Times Cryptic Number 26558

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
This continued my run of troubled solves that took me well beyond my 30 minute target. On reflection I can’t really see what gave me so many problems, although if I’d known the name of the Cornish town in 7dn it would have saved me a lot of worrying over the parsing of my biffed answer. Here’s my blog…

As usual definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions are in curly brackets} and [anagrinds, containment, reversal and other indicators in square ones]

1 Unfortunate problem is, hotel is blocking plan (6)
MISHAP – IS + H (hotel – NATO alphabet) inside [is blocking] MAP (plan)
5 End up with one novel still in its wrapping (8)
UNOPENED – Anagram [novel] of END UP ONE
9 Car capital? Nothing’s left, just endless rubble (8)
DETRITUS – DETR{0}IT (car capital) [nothing – 0‘s left), {j}US{t} [endless]
10 Phone delivery man left nearer the front (6)
BLOWER – BOW{L}ER (delivery man) [Left nearer the front]
11 Reserves short flight for novel establishment? (8)
BOOKSHOP – BOOKS (reserves), HOP (short flight)
12 Brad goes back to collect Times for North African (6)
LIBYAN – NAIL (brad) reversed [goes back] contains [to collect] BY (times)
13 Warning sign on entrance: “No English!” (3,5)
RED LIGHT – RE (on), D{e}LIGHT (entrance) [no English]
15 What’s worn in Paris maybe by Private Pike back to front (4)
KEPI – PI+KE becomes KE+PI [back to front]. Hmm. It’s a French military cap, hence the “Paris” and “Private” references.
17 I delay every so often; it’s how I behave? (4)
IDLY – I, D{e}L{a}Y [every so often]
19 Old hacker’s target presently, PM admitted (8)
SPITTOON – SOON (presently) with PITT (PM) contained [admitted]. With reference to hacking coughs presumably. I’m not sure if “old” is referring to the hacker or the target, or why it’s needed at all, come to that as spittoons still exist both for medical use and wine tasting.
20 Metal business enlists personnel with this writer (6)
CHROME – CO (business) contains [enlists] HR (personnel), ME (this writer)
21 Trophy goes to poet defending love in press (8)
CUPBOARD – CUP (trophy), BARD (poet) containing [defending] 0 (love)
22 Relaxing, each succeeded in golf (6)
EASING – EA (each), S (succeeded),  IN, G (golf – NATO alphabet once again)
23 Preparation for going out to work: better to ignore tips (8)
TOILETTE – TOIL (work), {b}ETTE{r} [ignore tips]. Not when staying in?
24 Man replaces firm in Caledonia? Part of it (8)
SHETLAND – HE (man) replaces CO (firm) in S{co}TLAND  (Caledonia)
25 Needlework that’s liberated husband as well (6)
TATTOO – T{h}AT [has liberated Husband], TOO (as well)
2 In Berlin, I must get hold of tablet, running water and freezer (8)
ICEHOUSE – ICH (in Berlin, I) contains [must get hold of) E (tablet), OUSE (running water)
3 Honourable act has always remained a key, if rare, ideal primarily (4-4)
HARA-KIRI – First letters [primarily] of  H{as} A{lways} R{emained} A, K{ey} I{f} R{are} I{deal}
4 Reconciled glib revolutionary party (7,2)
PATCHED UP – PAT (glib), CHE (revolutionary), DUP (party – Democratic Unionist Party)
5 Simple duties can, mixed with this absorbing work (15)
UNSOPHISTICATED – Anagram [mixed] of DUTIES CAN THIS containing [absorbing] OP (work)
6 Old songwriter exiles son, handy expert? (7)
PALMIST – P{s}ALMIST (old songwriter) [exiles Son]
7 Honeymooner in Cornish port docked with journalist (8)
NEWLYWED – NEWLY{n} (Cornish port) [docked], W (with), ED (journalist). I’m usually good on West Country towns but this one wouldn’t come to mind and I was fixated on Newquay.
8 Call for one in Times maybe with bottle (8)
DARINGLY – RING (call) replaces [for] I (one) in DA{i}LY (Times maybe)
14 Hurry off initially for pint, working to make an impression at Ascot (9)
HOOFPRINT – H{urry} + O(ff} [initially], anagram [working] of FOR PINT
15 People who give up stocking new bloomers (8)
KNICKERS – KICKERS (people who give up – e.g. kick a habit) containing [stocking] N (new)
16 Old Jew’s harp in need of tuning, I understand (8)
PHARISEE – Anagram [in need of tuning] of HARP, then I, SEE (understand)
17 Unwilling to work at home, act fast (8)
INDOLENT – IN (at home), DO (act), LENT (fast)
18 Fancy Gilbert, heading off to his work (8)
LIBRETTO – Anagram [fancy] of {G}ILBERT [heading off], TO. A reference to W.S Gilbert who wrote the words to Sullivan’s music.
19 Very important if dropped from cup tie? (7)
SEMINAL – SEM{if}INAL (cup tie?) [if dropped]

