Times Cryptic 27146

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

I needed 40 minutes for all but two clues and then after a further 10 minutes I was getting nowehere so I threw in the towel and resorted to aids. Sometimes you just know that you don’t know an answer and if the wordplay won’t come togther it seems better to cut one’s losses and move on.  Generally this was interesting and entertaining though.

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 China last to claim victory, symbolically (4)
PALM – PAL (china – CRS ‘china plate / mate’), {clai}M [last]. SOED has ‘palm’ as a palm leaf, esp. one used as a symbol of victory or triumph. The Golden Palm, or Palme d’Or, awarded to the winner of the Cannes Film Festival is one example.
4 Ordering audit from time to time, no women being involved? (10)
ADJUSTMENT – A{u}D{i}T [from time to time] with JUST MEN (no women) contained within [involved]
9 Dinosaur‘s decline complete in the vicinity (10)
DIPLODOCUS – DIP (decline), DO (complete) contained by [in] LOCUS (vicinity). One of the two clues I failed to solve today. A search through TftT history reveals that I claimed not to know the word in 2009 and more recently in November 2016, but at least on that second occasion I managed to arrive at it because it was plainly clued as an anagram. Today’s clue I feel is not at all helpful to the point of being a little unfair for an uncommon word. ‘DIP / decline’ is fine and ‘DO / complete’ perhaps, but ‘LOCUS / vicinity’ less so, because LOCUS usually indicates an exact place or location whereas ‘vicinity’ is more vague.
10 Heading to the back, wander past (4)
OVER – {r}OVE (wander) becomes OVER [heading to the back]
11 Old sailors on ship prompt to turn criminal (6)
SUBORN – SUB (ship), O (old), RN (sailors – Royal Navy). Some contributors in the past have queried whether submarines are ‘boats’ rather than ‘ships’ or ‘warships’. It’s evidently a moot point but not one that I have strong feelings about.
12 Wild daisy covering most of area, maybe (1,4,3)
I DARE SAY – Anagram [wild] of DAISY containing [covering] ARE{a} [most of]
14 Jump, ultimately failing to take the lead (4)
STAR – STAR{t} (jump) [ultimately failing]
15 Snarling Parisian in stern of boat, Walton’s craft (10)
ENTANGLING – EN (in, Parisian), {boa}T [stern], ANGLING (Walton’s craft). My first one in. It’s easy if  one happens to know of Izaak Walton’s book The Compleat Angler first published in 1653. I have no interest in fishing and have never read the book but I know of it because it shares its name with a rather fine hotel and restaurant next to the bridge and weir on the Thames at Marlow.
17 Impious bishop on island about to engage in affair (10)
IRREVERENT – I (island), RR (bishop), RE(about) contained by [to engage in] EVENT (affair)
20 Stitch-up / that’s annoyed me (4)
DARN – Two meanings
21 Brand one lover “short of ecstasy”, taking another (8)
FLAMBEAU – FLAM{e} (one lover) [short of ecstasy – E], BEAU (another – lover). Two words for a flaming torch.
23 Bees take it from flowers close by, bordering court (6)
NECTAR – NEAR (close by) containing [bordering] CT (court)
24 Reportedly keeps back vital equipment for tower (4)
ROPE – Hidden and reversed [keeps back] in {r}EPOR{tedly}. Not so vital, as most people would prefer to put their trust in a chain or similar metallic device rather than use a rope which is liable to snap.
25 Like some curves, deliberately exaggerated (10)
HYPERBOLIC – Two meanings
26 Converted coaches, not one fitted with silencer? (10)
TRANSMUTED – TRA{i}NS (coaches) [not one], MUTED (fitted with silencer)
27 Veggie food seaman from East always rejected (4)
SOYA – OS (seaman) reversed [from East], AY (always) reversed [rejected]. It’s a little unusual to see separate reversal indicators for adjacent elements of a clue when one would have done, but it improves the surface reading here.
2 A religious sect north of river, devoted to queen and her workers? (11)
APICULTURAL – A, PI (religious), CULT (sect), URAL (river) with ‘north of’ serving as a positional indicator in a Down clue. I used aids for this unknown word which it seems has never appeared in any Times crosswords (including the Mephisto) since TftT was founded. I saw the ‘bee’ reference immediately and was working along the right lines with wordplay with A PI and URAL, but I thought the fourth letter had to be A (as in apiary, apiarist etc) and that set me on the wrong track.
3 Victoria’s first PM providing her capital? (9)
MELBOURNE – Two meanings, the second being the state capital of Victoria in Australia. William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne was the  first Prime Minister of Queen Victoria’s reign, which I must admit I know only because I watched the recent TV dramatisation covering her early years on the throne. [Thanks to the first anon below for pointing out that Melbourne is the state capital of Victoria, and not of the whole country, which is of course Canberra. I’m always muddling that up!]
4 Many uncovered poet quite slowly (7)
ANDANTE – {m}AN{y} [uncovered], DANTE (poet). Italian musical direction.
5 What disillusioned preacher may do for lords and ladies? (4-2-3-6)
JACK-IN-THE-PULPIT – A straight definition preceded by a cryptic one. I’d never heard of this but I knew ‘lords and ladies’ as a plant and assumed rightly that the answer would be an alternative name. The cryptic definition, the enumeration and available checkers helped me to arrive at it. It’s also called ‘cuckoopint’.
6 America must cut pollution to keep up (7)
SUSTAIN – US (America) contained by [must cut] STAIN (pollution)
7 Lifts, commonly for high part of building (5)
EAVES – {h}EAVES (lifts) [commonly – dropping the ‘h’]
8 Dilatory sailor on duty cleared out (5)
TARDY – TAR (sailor), D{ut}Y [cleared out]
13 Freak may be on trial abroad, after English withdrawal (11)
ABNORMALITY – Anagram [abroad] of MAYB{e} ON TRIAL [after English withdrawal]
16 Alternative to “ridiculous” one’s put out (9)
LUDICROUS – Anagram [alternative to] R{i}DICULOUS [one’s put out]. A somewhat inventive variation on the standard anagram clue with the definition consisting of both anagrind and anagrist. I think we have to say the clue is semi&lit to get round the double duty.
18 Second person with false bottom in English town (7)
EVESHAM – EVE (second person), SHAM (false) with ‘bottom’ as a positional indicator although it’s really only needed for the surface. I’m not sure how far around the globe this town is known.
19 Plastic denture kept for an agreed time (7)
TENURED – Anagram [plastic] of DENTURE
21 Initial “R” in one’s own writing (5)
FIRST – R contained by [in] FIST (one’s own writing)
22 I’m surprised to secure record top mark (5)
ALPHA – AHA (I’m surprised) contains [to secure] LP (record). Knowing me, knowing you…

