Times 27837 – local knowledge optional

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Rumour has it that this puzzle is one of three we were supposed to be served the weekend before last for the online TCC which failed to happen; the serial number (47518) being not in sequence to yesterday’s. If so, it must be a softening-up exercise for the second and third in the series, or maybe the editors are giving us three not-so-hard puzzles to encourage a wider audience.
Anyway it was a pleasant and speedy solve; it helped if you knew a town up north with a racecourse, and one of the Fijian islands, but neither was essential if you trusted the wordplay.
I’m not sure if there’s a slight error in the surface of 2d, or I’m missing something in the parsing.

1 Standard clubs with refurbished interior (9)
6 Country cottage: one having to stoop? (5)
BOWER – double definition, one someone who has to bow down.
9 Run out, suspicious about stone platform (7)
ROSTRUM – RO (abbr. run out in cricket) ST(one), RUM = suspicious.
10 Dismiss from racecourse, days later (3-4)
RED-CARD – REDCAR is a racecourse near that town in NE England. Add D for days.
11 Church on rocky outcrop set ablaze (5)
TORCH – TOR (rocky outcrop) CH.
12 Face leader avoiding furious debate (9)
DIALECTIC – DIAL (face), HECTIC (furious) loses its H.
13 Make saint transgress, coming about in boat (8)
CANONISE – SIN reversed in CANOE.
14 Patriarch against wearing Hawaiian garland (4)
LEVI – V(versus) in LEI.
17 Coward say to strike out verse from fictional work (4)
NOEL – Eliminate V from NOVEL.
18 Fellow venturing to unseat last bureaucrat (8)
MANDARIN – MAN (fellow) DARIN(G). Chestnut time.
21 Press cavalry to provide engine once (4,5)
IRON HORSE – IRON = press, HORSE = cavalry.
22 Northerner’s short stay in Paris hotel? (5)
INUIT – In paris you stay one night or 1 nuit.
24 Irish speaker’s turn of phrase in heavy metal (7)
IRIDIUM – IR (Irish) IDIUM sounds like idiom. Element 77, second-heaviest after osmium.
25 Most just fine with quirky satire (7)
FAIREST – F(fine) (SATIRE)*.
26 Constant contributor to employ alumni (5)
LOYAL – hidden word in EMP(LOY AL)UMNI.
27 Players, being experts, restricting lock (9)
ACTRESSES – ACES (experts) has TRESS inserted.

1 Unit employed with rocks to lug round area (5)
CARAT – CART (lug) around A(rea). Unit used for gemstones.
2 One covering couples in car damaged in New York? (9,6)
INSURANCE POLICY – (COUPLES IN CAR)*= ‘SURANCE POLIC’ inside I, NY. The ‘one’ here seems to be both the initial letter of the answer and part of the definition, unless you can allow ‘covering’ alone as the def. Don’t quite get it.
3 Attention brought to article that reduces shocking risks (8)
EARTHING – EAR (attention) THING (article).
4 One marks (twice) poems ending in sentiment? Shameless! (8)
IMMODEST – 1, MM, ODES, T = end of sentiment.
5 Invader right to enter that which is claimed to be an island (6)
NORMAN – even I, an ode-o-phobe, know that John Donne wrote “no man is an island”; insert R.
6 Gallon consumed by renowned pilot Harry (6)
BADGER – Douglas BADER has G for gallon inserted.
7 Take control with Globe customers on tube, minutes away (4,3,8)
WEAR THE TROUSERS – W (with) EARTH (globe) (M)ETRO (tube, M away) USERS (customers).
8 I don’t care for messing with the editorial process (9)
13 Getting on N66 with a boarding pass (9)
CONVIVIAL – N, VI, VI (6, 6) inside COL = pass. Nothing to do with the N66 road in Moselle.
15 Island force caught up in attack: be shocked (4,1,3)
HAVE A FIT – HIT (attack) has AVEA (island) and F(orce) inserted. I had the pleasure once of visiting Fiji for a week, on a pan-Pacific diving trip, and I remembered Avea was one of the islands, but if that was news to you, you could biff it or guess it. I tried to parse this differently as HAVE AT being = attack, insert F I but that would be “force island” not island force. Or possibly, HAVE meaning attack, then F in AIT for island, but I don’t much like that version either.
16 Supplement causing dependence about to be withdrawn (8)
ADDITIVE – Addictive had its C withdrawn.
19 Keen to immerse husband in southern brook (6)
SHRILL – S (southern) RILL (brook) insert H for husband. Keen here is a verb.
20 Constant frost beginning to abate in peninsula (6)
CRIMEA – C (constant) RIME (frost) A(bate).
23 No-account Roman historian’s religious book (5)
TITUS – TACITUS was a Roman historian, remove the AC. Epistle of Paul to Saint Titus.

