Times 27195 – TCC Heat 1 number one. No easy starter for me.

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Apparently 36 out of 90 entrants got this one correct, of whom 22 found time to finish the other two puzzles correctly in the hour or less. I was not feeling the brightest, having already done two other puzzles hanging over from the weekend, but I managed to finish it in an unacceptable 39 minutes, in line with the feedback that this year’s selection were a grade harder than recent years. 
I struggled with the SW corner, although in retrospect that bit isn’t any more difficult than the rest. The brand names at 18d and 20d threw me, I didn’t realise such things were permitted.

1 After silence, hands round the writer’s contract (7)
SHRIVEL – SH ! = silence!, R and L (hands) go round I’VE = the writer’s.
5 Many dogs taking the lead off (6)
OODLES – POODLES loses its P. An easy one for people like us who for many years were standard poodle owners.
8 Twirling, maybe the ladies one saw approved (9)
VALIDATED – LAV (maybe the ladies) reversed – VAL; I DATED = I saw. Not LOO for once.
9 Great Britain’s flipping harsh (5)
ACERB – ACE = great, BR reversed.
11 Vehicle broken by butcher’s van in badly neglected state (5)
LIMBO – LIMO  vehicle, insert a B the ‘van’ of butcher’s. The definition seems a bit of a stretch, but I suppose anything more exact would give the game away.
12 Venture into Microsoft’s domain is trouble for corporation (9)
ENTERITIS – To venture into Microsoft’s domain could be to ENTER IT, then add IS. Corporation as in tummy.
13 Particular sin, snatching diamonds from the east (8)
ESPECIAL – LAPSE = sin, holds ICE = diamonds, all reversed.
15 Wit’s heartless riposte wounded (6)
ESPRIT – (RIP STE)*, the O being removed ‘heartless’. Another stretchy definition, IMO.
17 Withdraw money that’s regularly paid to carry around (6)
RECANT – I took too long to see this one, even with the initial R. RENT is money regularly paid, it ‘carries’ CA = around.
19 Knight, travelling far, is in China (8)
PARSIFAL – I don’t know why, because I’m not a big Wagner fan, but Parsifal sprang to mind immediately when I saw knight, not the usual N or KT. (FAR IS)* goes inside PAL = China.
22 Primary colour nobody’s drawing in (6,3)
NUMBER ONE – A simple clue I tried to make more complicated. UMBER a colour is drawn into NONE.
23 Spray bound to release nitrogen (5)
SPRIG – SPRING = bound, releases its N.
24 Do away with Times editorial’s introduction (5)
ERASE – Another simple clue I made hard work of. Too much time spent with X and BY for Times and trying to get to WASTE from ‘with’. ERAS are times, add E being initial letter of editorial.
25 Vessel’s sharp, turning and heading for army bases (9)
SUBSTRATA – This popped up as soon as I saw it ended in A. SUB = vessel, TART reversed, add A = heading for army.
26 Cereal, tons on ground mostly (6)
MILLET – MILLED = ground, delete the D and add the T for tons.
27 Apt to see red snake, in fancy (7)
WASPISH – Probably my favourite clue today. ASP = snake, inside WISH = fancy. Deceptive definition at first.

