Times Cryptic 26542 – October 13, 2016 The royal I and I

24.40  completes a set of times in the 40’s, 30’s, 20’ and 10’s this week, and it remains to be seen at which end I complete the running flush. I look forward to seeing what the assembled company regard as obscurities in this collection, though I’d venture most of the cluing is helpful enough. This continues,  in my opinion, a run of very fine puzzles towards the tough end of the spectrum. Elizabeth I crops up for I think the third time in four days, which must be something of a record. The origin of 4 down may well be known to devotees of Trivial Pursuit, where I believe it was the basis of a question in an early edition, but I’ve included it for the sheer unlikelihood of the answer.
My reasoning follows, with clue, definition and SOLUTION


1 Pop? It does, mainly for the young?  (6,3)
BUBBLE GUM   A cryptic definition
6 Division eight? That’s so far down!  (5)
DEPTH  Division is DEP(artmen)T, and counting from A, H is 8
9 Restless native following women’s vessel  (4,3)
WINE VAT  an anagram of native, suggested by restless, follows W(omen’s).
10 Plain’s high point, reservoir fed by river  (7)
UPFRONT  which can be spelt with or without a space or hyphen. Chambers gives candidly or openly, so plain as in speaking. One of the funeral code phrases is “she always spoke her mind”, which generally translates as “she was always bloody rude to everyone.” Perhaps I should also mention wordplay, which is high point UP, reservoir FONT (Chambers says it’s poetic) with R(iver) fed into it.
11 Cloth round middle of piping grabbed by girl  (5)
DHOTI Think Ghandi-ji. Girl is nearly always DI, and here she embraces HOT for piping. The origin of the phrase piping hot is apparently from the “sizzling, whistling sound made by steam escaping from very hot food, which is similar to the sound of high-pitched musical pipes”. Um, OK.
12 Retired from tie on Thursday in triumph  (9)
WITHDRAWN Tie gives you DRAW, which you tag on to TH for Thursday. Then dump both into WIN for victory
13 Shopper’s right to go for large bottles?  (5)
GLASS   A shopper in this place is “someone who shops/peaches/rats squeals”, so a GRASS. Swap the L(eft) for R(ight) and  you get GLASS, clued by some sort of association with bottles. Sort of works.
14 Drops antiwar novel by “weak and feeble” woman  (9)
RAINWATER   A novel form of ANTIWAR is rainwat, so you need ER for the Virgin Queen Gloriana (theme of the week) for the full answer. “I may have the weak and feeble body of a woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a King, and a King of England too”. ER at Tilbury 9/19th August 1588.
17  Bile sapping energy and forbidding brilliance  (9)
SPLENDOUR  Fairly elderly versions of bile and SPLEEN are interchangeable for bad temper. “Sap”,  in this case knock out an E and add DOUR for forbidding
18 Something is vexatious about showing this?  (1-4)
V-SIGN Winston Churchill, Agincourt archers or Harvey Smith, take your pick. It’s reversed in SomethiNG IS Vexatious. Winny occasional got it the rude  way round. &lit, I think
19 Royal once having time in trip to see game with Gunners  (3,6)
RAS TAFARI  His followers turned up on my watch 2 months ago, and the man himself three days before, so no excuses. A trip to see game is, of course a SAFAFI;  chuck in a T(ime). Gunners are my lot, the Royal Artillery. I still have the badge.
22 Heads of armoured division make it their own (5)
ADMIT  The first letters of Armoured Division Make It Their. Own as in own up.
24 Informally, offering some food to consume on ship  (7)
PRESSIE  I spell it with the ZZ. On ship is translated to RE SS, and some food, which paradoxically consumes it, is PIE
25 One quiet after dash, and rather pale  (7)
WHITISH  Dash provides WHIT (a little bit), one I and quiet SH. Assemble in a likely order.
26 Use of the computer workshop goes to West Indian  (5)
BALTI  Anyone else biff BAJAN?. Detach the west, it’s a reversing instruction for IT LAB, your computer workshop. Indian as in curry, this one invented in Birmingham
27 Sweet stuff good in celery, surprisingly  (9)
GLYCERINE Looks like, and is, an anagram of G(ood) IN CELERY. Not much of a surprise, then!


