Times 26155 – They were giving out brains, and he thought they said ‘trains’….

Solving time: 27 minutes

Music: June Tabor and the Oyster Band, Fire and Rain

I thought this was going to be more difficult than it turned out to be. I could make nothing of the first few clues, after watching about six or seven hours of the Open Championship, so had to start around the bottom edge, but once I got going I found it tolerable. The only answer that was unfamiliar to me was ‘gurn’, although there are a number of UK-centric clues that may trip up US or Aussie solvers.

I had expected to be blogging after the Champion Golfer of the Year was safely engraved on jug, but that has turned out not to be. Any guesses? As an American, I would like to see Spieth win, but I would not be surprised if something completely unexpected happened, like Eddie Pepperell shooting ten under tomorrow and running off with the whole thing. Predictions invited!

1 GOLF COURSE, G + O(L[inks]F COURSE. D’oh!
6 CROC, C + ROC, a starter clue.
9 MICHAELMAS, anagram of [Septe]M[ber] + HE CLAIMS A. Since I had no idea when Michaelmas occurs, I needed a few checkers for this.
10 GURN, GU([boo]R)N. Ignotus mihi, but gettable from the checkers and the cryptic.
12 LITTLE WONDER, double definition, one semi-jocular.
15 ANALGESIA, anagram of ANGEL in ASIA, biffed in by me with only the ‘a’ at the end.
17 SCOFF, SC[rew] + OFF. Both ‘bolt’ and ‘scoff’ are UK slang words meaning ‘eat quickly’, but they are both widely known to solvers everywhere.
18 SOBER, SO + BER[lin].
19 NO KIDDING, double definition, one emphatically jocular!
20 SATISFACTORY, SAT(I[ntelligence])S + FACTORY. The SATS are school tests in both the US and the UK, but are not the same thing. Convenient nevertheless.
24 IDOL, sounds like IDLE.
25 SILLY BILLY, SILL + Y(BILL)Y. Another UK-centric expression.
26 NADA, [ca]NADA. C.A. is the official UK abbreviation for ‘chartered accountant’.
27 BODY WEIGHT, anagram of BY WHITE DOG. This is indeed a number of stones in the UK, but in very few other places.
1 GAME, double definition.
2 LOCO, double definition.
3 CHARING CROSS, CHA + RING + CROSS in different senses.
4 UNLIT, [s]UNLIT, a chestnut I didn’t see for a bit.
5 SPACE WALK, S.(PACE)W.A.L.K. I believe SWAK is more usual, but an internet search confirms that SWALK was also used.
7 ROUND ROBIN, ROUND + ROBIN, The obvious enough answer, but not a bird that is served for Christmas dinner. The Wiki explains: “More recently, the robin has become strongly associated with Christmas, taking a starring role on many Christmas cards since the mid 19th century. The robin has appeared on many Christmas postage stamps.”
8 CENTRIFUGE, CENT + anagram of FIGURE. An item much in the news lately.
11 CONSIDERABLE, C(ON SIDE R[ace])ABLE, probably biffed in by nearly everyone.
14 RABBIT FOOD, BIT inside anagram of BOARD OF, another probable biffing target.
16 SAN MARINO, S(AN + MAR[k])INO. A forgotten country; I wonder how they’re doing? They are not a member of the EU, which is probably just as well.
21 TELLY, TELL + Y, a UK-centric answer, but an obvious one.
22 SLUG, double definition
23 CYST, hidden in [regen]CY ST[yle].

52 comments on “Times 26155 – They were giving out brains, and he thought they said ‘trains’….”

  1. I had TALKY instead of TELLY. I know the usual spelling is TALKIE, but I wonder if the alternative is supported anywhere? Happy to accept the umpire’s decision.

    Other than that, no hiccoughs. In fact last week’s hiccough is now a distant memory.

    Thanks setter and blogger. I also would like to see Spieth win, but I’ll settle for a three-way playoff between Day, Leishman and Scott.

