Times Cryptic 27170

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

68 minutes but with one error that I would probably have avoided if I’d remembered to return to it as planned before stopping the clock.  A little easier than yesterday’s puzzle for me but that was one I found exceptionally tough.

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 Inclined to be difficult? (6)
UPHILL – Two definitions, the second used figuratively as in  ‘uphill task’. Having first thought of ‘uppity’ I had a problem getting past that.
5 Not drinking: one should be eighteen? (8)
TEETOTAL – A straight definition and a cryptic hint – the total number of tees on a golfcourse
9 I’d chain out, going free in this? (7,3)
HOUDINI ACT – Anagram [going free] of I’D CHAIN OUT. This is at least semi &lit as there’s double usage of ‘going free’, but it might just stretch to the full &lit at a pinch.
10 Game personnel in industrial region (4)
RUHR – RU (game – Rugby Union), HR (personnel – Human Resources). One of the main industrial areas of Germany.
11 Lake by dark sort of rock, in turn a place of execution (8)
GOLGOTHA – L (lake) + GOTH (dark sort of rock – Gothic rock music), contained by [in] GO (turn) + A. According to the Bible, GOLGOTHA aka Calvary was the site of the Crucifixion.
12 Pop-up blockers maybe for family film features (6)
ADDAMS – AD (pop-up – advertisment), DAMS (blockers). The Addams Family features in three films.
13 Scent left by the first travellers (4)
ROMA – {a}ROMA (scent) [left by the first]
15 Maybe some hope crime can be contained by grand new legal society (5,3)
GRAYS INN – RAY (maybe some hope – a ray of hope) + SIN (crime), contained by G (grand) + N (new). I’ll let Wiki do the rest of the work: The Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn, commonly known as Gray’s Inn, is one of the four Inns of Court (professional associations for barristers and judges) in London.
18 Alongside ox, rodent looks different (4-4)
NEXT-DOOR – Anagram [looks different] of OX RODENT
19 Siren has volume and means to raise it (4)
VAMP – V (volume), AMP (means to raise it  i.e. volume – amplifier). A seductress. I hadn’t realised until today that it’s an abbreviation of ‘vampire’.
21 Legendary princess some feared losing has returned (6)
ISOLDE – Hidden [some] and reversed [returned] in {fear}ED LOSI{ng}. Live-and-learn continues as I didn’t know she was from a Celtic legend.
23 Losing it in the playground, this instrument? (8)
QUADRANT – If one lost one’s temper in a school playground one might be having a QUAD RANT (geddit?). The instrument is used for measuring altitude and also in astronomy and navigation.
25 Sailors looking to both starboard and port deck (4)
POOP – PO (sailor – Petty Officer) [looking to starboard – right], PO (sailor) reversed [looking to port – left]. It’s the rearmost highest deck of a ship.
26 Will perhaps follow the rules of the game, keeping wicket (10)
PLAYWRIGHT – PLAY RIGHT (follow the rules of the game) containing [keeping] W (wicket). The Upstart Crow himself! I shall feel bereft on Wednesday evening following the end of the latest series last week, but I trust there will be a Christmas Crow to round off the year..
27 Fishing port in distant land — a change from Britain all round (8)
PENZANCE –  PENCE (change from Britain) contains [all round] NZ (distant land) + A
28 Without turning yellow, body going all muscly (6)
SINEWY – SINE (without – Latin), Y{ello}W [body going] reversed [turning]
2 Puff for a second (5)
PROMO – PRO (for), MO (second – moment). Short for ‘promotion’ or ‘promotional’. ‘Puff’ is a slang word for advertising material.
3 Put out of home, like granny, over time (9)
INDIGNANT – IN (home), DIG (like), NAN (granny), T (time). A straightforward Ikea-type clue.
4 Being kind of naive at first, it’s going in a straight line (6)
LENITY – N{aive} [at first] + IT, contained by [going in] LEY (a straight line). It’s an alternative word for ‘lenience’ which if I ever knew, I had forgotten. I put a wrong answer here, bunged in more in desperation than hope. It was so wrong I shan’t even try to explain my thinking.
5 Sailor securing airmen a large, old-fashioned place in London (9,6)
TRAFALGAR SQUARE – TAR (sailor), containing [securing] RAF (airmen) + A + LG (large), SQUARE (old-fashioned). I don’t think I have met ‘lg.’ for ‘large’ in a crossword puzzle before but Collins has it, and also ‘lge’. Wordplay and checkers were needed here to secure the correct answer. SQUARE for ‘old fashioned’ was obvious but there are several other prominent landmarks that would have fitted the definition, Leicester or Grosvenor Squares, for example.
6 Special preserve of former Roman emperor, briefly married (5,3)
EXTRA JAM – EX (former), TRAJA{n} (Roman emperor) [briefly), M (married). I knew this term only because I have seen it on labels on some jars of upmarket jams and preserves. The expression is not listed in any of the usual sources, but Wikipedia has this: Extra jam is subject to somewhat stricter rules that set higher standards for the minimum fruit content (45% instead of 35% as a general rule, but lower for some fruits such as redcurrants and blackcurrants), as well specifying as the use of unconcentrated fruit pulp, and forbidding the mixture of certain fruits and vegetables with others. So there we are! I didn’t know the Roman emperor.
7 Rowed and yelled, losing head (5)
OARED – {r}OARED (yelled) [losing head]
8 Personal maid, one Her Majesty initially ordered (2,7)
AD HOMINEM – Anagram [ordered] of MAID ONE H{er} M{ajesty} [initially]. From SOED this time: of an argument etc.: directed to the individual, personal.
14 At least twenty-one strike (9)
OVERSCORE – Alternative spaced this becomes OVER (at least) SCORE (twenty). Apparently it means to cross or strike out,  but I didn’t know that and had  thought at first it might be something in cricket.
16 Queen, perhaps, given rose, moved (9)
SOVEREIGN – Anagram [moved] of GIVEN ROSE
17 Book I completed, performing research (4,2,2)
BONE UP ON – B (book), ONE (I), UP (completed – the game’s up), ON (performing – on stage). Another straightforward Ikea job.
20 Rulings used to carry more weight when order reversed (6)
FATWAS – WAS FAT (used to carry more weight) with its component words switched [order reversed]
22 Elevated place in lounge mostly occupied by speakers, etc (2,3)
LA PAZ – LAZ{e} (lounge) [mostly], contains [occupied by] PA (speakers, etc – Public Address system). If it’s the city in Bolivia it stands at 11,942 feet.
24 Drama that was painful? Never! (5)
NOHOW – NOH (drama), OW (that was painful)

