Times Cryptic No 27174 – Saturday, 20 October 2018. A whale of a puzzle.

This had some relatively obscure vocabulary, but happily the wordplay generally told us how to spell the answers. So, no complaints on that score here. Now that the clocks have changed, I normally do the crossword over lunch (without a timer, of course!). I got through this one without major difficulty so I would rate it middle of the road.

My clue of the day was 17ac, for its nice multinational style! Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle.

On with the show. 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 [square brackets].

1 One spouting about companion frequently (8)
CACHALOT: CA (about) / CH (companion) / A LOT (frequently). The word was only vaguely familiar, but the wordplay is clear. It’s a sperm whale.

5 Pack skimpy garment to cover middle of torso (6)
THRONG: [to]R[so] in THONG.

10 One dipping into US writer, inferior author (9)
POETASTER: TASTER of [Edgar Allan] POE. A “crossword-only” word for me.

11 Head over for a knees-up (5)
BEANO: BEAN (head) / O[ver].

12 Foxtrot, lively dance, short and uninhibited (4)
FREE: F for Foxtrot, in the phonetic alphabet / REE[L] “short”.

13 Tip of asparagus removed before mixing with English vegetables (5,4)
SUGAR PEAS: anagram of -SPARAGUS (beheaded) plus E for English.

15 What sounds like wrongdoings by people, on leaving US city (10)
CINCINNATI: CIN CIN (sound like “sin”, twice, since “wrongdoings” is plural) / NATI[on]. Cute, I thought.

17 It’s OK for Bordeaux to supply sparkling wine (4)
CAVA: “OK” in French could be “ça va”. Regardless of whether Bordeaux wines are red or white, and whether sparkling or still, CAVA is a Spanish sparkling wine.

19 Facility‘s rent reduced by pounds (4)

20 Writer’s appearing in short TV sequence: Name Of A Poet (10)
SPENSERIAN: PEN in SERIA[l], then N for name. Nice that the clue reminded us he was SPENSER, not SPENCER.

22 Planned to have kid kept back after school (9)
SCHEDULED: SCH, then DELUDE “back”. I was slow to see this until I wrote the word down backwards.

24 Perform song on piano (4)
PLAY: P (piano), then LAY.

26 In revolution he died a certain western hero (5)
BOONE: OB (he died) “in revolution”, then ONE (a certain). Daniel Boone, presumably.

27 Feeling cold Irish veg should be dished up around noon (9)
SHIVERING: (IRISH VEG*) around N for noon.

28 Country property in Virginia, say (6)
ESTATE: is it just that Virginia is an eastern state of the US? So, an E. STATE?

29 One study about keeping bird in cage? (8)
INTERNED: I then DEN “about”, “keeping” TERN.

1 Bluebottle on bottom of Barbary ape (4)
COPY: COP (“bluebottle” is or was slang for police officer), then [Barbar]Y.

2 Prepare to speak about king, having rewritten a short note (5,4,6)
CLEAR ONE’S THROAT: C (about) / LEAR (King) / (A SHORT NOTE*).

3 Learner turfed out by newly acclaimed teacher (8)
ACADEMIC: (ACC-AIMED*). L for learner is “turfed out” of the anagram.

4 Explorer gives address, forgetting first letter of road (5)

6 Port‘s illegally obtained, boozer admitted (6)

7 Look down in the mouth, perhaps, for language test (4,11)
ORAL EXAMINATION: double definition, one dental, the other linguistic.

8 Start to go astray, crossing land in shiny coat (5,5)
GLOSS PAINT: G[o], then LOST around SPAIN.

9 Cow just getting stuck in swampy ground (8)

14 Easily understood tax in account: I will get billed regularly (10)
ACCESSIBLE: CESS (an old tax) in AC / I / BLE, where B-L-E are the odd letters of “billed”.

16 Brief requirement to fence off borders for some Asian folk (8)
NEPALESE: NEE[d] fences off PALES.

18 Be endlessly pleased, cooking cheese (3,5)
BEL PAESE: (BE PLEASE-*). A bit of a guess which word loses its last letter! An Italian cheese.

21 Least likely to work, namely after imbibing litres (6)
IDLEST: L for litres in ID EST, often seen as the abbreviation i.e..

23 Worker in night club and pub supplying spirits (5)
DJINN: DJ (nightclub guy) / INN (pub). Unusually, it seems DJINN is plural, and the singular is DJINNI!

25 Characters in carriage driven over the hill? (4)
AGED: hidden answer.

18 comments on “Times Cryptic No 27174 – Saturday, 20 October 2018. A whale of a puzzle.”

