28150 Thursday, 2 December 2021 Perfectly crumulent

At the time of writing I am way over the average time taken for this puzzle, and although I’ll give examples of where I slowed to a crawl below, I can see that it’s not as hard as I made it. It became for me a very much piecemeal solve, with nothing much connecting to begin with, and the usually-helpful 1s not emerging until late on. There’s one curious word at the bottom which looks like it comes from the Springfield collection, but it is qualified by “once” to properly indicate a dated use, though Chambers appears to suggest it doesn’t necessarily need that. Otherwise, I think I can say with confidence that the  vocab and GK needed are pretty ordinary.

My labours are illustrated below with clues, definitions and SOLUTIONS.

1 Explorer heading westward, company leaves (7)
Your explorer is Giovanni Caboto (Italian) or Zuan Chabotto (Venetian), but fortunately for our purposes John CABOT (Anglicised). Reversed (heading westward, which to the setters credit is indeed what he did) and added to CO(mpany), he delivers the required leaves.
5 Murdered, as is Christmas turkey? (7)
STUFFED two meanings, the first equivalent slang versions, I think, of both murdered and our solution, as in NS Mura murdered/stuffed a poor Spurs side in the Europa Conference match. Turkeys are stuffed with, um, stuffing at Christmas
9 Small figure, nation investing payment finally, after day (9)
STATUETTE Nation is STATE. Insert the day TUE after the last letter of paymenT (on edit make that “before”)
10 Tailor buttoning up fashionable, retro garment (5)
TUNIC Tailor is CUT, insert IN for fashionable, and then take retro as a reversal indicator.
11 Titanic coming to a halt at sea (5)
AVAST Titanic is VAST which comes to (follows) A for our nautical term for stop.
12 I furiously tear into further performance (9)
ITERATION An anagram (furiously) of TEAR INTO after I in plain sight
14 Analyst left exposed initially by certain grey area? (8,6)
CONCRETE JUNGLE A cutesy definition, by no means a giveaway one. The (psycho) analyst is JUNG, add L(eft) and E(xposed) (initially) and place the result by CONCRETE for certain, perhaps again not the most immediate association, but OK.
17 Impact on belly as breakfast arriving? (7,7)
PANCAKE LANDING As by an aircraft with wheels up. I’m not convinced that pancakes landing on my table are a typical English breakfast, but I’ve consumed them as such in the States, with maple syrup.
21 Cold, the capital briefly windy (9)
APATHETIC Again a perfectly OK but not immediately occurring definition. An anagram (windy) of THE CAPITAL without the L (briefly)
23 Holder of blade, one fighting? (5)
ROWER I bounced all round this one before realising it’s blade as in oar and fighting as in engaged in a row.
24 Current agreement faultless (5)
IDEAL (Electrical) current comes up often enough for I, plus agreement: DEAL
25 Boarding jet, one flier — go on! (4,2,3)
SPIT IT OUT The surface of the clue pushes you away from the required meaning of “go on!” but here aboard a SPOUT for jet we have I (one) TIT for flier.
26 Translation of “let’s go”, heading for Torremolinos — “vamoose!” (3,4)
GET LOST An anagram (translation) of LET’S GO plus the first letter (heading for) of Torremolinos.
27 Swell, once, a leader of Tories, eclipsed by another politician (7)
GREATEN Chambers has it as obsolete for an intransitive verb, which arguably it is here. A leader of Tories is AT, taken in (eclipsed) by GREEN for an altogether different kind of politician. (On edit: as advised, I have extended the definition to include “once”)

