Times Cryptic 27254

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

I needed only 31 minutes for this so I would rate it as pretty easy. Very enjoyable but with more of a Monday feel to it than yesterday’s puzzle.

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 Law enforcer repeated phrase on book (7)
SHERIFF – SHE (book – subtitled ‘A History of Adventure’, 1887 by H Rider Haggard), RIFF (repeated phrase). The ‘A on B = BA’ rule applies.
5 Cake special, French produce outstanding (7)
BROWNIE – OWN (special) contained by [outstanding] BRIE (French produce)
9 Festival — Easter is different, primarily (3)
EID – E{aster} I{s} D{ifferent} [primarily]
10 Troubled mind at peace, set free (11)
EMANCIPATED – Anagram [troubled] of MIND AT PEACE
11 Way correct for grasping a hand (8)
STRAIGHT – ST (way – street), RIGHT (correct) containing [grasping] A. A ‘straight’ is a particular hand of cards in poker, for example.
12 Couple ending on floor — that drink’s stimulating! (6)
BRACER – BRACE (couple), {floo}R [ending]. One of a number of words for this sort of thing, my favourite being a ‘snifter’.
15 Stream runs poorly (4)
RILL – R (runs), ILL (poorly)
16 Message that’s wounding? This sitting on the fence? (6,4)
BARBED WIRE – BARBED (wounding), WIRE (message)
18 Can prisoner wander into ruin? (6,4)
POWDER ROOM – POW (prisoner), then ERR (wander) contained by [into] DOOM (ruin). A dainty euphemism in the answer clued by a rather ugly one.
19 Great being in Greece, where crisis was once reversible (4)
ZEUS – SUEZ (where crisis was once) reversed [reversible]. Zeus being the king of the gods.
22 Bit of fun deputising for poet (6)
LARKIN – LARK (bit of fun), IN (deputising)
23 Instrument, sort of light, twice recalled, with zeal played (8)
VUVUZELA – UV UV (sort of light – Ultra Violet – twice) reversed [recalled], anagram [played] of ZEAL
25 Top college official has always impressed islander (4,7)
CAPE VERDEAN – CAP (top) + DEAN (college official) contains [has…impressed] EVER (always)
27 Division of junior educational establishment (3)
UNI – Hidden in [division of] {j}UNI{or}
28 Carrier of crockery needing milk container — a little light? (3,4)
TEA TRAY – TEAT (milk container), RAY (a little light)
29 Did long study, returning after some time (7)
YEARNED – YEAR (some time), DEN (study) reversed [returning]
1 Old poet taking sherry regularly, dipping quills? (7)
SPENSER – S{h}E{r}R{y} [regularly] containing [dipping] PENS (quills). Edmund Spenser (c1552-1599) best known for The Faerie Queene.
2 Queen after tipsy fellow drinking wine up — this flavour? (11)
ELDERFLOWER – Anagram [tipsy] of FELLOW containing [drinking] RED (wine) reversed [up], ER (Queen). The definition refers back to ‘wine’ in the first part of the clue.
3 Peninsula where river boat is, starts to the north (6)
IBERIA – AIRE (river) + B{oat} + I{s} [starts], all reversed [to the north]. The river is in Yorkshire and rarely appears in crossword puzzles unlike the more familiar Scottish River Ayr.
4 Vulgar type, instant trouble (5,5)
FLASH HARRY – FLASH  (instant),  HARRY (trouble). Memories of the wonderful George Cole in the classic St Trinian’s films.
5 Resist US cash (4)
BUCK – Two meanings, the first as in ‘buck the trend’
6 Showing standard plug, a number passed round (2,6)
ON PARADE – PAR (standard) + AD (plug – advertisemnt) contained [passed round] by ONE (a number)
7 Egg container overturned (3)
NIT – TIN (container) reversed [overturned]
8 Point or points to support (7)
ENDORSE – END (point), OR, S E (points)
13 Evidence of torture using birch, unseen (7,4)
CHINESE BURN – Anagram [using] of BIRCH UNSEEN
14 I agree to use all, by recycling (10)
ABSOLUTELY – Anagram [recycling] of TO USE ALL BY. There’s an irrititating modern trend to use this four-syllable word when a simple ‘yes’ would suffice.
17 Live current in force, one supposes (8)
BELIEVER – BE (live), then I (current) contained by [in] LEVER (force)
18 Animal caught in field, hiding in grass (7)
POLECAT – C (caught) contained by [in] LEA (field), contained by [hiding in] POT (grass)
20 Gannet possibly going to pot, braised (7)
SEABIRD – Anagram [going to pot] of BRAISED
21 Country in the money? (6)
GUINEA – Two meanings
24 Cart not far uphill? (4)
DRAY – YARD (not far) reversed [uphill]
26 Seed in fruit not reaching the ground? (3)
PEA – PEA{r} (fruit) [not reaching the ground]

