28942 Our survey says: completed at a cantur


This felt brisker than my 19.34 might indicate, but it was an engaging time spent, with quite a lot on my last two in. Plenty of quirks, some slightly dodgy, definitions and allusions, and risqué references to Her and His Majesties’ bodily functions give this a lively feel. Some clues and answers nudged connections for me which may not be shared by others, but I’ve put them in anyway. There may be complaints about the horse (it’s not a commonly seen one), the game at 23d, and maybe one or two others, but hey, this is the Times Educational Experience, and the cluing is (mostly) kind

Definitions underlined in italics, removed letters indicated by [], and everything else to be understood, or not, by the reader.

1 Explosive rhythm section better (10,3)
PERCUSSION CAP – Interesting. If you take as your authority The King, then “the drummer boy from Illinois went crash, boom, bang,The whole rhythm section was the Purple Gang”. The rhythm section normally is whatever drives the music along: guitar, piano, bass and probably drums, but here we have to accept it’s just drums to produce PERCUSSION, and then add the verbal better for CAP.
8 Water pipe new that comes into Slough (4)
BONG – A water device through which you draw your drug of choice to make it cooler. N[ew] inserted into BOG for Slough (ignore capital).
9 Scientist here’s being strange (10)
HEISENBERG – He of the Principle  (I can’t be sure), and an anagram (strange) of HERE’S BEING
10 Moorland accommodation bombed (4,4)
FELL FLAT – Moorland is FELL, and accommodation FLAT, as may be.
11 Fish on time to keep an eye on birds? (6)
TWITCH – It helps if your know a WITCH is a flatfish, the craigfluke (blame Chambers) which, when you attach it to T[ime] produces the activity (a back formation, hence the ?) of a birdwatcher or (informally) TWITCHER.
13 Hand in evidence Queen has left throne? (5,5)
ROYAL FLUSH – In poker, 10 to Ace in the same suit, bet the house. While we all know Her Majesty never  did anything so uncouth as to go to the loo, if she did, her flunky would pull the chain to dispose of the Royal Wee.
16 … King on it makes appearance! (4)
LOOK – In a continuation of the previous clue, the “it” is the LOO on which the K[ing] might similarly sit. *Newsflash*: setter arrested for lese-majesty.
17 Joe leaps on and off vehicle GIs use? (4)
JEEP – The alternate letters of JoE lEaPs for the ubiquitous 4WD Willys army vehicle, though Ford think it was theirs, and theirs was called  the GP, hence the name..
18 Nothing at court helping Romeo out — here’s philtre (4,6)
LOVE POTION – LOVE being nothing in a (tennis) court, then PORTION for (a) helping with R[omeo] removed.
20 Bitterness amiss in American pollster (6)
GALLUP – As it happens, Gallup is an American company operating worldwide for polling purposes, but I think here after GALL for bitterness, it’s an American usage of UP that’s wanted for amiss, as in “what’s up doc?”, though I don’t think it has to be.
22 Who’s Keith to keep a jam jar for biscuit? (8)
MACAROON – The Who’s drummer was the self destructive Keith MOON. Insert A CAR, Cockney Rhyming Slang jam jar. The biscuit famously shared by Alan Bennett and Thora Hird over a cup of Earl Grey.
24 Returning black and white cab crosses street for class expert (10)
TAXONOMIST – A little bit Yoda-ish. Returning black and white gives ONOM which TAXI cab crosses (includes), followed by S[tree]T
26 Leave somewhat short (4)
QUIT – My last in, needing the Q. Somewhat, QUITE shortened by E
27 So in love with dominant rotter? (4,4,5)
HEAD OVER HEELS – I think this envisages the boss of some collection of rotters.
1 Introductions having PA accepting job — good sign (11)
PROLEGOMENA – Let’s have some Greek! PA in plain sight takes in ROLE for job and G[ood] OMEN for sign.
2 Star‘s gear held without case (5)
RIGEL – RIG for gear, as in clothing, then [h]EL[d] uncased. Rigel is one bright foot of Orion.
3 Breaking up fun, he’ll become awkward (9)
UNHELPFUL – An anagram (breaking) of UP FUN HE’LL.
4 Dog Zeus initially confined to his hut that’s barking (4,3)
SHIH TZU – The initial of Zeus within an anagram (barking) of HIS HUT. “…one without penguins” attrib Sandi Toksvig.
5 Concealed missing can-opener? Open! (5)
OVERT – COVERT from concealed missing the opener of C[an]
6 Vehicle needs wire, initially tense for crossing Spanish river (9)
CABRIOLET – Again “crossing” used as an inclusion indicator, RIO, Spanish for river, inside CABLE for wire and (initially) T[ense]
7 Piece trimmed becomes level (3)
PAR – Simple  enough PART for piece with its T trimmed.
12 Gut pain with bad hooch quaffed by sons: they go from bar to bar! (11)
CHOCOHOLICS – COLIC is gut pain with an anagram (bad) of HOOCH included (quaffed) next to S[ons]. Lose time by trying to remove the innards of a word for pain and wondering whether you should have more than one S. Jocular definition.
14 Shock when ducks upset horse (9)
APPALOOSA – “A North American breed of horse, usually white or grey with dark spots. Origin: Probably the Palouse Indians” – BRB. Shock: APPAL, when: AS, ducks: 00, the latter two reversed (upset).
15 Hard work put an end to childish game (9)
HOPSCOTCH – H[ard] OP for work, SCOTCH for put an end to.
19 One in burning heap we hear after five in the morning? (7)
VAMPIRE – Modern legend says that vampires burst into flames if touched by sunlight. Five in the morning is an approximation for sunrise. The (whole clue) wordplay has PIRE for a homophone (we hear) of pyre after V (5) AM.
21 Gypsy man features in Post Office advertisement (5)
PROMO – Gypsy man is ROM, contained in P[ost] O[ffice].
23 No knight, evidently, taking queen in game (5)
ROQUE – This took time, as I was unaware of the game, a US hard court walled version of croquet, and struggled  to equate ROUÉ with no knight as lots of words would indicate an unknightly person. Anyway, insert Q[ueen]
25 Wood turned this way? Odd bits discarded (3)
ASH – Reversed alternate letters of tHiS wAy.

