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Times 26618

I had problems with this one solved over two sessions and probably need most of an hour in all. In particular I came to grief in the SW corner where the French word eluded me for ages. I don't quite understand why we need to import a 9-letter foreign word when there's a perfectly serviceable 3-letter English word meaning exactly the same thing but such are the mysteries of life, and it's in the English dictionary so I suppose we have to accept its validity and that the setter didn't feel the need to indicate its foreignness in the clue. This is all starting to sound a bit petulant so I'll shut up and get  on with the blog...

As usual definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions are in curly brackets} and [anagrinds, containment, reversal and other indicators in square ones]

1 The same artist's not in Radio Times cutting (5)
DITTO - {ra}DIO [artist's - RA- not in] containing TT (times) [cutting]. Some abroad may not know that Radio Times is the UK's leading TV & radio listings magazine, taking its title from before TV was invented.
4 Wild uproar about Tory leader has America very happy (9)
RAPTUROUS -  Anagram [wild] of UPROAR containing [about] T{ory} [leader], US (America)
9 I’d take temperature in sea at Calais around solstice (9)
MIDWINTER - I'D + WIN (take) + T (temperature) in MER (sea, at Calais)
10 Horse keeps dry round the bend (5)
BATTY - BAY (horse) contains [keeps] TT (dry - teetotal)
11 Oil supplier spreading a mess close to drive (6)
SESAME - Anagram [spreading] of A MESS, {driv}E [close]
12 City anger inspires good software (3,5)
BIG APPLE - BILE (anger) contains [inspires] G (good) + APP (software)
14 Mean peacekeepers to gather round hospital (10)
UNPLEASANT - UN (peacekeepers), PLEAT (gather) contains [round] SAN (hospital)
16 I leave to exercise joint (4)
WELD - W{i}ELD (exercise) [I leave]
19 Obscure endless stuff on jacket? (4)
BLUR - BLUR{b} (stuff on jacket - of book) [endless]
20 He pays for company guards trained to count yen (5,5)
SUGAR DADDY - Anagram [trained] of GUARDS, ADD (count), Y (yen)
22 A doctor in church nurses European character (8)
AMBIENCE -  A, MB (doctor), IN contains [nurses] E (European), CE (church - of England)
23 Funny guy collects Sierra from space (6)
COSMIC - COMIC (funny guy) contains [collects] S (sierra - NATO alphabet)
26 Hint of disgrace? It's not said commonly? (5)
TAINT - T'AINT ( "It's not", said commonly)
27 Guide operates with northern language (9)
ESPERANTO - Anagram [guide] OPERATES N (northern)
28 Green light in spare room (9)
CLEARANCE - Two meanings
29 Gong duke going into dinner, say (5)
MEDAL - D (duke) in  MEAL (dinner, say)
1 Dud politicians who in Paris stop poor tipping (4,5)
DAMP SQUIB - MPS (politicians) + QUI (who, in Paris) contained by BAD (poor) reversed [tipping]
2 More than one current change, that is, ending on top (5)
TIDES - ID EST (that is) with its last letter changed by moving it to the front [ending on top]
3 I run mad occasionally in public haunt in old Chinatown? (5,3)
OPIUM DEN - I + {r}U{n} M{a}D [occasionally] in OPEN (public)
4 Service engineers set about computer systems (4)
RITE - RE (engineers) [set about] IT (computer systems)
5 Hairy pet for each Welsh girl on boat (7,3)
PERSIAN CAT - PER (for each), SIAN (Welsh girl), CAT (boat) - not short for  catamaran, but "a strong merchant sailing vessel with a narrow stern, projecting quarters, and a deep waist, formerly used esp. in the coal and timber trade on the NE coast of England".
6 Cheerful, United lead Polish off (6)
UPBEAT - U (united), PB (lead), EAT (polish off)
7 Reveals quiet study, fully extended (9)
OUTSPREAD - OUTS (reveals), P (quiet), READ (study)
8 It bears a stigma, part of nasty lesion (5)
STYLE -  Hidden in [part of] {na}STY LE{sion}. In botany " a narrowed frequently elongated projection of the ovary, bearing the stigma".
13 Energy's reduced — check period and switch cover? (10)
ESCUTCHEON - E'S (energy's), CUT (reduced), CH (check), EON (period). I knew this word from heraldry but it's also a protective plate over an electric switch or a keyhole.
15 Tip bucket one held in sink (9)
POURBOIRE - POUR (bucket - with rain, for example), then I contained by [held in] BORE (sink). Those without knowledge of French may be at a disadvantage here.
17 No boarding here in cool shady ground (3,6)
DAY SCHOOL - Anagram [ground] of COOL SHADY
18 I follow stuff about English or Chinese character maybe (8)
IDEOGRAM - I, DOG (follow) [about] E (English), RAM (stuff)
21 Check cheese is picked up (6)
FETTER - Sounds like [is picked up] FETA (cheese)
22 Old Greek version of 'Room at the Top'? (5)
ATTIC - It's an old Greek style of architecture and a top room so I've indicated two defintions but the whole thing comes together quite nicely as one cryptic
24 Dug stuff up (5)
MINED - DENIM (stuff) reversed [up]. "Stuff" is a term used for any type of woven cloth.
25 It’s used in fencing sheep, evenly erected (4)
EPEE - Hidden and reversed [erected] in {sh}EEP E{venly}. "In" and "fencing" can each be used as containment indicators but in this case I think they're both needed for the definition which leaves the containment unaccounted for unless something's doing double duty, but even allowing for that the clue doesn't seem quite right to me.