92 comments on “Times Cryptic 27254”

  1. I was all over the place on this one, finally getting home in 68 minutes. I struggled everywhere but especially in the SW, with POLECAT, CAP VERDEAN, TEA TRAY, GUINEA and, yes, even PEA, causing Brexit-style roadblocks. Well, there’s always yesterday, I suppose…
  2. Thanks, Jack, particularly for BROWNIE, ELDERFLOWER and POWDER ROOM.
    My favourite was BARBED WIRE. ouch!
    I understand your dislike of ‘absolutely’, Jack. My bête noire is the overuse of ‘amazing’. That seems to be the stock adjective to describe astonishment, surprise or wonder.
    23m 51s
    1. Mine is ‘obviously’ used for ‘naturally’, ‘of course’, as in “Obviously, Tiger is going to try to avoid that bunker”.
      1. I first started to think ‘amazing’ was being overused when the Duchess of Cambridge described a portrait of herself, hung in the National Portrait Gallery in London, as such. To me, it was a perfectly good likeness but nothing special.
        1. Maybe she was commenting on the fact that she got a portrait of herself hung in the National Portrait Gallery.
                1. Sorry, but split infinitives won’t cut it, Matt. The anathema against them is a function of the attempted imposition of Latin rules of grammar on a Germanic language by folks with more snobbery than learning.
                  1. I’ve never found that the propensity of anything to rub someone up the wrong way has much basis in logic. Certainly doesn’t for me, anyway!
                      1. I think you are flouting a ban of some sort ulaca? Just as well, because that is an inflammatory statement..
        2. I think the bubble over Kate’s head said “that is amazingly awful.”

          Edited at 2019-01-22 10:31 am (UTC)

    2. Science presenters are the worst for using ‘amazing’, usually accompanied by them staring wide-eyed, focused on infinity. They can’t see that far, so they just look like ham actors.
    3. You have started something here, Martin .. my pet hate is kilometre pronounced to rhyme with gasometer instead of being pronounced the same way as centimetre or millimeter, as it should be. But nobody ever does (except me, obvs). Amazing
      1. I pronounce it your way, Jerry. I suspect many scientists and engineers do, by comparison with kilogram, kilowatt etc.
        1. Yes.. do pedometer or mileometer work better for you Kevin?
          My objection is just to the obtuseness of people who know perfectly well that “kilo” is a prefix which works perfectly well with kilogramme or kilowatt but somehow needs different treatment when it is metres that are in the 000s
          1. It’s just a pronunciation. The question of it ‘needing’ to be one thing or another doesn’t arise, and obtuseness doesn’t come into it. Pronunciations (like spellings) are conventions, not logical constructs.
            1. Whether it’s a noun or a verb, people have put the stress on the second syllable for years and now it is almost universally pronounced with the stress on the first. Can’t see why, except perhaps as a result of creeping Americanisation.
              1. Yes I suspect that’s it. See also ‘schedule’, among many examples. It’s a natural process, nothing to fret about.
              2. This is a very simple one for speakers of Standard British English.

                reSEARCH: serious study undertaken in pursuit of an extension of knowledge

                REsearch: the attempt to convince others (typically funding bodies) of serious study undertaken in pursuit of an extension of knowledge

              3. There’s a widespread pattern in English to stress the first syllable if it’s a noun and the 2d if it’s a verb, as in such pairs as refuse/refuse object/object. Also the stress of neighboring words can affect stress placement: nineTEEN when counting, but not in ‘1976’, etc.
  3. In marked contrast to my biff binge of yesterday, today only POWDER ROOM and ON PARADE went in from def, unparsed. I’ve never known how to spell VUVUZELA, but the checkers and wordplay left no doubt. Never heard of CHINESE BURN, but looking it up now, I think we did this in school, under a different name, which I can’t recall. Hardly torture. Had to do an alphabet run for FLASH _A_R_; in fact I think I had to run through the list twice. In retrospect, I think I may have come across it once, here. Is the teat a container? I would have said the udder is.
    1. Chinese burn “not a torture”? It was the way my primary school headmaster did it.