77 comments on “28942 Our survey says: completed at a cantur”

  1. Oh dear, I didn’t find this at all easy and needed 48 minutes with several answers going in with fingers and sometimes also toes crossed.

    There were words I simply didn’t know here: BONG as a water pipe, HEISENBERG, WITCH as a fish, MONO as black and white (I guessed it from ‘monochrome’ but ‘mono’ on its own I associate only with audio reproduction), PROLEGOMENA, APPALOOSA and ROQUE. Having said that, the wordplay and/or definitions were helpful (with the exception of the clue to ROQUE) so I was able to work my way through it steadily. Perhaps just a tad too much obscurity in in a single puzzle though.

  2. 21:20, pretty fast considering the time spent trying to parse biffed solutions.
    DNK WITCH, SHIH TZU, ROQUE of course (LOI). I couldn’t tell you any names of Who members, which made 22ac impenetrable; but ‘jam jar’ suggested CRS and I had some checkers, so I biffed. RIGEL & LOVE POTION parsed post-submission; never did parse TAXONOMIST. I have the feeling we’ve had the ROYAL FLUSH clue, or something like it, before. I didn’t care for ROUE; not being a knight leaves rather a large number of possibilities, ‘roué’ not being one of the more likely ones.

  3. ROQUE went in on the basis they it was more likely than raque or reque or rique or ruque. Enjoyed the clue for CHOCOHOLICS, being one myself, albeit manque.

    Still on the foodie theme, I think a MACARON has so much more snob value than a MACAROON. It’s therefore really irritating when I ask for one in Hong Kong and they try to fob me off with the inferior product, correcting my pronunciation in the process.

    Almost as bad as when they ‘correct’ ‘skollop’ to ‘skallop.’

    Who says the customer is always right?!

    Knew Heisenberg from Breaking Bad.

    1. I was really only aware of the double O version, usually a soft coconutty confection on rice paper, and was going to enter the biscuit/cake controversy. It does appear that dropping the extra O triples the price!

  4. Struggled because of one or two obscurities, dnk ROQUE – and mediaeval knights of legend were not exactly chaste or faithful.

    HEISENBERG was once stopped by the police for speeding: “Do you know how fast you were driving, sir?” “No, officer, but I know exactly where I am.”

    About 25′ with a careless slip.