59 comments on “Times Cryptic Number 26558”

  1. Took about 35 minutes with a few hold-ups, though nothing too tricky. I liked SPITTOON (see what you mean about ‘Old’ though), HOOFPRINT and my highlight, the surface for DETRITUS, sad but apparently true.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  2. … this poor old heart sank on seeing the Double-E grid. (Apparently it’s kept on for historical/sentimental reasons). So, if you get 15ac and 17ac — neither was too difficult today — you have 8 checkers. Add to that the simple anagram at 5dn and there’s lots to work with. For all that, the NE was tricky. So LOI was 8dn, DARINGLY.

    Could have done without two NATO alpha elements. Next we’ll be allowing the international vehicle code as per The Other Place.

    Liked the construction of SHETLAND. Shades of the Dougie MacLean anthem ??

    1. I’m just curious about why your “heart sank” when you saw this grid, and why you would assume it would have been retired if not for its “historical” or “sentimental” value. Is there some feature that is somehow near-obsolete in contemporary puzzle construction? (I didn’t get 5 down till nearly the last minute, as I was trying to use “Simple” in the anagram.)

      Edited at 2016-11-01 05:30 am (UTC)

      1. It’s the only grid where two answers are all checking letters. Sometimes they’re impossible to get. Sometimes not.
      2. This grid containing two letters E in the blacked out squares is, I think I recall, associated in some way with a previous crossword editor. Peter B will know chapter and verse
    2. My only difficulty with this grid is the absence of three letter answers, which I tend to use to get going with .. but difficulty, that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Seems churlish to complain.
  3. One used to see spittoons all over China – I well remember them up in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing in 1997 but they appear to have gone, thus becoming ‘old-fashioned’?

    The sommelier’s ‘crachoir de degustation’ is still with us but isn’t the medical type known as a cuspidor rather then a spittoon? Hence being ‘on the cusp’.

    I really enjoyed this one – FOI 17ac IDLY but found the SW corner hardest with 16dn PHARISEE LOI.

    Lots of goodies with COD 24ac SHETLAND

    15ac KEPI remained unparsed until I read Jack Benny.
    Fine blog and setting which kept me busy for a solid 39 minutes.

  4. About 20 mins I think, in a 2 minute stint followed by about 15+ minutes an hour later. Nearly fell into a trap at 10a of putting MOBILE (6 letter word for a phone with an L in) but stopped myself and waited for some checkers. FOI was 1ac MISHAP, which is always a good start, LOI was DARINGLY.
  5. 30 minutes but all to no avail as I fell on my sword at 3d with hari kari. I was pretty sure it was wrong and that hare kari was the answer, but forgot to go back to it. Must brush up on my Japanese immolations.
  6. Actually, in Japan it’s seppuku 切腹 not hara-kiri腹切り, but by and large it’s been replaced by throwing oneself under a train. I was sure that ‘hacker’ was referring to some medieval weapon like a pike, until PITT finally came to mind. Biffed a few, like 7d–no idea what the Cornish port was. Very enjoyable puzzle.

