Times 27669 – nothing more to add? Just sprinkles.

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Every now and again, along comes a puzzle on a Wednesday which is perfecty satisfactory, and of  medium difficulty, but about which your blogger finds it hard to construct a suitably incisive or witty commentary. Today’s is one such. As Jimbo might say, vanilla. With no sprinkles on top. Or perhaps it’s just me, Mr. Grumpy, waiting for my vaccination. Think I’ll buy some more shares in companies which make disposable needles.

1 Small female with delicate retro clothing’s a little cold (7)
SNIFFLE – S (small) ELFIN (delicate) reversed (retro) with F (female) inserted.
5 Plaintiff‘s account primarily compromised client (7)
ACCUSER – AC (account) C (primarily compromised) USER (client).
9 Explosive force catching duke on arm (9)
GUNPOWDER – GUN (arm) POWER (force) with D (duke) inserted.
10 Fish with large abnormal growth thrown back (5)
TRAWL – All reversed: L(large) WART (abnormal growth).
11 Rehydrate food to cook what’s on the menu (5,2,3,3)
13 European sounded weary when picked up on a street here in NY? (4,4)
EAST SIDE – E (European) SIDE (sounds like ‘sighed’) insert A ST(reet).
15 Westbound sailor taking in coastal country’s capital (6)
BOGOTA – AB = sailor; insert TOGO (coastal country) ‘westbound’ = all reversed.
17 What scoffers do behind theatre screen again? (6)
REPEAT – REP (theatre) EAT (what scoffers do).
19 Sweet spread for sandwiches, badly wrapped (8)
PASTILLE – PASTE (as in fish paste sandwiches) has ILL (badly) inserted.
22 Incarcerated criminal smuggling heroin accepted blame (7,3,3)
25 Bird from banks of Amazon to keep passing through (5)
AVIAN – AN (banks of Amazon) has VIA (passing through) inserted.
26 Ignorant learner and I in clear (9)
OBLIVIOUS – OBVIOUS (clear) has L and I inserted.
27 Tiny particle could make one turn queasy (7)
28 Tend to like (4,3)
CARE FOR – double definition.

1 Base of puddings in the past? (4)
SAGO – S (end of puddings) AGO (in the past). &lit.
2 Like granite or wooden surface scrubbed (7)
IGNEOUS – LIGNEOUS (wooden) has its L (surface) scrubbed.
3 Swamp Commons with Liberal intake (5)
FLOOD – L inserted into commons, which can mean food.
4 Turnover of old bar in valley where wealth abounds (2,6)
EL DORADO – All reversed: O (old) DALE (valley) with ROD (bar inside). O DA (ROD) LE.
5 Result of splitting the bill at sea? (6)
ADRIFT – An AD RIFT could be a split in a bill or poster.
6 Savage insult which hampers rise of servicemen (3-6)
CUT-THROAT – CUT (insult, as in cutting remark perhaps), THAT (which) has OR reversed inserted.
7 Pain accordingly doubled (2-3-2)
SO-AND-SO – SO = accordingly; SO-AND-SO as in ‘he’s a pain, he’s a real so-and-so’.
8 Nations following broadcast events (5,5)
RELAY RACES – RELAY (broadcast) RACES (nations).
12 Mischievous fellow arranged lunch with a peer (10)
LEPRECHAUN – (LUNCH A PEER)*. As you’ll know, a leprechaun is a small Irish folklore fairy chap who spends all his time mending shoes and creating mischief.
14 High street shop where police located queen? (9)
STATIONER – STATION where police are located, ER = Queen. I often get cross with people who spell it stationery for ‘not moving’ and ‘stationary’ for writing materials.
16 Broad consequence of wind perhaps seizing hat husband put down (8)
CATHOLIC – COLIC seizes HAT with the H lower down i.e. ATH.
18 Haunt lake isle wearing spotless uniform (7)
PURLIEU – PURE (spotless) U (uniform) insert L I (lake isle).
20 Want profoundly bad skiers taken here? (4-3)
LONG-OFF – A cricket clue, not a ski-ing one. LONG = want profoundly, OFF = bad, and a SKIER (pronounced sky-er) is a high, long shot usually caught on the boundary.
21 Meet a host who presents nothing trendy (6)
ADJOIN – A, DJ (host who presents (music)) O (nothing) IN (trendy).
23 Clubs finished top (5)
COVER – C (clubs) OVER (finished).
24 Ex-leader‘s requests are largely ignored (4)
TSAR – Hidden word in REQUES(TS AR)E.

