Times Cryptic 26482 – August 4, 2016 A Tale of Two…

24 minutes dead for this, with a lot of Responsible Commentator checking on the way. A lot of this was solved in a fragmentary way: I had several probable bits of clues in divers places in the grid, but not much compete or coherent. Strong on anagrams, which I found helpful for the less well known entries, We are required to identify two words which mean “free”. There are also two cities which are rather unhelpfully qualified as, respectively, American and Asian. Narrows it down a bit, but not much.
Clues, Definitions, SOLUTIONS

1. American city shedding last bright light (9)
CLEVELAND Take your pick from (according to how you count them) around 19,000 or so. Or follow the wordplay: Bright is CLEVER, “shed the last” and add LAND for light.
6. Shy English class (5)
CASTE A concatenation of CAST as in throw, or here, shy, and E(nglish)
9. Most flashy little boy grabbed by yahoo (7)
LOUDEST  Yahoo is a LOUT (certainly when it tries to hijack your search engine) so your little boy is DES
10. Blasphemous academic again cut short (7)
PROFANE  Academic PROF, and I think again cut short is ANE(w)
11. Grinders supplied by John Stuart’s family (5)
MILLS  John Stuart MILL, of his own free will/On half a pint of shandy was particularly ill. His family of course were the Mills
13. Uproar about red bus breaking free (9)
DISBURDEN I’ll let you decide whether this is a proper word and where you might use it. Uproar is DIN and the rest is provided by the broken bits of RED BUS, which need to be inserted
14. Church feature recollected for a long time (5,4)
ORGAN LOFT  See “recollected”, think anagram, taking your fodder from FOR A LONG T(ime) Not the place where they keep the hearts, livers and ears of Saints. That’s the crypt.
16. Just food, by the sound of it (4)
FAIR  as heard in FARE, food
18. Soldier ready in Serbia (4)
PARA  Double definition. (Was) 1/100 of a Yugoslav dinar. Considering £1 nets you around 150 dinars, it’s not difficult to see why it might have dropped out of use. I didn’t know any of this, and put PARA in on a “most likely answer” basis, not knowing any other soldier that might fit.
19. Singular advantage before North African battle (9)
SEDGEMOOR  S(ingular) advantage: EDGE, North African: MOOR. I checked. It’s still OK. Sedgemoor 6th July 1685 was the last battle fought on English soil, and ended the Monmouth rebellion, in which one of Chas 2’s wild oats, James Scott, attempted to wrest the crown from Uncle Jim.
22. Inconsequential seconds and minutes never surpassed (5-4)
SMALL TIME Seconds and Minutes have their usual abbreviations, and ALL TIME records are “never surpassed” (until they are, of course)
24. Roll around unknown composer (5)
LISZT  A simple insertion of the “unknown”, Z into LIST or roll.
25. Courts enclosing American land (7)
AUSTRIA  Courts are ATRIA, stick in US .
26. Free French article affected church (7)
UNHITCH  The second free today, this time produced by UN (French article), HIT  for “affected” and CH(urch). I lost time looking for affected in the sense of camp before realising it was more simple.
28. Outsiders ejected from Texan court? Just so! (5)
EXACT  Knock off the outside letters of Texas, and add CT for Court.
29. Head of Entertainment said I’m to enter ballpark (9)
ESTIMATED  Head of Entertainment: E, said: STATED, I’M to be inserted.


