Times Saturday 26682 – March 25, 2017. A walk in the park.

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
That was a delight. I expect fast times for sure, and I certainly had a new personal best. As usual some answers from the world of nature were unfamiliar, but the cluing was clear enough. My only quibble was with 26ac, where I needed checkers to decide which way to go, and Chambers suggests both my guesses fitted the clue. I’m giving 13ac the COD award, because Glasgow gangs aren’t always what they seem!

Looking at the leaderboard, I see that at the time of writing, the 100th best time was under 9 minutes compared with 15 or 16 minutes on a typical Saturday – so it does look like it was a lot easier than usual.

Clues are reproduced in blue, with the definition underlined. Anagram indicators are bolded and italicised. Then there’s the answer IN BOLD, followed by [the parsing of the wordplay]. (ABC)* means ‘anagram of ABC’, {deletions are in curly brackets}.

1. Officer in A & E the writer would flee? (4-2-4)
AIDE-DE-CAMP: I’D [the writer would] in A & E, then DECAMP [flee].

6. Figure in poll a voter rejected (4)
OVAL: reverse hidden word.

9. Cheese a couple of sons consumed in the old club (7)
BRASSIE: A SS [sons] in BRIE. Apparently the old traditional name for a wood No. 2 golf club.

10. Reprobate spoken of by Shakespearean corporal? It means the same thing (7)
SYNONYM: homophone of sinner, followed by NYM. (Usual disclaimer on homophones: it’s enough that some pronounce it as suggested.)

Wikipedia: Corporal Nym is a fictional character who appears in two Shakespeare plays, The Merry Wives of Windsor and Henry V. He later appears in spin-off works by other writers. Nym is a soldier and criminal follower of Sir John Falstaff and a friend and rival of Ancient Pistol.

12. Novel by a French writer reportedly unknown by party (10)
UNORTHODOX: UN [“a” French] ORTHO [homophonic enough; those who pronounce “orthodox” with a strong “R” sound may assume their views were noted last week!] DO [party] X [unknown].

13. Back a gang in Glasgow? (3)
AGO: “gang” = “go”, as in “gang aft agley”.

15. Spirit extremists pinched from army HQ (6)

16. Terrible news Bert spread about (8)

18. Lament retirement of old nurse originally showing enthusiasm (8)
KEENNESS: KEEN [lament] NES [= SEN reversed] S{showing}.

20. Marksman quietly leaving cutter (6)

23. Woman using handbag every so often (3)
ADA: alternate letters of “handbag”.

24. Property getting European in right tizzy! (4,6)

26. Bird-watchers look to them for a bob or two (7)
DIPPERS: cd. What’s wrong with “duckers”? Well of course, it doesn’t fit the crossing letter from 19dn, although Chambers seems to suggest it’s otherwise a valid answer.

27. Article on illegal activity associated with part of Ukraine (7)
CRIMEAN: omitted.

28. Nest built by squirrel in low cart, so to speak (4)
DREY: sounds like DRAY.

29. Trendy priest spread bilge, lacking qualification (10)

1. Pulpit constructed by a Doctor Love? (4)
AMBO: A MB [doctor] O [love].

2. Water used in setting up of revolutionary kitchen device (7)
DRAINER: RAIN in backward RED.

3. Health worker doctor insured to accommodate firm (8,5)

4. Endless battle over Hotel Metropole’s last day nursery (6)
CRECHE: CREC{y} H [hotel] {Metropol}E.

Wikipedia: The Battle of Crécy (1346), also called Battle of Cressy, was an English victory during the Edwardian phase of the Hundred Years’ War.

5. Asian ruminants more regularly seen around rivers in Wales (4,4)
MUSK DEER: M{o}R{e} around USK and DEE [rivers in Wales (or Scotland, dare I add)]

7. Sell brill — and freshwater fish (7)
VENDACE: VEND [sell] ACE [brill]. Yet another unknown fish – there are so many of them!

8. Misguidedly play Romeo, initially neglecting satire (10)

11. Not far removed from husband in observing very little (4,2,7)
NEXT TO NOTHING: NEXT TO [not far removed] then H [husband] in NOTING [observing].

14. Clumsy workman secured by expert press chief, right away (4-6)
CACK HANDED: C{r}ACK [“expert”, with the “R” away] HAND [workman] ED [press chief].

17. Booth, perhaps, with two hoofed mammals in (8)
ASSASSIN: 2 x ASSes plus 1 x IN.

John Wilkes Booth (May 10, 1838 – April 26, 1865) was an American actor and assassin, who murdered President Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. on April 14, 1865.

19. Old member overwhelmed by drink, for instance (7)

21. Fuss over bishop’s parsley, perhaps? (7)
POTHERB: POTHER [fuss] B [bishop]. It really feels like POT HERB should be two words!

22. A writer enclosed one in written-up record (6)
PENCIL: ENC [enclosed] + I in LP reversed.

25. Joint head of kindergarten born in Paris (4)
KNEE: K{indergarten} NEE [“born”, in French].

27 comments on “Times Saturday 26682 – March 25, 2017. A walk in the park.”

