Times Cryptic No 27102 – Saturday, 28 July 2018. Normal service will now resume.

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
After the struggles of the preceding Thursday and Friday’s puzzles, this Saturday puzzle was a return to what we expect. It wasn’t easy, but had nothing to frighten the horses, or indeed to unseat the rider, although as usual I didn’t know the Italian poet. It took me about an hour to get through it but only because of some nicely disguised clues. Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle.

I think my clue of the day is 7dn for its cunning wordplay, and without wishing to steal his thunder, I am guessing Horryd’s word of the day will be 24ac. Here we go. 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 Bright wife, Russian woman from the east (5)
AGLOW: W | OLGA, all reversed (“from the east”). I remember a joke about how many Sven Svenssons there are in Sweden, and how many have wives called Olga, so the woman needn’t necessarily be Russian.

4 What’s left is due to get pickled in alcohol (8)
RESIDUUM: (IS DUE*) inside RUM. I held myself up by assuming without good reason that the alcohol would be RED.

8 Player of instruments, one group of notes first (14)

10 Did train cut around borders of Ecuador? (9)
EXERCISED: EXCISED around E{cuado}R.

11 Serious Irish novelist hasn’t finished (5)
STERN: drop Sterne’s final E.

12 Make popular organ stop at first (6)
ENDEAR: EAR (organ), with END “at first”.

14 Bachelor having lost weight is a villain (8)
BLIGHTER: B (bachelor), LIGHTER (having lost weight). Chambers says “blighter” is usually playful, but then so too could “villain” be, I guess.

17 Edging from the best pastry chef? (8)
FLANKING: In a very specific area of pastry making, the FLAN KING would clearly be the best!

18 Single month, November or August? (6)
SOLEMN: SOLE | M | N. Nicely disguised definition.

20 Round motorway, I see US city (5)
OMAHA: if a US city isn’t NY or LA, it might well be OMAHA, Nebraska. O (round) | M (motorway) | AHA (I see!).

22 Soldier not drinking with one Italian poet (9)
MARINETTI: MARINE | TT | I. As discussed in previous puzzles, United States Marines insist they are marines, not soldiers. Royal Marines may not have the same strong view.

24 Frown on policeman’s face (14)
DISCOUNTENANCE: DI’S | COUNTENANCE. Not a word I would commonly use, but a nice clue.

25 Scrap metal plating thus put on aircraft (8)
JETTISON: TIN around (“plating”)  SO, preceded by JET.

26 Taste skin of succulent date (5)
TRYST: TRY (taste) | S{ucculen}T (“skin of”).

1 Complaint to hotel — feast is awful (8,4)

2 Injured leg broken by car without front bumper (5)
LARGE: (LEG*) around {c}AR. “Large” as in “a bumper crop”.

3 Sally is on drugs, after whiskey (9)
WISECRACK: W (whiskey) | IS | E (drug 1) | CRACK (drug 2). My immediate thought was WITTICISM, but that didn’t survive contact with the clue!

4 Concerned with tax break (6)
RECESS: RE (concerned with) | CESS (tax). CESS as a tax turned up most recently on Wednesday 25th.

5 Old, dishy models in second-rate fashion (8)

6 Men charge, capturing duke (5)
DUDES: DUES around D for duke.

7 Remove cover from horse — dislodge man astride it (9)
UNSHEATHE: tricky wordplay here! UNSEAT (dislodge) | HE (man) all around (“astride”) H for horse.

9 Not accommodating endlessly travelling fellow (12)

13 New media star put on stage, say (9)

15 Sort of coffee and fruitcake for a snack (9)
GROUNDNUT: coffee might be GROUND | a fruitcake might be a NUT. I immediately thought of BRAZIL NUT but that is two words, of course. Even so, “they’ve got an awful lot of coffee in Brazil”. [Frank Sinatra, 1946].

16 Mean to develop The Times’s charms (8)
ENAMOURS: (MEAN*) followed by OURS (“The Times’s”).

19 Maybe a little salt, holding back in fast food (6)
GRATIN: {fas}T in GRAIN. I was doubtful that “gratin” is a food, but apparently it can refer to a dish cooked au gratin.

21 Is one seen in Hampden Park tie? (5)
ASCOT: Hampden Park is in Scotland, so full of Scots on match day. An ascot is a tie.

23 Aussie can start to travel, visiting US city (5)
TINNY: T{ravel} | IN (visiting) | NY. Australian for a cold can of beer, among other things.


19 comments on “Times Cryptic No 27102 – Saturday, 28 July 2018. Normal service will now resume.”

