Times Cryptic 26780

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
49 minutes for this very entertaining puzzle with a good mix of easy and more complicated clues and one or two moderately obscure references.

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

1 Queen’s protected by God, a symbol of British nationality (6)
DRAGON – R (queen) contained [protected] by DAGON (god). Not a god I’d heard of. A red dragon is the symbol of Wales.
4 Incorrect point not obvious to audience (8)
OFFSTAGE – OFF (incorrect), STAGE (point)
9 Reasonable to have affection for a European (7)
SLOVENE – S{a}NE (reasonable) substitutes LOVE (affection) for A
11 Puzzles concerning public transport (7)
REBUSES – RE (concerning), BUSES (public transport). Ian Rankin’s Inspector Rebus possibly made this word more widely known.
12 Turn to write another hint for solvers missing Celsius for scientist (5)
EULER – RE{c}LUE (write another hint for solvers) [missing Celsius] reversed [turn]. A name I know only  from crossword puzzles.
13 Christian Union in immense high church-wide movement (9)
ECUMENISM – CU (Christian Union) in anagram [high] of IMMENSE. I knew ‘ecumenical’ and derived it from that and wordplay.
14 Leader imposing local conditions in speech on instrument (10)
BELLWETHER – BELL (instrument), WETHER sounds like [in speech] “weather” (local conditions). Collins has this as 1. a sheep that leads the herd, often bearing a bell, and 2.a leader, esp one followed unquestioningly. ‘Bell’ is not the first instrument I would have thought of .
16 Have a look back (4)
KEEP – PEEK (look) reversed [back]
19 Ruth’s head in a thousand curlers seen here? (4)
RINK – R{uth’s} [head], IN, K (a thousand). We have many sporting references in Times crosswords but very few to curling.
20 Drinks dispenser I wonder about in the coldest months (4,6)
WINE WAITER – I + AWE (wonder) reversed [about] in WINTER (the coldest months)
22 Digger’s load dumped centrally in Oxshott, redeveloped awfully (9)
SHOVELFUL – {ox}SHO{tt}{ rede}VEL{oped} {aw}FUL{ly} [centrally]
23 Society and state spending will be cut by such a one (5)
SAVER – S (society), AVER (state)
25 Large insect regularly nearing light (7)
LANTERN – L (large), ANT (insect), {n}E{a}R{i}N{g} [regularly]
26 Make concrete (around a hundred tons) for repair (7)
RECTIFY – REIFY (make concrete) contains [around] C (a hundred) + T (tons). Collins has: reify – to consider or make (an abstract idea or concept) real or concrete. A new word on me but the straight definition here is simple enough.
27 Indicate danger of reconstructing New Theatre (8)
THREATEN – Anagram [reconstructing] of N (new) THEATRE
28 Paint the town red, taking in a show (6)
REVEAL – REVEL (paint the town red) containing [taking in] A
1 Is married during last month, abandoning the City quarter (9)
DISMEMBER – IS + M (married) contained by [during] D{ec}EMBER (last month) [abandoning the City]. ‘Quarter’ in this sense is most widely known in the expression ‘hung, drawn and quartered’, a particularly gruesome form of punishment in times gone by. I had thought ‘dismember’ referred specifically  to removal of limbs, but more generally it can mean to cut into pieces which might include quartering.
2 Bikini, say, shows most of top everyone’s admitted (5)
ATOLL – ALL (everyone) with TO{p} [most of] contained [admitted]. Perhaps most famous as a nuclear testing site post WWII.
3 Not a lot of choice of platform at a small station? (3,2,3)
ONE OR TWO – A straight definition and a cryptic hint
5 Visionary and affecting melody, main part of Rossini opera to which Queen’s attached (7-6)
FORTUNE-TELLER – FOR (affecting), TUNE (melody), TELL (main part of Rossini opera – William Tell), ER (Queen). High-ho, Silver!
6 Part of group setting British Standards in animal fat (6)
SUBSET – BS (British Standards)  in SUET (animal fat). ‘Setting’ adds to the surface reading here but weakens the clue as SET is part of the answer. I only knew BS as in BSI (British Standards Institution) with its famous kitemark symbol which came up here a few months ago, but Chambers has BS as a standalone abbreviation.
7 A key southern landmass with no disadvantage, being temperate (9)
ABSTINENT – A, B (key), S (southern), {con}TINENT (landmass) [with no disadvantage – as in pros and cons]
8 Racecourse record with several failing to finish (5)
EPSOM – EP (record – Extended Play), SOM{e} (several) [failing to finish]. Home of the Derby. Back in the first vinyl age EPs usually had four tracks to the single’s two and you got a posh cover like a smaller version of an LP.
10 A shocking line in scene from The Archers? (8,5)
ELECTRIC FENCE – I think this is just a cryptic definition with reference to the long-running BBC Radio soap set in farming country where one would be most likely to find such a device used to prevent stock from straying. If there’s something else going on here, I have missed it.
15 Squire, perhaps, unhappy in a minor way with leader of ramblers (9)
LANDOWNER – DOWN (unhappy) in LANE (minor way), R{amblers} [leader]. Another clue with a rural flavour which coming after The Archers reference reminded me that the original chief landowner in Ambridge was Squire Lawson-Hope. He and his family were written out in the mid-1950s. I suppose Brian Aldridge is the nearest they have to a Squire these days.
17 Perhaps study doorway has beam built in (9)
PORTRAYAL – PORTAL (doorway) contains [has… built in] RAY (beam)
18 Crush in service area (8)
MASSACRE – MASS (service), ACRE (area). In the sense of defeat overwhelmingly.
21 Prepared to stuff vegetable in old Spanish dough (6)
PESETA – SET (prepared) contained by [to stuff] PEA (vegetable). ‘Dough’ being slang for money. All set to do something, get ready, get set, go…
22 Run away for a break (5)
SPLIT – Two definitions, though running is not obligatory for the first one
24 Utter depravity smothers love (5)
VOICE – VICE (depravity) contains [smothers] 0 (love)

