Times 26644 – when is a German not a German?

Solving time : 15:15, which is symmetrical, but a bit slower than usual for me – I raced through about three quarters of this one and then had to think long and hard over the last few, ending with the cunning crossing of 25 across and 24 down.

I commented on the other post, but best wishes and loads of gratitude to Andy who is stepping down as this blog maintainer, a position he had to take in bit of a hurry when Peter B got the gig at the Sunday Times. I believe he is the only current contributor I have met in person, at a crossword event in 2013. I looked around to see if I had any pictures of us, but I think we both got lucky there.

Away we go!

1 ALBURNUM: A LUM(chimney) containing BURN – was relieved to find this was correct, as it went in from wordplay alone
9 AIREDALE: I inside A RED(Marxist) ALE(porter, perhaps). Nice clue.
10 UNBIDDEN: an anagram of BIND and NUDE(the answer to 4 down)
11 SAVOYARD: SAVOY cabbage, A, RD – another one from wordplay. I looked up SAVOYARD for the blog and see that the cabbage is named after the place, so there’s a little sneakiness here
12 WITCH HAZEL: WIT(intelligence), CH(church), HAZEL(woman)
14 FIRM: R for L in FILM
15 OTHELLO: O, THE, L,L(lakes), O(love)
17 DISDAIN: DI(female) then DA(district attorney) in SIN
21 EDDY: behead TEDDY Roosevelt
22 ALTOGETHER: ALTO(singer), G(iven), ETHER
23 TROCHAIC: C in an anagram of CHARIOT
25 KUWAITIS: UK reversed, WAIT(stay), I(n), S(heffield)
26 KEYSTONE: pianos need KEYS and TONE
27 RENDERED: R(rex), ENDED containing ER
2 LINGUIST: LING(heather), UIST(islands in the outer Hebrides)
3 UNICYCLE: CYCLE(round) after UNI
4 NUDE: E, DUN(one who demands payment) all reversed – got this from the definition, since nude equals “in the altogether”
6 TRAVELLING: anagram of N(ea)T, VILLAGER
7 CAVATINA: I’m glad I knew the simple song, because I was struggling with the wordplay – it is county CAVAN containing IT reversed then A
8 HERDSMAN: HERMAN(German name) containing DS(Detective Sergeant). I was toying with various versions of GERDIMAN and the like before the penny dropped
13 HULLABALOO: A, BALOO(the bear from “The Jungle Book”) holding up HULL
15 OVERTAKE: OAK, (tre)E containing VERT
16 HYDROXYL: HYDRO(hotel), then the last letters of (chateau)X, (b)Y, (hil)L
16 DATE LINE: double definition
19 IDEALISE: anagram of LADIES,IE
20 STICKER: (take)S, TICKER(heart)
24 SWAN: Cornwall is in the SW, then A, N

93 comments on “Times 26644 – when is a German not a German?”

  1. After just 19 minutes I had 1ac as LABURNUM and just 2dn to complete. After a few minutes I realised that it was indeed ALBURNUM. Doh! So I ended up in 25 minutes! Bad!

    Otherwise I thought this was easy and would expect good times from the usual suspects and our ‘Lost in Translation’ friend.



    Edited at 2017-02-09 07:11 am (UTC)

  2. Mostly straightforward; in fact the style of some of the clues made me think this was compiled by someone who’s also a QC compiler. I did wondeer if it was going to be a pangram – I’m not sure if it started out as one or it’s designed to fool you into looking for a Q and a J.

    My first two in were 4dn and 22ac – they helped each other, iyswim.

    I biffed LABURNUM from the checkers even though it didn’t fit the definition or the fact that I discovered that it’s “lum” not “laum” that’s a Scottish chimney…

  3. I ended up with GERDIMAN since I couldn’t think of anything else. So DNF. The rest had a few put in from wordplay alone but they turned out to be correct. Of in the case of CAVATINA just a guess since I didn’t know the county (thought it might be BALADINA until I got the checker that proved that theory wrong).
  4. I agree with Jonathan that there was some tricky stuff here and I had already noted the ones he has mentioned above amongst them. The wordplay was helpful in those – indeed good enough at 1ac to prevent me bunging in “laburnum” which I knew, so that I held out long enough come up with the unknown ALBURNUM – but less so in 7dn which relied on the slightly obscure CAVAN to clue CAVATINA which I’d suggest is also not widely known unless one happens to remember that it was the official title of the theme to the film “The Deer Hunter” which became a top 20 hit for the classical guitarist John Williams and also for The Shadows in 1978. There was also a song version by Cleo Laine, but that was called “He was beautiful”.

    I also lost time considering “gerdiman” and “gerdsman” at 8dn which accounted for me just missing my target half-hour and taking 34 minutes to complete the grid.