1. Band with heart of gold in Asian city (7)
COLOMBO  No, I don’t know how many Asian cities there are. Must be loads. This one’s still, mercifully unchanged, the capital of Sri Lanka. Band is COMBO, heart of gold is OL. Insert.
2. Philosopher lacking capital raised Australian native (3)
EMU. I’m so glad there isn’t a philosopher called Zoba, or somesuch, or we’d all be in trouble. The one we need is a headless David (H)UME reversed to give us our antipodean/propodean bird.
3. Archdeacon lied, perhaps, after conclusion of divine service (8)
EVENSONG   We were talking about this just a couple of weeks ago while educating each other about the Nunc Dimittis. An Archdeacon’s title is VEN(erable). Lied is Schubertese for SONG. The last letter of divine is E. Assemble in the order suggested.
4. In dance they’d regularly taken steps (5)
ACTED  removed alternately from dAnCe ThEy’D.
5. Action involving sailors: Italian gets left (9)
DEPOSITED Action is DEED. Sailors must be P(etty) O(fficer)S. Italian id IT. Assemble.
6. Commentators in play about God (6)
CHORUS  Yup, I looked for a play around (say) RA to. But it’s C(irca) HORUS
7. Children entertaining grandpa arranged flowers (11)
SNAPDRAGONS  Chilldren are SONS. Insert a letter mix of GRANDPA
8. Eastern king embracing no queen (7)
ELEANOR  Eastern just give the E, the king is LEAR and no is NO.
12. Rule is again broken in part of the Med (8,3)
LIGURIAN SEA  Set twixt Corsica and Italy’s upper thigh. Here given as an anagram of RULE IS AGAIN. Take out the SEA and the –IAN and fiddle with the rest until you have something that rings a faint bell. I did.
15. Fix it on beast like a mule (9)
OBSTINATE  Another anagram to “fix”: IT ON BEAST.
17. Settle back in pantry with meat for dog (8)
SEALYHAM SEAL is from “settle” (“taking on James II sealed/settled Scott’s fate”) which leaves “back of pantry” to supply the Y and meat to supply the HAM
18. Right to go through corridor (7)
PASSAGE  A double definition.
20. Miserable missing wife may be gagged (7)
RETCHED  Miserable is WRETCHED, remove he W(ife)
21. Munster county town wanting own wine (6)
CLARET  Needs to be carefully divided. CLARE is a county within Munster Province. Town without own is T.
23. Virgin from the south side of Detroit burst out (5)
ERUPT Virgin/PURE from the south is ERUP, one side of Detroit is T.
27. Nip for nipper (3)
TOT  A nice palindromic double definition to finish with

43 comments on “Times Cryptic 26482 – August 4, 2016 A Tale of Two…”

  1. Like Z, I threw in PARA because what else? DNK SEDGEMOOR, but (after giving up trying to think of a N. African battle that would fit) MOOR finally came to mind. Took me a while to come up with ‘cast’ for ‘shy’ (‘coy’ came first), and more while to come up with ‘sons’ for ‘children’ (thought of ‘tots’ first, despite 27d). ORGAN LOFT took some time, too, because I started with ‘recollected’ as a reversal indicator, not as anagrind.
    1. With the first S in place at 7 I spent too long trying to fit the confused grandpa into SEED.
  2. Pretty much what Kevin said, but over a much longer time frame, and had to cheat at the end for the unknown SEALYHAM. At least I had the satisfaction of proving Penfold wrong!

    Very chewy this one, well done setter. Would have loved it if I had just known that dog. Oh well.

    And thanks for the usual high-quality blog Z.

  3. Struggled home in an hour with a fair amount of biffing and guesswork. Failed to understand the second part of 10ac, so thanks for that, Z.
  4. I’m having a dismal run of silly mistakes. Today’s was carefully parsing 1d then typing in COLUMBO.

    Interesting puzzle, though, which I solved the same way as Z8, assembling probable fragments of answers and working from there.

    Edited at 2016-08-04 06:18 am (UTC)

  5. Unsure of the dog/battle cross. But they’re both obvious from the cryptics.
    Enjoyed 10ac having recently been accused of blasphemy for writing “My God!” in an email. Sent the student the famous use of O.M.G. in the letter from Jackie Fisher to Winston (1917) and an assurance re the former’s religiosity. Turns out he (the student) was being facetious.
  6. Took a while to get going today, like z had bits and pieces, and didn’t really flow until I got a longish anagram with SNAPDRAGONS. Visited Yugoslavia as was in 1982, didn’t come across the PARA at all. Half knew SEALYHAM (LOI) but spent some time parsing as didn’t want a dnf. COD 6d. 31′. Thanks setter and z.
    1. Wiki says the para was still around in the early noughties, but clearly had more value as scrap.
  7. Late for work this morning due in part to entering a thoughtful MEET(16) and a thoughtless ROO(3). Next to nothing came easily though.
    1. There absolutely must be, somewhere in history, a philosopher named MOOR. Must consult Monty Python.
      A futile alphabet trawl to find an alternative to SEALYHAM, *knew* it was a cat not a dog, and couldn’t see SEAL for SETTLE at all. So 30 minutes & change – tricky.
      Liked Grandpa arranging flowers.
  8. Usually our cousins from ‘down-under’ are first up and first in with the comments. However they are often unaware of standard English words, that have not travelled well,such as 17dn SEALYHAM and 19ac SEDGEMOOR.
    Whereas Australian plants and animals for them are no problem.

    40 minutes for me today so a bit of a struggle. I journeyed East to West with 10ac FAIR FOI and EMU LOI(!) as cow-corner caused most difficulty.

