Times 26464 – in good company at least…

Solving time : 13:38 but the club timer said I had two incorrect (which is two better than yesterday). Usually this means I have a typo in a checking letter and fortunately it was an easy one to spot when I opened it back up, I had an S at the crossing of 18 and 20. I also note that another blogger has the same score – maybe we had the same typo.

Odd puzzle this one – probably amenable to biffing, but in a lot of places the wordplay is very very good, particularly in my last entry (11 across) where I definitely needed the wordplay.

Away we go…

1 PETROLHEAD: a term I don’t think I have heard since Australia in the 80s – ROLE(function) containing H(horse) inside PET(animal), AD
9 CONJUROR: the companion in the box could be a CO-JUROR – put an N in it
10 WICKED: double definition
11 BOREAS: the North wind – RE(about) in BOAS
13 ILL-FATED: or I’LL FA(musical note) TED
14 MIND-BOGGLING: MIND(object to), then O,GG(since 8 is GEEGEE) inside BLING
17 RHYMING SLANG: anagram of HANGS,GRIMLY containing (in)N
20 TEA CHEST: TEST(trail) containing A,CHE
21 FURORE: O(over – here’s today’s cricket), RE (soldiers) with FUR
22 TIVOLI: anagram of TOIL containing IV
23 NEGATIVE: GEN reversed then EVITA reversed
25 R,ELY
26 ELEMENTARY: ELEMENT(air is one of the ancient ones) then Y with AR(ne)
2 ECONOMIC: ON(more cricket) inside E,COMIC
3 RAJ: JAR reversed
4 LORIS: replace the D in LORDS with an I
5 EARRING: EARNING with R for the first N
6 DOWELLING: here it is spelled with only one L – DO WELL, then IN, (fixin)G
7 RECTANGULAR: REGULAR surrounding C(opper),TAN(beat)
8 GEE-GEE: G, then four Easts surrounding another G
12 EX-DIRECTORY: EX(old), then RECTOR inside DIY
15 OXYGENISE: anagram of SEXY,GI,ONE
16 ENGRAVER: E and N are the bridge players, then GRAVER – not sure we’ve seen CHASE for etching in the daily before
19 DEFINE: FIN(swimming aid) in DEE
21 FUGUE: I was rather taken by this clue – first letters of For Ukelele, then the last letter of usinG, and alternating letters in lUtE. Fun clue for a tricky word
24 TAT: double definition

63 comments on “Times 26464 – in good company at least…”

  1. overly fast reading of 5d led to putting in ‘earning’. 1ac took forever, even after getting -HEAD; never heard the term before, so I had to do a bunch of alphabet-running, which I normally screw up. Liked CONJUROR and FUGUE.
  2. This would have been about my fastest time ever, had I not assumed GAINING was the definition in 5 across. Took me a while to find the typo CONJURER, too. So, a somewhat frustrating morning. Gradese
  3. Terribly slow start, unfortunately.

    FOI 8dn GEE-GEE then 24dn TAT.

    Then nothing, then at last a deluge and was finally held up by

    LOI 11ac the unknown BOREAS.

    A good crossword – but my 55 minutes was ridiculous.

    17ac RHYMING SLANG should have been a write-in.

    COD and WOD 1ac PETROLHEAD (def. a Clarkson)

    horryd Shanghai

  4. Am on holiday in Penang and running in a new laptop using a new OS, Windows 10 and trying to solve on-line (no printer around). Very convoluted set-up, first in the room and then at the pool. Then it rained, etc etc Took me 86 minutes to type in the last answer (phew!) Thanks George for the blog and the setter for some entertainment. Now for Tramp.
  5. 10m for all but 19dn, and then another 10m before giving up. I’m not sure why (other than an attack of what Tony Sever calls vocalophobia) but I couldn’t for the life of me see what ‘explain scope of’ was driving at, and even when an alphabet trawl threw up DEFINE I didn’t make the connection. I will blame a 5am start.
    1. You have my sympathy. For some reason, DEFINE popped up straight away for me before I had time to worry about those nasty vowels. Which is just as well because -E is absolutely my least favourite start.
  6. An eight word clue using three separate cluing devices to give a five letter word ! Clever .
  7. Forty-odd minutes spent with a one eye on the BBC News after 11ac had me wondering if I’d find a gathering of nuts in May’s cabinet.
    1. Tee hee! But not unless Hazel Blears defects from Labour. Anything’s possible.
  8. 33 minutes for all but BOREAS which I knew no better this time than on the last occasion it came up in November 2013. I was also unable to parse 21ac having settled on OR as the soldiers involved. Horrified this morning to find I wrote in FURORY instead of what I know to be the correct spelling. No doubt on a blogging day I would have made a little more effort and sorted it out.
  9. A decent (for me) 15.41 solve working steadily through, leaving gaps at BOREAS and DEFINE, both of which required serious concentration, the first to work out where the definition was, the second to work out what the definition meant.
    Like others, it seems, I had misgivings over FURORE, “provided with warm clothing” suggesting a containment clue and trying to work out what letter to put on the end of FUR covering OR. In the end, I put in the right answer and decided to wait for George. Thanks George!
    PETROLHEAD comes up interminably in the Top Gear debates, but I lost time trying to think of a word for “holding the wheel on” as the motoring nut’s function.
  10. Decent time but with one error (sigh™), which I immediately assumed meant I had thought myself into a corner (again) with earring/earning. I hadn’t, but my subconscious had typed in FUGEE, proving that I am indeed a Ghetto Supastar. A’ight.

