Times 27279 – Is a joint setter a cosetter? Can a foodstuff be inedible?

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I much enjoyed this. It wasn’t easy IMO, but perhaps not as hard as last week’s Wednesday at 160, I’ll be interested to see the SNITCH. Several clues had me going off in the wrong direction for quite a while, before seeing which bit was definition or anagram fodder; but if you were on the right wavelength all the way through, it might be easier than I found it. I had trouble trying to 21d 12a at the end, and was unconvinced by the definition at 27a, but there were some fine clues of which my COD vote goes to 15d for combining two words to make one with a totally unrelated meaning and a well hidden definition.

EDIT 11:06 CET I see the SNITCH is hovering aorund 100 today, with 40 qualified solvers, so obviously others found it easier than i did!

1 Photographer I hesitate to say cut some wire (5,4)
PAPER CLIP – PAP(ARAZZI), ER (I hesitate), CLIP (cut).
6 Bashes in gent’s face, regrettably (5)
GALAS – G(ent’s), ALAS = regrettably. I was messing around with DO’S until I had the G from the easier 6d.
9 Report on woman’s affair (7)
SHEBANG – SHE plus BANG. Ever curious, I looked up the curious word SHEBANG thinking it must be Gaelic or Indian in origin. It seems not, it’s American, although the etymology is a subject of speculation; https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/the-whole-shebang.html
It’s also something in Unix syntax involving #! which I once tried and failed to learn having more or less mastered BASIC.
10 Working girl, one showing restraint (3-4)
11 American and British close relationship (5)
AMOUR – AM(erican), OUR to mean British, which may make a few hackles rise I expect in our global audience.
12 Swell clothing naughty wife’s cast off, having dressed down (6,3)
TICKED OFF – Aha. I had this in long before I saw how it works. A TOFF is your swell; put him around (W)ICKED, i.e. naughty with the W for wife dropped. I kept thinking the OFF in the clue went straight to the answer, which it doesn’t. Now I see it, I can’t understand why it was slow to see.
13 Put on coat for investigating in marsh (5)
FEIGN – I G = coat, outer letters, of investigating; insert into FEN = marsh.
14 Honouring good maid, holding nothing back (9)
ENNOBLING – G BONNE insert NIL, then reverse all. I knew a BONNE was a maid in French but didn’t realise it was in usage in English.
17 Boss drinking port who carries out some services (3,6)
LAY READER – LEADER = boss, has AYR inserted; Ayr is a small, obscure Scottish port near several excellent golf courses and a racecourse.
18 Spirits, or one that’s picked up (5)
DJINN – Well, if you did Monday’s puzzle, this was a write-in. And it sounds like GIN.
19 Side ripe for transformation welcoming United’s playmaker (9)
EURIPIDES – (SIDE RIPE U)*. Ancient Greek bloke who wrote plays like Medea and Electra.
22 Two places to save a designated victim (5)
ISAAC – I am not familiar with UK tax efficient savings accounts, but vaguely remember there is one called an ISA, so it’s ISA and an ordinary AC(count). Apparently Isaac died aged 180 after Abraham was asked to sacrifice him.
24 Heads round front of battle lines (7)
OBVERSE – O (round), B(attle), VERSE = lines.
25 Senses cool temperature in pants suit (7)
INTUITS – IN = cool, (well it did once), then (SUIT)* has T inserted. This word annoys me when I see it in a novel, but I can’t say why. It just doesn’t sound like a nice verb.
26 Lament online network going the wrong way (5)
DIRGE – An E GRID could be an online network, it’s reversed.
27 Fat guards not quite clothed providing foodstuff (5,4)
SUGAR BEET – SUET is fat, around GARBE(D) = not quite clothed. If you can eat sugar beet, and you’re not a four legged friend, fair play to you, I wouldn’t call it a foodstuff. But i’m not a vegan, pehaps they do?
1 Dignitary and I see fool making comeback (5)
PASHA – AH ! = I see, SAP is a fool, reverse all.
2 Pressure on business and finance area to show rapid development (9)
PRECOCITY – P (pressure), RE (on) CO (business) CITY (finance area). A bit of a clumsy clue for a clumsy word. I’d prefer precociousness if I had to use one or the other.
3 Give another order to bring up compass (9)
REARRANGE – REAR = bring up, RANGE = compass. A chestnut clue methinks.
4 Drunk feeling of Parisian twirling in sparkly pair of capes (5-10)
LIGHT-HEADEDNESS – Not as complicated as I first thought, trying to anagram CAPES CAPES DE and whatever. LIGHT = sparkly, then HEAD and NESS are capes, with DE = of, in French, reversed in between.
5 Rocky pass, with one circling safe place to walk (7,8)
6 Dance music performance on unicycle’s frame (5)
GIGUE – GIG = music performance, U E = frame of unicycle.
7 Overweight, mostly love taking it steady (5)
LARGO – LARG(E), O = love.
8 Rogue American star inhales oxygen and no smoke (3,2,1,3)
SON OF A GUN – SUN (star) inhales O, NO, FAG.
13 Lie in a university hospital, digging into nosh (9)
FALSEHOOD – FOOD = nosh, has inside it, A, LSE (university, London School of Economics), H(ospital). Makes a change from MIT.
15 Digs patch of earth, given great chance (9)
BEDSITTER – BED in the garden, SITTER being an easy chance. Nice misdirection, made me smile for a second or two, a rare event.
16 Echoing musical notes ascending (9)
IMITATIVE – All reversed; EVITA the musical, TI and MI are notes.
20 Itinerant person moving stock loses head (5)
ROVER – A DROVER is a person moving stock, he / she loses the D.
21 Analyse almost astronomical distance (5)
PARSE – A PARSEC is an astronomical distance, quite a long way*; it loses its C (“almost”) to give us the relevant word. *Equal to about 3.26 light years (3.086 × 1013 kilometres). One parsec corresponds to the distance at which the mean radius of the earth’s orbit subtends an angle of one second of arc.
23 Half-heartedly pamper mathematicians’ group (5)
COSET – COSSET = pamper, loses half of its heart i.e. an S. I’d expected it to be CO-SET but mathematicians don’t much like hyphens. It is, of course, a set composed of all the products obtained by multiplying each element of a subgroup in turn by one particular element of the group containing the subgroup. Whatever that means. Does the “setter” know?

