Times Cryptic 27122

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

Solving time: 44 minutes with one error at 5dn. Not easy with some slightly unusual words.

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 Ambulance driver recalled police attending a crash in outskirts of Poole (9)
PARAMEDIC – A + RAM (crash) contained by [in] P{ool}E [outskirts], CID (police) reversed [recalled]. Paramedics supplement and support the work of the medical profession. Some of them work from ambulances and some may actually be ambulance drivers but ‘ambulance driver’ does not define ‘paramedic’. Even as a DBE (Definition By Example) it’s extremely dodgy.
6 Belgium’s principal old school artist (5)
BOSCH – B{elgium} [‘s principal], O (old), SCH (school). Hieronymus Bosch (c. 1450 – 1516). I think Bosch was Dutch rather than Belgian, but historically it’s  something of a grey area. Not that the clue relies on his nationality in order to work, but it’s sort of suggested in the surface reading so I thought I would mention it.
9 Puzzle book used principally during short holiday (5)
REBUS – B (book) + U{sed} [principally] contained by [during] RES{t} (holiday) [short]
10 Like Jesus of Nazareth, is back in different cinemas (9)
MESSIANIC – IS reversed [back] in anagram [different] of CINEMAS
11 They sing very softly, accompanying Queen (7)
SOPRANI – SO (very), P (softly), RANI (Queen). Rani can be a Hindu queen in addition to being a raja’s wife or widow. To my mind, when speaking English the plural of ‘soprano’ is ‘sopranos’ , similarly ‘altos’ and ‘concertos’ etc. Unnecessary use of the Italian form puts me in mind of Emmeline Lucas in the Mapp and Lucia series of novels by E. F. Benson.
12 Film, maybe: High School Musical — not grand, the Spanish admitted (7)
RELEASE – {g}REASE (High School Musical) [not grand] with EL (the, Spanish) contained [admitted].  ‘There’s a new release showing at the local cinema’.
13 The UK dish girl cooked at minimum temperature is sweet (7,7)
TURKISH DELIGHT – Anagram [cooked] of THE UK DISH GIRL, T (minimum temperature). I take ‘mimimum’ to indicate the abbreviation, not that it’s needed for that, but it adds to the surface reading. Full of Eastern promise…
17 Sailor on dry land? A fine fellow (4,2,3,5)
SALT OF THE EARTH – SALT (sailor), EARTH (dry land) with the question mark covering the cracks in the cryptic definition.
21 Proust translated by Henry Percy (7)
HOTSPUR – H (henry – SI unit of induction, according to my dictionary), anagram [translated] of PROUST. Harry HOTSPUR is the nickname of Sir Henry Percy, son of the Duke of Northumberland, as depicted in Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part I.
23 Road that is going through Tyneside region initially is less bright (7)
NERDIER –  RD (road) +  IE (that is) contained by [going through], NE (Tyneside) + R{egion} [initially]. In some respects ‘nerds’ can be brighter than the average bear but perhaps only when focused on their particular area of expertise. The ‘foolish’ meaning of ‘nerdy’ that’s required here is also well-documented.
25 Nick, we hear, and John providing fish (9)
STEELHEAD – STEEL sounds like [we hear] “steal” (nick), HEAD (john).  ‘John’ and ‘head’ are both slang for lavatory. Not a fish that I knew. but Collins advises it is a North Pacific variety of rainbow trout.
26 Modify rope after horse bolts (5)
ALTER – {h}ALTER (rope) [horse bolts]. A halter can be a rope for constraining animals and also a noose for hanging criminals.
27 I will come in on foot for a makeover (5)
REFIT – I contained by [will come in]  RE (on) + FT (foot)
28 Appreciate some Europeans banning a new drug (9)
DIGITALIS – DIG (appreciate), ITALI{a n}S (Europeans) [banning a new]. Made from dried foxglove leaves.
1 Drone in place of airborne soldiers? (8)
PARASITE – PARA-SITE (place of airborne soldiers – geddit?)
2 Polish food and drink, both originally spurned (3,2)
RUB UP – {g}RUB  (food) + {s}UP (drink) [both originally spurned]
3 Male gets help to engage a good health-spa professional (9)
MASSAGIST – M (male), ASSIST (help) containing [to engage] A + G (good). Another word unknown to me, with ‘masseur’ and ‘masseuse’ being much more familiar.
4 Served up hot drink with crackers, not entirely dry (7)
DAMPISH – H (hot ) + SIP (drink) + MAD (crackers) all reversed [served up]
5 Military base a screen camouflaged (7)
CASERNE – Anagram [camouflaged] of A SCREEN, and yet again we have an obscure word clued as an anagram. This one is so obscure it has never appeared in a Times cryptic since TftT was founded in 2006. I jumped the wrong way and put ‘cesarne’.
6 Great transport company no longer ailing (5)
BRILL – BR (transport company no longer – British Railways), ILL (ailing). Slang derived from ‘brilliant’.
7 Newspaper article outlaw pens for a tanner (9)
SUNBATHER – SUN (newspaper), BAR (outlaw) contains [pens] THE (article)
8 Hearts extremely optimistic ahead of crucial game (6)
HOCKEY – H (hearts), O{ptimisti}C [extremely], KEY (crucial)
14 Cooked meat in pan, leading to complaint (5,4)
ROAST BEEF – ROAST (pan – criticise), BEEF (complaint)
15 Alcoholic drink? After one, fellow is uplifted and full of cheer (9)
INEBRIANT – I (one), BEN (fellow) reversed [uplifted], RIANT (full of cheer). I have no recollection of seeing RIANT before but it came up in wordplay in a puzzle I blogged here in 2009.
16 Plan brief residence in French city (8)
CHARTRES – CHART (plan), RES (residence) with ‘brief’ indicating the colloquial abbreviation as in ‘des res’ – ‘desirable residence’  – much used in the small ads.
18 Stop old car crossing swampy ground (7)
FORFEND – FORD (car) containing [crossing] FEN (swampy ground). An old word for ‘stop’, FORFEND is an archaism as in the expression ‘Heaven forfend!’ but ‘fend’ survives in modern usage e.g. to fend something off.
19 Wretched call to punish murderous cur? (7)
HANGDOG – A straight definition followed by a cryptic
20 Tea and sherry taken regularly — one drink after another (6)
CHASER – CHA (tea), S{h}E{r}R{y} [taken regularly]
22 Religious group in new TV programme (5)
PILOT – PI (religious), LOT (group)
24 During half term learner obtains information (5)
INTEL – IN (during), TE{rm} [half], L (learner). Another colloquial abbreviation, this time for ‘intelligence’.

