Times 28405 – Tatties, anchovies, mesclun, capers, olives, tomatoes etc

A much stiffer test than we are used to of a Monday. Quite a bit in the way of letter deletion and one cunning letter substitution clue. Also a fair smattering of anagrams. Not a plethora of main verbs either, but more than I am managing in this intro.

I nodded  off briefly (the wife started talking about Xi Jinping again) but would still not been far off my eventual finish time of nearly 43 minutes.

Will this be a rare Monday outing that registers a SNITCH in excess of 100?

1 Tube repairer apparently erred at the finish, we hear (4,4)
DUCT TAPE – sounds like ‘ducked tape’; the error would be ‘apparent’ as there is no requirement for a tape at the end of a race. They are used these days predominantly as a marketing device for race sponsors.
5 Suggestions one thousand are involved in revolutionary swindles (6)
SMACKS – K in SCAMS reversed; smack as touch, taste or suggestion
9 Popular feature about bridge team is on the way (2,7)
IN TRANSIT – IN (popular) NS (bridge team) in TRAIT (feature)
11 Keeps on dropping end of it round — round head of cattle, perhaps (5)
LASSO – LAS[t]s (keeps on without the final letter of IT) O (round)
12 Best work will take reduced time and little hesitation (7)
OPTIMUM – OP (work) TIM[e] UM
13 Fieldwork data from computer ignoring area around capital of Belgium (7)
REDOUBT – B (initial letter of Belgium) in RE[a]DOUT (data from computer without A[rea]); ‘a temporary structure used in defending or fortifying a place or position’
14 Stormy ocean is ideal source of stuff for coastal city’s dish (6,7)
SALADE NICOISE – anagram* of OCEAN IS IDEAL plus S[tuff]; normally known among Times readers as a Nicoise salad. I make a rather wicked ‘un-composed’ one.
16 Contributor to great pictures in big show certainly satisfied the Queen (8,5)
EXPOSURE METER – EXPO (big show) SURE (certainly) MET (satisfied) ER (take your pick of two); a light meter in ordinary parlance
20 Composer badly taken aback after opening of music omitted (7)
CORELLI – [s]CORE ILL reversed; not the military chap with a mandolin, but the baroque musician Arcangelo
21 Diverting fuel will keep millions in cars, initially (7)
COMICAL – M I C (initial letters of their respective words) in COAL
23 Figurehead runs into various types (5)
FRONT – R (runs in cricket) in FONT; in printing, a font is a complete set of type of one style and size, so ‘various types’ is borderline okay. Maybe. We’ll see what those possessed of 26a have to say about that.
24 Most significant time to receive care of cat (5,4)
MAINE COON – MAIN (most significant) CO (care of) in EON (time); a highly appropriate name for a large long-haired indigenous American cat with black and whitish markings
25 Hate turning agent about nothing (6)
LOATHE – O (nothing) in LATHE (turning agent)
26 Writer with attempt to capture US lawyer’s excessive precision (8)
PEDANTRY – DA (default option for member of the US lego-judicial industry) in PEN TRY; it would be invidious to attempt to pick out the leading exponent of this art on this site…
1 Day One absorbed by some spinning Martian satellite (6)
DEIMOS – D (day) then I (one) in SOME reversed; Deimos, son of Ares and Aphrodite, personified dread and terror; his brother Phobos personified fear and panic. Cheerful family. They share the honour of having Mars’s (naturally) satellites named after them.
2 Manage to reduce computer support? (3,2)
CUT IT – CUT I.T., as in ‘I couldn’t cut it as a pedant and was relegated to the role of observer’
3 Obstruct vehicle on rails with short fuse (7)
TRAMMEL – TRAM (vehicle on rails) MEL[d]; a word with many senses, none of which is immediately memorable
4 Artistic movement promotes minds in torment (4-9)
POST-MODERNISM – PROMOTES MINDS*; I hear words like ‘post-modernism’ and ‘post-structuralism’ and I’m right out of there. I prefer beauty.
6 Doctor keeping watch? That’s good to hear! (7)
MELODIC – LO (watch) in MEDIC
7 Clothing manufacturer, increasingly friendly, inviting in corporation (9)
COSTUMIER – TUM (equivalent of the never used corporation meaning stomach) in COSIER (increasingly friendly)
8 Fielder’s attempt covering right and left, say (5,3)
SHORT LEG – R (right) in SHOT (attempt) L (left) EG (say); one of the marvellously named positions on a cricket field
10 Computer retaining much after reprogramming (6,7)
TURING MACHINE – RETAINING MUCH*; inchoate computer named after the brilliant Englishman
14 Somehow pro-Venus wanting a light in the heavens (9)
15 Edited clue — firm but forgiving (8)
17 Spot intrigue in school (7)
18 Paint — moderate source of art? (7)
19 Enough advanced to replace core component of wages (6)
PLENTY – LENT (advanced – as in money) replaces the medial letter of pAy (wages)
22 University blocking mass influence (5)
CLOUT – U in CLOT; clot as in lump or clot. To be avoided, if at all possible. Exercise, diet…

