Times Cryptic 27668

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

Solving time: 66 minutes. A lot of this was hard, I thought.

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 Profit about to go up (4,2)
CASH IN : CA (about), SHIN (to go up). The entry in SOED suggests that ‘shin’ on its own can mean ‘climb up’ or ‘climb down’ but then in the examples given it has only ‘shin up’ and ‘shin down’ which casts some doubt on it. I must admit I”m not convinced it works in the clue but am open to correction.
4 Superior points he passed on by mistake (8)
SNOBBISH : S N (points – of the compass), OB (he passed on), BISH (mistake – schoolboy slang from a golden era )
10 American doing bodywork‘s talked of additional painting (9)
MORTICIAN : Sounds like [talked] “more Titian” (additional painting)
11 Famous Red Square building’s fourth from the right (5)
LENIN : NINE (square) +  {bui}L{ding’s} [fourth] reversed [from the right]
12 What’s coming off a track as a result of cracks? (6,8)
CANNED LAUGHTER : Cryptic definition with ‘track’ referring to a recording
14 Old journalist‘s vitality, say, returning on vacation (5)
PEPYS : PEP (vitality), then S{a}Y [on vacation] reversed [returning]. This link is not for those of a pc sensitive nature.
16 Smoother and sounder without ultimate in bland drivel (9)
SANDPAPER : SANER (sounder) containing [without] {blan}D [ultimate] + PAP (drivel)
18 Record only small tunes again (9)
READJUSTS : READ (record), JUST (only), S (small)
20 The girl, alas, in retreat, letting out the odd cry (5)
AARGH : {t}H{e} G{i}R{l} A{l}A{s} [letting out the odd] and reversed [in retreat]
21 Reason for buoyancy in floodgate, set loose with force (4-4,6)
FEEL-GOOD FACTOR : Anagram [set loose] of FLOODGATE FORCE. Not much of this around at the moment!
25 Poet’s eye in the end caught by two antelopes (5)
ORIBI : ORB (poet’s eye) with its end (B) contained [caught] by II (two)
26 Extraordinarily, achieves first in geography follow that! (4,5)
GIVE CHASE : Anagram [extraordinarily] of ACHIEVES G{eography} [first]
27 Play part with inner energy note to the end (4,4)
PEER GYNT : PT (part) containing [with inner] E{n}ERGY N [note – n – to the end]
28 Authoritarian deputy ran the shows (6)
TYRANT : Hidden [shows] in {depu}TY RAN T{he}
1 Patience maybe displayed by manager in firm with rising ambition (5,5)
COMIC OPERA : CO (firm), then COPER (manager) contained by [in] AIM (ambition) reversed [rising]. Gilbert & Sullivan.
2 Father gets new warning (5)
SIREN : SIRE (father), N (new). Escapee from the QC.
3 Reserve shown by old company head (7)
ICINESS : ICI (old company – Imperial Chemical Industries), NESS (head)
5 Grounded winger with United after end of season (5)
NANDU : {seaso}N [end], AND (with), U (united). Never heard of this, but it’s otherwise known as the more familiar ‘rhea’, a long-standing crossword favourite often clued as ‘flightless bird’.
6 Page from battered Hello devoured by bachelor quietly (7)
BELLHOP :  Anagram [battered] of HELLO contained by B (bachelor) +  P (quietly)
7 Landlord to observe in secret (9)
INNKEEPER : KEEP (observe – a holy day, for example) contained by [in] INNER (secret)
8 Angry motorist may    give off stink! (4)
HONK : Two meanings
9 Is inclined to go after successlots available to offers? (3,5)
HIT LISTS : HIT (success),  LISTS (is inclined). I don’t understand this definition. HIT LISTS are of people to kill or things to do. Maybe ‘lot’ is slang for someone to be disposed of? On edit:  So near yet so far! Many thanks to isla3 (below) for pointing out that an ‘offer’ is someone who offs people, an assassin. And Kevin for clarifying  ‘lots’…as in an auction; a list of victims. I knew all this but failed to spot the connection.
13 Prefect’s companion very keen to seize the day (6,4)
ARTHUR DENT : ARDENT (very keen) contains [o seize] THURS (day). A reference to characters in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
15 Something held against conflict that’s dragged on (5,4)
PEACE PIPE : Cryptic definition
17 Void seen after dizzying plunge (8)
NOSEDIVE : Anagram [after dizzying] of VOID SEEN
19 Shocking reminder that keeps army officer at home (7)
JOLTING : JOG (reminder) containing [that keeps] LT (army officer) + IN (at home)
20 Another thing entirely, indeed, involving guerrilla army resistance (1,3,3)
A FAR CRY : AY (indeed) contains [involving] FARC (guerrilla army – unknown to me) + R (resistance). Wiki advises: The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—People’s Army (Spanish: Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia—Ejército del Pueblo, FARC–EP and FARC) is a guerrilla movement involved in the continuing Colombian armed conflict starting in 1964.
22 Welshman maybe removing hat, revealing ear? (5)
ORGAN : {m}ORGAN (Welshman maybe) [removing hat – first letter]
23 Cheers enveloping Irish after clinching a triple crown (5)
TIARA : TA (cheers) containing [enveloping] IR (Irish) itself containing [after clinching] A. I didn’t understand ‘triple’ in the definition, but SOED has ‘tiara’ as a richly ornamental three-crowned diadem formerly worn by popes.
24 It follows higher course to start with? (4)
SOUP : SO (it follows), UP (higher)

