Times Cryptic 27086

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

I needed 38 minutes to complete this one as it presented no major problems. There were a couple of  words / meanings I didn’t know, but the wordplay was straightforward in these instances apart from the (almost)  inevitable foreign / obscure word clued as an anagram.

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

1 Work space vacated round Post Office counter (6)
OPPOSE – OP (work), PO (Post Office), S{pac}E [vacated]
5 National emblem a rhinestone? (8)
SHAMROCK – Alternatively spaced this could be ‘sham rock’ suggesting an artificial gem of which the rhinestone is an example
9 Daring fellow, great and emphatic type (4,4)
BOLD FACE – BOLD  (daring), F (fellow), ACE (great)
10 I’m surprised by one like Gandalf’s resistance (6)
OHMAGE – OH (I’m surprised), MAGE (one like Gandalf- a magician). Not sure I have met this word before as it looks rather odd on paper, but ‘wattage’ is familiar enough for electrical current power so ‘ohmage’ for resistance is perfectly logical.
11 Evidently embarrassed over complaint for going off track (10)
DERAILMENT – RED (embarrassed) reversed [over], AILMENT (complaint)
13 Prompt to dispose of grand artwork (4)
NUDE – NUD{g}E (prompt) [dispose of grand]
14 Play day in pool (4)
FUND – FUN (play), D (day)
15 Desperate sellers do a sales booster (4-6)
LOSS-LEADER – Anagram [desperate] of SELLERS DO A. This is an item that’s offered for sale at a non-profit-making price in order to attract potential buyers of other articles.
18 Island with crude oil and panache (10)
CEPHALONIA – Anagram [crude] of OIL PANACHE. Yet another example of  a less than familiar foreign word clued as an anagram. With all the checkers in place the remaining anagrist consisted of CPAIO. Given that the ending in an island’s name was likely to be -ONIA that left CEPHALONIA or PECHALONIA as the only possibilities so I mentally flipped a coin and  was fortunate it landed the right way.
20 Song‘s main performer in audition (4)
LIED – Sounds like [in audition] “lead” (main performer). More foreign-speak needed for this as one has to know that the German for ‘song’ is pronounced ‘leed’. There’s a handy rule that the Germans say IE as E, and EI as I, so go by the second letter.
21 Make miserable / baguette? (4)
PAIN – Two definitions, the second requiring knowledge of French this time
23 Vile scenes broadcast on TV, ideas close to savagery (5,5)
VIDEO NASTY – Anagram [broadcast] of ON TV IDEAS, {savager}Y [close]. A somewhat loose definition here.
25 Make a fold in the same clothes (3-3)
DOG-EAR – DO (the same – ditto), GEAR (clothes)
26 Very great job that’s temporary and bizarre (8)
GIGANTIC – GIG (job that’s temporary), ANTIC (bizarre). I didn’t know the archaic meaning of ‘antic’ required in the wordplay but the answer was obvious. SOED has: antic –  (adj.) grotesque, bizarre, fantastically incongruous. arch.
28 Spot president once at entertaining gathering (5-3)
POLKA-DOT – POLK (president once), AT containing [entertaining] DO (gathering). It reminds me of this silly song.
29 Maybe Thomas More‘s pretentious title captivates (6)
MARTYR – MR (title) contains [captivates] ARTY (pretentious – as in ‘arty-crafty’, ‘arty-farty’)
2 At sea, repose around dock, or put into dock (9)
PROSECUTE – Anagram [at sea] of REPOSE containing [around] CUT (dock)
3 Game of cards / one’s left on the shelf (3,4)
OLD MAID – Two meanings – all very non-PC
4 Girl welcome to come round (3)
EVA – AVE (welcome – Latin) reversed [to come round]
5 In recital, did rock and roll material (5)
SUEDE – Sounds like [in recital] “swayed” (did rock and roll)
6 Drink a day before agitation (11)
AMONTILLADO – A, MON (day), TILL (before) ADO (agitation)
7 Country that’s had burning desire to depose leading couple (7)
ROMANIA – {py}ROMANIA (burning desire) [depose leading couple]
8 Penned record covering a number of years (5)
CAGED – CD (record) containing [covering] AGE (a number of years)
12 Girl with bad back, a shade yellow (4-7)
LILY-LIVERED – LILY (girl), EVIL (bad) reversed [back], RED (a shade)
16 Part of issue paper’s spoken of (3)
SON – Sounds like [spoken of] “Sun” (paper – The Times downmarket sister-paper in the UK). A strange definition as ‘part of’ would not be appropriate in a situation where parents have only one child.
17 Pick extremely raunchy clothing providing thrill (9)
ELECTRIFY – ELECT (pick), R{aunch}Y [extremely] containing [clothing] IF (providing)
19 In kitchen, peckish shrews may do so (7)
HENPECK – Hidden [in] {kitc}HEN PECK{ish}
20 One listing housing right for student? (7)
LEARNER – LEANER (one listing) containing [housing] R (right)
22 A couple of leaves? Or as many as you like (1,4)
A GOGO – A, GO + GO (couple of leaves).  More French: à gogo, meaning in abundance, galore.
24 Figure it’s what computer fans do? (5)
DIGIT – A straight definition and a cryptic one which requires the answer to be alternatively spaced as DIG I.T.
27 Stick with unhappy, losing side from Liverpool (3)
GUM – G{l}UM (unhappy) [losing side from L{iverpool}]. Goody goody gumdrups!