( 56 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jan. 10th, 2017 12:41 am (UTC)
18:14, one wrong.
Never 'eard of POURBOIRE, never would have got it. PLUMBLINE fitted the checkers, so in it went.

All pretty straightforward otherwise. COD to CLEARANCE I think.

Thanks setter and Jack.
Jan. 10th, 2017 09:53 am (UTC)
Re: 18:14, one wrong.
Glad to see I wasn't the only one. Left with P_U_B_I_E I confidently thought it couldn't be anything but PLUMBLINE. Likewise, I don't think I would have got POURBOIRE anyhow.
RE: 18:14, one wrong. - mauefw - Jan. 10th, 2017 11:53 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 10th, 2017 02:50 am (UTC)
Pleased to say I beat the AM, managing a total of 41 minutes with TWO wrong, the silly French thing (plumbline, bien entendu), and also 16a, where I wasted ten minutes at the end to come up with nothing better than 'bend'. And that was after multiple alphabet runs and scribblings. Embarrassing...

Félicitations, Jacques, et bon travail. Okay, I think that's enough gratuitous (geddit?) French for one day.
Jan. 10th, 2017 03:26 am (UTC)
No real probs ...
... except, as Jack notes, in the SW. Though ATTIC went in quickly to help with the rest. Struggled with POURBOIRE though knew the word. I'll admit to quite liking its honesty re what the tip is to be used for.
Jan. 10th, 2017 04:41 am (UTC)
A real struggle..
....after completing most of it in 25 minutes, I got completely stuck in the SW for 30 minutes. So I put on a different record and read the mail, and then when I came back I started to make progress.

Once I got 'unpleasant', I was able to biff 'pourboire' and come to a (relatively) quick conclusion. However, my last one in was 'weld', which I had left behind when solving the rest of the puzzle.

Total time off the charts, but all solved and correct.

Edited at 2017-01-10 12:52 pm (UTC)
Jan. 10th, 2017 05:16 am (UTC)
Sailing through this till I met a few snags in the SW and failed at the end on POURBOIRE. Overall took about 50 minutes in 2 goes.

By the way, Capt. Cook's ship Endeavour was a CAT. Not many people know that - or maybe they do.

Thanks to setter and blogger.
Jan. 10th, 2017 08:45 am (UTC)
Not many people know that ...
I certainly didn't but I'm glad I do now. Looking up images of "Whitby cat" reveals more of what they looked like (boxy). Having said that, I can't see any reason why the cat in the clue can't be a catamaran, but it doesn't matter.
Jan. 10th, 2017 08:28 am (UTC)
15:17 ... vaguely knew POURBOIRE and happily I had pencilled in POUR— before dealing with the second bit of it, saving me from the biff-trap. CLEARANCE really is nice.
Jan. 10th, 2017 08:42 am (UTC)
As for others, slowed down in SW by the French which I knew but couldn't call to mind - increasing problem these days. Never heard it used by an English speaker.

Jack, I don't see how 25D works either
Jan. 10th, 2017 09:12 am (UTC)
Someday they'll spell English with an I (perhaps they already do, in phonics) but until then I have no excuse or reason for IDIOGRAM, chasteningly not for the first time. I think if it had been an across clue, I might have corrected it before submitting.
Otherwise a slow and broken run, with the same Dartmoor quagmire as everyone else. The only other word I could think of for bucket was pail - much use that was.
Much to my surprise, Homebase (other outlets are available) sells escutcheons. And calls them escutcheons, too.

