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Times Cryptic 27482

Solving time: 38 minutes. There were a couple of unfamiliar words here but the answers came easily enough from wordplay, which is as things should be so I have no complaints. Much more enjoyabe than yesterday's strange offering.

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 Hollow black blocks arrive (5)
COMBE : B (black) is contained by [blocks] COME (arrive). It's a hollow or valley at the side of a hill.
4 Baggage southern type brought back to Scotland (9)
ALBATROSS : ALBA (Scotland), then S (southern) + SORT (type) reversed [brought back]. SOED has ALBATROSS as : fig. usu. with allusion to Coleridge's Ancient Mariner: A heavy burden, a disadvantage, a hindrance. M20. ALBA is  Gaelic for 'Scotland' and the name of the BBC TV channel that broadcasts in that language.
9 Fellow respected in song about north country (9)
ARGENTINA : GENT (fellow) contained by [respected in] ARIA (song) itself containing [about] N (north). On edit, keriothe suggests the parsing GENT (fellow respected) contained by [in] ARIA (song), which on reflection I am inclined to agree with.
10 Worker taking order to ignore current in sea (5)
WATER : WA{i}TER (worker taking order) [ignore current - I]
11 Concocted tale splits pair married in capital (6)
WEALTH : Anagram [concocted] of TALE is contained by [splits] W...H (pair, married - Wife / Husband)
12 Commons vote brings disagreement (8)
DIVISION : Two meanings
14 Man needs good drink going for broke at casino? (10)
MARTINGALE : MARTIN (man), G (good), ALE (drink).  Never 'eard of it, but SOED has: A gambling system in which a player who is losing repeatedly doubles the stake in the hope of eventual recoupment. E19.
16 Small flute provided in further education (4)
FIFE : IF (provided) contained by [in] FE (further education)
19 Dubliners, say, unlikely to feature in such films? (4)
NOIR : NO IR (Irish - Dubliners, say). Another negative definition like the one I attempted to explain in the QC yesterday. I hope this speaks for itself.
20 Officer shortly brought in to transform meeting (10)
CONVERGENT : GEN (officer shortly) contained by [brought in to] CONVERT (transform)
22 Hard to stop copy cat finding point in orbit? (8)
APHELION : H (hard) contained by [to stop] APE (copy), LION (cat). Unknown to me, although it has appeared as an answer at least once before and has been mentioned in dispatches a couple of times. I arrived at it  by trusting to wordplay. SOED: The point in the orbit of a planet, comet, etc., at which the furthest distance from the sun is reached.
23 Order to begin shooting in battle (6)
ACTION : Two meanings, the first as said by a film director at the start of a shoot
26 Sanskrit teaching is just great, but oddly ignored (5)
SUTRA : {i}S {j}U{s}T {g}R{e}A{t} [oddly ignored]
27 Just one member keen on war - not the leader (9)
IMPARTIAL : I (one), MP (member), {m}ARTIAL (keen on war) [not the leader]. I wondered about 'keen on war' but then found 'fond of fighting' in the dictionary.
28 Scrambling device used for American helicopter (9)
EGGBEATER : Two meanings
29 Duke murdered and cut into pieces (5)
DICED : D (duke), ICED (murdered)
1 Daily executive, one to be unseated (9)
CHARWOMAN : CHA{i}RWOMAN (executive) [one to be unseated]. As Mrs Mopp used to say, "Can I do you now, sir?"
2 Rock periodical almost duplicated (5)
MAGMA : MAG (periodical), MA{g} [....almost duplicated]. MER because magma is molten and rock is solid.
3 Nineties eccentric or exceptional intellectual? (8)
EINSTEIN : Anagram [eccentric] of  NINETIES
4 Help needed to cross river that's dry (4)
ARID : AID (help) contains [to cross] R (river)
5 City lives taken in horror with 2 in flow (10)
BRATISLAVA : IS (lives) contained by [take in] BRAT (horror) + LAVA (2 - magma - in flow). The capital of Slovakia.
6 Individual in Bow no bumpkin? (6)
TOWNIE : OWN (individual) contained by [in] TIE (bow). Another negative definition as bumpkins are usually associated with the countryside.
7 At risk when circling narrow island (2,4,3)
ON THIN ICE : ONCE (when) containing [circling] THIN (narrow) + I (island)
8 Amritsar incident involves deadly agent (5)
SARIN : Hidden in [involves] {amrit}SAR IN{cident}
13 Margins too tight for soil manager (10)
AGRONOMIST : Anagram [tight - drunk] of MARGINS TOO
15 Wealthy speculator consumes energy in German diet (9)
REICHSTAG : RICH (wealthy) + STAG (speculator) contains [consumes] E (energy). 'Diet' as in parliament.
17 Caught in twisted net, fish died (9)
ENTANGLED : Anagram [twisted] of NET, then ANGLE (fish), D (died)
18 Shade raised around stack (5,3)
BRICK RED : BRED (raised) containing [around] RICK [stack - of hay]
21 Lorraine's partner almost too wonderful (6)
ALSACE : ALS{o} (too) [almost], ACE (wonderful)
22 Passage your compiler will read aloud (5)
AISLE : Sounds like [read aloud] "I'll" (your compiler will)
24 Trouble in Channel Islands that's upset hippy? (5)
ILIAC : AIL (trouble) contained by [in] CI (Channel Islands) all reversed [upset]. Pertaining to the ilium or hip bone.
25 Encourage son without stain to abandon east (4)
SPUR : S (son), PUR{e} (without stain] [abandon east]


