Times Cryptic 27290

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

My solving time was 33 minutes, so on the easy side but nevertheless a technical DNF for me as I gave up on my LOI at 1dn and resorted 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 Charity event involved no perk? Sod’s law! (9,4)
SPONSORED WALK – Anagram [involved] of NO PERK SOD’S LAW
8 Frozen piece of Arctic lake captured by enemy (4)
FLOE – L (lake) contained [captured] by FOE (enemy). I don’t think that ice floes are restricted to the Artic ocean so there’s a hint of a DBE going on here.
9 About to fetch round joiner for new launch (10)
REBRANDING – RE (about), BRING (fetch) containing [round] AND (joiner – conjunction). A product can be rebranded and given a new launch.
10 Weakness regularly found in ship and other vessel (4,4)
SOFT SPOT – OFT (regularly) contained by [found in] SS (ship), POT (vessel – other than ship)
11 Hence Francis is one after church service, not the first (6)
ASSISI – {m}ASS (church service) [not the first], IS, I (one). I’m not entirely au fait with the semi-archaic usage, but I think the setter means ‘whence’.
13 Militant American GP thrown out (10)
CAMPAIGNER – Anagram [thrown out] of AMERICAN GP
16 Ocean floor, where first couple aren’t lying (4)
ABED – {se}ABED (ocean floor) [where first couple aren’t]
17 Stand German ale (4)
BIER – Two meanings, first a support for a coffin and the German word for beer. I’m not sure if there is such a thing as a German ale (as opposed to lager) but anyway that’s not really relevant to workings of the clue.
18 Spits at hat? Sweet (10)
GOBSTOPPER – GOBS (spits), TOPPER (hat). I understand these are known as ‘jawbreakers’ across the Pond.
20 Wizard killing fifty old sheep (6)
MERINO – MER{l}IN (wizard) [killing fifty], O (old). The sheep originated in Spain but it’s the wool they produce that’s brought the name of the breed to the fore.
22 Boy grabbing bear by the ears? Watch it! (6,2)
STEADY ON – SON (boy) contains [grabbing] TEADY which in this context sounds like [by the ears] “Teddy” (bear)
24 Swimmer bloody thoughtless? Not Ned (10)
DAMSELFISH – DAM{ned} (bloody – another oath, anyway) [not Ned], SELFISH (thoughtless). After ‘silverside’ yesterday here’s yet another fish not known to me*, but it looks very beautiful in the pictures on Wiki. *Pleased to find that this has not appeared before other than once in a Mephisto in 2012. It was blogged by Jim, so he may have a head-start on the rest of us with this one!
26 Chap that helps speaker to be heard (4)
MIKE – A definition (today’s random bloke) and a cryptic hint with reference to ‘microphone’
27 Ready for play? Second drama, old college one in my case (8,5)
MONOPOLY MONEY – MO (second), NO (drama), POLY(old college), then ONE contained by MY [in my case]. The definition is cryptic.
1 Restorative ointment to wrap round tail, smeared and left (3,8)
SAL VOLATILE – SALVE (ointment) containing [to wrap] O (round) + anagram [smeared] of TAIL + L (left). Smelling salts. As mentioned in the intro I gave up on this one and resorted to aids when I realised from checkers that I wouldn’t know it. I had spotted SALVE but thought it was clued by ‘restorative ointment’ and I was then unable to unravel the remainder. As happens quite often, if I’ve found a puzzle quite easy but then get stuck on the last one or two answers I’m less likely to summon reserves of energyto persevere than if I’ve been battling for answers throughout.
2 Open secret Charlie let out (5)
OVERT – {c}OVERT (secret) [Charlie – NATO alphabet – let out]
3 Youngster, small, getting much bigger (9)
STRIPLING – S (small), TRIPLING (getting much bigger). ‘Doubling’ is ‘getting much bigger’ too as some subscribers to The Times are currently finding out!
4 Unkindly emphasise bankruptcy, putting in small coin (3,2,2)
RUB IT IN – RUIN (bankruptcy) containing [putting in] BIT (small coin)
5 Finally did ritual dance in capital (5)
DHAKA – {di}D [finally, HAKA (ritual dance). The capital of Bangladesh.
6 Hence flashes with meaning of religion after day in mountain (5,4)
ALDIS LAMP – D (day) + ISLAM (religion) contained by [in] ALP (mountain). Designed for transmitting Morse code by visual means.
7 Relations are almost friendly (3)
KIN – KIN{d} (friendly) [almost]
12 Part of medical studies very important; it opens many doors (8,3)
SKELETON KEY – SKELETON (part of medical studies), KEY (very important)
14 Lawman leaving car briefly with child (9)
PARKINSON – PARKIN{g} (leaving car) [briefly], SON (child). Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.
15 Town drive takes in different hotel (9)
ROTHERHAM – RAM (drive) contains [takes in] OTHER (different) + H (hotel). Today’s random town.
19 As an animal one is in poor stable (7)
BESTIAL – I (one) contained by [is in] anagram [poor] of STABLE
21 Men cut and hold covering (5)
ORLOP – OR (men), LOP (cut). I’ll just quote Chambers: orlop and orlop deck – in a ship with four or more decks, the lowest deck, forming a covering for the hold.
23 Ace performer’s way of working in study (5)
DEMON – MO (way of working – modus operandi) contained by [in] DEN (study)
25 Not hard to damage sleeve (3)
ARM – {h}ARM (damage) [not hard]