94 comments on “Times Cryptic 27668”

  1. I started off very slowly–FOI TIARA!–and pretty much continued that way for a half-hour, solving a clue here, a clue there. I had a ? at ‘triple’, too. DNK NANDU, HONK (neither of which are in my ODE). My eyebrow didn’t move at CASH IN when I finally parsed it, but e.g. ‘shinned the pole’ does sound quite odd; ODE has one example of ‘shin over’ (a wall), but no just plain ‘shin’. I took ‘lots’ to be as in an auction; a list of victims. A tough puzzle, but therefore rewarding to finish it.

    Edited at 2020-05-19 02:18 am (UTC)

    1. Thanks for clarifying ‘lots’. HONK and NANDU are missing from the larger SOED too but both are in Collins (HONK as British / Australian slang). Chambers has the smell but not the bird.
      1. Curious. My Chambers (2003 cd) ha:
        nandu, nandoo or nhandu (n) the rhea, or S American ostrich.
        Perhaps it’s been expunged from later editions
        1. It’s in the current edition of Chambers with exactly the same definition.

          Edited at 2020-05-19 09:24 am (UTC)

        2. No, you’re right. It’s down to me yet again using online Chambers as a source instead of taking the trouble to pick up the book. I wish Chambers would make it clearer that their free online edition is a cut down version of the real thing.
  2. Too tough for me, right off the wavelength and eventually beaten by SOUP, PEER GYNT and ORIBI. All of which should be gettable.
    I did parse 9 down, I think – an ‘offer’ is someone who offs people, an assassin.
    1. Many thanks, isla, for making the crucial connection. I have amended the entry accordingly.
  3. I too took a long time to get going, with almost nothing going in on my first run down the clues. But I got there in the end in about 45 mins. I was onto Patience immediately (except I tried SAVOY OPERA for too long). And I wrote ART DENT in immediately since I picked up the Prefect reference immediately too. My LOI was NANDU since I’d never heard of it. I was looking for a three-letter bird to fill in between N and U and nearly went for ANT (some of them have wings). I got FEEL GOOD FACTOR but completely missed the anagrist. I thought it was an anagram of “floodgate set” with OR on the end for “force”. It was close enough to write in the answer from the checkers, although it’s not quite right as an anagram.
  4. Feeling chuffed to get 5a NANDU after 37mins, failed at the last 25a antelope hurdle, where OVIDI seemed more likely than other contenders. Particularly annoying when Oribi have been encountered on their previous migrations across the puzzle grids.
  5. two incorrect. Helluva crossword for well over an hour!