70 comments on “Times 28405 – Tatties, anchovies, mesclun, capers, olives, tomatoes etc”

  1. Thanks for the blog. Yes, a little trickier for a Monday I agree. 14 across needs the ‘s’ from source of (s)tuff to complete the anagram.

  2. Nice blog, Ulaca, thanks. I liked the slightly esoteric vocabulary (eg, fieldwork/Redoubt, Trammel) – and, because I knew it, the GK (Corelli, Deimos). Plus I learned how to spell Tempera properly (no “u”), and that Correlli is really Corelli. It’s only a shame that Jerry and his two Maine Coons weren’t guest blogging today.

  3. An uexpected workout for a Monday. Held up briefly by going for MAINE CORA (era instead of eon) but otherwise went in steadily with LOI REDOUBT. I was tempted by DUCK TAPE at 1A, which Americans often say since it sounds almost identical, but decided to stick with the correct name.

    SHORT LEG is one of those impossible fielding positions where you seem to be more likely to be killed than get a batsman out.

    1. Paul, there are three other fielding positions, which are rarely seen today. Namely, ‘silly mid-on, silly mid-off and silly point’,All are set rather close to the batsman, hence their even more marvellous names! I wonder if they have appeared in crosswords? Silly not to!
      MCC Meldrew

  4. 40 minutes. I see Paul’s comment above and it will be interesting to see what others have to say, but I spent a long time vacillating between DUCT and “duck” TAPE at 1a. I pronounce them in much the same way, lazily running the two T’s together in DUCT TAPE and even though Henry Higgins wouldn’t approve, I doubt I’m alone in doing this. If you look up whether it is DUCT or “duck”, there is quite a bit of discussion about it and for example Wikipedia has: “Duct tape (also called duck tape…

    I agree, harder than usual for a Monday. Never seen the MAINE COON in a crossword before and one more ‘satellite’ to add to the list of words learnt and then forgotten in the same day.

    1. Everybody runs the two T’s together; everybody, that is, who pronounces ‘duct tape’ differently from ‘duck tape’. Same with, say, ‘kick Tom’/’kicked Tom’.
      We’ve had MAINE COON before; that’s how I learned of the cat.

  5. 18:49
    Odd; I didn’t find this hard, other than not knowing what a SHORT LEG is, or that it is, for that matter, and having memory problems with the cat: MAINE I remembered, but needed the recalcitrant PLENTY to get the COON part (parsed this post-submission). ‘Martian satellite’ struck me as a gimme; just ‘satellite’ would have done. I liked FRONT, and I liked ‘turning agent’; I mistakenly lifted and separated, thinking of FED and REP.

  6. 43 minutes. I was slow to get started and there was a lot that needed careful thinking about along the way but as with most good puzzles it’s impossible in retrospect to identify exactly what gave rise to such difficulty. I know that like Kevin I was distracted by the possibility of agent = REP in 25ac and after consideration I had to guess between DEISOM and DEIMOS at 1dn (and got it right) but those are the only problems I can recall now.