67 comments on “Times Cryptic 27086”

  1. 43 minutes and should have been less after I tried biffing the wrong definitions for a few. Didn’t know the French expression in 22d.

    Highlight was the Ceausescu reference in 7d.

    Lowlight (only joking) was the “Itsy bitsy teeny weeny…” link. Now I know what an earworm is.

    Thanks to setter and blogger

  2. Thanks, Jack, nice blog. A no problem puzzle here, after I figured out that Derailling contained only part of the right answer and that ailing with two “l”s wasn’t really a word. I liked Martyr, but that was mostly because I felt smug for not fooling around with Saint or ST for too long.

    My musing of the day is on GK and Polk. I’d guess that most US crossword solvers could solve a clue that he figured in, but at the same time he would not be especially known to many Americans. Buy I am quite sure that very few Americans could solve a clue in which Melbourne or Russell figured – to take a couple figures from about the same time period, and of more or less the same lack of celebrity.

  3. 31 minutes with a nod to Jack for unscrambling 29a. CEPHALONIA no problem, as I’ve just returned from another of the Ionian islands.

    ‘Part of issue’ seems okay in a genealogical context.

  4. I had serious doubts I’d finish this one, as several clues –eg FUND, VIDEO NASTY– were quite recalcitrant. Like Bletchley, I enjoyed 7d. I suppose I’d come across CEPHALONIA somewhere; anyway, once I had enough checkers in it seemed the only possibility. LIED in German is actually pronounced ‘leet’, but.
    1. Sigh. I suppose the setter didn’t know the correct pronunciation, or this wouldn’t have occurred. Or else it was assumed none of us would know any better!
      1. We’ve had lied/lieder in a clue, at least, a number of times; I don’t know if it’s been a solution. The word is underlyingly /lid/ not /lit/; there’s a rule in German de-voicing obstruents at the end of a word (so ‘lieder’ sounds like ‘leader’). I don’t think this really matters, actually; it’s one thing to expect our GK to include knowledge of lieder (or of Freud, say; pronounced [froit]); rather another to expect us to know the rules of German phonology. In English, it’s ‘leed’; or at least in my (and I assume the setter’s) English.

        Edited at 2018-07-10 04:37 am (UTC)

        1. I can’t recall a clue involving “Freud” in which pronunciation was an issue; but names are often pronounced differently in different languages and cultures (somehow the French make “Nietzsche” into practically one syllable), and the British, as much as anyone, are prone to make foreign names sound more English. I agree with you on the general point, but this was a “sounds like” clue! If we can allow, though, that “lied” has entered the English language, with an altered pronunciation… It helps, of course, that it doesn’t sound like anything else.

          Edited at 2018-07-10 05:01 am (UTC)

      2. ODE has this as the standard British English pronunciation – while including the other – so the setter (as usual) is spot on.

        1. Yes, of course, the German pronunciation is irrelevant. The clue doesn’t ask for a homophone of a German word at all but of an English word borrowed from the German. If I had thought for a moment, I would have realized that I’ve never heard anything but “leed” from Anglophones, so surely that must be what is in their dictionaries!
        2. Chambers has only “leet”. I have never heard the Oxford pronunciation.
  5. LOI was Cephalonia, the most logical way to fill the remaining squares.
    I find 19 somewhat subpar, as the “hidden word” is barely hidden, 4/7ths of it utterly intact in the clue.

