Times Cryptic No 27154 Thursday, 27 September 2018? Why, then, ’tis time to do’t

I did not find this easy, taking just under 30 minutes, even though the nice long 1ac went straight in. 2 clues I only fully worked out, when writing up the proceedings, and I was rather expecting some pink squares among the green. Even the two really short ones put up a bit of fight. There’s some TLSy stuff around, balanced with sporty stuff and techy stuff, so you need rather a broad appreciation of the world of knowledge, but for the most part the wordplay is there to see you through.
I’ve marked SOLUTIONS, definitions and clues for ease  of understanding

[My workings (reveal)]

1 London landmark lady matriarch constructed (9,4)
ADMIRALTY ARCH  Set between the Mall and Trafalgar Square, built in honour of a lady matriarch, Queen Vic rather than by her. Once containing the grace and favour apartment enjoyed by John Prescott, now being converted into a hotel. You need the LADY MATRIARCH to provide the building blocks needed for construction of your answer.
8 Pocket: area of snooker table for pot (4)
WEED I’m pretty sure this is WEE for pocket (as in battleship, a small version thereof) plus D, on the straight edge of which the yellow brown and green are place in snooker, and from which the white is struck to (re)start the game.
9 Work of British parliament covering security breach 5,5)
BLEAK HOUSE A work by Dickens. B(ritish) HOUSE (parliament) “covers” LEAK (security breach)
10 Compromise, going by sea, returning first class (3,5)
VIA MEDIA Today’s Latin. If you go by sea, you go VIA MED(iterranean). Add AI for first class reversed.
11 Popular singer comes before poet (6)
LARKIN Philip is your poet (and librarian), constructed from IN for popular (that) singer LARK comes before. It’s suggested that the first line of his “This be the Verse” is probably the best-known in all of poetry, though not to be read aloud in the library.
13 Football body’s second tier director (10)
FASSBINDER Rainer Werner, German filmmaker, none of whose films I recall seeing (please be gentle with me). FA’S S(econd) BINDER for tier, which it is if you pronounce it tie-er. And yes, there are other film people spelt with an E.
16 Cove hidden by beach — a pity (4)
CHAP How kind of the setter to signal a hidden clue with “hidden”.  BeaCH A Pity.
17 Minutes or seconds from nasty accident, steps back (4)
ACTA More Latin. I’ve just now worked out its all the second letters from nAsty aCcident, sTeps bAck
18 Reason old woman needs new park keeper (10)
GROUNDSMAN Reason is GROUNDS, old woman MA, and N(ew)
20 Did state nursing languish in misuse of drug? (6)
OPINED You are meant to be nursing PINE for languish in OD, short for overdose, misuse of drug
22 After travelling, reach old English town (8)
ROCHDALE “Travelling” suggest you’re looking for an anagram: use the letters of REACH OLD
24 Provider of instructions for golf: driver needed (10)
PROGRAMMER For: PRO, G(olf) NATO alphabet, driver: RAMMER
26 Welcome private practitioner holding various positions (4)
YOGI YO for the greeting (“yo, Blair”) and GI for the (American) private
27 Exclamation from lady in theatre exposed mother and boy, observe (3,6,4)
OUT DAMNED SPOT The Lady is Lady The Scottish Play, descending into madness as in her sleepwalking she is observed trying to wash the guilty blood from her hands. Exposed: OUT, mother: DAM, boy NED and observe: SPOT