    Oh, I nearly forgot that although SALADE NICOISE was a write-in I didn’t understand ‘coastal’ as I didn’t know that ‘Nicoise’ refers to ‘Nice’. It’s hardly a stretch but I just never thought about it. I’ve seen the dish on menus and in recipe books but once I discovered it contains olives that was the end of my interest in it as I can’t bear the things.

    In addition to the composer and the guy with the mandolin I think we ought to give a name check to our own QC setter Corelli who never fails to give us something very interesting to think about when he makes one of his all too rare appearances (29 puzzles over 8 years). Rumour has it that he’s one of RR’s many pseudonyms but I don’t think this has ever been confirmed.

  7. Started off a little sluggishly (this was clearly no pushover) and took a few minutes to get into the zone – but then I started ploughing through with no major hold-ups, enjoying it tremendously. DEIMOS from the cryptic, PLENTY biffed, and finishing in the NE, where I had to correct a biffed COUTURIER to make LOI LASSO a solvable clue. I was pretty lucky because my dud entry, despite being wrong, helped me spot 3rd last solution REDOUBT.

    23:19 is a super-fast time for me on a puzzle with SNITCH currently at 99. More like this please – thanks U and setter

  8. I felt like I was doing well on this one, and it sounds like I did, at 35 minutes. I was slowed at the last by the SW corner due to my complete inability to spot MERCIFUL from the anagram fodder and not being sure about CORELLI, but apart from that everything went fairly well from FOI TRAMMEL to LOI SPLOTCH, which is a great word. Liked 19d PLENTY and the “turning agent” penny-drop in 25d.

    Now I’m off to see if my luck holds for the QC…

    PS: Why is gaffer tape like The Force? Because it has a light side and a dark side and it binds the universe together…

  9. Thy sainted sense trammel’d in ghostly pain,
    Thy rare ill-broker’d talent in disdain: …

    25 mins mid-brekker. No complaints, but The editor might have tagged a “?” onto 1ac. It is a bit contrived.
    Thanks setter and U.

  10. 14:29. I found this to have less biffability than can be the case on a Monday, but given some thought all clues yielded without too much head scratching. I’ve not heard of CORELLI but he was strongly suggested by his literary namesake. I did know MAINE COON as my cat loving cousin and his wife have had several. They like giving their cats unusual names, the only one of which comes to mind right now is Flameboy. I guess it beats Tiddles!

  11. PLENTY of space stuff today
    SUPERNOVA and DEIMOS, hey,hey!
    We can’t therefoRE DOUBT
    That our setter has CLOUT
    In a MERCIFUL world, they will stay

  12. 45 minutes finishing with a half-understood DUCT TAPE and then LOI DEIMOS. I’ve never heard of the cat either, or CORELLI other than in the context of a mandolin. A bitty solve.Thank you U and setter.

  13. 28m 21s
    Unlike many, but like Kevin, I didn’t find this difficult. There were more than enough obvious anagrams to provide a framework for the rest of the puzzle.
    I wasn’t very impressed with 1ac, though, but that’s just me.
    Thank you, ulaca, for LASSO and LOATHE.
    No problem with Corelli….Arcangelo to his mates. Try this as a sampler:
    COD: MAINE COON because I think they, and Norwegian Forest cats are magnificent creatures.

    1. Great stuff! I don’t know as much of Corelli’s music as I ought to. I think I only have his Christmas Concerto in my collection

      1. Thanks, Jack. I’ve only recently discovered the ‘Voices of Music’ ensemble. I really like their interpretation of Bach’s Brandenburg concertos and, particularly, Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’.

  14. Strangely at 28 mins I seem to have found it easier than many of the other solvers
    That said I didn’t include the parsing in my time as several (eg 14a) went in without checking
    I liked 13a but although I had the right idea with readout I was on the wrong track with fieldwork
    NHO Maine Coon and had to check the dictionary
    Not sure I like 3d as I thought it was horses reins but I guess it has other meanings

  15. 11:34. A steady solve, never picking up real speed but never getting stuck. A nice range of references, with only the moon unknown (and ‘Martian’ didn’t help me in the slightest!) but the anagram was doable: -OS seemed much the most likely ending.
    According to Collins ‘type’ can refer to an individual letter-block in printing, so in that context a font is a collection of ‘various types’ I suppose.
    There is a brand of DUCT TAPE called Duck Tape, which probably contributes to the confusion.

