Times 27292 – fool me three times!

Solving time: 14:11… but when I hit submit, even though I thought I have checked it over, I made not one, not two, but three very silly errors in the puzzle! Must be playing with the old brain today.

I don’t think this is an easy puzzle, there’s some obscure answers and some tricky wordplay, so I hope you all did better than me.

The first definition is underlined in each clue.

Away we go…

1 Indication of virtue by low-down element (7)
HALOGEN – the indication of virtue is a HALO, then GEN(low-down, information)
5 Researcher‘s not genuine, back on the job (7)
POSTDOC – COD(not genuine) reversed after POST(job)
9 Test comprehended by unusual three or six-footer (9)
HEXAMETER –  EXAM(test) inside an anagram of THREE
10 Such languages one caught by Hungary regularly (5)
UGRIC – I(one), C(caught) next to alternating letters in hUnGaRy
11 Do lie in chat (13)
CONFABULATION – CON(do), FABULATION(lie) – at least this is what I think it is. FABULATION isn’t supported by Collins or Chambers but it could be construed from FABLE
13 The French knight admitted to relative indulgence (8)
LENIENCE – LE(the, in French) then N(Knight in chess) inside NIECE(relative)
15 Improvise in gin rummy, cutting card (4,2)
WING IT – anagram of GIN inside WIT(card)
17 Swan around with man and wife’s kinsman (6)
NEPHEW – PEN(swan) reversed, then HE(man) and W(wife)
19 Speaking drunkenly, neglect religious ceremony in confusion (8)
MISHMASH – sounds like someone slurring MISS MASS
22 One acquiring conviction friend’s effort is wasted (5,8)
25 Is it a tobogganist’s arm? (5)
LUGER – double definition for the winter sport and the gun
26 After forging, had US cent checked (9)
27 Do some shopping — allowed underwear (7)
SINGLET – SING(do some shopping, rat on), LET(allowed)
28 Soldier to spoil works (7)
PARAPET – PARA(soldier), PET(spoil, cosset) – works here being a wall

1 Chemist offering heroin, a case of it (4)
HAHN – H(heroin), A, then the outside letters in HeroiN. Tricky wordplay for a chemist that is not a household name, despite having a Nobel prize – Otto Hahn worked on nuclear fission
2 Back in jail, prisoner no longer accepting one’s set of terms (7)
LEXICON – last letter of jaiL, then EX-CON(prisoner no longer) containing I(one)
3 Kid endlessly on his Nintendo? (5)
GAMIN – if you are on a Nintendo (and I have both a 3DS and a Switch, both highly recommended) you are GAMING… remove the last letter
4 Flier‘s eccentric garment with skin of cheetah (8)
NUTHATCH – NUT(eccentric), HAT(garment) and the outside letters of CheetaH
5 Dog turning up, sure to be barking (6)
PURSUE – reversal of UP, then anagram of SURE
6 Queen’s in bed, somewhat likely to feel sick (9)
SQUEAMISH – QU(queen) in SEAM(bed of mineral), ISH(somewhat likely)
7 Favourite line put in bold (7)
DARLING – L(line) in DARING(bold)
8 Firms head without assurance for fair competition (7,3)
COCONUT SHY – CO, CO(firms), NUT(head), SHY(without assurance)
12 Blocks view of churchgoers hidden by screens (10)
BLINDFOLDS – FOLD(churchgoers) inside BLINDS(screens)
14 Shocks in the Spanish exam in kind of US college (9)
ELECTORAL – ECT(electrical shocks) in EL, ORAL(exam)
16 Got rid of current measure for gas (8)
FIREDAMP – FIRED(got rid of), AMP(current measure)
18 Model‘s head in painting by surrealist (7)
PARAGON – P(ainting) then Louis ARAGON, surrealist writer
20 Means of transport, or pretentiousness with it (7)
AIRSHIP – AIRS(pretentiousness) and HIP(with it)
21 Balance is wrong on TV (6)
OFFSET – OFF(wrong), SET(TV)
23 Correct and right fare from Turkey (5)
DONER – DONE(correct), and R(right)
24 Passage from “Clemenza di Tito” (4)
ADIT – hidden inside clemenzA DI Tito

45 comments on “Times 27292 – fool me three times!”

