Times 27265 – A little bit of whatever tickles your fancy

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I really enjoyed this, a slightly above averagely difficult Monday offering, if my performance was anything like par for the course. There was quite a lot of man and woman stuff kicking around, as well as a nice bit of kink slicing right through the middle, hardly a chestnut and a couple of neat traps for the biffer – most notably 2d (‘outhouse’, anyone?) and 19a (the very plausible sounding – if not looking – ‘tea cosey’, which engaged my interest for a while). Nice one, setter!

I came in pretty much bang on my NITCH (35 minutes), but how did you all fare?


1 Girl in lead circling till race’s conclusion (6)
PHOEBE – tricky one to start with – hence one of my last; HOE (till) in PB (lead) last letter of [rac]E
5 Visionary stifling a detainee’s threat, in the main (3,5)
SEA POWER – A POW in SEER; liked this
9 Charged about drug experience, having no gear (8)
STRIPPED – TRIP in SPED; liked this too
10 One going on record wants pen, mostly drunk (6)
STYLUS – STY LUS[h]; I always called them needles
11 Male with some guts shows force (8)
MOMENTUM – this kept me busy thinking post-solve for some time; M (male) OMENTUM (never heard of it – ‘a fold of peritoneum connecting the stomach with other abdominal organs’). One for our resident sawbones…
12 Snippet is small, evidently (6)
SNATCH – S NATCH; NATCH threatens to become the cruciverbal chestnut of so-called street talk, get on down, man, like, you know, wicked, or wevs…
13 Swish clothing provided in catalogue? (8)
15 English penned by historian, one leaving draft (4)
LEVY – E in L[i]VY; Titus Livius Patavinus is famous for his monumental history of Rome, parts of which I translated in my raw youth
17 Perform sport, or cheat thereat? (4)
DOPE – DO PE, with the extended sense that if you dope, you are a drugs cheat. Allegedly. Do svidaniya!
19 Area roughly inside toy container (3,5)
TEA CADDY – A CA (Livy’s about, AKA circa) in TEDDY
20 Clodhopper Garbo bungled lead in Ninotchka (6)
BROGAN – anagram* of GARBO N[inotchka]; a brogan is a heavy, ankle-high shoe or boot
21 Vex one briefly slowing in speed (8)
IRRITATE – I + RIT (briefly slowing) in RATE
22 Calm man’s after some smut (6)
23 Place on phone record for mix of action and dialogue (8)
24 Delighted where financiers are still (8)
ECSTATIC – EC (part of post-code for the City of London) STATIC (still)
25 End of tyranny in good time in each revolution? (6)


2 Pipe outside grand garden building? (8)
HOTHOUSE – THOU (slang for a thousand quid) in HOSE; nice, innit?
3 English team needing authority, but not a crisis (8)
4 Give details of displaced person one took in (9)
5 Enjoying suffering from stomach acid is so silly (15)
6 Might copy off entertaining figure (7)
7 Our group are going to bother with a lot of funds (4-2-2)
WELL-TO-DO – WE’LL (our group are going to) TO-DO (bother); v good
8 Place for the old theorems to get renewed (4,4)
REST HOME – THEOREMS*; how long till I can stay out of one, I wonder?
14 Scoffed before pal admits “I’m not sure how country may be run” (9)
FEDERALLY – ER in FED ALLY; 10 out of 10 for effort, and a B+ for attainment
15 A lot of meat to moisten with juices in pan (8)
LAMBASTE – LAM[b] BASTE; a culinary delight
16 Very obese queen’s dropped acid (8)
VENOMOUS – V ENO[r]MOUS; a lovely image of our wonderful sovereign having a chill sesh in Buck House
17 Deplorable state of poor sod — a pity! (8)
18 Slip and cloak worn by rogue female (8)
PRATFALL – my last; RAT (rogue) F (female) in PALL (cloak); cunning as Blackadder’s Oxonian
19 Drawing back, holding long tube (7)
TRACHEA – ACHE in ART reversed

59 comments on “Times 27265 – A little bit of whatever tickles your fancy”

  1. I started off way slow; I think I got nothing but LEVY on my first pass through the acrosses and downs. It went on like that for a while, but things finally picked up. 5d BIFD, with a quick look assuring myself that there was anagrist enough. STYLUS biffed, solved post-submission. Is PE sport?
    1. No problem with sport for PE, as, in a scholastic context, PE can take the form of sport – football, probably, though, not darts.
  2. I was very much on the wavelength of the setter today, 8:52. LEVY the only one I wasn’t 100% sure of the definition for – OMENTUM is paying a visit from Mephistoland.
  3. I gave up on parsing 11, even suspected something had gone missing in the clue. The wordplay is pretty clear, but I didn’t even think to Google… What a word!
  4. Took ages to get started with 5dn SADOMASOCHISTIC as my FOI after nearly 5 minutes. Then made steady progress to complete the RH side but found myself stuck again on the LH.

