Times Cryptic 27266

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

Solving time: 30 minutes. A curious mix of clues that would not be out of place in a Quick Cryptic and moderately tricky ones, but nothing that should disturb the most sensitive of equines.

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 Sweet given Her Majesty’s approval, perhaps a moneymaker (5,4)
ROYAL MINT – Two definitions, the first being cryptic
6 Revolutionary man of the cloth, one swapping with European (5)
LENIN – LiNeN (cloth) becomes LENIN when the I (one) and the E (European) are swapped
9 Prophet rejected peculiar feature of the body (7)
SOMATIC – AMOS (prophet) reversed [rejected], TIC (peculiar feature). Known to me only from ‘psychosomatic’, concerning mind and body.
10 They mind the sultanas not being whole (7)
EUNUCHS – Cryptic definition
11 Painter drawn to East End longing for some theatrics (5)
OPERA – {h}OPE (longing) [East End], RA (painter)
13 Restrict supply of booze? There’s a reason (9)
RATIONALE – RATION (restrict supply), ALE (booze)
14 Get rid of priest, worried about mind finally failing (9)
ELIMINATE – ELI (priest) + ATE  (worried) contain [about] MIN{d} [finally failing]
16 Make changes to what one eats, promoting energy (4)
EDIT – DIeT (what one eats) becomes DIET when the E (energy) is promoted – moved forward
18 British soldier back in prison (4)
BRIG – BR (British), GI (soldier) reversed [back]
19 Unique reason for not lighting up? (9)
MATCHLESS – Two meanings, the second being cryptic
22 Cold-blooded customers can make a canon sad (9)
ANACONDAS – Anagram [can make] of A CANON SAD.
24 Permissible in each game (5)
POKER – OK (permissible) contained by [in] PER (each)
25 Riots flaring in the middle of Dublin’s port (7)
BRISTOL – Anagram [flaring] of RIOTS contained by [in] {du}BL{in} [middle]
26 Strike ban announcement covering particular craft (7)
IKEBANA – Hidden in [covering] {str}IKE BAN A{nnouncement}. Japanese flower arrangement.
28 One who dishes out fast food to audience (5)
DONOR – Sounds like [to audience] “doner” [fast food]. The sources I have checked all confirm that the kebab is pronounced “donna” and I’ve never heard anyone pronounce DONOR that way so although I’m usually not too fussy about homophones, I think this one is way off the mark. On edit, following comments below I checked more sources than my original two and found both ‘doner’ and ‘donna’ pronunciations so I’ve withdrawn my objection. In the process I also discovered that ‘kebab’, which I say as ‘kiBAB’ can be pronounced ‘kiBARB’.
29 I see Bacon wrongly getting great respect (9)
OBEISANCE – Anagram [wrongly] of I SEE BACON
1 Teacher’s upset, being given single meatball (7)
RISSOLE – SIR (teacher) reversed [upset], SOLE (single). References to doner kebab, bacon, meatball and rissole in consecutive clues suggest that the setter must have been hungry at this point.
2 Variable? I hesitate to say, I like it! (3)
YUM – Y (variable), UM (I hesitate to say). Maybe he took a  break for refreshment, but after thoughts of doner kebabs and rissoles I’d be more inclined to say “yuk”!
3 Top-class Olympic venue reluctant at first to identify seducer (8)
LOTHARIO – LOTH (reluctant), A (top-class), RIO (Olympic venue)
4 Expose oneself to copper wearing hip designer’s latest (5)
INCUR – CU (copper) contained by [wearing] IN + {designe}R [’s latest]
5 Process intended to avoid a course of drugs (9)
TREATMENT – TREAT (process), ME{a}NT (intended) [to avoid ‘a’]
6 Famous Liverpudlian flag, 50 for a penny (6)
LENNON – pENNON (flag) becomes LENNON when L (50) is substituted for the P (penny)
7 Keep on smooching, being very close (4,3,4)
NECK AND NECK – Two meanings
8 Case of Navajo and the sleep that never ends? Most curious! (7)
NOSIEST – N{avaj}O [case of], SIEST{a} sleep [that never ends]
12 Idiot fiancé prepared for instruction (11)
EDIFICATION – Anagram [prepared] of IDIOT FIANCE
15 I am a droll, outlandish creature (9)
ARMADILLO – Anagram [outlandish] of I AM A DROLL
17 Henry breaking policeman’s teeth (8)
CHOPPERS – H (Henry) contained by [breaking] COPPERS (policeman’s)
18 Apparently retired city bishops spilt the beans (7)
BLABBED – LA (city) + BB (bishops) in BED [apparently retired]
20 Top chap riding white horses well? (7)
SURFACE – Two definitons, the second being cryptic and requiring the alternative spacing SURF ACE
21 It makes a loud noise and it smells (6)
HOOTER – Two meanings, the second being slang for ‘nose’
23 Doctor has to sleep over in empty synagogue (5)
SPIKE – KIP (sleep) reversed [over] contained by [in] S{ynagogu}E [empty]
27 Woman’s wedding announcement removed from case (3)
ANN – {b}ANN{s} (wedding announcement) [removed from case]. I was going to express misgivings about ‘announcement’ being in the singular but the definition in Chambers has persuaded me that it’s okay: banns (plural noun) – a public announcement in church of two people’s intention to marry

