Times 27259 – What you do in winter!

Time: 15 minutes
Music: Rachmaninoff, Symphonic Dances, Johanos/Dallas Symphony

Well, we are back to another easy Monday, and I’m sure we’ll see some fast times.   I started writing in a number of the answers before I even finished reading the clues, and I only needed my eraser once or twice – it was that kind of puzzle.   In fact, I had to go back to Mephisto so I could finish listening to tonight’s musical selection before starting on the blog.   Now there’s a puzzle that’s practically guaranteed to fill unlimited amounts of time, unless you are a very top solver indeed.

If you’re bored, there were some pretty good puzzles over the weekend.   The Saturday Times puzzle was not too bad, but I found the Sunday one quite hard.   Paul has a good prize puzzle this week in the Guardian, which has some very witty clues.  And, of course, there’s always Mephisto, where I have only been successful twice.

1 Counterpart works back to back (4)
OPPO – OP + OP backwards, but not opera!
4 Venturing to entertain judge with fish for tea (10)
DARJEELING – DAR(J + EEL)ING.   My favorite type of tea, although I don’t like the expensive ones that taste like a cup of flowers.
9 Sound of fellow journalist entering bank time and again (10)
REPEATEDLY –  RE(sounds like PETE + ED)LY.   Those who don’t like random names will presumably be even less enthusiastic about homonyms of random names.
10 Way to get over a roofed colonnade (4)
STOA – ST + O + A, with a rather explicit literal.
11 Hard worker abandons love for a Roman emperor (6)
TRAJAN – TR[+A -o]JAN, with a rather obsolescent secondary meaning of ‘Trojan’.
12 Bigwig in spectacles ultimately keeps it to lay eggs (8)
OVIPOSIT – O(VIP)O + [keep]S + IT.
14 Sole Liberal accommodated in old city (4)
ONLY – O N(L)Y.   
15 Tip in old piece of furniture designed to be pulled out (10)
EXTENDABLE –  EX + T(END)ABLE.  Don’t biff ‘extensible’, read the cryptic.
17 Vaguely consider possible purchases, looking through lightsV? (6-4)
WINDOW-SHOP – Just a cryptic definition, I believe, where ‘lights’ refers to a particular sort of window.
20 Fratricide — one in place of confinement (4)
CAIN – CA(I)N, where the definition is a bit of synecdoche. 
21 Beg directions for protecting current stars (8)
23 Company of actors move in large numbers, we hear (6)
TROUPE – sounds like TROOP, as a verb.
24 Neat types involved in sudden exodus from the east (4)
OXEN – backwards hidden in [sudde]N EXO[dus], a clue where I only read the first two words and put in the answer, then stopped to figure out why it was correct.
25 Scientist initially bringing mice to his complex? (10)
BIOCHEMIST – B[ringing] + anagram of MICE TO HIS.
26 Medic keeping New Year made one in a brown study (10)
27 Debt-collector returns key example of erotic art (4)
NUDE – DUN backwards + E.
2 After homework, managed to start phone call before meal (11)
3 Delighted about girl meeting boy (9)
4 Just receiving drug money? It leads to legal action (7)
DETINUE – D(E + TIN)UE.   Never heard of it, but the cryptic elements are stock items, so you can’t go wrong.
5 Survive danger disrupting their modest tour (4,3,3,5)
6 Blissful start for intern in city hospital (7)
7 Lives outside court, initially undergoing stress (5)
ICTUS – I(CT, U[ndergoing])S, that is to say, stress in poetic meter.
8 Award nominally associated with Ulysses? (5)
GRANT – Ulysses S GRANT, where ‘nominally’ is to be taken quite literally.
13 Unsympathetic detectives asked to support sick (3-8)
ILL-DISPOSED – ILL DIS + POSED, as in ‘posed a question’.
16 An irksome task at noon involving male broadcasters (9)
ANCHORMEN – AN + CHOR(M)E + N[oon].   Although that’s not the way the cryptic works, ‘male broadcasters’ may well cause you to think of ‘men’, which is why this is a rather undeceptive clue.
18 Like shallow streams in country mostly containing fish (7)
WADABLE – WA(DAB)LE[s].   The common dab is an edible flatfish. 
19 Baseball player in jug? (7)
PITCHER – A simple double definition.   We should bring in the ‘battery’ and confuse our UK solvers.
21 Haughty person regularly taking daughter round university (5)
PROUD – P[e]R[s]O[n] + U + D.
22 Note on Yankee’s funeral song (5)
ELEGY – E + LEG + Y, where E is a note, ‘on’ is a leg in cricket, and ‘Y’ is a letter in the NATO alphabet.