    Didn’t recognise BROGAN but guessed at it with B???AN in place – turned out it has come up only once before (last August) when I also didn’t know it.

    The top RH was something of a battleground, but having eventually worked my way through it I came a cropper at 16dn where I ran out of steam and resorted to aids to find VENEMOUS. I had been put off by thinking I was looking for a scientific term beyond my ken.

  5. Quite a bit of time spent on PRATFALL and TELEPLAY.
    Thanks, ulaca, for MOMENTUM. I biffed that but didn’t fall for the other biffs you mention, OUTHOUSE and TEA COSEY. I figured OUT(side) was in the clue so it wouldn’t be in the solution and I believe it’s cos(e)y.
    Like vinyl1, I thought of EXPLICATE but thought better of it.
    When I had a record deck I used to use Shure cartridges.
  6. Completely messed up by biffing ‘explicate’ and ‘tea chest’ before limping home in 41 mins. EXPATIATE is one of those words which seem familiar but, when challenged, I realise I have no idea what they actually mean. Never heard the word TELEPLAY though the meaning is obvious. Does it have to involve both action and dialogue? The definition of LEVY is quite obscure. Never heard of BROGAN. And I didn’t think LAMBASTE was spelt with an E. All up, I didn’t enjoy this one.
    1. With you all the way. My dictionary does not have “teleplay” and as for “omentum” …..
      1. Keriothe recommended the Chambers app (I have it now for iOS and Mac) to me a while back, and it rarely lets me down for words in the 15×15 daily, or even the Mephisto. Having said that, it looks like “teleplay” and “omentum” are in all three of Chambers, Collins and the Oxford Dictionary of English (the last is built-in on Macs), so you might not need to go to such extremes!

        Edited at 2019-02-04 10:21 pm (UTC)

  7. Rather a lot of words in the misty borderlands of vocabulary, with opportunities for inventing additional ones: mine was BOGRAN which looks at least potentially clodhopperish, but didn’t survive revision.
    I made a fast start and briefly wondered whether I might do this as a Quickie, attempting to get all the across answers in (lasted all of three clue).The PRATFALL/TELEPLAY crossing was testing and my LPI. 15.30.
  8. Got off to a good start with FOI 1a PHOEBE, but slowed from there onwards by unusual words and tricky definitions. In particular I didn’t know BROGAN, NHO “omentum”, wasn’t sure whether exigency was crisis, tried to crowbar in both TEA CHEST and TEA CRATE, never knew you could spell “lambast” with an “e”, and knew-but-couldn’t-recall-for-ages the historian…

    Finally finished in 48 minutes with a biffed 18d PRATFALL after spending most time on the SW corner. It all seemed quite fair in the end, and very well put-together. Thanks, U.

    Edited at 2019-02-04 08:13 am (UTC)

  9. 40 mins with yoghurt etc.
    No way to parse Momentum. And DNK Brogan, but do-able.
    LOI was Pratfall. Mostly I liked: ‘copy off’ entertaining figure.
    Thanks setter and U.
  10. 11:47. I seem to have been on the wavelength for this one, but I wasted ages at the end puzzling over MOMENTUM. I thought ‘some guts’ was indicating TUM so like Guy I thought something might have gone missing. In the end I couldn’t think of anything else so I bunged it in and crossed my fingers.
    I don’t remember seeing BROGAN before but it’s an easy enough anagram.

    Edited at 2019-02-04 08:17 am (UTC)

      1. I’m quite glad I didn’t think of that or I might have wasted another couple of minutes!
  11. 38 minutes with LOI PHOEBE. I had no idea where I had acquired the necessary MOMENTUM from, never having heard of omentum. I knew BROGAN from somewhere. COD to PRATFALL, one of the more modern words which has reached my ancient vocabulary. I found this tough and was surprised I hadn’t taken longer. I saw SADOMASOCHISTIC straightaway. That’s what doing this puzzle each day is. Thank you U and setter.
  12. DNFF

    All over the place and SE doldrums!

    15ac LEVY I goy as far as Pliny

    15dn LAMBASTE! Dreadfully tough meat

    20ac BROGAN As eaten by Chaplin?

    16dn VENOMOUS obese = enormous?

    18dn PRATFALL not in my vocabulary – does PRAT = bottom in this instance?

    And 2dn OUT HOUSE – HIT HOUSE?

    FOI 17dn DYSTOPIA – very apt

    COD 1ac PHOEBE


    Welcome to THE YEAR OF THE PIG!

