Times Cryptic No 27214 Thursday, 6 December 2018 Anyone fancy a hot toddley?

A straightforward enough solve which I marred with a precipitate entry to 12 down, so my time of 15.38 is moot. I had to guess the blouse at 25, though the wordplay was more than kind, and resist the temptation for a slur on an entire nation at 28. The presence of no less than three words for slow (to the point of stillness) lent a rather languid air o the puzzle, though couple of more lively musical answers picked up the pace. Arguably, there is an unusual split definition at 10. My favourite clue wasthe advice to the police (it made me smile).
My standard clue, definition and SOLUTION conventions are observed

[My reasoning]

1 Like bird of old on fruit tree (8)
PLUMAGED Old is AGED and the fruit tree whereon it sits is PLUM. The adjective looks odd until you preface it with some qualifier: brightly plumaged and such.
6 This writer’s rubbish is somewhat wicked (6)
IMPISH  More often an expression of impatience, especially with tush, PISH is as also a verb meaning pooh-pooh, hence to rubbish. Add I’M for the writer’s
9 Amount of herring from end of harbour tinned (4)
CRAN You either know it or have learned it today. 37½ gallons, for what it’s worth.  If the end of harbour is tinned it is in CAN
10 Hugest new dwelling by river that can accommodate visitors (10)
GUESTHOUSE Hugest “new” gives you GUESTH which leaves you to find the river OUSE. Chambers has it hyphenated.
11 Ruler who lost his head leading fashionable people a dance? (10)
CHARLESTON A generous historical reference, Charles 1 being the executed monarch as any fule kno. TON, more often just fashion but OK as people of fashion, is tagged on for Strictly’s favourite dance.
13 Baddie’s heading off to create this? (4)
EVIL Baddies don’t come more bad than the/a DEVIL. Do unto him as Richard Brandon did unto Charles 1 (probably) and you produce the Devil’s creation.
14 Isolated fellow who handled Sherlock Holmes stories? (8)
STRANDED You need to know that Arthur Conan Doyle published many of the Sherlock stories in the Strand magazine, so was handled by the STRAND ED.
16 Property — idiots may keep theirs, at first (6)
ASSETS Idiots are ASSES, insert T from Theirs “at first”
18 Sluggish swim with rubbish around (6)
TORPID Swim is DIP, RUBBISH is ROT, concatenate and reverse “around”
20 Scholarly story about the heartless scoundrel (8)
LITERATE Story here is LIE, which takes position about both heartless T(h)E and scoundrel RAT.
22 Stone circle west of China (4)
OPAL Circle O, to be placed west (to the left of) PAL for China (CRS China plate, mate. But you knew that.)
24 Church about to be given sums of cash for formal events (10)
CEREMONIES Church: C(of)E, about: RE, sums of cash MONIES.
26 Like prescription and wrong pills coming from mad chemist possibly (10)
MISMATCHED If you get the wrong pills in response to your prescription…  The anagram needed (“possibly”) is from MAD CHEMIST. Well matched definition and wordplay.
28 Irishman knocking over post (4)
MAIL Our Irishman is LIAM, who is “knocked over”. LIAM our Irishman is the reverse of MAIL for post.  Go to the naughty step if you got [the reverse of] RAIL in a fit of uncalled for stereotyping, where you can join no less than Margaret Thatcher: “You can’t trust the Irish, they are all liars” (sic). (Thanks to Bletchley for pointing out my inexplicable reversal of definition and wordplay.. I’d like to keep in aternative notion of rail as a sort of sideways post)
29 Still cold when wearing heavy material (6)
PLACID C(old) enveloped in PLAID
30 Meeting with a suggestion as to how police might trap criminal? (8)
TRYSTING Amusing (unless you’re on the wrong end). The Police might be encouraged to TRY (a) STING to catch the bad’ns


