Times Cryptic 27320

This puzzle had a strange feel to it but I completed it in 24 minutes so it didn’t present much of a challenge. Having said that, I have to admit to one error at 6dn which I discuss in more detail in the blog along with excuses offered in mitigation. There are at least a couple of very feeble clues, stray full stops (or missing following capital letters)  in another two, and one where the wordplay doesn’t work logically, at least to my mind, suggesting that sadly once again production of the puzzle (or the editing) is not quite up to The Times’s usually very high standards. On later edit, I’ve now confirmed that all three apparent errors in the on-line puzzle appear also in the printed edition.

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 Poor actors given boot finally and called “impaired” (9)
HAMSTRUNG – HAMS (poor actors), {boo}T [finally], RUNG (called)
6 Cardinal is in taxi for return journey (5)
BASIC – IS contained by [in] CAB (taxi) both reversed [for return journey]
9 Manage at university — so don’t ***-** debts? (3-2)
RUN-UP – RUN (manage), UP (at university). The feeblest of definitions of the ‘fill-in-the-missing-word(s)’ variety which really has no place in a modern Times crossword.
10 One may provide deal in beds with strong support externally (5,4)
SCOTS PINE – COTS (beds) contained by [with…externally} SPINE (strong support). ‘Deal’ is fir or pine timber.
11 Chemistry graduate maybe who has seen soft ceramic as a possibility (6,2,7)
MASTER OF SCIENCE – Anagram [as a possibility] of SEEN SOFT CERAMIC
13 Cheerlessly, unexcitedly cramping listener (8)
DREARILY – DRILY (unexcitedly) containing [cramping] EAR (listener). I did a double-take on this as I’ve always spelt it ‘dryly’ so the ‘i’ looks wrong to me, but I now know it isn’t.
14 Snake biting girl, no end upset, in Italian house (6)
BORGIA – BOA (snake) containing [biting] anagram [upset] of GIR{l} [no end]
16 Yours truly’s shout of exultation after quiet dance (6)
SHIMMY – SH! (quiet!), I’M (yours truly’s), MY! (shout of exultation) Nothing quiet about this!
18 Groovy drunk eats dirt (8)
STRIATED – Anagram [drunk] of EATS DIRT. A word I knew vaguely, but not exactly what it meant.
21 He. engaging with us all, managed a style of communication we understand (7,8)
ENGLISH LANGUAGE – Anagram [managed] of HE ENGAGING US ALL. Another feeble definition. Presumably the full-stop after ‘he’ is a misprint.
23 Give the lie to smear (9)
DISCREDIT – Two meanings
25 Half of the people in our street make a beastly noise (5)
NEIGH – NEIGH{bours} (the people in our street) [half]
26 Uncertainty makes engineers abandon temporary fortification (5)
DOUBT – {re}DOUBT (temporary fortification) [engineers – RE – abandon]
27 First person meeting severe monarch may be a North American (9)
WESTERNER – WE (first person – plural), STERN (severe), ER (monarch)
1 Women’s place to run after male? The opposite! (5)
HAREM –  ‘Run after male’ = M (male), HARE (run). ‘Run before male’ [i.e. the opposite] = HARE (run), M (male).
2 Acting as e.g. bishop in mitre, sing rousingly (11)
MINISTERING – Anagram [rousingly] of IN MITRE SING
3 Finest clothes motorists get into eventually? (3,4)
TOP GEAR – TOP (finest)  GEAR (clothes)
4 A French location around one lake without nasty development? (8)
UNSPOILT – UN (a,  French), SPOT (location) containing [around] I (one) + L (lake)
5 End of sleeping? Wake up and grumble (6)
GROUSE – {sleepin}G (end), ROUSE (wake up)
6 Part of Australia maybe with unusual language to convey code of honour (7)
BUSHIDO – BUSH (part of Australia maybe), IDO (unusual language). A code of honour and morals evolved by the samurai. BUSH was easy enough  but unfortunately I didn’t know the word that is the answer, nor the obscure IDO, an artificial language based on Esperanto, so I plumped for IBO, a language spoken by some natives of SE Nigeria, also obscure, but at least it’s an old crossword standby. So we have an obscure foreign word  clued partially by obscure wordplay, and something of an elephant trap  given the existence of IBO, so by all reasonable standards I’d rate this clue as unfair.
7 Jump. missing footing, and slide (3)
SKI – SKI{p} (jump) [missing footing]. And another stray full-stop.
8 US President not entirely intelligent to come down to earth (9)
CLEVELAND – CLEVE{r} (intelligent) [not entirely], LAND (come down to earth)
12 Diplomacy that is set up in country: you’ve got stuck in (11)
NEGOTIATION – IE (that is) reversed [set up] contained by [in] NATION (country), with GOT inserted [stuck in]
13 Having grabbed key, daughter ran out and went downhill? (9)
DESCENDED – D (daughter) + ENDED (ran out) containing [having grabbed] ESC (key)
15 Island not traced? It’s given name, turning up in map book (8)
ATLANTIS – IT + N (name) reversed [turning up] contained by [in] ATLAS (map book)
17 Detective has month in Paris, given welcome after losing heart (7)
MAIGRET – MAI (month, in Paris), GR{e}ET (welcome) [losing heart].The detective created by Georges Simenon played on UK TV originally by Rupert Davies and more recently by Rowan Atkinson.
19 Naive female at home, sincere, not trendy (7)
INGENUE – IN (at home), GENU{in}E (sincere) [not trendy – in].
Don’t put your daughter on the stage, Mrs. Worthington
Don’t put your daughter on the stage
Though they said at the school of acting
She was lovely as Peer Gynt
I fear on the whole
An ingénue role
Would emphasize her squint…
(Noel Coward)
20 Follow notice, hugged by escort (6)
SHADOW – AD (notice) contained [hugged] by SHOW. I struggled for a moment to see ‘escort = show’, but one can be escorted or shown to one’s table in a restaurant, for example.
22 I’m volatile in that place, the first to rise up (5)
ETHER – I don’t really get this .  ‘In that place’ = THERE but to turn it into ETHER (something that’s volatile) it’s the last (letter) that needs ‘to rise up’, not ‘the first’ – the first having nowhere to rise to anyway in a Down answer. I might have spent longer pondering this but after the errors last week and the misplaced full stops today I’m losing confidence and didn’t want  to waste time on it. If I’ve missed something, I’m sure Kevin or one of the other early birds will soon put me right.
24 Thus belonging to the upper echelons makes a bit of money (3)
SOU – SO (thus), U (belonging to the upper echelons)