1 Bad sign, boarding Sierra to travel around, one may end up in jam (7,6)
SEVILLE ORANGE – EVIL (bad) LEO (sign) inside S, RANGE = travel around. I had to get some checkers before this one, which held up the LHS for a while. Of course Seville oranges are in marmalade not usually in jam, but that would have been too easy.
2 Cold food after bread is shock (7)
ROLLMOP – ROLL = bread, MOP = shock, as in a mop of hair. I have eaten warm rollmops, in Sweden, but perhaps they’re not then called rollmops.
3 Record kept by Crusoe, divided up (5)
VIDEO – Reversed hidden in CRUS(OE DIV)IDED.
4 Christian left university and rushed to pen article (8)
LUTHERAN – L, U, THE (article), RAN (rushed).
5 Offbeat individual note lifted song, not a tango (6)
ODDITY – DO = note, lifted = OD, DITTY = song, lose one T.
6 What’s in Brontë novel read twice is inspiring English (9)
DIAERESIS – (READ IS IS)*, then insert an E. Now I know how to spell it. The French call it a tréma, as in Citroën, which is easier to spell.
7 Medical department that constantly admits horseman (7)
EVENTER – The evergreen ENT goes inside EVER = constantly.
10 Black grape intertwined with the lush grapevine (4,9)
14 Gull, say, overturned angler’s device to get fish (6,3)
CONGER EEL – CON = gull, trick; GE = EG say overturned, REEL = angler’s device.
16 What some musicians do before and after concert? (4,1,3)
TAKE A BOW – Cryptic definition, easiest clue of the day.
18 Intoxicating substance affected air supply (7)
CAMPARI – As noted above, I was not looking for a brand name so took an age to get this my LOI. CAMP = affected, (AIR)*. Not sure about supply as an anagrind.
20 Car to go wrong on a boring day (7)
FERRARI – ERR = to go wrong, and A, go inside (bore) FRI = day.
21 Back supporter in my place (6)
CORSET – COR! = my!, SET = place. I was slow to see this in spite of having CORSET crop up as a sort of underwear in Monday’s puzzle. It wasn’t easy to see what the definition was going to be here.
23 Places quotes from speakers (5)
SITES – Sound like CITES = quotes.

65 comments on “Times 27195 – TCC Heat 1 number one. No easy starter for me.”

  1. If ever I needed proof there’d be no point in my attempting to enter the championships this would be it, as my brain freeezes these days as soon as I’m aware that I’m in some sort of competitive situation. If it were possible I’d like to have had a go at these puzzles without being told in advance that they were used in the rounds and how many people solved them successfully. Having said all that, I worked my way steadily through this one and completed it in 70 minutes, so worthy plodding that got me there in the end seems about the best that could be said of my performance.

    My only unknown was ESPRIT as ‘wit’ rather than ‘spirit’ although the former is quite clearly a valid definition and possibly even the principal meaning according to some of the usual sources. I also looked twice at WASPISH as ‘apt to see red’ as it’s not quite my interpretation of the word, but once again the dictionaries seem happy with it.

    Like Pip, I also wondered about the brand names.

    Edited at 2018-11-14 06:07 am (UTC)

  2. For those wishing to figure out how they would have fared with these at the championships (whether they be non-attendees or those in the second prelim) it would be useful to know how long silva_2 (12th) and Topical Tim (13th) took to finish all three correctly.

    All three correct in an hour would comfortably have secured a top 25 finish and a free pass for next year.

    1. For the benefit of those who are interested in knowing the answer to this question, but might not see my comment later down, I clocked around 50 minutes for my all-correct finish (which was about 10 minutes slower than I’ve done in previous years), so there’s the cut-off point.
    2. I can’t remember my precise time, but it was somewhere between 45 and 50 minutes. I do remember finishing just behind another competitor, which was presumably David Webb, who finished 11th in the heat. I was held up by 6D, which was my LOI of the three puzzles. It took me a couple of minutes to spot what was going on, followed by another couple of minutes pondering the spelling.
  3. All bar 3 clues solved in 25 minutes, so not too dispiriting tournament-wise. The hardest by far fro me was DIAERESIS, where I spent too long looking for an anagram of READ x2 + E.

    CS Lewis has a nice 25-page on essay on ‘Wit’ in his Studies in Words: ‘Anglo-Saxon wit or gewit is mind, reason, intelligence. Rational creatures are those to whom God has given wit.’

    Edited at 2018-11-14 06:47 am (UTC)

  4. DNF – with yoghurt, granola, etc.
    30 mins to have 2 left (6dn/15ac) and feeling good. Then a pleasant 15 mins recalling everything I know about the Brontes: pseudonyms, titles, characters, themes, the brother, the parsonage. But only “Diatribes” would fit and it didn’t work with the wordplay. I tried a Read,is,is anagram but there are far too many vowels.
    Oh well, at least I learnt something.
    I have had Orange Jam in France and I really liked it. It is rare in the UK, like good Lime Marmalade, except the delicious version from Lewis and Cooper (Northallerton).
    Thanks setter and Pip
  5. And another failure on DIAERESIS. Eventually—ten minutes or so over my hour, and just after realising ESPRIT could be wit—I worked out what I was looking for, and even remembered that there was a word vaguely like “diacritic”, but I still couldn’t figure out the remaining wordplay and gave up.

