Times Cryptic 27164

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

Not the easiest of puzzles and on a par with yesterday’s rather tricky offering in my opinion as both took me in the region of 50 minutes. Also like yesterday, there were one or two words or meanings previously unknown to me but I managed to complete the grid without reference to aids.

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 Squatter — I must leave truck (6)
DUMPER – DUMP{i}ER (squatter) [I must leave]. More properly called a ‘dumper truck’ it has a body that tilts or opens at the back for unloading.
4 Burn boxes turned off platform (8)
SCAFFOLD – SCALD (burn) contains [boxes] OFF reversed [turned]
10 Attend to Antony and learn English, free (4,2,3)
LEND AN EAR – Anagram [free] of AND LEARN E (English). Reference the opening of Marc Antony’s famous speech from Julius Caesar:  “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears…”
11 Coat back-to-front of no benefit for William (5)
RUFUS – FUR (coat) reversed [back-to-front], U/S (of no benefit – unserviceable, useless).  William II, son of the Conqueror, was known as William Rufus from the Latin meaning ‘the red’ as he had red hair in his youth and a ruddy complexion.
12 Polish girls hereHogwarts? (5,6)
CHARM SCHOOL – Two cryptic definitions. Charm schools are/were not necessarily restricted to the female of the species. A famous one was established by the Rank Organisation in 1945 in an attempt to create British film stars of the future. Amongst its more successful alumni were Christopher Lee, Diana Dors, Petula Clark, Joan Collins, Donald  Sinden  and  Shirley Eaton. I know almost nothing of Harry Potter, but Hogwarts school and its association with magic have found their way into my brain by osmosis.
14 Formally, I triumphed in speech (3)
ONE – Sounds like [in speech] “won” (triumphed). In formal speech the Queen, for example, usually refers to herself as ‘one’ rather than ‘I’.
15 Travel with new leader for military sport (7)
TOURNEY – {j}OURNEY (travel), [with a new leader] becomes TOURNEY – jousting and the like.
17 Bung soldier back into hazardous situation (6)
SPIGOT – GI (soldier) reversed [back] contained by [into] SPOT (hazardous situation). “Turn on the spigot, Pour the beer and swig it, And Gaudeamus igit-ur [Bright College Days by Tom Lehrer].
19 Touch judge officiating at the start in a row (6)
ADJOIN – J{udge} + O{fficiating} [at the start] contained by [in] A + DIN (row)
21 Grey in mountain range? Shame (7)
CHAGRIN – GR (grey) contained by [in] CHAIN (mountain range). I didn’t know ‘gr’ as an abbreviation for ‘grey’ but it’s in the dictionaries with reference to the colour of horses (see also 25dn).
23 One stolen by Knave almost, or Jack (3)
TAR – TAR{t}(one stolen by Knave) [almost].  “The Queen Of Hearts made some tarts, all on a summers day. The Knave of hearts, stole the tarts, and took them clean away!” ‘Jack’ as in ‘jolly Jack tar’.
24 Out on a limb, raced our military transport (8,3)
ARMOURED CAR – ARM (limb), anagram  [out] of RACED OUR
26 In cricket, Edgbaston’s principal scorer (5)
GRIEG – E{dgbaston’s) [principal] contained by [in] GRIG (cricket – insect).  Grieg (Edvard) the composer, not to be confused with  Greig (Tony) the late cricketer. A very devious clue and not one for biffing. The I-checker may have been required by many a solver to avoid error.
27 We are very busy, also housing relatives (9)
HUMANKIND – HUM (are very busy), AND (also) containing [housing] KIN (relatives)
29 Computer experts’ jibe: after a period, reject it (8)
DIGERATI – DIG (jibe), ERA (period), and after that, reverse [reject] IT. Not a word I knew but it seemed reasonable as a combination of ‘digital’ and ‘literati’. This is its first appearance in a Times 15×15 although it turned up at TftT in 2015 in a special science-based puzzle compiled for us by The Rotter, one of our regular QC bloggers. Having ‘literati’ in the puzzle only yesterday helped.
30 Way to circle tier (6)
STRING – ST (way), RING (circle). Tier pronounced “tie-er”.
1 One induced to get up on tiger? Outcome finally requiring careful handling (8)
DELICATE – I (one) + LED (induced) reversed [to get up], CAT (tiger), {outcom}E [finally]
2 Casting a lot, fisherman tackles huge fish (5)
MANTA – Hidden: {fisher}MAN TA{ckles} [casting a lot]. Aka ‘manta ray’ or devilfish’.
3 Some may understand this character to be a consumer (3)
ETA – Sounds like [some may understand this to be] “eater” (consumer). It’s not often that we have a definition bang in the middle of a long clue.
5 Odd evidence people can’t settle yet for dogs? (7)
CURIOUS – CUR IOUS (evidence people can’t settle yet) (for dogs)
6 GP’s motto: “I’m not bothered!” (3,3,1,4)
FOR ALL I CARE – A cryptic hint leading to a phrase with similar meaning to the answer
7 Blue being cancelled, look embarrassed (3,6)
OFF COLOUR – OFF  (being cancelled), COLOUR (look embarrassed – flush, turn red). ‘Blue’ is usually sad or depressed, and ‘off colour’ slightly unwell. I wouldn’t have said they are exactly the same but there may be some crossover. Edit:  ‘blue / off colour’ in the sense of ‘smutty’ – thanks to kevingregg.
8 Cleaner departs, pounds removed from overcoat (6)
DUSTER – D (departs), U{l}STER (overcoat) [pounds removed]
9 Hurting after exercise is excellent (6)
PEACHY – PE (exercise), ACHY (hurting)
13 Sadly no bar stops robber, one regularly at his peak? (5-6)
MUNRO-BAGGER – Anagram [sadly] of NO BAR is contained by [stops i.e. fills] MUGGER (robber). The definition is cryptic. Another answer unknown to me that sounds more like the name of a Hobbit, but I knew MUNRO as something to do with Scottish mountains and the rest was getable from wordplay. Collins defines the term as ‘a person who climbs as many Munros as possible’ and ‘munro’ as ‘any separate mountain peak over 3000 feet high’.
16 No end of stress good for junior (9)
UNDERLING – UNDERLIN{e} (stress) [no end], G (good)
18 Not becoming popular, appreciate possessing brother (5,3)
INFRA DIG – IN (popular) + DIG (appreciate) containing [possessing] FRA (brother – a title given to an Italian monk or friar)
20 Precocious girl’s speed in swimming Tyne (7)
NYMPHET – MPH (speed) contained by [in] anagram [swimming] of TYNE. Some of these at 12ac perhaps?
21 Poor card game — lead is clubs (6)
CRUMMY – C (clubs), RUMMY (card game)
22 Put on in layers (6)
STAGED – Two meanings
25 Chestnut, I claim regularly, is hot to eat (5)
CHILI – CH (chestnut – horse), I, {c}L{a}I{m} [regularly]. One L in ‘chilli’ is an alternative apparently.
28 By leaving close trap (3)
NET – NE{x}T (close) [by, leaving]. By / x as in multiplication.

