Times Cryptic No 27090 – Saturday, 14 July 2018. Another Pleasant Valley Saturday.

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
Like last week, this was a slow solve. Again around 50 minutes for me. This one had rather more obscurities, but everything was gettable on a pleasant Saturday. (For vinyl1’s benefit, I’ve recently seen Beautiful, the musical about Carole King – hence the title. Mind you, unlike this puzzle, Pleasant Valley Sunday is not at all a happy thing – a very depressing take on status symbol land!)

I was slow to get 5dn because I didn’t know the work, and 16dn because I had a block about the possibility of a plural possibly ending in “a”. For once, no clue stood out. What did others like most? Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle.

Clues are in blue, with definitions underlined. Answers are in BOLD CAPS, then wordplay. (ABC*) means ‘anagram of ABC’, with the anagram indicator in bold italics. Deletions are in {curly brackets}.

1 Who could give male help? (4)
MAID: M (male), AID (help).

4 Tear in top worker’s trousers (5,5)
CAPRI PANTS: RIP (tear), in CAP ANT’S. Are Capri pants actually trousers? Discuss.

9 Drink — minute alcoholic one — which brings people together? (4,6)
TEAM SPIRIT: TEA (drink), M (minute), SPIRIT.

10 Group regularly books return trip (4)
TOUR: RU (alternate letters of gRoUp), OT (books common in Crosswordland). Reverse (“return”). Once I had the helpers, this was easy to biff but hard to parse.

11 Paper‘s introduction to topical subject (6)
TISSUE: T (introduction to Topical), ISSUE (subject).

12 Foul language briefly causing annoyance (8)

14 Deal with five o’clock shadow? Not hard for husband (4)
SAVE: S{h}AVE, after taking out H for hard. Definition as in “husband one’s resources”.

15 One devouring fruit simpered pathetically after eating it (6,4)
SPIDER MITE: (SIMPERED IT*). I didn’t know this wee beast, but it was obviously an anagram and once the helpers suggested “mite”, it jumped out.

17 Prepare to blow up rock, getting right in the soup (10)
MINESTRONE: MINE STONE (prepare to blow up rock), then insert R for right.

20 Check on content of wine (4)
REIN: RE (on), {w}IN{e}. Note to self: check should always suggest “rein”.

21 Groups of experts, heading off back round the Atlantic island (2,6)
ST HELENA: “THE” inside {p}ANELS backwards (groups of experts). My knowledge of Atlantic islands stops at the Canaries, so I took this on faith. Of course, it was where Napoleon was exiled in 1815.

23 Old King Edward sounded disapproving (6)
TUTTED: TUT was an old king, Edward could be TED, but not obviously King Ted.

24 Half portion of champignon puree? (4)
MUSH: MUSH{room}. A quick clue?

25 Copper probes where beer bottles are stored? Wrong (10)
INACCURATE: you might keep beer IN A CRATE. Add CU.

26 Prophet, say, outwardly very different (10)
SOOTHSAYER: SAY inside SO (very) OTHER (different).

27 Expert bending shortened steel bars (4)
ABLE: backward hidden answer. “Bending” fits the surface nicely but it is an unusual and perhaps questionable indicator for backwards!

2 Expert regarding US first lady, I may appear in a film (11)
AMERICANIST: ER (first lady – not EVE this time!), I, CAN and put all of that in A MIST. A strange-looking word indeed!

3 Crazy about a picture of Middle Eastern city (9)
DAMASCENE: MAD backwards (“about”), A SCENE.

4 Below heart of local battle site is small tree (7)
CYPRESS: C is heart of {lo}C{al}; YPRES was the site of a WWI battle; S for small.

5 On a Friday, a lot excitedly left work (8,2,1,4)
PORTRAIT OF A LADY: PORT (left) “on” (A FRIDAY A LOT*). I needed several helpers to get a toehold on this one, since I didn’t know the book.

