Times Cryptic 26585

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I’m covering for Verlaine today.

This was going very well but I hit a wall as the half-hour approached with almost nothing in the SW corner. Once I got going again it fell into place quite quickly but my total solving time was 44 minutes. I blogged this at short notice so I’ve commented very little other than to explain the parsing. I thought it a really good puzzle which required quite a lot of lateral thinking.

After yesterday’s talk of anniversaries it’s a bit spooky suddenly to find myself back in my old Friday slot where I spent most of my 9 years here.

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

1 Woman like Bertha Rochester and a Fleming character (5)
MADAM – MAD (like Bertha Rochester – Jane Eyre), A, M (Fleming character – James Bond’s boss)
4 Mastiff’s heading after hollow stick — watch out for it! (4,5)
CAVE CANEM – CAVE (hollow),  CANE (stick), M{astiff} [heading]. “Beware of the dog!”
9 This line around ship secured by rope (9)
CROSSWORD – ROW (line) around SS (ship) all inside [secured by] CORD (rope). Neat definition.
10 Tucked in to endless meat: we might (5)
POWER – WE tucked in to POR{k} (meat) [endless]
11 Under a roof, complete in wrought iron (6)
INDOOR – DO (complete) in anagram [wrought] of IRON
12 A one-liner? (8)
MONORAIL – Cryptic definition
14 Cool criminal in capital of Sicily, Palermo (10)
IMPERSONAL – Anagram [criminal] of IN PALERMO S{icily} [capital]
16 Ignore / item on a building site (4)
SKIP – Two definitions
19 Swimmer, a fanatic doing the backstroke? (4)
TUNA –  A + NUT (fanatic) reversed [doing a backstroke]
20 The remote control initially thrown some distance (10)
HECTOMETRE – Anagram [thrown] of THE REMOTE C{ontrol} [initially]
22 Delivery, piece that’s fragile? (8)
CHINAMAN – a MAN (piece) made of CHINA might indeed be fragile.  Two games for the price of one here – cricket in the definition and chess in the wordplay.
23 Island featuring in marathons, hundreds! (6)
HONSHU – Hidden [featuring] in {marat} HONS HU{ndreds}
26 Last seen of bottle, spare the hard stuff (5)
EBONY – {bottl}E [last seen], BONY (spare)
27 Killing / beyond value (9)
PRICELESS – Two definitions
28 Leader kind of tense having stolen passport, say? (9)
PRESIDENT – PRESENT (kind of tense) containing [having stolen] ID (passport, say)
29 Tips for perfect miso soup side order: lush! (5)
TOPER – Last letters [tips] of {perfec}T, {mis}O, {sou}P, {sid}E, {orde}R
1 One working on a device that’s a hit in film (9)
MACHINIST – A + CHIN (hit) in MIST (film)
2 Designer starting out, couturier raised as an automaton (5)
DROID – D{esigner} [starting out],  DIOR (couturier) reversed [raised]
3 State has to avoid the ego of The Times? (8)
MISSOURI – MISS (avoid), OUR (of The Times), I (ego)
4 Fish around lake for dope? (4)
CLOD – COD (fish) around L (lake)
5 Grotesquely veiny toads — an unpleasant picture (5,5)
VIDEO NASTY – Anagram [grotesquely] of VEINY TOADS. This came up very recently in a discussion and some solvers had not heard of it.
6 Better prominence for jailer? (6)
CAPTOR – CAP (better), TOR (prominence)
7 Card game of course? (9)
NEWMARKET – Two definitions. The home of UK horse racing.
8 Extra large fungus (5)
MOREL – MORE (extra), L (large)
13 First ten enough, say (3,7)
FOR EXAMPLE – FORE (first), X (ten), AMPLE (enough)
15 Model punched by rival over hot underwear (9)
PANTIHOSE – POSE (model) containing [punched by] ANTI (rival) + H (hot). On edit: Writing PANTYHOSE initially added to my problems in the SW corner for a while. Collins informs me that “I” instead of “Y” is an alterantive spelling, especially in Britain. Although I understand the meaning is something quite different in some quarters, “pantihose” also means “tights” which are always at least partially worn underneath other clothing, so I don’t have any problems with the definition “underwear”.
17 Herald procures new editor, finally (9)
PRECURSOR – Anagram [new] of PROCURES, {edito}R ([finally]
18 Very short poems ending in sentiment, shameless (8)
IMMODEST – 1 MM (very short), ODES (poems), {sentimen}T [ending]
21 Old manuscripts deliver cut below penny in wages (6)
PAPYRI – P (penny) in PAY (wages), RI{d} (deliver) [cut]
22 Chicks originally look to pull up worm (5)
CREEP – C{hicks} [originally], PEER (look) reversed [pull up]
24 Range is clear (5)
SWEEP – Two definitions
25 A bomb that’s sweet (4)
MINT – Two definitions. On edit: Various dictionaries, including some of the usual sources, have both “mint” and “bomb” as meaning “a large amount of money”, so clearly in that sense at least the two words are interchangeable, As far as I’m aware, one context is sufficient for crossword purposes.

