Times Cryptic 26774

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
55 minutes for this one. I seem destined to report a slow solving time on blogging days. I don’t suffer from ‘blogger’s nerves’ any more but in the course of duty one likes to consider every possible aspect of a clue once the answer has been found instead of trusting to memory later. That slows me down of course but it’s not really an excuse as I have accepted long ago that I am a slow solver.  I don’t think there was much (if anything) to scare the horses here so I expect the hares will report very favourable solving times.

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

1 Possibly a red bird flew off first (4-6)
LEFT-WINGER – LEFT (flew off), WINGER (bird). More reds under the bed for me! In yesterday’s Quickie (which I also blogged) ‘red’ defined ‘Marxist’.
6 Search for / food (4)
GRUB – Two meanings
9 Artifice hard to prove (7)
CONFIRM – CON (artifice), FIRM (hard)
10 He built the Temple of Jerusalem unassisted, the first of seven? (7)
SOLOMON – SOLO (unassisted), MON (the first of seven?). I guess this is a reference to the seven days of the week in which case I’d have thought that ‘the first of seven’ ought to be SUN.
12 Triangle perhaps, popular shape men trust (10)
INSTRUMENT – IN (popular), anagram [shape] of MEN TRUST gives us the percussion instrument
13 Trouble in parliament from the right (3)
AIL – Hidden and reversed [from the right] in {par}LIA{ment}
15 First man in is key? (6)
OPENER – Two meanings, the first with reference to cricket
16 Date ruined by something remarkable backfiring, howled in grief (8)
ULULATED – LULU (something remarkable) reversed [backfiring], anagram [ruined] of DATE. I knew the word but not precisely what it meant. According to SOED one can also ululate with joy. How appropriate that in the wordplay Lulu’s back ! Alway good to be reminded of the Cheerful Earful.
18 Poorly / individual (8)
PECULIAR – Two meanings
20 A church removed from god, you can count on it! (6)
ABACUS – A, BAC{ch}US (god) [church removed]
23 Boston Tea Party ends, indeed (3)
NAY –  {Bosto}N, {te}A, {part}Y [ends].  It usually means something negative (Nay, nay and thrice nay! – Francis Howerd), but can can also mean ‘and even’ / ‘moreover’, and that’s what’s required here.
24 Dirty linen not to be written about in seat of government (10)
WASHINGTON – WASHING (dirty linen), NOT reversed [to be written about]
26 Catcher some briefly call back (7)
MANTRAP – PART (some) + NAM{e} (call) [briefly] all reversed [back]. A good definition.
27 See GP bandaging middle of joint, then see fractures (7)
DIOCESE – DOC (GP) containing [bandaging] {jo}I{nt} [middle], anagram [fractures] of SEE
28 Document that may be sent back unchanged (4)
DEED – A straight definition with an unmissable indication that the answer is a palindrome
29 Cheeky child, a scruff, lifts clothing (10)
JACKANAPES – JACKS (lifts) containing [clothing] A + NAPE (scruff – of the neck). Originally associated with the behaviour of apes, this also has a more general meaning as an impertinent child.
1 Curl / forward (4)
LOCK – Two definitions, the second with reference to a position in rugby
2 Punishment holding African party back (7)
FINANCE – FINE (punishment) containing [holding] ANC (African party -African National Congress). ‘Back’ in the sense of finance a project or enterprise.
3 Canary below cuckoo captured by artist (7-6)
WHISTLE-BLOWER – Anagram [cuckoo] of BELOW contained [captured] by WHISTLER (artist). Here we have two slang terms for an informer.
4 Missing summit, wing enters warmer rising cloud (6)
NIMBUS – {l}IMB (wing) [missing summit] is conained by [enters], SUN (warmer) reversed [rising]. I was helped here by wing / limb having appeared very recently in another puzzle. ‘Warmer’ for ‘sun’ is rather good.
5 Blooming thing cutting through Cambridgeshire city, wind (8)
EASTERLY – ASTER (blooming thing) contained by [cutting through] ELY (Cambridgeshire city). A few shrivelled old chestnuts here!
7 Pack forcibly split defence (7)
RAMPART – RAM (pack forcibly), PART (split)
8 Commercial breaks charm quiet nation (10)
BANGLADESH – AD (commercial) is contained by [breaks] BANGLE (charm), SH (quiet)
11 Battle scene, blasted thing of oxymoronic proportions? (6,7)
LITTLE BIGHORN – LITTLE BIG (oxymoronic proportions), HORN (blasted thing). The scene of Custer’s Last Stand. (Note to self: after the last time he came up, don’t mention his rank!)
14 In a rage, having stubbed one’s toe? (7,3)
HOPPING MAD – A definition with a cryptic hint
17 Girl hiding drink in pouches (8)
MARSUPIA – MARIA (girl) containing [hiding] SUP (drink)
19 Staff investing money, foreign capital (7)
CAYENNE – CANE (staff) containing [investing] YEN (money). The capital of French Guiana.
21 Miss in competition — still not far off? (5-2)
CLOSE-UP – LOSE (miss)  in CUP (competition). A rather fine cryptic definition with reference to photography.
22 African ruminant, little one repeatedly climbing (3-3)
DIK-DIK – KID (little one)  repeatedly reversed [climbing]. Add it to your list of antelopes if you didn’t already know it. Shame that Flanders and Swann never got round to writing a song about one of these.
25 French city / that’s transparent (4)
LENS – Two defintions of sorts