  1. I didn’t know the Italian poet either, but he wasn’t too difficult to construct. I seem to have found the puzzle straightfoward as I completed it in 27:03. 24a was another Ikea jobby. Thanks setter and Bruce.
  2. This took me a long time: 86m 59s to be precise. I suspect that is because I had queries on four clues, so thank you, brnchn for GRATIN, SOLEMN, JETTISON and SHEATHE.
    My COD was 23d the “Aussie can”. I wondered if it might mean toilet as I’m sure I’ve heard it referred to as such when I lived there; or maybe not as I used to work for an American company and I know it is a ‘Murcan term. In any event I toyed with DUNNY for a while. Before my time there, but Clive James refers to the ‘dunny man’ in his autobiography “Unreliable Memoirs”.
    1. You’re right: that is an old Australian term for an outside toilet. I thought it related to “dunnage”, but the usual dictionaries give no support for that!
  3. We’re away at the moment and even I’m not that anal to remember to bring the torn-out crossword with me. I remember this as on the easier side for a Saturday, and I think I was in the twenties. COD is DISCOUNTENANCE, although I don’t think that’s what I’d nominated last week. It might have been INTRANSIGENT, which clearly I’m not. I’ve never asked for a packet of GROUNDNUTs. DNK the poet. Thank you B and setter.

    Edited at 2018-08-04 07:54 am (UTC)

  4. ….as my late father was wont to sing along with Edmundo Ros on the wireless back in the 50’s.

    I was expecting to have to own up to a DNF, but am relieved to have biffed GRATIN correctly (“back in fast” totally eluded me, despite me going back to it twice more in midweek), so thanks for that one Bruce ! Completed in 19:30 thank goodness.


  5. 48:31. Didn’t know the Italian poet that wasn’t Dante but checkers and wp didn’t give room for much else. I did like the flan king when the penny dropped on that one.
  6. Thanks for explaining GRATIN which I biffed correctly before submitting. I am another one who didn’t see the ‘holding back in’ as the last letter of the word. Now filed for future reference.
  7. 24 minutes, with sheer delight at the flan king.
    For me, MARINETTI might just as well have been another foodstuff, perhaps seafood pasta, but I gather the enthusiastic fascist rhymester was curiously opposed to pasta in all its forms.
    BLIGHTER has two resonances for me: Snoopy, where the blighters are always poor and down below in the trenches, and Wooster, possibly more in tune with “villain”:
    “And what sort of a specimen is this one?”
    “I could not say, sir, on such short acquaintance.”
    “Will you give me a sporting two to one, Jeeves, judging from what you have seen of him, that this chappie is not a blighter or an excrescence?”
    “No, sir. I should not care to venture such liberal odds.”
  8. Mr. Brown Dog will be much dicountenanced that I haven’t gone for 24ac as my WOD.

    However, it is my COD. But, but I must disagree (for once) with John Dun – in that I don’t find it particularly Ikean. There are only two bits and the assembly instructions are missing!

    FOI 1dn ATHLETE’S FOOT my first Nikes bought there in NY in 1974 – lemon and orange with the camel heel.

    LOI 18ac SOLEMN – but why the capital A for August!? Naughty but nice!

    And wait for it…..

    my WOD….

    goes to….


    Didn’t 22ac MARINETTI play for Arsenal….? No that was Peter Marinello!

    Time not recorded.

    How many years do you have to turn the clocks back on the Lytham Shore?

    1. The Women’s Open is on at Royal Lytham at the moment and George Ezra/ Emeli Sande topped the bill at the Lowther last week. This is the world’s epicentre. You set your watches from here.
      1. A long time since I was thereabouts. Didn’t Cliff used to live there? I saw Cliff and the Shads (no Liquorice) Ken Dodd and Morecombe & Wise in the early sixties at the end of Blackpool Pier. These days its Peter Kaye who has me over.
        1. I note that Horryd’s picture is, in fact, relevant to Skegness rather than Lytham. Having visited both in the last week or so, whilst Lytham may not be Nice, Skegness isn’t even nice.
        2. A lot of the the stars in the fifties and sixties stayed in Lytham St Annes when playing the Blackpool season. The one who lived in the place was Les Dawson, who has a statue by the pier. Sez Les: “People often ask me what’s the difference between a northern audience and a southern audience. Frankly, as far as I’m concerned there’s no difference. They don’t laugh at me in the south either.” I’m having that on my gravestone.
  9. Enjoyable challenge but defeated by three: 16d, 19d and 22a.
    On review, Italian poet should at least be someone most broadly educated people have heard of. I did not equate Marine with Soldier (but never thought of Marine, not having the first letter). Only had two letters of Gratin which made that hard. Thought the salt might be a sailor. David
  10. Completed a few minutes ago. A nice moderate puzzle with nothing too discouraging. I’d never heard of MARINELLI but it came easily enough once I’d got ENAMOURS. Those were my last 2 in. I loved FLANKING – a LOL moment. 34 minutes. Ann

    Edited at 2018-08-04 01:32 pm (UTC)

  11. Held for ages by the Italian poet – not helped by having TARTIN for my confident FOI at 19D (almost parses as NITRAT{e} reversed, wasn’t sure about “fast” though)
    Then trying to “unsee” that when MARINE finally clicked meant that GRATIN had to wait till morning
  12. Like others, a steady middle of the road solve with Discountenance as a favourite.

    I’m right up there on the US Marines this week, having had three dinners last week with my father and a next door neighbour who were junior officers in, respectively, the USN Submarine Service and the US Marines during World War II. The interesting bits were the differences in the way the two services conducted crash training during the war, and by inference what they were tring to teach, so as to meet their different fighting needs.

    Edited at 2018-08-04 04:04 pm (UTC)

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