70 comments on “Times Cryptic 27122”

  1. Fortunately I had the vowels in the right places for CASERNE, and bunged in the unheard of STEELHEAD and FORFEND from the wordplay to finish in 41 minutes.

    A few other obscurities such as RIANT. I see what you mean about PARAMEDIC and I’m not a fan of MASSAGIST, even if it is in Chambers. I too initially wondered about NERDIER for ‘less bright’, but I agree it is OK, both in the ‘foolish’ and ‘less outgoing’ senses.

    HANGDOG always makes me think of a sad looking bloodhound and was my favourite.

    Thanks to setter and blogger

  2. This for me was tricky even though I knew 25ac was STEELHEAD I shoved in STEELJACK. A friend of mine used to hunt ’em in Northern California. So my SE was a disaster area for a while.

    FOI 6ac BOSCH

    LOI 23ac NERDIER



  3. The setter was on my waivelength today – especially with SOPRANI – my ab. fav. TV series showing the inner workings of modern goverment. Also liked BOSCH, STEELHEAD, RUB UP, SUNBATHER, ROAST BEEF (in toasted bun), MASSAGIST, MESSIANIC (soooo very me!), HOTSPUR and HANG DOG (very much!). Coke!
    Did not like TURKISH DELIGHT (YUK! Erdogan is an anagram of deranged!), INTEL (DOUBLE YUK! SAD!) or PARASITE (The Mooch).

    This London Times 15×15 puts the failing NY Times in the trash. Time 4m 14s.

    Well done me (genius) and setter!

    Mike, press SEND!

    Edited at 2018-08-21 08:05 am (UTC)

  4. Went offline at 31′, with the 6 NE clues unsolved and indeed ungrasped. Got them all in about 5 minutes, but that was after maybe 20 minutes or more of staring vacantly. BRILL LOI, and only parsed post-submission. I also questioned the definition of ‘nerd’, never having seen it used to mean ‘dim’, and the DBEish PARAMEDIC. Knew, sort of, CASERNE, so having the C….E made things easy. Didn’t understand why a Ford should be old; more importantly, I thought FORFEND meant ‘prevent’ not ‘stop’. I do hope horryd soon stops posting that picture; the mere sight of it makes me ill.
    1. I also had doubts about FORFEND but then realised that ‘stop’ can mean ‘prevent’.
  5. I didn’t do this at my regular time, right after work, as I was engrossed in a book I picked up there (not published yet, uncorrected galley!), and I was relieved to find that there were no big head-scratchers when I finally got to it. Immediately after, though, I was surprised to find a word I didn’t know before in the QC.