60 comments on “Times Cryptic 26780”

  1. … I have a fairly accurate time. Started at 7:15; finished just as the 8:00 news was starting.
    Raised a few eyebrows at rather loose synoymy: e.g., “point” for STAGE (4ac). “At this stage …” might work I guess. But the Tour de France mob wouldn’t like the equivalence.

    Had no idea what was going on with The Archers and the fence (10dn). Suppose Jack’s guess is better than all sorts of possibilities I considered. Liked the other long clue/answer (5dn) much better.

    Jack’s right that SPLIT doesn’t require literally running (22dn). But then, neither does “running away”. As in “He ran away with the bank account and another woman” — to be zeugmatic … again.

    Edited at 2017-07-18 02:00 am (UTC)

    1. News at 8am McT? Thought you’d be a 7:45am man, if only to get the full blast of the Majestic Fanfare.
      1. I vacillate. Depends on how interesting RN is at that time. (And I’m in love with Frank Elly!)
  2. for this rather loosely clued puzzle. CLUNKY!

    1ac Surely the DRAGON is only partially a symbol of British nationality! Or am I the only grey area in the village?

    4ac for once agree with Prof. McText

    10dn Walter Gabriel would have had nowt to do with ELECTRIC FENCEs! Not green enough! Not very ‘Archers’!

    FOI 3d ONE OR TWO LOI 18dn MASSACRE mmm verb!


    22ac SHOVELFUL – full IKEA alert!

    22dn as per Jack

    26ac RECTIFY – REIFY! (Marxist Chambers!)

    17dn Did anyone figur(in)e out PORT-ROYAL?