80 comments on “Times Cryptic 27164”

  1. Wasted a few minutes by flinging in DELICACY at 1d, failing to go back and parse it, then forgetting that I’d failed etc. when trying to do 15ac. I’d reached the point of wondering if the military do courneys when finally the light dawned. I never did twig to the tie-er thing, and just put STRING in with a shrug. DNK MUNRO-BAGGER, but I did know that Munro is a mountain in Scotland (its highest?), and with all the checkers in it was inescapable. Is ‘hot to eat’ a definition of CHILI? (One-L chili is the US spelling.) Don’t we want “that’s hot to eat”?
    1. Actually Munro is not the highest mountain in Scotland (which is Ben Nevis). Munro was the person who produced the original table of all the peaks over 3000′ which Munro baggers try and climb. Munro himself did all except one he was keeping for last near where he lived, and the impossible pinnacle on Skye which is an exposed flake off one edge of the Cuillin ridge, which is slightly higher than the ridge itslelf and thus is the “summit”. There are 282 Munros so it is not a trivial undertaking.
      1. Thanks. I actually Googled Munro after posting, and learned that I’d mistakenly imagined a Ben Munro somewhere in the Highlands. I only knew the word because it appeared here once.
    2. Yes, it’s not quite right, is it? I thought of including ‘is’ in the underlined definition but decided against it. It would work if one thought of ‘chili/chilli’ as an adjective, but I can’t find any evidence that it exists, so ‘that is’ or ‘that’s’ in the clue would have improved it. After yesterday’s event I checked the facsimile newspaper for a missing word but the clue is the same there.