41 comments on “Times Cryptic 27170”

  1. I took close to 2 hours to get this out and if anything I found this harder than yesterday’s. Didn’t know some terms such as OVERSCORE and EXTRA JAM but I was just plain dim with a few others eg UPHILL and missed the parsing of TEETOTAL. I had seen LENITY, my last in, somewhere before, probably in crossword land.

    I liked the QUAD RANT in 23a, the ‘Pop-up blockers’ in 12a and the ‘Will perhaps’ and ‘Elevated place’ defs.

    Pity about the K for the pangram.

    Thanks to setter and blogger

  2. I almost gave up at the start, I had so few filled squares after 20+ minutes. I did give up after about 45, with UPHILL, LENITY, & ADDAMS unsolved. I would never have thought of ADDAMS, and although I knew LENITY, didn’t know LEY (well, I sort of almost knew it, since we’ve had ‘ley lines’ sometime). NHO EXTRA JAM, thought it might be related to jam tomorrow. DNK OVERSCORE. GOLGOTHA finally surfaced to consciousness after Gehenna and even Aceldama came to mind and were finally dismissed.
  3. Great puzzle. I was working through it steadily if slowly but almost gave up with a few unfinished. Antepenultimate one in was either GRAYS INN (had to check that it’s a “thing”) or GOLGOTHA (which was, however, my Last One Parsed; ’twas a little convoluted). Penultimate One In was LENITY (I finally remembered the mythic “old straight tracks,” but only after thinking of the word) and, of all things, UPHILL… which this one was, a bit. While I’m still not sure HOUDINI ACT has “dictionary status,” I was also wondering about EXTRA JAM, until I looked it up. The former clue would better qualify as an &lit if “chain out” meant anything.