1 Ace thrilled with rap music trophy (8,3)
AMERICA’S CUP “Thrilled” is your anagram indicator, and you cull ACE, RAP and MUSIC from the clue for the fodder.
2 Precocious girl of 24’s language: that’s tasty all round! (5)
MADAM Any of us who have had daughters will know that, love them as we may, they can sometimes be right little madams, which designation fits the bill. Know (if you’re Jim) or guess that ADA is a programming language (see 24). Named for Ada Lovelace, assistant to the amazing Charles Babbage, probably recognising better than he did what his marvellous mechanical computer could do, not without reason described as the world’s first computer programmer. MM for “that’s tasty” embraces ADA.
3 Marketing ploy of a number that’s taken in wrong spirit (9)
REBADGING REG(istration plate) for a number has taken in BAD GIN for wrong spirit
4 Coming to blows with general over charge (7)
LEEWARD In sailing (I hope I’ve got this right) leeward is sailing in the direction in which the wind is blowing. If you squint a bit, coming to blows translates that. LEE is your general (if nothing else, think Dukes of Hazard) and charge supplies WARD, someone you are responsible for.
5 Rustic couple on lake (5)
YOKEL Couple provides YOKE, either as in a pair of (eg) oxen or the means by which they are joined. Add L(ake)
6 They’re ok for cars, for transporting (4,5)
ROOF RACKS A decent &lit: transporting the anagram indicator and OK FOR CARS the fodder. I have always believed Bob Marley had one over his head (Is This Love?) perhaps in some VW camper van, but it appears not.
7 Bears in the wood with horse coming up (3)
HAS The wood is ASH, and the H(orse) is promoted to the top.
12 I seize promotion without difficulty: that’s viewed unfavourably (2,1,3,5)
IN A BAD LIGHT I NAB (seize) AD (publicity) LIGHT (without difficulty)
14 Mark coming soon to open street party (4,5)
STAG NIGHT One of many meanings of TAG is mark. Coming soon gives you NIGH. Place both (they’re to open) in ST(reet)
15 Single minded about success, ultimately display timidity (3,6)
RUN SCARED Another I’ve only just worked out. Single is RUN (today’s cricket). Minded gives CARED, and include succesS ultimately. Terrific misdirection.
19 Four, maybe, twisting one’s arm (7)
OARSMEN Twisting the letters of ONE’S ARM for a coxless four.
21 Girl in papers upset by gossip (5)
DIANA So apposite is could be from the Daily Express. Papers are ID, to be “upset”, and gossip give ANA. From Chambers: “a collection of someone’s table talk or of gossip, literary anecdotes or possessions.”
23 Stop work in kitchen (3,2)
DRY UP A double definition. Drying up is what we used to do with tea towels before the advent of dishwashers.
25 Character of Greek cowherd turning up off and on (3)
RHO Reverse alternate letters in cOwHeRd.

51 comments on “Times Cryptic No 27154 Thursday, 27 September 2018? Why, then, ’tis time to do’t”

  1. Threw in the towel with two (WEED, REBADGING) unsolved. I thought it might be WEED, mainly because I could think of nothing else, but couldn’t see how to make it work. NHO REBADGING, so there was no way I was going to get that one. I had to come here for explanations of MADAM (DNK ADA, didn’t think of MM) and RUN SCARED (beautiful, but single=run was beyond me). I wondered about 4d, as I had thought that if you’re sailing leeward, you’re sailing away from the wind; but then I’ve never sailed.
  2. It had to be weed, but wee can’t mean pocket (it can – good spot). Did get rebadging, did know Ada, but beaten by the via part of via media, not knowing the phrase or having the patience or the Latin to guess it. Such is life.
  3. Funny, I used the word “rebranding” today, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard of REBADGING. So I missed that one, and didn’t even try to parse what I finally put in (REBIDDING, anyone? Ha).

    It didn’t occur to me that “pocket” could mean “mini” or WEE. I wonder how long it would have taken me to research the “area of snooker table” part of the clue for WEED; the rest of the clue is made up of snooker terms, too, it would seem—”pocket,” “pot.”

    I see that Collins has the required meaning of MADAM, another that I was very hesitant to put in; strictly a British usage.

    This was an excellent puzzle.

    Edited at 2018-09-27 04:36 am (UTC)

    1. REBIDDING was what I came up with, too; didn’t like it, of course, and with the WEED problem that decided me to throw in the proverbial. We had MADAM here a while back, which is how I knew it today, as I’ve never come across it in real life.
      1. Some years ago there was a TV advert where a precocious little girl came out with “My mum says that when I’m bigger I’ll be a proper little madam”. I can’t remember the product (so as an advert it failed totally !), but often wondered why her mother thought she’d end up running a house of ill repute.
      2. We use the first on a regular basis in our house, usually about daughter’s classmates (“don’t worry about her she’s a proper little madam)

        WEED also pretty much straight in, WEE=pocket(sized) is fine by me.