65 comments on “Times 27837 – local knowledge optional”

  1. The LH side more or less wrote itself in for me and but RH I ground to a halt with 6 answers outstanding and after getting nowhere for about 10 minutes I gave up for the night. On resumption it took about 5 minutes for an answer to come to me (MANDARIN) and that cleared the log jam.

    I hadn’t noticed an irregularity at 2dn as I read the whole clue as definition.

    I failed to parse INUIT, trying to remember all the French words for ‘hotel’ rather than ‘night’ which I would have known had I considered it.

    Also failed to parse HAVE A FIT, wondering if AIT was the island with F caught up in it.

    DNK BOWER as a dwelling, only as an arbour.

    Edited at 2020-12-02 06:24 am (UTC)

  2. NHO AVEA, and I doubt many others of us have heard of it. I read the clue–post hoc, I grant–as Pip suggests as the not quite alternative; but since it’s ‘caught up’ in HAVE AT, it seems to me to work fine. I had a bit of a MER at WEAR THE TROUSERS as meaning ‘take control’ rather than ‘have control’; to take control would be, as it were, to put on the trousers. This setter seems fond of deleting single letters: 12ac, 17ac, 18ac, 7d, 16d, 23d. And 1ac and 25ac have the same ‘[initial letter] with (Y)*’.
  3. This would definitely have been on the easier side as a championship puzzle compared to those in previous years. It’ll be interesting to see what the others are like.

    Isn’t INSURANCE POLICY an &lit? At least that’s how I read it. A firm COD for me goes to INUIT. A very nice surface, though it seemed too good a device not to have been used before and I see it was in 2008. That seems a fair time after which to recycle, particularly as I found with RIAD earlier this week that my memory doesn’t stretch much beyond a few days.

  4. agree with Kevin’s parsing of LOI ‘HAVE A FIT’, it works best with IF caught up, hence FI in ‘have at’.
    I see I am now a reference solver! Surely the next best thing to being canonised! And you don’t have to be dead.

  5. 18 minutes with LOI the hidden LOYAL. A steady top to bottom solve. I was on wavelength apart from the Fijian island, so I semi-biffed HAVE A FIT. I can remember our grammar school. Headmaster giving the same talk at assembly on the final day of every summer term on the subject of ‘No man is an island’, one which has stuck with me this last sixty years. Several contenders for COD including NORMAN, CONVIVIAL and RED CARD but I’m giving it to INUIT. Good puzzle. Thank you Pip and setter.
  6. This was good fun, and I managed it in only 37 minutes, which is pretty good given my recent performances. As with yesterday I couldn’t get started in the usual place—today I worked mostly bottom-to-top, finishing off with 10a RED-CARD, sporting references not really being my jam. Enjoyed the one night in Paris it 22a and the “unit employed with rocks” at 1d.
  7. 25 mins pre-brekker with LOIs being the Bower, (m)etro users, I nuit, combo.
    I saw Insurance Policy as an &Lit and the I,F as up in ‘Have at’.

    We have done this before here, but it reminded me of the question: What four UK racecourses don’t include any letters from ‘Race’? I am reminded of my friend who shouted ‘Ayr’ (hopeless) and then outdid himself with ‘Redcar!’
    Thanks setter and Pip.

  8. 9:56 …finishing in the NE, appropriately, with RED CARd, which I should have seen sooner having lived near there as a boy. NHO AVEA… I parsed 15D as IF upwards in HAVE AT as others did.

    Edited at 2020-12-02 08:03 am (UTC)

  9. Couldn’t parse HAVE A FIT, which occupied the last 5 or 6 minutes of the 30 minute solve, and missed ‘the short stay in Paris hotel?’ which I should have seen. I agree about the ‘take’ v ‘have control’ quibble for WEAR THE TROUSERS, but I still liked it as a clue, especially for the parsing. Interesting if this was a championship puzzle – gives us all some hope.
  10. Just under 40mins for me. So pleased with that, especially if it was a competition puzzle as mentioned.

    Another IF (up) in HAVE AT. COD to INUIT, naturally. Never did parse 7d so thanks for that Pip. A little held up in the end by having bashed in ADDICTION, so ACTRESSES took a while to see. Read the question I hear you say.

    Thanks for the blog Pip, and setter.

    1. I put in ADDITION too, and it fits fine with the wordplay so reading the question wouldn’t have helped!
  11. Over on the crossword club site, David Parfitt has confirmed that this puzzle was one that would have been the first in the crossword competition.
    The next two will appear on the next two Wednesdays.
    INUIT was my COD but isn’t ‘hotel’ superfluous?

