Times Cryptic 27518

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

Solving time: 28 minutes. This was an easy puzzle but blogging it was much harder work.

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]. I usually omit all reference to positional indicators unless there is a specific point that requires clarification.

1 Fellow politicians going round boundaries of Atlas range (7)
COMPASS : CO-MP’S (fellow politicians) containing [going round] A{tla}S [boundaries]
5 Earnest South American touring eastern port (7)
SERIOUS : S (south) + US (American) containing [touring] E (eastern) + RIO (port)
9 Management originally supplying musicians for a king in haste (9)
HUSBANDRY : S{uppplying} [originally] + BAND (musicians) replaces [for] the first R (a king) in the word HU{r}RY (haste)
10 Prickly shrub, one accommodated by Remus’s brother (5)
BRIER : I (one) contained [accommodated] by BR’ER (Remus’s brother). This is a reference to the Uncle Remus Stories by Joel Chandler Harris (1848-1908) in which most of the charactes were titled ‘Br’er’, short for ‘brother’. Br’er Rabbit was the main one. Disney made these into a film called Song Of The South (1946) containing some great songs enjoyed in my childhood innocence, but it’s all very controvorsial stuff now so unlikely ever to be seen on TV again.
11 Most of message received about high-class cosmetic (5)
ROUGE : ROGE{r} (message received) [most of…] containing [about] U (high-class)
12 Many go ashore, united in this idyllic place (9)
LOTUSLAND : U (united) contained by [in] LOTS LAND (many go ashore). It sounds a nice place but I didn’t actually know the reference. Collins has it as: 1. Greek mythology, the land of the lotus-eaters.2. an idyllic place of contentment and ease.
14 Hard finance can supply a Quebecois, perhaps (6,8)
17 Rating part of Mass, calls back to cover front of altar (8,6)
ORDINARY SEAMAN : ORDINARY (part of Mass), then NAMES (calls) reversed [back] containing [to cover] A{ltar} [front]. Again I turned to Collins for enlightenment: ordinary – the unvarying parts of a Roman Catholic service, esp. those which form a sung Mass.
21 Like some rock male member initially explained in exam (9)
MARMOREAL : M (male), ARM (member), then  E{xplained} [initially] contained by [in] ORAL (exam). Like marble.
23 Elizabethan navigator finally turned libertine (5)
DRAKE : {turne}D [finally], RAKE (libertine)
24 Get up close to one, not early! (5)
ELATE : {on}E [close], LATE (not early)
25 In which properly dressed soldiers are lamenting breaking up (9)
ALIGNMENT : Anagram [breaking up] of LAMENTING
26 Misfortune revealed by our education supplement, initially? (7)
SETBACK : TES (our education supplement, initially – Times Educational Supplement) is reversed [BACK]. One of those self-referencing clues where the reversal indicator is in the answer.
27 Ageing English lord residing at first in cathedral city (7)
ELDERLY : E (English), LD (lord), then R {esiding} [at first] contained by [in] ELY (cathedral city)
1 “Stick together” – something eg colonel may say on phone? (6)
COHERE : Not a soundalike clue as ‘may say on the phone’ might suggest, but if you read it it as “C.O. HERE” where C.O. stands for  Commanding Officer you’ll get the idea.
2 Entertainer in Paris that’s restricted by mother’s resistance (7)
MASQUER : QUE (in Paris ‘that’) is contained [restricted] by MA’S (mother’s) + R (resistance). This is a person who takes part in a masquerade or a masque. It can also be spelt ‘masker’.
3 A brave man disheartened about a Mycenaean king (9)
AGAMEMNON : A, GAME (brave). M{a}N [disheartened], ON (about)
4 Ride this ultimately – and go off heroin? (6,5)
SADDLE HORSE : {thi}S [ultimately], ADDLE (go off), HORSE (heroin). ‘Ride’ here is a noun meaning a horse for riding.
5 European leader banished from island? Heavens! (3)
SKY : SKY{e} (island) [European leader banished]
6 Puzzle concerning rising press employee (5)
REBUS : RE (concerning), SUB (press employee – sub-editor) reversed [rising]
7 Rejection of a bank arrangement primarily means independent paper folding (7)
ORIGAMI : A + GIRO (bank arrangement) reversed [rejection of…], then M{eans} + I {ndependent} [primarily]
8 Walk purposefully over books in grating? (8)
STRIDENT : STRIDE (walk purposefully], NT (books – New Testament)
13 Star in Nepal travelling across certain mountains (11)
TRANSALPINE : Anagram [travelling] of STAR IN NEPAL
15 Gave up being promiscuous? (9)
ABANDONED :Two meanings
16 Stupid to procced without the Marines? (8)
GORMLESS : GO (proceed), RM-LESS (without the (Royal) Marines). There is a misprint in the third word of the clue.
18 Lethargic porter dropping round at end of shift (7)
DORMANT : DO{o}RMAN (porter) [dropping round – O], {shif}T [end]
19 Layman in a primeval city imbibing milky infusion … (7)
AMATEUR : A + UR (primeval city) containing [imbibing] MATE (milky infusion). Collins has: Maté 1. an evergreen tree cultivated in South America for its leaves, which contain caffeine, 2.  a stimulating milky beverage made from the dried leaves of this tree.
20 one in a box dispatched by public transport? (6)
SENTRY : SENT (dispatched), RY (public transport)
22 Last letter from girl in borders of Oklahoma (5)
OMEGA : MEG (girl) contained by [in] O{klahom}A [borders]
25 Diver from area to north of this country (3)
AUK : A (area), UK (this country). It’s a bird.

