28186 Thursday, 13 January 2022 An unencumbered ramble

Mostly straightforward, and I breezed through in 15.44, with minimal delays on the sinking of ships, the variety entertainment and the office of officers. I came to write up the blog thinking I was going to have to do some extra work sorting out some of the wordplay, but in reality here were only two which I have attempted to indicate by the language I use.
I would venture to suggest that the grid’s only CD is possibly the most commonly CD’d word of all, especially in the sometimes slightly naughtier Sunday grids. And a little curiosity: at no point is I clued by “one”. Don’t think that happens often.
Read my workings below, with clues, definitions and SOLUTIONS
1 Knock back poet whose work is taking off? (8)
PARODIST Knock is RAP, reverse it (back) and add ODIST for poet
5 Lecturer’s visible prompt (6)
INCITE Lecturer’s is a homophone indicator (what you hear when a lecturer says…), so sounds like in sight, visible.
8 Do something for Bill, eventually? (3)
ACT The best I can do for this is that bill is account, technically A/C but we’ll ignore slashes. That leaves T from eventually. AT last, perhaps, though it’s unusual to have a last letter clue indirectly given.
9 Rogue put on uniform in farewell entertainment (10)
VAUDEVILLE So, translate rogue to DEVIL, attach it to Uniform (NATO) and place both in VALE for farewell, from the Latin and in such words as valedictory.
10 Mark off for student who passed out (8)
GRADUATE Two meanings: you might create a ruler by marking off intervals on a strip: that is indeed to graduate. Perhaps more familiar, the student receiving a degree when passing out of university.
11 Individual breaking racket eliminated (4,2)
DONE IN For once, individual is the word ONE, placed inside DIN for racket.
12 Ruminants destroying good crop (4)
OATS That’s GOATS without G(ood)
14 Miser with a bill condemned generous practices (10)
LIBERALISM First anagram of the day (condemned): take MISER and A BILL and bend them to you will.
17 Spending far too much for ship that’s changed hands (10)
PROFLIGATE The tiny and innocent for gives you PRO, add FRIGATE for ship and change its R(ight) to L(eft) hand.
20 Conclusion of many old kings in royal house (4)
YORK the conclusion of many is Y, old gives O, and then two variations of King, R and K.
23 Send down report to the capital (4,2)
BANG UP Send down and bang up both mean commit to prison. Report is BANG, and (for example) trains to the capital are UP trains.
24 Runner who’s taken off? (8)
STREAKER One of many variations of a cryptic, ho ho definition of someone who undresses before running onto the field of play, much to the delight of everyone concerned
25 Cards, until redealt, not entirely clear (10)
TRANSLUCID A variation of translucent with which I was unfamiliar, but its an anagram (redealt) of CARDS UNTIL and it fits.
26 Turned to display drowned valley (3)
RIA To display, or AIR is turned.
27 Extra dedicated housing marketed (6)
TRADED Indicated by “housing”, this is today’s hidden in exTRA DEDicated.
28 Comedy turn in Ulster city disheartened (8)
DROLLERY Turn is ROLL, and the Ulster city you remove the centre from to enclose it is DERRY
1 Repertory company’s provision for toddlers? (9)
PLAYGROUP So a repertory company is a GROUP that does PLAYs
2 Pull in specialised troops north of zone (7)
RETRACT The specialised troops are the Royal Engineers, RE, and in a down clue they go north of TRACT for zone.
3 Prayerful, reflective verse editor dismissed (6)
DEVOUT V for verse and ED for editor are reversed (reflective) and dismissed is OUT, a familiar experience for (eg) English batsmen.
4 Sinking Smith’s top bitter, litre drunk (9)
SCUTTLING The transitive version of sinking. Smith’s top is S, bitter is CUTTING (a bitter/cutting remark) and L(itre) is inserted which is all drunk is there to indicate. No anagram!
5 Where it’s said Hindu might seek guidance for trespasser (7)
INVADER Hindu sacred texts include four ancient texts known as Vedas. It’s said implies a homophone, so look “in veda”
6 Army office, half lost in cyclone, rebuilt (9)
COLONELCY That’s half of LOst in a rebuilt (anagram) CYCLONE.
7 Small fashion accessories match nails, perhaps (7)
TIEPINS Match is TIE (in sport, for example), and nails are PINS
13 Preserve taken from food cupboard, with cover (9)
SAFEGUARD Back in the day, before fridges, homes had a ventilated cupboard in which to keep food in chilled condition, especially meat: this was a SAFE. Add GUARD for cover
15 Vehicle’s condition in contest brought up (6,3)
ESTATE CAR Ah, right, so this is STATE for condition (look at the state of that!) in a reverse of RACE for contest.
16 Prime forge? (4,5)
MAKE READY The first definition is straightforwardly prime, the second rather more amusing forge being to make ready where ready is cash.
18 Cleric getting to grips with a particularly sensitive subject (7)
REACTOR The cleric is a RECTOR, who grabs an A. Perhaps a person who reacts readily to some stimulus is more a sensitive subject than a nuclear version.
19 This writer’s set took liberties (7)
IMPOSED This writer’s gives I’M, ignore the apostrophe and add posed for set (a question)
21 Victor abandoning arranged takeover leaves here before autumn (3,4)
OAK TREE Much easier than I thought. Remove Victor (NATO) from TAKEOVER and then arrange/anagram the remains.
22 Levy held up by Cornish banker dealing with outmoded system (6)
FEUDAL Levy is DUE (as in pay my dues). Reverse (up) it and hold it in FAL, which is a Cornish river. Most of us see banker and think river, for we are not uncouth.