  4. LJ keeps erroring intermittently today (site can’t be reached) and did so when I posted my contribution. I can’t be bothered to rewrite it.
  5. All correct, almost to my surprise, in close to an hour. I got the D of WEED immediately (how many named areas are there on a snooker table?) but WEE took a long time. The VIA of VIA MEDIA was a total guess, although I think it means something like middle way, so that seems like it could be a compromise. I thought of REBIDDING but it didn’t seem like a marketing ploy, maybe another word for gazumping, and then I saw it.
  6. DNF with yoghurt etc.
    30 mins to leave 10ac, 3dn, 4dn.
    Guessed Via Media – but still couldn’t get past Rebidding and Leeraid (I know).
    Coming to blows – I ask you.
    Thanks setter and Z.
  7. 26′ but with REBIDDING. Did the hard ones, dnk ACTA, never heard of REBADGING, what does it mean?

    Oh well

    Thanks z and setter.

    1. Rebadging is when one company sells another company’s product under its own name (sometimes called an OEM agreement in some industries). So the Aston Martin Cygnet was a rebadged Toyota, for example. It was manufactured by Toyota, but sold under the Aston Martin brand.
      1. British Leyland (itself frequently rebadged) did it all the time to try to market its sometimes disastrous models. The Vanden Plas 1.5, for example, was the Austen Allegro with a fancy grille and minus the quartic (sic) steering wheel. You can fool some of the people…
        1. I particularly remember that General Motors rebadged the Daewoo range as Chevrolet following bad publicity.
        2. Correct me if I’m wrong but the VP was, in fact, still shite wasn’t it? Which kind of proves the rebadging point I guess.
        3. One the other hand, my Rover 216 was a rebadged Honda Concerto, which is probably why it lasted as long as it did, compared to preceding Rover cars!
  8. Struggled for over an hour and, like others, had to come here to find ‘weed’ and ‘rebadging’ (spellcheck on this site doesn’t allow ‘rebadging’!)…
  9. Got all but ACTA, which if I did know just wouldn’t emerge from the memory bank. There were lots of good clues so it was a pity not to have a finish. I was about 35 minutes before encountering the brick wall. I saw my penultimate REBADGING and thought I’ll soon get that sneaky four letter one, two or which I already know. But I coudn’t. ADMIRALTY ARCH not a great anagram with the ARCH already standing upright at the end of the anagrist. Some good clues too. BLEAK HOUSE, OUT DAMNED SPOT and COD ROOF RACKS were my picks. Thank you Z and setter.

    Edited at 2018-09-27 08:43 am (UTC)

  10. 21 minutes. But I had REBIDDING like paulmcl, ICTA (backwards alternate letters, anyone?) and a despairing MIX MEDIA (mix = compromise?). Bah! Hopefully I learned something today!
  11. ….with ACTA on wordplay, a wing and a prayer, and REBADGING only seen once I’d realised it wasn’t FassbEnder we were looking for at 13.

    Was getting excited for a trend-busting fast time when 4 of the first 5 acrosses went straight in, but then reality kicked in with the bottom half.

    All in all firm but fair for me.

  12. ….in ROCHDALE.

    It’s also hard being a solver on the other side of Manchester this morning, and after almost 35 minutes I finished, only to come here and find WEED. I took the area of the snooker table as (slate) bed, and inserted the “a”. I should have realised I’d used it twice, but I was never going to see “pocket = wee” so ultimately it mattered not.

    A challenging and enjoyable puzzle. FOI CHAP, but progress was slow thereafter.

    I biffed GROUNDSMAN – but at 24A instead (phonetic alphabet + delivery driver), and only saw the error of my ways when I solved 18A ! It did make me wonder whether the same answer twice with totally different clues would be allowed.

    The left hand side caused me a fair bit of headscratching, even after I’d finally amended 24A to PROGRAMMER. I don’t know why it took me over half an hour to see STAG PARTY, and LOI OPINED.

    Corrected “Fassbender” once I got REBADGING. Was trying to use “yum” instead of “mm” at 2D, only seeing “Ada” late in the day.

    COD LEEWARD – “coming to blows” was a superb definition.

    1. Your cowboy in Rochdale rang a bell – but I had to look it up to be sure that it was by Mike Harding. Ralph McTell also sang a nice song about being a cowboy in England.
  13. This took me about an hour and forty minutes, but I’m glad I had the time to press on. Even with that off-the-scale time, I’m simply delighted to have finished this one with all answers correct. A couple of years back I’d certainly never have finished this no matter how long I took, so it seems like progress!

    In the end I had to come up with two unknown bits of Latin for 10a VIA MEDIA and 17a ACTA, an unknown foreign film director, and a line from a play that I’ll guiltily admit I’ve never seen, among other oddities and mind-bending definitions (4d LEEWARD being the best, for me, though 8a WEED was a close second.)