      Edited at 2018-10-09 04:36 am (UTC)

  2. Threw in the towel after an hour and went for aids to get DUMPER (couldn’t get away from ‘dosser’, looking at the wrong end of the clue) and the excellent hidden MANTA. Quite pleased to get the rest, actually, and am a bit smug that my first in was INFRA DIG (I start with the multi-words from the bottom) – a record that will I think be hard to beat.

    Thanks to setter for an excellent challenge and Jack for the blog (TOURNEY was another where I had not a clue how the thing worked).

  3. That was MUNRO-BAGGER. I had the MUGGER part, but was stuck on thinking it had to end in RANGER. MUGBO? MUGOB? Ha. The term evokes the surreal image of sticking mountains in a sack.
    Fine puzzle! And thanks, Jackkt

    Edited at 2018-10-09 04:44 am (UTC)

  4. I felt pleased to finish this one without aids or errors. After an hour, I still had most of the right hand side empty. Then it all went in fairly quickly. Since I live in California, I was glad that I used to live in Scotland or MUNRO BAGGER would have been really obscure.
  5. CH for chestnut (horse), and didn’t we just have GR for gray (horse)? Are there other equine abbreviations I should know? We’ve also had ‘literati’ and ‘digerati’ in a row; I don’t know any other -erati’s, but maybe ‘illuminati’ next?
    1. Since you ask, here’s a list relating to sex and colours as published by The Racing Post:

      b – bay
      bl – black
      br – brown
      ch – chestnut
      c – colt
      f – filly
      g – gelding
      gr – grey
      h – horse
      m – mare
      r – rig
      ro – roan
      wh – white

      Edited at 2018-10-09 06:04 am (UTC)

    2. glitterati – the fashionable and prominent people in the literary or show-business worlds. Last appeared in January this year.

      Edited at 2018-10-09 06:45 am (UTC)

    3. If the Racing Post lists abbreviations for colours of horses then, one must assume, the colours of racing greyhounds should appear somewhere. Brindle? All our mountains here in Patagonia can be bagged, but most of the have Welsh names, not Scots.
  6. Also glad to finish this – in just over an hour with no aids. And especially since there were many unknowns (MUNRO-BAGGER, Ulster coat, grig = cricket) and even the knowns took a bit of unscrambling (dumpier, SPIGOT, RUFUS, etc).

    Thanks, Jack, for the blog and the reminder of the Tom Lehrer song. And, of course, to the setter.

    Edited at 2018-10-09 05:40 am (UTC)

  7. An hour with half a Fat Rascal (Hoorah).
    But a bit irritating…
    DNK Grig. Ch, Gr, one=won… Mugbo Ranger.. I could go on.
    Thanks setter and J.

    But Holmes, how did you know the thief was disguised as a fish?
    “A la Manta Ray, my dear Watson”.

    Edited at 2018-10-09 07:24 am (UTC)

