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Times Cryptic 26360

This one took me exactly 30 minutes and I found it very enjoyable and quite inventive in places. A couple of words may not be familiar to all but the wordplay is clear enough in these cases to make the answers accessible.

As usual {deletions} are in curly brackets and [indicators] in square ones. I have included definitions where I think they may be of assistance to recruits from the Quick Cryptic puzzle.

1 CROTCHET - CROCHET (woollen creation) containing [covering] T{toddler} [head of]. Definition: note.  Crotchet is the British name for the American quarter note in music.
9 HAREBELL - HAL (Shakespearean prince - Henry V as he was to become) containing [throttling] REBEL (insurgent)
10 EMMA - ME (the writer) reversed [switch], MA (old woman). Definition: young woman in novel - of the same title by Jane Austen
11 RETURN TICKET - TURN (modify) + TICK (bug) inside anagram [gnarled] of TREE. I liked 'homing device' as the definition here.
13 LAWFUL - L (left), AWFUL (in a bad way)
14 POLTROON - Anagram [dreadfully] of POOR LOT, {ma}N [ultimately]. A strange word I learnt at a young age as a term of abuse favoured by Anthony Aloysius St John Hancock. I don’t think I knew it specifically meant a coward though, just a general ratbag, to use another favourite expression of 'the lad himself'.
15 CATS-EYE -  A straight definition with a barely cryptic hint, but I suppose the whole thing makes sense as &lit too
16 ATHEISM - A, then IS inside [probing] THEM (those people)
20 I DARE SAY - Anagram [dicky] of IS READY containing [to tour] A (area)
22 RELIEF - REF (official) contains [accepting] LIE (story)
23 CROP ROTATION - PORC{ine} [more than half] reversed as indicated by 'rotation' in the answer. Self-referencing indicators tend to be anagrinds, so it's a change to have one that's a reversal. Definition: element of farming activity
25 CLAN - CAN (no longer continue - N. American slang for 'stop') encloses [to house] L (large)
26 APRES-SKI - A, PRESS (for reporters) + KI{t} (package [curtailed]). Definition: activity in the Alps
27 DYSLEXIA - D (daughter), anagram [upset] of EASILY containing [about] X (times - multiplication)

2 RAMAYANA - RA (Egyptian god), MAY, A{e}N{e}A{s} [oddly]. I didn’t know this 'Sanskrit epic' but full marks to the setter when clueing a foreign and possibly unfamiliar word for doing so in such a way as to give all solvers a fair chance of working out the right answer.
3 TEAR-OFF STRIP - TEAR-OFF {a} STRIP (reprimand) [overlooking article - A]. Definition: opener - e.g. on jiffy bags
4 HOSTELRY - HOST (lots of people), R (run) inside ELY (fenland city)
5 THERAPY - PARE (cut) reversed [up] inside [during] THY (your, old)
6 BRUTAL - RUT (routine) inside [involved in] BAL{let} (classical dance [not half])
7 PECK - {s}PECK (small bit [with no seconds]). Definition: eat just a bit
8 PLATINUM - A + TIN (metal) in PLUM (exclusive) surroundings. The definition is &lit.
12 CARTE BLANCHE - C (clubs - cards), anagram [exercised] of CLEAR THE BAN. Definition: absolute authority
15 CHITCHAT - HITCH (difficulty) inside [blocking] CAT (spiteful person)
17 TERMINUS - TERM IN U.S. (four years as President). Definition: end
18 SVENGALI - SVEN (Swede - with fond memories of scorer Samantha's occasional stand-in on ISIHAC) + I (one) contains [without] LAG (delay) reversed [looking up]. Definition: hypnotist. Svengali was a character in George Du Maurier's novel 'Trilby' but this has now become a general term for a manipulative person who exercises a controlling or mesmeric influence over someone, usually for sinister reasons. 'Without' means 'outside' here.
19 PYRAMID - MARY (woman) inside [during] DIP (swim) all reversed [picked up]
21 SPOUSE - SPO{t} (identify [reduced]), USE (purpose)
24 OGRE - GO (try) reversed [upset], RE (about)


( 47 comments — Leave a comment )
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Mar. 15th, 2016 12:36 am (UTC)
20:07, one wrong
Yes, in hindsight I suppose POLTROON does look more likely than POLORTON. In fact I think I've even heard the word, so my bad.

