Times 27255 – I’ll make a clean breast of this one

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
For some reason I found the LH side of this one easy while the RH side took me twice as long. In retrospect I can’t see why. There’s a marine mollusc you can guess from checkers if you don’t know it, and a bird deducible from word play too. I should have finished it in twenty minutes but it took me nearly forty, then I had to check that 4d was what I thought it was and not some form of German excrement used in printing. 4d was also the only decent long anagram in a pleasant enough puzzle.

1 Meat and toasted cake, no starters, help in reception (3,7)
EAR TRUMPET – (H)EART = meat no starter, (C)RUMPET = toasted cake no starter.
6 Bark associated with golden retriever? (4)
ARGO – Bark her being an alternative spelling for barque; so cryptic definition, Jason being the retriever.
8 Samoan, maybe large, prepared sardine outside (8)
ISLANDER – (SARDINE)* with L inserted.
9 Bird, first in oven, one having stuffed part (6)
ORIOLE – O(ven), I in (ROLE)*. Role = part. We have some shy golden orioles in the woods nearby, their call is melodious and when you see them occasionally so is their bright yellow plumage.
10 German banker resident in Heidelberg (4)
ELBE – River hidden in HEID(ELBE)RG.
11 Decrepit couple going on strike (10)
RAMSHACKLE – RAM = strike, SHACKLE = couple.
12 Fat soldier catching fish (9)
MARGARINE – MARINE has GAR a fish inserted.
14 Pleasingly plump beast about to be snared by vagrant (5)
BUXOM – OX reversed inside BUM.
17 Follow singular conversation? (5)
STALK – S = singular, TALK = conversation.
19 Scot cleaned out in tightest financial investigation (5,4)
MEANS TEST – ST = Scot cleaned out; insert that into MEANEST = tightest.
22 Wines given opening in naval base (10)
PORTSMOUTH – PORTS for wines, MOUTH for opening.
23 Present suppliers not entirely brilliant (4)
MAGI – MAGIC loses its final C.
24 Substitute monarch posed with Zulu (6)
ERSATZ – ER = monarch, SAT = posed, Z for Zulu.
25 See City peak after job changes one opposes (8)
OBJECTOR – (JOB)*, EC = city, TOR = peak.
26 Graduates find kippers here — tucked in? (4)
BEDS – The graduates are Bachelors of Education or B.Eds
27 Sea slug sends horse back with one limb (10)
NUDIBRANCH – DUN = horse, reversed = NUD; I, BRANCH = limb. An odd word for a rather bizarre creature.
1 Skin layer from duck, breached by pressure spray briefly (9)
EPIDERMIS – Insert P for pressure into EIDER a duck, then MIS(T) = spray briefly.
2 Maybe one resisting turnover finds cake on counter (7)
ROLLBAR – ROLL = cake, BAR = counter. Thing in sports or racing car to make rolling over safer, rather than prevent rolling over, I’d have thought.
3 Potentially unsportsmanlike bowling hypnotised member (8)
UNDERARM – UNDER = hypnotised, ARM = member. I never quite understood why underarm bowling was frowned upon; I’d rather try to hit that, than have Jimmy Anderson hurling a ball at me overarm at 85 mph. Perhaps rolling it along the ground would be unsportsmanlike as it’d be difficicult to hoik for six.
4 Turducken perhaps warmed up — or not — at spread (11,4)
PORTMANTEAU WORD – (WARMED UP OR NOT AT)*. A turducken is probably tastier than it sounds, being a duck stuffed in a chicken stuffed in a turkey and roasted.
5 Tablet provided with article about enormous bird (6)
TROCHE – ROC the fabulous bird ges insode THE. A troche is usually a medicated lozenge.
6 Hostile to royal household in battle (9)
AGINCOURT – AGIN COURT. Self explanatory I hope.
7 Scientist one found in ship after docking (7)
GALILEO – GALLEO(N) has I inserted.
13 Show of charity by saint moved Paul’s audience (9)
GALATIANS – GALA supposedly a charity event, then (SAINT)*.
15 Woman dominant in right manner, shown up in game (9)
MATRIARCH – MATCH = game, has R AIR reversed (up) inserted.
16 Busy hospital in Eton cured one patient (2,3,3)
ON THE JOB – H inside (ETON)* then JOB the patient chap from the Bible. Nice use of cured as the anagrind.
18 Alas you’re right to use horn on French street! (3,4)
TOO TRUE – TOOT = use horn, RUE = French street.
20 Protein and energy supplied to number eleven? (7)
ELASTIN – E for energy, then LAST IN i.e. the last man to bat, number eleven. It was my last in as well, as Elastin wasn’t top of my long list of crossword proteins.
21 Single-breasted styles to suit this warrior? (6)
AMAZON – Cryptic definition I think, as in some sources the Amazon warrior ladies allegedly cut off one breast to improve their archery skills.Other sources suggest they were men mistaken for women as they wore dresses. Today they’d be somewhere along the LGBTI spectrum I guess and impossible to criticise.