55 comments on “Times Cryptic 27290”

  1. That time should have been more like 22′; I wasted 5 or 6 trying to solve LOI 24ac before I finally noticed that I’d mistyped ROTHERHAM to put an A where the H should be. DAMSELFISH followed almost instantly, although it took a bit of time to work out the wordplay. 1d took a while, as all I could think of was SAL HEPATICA (which dates me; Bristol-Meyers stopped making it in 1958. And I don’t know why I know it). A similar memory problem with GOBSthingy. (You’re right, Jack.) I had a similar ER to Jack’s at ‘Hence’; definitely should be ‘Whence’. And should there even be a ‘Hence’ at 6d?
    1. ‘Whence Francis’ would mean ‘where Francis comes from’, but ‘hence Francis’ means ‘Francis [comes] from here’, which is also fine and works much better with the surface reading.
      Similarly ‘hence flashes of meaning’ means ‘flashes of meaning come from here’, so yes I would say ‘hence’ is entirely necessary.

      Edited at 2019-03-05 07:49 am (UTC)

      1. Thanks for the clarification. It’s one of those things I’ve never been too sure about.
      2. But using hence or whence is needlessly complicated isn’t it? Could the setter not take the easy option and use “one flashes with meaning after. . .” ? Mr Grumpy
        1. I assume the setter is trying to mislead us into thinking ‘hence’ means ‘for this reason’ rather than ‘from this (physical) place’. Certainly that’s the effect in the ASSISI clue, but the surface of 6dn is a bit of a mess. In fact I wouldn’t put money on either of them for Most Elegant Clue 2019.
  2. I felt a bit off the wavelength on this, being stuck for a while in the NE corner (not remembering how to spell DHAKA and having to laboriously assemble ALDIS LAMP from the cryptic). And I had similar trouble with the DAMSELFISH/ORLOP clues. But, looking back, there was nothing particularly unreasonable about these. Interestingly, SAL VOLATILE was pretty much a write-in for me.

    I was a bit confused by the use of “hence”, especially in 6d. But I note that Chambers has (definition 1) “from this place” and (definition 5) “from this origin”, so I’m guessing it should be okay for both the ASSISI and the ALDIS LAMP clues.

    Thanks, Jack, for the timely and informative blog, and to the setter.

  3. This was a nice puzzle which took me about 30 mins between interruptions. I particularly liked ‘Ready for play’ for MONOPOLY MONEY and ‘Lawman’ for PARKINSON. Microphone is nearly always abbreviated to ‘Mic’ these days. What was wrong with MIKE I wonder?
  4. LOI was DHAKA (guessed there must be such a dance) and before that SAL VOLATILE, which looks like the name of a colorful character. I haven’t finished yesterday’s yet, which I didn’t start till quite late (after karaoke).

    (EDITED: False alarm about my subscription going up. But I really don’t understand the disparity in the prices of the various plans. I have the International Pack.)

    Edited at 2019-03-05 08:55 am (UTC)

  5. 16:53. A few enjoyably tricky unknowns to unpick from wordplay today: SAL VOLATILE, ALDIS LAMP, ORLOP. I knew DAMSELFISH, probably from Octonauts.
  6. 17:52, held up by my last 2 – ALDIS LAMP (maybe known once, but forgotten and derived from the wordplay) and ABED. Fortunately, I knew the other less common words ; DAMSELFISH, ORLAP, SAL VOLATILE (not sal ammoniac as I tried at first). Lots of lovely clues. I liked SKELETON KEY and MONOPOLY MONEY but COD to PARKINSON…. not to be confused with the other lawman, Sod, at 1A.
  7. As jackkt, all done and then couldn’t summon up the strength for SAL VOLATILE (probably what I needed). Liked the MONEY, ABED and the lawman. Thanks all.
  8. I was defeated by ASSISI for which I threw in ASSIST, figuring it ended in ST as Francis was a saint but having no idea about the parsing. Once I realised the correct answer I thought it was a great clue – my COD.
  9. I got off to a flyer but then got stymied by a number of unknowns. Biffing Rotterdam, Bear and Darnelfish didn’t help.