Thanks setter and thanks Jack, especially for the amazingly early blog. How do you do it?
Mar. 15th, 2016 06:03 am (UTC)
Re: 20:07, one wrong
We've just had the blogger's TARDIS serviced following a mishap last week and it's working well at the moment.
Re: 20:07, one wrong - galspray - Mar. 15th, 2016 06:52 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 15th, 2016 12:53 am (UTC)
23:31 but
Is it 'dyslexia' or 'dislexia'? I can never remember, so I made a point of checking my spelling, fully realizing that 'easily' was anagrist. And yet I failed to correct my misspelling. Fortunately, I'm in San Francisco currently, where it's now cocktail hour, so with luck I'll soon forget my idiocy. DNK CATS-EYE, but the checkers and the hyphen suggested it. I see from my dictionary that it's a UK term; I have no idea what they're called in the US. I liked 23ac, and especially the 'homing device' of 11ac.
Mar. 15th, 2016 07:52 pm (UTC)
RE: 23:31 but
I've been told that Americans have trouble recognising irony. .. Don't know if that's true, but for future reference an inability to spell "dyslexia" is definitely ironic :-)
Mar. 15th, 2016 01:17 am (UTC)
My times was....
....Malcolm Arnold's 5th Symphony, plus about two Cornish Dances, so probably around 35 minutes. I had finished all but the northwest in 20 minutes, but I got stuck for a quite a while. However, it finally hit me that the 'fenland city' was probably our old friend Ely, quickly giving me 'hostelry', 'tear-off strip' and 'cat's eye'.

I did almost did have 'dislexia', but corrected it from the cryptic.
Mar. 15th, 2016 01:46 am (UTC)
Surely it doesn't matter how one spells DYSLEXIA!

33 mins - with only 2dn RAMAYANA biffed.

I don't think 15ac CATS EYE(S)were much used outside of UK - but they made their eccentric and reclusive inventor very rich - in WWII during the blackout. His company was named Reflecting Roadstuds Ltd - of Halifax.

I do appreciate the early blog as it usually late afternoon when most arrive here and even later on Fridays!! Even better when the clocks go back in UK shortly.

horryd Shanghai
Mar. 15th, 2016 12:54 pm (UTC)
I don't know how you managed to biff Ramayana. I suspect it was a new word to most of us and had to be derived from wordplay.
Mar. 15th, 2016 02:30 am (UTC)
Too many clever ones to like them all, but Apres Ski and Terminus were especially nice. One error where the previously unknown god Ramas led to the also as yet undiscovered Ramasana epic. Nice blog; very nice puzzle.
Mar. 15th, 2016 03:26 am (UTC)
18 minutes, so all this channelling of Verlaine must be working. My last in and favourite was PYRAMID ('something ancient in the sand' sounds like a joke from 'Diary of a Nobody' - just read and enjoyed after 'Portrait of a Lady', written at just the same time but so different in tone and type of England being portrayed that they seem to belong to different worlds let alone eras). I thought the wordplay for CLAN was clever and the definition of RETURN TICKET well disguised.

The cricket master at school used to tell a joke about one of the Classics teachers - who was a bit precious and came from Morpeth. His father was a local councillor and was attending a meeting where one agenda item concerned the proposed installation of cats-eyes on the road to Ashington. "Sounds like a good idea," he said, "but who is going to pay for the electricity?"
Mar. 15th, 2016 04:28 pm (UTC)
I channelled Ulaca and ended up with 6.5 minutes. A mutually beneficial arrangement it seems!
Mar. 15th, 2016 04:52 am (UTC)
Did the usual trick of printing out the crossword after 4 and before 5 only to remember that I got another copy of yesterday's due to daylight saving.