1 Was on the fiddle, and bent  (5)
BOWED  double definition. It’s occurred to me that “bow and scrape” may be similarly  linked.
2 Swine upset everyone after scrap in entertainment venue  (5,4)
BINGO HALL Swine HOG and all, um , ALL. The first is reversed (upset) and both are tagged on to BIN for scrap (verb)
3 Don’t tie the knot in line, one with streaks in  (4,2,3)
LIVE IN SIN Now rather dated, as we live in more elastic times. L(ine), I (one) streaks VEINS and in , um,  IN
4 Old slogan urging Labour folk to get cracking! (2,2,4,2,2,3)
GO TO WORK ON AN EGG A pre-Edwina Curry (salmonella in eggs scaremonger and mistress of John Major) slogan composed by Salman Rushie. I claim the prize for the most unlikely but true statements in a single blog entry. (on edit): Naughty but nice! Jack spoils a perfectly good story with a reminder that Fay Weldon produced the slogan (Though see below) . Rushdie did the cream cake one and “That’ll do nicely” for American Express
5 I want your animal for grooming: line up!  (8,7)
MOUNTAIN RAILWAY  Groom I WANT YOUR ANIMAL by artfully rearranging its letters and get the “line up”. You are permitted to be chuffchuffed.
6 County, once, had finally mounted challenge  (5)
DYFED  The last letter of haD plus DEFY, challenge, mounted. Now Cardiganshire, Carmarthenshire, and Pembrokeshire, though the Lord Lieutenant still thanks it’s Dyfed.
7 Photo in bar oddly displaying Indian city  (5)
POONA  an odd letters clue (hint, start with the first letter of photo.)  Now spelt PUNE
8 Success with series is an accident  (3-3-3)
HIT-AND-RUN  Think of a word meaning success and another meaning series.
13 Top grub, as served here?  (9)
GASTROPUB  Poshed up pub food at inflated prices, and an anagram of TOP GRUB AS. A neat &lit.
15 Trend for each party to dismiss  (4,5)
WAVE ASIDE  Trend translates fairly easy to WAVE, as in New Wave music of the late 70’s. Each A as in per and party: SIDE
16 Old rulers vacated Tangier: one united with king in 1007  (9)
TRIUMVIRI, from the Mark Antony, Octavian and, er, Marcus Lepidus set up post et tu Brute. (other Triumvirates may be available in your local supermarket). This is the Latin version, kindly produced by following instructions. T(angie)R vacated, then I (one, again) U(nited) and 10057 (thanks Penfold) in Roman numerals with R inserted. Rather clever, I thought
20 Hawk close to window punctures balloon  (5)
SWELL  The end (close, noun) of window puncture SELL for hawk (verb)
21 Musician’s very short slate  (5)
ASSAI In musical Italian means very. I think the shortened slate you’re looking for is ASSAI(L), with slate being either a verbal assault or a dialect word for set on. Who knew?
23 Volunteers to remove weeds from lake  (5)
TAHOE A  large freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada of the United States. Volunteers are often the T(erritorial) A(rmy) on  planet Cryptic and people use a HOE primarily for scraping up weeds, so I’m told.

49 comments on “Times Cryptic 26542 – October 13, 2016 The royal I and I”

  1. It’s true that Salman Rushdie worked as a copy-writer in an advertising agency so it’s possible he was part of the team that worked on the “Go to work on an egg” campaign, but the origin of the phrase itself is more usually attributed to the novelist and screen-writer Fay Weldon whereas Mr Rushdie’s most famous slogan was “Naughty but nice” created to promote fresh cream cakes.

    The egg commercials were commissioned by the Egg Marketing Board and featured Tony Hancock, still at the height of his popularity on radio and TV, and the actress Patricia Hayes, who played his uncooperative housekeeper, Mrs Cravatte, in Hancock’s Half Hour. Mrs C is a lot more cheerful in these than she ever was in the comedy series.

