Times 27273 – now I’ve heard it all. Or have I?

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
A reasonably tough puzzle, I thought, with some ‘well that’s probably what he means’ type definitions, and more than the usual number of debatable homophones. 1a passes muster, but 22d less so, and 8d definitely dodgy IMO. Nevertheless, some witty clueing and complicated parsing for the non-biffer to enjoy. It took me about forty minutes to solve and be satisfied I’d seen what was going on.
It’s a toss up between the witty definiion at 21a and the corny 17d for my CoD.

1 Organiser of defence to hold out for a hearing (4)
OFFA – Chap who organised his Dyke. sounds like OFFER = hold out. Offa was King of Mercia from 757 to 796, so he had plenty of time to get it done.
3 Notice drag performer: one looked up to for a time? (5,5)
CLOCK TOWER – Clock = notice, see; a TOWER tows something.
10 Time mostly occupied with cast struggling to learn lines? (9)
FORGETFUL – T, FUL(L), after FORGE = cast. Surely you forge a piece of metal into shape, or you cast it with liquid metal, they’re not the same thing? If I had a Chambers here I’d check.
11 Research key WWII triumph (5)
DELVE – DEL the delete key, VE Victory in Europe. I was tempted to have the key of D and recall the famous WWII Battle of Elve, but the battle was fake news.
12 Fellow stressed but in good form? (7)
HIMSELF – I see this as a sort of double definition, where himself is used as a stressed form of HIM, and in the reverse of the idea ‘he’s not himself today’ meaning he’s not in good form. In my 15 years in Ireland I did meet real people who addressed me with the opening “is it yerself?” when it fairly obviously was me they were meeting. Frank Carson used to make a joke of this Irishism in his stand up act. Or was it Hal Roach? They were both hilarious.
13 French person’s back at the races, perhaps, taking in run (6)
BRETON – If you had a BET ON you could be backing a horse at the races; insert R for run.
15 In which one’s had secret set of cards (10,5)
CONFIDENCE TRICK – Confidence = secret, trick = set of cards.
18 Girl’s offer counters Trust mostly battering Establishment (4-3-4,4)
FISH-AND-CHIP SHOP – FI’S = girl’s; HAND = offer, CHIPS are counters, HOP(E) = trust mostly. Biff time, unless you’re the blogger.
21 Dish served piping? Charming woman serving Americans (6)
HAGGIS – HAG meaning witch, a charmer, GIs serving Americans. Nice def.
23 Fury after not counting number of shots (7)
BARRAGE – RAGE after BAR = not counting, as in ‘all bar two’ for example.
26 Standpoint that is often right (5)
ANGLE – Double def, it could be a right angle.
27 Pasta turning cool if sliced with short knife (9)
FETTUCINI – IN (cool) IF with CUTTE(R) inserted, all reversed. IN I CUTTE F.
28 Stop using sticks for cycle accessories (10)
KICKSTANDS – KICK the habit, STANDS = sticks, e.g. in vingt-et-un.
29 Travel writing on reflection that’s bad, if inspired (4)
SMOG – GO = travel, MS = writing, all reversed.
1 Not prepared to mess with quartet of females? Touché! (3,3,4)
2 RAF officer: eccentric old square (5)
FORUM – FO = Flying Officer, RUM = eccentric.
4 What player shown red card has is unusual (9)
LEFTFIELD – if you’re shown the red you’re sent off so you have left the field. Is OK as one word as an adjective.
5 Star maybe lecherous, lifting trousers (5)
CELEB – Hidden reversed in MAY(BE LEC)HEROUS.
6 One passes on dry clothes, smarter than anything (7)
TIDIEST – I DIES inside (clothed by) TT = dry.
7 Graceful, is going to want to secure Oscar (9)
WILLOWISH – WILL WISH = is going to want; Insert O for Oscar.
8 Is sorry about deception auditor’s picked up (4)
RUES – A nearly homophone IMO; RUES sounds like RUSE (deception) except for me they sound like ROOZE and ROOSE.
9 Arab dated second person — the first person back at home (6)
YEMENI – YE = dated (old) second person, ME = first person, IN reversed.
14 Leading team jump with hoop around gym (10)
SKIPPERING – SKIP = jump, PE = gym, RING = hoop.
16 Locating back from places exotic, being this? (9)
NOSTALGIC – (LOCATING S)*, the S being the back from places.
17 Didn’t officially join in cry from angler breaking record? (9)
COHABITED – CD is the record; insert what an angler may cry, OH A BITE!
19 Capital for redevelopment is large (7)
20 Rise briskly and tip over (4,2)
PERK UP – I’m thinking, a PERK is a tip, an extra benefit, and UP can mean over, as in ‘your time is up’. Maybe there’s a better thought out there, though.
22 It follows funk broadcast in European city (5)
SOFIA – SO = it follows; FIA perhaps sounds like FEAR = funk. I visited Sofia in 1968 in a Morris Minor convertible, and was unimpressed, it’s probably quite nice now.
24 Man with a cross to bear: that’s self-evident (5)
AXIOM – IOM for the Isle of Man, has A X = cross in front.
25 Rating that’s worth more than a ten? (4)
JACK – A double def, JACK tar being a naval rating, and a jack being higher than a ten in cards. I had RANK at first for no particular reason then couldn’t justify it when blogging.

