Times Cryptic 26794 3rd August 2017. Somewhere, a crossword!

Right, now. Clearly a lot of today’s discussion will revolve around the pros and cons of the new site, like not working at midnight, so I solved on the newspaper site, which the new site very, very closely resembles. It took me 22 minutes to make it disappear with the last letter going in. I like to copy and paste the clues to avoid missing any, which can hazardously be done if you elect to print the grid. Empty, of course: haven’t yet found a print progress button. I may well have been slowed by fretting about the new look. In the interests of science, I filled in the club site grid when it turned up, and am currently waiting for my 4 minutes (that’s how slowly I type) to turn into something nearer 22 so as not to cheat. I’ll let you know if anything works.
As for the puzzle, it felt laden with an almost complete compilation of single letter generators, and an above average representation of Scottish territory. I’ll let you all share where the sticking points were today, though I have done what I can to explain.
Update: I have submitted, and pressed the bright blue button, but I’m apparently still in progress with 0% completed. I’ve also been rechristened to Zabadak2, but I think that’s a glitch in transferring my registration. I can’t reclaim Zabadak because there’s already someone with that name in the club. I wonder who?
Here are the clues, definitions and SOLUTIONS and lots of extra words.


1 Cabbage served by short bloke with hair in a tangle (8)
KOHLRABI  An anagram of BLOK(e) and HAIR. A German adaptation of Italian terms for cabbage and turnip, apparently.
5 Gangster with sons in Paris that give the game away (6)
SQUEAL A gangster is always AL (Capone), here tagged on to the end of S(ons) and French for that, which is QUE. Those are, I think, the bits, but that “in” messes up the construction.
10 Primate in sporting venue, one standing in for duke (5)
LORIS  The sporting venue is LORDS, home of cricket, with D(uke) removed and 1 replacing.
11 Cow maybe crossing loch with a native of Ayrshire, perhaps (9)
LOWLANDER  No one apparently knows what precisely constitutes the Scottish lowlands, but Ayrshire figures in descriptions. Here, your cow is a LOWER, embracing L(och), and the AND coming from the sneaky “with”
12 Promotion of English verse welcomed in great joy (9)
ELEVATION  E(nglish) V(erse) in ELATION, great joy.
13 Brusque ambassador abandoning the Irish language (5)
TERSE  H(is) E(xcellency) the ambassador is removed from THE, and ERSE for the Irish language is tacked on
14 Time old working lawyer employed in city (7)
NOONDAY  O(ld) ON (working) DA (lawyer, District Attorney) within N(ew) Y(ork)
16 Reprimand makes student finally leave weeping (6)
EARFUL  Weeping gives TEARFUL, remove the last letter of student
18 Satellite given award by Reagan, perhaps? (6)
OBERON  A moon of Uranus. The award, the OBE, not normally in the gift of POTUS, even RON Reagan
20 Loyal type that is a constructor of courses (7)
BRICKIE  BRICK: loyal type, IE that is. Nice definition.
22 Tranquilliser, one taken with hesitation after work (5)
OPIUM  OP for work, I for one, UM for hesitation, tastefully arranged
23 Call a good worker a shrew? (9)
TERMAGANT  The wordplay eliminates misspelling, call: TERM, A, G(ood), worker: ANT. Thank you setter.
25 Curiously narrow, wet, and currently eroded (9)
WATERWORN  Chambers says it has a hyphen, but it looks like one of those words made up by poets to fit the scansion. An anagram (curiously) of NARROW WET.
26 Sort of pulley not working right? (5)
IDLER  Not working IDLE plus R(ight)
27 Informal valediction from a couple of extras (3-3)
BYE-BYE  A bye is a score in cricket when everybody misses the ball.
28 Art works head removed from river mouth, receiving thanks (8)
STATUARY  Yer actual river mahf is the ESTUARY, from which the first letter is removed and TA for thanks is inserted