    Shame, as with the rest of the puzzle I’d rather surprised myself by my instincts consistently turning out to be right, often coming back to the first answer I’d thought of and then figuring out why the wordplay worked.

  6. Difficult but very enjoyable puzzle sitting in my office with unlimited coffee and under no pressure. Hats off to those who solved it in 20 minutes in the championship.

    Had to check spelling of 6D but other than that all within my compass. I’ve also had orange jam and agree its very good. Brilliant work setter and well blogged Pip

  7. DIAERESIS and ESPRIT left (which I would never have got). With Bronte I did realise what the setter was getting at but didn’t know the word. PARSIFAL put paid to DIACRITIC. Congratulations to all who completed it.
  8. This took me about 10 minutes on the day. I usually move from one puzzle to another when I get stuck but that didn’t happen here. I was clearly on the wavelength, demonstrated by the fact that I saw what was going on with 6dn almost immediately, then successfully identified the anagrist and put it all in the right places. That clue could easily have scuppered me on another day, and indeed it did trip several people up.
    Edit: wrong puzzle! As Philip points out below this was the second puzzle, not the first as I assumed. So it actually took me about 15 minutes. My other comments stand though: I completed the three puzzles in order this year, which is unusual.

    Edited at 2018-11-14 10:34 am (UTC)

    1. I started this one very late and didn’t quite finish, quite stymied on the left side by not knowing there was such a thing as a SEVILLE ORANGE. But it was satisfying to get DIAERESIS (which are found these days preëminently in The New Yorker. ESPRIT was, bien sûr, my FOI.
  9. My annual decision not to enter has again been VALIDATED. 42 minutes on this, and that’s having heard at The George some debate about DIAERESIS on the day. Otherwise I’d have been wondering what an umlaut was doing in Haworth. The definition of LIMBO was perhaps a stretch but then so is the concept. LOI ESPECIAL. ROLLMOP would have drawn a rueful smile before I attempted the next two puzzles in 18 minutes. Thank you Pip for the blog and setter for the sport.
  10. On the wavelength, but 30 minutes to complete fully parsed, so no championships for me. Needed all the crossers and anagrist for DIAERESIS – I would have left out the first E. Difficult but very enjoyable (no obscurities).

    Also thrown a bit by the brand names – never allowed in the past, except Times. Then Murdoch’s other media started sneaking in, Sun and Sky. Then other media – I seem to remember Mirror, Express and Al-Jazeera in the answers. But random brands like Ferrari and Campari were definitely barred until very recently. Certainly verboten 10 years back, when Peter Biddlecombe explained the Times’ style.

    1. No not “certainly verboten” .. Peter was guessing about some of those points, not being employed by News International at the time. Well informed guessing perhaps, but no more.
      I an not going to go hunting, but there have been brand names in the daily cryptics for quite a few years now, on occasion.
      1. I stand corrected; Peter Biddlecombe was not privy to the style manual – if one exists – just listing what he’d inferred. I found this blog in about 2008, and my memory from those days is that brand names never occurred, aside from Sky & Times. My memory isn’t what it used to be.
        1. Nor is my memory .. and certainly there seem more about than there used to be. Of course some brand names (hoover, ordnance survey, martini) are more widely acceptable than others. Still, I think we have spotted a trend 🙂
  11. Would have been scuppered. As it happens, I forgot this was a Championship puzzle, but was working under time pressure anyway and still took 24 minutes. Unless the other two were doddles, I’d have comfortably exceeded the hour.
    DIRE ‘E SAYS was the killer, umlaut barely visible on the screen and all that complicated anagramming.
    Three brand names (Microsoft™ in the clue) in one crossword suggest sponsorship, though CAMPARI was slightly unfairly clued as intoxicating substance: I mean it is, but some people think it also tastes nice. Like defining FERRARI as air polluter.
    Maybe next year.
  12. I was standing next to boltonwanderer when diaeresis was mentioned at The George and I was thoroughly confused because I thought I heard diuresis. Anyway, I promised I wouldn’t put it in until I had solved all the other clues. In the event I started from the bottom right and proceeded anticlockwise and it wasn’t until I was left with D-A-R-S-S that I remembered the conversation. Given that I clearly needed to insert an E it’s possible I might otherwise have seen the answer quickly but who knows.
  13. 12:17. Which is pretty terrible as I did this in the competition only 11 days ago!