  16. 48 mins so definitely on the tough side for me. Very enjoyable and glad to have finished which, at one point, I wasn’t sure I would.

    Loved, and do love, SALADE NIÇOISE. Very local and, Jack, you don’t have to put the olives in! I am not a great lover of them either despite growing over 100 kilos in a good season.

    Also pleased to have worked the NHO DEIMOS correctly. Held up a bit in the SE with MAINE COON (thank you Jerry) finally giving me PEDANTRY and CLOUT.

    Thanks ulaca and setter.

  17. Is 20ac sound? “Opening of music omitted” isn’t the same as “music with opening omitted” which seems to be what is needed for sCORE.

    I wasn’t on the wavelength this morning so my 26a may just be sour grapes.

    1. I think it’s fine. I’m not sure I can see much difference in your examples but I’d say that wordplay elements of clues should be given more leeway than the literals as that’s part of the fun of cryptic puzzles.

  18. DNF after falling into the ‘duck tape’ trap, which is annoying after I’d figured out the unknown SALADE NICOISE and DEIMOS from the wordplay. TRAMMEL is I think more commonly found as the adjective ‘untrammelled’, which held that one up for me. Agree that this was tricky for a Monday. Thanks setter and blogger.

  19. 8:47 which would have been high up leaderboard if I hadn’t plonked in DUCK TAPE as my FOI. Perhpas both should be accepted? I w(h)inge. Tougher than usual for a Monday and was hoping for sub-10 min “double” after ripping through the QC in 2:57. Btw, should this now change to being the KC? I’ll get my coat…

  20. I quite agree with Trux – if there were a way to do it both DUCK and DUCT should be accepted for 1a because both are correct. A good chunk of my 19.26 was spent dithering between the two until I realized it was a toss-up and went with DUCT with a shrug. The original tape was made from the same cotton fabric that was used for naval uniforms (among other things). The term “white ducks” crops up quite a bit in the Somerset Maugham stories too. Otherwise this was a good one.

    1. It’s a homophone of ‘ducked tape’, which is only comprehensible as a phrase meaning ‘erred at the finish’ (as opposed to ‘err at the finish’) if you pronounce the word ‘ducked’ completely. So I think it needs to be DUCT, personally.

      1. Thank you for this post. Now I understand – I’m afraid our blogger’s explanation left me none the wiser regarding this clue, which, for me, went unparsed, even though he used exactly the same words as you. Apologies to him for a lack of any electrical activity between the ears as I read and re-read his explanation!

        Great puzzle which occupied me for almost an hour with the SE corner holding out for a long time. Not sure I’ve ever come across SMACKS as a noun in this sense, but I’ll let it go as I did get it and quite early on.

  21. 08:59, bit of a work-out for a Monday, but a lot of the test was in being precise where there was scope for careless biffing, or unfamiliarity. Happily I’ve heard of the cat (a nightmare breed for people like me who are allergic to the notably furry ones) and I’m aware of the DUCT TAPE / DUCK TAPE thing, recalling that whichever one was once “correct”, they are now basically indistinguishable because they sound the same, even if 50% of people are actually using the “wrong” one. Anyway, it seemed likely that the one needed here was the one which sounded most like “ducked” in isolation, so I was glad that didn’t turn pink.

    1. 8:59 a bit of a workout?! Probably takes me longer than that just to read the clues, let alone solve them! I’d be happy if I’d completed this one in twice (or maybe even thrice) that time.

  22. Tough one, taking about twice as long as I’d expect on a Monday. I couldn’t parse MELODIC, although it wasn’t really that tricky looking at it now, and my LOI was SMACKS… where I do have a grumble. It doesn’t work, because for the cryptic grammar to work, the ‘are’ needs to be ‘is’ – ‘one thousand’ is one idea in the cryptic grammar. Because of that, I was looking for more than one thing (e.g. I K) to enter, or perhaps are = A, so it took a long time to realise that it was just the K.