    Reluctant COD to the unknown ALDIS LAMP.

  10. 28 minutes with LOI ALDIS LAMP, half remembered, half constructed. SAL VOLATILE took a long time to come as Sal Ammoniac wouldn’t leave my head. COD to DAMSELFISH by a short head from Cyril Northcote PARKINSON and MONOPOLY MONEY. It’s the only sort my football team have got left. We’ve nowhere left to hide and it’s looking like the game’s over. Please, some door, any door, open. Quite a tricky puzzle. Thank you Jack and setter.
    1. Wasn’t it SAL VOLATILE that had to be used to revive poor Harry Gregg, the Manchester United goalkeeper, in the 1958 Cup Final after ‘your’ Nat Lofthouse had shoulder-charged him into the net, ball and all?! These days he would have got a straight red card and probably a prosecution for assault!!
      1. My avatar was taken on the train journey home from that very day of course. Harry Gregg parried Dennis Stevens’ shot into the air. Nat always claimed he was trying to get there first for a header, but he actually ran into Gregg just as he gathered the ball. In those days, the ref had two things to decide: was Gregg in contol of the ball and was it a fair shoulder charge. I would agree that on both those criteria we were a shade fortunate!
  11. Easy today, sal volatile no sweat for the Heyer brigade of course .. dnk damselfish but in it went ..
  12. 17:57 … I found this quite hard to finish.

    ‘Gob’ in any sense, but especially in this one, is just about my least favorite word in the language. Eeeww. Compensated for, however, by the lovely word STRIPLING.

    Like BoltonWanderer I took a long time to get past the ‘sal ammoniac’ which got stuck in my head, so SAL VOLATILE was my last in.

    I don’t think I knew the modern spelling of Dhaka. Somehow it doesn’t look quite as cool as Dacca.

    1. I agree with you. ‘Gob’ is far worse than any profanity, obscenity or bestiality, or even the combination of those three.
  13. About 28″ for me. I was halfway through writing in ROTTERDAM but I caught myself and made the detour. I wanted to put in SAL AMMONIAC too but I had a checker by then. I biffed ALDIS LAMP from “hence flashes” and the checkers, without reading the rest of the clue.
  14. Back from an extended stay in Wales—extended by two trees coming down across my friends’ driveway, excitingly—I didn’t feel much in the mood today, and gave up after 45 minutes, with much of them spent trying and failing to work out the unknowns of ALDIS LAMP and DAMSELFISH. It didn’t help that I wasn’t entirely sure what “hence” meant, and that I couldn’t get “rare” out of my head for “bloody”…

    Edited at 2019-03-05 10:12 am (UTC)

  15. 25 minutes, held up at the end by 6d where I was fixated on ANDES something for too long. Liked the lawman and the play money. Nothing to moan about.
  16. No problem with ‘hence’ as ‘from here’, used often in mathematical proof. 18’, but with a made-up DRAGA. Liked MONOPOLY MONEY. Thanks jack and setter.
  17. ….with an ALDIS LAMP ? Is my memory playing tricks again, or was that a Monty Python sketch ?

    Fortunately, I knew SAL VOLATILE and biffed it.

    Lots to like here.

    TIME 9:58

  18. Lots of nice touches as detailed already by others. Main hold up was the DAM’ FISH, there being so many possible names for the things, most of which you can expect not to have come across before.
  19. I received an email telling me my Web pack sub was to rise from £100 a year to £208 a year.
    I called the UK number 0800 009 4701 (via Skype) and spoke to a helpful chap called Josh.
    On my threatening to cancel the sub, he told me there was now an International Pack and he would move me to that immediately and for full 7 day access on all media (PC, Android) it would be only £5 a month.
    Admittedly before 2014 I had originally registered a UK address for the credit card being used, but I switched to PayPal a while back so they hadn’t got me down as French resident. It wasn’t clear when this International Pack option was first offered, but probably only recently.
    Hope this helps anyone in a similar position.
    1. Pip. Maybe your useful comment needs to be appended under Jack’s “Times subscriptions” blog entry?
    2. Thanks Pip! And Guy supra. Just called them and for the price of a transatlantic call (800 number doesn’t work from the US) it’s done.
      1. 0800 doesn’t work from here either, but if you use Skype and select call from UK and omit the 0 it does.
    3. Thanks, Pip. Olivia told me about it after she had seen your mention of it. I just called The Times and made the change. They are not exactly going out of their way to advise overseas members, are they! The lady I spoke to had my address in NZ and my payment is made through a Barclays debit card which has my NZ address, too, but there was no hint that they would be contacting international members to offer them this new (?) rate.
  20. The hencefest, the restorative and the fish took me well over my par 30 mins. I really wanted 11a to be ‘avaunt’ (the Shakespearean ‘get thee hence!’) and wasted minutes trying to make that work. I was guilty of using an aid: I looked up ‘acca’ to see whether such a word might refer to a ritual dance. I really enjoyed MONOPOLY MONEY, the craftily disguised ‘American GP’ anagram and SOFT SPOT. But COD, I think, to ALDIS LAMP.
    Thanks for the blog, Jack.
    Oh! 44 mins.
  21. I can picture a Ronald Searle cartoon of Sal Volatile and her friends Sal Ammoniac and Sal Hepatica
  22. Unfortunately I had put in EDEN for 16a thinking it had to do with the first couple, which meant that the unknown ALDIS LAMP was even more ungettable. As I had also put in ORLAP instead of ORLOP, a crossword to forget for me. Shame as the rest of it was quite enjoyable.
  23. 9m 11s, so about average today. ALDIS LAMP was not known to me but was fairly nicely clued; similarly ORLOP.

