove to the offfice.
      1. I can identify with that, or a mince pie, or a pasty or a pork pie………and a bottle of milk….
  24. For some reason I struggled to see what was going on all over the place with this one, case in point being EXIST where my XI for number in team and ST for half lost left me wondering how E could = capsized.

    No surprise then that I decided that ORACE was probably a Greek or Latin word meaning “of gold” and put in Horace after much noggin-scratching.

  25. I feel like an idiot for also joining the club and putting in ‘Horace’ for 9d. Close, and at a stretch the parsing works, but obviously not the intended answer. Therefore a DNF in 45 minutes.

    Quite a few answers went in from the def. but the parsing took a bit of working out, not the least being EXIST which defeated me. I did manage to figure out what was going on with THE WHO. BYZANTINE (appropriate for some clues today) and NIGHTINGALE were my favourites.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  26. Clearly I should count myself lucky to have found this mostly plain sailing, and a pleasant solve. My only quibble would be in regarding an omelette as a breakfast food. (I recently stayed at the Pullman Hotel at Brussels-Zuid, which is clearly a class above my usual flophouse, as it was one of those places where breakfast choices included a hatch to the kitchen where you could order your eggs freshly prepared in the manner of your choice. The American businessman ahead of me in the queue went for an egg-white omelette, and while I try not to judge other people’s lifestyle choices, I couldn’t help feeling sad at this joyless selection when pretty much anything else which met a definition of “breakfast” was freely available to him). Full disclosure, I am in the club with malc, in having eaten things which would stretch the definition of “breakfast” even further.
    1. May I add a few occasionals – left-over kedgeree, Apple pies (chausson de pommes), chicken livers, kidneys on toast. But 9 out of 10 times it’s just Bovril on toast. Never an omelette before lunchtime. I can’t imagine how yuk an omelette without the yolk would be.
      1. Quite. It reminds me of the (no doubt apocryphal) story of someone in a coffee shop ordering a skinny decaf cappuccino without cocoa, and the cashier turning round and shouting ‘one why bother’.
        1. Hah! I’ve heard a similar story where a decaf was ordered and punchline was “one coffee, hold the point!”
  27. I put in CLOUT at 2d as my FOI which seemed to parse as C (100) L (Pounds) “OUT” (*overdrawn* = reversed). Took me a while to realise my mistake. I chose to resort to aids midway to get 13d NIGHTINGALE but everything else then went in okay. For a while I thought a pangram was on but never got the J or Q.

    Edited at 2018-11-07 05:43 pm (UTC)

  28. Not a tough puzzle really, except for my LOI which was MORALE, after a couple of trips through the alphabet. Around 25 minutes all told, without any great hold ups despite the unknowns at WONGA, Zante, and biffing THE WHO, where the subtle wordplay totally passed me by. Proud that I knew of the impi, perhaps from that Zulu movie with Michael Caine (? at least I think so). Regards.
  29. All correct but an amount of guesswork required. The only one that i’d never heard of was Nates for one’s rear, NANTES being my LOI. SACKBUT was somewhere in the back of my mind. Not helped by entering PRESENT instead of PRECEDE which had me stumped on 18d. Once sussed, the bottom right filled itself in. I visited Zante aka Zakynthos in the 80s when it was still a one-horse island. Bordeaux had me thinking wine thoughts for a while.

    Edited at 2018-11-07 06:55 pm (UTC)

  30. Thanks for the link. I had vaguely remembered the discussion so I’m amazed it was 10+ years ago that was only my 5th blog!
  31. I needed 50 mins to DNF this one. Of course my error was at 9dn but I bucked the convention by going for DONATE. If our fellow was a don and something was in him then he would’ve eaten it, hence don-ate, and if you had a heart of gold no doubt you would donate….it’s looking less convincing by the second, how could it have so beguiled me? I thought this was tricky all over though, never really got going into a nice rhythm. If I wasn’t getting the positional placement wrong, I was getting the wrong synonym or missing the device. Hard work when you aren’t on the wavelength.
  32. Finishing this the day after. Did not get “Morale” and also missed “Kitten” because I didn’t know that Queen was a cat (bit strange that?). Otherwise, good testing crossword

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