Times Cryptic 27836

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

I found this quite tricky but I worked away at it steadily and completed the grid in 54 minutes. Along the way I discovered that the only word I might have claimed not to know had turned up in one of my very recent blogs so I was glad I spotted it before expressing ignorance and giving someone else the opportunity to point that out.

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 Criticise a financial centre’s greed (8)
RAPACITY : RAP (criticise), A, CITY (financial centre). Not every city qualifies as a financial centre but in the UK (the) City traditionally means the financial district of the City of London even though much of its activity has transferred to the Isle of Dogs.
5 Israelite‘s manly drink? (6)
HEBREW : HE-BREW (manly drink) cf  ‘he-man’
10 Sympathise with beer guzzling bishop in Nice (9)
AGREEABLE : AGREE (sympathise), then ALE (beer) containing [guzzling] B (bishop)
11 Pie-maker about to be put in jail (5)
PECAN : CA (about) contained by [put in] PEN (jail – penitentiary)
12 Cut Peter out, bring Charlie in (4)
DICE : DIE (peter out) contains [bring…in] C (Charlie – NATO alphabet)
13 Settlers built grand minarets (9)
EMIGRANTS : Anagram [built] of G (grand) MINARETS
15 A case of resident saving no time at all? (10)
NOMINATIVE : NATIVE (resident) containing 0 MIN (no time at all). Grammar.
17 Writer of panache newspaper advanced (4)
BIRO : BR{i}O (panache) becomes BIRO (writer – ball-point pen) when ‘i’ (UK newspaper) is moved forward [advanced]
19 Applause for royal flush? (4)
HAND : Two definitions, the second by example with reference to the hand of cards in poker
20 Way in which you might make money abroad (4,6)
WALL STREET : Cryptic, though not ‘abroad’ for solvers across the pond. I originally put ‘Easy Street’ here although I wasn’t  entirely convinced by it.
22 Want dress jazzed up for swingers’ club? (2,7)
ST ANDREWS : Anagram [jazzed up] of WANT DRESS. A rather fanciful cryptic definition. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews where clubs are swung by swingers, not of the ‘nudge nudge, wink wink, know-what-I-mean’ variety perhaps, though one can’t be sure!
24 Proposal Athens rejected in part, sad to say (4)
ALAS : Hidden [in part] and reversed [rejected] in {propo}SAL A{thens}
26 Refugee finding foreign article in river (5)
EXILE : IL (foreign article – Italian) contained by [in] EXE (river – in Devon)
27 Meaning of occasionally steamy goings-on? (9)
SEMANTICS : S{t}E{a}M{y} [occasionally], ANTICS (goings-on)
28 It’s all over for Benito Mussolini (6)
FINITO : A straight translation into Italian [for Benito Mussolini]
29 Can one forgive what’s written by Her Majesty? (8)
PARDONER : PARDON (what), ER (Her Majesty). Those aspiring to gentility are taught, don’t say ‘what’, say ‘pardon’, but the lower and upper orders are both more likely to say ‘what’. Perhaps the best-known pardoner is the one in Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales.
1 Secret society disposing of leader in Marrakesh house (4)
RIAD : {t}RIAD (secret society) [disposing of leader].  This came up in the wordplay of a clue that defeated me in my last-but-one 15×15 puzzle as duty blogger. The answer then was ‘myriad’ and  I quoted SOED: riad – in Morocco, a large traditional house built around a central courtyard, often converted into a hotel, and I went on to say I’d never heard of it.  Although I got the answer on this occasion as the wordplay was more solver-friendly I’m ashamed to report that I didn’t recognise ‘riad’ until I looked it up afterwards and the definition seemed surprisingly familiar. Apart from demonstrating my inability to retain information these days, this also  highlights my lifelong ignorance of geography beyond Europe as I didn’t know Marrakesh is in Morocco, only very vaguely that’s it’s somewhere in North Africa.
2 Owl, might one say: once an opponent of the king? (15)
PARLIAMENTARIAN : Two definitions of sorts, the first a little fanciful and relying on the collective noun for owls being ‘parliament’. The second more substantial definition refers to the English Civil War and the side led by Oliver Cromwell.
3 Bashful girl, they say, this Indian (8)
CHEYENNE : Sounds like [they say] “shy” (bashful) + “Anne” (girl). ‘Native American’ the last time I  looked. I may not be keeping up with modern sensitivities, but the setter certainly isn’t.
4 Food at back only half edible (5)
TABLE : AT (reversed) [back], {edi}BLE [only half]
6 Wife that was cheeky and clever (6)
EXPERT : EX (wife that was), PERT (cheeky)
7 Review fee for Bible class? (15)
RECONSIDERATION : RE (Bible class – Religious Education), CONSIDERATION (fee)
8 Weak policeman deserving prison (10)
WANDSWORTH : WAN (weak), DS (policeman – Detective Sergeant), WORTH (deserving). Situated in South London this is one of the UK’s largest prisons.
9 Ancient medal I’ve restored (8)
MEDIEVAL : Anagram [restored] of MEDAL I’VE. I think in literal terms the two words are not equivalent but more generally they can be substituted to describe something that’s very old or archaic.
14 Poor female host Helen, lonely and unloved? ( 2,3,5)
ON THE SHELF : Anagram [poor] of  F (female) HOST HELEN. Rather an unpleasant surface reading and definition, especially when used in a derogatory manner to describe unmarried people of a certain age.
16 Paintings returned and poetry? It makes you cross (8)
TRAVERSE : ART (paintings) reversed [returned], VERSE (poetry)
18 First two leaving subdued and tense (8)
STRAINED : {re}STRAINED (subdued) [first two leaving]
21 Dawn and Victor in a hole (6)
ADVENT : A, then V (Victor – NATO alphabet) contained by [in] DENT (hole)
23 A doctor in South America listening to this? (5)
SAMBA : AMB (doctor) contained by [in] SA (South America). Dancing rather than listening, perhaps?
25 Escort booting out husband who’s on drugs (4)
USER : US{h}ER (escort) [booting out husband – h]