42 comments on “Times Cryptic 27146”

  1. I like it when the blog comes out early. Thank you, jackkt. It was a delightful solve about the same time as yours. Melbourne was a gimme with M from PALM. I didn’t know Jack went from the box to the pulpit. You learn something new everyday.
  2. I finished in 55 minutes, with the last 10 minutes or so spent struggling with ADJUSTMENT, followed by the preaching plant and finally the ‘Dinosaur’. Probably another 5 minutes spent on ROPE and I still missed the reversed hidden!

    Some good surfaces, eg 25a and a few interesting words/terms, including 5d which was new to me. My picks were 3d with its two meanings for ‘Victoria’ and the naughty reverend gentleman in 17a.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  3. 38 minutes for this very pleasant and varied offering. Maybe because I got it right, having never heard of it, by piecing it together, I think 9 across is fairly clued. Collins has as its first definition of ‘locus’: ‘(in many legal phrases – such as locus criminis) a place or area, esp the place where something occurred’. Now it’s a moot point how precise ‘a place where a crime was committed’ might be, but, from my experience of the way criminal lawyers operate (desire to win usually trumping passion for accuracy), I would say ‘vicinity’ is a pretty accurate rendering.
  4. Happy to finish, lots of unknowns today – Evesham, dilatory, flambeau, Walton not remembered since last time, but Diplodocus I did remember, from childhood. Didn’t know either Jack-in… or lords & ladies as plants, so that was a guess. Firstguess was pack in the pulpit – I’d pack in a job I didn’t like, never jack it in – so that made adjustment impossible.
    I think Melbourne might be the current capital of Victoria, the Australian state not the dead queen.
    1. Not logged in. Forgot to say I enjoyed lots of the left-field wordplay and definitions.

