Times 27291 – no more pancakes for a while, please.

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
A reasonably easy challenge today, with three straightforward but chunky anagrams to get you well on the way. It helped, but wasn’t essential, if you knew the playwright (wasn’t the film director) and your duck species. It took me 18 minutes to do and parse, of which a couple were spent on 12a thinking why trouble at school had something to do with the answer, (Bunter perhaps?) then seeing the truth was not so obscure. 9d has to be CoD for obvious reasons, although 1d is very nice too.

If anyone living abroad didn’t see my comment post about getting a good result on the proposed sub hike from £100 to £208 a year, q.v. under jackkt’s blog yesterday.

1 Athenian character‘s black mark for wasting time (5)
SIGMA – STIGMA = black mark, loses its T.
4 Large pad of hair behind back-to-front cap (8)
MATTRESS – TRESS (hair) follows TAM (cap) reversed.
8 Top criminal has turned cynical towards other people (14)
10 Change of opinion regarding performance (5-4)
ABOUT-TURN – ABOUT = regarding, TURN as in circus turn.
11 Woman needing a good comfy home for the most part (5)
AGNES – A, G(ood), NES(T).
12 Cries from characters in trouble at school (6)
BLEATS – Hidden word in TROU(BLE AT S)CHOOL.
14 Give convincing evidence of travel to exhibition (2,2,4)
GO TO SHOW – Double definition, one literal.
17 Sweetheart getting nothing achieved (5,3)
LOVED ONE – LOVE = nothing, nil, DONE = achieved.
18 Was in awe of agent holding attention (6)
FEARED – FED (agent) holds EAR (attention).
20 A girl suffering setback needs the ultimate in moral fibre (5)
SISAL – A SIS reversed, (mora)L.
22 Hot-headed and no longer worth quoting (9)
EXCITABLE – Something Ex – citable would be no longer worth quoting.
24 Put off road trip, ascent being hazardous (14)
25 Second page reached by customer of paper that covers a wide area (8)
SPREADER – S, P, READER of paper.
26 Charge for trip (5)
SALLY – Double definition.
1 One who is out and about (12)
SOMNAMBULIST – Witty cryptic definition.
2 Soldier’s second mechanical device? (5)
GISMO – GI’S = soldier’s, MO = second. I was going to explain the etymology of Gismo, or Gizmo, but no-one seems to have one.
3 Female set of books a young lout’s written all over? (9)
ANNOTATED – ANN (a female), OT (set of books), A TED (a young lout). As in Teddy Boy I suppose, although not all were louts.
4 Poor performer upset and no longer fired up — one dealing with jumbo? (6)
MAHOUT -HAM actor = poor performer; reverse that and add OUT for no longer fired up. A Mahout is a chap who looks after elephants in S E Asia, I don’t really see why the ? is present.
5 Wilder man of the stage? Yesteryear’s character leading fashion (8)
THORNTON – THORN = yesterday’s character, þ, an old letter in Gothic, Norse and Icelandic, ahead of TON = fashion. Thornton Wilder was a US playwright, d. 1975.
6 Rodent, one being caught on a food dish (5)
RAITA – RAT catches I, A. A yoghurt based Indian sauce.
7 More dependable VIP protecting a French revolutionary (9)
STAUNCHER – STAR (VIP) has UN and CHE the revolutionary inserted.
9 Time to start doing without has dawned, yes, sadly (3,9)
13 Report of the decline of first female spy (9)
EAVESDROP – Sounds like EVE’S DROP, Eve being allegedly the first female.
15 Public individuals offering added nuances (9)
OVERTONES – OVERT = public, ONES = individuals.
16 Cricket side embarrassed about fellow awaiting trial (2,6)
ON REMAND – ON in cricket, RED = embarrassed, has MAN inserted.
19 One duck and another escaping from open vehicle (6)
SCOTER – O (another duck) escapes from SCOOTER. You have to know your duck varieties.
21 Money the attraction that traps Conservative (5)
LUCRE – LURE has C inserted.
23 Location of Jacob’s ladder? Not hard to see plant (5)
BETEL – According to the Bible, Jacob had a dream where he saw a ladder ascending to Heaven, with angels going up and down. He named the place where he was dreaming BETHEL. So, drop the H (not hard). Betel is a plant genus including pepper and kava kava, and another one with leaves which are often chewed.

47 comments on “Times 27291 – no more pancakes for a while, please.”

