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Times 27,245: Cigarettes & Alcohol

A very nice little Friday puzzle with a combination of above averagely devious wordplay and unwieldy vocab (I'm looking at you, PROGNOSTIC and PERSECUTEE) to keep the solver sweating. I took a little less than 10 minutes over it, starting with 9ac (it helped that Libra is my own star sign) and finishing with 13dn.

Clue of the Day honours split evenly between 23ac and the splendidly surfaced 19dn for their celebration of the finer things in life. When's the next crossword pubmeet I'll be able to make I wonder?

1 Grand old address (4)
THOU - double def, where the first is short for THOUsand

4 As we see it, admitting motive is criminal (10)
TREASONOUS - TO US [as we see it], "admitting" REASON [motive]

9 Animal keeping balance, otherwise one has to adjust (10)
CALIBRATOR - CAT [animal] "keeping" LIBRA [balance], + OR [otherwise]

10 American originally backing Pop Art concept (4)
DADA - A{merican}, backing DAD [pop]

11 How come sci-fi writer's spoken of monster? (6)
WYVERN - homophone of WHY VERNE [how come | sci-fi writer]

12 Illegally acquire gift, we hear: a thing of little value (8)
NICKNACK - NICK [illegally acquire] + homophone of KNACK [gift]

14 Lots of people in a state, briefly (4)
MASS - double def, where the second is short for MASSachusetts

15 Insult politician with something sure to upset (10)
DISCONCERT - DIS CON with CERT [insult | politician | something sure]

17 Let us read novel, singular one like Madame Bovary (10)
ADULTERESS - (LET US READ*) ["novel"] + S [singular]

20 Office uncovered waste product (4)
UREA - {b}UREA{u}

21 Measuring device to suffice in remote travelling (8)
ODOMETER - DO [to suffice] in (REMOTE*) ["travelling"]

23 Camels’ final resting place, maybe, leaving horse off track (6)
ASTRAY - AS{h}TRAY [Camels' (as in cigarettes) final resting place, maybe, without H for horse]

24 It's used to fix a direction (4)
TACK - double definition

25 Sign for heretical Christian (10)
PROGNOSTIC - PRO GNOSTIC [for | heretical Christian]

26 Intrinsically sweet, ultimately naive victim (10)
PERSECUTEE - PER SE [intrinsically] + CUTE [sweet] + {naiv}E

27 Figure shown by Austen in Emma (4)
NINE - hidden in {auste}N IN E{mma}

2 Rough, unknown labourer, thrown outside (5-6)
HEAVY-HANDED - Y HAND [unknown | labourer], HEAVED [thrown] "outside"

3 Common place to learn ode cut by a line (9)
UNIVERSAL - UNI [place to learn] + VERS{e} [ode "cut"] + A L [a | line]

4 Almost unseat rough Glaswegian sitting majestically (7)
THRONED - THRO{w} ["almost" unseat] + NED [rough Glaswegian]

5 European agreed to fleece dodgy dealer in pine (3,4,5,3)
EAT ONE'S HEART OUT - E [European] + AT ONE [agreed] + SHEAR TOUT [fleece | dodgy dealer]

6 One's around African country, wanting second wind (7)
SIROCCO - reversed I'S [one's] + {mo}ROCCO [African country, without MO (second)]

7 US city has royal award, I see (5)
OMAHA - O.M. AHA [royal award | I see!]

8 Fire keeping hot in grim lodgings (5)
SHACK - SACK [fire] "keeping" H [hot]

13 Link goodness and joy? That's about right (11)
CORRELATION - COR [goodness!] + ELATION [joy], the whole "about" R [right]

16 Good behaviour curtailed by an odalisque (9)
COURTESAN - COURTES{y} [good behaviour "curtailed"] by AN

18 Vacuous esoteric theme is out of place (7)
ECTOPIC - E{soteri}C + TOPIC [theme]

19 Ale isn't bad for your health! (7)
SLAINTE - (ALE ISN'T*) ["bad"]

21 Playing record that's short and accessible (2,3)
ON TAP - ON [playing] + TAP{e} [record "that's short"]

22 One close to Mike has nothing on Mark (5)
OSCAR - O on SCAR [nothing | mark]. I think this is "one close to Mike" in the NATO phonetic alphabet, though it's not *that* close, November is in the way!


( 49 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jan. 11th, 2019 06:41 am (UTC)
Up early for this one due to insomnia, so I stumbled through it a little higgledy-piggledy, starting with 2d HEAVY HANDED and finishing up with V's two favourites, 10d's SLAINTE (thank you, Marillion for making sure I could actually spell the word familiar from my time at whisky festivals!) and 23a ASTRAY. Took me a while, that last one, thinking there was some esoteric dromedary-related knowledge I was missing. Luckily I grew up back when cigarette advertising was still a thing, so the Camel was ultimately familiar...