    I see no problem with 13ac DISBURDEN. Richard II – Lord Ross
    ‘My heart is great; but it must break with silence,
    Ere’t be disburden’d with a liberal tongue.’ William Shakespeare.


    horryd Shanghai

    1. Sadly these standard English words hadn’t travelled as far as me, either, and I’ve hardly ever left England. Lots I didn’t know here, including but very much not limited to SEALYHAM and SEDGEMOOR.

      I’d seen the anagrind and anagrist for both ORGAN LOFT and LIGURIAN SEA, but didn’t know either, and couldn’t work them out. (Didn’t help that I got fixated on “roof” instead of “loft” for a while.) Didn’t figure out the “sons” to help with the SNAPDRAGONS, either. I’m wondering if I should go back to pen and paper for the anagrams, or stick with trying to work them out in my head.

      Many more I didn’t just didn’t get here; too many DNKs and I just wasn’t on the wavelength for the wordplay. Perhaps the hangover didn’t help, but this was my most dismal performance for some weeks.

      Ah well. At least I got the EVENSONG today, so presumably a little of this education is sticking!

  9. A bit easier than yesterday’s; 18 minutes, with PARA half guessed and CLEVELAND biffed. Knew my dogs and my battles, so all was fine. Liked 8d best.
  10. Oh the shame of it! The Battle of Sedgemoor was fought at Westonzoyland which happens to be only 7 miles from where I live. So why did I have so much difficulty getting the answer? By the way that’s a rhetorical question.
    It took forever for me to get started on this puzzle but once I’d secured the beachhead it became a pretty steady solve (19a notwithstanding).
    Thanks z for parsing 1a and 17d which had defeated me.
  11. Thanks Z for the blog which was hugely more entertaining than the crossword which was a very rare write-in for me. Did no one else find this “mechanical”? 6a, 9a, 10a, 13a, 24a, 25a, 26a, 28a and 29a for example. That is without the Down clues. I blame computers.
  12. Too many DNKs it is not education you lack but simply reading. One’s vocabulary is best extended by copious amounts of reading -the right stuff.

    For the Times 15×15 I would recommend plenty of H G Wells, P G Wodehouse, G.. Chesterton, Noel Coward, Dorothy L Sayers, Ian Fleming, Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh, David Nobbs, Tom Sharpe and Bill Bryson plus decent biographies Your English vocab. will improve by the day.
    Advice from Griff Rees-Jones: avoid books from W.H.Smiths with gold-debossing adorning the cover!

    horryd Shanghai

    1. Funnily enough, my current reading matter, Three Men In A Boat, was inspired by discussion here following one of the three men popping up in the crossword. I’ve read at least one book by about half of the authors on your list; I’ll add some of the others to my “incoming” pile. Thanks!
      1. Matt,
        I agree that Jerome is an amusing writer, so keep an eye out for Three Men on the Bummel and his Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow (and its follow-up ‘Second Idle’ etc. However for pure pleasure, A G MacDonell’s ‘England, Their England’ is unbeatable. It includes the definitive cricket match among other things
        1. Thanks; I shall pop it on the ever-expanding list.

          Yesterday’s word from the QI Elves on Twitter seems appropriate to mention:

          Word of the day: TSUNDOKU (Japanese) – the act of leaving a book unread after buying it and piling it up with other unread books.

      1. I’ve seen exactly one cricket match in my life, on a school outing to our local county cricket ground. I don’t seem to have *too* much problem with the cricketing references, though; I think I’ve just been in the correct circles to pick up a lot of the terms by osmosis rather than any active interest.
  13. I had lots of interruptions during this one, but my solving time was 45 minutes. Fairly tricky I thought. FOI CASTE. LOI COLOMBO after biffing CLEVELAND. Like Z I unravelled the Sea by taking out IAN and SEA and RIGULing the rest of the letters into a recognisable geographical feature. Thanks to Z for unravelling the parsing of CLEVELAND which evaded me, and completing the parsing of SEALYHAM and CLARET which I only partially solved. PARA went in with a shrug as I didn’t know the coin. An beheaded and upset Zoba would certainly have been a bit naughty!
  14. Less likely than anew; a more forced feel to it all. It doesn’t not work but the other better.
    31 min. for this one. Some neat stitching.
  15. Well that was a tricky little blighter and no mistake. 22:05 solved a good bit earlier in the day than is my custom.

    In a lot of places it was hard to be sure where the definition lay, e.g.
    1a American, American city or bright light?
    13a uproar or breaking free?
    14a church feature or for a long time?
    22a inconsequential or never surpassed?
    17d Settle, settle back, meat for dog or dog?

