Times Cryptic 26330 – The blog wot I wrote…

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
A fairly straightforward puzzle to mark my first time filling in the Tuesdays between my regular 15×15 slots and I completed it in 26 minutes. The count of references to people in clues and answers seems much higher than average and they include two authors, a poet, a composer, a pop singer, an actor, a comedian, a fictional spy and three inventors in addition to a number of mythical, biblical and other religious bods and associated matters.

As usual deletions are in curly brackets and indicators, where noted, are in square ones.

1 ODESSA – ODES (Horace works), AS (when) reversed
5 OBDURATE – OB (alumnus – Old Boy), RAT (traitor) inside DUE (expected)
9 ESCAPADE – AD (plug) inside ESCAPE (leak)
10 ELVISH – ELVIS (king), H (Henry)
11 GRAND PIANO – G (good), RAND (money), IAN (Scotsman) inside PO (Post Office)
13 OPAL – O (ring), PAL (mate)
14 BYRD – DRY (witty) + B (bishop) all reversed. It may be a bit unfair to label William Byrd as a composer of sacred music as he achieved a lot in other fields too, but on the other hand I suppose it’s his masses of Masses that he’s most remembered for these days.
15 SHIPWRIGHT – S{wordfis}H [gutted], anagram [loosened] of WITH GRIP. Argus, builder of the Argo.
18 BRAM STOKER – MS (writing) + TO inside BRAKER (one wanting to stop). Author of Dracula.
20 WISE – W (Occident), IS, E (Orient). Our Ern, famous for the plays wot he wrote.
21 ALEC – ALE (beer), C (cold). Obi Wan Kenobi!
23 EASY STREET – Anagram [may offer] of RYE ESTATES
25 LANDAU – LAND (secure), AU (gold)
26 TRANSMIT – M (spymaster) inside TRANSIT (passage)
28 HAYMAKER – Two definitions, the first as in ‘make hay whilst the sun shines’, the second being a punch in boxing.
29 SAYING – AY (always) inside SING (grass). ‘Saw’ is the definition.

2 DESTROYER – TROY (sacked city) inside DESER{t} (desolate region) [endless]. I’d no idea who or what Apollyon was but apparently it’s biblical stuff. Those who wish for enlightenment can find details in Wikipedia.
3 STAINED – SIN (wrong) contains TA (reservists – Territorial Army, now renamed Army Reserve – will we ever see AR, I wonder?), ED (journalist)
4 AGA – {p}AGA{n} (infidel) [edges away]. The definition makes a change from the cooking appliance.
5 OMEGA – AGE (longer period) + MO (shorter period) all reversed [written up]. Last letter of the Greek alphabet.
6 DIET OF WORMS – Anagram [reformation] of DEISM FOR TWO. Another religious reference. The finer detail of Luther’s involvement is lost on me.
7 RAVIOLI – R{at} [head] + anagram [upset] of OLIVIA. I like the definition ‘food parcels’.
8 TESLA – Hidden in [houses] {decora}TES LA{ncastrian}. The electrician who developed Alternating Current. He has come up before so I knew his name.
12 PASS THE BUCK – A cryptic reference to a figurative saying
16 ILK – {s}ILK (material) [topless]
17 HESPERIAN – HEN (female) encloses anagram [falsely] of PRAISE. A poetic term for ‘Western’ apparently.
19 MACADAM – CAM (river) reversed [rising], ADAM (first man). The inventor of the road surfacing material.
20 WORKSHY – WORKS (entire output), H{ard}Y [disheartened]
22 LLAMA – LAMA (priest) encloses L (left)
24 SATYR – SAY (for example) encloses T (time), R (runs)
27 ASS – First letters [starts] of A{bsolutely} S{tupid} S{tatement}

38 comments on “Times Cryptic 26330 – The blog wot I wrote…”

  1. … the printer’s working at last. But quite quick.
    Very much enjoyed the classics/lit./biblical feel of this with a bit of pop culture on the side. Had a personal chuckle at 21ac, given my fondness for the odd glass of stout or two.

    While our friends in the SW of the UK freeze in the wind, we’re way up in the 40s for a week or so in the antipodean Hesperia. Spare a thought eh?