    At 9dn I put in BID LISTS = auction lots but ………..

    and 5dn I had NANIU as an &lit as ‘NANI’ (Luís Carlos Almeida da Cunha) was a winger with ‘U’nited – Manchester that is, but… my LOI


    COD 13dn Arthur Dent (Ford Prefect!)

    WOD 16ac SANDPAPER – in Oz its a bird apparently, also what was held aloft by the South Africans, Pakistanis, Indians and English when the Aussies were at Edgbaston last time out! ‘Alas Smith and Bancroft.’

    I also enjoyed PEER GYNT from the Ikea Little Theatre.

    Thank-you setter – whoever you are!

    Edited at 2020-05-19 03:38 am (UTC)

  6. Which is the odd one out?

    GraphExeter, Yo-Yo, Rat, Strav, Barbi and Mah.

    Please blurt out answer asap.

    Edited at 2020-05-19 04:11 am (UTC)

  7. Very difficult puzzle that was hard work but ultimately rewarding. Tuesday used to be my blogging day – glad I didn’t get this one and great job by Jack. Thank you setter.
  8. 70 minutes before coming here with ORIBI and NANDU missing, and A FAR CRY and HIT LISTS unparsed, despite having been educated about ‘offs’ recently. I’ve never heard of the Colombian guerillas. COD to MORTICIAN, which took a long time to see but brought a brief smile to my furrowed brow, as did ARTHUR DENT. A very hard puzzle. Well done Jack, and an AARGH to the setter.
  9. 35 mins pre-brekker.
    When I got Nandu I thought, oh-oh.
    Mostly I liked the first and last: Cash in, Soup.
    Thanks setter and J
  10. The best crossword in ages, especially due to the HHGTTG reference. Thank you setter!
  11. 24:48. Aargh! That was chewy! FOI, like Kevin, TIARA after more than 6 minutes, the BELLHOP next. I failed to parse a A FAR CRY and also had a ? at “triple” in 23D.LOI HIT LISTS. I had PEACE PIPE as just a cryptic definition, but “held” seemed odd. NANDU unknown but the wordplay was clear. I liked CASH IN and AARGH.
  12. 40.27 but defeated by nandu. Never heard of it and wouldn’t have guessed it in a million years. Nocandu for me.

    Apart from that, I found this an excellent puzzle with clever clues almost too numerous to mention- but I’ll try. Cash In, Aargh, Arthur Dent , Peace Pipe and Peer Gynt my favourites.

    Vanquished by the setter but not depressed. Will read in awe the inputs of those who managed under 20 minutes.

  13. I was in Bogotá eating a very nice steak outdoors when the last-ever (to date) FARC bomb went off a few streets away. Not something you forget, which helped with 20d, but not with the SW of this toughie. FOI was BELLHOP, LOI after an age of blank staring was SOUP. Some defs in this puzzle that transcended oblique but all fair; just very clever. Over an hour for me but fun all the way.

    Lovely to see the brilliant Douglas Adams making an appearance. If anyone hasn’t encountered it, one of my favourite books is The Meaning Of Liff by him and John Lloyd. A compendium of definitions for which there ought to be a word, paired with appropriate place names mainly from the UK. A favourite example:

    Grimbister (n) Large body of cars on a motorway all travelling at exactly the speed limit because one of them is a police car.

    Edited at 2020-05-19 09:41 am (UTC)

  14. AARGH! A hard one there, glad others found it hard too. NHO NANDU. I guess PEACE PIPE is something you hold (and drag on) to be against a conflict. LOI SOUP.

    COD: LENIN, excellent def/wordplay split between Red and Square. I liked PEPYS too where the clue takes ages for a tiny bit of wordplay.

    ‘I have never lived so merrily as this plague-time’ said Pepys – a lesson for us all.

    Yesterday’s answer: the last letter to appear for the first time in zero, one, two, three, … is c – which appears in one octillion.

    Today’s question: which of today’s answers is one letter different from a bird?

