Times 26587 – Or maybe lose some….

Solving time: 50 minutes

Music: Old Blind Dogs, Wherever Yet May Be

I encountered a number of problems with this one. While I was nearly finished in 15 minutes, the remaining clues proved quite elusive. It is all very well to casually biff ‘chatelaine’ and ‘protease’, but their presence can serve to indicate that there may be others that you won’t see at once, or at all.

At least there is now some music here in Connecticut, although only CD. This is due to my newly-acquired computer, which is able to play music over headphones without any problems. It was a street pickup, a nice Dell Optiplex with a dual 2.8 processor and 4 gigs of memory. The former owner at least had the sense to remove the hard drive, so I had to acquire a 320 gig SATA drive from another junk pile. I installed the latest Ubuntu desktop, and there you go, one somewhat modern computer at a cost of $0.00.

So when I went to write the blog, I remembered all my previous blogs were on the XP boat-anchor. However, I have found Ubuntu to be surprising user-friendly as a desktop, so I just stuck in a USB key, clicked on an old blog, and found myself in gedit, a perfectly suitable text editor as far as I can tell. You could do worse….so on with the blog!

1 CHAINSAW, CHAIN + SAW, in different senses. I thought for a while that ‘group of stores’ was the target, and ‘power’ = ‘P’, but not so.
9 ONE-LINER, ONE + LINER, in vastly different senses, where ‘only’ = ‘one’ and ‘Queen Victoria’ = ‘[ocean] liner’.
10 ANALYSER, anagram of NEARLY AS. I wasted a tremendous amount of time on an anagram of ‘as person’.
11 STRIDENT, ST + RID + anagram of TEN.
12 COMELINESS, COME(LINES)S. The Wikipedia notes that ‘marriage lines’ is equivalent to ‘marriage certificate’ without explaining why.
14 BETA, BET[h] + [b]A[lmoral]. A problematic clue for me, as there is no ‘remove the h’ indicator that I can see.
15 BEESWAX, B[e]E[p]E[r]S + WAX.
17 WINSOME, WIN + SOME, an obvious clue that I could make nothing of for the longest time.
21 OATH, [v]O[w] + [prof]A[nity] + [attes]T[ation] + [blasp]H[eming], an overly-clever clue if there ever was one.
22 CHATELAINE, CHAT + ELAINE, a chestnut and a write-in for me – newbies will not be so lucky.
23 PRESERVE, P + RESERVE, one of the few straightforward clues.
25 LOVELORN, LO + V + anagram of LONER.
26 PROTOCOL, P.R + LOCO TO backwards.
27 ENDURING, END + -URING. I couldn’t see where the ‘ur’ came from for quite a while, wanting to put END IN ING, a momble.
2 HANDSOME, HANDS + [c]OME, amusing surface.
3 IDLENESS, I + anagram of ENDLESS, as I have just discovered while writing the blog.
4 SASH, S + ASH, my FOI.
5 WORSTED, WOR(ST [valentin]E)D, a slightly archaic usage.
7 ANGELENO, AN + ONE LEG upside-down, my LOI, and rather tough. Hollywood is in fact not politically independent, but became a mere neighborhood in Los Angeles following the voluntary annexation of 1910.
8 PROTEASE, anagram of OPERATES.
15 BLOWPIPE, BLOW + PIPE, a cask one associates with well-supplied Elizabethan taverns.
16 ENTRESOL, E.N.T. + LOSER upside-down. I never heard of it, so had to get it from the cryptic.
18 SPARKLER, double definition. I had been ransacking my brain for a long time, when suddenly I remembered the Dickens character, who bore the name but was, of course, a perfect ass.
20 GAZELLE, GAZE + ELL upside-down.
24 AVID, A(V)ID.

46 comments on “Times 26587 – Or maybe lose some….”

  1. This went quickly, until I came to a halt at 7d, after finally convincing myself that BET is a variant of Beth. It took a long while, but at last I thought of ‘leg’=stage. I wasn’t sure about LINER, but finally decided there must be an eponymous ship. Like Vinyl, I was in danger of momblising 27ac. Vinyl, you’ve got a typo at 21ac: it’s blasp[H]eming, not ‘blasphemy’.
  2. On re-reading your comments, V, I was puzzled by the Little Dorrit reference. The dd is sparkler/diamond sparkler/firework, no? (Is he an ass? Dolt, yes, but. Or am I in the wrong novel completely?)
  3. I found this rather like some marmalades: sweetish, clear and smooth but with some chewier bits of rind to contend with – such as LOI 16dn ENTRESOL 8dn PROTEASE abd 22ac CHATELAINE.