    Edited at 2018-07-10 04:28 am (UTC)

    1. I assume the comma is intended to distract the eye and make the hidden word a little less obvious. I don’t think it’s a problem actually as we often have hidden answers spread over three words in which case its inevitable that a chunk of the answer (often 4 or 5 letters) will remain ‘intact in the clue’.
      1. If you have a word of four or five letters spread over three words, no part of the word would be “intact in the clue,” in my sense. This isn’t a problem, just not a particularly imaginative ploy. HENPECK isn’t a great candidate for a hidden-word clue.
  6. 8:23 … I can’t go much faster.

    Shrugged at HENPECK — an odd one, for sure.

    CEPHALONIA I suppose best known these days as the setting for Louis de Bernières Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, though I’m pretty sure he used the Kefalonia spelling (which always seems the more sensible one, looking much more like the Greek)

  7. 35 mins with a croissant (hoorah) and Gin & subLime marmalade.
    I was all ready with itsy bitsy teenie weenie, but Jack beat me to it.
    Mostly I liked: Shamrock, Fund, ‘burning desire’ and Polka-dot – but COD to Lily-Livered (neat cluing).
    Thanks witty setter and J.
    1. I much enjoyed the 1960s, but they still make me blush occasionally. Just to rub it in, Youtube followed the polka-dot thing up with “Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep.”
      1. I think YouTube look at your profile and search history and suggest things accordingly. My follow-up to the ‘Bikini’ song was ‘In the Summerime’ by Mungo Jerry. Not sure what this says about either of us!
  8. 20:47, held up most by NE and SW corners, thinking 5d was a “roll material”, and taking ages to see DOG EAR. I’m afraid I biffed POLKA DOT, not knowing the US president Polk. COD to ROMANIA for the surface’s reference to the overthrow of Nicolae and Elena Ceaușescu.
  9. This may be the first time I’ve finished in exactly the same time as one of our illustrious bloggers, at 38 minutes.

    An interesting mix of clues puzzled over to the accompaniment of Morrison’s own-brand peach and prosecco conserve on toast (I decided to go somewhere air-conditioned for my shopping this week!) FOI 2d OPPOSE LOI 5d SUEDE, one of those words that’s hard to spot from the crossers.

    Enjoyed the burning desire in 7d, and the well-constructed 23a VIDEO NASTY. Luckily for 18a I went through a Louis de Bernières phase a decade or so back, though I was fonder of his Latin American trilogy…

    Edited at 2018-07-10 07:54 am (UTC)

  10. I hadn’t fully parsed ROMANIA before coming here, and I’d just thought part of it was MANIA for ‘desire’ but now I see the actual parsing that’s a great clue.

    I was going to mention that Cephalonia is known from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin but I see sotira beat me to it.

  11. I thought this an excellent crossword, barring the small but noticeable blemish of 19dn. But there were lots of good clues, of which 7dn stands out.
    In no way could Cephalonia be described as obscure. I will agree that it’s foreign… it is one of the largest Greek islands and claimed 30 million tourists in 2017
  12. As for others – easy but with a few bumps along the way

    Pedants Corner: Jack, wattage is a measure of power. Think of electric current as water flowing through a pipe. Then amps=volume of water; volts=water pressure; watts=the power of the water flow = amps x volts.

    1. Yes, well, I parted company with such matters in 1966 when I passed Physics O-Level, but I would still have known my error if I’d given it a moment’s extra thought.
      1. You passed Physics the same year England won the World Cup.

        It’s coming home!

        1. At least YOU passed it ! After scoring 17% in my mock, the school talked me out of sitting the actual exam, and also chemistry !
  13. Slightly quicker (15.25) and rather more prosaic than yesterday’s.
    I had no idea that A GOGO (variously spelled, apparently) was French – just English as in aplenty or a-hunting. Nouse vivons et apprenons.
    The Rhinestone thing sent me of down a blind alley trying to remember the Lorelei’s rock (which turns out to be the Lorelei) and whether it would count as a national symbol.
    For some reason I thought DOG EARed just meant tatty, but twigged today that it actually makes perfect descriptive sense.
    Homage to Cephalonia is my other Malaprop of the day.
      1. Ohmage to Cephalonia: Like 🙂 Hemingway was on TV here last night, A Farewell to Arms from about the 1930s.

        I must have been off the wavelength, found it tricky but very enjoyable. And as an electronic engineer using ohms/watts/amps/volts on a daily basis, I’ve never seen the word ohmage. Was wondering if HOBBIT fit in somehow, the Oh! being backwards. (Is Gandalf a hobbit?) Also slowed down by RELOCATED.
        Slowish 25 minutes.