  1. A rather bland one today, although I imagine Jim will have something to say about ANNOTATED. Liked SOMNAMBULIST.
    1. Jimbo’s got us all conditioned to wince at clues like ANNOTATED now. Can’t help but suspect the setter of trolling!
      1. Me too .. though for added effect, s/he could have done something with procrastinaTED as well..
  2. (Any relation to Sal Volatile?)
    It’s like “orientated,” with that extraneous syllable.
    One of these words (or a slight variant) is also in today’s QC.
    We Americans spell “gismo” with a zed.
    I liked SOMNAMBULIST too.
  3. 22 mins for me so easyish. Some very neat surfaces. I too liked SOMNAMBULIST. What’s not to like about a clever cryptic definition.
    Maybe it’s time to retire ‘cricket side’ for ON (or OFF). It seems to irritate non-cricket fans and is just a giveaway (a long hop maybe) for the rest of us.
  4. 37 minutes with a leap of faith at 23dn assuming BET{h}EL had something to do with Jacob and his ladder. A timely clue at 9dn as today is ASH WEDNESDAY. Another answer also appears in today’s QC (though in the plural there) so it was fresh i nmy mind just after solving that. 1dn is a brilliant cryptic although I think I have seen it here before, or something very similar.

    Edited at 2019-03-06 06:44 am (UTC)

  5. 9:56 … yep, a confidence booster for old hands.

    BLEATS is a very nice hidden.

    THORNTON WILDER shows the benefit of having a memorable name, as I’m sure I’m not the only one who knew the name well without knowing anything else about him.

    1. Well-known, at least used to be, in the US, especially for his play “Our Town”.
  6. 15 minutes, so nothing to scare my horses, at least. SISAL quickly becoming the plant most likely to…
  7. Enjoyed this, especially SOMNAMBULIST.

    Reminded me of another favourite clue:

    She’s eye-pleasing but out (8,6)

  8. 12:47, but with EAVESDRIP. Grr.
    Nice puzzle. I liked SOMNAMBULIST too. Thornton Wilder rang a faint bell, words like MAHOUT, SISAL, SCOTER and BETEL have become familiar from doing these things over the years.

    Edited at 2019-03-06 07:38 am (UTC)

  9. LUCRE and SISAL were money for old rope. PROCRASTINATED was clever. COD to SCOTER as it is pretty close to a sawbill.
  10. 34 minutes, with LOI 4d MAHOUT written in with fingers crossed, along with 23d BETEL, where I knew neither the location nor the plant. At least the SCOTER has become familiar, and I could bering both “thorn” and “ton” to mind for the unknown playwright. Bit before my time…

    FOI 1d SOMNAMBULIST, once I’d figured out SLEEPWALKER wouldn’t fit. WOD PROCRASTINATED. It’s quite often my word for the day, whether it appears in a puzzle or not…

  11. 25 minutes, with LOI the hidden BLEATS after COD SOMNAMBULIST finally occurred to me. I spent some time trying to remember if Billy Wilder had a famous character called THORNTON, before realising that the Thornton came first in a name I could vaguely remember. Like S, I await the explosion from Jimbo, but suspect a wind-up. I knew BET(H)EL was one of the high places where sacrifice could happen before the priestly monopolists centralised on Jerusalem, but I’d forgotten it commemorated where Jacob had built his stairway to heaven. Even so, BETEL was a write-in, not that I’ve ever chewed the leaf. So there were two ‘plants’ to be seen, including one spotted by Davidivad1 and me last week in St Albans. Enjoyable puzzle. Thank you Pip and setter.

    Edited at 2019-03-06 08:53 am (UTC)

  12. I hesitated for some time over my LOI MAHOUT, which I thought I knew (and evidently did) but wasn’t quite sure about OUT for ‘no longer fired up’.

    COD to SOMNAMBULIST – nice CD.

  13. Thanks, Pip. I just sent a reply to you on yesterday’s blog. I actually used the regular +44 -(0)207… number on Skype as I don’t always have success with using 0800 numbers on Skype. Whatever, it worked and I’m now on the International Pack.
  14. Couldn’t get the last 2. Mattress and Thornton.

    I assumed Mattress but although aware of a tam-o’-shanter I can’t recall seeing it here as shortened to tam=cap. Also Thornton and thorn were unfamiliar and ton continues to elude me for fashion.

    COD: SOMNAMBULIST. Very good.

