Times 26515 – Just chilling out in the hood with the West Staines massiv

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
A quick look at the Crossword site scorecard shows a lot of singletons, error wise, which I am assuming (though very probably wrongly) to owe more to the Ashford clue than to the pianist clue.

My own major 10a was posed by my last in (27a), where I couldn’t see the parsing on entry and wasn’t very familiar with the vehicle. Perhaps I’ll see it by the time I come to explain it.

Overall, a nice and gentle introduction to the week, with a par Monday time for me of 23 minutes.


1. REMOTE – RE + MOT + [no-on]E; I have always spelt this (‘no-one’) as two words, in which form it looks so much less ugly.
4. SCHNABEL – no I’d never heard of Polish-Austrian Artur either; anagram* of BLANCHES.
10. CONUNDRUM – NUN in COD (‘kid’) + RUM (‘unusual’).
11. BATON – TAB reversed + ON; this setter has a penchant for having the solver transfer words from clue to answer.
12. PROFESSIONALLY – LAYS PINE FLOORS*; for a number of us of a certain vintage and way of thinking, ‘professional’ and ‘skillful’ are very commonly antonymous.
14. RUSTY – RU + ST[a]Y (stay as in rope as in guy).
16. LADYS MAID – DISMAL DAY*; the anagrams appear to be getting no harder.
18. TEA GARDEN – TE + ARDEN around A + G; the Forest of Arden plays a part in Shakespeare’s As You Like It, which popped up in one of our Controversial Clues recently, although the bard rather hedged (sorry) his bets there, by collapsing it with Wallonia’s Ardennes Forest. Marvellous thing, Wikipedia…
20. SHELL – LL (two pounds, or at least pound signs) on SHE (the Haggard book).
21. CONDUCTED TOURS – (DUCT in ONE) in CD (the extreme letters of C[ol]D) + TOURS (place in France).
25. PIECE – PIE (‘dessert perhaps’) + C[rumbl]E; definition ‘portion’.
26. MUSCOVITE – MITE around US and COV[er]; definition ‘Russian’.
27. ROADSTER – ROAD (sounds like ‘rowed’ – well, I suppose it could be ‘rowed’, but ‘rode’ is somewhat more likely; thanks sawbill) + STER[n] (‘back mostly’).


1. RECUPERATE – definition ‘rally’; the prize has nothing to do with cups – it’s RE (‘concerned with’) followed by CRATE (‘vintage car’) around UP (‘winning’) and [priz]E. It’s why they pay us so much…
2. MANGO – hidden.
3. TANNERY – ANNE in TRY; literal ‘hides here for treatment’ – the sort of thing a tennis umpire would tell you, after s/he’s said ‘seats quickly please’.
5. CAMEO – a charade (A + B + C) of CA + ME + O; not sure about you, but as I get better at these things – and more warped in my thinking – I tend to find the common or garden charade one of the trickiest clue types.
7. BATTLE-AXE – B + A and X in ATTLEE.
8. LING – NIL reversed + G[rilled]; a ling is a fish when it’s not heather.
9. WRESTLED – W (‘with’) + REST + [b]LED; not too taxing.
13. ADOLESCENT – another charade with another word to transfer from clue to answer; A + DOLES + CENT.
15. SOAP OPERA – and another (of the latter, ut supra); in fact, two of them – SO + POP and ERA after A.
17. DANSEUSE – Sudanese*; ‘danseuse’ is putting in a late bid for Crossword Word of The Year.
19. ADDRESS – definition ‘speak to’; A and DRESS (‘groom’) around D (middle letter of wedDing).
20. SET DOWN – the setter is probably referring to Ashford in Kent, but it could be the town north of the Thames now bizarrely in Surrey rather than Middlesex, not a stone’s throw from Ali G’s parish, now even more bizarrely renamed Staines-upon-Thames. Anyhoo – as my daughter would say – the literal is JUDGE, with D (‘day’) in SE TOWN. Booyakasha! Collins has this under ‘set down’: ‘to judge, consider, or regard ⇒ he set him down as an idiot’.
22. COMTE – take every other letter from CoOl MeTiEr.
23. UNITE – TIN in EU all reversed.
24. SPAR – double definition.