    Mood Meldrew

    1. Groan setter, Chalicea puts it as follows:
      “Lots of cluelets each providing some of the letters of the solution and building up to an overlong humdrum whole”.
      Though I don’t think 22ac quite counts. At least it’s in linear order.
    2. As indicated by jackkt in the blog, the DRAGON is a symbol of a British nationality.

      Edited at 2017-07-18 07:51 am (UTC)

      1. All this will come clear when Brexit arrives or hopefully doesn’t. Is then Mexican an American nationality?
      2. But the ‘a’ isn’t at that point in the clue, so I’m still peeved (naturally as I didn’t solve it!) by the looseness.
        1. Ah yes I see your point but in cryptic clues the word ‘a’ is often omitted: see also for example 21dn (vegetable) or 18dn (service area). The trick here is that ‘British nationality’ isn’t normally a countable noun but it undoubtedly can be: there are three British nationalities.

          Edited at 2017-07-19 07:20 am (UTC)

  3. Actually I found this a bit turgid, to be honest, perhaps because the clues are a bit long and rather clunky. I thought 10dn was particularly weak, unless (as you say) I have missed something.

    I had PEEP at 16ac which seemed OK while solving but on reflection probably doesn’t bear scrutiny.


  4. Hesitated over DRAGON, not knowing the God. Also took a while to get COD ONE OR TWO, and to parse SLOVENE.

    Always nice to see EULER, my favourite non-German mathematician. I guess he had to be clued as “scientist” to prevent it being a write-in, but it never sounds right to me.

    No idea about the ELECTRIC FENCE. Guess Jack must be right, but…hmmm.

    Thanks setter and Jack.

  5. A lot of time spent in hopeless staring at the grid, interspersed with sudden flashes of satori–well, guesses–followed by parsing. ELECTRIC WHA? & WINE WHA? were particulary irritating in that regard. Like McT, had no idea what the Archers were doing, getting FENCE after giving up CHAIR. I never did figure out SHOVELFUL–I tried for a while to rearrange (inoxshott)*–and I think I’ll give it my COD.
    1. Lest you be implying that I’m not familiar with the radio show (though I doubt you are), I need to defend my deep cultural knowledge. I once even managed to cram the theme tune into a version of “The Music Man” (admittedly a version used as a drinking song).
  6. Ah, now we know why the obscure(?) Jamaican town PORT ROYAL appeared yesterday – presumably to avoid consecutive PORTRAYALS
  7. I liked SLOVENE, by the way, as substitution clues are pretty rare in these parts.
    1. Good to see the great Labor man on this site. But … did he hold dual citizenship?
      1. He was certainly born overseas…and I suspect most of the site users won’t know what you are on about! I hadn’t heard of my illustrious namesake before emigrating to Oz about 15 years ago, but I’m glad to pay a small tribute
        1. In wondering about Fisher’s citizenship I came across the following in Wikipedia:

          ‘The idea that there was such a thing as an Australian nationality as distinct from a British one was considered by the High Court of Australia in 1906 to be a “novel idea” to which it was “not disposed to give any countenance”‘

          Apparently real Australian citizenship didn’t come into existence until 1948. From the 1920s until then we were just British subjects living in Australia.

  8. 31 minutes; clearly my having to get out the door to go to work is improving my times. Glad to be able to come here to have my increasing number of biffs—SLOVENE and ECUMENISM to name but two—explained.

    FOI 2d, LOI DRAGON. I’d only heard of a very different God, but it was good enough for me. Liked DISMEMBER. Kept trying to crowbar “ult.” into that one until I worked out what was going on.

