Times Cryptic 26492

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
My solving time for this one was off the scale. There were five answers, two of them intersecting, that were beyond my ken, and another two I needed aids to come up with, so technically a DNF for me making it the second in a row. Here’s my blog.

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

1 Growing less dense, Republican judge comprehending a lawsuit (11)
RAREFACTION – R (Republican), A, REF (judge), ACTION (lawsuit).  “Comprehending” is a containment indicator placing the A between R and REF.  From the definition I was ready to biff something derived from “rarefy” but as I didn’t know this word I needed aids in the last resort.
7 Hum softly in jazzy style (3)
BOP – BO (hum – body odour), P (softly). BO as featured in TV ads for Lifebuoy soap in days of yore.
9 Male follows musical genre deserving to embarrass (9)
DISCOMFIT – DISCO (musical genre), M (male), FIT (deserving)
10 Approximately finishing what’s said to be tea chest (5)
TORSO –  T (what’s said to be tea), OR SO (approximately). I can’t find “torso” = “chest” in any of the usual sources; it consists of more of the body than that,  but excluding the head and limbs.
11 Asian rhino coming from arena, an escaping giant (7)
RINGGIT – RING (arena), GI{an}T [an, escaping]. Equals 100 sen in Malaysia apparently. The wordplay led me to this unknown and unlikely-looking word. “Rhino” is UK slang for “money” if anyone’s wondering.
12 Payment from right foreign friend for decorative art (7)
ORIGAMI – GIRO (payment) reversed [from right], AMI (foreign friend – French)
13 Minute person on horse maybe a philosopher? (5)
MUSER – M (minute), USER (person on horse maybe – heroin). I had MO (minute), SIR (person on horse – knight = sir, geddit?). “Mosir” being a philosopher well-known to all but me, of course.
15 Accept play area is gone, unfortunately (9)
RECOGNISE – REC (play area – recreation ground), anagram [unfortunately] of IS GONE
17 Fancy enamel tap handle’s seen here (4-5)
NAME-PLATE – Anagram [fancy] of ENAMEL TAP. “Handle” being a slang term for “name”.
19 Kid goat, unevenly, is to take steps in a line (5)
CONGA – CON (kid – swindle), G{o}A{t} [unevenly]. The Latin American line dance in which the participants follow each other rather than dance side by side.
20 Kit sappers packed in dismay (7)
APPAREL – RE (sappers – Royal Engineers) contained by [packed in] APPAL (dismay)
22 Croatia’s leader concerned with depravity in Split? (7)
CREVICE – C{roatia} [‘s leader], RE (concerned with], VICE (depravity).
24 Pair with little time for cathedral (5)
DUOMO – DUO (pair), MO (little time – moment). The ones in Milan and Florence are perhaps the most famous, but there are many others in Italy.
25 My account could be seen as contempt of court (9)
CONTUMACY – Anagram [could be seen as] of MY ACCOUNT. Another unknown to me.
27 Maybe Suffolk’s female solver is picked up (3)
EWE – Sounds like [picked up] “you” (solver). Suffolk being a breed of sheep.
28 Oxygen inhaled in repose helping recovery (11)
RESTORATION – REST (repose), O (oxygen), RATION (helping). “Inhaled” is the containment indicator for the oxygen.
1 In Berlin, the uprising seeking to destroy capital? (3)
RED – DER (in Berlin, “the”) reversed [uprising]
2 What repeat offender may do for secreted substance (5)
RESIN – two definitions, the first leading to RE-SIN with tongue in cheek
3 Fine fellow working with timber salesman (7)
FLOGGER – F (fine), LOGGER (fellow working with timber)
4 There’s scoffing here, with Conservative Party breaking into song (9)
CAFETERIA – C (Conservative) then FETE (party) contained by [breaking into]  ARIA (song). After “noshing” last week we now have “scoffing”, very much associated with Billy Bunter and his pals in my mind.
5 Keen on captivating start to Rameau prelude (5)
INTRO – INTO (keen on) contains [captivating] R{ameau} [start]. Not a prelude, but here’s one of my favourites by the French composer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKvd4tMkFHc
6 No good fastening in old, flimsy zip (7)
NOTHING – NG (no good) contains [fastening in]  O (old) + THIN (flimsy). I think this usage of “zip” is American but I’ve met it before.
7 Pub staff at home restraining a lout (9)
BARBARIAN – BAR (pub), BAR (staff), IN (at home) containing [restraining] A
8 Favouring one in can, consumed mushroom (11)
PROLIFERATE – PRO (favouring), LIFER (one in  can – prisoner), ATE (consumed)
11 Display of light courtship, cuddling and onset of love (5,6)
ROMAN CANDLE – ROMANCE (courtship) containing [cuddling] AND + L{ove} [onset]
14 Way of signalling English plan to invade beach (9)
SEMAPHORE –  E (English) + MAP (plan) inserted in  [to invade] SHORE (beach)
16 Sign when playing soccer badly, letting in goal (9)
CRESCENDO – Anagram [badly] of SOCCER containing [letting in] END (goal). A sign or instruction used in music, so “when playing”.
18 Room is something you’d normally expect to get dark (7)
PARLOUR – PAR (something you’d normally expect), LOUR (get dark)
19 Poet’s break from roughly lifting a device (7)
CAESURA – CA (roughly – circa), then A + RUSE (device) reversed [lifting]. A break or pause between words in poetry. If ever I learnt this word at school I had forgotten it.
21 Spikes crack large and small walls (5)
LACES – L (large) + S (small) contains [walls] ACE (crack). “Spike” and “lace” as might be done to alcoholic drinks.
23 Taxmen once with a measure of intelligence upset Arab? (5)
IRAQI – IR (taxmen once), A, IQ (intelligence) reversed [upset]. The Inland Revenue merged with HM Customs and Excise in 2005 to form HMRC which is unlikely to be of much use to setters but they have stuck with the old acronym and qualify it by adding “old” or “once” to satisfy the pedants amongst us. For myself I don’t see why just because something has changed its name it’s necessary to do this, as the abbreviation is still valid historically.
26 Desire conveyed in estuary English (3)
YEN – Hidden [conveyed in] {estuar}Y EN{glish}

