Times Cryptic 26438

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
35 minutes for this fairly easy offering with nothing to frighten the horses although I can’t recall meeting 1ac before or the required meaning at 4ac. I thought we were heading for a pangram but J and X are missing. Here we go…

As usual definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions are in curly brackets} and [indicators in square ones]

1 Fool to depart, going round to the back (6)
DAFTIE – DIE (depart) contains [going round] AFT (to the back – of a ship)
4 Came down hard on drugs, did judge (8)
ESTEEMED – ES (drugs – E’s), TEEMED (came down hard – rain). I didn’t know this meaning of esteemed and can’t find an exact match in the dictionaries, but Collins has “esteem” as “judgement” and the setter’s usage would appear to follow from that.
10 Is prisoner going to the monarch for resolution? (9)
WILLPOWER – WILL P.O.W. (is prisoner going to..?), ER (the monarch). Gawd bless Her Maj at 90!
11 Goods smothered in sauce getting very damp (5)
SOGGY – GG (goods) contained by [smothered in] SOY (sauce)
12 Send away dry fellow with piece of cake and chat (5,3,6)
SHOOT THE BREEZE – SHOO (send away), TT (dry – teetotal),  HE (fellow), BREEZE (piece of cake – a walk in the park)
14 Writing on different animals together produces tears (5)
ZOOMS – ZOO (different animals together), MS (writing – manuscript)
16 Spies Welshman on breaks in Scotland? No more (9)
CALEDONIA – ALED (Welshman) + ON contained by [breaks in] CIA (spies)
18 Plant South American’s in charge of managed the wrong way (9)
NARCISSUS – S (South) + US’S (American’s) + IC (in charge) + RAN (managed) all reversed [the wrong way]. On edit: thanks to bletchleyreject for accounting for the ‘S’ I missed originally.
20 Do well to keep son very close (5)
BOSOM – BOOM (do well) contains [to keep] S (son), as in “bosom pal”
21 Potter character’s unusual quirks ruin Lent (8,6)
SQUIRREL NUTKIN – Anagram [unusual] of QUIRKS RUIN LENT. Beatrix rather than Harry thankfully as I don’t know any characters in the latter.
25 Girl returned in the morning the day before (5)
MAEVE – AM (in the morning) reversed [returned], EVE (the day before)
26 Free school with a sad air about it (9)
DISCHARGE – SCH (school) + A with DIRGE (sad air) about it
27 Degenerate daughter on visit (2,2,4)
GO TO SEED – GO TO SEE (visit), D (daughter)
28 Is outrageous smartphone download too short? (6)
APPALS – APP (smartphone download), ALS{o} (too) [short]
1 After unhappy times, I go contracting (10)
DOWNSIZING – DOWNS (unhappy times), I, ZING (go – energy)
2 Extract from upturned manuscript (5)
FOLIO – OIL OF (extract from) reversed [upturned]
3 Energy reforms suit MEP (7)
IMPETUS – Anagram [reforms] of SUIT MEP
5 Quiet massage? See Jasmine for one! (5)
SHRUB – SH (quiet), RUB (massage)
6 European in role of nurse in soap scene (4,3)
EAST END – E (European), AS (in role of), TEND (nurse). Albert Square in the fictional London Borough of Walford to be precise.
7 Old woman looks to carry home items from waiting room? (9)
MAGAZINES – MA (old woman), GAZES (looks) contains [to carry] IN (home)
8 Time of confusion spoken of (4)
DAYS – Sounds like [spoken of] “daze” (confusion)
9 Such was King’s unusually modest expression (2-6)
AW-SHUCKS – Anagram [unusually] of SUCH WAS K (king). I associate this with American cartoon characters, Goofy and someone in Bugs Bunny perhaps?
13 Incivility of expert upset staffing agency perhaps (3,7)
BAD MANNERS – DAB (expert – as in a dab hand) reversed [upset],  MANNERS (staffing agency perhaps – geddit?)
15 When asked, I set about river expedition (2,7)
ON REQUEST – ONE (I) contains [set about] R (river), QUEST (expedition)
17 With little desire to make smaller catalogue? (8)
LISTLESS – LIST LESS (make smaller catalogue – geddit?)
19 Distance from here to Paris, then Cape (7)
ICINESS – ICI (here – French – Paris), NESS (cape). “Here in Paris” seems to be what’s needed rather than “to”.
20 Groom cheerful after kiss (5-2)
BRUSH-UP – BRUSH (kiss), UP (cheerful)
22 Band cross when missing out on Number One (5)
RIDGE – {b}RIDGE (cross) [missing out on Number One]. As in a ridge or band of high pressure on the weather forecast.
23 Curry, look, or marmalade sandwiches (5)
KORMA – Hidden [sandwiches] in {loo}K OR MA{rmalade}. I tried a little marmalade with curry once when I didn’t have mango chutney to hand and it wasn’t at all bad.
24 Finally empties kitty and fumes (4)
SMOG – {emptie}S [finally], MOG (kitty)