  1. I found this hard. I had to come here to learn Coconut Shy. Elsewhere it would have gone faster if I hadn’t decided that the transport was a Chariot, parsing be damned, and if I’d not reversed the G and R in Ugric. I liked the combination of careful cluing, interesting vocabulary, and clever deception.

    I think Confabulate is just a DD – it’s one of those words with two related meanings, one being to create lies, the other to yap back and forth in a chit-chatty way. There used to be a joke featuring politicians socializing amongst themselves which played on the two meanings. It wasn’t a very funny joke.

    Nice that Browne got a byline.

    Edited at 2019-03-07 03:15 am (UTC)

  2. ‘Fabulate’ is in Collins and ODO and takes us a step nearer to FABULATION. ODO has FABULATION as a cross-reference ‘see fabulate’ but doesn’t actually list it in the entry referred to.
  3. Do they include the setter now?
    My website has No 27292 by Richard Browne (Teazel in the QC).

    Edited at 2019-03-07 05:41 am (UTC)

    1. A Thursday some way into a month would be an odd day to begin a new practice, but odder things have happened at Times Towers before now. For myself I hope it’s not going to happen as I dislike having preconceptions about a puzzle before trying to solve it.
      1. I am all for it and it will preclude bloggers waxing lyrical over a named setter, as they do in other publications.
    2. There’s a note in the club comments that the attribution was an error (and not accurate). There’s no intention to change the current practice.
  4. That time includes moments of out-zonkedness, but still probably over 30′. In any case, although I had 13ac all parsed, I automatically typed LENIENCY, which is the form I use, and didn’t notice until the Y showed up in pink. I sort of knew HAHN–wasn’t he on the Manhattan Project? but I think I thought he was a physicist. Luckily DONER showed up recently. I thought CONFABULATION was a psychiatrist’s term for, not lying as such, but rather making things up to account for one’s behavior. ON EDIT: and I see that ODE agrees. Anyway, no problem with the word as a word. A challenging puzzle, and I was pleased to do it without biffing; but then that Y. George, shouldn’t ‘fair’ be underlined as well at 8d?

    Edited at 2019-03-07 06:27 am (UTC)

  5. I needed only a minute or two short of an hour for this one working from the bottom up as I was unable to solve anything in the top half for ages. Several unknown words or shades of meaning along the way but I trusted to my instincts and was pleased to finish without reference to aids. I still failed to understand how ‘done = correct’ until just now I remembered the expression ‘the done thing’.

    Edited at 2019-03-07 06:24 am (UTC)

  6. Given how far away from t’wavelength I felt, I was surprised to come here after 43 minutes to find I’d got everything right. As with Jack, I started off in the bottom half (with 17a) and slowly worked my way upwards.

    Once I’d finished off the top, I came back to the bottom to get my last outstanding clue of 19a MISHMASH. Lots of unknowns here: UGRIC; ADIT; Otto HAHN; Louis ARAGON, probably some others I’ve already forgotten!

  7. 30:06 … properly tough. Quite a few things I struggled to get and then had work just as hard to convince myself I’d got ’em.

    Last in DONER, where I had exactly the same experience as jackkt, only belatedly thinking of ‘the done thing’ (but with an extra detour trying to make ‘dinar’ work).

    Overall, I felt like I was slightly out of my league here, but I did enjoy the easier bits! COD to MISHMASH for the giggle

  8. Good crossword, challenging but fair.

    The unknowns to me (HAHN, FABULATION, POSTDOC) were not too much of a stretch to guess.

    I’ll be pleased if the setters are now being identified.