  1. Did this last Saturday evening, after a wretched drive up the M1 and M6, with the roadworks for the ‘smartifying’ schemes making the journey between south and north take longer than it did when I first learnt to drive in 1965. Ça ne va pas. I don’t have a time for this, but found it reasonably easy. In our St Annes apartment, unless I retreat to a bedroom, I’m in the living room. Mrs BW not only enjoys ‘Strictly’ on a Saturday night but likes to share her opinions with those present, and that was only me. My last three in were GLOSS PAINT, SPENSERIAN and CAVA, three really good clues. I’ll give COD to CAVA, solved from my limited knowledge of sparkling wines, with the cryptic then providing a fitting reminder of the day. Enjoyable. Thank you B and setter.
  2. ….your blog was, as usual, a BOON(E) in sorting out my only biff (I never spotted “ob = he died”).

    COD CAVA – I’m in total agreement

    Time 10:40

  3. 34 minutes for a Saturday puzzle is quite good for me and there were a few tricky clues along the way. I got myself into a complete muddle over the parsing at 16dn thinking NE{ed} (requirement) [brief], PALE (fence off), S{om}E [borders of…] but was not happy with removing two letters from the first word, nor entirely convinced that ‘off’ really fitted in with this. I should have trusted my insinct that it was wrong and rethought the whole thing from scratch, or simply gone with the definition and moved on.

    Edited at 2018-10-27 07:05 am (UTC)

  4. I may have cheated for CACHELOT, but the fog of embarrassment has erected a Lethe field around the event. I think I had been working on an arrangement of orator for spouter until the real answer appeared as if by magic.
    Otherwise a gentle enough solve.
    Currently basking in the glow of my second win in as many months, this for 27168. I now need to find out what WH Smiths sells that I want, while suppressing that frisson of guilt that comes when your raffle numbers keep being drawn.
    1. Congrats! I had a similar feeling of guilt when I won the Saturday prize back in 2016, despite having only just started entering them. Not a sausage since, mind, though I’ve started sending in the Guardian and Observer puzzles too, to double my chances…
    2. Coincidence .. I usually misspell cachalot that way too. Fortunately, this time the crossers prevented it!
  5. 46 minutes for me, which isn’t too bad for a Saturday (quicker than today’s, certainly!) I wasn’t too sure about 28a ESTATE either, Bruce, but I think it must be just as you say. FOI 5a THRONG, LOI 11a BEANO, which I always struggle to remember for a party.

    A few question marks along the way—I really must get around to reading Moby-Dick, if only to brush up on my whale nomenclature—but generally I didn’t get held up for too long by anything in particular. Might have to do some in-depth weekend research on BEL PAESE, just to fix it in my mind, of course…

  6. 26:52 for me, although I did have to check that BEL PAESE was in fact a cheese. The DJINN spirit finally seems to have entered my consciousness, along with the more usual GIN. I think SPENSERIAN was my LOI but it’s all a bit vague now. Nice to meet today’s Jumbo blogger on John Henderson’s quiz pub crawl in York last night. A day of fun lies ahead of us now. I think the sun has just poked its head out through the snow! Thanks setter and Bruce.
  7. 17 enjoyable minutes for me finding myself on the wavelength. I had to trust to the wordplay for CACHALOT, but otherwise all known.Lots of lovely clues – no less than 11 ticks on my paper. Apart from CAVA, I think SCHEDULED gave ne the most delight. LOI BOONE.Thanks setter and B.
  8. DNF in 20 mins. I couldn’t get Boone, which was obvious really, and Bel Paese. I lobbed in Bloke and Set Piece. San Fairy Ann.

    COD: CAVA.

  9. CACHALOT unknown but gettable. No real dramas here.

    Are you down under, Bruce? I know the clocks have changed in some places there recently, but in the UK not till ‘tonight’.

  10. 29:54 nice to dip under 30 mins on a Saturday. I think I have seen cachalot in a previous puzzle somewhere but the wp was helpful. No idea where I dredged bel paese up from. I liked Cincinnati.
  11. One of my favourite fictional detectives often used to add, when asked about his name, “Spenser, like the poet”. It saved me from falling into a spelling trap at 20a. (Robert B Parker, for anyone interested. Highly recommended) I thought this was a straightforward puzzle. At last I’m getting used to seeing CESS as a tax. Didn’t we have POETASTER a couple of days ago? 24 minutes. Ann
  12. why does Facility’s = ease? I guessed the answer from the word play but, unless i’m missing something, the clue just doesn’t scan. If the clue doesn’t scan then it shouldn’t be in there and the setter is trying to show off.
    1. For wordplay purposes, read the apostrophe-s as a contraction of “facility is”, not possessive. So the clue is: “facility” is {equals} “lease” (rent), {reduced by} “L” (pounds).

      Edited at 2018-10-27 07:31 pm (UTC)

  13. I have been to Crewe today seeing family -by train, to avoid the horrors of motorway improvements experienced by BW.
    I enjoyed this puzzle. Djinn came from the recesses of crossword experience but I was pleased to know it is a word.I now know how to spell Cincinnati.
    My final struggles were Spenserian and Cachalot, the latter being new to me.
    News from Deepdale filtered through whilst in Crewe;one up at home to Rotherham, followed by the inevitable update just after half-time -they equalised. David

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