    I had the same reservations as everyone else about NERDIER, MASSAGIST and PARAMEDIC. No problem with CASERNE, bien sûr, parce qu’il est un mot français… (comme RIANT)…

    Edited at 2018-08-21 05:56 am (UTC)

  6. Around 16 minutes before deciding I had no way of settling the CASERNE / CESARNE question other than tossing a coin, so I looked it up. The Shorter Oxford suggests it’s originally from Latin QUATERNA, ‘a hut for four’, which is rather sweet.

    A collection of lovely surfaces, and the only niggle for me that ambulance driver’ thing.

    I liked the misdirection of BOSCH very much

    Thanks jackkt and setter

    Edited at 2018-08-21 06:12 am (UTC)

  7. Second time solving on line has become less stressful (and all I did was look at what I was typing). A few new words but clueing is fair. Thank you jackkt for your as-usual high standard blog.
    Now for something completely different. Last night, I used this laptop to google some health supplements and today, everywhere I go, there are advertisements for health supplements. Help, how do I get rid of the unwanted ads?
    1. httpsCOLONSLASHSLASHadssettingsDOTgoogleDOTcomSLASHauthenticated

      Edited at 2018-08-21 06:59 am (UTC)

      1. I wouldn’t Google “colon slash slash”. Goodness knows what health supplements you might end up with.
  8. 30 mins with yoghurt, granola, blueberries, etc.
    I guessed right on the Case v. Cesa issue.
    Mostly I liked: Hot drink served up with crackers.
    Thanks setter and J. Great blog.
  9. 25:55 with two wrong. Cesarne for Caserne -which really wasn’t fair -and Steelweed for Steelhead – which wasn’t much fairer! I’d not come across the military base, the fish or the toilet before.

    COD Hockey. Nice surface. Bosch was also good.

  10. As with our blogger I went the wrong way on this 50/50 guess. At least I’m in good company.
    1. Very poor clue for me. You can’t expect many solvers to know this word, and it looks as if there are a few ways to tackle it without doing an anagram.

      Naughty Times persons.

      1. I agree with penge guin—though I think the need for an anag is pretty obvious. I got CASERNE only because I know French. Has anyone used this word in English since maybe the 1920s?
  11. ….let’s drink to the SALT OF THE EARTH as the Stones sang on the excellent “Beggars’ Banquet album.

    I was on the “compilist’s” wavelength, despite all the reservations already expressed, and concurred with, and was done in 10:58


    DNK STEELHEAD or CASERNE but negotiated both safely.



  12. 26 minutes with CASERNE in on the toss of a coin, favouring a casa/castle derivation to one from Caesar. That and RELEASE were the hold-ups with me not shaping up to the Grease connection until after I’d thought of a film RELEASE. HEAD for John was vaguely known from some nautical experience, probably literary, although I did wonder if there was a famous John Head. I’ll always have fond memories of DIGITALIS after the vet prescribed it for my old dog Rex after he’d had a stroke (not that sort) in my teenage years. We’d had him since I was a toddler. He lived happily for another three years until nearly sixteen. The world seemed to work out better then. COD to BOSCH. His Hell paintings seem ideally suited to the present times, or am I just getting old? Thank you Jack and setter.
  13. 24 minutes, skating unsteadily around the dodgy bits so ably illustrified by our bloggerator. Exemplary stuff Jack.
    I don’t recall CASERNE turning up in any of the Cornwell series (Sharpe and so on) and he’s usually enthusiastic about obscure military terms. I worked on the basis of casement (not military, you mean casemate – ed) and on the assumption that it’s French to enter the correct sequence.
    STEELHEAD from the wordplay rather than extensive knowledge of fish, but then my son-in-law is a tropical fishist and I’ve learned that many species are named solely from appearance: needlefish, rainbowfish, earth eater and many more. I bet the edible gourami regrets its christening.
    REFIT I expected to come up pink, as light dawned only after submission. Sometimes it’s the little ones that cause most trouble.
  14. I knew CASERNE! It is French for ‘barracks’, and I know this through playing endless games of Civ2 in French. STEELHEAD seemed just about right, ‘head’ being Navy talk. Agree with jack and others about the loose definitions/obscurites, particularly PARAMEDIC. I have never understood the phrase SALT OF THE EARTH, a biblical phrase which seems contradictory, since didn’t conquerors salt the earth of their defeated enemies in order to render it infertile? Noted the juxtaposition of RUB UP and MASSAGIST.