      Agree with the teat, that’s the dispenser surely, rather than the container.

      Edited at 2019-01-22 11:44 am (UTC)

  4. Didn’t find this as easy as our blogger did, maybe distracted doing other things, but it felt slow. Quite liked the polecat and Flash Harry.
    5 ac had to be brownie, but how does special = own?
        1. Does this help more than my example? SOED had under special:

          6 Having a close or exclusive connection with a single person, thing, or set; peculiar. LME.

          J. McCosh Every intuitive principle…has its special truth to reveal. J. Yeats Each region has its special treasures.

          I think ‘own’ can be substituted in the two examples without changing the meanings.

          Edited at 2019-01-22 08:56 am (UTC)

          1. Thanks again. It’s one of those ones where it’s in the dictionary, so it’s valid, even if it doesn’t quite fit perfectly.
          1. Err… I’m with Genesis?
            As a f’rinstance, my mother recently visited for 2 weeks, and wanted to micro-manage my life, continually pointing out how I should be doing everything. I didn’t want to do everything in her special way, I wanted to do everything my own way, my own bog-standard way.
  5. Stuck in the NW for a while before finishing in 45 minutes. I liked the ones that gave me trouble, including SHERIFF, STRAIGHT and my favourite, with the same George Cole associations for me, FLASH HARRY.

    I agree about ABSOLUTELY, even if I don’t practise what I preach, and the reminder of the noise made by the VUVUZELA wasn’t a very welcome one.

    Thanks to setter and blogger

  6. I totally messed this up. Even though I know he is SPENSER (and the wordplay makes it clear even if I wasn’t certain) I typed SPENCER and never noticed. So then when I got to 11A I immediately saw CORNICHE as the “way” and didn’t bother with the wordplay, since it seemed most unlikely anything else would fit the crossers. It was must LOI, and so I hit submit and was surprised to see the row of pink, including the C. Once I looked again with S, STRAIGHT wasn’t even difficult.
    1. Made exactly the same mistake, with the same knowledge of the poet(had to check the meaning of corniche). Overexcited at a possible personal-record time, so failed. Sigh!
  7. I was hoping never to hear from 23ac the raucus, ruination of the South African World Cup 2012.

    13ac WOD CHINESE BURN ‘Hardly Torture’ Kevin! It was very, very painful when delivered on a daily basis, in English playgrounds, a well as ‘Horse bites’.

    FOI 9ac EID

    LOI 18ac POWDER ROOM awful, awful clue from the IKEA delivery truck. Can = ladies toilet!?


    Much the same as Jack, but I took 8 minutes longer.

    1. Point of Order, M’Lud: The World Cup in South Africa was in 2010 or to put it in context:the year 44PE…..44 years Post England. Nearly got there last year!
        1. Sorry for the late reply.
          I doff my cap to you, sir, for including vuvuzela and Tshabalala in a haiku!
  8. 25 mins for an average sort of puzzle. VUVUZELA also made me think of that dreadful World Cup tournament. They decided to use a special sort of beach ball which the players couldn’t control. All I remember is watching it repeatedly sailing over the crossbar accompanied by the sound of a million angry bees.
  9. A steady solve with no errors. Some nice clues including SHERIFF, BARBED WIRE and FLASH HARRY.
  10. Correction to my initial comment: My solving time was 28m 57s. I mistakenly put 23m 51s which was the AVERAGE time from the crossword club site. I wonder if others have ever made that mistake?
  11. Echoes of yesterday, in that I spent ages and ages on my LOI, 21d GUINEA. Hard to credit, especially as I’ve just finished Great Expectations, where the monetary version comes up a few times (I’m continuing my crossword-inspired literature education by reading Dickens for the very first time. Worth it for the name Pumblechook alone.)

    53 minutes in all, but the top half going in much more quickly than the bottom, where my poor geography also had me struggling on CAPE VERDEAN. I didn’t know Cape Verde was an island, having assumed it was, er, a cape. I see now from Wikipedia that it’s just named after one.

    At least I actually watched the World Cup in 2012, so VUVUZELA went in immediately!