56 comments on “Times 27255 – I’ll make a clean breast of this one”

  1. 19 mins for me so I found it fairly easy. ARGO had a really nice clue. I’ve no idea why Alas is needed in 18d.
    Re underarm bowling, the blogger mustn’t recall the international incident when Trevor Chappell bowled the last ball underarm in a one-day match against NZ, thus preventing the opportunity to hit the 6 required for victory. This was deemed the height of poor sportsmanship and underarm bowling is now banned.
  2. Continued my lethargic form with 51 minutes spent on this one, stuttering home in the SE with NUDIBRANCH unknown, unless I’d read it in Steinbeck’s Log from the Sea of Cortez. I thought the ‘potentially’ in 3d showed great sensitivity to the feelings of our friends from Down Under. Got to love Richie.

    Your Amazon comment made my day, Pip.

  3. I’m up early, as I have to take son’s car in for repair through the ice and snow of North London. A man on a mission, I zipped through this in 19 minutes, with LOI ARGO. Fingers were crossed for NUDIBRANCH but the cryptic was better than most flat- pack instructions are. TURDUCKEN sounds more like a portmanteau bird. COD to EAR TRUMPET. There were one or two very easy clues, such as PORTSMOUTH but a nice puzzle. Thank you Pip and setter.

    Edited at 2019-01-23 08:26 am (UTC)

  4. Me too! And I had no idea what “eleven” referred to till I came here (cricket, crikey!). Somehow I remembered NUDIBRANCH (cute word), but I confess to checking that TROCHE is a real thing after that emerged from the wordplay. The left side was easier for me too.
  5. TOO TRUE effectively means ‘that’s true, but I wish it wasn’t’. Hence the word ‘too’.
  6. 13:56. I loved this puzzle. I particularly liked the unknowns I had to construct from the clear wordplay (NUDIBRANCH, TROCHE) and the wonderful cryptic definition for ARGO.
    I was grateful for the wordplay at 13dn which I would otherwise have spelled GALITIANS.
    I’m mystified by your comment on TURDUCKEN, Pip. I mean just on the description, what’s not to like? And having had one on Christmas day this year I can confirm that the combination is every bit as delicious as you might expect.
    1. Probably been watching too much German Eurosport tv, as am in Spain anď dish is on wrong satellite. I thought TURD DRUCKEN which sounded like an unpleasant printing experience. Had I heard of a turducken before, I’d have just moved on. Not very amusing in retrospect. Can I come to yours next Christmas?
      1. For some reason the TURD element of the word has never occurred to me. I am quite disappointed in myself.
        I was actually quite surprised to see it in this puzzle: it’s very much a North American thing I believe. Certainly I’ve never encountered it this side of the pond before.
        You’d be most welcome as long as you’re prepared to do all the jobs I hate and you have extremely high noise tolerance.

        Edited at 2019-01-23 10:35 am (UTC)

  7. I really enjoyed unravelling this, which seemed tough to me, especially coming up with the unknown TRIOCHE and NUDIBRANCH, however I fell at the last hurdle as I couldn’t remember the protein at 20dn and I defy anyone to work it out from the wordplay alone as it surely only makes sense once you’ve got the answer? I also never managed to work out what was going on with wordplay for AMAZON but the answer was obvious enough.

    Edited at 2019-01-23 07:55 am (UTC)

    1. Hadn’t heard of the protein so, as I recall, I got there by seeing what might go after the initial E and whatever checkers were in place. Certainly had the wordplay sussed before I wrote in the answer.
    2. Jack, if you’ve played cricket “number 11” and “last man” are synonyms – so very easy for me. If you haven’t played then I guess you’re right – it’s a difficult one.
  8. 35 mins with yoghurt, banana, blueberry compote, etc. The holiday is over.
    Great crossword. Mostly I liked: Ear Trumpet, Galatians, On the Job, Elastin – but COD to Argo.
    Top cluing. Thanks setter and Pip.
  9. 41 minutes. Off to a good start with 1a EAR TRUMPET, slowed later by the unknowns, finishing off with the unlikely NUDIBRANCH, TROCHE and ORIOLE. I had the beginners’ biblical knowledge, recognised ELASTIN when I saw it, and trusted my sports guesswork for 3d UNDERARM. Enjoyed the golden retriever.