69 comments on “Times Cryptic 27320”

  1. I wondered about/was annoyed by those periods. I also wondered about SHIMMY, as I took “yours truly’s” to be MY, and couldn’t figure out what IM was exultant about; never occurred to me to try IM instead of MY. (Is ‘my’ exultant?) And I never noticed the E problem. BUSHIDO was a gimme for me, of course; the term itself was evidently a post hoc invention, not used by samurai themselves. And I think we’ve had IDO before. Not a fun puzzle.
    1. Thanks, Kevin. Unusually for me, I didn’t check to see whether BUSHIDO has come up before and I now find it has done so on three occasions, although the first was before I was contributing in June 2007. Since then it appeared in June 2014, a puzzle I blogged myself, and then again in September 2015, but in both of those clues the wordplay was more friendly, using ‘revealed all’ to give HID 0.

      IDO has also come up several times and I haven’t researched them all but most recently it was in a QC set by Izetti. Again the wordplay was helpful although I commented at the time on the possibility of confusion with the more familiar IBO.

      1. As soon as I encountered the ‘ether’ mistake, I put the puzzle away where I couldn’t see it. I have more to do with my life than struggle with editing errors. I’m going back to work on puzzles in books of old Times crosswords where the quality still lingers.
  2. IDO comes up now and again (simply because it is a useful letter string), but I agree it is highly obscure to the man in the street. I learned a bit of Esperanto in university days – IDO is a modified version of it, derived from the Esperanto root or suffix signifying an offspring.

