Times Cryptic 26582

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I needed a minute or two over an hour for this one but as so often when I had finished blogging I wondered why it took me so long to solve. After Ulaca’s fascinating but lengthy intro yesterday (what is he on? I ask myself) I thought I’d give you all a half-day holiday, so without more ado, 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 Speak boastfully to secure a post (8)
BALUSTER – BLUSTER (speak boastfully) contains [to secure] A. I had some problems with this one, confusing it with “banister” (also a post) which then led me into misspelling the answer and wondering if  “speak boastfully” could possibly be “blister”. Fortunately I eventually realised my error.
5 Hit novel penned by young man (6)
LASHED – SHE (novel) contained [penned] by LAD (young man). A book I imagine might be long-forgotten if it weren’t for cryptic crosswords and Horace Rumpole.
9 Exclusive sets may be posturing, free spirit ultimately being spurned? (2-6)
IN-GROUPS – Anagram [free] of POS{t}URING [spirit ultimately being spurned]. I’m not sure how widely used this is these days, although being part of “the in-crowd” was something to aspire to at one time.
10 French annoyance with territories close to France suffering setback (6)
GALLIC – GALL (annoyance), CI (territories close to France – Channel Islands) reversed [suffering setback]
12 Vehicle in polar region deficient in cold (5)
ARTIC – AR{c}TIC (polar region) [deficient in cold]. Something of a chestnut.
13 Scientist taking a very long time, not half — one getting stumped? (9)
CRICKETER – CRICK (scientist),  ETER{nity} (a very long time) [not half]. Francis Crick, joint discoverer of the structure of DNA, was not a name that leapt to my mind. The only Crick that I knew was Monte who used to play piano and Dan Archer.
14 Protest is seen in country being labelled as wicked (12)
DEMONISATION – DEMO (protest), then IS in NATION (country)
18 One looking for a break as the enemy marches on? (5-7)
CLOCK-WATCHER – Cryptic definition with reference to “Time, the old enemy”. This saying came up very recently in a puzzle I blogged.
21 Discounts / evidence exam standards have fallen? (5,4)
MARKS DOWN – A literal and a cryptic definition
23 This person’s about to be hugged by past comrade (5)
AMIGO – I’M (this person’s) reversed [about] contained [hugged] by AGO (past)
24 Returning Greek islander not allowed to escape? (6)
NAILED – Delian (Greek islander) reversed [returning]. From the island of Delos.
25 Class’s / maths exercise, long or short? (8)
DIVISION – Two definitions
26 Cleric offers helpful words, embracing despised person (6)
CURATE – CUE (helpful words) containing [embracing] RAT (despised person)
27 Fertility god standing in capital city (8)
BELGRADE – BEL (fertility god),  GRADE (standing). I’ve never heard of this god although apparently Bel is a variation on Baal, a name I do know.
1 Wedding‘s headgear in report (6)
BRIDAL – Sounds like [in report] “bridle” (headgear). I think this has to be taken as an adjective as in bridal / wedding gown or bridal / wedding march.
2 Diplomat taking stage with troublemaker (6)
LEGATE – LEG (stage), ATE (troublemaker) – According to Wiki, in Greek mythology the outcast goddess Atë wandered about the world, treading on the heads of men rather than on the earth, wreaking havoc on mortals. Sounds like trouble alright!
3 Sort of test revealing blemish on patterned fabric (4-5)
SPOT-CHECK – SPOT (blemish),  CHECK (patterned fabric)
4 Suppose speaker could be one who spits things out (12)
EXPECTORATOR – EXPECT (suppose), ORATOR (speaker). We had “spittoon” on my watch recently.
6 A player on field impeded by headwind? (5)
ABACK – A, BACK (player on field). I didn’t know this nautical expression with reference to winds.
7 Composer on vessel, heading off for German region (8)
HOLSTEIN – HOLST (composer – Gustav), {v}EIN (vessel) [heading off]
8 What’s forged in theologian’s original credo? (8)
DOCTRINE – Anagram [forged] of  CREDO IN T{heologian} [‘s original]
11 Device isn’t working outside home — that puts one off (12)
DISINCENTIVE – Anagram [working] of DEVICE ISN’T containing [outside] IN (home)
15 Assessing the general quality of state in decline? (9)
AVERAGING – AVER (state), AGING (in decline)
16 Old European unit with chaps in charge promoting unity (8)
ECUMENIC – ECU (old European unit), MEN (chaps), IC (in charge)
17 Tons to be conveyed by messenger who has Palace role? (8)
COURTIER – T (tons) contained [conveyed] by COURIER (messenger)
19 Before start of acclamation note the low points (6)
MINIMA – MINIM (note), A{cclamation) [start]
20 Bar in spring having nothing to eat (6)
LOUNGE – LUNGE (spring) containing [to eat] 0 (nothing). More often than not “lounge” isn’t a bar but it can be used to describe one.
22 Diligent student collects first in English — hard work! (5)
SWEAT – SWAT (diligent student) contains [collects] E{nglish}[first]

45 comments on “Times Cryptic 26582”

  1. 4dn was my FOI quickly followed by 11 dn DISINCENTIVE but then I slowed, sped up, slowed again and it was the the SE corner that I really had to grind it out – all in 54 minutes.