    This, for me, was a very hard puzzle that was regardless very fair, which is a great thing to be challenged with every once in a while, though I’m not sure I’d fancy it every day. Thanks for struggling through it for us, Z, and thanks to the setter.

    Edited at 2018-09-27 09:52 am (UTC)

  14. Agree that this was tough but fair. After a lot of staring, I was on the verge of banging in an unparsed WEED, which definitely fitted the definition, but was no better than a guess because there’s no way that “pocket=WEE”, oh wait, there is, isn’t there. Likewise, took a good long stare before I realised what I was even trying to find in 17ac (very straightforward but only once you interrogate the clue the right way), and finally worked out what sort of NIGHT was needed. Well played, setter.
  15. 42 minutes: NE corner difficult – as long-retired 24ac who’s never needed to use Ada, 2dn had to have C in it somewhere. Like others, LOI was 8ac, and needed Bradford to complete 10ac & 13ac after being stuck at the half-hour point, so really a DNF.
  16. I really enjoyed this one and my time of 37 mins feels pretty good. WEED was my LOI (as it seems to have been for most people here) and I couldn’t parse it. As an Eng Lit scholar I saw the TLS ones pretty quickly, and as a former programmer (C on Suns, ALGOL68R on an old ICL1906A, PL1 on Honeywell Multics) I had no hesitation with MADAM and PROGRAMMER. FOI was ADMIRALTY ARCH and for a moment or two I biffed ADMIRALS CUP for the ‘trophy’, thinking how cheeky the setter was being. I wasn’t certain whether the director bent his fass or bound it, but eventually sussed the ‘tie-er’ misdirection. This puzzle contained a goodly amount of pleasing misdirection, I thought: ‘private practitioner’, ‘single minded’, ‘for golf’, etc.
    My COD to the clever one for HAS.
    Thanks you, z8b8d8c, for your ace blog. And thank you, setter, for a fine puzzle.
  17. The Latin phrases in this one defeated me – did not know Acta nor Via Media.
    I biffed Diana and Madam without knowing Ana nor Ada.
    Apart from those, enjoyable and challenging crossword.
  18. Should I blame Sepp Blatter for the fact that I consistently read 13a as “Football body’s second tier dictator”? It was only when I came here that I realised my mistake – fortunately, though, I couldn’t remember who FASSBINDER was and figured he could be a dictator.

    Like others I struggled with parsing WEED, and was lucky to get the unknown VIA MEDIA. I might be alone in having ORCHDALE in for some time, which rather slowed progress. Oh dear. 16m 14s in total.

    LEEWARD was my COD for the lovely definition.