1 Dispatch, briefly, chap where cats traditionally fought? (8)
KILKENNY  Dispatch gives KILL, which is shortened. KENNY is today’s random male.
“There once were two cats of Kilkenny
Each thought there was one cat too many
So they fought and they fit
And they scratched and they bit
Till (excepting their nails
And the tips of their tails)
Instead of two cats there weren’t any!”
Just one version of the origin of the tenaciously fighting Kilkenny cats, a phrase embedded now in Southpark.
2 Gang locked up in Norwich or Derby (5)
HORDE  Today’s hidden. Can you spot it?
3 Lawrence can marry Dot, surprisingly, in the old county (4,3,8)
ROSS AND CROMARTY  T E Lawrence adopted the name ROSS, and the rest is an anagram of CAN MARRY DOT.
4 Persecutor repressing most of family in massive way (7)
BULKILY  your persecutor is a BULLY, taking in KIN with a bit missing.
6 One risking knockout given big drink reported a better roll (7-8)
QUARTER FINALIST I believe a big drink is a QUART, and I believe ER FINA LIST sounds like a finer list. A better roll. Call me credulous if you will.
7 Bird fish in European river avoid (5,4)
EIDER DUCK Your fish is an IDE, found in a E(uropean) R(iver). Avoid translates to DUCK.
8 Way to cut turnover of proper food store (6)
LARDER Way gives R(oa)D, which is surrounded by REAL for proper reversed (turnover).
9 Stab of pain, note, restricting footballer (6)
TWINGE  Today’s random (sol-fa) note is TE (a drink with jam and bread), and the footballer is on the WING.
15 Where some were once confined, changing to blue tie (9)
OUBLIETTE  An anagram (changing) of TO BLUE TIE. Some clues just look like anagrams.
17 It blows with exceptional fury ultimately around compound (8)
WESTERLY  W for with, the last letters of exceptional  fury, all embrace ESTER for compound.
19 Off making case for current whim (6)
NOTION  Well, of course, off is NOT ON, and I is the standard for electrical current. It just is.
20 First part of piece initially testing Beecham, for example (7)
BARONET  I didn’t know Sir Thomas was so elevated, but we live and learn. The first part of a piece of music is BAR ONE, and the first letter of testing is, um, T.
21 Sign of neglect we found among horse breeders, originally? (6)
COBWEB  Your horse being a COB, and breeders originally is B stick in WE for, um, we.
24 Cry of Cockney hunting in part of Clackmannanshire? (5)
ALLOA A town in CLACK….. HALLOA is a version of the hunting call more often heard as HALLOO, mispronounced as ever by our resident Cockney.

58 comments on “Times Cryptic 26794 3rd August 2017. Somewhere, a crossword!”

  1. … an on-line solve, I didn’t do too well. Mainly because I’m used to the Groan on-line puzzles where you can re-type a whole answer, even if there are checkers already in place. Forgot the Times on-line puzzles skip to the next cell after the checker. So had all sorts of mess-ups. COBWWB being a case in point.

    Otherwise, this one felt pretty ordinary. Or maybe I was just missing the familiar treeware?

    1. McT, you can change this setting. Just click on the cog-shaped thingy next to the timer, and change the “skip filled squares” setting. Life will quickly return to normal.
      1. For this relief, much thanks.
        While you’re on, is there a reliable way of copying all the clues … just in case Bruce is away and I have to blog for him?
        1. Yeah, there’s a print option under the same cog icon. From there you can cut and paste.

          At our next catch-up I might force you into using the script that I run for populating my blog template with the clues. Some upfront pain for considerable long-term gain.

        2. The way I have found (in anticipation of next week) is to presss print and copy the clues from there.
          1. Thanks to both.
            Guess I was asking: what if, as today, the print option isn’t clearly available?
            Maybe Galspray’s script will solve all this.
            Bout time I learned something more about computing.
  2. Well done, Z, on braving the new interface and getting the blog up so promptly. I noted my starting time but not the finish for some reason, though I don’t think I was delayed much beyond my half-hour target. I wasn’t entirely sure about HALLOA as a hunting call but the Scottish region was familiar enough. Kilkenny cats rang the faintest of bells.

    I’m also having an identity crisis over at the Club.

    Edited at 2017-08-03 01:41 am (UTC)

  3. But hopeless without pen and paper (Prof. McText and I agree for once) but there is an option to cheat! Just press ‘Reveal’ and you become Verlaine! And you get congratulated – pathetic!
    (Ximines would turn in his Florentine grave!)

    It should say some thing some thing like well-done, but average! Or ‘Piss-poor, next time try the ‘Reveal’ option’ or the Evening Standard!

    What time of day/night will this be available tomorrow, I wonder? Someone should notify NtN about the new ‘drollery’

    Quite an easy puzzle – I reckon I would have managed 25 mins without all technocrap.

