Times 27267 – nothing to complain about or shout about.

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
A pleasant if somewhat vanilla puzzle today, mostly straightforward wordplay and only one word and parsing at 19a which caused me any delay in my 20 minute solve. Hard to pick a special clue out of these, but I’ll settle for 28a for a relevant surface.

1 Burst ball seen after Slav fouled (5)
SALVO – (SLAV)*, O for ball.
4 State capital has no love for religious ritual (9)
SACRAMENT – The state capital of California loses its O.
9 Furious Berber perhaps put back in guest accommodation (5,4)
SPARE ROOM – SPARE = furious (as in ‘he went spare’), MOOR = Berger, reverse him. No room in our spare room, it’s full of boxes since we downsized.
10 American author, Tolstoy’s hero (5)
LEVIN – Double definition; hero of Anna Karenina, and choose an Amercian author, Ira, Robert, Mark, Michael, and probably more.
11 Song always going round is atmospheric thing (1,5)
E LAYER – E’ER goes around LAY = song; the E LAYER is one of several radio-reflecting layers (D, E, F1, F2…) in the ionosphere.
12 Remove sozzled sot in plane put at the front (8)
JETTISON – JET followed by (SOT IN)*.
14 A bloomer, moving east in ultimate people carrier? (10)
HEARTSEASE – (EAST)* inside HEARSE, the ulimate people carrier. Viola tricolor, a pretty little wild flower.
16 Hindu music about to make contribution to culture? (4)
AGAR –  A RAGA is Indian music, reversed it makes the medium used for culturing bacteria.
19 Head’s lack of heart in grilling? (4)
NOLL – The heart or middle of grilling is LL, so a lack of that would be NO LL. Old fashioned word for head, or crown of head.
20 Oh, for tale of adventure on high seas! (8,2)
WESTWARD HO – HO going ‘west’ becomes OH. Or vice versa. Novel by Charles Kingsley.
22 One leaving restaurant worker means to serve course (8)
23 Water level reversed by old king in cutter? (6)
EDITOR – TIDE reversed, O(ld), R = king.
26 Round relative sheds pound in weight (5)
OUNCE – O = round, UNCLE loses his L.
27 End of hip strain announced (9)
INTENTION – IN = hip, with it; TENTION sounds like tension.
28 Daughter, in splitting huge cost, pays thus? (4,5)
29 Neat looker appears in small window (2-3)
OX-EYE – OX = neat, EYE = looker. Small circular window, more usually left in the French as œil de bœuf.
1 One martyred in street on walk with female (2,7)
ST STEPHEN – ST, STEP = walk, HEN = female.
2 Fools seen within the French city (5)
LHASA – HAS = fools (as in ‘he had me that time’) inside LA = the in French.
3 One takes beating over races amid scuffle (8)
OMELETTE – O = over, MELÉE = scuffle, insert the TT races.
4 Hard ground outside with hooves protected? (4)
SHOD – SOD outside H.
5 Firm 21 admits writing articles in attempt to limit damage (10)
COMPENSATE – CO = firm, 21 = friend = MATE, insert PENS.
6 Skilled nurses are there principally to do surgical removal (6)
ABLATE – ABLE = skilled, ‘nurses’ A and T being initial letters of are there.
7 English newsman packs travel document as predicted (9)
ENVISAGED – ENG ED has VISA inserted.
8 Join group that’s on the rise (5)
TENON – NONET is a group of nine musicians, reversed. I didn’t know you could have TENON as a verb to mean ‘make a tenon joint’, but obviously the setter did. Or maybe kevingregg below is right and join is a noun, alternative to joint.
13 All-rounder needing some Linnaean classification? (10)
GENERALIST – Well, a LIST of GENERA would be piece of Linnaean classification.
15 Simultaneously everyone agreed to accept Conservative (3,2,4)
ALL AT ONCE – C for Conservative goes into ALL AT ONE = everyone agreed.
17 Answer found in ordering afresh for banker (3,6)
18 Dance enthusiast circling with energy (8)
FANDANGO – FAN encircles AND = with, GO = energy.
21 Devil embraces Remainers’ leader, being intimate (6)
FRIEND – R inside FIEND.
22 Grace maybe saving man — but there’s wickedness! (5)
WRONG – W G (Grace the cricketer) encircles RON a bloke.
24 Public rights guardian bans one Parisian race (5)
TRIBE – TRIBUNE the public rights guardian, loses its UN = one in French.
25 American location in Connecticut a haven (4)
UTAH – Slightly hidden in CONNECTIC(UT A H)AVEN.

