Times 26635 – The slowie

Solving time: 71 minutes

Music: Allen Pettersson, Symphony #6

After solving the Quickie in a little more than 7 minutes, I thought I was a hot solver – then the main puzzle came along. This puzzle was not only difficult and full of obscurities, but even after solving it I have two answers I can’t quite explain. However, I’m sure some of the regulars will be along about five minutes after I post the blog to clear them up.

At least the music of Pettersson was just about perfect for this puzzle. He has received many votes for the position of ‘the world’s most depressing composer’, although there are quite a few hats in that ring, especially among the 20th-century lot.

1 BOVVER, B(owled) + OV(V[iolent]ER. The answer was unknown to me, and had to be extracted from the cricket-themed cryptic. When the yobs showed up at the pitch, they evidently indulged in th-fronting as well as violence.
5 LINGERIE, LING + ERIE, where ‘at the edge of’ does not mean the first letter, or the first and the last.
9 BLACKCAP, double definition, where knowledge of both ornithology and 17th-century history will come in handy.
10 HICCUP, HI(C[onfronting],CU)P, where ‘raiding’ is a rather peculiar insertion indicator.
13 VINEGARY, VI + N[ic]E + GARY. I had put ‘gristle’ rather than ‘gristly’, and was having a tough time until I spotted Gary, Indiana.
15 CREE, CREE[l].
17 GYRO, hidden in [din]GY RO[om], one of the few write-ins.
19 MEMORIAL, ME(MORI)AL. I had to take ‘MORI’ = ‘pollsters’ on faith, but post-solve research confirms this UK-centric equivalency.
20 VIRGIL, VI([daughte]R)GIL, a chestnut.
21 COHERENT, C O(HER E,N)T. If you thought C NT was the 100 books, you probably got stuck. In any case, ‘coherent’ is not an exact synonym of ‘articulate’.
22 RACKET, double definition, very easy unless you happened to make a mess of 16 down, as I did.
23 ORTHODOX, ORTHO + DOX, sounds like DOCKS. This is one of the two I can’t quite explain. I suspect an ‘ortho’ is some sort of writing instrument, but I can’t find any confirmation online. As predicted, explained by an early replier – sounds like ‘author docks’….when pronounced by an intoxicated Mayfair swell, that is.
3 VOCATIVE, anagram of TV VOICE + A[bnormal], one of the eight cases passed down from Indo-European, which we have mostly discarded.
4 RECUSANCE, REC(U SAN)CE. note that ‘case’ is a verb here, and so is ‘recce’
5 LAPSANG SOUCHONG, LAP SANG S(O + U + CH)ONG. A write-in for a tea connoisseur like me, although I prefer a nice second flush Darjeeling from one of the better estates.
6 GRISTLY, G[b]RISTLY, a random-letter-substitution clue.
8 ESPRESSO, E + S(PRESS)O, where espresso is spelt correctly, as the cryptic indicates. They must be listening to our complaints.
14 REICHSTAG, R(E)ICH + STAG. I didn’t understand the second element, and I’ll bet I’m not alone. Here’s the gen, swiped from Investopedia: “‘Stag’ is a slang term for a short-term speculator, equivalent to a day trader who attempts to profit from short-term market movements by quickly moving in and out of positions.”
16 ENTRACTE, anagram of AT CENTRE.
17 GLORIOLE, sounds like GLORY ‘OLE. This is another one I don’t quite get, and I wouldn’t recommend Googling, either. The actual answer refers to the halo around the head of a saint. As explained by our distinguised professor emeritus from Australia, a ‘glory hole’ formerly referred to a room where discarded items were stowed, hence a ‘tip’. Times have changed…
19 MAIDENS, MAI + DEN + [thi]S, the historically correct Germanic word that was displaced in the Dark Ages by the low slang ‘girls’..

64 comments on “Times 26635 – The slowie”

    1. Ortho was also an ink pen used in engineering drawing. Now gone by way of the dodo bird thanks to computerisation, but I remember struggling with one in my undergraduate days. MVS
  1. A glory hole is a place where you chuck unwanted stuff. Posh folk call it an oubliette. So “tip” … perhaps?

