Times Cryptic 27674

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

I nodded off whilst solving this (no disrespect to the quality of the puzzle, I was just tired) so I have no solving time to offer today, but I don’t think it was particularly arduous.

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 Mammal eating mammal, a cold dish (7)
CASSATA : CAT (mammal) containing [eating] ASS (mammal), A. Neapolitan ice cream containing fruit and nuts. Wall’s (or perhaps Lyon’s) launched their own version of this sometime in the 1960’s and it was delicious, but I don’t think it lasted long in their range.
5 Killers opening drink a little backward (7)
PISTOLS : SLOT (opening) + SIP (drink a little) reversed [backward]. I wasted a lot of time trying to justify POISONS here.
9 Old commander, on another occasion, dropping in (3)
AGA : AGA{in} (on another occasion) [dropping ‘in’]. An old crossword favourite, so often replaced these days by the cooking appliance.
10 Modify it with a relevant option (11)
ALTERNATIVE : Anagram [modify] of IT A RELEVANT
11 Fish cutting back, powerfully (8)
PILCHARD : CLIP (cutting) reversed [back], HARD (powerfully]. I have happy memories of early TV advertisements for Glenryck Pilchards but I’m not sure I ever sampled their product, or indeed that I have ever knowingly eaten a pilchard in my life.
12 Yours truly, a snooty type, reviewed Japanese art (6)
BONSAI : I (yours truly) + A + SNOB (snooty type) reversed [reviewed]
15 Animal wife evidently caught? (4)
NEWT : W (wife) is within NET so ‘evidently caught’
16 Disappointed only wine available at party then? Daughter going in! (7,3)
CHEESED OFF : D (daughter) contained by [going in] CHEESE OFF (only wine available at wine-and-cheese party then?)
18 Problem with failing, one’s fragile (3,7)
TEA SERVICE : TEASER (problem), VICE (failing). A good quality bone china tea service might indeed be fragile.
19 A glass object allowing some light in? (4)
AJAR : A, JAR (glass object). A door left AJAR could allow light into a darkened room.
22 Charge again, or deal’s off (6)
RELOAD : Anagram [off] of OR DEAL
23 Line in opera beginning to drift went this way and that (8)
SLALOMED : L (line) contained by [in] SALOME (opera – by Richard Strauss), D{rift} [beginning]. My LOI.
25 What almost destroyed west London district (11)
WALTHAMSTOW : Anagram [destroyed] of WHAT ALMOST, then W (west). Nice misdirection here as WALTHAMSTOW is actually in North East London.
27 Odd bits dropping off kitchen freezer? (3)
ICE : {k}I{t}C{h}E{n} [odd bits dropping off]
28 Impressing me, country reversed rule (7)
REGIMEN : NIGER (country) reversed containing [impressing} ME
29 He‘s perhaps right, intellectual artist leaning to the left? (4,3)
RARE GAS : R (right), then SAGE (intellectual) + RA (artist) reversed [leaning to the left]. He = helium – a rare, noble, inert gas.
1 Item climber starting off over slope has on for support? (7)
CRAMPON : C{limber} [starting off], RAMP (slope), ON
2 Delicate creature, get down dog! (11)
SWALLOWTAIL : SWALLOW (get down – drink), TAIL (dog). This can be a fish, a bird, or a butterfly, the last being the most likely to qualify as ‘delicate’. Still rather a loose definition though, to go with “one’s fragile” at 18ac.
3 Native American quickly burying head in hands (6)
APACHE : APACE (quickly) containing [burying] H{ands} [head]
4 Sweet, own scent (10)
AFTERSHAVE : AFTERS (sweet – pudding), HAVE (own)
5 Opening   left for sailors (4)
PORT : Two meanings
6 Veteran comatose as one drags chains in (8)
SEASONED : The clue hides [chains in] {comato}SE AS ONE D{rags}. A veteran or seasoned campaigner, for example.
7 Sash of brown, indigo tops (3)
OBI : O{f} B{rown} I{ndigo} [tops]. A write-in biff for any seasoned solver.
8 Book half of rabble, as lawman (7)
SHERIFF : SHE (book – by Rider Haggard), RIFF-{raff} (rabble) [half]
13 Start putting on clothes for sport (11)
SHOWJUMPING : SHOWING (putting on) contains [clothes] JUMP (start)
14 Brewer falsifying report about drink (10)
PERCOLATOR : Anagram [falsifying] of REPORT, containing [about] COLA (drink)
17 Prunes served up, that man in high spirits (8)
SERAPHIM : PARES (prunes) reversed [served up], HIM (that man). SOED has: In Christian theology, members of the first and highest order of the ninefold celestial hierarchy, ranking directly above the cherubim, and gifted with love and associated with light, ardour, and purity.  I’ve known the word since religion was inflicted on me as a child but never realised before today that it is a plural.
18 Athlete is snubbed by this competitor (7)
THROWER : TH{is} [‘is’ snubbed], ROWER (competitor). Memories of dear old Percy, the first TV gardener.
20 Right about costume (7)
REDRESS : RE (about), DRESS (costume)
21 For example, rose   water, perhaps? (6)
FLOWER : Two meanings of sorts, the second to be read as ‘flow-er’
24 Sign a certain captain has turned up (4)
OMEN : NEMO (a certain captain) reversed [turned up]. Captain Nemo was the commander of Nautilus in Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under The Seas and Mysterious Island.
26 Pin on (3)
LEG : Two meanings, slang for ‘leg’, and another term for the ‘on side’ in cricket.