44 comments on “Times 27273 – now I’ve heard it all. Or have I?”

  1. Around 55 minutes but with one error at 25dn where I missed JACK (!) and put MARK which fitted with ‘rank’ but not the remainder of the clue. But, not being on blogging duty, I’d given up trying to parse some of them (FISH-AND-CHIP SHOP, FETTUCINI and NOSTALGIC) so I wasn’t going to waste more time on it.

    PERKS, short for perquisites, are benefits or additional payments received in the course of one’s work which may well include tips. ‘Perks of the job’ is a very common expression.

    No problem with RUES/ruse here!

    Edited at 2019-02-13 05:43 am (UTC)

  2. a timely reminder of that most British of institutions as I have just planned my April trip to Blighty – almost a month and a week in Munich in March.

    FOI 21ac HAGGIS (I just love it but not so keen on neeps!)

    LOI 20dn PERK UP which I failed to parse – looks good to me Mark!



    Time an eon

  3. This took ages; 30′ online, then anywhere from 30 more to maybe 50 in desultory (sc. slow) solving over lunch. Of the 3 homophones, I find ruse/rues perfect, while of course the other two are out of the question in my dialect. SOFIA came with the help of the F (Gilbert–sorry, Pip– rhymes ‘… devoid of fear/ … smart as we are’, and that actually helped). OFFA may have been my LOI. (One non-rhotic homophone I can deal with; but two?) Somehow I biffed FISH-AND-CHIP-SHOP from the F H P, parsed later. I had WATCH TOWER at first, and didn’t think about its inappropriateness (although I did at least wonder in passing about watch=notice) until 4d forced me to. But I didn’t know the ‘notice’ meaning of CLOCK. Time-consuming as this was, I enjoyed it a lot.
    1. Clock = to notice – lower class sarf-east c.1935, but one can hear Ian Carmichael saying it, as either Lord Peter Wimsey or Bertie Wooster. Or even Joanna Lumley in Abfab.

      Butcher’s (hook) is the Lunnon CRS version.

      Squint is a further form.

  4. Not that it matters, but I took ‘sticks’ in the sense ‘abides’: I can’t stick that pompous ass.
  5. 56 minutes here, starting with 3a CLOCK TOWER and ending with 11a DELVE, having been another to invent the hard-fought Battle of Elve. One day I’ll consider DEL, ESC, ALT, etc. when I see “key”. One day.

    Enjoyed 21a HAGGIS, though after making a mistake of scale when ordering one from Ocado last Burns Night and having to eat it for most meals for a week, it may be next Burns Night before I can face it again. You can have too much of a good thing…

  6. This took me about an hour in all over two sittings. Terrific puzzle. COD to COHABITED (though I didn’t fully understand it until coming here) but lots of other really clever clues.
  7. 21:12 … with a bit of umming and ahrring over both MARK/RANK/JACK and PERK UP. Maybe the latter would have worked as a homophone — Rise briskly, hearing how cappuccinos are priced.