52 comments on “Times 27669 – nothing more to add? Just sprinkles.”

  1. Well, as someone here said, vanilla is a rather nice flavor. No stunning clues, but some neat surfaces, like 10ac and 22ac. I also liked the anagrams: ‘rehydrate food’ and ‘incarcerated’ were opaque anagrist (to me, anyway), both in neat surfaces. DNK LONG-OFF, of course. Given the unhappy history of the word, I wouldn’t at all mind if setters stopped using RACE; especially when defined as ‘nation’ (the English race, forsooth!).
  2. Hey, I just had some (bourbon-infused) vanilla ice cream. I found this puzzle flavorful enough. LOI was the cricket term, of course. PURLIEU is a nice surprise.

    Brazil’s Bolsonaro says Covid-19 is just “the SNIFFLEs.”

      1. With chocolate truffles! Häagen-Dazs. The Irish cream with brownies is my other favorite.

        Edited at 2020-05-20 03:40 pm (UTC)

  3. This was a bit of light relief after yesterday’s puzzle took me several sittings lasting through the day. Despite the number of times I’m sure it’s been used before I still managed to take skier to mean someone on skis and not think about the possibility that it could mean something going up in the air. This meant that LONG OFF was one of the last going in. My LOI was TSAR where I was convinced that user was the only word which fitted but thankfully that was a biff too far even for me.
  4. 38 minutes, taking quite a time to work out what was going on with LONG OFF which I didn’t actually know as a fielding position but guessed it probably was. Parsing CUT THROAT took a while too until I spotted OR as the servicemen.

    Fortunately being incisive and witty, although great if one can do it, is not actually a requirement of blogging here, otherwise I’d have long been out of a job!

  5. I was also held up by the SE corner; I can’t quite believe I’d played with a rearrangement of “hat” and the word “colic” several times before I saw 16d CATHOLIC, which finally got me the last few. LOI 20d, of course, knowing nothing about cricket. I’ve also never heard “commons” for “food”, and was glad the spelling of PURLIEU was fairly indicated…

    Anyway. Enjoyed FOI 1a SNIFFLE and 14d STATIONER, and glad as always to be able to come here and find out the reasons for my marginal question marks!

    Edited at 2020-05-20 07:14 am (UTC)

  6. 23 minutes, with LOI LONG OFF, surprisingly as I got most of my wickets down there bowling leg spin. At least I think they were leg spinners, but the batsman wasn’t always prepared to let them bounce to find out. I’m giving COD to SAGO, definitely the basest of puddings. At school dinner, having endured the horrors of the stringy beef, lumpy mashed potato and overcooked cabbage, I looked forward to the pudding which was usually good, apart from sago day that is. A nice puzzle, not charged, but none the worse for that. Thank you Pip and setter.

    Edited at 2020-05-20 07:24 am (UTC)

  7. 13:59. I was held up mostly by the SE corner, taking a while to see the right cricket position and PASTILLE. LOI the hidden TSAR. Vanilla? I thought it tasty enough. I liked ADRIFT, EAST SIDE and LONG OFF.
  8. “I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church..” can be utterly confusing for new Anglican churchgoers saying the creed. We visited a church on holiday once where the congregation actually missed out the c word.

    Really liked LONG OFF (and we also had COVER). SO-AND-SO also very nice.

    20’17” thanks pip and setter.

