Times Cryptic 26264

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I thought I was heading for a record time on this one as I solved so many clues at the first reading, but then I hit a wall with the long Down clues unsolved and one of the long Acrosses and it took me a while to get second wind. In the end I completed in 32 minutes but I’d had my sights on a much better result earlier in the proceedings. I’m sorry you’ve been landed with me on consecutive days but “C’est la vie!” (as they don’t say in Nice).

{deletions}   [indicators]


1 FORESTRY – FOR (destined*), {v}ESTRY (room in church) [unstarted]. *On edit: FOR (destined to end up in) seems more likely, as suggested by Ulaca. See his first comment below.
5 ZODIAC – CA (about), I (one), DOZ (dozen abbr.) all reversed [turning]
9 NARCISSI – I (one) inside NARCS (drug agents), IS reversed [backing]
10 STRIPY – RIP (tear) inside STY (low place).  ‘Low’ in the sense of  being squalid.
12 ROUGH JUSTICE – ROUGH (disreputable fellow), JUSTICE (judge)
15 ALIBI – AL{l}, I{n}, BI{t} [never to finish]
16 ROCK SOLID – ROCK (pop music), SOLI (performances), D (daughter). I’d make a point of avoiding anyone who said ‘soli’ instead of ‘solos’.
18 SFORZANDI – The answer was a write-in once I had the Z checker in place but I spent ages trying to identify anagrist here. Eventually I realised it’s not an anagram at all but an instruction to substitute S FOR Z AND I in ZION to get the word SON out of it. The definition is ‘sudden stresses’ and the answer is another Italian word used in musical circles. I don’t mind the use of -i for the plural here as I do with ‘soli’, because it remains a purely Italian word with no direct English equivalent.
19 NASAL – NASA (space agency), L (large). I didn’t know this name for a nose-piece of armour but it seemed safe to assume it was correct.
20 SOLAR FURNACE – Anagram [working] of A CLEAR SUN FOR. This was also a bit of a guess, but what else could it have been?
24 INGEST – Sounds like “in jest” in which many a true word is said to be spoken
25 BELOW PAR – Anagram [badly] of RAP ELBOW
26 NITWIT – An N.I. TWIT might be a fool from Northern Ireland
27 STEM CELL – STEM (stop), CELL (undercover group)


1 FINN – F (fine), INN (pub). A clue that may have escaped from the Quick Cryptic department.
2 RARE – RA (gunners), R{usty}, E{specially} [initially]. Definition: having few matches.
3 SLIVOVITZ – LIV (54 in Roman numerals) inside SOVI{e}T [not European], Z (unknown)
4 ROSE GERANIUM – Anagram [artificially created] of ORANGERIES, UM (sound of hesitation). Another unkown or forgotten answer.
6 OATES – O{r}ATES (makes a speech) [dismissing king]. Titus Oates came up here very recently and was fresh in my mind.
7 INITIALISE – Another clue requiring us to read the answer as a phrase, so in England and Europe the INITIAL IS E. I didn’t know the definition ‘set to value’ here, which I now understand specifically relates to computing. It seemed sort of right though.
8 CLYDESDALE – C (cold), LYE (solution for washing) enclosing anagram [messy] of SADDLE. This fine breed of horse comes up quite a lot.
11 EJECTION SEAT – EJECTION (deportation), SEA (marine), T{ransport} [initially]. I’ve always called it an ‘ejector seat’ and my dictionary tells me ‘ejection seat’ is American usage.
13 JAM SESSION – JAM (preserve), SESSION (hearing). Another from QC Land perhaps.
14 PILOT LIGHT – PLIGHT (difficult situation) encloses I (one) + LOT (good deal)
17 SONIC BOOM – Anagram [unruly] of I SOON COMB
21 ROSTI – S{erved}[initially] inside ROTI (bread)
22 APSE – S (saint) inside APE (primate). And another!
23 ORAL – {fl)ORAL (flowery) [taking the floor]

60 comments on “Times Cryptic 26264”

  1. … coffee puzzle. Much helped by the ten two-word answers. Only problem was the SOLI bit of 16ac. Had no idea there was such a plural. And agree with Jack that it’s a bit on the pretentious side — if that’s what he meant.