  8. I was held up for a while by thinking that 1A was going to be DOSSER for squatter, though I couldn’t think what truck had to do with dossier. Eventually resolved it when I saw MANTA – my COD as it proved very well hidden.
  9. 25 minutes, relieved to see no pink. I finished up in the bottom left with DIGERATI, TAR and STAGED, none of which yielded with any grace.
    I think I’ve come across DIGERATI before, but it looks a mess of a word. Then I spent too long looking for a short “knave” with an I either added or subtracted, and thought too much of chickens for the layers.
    How good to have the delightful word SPIGOT in the grid: I’ve got one on the little barrel in which I have successfully (for the first time) brewed a rather pleasant ale, but I’m also reminded of the Peter Cook sketch in which one-legged Mr Spig(g)ot turns up to audition as Tarzan.
    “Yes, the leg division, Mr Spiggott. You are deficient in it to the tune of one. Your right leg, I like. I like your right leg. A lovely leg for the role. That’s what I said when I saw you come in. I said, “A lovely leg for the role”. I’ve got nothing against your right leg. The trouble is – neither have you.”
    1. I was also particularly pleased with the word SPIGOT. My local pub was going to be named the Spigot Mortar after a nearby World War gun emplacement but I think it was decided that it sounded too obscure. To my mind Spigot Mortar sounds particularly good with a Scottish accent.
  10. 22m. This is an approximate time because the club interface stopped working half-way through my solve and I had to finish the puzzle on paper. Has anyone else experienced this today?
    In spite of the interruption I really enjoyed this puzzle, but I might have felt differently if the obscurities weren’t all familiar to me, largely from previous crosswords: GRIG, ULSTER, MUNRO BAGGER. I’m not sure where I know the last of these from: I could have sworn it was from here but the last appearance was in 2008, which was before my time.
  11. Struggled a bit with this, especially NW corner where I took ages to spot MANTA and DUMPER

    MUNRO-BAGGING a very popular pastime in Scotland where people try to climb them all in record time. The record is I believe something less than 6 weeks

  12. Only two of the three rhyme. As with railway modernisation, the north is ignored yet again. I did learn to rhyme eta with feta (cheese) when I studied New Testament Greek, so it was a shame to be taken back to my earlier Physics equations Greek pronunciation. I was 49 minutes on this, pleased to have constructed the totally unknown DIGERATI from the cryptic. I’ll be more gracious to IT types in future now I know that’s what they are. I did know MUNRO BAGGER although I had to construct it before I remembered. LOI was the innocuous TAR after STAGED presented itself. I needed to see GRIEG for that, biffed without knowing the insect. COD to LEND AN EAR, with the second part of the clue hiding the simple first part. Thank you Jack and setter.
  13. Lovely crossword. Just my usual gripe about the pronunciation of ‘one’ though. Definitely a MER for me where M is major not minor.
  14. Great puzzle and proper tough. Why is it always when I think “as long as I get this one done quickly I can still get the girls to school on time?” that they lay something like this on us?
  15. I was beaten by time but really enjoyed it.

    Not a great lover of ‘ch’ and ‘gr’. jackkt’s list worries me for the future.

    I wondered if the ‘it’ in the DIGERATI clue would have been better as ‘IT’?

    1. And that’s only ‘sex and colour’! There are 4 or 5 other categories of horse-related abbreviations each with a similarly long list.

      Edited at 2018-10-09 08:32 am (UTC)

        1. Hopefully the puzzles won’t be “going to the dogs” any time soon, although as a regular punter at Perry Barr almost 50 years ago, translating a greyhound race card is easy for me. Misspent youth and all that….
  16. 26:39. Pleased to finish without aids and only DUSTER, my LOI, unparsed. Lots of great clues – hard to pick a favourite, LEND AN EAR made me smile, but I’ll plump for HUMANKIND.
  17. 36 mins. There were loads of good clues in this one. Superb surface for 26a and the rare ‘grig’ ensured that GREIG wasn’t a write in. NET was tightly and trickily clued. I enjoyed the Mark Antony clue. The HUMANKIND definition, ‘we’, is clever. ‘Tier’ for string is also rather tricksy. Great fun.

    In the disputed 25d CHILI, is it not permissible for the definition element to be in the form of a gloss or paraphrase? I’m sure I’ve seen Times Cryptic clues in which the substitutability principle for the definition is not necessarily followed. (Of course, I can’t conjure up any such example off the top of my head, but I’m sure there are some!)

    Thanks to the setter for a great puzzle and to jackkt for a great blog.

    Edited at 2018-10-09 09:55 am (UTC)

  18. 52 minutes, quite a struggle but got there eventually. Once I had MUGGER in mind, the Munro bagging thing was remembered, my son up in Inverurie is a bagger albeit over a long period. Wasn’t helped because my print out looked like BUM not BURN at 4a, the rn in that sans typeface is hard to decipher even with my new reading specs. Can we have a serif face please?
    Biffed GRIEG as the scorer, as didn’t know GRIG, and not sure why STRING is a TIER.
    Otherwise a good, witty puzzle, wish every day was as good.