  9. It’s been a while since I did a puzzle really steaming drunk, but looking back on things I was pretty drunk last night, after a fun evening of a 24 piece orchestra playing songs inspired by Joseph Campbell’s Hero with a Thousand Faces in the style of the Divine Comedy at the Lexington. Anyway this didn’t take too long, 7 minutes or so I think, but I was daft enough to hit the submit button with PEEP still in a 16ac. The club site is playing up badly for me right now, always dozens of dialog boxes and error messages and weird timer phenomena before a submission “takes”, and I instantly changed to KEEP and hit the submit again, but alas there are no second chances. Why can’t I just go to bed if I get home at midnight unable to walk in a straight line? Maybe a nice week of sober and puritanical company in New York will dry me out…
    1. I get this with the club site on certain devices (my wife’s Apple laptop, my iPhone) but not others (my Microsoft laptop, my work computer, my iPad). This problem has been there for ages: I’m no expert on IT but it seems particularly poor that they haven’t addressed it.

      Edited at 2017-07-18 07:50 am (UTC)

      1. Interesting, as I do solve on a Mac. However it’s by no means a constant problem, it disappears for long stretches and then resurfaces to annoy me for a week or so. I wonder what the problem is…
        1. Hmm. Odd. For me it is 100% consistent: I have the problem or I don’t, depending on the device.
  10. 18:31 … quite testing, I thought, and I’m happy enough with this time after a very unpromising start.

    I didn’t know Dagon the god, either. And I’ll admit that I thought I knew what reify meant but I didn’t (lionise, since you ask), so that one went in with trepidation.

    Maybe not a crowd-pleaser of a puzzle but lots of clever things. SLOVENE and REVEAL both very nice. And the ELECTRIC FENCE made me smile so I’ll give it a thumbs-up, even though my fairly brief love affair with The Archers came to an end long ago (one day I made the mistake of engaging my brain while listening to it and that was that).

  11. I thought RING looked a bit dodgy (why curlers plural?) but G for a thousand is valid. So back to the game after an absence in Italy testing conditions for wheelchairs (nonsensical, it turns out) and the joys of Rome and Assisi (considerable). So also back to the one error disappointment, that moment when you realise there’s no 22 minute entry between 21 and 23.
    Quite a few of the across pairs make plausible phrases: if for Mrs May, say, there is a dragon offstage, who will threaten reveal first? And do Slovenes have their own line in rebuses? There are others: take a look.
  12. When I was left with B_L_W_T_E_ at 14A I was so convinced that ‘local conditions in speech’ meant it began with BILAWS that I thought it had to be a real obscurity and I never thought to challenge my assumption. Must try harder.
    1. Just the same as you and martinp1. Also a DNF for me, as I failed to see ‘bellwether’.
      I’m probably just grumpy because I failed to complete, but this wasn’t my favourite puzzle of recent times. I could have a stab at the identity of the setter, but I’d probably be wrong with that too.
    2. Just the same as you and martinp1. Also a DNF for me, as I failed to see ‘bellwether’.
      I’m probably just grumpy because I failed to complete, but this wasn’t my favourite puzzle of recent times. I could have a stab at the identity of the setter, but I’d probably be wrong with that too.
  13. 45 mins with porridge – with one left (Massacre) then 5 more to get it. I know. Also DNK Dagon. I agree with others; not much pizzazz here – but I quite liked the Shovelful and Slovene. Thanks setter and Jack.
  14. Strange puzzle with a mix of good and bad. All covered above but I’ll add my name to those who don’t have a clue what 10D The Archers is all about

    Euler was a prolific mathematician who contributed hugely to maths notation. Many of you will know the number “e” from calculus – proper name Euler’s Number.