50 comments on “Times 26515 – Just chilling out in the hood with the West Staines massiv”

  1. 16 minutes, with one typo, so I feel that this is a fairly easy start to the week.

    10 ac – Should it be COD for kid? Not a usage I am familiar with.

    1. Thanks – changed.

      To cod someone, or play a cod, was common 100 years ago, in Belfast, at any rate, as the Lewis brothers were always indulging in – and talking about – them. I can’t say I have ever come across this use of the word outside books and crosswords in my 57 years.

  2. 7 minutes with fat just-woken-up fingers. Really enjoyed this not-too-taxing puzzle, especially my LOI 3dn. I don’t really see how “judge” is SET DOWN even now, but the wordplay was crystal clear, unless I suppose if you only think of Ashford as the place in Middlesex/Surrey.
  3. A lovely Monday offering, which no matter what anyone says, makes it easier than a Tuesday to Friday offering. In my humble opinion at least.

    Having said that, I had a sudden attack of the NUBIAN SCHNABELs in the NE corner, but they both came down to choosing the least unlikely answer.

    Fortunately knew Ashford from hazy but delightful memories of touring Kent with the UNSWCC back in the 80’s.

    Thanks setter and Ulaca. 5 under.

  4. 12m (actually 11:33 if you want to be precise), so a solid par to start the week for me. Nothing too taxing here, but I enjoyed it.
    I suspect I may be the only person on here who was helped at 6dn by familiarity with the oeuvre of 90s hip-hop legends Brand Nubian.
  5. 13 minutes which is so far under par as to automatically require a drugs test. I had “rode” for travelled as the homonym in 27a which was my LOI.
  6. I started on this when I was too tired and promptly fell asleep with only a couple of words in place. On resumption this morning I needed another 24 to polish it off. ROADSTER has come up recently but I’m sure there was another type of car along similar lines that also came up and I’m going dotty trying to think what it was.
  7. Finished in 15 minutes, biffing ROADSTER and fingers crossed for SCHNABEL, having gone through all the great pianists I knew such as Winifred Atwell, Russ Conway, Mrs Mills and Liberace. I bet SCHNABEL didn’t cry all the way to the bank. Bit of a problem in SE with SET DOWN as I toyed with SIT DOWN before deciding Ashford wasn’t even close to the Downs. Haven’t we had a few TEA GARDENS recently? Supply’s outstripping demand. COD BATTLE-AXE. I’ve always respected a strong woman. Enjoyable puzzle.
      1. Yes, I think the next setter to foist “tea garden” on us needs to pay a forfeit.

        No trouble at all, 26 mins.

        The unchecked horizontals “Sees proud n car Stew” suggest the setter’s brother has new wheels…

        Edited at 2016-09-12 09:04 am (UTC)

      2. There’s a Taylor Teagarden too, a professional baseball catcher, currently out of work. I think I had vaguely heard of Jack Teagarden. My Dad loved the big band stuff.
  8. 19′, tried and failed to parse 1d, thanks ulaca. No problem with SET DOWN, didn’t think too deeply, but aren’t judgements ‘set down’ in law? Dnk SCHNABEL either. Sound start to the week. Thanks setter and ulaca.
    1. I thin that’s how some of us got it, but I think the Collins line is the correct one.

      Ulaca (iPadding)

    2. I thin that’s how some of us got it, but I think the Collins line is the correct one.

      Ulaca (iPadding)

  9. 21:54. I found most of this straightforward but then slowed at the end with the NUBIAN/SCHNABEL (sounds like a German electronic group) and the INSECT/SET DOWN crossers. Until I parsed this I was tempted to throw in SIT DOWN thinking it might have something to do with sitting in judgement but my seldom seen cautious side won out today.
    1. Excellent band name spot which certainly passes the “Can you hear it in the voice of John Peel?” test.

      Edited at 2016-09-12 09:58 am (UTC)

        1. Wow! Thanks for educating me. I thought “German industrial” was the area from Duisberg to Dortmund.

          I also wondered if Nubian Schnabel was the amazing Sudanese ballerina.