  4. 43 minutes with much of the time past 30 minutes spent on the unknown ENTRESOL and PROTEASE.

    At 14ac, BET is a diminutive of Elizabeth, so there’s no removal going on.

    Those old enough to have been around in the UK in the early 1960s may remember a BBC sitcom called “The Marriage Lines” that introduced us to two comedy stars of the future, Richard Briers and Prunella Scales.

    Unless I’m missing something “tool” is doing double duty at 1ac, being both part of the definition (power tool) and the wordplay (SAW).

    Edited at 2016-12-05 05:28 am (UTC)

  5. fyi MS’Queen Victoria’ does not carry mail and thus does not carry the Royal Mail Ship (RMS) status. Also unlike many previous Cunard ships, Queen Victoria is not a true ‘ocean liner’ as she does not have the heavy plating throughout the hull nor the propulsion system of a dedicated transatlantic liner.
  6. 30mins with all correct, but with ONE-LINER (didn’t know that QV was a ship) and BETA (well, there’s a B in Elizabeth and another one in Balmoral???) biffed. Also didn’t really know (marriage) lines or that a pipe was a cask, large or otherwise.
  7. 11:21. I found this mostly straightforward, but slowed down a bit in the SW.
    There are so many diminutive forms of Elizabeth that it’s probably safe to assume that any combination of any of the letters will do. I don’t think I’ve met anyone who called herself BET but Bette is perfectly familiar, as is Betty, so why not?
    1. Not that you’d have met her of course, but the landlady of the Rovers Return in Coronation Street for many years was Elizabeth Theresa “Bet” Lynch. HMQ was known in her childhood as Lilibet.
      1. Thanks. I knew about the queen, but you surmise correctly that Corrie is an entirely closed book to me!

        Edited at 2016-12-05 09:10 am (UTC)

    2. …which is why I initially put in LIZa, the character being one from stage/film/literature, never mind which one. Led to 7d being ANGELICO for no reason but fit. Got it right eventually.
  8. A few interruptions, and a slight panic over the unknown ENTRESOL, but otherwise fairly Mondayish. Not that that’s a bad thing.

    CHATELAINE and PROTEASE probably only known from crosswords.

    COD and WOD to ANGELENO. For a while I wondered how I’d missed the news of Ms Jolie’s elevation to Times crossword eligibility. Happy to hear she’s still with us.

    Thanks setter and Vinyl.

  9. 12:19 .. nice stuff, very doable with just a few zingers in there to make you work. And some nice surfaces, like “Lady of the house has talk with girl” and “Good-looking workmen arrive topless”.
  10. Enjoyable puzzle with 2D and 22A particularly good. No problem with BET for Liz. Solved ONE LINER from definition and assumed QV is a Liner – but interested in horryd’s comments above
  11. 38 minutes, but must have lost 18 of those writing in depression. Enjoyed my last in, Angeleno.
  12. Is there some kind of theme here? Just look at the answers: Handsome, Comeliness, Winsome, Avid, Lovelorn, Enduring, Idleness, Depressive.
    And with a subliminal sub-text of marriage, is there a hidden message – or is it just the incurable romantic in me? Perhaps I should mind my own 15a.
  13. I thought this was going to be another one of my recent ‘close but no cigar’ efforts when the two I had left after about 15 minutes were still left 5 minutes later. I didn’t help myself my presuming 26A would end CAL. Eventually I saw PROTOCOL and BLOWPIPE swiftly followed.
  14. Quite hard Monday fare, I thought, taking 40 minutes. BETA LOI. I haven’t watched Corrie since Ida Barlow was knocked down by a bus in 1961 but Bet Lynch earrings were famous enough for me to know her. I knew ANGELENO, which came with the O from WINSOME as the penultimate, having chaired an LA-based AIM -quoted company briefly and very unsuccessfully. The CHATELAINE of my house and our daughter have cleared off to San Francisco for a week, Christmas shopping. I never thought I’d write that. Both boys are still away too, leaving me home alone apart from our ancient and very intelligent border collie who helped me do the crossword. Entre nous we biffed ENTRESOL.