    Wasn’t sure that a STEM CELL could be a germ. No doubt, as with yesterday’s capsicum chemistry lesson [thanks George!], someone here will be able to provide enlightenment on the subject.

    1. Stem cells are the basis (germ) of all other cells, hence their (possible) use in the rejuvenation of all sorts of cells in adults.
  2. I think FOR must stand for ‘destined to end up in’, as in ‘that one is definitely for the bin’.
    1. I wondered about that but couldn’t think of an example and ‘for the bin’ demonstrates it perfectly. Thanks.
    2. I think some Irish use “for” in that sense don’t they? As in “I’m for Cork tomorrow”? Probably need an Irish person to confirm that, rather than relying on my Guinness-stained memory.

      Edited at 2015-11-24 09:21 am (UTC)

      1. I’m with Ulaca on the role of FOR in 1A – the illustrative phrase that immediately sprang to mind was “he’s for the chop” and variants thereon.
  3. I liked this one a lot, chewy in places and with some unfamiliar vocabulary – and, in the case of 7d and 11d, usage – but with everything accessible via the wordplay. Unusually, I was left at the end with three unsolved corners, only the NITWIT one having given up its secrets easily.

    I don’t have a problem with ‘soli’, as I see it so frequently in scores. LOI and COD to FORESTRY.

  4. I couldn’t do this one online after getting

    ‘(TypeError) Cannot read property b of null’

    even after rebooting.

    I also note that there is no one on the leaderboard, so wonder if others are having access problems.

  5. Straight into the groove hereabouts 14 minutes

    I can see Verlaine’s sub 5 minutes coming under threat

    as long as 18 ac doesn’t hold the ‘old’ boy up.

    It was my LOI as I wasn’t quite sure of the spelling of SLIVOVITZ

    24 ac FOI groan! No COD.

    horryd Shanghai

  6. I suspect between 20 and 25′; I also–and I imagine lots of others–was denied access this morning, and when I came back after class I had forgotten that I’d tried ‘print’. DNK SFORZANDI, but the checkers led the way. My guess about STEM CELL is that ‘germ’ is being used metaphorically as ‘seed’, which seemed good enough to me. Didn’t think much of STRIPY; it’s one thing when one is trying for an Uxbridge effect, but here it’s just the wrong word for ‘striped’.
    1. Not only is it in ODO (so probably elsewhere), so are “stripier” and “stripiest”. (Hope no setters are reading this.)
        1. Yes, they are called “dictionaries” 🙂 – it’s in Chambers and Collins too, and in (occasional) use in these parts too, I would go so far as to say it is the word of choice, to describe things with stripes..
      1. I have no problem with STRIPY either and in fact I suspect it would be my first adjective of choice when describing a blazer of that sort. Some of them are too ridiculous to warrant a more serious description.
  7. Fail. I’ve been tripped up by SFORZANDI before and still can’t remember the blessed word. I ended up with ‘sforzonni’ on the basis of its being an anagram of ‘son’ and ‘of Zion’ and its looking sort of Italian. Ish.
    1. We had SFORZATO recently which I believe, musically speaking, is exactly the same as today’s answer. Also FORZANDO, ditto, just to confuse the issue, and probably more of the same like the Eskimos with all those words for snow.
      1. Ah, thank you. SFORZATO was the one I ‘memorized’ last time and was desperately trying to recall. I’m mostly okay on musical terms but those seem to have passed me by. No excuses next time.

        Edited at 2015-11-24 08:43 am (UTC)

  8. …another failure, not knowing SFORZANDI. But just as no-one ever complains on here about obscure cricketing terms, you won’t hear me whinging about this musical one.

    Anyway I quite liked it after I looked it up and saw how it worked. Actually I’ll give it COD, how’s that for being magnanimous in defeat?

    Thanks setter and Jack.

    1. When I got round to yesterday’s, not only did I invent the same novel as you (fortunately I went back and changed it), I also bunged in ‘care’. So, I was due a non-fail, sort of like Brett Lee with his acting.
  9. I found this very straightforward and worked steadily through it top to bottom left to right. Didn’t recall the music term but the cryptic plus checkers was very good

    There’s a high speed flavour with EJECTION SEAT, SONIC BOOM and NASA all making an appearance. Sorry to see the awful Titus back for an encore – time to lock him away for a while

      1. The papist? Surely not! Seems he fluctuated between the C of E and the Baptists. Still, sufficient reason to deal with him as you say — far as I’m concerned.
    1. “Sorry to see the awful Titus back for an encore – time to lock him away for a while”

      Perhaps next time a grid throws up “OATES” a setter might give us a reference to the heroic Capt. Lawrence “I may be some time” Oates. There has to be a great clue in there somewhere.

