Times Saturday 26748 – June 10, 2017. And the polls are in!

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
Good to be back! Thanks to McText for standing in.

This puzzle had a slightly different feel to it. The surfaces of the clues all read nicely, and some of the definitions had a nice twist to them, with a hint of domesticity and a few election references. Congratulations to the setter.

It took me my usual leisurely time, particularly since I am perhaps still a bit travel-weary. The left hand side of the puzzle went in fairly smoothly, but the right was a struggle. The answer to 10ac and the parsing of 19dn eluded me in particular.

Looking at the leaderboard I see that as I prepare to post, the 100th best time was over 24 minutes, definitely on the slow side for a Saturday. The comments on the club site also suggested it was on the hard side.

Clues are in blue, with definitions underlined. Anagram indicators are bolded and italicised. The answer is IN BOLD, followed by the wordplay. (ABC*) means ‘anagram of ABC’, {deletions are in curly brackets}.

1. Frail vocalist surprisingly displaying great force abroad (8,5)
VICTORIA FALLS: (FRAIL VOCALIST*). I recently came across “force” as meaning waterfall in an old puzzle from October 2011, which I took on my trip to avoid withdrawal symptoms!
9. Caught, having left company, making illegal copy (5)
CLONE: C=caught, LONE=having left company. I’m not convinced a clone has to be illegal, but it certainly might be.
10. Hint of envy maybe — director speaking out (9)
SCINTILLA: when “speaking out”, SCIN sounds like “sin” (envy, for example, being one of the seven deadly sins), and TILLA sounds like “tiller”=director, of a boat perhaps.
11. Tipped team in light blue (6-4)
UPSIDE DOWN: SIDE=team in UP=light DOWN=blue. I really expected Oxford to appear somewhere, light blue being its sporting colour, but no!
12. Stick to clean joke: time for second (1-3)
Q-TIP: QUIP=joke; change the second letter to T=time.
14. No beggar maybe could be so bothered with chore (7)
CHOOSER: (SO CHORE*). Since beggars can’t be choosers according to the proverb, I’m not even sure we need the “maybe”.
16. Historically, one preferred the house white (7)
YORKIST: cryptic definition, since the House of York had a white rose as its emblem.
17. Stretch and pull to pieces in peripheral half of exercise (7)
EXPANSE: EX{erci}SE (peripheral four letters) around PAN=”pull to pieces”.
19. Cutting article from writer considered mediocre and dated (7)
HACKSAW: HACK=”writer considered mediocre”, SAW=”dated” in the romantic sense.
20. High time, perhaps, to advance the last taboo (2-2)
NO-NO: NOON, with the last letter moved forward one place. High Noon, with Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly, 1952: http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/24083/High-Noon/
21. 25 million came, extraordinarily, equal in size (10)
COMMEASURE: (M CAME ROUSE*), where ROUSE is 25 across, and M=million. Strangely, I biffed this before I solved 25, so I could use the spare letters to do 25 as an anagram. Particularly strange, since I didn’t know the word, but once I had the helpful “U”, it looked like some sort of measure was called for!
24. Something life-enhancing one found in character of Greek sea god (9)
NUTRITION: NU=your usual character from the Greek alphabet, TRITON=your sea god, also Greek as it happens. Insert “I”=one, and away you go. Bon appetit.
25. Scraps you might pick up are exciting (5)
ROUSE: sounds like “ROWS” in the sense of an argument, not in the sense of rank and file.
26. Lack of pretence initially bearing weight in aspect of policy (2-6,5)
NO-CLAIMS BONUS: NO CLAIMS=lack of pretence, as in “I have no claims to be a quick crossword solver”. B=initially “bearing”. ONUS=weight (of responsibility). Took me a while to see this, perhaps because in these parts it’s called a No Claim Bonus.