  9. Which, taken at the Flood leads on to fortune.
    30 mins, then a few more to get Relay, while enjoying a small croissant, plus half a pain aux raisins to make up for it.
    Eyebrow flickering at Host=DJ.
    Mostly I liked: Carried the can.
    Thanks setter and Pip.
    1. Not a fat rascal in memory of the late Victor Wild ? You must rectify that tomorrow !
        1. They are! There’s a bit of a delay on deliveries, but I have ordered and received a box of Betty’s chocs within the last fortnight.
            1. You’re welcome! Got to find your pleasures where you can in this strange new world 🙂
  10. Thanks, Pip, especially for decoding CUT-THROAT and CATHOLIC and for your blog in general.
    I see we have two fielding positions today: LONG OFF and COVER.
    COD to LONG-OFF. It took me forever to work out what was going on with “skiers”.
  11. Long off my best and due to that clue mainly, didn’t know the term even though I suspected skier might not be the snowy version.

    COD ORDER OF THE DAY, nice anagram

    Yesterday’s answer: the answer in the crossword that was one letter different from a bird was SANDPAPER.

    Today’s question: I had to work it out – are there any other countries that are contained backwards in national capitals apart from Togo/Bogota?

        1. Auk flu? No a treatment’s found in the capital (9)

          (If abbreviations are allowed)

          1. If the first or last letters are allowed there are another 3 of those!
          2. If abbreviations are allowed, then there’s also ASUncion (USA, Paraguay), CaRACas (Central African Republic, Venezuela), AmsteRDam and CaRDiff (Dominican Republic, Netherlands and Wales), and RosEAU (United Arab Emirates, Dominica)

            apologies if any of these have already been mentioned tomorrow

            – finally REGINa is the capital of Saskatchewan

  12. Romped through three quarters of this with one mental note to return to semi-biffed REPLAY, wondering why scoffers would lay. Got thoroughly bogged down in the SE like others, wedded to LINE OUT for ages without any logic, eventually emerging triumphant but completely forgetting to revisit 17a. Three pink squares the result.

    Funny to see Colombia making a repeat appearance and I will definitely now remember ligneous = wooden.

    Thanks setter and Pip.

  13. Yes, a vanilla puzzle. That simply means that it lacks a distinctive element that can be discussed. I agree, there’s nothing wrong with vanilla but what can one say about it? The vocab is ordinary, the clues functional. It’s an artisan puzzle – which leaves a blogger struggling to create an interest.
  14. I’d read ‘cut’ as a verb, and even then it’s not too convincing. But the long anagrams were good, and 5d has its merits.
  15. And a little chuckle to myself as the penny dropped at 20D. I used to hate fielding there – almost nothing to do for the whole game, with the ever-present chance/likelihood of making a humiliating error for all to see.
  16. Sadly, I didn’t follow Keriothe’s advice to check the anagrist carefully at 12d and put LEPRICHAUN. Drat! 27:18 WOE. Thanks setter and Pip.
  17. 12:23. Mostly vanilla I guess but (L)IGNEOUS and PURLIEU are rather unusual words and I thought 11ac ORDER OF THEY DAY was very good. So thank you, underappreciated setter!
    I think I’d have spelled 12dn LEPRICHAUN so I’m glad I took the time to check the anagrist.
    I had the most trouble at the end with PASTILLE and LONG-OFF unentered for several minutes. With the first I was too convinced that PATE was going to feature, and I needed all the checkers for the second despite spotting quite quickly that ‘skiers’ might not be ‘skiers’.
  18. The fact that nobody has commented on this suggests that all is well, but I couldn’t see what the ‘on’ was doing in the EAST SIDE clue, except for helping the surface. The best I can do is to read the clue as “… picked up [ie included] (on [ie next to it, following The Times convention on this word] ‘a’, ‘st’) …” which seems rather an effort but might be correct. Is that it?
    1. ‘Sounded weary when picked up’ gives SIDE (sounds like ‘sighed’), which is ON (after, according to the convention) A ST.

      Edited at 2020-05-20 10:00 am (UTC)

      1. Thanks. So there’s no insertion as the blog says and as I thought. I was thinking the ‘sounded’ was the homophone indicator, as of course it couldn’t have been.