    I didn’t know the coin or the sea.

    It was nice to see one of my daughters appear at 8d which, thankfully, was my second in.

    1. No because in the clue it’s again not a gain so ANE(w) is the correct parsing.

      Not that the Times would ever use again to represent a gain but it they did there’d most likely be a question mark.

  16. Was nearly at the hour mark when I biffed LOI PARA. I had a holiday in Celle Ligure in 1967 so FOI LIGURIAN SEA. Pleased to see setter read our stuff about EVENSONG. This was a really good puzzle that moveth me in sundry places.
  17. I found this quite odd in that I romped away to start with bunging in the dog the battle the plant the composer and the grinder with little thought plus several others and thought I was in for a fast time (for me). Then I ground to a virtual halt for ages finding bits of words here and there and just as I was getting fed up, most of the others suddenly slotted into place and I could not see why they had seemed impenetrable although I had never heard of DISBURDEN. Guessed PARA and never did parse the city or the ane bit of profane so many thanks to blogger. About an hour overall interspersed with getting washing on and off the line between heavy showers.
  18. Thanks for the very clear blog, Z8. I like it when the whole clue is listed with the definition underlined.
    If Z8 knows that “John Stuart Mill, of his own free will…” he will undoubtedly know that “David Hume could out consume Schopenhauer and Hegel”.
    Thanks for the deconstruction of SEALYHAM. That was the only clue I couldn’t parse properly. It was probably me but It took me quite a while to spot that 15d was an anagram; and it also took me quite while to realise that there are North Africans other than Touaregs and Berbers.
    Favourite clues: 6d and 3d. 49m 54s
  19. For some reason I did not like this crossword, it felt forced and artificial.. para, really? Smacks of desperation… probably just me though.
  20. I would lump disburden together with Tuesday’s denature as rather clumsy words , perhaps for use only by poets who get away with putting de- or dis- in front of pretty much anything if it suits them . To answer Z’s question I would say that it isn’t a valid word if no-one woul dream of using it in everyday conversation .
  21. On a roll this week with my fourth sub-20 (just). Biffed the US city and the dog – guessed the coinage. The plant, as ever, was my last one in. I really need to add Alan Titchmarsh to my reading list.
  22. I had high hopes of coming in under 10 minutes for this one but it was not to be; ended closer to the 15 mark. Much slowed down by 1dn and esp 14ac, where I failed to spot an anagram for ages, convinced that the ORGAN was a nose or the like, needing reversal. Fun crossword I thought, with a suitably Times-y vocab selection.
  23. 23:37 but with a bad error. It never occurred to me that CHORUS was the commentary, although having acted in Henry V in my youth (Oh for a muse of fire etc). However I did know that CRONUS was part of Greek mythology so banged it in, while grumbling that he was not offically a god. Hum Ho! Thanks setter and thanks to Z for an entertaining blog

    Edited at 2016-08-04 03:56 pm (UTC)

    1. ….You would appreciate this, then, bigtone53.
      In my scrapbook I have a potted review of Kenneth Branagh’s “Henry V” which concludes with “…and Derek Jacobi, as the Chorus, pops up like a medieval Kate Adie to bring news of fresh disasters.” !
  24. When faced with O***N *O** at 14a did anyone else biff ONION DOME? A definite church feature in many parts of Europe. It took me a while to unravel. 25 minutes. Ann
  25. I like ONION DOME, but no, I didn’t throw it in. About 20 minutes, ending with the EDGEMOOR/SEALYHAM crossing. The latter was a stab based on dim memory of dogs. PARA also a guess but a rather necessary one. A few weird vocab equivalencies in the wordplay today, such as affected=hit and the PO’s=sailors (I get it, but rare)and seal=settle. The ERUPT clue was very nicely done. Thanks setter and Z, and regards to all.
  26. 16 mins, which is a better effort than I thought it was after reading what the rest of you thought of it. The PASSAGE/PARA crossers took a long time to get and like most of you I’d never heard of the coin and took a gamble that there wasn’t another soldier that would fit P?R?. A biffed SEALYHAM was my LOI. I knew the dog and couldn’t think of an alternative but I couldn’t parse it. I was reading “settle back” as “e” and wondering how on earth a “saly” could be a pantry. For some reason it didn’t occur to me to read “back in pantry” as “y”. Oh, and I shamefully admit that my geographical knowledge of Ireland isn’t as good as I thought it was because I’d convinced myself that there must be a town in County Clare called Claretown.
  27. 14m. At this point only commenting to record my time for when I get round to updating my nerdy spreadsheet.

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