Times 28504: deep cuts into swordlore

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

Time taken: 12:24.  A little slower than my average, and the early times suggest that this could be a horses for courses puzzle, if the specific knowledge comes quickly, then it could be a rapid fill, otherwise there’s some head scratching and alphabet trawling.

A message to our friends doing this puzzle in the Australian newspaper (where it appears a week afterwards).  I see your comments and enjoy reading them! I’ll check in on the thread next week, so keep them coming!

How did you get along?

1 Inclination to nap in shelter among small trees with son (10)
SLEEPINESS – LEE(shelter) inside S(small) PINES(trees) and S(son)
6 Magazine’s cold insolence (4)
CLIP – C(cold), LIP(insolence). The firearm definition of magazine
10 Noble’s answer queen dismissed (5)
COUNT – COUNTER(answer) minus ER(queen)
11 Truro’s head girl found in tower in a sad state (9)
TRISTESSE – first letter in Truro, then TESS(girl) inside RISE(tower)
12 Excessively worrying about E-numbers, do cooking (14)
OVERBURDENSOME – OVER(about) then an anagram of E,NUMBERS,DO
14 Support for equipment extracting oil without force (7)
RACKING – FRACKING(extracting oil) minus F(force)
15 Old nan has splendid morning (7)
GRANDAM – GRAND(splendid), AM(morning)
17 Relieved everyone still in Scotland departs (7)
ALLAYED – ALL(everyone), AYE(Scots for even, or still), D(departs)
19 Extinct bird seen finally biting wings of gulls in Lewis? (7)
DODGSON – DODO(extinct bird) and the last letter of seeN containing the exterior letters of GullS.  Reference to the surname of Lewis Carroll
20 Show disapproval of a general lab changing logical system (7,7)
BOOLEAN ALGEBRA – BOO(show disapproval of) then an anagram of A,GENERAL,LAB
23 A short note about current volunteers showing spirit (4,5)
AQUA VITAE –  A QUAVER(note) minus the last letter surrounding I(current) and TA(volunteers)
24 Rule: ignore changes when nought is missing (5)
REIGN – anagram of IGNORE minus O(nought)
25 Consider idle team being dismissed regularly (4)
DEEM – alternating letters in iDlE tEaM
26 Exasperated with oxidation speed in fine old penny (10)
FRUSTRATED – RUST(oxidation) and RATE(speed) inside F(fine) and D(old penny)
1 Bag a drink (4)
SACK – double definition – the drink being the preferred tipple of Falstaff in King Henry IV
2 Questionable to supply shortened sung performance (9)
EQUIVOCAL – EQUIP(supply) minus the last letter, then VOCAL(sung performance). A term we see more often in the negative
3 Shame about a bird on desert staying with new family? (9,5)
PATERNITY LEAVE – PITY(shame) surrounding A, TERN(bird) then LEAVE(desert)
4 Siegfried’s sword in opera is unlike that of Damocles? (7)
NOTHUNG – the sword of Damocles hung over his head, so the opposite would be NOT HUNG
5 Do second language before end of schooling (7)
SHINDIG – S(second), HINDI(language) and the last letter in schoolinG
7 See about donkey’s rope (5)
LASSO – LO(see) surrounding ASS(donkey)
8 Appointment to office coming before unrest? (10)
PREFERMENT – something coming before unrest could be PRE-FERMENT
9 Ensign on carrier is outstanding leader (8-6)
STANDARD-BEARER – STANDARD(ensign, flag) on top of BEARER(carrier)
13 Money on commission for experimental rig (10)
BREADBOARD – BREAD(money) on top of BOARD(commission). The electronics use of the term.
16 Is rail service on time after duke’s seizure? (9)
DISTRAINT – IS, TRAIN(rail service) and T(time) after D(duke)
18 One who makes gift of two notes and eighteen letters (7)
DONATOR – the notes are DO and N, then eighteen letters would be A TO R
19 Fantastic old people’s tombs (7)
DOLMENS – anagram of OLD, then MEN’S(people’s)
21 Handy ring mains protector (2,3)
OF USE – O(ring) and FUSE(mains protector)
22 Aim to embrace one woman (4)
ENID – END(aim) containing I(one)

65 comments on “Times 28504: deep cuts into swordlore”

  1. 24:51
    Off to a slow start–FOI 24ac REIGN–and didn’t pick up much speed. DNK 13d BREADBOARD, or 4d NOTHUNG, but the N, G let me biff with confidence. Biffed 23ac AQUA VITAE, 2d EQUIVOCAL, & 26ac FRUSTRATED (from RUST), parsed post-submission. It took me a long time, and the checkers, to think of the right magazine.