    Thanks z and setter.

  5. I thought this was very enjoyable and not too difficult for a Thursday. I managed almost everything but failed to get CHOCOHOLICS thinking it was something legal or related to alcohol. COD to VAMPIRE and the very helpful wordplay for PROLEGOMENA which I had to check online never thinking it would be a word. I knew TWITCH would be right but never heard of the fish.
    Thanks Zabadak and setter

  6. 36 minutes that felt like longer, slowed down mostly by the few unknowns, though I think I remember wondering before whether APPALOOSA and LOLLAPALOOZA have any shared etymology (no) so perhaps I have seen the horse here in the past. Helpfully I at least knew HEISENBERG and BONG even before Breaking Bad sprung onto our TV screens…

  7. Around 60 minutes. Reasonably straightforward and enjoyable. FOI GALLUP (what else could it be) then guessed HEAD OVER HEELS. Taught myself quantum theory (among others) after I retired and HEISENBURG and his Uncertainty Principle was a breeze. Only two I have never heard of were PROLEGOMENA which is gettable from the wordplay and LOI ROQUE which I guessed. APPALOOSA I knew well and since I have read a lot about taxonomy TAXONOMIST was easy. Tried to think of synonyms for pub-crawler for 12D and surprised by CHOCOHOLIC with a rather clever definition.
    Thanks Zabadak for the parsing.

  8. 31 minutes, with LOI CHOCOHOLICS. Most of the time, unlike HEISENBERG, I neither knew where I was nor how fast I was going, until I got a dose of LOVE POTION (number nine of course). I constructed PROLEGOMENA and biffed TWITCH, not knowing the fish. ROQUE was the only word I could think of and I could just about see the cryptic. I liked ROYAL FLUSH, having once used the bog clued as Slough in the Royal Suite at Claridges, but COD to MACAROON. Mainly good fun. Thank you Z and setter.

  9. 20:32 but with one unknown too many – I had to do a wordsearch to find my 6th unknown – 1D. Also DNK the fish the dog, the horse, the CRS for car or the game. Oh. and I didn’t know vampires burst into flames in sunlight, so make that 7. I liked ROYAL FLUSH (although it may be a chestnut) and CHOCOHOLICS best. Thanks Z and setter.

  10. DNF. Ditto what Jack said, except I gave up on the PROLEGOWOTSIT, as my brain was in a funk by that point.

    I did like LOOK, MACAROON, & my actual LOI CHOCOHOLICS before the afore mentioned and BONG which I also didn’t know.

    Thanks Z and devilish setter.

  11. I sprang to the stirrup, and Joris, and He;
    I galluped, Dirck galluped, we galluped all Three
    (the Aix to Ghent one… Browning)

    A bit over 30 mins mid-brekker and well worth it. I wonder if Heisenberg was a crossword biffer, trading placement accuracy for momentum.
    I mostly liked the moorland accommodation one.
    On the subject of particle physics…

    In the countryside,
    The church bells pealed,
    As Peter Higgs was given a Mass,
    By a field.

    Ta setter and Z

  12. 56:52

    Slow (very) but steady and perseverance was rewarded. I took a while even to start (FOI was the dog) and was only able to complete 1D and 14D from wordplay. LOI was CHOCOHOLICS.

    Thank you, Zabadak and the setter

  13. 15:01. Tricky, with a few things to take on trust: the fish, the Greek introductions, the game. Fortunately I did know the pipe and the dog, and the horse rang a vague bell.
    ‘My dad took me to the animal park but all they had was a single dog. It was a…’

  14. It took me a good 4 minutes to sort out LOI CHOCOHOLICS which was possibly COD, but after submitting in 12:36 my careless “gallop” (I knew it was a U and my mind must have wandered) was further “enhanced” by fat fingering a double L instead of a double O for the horse. The vertical alignment of the two pink squares is unusual……

  15. Just over half an hour, but with lots of uncertainties.

    – Took ages to see what kind of bars were meant in 12d and get CHOCOHOLICS – for a long time I thought it was referring to musical bars
    – That wasn’t helped by not knowing witch as a fish, so TWITCH only went in after I got 12d
    – Didn’t know RIGEL as a star, and also wasn’t 100% sure about gear=rig
    – PROLEGOMENA was a complete unknown put together from wordplay
    – Had heard of a BONG without knowing that it’s specifically a water pipe
    – For GALLUP, I didn’t read ‘up’ as an Americanism (though perhaps it is/was) and assumed it referred to the company being American
    – Wasn’t sure what a philtre is, but the cluing helped me get LOVE POTION
    – Had to be careful when spelling SHIH TZU
    – I assume APPALOOSA has come up before, but I didn’t remember it and again relied on wordplay
    – Didn’t fully see how VAMPIRE worked

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Par
    LOI Rigel
    COD Chocoholics

  16. 41:35
    A struggle for me from pretty much start to finish.

