Times 26620 – 11 drinks later…

Solving time : 39:40 with my friend Brian helping me get one. OK – I am probably not in the best solving form at the moment since we went to Epcot at Walt Disney World and prevailed in the challenge of having a drink in all 11 areas of the World Showcase (woohoo). However, even in my admittedly inebriated state, this puzzle wasn’t for me. Regular readers may know my dislike of cryptic definitions and I think there’s two here. Scattered amongst is some clever wordplay but I can’t say this was a winner overall. Feel free to toast me in comments.

Away we go…

1 SIZE: ASSIZE(old court) with AS removed
3 COPERNICUS: CO(firm) then PERNICIOUS(injurious) missing IO(moon)
10 GIRAFFE: GAFFE containing IR
11 ASTRIDE: RIDE on A ST(street, public way)
12 THREE MEN IN A BOAT: cryptic definition
14 REMEMBER: REM(eye movement), EMBER(a bit glowing)
17 RED CORAL: anagram of COLD REAR
23 CULVERT: VER(y) inside CULT
23 CHEMISE: TRY removed from CHEMISTRY then E
25 NUTCRACKER: NUT(fan), CRACKER(biscuit) – the Nitcracker Suite by Tschaikowsky
26 HERD: sounds like HEARD
1 SIGHTED: double definition
2 ZERO RATED: PERORATED(wound up speech) with a new first letter
3 OPENER: double definition
5 EXAMINER: EX MINER containing A
6 NOT HAVE A PRAYER: tichy double definition
7 CHINO: I then ON(leg side in cricket) reversed after CH
8 SWEATER: cryptic definition
9 A FLEA IN ONE’S EAR: jumper is A FLEA and the lug is an ear
17 RUBICON: RUB(clean), ICON(holy image)
19 PREBEND: PRE(ahead of time), BEND(submit)
20 TOUCHE: (m)UCH in TOE
22 TO LET: DO(make) removed from TOLEDO then T

67 comments on “Times 26620 – 11 drinks later…”

  1. Walt would turn in his grave! My disdain for M. Mouse & Co is further strengthened. Perhaps your worst time ever and you had assistance from Brian!

    My time was a sober 52 mins – except the Cooper’s ‘Oxford’ is beginning to ferment. Fortunately M&S delivered some Seville Thick Cut this morning. I also used aids – in the form of a Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee (from Balcarres) to finish.



    PS I note D. Duck has been ticked off by the old Fox!

  2. What were you doing in Epcot? I mean, to go there, wouldn’t you have to go to Florida? Anyway, I had problems in the NW, not knowing 2d for one thing. But CHEMISE was my LOI; almost forgot it as I was about to submit. I wasted time at 23ac taking ‘channel extremely briefly’ to be either CL or BY. The ballet T wrote, George, is ‘The Nutcracker’.
    1. I prefer The Nitcracker but not by Tchaikowsky (whoever he is?!)!

      Edited at 2017-01-12 05:51 am (UTC)

      1. The composer used “Tchaikovsky”, “Tschaikovsky” and “Tschaikowsky” when writing in other languages.

        George’s version is on the list but you have missed out the first S when quoting him.

  3. … breeze through. But managed to finish within a coffee+ this morning. That’s roughly 20m. Helped a great deal by getting the long ones in quickly. (Haven’t we had fleas in our ears recently?)

    Best of the lot was 3ac. Galileo, I guess, would have been a bit stuck on the Moons of Jupiter without the Copernican system/model. (Many remember T.S. Kuhn for his speculative “Structures” book; but the earlier and very solid “Copernican Revolution” is the stand-out work for me.)

    Wasn’t too sure about this meaning of (p)ERORATED at 2dn. Haven’t encountered it before. And took a while to see TOLE(do) at 22dn.

  4. Oh dear, two dissatisfied bloggers in two days!

    Like Kevin, I had problems in the NW and eventually used aids to get ZERO-RATED which then helped me to polish off 1ac and 13ac. I don’t normally resort to aids so early but having solved all but three clues in 25 minutes and nothing has gone in for a further 10 it’s time to call time.

    To be a bit picky, I’m not sure that “rub” = “clean”.