    Perhaps PEDANTRY on my part, but I’m surprised it made it past the editors. No one else seems to have complained, though, so perhaps everyone else just chucked it in without too much difficulty.

  23. 29:47

    DUCK or DUCT – always sounded to me as if it was originally DUCT TAPE but had been simplified to DUCK TAPE by laziness in enunciating the Ts – it is always surprising to find the reverse is true and it was many years before the name DUCT TAPE came into use. As for the clue being in the past tense, would suggest that DUCT TAPE sounds more past-ish than DUCK TAPE.

    As for the rest: CORELLI went in from all checkers; MAINE COON from three checkers and spacing (next door neighbour has one, so easily sprung to mind); MELODIC (failed to parse – was looking for a two-letter abbrev for a medic!); LASSO from the O only.

    DEIMOS was a Ninja Turtle for me – I know of it mainly because I used to play the computer game ‘Doom’ some years ago, in which both Mars moons, DEIMOS and Phobos, are locations for some of the action…

  24. 24 mins after a slow start and a mad dash at the end. Vaguely heard of a MAINE cat of some kind, toyed with MAINEST before separating.

  25. 22 mins so glad to see Mr Blogger thought it a little difficult too. DNK Deimos but worked out OK. Nothing obscure but plenty to think about.
    Thx setter and blogger.

  26. I went for DUCK after much deliberation, and as is more often the case seemingly chose the wrong option. I am comforted by others opinions that there is a case for choosing either answer.
    I finished under target at 38.22, and was on the setters wavelength today.

  27. At first I had DUCK TAPE, which seemed rather unsatisfactory, and when I ‘finished’ on 47 minutes, it told me that I was unlucky (rot) without telling me which was wrong. At first I looked up DEIMOS, about which I was a bit unsure. It took me four minutes to find out how I’d been unlucky. DUCT is better I think as it sounds like ‘ducked’, and there is still room for the tape; otherwise it would have to be an ape.

    The SALADE NICOISE was far from being a write-in despite the many checkers I had; in fact I had to use pen and paper to work it out.

  28. I knew the Martian satellite and, thanks to Jerry, the cat variety. Not especially hard, nice for a Monday, 19 minutes no problems.

  29. 27:53. I thought – and haven’t bothered to check – that Duck Tape is a brand name and wasn’t sure if that was allowed. But apart from that, and the improbable sounding cat, no real hiccups. A puzzle where trusting the wordplay paid off.

    1. If brand names were ever forbidden as many believe, it has become clear in recent years that this is no longer the case. Sadly, though, it might have led you to the wrong answer on this occasion.

      1. Better to pick the right answer for the wrong reason rather than the other way round, I suppose!

  30. All clues solved okay, but had never heard of composer ‘Corelli’ or ‘Maine coon’. Thought at first the latter involved ‘noon’ before settling for ‘eon’.

  31. LOI MAINE COON—which I didn’t quite believe! But then I considered that, although the standard French name for a raccoon is raton laveur (“li’l washing rat”!), in Quebec one may be called a chat sauvage (“wild cat”), and Maine, right next to Quebec, has French as its second language.

  32. DNF. Had a blind spot over the NICOISE and entered SALADS Nic… and moaned that there was an error, rather than that I was a wally. I did French at school, and although I usually forget the genders of nouns I should OBVIOUSLY have seen that they needed to agree. DOH!
    We MUST have had the non- PC Maine cat before as it is on my list, but I couldn’t parse it, so thanks blogger. Couldn’t parse CORELLI either, and thought the one on my crib sheet was the Captain.
    Never seen POST-MODERNISM hyphenated before, and Google couldn’t find it thus.
    25a LOATHE was a long time in parsing, then PDM.

    1. Why do you call the Maine Coon “non-PC”? There is nothing politically incorrect about calling a cat a raccoon, or calling a raccoon a “coon.”

