Times Cryptic 26828

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I needed 43 minutes for this. There was quite a lot of biffing going on and in addition I bunged in a few words that fitted, hoping for the best and leaving the explanations for later. There’s still at least one clue that I may not fully have understood.

As Vinyl1 mentioned yesterday it would be good if we could raise the level of interest in Jumbo Cryptics around here, especially now that we have some new bloggers in that department. He suggested having a go at 1282 because it is exceptionally challenging, but for those who find Jumbos a bit too much of a challenge I would recommend having a go at the latest, 1284, as it’s really quite easy.

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

1 Vessel, first with guards caught in historic offence (10)
WITCHCRAFT – WITH contains [guards] C (caught), CRAFT (vessel)
6 Try to win, following call from boxer, perhaps (4)
WOOF – WOO (try to win), F (following). Boxer makes a change from setter!
10 Type of government editor gets wild about (7)
FEDERAL – ED (editor) is contained by [gets … FERAL (wild) …about]
11 Far-flown messenger stopping to cross (7)
TANGELO – ANGEL (far-flown messenger) is contained by [stopping] TO. A cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit or pomelo.
12 Toiletry’s improved quality (4,5)
ROSE WATER – ROSE (improved), WATER (quality).  ‘Of the first water’  =  ‘of the highest quality’.
13 Area close to bungalow remains flooded (5)
AWASH – A (area), [close to] {bungalo}W, ASH (remains)
14 Explorer coming back on holiday (5)
CAVER – RE (on) + VAC (holiday) reversed [coming back]
15 Witness putting King Edward on spot before audience? (9)
SPECTATOR – Sounds like (before audience) “speck” (spot) “tater” (King Edward – a popular variety of potato)
17 Fen worker claiming pound to add to spoils (9)
MARSHLAND – MARS (spoils), HAND (worker) containing [claiming] L (pound)
20 Smelling off, even after sex change (female preferred) (5)
FUSTY – Both ‘fusty’ and ‘musty’ mean ‘smelling stale’ or ‘off’. ‘Female preferred’ tells us we need the word starting with F here.
21 Raised standard cut by a French revolutionary (3,2)
RAN UP – PAR (standard) containing [cut  by] UN (a, French) reversed [revolutionary]
23 Stripper shows stubborn look going back inside (9)
DEFOLIANT – DEFIANT (stubborn) contains LO (look) reversed [going back inside]
25 Discipline / citizen (7)
SUBJECT – Two meanings
26 Scientist requiring energy for time shift (7)
CHEMISE – CHEMIS{t} (scientist) swaps T (time) for E (energy)
27 Uni running team, heading off to the west (4)
YALE – {r}ELAY (running team) [heading off] reversed [to the west]. I’m assuming ‘relay’ can be used for ‘running team’ as defined here although I haven’t been able to find an exact match in any of the usual sources. On sporting matters I don’t feel the need to explore every last nuance of meaning because everybody knows more about  the subject than I do. I noticed YALE was absent from the list of top 10 universities in the world as published last week.
28 Cleaner 1 across? (10)
BROOMSTICK – A straight definition and a cryptic hint by way of reference to 1ac, a BROOMSTICK being traditionally a witch’s preferred mode of transport or craft.
1 Host‘s foe disembowelled in combat (5)
WAFER – F{o}E [disembowelled] in WAR (combat). ‘Host’ is the consecrated bread used in a Holy Communion service, usually  represented by a wafer. On a more mundane level, I’m afraid I never hear the word ‘wafer’ with thinking of the ‘waffer theen meent’ fed to Mr Creosote in the film ‘The Meaning of Life’, and the revolting consequences.
2 Sees through unexpected stoppage on the coast (5,4)
TIDES OVER – One might have a loan to tide one over during lean times. I don’t know for sure what’s going on in the second part of this clue although I suppose if the tides were ‘over’, meaning they stopped running for any length of time it would be unexpected. I may be missing something here.
3 Exalted lady love taken aboard after fuss kicked up (4-10)
HERO-WORSHIPPED – HER (lady), 0 (love), ROW (fuss) reversed [kicked up], SHIPPED (taken aboard)
4 Republican bucks up, recounts resulting (7)
RELATES – R (Republican), ELATES (bucks up)
5 Healthy, perhaps, if ref involved in final result (3-4)
FAT-FREE – Anagram [involved] of REF in FATE (final result)
7 Plato’s last order, taking up time (5)
OMEGA – OM (order), AGE (time) reversed [taking up]. Last letter of the Greek alphabet.
8 Reckless kid able to get through the winter (9)
FOOLHARDY – FOOL (kid), HARDY (able to get through the winter – of plants)
9 Shifty aunt shuffles in, not staying with uncle? (14)
14 Appeared impulsively out of line, keeping out of the picture? (6-3)
CAMERA-SHY – CAME (appeared), RASH{l}Y (impulsively) [out of line – L]
16 Musician in action’s extraordinary (9)
TOSCANINI – Anagram [extraordinary] of IN ACTION’S. The Italian conductor who died aged 90 in 1957 may not be known to many these days but he was very famous in his day, worked for much of his career in the USA and made loads of recordings which are still of historical interest. Not having thought of him for years, his name cropped elsewhere within the past few days.
18 He hears Arab right-winger putting off extremists (7)
AUDITOR – {s)AUDI (Arab) + TOR{y} (right-winger) [putting off extremists]
19 Statute penned by old novelist limited in effect (2,5)
DE FACTO – ACT (statute) contained [penned] by DEFO{e} (old novelist) [limited]
22 Liberal let down by august benefactor (5)
NOBEL – NOBLE (august) with L (Liberal) moved / let down
24 Adjust wide timber frames (5)
TWEAK – TEAK (timber) encloses [frames] W (wide)