      Edited at 2018-09-18 02:33 am (UTC)

  5. Just as I had clicked on ‘submit’ I noticed that I’d typed ‘anbormality’. Under the new dispensation, fortunately for me, that gave me only one error not two (or maybe ‘entanglibg’ is in Chambers). Very annoying in any case, as this was a hard-fought battle that I had seriously considering retreating from. Knew DIPLODOCUS and got it from checkers, then parsing; no problem with LOCUS. JACK-IN-THE-PULPIT no problem, biffed from the J; my problem was ‘JACK IN'(or ‘JACK’?), which I didn’t know.
  6. Went smoothly except I put MATE in at 1a (M + ATE as the goddess of victory…unfortunately she is the goddess of mischief). Realized when my LOI was MELBOURNE and I got it sorted. I’m not sure why everyone has so much trouble with DIPLODOCUS, I guess having two kids who both went through a dinosaur phase means I know lots of them.
    1. I had MATE for ages too! I knew Ate was the goddess of mischief (and in fact I was discussing her and Loki just yesterday with one of my kids) but these gods and goddesses have multiple responsibilities.
      And like you I was very surprised that anyone could not know DIPLODOCUS. Just goes to show.
      Otherwise I found this very hard, and it took me 24:26.
  7. I struggled with the left side of this puzzle, finally finishing with SUBORN. I particularly liked ROPE for the misdirection of ‘Reportedly’ which had me looking for a homonym.

    I’m very surprised that some people haven’t heard of DIPLODOCUS. In my childhood they were ubiquitous along with tyrannosauruses, stegosauruses, triceratops and brontosauruses (in books that is, I’m not that old). There’s also the iconic diplodocus at the Natural History Museum.

    Edited at 2018-09-18 08:11 am (UTC)

  8. 23 minutes, with SUBORN last in, partly because I had spent most of the time with a confident APIARIANISM as the bee care. Perhaps I should have paid more attention to the clue and noticed I had no river in my answer, but ARIANISM is one of the crossword’s go-to sects and heresies.
    DIPLODOCUS was an early hit, though part of my brain wombled around wondering if that was the dinosaur in One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing (it isn’t).
    FLAMBEAU is Father Brown’s nemesis, of course, and I still have trouble thinking of him as a torch.
    I liked the clue for JACK IN THE PULPIT, not least because it’s one of the plants I can instantly recognise.
    Many thanks for a detailed, engaging and honest blog.
    1. Many thanks for your kind comments about my blog. That’s two consecutive days I’ve been complimented for writing an ‘honest blog’ (see ‘oldblighter’ in yesterday’s QC) and it’s made me wonder what I’m doing! I certainly don’t see the point in pretending to know things I didn’t or reporting everything was smooth-sailing when it wasn’t (and I doubt much of that goes on here anyway) but I suppose an alternative would be not to make comments that give so much of that away. I take the view that those who struggle (and there are more of them these days as newbies to the QC or graduates to the 15×15) might take heart from a long-standing blogger such as myself having difficulties too.

      Edited at 2018-09-18 08:39 am (UTC)

      1. How lovely of you to say that.

        It is a shame though that you deemed 9a to be unfair. Possibly the single most famous dinosaur (replica) in the world was until recently domineering the Natural History Museum, Dippy the diplodocus. Ah well, it’s a bad craftsman blames his tools, eh?