    However LOI 20ac BOUNCE was wrong so no cigar – it was indeed LOUNGE!

    COD 12ac ARTIC WOD Dan Archer!

  2. Wasted time on my LOIs, 8d and 10ac, by expecting DD in the first and by being so slow to realize that there was no reason to think of ‘French annoyance’. Also, with the C in 13ac, I toyed with ‘Copernicus’ and then tried to think of another C scientist who’d fill the squares. I never did parse 7d, thinking ‘vessel’=STEIN, but then what to do with HOLST? I wouldn’t be surprised if ‘taken aback’ was originally a nautical term (as was ‘by and large’). I liked 10ac and 18ac.
    1. Yes indeed .. Hornblower’s ships were more than once “taken all aback” by adverse wind shifts or poor seamanship (not by him, of course)
  3. An okay, stop-start affair. FOI ARTIC LOI LASHED COD DIVISION

    1ac had me going for a while: I had B-L-S— and I did wonder how far the Times’s standards might have dropped…

    22dn: “Swat” makes me think of flies rather than students, but the answer was obvious enough. In fact “Swat” also makes me think rather of the Pakistani valley, immortalised by Edward Lear’s “The Akond of Swat” (qv).

    Edited at 2016-11-29 02:05 am (UTC)

  4. Tough bottom right hand corner that was completely empty when the rest of the grid was filled – eventually limped there in 15 minutes on the dot. Never got the EIN part of HOLSTEIN so thanks for that.

  5. 6 over par, and it felt like a tough one. Spent ages AVERAGING the MINIMA in the BELGRADE LOUNGE DIVISION, and was lucky that HOLSTEIN had come up recently, although I think on that occasion it was either a wine or a cow.

    Good challenge. Thanks setter and Jack.

  6. 13m, with a few at the end in the SE puzzling over the unfamiliar goddess and meaning of AVERAGING.
    I also took the vessel in 7dn to be a STEIN and bunged in the answer without noticing that this gave me too many Ts. This sort of thing is how you make mistakes.
    A very small point, and it works either way, but I read the definition in 1dn as “wedding’s”. I wonder which was intended.
    1. I considered that but couldn’t think of a context to support it – that’s not saying there isn’t one. Perhaps you can come up with an example that works?
      1. I’m not sure you would actually use it, but the construction “X’s” to indicate a word meaning ‘of or pertaining to X’ is quite common. As I said it works either way.
  7. Was on the wavelength for the most part but had to come along here to parse a couple that I bunged in i.e. BELgrade CRICKeter and never knew the ATE part of Legate, so one more for the memory bank.
  8. I’ll say it before Jim does: Francis Crick is one of the all time greats. It’s not unlike saying you’ve never heard of Galileo. He, with James Watson, Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin was responsible for the discovery of the structure of DNA, arguably the most significant discovery of the prolific 20th century. I’m please to say his name is embedded in my consciousness as a British Nobel Prize winner in the early Sixties, and therefore a Great British Hero.
    A good puzzle this one, done in a steady 23.39. EXPECTORATOR is one of those agent nouns that Susie Dent might frown over but then allow if the contestant is cute enough. It’s in my Chambers, but I can’t imagine it being allowed out very often.
    Liked the &lit for DOCTRINE: pretty smooth.
    1. Took the words right out of my mouth z8. I suppose Watson is still better known as Holmes’ stooge rather than brilliant scientist! Well done setter for using the science angle for Crick
    2. Thanks for that Z, and in particular for including Dr Franklin, who surely would have been given a share of the Nobel Prize, had she sadly not died first ..
      1. Was it someone here who was at a lecture where the lecturer asked, “What did Watson and Crick discover?” and someone piped up with, “Rosalind Franklin’s notebook?”
    3. Watson and Crick celebrated ‘their’ discovery in The Eagle pub in Bene’t Street, Cambridge, just down the road from their lab. Not many years later my future wife and I met while working in the pub some 40 years ago. Hum Ho.
      1. You met your wife there 40 years ago? Interesting. I was there with a date 40 years ago, in my first year as a student, but it didn’t end in marriage. BTW, since January this year I am now back in Cambridge and again a member of the University, but as an employee. I can confirm The Eagle is as popular as ever.
        1. Popular maybe, but not the same. Pauline’s Bar? Wyn’s lunches? Anyway it was a fine place under Bunty.
  9. yep it took me over 62 mins ! but i had 18a as crook catcher 🙂 possibly coz one gets a break by catching crooks?? 🙂 dunno.. i had clock watcher also in my head tho and darned nearly had that down !! ..
  10. Made heavy work of this, never quite on same wavelength as the setter. No unknowns today except the nautical ABACK but cryptic very clear. Good puzzle I thought.
  11. Had to cheat to finish this, so the scientist in me tells me either a) I wasn’t on the wavelength b) it was too difficult for me c) I’m still suffering from Mach-lag. Or, a combination of the above, or all of them, or none of them. Or all of them plus some other factor(s).