56 comments on “Times Cryptic 26438”

  1. Not too bad, though held up by ESTEEMED which was new to me in this sense as well. Couldn’t parse 10, but your explanation sounds correct. Liked AW SHUCKS (I can’t remember who particularly used to say it in US cartoons either) and the ‘Extract…’ bit of the word play for FOLIO.

    Only a small point, and maybe you meant it this way, but NARCISSUS is S(South)+USS(American’s)+IC(in charge of)+RAN(managed), all reversed.

    Thank you to setter and blogger.

  2. Thank you for the early blog, jackkt. Today, I share most of your time (30+ min) and thoughts (expecting j and x for the pangram which never materialised, sigh). Quite an enjoyable solve.
  3. Also 35 minutes with LOI 1ac DAFTIE as did not parse


    COD 10ac WILLPOWER for smooth surface.

    Thirty five minutes is becoming my benchmark – must try harder.

    horryd – Shanghai

  4. 18 minutes for all bar 1a, then another ten puzzling over that, before isolating ‘to the back’ gave me a way in. Particularly enjoyed ESTEEMED and AW-SHUCKS (though surprised it was hyphenated) – ancient and modern lexical items, indeed.

    ‘Esteem’ meaning judge is found in the Authorised Version of the Bible, e.g. ‘One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike’, where the Greek krino is being rendered.

    Someone up there obviously wishes to hammer home the derivation of ‘shoo-in’!

  5. 23.25 today, with no mistakes real or imagined (phew!). One where the hi-score letters were particularly helpful, and served to get things moving after a slow start. I doubt I’d have got DAFTIE, my LOI, without the crossers. I assume it’s Scottish.
    My AW-SHUCKS instant image is Disney, and specifically Bashful, and indeed that’s what his charming collectable figure is named.
  6. Simply ran out of time in my hour. Only had five left, which doesn’t feel too bad. I may have got them in the end, but possibly unparsed in some cases, not knowing those meanings of “esteem” (or even “teem” for rain) or “ness” for “cape”. I was also held up by clinging to the idea that 25 would begin with M and end in A, which wasn’t helping with 19, either…

    Happy to have got DOWNSIZING, DAFTIE and FOLIO just before the end of my time.

    I think my lesson here is probably to assume that if I’ve piled through the rest of a crossword relatively quickly, then I’m probably having trouble with the remainder not because they’re especially hard, but because I’m holding onto a wrong idea about how those clues work (or simply don’t know the vocab…)

    Thanks for the enlightenment, as ever.

  7. 15:20 … great fun, I thought, and some lovely clues. I really enjoyed the way MAGAZINES was put together. As Z8 says, the less common letters were very helpfully placed, otherwise this would have been quite a toughie.

    I also enjoyed Vinyl’s not-a-Harry-Potter-character, though I suspect Ms Rowling would have had it as Ruskin Squinter.