    Edited at 2019-04-09 01:53 am (UTC)

  3. I agree with you, Jack, about 9ac. It came as something of a surprise, but I missed the errant full stops.
    My problems were with BUSHIDO and BORGIA. I had heard of BUSHIDO but thought it was some form of martial art while I wanted BORGIA to be LOGGIA but without being able to justify it.
    I’ve not seen the series but MAIGRET was also played by Michael Gambon in a series in the 1990s.
    1. I toyed with LOGGIA, too, partly because I couldn’t think of a house besides Medici (I also could only come up with ‘asp’ and ‘cobra’ for the longest time).
    2. It’s odd that the Michael Gambon series didn’t come to mind when I blogged as it’s the one that I have on DVD, a box- set of all 12 episodes.
  4. My last three in were SCOTS PINE, BUSHIDO (I learned about “Ido” here, and not so long ago) and BORGIA (which should have been easier).

    Agree with Jackkt about 9, and damn, I breezed right past the flaw in the ETHER.

    1. Same with me, and in that order. The rest of the puzzle was not a problem
  5. 22 minutes and I ignored the full-stop and pondered only briefly over ETHER, since these subtraction/shift clues have a tendency to do my head in, if I think too much about them.

    I thought we must have had IDO before – as otherwise I most probably wouldn’t know it – and a search reveals it has come up twice in daily cryptics in the last ten years: https://times-xwd-times.livejournal.com/631388.html (2010) and https://times-xwd-times.livejournal.com/1128818.html (2014).

    Possibly not the epitome of the setter’s art, but it had some good moments – much like life.

    Edited at 2019-04-09 03:38 am (UTC)

  6. No problem with any of this all done in 13 minutes, except a fat finger put WESTERBER instead of WESTERNER, so a technical DNF. I didn’t even notice the extra full stops in ENGLISH LANGUAGE or SKI since I just biffed them from the checkers, barely bothering wit the clues. LOI was CLEVELAND.
  7. Can be parsed as THE (the) R (first to rise) (moving) up in ETHER to give THERE. Which also doesn’t work, but is interesting — which parsing did the setter intend?

    1. Thanks. I considered that whilst trying to parse the clue but surely that would give the answer THERE, not ETHER? As to which the setter was aiming for, we may never know because on current form even if they acknoweledge an error, The Times may choose to replace it with a completely different clue!

      Edited at 2019-04-09 06:25 am (UTC)

  8. Ido, in fact, came up as recently as February, when I put it on my Big List. It didn’t help much today, as I also already knew BUSHIDO, having done my share of martial arts.

    A steady top-to-bottom solve in 27m. Happily I wasn’t worried by the stray periods, as I didn’t notice them; I suppose my increasing presbyopia is sometimes an advantage. This is possibly not the case for crossword editors.

    I did notice the oddity at 22d, but nothing else raised my eyebrows too much. Enjoyed 25a NEIGH. FOI 1a HAMSTRUNG, LOI 20d SHADOW.

  9. 16:03 … things like the errant full stops suggest that there’s no test solving done on the final version that sits on the server. Perhaps a change of procedure is needed.

    I kept tripping over myself in my bid to complete this as fast as I thought I should. Then I suffered another bout of not being able to see what was staring my in the face with N.G.T.A.I.N, convincing myself (as with a couple yesterday) that no word in English would fit.

    I have to agree with jackkt about RUN UP. That’s pretty awful. And why is the enumeration hyphenated? Isn’t RUN-UP the thing, as in the act of running up, rather than the phrasal verb?