    Edited at 2018-10-09 08:54 am (UTC)

        1. I think tier as tee-er works fine

          As a second string sportsman in my youth and a 6 string musician in my middle age I am now enjoying life as a third string academic in my third age.

          One more string to my bow that does not tie anything.

          Graham in OZ

  19. This felt like the sort of puzzle which you get on Finals Day, which is good (as long as you aren’t in a hurry to be somewhere). Not easy, but whenever I felt I was about to grind to a halt, a clue would fall which opened up another part of the grid; so a very fair challenge. I also didn’t spot MANTA till almost the end, and a hidden word clue which holds out that long is one of the signs of a top class crossword.

    After my recent walking holiday in Scotland, MUNRO-BAGGING has regularly been at the front of my mind, but whenever the thought arrives there, the twinges in my knees tell it to go away again.

    Today’s earworm as a result of 10ac: Kenneth Williams in Carry on Cleo.

  20. ….I ETA bowl of granola with yogurt and a fresh fig. Two crap homonyms in the same puzzle really pushes the envelope completely off the desk.


    Thanks Jack – I biffed NET having yet again failed to pick up “by = x”.

    I resisted “gagerati” till eventually cracking STAGED, and at 14:43 LOI was DNK DIGERATI.


    Not my favourite puzzle of the month, and hopefully tomorrow may bring a decent effort after the poor start to this week.

    1. ‘Eater’ is shown as the primary pronounciation of ETA in Chambers, Collins and ODO, so describing it as ‘crap’ seems a bit harsh.
      Rhotic speakers who would pronounce the R in EATER might object, but I am always puzzled by this insistence that a homophone should work in any accent. You might as well just ban them altogether. The same applies to won/ONE: some people pronounce them differently, but many don’t.
        1. I rather like them, even when they’re a little bit dodgy. Both of today’s strike me as impeccable though.
  21. Ah, yes — there was one in yesterday’s 15×15 cryptic:

    15a: He gives up clubs formerly associated with the German (8) = CONCEDER

    So, ‘is hot to eat’ is fine, I reckon.

    1. I’m not sure I follow (well, actually, I’m sure I don’t): ‘He gives up’=CONCEDER; C + ONCE + DER. ‘Is hot to eat’= CHILI?
      1. Sorry, sorry — my post was a follow-up to your earlier comment about the definition of CHILI in the clue at 25d. See my post just above here about how defs do not need to pass the substitutability test.

        If it’s OK to define CONCEDER as ‘he gives up’ then it’s OK to define CHILI as ‘is hot to eat’. That was my point.

  22. A tough one today, which I abandoned after 17 minutes with 11a & 8d unentered – I had DUSTER down as the most likely candidate, but had forgotten (or never knew) ULSTER; for 11a I was convinced I was looking for a Shakespearean word, which I know is unlikely in the daily cryptic.

    Plenty of unknown words today, including CHARM SCHOOL, DIGERATI, MUNRO-BAGGER & NYMPHET. Also… where is the noun in the definition for CHILI? “Is hot to eat” is not an acceptable definition, surely.

  23. Gave up on about 40 minutes still without the truck and fish. Done like a kipper by ‘squatter’. Excellent puzzle.
  24. I did the same as Pip with bum/burn. We had that kind of tier just recently which helped. “Merry as a grig” turns up in the Georgette Heyer oeuvre. I got well and truly stuck in a couple of spots – looking for hens in STAGED like Z and ash in in CHAGRIN. Once all the checking letters were in I recalled the mountain baggers from somewhere but it took an effort. A slight Holden Caulfield flavour with PEACHY and CRUMMY. 25.19
  25. Surprised to get here and find I solved this with all correct. The Munro clue had wordplay which led to the solution, although the result looked positively strange to me. Regards.
  26. Maybe the day will come when Euzkadi ta Azkatasuna (AKA ETA from Basque-land) is in a crossword. Then we can enjoy a rhyme with feta perhaps.
    1. For me, and I’m hardly alone, eta does rhyme with feta, as does beta and theta. I can’t say I’ve ever enjoyed the rhymes, but still.
    1. Oh, I see! Yes — both ‘it’s hot to eat’ and ‘he gives up’ contain the pronoun (it/he) which *is* substitutable. So you’re right, my example isn’t adequate to demonstrate my contention that ‘is hot to eat’ is quite acceptable as a def.

