Times Cryptic 27158

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

I needed 37 minutes to solve all but one clue (8dn) which I eventually gave up on and resorted to aids. I’m afraid when most of a puzzle falls quite easily and I am left with just one answer outstanding I sometimes lack the perseverance to see it through. The problem here turned out to be a cryptic definition with little to suggest the area of knoweldge in which the answer lay. I might have stared at it for hours and still not cracked it. There are a lot of clues referring to religion or bibical matters and I counted at least seven of them.

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 Nonsense about backward-looking priest being submissive (6)
DOCILE – COD (nonsense) reversed [about], ELI (priest) reversed [backward-looking]. I’m familiar with COD meaning ‘joke, hoax, parody, mock, sham’, but not ‘nonsense’. I  found this eventually in the ODO: cod,  British dated, informal – nonsense.
4 Forced out, dumped, having lost it (7)
DEPOSED – DEPOS{it}ED (dumped) [having lost it]
9 Partners at table stifling expression of surprise and disdain (5)
SCORN – S N (partners at table – bridge) containing [stifling] COR (expression of surprise)
10 The first person to turn against thing in protest (9)
OBJECTION – OBJECT (thing), NO 1 (the first person) reversed [to turn]
11 Procedure that’s a possibility when time is limited (9)
OPERATION – OPTION (possibility) with ERA (time) contained [limited]
12 Moral shortcoming that comes with drinks we hear (5)
LAPSE – Sounds like [we hear] “laps” (drinks)
13 Hour of prayer held by canon everyday (4)
NONE – Hidden in [held by] {ca}NON E{veryday}
14 Like Samson before his distressing experience (4-6)
LONG-HAIRED – Cryptic definition
18 Drink with newspaper folk, their leader being inhibited (10)
SUPPRESSED – SUP (drink), PRESS (newspaper folk), ED (their leader – editor)
20 Language restriction for listener (4)
THAI – Sounds like [for listener] “tie” (restriction)
23 That fellow entertaining artist is depicting a king of Tyre (5)
HIRAM – HIM (that fellow) containing [entertaining] RA (artist)
24 Sweet member of comic duo is reckless (9)
FOOLHARDY – FOOL (sweet – pudding), HARDY (member of comic duo – along with Laurel)
25 Unruly clan, first to demonstrate in French region (9)
PROVENCAL – PROVE (demonstrate), anagram [unruly] of CLAN
26 Small opening allows last couple to escape bear (5)
STOMA – STOMA{ch} (bear) [last couple to escape]
27 Criminal activity around American city’s horse-racing (3,4)
THE FLAT – THEFT (criminal activity) contains [around] LA (American city). ‘On the flat’ and ‘over the sticks’ are just about the limit of my knowledge of horse racing.
28 Withered, needing water, looking very hot (6)
SEARED – SEA (water), RED (looking very hot)
1 Ignores number occupying East Anglian town (9)
DISCOUNTS – COUNT (number) contained by [occupying] DISS (East Anglian town). It’s in Norfolk.
2 Near where you may find bishop at home (5,2)
CLOSE IN – CLOSE (where you may find bishop), IN (at home). A close can be the precinct of a cathedral, hence the bishop reference.
3 Fish on a minute religious symbol (6)
LINGAM – LING (fish), A, M (minute). I didn’t know this and I’m not sure I really needed to! SOED: A Hindu sacred object constituting a symbol of the god Siva, spec. (the representation of) a phallus.
4 Little woman involved in row in French city (5)
DIJON – JO (little woman – as featured in Louisa May Alcott’s novel), contained by [involved in] DIN (row)
5 Particular metallic elements in fruit (8)
PECULIAR – CU+LI (metallic elements – copper and lithium) contained by [in] PEAR (fruit)
6 Mule as one coming a cropper in mud? (7)
SLIPPER – A definition and a cryptic hint
7 Party in church led by tribe (5)
DANCE – DAN (tribe), CE (church)
8 They may be spotted in a series of downward movements (8)
DOMINOES – A cryptic definition which I failed to solve as the checkers were not helpful and there’s little or nothing in the clue to suggest the field to which the answer might relate. This must be with reference to ‘domino effect’ by which one event triggers a succession of other, often similar, events, like a falling domino at the beginning of a line of upended dominoes (SOED). The curious thing is that as far as I’m aware there’s no game of dominoes that involves them being upended in a line so it’s odd that they should have acquired this particular meaning.
15 Headless monster descending on magnificent city (8)
GRENOBLE – {o}GRE (monster) [headless], NOBLE (magnificent). ‘Descending’ is a placement indicator not required other to improve the surface reading.
16 Farm worker cheated having taken in nonchalant old woman (9)
DAIRYMAID – DID (cheated) containing AIRY (nonchalant) + MA (old woman)
17 English monarch with order, appropriately, for his enemy (8)
CROMWELL – CR (English monarch – Charles), OM (order), WELL (appropriately). The definition refers back to ‘English monarch’, in this case Charles I whose armies were defeated by Oliver Cromwell’s in the English Civil War.
19 Resolve of top people with “proper accent” evident in attitude (7)
PURPOSE – U (top people) + RP (“proper accent” – received pronunciation) contained by [evident in] POSE (attitude)
21 Nurse in shady part of garden south of hospital (7)
HARBOUR – H (hospital), ARBOUR (shady part of garden). One can nurse or harbour a grudge, for instance.
22 Pure speed, fastest possible speed to begin with (6)
CHASTE – C  (fastest possible speed), HASTE (speed). I understand that C in physics denotes the velocity of light in a vacuum.
23 Go away from house with depression (3,2)
HOP IT – HO (house), PIT (depression)
24 Feature of gem, diamond maybe, wrapped in paper (5)
FACET – ACE (diamond maybe) contained by [wrapped in] FT (paper)