    I also may have been held up by too much knowledge at 4d, where I knew what a turducken was. Seems more appetising than the Cthurkey (don’t click through unless you’re a fan of HP Lovecraft!)

    Edited at 2019-01-23 08:09 am (UTC)

      1. It’s okay; people often mistake my profile photos for Dread Gods. Bit of a pain on dating sites, if I’m honest…
  10. Agree with your thoughts there – there are anti-roll bars in vehicl suspension, but they aren’t anything to do with the car turning over.

    A rollbar (for open cars) or roll cage (for closed, like my old rally car) is to protect the occupants in th event of a roll happening. And they do, sometimes with not the happiest of outcomes.

    1. A ROLLBAR resists the effects of a turnover by preventing the roof of the car from caving in. It’s a bit oblique but seemed just about OK to me.

      Edited at 2019-01-23 08:21 am (UTC)

    2. I’ll admit my knowledge here is limited, but isn’t a side-effect of an anti-roll bar (sometimes known as a “rollbar”, correctly or not) that the vehicle is a bit less likely to overturn, as the body roll would push out its centre of gravity? I wonder if that’s what the “maybe” is doing in the clue…
      1. ‘One resisting turnover’ seems fair to me. For my sins, I’m resisting Brexit, but I’ll probably get turned over anyway.
  11. It’s been three weeks since the SNITCH went into the red so day by day my apprehension increases. Some nice touches today although I wish ‘banker’ could be retired. A timely appearance of ARGO on the day one of the architects of the Tehran caper appears in the obituary pages.
  12. I didn’t need the reminder of the infamous incident at the MCG in 1981 – not our finest hour I’m afraid. I did like the ‘golden retriever’ and ‘number eleven’ (which was for me too) though and was chuffed to remember NUDIBRANCH.

    Home, admittedly in two sessions, in 36 minutes.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  13. Another relatively easy puzzle. Good fun to solve but not taxing. Agree comments on ROLLBAR – definition is weak.
  14. Complete coincidence I’m sure, but E is last in the answer to clue number 11 😁. Thanks Blogger and Setter.
  15. A very pleasing puzzle, which was mostly plain sailing. NUDIBRANCH is one of those (many) words which are only technically in my lexicon i.e. I knew it existed, but wouldn’t have been able to define it without any context.

    Re: UNDERARM, I’ve always thought it would be interesting to watch a game where current cricketers played by the rules of, say, 200 years ago. Underarm and lob bowling, no middle stump, tuts of disapproval if a batsman worked a ball into the leg side instead of cover driving like a gentleman…

    1. I don’t know about 200 years ago, but I grew up under the impression that onlookers would confine themselves to tepid applause and a muttered ‘Well played, sir’; I gather that’s changed.
  16. 23 mins. Nice puzzle; initially though we might be on for a pangram, but not quite. Didn’t know TROCHE or NUDIBRANCH but the wordplay was generous. ELASTIN also fairly clued, I thought.
  17. Twenty-eight minutes. A lot got biffed to begin with, followed by steady progress until only 6ac and 5d were left. I never even considered “bark” as an alternative spelling of “barque”, and that probably wouldn’t have helped anyway. Eventually, after satisfying myself that the answer couldn’t begin with “Au”, I went for ARGO and crossed my fingers. 5d got sorted only once I’d fixed a typo in RAMSHACKLE. 13d also caused a bit of trouble, as I was sure St. P had written his epistle to the Galicians – such is my dismal knowledge of the bible and geography.
  18. 17:02 – but with one wrong. Suffering from Urgency, I lobbed in Penny Test for Means Test and forgot to go back and check. In two shakes I would have made a much tidier job of this.

    I’ve not come across Turducken before and I missed the associated well disguised anagram. So COD: PORTMANTEAU.