  15. 14m. I rather enjoyed this. Last in DRAGON: I’ve never heard of the god, and it took me a while to twig that British is not the only British nationality.
    I can’t stand the Archers but specific knowledge isn’t really required, and as far as I can see jackkt’s explanation of the clue is all there is to it.
  16. DAGON was the Philistine god, central in the story of Samson. Try listening to Handel’s Samson ‘great Dagon has subdued our foe…’. I also know about EULER, and can do a few hours of (popular) mathematics if anyone’s interested. 29′ today, took a while to parse SLOVENE. Didn’t we have BELLWETHER recently? Thanks jack and setter.
  17. While I still enjoyed my solving experience, I think I was another who never really “got” this one – too many clues where there wasn’t so much a deeply satisfying penny-drop moment as “Well, I suppose it must be this, then?” Also, after listening to the Test match for the last four days, I found myself hearing 11ac in the voice of Henry Blofeld, which was nice.
    1. Is Blowers still going around? Good for him. He first graced our screens down here in the early 70’s, during the Lillee – Thomson series I think. My brothers and I were fascinated by him, he was as close to something from another planet as we had ever seen (or heard).
      1. Blowers is still going strong, though he’s announced that this will be his last season (which I think is probably a good idea, as he’s recognising that age is catching up with him, and it’s more dignified to bow out voluntarily than be regretfully shown the door). During this game, Nottingham Council unveiled a new bus with his name on it, which was a perfect tribute. How absolutely splendid, or words to that effect.
  18. 27 minutes for this curate’s egg of a puzzle. Not sure what all the fuss is about with ELECTRIC FENCE. It’s a line on a farm that gives a shock if touched – a bit lame as cryptic definitions go but no mystery surely?
  19. We had him clued as a homophone a while back which was when I learned that he was pronounced “oiler” not “yuler”. Sorry to say I’d forgotten the Welsh dragon and was thinking vaguely about St. George and the critter. On the fence, same as others. 16.43
    1. I always thought he was a mathematician not a scientist, but I see my knowledge was limited. One or two untidy clues, I felt. Luckily I thought of the sport and avoided the RING trap at 19a. 15:07, so a NITCH of 60-something for me.
  20. I tried them all before getting the correct one.

    I have always been utterly resistant to the charms of the Archers but one day, whilst waiting in the car for my wife, I tuned in just at the very moment that Nigel Pargiter fell off the roof with a heart-rending cry of AAARRGGGHHHH. I’m sorry dear reader but I have to confess that I laughed like a drain.
    O tempora, O mores……..

    Time: 45 minutes or so.

    Thank you to setter and blogger.


    Edited at 2017-07-18 01:30 pm (UTC)

    1. Nigel Pargiter’s AAARRGGGHHH was so long that simple mathematics (Euler?) shows that he must have fallen off at least a six storey building, or something like that
  21. I have to admit to not listening to The Archers, but the connection between the countryside and a shocking line seemed obvious and I wrote it in with a smile, and worried no more. I did struggle to get a toehold in this puzzle, but plugged away and eventually crossed the line at 46:10, which I was quite happy with. FOI was ATOLL. I left EULER for a while as I knew him(from previous puzzles) as a mathematician rather than a scientist. Biffed SHOVELFUL without spotting the parsing after giving up on finding anagram fodder. LOI was DRAGON, taking the unknown god on a wing and a prayer. Interesting if puzzling puzzle. Thanks setter and Jack.
  22. Finished in about 30m with manof the above issues (Archers?) and I misparsed Rectify hut got it right. Euler’s identity was a complete WOW moment in my mathematical studies and it took me a while gefore I could reasonably claim to have an understanding of how e, pi and imaginary numbers could combine so joyfully. Even better than Fermat’s Last Theorem – which is nicely covered in a book by Simon Singh (I think) and well worth a read. Thanks all
    1. I’ll second your recommendation of the Simon Singh book. The dedication of the chap who proved it is amazing.
  23. In 14ac, I had the first 3 checkers in BxLxW so, seeing “local conditions” in the clue, I tried desperately to fit in something like BILAWS or BYLAWS but it was yet another garden path I was led up !
    EULER….is a German owl. I used to stay in the Hotel Euler in the small town of Homburg in Saarland.