2 Throat gel worked quite slowly (9)
LARGHETTO An anagram (“worked”) of THROAT GEL for the adequately described musical term.
3 After short time whale is seen in holiday location (7)
MINORCA Short time is min(ute, of course) and whale is ORCA
4 Music concert group of countries set up (5)
GIGUE Concert is GIG, and the “set up” group of countries is the EU.
5 According to radio, precipitation is expected (3)
DUE Sounds like DEW, precipitation.
6 Manager occupying temporary accommodation, desperate man stuck inside (9)
INTENDANT Apparently more common in forn parts. Occupying temporary accommodation is IN TENT, insert Desperate DAN of the Dandy
7 Sea god, fat, yellow and soft, surfacing (7)
PROTEUS As well as being a variety of Greek heroes, Proteus is indeed a Sea god, rather fetchingly composed of  SUET (fat), OR (yellow) and P (soft, in music). “Surfacing” in the down clue is your reversal indicator
8 Dodgy behaviour with greeting — there may be something fishy here (5)
SUSHI Dodgy (with or without behaviour) is SUS, and the greeting HI.
12 Alcoholic drink not quite right for child (7)
TIDDLER is the preferred answer. TIDDLEY is your drink, more often tiddly and more often (in your commentator’s opinion) an adjective (drunk) rather than a noun (drink). Take away the end, add an R and you get our answer, more often a small fish or a generic small thing. TODDLER, which I confidently entered, is (IMHO) more obviously a child, but lacks the advantage of having a drink spelled TODDLE?. The nearest I can get is toddy, which doesn’t work.
15 Firm is old-fashioned, keeping order mostly (9)
DEDICATED  Old fashioned is DATED, insert EDIC(t) for your almost complete order
17 Renegotiated rent a bit high ultimately for old country building (5,4)
TITHE BARN An anagram (“renegotiated”) of RENT A BIT plus the last letter of higH
19 Controversial European means to be heard by audience (7)
POLEMIC Our European of choice is a POLE, and a MIC would help him to b heard.
21 Bit of hair giving girl, ten, makeover (7)
RINGLET An anagram (makeover) of GIRL TEN
23 Bottle — something kept in a cabinet, might you say? (5)
PHIAL Our second sound alike clue, this time “file”
25 High time to discard a blouse (5)
MIDDY Midday is high as in noon. Throw away the A for a “loose blouse worn, esp formerly, by women and esp children, having a collar with a broad flap at the back in the style of a sailor’s uniform”. Thank you Chambers.
27 Bowler maybe who gets opener dismissed (3)
HAT Who translates to THAT, from which the “opener” is removed.

48 comments on “Times Cryptic No 27214 Thursday, 6 December 2018 Anyone fancy a hot toddley?”

  1. Apologies if someone beats me to this. Another of those annoying clues when it’s not clear which is the def. but I think you’ll find 28a is LIAM for ‘Irishman’ to fit in with the crossing RINGLET and TITHE BARN.

    Equally annoying that I had ‘maddy’ for 25d, which does parse OK, so another DNF in 49 minutes.

    Anyway, I learnt what a CRAN is. Should come in useful.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

    1. How embarrassing! Of course, you’re right, and the entry is LIAM for Irishman as a reverse of MAIL for post. But the rest of my conjecture still stands: we are not to enter the reverse of RAIL for post. Dear me, no.
  2. Never having heard of tiddley, I could do no better than TODDLER, hoping something would come along to explain LER away. Not content with submitting a word I couldn’t parse, for good measure I threw in a typo, POLEMCC. I assumed that STRAND was Conan Doyle’s publisher; I may even have known about the magazine, although it didn’t come to mind. No other problems, but then again I didn’t need any more.
  3. I’m another TODDLER on the basis of a short version of toddy, and incomplete understanding of wordplay. Worse, I confidently biffed TEQUILA first time though (when I only had the T crosser) as being an alcoholic drink that was an anagram of QUITE and some equally unclear wordplay for LA. So DNF.

