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Times Cryptic 27212

I found this very hard and after nearly an hour had completed only about a third of it so I took a short break. On returning I fared much better and knocked off most of what remained in about 8 minutes. It was still a DNF though, as detailed in my blog below, because I put a wrong answer at 10ac and this prevented me solving 7dn.

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

1 Restrict flow in stretch of pipe (4)
STEM - Two meanings. For those who like lists for reference, a standard tobacco pipe is likely to have around 10 parts as follows:  (1) bowl, (2) chamber, (3) draught hole, (4) shank, (5) mortise, (6) tenon, (7) STEM, (8) bit (or mouthpiece), (9) lip, and (10) bore.
4 Given to naive thoughts, remain in seedy resort (6-4)
STARRY-EYED - TARRY (stay) in anagram [resort] of SEEDY
9 Poor / little Bobby? (3,4,3)
NOT MUCH COP - Two meanings, the second being cryptic. "Ingerland swings like a pendulum do, Bobbies on bicycles two-by-two, Westminster Abbey, the tower of Big Ben, the rosy-red cheeks of the little chil-DREN" (Roger Miller, 1965).
10 A device that stops one backing horse (4)
ARAB - A, BAR (device that stops one) reversed [backing].  With only the final B-checker in place I came up with the answer BARB parsed as a double definition. I took the first as "a device that stops one backing" which with a little stretch of imagination might describe the function of a barb on a hook. As for the second definition, my original thought was that BARB might be short for barbiturate (turns out it is!) and 'horse', as all Times solvers know, is slang for 'heroin'. My knowledge of drugs is not sufficient to be sure whether heroin is a barbiturate, but I reasoned that street slang such as this may not always be strictly accurate. Anyway I then looked up BARB and found this in Collins: a breed of horse of North African origin, similar to the Arab but less spirited. That sealed the deal as far as I was concerned so I gave up thinking about drugs and wrote it in with conviction.
11 Dad and bad-tempered giant endlessly go the rounds (6)
PATROL - PA (dad), TROL{l)  (bad-tempered giant) [endlessly]
12 Mine is found in unlocked shed (4-4)
OPEN-CAST - OPEN (unlocked), CAST (shed)
14 Young lover, one relieved to find Leda's assailant (4)
SWAN - SWA{i}N (young lover) [one relieved]. In Greek mythology Zeus in the guise of a swan seduces Leda.  I wondered if  'assail'  might be a bit strong for this scenario but on checking the dictionaries I found that 'assail' can be defined as: attack with temptation, try; woo, court. On the other hand there's a cartoon on Page 31 of the current edition of Private Eye that takes a more extreme and modern view of the mythological shenanigans, # MeToo!
15 Humble frump, relinquishing booze, lectures drunk (10)
RESPECTFUL - Anagram [drunk] of LECTURES  F{rum}P [relinquishing booze]
17 Fish taken to harbour provides work (5,5)
BLEAK HOUSE - BLEAK (fish - a type of carp ), HOUSE (harbour - provide accommodation). An unbiffable clue.
20 Second rescue boat finds island (4)
SARK - S (second), ARK (rescue boat). No cars allowed there; only tractors and horse-drawn vehicles. Also unbiffable.
21 Complain unnecessarily after fairy creates wall of fruit (8)
PERICARP - PERI (fairy), CARP (complain unnecessarily). Not a word I knew but SOED defines it as the wall of a ripened ovary or fruit.
23 They waken us when Liberal member enters (6)
ALARMS - L (liberal) + ARM (member) is contained by [enters] AS (when)
24 Fine fabric that one may cut in strips? (4)
LAWN - A straight definition and a cryptic hint with reference to turf
25 This strange exam covers one century of yore (10)
HISTORICAL - Anagram [strange] of THIS, then ORAL (exam) contains [covers] I (one) + C (century)
26 Perhaps marinade is on offer at commercial centre (10)
TENDERISER - TENDER (offer), IS, {comm}ER{cial} [centre]
27 Ham producer has son in for a feed (4)
NOSH - NO{a}H (Ham producer) has S (son) in for 'a' to produce NOSH. Ham was Noah's second son.
2 Author's novel somehow flat (6,5)
THOMAS WOLFE - Anagram [novel] of SOMEHOW FLAT. This American author is unknown to me but his surname was gettable from anagrist once I'd spotted THOMAS. On edit: Commenters have since referred to him as Tom Wolfe and I can place the author exactly having seen various books of his adapted to film. Did he ever publish as Thomas Wolfe?
3 Notes the writer meeting doctor at golf club (9)
MEMORANDA - ME (the writer), MO (doctor), R AND A (golf club - Royal and Ancient, St Andrews), considered by many to be "the home of golf".
4 Layman almost established around Los Angeles (7)
SECULAR - SECUR{e} (established) [almost], containing [around] LA (Los Angeles). I knew the answer only as an adjective but Collins lists it as a noun that can be used as an  alternative to 'layman'.
5 Passports source crippled in dispute (2,5,8)
AT CROSS PURPOSES - Anagram [crippled] of PASSPORTS SOURCE. More a misunderstanding than a dispute, I'd have thought, but I suppose things could get heated.
6 Soldiers permitted to enter gym that's full (7)
REPLETE - RE (soldiers), then LET (permitted) contained by [to enter] PE (gym)
7 Yankee graduate covering her topless mate (5)
YERBA - Y (Yankee) + BA (graduate) containing [covering] {h}ER [topless]. Yerba maté is the full name of this tree or shrub hitherto completely unknown to me. I wondered whether it was fair to omit the acute accent in the clue but Collins allows it without. I think I may have considered this answer when experimenting with wordplay, along with YERMA, but as I didn't recognise either as word nothing went in. After I had decided on BARB at 10ac I never stood chance at this one.
8 Start university getting into arrears (5)
DEBUT - U (university) contained by [getting into] DEBT (arrears)
13 Nothing like these served in traditional pizzeria? (6,5)
SQUARE MEALS - Cryptic definition. We needed traditional because square, or at least rectangular, pizzas are not unknown.
16 Aussie Brown entertains primarily sexual obsession (9)
TASMANIAN - TAN (brown) contains S{exual} [primarily] + MANIA (obsession)
18 Girl in crouch finally loading pistol (7)
HEATHER - {crouc}H [finally] conatined by [loading] HEATER (pistol)
19 Locks up quartet missing feminine charm (7)
ENAMOUR - MANE (locks) reversed [up], {f}OUR (quartet) [missing feminine]
21 Test sanctimonious man God spared (5)
PILOT - PI (sanctimonious), LOT (man God spared - from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah)
22 Horse must pass round wide tree (5)
ROWAN - ROAN (horse] contains [must pass round] W (wide)