    DNK ROQUE, APPALOOSA, GALLUP, and PROLEGOMENA. CHOCOHOLICS took and age as I was slow to see TWITCH, also slow on TAXONOMIST and BONG.

    One to mark down for experience.

    Thanks to both.

  17. Very easy, apart from the NHO PROLEGOMENA, which occupied a full 10 of the 18 mins I took over this and went in with crossed fingers solely on the wordplay.

  18. 29.27, for my slowest completion in ages. Much of that was thanks to ROQUE (which I fully misparsed, placing QU in ROE deer, which I thought might be a form of game quarry) and QUIT (should’ve tried that Q earlier!).

    No complaints though – for me at least, a little less unknown & so a bit more fun than yesterday. I loved CHOCOHOLICS when it eventually went in. I’ve heard of APPALOOSA from somewhere & knew the pollster, but not the fish nor the Greek, the latter of which I rather enjoyed constructing.

    I liked the reference and accompanying PDM – but were The Who ever just known as Who?!

    Thanks setter & Z.

      1. A quick look finds some ‘Beatles guitarist’ or ‘Beatles star’ examples, although not with a possessive. On reflection, “Who drummer” would’ve jarred less for me, I think!

  19. 36:01

    I love a puzzle in which one can be confident that one has correctly solved it despite NHO’s in both clues and answers, particularly the Greek, philtre and the fish.
    The scientist was familiar from Uni and the horse and the game were in there somewhere.

    Thanks setter and Zabadak.

  20. A struggle to finish this one. I knew the horse but in spite of knowing some Greek, didn’t know PROLEGOMENA and didn’t get ROQUE either so a sad DNF. The rest was pleasant, 19 minutes before coming here.

  21. Finished in just over 17 mins but with one wrong, ‘taxologist’ for ‘TAXONOMIST’, so DNF. Hadn’t heard of ‘witch’ for ‘fish’ but BONG was obvious and by no means obscure.

  22. Fewer troubles than most it seems. Witch NHO but TWITCH had to be, QUIT in immediately on reading the clue so NHO ROQUE gettable with 3 crossers. Heisenberg an old friend, APPALOOSA and SHIH TZU well known, if not both of their spellings. LOI PROLEGOMENA on a wing and a prayer, just to fill the grid and expecting it to be wrong. Quirky and interesting and enjoyable. What does it say about me that I liked ROYAL FLUSH? Also CHOCAHOLICS, there’s a few in the family go from bar to bar.

  23. Felt pleased to finish this without aids in 52:29. DNK Prologomena so it went in from wordplay alone. Also haven’t come across Witch as a fish before. Anyone who has read Stephen King’s The Shining should be familiar with the sport at 23d as a roque mallet is Jack Torrance’s weapon of choice for much of the novel. 10a was my LOI as I had it ending in Z, and then H before I realised that T was also possible! Spotting the pangram also helped me get 24a, so that was useful.

  24. All was going well enough until I hit a brick wall with QUITE (quite easy) and CHOCOHOLICS, and I entered TWITCH because it had to be but NHO the fish, and I couldn’t parse ROQUE, having QU not Q for the queen. Probably wouldn’t have got it anyway, because roué and no knight are quite distant. Eventually, with a few aids, I managed to finish in 50 minutes.

  25. This is promising. 21.21 meaning a full week of correct entries is still possible. Couldn’t quite believe Bong was the water pipe but made sense when I parsed the completely unknown Prolegomena.

    Shihtzu took a little while involving a very unpleasant first word till I saw sense.

  26. Loved the ROYAL FLUSH!

    Is it possible to change the website settings to retain passwords for longer, pretty please? Keep having to log back in despite asking to remember settings.

