Times 28239 – marmalade compiler (6)

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
A biffer’s paradise, this one, I thought, with some convoluted and at times ponderous wordplay to be unravelled for full satisfaction with the answers. I liked the brevity and misdirection at 18a, the thing in the closet, and the neatness of 8d which wasn’t a spacewalk after all. 25a is on my bucket list, although probably it will be there for a while longer yet, if not forever. Nothing here I could complain about, thank you Mr Pectin for a jolly good puzzle.

1 Composer’s three notes hard to follow (4)
BACH – B A C (three notes) H (hard).
3 Horse is straddled by female top rider (10)
SHOWJUMPER – H (horse) inside SOW (female), JUMPER = top. Biffed this then saw the female was a sow and the definition was rider.
10 Local drink’s consumed a great deal (7)
BARGAIN – BAR (local) GIN (drink) insert A.
11 Leonard shot Mexican bandit once (7)
LADRONE – (LEONARD)*. Mexican or Spanish for bandit or robber.
12 Goods train operator no longer fine, I hesitate to say, with speed in commuter area (11,4)
STOCKBROKER BELT – STOCK (goods) BR (British Rail, as was) OK (fine) ER (I hesitate…) BELT (speed).
13 Needing drink, son pops out to get three by ten? (6)
THIRTY – THIRSTY loses S for son.
14 Drug habit in sport (8)
SPEEDWAY – SPEED (drug) WAY (habit).
17 Asked to remove case and reveal secret contents of closet? (8)
SKELETON – SKE (inside part of aSKEd) LET ON (reveal).
18 Setter expecting parcels (6)
PECTIN – hidden word, simple once you see the setter is not the compiler.
21 Option gone into by new student? (9,6)
REFRESHER COURSE – cryptic definition, a Fresher being a new student. Or if you prefer, FRESHER inside RECOURSE for option, as suggested below.
23 A current number, note, recalled old French colony (7)
ALGERIA – All reversed: A, I (current) REG (number) LA (note).
24 Blue clay almost turned white (3,4)
CUE BALL – (BLUE CLA)* where CLAY is almost, i.e. loses the Y. White ball as in snooker, pool or billiards.
25 Islands involving revolutionary in trade agreement reflecting (10)
SEYCHELLES – CHE (our usual revolutionary) inside reversed SELL, YES.
26 Small child’s manoeuvre on bike? (4)
SKID – S, KID = child.

1 Stay, being prepared with bib? (7)
2 I say wine brought about the onset of indigestion — very acidic (9)
CORROSIVE – COR (I say!) ROSÉ (wine) insert I and V (onset of indigestion, very). Like 7d.
4 Wanting answer from country (6)
HUNGRY – HUNGARY loses A for answer.
5 Was very upset about deer eating large spruce (4-4)
WELL-KEPT – WEPT (was very upset) about ELK about L for Large.
6 Immature university lover depended on changing (14)
7 Handheld device that indicates high acidity? (5)
PHONE – Ph 1, or ONE, being a strong (‘normal’) solution of an acid. Like 2d.
8 When ascending, never attempt astronaut’s manoeuvre (7)
REENTRY – NE’ER (never) reversed, TRY (attempt).
9 Damage vessel going about on sea: right way to test the water? (6,8)
MARKET RESEARCH – MAR (damage) KETCH (vessel) insert RE (about) SEA, R(ight).
15 With a spell on ship’s security detail (9)
WATERMARK – W(ith) A TERM (spell) ARK (ship).
16 Breaking into shopping centre, both put away for a long time (8)
MOTHBALL – MALL (shopping centre) insert OTHB (BOTH, breaking)
17 Gets very angry about resistance groups (7)
STREAMS – STEAMS (gets angry) insert R. Groups as in school streams.
19 One with a point; debate’s beginning to become aggravated (7)
NEEDLED – NEEDLE + D for debate.
20 What with cold, or temperature going up, producing lozenge (6)
TROCHE – All reversed: EH (what?) C (cold) OR T. Troche for lozenge we’ve seen before.
22 Old-fashioned sort of climbing gear, half gone mouldy, ultimately (5)
FOGEY – FO ((of, climbing) GE (gear, half gone) Y (end of mouldy).

