Times Saturday 26712 – April 29, 2017. Frankly, I did it his way.

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
This was heavy in historical references and obscure (to me, at least) foreign nouns, which may have slowed down those solvers who don’t already have a Master’s rating in useless information. The rest of us can spend a happy hour with reference books or the internet.

My clue of the day by a large margin was 20ac. A thing of beauty! Thanks to the setter. Looking at the leaderboard, I see that as I prepare to post, the 100th best time was 17 minutes, about average for a Saturday, so perhaps not so obscure to others.

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. Hard decision to expel all but the last (7)
CALLOUS: CALL=decision, OUS{t}=expel.
5. Pressure to stop mail while away (5)
SPEND: P=pressure to stop SEND=mail.
9. Without limits, that stuff is forbidden by religious law (5)
HARAM: {t}HA{t} RAM=stuff. Halal is an Arabic word meaning lawful or permitted. In reference to food, it is the dietary standard, as prescribed in the Qur’an (the Muslim scripture). The opposite of halal is haram, which means unlawful or prohibited. I’d heard the word before, vaguely, but the wordplay is quite clear.
10. Great time for assembling task force (5,4)
11. Beams before sweet revenge starts (7)
RAFTERS: R{evenge} before AFTERS=sweet.
12. Admonitory words at different times? (3,4)
NOW THEN: and the different times are of course NOW and THEN.
13. Type of broadcasting agency to flourish (6,4)
MEDIUM WAVE: MEDIUM=agency WAVE=flourish.
15. Caliph’s men keeping mum (4)
OMAR: OR=men keeping MA=mum. Wikipedia: Umar, also spelled Omar (583 – 3 November 644), was one of the most powerful and influential Muslim caliphs in history. He was a senior companion of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He succeeded Abu Bakr (632–634) as the second caliph of the Rashidun Caliphate on 23 August 634.
18. Frank, putting name forward, gets refusal … (4)
NOPE: OPEN=frank, with the N=name moved to the front.
20. but has opposite response chasing OU belle, strangely (2,4,4)
OL’ BLUE EYES: trickiness and artistry here – the definition is in the previous clue, hence the ellipses. Old Blue Eyes was Frank Sinatra, if it needs to be said. (OU BELLE*) followed by YES=opposite of “nope”. Lovely clue(s)!
23. Place remote on display, by office (7)
OUTPOST: OUT=on display (flowers for example), by POST=office.
24. Quietly curious about record company’s charge (7)
PREMIUM: P=quiet then RUM=curious around EMI=record company, broken up in 2012.
25. Painting of entrance catching the light (9)
PORTRAYAL: PORTAL=entrance catching RAY=light.
26. Organism we hear and see in the same way (5)
LIKEN: uh oh. The organism is LICHEN, but Collins and Chambers both give “litchen” as an alternative pronunciation. Happily the OED insists on the one true way.
27. Damp spot holding naval officer back (5)
SOPPY: P.O.=petty officer, reversed inside SPY=spot.
28. Low dome reconstructed in timber (7)

