Times Cryptic 26168

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
This one gave me quite a lot of trouble though it was enjoyable enough and took almost exactly an hour. There’s a mixture of quite complicated wordplay and very basic stuff which I found a little disconcerting and perhaps caused me to overthink things rather than spot fairly obvious answers more quickly. Having said that, I biffed a few along the way, such as the long answer at 10ac, which boosted my flagging confidence. At one stage I thought a pangram may be on the agenda but we are missing Q and Z.

As usual: {deletions} [indicators] and I’ve included a few definitions where I thought they may not be clear to all.


1 CREATIVE – RE (engineers), ACTIVE (on the job) with its C (clubs) removed to the beginning of the answer
5 SPICED – SPED (ran) encloses {jud}IC{ial}
10 LATERAL THINKING – LATER (in time), LA (‘the’ French) reversed [rejected], THIN (fine), KING (ruler)
11 COMPERE – REP (agent) reversed [coming back], inside COME (arrive).
12 SPANGLE – S (small), P (soft), ANGLE (fish). Definition: scale, say, reflecting the light
13 YOUTHFUL – {lad}Y, {m}OUTHFUL (words of abuse). Definition: fresh
15 INDIE – IN (popular), DIE (buy it – slang). I think the definition here is simply ‘record company’ and ‘see’ is included to improve the surface reading.
18 PEERS – PE{st}ERS (bugs)
20 REDSTART – RED’S (left-winger’s), TART (floozie)
23 GOLIATH – AIL (trouble) reversed [over] inside [stabbing] GOTH (invader long ago)
25 PARABLE – PAR (standard), {f}ABLE (tale)
26 ANTEPENULTIMATE – Anagram [needs recasting] of NEATEN UP METAL IT, this being the last but two of the Across clues
27 SUNDRY – SUN (paper), D (500), RY (lines – railway)
28 ON THE DOT – O (old), NT + OT (sections of the bible) with HE’D (that man had) enclosed [accepted]


1 CALICO – A{ll} L{ibrary’s} I{tems} C{overed} inside CO (firm)
2 EXTEMPORE – ERE (before) encloses [embracing] X (kiss) + TEMPO (speed)
3 TORRENT – TO RENT (how flat may be made available) encloses [housing] R (queen)
4 VALVE – Hidden inside {medie}VAL VE{hicle}
6 PUNJABI – UN (‘a’ continental) + JAB (dig) inside PI (irrational)
7 CLING – C{al}LING (pursuit) with AL (gangster -Capone) removed [having escaped]. Definition: keep up close
8 DOGGEREL – GO (turn) reversed [up] inside anagram [surprisingly] of LEDGER. Definition: poor quality lines
9 WHISTLED – WHIST (game), LED (brought up). Definition: what ref did frequently. My LOI and I can’t believe it gave me such trouble.
14 FARTHING – FAR (distant), THING (object). One from the nursery slopes.
16 DARTBOARD – DART (shoot), BOARD (council). Definition: boozer’s aim, maybe
17 SPYGLASS – GYPS{y} (traveller) reversed, LASS (girl)
19 SNAPPER – SNAP (suddenly bite), PER (through). Definition: edible fish, though the first word is redundant and no doubt designed to distract
21 TARNISH – A straight definition, spot, plus one from ISIHAC’s ‘Uxbridge English Dictionary’ – a tarn being a mountain lake
22 DEFECT – Double definition
24 LET ON – NOTE (bill) + L{ocal} all reversed
25 PYLON – P{a}Y{s}, LON{don}. Definition: current supporter

34 comments on “Times Cryptic 26168”

  1. … trying to justify MOUTHFUL at 13ac, from M + OUT. Obviously … it didn’t work!

    So, as Jack says, a curious mix of the obvious (FARTHING, REDSTART, for example) and the less so. I quite like this kind of mix.