  8. In light of the above comments, I was pleased with 18m and no real hold ups (holdups?). Except perhaps for 21ac where I was looking for some random wizard for a while. Does it count if the character is from a book but the author is still (very much) with us?
  9. A poor dnf today, NW undone. Got ESTEEMED, but partially parsed it as EE and MED for drugs, that’s all. COD SHOOT THE BREEZE. DAFTIE is used in ‘Sunset Song’ as an old Scots word for someone with learning difficulties.Thanks for all the clarification.
  10. 20.58 after hold-up at the end through not believing ridge but finally going with it anyway. Of course the def. is good. Thought for a terrible moment the Times was allowing our modern Enid Blyton Shakespearian status – what a relief to find it was Beatrix. Aw shucks definitely shouldn’t be hyphenated in my view and it brought back Desperate Dan who used to scoff cow pie in the Dandy, also admired for his massive boots. Liked your comment Janie, though it could be for the wrong reason.
        1. I can see it being hyphenated if it was being referred to as a noun. Sort of like “without so much as a by-your-leave”. But does that really ever happen?
        2. It often has a comma. From a quick google search the only context in which it has a hyphen appears to be in dictionaries.
            1. Mind you in the puzzle it is defined as a ‘modest expression’, whereas it only appears in the dictionaries (Collins, ODO) as an adjective meaning ‘self-deprecating’ or ‘shy’ (‘an aw-shucks attitude’).
              Collins gives as the origin of the word ‘from the US interjection aw shucks, an expression of modesty or diffidence’.
              So actually the hyphen isn’t really supported by the dictionaries after all.

              Edited at 2016-06-14 01:59 pm (UTC)

  11. I’d never heard the expression “Shoot the Breeze” and was trying to work in a homonym for “ease” or “easy”, not twigging that “breeze” was in fact the piece of cake. Thanks to Mrs Deezzaa for coming to my rescue.
    LOI a very tentative 1a following a very slow start (i.e. before the caffeine kicked in).
    BTW it’s Goofy that was always saying “Aw shucks”.
  12. Another enjoyable puzzle with a couple of new phrases I think. I don’t recall seeing Goofy’s AW-SHUCKS before nor DAFTIE – my LOI. Good to see the Times being a bit adventurous. No problems or queries.
  13. 15m, held up for a while at the end with just 1ac unsolved. I thought of DAFTIE quite early, but couldn’t quite believe that a word like that would appear in the Times Crossword so wanted to parse it to be sure, and then couldn’t. Eventually I gave up on trying to find something else, came back to it and saw how it works. Sometimes you have to know to let go of a wrong idea, and sometimes you have to know not to let go of a right one!
    No complaints at all, though: I’m all for variety, which includes more informal words like this, and I liked AW-SHUCKS too.
    I also hesitated over RIDGE, where I couldn’t see the required meaning of ‘band’, so thanks for clearing that one up for me.
    My kids are of an age where Harry Potter is very much part of the cultural landscape – in fact we were discussing the meaning of ‘Malfoy’ only this morning – so I know that there is a character in the books/films called QUIRREL. Fortunately it was fairly clear that this wasn’t going to fit so I didn’t waste any time trying to remember his first name (which is Quirinius, as it turns out).
    ESTEEM meaning ‘to judge or consider’ is in Collins.

    Edited at 2016-06-14 07:57 am (UTC)

    1. This is the second consecutive day when you have spotted something in Collins that I had managed to miss. I need to keep a magnifying glass at the ready!
      1. Sorry! I always look at Collins online, which is more accessible and much easier on the eye than the big book.
  14. 25:45. Quicker than many I’ve managed recently, finishing with DAFTIE. Took me a while trawling the alphabet for the middle letter until D_FT_E gave me a tentative answer, confirmed by parsing.
  15. DNF , perhaps put off by the visage of Wayne Rooney above the print edition . Is this a subliminal message from the Times to use the tablet edition ?
  16. LOI the barely plausible DAFTIE. I mean, really?

    And I settled for SQUIRREL TUNKIN as the likely Harry Potter character, not having considered Beatrix. Still probably wouldn’t have got it, more of a Peter Rabbit man me.

    Thought AW-SHUCKS was pretty good. Thanks setter and Jack.

  17. Another who was left stuggling to finish with 1ac, and who misled himself with TOUCH-UP, which for once wasn’t one of those “If you haven’t parsed it properly, it’s probably wrong” clues, simply an alternative which happened not to be the right one. Fortunately T_S_M looked impossible, so I thought again. Elsewhere there was plenty of imagination, so I approve this product or service.
  18. Available in the better British Railways Gents in the fifties, price 4d if my memory serves me well, and the source of single entendre jokes I didn’t understand on Workers Playtime. Forty minutes today, never having heard of SHOOT THE BREEZE which eventually appeared as the only answer. Nice puzzle.
  19. Very pleased to have narrowly pipped Jason today, and, er, well, not snapped at Magoo’s heels in any way at all, but at least been within 2x his time. The best of us are just Salieris to his Mozart forever.

    This was a very nicely crafted crossword, a bit short on Homeric references perhaps, but 21ac is the next best thing.