50 comments on “Times Cryptic 27518”

  1. 22 minutes. Enjoyed GORMLESS, despite the misprint, which I missed despite working as an editor. No, BECAUSE I am an editor, because crosswords must never become a busman’s holiday, know?
  2. FOI DRAKE, which didn’t bode well, but I picked up speed with the downs. Biffed 3d from the A, hoping he was Mycenaean. My last ones were in the NW, where 2d was especially recalcitrant, until I finally noticed that I’d typed ROGUE at 11ac. Liked HUSBANDRY.
  3. I made hard work of this and was interrupted by her indoors and James Blunt. I prefer to solve without music.

    So 40 minutes.

    FOI 22dn OMEGA – the last shall be first.

    LOI 4dn SADDLE HORSE – only saddle of lamb where I come from. I did once have horse at a Torino golf club, with Sr. Agnelli.

    COD 8ac HUSBANDRY as per Kev.

    WOD LOTUSLAND which has escaped me, thus far.

    WOW 16dn GORMLESS Is there such a word as GORM? I too missed the typo in the clue – too small to notice on the print-out.

    MER at 18dn DORMANT which is inactive – sleeping – suspended, whilst lethargic is sluggish or slow.

    Edited at 2019-11-26 04:43 am (UTC)

    1. I was planning to make that point, but ODE has dormant as: (of an animal) having normal physical functions suspended or slowed down for a period of time, so I concluded the setter was covered.
    2. ‘You’re beautiful’ is Blunt’s big hit, so perhaps your wife was trying to send you a message.

      Or she’d smuggled a lover into your pad?

      1. Nah! He’s got a new one out, ‘Stop the Clock’ – so you are closer perhaps with scenario two.

        What’s happened to ‘Madame Avatar’ and have you split up?
        I still have no idea who she was.

        1. It’s part of my harem of avatars, so she may pop up (out?) again later.

          Presumably in Turin it was horse by fiat…

          1. It was a truly horrible day back in 1979 – Brigado Rossi on the offensive the Caribinieri and Polizei were everywhere.
  4. Finished in 25 minutes. A couple of new words in MARMOREAL and MASQUER and I liked GORMLESS, though didn’t spot the misprint either.

    I was surprised with the ‘milky infusion’ bit for MATE at 19d, and that this is one of the definitions in Collins. I thought yerba mate was meant to be drunk as an infusion without milk, although looking it up, I see that milk can be added. For what it’s worth, neither Chambers nor the OED mention ‘milky’ in their definitions. Anyway, some Prince or Princess of the Pampas – I’m sure this blog has one – will know.