( 57 comments — Leave a comment )
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Oct. 15th, 2019 01:23 am (UTC)
Got the first 2 acrosses, which seldom happens, although ALBATROSS was biffed and only worked out much later. Biffed 10ac, parsed post-submission; a lovely clue, but with checkers like those, not much could go wrong. I knew APHELION (and perihelion) along with apogee and perigee, and I just discovered there's also apolune and perilune, coming soon to a Mephisto near you. DNK MARTINGALE or STAG (there hasn't been a REICHSTAG, of course, since 1945, not that that matters). I wondered briefly about MAGMA, but figured that just as mercury is a metal although liquid, there can be molten rock.

Edited at 2019-10-15 03:36 am (UTC)
Oct. 15th, 2019 02:49 am (UTC)
I found this much more enjoyable than yesterday's, with a strong sense that, even without all the required knowledge, I had a high level of confidence that the answer would be correct.

ALBATROSS was my LOI and requiring a bit of thought. I was not familiar with MARTINGALE (and wouldn't have associated it with betting) but the cryptic made it straightforward. I was happy to know APHELION from a love of astronomy.

Thanks to the setter for a nice workout and to you, Jack, for the early and helpful blog.
Oct. 15th, 2019 03:01 am (UTC)
Community feedback
Thanks to those who took an interest in the Neutrino analysis yesterday and provided feedback. It's lovely to be part of an encouraging and supportive community of interest.

There was a question from sawbill on where we all (on the TfTT blog) come from. The SNITCH site statistics might reflect a similar mix - in September it had 726 unique visitors from the following countries:

United Kingdom (560)
United States (59)
Australia (24)
Hong Kong (11)
France (7)
Ireland (7)
Germany (6)
Spain (6)
New Zealand (6)
Italy (5)
Other (35)
Oct. 15th, 2019 07:13 am (UTC)
Re: Community feedback
Thank you so much. Fascinating.

I am looking forward to meeting 2 or 3% of them in the George on 7 December.

20 minutes for today's crossword which I liked. Only the gambling meaning of MARTINGALE unknown.
Re: Community feedback - kevingregg - Oct. 15th, 2019 07:51 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Community feedback - starstruck_au - Oct. 15th, 2019 12:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Community feedback - kevingregg - Oct. 15th, 2019 12:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
RE: Community feedback - flashman - Oct. 15th, 2019 08:52 am (UTC) - Expand
RE: Community feedback - starstruck_au - Oct. 15th, 2019 11:05 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Community feedback - johninterred - Oct. 15th, 2019 05:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Community feedback - starstruck_au - Oct. 16th, 2019 03:57 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Community feedback - oliviarhinebeck - Oct. 15th, 2019 10:55 am (UTC) - Expand
RE: Community feedback - verlaine - Oct. 15th, 2019 03:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
RE: Community feedback - sawbill - Oct. 15th, 2019 04:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 15th, 2019 06:51 am (UTC)
I managed to heed one of my crosswording rules today, that if a word sounds like I made it up it’s probably wrong. I was tempted by PLUACE as Lorraine’s partner, with ‘plus’ instead of ‘also’ for too. I get the feeling that solving via the crossword club is focusing me as I don’t like it telling me I’ve got one wrong (famous last words).

I feel in need of another rule as my LOI was CONVERGENT for which I’d had CONV___ERT for some time. I must consider that an enclosing word could be split differently!
Oct. 15th, 2019 06:55 am (UTC)
I tried in vain to make 22A APOGEE (with a double P and double G, perhaps) before I realised there was another related word when in orbit around the sun. I'd heard the word but never knew what MARTINGALE was and failed to parse ALSACE, otherwise no difficulties. BRICK RED LOI. I liked ENTANGLED and IMPARTIAL 17:50

Edited at 2019-10-15 06:57 am (UTC)
Oct. 15th, 2019 07:56 am (UTC)
Combe, friendly bombs, and fall on Slough
35 mins.
Mostly I liked: Entangled.
Thanks setter and J.
Oct. 15th, 2019 08:00 am (UTC)
A martingale sang in Berkeley Square
21 minutes with LOI the straightforward ACTION. I’m on a roll. I knew the word MARTINGALE but not what it meant, so that was a bonus. It wasn’t a bird after all. COD to another one, ALBATROSS, because I felt smug when I solved it. I’ve never been persuaded that a chairperson of either gender should be executive. Maybe that’s because I was a lazy bugger when I had the role. Another enjoyable puzzle. Thank you Jack and setter
Oct. 15th, 2019 08:19 am (UTC)
12:25 … that was fun, and the helpful checking letters for less common things were much appreciated in a daily puzzle.