    COD 1ac KOHLRABI – which is correctly a turnip with a cabbage-like stem and topknot.

    WOD of the day PETTIFOGGING! (which I mis-spelt in my earlier rant.)

    Rant over – where are my eye-drops?

    Edited at 2017-08-03 03:18 am (UTC)

    1. That’s twice in a fortnight we have agreed for once.
      I’m getting worried.

      Also to note: complete TLSlessness today. Unless we mistake 18a for a Shakespearean character and 17dn for a literary rag.

      Edited at 2017-08-03 04:30 am (UTC)

    2. You also misspelled Ximenes, oh horryd one. As for pettifogging, have you another puzzle in mind?
      1. Just seeing if you were still awake! Anyway the good Prof.McText and I are as cosy as RasPutin and POTUS.
  4. Around 20 minutes. I found this tricky, but I enjoyed it. I noticed a lot of Scottish references, but why not?
    The solving experience on the new site is OK, albeit with a few minor irritants, but I was unable to submit my solution. Teething trouble, no doubt…
  5. 39 minutes when I tried to submit at the new Club site but apparently without success. Enjoyed this a lot, though I wondered while solving whether the erstwhile Scottish county might not trip up a few of our overseas friends.
    1. None of those who were listening to ABC Radio National yesterday and heard Ian Rankin talking at length about his holiday home in Cromarty.

      Edited at 2017-08-03 04:50 am (UTC)

  6. A fail for me. I had only a dim recollection of the former county, had forgotten that TE Lawrence was sometimes ROSS, and thought I was looking for a full, partly indirect anagram. I ended up with CromErty. I also had no idea where the cats fought, though figured that one out from wordplay.

    Definitely not my cup of tea, this one, though I may have been primed for irritation by other factors. On the grounds that it seems to be beyond the wit of man (maybe they should let women do it) to launch a website without countless glitches, I’m trying to be gracious by assuming everything’s gonna be alright.

    Abundant thanks, Z8, for your grace under pressure.

  7. My worst performance in ages, mostly down to lack of knowledge—when there are too many clues where both the wordplay and the definition is beyond me, I don’t feel there’s much I can do. Today I was defeated by the unknown county clued by the unknown alias of TE Lawrence, the unknown KILKENNY and the random man, the unknowns ALLOA and HALLOA, among others.

    Basically much of this was so far off my wavelength I doubt I’d have go there in two or three hours, let alone one… Ah well. Some puzzles are just like that, aren’t they?

    Thanks to setter and Z, especially for struggling with the new site. I feel like I got a glimpse of my future this morning; I don’t need to wear reading glasses yet, but I felt as close to it as I’ve ever felt, poring over the tiny grid numbers and blurry clues on my printout…

    1. I do use reading glasses and am off to spec savers to get Times strength lenses…bah humbug.
  8. I see at this moment we have four people on the leaderboard. Well done! I, on the other had, have apparently yet to start, as my grid has reverted to blank. “Fasten your seatbelts; it’s going to be a bumpy night.”
  9. About 40 mins with overnight oats – and a mix of good and bad, I think. Didn’t like the clue for Squeal (does it work?), don’t like ‘Um’ just as hesitation, and Halloa? really?
    But I liked ‘Bar one’ and ‘ambassador abandoning the’. And it is always nice to see a loris. Thanks setter and Z.
    1. I’m developing a strange obsession with Myrtilus’ breakfasts. What a shame you can’t go the whole social media nine yards and upload pictures.

      As for HALLOA …yep, I agree (and I’m sure gothic_matt does, too)

      1. I am espousing the Gypsy “You gotta get a gimmick” principle. Where others provide anecdotes, insights and wit, I make do with weak puns and breakfast info. This week overnight oats (rammed with chia seeds) has become a staple. Not great. Tomorrow I plan a large croissant. Ah, but what preserve? You wonder.
        1. I, too, look forward to the next instalment in the serial. Although if I had to eat oats and chia, I would use the staple to clamp my lips together.

          I finished the crossword in my usual 30 minutes. I wrote the two long down clues straight in so the rest seem to fall relatively easily.

  10. I found this tough going, finishing with ROSS AND CROMARTY. I’d got as far as Cromarty, which I think is an area in the shipping forecast, but didn’t know the Ross bit. I then recalled the Scottish football team Ross County and guessed wrongly there must be a Ross Lawrence or a Lawrence Ross.