    1. The one that was clued as a homphone to said bird maybe 5 or 8 years ago, to everyone’s chagrin except one (Jerry? Keri?) who claimed awful homophones were fun.
      1. A quick search of LJ reveals lots of instances of people complaining about a past appearance of this homophone but as far as I can tell the only time it’s actually been used was in Mephisto 2477 back in 2008: ‘Wading bird that’s smooth to a Cockney’.
        1. Must be the daily, I never look at the Mephisto.
          26119 on June 8 2015.
          The clue alleges cockney pronunciation, and is apparently not on its first outing. A few winces from contributors, but my memory is wrong, no-one defends the clue.
      2. Certainly sounds like me .. I am very easy-going when it comes to homophones.
    2. Thanks for the Q
      I was trying to make the bird fit the clue for ages.
  15. I don’t know, you struggle against a clearly superior intellect for 45 minutes and then can’t pick out the letters in a reverse sequence. My entry (above) didn’t look wrong then, but I suppose it does now, though I’ll bet it’s been spelled dozens of different ways in those war comics I used to read as a lad, usually emerging from some unfortunate Fritz impaled by Tommy.
    I have purple shins from not twigging Dent Arthur Dent for way too long: I was too taken up with schoolboy memories of dastardly, power mad prefects. These days, when HHGG comes up on Pointless, its characters often gets nul points, so I’m not that surprised that some here registered a who?!
    A brilliant, dense puzzle: well sorted out, everyone, especially Jack.
    1. You’re right, z. I remember Wellingborough Grammar School in 1970 as a forbidding place policed by seemingly unregulated prefects with far more disciplinary powers than teachers have today; they were backed up unquestioningly by a dinosaur of a headmaster who would thrash anyone who attempted to stand up to them. Some of them were, frankly, vindictive zealots.
  16. DNF
    I remembered offers = hitmen; drifted away to solve some other clues, then came back to it and put in win lists. No idea why. So dnf in 55 mins 🙁
    Thanks jack
  17. Not sure why Read and Record are synonymous? Help would be appreciated!
    1. I had the same thought. Lexico has ‘Inspect and record the figure indicated on (a measuring instrument) ‘I’ve come to read the gas meter’. This is a bit tenuous – the reading and recording are arguably separate activities here – but it’s the best I can find!
      1. Thanks K. Yes it is a bit tenuous and I’m surprised no-one else even gave it a MER!
        1. A good point. On going through I thought ‘read’ must have been treated as a noun – eg ‘a good read’ – which was a bit of a stretch to ‘record’, I suppose.
  18. Thoroughly enjoyed this (quite difficult) challenge, especially the Hitchhiker reference (I am in the generation who heard the first radio series at an impressionable age). Never heard of the cheeky NANDU, but obviously didn’t need to have done. Spent some time eliminating gnus, and kudus and the like, while wondering if there was an antelope called a kat, which would lead to Keats. Suspect I was thinking of a kob, now I consult Google to remind myself of the many different sorts.
    1. Re. HHGTTG. I bought a record of the radio programme the day before it went on sale. (1978 or 79)Douglas Adams was guest of honour at a sf convention and had a batch delivered to our hotel to be autographed. At the time it was still relatively unknown. I later lent my autographed record to a “friend” who refused to return it. Would probably be worth something now. Do you remember the theme music? Journey of the Sorcerer or something. I can still hum it. Great show.
  19. That was definitely tough. Tempted to resort to guesswork for a number of clues, I resisted and finally got there, but with 45 minutes on the clock. Win list nearly went in, as well as coin it for one across, and Peer was nearly Pier. Good to see Arthur Dent making an appearance. We loved the old radio adaptation. Some lovely challenging clueing, for which many thanks.
  20. …too tough for me. Used aids on too many clues.
    I did like LENIN. My LOI was SOUP. Simple in the end but hard to work out.
    Well done, Jack for blogging that.