  19. Yes, rather timely puzzle what with ARGO (as Malcj points out) and the ROLLBAR (perhaps Prince Philip could have used one). I looked up TURDUCKEN in my how-to-cook-everything book and as the head chef here can safely say it will not be on the menu next Thanksgiving – too much work, you have to de-bone all three birds first. It does look good though so chapeau to the chef in Keriothe’s establishment. 18.23
    1. I am the chef in my establishment, but I got the butcher to do the TURDUCKEN! It’s something of a speciality of theirs, I get the impression they sell a lot of them at Christmas.

      Edited at 2019-01-23 11:33 am (UTC)

  20. An ‘easy but good’ one I feel, and most enjoyable.

    A consistent quality to the clues with ARGO v. good, laurels to ON THE JOB.

    Thanks Pip and setter.

  21. ….thE LAST IN, but it was one of a number of less than obvious answers. I was surprised to see it off so quickly, and found it a fair challenge despite fretting over my LOI until Pip enlightened me on arriving here.

    I suspect TURDUCKEN was a sop to solvers Stateside to compensate for two cricket references in the same puzzle, and I’d never heard of it, nor fancy the sound of it (we have a joint of beef at Christmas).

    Other DNK’s were NUDIBRANCH and TROCHE, and I biffed AMAZON where the clue required knowledge that was beyond my ken.

    I think the “alas” which worried Quailthrush in 18D is perfectly correct. TOO TRUE is usually said somewhat ruefully, hence “alas, you’re right” is a sympathetic agreement.

    LOI BEDS (the abbreviation passed me by)
    COD ARGO as proposed by Myrtilus – welcome back !
    TIME 10:11 (most surprising !)

  22. Along with our blogger, I also found the right-hand side much more challenging than the left: 20 mins saw most of it done, but a further 23 mins were required for ARGO (lovely cryptic), TROCHE, ELASTIN and MAGI. I was chuffed at working out NUDIBRANCH from the wordplay and having a vague inkling that ‘-branch’ is a morpheme that occurs in taxonomic names for slimy, creepy, molluscy things. I think the rollbar (= ‘anti-roll bar’), a component of a vehicle’s suspension rather than the roll-over cage/hoop, might justifiably be defined as a device for resisting turnover.
    There was a great deal of pleasure, I found, to be had from this puzzle. The range of GK and the witty cryptic style made for a most enjoyable challenge.
    Thank you, Pip, for blogging it.
  23. 16:50 – TROCHE LOI, as at first tried to make something of TROPHY, which came from checkers. After seeing X, Z & J in quick succession from acrosses, was distracted by expecting to see a Q somewhere in the downs, but the pangram didn’t happen. ARGO was COD.

    Edited at 2019-01-23 11:30 am (UTC)

  24. I can’t resist being boring here. Wiktionary says a rollbar is an ant-roll bar, the suspension component. It is there not to stop the car rolling right over but to alter the handling, such that adding one at the front will increase oversteer and one at the rear will increase understeer. Adding both hopefully makes the car quicker (or not.) Car nuts often call a roll-over bar a “rollbar” (or “rollcage” in a hardtop) and if they are talking about the anti-roll bar are more likely to omit the “bar” rather than the “anti”. So I say both wiktionary and the compiler have picked a dodgy definition.
    Prince Phil might have been disadvantaged by a rollcage as apparently someone got him out through the roof which would have been harder with a rollcage.
    anon (andyf)
  25. Tough going, about 30 min. and that ruined by an unfortunate elasten, my last in as well. Lucky I enjoy these things.
  26. Hugely enjoyable puzzle, which I boldly submitted not knowing if NUDIBRANCH or TROCHE were correct, although wordplay generous. COD, joint, to ARGO and ELASTIN. Today’s Test starts at 2pm our time. I think the word AMAZON is from the Greek for ‘without breast’.

    Once read a newspaper report about a man who’d died while having sex when he was meant to be working. He was deemed to be ‘at work’ by a pensions tribunal. The headline was…..

    15′ 55” thanks pip and setter.

  27. My VIVI at 23a made ELASTIN hard work. Turns out that a Vivi is a cute, huggy sort of girl according to the urban dictionary, probably gives lots of presents as well.
    LOI was ARGO, which went in on the basis of what else could it be – I thought the clue was a bit obscure for me, not being educated in that sort of thing.
  28. I studied the old molluscs at A level thus 27ac NUDIBRANCH was vaguely remembered – it is pronounced ‘nudibrangk’ btw.

