Times Cryptic 26630

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
This took me 25 minutes and was very easy apart from an unknown word for a cat at 25ac and a verbal meaning of a noun at 15dn that I have never come across before. A couple of answers were easily biffed but I needed a while to sort out the wordplay.

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

1 Fail to understand a line in prayer book (6)
MISSAL – MISS (fail to understand),  A, L (line)
4 Parties attended by occasional misfits (8)
ODDBALLS – ODD (occasional), BALLS (parties)
10 Adult man, I suspect, in a state in India (5,4)
TAMIL NADU – Anagram [suspect] of ADULT MAN I
11 Some breach, a small gorge (5)
CHASM – Hidden [some] in {brea)}CH A SM{all}
12 Figure taking drugs (3)
ONE – ON (taking), E (drugs)
13 Down track, a butterfly (11)
SWALLOWTAIL – SWALLOW (down),  track (tail)
14 Disaster, a boat docked if reversing at first (6)
FIASCO – IF [reversing], A, SCO{w} (boat) [docked]
16 Eating less, perhaps, accountant’s to get in shape (3-4)
DIE-CAST –  CA’S (accountant’s) contained by [to get in] DIET (eating less, perhaps)
19 Asian serial I broadcast (7)
ISRAELI – Anagram [broadcast] of SERIAL I
20 Fleece coats too much for light cloth (6)
COTTON – CON (fleece) contains [coats] OTT (too much – over the top)
22 Choice cut in drink store (11)
PORTERHOUSE – PORTER (drink), HOUSE (store). It’s a cut of steak – a term I’m not sure is known around the world.
25 Cat monster returns (3)
GIB – BIG (monster) reversed [returns]. It’s a neutered male cat, apparently. Having kept cats for most of my life until recently, this word was unknown to me. At least it makes a change from the Rock
26 Little room behind one, good packed house (5)
IGLOO – I (one), G (good), LOO (little room, as in “smallest room”). “Packed” as in made out of packed ice, I assume.
27 About ten cryptic clues I have for ‘sole‘ (9)
EXCLUSIVE – Anagram [cryptic] of CLUES about X (ten), I’VE (I have)
28 Russian novelist yearning to cut revolutionary opening (8)
TURGENEV – URGE (yearning) inside [to cut] VENT (opening) reversed [revolutionary]
29 Assuming all is well, a quiz banking billions (2,4)
AT BEST – A, TEST (quiz) containing [banking] B (billions)
1 Food processor turned up a lot for meat (6)
MUTTON – TUM (food processor – geddit?) reversed [turned up], TON (a lot)
2 Amazingly memorise taste of Liebfraumilch? One might (9)
SOMMELIER – Anagram [amazingly] of MEMORISE, L{iebfraumilch} [taste of]. &lit
3 A sailor coming up in travel guide? (5)
ATLAS – A, SALT (sailor) reversed [coming up]
5 Nonsense written about odd bits of each learner driver’s technique (6-8)
DOUBLE-DECLUTCH – DOUBLE-DUTCH (nonsense) containing [written about] E{a}C{h} [odd bits] + L (learner). It’ means to release and re-engage the clutch twice when changing gear in a motor vehicle.
6 Resist work initially with passion in plant (9)
BUCKWHEAT – BUCK (resist – as in buck the trend), W{ork} [initially], HEAT [passion]
7 Climber needing a spike to climb (5)
LIANA – A + NAIL (spike) reversed [to climb]. I think it’s what Tarzan used to swing through the trees on.
8 Pretend to be prompt, taking time out (8)
SIMULATE – S{t}IMULATE (prompt) [taking time out]
9 Scot happened to eat speciality, English dish (8,6)
MACARONI CHEESE – MAC (Scot), AROSE (happened) containing [to eat] NICHE (speciality) + E (English). This took a bit of unravelling!
15 Load the night before, first of deliveries in shop (9)
STEVEDORE – EVE (the night before) + D{eliveries} [first of] inside STORE (shop). I didn’t know this word as a verb.
17 New digs, separate houses next door (9)
ALONGSIDE – A, LONE (separate) contains [houses] anagram [new] of DIGS
18 Error racing down the motorway? (8)
MISPRINT – An M1 SPRINT would be racing down the motorway
21 Intention to complain (6)
OBJECT – Two meanings
23 One measures / a big gun, perhaps? (5)
RULER – Two meanings, the second a slang expression for a very important or powerful person
24 Antidote to stand on head of Toby Belch! (5)
ERUCT – CURE (antidote) reversed [to stand], T{oby} [head]. The surface reading refers to the character in Twelfth Night.