1 Italian soldiers carrying ammunition, originally stowed away in vessel (6)
TUSCAN So, the first letters (originally) of Soldiers Carrying Ammunition inside TUN for a vessel, not perhaps the first vessel you’d think of.
2 Plugging great work, notice swagger (7)
BRAVADO I take this as an exclamation version of “great work” which is BRAVO, “plugged” by AD for notice
3 One under surface, a group of arthropods (9)
CRUSTACEA Surface is CRUST, one here is ACE plus another A. Included in arthropods as are insects , arachnids and such.
4 Footballer: tedious exercises still to do? (7,4)
OUSIDE LEFT A (slightly old fashioned?) term for winger in association football, an anagram (exercises) of TEDIOUS plus LEFT for still to do. I got LEFT long before seeing that the rest was provided by an anagram, which didn’t look likely.
5 Date character recited? (3)
SEE A verbal version of date, sounding like (recited) C. Chambers spells C as see.
6 Extremist caught by powerful trap (5)
ULTRA Another not spotted as quickly as it should have been. Hidden in powerfUL TRAp
7 Barriers in sport? (7)
FENCING. Well, of course.
8 Bottle or other vessel, put off to the periphery (8)
DECANTER Written in hesitantly long before parsing. It’s CAN for your other vessel with DETER for put off on the periphery.
13 Striking, like Harold’s arrow? (3-8)
EYE CATCHING Sitting there with ‘is eye-full of arrow on ‘is ‘orse with his ‘awk in ‘is ‘and. For illustration see the Bayeux tapestry (though not on a horse and not with a hawk and possibly not with an eyeful of arrow).
15 Sabotage stock with first cut on fur (9)
UNDERMINE Why it took so long to see ERMINE for fur and hence UND (presumably FUND for stock with its first (letter) cut I don’t know. But it did.
16 Carol hosting summit — at the lectern? (8)
SPEAKING Which you might do from a lectern. PEAK for summit inside SING for carol (verb version).
18 Wolf inhabiting lair, most dapper (7)
NEATEST EAT may be the tamest form of wolf you’ve ever encountered, but there it is inside NEST for lair.
19 Town with pier one has left abandoned, somewhere in Wales? (7)
NEWPORT An anagram (abandoned), with the fodder formed from TOWN and PIER with the one I left out. The Welsh Newport (be thankful we didn’t have to spell Casnewydd) doesn’t have a pier as such, but this is crosswordland.
20 Cheesy dish is trap snaring vermin (6)
GRATIN Trap is GIN, vermin RAT.
22 Suffering over love is welcome (5)
HELLO HELL is presumably the ultimate in suffering, O is the (tennis) expression of love.
25 Hardened group (3)
SET Straight double definition, and an easy one to finish.

79 comments on “28150 Thursday, 2 December 2021 Perfectly crumulent”

  1. DNK the ‘murdered’ meaning of STUFFED, but I’ve never heard of snuffing a turkey. I never did twig to ‘windy’, and APATHETIC went in unparsed; I forgot to try to parse NEWPORT, so happy was I to remember a Welsh town I could spell. LOI GREATEN, where ‘once’ persuaded me of its sometime crumulence.
    1. I am regretting now that I only got one serving of the stuffing with the big bird leg I chowed down on on Thanksgiving, as that has always been a favorite part of the annual meal.

      Edited at 2021-12-02 07:44 am (UTC)

  2. I’m just here to apologise to Italy, one of my very favourite places. I’m not sure what possessed me to think their soldiers could be known as TOSSAS.
    1. I was trying to remember the name for that structure of Roman soldiers with their shields. But that is “testudo”. And it’s a bit of a stretch to clue Roman soldiers as Italian so time to try another idea.
  3. 25 mins for me. Held up by putting MOWER for the person with a blade before seeing it had to be ROWER. It is a very minor point, but in 9A (STATUETTE) it is “payment finally” after “day”, not the other way around as in the blog. My LOI was TUSCAN since I couldn’t see the wordplay when I first thought of it and I wasn’t confident it was the only thing that fit. I was trying to get a TIN or CAN as the vessel (despite them not really being vessels, and that despite CAN being clued as a vessel in 8D).

    Edited at 2021-12-02 03:35 am (UTC)

  4. TUSCAN last in on a wing and a prayer, as I had no clue as to the wordplay. PANCAKE LANDING never heard of, but got by analogy with belly flop. Reminds me I need to get the waffles out of the freezer…

    Edited at 2021-12-02 03:49 am (UTC)

  5. 33 minutes. I also saw ‘Murdered’ in 5a as “defeated easily” rather than “killed” which fits better with STUFFED. I didn’t immediately associate being APATHETIC with being ‘Cold’ either but I suppose it’s OK. I liked the ‘Impact on belly’ def for 17a. RIP poor old Harold, however he died.

    Incidentally, I took the def for 27a to be ‘Swell, once’, as indicated in your comments.

  6. Mostly easy. Greaten only entered with all crossers in place, and the stupid assumption there was a famous UK politician whose surname was Green. Then Tuscan took ages, struggling to make any sense of the clue before finally seeing it. Liked the grey area, decanter and vamoose, except isn’t it vamos?

    Edited at 2021-12-02 04:57 am (UTC)

    1. In the hard-boiled fiction of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe always spell it this way.
  7. I was a little more in the groove today with a 48 minute solve, but I still made heavy weather of a very decent crossword.

    FOI 4dn LEFT WINGER — so many greats: Best, Charlton (early in his career), Bale, Hidegkuti, Jones, Ronaldo, Giggs, Gray etc etc

    LOI 5dn SEE — which I didn’t for ages! No mention of ELY

    COD 1ac TOBACCO from IKEA


    Like Pip, I was a little upset that NEWPORT was the simple answer to 19dn.
    Fine blog — O Wise One!