  2. I never heard of the comedian, so could only think of ‘East’ or ‘West’, and once I got 20d it was over. I never connected Argus with the Argo–could only think of his eyes–but the anagram suggested itself and the rest is history. I remember Apollyon from ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’; there’s a striking scene (which sticks in Nick Jenkins’s mind from childhood, too) of him coming across a plain toward Christian. Wasted some time working out the anagram of 6d before I noticed that it wasn’t one word. The Hesperides were nymphs who guarded Hera’s garden (whence came the Apple of Discord) in the far west, beyond the Pillars of Hercules, if memory serves.

    Edited at 2016-02-09 01:59 am (UTC)

  3. Plenty of unknowns, but no major hold-ups. Apollyon, Byrd and Argus respectively sounded like they could be destroyers, musicians and shipwrights.

    WISE didn’t spring to mind for comedian, possibly because I never found him or his mate particularly funny. Good clue though.

    Anyway, a better week than last week so far. Thanks setter and Jack.

  4. Quick solve for me (24 mins or so), with same u/k characters as Gal above (with an added Tesla), but cluing was unambiguous.
  5. My! What a lot of GK needed!
    Fortunately this was right up my street – 23 uncontentious minutes.
    And you know what? Not a single reference to cricket. There was I thinking that was obligatory.
  6. Easy except I got 16D wrong. I thought than INK, from mink, could be a mark or classification. ILK is better.
  7. Around 20 minutes with pen and paper at the in-laws. All required GK for once possessed, except I thought Apollyon was a character from Greek mythology. Of course, a lawyer might argue he was…
  8. I also found this straightforward and had the required GK – particularly liked King for Elvis

    Luther’s speech to the DIET OF WORMS and his excommunication by Papal Bull is I think a turning point in European history

    1. Such mixed knowledge of history from our blogger and correspondents so far. I suggest TEST PAPER IV and the final question:

      15. Estimate the medical prowess of the period with clinical reference to (a) Pride’s Purge, (b) The Diet of Worms, (c) The Topic of Capricorns.


  9. 17:40, continuing my good start to the week. I’d never heard of DIET OF WORMS so I was initially thinking TIME OF WORDS then I amused myself by coming up with TIDE OF WORMS, which it turns out was closer to the right answer.

    Didn’t Tesla invent the electric car?

    1. Tesla was the original “mad scientist” a brilliant but very eccentric guy. I don’t know about electric cars but he did invent the induction engine. Wiki will have a lot on him so best look there for full sp
      1. Sorry Jimbo, I was making a jokey reference to the Tesla electric car, which was invented by Elon Musk, or at least his company. I presume the name is in homage to Nikola Tesla.
        1. OK – I would think you’re correct about the homage. I did think “internal combustion engine only in its infancy when Tesla was about” but he was such a maverick I couldn’t be sure and didn’t have time to go look it up
            1. They are also extraordinarily fast. Something to do with torque and the electric engine that I didn’t understand when someone explained it to me. You see them a lot in Norway, where there are exemptions from the otherwise huge car taxes for electric vehicles that make them cheaper than Volvos!
  10. 9:41 .. so pretty pedestrian in light of Magoo’s 3:57.

    Great fun to solve. ELVISH worth the price of admission (even if he has left the building).

    1. We are all but pedestrians when Magoo speeds past in his mental Hennessey Venom GT. *crumples up and bins ~6 minute time sadly*
  11. Same as Kevin (and Nick Jenkins) on Apollyon. The Ardizzone illustration of him scared the daylights out of my 9 year-old self. Ditto on the King – lovely. Our history teacher was completely unable to keep a straight face on the Diet – chaos ensues.
  12. This was on my wavelength too. Nice range of GK with classical, mythical, literary, scientific and popular entertainment allusions. The parsing of ELVISH was a delight – I assume I’m right in thinking the reference is to the language invented by Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings. About 25mins for me. Magoo’s 3:57 can only be described as supernatural.
  13. About 4 1/2 Magoos so a steady solve. I know what all the dictionaries say and also what is common usage but the use of ILK as ‘same type’ or ‘same sort’ hits me in the gut every time. Must be my Scots ancestry (if not my Scots wife – normal relations now restored after the Rugby!).
  14. I found it very straightforward in the top half, less so in the bottom, taking 27 minutes to complete it. The one I spent most time pondering was the ridiculously easy 20ac. I have a tendency to look for complexities that aren’t there, and was trying to coming up with a word with a change of W to E. I’ve come across TESLA as an SI unit before, but didn’t know it’s source.
  15. Twixt 30 and 35 minutes for me, which is not bad with my handicaps (no classical education and not much talent!). I loved ELVISH. Reminded me of the best Christmas Card I got this year. Picture of Father Christmas on the front interviewing a candidate in full Elvis leather gear, including the microphone and the Elvis stance. Santa saying “The job description said ‘Elvish an advantage'”
  16. 7:36. I didn’t pause a lot so I just marvel at Magoo’s time and the fact that he, Jason, Mohn2, Verlaine and others consistently post times around the 5/6/7 minute mark.