43 comments on “Times 27267 – nothing to complain about or shout about.”

  1. It took me a very long time to come up with the unknown NOLL – in large part because I was looking for a five letter word for “grilling” with the third letter missing. Oh well…
  2. A hint of durian methink!

    DNF ‘cos of 9ac NOLL I went for NOLE – head = NODDLE less its heart DD and hoped, beyond hope, that NOLE was a Comanche BBQ!

    The NE corner was another frozen wasteland as 10ac LEVIN went AWOL for most of the time.



    Rubbish COD 9dn TENON

    WOD 20ac WESTWARD HO! Amyas Leigh et al

    Edited at 2019-02-06 05:55 am (UTC)

  3. 37 minutes wasn’t too bad considering there were quite a few words, meanings or bits of GK unknown to me. The fact that I was able to overcome these difficulties and arrive at all the correct answers suggests that this was rather a well-constructed cryptic puzzle.
  4. I enjoyed this. Also considered NOddLE before seeing how NOLL must work (despite never having heard of the word). But I messed up having tried OPERETTA at 3D to see if it worked, and realizing it was OMELETTE. But somehow the A at the end never got replaced with E, so I got the deadly pink spot. I couldn’t remember the name of the hero of Anna Karenina, if I ever knew, and I couldn’t fit Andrei or Pierre from W&P. I liked the GENERA LIST.
  5. No idea why SPARE, but I could think of nothing else that would fit. NHO NOLL, and never grasped the wordplay; put in NULL in desperation. Aside from that, a pleasant 20 minutes or so.
  6. 43 mins before putting in NOLE in desperation with the same rationale as Horryd. I suppose NOLL is gettable from the wordplay but it’s a real obscurity. LEVIN is hardly a cryptic clue. WESTWARD HO is one of those backwards clues where the solution turns out to be wordplay for something in the clue – I know some solvers like these but for some reason I find them quite irritating. I liked ‘ultimate people carrier’ for hearse.
  7. I expect “A very long time” in Verlaine speak might be a minute? How’s the walking the dogs going?
  8. 45 mins with yoghurt, graNolla, etc.
    Ok – I put Nole.
    I don’t know about you, but I think there is something unsatisfactory about double definition clues for names – where you just have to define two different people with the same name (e.g. 10ac).
    Thanks setter and Pip.
    1. graNOLLa tee-hee! Recently I have been having semi-dried persimmon on my oats.
      Deee-licious! They remind me of bracken-jelly unique to Japan – also dried osmanthis florets are good!
  9. Another one who opted for NOLE on the basis of NO{DD}LE. I think I would have been there ad infinitum before NOLL suggested itself. Thank you to Kevin in the club forum for setting me straight on that one.
  10. NOLL too obscure a combination of answer and word play for me. And 10ac is just no clue at all – should be in a general knowledge crossword. Yuk! Yuk!
  11. 31 minutes with NOLL seen by a circuitous and wholly incorrect route, having thought NELL might mean ‘head’ as in ‘Not on your Nelly’, which it doesn’t. But in trying to parse that I stumbled on the correct two-L solution, though I didn’t know the word. I got LEVIN exclusively from Anna Karenina, not able to pick any of the others you’ve listed, Pip. If Bernard had been mentioned, I’d have known about him. These sentences aren’t long enough for any thought of that though. I felt proud for remembering HEARTSEASE and then enjoyed parsing it, but I’ll give COD to Westward Ho! Thank you Pip and setter.
    1. Another circuitous and wholly incorrect route to NOLL for me. Remembering that Oliver Cromwell was nicknamed ‘Old Noll’ I thought it had something to do with RoundHEADs, but I’ve now discovered it was a diminutive version of Oliver (Nolly, being another one).
  12. An hour and an extra minute to come up with the unknown NOLL, where I did a Verlaine, albeit taking at least ten times as long, I expect.