        1. Well we all have our blindspots when it comes to General Knowledge and I just didn’t happen to know that one. “Today’s clue I feel is not at all helpful to the point of being a little unfair” is not exactly an outright complaint or condemnation, just a personal opinion, and it wasn’t the the word itself that I had misgivings about but rather that part of the wordplay ‘vicinity’ for LOCUS didn’t seem quite accurate to me.I may now have revised my opinion about that in view of subsequent comments posted by others.

          Edited at 2018-09-18 07:00 pm (UTC)

    2. I was also dabbling with ARIANS, but having already got IRREVERENT, I was quickly sent looking for another sect.
  9. The Sunday Times clue writing contest printed the winning entry for FLAMBEAU two days ago. I had ‘Carried torch for two boyfriends, first one short’. Peter B was generous on the website but gave it to ‘This throws light on boyfiend’s lie’ – which is excellent.
    I enjoyed today’s puzzle very much. Only held up by the Arum.
  10. 37 minutes, taking an age to find APICULTURAL amidst all the other words I invented for bee-keeping. Only then did SUBORN and STAR fall into place. I’d never heard of JACK IN THE PULPIT. That it was a plant ending with IN THE PULPIT was clear early but the JACK required ADJUSTMENT and ordering wasn’t the most obvious definition for that. JUST MEN rescued me. It seems like I’ve been waiting for HYPERBOLIC ever since we covered the rectangular hyperbola in school maths a lifetime ago. COD TO FLAMBEAU. Nice puzzle. Thank you Jack and vsetter.
  11. 27:05. I was a bit slow in seeing several I should have known – we’ve had FLAMBEAU, IRREVERENT and MELBOURNE some time recently, I think. NW corner held me up the most, failing to remember PALM as a symbol of victory and I saw the beekeeping reference at 2d, but was looking for the name of a cult. STAR my LOI. I loved the attempted misdirection of hiding ROPE in ‘reportedly’. Any one else fooled into looking for a homonym? Nice puzzle. Thanks Jack and setter.
  12. My big hold-up was IRREVERENT, which never did contain the B which my brain insisted on expecting. Dinosaurs imprinted themselves on my brain as a child, in a way which plants never have, so the DIPLODOCUS was a write-in, but the JACK-in the whatnot was an educated guess. I also came up with a start when I initially wrote in APICULTURE and couldn’t see which part of the wordplay was leaving me a letter short. Interesting puzzle, 3dn especially clever.
  13. As pootle notes, the famous dinosaur at the Natural History Museum was a DIPLODOCUS. Now on tour I believe, and known as Dippy. The list of a cyclist’s achievements is known as their PALMARES. Rather liked I DARE SAY, one of those where the enumeration makes it a lot easier. 23’57” thanks jack and setter
  14. DNF in 34 mins. Didn’t get Adjustment, Jack, Suborn and Soya.

    Must do better.


  15. I engaged in towel throwing over APICULTURAL, Jack. No problem with DIPLODOCUS. I remember some discussion over pronunciation on the “Today” programme a while ago. Accent on the I and second O or just on the first O? John Humphrys favoured the second choice. 59m 57s, phew!
  16. EVESHAM is a lovely little town, and a good starting point for touring the Cotswolds if, like me, you’re coming from the north.

    FOI MATE – whoops ! Luckily I immediately spotted MELBOURNE despite the rogue E and corrected immediately.

    I used to think that ships went to sea, and boats didn’t, but then fishing boats scuttled that idea many years ago. However, SUBORN was LOI.

    I also fell for the non-Indian ROPE trick, as usual failing to spot the “hidden” for a while.

    Was pleased with my time of 10:42 for a slightly tricky offering.

    COD FLAMBEAU, where the clue (for me) surpasses the competition winning entry. I wonder if PB would concur ?

    Thanks to Jack for his usual top quality blog, and to the setter for a fair but challenging puzzle.

  17. A good workout, and I was surprised to find as many as four minutes left on my hour timer once I put my pen down. FOI 10a OVER after I failed to get a start in the NW corner. Finished off with 11a SUBORN, just after finally figuring out 2d APICULTURAL. I was with Tim on trying to crowbar a B into 17a for the longest time, too…

    All good fun, including the completely unknown 5d JACK-IN-THE-PULPIT. No problems with DIPLODOCUS; given my crossword strengths and weaknesses I imagine I was busy playing with plastic dinosaurs when others were going to Sunday school or collecting stamps!