60 comments on “Times Cryptic 27836”

  1. Was heading for a very good time but was stuck on RIAD, BIRO, and WANDSWORTH. I sort of suspected WAN, although I wasn’t even sure of that much. And I’d finally stopped looking for a way to put M into R _ A _, and considered that possibly we were removing the first letter, and that Moroccan was part of the definition. BIRO of course I’ve seen before, and there’s no excuse for not remembering BRIO. Not sure I’d heard of the paper I, though, and FT was the shortest I could think of.

    I confess I’m really bad with my police-related abbreviations. Would someone be willing to help me out with a short list of them?

    1. I should also add that RECONSIDERATION took me an eternity, even though I understood every part of it. I simply hadn’t heard of CONSIDERATION for pay.
      1. Heh. I read too much detective fiction to need to write them down. In crosswords, I’d say DI for Detective Inspector, DS for Detective Sergeant, DC for Detective Constable and CID for Criminal Investigation Department are probably the ones I most recall seeing.
          1. RUC usually being easier to spot as the setters’ code obliges them to describe it as “former” or “old”.
  2. On the right side of my average time for a reasonably straightforward crossword. I enjoyed “O MIN” as “no time at all” and it was nice to see Nice being the definition for once.

    I had the same MER with equating MEDIEVAL with ancient (maybe I’ve done too much ancient history), but agree that it can work in everyday speech. I was also glad to recall, eventually, that we’d had RIAD not too long ago in a clue.

    Thanks, Jack, for your usual informative blog.

  3. Same MER with MEDIEVAL, but just a bit. I guess I must have known WANDSWORTH, as it came to me from the checkers once I had WORTH, but I couldn’t have told you what it was. I remembered RIAD, fortunately; I might have spent a lot of time otherwise. I did spend a lot of time getting BIRO and justifying DICE. ‘American Indian’ is the term most American Indians use.

    Edited at 2020-12-01 07:36 am (UTC)

  4. Thanks, jackkt. I zipped through this except for Riad – I must have been absent from class when it came up last time. I liked Cheyenne and Semantics, thought Table was well hidden, and didn’t think there was much at all going on with Finito, Wall Street, or Parliamentarian. I was glad to see where St Andrews was headed, since otherwise the anagrist had a lot of letters and not many vowels.
  5. Total fail, similar to +Jeremy: I’ve probably heard of Wandsworth (Rumpole, maybe?), but for a non-UKer it is hard to find, and the clue wasn’t enough for me.
    Still unaccustomed to brand names and trademarks in The Times re Biro. I did get riad – it appeared quite recently? Or was that elsewhere?
    I suspect Cheyennes aren’t Indians, I think they come from north America.
    Did like St Andrews – an obvious anagram, except there weren’t enough vowels, so it had to be something else.
    No other problems.