38 comments on “Times Cryptic 26492”

  1. Thanks, Jack, for enlightening me about Inland Revenue; I’ve wondered several times about ‘once’, but never remembered to look into it. I actually knew RINGGIT although not what country uses it, nor was I that confident about how to spell it, but the wordplay settled that. I knew CAESURA, too, but spent a long time thinking ‘poet’ was the definition. until the U-A got me in the right direction. I flung in ‘contumely’ at 25ac, which stayed there until I got IRAQI; in fact, I didn’t really know what either word meant, and I just now found out that ‘contumely’ is archaic anyway. LOI LACES; took me forever to get away from the noun ‘spikes’. Wasn’t Mosir the founder of the Momblist school of philosophy?
    1. I think ‘contumely’ exists only in Hamlet’s soliloquy. That and ‘quietus’.
      1. ‘quietus’ is older than Shakespeare, meaning discharge from knight’s tax by serving the king abroad – later used to mean discharge from life, great word as it has resonances of rest and eternal peace.
          1. I used the word “contumely” in a short story I wrote when I was, ooh, possibly even still a teenager. I got better though.
            1. Ah, the inimitable prose style of the sixth-former. 😉
              Mind you some people never seem to grow out of it, mentioning no names Russell Brand.

              Edited at 2016-08-16 04:30 pm (UTC)

    2. …is apparently a Quranic name meaning “one who says things that bring joy and happiness to others”. There’s philosophy for you! I’d appeal.
  2. Took me about 50 minutes, but eventually managed to finish with CAESURA my LOI – a new word to me, as was CONTUMACY. I agree with your comments about TORSO. Even Wikipedia, that unimpeachable source of medical information, has it as “The torso includes the thorax and the abdomen”. Favourites were the ‘Asian rhino’ in 11a, and MUSER.

    Thanks to setter and blogger – I liked the Rameau piece as well.

  3. …with a huge chunk of that spent staring at 19dn until CAESURA appeared from some dim recess of my brain (which seems to mainly consist of dim recesses).

    Some very biffable clues (SEMAPHORE, CONGA), but I took a while over the unknown CONTUMACY and the TORSO / NOTHING crossers. And I always fail to think of the possibility of mushroom being a verb.

    Oh, and FLOGGER has a slightly different meaning down here, but in my experience salesman would still work pretty well as a definition, or maybe a DBE.

    Nice crossword. Thanks setter and Jack.

    1. Unfortunately TELEGRAPH was fairly biffable for SEMAPHORE, too, especially as a GRAPH is also a kind of plan. D’oh!
  4. A tough chew – so 47 minutes.


    ZIP is the commonly used American ‘squatative’ for NOTHING.

    Was Fine necessary in 3dn? F (fellow) LOGGER (working with wood) might have been trimmed for the salesman?

    FOI 1dn RED COD 11ac RINGGIT Malaysia’s funny-money – except in Kelantan State where it is referred to as RIYAL.


    horryd Shanghai

  5. … on the LACES/CONTUMACY pair. Overall, pretty out of character for a Monday.

    Oops! It’s Tuesday!