62 comments on “28186 Thursday, 13 January 2022 An unencumbered ramble”

  1. producing the blog in the wee small hours, whilst those of us in different time zones are fresh, alert and ready to pounce! I think it would be fairer to the UK not to release the puzzle on-line until 07:00 GMT, when America is in the Land of Nod and the British newsagents traditionally open.


    LOI 19dn IMPOSED

    COD 25ac TRANSLUCID — I was looking for Un-something for a while

    WOD 9ac VAUDEVILLE — where was this place originally?

    Time 53 minutes, with a painfully slow start after which tempus began to fugit!

  2. I think ACT is to do with parliamentary procedures since a bill eventually becomes an act. I found it hard to get going but then it flowed smoothly and I was done in just under 30 minutes.
    1. Yes, that’s better. I couldn’t see what eventually was doing in the clue, but the progress of bill to act fits well. I’ll leave my version and see if anyone notices!
  3. I noticed and agree with Paul above re 8a. 38 minutes for a not too difficult one. Most notable feature was COLONELCY, not a word I’m ever likely to use. The only other two unknowns, TRANSLUCID and RIA, weren’t hard to work out.

    Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t find a STREAKER very delightful.

    1. Unless that streaker is Erica Roe. Her topless run across the pitch at Twickenham in 1982 resulted in a few wags suggesting a new stand be named after her!
      1. I think I have already mentioned the story, but that never usually stops me.

        My dad shares the same name as Cousin Bill (who owns swathes of Hampshire plus a place in Barbados). After her appearance at Twickers, Roe dated said cousin, which was picked up by the scurrilous rags. Cue a number of people coming up to my dad and telling him that they never thought he had it in him.

  4. A woman from Porlock knocked on my door at an inconvenient time…
    Thanks, Z, for GRADUATE, YORK, DEVOUT and IMPOSED.
    And thanks to PaulMcl for ACT.
    1. A Porlock limerick my father enjoyed.

      A learner was driving a car.
      Down Porlock his son said “Papa,
      If you drive at this rate
      We are bound to be late.
      Drive faster.” He did and they are.

      As for the puzzle, it looked me ages to work it all out but I got there in the end. Unlocking the FEUDAL DROLLERY corner was the turning point.

