Times 27321 – no fleas in my bed today

After a couple of orange or red zone SNITCH Wednesdays which had me working harder for a living (well, unpaid!) I found this one more like a Monday stroll in the park. Even if you weren’t familiar with the plant at 10d, you could derive it from all the checkers and anagram fodder. Nothing else at all obscure, but some nice surfaces and plenty of double definitions.

I see it’s running at 111 on the SNITCH so perhaps not quite as easy as I’d thought, must have been one of my rare good days.

1 Ineptly fail to put cap on? (5,2)
SCREW UP – Double definition, one an example.
5 Lie safely masked by dishonest leader (6)
8 Given requisite kit, doctor cured zoo’s last cat (9)
ACCOUTRED – (CURED O CAT)*, the O from last letter of ZOO.
9 Void article withheld from almanac, perhaps (5)
ANNUL – ANNUAL loses an A article.
11 First pair eliminated in decider wrongly announced (5)
CRIED – Remove DE from decider, then (CIDER)*.
12 Peacekeepers negotiated without dressing (9)
UNTREATED – UN = peacekeepers, TREATED = negotiated.
13 Peripheral sportsmen criticise fighter’s reach, maybe (8)
WINGSPAN – WINGS being peripheral sportsmen, PAN meaning to criticise.
15 National beauty title for wife? (6)
MISSUS – MISS US, or MISS USA, would be a ‘national beauty’.
17 Sack a blackleg, ultimately splitting party (6)
RAVAGE – Insert A, G (last of blackleG) into RAVE = party.
19 Dreadful predicament in which one bishop joins another (8)
HORRIBLE – HOLE = predicament, insert I, B (one bishop) after RR (another bishop)..
22 Adjacent to a hypotenuse? (9)
ALONGSIDE – Kind of double definition; alongside means adjacent, and the hypotenuse is the longest side of a right-angled triangle.
23 Opportunities to study conditions (5)
TERMS – Double definition. You study in term times.
24 Provoke supporters on course verbally (5)
TEASE – Sounds like TEES as in golf tees supporting the ball.
25 Means of viewing men on campaign (9)
PROJECTOR – PROJECT = campaign, OR = men.
26 Less productive student lacking one of the basics? (6)
LEANER – LEARNER loses one of his / her three R’s = basics.
27 Anticipated word of warning was withdrawn (7)
FORESAW – FORE ! = word of warning in golf, WAS reversed.

1 Three players introducing bridge complete legal document (6,7)
SEARCH WARRANT – S, E and W being three players e.g. in bridge; insert ARCH = bridge, then add ARRANT = complete, as in arrant nonsense.
2 Disturbance in court out of control (7)
3 As bandage was for lesion? (5)
WOUND – Double definition, two different pronunciations; bandages are wound, and a wound is a lesion.
4 Posh guest of HM returns, having previously left country (8)
PORTUGAL – PORT = left; LAG (guest of HM) U (posh) all reversed.
5 Sorted out untidy state some sleepers prefer (6)
6 Priest in government meeting king with more ceremony (9)
STATELIER – STATE = government, insert ELI the priest, add R for king.
7 Special formulation said to be associated with The Times? (7)
LINCTUS – Sounds like LINKED (to) US, The Times being us. To avoid the need for a ‘to’ in the clue as in ‘linked to us’, you need to take the parts separately I think, i.e. LINKED = associated, US = The Times.
10 Meadow inhabitant spinning dastardly webs? (5,8)
LADYS BEDSTRAW – (DASTARDLY WEBS)*. One of those plants you find in meadows and crosswords. The name comes from a time when the dried plants were used to stuff mattresses, as the coumarin in the plant acted as a flea repellant.
14 Guru sitting on lawn in shade (4-5)
SAGE-GREEN – SAGE = guru, GREEN = lawn.
16 Exits works (5,3)
COMES OFF – Double definition. Comes off as in exits the motorway perhaps.
18 Profane Shakespearean cross-dresser emptied theatre (7)
VIOLATE – VIOLA being a female character in Twelfth Night who dressed as a man; TE emptied TheatrE.
20 Upbraids informer among queen’s workers? (7)
BERATES – RAT = informer inside BEES the queen’s workers.
21 Bird, big one in the sky (6)
DIPPER – The Big Dipper being an alternative name for the Plough constellation, Ursa Major.
23 The third person’s one taking over after time (5)
THEIR – T for time, HEIR being ‘one taking over’.