    Bits of the GK unknown (Apollyon, Hesperian, what Argus did for a living) so I had to rely on the wordplay and a sense that the answer was right. Conversely grand piano and Bram Stoker were biffed.

  17. 9m. Straightforward, but very enjoyable. It seemed an elegant and well-constructed set of clues. I happened to have all the required GK except what Apollyon got up to, and entering the answer at 6dn confidently from the definition made me feel rather learned. For this rare treat alone the setter has my thanks.
  18. About 30m with an untimed and unexpected nap in the middle. Lovely puzzle with ELVISH and ALEC my favourites.
  19. my current experiment with mid to late afternoon solves is producing slightly dozy times – 17.18 today though all but three in around 13. Flummoxed by BYRD, primarily thinking in more classic terms of dryads and naiads and such, and wondering whether Byads were an option and how day was anything to do with wit.

    Edited at 2016-02-09 04:30 pm (UTC)

  20. Banged the first few in while grabbing a cup of tea before heading off to the physio’s couch, and finished the rest while sitting in the waiting area for the Gym. Still had a 5 minute wait looking at the walls. Couldn’t have been more than 25 minutes in total. FOI ODESSA, LOI SHIPWRIGHT. Missed the parsing of ELVISH. Very clever. Didn’t know about Apollyon, but the cryptic was straightforward. Didn’t know HESPERIAN, but again the cryptic was obvious. Same with the Worms. Just worked steadily though the rest. Took 30 minutes to get out of the hospital car park. Nightmare! I ache all over. Love the title Jack.

    Edited at 2016-02-09 06:56 pm (UTC)

  21. 11 mins. I felt I should have been quicker because I was relatively slow getting some of what should have been straightforward answers, particularly EASY STREET – for a minute I was even pondering a muppetish “easy setter” because I didn’t have the next to last checker. Once I got it WORKSHY went in, followed by WISE, my LOI.

    Edited at 2016-02-09 11:22 pm (UTC)

  22. About 20-25 minutes, not keeping careful track of time. A fun puzzle, middle of the road in difficulty for me. LOI was WISE, insofar as my familiarity with him comes only from references here to Eric, his partner (if I have the right fellow). I wouldn’t know of him otherwise, and certainly wouldn’t recognize any picture or video clip of him (them). But I figured it had to be him, after a few moments puzzlement. I don’t recall ever seeing WORKSHY as a word before, but everything else was OK, despite not really knowing the specifics of Apollyon or Argus. Regards.
  23. Somewhere between 40 and 30 minutes for me, though split over two stints. Why oh why do people keep turning up, bleeding all over the place and expecting us to drop everything??

    I was struggling for the classical references like some others here – BYRD, Apollyon and HESPERIAN were all NHOs, but (as in all the best puzzles), wordplay served where knowledge fell short. As for Argus, I was pretty sure I’d never seen gutted swordfish in their catalogue, but got there nevertheless. SATYR, fortunately, was in Chapter 3 of “Kulture and History for Dummies”, which I’m now half way through.

    Always happy to see TESLA appear, although I’ve never been sure if he was a clever inventor with a self-constructed mythology and huge ego, or a true genius. Certainly some of his claims (such as being able run an imaginary machine in his head, and hear whether it was well-balanced and running smoothly before building it) and inventions (such as his colossal tower for distributing electrical power wirelessly worldwide) were on the un side of hinged; but he made many remarkable inventions which are still in use today.

  24. 9:33 for me, making heavy weather of some easy clues. As usual. (Sigh!) Nice puzzle though.
  25. Wm Byrd actually wrote only three masses – not many compared with, say, Palestrina – but lots more motets. He also wrote, for the Protestant church, what is known as ‘The Great Service’ – absolutely gorgeous.

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