( 48 comments — Leave a comment )
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Dec. 4th, 2018 03:23 am (UTC)
9:57, but I think I had a leg up here, since I live in the town where THOMAS WOLFE grew up (though I find him kind of dull to read), I used to be a TASMANIAN, and YERBA is a pretty common tea amongst friends. My fingers crossed moments were NOT MUCH COP, which I thought was NOT MUCH CHOP and SWAN
Dec. 4th, 2018 03:30 am (UTC)
I didn't find this too bad, although a few references passed me by including LAWN as a 'fine fabric' and Noah's son. Leda and the SWAN was also a guess.

THOMAS WOLFE was the author of 'Bonfire of the Vanities' wasn't he? Apparently not. 'North Carolina's most famous writer' no less and might be worth a look.

Finished in 44 minutes.

Thanks to setter and blogger
Dec. 4th, 2018 09:51 am (UTC)
I had the wrong Wolfe too, getting Thomas via Tom.
Dec. 4th, 2018 03:30 am (UTC)
I did check YERBA in the dictionary, to discover that 'mate' is 'maté'; Colllins or no Collins, I didn't care for this trick. 9ac barely remembered from a previous cryptic. As I recall the myth--and I'm not going to look it up--Zeus raped Leda, which sounds like assailing to me. Slowed myself down some by a) thinking of GLAMOUR at 19d and trying to deal with 'locks up', b) reading 'marinade' as 'marmalade'. And Jack to the contrary notwithstanding, I biffed 17ac; once I'd put in ENAMOUR, the checkers suggested the title, and then I sort of remembered the fish.
Dec. 4th, 2018 05:54 am (UTC)
Re: 18:40
I'm not overly familiar with the story of Zeus and Leda, but the version I consulted on-line didn't mention 'rape', it said 'seduction' which is perhaps not quite so cut and dried. I've now looked at a more reliable printed source which states that 'the rape of Leda is the subject of Yeats's fine poem, Leda and the Swan'.

I suppose checkers have to be included in the biffing process otherwise we might need more than one acronym, BIFDO (only) and BIFDAC (and checkers) for example.

Edited at 2018-12-04 05:55 am (UTC)
Re: 18:40 - kevingregg - Dec. 4th, 2018 06:03 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: 18:40 - keriothe - Dec. 4th, 2018 12:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
RE: 18:40 - (Anonymous) - Dec. 4th, 2018 04:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
RE: 18:40 - (Anonymous) - Dec. 4th, 2018 04:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 4th, 2018 07:50 am (UTC)
This felt like longer than the 37 minutes it took, possibly down to lots of unknown vocab, but also the occasional kick-self moment, like 14a where I was desperately trying to remember which god it was who'd turned himself into a SWAN before realising I already had the answer!

Happily I drank a lot of YERBA during one of my rare virtuous periods where I tried to avoid coffee, otherwise I'd probably have chosen YERMA and then complained bitterly.

Now to go an add a few more things to my personal crossword dictionary, including yet another sporting reference, and yet another fish...

