Times Cryptic 27218

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

I needed 52 minutes for this one but I can’t really identify many particular problems. I was slow to start and took rather a long time to work out the answer at 2dn as my LOI, where it was literally a case of finding a word that fitted the rather unusual set of checkers.

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 Music producer, fraud (6)
FIDDLE – Two meanings
4 A passage in plot carried off (8)
ABDUCTED – A, DUCT (passage) contained by [in] BED (plot)
10 Go with “Tea for Two”, not half! (9)
CHAPERONE – CHA (tea), PER (for), ONE (two, not half)
11 Carbon on helmet something to discuss (5)
TOPIC – TOPI (helmet), C (carbon)
12 I say nothing to Elizabeth, ultimately (3)
OOH – 0 (nothing), {t}O + {elizabet}H [ultimately]. Memories of  Dick Emery’s ‘Mandy’ and her catchphrase: “Oooh, you are awful, but I like you!”
13 Go to invest very little? (5,1,5)
SPEND A PENNY – Two meanings
14 Unfinished track, short feature that consists of slow movements (3,3)
TAI CHI – TAI{l} (track) [unfinished], CHI{n} (feature) [short]
16 Don’t ask me to recall party with love (2,3,2)
NO CAN DO – CON (party) reversed [to recall], AND (with), 0 (love). I’m not sure the definition quite fits the answer here. On  edit, I originally had the definition as don’t ask me, but as Kevin has pointed out it works better as don’t ask me to.
19 Hat good on Spanish chap briefly adopting uniform (7)
HOMBURG – HOMBR{e} (Spanish chap) [briefly] containing [adopting] U (uniform), G (good). The style of  hat worn by Tony Hancock in today’s user-pic. It was popularised by Edward VII following a visit to Bad Homburg in Germany and later found favour with, amongst others, Churchill, Anthony Eden and Dwight D Eisenhower.
20 Additional English city (6)
BOLTON – Insert a hyphen to get BOLT-ON (additional)
22 Town, on-line, requested Wilts hotel to renovate old bar (7,4)
WHISTLE STOP – Anagram [renovate] of WILTS H (hotel) ESTOP (old bar). The definition combines these two taken from Collins: a. a minor railway station where trains stop only on signal b. a small town having such a station.
25 Blade is article in gold (3)
OAR – A (article) contained by [in] OR (gold). ‘Blades on the feather’ (Eton Boating Song).
26 Soul only partly evident in salesman, I’m afraid (5)
ANIMA – Hidden [only partly evident] in {salesm}AN I’M A{fraid}
27 Routine taking days, feeding papers into drawer (9)
TREADMILL – D (days) contained by [feeding] REAM (papers), all contained by [into] TILL (drawer)
28 Layer of cells in men odder after surgery (8)
ENDODERM – Anagram [after surgery] of MEN ODDER. Not a word I knew but there are plenty of ‘derm’ words to account for half the available anagrist leaving little choice for placement of the remainder.
29 My fruit, via squeezes (6)
BLIMEY – BY (via) contains [squeezes] LIME (fruit). Makes a change from my = cor.
1 At the outset, football player finds agent (6)
FACTOR – F{ootball} [at the outset], ACTOR (player)
2 Inspiration will bring one down (9)
DIAPHRAGM – Cryptic definition
3 More than one vegetable has a hole in it, we hear? (5)
LEEKS – Sounds like [we hear] “leaks” (has a hole in it)
5 Routine to look at occupying basic accommodation, say (5-3-6)
BREAD-AND-BUTTER – READ (look at) contained by [occupying] B AND B (basic accommodation – Bed & Breakfast  ), UTTER (say)
6 United and City plan to play. That’s remarkable (9)
UNTYPICAL – U (united), anagram [to play] of CITY PLAN
7 I’m thankful to secure easy goal (3-2)
TAP-IN – TA (I’m thankful), PIN (secure)
8 Peculiar bend in formal attire (5,3)
DICKY BOW – DICKY (peculiar), BOW (bend). I can’t find ‘dicky’ defined as ‘peculiar’ in any of the usual sources; it usually means unsound or shaky.
9 What further explains what ballet term’s doing? (8,6)
COVERING LETTER – What {bal}LET TER{m} is doing in this partial hidden answer
15 See eccentric king, perhaps? (5,4)
COURT CARD – COURT (see – as in dating someone), CARD (eccentric)
17 Noisome, vacant girl given makeover for new term (9)
NEOLOGISM – Anagram [given makeover] of NOISOME G{ir}L [vacant]
18 Display toilet while in Oxford, perhaps? (8)
SHOWCASE – WC (toilet) + AS (while) contained by [in] SHOE (Oxford, perhaps)
21 Fancy horse to steal race after one’s been dropped (6)
FRILLY – FILLY (horse) containing [to steal] R{ace} [after one – ‘ace’ – has been dropped]
23 I was competitive with climber going up the wall? (5)
IVIED – I, VIED (was competitive)
24 Dirge, primarily, in Ring Cycle (5)
PEDAL – D{irge} [primarily] contained by [in] PEAL (ring)

