Times 27,263: Hypocritical Hypothetical

A very solid and entertaining puzzle I thought, with a heightened quality of vocabulary and reference further enlivened by some elegant cryptic phrasings. We also really liked the cavalcade of excellent animals, deers, horses, moles, sloths, herring, drakes and the dishevelled ducks in my COD 12ac. Kudos to the top zoological work from the setter there.

Talking of animals, I start a new job on Monday at a dog-walking company – I’m hoping this will give some structure back to my weeks and enable a less scattered blogging performance. In the meantime… Club Monthly blog to arrive later today, after I’ve had some much needed sleep. See you then!

1 Rear several deer on outskirts of city zone (12)
HINDQUARTERS – HINDS [several deer] on the “outskirts” of QUARTER [city zone]

9 Iberian writer, fifty or thereabouts (5)
LORCA – L OR CA [fifty | or | thereabouts]. For some reason I’d always imagined that Federico Garcia Lorca was a South American poet, but no, totally Spanish.

10 Backwoodsman uses this road and sea transport, stabling horse (9)
BUSHCRAFT – BUS [road (transport)] and CRAFT [sea transport], “stabling” H [horse]

11 They won’t last long: record time on edge (8)
EPHEMERA – EP [record] + ERA [time] on HEM [edge]

12 Dishevelled Eastern ducks released close to boundary (6)
UNTIDY – UNTI{e}D [released, “ducked” by E for Eastern] + {boundar}Y

13 Like ring a designer included in collection, after reflection (8)
TOROIDAL – A DIOR [a | designer] “included” in LOT [collection]; all reversed

15 Hotshot from Ritz regularly put in charge (6)
WIZARD – {r}I{t}Z, put in WARD [charge]

17 Sleepers finally resent abuse (6)
MOLEST – MOLES [sleepers] + {resen}T

18 In the midst of a commotion, grand lady’s holding fast (8)
ADHERING – in the midst of A DIN G [a | commotion | grand], HER [lady’s]

20 Previous drink knocked back, getting extra round (6)
BYGONE – reversed NOG [drink], getting BYE [extra] round that

21 Exotic plant explorer found on island (8)
MANDRAKE – DRAKE [explorer] found on MAN [island]

24 One likely to drop stretcher and fly? (9)
LITTERBUG – LITTER [stretcher] and BUG [fly?]

25 The French see fuel in tank reduced by a third (5)
VOILA – OIL [fuel] in VA{t} [tank, two-thirds thereof]

26 Troubled OR man’s recent petition (12)

1 Most divine fiction given coverage in Mass (7)
HOLIEST – LIE [fiction], given “coverage” by HOST [mass]

2 Nth herring lost at sea, a must-see for Arctic cruisers? (8,6)

3 Scruple from catering officer holding up army lunch’s starters (5)
QUALM – Q.M. [catering officer] “holding” U{p} A{rmy} L{unch}

4 Like a sloth carried into middle of sea (8)
ARBOREAL – BORE [carried] into middle of ARAL [sea]

5 Two sailors on vacation have a restless night, perhaps (4)
TOSS – T{w}O S{ailor}S

6 Square one circle at random (9)
RECONCILE – (ONE CIRCLE*) [“at random”]

7 Upset at a politician’s money-raising strategy (14)

8 Remained sober on air (6)
STAYED – homophone of STAID [sober]

14 Hypocritical trendy church about to admit offence (9)
INSINCERE – IN CE RE [trendy | church | about] to “admit” SIN [offence]

16 Hypothetical element in current trade talk (5,3)
IDEAL GAS – I DEAL GAS [current | trade | talk]

17 Overcoming irritability, doctor’s on the move (6)
MOBILE – M.O. [doctor] “overcoming” BILE [irritability]

19 There’s European support for island nation short of a missile (7)
GRENADE – GRENAD{a} [island nation, “short of” A], supported by E [European]

22 Competitor in pool runs down in motor (5)
DIVER – DRIVE [motor], with the R for runs falling all the way “down”

23 River flowing through the Broads (4)
EBRO – hidden in {th}E BRO{ads}

44 comments on “Times 27,263: Hypocritical Hypothetical”

  1. I’m in agreement with verlaine about the evident elegance today – for me the quality of the surfaces stood out (or more accurately they didn’t stand out whereas clunky surfaces do). It’s hard to pick a favourite but at a push I’ll give my COD to VOILA as I liked the clever theme tying together the fuel and the tank.
    1. A clever clue, but not sure that foreign words should be allowed as answers though. They’re ok in the cryptic device because they have passed into that limited usage in crossword land only, but not ok for the actual answers IMHO. Otherwise theoretically you are opening the crossword up to any random foreign word that the setter takes a fancy to. Clearly he/she wouldnt stoop that low, but who’s to decide? It’s a dangerous can of worms. I remember similar controversy about ‘Schnell’ as an answer in one of the championship crosswords in 2017. Mr Grumpy
      1. I do think “voila!” is pretty close to counting as an English word by this point, though…
  2. …or in my case, has-beens be has-beens. 34 minutes with LOI BUSHCRAFT. I spent a while on TOSS, thinking that it had to begin with T(a)R. I briefly tried to make the LITTERBUG a JITTERBUG. Thank you setter, for reminding me of the IDEAL GAS Law. It’s pretty close to absolute zero here in Herfordshire today. COD to HINDQUARTERS. Just the one dog, or several, V? Thank you for the blog and setter for an enjoyable puzzle.

