Times Cryptic 27116

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

My solving time for this was 76 minutes over four interrupted sessions as I found it to be a toughie. I wonder if it was just me?

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 Lighterforce? (5)
BARGE – Two meanings, the first is a  flat-bottomed barge used for ferrying goods between cargo vessels or to and from a wharf.
4 Doctors drop charges (9)
CASTRATES – CAST (drop), RATES (charges). ‘Doctor’ is a somewhat genteel euphemism for ‘castrate’ especially with reference to the neutering of pets. I had a problem seeing ‘drop / cast’ until I thought of snakes and their skins and ships and their anchors.
9 Plague from substance one used in Paris (9)
IMPORTUNE – IMPORT (substance), UNE (one, used in Paris). ‘Plague / importune’ in the sense of burden, trouble, pester.
10 First couple of keys in low type stuck together (5)
CAKED – KE{ys} [first couple], contained by [in] CAD (low type – rotter or bounder)
11 Silent pictures covering classic conference venue (9,4)
DUMBARTON OAKS – DUMB (silent), ART (pictures), ON (covering), OAKS (classic – one of the five Britsh classic horse races, run each year at Epsom). I only knew of DUMBARTON OAKS, a mansion in Washington D.C., from the title of a concerto written in 1938 by Igor Stravinsky, but the reference here is to a conference held there in 1944 which led to the foundation of the United Nations Organisation.
14 Gallons knocked back in horrific binge (4)
ORGY – {g→}ORY (horrific) becomes ORGY [gallons knocked back]
15 Broadcast turned down from start to finish (10)
THROUGHOUT – Sounds like [broadcast] “threw out” (turned down)
18 The first person blocking end-of-year payments steps down (10)
DECREMENTS – DEC (end-of-year), then ME (the first person) contained by [blocking] RENTS (payments). The opposite of ‘increments’, but unknown to me despite having come up here previously in 2010 and 2015.
19 Bachelor evicted from house in former Italian capital (4)
LIRA – LI{b}RA (house) [bachelor evicted]. My LOI. I’m usually quick to think of ‘house’ meaning  ‘sign of the zodiac’ but I was very slow off the mark today.
21 Firmly secured / area where one shouldn’t be hit? (5,4,4)
UNDER ONE’S BELT – Two meanings. In the second the expression is more usually ‘below the belt’ but the intention was clear enough.
24 Belief system primarily dividing country in revolution (5)
ISLAM – S{ystem} [primarily] contained by [dividing] MALI (country) reversed [in revolution]
25 Stop trading in neighbouring county (5,4)
CLOSE DOWN – CLOSE (neighbouring), DOWN (county – one of the six that constitute Northern Ireland)
27 Function cannot get put off (9)
COTANGENT – Anagram [put off] of CANNOT GET
28 What defendants do first, after start of proceedings (5)
PLEAD – P{roceedings}[start], LEAD (first)
1 Apprentice in tie wraps up masks for pupils (10)
BLINDFOLDS – L (apprentice – learner) contained by [in] BIND (tie), FOLDS (wraps). A rather nice cryptic definition.
2 Letters referring to late / rent (3)
RIP – Two meanings. R.I.P. and a rent, rip or tear in one’s clothing perhaps.
3 Aware sloppy kiss could be a problem for listeners (6)
EARWAX – Anagram [sloppy] of AWARE, X (kiss)
4 Seeks garden footwear for lady (5,4)
COURT SHOE – COURTS (seeks), HOE (garden)
5 European involved in rising fools German mug (5)
STEIN – E (European) contained by [involved in] NITS (fools) reversed [rising]. Easily biffable.
6 Give more power to troops before onslaught (8)
RECHARGE – RE (troops – Royal Engineers), CHARGE (onslaught)
7 Attends, and is given marching orders (5,6)
TAKES NOTICE – TAKES (given), NOTICE (marching orders)
8 Singular song and dance upset good mixer (4)
SODA – S (singular), ADO (song and dance) reversed [upset]
12 Highly effective agent disabled metallic bug (5,6)
MAGIC BULLET – Anagram [disabled] of METALLIC BUG
13 Embarrassed model reinstated (10)
STRAITENED – Anagram [model] of REINSTATED. Being in straitened circumstances can include being reduced to penury and therefore financially embarrassed.
16 Drinking when temperature drops abroad, excusing oneself (6,3)
OPTING OUT – {t→}OPING (drinking) becomes OPTING [when temperature drops], OUT (abroad)
17 Terminator takes control of Homo Sapiens (8)
HEADSMAN – HEADS (takes control), MAN (Homo Sapiens). An executioner or the captain of a whaling boat, amongst other meanings. Earned me 8 points ahead of the contestants on Countdown last week!
20 Like raised skin lacking sensation (6)
ASLEEP – AS (like), PEEL (skin) reversed [raised]
22 Decoration that chap’s given after police force disbanded (5)
RUCHE – RUC (police force disbanded – Royal Ulster Constabulary), HE (that chap)
23 A fragment of quartz in cuprous metal (4)
ZINC – Hidden in [a fragment of] {quart}Z IN C{uprous}
26 Individual landed on radio (3)
ONE – Sounds like [ on radio] “won” (landed – a victory)