    Z8 taking 4 minutes to type the crossword gives some perspective on the 4 minute solvers. That leaves very little thinking time!

  11. Progress! I can now do the crossword on my android tablet, as promised, so I entered my answers for the thitd time, this time with two errors. What they are I can’t tell, because I can’t revisit my completed grid. But heigh ho.

  12. Ground this one out in 37 minutes, not helped by leaving a completely unparsed REVEAL in 5a until the 6d penny finally dropped. Satisfying in a slightly masochistic sort of way.
    The bad news is that the new site seems to have torpedoed SNITCHY. What to do without my geeky fix?
    1. 21:00 Likewise held up by 5ac, even though I knew REVEAL couldn’t be right. My current MO is to email the puzzles from the Tablet site and print out to complete on paper, so I’ve had none of the trials and tribulations of the new online site. Tried to get 11a to be SASSENACH at first (well it does have a loch in it, albeit backwards). Stupid boy.
  13. GK helped tremendously today. Delayed as noted by the unparsed REVEAL, was pretty sure that ‘reve’ is French for dreams…The Scottish county flew in. (My Latin teacher was Bob Cromarty, he also ran the debating society. I came top in Latin and won the public speaking cup in the same year). I dislike solving online so much of this discussion has passed me by. <20 today, thanks z and setter.
  14. As a pen and paper man the pdf format print out has a smaller point size and grid and to be technical is squished up. There is now of course the totally unnecessary Times logo and the title is in large bold type. The ‘old’ format was infinitely more user friendly and well thought out . Compared to the Guardian and the Telegraph it’s pants. As for the crossword itself was a little off the wavelength possibly due to my vexation at the changes.. about 25.

    Edited at 2017-08-03 10:50 am (UTC)

  15. Reading all your travails, I’m thankful I’m still on treeware. A DNF although I had all but 1a in 20 minutes. I’ve never heard of KOHLRABI. You lot must all be goody two shoeses (?) who ate up your cabbage. I guessed it was an anagram of BLOKHAIR once I couldn’t get KALE at either end but solved as KOHLRIBA. ‘Helmut sits before teacher missing a note’ would at least have given us cabbage-haters a chance. Thought QUARTER FINALIST was pushing the homophone boat out a bit far too, but I enjoyed the voyage. On that basis ALLOA could have been placed in Hawaii. KILKENNY was a write-in as was ROSS AND CROMARTY. LOI IDLER. COD TO QUARTER-FINALIST whatever. Thank you Z and setter.
    1. Treeware is not without its problems either, as I discovered when forced to revert to it for a couple of weeks in April. What I found was that the print and grid are too small – possibly even smaller than on the print-out produced in the revamped Club, and whether I used pen or pencil the point inevitably went through the page. I don’t recall ever having these problems in the old days when I bought the paper every day. Ageing eyesight would account for my reading difficulties, but has the quality of newsprint also deteriorated so that one only has to hover a writing implement in its vicinity and a hole appears in the page?
      1. I fold the paper double to 144 pages depth and then use a pen as I don’t make mastikes.
  16. After taking Ulaca’s advice and switching off the really annoying feature which Mctext and Galspray also mentioned, I made a reasonable fist of this puzzle, taking 47:21 to complete. I had to do a bit of experimenting with browser zoom settings and the clue size under the site settings to be able to read the clues and see the whole of the grid on my laptop screen, so that slowed me somewhat. I’m disappointed to find my whole history has vanished from the site though. Any ideas for retrieving it will be gratefully received. As for the puzzle, there was some tricky stuff. I fortunately knew the Scottish references although not the Ross and TE Lawrence connection. The cats rang a vague bell. REVEAL instead of SQUEAL also held me up for quite some time, as did my LOI QUARTER FINALIST. Thanks setter and Z.
  17. The old site showed the whole grid and minimal scrolling for the clues, whereas the new one crowds that out with a lot of stuff irrelevant to the task in hand, so was slowed significantly. Nevertheless, did finish in about 22 min, with SE corner being hardest – 6d was clearly QUARTER something (once I’d rejected REVEAL at 5ac) but thoughts of boxing were distracting till I got the right context.
    I must remember to turn the ‘skip’ option off next time, as I’ll need to check carefully that I’m not submitting with the wrong letters, as apparently there’s no facility to review my entry after it has been accepted.
  18. Whilst experimenting with the new site I think I submitted my “speed-typing” time of 4:06. On the other hand my Quickie time is recorded as 5 hours, 32 minutes and 50 seconds. I’m sure I took no more than 5 hours.