    DOWELLING for some reason makes me happy (the clue, not actual dowelling). Nice puzzle.

      1. Didn’t stop him dumping her for a girl who gave him directions to a cafe. Fickle. Very fickle.
      2. ….like providing us with a really dumb song title. You can be almost anywhere in the world and still only 24hrs from Tulsa!
  11. And yet again I find myself down to the last two when my hour bell goes off. Still, as others were stuck in the same places for a while, I feel like I’m in good company.

    Not sure I’d ever have got 11a, as I went through all my neckwear without BOA ever showing up and I’d never heard of the answer.

    I should probably have got 19d, though, knowing how the clue worked and even reckoning that it must be the Dee rather than the Tee we were looking at, but sadly I got as far as DERIVE and DECIDE and went through quite a long list of swimming aids including flippers without ever finding a FIN.

    Quite a lot of correct biffs along the way for me, which I’m sure is saving me time, but not enough time yet to have the luxury of solving the last couple, apparently. Thanks to all!

  12. 16:37. That’s my third at around 15 minutes this week so either this week’s easier than average so far or I’m punching above my weight like the Wales football team.

    I was delayed at the end by the unknown BOREAS, but trusted the parsing and the thought that it sounded like Aurora Borealis so was maybe the North Wind – which Google has since confirmed.

  13. 20.55 after a crisis at the end before seeing Boreas. Some entertaining cluing. There’s a nuts-in-May’s-cabinet tune on the air this morning. If Clarkson for 1ac. can accompany Loris/Boreas on a Grand Tour our new role on the world stage won’t be too hard to work out.
    1. I’m a bit slow on the uptake this morning and took ages to understand various online jokes along the lines of May, Hammond …. where’s Clarkson?
      1. The petrolhead? (I think his new show’s The Grand Tour.)

        Edited at 2016-07-14 10:30 am (UTC)

      2. Presumably if Boris doesn’t cut it as foreign secretary Clarkson’s a shoo in?
  14. There is obviously also a (more pertinent) cricket reference today in the clue for 4dn!

    Also Tea Chest was the answer for one of the most devious all-time two word classic clues, which simply read ‘Art Master? (3-5)’ (you need to think in slightly old English)


  15. That’s 4 on the trot this week and I found this the easiest by far. Would have finished in less that an hour in one sitting, but rumours of potato blight meant a quick visit to the allotment, the rumours were unfounded. Some wonderful surfaces, I completed this with a little smile on my face all the way through. Thanks setter and blogger, I too was taken by 21d.
  16. Cheated on BOREAS but karma came in the shape of a mispelt (sic) ‘conjurer’ (sic).

    Feeling pretty sic (sic) myself.

  17. 10m 58s, with 19d the LOI after some alphabet-scrambling, and very unsure about BOREAS. I can never remember how to spell CONJUROR, but fortunately I can remember how to spell juror – maybe I’ll make that connection in future.
  18. Whenever a horse is mentioned, I look for double G. It was bonanza. morning. DNK BOREAS. No time to offer as I’ve either been watching the door of Number 10 or the Test Match, but this provided an enjoyable accompaniment.
  19. Clarkson(Jeremy) – Petrolhead – Top Gear – BBC – Amazon – Ginge – etc

    Art master 3,5! TEA CHEST? Help!

    Boris as Foreign Sec.! – this will not please Beijing at all.

    ‘He needs to comb his hair and dye it black! Do his tie up, my wife’s comment when he tipped-up for the finale of the BJ Olympic Games in 2008.

    SPRATLEYS whatts thatt!?

    horryd Shanghai

  20. Don’t agree that air is or ever was an element. For a time they thought it was buy they were proved wrong. Might as well call phlogiston one.
    (Jerry W, not logged in)
    1. Earth, air, fire and water were the ancient 4 elements. Then along came umami. Or am I getting confused with something else?
  21. Not really a fair clue as it doesn’t include a definition, but if Thou art Master, thou ….


    1. I must be really stupid. If the answer was TEACHEST, I might just accept it but what has it got to do with TEA CHEST?
      1. It’s wordplay, so the breaks between words don’t have to match the answer. There isn’t a definition. ‘Hamper art master?’ would be a more complete clue, although hamper=tea chest is a bit dodge.