40 comments on “Times Cryptic 26585”

  1. I too questioned PANTIHOSE and spent too long on MINT. I guess “make a mint” and “make a bomb” mean the same, but I’m not sure that makes them synonyms. Spent too long on CAPTOR, my LOI. I thought it was going to be the name of some jailer in Dickens that I’d never heard of.
    1. Found this on the freedictionary dot.com:
      for MINT
      1. fortune, million, bomb (Brit. slang), pile (informal), packet (slang), bundle (slang), heap (informal), top dollar (informal), King’s ransom They were worth a mint.
      If people (over there) really say, “make a bomb,” just like that, or “worth a bomb,” then it passes the substitution test. But do they?

      Edited at 2016-12-02 06:34 am (UTC)

      1. I’ve certainly said things like “that must be worth an absolute bomb” in my time. (For some reason I can hear that in the voice of Bertie Wooster; I wonder if he ever said it…)
      2. Yes, they do. He ‘made a bomb’ would have been common parlance earlier in my career for ‘making a good profit’, and I think would still be used quite widely.
  2. In view of some of the misgivings expressed re PANTIHOSE and MINT/bomb I have expanded a couple of my explanations above to clarify the thoughts that were in my mind at the time of writing but in preparing the emergency blog I didn’t have time to include. I hope this makes things clearer.

    Edited at 2016-12-02 07:32 am (UTC)

  3. 22:35. After feeling very much on the wavelength for a tricky puzzle yesterday, my experience today was very much the opposite. Not that this was an easy puzzle, but I made it harder than it needed to be, struggling mightily over what turned out to be some quite straightforward clues.
    No problem with MINT/bomb. You’d normally make the former, whereas something is more likely to cost the latter, but one way or the other it’s a large amount of money. I was also unburdened with firm prior views of how to spell PANTIHOSE, or indeed what they are. Sometimes a little ignorance can be quite helpful.
  4. 14:50 … loved what jackkt calls the lateral thinking feel of this. Great fun. A last minute hunch to check the fodder for the biffed 17d saved me from a frustrating ‘prescurser’. I’m glad I didn’t notice the unusual spelling of PANTIHOSE.

    Thanks for stepping in, jackkt, and even more for the nine years of sterling service.

  5. 16.13 but any additional seconds spent checking my typing were wasted because I had misbiffed CENTIMETRE at an early stage, Unlike Sotira I failed to go back and check the anagram fodder and so became a postcurser.

    Edited at 2016-12-02 09:30 am (UTC)

    1. Postcurser. Like.
      Needed to sleep on “this” to finish SW, so a 9 or 10 hour solve, well beyond the usual 20-30 mins. No trouble with pantihose, sure I’ve seen that spelling before.
  6. A steady chug through this with no particular problems along the way. Stuck to the cryptic at 15D but even had I got it wrong, CHINAMAN was a write-in and would have corrected it.

    Well done Jack

  7. We always played this when the fates allowed the big family Christmas as a kid. We’d have a kitty that built up for when the King and Queen of Spades were played together. If that became so big that a sixpence was in it, we’d say there was snow in the kitty. Like everybody else I got held up in the south west, and took 55 minutes. Didn’t even spot the CHINAMAN straightaway, but then eventually PANTIHOSE dawned on me (surely more outer than underwear, at least in the era of mini skirts when first encountered by me), and EBONY LOI. Good puzzle.
  8. An early solve for a change thanks to a day off, and I finished this in a few seconds under 21 mins. My solving experience was exactly the same as yesterday’s, inasmuch as I had the RHS completed well before the LHS, the SW fell next, and I finished in the NW with MADAM after MISSOURI. I confess to having entered MADAM as the most likely answer from the checkers, which isn’t the same as a biff because for all I knew Bertha Rochester might have been married to an Adam Rochester (M ADAM) and there might have been one of Bond’s many conquests who went by the name of “Madam”.
    1. So was I the only person whose first thought on glancing at 1a was ‘Pussy’ (Galore)? I was honestly trying to remember if Bertha Rochester had a cat.
      1. Looks like you’ve set a toff trap…so I won’t go there!

        Edited at 2016-12-02 01:11 pm (UTC)