    Much of my difficulty was in the unknowns, especially at 10a, where I knew neither the hero nor any of the authors, and just bunged in LEVIN on the grounds that I knew from Bernard LEVIN that it was at least a valid surname. Also DNK E-LAYER, WESTWARD HO as a story, HEARTSEASE, the OX-EYE window or Linnaeus, and there might be more I missed along the way…

    Obviously, the fact that I finished at all means I thought it was all perfectly fair. If I’d got a single letter wrong the whole thing would have been a complete swizz, mind.

    Edited at 2019-02-06 09:41 am (UTC)

  13. Easy stuff with the two quirks, LEVIN and NOLL

    LEVIN a poor non-cryptic clue where I guessed and googled. NOLL seen before, probably from Mephisto, and reverse engineered.

    Left feeling vaguely unsatisfied by the whole thing

  14. Not terribly keen on this crossword .. several poor clues and a general disregard for surface readings. Sorry.
  15. ….E-LAYER ? I didn’t enjoy this at all, starting badly with a reversed “raga” and having to correct it when I got the real FOI. It went steadily downhill from there, and I finally jumped over the sheer drop by falling into the “no(dd)le” trap as 20 minutes approached.

    I’ve never read any Tolstoy, or anything by a LEVIN, and I’m not about to change that any day soon.

    Hated E LAYER. JETTISON is rather more than “remove” surely ? You can remove something but set it aside.

    LOI “NOLE”
    COD HEARTSEASE – I don’t want that ultimate people carrier yet please !
    TIME N/A

  16. Didn’t we have JETTISON earlier this week? I found this hard going (44 mins). I rarely came to the solution via the cryptic wordplay (many of them seemed very tortuous to me) but more often by grinding through the possible words for each frame of available checkers. It’s not really biffing, because I wasn’t really seeing the solutions directly from the definitions.
    There were a few I enjoyed: OX-EYE was rather good, the Linnaean clue and the semi-&lit of GOES DUTCH.
    LEVIN was a really lame clue, wasn’t it?
    My thanks to Pip for a jolly good blog.
  17. Arrived at this (finally) by the Sherlock method – whenever you’ve eliminated the impossible whatever remains however unlikely must be “it”. Also looked at Jack’s Cromwell and the infamous grassy knoll. HEARTSEASE is the pleasantly named love-in-idleness from Midsummer Nights Dream – Oberon and Puck use its juice to scramble the couples and trick Titania into falling for Bottom. I could only think of Ira LEVIN and didn’t know he’d been carried off by hearse. 20.56
  18. Really enjoyed this. Medium difficulty, I thought quite a few of the clues were nice, including WESTWARD HO, GO DUTCH, ST STEPHEN, GENERALIST and WRONG.

    The LEVIN must have been the get-in, but not really necessary in an easier puzzle. Enjoyed the ‘ultimate people carrier’ ho ho.

    Thanks Pip and setter.

  19. A similar experience to others. I did at least manage to conjure up the Tolstoy hero after a bit of a wander round the mind palace (this may be overstating the efficiency of the process). However, I’ve never knowingly encountered the E-LAYER, which was reasonably easy to construct; or the not-so-grassy NOLL, which wasn’t. This meant the last five minutes were spent doing an alphabet trawl combined with Olivia’s Sherlockian logic to come up with the least unlikely unknown, which is always a bit of an unsatisfactory way to finish. There again, credit where it’s due for the satisfyingly macabre people carrier.
  20. Aside from the E LAYER and NOLL, I actually quite enjoyed this, however to put those 2 in with some fairly obscure clueing meant that I was left with a rather bad taste in my mouth. I was quite surprised not to have heard of the E LAYER actually as I am a bit of a CAGW sceptic on the side and regularly read articles about the climate etc.
    1. I thought I was the only sceptic left. I’ve learned to keep quiet rather than face ridicule. Maybe there are a few more of us heretics here in crossword land.
  21. Quite quick except on the last where though feeling noll was right, couldn’t find the (neat) parse and went as others for the noddle minus dd as a grille of some kind. Liked 13.
  22. Put me down as another NOLE – although I was trying to persuade myself it was NO(B)LE. 18m 08s with that error, and I found myself struggling in quite a lot of places. Not on the wavelength at all, despite a fairly quick start.