66 comments on “Times Cryptic 27158”

  1. DOMINOES took me ages…first I tried every possible first letter, then I wrote down “spotted _o_i_o_s” and stared at that for a few minutes until I decided to try every possible penultimate letter – as soon as I saw _O_I_OES, I saw the answer. Funny things, brains.
  2. Done and dusted in 15 minutes, except for 28ac. For me, ‘sear’ (‘sere’) means ‘withered’; the closest I find in ODE is (sv sear) ‘ cause to wither’. ‘Seared’ would thus mean ’caused to wither’, and ‘wither’ isn’t transitive. Any smutty-minded college boy who tried to read the Kama Sutra would know lingam, and its counterpart yoni; a write-in, I’m ashamed to say.
    1. “Wither” is sometimes transitive. Second definition at the top of Google results: “cause harm or damage to. | “a business that can wither the hardiest ego”
      1. I suppose it’s an idiolect problem; I wouldn’t say ‘… sear the hardiest ego’, for instance.
  3. I was out of ink this weekend. Went into the office on Friday to print Saturday’s, but had to wait to today to work the Sunday New York Times non-cryptic, our Sunday cryptic, yesterday’s 15×15 and QC and today’s as well. I put in DOMINOES with no hesitation whatsoever.
  4. I read it as a triple definition, and moved on: withered / needing water / looking hot. Not very satisfactory, but neither is the other to my mind.
    1. I might have gone with that for preference if it had occurred to me but unless the setter drops by we shan’t know which he had in mind.
      1. I think it has to be the way you saw it, Jackkt, as the three parts would only be different ways of expressing the same definition, not three distinct definitions.
  5. Up early due to insomnia, and this wasn’t the best puzzle to be faced with when half asleep. I seem I’m in good company with 28 SEARED and 8d DOMINOES my last couple in. I pushed my hour out by five extra minutes, with those two taking the final ten.

    Struggled with the religious vocab: DNK 3d LINGAM, 2d’s “close”, 7d’s “dan”. Happily I knew 26a STOMA from modern Greek; it still means “mouth”…

    Feeling very unwavelengthy today, and struggled through rather than enjoying it much. But at least I got there in the end, I suppose.

  6. 35 mins before I gave up on 8dn (with yoghurt, granola, etc.)
    MER at Seared for the reasons touched on by others.
    Ages saying, ‘There are no cities that begin Gre…’.
    Then some time deciding that only Monitors and Horizons fitted 8dn. Bunged in Monitors. I guess you either see it or you don’t.
    Thanks setter and J.
  7. I struggled with this so was pleased to finish with all correct. As with others DOMINOES was one of my hold ups and I wasn’t sure about SEARED. It occurred to me that this could have been clued nicely with reference to the Red Sea – maybe one for the future.
  8. No problem with this one – twigged DOMINOES from the “spotted”. I don’t think they “may” be spotted – I think they “are” spotted!

    I recall my physics master using a chain of dominoes to demonstrate a chain reaction. There’s a fascinating branch of maths that deals with things like that called Markov Processes. Google it if you’re interested.