    Edited at 2019-02-01 09:19 am (UTC)

    1. I also had TR__ in for some time. A nice bit of misdirection as I was immediately going through tar, AB, OS, jack, etc whereas on this occasion the sailors were to be taken literally.
  3. Entertaining but not so difficult today, 28 minutes, with 17d and 20a the LOI. Best I thought were Litterbug and Mandrake. Ebro was easy as we crossed it recently on way South on the AP7 and were tyre-jacked and robbed shortly afterwards. Good luck V with the new job, if that’s for real!
  4. I’ll show you how to walk the dog! Ask your mother for fifteen cents!

    Not bad for a Friday – everything was written on the tin.

    So 51 minutes.

    FOI 8dn STAYED

    LOI 20ac BYGONE


    WOD 24ac LITTERBUG – and not JITTERBUG


    Edited at 2019-02-01 09:25 am (UTC)

    1. I wonder if the elephant ever did jump the fence ? Some of the horses I backed at Cheltenham last year made it appear a very onerous task !
  5. This one, taking me 45 mins, was pleasurably challenging. Loads of neat clueing, with many elegant surfaces. My LOI was RECONCILE: a really straightforward anagram, but no! … I desperately wanted the solution to be rectiline or rectangle or recto-/recti-something. Wrong ‘square’. Saw the ‘two sailors’ trick straightaway along with some quick early biffs (HOLIEST, STAYED, INSINCERE, EPHEMERA inter alia), so I thought I was really flying… until I hit some toughies like VOILA and UNTIDY, the solutions to which I could see but dismissed for ages because I couldn’t get them to parse.
    Thanks, V, for making all clear. Thanks also to today’s setter for such a splendid puzzle.
  6. Only the SE corner felt slow, though a couple of today’s crop of large anagrams also resisted. 17.24 all told, and if I’d heard about IDEAL GAS before I missed the bit about what it was.
    In the light of Pip’s tyre-jacking experience (I though that only happened in Liverpool) I’ll give the EBRO a miss this year. How did that get it’s toponym?
    We also walk dogs is a favourite Heinlein short of mine. So I look forward to V’s inevitable discovery of an anti-gravity device.
  7. Struggled a bit and needed some help with IDEAL GAS which I met here before in 2008 and claimed to know it then only because it had caught me out recently in a previous puzzle. Evidently in the intervening 11 years it had fallen out of my brain. Also needed help with BUSHCRAFT which I remember vividly has caught me out before. HOST for ‘mass’ took me by surprise. Just over an hour for a technical DNF.

    Edited at 2019-02-01 10:47 am (UTC)

  8. which I was quite pleased with although I came here with no idea about VOILA QUALM and UNTIDY (thanks V). Army abbreviations not really within my ken, so didn’t see the U as part of the starters. Very keen on TOROIDS use them all the time so nice to see them here.
    All in all, a very nice misdirective (is that a word?) crossword.
  9. I valiantly tried to find some at 20A. Maybe once the sun is over the yardarm….

    Far and away the best puzzle of the week. Nice to see the Aral sea appear at 4D. As usual I tried to start with “Med” but spotted it quickly. I also convinced myself that this was a pangram, but X doesn’t mark the spot in this instance.

    I don’t immediately think of Drake as an explorer, but that’s my shortcoming.

    Thanks to Verlaine for parsing UNTIDY.

    TIME 13:58

  10. No time, but after squeezing in 20′ online, I had to wait until after dinner to leisurely deal with the (rather numerous) remaining clues. Like Phil, I spent time looking for gin, although I was drinking Scotch. LOsI were UNTIDY, WIZARD, ADHERING, & BUSHCRAFT, and having no clock to watch, I enjoyed working out the parsings of each; no time today, but no biffs either. Are they Berkeley dogs, V? Classy clues, among which I’ll arbitrarily choose UNTIDY.
    1. I had a nice single malt to accompany me through the QC before I retired. It almost put me out while I was still in my armchair.
        1. I had my first try of a triple distilled Auchentoshan matured in American Oak Bourbon casks. It was very nice indeed. A Christmas present from my Daughter’s Father-in-law.
          1. I still remember the year that the Championships were sponsored by Knockando. I was surprised to find generous samples on offer at the Leeds qualifier, but chanced only one as I had to drive back on the M62. Unfortunately I didn’t qualify that year (not due to the whisky !) so my plan to try more at the Final was scuppered. They only sponsored that one time.
            1. I competed in a Knockando year regional qualifier! It was in London, I was about 17 and I came about 3/4 of the way down the field. A couple of things have changed since then, but not as much as I might have hoped…
        2. Laphroaig is my tipple of choice. But then maybe John’s QC refers to the Laphroaig Quarter Cask, which accompanied his Auchentoshan (another fine choice). No wonder it almost put him out!
          1. In this instance it was the Quick Cryptic I was referring to, but there is a bottle of 10yr old Laphroaig sitting in the corner for when the mood takes me.
  11. Having inserted LORCA, I spotted HOLIEST and made rapid progress. The Northern Lights highlighted our female deer and 1a jumped into place, the T from that Tossing me in the right direction for 5d. Liked VOILA. I parsed all except UNTIDY, but it was so obviously correct that I didn’t dally. Saw the IDEAL GAS quickly from enumeration and the initial G of part 2. Nice puzzle. 22:49. Thanks setter and V. I wouldn’t fancy dog walking in the Mid West this week!
    Heading off to see a man with a drill shortly, to see if he can identify the source of the intermittent ache in the upper fangs.