  5. A mostly uneventful solve – something of a relief after the previous two days’ more chaotic efforts from me – also in a time which feels right for the SNITCH and my level of expertise.

    FOI OATS, only serious hiccup was that I that I typed in PLAYGROUND for 1d, with the last char overtyping to leave PLAYGROUD – noticed this when I got the F for PROFLIGATE. Finished off with VAUDEVILLE – DEVOUT then finally TRADED which cost me 40 seconds of head-scratching before I spotted the hidden word. I was unaware that “banker” could decode as a river name – I thought it usually refereed to a politician …guess I’m uncouth.

    Thanks Z and setter

  6. I came home in only 3 minutes under the hour on this one. The RH seemed easier than the LH and I completed that well on target apart from VILLE where I had pencilled in ?????VAL(U)E as part of the wordplay at 9ac. That proved to be my undoing as it prevented me from thinking of the whole word VAUDEVILLE which turned out to be my LOI.

    I’m old enough just to remember a meat safe in my Grandmother’s scullery but to expect anyone under about 70 to know ‘safe’ as a food cupboard seems a bit much! I thought REACTOR was a bit odd but I now wonder if it may be referring to someone who’s sensitive to medicine or vaccination, which at least would be topical. At least the wordplay was simple

    PARODIST, PLAYGROUP and ACT seem so obvious now, yet they eluded me for ages. If I’d seen them sooner my solve might have been a whole different story.

    Edited at 2022-01-13 07:53 am (UTC)

    1. I thought it might be referring to the sort of sensitive person for whom “trigger” warnings were invented.
  7. 25 mins pre-brekker. No ticks, no crosses.
    A couple of MERs at the looser synonyms, but nothing to trouble you with.
    Ria was new to me.
    Thanks setter and Z.
  8. 35’, thus pipping the Australian Magoo for the first time since his comeback. Need I thank DROLLERY, I wonder.

    Could this be a foreshadowing of that rarest of all sporting events – an English success in the Ashes down under?

    If only Tennis Australia, the state government of Victoria and the Federal Government in Canberra were in charge of selecting the Baggy Greens (with additional input from a certain Serbian maverick), I would be something actually approaching sanguine.

    1. No it’s not the first time I’ve been pipped by the HKV recently. Well played that man.

      No problem with DROLLERY, and a nod to the setter for using the correct name. Held up everywhere else though, with SAFEGUARD my LOI.

      Re your last paragraph the corollary would be to ask whether the England selectors have been placed in charge of Australian immigration?

      1. I think that was the arrangement, but they ended up in New Zealand and tried to do it remotely.
  9. I struggled to finish with FEUDAL and DROLLERY, eventually coming up with Dal as an unknown river and feu as an obscure word for levy. I actually wasn’t far off, with feu being a Scottish land right for which one pays feu-duty and Dal being a river, albeit in Sweden. Elsewhere, RIA was known from a recent holiday in Devon where there was a house near where I was staying called Ria View.

    I have bad news for @astro_nowt. I was looking at a TftT from 2010 last night where the late dorsetjimbo commented “Got a bit fed up with all those birds”. So I’m afraid you might be stuck with your bugbear!

  10. 42 minutes with POI MAKE READY and LOI the unknown RIA. COD to PROFLIGATE. I didn’t get on very well with this, with the REACTOR definition particularly perverse. I’ll forgive the setter for the memory it brought back though. We had a meat safe in 1949, when I was four. Our puppy Rex pawed the latch down and ate both the bit of meat and the butter we had in there. This was no joking matter in those days of rationing but he was soon forgiven and became the centre of the family for the next sixteen years. Thank you Z and setter.
    1. There we are – a combination of good old natural products and the gumption to commit larceny is clearly the secret to canine happiness and longevity.

      Sod all the ‘experts’ with their expensively packaged, ‘scientifically developed’ dry ‘food’ for the poor modern mutt!

