Times 27,245: Cigarettes & Alcohol

A very nice little Friday puzzle with a combination of above averagely devious wordplay and unwieldy vocab (I’m looking at you, PROGNOSTIC and PERSECUTEE) to keep the solver sweating. I took a little less than 10 minutes over it, starting with 9ac (it helped that Libra is my own star sign) and finishing with 13dn.

Clue of the Day honours split evenly between 23ac and the splendidly surfaced 19dn for their celebration of the finer things in life. When’s the next crossword pubmeet I’ll be able to make I wonder?

1 Grand old address (4)
THOU – double def, where the first is short for THOUsand

4 As we see it, admitting motive is criminal (10)
TREASONOUS – TO US [as we see it], “admitting” REASON [motive]

9 Animal keeping balance, otherwise one has to adjust (10)
CALIBRATOR – CAT [animal] “keeping” LIBRA [balance], + OR [otherwise]

10 American originally backing Pop Art concept (4)
DADA – A{merican}, backing DAD [pop]

11 How come sci-fi writer’s spoken of monster? (6)
WYVERN – homophone of WHY VERNE [how come | sci-fi writer]

12 Illegally acquire gift, we hear: a thing of little value (8)
NICKNACK – NICK [illegally acquire] + homophone of KNACK [gift]

14 Lots of people in a state, briefly (4)
MASS – double def, where the second is short for MASSachusetts

15 Insult politician with something sure to upset (10)
DISCONCERT – DIS CON with CERT [insult | politician | something sure]

17 Let us read novel, singular one like Madame Bovary (10)
ADULTERESS – (LET US READ*) [“novel”] + S [singular]

20 Office uncovered waste product (4)
UREA – {b}UREA{u}

21 Measuring device to suffice in remote travelling (8)
ODOMETER – DO [to suffice] in (REMOTE*) [“travelling”]

23 Camels’ final resting place, maybe, leaving horse off track (6)
ASTRAY – AS{h}TRAY [Camels’ (as in cigarettes) final resting place, maybe, without H for horse]

24 It’s used to fix a direction (4)
TACK – double definition

25 Sign for heretical Christian (10)
PROGNOSTIC – PRO GNOSTIC [for | heretical Christian]

26 Intrinsically sweet, ultimately naive victim (10)
PERSECUTEE – PER SE [intrinsically] + CUTE [sweet] + {naiv}E

27 Figure shown by Austen in Emma (4)
NINE – hidden in {auste}N IN E{mma}

2 Rough, unknown labourer, thrown outside (5-6)
HEAVY-HANDED – Y HAND [unknown | labourer], HEAVED [thrown] “outside”

3 Common place to learn ode cut by a line (9)
UNIVERSAL – UNI [place to learn] + VERS{e} [ode “cut”] + A L [a | line]

4 Almost unseat rough Glaswegian sitting majestically (7)
THRONED – THRO{w} [“almost” unseat] + NED [rough Glaswegian]

5 European agreed to fleece dodgy dealer in pine (3,4,5,3)
EAT ONE’S HEART OUT – E [European] + AT ONE [agreed] + SHEAR TOUT [fleece | dodgy dealer]

6 One’s around African country, wanting second wind (7)
SIROCCO – reversed I’S [one’s] + {mo}ROCCO [African country, without MO (second)]

7 US city has royal award, I see (5)
OMAHA – O.M. AHA [royal award | I see!]

8 Fire keeping hot in grim lodgings (5)
SHACK – SACK [fire] “keeping” H [hot]

13 Link goodness and joy? That’s about right (11)
CORRELATION – COR [goodness!] + ELATION [joy], the whole “about” R [right]

16 Good behaviour curtailed by an odalisque (9)
COURTESAN – COURTES{y} [good behaviour “curtailed”] by AN

18 Vacuous esoteric theme is out of place (7)
ECTOPIC – E{soteri}C + TOPIC [theme]

19 Ale isn’t bad for your health! (7)
SLAINTE – (ALE ISN’T*) [“bad”]

21 Playing record that’s short and accessible (2,3)
ON TAP – ON [playing] + TAP{e} [record “that’s short”]

22 One close to Mike has nothing on Mark (5)
OSCAR – O on SCAR [nothing | mark]. I think this is “one close to Mike” in the NATO phonetic alphabet, though it’s not *that* close, November is in the way!