65 comments on “Times 28239 – marmalade compiler (6)”

  1. Finally gave up on PECTIN. Not surprisingly, it turned out to be a hidden clue, which almost always give me trouble. My de facto LOI, NEEDLED, took ages, too. (I wonder if anyone is going to complain about the definition.) A grudging COD to PECTIN.
    1. I was intent on complaining, so thanks for the opening Kevin. Ill add Speedway as a place where a sport happens, but not a sport. Nope.

      Edited at 2022-03-16 04:19 am (UTC)

        1. Perhaps I’m being dim, but could somebody please explain what is the alleged problem with the clue to NEEDLED?
          1. I don’t think there’s any problem with the clue, other than that it took me so long to solve; what I was thinking of was the objection raised by some purists to the use of ‘aggravate’ to mean ‘irritate’. See Lexico sv ‘aggravate’.
            1. Ah, I see. Thanks. Yes, it’s rather a silly argument isn’t it? Words change their meaning over time and according to Lexico the ‘annoy/irritate’ meaning was in use more than 400 years ago.
              1. Ill retract the Needled complaint — I misread the definition as “become irritated” rather than just “irritated”. Note to self: parse more carefully.
  2. Is actually FRESHER (new student) inside RECOURSE (option)

    I quite liked this crossword

  3. PECTIN my last in too. Clever misdirection by the setter. I’d been trying to shoehorn ME in there somehow. Nice pdm when finally seen. I’d been thinking we hadn’t had a hidden earlier in the contest.
    Nho 11a LADRONE. Would I have grumbled about the obscure foreign word clued as an anagram if I’d got it wrong? Luckily there were few options with the checkers in place.

    Edited at 2022-03-16 02:16 am (UTC)

  4. 57 minutes. Slow to get out of the blocks and never got going. A few that weren’t obvious eg SPEEDWAY for ‘sport’ and SHOWJUMPER for ‘Horse’, together with one new/forgotten word in TROCHE, but I convinced myself this one was harder than it turned out to be. I see it’s meant to be an &lit, but ‘Stay, being prepared with bib?’ as a cryptic def for BABYSIT? Well, sort of.

    If it hasn’t been already, maybe we’ll have CORROSIVE PHONE? as a clue sometime.

    1. But…don’t &lit’s always include a cryptic definition? Isn’t that how they work?
      1. Yes, but I didn’t think it was a very good cryptic def for BABYSIT. Maybe it’s just me being grumpy though and it does work for others.
        1. Sorry, completely misread your original comment.

          I found the definition quite evocative

    2. I think the definition is Rider, not horse

      Edited at 2022-03-16 04:21 am (UTC)

  5. Thanks, Pip.
    I see already I’m not alone in having ‘a little local difficulty’ with NEEDLED and PECTIN. Those were my LOI.
    No real COD. I’m still pleased with myself for spotting BEE KEEPER yesterday.
    Not been to the SEYCHELLES, Pip, but if they are anything like the Maldives, you’ll have a great time.
    1. I am in the Maldives at the moment. Enjoyed the crossword which took me my usual 30 minutes.
  6. Got bogged down on this, not least because of my inability to apply Ockham’s Razor to the old French colony, where I was hung up on Assyria and equally bizarre things.

    Speedway and its canine equivalent greyhound racing are two candidates for most boring sport yet invented. Even the one they used to have on Grandstand where you jumped out of your banger to try and get the thing up a muddy hill has to be better.

    1. I think you could have started something there….I would add darts, snooker and show jumping.
    2. Presumably greyhound racing should be equated with horse racing on the flat as being equally dull? Beautiful creatures running fast — what’s not to like (apart from what happens at the end of their respective careers)?
  7. No problems, even saw pectin immediately – parcels/bottles/blankets etc. make my antennae twitch. The refresher course was excellent, babysit perhaps not so much. Ladrone unknown in Spanish but it’s Italian for thief also, so straight in – at least straight in after I’d stopped looking for the name of a specific bandit.
    Thanks setter and blogger.
    1. LADRONE also went straight in for me after getting another clue correct forced me to change from ‘lardone.’
  8. All said in comments above. For all the clever cluing, I found this a difficult and very annoying solve. Perhaps those two are related.
  9. I’d add ski jumping, and just about any other event at the Winter Olympics.
      1. And the biathlon! I love biathlon, with its two impossible-to-reconcile required skills..
  10. 40 minutes with one error which I’m too embarrassed to detail here. DNK (OHF) TROCHE and LADRONE and I was hampered for a while by having written RENALDO as the anagram of ‘Leonard’ thinking there might well have been a famous Mexican outlaw of that name.
    1. Glad I had re-entry before looking for Leonardo – Renaldo would have been very tempting.
  11. The moss-lain Dryads shall be lull’d to sleep;

    25 mins pre-brekker. I liked the trickery.
    I also like things with pectin in, notably marmalade.
    I had to guess the Ladrone anagram, or maybe it rang distant Mexican bells.
    I thought ‘breaking into….both’ was a bit cheeky, but I like a bit of cheekiness now and again.
    Someone might have said this already, but I thought Re(Fresher)course was a neat &Lit.
    Thanks setter and Pip.

