Times Cryptic No 26832 – Saturday, 16 September 2017. All quiet on the Western Front.

Times Cryptic No 26832 – Saturday, 16 September 2017. All quiet on the Western Front.

Happy days! I actually did the whole puzzle on the new club site without any hiccups to report. I even got a time from the clock – a touch under an hour, which I think reflects that this puzzle seemed to be medium difficulty. Although now I come to post the blog, I see my answers have disappeared. Oh well – luckily I saved a screen image.

There were many nice clues, including 6ac, 9ac, 3dn, 8dn, and 12ac. My clue of the day is 4dn, with both a nice definition and a clever cryptic. Thanks to the setter.

Clues are reproduced in blue, with the definition underlined. Anagram indicators are bolded and italicised. Then there’s the answer IN BOLD CAPS, followed by the parsing of the wordplay. (ABC)* means ‘anagram of ABC’, {deletions are in curly brackets}.

1 One standing to split Democrats miles apart (9)
DISTANCED: I=one / STANCE=standing, inside D…D=democrats. I saw quickly that I wanted “d”s at front and back, but took quite some time to find “stance”.
6 Really like the French poodle, say (3,2)
LAP UP: la pup, n’est pas?
9 Fruit and vegetable box reduced by 20 per cent (7)
10 Romeo embraced by stage heroine who’s hard to understand? (7)
GARBLER: R inside GABLER. Hedda Gabler, the title character of a 1891 play by Henrik Ibsen.
11 Strange way river is diverted further east (5)
OUTRE: ROUTE, with the “R” diverted.
12 After a brief drink before party, ready to spin yarns (9)
ANECDOTES: A NEC{k} / DO / TES=set (spinning)=ready.
13 Flipping tag attached to collar and boater? (8)
BARGEMAN: NAME / GRAB, all “flipped”.
14 Contact former spouse time after time (4)
TEXT: EX / T, all after another T.
17 Yank apprehends hard criminal (4)
THUG: H=hard, inside TUG.
18 Old Communist‘s struggle with movement after unexpectedly big reverses (8)
SOVIETIC: SO=reversal of OS=unexpectedly big / VIE=struggle / TIC=movement. This was my LOI. The Soviets were the various legislative assemblies in the old Soviet Union. Unusual to see the -ic suffix. In fact if I were a pedant (and some would say I am), I would object to this clue (as some might suspect I’m about to). Since “Old Communist” is there as an adjectival phrase defining the adjective “sovietic”, it’s not fair to put an apostrophe-S on the end of it. That is only valid on a noun or pronoun. On edit: I’m happy with Kevin’s explanation. Read the clue as a dictionary entry, saying “Old Communist” is “Sovietic”.
21 Servicemen protecting the Western Isles with energy? Not so (9)
OTHERWISE: OR=servicemen, around (“protecting”) THE / WIS=Western Isles / E=energy.
22 Dropping round, keep quiet, fool (5)
TWERP: T{o}WER=keep, i.e. fortress / P=quiet.
24 Noticed shilling put in pocket (7)
SPOTTED: S=shilling / POTTED=put in pocket (in billiards or snooker).
25 Terrible in-house squabbling (7)
HEINOUS: (IN HOUSE*). Unusual anagram indicator put me off track for a while, and had me looking for an answer meaning “squabbling”.
26 Turned up lacking confidence? Hardly! (5)
PUSHY: PU=UP turned / SHY=lacking confidence. A semi-&lit clue, in that the whole clue works as definition, but only part of it is wordplay.
27 Paper featuring clever people in part (9)

1 Drinker gets into water, nothing more (5)
DIPSO: DIPS=gets into water / O=nothing more.
2 Soft furnishings The Curtain Co’s arranged on board (7,8)
3 What’s central to teaching, always, for high flyer (8)
ACHIEVER: {te}ACHI{ng} (the central part) / EVER=always.
4 South of cape, choice of routes for ill-starred traveller (8)
CASTAWAY: C=cape, followed by a choice of “A ST” or “A WAY”.
5 One stabs gang leader twice in overturned study (6)
DAGGER: GG=gang leader twice, inside reversal of READ=study.
6 Close to industrial area, reconstruct US city (6)
LAREDO: {industria}L / A{rea} / REDO=reconstruct.
7 Get off! It’s not that car that needs towing (4,3,5,3)
PULL THE OTHER ONE: double definition, the second one whimsical.
8 In film, a rat is caught somehow feeding off other animals (9)
PARASITIC: (A RAT IS*) “caught” inside PIC=picture.
13 Over in bar, drinkers finally saying cheerio (7,2)
BOTTOMS UP: I bunged this in as soon as I saw the helpers. Now that I have to parse it for the blog, it’s {drinker}S MOTTO inside PUB, all written backwards (“over”, since it’s a down clue).
15 First parts of this old Gershwin number in concert (8)
TOGETHER: T{his} O{ld} G{ershwin}, followed by ETHER=number, with a silent “B”.
16 Actress slim? Hard to believe (8)
DIETRICH: DIET=to slim, or try to / RICH=hard to believe.
19 Rather dry inside quarry (6)
PRETTY: TT=dry, inside PREY=quarry.
20 Victory over political party? That’s some kind of joke (4-2)
WIND-UP: WIN / DUP=Democratic Unionist Party.
23 Job one secured in advance (5)
POSIT: I=one, inside POST.

21 comments on “Times Cryptic No 26832 – Saturday, 16 September 2017. All quiet on the Western Front.”