    This was puzzle 2 and I managed 22/30 clues correctly. Those I missed were Oodles, Enteritis, Parsifal, Substrata, Oddity, Diaeresis, Corset and Ferrari. I think all were solvable given more time – except Diaeresis. I don’t even recall the Oddity, Substrata and Corset clues.


  14. Pleased to have this one done in 30 mins — and in particular I’m feeling smug at seeing DIAERESIS fairly swiftly: for a few seconds I started running through characters’ names, locations, etc but then saw the diacritical mark. I also saw the ‘rip[o]ste’ anagram early on, so ESPRIT went in OK despite my reservations about the definition. I liked the variety of misdirection used in the clueing, e.g. the syntax of ‘Medical department that constantly admits…’ for EVENTER or ‘knight’ as def rather than K or N. Biffed the marmalade and didn’t hang around to parse it. My COD vote goes to OFFBEAT. A beautifully constructed clue, I thought, and quite tricky.
    Thank you, Pip, for a thorough blog.
  15. ….and I’d have loved to date her. Alas, it never happened.

    This is actually Puzzle 2 from Preliminary 1, and I tackled the three of them with stopwatch and notes at home on the Monday. I completed all three in 39:36, and Puzzles 2 and 3 were done in a single pass. The total time was around three minutes faster than my time on the day for Preliminary 2.

    Marques of car now seem to be fair game (see also AUDI recently), so FERRARI is OK by me, whilst CAMPARI has become a generic term in the same way as HOOVER or FRIGIDAIRE, so no complaints there either.

    I had to be very careful with the typo trap that was DIAERESIS.

    TIME 14:16

    Those of you who found this particularly difficult are really going to tear your hair out when the Final puzzles appear. I’m off now to source a wig.

    Edited at 2018-11-14 10:01 am (UTC)

    1. Can you please explain how Campari is now generic like hoover? Not IMO. Martini, yes maybe.

      Were the puzzles in each heat numbered 1, 2 and 3, or just a pile of 3 puzzles? As it is the first one published, took it to be ‘number 1’ although it’s academic if you get three all at once to do in any order you wish. How will I know if next week’s is number 1 or number 3?

      1. They aren’t actually numbered, but they do come in a booklet, so there is an obvious #1, #2 and #3.
          1. Sorry, having now looked at the puzzle booklet, I find they are actually numbered. Such are the perils of depending on your failing memory…
      2. The puzzles come in a sort of booklet, Pip, with a cover page and then when the starter’s pistol goes off you flip it open. I seem to remember in 2013 that the puzzles were numbered 1,2 and 3 and that I didn’t like the look of the one on the first inside page so I skipped to the next.
      3. There are a number of Campari “clones” on the market, but in a bar you’d just ask for a “campari”. Whether you get “real” Campari depends on the type of drinking establishment you frequent.

        The puzzles are indeed numbered, and if you turn the booklet over when you start, you’ll probably start with number 3. I used to do that, but recently I’ve taken to opening the booklet and starting with number 1. You’d be most unlikely to start with number 2 because it’s either inside the booklet, or on the right hand page !

        Edited at 2018-11-14 12:21 pm (UTC)

  16. I followed my normal practice of working through each puzzle in turn until I ran out of steam, and returning to the clues I’d found toughest. The very last of those turned out to be in this puzzle i.e. the contiguous pair of DIARESIS and PARSIFAL, which I stared at for quite some time while trying to ignore the clock ticking in front of me (this is what makes Finals Day such torture…)

    Anyway, to answer Penfold’s question, my time for all three was around 50 minutes. In previous years, I’ve clocked more like 40 to finish in roughly the same position, which adds weight to the general belief that the puzzles this year were slightly tougher than average.