53 comments on “Times Cryptic 27266”

  1. Thanks for Lennon, Jack. I knew pennant but not pennon.
    The juxtaposition of 6ac and 6d amused me. I once was engaged in an exchange of letters in the Sydney Morning Herald over possible confusion between the two. In a letter complaining about the price of tickets for a forthcoming Elton John concert tour, I used a line from Bowie’s “Life On Mars”: “Lennon’s on sale again”. Another reader said that I had got it wrong and that it was Lenin. A local music critic adjudicated in my favour. Never did like Lennon.

    PS…When I first read the clue for 6d which referred to “famous Liverpudlian flag…” my first thought that it might be something to do with the Royal Iris which was a “Ferry Across the Mersey”, as made famous by Gerry & The Pacemakers.

    Further thought: I’ve always pronounced doner as donor not as donna.

    Edited at 2019-02-05 03:14 am (UTC)

  2. Just on the half hour for me too.

    I’ve always pronounced ‘doner’ as DONOR and assumed it was an Antipodean pronunciation variant, but a look/listen to my Australian Oxford Dictionary tells me I’m wrong.

    I liked the cryptic def. for EUNUCHS and the SURFACE for ARMADILLO.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  3. I’ve never pronounced ‘doner’, but I knew the answer here was DONOR. I wasn’t sure if the food was ‘doner’ or ‘donar’, so I made the mistake of looking it up. Then I typed in DONER, making me a goner. Biffed OPERA, solved post-submission. Slow (as usual) to spot the hidden IKEBANA. Loved 10ac; definite COD.
    1. The trouble with donor kebabs is that one’s never quite sure who, or rather what, the donor is. I’ll take a kofte or shish for preference.
  4. 29 minutes.. a lot of rather easy anagrams




    WOD 26ac IKEBANA (prohibit in Swedish furniture store?)

    No fireworks! A happy CNY to all.

    PS Please visit Google Search and press play!

    Edited at 2019-02-05 05:11 am (UTC)

  5. Nice one! I set it down a while and came back to fill in my last three, SURFACE (lovely “white horses”), IKEBANA and SPIKE—really needed that K to think of “kip”! Cheerio!
  6. 8:51. Straightforward, steady solve. Nothing absolutely unknown but I might have struggled to give you a precise definition of SOMATIC and IKEBANA.
    I’m surprised to hear that the kebab is sometimes pronounced DONOR but if it is, it is.
    1. The pronunciation eyebrow was even further raised for me as my wife is DONNA.

      The in laws assure me that she wasn’t named after a kebab but I’m not convinced….

  7. I was celebrating a record time of 8:18 when I realised I’d done the Quick Cryptic by mistake. The real thing took me 29 mins which is more like it. I thought this was a good puzzle – not too hard with some nice surfaces and only one ‘obscurity’, the flag.
  8. Fiddle! I can go on the list of befuddled early-morning spellers along with Kevin, as I had DONER at 28a, too.

