Times Cryptic No 26856 – Saturday, 14 October 2017. Synchronise your cluing.

After doing the previous Saturday’s blog, I could see some synchronicity in the minds of that setter and this one. A reappearance of “Devil’s  Island”, and an echo of “cabbages and kings”, this time actually involving that author.

Solving went smoothly in the beginning, with no unknowns to that point except the place name in 12ac, until I found myself looking at the NW corner and the tricky 20dn. Last ones in were 3dn and 20dn. In fact, 20dn was the clue of the day for me, for the nice surface and a delightful cryptic, with 13dn the runner-up for its nice touch of irony! Overall, I thought perhaps a little harder than average. Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle.

Clues are in blue, with definitions underlined. Anagram indicators are in bold italics. Answers are in BOLD CAPS, followed by the wordplay. (ABC)* means ‘anagram of ABC’, deletions are in {curly brackets}.

1 Author offering a smaller version of the double-decker sandwich? (7)
CARROLL: if a double-decker is a “bus sandwich”, then a smaller version might be a “car roll”. Geddit? No, I didn’t see it either … third last answer for me.
5 Shooter’s backfiring miss involving smoke (7)
DIGICAM: MAID involving CIG, all reversed. For shooting pictures, not bullets.
9 Ship after poor wood, rough quality (9)
BUMPINESS: BUM / PINE / SS. This was one of my later answers, but looking for a wood ending “NE” finally got me there.
10 Novel and film featuring in one part of newspaper (5)
SHEET: SHE is a favourite novel in crossword-land, and ditto ET as a film.
11 Solid storing nitrogen from an organ (5)
RENAL: REAL storing N for nitrogen.
12 Ancient burial site moved to Houston (6,3)
SUTTON HOO: (TO HOUSTON*). Unlikely looking place name!
14 Australian native: I’m Satan, fiendishly — also satanic? (9,5)
TASMANIAN DEVIL: (IM SATAN*) / AND / EVIL. The flip side of last Saturday’s 11ac.
17 Story in today’s newspaper? Is that where the money is? (7,7)
CURRENT ACCOUNT: if the account is in today’s paper, it should be current.
21 What’s spent on shooting game, a hundred for a penny originally (9)
CARTRIDGE: PARTRIDGE is the game bird, with P for penny replaced by C for hundred. A used cartridge is described as spent – nothing to do with spending money.
23 Channel in Hebrew essentially making a comeback (5)
SEWER: backward hidden word.
24 Move aside heading for exit, then duck accessing a way out (5)
ELBOW: E{xit}, then O=duck inside LBW=a way to get out. I was slow to see how this worked, but forgot I should be looking for a cricket clue!
25 Capital of Honduras initially repackaged meat product (9)
CHIPOLATA: (CAPITAL O H*), where “O” and “H” are “of Honduras” initially.
26 Show point in West, perhaps (7)
MATINEE: as SHE for novel and ET for film, so is MAE for West. Insert TINE for point.
27 Peak that’s most difficult, not starting out (7)

1 Empty copy right in mire, being enhanced by technology (6)
CYBORG: C{op}Y, then R in BOG.
2 Broadcast recalled about one country or another (7)
ROMANIA: OMAN inside AIR backwards.
3 Standard old gun charged with bullets, sawn-off (9)
ORIFLAMME: AMM{o} inside O / RIFLE. Once I had all the checkers, I was confident writing this in from wordplay, although I had no idea what it meant. Apparently it was the battle standard of the King of France in the Middle Ages.
4 Sheltered side didn’t use rough side (5,6)
5 Father of Mickey Mouse half abandoned Pluto (3)
DIS: {Walt} DIS{ney}. The Roman equivalent of the Greek Pluto – the god of the underworld. One of those words I know only through crosswords.
6 Relish got distributed around America (5)
GUSTO: (GOT*) around US.
7 Author on the radio to review old volume (7)
CHEKHOV: CHEKH sounds like CHECK, then O for old / V for volume .
8 Dull king, nothing but dignified as a woman (8)
MATRONLY: MAT / R for king / ONLY.
13 Not this Marxist by tradition: someone very different! (11)
THATCHERITE: THAT = not this / CHE = Marxist / RITE = tradition.
15 Taste small cake for starters, one … like this? (4,5)
DROP SCONE: DROP = taste / S / C{ake} / ONE.
16 I laugh out loud for the love of a child? (3,5)
ICE CREAM: sounds like I SCREAM.
18 Dish, exquisite, and then some (7)
19 Invalidate housing with old prison (7)
NEWGATE: W=with, inside NEGATE.
20 Player often out of form? (6)
TRUANT: when playing truant, one is not in the form room.
22 Wife stuck in chestnut tree (5)
25 Prompt waiters, by the sound of it? (3)
CUE: sounds like QUEUE.

23 comments on “Times Cryptic No 26856 – Saturday, 14 October 2017. Synchronise your cluing.”