  2. Having cleverly parsed 13ac correctly, I then went ahead and put in the M instead of the Y. Biffed PUNJABI once I saw the possibility of JAB; never did parse it. I’d forgotten that GOLIATH was a Philistine, and was thinking of ‘yob’ or ‘lout’ or something like that. CLING was, I think, my LOI; spent a lot of time trying to figure out where AL would have gone, from what.
  3. Thanks Jack, and thanks setter. I enjoyed it for well over an hour. Unlike others I managed to work out several of the tough ones, then sat staring at the ones which should have been walk-overs. Made things more difficult by leaving the almost parseable sparkle in for too long.

    Edited at 2015-08-04 02:50 am (UTC)

    1. That was my first thought which took ages to discard, but I never actually wrote it in.
      1. I considered both sparkly and spangly as adjectives to satisfy a definition of “reflecting the light”.
  4. 54 minutes for quite a meatily quirky offering, I felt. Thanks for sorting out SPANGLE, where I couldn’t see the extended definition, my penultimate before, like Kevin, finishing with CLING, which I thought rather good. Strange to say I didn’t actually know what a SPYGLASS was before looking it up. INDIE my favourite among a number of contenders.

    Edited at 2015-08-04 02:49 am (UTC)

  5. Just over 30 minutes, partially (but not much) hindered by a tetchy notebook computer which sometimes goes on strike, and a Cretan hotel internet connection (I’m on vacation) which I think may be relying on a shared 14.4 modem. Heart in mouth every time you press the Any key, and especially “submit”. Should make blogging interesting on Thursday morning.
    In between, I rather enjoyed this one, with only DOGGEREL biffed (couldn’t find where the OG came from). Particularly liked TARNISH precisely because of the UED connection Jack noted, for which joyous reference (and for an excellent blog, as ever) many thanks
      1. Thanks: I’ll give it a try (I like a challenge), but if nothing appears by (say) 8.00 UK time, you can take it I lost the battle and a sub will be needed.

  6. 30mins, so found this about average difficulty.

    Only unparsed one was LOI, DOGGEREL, which I got once I’d spotted the def was not just ‘poor quality’. I too toyed with sparkle at 12ac, and dnk that GOLIATH was a Philistine, but the clueing was clear.

  7. Solved this in a strange order. NW corner first, no problems. Then the central clues. Then SE corner followed by SW and finally NE where I had some blind spots with what are obvious in hindsight

    Not sure I like “boozer’s aim maybe” as a definition of DARTBOARD – a bit loose. “Arrow launcher’s aim” might be better.

  8. Weird. Thought this was as gentle as yesterday’s, except that a) my last one in, DEFECT, took ten minutes on its own and b) in pursuit of a fast time I fell into the MOUTHFUL trap at 13ac.

    So nothing to crow about at all, in fact two DNFs to start the week. Anyway, we should avoid crowing for fear of upsetting yesterday’s Anonymous. Apparently we’re all a bit too pleased with ourselves on this blog. Go figure.

    Thanks setter and blogger. Most enjoyable, as always.

    Edited at 2015-08-04 08:55 am (UTC)

    1. Whilst I didn’t add to the debate yesterday- I would say that by all means post times but try to avoid comments that suggest disdain at the apparent over easiness of the puzzle. If yesterday’s blogger’s mother could have done half the clues she must be a good solver of cryptic crosswords- fact- yesterday’s was easier than usual but still would cause a layman problems.
      Maybe the answer is to just record the times!
      Many thanks for all help as I try to improve
      1. I think Ulaca was just channelling Geoff Boycott!

        Good luck with the continued improvement Noel.

  9. Annoyingly, got one wrong. Had ‘repeat’ for ‘defect’. That obviously fits one definition but, equally obviously, not the other. I also missed a defect/defect double def somewhere else a couple of weeks back… it seems to be a persistent blind spot and, like remembering ‘queens’ can be cats, I will add it to my list of things to always look at once more before committing!
  10. 22:54. I found this very enjoyable. I started putting DAPPER in for 27a, which didn’t help the SW corner. I also got stuck on 22d trying to find a word starting with RE. It was nice to see the mathematical version of PI at 5a. 26a my favourite.
  11. DNF for me after yesterday’s PB. Had to resort to aids, even after getting a good start in the south by seeing the long anagram very quickly (FOI). Totally fair clues though, so no complaints from me.