  12. 23:18. I thought OWN for special at 5A a bit odd. DNK CHINESE BURN and. Having looked it up post-solve, glad I’ve never been subjected to one. POWDER ROOM my LOI. I liked TEA TRAY, but COD was POLECAT.
  13. 35 mins with a croissant and the ‘amazing’ G&L marmalade. Well, a tad amazing, obvs.
    Mostly I liked Barbed Wire (LOI) – which reminded me of the electricians wife’s comment when he got home at 1 a.m. “Wire insulate?”
    Thanks setter and J.
  14. 19:48. Well I found that really hard! Some of the definitions were far from obvious.
    I sometimes use ABSOLUTELY to mean ‘yes’ when I want to indicate enthusiastic agreement, but some people do have a tendency to use it when you ask them to pass the salt.
    Always nice to see LARKIN.
    1. Maybe they’re just pleased to get him off their hands, if he’s telling improbable maritime tales.
  15. Very frustrating finale, as I spent seven minutes on one of the easier clues – Guinea! Borneo, Bosnia, Ruanda (I know – Rwanda) — they wouldn’t leave my noggin. Everything else had slotted in quite smoothly. Good to see an outing for the crossworders’ favourite novel — which I did read once as a boy. Ditto that instrument that they all played in the stadiums in the S.Africa World Cup. Great crossword – thanks setter and blogger.
    1. I read She last year, purely because of mentions in crosswordland (Cruciverbia?) I thought it was very good, although obviously rather a product of its time (I probably wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who has trouble suspending modern sensibilities when reading older fiction…)

      PS: You were not alone in wondering whether Ruanda might be some kind of alternate spelling!

      Edited at 2019-01-22 09:04 am (UTC)

      1. Oh, come on! Matt — there’s really no need to have actually read all that old literary stuff: you just need vaguely to know that it’s out there. Those hugely fat black Penguin Classics with cover images taken from fusty oil paintings of fallen women and frock-coated old geezers with beards like George Bernard Shaw (he’s a playwright and you never want to actually read any of his plays either, or try to see them on stage because nobody ever produces them nowadays, or even adapts them for film or TV) are tucked away in the dingiest corner of the bookshops for a very good reason: the protracted and vapid plots are creakily elaborated in prose of the most turgid and convoluted style that only the cobweb-encrusted antiquarian academicians find palatable.

        Same with science: just remember a few Johnny Foreigner names (Dirac, Poisson, Euler, Ohm, Heisenberg, …. er, Einstein) — you don’t need to understand any of the guff they wrote about. Oh! and if the checkers don’t look like a European name, then just bung in Crick or Watson. Easy peasy.

        1. I suppose the difference with science (and engineering) is that unlike Shaw, you are utterly dependent on their collective findings, every day, in living the life you do. Without them you would have no water, no electicity or gas or TV. In my eyes, but not many others I admit, that elevates them rather, and makes them more worthy of respect than any novelist or playwright who do nothing more than amuse or entertain.
  16. Straightforward puzzle with no problems

    FLASH HARRY reminded me of Arthur English. Do you recall him Jack in Variety Bandbox on a Sunday Evening along with Tony Hancock and Frankie Howerd?

    1. I know the name Variety Bandbox,Jim, but don’t recall anything about it. I know Arthur English from later though, in ‘Are You Being Served?’
      1. Yes, though he played some sort of handyman I think. The spiv days were before that.

        Variety Bandbox was a training ground for a number of people who became famous in their own right. I’ve just googled it and see Eric Sykes wrote the scripts and Peter Sellers performed. Joe Loss and Geraldo amongst others provided the music.

  17. Found this tougher than yesterday, with several clues hiding in plain sight, like GUINEA and my last one in, after an alphabet trawl, the deceptively tricky DRAY. Glad to have clear instructions on how to spell VUVUZELA.
  18. 38 minutes, interrupted by the alarm company engineer’s maintenance visit. I’ve been subjected to noises even worse than those of the VUVUZELA for about twenty minutes. LOI and COD was BARBED WIRE. The thought of it is bringing tears to my eyes. I’d put FLASH POINT for FLASH HARRY and it was only when I saw the error of my ways that and POWDER ROOM fell into place. Do you mean they have a lavatory in there as well? In Prague, they have a Powder Tower where the gunpowder was kept. It’s still the room where ladies go to recharge their weapons. Decent puzzle. Thank you Jack and setter. Davidivad1 and I are meeting for a modest libation at the George at 2.30 pm this afternoon if anybody else is free.
  19. I couldn’t work out the parsing of the biffed IBERIA, so thanks for the clarification, jackkt … and, moreover, for all the clarifications. 33 mins, and a lot of fun in the solving.
    Apropos ‘can’ and ‘powder room’: I think the former a dysphemism and the latter a euphemism.
  20. 15′ 49”, so flying today. Some excellent clues, but COD to POWDER ROOM. Once confiscated a VUVUZELA when I was teaching, its only purpose being to disrupt. Once met a CAPE VERDEAN when on holiday in the Canaries – she spoke Portuguese, French, Spanish, English…..