48 comments on “Times 27,245: Cigarettes & Alcohol”

  1. Up early for this one due to insomnia, so I stumbled through it a little higgledy-piggledy, starting with 2d HEAVY HANDED and finishing up with V’s two favourites, 10d’s SLAINTE (thank you, Marillion for making sure I could actually spell the word familiar from my time at whisky festivals!) and 23a ASTRAY. Took me a while, that last one, thinking there was some esoteric dromedary-related knowledge I was missing. Luckily I grew up back when cigarette advertising was still a thing, so the Camel was ultimately familiar…

    Anyway. An enjoyable if dozy forty minutes, and easier than I expected given the state of my brain. Thanks to setter and V, especially for the parsing of 5d, which I eventually just biffed, after having gone up all the wrong garden paths.

        1. I’ve just clicked through to Matt’s link. The sight of Fish in that footage certainly feels guilty (though the Bowmore is easing the feeling ;-))
  2. The standard spelling is “knickknack,” of course, and I couldn’t help but think of the song, “This old man, he played one…,” etc., “with a knick knack paddy whack.” Then I looked up “paddywhack,” on a whim, and it (as one word), is a real thing, and what a thing…
    I liked this puzzle a lot but I am too sleepy to say anything else about it.
  3. I hesitated over NICKNACK because of the odd spelling, but at least was able to avoid thinking of the song, which will now no doubt be an earworm. DNK NED, but assumed–and am happy to see, correctly–that it meant something like what it indeed does. Biffed 5d from a couple of checkers, and never bothered to check it. I assumed there was some pair of singers or comedians or whatever named Oscar and Mike; looking it up I find that OM [Oscar, Mike] stands for ‘on mission’ in the Army. Liked SLAINTE.
  4. 34 minutes suggesting this might have been a little easier than the usual Friday fare. I wasn’t entirely sure of PROGNOSTIC or COURTESAN but trusted to wordplay and was suitably rewarded. I think NED has come up before, which is the only reason I faintly remembered it. We had OSCAR in yesterday’s QC and PAPA the day before, which seems a bit lazy – fair enough in wordplay but as not the entire answer. NINE was a bit feeble too.

    Edited at 2019-01-11 07:59 am (UTC)

  5. 37 minutes, with a fair bit of brain-scratching going on as to the meaning of ODALISQUE, which sounded too close to obelisk for comfort.

    I though ‘Mme Bovary’ was a crushing bore. Stendhal’s ‘The Red and the Black’ from a generation earlier is a much better read, IMO.

    1. Agree about Flaubert. I read Madame Bovary at university followed by Sentimental Education which is duller. Stendhal much better.
      I did look at the puzzle briefly. Got Adulteress as FOI (clearly the Bovary recollection is vivid). Found Salient at 19d but could not parse it. Oddly enough a school friend of mine in Preston started saying Slainte whenever we went to the pub all those years ago. But he never spelt it for me; I recall a G sound. David
    2. I read Mme Bovary last year and really loved it! I found it very sympathetic to Emma – we’re all sold unrealistic aspirations about the best life we should be living, these days.
  6. Enjoyed SLAINTE, THOU and ASTRAY. Wondered if LIMAO was a diacritical mark in Portuguese until OSCAR appeared.
  7. No wrecks and nobody drownded, a gentle 17 minute stroll rather like yesterday’s though with rather less arts and crafts.
    ASTRAY my last in, like others wondering where camels rested other than in a caravanserai. I also tried to make SALIENT mean healthy at 19d, with salient lack of success. Cheers!
  8. 40 mins with yoghurt etc – to leave two for Mrs M to sort out.
    I feel I made heavy weather of this and took 40 mins to have the two left. I turned to Mrs M for inspiration who casually said, “Camel is a cigarette” and then raised her cup of tea and said, “Slainte!”.
    Mostly I liked: Persecutee and Slainte (now).
    Thanks setter, Mrs M and V.
        1. Given all the puns flying around I can now only imagine a bus driver angrily yelling “urea ended me, you buffoon!”
          1. It would sound a bit different in Cantonese with all the highly creative scatological infixes