    Edited at 2018-10-16 05:44 am (UTC)

    1. I should have thought to query ‘Houdini act’ as having ‘dictionary status’ when writing my blog, but since you mentioned it I checked, and it’s in Chambers. In the process I also learnt from the Oxfords, who don’t do biographical entries, that ‘Houdini’ by itself can be classed as an adjective and as a common noun, defined as:

      A adjective. Characteristic or worthy of Houdini; involving ingenious escape. E20.

      B noun. An ingenious escape; a person etc. clever at escaping. M20.

      Edited at 2018-10-16 05:45 am (UTC)

      1. Cool. I checked a couple dictionaries online, but (to state the obvious) not Chambers.
        1. You wouldn’t have found it in Chambers on-line either (at least not in the free version that I use), but it’s in my 12th edition printed copy.
  4. DNF in my hour, with 1a UPHILL—as with our blogger, I couldn’t get “uppity” out of my mind—and the unknown 4d LENITY still to get. I didn’t know ley lines were defined partly by their straightness, so that was going to be a toughie…

    I was also still looking for the “K” for the pangram. Cruel!

  5. 19:20. From other comments I seem to have been on the wavelength today, but I was unsure about a couple so felt fortunate to escape without an error.
    EXTRA JAM was sort of familiar: confiture extra is more so from childhood holidays (in the days when I actually ate jam) and perhaps also from the French jam we tend to stock. Fortunate because I didn’t know the Roman emperor.
    The one I was really unsure about was OVERSCORE: it seemed feasible from the definition but I didn’t understand the wordplay at all. Which incidentally is ‘at least twenty-one’: you can’t separate the word OVER because it doesn’t meant ‘at least’.
    9ac is not &Lit: the wordplay ends at the word ‘free’, so the words ‘in this’ constitute the definition, with reference to the rest of the clue.

    Edited at 2018-10-16 06:12 am (UTC)

  6. A game of two halves. No problem with southern hemisphere but really struggled above the equator particularly with ADDAMS, GOLGOTHA, HOUDINI ACT and LENITY. Knew GRAYS INN from past business dealings.

    Very glad I didn’t have to blog it – well done Jack

  7. Too hard for me – while enjoying yoghurt, granola, etc.
    I gave up with gaps in the NW and SE. I had thought of Sinewy (but couldn’t parse) and Nohow (but didn’t trust the definition).
    Should have remembered Golgotha (Goth=dark sort of rock – good grief), which might have allowed Lenity.
    Tomorrow is another day.
    Thanks setter and well done Jack – great time.
  8. This one had something of a Monthly Club Special feel to it, with its full set of Scrabble high scores and arcane vocabulary, all of which, incidentally, appears to be Chambers based.
    The one I didn’t parse was SINEWY, not spotting the Latin: I’d like to believe I might have done if blogging. In which respect, chapeau to Jack for setting a very high standard both in accuracy and information.
    I think I did well to finish in 26.48, but there was a certain pleasure in completing like vanquishing the Iron Man challenge (I imagine, obviously!).
    There was even a moment of giggling at TEETOTAL: such an obvious pun (when you see it) I can’t believe it hasn’t been done before.
    In passing, I did manage to invent a new word which I’d like to introduce to the dictionary: GOVERNISE (at 16d) which should mean to promote to leadership, as in pawn→queen in chess. I liked it so much I was reluctant to change it to the real answer.
    Love this hobby of ours.
    1. Another “governiser” here. Was I thinking of Arnold Schwarzenegger – the “governator”?
  9. 53 minutes. LOI PENZANCE. after LA PAZ and its height was remembered from 1961 O level Geography. I knew TRAJAN from his column in Rome and got EXTRA JAM early from the ‘preserve’ reference. I had UPPISH instead of UPHILL until I hit on LENITY. Then I escaped the NW for good in a HOUDINI ACT. I had all the crossers for COD ADDAMS for a long time before I remembered their family values. This was very difficult, about at my limit. I feel I’ve got to GOLGOTHA on the Via Dolorosa. Thank you Jack and setter.
  10. ….you’re drivin’ me crazy ! (Fire Woman, The Cult, from their album Sonic Temple). The only goth album in my collection.