      1. Good idea that could be adopted on a more general basis

        Times setters mostly seem comfortable only with the very old in all fields of human endeavour

    2. What’s wrong with Warren Oates , for a change ; he’s been dead some time now and such a watchable actor!
  10. Got OATES quickly thanks to recent crossie; dnk (or didn’t make the connection) that SOLI=pl of solo; SLIVOVITZ and SFORZANDI both unknown (must mug up on those there foreign words…); half-biffed INITIALISE.

    about 35 mins, then another 5 or so to work out SFORZANDI, which gets COD today.

    1. Around 30 minutes but I’d typed ZODIIC so no ‘official’ time.

      I remember we had SFORZANDI quite recently which definitely helped though I couldn’t remember the whole word so it was part memory and part parsing. Actually I now see we had SFORZATO rather than SFORZANDI but it still helped. And its a definite COD for me.

  11. Relatively straightforward, so I’m not surprised to see some nano-second times from the speed merchants. But plenty to chew on as well. I thought INITIALISE and SFORZANDI were excellent. I knew the musical term required at 18A so more or less biffed it once the cross-checkers were in place, but the wordplay completely eluded me. Thanks to Jack for explaining it.
  12. All done and parsed in a shade under 30 minutes for me, which makes it close to a PB. Had never heard of SFORZANDI, but the crossers helped, and the cryptic was very clever, so COD.

    I thought I was looking at a pangram initially (only Q and X missing), but that wasn’t the case obviously. I wonder if setters occasionally start with the intention of creating a pangram, and then run out of steam before the end?

  13. Could not for the life of me see SFOR-thingo, not helped by having ended slivovitz with an S (unforgivable given I have just returned from a long weekend in Prague which featured – I think – a lost night attributable mainly to this tipple).
  14. 33 m and all correct. It took me ages to unbiff SOLAR HEATING – the clue was much cleverer than my biff allowed. Then I was halted by iNITIALISE not knowing the meaning nor spotting the device until the very end. All of this compounded by entering the horse at 7d instead of 8d – again some delays until that was spotted too! Enjoyable puzzle though! Thanks for the blog, Jack; I needed parsing help on quite a few biffs today.
  15. 14:37. I was all ready to go off on a big rant about obscure answers clued as anagrams but closer inspection of the clue in question revealed that the shrub was (4,8) not (8,4) as I’d marked it so I was able to revisit ROSIGARE NEUM.

    I also inexplicably had INJENT rather than INGEST at 24 and having no Tippex had to scrawl over the top.

    Thanks for the explanations for FOR in 1a and SOLI

  16. 12:18… so one of my quickest solves. It was a relief not to get stuck on any, for once. Some clever clues (3d, 7d and 18a) whihc made me smile when I parsed them. 23d my LOI… 24a my favourite.
  17. About 14 minutes on this one with a distinct sense of deja vu. I was using the Times online version (no timer) while the site was nulling about.
    OATES (twice-ish), CLYDESDALE and, yes, SFORZANDI were the primary been-here-before culprits. SFORZANDI was from the June Monthly, so perhaps the setters think we’re worthy of more challenging clues down here in the daily trudge. The clue then was “Suddenly stressed notes showing how to get son from Zion?” which I remembered precisely because it was a clever piece of work.
    Almost as memorable the clue that today cost me most time at 23, where I was determined to work out why it was ORAL in case it wasn’t. Not so fussed about FORESTRY, for which explanation many thanks to the team.
    Lots of anagrams today? Or am I somehow mankiest?