65 comments on “Times 27279 – Is a joint setter a cosetter? Can a foodstuff be inedible?”

  1. Biffed a number of clues, like ENNOBLING, LAY READER, IMITATIVE, parsing post-submission. Like Pip, I tried getting DOS into 6ac. I don’t know what a PELICAN CROSSING is–presumably different from a zebra crossing–but I (barely) remembered it from, I presume, one of these. ‘Overweight’ seemed a bit infelicitous as a definition of LARGE, as something/someone can be large but not overweight and overweight but not large; but wotthehell. I distinguish between food and foodstuff, and I think I’m not alone, foodstuffs being the stuff from which one makes foods; so SUGAR BEET would qualify as a foodstuff but not a food. Liked 6ac and 12ac.
    1. As I learned just recently (see below), it was initially a pelicON crossing, from “pedestrian light controlled crossing”, which morphed into a pelican, presumably to keep the zebra company. Pelicans have lights, Zebras don’t
      1. Thanks. You triggered a memory of looking it up last time it appeared here, and finding a nicely illustrative picture of one. This won’t, of course, stop me from marking its next appearance with a ‘DNK’.
    2. Yes, it was a good job I knew LARGO, otherwise I’d’ve been tempted by my first guess, LARDO, from lard(y)+o.
  2. 18:29 … really enjoyed this one. I couldn’t parse ISAAC, which says a lot about the state of my finances, but Pip’s explanation shows it was as fair as the rest of the puzzle.

    Fellow fans of the brilliant Endeavour will have had the PELICAN CROSSING fresh in their minds after the new series opened with that wonderful recreation of a Public Information film on benefits of same with a heartbreakingly wistful Superintendent Bright and an actual pelican.

    1. Ooh, thanks for reminding me of Endeavour. I set up the series to record, then forgot about actually watching it…

      I once looked up the whole range of pedestrian crossings, which are fascinating, so had to eliminate PEGASUS CROSSING from my enquiries before I settled on the PELICAN. A Pegasus Crossing, pleasingly, is one with high-level buttons that can be easily reached on horseback.