        Edited at 2020-05-20 11:07 am (UTC)

        1. Technically no, there’s no insertion: it’s A, B on C => ACB.
          And yes the apparently double homophone indicators threw me for a while!
  19. I got this annoying message in red letters when I went to open the puzzle this morning. Same with the concise and the QC. I’ve never seen it before and I’ve no idea what it means or what I need to do to fix it. Any suggestions would be most welcome.

    So I printed the thing and did it in just under 15 feeling distinctly disgruntled.

    On edit. I went to FAQS on the Club site and rather to my surprise found the exact topic so I followed instructions and it seems to have re-set itself. Sorry for the interruption.

    Edited at 2020-05-20 10:26 am (UTC)

  20. Thanks for explaining 20 down. I couldn’t see any connection to winter sports!
  21. BW’s trip down memory lane has got me wondering whether I ever actually suffered sago pudding at prep school in the 60s. Tapioca (frog’s spawn) and semolina (with a blob of jam-flavoured pectin in the middle), certainly. ‘Dead man’s leg’ was probably the pick of the main courses. It’s a wonder any of us are still alive. Who knows? May have warded off the Wuhan Flu.

    Same time as BW for the puzzle, last in the hidden – of course.

  22. A few seconds over the half-hour. As someone has remarked, good to see ‘purlieu’. Otherwise a so-and-so puzzle, neat but far from uproarious. Even so, way ahead of the competition.
  23. Never got on the right wavelength with this one, and added to my wrongness by putting in an unconvincing RALLY RACES. Ah well, tomorrow is another day.
  24. Well that was certainly Jo Swinson’s aim. The reality was rather different.

    Not quite vanilla, but a bit of strawberry wouldn’t have gone amiss.

    The first thing I wrote was “of the day” at 11A, and I needed to write out the anagrist and eliminate it when I came back to the clue. That explains why my FOI was, atypically, a Down clue.

    COD TRAWL (had me thinking of 4 letter fish)
    TIME 11:22

  25. Found this slightly stiffer than average, stalling after the left half went in easily and rather grinding through the rest. CUT-THROAT, despite the hyphen, took a long time even to biff, and I never did sort out the brand of servicemen required, what with the good old TA reversing themselves at the bottom. 23 minutes.

    I’m not sure I could have put PURLIEU into a meaningful sentence, though I know the word. Chambers helpfully says it’s usually in the plural, but doesn’t actually say what the plural is. I’d like it to be purlieux, but I gather it’s not.

    1. Oxford online gives both purlieus and purlieux as the plural. In the absence of other instructions the usual English rule is just bung on an ‘s’ for the plural, which I assume must be Chambers take on it.
  26. But done from office , so definitely not exam conditions. Nearly biffed pardieu. Thankfully held back, much as I did yesterday with other false starts. I’m learning.
  27. Vanilla (but I think pure Madagascan vanilla pods of the highest order). Nothing more to say really other than I like custard and I was the weirdo who liked sago pudding (I couldn’t knock the skin off it, though).
    1. So bright in the sunshine I cannot see my screen on the mobile. Hope I am re-ordering wine and not commenting on crosswords.
  28. After a first pass, thought I was going to fail miserably but then got going in the SW corner and things began to improve. Eventually home in 15.41, last one in relay races. Likes today where purlieu, adjoin and Bogotá. Sago not so much . Too many unpleasant memories of school dinners.
  29. so my contacts in Madagascar inform.

    Time 44 mins


    LOI 24dn TSAR

    COD 20dn LONG OFF I wonder if the setters are giving us more cricket clues these days to baffle the Yanks?

    WOD 28ac CAREFOR the French supermarketers.

    Thew answer to my quiz yesterday was Yo-Yo (Mah -cellist),the rest of ’em were well-known semi-conductors.

    Edited at 2020-05-20 04:30 pm (UTC)

  30. 25:48. This one might’ve ended up as vanilla but I found it hard to get started. Once I did though it was pretty plain sailing. I overlooked the required pronunciation of skier so appreciate the enlightenment on that one. I thought sniffle was quite a complicated construction and I enjoyed the incarcerated criminal.

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