Times Saturday 26694 – April 8, 2017. No four letter words please!

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
In the eternal football cliché, this was a game of two halves. More precisely, with a call out to Aussie Rules football, a game of four quarters! The LHS went in smoothly with 2dn the FOI, then the NE corner yielded with a bit of application. Finally 22ac gave me an entrée to the SE corner, until in reasonable time I had finished everything bar 24dn, my LOI.

I’ve sometimes found that when you have only one four letter word left, you are in the land of nightmares! A time measured in minutes can become hours or days. Is this one of those? No – suddenly a light bulb moment. The answer was the obvious one, but the parsing was too hard for me. Compliments to the setter.

Looking at the leaderboard, I see that at the time of writing, the 100th best time was under 14 minutes, a little faster than a typical Saturday – so it does look like it was on the easy side if anything.

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. Prisoner’s place of internment (5)
OFLAG: I struggled with the parsing until I saw that this time the apostrophe indicates possessive case, so “prisoner’s” = “lag’s” = “of lag”.

Wikipedia: An Oflag (from German: Offizierslager) was a prisoner of war camp for officers only, established by the German Army in both World War I and World War II.

4. Pregnant partner no longer has therapy wearing short trousers (9)
EXPECTANT: EX [partner no longer] ECT [therapy] “wearing” PANT{s} [short trousers].

9. Provisional accommodation this setter’s found after a time (9)
TENTATIVE: TENT [accommodation] then I’VE [“this setter has”, with this apostrophe meaning contraction] “found after” A T{ime}.

10. Odd sections of 11 road in old city (5)
PETRA: 11ac is “pretty”, so P {r} E {t} T {y}  R {o} A {d}.

Wikipedia: Petra, originally known to the Nabataeans as Raqmu, is a historical and archaeological city in southern Jordan. The city is famous for its rock-cut architecture and water conduit system.

11. Quite dry inside quarry (6)

12. Divers fish in schools (8)
POCHARDS: CHAR in PODS. I thought of PODS immediately, and vaguely remembered CHAR as fish. DNK pochards were diving ducks, but the word looked plausible!

14. Maybe Nietzsche ultimately rejected English food (5,4)

Wikipedia: Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche 1844-1900 was a German philosopher, cultural critic, poet, philologist, and Latin and Greek scholar whose work has exerted a profound influence on Western philosophy and modern intellectual history … In his later work, he developed influential concepts such as the Übermensch and the doctrine of eternal return, and became increasingly preoccupied with the creative powers of the individual to overcome social, cultural, and moral contexts in pursuit of new values and aesthetic health.

No wonder he rejected English food!

16. The reverse of mountain home here? (5)
PLAIN: PLA [alp, backwards] IN [home]. Literal definition. Neat clue.

17. Honour received by female poet (5)

19. Pan with grouse, feature of Sunday lunch? (5,4)
ROAST BEEF: ROAST [pan] BEEF [grouse].

21. Child of the ’60s briefly joins in faction striking (8)

“Strike” and “whip” seemed to have different flavours to me, but Chambers’ first definition for the verb “whip” is “strike with a lash”, so there!

22. Plant, one a pretentious sort brought from the east (6)
BONSAI: I A SNOB all reversed.

I was inclined to put this clue off until I had some helpers, expecting it to be a botanical name I didn’t know. but since I couldn’t get anywhere with the other clues in the SE corner, I eventually gave up and read the clue carefully. Surprise – I did know it!

25. Thick-skinned type sounding witty? Wrong (5)
RHINO: here it is again, the debate that’s been running for weeks now about homophones: sounds like “wry”? No!

26. Drama in old hospital, nursing a broken joint (5,4)
SAINT JOAN: SAN [old hospital] “nursing” A (JOINT*). (Looking at _O_N, I toyed with St. John for a while.)