    1. Tam is used by Rastafarians to describe the multicoloured elongated version of the headgear.
    2. When I was a child in Wales we used to call a beret a TAM or TAMMY. It must have been brought here by Scottish immigrants.
  15. Writing a puzzle which is on the easy side (at least for those whose vocabulary has been shaped by regular cryptic solving) but is still entertaining is, I think, the toughest challenge for a setter, and this one easily met that challenge for me. Like everyone else, I thought “Jim will have something to say here”, before finishing with the nice penny-drop moment at 1dn.
  16. I was distracted at 23d by knowing that there’s a Jacob’s Ladder at Cheddar Gorge, and if you take HD out od Cheddar you get CEDAR which is a plant. However, EXCITABLE disabused me of this notion and I put SALLY back at 26a and postulated BET(h)EL which turned out to be correct. I really liked 1d too, once it popped into mind. BLEATS was well hidden. I tried for a while to make something out of Gene at 5d, but as my LOI, the crossers and a likely TON for fashion stirred a dark recess in the back of my mind. Didn’t have a clue about THORN for old character though. SIGMA was my FOI. Nice puzzle. 21:59. Thanks setter and Pip.

    Edited at 2019-03-06 10:16 am (UTC)

  17. I can’t help þinking þat þorn ought to be revived in þese environmentally-conscious times, if only to save on ink (or electrons).

    Twenty-þree minutes, which is about my average, making þis a relatively straightforward one. Enjoyable neverþeless. I enjoyed SOMNAMBULIST, þough I suspect it’s a chestnut well-known to veteran solvers.

    1. We could revive the old non-terminal s, which looked like an f without the crossbar: I remember reading a Puritan sermon to the effect that the foul is fettled in a finful fecurity. And in some 18th-century novel the heroine is feduced on the fofa.
  18. As you guessed I reacted badly to 3D but then reconsidered – wind up I thought just as some of you did.

    For newcomers, the point at issue is TED described as a lout, thug, etc. I was a Teddy Boy in the late 1950s and like almost all of my contemporaries I didn’t carry a knife, stand in gangs on street corners or beat up old ladies. The costume was a fashion statement born of turbulent social times. Yes, a very few were nasty but it isn’t fair to brand a whole group with the sins of a tiny minority.

    The puzzle was relatively easy but enjoyable

    1. I’ll have to find a new crisp way of defining TED clearly — wouldn’t want to upset the Dorset rocker again! Setter
    2. If you had water on the knee did you wear drainpipe trousers? That’s one of my late husbands corny jokes. He went through a teddy-boy stage as well. I threw out his drape jacket and crepe soles after we married…
  19. 26 mins. Nice puzzle with a fair degree of challenge. Great blog; thanks 🙂
  20. Yes, I think I’ve come across a similar clue for SOMNAMBULIST before, but it still took me a while to spot it. Only managed to get 3d as the noun form of the word appeared elsewhere today. Wasn’t too confident about SALLY and having no idea about Jacob’s ladder, a half-guessed BETEL was my LOI.

    The ‘duck’ was my favourite, mainly because it gave me an excuse to go through my “ducks I’ve learnt from crosswords” list.

    Home in 49 minutes.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  21. Only problem was I couldn’t remember anything about Jacob’s Ladder, let alone where it was, but the plant couldn’t have been anything else. Have got LOVE DONE today too, time to get moving methinks! See you all tomorrow.
  22. Not posted here for a while as I do the paper version and everything has usually been said. Got off to a false start biffing Sleepwalker for 1d until I realised not enough letters. My first name is aalan so I loved 8a but deny it compleltely! I thought this was a really fun puzzle especially for us novices. As it’s Ash Weds I may have to give up not drinking during the week. Thanks setter and blogger
  23. See also today’s QC. Held up only by not being sure if my LOI should be “riata”, and not being able to confirm until I finally cracked MISANTHROPICAL.

    TIME 9:56

  24. Nice to see ASH WEDNESDAY make an appropriate appearance today. Like several others, SOMNAMBULIST was my favourite and MAHOUT was my LOI. 8m 6s in total, not too hard but nicely done.
  25. I made a slow start dithering over a “chignon” in 4a before seeing that you had to divorce the pad from the hair. Yes, BLEATS was exceptionally well hidden. I’m not sure why some seamen’s chapels are called Bethels on the Northeastern US seaboard – maybe it’s because in whaling days they had to swarm up and down the rigging. I took a long time to move on from Billy (Some like It Hot) Wilder to Thornton – which was really dim of me because in her high school days our older daughter played Sabrina in Skin Of Our Teeth. 12.18

    P.S. Thanks to Pip and Guy du Sable for sorting some of us non-UK slowpokes out over the sub question, and to Jack for raising the subject.