    Didn’t know CRAN and didn’t know TRYSTING was a word. I did know the Strand Magazine thing but it seemed a bit obscure, to say the least. And is “dew” really precipitation, more of condensation.

  4. Didn’t notice this at the time, and indeed only just now spotted your reference to the definition. My guess is that ‘dwelling’ simply (well, not simply; our setters are never simple) means that (HUGEST)* is located next to OUSE. Cute, no? ‘that can accommodate …’ suffices for the definition.
    1. “Dwelling” is sufficiently vague a word to be either a placement indicator or a noun. And indeed the use of “that” for “that which” is common enough in this parish, so there’s no issue with the definition either. But I don’t think there’s anything intrinsically wrong with distributing the definition piecemeal around the clue, and I quite like the notion as a break from the rigid definition/wordplay structure. Is there anything in tne Ximemean codebook?

      1. I don’t know from Ximenes, and I certainly have no principled (or other) objection to splitting the definition; but can the split-def reading furnish the solution here? The grammar of the sentence (under that reading) would seem to require that a guesthouse be on a river.
        1. I had “dwelling” as the placement indicator.

          A bit clumsy but nothing like 12d which just didn’t work for me. Although I did luckily guess the correct vowel.

        2. I don’t think there’s a problem with that: “on the river” need not be taken to mean the house has to be a boat, just that it’s close by, on the banks of. The Mill on the Floss? Stockton on Tees?

          1. I wasn’t worried about ‘on’: floating on top of, fine; abutting, fine. But guesthouses don’t have to be on a river either way.
            1. Does that follow? A guesthouse might be a big building by a river that can accommodate guests (the non-cryptic version), but does not mandate that all guesthouses must be by rivers.
              I did say the “split definition” was arguable, but this is not the argument I was expecting!
              1. I’m sorry, but now you’ve lost me. On the split-def reading, we have
                Hugest new DWELLING by river THAT CAN ACCOMMODATE VISITORS
                where the def is in caps. Given that DWELLING is here a noun, the syntax of the phrase would seem to require that the dwelling be by a river (or else that the river can accommodate visitors). But, I object, a guesthouse need not be by a river. So, while I’m all for split definitions, I don’t see how this one would do its job. (What if guesthouses were in fact, by definition riverside establishments; would the clue work? I suspect there would be murmurs of dissent, and maybe not only among the Ximeneans. But that’s as may be.)
                1. I think all I’m saying is that “hugest new by river” works as wordplay with or without “dwelling” (it doesn’t have to make natural sense), and that “that can accommodate visitors” works ok as a definition but works better if you read it as “dwelling [skip over the river bit] that can accommodate visitors”. With the capitals, you’ve done a fine job of distinguishing between the (possible) wordplay and definition but not taken the additional step of disentangling them.
                  I’m happy to concede that the setter probably didn’t intend us to do that, and wordplay and definition are conventionally divided, but the alternative is at least enticing.

                  1. For me, certainly a positional indicator, albeit one used to force the surface, and so NOT a noun. Additionally I’m not sure the definition part really needs to elide a ‘which’, as ‘that can accommodate’ etc is fine as is.

                    12d I think must be an error.

                    Edited at 2018-12-06 04:34 pm (UTC)

  5. 32 minutes, pushed over my target half-hour by being unable to solve 6ac until I had realised and corrected my error at 6dn where I had plumped for ATTENDANT – I hadn’t been entirely happy that it fitted with ‘manager’ as definition but the wordplay with AT for ‘occupying’ had seemed reasonable enough. INTENDANT is not a word that I am overly familiar wih anyway, although ‘Superintendant’ is common enough.

    But it was all for nothing anyway as I was amongst the ranks of those who put TODDLER at 12dn and failed to find an explanation for the LE. I have never heard of TIDDLEY meaning ‘drink’, only ‘drunk’, and to me a TIDDLER is a small fish rather than a child.