53 comments on “Times Cryptic 26828”

  1. Best crossword in a while
    Went through the entire top half without entering or understanding a thing
    Marshland and Camera Shy came after about 15 minutes, followed by steady progress in a clockwise direction
    All up about 45 minutes, and every clue was excellent without relying on obscurities—with the exception of Toscanini, who was seen very recently I believe


  2. …so here I am writing over the final “R” in my HERO-WORSHIPPER with a “D.” For “D’oh!” I also forgot about the King Eddie “tater,” a cryptic chestnut. The “lift and separate” of “to/cross” in 11 across was nice. Good one, no complaints!

    Edited at 2017-09-12 03:31 am (UTC)

  3. 21:17 … a good challenge. TANGELO and FOOLHARDY were the final obstacles for me, and hard to see. Lots of lifting and separating needed, as with “exalted lady love” and “Plato’s last order”.

    Very impressed with both HERO-WORSHIPPED and UNFAITHFULNESS

  4. 30.42, so obviously much more challenging – and satisfying – than yesterday’s. I stalled on the clues around the lower parts of the wonderful UNFAITHFULNESS, which I struggled to unravel even after writing the presumed anagrist down and the known crossers.
    Perhaps an illustration of the creativity of this setter is a comparison of the clue for TOSCANINI with the one seen so recently, the latter being a seasoned solver’s write in, this needing concentrated thought.
    I liked the FUSTY/MUSTY choice, with a surface that invited rather distracting flights of fancy.
    Thanks J for taking the time to unravel HERO-WORSHIPPED and AUDITOR, two I shamefully biffed.
  5. 44 minutes for me, so not bad for a Tuesday. Never felt like I was quite on the wavelength, but understood everything except AUDITOR, so thanks for the explanation.

    I’ve heard TOSCANINI no fewer than three times in various papers’ puzzles recently; I wonder if it’s the 150th anniversary of his birth this year, Classic FM celebrating its own 25th birthday last week, or just plain coincidence… Whatever, I’m sure that now I’ve fixed him firmly in my mind he won’t come up again any time soon.

    I think TIDES OVER works just how you think, Jack, though it took me a while to get there myself, it being my LOI. FOI 1d, COD 25a BROOMSTICK, WOD FUSTY.

  6. I found this difficult and struggled with some well crafted clues. Only 2D is slightly odd and 28A a bit weak. The rest are excellent. Thank you setter and great job Jack.
  7. I have been out for a few days and this was not easy.

    Good clues abounding.