  1. which puts me in about 160th place on the leaderboard; this was a great day for neutrinos, with Magoo somewhere in the 40s if I recall. I thought 1ac a bit weak, with ‘standing’ clueing STANCE, but there were a number of nice clues: I noted 15d, 19d, 22d, 23d at the time. Couldn’t parse BOTTOMS UP, so thanks Bruce for that. I misparsed PARCHMENT as PAR.CH.MEN.T, leaving me to wonder what CH meant. It was nice to see ‘high flyer’ for once not meaning ‘bird’.
  2. The apostrophe needn’t–and often doesn’t–indicate a possessive; it could be short for ‘is’ or ‘has’, here ‘is’.
  3. 48 minutes for this with LOI (low) ACHIEVER. Didn’t parse BOTTOMS UP, so thanks for the explanations B. I use CHEERIO and Cheers interchangeably for “goodbye” but not for “drink raising” so for me this was a biff. I looked up the history of ‘Streets of LAREDO’, a song of several incarnations but probably first an 18th century Irish song ‘The Unfortunate Rake.’ I bought a Marty Robbins compilation album a few years ago with that and ‘El Paso’ and other great stuff on. I’ll make COD CASTAWAY although I’ll never get it down to eight songs. Thank you B and setter.

    Edited at 2017-09-23 06:16 am (UTC)

    1. I was big fan of Marty Robbins in his heyday. ‘Streets of Laredo’ featured originally on his second LP, ‘More Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs’, but then on his ‘More Greatest Hits’ album (along with ‘El Paso’), which may be the one that you have.
      1. It’s “The Best of Marty Robbins” 1996 Columbia Sony Music bought for £6.99 from HMV. 20 tracks all well known.
        1. Thanks, I’ve now looked it up. There are several songs I don’t know at all or don’t know as sung by MR. I have five albums on vinyl released 1959-1962 and a handful of EPs and 45s.
          1. Sadly of course I got it on CD. I knew them all but not all by him. First versions I knew, good or bad, are: The Story of my life Michael Holliday, Unchained melody in UK from Jimmy Young decades before Righteous Brothers, Singing the Blues Guy Mitchell in US / Tommy Steele in UK, Love me Tender Elvis, A white sports coat The King Brothers, Can’t help falling in love with you Elvis, Riders in the sky Frankie Laine, Am I that easy to forget Englebert Summertime Billie Holliday, I did what I did for Maria Tony Christie, By the time I get to Phoenix Glenn Campbell. It’s a great set of songs. It’s playing on my iPad now.

            Edited at 2017-09-23 07:53 pm (UTC)

  4. Grammar never my strongest suit .. but I think I agree with Kevin that almost any word can have ‘s after it, if it is short for “is.” Eg “Apologetic’s not the way you should feel about it” etc.

    Nice crossword, btw, not too hard but not too soft either.. sadly the website claims I have two typos. I will have to start taking a screenshot for reference.

    Edited at 2017-09-23 06:49 am (UTC)

  5. I managed this in 28.08 with the weird SOVIETIC my last in, as I remember, though the clever CASTAWAY might just as well have been.
    I rarely take notice of the rankings on a Saturday, not least now because you don’t know what they are until results day. But it was ever thus: hordes do the crossword off line and then submit for prize entry later, making it at best a typing speed competition. I don’t think the winner is whoever does it quickest, though it’s never yet been me!
  6. Incidentally, on the club site you should be able to see your answers by hitting “review”: print merely gives you the (blank) form for good old fashioned treeware postal entry. I wonder if anyone ever does that these days?
  7. I don’t recall much about this puzzle. There are no signs of a particular struggle with it in the form of lots of jottings in the margins, but my start and finish times are roughly an hour-and-a-half apart. I hope that’s because I nodded off.
  8. 59 minutes, with similar feelings to Jack—not much in my margins in the way of question marks or exclamation marks, which I use for clues I really like. (At some point it might be interesting to compare all the various shorthands people have developed for their marginalia.)

    FOI 5d DAGGER, LOI 9a PEACHES. I appeared not to have had much of a problem with SOVIETIC; my lack of GK was around the Ibsen character. Unsurprising given my relatively uncultured background…

    Thanks to setter and B.

  9. Nice puzzle, all done in 49 mins 36 secs. Had most done in around 30 mins but held up at the end by 16dn where I think the unusual “ie” took a while to see and 27ac where I couldn’t see the arch men or the type of paper required for ages. I also noted squabbling as an unusual anagrind in 25ac.
  10. I find I have an all correct in 39:02 for this one. DNK SOVIETIC, but it had to be. Knew Hedda and Marlene. Liked LA PUP. Can’t remember where I started or finished, but I seem to remember SCATTER CUSHIONS being close to the end. As others, I biffed BOTTOMS UP. Nice puzzle. Thanks setter and Bruce.
  11. 15m. No real problems with this, although I don’t remember coming across LAREDO before.
    I thought the definition in 18dn was “Old communists’s”, meaning “of or pertaining to an old communist”.
  12. Back from Wales.
    Managed to finish this in a couple of long sessions. LOI was Laredo as I had Gabbler not Garbler at 10a. Took a while to get Sovietic; was able to work it out from the clue.
    Enjoyed the puzzle. David
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  14. About 35 minutes, with an LOI biff for BOTTOMS UP, which now I understand it is, is my COD, as biffs sometimes come to be. See: I am learning your jargon.
    I enjoyed the excellent smooth surfaces on almost all of the clues: that’s where much of the real artistry comes, after all.
    A couple of tiny niggles:
    2d sports “on board” = “embed inside ‘SS'”, surely the hoariest cliche ever (after “hoariest cliche” itself) and isn’t even given a ‘?’, I suppose due to assumed familiarity with the trope. Perhaps clue could be decorated with red-faced emoji instead?
    In 8d, a subject of parasitism might be a plant rather than an animal, so I think we pedants should get some indicator of definitional generalization.
    Thanks to setter and solution poster.

    Edited at 2017-12-01 08:18 am (UTC)

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