Times Cryptic 26366

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
This one took me 50 minutes parsing everything as I went as I try to do when I’m on blogging duty. I was delayed in a few places considering definitions that didn’t immediately ring true and wordplay that I thought may be open to a different interpretation. Most of these details sorted themselves out but I’ve raised a couple of remaining points in the blog, not they add up to much, and I think generally the puzzle was pretty fair.

As usual {deletions} are in curly brackets and [indicators] in square ones. I have included definitions where I think they may be of assistance to recruits from the Quick Cryptic puzzle


1 NICE – {o}N ICE (chilled [start off])
3 AFTERSHOCK – AFTERS (dessert), HOCK (wine). Definition: slight tremor – but the only requirement is that aftershocks are smaller than the main shock, and they can actually be of a very large magnitude indeed.
9 MINARET – ARE (live) in MINT (sweet)
11 TRACERY – RACE (people) inside [filling] TRY (crack – go, attempt)
12 CHAMPS ELYSEES – CHAMPS (top people), ELY (city), SEES (visits). Definition: part of capital – in this case Paris. A bit vague as a definition but the wordplay is very helpful and even the enumeration and a couple of checkers could get one there.
14 ELATE – E (on-line, electronic) + TALE (account) all reversed [returns]
15 DOORFRAME – OR (gold) inside anagram [plastered – drunk] of MADE FOR
17 KNIFE-EDGE – K (a thousand), NI (nickel), FE (iron), EDGE (inch)
19 HABIT – H (horse), A BIT (pretty). Definition: rider may put this on
21 LES MISERABLES – Anagram [upset] of LIBERALS SEEM enclosing [about] S (society). Definition: work on poverty – the novel by Victor Hugo. Some of the various anglicised versions of the title may make this clearer:  The Poor Ones, The Wretched Poor, The Dispossessed
24 AMIABLE – AM I ABLE? (question about my proficiency)
25 GATEMAN – NAME TAG (ID) reversed [sent back]. Definition: maybe wicket keeper.  I don’t know if this term is ever used in cricket for the wicket keeper – not according to my dictionaries – but outside the game a wicket is a gate of sorts.
26 FALSE START – F (fellow), A, LSE’S (university’s – London School Of Economics’s), TART (bitter). Definition: illegal manoeuvre
27 ENID – DINE (feast) reversed [from the right]. I didn’t know this ‘lady of Arthurian legend’ who is also called “Enide” apparently.


1 NAMECHECKS – Anagram [playing] of MEAN, sounds like [on the radio] “Czechs” (Dvorak and Smetana)
2 CANTATA – CAN (John – US for loo), TATA (so long – farewell). Definition: religious work – however I looked in four dictionaries, including one specifically of music, before eventually finding  mention of religion in Collins. I suppose if one thinks of Bach’s output of some 200 such works then it’s fair enough but it’s not strictly accurate.  Church or Sacred Cantata would be the correct term.
4 FATHEADED – THE + A (articles) inside [penned by] FAD (fashion), ED (journalist). Also works as A + THE inside FAD, ED
5 ENTRY – {g}ENTRY (peers [out of top]). Again I’m not sure the definition is strictly accurate but orders of nobility and social standing in the UK are a minefield and open to different interpretations so it’s probably okay. My point is that from my understanding if peers are the nobility then the gentry rank below that.
6 STATE-OF-THE-ART – TATE (place to exhibit – galleries in London and across UK) inside [figures in] SOFT (smooth), HEART (card). Definition: modern
7 OPEN SEA – OPEN SEA{son} (time to hunt [son away])
8 KAYO – O (oxygen) + YAK (gas – gossip) reversed [skywards] which works nicely in a Down clue. I’m not sure I have met this version of K.O. (knockout) before. Definition: blow – a knockout punch
10 REPREHENSIBLE – RE (touching), PREHENSILE (gripping) enclosing [written about] B (book)
13 JETTISONED – JET (black), anagram [repaired] of SIDE NOT. Definition: shed
16 OVEREAGER – OVER (having finished), sounds like [outspoken] EAGRE (bore – tidal, there’s a famous one in the Severn estuary)
18 ILL WILL – I think this is LL (lines) inside I (current) + WILL (order) with [capture] indicating the enclosure. But if that’s correct I’m not quite happy with ‘it’ which presumably referrs to LL, as I’d have expected ‘them’ to reflect the  plural. Definition: disposition of enemy
20 BELLMAN – Sounds like “belle” (attractive woman), MAN (bishop, say – chess). Definition: he rings – historically this was a town crier but it could just be anyone who rings a bell
22 INERT – IN{s}ERT (tuck in [wanting S – seconds]). Definition: still
23 FAFF – FFF (play as loud as you can – triple forte in music) enclosing [holding] A. Definition: fiddle – as in faffing around and fiddling and dithering etc. A great word! FFF was not sufficiently loud a musical direction for the composer Percy Grainger who famously annotated one of his crescendos ff<fff<ffff<fffff<ffffff<“lots”!