  9. 27:01. DNK M. Aragon so the misdirection to think of a painter, when he was a surrealist poet, passed me by. This was a good testing puzzle, but all fair, and I was pleased to solve steadily not to get stuck having seen the SNITCH in red zone at 130. UGRIC my FOI (I learnt a little Finnish working on a student exchange job in Finland many moons ago). LOI BLINDFOLDS which took me a while to see, as it were. I liked LEXICON and NUTHATRCH, but COD to the fun MISHMASH. Thanks Richard and George.
  10. Just under the hour, all the time feeling out of my depth. Fortunately I knew HAHN and HALOGEN then presented itself quickly. I then looked in terror at the word NINTENDO as I have never played on a console in my life, and saw GAMIN more or less straight off. Then I struggled. LOI was POSTDOC which I would at the very least hyphenate. I really liked COCONUT SHY and the wonderful MISHMASH. The thought of a DONER made me SQUEAMISH. I had no idea why PARAPET would be ‘works’ but so be it. A tough puzzle. Thank you George and setter.
  11. I prefer anonymity for the setter.
    A bit of a challenge for me, taking 38 mins, but coming here I am pleased to see that this time is not one to be ashamed of. I saw CONFABULATION as a DD — though I was doubtful about Def 1 as “Do lie”, which looks very much like a verb; the solution is definitely a noun. I also stumbled over PURSUE, because the clue seemed to have an otiose anagrind: so thanks, George, for the clarification. Like others, I couldn’t quite see done=correct in 23d, but biffed it anyway.
    My COD to 8d for the clever ‘fair competition’.
    1. I found this tough but fair. 5 unsolved on the half hour. Hahn, Gamin, Mishmash, Firedamp and Parapet all defeated me. I had GOAON(!!) for GAMIN. Kid = Goat.

      I like the fact that the setters are anonymous. Maybe they might reveal their identities on special occasions?


  12. …was all I could think of, so a dnf after 42′.

    Some excellent clues, liked POSTDOC, didn’t parse DONER, dnk HAHN.

    Thanks george and setter (please remain anonymous)

  13. The setter’s name didn’t appear on the page I was looking at so perhaps they took it down in the interim. For some reason this one was well within range for me although I was confused by the PARAPET/works definition and spent time trying for “flock” as the churchgoers. Clever puzzle. 21.04
    1. If you access the puzzle via the Club screen the setter’s name doesn’t appear until you select the print option. I think it’s there by all other on-line routes. But it’s not in the printed newsaper so it doesn’t seem to be a change of policy, just a glitch.
  14. Properly tough, but eventually unravelled. My main head scratch came at PARAPET, as I didn’t immediately link spoil and PET, or works and PARAPET, but as all the checkers seemed valid, I thought again, and better.

    I have previously gone along with someone’s suggestion that the setter’s name could be revealed with the solution, though I think that idea goes back to the days of a purely real-world crossword, so might not be appropriate in a digital environment.

  15. 30:37. I found this extremely hard, but rewarding.
    I couldn’t quite believe CONFABULATION (which can’t be a DD) but as the crossing downs went in it seemed increasingly inevitable.
    When I was doing linguistics it was always Finno-Ugrian but the UGRIC version has come up here before (in 2014, I checked) and I remembered it, amazingly.
    When I got the H from HEXAMETER I thought of BOHR for 1dn and even though I knew it was wrong it somehow blocked my mind from thinking of anything else until I had the H from HALOGEN. Strange how that can happen.
  16. Having originally entered GAMIN at 3d, I changed it to GAMON on review thus earning a dreaded pink square. Drat! Otherwise pleased to have got through this rather tricky offering in 34:34. I assumed PARAPET was not so much a wall but defensive earth works. Having successfully solved some of the more difficult stuff I now feel a bit deflated by my cock up at 3d, so I shall go away and sulk for a while. Thanks setter and George.
  17. 26 mins. Done – as usual – on paper, which always adds a bit of time, owing to my dodgy motor control with the pen. So quite happy with this. It didn’t seem any trickier than puzzles earlier this week, and in fact was the easiest of the week so far, imho. The snitch radically disagrees with me. I never look at the snitch before solving: it generally confirms my view in around 60% of cases, but in the other 40% it’s at odds with my assessment of a puzzle’s difficulty. Not sure why; I guess it’s more of an art than a science. Nice blog, George; thanks.
  18. I’ve never come across HAHN and couldn’t figure out the wordplay, so I lumped in HUHM and hoped for the best. Ah well. 12m 05s with that error.