    1. About a million of us fell into the TALKY trap, including the mighty Magoo. At least we’re in good company…
  2. 14dn and 8ac took me a couple of minutes over my half-hour target but this was mostly quite straightforward and very enjoyable.
  3. Wondered about the robin. Wondered about SPACE WALK, too, which I biffed. DNK GURN, of course, but it was pretty inevitable. (My dictionary (a Japanese job, mind you) cross-refers to ‘girn’, and the SOED has no entry for GURN, but a note at ‘girn’ that GURN is the normal spelling for this meaning.) No problem with 25ac or 27ac; out of curiosity, am I right in thinking one uses ‘stone’ in the singular (weighs just over 10 stone)?
  4. … with a few twists. Lured into TALKY (as per Galspray). But had a wave of nostalgia re SWALK. Used it a few times as a young man. The more adventurous used NORWICH. Don’t expect to see it any time soon in the times but.
    1. SWALK was indeed heavy with nostalgia, although I didn’t think of Alan Bennett and NORWICH!

      8dn seemed to belong to Monty Python’s Yorkshiremen – “Bah gum, we reckoned it were a good Christmas if we ‘ad a nice fat robin on the table.”


  5. 8:42 … with few pauses, so a heartening start to the week.

    Only query — the couple of dictionaries I just looked at seem to think that ‘halt’ for GAME is archaic. Isn’t it normal to indicate that, as in “Halt old game” or something? I may be getting confused about whether that’s a TImes thing.

    1. Mm, when I finished with 1 error I assumed that it must have been GAME that was incorrect!
      1. And I see you’re in good company (magoo flavoured company). The plot thickens …. be interested to know what your mistake was when you figure it out.

        p.s. note to ed: can we have this setter at the Champs, please?

        Edited at 2015-07-20 07:32 am (UTC)

        1. Can’t see too much of a problem here (post research). ODO gives both as “lame”.
          1. Ah!

            I would like to claim that I considered and rejected ‘talky’ on the grounds that there’s nothing in the clue to point to an outmoded term … but of course the truth is I just didn’t think of it.

            1. The depressing thing is that I thought of TALKY early on and thought “hmm, that seems possible but a bit odd… I won’t risk it until I’ve got all the crossing letters”. The road to hell is paved with such good intentions!
        1. Sorry, just that Long Room atmosphere rubbing off!

          Anyway, well played. I didn’t think this was an easy one.

          1. 🙂 That’s alright. I was wearing my Mitchell Johnson stick-on moustache while solving. Definitely speeds me up.

            Edited at 2015-07-20 08:59 am (UTC)

            1. Yes – well played ma’am. The one giving me fits was BODY WEIGHT – no excuses (although it is very hot in NYC) just looking for defs in all the wrong places. No trouble with TELLY, never thought of the other. GAME/HALT no prob either and I think GAME in that sense is indeed pronounced GAMMY as Pip says. And I think the HALT and the blind, the poor and the maimed come somewhere in John Bunyan. 14,48
              1. I would’ve been under 10 minutes even without my unfortunate slip-up but not under 9, so yes indeed, well played ma’am!
                1. Can’t edit because Verlaine replied. Chased down the HALT reference. It seems to be John Bunyan’s take on a parable in Luke. Years in the British gulag (boarding school) with no telly leave their traces.

                  Edited at 2015-07-21 12:19 pm (UTC)

  6. About 10 minutes here. I thought of TALKY but went for TELLY because the other one’s spelt TALKIE (presumably back-formed from MOVIE). It would also be a form of entertainment rather than a source of entertainment, but maybe that’s splitting hairs.
  7. 17.31, but I can’t spell CENTReFUGE and TELLY didn’t occur to me, since utter/talk was obvious enough to overcome the uncertain spelling (about which I would have complained). Fast start, slow middle, quicker finish.
    Well played the Aussies: I think we need a game where neither side wins the toss on a pitch where the side batting first is going to get millions.
    And what about a 22 year old amateur for the Open?
  8. 16m. I found the top half of this easy, the bottom half much less so. Fortunately TELLY occured to me before TALKY.
  9. 13.20, and would never have entertained spelling TALKIE any other way. Similar experience to others, slowing down after a fast start with lots of biffing.
  10. 11 and a half minutes with a fair bit of biffing and happily not falling into traps.

    I certainly didn’t expect to be solving Monday’s puzzle with one eye on the golf, but no Test match in prospect. The radio coverage also answered the question which I was asking myself, and the answer is No, Paul Dunne can’t suddenly decide to turn professional halfway through his final round. I wonder if it actually takes the pressure off him, knowing that an over-ambitious drive won’t potentially cost him several hundred thousand pounds.

