Times Saturday 26814 – 26 August, 2017. I’ve got a little list!

 Perhaps my enjoyment was jaundiced by jet-lag after 23 hours of travel, but there were several clues I found unsatisfying here: 14ac, 4dn, 7dn  and perhaps 16dn, not to mention 15ac which is still a mystery as I start this blog. I’d throw in 20ac, but I suppose cryptic definitions are a matter of individual taste. In the words of 25ac, they’d none of them be missed!

My view is further jaundiced because now the scores have appeared, it says I got two answers wrong. Mysterious, because all answers in my draft blog agree with the published solution. Frustrating, because now of course I can’t retrieve the solution I submitted, thanks to the new website. Grrr.

It’s a pity, because there were also some lovely clues. I enjoyed 19, 23, 25 and 26 across, and 1 down, but my choice for the clue of the day has to be 5dn. Overall, I found this on the hard side, but it will be interesting to see if that was just me! Thanks to the setter.

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

1 Top Gear star appearing with famous interviewer and footballer (6,4)
SUNDAY BEST: SUN=star / {Robin} DAY=INTERVIEWER / {George} BEST=footballer. Makes me feel old, just knowing their names!
6 Pleased with oneself, having succeeded with attack (4)
SMUG: S=succeeded / MUG=attacked.
10 What Green is making sacrifice? (5)
FORGO: as every road user knows, green is for go.
11 Club Polish joined, say, after coming west (4,5)
SAND WEDGE: SAND=polish / WED=join / GE=eg, westward.
12 Boy turned hitch-hiker to get where he wants to go? (14)
NORTHUMBERLAND: NOR=Ron turned / THUMBER=hitch-hiker / LAND=get. I needed all the helpers to get this. How are we to know the boy we want is Ron unless we already know the answer?
14 Fish wrongly done after having bits taken off? (7)
OVERNET: OVER=done / NET=having bits (like interest and taxes) taken off. DNK the answer, but it appears to be a specific form of overfishing. If I had known the word, I might have admired the cunningly disguised definition, but as it was, it was an unsatisfying clue for me.
15 Fluctuating that involves one in endless meditation? (2-5)
YO-YOING: I put in the answer confidently (what else could it be?), but had to phone a friend, or rather Google, to find how this worked. YON=that, insert I=one, giving YOIN. Then put the whole ensemble in YOG{a}=meditation. Too hard for me, but a fine and beautifully economical clue.
17 Sauce boat lifted (7)
KETCHUP: KETCH=boat / UP=lifted.
19 Mark of some relevance? Yes, potentially (7)
EYESPOT: nicely hidden answer.
20 Receiving delivery when someone rings before ten (5,2,3,4)
SAVED BY THE BELL: cryptic definition. If a boxer is knocked to the canvas, unable to get to his feet before the referee counts to ten, he loses on a technical knockout – unless the bell sounds for the end of the round before the ref finishes his count.
23 Ignore an old, decrepit, statesman (9)
OREGONIAN: (IGNORE AN O*). We’ve seen “statesman” used like this before, for example to define WISCONSINITE in Aug 2016, but it still raises a smile.
24 Article that’s seized by bird (5)
AVIAN: VIA=by, seized by AN=article. It’s a nice misdirect that “that’s” isn’t “i e”.
25 He had a list put out twice (2-2)
KO-KO: KO=knock out, twice. Ko-Ko is Gilbert & Sullivan’s Lord High Executioner in The Mikado. He sings “I’ve got a little list – I’ve got a little list … who never would be missed – who never would be missed!” A concept I totally approve of, as noted above!
26 People there groomed and neat, etc (10)
ATTENDANCE: (AND NEAT ETC*). Nicely disguised definition.

1 Sort of condition that’s set in stone (4)
SIFT: IF=condition, set in ST=stone. Another nicely disguised definition.
2 Thinnest bolt has to fit inside casing (9)
NARROWEST: ARROW=bolt (more or less), inside NEST=casing.
3 Hairdo often too elaborate for a start? (1,4,2,3,4)
4 Book is one that’s got abridged about one of the Bourbons? (7)
BISCUIT: B=book / IS / CUT=abridged, around I=one. DNK Bourbon was a biscuit, and it was hard to read that “abridged” was a data element rather than a modifier. Another clue I found unsatisfying.
5 He’s no longer happy if forgetting name? (7)
SANDBOY: &Lit type clue. One can be happy as a sandboy, but if he forgets his name, he becomes a SA{n}D BOY. Nice!
7 Oil press for two (5)
MEDIA: triple double definition, in a somewhat unsatisfying way. Oil = medium for dissolving things, press = communication medium, “for two” presumably suggests happy medium of two things indicates both are definitions by example (thanks Jerry – see his comment).
8 Guzzler sounding high after opening gallon bottle (6,4)
GREEDY GUTS: G=G{allon} / REEDY=sounding high pitched / GUTS=bottle.
9 Input device in question intricately worked by tray close to cable (6,8)
QWERTY KEYBOARD: Q=question / (WORKED BY TRAY E*), where E=close to {cabl}E. The standard computer (or typewriter) keyboard, named for the first six keys on the left of its top row.
13 Bird, when on corner, to gesture defiantly (4,1,5)
COCK A SNOOK: COCK=bird / AS=when / NOOK=corner.
16 Drive up motorway, turning left before hill (9)
IMPULSION: UP M1, all turned backwards / L=left / SION= some hill or other. I’m not sure which one, although there is a SION HILL in the Virgin Islands for example. Someone may be able to clarify in the comments alternative spelling for Mount Zion (thanks again Jerry).
18 A tip: dry ground is something worth digging (3,4)
19 French in luck after missing initial boost (7)
ENHANCE: EN=French for “in” / {c}HANCE.
21 Jumper may have this very small victory margin (1,4)
V NECK: #. V=very / NECK=small victory margin. I had “A NECK” – clearly a small victory margin – until I finally gave up on “STAND BY THE whatever” for 20ac. I didn’t contemplate V-NECK because I thought it ought to be hyphenated? It is in Chambers, although Collins has it both ways.
22 Got nicked regularly, but no more? (4)
ONCE: every second letter of “got nicked”.