    18d was my COD, a nice surface and concise clueing.

    LEVIN was put in with fingers crossed – I’ve seen the film of Anna Karenina but not read the book.

  23. 17:35 and all correct despite the high unknowns count (Levin (both of ’em), E layer, noll, Linnaeus and what a tribune is / was). I did know ablate, ox-eye and heartsease though.
  24. No E LAYER for me, and feel the same as others about LEVIN.

    Very much liked HEARTSEASE and GENERALIST.

    Thanks pip and setter.

  25. That was a bit of a tussle. Put me down as another “Well I’ve heard of Bernard…” for 10a. NHO Linnaeus, NOLL or E LAYER, although I was aware of several layers in the atmosphere. I managed to figure out the parsing for NOLL as my penultimate entry and finished off with GENERALIST from crossers and definition. LHASA took a while, but I was pleased to spot HEARTSEASE, OMELETTE and WESTWARD HO reasonably quickly. Liked the ultimate people carrier a lot. Like Kevin I assumed TENON came from join as a noun. I found it an entertaining puzzle, with perhaps a mer at 10a. 42:59. Thanks setter and Pip.
  26. 18:52… I thought I’d finished but then saw I still had N_L_. Still had no idea 8 minutes later so looked it up. I even reject NOLL as I knew the word had a K on front. Grr.
  27. I was enjoying this until I ground to a halt after 25 minutes. I spent another 17 minutes faffing about with NOLL. I did an alphabet trawl but eventually biffed it because there wasn’t another word to fit the checkers. I did know that NOLL meant “head” but the parsing beat me. I hesitated at LEVIN because, although I knew the Tolstoy Levin, I couldn’t think of an American author. The only other Levin I knew was Bernard who used to be a regular columnist on the Times. Besides the clue seemed straightforward GK rather than cryptic. Ann
  28. What’s even worse about the clue is that if you don’t know your Tolstoy and your knowledge of American authors only extends to about ten people, none of whom is a Levin, there is absolutely no way you can solve it properly. Checkers and guess, as probably several people did.
  29. Way off the wavelength with this one, perhaps not helped by background TV. But then:
    No too impressed by “splitting” as an anagram indicator, to the extent of not actually spotting the anagram.
    NOLL is clever, of course, if you see it. For the benefit of NOLE champions, it was Shakespeare’s spelling for “head”.
    E-LAYER has a hyphen in Chambers.
    LEVIN was not in any Tolstoy I can pretend to have read. The Times should have referenced Bernard, of course.
    Didn’t make the HAS/fools connection – I think I’ve been had. LHASA on crossers only.
    I don’t think I knew that’s what a tribune did
    I did like WESTWARD HO, but that’s about it.
    Well done everyone who found it easy. I’m off to feel chastened, hopefully only until tomorrow.
  30. 32 minutes, with me (again) thinking I wouldn’t finish. COD generalist (well, I am a wildlife ‘guru’). LOI tribe.

    Liked the slightly hidden definitions dotted around.

  31. After 39 mins at lunchtime I still had 10ac, 12ac, 6dn and 8dn left to get. I tidied those few up in another minute or two after work. I share the same reservations as others about the clue for Levin. Noll on the other hand had a set of nicely devious cryptic instructions which I saw quite quickly and followed to get the answer. I’m not sure I even bothered to consider whether it was an actual word or not because the wp seemed so solid.
  32. I liked this puzzle, which seems to have divided opinion.

    As others, I don’t see why LEVIN had to be so easy (or difficult, as Wil Ransome points outs so admirably above), as the other clues were not particularly hard.

    28a my CoD amongst some very well-worked ideas.

  33. I gave up on this, and I’m glad I did. 10ac and 19ac are both awful clues. 8dn is pretty dreadful too, IMO.

    Edited at 2019-02-07 12:10 am (UTC)

  34. Finished Anna Karenina not so long ago so was familiar with the semi-autobiographical LEVIN. Guessed NOLL and E LAYER not having heard of either. I enjoyed this one.
    1. it’s the answer to 21D
      usually, non-spelt out numbers refer to other clues (thankfully not too often in The Times)

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