    Edited at 2021-12-02 05:18 am (UTC)

    1. Tony Cascarino in Monday’s Times thinks Everton could be relegated. If they’re not, it will be down to the ineptitude of other clubs, especially Newcastle.
      1. Watford another contender though they did STUFF Manchester United 4-1 a few weeks ago.
      2. I can remember the last time Everton were in the second tier. My Dad took me to Goodison to watch them play Brentford in February 1954 when Tommy Lawton was playing for Brentford. Everton were promoted that year and have been top tier since. When Wanderers played there in the fifties, it was always an epic battle between Dave Hickson and Mal Barrass, who didn’t seem to like each other.
    2. I remember Hidekguti as a deep lying centre forward in the Puskas side which twice wiped the floor with England in 1953 and 1954. My avatar didn’t play in either game, Winterbottom preferring Stan Mortensen and then Bedford Jezzard. He then learnt the error of his ways. You don’t drop the Lion of Vienna.
          1. Or it could have been the bus that took the players to the match..

            Edited at 2021-12-02 05:05 pm (UTC)

      1. Thou shalt not take the name of Bedford Jezzzard in vain!
        Not only did he serve Fulham with distinction for many years but on his retirement from the game, he ran a fine Young’s pub in Hammersmith – The Thatched House.
  8. Did not get the two double word acrosses in the middle despite almost all the checkers. Fancied giant=titanic (for AVAST), and STUFFED only left in pencil which didn’t give confidence in the NE which remained blank.

    I thought “swell once” was something like “groovy”.

    Pleased to see CABOT for TOBACCO.


  9. I found it hard to keep my mind on this one as I was still chewing over in my mind an incident of no great importance which had occurred during the day. Even so, I managed to complete it in 32 minutes, so without that distraction I surely would have achieved my half-hour target with time to spare. I looked twice at GREATEN, where if anything ‘once’ put me off the trail, and also at STUFFED as I missed the subtlety of the ‘murdered’ not meaning literally killed.
  10. Much the same experience as others. Didn’t know STUFFED for murdered. Hadn’t heard of PANCAKE LANDING but equated it with belly flop. And LOI TUSCAN went in only partially parsed, having thought about it for a while then eventually relying on the definition to see if I could finish under 10 minutes, which I did comfortably.
  11. I’m still C-thing that I changed GRATIN to GRATEN at the last moment. I must have been confusing it with GREATEN but a real ‘momentary lapse of reason’ moment.
    The different pronunciations of ROWER reminded me of a clue I set in one of those treasure hunt car rallies that were popular a few decades ago. I clued the town of Forest Row in East Sussex as ‘an argument in the woods?’.
    FOI: GRATIN !!
  12. No problems with the crossword or vocabulary (except GREATEN which was fairly clued). CODs to CONCRETE JUNGLE and PANCAKE LANDING
    1. In my student days, the Cabot Tower was a favourite place for test flying paper planes. It cost a whole 2p to gain access.
      1. It’s free these days, but Covid shut it down temporarily. Looks like it might have re-opened now, though. Perhaps I’ll take a paper plane…
  13. GREATEN gave me the greatest pause.
    Right next to GRATIN! Gracias!
    We had STUFFED in another slang sense the other day… Oh, wait, it’s the same sense!
    Almost bunged in DECENTER before I remembered that we’re in England.
    Thought “the capital briefly windy” was a great anagram/anagrind team.

    Edited at 2021-12-02 09:31 pm (UTC)

  14. Found this much more difficult to complete than the last couple, surprised to see the SNITCH under 100. Got progressively stickier as I progressed, and by the end I was biffing quite a lot in an increasingly desperate bid to come in under the hour.

    FOI ITERATION then moderate-to-sluggish progress through to completion of the SW & NE. By 38m I was about 7 clues off, and broke for breakfast, toying with the idea of looking up the definition of “arthropod”. Just as I was dispensing the muesli, CRUSTACEA popped into my head (so that’s a bit of a cheat on the timing). After resuming, the NW fell with 7 mins of effort or so, didn’t parse STATUETTE or TUSCAN due to time constraints…

    …then had a nightmare 12 or so mins with the NEWPORT / ROWER crossing – I thought of RAZOR and ROTOR as blade-associated, writing down just about every N-T and N-Z (some chance…) variant before NEWPORT finally popped into my head, making LOI ROWER obvious.

