Times 27519 – cor blimey it’s the vernal and the vernacular.

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Highly amusing puzzle today, with some tricky post-biff parsing for your blogger once the grid was completed in about half an hour. Compliments to the setter, please give me one of these every Wednesday!
Special mentions for 12a and 19d for tricky parsing, and 6d for a concise triple definition. I’m not 100% happy with my explanation for 17d, but the rest, I think, is satisfactory.
We are talking Vernal at 16a, vernacular at 9a, 2d, 28a.

1 One’s accompanying the Queen visiting military hospital and mess (8)
MISHMASH – M.A.S.H being the military hospital, as in the superb TV series (Suicide is painless, remember?). Insert (i.e. visiting) I’S HM.
5 Gridlocked, perhaps, in transport leaving city (6)
STATIC – EC (the City) leaves ECSTATIC = “in transport”. Well, I think that’s it.
9 My part reduced after reflecting (3)
LOR – ROLE (part) is reversed and is reduced. Collins says “Exclamation of surprise or dismay”, shortened from Lord.
10 Vegetable to go after in place of game (6,5)
SQUASH COURT – SQUASH = vegetable, COURT = go after, woo. Today’s chestnut.
12 Dickensian orphan Twist in desperate reversal, having no one (5,5)
EDWIN DROOD – Eponymous orphan in Dickens novel. Fiendish wordplay, reverse engineering for me, take away WIND (twist) leaves you with ED ROOD, reversal > DOOR DE, which is DO OR DIE (desperate) without the I.
13 Work for a while that doctor may take, briefly (4)
TEMP – Double definition, the Doc can take your TEMPerature.
15 Legendary red ointment for child that’s really dear (6)
CHERUB – CHE (Guevara, the legendary red), RUB (ointment).
16 March features one short horse with bullock following? (7)
18 These usen’t to get worked up about harmful emission? (7)
ECONUTS – CO, carbon monoxide a harmful emission, inside (USENT)*.  Def &lit.
20 Exotic bit of verse could go oddly astray (6)
ESCUDO – alternate letters of v E r S e C o U l D g O. I don’t see what’s exotic about a ‘bit’ of Portuguese currency before its final removal in as late as 2012 after the euro was introduced in 1998.
23 Pants one would be expecting to be up! (4)
DUFF – Duff, pants, no good for use. If you’re a lady up the duff, you’re expecting. A phrase I heard only last evening watching an episode of Peaky Blinders, possibly the best thing on TV (apart from Masterchef, sport and politics, of course).
24 Insults mate with false respect (3,7)
LIP SERVICE – LIP = insults, cheek; SERVICE = mate, for animals not people perhaps.
26 Very close, offering affection (4,2,5)
HAND IN GLOVE – HANDING (offering) LOVE (affection).
27 Put out, I carp (3)
KOI – K.O. = put out, knock out; I.
28 Something digital newspaper makes undesirable (6)
TOERAG – Well, a TOE is digital, and a RAG is informally a newspaper. My LOI.
29 City brothels in kinky shows (8)
HELSINKI – Beautifully hidden city in BROT(HELS IN KI)NKY.
1 Fungus, note, will, finally, before the day’s up (6)
MILDEW – MI (note), L (end of will) WED reversed.
2 Thursday broadcast’s before 9 (7)
STREWTH – STREW = broadcast, TH = Thursday. Another exclamation like the answer to 9a, corrupted from God’s Truth.
3 What male dinosaurs could make you? (10)
4 To get around scale, after old-fashioned drill (6-7)
SQUARE-BASHING – SQUARE = old-fashioned, BAG = to get, insert SHIN = scale, as in shin up a tree I presume.
6 Gather friar eats in school (4)
TUCK – clever triple definition.
7 Born bully? (7)
TAUREAN – someone born under the sign of Taurus the bull.
8 Commander leading a team reaching peak in S America (8)
COTOPAXI – CO (commander) TOP (leading) A XI (a team, an eleven). Active volcano in Ecuador, 5,897 metres high. Remembered from my O Level Geography or numerous quizzes. There are about 75 even higher peaks in the Andes, eleven over 20,000 feet (6100 m) but not so many active volcanoes. It’s on my bucket list.
11 Seeks zoom lens to snap area imposing restrictions (9,4)
SMOKELESS ZONE – (SEEKS ZOOM LENS)*. When I see an anagram fodder with a Z in it, and ‘area’ mentioned in the clue, I quickly look for zone as part of the answer. I liked ‘to snap’ as the anagrind, after zoom lens.
14 Expend least effort, as chiropodists do without hesitation (3,7)
CUT CORNERS – Well, chiropodists may CUT CORNS, so insert ER for hesitation.
17 Chap getting publicity free, still concentrating on features? (8)
HEADSHOT – HE gets AD (publicity) get SHOT (of) = get FREE (from). At least, I think it’s that, not ADS HOT as hot doesn’t mean free, but I’m not too thrilled with shot = free, without the ‘of’.
19 Wrong start, therefore ignoring that (7)
OFFENCE – Another tortuous bit of parsing. OFF = start, as of a horse race. ENCE = HENCE (therefore) (not ‘THENCE) with the start (i.e.’that’) removed.
21 Readily accept doctor, popular with family (5,2)
DRINK IN – DR (doctor) IN (popular) KIN (family).
22 A house and a car for one turning heads (6)
GEMINI – EG (for one) reversed, ‘heads’ MINI a car.
25 City just to the west of delta in ricefields (4)
LIMA – in the NATO alphabet you’d finish the spelling out of ricefields with ‘Foxtrot India Echo LIMA Delta Sierra’.