      1. I crossed a Pegasus crossing with some friends on a walk around Newmarket last year. We never found the buttons – we were obviously not looking high enough!
    2. I’ve just started binge watching all the earlier series – I don’t know when we’ll get the current one so I really must exercise some restraint because it could be a while. In the meantime you’ve whetted my appetite but no spoilers if y’all can help it!
    3. It’s said that all successful careers end in failure, some with a dramatic bang, some with a whimper. Let’s hope poor old Bright has one more day in the sun.
    4. The pelican was referenced again last Sunday when poor DS Bright finds that some joker has put a fish in his desk drawer. (But the stand-out scenes in that episode has to be the re-creation of Thunderbirds. Wonderful stuff. It’s a good job Gerry and Sylvia Anderson are no longer around to sue. Especially since the characters representing them were prime suspects in the murder. Can the term “roman de clef” ever apply to a TV episode?)
  3. Did myself no favours by putting ‘iron leg’ at 10. There again, in the last few hours, I have made sandwiches for work and left them in the kitchen, taken the supplement out of the paper to read at lunch (now, perforce, in a cafe) and left it on my desk, and mislaid my credit card, so I suppose such a mishap was not entirely to be unexpected.

    38 minutes.

  4. I needed every minute of an hour to complete this after nearly giving up on it for the night on more than one occasion. I really struggled to get on the setter’s wavelength but was rewarded for my perseverence.

    One delay was thinking a LAY RECTOR might be more likely to take a service than a LAY READER but I’ve been out of touch with church practices for many a decade now. I was pleased to find that ‘lay rector’ does actually exist.

    In addition to Pelican and Zebra crossings, there are three other light-controlled crossings named after animals:

    Puffin – (Pedestrian User-Friendly and Intelligent) on which the lights are contrlled by sensors to monitor and react to the speed of the people crossing.

    Toucan – (Two-Can cross) for pedestrians and cyclists.

    Pegasus (aka Equestrian) for pedestrians and horse riders, with button controls mounted (!) at two different heights.

    Edited at 2019-02-20 07:22 am (UTC)

    1. I misread your description of the Pegasus crossing and was briefly surprised, and delighted, to think that they had buttons for both the rider and the horse.
      1. We have such a crossing near to here, where a bridle path emerges onto the end of an urban motorway, but I didn’t know it was a “Pegasus”. Was there a Panda crossing at some stage, or is my memory playing tricks again ?
        1. Yes, there were Panda crossings for a few years in a few areas in the 1960s, a sort of hybrid of black-and-white triangles painted on the road with light controls at certain times. I don’t know what Panda stood for, if anything, it may just have been another black-and-white animial to go with Zebra.

          Edited at 2019-02-20 12:22 pm (UTC)

          1. I wonder if the name was a back-formation from their apparent extinction after having failed to reproduce!
    2. We recently lost a small fortune in a pub quiz because we picked the wrong multiple choice of these. Question was which crossing was controlled by light sensors. We had 4 options and went for Toucan. We should have had you on our team…
      1. Not really as I only clarified them in my mind this morning in order to comment. I was only vaguely aware previously.
  5. After a bad start—getting 2d PRECOCITY and then writing it in the lights for 3d—I found this much easier going than the week’s other offerings so far. 29 minutes with all correct, if not entirely parsed.

    A few unfamiliars (especially “victim” for ISAAC) helped by wordplay, and possibly just being in the right frame of mind. LEG IRON had me thinking of Great Expectations, and presumably Mr. Wopsle was a LAY READER; he certainly read in church and thought he could give the real priest a run for his money.

    LOI 20d ROVER, where I didn’t remember “drover”.

    I’m not sure I’ve ever been in a BEDSITTER, but my mum gave me her copy of Katharine Whitehorn’s Cooking in a Bedsitter to take off to university, which I see is still in print!