6 Violent in future, perhaps (7)
INTENSE: IN, TENSE (“future” for example, in a grammatical sense).

7 In my opinion, an upstanding woman (5)
NAOMI: IMO (abbreviation), then AN. This lady appears far more often than her peers – presumably she’s easy to fit into the grid.

8 Youngster finally leaves for good (5)
SPROG: S from {leave}S, PRO (for), G (good). Since I recently had SPROG instead of SPRIG, I was ready for this one!

13 Fruit and rindless Brie with crackers — beneficial to digestion (11)
NUTRIMENTAL: NUT (fruit), RI from {b}RI{e}, MENTAL (crackers). Another somewhat strange-looking word.

16 Delays end up hampering speaker (9)
MORATORIA: AIM backwards (“up” in this down clue), around (“hampering”) ORATOR.

18 Birds going about in pants? (3,4)
THE PITS: TITS (birds) around HEP (in). “Pants” in the sense of “rubbish”.

19 Siren in French bank cashier initially stops (7)
ENTICER: EN (French for “in”), TIER (bank), around (“stopped by”) C from C{ashier}.

21 Russian dogs you had once banned in Greek island (5)
SAMOS: SAMO{yed}S. Nice to see “once” in reference to YE’D.

22 Must hurry shortly, love (3,2)
HAS TO: HAST{e}, O (love).

22 comments on “Times Cryptic No 27090 – Saturday, 14 July 2018. Another Pleasant Valley Saturday.”

  1. Totally agree that CAPRI PANTS hardly qualify as trousers. DNK SPIDER MITE, hated AMERICANIST as a word, and THE PITS as a clue. Also found the presence of “say” in the clue for SOOTHSAYER inelegant (the second such this week).

    Brnchn has the edge on me by parsing SPROG. I more or less tossed a coin which came down SPRIG, and rendered my 23:13 futile.

    Not impressed by this one really, but grudgingly COD to ENTICER.

    1. I quite agree with you regarding “say” in the clue for SOOTHSAYER. There are synonyms readily available!
  2. Thanks for the reminder of the great Goeffin/King song and that the Monkees were all very bright, socially conscious lads who deserved their success.

    I guess the nascent discussion about CAPRI PANTS has to do with the particularly UK definition of “pants” as underwear. Nevertheless, that’s what those things are called—over here, anyway. To me, they look kinda silly. If you’re going to wear shorts, wear shorts. If you want long pants, put on some long pants. Make up your mind! Ha ha.

  3. I thought Capri was rather nice.

    Leisurely ramble through this puzzle. No Time noted.

    FOI 1ac MAID who else?

    LOI 18dn THE PITS does this derive from arm pits or F1 or both?


    WOD 8dn SPROG

    Mike Nesmith was a great musician and song writer.
    I knew Mickey Dolenz when he directed ‘Balham’ with Robbie Coltrane and John O’Driscoll – lovely fellahs!

  4. Well, I liked SOOTHSAYER! In fact I made it my COD. I liked ‘very different’ = SO OTHER.
    On the other hand I thought clues like 2d and 18d rather convoluted. I wrote “convoluted” against 5d as well but now that brnchn has explained it, I can see the logic.
  5. If shorts are short trousers then clearly capri pants must be trousers too. The remarkable thing about them is that everyone who wears them, without exception, looks ungainly. From Kate Moss or [insert name of model] downwards.
    Loved “nutrimental,” obvs. a synonym for glutton ..

    Here, apropos, is a letter in this week’s TLS:
    “Sir, – Re NB, June 29: in the US Marine Corps we were told never to call them “pants” – that was what women wore. The correct term was trousers.”

    Edited at 2018-07-21 07:40 am (UTC)

  6. Several unknowns gave problems but it was useful never having heard of CAPRI PANTS as I didn’t have to worry about the accuracy of the definition. After putting SPROG for SPRIG in a recent puzzle I was on my guard at 8dn today and paid very close attention to the wordplay to arrive at the correct answer.