    Thanks to setter and blogger

  5. Somehow today’s quickie seemed more of a struggle than this that went in pretty easily. I didn’t know LOTUSLAND or MARMOREAL, but the wordplay left little else possible. I missed the misprint too. 38′ for me with a short break in the middle texting.
  6. I just wanted to say that.
    For some reason, I’ve always loved that word.
    And I saw the typo… and was editing a piece for my job just… twenty minutes ago.
  7. 11:57. Another who missed the misprint… and liked GORMLESS. LOTUSLAND, SADDLE HORSE and MAROMOREAL all derived from wordplay. Wasted a bit of time wondering if the shrub was maybe hidden in Romulus. Wrong Remus. I liked SETBACK but COD to HUSBANDRY. Like Paul, I thought this was almost easier than today’s QC.
  8. 5:33. I whizzed through this, biffing away merrily for the most part. This might have been my first sub-5 minuter of 2019 but some of the answers (MARMOREAL, LOTUSLAND, MASQUER, SADDLE HORSE) were quite tricky. However when I needed the wordplay it was very clear so nothing slowed me down by much.
  9. 26 minutes, but unfortunately (and now I think about it, possibly not for the first time) with BRIAR rather than BRIER. No idea what was going on with the Remus bit, so I just assumed this was some odd Roman knowledge I didn’t know, and put in what I thought at the time was the only spelling of the shrub. Bah.
    1. I also had BRIAR, which is an alternative spelling, and which looked more normal to me, but obviously doesn’t parse. I dismissed Brer as I thought I’d only come up with it from Brer Rabbit, not realising that was what was being referred to – I thought it was a children’s character and had no idea what it had to do with Remus. Doh!
      1. I also had Briar. Never seen it spelt Brier. Convinced myself that it was “Brar Rabbit”!
  10. Finished in an hour with 1 error, briar for 10a.
    Couldn’t parse the no in agamemnon but knew the spelling.

    FOI sky
    LOI cohere
    COD setback.

  11. Failed with BRIAR, completely missing the reference and, like Matt, thinking Romulus and Remus must have had another bro called Brar.

    I found this only intermittently biffable, some of the vocab. being not so familiar to me, or unknown in the case of LOTUSLAND. So bravo to keriothe for the warp speed solve, and to verlaine for achieving warp factor 2 (4:27)

    Edited at 2019-11-26 07:54 am (UTC)

  12. This was a biff fest for me and I got slap happy, barely reading several cryptics, which resulted in an over-confident BRIAR spoiling my (for me) very rapid sub 30 minute time. I have a vague memory of the existence of Br’er Rabbit but would never have associated it with the name Remus anyway.


  13. I remembered that story well from childhood. No problems today and some biffing was hard to avoid.
  14. Easy puzzle with only some quirky vocab adding interest. A lot of biffing from obvious definitions such as 17A. Vague memory of MATE for the drink. Knew Uncle Remus.
  15. … which I would normally spell as ‘briar’ too, but we did read Brer Rabbit stories at primary school, so I had no problems. Joan Baez didn’t spell it out as she sang Barbara Allen. 24 minutes on this , everything parsed, so I came here thinking I was on fire, only to find that everyone else was supercharged too. CODs to the GORMLESS SETBACK crosser, which caused a chuckle despite the misprint. I too had a slight MER at DORMANT. Nice puzzle. Thank you Jack and setter.
    1. I may have missed the Uncle Remus mention back then. I think the alternate spelling of the word I typically spell “briar” didn’t make it to my Big List simply because the “br’er” bit was simply clued with “brother” so I got the answer right on the day.

      I had heard of “Br’er Rabbit”, and I think even had one of the stories in a book as a child, but I have no recollection of the author’s name. A quick Amazon search suggests they’re not the most fashionable of children’s books these days.

      The setters are going to have to switch to Disney film references if my occasional connections with the youth zeitgeist are anything to go by. (Frozen princess’ jumble sale? (4))

      Edited at 2019-11-26 10:29 am (UTC)

      1. We had a delightful Disney clue in Last Friday’s QC…
        Initially blubbing and more blubbing in Disney film (5)
        Laughed? I nearly cried.
  16. 18′, with COD to HUSBANDRY.

    GORM is a bit like GRUNTLED, which doesn’t exist.

    UR may be the obvious old city, but I can’t see how it is ‘primeval’, except in the sense of ‘instinctive’ for crossword solvers.

    Thanks jack and setter.

    1. Isn’t even the traditional birthplace of Abraham ancient enough to be called primeval? By the way, when I’m being polite in debate, I say that my antagonist is less than gormful.
  17. Nice puzzle, a variety of things which aren’t utterly obscure but probably wouldn’t crop up much in most people’s lives outside crosswords. I always thought of mate as some sort of green tea, not that I’ve ever thought about it much. Enjoyed the penny drop moment when I realised Romulus had nothing to do with 10ac.
  18. 14:29 – but I visited an entertaining MASSEUR when I really should have gone to the ball. I also had AMATEER; so I was even more in the pink.