  2. I was generally on the wavelength and where I wasn’t was able to trust the cryptic. The exception (DNF) was not being able to remember Nothung. That is topical as I bought Cyril Edwards’ translation of Die Niblungenlied last week but haven’t really had a chance to start reading past the introduction, where I learned that it is going to insist on calling Siegfried “Sivrit”. I think that means a chance that the sword will also be slightly different to Wagner and to our puzzle. Thanks GH

  3. A 34 minute DNF. I didn’t know SACK for ‘drink’ so had a punt on the wordplay with “saca” and couldn’t figure out what the def was for 13d, not that it would have been much help as I’d NHO BREADBOARD for ‘experimental rig’. Not good, but in a way better to be beaten fair and square than by a silly typo.

  4. I struggled with this one. Having filled the RH side in reasonable time I became really bogged down LH and required 63 minutes to complete the grid excepting the Siegfried clue at 4dn where I needed to resort to a word-finder based on letters known. Earlier I had tried semi-cheating by Googling ‘Siegfried’s sword’ which found me ‘Balmung’ but I had to reject it because of checkers already in place. I have no interest in Wagner operas as such although I’m familiar with some of the overtures. My other main delay was biffing MATERNITY LEAVE at 3dn which made 1ac unsolvable until eventually corrected. NHO the required meaning of BREADBOARD but wrote it in because it was all I could think of that fitted and BREAD went with ‘money’.

  5. 28 minutes for me. I had no idea about Siegfried’s sword, but I was confident it would turn out to be NOTHUNG and put it in anyway, and nothing turned out to conflict. My LOI was PREFERMENT, but only because I’d carelessly put in GRANDMA before I realized it had to be GRANDAM since there was no reversal indicator. Working in electronics, neither BREADBOARD nor BOOLEAN ALGEBRA held me up.

  6. DNF. I was with BletchleyReject on the SACA. I didn’t think of one of the two favourite crossword drinks, sack and tent.

  7. 28 minutes with LOI BREADBOARD, only ever a place for cutting a slice in my life. I constructed NOTHUNG from Damocles knowledge and the crossers. If it was in the opera, I was asleep by then. I’m EQUIVOCAL about COD. BOOLEAN ALGEBRA or DODGSON? Good puzzle as I just about had the knowledge.Thank you George and setter.

  8. Philosophy will Clip an Angel’s wings,
    Conquer all mysteries by rule and line,
    Empty the haunted air, and gnomèd mine—
    Unweave a rainbow, …

    25 mins pre-brekker. NHO breadboard in that context.
    Ta setter and G.

  9. 46 mins and quite tough in parts. A couple of NHOs worked out by strictly following the cryptic, DODGSON & NOTHUNG. BREADBOARD in that sense was also unknown. Also had MATERNITY for awhile which dint help.

    I liked AQUA VITAE and DONATOR.

    Thanks G and setter.

  10. I guess opera’s not really my thing
    I’m not keen on the way that they sing
    So NOTHUNG was a guess
    Might have been a TRISTESSE

      1. Dull and boring I don’t wish to be
        (I’m concerned for my readers, you see)
        Birds I will just excuse
        If they stick to the clues
        And I’m not just a one-trick pony!

        1. Very relieved to see the Bard is somewhat softening his long-standing opprobrium towards our “fine feathered friends”.

  11. 12:05. I enjoyed the science/engineering flavour and had all the knowledge bar Siegfried’s sword, but I knew that of Damocles so trusted to the wordplay. LOI BREADBOARD, of which I used quite a lot in helping build BRENDA at Barnard Castle School on the early 1970s. Thanks George and setter.