50 comments on “Times Cryptic 27218”

  1. 33 minutes, but clueless how 22 across worked, so thanks to Jack for that. I also had no idea that Bolton was a city. Thought it was just a suburb of Manchester. 🙂
      1. As a fan of the Reds, I knew Salford was a city. After all the great Scholesy was born there, and the class of ‘92 have overseen Salford City’s meteoric rise. Will soon be above Bolton, I reckon…
            1. February 6th, 1958 was a truly black day. I was in my first year at grammar school. Masters would give us the latest news on casualties before they started the lesson.
  2. I forgot about and/with and failed to parse this. But I think the definition is “Don’t ask me to”.
    1. Thanks. Agreed, and I have amended the blog though I’m still not sure that the expressions mean quite the same thing.
  3. I biffed several, which is to say I failed to parse several: 5d, 9d, 16ac. Didn’t understand the R in FRILLY, or the ‘requested’ in 22ac. I wasted time with PLUM in 29ac, until I finally saw how ‘via’ worked.
  4. DIAPHRAGM was my last one in. Earlier, when I only had the first 3 checkers, I put in DEATHWISH which also fits the clue as a cryptic definition in a different sense. But it also meant it was hard to think of words that didn’t start DEAD or DEATH, and DIAPHRAGM took a long time. FRILLY took a long time too since I missed the RACE missing one trick to just give R.

    I don’t know if it is a chestnut, but I liked CHAPERONE and thought it was clever.

  5. Not much to add—DIAPHRAGM my LOI too, but possibly only because I’d not spotted I hadn’t filled it in until I was at my computer ready to come here! 41 minutes rather than 39 because of that. Otherwise it was a pretty straight top-left to bottom-right solve, finishing with FRILLY and appreciating the R-minus-ACE at the last moment.

    Thanks for the parsing of 22a. I’ve now read two different definitions of estoppel and I’m still not sure I’m any the wiser…

    Edited at 2018-12-11 07:35 am (UTC)