    1. There’s lots of chapels here in Wales called BETHEL. I walk past a Welsh language one every day. They come in all sorts of denominations (Baptist, Methodist etc) I don’t think the choice of name has any special significance. It seems to have been the custom to name chapels after places in the Holy Land. My house was built when chapel building was at its height so I’m surrounded by the things. We’ve got Ebenezer, Siloam, Salem, Carmel etc. All with small ageing congregations.
  26. 12:09 with nearly 2 minutes at the end on BETEL and SALLY. All good fun. I liked ASH WEDNESDAY appearing, reminding me I need to think of what to fail to give up for a full 40 days.
  27. Let’s hear it for Teds then. I think their gear was really cool — maybe it’s time to get it back in fash.

    Here’s also to the CD at 1d, very nice indeed. Easy but good as some have said, and a nice challenge for a Wednesday.

  28. Found myself on a bit of a wave here. Knew I was in the zone when Bet(h)el popped into my head unannounced. And Thornton went naturally with Wilder, though I couldn’t have told you who he was.
  29. Agreed, all straightforward and tidy enough. Just wanted to add my thanks to Grumpole for his non-somnambulist clue, which I also liked!
  30. Finishing becoming a little more regular so perhaps Wow! no longer needed. It did take a couple of helpful suggestions from Mrs soj, however, to nail SCOTER and BETEL, which, together with OVERTONES and EXCITABLE turned a potential sub 30 into 44.04.
  31. Not a tough challenge, fairly straightforward in fact, which I got through in 12-15 minutes. Yes, SOMNAMBULIST was a nice cryptic, and BLEATS was remarkably well hidden. So well hidden that I never saw it, and I confess I just biffed it in from the crossing letters. And the whereabouts of Jacob’s ladder were also unknown to me before today. Regards.
  32. NHO THORNTON Wilder – not sure why TON means fashion come to that. No idea either about Jacob’s ladder and never heard of a plant called BETEL couldn’t see what else it might be though (have heard of BETELgeuse so took a punt).
  33. It took me an age and all the checkers to get SOMNAMBULIST. Butwhat a lovely definition! A couple were write-ins (MAHOUT and THORNTON)but I had a bit of a struggle to finish. 40 minutes. Ann
  34. Started this before heading off for a game of golf. The weather just about behaved; very windy at times, not too wet during the round and pouring on the way home.
    FOI was GISMO and RAITA followed quickly. I got MAHOUT then went out.
    Returning I managed to get all the long answers, guessed BETEL and SCOTER and I’m ashamed to admit my LOI was SIGMA. I really must learn the Greek alphabet properly as well as my ducks and plants. I put it down to a lack of sisal. David PS COD to Somnambulist.


  35. 21:12 a pleasant puzzle to breeze through with no real holdups. A bottom to top solve with the NE corner the last to fall. Didn’t know where Jacob kept his ladder. Not sure I knew Thornton Wilder was a playwright but the name was somehow familiar. COD somnambulist – the word always makes me think of Bellini’s bel canto opera though I think Norma is a more frequent visitor to crosswordland.
  36. Thanks setter and pip
    A puzzle that I found slightly easier than recent ones that still took 48 minutes to complete and fully parse which could’ve been shorter if done in a single sitting rather than doing it in bits and pieces. Two previous unknowns were the playwright THORNTON Wilder (where I also had to re-acquaing myself with THORN as an alphabetic character again) and BETHEL as the place of Jacob’s ladder experience.
    As with others, SOMNAMBULIST rated as the top clue. Finished in the NE corner with that writer and GO TO SHOW as the last couple in.
  37. We get the print version of the crossword in the Australian newspaper, so there is a lag of several weeks. We photocopy it and marinate in a Manila folder for several more weeks to increase the chewiness. This destroys the temporal linkages , such as the Ash Wednesday clue, and allows time for the blog to reach maturity.
    Once again a time of 2 Olivias; 26 mins.
    COD goes to “ sleeping beauty “ from Grumpole in the first page of the blog. Truly a clue of surpassing brilliance.

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