Wikipedia: a play by George Bernard Shaw about 15th Century French military figure Joan of Arc. Premiering in 1923, three years after her canonization by the Roman Catholic Church, the play dramatises what is known of her life based on the substantial records of her trial. Shaw studied the transcripts and decided that the concerned people acted in good faith according to their beliefs. He wrote in his preface to the play:

There are no villains in the piece. Crime, like disease, is not interesting: it is something to be done away with by general consent, and that is all [there is] about it. It is what men do at their best, with good intentions, and what normal men and women find that they must and will do in spite of their intentions, that really concern us.

27. Snacked regularly at bar, entertained by pop musicians (5,4)
DANCE BAND: Eminently biffable, but it’s {s} N {a} C {k} E {d} + BAN [bar] “entertained” by DAD [pop].

28. Writer looks for an audience (5)
PEPYS: sounds like “peeps”. Is there a writer called PIERS?

1. One Pole is so ecstatic? (2,3,2,3,5)
ON TOP OF THE WORLD: If you consult “McArthur’s Universal Corrective Map of the World”, you’ll immediately see that the South Pole is indeed at the top of the world.

2. Some cruel, ungentlemanly attack (5)
LUNGE: hidden.

3. Awarded sum of money, teachers’ leaders accepted (7)
GRANTED: GRAND “accepts” TE [“teachers” leaders].

4. No introduction for brief broadcast (4)
EMIT: {r}EMIT = “brief”.

5. Ambassador having only women admitted into China? That’s incredible (10)
PHENOMENAL: HE [ambassador] NO MEN [only women] “admitted” into PAL [China, in crosswordland]

6. Nick minor works penned by hack (3,4)
COP SHOP: OPS “penned by” CHOP.

7. Dispute stated intention of Petruchio? (9)
ALTERCATE: Petruchio is the male protagonist in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew (c. 1590–1594). His intent of course is to “alter Kate”.

8. What could make you fitter? Extremely delicious beans on toast (2,6,7)
TO ABSENT FRIENDS: (FITTER D{eliciou}S BEANS ON*). Clever anagram indicator.

13. Mike accompanies one foreign gent around a group of islands (10)
MICRONESIA: MIC [mike] RONES I [I SENOR, “around”] A.

Wikipedia: Micronesia is a subregion of Oceania, comprising thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It has a shared cultural history with two other island regions, Polynesia to the east and Melanesia to the south.

15. Doctor in Lima is a member of religious sect (9)

Wikipedia: Ismailism is a branch of Shia Islam. The Ismaili get their name from their acceptance of Imam Isma’il ibn Jafar as the appointed spiritual successor (Imam) to Ja’far al-Sadiq, wherein they differ from the Twelvers who accept Musa al-Kadhim, younger brother of Isma’il, as the true Imam.

18. Admonish salesman about promoting first of remnants (7)
REPROVE: REP + OVER with the “R” promoted.

20. Dear Miss Piggy perhaps and Kermit finally up for a dance (3-4)
TWO STEP: PET [dear] SOW [Miss Piggy!] {Kermi}T, all reversed [“up”].

23. Small supermarket supplying some ice cream (5)
SCOOP: S{mall} CO-OP [supermarket].

24. Unruly lord of the Caribbean? (4)
WILD: W{est} I{indies} L{or}D.

I made altogether too much of this clue! Was it to do with the Pirates of the Caribbean movies? Or Captain Kidd, somehow? No, in retrospect, much more straightforward.

15 comments on “Times Saturday 26694 – April 8, 2017. No four letter words please!”