    I knew CRAN – learnt many years ago in Telegraph crosswords – and got the STRAND association with Sherlock Holmes.

    Edited at 2018-12-06 05:58 am (UTC)

    1. The club leaderboard currently lists 20 solvers; 3 of them have no errors. Say no more say no more.
      1. Yes, another TODDLER here.

        I’ve just pushed a change to the detailed SNITCH listing showing the reference solvers excluded due to error. Current tracking at 34 errored results vs 19 correct ones. The number of errors is usually way less than the number of correct entries.

  6. Well, got me there! Dang! I plumb forgot to (try to) parse.

    CRAN, though, I only got by parsing. How odd it is that there is a word for a quantity of a particular species of fish!

  7. About 35 mins pre brekker.
    I was feeling satisfied having negotiated: Cran, Gigue, INtendant and the Strand. I crossed my fingers on Middy (Never heard of it)… only to find that Toddler was wrong. Pah. And I do vaguely remember aged aunts in the seventies saying they might have a ‘Tiddly’ (But with no E).
    Thanks setter and Z.
  8. 17:38, but another TODDLER here. I couldn’t parse it, but at was the only word meaning ‘child’ that fitted the checkers. Like others I have never heard of ‘tiddley’: I can’t find this meaning of the word anywhere other than Chambers, and even there the primary spelling of the word is without the E. This is what Bertie Wooster would call a bit thick IMO.
    My other great problem was with the intersecting TRYSTING and MIDDY. The former an unusual form of the word and quite hard to derive from wordplay, the latter completely unheard of.
    I remembered CRAN from past puzzles, which is moderately encouraging.
  9. I’m not sure whether it’s half or doubly as annoying that I failed to get 13a from E_I_, looking at it for a good twenty minutes, to find that I’d also put in TODDLER, having never heard of tiddley either in that spelling or as a noun. Bah. (I always think of Tony when I have vocalophobia…)

    Shame, as I really enjoyed the rest of this puzzle. Some fab surfaces.

  10. Enjoyed this, it seemed difficultish but I never got bogged down. At least, I enjoyed it up to the point where I discovered that TODDLER was wrong.
    Given that even the full OED prefers tiddly to tiddley, and only has the required meaning of tiddler as a secondary after the fish, I find that an obscure clue. But having got it wrong I would do, wouldn’t I?
  11. I amended Toddler to TIDDLER, as I can remember my sister calling her children that half a century ago. I think it was affectionate. 36 minutes with LOI PROTEUS, after EVIL and ASSETS seen. Wasted time on 22a, thinking that there was some posh pottery called Stow, before POLEMIC persuaded me otherwise and the straightforward OPAL emerged. DNK GIGUE but PLUMAGED made it clear. I’m pretending I knew MIDDY, but probably didn’t. COD to CRAN, which emerged from the depths and I definitely once knew. I just fancy some soused herring now, although sadly I’m more likely to find SUSHI in the fridge. Thank you Z and setter.

    Edited at 2018-12-06 09:42 am (UTC)

  12. 47 mins to get it wrong on T[I/O]DDLER. Well, I’m in good company, and I concur with all the views expressed here regarding the iffiness of that clue.
    Went with ‘attendant’ for a while, up to the point where 6a became unsolvable, when I thought maybe INTENDANT might be linguistically linked with ‘superintendent’ and ‘in’ for ‘occupying’ is better than ‘at’. TORPID was sluggish in yielding its solution, since I refused to see ‘around’ as a reversal rather than containment indicator. MIDDY unknown to me, but wordplay fixed it — likewise CRAN. I enjoyed PROTEUS and TRYSTING.
    Thanks for the great blog, Z.
  13. I think this crossword was built to confound us. Had all but 4 clues in a reasonable time, but had to resort to google for the sea god and could only come up with PHORCYS which had the surfacing YS at the end but nothing else to recommend it. Having resorted to help for CRAN, MIDDY and EVIL (which I needed for the sea god) I discovered the TIDDLEY error. Ah well!
  14. Sorry, but tiddley as a noun meaning a drink just doesn’t fly for me. At least toddley sounds vaguely plausible, as an obscure variant of toddy. Sorry setter, but this was a terrible clue. Great blog, thanks.
  15. ….when eating CRANberries ?