  19. Okay, here’s what I did. I solved it, parsed it perfectly – ‘ah, yes; brer with an i in it’ – and then I wrote in briar. Thanks jack.
  20. I did quite a lot of biffing today, not bothering to parse FRENCH CANADIAN or ORDINARY SEAMAN,although I did know about the Ordinary part of the Mass. GORMLESS(spotted the misprint), SADDLE HORSE and MARMOREAL all constructed from wordplay, and recognised afterwards. I dabbled with Romulus and wrote in BRIAR from definition, but then remembered Br’er Rabbit and changed it to BRIER before moving on. Also had a MER at DORMANT. Liked HUSBANDRY. Banged AGAMEMNON in from N_N at the end and hoped he was Mycenaean. Enjoyable puzzle. 20:57. Thanks setter and Jack.
  21. Same as others, lots of confident biffing, HUSBANDRY a reluctant LOI. 30 minutes with one interruption. Liked SETBACK. Never hear of a saddle horse but it had to be.
  22. As luck would have it, I looked up Song of the South on Wikipedia only yesterday, so 10a couldn’t have been timed better for me. I read some Brer Rabbit as a child but (until yesterday) couldn’t have told you Uncle Remus was involved.

    Quite a soft one today, though very nice. ORDINARY was unknown to me – I’m a member of a Baptist church; we don’t go in for it – but slotted in easily enough. 7m 29s altogether.

    I missed the typo but invented another one, misreading ‘Driver’ in 25d.

  23. Slowish at 27’46. Spent too long parsing what I’d biffed. 10 reminds me of a line of T.S.Eliot’s I’ve never really comprehended and am finally realising I’m not meant to, as it were. (The line before it, the fourth here, may well be his worst line of poetry.)

    The chill ascends from feet to knees,
    The fever sings in mental wires.
    If to be warmed, then I must freeze
    And quake in frigid purgatorial fires
    Of which the flame is roses, and the smoke is briars.

  24. Bifftastic.

    Completely failed to parse ORDINARY SEAMAN and AGAMEMNON though they were my second and third in. I was born a Catholic but am mot familiar with ORDINARY in that sense. HUSBANDRY also biffed based entirely on seeing SBAND.

    Forgotten MATE as an infusion.

    Remembered BRIAR/BRIER mistakr from last time. Fortunately spotted the Brer ref early.

    Didn’t know SADDLE HORSE but plain enough from checkers.

    Edited at 2019-11-26 01:48 pm (UTC)

  25. ….but certainly not DORMANT (coughs discreetly and repositions eyebrow).

    I scratched my head over Remus’s (not REBUS’s) brother but saw through it quickly enough. Romulus are a semi-pro football team in Birmingham incidentally. I had the Br’er Rabbit stories as a child – I particularly remember The Tar Baby.

    I saw the misprint, but still had to biff GORMLESS, and also my LOI which was a DNK.

    TIME 8:08

  26. Another BRIAR here. No time as I fell asleep. Shame I missed the BR’ER bit as I used to read it to my kids, now grown up.
  27. I had a tussle with Joker on the QC before coming here and, paradoxically, this did not seem too difficult in comparison.
    I had most of it done in just over 30 minutes with BRIAR ( a pipe?) corrected to BRIER after some thought.
    I had two left 2d and 4d for a long time before I thought I must have made an error. HIERARCHY at 9a did not pass muster when properly reviewed. Having corrected that it still took ages to derive the unknown MASQUER and finally to saddle the horse at 4d. All correct in 55:41 is a great result for me. I may be back tomorrow as surely it will be too wet to play golf.
  28. NHO BRIER, but it had to be.

    Considerably easier than the QC today and finished in 32 satisfying minutes. I actually wished it had taken longer given the delays on SE trains tonight.

    Thanks for the immaculate blog, Jack.


  29. Started at 4.30 and didn’t find it that easy. Stopped after about an hour with four to go as I had stuff to do. Came back after supper – must have made a difference because those last four fell into place in a couple of minutes!

    I did see the typo – ex-editorial eyes were working here. Gormless – such a great word. I think I said that last time it appeared, too. Lotusland was a bit strange – I’ve only ever seen it as the Land of the Lotus Eaters.

    Very little biffing – but all correct. All parsed bar one. As usual, I couldn’t see how the self-referencing clue worked at 26a. My brain just doesn’t work that way.

    FOI Compass
    LOI Setback
    COD Marmoreal, because NHO but worked it out from wordplay
    Time Just over an hour

    Thanks setter and Jack, for the very clear and enlightening blog 😊

  30. 21:35 I found this pretty easy going though the ordinary bit of the mass was unknown and I dithered over the rest of that one. I remembered Uncle Remus and Br’er rabbit, so having spelt it briar on its previous outing I got it right this time around.
  31. One of my better days. A very quick solve for me. 16 minutes. Almost a record. No problems.Ann

Comments are closed.