  1. I went through the same process as our blogger with POCHARDS, which I’d never heard of. Never did parse RHINO, and now I see why: I don’t think I’d equate ‘wry’ with wit. (That would make ‘wry wit’ a tautology, no?) Liked 11ac and 27ac, but my COD goes to 8d.
    1. The clue actually says “witty”. I think we might let a “wry comment” through as a reasonable approximation to a witty comment?
      1. I was happy with ‘wry’ for ‘witty’, although for me ‘wry’ can suggest some rueful meaning to a comment, while ‘witty’ usually implies ‘intelligent’ but can just give rise to a belly laugh.
      2. A wry comment certainly could be witty, and a witty comment could be wry, but they neither of them need be. But no doubt Chambers has something that will justify the use of ‘witty’ here.
  2. Not virgin-white like that old Doric shrine. 31 minutes with LOI PEPYS as I mainly solved this top to bottom, left to right. I did actually at first think of Piers as in Plowman before solving SCOOP, making PEPYS fall off the shelf. I suppose the Co-op is a supermarket but I remember it as a much grander establishment, very good too at funerals, a role it still fulfils with quiet dignity. I’ll make COD SCOOP provided I can have a flake in it. Very informative blog, brnchn. I can see why my parents refused to like GBS, a view they successfully passed on to me. Thank you setter for a pleasant puzzle.

    Edited at 2017-04-15 06:37 am (UTC)

  3. An hour and fifteen for me, so not too bad for a Saturday. Had to look up SAINT JOAN post-solve, but POCHARDS were trawled up from the memory, at least.

    My lack of Shakespeare knowledge didn’t help, yet again, though when I finally twigged 7d I did at least identify the play immediately. Believe me, solving that one was a lot harder if you’d got Petruchio confused with Geppetto!

    FOI 2d, LOI 24d, though only delayed on that one by thirty seconds or so.

    Thanks to setter and blogger. Hope everyone’s enjoying today’s puzzle as much as I am!

  4. 10:36. No real problems with this. ‘Wry’ for ‘witty’ is a bit loose I suppose but the notion of humour is present in both. Close enough at least that it was clear to me what the setter was driving at.
    1. Actually, the more I think of it — and why, you might ask, am I thinking of it at all, let alone more?– the less I like this: there is nothing in the meaning of ‘wry’ that entails ‘humorous’, and there is nothing in the meaning of ‘witty’ that entails ‘wryness’. ‘The notion of humor’ is not, in fact, present in ‘wry’. Which is why one can speak of wry humor.
      1. Collins defines ‘wry’ as ‘drily humourous; sardonic’. ODO as ‘using or expressing dry, especially mocking, humour’.
        Dictionaries aside, I do think that if someone makes a ‘wry remark’ there is an implication of humour. From there to wit is a little bit of a stretch but it doesn’t strike me as huge.
  5. Found this quite tricky. 76 mins for all but my last two, 7dn and 12ac. Left the puzzle, went off and did something else for a bit, then returned to the puzzle and entered those last two. 12ac entered from word play and having vaguely heard of the word.
  6. I don’t remember my time but I found this of normal difficulty. POCHARDS for me is/are a write-in. COD to 8a for surface and anagram indicator. Thanks to the setter and blogger, as always.
  7. Normal difficulty here, too, so about a half hour. Except that after running the alphabet I ended with SHORT LOIN (joint, what could be more obvious even if it doesn’t parse at all) where Joan was supposed to be, so I missed WILD, too. A worse miss was the drinks this week; I will be in London the last week of the month, and couldn’t change schedule.
  8. Another Saturday puzzle which I managed to complete -with difficulty it has to be said and over a relatively long time; but I had it finished with the odd question by Sunday evening.
    LOI was Oflag which I had to guess. Rhino was unparsed. And I needed all the checkers to get Altercate-another guess as I could not remember which Shakespeare play was involved. I knew Pochard was a duck but not a diver.
    Very enjoyable and helped by clues such as 1d which gave me an easy way in. David
  9. I may have solved this on Saturday after an 7 hour overnight drive and 3 hour ferry trip, or it may have been on Sunday. My recollection is misty, but the Club site tells me I did it in 37:32. However, I did have to look up who Petruchio was before solving my LOI ALTERCATE. My knowledge of Shakespearian characters is quite limited. I am fairly sure I had a large glass of red wine to hand at the time though. Didn’t know POCHARDS, but the crossers and wordplay made it inevitable. I type this in a Travelodge somewhere near Glasgow on the return journey. 12:45pm ferries are much more user friendly than 7am ones! An enjoyable puzzle. Thanks setter and Bruce.

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