    1. I was going to make exactly the same point about the Frenchness of A-GOGO. And I mean exactly: the two examples I had in mind were ‘aplenty’ and ‘a-hunting we will go’!
  14. About 25 minutes having made a pig’s ear rather than a dog’s ear of the three simple clues in the SW. I blaim the continuing irritation of my neighbour’s building work.
    Cephalonia is a lovely island and the little Venetian port of Fiskardo on its northern coast is one of the prettiest in Greece.
  15. Songs, songs and more songs..Lily (the pink); Video (killed the radio star); Rhinestone Cowboy; and, of course, Closing Time by the late great Leonard Cohen.

    9ac took a while, was thinking it may be one of the hundreds of fonts on offer.

    I thought Captain Corelli’s Mandolin was excellent, but did not finish any others, and agree the K spelling is preferable.

    23′ 35” thanks jack and setter.

    Edited at 2018-07-10 09:02 am (UTC)

    1. I agree on the K spelling of Cephalonia, but think “Krete” would look rather weird 😀 (Though I suppose if we really went for it we’d use “Kriti”…)
  16. While solving it, this felt like a wavelength puzzle, with me fortunately on it. The island isn’t as well-known as Corfu, but I’d have said it’s knowable even for non-classicists; and I can call to mind most residents of the White House, even the less noted ones (years of watching Pointless has made Martin van Buren my go-to guy for obscure Presidents), so all the required knowledge met my definition of “general”; and the only unknown word, OHMAGE, seemed a very reasonable conclusion from the wordplay. As already observed, I thought 7dn was excellent.
  17. Thanks for DOG EAR, Jack.
    I first came across AM ON TILL AD O many years ago in a Daily Telegraph cryptic when it was clued by “Sherry waiter’s lament”, or something very similar.
    In 24d I was thinking of a fan in a computer….if modern desktops still have cooling fans.
    I did like SHAM ROCK in 5ac but one reason I spent so long on this puzzle was because, in 28ac, I decided early on the my “president once” was IKE with the K from HENPECK. Took me ages to see the light.
    1. Proper cooling is essential for keeping a computer stable. Fans are still the most common method – other methods are available but more expensive.
  18. A gnat’s appendix under the half hour for this one.

    I’m fairly conversant with electronics, and I don’t think I’ve ever encountered OHMAGE – one normally just says “resistance”. However, it’s doubtless a real word. So, perhaps, is Henryage for inductance.

    Lots of gently enjoyable clues here – thanks to the setter and, of course, blogger.

  19. 30 mins. I was going quite quickly (for me) so I didn’t linger to parse MARTYR or POLKA-DOT and DOG-EAR (LOI) as the SW corner clicked into place. My COD nomination goes to the VIDEO NASTY for its almost &lit quality and its misdirection in suggesting an anagram of ‘vile scenes’. I also thought LIED was very neatly clued — lovely smooth surface, and the homophone works very well (the word has definitely become anglicized to rhyme with ‘need’).

    I do believe our blogger has been a little harsh regarding the Greek island, but otherwise a fine blog. Thank you.

  20. I found this quite difficult, taking 58:20 to solve it. As one who spent most of his working life dealing with electronics at component level, I never came across the word OHMAGE before and it had me stumped until CAGED sprang to mind. The whole of the NE delayed me for an (ohm)AGE! PAIN was eventually my LOI after an alphabet trawl, and describes my solving experience today precisely. Thanks setter and Jack.
    1. You could console yourself with some PAIN AU CHOCOLAT or PAIN AUX RAISINS, widely available in supermarkets. Works for me.
  21. …as I saw “clothes” as “wear” and biffed DOW-EAR in the forlorn hope that it was an obscure needlework term. First DNF for a couple of weeks.


    Delayed a little by the IKE trap, LOI PAIN.


  22. 23’04, with the last two offering a fund of pain. I thought the Mackenzie novel was Whisky Agogo but turns out to be W. Galore (oddly and regrettably). Loss leader, lily-livered, pain, video nasty, derailment, martyr, unhappy losing side…ignore, ignore!
  23. Another trip down memory lane with this one. We’ve lately been watching some early Rumpoles at the weekend (to escape the relentless news cycles) and there’s one in which the hapless stuffed-shirt Erskine-Browne is caught by a tabloid photographer examining the display in a Soho joint called the Kitten-A-GoGo. Which in turn reminded me of GoGo dancers in the early discotheque era. 17.08 – a good chunk of it convincing self that it really was HENPECK.
    1. Hello,

      You might be interested in doing the Independent cryptic for Tuesday, July 10th (ie same day as this). You’ll see what I mean and I think you’ll really enjoy it. I certainly did post solve, even if unfortunately I didn’t spot it at the time.