  1. That’s what the leaderboard says, but I think I went offline to finish this; anyway that time puts me at 146 on the board, which says something about Saturday times. I had no idea what was going on in 1ac, which went in on checkers and def. 4d took a while; I had the UNITED, could only remember Manchester. DROP SCONE would have taken me a lot longer if it hadn’t appeared here recently. I found ‘tradition’ a poor definition for RITE. LOI was TRUANT; I was pretty sure that ‘form’ was class, but ‘player’ stymied me; I might have played hookey, but never played truant.
  2. 39 minutes. One of my better times in recent weeks. No problem with CAR ROLL or ‘playing’ TRUANT. CHIPOLATA was a write-in but took an extra moment to realise that ‘initially’ also referred to ‘of’ in order to remove the ‘f’ from the anagrist.
  3. …To the Dambusters tune. 45 minutes with the odd interruption and no real problems. I remember an old girlfriend telling me a joke. She was meant to ask the question: what’s the difference between Bing Crosby and Walt Disney? The answer would then be ‘Bing sings but Walt Disney”. Unfortunately the question she asked was : what’s the difference between Bing Crosby and Dean Martin? I biffed DIS with a smile on my face so it was a good enough joke as told to be remembered 40 years later. Bremner, Charlton and Hunter were coming to the end of their cultured footballing careers around about then. I knew SUTTON HOO well enough not to have to struggle with the anagram. LOI the brilliant TRUANT which I’ll make COD by a short head from THATCHERITE. Thank you B and setter.
    1. That reminds me of my sister’s version of the old cheetah joke when we were kids: why don’t they play cards in the jungle? Because there are too many lions.
      1. Good Lord, I’ve been laboring under a proverbial all these years. Wikipedia does say that “The borrowed Greek name Pluto is sometimes used for the ruler of the dead in Latin literature, leading some mythology handbooks to assert misleadingly that Pluto was the Roman counterpart of Hades.”
  4. I enjoyed this puzzle which took me 35:09. My LOI, ORIFLAMME, from wordplay only, as with DIS. Unlike Jack, it took me ages to see CHIPOLATA. CARROLL was my FOI. Liked CYBORG, but would prefer not to be assimilated, or maybe I am already with my prosthetic knee:-) Thanks setter and Bruce.
  5. My print out says 24, so had no problems with this one, although I do remember wincing at CAR ROLL and wondering about BUM in 9a, or LUMPINESS.
    1. Bum seems fine to me. A bum knee is what you have before you replace it with a prosthetic!
  6. 49:34. FOI 11ac. Held up a fair bit at the end by LOI 20dn. Biffed 24ac without seeing the LBW. It helped that I had seen oriflamme in a recent TLS crossword. Liked 4dn but COD 13dn.
  7. A mere 49:19 so pretty good for me.

    SHEET and DIS went in without really understanding them. ORIFLAMME was remembered from one or other of the French chateaux we visited this summer.

    COD 1a after I finally stopped trying to do something with CLUB.

    Many thanks for the blog, although I think you’ve got an extraneous O in your parsing of 8d? Isn’t it just “nothing but” for ONLY?

  8. 13:31. I don’t remember much about this one, so I guess it was an event-free solve. Certainly no unknowns: I even knew ORIFLAMME from somewhere.
  9. A relief after yesterday’s struggle. Fairly straightforward with no unknowns. LOI 20d – a brilliant clue which had me looking for a musician or a sportsman. 23 minutes. Ann
  10. Never heard of a bus sandwich, so I saw the Carroll pieces but their connection seemed a little vague. That became a problem when I crossed Magicam with Mus. Magicam works, but Mus (I knew a usage meaning ‘Mr’ or ‘master’) isn’t really either a father or half of mouse, and Pluto is unaccounted for. Still I reasoned, if we could be a little lax with cars and busses, why not with mice too.
    I liked seeing Oriflamme – one of the facts I learnt reading Sumption’s three volume (and growing) history of the 100 Year’s Wars is that famous as it is, no one really knows what the Oriflamme looked like. Contemporary descriptions are emotional rather than precise, and no one drew a picture.
    Nice blog, nice puzzle.

    Edited at 2017-10-21 05:00 pm (UTC)

  11. 12ac was a good example of not relying on anagram solvers. Thanks very much brnchn for the blog which explained several clues. 44m 59s
  12. Would never have got SUTTON HOO in a month of Sundays without google and checkers COD RO(W)AN.
  13. I thought this a very enjoyable puzzle with just the right level of challenge.
    There were some now familiar friends -drop scones and Tasmaninan Devils- which made it much easier.
    I finished by putting in Dis with fingers crossed; and I could not parse Matinee but it seemed a good guess.
    I was at football yesterday – a splendid game at Molineux -and I recall watching Leeds in their glory days with a friend who supported them. They were a great side. I even knew the words to Blaydon Races … rhyming with ” We’re going down to Elland Road to see Don Revie’s aces.” David
  14. This was 1-Jan puzzle in Hong Kong.
    Straightforward but I had to chekh the spelling of CHEKHOV.
    1A COD. Do setters put the clue they are most proud of in the prestige 1A slot?
    21A CARTRIDGE. Why “originally”?
    15D DROP SCONE again – this is a kind of quasi-&lit. Is there a term for this?
    22D I like “chestnut tree”.
    Thanks to setter and blogger.

    1. The “originally” in the clue means that it’s the first letter that gets changed from a P to a C. How nice that you can find the relevant blog in arrears!! Happy New (Western) New Year.
      1. Thanks for clarification – in my experience the template of “swapping” e.g. APE to ACE does not require specifying the location. Any solver has a decent chance to be able to spot the C in “CARTRIDGE” without further assistance from the setter. Yet maybe it’s about the surface. Nothing costs a hundred for a penny these days, so the “originally” improves the chrome and doesn’t hurt the cryptic part. Happy New Year to you!

        Edited at 2018-01-02 03:51 am (UTC)

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