Anyway. An enjoyable if dozy forty minutes, and easier than I expected given the state of my brain. Thanks to setter and V, especially for the parsing of 5d, which I eventually just biffed, after having gone up all the wrong garden paths.
(no subject) - arinka567 - Jan. 11th, 2019 09:09 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mikeosborne - Jan. 11th, 2019 10:38 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pootle73 - Jan. 11th, 2019 10:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pootle73 - Jan. 11th, 2019 10:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gothick_matt - Jan. 11th, 2019 11:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 11th, 2019 07:00 am (UTC)
The standard spelling is "knickknack," of course, and I couldn't help but think of the song, "This old man, he played one…," etc., "with a knick knack paddy whack." Then I looked up "paddywhack," on a whim, and it (as one word), is a real thing, and what a thing…
I liked this puzzle a lot but I am too sleepy to say anything else about it.
Jan. 11th, 2019 07:32 am (UTC)
I hesitated over NICKNACK because of the odd spelling, but at least was able to avoid thinking of the song, which will now no doubt be an earworm. DNK NED, but assumed--and am happy to see, correctly--that it meant something like what it indeed does. Biffed 5d from a couple of checkers, and never bothered to check it. I assumed there was some pair of singers or comedians or whatever named Oscar and Mike; looking it up I find that OM [Oscar, Mike] stands for 'on mission' in the Army. Liked SLAINTE.
Jan. 11th, 2019 07:58 am (UTC)
34 minutes suggesting this might have been a little easier than the usual Friday fare. I wasn't entirely sure of PROGNOSTIC or COURTESAN but trusted to wordplay and was suitably rewarded. I think NED has come up before, which is the only reason I faintly remembered it. We had OSCAR in yesterday's QC and PAPA the day before, which seems a bit lazy - fair enough in wordplay but as not the entire answer. NINE was a bit feeble too.

Edited at 2019-01-11 07:59 am (UTC)
Jan. 11th, 2019 08:05 am (UTC)
Hooker, line and sinker
37 minutes, with a fair bit of brain-scratching going on as to the meaning of ODALISQUE, which sounded too close to obelisk for comfort.

I though 'Mme Bovary' was a crushing bore. Stendhal's 'The Red and the Black' from a generation earlier is a much better read, IMO.
Jan. 11th, 2019 11:51 am (UTC)
Re: Hooker, line and sinker
Agree about Flaubert. I read Madame Bovary at university followed by Sentimental Education which is duller. Stendhal much better.
I did look at the puzzle briefly. Got Adulteress as FOI (clearly the Bovary recollection is vivid). Found Salient at 19d but could not parse it. Oddly enough a school friend of mine in Preston started saying Slainte whenever we went to the pub all those years ago. But he never spelt it for me; I recall a G sound. David
RE: Re: Hooker, line and sinker - ulaca - Jan. 11th, 2019 11:57 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Hooker, line and sinker - topicaltim - Jan. 11th, 2019 12:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Hooker, line and sinker - vinyl1 - Jan. 12th, 2019 01:53 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Hooker, line and sinker - john_dun - Jan. 11th, 2019 12:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Hooker, line and sinker - davidivad1 - Jan. 11th, 2019 02:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Hooker, line and sinker - john_dun - Jan. 11th, 2019 03:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
RE: Re: Hooker, line and sinker - verlaine - Jan. 11th, 2019 04:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Re: Hooker, line and sinker - falooker - Jan. 11th, 2019 05:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
RE: Hooker, line and sinker - verlaine - Jan. 11th, 2019 04:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 11th, 2019 08:29 am (UTC)
32 minutes
Enjoyed SLAINTE, THOU and ASTRAY. Wondered if LIMAO was a diacritical mark in Portuguese until OSCAR appeared.
Jan. 11th, 2019 08:54 am (UTC)
While urea...
No wrecks and nobody drownded, a gentle 17 minute stroll rather like yesterday's though with rather less arts and crafts.
ASTRAY my last in, like others wondering where camels rested other than in a caravanserai. I also tried to make SALIENT mean healthy at 19d, with salient lack of success. Cheers!
Jan. 11th, 2019 09:07 am (UTC)
Yeah, Urea got me now, Urea got me so I can't sleep at night...
40 mins with yoghurt etc - to leave two for Mrs M to sort out.
I feel I made heavy weather of this and took 40 mins to have the two left. I turned to Mrs M for inspiration who casually said, "Camel is a cigarette" and then raised her cup of tea and said, "Slainte!".
Mostly I liked: Persecutee and Slainte (now).
Thanks setter, Mrs M and V.
Jan. 11th, 2019 10:06 am (UTC)
Closer, let me whisper in urea, say the words you long to hear ...
Urea is a fun word to play with. And it is far from being a waste product ..
Re: Yeah, Urea got me now, Urea got me so I can't sleep at night... - (Anonymous) - Feb. 8th, 2019 09:19 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 11th, 2019 10:02 am (UTC)
All we like sheep...
One wrong. I was through all this but 18d in the half hour, and I would have been faster than that if I hadn't put in SALIENT for 18d before PROGNOSTIC put me straight. Was that wonderful start to John 1 influenced by Gnosticism or antagonistic to it? Both, I think. I've never heard of SLIANTE in a life which includes a couple of years spent frequenting the pubs of Liverpool and also chairing a Dublin company which took decent-length lunch breaks. I came here knowing my SIALNTE would be wrong, but it had taken me a further ten minutes to come up with that. I don't think I'd have got CALIBRATOR if my star sign wasn't LIBRA. COD TO ASTRAY. Thank you V and setter.
Jan. 11th, 2019 10:46 am (UTC)
I got stuck on several of these clues, dragging my time out to 56 mins. I fiddled with the letters of "ale isn't" for s-o-o-o long, doggedly determined that any word relating to 'health' must begin either SAL... or SAN..., until the light dawned only after the witty ashtray went in. And my partner and I were 5 weeks touring around southern Ireland last summer - doh!
I ran with HORNY-HANDED for a long time, too ('horned'=thrown, as a matador tossed by the bull?) which rather stymied my chance of solving CALIBRATOR quickly.
The vocab range in this one was a satisfying balance of the esoteric, commonplace, archaic and idiomatic: jolly good!
Thanks, V, for the blog.
John Scoble
Jan. 11th, 2019 11:18 am (UTC)
Why are your comments so short these days , Verlaine ; have you lost your enthusiasm?
Jan. 11th, 2019 05:04 pm (UTC)
RE: Verlaine
Fair comment I guess! The short answer is that I've moved to a different timezone so I'm doing the puzzles on Thursday afternoon/early evenings now instead of Friday wee small hours or early morning - much higher chance of having something else to do directly afterwards. Plus I've been preoccupied by jobsearch and other pressing concerns... I still do hope to get puzzles I can think of a lot to say about from week to week though.