  9. Too many wrong biffs for me today. Poxy = spare in my book so in it went, and Nantucket totally befuddled me in the NE. let’s try yesterday’s instead… (you see I can go back in time too)
  10. Knew ‘cave’ from school but have never actually seen a sign saying CAVE CANEM. CHINAMAN was okay too, had to look up the definition afterwards: “an off-break bowled by a left-armed bowler to a right-handed batsman.” Alternative PANTIHOSE unknown, are they tights with knickers sewn in? Liked the juxtaposition of HECTOMETRE and IMModest. 24′. Thanks jack and setter.
    1. The usual way of pronouncing CAVE CARNEM is I believe CAR-VAY CAR-NEM which is odd as I too first came across CAVE at prep school where it was definitaely KAY-VEE when a master or prefect appeared.
      1. My Latin master, at a grammar school, would have insisted on ‘CAR-WAY’, just as Julius Caesar called the ancient Britons Weeny, Weedy and Weaky. The appearance of the Head would have been preceded by, “It’s the Boss.” The prefect would rightly have been ignored.
        1. When around 55 8-12 year-olds are locked up in a boarding school for 12 weeks at a time, it is difficult to ignore anyone, especially a prefect (until of course I was one).
      2. It was definitely pronounced as in “keeping Kay-Vee” at my prep school, but whether this would have been considered correct by any Latin teachers of the day I couldn’t say. It may have been just what we said.
  11. Again there were no unknowns for me in this puzzle, but, as pointed out, a lot of lateral thinking was required, keeping me on my toes for 45 minutes. FOI, TUNA. LOI, CHINAMAN. The SW took longest to solve, with PAPYRI and FOR EXAMPLE giving me the way in. Liked 4a. No concerns with MINT or PANTIHOSE. Nice puzzle. Thanks setter and Jack.
  12. I found this hard but excellent, and because I had the morning off to chaperone a fire alarm service man around the flats here, I had the chance to come back and finish it off after my initial hour. With a break to clear my head, the remaining third or quarter of the puzzle fell slowly into place, and I finished, appropriately enough, with CROSSWORD—it was the NW that was my problem area.

    I think I fell into all the traps people have mentioned along the way, including spelling “pantyhose” “correctly” and biffing “centimetre”. It did not help that I’d never heard of a CHINAMAN, but at least MINT and “bomb” are sufficiently synonymous in my mind that 25d didn’t cause a problem once I had the crossers.

    Probably about an hour and a half, all told, but I’m sure there was some background processing, too…

    Edited at 2016-12-02 12:55 pm (UTC)

  13. I whizzed through this in under 14 minutes and enjoyed the slight quirkiness, but on checking the blog I discovered that I was another POXY solver.

    Other than that, apart from a careless HECTOMETER leading me to wonder if I’d been pronouncing PERCURSOR wrongly all these years, I didn’t have any problems, despite thinking Bertha Rochester was probably big.

  14. This was 47 minutes of very effective displacement activity. (I’m meant to be teaching a 3-day course starting in a couple of days and, not having yet begun to prepare my material, I came to the natural conclusion that today’s cryptic should take priority.)

    The Bertha of 1ac was a mystery to me, but I assumed that she was a district attorney with a master’s degree and moved on.

  15. was a write-in at 22ac – one of the more obscure cricketing terms but my COD. The rest of the SW corner was most troublesome, with 26ac EBONY and PAPYRI (a well known tune) 21dn LOI putting me over the hour – once again!

    I came late to this as on Friday Verlaine doesn’t usually post until about 4pm Shanghai time. By then my VPN was playing up – but today, of course, the sub was on – nice one Jack -straightening out the PANTIHOSE!

    No sign of GALSPRAY with his attempt at a PB!?

    I see the Bolton Wanderer’s Budgie has flown.

    1. I posted yesterday that we were about to put up the Christmas tree. Well, so we did. Mrs BW was foreman and chief designer. My role was to bring the tree down from the loft, put it up, and then go to Crews Hill to buy some new lights as of course the old ones failed. I seem to do that most years. Last year it was the pound shop in Barnet, the only place I could find open when they went kaput at 4 pm on Christmas Eve with all the family about to arrive.
  16. I’m not a blinking thicky, but this crossword left me thinking that I am. The definitions were often too well disguised for an aspiring solver. Very good for some new techniques. Liked the Newmarket Sweep combination.
  17. Priceless, President, Toper, [Time] Machinist, Droid at the heart of the puzzle. It was surely fated that Jack should blog this one.

    My 51 minutes seems insignificant in comparison.

  18. Started last night and put it aside, and returned in the AM- so no real time, but not easy at all. Especially, like me, if your last two need to be guessed, as were MINT and CHINAMAN. We also spell PANTIHOSE with a ‘Y’ for the most part, I think, but the wordplay was pretty clear. Regards.
  19. This reminded me of the third puzzle in the first heat of this year’s Championship where I plodded steadily through three-quarters, but then had difficulty finding my way into the NW corner. Eventually DROID (which I should have got much earlier) gave me a way in, but I still struggled, finishing in a disappointing 16:10.

    Despite which, I actually enjoyed this one very much. A fine example of the setter’s art.

  20. The setter did me no favours by choosing a grid with no 3-letter or 11-plus-letter lights and only three two-word answers. And some of the clues were tough e.g. hit/film being chin/mist, cap for better, and mad Bertha.


  21. Making a bad habit of getting too drunk on Fridays to attempt the crossword. Something to do with the time of year I guess.

    Anyway, have finally got around to it (Saturday evening) and enjoyed it immensely, despite falling ten minutes short of the impossible goal I had set for myself.

    CODs all over the place, but I’ll plump for HECTOMETER because of the obvious biff trap.

    Thanks setter and Jack

  22. Sorry if I missed something in the banter but I have deleted a couple of comments that appeared to refer to an answer in today’s prize puzzle.

    Edited at 2016-12-03 05:49 pm (UTC)

    1. Jackt, my post was long before todays offering, pure coincidence that the wordplay that Galspray appreciated and conjoined should appear as a solution today.Your diligence is admirable.Thanks the Toff

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