  6. 17:16. I got completely stuck on this with two left to solve. Eventually I saw that TREADMILL fitted the checkers I had and the definition, which gave me FRILLY. TREADMILL joined WHISTLE STOP in going into the grid completely unparsed. Actually with WHISTLE STOP I wasn’t even sure what the definition was! So thanks to jackkt for sorting it all out.
  7. 22:15 including interruptions and dithering with a lingering doubt over BREAD AND BUTTER until I finally parsed it. A sort of slow-slow-quick-quick-slow solve with the pennies sometimes taking a while to get to the bottom. Didn’t manage to parse COVERING LETTER, so thanks for that, Jack. I Liked BLIMEY and TREADMILL, but WHISTLE STOP my COD for the level of bafflement it instilled. FRILLY my LOI.
  8. 21 minutes, but with nowhere near enough proper solving. 22ac left me trying (and failing) to sort out whatever was left after Wilts hotel was sifted out; COVERING LETTER was clever but wasted on me; DIAPHRAGM I should have understood from the CD (I’m a choral tenor, we’re always being cajoled into diaphragm usage) but thought it had something inexplicable to do with one down, FACTOR.
    BLIMEY was very nearly PLUMBY, (fruit, via, blur the rest of the clue).
    I like T41, and the ST-like toilet clues.
    Thanks Jack for explaining it all
  9. 29dn was an appropriate LOI for what I found a stretching puzzle which I was pleased to complete in 59.11. Many clever clues cleared up by the estimable blog. DICKY BOW was helped by the synchronicity of this being the name of a murdered spy in the excellent Mick Herron novel I’m reading. Didn’t quite see why DIAPHRAGM brings you down.
    1. The ‘one’ in the clue is a diaphragm: inspiration (breathing in) involves a lowering of the diaphragm. I did raise an eyebrow slightly at this since the clue has the causality the wrong way around.
    2. The Slough House books are wonderful, aren’t they? I caught the rave reviews of “London Rules” so downloaded them all to my Kindle. Now completely addicted and awaiting the next installment.
  10. Ulaca is at least right that Bolton isn’t a city. According to Wiki: “With a population of more than 260,000, Bolton is the UK’s biggest town. It is situated in Greater Manchester, but is historically part of Lancashire.” It’s still in Lancashire and it’s still a village in its own eyes, Great Bolton, as opposed to Little Manchester. 38 minutes on this. I didn’t know TAI CHI involved slow movements but the cryptic was clear. I took a long time to parse BREAD AND BUTTER, while thinking, “Yes, it must be BOLTON.” COD to COVERING LETTER. For a while, in trying to parse SHOWCASE, I imagined the CASE bit was a classical spelling of KHAZI. Thank you Jack and particularly to setter.

    Edited at 2018-12-11 09:31 am (UTC)

    1. Thanks for the inside info on Bolton. I wasn’t sure about its city status but didn’t bother to check as it has come up so often in the past that all the usual sources have ‘large or populous town’ as their first definition of ‘city’ with the UK-specific ‘town with a royal charter and usually a cathedral’ only secondary – and even that includes the word ‘town’.

      Edited at 2018-12-11 10:02 am (UTC)

  11. Really enjoyed this! Despite the questionable taste of the lavatorial ones, there were some lovely clues: ‘town on-line’, ‘tea for one’, ‘ballet term’, DIAPHRAGM and more. My only — minor — grumps are that Bolton is not a city and repeating ‘routine’ is slightly gauche. WHISTLE-STOP went in quite quickly once I’d anagrammatised Wilts+H, but I never worked out the old bar. Thanks, jackkt. My LOI was also DIAPHRAGM. I was convinced the solution had to be DEATH+something-to-do-with- breathing: an alternative word for ‘death rattle’?
    Excellent blog from today’s blogger to match the excellent puzzle from today’s setter.
    42 mins.
  12. Very nice. Never impenetrable, or obscure (except perhaps ENDODERM, but as the blog says, that obviously has to be what the clue tells you it is) and several places where an enjoyable bit of lateral thinking was required.
  13. Zipped through this (‘zipped’ being a relative term) in 24 minutes, with BOLTON my LOI. WHISTLE STOP went in unparsed, as did OOH, where I failed to spot where the second ‘o’ was coming from.
  14. ….HOMBURG, ’cause your overcoat is too long.

    Found this a tricky but satisfying challenge. I biffed five answers, parsing three of them post solve. I vaguely understood how DIAPHRAGM worked (in both senses !), but needed Jack (and Kevin) to unravel NO CAN DO.

    I believe that Bolton have applied in the past for city status, but failed to gain it (Wolverhampton pipped them as I recall).

    TIME 15:50

    Phil Jordan

  15. 18′ 12”, with COVERING LETTER LOI and parsed after submission. DIAPHRAGM is a nice word, and I agree with jack that NO CAN DO, a horrible neologism or phrase, does not have the same meaning as ‘don’t ask me’. BOLT-ON is also a NEOLOGISM, a ghastly phrase that people use at meetings (other ghastly phrases are available).

    Thanks jack and setter.

  16. 32 minutes, DIAPHRAGM my LOI as for others above. Bolton not yet a city, indeed, unlike Preston. Liked 9d best.
    1. A spokesman said that Preston received the honour for services to the Crown. It’s true that Her Maj has always enjoyed the Duke of Westminster’s hunting lodge in the Trough of Bowland, but Preston and the surrounding villages are famous for maintaining the old faith. The last royal to be made welcome there was Bonnie Prince Charlie. Anyway, I prefer it that Bolton is a town. Otherwise, I couldn’t sneer at urban culture!