    Here’s a taster involving Hancock at his morning crossword: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGr5y2tNoqM

    Edited at 2016-10-13 04:49 am (UTC)

    1. Ah, the perils of too hasty Googling: I had half remembered that the slogan was by somebody famous, threw it into Google and read the resulting short text without opening the whole answer, hence my attribution. I trust Fay will be forgiving partly because (more careful research later) she claimed at one point she was only the leader of the team that came up with the egg one. There must be a joke somewhere out there about how many advertising copywriters it takes to persuade a light bulb to change.

      Edited at 2016-10-13 05:54 am (UTC)

  2. And so to the puzzle itself, and a similar solve to so many recently for me, namely completing all but two or three answers within 30-35 minutes and then getting stuck interminably on the remainder. But at least today I didn’t need aids to finish any of them off and perseverance brought its own rewards.

    The problems were the three intersecting answers in the SW: RAS TAFARI, ASSAI and PRESSIE. I knew the middle one from music but before it came to mind I was fixated on the answer being “Solti” (based on “musician” as the definition, SO = very and LTI on I don’t know what). Once I had cracked that one the other two followed on quite quickly.

    Edited at 2016-10-13 04:51 am (UTC)

  3. I think BUBBLE GUM is both a kind of pop (music) and also something that pops. Sort of double definition and lit or something.

    Ifaled at the ASSAI since I couldn’t think of it. Earlier I though it was AMATI as ‘s very short slate turning into AM A TI(le) but I think he was just a violin maker rather than a musician. And it was too Guardian-like for the Times

    1. I considered Bubble gum pop music – Yummy Yummy Yummy (I’ve got love in my tummy), Sugar Sugar and all that, and I guess the ? allows a DBE. I’m prepared to consider further and accept that a DD may have been intended. I’m still working on the idea that it’s unlikely to be a CD because bubblegum pop (usually, as far as I can see, (9) rather than (6,3)) would have been on vinyl, but I think I may be in enough trouble today.
  4. Could make nothing of 10ac, in part (but only in part) because I could make nothing of 6d; but rather than leave poor enough alone, I tried for ‘dared’ (mounted challenge). But I probably wouldn’t have got FONT from ‘reservoir’ anyway. Then I put in GRASS, thinking ‘shopper’ was the def, and overlooking the ‘go’ in ‘go for’. I can take some solace from getting GO TO etc., a phrase I’ve never come across, and the to me intolerably twee PRESSIE. Tomorrow, rumor has it, is another day.
  5. I had another go at the main cryptic today and got about half the answers.

    For 24a, pressie, why does ON = RE?


  6. After being chuffed to finally complete one of this week’s puzzles yesterday, another defeat today. Happy that I readily remembered the origin of Rastafarianism from a previous puzzle, but I think that was my high point. I was beaten by UPFRONT, ASSAI, DYFED and a few others that I probably should have got in my hour. Ah well.
  7. Fay Weldon herself claims she was the creative group head at Ogilvy & Mather who approved 4dn GO TO WORK ON AN EGG but not the actual creative team who came up with the line, who are lost to time. She wrote the Hancock scripts which used the line.

    Salman Rusdie and Garry Horner,also at Ogilvy were responsible for ‘Naughty but Nice!’ and ‘Irresistibubble for Aero.

    I was at Doyle Dane Bernbach in the late sixies and Collett Dickenson Pearce from the mid-seventies – the golden days of advertising. Indra Sinha was also a writer at CDP.

    Another tough monkey which had me engrossed for too long but all correctly parsed.

    8dn HIT AND RUN is surely not an ‘accident’ as such – if it was deliberate?!