    Thanks jack and setter.

  21. Jack was on the wavelength – I wasn’t. Very slow to get started. A CHINESE BURN inflicted by a St. Trinian’s inmate would ABSOLUTELY be torture. In=deputising for was new to me. And POWDER ROOM is absolutely a horrid term. When I first came to NY I was charmed by the term “rest room” – it sounded so kindly and nice. 18.53
    1. I wasn’t entirely convinced by ‘in = deputising’ because it seems to me that ‘in’ would also need ‘for (someone)’ for it to mean ‘deputising’. You can also say ‘deputising for (someone)’ so it works as a direct substition, but ‘deputising’ unlike ‘in’ also works on its own without having to stipulate anything further. I think I need to get out more!
  22. A respectable 16:55 without ever feeling totally in control of the process. I meant to go back and parse IBERIA but forgot. I suspect it will all be forgotten fairly quickly.
  23. GUINEA always gets me, whatever form it may take.

    Other than that (for LOI it inevitably was) not too bad, struggle to reconcile the VUVUZELA as an instrument but never mind.

    Didn’t we have EMANCIPATED (or derivative) very recently?


  24. ….and it’s all been said already.

    Biffed IBERIA, otherwise a steady-ish plod.

    TIME 11:05

  25. Within the half-hour, but held up on 18ac by trying to find an anagram of ‘wander into’ – I had several checkers, and was trying think of a suitable cat for 18dn – of course seeing the one required there put me right.
  26. On the wavelength again for this one. EID went in first and ZEUS was my LOI. I looked at the clue for 19a and my _E_S with furrowed brow and moved on, but when I went back to it after completing the rest of the puzzle, it leapt into view as I remembered seeing something similar in another puzzle a while ago. The only clue I failed to parse was BROWNIE, so thanks for that Jack. My first thought at 18d was MEERCAT, but POWDER ROOM soon put paid to that, apart from the fact that MEERKAT has a K not a C. The ear splitting device went in from “type of light twice recalled” without reading the rest of the clue. I did already have ___U_E_A though. A most enjoyable puzzle. 22:55. Thanks setter and Jack.
  27. I found this a bit harder than yesterday’s. A problem with 6a held me up in the NE corner. I spelt SPENSER correctly thanks to Robert B Parker. My favourite fictional PI always introduces himself as “Spenser with an S – like the poet.” 39 minutes. Ann
    1. I recently heard of a banker in New York who told the Starbucks server his name was “Marc, with a C”, and when he collected his cup it bore the name “CARK”.

  28. My favourite expression for an aperitif, particularly something like a Campari and tonic, is a “sharpener.”
  29. It’s funny how the human mind works. I can sit staring at a clue in blank incomprehension for several minutes, and then all of a sudden I get nowhere.

    At 48 minutes, I found this one quite tough; and yet, looking back at it, there was nothing obscure in the answers. For me, that makes it a really good puzzle – thanks to the setter, and of course to our blogger.

  30. …not nit. Duh! Completely did not remember that a nit is an egg.

    Otherwise no real problems – would have been 59 mins if that one not wrong.

  31. Took ages; 40 mins. GUINEA accounted for 8 of those. Well done setter. Great blog, cheers.
  32. 30 mins, not too hard not too easy, bit of noodling, bit of figuring out and home in time for tea.
  33. Had a quick glance at Jackkt’s opening comment and thought I would give this a go to see how far I could get. Consequently spent most of the evening picking this up, doing a couple, getting stuck and leaving it for a while before returning. Eventually finished with loi Zeus. Couldn’t parse 5ac, 18ac and 17d, but still happy just to finish. Invariant
      1. Thanks – it’s been a long journey but I’m slowly getting there.

        Edited at 2019-01-23 09:48 am (UTC)

  34. Thanks to the setter and jackkt
    Solved this one on a train ride, a coffee and croissant with a quick 5 minutes to tidy up what was left – overall a 56 min solve). NIT was first to go in with BARBED WIRE and BRACER the last couple.
    Found it quite a struggle but finally managed to get it all correctly out. A lot of clues where there was more work to do in unravelling the wordplay once the definition seemed solid – BROWNIE, POLECAT and IBERIA were all examples.

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