54 comments on “Times Cryptic 26366”

  1. … bit easier than yesterday. All done in Jack time (30 minutes) with some hesitations in the bottom left corner. And yes, ILL WILL was difficult to work out and my LOI. Figured, probably wrongly, that it was LL (lines), W (with) I (current) all inside I’LL — which somehow had to mean “order”. Jack’s idea seems much better. Ta for that then … and the rest.
  2. A surprising time, given that my FOI was ENID. (I think she’s the one who’s put to all kinds of tests to show what a paradigm of [medieval] womanly virtue she was.) I’m not sure when the pennies started dropping, but drop they finally did. Although I did waste healthy amounts of time trying to fit MEN into 11ac, and to think of a dessert wine that would fit 3ac. I’ve seen KAYO lots of times, probably usually as a verb; my COD.
  3. Bit harder than yesterday. Still trying to convince myself of the parsing of ILL WILL, but I’m starting to think it simply doesn’t work. Look forward to being enlightened.

    LOI BELLMAN, COD CHAMPS-ELYSEES, thanks setter and Jack.

    And no Jack, gateman is never used to describe a ‘keeper in cricket.

    On edit: Given john_dun’s explanation below, I withdraw my reservations about 18dn. Apologies to setter and RR.

    Edited at 2016-03-22 02:42 pm (UTC)

  4. Someone got up early or went to bed late!

    At first glance this looked a toughie but FOI 3ac AFTERSHOCK was a helpful starting point.
    Also iffy about the 18dn clue for ILL WILL


    In its early years on stage in London LES MIS was known as ‘The Glums’ (Ron & Eth!)

    horryd Shanghai

  5. One wrong. I biffed TRAGEDY (work) at 11a and forgot to go back and check since it didn’t seem to match the wordplay at first glance.

    I had the same problem as ILL WILL as everyone else. I could see LLWI (lines with current) and it couldn’t be anything else. But I couldn’t see why ILL was “order

    Not sure if there is any significance in the fac that the two long across clues were both in French.

  6. A steady 17.07 today, with no real holdups, although the SW corner dragged a bit. 18 I ran as Jack did, willing the “it” to pretend to be something else that would better indicate the “lines”.
    I would only have bothered to parse 6d on a blogging day: “Modern blur blur blur (5-2-3-3)”? Hm, let me think… Many people of my acquaintance will pronounce state-of-the-art with a K at the end, which would probably mean the opposite. I never have the heart to correct them. Should I?
    1. They’ll probably respond along the lines of “If you think I’m going to start saying it your way you’ve got another thing coming”.
        1. Either it’ll all kick off and they’ll just make Z the escape goat or it’ll all turn out to be a bit of a damp squid.

  7. Took a long time to get going, but once I did it flowed nicely. Put in ILL WILL a la Jackk, and didn’t think too much about it. Nor did I think too much about ENTRY. Don’t think I’ve come across KAYO before (and even once I’d got it, I didn’t make the connection with K.O.)

    Haha, Z, yes, it drives me mad that ‘state of the ark’ thing, and no, I never correct them either…

    1. Just say: it goes with GAKEMAN!
      Oh, the problems of the glokkle stop.

      Edited at 2016-03-22 08:37 am (UTC)

  8. 24:53 .. Ran through most of this pretty comfortably but then got utterly becalmed on ENTRY, TRACERY and CHAMPS ELYSEES (is this French week in The Times crossword?). With the latter, the enumeration is helpful, as jackkt says, unless like me you got it the wrong way round in your head.