    Edited at 2016-11-01 04:07 am (UTC)

    1. Does hara kiri (腹切り,doncha just love copy and paste!) mean anything in Japan, since it’s not what I assumed it is, a hyper-intensive form of navel gazing? And what’s this about Mikado (forum post)? Don’t they do G&S (学校からの3つの小さなメイドは、私たちをしています and all that?)?
      1. Hara-kiri isn’t in my J-E dictionary, which sv seppuku gives hara-kiri as a definition! The Koojien 広辞苑, a major Japanese dictionry does have hara-kiri, with a definition. But I’ve never come across the term.
        ‘Mikado’, which shows up in the (old, Japanese) literature from time to time, seems to have been foisted on us by the 19th-century British scholar Basil Chamberlain, who considered it more echt-Japanese. (I wouldn’t be surprised if he was responsible for ‘Diet’ as the term for the J parliament; the Japanese use the same term for all national legislatures.) I blush to report that I saw a production this summer in San Francisco by the excellent Lamplighters (who do mainly G&S) that, due to increased criticism of supposed racist content, revised the operetta to take place in Renaissance Milan! That the libretto is hardly altered at all suggests how little cause there was to revise it.
      1. I was once on a bullet train (another term the Japanese don’t use) that was halted because another train further on was–due, evidently, to such an incident. (Of course, they didn’t come out and say, “Sorry, someone threw himself under the 11:43”.)

        Edited at 2016-11-02 01:49 am (UTC)

  7. Back to reality today, but a nice reality.

    I thought spitting equated to hacking, with or without the cough. As for spittoons, the less said (or thought) about them the better!

    COD to the jew’s harp clue, just because my dear old Dad was a proficient jew’s harpist (especially when he was har-pist). But of course he referred to it as the Tullymorgan didgeridoo.

    Thanks setter for the challenge, and Jack for the excellent early blog.

    1. No doubt “hacking” has different meanings in different places but none of the usual sources has anything but “coughing”. In checking that, I just found the one thing they are nearly all in agreement on is that a hacking cough is short, frequent and dry. The last of which suggests that a spittoon would not be required as the clue would have it.
    2. … we have in common. My old Dad played said instrument on social occasions. I gave it a go, but it made my teeth rattle.
  8. Sped through this in 22mins, but irritatingly forgot to go back and parse 3dn, so had an unlikely looking hari kuri. Pesky those foreign words that creep in…
  9. 21:16 … got there in the end after making a real hash of things, ‘solving’ 5d as ‘uncomplicated’ (and somehow making that fit despite its being one letter short). And I still can’t spell LIBYAN/LYBIAN. Entertaining puzzle, with RED LIGHT the pick for me.

    Newlyn is an interesting place, one of the few west Cornwall ports hardly touched by tourism and somehow hanging on to a fishing industry of sorts. It has a long and ongoing history of radicalism and dissent — William Lovett of the Chartists was a Newlyn man. And in the streets up the hill from the harbour you can find the tiny and rather magical Rue De Beaux Artes, a reminder that Newlyn has long been a destination for artists, and that there’s a part of Cornwall that doesn’t think it’s English at all.

  10. 17.14 today, bang on par (I hope). SPITTOON went in as one of those thing that went ping in comedy westerns, or in a remembered and truly horrible Not the Nine O’Clock News image in which “Prince Charles takes a swig from the family spittoon only to find it’s all in one string”.
    Perhaps our setter was thinking hawker rather than hacker. Setters can have typos too, you know.

    Edited at 2016-11-01 08:30 am (UTC)

  11. 44:57, so on the easier side for me. As mentioned, the NE corner seemed the hardest. I never seem to think of cricketers for delivery men, and didn’t know Newlyn—I watched a film set in a Cornish fishing port last night, but sadly it was filmed in Port Isaac, so didn’t give me any clues. LOI DARINGLY, enjoyed SHETLAND.

    Thanks to setter and blogger; an enjoyable start to the week.