    Edited at 2020-12-01 03:48 am (UTC)

  6. PARLIAMENTARIAN leapt out, but RECONSIDERATION didn’t, so I spent most of the more than an hour it took me to do this staring at an empty NE corner. I couldn’t remember the recent Moroccan reference to RIAD either, so that was my last in.

    Two contrasts for my favourites: the ‘swingers’ club?’ for ST ANDREWS and the downbeat but evocative ON THE SHELF.

    Thanks to setter and Jack

  7. Bit of local knowledge helped with Wandsworth as it’s just down the road from here and their car park comes in handy when visiting the garden centre opposite. I remember not knowing the word for the Moroccan house last time it came up and next time it comes up, as long it’s fairly soon, I’ll remember not knowing it this time either.
  8. I saw 1D and immediately thought we’d seen that very recently, only I couldn’t remember what it was. When I finally got it it again put me in mind of the footballer Riyad Mahrez so I’ll try and use that to remember it when it comes up again 5 years from now. Only I won’t remember the footballer.

    I was slowed down by the prison themed NE corner today until I thought of HEBREW and the rest fell into place. Wandsworth was definitely helped by me being a native.

  9. 28 minutes with LOI BIRO. Same MER as others on MEDIEVAL.The older you get the nearer the middle ages appear to you. They only ended seven of my present lifespans ago. I can recall Commercial Law lecturers banging on about CONSIDERATION being a necessary component of a contract but it did take time for the RE to dawn. We didn’t do much bible bashing in our school scripture classes, whatever they were called. I’m giving COD to FINITO for the economy of the clue, liking ST ANDREWS and SEMANTICS also. An excellent puzzle. Thank you Jack and setter.

    Edited at 2020-12-01 07:43 am (UTC)

  10. I remembered RIAD from the recent MYRIAD (when I had never heard of it). Struggled at the end with WANDSWORTH and BIRO. I thought of BIRO earlier but I’d forgotten there is a UK paper called the “i” these days and “brio” didn’t leap out. Otherwise no problems and a nice steady solve. My brother lives in Streatham which helped once I thought of WAN for weak (Wandsworth is next door). Since I did Chaucer’s Pardoner’s tale for O-level English Lit many years ago, that was a write-in.
  11. 20 mins pre-brekker left the Hebrew/Wandsworth/Brio combo. These took an extra 7 mins by eventually stumbling across ‘worth’ for deserving and the rest went in quickly.
    MER at sympathise=agree. There is an archaic meaning, so I Sympathise with the setter’s use of it, but I don’t Agree with it.
    Thanks setter and J.
  12. A fun puzzle I thought. PARLIAMENTARIAN may have leapt out for bletchleyreject but it was my LOI. there are always 1 or 2 clues that should be gimmes but which I have a mental block over.
    With NOMINATIVE in 15ac, I thought ‘tense’ in 18d might also be a grammatical term.
    As has been pointed out, we’ve had RIAD recently, but not Riyadh.
    I did like DICE but COD to “wife that was” in 6d- EXPERT.
    Today’s earworm for me was “In and out of WANDSWORTH with the numbers on their names” (Cool for Cats: Squeeze)
  13. 9:30. No problems today. I knew RIAD last time, and WANDSWORTH came easily to mind since it’s where I live (in a local authority sense). I have to cross the road into Richmond to get the train in the morning.
  14. I took a long time getting started, and eventually had the entire right-hand half of this before making any inroads across to the left, finally finishing in the NW corner with 10a AGREEABLE. 44 minutes for this rather backwards solve. Assuming that 1a was going to end “NY” did not help.