    Edited at 2018-07-21 05:29 am (UTC)

  7. Was Dorothy Lamour in Road to Damascus? Perhaps not, that would have been a drama scene conversion. And didn’t Henry James put ‘The’ before his portrait? I guess, though, it would still be a work without. 53 minutes with LOI ABLE. Penultimate was THE PITS which, unlike Philip, I quite liked as a clue, never really having contemplated its derivation (malodorous armpits, I gather) before. I agree that CAPRI PANTS aren’t trousers, even though Mrs BW often wears them and she wears the trousers in this house. COD to the innocuous MUSH. I enjoyed this. Thank you B and setter.

    Edited at 2018-07-21 07:52 am (UTC)

  8. 26m. Didn’t know what CAPRI PANTS are and couldn’t remember the Russian dog, but the island had to be SAMOS from the checkers. THE PITS my favourite, but I liked NUTRIMENTAL too.
  9. Managed to lose my sheet for this one, but I know it was a DNF as now I see it in the blog, I remember giving up on 21d. I didn’t know either the Greek island or the dog breed, which made it a bit too tricky for me. Ho hum.
  10. a 25 minute puzzle, though I’m not sure where the time went.
    As for CAPRI PANTS. Well, apart from in the US Marine Corps (see, I do read the comments), I believe American pants are what we Brits call trousers. Mind you, I would expect capri pants (wiki: three quarter pants, capris, crop pants, pedal pushers, clam-diggers, flood pants, jams, highwaters, culottes, or toreador pants) to be worn by women, so just to muddy the waters still further here’s the famously asymmetric Rafa wearing his. No idea what he called them, but I have some irreverent thoughts of my own
    1. Capri pants are basically cropped trousers and are very comfortable in the Summer for ladies of a certain age who don’t want to expose their knees!
        1. Mrs BW has taken great offence at your remarks, Jerry. I think you’d better get the US Marines round to defend yourself. ‘Pants” for ‘trousers’ was perfectly normal usage in the North of England as I grew up. Probably the word went to the US on a boat from Liverpool.
          1. Please tell Mrs BW not to shoot the messenger .. you can look stylish, or you can wear capri pants, but not both at once, this is well-known. But personally I wear what is most comfortable… (not them though!)

            Pants meaning anything other than knickers is unknown to me as English usage, despite being born in Sheffield and lived on Merseyside.. even been to Bolton, a few times! The OED says firmly that it is of US origin and was originally short for pantaloons. Still, Lancastrians, eh?
            Oddly, we *do* use pants as part of a phrase eg hot pants ..

            1. If you google North English use of pants for trousers you’ll find several older people from the north-west saying the same thing, Jerry. I know I used to call them pants, as did my Dad and Granddad. Keks was the other, more slangy, word we’d use. US English has a lot of northern idiom in it, with Australia having more of the south.
  11. I worked my way through this in 35:59 with MAID FOI and SPROG last, with a very careful reading of the clue after getting SPRIG wrong last time. AMERICANIST and NUTRIMENTAL seemed strange words. Liked MUSH. Got the Greek island from wordplay. No other problems. Nice puzzle. Thanks setter and Bruce.
  12. I found this the hardest Saturday puzzle for some time. Was unable to get many clues (eg Americanist,Samos) and when I did get close,I felt my answer must be wrong.Having got the fodder CRIPA plus pants I decided it had to be Cargo Pants. I have never heard of Capri Pants. Also DNK Spider Mite but was able to get it.
    I was pleased to dredge La Gomera from my memory as the Atlantic island;did not spend too long on the parsing. It did make the rest of the SW difficult. I gave up after a couple of long sessions.
    Looking at the answers I still rate it as hard. Happy to see that Sprog was correct in this puzzle. That put a sprig in my step. David
  13. 36:24 I found that this one required careful attention to detail. I didn’t know the Russian dogs but I did know the Greek island. Spider mite was also an educated guess from the available anagrist.
  14. 18:51, solving on iPhone (no access to a computer).
    Like Jerry I don’t understand the problem with CAPRI PANTS: of course they’re trousers, a bit shorter than usual but not as short as short trousers.

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