    Edited at 2018-09-18 10:23 am (UTC)

  18. APICULTURAL was one that came to me eventually, but I too was looking for APIAR- for a long time; not helped by the fact that I couldn’t quite remember what SUBORN meant so wasn’t willing to put it in. Those were my last two after 11m 30s.

    It was nice to see EVESHAM appear, as that’s where I went to high school, but my COD is 24a for a hidden word neatly disguised as a homophone.

  19. Very pleased to complete this one today, although I had to guess “Jack in the pulpit” I thought it might be some reference to a card game (lords and ladies being Kings and Queens). Surprised to learn that it was a flower. My brother-in-law is an apiculturist.

    Edited at 2018-09-18 05:23 pm (UTC)

  20. As an Australian with limited knowledge of Australian History: Melbourne was the capital of Australia at one time, quite possibly during Victoria’s reign. Wikipedia says: Melbourne was seat of new parliament and de facto capital when Australia became a federation on Jan 1 1901, so your first entry was correct, and the clue has extra layers of cleverness.
    1. Thanks for your support, isla3, and it’s wonderful to feel partially vindicated, but I’m afraid that my original entry was down to pure carelessness on my part.
      1. The word ‘her’ suggests this is the intended meaning though: an odd word to use about a state.
  21. I must have been on the wavelength today. No real problems with any of this. Most enjoyable. 21 minutes. Ann
  22. Only one problem, all done except FLAMBEAU in 20 minutes, knew the dinosaur (our grandchildren are the experts) and guessed the JACK location as knew it was a plant. At first I had SPIT in the pulpit until 4a disabused that idea. Was interrupted for lunch (on holiday with friends in sunny Arcachon) so came here before completing FLAMBEAU, so another DNF but otherwise a good puzzle.
  23. No problem till the last 3. Failed to separate religious from sect which left me floundering. Reminds me that I always promised to go and see Dippy on his (her?) tour. Wonder where he has got to?
  24. 24’57, without managing to parse 17 or 24. I’d say diplodocus is reasonably well-known, certainly as much as Jack-in-the-pulpit, which swam to the surface from god knows where. A good puzzle with little memorable about it (though the 18 surface is a tad egregious, if that’s the word, in its way).
  25. I found that one quite tough after a day golfing, with the gale force wind making our trek up the hill at the 18th a bit of a chore! Having heeded Vinyl’s warning on the QC blog that today’s 15×15 was a bit tricky, I was surprised to set off at a fair old pace, but was soon brought to heel and settled in for the struggle. PALM went in first and Dippy wasn’t too much of a problem, but the SW and the NE were intractable for a while. TRANSMUTED finally opened up the SW and I finished with the unknown JACK IN THE PULPIT, after ADJUSTMENT finally came to mind and I got rid of PACK in…. Tough stuff for me. 54:47 which put me at 101 on the leaderboard, so no snitch rating for me today. Thanks setter and Jack, who can always be relied on for a thoughtful and detailed blog.
  26. Never heard of JACKthingummy. Who thinks up these stupid names ? Clearly trying to make gardening seem like fun.

    LOI SUBORN no familiar to me.

    1h 20m

  27. Tough puzzle; 28 mins. JITP was an unknown. Didn’t know about Walton and fishing either, but got there. Great blog, thanks 🙂
  28. I was a bit pressed for time today and could only devote half an hour to this at lunchtime. That wasn’t nearly enough because I found myself a fair way off the wavelength and had to tidy things up after work. I put mate in at 1ac which prevented me from entering Melbourne until late on. I assumed Walton was the Belshazzar’s feast chap and had no idea what angling had to do with composition, now I know (it doesn’t). Flambeau took far too long considering I had also recently been mulling its clueability for the ST contest. I looked for the arian heretics rather than the cult in 2dn and NHO the flower at 5dn. Quite a struggle.

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