COD to COMBE, one of those clues that would be utterly confounding if you didn’t know how these things work. I love the surface, which sounds like something Prof. Higgins would make Eliza practise.

There’s a weird near nina in the northwest, as 'Combe Magna' is the Somerset village where Jane Austen’s John Willoughby resides (Sense and Sensibility)
Oct. 15th, 2019 08:23 am (UTC)
10:48. No problems today, and the funny words were all vaguely familiar.
Rock is (in human experience) the normal or default state so it seems OK to define MAGMA this way. By the same token it feels natural to define ice as a form of water but not the other way round.
In 9ac I read ‘fellow respected’ as defining GENT, which means you don’t have to worry about whether ‘respected in’ is a valid containment indicator (it isn’t, IMO).
Oct. 15th, 2019 08:41 am (UTC)
You're probably right about 'fellow respected'. I was thinking of 'respected' meaning 'regarded' in the sense of 'seen' but on reflection I don't think it quite works.
Oct. 15th, 2019 08:26 am (UTC)
Just like Boltonwanderer, if you'd asked me what a MARTINGALE was before this morning, I'd've assumed a bird. At least I knew it from somewhere, somehow. I also had no idea where Alba was, but once you'd got the TROSS there wasn't much else 4a could be, luckily.

A fairly fast start from FOI 1a saw me slowing down to 51 minutes all told, with LOI 21d ALSACE. Didn't have a clue what Lorraine was doing there, but geography isn't my strong suit. Enjoyed 19a NOIR, the "copy cat" of 22a and 24's "hippy".
Oct. 15th, 2019 10:49 am (UTC)
To me Alba is a town in Piedmont famous for white truffles, but as you say it was pretty obvious what was required.
ALBA.... - philjordan - Oct. 15th, 2019 02:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: ALBA.... - jackkt - Oct. 15th, 2019 03:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: ALBA.... - keriothe - Oct. 15th, 2019 05:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
Martingale - (Anonymous) - Oct. 15th, 2019 10:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 15th, 2019 09:18 am (UTC)
Very enjoyable puzzle with some tricky clues

MARTINGALE from probability theory. It started life as a betting strategy but morphed into theoretical work designed to demonstrate the foolishness of such strategies. And they are foolish!
Oct. 15th, 2019 10:50 am (UTC)
It’s a perfectly good strategy, just as long as you have infinite money!
(no subject) - dorsetjimbo - Oct. 15th, 2019 11:05 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - verlaine - Oct. 15th, 2019 03:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - keriothe - Oct. 15th, 2019 05:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 15th, 2019 09:43 am (UTC)
Markov and martingales
As others have said, a much more enjoyable job than yesterday's, if a little easier. 25 minutes with 20a my LOI. Knew the word martingale as 1. something to do with horse tackle 2. to do with risky investment startegies - shorts and longs. The Ancient Mariner tale is one of few poems I remember from O level so liked Albatross. And the orbital one at 20a. Trivia - Mrs K's second cousin lives in Combe Magna, I think we went there once on way to Bristol airport.
Oct. 15th, 2019 10:04 am (UTC)
Re: Markov and martingales
Is she a fictional character? I'm pretty sure Combe Magna only exists in Jane Austen
(no subject) - oliviarhinebeck - Oct. 15th, 2019 10:49 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sotira - Oct. 15th, 2019 12:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - penfold_61 - Oct. 15th, 2019 01:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sotira - Oct. 15th, 2019 01:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 15th, 2019 09:50 am (UTC)
Come on you Spur!
Less straightforward for me over nearly 26 minutes. MARTINGALE on wordplay alone - I thought it was an item of clothing like the farthing version, but it turns out it's horsey stuff when it isn't the betting system, to which I am blissfully indifferent.
Nice to have three examples of the I before E except when it's German rule.
I had CHAR? for ages at 1d before I realised what was going on, briefly wondering how CHARABANC would work.
WEALTH my last in consumed by looking for a capital city that would fit.
Oct. 15th, 2019 10:01 am (UTC)
31 mins. Nice puzzle. LOI convergent. Thanks jack.
Oct. 15th, 2019 10:35 am (UTC)
Off to a flying start with COMBE, only known from these puzzles, confirmed by MAGMA. The rest of the NW also filled rapidly, apart from MARTINGALE, which I only knew as a piece of horsey equipment. A biffed MONTECARLO was soon ousted by AGRONOMIST, although not before the helpful L gave me the molten rock for BRATISLAVA. I knew APHELION and EGGBEATER has cropped up before. I had CONVERT for a while, and tried to insert COL into it for a while, but eventually got the right split and GEN. BRICK RED followed and I was left with a couple of gaps in the NE. WATER came first and then TOWNIE, my LOI. A quick proof read showed that my propensity for generating typos is still plaguing me(2 Concise and a QC so far this week!) and an infuriating period ensued as I tried to correct REICHSTAG and the 3 other answers my mistyping had corrupted. Does anyone else find that the cursor always moves in the wrong direction when you select a square to correct something? As has been said already, a more entertaining puzzle than yesterday's. 24:30. Thanks setter and Jack.
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