    Edited at 2017-01-12 06:07 am (UTC)

    1. Wondered about this too.
      But ODO has:

      • make dry, clean, or smooth by rubbing: she found a towel and began rubbing her hair

      Not very convincing, I admit. Wouldn’t we say that the cleaning (as such) has been done prior to the application of the towel?

  5. …didn’t know PREBEND, and don’t feel much the wiser now that I do. Will attempt to remember it for crossword purposes.

    Thanks setter, and thanks George for the parsing of ZERO-RATED.

    1. Also didn’t know PREBEND but I’d heard of “Prebendary” as some sort of church minister and assumed a connection to the way his salary is paid. But the fact that both definition and answer end with “-end” made me a little dubious.
        1. I’d heard of ‘prebend’, probably from one or more of the Barchester novels, and was under the impression that it referred to a clergyman; and ODE backs me up, giving definition no. 2 as ‘another term for *prebendary*.’ On edit: Just Googled ‘prebend barchester’ and sure enough in ‘Barchester Towers’ Dr. Stanhope, who has spent the last 12 years doing nothing in Italy, holds, inter alia, a prebendal stall in Barchester Cathedral. I’m sure Olivia could have told you all that without going to Google.

          Edited at 2017-01-12 08:29 am (UTC)

          1. Spot on Kevin. A prebendal stall in Barchester Cathedral is a key part of the plot in Framley Parsonage. They were intended as livings for aged and worthy clergymen of the diocese but had been grabbed as part of the political patronage system in Westminster. This (in part) lead to reform of the way the clergy were paid.
            1. When Mrs Gorm (Aunt Eloise)
              Was stung to death by savage bees,
              Her husband (Prebendary Gorm)
              Put on his veil, and took the swarm.
              He’s publishing a book, next May,
              On “How to Make Bee-keeping Pay.”

              .. “Ruthless Rhymes” by Harry Graham

  6. Have fun at Disneyworld. I took my daughters there last October. We had a great time although we took a more solid approach than you to Epcot – well, certainly less liquid. If you get a chance to do Cirque du Soleil while there, it is great. Enjoy!

    Edited at 2017-01-12 08:21 am (UTC)

  7. … and that wrong letter was the B in PREBEND, where I had a … well, it doesn’t really matter …

    All others ok, ZERO RATED biffed, as was CULVERT, so thanks for explanations of those two.

    COD: BREADLINE. Liked the def.


  8. Like wading through porridge, really, with a lot of definitions, answers and bits of clues being a long way apart in my internal thesaurus. Exempla: Don’t omit/remember, make/do, browser/giraffe, rub/clean, available/to let. None of them are actually dodgy, they just didn’t make ready connections. Snub for me has connotations of ignoring, perhaps pointedly, rather than rebuke, but I see Chambers doesn’t agree. I’m no big fan of “change one letter for another completely random letter” (ZERO RATED). So 37 minutes and a lot of head-scratching. Not sure whether that makes it a tough challenge or just an annoying one.
    Loved the Nitcracker, George. Right up there with Swam Lake and the Sleeping Butty.
    1. Yes, “nitcracker” was great – it comes with the fine-tooth comb and the special shampoo from the chemist. And did you catch Rudolf Nureyev with Miss Piggy in Swine Lake? If George or Jack would be so kind as to de-spam me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHbGqJ_MonU

      Edited at 2017-01-12 10:21 am (UTC)

      1. Miss Piggy reminded me of Pavlova. I hope we’ve got some left in the fridge. Actually, I found it all quite touching. Pity they didn’t get her to dance with Ed Balls on Strictly.
  9. I usually come to this site in all humility to discover my inadequacies but today I’m somewhat confused. For me this was relatively straightforward sub-30 minuter with no qualms about the definitions that have exercised others. I also appreciated the brevity of the clues with fewer of the “glue part A to part B then turn upside down” sort. I knew 19d from Prebends’ Bridge: a crossing of the River Wear in Durham City from which the chocolate-box picture of the cathedral is taken; if you’ve never visited there, put it on your bucket list. Pleased to see a reference to one of my favourite books – you can keep Wodehouse, give me Jerome K Jerome every time.
    1. I stumbled across Prebends’ Bridge last month after a pub crawl with the remnants of the Castle Football Team from 1970-73:-)