      1. Ah, had missed the origin of the coon bit, we don’t have racoons over here so never made the connection. Another wally moment. Must have skip-read your comment, or just been away with the fairies.
        Oddly had researched moons in the solar system yesterday for some reason, so had had DEIMOS refreshed, but STILL found that Phobos came to mind first.

    2. The MAINE COON caused my eyebrows to rise, but I note that the black population of Maine is negligible (1.6%) so perhaps the breed doesn’t face extinction quite yet. The name not the actual furry oversize feline.

      1. The percentage of black folks in the state’s population should be utterly irrelevant to calling this cat a Maine Coon. But some people think “niggardly” is a racist term, so maybe one can’t be too careful…

  33. 13’35”

    A fairly steady solve for me today. Lots of clues to enjoy here. After getting 25 Across “LOATHE”, I couldn’t help but smile, as a similar clue could be devised for 10 Down, namely “TUR(N)ING MACHINE”.

    No problems at 1 Across since I’ve never heard of duck tape, and anyway, as others have pointed out, it’s a past tense homophone.

    Maine Coons are beautiful cats: long-haired gentle giants (males can easily weigh 10kg) that are becoming ever more popular in the UK.

    Deimos, son of Ares, was the personification of terror in Homer’s Iliad, appearing with his brother Phobos, “fear, panic” (the name given by astronomers to the other moon of Mars, who was of course the Roman equivalent of Ares). The word is related to deinos, from which we get dinosaurs.

  34. Fell into the Duck trap. Can’t claim I agonised over it as I have only ever thought of it as ‘duck tape’, never having seen it written. I did wonder about the parsing. Otherwise no problem though didn’t know the non-mandolin Corelli but decided it couldn’t be anything else. Very pleased to arrange all the letters of the satellite correctly, as this was another unknown. About 45 minutes.

  35. MAINE COON just looked so unlikely that I ended up with MAIZE CORN. Pity, because I’d done the rest in a reasonable time, for me!

  36. Far too hard for a Monday! I got it all in the end, but didn’t have much change left over from an hour. Much of it was trying to shoehorn Puccini and Rossini into the Corelli slot.

  37. So pleased others found this trickier than a usual Monday puzzle! I’m often a lurker over from the QC – managed all bar REDOUBT, SHORT LEG and FRONT in around 70 mins. Happy with that. Many thanks all.

  38. I completed this on paper, having received a free copy of The Times when shopping for groceries, and needed three separate sessions to finish it. I don’t know my time, but it was very long. LOI was MAINE COON – I had NHO this cat, and was reduced to Googling “cats beginning with Maine” before discovering its existence.
    Many thanks.

  39. You’d better move over, here comes a supernova – The B52s. Not quite Corelli. No big difficulty , though it was definitely harder than a normal Monday. I spotted the 1 across dilemma early and left my decision to the very end. Luckily I chose right. Fascinating that duck tape was the original term. That I did not know, and might have chosen otherwise had I known. I think there’s definitely a case for either answer being correct. They are total homophones – so the “mishearing” can equally apply to both. 19’47”

  40. All correct in about 30 minutes- MAINE COON LOI, when I though of c/o for care of. Fingers crossed for duct which sounded better and some was just reversed and not anagrammed in 1D. Thanks setter and blogger.

  41. 25.50

    Was embarrassed a while ago to find out that what I thought was duck tape was in fact DUCT TAPE. So dodged the bullet on that one. And a vague recollection that there is a cat starting with MAINE.

    Got the anagrams quickly for change, some of which were nice ones

    Thanks setter and Ulaca

  42. 21.05. A satisfying one to get your teeth into. Redoubt was tricky and the cat was hard to find. The Corelli concerto was a pleasure. Thank you to MartinP1 for the link.

  43. As only a few others, my main(e) difficulty lay in total ignorance of the cat, so 24a was a half-answer, and I still don’t understand REDOUBT, but otherwise most went in quite quickly for me. Have always worked on paper, so anagrams easier to work out; but cricket terminology always a problem for me. Liked the PDM at 1a and 16a, but COD to 10d.

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