53 comments on “Times Cryptic 26630”

  1. … TURGENEV right off. But couldn’t get the cryptic to work. Thanks Jack! By contrast, but also with our blogger, didn’t know the cat. As ever, could have done without the “taste of” = first letter at 2dn. Otherwise … pretty simple.
  2. Held up for the last 7 or 8 minutes on the GIB / OBJECT crossing. GIB because I didn’t know it, and OBJECT because I couldn’t see it for some reason.

    Some commenters counted TAMIL NADU as an obscurity last time. No excuses this time. (With a population of 78 million, I’m not sure there was an excuse last time).

    Very satisfying puzzle. Even managed to dig up the Russian novelist. Thanks setter and Jack.

    1. I too was held up for the last 7 to 8 minutes (pro rata) on the very same crossing. I’m also not a driver, so had never heard of DOUBLE DECLUTCH, but at least that was pretty obvious with all the crossers in place…
  3. Quick for me. FOI MISSAL, LOI GIB, COD DIE-CAST

    Although the clueing was kind, 6dn, 13ac and 22ac still held me up for a while. 8dn: I didn’t see prompt=stimulate but got it from the checkers. Biffed ERUPT for 24dn so at the end I wasn’t sure whether that was wrong or GAB for 25ac. Answer: both!

  4. but couldn’t break the 30 minute barrier – 31 mins.Must try harder.

    25ac GIB an ‘orchestrated’ Tom! DNK how have I missed that over the years!? My LOI. WOD ODDBALLS!

    28ac all I know of Ivan TURGENEV is that he wrote ‘A Month in the Country’ – inspiring Frederick Ashton.

    10ac TAMIL NADU was a given – I once saw them play cricket in Goa. Only team ever to have two batsmen score triple centuries in one innings! A week after I saw them.

    I rarely think of 19ac ISRAELIs as Asians.

    FOI 13ac SWALLOWTAIL – although I did think HAIRSTREAK for a mo. but a letter short.

    COD 9dn MACARONI CHEESE – unparsed! Thanks Jack!

  5. 18 minutes, held up in the north-east, where I was slow to see buckwheat and simulate. GIB no problem at all, as I was familiar with the sailboat that doesn’t actually exist.
  6. Just like galspray, held up by the unknown GIB and OBJECT – had a complete blank for the latter – so ended up as a DNF in 50 mins. Favourites were the ‘Liebfraumilch’ &lit and DOUBLE-DECLUTCH, something I like to think I’m doing (although I’m probably not) when I’m changing down on a manual car.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

    1. Bletch, “double clutching” (the term I knew it as) would be considered old school these days. I think the introduction of synchromesh gearboxes made it unnecessary.

      Mind you, manual transmission itself is probably old school now.

      1. Yes galspray, old school for sure and as you say with syncromesh gearboxes, unnecessary but I like to kid myself I’m driving “properly”. DOUBLE-DECLUTCHING is probably now a dying art for all but truckies and vintage car nuts.

        Must be withdrawal pangs – after about a decade of driving a manual (one of the few) I’ve now gone back to an automatic and I kind of miss the thrill (wow!) of having to change gear.