59 comments on “Times 27519 – cor blimey it’s the vernal and the vernacular.”

  1. I’m in awe that you managed this in 30 minutes. It took me two hours. At 5 across I was sure the ATIC bit came from VATICAN without VAN (transport leaving city) but I couldn’t see how to get the ST in.

    But it was a great challlenge and there were some really well hidden bits and pieces.

  2. Utterly defeated today, by NE, SW and ESCUDO, despite all the checkers. Managed COTOPAXI though. Unwilling to put in TAUREAN, LIMA without parsing….

    Thanks pip and setter.

  3. After this disaster I’m taking the opportunity to cheer myself up with a colourful avatar in celebration of the Bunterism at 9ac.

    I used aids on 5 clues but on reflection should only have needed them for the South American peak. I parsed them all in the end apart from DO OR D{i}E but in many cases the wordplay was more hindrance than help and I should have been more ready to biff some of the answers such as STATIC .

  4. DNF after 45 mins.
    Still had Strewth/Drood and the Duff/Headshot/Offence combos left.
    Well beaten.
    Mostly I liked: Econuts and Gemini
    Thanks setter and well played Pip.
  5. 52 minutes but with a biffed PISA for LIMA. I put in OFFENCE using ‘hence’ rather than ‘thence’ for ‘therefore’. It needed a hawkeye to spot the hot lips of MISHMASH. TEMP finally decided me that it was TAUREAN rather than TOUGHEN. COTOPAXI was dredged up from the depths of memory with the help of the cryptic and crossers. I’ve never read The Mystery of EDWIN DROOD so I didn’t know he was an orphan, but he fitted in quite well. HEADSHOT opened up the SW, with COD DUFF seen from crossers with a groan and LOI ECONUTS ground out. Tricky stuff. Thank you Pip and setter.
  6. I was pleased to complete this just within the 40 minutes of my commute, but I had CATOPAXI, with C for commander and ATOP for leading. Lots to like, but my COD to TOERAG for a great surface and the misdirection of ‘digital newspaper’.

    I didn’t understand the definitiomn for SQUARE BASHING, which from my school days I thought meant beating up staid people (a practice in which I didn’t participate, I hasten to add). Glad to learn its proper meaning!

    Edited at 2019-11-27 09:08 am (UTC)

  7. 38:11 … yikes, what a beast! That’s my slowest time on a completed puzzle in years. But I have to say I loved every minute of it, so thanks, setter.

    Hard to pick a COD from a crossword like this, but I got a giggle from the “Legendary red ointment” at 15a when I finally thought to lift and separate it, so I’ll go with CHERUB.

    Cheers, all. Thanks, Pip.

  8. 45m but completely unable to see any reason to pick between LIMA, RIGA and PISA I obviously chose one of the wrong ones. Annoying after struggling grimly through the rest of it. I can’t say I enjoyed it but it was probably good training. Like a sort of crossword rowing machine.
  9. Just under the half hour but like Keriothe didn’t spot the (obvious now) pointer to Lima rather than the alternatives so gave up and came here. Well blogged Pip. First encountered Cotopaxi more than 60 years ago alongside Chimborazo in W J Turner’s poem.
  10. Gosh. This one nearly made me late for my doctor’s appointment this morning (I drove there in my MINI, but it still took me a while to see 22d!) An hour and 16 minutes all told. Excellent puzzle, I thought, with a lot of penny-drops.

    I started off well with 1d MILDEW but couldn’t see LOI 1a for the life of me, and tried crowbarring in MISERASH for a while—it wouldn’t have surprised me to find this word in the vocabulary of today’s setter, whatever it means… I also had PISA for a few minutes, but luckily I was determined to parse as much as I could today.