  19. Just a tad under the half-hour for this. All went fairly smoothly until I was left with the northleft corner. WEED seemed the obvious answer, but the parsing seemed like a bit of a stretch and so I resisted writing it in for a long time. VIA MEDIA was an nho but seemed plausible (thanks, once again, to Mr. Baden who persistently tried to teach me some Latin). FASSBINDER came to mind as soon as I had most of the checkers, but I had no meaning to go with the name, and couldn’t interpret “binder” as a “tier” (thanks to our blogger for clarifying that one). REBADGING was my LOI.
  20. In 1960 I borrowed a science book from the library at the University of Hull and the poet kindly stamped it out. I think he was demonstrating to the staff that the boss could accomplish this mundane task. I never read the book or any of his verse.
    1. Try the link I provided, for a brief, and mildly offensive introduction. You may well find you already know it.
  21. doesn’t mean ‘in a bad light’. ‘Unfavourably’ does. Perhaps you could argue that in the clue ‘viewed’ is a link-word, but if so it’s a pretty feeble one in my opinion.
    1. I freely admit that didn’t occur to me when solving and commenting. I suppose “unfavourably” on its own does work, but I still don’t mind “viewed unfavourably” to fill out the seeing aspect. “Coming to blows”, with its ambiguity about wind direction, struck me as more contentious, but rather clever in a crosswordy sort of way.
    2. I wish people would check their dictionaries before deciding that a definition is incorrect: Chambers has ‘putting an unfavourable light on’ which means it doesn’t need ‘see’ to accompany it
  22. Left staring at 3 clues for ages. Otherwise a good time 35 mins. Having finally got BLEAK HOUSE I then got REBADGING which left -C-A. ANOTHER 5 mins and as they say: “I stayed up all night wondering where the sun had gone. Then it dawned on me”
  23. All but the NHO ACTA in a tremendous (for me) 35 minutes. Was on the right lines with the ‘seconds from’ prompt but only went as far as the ‘AC’, then couldn’t see what ‘steps back’ had to do with it. The ‘proper little madam’ advert mentioned above was for Clarks shoes. Rebadging is a common phenomenon in the computer industry – some of my earliest machinations within involving DEC Alphas rebadged by Convergent Technologies as UNIX boxes.
  24. Just under 1hr 20 mins to DNF this stiff challenge with mix media for want of anything better coming to mind at 10ac. I’d heard of via and I’d heard of media, just not together. In my defence I feel that on a better day with a fair wind I could have DNF-ed this a lot quicker and with far more errors. I was pleased nonetheless to have got as far as I did, painstakingly parsing as much as I did, though binder was thrown into 13ac in desperation, mispronouncing tier as tier instead of tier as I was in my head. Acta was unknown and entered from wp. Enjoyed 27ac once I discarded “A handbag?” Rebadging was a tough one to crack, and the first word of 14dn required an alphabet trawl. Tomorrow’s puzzle could be brutal.
  25. Yep, agree with everything said. Found difficulty with all the clues mentioned but in the end thought they were just good, clever challenges. Really quick for three quarters then hit the tough ones and slowed down but got there OK.
  26. I started off at a fast clip and then screeched to a halt. WEED had me properly snookered and I was about to enter “mix” MEDIA out of desperation when I twigged it. ACTA used to be a regular in the NY Times puzzles though I don’t remember seeing it lately. I haven’t seen any of FASSBINDER’s oeuvre although I believe one of the “auteur”‘s films is called Fox And Friends which is grimly funny. Which reminds me, where is Horryd these days? – he watches it. 29.42
  27. People familiar with Anglicanism should be well versed in the VIA MEDIA as the art of steering a compromise course between the extremes of Roman Catholicism on the one hand and radical Protestantism on the other, pretty much elevated into a central doctrine. A classic example would be Elizabeth 1’s own resolution of the arguments over the sacrament of communion, between full transubstantiation on the one end and mere memorial on the other:
    “Twas God the word that spake it,
    He took the bread and brake it;
    And what the word did make it;
    That I believe, and take it.”
    At different times in Anglican history it’s had different flavours, but can still be found today in most of the debates that strain the worldwide communion.
    Any Archbishop of Canterbury is effectively required to be a master of fudge making. It seems (mostly) to be working.
    1. Thanks for the elucidation. It never ceases to amaze me how much I can learn from my fellow bloggers and commenters!
  28. I tackled this whilst trying not to nod off after a very late night carousing with friends and an early morning to tour the Morgan Car Factory, so a tough puzzle wasn’t really what I was hoping for. However, I managed to complete correctly in 39:20, with the unknown ACTA and VIA MEDIA last 2 in. REBADGING took some time, but once I’d spotted it, was very familiar for another who worked in the IT trade. I even worked on the Convergent Unix boxes(XE520 and XE550) when Convergent was taken over by Burroughs/Unisys. Rebadging was rife. ADMIRALTY ARCH went straight in, but ADMIRALS CUP slowed me down a bit. Didn’t know ADA as a 24a language, but knew the “Proper little Madam.” LEEWARD took a while, as did OUT DAMNED SPOT. A satisfying puzzle to solve. Thanks setter and Z.
  29. I’ve been away for a week out on the west coast, and came back to DNF. Fooled by WEED, and unfamiliar with MADAM used that way, ditto REBADGING. Pretty tough number to return to, I’d say. Well done to all those who plowed through this correctly, including our blogger. Regards.
  30. 12:50. I managed to navigate my way through all the tricky stuff only to fail on the basics: OARSMAN. Pfft.

    Edited at 2018-09-28 01:28 am (UTC)

  31. As a complete novice, being ‘brought on’ by my very experienced crossworder husband, I love all your comments and explanations, but can someone tell me how to separate your blue names from your daily headings in black on the blog? They overprint and I can’t see who’s made the witty and helpful observations!
    1. Could I ask what system you’re using to view the blog? It’s not an issue I’ve come across, even on my Android phone which can cramp things up a bit.

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