    This puzzle certainly threatened to drive ME crazy !

    FOI RUHR, after which I dodged hither and thither for about 15 minutes. At that point the NW QUADRANT was a desert, and I’d drawn a ring round the baffling 20D.

    Even when HOUDINI ACT went in, the corner refused to yield up its secrets for a further 6 minutes. Thanks to Jack for parsing GOLGOTHA. I, too, fell into the trap at 1A and tried both “uppity” and “uppish” before I saw LENITY and light dawned.

    21 minutes would have been good for this puzzle, but my time of 34:29 tells you how hard I had to alpha trawl before entering FATWAS with a sigh of relief.


  11. UPHILL, LENITY and FATWAS remaining. With the latter I couldn’t get “laws” out of my head.
  12. Another with UPHILL and LENITY ungotten. Notwithstanding this, I thought it was a great puzzle, with a particular nod to BONE UP ON, which is a terrific phrase.
  13. Are they publishing the Grand Final puzzles already, I thought to myself, after a largely fruitless first pass? Oddly, once I realised just how tough this puzzle was, it seemed to become easier to deal with. The NW corner remained a real challenge to the end, particularly the unlikely looking anagram at 9ac. Extra jam indeed.
  14. A real handful: 41 mins. Phew. LOI PENZANCE: I was looking a bit further afield until the penny dropped. Great blog, thanks.
  15. An UPHILL struggle, this — 61 mins, ten of which were spent on the final UPHILL/LENITY crossers. FOI RUHR; second was the very biffable TEETOTAL whose clue was very witty, I thought. A significant factor in this puzzle’s intractability was the choice of vocabulary for the solutions: a rather outré collection of foreign words and phrases, Chambers dictionary outliers, proper names and skewiff wordclasses (NEXT-DOOR as an adverbial? OARED?).
    Well done, jackkt, for pulling off a tough blog.

  16. 39′. Last in should have been one of the easiest, ‘uphill’- the kind of blindsiding a good puzzle seems to keep in reserve. Testing, thoroughly enjoyable.
  17. Put me down as another who gave up with UPHILL and LENITY unentered, giving up after 20 minutes. This struck me as the toughest for a while, with very few words going in easily – thank goodness for OARED, VAMP & SOVEREIGN to get me started.

    1a is the kind of clue I don’t really like, but I supposed the question mark should have indicated that all was not what it seemed.

    I’d never heard of EXTRA JAM or HOUDINI ACT, and had utterly failed to parse TEETOTAL.

    1. I looked into this (because I’m interesting that way) and it appears that the EU regulation is basically an extension of an earlier French regulation to the rest of the EU. ‘Extra’ jam is a category with more fruit in it than normal jam. The term is widely used and recognised in France (which is why it was familiar to me from childhood holidays) but nowhere else as far as I know. So the EU regulation presumably allowed the French to keep a quality distinction they were familiar with (or retain a barrier to imports if you want to be more realistic cynical) without inconveniencing anyone in countries where the same distinction didn’t exist.
      I don’t know that it’s used at all in the UK: the French jam I have in my fridge is labelled ‘raspberry conserve’ on the front and ‘raspberry extra jam’ in very small letters on the back.
      In short a very odd thing to find in an English crossword.
      1. As mentioned in my blog, I have seen Extra Jam on products in stores and have occasionally bought it myself. A quick glance at a couple of supermarket sites immediately revealed two brands being marketed as Extra Jam, one the French ‘Bon Maman’ range and the second Tesco Finest which is made in the UK. No doubt there are others.
        1. ‘Bonne Maman’ is exactly the brand we have in our fridge. I can confirm the same front/back treatment for apricot and strawberry 😉
          From what I can tell by looking online at Tesco Finest and similar products, the story is the same: no mention of ‘extra’ on the front.
          I will be looking closely at the preserves section next time I’m in the supermarket but for the time being I am not convinced that this is really an English usage.
          1. A little research in Waitrose and Tesco today revealed that,