    Everything else seemed fairly straightforward, though I biffed a few and hoped for the best, not knowing pennon, or exactly what a rissole is, say, and missing a few parsings, so thanks for the explication, Jack.

    The only place I thought I had trouble was where I couldn’t get SNAPE out of my mind for 23d (I’m not even a Harry Potter fan), meaning I missed the hidden in 26a for a while, making it my last in.

    Oh, and I also needed two looks at 25a BRISTOL, despite having lived here for about thirty years now!

    Edited at 2019-02-05 07:14 am (UTC)

    1. I thought of you Matt when I pencilled in Bristol whilst sitting in an office in Victoria Street … in fact I’ve been meaning to ask whether you fancy starting an occasional get together for SW afficianados?
  9. 14:15. I got a lot of down clues on reading through and was held up only by the SE corner, being slow to see the hidden IKEBANA, the excellent SURFACE and SPIKE, my LOI needing an alphabet trawl of 3-letter words for “sleep”. I liked your spot of a foodie theme, jack, to which you could add the MINT at 1A. I also liked the SOMATIC NECK and NECK, CHOPPERS, (BRISTOL) and HOOTER mini-theme, but COD to BLABBED.
  10. On the easy side. Looking over it, I should have been quicker. Smiled at the harem guards.
  11. Easy stroll in the park. Never even considered pronunciation of “donna” having biffed DONOR from checkers and literal. I rather share Jack’s views of the food on offer here.
  12. 25 mins with yoghurt, granola, etc.
    Anyone who says “Donor Kibarb” probably also says “Fesh and Cheps”.
    Mostly I liked Neck n Neck.
    Thanks setter and Jack.
  13. I expect to see some very fast times today if I’m pushing 10 minutes. I hesitated over my LOI DONOR with the same reservations as others. Maybe the homonym requires one to be inebriated to work given it is a prerequisite of ordering the kebab.
  14. …as seen on 6 down and across. 14 minutes, so on wavelength today. LOI the hidden IKEBANA. One of my favourite expressions is , “I felt like a eunuch in a harem,” after a function when I knew nobody, so COD to EUNUCHS. I liked MATCHLESS too. “I had a snack, Doner was its name.” Nice start to the day even so. Thank you Jack and setter.
  15. If there’s a flavour of chestnut in the daily puzzle, this might just be a sign that you’ve spent too much of your life solving crosswords, and this is why you barely need to think about people like the MATCHLESS SURF ACE. However, there was plenty of original stuff here, too, even if it didn’t cause too much delay. Also, if there’s one thing which causes disagreements about pronunciation worldwide, it’s probably food, which is how we’ve ended up with Americans enjoying their parstar with erbs.

    Edited at 2019-02-05 08:54 am (UTC)

    1. Oh Tim, I do wish you hadn’t written that first sentence .. what with the daily cryptics, the jumbos, the mephisto, club monthly, tls and The Week etc etc, I calculate I must have spent more than an entire year of my life solving crosswords. I don’t know if it staves off alzheimers or not, but it had better, or else.
      Mind you, 30 minutes a day for fifty years is 380 days .. so i guess there must be other things like Coronation St that some people have spent a year or more of their life on ..
      1. I know what you mean…possibly best not to tug at that thread. (I remember trying to get my head around the fact that Sachin Tendulkar had spent well over a year playing one day internationals, and something closer to three years playing Test matches).
  16. I saw Lenin once, in the mausoleum.

    EUNUCHS LOI, unaccountably.

    I share jack’s misgiving about ANN, whatever the dictionary says. The BANNS have to be said three times on separate weeks, at two different churches if the intendeds live in different parishes.

    About 16 minutes, thanks jack and setter.

    1. I don’t think there’s such a thing as a singular BANN, unless its’s a river. “I publish the banns of marriage…” is the Anglican rubric each time. Especially on the Ides of March?
  17. [In haste] Loved this one, particularly SURFACE, EUNUCHS, HOOTER’s surface, BLABBED and the Lahndun HOPERA. 27 mins.
    Thanks for blog, jackkt.