    As for the ‘Indian’ versus ‘Native American’ question, YouTube Explainer of Things CGP Grey spent quite some time researching this a while back, and tries to summarise some of the issues here. I found it a useful perspective, at least…

  15. 13:33 Another who remembered RIAD for 1D. Held up at the end by having FINALE for 28A until I saw 21D had to be advent. NE corner held me up most until I got EXPERT and HEBREW, then rest fell into place. I liked the anit-royalist owls the most.
  16. Pleased today with my time of 38 mins. Last ones in were in the NE for some reason. Although I know WANDSWORTH well took a while to see. Good clue. Like others, remembered RIAD so no probs there. As a (very average) golfer, ST ANDREWS wasn’t too difficult, unlike the course itself, I imagine. Thank you Jack and setter.
  17. She decided this morning is for Advent calendars disrupting me for several minutes. She just doesn’t understand the importance of crosswords. What do I do?
  18. Just popping in to note the timely crossing of ST ANDREWS and ADVENT – a nice touch, if deliberate.

    Thanks to blog and setter.

  19. My Dad lived near WANDSWORTH, you know
    A somewhat STRAINED NOMINATIVE though
    But a HAND for the setter
    ST ANDREWS was better
    And as ADVENT begins, FINITO
  20. 14.01. Another day when I was hopeful of a fast time before meandering to the close. FOI rapacity, LOI dice- cause of a fair degree of angst until recognising die for peter out.

    COD hebrew, not because it’s intrinsically difficult but it certainly brought a smile to my face. Others worth mention from my point of view, cheyenne- classic- and St Andrews. Happy days , back to the golf course tomorrow even if only 9 holes and in pairs.

  21. The whole left hand side went in like a dream in five minutes – then I spent 15 on the rest. Got fixated on semiotics, and couldn’t see the blindingly obvious.
  22. Like Pootle I knew that 1d was going to be the word we had the other day but also like Pootle I couldn’t remember what it was. Consequently RIAD was my LOI once I had all the checkers and I was able to get it from the wordplay.
  23. 17 minutes, unlike most of the rest of you not seeing PARLIAMENTARIAN until virtually the end. Couldn’t get rid of Perkin Warbeck or the idea that it was a complex word I didn’t know.
    I’ve been to HMP Wandsworth, but can’t for the life of me remember why. Nice chapel.
    I didn’t really understand the PARDONER clue, and rather suspect that some royals being pulled up on “what?” would tell one to naff off. “Written” didn’t help, “spoken” might have.
    HEBREW must be a golden oldie. RIAD is heading that way.
    Very decent exposition, Jack.
    1. Were you in for long, Z?

      Pardoner is a profession, or was: OED: “A person licensed to sell papal pardons or indulgences.”

      1. Just a day visit. I’ve also been inside Dartmoor (horrible place) and, rather more frequently, Pentonville, where we di some pre-release work.
  24. Lumped along in 21’34. The samba doesn’t seem sufficiently defined, and ‘the wife that was’ might have had a question-mark; on the other hand the swingers’ club makes a heyday of a clue. Overall a decent shot for this user.
  25. Glad to discover that I was not the only person whose process was “Ah, Moroccan house, yes, this came up very recently and most people, including me, didn’t know it. So then, brain, in the circs it would have been sensible to try and remember it, don’t you think? What do you mean, you’ve been busy looking at the Grammys shortlist because of the inevitable quiz questions based on it?” etc etc.
  26. I believe WANDSWORTH has been quite a fashionable area of Londond for a while (it must be if Keriothe lives there) no longer just synonymous with the prison. Perhaps the same will happen with Brixton. The only hold-up for me was EXPERT which took a while to see for some reason. 17.11
    1. My daughter has a flat in Herne Hill, and you can throw a stone at Brixton from it. Though they are more likely to come the other way. Parts of Brixton are gentrified but there is a long way to go, still ..
    2. Wandsworth used to be well known as the home of the very fine Young’s Brewery, Olivia. Excellent beer which they used to deliver locally with the old dray horses. It was a great place to visit. Long gone now, probably turned into a supermarket!
      1. I used to love all the delivery horses in London when I was a small kid. The milkman and Harrods were my favourites!
    3. I actually live in Putney (part of Wandsworth in LA terms) which nobody would describe as fashionable.
  27. Thought this was an excellent puzzle, worthy of a Friday. Took me 36 minutes with the lower half done quite speedily and the top taking 2/3 of the time; was fixated in using W for wife on 6d for ages until having to abandon words W*P*R*.
    Have we had CHEYENNE before? That took me too long to think of, although it’s not difficult.

