Times 26449 – Little to argue about

Solving time: 14 minutes

Blogging Music: Richard Thompson, Mock Tudor

I’m back, filling in for Ulaca, who is doing a little traveling this week. This time around, I have gotten the typical easy Monday puzzle. My only problem was that I had been working on Mephisto in the afternoon, and I had a hard time adjusting my mindset down to the level of this particular offering.

I don’t really see anything difficulties at all, and the Quickie graduates may well be successful. On the other hand, what is second nature to experienced solvers may not be so obvious to newbies, so let’s see how they do.

1 MATE, double definition, in chess and matching up socks.
10 RANCOUR, RAN + COUR[sing].
11 VERBALS, SLAB + REV backwards. Not an expression I am familiar with, but the cryptic is quite obvious.
12 IN BLACK AND WHITE, IN + BLACK AND WHITE. When I was a boy, some chess sets featured red and white pieces.
14 POT ROAST, anagram of POTATO’S + R.
17 POSITION, double definition.
23 ARRAIGN, ARRA(GI backwards)N.
25 HEAVY METAL, double definition.
26 STUDY, STUD[y], a bit of rather archaic jewelry.
4 PERUKE, anagram of UK PEER.
5 INVENTOR, IN VENT[n]OR, not a very exact literal here.
6 HERO WORSHIPPER, double definition.
7 IMARI, I(MAR)I, the only thing in the puzzle at all obscure, but it vaguely rang a bell.
9 LOCAL AUTHORITY, double definition, one slightly jocular.
16 NONSENSE, N(O)N + SENSE, knights as in chess notation.
17 PHARAOH, sounds like FAIR O.
19 RESPOND, anagram of PERSON + D[ivulge].
20 CUPOLA, CU + A LOP upside-down
22 CIRCA, anagram of ARC[t]IC.

55 comments on “Times 26449 – Little to argue about”

  1. LOI VERBALS; so the cryptic wasn’t that obvious to me–had the VER, took forever to come up with BALS. IMARI, on the other hand, was a gimme. Pretty Mondayish all in all.
  2. … a single coffee; so probably under 10. Only DNK was VERBALS. Post-solve ODO check rather sums up the current Australian election campaign:
    Brit. informal abuse; insults: just a bit of air-wave verbals.

    Vinyl: best choice of music in a while! Though I wondered why you thought STUD archaic. They’re in people’s ears, tongues, noses, etc. wherever you look these days. I think I’d prefer them to be archaic!

  3. Pottery originally introduced to Japan from Korea via the port of Imari. 7 dn LOI COD and WOD FOI PERUKE

    24 minutes for a fairly normal Monday although things back in Blighty look to be going pear-shaped.

    Whatever happened to the Liberal Party!?

    horryd Shanghai

    1. They became the Liberal Democrats, allied themselves to the Tories in the previous government, took the blame for everything, and are now basically my missus and wossname, the party leader. The Labour Party has mostly resigned, the Conservative party is to all intents and purposes leaderless and even more euro-divided than ever. Still, it’s nice to know we’ve taken back control, innit?
    2. The blighters are still going far too strong in Australia. Must have been one of those free-trade exchange agreements like the one where we got our feral foxes destroyed in return for taking all those English idiots in red who seem to enjoy hunting them. Now we’re overrun by chinless wonders instead. (Cf cane toads!)
      (Slight reference to 10ac.)
      1. Ah yes, but your Liberals are pretty much our Tories, possibly descended from the same lizard genus. Our Liberals are the nice, well-meaning, earnest amateur politicians, which is why they’ve been practically wiped out.
  4. 27 minutes for his enjoyable romp with IMARI unknown and TENEBROUS constructed from wordplay having dredged the Spanish river from the back of my mind. The T-word has come up before, in 2010, when I didn’t know it and in 2013 it was mentioned in connection with TENEBRAE from the same root, which I also didn’t know as an office of the church.

    Being a non-scientist (although I have O-level physics 1964 which might qualify as a degree in the subject these days for all I know) I was puzzled by the “not” in the second part of 25ac where I thought both steel and brass are metal and pretty heavy, but IIRC in science a “heavy metal” has to be a chemical element whereas the examples given are alloys. I stand ready to be corrected if any of this is rot.