    FOI 10ac ELBE

    LOI 26ac BEDS


    WOD 14ac BUXOM – in Derbyshire

    But a DNF as I too went for PENNY TEST @ 19ac – remembering ‘The Broons’ perhaps!?

  29. 21:48. Held up by spotting the hidden EIDE river in 10A, which made ROLLBAR ungettable. The river I was thinking of was, of course the EIDER…. and not to be confused with the duck in EPIDERMIS, my COD. Must remember to read all the letters when looking for a hidden! NUDIBRANCH and TROCHE (my LOI) were unknown. Nice puzzle.
  30. 20 mins. Similar experience to most other people, never having heard of TROCHE or NUDIBRANCH but pleased they turned out to be correct. I knew what a turducken was, having eaten my share of one at Thanksgiving one year (but luckily not having had to prepare it). Some nice clues, especially ARGO.
  31. 11:01 – looks like we have had a run of easier ones, who’s turn is it to blog tomorrow? Gulp.
  32. Early evening breeze through in almost 16 minutes. The last turducken I roasted i placed on the bottom of the oven, which more or less charred the bottom half, making the different (?) tastes indistinguishable in the crunchiness.
    The excellent golden retriever stood out for me. Another pleasant crossword.
    I believe Wonder Woman was meant to be an Amazon, but I certainly don’t remember her being under-equipped to feed twins simultaneously. But then the bow was not her weapon of choice.
  33. I managed to polish this one off in 31:16 this morning, but didn’t have time to comment as my snooker partner arrived to join me for an afternoon on the green baize, inspired by Judd Trump’s triumph over the Rocket. Having knocked an enjoyable raft of balls around and arrived home to some tea and a couple of glasses of Shiraz, I now feel ready to add my thoughts to the pearls of wisdom already dispensed. I liked this puzzle. ARGO was a highlight. Didn’t know TROCHE or NUDIBRANCH. I remembered PORTMANTEAU WORD from a previous puzzle. A feeling of deja vous has now overwhelmed me, as I’m sure I’ve seen similar comments quite recently. Back to the latest episode of Vera…. Thanks setter and Pip.
  34. 36:08 fun puzzle with some neat stuff in it. My LOI was Magi, like a few others I had difficulty with elastin and also means test. I was glad the margarine had a fish in it, stopped me from spelling it with a -ger- in the middle.
  35. I’m clearly in a minority of one, as I thought this was the worst of the year so far. Then again I would say that as I dnf. To me it was more about lazy clueing rather than anything outrageous. Minor irritants such as the unnecessary question mark at 17a. And conversely, the addition of an exclamation mark at 23a wouldn’t have gone amiss (‘that’s magic!’). 26a is terribly long-winded for such a straightforward answer. No need for ‘tucked-in’. And given that the roc has never existed, ‘bird’ is stretching it a bit. Perhaps ‘legendary beast’ would have been fairer? I agree with the controversy about rollbar. Not only is it the incorrect definition, but I don’t associate cake with roll. To be fair, I see the need to make the cake/turnover connection and (thus) deception, but the clue still doesn’t really work if you’re having to force it in this way. Mr Grumpy
    1. I know one can get on the wrong side of a crossword, so to speak, but….
      Tell me, if the mythical roc was not an enormous bird, what was it? The BFG was just as mythical, but could really only be properly described as a enormous man.
      I’m not going to enter into the rollbar controversy (though it caused me no grief) but what, pray, is a Swiss roll if not a cake?
      Perhaps it’s a bit late for deGrumpyfication, but perhaps you’ll permit me to try?! (Punctuation marks added free of charge).
  36. It’s now tomorrow so far too late for meaningful comment. Enjoyable puzzle. Took me 27 minutes with my morning cuppa. Last in ELASTIN – which I’d never heard of. Ann
  37. Thanks setter and pip
    Was able to get this finished in a single session – but it was a long 48 min over breakfast and coffee in our coastal resort of Inverloch whilst on a Chrissy break down there.
    Was another who completed it in two halves and although the mysterious river EIDE initially presented at 10a, it was quickly amended and the LHS was done. Must admit a cringe with the ‘potential unsportsmanlike bowl’ – wonder if Trevor Chappell ever regretted it !
    Same new terms as others and likewise the word play helped out. Had no problems with ELASTIN (and thought that it was one of the better clues of the day). Finished in the NE corner with MAGI (tricky definition) and the excellent ARGO (which was my cod) as the last couple in.

Comments are closed.