54 comments on “Times Cryptic 27674”

  1. SEASONED was my LOI. There’s something especially annoying about being held up by a hidden answer, with the letters right there in front of you. SLALOMED took some time too, since I don’t know the opera. I wasted a bit of time on the PILCHARD trying to find a word starting with PERCH or PIKE.
  2. Nodding off might have helped me on this, which I found a consistent tussle, clocking off in 66 minutes. Last in, naturally enough, the rather good hidden at 6d.

    I became fixated with ‘tatami’ for the Japanese art (floored myself there) and needed all but one checker before getting SLALOMED, not least because I couldn’t see how the obvious SHOWJUMPING worked. Nice to see WALTHAMSTOW pop up, if only to slow the colonials down a bit…

  3. LOI WALTHAMSTOW, which I’d never heard of, of course.
    Pretty sure I first heard the word PILCHARD in “I Am the Walrus.”
  4. I started off by putting the four three letter answers straight in thus thinking this was going to be a straightforward Monday puzzle (having forgotten what day it was). It was slow going from that point on though in retrospect nothing looks too difficult so I can’t put my finger on what in particular made this tough.

    My COD to SEASONED which was very well hidden to my eyes. LOI PISTOLS where I had been looking for a word for “a little” going in SUP reversed thus barking up the wrong tree for a good while.

    1. I too was looking for a word meaning “little” going into SIP, then the whole thing being reversed. There was consequently a Major Eyebrow Raise when the word “LOTS” popped up as that word, a very unexpected synonym for “little.”
      Fortunately our blogger is on top of things, setting me right.
  5. No biffs today which to me is a sign of a really good crossword. Pilchards were on my school dinners menu, to follow Tapioca which we had recently. I wonder what they have these days.
  6. 23:25. Failed to parse TEA SERVICE so hesitated over that for some time and my LOI SEASONED, which I failed to spot in plain sight. Mind you, “chains in” is a somewhat unusual indicator. I liked RARE GAS.
  7. Near enough 22 minutes with tricky bits throughout. Couldn’t see why SHOWJUMPING or THROWER, so hesitated to put them in until no alternative presented itself. Not helped in spotting that invisible hidden by believing, with not much good reason, that the killers at 5 was/were POISONS – SIP was in there somewhere but nothing else I could see.
    A pleasant, teasing puzzle, and thanks Jack for clearing up the issues that eluded me.
  8. Found this easier than yesterday even though the SNITCH says the opposite. Some nice clues in there like AFTERSHAVE and RARE GAS, but…

    COD WALTHAMSTOW – blitz-like surface.

    Friday’s answer: I was going for Job not having any of the letters of mackerel in it, but John (a la St John’s Wood) works too.

    Today’s question: apart from equestrianism, in which Olympic sport do women compete against men (not counting teams that are required to be mixed)?

    Finally, jackkt, you just have a summary on the front page and one clicks to get the whole blog, which I prefer. Is there a consensus that that would be a better way of presenting it?