        Edited at 2016-07-14 01:05 pm (UTC)

          1. You’re welcome. This is the kind of clue you sometimes get in those old puzzles, and they invariably get me huffing and puffing in indignation until I finally twig that I’m solving (or more usually not solving) something from 1967.
            1. I hope I’m not speaking out of turn, not being a contributor to the blog (though an avid follower), but isn’t ‘container for leaves’ the definition for TEA CHEST?
              1. It is for today’s crossword, but the discussion you’ve commented on refers back to a comment from Gandolf34….
                “Also Tea Chest was the answer for one of the most devious all-time two word classic clues, which simply read ‘Art Master? (3-5)’ (you need to think in slightly old English)”
                Regards John
  22. Like U, I carelessly entered CONJURER and was defeated by BOREAS as I just couldn’t think of BOAS for neckwear and hadn’t heard of the wind’s name. Like Jack I toyed with FURORY but went with my instincts and put in the correct answer, incompletely parsed. I confidently wrote in MIND BLOWING for 14a, until I found I was a letter short. The correct answer came soon after. PETROLHEAD came soon after working out DOWELLING. Liked FUGUE. 50 minutes with 15 of those failing to get 11a. Thanks setter and George.
  23. 21:38 and I reckon 10 minutes of that was spent on wicked, dowelling, define and, finally, Boreas.

    I wondered if swimming in 19 was an anagrind but DEDIAE didn’t look terribly promising.

    Petrolhead was my first in and an E in ill-feted held me up a bit. Thanks for the parsing of furore.

    Has the world turned through 90 degrees? George mentions 18 across & 20 down and the second comment references 5 across and I can’t find any of them.

    1. Whoops – swap across and down (I think) – I had INSENSE and I think TEA CHESS in the grid when I went back to see what the mistakes were
  24. If this is the standard we are applying then including the names of gods is going to get very awkward.
  25. Around 25 minutes on this one, the last several scratching my head about DEFINE. Like Penfold, I was flummoxed by trying to fit (aid)* in there somehow, which obviously didn’t hold promise. We have gearheads over here, so PETROLHEAD required unraveling the wordplay. FUGUE was nice, as stated by others. Regards to all.
  26. Once spent at least thirty minutes doing Latin homework wondering why Caesar in Rome suddenly appeared to be in Africa – turned out AFRICANUS means South West wind. ZEPHYRUS also made an appearance in the first few lines of the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales. I see Nikki Morgan’s been sacked along with Michael Gove, maybe, just maybe, there might be a sensible education policy ….. 22′ today, thanks setter and blogger.
  27. Breezed through this in 15:19. Clarkson went straight in and DOWELLING reminded me of the time when the pegs kept breaking when trying to assemble 6 IKEA dining chairs. Familiar with BOREAS but it was my LOI. Still trying to get over the sight of Chris Froome running up Mont Ventoux this afternoon.
    1. That was a disgrace this afternoon! I always find myself screaming at the TV on mountain stages: GETTHOSEIDIOTSOUTOFTHEWAY!! Chris Boardman on ITV4 was right; having the spectators right on the road has been an accident waiting to happen for years.
      1. Ironic that Froome was fined earlier in the week for pushing a spectator!
        1. What has an IQ of 144? 12 dozen TdF spectators. Make that 24 dozen if you include those just wearing swimming trunks.
  28. 15 mins for a fully alert solve, which is strange because I worked an hour longer than I did the last two days. FURORE was my LOI after ENGRAVER. For ages I was convinced that “outcry” was “fury” in the newspaper headline sense and I had been trying to shoehorn it into the answer. I confess that I biffed PETROLHEAD and didn’t bother to try and parse it.
  29. Beaten by the wind. My alphabet-trawling net had a hole in it and missed “boas” completely, so I decided that “cols” were some sort of francophonic shoulder coverings, and ended up with “corels”.

    However, I was also foxed by 6d, where I opted for EARNING. If there’d be an “in” before “item” in the clue, it would have been an ambiguous clue; as it is, though, I was just sloppy.

  30. I fought shy of BOREAS for quite a while because I read ‘neckwear’ as singular instead of plural. Have I missed something?
    I did enjoy “companion in box” = CO(N)JUROR, except I put an E instead of a second O. I also enjoyed “one who chases” = ENGRAVER, except I thought an engraver was another word for grave digger……
    Lastly, I enjoyed the two letter replacement clues but was surprised to find them next to each other (4d,5d).
    1. Martin, I don’t have a problem with “neckwear” as both singular and plural, much the same way as I don’t have a problem with sheep and fish being both singular and plural.
      1. Yes, of course; but I can imagine a comedy sketch (“Are You Being Served”?) where a woman asks for a boa and the shop assistant pulls out a real, live snake!
  31. 10:49 for me. A slow start, followed (once I’d got going) by a brisk biff-fest, followed by a long pause as I tried to fathom 11ac (BOREAS).
  32. But I’m taking 10 minutes off that because of a talkative colleague who failed to observe my cone of silence.

    LOI by a long way was BOREAS.

    Thanks setter and George.

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