    FOI 1dn BOWED LOI 21dn ASSAI

    COD 24ac PRESSIE


    horryd Shanghai

    1. Presumably the hitting part is usually an accident and only the running that’s deliberate.
  8. This all seemed like a bit of a struggle so I was never on the setter’s wavelength with PRESSIE the most irritating of a number of irksome offerings. Surely LIVE IN SIN is so out of usage as to be an archaic offering as is the silly advertising slogan that drove me nuts at the time.
        1. Fay Weldon may not have been responsible personally for “Go to work…” but she did claim responsibility for “Vodka gets you drunker quicker”, sadly never used. I rather hope she spelt it “…drunka quicka”.
          1. Not my field but didn’t Ogden Nash say “candy is dandy – but liquor is quicker”
    1. I don’t think pressie is a proper word, and I wouldn’t spell it like that even if I did
  9. Another very good crossword. DNK ASSAI so PRESSIE was not the gift* it should have been. *Gift not used in its German sense.
  10. That’s what I actually would do in single man days.Zipped through in 20 minutes after late start to be left with 24a and 21d. 10 minutes gawping produced PRESSIE. I then biffed ASSAI as the nearest thing to a word I could see. CODs MOUNTAIN RAILWAY and BALTI.
  11. Some biffed (DEPTH, TRIUMVIRI), one wrong (grass), and two blanks (ASSAI, PRESSIE). And it all took over an hour.

    Will try harder tomorrow…

  12. Really enjoyed this very much. On the hard side but brilliantly clued. Extremely satisfying solve. Thanks, setter for such a great start to the day. Well, OK, it’s 1140am! About 35 mins.
  13. Disaster! It felt like a struggle most of the way through, so I was relatively pleased with 13m 27s and a lucky stab at ASSAI. Then I discovered I’d been too careless in chucking in GRASS at 13a. Not bifd, I guess – bifw?
  14. 33 min, with 13ac LOI, as spent some minutes pondering over choice of R or L. (Magoo expatiated on this in the forum)
    Thanks to all for origin of 4dn – I had been thinking of Agatha Christie, but of course her stint in advertising was much earlier.
  15. I was interrupted several times by delivery people and phone calls, so I only have a rough time of around 50 minutes, but with 2 wrong. I didn’t know ASSAI and plumped for AMATI, also getting PRESSIE wrong with an incorrectly reasoned PRELATE. (PLATE around ON giving a position as in HEADSHIP – PRELATESHIP)? No? I wasn’t convinced either. Managed to work out UPFRONT and DYFED, but got V SIGN without spotting the hidden. Some tricky stuff here but an enjoyable puzzle. FOI BOWED. Last correct entry, BALTI. Thanks setter and Z.
  16. 16m. Trickyish, enjoyable.
    I didn’t really understand 1ac and even now I know about the pop music I’m not entirely sure it works.
    No unknowns for me today. I even knew the advertising slogan: I’ve no idea how.

    Edited at 2016-10-13 11:06 am (UTC)

  17. Nearly finished in about 32 minutes, but couldn’t make anything out of the DYFED / UPFRONT crossing. Finally used a solver to get UPFRONT, which made DYFED much more gettable.

    GO TO WORK ON AN EGG was obviously unknown, but got there one word at a time.

    GASTROPUB, RAS TAFARI, ASSAI, TRIUMVIRI and DHOTI were all known from crosswords only, so I hate to think how I’d have gone with this one five years ago.

    Anyway, I make that 21 over par for the day. Might just call it NCR.

    Thanks setter and Z.

  18. 22:56 and rather chewy. After a reasonably brisk start things ground to a crawl. I’m grateful to Z for explaining BUBBLEGUM, SPLENDOUR, LIVE IN SIN AND ASSAI. I’m not entirely clear as to why UP = high point.

    I loved the BALTI clue.

    Z, you have a tiny typo at 16 where 1007 has been devalued slightly.

    1. This is straight out of Collins: ‘high point; good or pleasant period (esp in the phrase ups and downs)’.
      1. OK, thanks, I think I’d always viewed ups and downs as directional rather than destinations.
        1. Yes, me too. I thought of ‘ups and downs’ when solving but wasn’t entirely convinced until I looked in Collins. Even that didn’t entirely convince me but I figured 1) it gets the setter off the hook and 2) I should probably do some work.