    12a Ninja Turtled from the Jonathan Creek episode No Trace of Tracy, where the prime suspect in the disappearance of the eponymous* schoolgirl is Roy Pilgrim, lead singer of 1970s prog rock band EDWIN DROOD, who are definitely not in any way Jethro Tull, oh no.

    *Does that work when the name isn’t the whole title?

    Edited at 2019-11-27 10:23 am (UTC)

  11. My brain hurts, but as suggested above, in a good post-exercise sort of way. I felt quite smug to have finished and actually parsed everything (LIMA took long enough that I was almost, but not quite, tempted to throw in RIGA, so I’m glad I persevered).

    Pip, I think the ESCUDO clue is based on it still being the currency of Cape Verde (possibly not as exotic as it once was in these days of global tourism, but I think it fits my definition).

  12. 39:26 with one error. I went to RIGA rather than LIMA.

    Some cunning stuff here. But I’m not entirely happy with OFFENCE, where “start” appears to be doing an awful lot of work. I accept that the “start” can equate to the “OFF” in a horse race. But to deploy “start” again, via “that”, to indicate the beginning, ie the first two letters of “thence”, (not even just the first letter), seems a bit of a stretch to me. Anyone agree – or am I being unfair or missing something?


    Edited at 2019-11-27 11:11 am (UTC)

    1. I agree with you but as everyone previously seemed happy with it I thought it was just me. TBH I now don’t think that part of the clue works unless we are all missing something or unless I’ve misunderstood the explanation given.
      1. I think it’s fine. Wrong / start + therefore ignoring [that = start]. No double duty, just a back reference, which we do see elsewhere occasionally.
    2. I think it’s a perfectly acceptable clue. It is “Hence” not “Thence” that has its start removed.
    3. Hi AV, yeah, I think moonsnorter has summed it up; we’re only removing the h from hence (therefore), not the th from thence. Tricky clue!
  13. Did this on paper today while sat in the garage waiting while my car has it’s winter check. MISHMASH and MILDEW went straight in, so I was off to a good start. I’m typing this on a small iPhone so I’ll keep it brief. LIMA was LOI as I finally discarded RIGA and PISA. I’d been considering FIEL, before I got the A from TOERAG, then eventually saw LIMA. That 1 clue took me over 5 minutes. Great puzzle. 46 minutes. Thanks setter and Pip. Hope the car is ready soon!
  14. Good thing I wasn’t TEMPing for Pip with this one. As Jimbo says, hard work. Same as others trying to see which city with the *i*a combo could be it. No idea what was going on with DUFF. After something over 20 minutes I was truly gridlocked and my mind wandered in search of a pangram (all those Qs etc had to be there for a reason didn’t they) – not. By the time I finished in 32.57 I couldn’t be bothered to go back and parse EDWIN DROOD. Thanks Pip.
  15. Gave up after about 19 and a half minutes with most of the NE corner filled with nonsense – I should probably have got STATIC, and annoyed by TAUREAN because I did consider bulls (going down a bovine route). I don’t feel too bad about not having heard of the c. 76th tallest of the Andes, though. Ah well. OTTAWA, OVULEAN and ATTAPAXI. Why not?

    MISANDROUS probably my COD, even if it does sound a trifle victim-blaming for this day and age.

  16. 35:11, but with PISA instead of LIMA and ELWIN for the Dickensian.. and I failed to parse several. Thanks for explaining them all Pip! And thanks to the setter for the work-out.
  17. I loved learning a poem a week at school, from the age of eleven to 13, which we then got up and recited; still remember lots of it. Walter James Redfern Turner began a poem called Romance:
    “When I was but thirteen or so
    I went into a golden land
    Chimborazo, Cotopaxi
    Took me by the hand.”
    He works in Shining Popocatapetl a bit later too. Great stuff!
  18. I had an appointment in town today and forgot to take a print out. So didn’t start this until my return to Splendid City this evening.

    FOI 11dn SMOKELESS ZONE followed (Mistress Quickly) by 14dn CUT CORNERS and 26ac HAND IN GLOVE and 24a LIP SERVICE then zip, for ages.

    No one has mentioned that Dicken’s last novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, was left unfinished. My COD sponsored by IKEA

    WOD 8dn COTOPAXI (Ecuadorian active Volcano – The Shining Pile!)

    This was a bit steep and I finally succumbed in the South Western Panhandle. Beaten by 17dn HEADSHOT, 25dn LIMA and 28ac TOERAG! (I only got as far as thumb!)

    I thought the clue for 18ac ECONUTS contained a typo!

    I’m with Jimbo!

    Mood Mildrew.