      1. On another forum I frequent someone started a thread last week with the title “tattooed grannies”. I opened it 100% expecting it to be about a band but it was actually about grannies with tattoos.
  10. Romped along and finished with a smug feeling in 14 minutes, then found I had a wrong’un; SAT DOWN instead of SET.. SAT as in the judge sat, and the DAY, and thinking Ashford was somewhere with a Down (as in South Downs)… ah well, serves me right for being smug. And I knew Ashford was in Kent, from whizzing up the M20 from the tunnel. The rest was fine, the pianist rang a bell, although I did have THERAPY for 3d until I unravelled 12a.
    6 under on time, 3 over for the OB, so 3 under par so far this week.
  11. 12:47 … again not hard but with many good things. PROFESSIONALLY is lovely, and NUBIANS fine clue.

    Agree with others that TEA GARDENS deserves a long rest. For authenticity should probably be replaced with CAFE NERO or COSTA.

  12. For an unknown reason Chrome is now displaying as a 14×16 with the extra cell below. This makes some of the acrosses overflow into the next row, while all the downs run diagonally, so I need the highlighting of the appropriate cells to readily see what is required.
    In spite of this, was still done in 20 min (10 under par, though barracuda would have been even better, but for a typo). SCHNABEL was FOI, LOI INSECT as it didn’t go in on first pass.

    Edited at 2016-09-12 10:30 am (UTC)

      1. Yes, going down to 75% gives a good display – and I can then go back up to 100% to improve readability without it going bad, even though it doesn’t work with zoom set at that level.
  13. 30 mins on the dot but my LOI 20dn was (as per Pip) – SAT DOWN
    I was convinced that the day was SAT and ASHFORD was a DOWN.
    Whatever rotten clue!

    Top half flew in. FOI 8dn LING. No problem with ROADSTER.

    12ac PROFESSIONALLY was an admirable anagram.


    horryd Shanghai

  14. The notes I handle no better than many pianists. But the pauses between the notes – ah, that is where the art resides.
    1. “I’m playing all the right notes… but not necessarily in the right order.” Eric Morecambe to Andre Previn but written by Eddie Braben.
  15. Not the best start to the week, romping along until hitting a couple of blind spots and then having a typo. Very enjoyable otherwise. Took far too long to see SHELL – for goodness sake, if the book isn’t a biblical abbreviation what else is it likely to be in a Times cryptic? – and the SE TOWN bit. I did check afterwards to see if there was a scientist to fit 4ac.
  16. 10:58 so just about 1 under. I thought there was a lot of terrifically concise cluing on show here and “hides here…” was a great definition. Looking back on the clues there were some great surfaces as well.

    Thanks all round.

  17. Being a Beethoven fan, I’m quite familiar with Artur Schnabel and his work with the sonatas, and expected that many others would be also. Maybe not, though, judging from the comments.
  18. This took me nearly an hour with an error so not a very good start to the week. I had the same thought process as pipkirby with the same result and also entered the pianist on the basis that it was the best fit of the remaining letters once the checkers were in. I liked 20 across.
  19. Loved TANNERY and 6d brought a smile to my face as I remember Idi Amin, courtesy of Alan Coren, often mentioning “de Nubians” in the columns of Punch. Fortunately, I had heard of Artur Schnabel although I have no recordings by him and I note that the Berlin Phil’s Digital Concert Hall has no concerts with him as a soloist.
    Thanks for the blog, ulaca, especially for RECUPERATE. I couldn’t quite work that one out. 34m 36s True Solving Time.
  20. A music professor I once knew used to lecture on “pauses in Mozart”. Maybe he was listening to Schnabel..