  11. 14 mins but another “talky”. Even if I had thought of TELLY I’m not sure I’d have gone with it because utter/tell are less synonymous than utter/talk, IMHO of course. I’d just assumed that my entry was a variant spelling.
  12. 22:19, but another TALKY and couldn’t parse SOBER… thanks for the explanation. I stupidly took ages to spot ‘by’ was part of anagram for 27a, my LOI. 14d my favourite.
  13. Like our blogger, thought this was going to be tricky, but once I got going it went in smoothly in 14 minutes, 27a my LOI as it was at the bottom. Biffed GAME and still not sure why game = halt, archaic or not.

    Eddie Pepperell won’t win, because i drew him in our golf club lads sweep. At this point, in this weather, it’s anyone’s. Spieth, although an American, seems to be a polite, worthy candidate and a well behaved modest champion, unlike bad boy TW.

    1. Both mean ‘lame’. In the case of ‘halt’ the usage is generally labelled ‘archaic’ in the dictionaries. This meaning of ‘game’ is considered ‘dated’ by ODO and ‘less common’ by Collins, but Chambers thinks it’s fine.

      Edited at 2015-07-20 09:43 am (UTC)

      1. thanks K, I knew game = lame, hence gammy leg, but not halt = lame and don’t have offline dics here.
  14. 20 mins instead of the usual 60… very quiet in the shop today. Bad weather coming in later, so what about Brandon Grace?
  15. 15:16. TELLY went straight in without a second thought which is just as well as TALKY would not have occurred to me in a million years given my understanding of its spelling. Reread Stalky & Co recently though.

    Edited at 2015-07-20 10:49 am (UTC)

  16. Wow – I finished in 5:52 and never thought of putting talky. I’d also like to support the request for this setter to provide a puzzle for October
    1. Extremely well played, ma’am!

      I’m now planning to sit next to Magoo while wearing my stick-on Mitchell Johnson moustache. It won’t do me any good but it might distract him long enough to give someone else a chance.

  17. 30m DNF as I had misbiffed FLEA for 22d – I really don’t like the wretched question mark clues – which made 27a impossible, even if I had spotted the anagram which I didn’t! So I spent 12m puzzling over an impossibility of my own making! At least I can claim a small victory over the big hitters in that I had no trouble with TELLY probably because I never thought of TALKY! But doh! And double doh! A fast for me time missed! Thanks for blog and grudgingly to setter for another defeat.
  18. 10:42 and like the other “lucky” ones I didn’t even consider talky. Given context and transitivenessicity I don’t think either talk or tell are wholly satisfactory synonyms for utter.

    Didn’t know the required meaning of halt.

    I’ll add to the clamour for this setter to be used in October. Another 99,997 of us and we can get a petition to Parliament.

  19. About 15 minutes to breeze through this but I had TALKY. Yes, I thought the spelling odd, but being over here ‘telly’ is not at the tip of my tongue. SPACE WALK biffed as ‘swalk’ wasn’t really known either. Regards.
  20. Agree with Kevin on both Telly and SWALK. Got hung up badly because a rifle BORE also takes a bullet and it was so obvious (and a better answer, I think, not mis-needing “takes”). Otherwise I seem to hear “I have a game leg” frequently around the squash courts and sometimes the golf course. Probably archaic friends and acquaintances.
    1. Paul do you hear ‘game’ or ‘gammy’? The latter is a derivative of the former, but still reasonably common.

      Edited at 2015-07-21 06:47 am (UTC)

      1. Hi Keriothe. I hear game. Silent e, long a – I don’t recall ever hearing gammy, though my pretend etymology can see the relationship; I was consequently interested in the discussion in the thread. I was wondering if this was another UK/US/Commonwealth difference.
        1. Interesting, thanks. I hear ‘gammy’ occasionally, but I’ve never heard ‘game’. None of the dictionaries say anything about US/UK differences, so I guess it will remain a mystery.
  21. I was feeling quite sore from kicking myself for bunging in TALKY, but the pain has eased a little now that I’ve found that Magoo and Verlaine are in the same boat. Though perhaps I’ve less excuse because I’ve fallen into the TALK/TELL trap before, with TELLING TO rather than TALKING TO many years ago. My time was 7:53, so a lot slower than that crypticsue, but not a total disaster.

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