    Edited at 2017-01-30 03:47 am (UTC)

  2. Fortunately I remembered ‘bovver boots’ from wherever, and ‘stag’ from a fairly recent cryptic, allowing me to biff and then solve. On the other hand ‘heather’ triggered LING, and I biffed ‘clothing’, thus temporarily blocking four down solves. DNK 9ac, but vague memories of Judge Jeffries, coupled with a checker or two, saved the day. 17d was my LOI. I assumed that ‘tip’=garbage dump, and the Cockney bit suggested (h)ole, so… The ODE s.v.’tip’ gives ‘a place where rubbish is left’, and s.v. ‘glory hole’ ‘an untidy room or cupboard used for storage’. This is one of those unfortunate UK/US differences, like ‘fanny’, and I assume the reason Vinyl recommends against Googling. I believe we’ve had this once before, though, although not necessarily with the same solution.
  3. Most will remember bovver boys? I certainly do. The ones at school liked to kick me in the gentleman’s waiting area. You don’t forget that.

    At 9ac: hoped this wasn’t an omen re an NZ victory. But it would seem the omen (so far) is correct.

    Also no idea about the pollsters @ 19ac; but MEAL was a giveaway. And the pun at 23ac is outrageous, even for those of us who are rhotically challenged.

  4. This was all very English 15×15 exemplified by 13ac VINEGARY being central on the grid.

    5dn LAPSANG SOUCHONG was a write in as I have written about a couple of times for various blogs in the past. The taste of burnt pitch pine is its essence resulting from an accident when a shedful burnt down many moons ago. The despairing Chinese sent it UK anyway and the British toffs took to it like ducks to water. Hard to find in China, my last purchase was German -‘Rudesheimer Teeoase’.

    Not so Anglo was 14ac REICHSTAG – STAG being fairly obvious. 18dn RAINCOAT was so very English the sort of thing John Hurt would wear.

    FOI 15ac CREE LOI CONTESSA which I failed to parse, however it was rather obvious too.
    SA should be proscribed IMO.


    24 minutes of Monday fun.

    Edited at 2017-01-30 04:52 am (UTC)

  5. Went in quickly in about 20 mins until I got to ORTHODOX and GLORIOLE. Not sure why ORTHODOX held me up since with my accent I pronounce it exactly like “author docks”. Gloriole is on of those words I think I’ve never seen before except I said that last time too. I got 1A immediately, remembering bovver boots from school days.
  6. A technical DNF for me as I resorted to aids eventually for RECUSANCE (never ‘eard of it, and it has apparently never appeared before) and OTHODOX where the appalling attempt at a homophone did for me. I also didn’t know GLORIOLE but put it in eventually as GLORYOLE, allowing for the Cockney missing H but not the “sounds like” indicator.

    V, re 14dn, you might like to know for future reference that other stock market animal terms are “bears” and “bulls”. There may be others.

    1. Vinyl and the rest of us Murcans would have no problem with bulls and bears, but I first heard of stags the last time it appeared in a cryptic. I think I first came across ‘Recusant’ reading ‘Brideshead Revisited’–the Flytes was it? inhabiting that place were descendants of a Recusant family, Catholics that refused to attend an Anglican church.
  7. Says here it rhymes with “hover”…? Being an American, I also didn’t get this one, my LOI, unaided — though I have learned, by this time, to recognize the part of the clue pertaining to cricket! Also had to take on faith the memorial pollsters. Someday there may be some practical use to all the UK-related things I’ve learned from these puzzles, and this blog. But don’t bet on it. Cheerio!

    Edited at 2017-01-30 06:23 am (UTC)

    1. My PA-born Daughter-in-Law has just received her British citizenship approval, which she says has arrived at the perfect time in a “not my President” kind of way. Knowing all this stuff from The Times should make completing the nationality test a doddle, should you, in turn, feel the need.
      1. Oh, but why go there, when Canada is so close, et ils parlent français là, and I’ve never even been, though I’m right down here in Brooklyn. And, mainly, they don’t have a right-wing, jingoistic, isolationist government… Sigh. Main thing is, though, as a citizen of a sanctuary city and footsoldier in the opposition army of the increasingly besieged true-facts media, I’m not deserting my post.
        1. Might have something to do with her husband, for he is an Englishman. But she’s maintaining her own line in the Resistance, if primarily online.

  8. I must remember MORI next time. The BLACKCAPS in my garden stay all year round but most are migratory and I liked the clue.
  9. Perhaps it was the Anglocentric stuff (it certainly wasn’t my bugbuggered brain) but this was my quickest for a long, long time, in under 10 minutes by 5 seconds – I risked not checking to make sure.
    I needed the wordplay to get the vowels in the right order for the tea.
    While I’m not innocent of the salacious meaning of gloryhole, I am pleased to say it did not immediately spring to mind when solving. I am of the opinion that, despite the occasional social faux pas, one should continue to use words in their customary meaning long after they’ve been hijacked for more nefarious purposes.
    1. Not so sure Z. I remember telling some younger people that one of the great joys of my childhood was curling up in bed with a tranny when the Ashes was being broadcast from England.