I have a Jumbo to blog before tomorrow to do so that was another reason I wanted to get the 15x15 over with quickly! That's only once a month though.
RE: Verlaine - boltonwanderer - Jan. 11th, 2019 05:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Verlaine - John Scoble - Jan. 12th, 2019 11:08 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 11th, 2019 12:42 pm (UTC)
Another Libra here. Ditto Kevin and Guy on "knicknack" and also DNK "Ned". A very similar clue for "persecute" featured in yesterday's Guardian so PERSECUTEE slotted right in. And SIROCCO has popped up somewhere recently too although I can't remember where. ASTRAY made me laugh - remembering a colleague who smoked them (back in the day when people were allowed to smoke at office meetings) and when I commented on the unpleasant aroma saying it was the only cigarette with a picture of the factory on the packet. Good puzzle. 22.21
Jan. 11th, 2019 12:47 pm (UTC)
To those of you who cracked this....
....SLAINTE, and lang may yer lum reek.

A careless "haevy-handed" scuppered any chance of cracking CALIBRATOR (I'd worked out the parsing, but hadn't got the balance bit worked out, trying "a-i-r" with my "cat" on the wrong branch of the tree).

Less explicably, I couldn't see THOU ! Also missed out on ECTOPIC and the appalling PERSECUTEE.

Got as far as I did in around 11 minutes, hoisted the white flag 10 minutes later.

Jan. 11th, 2019 12:48 pm (UTC)
Can't put my finger on why, but I found this entertaining and interesting, without being too horribly difficult (though I had to deduce the existence of the PROGNOSTIC).
Jan. 11th, 2019 12:53 pm (UTC)
An enjoyable puzzle which had me worried at the outset when I couldn't solve the 4 letter words I usually start with. A biffed IDEA at 10a allowed me to get SHACK which gave me NICKNACK(mer over spelling for me too!) and I was off. TREASONOUS then gave me OMAHA which led to DADA. I remembered Mme Bovary's occupation from its last outing, and also learned what an ODALISQUE is. Didn't bother to parse EAT ONES HEART OUT. Trusted to wordplay for NED. UREA, THOU, PERSECUTEE and finally CALIBRATOR were my last few in. SIROCCO cropped up in the last day or two. One of the questions in Tuesday's Pub Quiz was "Which ungulate creature can also be a cigarette?" so ASTRAY went in very quickly. SLAINTE is well known to me due to the Scottish ex-colleagues I keep in touch with. 28:53. Thanks setter and V.

Edited at 2019-01-11 12:55 pm (UTC)
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