72 comments on “Times 27259 – What you do in winter!”

  1. Monday as it’s supposed to be. Only the one DNK–DETINUE, although I’ve never seen OVIPOSIT, only ‘ovipositor’. With DETINUE, as Vinyl says the cryptic elements lead one to the solution; but the definition seems a bit broad: any crime will, presumably, lead to legal action. 19d is more like a QC clue, at least for us Murcans. Two ‘fishy’ clues, 18d and 4ac: coincidence? Yeah, probably. No need to appeal to synecdoche at 20ac, V: CAIN was a fratricide, having become one when he committed fratricide. Liked ELEGY.
      1. Sorry; it’s a joking reference (not my invention) to people from the United States of Murca.
  2. The unknown triumvirate of DETINUE, ICTUS and OVIPOSIT took around half of my 29 minutes.

    Now if only they had been POMPEY, CRASSUS and CAESAR, I would have creamed it.

  3. Pretty gentle but with a few to give pause, including OVIPOSIT and DETINUE, which were both new to me.

    Yes, Paul’s on Saturday was difficult, but otherwise many of the offerings for Friday and Saturday have been atypically benign so we must be due for a tough one soon.

    Home in 31 minutes of post-prandial entertainment. I liked the surface for BIOCHEMIST and the ‘Award nominally associated with Ulysses’ which made this non-American think a bit.

    Thank you to setter and blogger.

  4. 26 minutes. Fairly easy I suppose but I was held up by several NHOs – ICTUS, STOA, DETINUE.
    I suspect most solvers methodically read through every clue whereas I tend to jump around to where the checkers take me. I’m sure this slows me up because quite often I will discover an easy clue late in the piece which I had completely overlooked.
    1. There has been some discussion about solving techniques in in the QC blogs, especially on the days when Jeremy is on duty as he often provides a lot of insight into his thought processes. I understand that he tends to favour the ‘read every clue first’ approach but there seems to be just as much to be said for the ‘just get started and build on checkers’ alternative. I don’t think it can be proved whether either of these (or some other technique) is ‘correct’ or better than any other, and it’s simply a case of ‘horses for courses’.

      Edited at 2019-01-28 06:32 am (UTC)

    2. Jumping around where the checkers takes one seems to be closer to what I see in Cracking the Cryptic… To me, the skill really seems to be to be able to wrench one’s mind away from dead ends and look at a clue afresh without going for a half-hour walk in between!
    3. I use checkers opportunistically when I get any that look particularly useful (like the clues across the top) but then I always go back to solving in order to make sure I have answered any easy ones. It’s a bit like exam technique.
    4. I do something similar .. some crossing letters, like the first or last letter or a letter in a very short word, are just too useful to ignore. But like Keriothe I try to keep my place and go back to solving the clues in order, if the crossers dry up. If they don’t, you will soon be finished 🙂
      Advanced solving techniques are only really useful to those seeking to build up speed. For the rest of us, my advice would be never to ignore useful crossing letters because they make clues so much easier
      1. I’m with keriothe and jerrywh with regards to technique. The only other thing I’d add is that if I can’t get an answer on first pass but I have a good idea that it ends in S or ED or beings in RE or EX, etc, I’ll put that part in to aid with checkers.
    5. I tend to go where the trail of checkers leads me. Today, for instance, I started OPPO, PREPRANDIAL, PLEIADES, PROUD, DAYDREAMER. That gave me the M at the end of RIDE OUT THE STORM which was a write-in. If I’d only had the starting R I’m not sure I’d have solved the clues as quickly.
      1. Years ago Tony Sever wrote one of his blogs on speed solving tips for getting to the top of the championships – things like don’t waste time writing anagram fodder down in a circle, don’t waste time ticking off clues as you get them. I can’t find the piece, but I’d have been interested in his speed-solving thoughts on the read ’em all vs follow the flow method.
  5. I finished in 31 minutes, only just missing my target half-hour, but I wouldn’t say a puzzle containing such words as OVIPOSIT, DETINUE, PLEIADES, TRAJAN, ICTUS and DUN (as a debt collector), could be classed as easy except for a seasoned solver who knows most of the tricks and can interpret wordplay with some confidence. I don’t think I would be recommending this one in the QC forum!
    1. Thanks jackkt, I for one appreciate your comment. I found this 15×15 harder than most and needed upwards of an hour with two incorrect. Had TRoJAN (DNK TRAJAN) and DETeNUE. Given my sporadic attempts at the 15×15 since April last year I think I fall into the category of unseasoned solver.
    2. Well, having successfully worked my way through this without getting totally lost, which is still very much a rarity, I did recommend it on the QC site. I guess on the basis of ‘if I can do it…’ Invariant
  6. 21 minutes was good but as to granting a COD that’s tough, as there was nothing really outstanding! A forest of chestnuts.