48 comments on “Times Cryptic 26774”

  1. This was a tricky one and I was never on the wavelength of the setter – CAYENNE went in on wordplay alone but LOCK was my last one in (with a smack on the head).
  2. After ten minutes, I threw in the towel with CONFIRM & LOCK unsolved. Thought of LOCK, but could make no sense of ‘forward’; and I never would have thought of CON for ‘artifice’. I assumed CAYENNE was a capital of somewhere once French. Like Vinyl, I would have spelled Little Bighorn as three words, but I’ve become used to disagreeing with the setter’s enumerations. But having now gone to the Internet, I see that e.g. the National Park on the battle site has Bighorn.
  3. A few guesses such as CAYENNE, and others I had trouble parsing but put in anyway. Finished in 37 minutes. ULULATED helped by recently seeing it in one of those make a word out of 9 letter puzzles. When I saw there was a link, I thought it might be the re-release of ‘To Sir With Love’ as a music video, but (and no offence to Fats Waller) alas no.

    I suppose it’s appeared before somewhere, but I liked HOPPING MAD.

    Thank you to setter and blogger

  4. … straightforward. Except for not being able to remember LENS!
    I was left wondering: what’s the plural of JACKANAPES?
  5. No problem for those who know the northern reaches of South America. I recentry reviewed ‘Suriname’ – (capital Paramaribo), by Matthew Parker. Plenty of Cayenne there; most folk think of as a chunky Porsche!

    Hot Porsche? (7) alternative clue with branding for the motoring mags.



    I had to do this on my I-pad on the Times site, which is far from satisfactory – my time 1 hr 11 mins 25 seconds. With all the farting-around it creates, my actual time was nearer 55 mins!
    Although Jack and I don’t always see eye to eye – our times are usually fairly similar. Life in the bus lane! I will break 20 agin!
    I realise my SOH is not as his, but his dedication to this site is exemplary.

  6. 19:14 … first treeware solve in a while and glad of it as I needed to do a fair bit of scribbling to get a foothold with some of these. Some very well disguised definitions, I thought.

    Last in DEED after PECULIAR / CAYENNE finally emerged from the mist.

    COD to BANGLADESH for a rather sweet surface, although WHISTLE-BLOWER is right clever.

  7. I was never quite with this setter and found it hard going. I found the down clues much easier than the across with many going in from definition and some reverse engineering – particularly 3D and 11D.