    1. So far as I am aware that’s all true Jack, but I think the setter just meant they aren’t going to be steel bands or brass bands..
      1. Yes that was my initial thought, Jerry, taking the clue as a whole. My remarks were based on Vinyl’s categorising it as a double definition and I was trying to accommodate that. I should have made it clear.
  5. 5m20 but one off, as I invented the TOP ROAST, which does admittedly sound like a less plausible dish than POT ROAST on reflection. But hey, what can I say, I’m mostly a vegan these days..
  6. A bit over my 30mins, with VERBALS being LOI. IMARI was u/k, as was VENTNOR on the IOW.
  7. 12.04. I find my typing speed is definitely deteriorating, so I may have to go back to paper solving and analogue timing. Watch this space for some suspiciously low and round scores.
    Although Chambers says “slab (n) a thin flat piece of stone, etc;” I wasn’t too sure of piece standing for slab. A sculpture is a piece of art, but would sculpture clue piece? Would “symphony”, even though it’s a piece of music? Maybe I’m being too critical, which maybe why our setter put 3ac just above.
    I’m with McT on STUD. I can’t personal see the attraction, as I generally try to avoid getting holes in my skin. I’ve always wondered whether people who have them below the lower lip can blow spit through the hole: perhaps someone here could settle the issue.
    1. My interpretation of 11a was as in a “slab of cake” is a “piece of cake”.
      Sorry I can’t help you with the piercing bit – my skin and that of my family is mercifully unpunctured.
      1. Yeah, I had that on my list too. It’s still one very generic word clued by another only slightly less generic word: block of concrete/piece of concrete. Does block=piece? Yes, but…
    2. ….. and do they drown while snorkelling?

      30 minutes of gentle Monday exercise.

  8. I ran aground after fifty minutes. Had the NW and SE done, but a combination of not seeing some obvious ones and a lack of knowledge scuppered me, I think.

    DNK VERBALS; didn’t think of Arran for the island or think of ARRAIGN as complain; as with jackkt, didn’t get to HEAVY METAL from not steel or brass; DNK PERUKE; DNK Ventnor; DNK Leander, though I got the WORSHIPPER part; DNK IMARI, though I’d at least got it on the mental possibles list. At that point, I lost confidence in even the easier ones like PHARAOH, for example, as I assumed it would be some specific historical king I’d never heard of.

    Ah well. At least I got TENEBROUS, remembering that tenebres had something to do with darkness or shadows in French… Thanks for putting me out of my misery! I’d have got a few more if I’d been more awake or on the wavelength, or even if my crossers had been in more helpful places for the gaps in my knowledge.

    Edited at 2016-06-27 07:27 am (UTC)

  9. I think I knew / should have known TENEBROUS, but it didn’t come to mind. So I moved the OBI River to Spain and mombled TENOBIOUS, which now that I look at it would have required an OBIO River so that clue was a bit of a train-wreck really.

    Pretty straightforward otherwise, normal Monday stuff.

    The blogger has every right to assert that IMARI was the only thing “at all obscure” in this puzzle, but things are different in my universe. I would estimate that PERUKE is a word known by less than 1% of people I have ever come in contact with. Still, there were only three possible permutations with the checkers in place and fortunately the correct answer was also the one that looked most likely. Or least unlikely.

    Going home now to watch the season end of Game of Thrones, but I suspect it will be a letdown after watching the real-life drama emanating from the UK over the last few days.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    1. I would agree that PERUKE is not a word you commonly come across; similarly CUPOLA. Fortunately I got both of those; unfortunately I didn’t get TENEBROUS, not knowing either that word on the river Ebro. 7m 11s with that error.
    2. German-speakers will be familiar with Perücke meaning wig, that’s how I knew it, and the English spelling has come up before.
  10. I only vaguely knew TENEBROUS and didn’t know the Ebro river, so I instead came up with TENABROUS. Otherwise all present and correct in about 15 minutes.
  11. Just one cup of coffee for me to, an easy Monday offering. 15 mins maximum, including giving the dog his second breakfast. DNK IMARI but could see it even before I’d SPLIT HAIRS.
  12. 10:40 … so outside my new 2K(eriothe) target. Unoriginally, main hold-up was VERBALS. Evidently I need to watch more Eastenders. Or any.
    1. Congratulations! Mind you, under my new regime (vide supra), I expect to get down to about two and a bit minutes, partly by misreading the little hand as the big hand.
        1. Nice job! I maintain that POTOAST is a pathetic “anagram” of POTATOS, and TOPOAST much more aesthetic… but you’d still have zoomed past me!
    2. Me too! PB but not fast by your standards. 12 minutes

      Edited at 2016-06-27 10:46 am (UTC)

    3. Blimey, that’s very breezy, well done. Well done to Ann too.

      Edited at 2016-06-27 11:53 am (UTC)