    FOI 1ac OPPO

    LOI 18dn WADABLE


    When did 4dn DETINUE last make a showing?

    I think this would be good for the QC forum! And why read every clue first? I only do that involuntarily on Fridays.

    Edited at 2019-01-28 06:57 am (UTC)

    1. Its one and only former appearance was in March 2017. No other sightings, even in the Mephisto.
  7. Curses! Having jumped the right way for LOI DETINUE (the question mark in the clue led me to consider DETENUE, as “ten” could conceivably be money) and finished in 34 minutes, I came here to discover the double unches in 21a had, as I’d feared, led me to get it wrong. I had PLEAIDES. I wrote both options down and went for the one that looked better, but unusually this method gave me the wrong answer today.

    PS: I’d like to second the recommendation for Paul’s Guardian puzzle on Saturday. I really enjoyed it.

    Edited at 2019-01-28 08:07 am (UTC)

  8. 8.16, but a misspelling of the constellation (and, for shame, I can’t even blame an iPad typo this time, just my own ignorance and stupidity meant pink squares and therefore failure to smash my PB.
  9. 9:58. My reaction to your comment about ‘easy Monday’ has been exactly described by jackkt, and I would add ‘brown study’ to the list of obscurities. In spite of this it wasn’t a particularly hard puzzle, and it’s always fun to try and work out unknowns from wordplay.
      1. I’ve never read any Conan Doyle but it’s come up before here so I did know it. To me it’s a really weird expression so it’s stuck in my memory.
        On the spelling of PLEIADES, I have learned from doing these things that when playing ‘does this look like a word’ with anagrams the combination EIA is a good bet, particularly if the word looks like it might come from one of those languages I never learned at school: plebeian, Cassiopeia, onomatopoeia etc.
        1. “particularly if the word looks like it might come from one of those languages I never learned at school: plebeian, Cassiopeia, onomatopoeia etc.”
          Seems I had a better education than you? I learnt plebeian at school 😉
  10. 15:24. DAYDREAMER my LOI – never heard the phrase “brown study” – Thanks gothick_matt for the link. Nor did I know DETINUE. COD to BIOCHEMIST for the semi-&lit surface.
  11. But with one spelling mistake. PLEAIDES for PLEIADES.

    I didn’t know Detinue, Oviposit, Ictus or Stoa.

    COD: Biochemist.

  12. 21 minutes with LOI DETINUE, which I think I knew. I was feeling proud of having constructed the unknown OVIPOSIT before I came here and found that most of you knew the word. I dredged up ‘brown study’ to mean DAYDREAM(ER) from a Sherlock Holmes memory I think, although isn’t that A Study in Scarlet? DNK ICTUS but it was easily constructed. COD to GRANT. Thank you V and setter.
  13. There were a few unknowns or half-knowns today – DETINUE, OVIPOSIT, ICTUS, TRAJAN – where I had to have faith in the parsing, but all were fairly clued. Other than those, a nice gentle start to the week.
  14. Gaargh! I quickly realized that I was in with a chance of personal best, so blitzed through this, coming out the other side in a little under 11 minutes – not quite a PB but close. On submission, though, I found I had two errors – anchormAn and trOjan.

    Edited at 2019-01-28 10:03 am (UTC)

  15. 13.35 undone by a simple key-next-door typo which my careful check after solve should have spotted. Perhaps I should learn to read. Or better yet, develop a spell-checking app that alerts you to errors as you type them in. Come on guys, you know you can do it!
  16. ….most peculiar momma !