    Edited at 2018-11-14 10:54 am (UTC)

  17. I looked at this this morning, was overcome by despair, and saved it for dinner, where much to my surprise I completed it (dinner, too). Loved the puzzle, but it was yet one more reason why I’d never think of entering the competition.
    Your animadversion on ESPRIT surprised me, you being a francophone; after all, there’s eg. ‘l’esprit de l’escalier’. And–I don’t think anyone else has mentioned this, if they have, apologies–I took ‘supply’ to be ‘in a supple way’; it’s been done before.
  18. Decided to do this in exam conditions to see if I’d ever have a chance. Shoved in a huge amount from definitions, and they all were fine. My nemesis was diaeresis. I spotted what the clue was about, but bunged in ‘diacreses’. Actually what I meant was ‘diacrises’ – so even my mistake was misspelled! And it should have singular. Actually ‘diacrisis’ doesn’t appear to exist — but Chambers says that ‘diacritical’ means pertaining to accents etc on letters. So I console myself I was not being totally fanciful.
  19. 17.53 for this today

    I was in preliminary 2, and while I took away a copy of the P1 puzzles I haven’t looked at them.

    Had I been faced with this on the day, I would have been staring at DIAERESIS all morning, so clearly wouldn’t have done any better!

  20. I had the anagram letters for DIAERESIS but having never heard of it it could have been DEAIRISES for all I knew. Was also thinking that the 2 is’s might have been together and not part of the anagram. I call it an umlaut anyway. Without that it might have been a reasonable time. Also struggled with CORSET for some reason at the end. And yes. Glad I ducked out of the 400 mile round trip after all
    1. Pedant time. An umlaut may look like a diaeresis but they’re not the same, they do different things. A dia-thingy tells you to pronounce the two vowels separately, as in Citro-ën, or in Ana-ïs as my friend’s kid is called. An umlaut indicates a change of pronunciation, due to a missing letter, as in Müller which can also be written Mueller and sounds something like Meurler as opposed to Muller being Mooler. Well that’s what I was taught, it might be over simplistic.
      1. Wiki tells me that the name Brontë comes from Fermanagh, derived from Ó Pronntaigh, descendant of Pronntach. So that’s how a diaeresis reached Haworth and maybe Heathcliff too.
              1. Who’s the greater authority? Lord Kilbracken or Wiki? I’ve always said Brontee and not Brontay. Is that not the difference between acute and diathingy?
                1. In my bailiwick BW it is always Brontay, but the ay / ee thing is not the issue, we say Poincarray for that chap with an acute accent. Any accent on the e would make it a mandatory pronounce.
                  It seems to me, rightly or wrongly, they or he the dad added the diathingy to stop it being Bront. And maybe there was anti French (accent) attitude at the time. I am perhaps about to begin my long overdue Ph.D. diss on the subject. Well, not that long.
  21. A bracing 24.39 for me so well off the pace. I wasted time trying for “specific” in 13a and hoping to make “creel” work in 14d. There were just enough write-ins to fend off despair at first reading. I agree the brand names are more Guardianly but they didn’t really bother me.

    I was fine with the ESPRIT definition but I did wonder a bit about those for LIMBO and CORSET. The latter I think of as more of a way to shrink the corporation or squash it into shape. Oh and I also wasted time looking at “shrink” in 1a.

    P.S. Speaking of corsets and the Guardian, I see in today’s Pasquale we have: 7D “My group getting back support.” I wonder if he was the setter – his alter ego is Don Manley.

    Edited at 2018-11-14 12:08 pm (UTC)

    1. Yes I saw that today, a write-in as the third time in a week, thanks for the info about the Don. Tricky enough puzzle I thought.
  22. 39 minutes I would have found eminently acceptable for this one, Pip, so well done! A pretty tough puzzle, so I’m intrigued as I sit waiting for the onslaught of the crosswords that even the doyen(ne)s found hard.

    CAMPARI and FERRARI: brand names? Does anyone have the official information on whether or not brand names are okay in Times puzzles? I can see how campari may indicate all manner of similar concoctions, but a Ferrari is a Ferrari is a Ferrari, is it not.