    1. Same here, who the hell has heard of Livy? Apart from some smug Oxford or Cambridge gits who don’t realise they are supposed to be doing crosswords for the masses (plebs) not just for their own self gratification!
  13. 22:00. Some lovely clues in this with several taking me a while to see. PRATFALL my LOI, like several others and I had to change EXPLICATE I had wrong at 4D to fit MOMENTUM. OMENTUM was vaguely familiar. Like George I thought it might have been from a Mephisto, but it turns out it was in the Boxing Day Jumbo a few weeks ago. I liked PHOEBE, HOTHOUSE and TRACHEA best.
  14. Tricky in parts, or maybe it’s just Monday morning. Last two in were Pratfall and Teleplay, both of which had to be deduced from the cryptic bit. Very easy long anagram at 5D had my hopes high for a quick finish but it was not to be. Vaguely remembered Omentum – is it one of the cow’s stomachs? And I am pleased to learn Lambaste is spelled with an E. Or can it be without as well?
  15. ….the TRACHEAs of my tears.

    This was distinctly un-Monday-ish, but I made quick progress (about 7 minutes) before coming to a halt back in the NW corner, and with a double query at 23A/18D. I then biffed TELEPLAY and PRATFALL, so thanks to Ulaca for the parsings.

    EXPATIATE held me up the most, but I should have STRIPPED PHOEBE much more quickly.

    I don’t know if anybody here plays GrabbyWord. It’s a Scrabble variant, and very tactical. If you add to your opponent’s word(s), you gain the points he/she earned, and they lose them. So you play “mental” at your peril, as an O will quickly be stuck on the front for the adjectival form of OMENTUM. Anybody who DOES play is welcome to challenge me – game identity is pintofbitter.

    TIME 11:57

  16. I found this tough going and eventually completed a circular solve clockwise from NE to NW

    As George has said, OMENTUM vaguely remembered from Mephistoland. Some excellent clues so thank you setter and well blogged Ulaca

  17. … as quailthrush (see above), but not the setter. My 40 mins was painfully slow for a Monday puzzle. I enjoyed a lot of this: in particular my COD vote might go to DYSTOPIA — not a tough anagram, but I liked the neat surface and clever definition.
    Omentum? Crikey! I just saw male=M and guts=TUM and bunged in the right word.

    Fine blog, ulaca, so thank you for that.

  18. Liked this one. No problem with omentum, known from James Herriot .. wouldn’t surprise me if that is where Thud knew it from too. Didn’t know brogan but eventually, nothing else would fit. Is it related to a brogue I wonder? [yes; both from the gaelic “brog,” shoe]
    Lambaste was in a CROWDDY (crossword we don’t discuss yet) last Saturday
  19. Abomesum might be mentioned in the vet programmes ; not sure about omentum. I am glad I did anatomy ; I can get my own back on the classicists 🙂
  20. In the groove for this one but any MOMENTUM was stalled by a sticky T on the keyboard which kept giving me stutters that had to be corrected. I wondered if “omentum” was one of a cow’s 4 stomachs – it’s not but it was close enough. I spent the late afternoon and evening yesterday on the run from those clodhopping dopes in the Super Bowl which my husband had going in every room, or so it seemed. I forgave him because he made me laugh with the suggestion that the presidential State Of The Union Speech should have been given as the half-time show. 16.21
  21. Straightforward though hesitated on last, teleplay – what kind of a word is that? And is it more likely to have said mix than a non-tele-play? Dragged omentum up from, well, somewhere. 20’22.
  22. I might be a 17a but neither clue needed solving because all the letters were connecting.
  23. I had to engage a higher percentage of my brain cells to get through this puzzle. Didn’t solve a clue until I got to YEARLY. Then DYSTOPIA and DOPE arrived, and I was off. The RHS was easier than the LHS, but TELEPLAY took a while to fall and I didn’t quite see the wordplay until coming here. As Jerry mentioned, LAMBASTE wasn’t unfamiliar to those having tackled the CROWDDY. The NW was where I was really held up. STRIPPED and EXIGENCY were my first chinks of light, with EXPATIATE coming next. That left me with 1a 2d and 11a. I finally remembered(from James Herriott and the spin off series, The Yorkshire Vet(which I’ve been binge watching recently)) OMENTUM, and stopped trying to find a two letter male to go with __RECTUM. PHOEBE finally ho(v)e into view and HOTHOUSE became my LOI. I derived BROGAN from brogue and PRATFALL from a biffed PITTFALL(sic). An enjoyable if challenging puzzle for a Monday. Thanks setter and U.
    On edit: Forgot to put my time. 41:59.

    Edited at 2019-02-04 01:30 pm (UTC)

  24. A tougher than usual Monday and very entertaining.

    My only question is the equation of VENOMOUS with ACID (the literal) in 16d. Are venoms acidic? I have tested scorpion venom a couple of times. It is very painful but I forgot to get my litmus bottle out to test it. Too busy having anaphylaxis I suppose.