    Edited at 2020-05-19 10:30 am (UTC)

  21. A puzzle and a half! Lots to admire here. I was off to a reasonably quick start with SIREN and ICINESS, which also gave me CASH IN. HONK was another early entry. NANDU was my LOI. I’d never heard of it, but couldn’t shoehorn EMU in, and eventually twigged WITH=AND. I associated prefect with Ford quite quickly, but needed a run through the days of the week before the HHGG connection broke through. The SW gave me less trouble that it might have done as I spotted PEER GYNT quickly, which helped with SOUP. ORIBI came without too much angst too. I also wondered what triple was doing in 23d, but as Jack mentions it’s a Papal thing. AARGH took some spotting! I was quite surprised to find myself all green after 30:08. Thanks setter and Jack.

    Edited at 2020-05-19 10:43 am (UTC)

  22. Great puzzle, for which I was on the wavelength, though it was obviously tough. Annoyingly, should have been under twenty minutes, but was held up by the NW corner. I knew the answer I was looking for should be ‘canned laughter’, but somehow misread or mistook the first word as having five letters, like ‘piped’ or ‘taped’. The C would have given me 1d, and the N 2d much quicker, and 1a and 10a would then have been obvious.

    Liked mortician – memories of the Addams Family.

  23. Found this v. hard and equally rewarding, marred for me only by a typical piece of forgetfulness on my part, neglecting to return to ‘win lists’ which I knew was almost certainly wrong. Beaten, in fact, by my own exhaustion as with all squares filled in I simply ground to a halt. A splendid puzzle and finely blogged. Had no idea about Arthur Dent, The Hitch-hiker’s Guide not being my kind of humour, likewise Monty Python, Blackadder etc. etc., and yet the name rang the faintest of bells. Nandu a new one on me but an easy enough catch.
  24. A memorable day. I hereby report the slowest solving time ever seen here – 2:45:30. Sad but true. Still, in the end all solved and (with the exception of ‘triple’ in TIARA) parsed, including the unknown NANDU.

    I missed out on yesterday’s so I’m off to do that now. Here’s hoping – only 2:45 whatever to beat.

    1. Appreciate your reports Mr b., and all the others it makes this so much more interesting, so just to let you know you’re not alone as a slower solver. I enjoy the challenge and usually know the references and parse most things (not Lenin this time). Many beautifully constructed clues here, it’s the sort of high tariff puzzle I enjoy as clearly I am not a speedster. I realise too that due to my lateness this entry will probably be passed by as everyone moves on to today’s challenge, but for future blog-miners …..

      Very well hidden: TYRANT

      1. Thanks for your comments. I received email notification in the same way as our blogger, who I see has also kindly responded to you. Good to know I’m not alone, including in our LOI’s. As you imply, speed and enjoyment are not necessarily related and often in my case the relationship is an inverse one. Take your pick of the clichés – smelling the roses, admiring the view, etc – but there is some truth to them for us non-speedsters.
      2. Just to let you know that the daily blogger (in this case myself) is notified by email whenever something is added to one of their previous blogs, so at least one person reads comments posted late – sometimes after years have passed! I enjoyed reading Mr B’s comments and your response.
  25. 27:47. I found that very hard, particularly a small number of clues (NANDU, LENIN, SOUP, ORIBI, PEACE PIPE) that held me up for absolutely ages at the end. The SW corner in particular was like pulling teeth, and I came close to giving up.
    Thanks for explaining LENIN: I had no idea what was going on and just put it in from the checkers and (wrongly as it turned out) the reference to Red Square.
    It’s very satisfying to solve a puzzle like this though so thank you setter.

    Edited at 2020-05-19 10:06 am (UTC)

  26. Tough one today, though reviewing the clues now I’m not quite sure why. I didn’t know NANDU either but the rest was familiar. COD was MORTICIAN, and LOI was SOUP after a brief struggle with the SW corner. A few remarks.
    (1) SHIN is in OED meaning to ‘climb up’ but the only quote is from 1907, so slightly before my time (2) I am struggling with the B from ORB being referenced in the clue – ‘poet’s eye’ gives ORB, which leaves only ‘in the end’ cluing the B. Don’t others find this dodgy? (3) I’m not convinced you can drag on a pipe (OED agrees it’s only cigarettes), though it’s otherwise a great clue!
    1. 2: I’ve no problem with ‘in the end’ cluing the B of ORB for enclosure. We get that sort of reference all the time concerning removal of a last letter so using it like this is a welcome variation on a familiar ruse in my book.