    1. Double zero is the unspotted one, but I didn’t think of that when solving, not spotting “spotted” as a domino indicator.
    2. The double blank isn’t spotted, so the pedant in me (98% or so) says that “may” is technically correct.
    3. I don’t know if anyone has pointed this out yet, Jim, but not all dominoes have spots.
  9. A chastening 32 minutes, most of them spent on DOMINOES, to my mind a particularly elusive cryptic definition with no real aha moment, and one where no-one else seems to have struggled, which was STOMA. I got completely stuck on S(mall) opening -2 for a breed or name of bear. Even to the extent of thinking bear is usually “put up with” or “carry” and thinking how cunning the setter was being. If only the not-really-necessary “small” were absent, I’d have thrown it in with no struggle.
      1. Sorry, lousy punctuation. The comment belongs with STOMA, not DOMINOES. I’ve since been joined by bletchleyreject, so “no-one else” is not strictly true on that either.
  10. As for others, a quick solve apart from 8d. Seemed a bit unfair to have all those unhelpful crossers when trawling the brain for consonants – didn’t occur that there might be another vowel. Eventually bunged in ‘monitor'(like Myrtilus)in desperation.
    1. There do seem to be many species of spotted monitor lizards, which spend some of their time doing downward movements, except when moving upwards or along. So I’m counting it as valid.
      I might also make a case for Horizons.
      1. I thought MONITORS, which are mainly of the spotted kind (MOTORS for movements and IN reversed).
  11. STOMA remained obstinately shut, even with an alphabet trawl, so an annoying DNF after 56 minutes, much of that spent trying to think of a breed of ‘bear’. The ‘nonsense’ meaning of COD has come up elsewhere recently which helped with 1a and I was pleased to be able to retrieve LINGAM from the recesses somewhere.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  12. Saw required answer; but Provence is the region, Provencal is descriptive of something/someone from the region. ‘Regional’?
    1. I think you can safely argue that the full definition is “in French region” to give the required adjective. I’m afraid I didn’t, being mistaken about Provence. The rebel in me would like to see the cedilla under the c and a crossing word than needs it too, but entry would be tricky online.
    2. Sorry, I misread my notes when writing the blog. The definition is ‘in French region’. I’ve amended it now.
      1. Not happy with that definition. But then I’m tired ‘n’ stuff. I have seen a few dodgy ones over the years relating to various state capitals and provinces. Canada is a real nightmare for ’em.
  13. Failed on dominoes, going for monitors (20 min. on rest). An outstanding clue. They are (almost all) spotted, but also may be so in the d. effect, actual stunt or metaphor. Nothing wrong with withered, as in ‘The landscape, seared by the sun…’ I’d say the straightforward parsing, water followed by looking hot, is what’s needed. What with the dance and Provencal (song) I wondered if we were on a Keats theme for a moment.
  14. 28 minutes in two sessions, either side of the annual geriatric flu jab appointmemt. Like most others, LOI DOMINOES which only came after a trawl through every animal I could think of. I thought the cryptic either had something to do with the domino effect or them all being pushed down, but couldn’t pin down what. Whatever, the clue brought back happy memories of evenings in The Three Horseshoes at Wixford forty odd years ago. We knew how to live. COd split between FOOLHARDY and CHASTE. Thank you Jack and setter.
  15. Struggled in under the half hour, much on DOMINOES like everyone else. The ‘domino effect’ was quoted as a reason for the US to go to war in Vietnam, i.e. if one country changed regime the rest would follow – it refers to those strange shows where people put on end lots of dominoes and then topple one and the rest fall…https://youtu.be/oFUggRpHGyU. One could also mention the well-known pizza company and their boxes.

    There are 28 dominoes in a set

    I thought CROMWELL was well constructed. COD to PURPOSE.

    Thanks jack and setter.

    Edited at 2018-10-02 10:00 am (UTC)