    PS I see Lou Weed said it.

    Edited at 2022-03-16 07:39 am (UTC)

    1. But surely it can’t be an &lit, as someone on a refresher course is by definition not a new student?
      1. I thought along those lines and found the clue a bit difficult to reconcile, like the biathlon. Maybe the new student is refreshing something like sex education that they’ve done before??
      2. On the other hand it has to be an &Lit because everything is wordplay. I suppose a student can be considered new to the course itself even if by definition he or she isn’t new to the subject matter at hand.
  12. 57:28. FOI 1ac BACH straightaway, then slowed down. LOI WATERMARK, last but not the most difficult of the generally tricky SE corner. I did like PECTIN, but COD to PHONE
  13. 24 minutes with LOI FOGEY. Self recognition is always hard. COD shared by SKELETON, WELL-KEPT and CUE BALL. Cohen, Rossiter and Bernstein were the famous Leonards that I toyed with while also playing with the letters and finding LADRONE, which I had heard of. Decent puzzle. Thank you Pip and setter.
  14. At very fast SPEED, WAY up high
    An adtonaut then has to try
    To perform REENTRY
    Before they get HUNGRY
    Or run out of air and then die
  15. Found this pretty tough, taking nearly 50 mins. Today’s unknowns, LADRONE and TROCHE. I did enjoy a number of PDMs, especially my LOI, PECTIN, obscured in plain view!

    I mostly liked BABYSIT, PECTIN, CUE BALL and WATERMARK. Clever stuff. Smiled at 2D naturally.

    Thanks Pip and setter.

    Edited at 2022-03-16 08:46 am (UTC)

  16. An orderly solve for me – back on track after yesterday’s total screw-up. Enjoyed this one rather a lot, thinking it might be easy when I got 3 of the four big ‘uns right away – but there was chewier stuff to come. I know enough Spanish to be familiar with LADRONE (after getting robbed by one), NHO TROCHE or PECTIN but neither delayed me significantly.

    SW corner gave me the most trouble – ALGERIA was an obvious answer but for some reason I failed to parse REG = “number” – one for the crib list there. And LOI STREAMS made me a bit worried because S-R-A-S fits so many different words. Thanks Pip and setter.

  17. As someone who had a misspent youth following this sport in the UK and Europe this clue brought back v happy memories ….the wonderful smell, the sound, the danger, the drama of the first turn (admittedly often doesn’t extend beyond that)…..thank you setter, to our transatlantic friends speedway as sport here means motorcycles with no brakes or gears , about 60 seconds of action each time ! Sadly in great decline from the glory days including Wembley 1981 when over 90,000 attended the world final
    1. Though only an armchair viewer of speedway, I was always happy to see it appear on World of Sport – RIP my fave rider at the time, the great Ivan Mauger. Across the pond I think dirt track racing is pretty similar, and a breeding ground for road racing talent – because it *really* teaches you bike control. Saw a pic the other day of “king Kenny” Roberts on a TZ750 dirt-tracker – the King Kong of two-stroke racing hardware. And like speedway, no brakes. Gulp.
      1. Got to agree with you on Ivan Mauger — always in the Sports Annuals during my teenage years
    2. The distinctive smell and the noise were what made it for me. I went to Coventry quite frequently in the early 1970’s when my late first wife worked with the wife of one of their riders. I fondly remember going to a meeting at the old Dudley Wood Stadium around that time too. It was a huge arena, but to call it decrepit would have almost been a compliment.
  18. I see Keriothe clocked in ahead of Magoo in just over 7 – took me some multiples of that at 25.13 although now I’m not sure why. DNK SPEEDWAY as a sport, just as a venue. I associate it with the notorious concert at Altamont in the late 60s. SKELETON was very neat. I wondered about NEEDLED – I would have said that to “become” aggravated would be to “be needled” oneself whereas to “get” aggravated might be to needle someone else. Well that’s convoluted and it didn’t seem to bother anyone else so I’m probably out to lunch.
  19. 52:59
    I liked this. Lots of building up answers from wordplay, like assembling flatpack furniture. Took my time and didn’t worry about the clock.
    Thanks, pip.
  20. Took a long time to see STREAMS, my LOI.