    Edited at 2020-05-26 07:53 am (UTC)

  9. 29 ac doesn’t really work does it? It seems to be a definition by example, but then shouldn’t it be “He, perhaps”? This would spoil the surface reading, of course.

    If the definition is a contraction of “He is perhaps” this would suggest that Helium is only “perhaps” a rare gas.

    1. I think the literal can be ‘He’s perhaps’, where ‘perhaps’ indicates the example. You’d need to read it as a newspaper headline (without an article), but it seems good enough to me.
      1. The setter could have had ‘He perhaps is right — intellectual …’, and since this would have been such an easy change to make he (she?) obviously thought it was all OK as it was, which supports ulaca.
  10. Another steady, fairly chewy solve with some slightly vague definitions to contend with.

    Enjoyed WALTHAMSTOW which, with Brixton, is an example of what building infrastructure can do to a city. It is the northern terminus of the Victoria line whilst Brixton is the southern end. The coming of the underground has turned both areas into desirable places to live as well heeled commuters move in to displace the previous inhabitants. I grew up in Brixton so understand just what a transformation that has been.

      1. Have you been to Walthamstow recently??? Gentrification is still very much a future event.

        Lots to chew on today, hard to pick a favourite. All these days of idleness and indolence is doing wonders for my solving speeds. My target/average was previously about 25 minutes. In recent weeks it’s comfortably down to around 20.

        My thanks as always to Jack and the setter.

  11. 42 minutes with LOI SEASONED, which for some reason I’d dismissed earlier on. Mrs BW was living in WALTHAMSTOW when we met. COD to RARE GAS. Cheese and wine parties are a blast from the past, aren’t they? Mind you, all parties are a thing of the past now. Tricky puzzle. Thank you Jack and setter.
  12. we all appear to have connection with Walthmstow. My eldest son lives there, as does my chiropodist! The main drag (Hoe Street!) is great for Algerian sweetmeats and The William Morris Museum in a park, is well worth a visit, once it re-opens.

    FOI 5dn PORT

    LOI 29ac RARE GAS – the Royal fart.


    WOD 17dn SERAPHIM, sorry Cherubim!

    Time about an hour. I haven’t had an 11ac in years.

    Edited at 2020-05-26 09:18 am (UTC)

  13. Testing without obscurity, which is how I like it. Lots of clues which needed a second or even third examination to work out; and as is always pointed out on these occasions, if your LOI is a hidden word, that means it’s a good one.

    I’m afraid my closest connection with Walthamstow is hearing one-time popular beat combo East 17 on the radio.

  14. ….as I got down to 5A/6D in only 8 minutes, only to take almost half as long again to finish matters. The real problem was 5A where I spent far too long trying to justify “pistols” and/or “pythons” before seeing POISONS, and then used industrial language when I realised that my LOI had been staring me in the face (it had practically stuck its tongue out at me by then). I am definitely CHEESED OFF.

    Can anyone justify the apparently cosmetic “in” at 17A ? I found it very misleading !

    TIME 11:40

    1. Actually I can’t because it doesn’t exist. Presumably you refer to 17dn.

      Isn’t ‘in’ just a link-word? Not perfect setting perhaps — some say that a good clue never has them — but not actually unsound?

      Edited at 2020-05-26 10:15 am (UTC)

      1. It’s thoroughly misleading in this instance, because it makes the definition “in high spirits” meaning “elated” rather than what the setter really intends.
    2. I interpret is as: ‘Prunes served up, that man, in (a word meaning) high spirits’
  15. Their debut album back in 1990 was indeed ‘Walthamstow’.

    Tim, you need to get out less often!

    1. I think the crux though Horryd is that E(ast)17 is the postcode for Walthamstow.
      1. Penfold old bean, I do write to my son at E17 4QY – you know Christmas and Birthday Cards, begging letters etc! So that wasn’t the crux methunk! Have another go!

        Edited at 2020-05-26 05:09 pm (UTC)

  16. 22:11. I felt I made unnecessarily heavy w of this but it seems I’m not alone although I did add some additional complications of my own such as “inventing” the feathertail (which sounds far more delicate that a swallowtail if you ask me) and adding PYTHONS to the list of killers considered at length for 5a.

    My mother was brought up in Walthamstow and both grandmothers lived there at times so no problem with that.

    LOI was the superbly-well hidden SEASONED.