1. Maybe like chicken — or beef often — fine cuts (4-3)
CORN FED: CORNED=beef, sometimes at least, with F=fine cutting it.
2. Arm or leg unaffected after climbing exercise (6,2)
LIMBER UP: LIMB=arm or leg, then PURE=unaffected, “climbing”.
3. Old perjurer gives address, not right (5)
OATES: O{r}ATES=gives address. Wikipedia: Titus Oates (15 September 1649 – 12/13 July 1705), also called Titus the Liar, was an English perjurer who fabricated the “Popish Plot”, a supposed Catholic conspiracy to kill King Charles II. Knew the name, none of the history.
4. Gave loans out for extended work? (4,5)
SAGA NOVEL: (GAVE LOANS*). DNK the expression.
5. Crazy, say, having eight as answer? (6)
SCREWY: Always a tossup whether a number below about thirty is a reference to another clue or there in its own right. In this case I couldn’t do anything with “third man” from 8dn, so had to read the instructions to get S{a}Y with CREW=eight replacing the A=answer.
6. Period preceding mock battle (7)
EVESHAM: EVE=period SHAM=mock. Again, DNK the history, but the wordplay is quite clear. Wikipedia: The Battle of Evesham (4 August 1265) was one of the two main battles of 13th century England’s Second Barons’ War. It marked the defeat of Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, and the rebellious barons by Prince Edward – later King Edward I – who led the forces of his father, King Henry III. It took place on 4 August 1265, near the town of Evesham, Worcestershire.
7. March the first in Newtown is ace! (5)
DEMON: DEMO=march N=N{ewtown}.
8. Article on this cricketer would be made into film (5,3)
THIRD MAN: THE is the article which would make the film. Wikipedia: The Third Man is a 1949 British film noir directed by Carol Reed and written by Graham Greene. It stars Joseph Cotten, Valli (Alida Valli), Orson Welles, and Trevor Howard.
14. Awfully mildewy around upper half of this plant (4,5)
16. Girl some toast for snaffling boy (8)
ROSAMUND: ROUND=some toast, snaffling SAM=boy.
17. Safe place to go to see massacre (8)
PETERLOO: parsing. PETER=safe, LOO=place to go! Yet again, DNK the history but the wordplay is clear enough. Wikipedia: The Peterloo Massacre occurred at St Peter’s Field, Manchester, England, on 16 August 1819, when cavalry charged into a crowd of 60,000–80,000 who had gathered to demand the reform of parliamentary representation.
19. Support, way down the bed, one hugging hooker? (7)
PITPROP: I may be missing something here, but perhaps someone will help out in the comments. Obviously a PITPROP is a mine support, and a PROP is one of those beefy rugby forwards who puts an arm around the hooker to support him while he rakes the ball back in the scrum. But what of PIT, or perhaps ITP? I can only suggest a PIT is a hole you might dig down inside a garden bed, but it all feels a bit weak!
On edit: I am happier with the parsing suggested by special_bitter and others. The definition seems to be “support way down”, because mines are sometimes deep underground, leaving PIT=bed and PROP = the rugger hugger.
21. Called when hunting in harness, catching one cold (7)
YOICKED: YOKED=in harness, catching I C{old}. Yoicks Tallyho!
22. With a striking regularity? (6)
HOURLY: better than average cryptic definition.
23. Some namedrop posh colleagues (5)
OPPOS: hidden. Perhaps not a word familiar to non-British solvers?
24. Old murder weapon, perhaps one concealed by Cluedo suspect (5)
PILUM: Professor PLUM in the library of course, concealing I. But where to put the I? PLIUM and PILUM both sounded like candidates.  Only two choices: go to the dictionary, or solve 25ac. It’s an ancient Roman javelin.

12 comments on “Times Saturday 26712 – April 29, 2017. Frankly, I did it his way.”

  1. PIT is just ‘mine’, I’d have thought; the problem for me was ‘way down the bed’, but I supposed that ‘bed’ = stratum.
  2. A plethora of DNKs: HARAM, TIGER TEAM, THIRD MAN, EVESHAM, PILUM, hooker (19d), … Speaking of …, 18ac and 20ac, aside from being brilliant, are a rare example of suspension dots actually doing work to connect two clues. On 5d: There’s no ambiguity about ‘eight’ here, Bruce: if it were referring to the clue, it would have to be ‘8’ (Sunday Times excepted, as always).
  3. Isn’t the def of pitprop “support way down”? Leaving wp as pit= bed, prop = rugger chap who hugs hooker.
  4. Nice puzzle, 43 mins 5 secs for me. DNK tiger team, Omar, Evesham or pilum but all pretty gettable. I had most difficulty with the unfamiliar yoicked. FOI 5ac. LOI 24ac. I agree that there is something quite irresistible about the anagram and meaningful use of ellipsis in the ol’ blue eyes clue but I find ST-esque toilet humour equally irresistible so my COD is 17dn.
  5. Luckily all clued to be gettable, so enjoyable. Slow, though, with a few minutes at the end trying for a better alternative than hourly, which I didn’t like.
    I was going to question how commercial The Times is becoming, full of brand names, where 2 or 3 years ago they seemed to be verboten. Then read EMI is extinct – is it dead companies OK, live ones not OK, same as people? I now remember from years ago ICI? or ICL? in the clue, an extinct chemical company.
    Though Merc and Cadillac both appeared these past few weeks, both still trading.
  6. Took me an hour to get most of it in the morning, then ten minutes more at lunch to finish off. I thought I still had one wrong as I didn’t get a perfect score on submission at the club site, but it must’ve been a typo when transcribing, as everything looks right.

    For 19d, on the day I assumed PITPROP was “Support, way down”, “pit” was “bed” and had no idea about “prop”, but apparently that’s just because I know nothing about Rugby (despite my dad having gone to school there…)

    I watched The Third Man just a few weeks ago, which was handy. FOI 3d, LOI 22d, WOD YOICKED. I didn’t note a COD at the time, but I think I enjoyed OL BLUE EYES…

  7. I had absolutely no problem with bed=pit because I’ve used it for years. Maybe it isn’t common in some parts of the country.
  8. I spent a lot of time on this,enjoyably, and came up two short and one wrong: 17d -forgot that Peter = Safe and did not know about the massacre (which I thought might be an anagram indicator). And I was stumped by 16d partly because I got 24a wrong ( I had Premise for want of anything better).
    So defeated in the end but was very pleased to work out a number of , for me, difficult clues.
    Yesterday’s QC contained a hidden message about today’s Irish Cup Final at Windsor Park; so I am planning to follow that later. David

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