  19. Took almost an hour, but got it all done correctly. Tough – the snitch says it’s the hardest on since April. Cotopaxi could equally have been Cotipaxi if you didn’t know it already (peak = top / tip). I didn’t, so I had to spin a coin, and this time I won. Thanks pip.
  20. With one mistake – Catopaxi instead of Cotopaxi. Guessed Lima correctly but can’t say I’m taken by the clue. Why rice-fields especially? Toerag – I thought the parsing must be something to do with To e-rag – didn’t spot the toe=digital. Very much liked 3dn and 7dn.
      1. I think what Mr. Garcia meant was he found ricefields so random, as did I.
        Welder, boulder, alderman, balder,Fylde and many other words fit the bill.
        But ricefields wasn’t exactly integrated. Perhaps the setter, bless him, was trying to get us think about paddy?

        I’m now thinking of a word that contains Lima Foxtrot – guess which one!?

        A very poor clue as noted by many.

        Edited at 2019-11-27 03:39 pm (UTC)

        1. I think it’s one of those clues you will like it you see it and hate if you do not.
          There is only one L and only D in RICEFIELDS. So perfectly fair, if not to everyone’s taste.
  21. I did not dare submit to the leaderboard today which is just as well as my 50 minute effort was found wanting with PISA entered following the same logic as Vinyl. I never thought of Riga so was left with a 50/50 with Lima. A few others had gone in on a wing and a prayer,
  22. Some clever stuff and some perhaps too clever (for me anyway), but i don’t think “up duff” is an expression, rather “up the duff”, so the clue doesn’t quite work for me. Thanks Blogger and Setter.
  23. There’s me thinking that was a nice easy one with half completed in 12 mins. Then boy did I seize up. It was only when I finally decided to look up the anagram for mdinosaur as I can usually spot these, but not when it’s a NHO word, that everything got going again. It finally all came down to TOERAG and LIMA, neither of which were obvious. But then, they’re not supposed to be, are they?
    1. It’s all down to the setter’s art – guile call it what you will. These were pretty obtuse – he was guaranteeing failure for most of us. But perhaps the setters are still in competition to set for next month’s finals?

      Edited at 2019-11-27 03:45 pm (UTC)

  24. I was the first to finish this one on the club board and it looks like I should have been beating myself up less for missing the 10 minute mark! LOI LIMA but I thought that was a bloody brilliant clue, and had many peers in this puzzle. My biggest doubt was whether the mountain was COTOPAXL, but the cryptic ruled that out rather.
    1. I’ve been looking out to see how Magoo did on this but he has not appeared. I can only conclude you have him running scared.
      1. He tends to disappear in the run-up to the championship, allegedly to practice doing the puzzles on paper.
  25. Not referring to COTOPAXI, but to this puzzle as a whole. I can’t say what my time was since it took 3 attempts, but probably an hour all told. A lot of biffing needed by me. I won’t go into details, but my only foul up (amazingly) was the widely shared PISA for LIMA, also via the route through the paddies. LOI was TAUREAN. A real mind-bender. Thanks Pip, and setter, and regards.
  26. ….NHO ECONUTS so cheated with that one.

    MER for no ‘the’ in the DUFF clue – you don’t say ‘up duff’ do you? You say ‘up the duff’.

    Slow trudge around the grid with many clue-parts unparsed. Didn’t get the MISH though got the MASH. Couldn’t work out STATIC at all. EDWIN DROOD was kindly checkered but apart from the WIND, had no idea what was going on. STREWTH – got from checkers. Missed the SQUARE BAG though got the SHIN. HEADSHOT mostly happy with. OFFENCE (WTF).

    Wasn’t sure whether MILDEW was actually a fungus.

    FOI TOERAG (started at the bottom).

    LOI ECONUTS (cheated)

  27. I actually saw it as DUFF UP as in a physical roughing up, never thought of UP THE DUFF, although I do know the expression.
  28. 49:28. I found this a real struggle but there were some excellently fiendish clues and it was very satisfying to persevere and complete all correct. I benefited from having heard of Cotopaxi and Edwin Drood (didn’t come close to parsing the latter). COD 7dn which produced a PDM and a smile. Plenty of other candidates though.
  29. About an hour to be left with the three cities and of course guessed the wrong one. Good to get a monster occasionally. Misandrous isn’t in my OED (full variety). Thought it might mean disliking men rather than males. Fabulous crossword nonetheless.
  30. Crawled through this in 50 minutes in a late solve with some programme involving cockroaches being thrown at people in Australia burbling on in the background. I had no idea what was going on in the LIMA clue but got it by intuition. DUFF I understood by not looking too close at the clue. Tough, would have been virtually impossible (for me) at the Champs.

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