    I considered the tiddler/toddler options, but came down the wrong way. DNK MIDDY, but agree with Z8b8d8k that it presents itself clearly enough.

    FOI CRAN (an AZED/Mephisto word I know well)
    TIME 12:25, but with that blasted ankle-biter.

  16. 10m 8s for me, and unusually for these kind of things I managed to opt for the correct TIDDLER, based largely on dumb luck. POLEMIC went in semi-unparsed.

    CRAN strikes me as the kind of clue that really needs a question mark, but otherwise I enjoyed this one.

  17. Yup, not very fair and a lot of thoroughbreds fell here apparently. A goodly chunk of my 24.41 was spent dithering over it. “Toddy” left things high and dry so in the end I semi-convinced myself that “tiddleywinks” might be CRS for drinks (yes I know) and then there was Tom Tiddler’s ground which might have something to do with it. Post-solve I see that a music hall song called Let’s Have A Tiddley At The Milk Bar used to be Eric Morecambe’s audition song – who knew?

    Oh well there was the Norwegian Blue bird of old at 1a and TRYSTING which was very nice indeed.

    1. Who knew indeed? Unfortunately I’m old enough to remember Ernie Wise singing (at least the chorus) of that particular ditty on several occasions so I don’t think Eric could’ve nicked it for his auditions. Jeffrey the Aged
    2. According to some sources tiddl(e)y wink is indeed CRS for drink Olivia, so you were onto something.
  18. #metoo. Bah! A tiddler is a small fish in my world and a toddy is a drink. Otherwise 23:16 and quite enjoying the puzzle until the pink square spoiled my benevolent mood. An unnecessary obscurity methinks. Thanks for the blog Z.
  19. Not much to add; I correctly worked out the existence of the unknown MIDDY, patted myself on the back, and fell straight into the elephant trap at 12dn. It’s quite crowded in here.
  20. I found this chewier than the snitch and other times suggest it was and of course I’m another toddler-plumper.

    Thanks for the parsing of stranded and polemic Z. I probably wasn’t alone in thinking that “to be heard by audience” was a soundee-likee indicator.

  21. Didn’t know CRAN, GIGUE, INTENDANT, PROTEUS as sea god, or MIDDY. Poor clueing on 12d if so many got it wrong. AIMHO
  22. At TI/ODDLER, I put in the obvious correct answer. So I was wrong too. Never heard of either tiddley or a TIDDLER, so it wasn’t going to be right anyway. Regards.
  23. DNF. Another toddler. In fairness I also had maddy at 25dn (I instinctively lifted and separated high time to get mad for high then day for time minus the ‘a’) and something made up and way off the mark at 1ac, which I really should have got. Tiddler does feel like rather sharp practice though – the need to discount toddler which has a strong appeal given the Def and the hint of toddy in there for the alcoholic drink, the need to know the obscure (according to the dictionaries not just me) tiddley (both in terms of usage and in terms of spelling) and to be confident in that Def of tiddler.
  24. Considered ‘tiddler’ but could parse it even less than ‘toddler’ so opted for the wrong one.
  25. Also a TODDLER — I feel like a Democrat in Wisconsin (i.e., in the majority, but cheated out of the expected laurels of victory). By all the comments it seems nearly impossible to have got the correct answer. What a shame, since the rest only took 26 minutes and would have been my best time.
  26. Failed triply on this one, falling for TODDLER but then also completely hashing MIDDY and TRYSTING.
  27. I thought I was alone biffing phorcys, prompted by the possible ending ys, but could not then parse crim for 13across. Thank goodness (and the blogger) for the blog.

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