44 comments on “Times 27321 – no fleas in my bed today”

  1. I got through this in about 20 minutes and then it took me about the same again to get 16D (COMES OFF) after trawling the alphabet for both remaining letters since it obviously ended S OFF. I assumed the phrase related to leaving the stage once I got it. I think the hypotenuse is only the longest side of a right-angled triangle, the one opposite the right angle. I wasn’t quite sure about PROJECT as campaign but near enough. I had TERRIBLE for HORRIBLE for a time until I looked at the wordplay a little more carefully.
  2. 14:27 … and much enjoyed. I’m a simple soul and clues like Miss US make me happy.

    Ta setter and Pip

  3. I 1ac’d 16d, where as usual my alphabet trawl was desultory and seems to have skipped C: I settled on MOVES OFF, which works for half the clue, anyway. DNK DIPPER, LADY’S BEDSTRAW. Liked PORTUGAL.
  4. 50 minutes with one error as my first thought at 23ac was TURNS and although I wasn’t wholly satisfied with it I rather foolishly wrote it in and then forgot to revisit it. I wasn’t entirely convinced by COMES OFF at 16dn but it seemed the best fit for the checkers. Took an age to get started.
  5. About 90 minutes, committed to finishing even if it took all day.
    last few were horrible, statelier, linctus, comes off and loi missus.

    Cod missus, terms or alongside.

  6. 40 mins with yoghurt, granola, etc.
    I couldn’t parse 1dn for the life of me, so thanks for that. Three players = SEW, good grief.
    And I struggled with 16dn where there seem to be about 360 possible words for ?o?e?.
    Mostly I liked the hypotenuse.
    Thanks setter and Pip.
  7. Easy but pleasant puzzle. Only hold up COMES OFF where I couldn’t see the “exits” part of the clue for some time. Liked MISSUS
  8. Liked this one.. witty. Didn’t take long, except for 16dn which seemed to take forever to arrive, but eventually did
  9. Odd, this one, with nothing making any sense until suddenly it all did, perhaps just tuning in to the setter’s style. Typical were 9ac, where for ages I was looking for an improbable anagram of ALMAC, and 5dn where I thought the fodder was SORTED.
    Like others (so far) COMES OFF was my last in, thinking about coming off the bus (eventually).
    I seem to be having a run of being a gnat’s crotchet away from the average score (at least when I submit), today at 26.52.
    1. .. not to my knowledge although it does have a relative called “sticky willy,” make of that what you will ..
  10. I found this a lot harder than Pip and Jimbo evidently did, but I got there in the end. SEARCH WARRANT went in without my being able to decode the parsing. Thanks to our esteemed blogger for the explanation. An enjoyable puzzle. I especially liked MISSUS. Has this been seen before? ALONGSIDE and TERMS were also very neat.
  11. I found this one hard to start off. I eventually put in 22a as FOI and expanded from there. I also found it hard to finish, so it’s nice to see I’m not alone in finding 16d tough. In the middle it flowed pretty nicely, though, coming in at 45 minutes, with the SE corner by far the hardest.

    After a couple of unsuccessful alphabet runs at 16, I decided to lean back, close my eyes, and try to identify all the instruments in the Miles Davis track I was listening to, in a bid to clear out my short-term memory and start from scratch. This worked surprisingly well, and I wrote in COMES OFF immediately I took another look at the clue.

    Presumably one’s not able to stick Miles Davis on in the middle of a championship, though, so I might have to find a different tactic for the long run…

    1. Why not? Earphones .. unless they think you are listening to hints, perhaps ..

      Edited at 2019-04-10 08:34 am (UTC)

      1. Birth of the Cool was the best album ever – maybe I’ll try that myself if stuck,

        Edited at 2019-04-10 09:12 am (UTC)