56 comments on “Times Cryptic 27116”

  1. 16:38 – I found this one tricky, and was glad when I parsed DUMB, ART… and knew the rest from the UN. HEADSMAN and STRAITENED from wordplay. Very few write-ins today.
  2. really a DNF: I had DUMBARTON, couldn’t remember the conference, or that the OAKS is a classic, so went to the dictionary hoping to find HALL. ORGY biffed, solved post-submission. I took a long time to realizee what the first couple of keys was, and another long time trying to make 13d begin with RED (embarrassed). LOI CASTRATED, which I didn’t know (my English-Japanese dictionary says it’s UK English).
  3. I took about 85 minutes and I’m glad I wasn’t alone in finding it harder than usual. Interesting takes on defs. such as ‘Plague’, ‘Doctors’ and ‘Embarrassed’ and some good wordplay eg ‘Drinking when temperature drops’.

    I’d never heard of the place/conference in 11a, although the wordplay made it solvable. I thought it might be something to do with the home ground of Dumbarton in the Scottish Football Conference, if there is or ever was such a thing, but I see that the ground is called The C&G Systems Stadium – yuck (almost as bad as 3d). Thank goodness it has a proper name – The Rock. That’s more like it, although the name of their previous ground was even better – Boghead Park!

    Anyway, thank you to setter and blogger.

  4. Knew the classic, so got the conference after giving up on SH and looking for something else. Definition of the UN? A giant quango that has spawned myriads of quangos of sizes varying from enormous to too big? And they wouldn’t even let Hitchcock film there when making the peerless North by Northwest. Tsk!

    Edited at 2018-08-14 05:14 am (UTC)

  5. I also did not work it all in one go. Did not know the RUC part of the RUCHE clue and had never heard of a COURT SHOE but got there in the end. To be CASTRATEd is not what I would call being doctored, but I guess the equivalent term over here for having that done to a pet is having it “fixed.”
  6. My FOI – no mucking around at 14ac! (orgy)

    LOI 23dn ZINC (zincy)

    COD 11ac DUMBARTON OAKS (nice)

    WOD CASTRATES (nasty)

    I wanted 1ac to be ZIPPO! As per Batman & Robin ‘speak’.

    3dn EARWAX is most unpleasant as noted by Kevin Turvey

    Time 70 mins hard but fair

  7. A par time until I got stuck and ultimately had to cheat on the Oaks bit of DUMBARTON OAKS. I’d never have got there from the wordplay, horse racing references meaning nothing to me.