Minor point, but at 26ac I think it is A PRESS KIT (reporter's package) curtailed. Having been involved today in preparing several, "press kit" is a phrase very much on my mind. On its own, KIT for package seems a bit weak.

Mar. 15th, 2016 05:59 am (UTC)
I hoped that was what I'd indicated but I can see there may have been room for doubt so I've made a slight amendment, adding "for" to "reporters" to correspond with the clue (it doesn't say "reporter's") and a plus sign instead of a comma to suggest the second and third elements need to be taken together. I hope that clarifies things.
Mar. 15th, 2016 05:48 am (UTC)
Pecked a pick of peckled pippers, or something like that, for 7 thus '... making bloomer' which was not the correct one for 9. I thought CROP ROTATION, CROTCHET and SVENGALI were especially good. Almost put in 'hydatid' for '... something ancient in the sand' and it may have been correct for the def at least - hydatids have probably been around for longer than the pyramids anyway.

Thank you to setter and blogger.
Mar. 15th, 2016 07:26 am (UTC)
12 minutes but with a very careless ‘dyslexic’. That’ll learn me.

Creative puzzle, I thought, and fun to solve. I always struggle with clues like RAMAYANA where part of the wordplay is explicitly there in the clue (‘may’) — a sort of setters’ double bluff.

COD to the ingenious CROP ROTATION, which will forever make me think of Rick Mayall in The Young Ones’ University Challenge appearance. “Crop rotation in the fourteenth century was considerably more widespread after John.”
Mar. 15th, 2016 08:15 am (UTC)
Thanks for that line. I checked it out on YouTube, and, though I was never a massive fan - or watcher, like all the best critics - of The Young Ones, I enjoyed the revision scene on the train.
(no subject) - sotira - Mar. 15th, 2016 08:21 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 15th, 2016 08:14 am (UTC)
off to therapy
30 minutes with some clever clues ..... and only a Y and an X away from a pangram. Didn't know 27a but the answer was clare from wordplay.
Mar. 15th, 2016 08:19 am (UTC)
Re: off to therapy
Form wordplay, surely.
RE: Re: off to therapy - (Anonymous) - Mar. 15th, 2016 12:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
RE: Re: off to therapy - ulaca - Mar. 15th, 2016 01:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
RE:: off to the races - sawbill - Mar. 15th, 2016 04:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 15th, 2016 08:25 am (UTC)
8m, so easy for me, but still very enjoyable with surprisingly little biffing, some really neat touches and scrupulously fair wordplay for unknown (RAMAYANA) and ironically-easy-to-misspell (DYSLEXIA) words.
My one question mark was the definition of ATHEISM, but perhaps you can read 'opposition' as 'antithesis' or something similar.

Edited at 2016-03-15 04:00 pm (UTC)
Mar. 15th, 2016 09:32 am (UTC)
16 minutes but with a weird typo that I can't rationally explain. I liked CROP ROTATION and TERMINUS, which called to mind the possibly apocryphal clue "Play of two presidents?" for TITUS ANDRONICUS.

Edited at 2016-03-15 09:32 am (UTC)
Mar. 15th, 2016 01:33 pm (UTC)
Love it...
Mar. 15th, 2016 09:35 am (UTC)
Very enjoyable puzzle - not difficult but fun to complete. I'll add my appreciation for the setter at 2D and also at 8D

Interesting little diversion to Railway Cuttings, East Cheam Jack. One of the funniest radio programmes ever and well worth a nostalgic trip.
Mar. 15th, 2016 09:49 am (UTC)
19:07. I fell into a couple of traps with this, possibly of my own making. When I had C_OP for the first word of 23A I was convinced it was going to be CHOP due to the porcine part of the clue. For 25A I initially had CULT - cut for no longer continuing and cult for family. Possibly a bit dubious.

Lots to like in this, an honourable mention to PYRAMID but my COD to TERMINUS.
Mar. 15th, 2016 10:02 am (UTC)
Tear-Off Strip
I always end up tearing off more than I should. LOI, but liked the clue and the puzzle. Back to 35 minutes today, despite not having done Killer first.
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