1. Getting some sucker to tidy up? (6,8)
VACUUM CLEANER: Cryptic definition.
2. Come over and put out a sign (5)
CROSS: triple definition. Cross the road, cross an enemy, or put a cross on the ballot paper.
3. Party has ended with Carol outside bingeing (10)
OVERDOSING: OVER=ended, DO=party, SING=carol.
4. Jailed ultimately for this sort of dealing? (7)
INSIDER: INSIDE=jailed, R={fo}R. Definition is a semi-&lit.
5. Something to drive down fees — at the outset state method (7)
FAIRWAY: F{ees} AIR=state WAY=method. Step up to the tee and take out your No. 2 wood, and 200m down the fairway you drive. No?
6. Instrument has loudly suppressed another one (4)
7. Their function is to hold rat by the legs (5,4)
SPLIT PINS: SPLIT=”rat”, as to inform to police. PINS=legs. Split pins are things one doesn’t much see these days. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Split_pin
8. Slates people in floods used for household appliances (6,8)
CARPET SWEEPERS: CARPETS=slates, WEEPERS=people in floods of tears.
13. Break into building’s empty attic, fracturing funny bone (5,1,4)
CRACK A CRIB: CRACK=funny, RIB=bone, all containing (“fractured by”) A{tti}C. Not an expression I knew. British slang, I’m guessing.
15. Faulty ring on top layer (9)
ORPINGTON: (RING ON TOP*). A layer of eggs aka “hen”.
18. Former accountant keeping books: one unusual collection (7)
EXOTICA: EX=former, CA=accountant, “keeping” OT=books I=one.
19. In short, performing upset my namesake (7)
HOMONYM: HOM{E}=”in”, ON=”performing”, YM=”my” upset.
22. After polling, put ballot box facing the other way (1-4)
U-TURN: {p}UT (“after polling” = with its top cut off!) + URN=ballot box. DNK that meaning of “urn”, either, but once I got the leading “U” it was easy to biff the answer!
23. An element of the unknown included (4)
ZINC: Z=one of the usual unknowns, INC=included.

16 comments on “Times Saturday 26748 – June 10, 2017. And the polls are in!”

  1. I don’t remember much about this one, but it clearly wasn’t easy. Not knowing either SPLIT PINS (my LOI) or CRACK A CRIB certainly didn’t help. (Until I finally got YORKIST (2d LOI), I toyed with ‘catch a crab’; which made no sense, but at least I knew the term. Rather like the drunk looking for his car keys under the street lamp.)

    Edited at 2017-06-17 01:35 pm (UTC)

  2. Never heard of Q-TIP or CRACK A CRIB so I had problems finishing this off and took more than an hour to do so in all. I also looked very hard at CLONE defined as “illegal copy” but eventually assumed the setter had credit card fraud and mobile phone crime in mind.

    One of our contributors has mentioned ORPINGTON several times this week as a milsetone on his commute he uses to measure success in solving puzzles, and I’m pleased now to be reminded where I saw the word in a grid recently.

    Edited at 2017-06-17 04:24 am (UTC)

    1. I didn’t realise there is more than one type.. an Orpington chicken, or a Buff Orpington duck.
      As opposed to an Orpington crossword buff, I suppose
  3. This took me a long time over several sessions, with quite a few question marks left behind. In particular, thanks for the parsing of U-TURN! Also raised an eyebrow at the illegal clone, having (perfectly legally) cloned a disk drive of my own that morning. Still, it was pretty obvious what was being got at. NHO 13d, but at least ORPINGTON had come up in a previous puzzle and I’d remembered it.

    I think this is another pangram-but-for-a-J, which in my wildest speculative moments I’m starting to think might be a particular setter’s signature, as they seem to coincide with puzzles I find very hard…

    Edited at 2017-06-17 08:06 am (UTC)

  4. I found this hard and my solving time must have been well over the hour. I had a lot of trouble with 10ac, 7dn, 8dn and 12ac. I biffed 19dn and 22dn unparsed so thank you for explaining those ones. The expression at 13dn was unfamiliar. FOI 16ac. LOI and COD 12ac where I liked the misdirection in the surface and the lift and separate required at “clean” and “joke”.
  5. 20m. No real problems, in spite of a couple of very unfamiliar terms: SPLIT PINS and CRACK A CRIB. I knew ‘force’ for waterfall and ORPINGTON from past puzzles, and I know Q-TIP both as the American term for what I would call a cotton bud and the stage name of Kamaal Ibn John Fareed.
  6. Thought this was beyond me at first but persevered. Started with No No and struggled to get the longer clues. However over Saturday and Sunday it started to come together.
    I remembered Orpington from a previous puzzle. Managed to work out the unknowns Commeasure and Split Pins and finished with Q-Tip (with hindsight very good but maybe controversial) and Crack a Crib (unknown and would like to see proven usage).
    Anyway great fun in the end -thanks setter and blogger.
    Now on to today’s. David
    1. I found this online:

      He’ll crack a crib in Scotland one week, and be raising money to build an orphanage in Cornwall the next.
      “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” by Arthur Conan Doyle

      1. Thanks.
        I must read some Conan Doyle when I eventually finish Bleak House. David
      2. Thanks.
        I must read some Conan Doyle when I eventually finish Bleak House. David

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