    HAGGIS is lovely (the clue, not the food, the taste of which I’m happy to let remain a mystery), but COD to HIMSELF for making me think without totally bamboozling me. Which I could say of the whole crossword. Nice.

  8. Great crossword which really made me think. My problem was SOFIA. I saw ‘funk’ and thought SOUL and stuck in European to get SEOUL. I couldn’t think of a pasta beginning with O (I now realise there are more than African antelopes). Couldn’t parse COHABITED so thanks Pip. COD (from many excellent ones) to CELEB.
  9. Fettuccine is a double error! It has two Cs and ends with an e.

    For god’s sake, this is an outrage.

    1. Not so, whoever you are. If it ended in e it would be a singular piece. If it had 2 c’s it would be pronounced – khini. I looked it up before blogging it.
      1. Actually, Pip, even a double-C would still be pronounced ‘ch’ (as in ‘cantucci e vino santo’) but you’re quite right that it’s ‘fettucini’.

        Edited at 2019-02-13 09:55 am (UTC)

        1. Ah, I asked my Italian chum, if it had a h after the cc, it would be a kh sound, I was wrong again. And so was Mr anon.
        2. Just as well or it would be Gooky handbags. But if the singular is fettuccina the plural is fettuccine, no? All of which is beside the point because Chambers gives three English spellings.
          1. There are thankfully 3 ways at least to spell it. Mrs K asked how did the blog go today and I recited the pasta saga, she produced a packet of said pasta bought here in Spain this week, spelt FETTUCCINE. I rest your case ! But only one answer fits the wordplay as we know.
  10. 56 minutes, but I thought this was genuinely hard, unlike yesterday when I was out of form. I didn’t parse HIMSELF at all. I did spend a few minutes trying to remember the Battle of the Elve. Maybe it was in Lord of the Rings. It took me ages to twig what a battering establishment was. As a true son of the north, I’d usually go for the steak and kidney pudding with mushy peas and curry sauce on the top, not having either fish or chips! LOI was PERK UP. Is a perk a tip? I suppose getting a tip is one of the perks of the job. COD to COHABITED. Thank you Pip and setter.

    Edited at 2019-02-13 09:58 am (UTC)

  11. A DNF after 64 mins. I simply gave up after 5 mins hopelessly staring at ‘ _ A _ K’
    and not seeing JACK. Duh! The whole thing had been such a struggle that I simply threw in the towel at that point. I too was convinced about the 1942 Allied victory at Elve. HAGGIS was an instant biff. With the time ebbing away, I didn’t bother trying to parse the biffed FISH-AND-CHIP SHOP. And, of course, I thought the homophones were all entirely reasonable.
    I quite enjoyed this, despite the sweat and tears it cost me.
    Your blog is much appreciated, Pip. Many thanks.
  12. Rather annoying that the incorrect WATCH seemed to be justified by CELEB and the similarity between ‘Watch how..” and ‘Notice how…’. Not the only blind alley up which I kept plodding before pennies dropped. The most stupidly time-consuming was LEGIT for ‘right’ at 26A, taking LEG as ‘standpoint’ and desperately trying to parse the residual IT. Seems even dafter now I’ve typed it.
  13. Drat! 59:04, but caught out by RANK for JACK. As soon as I saw the pink squares the correct answer came to me. Ah well, tomorrow is another day. Apart from that I managed to parse all except FORGETFUL and FETTUCINI, so thanks to Pip for those. I liked COHABITED. I didn’t parse NOSTAGIC correctly until I got KICKSTANDS, which got rid of the final A. A tough workout. Thanks setter and Pip.
  14. So actually a DNF. I had MARK for JACK.

    I thought this was hard but fair – with some very clever disguises and misdirections.

    COD: A tie. The outrageous COHABITED and the neat TIDIEST.

  15. Had to come here to parse no less than seven of the answers, and came close to abandoning it after 15 minutes. Not to my taste at all. Thanks for your much needed blog Pip.

    FOI HAGGIS (piping without hot made it a “gimme”)
    LOI SOFIA – simply awful clue
    TIME 22:40

    Edited at 2019-02-13 11:28 am (UTC)

  16. Around here it comes with an E on the end. And that wasn’t the only one I was noodling around with. I thought it was me having a dense morning so I was glad to note that Magoo HIMSELF took over 10 minutes to clock in. Sotira had a very good time. Me – 30.43 so Picaroon will have to wait until later.
  17. 38′ but with MARK, LOI. Groaned at SOFIA, parsed afterwards. Dnk LEFTFIELD as one word. I have walked half of the path of OFFA’s dyke, was it intended to keep out or in?

