Times Cryptic No 26838. Saturday, 23 September 2017. Ladies’ day.

Apart from 20ac, this was a typical Saturday exercise, I thought at the time. On reviewing the stats, that may have been an optimistic assessment! Average time is well over normal, so perhaps others got stuck on 20ac too?

Several clues dealt with the fairer sex – much more attractive than flora and fauna, in my view! Early progress was assisted by biffing 1dn in pencil, and using it to get into the across clues on the left hand side, to the extent that I finally applied myself to justify and ink it in.

My clue of the day is 15dn, for the elegant nesting. Thanks to the setter.

Clues are 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 Had a plan of note — relief all round (5)
AIMED: ME inside AID.
4 Ties with the Republicans are flourishing (2,6)
GO PLACES: the Republicans are the Grand Old Party, and one ties one’s LACES. Seems to me the definition is slightly askew. Can anyone give me a sentence where you can replace “flourishing” by “go places”?
8 Free from outside interference, one’s on a roll? (6,8)
LISTED BUILDING: cryptic definition, referring to the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest.
10 Unhappily married twice, not once, I’ve nothing to say! (2,7)
11 Bone’s top section facing the wrong way (5)
TIBIA: an A1 BIT, “facing the wrong way”.
12 Not all the members having payment ready (6)
SUBSET: SUB=payment / SET=ready. I found this hard to see, but I’m not sure I should have.
14 Fawn’s hoof — and light coat? (8)
BOOTLICK: BOOT=foot, LICK as in a lick of paint. “Bootlicker” is familiar, but it’s more unusual to see the verb, so it took me a while to come up with it.
17 Seminars replaced meeting thankfully avoided (4,4)
NEAR MISS: (SEMINARS*). Nice definition.
18 The truth one’s revolted against, finally searched for (6)
SOUGHT: SO=the truth, as in “it is so!” / UGH=one’s revolted / {agains}T. Lots of cunningness in the wordplay here!
20 Narrative that’s mostly urban? (5)
RECIT: this is all a mystery to me. DNK RÉCIT meaning narrative, although it seemed like a plausible guess and I eventually put it in with a shrug of the shoulders. Also I don’t understand the wordplay … altogether a bad combination! Is it supposed to be RE CIT{y}?  If so, how does “urban” give “re city”? Again, can anyone give me a sentence where one can replace the other?  Look in the comments, dear reader. Perhaps someone more erudite will enlighten us.
22 Porter cross with artist portraying Queen (9)
ALEXANDRA: ALE / X / AND / RA. The wife of Edward VII.
24 Plea for understanding from modern wife got gent flustered (4,3,2,5)
25 What mister did to maiden is covered by a pressman (8)
ATOMISED: TO M{aiden} IS, covered by A / ED, our peripatetic pressman. Of course that would be what the mister did. What else were you thinking?
26 Sleep, as bird does, with sailor in bunk (5)

1 Absolutely everyone in a lake gets wet, presumably (3,3,6)
ALL AND SUNDRY: the shape made this easier, but it took me a while to get past my fixation on “sun-dry”. It’s: A / L / LANDS=gets / UNDRY=wet, presumably.
2 Country, say, America, then India, toured by host (5)
MUSIC: US / I{india}, all in MC. Definition by example, nicely disguised by the surface of the clue.
3 Ideal combination of art made me excited (5,4)
4 Turned up large stake used in wooden structure (6)
GIBBET: BIG “turned up” / BET.
5 Beer and punch bottles answer artist’s requirement? (8)
PAINTBOX: put A for answer inside PINT BOX.
6 Papers turned up in car, briefly — and so do books? (5)
AUDIT: DI=id “turned up”, inside AUT{o}. Another nicely concealed definition.
7 Making one count, perhaps, in French: nothing flashy! (9)
ENNOBLING: EN=”in” in French / NO / BLING.
9 Section of course where champions feature in commentary? (4,8)
BACK STRAIGHT: BACKS=champions, then sounds like TRAIT.
13 Farm, old, nevertheless is about to diversify (6,3)
15 Long battle sailor has to keep girl in line (6,3)
TROJAN WAR: put JAN in ROW, then put the ensemble in TAR.
16 They’re using key copies to get outside jailhouse finally? (8)
ESCAPEES: ESC=key (what did we do before computers?), then APES=copies outside {jailhouse}E.
19 Waste of wine: scandal (3,3)
RED MUD: RED=wine, MUD=scandal. Industrial sludge heavy in iron oxide. Not familiar.
21 Symbol of bear on bottom of form (5)
TOTEM: TOTE / {for}M. A golden oldie.
23 Large church found by couple on way to work (5)
DUOMO: DUO / MO=modus operandi. A present or former Italian cathedral.

25 comments on “Times Cryptic No 26838. Saturday, 23 September 2017. Ladies’ day.”

  1. Curious to know how this managed to publish itself on a Friday evening, with a timeline of 9am Saturday?!

    Re 20ac, Collins says for urban “relating to, a town or city” .. so re city would seem acceptable. I agree, not the slickest clue though

    1. My family regularly tell me we’re living in the future. Take this as just more evidence!

      I was doing my usual last minute check and the web site lost the target publication time. Since the answers are already published I won’t bother taking it down for two hours.

      Edited at 2017-09-29 09:55 pm (UTC)

  2. Continuing my run of slow solves, I needed a little over an hour for this one and still finished with an error at 5dn where I biffed PAINT POT with a query against it, intending to go back and parse it properly and then neglected to do so. Perhaps I should employ our blogger’s technique of using pencil intially and then ink when fully satisfied with an answer. It wouldn’t actually have taken much thought to realise why POT had to be wrong on at least two counts.