  27. 27:00

    Pretty good until the last half dozen or so but the parsing of both PROLEGOMENA and APPALOOSA was very generous – ROQUE less so but what else could it be with those checkers? Didn’t know the fish. Liked CHOCOHOLICS a lot.

    Thanks Z and setter

  28. Finished all bar CHOCOHOLICS (wrong definition). Used aid for APPALOOSA, biffed then parsed ROYAL FLUSH, MACAROON, HEISENBERG, BONG and LOVE POTION (had to look up NHO philtre). Guessed ROQUE and no idea how to parse (thanks z). Happy with an almost finish.

  29. 40 minutes. A couple of NHO’s in the fishy WITCH and the gamey ROQUE and I’d forgotten PROLEGOMENA. Otherwise not too difficult though with the uncertainties I thought I’d have at least one pink square. After TOKE yesterday and BONG today, who knows what tomorrow will bring.

    I liked CHOCOHOLICS and the cheeky surface for ROYAL FLUSH.

    Thanks to Z and setter

  30. 11a tWITCH; DNK witch=fish.
    Thanks to Zabadak: 24a TAXONOMIST, oh that’s how this was put together. Biffed. 27a Head O… Didn’t understand this, biffed.
    1d PROLEGOMENA decided to cheat for this but absent from Cheating Machine (but had PROLEGOMENON, singular, rare, didn’t show up in CM) so had to sweat it out. Now added to CM.
    2d RIGEL thought the star was Riga, but that’s the capital of a Baltic country. Had to actually solve the clue.
    4d Instantly thought of shihtzu (Alison P had one) but didn’t know how to spell it. Thought it began shit….
    14d APPALOOSA, had a vague idea of what I was looking for but had to use the wordplay to spell it.
    19d VAMPIRE; didn’t know they were inflammable, so a bit foxed.
    23d ROQUE, knew Roquet as a move or something in croquet and assumed I couldn’t spell it. Wrong, but the answer was right.

  31. I was going reasonably well, even teasing out the unknown PROLEGOMENA, before hitting a wall with 23d and 26a. 25 minutes stretched out to 37 plus before I nailed QUIT and deduced the unknown ROQUE. Sadly all in vain yet again, as I’d emulated Phil and stuck in a semi unparsed GALLOP at 20a. 37:39 WOE. Thanks setter and Z.

    1. No one (except Bletchley?) seems to have known of Kant’s Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics, which is how I knew the word (no, of course I didn’t read the book, but I knew of the title).

  32. Just finished this morning in about 30′ before rushing to a golf game. Lucky with LOI NHO ROQUE as I had pencilled in rogue (“no knight”), albeit unparsed, before QUIT changed things. I stuck with with the “oqu” in the absence of anything better.. NHO PROLGOMENA but built from the parts. Enjoyed CHOCOHOLICS and Who’s Keith was nice. Thanks Zabadak and setter

  33. I know there’s a small dog with a funny name, but damned if I can ever remember what it sounds like phonetically (I will now, and many thanks keriothe) much less how it spells itself. RU-rugby-game at Roque (Wiki says the US Association disbanded in 2004 due to too few players any more – a hard come-down for what was an Olympic sport a hudred years earlier) held me up, but I either knew or was close enough to take on faith all the rest (Vampires really burst into flames? I thought they just oozed away). Thanks Z and setter

    1. They ooze if you put a stake through their heart, burst into flames in the sunlight – I used to spend a lot of time watching Buffy the vampire slayer!

      1. Well, my view is that proper vampire behaviour was set and finalized in about 1900, and all the TV mishmash is created out of thin air and should be ignored. Yes, No?

  34. I really enjoyed this one. About 9 minutes for most of it and then the same again for CHOCOHOLICS, ROQUE and QUIT, not helped by being unconvinced about the C starter having NHO the fish. Would have been quicker if I’d spotted the pangram and realised I needed a Q.

  35. Breezed through this today, easiest and quickest one of the week. It contains all the letters of the alphabet, including the usually tricky JKQVXZ.

  36. Really enjoyed this. I’m here too late to add much of anything—worked this many hours ago, long before the blog appeared, and today my Internet service has been down. I got a laugh out of CHOCOHOLICS.

    PROLEGOMENA I knew, of course, from Kant.