Edited at 2017-01-10 09:13 am (UTC)
Jan. 10th, 2017 09:15 am (UTC)
Lead Polish
Ok so I clearly biffed 6d as I used lead polish for the P and convinced myself with next to no thought that Beat somehow means off.
I took the Cat as a Catamaran and I guess it doesn't really matter in the end.
25d I just took as an all-in-one but again without much thought.
COD , Clearance
Jan. 10th, 2017 09:17 am (UTC)
I have heard it used in Lunnon Tarn at L'Etoile, Mon Plaisir and L'Escargot but not Rules, The Gay Hussar or Wheelers - we English eschew tipping anyway, considering there is VAT on top at God knows what percent. My WOD - amazing that it only just appears to have reached Australia.
35 minutes of moderate pain with COD also to 28ac CLEARANCE.


LOI FETTER - one has to spell AMBIENCE without an 'A'in the middle, apparently.

As for 25dn EPEE the more you think about it, indeed the less sense it makes. Would the word 'too' at the end have helped?

Edited at 2017-01-10 09:20 am (UTC)
Jan. 10th, 2017 09:26 am (UTC)
we English eschew tipping
Er, no we don't. You must be a popular customer in restaurants!
Jan. 10th, 2017 09:24 am (UTC)
… and that of course was POURBOIRE (plumbline, obvs! So confident of it was I, that when I read Jack's intro, I assumed he was referring to AMBIENCE!). Damn that useless French degree! All rest done in 30mins, ending with alphabet-trawling for WELD.

Jan. 10th, 2017 09:30 am (UTC)
Damn, forgot to do the Freddie Mercury joke: "I'm just a pourboire ..."
Jan. 10th, 2017 11:13 am (UTC)
Freddie Mercury
umm.. joke!?
(no subject) - sotira - Jan. 10th, 2017 01:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sotira - (Anonymous) - Jan. 10th, 2017 02:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
RE: Freddie Mercury - boltonwanderer - Jan. 10th, 2017 05:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 10th, 2017 09:32 am (UTC)
17m. Most of this went in very quickly indeed and I thought I was going to be on for a fast time, but like others I got seriously bogged down in the SW. No problem with POURBOIRE but it's a French word and should really have been marked as such IMO. Also if you don't know it your chances of finding BORE from 'sink' aren't that great.
At 25dn I read the definition as just 'it', with the rest of the clue providing an indication of what 'it' is. We accept this sort of construction all the time in semi-&Lits (where usually the definition is something like 'this'), so I see no reason in principle why we shouldn't here, but it's certainly unusual.
Edit. And on reflection doesn't really work even on that basis: apart from anything else having EPEE contained in 'fencing sheep evenly' requires an extraneous word, which isn't allowed. So I will join everyone else in the 'hmm' camp.

Edited at 2017-01-10 11:03 am (UTC)
Jan. 10th, 2017 11:08 am (UTC)
Thanks for this. So plenty of doubt here but none in the forum so far (other than from me).
Jan. 10th, 2017 10:10 am (UTC)
23:56 will all but the SW going in quite quickly, although I unaccountably typed in DAMP SQUID which caused problems later. I could see what I was after for 21d but with all the crossers took a long time wondering whether LESTER was a sort of check. I knew POURBOIRE so I was not distracted by alternatives and when I finally corrected 1dn, 19ac was my LOI. 25dn biffed without thinking about it too much but I agree with all above that on reflection, there is something a bit odd about it.
Jan. 10th, 2017 10:17 am (UTC)
Damp squid is superb. I bet Attenborough has found a dry one somewhere on the planet and is awaiting to unleash it on us.
(no subject) - john_dun - Jan. 10th, 2017 12:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 10th, 2017 10:16 am (UTC)
in the bleak midwinter
Frosty wind made moan. I didn't know POURBOIRE so DNF, completing the rest in 50 minutes. Neither Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody nor Simon and Garfunkel's The Boxer came to mind though I did end up crying out that I was leaving in my anger and my shame. I'd laboured too long and hard in the south-west with CLEARANCE and AMBIENCE also taking time. Earth stood hard as iron. Is POURBOIRE the same as 'have one for yourself'? I don't seem to go to that sort of pub nowadays.
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