Times 27673 – WHO’s THAT medical journal?!

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Very Mondayish, with lots of biffing, a smattering of chestnuts and one or two escapees from the Quickie. For all that, though, a fun, quirky and generally well-wrought puzzle, which held me up in my incredibly busy schedule for 23 minutes and 37 seconds.


1 Making Mark proud of himself, impressing duke with drink (8)
6 Rubbish musical about Heart of Midlothian (3,3)
HOT AIR – OT [middle letters of midlOThian] in HAIR
9 Journos get shot of Republican parties in affair (2-11)
CO-RESPONDENTS – CORRESPONDENTS (posh journalists) minus one R
10 Window that opens in theatre (6)
LANCET – The first of three clues that all feature this not that commonly seen device (i.e. a clause starting with a determiner – in our cases, ‘that’ and ‘what’); a LANCET is one of those narrow, pointy, often stained-glass, windows in a Gothic church, and also a knife that opens people up in an operating theatre. My last in.
11 Leggy bird, alert, finding similar prey? (8)
CRANEFLY – a cryptic definition that aspires to be an all-in-one? CRANE (leggy bird) FLY (alert), followed by a bit of a leap to get to CRANEFLY, which cranes do eat, apparently, if frogs and fish are in short supply, or if they just want to snack between meals. A CRANEFLY might also be described as leggy if compared with, say, your average centipede.
13 Fool mending faulty carpeting (10)
CONDEMNING – CON (fool – verb) anagram* of MENDING
15 Launch hotel address online (4)
16 Beat team driver for one (4)
CLUB – triple definition, with club as in ‘Manchester United, the world’s greatest club’. One is allowed to dream…
18 Investigator dealing with Home Counties radio serial briefly (10)
21 A trio made a mess of broadcast between planes (3-2-3)
AIR-TO-AIR – A TRIO* AIR (broadcast)
22 Daily, say, sent back fee (6)
CHARGE – CHAR EG reversed
23 Blue Berets merited one story paper put in without reason (13)
UNJUSTIFIABLE – UN (UN peacekeepers wear blue berets – while they can) JUST (merited) I (one) I (the i is arguably Britain’s least known newspaper) in FABLE (story)
25 North Sea port offering little work during peak (6)
BERGEN – ERG in BEN; BERGEN (or Bjørgvin) is a port in SW Norway that fancies itself as a bit of a spa, given it’s warm(ish), Gulf Stream influenced climate.
26 What invading Spaniards sought in field or a domain (8)
ELDORADO – hidden


2 Miserly old city council imported construction kit (7)
MECCANO – CC in MEAN O; I had both Lego and Meccano as a kid and didn’t much care for either. If pushed, I would choose Lego, as it couldn’t cut you and what you made had a chance of looking like something.
3 Frank girl coming out with appeal for regular transfer (6,5)
DIRECT DEBIT – DIRECT DEB (girl coming out) IT (sex appeal); a bit of a retro clue. I don’t think my uber-woke daughter (whose birthday it was yesterday, which I celebrated by baking an orange and white chocolate sponge) would approve.
4 Chic clique that often appears in magazine (5)
INSET – IN SET; see 10a
5 Service head devouring new Greek character’s food (7)
GNOCCHI – now, the service head appears to be part at any rate of GOC in C (General Officer Commanding-in-Chief); which contains N (new) and is followed by CHI (Greek character). GNOCCHI is/are a type of pasta sometimes made from potatoes and sometimes not.
6 Backer mostly into monster plot feature (9)
HYDRANGEA – ANGE[l] in HYDRA; ‘plot’ as in flower bed
7 Get brown belt (3)
8 After brief verbal abuse, a caller finally gets cut off (7)
INSULAR – INSUL[t] A [calle]R
12 Ring gong in cleaner, sound lab (4,7)
ECHO CHAMBER – ECHO (ring) MBE (gong, AKA honour) in CHAR (cleaner – again!)
14 It’s normal getting thrown out for the likes of adultery (6,3)
17 Cash in Europe guaranteed time off (7)
LEISURE – LEI (currency of Romania) SURE
19 Endure nasty virus very close to home (7)
SURVIVE – VIRUS* V (very) [hom]E; our topical clue
20 E for expert? (7)
EGGHEAD – cryptic definition lite, with E being the initial letter of E[xpert]
22 Kid scolded once, having crossed line (5)
CHILD – L in CHID (I think I’d still use ‘chid’ if I was minded to; Collins suggests it’s more common in American English than British, but this type of statement usually starts a spat, so sit back and enjoy the show)
24 What Rose may do, or cat? Not half! (3)
JAG – A rose might jag or cut you, if you didn’t observe social distancing rules, and a cat might cut (or scratch) you too, especially (drum roll) if it were a JAG[uar]!! Oh, and see 10a.

42 comments on “Times 27673 – WHO’s THAT medical journal?!”