    Thanks pip and setter.

  18. Terrific puzzle which really engaged the faculties. Had the shared experience of thinking that the Battle of Elve looked unlikely until that dawned on me, and being left with _A_K at the end. This after a delay which was all my own, inventing DROPSTANDS, which were a convincing sounding momble, and having to have a rethink there.
  19. 22:16. I struggled with this, and found it curiously unsatisfying for reasons I can’t quite put my finger on. There are several clues where I was scratching my head long after getting the answer trying to make sense of the wordplay, so I was thinking ‘oh I suppose so’ more often than ‘oh how clever’.
    I never did figure out DELVE: like GM I am still often fooled by the ‘key’ device, however often it comes up.
    Nothing wrong with any of the homophones, though.
  20. I had terrible trouble with this, but persevered and eventually finished all correct without aids spending an age over the last few in the SW corner. The parsing of a few remained a mystery until coming here – FORGETFUL, HIMSELF, NOSTALGIC and PERK UP. so thanks for clearing those up, Pip. LOI JACK. Lots of lovely clues that had me chuckling when I eventually got them… BRETON, SKIPPERING, TIDIEST and KICKSTANDS all got a tick on my copy, but COD to HAGGIS. Lovely stuff! 54:26
  21. 20:23, tricky and enjoyable in equal measure. I got absolutely naff all on first pass of the acrosses and made a start at 5d, thereafter having to completely re-calibrate my thinking process (or something) to navigate my way through the rather pleasing quirkiness of the whole thing.

    Thanks setter!

  22. A terrifyingly long dozy afternoon solve with RANK producing my two pink squares, and no idea as to why it was more than ten. HIMSELF and FORGETFUL also entered with only flimsy support, but I did take the time to work out the chippie clue. Well analysed, Pip, and thanks.
  23. Got there eventually after 40 mins of lunchtime struggle and probably another 20 mins on the train home. Knew this was going to be tough when a first pass at the acrosses came up empty and my FOI was 5dn. I was another wondering about the battle of Elve. Himself was only half-parsed. Everything else understood ok, just took an age to get there. There were quite a few that I liked: 13, 15 & 18ac and 1dn but overall it was more labour intensive than a labour of love.
  24. That was well beyond my wit!

    I thought the homophones at 1ac and 8dn were OK, but 22dn is weird.

  25. This is The Times of London after all, so you can hardly blame the setter for using a homophone whose British pronunciation — surely wherever you come from in GB — is ruze.
  26. Is that the late great Jerry Garcia in your avatar…..or maybe you just look a lot like him?
  27. Thanks, Pip. Your blog wasn’t up when I went to bed last night and I’ve been busy all day what with taking Bianca the Miniature Poodle to the groomer and other stuff.
    I’m very impressed you got a Morris Minor of any description to Sofia!
    Thank you, particularly for HIMSELF.
    Like you, I was casting around for a famous WWII victory and ELVE was one that suggested itself!
    I’m very pleased after my slog that the SNITCH rates it as 159 Very Hard.
  28. Thanks setter and pip
    This certainly was a hard one taking just under the two hours to fill the grid and parse them all, except the SO part of SOFIA (so subtle). I thought that YEMENI one of the better clues – simple construction in hindsight but took me a while to see through it. Liked the misdirection used in many of the definitions and was pleased when the penny dropped with JACK which I thought was in the top 3 or 4 of the clues too – especially the second part of it.
    Finished in the NE quadrant with BRETON (a clever play with ‘back’ = BET ON), CELEB (well hidden from me) and DELVE (misleading surface that took an age to separate the DEL key and the VE triumph – must admit to initially looking for the ELVE battle too).
  29. The last word for us was 25d MARK, after tossing up between RANK and MARK, but clueless as to why either should be more than ten. Had we done an alphabet trawl I’d like to think JACK would have been on the cards. 40 mins with this error.

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