    I’ll leave the parsing of ILL-WILL to the more analytically-minded. I got as far as “It fits.”

  9. Same as others faffing about with ILL WILL. That Arthurian story always annoyed the dickens out of me. Why didn’t the silly girl tell him – Grow up you big ape. I hadn’t heard “state of the ark” before – thank you for the smile Z. 19.09
  10. Blame the dictionaries (or at least Chambers and Collins) if you don’t like GENTRY=PEERAGE 🙂 COED contradicts them.
    A minefield indeed
    Chambers also gives WILL=COMMAND, and on this occasion I am inclined to agree with the red book.
    “It” at 18 down refers to “disposition of …” tho I agree it probably reads rather oddly. Can one capture a disposition? Well, you can today 🙂


    1. … refers to “disposition” in the surface reading that is. Otherwise it applies to “lines” of course. Which can be singular for the purposes of wordplay (that’s enough jigsaw puzzling I think)
    2. Not impressed so far, RR. Would like to see a full parsing of 18dn. If so … many thanks.

      Edited at 2016-03-22 10:12 am (UTC)

      1. For a parsing of the clue see jackkt’s explanation, which explains it perfectly.


    3. It’s the phrase rather than its meaning that’s captured, I think perfectly legitimately and with a neat surface.
      Ah – have belatedly seen the problem.

      Edited at 2016-03-22 10:54 am (UTC)

    4. ODO gives “People of good social position, specifically the class of people next below the nobility in position and birth: a member of the landed gentry,” which seems correct to me … Collins says “(British) persons just below the nobility in social rank.” My Chambers says “the class of people next below the rank of nobility.”

  11. 17 slightly irritated minutes.
    > I don’t accept that ‘peerage’ and ‘gentry’ mean the same thing (and even the dictionaries only seem to get there in a three-point turn via ‘aristocracy’)
    > I couldn’t make sense of ILL WILL (and I still don’t think the cryptic grammar works)
    > If FFF means ‘play as loud as you can’ what am I supposed to do when Rachmaninoff indicates FFFF? (The actual answer is ‘try learning something a bit easier’, but you get my point).
    > GATEMAN and BELLMAN are hardly even words in their own right. One word like this in a puzzle…
    But actually I enjoyed the rest, and the sun is shining.

    Edited at 2016-03-22 12:13 pm (UTC)

  12. Same as keriothe and bufforp – an irritating grind. I’ll go with I(LL)-WILL for the rather confusing and of course pesky 18D
  13. Same problem as many others with ILL WILL and had never heard of KAYO as opposed to just plain old ‘KO’. Liked FALSE START and my COD FAFF – something I seem to spend a lot of time doing. Learnt about ENID and ‘eagre’, useful for future cryptics if nothing else.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  14. A pretty straightforward solve. Didn’t notice a problem with ILL WILL or ENTRY and on reflection they both seem okay. GATEMAN is very neat but LES MIS for COD. TRACERY last in after getting fixated on ‘tragedy’ for too long.
  15. Just over 30 mins with only 4 in after 5 minutes. No problem with ILL-WILL as my intention is to finish the crossword rather than to analyse the clues to death. Initially went with MAYO, a well-known punch, from O-YAMmer. Agree that we seem to be having a French week . The BELLMAN is the head man in The Hunting of the Snark and I think that I recall that there was a GATEMAN at the wicket gate after the Slough of Despond in Pilgrim’s Progress. Odd what sticks in the mind after a certain age!
    Is LSE a university? I thought that like King’s and UCL it was a part of the University of London.