    NHO TROCHE or LADRONE but both very gettable from the cryptic.

  21. 7:23. Clearly on the wavelength today, to an extent Olivia has already mentioned so I won’t rub it in. Lots of biffing and no unknowns — even LADRONE seemed vaguely familiar.
    1. I guessed ladrone could be something to do with banditry when I thought of La Gazza Ladra by Rossini.
  22. Having safely negotiated most of the puzzle, I came a cropper in the SW, where I was so sure of my STRINGS at 17d that I shoehorned NIGERIA into 24a despite not being able to account for the first I. That’ll teach me! PECTIN and NEEDLED took a while too. 42:24 but. Thanks setter and Pip.
  23. Made pretty good progress until for some reason I spent 20 minutes on my LOI, STREAMS, and eventually gave up at 53 minutes. The problem was that there were so many ways of interpreting how the clue worked and I didn’t think of groups = streams as in school. I invented a new sport, upperway (well perhaps, I supposed) and nearly moved on before thinking of speedway.
  24. Yes, plenty of biffing (and posthumous parsing because I am trying to maintain good habits); paused long enough to conclude that I had probably seen LADRONE and TROCHE before as they rang faint bells once entered.
  25. As usual, held up at the end. I thought STREAMS was a poor clue when I eventually got it, but PECTIN was brilliant. I was much held up earlier by typing for some reason STOCKMARKET BELT.
  26. ….but spent around 5 minutes over the crossing 17’s to severely devalue my time. I really should have got SKELETON much more quickly, as I’d identified the ‘ske’ immediately. I’m sliding rapidly down the SNITCH table, and my average could fall below the 13 minute mark if I don’t rapidly do something about my sagging hosiery.

    BACH went straight in, but then I failed abysmally to solve another across clue on the first pass. It was UNDERDEVELOPED and PHONE that finally let me get some sort of foothold.

    TIME 18:40

  27. 27:52. This felt easier than yesterday, but took longer. There was a certain “fiddliness” to some of the clues which were, as always, mechanically sound but possibly a tad unpolished, though perhaps that is just a result of the high standards The Times crossie sets for itself.
  28. Slightly annoyed by PECTIN, but only because it was the one clue that stopped me completing the crossword in my half-hour morning coffee break (well, maybe also because I did think it might be a hidden but then didn’t connect that idea with the setter = something, rather than someone, that sets meaning). On my second attempt I saw it very quickly, as can so often be the case.

    No real problems otherwise, though I didn’t parse FOGEY and had to trust the wordplay for TROCHE. Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Bach
    LOI Pectin
    COD Skeleton/mothball

  29. Nearly half my time was spent on the SE corner, where ALGERIA & FOGEY proved particularly intractable. For the latter it was the first thing I thought of, but until coming here I hadn’t parsed it at all – very clever. For the former, I was stuck on ASSYRIA & ALBERTA before twigging.
  30. Pretty sound solve, held up at the end with the NEEDLED/PECTIN crossing for several mins — had scanned the latter for a hidden, but had failed to spot it — need(l)ed the N to try that again.
  31. A late afternoon solve with distractions, but still through in 24.40, which I’ll count as pretty good.
    FOGEY was the slowest to fall, having discounted FUGGY and FOGGY as not really old-fashioned anything, and wondering if there was a word I didn’t know in there. Eventually divided up the word play properly to justify a desperate guess at the answer.
    WELL KEPT only came into view when I gave up going down my list of pine and fir trees, not being sure which category spruce came into.

    Edited at 2022-03-16 07:18 pm (UTC)

  32. First puzzle in just over a month, been sailing the ocean waves. 34.50 and decidedly rusty. Took me what seemed a long time to get started but kept at it and pleased I did.
    Lots to like I thought, last two in were watermark and speedway , both well clued and- for me- tough to decipher. Liked the long ones, refresher course and stockbroker belt but opted for showjumper as my COD. Hope to speed up as I get back in the groove.
  33. 24.44. This one felt quite tricky and I kept entering what seemed to be the solution but then deleting it because it wouldn’t parse before finally cracking the parsing and re-entering.

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