          Edited at 2016-10-13 02:33 pm (UTC)

  19. I thought yours was a truly magnificent effort. Like climbing Everest.

    I would never even dream of tackling an Australian or American crossword but you and others do so everyday. Congrats!

    horryd Shanghai

    1. Steady on now – he’ll be on a bender now after seeing Australia whitewashed by the Saffas, and when he sobers up and reads this he’ll be insufferable.
  20. This took 40 minutes, ending with PRESSIE/ASSAI. Those two weren’t very easy at all, especially since PRESSIE isn’t at all used here. Just before that I saw UPFRONT which led to DYFED, another pretty obscure word, at least to me. Like Galspray, many of these entries were known only from these puzzles, but at least they were known as a result. Regards. Oh. The slogan, of course, wasn’t known but the enumeration, wordplay and having the final G among a few other crossers led to it. But it wasn’t any penny drop, more like a thud, accompanied by “is that so?” Again, regards.
  21. 26 mins. Count me as another who found this one on the chewy side, and my mid-solve drift wasn’t too significant for a change. Like Z8 I would always spell 24ac “prezzie” so PRESSIE didn’t occur to me for a while, although it would have helped if I hadn’t been looking at the clue the wrong way for ages because I’d been trying to fit some food into “informally offering” to come up with the name of a ship until the penny finally dropped. After it did I was able to finish the puzzle with ASSAI followed by BALTI, which I thought had a cracking clue.
  22. Late in the day, found this easier than the first three this week. LOI were PRESSIE and ASSAI, 25 minutes.
  23. Failed on the ASSAI/PRESSIE crossing. The rest took most of an hour. This one didn’t really click with me.
  24. 11:01 for another most interesting and enjoyable puzzle. My compliments to the setter yet again.

    I made a horribly slow start, with only DEPTH solved out of the first six across clues (I’d never heard of BUBBLE GUM pop music). However, I then switched to the downs, which fortunately proved rather more tractable. I was a bit spooked by all those answers ending in I and kept having to check that I hadn’t mistyped somehing; and I wasted time trying to fit WANNISH into 26ac; but apart from those, I had no real hold-ups once I’d got going.

    After an appalling start to the week, I’m slightly encouraged by the fact that my times have improved as the week has gone on – and that I’ve finished ahead of that verlaine for the last couple of days :-). (Hm! I could be peaking to early though.)

  25. Sorry to betray total ignorance. Who, or what, is this ? (I get the cryptic.) Is this some strange element of so-called popular culture, defined by ‘Royal’ but then why ‘once’?
    1. Followers of the Rastafari movement are known as Rastafarians, Rastafaris, Rastas, or Ras Tafarians. The movement is named after Ras Tafari Makonnen, who was crowned Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia in 1930.
      1. Not really getting your ref to kings and queens as I only buy the Times on Saturdays and I did this grid on face value when I trousered it from a work colleague’s desk today and I solved the wordplay in 14a as follows.
        anagram of ‘antiwar’ = rainwat + er / “weak and feeble” woman – so, if the woman is “weak and feeble” then she is without any aspiration and as ‘aspiration’ is also the word to describe the use of pronouncing ‘H’ in words, then the woman (Her) without aspiration would be (er) as cockneys would pronounce it. Is your ref to the royals something that is usual in weekly Times grids. Also, this was a copy from Scotland and I’m not sure if this is printed with a different grid.
        I was also struggling with ASSAI and DYFED but did put in the DYFED eventually (A memory from my days of an indoor postman letter sorter)
        13a) anomaly L is for large (love the use of shopper for grass)
        1. Ingenious, but probably a bit too ingenious. More often than not in the Times, when setters need to clue -ER, they reach for royalty, Elizabeth R(egina) being the royalty in question. On this occasion, the monarch is the first Liz, the “weak and feeble” being a direct quote (hence the ” “) from her defining speech at Tilbury to her troops facing a likely battle with the Spanish, then looking probable to get past Drake and co in the mighty Armada and sail up the Thames.

          Incidentally, the legend that Elizabeth was actually a man in woman’s clothing, having replaced the young Elizabeth after she died while in foster care, makes great play with this speech, as she goes on to say “but I have the heart and stomach of a king”.

          As to your grid, I think it and its clues must be the same or you would have had trouble completing it, for which achievement, and for snaffling you colleague’s copy, my compliments!

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