  9. One wrong. I was through all this but 18d in the half hour, and I would have been faster than that if I hadn’t put in SALIENT for 18d before PROGNOSTIC put me straight. Was that wonderful start to John 1 influenced by Gnosticism or antagonistic to it? Both, I think. I’ve never heard of SLIANTE in a life which includes a couple of years spent frequenting the pubs of Liverpool and also chairing a Dublin company which took decent-length lunch breaks. I came here knowing my SIALNTE would be wrong, but it had taken me a further ten minutes to come up with that. I don’t think I’d have got CALIBRATOR if my star sign wasn’t LIBRA. COD TO ASTRAY. Thank you V and setter.
  10. I got stuck on several of these clues, dragging my time out to 56 mins. I fiddled with the letters of “ale isn’t” for s-o-o-o long, doggedly determined that any word relating to ‘health’ must begin either SAL… or SAN…, until the light dawned only after the witty ashtray went in. And my partner and I were 5 weeks touring around southern Ireland last summer – doh!
    I ran with HORNY-HANDED for a long time, too (‘horned’=thrown, as a matador tossed by the bull?) which rather stymied my chance of solving CALIBRATOR quickly.
    The vocab range in this one was a satisfying balance of the esoteric, commonplace, archaic and idiomatic: jolly good!
    Thanks, V, for the blog.
    1. Fair comment I guess! The short answer is that I’ve moved to a different timezone so I’m doing the puzzles on Thursday afternoon/early evenings now instead of Friday wee small hours or early morning – much higher chance of having something else to do directly afterwards. Plus I’ve been preoccupied by jobsearch and other pressing concerns… I still do hope to get puzzles I can think of a lot to say about from week to week though.

      I have a Jumbo to blog before tomorrow to do so that was another reason I wanted to get the 15×15 over with quickly! That’s only once a month though.

  11. For years I thought Dublin’s port was called Dun Lagore. Every time I heard mention of Dunleary, I assumed it was a different place.
    1. One of the first singles I bought was Like Clockwork, by the Boomtown Rats, which had a song about their hometown called D.U.N. L.A.O.G.H.A.I.R.E as the B-side. As I recall, it was mostly concerned with explaining to non-locals how to spell and pronounce it, so you probably weren’t alone.
      1. Slange var: this is how I remember it.
        Maybe it could be spelt that way too in English but not as anagram of salient.
        There are many Irish called O’Leary but do any adopt the Gaelic spelling? David
          1. There’s a comic strip from my youth about a Celtic warrior called Sláine – I don’t think anyone’s ever been sure whether you’re meant to pronounce it Shlawn-ye or something, so we usually defaulted to Slain.
    2. Ditto for me re Dun Leary. It was only when I actually visited the place (on that nice little coastal train from Dublin) that the penny dropped.
  12. Another Libra here. Ditto Kevin and Guy on “knicknack” and also DNK “Ned”. A very similar clue for “persecute” featured in yesterday’s Guardian so PERSECUTEE slotted right in. And SIROCCO has popped up somewhere recently too although I can’t remember where. ASTRAY made me laugh – remembering a colleague who smoked them (back in the day when people were allowed to smoke at office meetings) and when I commented on the unpleasant aroma saying it was the only cigarette with a picture of the factory on the packet. Good puzzle. 22.21
  13. ….SLAINTE, and lang may yer lum reek.

    A careless “haevy-handed” scuppered any chance of cracking CALIBRATOR (I’d worked out the parsing, but hadn’t got the balance bit worked out, trying “a-i-r” with my “cat” on the wrong branch of the tree).