  12. 11’46”, with LOI BREADBOARD, nho.

    DODGSON was a nice clue, and nho NOTHUNG trusted to wordplay.

    Possible quibble with REIGN. Our king reigns, he does not rule as we are a constitutional monarchy.

    Thanks george and setter.

  13. No problems today .. notheard of nothung but knew about Damocles.. nice to see a bit of the scientific side of life, with the algebra and the brandy..

  14. 20.28. ‘Nothung’ was a ‘hope for the best’ as I had no idea about Siegfried’s sword, but the Damocles wordplay was helpful.

  15. 10:41. I really enjoyed this one. I started slowly and had to construct the grid from checkers, needing wordplay for almost all the clues. My only NHOs were NOTHUNG, that meaning of BREADBOARD and DODGSON, and a puzzle that forces you to use wordplay even when you know the words is a particularly good one in my book.
    Actually DODGSON isn’t a NHO because I know this has come up before but I dislike Carroll’s brand of silliness so I tend to avoid it and will no doubt forget his name again.

  16. Bonjour bonheur. Another nice one – good week so far. What if the washing was NOTHUNG on the Siegfried Line. Is any of it left? 20.28

    1. I thought of King Lear’s famous words to his daughter, Cordelia: “Nothung will come of nothung …speak again lest you mar your fortune”.

  17. 47:02. It all seems a bit of a struggle this week. TRISTESSE took a long while to come, and DODGSON where the cryptic was giving DGS in the middle which looked impossible. I liked PATERNITY LEAVE when I finally made sense of it

  18. 38 mins. Loads of unknowns here, finished with SACA as above, then realised that the A was superfluous.

    1. That’s two days running we’ve had a superfluous A.

      It’s really not on, especially in The Times. Both clues would have worked fine without the A.

  19. Quick for me – 30 mins. I was just lucky to know the slightly esoteric ones, and only the SW corner held me up. NHO of a BREADBOARD in the intended sense, but it fitted the wordplay so went in with a shrug. Liked SHINDIG and AQUA VITAE. OF USE took the longest time.

  20. 61 minutes, but with a little help for the NHO NOTHUNG, which I worked out from wordplay, but didn’t trust until I checked a source. I should have just gone with it. BREADBOARD familiar, as my dad was an electronic components salesman, and I spent hours fitting samples to breadboards for him to carry around on his calls. TRISTESSE was also new to me, but the checkers and wordplay were enough. Thanks both.

  21. As G says, horses for courses. I was vague about the BREADBOARD and DOLMENS and had never heard of NOTHUNG. For quite a while I was trying to get narcolepsy and drowsiness to fit at 1ac. All went well enough to begin with. Then a long period when I was utterly stuck, and I eventually entered BREADBOARD thinking it might be OK, then everything else fell quickly. Still took 61 minutes, though. I had the same doubts as RobR about rule and reign.

  22. 10:58, so it all came together pretty quickly, but some parts were “follow the wordplay and cross your fingers” – not familiar with the operatic sword, or that meaning of BREADBOARD, and wouldn’t fancy my chances of describing the main characteristics of BOOLEAN ALGEBRA with any confidence.

    1. Boolean algebra does for logic what ordinary algebra does for arithmetic numbers. So instead of operators like + x / and – it uses AND, OR, NOT, IF/THEN and similar. 1 and 0 are TRUE and FALSE.

  23. 19:55. A steady top to bottom solve that seemed harder than the time suggests. NOTHUNG a reasonably confident guess but everything else yielded pretty promptly.

  24. Got through most of this in 20 minutes then got hung up on TRISTESSE and PREFERMENT. The former because I too had SLATING, and the latter because I’d biffed GRANDMA at 15a. Didn’t know Siegfried’s sword, but knew about Damocles. SHINDIG didn’t take too long to sort out once I had OVERBURDENSOME, and that allowed me to get TRISTESSE, but it was ages before I revisited GRANDAM and popped in PREFERMENT. 31:12. Thanks setter and George.