  11. 20:36 WOE. I thought this was an excellent puzzle, but I also found it very hard, so I was feeling a bit beaten down by the time I got to my last in, TROLLERY. I’m sure I had a nebulous theory for how you got TRRY from an arrangement of letters indicated by ‘Ulster city disheartened’ but it obviously wasn’t a very well-developed one. And of course the word doesn’t exist. And ‘trolling’ isn’t comedy. Apart from that it’s a perfectly good answer.
    1. I’m too un-PC to think of the place as anything except Londonderry, so I was racking my brains for every Norn Irn place I could think of (got as far as Antrim in a very slow trawl) before the penny dropped.
      1. If I had got as far as considering that I needed a place I might actually have solved it. Although knowing me I might equally have convinced myself that there is a town in Ulster called Terry.

        Edited at 2022-01-13 09:49 am (UTC)

  12. Failed on this one as I ran out of time with 4d SCUTTLING left to get. In my defence, the local council seemed to be attempting to break the World Noise Record in my normally-peaceful residential street for the first half hour, so I was distracted from the get-go. Shame “charivari” didn’t make an appearance!
  13. Do you remember Dame Edna’s ‘cultural’ visit to Stratford -upon-Avon when a Morris Minor ‘shooting-brake’ reversed out of Anne Hathaway’s yard? Terribly 15dn and mostly 28ac.
    My COD to 9ac Vaudeville. My Time 13:52
  14. 18′ 16″, no issues. Think RIA, think the River Fal and Falmouth.

    Thanks z and setter.

  15. I could only think of two rivers in that part of the world; the Fal and the Exe, and I wasn’t sure if they were in Cornwall or elsewhere in the SW. Feudal trumped Exevat and Exetax. Derry no problem thanks to “Derry Girls” TV show and McKinty’s detective stories set in NI.
  16. Not too hard but no walkover, this, and some clever clues. It has a little bit of a Dean Mayer feel about it..

    I remember meatsafes quite well,and especially for an occasion on holiday when if failed to do its job properly, and my father cut into a roast beef joint to reveal a huge mass of maggots … in my memory they were still wriggling about, but I don’t suppose they could have been. The joint, sadly, was a write-off.
    Remember that, next time you hanker after the good old days 🙂

  17. After a few answers in the grid I was stuck for ages until my breakthrough came with DEVOUT and VAUDEVILLE. After that things flowed steadily but not quickly. FOI: DONE IN; LOI: SCUTTLING after 34 minutes. I never really understood the definitions for ACT and REACTOR. RIA was an early solve – a very familiar word to anyone who tackles barred puzzles.
  18. My mother still had an aerated cupboard in her kitchen in the 1970s. In this neck of the woods FEUDAL and futile are pretty much homophones. I did notice Z’s parsing of ACT but I see Paul et al had it correctly. The STREAKER I remember is the one who tried to upstage David Niven in the days when we actually watched the Oscars. 17.06
  19. By no means the easiest; not too many write-ins, but one of those where everything is there when you look hard enough, which makes for a pleasing solve.
  20. ACT was my FOI with my concerns over the missing T popped onto the back burner awaiting confirmation from 2d, which duly produced the goods. I still didn’t fully understand it until coming here. TIEPINS was my LOI with the rest of the NE only just preceding it. A biffed PLAYGROUND, which I hadn’t noticed had become PLAYGROUD, held up PROFLIGATE for a while. PARODIST and DEVOUT were also late entries. Liked MAKE READY. 23:47. Thanks setter and Z.
  21. On the wavelength today, finished with DROLLERY in 6 mins dead.

    MAKE READY really tickled me.