    FOI 6ac WOOF

    LOI 27ac YALE


    WOD 20ac FUSTY

    Edited at 2017-09-12 07:56 am (UTC)

  8. An hour – with overnight oats and Scottish raspberries.
    This included a full 20 mins of staring blankly at a grid with a sparse scattering of early successes. Then 1ac (and its pal 28ac) unlocked it.
    Some very fine cluing and quirky connections made this a joy.
    Thanks skilful setter and Jack.
  9. 45 minutes, finishing in a rush having stared at acres of blank spaces for what seemed an eternity. The kind of puzzle that scrambles your brain so that even the easier answers appear impenetrable. Excellent stuff.
  10. Took almost an hour, and I got them all but 3dn where I’d lost the will, and, having thought for the longest time it was Mary-worshipper, changed it to Hare-worshipper without stopping to think of the why or the wherefore. Silly me!

  11. Like others I found this tough. After 10 minutes I only had about 3 or 4 answers so I was pleased to finish within the half hour.

    Lots to enjoy here but I’ll give my COD to FUSTY as it felt like quite an original clue to me and it sounded somewhat risque to boot.

  12. Very nice and quite challenging. Another here who concluded with the TANGELO/FOOLHARDY overlap, the former being a perfect example of how to disguise a definition.
    1. Oddly TANGELO was one of my first in. My solving brain has been conditioned to ring a little alarm in the shape of a TIGON whenever I see the word ‘cross’.
  13. 48 minutes. This was a good puzzle with everything necessary in the clues, often well-hidden. After 5 minutes, I’d only got WAFER and FEDERAL. UNFAITHFULNESS was a difficult anagram both to spot and to solve. We use ordinary bread for our Church communion, provided by whomsoever is sidesman. Crusts are to be cut off so that the vicar can break the bread. On my turn, when we had the old dog, I’d always give him the crusts before I went to church, saying “Take and eat this…” He’d not been confirmed but he and I both agreed that should be not be necessary on theological grounds. SE corner last to fall with LOI BROOMSTICK. COD TIDES OVER. Thank you Jack and setter.
  14. Very good puzzle, as much noticed already. Was I the only one who hovered over 20ac for a good wee while at the end wondering if it could be FISHY? The only Verlaine would have bunged that in without a moment’s hesitation, so perhaps I’m improving?
    1. Whilst reading the other comments and being delighted to see that it wasn’t ‘just me’, I notice you haven’t put a time today??
        1. Those of us who do the puzzle from a print-out would quite like to see solving times so we can compare them to our own pathetic efforts. I never bother with online solving for the cryptic because I enjoy my morning ritual of solving it in bed with my first cup of tea. But I do like to know how other people have fared.
          1. xwdsnitch.herokuapp.com is also your friend. Looks like even the biggest hitters were in the ~9 minute range for this puzzle, so I won’t be too unhappy about my 12…
            1. Thanks for the heads-up. Will have fun checking it out. Btw, I see you’re still using the “marvellous boy” as your avatar. Suicide in good taste!
              1. Hazlitt’s take on Chatterton is typical in its perpicacity: ‘I cannot find in Chatterton’s works any thing so extraordinary as the age at which they were written. They have a facility, vigour, and knowledge, which were prodigious in a boy of sixteen, but which would not have been so in a boy of twenty. He did not show extraordinary powers of genius, but extraordinary precocity. Nor do I believe he would have written better, had he lived. He knew this himself, or he would have lived. Great geniuses, like great kings, have too much to think of to kill themselves.’
    2. “FISHY” kept stubbornly suggesting itself, and I wondered if there weren’t some UK dialect where “MISHY” is an equivalent word.

      Edited at 2017-09-12 08:53 pm (UTC)