  10. No point saying it all again. I agree with Jack and others on the shortcomings of this rather easy puzzle.
  11. …actually, that would be my mother. My sister was as bad as me. Neither of us could jive. 21 minutes. LOI was BUSHIDO, which I think I must have known from some Samural film on in the background that I was doing my best not to watch. The full-stops for commas were only visible when I put my glasses on. Perhaps the setter had mislaid theirs. I used to watch Rupert Davies as Maigret but, compared with No Hiding Place and my all-time fave Perry Mason, it could be pretty dull. On ETHER, I suppose the last has become the first. Not a scintillating puzzle. Thank you setter and Jack.
  12. 9:54. The clue for BUSHIDO seems to have escaped from Mephisto. From doing these things I know that there are two languages that fit I_O so I considered BUSHIBO and BUSHIDO and then recognised the latter from somewhere. I agree that it is an unfair clue in the context of the daily puzzle.
    As well as being feeble 9ac is wrong, IMO. The inclusion or otherwise of hyphens is usually a matter of taste but as far as I’m aware RUN-UP is always a noun. Collins and ODO seem to agree.
    I’m sure we’ve had CLEVELAND before, because I remember learning from these puzzles and discussing the fact that he was president twice and so is the reason the numbering is out of whack.

    Edited at 2019-04-09 07:22 am (UTC)

    1. Who’s to say the hyphen isn’t yet another type-setting error? The trouble is that once trust has been lost it’s difficult to restore it.

      Edited at 2019-04-09 07:36 am (UTC)

      1. Yes, it most likely is a typesetting — or I suppose data entry — thing.
        1. Thanks for the correct terminology. I wasn’t sure what to call it so reverted to old-speak, but I knew they had moved on from the days of hot metal!
    2. But surely a dressmaker might run up a garment. A colloquial expression, but quite a common one, and verbal.
      1. I understood k’s point was that ‘run-up’ (with hyphen) is always a noun. In your example (and as used in the clue) ‘run up’ is a verb so doesn’t have a hyphen and the enumeration (3-2) was therefore incorrect. The error has now been accepted by the crossword editor.

        Edited at 2019-04-09 11:02 pm (UTC)

  13. The two extra full stops are just commas, not fully grown up (or missing an appendage). Let us not make mountains out of molehills.
    1. In the wider scheme of things I’d agree they’re not of earth-shattering importance but in our world of crosswords attention to detail is paramount, often the difference between a great clue and one that doesn’t work at all, so I think we are entitled to expect the highest standards and to comment when things fall short. Admittedly errors are very rare in Times crosswords, but we had two examples of errors in a puzzle only last week, and now this today.

      Edited at 2019-04-09 01:07 pm (UTC)

  14. Eastbourne
    Twenty three minutes using treeware.
    FOI 3dn TOP GEAR
    WOD 16ac SHIMMY

    Never noticed the RUN-UP problem (In memorium Charle Griffiths and Wes Hall)

  15. Does no one else recall The Knights of Bushido? Accounts of Japanese POWs in WW2, gory reading in the 1960s.
    1. I was trying (perhaps unclearly) to make the same point about Cleveland. He was president twice, whereas Obama (for instance) was only president once. So 44 people have been president, and Trump is the 45th.

      Edited at 2019-04-09 10:13 am (UTC)

      1. Cleveland served for two terms, so he was Prez twice. Obama served for two terms, so ditto. Cleveland, though, was not re-elected.
        1. He served two terms, but he never stopped being President. So he was only president once.
          This argument is, obviously, purely semantic, but that’s the sense I intended.
          It’s also implicit in the numbering: Obama is just 44. Two terms, one presidency.

          Edited at 2019-04-09 02:22 pm (UTC)