  1. About half-an-hour for me, with too much spend on EGGHEAD which was my LOI. There were several clues where I didn’t understand every bit of the wordplay. Like the UN berets, or the GOC. I see we have a jumbo too today for the holiday (I’m in the US and it happens to be a holiday here too on Monday).
  2. I was very much on the setter’s wavelength with the JAG/UNJUSTIFIABLE crosser the last one in at 10:13. I liked the triple definition and LANCET, a term I remember from John Cleese screaming “Where’s the bloody lancet?” in a Monty Python’s Flying Circus sketch.
  3. I wasn’t sure about how JAG worked at all. Not to mention GOC!
    LOI LANCET, looked up the window.
  4. After my target solving time I was left with three unsolved in the SW corner and one outstanding in the NE.

    The SW finally fell once I’d thought of JAG{uar} as half a cat although JAG is not a word I’ve ever come across in the required context and SOED says that it’s Scottish, NE English, US dialect. The arrival of the J checker immediately brought UNJUSTIFIABLE to mind at 23ac and LEISURE completed SW quarter.

    In the NE I couldn’t think of anything to fit the checkers C?A?E?L?, and the wordplay wasn’t helping so I gave up and resorted to aids. I’m familiar with CRANEFLY, better known as ‘daddy-long-legs’, so perhaps I should have persevered, but I was bored with it all by then.

    Edited at 2020-05-25 06:03 am (UTC)

    1. Yes, after 15 minutes staring at C?A?E?L?, I also gave up. I even thought of CRANE but didn’t know CRANEFLY and don’t immediately correlate “fly” and “alert”. Are we really expected to know that cranes eat craneflies to work out it’s a cryptic definition?

      Edited at 2020-05-25 07:21 am (UTC)

      1. Does the CRANEFLY necessarily have to be the prey of the crane, rather than just prey in general?
        1. Thanks – a good question. If the definition is just “similar prey” (i.e. leggy prey), then this would make sense.

          So the overall clue is not a cryptic definition. But if you happen to also know that the cranefly is prey for the crane, then it adds an extra dimension not necessary for solving the clue. I’m okay with this, even though I still don’t really like the clue.

          1. It’s not a cryptic definition, no. I was a bit puzzled by u’s comment because he calls it a cryptic definition and then goes on to explain the wordplay!
            I think the fact that cranes might eat CRANEFLY sort of helps the clue along without being technically necessary for the definition.
      2. Also never heard of cranefly (2-words in my Oxford and Chambers), so failed at the last. Looking at pictures I recognise them: giant mosquitoes, I thought. If pressed I would call them Scotch Greys (no idea where that came from) and attest that they could carry off full-grown oxen, to suck all their blood out in a single bite.
        Otherwise no problems, except GOC and neither definition of lancet known, but I knew the magazine – not least from recent articles re: the lethality of hydroxychloroquine.
  5. 27 minutes, with LOI CONDEMNING. I didn’t parse the GOC bit of GNOCCHI. COD jointly to MECCANO, which my fingers were not made for, and. HYDRANGEA, a reliable, hardy plant which doesn’t JAG you. Yep, I’ve already had to deadhead the Just Joey roses and they always fight back. Pleasant Monday fare. Thank you U and setter.

    Edited at 2020-05-25 07:07 am (UTC)

  6. Nice Monday puzzle and in tune for me with a half hour time and a WITCH in the 70s.

    I enjoyed visiting pretty Bergen to give a talk a few years ago. It was a major hub for the fascinating Hanseatic League, possibly the world’s first multinational conglomerate. It also has more rain than almost anywhere (my taxi driver complained that they’d just missed the record of 220 consecutive days) which may account for it being the global centre of death metal. You can do a one day tour from there called Norway in a Nutshell that includes mountains and a fjord.

    Ah, travel. Sigh.

    Thanks setter and Ulaca.

  7. thought this an excellent effort, many thanks setter .. I did particularly like 19dn, simple but elegant, not to mention topical.
    I went right up and down the East coast of the UK before finally realising that the North Sea has two sides to it. 8dn, or what?
    26ac either is two words, or at least ought to be..
    1. It did seem a bit odd, but it occurs as first entry in Britannica and as second (lower case) in Collins. A more generic non-existent fabulous place?
      1. And the tipple of choice for many denizens of Glasgow, in the days before Buckfast.
  8. 15:57. Held up at the end painstakingly constructing UNJUSTIFIABLE before finishing with JAG. FOI HURL. I liked ECHO CHAMBER and LANCET best.
  9. …on a bow-bend: the Hurl and gliding…
    35 mins with yoghurt, banana, granola, etc.
    Last 5 on Egghead.
    Thanks setter and U.
  10. Enjoyable meander that was always entertaining. MECCANO brought back some childhood memories – I recall building a large tram and showing it off with some pride.
  11. Didn’t realise it was a Bank Holiday until I saw there was a Jumbo. Liked HYDRANGEA, nho JAG definition.

    14’49” thanks ulaca and setter.