  23. I was pleased to get through this in 39:24, although I did confirm DIAERESIS before submitting. I’d thought of DIACRITIC but PARSIFAL and ESPRIT made that a non starter. I did manage to spot the correct anagrist though. Not the easiest of puzzles! On a different tack, I can report that I have now partaken of STIFFADO, as my cousin’s wife prepared it for dinner last night. They’re just back from a 6 week stay in Greece and Cyprus. Very nice too. I managed to parse everything in today’s puzzle apart from LIMBO, where I was blinded by the number of words in the clue and went with definition and crossing letters. Thanks setter for an interesting workout, and Pip for the blog. More confirmation that it would be a waste of time for me to enter the competition!
    1. It’s not the winning John, it’s the taking part. More pertinently, it’s a worthwhile social event with the opportunity to meet and make friends with people who share the same interest.
      1. I totally agree, Philip, and I would love to come along, but it’s a long way from my end of the country and the date coincided with a really busy series of events I’m already committed to. I did enjoy the York get together, where I met up with johninterred. One day I will make the pilgrimage to the George:-)
  24. DIAERESIS, no chance, and ESPRIT. I noticed the brand names too. No doubt next year I will do my usual of deciding whether to enter and then not doing it.

    Thanks pip and setter.

  25. I think these have been allowed in our crossword for quite a while. Certainly from before my time as editor. Campari, for example, appears as an entry in COED and Chambers, and so I think it would be perverse not to allow it. The only possible reason I can see the disallowing one might be on grounds of obscurity.


  26. 16 minutes here. I knew about the Brontë clue and whilst I didn’t have any trouble placing the letters correctly I’m not sure how long it would have taken me to spot the definition.

    My main hold ups were OODLES, ESPECIAL and SUBSTRATA

  27. Haha! No chance …..

    I worked my way through this fairly steadily and, although I realised what was going on with 6 Down, I had to check the spelling before putting it in.

    If you asked me again tomorrow how to spell it, I would have to look it up again.

    Time: All correct in 54 minutes.

    Thank you to setter and blogger.


  28. CAMPARI : Sorry if i have missed someone already explaining anagrind for “air”. Is this not adverb “supply” i.e. loosely, from “supple”?
      1. sorry I didn’t enlarge on this in the blog, I saw it was supply like the adverb from supple but still didn’ t rate it as an anagrind.
  29. I got through – what I could – in 30 minutes, but I had to look up DIAERESIS, even with all the checking letters. I didn’t know of it, and had no idea what was going on in that clue in the first place. So that one thoroughly beat me. Congrats to those who solved this correctly. Regards to all.
  30. 53:18. As usual I completely forgot that the Times would start publishing the championship puzzles on Wednesdays and managed to overlook the blurb telling you so under the clues. As a result I spent a bit of time headscratching and wondering why I was finding this puzzle so hard. FOI 1ac, LOI 7dn. A satisfyingly chewy puzzle. I think I would still be solving the prelim puzzles long after the janitor had finished sweeping up and turned off the lights.
  31. …used aid for DIAERESIS which I DNK and was my LOI. wonder what the etymology is behind that one! COD to BUSH TELEGRAPH – the answer was plain enough but nicely constructed clue
  32. I had exactly Jack’s time (70 minutes), but with a break before daring the ENTERITIS DIAERESIS crossing as my last entries. I rather liked DIAERESIS in the final analysis, since it was pretty clear what it hat to be an anagram of and that it must be referring to the accent in Brontë, and after a great deal of thought I was able to figure out where these letters had to go (once the R was in place). There was no other way to order the two I’s, the two E’s and the A that could possibly be a word (of presumably Greek origin). So an intelligent guess, fortunately intelligent enough.

    Of course there is no way I could actually sensibly compete in the Championship, so I am not tempted even to try.

    Edited at 2018-11-14 10:00 pm (UTC)

  33. That was a tough one, at least for me. Fifty-seven minutes, meaning that I am almost exactly 1/3rd as intelligent as I’d need to be to consider entering the TCC.

    Having solved it, I came here to find out how I’d done so, since there was much biffing. SEVILLE ORANGE, DIAERESIS, and few others went in sans parsing. PARSIFAL went in only because it fit the available letters – I still have no idea what it means. I did, however, manage to parse it afterwards. DIAERESIS was particularly nail-biting, since I didn’t spot the anagram and had “diacritical” in my mind, narrowly missing the bastard offspring “diacresis”.

    Incidentally, why isn’t there a diaeresis in DIAËRESIS?

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