      Won’t make that mistake again.

      1. Won’t make that mistake again? You mean telling younger people about your preferences?

  10. Almost done in 20 minutes, but then another 20 staring at GL_R_O_E before resorting to aids. So 12 over par to start the week.

    Was fun assembling LAPSANG SOUCHONG from the wordplay. Thanks setter and Vinyl.

  11. No problem with this but well done Vinyl for coping with some rather obscure English eccentricities and questionable homophones

    For my Edwardian parents outward appearance was everything so a “quick tidy up” if somebody was visiting unexpectedly involved throwing my toys into the glory hole under the stairs and a spit wash for me – ugh!

  12. The glorious words of the Anglican evensong, where sweet sixteen year old girls went just to see the boys and vice versa. Lonnie was mentioned in dispatches last week. Finished this in 14 minutes, with just one biff, ENTRACTE. ‘Pyrrhus presses on with the force of his father..’, my O level seen translation. We had a glory hole at home too, usually aspirated. ORTHODOX worked as a homophone for me. FOI BOVVER, bovver boys being well known to me. Definitely on my wavelength and frequency today, so solved at the speed of light. COD ORTHODOX.

    Edited at 2017-01-30 09:23 am (UTC)

  13. 20′ with two left, then stumped by GLORIOLE, not knowing the original phrase at all. BOVVER well known, and knew RECUSANT hence 4d. New word and new phrase learned. Thanks vinyl and setter.
  14. No bovver with this in 20 minutes, with my LOI ORTHODOX eliciting a groan when the penny dropped.
  15. Dead heat with our man from Bolton and the same biff.Very relieved after a torrid session with Dean Mayer yesterday.
  16. I sailed through most of this just fine, with BOVVER FOI and only a minor struggle with RECUSANCE while I failed to see the “recce” bit. Sadly, those forty minutes done with, I then stared at 23a and 17d for another twenty before giving up in frustration and coming here. It’s some comfort to know I wasn’t alone in being stumped, at least.

    Yet another Monday failure for me. Hopefully, as with last week, I’ll get better as the week goes along.

  17. 24m, with nearly half of that agonising over 17dn and 23ac. Eventually I remembered ‘glory hole’ from somewhere, but I don’t think much of the clue.
    Not for the first time I am surprised by complaints about a homophone. Obviously 23ac doesn’t work for a rhoticists, but for a speaker of standard English the equivalence is exact.
  18. If “orthodox” is the exact equivalent of “author docks” in standard English please count me among the “Standard English Recusants”.
    1. Having considered the matter since the homophone was pointed out, I have to say that up here in the North East, the pronunciation isn’t a million miles away….

      Edited at 2017-01-30 12:41 pm (UTC)

      1. In RP it’s absolutely identical (ˈɔːθəˌdɒks).

        Edited at 2017-01-30 12:56 pm (UTC)

        1. Ah – I must be one of the 97% minority that doesn’t use the RP? Anyway – vive la difference – we all got to the answer sooner or later.

          Incidentally – I have just completed a back number Times from 24 April 2007 and this has the second bit of Abu Dhabi being a homophone of Derby. How would the RP stand on that one?

          1. My dictionary has them both as ˈdɑːbi. That would mean I’ve been mispronouncing Abu Dhabi all these years, which is certainly possible.
          2. What is la difference? Would you pronounce the R in ORTHODOX? Of course this is a common variant but non-rhotic pronunciations (including but not limited to RP) are more common.

            Edited at 2017-01-30 01:16 pm (UTC)

            1. I think I do pronounce the R in OR THO DOX? Being from ‘ereford we are much better on our Rs than on our Hs. Maybe we could be used as an alternative to the overworked Cockneys in X-word land?

              Anyway – I like a good homophone – even if it doesn’t work very well the way I say it.

              1. I like a good homphone too (in fact to be perfectly honest I quite like a bad homophone), and I’m all in favour of using different regional pronunciations. You do get it occasionally, with an indication like ‘some say’.
    2. What’s the difference in the way you pronounce them? I’m genuinely curious, because it’s certainly not standard.
  19. 44:30 for me but with a careless RECUSANTE. Didn’t think enough about RECTE, or notice that I should have been looking for a noun. I’ll put it down to this blasted cold virus that’s been plaguing me since November and has now mutated into an even more miserable strain. Managed the rest ok, but was held up for some time by putting VIRAGONE at 13a, which was finally corrected when I saw REICHSTAG. Biffed ORTHODOX without getting close to the parsing! Didn’t know the required meaning of CONTES but biffed it anyway. 19d held me up as I fixated on MOIS for month. The penny finally dropped after EVENSONG popped up. Managed to drag glory hole from the depths and properly convert it, despite not knowing the halo definition. Thanks setter and Vinyl.
  20. 18:29, ending, of course, with orthodox / gloriole.