  12. 30:29
    Favourite answers today: researcher co-respondents condemning echo chamber egghead child mortal sin hurl hot air survive.
  13. GOC is General Officer Commanding with N inside and the CHI. No ‘in chief’.
  14. Not at my quickest on this one at 20.31. Sometimes, especially with Mephisto and such, weird looking crossing letters helped, but here merely discombobulated. GNCI? CAEL? MCAO? Even the (once you get it, quite obvious) HURL was a late entry, looking for the wrong kind of launch, probably.
    EGGHEAD (kind of) called to mind that other ovular special, GEGS, and stood out as a different sort of clue which the setter may have been saving up for weeks.
    Happy Late Spring Bank Holiday, everyone. I believe we used to call it Whitsun.
  15. Must have been on the setter’s wavelength today, and it was mostly fun, though CRANE FLY should be two words, or at least hyphenated, and it’s a really lame clue, since the insect is obviously named after the bird (for its long legs), and I really doubt if they are a major part of the crane’s diet. COD SURVIVE for being cleverly topical.
    1. Collins has it as either one word or two, Lexico only as two, Chambers only as one. Go figure!

      Edited at 2020-05-25 11:32 am (UTC)

  16. I can’t see what’s going on. OK I see that a crane is a leggy bird, fly is alert, and a crane eats a cranefly at times. But similar? Similar to what?
    1. ‘Fly’ (insect) is similar to ‘fly’ (alert). I gave up on unjustifiable and jag after going fairly well till then.
    2. As u says in the blog, the CRANEFLY is similar to the crane in that both are leggy.
  17. …. solver’s block ? I haven’t finished a puzzle smoothly for the best part of a week, and this morning even the QC shoved a brick wall in front of me as I rounded the home turn.

    My LOI took over 3 minutes of trawling, and I hadn’t a clue what a “URL” was.

    FOI CLUB (a team is NOT a club, but a representative part of one)
    TIME 16:55

  18. appears to be a COD for many, but not hereabouts. DNK.
    Perhaps a ‘ma’scot’ was an internal window used in the Scottish Play – at The Globe in days of yore?

    FOI 2dn MECCANO our American friends appear to be missing.
    LEGO hurts more than MECCANO

    COD 5dn GNOCCHI yum with pesto and a storm of parmigiano

    WOD 11ac CRANEFLY we had lots but no cranes – the odd-stork.


    1. If you have daughters it’s a Barbie shoe that causes the pain in the foot Horryd.
      1. I do have a daughter but her deal wasn’t Barbie, but ‘My Little Pony’. The Barbie Emporium in Shanghai closed after a couple of years of disinterest, back in the Noughties!
        Ken went too!
  19. 8:39. No dramas today, and rather a lot of biffing. I don’t remember seeing GOC before.
  20. Slow start and then held up at the end by CRANEFLY because like Stavrolex I think of it as 2 words. They certainly appear as 2 in a ghost story by M R James (one of his cathedral close ones). I experimented with “cravenly” but luckily thought better of it. 19.21
  21. Got everything quite quickly apart from CRANEFLY.
    Perhaps the government should change its advice to STAY FLY.
    That allows plenty of room for interpretation.
  22. Well I started it this morning, and then later discovered that I hadn’t paused it…
    Held up by JAG which I didn’t know that meaning of, and was fixated on little pussy cats. And of course the CRANEFLY like everyone else.
  23. Managed to get CRANEFLY but after spending an UNJUSTIFIABLE amount of time on the one remaining clue, I was stabbed by the LANCET in the end.

    TOTS – time off the scale. I’m making a habit of this.

  24. Nothing too remarkable about today’s puzzle but took me 15.42 to finish. Liked the reference to meccano which might have taxed transatlantic solvers? Unjustifiable took a while. The “i” is certainly one of our least known papers and for good reasons. Almost as poor as the Liverpool Echo- I’m sure there are many other contenders.

    Nice start to the week.

  25. Tougher than your average Monday, but it is a Bank Holiday. Nothing ultimately too arcane, but some thought required to get to the end product.
  26. Like a lot of people, I was held at the end by the lancet-cranefly horizontal. Lancets finally remembered from boring descriptions of Gothic cathedrals in Michelin guides to France. Aren’t co-respondents also shoes – in crosswordland at least.
  27. CRANEFLY LOI by a long way. Does ‘fly’ really equate to ‘alert’? Major eyebrow raise at this. More streetwise,sly or astute than alert I’d have thought.21’13”

    Edited at 2020-05-25 03:01 pm (UTC)

  28. This turned out to be a steady solve, round about the 90min mark, which is average for those that I can complete. Mrs I, being an architect, chipped in with Lancet when I was stuck for a window, and also helpfully suggested the other side of the North Sea was worth considering when I was again stuck. If she ever takes this up seriously, I’m in trouble. Invariant
  29. This one took me a little over an hour so I was hopelessly off the pace. Cranefly didn’t really click for me when solving and I had major difficulties with the blue berets clue and it’s surroundings. Got there in the end is about all I can say. Not my day.

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