    Less explicably, I couldn’t see THOU ! Also missed out on ECTOPIC and the appalling PERSECUTEE.

    Got as far as I did in around 11 minutes, hoisted the white flag 10 minutes later.

    LOI N/A
    TIME N/A

  14. Can’t put my finger on why, but I found this entertaining and interesting, without being too horribly difficult (though I had to deduce the existence of the PROGNOSTIC).
  15. An enjoyable puzzle which had me worried at the outset when I couldn’t solve the 4 letter words I usually start with. A biffed IDEA at 10a allowed me to get SHACK which gave me NICKNACK(mer over spelling for me too!) and I was off. TREASONOUS then gave me OMAHA which led to DADA. I remembered Mme Bovary’s occupation from its last outing, and also learned what an ODALISQUE is. Didn’t bother to parse EAT ONES HEART OUT. Trusted to wordplay for NED. UREA, THOU, PERSECUTEE and finally CALIBRATOR were my last few in. SIROCCO cropped up in the last day or two. One of the questions in Tuesday’s Pub Quiz was “Which ungulate creature can also be a cigarette?” so ASTRAY went in very quickly. SLAINTE is well known to me due to the Scottish ex-colleagues I keep in touch with. 28:53. Thanks setter and V.

    Edited at 2019-01-11 12:55 pm (UTC)

  16. Flew through this, enjoying it, some lively clues, all done in 20 minutes except 26a, for which no ideas, although CUTE looked a possible ingredient. Tried crosswordsolver.org which had no idea either. So came here to learn PERSECUTEE was a word. Liked the monster and the ashtray ones best.
    Never seen that spelling of nicknack, without its other 2 ks, but it had to be.
  17. 22:06. I really struggled with this. With about half complete I became totally becalmed for a while. Ironically it was SIROCCO that came to the rescue and got things moving again.
  18. 28 mins but one wrong. For some inexplicable reason I put in ONCER for 22d. Mind you the correct answer OSCAR isn’t much better. Close to Mike?! And OMAHA appears yet again. I wonder if anyone on here has been there – apparently it has a nice zoo.
    1. The more tortuous when you see how the cryptic absolutely demands it? Well it was for me!
  19. Well, I’m a Taurus, and it’s well-known that us Tauruses don’t believe in all that astrology nonsense.

    This one took me a fraction less than fifty minutes, putting it at the difficulter end of the spectrum, at least for me. SLAINTE was tricky, since I know how to pronounce it but not how to write it, and those two are clearly not related. I’ve never come across an “odalisque” (no, wait, I mean I’ve never encountered the term), but PROGNOSTIC was familiar enough. All of my other delays and difficulties were due to clever wordplay rather than obscure words, which is how I like it.

    1. It may not come as much of a surprise to regular readers that I was having a conversation about odalisques with my significant other within the last week or two. It’s a very “me” word.
  20. I really enjoyed this puzzle, which had some witty clueing. I had to come to the blog to find out how 4D and 5D worked. COD to 23A and 19D. Thank you to setter and Verlaine.
  21. Would not have known this but for the sign above the Glaswegian bar which I pass most days. Never heard any Glaswegian say it or indeed anything faintly resembling it either.

    Did not fully parse CALIBRATOR – I’m a Scorpio so why would I?

    The PROGNOSTIC, ECTOPIC, PERSECUTEE trio held me up for some time. But LOI was DADA.

    50 mins.

  22. “Thou treasonous calibrator” sounds like a positively Shakespearean piece of invective – perhaps for Shylock trying to weigh out his pound of the merchant’s flesh. Anyhoo, 35:13 breezed through most of this until 23ac which eventually fell when I realised astray would fit and then reverse engineered it remembering that other sort of camel that wasn’t a dromedary or a bactrian. Not sure where I got the confidence to enter slainte so quickly but I did without batting an eyelid. Knew the rough Glaswegian from the Peter Mullan film Neds which came out a few years ago. A good film, if an unremittingly bleak portrait of a bright, young man growing up on a tough 1970s estate with Glaswegian gang and knife culture at its height.

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