      Well worth a look.

        1. Hello,

          My HTML skills are non-existent, but I’ll give this a try.

          You can find the Indy Crossword here.

          You might then have to select the current year, then scroll down to (now) yesterday’s crossword 9903 by Filbert. Warning – there are lots of ads.

          Please let me now if this doesn’t work and I’ll see if there’s some other way of getting the crossword to you.

          Good luck!

          1. Thanks much to all. I’d gone looking for it too but could only find the answers and by then it was too late for me to pursue it yesterday.
  24. 9:01. I think I must know CEPHALONIA from Captain Corelli, but certainly not consciously. Like z8, slightly surprised to hear that A-GOGO is French.
    In my experience of such things a LOSS-LEADER generally turns out to be better at the losing than the leading. It’s a bit like when people say something should be done for ‘strategic’ reasons. This generally means it will never make any money.

    Edited at 2018-07-10 10:25 am (UTC)

  25. fouled up the SW area. 28ac POLKA DOT was my LOI.

    No time as I was aht and abaht in shocking heat.
    I thought this was an excellent puzzle and much enjoyed dipping in and out.

    FOI 3dn OLD MAID



    Good to see Sotira back in the fold.

    Edited at 2018-07-10 12:11 pm (UTC)

  26. No paper delivered today so didn’t start until late, which means everyone else has got in first with the Brian Hyland, Glen Campbell. Leonard Cohen references. The Johnny Walker wisdom has certainly been running high with you mob, particularly Sotira’s Ohmage to Cephalonia. Never join a resistance movement. Finished in 29 minutes in SE with A GOGO and finally DOG-EAR. I thought A GOGO was one word and spelt it as such in a piece I’m working on, so a hasty correction has just taken place. COD TO ROMANIA with its brilliant CEAUCESCU reference. Thank you Jack and setter
    1. I thank you 🙂

      It’s going to be the title of my next volume of travel writing, subtitled “London to Greece by Electric Bike”

  27. 11:34, with about two minutes of that trying to sort out that final anagram. It isn’t a rule, but I agree with jakkt that there is something unhelpful about clueing a proper noun using an anagram. I had a bit of a head start with POLK, he was born near where I live now.
  28. DNF – gave up after an hour with 27dn and 29ac unsolved. For former, I had been trying to remember some part of Liverpool called G..side (GUM – and GOO – had occurred to me, but couldn’t see how to parse) and for latter, was so sure definition was ‘captivates’ that I needed some work other than Utopia’ I had also resorted to aid for 28ac, as I’d failed to get anything that included IKE.
    Having been out shopping in the morning, I didn’t have time to look st the puzzle till after Countdown, so was feeling sluggish in afternoon heat.
  29. Around 30 minutes, with some delays such as waiting for all the checking letters to appear before trying to find a likely island, and choosing CEPHALONIA over Pechalonia. I’m OK with geography, but there are just too many Greek islands (and Scottish ones) for me to recall. Didn’t know A GOGO was French either, because it seems still like a ’60’s English language invention. Anyway, regards.

    Edited at 2018-07-10 05:08 pm (UTC)

  30. Decided to do this one while watching the footy on the assumption that it would be 0-0 which it is at the moment. (41 mins). Had to check that Cephalonia was an island otherwise a steady solve LOI FUND which didn’t seem to be a very good clue but went in with a shrug. Most appreciative of the Ceaucescu reference.
  31. 34:59 a delay at the end with polka-dot where, like others, when I had the k checker I convinced myself that the president once would be Ike. For me the earworm conjured was Polk Salad Annie performed by the King in one of his Vegas shows, white jumpsuit covered in rhinestones (though 5ac of course brought Glen Campbell to mind), I’m glad it was that and not the itsy bitsy teeny weeny bikini. Some good stuff especially the burning desire and the sham rock which also tickled me.

    Edited at 2018-07-10 07:16 pm (UTC)

  32. Kicking myself because I entered BOLD CASE and came here to see how it worked.
  33. My copy of The Times may be dog-eared but can I interrogate my grandchildren to find out who dog-eared it? Isn’t that like asking who greater-crested the greater-crested newt? On 15 March 44 BC a child, hearing grown-ups saying “Caesar necatus est”, asked “a quo” and was told “Bruto”. He “transformed” this into “Brutus Caesarem necavit” to tell his friends. Later he heard “Caudatus est ille Brutus” and asked again “a quo”. Everybody laughed but someone said “natura”. The child did not know what this meant but is sounded grown up so he told all his friends “Natura caudavit Brutum.”

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