    23′, thanks jack and setter.

    1. I’m intrigued by the idea playing Civ in foreign languages (confession: I have lost probably a year of my life to various incarnations of the game in English, so I don’t know how I haven’t tried it before…)
  15. I think if I’d looked at the snitch beforehand I might have been more circumspect. As it turned out, I never thought of anything else but CASERNE so just bunged it in LOI. Main problem was with STEELHEAD not having heard of HEAD for the lav. Also thought INTEL was only a brand name, but it had to be that.
    1. I only knew HEAD for lav as I tried a spot of sailing last year and found out that on a boat nothing is referred to by its real name, i.e. there’s nothing referred to as a rope, but there’s sheet, halyard, painter, etc. Rich territory for crossword setters!
  16. Greatest pause for thought was, unsurprisingly, on the word which seemed to me to belong in a completely different (and much more Mephisto-ish) crossword. My stab at how to fill in the blanks was based on the similarity to the Latin CASTRA (a military camp, from which all the English -chester names come, of course), which turns out not to be the case at all; so it seems I picked the right one of the plausible alternatives, but for no particularly good reason.
  17. Straightforward bar the two clues mentioned but got them right mainly on the grounds that no soldier could be expected to pronounce cesarne and anyway caesarne would be more likely.
    Re 1ac I would say that although “paramedic” does not define “ambulance driver” the latter does define the former, since all of them are, at least in my experience. But I am happily unbothered by DBEs and similar
  18. Just under 30 minutes for this, all done except 5d, no hint of where the remaining A, E and N were to go in the anagram with checkers C*S*R*E. Having decided to cheat, my usual crosswordsolver didn’t know it either. Could have guessed one way or the other, but IMO getting it right with a blind guess is as bad as a DNF.
    1. But what would we do without luck? You remind me of the chap who thought being lucky was a very important trait in business. When he recruited new employees he first selected 50% of the application forms at random and put them in the bin – thus ensuring he only interviewed lucky candidates.
  19. Having travelled a bit around Europe on hols and sightseeing, I lit upon CASERNE without much difficulty: I thought the word was Italian (it is!), our blogger confirms that it is French and moreover the German equivalent is Kaserne.
  20. Not an easy one for me — so 45 mins — and I was somewhat disgruntled with the NERDIER=less bright, DBE ambulance driver (and are all ambulance drivers trained as paramedics?) and the ridiculous MASSAGIST.

    CASERNE is, IMO, not a word that exists in English — it is a foreign word which has never been assimilated into the language. Of course, there are very many foreign words that *have* been — including cappuccino, fait accompli, locum, ersatz, et al. Including random words from other world languages in a Times crossword rather irritates me.

    Anyway, jolly good blog — thank you, J.

  21. Rather a Frenchified puzzle, as Guy points out, with CHARTRES, -RIANT and CASERNE. I just about remembered the barracks from studying the 17something Battle of the Plains of Abraham where both generals (Wolfe and Montcalm) died. It was regularly re-enacted at the Royal Tournament at Earls Court that I used to take my little brother to. In my teens we had to learn gobs of French poems and one of them was by Charles d’Orleans and the last line went “de soleil riant clair et beau”. 17.25
    1. Thanks for the link, Olivia. It’s nice to know that there’s at least one more blog where the contributors don’t try to out-Trump each other.
    2. A good read thanks Olivia. I wonder how many crossword solvers read it and immediately thought that “Bassey Etim, community editor at The Times” has a name that appears more like an anagram than a name!

  22. I initially thought that this was going to be much harder than it turned out to be.

    I’ve always considered nerds to be extremely bright but perhaps overly focused, so 23 ac. delayed me for a while.

    CASERNE and RIANT I knew from French, so no problems there.

    All correct in around 40 minutes.

    Thank you to setter and blogger.


  23. Put me down as another CESARNE, and as confused as anyone else by BRIANT & HEAD. I also found nerdy = not bright to be a bit of a surprise, given how it is mostly used these days. COD probably CHASER.

    FEND has unfortunate associations for me, as I came a cropper on EFFENDI in the crossword championship last year – needing F_N_ to mean ‘provide’, I had a stab at EFFUNDI.