  1. A ridiculously fast time for me for Saturday, almost a let-down. DNK VENDACE, of course, but it had to be. Wasn’t best pleased with having 2 non-rhotic homophones in a row, especially as we seem to have had ‘(un)orthodox’ a half-dozen times recently. ‘Booth, perhaps’ was something of a giveaway, at least for this Murcan solver. Today’s cryptic is more of what I expect (fear) for a Saturday.
  2. You’ve got BOOTH as the solution, brnchn, when you meant ASSASSIN; and you forgot the parsing.
  3. This was as stated by The Brown Dog – easy for a Saturday. I was finished in 28 minutes – I consider 30 to be my goal and probably 40 for a Staturday.


    Does 14dn CACK-HANDED require more derivational explanation?


    1. Both Chambers and Shorter Oxford have it as informally meaning clumsy. I don’t think I want to get my hands dirty (!) speculating on the derivation of the expression, although the internet (of course) has theories.
            1. Sort of, yes, though the resource is still there, and moreover his Facebook page is still going strong..
  4. 27 minutes, so I was pleased with that. I also didn’t know VENDACE or NYM but lack of that knowledge didn’t slow me down.

    When discussing this puzzle with a friend last week I mentioned in full the quotation cited partially by Brian re 13ac. This now has a relevance to a puzzle currently under wraps. Spooky!

    Edited at 2017-04-01 06:49 am (UTC)

    1. Bruce, I’m very sorry I referred to you as Brian. The name “Brian” comes up daily in another forum I’m involved in so I guess my fingers ran away with themselves as soon as I typed “Br”. Must concentrate!
  5. The cattle arrived home safely. Not sure where Mary is though. The Dee does of course have stretches in England too. I’m one sixteenth Welsh, so am I pothered? DNK VENDACE but the cryptic was clear. There are no such fish in the Dee as apparently they live in Derwentwater. They live off Kendal Mint Cake. All finished in just under the half-hour, quick for Saturday. Thank you brnchn and setter.
  6. re 27ac, it is noteworthy that Crimea is defined as part of Ukraine, not Russia .. whereas Tibet was recently defined quite happily as part of China, which has invaded and subjugated it in exactly the same way

    re 10ac, I think the whole word is intended as a homophone: “Sin O’ Nym.”

    I have a bottle of Lebanese 15ac, made by Chateau Musar no less. Still muck, though..

    1. Ah yes, I suppose you can read it like that. Objection withdrawn, even though it wasn’t really an objection.
  7. 8:16. Still nothing wrong with the homophone at 12ac, but I do have a teeny doubt about 10ac. The clue requires SYNO to be a homphone of ‘sinner’. It is in the context of the word ‘synonym’ (for non-rhoticists), but it wouldn’t be in isolation: the O would I think always be pronounced as an O, rather than a schwa. So this wordplay element doesn’t work in isolation. Having said that there’s no particular reason why it should have to: like I say this really is a teeny doubt.
    Thanks for the blog, brnchn. You have a little typo in the solution to 16ac.

    Edited at 2017-04-01 10:14 am (UTC)

    1. As long as you pronounce synonym as SIN-uh-NYM, I think the homophone is fine. The clue is giving the sound of the answer, not a standalone pronunciation of the first two syllables. (Typo fixed, thanks!)
  8. I also found this one quite easy finishing in 28:40. Didn’t know AMBO or VENDAGE (or NYM for that matter) but the wordplay was clear. An enjoyable half hour. Thanks setter and brnchn.
  9. 59 minutes for me, so far, far better than I’m doing with today’s, just to take an example. Plenty of unknown vocab—Nym, vendace, ambo, SEN, drey—but I got there in the end. I didn’t note LOI and FOI, but my COD was 3d for its smooth mix of surface and wordplay.

    Now, back to today’s, possibly with another cuppa…

  10. Hi have just joined after some time spent lurking in the shadows (no I’m not Hank Marvin). Thanks to all the bloggers and posters on this site my solving times have improved from just being thrilled to complete the grid to regularly clocking in under the hour. I continue to be a very methodical solver and not much of a biffer (mainly because when I do biff unparsed it’s invariably wrong) but this one took me about 35 mins, which for me, for a Saturday puzzle, is supersonic. I am more familiar with the “Arak” spelling of “arrack” but the unfamiliar spelling caused no real problems. “Dippers” was a bit of a punt but couldn’t see what else it could be. DNK “vendace” but easy to get from wp. Also unsure of “pother” but again not much else it could be. Nice to see a word like “bestrewn” so I’ll give 16ac my COD.
  11. A bit late coming here as I was away on Saturday watching Preston North End play Nottingham Forest -the train journey provided scope to attempt the most recent puzzle.
    As for this one I seem to have got it all correct despite the following unknowns- Arrack, Dippers, Ambo and Vendace. My spell-checker confirms some are unknowns.
    An enjoyable puzzle for me as it stretched me fully; but the quality of the clueing allowed me to guess the unknowns. A sign of progress for me I think. Thanks to setter and blogger as always. David

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