    Edited at 2019-02-05 09:53 am (UTC)

  18. 14’41, good to nip under the 15. But a speed test rather than an interesting puzzle, in my book. I don’t like Lennon either, outside what he was good at, singing and song-writing. Hope never to have to use the airport. Rather liked the guardians upset over the sultanas.
    1. I don’t know if you or Martinp1 have read Ray Connolly’s excellent biography Being John Lennon – A Restless Life, but John had an awful lot thrown at him by life as a boy and young man. My sister was a librarian at the Walker Art Library in the late fifties and Aunt Mimi would drag John in to pay his book fines! His mother had been killed by a bus. I know that, when the Beatles hit it big, the girls swooned over Paul and the boys all wanted to be John. At the end, he’d been cooped up on an island far too long and didn’t get away in time.
      1. Library fines is one thing, losing your mother another. I suppose it’s the number of people falling for the wispy narcissism that gets me, rather than the pose itself. But the world’s full of real people worshipping chimeras. The modern religion – the curse of the current yuga – the Sleb Age.

        Edited at 2019-02-05 12:37 pm (UTC)

  19. 28 mins – slow steady solve. No dramas, but took a while to see the hidden IKEBANA. Good block jack, thanks.
  20. Reasonably chucklesome puzzle, in which (unusually) I liked the cryptic definition for EUNUCHS (and spelled them right, for a change). SURF ACE has to have a chestnut flavour, but it still raised a smile. And IKEBANA was the best hidden I’ve seen for a while.
    My local kebab shop is run by Serbians, so there’s not much point in asking them how to pronounce doner, not that I’d want to anyway.
    1. My local kebaberie is run by Iraqis and we always ask for a donor. I quite like your pun above. Do you remember the Dr Who companion called Donna Noble? Someone was having a laugh there. And in Munich a few years ago I saw an advert for a hairdresser who would come to the house – “Donna’s Mobile”. Ann
  21. for some reason took ages to get the first one, then found a rash of anagrams at the bottom, after which it was very plain sailing. Was a bit hesitant about TREAT for process, which caused my mistyping when I re-entered it. Tried Dún Laoghaire for 25a but it wouldn’t fit…
  22. The city bishops asleep in 18d reminded me that after a dismissively curt obit for Clive Swift in the weekend’s TimesUK the expanded one in today’s edition entirely fails to mention his role as Bishop Proudie in the 1980s Barchester tv series. I felt I should have been a bit sharper with this one but I got off to a slow start. 14.11
      1. Yes indeed Jack and all the principals except for Susan Hanpshire are no longer with us.
  23. A fun puzzle which made me laugh out load at OPERA. I started off at a gallop with ROYAL MINT, and for a change, kept going. LOI SURFACE after finally spotting IKEBANA. 16:08. Thanks setter and Jack for the amusing blog.
  24. Just off my PB, seemed pretty straightforward – nothing I didn’t really know, though didn’t parse BLABBED until I came here.
  25. Just off my PB, seemed pretty straightforward – nothing I didn’t really know, though didn’t parse BLABBED until I came here.
  26. Raced through three-quarters then slowed right down in the southeast. Very nearly got caught out with Rotter for Hooter (well rotting things do smell, and rotters can be noisy!) . Also misdiagnosed Ann, thinking an annido must be a Japanese case (influenced by the Ikebana obv – and there is some word that crops up occasionally meaning a Japanese jewel-case – I’m convinced of it!). Didn’t matter cos I got it right. COD eunuchs, because I love it when an English sentence can mean two totally different things.
  27. Twenty-two minutes, plus another three thinking about puns involving Lenin and McCarthy. Fortunately, I failed to come up with any.

  28. Saddened this morning to read the belated Times Obituary of Roy Dean, who died of pneumonia on Christmas Day at the age of 91.

    Roy achieved many things in a rich and varied life, but is often noted for his place in the Guinness Book of Records for the fastest solving of a Times Cryptic Crossword. He achieved this live on Radio 4’s “Today” programme in just 3:45. Remarkably, it was a Saturday puzzle.

