Times 25838 – Checking my blog, or not?

Solving time: 38 minutes

Music: Thompson, The Plow that Broke the Plain, Stokowski/Symphony of the Air

This should have been an easy one, but I was scribbling away and put in a wrong answer without thinking, leaving me quite stuck for a while at the end. ‘Weatherproofing’ was my undoing, and only after about 10 minutes of struggle did I realize it must be wrong. Then I was able to enter ‘Omani’ and ‘redshank’, but I was still unable to see the right answer for 1 down. I considered ‘getting on’ in the sense of ‘aging’, and in the sense of ‘being friends together’, but in the end it turned out to be just getting on.

Ulaca and I have been indulging in a rather extensive series of swaps, so you’ll have him for the next couple of weeks. I’ll be back the first week of August, when the regular rotation will resume for a while.

1 WELSH, WE + L + S[o]H[]o, a friendly starter clue.
6 CLUBBABLE, double definition.
10 OUNCE, [p]OUNCE. A venerable chestnut.
11 HOTPOT, HOT + POT, another escapee from the Quickie.
12 ARMENIAN, A(R)MEN + IAN, a write-in from the literal if you know where Yerevan is.
14 RESISTANT, anagram of RAINS, TEST.
16 PROWL, PROW + L[iner].
17 OMANI, [r]OMANI[a]. I wasn’t so sure which countries were on the Black Sea, but this seemed likely enough.
21 REDSHANK, R(anagram of SHED)ANK. ‘Row’ has many uses in puzzles.
22 AMOEBA, AM(o[ld]E[uropean])BA, a rather awkward clue, but a write-in from the literal. Curiously, you never see a paramecium in these puzzles.
25 IDIOM, DI backwards + I.O.M, not parsed when entered by me.
27 GREEN BELT, double definition.
28 THYME, TH(-e,+[chemistr]Y)ME. I first tried the ridiculous momble ‘toyic’, but quickly erased it.
1 WEATHERBOARDING, sounds like WHETHER + BOARDING. Easy enough if you see it right away, I suppose.
4 CENT, sounds like SENT.
5 UNDERSTUDY, cryptic definition.
6 BOOZE UP, sounds like BOOS, + UP in the sense of ‘at university’.
8 ETERNAL TRIANGLE, double definition in different senses.
15 STANDPIPE, STAND + PIPE, where the DBE is properly indicated by ‘say’.
18 INHUMAN, IN(HUM, A[ntelope]N.
20 CAMELOT, CAM + E + LOT, another Quickie clue.
23 EDIFY, hidden in [fe]ED IF Y[ou]. This sense of ‘improve’ is heavily 19th-century.
24 BRAT, B(R)AT.

44 comments on “Times 25838 – Checking my blog, or not?”

  1. Not a lot of trouble today. Plenty of 1dn to be found in these parts. LOI was CENT. Had no idea about Bermudian currency.

    So Ulaca’s got the day off? Probably spending his winnings after Germany’s win last night.

  2. Nice and easy, within my target time of 30mins, all understood, and, apart from (as Vinyl) toying with weatherproofing, no real holdups. Makes a change from some of late.

    LOI: BANDICOOT (was convinced for a long time that ‘Bill’s companion’ had to be ben!)

  3. Felt like I could have done this more quickly if I was smarter, and better at crosswords.

    Knew WEATHERPROOFING was wrong, but took ages to discard it. Didn’t know REDSHANK or STANDPIPE, but got there in the end.

  4. 25 minutes, so that’s four consecutive Mondays I have achieved sub-30 and possibly this reflects a return to the easy-Monday policy that appeared to prevail at one time although it was always denied.

    As the puzzle printed off and I saw the length of clues I feared it may be a toughie, but for once all the verbiage was helpful and led me nicely to the right answers.

    I particularly liked ‘Bill and coo’.

    Edited at 2014-07-14 07:47 am (UTC)

    1. … because I feel I have a chance. DNF due to lack of GK. Never heard of BANDICOOT or REDSHANK. Guessed BANDIT but I too was obsessed with The Flower Pot Men.
        1. Haha. Last video game I played seriously was Defender in the early ’80s. I retired from gaming when I realised how much it was costing me and that to be at the top of the leaderboard on every local machine only benefits the owners of the machines.