    Edited at 2017-07-18 02:38 pm (UTC)

  24. I made my way through in about 25 minutes, LOI the DRAGON. I assumed it meant St George’s companion, forgot about what the Welsh flag looks like, and I didn’t know of the god, or what reify means. Obviously, the Archers reference didn’t ring any bells with me, so I didn’t have the opportunity to be puzzled by it. Regards.
  25. My FOI was ATOLL – purely from the definition. But I still can’t see how the cryptic works. To me it should be TALLO. With “everyone” included (admitted) in “most of top”. Obvious answer though. I thought some of the clueing was a bit clunky. Saw DRAGON straight away – comes from living in Wales. Dagon appears in the bible. I remember singing about him when we did Handel’s “Samson”. It was Dagon’s temple that Samson pulled down on top of the Philistines. 32 minutes. Ann
    1. Ann, does it make a difference if you think of it as “everyone has” rather than “everyone is”?
  26. Away for a short break in Lancashire and “not doing the crossword”. But the sun’s cracking the flagstones today and it’s too hot for any more activity. That happens regularly here of course. After a visit to the Church where I was christened, then to the cemetery containing all four grandparents, both parents and the plot reserved for my wife and me, and finally with a walk down Skippool Creek to the banks of the Wyre where boats left for Dunkerque (God knows if they got there in time – they may well still on their way back) and my Grandfather’s brother was drowned 150 years ago, I guess I have to admit to being a “Somewhere” more than an “Anywhere”. They were all European too though, if not obviously SLOVENE. I’ve seen many Ghosts Past and a couple of future ones today. The last hour has been in the present on the balcony looking over the Dunes to the Irish Sea with a glass of Rioja while doing the Times crossword from a copy bought in Poulton Market Square. (My Londoner wife said they’d only have The Mirror and The Sun. What does a Londoner know who only London knows?) As other posters have said, the crossword, like this post, is a bit wordy today, but no less worthy for that. COD SHOVELFUL. Never call a spade a spade if you can call it a bloody shovel. I’ve always known EULER through his Maths, but Wiki has him surfing the waves against Newton’s corpuscular Optics, and the inspiration for Huygens. Off to the Lakes and Dove Cottage tomorrow, an easier walk than Striding Edge. Thank you Jack and setter.
    1. Don’t succumb to this divisive nonsense, boltonwanderer, there is no contradiction. We are all somewheres, the question is just whether you accept and appreciate the somewheres of others. You evoke your own eloquently.

      Edited at 2017-07-18 09:12 pm (UTC)

      1. Yours is the conclusion I was inviting the reader to reach, K, by the jokey reference to them all being Europeans as well as Lancastrians, as the somewhere/anywhere debate has mainly come since the referendum. I was saying that although I have a substantial hinterland (without remotely claiming that others don’t), there is a common humanity which we share. I’m a novelist and not a polemicist nowadays and try not to state the conclusions that can be drawn.
    2. I remember seeing the walls in at least one of the rooms at Dove Cottage having been papered with contemporary newsprint. Can’t remember whether or not it was from The Times but do resist any temptation to tackle an incomplete Crossword if such is in evidence!
    3. I have to admit I prefer strolling around Grasmere to falling off Striding Edge.
  27. “Mathematics is the queen of sciences, and number theory is the queen of mathematics” – Carl Friedrich Gauss

    Edited at 2017-07-18 06:42 pm (UTC)

  28. DNF. Bah! My error was “ring” rather than “rink”. I sometimes find myself solving a bit on autopilot and ones like that can sneak under the radar. Other than that I found this reasonably plain sailing, FOI 11ac, until the SW corner where I was held up by 15dn, 22ac, the second word in 10dn and my LOI 14ac. Some nice stuff but for me this was not so much an “AHA!” set of clues more an “Oh I see, that must be it then” set of clues. Never listened to the Archers but the theme tune is familiar. I liked the clue for pesetas but COD to the gruesome 1dn.
  29. 9:03 for me despite making ridiculously heavy weather of some straightforward clues.

    I seem to be in a minority in finding this an interesting and enjoyable puzzle, and the clues not at all clunky/wordy. Like falooker I’ve sung about “Dagon the fish god” but in some more modern work than Handel’s Samson whose composer I sadly can’t remember.

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