    1. I think its more figurative than that. A spiteful person can be said to have an acid(ic) or venomous tongue.
      1. Thanks Jackkt – there’s me being too literal – must get more figurative in my thinking. These setters love pushing the boundaries of their “literal” clue components. It was a good Monday though.
      2. Probably the setters intention, yes. But then we are being asked to equate two words, neither of which’s primary meaning is ‘spiteful’. Both words are figuratively used for another word less open to interpretation-ie acid can mean spite, and venomous can mean spite. But it’s a bit of a stretch to say that venomous means acid, unless you make that figurative leap. It just strikes me as a little unfair, that’s all. But maybe it’s just me. I appreciate the humorous ‘Queen’s dropped acid’ bit to make a nice amusing surface, but I didn’t get the answer-and wouldn’t have got it even as a reverse biff, for the above reason. Mr Grumpy
  25. Just over the hour, for what seemed like a very tough Monday. Did anyone else put in a confident DIVE after getting the first and last letters of 17ac? It fits the clue just as well.
    1. Yes -I too had a fairly confident DIVE before I gave up after solving a few of what looked like a difficult puzzle.
      Now back to Sunday’s offering. David
      1. yes, me three

        it was my FOI (and only one of my 1st pass the acrosses) and any worries of 7D ending in “I” were quickly dispelled by the confirmation of the D and E

        still think DIVE is the better answer (more topical)

        SWATCH also survived the checker test

        just as well I don’t enter answers unless sure of the cryptic or confirmed by checkers (mutter, mutter)

  26. Usual 30 minutes but mis-parsed MOMENTUM using MEN plus the middle of SOME plus TUM. Absolute rubbish but got the right answer.
  27. Brain on strike today.

    DNF in about an hour.

    Can someone please explain how RIT = “briefly slowing” in 21 across?

    Thanks in anticipation.


  28. Rit is short for Ritenuto – an Italian term used in music for a brief reduction in temo.
    1. Thank you NP – never seen that before so I feel slightly less dumb than I did. I shall add it to my list of eminently forgettable parsings!
      1. Also short for RITARDANDO, which means ‘slowing down’ in Italian. The -ando ending matches -ing in English, a gerund.
        I’ve never heard of RITENUTO musically. Its Italian means ‘held back, restrained’. The -uto ending is past participle, equivalent of English -ed on a verb. Ritenuto as musical notation appears in my Chambers but not my Oxford, meaning: restrained, a sudden slowing of tempo.
        Every day you learn something.
  29. This wasn’t the easiest Monday puzzle, but I eventually managed everything with the parsings in around 35 minutes, except for just biffing MOMENTUM. Totally unfamiliar with the ‘omentum’ part of that. LOI was PRATFALL, clever. Regards.
  30. 35:47 I enjoyed this one, a bit more challenging for a Monday. RHS went in fairly comfortably, LHS a trickier proposition especially Phoebe, hothouse, expatiate and momentum in the NW. FOI 5dn. LOI 11ac – dnk omentum and actually wondered if there was an error in the clue. Thanks to the blogger for reminding me of the days spent inflicting endless, turgid, translations of Livy on my unfortunate Latin master at school.
      1. He may have inflicted them on me to start with but it certainly backfired when he had to read the drivel I produced!
        1. Love it! You actually made me laugh out loud. 10 seconds earlier and I’d have choked on my cracker and cheese!
  31. Didn’t time myself on this one but I think that I was slower than the Brexit negotiations -thankfully, at least I got there in the end. Any hope ?
  32. Didn’t get PRATFALL – not heard of PALL but now I know why they are called PALLbearers.

    Spent a while wondering whether LEVY really meant Draft.

  33. Did it really not bother anyone else that force is not momentum ?
    force = mass x acceleration
    momentum = mass x velocity
    1. Chambers has, as a second definition, “Force of motion gained in movement, impetus (informal)”, which seems to cover it.
    2. there was a time when it might have; but I’ve got used to technically incorrect crosswordese, such as power=energy, heat=temperature
  34. Thanks setter and ulaca
    Despite getting SADOMASOCHISTIC as the first entry, found the rest of this quite tough, taking well over the hour across multiple sessions to get it out. Didn’t help matters by initially writing in the incorrect OUTHOUSE at 2, an unparsed TEA CHEST at 19 and a semi-parsed GYRATE at 25. Was another who didn’t know OMENTUM and that stayed unparsed when fixated on TUM as the ‘guts’ component. BROGAN was also an unknown that had to be looked up.
    Was happy to get it completed in the end with the corrected HOTHOUSE, PHOEBE (pretty tricky) and VENOMOUS (even trickier) the last few in.

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