    At 10A solved from definition but like Jack was a little puzzled by MON as “first of seven”

    1. I did write a lot of stuff originally about the clue with its biblical flavour perhaps pointing us in the direction of the creation of the world as described in Genesis where according to some the seventh day of rest would be Sunday, making Monday ‘Day One’. But as it’s all a load of old tosh anyway I decided not to go there and deleted it.
      1. I wondered if we were with S. Grundy, born on a Monday… but too much of a jump perhaps. Some off-centre definitions but satisfyingly tricky. – joekobi
  8. 45 mins over pain au raisin (becoming a habit) – and far and away most of this spent on the Marsupia/Dik-Dik/Jackanapes stuff at the bottom. But the almost game-over was that I confidently put COMB in 6ac and then sweated over 7dn beginning with O. Am I the only one? Thanks setter and Jack.
  9. . . having spent five or more staring at the SE corner. Thinking SIP for drink didn’t help nor did a daft CLOSE-TO. A belated parsing of the latter and all became clear. No problem with MON – the Sabbath is the seventh day (for some) and others of a non-religious bent may prefer ISO 8601.

    On edit, what Keriothe says too, and there is a question mark at the end after all.

    Edited at 2017-07-11 07:40 am (UTC)

  10. Sadly I spent too long on 1d and a lot of the south of this one, pushing me over my hour.

    Having decided that 1d must be LOCK, and even guessing that it was some sport-related thing I was missing, I finally got JACKANAPES, MANTRAP et al., and even confirmed my DIK-DIK suspicion… But even pushing five minutes over my hour I couldn’t come up with the unknown French city for 25d, and I threw in the towel as I was already running late. I tend to push on if I’ve got a flow going, but this was anything but flowing. Ah well.

    1. I only knew LENS as a city because it has come up before. It was certainly in a QC a couple of years ago but also on other occasions I’m sure.
      1. It’s possible I’ve seen it before. I think most of my “unknowns” remain unknown until they’ve come up two or three times! Geography has always been something of a weakness for me, too.
  11. 16:31. Another one of those puzzles that felt like it was going to be an absolute stinker at first, but then somehow came together steadily.
    I’m aware that there is disagreement as to which day of the week is first but to my mind based on 1) the bible (on the last day and all that), 2) which days are covered by the word ‘weekend’ and 3) the sense of being dragged reluctantly into something new and awful I get when my alarm goes off at 6.30, the case for Monday has always seemed stronger.
  12. Had LICK for curl as in cowlick and forward as in at a fast lick. Utter tosh I know. Then wrote in JACKSNIPES. I thought WHISTLE BLOWER and FINANCE were great clues.
  13. 40 minutes but delighted to finish with DIK-DIK correct as the only biff. Really enjoyed this one, which was right at the extent of my solving ability. CODs LITTLE BIGHORN and WHISTLE-BLOWER. LOI LENS, known to me for its football team. Thank you J and setter
    1. Replying to myself, the puzzle has a SNITCH score of 111. A Nelson. Sadly there’s no longer David
      Shepherd around to dance a little jig.
  14. Cricket AND rugby knowledge required in the same puzzle? Most unsporting. Somehow I managed to finish in 7:21, avoiding relegation from the First Division – still squarely in the middle of that pack…
    1. Also, because it never happens, I’m going to report that I’m on the first page of the club Cryptic Leaderboard today! (Only because Magoo has currently done a typo more recently than I’ve done a typo, of course.)

      1. But you were 14 seconds ahead of him on this puzzle with no errors from either of you. Not too shabby at all!
        1. Yes, in terms of the metric that REALLY* matters, the Personal Nitch, Magoo barely came in inside of 2 Verlaines today.

          *not really

  15. I’ve been managing to get around to some 15x15s for a change – took this one on after our inestimable blogger had thrown down the challenge of 55 mins. Sadly, at an hour, the SE still had gaps so I resorted to the blog. Thanks for sorting dik-dik, jackanapes and lens out for me.
  16. Why can’t we see today’s comments. We are invited to comment but not te see those already made.
  17. 13:13 with LITTLE B H and INSTRUMENT biffed. I was pleased to learn which country CAYENNE is capital of.