  8. 60 mins with croissant and G&L marmalade (hoorah).
    Hmmm… I found this very chewy.
    And a couple of MERs (only minor): turned down=threw out and the one/won homophone, of course.
    Thanks setter and J.

    Edited at 2018-08-14 07:29 am (UTC)

    1. I wonder if the setter intended THREW as ‘turned’ (e.g. on a lathe) and OUT as ‘down’ (non-operational). In any event, my 23 minute struggle was in vain because I biffed UNDER ONES FEET and shrugged off the second half of the clue.
  9. Close but no cigar as I had LEADSMAN instead of HEADSMAN. I didn’t know the word and ‘leads’ seemed equally as plausible as ‘heads’ for ‘takes control of’.
  10. 22:43 but defeated by LIRA, for which I had RIGA, the capital of Latvia. No wonder I couldn’t make sense of the wordplay! I should have known from the trickery of the rest of the clues that it wouldn’t be a capital city. HEADSMAN and RUCHE unknown and like our blogger I only knew of DUMBARTON OAKS from the Stravinsky piece.
  11. 90 minutes on this, determined to finish. My experiences last week with microsuction made 3d a write-in at least. Again the homophone didn’t work for me, one rhyming with gone, won with gun, but as we’ve had it before, it caused no problem. LOI was CASTRATES, and I’ve still got the tears in my eyes from thinking about it. Penultimate was DUMBARTON OAKS which wasn’t known, happening the year before I was born. I despaired that it couldn’t be a Hall in Scotland at the time of Robert the Bruce, which I would have biffed if I could have, but it had to end in an S. COD to THROUGHOUT and RIP jointly for being less tormenting. Thank you Jack and setter.
  12. 37 minutes, which indicates a struggle for me. I think I had four biffs at 1d including eyepatches and sunglasses before getting help from a couple of crossers. And I could swear 9a read “substance once used in Paris” which made a startling amount of difference. Thanks Jack for opening my eyes.
    I’ve no idea when I will finally learn that former capital of Italy is not ROMA, and house implies zodiac. Such clues are extra mean.
    CASTRATES my last in with a wince. I toyed with CESAREANS (US spelling) for a while: don’t think want to revisit my (lack of coherent) reasoning.
    Terminator is perfectly fair for HEADSMAN but too redolent of Arnie for quick solving.
    Is soda a good mixer? Chacun, I suppose.
    Tuff stuff threw out.
  13. 33:41 with one wrong. I knew Pisa was wrong but was determined to insert an Italian city.

    I’d not heard of Dumbarton Oaks but eventually got it from the wordplay- assisted by my horse racing knowledge, acquired in a continuing misspent life!

  14. Chewy indeed and I’m another LEADSMAN, so close but no cigar. LIRA took ages to see. I really should have cottoned on to that house/star signs trick by now.
  15. Another one here defeated by lira, after glaring at Lima, Riga and Pisa. Otherwise slow but steady. An entertaining challenge that somehow couldn’t be met quite head-on – too many sideways twists of the mind as of a rabbit’s hind feet as it takes to the air.
  16. I get the purpose of those two conferences mixed up but I knew of them both so no problem with solving the clue today.
    Only parsed LIRA post-solve. We’ve had house= sign of the zodiac very recently and so I should have spotted it sooner.
    COD to CAKED. I was thinking in musical terms for “first couple of keys”.
    Toughie: 94m 39s
    PS…Anyone else notice on the Club site that Pontius has miscalculated again today as he did two Thursdays ago when he posted a time much better than Magoo’s and 2-3 times better than Jason’s.
    Today he is only 2 minutes better than Jason.

    Edited at 2018-08-14 09:42 am (UTC)

  17. 46′ but with PISA, it was either that or LIMA, never thought of RIGA….

    DUMBARTON OAKS solely from wordplay.

    Thanks jack and setter.