    Edited at 2016-09-12 04:23 pm (UTC)

  21. Solved in 2 sessions, so not real time to post. But overall, not supremely taxing. Held up only in the SE with the SET DOWN/INSECT crossing. Got the former from ‘judge’, after flirting with ‘SAT”, but the tense isn’t correct for that. INSECT took some extra pondering because my brain wasn’t finding a small creature to fit ?N?E?T for longer than I can explain. But not overly long, just should have been quicker. Only unknown was SCHNABEL, but it rang a faint bell when it came to mind. Regards.
  22. 13 mins. I made heavy weather of a couple of the clues, particularly that for SHELL for the same reason as malcj. Consequently the SET DOWN/INSECT crossers were my last ones in like Kevin. From Merseyside either of the Ashfords are in the SE, although I’m well aware that setters like to use Kentish references when cluing SE.
  23. I pulled up at Junction 38 Services on the M6 in Cumbria, on my way back from the excellent Charity Folk Festival at the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel in Great Langdale, and bought a copy of the Times and a large coffee. I got straight into the crossword and eerily completed it in 38 minutes! Unfortunately I’d never heard of SCHNABEL and threw the letters up into the air from whence they landed, (Morecambe-wise) in the wrong order:-( Thanks to U for explaining RECUPERATE. I was confounded by the parsing of that one!
    On edit:Having glanced at the paper again, I see I wrote the anagram fodder for SCHNABEL down with a second E instead of an S and finished up with ECHNABEL, so I never stood a chance! So much for solving in car parks 🙂

    Edited at 2016-09-12 10:49 pm (UTC)

  24. Twenty-nine minutes for me, with RECUPERATE my LOI and unparsed. I don’t think I’d ever have equated “crate” with “vintage car” – vintage aeroplane possibly.

    SCHNABEL went in only after much juggling of the non-checkers. Other than that, though, all reasonably straightforward. Nice to see the endangered LING making an appearance; apparently there are very few left in the wild, and their only hope is a breeding program in cryptic crosswords. One of the problems with the captive breeding program is that they readily cross-breed with ide, diluting the gene pool.

  25. Solved in two sessions around my weekly humiliation watching University Challenge and Only Connect. Most enjoyable.
  26. … and RE is more than Scripture. The setter should have read manley’s Manual, where he (in vain, it seems) has tried to drag crosswords into a post-1950 world!
  27. A fairly mild puzzle today, but it took me 44 minutes, the last ten of which I spent staring at the letters of BLANCHES trying to make some sensible anagram that would fit the crossing letters already in place. I live in Germany, German is my language of daily intercourse, so why did it take me so long to realize that despite the paucity of vowels at my disposition the letter combination SCHN…. really can occur, even in an English puzzle? Oh well, no problems with the rest. INSECT my next-to-LOI, if anyone cares.
  28. First time i have completed correctly the main crossword. Took me a couple of hours so I’m not in the same league as others here but am I chuffed. FOI professionally LOI shell. Phil
    1. Great to hear. Despite being au fait with most of the tricks of the trade there are days when I don’t finish – the cryptic crossword is a rum cove, as are its aficionados!
  29. I took a ridiculously long time to get going (including failing to clock Schnabel first time through – doh!) but eventually found the setter’s wavelength and finished in 8:48.

    A pleasant, straightforward start to the week.

  30. Good old Ashford Middlesex.I went to school there and first heard Get Back in a booth in Debenhams in Staines.No hints of Ali G in those days.
  31. I know, I’m late, as usual. And yet another subject of pedantry wherewith to vex setters and solvers alike. But when I tried to parse RECUPERATE based on ERA, it didn’t make sense. (If you don’t know, Google. Wonderful cars, most of them still alive and being raced by enthusiasts). A vintage car can never be a crate. It will have much care and attention, and frequently cash, lavished on it. If you want a flavour of the enthusiasm, buy a copy of the Automobile, and they draw the line at cars before 1960. For the purists of the Vintage Sports Car Club, the definition is between Edwardian and 1930, when Bentley was bought up by Rolls-Royce. You’ll have the poor chaps choking in apoplexy. “Crate”, forsooth!
    1. Nice rant and a good point. I think the setter is just about let off the hook by the fact that vintage can mean old (or at least ‘old-fashioned’ – Collins), but I doubt s/he’ll be showing his/her face any time soon at the next Genevieve convention.

      Ulaca (iPad)

    2. Well of course the setter didn’t mean that sort of vintage car, just an old one which is clearly a valid meaning of the word. But also although the folk you mention would doubtless be rightfully outraged if you or I called their ERA (I remember them!) a crate, I bet they do so themselves, quite often…

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