    Edited at 2016-12-05 10:15 am (UTC)

  15. Interesting discussion, I should get in earlier. The ship reference passed me by, brain kicked in with ‘we are not amused’, am still confused. Victoria is a tube line too. Help, please. LOI BLOWPIPE, which more commonly launch darts. A sub-15, so a pleasing start to the week. Thanks vinyl and setter.
  16. Sadly, the several unknowns that I got in my 45 minutes led to me being satisfied enough that “Anteseno” was some unknown film-star from Hollywood’s early years that once I had something that fit the wordplay I didn’t look any further. A set is a stage in Hollywood, after all.

    That was my only mistake, at least, and I was pleased with myself for working out CHATELAINE, PROTEASE and ENTRESOL (which I assumed would let more sun enter the ground floor, but turns out it’s Spanish, and a suelo is a storey…)

    Ah well. Maybe with practice I’ll learn when to stop and when to keep going.

    Edited at 2016-12-05 10:55 am (UTC)

    1. Isn’t entresol French? “Sol” is related to “suelo”. I think “piso” is the usual word for a storey in Spanish.
      1. It’s French, from Spanish:

        > early 18th century: French, from Spanish entresuelo, from entre ‘between’ + suelo ‘storey’.

        …I was just observing that I’d guessed the “sol” bit was sun-related on the grounds that it might be short for entresoleil, or something, whereas in fact it’s originally from the Spanish for floor.

  17. Rattled through this in untroubled 20 mins when I hit 3 dead ends which i thought would be LIZA (I had an unparsed ANGELINO) ENDURANT (is that a word?) and BLOWPIPE,but had no idea why and still feel is a bit too obscure for a Monday. Mind you nothing else would fit.
  18. This was all going smoothly enough until I got well and truly bogged down in the SW corner. LOI BLOWPIPE, where I’m still a bit puzzled by the definition – reference to the game of blow football that was popular amongst us kids in the 1960’s?

    Thought 27ac was rather neat, with 22ac my COD. Thanks to setter and blogger.

      1. Thanks for the enlightenment Matt. Blow football did seem a bit of a stretch…!
  19. Hello, I’m back after my short leave of absence! 7 minutes ish on this charming puzzle. 14d my LOI but came quickly once I stopped looking for people (hello VERA) and realised that “character” meant a letter.
  20. Zoomed through this until I hit the SW corner and the brakes came on, but still managed a, for me, reasonable 29 minutes. Finally saw BLOWPIPE, which allowed me to complete the rest. FOI, SASH followed by the other three 4 letter answers, with LIZA considered for a brief moment until BETA popped into mind. LOsI PROTOCOL and ENTRESOL, which I had to construct from wp. The ENTRE, for between, was easy enough, but hadn’t heard the word ENTRESOL before. A pleasant start to the week. Thanks setter and Vinyl. Like the choice of music Vinyl. I listened to Close to the Bone quite a lot whilst lying in my hospital bed in January getting used to my new knee.
  21. 11m 23s for me, with the last four minutes or so spent on 15d, 16d & 23a. LOI was ENTRESOL, entirely unknown to me but a believable word formation.
  22. BETA gave me a few nervous moments at the end – for some reason I wanted to to be ZETA. 12:20 – ENTRESOL from wordplay and PROTEASE from being unable to avoid biochemistry.
  23. 13 mins. I didn’t know the required meaning of LINES so, even though I could have biffed it much earlier, COMELINESS was my LOI after I got the last checker from INACCURACY. Count me as another who got ENTRESOL from the WP, and when I checked my Chambers post-solve it said that the “sol” element of the word comes from the French for “ground”. I had no problem with BETA thanks to Corrie knowledge.
    1. Was there not a BBC comedy ‘Marriage Lines’ with Richard Briars and Prunella Scales?
      horryd – Shanghai
  24. Hi there. About the usual 20 minutes, ending with the unknown ENTRESOL. Other than that and ‘lines’ as a marriage certificate, everything else was pretty recognizable. Not intimately familiar with balls in a BLOWPIPE, or with PROTEASE either, but they didn’t pose any particular problems. Regards.
  25. 8:00 after a slowish start.

    For the most part a pleasant, straightforward solve, but I’m not wholly convinced by ONE-LINER (which I biffed). Robrolfe’s mention of the Victoria Line somehow sounds more likely than a liner called Queen Victoria, but the parsing presents problems. Hm!

  26. My first ever completed Times crossword. I usually get the quick cryptic done in around 30-60 minutes, but never completed (or got close to completing) the main crossword. So, very happy. According to my phone, it took 6 hours from strart to finish, so no speed prizes just yet, but that was not constant.

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