  16. A bit of a struggle for me at 54 mins. Amazingly knew LINGAM from a brief visit to Mumbai some years ago. Not so amazingly, I took ages finding DOMINOES and I’ll allow myself a harrumph that dominoes simply *are* spotted (not ‘may be’ as jimbo points out above).
    Thanks, jackkt, for explication.
  17. I assumed it to be a reference to some manoeuvre from skiing – an activity that I know nothing (and care less) about.
  18. One day I will have a blind spot in the puzzle which is interesting and unique, but today is not that day. Spent about half of my solving time on the final pair of _E_RED (even when I twigged what it must be, it didn’t seem quite right, for reasons which have already been given above), and _O_I_O_S, which was clearly one of those cryptic defs where you either see it instantly, or struggle horribly. Great was the temptation just to bung in MONITORS or HORIZONS and have done with it.
  19. My brain felt sluggish this morning and kept getting itself stuck in neutral. I didn’t have any problem with DOMINOES but I kept wanting “Anjou” for 4d (yes I know it’s not a city) perhaps because it was sitting next to a pear. And for too long I couldn’t get past “the turf” for 28a. SLIPPER took too long too because I kept wondering if there was some particular significance to the mud. 23.28
  20. ….I might have known LINGAM. As it was, I biffed it successfully, along with OBJECTION, and OPERATION.

    FOI DEPOSED which gave me the opening for a deceptively quick start – a number of brick walls soon presented themselves.

    I guessed that “C” was a physics term, possibly Einsteinian, but it’s never been my subject.

    Didn’t like SEARED.

    DNF after throwing in my pencil after 17 minutes when “monitors” became the solver’s equivalent of an earworm, and I couldn’t “spot” the correct solution.


    1. “There are 101 ways of making love,” said the sex therapist at his latest lecture class. “102,” shouted out the back-row heckler. The lecturer persisted. “There are 101 ways of making love…” “102,” came the call from the back again. The lecturer wasn’t giving up. “There are 101 ways of making love. In the first, the woman lies on her back…” “103.”
  21. Had to settle down to some serious brain-work to get through this. A bit of a challenge after yesterday’s offering. I see the Snitch only rates it at 101, but I thought it was harder. I suppose it’s the one or two clues that you either see straight away or not that makes the difference. I struggled with DOMINOES, STOMA and CHASTE for quite some time. I was toying with PANDA and KOALA for ages, and even entered CHASTE and took it out again, failing to see the parsing until much later. SEARED also took some mental effort. LINGAM was unknown and went in from wordplay and crossers. Pleased to get through it unbloodied after 52:27. Thanks setter and Jack.
  22. C is the C of E = MC squared, and if you find something faster, you will be back in no time.
  23. 8dn did for me too as in desperation I bunged in lolipops which probably doesn’t have the required number of Ls and/or Ps but who cares? I figured that a lolipop (sic) is a move in gymnastics, break dancing, freestyle snowboarding, dressage or summat and that the confectionery sort can have spots. Clutching at what did you say?
  24. Took far too long on this. Like others DOMINOES was last in. The rest of the crossword was fairly straightforward and for once no DNK’s. LINGAM subject of schoolboy smirks in my youth.
  25. 7m42, so neither easy nor egregiously hard. DOMINOES my LOI, unsurprisingly. No problems with SEARED… a withering look and a searing look are close enough, probably.

  26. Same story here as everyone else, going on a while to find DOMINOES after all else was done. STOMA took me a bit of thinking also, as I was misled by thinking the ‘s’ was the ‘small’ in question. Most done in 20 minutes, another 20 to finish. Regards.
  27. Thanks Jack. Btw, withered can be a transitive: LotR has Treebeard say ‘… the Enemy today seems likely to wither all the woods’.
  28. Apologies if has been mentioned but is not 8d a reference to how serious games are played with the relevant tile being placed in a sweeping downward motion onto the table with a satisfying clack as it hits the table or is my disreputable old age playing tricks on me!
    1. It certainly is that style in Doctor Byrd’s Jamaican restaurant on the High Road in Tottenham. Best curry goat for miles, and nearly always authentic dominoes providing the soundtrack. No idea how Mama makes any profit.
  29. Zut alors. Should we infer that the setter is recently returned from France, with PROVENCAL, GRENOBLE and DIJON all appearing?

    Forty minutes on the nose for this one, with DOMINOES my LoI. It’s one of those words that’s ungettable from the checkers, and my brain got stuck on “solitons”, which would have been a brilliant answer to a different clue.

  30. 15:36. I started really slowly on this, and thought it was going to turn into a real stinker. But with close attention to wordplay I was able to grind it out in reasonable time. Not exactly fun but satisfying to finish.
    Like many others DOMINOES was my last in. The last time such an unpromising set of checkers came up I failed to get DERRIERE, so I panicked a bit, but fortunately the answer just popped into my head.
  31. 48 minutes but at least no mistakes. DOMINOES was not much of a problem, although I didn’t much like the clue, but I did spend a long time staring at PURPOSE and parsing it incorrectly before deciding it couldn’t really be anything else.

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