  18. Quite tough today. I always cringe a bit though when ‘one’ is taken as rhyming with ‘done’. For my money it rhymes with ‘John’. When one Englishman opens his mouth etc…

    Edited at 2018-08-14 10:53 am (UTC)

    1. “When constabulary duty’s to be done, to be done/A policeman’s lot is not a happy one, happy one.”
      “Laud and honour to the Father, laud and honour to the Son/Laud and honour to the Spirit/Ever three and ever one.”
      “There is a house in New Orleans they call the rising sun/It’s been the ruin of many a girl, I know for I am one.”
      “When the clock strikes one we’ll have some fun.”
      “We sat in that car-park till twenty to one/And now I’m engaged to Miss Joan Hunter Dunn.”

      Can Tringmardo supply an English language poem in which “one” is rhymed with “gone”? (The May Morning and sonnet 39 won’t do. Donne and Shakespeare pronounce “one” as “own”.)

  19. A youthful enthusiasm for Stanley Holloway’s ‘Albert and the Lion’ and its three successors ensured that I knew about Albert and the Headsman. Albert fended off the ghostly Headsman at the Tower by slapping him in the face with cold dripping toast. As the poem goes ‘As Headsman had been a beefeater, they reckoned he vanished from shame’. I can still recite all four 55 years later but to the joy of my family, I don’t.

    Beyond that, this was a chewy puzzle, taking me 28:15. Like others, I winced at CASTRATES but knew DUMBARTON OAKS. Thanks setter and jack for explaining the rest.

  20. I must have picked up the frequency here and I knew DUMBARTON OAKS thanks to a desperately soporific first year law series on international law which was in the dreaded 9a.m. Monday morning slot. And I can’t remember my own cellphone number … 19.58
      1. Well you know how it is Kevin when you’re 17y/o getting up on a Monday morning is a struggle. The lectures were compulsory too but nothing could keep most of us awake, not even a review of the UN Charter.
        1. My problem (one of them) at Cal was staying awake in class after lunch; I learned to schedule all my classes for the morning. (I also came within an ace of being fired from my part-time job for oversleeping in the morning.) But I was referring to the ‘9 a.m. … morning’ part.

          Edited at 2018-08-14 12:39 pm (UTC)

          1. Spike Milligan’s war memoir “Hitler: My Part in his Downfall” described how early the recruits had to get up as “0600 hours o’clock in the morning.” Great book.
  21. ….HEADS MAN one supposes. Unfortunately I was another “leadsman”, and also shared Astonvilla1’s fruitless biff at LOI PISA.

    FOI ONE, so the struggle was totally expected.

    DNK DUMBARTON OAKS, or DECREMENTS, but was safely able to parse both clues.


  22. A toughie indeed! My first 3 in, RIP, EARWAX and STEIN didn’t take too long, but then things really slowed down and the answers had to be dragged out like reluctant pets to the vets. DUMBARTON OAKS was teased out purely from wordplay. Otherwise it was just a battle to spot the definitions. I had UNDER ONES NOSE for a while until 7d forced me to reconsider. 4a only surfaced after I had all the crossers and produced the requisite shudder. LIRA was my LOI after discounting LIMA and PISA, when I finally saw the correct meaning of house. I got there in 44:59, so it could have been worse. Thanks setter and Jack.

    Edited at 2018-08-14 01:06 pm (UTC)