  12. 27 minutes with LOI COMES OFF. I’d never heard of LADY’S BEDSTRAW but then Mrs BW did upgrade to a mattress when we married. I still was doubtful when I first solved the anagram. I spent a few minutes wondering how you could view things through a PROTESTOR before PROJECTOR hit me. Sitting here this morning three miles south of Blackpool Pleasure Beach, with The Big One in full view, I have to say that the Big DIPPER in the sky that I had in mind wasn’t celestial, although it feels that way when you ride it. COD to the MISSUS from this very enjoyable puzzle. Thank you Pip and setter.
  13. After JACK-IN-THE-PULPIT we have LADY’S BEDSTRAW. Whatever next on the botanical front?
    Before sitting down to this puzzle I enjoyed the sunset on my veranda here in NZ with a G&T and Fantails in the willow tree alongside.
    It’s now after dark and I have the nightly ‘chorus’ of possum feet running around on my upstairs veranda, the little blighters.
    54m 05s Thanks Pip!
    1. Oh, there’s plenty more where those came from! I’m sure the setters will be offering up parson’s hogweed, bladder vetch, tom-up-your-nose, beldam’s marshwort, hemp agrimony or stinking goosefoot soon.

      Edited at 2019-04-10 10:03 am (UTC)

  14. 15:10. I found this quite tricky, but it was fun, without many easily biffable clues and no obscurity other than the plant. That one held me up for ages, and eventually I resorted to writing out the letters.
  15. 44 mins, so quite hard for me. I, too, was stumped by ‘exits works’ for a long time, doing several alphabet trawls in both directions and inside out until I hit on the solution. I particularly enjoyed the clever WOUND, the hypotenuse, the guru on the grass, the beauty queen and the naked sleepers. I am a sucker for hiddens, so NESTLE was a late entry. I biffed SEARCH WARRANT quite early on but then spent a couple of minutes working out the wordplay post hoc (so it was less than 44 mins actually).
    You were on fine form, Pip, to despatch this so quickly. Thanks for the blog.
  16. 21’25, last in linctus after not believing nestle for too long. If these mental grapples do nothing else at least they remind occasionally of beautiful inhabitants of the verbal meadow. 18’s surface also nice.
  17. As a sign of how everyone’s mileage varies, I found this one pretty challenging. Never heard of the plant, unsurprisingly, but the anagram only really led to one answer, so that was fine. Held up in the same way as everyone else at 16dn, where I entered TAKES OFF on first pass; it’s a perfectly decent answer apart from not fitting with HORRIBLE, so that area had to be disentangled at some length. Good stuff.
  18. 33min – at 1dn ‘bridge’ and ‘document’ caused me to waste some time thinking that it would be some sort of CONTRACT till I checked the enumeration – however some of NEWS had already come to mind. In NE, like Z I had problems with 9ac and 5dn (took a while to see the hidden at 5ac.)

    Edited at 2019-04-10 10:30 am (UTC)

  19. It took me an age to get started, with no results until 23d. I then managed to fill the SE(apart from 16d) and worked my way around with the SW providing most resistance. After 35 minutes I was left with 16d, 18d, and 22a. A dalliance with VULGATE at 18d meant that I was at a complete impasse for 22a, so I concentrated on an alpha trawl for 16d. It was a long time coming but I got there eventually. More aplha trawls at 22a caused me to question VULGA as a Shakesperean cross-dresser, but my total lack of knowledge in this area meant that I eventually resorted to Googling “Shakesperean cross-dressers” and found VIOLA. After that ALONGSIDE was obvious. Definitely not an easy one from my perspective! 62:01 with a bit of help. Thanks setter and Pip. On a happier note, the wallet I dropped last Friday, in Bedale Golf Club, arrived this morning, by special delivery, with contents intact.
    1. When I was a teenager I left my wallet on a train and it was returned with the contents intact, except that the person who found it had paid the cost of the postage out of the five-pound note that was in it, leaving me the exact change.
      1. Nice! Having checked the contents of mine, I don’t think they took anything for the not inconsiderable postage cost. It’s certainly a reminder that there are a lot of nice people around.
  20. ….so after two minutes juggling letters I biffed “protestor” on the basis that a prolonged protest might be seen as a campaign. Therefore a DNF after 11:27

    FOI ANNUL (very apt ?)