    I had a few problems in the SW thanks to a careless ENTREACT and had to piece RECUSANCE together bit by bit using the wordplay.

    1ac put me in mind of the old TV adverts for the Qualcast Concorde lawnmower – “It’s a lot less bovver than a hover”.

  21. All fine here, despite several unknowns (RECUSANCE, GLORIOLE, GARY (the city), Judge Jeffreys), ending, as others, with ORTHODOX/GLORIOLE. No problem with ORTHODOX/author docks.

  22. A fail for me under competition conditions. I raced through all but 23ac/17dn in 8 mins and then spent a further 3 mins on them. However, although I initially wrote in the correct GLORIOLE I subsequently thought that it may have had some connection to “aureole” (my Chambers confirms that it does) so I changed the I to an E. When I went to my Chambers post-solve to check it I cursed the inconsistencies of English spelling. I’m another who had no problem with the homophone for ORTHODOX when the penny dropped.
  23. About 30 minutes, held up by ‘recce’, but finally got it, and like vinyl, ‘ortho’ as ‘author’ totally befuddled me. But I eventually biffed it, leading to a biff at GLORIOLE, wondering what the cockneys were doing with a glory hole. Probably not what my dirty American mind imagines, at all. Not the easiest Monday fare for me. Regards.
  24. Not a very Monday puzzle, aside from a few easier clues and 5dn which was a helpful write-in. Had 1ac and 4dn left at the end.

    Hopefully 17dn won’t be forgotten in the 2017 Times Crossword Awards! It’s a daft clue in several ways, though good for a post-solve laugh I suppose. 🙂

  25. ‘MORI’ might be UK-centric in the sense that the polling company was based here, but its founder and in every way ‘main man’ was Kansas City born Bob Worcester – though he later took UK citizenship and subsequently acquired not only the handle of ‘Sir Robert’ but a castle in Kent and the deputy lord-lieutenancy of the ‘Garden of England’.
    I was in charge of the social and political research of a rival polling company, Harris, between 1986 and 1994, and it always enraged us that, partly due to Bob’s energetic advocacy, for a while MORI was regarded as a synonym for opinion polls in the same way as Hoover is for vacuum cleaners. It’s not a big player any more, though, largely because of its sale to IPSOS and Sir Robert’s retirement. He celebrated his 83rd birthday last Christmas.
    1. Bob Worcester is a great guy – I corresponded with him during the 2001 election and I’ve met him a couple of times.
    2. I know him, vaguely .. he lives at Allington Castle, just a mile or two up the road from me. He’s a fine chap, and still an American citizen (and English too)
  26. 25m with one wrong: guessed like others GLOREOLE which is as likely as the other spelling if you don’t know the actual answer and fits the cryptic just as well. Also held up by ORTHODOX but failed to parse it having biffed it from ‘established’. Looking forward to when the blackcaps return to Teesdale in the summer now! Thanks for the blog and puzzle today.
  27. About an hour, but I did finish, with ORTHODOX my LOI and many others luckily biffed (BLACK CAP, for one, MEMORIAL without knowing MORI and LINGERIE without seeing Lake Erie). I must have seen RECUSANCE before and RECCE I knew was a word, but I couldn’t remember what it meant. So I’m getting better at guessing plausible English words (with the stress on “English”, that side of the pond. What other side would you want to be on right now?).
  28. I’d have improved on my disappointing 11:43 if my typing today hadn’t been so abysmal. After staring fruitlessly at 22ac for some time, I decided I’d do my “final check” with that one answer still outstanding, and discovered I’d typed in MAIDNES! And I found that I’d also transposed letters in two other answers!!!

    No real problems problems elsewhere, though I did find the left half of the puzzle significantly easier than the right.

    Since my main departure from RP is probably my pronunciation of the letter R (I’m much better at it in Japanese and Mandarin!), I wasn’t even remotely fazed by AUTHOR DOCKS where the R would have been completely non-existent even if required.

  29. Don’t you love it but I never listen alone. I’m utterly unsuperstitious but this is as dark as dark can be!

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