    My pet peeve (other than foreign words clued as anagrams) is homophones as part of the clue – as in the TEADY of STEADY ON today. I know that not everyone is bothered by that, but it always rankles with me.

  24. An enjoyable solve with FLOE starting the proceedings. I was another biffer of SAL AMMONIAC once I’d begun the charity walk, so eventually SAL VOLATILE was my LOI. MERINO began the destruction of that particular biff. I knew ALDIS LAMP, but was a bit thrown by the use of “hence”. I remember the Monty Python sketch too:-) No problems with DAMSELFISH though. Liked PARKINSON and MONOPOLY MONEY. 22:08. Thanks setter and Jack.
  25. Great crossword. Many thanks. Particularly enjoyed 27 across. 24 across could also have been Darselfish, and nearly was.
  26. Managed to get most of this but stumbled on all those mentioned above. For 1d CALAMINE seemed to work and once there would not be shifted from my brain. This made it impossible to find the soft spot. I had ALP as the container for something but then the ANDES emerged and diverted me. And there are too many fish in the sea besides the Hammerfish which I invented and may even exist.
    ORLOP -who knew?
  27. Done in 30 minutes with no unknowns and lots of lovely eureka moments. A most enjoyable puzzle. Thanks to setter and blogger. Ann
  28. I also bridled at the inclusion of the revolting ‘gob’ and have the feeling that coarseness is creeping into the puzzles, which I regret.
  29. Thought this was going to be a fast solve till I hit a wall in the SW corner. The last 6 clues took over 30 mins, giving a total of 60.57. Very frustrating. DNK DAMSELFISH or ORLOP. MERINO took ages, thinking MERLIN straightaway but not appreciating till late the meaning of KILLING. Couldn’t see ARM as SLEEVE. PARKINSON and MONOPOLY MONEY both very clever but maddeningly resistant.
  30. NHO ALDIS LAMP nor DAMSELFISH but parsed ok. SW corner trickiest to unravel – wizardwise I struggled to get past Gandalf and Warlock until lightning struck with all checkers in place. COD to PARKINSON for a cunningly disguised lawman.
  31. Nice to see my name as a crossword clue. Embarrassed to admit that I struggled with “Campaigner” and “Parkinson” and resorted to aids at that point. Nice crossword, nevertheless.
  32. 43:27. I struggled to get on the wavelength here. FOI 8ac. LOI 6dn. Had to correct a made up sal votaille to sal volatile when I realised 17ac was bier. Took ages to get Aldis lamp,
  33. Oh dear. To have failed on SAL VOLATILE – woe is me. On the plus side, I also fluffed ORLOP.

    CoD to the excellent 24ac, I think.

  34. Got Merino thanks to my childhood bedroom curtains being a pattern called Merino Meadow, complete with sheep – which currently adorn my spare room!

    Starting to get good enough at these to wrangle unknown words from the cryptic elements alone, which is very satisfying – the damselfish and orlop were unknown to me.

    Liked the clue for Monopoly Money very much, but couldn’t work out why drama = no. Random Googling suggests “no” form of Japanese drama which can also be spelt “Noh” – is that the right explanation?

    1. You got it in one: ‘no’ and ‘noh’ are two likely transliterations of the Japanese word; the H is added to O to indicate a longer vowel. (The other long vowels are AA, EE, II, and UU; but OO would be misleading.) I’m pretty sure both forms have appeared here.
  35. Thanks setter and jack
    Found this quite difficult and pushed over the hour to get it done in three sittings. Had heard of most of the words that others hadn’t here – ORLOP has featured in many puzzles that I have done over the years – have never seen it used outside this space though. The fish was a popular aquarium fish and the HAKA was pretty much a gimme down here. Hadn’t heard of ROTHERHAM before and that was my last one in after checking. Had to resort to aids to get SAL VOLATILE and regretted having to – they were used to bring me to in a spiteful U19 Grand Final a very long time ago !

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