    A tough puzzle, with some nice clues and at least one slightly stretchy synonym – ‘correct’ and ‘done’ just about overlap, I suppose.

  19. ….but managed to WING IT.

    DNK POSTDOC, CONFABULATION (rubbish clue), HAHN, or Louis Aragon. Most poetry is surreal to me, so the clue was lost on me.

    Thanks to George for parsing SQUEAMISH (another underwhelming clue). Tried in vain to justify “gamer” at 3D. Was glad to see the back of this puzzle.

    TIME 15:57

  20. I wouldn’t say squeamish is used to mean feeling sick-although I’ve a feeling someone will quote a dictionary at me! More of a feeling of horror at anything unpleasant, rather than physical nausea necessarily. Other than that, a half-decent crossword. For once, the surfaces are both precise, and actually make some sort of (alternative) sense. Mr Grumpy
    1. I read it as “likely to feel sick” with the “ish” as “somewhat”
  21. Blimey! I pressed send and was amazed to discover that I was all correct. At least 6 were answered unparsed and many thanks and kudos to blogger for giving me the reasons.
    Googling FABULATION was very enlightening including a medical dictionary and a work called The Fabulators. Not in my Scrabble dictionary though…
  22. It doesn’t seem to have happened to anyone else, but I found it impossible to enter this puzzle to the club – after the first solution, for the next the cursor refused to move on when I typed a letter – and if I moved it, the one just entered was deleted. Eventually I decided to go to the other copy, and had no difficulty in filling in the solutions – so no solving time, as a couple of hours(with some breaks) had elapsed before completion.
    1. This exact thing happened to me a few months ago (maddening). The solution is to go in to your system and clear cookies and it works like a charm.
  23. Could only guess at Hahn, not knowing that H was slang (presumably) for Heroin. Also needed aids for Confabulation (there are over 500 thirteen-letter words ending in -ation!). Works is an odd descriptor for Parapet, methinks. And is a Hat a garment? (I was stuck trying to make Hawfinch work for ages).
  24. I found this very hard. 40 mins at lunchtime only got me about two thirds of the way through it. Finished eventually though. Probably another half hour needed to wrap it all up after work.
  25. …one wrong. Had GAMEN instead of GAMIN. i was thonking GAMER and couldn’t see what to do with the N. POSTDOC and HEXAMETER were vague guesses, UGRIC never heard of at all. It’s like a bloomin’ university, this crossword malarkey.
  26. …and by chance, I happen to be reading Irving Wallace’s ‘The Prize’ at the mo, so am familiar with Otto HAHN.
  27. Did not know about ‘Hahn’, so I guessed ‘Hehn’. All right otherwise, though I was not kern on one or two of the clues.
  28. This one kept me entertained for 53 minutes, most of which I enjoyed. I wasted some time trying to justify “stonewalls” for 12d and “gamer” for 3d, and more time staring at 26ac and failing to see the anagram. DONER has left me hungry for the fare provided by the late-night kebab van, finer food than which there is none. No clue stands out as my CoD, but I thought the puzzle was uniformly good. Best of all, although it was difficult, everything yielded to patient pondering.
  29. Thanks setter and george
    This took just under the hour across four sittings to get out and like the blog I had to go to the bottom to get my start with ADIT, which I’d seen as a timeworn word used in crosswords. DONER followed not all that much longer after – so it is strange what words are common to some and not known to others. In fact UGRIC was quite an early entry as well.
    Like looking up NUTHATCH after I get it in a puzzle to see its a bird that has the curious habit of walking down a tree headfirst. Sad thing is that I almost always forget it by the time that it resurfaces.
    Finished in the SW corner with BLINDFOLDS, the doubly defined LUGER and PARAGON as the last few in.
  30. Our thanks to the anonymous setter for an excellent crossword. Very clever clueing with many penny drop moments. All correct in 36 mins , and therefore under 2 Olivias for a change. Liked MISHMASH, and was glad to see the POSTDOC wasn’t HASIDIC, which was the only word coming to mind until the dogged pursuit of 5d revealed the P. Misdirected by 9a for a while, looking for the insect six- footer.

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