        1. I learned to drive in my Dad’s Morris 36cwt light diesel van which had no synchromesh at all, so double declutching was a must. When I went for driving school lessons, I drove a Ford Escort Mk1. Coming up a hill I changed down a gear and the instructor said “Did you double declutch then?” “Yes” I said. “Well don’t!” he said.
  7. I started online, but after 8′ I realized that I needed to get lunch while something was left, and finished in the cafeteria. Biffed SOMMELIER, MACARONI CHEESE, & TURGENEV (from the E’s), parsed later on. GIB I somehow knew, although it was my 2d to LOI, the B giving me OBJECT, which for some reason I, too, was way slow to remember. DNK ERUCT; thought it was ‘eructate’. DNK that STEVEDORE was a verb, but why not? DNK DOUBLE-DECLUTCH, but knew ‘double-Dutch’. When I was in high school–this will suggest how old I am–I was late to enroll for Driver Training class, so I had to take instruction with 2 girls. That meant an automatic transmission, so I’ve never learned how to drive with a stick shift.
    1. If you were taking instruction with two high school girls, it’s a wonder you learnt to drive at all.
    2. My (Canadian) wife learned in, and drove, a manual car in Canada, but the license there doesn’t distinguish. This caused a problem when she moved to the UK and wanted to convert her Canadian license to a UK one and drive a manual car: the DVLA needed evidence that she knew how to drive a manual. It looked like she’d have to take her test again until by some miracle she found that she still had her original Canadian test pass certificate, on which in the box for errors and faults the tester had written ‘rides the clutch’. The DVLA accepted this as evidence and issued her a full UK license.
  8. Having finished the puzzle I did indeed find that Israel is in Asia and having lived in the Middle East for 7 years I think I should have known that but I put my hand up and admit that I didn’t.
    I thought today’s puzzle was as easy as I can remember in my shortish time doing the times. I think I had over half on the first pass.
    LOI Eruct
    COD Double Declutch, if only because of the memories of learning to drive and my Dad telling me how easy “you have it these days”
  9. 30 minutes with a lazy ERUPT (My first thought was TRUMP but that’s because it’s hard to avoid these days). I thought GIB was a name for a catamaran so I have learnt a new meaning.
  10. Finished about 80% which is an improvement, used the word check (cheated) to get the rest.

    There were a few words I didn’t know:
    missal, nadu, gib, swallowtail, liana, eruct, scow.

    Generally the clueing was fair. Enjoyable puzzle.

  11. 13:25 .. with a minute or so to go through the vowels for G_B / B_G, and wondering if the Big Friendly Giant might come into it (but I couldn’t think how a GFB could be a cat unless it’s a ginger fur ball).

    Admirable concision of clueing on display.

  12. Very easy today but with some pleasant clues

    Trip down memory lane with DOUBLE DECLUTCH. Those of us that drove military vehicles or old London taxis will recall the art of operating a gear box without synchromesh – a lost art I guess.