  16. 17’20, after a fair run but having to spend six minutes on the last two, negotiation and Borgia. Unimpressed by the hyphen in run-up as well as the clue in general. A scattering of other somewhat clunky clues, too. Low laugh level.
  17. I agree with Jack on this one. I finished in just under 30 minutes (which is good for me) with the same error BUSHIbO. A GR from me.
  18. I had a look at this after a damp drizzly dog walk (oh to be in Lancashire!) and found most of it to be pretty straightforward.
    FOI was RUN UP ( I ignore all punctuation in puzzles now but agree with comments above) and NW in quickly. After less than an hour I decided to plump for BUSHIBO and LOGGIA; STRIATED unknown but looked the most likely answer.
    I came to Ingenue via Thom Yorke’s song which he recorded with Atoms for Peace.
    1. Sitting on the balcony in glorious sunshine, drinking a cup of tea, in God’s own county. Fourth day in a row. It’s cooling down a bit now, but still plenty warm enough to sit out. Off to Bolton later.
  19. Another stupid mistake caused by racing the clock. Couldn’t justify it, but still put it in! I didn’t mind the Bushido clue. I’d heard of Bushido so just assumed there was a language called Ido. Cleveland was the only US president to serve two non-consecutive terms.
  20. Having completed all bar 6d and 14a in around 17 minutes, I had to hot foot it to the garage to drop my car in for its annual service and MOT. On my return, I finally spotted BOA instead of ASP and the BORGIAS were revealed. I’d heard of IBO but not IDO, but I’d also heard of BUSHIDO and not BUSHIBO, so I plumped for the former. Phew! Didn’t notice the other errors as I was in hurry up mode. 23:02. Thanks setter and Jack.
  21. I didn’t notice any of the errors as I was solving, somehow, but it does indicate that the editing needs to be tightened up a tad. I didn’t love the somewhat odd wordplay in 12d, either.

    I seem to remember coming across IDO much more than IBO in crosswords, so I was surprised that the latter seems to be more recognised – and I had come across BUSHIDO before, but it was still my penultimate entry. Those two, plus NEGOTIATION and uncertainty about STRIATED, cost me several minutes at the end of the puzzle. 11m 31s all told.

  22. All I can add, not necessarily usefully, was that I had no problem with BUSHIDO, as it falls clearly within my definition of general knowledge i.e. Things I Happen To Know. Otherwise, the only slight delay involved wondering about the possibility of BODEGA, which isn’t a house, or Italian, but these are mere details.
    1. If I wanted to be really nasty, I would say that if the setter/editor were marking your puzzle at the Championships, they’d probably wave BODEGA through.
  23. As Gertrude Stein might have said, there was no there there. RUN-UP is the sort of thing we get in the Sunday NY Times when they run one of their rare cryptics (please don’t get on my case Z). I haven’t seen the Atkinson MAIGRET and I’m not sure I could get past Mr. Bean. Gambon and his merry men are terrific and I think it’s Budapest standing in splendidly for early 50s Paris. 15.30
    1. I thought the Atkinson Maigret was a great performance in a show that was a little too bleak and slow-paced for TV, though it captured the spirit of the books well. On the other hand, I’ve enjoyed Rowan Atkinson since long before he did Mr. Bean, which I never liked.
      1. I’ll give the Atkinson a try then Matt. I’m a big Maigret fan. No I didn’t much like Mr. Bean either.
        1. For what it’s worth, I also thought that Rowan Atkinson’s was superb. I was also concerned that Mr Bean might show through, but the acting was so good that it never happened. I even bought the DVDs of both series, and am disappointed that it seems there will be no more.
      2. Thank you for putting me on to the Atkinson Maigret Matt. You are right – it’s very good and I would probably have missed it otherwise.
  24. Bushido posed no problems as my children used to play the well known game on their Megadrive. Very gory with all bouts instigated by a manic cry of “Fight!” Got stuck for a while on possibility of Bodega until I recalled The Borgias (also gory!). The two long across clues made this fairly easy and I was done in just over 30 mins. All donations to the Bolton Wanderers Survival fund please. Thanks all as usual
  25. 26:39. I disliked the decision to eschew a proper definition for a fill in the blank instead at 9ac. I suppose 22dn works if in that place ‘there’ both ‘the’ and ‘r’ (being the first to Rise) move up the word beyond the final ‘e’. Not great though if that’s what was intended. No problem with Bushido which fell into my GK ok.
  26. I came today to see if there might be comments on the mistakes in the clues,as there were some (already mentioned) last week too.