      3: Collins has: If you take a drag on a cigarette or pipe that you are smoking, you take in air through it.

      Edited at 2020-05-19 11:28 am (UTC)

  27. ….and I threw in the towel with four missing. Annoyingly, I considered ORIBI, but couldn’t parse it, and saw PEACE but not PIPE. I wouldn’t have got PEER GYNT if I’d been at it all day. SOUP was hiding in almost plain sight.

    I knew I was in trouble when the final across clue was my FOI, and apart from those four I also needed Jack’s parsings for LENIN and COMIC OPERA. NHO FARC.

    Tomorrow is another day….

    COD PEACE PIPE (beat me fair and square)

  28. 18:54. Absolutely brilliant stuff and as others have said, any puzzle with an H2G2 reference is to be welcomed.

    COMIC OPERA was half-biffed and NANDU got from wordplay only but for pretty much everything else you had to nail both the definition and the wordplay which is how it ought to be, say I.

    Too many dazzling clues to pick a COD, thanks setter & Jack.

  29. Thought I was going to end up in the SOUP with this but in the end I had it all sorted out except for LENIN (thanks Jack). Like Keriothe I wondered if it had something to do with the line-up of tombs in the Kremlin wall or the pecking order among the politburo standing on the wall. We had that Ford Prefect reference in a TLS clue a while back and it completely baffled me at the time so I was glad to have managed to remember it. I note that our TFTT blogger George came home in an amazing 12 minutes and Verlaine in 10. 27.18 for me.
  30. Lovely crossword this, much enjoyed..
    For 1ac I thought it was a DD, profit + cash in as in cash in one’s chips, ie drop off the twig.. “About to go up” .. admittedly there is an element of optimism there, could equally have been down 🙂
    No problem with oribi, my daughter has the head of one on her living room wal .. as for nandu, nho it but still a pretty easy clue, surely?

    Edited at 2020-05-19 11:52 am (UTC)

    1. Glad somebody liked it. Not a great example of his work by any means but in his early years on TV he was a formidable talent and innovator and that tends to be forgotten now.
      1. Oh no, not just his early years .. his last series, forgot the title, had some truly and wonderfully surreal sketches. Such a shame that his more childish shenanigans have remained in the public memory instead, and probably kiboshed repeats. A “best of” show though would be brilliant. He was a very talented and creative comedian, on his day
        On edit, having read the Wikipedia entry, which is quite sympathetic and complimentary, it must have just carried on being called “The Benny Hill Show.” .. it carried on until 1989, later still overseas.

        Edited at 2020-05-19 12:14 pm (UTC)

        1. How did Benny Hill enter stage left?

          I most heartily agree with J&J re-Mr. Hill. Brilliant but flawed. My dad was in ENSA with him – the Benny Hill stories flowed and flowed in my youth. Knocking down the Colonel one morning in his jeep is all I can remember, fortunately. Highly gifted and dangerous.

          1. If you follow my link in the blog at PEPYS you will understand.

            Thrown under a bus by Thames TV in the days when years of loyal service were not ‘rewarded’ like that. Died alone in front of the TV in his sparsely furnished home with loads of money in the bank. His work was his life

            Edited at 2020-05-19 01:09 pm (UTC)