      1. Depends if he’s on the fiddle. For mushers (owner drivers) there’s little incentive but most cabbies hire the taxi from fleet owners and pay a percentage of their earnings over for the privilege. So taking a fare without running the meter can be profitable unless they get caught. The taxi owners keep records of miles driven v income generated as part of their counter measures.
      2. No way should he be paid. The real reward comes in knowing he’s bored the pants off his customers. (Metaphorically, I hasten to add, even south of the river.) On this basis, I can reminisce about Nat or Franny, who probably nobody else on the site has heard of.
  13. Same as most, all done in 15 miutes except G blank B, popped in GIB for BIG reversed but never heard of the cat, thought it must be something to do with boats. Until OBJECT was cracked I had pencilled in GUS as one of TSE’s cats, and invented a SUG monster. As in Sugar puffs perhaps.
    I learnt to drive in a 1936 Austin 10 in which double de-clutching was essential, fortunately my Dad was an army tank driving instructor and taught me the knack; sadly no lessons with high school girls, though.
    Well blogged jackkt.
  14. 18.25, so not particularly easy. Just slow on the uptake, I suppose. Example: SIMULATE I marked as a “go back to” because I couldn’t parse it: that T towards the end confused me because clearly you had to take a T away. And you can’t get late from prompt, now can you? GIB rang a very faint bell, perhaps from a Mephisto. A quick search reveals it’s been here often enough as the Rock, and once as a wedge.
    The four foodstuffs would be quite a combination challenge for Masterchef, I think.
    Not sure if I’ve ever double declutched, but I have happy memories of driving a tractor in random gears and with minimal instruction on the A1 at 16. Probably illegal in so many ways.
  15. I managed a fairly steady pace throughout, with the same unknowns as jackkt – GIB and STEVEDORE as a verb. By my reckoning TAMIL NADU last came up in April 2015, as I remember discussing it whilst on holiday. I know it from the lyric of a song by The Duckworth Lewis Method: “Here’s to the future, Punjab and Tamil Nadu. Always remember the passion of ’32, oh yeah, yeah!” I’ve no idea what happened in ’32.
    1. Well, among other things it was the year that an England cricket team managed by Pelham Warner and captained by Douglas Jardine went down under to put a chap from Cootamundra in his place.
  16. 9:23. I must have been on the wavelength for this… only my second time under 10 minutes, I think. Same unknowns for me as others too – STEVEDORE as a verb and GIB for the cat (my LOI), but they were clear enough from the wordplay. 27a my favourite.
  17. I found this enjoyable, but zipped through in under 20 minutes, as most others seem to have done, despite another nocturnal garden walk with the old dog. In all my earlier cars I had to double declutch from 2nd to 1st. Put in ERUPT first, trying to work out why the antidote was pure, before taking the CURE. FOI MISSAL, LOI SIMULATE. I was never a diver, even though I watched Franny Lee hone his skills at Bolton before joining City, of falling over, picking up the ball in right hand, left hand upraised while screaming “Penalty”. He’d put the ball on the spot before the ref had given it. Saw his debut in the same forward line as Nat Lofthouse. Now that is a trip down memory lane!
    1. “Two to one can’t be done” was the end of a verse taught by driving instructors in the 50’s: it started “One to two, palm to you, two to three palm to me…”. I got it from my father, and for many years as a driver I wouldn’t even try to go two to one, because….
      1. And still to this day, 1st gear shouldn’t be selected on the move. In most cars it’s still the only one without synchromesh, and is generally such a ridiculous ratio that it’s only any good for pulling away in anyway.
        1. First car was a Ford Pop 100E, three forward, one reverse gear Used more oil than petrol. There’s a steep hill on A44 just outside Broadway that I always had to change down to gear 1 on. It was better not to stop with that handbrake!
  18. Held up too long by obscurities and oddities, though I did finally figure out TURGENEV, PORTERHOUSE, and convinced myself that ISRAELI must be right—though I wonder how many Israelis think of themselves as Asian, and I can’t find anything in my dictionaries or Wikipedia that enlightens me, either.

    Sadly, these delays, plus assuming I was looking for unknown plants—correct in the case of LIANA, but not in the case of BUCKWHEAT—and not getting the key ODDBALLS in time made this a DNF in my hour, with those three left to get. It didn’t help that I’d convinced myself the passion would be “zest” rather than “heat”!

    Edited at 2017-01-24 10:20 am (UTC)

  19. Nearly all my points already covered – the fictional GIB boat, OBJECT, STEVEDORE. Knew DOUBLE DECLUTCH as read about it when learning to drive forty years ago, never had to do it though, even on a manual. LIANA well known from Tarzan, his preferred mode of tramsport. How is it that ISRAEL are in the Eurovision Song Contest? Next we’ll be having Australia. Liked TURGENEV. 28′. Thanks jack and setter.