    Edited at 2019-02-20 07:55 am (UTC)

  6. 40 minutes to finish. I thought there were some very good clues here. 16d is a nice example of the ‘lift & separate’ principle where musical notes has to be separated into musical=EVITA and notes=MI and TI. And all backwards of course just to mislead further.
    You’re right Pip, ‘Our’ for British did raise a few hackles on this international solver. Also having the acronyms for two UK savings accounts in one clue. I know it’s the Times of London but still……
  7. Particularly enjoyed ‘digs’, ‘bashes’,’working girl’,’put on coat’ and ‘heads’.
    Apparently, after pelican, puffin etc. the new crossing is going to be called the chicken crossing. Why?
      1. As Joanne Worley used to say on “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” “Is that a chicken joke ?”
  8. 38 minutes on this with LOI LARGO. Set theory didn’t become a staple part of Maths until after I did A level, which meant I made hard work of Matrix Mechanics, but COSET was within my scope. I like and often use INTUIT(S), making a quantum leap? COD to ISAAC, so nearly sacrificed on Highway 61. I enjoyed this puzzle greatly. Thank you Pip and setter.

    Edited at 2019-02-20 09:33 am (UTC)

  9. I finshed all correct but the SE was like watching paint dry.

    5dn of course the PELICAN CROSSING does not exist Stateside, but I have seen the pelicans dive bombing for fish up at the Big Sur.

    FOI 8dn SON OF A GUN

    LOI 22ac ISAAC banks have changed for the worse, since the time I left Blighty.


    WOD 16ac EURIPIDES (as per Frankie Howerd?)

    Word of the other day 18ac DJINN – this time plural!

    For 16dn I originally had ITERATIVE which messed things up considerably.

    Pip if 1ac is ‘Photographer’ then suely it should be PAPARAZZO not PAPARAZZI, or even PAPARAZZA!

    Time …. long

    Edited at 2019-02-20 09:36 am (UTC)

  10. No problems today .. Pip, I would think you eat sugar beet all the time perhaps without realising it; it is an ingredient of a large subset of processed foods. Lots of foodstuffs, and foods, need preparation to become palatable…

    another article about shebangs ..

    1. I concede the point; my mind was coloured by regular visions of the muddy lumps of beet falling off trucks on Irish country roads and huge piles in lay bys. Don’t remember seeing it on a label as ingredient, perhaps it has a nicer name or an E number?
        1. I did once try cooking and eating one of those “muddy lumps” thinking it was a turnip or some such, to find it was completely inedible as a vegetable. So Pip’s right (after a fashion).

          Edited at 2019-02-20 12:07 pm (UTC)

  11. I think it’s a great shame that they didn’t name one type of crossing after the chicken.

    A tad under 20 minutes for this (which, for me, is fast), making it much easier than yesterday’s. There was much biffing, and I am ashamed to admit I did not go back and parse all of my biffs. Thanks to the setter for the smidgen of science in 21d.

    Nothing too obscure here, although I had no idea a “bonne” was a maid, in either French or English.

    1. I suppose that to use a Chicken crossing, you’d have to admit you were too scared to cross otherwise (or provide another good reason).
  12. While solving, I did wonder if this was a repeat visit of the setter from yesterday, as my feeling was this was an idiosyncratic puzzle, and right at the edge of my vocabulary, if not actually going over the edge, when it came to BONNE. Good stuff, though.

    Like other Morse fans, I was put in mind of poor old Superintendent Bright and his new role. It’s only a couple of years since the man shot a tiger, for heaven’s sake.

  13. 28’20, a slightly laboured series of intuits. I see the djinn’s still lurking. Going by 19 the setter just might be an M. United and Paul Pogba fan.
  14. He was on his way to the garage to pay for the expensive repairs to his cab. In the trade, we called that “a pelican job” as it involved an enormous bill.

    Enjoyed this generally, but is “e-grid” a real thing ? If not, a question mark would have been in order.

    I needed to come here to parse PELICAN CROSSING, although it was an easy biff – thanks Pip. I parsed SON OF A GUN post-solve. DNK COSET but it couldn’t really be anything else.

    Like Gothick Matt, I saw the drover very late in the day, although the lowing herd weren’t quite winding slowly o’er the lea.