      Edited at 2017-01-12 12:09 pm (UTC)

        1. Not this time, but when I had my retirement party, in July, I was walking back to my digs in VMC and there was a middle aged couple with a boom box practicing the Foxtrot in the middle of the bridge!!!
  10. 24m. I felt way off the wavelength with this, and took ages over some not-very-difficult clues, but I enjoyed it a lot. Probably just my mood: my reaction to some of the admittedly looseish definitions could well have been irritation on another day. But whatever else you think of the puzzle 3ac is worth the price of admission on its own.
  11. Like z8 and others found this mildly teeth grinding in its ability to irritate me but also liked the COPERNICUS clue

    I believe George’s favourite ballet is Barmen

  12. Found this very straightforward .. all four long clues easy. Quite bemused by some other comments! Not irritating, and several very good clues indeed esp. 3ac
  13. 22:24 with no real issues. A lifetime of doing tax for a living made ZERO RATED a bung-in, PREBENDARY was known and COPERNICUS was good. As well as Thomas Kuhn’s book. I would recommend Arthur Koestler’s The Sleepwalkers, not only for its chapters on Copernicus but also for the gripping story of Kepler. Fans of Jerome K Jerome will recall his almost as funny follow-up, Three Men on the Bummel. Thanks setter and George.
  14. I’m another who came to PREBEND via PREBENDARY. The one I knew was definitely a loose canon. Late posting today as it’ s our border collie’s 15th birthday, and we gathered for a ceremony before I took him out for his constitutional. Sadly, he’s got a wretched carcinoma in his nose which the vet thought would have done for him by now. He’s been one of nature’s gentlemen throughout his life, nothing like Montmorency in 12ac. Even my eldest who’s left home was back for the event. Youngest is back to University in a few minutes too, having stayed home a day longer. Preserve your memories, they’re all that’s left you.
    I liked this puzzle with COD UPKEEP. FOI COPERNICUS followed by OPENER. CULVERT always sounds American to me, as I first encountered the word in Perry Mason books as a teenager. The theme music will now be in my head all day. I know- this posting is incompetent, irrelevant and immaterial. Finished in just under 40 minutes.

    Edited at 2017-01-12 10:51 am (UTC)

    1. Always sad to hear about any suffering old animal friend but especially a Border Collie. Just so intelligent.
      1. All the family acknowledge that he has increased the average intelligence of the household.
    2. Glad to hear he made it this far. I hope he carries on regardless. I presume you keep your preserved memories between some bookends.
      1. Did you read Danny Finkelstein yesterday and how Ewan MacColl turned Paul Simon down for Topic records because he wasn’t socialist enough? All that sitting at Widnes Railway Station with a ticket for his destination wasn’t enough proof!
        1. I did! It’s enough to make you choke over your porridge! Shocking. My local folk club has the attitude that if folk play or sing it, it’s folk music 🙂
          1. He must have been a difficult guy to like with his intransigent purity, musical and political. But then he wrote the beautiful “The First Time Ever I Saw your Face”, which crossed over into soul. And fathered the brilliant Kirsty, not that he took much notice of her.
  15. Zipped through this and enjoyed it, the 4 long ones fell in easily and the rest done in half an hour, with CHEMISE and TOUCHE taking nearly 10 mins of that. Didn’t quite parse the ZERO bit, but clear enough.
    I liked UPKEEP.

    I went to Epcot when the kids were Disney age so must be 30 years ago, George is it still the same “… of Tomorrow” so really of yesterday? Or is it now updated to the future future? At least they still sell alcohol there, even decent Guinness if I remember rightly.

  16. Was flying on this, even thoughts of a PB until I hit the SE. Liked COPERNICUS and GIRAFFE. In fact, liked the puzzle, 23′. Thanks gl and setter. Incidentally, my understanding of A FLEA IN ONE’S EAR was different, so I have learned something too.
  17. What a glorious start I had (especially considering the head-cold) and what an ignominious end. Flew through the top half at the speed of a QC, slowed somewhat at the bottom but still heading for a possible PB. Then slowed further, and finally stalled at 39 minutes with 18 and 19 left to get. I eventually managed 18 in a fit of inspiration and bit of self-kicking.