  21. Please, somebody, tell me that I wasn’t the only on to biff it as POWER OFF. It took me an age just to get my FOI (20dn)and things just seemed to get worse after that.
  22. My thespian days are well in the rear-view mirror but I took this to be when an actor exits eg stage left. Come to think of it George is still treading the boards. Like Pip I had the wavelength for this one – so of course I thought it a nice puzzle. NESTLE was very well hidden (meaning it took me a long time to see it). 14.23
  23. This one took a while to get started, with a lot of clues proving tricky to crack without checking letters. Like others I struggled with COMES OFF, and my LOI was DIPPER. 12m 04s in all, for a nice but fairly run of the mill puzzle.
  24. 15:26. SEARCH WARRANT and CRIED my last 2 in, but nothing held me up for too long. Another who near put TERRIBLE in for 19A. COD to PORTUGAL.
  25. 17:35, slowed by the same sticky points as others. Like Z I found it rather daunting until I finally tuned in to the setter’s W.

    I wouldn’t have been able to tell you what upbraid meant (sounds like a hairstyle involving beads and coloured thread) and wasn’t entirely au fait with the required meaning of profane.

    I’m off now to change my lady’s bedstraw.

  26. Like many others, I took a long time getting started. And then at the end wasted at least ten minutes on Horrible and Comes off. I had Takes off in my head, and couldn’t get it to leave. Kind of would of worked. Definitely seen hypotenuse=alongside before, but still took me ages to get it . Not entirely happy about one down. I got that the three players were likely to be N,S,E or W – but the clue implies they are all together at the start, not separated.
    1. Me too re 1D. And the surface doesn’t make great sense either. Maybe ‘small partners introducing principal’? Although I concede that’s far from perfect. Mr Grumpy
  27. Thought I was going to rattle through this one – even the BEDSTRAW didn’t hold me up for long. Then, like the rest of most of you, I hit -o-e- off. Not one for the very boring task of letter checking, esp when I have help at hand and better things to do, I succumbed to helpers. Doesn’t help that COMES rhymes with bums and not homes which is more like what I was looking for. Nice crossword otherwise.
  28. 14:11 – I made slow but steady progress on this one, and it took me a while to piece together the anagram for LADYS BEDSTRAW. I did like COMES OFF, MISSUS and, since I’ve been in Shakespearean mode for a little while now, VIOLA.
  29. 46:22. I got very hung up in the SW corner. The long ones down the sides also took a long time to unravel. An enjoyable solve.
  30. 6 minutes but I had HOLRIBLE instead of HORRIBLE somehow – the kind of thing that can’t actually happen on paper, so I’m not too worried about it.
  31. Grad to know I’m not the only one who occasionally mis-types online.

    This one took me an inexcusable 40 minutes despite a fairly fast start. My NTLOI was HORRIBLE, which I only got once I’d remembered “right reverend”. Even then, my LOI – COMES OFF – took an alphabet trawl. Some days I am just wordblind.

    Regarding the DIPPER, it’s actually only a part of the constellation of Ursa Major. Depending on which way you look at it, it’s either the thorax and neck of an implausibly long-necked bear, or the pelvis and tail of an implausibly long-tailed bear. Either way, it excludes half the body and the legs, which are far too long for a bear facing in either direction. You have to wonder how many ancient Greeks had actually seen a bear, and exactly what Greek astronomers were drinking.

  32. Terrible start. RAVAGE was the key to the left half opening up possibilities. NHO of the plant. LOI COMES OFF. I too found that after a break, suddenly tuned into the right wavelength.
  33. Got distracted by thinking too much about 15a Miss US and 5d nudity, thus posting a time of 55mins. Confidently putting Magpie for the bird at 21d ( mag being big, and pie in the sky) didn’t help either. LOI 16d ‘comes off ‘ like so many of the commentariat.
  34. Thanks setter and pip
    First Times puzzle for a while and certainly took a while to get anywhere near the setter’s wavelength, taking a couple of hours over 2-3 days to get this one out.
    Had less trouble than others with COMES OFF, getting about mid solve and confident from the second definition. Hadn’t heard of LADY’S BEDSTRAW though.
    CRIED was the first one in and finished in the NE corner with LINCTUS and NESTLE that I biffed and only saw that it was a hidden clue on reading the blog – the first time that I’ve missed one altogether !

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