    Edited at 2016-08-16 02:47 am (UTC)

  6. 26’22” including a 60-second phone call. Last EWE: just as well I thought about it, as I was tossing up between EVE and EYE…
  7. 11:49. I loved this: very little biffing, lots of grappling with wordplay all the way through. I didn’t find it particularly hard though, and was taken over the ten-minute mark by the CONTUMELY/LACES crossing pair. I didn’t know the former and took far too long to see that it was an anagram. I also took far too long to see which end of the latter was the definition: it looks very much like it should be ‘walls’.
    First class stuff, many thanks setter.
  8. Looking again at the clue for LACES it is particularly brilliant:
    > Spikes: noun in the surface, verb in the wordplay
    > Crack: verb in the surface, adjective in the wordplay
    > Walls: noun in the surface, verb in the wordplay
    > ‘Crack’ looks like an insertion indicator
    And all with a super-smooth surface. So much misdirection packed into so few words… half of which (‘large and small’) are doing exactly you would expect!

    Edited at 2016-08-16 03:13 am (UTC)

  9. 25:56 … 2 days in a row I’ve struggled. I can’t decide if it’s me or the crosswords.

    Some lovely clues here. Agree with keriothe that LACES is a peach. CAESURA, SEMAPHORE, ROMAN CANDLE … all great.

    I snarled a bit at RINGGIT, which I’ll confess to checking before hitting the submit button. Not sure what qualifies a particular currency for inclusion but I hope we don’t have to contend with the likes of the pataca, the ariary, the kwacha or the rufiyaa any time soon — and those are just some of the ones under M on the list I found (Macau, Madagascar, Malawi, the Maldives, if you’re interested!).

    Still, all’s fair in love, war and crosswords, I suppose.

    1. If it’s you then it’s me too. I’ve been on the 60 minute mark both today and yesterday – twice my par time.
      An hour each! I think I ought to get a life.
  10. 16.48 but LACES (my LOI) too good for me. Taking ‘walls’ to be a containment indicator and thinking in my innocence that ‘ice’ and ‘crack’ were one and the same led me to LICES which seemed a possible latinate plural for a word I’d never heard of. Now I know why.
  11. Another very-DNF for me. After getting only four in my initial complete traversal, I knew it was going to be a hard day. I did rally toward the end of my hour, filling in most of the NE and a few other besides, but that was as far as I got.

    Too many unknowns for comfort — at least eight words in the clues or the answers I’d never heard of — but certainly excellent, fair cluing.

    Right. I’m off to put a bunch more words on my vocab list. See you all tomorrow.

  12. 23.45, glad it wasn’t just me. Certainly one to make you think and not just chuck in answers, though I see some of our regulars are still doing just that or perhaps using a form of logomancy I’m not yet familiar with.
    I agree there’s quite a sprinkling of slang terms in this one – rhino, hum, horse, zip, can and others (to be nominated?) – but surely they’re all withing the bounds of crossword convention? Does this word mean that one? Fine! does it mislead the solver? Excellent!
    Which I suppose brings me onto TORSO/chest. Looks like (probably is) a minor oversight by the setter, but I wonder if there was (should that be were?) a little more going on, because it does work by way of one of those 3 point turns: chest, trunk, torso. We all got it, anyway, even muttering tut, tut as we did so. And I liked T or so, which of course would mean nothing outside this 15×15 frame of reference.
    I made up CONTUMACY on general principles, just like Shakespeare. Except in this case, he didn’t.
    Thanks Jack for a comprehensive blog.

    Edited at 2016-08-16 07:48 am (UTC)

  13. Thought this was one of the most enjoyable for ages. Tough, sure, but beautifully constructed. About 34m.
  14. This exercised my brain cells for 55 minutes, but I did at least complete it correctly. CONTUMACY was dredged from the depths, CAESURA was unknown but worked out from crossers and wordplay, RINGGIT constructed and vaguely remembered, but didn’t make the connection to currency before moving on. Light bulb moments when I saw PROLIFERATE and BARBARIAN. I found the right side trickier than the left. A lot to like about this puzzle. FOI YEN, LOI CAESURA. Thanks setter and Jack.
  15. 18:11, so evidently this one suited me. I was helped by having no unknowns but several half-knowns – I’d heard of RAREFACTION, RINGGIT, CAESURA and CONTUMACY though I couldn’t have told you beforehand what any of them meant.
  16. Actually, it’s Tuesday, and this excellent puzzle took me 43′. LOI LACES, as already discussed. CAESURA known from literature studies, CONTUMACY no idea what it meant. Started off with RENAANE for the currency, until FLOGGER appeared. Thanks jack and setter.
  17. As an improver I was pleased to nearly finish this excellent puzzle, failing on the two tricky words in SE. Note to self to remember horse can be heroin. COD 4; reminded me of Mr Redmond trying to sing the a Welsh national anthem.
  18. I enjoyed this one. I thought that CONTUMACY had a wildly different meaning until I remembered that I was thinking of TUMESCENT. Curiously both are derived from the same latin verb. Being born in Dartford (Dar’ford) would have given me an edge on Estuary English had knowledge of it been relevant. Thanks setter and Jack
  19. RAREFACTION FOI actually but I’m not getting less dense. 55 minutes today and had to check CAESURA and CONTUMACY. Thank you to the blogger for revealing that he had problems with this very good puzzle, but I think like BWFC I’m playing in the third tier.