    PANKAKE LANDING was an unfamiliar term to me – I learned BELLY LANDING as a child from my father (ex-RAF shortly after the war). Maybe American (also NHO pancakes for breakfast until I was at uni)?

    More relieved than satisfied to get there – at least I completed and resisted the temptation to make up improbable N-T-O-T words. Thanks Z and setter

  15. 34 minutes in Quick, Slow, Quick time. LOI was a biffed TUSCAN. COD to the clever PANCAKE LANDING, although this would work better in US where pancakes are more of a breakfast feature. I also enjoyed CONCRETE JUNGLE emerging from the collective unconscious with Carl Gustav, and the EYE-CATCHING end to Harold. Thank you Z and setter
  16. At school I once learned of Cabot
    APATHETIC, I thought history rot
    But the IDEAL first clue
    For the past that I knew
    Rather proves I was wrong, does it not?
    1. Dear AN I’m at a complete loss
      As “odemeister” you’re clearly the boss
      But today there’s a tit
      But you must have missed it
      It’s hidden in 25 across
  17. Pleased with 44 min. (Uninterrupted) And all in ! At last. FOI SET, LOI STUFFED, which I got very early but did not believe correct. Thanks setter
  18. 25 minutes, steady solving with TUSCAN at the end, thanks Z for explaining APATHETIC. Was thinking about BEST at the end of 4d before seeing the anagram. Liked the long clues best.
  19. PANCAKE LANDING LOI, I knew of the single word ‘pancake’ for a crash, but pancakes for breakfast do not appeal.

    18′ 11″, thanks z and setter.

  20. 10:16, taken over the ten-minute mark by wanting to understand the wordplay for TUSCAN. It seemed the obvious answer but the checkers looked like they might be compatible with something else.
    I often cook pancakes for breakfast so no problem there.
    I hesitate to ‘correct’ a word invented in a cartoon, but I think it’s ‘cromulent’, z.

    Edited at 2021-12-02 10:19 am (UTC)

  21. No particular issues today, except that I failed to parse APATHETIC, not seeing the anagram, but my biggest problem was a fat finger. CONGRETE JUNGLE, drat! 14:39 with 2 errors as it was a crossing letter. Should’ve gone to Barnard Castle. Thanks setter and Z.
  22. ..so no <10 double but quite close … again couldn’t get quick start but moved down grid and suddenly was off to races. ITERATION I think was FOI; like NEWPORT even if I shuddered when I began to imagine possibilities for Welsh towns; TUSCAN was wily (and LOI) as was AVAST which had great surface reading. Many thanks to setter and blogger.
  23. This setter seemed to have a gift for making me stare blankly for some time at clues which, once solved, seemed perfectly obvious (this could either be very much to their credit, or mean that I’m just a bit dense today: let’s say the former, and be kind to both of us).
  24. 20:56 and no silly errors today. TUSCAN took a while and I thought CONCRETE JUNGLE was cute, but it I only saw it post-solve.
  25. Like Horatius in the Lars Porsena poem I floundered around but got there in the end – no cheering from the ranks of Tuscany though, I couldn’t parse it. 23.48
  26. ….and once it was backed out, I compounded my folly by entering ‘hurdles’ at 7D. It was a miracle that I finished at all, but I enjoyed the puzzle. I used up my fat finger on the QC.

    FOI (correctly) TUNIC
    LOI STATUETTE (one of several biffs)
    COD CONCRETE JUNGLE (excellent !)
    TIME 11:44

    1. I too nearly bunged in HURDLE, but thought it might need an ‘S’. Fortunately FENCING arrived quickly.
  27. 37 minutes. I didn’t think outside lefts existed nowadays in this incomprehensible game, although in 1959 I was a fairly good one; fairly good by the low standards of my school, anyway. Nho pancake landing, but it was obvious enough despite the revoltingness of the idea of having pancakes for breakfast.
  28. Why ever not! The Brits are so very set in their ways. Try ’em next Shrove Tuesday for brekker – with Maple Syrup – even Marmite! I note that both Crumulent and Cromulent are both acceptable. Thank-you ‘The Simpsons’. My COD to ‘Pancake Landing’ – sounds like a Grateful Dead track.

    Edited at 2021-12-02 12:25 pm (UTC)

    1. After all, if someone doesn’t have pancakes for breakfast… when in the world do they have them?

      Maybe they have their pancakes at brunch?

      (I’ve often had pancakes for dinner, even, but… I love pancakes. With bacon.)

  29. 38 mins so not too bad today. Last two in TOBACCO and TUSCAN. Had LANDING for ages but didn’t see PANCAKE until I got SPEAKING.