    1. Now you mention it, hotel does seem superfluous. I think it’s OK for it to be there, but I think that had it not been included the brevity would have made the clue even better.
      1. The length of a hotel stay is specifically measured in nights, whereas if it were just Paris you’d more likely say days or weeks. I’m not sure this makes it necessary but it gives the solver a little helping hand which I would say is in order when using a foreign language like this.
  12. 11:51. No dramas but seemingly not especially on the wavelength. Count me among those who parsed 15dn as HAVE A(F, I)T and 2dn as &Lit.

    Edited at 2020-12-02 08:32 am (UTC)

  13. As I completed this in 8:10, definitely on the wavelength.

    FOI 1AC, LOI 19D so more or less a top to bottom solve. Only one I hesitated over was HAVE A FIT but then I saw the I F up in it which I’m sure is the expected parsing.

  14. Good puzzle, I enjoyed it. The Donne quote is “therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee”.
    1. Thank you for the correction. I think I did know that once upon a time. See my post in the Sotira Appreciation Society comments.
  15. Usual time. Nothing to add except that for my COD INUIT I prefer the hotel to be included in the clue to avoid IJOUR as a possibility if you don’t know the northeners.
  16. Definitely on the easy side for a champs puzzle. This was one of the 2 I didn’t do that Sunday. I started with puzzle 3 on the flimsy theory that there was likely to be a traffic jam on puzzle 1 and by the time I finished 19 minutes later the whole thing had had a melt-down. This took me 15.12 so I was on course to be squarely among the also-rans, where I belong. I agree with Kevin’s (and others’) reading of HAVE A FIT.
  17. …had TAKE A FIT rather than HAVE A FIT – this was my LOI and have-a never heard of AVEA so hit-and-hoped and lost.

    The left hand side went in very quickly, the right hand being longer to sort – needed all of the crossers in the last word of 7d to get WEAR THE TROUSERS which opened things up.

  18. Agree with the vast majority of people who prefer the have at parsing. There surely wouldn’t have been a reference to Avea: far too obscure. That’s my thinking, anyway. Perhaps just far too obscure for me, which may be a different thing. It isn’t in Chambers Crossword Dictionary or my 2005 Bradford.
  19. 13:16 …. according to LJ’s activity log I’ve been idle for ten months, which puts me in good company with the rest of humanity and also reveals how long it is since I last solved a Times crossword, or any crossword bar one Spectator. Apparently it’s like riding a bike, and it turns out I’m where I always was — middle of the peloton.

    I’m definitely not tempted back to regular solving, though it’s nice to know I still can, and this was enjoyable enough. The one nuit was fun (as the ACTRESS said to the CANON)

    Thanks, Pip. Regards to all

    1. Nice to see you Sotira. Come back when we have a vaccine, if not before. Looks as if the UK will get one before we do! You may be rusty but your time was still better than mine…..
      1. I nearly missed your return. Good to hear from you. You would come back the day of my misquotation though. Oh the shame! Rave on, John Donne, as Van the man said, or was it Buddy Holly, or even Ernest Hemingway?
        1. I don’t think any less of you.

          Besides, as Bob Dylan said, all’s well that ends well

          1. So nice to hear from you. You were one of my first « mentors » when I initially came across this blog. Hope you are well and good luck. Francois.
            1. Hi Francois, and of course I remember your arrival here. And thank you. I’ve never been called a crossword mentor before — nor will I again, I suspect! Doing fine, thanks. Hope all is well with you. Very best wishes, Sarah
  20. so within the 30 mins allotted. However I put in HAVE A FIT and CONVIVIAL on trust as I had no idea what was going on. AVEA? Hmm….
    Another one for an &lit at 2d.
  21. …and I think if the so-called Bard can begin a sonnet-sequence with such a blatantly eugenicist line it’s time he was removed from the curriculum for good. A rare sub-twenty minutes here though I didn’t begin to parse ‘wear the trousers’. There’s almost a splendid ‘We are the Metro users’ there. On ‘additive’ or ‘addition’ the former employs ‘causing’ to decisively greater effect. I imagine the presence of the Fijian island in 15 dn. may be one of those nice coincidences rather than an intended second way in – but none but the setter shall say. I like the stuffy patriarch. 18’39.
  22. I dithered for several minutes over TAKE or HAVE, having NHO the island, but plumped the wrong way. Not my favourite clue! 31:00 WOE. Thanks setter and Pip.
  23. A plain 16.27 solve which would have been something of a disappointment had the site not crashed, not really worthy of the occasion. I slowed up around HAVE A FIT because I thought it might be something else: I got the reversed F I bit but couldn’t make sense of HAVEAT, too much like it should begin with a C. Third person singular of haveo? Eventually…

    I also blinked at IRIDIUM: surely IDIOM is never spelled that way? Even by the Irish. I did spot that it was a soundzlike, but it took a while.