    Edited at 2016-08-16 11:29 am (UTC)

  20. Just under the half-hour, but with a careless CAFETARIA at 4dn. I also had EYE at 27ac., having remembered that there is such a place in Suffolk.
    By the way, I doubt ‘rhino’ as a slang word for money has been used by anyone outside crosswordland since the Victorian era, but it’s still a setters’ favourite.
  21. Around 20 minutes but totally defeated by LACES. Bunged in LOCKS ( spiky hair – walled in/locked in) – OK, I’ll get my coat …….
  22. Hi all. No real problems today, a very lively puzzle I thought, which I went through in 15 minutes or thereabouts, ending with CAESURA/CONTUMACY. Like Big Tone, I was misled by the similarity between CONTUMACY and ‘tumescent’ into thinking that ‘contempt of court’ had something to do with being unfaithful to the appropriate object of one’s courtship, so I learned something there. I also was familiar with the term RINGGIT but forgot its exact meaning, so I thought it might actually be Asian rhino (the horn where its nose should be kind) instead of money. Nevertheless, all correct, and educational besides. Regards.
  23. 20 mins. I finished a lot of it quite quickly but I started to get tired with the NW still largely empty. When I snapped out of my lethargy I finished the puzzle relatively quickly once I stopped trying to justify “trattoria” for 4dn and realised the answer was the much more straightforward CAFETERIA. I was also grateful for the wordplay because I might have been tempted to spell it like phmfantom did – for some bizarre reason the correct spelling never sticks no matter how many times I see it. Anyway, after it went in it was followed by RINGGIT, DISCOMFIT, RED, FLOGGER and then RAREFACTION, my LOI. I confess to having biffed PARLOUR and CONTUMACY went in with fingers crossed.
  24. After a long hot day, tackled this with a glass of white watching Olympics and had it done in 30 minutes, with only CAESURA put in from word play as was unknown. Some great clues today, best puzzle for a couple of weeks IMO. LACES brilliant.
  25. A slow solve at 45 minutes, at least according to the timer.

    RINGGIT was no problem, as I have had many many happy times in Malaya (or “Malaysia” as they now insist on being known as). CONTUMACY took a while, after considering many permutations (not all of them fit to print) of the non-checkers. The closest word that I was fairly sure existed was “contumely” (though I had no idea what it meant), so CONTUMACY seemed about as good as I was going to get.

    CAESURA was very nearly my downfall, as I assumed that the “roughly” was C, leaving me to ponder on the possible scope of the word “device”. I was about to bung in CRELURA” in fit of exasperation when CAESURA ran out from behind a pile of boxes in the dusty back-corner of my memory and said “wait!”. If Mrs. Lipscombe is still alive, I would like to thank her: I knew O-level English would come in handy at some point.

    Overall, a fine piece of puzzlement, I thought.

  26. I really enjoyed this puzzle. I took 43 minutes to complete it, a lot better than my usual time, and it was full of cleverly composed clues with subtle wordplay combined with convincing but misleading surface readings. Reading the blog I see that there were many bits my poor American brain didn’t quite understand (the hum in BOP, the rhino in RINGGIT or what exactly “Suffolk” is referring to), but the wordplay was always fair enough to show me the correct answer (even CAESURA, my LOI, which of course I had never heard of [except in the German word ZÄSUR, which means an interruption or a break, and that was good enough to tell me that my answer made sense]). I agree with sotira and keriothe — this was a brilliant puzzle and thank you, setter, very much.
  27. 10:50 for another delightful puzzle.

    I initially assumed the “giant” in 11ac was going to be a TITAN and was puzzled for a few moments because I thought the word was RINGGIT rather than RINGTIT.

    I accept that TORSO = “chest” is a bit iffy, but it actually worries me rather less than BAR = “staff” – though perhaps I’m missing something.

    Good choice of a Rameau piece. It’s very familiar to me as part of the warm-up music Barbara Segal uses for her baroque dance classes.

    1. I think bar and staff are both sufficiently ‘roddy’ enough to be swappable.

      Edited at 2016-08-17 02:13 am (UTC)

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