    GREATEN seemed such a clunky word so I didn’t enter it til all the crossers were in. I used to play OUTSIDE LEFT, Steve Heighway was my hero, many moons ago.

    I liked TOBACCO too, once I saw it.

    Thanks Z and setter.

  30. Some QC clues were added to the mix here. 5d 6d 7d 16d 20d 22d 25d 24a. Much of the rest was harder and took some moments of inspiration to break the deadlock.


    Finally TOBACCO (shrug to the unknown travellers), BRAVADO, AVAST and a few minutes on TUSCAN.

  31. Gave up after 50 minutes with a quarter of the puzzle not completed. Then, while my eggs were poaching (for lunch not breakfast), jungle came to mind. How does that work? From then on, it was a fairly straightforward solve with everything parsed correctly.

    Pancake landing was unheard of as a phrase but the components were familiar. Otherwise it was a tribute to the setter to produce such a challenge without including anything obscure or questionable.

    Thanks to z8whatever for the blog.

  32. while I was completing this.

    Well, it felt like it. Clock stopped at 64:14, but I did take a 25 minute call.

    CONCRETE JUNGLE was my last, after a trawl to see what might go between G and E.

    Enjoyed the puzzle, despite the time.

  33. 31.55. I felt a bit off the pace with this one. Lots of blank spaces after a first run through left me picking away disjointedly at bits here and there. There seemed to be so many word play possibilities in a lot of clues that I struggled to get to grips with them. Spent ages scrolling through mental lists of crosswordese soldiers and vessels when just focusing on Italian would have got me to Tuscan much faster. Swell once had me thinking of Fred Astaire and Judy Garland’s “We’re a couple of swells” duet from Easter Parade before the correct definition appeared. LOI by a long way was concrete jungle entered from checkers without understanding and parsed afterwards.
  34. It seems like half of the paying crowd waltzed through this; I’m with the other half who found it tricky. Thanks for pointing us to Marriott Edgar, Z, though I’m afraid you will have to take the consequent responibility for a completely wasted morning on my part.
  35. A lunchtime solve which I nearly gave up with the NW blankish. But seeing CONCRETE JUNGLE led me to COD OUTSIDE LEFT; and then I had a tricky finish. I did parse TUSCAN. LOI was STATUETTE; it’s always been TUES for me, but no more.
    Very enjoyable with some easy stuff.
    Unfortunately I see that GRETTON was an incorrect guess; I too was thinking of a swell person. Should have gone back to it but frankly I don’t think GREATEN would have occurred to me.
  36. 25.40 so not exactly racing through. LOI outside left which is a bit disappointing as I’m well able to remember being skinned by one on a regular basis. Preceded by tobacco and tuscan which I struggled with for far too long. Didn’t work out the cluing on Tuscan so thanks blogger for the explanation.

    Not totally convinced about stuffed as an alternative to murder but the turkey reference made it the only option.

    COD concrete jungle.

  37. 13:29 this afternoon.
    After a country walk in zero degrees late this morning, I felt brain freeze had literally kicked in as I struggled to solve any clues in the first pass. FOI 11 ac “avast” and then I gradually got some footholds and quickened the pace.
    An enjoyable puzzle with some fine clues e.g. 14 ac “concrete jungle”, 3 d “crustacea” and 26 ac “get lost”.
    LOI “Tuscan” which I managed to parse as I was entering it (with a little optimism it has to be said). Earlier I reckoned the answer might be “Titian” but I couldn’t parse the various elements milling around my head — “It” for Italian, “Tin” for vessel and “a” for first letter of ammunition and solving 9 ac “Statuette” finally “stuffed” that notion.
    COD 23 ac “rower” — so simple but completely misled me for a while.
    Thanks to Z for an enjoyable blog and to setter.
  38. Time impacted by a phone call from daughter mid-solve. She may have wondered why I was a bit terse.

    Like denisetremble, I’m surprised at the low Snitch rating for this as I found it quite tricky. Some very creative cluing, which, if I hadn’t finished, I might have called liberty-taking. COD TOBACCO.

    Thanks to z and the setter

  39. Lynyrd Skynyrd yesterday, Bob Marley today – with Concrete Jungle. Nice. I too find the Snitch rating surprisingly low. Felt harder than yesterday. Held up at the end by Statuette and Tuscan. Couldn’t get Plaquette out of my head. Narrowly avoided Giant for 11ac, but even my fertile imagination couldn’t find a way to explain it. Grattan fitted for 27 ac (until 15d went in). Henry Grattan was a great politician, but not a Tory nor a swell. So I didn’t put him in.

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