          My children seem to enjoy their games consoles but nothing seemed to ever come close to the excitement I seemed to get from Defender when it really mattered if you lost all your lives.

  5. 11.7, with two of the clues only properly parsed post solve. Like Janie, I was looking for Bill’s mate BEN in BANDICOOT (couldn’t be Little Weed, doesn’t fit), so much so hat I failed to see the bandit. And Academic stream? Knew the letters had to be C A M, but couldn’t make that fit any educational system I know. I guess that puts me in 3P, the lowest stream (in my opinion) I ever taught.
    Enjoyable, if rather brief solve. For some reason, probably to do with Lloyd George, WELSH tickled my fancy.
      1. Sure does, and I worked that out post solve. I was thrown by the “Academic stream”, which throwing the setter obviously intended. Sadly, last time I assessed the Cam from an official Ofsted punt, it appeared to have no academic capability whatsoever, so I fear the setter may have been a tad optimistic.
  6. Could have been a bit speedier if I hadn’t stuck for too long with several wrong ideas: thinking ‘theatre’ was medical, taking ‘formally accuse’ for the definition, thinking 1d was Xproofing, thinking of ‘tier’ for ‘row’, etc. Like Mctext, my LOI was CENT. Liked BANDICOOT; fortunately I have no idea who Bill and Ben are, so COO had no competition in my head.
    1. Bill and Ben may have been the weirdest children’s characters to ever grace our screens. Two vocally-challenged flowerpot men who lived in a garden shed and shared an ambiguous relationship with a Little Weed. Some would say they shared more than a little weed.
      1. Thanks. I just Googled B&B; can’t quite tell how richer my childhood experience would have been had they been on US TV.
          1. Even as a child, I thought that there was something odd about The Woodentops.
  7. 17min: no problem with the Bermudan currency – it’s not true that philately gets you nowhere!
    The reappearance of the highlighting of the current clue has speeded up completion online significantly.
  8. 16.38, a gentle start to the week. An inoffensive offering, if with the unintended Nina ‘annoy’. The two meanings of clubbable take one out of the torpor briefly. But no complaints. – joekobi
  9. Pleasant Monday-ish solve. I find this grid helps me avoid getting stuck too long anywhere, with two nice long outside solutions (assuming you get them, of course – now I come to think of it, it took me a while to figure out the tricky second half of 1dn), and lots of the checking letters being nicely spaced, and nearly always giving the beginning or end of words. I was another who only gave up on BEN when it became physically impossible to fit him into the answer anywhere. Flobalob, as he would have said.

    Edited at 2014-07-14 09:08 am (UTC)

  10. 10 mins, and I enjoyed this puzzle despite it being on the straightforward side. Count me as another whose first thought for 1dn was “weatherproofing”, but because I couldn’t parse it I decided to wait until I had a few more checkers. At 7dn “coo” was my first thought for Bill’s companion so I wasn’t sidetracked by happy memories of Bill & Ben. The ugly-looking CLUBBABLE was my LOI after UNDERSTUDY.

    Edited at 2014-07-14 11:49 am (UTC)

  11. 8m. Like a few others I bunged in WEATHERPROOFING but fortunately I realised quickly that I couldn’t justify the second word so took it out. Then I bunged in WEATHERCOURSING, which fits all the checkers and might have meant something related to a damp course, but again I couldn’t make ‘coursing’ mean ‘getting on’ so I thought again, and got there in the end.
    I had a GREEN BELT in judo once. We had a wonderful teacher who believed that judo was first and foremost a philosophy of life. This became very apparent whenever we entered competitions and got thrown around by kids whose teachers took a less rarefied approach.

    Edited at 2014-07-14 09:46 am (UTC)

  12. One missing today – Weatherboarding.
    Held up in the SW corner generally, being slow to get Redshank, Omani and Standpipe.
    I don’t understand the ‘pipe’ part of Standpipe. Could someone please explain.
    1. A churchwarden is a type of smoking pipe with a long stem, often over a foot long. In my smoking days, I had one (as well as others) but not easy to fit into a jacket pocket.