    TIME 10:55

  15. On the wavelength for this one in spite of a slight stutter here and there because of the somewhat different definitions this side of the pond. If you tick someone off you annoy them rather than reprove them and “affair” doesn’t quite match the meaning when you say the whole SHEBANG, nine yards or shooting match. The PELICAN made me wonder what we might call the intersection pedestrian crosswalks here in NYC – wolverines perhaps and good luck if you cross them. 15.29
    1. Ages ago my Philadelphia Uncle Charlie explained to me the rules of NYC traffic: They’re not supposed to hit you.
  16. I didn’t know BONNE as a maid, was bit bit unsure about LIGHT = SPARKLY, and failed to see the anagrist in our safe walkway, but found this a most enjoyable puzzle. I struggled to get a foothold though, eventually starting with GIGUE. Liked EURIPIDES and IMITATIVE. 33:35. Thanks setter and Pip.
  17. It took me 3 attempts to get 16D, starting with REPRISING, but I couldn’t account for the P. Several fun clues – I liked PAPER CLIP, FEIGN and PELICAN CROSSING. MER at OUR for British in 11A. COD to BEDSITTER. 23:07
  18. After yesterday’s struggle I was much more on the wavelength today, finishing in 10m 21s. COD is the lovely OBVERSE; at 14a I took a stab that BONNE was a maid but it still took me a while to fill in BEDSITTER at 15d, having twigged the nice misdirect of ‘digs’.
    1. A Pelican Crossing has lights which stop the traffic, a Zebra crossing just has flashing beacons or just the black and white stripes.
  19. Many thanks to Anonymous who corrected me on Monday regarding the plurality of DJINN – was very useful today. Word of the week, methinks. Quite a few I didn’t get while solving, including BEDSITTER which I just banged in once I saw Digs.
    One of those steady solve crosswords with no real hold-ups for a change, and nothing particularly controversial either.
  20. Biffed ENNOBLING since I didn’t know ‘bonne’, and PAPER CLIP too since I didn’t see calling the photographer a ‘pap’. Otherwise no real problems. Regards.
  21. No problems getting this fun puzzle done in under 10 minutes, but I see that Magoo sneaked in under 5, which fills me with a familiar sense of despair 😀
    1. ….and I was quite pleased to sneak home in just under 11 minutes ! We mere mortals can only stand in awe.
  22. Largo = taking it steady? Surely if something is played largo it’s played slowly and broadly, as Collins says. Which is I suppose steady, but not what I’d have said if writing the clue.
  23. Didn’t time myself as was doing the phone zombie thing by the Clyde during my lunch break. Took a while to get going. Finished on paper over dinner. FOI GIGUE. Not familiar with the story of ISAAC nor with the term COSET.
  24. Gave up on ISAAC, so thanks for the clarification. Otherwise nearly an hour quicker than yesterday (i.e. just over an hour). Second half after a liquidish lunch, so continuing my non-scientific investigation into the benefit or otherwise of alcohol on solving prowess, the journey into town (pre-drink) yielded far fewer answers than the journey home (post).
  25. Nice puzzle – but… I’m not sure about the clue for 18ac. Shouldn’t it be the spirits that are picked up? It doesn’t seem to gel somehow. Good blog, pip, thanks.
      1. Thanks, K – I’ve just figured it: I thought djinn was singular (i.e. a djinn = a spirit). Having checked it on wiki I see I’m in the wrong; djinni is the singular. Cheers 🙂
  26. 14:06. Fairly smooth sailing for me today.
    A puzzle featuring the word ‘parsec’ and still no mention of the Kessel run. What’s the world coming to?
  27. 26:45 a steady solve, nothing too difficult. Dnk bonne but ennobling seemed pretty clear. Enjoyable.
  28. Thanks setter and pipkirby
    Found this one pretty tough going, taking well over an hour to get it finished and even then without ISAAC parsed. There were a couple of words in GIGUE and PRECOCITY that were new to me.
    The right hand side was the main stumbling block and finally finished with BEDSITTER (which isn’t heard much any more, although many of the ‘one bedroom apartments’ built these days are probably close to this type of thing), IMITATIVE (with that clever lift and shift of ‘musical notes’) and GALAS (clever) the last few in.
  29. LOI ISAAC required an alphabet trawl. It’s a pity S is towards the end , giving 30 mins total.
    Two Olivias again.

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