  25. Finished in 23 minutes, all correct, but no idea why BREADBOARD was right and had to guess between NOTHUNG and NOTHANG for the sword, which I almost remembered. Good puzzle. Nice to see Mr Dodgson getting a mention.

  26. A nice STEM flavour to this one. 37 mins but stupidly put ‘saca’, even though I know ‘sack’ perfectly well— it’s what Falstaff chugs. Glad to see I wasn’t the only one.

  27. Another SACA, even though SACK is completely ingrained from crosswords past. Maybe thinking of CAVA. For once I’ll jump on Myrtillus’s “excess A in clues” bandwagon.
    As an electronics engineer I use breadboards, and used to love Boolean algebra at uni but have completely forgotten most of it in the 40 years since. Didn’t know Dodgson was into it, but I see a few years before his death he was using truth tables for logic problems but never published, so they were “discovered” 30-something years later. Not musical so NOTHUNG was a guess.
    COD to the extremely Ikean SLEEPINESS – don’t always like clues with 4 or 5 or 6 cryptic elements, but did like that one.

  28. Another one here who thought SLATING was a straightforward answer to 5dn, and it screwed me up for quite a while. DODGSON was another that was a long time coming which once solved allowed me to get DOLMENS. That left me with just 11ac to get and even with all the checkers in place and needing a four letter word for Tower, I somehow managed to miss the option of Rise. Instead all I could think of was Wire which gave me the unlikely looking TWIRTESSE ! Having spent over 64 minutes on it to this point I gave up the ghost and stopped the clock, so a DNF. I have at least invented a new word that describes a woman who is a cross between a twit and a twerp 😀

    1. The Tories have made quite a mess
      Their plans leave me cold, I confess
      And that silly Liz Truss
      Made a a hell of a fuss
      I think she might be a TWIRTESSE

  29. DNF, defeated by DOLMENS – I convinced myself you could say ‘del’ to mean fantastic, and that the ‘old’ in the clue was indicating it was an archaic usage, so I went for ‘Delmens’. Curses.

    Even aside from that I found this hard, though I managed to figure out the unknown DISTRAINT, NOTHUNG and AQUA VITAE from the wordplay. Like others, I considered ‘slating’ for 5d before going around the languages of the world and eventually hitting on SHINDIG. I biffed COUNT, so thanks for the explanation (as obvious as I’m sure it was to everyone else), and needed all the checkers to get PREFERMENT. The partial anagram for OVERBURDENSOME had me scratching my head for quite a while too.

    COD Sleepiness

  30. I had to check the meaning of DOLMENS, and that NOTHUNG was a sword. The NE corner was the last to fall. I went to the dictionary to check on the various meanings of ensign, and then 9d was obvious. Last two in were CLIP and PREFERMENT (which I didn’t understand, so thanks for the excellent blog George).
    This has felt a tough week.

  31. Quite a slow one for me. I guessed Nothung; also Boolean Algebra once I had worked out Boo and Algebra; Donator had to be correct, but I needed your explanation for my enlightenment, so thanks for that.

  32. 9:37

    No idea what happened today, as my NITCH is 59 and WITCH 54! I guess some days everything just falls into place effortlessly. Wish I could work out why…

    I was familiar with die Nothung from Wagner’s Ring, which helped a little, but other than that I can’t explain my time being such an outlier.

  33. I got off to a fast start, with ENID, REIGN and then (tada!) STANDARD-BEARER, and most of it seemed fairly easy, especially considering that I was getting sleepy… but I had to put it aside when I had circled all the way back to the SE, to finally fill in DISTRAINT, DODGSON and DOLMENS this morning. NHO BREADBOARD.

  34. No idea of time, as I’ve had a sort of pottering-around day with no time pressure on anything, hence no real need to ration my time for the crossword. I got it eventually, and I’ll admit that, even without a watch, I know it wasn’t fast. NHO BREADBOARD in this sense and had to wait for all the crossers before seeing it; knew about Damocles, so NOTHUNG went in with a combination of confidence and ignorance of Siegfried’s weapon; and TRISTESSE was my LOI, unsurprisingly given its appearance frequency in my active vocabulary. Thanks to setter and blogger, as usual.