    I wonder if they are not, in fact, erors but perhaps being put in or left in on purpose in order to jog we solvers and encourage us to slow down a little (not a problem in my case!) in order that we might fully appreciate
    the skill and artistry shown by so many setters? I sometimes think it must be so disheartening for them to see people whizzing through so quickly that they don’t even notice the errors, let alone the sheer beauty of some clues at times.

    Recently, there was a hidden clue of NORSE made from two islands in the Norwegian archipelago which I excitedly pointed out to my children saying, ‘Can you imagine that this setter has taken the trouble to know, or look up, two Norwegian islands in order to construct the clue?’ We were all very impressed. I hope that setter doesn’t mind me belatedly saying it.

    Thanks to today’s setter for an enjoyable xword. I particularly liked BUSHIDO, HAMSTRUNG and INGENUE. Thanks to Jakkt too.

  27. ….had something to do with it being a really poor puzzle, but that doesn’t explain my “seriated” at 18A which only became apparent, and was corrected, when I got my LOI.

    Had terrible trouble with NEGOTIATION, which wasn’t helped by biffing “posada” instead of BORGIA. Bad day at the office, but I’d rather spend twice as long on a decent puzzle than the time I’m posting below.

    TIME 17:01

  28. ….I wasn’t present for 25 of them, forgetting in my haste to turn off timer. So 41 mins or thereabouts. No probs with BUSHIDO. LOI was STRIATED which I’d thought of but didn’t write in until ‘groovy’ clicked
  29. 38 minutes, more or less correctly solved (except for my misspelling MINISTERING as “minEstering”, which did irritate me for reasons I couldn’t put my finger on). But I did find many of the clues rather, well, amateurish, perhaps, apart from the strange punctuation. So there’s room for improvement on both ends.
    Crossword Editor

    Yes strictly (in fact not even strictly) the enumeration for RUN UP needs to reflect the definition provided.

    At 22dn however the clue does actually work, though looking at the setter’s explanation it would appear that he was thinking along the same lines as most of the solvers.
    E could be said to be the last letter of RISE, moved UP. I agree not the most elegant of “get-outs”
    As for the rogue full stops, those were in the original submission and somehow got overlooked. Many apologies



    22dn. still doesn’t make sense ; should be the last to rise up.

    Edited at 2019-04-09 06:13 pm (UTC)

  31. Baffled by BUSHIDO at the end, I didn’t even get the BUSH bit. In BORGIA I thought the upset part of the clue indicated a reversal, so BRIGOA held me up. Not sure I’d seen the ‘fill in the space’ clue style before, and not sure I’d want to see it again either.
  32. Once again I didn’t notice any of the problems as I was solving quite quickly. am I the only one to really quite enjoy the “fill in the blanks” clues? They have a cosy nostalgic feel about them.

    BUSHIDO is a gimme for anyone brought up in the D&D/videogames generation. I wish I knew it from all the Kurosawa films I’ve watched, or something classy like that, but I don’t.

  33. Loggia. But I wasn’t that bothered – i usually am, but it was an odd puzzle, really.
  34. I got through this quite quickly for me, maybe a bit over 10 minutes. Having trained myself to ignore punctuation, the extra periods didn’t faze me at all, nor did I linger long enough over ETHER to notice how it doesn’t really work. So my hackles remained unraised by the puzzle. Regards.
  35. The quibbled bits largely passed me by, although the spurious fill stops did puzzle me somewhat. At times I wondered if I was tackling a QC. LOI BUSHIDO. COD to HAREM. 11:51
  36. Thanks setter and jacktt
    Finished in average time ~45 min (a long way off many of the folk here). Was surprised that BUSHIDO caused so many issues for people – was aware of it from Japanese -based novels – IDO has been around in crosswords (both straight and cryptic) for as long as I can remember.
    BORGIA (with LOGGIA first) and MAIGRET (with POIRROT first) were a couple of clues that held me up.
    SHIMMY was the last one in, after finally coming to terms with the right detective.

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