    I’m going to stick my neck out and say that the changes to the site look like an improvement overall. A few tweaks to the settings and a bit of settling in and we’ll all quickly forget what the site used to look like.

  19. Congratulations to Z for planting the flag with this one – in spite of his troubles with the module. This was pretty much within my ken except for the pulley which was a guess. I knew R&C thanks to a hulking pair of older twins who lived up the block from us in London and bullied all the younger kids. Their names were Angus and Ross but my dad called them R&C. I too missed the Lawrence reference.

    Ah yes BRICKIE. It last appeared in TLS 1180 (blogged by Z) as follows: Cathedral planner not against taking on English brickie. Ans. CAREER. Don’t ask.

    Speaking of the TLS I’m already having withdrawal symptoms as I contemplate my train ride up the Hudson tomorrow without it. Not only that, but I’m accustomed to printing out a sheaf of archive puzzles to while away odd moments. But now they lack the print option (FAQS says they are working on it) so it will have to be the Guardian, whose format, tell it not in Gath, is very computer-dummy friendly.

    As for our new regime, I was glad to have had some on-the-job training with the Quickie when it was introduced. 16.56

  20. So they do not have cats in KILLARNEY then, This and REVEAL spun this out for an unnecessary 24:27. Scotland slightly over-represented but such things bring joy to (Scottish) MrsBT. Thanks for explanations Z

  21. A game of two halves for me, with much of the puzzle going in inside of 5 minutes, followed by long minutes of staring at a few holdouts. Eventually though REVEAL did resolve itself into the much more satisfactory SQUEAL, which made QUARTERFINALIST not only possible but an immediate unparsed write-in, and everything else fell into place from there. LOI IDLER which I’d never heard of as a pulley, but thankfully the wordplay was completely straightforward.

    Didn’t enjoy this much overall despite all the obscure GK which is normally “my bag”, but possibly it’s just because of the new Club format, putting us all on edge.

  22. I was baffled by a finer list too. But that was a harder one amongst not so hard other ones. Was this not hard enough for a Thursday? Maybe the ROSS for Seven Pillars man was quite tough.
  23. After some long time of being a freeloader of sorts on the Club, for which I intermittently felt like a heel, I have now had to subscribe again, and the Times, as was its former wont, has immediately billed me twice. Payback, I suppose.
    I agree with those who’ve said the printout text is unnecessarily small, whereas it used to be quite readable. So I squinted my way through, probably around 20 minutes, but I was undone by the first part of ROSS AND CROMARTY. I was thinking that there must be some famous UK type named Lawrence R?S?, whom I hadn’t heard of. So I looked it up: DNF for me. I don’t recall Peter O’Toole calling himself Ross. Regards to the setter, and Z., the Times billing department, and everyone else too.
  24. 19 minutes on the eye-wateringly small printout provided by the new, “improved” club site. My KILKENNY limerick has nothing to do with cats. But is slightly rude… And set in the days before inflation.

    There was an old ***** from Kilkenny,
    Whose regular charge was a penny.
    But for half of that sum
    You could fondle her bum.
    A source of enjoyment to many.

    I always thought it was quite poignant…

  25. I found this tough. 46 mins on the commute this morning for most of the LHS (except 3dn, where I had worked out “and Cromarty” but had forgotten TE Lawrence’s pseudonym and needed an alphabet-run to come up with “Ross”) but only a few forays into the RHS. Needed another 19 mins at lunchtime to clear it all up. 5ac took a while, probably because the word order had me thinking that “Al” should be first and followed by “sons” and the French “that”. It took an age to conjure the quarterfinalist and longer to twig the homophone. “Brickie”, “westerly” and “baronet” were also a struggle. Alloa entered with a bit of a shrug. The pulley was unknown but the wordplay generous.
  26. Well, this took an hour and a half, but at least it was right, despite my being very weak on British geography (where in the world is Clackmannanshire?) and not knowing any Lawrence was called ROSS. I did eventually figure out the better roll in QUARTERFINALIST by myself, although that took ages. I rather liked BARONET.
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