  35. 20.25 and I wish I hadn’t done it on my phone with the tiniest most cramped keyboard as I might have been a few minutes faster!

    NOTHUNG was great even (espe cially?) not knowing the word. NHO DOLMENS and couldn’t see the wordplay for RACKING so a nervous wait to see all green.

    Thanks all

  36. Finished in 34 minutes, but would have been a little quicker had I found HINDI before LATIN. As a scientific ignoramus I had never heard of BREADBOARD in the required sense, but the checkers left no option. 18dn reminded me of a clue I first saw when I was a student many years ago:

    HIJKLMNO (5).


    Thanks to glh and other commentators.

  37. SODA anyone as in SOD = unpleasant person = bag. No, indeed. Made COUNT impossible so rather ground to a halt 25 minutes in

    Liked it

    Thanks all

  38. Interesting that this crossword equally favoured the scientific-minded and the arts-based. Half of us (me) claiming not to have heard of BREADBOARD and BOOLEAN ALGEBRA and the other half saying DODGSON and NOTHUNG were unknowns. The particular beauty of the puzzle, which I really enjoyed, was being able to construct the unknowns anyway, and with some lovely wordplay eg EQUIVOCAL, DODGSON.

  39. Found this very tricky and almost threw in the towel but then saw DODGSON quickly followed by DOLMENS, but whilst I thought of NOTHUNG early on was not confident and was left with LOI TRISTESSE where I wasn’t convinced by rise for tower or that tess was the required female- so pencilled it in and came here to be pleasantly surprised that all was correct! But heavens I must have been off the scale solving time!

  40. After a very slow and less-than-confident start ( with CLIP and COUNT), SACK no problem and OVERBURDENSOME fairly apparent, searched the grid for another opening for too long. Liked SLEEPINESS when it hove into view, and SHINDIG, then had to work hard on the lower half. Vaguely heard of the logical system ( though Mathematics not my thing) , but hesitated over the sword, even though the first three letters had to be NOT. (Forgotten the position of Damocles’ sword!) DOLMENS a NHO, but the cryptic generous, then the rest of the bottom half went in smoothly, apart from BREADBOARD, which was another NHO.
    Altogether not unhappy with my effort, despite the slow start. Good crossword.
    PS: George – I get the crossword in The Australian newspaper about a month after you guys, so for me the comments in toto are just as enjoyable as the puzzle, and will never stop learning from them.

    1. Interesting – I thought the Australian was a week behind, but I do get some comments on some older puzzles! Thanks for checking in.

      1. Thank you glh for the elucidation of 18 letters and the blog in general. The generously clued sword was a biff, CoD 14 across… racking.

        It is the Sunday Cryptic which is only delayed a week. This is a boon as it seems to sometimes refer to current affairs which often slide from my forgettery after a month.

      2. The other strange thing about the Australian is that Jillaroo always comments the evening before the puzzle is available to me in the Australian. Are there differences from State to State? I’m in SA, but have been doing them online. I checked the paper and online versions have been the same. And this week I’m in Queensland but she’s still a day in front. Last week they didn’t publish a new Sunday puzzle online and this week published missed one from the previous week, so the online Sunday puzzle is now a week behind the printed puzzle in the Australian and two weeks behind the Times. It is annoying.

  41. Re your comment about Australian edition:
    This puzzle (28504, dated Jan 19) was published by the Murdoch press in The Australian as 12679 on Feb 22.
    The weekday puzzle is currently published 5 weeks less one day later than London and the number varies by 15825.
    The Sunday Times is (currently) found by adding 3696.
    These figures have frustratingly changed from time to time due to inaccurate editing at the OZ, leading to considerably trawling through your index.
    However, I do enjoy your blog enormously, albeit over a month later.
    Pls keep up your valuable work

  42. Another even later Australian, slowly getting through some older grids. It’s been interesting to read the above interactions. Thanks for the encouragement that you might read such delayed comments, George!
    I had always thought it was Notung, not Nothung, and it took me a while to get how the Damocles reference worked. Some useful discussion at https://forum.wordreference.com/threads/nothung.1473947/

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