  15. Depilator, defoliate and finally the correct one. Well my brain is a bit stripped after a long weekend in a forest chalet with a six month old. After quite a bit of head scratching I finally got 3d and, yet again, completed a puzzle that would of (allowed Norfolk expression) proved impossible to me a year ago. About 50mins. Thanks all and sorry if I’ve offended any hyphen pedants.
      1. Mine too. I thought that as I’d gone to the trouble of remembering such a good word, it was very shabby of the setter not to have actually used it.
        1. I also tried to make ECDYSIAST work several times, because it seemed such a shame for it not to be the right answer.
  16. So long ago that I did this that I have forgotten how long it took – around 45 minutes, I think. Like K, tangelo was a write-in, once I stopped thinking ‘animal’. Rather liked the little story in 9a. Something for Rocky Flintstone to work on, perhaps.
  17. About an hour and a bit over a pub lunch. I won’t say that I enjoyed this more than my (ginormous) quinoa & chicken salad plus (low calorie) cheesecake but it complemented the meal nicely. WAFER, the WATER bit of 12a and AUDITOR were all unsatisfactorily bunged in from definition or wordplay. Some excellent clues including the ‘cross’ def for TANGELO, the wordplay for FUSTY and CAMERA-SHY.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  18. 39:27. I was clearly not properly awake when I started this before going to work, getting less than 1/3 of the clues in about 24 1/2 minutes. Finally got into gear after restarting at lunchtime. In the end a very satisfying solve. I think I managed to fall for every misdirection going, initially. – e.g. 1ac was either a vessel or had to start with one, 17a was a fen worker, etc. Lots of nice clues – HERO-WORSHIPPED and UNFAITHFULNESS my favourites.
  19. Like many before, I spent a long time looking and not getting. FOI Rose Water, and four more followed. After walking the dogs the rest fell into place. No time, just glad to finish one that I, too, could not have got near not so long ago.
  20. I’ve had a crossword fest today, after the long weekend without proper web access. I think I may pause after this one. Quite tricky, taking 37:34. LOI was the clever WOOF, which I was approaching from completely the wrong stance, before it hit me in the eyes. I biffed the WATER part of 12a, as well as AUDITOR. 3d materialised without too much introspection, but there were large areas of the grid blank for a while. Saw 5d ok once I had a few crossers and the correct anagrist. I jumped around the grid getting the occasional answer, but never really got to grips with a whole corner, just extracted the definitions like teeth eventually. Nice puzzle. Thanks setter and Jack.
  21. You know you’re spending too much time in crosswordland if (fill in as appropriate). This time I was quite sure that “uncle”=pawnbroker in the excellent 9d. I also made a rubbish of 14a for a while trying to make “Cabot” work. Oh and I thought “her worship” might be the exalted lady…. Good parsing Jack. Fine puzzle and it looks as if I had a quite respectable time at 21.25.
  22. Nice steady solve from top to bottom. Not particularly fast but no real problems once the long anagram at 9d had been disentangled. 33 minutes. Ann
  23. This took nearly an hour, with much dotting around the grid solving bits and pieces – e.g. how do you get ITCH in 1ac? who is the ‘uncle’ in 9dn?
  24. Around 25-30 minutes, with the last several trying to find a word from the anagrist of UNFAITH… I’m usually very good at anagrams, hardly ever resorting to scribbling the letters down to unscramble them, but that took me a while. FUSTY needed a minute as well. Regards.
  25. about 15 minutes and still shrugging at TIDE OVER, didn’t see the definition of WAFER but the rest of it was very clever stuff, and some impressive wordplay, particularly for HERO-WORSHIPPED and UNFAITHFULNESS
  26. Twenty-eight minutes. A first pass left me with almost nothing, but then I seemed to get on wavelength and most things went in smoothly, with DE FACTO and CHEMISE my LOsI.

    Very much liked UNFAITHFULNESS. Didn’t enjoy BROOMSTICK – the clue seems more like some rough jottings than a fully composed clue.

  27. I sent Vinyl an email thanking him for the historic impasse I am currently in with that puzzle. (I printed it from the club site, scaling down the grid so I could paste it on the same page with the clues. The type’s a bit too small when printed from the epaper—and I couldn’t even get this one from the epaper, it’s too old.) I don’t know if it’s really as hard as it seems or if this is partly the power of suggestion.

    Edited at 2017-09-12 09:01 pm (UTC)

  28. After 22 mins this am there were still huge swathes of unfilled squares in my grid. I found a bit of a rhythm and the rest fell more quickly into place over 19 mins at lunchtime. A pleasurable solve with big ticks at 26ac, 1dn and 9dn from me.
  29. I’m much a novice, so I got ‘fetid’ instead of fusty, like this – even letters of after gives f,e then ‘sex change’ gives ‘it’ reversed to t,i and then female preferred gives d for dam (horses).
  30. As always the answer is easy if you know it and hard if you don’t.

    I couldn’t work out omega and tangelo was just a guess after several hours staring at them.

    Thanks for the explanations.

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