    And then I struggled on with 19 until I found something that seemed to fit the wordplay, knowing that I was likely looking for some religious thing I’d never heard of, and put in “presend”. So, a 50-minute DNF with one letter wrong after a very promising first half-hour.

    1. I thought there would be more PRESENDs given send seemed most likely for submit, and PREBEND was obscure to me. Maybe atheism counted against me here.
      1. In my case atheism and zero direct knowledge of the workings of the church were I think mitigated by youthful exposure to Trollope. My conscious mind has forgotten it all but somehow the word was familiar.
        One day when my life is less full of work and children I will go back to Trollope. The one thing I definitely remember about the books is that I loved them.
      2. I had PRESEND Pootle. Then changed it to PRETEND ( something to do with “to tender” = “to submit”). Pretty unconvincing I must admit.

        To be fair, if I’d have thought of BEND I might have gone with it.

  18. Like Rob and Matt, I flew through the top half of this one then ground to a halt, eventually crawling over the line in 50 minutes. 9d and 21a resisted my thought processes for ages. Things started to move again when I got 22d and BETWEEN popped to the surface. Once I’d solved UPKEEP the P gave me PREBEND which I’d always associated with a position rather than a stipend. I did like 3a. Didn’t know the meaning of PERORATED, but ZERO RATED was a write in with ORATED obviously to do with speech even though I couldn’t fully parse it. Toyed with CONVENT for 23a until the penny dropped. Enjoyable puzzle. Thanks setter and George. I enjoyed the delousing ballet too:-)
  19. This was a relatively fast time for me of about 35 minutes, held up by one or two where the syntax in either the clue or the definition didn’t click quickly. I liked some of the vocabulary – Copernicus and Rubicon particularly.
    I’m impressed by your approach to EPCOT, George. It is an excellent example of a creative solution using only the information in the given.

    Edited at 2017-01-12 12:32 pm (UTC)

  20. I would rashly like to agree with our blogger. I have seen the Nitcracker ( by Itchkowsky)).

  21. Held up at the end by the TOUCHE/CHEMISE crossing – ironic, given my previous life as a languages teacher.

    Post-teaching I worked for the Environment Agency for a while and thus had to smile when CULVERT popped up. Culverting ( and not culverting ) provokes some of the most heated rhetoric in communications with the general public – who’da thunk it?

    Chapeau to our esteemed blogger for even attempting, let alone finishing, his drinking challenge.

    Time: all correct in around 45 mins.

    Thank you to setter and blogger ( hic! )

    1. My previous life as a French teacher has been absolutely no help whatsoever in crossword-solving, and I am invariably stumped by anything remotely Gallic…
  22. As a QC graduate I seem to be at the stage where I generally have up to 3 blanks (excepting the very hard championship puzzles). An occasional all-correct brings huge satisfaction. Today i was stmped by Prebend despite having all checkers. But can anyone help explain the use of ellipses (Never seen that word as an answer) in 7 and 8d?
  23. Alan, ellipses are usually just there to allow the surface reading of two adjacent clues to make sense as one.

    As far as the puzzle is concerned my time was 16 mins, with the last 3 of them spent on the CHEMISE/TOUCHE crossers. I’m another who biffed ZERO-RATED and got to PREBEND via prebendary.

  24. Another day, another failure. Today I decided ‘collect’ was near enough at 23a. Not sure I’ll even be attempting tomorrow’s.
  25. Nearly an hour, but no real problems other than slow thinking and a number of slightly obscure clues. LOI was CHEMISE, after spending some time looking for an R in it, as “one school subject (English)”.
  26. Not easy, but no time to post, really. My guess is it would have been in the 45 minute range for me had I done it in one sitting, but I didn’t. Held up at the end by TOUCHE/CHEMISE. PREBEND has appeared before, and it’s such an odd word (to me, that is) that I actually remembered it. Regards.
  27. Like others, I found this a crossword of two halves. I rattled through the top half, but then seemed to lose the plot, particularly in the SE corner, and finished in a disappointing 13:49.

    Particularly annoying was 15dn where, with the B, D and final E in place, I could only come up with the imaginary French word BLANDERIE. At least I knew PREBEND, though under the influence of Harry Graham (as quoted in jerrywh’s comment above) rather than Trollope.

    Another interesting and enjoyable puzzle.

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