      1. Even in bloody Greek, it has 16 letters (rhododaktylos eos)! It’s just not meant to be.
  20. 43 mins today which is way longer than the times posted by contributors who normally have similar times to me. No excuses – just a wavelength thing I suppose. My LOI was DAFTIE.
  21. I struggled with bits of this, especially in the top half, and eventually unromped home in 20:25.

    The “different animals together” part of 14 bamboozled (no reverse hidden intended) me for a while as I thought this was an instruction to run two words together. The closest I got was SCOWL by running together COW and OWL with S somehow accounting for “writing”.

    At 4 I actually wrote in ESDEEMED having decided the definition was “came down hard on” made up of Es & deemed but it looked just enough unlike an actual word for me to reconsider.

  22. 37 minutes, with at least 5 of those spent on LOI, DAFTIE, which I finally managed to parse after twigging the “to the back” bit. Sensed the light bulb illuminate above my head when I divined the correct Potter and stopped trying to insert Quiddich Player. A lot of clever clues I thought, and a most enjoyable puzzle. I kept my eye open for a pangram when I saw the Y and Zs, but there was none. After the Aw Shucks, I considered Daffie(Duck) for 1a but of course it wouldn’t parse and he’s Daffy anyway :-)Thanks to Jack for the blog.
  23. ‘Touch up’ works just as well as ‘brush up’ (and the ‘H’ fits). Were it a chess problem, that would be considered a ‘cook’. I suppose the impossibility of 20A as T-S-M is a reasonable refutation of that criticism, but still…
    1. Sorry, but “touch(ing) up” has nothing to do with grooming, at least in polite circles
      1. Well no, not in that sense, but in the sense of “a quick improvement made to the appearance of something” I think it’s close enough.
        But those crossing letters seal the deal. No ambiguity and no room for criticism.
      2. Not to mention GROOM having another, sexually-predatory, meaning.
        A slow 35 mins needing a break before getting FOLIO & DAFTIE.
  24. Every once in a while, we are assisted on The Times iPad version which does not show hyphens in the enumeration. It would never have occurred to me in a million years that AW SHUCKS was hyphenated. Having married into a Scottish family 26 years ago, DAFTIE was a write-in, which I am sure says something about me.
    Around the same time, I joined a major US pharmaceutical company. I was in the US for what was effectively a hoolie and ended up next to the CFO in the gents. He said that we must shoot the breeze some time, and staggered off. The next day, I received a sharp call from his PA at 0915 saying that Mr S wanted to know why I was not shooting the breeze with him. I went. Unfortunately, I dropped in his estimation when he discovered that my Cambridge degree was from the UK, not Cambridge, Mass. 29:17
    1. Hopefully no one will ever find out that my Oxford degree is from Oxford, Alabama, not Oxford in the UK…
    2. You did better than a colleague of mine many years ago who in similar circumstances said to a similarly senior person ‘for such a big cheese you’ve got a very small [redacted]’.
      His career did not flourish.
  25. A relatively steady stroll today, in 20 minutes, ending with ZOOMS. Only DAFTIE caused some delay, but after DOWNSIZING went in it was somewhat unavoidable, despite being totally unknown. I certainly wasn’t familiar with the Potter character either, but the anagrist made me confident that the first word was SQUIRREL, and thereafter the NUTKIN part seemed fairly likely for the rest. AW SHUCKS was a nice diversion; I associate it, rightly or wrongly, with the Cowardly Lion. Regards.
  26. 17 mins, and like plenty of others DAFTIE was my LOI. I found the bottom half of the puzzle quite straightforward but then ground to a halt for a while in the top half before the MAGAZINE/SHOOT THE BREEZE crossers opened it up for me.
  27. PB today with 8 clues solved. Still a long way to go, but making slow and steady progress. Couldn’t get anything in the top half of the crossword to start the ball rolling up there.
  28. Hang in there, Stefan. I can remember when completing a Times cryptic was unthinkable, and I was quite pleased with myself if I got one answer.

    That said, today’s was a bit Mondayish, I thought, and took me 27 minutes. I wasn’t too held up by 1ac., though I did spend a little time trying to parse “dimwit”.

  29. 25 minutes, late in the day, twigged Beatrix not Harry, the rest was all fair play, with a sniff at 1a my LOI.

Comments are closed.