    Thanks to the Tardis-controller for the parsing of the 27a. Every Aramean/Hebrew/Hivite/Hittite etc word has about 300 different spellings when rendered in English, but I suppose in the case of a fertility god that’s understandable and just about acceptable.

  12. DNF as too many unknowns (BEL, ATE (although I biffed that one)and BALUSTER). I did know CRICK as my employer (KCL) is one of the six founding partners in the Francis Crick Institute.

    Excellent puzzle, even if it did beat me, and well done jack on the blog.

    1. I walk past the Franklin-Wilkins building on my way to work so I often reminded of the connection between DNA research and Kings.
          1. Likewise – at the St Paul’s end of Cannon Street. I’ll look out for likely cruciverbalists on my walk from now on!
            1. That’s very close to me – our office is right next to the front of St Paul’s. We should propose it as a S&B venue!
  13. Too tough for me today; the NW, NE and SE corners were all a stretch too far and I was left with quite a lot of empty space at the end of my hour. Ah well. This felt like it was heading toward the more classical end of things, which is not my comfort zone. At least I caught the sop of Crick that was thrown to me.
    1. Yes, rather good one. According to the SOED BRIDAL can be a wedding although usually seen in the plural as in nuptials. Same as Adrian on SWAT – I’d always spelled it swot. As for EXPECTORATOR – I hope he uses the spittoon we had recently. I’ve never thought of it much except in connection with cough mixtures (which never work). 20.17
      1. It reminds me of Beauty and the Beast, where Gaston boasts in song that he is ‘especially good at expectorating’. My son was in a school production so I have seen the Disney version umpteen times and know the whole thing more or less by heart. There’s a new film version (starring Hermione Grainger) coming out next year which will no doubt firmly reinstall the full set of earworms.
  14. DNF, not getting NAILED, BELGRADE and biffing BOUNCE rather than LOUNGE. Aborted at the hour mark as a CLOCK WATCHER. COD SPOT CHECK. Liked CRICKETER but isn’t eternity really the absence of time?
  15. “Swat” (22dn) is just plain wrong, surely? Neither the ODO nor Collins give the required spelling under swot, or the required meaning under swat …

    1. My Collins has:

      swat2: a variant of swot1 (which is the required educational definition.)

      I’m pretty sure I’ve seen them used interchangeably in both meanings.

      Edited at 2016-11-29 12:42 pm (UTC)

    2. Chambers has it as swot or swat . Hard study or a person who swots

      Edited at 2016-11-29 12:43 pm (UTC)

        1. For me SWOT is never SWAT, just as SWAP is never SWOP, but if people use those variants there’s nothing to be done, I’m afraid.
          1. Well, there is always the firing squad .. but in these namby-pamby times, I have no great hopes. Just a pat on the wrist more like, and released straight back into society, to offend again ..
  16. Too tough for me too! Failed on BELGRADE after an hour, having ground the rest of a tricky bunch of clues into submission. FOI, ARTIC. Filled the LHS in 20 minutes, then the NE, grinding to a halt in the SE. Thanks for the blog Jack.
  17. Glad to see it’s not just me who found this tough. Going by recent form I thought I might just have made hard work of it. I didn’t help myself by biffing IN CROWDS early on and taking it as gospel when it came to the crossing answers. Must try harder.
  18. 45 min. approx – much longer on club timer, as ‘pause’ leaves it running. Was hoping for a quick time when I had all but NE quadrant done in 15 min (with 22dn entered reluctantly as I knew some sources give the unlikely variant used), but after failing to find anything in 5 or 6 minutes, decided to have a break. Progress was still slow after return -it took a while to realise I didn’t need a 9-letter scientist at 13ac or a French word at 10ac., but did manage to finish with 8dn., eventually identifying the anagram fodder.
  19. 22 mins. I was a lot more alert than I was yesterday but I had a bad case of the stupids because COURTIER and DEMONISATION took much too long to see, and I actually finished with LASHED after DOCTRINE. Even though novel/she is usually a Pavlovian response it didn’t occur to me because I’d convinced myself that “hit novel” followed by “penned” was an instruction to enter an anagram of “hit” somewhere in the answer, and the H checker from HOLSTEIN did nothing to disabuse me of that notion. I felt like an utter muppet when the penny finally dropped.
  20. Bushwhacked this morning, hence a 27′ dnf with DOCTRINE , BELGRADE, LOUNGE undone 🙁 A diligent student is surely a SWOT rather than SWAT, the US armed force.
  21. What an obscure puzzle (BEL, ATE, the Channel Islands, ABACK and the very roundabout definition for CLOCK-WATCHER), but I did finish correctly in about an hour and a half. LOI were GALLIC and LOUNGE and then I had my doubts about CLOCK-WATCHER but it seemed to fit at least part of the clue.
  22. 15:36 for me, held up badly at the end by LOUNGE. For me LUNGE isn’t quite the same as “spring” (it’s a fine point, but there’s a difference in the quality of the movement) and I was nervous about LOUNGE = “bar”.

    Apart from that, I found this an interesting and enjoyable puzzle. (Like others, I failed to twig “vessel” = VEIN until I came her, though I could see that STEIN didn’t cut the mustard.)

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