            EXTRA JAM is on the front label of two British jam ranges sold by Waitrose:

            Waitrose Duchy
            Stokes (of Suffolk)

            EXTRA JAM is prominently displayed on the back labels of the following British products:

            Waitrose Extra Fruity Jams
            Williams British Preserves (Tesco)
            Wilkins and Co, Tiptree Jams and Preserves (Tesco and Waitrose)
            Tesco Finest

            Both supermarkets sell the French product in the Bonne Maman range labelled Extra Jam on the reverse label.

            The other range of French preserves sold by both is St Dalfour labelled as ‘High Fruit Content Spread’.

            Edited at 2018-10-17 01:27 pm (UTC)

                1. Yes I actually found all that! The relevant French regulation defining the term ‘extra’ dates from the 80s.
  18. I meant to mention earlier that we have had LENITY before, with a similar clue: ‘gentleness keeping foolish person in line’ (puzzle 26884, 16/11/17). I didn’t know the word then but I remembered it this time.
  19. Difficult, entertaining, a stretch, all done eventually in 2 bites in about an hour. Except LENITY which I didn’t know and couldn’t guess. Couldn’t parse GOLGOTHA but it had to be. Loved some of these – LA PAZ, PENZANCE, QUADRANT, ADDAMS… too many to pick a CoD. When I wrote in 5d straight away I thought, could be a fast one, but it wasn’t! Well blogged jackkt.
  20. 37:44 I thought this was a terrific puzzle. Quite a few where I had to rely on the wp (which I found very satisfying) because extra jam, overscore, Houdini act and lenity were all, if not unknown not exactly on the tip of the tongue. The SW and uphill and lenity in the NW held out the longest. The only one unparsed was sinewy so thank you for explaining. Thoroughly enjoyable.
  21. 55:02 with everything parsed except GOLGATHA, cue howls of anguish! OARED and RUHR were my first 2 in. UPHILL and LENITY went in last as a pair, as I considered UPPITY and UPPISH whilst trying to extract NIT from HUMANITY and various other concoctions of KON etc. A devilish puzzle for which I was punished by knowing GOLGOTHA but biffing it wrongly and not going back to the not quite parsed dark rock. On reflection, EXTRA JAM was not quite correctly parsed as I raised an eyebrow and considered RAJA as the emperor, conveniently ignoring the extra T. Chapeau, devious setter and thanks to Jack for unravelling a most demanding puzzle.
  22. For the record another giver-upper, with UPHILL, LENITY and GOLGOTHA all missing.

    It’s a good job the Championships are a long way off yet.

    Oh, wait…

  23. Same as others staring at a very empty grid for many minutes. I only really got going on the down clues. RUHR and OARED appear often in the NY Times. No trouble with GRAYS INN – I was Lincoln’s but my fellow pupil back then was Gray’s. Is OVERSCORE a US printing term? I knew “underscore” for “underline” so it seemed to follow. The Addams family were in a recent TLS clue so were fresh in mind. Good one indeed. 22.25
  24. Thought this was quite straightforward except for the bits that weren’t… finished trying to get H.N.T. after assuming 1a was UPPISH. Embarrassingly I then couldn’t see LENITY as I am a bit of a ley hunter myself – indeed I have the Ley Hunters magazine in front of me as I type.
  25. Not easy, around 45 minutes or so, LOI ROMA, because I totally missed the wordplay, and biffed in the answer but unsure why. Prior to that UPHILL/LENITY held out the longest. I also found myself confused by why ADDAMS was clued as ‘family film features’, but shrugged it off. PROMO was COD for me. Regards.
  26. I could repeat Jack’s opening comment almost exactly (except I was a few minutes faster, which matters little). My silly typo was TRAGALGAR SQUARE and even the fact that I couldn’t quite parse that didn’t induce me to correct it. I didn’t find it easy at all, with a number of elusive and subtle clues. My LOI were UPHILL followed by LENITY, which I was only satisfied with after vaguely remembering LEY having come up before.

Comments are closed.