      Edited at 2014-07-14 11:24 am (UTC)

    2. A churchwarden is a type of pipe. It appeared here on 15 April this year: it was new to me then but I managed to remember it this time. Edit: actually I see it wasn’t new to me then. It was new to me on 13 July 2011. In April I had just forgotten it.

      Edited at 2014-07-14 11:05 am (UTC)

      1. Thank you – and to the other replies below. That’s a new word for me.
  13. An enjoyable start to the week. I was for a while one of the BANDIBENT group but wrote in WEATHER before getting the second half.
  14. 18 minutes. Very easy, with several entered on the definition alone. 10 and it’s wordplay has appeared at least once in another puzzle in the last few days. ‘Bill’s companion’ for COO is pretty standard crossword stuff, but 7 was nevertheless my last in. A pleasant enough solve, though no clues stood out for me.
  15. 17m – fast for me but could have been faster had I not been convinced that the graduate’s declaration at 22A was going to begin IM as in ‘I’m …’. This held me up for a couple of minutes at the end.

    Count me as another who wanted Ben’s partner to be Bill. I also threw in HADDOCK at 3D when I had H_D_O__ but I quickly realised this was fishy.

  16. despite being a member of the the ‘proofing’ and ‘Ben’ clubs today, I still managed to finish this one in 7:31. We have lots of redshanks round our way so I really should have got that much sooner than I did. Nice start to the week’s solving.
  17. 12:48.

    No problems with weatherboarding but I was slow in the NE corner. I didn’t know the “convivial” meaning of clubbable so I just put “able” at the end to start with but then I started to have doubts about whether this was correct as I couldn’t get 7 or 8 straight away. I had to write ?R?A?G?E horizontally to see triangle and like others I got fixated on the flowerpot men at 7.

    Why is little weed covered in spit? Because Bill and Ben flobalot.

  18. Kent is surely the world Centre of weatherboarding, so no problem there. And count me another fan of coo, as bill and. ..
  19. 40m today so a lot of a struggle with the SW the main culprit. I also went for WEATHERPROOFING but only after getting halfway along with WEATHERBEATEN before realising it wouldn’t fit! Doh! 1a made me smile. I wonder if 4a should end with a ? to indicate the extra B in the beating bit.
    1. I don’t think there is an extra B, is there? I think that’s how I’d spell it, although I can’t think of a situation in which I’d have to. Like biddable, or regrettable.
  20. Spotty Dog was especially worrying, with his capacity for walking vigorously but getting nowhere.
  21. 18 m 52, according to the leaderboard; slowed by having to cope with the dodgy online keying (at home I print and solve) and interruptions from juniors, a typical Monday stroll, nothing remarkable.
  22. Thirty two minutes for me, with LOIs CENT and INHUMAN (I was looking for managra of “pong” for a while).

    Bill and Ben were probably the least disturbing of the childhood programs of that era. I do remember watching some black-and-white series (or perhaps it was our telly that was black and white) about a boy and a Pyrenean mountain dog. All the people in the series had the astonishing talent of moving their lips out of sync with what they were saying, which I found very bewildering at the time.

  23. I wasn’t too keen on CLUBBABLE, but that’s what it had t be and was the last one in at 7:20 on the club timer, so a pretty breezy solve. I also thought of BEN but the definition saved me at a second look. Fun starter puzzle.
  24. I also got held up by WEATHERPROOFING. About 20 minutes. Sorry to be so late, but regards to anyone still around.
  25. It’s been said before, but money = ‘ready cash’ or ‘readies, but ‘ready’ doesn’t equal ‘money’ (cent in Bermuda).

    It’s about time the crossword editor put a stop to sloppy cluing like this.

    1. It may have been said before, but that doesn’t make it any more accurate (see Chambers, Collins, the OED, …).
    2. Totally wrong. I see why you feel the need to remain anonymous..

      Def. of “ready” from the OED: “Available money; cash.”

  26. A disappointing 7:35 – down to a combination of senior moments and getting hold of the wrong end of the stick – leaving me feeling old and slow. (Deep sigh!) A nice straightforward start to the week though.

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