      2. A great comedian and one of the last of the great comics who understood the physicality of humour, in the tradition of Chaplin and Keaton. And a very clever writer.
  31. Thanks setter. I really enjoyed this. One of those crosswords where I trusted the setter even when I saw the dreaded word antelope. Too many good clues to pick one out.
    1. Apologies. Apparently not logged in while enjoying a glass of wine in the sunshine.
  32. A very good puzzle. It’s interesting, getting here late, that different to the usual day where most people have difficult with the same one or two clues, today almost every clue had one person who found it difficult and another who found it the most accessible. Thanks setter. Very well blogged, jack
  33. How about, “The speedometer read / recorded 220 mph before the Veyron crashed.”? Jeffrey
    1. Thanks J, good idea but that accounts for ‘recorded’ rather than ‘record’, so we are still looking, I fear.
      1. Okay, I wondered about this when writing the blog but then found ‘read/record’ and vice versa is in all (i.e. both) my thesauruses, so I decided not to query it. One can argue over the niceties of grammar, subtleties of difference in meaning etc but to me it’s no great stretch to adapt anon’s example to ‘what did the speedometer read/record?’ which in common parlance effectively mean the same thing.
        1. I think that’s getting close now Jack, if the reading / recording is being done by a machine rather than a human.

          E.g. the thermometer read / recorded -40, what did the Geiger counter read / record?

  34. As everyone else has said, a superb crossword. I’m just kicking myself that I opted for ‘peace-line’ on the basis that a line can be held, but the parsing was, of course, incomplete and the answer wrong.
    Perhaps I’ll do better tomorrow.
  35. I took “lots” as “bunches of people” – “look at that lot over there!” – but the plural seems strange now I think about it.
    1. Actually, it isn’t strange as HIT LISTS is also plural. One hit list is a LOT (of people) available to assassinate. I would stand by my original appraisal.
  36. Brilliant puzzle with many clues that you had to work for, rather than the usual bunch of “freebies” if you’ve been doing crosswords for long enough. Best in ages! Loses marks for not being scheduled for a Friday, of course.
    1. Maybe I was owed one such since Friday was my regular blogging day for many a year.
  37. I started this too late last night to be in good form (and maybe I just didn’t want to think about a MORTICIAN) and finally got back to it a little while ago. Gratified to have it all correct—though I didn’t know who this DENT chap was—and it provided just the break I needed in my workday. (Better get back to my desk now…)
    1. I’d say you Americans need to get on the HHGTG train, but since there was a movie where Ford Prefect was played by Mos Def of all people, I’m pretty sure you already have!
      1. Yes, many of my fellow Americans have been into it for yonks. Mais pas moi. I guess I would pick the movie if I wanted to familiarize myself with it. DIdn’t know that about the casting!
          1. I was assuming the movie would be a crash course that would tell me briefly what HGTHG fans were talking about. The various radio series seemingly go on forever and I can’t imagine making that kind of commitment. Maybe when I was younger… I find it more difficult nowadays to achieve the willing suspension of disbelief…
  38. I have been solving crosswords for many years and, in particular, all the Times and Telegraph puzzles and I would expect to rattle through them reasonably smartly. Not so with this one! Even after the Telegraph Toughie was completed, admittedly a non too taxing offering from Dada today, I had a slack handful of lights entered in this dashed grid. I was simply not on the same wavelength as this unknown opponent. I feel a little cheated because it wasn’t flagged up as anything particularly challenging, say, a competition puzzle. Also, I have never ever encountered NANDU as a synonym for the rhea in getting on for half a century of this caper.
  39. Bit late, but then it took me all day in bite sizes. In the end I had a WIN LISTS plus a typo so didn’t make it after all that. I lift my glass to that man in the dressing gown!
    Since my wife is an avid poet, I am constantly put in the position of Arthur and Ford. And no, some of her poems aren’t that bad….
  40. 45:55 I found this a real struggle and it was a sense of achievement to get it over the line. I think I had something of the look of Edvard Munch’s famous painting about me as I contemplated 20ac for an age. A couple like Peer Gynt and Oribi were biffed with pennies dropping much later most had to be dug out the hard way. So many nice touches. Spent ages wondering if Pepys was a journalist before twigging that he was a journal-ist. Nandu the only nho but it sounded like it might possibly be a chicken (of the genus piri-piri perhaps).
  41. Guy. Take my fellow NY-Jerk advice: listen to the podcast or read the book. You will not be sorry.

    Edited at 2020-05-20 03:42 am (UTC)

    1. Well, it finally dawned on me that this is a comedy, and not earnest sci fi as I assumed, so I’ll no doubt eventually give it a shot.

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