    Edited at 2016-03-22 12:11 pm (UTC)

    1. LSE turn up on University Challenge, as do many other colleges of Oxbridge and London, so that may have to do.
      1. As you say, z8, Oxbridge Colleges turn up on University Challenge but that in no way makes them universities. The degrees are awarded by the University. Mutter, mutter …

        Edited at 2016-03-22 01:21 pm (UTC)

  16. Fortunately our work network is down and people are sat about twiddling thumbs otherwise I’d never have got this finished. It certainly took me upwards of an hour though I had a typo so didn’t get an actual time. With hindsight nothing looks too tricky so I think I was just as far off the setter’s wavelength as it is possible to be. Typical of my experience today was that I saw KAYO early but didn’t realise it meant KO for about an hour.

    People being sent home from work now. Woo-hoo!

  17. Nearly an hour today, with canine interruptions. When my sister started looking at houses in a better part of town, the above was my former mill girl Grandma thought. LOI ill will.
  18. 14:55 so no particular problems and I thought it was a decent puzzle. I didn’t bat an eyelid at ILL WILL so I must have been happy with LL being an “it” in the cryptic.

    I didn’t know that particular ENID and I’m not sure I’ve seen KAYO before although it wasn’t a huge stretch from OKAY, EMCEE and the other one that came up recently which of course I can’t remember.

    COD to faff for being such a great word.

        1. And I think we get Em Cee sometimes. Not happy times here when any of them show up.
  19. 42m today with a long hold-up in the middle after a flying start. Same reservations as others about 18d in so far as I couldn’t get near the parsing but it fitted better than ILLWIND. I enjoyed much of this so thanks to setter and blogger today. My COD to the main at 7d for its neat surface.
  20. This one took me an hour. I started off with CANTATA and NICE, then moved around the grid trying to get a toehold, but the answers were like the roots my left upper 8, difficult to bring to the surface. I eventually got DOORFRAME and OVEREAGER although I waited for crossers as I wasn’t aware of the EAGRE meaning. Eventually twigged the Les Mis and the Parisian Boulevarde, and finished off with ELATE. Once I’d spotted KAYO, AFTERSHOCK followed quickly ,confirming that TRACERY was correct and I wasn’t looking for something to go with HIGH SEA. Enjoyed the puzzle and managed to parse them all as I went. I read 18d as ILL(lines with current) WILL(order) with “to capture it” referring back to the enemy disposition, ie the phrase(ILL WILL) captures the enemy disposition.
    1. Ah yes, ‘capture’ as in ‘to succeed in representing’. That works for me – thanks!
  21. I think most of the clues could be justified but at a stretch in some cases, however I don’t remember having quite so many niggling queries about definitions in any one puzzle that I’ve blogged ever before.
  22. I found the down clues much more accessible than the across clues, but nothing too difficult here – like everyone else, it appears ILL WILL went in with a shrug. On paper, can’t have taken more than 10 minutes.
  23. The downs were the way in to this one for me too, and other than KO I kind of liked it. I wasn’t sure which way ENID / DINE went in for a while, and the same for ELATE. Same niggles as others for ill will and gentry.
  24. It took me a while to find the wavelength, then most everything flowed well until the SW corner. AMIABLE just fooled me, good clue, I had the same problems with ILL-WILL as everybody else, but my LOI was FAFF. Just not a familiar word to me, since it’s not in current (or former) use over here. I guess that’s the same reason I wasn’t bothered by the difference between ‘gentry’ and ‘peers’. It wouldn’t generate any real controversy here, although I see your collective points. Regards and thanks to Jack, and the Editor also, for trying to clarify those couple of clues.
  25. 15 mins so a much better effort than yesterday. ILL WILL was my LOI and I parsed it like Jack did. However, I agree that some of the definitions were a little loose (all mentioned above so I won’t repeat them) and that took some of the enjoyment away.
  26. Faffed about with the parsing of 18d instead of cracking on with the rest of the grid . 25 min on treeware.
  27. I offer an acronym I haven’t seen before: WEES (what everyone else said).
  28. A rather torpid 51 minutes for me, with no sign of a plausible excuse for not being faster. ENID is probably the most implausible Arthurian maiden I’ve ever heard of, and the alternative “Enide” mentioned by our esteemed blogger is even more so. No wonder she’s not well-known.

  29. 11:09 for me.

    I’m with those who found this puzzle annoying: LSE is a college, not a university; gentry are not PEERS; and surely “it” in 18dn should be “them” for both the wordplay and the surface reading!?

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