    Edited at 2015-11-24 11:15 pm (UTC)

  18. 16m. No real problems today, and the only unknown for me (the shrub) was perfectly gettable. I also wondered about EJECTION SEAT but not for long.
  19. It’s rare for me to beat the blogger, but I managed 26 minutes (including time to take a phone call from my wife to say that she was still down the pub), so close to a personal best. I loved SFORZANDI, although I am sure she would know the word much better than I did.
  20. Less than a pint for this one, so very breezy indeed. Thanks for the clear wordplay in SLIVOVITZ which I’ve encountered before but wouldn’t want to be challenged to spell it.
  21. Nice, easier puzzle than yesterday, 14 minutes without bothering to parse the SFORZANDI and with a raised eyebrow at EJECTION rather than ejector seat. Also I would have spelt STRIPEY with an E if you’d asked me beforehand; I see Collins has both.
    I consumed much SLIVOVITZ (mostly out of politeness) in my days with Yugoslavian Tourism as a client, it’s powerful stuff, beware.
  22. I am sorry to read that Jackkt would make a point of avoiding me. I would, not avoid, but gently correct, anybody who thought an alibi was an excuse.

    I think the Swiss dish is pronounced “reurshti”. If I am right it is spelled “rösti”. To check I consulted Chambers. Not in. I tried Langenscheidt. Not there either. Odd.

    1. How old is your Chambers. Rösti is in it on line! A lot of members say a word isn’t in their dictionaries and I wonder how many rely on very old versions. Simpler to go line every time.
      1. I just checked my oldest Chambers published in 2003 and it has both “rösti” and roesti” so it’s a fair point to question how old our anon friend’s dictionary is.

        And for anyone unhappy about the missing umlaut, Collins has both “rösti” and “rosti” (sic – no e).

        Edited at 2015-11-24 09:19 pm (UTC)

      2. My Chambers calls itself a twentieth century dictionary so perhaps I should get used to the fact that we are now in the twenty-first. But alibi still means “I was somewhere else so I do not need an excuse: I didn’t do it.”
  23. About 25 minutes, didn’t understand SFORZANDI but it went in anyway. INITIALISE was LOI after I finally spotted the cleverness there. Between those two clues there was far more cleverness than needed, I felt. Regards.
  24. Thanks, jackkt, for the explanation of SFORZANDI and INITIALISE. I biffed the former as it had to be a musical instruction. The latter was a d’oh moment. I agree about anyone who uses SOLI!
  25. Soli came up very recently in the times 2 crossword and I was rather thrown with of course having no other means of getting it. Sally
  26. 12 mins. No problem with SFORZANDI because I both remembered the term and saw the wordplay. However, I confess that my LOI, INITIALISE, was biffed, as was ORAL.
  27. Two wrong today. Misspelt ‘svorzandi’, and opted for ‘initialese’, which is, perhaps, understandable as I am to computing what Albert Einstein is to flower arranging. I couldn’t parse either, of course.
    Bad day all round really as I failed to complete the Indie, and didn’t really enjoy it either.
    I’d like to think that things can only get better but, as others have said, when you see light at the end of the tunnel, it is usually a train coming in the other direction.

    Edited at 2015-11-24 07:06 pm (UTC)

  28. Under 10 minutes after a hard day’s work ferrying an endless stream of little girls to and from school, Stay & Play and ballet – I’ll take that gladly. (My wife’s gone to Greece for the week so I’m Mr Mum from here till next Monday – discovering that “a hard day at the office” is in fact nothing of the sort!)
  29. 48 minutes (but interrupted by a request from my daughter) for a straightforward but not entirely easy puzzle. LOI was SFORZANDI after I recalled how the wordplay must work — a very long time ago we had SFORZANDO with the wordplay “it’s what makes zoo so”, which I found so impressive that it’s stuck in my mind ever since. INITIALISE and NITWIT were also quite good. I wasn’t quite sure whether 12ac would be ROUGH JUSTICE or whether it mightn’t be TOUGH JUSTICE, but I did opt for the right choice in the end. Nasty unchecked first letter.
  30. A peaceful 17:12 with no hold-ups other than a licking dog. Nothing unknown, nothing else to add.
  31. About 45 minutes for me, so I was relieved that few people seem to have found this one particularly easy.

    SFORZANDI almost did for me. I half-remembered sforz-something, and it was a toss-up between -andi, -anti and -anni. But “-ando” sounded more reasonable for the singular, hence “-andi” for the plural. SLIVOVITZ, in contrast, occupies a prominent place in my memory and so (for once) gave me no problems.

    Nice to see some post-WWII science making it in at 27ac. and 17d, but my COD was ZODIAC, because it’s so elegantly crafted.

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