    Thanks setter and blogger – very enjoyable, and only harder than it should have been due to my own lack of talent.

  12. This didn’t seem too hard overall, but after a quick start I limped along at the end, taking way too long to unscramble ANTEPENULTIMATE (I always forget to have a pen and paper to hand!) and only parsing 7dn properly after hitting the submit button with fingers crossed.

    AL for “gangster” is obviously a cryptic staple and of great utility but I always feel like it might be a bit loose… especially when on Facebook the other week people were turning their noses up at “on board” (for “inside SS”) being a blatant Guardian-type device!

    Edited at 2015-08-04 10:51 am (UTC)

  13. 21 mins. I struggled in the bottom half and I needed to write out the anagram fodder for ANTEPENULTIMATE before I saw it. It was only once it was in that I was able to put the SW corner to bed, with LET ON and SUNDRY going in before PEERS and finally SPYGLASS. As others have noted this puzzle has clues spanning a range of difficulty, and I think the clue for DARTBOARD is pretty good.

  14. Enjoyable puzzle, an odd mix, as Jack says, of tricky and easy clues. I too liked the cryptic def for DARTBOARD — the things are, after all, almost invariably found in boozers.
  15. 19:09 so I agree (with everyone except Galspray) that this was much more of a workout than yesterday’s.

    Youthful was a well-laid trap and it was only when I couldn’t get M OUT to work that I reconsidered what the definition might be.

    I completely mis-parsed 6, thinking that the def was “a continental” and that PUNI must be some kind of computer language (Protocol unicode network intelligence?)

    Jack, one minor error in the blog – the def for 8 is “poor quality lines“, not verse.

    Thanks due all round.

    Edited at 2015-08-04 12:51 pm (UTC)

  16. Finally remembered where I knew this from. Not the classics like vinyl (it’s a miracle I passed Greek Olevel after the goatish attentions of the classics master who shouldn’t have been allowed within 10 miles of a girls’ school). It was from Flanders and Swann’s Have Some Madeira M’dear, about another horrible old goat. I think I’ll have a Brooklyn artisanal beer with lunch – it’s very much nicer than Madeira.
    1. I just watched ‘A Tree Grows in Brooklyn’, a beautiful film indeed. 1945 was a vintage year for Hollywood.
  17. Tired after shooting 74 gross in the rain, finished eventually in 30 minutes but fell into the MOUTHFUL trap so one wrong.

    May not be able to post tomorrow until after routine visit to doctors, there’s sometimes a long wait, so don’t panic if no blog appears ‘early doors’.

    1. As one of the slower, if not the slowest, solvers here I don’t pay a lot of attention to the times that seemed to distract Anonymous yesterday. But I did notice THAT bit of scorekeeping, Pip. I am well impressed, and only the littlest bit jealous.
  18. 23:22. I struggled with this, for no particular reason that I can see. Time after time I stared blankly at a clue, only for the answer to seem painfully obvious when I finally saw it.
    SPANGLE was my last in, once I had finally figured out why CLING was what it was and seen the required lift and separate of ‘fish scale’. Very clever.
    Good puzzle.
  19. This took me about 25 minutes, ending with EXTEMPORE because it required that I correct LIBERAL to LATERAL (thinking) before it would fit. I had biffed the former without much thought (obviously). ANTEPENULTIMATE was my favorite, a clever clue. Thanks to the setter and Jack, and regards.
  20. Aargh! I somehow managed to bung in ANTIPENULTIMATE for 26ac. How embarrassing is that? (Answer: Not as embarrassing as it would have been if I’d done it in a Championship puzzle.)

    After a decent start, I was very slow getting DEFECT (an -E-E start always puts the wind up me, and I had difficulty getting REPEAT = “go over” out of my mind) and finished in 10:15. An interesting and enjoyable puzzle – but I blew it.

  21. Ouch! I messed up because of 27ac

    My answer was DAPPER – 500 [lines] D on paper variously APPER, composed = neat = DAPPER

    But alas not!


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