    I didn’t notice that the anagram fodder needed the “one” for the Direct Line clue.

  24. No time, as interrupted by a meeting at my golf club, but about 40 minutes I’d guess. Lots to enjoy here, including a night in Paris, unpicking the metro users and having at several other convoluted parsings. Thanks Setter and Pip. I am not worthy of consideration for the championships, and this confirms that my decision not to compete is the right one. I bow humbly before you sub-30-minute solvers.
  25. Great, easy, with many nice ones. I think 2d’s ‘one covering’ is the def and also the I ‘on top of’ the rest of it, &lit. I’m also sure 15d is IF upwards in HAVE AT.
  26. 52 minutes for me but solving it on the kitchen counter on my laptop while cooking dinner, so probably more like 30. Nothing really to add to what others have said. IDIOM and IDIUM sound identical when I pronounce them, so no problem with that (plus I knew it was very heavy, which amusingly made it a strange name for a constellation of communication satellites…the name actually came from the intial plan for 77 satellites although that number changed a lot).
  27. ….because I was dissatisfied with my performance on this puzzle. Pencilled in “par” at the start of 1A and was slow to start as a result. I was another who had to overwrite “addiction”, and I made no attempt to parse INSURANCE POLICY or WEAR THE TROUSERS.

    TIME 10:16

  28. Just searched Google maps for Avea Island. Have you seen the size of it (2k long)? Don’t think it’s part of this clue. 300K off the island of Fiji in the DEEP blue sea.
  29. 14.56. A slow start with my FOI rostrum. Thereafter plodded along till mandarin was my LOI. Second last was 7 dn where I couldn’t quite get why wear the trousers was right. Having seen the blog, allis now revealed and I’m having a kick self moment.

    Norman, Tacitus and convivial my favourites today.

  30. I’m glad I didn’t twig that this was meant to be a championship puzzle until I got here and saw Pip’s blog – that kept me from choking, and let me finish in an easy 25 minutes. My whine with Have A Fit wasn’t the parsing, it was that it might be a reaction to being shocked, but it doesn’t mean ‘be shocked’. Not strictly Ximinean, but well within the bounds of ordinary crossword usage.
    1. Your qualms about HAVE A FIT also crossed my Ximenean mind.
      I didn’t get to this till late, so finished it this morning. Still haven’t quite finished yesterday’s, and accidentally saw another answer in Jacckt’s blog. Very nice seeing you last night… thru the magic of modern technology.
  31. it was indeed REDCARD, and I took the first part on faith.
    Didn’t see WEAR THE TROUSERS for a while because to me that means already being in charge, not taking charge (which would be putting on the trousers, I guess).
    Was relieved CONVIVIAL turned out not to be so impossible.
    Lots of fun, and I have to tear myself away from my other preoccupations and start these things sooner so I can finish in one go and join y’all here sooner.
  32. So, if this is a Championship puzzle, I am well chuffed!
    This one went in by quarters – NW, SW, SE, NE.
    I couldn’t get “Sandown” out of my mind for the Racecourse until the crossers eventually put me right. The use of “Red Card” as a verb is clever ( but probably wouldn’t be considered correct just a few years back).
  33. I remember Mike Harding many years ago translating a piece of gobbledegook from one of his songs as “No man is an island except Fred Madagascar”. Got quite a laugh in the Gaumont Theatre Southampton that night.
  34. This really was very easy, just under 30 minutes and with everything parsed (including INUIT, which would be my COD, too). No problem at all with HAVE A FIT (and of course IF caught up). NORMAN would be my runner-up for COD, except that saying No man is an island does not really equate NO MAN with an island if you are going to be mathematically strict about it. So NO MAN is not what an island is, rather MAN is what an island isn’t. Were it not for the fact that MAN of course is an island. I think it is better if I stop here — maybe it’s the flu jab I got yesterday after a three months’ wait.
  35. 10.56. I flew through this no doubt aided by not realising that it was one of the TCC puzzles. Hopefully I’ll have forgotten by the time next Wednesday comes around and the second one arrives.
  36. Looks as though I’m still a decade or two short of troubling the championship adjudicators – I really wish I’d taken a university friend’s advice and started doing these while I still had half a brain. Needed some help along the way, but got there in the end. CoD, for what it’s worth, to 22ac, Inuit, which made me smile. Invariant
  37. LOYAL setters are no doubt most wise
    But this one I’ll not CANONISE
    HAVE A FIT? Yes I will
    And my voice will become SHRILL
    Because BOWER’s a bird in disguise!!

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