  12. Crept in just under 20 minutes and took ages to spot that today’s typing error was SEMINLL. Tried to solve this without thinking about 1ac, the answer to which had been revealed to me by an earlier MISHAP. I’m not sure whether this made me faster or slower. Some great definitions in this one.
  13. A toil today, but pleased to have finished in 37′. As noted, 5d not easy if you pick the wrong words…
  14. There was a young man from Darjeeling,
    Who jumped on a bus bound for Ealing.
    It said on the wall –
    ‘Don’t spit on the floor’,
    So he stood up and spat on the ceiling!
    1. That’s a very cleaned up version of the one about the young lady from W5 which I suspect predates Milligan.
  15. Somehow this never flowed and I seemed to labour over a good deal of it. Nothing wrong with the puzzle so must be me. Well blogged Jack
  16. Back to about average after somehow finding yesterday’s more difficult than everyone else. Getting the long one UNSOPHISTICATED early helped.
  17. Struggled a bit today, what with not getting UNSOPHISTICATED for most of the puzzle. Should have looked in the mirror. It was 45 minutes of hard labour. LOI DARINGLY. I liked DETRITUS, ICEHOUSE and NEWLYWED, and of course sniggered at KNICKERS. But back in January 1953, at my first ever game at Burnden Park, I recall that the programme referred to Bolton’s kit as white shirts, blue knickers. COD SPITTOON. We had a schoolmaster, name of Fleming whose nickname was ‘cough and spit’ usually shortened to ‘cough’, so ‘hacker’ didn’t hit me quickly either. I would still say “hacking cough” though. I didn’t parse RED LIGHT so thank you Jack.

    Edited at 2016-11-01 10:32 am (UTC)

  18. Long time solver but first time poster. Have progressed over last couple of years from two thirds completion to normally all but one or two, with occasional bonus finish!
    Did today’s in record thirty minutes with loi being 8 down, briefly after 23 across.
    Decided to comment because I think today’s puzzle was actually one of the most consistently well clued that I have seen with more than usual making me smile, and nothing over-contrived.
    Well done to the setter.
    1. Well done, anon, both on completing the puzzle in record time and making your first contribution to TftT. I hope we shall hear from you regularly. If you don’t want to open a free Live Journal account and give yourself an ID it would be nice if you’d add a name or nickname to distinguish yourself from other anon posters.
    2. Welcome anon! For some time I was often left with one or two unsolved but with perseverance and this site those last pesky clues tend to get solved now.

      Edited at 2016-11-01 01:23 pm (UTC)

  19. Nothing too scary today, all done in 9m 28s. 7d was my second one in, despite not knowing the town (a dangerous habit to get into!) and 8d was my LOI. COD is 19a for me.
  20. This one kept me busy for 43 minutes as I struggled to parse KEPI(I was fixated on moving one letter from back to front) and had the wrong fodder for 5d. Apart from those two, the grid filled at a steady pace with FOI MISHAP, then 17a and SHETLAND which I quite liked. I then hopped around filling in clues in a random sequence until I was left with 15d which went in with a smile. I failed to spot the substitution in the parsing of 8d. I seem to have a blind spot with that type of clue. Thanks setter and Jack.
  21. 22 mins ish – after a quick start things slowed down dramatically, with a good 10 minutes taken over the last half a dozen clues, not helped by one being the long anagram where I can be counted in the “trying to use simple in the anagram” club, which did t help with 23.

    I took the “old hacker” to be a cougher/spitter, as opposed to a “new hacker” being a cyber-crook. But that may just be my IT background taking over.

  22. 16:02. I started very quickly in the SW corner – KEPI was first in as I thought I’d try and get a letter for 4 other clues – but found the rest of the puzzle a bit trickier, not least the clever misdirection at 5 down where simple looked like at had to be part of the anagram fodder.

    Some good stuff here with icehouse the only thing that was unfamiliar.

    It’s a good job every letter of HARA KIRI was clued as I’m not sure I’d have spelled it like that given a blank sheet of paper.