  37. Agree 100% with Oompah Charlie that it is very satisfying to complete a puzzle and be confident that all the answers are correct. I enjoyed this for its ingenuity and humour, all done in 33 minutes over a lunchtime pint.
    LOI – LOOK
    COD – ROYAL FLUSH (no competition)
    Thanks to Zabadak and other contributors.

  38. Some lovely weird words in there, all of which I fortunately knew. Apart from ROQUE which I guessed. And WITCH as a fish. Unusual to see a connected pair of clues like that (13 and 16 ac). Neat though. Once again I tail Kevin Gregg with 21’50”. Many thanks.

    1. Collins: Word forms: clues, cluing, clued
      Dictionary.com: clued, cluing
      Merriam-Webster: clued; clueing or cluing

      It seems that you might be American, doctor!

      1. Rather than being American, the good doctor may be a devotee of Oxford dictionaries which all (COD, ODE and SOED) insist on ‘clueing’ as the only possibility.

        1. SUSIE appears in today’s grid. Can we check with her for a definitive declaration? OED after all is supposed to reflect English as she is wrote.

          1. I would wager my house on Susie not allowing ‘cluing’ on Countdown. Subject to certain caveats that would not apply in this case, if a word or spelling isn’t in the ODE it’s not permitted. U.S. alternative spellings are also not allowed.

            1. Ah, but it is in there, albeit with an antique meaning that’s nothing to do with our current use. Can I have your house, then?

              1. Which dictionary are you referring to? Susie uses the single volume Oxford Dictionary of English.

                1. Might be a decent get out clause. I only have access to the free bit of the online OED, so I can’t check further.

                  1. We seem to have got some wires crossed here because of the confusing titles given by OUP. The dictionary used by Susie on Countdown is the single volume Oxford Dictionary of English (ODE) whereas the one I think you are referring to is the 20 volume Oxford English Dictionary (OED) which I no longer have access to since my local library withdrew their subscription to it.

                    The smaller version was available free online until 2-3 years ago under a name which I now forget but we used to refer to it daily here. Then it merged with, or more likely was taken over by, dictionary.com and its material was subsumed into that site but not identified as such so one can’t tell the source. From that day on I stopped trying to use it online and have reverted to my printed edition.

                    1. You’re clearly right! I have, out of curiosity, downloaded the ODE app, the free version hedged around with ads and “opportunities” to part with cash. CLUING would not apparently be allowed in Countdown, but that may indicate an oversight, as other dictionaries, including Fenland, do. Can’t be denied it’s in common use, at least in my blogs!

                      1. Thanks. I never doubted the validity of ‘cluing’ as other reputable sources are okay with it and I’m sure I have used it here myself, but I originally posted on this to counter the suggestion that ‘clueing’ is American.

                        BTW the old ODE site was renamed Lexico before the dictionary.com takeover.

    2. Would you care to justify that comment? Did either get red wiggly lines when you typed them in?

  39. 47:47
    L2I were QUIT and The NHO ROQUE.
    I enjoyed HEISENBERG, and enjoyed the various physics jokes in the comments.

  40. After 58 minutes I just hit “Submit”, being sure I wasn’t going to come up with anything better than what I had (especially for TWITCH, my LOI). To my surprise and delight, everything was right. The wordplay was of course of vast assistance, even though with CABRIOLET I misread it, being seduced into taking CAB to refer to the vehicle, which of course defines the whole answer. So I never saw the wire or CAB LE in this clue. Everything else eventually succumbed to careful analysis of the wordplay. CHOCOHOLIC, for which I originally though the bars would be referring to bars of music, leading me to a frantic attempt to recall musical nomenclature, fell into place when I remembered COLIC for gut pain and saw that letters 2 through 6 would give me the bad hooch inside. That would certainly be my COD, but this was really a very hard and fun puzzle.

  41. Yes indeed! Surely hard but fun . I didn’t know the Greek, and had to cheat on that one, nor the game, ditto. But knew the horse and the dog (spelled wrongly by me!) and used the helpful wordplay to construct others like RIGEL and LOVE POTION (my COD, as I didn’t work out CHOCOHOLICS – not spotting the correct type of bars.). Also enjoyed HEISENBERG (even though NHO) and ROYAL FLUSH and HEAD OVER HEELS.


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