  13. First DNF for ages, and on a Monday. Strange times, certainly. VERBALS was the culprit. How bloody ironic.
  14. Monday fare, 15 minutes, but slow see / hear PHARAOH my LOI. Familiar with Japanese pottery and the river Ebro which we trundle across twice each year, escaping the worst of winter and returning. Still in shock from all the ageing British turkeys who just voted for Christmas.
  15. I see Chambers has ‘a metal of high specific gravity, usually greater than 5’, which leaves me none the wiser. In search of a fast time I banged in ROYAL ARTILLERY for 9d without reading the clue, using the checkers at that point; this took some unravelling. Fortunately I did not use this ‘get it down, think of consequences later’ strategy last Thursday, although I suspect millions did. Just saying. 17’16″ today.
  16. I found this tricky and I had to use aids to find Leander’s squeeze and the IOW resort. I also DNK IMARI, and like Pootle73 invented the river ABRO. I pieced VERBALS together as my LOI. FOI MATE. 35 minutes altogether, with a lot of struggling in the NE. Looking up HERO finally gave me SPLIT HAIRS which allowed me to complete the grid.
  17. I only knew the word verbals as meaning when the police stitched you up by claiming you’d said something when stopped or questioned. This is another definition in Chambers.
  18. Twenty-four minutes here, which is fast for me. By the 9-minute mark I had everything for three or four in the south-left corner, not helped by my forgetting which was the correct spelling of PHAR[O/A]H. Then I got ARRAIGN (though I’d not heard that use of the word), and the final bits fell into place. IMARI and TENEBROUS were words I half-remembered, but it was a near thing.

    Oh, and regarding “HEAVY METAL” – there is no precise definition, but it generally refers to metals of high atomic number and/or density. The phrase is most often encountered as “heavy metal poisoning”, since many of these metals (chromium, lead etc) can be toxic. Iron is generally not considered a heavy metal, but copper (the main component of most brasses) often is.

    Edited at 2016-06-27 11:57 am (UTC)

  19. I expected the pattern of the last few Mondays to continue, so was amazed to finish in 19 minutes. TENEBROUS fell early because I thought it was the answer to a clue the other day, so it was still in the front of my brain. 5 was my LOI after 11a. I’ve not heard of VENTNOR so the wordplay was a mystery.
    I’ve always thought of ARRAIGN as meaning to accuse or put on trial. ‘Complain about’ seems a bit mild.
  20. I managed to make a right old mess of timing myself but I reckon around 10 minutes. Good puzzle I thought, with the trickier words clearly clued.
  21. Just over 10 mins so no PB and cigar. Only DNK was IMARI but what else could it be. Still coming down from England’s excellent performance in Oz – I am now waiting for their less talented compatriots to beat Iceland 1-0 in a penalty shoot out.
    1. ” .. I am now waiting for their less talented compatriots to beat Iceland 1-0 in a penalty shoot out.”

      Beating Iceland in a penalty shoot out is but a distant dream …

      1. I thought I was being a trifle optimistic. I was cheering the plucky -sons and -dottirs by the end of the game against the overpaid Neanderthals representing England. Fortunately I am a rugger bugger so will not lose any sleep tonight.
  22. 19 minutes, which I think might be a PB. If this carries on I’ll have to start counting the seconds too. Not yet, though, not yet.
  23. 11:16, sitting in the carpark of my boy’s dentist while waiting to pay for his treatment. He is 25. Totally with robrolfe in VERBALS but hey! For various reasons, I probably mix too much with our boys in blue. A gentle Monday.
  24. Agreed, a fairly gentle Monday offering. The only real hold up was my LOI, VERBALS, where I was unfamiliar with the meaning. TENEBROUS wasn’t familiar either, but I know of the Ebro saw got there via the wordplay. Regards.
  25. Firstly congrats to k on the PB. I don’t track my times to that degree, but I was certainly nowhere near PB territory (whatever mine is) as I came home in 12 mins. Count me as another who didn’t think VERBALS was obvious, and it added a minute or two to my time at the end.
  26. Just over 30 minutes (near my best time), so a very easy Monday indeed. Except for my LOIs, which in keeping with the majority were VERBALS and IMARI, both of which I’d never heard of. But they couldn’t be anything else really and it would have been my best time if I’d just banged them in and not spent minutes wondering whether there mightn’t be something better.
  27. 7:33 for me, all right once I got going properly but making another horribly slow start.

    I’m probably missing something obvious but I don’t understand “directed at” = RAN (if that is indeed the correct parsing) in 11ac.

    Congrats to keriothe and falooker (and anyone else) on their new PBs.

    1. I parsed it as:

      RAN (directed), COUR{sing} (hunting with hounds) [not half]

      with “at” denoting the physical position of the two elements of the answer.

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