    I also lost time over the unknown RECIT, but trusted eventually to wordplay which I interpreted as explained by Jerry above. The LISTED BUILDING was a long time coming and I spent more, having written it in, wondering if there was more to it than a cryptic definition.

    I agree with brnch that the defintion at 4ac doesn’t work, unless we are both missing something?

    Edited at 2017-09-30 04:27 am (UTC)

      1. Still doesn’t work. If the definition is “are flourishing”, the answer should be “are going places”. Small thing, admittedly.
    1. I very nearly ended up with PAINT POT, too—it would not surprise me at all to find that to pot someone means to punch them, in some dictionary or other. But in the end I thought of “box” and it made more sense.
    2. I wondered if there was more going on than the cryptic definition in LISTED BUILDING too. Also, the listing can specify interior parts that shouldn’t be interfered with as well as exterior parts, so the definition seems a little misleading.

      Luckily my place is only grade II* listed and I can mostly do what I like with the interior decor…

      1. My place too is grade II listed and if I want to anything inside I assume that what the bureaucrats can’t see they won’t worry about. But my neighbours, also grade II listed, are law-abiding souls and won’t change a light-bulb without telling the council. Officials come round and have more than once told them not to make a change and they have obeyed these edicts. Shall I tell them to tell the council where to get off?
        1. Well, you could check the listing itself and see what it actually lists… I have found over the years that the listed building rules very much change depending on who in the planning department you’re talking to at the time!

      2. If gothick matt is right about the law (and I am not sure) his
        p(a)lace is free from interference inside. Outside he cannot paint his front door
  3. Yes, I think the def. for 4dn is “are flourishing,” which gives the possibility of some such substitution as gilems suggests.. “Liberals are flourishing/go places” sort of works
    1. I agree with where you’re coming from. If the clue had said “will flourish”, it would all have worked perfectly. But although we all know what it was getting at, it didn’t and it doesn’t.
  4. 55 minutes on this with several hold-ups. The republicans as GOP should have hit me sooner and LOI was GO PLACES, despite having the crossers. I guess the plural ‘are’ in the clue was because the surface had ‘ties’ as plural and so the definition is just ‘flourishing’. DNK RECIT but biffed from crossers and cryptic on the same basis as above. DNK RED MUD either with the latter word emerging from a 26×26 trawl. COD ENNOBLING for its fashion rule. WOD BOOTLICK, which I’ve only heard in conjuction with ‘of paint’. Impressed B by your detailed knowledge of the LISTED BUILDING Register. Even more impressed by the setter’s view that it saves the building from outside interference. Thank you for the good blog, and thank you to the setter for a toughish puzzle.

    Edited at 2017-09-30 07:41 am (UTC)

  5. With you 100% on this one, brnch, and your parting remark reminded me of Sir Humphrey’s explanation of the purpose of minutes of a meeting, so thanks for that!
  6. This took a good long time—nearly two hours over three sessions—but I was enjoying it, so why not? FOI 2d MUSIC, LOI a last-minute alteration of 5d from PAINT POT to PAINT BOX. Baffled by the parsing here and there, so thanks for the explanations.

    Held up along the way by 19d RED MUD, and 8a LISTED BUILDING, despite—or perhaps because of—sitting in one while I was solving; the listing for the terrace I live in includes inside details that shouldn’t be mucked around with as well as outside, or am I mis-reading the clue?

    Anyway. Good fun, no matter what. Thanks to setter and blogger.

    Edited at 2017-09-30 10:04 am (UTC)

  7. 57 mins for me, with a fair bit of time at the end spent pondering 19dn, which I think may have appeared before but I did not recognise when solving, even though checkers and word play seemed clear. Also took too long to discount “home” for “back” in 9dn. I thought this one was on the tricky side but with some nice touches: gets wet presumably for lands undry in 1dn, the country definition in 2dn, nevertheless is about in 13dn and way to work in 23dn.
  8. GO PLACES fell into place so easily that I didn’t bother thinking of the parsing too much.

    Fast time for me -39m 45s- only to find that ‘escapeRs’ should have been ‘escapeEs’. That’s when I should have paid attention to the parsing.

  9. 34 minutes, with 4a definition queried as above. RED MUD not really understood but what else could it be?
  10. I saw Home Stretch and Spread Out right away – and wasn’t as clever as bench regarding use of pencil, so unwinding the errors took some time. Otherwise, I enjoyed many of the hidden and wry definitions. thanks, brnch, thanks setter
  11. 28:04. I found this very hard, although I think I was very tired and may even have nodded off. 4ac is a little bit awkward I agree.
  12. The club tells me I finished this in 48:13, but the puzzle is a bit vague after a busy week looking at seals and castles on the Northumbrian coast. I do remember puzzling over RED MUD and RECIT, and originally considered HOME STRAIGHT for 9d. Liked ALL AND SUNDRY. Thanks setter and Bruce.
  13. A bit delayed coming here as I travelled to Preston yesterday to watch PNE take on Sunderland.
    I managed to get all of this puzzle except Red Mud and Bootlick. For 14a I was sure that Hoof = Kick (there was a lot of that yesterday); I was never close to getting Lick -or Boot.
    I liked the Listed Building clue. David
  14. My first comment and I agree with the snags others have raised re 4 across & 14 across, the two clues I found hardest ….

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