  23. 30 minutes – some delay in SW by initially having BELOW at 21ac. 11ac from Stravinsky, assuming work had been commissioned on the occasion of a conference – had forgotten about UN.
  24. Another curate’s egg, which should have been easier than it was. Some easy clues eg BLINDFOLD that took an age to get. Finished with TAKE NOTICE which was easier when I had worked the first 2 of keys. Previously had CAGED which didn’t work although they were 2 keys.
  25. DNF. I gave up on DUMBARTON OAKS, and I’m glad I did because I would never have got it. I also had a blank where HEADSMAN should have been and I was leaning towards LEADSMAN.
  26. This took me a while. Probably 45 minutes, ending with HEADSMAN. I thought the best was TENNIS BALL, as it had me trying to think of a likely name for a UK medical lab for almost all the solve. Regards.
  27. Found it easier than a number of last week’s puzzles (54 mins). Got ‘Dumbarton’ from wordplay but couldn’t get ‘Oaks’ without aids.
  28. I found this a stiff test. I took the best part of an hour at lunch to fill in most of the bottom half but much of the top half remained elusive. Tidied everything up in another 15 mins after work. As others have said, the obliqueness of some defs: doctors/castrates, plague/importune, embarrassed/straitened, probably added a fair bit to my solving time. I had heard of Dumbarton Oaks without knowing what it was so wasn’t too hesitant once the wordplay led me there. Ummed and aahed a bit over headsman in case there was a more compelling alternative, nothing materialised though. Not too familiar with the lady’s footwear either but it went in ok once I had the checker from the eyewatering 4ac.
  29. I’m replying to Anonymous’s challenge to Tringmardo above about the use of ‘one’ to rhyme with ‘gone’. I tried to reply to his comment but I was informed that my reply was blocked, so maybe contradiction is not wanted. How about this rhyme with ‘John’?

    “By a bicycle factory as they sounded the siren,
    And returned into the dance hall, she knew he was the one.
    Though he wasn’t tall and handsome, he laughed when he told her,
    I’m the Sheriff of Nottingham and this is Little John.”

    I thought of this Elvis Costello song within a few seconds. There will be more. There have been enough other comments today to indicate that this is the customary usage throughout much of Northern England. Elvis C was brought up in London but with strong scouse connections. I don’t know why there is this reluctance to accept what we’re saying.

    Edited at 2018-08-15 06:12 am (UTC)

  30. 40 mins, half of which was on the unknown Dumbarton Oaks. Didn’t think of horse racing at first, but then I did, and bazinga. I imagine that’s the clue that pushed the Snitch into the red; most of the rest was okay. Great blog, thanks.
  31. Beaten by DUMBARTON OAKS, which I don’t think I’d’ve got however long and hard I stared at the clue.

    I am, however, shocked by the setter’s “Homo Sapiens” at 17d. Genus is capitalized, species is not; both are italicized: Homo sapiens. I know it’s a complicated rule, but once you’ve mastered it, it works for several million species.

    Edited at 2018-08-14 10:24 pm (UTC)

  32. I too had RIGA rather than LIRA so a DNF for me. Never heard of Dumbarton Oaks but that’s nothing new, worked out from crossers. More than 90 mins over several sessions….
  33. Last clue defeated me after a heroic battle in which I corrected BELOW ONES BELT to UNDER.

    I don’t like “footwear for lady” because COURT SHOE could be equally for lord / so the definition is the wrong way round like “tiger” cluing for CAT. I don’t see how HEADS is “takes control” – I think it’s “controls”. Why is SODA a “good” mixer – it’s just a mixer surely. Might as well say that COTANGENT is a “good function” etc.

    The LIRA clue is fine, but the effect of earlier unsatisfactory clues with apparently sloppy definitions is that I lose confidence in myself and trust in the setter to be fair and accurate. Maybe there is a sense in which each of the above clues is totally precise and clicks into place in a satisfying way, but that’s never part of the published solution.

    Thanks all.

    1. Collins
      1. Court shoes are women’s shoes that do not cover the top part of the foot and are usually made of plain leather with no design.
      2. Court shoe. a low-cut shoe for women, having no laces or straps

      court shoe. A woman’s light shoe with a low-cut upper and often a high heel. L19.

      court shoe. A woman’s plain, lightweight shoe that has a low-cut upper, no fastening, and typically a medium heel.

      court shoe. A woman’s shoe in a plain low-cut style

      ‘Tiger’ clueing ‘cat’ would be a ‘definition by example’ and as such would be frowned upon unless qualified by a question mark, or ‘perhaps’ to indicate the fact.

      Is soda not a good mixer?

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