17 comments on “Times Saturday 26814 – 26 August, 2017. I’ve got a little list!”

  1. Brian I think 7dn is a double definition of MEDIA: oils, (an artistic medium)and press, as in the Times.
    Sion/Zion is a hill near Jerusalem, all other places of that name being called after it.
    Anyone who wants to record the answers as submitted must now do a screenprint and save that.
  2. …after taking 70 minutes to fnish this. I knew Mount Sion as an alternative spelling. Never quite parsed YO-YOING. Yon clue was a good one though. SAVED BY THE BELL from a neck and V NECK LOI. DNK OVERNET, given by cryptic and crossers. Only vaguely knew KO-KO. MEDIA just biffed from crossers and thinking that the press was one. I knew happy as a SANDBOY well, an expression more from the past than a region, I think. COD GREEDY GUTS, an expression I still use when my youngest snaffles the last piece of cake. Thank you B and setter for the challenge.

    Edited at 2017-09-02 07:42 am (UTC)

  3. Strangely enough, I called up review for this puzzle and was presented with my entry, properly populated. As far as I can tell, if you use the same device and browser, to review as you used to do the puzzle, and have the browser zoom set correctly, and haven’t cleared cookies in the meanwhile, you might get the required result. I wouldn’t bet my house on it though. Anyway I managed to complete this in 38:46 with no errors. I had to trust wordplay for several unfamiliar words: Ko-Ko, EYESPOT, OVERNET. I was also saved from a neck by the bell. Liked SUNDAY BEST. Thanks setter and Bruce.
  4. I’ve come across a new issue with the Club site now. Half the time I select a puzzle or select the home button, I get a Whoops you’re not supposed to be here message with 403: Forbidden. What are they playing at!!! I’m going to need my blood pressure medication increasing at this rate. Grrhh.
  5. This puzzle had a different feel about it from the usual Times fare and I might even have mistaken it for one of Jeff’s Sunday offerings with a few clues trying just a little too hard. I failed on the unknown 14ac but otherwise this was an interesting and enjoyable solve taking me a few minutes under an hour.
  6. 14:29. The inability to see the answers you submitted is one of the most irritating features of the new website, and it’s got a lot of competition. Honestly what a mess.
    I don’t remember much about this. Oddly I don’t remember putting in KO-KO, which was completely unknown to me. I knew the reference from Peter Lilley’s nasty little speech but the names of G&S characters are largely a mystery to me. Thank goodness for wordplay, eh?
  7. I had all but 14ac done inside the hour, that one took me another 10mins and I ended up trusting the wordplay and guessing that must be it. I found this hard. DNK Koko or eyespot. Media, saved by the bell and yoyoing bunged in from checkers with no idea how the clues worked. However, lots of clues that I did appreciate, 1ac, 11ac, 12ac, 23ac, 26ac, 13dn, 4dn, 5dn and 9dn.
  8. My note at the time for this was: 19:41 v. witty with some nicely hidden definitions, so I guess I was on wavelength and enjoyed it. SANDBOY one of my favourite clues in a long time.
  9. I agree with our blogger that some clues felt slightly unsatisfactory. It’s a bit subjective which to choose. 14a was the one that bothered me. I could not parse 16d despite getting the right answer; and I had Avian noted for 24a but rejected it and tried to fit Alien.
    There were a lot of clues I did like including 4d as I knew the biscuit. I liked Qwerty and Sunday Best very much.
    In the end I got two wrong – 14a and 24a and there were more than normal unparsed. David
  10. My husband bought Times as shop sold out of usual Telegraph! I enjoyed the different thinking and challenge but (unusually) could not complete all clues, so thanks to brnchn for supplying an education on how to resolve them. I enjoyed his comments, so here’s to next time I give the Times a go. Helena
  11. No idea how long this took me after 20 minutes online. DNK OVERNET, EYESPOT, but no big deal. COD to FORGO or SIFT, can’t make up my mind. KO-KO’s “little list” is of possible candidates for victims if he’s ever actually required to execute someone, and it includes among my favorites ‘people who have flabby hands and irritating laughs’, and ‘people who when shaking hands shake hands with you like THAT’, leaving it up to the actor what THAT is.
  12. I was brought up on both G&S 25ac KO-KO and 4dn chocolate BOURBONS from Messrs. Crawfords. Which explains a lot!

    I simply cannot believe that Mr. Browndog had never heard of BOURBONS!! You must have had a terrible childhood! They are available today in Shanghai, so you have no excuse.

    FOI 15ac YO-YOING. LOI 14ac OVERNET the Internet of the future perhaps.



    Much enjoyed hour’s worth.

  13. Had this almost done in an hour, but it took me another fifteen minutes to decide that 14a had to be OVERNET. Glad I got it right after all that, and thankful to be able to come here and be let off the hook, as it were.

    FOI 6a, no great problems elsewhere. I even sang along with 25a KOKO in the bass chorus of the school production of the Mikado, so for once the musical reference was a write-in! COD 10a FORGO. Thanks setter and Bruce.

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