    Like others knew where Marrakesh was and remembered the clue of a few days ago. Lots to like here, for me 22a was top.

  28. Another who went “Ah, Moroccan house!” but couldn’t remember what it was, making it my LOI after AGREEABLE. I was slow to get off the mark, with HAND being my FOI. However, I then made steady progress, the SW filling up nicely before I moved on. PARLIAMENTARIAN was a big help, and RECONSIDERATION’s early appearance also assisted. Liked EXPERT and HEBREW, which made WANDSWORTH a doddle. BACK in the NW, the elusive Native American finally opened up the corner for me. 25:12. Thanks setter and Jack.
  29. The only prison that I could think of that started with a W was Wormwood Scrubs, and the WAN didn’t come to mind at all. Otherwise this was a bit of a write in.
    LOI BIRO once I’d got the prison. Took a while to get the cryptic, well done setter.
  30. No problem with riad but it took a lot of staring at blank space before the penny dropped for the retrospectively easy parliamentarian. 21’. Nice puzzle I thought.
  31. Recalled RIAD from recent grid.

    No real hold-ups once the two long answers were in, both of them opening things up considerably.

    LOIs EXPERT followed by HEBREW, WANDSWORTH and finally BIRO.

  32. on this excellent puzzle. This blog is settling into new a pattern, with lists of what Jeremy doesn’t know in the ‘van’! For police add PLOD.


    LOI 12ac DICE (‘yer dicing with carrots!’)

    COD 22ac ST. ANDREWS – I once played piano up there for the singer Maggie Lewis.

    WOD 8dn WANDSWORTH where German spies were hung in both World Wars. I was misled at 11ac thinking ‘CAN’ was the nick it was PEN!

  33. Would have struggled with 1d if it hadn’t appeared recently. I used to live near 8dn. It was usually fairly easy, from their expressions, to identify the poor individuals heading there to visit someone.
  34. Struggled with this and had no idea whether FINITO and SAMBA would be right, but they were. What’s SAMBA got to do with listening to anything? And surely ‘Indian’ for a native American is a bit dodgy these days. Still, liked the ST ANDREWS and ADVENT cross.

    COD: EXPERT – nicely hidden ‘wife that was’.

    Yesterday’s answer: dabchick is about the only common word to contain ‘abc’ consecutively in English.

    Today’s question: which is the last of the Canterbury Tales if they are put in alphabetical order?

    1. Here’s the uncommon word ‘abcoulomb’ – the cgs electromagnetic unit quantity of electricity equal to ten coulombs and being the charge that passes in one second through any cross section of a conductor carrying a steady current of one abampere. Mirriam-Webster.

      Look out for it in the Club Monthly Special.

    2. I expressed the same doubts about ‘Indian’ and SAMBA but commenters above usually more politically aware than I am seem to think it’s okay.

      As for SAMBA SOED has: ‘A Brazilian dance of African origin; a Latin American and ballroom dance imitative of this; a piece of music for this dance, usu. in 2/4 or 4/4 time.’
      the second part of which would seem to cover it. After all, it’s perfectly possible to listen to a waltz, e.g. most people who enjoy ‘The Blue Danube’ by Johann Strauss have never danced to it.

  35. 42 minutes, and I would have been a minute or two quicker if I had trusted PARDONER (what? Of course I didn’t really understand it).

    Considering that we spent the last two weeks before the global pandemic shutdown in Marrakesh, RIAD was no problem at all (though we didn’t actually stay in one). About a day after we flew home at the end of our holiday, Morocco stopped all flights out — rather frightening at the airport, because flights to France were already shown as cancelled and Casablanca was about the only place you could still fly to.

  36. 14.43. I cantered through this at a brisk pace but still managed to enjoy the scenery along the way. The manly drink the swingers club and the steamy goings-on all raised a smile and the wife that was, was very neat.
  37. ….being what happens when I can’t parse an answer. Two in this category were PECAN, where I thought CAN would be the prison part, and PARDONER, where ‘what’ as ‘pardon’ didn’t drop any pennies.
    RIAD was first one in, thanks to its recent outing when it was probably LOI.
    16’33” all green.

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