      Edited at 2018-12-11 12:46 pm (UTC)

  17. It felt as if I was making very heavy weather of this so was pleasantly surprised to come home in 20.18. Most of us seem to have skimped on the parsing so thanks to Jack for that. I’d never heard the term “bolt-on” and thank you Rob for sparing us the rest of that awful stuff. Though I will say there wasn’t much low-hanging fruit in this one. We had Tom Wolfe just the other day so his dandified HOMBURG came to mind almost immediately. “Estop” is still current as a legal term so that was one of my unparsed ones.
  18. 18:47 – flew out of the blocks but ran through treacle towards the end, with the same issues as most. DIAPHRAGM the last to fall, a definition that went beyond cryptic for me.
  19. I found this quite tricky, with a fallow spell where nothing would come to mind just under half way through the solve. I eventually got moving again when I spotted BREAD AND BUTTER. I managed to parse TREADMILL and FRILLY, and spotted DIAPHRAGM reasonably quickly. I missed the parsing of COVERING LETTER though. WHISTLE STOP was partially parsed and then glossed over. Nice puzzle. 45:55. Thanks setter and Jack.
  20. Tried this following my Tai Chi class today (108 form hooray). So that answer went in early. But horrified to see my beloved Notlob as a city. What! Theyll say it’s in Manchester next. Threw the puzzle down in anger and I will have to make a formal complaint now. Couldn’t do the puzzle anyway as beyond my increasingly meagre talents. Good blog though.
  21. Just agreeing with what others have said on here. Bolton is not a City, the diaphragm causality is the wrong way round, and the ‘no can do’ thing isn’t accurate enough. Perhaps the latter would read better as “I’m disinclined to recall party with love”? These crosswords increasingly have the feel of being thrown together without much thought or double checking. I expect better from The Times. Mr Grumpy
  22. Reasonably easy but held up at the end by the TAI CHI DIAPHRAGM cross. As above I got fixated by DEATH something. Also thought … CHI was some kind of musical term unknown to me so ended up with PAT CHI (pat fot pat(h)) Ah well!
  23. But required less specialist knowledge than yesterday’s, so more fun for me. Just had to assume Endoderm was correct.
  24. Pretty nice puzzle, which puzzled me at my LOI, DIAPHRAGM. Took a good few minutes just looking for a word to fit the checkers. I also had to (sort of) biff in WHISTLE STOP, because I used ‘Wilts hotel’ in its entirety in the anagram, to get WHISTLE, and leaving something of a mess thereafter. Couldn’t figure that out so just threw the answer in, without the necessity of ‘estop’. Regards.
  25. Nothing to add except that I enjoyed this. I needed a fairly easy puzzle today because I’m struggling with a horrible cold. Completed through the sniffles in 25 minutes. Ann
  26. 30:11 nice puzzle with a couple of tricky ones to keep it interesting. I took far too long to see the Christmas cracker pun at 3dn. I liked the device at 9dn. My LOI was diaphragm – I’m always slow to twig straight cryptic definitions.
  27. Around 40 mins either side of sleep. Two thirds finished very quickly and lingered over suspects already mentioned. COD 9dn, which we biffed, but appreciated when explained! Endoderm remembered from Mr Pint’s long ago A level biology. Thanks to blogger.
  28. If diaphragm is to do with breathing shouldn’t the clue be “Aspiration will bring one down” (2dn)?
  29. One wrong – did not see BLIMEY and could not parse PLUMMY – just hoped for the best. DIAPHRAGM and TREADMILL took a while to see
  30. Thanks setter and jack
    Finished this one in 44 min across a number of sittings. Still could not fully parse WHISTLE STOP or NEOLOGISM (got fixated on NE as being the vacant bit and couldn’t progress from there). Also liked the clever device for COVERING LETTER – and was very happy to spot it after quite a while. Couldn’t find a synonym for DICKY and ‘peculiar’ and hadn’t heard of the DICKY BOW term before either.
    Finished with TAI CHI, that COVERING LETTER and HOMBURG (which took ages to parse too).

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