    Edited at 2019-02-01 11:44 am (UTC)

  12. Yes, first rate puzzle all across the grid. I went in search of gin too although with our current arctic weather a nice old-fashioned is more my cup of tea. LORCA always brings to mind the Michael Flanders epic account of a corrida d’olivas as follows: https://theolivestuffer.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/olivador-or-olive-stuffer-flanders-swann-at-the-drop-of-another-hat/ 20.12.

    Good luck with the dog-walking V – we have several regulars in our apartment building and they are uniformly nicer than the owners (as are the dogs).

    1. Sounds as if you have the same dogs and owners over on the East side that we have here on the West side.

      Edited at 2019-02-01 02:50 pm (UTC)

  13. RECONCILE aand CAPITALISATION were nice anagrams. Thanks for explaining UNTIDY. COD to VOILA.
    Good luck with the cushy job – sounds a walk in the park.
  14. As already observed, lots of things which weren’t immediately obvious, but which were all there when you looked at the clue the right way. Nice work.
    1. I miss British robins! America may have the geopolitical upper hand these days, sure, but when it comes to the quality of the robins the UK has them licked every time.
  15. The Hudson River is frozen this morning, for the first time in several years. A couple more days of arctic cold and it will really get solid – it’s still at the point where the incoming tide unfreezes parts. In solving, I had the same experience as others. The surfaces and A-list vocabulary gave us elegance rather than sheer difficulty. So even without whisky it was a pleasure.

    Edited at 2019-02-01 02:49 pm (UTC)

  16. This was great, although I did it while at a conference talking to a guy at the bar in French, which uses too much of my brain to have much left for crossword solving.

    Verlaine can always take his dogs for a long walk to nearby Drake’s Bay. He stopped there while in explorer mode (as opposed to letting a storm obliterate the armada) to careen his ships. That’s probably the only time I’ve ever used the word “careen” except to solve a crossword, and using it in a crossword blog doesn’t really count as “normal conversation”. I’m sure any non-crossword person who read our comments would think us just as anoracky as the trainspotters who sometimes show up in the grids.

    1. I hadn’t heard of Drake’s Bay, but checking it out on the map it looks like a realistically achievable weekend outing. I’ll try to make it happen!

      I have definitely seen or possibly even using “careening wildly” to describe an out-of-control vehicle, though now I’m confused about whether there’s a difference between “careen” and “career” and if so what it is. My own career has definitely been known to careen…

  17. Phew. After three consecutive fails, I was glad to get out of this one in one piece, albeit with an abysmal time.

    I spent a long time trying to see how 12ac worked (finally saw the light after much hesitation), and I was unsure about the EBRO in spite of the unambiguous clue. Glad to see a little science creeping in with IDEAL GAS, though I’m not sure I’d call it “hypothetical” – nobody expects or expected it to exist; it’s simply a mathematical model of a gas that behaves like a real one, only more so.

    Good luck with the dog-walking job, Verlaine – I’m quite jealous of you having something to drag you out of bed and into the fresh air. Completely irrelevant aside: one of our dogs has a tracker collar, and has not wandered off since we bought the thing. Today, she decided to belt across 2 miles of fields after pheasants, and the tracker collar helpfully told me she was at home in the kitchen, which is where I’d left the bloody tracker. Finding her involved a 4 miles circular walk, bringing me back to where we’d started, where said dog was waiting patiently wondering what had kept me.

  18. Done in bits and pieces while and after working so no time. I admire the setter’s bushcraft: an excellent weaving of trails. Great robin Matt.
  19. I enjoyed this. FOI 2d NORTHERN LIGHTS, COD to 5d TOSS, guessed LORCA and LOI 13a TOROIDAL a DNK but I do now. Are the setters for the 15×15 always anonymous?

    Thanks Verlaine for the blog although today I managed to parse everything which is atypical. 28:33

  20. 35:33. A fun and engaging puzzle pitched at just about the right level for me today (nursing a bit of a hangover). Some nice vocab, plenty of satisfying puzzling required while never really getting stuck on anything.
  21. By the time V’s blog appears it’s Saturday morning here in NZ so time to move on but I will offer thanks for UNTIDY and BYGONE and leave you with the thought that EBRO is an online friend in New Zealand…..
  22. 43:24 if I hadn’t put MOTILE instead of MOBILE which gave a tricky 20a – could only think of TAGINE which didn’t really parse!

Comments are closed.