      I still contend that it is quite acceptable. I just can’t get hold of an example — and anyway acceptability exists in the eye of the beholder.

      1. I can almost accept ‘hot to eat’ as a definition on the basis that CHILI can be a modifier – CHILI fries are hot-to-eat fries – but not quite.
  27. Glad to have finished this one. I think it took about 45 minutes but, as I had to take a break and left the timer running, I don’t know. MUNRO BAGGER would have beaten me had I not come across the expression recently. Grig for a cricket was an NHO.
  28. Absolutely delighted by the use of the word ‘some’ in 3d. You know about my pet hate by now……
  29. Great puzzle; it was like pulling teeth all the way through. Wasted a lot of time on 1dn by failing to read the second sentence of the clue for ages. And fell asleep. So not sure on time – around 40 mins. Great blog, jack, thanks.
  30. Pleased to do this in an hour – it took me 5 mins to get the first one in… STRATA which turned out to be wrong, but fortunately the first T was correct which gave me TAR and then UNDERLING and I was away. LOI were SPIGOT and CHAGRIN. Quite a few of these eg RUFUS had to be biffed and then back-calculated, as it were.
  31. Glad to have solved this correctly, albeit in 54:30. I have to agree with harmonic_row that it felt like pulling teeth most of the way through! ETA, TAR, PEACHY, INFRA DIG and NYMPHET went in quickly enough but then the brakes were well and truly on. Once I had a couple of crossers, MUNRO BAGGERS was a familiar term. I gradually dragged the rest of the answers from the depths, one by one, until I was left with 22d, 29a and 26a. I managed to construct the unknown DIGERATI, and eventually came up with STAGED which allowed me to construct Edvard Hagerup from the unknown insect. A toughie! Thanks setter and Jack.
  32. 51 mins is good form for me. Really enjoyed this grid with some nice words DIGERATI, SPIGOT. First in, ARMOURED CAR, DNK GRIG or INFRA DIG but with HUMANKIND in place eventually worked it out though did wonder if it might be something DOG for a moment.

    Did not twig the ‘by = x’ as noted above. And did not quite parse TOURNEY correctly – thought it was TOUR + N(ew) + something else. I was more bothered about the spelling of CHILI which didn’t look right, than the definition.

  33. This fine puzzle took me nearly an hour with lots of smiles as pennies dropped. LOI munro-bagger – not a term I have ever used, but it should have come to me more quickly because I am married to one.
  34. I needed to look up 5 clues to complete, all of them on the far left of the grid. Had I read the whole clue for 1d it would have been 3 look ups as I would have solved 1a and 1d but just couldn’t see it when all I was going on was ‘One induced to get up on tiger?’. The other 3 were STAGED, GRIEG and DIGERATI. Checkers make all the difference. I took ages but no matter as I am being transported from the UK to sunnier climates.
  35. Left unfinished this morning and completed a few minutes ago. Quite a challenge. Never heard of DIGERATI but got it finally from the cryptic. 57 minutes. Ann
  36. Late to finishing this one.. did half of it then put it to one side and forgot it. It is a fine crossword!
    I am familiar with Munros but rather disapprove of baggers … “never mind the view, it’s just another tick on the list” sort of thing. And there are not just Munros (282), there are Marilyns (2,011 of them!) Hewitts, Nuttalls and more…
      1. Could not agree more Ulaca 🙂
        Though in both cases, it is more of a “Tut, tut” than a “Flogging’s too good for them” sort of thing
  37. Finished apart from “Digerati” which I did not not know and could not work out. I think “reject it” is a bit unfair – should be “reverse it” – I was trying to think of a longer word and remove “it”. In general, though, a good crossword, I thought.

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