  24. 20:19 getting the toss up for 5d the right way round – it seemed a bit more plausible. Same other unknowns as others – STEELHEAD, MASSAGIST and RIANT, so relieved to find I was all correct. SALT OF THE EARTH my COD.
  25. I don’t mind the use of “random [or obscure] words from other world languages” in Times crosswords AS LONG AS THEY AREN’T CLUED BY BLOODY ANAGRAMS.

    I got 5d wrong BTW.

  26. I put in Rubis – i.e. B in (c)RUIS(e) – thought I was being clever – unfortunately, as usual, I was just being wrong.
    Otherwise, good crossword and some new words for me to immediately forget ( not least – riant).
  27. If you had known about 5d in advance, wouldn’t you have solved the puzzle? That’s what I did (finally).
    1. Not sure I understand your point. Knowing about it in advance wouldn’t have made it any more solvable.
      1. Sorry. I was thinking ‘I knew the word [in advance], so I was able to solve’, where you were (I assume) saying, ‘Had I known this was going to be in the puzzle, I would have dropped it’.
        1. Exactly. There’s something important about a puzzle being a solvable unit, and a fair tussle with the setter.
  28. I was held up at the end, cogitating over C_S_R_E and I_E_R_A_T, but finally got there with the A and E the right way round in 5d, and INEBRIANT got from crossers and definition, as RIANT was unknown. I share the general dislike of obscure foreign words clued by anagrams. Knew the HEAD(S) definition of on board loos, and was familiar with the steelhead as it’s also the brand name of a couple of hardware firewalls I installed in Wynyard Data Cantre shortly before I retired. I liked PARASITE, but had an MER at PARAMEDIC for AMBULANCE DRIVER. I found MASSAGIST to be a rather strange word too. Anyway an enjoyable enough puzzle which I completed in 35:14. Thanks setter and Jack.
  29. All I will say about this one is that if I had known about 5dn in advance I’d have found something better to do with my time.

    Edited at 2018-08-21 01:09 pm (UTC)

  30. About an hour for me, but technical DNF as I used an aid to answer the puzzle over the barracks. HEAD = JOHN was no problem for an ex-Navy man like me, although in the RN they are always referred to in the plural, as opposed to the USN where the singular is used (in my experience anyway). I started with RUB IN (with a G missing in each case), but the impossibility of 11a made me look again.
  31. 21:16 with a successful guess for 5d, although I share all the misgivings already expressed. One or two others might have bothered me more on a grumpier day but the sun is shining, the Wine Society van has just left and all’s right with the world.
  32. Around 20 minutes, and I also ended with a guess at CASERNE, correctly as it turns out, only in that it looked more plausible than the alternative. I certainly didn’t know it, or ‘riant’ for that matter, but INEBRIANT clearly fit the requirement of the clue. Since I’m confessing, I don’t know what a TURKISH DELIGHT is either, but it surely could be sweet, by the sound of it. Regards.
  33. I know it well but with a K. The Kaserne is where the US army used to lurk when I was living in Munich in the 70s. I was a regular visitor to the Stars and Stripes bookshop there. (Signed in as his wife by a friendly GI) It’s also in the famous 1st line of Lili Marlene: “Bei der Kaserne, vor dem grossen tor…”. Proof that one person’s obscurity is another person’s write-in. I enjoyed this puzzle and found it a comfortable solve in 24 minutes. STEELHEAD was unknown and doesn’t sound very fish-like. But was easily gettable from the cryptic. Ann
  34. I would have enjoyed this more had I not tackled it following a particularly irritating time filling in a pointless online form related to money laundering. For the record, I have insufficient money to make laundering it worthwhile, and no, I do not receive income from either Venezuela or Sevastopol. But I digress.

    Fuelled with irritation, I sort of stomped my way through this, knocking things over as I went. I eventually threw my hands up and put CASERNE in for 5d because, well, if they want to clue an obscure word with an anagram then I’m damned if I’m going to agonize over it. I was then even more irritated to discover that CASERNE was, in fact, the right answer, thereby denying me the satisfaction of being further annoyed.

    So, thirty four minutes. And MASSAGIST – really?

  35. 33:59. I guessed at the position of the A and the first E in 5dn. I didn’t know John / head and needed an alphabet trawl before putting in steelhead as the most likely word for a fish at 25ac. I found the nerdier definition in 23ac a bit of a surprise. I failed to parse 18dn properly wondering, until I came here, why Ford was an old car. I also failed to parse inebriant after considering Brian and Ian for the fellow and getting nowhere. Not knowing caserne and that meaning of head made this a less satisfying solve for me.

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