    Edited at 2017-01-24 01:08 pm (UTC)

    1. I guess that your comment is tongue-in-cheek, as Australia did indeed take part in ESC 2016
        1. Haha you clearly don’t understand how it works 🙂 Maybe people thought they were voting for Austria, or were looking for mutual support arrangements. The UK will never win again after its support for the Iraq war, the bloc voting by the Balkans, Scandinavia, Russian allies etc., and now Brexit. Malta and Ireland used to be natural allies, and indeed Australia have joined, but…..perhaps we should get the USA, Canada, South Africa involved, and break one of them into many smaller nations, fifteen or so might just do it.

          On a serious note, have just realised ‘Key to global music contest?’ might make a good clue.

  20. 25m steady solve after a slow start. Some biffs and some guesses so thanks for the elucidation, Jack. I had the same unknowns as others in this parish so nothing to add.
  21. I was also held up in the SE with 17d baffling me for too long. Once I got that, the cat had to be BIG backwards and then OBJECT became apparent as my LOI. I didn’t know STEVEDORE as a verb either. Otherwise a nice straightforward puzzle. 45 minutes. I moved to an automatic transmission around 4 years ago when my knee became too painful for sitting in traffic jams. I wouldn’t willingly go back to a manual now, synchro or not! Mind you, driving with a non synchro box certainly teaches you to read the road ahead! Thanks setter and Jack.
  22. The QC was fine today, on first sight this was impossible, but gradually got going and finished despite losing a tooth in the process..
    I recall double declutching my old Morris Minor, although a copilot was needed at night as the headlights could not be dipped and the gears changed at the same time, the dip switch being on the floor by the clutch…
  23. 14 mins, and like quite a few others the GIB/OBJECT crossers were my last ones in. I’m another who learned about the existence of double-declutching from my dad telling me how lucky I was not to have to do it.
  24. About 25 minutes, and not much new to say here either, same unknowns as mentioned already. One difference: we simply ‘double-clutch’ over here, or at least we once did. The extra ‘de-‘ looks unusual, at least to me, but that’s to be expected, I suppose. LOI’s were OBJECT and GIB. I liked the SOMMELIER clue. Regards.
  25. 52 minutes, but OK, considering the obscurity of some clues. TAMIL NADU seemed the only reasonable anagram, I assumed GIB referred to sailing (and CAT as a boat, as we learned recently) when I entered it (but at least I did enter it) and OBJECT dawned on me slowly — of course those two were my LOsI (is that the plural of LOI?). And of course I had to surmount the usual linguistic problems with DOUBLE (DE)CLUTCHING and MACARONI and CHEESE, but I just assume Brits talk funny (which you may see the other way around).

    Edited at 2017-01-24 06:52 pm (UTC)

  26. The QC blog said this was at the easier end and I managed to finish it with a few unparsed or unknown. Guessed Eruct and Gib; could not parse Macaroni Cheese; and had never seen Stevedore as a verb. I liked 5d and Turgenev appeared in a Saturday crossword (the 15×15 I normally try each week). David
  27. 12:04. Out and about today, so a late solve. Another who paused at the end on the unknown GIB (I assumed it was something to do with sails) and OBJECT.
    Clue of the day to MACARONI CHEESE, a dish I make every week without fail. It is Child 3’s absolute favourite food in the world and I am no longer allowed to consider making anything else for Sunday lunch.
    I have never had to DOUBLE-DECLUTCH, and to be honest I don’t really understand what it means.
  28. Gib was the cat who killed Philip Sparrow, so I knew it from singing Five Tudor Portraits by RVW. Can’t say it helped much.


  29. 7:51 (after a slow start) for this pleasant straightforward solve, though like others I hadn’t come across STEVEDORE as a verb before (or if I had, I’d forgotten it).

    21dn is a variation of an old chestnut so OBJECT went straight in; and the B was enough to jog my memory for the cat.

    No problem with DOUBLE-DECLUTCH either since long ago I drove a Morris Mini Van which didn’t have synchromesh between 1st and 2nd gear.

    Edited at 2017-01-25 10:55 pm (UTC)

Comments are closed.