    So many potential obscurities in here, but none of them trapped me, as all were clued fairly. My only slight hold up was at 2D, where I had the P from OPPO, and tried “after = post”. Luckily the truth dawned quickly, and I was able to avoid the “Ur” trap at 14A.

    I was in more trouble on the QC than on this to be honest !

    TIME 6:42

  17. Same unknowns as everyone else, but wordplay generous. 11′ 58”, only four minutes more than the QC – but as jack says this is not really recommendable to QC doers except for learning purposes. Incidentally I always do the QC going through every clue once first, and I usually do the 15×15 going through every clue twice first.
  18. After a flying start, with the easy ones going in quickly (OPPO, TRAJAN, OXEN, PREPRANDIAL, PITCHER, PROUD, ELEGY, RIDE STORM, OVERJOYED et al.) I stalled on precisely those trickier ones noted by bloggers above. My GK was stretched to breaking point with ICTUS (though the wordplay fixed it for me), DETINUE (again, I was sure TIN=money and E=drug, so eventually found DUE=just), STOA, OVIPOSIT (though I do know ‘ovipositor’). CAIN was indeed more challenging, vinyl1, because of the synecdochic definition. And if I’d been given General Grant and asked for an associated name I think I could come up with Ulysses — but given Ulysses I just couldn’t come up with GRANT.
    WADABLE looks wrong to me: in the same way ‘milage’ doesn’t work for ‘mileage’.
    A puzzle I enjoyed and a good start to the week. 32 mins.
    Thanks, v, for your judicious blog.
    1. I’m never entirely sure what ‘synecdoche’ means, so perhaps I’m being dim but I don’t see it here. CAIN was a fratricide, it’s just a conventional definition isn’t it?
      1. I’m never sure what synecdoche means either but this seemed a little odd at the time. I would define fratricide as the act of killing one’s brother but looking it up it also mean a person who performs that act.
      2. Yes, I think like Quailthrush (see below) on this: and the synecdoche arises therefore from the use of the generic (fratricide) to stand for the particular (Cain).
        When I first learned about all those Greek figures of speech from our English teacher at school he shrugged and waved his hand airily when challenged to explain the difference between synecdoche and metonym. So I am satisfied with vinyl1’s use of the ‘s’ word.
        1. Not sure I understand. A fratricide is a person who kills his brother, Cain is an example of this. It’s just like defining a thrush as a bird. Or DARJEELING as tea, or PLEIADES as stars (I could go on).
            1. Homicide and fratricide don’t necessarily have to correspond exactly in terms of usage but Collins does have:
              1. the killing of a human being by another person
              2. a person who kills another
              ODO and Chambers have the same.

              Edited at 2019-01-28 01:41 pm (UTC)

            2. It seems keriothe is fully justified in this case. All the reference sources seem to allow homicide and fratricide to refer to the perpetrator as well as the deed itself.
          1. Actually, I am getting fuddled and you’re quite right — there is no problem at all with the ‘synecdochic’ relationship between Cain and fratricide. Yes, it’s exactly the same as defining darjeeling as tea.
            I was discombobulated by the use of ‘fratricide’ to refer to the actor rather than the act… as quailthrush has observed.
            1. I was going to suggest it’s clever misdirection by the setter but actually I think the surface requires the same meaning.
      3. Oddly enough, this point is made in the first posting, above. We had a similar discussion here–or it may have been a QC–a while back on ‘suicide’; I remember giving an example (the Tit-willow song from ‘The Mikado’).
        1. I saw that and assumed the question had been settled. I didn’t really understand how synecdoche applied in any circumstance (even if you assume ‘fratricide’ refers to the act I don’t really see it to be honest) so when it came up again I thought I’d try and work out what people were on about!
  19. Never heard of DETINUE…er, I doubtless said to myself as I correctly solved it on its previous appearance. In fairness, I think that was before I started keeping a proper list of unknown unknowns, to avoid this sort of thing happening again. In any case, the pointers were pretty clear, and it helps that it looks very much like it ought to be a word, unlike the wretched aoudad. Good Monday stuff.