    I met Roy on Finals day on a number of occasions (he’d been Champion in the past) and he was a real gentleman. I was determined to beat 10 minutes in his honour today, and did so comfortably.

    And now for something completely different. I have a bootleg recording by Right Band, Wrong Planet. This Salford group were a pub band in the 90’s and their music was best described as “eccentric blues”. One of them played bagpipes and a bombard. Recorded live at the Bull’s Head in Stockport is their “tribute” to the worst takeaway in the world – the Chip Ahoy in Little Hulton. The chorus goes :-

    Give us a doner, but put it on a barm
    With peas and gravy and everything on.

    Clearly pronounced DONNA, and no dictionary will sway me !

    TIME 6:39 – that one’s for you Roy, RIP

    1. In a rather remote way, Roy was a reader of this blog in its early days. From my (public) FaceBook post today, slightly tweaked:

      Shortly after I started the Times for the Times blog, I was contacted by Roy, who was not online but was interested in receiving copies – sent to the local print shop that he used. Some lively correspondence followed, including a puzzle written for me. It’s on my website at http://www.biddlecombe.demon.co.uk/RoyDeanArtsPuzzle.html.

      Roy used an old-style Times championship grid for my copy and had a bit of fun personalising the contestant/venue details.

      If you ever spot a copy of his “Mainly in Fun” book, snap it up – packed with crossword memories, songs written by Roy, poems, parodies, and daft jokes such as

      “Did you ever propose to that girl Carmen?”
      “Yes, but she said she was too Bizet to Mérimée”


      Roy also used his position as a setter and former champ to plead for the reinstatement of the Times Crossword Championship after its 6-year holiday.

      Edited at 2019-02-05 04:54 pm (UTC)

      1. Thanks for dropping by, Pete, with a reminder of our heritage and a great gentleman champion and setter, from what I hear. I look forward to having a go at the puzzle.

  29. Always thought of RISSOLE being more of a patty than a ball but the parsing was obvious.

    I have never eaten a doner kebab on the grounds that the rotisserie thingy, usually displayed proudly in the shop window, looked very likely to be harbouring a colony of lethal bacteria, so I managed to avoid it – even after drink had been taken.

    Took me an age to work out HOOTER but it finally went in on about the 35th. minute.

    All in all an enjoyable workout.

    Time: all correct in 35 minutes.

    Thank you to setter and blogger.


  30. A very enjoyable puzxle that cheered me up after grinding through today’s Grauniad, especially as that was a dnf.
  31. Didn’t know Doner, having always called it a gyro, so I assumed it was a really really bad homonym for Doughnut. I liked Lenin crossing Lennon
  32. Nice puzzle, got through in around 20-25 minutes. I biffed SURFACE, as I didn’t get the reason for ‘horses’ being in there. The hidden was very well done. Regards.
  33. I was in London today and had time to look at this Mondayish puzzle. In the end I got it all correct apart from 9a. I pencilled in SOMATIC (unknown) but annoyingly did not see the parsing; after some thought I changed it to SUMATIC -which looked like the reversal of a Latin word and therefore correct!
    Memo to self:learn more prophets and look more closely at the parsing.
  34. 24:40. Whipped through this gently entertaining puzzle at a decent clip. COD 10ac. I often struggle to spot cryptic definitions so I was glad not to drop the ball on that one.
  35. At a tad over 17mins our best time to date. On the wavelength from 1ac and steady solve through. No hold ups but this meant nothing to finish apart from morning tea! Expecting to be put in our place on Wednesday
  36. Thanks setter and jack
    This was in our weekend Australian last Saturday and like most here found nothing too taxing with it. The cryptic EUNUCHS was my first one in and put me in a good frame of mind to do the rest of the puzzle. It took 34 minutes (now that I’m in measuring mode which is a bit under my average solve – closer to the 45 mark).
    Finished in the NW corner with INCUR (where it took a while to equate it with ‘expose oneself’) and SOMATIC (which I didn’t associate it with ‘psychosomatic – clever thinking. Did know the prophet immediately though!)

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