  22. 31:20. I found this tough, with a clutch of unfamiliar words and some familiar ones in an unfamiliar setting. All quite clever in retrospect though I wasn’t convinced by the sensitive subject definition. I don’t think it is a scientific term (say, in medicine) and although the construction seems correct, it seems to me that the overwhelmingly more familiar type of reactor would preclude it being used in this way.
      1. Aha! I hadn’t gotten around to looking it up. (Was looking for the Like button…!)
  23. 19.29. This one was certainly no push over. I didn’t know the food store meaning of safe. Make ready tickled me. I spent a bit too long trying to shoehorn a stripper into 1ac before getting to parodist, I’d already solved streaker and had that sort of taking off in mind. It took me a long time to sort out drollery at the end which eventually came definition first, mainly from checkers, wordplay later.
  24. Felt a bit slow with this. When the answers fell into place, I often thought I could have solved them a bit more quickly, and that the Snitch would have been lower than it was (currently at 104).

    It was a reasonably steady trudge around the grid, with bits and pieces everywhere.

    COLONELCY as an anag stumped me for a while, as did seeing DROLLERY — had been looking for an anag of result + CY.

    Apart from that, it was only the ending of PAROD— that held me up and the consequent entering of SCUTTLING as my LOI.

  25. It wasn’t an obstacle to finishing but I didn’t really like “forge?” as a definition for “MAKE READY”. Coins are cast, not forged.
    1. Coins are forged if copied and made illegally, but as z suggests in his blog the second part of the clue is somewhat tongue-in-cheek and is not intended to be taken too literally.

      Edited at 2022-01-13 01:51 pm (UTC)

  26. ….and particularly with 22D, where I initially had ‘fiefal’ but could not justify ‘fei = levy’, the possibility of spelling it ‘feefal’, or, indeed, the existence of the word anyway (which proved all of the justifications to be correct). I must have wasted the best part of 2 minutes on this clue alone.

    A respectable performance otherwise, as once I was kicked up the backside by FEUDAL I quickly mopped up the three remaining clues.

    TIME 12:25

  27. I took ages over this — 72 minutes with some aids by the end. It seemed much more difficult than it really was. Derry never came to me although it should have done; I was looking for something like POUNTVALUE for the vaudeville clue and was expecting it to be a word I didn’t know. The cleric was for a long time an RR. Even when my Chambers app gave me reactor I couldn’t see how a reactor was a particularly sensitive subject. Evidently not according to Chambers, but if Collins says so … It struck me as a bit odd. Why are leaves in an oak tree, particularly, before autumn? There are leaves on almost any tree before autumn.
    1. It’s undeniable that leaves can be found on an OAK TREE before autumn, and pretty well not after. That many other trees are similarly deciduous doesn’t really matter, none of them can be derived from from the rest of the clue. I quite liked the commercial shenanigans of the surface reading.
  28. 30 mins made much more difficult by putting in reader for 5ac and goat at 12 ac. Took ages to get going after that as obviously , as it later transpired, I couldn’t get any associated answers to make any sense at all.

    Eventually found some redemption in the latter half of the grid but too late by then to get a good time. Yet another reminder that my impatience is not a virtue! Sadly, too late to learn now.

    Thanks setter for a good puzzle and blogger for the parsing of devout especially.

  29. Didn’t manage to parse Act or Graduate, so thanks for explaining. Held up for a while with ….value at nine across. Finally clicked that there must be a second v for vale in there. Remember a meatsafe in the basement larder of the boarding school my parents ran. Wire-mesh door.
  30. Good puzzle. I’m slightly surprised at the SNITCH as I thought today’s was slightly easier than the last couple of days. Ah well, different strokes…

    I Googled Erica Roe who streaked across the pitch at Twickenham and was slightly taken aback to find that this happened 40 years ago.

    Thanks to z and the setter.

  31. I really struggled with this after a fast start. Never seen ‘lecturer’s’ used before and INCITE was chucked in only because it fitted. Never even thought of prompt as the literal. LOI BANG UP. the only thing I could see was HANG UP, but the clue didn’t fit.
  32. Needed two quite long sessions. SCUTTLING very much LOI. Could not parse ACT.
    NHO RIA. But a lot to like including FEUDAL and BANG UP.
  33. Didn’t get to this till the AM, with multiple interruptions. POI FEUDAL, LOI DROLLERY.

Comments are closed.