    The battle took me back as a neighbour used to have a board game of that name when I was a boy and it gave us something to do when it rained.

  18. I found this quite tough and had to grind it out over about an hour.
    Strangely, the more exotic answers ( MARSUPIA, DIK DIK, JACKANAPES ) went in quite easily, whereas the common-or-garden ( LOCK, FINANCE, OPENER ) were like pulling teeth. Sigh…..

    Thank you to setter and blogger.

  19. Done like a kipper in the SE, not helped by biffing ‘close-by’. That’ll learn me.


    1. I put CLOSE BY too, but changed it when CBY didn’t fit the bill as a competition.
  20. I found this one of those puzzles where the clues don’t really work – too convoluted and there was little joy when you worked the clue. Things like Dik Dik, Jackanapes and a dodgy first day indeed. I knew the French city thankfully (I believe a very small place but with a top division footie team with passionate support). Another DNF for not knowing the cheeky child. So an hour spent without much sense of achievement. Thanks Jackkt, you seem to be on a run of dodgy puzzles.
  21. Surprisingly, considering my weakened state, I rattled this one off in a palindromic 31:13. FOI was GRUB as the NW resisted my attentions until much later in the solve. LOI was LEFT WINGER as I resisted entering it, as I was fooled by the clue, into trying to make an anagram of FLEW before the bird, and LEFT didn’t fit the bill. Doh! Some unusual stuff here, but I did know the French city and managed to drag JACKANAPES from the depths. Thanks setter and Jack.
  22. … both non-synonyms, substitutable in only one context. I’ve learned to accept this, but I still don’t really approve, esp if it’s two in one puzzle
    1. My guess is that you’re in a very small minority, possibly of one (it wouldn’t have included Ximenes).

      The usual convention is that provided you can look up the answer in a standard dictionary and find the given definition (or a reasonable approximation to it) included there, then that definition is fair.

  23. About 20 minutes, ending with a few extra due to brainlock, and over-pondering at LOCK and CONFIRM. Why those were hard for me to see after IDK-DIK and JACKANAPES, I can’t say. Regards.
  24. I am glad to see that I was not the only one who kept losing the setter’s wavelength. The rugby and the cricket sure didn’t help! And I would never have thought “CON” was a synonym for “artifice,” if CONFIRM weren’t clearly the only thing that by any stretch of the imagination could go there…
  25. I really struggled with this never really finding the wavelength but at least I managed to finish, eventually. Had the most trouble with the SE corner and 25dn, 29ac & 21dn. It took an age for me to change “close to” to “close up” (even then I didn’t pick up on the clever definition) but once I did “jackanapes” and “lens” weren’t far behind.
  26. 10:49 for this interesting and enjoyable puzzle.

    My one cavil is BANGLE = “charm” in 8dn. Surely a charm is something that goes on a bangle, rather than the bangle itself!?

    1. bangle
      1. a bracelet, usually without a clasp, often worn high up round the arm or sometimes round the ankle
      2. a disc or charm hanging from a bracelet, necklace, etc
  27. Why is Lulu something remarkable?

    And could this blogger not be persuaded to put his blog on he page same as everyone else. His unnecessary hyperlink does not always work.

    1. Collins has lulu as: a person or thing considered to be outstanding in size, appearance, etc

      SOED has: A remarkable or wonderful person or thing.

      If you’re referring to my regular ‘Here’s my blog…’ link, yours is the first complaint I have ever receieved of one not working, and obviously it did so on this occasion for everyone but you, so there would there would appear to be a problem with the way the software on your device is reading it. If you would post details of the device you are using, its operating system and browser or app you use to access TftT I shall look into it*. The blog IS on the same page as all the comments, just hidden until the link is clicked.

      *On further reflection, you say it doesn’t always work which suggests it sometimes does and I wonder if you are using a touch-screen? I know from my own experience with iPhone and tablets that these sometimes require more than one go to get a link to open, and I fear that is simply the nature of the beast. Grease on the screen or moisture on the finger can affect the smooth working.

      Edited at 2017-07-16 10:27 am (UTC)

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