    1. Well I also wanted that, and Google tells me it’s a tiny possum, so it definitely sounds delicate.
  17. I really struggled with the NW corner, with CASSATA, APACHE, CRAMPON, PILCHARD & NEWT all taking ages – CRAMPON was the one that triggered the rest once I’d got it (climber starting off = C? Yeah, all right). The last to go was SEASONED, though, a magnicently well hidden word.

    Then, having triumphed in 15m 48s… I discovered that I’d been careless in my spelling of WALTHOMSTOW [sic], so it wasn’t a triumph after all. Bit of a write-off today.

  18. Tough going but got there. Enjoyable offbeat definitions. 41’45. Liked tea service which didn’t see for ages. Re ‘He is perhaps’ I guess the doubt acknowledges the 10 across reading of ‘He’.

    Edited at 2020-05-26 10:40 am (UTC)

  19. No problems but it needed a lot of attention. Really enjoyed it on this gloriously sunny day in Wiltshire. Thanks setter.
  20. 54:52
    A grind – like pulling teeth from start to finish.
    I don’t really get how 1 down works: ‘starting off climber’ = c. No problem. But ‘climber starting off’ = limber, no? I’m probably missing something.
    Thanks jack.

    Edited at 2020-05-26 11:03 am (UTC)

    1. The word climber (is) starting off with a C. I think ‘limber’ would be clued as ‘start off climber’.
  21. Totally blindsided by the PISTOLS/SEASONED pair which I battled with for longer than it took me for the rest of the puzzle, before giving up and using a wordfinder. 74:42 retired hurt. Thanks setter and Jack.
  22. 10:28. I seem to have been on the wavelength with this one.
    I agree with grumpole above that 20ac RARE GAS doesn’t quite work. I can’t see how it can be read as a DBE. ‘He is, for example’ would work, as would ‘He, perhaps’. But I can only read ‘He is, perhaps’ as indicating that He may or may not be a RARE GAS.
  23. I’ll join the chorus of approval for SEASONED. Universal groan at boarding school when PILCHARDs were on the supper menu. Mrkgrnao’s school clearly had the same caterer. And speaking of school, like Jack I certainly remember SERAPHIM from services. The Te Deum in particular where I idly wondered why they and the cherubim were always crying. I found this quite difficult. 22.21
  24. The “IM” is the masculine plural form in Hebrew, and Seraphim is the
    plural of Seraph
    1. English hymnology and sacred music can be quite cavalier with the proper Hebrew endings: Benjamin Britten’s stetting of the Te Deum unapologetically has:
      To thee all Angels cry aloud: the Heavens, and all the Powers therein.
      To thee Cherubin and Seraphin continually do cry:
  25. Newt and eft are two of those old English words that gained or lost an “n” when dictionaries were first produced, the compilers being unsure whether the correct form was “a newt “ or “an ewt”. The longest loser was norange. Shame. Richard Of York Gained … would have had to have been rethought.
  26. I think it might have been cherubim and seraphim et al that finally alerted me to the rational impossibility of religion ..

    A little known fact, one of my cats (see avatar) was found straying in Walthamstow… he is no longer with us, but managed 21 years of regal and opinionated life. Wherever he is now, I hope he still has his entourage 🙂

  27. …and as the second most abundant element in the cosmos it aint rare.
    25 seconds under the hour for this. Wanted ‘heel’ for ‘down dog’ at 2d and therefore a ‘somethingwheel’ to be the delicate thingy. Tea Service eventually forced a rethink.
  28. As corymbia above, I was fixated on HEEL, and it wasn’t till I realised that the first bit had to be SWALLOW that I discovered my failure to lift and separate the ‘down dog’. Not that HEEL would have the slightest effect on the dog in my picture because she is deaf as a post.
    Much misdirection in this which made it very satisfying to solve.
  29. about having a hidden as my LOI, only to see I’m far from the only one.

    I enjoyed the puzzle – quite chewy but with no esoterica. 45 mins for me.

  30. Thought I’d have a crack at this late last night. Whadda mistake-a to make-a. After an hour I only had about two-thirds done. I polished it off this evening in around 20mins. Doesn’t seem quite so intractable in the fresh light of day.
  31. as it’s the second most abundant gas in the universe the “perhaps” is justifiable

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