Edited at 2018-12-04 07:53 am (UTC)
Dec. 4th, 2018 08:46 am (UTC)
Tasmania slip twixt cup and lip...
40 mins with yoghurt, banana and blueberry compote.
I enjoyed this. The GK suited me and I liked the jokes: square meals, not much cop.
Whenever we have a word like 'heater' or 'rod' for a handgun, I feel compelled to recommend the short story: 'Somewhere a Roscoe...' by SJ Perelman. IMO it is hilarious (and google-able online).
Thanks setter and J.
Dec. 4th, 2018 08:49 am (UTC)
19:08. I held myself up by initially having TO CROSS PURPOSES at 5d. One or two clues had me dredging my memory... LAWN as a fabric, LEDA and the swan, YERBA the tea, BLEAK the fish and THOMAS WOLFE the author. NOT MUCH COP my LOI. COD to NOSH.
Dec. 4th, 2018 08:53 am (UTC)
Like gothick_matt I thought this felt like it took longer than it actually did. Not sure why. LOI RESPECTFUL - I'm often thrown by the clues which tell you to take a bit of one word and mix it with another to get the anagram, and I was instead looking for it to finish with an anagram of 'lectures'. This came close to me making up a nonsense word, but I managed to pull it out the bag this time.
Dec. 4th, 2018 08:56 am (UTC)
I had never heard of the tea, but had seen (on live broadcast to my local cinema) the play "Yerma" starring a brilliant Billie Piper. That is the sad tale of a young woman unable to have children, and I thought that perhaps the title meant "mate", but now see that it is Spanish for "barren".

Edited at 2018-12-04 08:58 am (UTC)
Dec. 5th, 2018 04:05 am (UTC)
Re: Yerma
Never having heard of yerba, or mate as a drink, or yerba mate (but knowing maté as a drink), I chose yerba over yerma as I vaguely recognised it as a Spansih word - the island in the middle of the Oakland Bay Bridge is Yerba Buena, I've driven through it.
Dec. 4th, 2018 09:06 am (UTC)
I found this even easier than yesterday’s so I was a bit surprised by the current SNITCH score. A couple of half-knowns but with clear word play. No definitive time as the 18 minutes shown by the app included an interruption of about 5 minutes.
Dec. 4th, 2018 09:21 am (UTC)
Nothing to frighten the horses here - top to bottom solve with few holdups. Didn't like "mate" as definition for YERBA. Did like "Ham producer" for Noah.
Dec. 4th, 2018 09:30 am (UTC)
36 minutes with fingers crossed in places. PERICARP not known but looked right, HEAT(H)ER for pistol a hope more than expectation, and I've never heard of LAWN fabric unless it's used for grass skirts. Two great clues though with NOT MUCH COP and COD NOSH, although I guess (S)ARK had put the thought about.. I vaguely knew YERBA maté although I tried to make sense of Yerma first, a play I haven't seen. I enjoyed this. Thank you Jack and setter.
Dec. 4th, 2018 10:02 am (UTC)
When in Rome
Another gentle breeze here, at 17 minutes, so presumably a wavelength thing.
Pizzas at La Pratolina in Rome, the pizza restaurant allegedly most preferred by locals, came mostly in a sort of rounded-off oblong, tending to square: does that make them non-traditional?
No less than two Genesis references, No' a(h) Lot or two too many according to fancy.
Bletchley was not alone in seeing THOMAS WOLFE and thinking Bonfire of the Vanities: it seems he became eligible for inclusion in May this year, so maybe not the wrong one after all.
YERBA I'd kind of heard of but didn't associate it with tea, so didn't care so much about the absence of the accent on mate. Vaguely thought "friend" along the lines of Yentl (which obviously doesn't really work), but fortunately, being not-Oxford, didn't think of converting my BA to a Masters.
Commiseration son the BARB, Jack: a fair enough entry, especially since "device that stops one" is a bit hefty for BAR. Thanks for the entertaining blog.
Dec. 4th, 2018 10:05 am (UTC)
On review: Make that three Genesis references.
Re: When in Rome - kevingregg - Dec. 4th, 2018 10:38 am (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 4th, 2018 10:18 am (UTC)
24 min - no particular holdups as I knew 7dn, probably from a puzzle elsewhere, as the omitted accent didn't worry me. When I found 2dn, my reaction was that I must have missed seeing his obituary - though I find there was another one that the setter could have had in mind.
Dec. 4th, 2018 10:30 am (UTC)
44 mins with YERMA/YERBA holding me up somewhat. NHO the plant or tea, but reckoned that 'mate' didn't fit at all with the vaguely-recollected Lorca play. Now I've read the explanation here, I think mate for maté in the clue is not entirely fair.
I biffed BLEAK HOUSE from nothing more than (5,5) and the U; no idea that bleak=a fish. NHO PERICARP, but the wordplay worked.
My COD nomination to ARAB: a clue that puzzled me for a good while, and yet it's really quite straightforward -- I like that the clue can be parsed in so many different ways.
Tremendous blog: thanks, jackkt!

Edited at 2018-12-04 10:32 am (UTC)
Dec. 4th, 2018 10:32 am (UTC)
A very enjoyable challenge....
....from STEM to stern.

I spotted YERBA pretty early, but THOMAS WOLFE had to be taken on trust. I almost biffed "Oscar Wilde" before realizing it didn't quite fit.

TIME 19:22

Phil Jordan
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