    Also, 15ac made me smile at the memory of a nice little moment from the life of Alan Partridge

  20. I thought I was heading for a fast time but, as happens too often, I outsmarted myself. I was sure “ide” was going to be the fish in the shallow stream and I recalled “detenu” as the term used for the imprisoned Hari Kumar in the Raj Quartet. After sorting that out I clocked in at 15.02. I’ll endorse the recommendations of Paul’s prize puzzle in Saturday’s Guardian. Their puzzles are free online although they do periodically guilt you into making a contribution.
  21. Yes a well constructed crossword with lots of semi known words but the cryptic were always clear, at least until my LOI DETINUE, where the DUE part was a bit obscure to my mind. The only word I knew that fitted was DETENTE – could our setter not have used that instead?
  22. A very similar experience to others – it was a quick solve (6m 52s) but with lots of obscure vocabulary. The ‘brown study’ was unknown to me, but I was already writing in DAYDREAMER from the checkers so it didn’t take too much of a leap.
  23. One of my quicker solves at 16:21, slowed down at the end in the SW quarter by PLEIADES and DAYDREAMER. I originally typed PLIEADES which delayed ELEGY and also didn’t look right. DAYDREAMER was my LOI and was more or less biffed from checkers. Didn’t know DETINUE, ICTUS, OVIPOSIT or TRAJAN, but the wordplay was generous. OVIPOSIT was easy to assemble and I was familiar with Oviparous from previous crosswords. Nice gentle start to the week. Thanks setter and Vinyl.
  24. 10:24. I’m with Jack and Keriothe in thinking that this would be easy / solvable quickly for a seasoned solver but potentially quite daunting for a novice.

    I wouldn’t say that the meaning of Trojan used was “obsolescent”. The expression working like a Trojan is alive and well I think.

  25. Being under the weather I’m OK with my 19.14 though would have hoped for an under-15 otherwise. Detinue eh? Re method I used to go through all the acrosses then all the downs and only then call on the checkers, on the principle that
    the sooner you’ve seen all the clues the more likely your mind is to sort them out, including coming to terms with the parsing, under the table, so to speak. Still think it may be the better way.
  26. Easy solve. Didn’t time it as I just waddled through it while eating a Charlie Bigham cottage pie in an effort to victual myself after three days flat on my back with flu, ingesting only tea. Going to the Carl Palmer trio gig tonight, so got to get my act together pdq 🙂
  27. More or less, with train interruptions. DNK the same as everyone else but all workoutable
  28. Managed to get to the end of this, and if I had known that a Dun was a debt collector, I would have been able to parse it all as well. This is such a very rare event for me, that I’m now feeling a little guilty for rushing to recommend it on the QC page. Invariant
  29. Another Qcer with a victorious smile here. Have just discovered that all my unknowns were correct -a great feeling.
    LOI was Detinue after Oviposit. EXTENDABLE was one of my last for some reason.
    My solving technique is to try to find any clue I can solve and go from there. FOI was Cain and my solve was circular from SE to SW and finally NE.
    I liked Anchormen (reminded me of the funny films my daughter likes). David
  30. Had the same issues as others with words such as Stoa, Dun, Ictus, Neat, Detinue.
    Had a bit of luck with Darjeeling as the first fish that came to my mind was Ling – rather than the correct Eel.
    Oviposit/Ovipositor always reminds me of the “Aliens” films!
  31. Not anywhere near as good as you all seem to be but this the easiest I can remember.
    suppose great age helps with the knowledge side.
  32. 29:28 should’ve been much quicker – all but Darjeeling, detinue and extendable done in about 16 mins – but those three held me up for an age. The brown study was not a familiar expression. Detinue was unknown or forgotten. I think I remembered ictus from somewhere but grateful for clear wordplay.
  33. Thanks setter and vinyl1
    Lots of new learning for me here (with OPPO, the emperor TRAJAN, ‘light’ for window, ”brown study’ and DETINUE). It took close to the hour to get finished.
    I did enjoy BIOCHEMIST and GRANT. Finished in the NW corner with DETINUE, OPPO and TRAJAN the last few in.
  34. A PB of 14 mins for us. 4d Detinue LOI, remembered from the previous appearance 2 years ago. First time ever quicker than our yardstick, Olivia in Rhinebeck. Our usual time is 2 Olivias, and it has been remarkable how consistent this has been. We find her time more useful as a guide to difficulty than the Snitch, as the latter makes the difficult ones appear easier than they really are when many solvers( non-solvers in these instances) DNF.

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