  23. 20:28. Like others I was trying to include ‘simple’ in the 5d anagram, and I had the bottom 6 checkers in before I spotted the answer. I thought I’d got stuck until then, but the U for 5ac opened the mysteries of my barren NE corner. Some fun clues – I liked 13a and 24a in particular.
  24. I really enjoyed this puzzle, thought it was excellent almost throughout. It’s always good to finish, especially after a relaxed canter through the across clues yielded only IDLY. Bucking my ideas up, it began to come together. I knew KEPI but paused over “back to front” as a mechanism, but I thought many of these were ingenious, especially DETRITUS, SEMINAL, PALMIST and SHETLAND. COD to LIBRETTO, a brilliant &lit, for some reason my favourite type of clue. Not too much sympathy I am afraid for those who misspelled HARA KIRI! I’m happy that SPITTOONS are old hat – speaking for myself, I wouldn’t dream of using one when wine tasting these days!

  25. About 15 minutes or so, nothing too scary. I think my LOI was DARINGLY. Had to biff NEWLYWED, since the town was certainly not one I’d heard of. Regards.
  26. Found this to be on the hard side, just a wavelength thing maybe.
    Staying well clear of spittoon-gate .. but there isn’t one in my house or anywhere else I go so reckon it must be obsolescent, to say the very least.. curious to know who’s buying all the new ones?!
  27. Glad to see the wordplay for HARI-KIRI left no other phonetic option (though there is only one spelling given in Chambers). Nothing too scary here, finished in about 11 minutes with a few distractions.

  28. 15 mins. Like a few others I initially thought that 5dn was going to be an anagram of “simple duties can”, but luckily the penny dropped relatively quickly. TOILETTE was my LOI after HOOFPRINT. I really enjoyed this puzzle because it contained quite a few clues in which the definition was anything but obvious.
  29. As usual came to this late after day of golf, for once was on song and had it tickety-boo in 20 minutes. Too long spent on non anagram fodder with simple, otherwise could have been sub 15.
    Could moan that CHROME is not a metal, chromium is, but expect no one except jimbo would care.
    1. I care a bit, but I’m also used to seeing chrome plated rather more than chromium plated. I would cheerfully recognise both as the metal.
      I’m accessing this on Google Chrome, though how and why they decided on that sobriquet I have no notion.
  30. 45 min – but really a DNF because with left half almost complete and only 17ac on the right I could get nowhere with 5dn. So resorting to aid showed me I was using the wrong fodder for the anagram – but even with that given, the grid meant I didn’t have much help in the NE.
  31. 9:52. A late solve after a day out and about. I confess I submitted without checking my answers and with fingers crossed solely to duck in under the ten-minute mark. Daft, eh?
    I patted myself on the back (not literally, that would be ridiculous) for remembering the crossword words KEPI and ‘brad’. And for checking the (fortunately kind) wordplay at 3dn and therefore correcting HARI to HARA.
    I’m off to Piedmont tomorrow and SPITTOONs will feature heavily in the rest of my week: they are certainly still useful objects when you’re tasting lots of different wines in a cold cellar at 10am. Having said that the clue makes more sense to me if the ‘old’ applies to the hacker.
    An enjoyable puzzle but rather a lot of biffing for me today.

    Edited at 2016-11-01 09:57 pm (UTC)

  32. 12:54 for me today, on the setter’s wavelength a lot of the time, but off it at key points for some unknown reason as it all seems perfectly straightforward with hindsight. In fact basically a most enjoyable puzzle.

    Ancient joke, set in ancient pub that’s been modernised:
    First old bloke: “I miss the old spittoons.”
    Second old bloke: “You always did!”

  33. 37 minutes for me, and this would have been a very enjoyable puzzle if I were in a puzzle-enjoying mood which, alas, I am not. Some idiot has b***ered about with the clocks so that it gets late earlier, which does not agree with me one bit. I trust that, post-Brexit, we will be free to choose how precisely many hours of daylight we have.

    No clues leapt out at me as CODs, but perhaps that just means that they were all equally well-crafted. There was also a blissful absence of cricket and Spoonerisms, which can only be a good thing.

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