    Edited at 2017-02-09 06:02 am (UTC)

    1. Ah! Now I’ve played it, I do recognise “Cavatina”. However, I didn’t know the name. I’m fairly poor on films, and I was five years old in 1978—I suspect from the subject matter that The Deer Hunter wasn’t a “U” certificate, so I probably didn’t catch it!
      1. You’d know if you’d ever seen Deerhunter.
        I was lucky enough to know Cavatina from there, never heard of Cavan. LABURNUM was first guess but wordplay unequivocally said ALBURNUM, so I went with that. And gerdiman didn’t sound right, eventually looking at the checkers HERDSMAN sprang into view.
        I continue to disdain random collections of letters being English names – Hazel and Di here – so a German name is particularly galling. Shame on you, compiler.
        Found it quite tricky, untimed between other chores but a long time.
  5. Very quick for me today, 18 mins, but then I needed several more to come up with ‘balatina’. I could see how the cryptic worked, but knew neither the county nor the song, so won’t beat myself up too much. Hate it when that happens. All others ok, with either the definition or the wp pointing clearly in the right direction.
  6. Fairly benign until I got stuck at the crossing of 16d and 23a
    So one for my learning bank, why does Hotel = Hydro? I got it right on the day but it was a pure guess as I couldn’t see what else would make a word.
    LOI 16d and COD 13d, anytime Baloo the bear appears it makes me smile.
      1. There’s a strong candidate for the ugliest building in Britain at the north end of Blackpool, now called the Norbreck Castle Hotel, but was always the Norbreck Hydro in my younger days. My niece stopped there for a conference a few years ago. She said there was water dripping down her bedroom wall so they obviously take their hydropathic mission seriously.
  7. 19:02 … nothing original in my struggles with this, luckily resisting the tempting gerdsman.

    I seem to have spent nearly 30 years learning a ‘new’ Irish county every month or so in The Times. Do they keep inventing new ones to confuse the English (just in case)?

    1. No, there have always been 32, 26 in Republic 6 NI, I had to write myself a little list from memory before the penny dropped on CAVAN. The land of the lakes. But I did live there for 14 years so I ought to know!
  8. Managed about 80%. The linked clues didn’t help me. I couldn’t get 22a so 4d and 10a were harder.

    22a – I didn’t equate absolutely with altogether.
    23a – Trochaic, I had the anagram letters but still couldn’t get it.
    7d I was looking for TI in an Irish county ending with an A, which I couldn’t find.

  9. Found this pretty hard and thought I had done well to complete it, with fingers crossed for ALBURNUM and CAVATINA. But apparently others breezed through it, so that Japanese IQ boost I got yesterday seems to have fizzled out already. Confirmed by the difficulty I’ve had negotiating the Tokyo rail system and booking the Robot Restaurant. All good fun though.

    Thought ALTOGETHER was a pretty good clue. Thanks setter and George.

      1. Oh yeah, the other thing I couldn’t negotiate. Need to lift my game, we’re going to try Pachinko tonight.
  10. I was relieved to finish in my par time of 30 minutes, despite biffing LABURNUM and desperately trying to fit HOOP into 13d. Also there were two examples of my pet dislike of random names, 3 if you include HERMAN.
    LOI 26a, spending ages fathoming out what the second requirement for a piano might be.
  11. A DNF for me today, I’m afraid to say. Thought I was doing pretty well; FOI AIREDALE, remembered the Scots chimney, figured out TROCHAIC, remembered “hydro” from a previous puzzle, but only after I’d written in HYDROXYL… And all in about 45 minutes.

    But then came a cropper on 7d, where I knew neither the county nor the song, and finally plumped for “balatina”, pretty much knowing it was wrong, but that it was the most simple-song-like-thing I could think of and that County Balan wasn’t impossible. Bah.

    Edited at 2017-02-09 08:57 am (UTC)

  12. 23 minutes, with time wasted wondering what part of a piano the stone was. I believe Savoyard came up on Monday…
  13. 19m. I found this tricky, and got very badly stuck in the SW corner.
    7dn is the kind of double obscurity clue I dislike intensely. Why turn the completion of these things into a general knowledge lottery? This isn’t sour grapes because I happened to know the song, but somehow it still makes me grumpy.
  14. On wavelength and resonating today in 19 minutes. Got all the cross-referenced clues right away having FOI UNBIDDEN. Knew the word ALBURNUM having remembered LUM from a recent outing. LINGUIST was already in so wasn’t tempted by the poisonous berries. TROCHAIC not known but I assume derived from TROCHEE. I didn’t know the general sense of CAVATINA, but did know that the theme from The Deer Hunter had that title. Depressing film. I spent the first God knows how long wondering when we were going to cut from the wedding to the action. When we did, I desperately wanted to be back at the wedding again. COD WITCH-HAZEL? That one over there behind the camellias.
  15. As is clear from the above, several clues today with plausible/desperate alternatives. Sotira is right, the Irish have an infinite supply of county names (Laois, anyone?) all backed up by Gaelic letter-jumbles to be sure to be sure.
    I thought “foreign” as an anagram indicator in 19 was a bit naughty, especially as “represented” was a short way down the clue, but the “ie” was a strong hint that mixing letters was likely.
    I wonder if anyone outside the RCM knew that CAVATINA was a thing before The Deer Hunter?
    Two of the cross referenced trio were my last in, as I expected to find 4 backwards in 22 and an anagram of 4 surrounding “without being asked” to mean bind in 10. That can slow you down, which it did me to 23 minutes.

    Edited at 2017-02-09 09:52 am (UTC)

    1. I’m pretty sure my knowledge of CAVATINA doesn’t predate The Deer Hunter (I was 6 at the time) but I’m equally sure that’s not where I know it from. I’ve never seen the movie and my entire knowledge can be summed up as ‘De Niro or Pacino? At least one of them, anyway, Vietnam, Russian Roulette’.
  16. It was nigh on impossible for me to finish this one not knowing CAVAN or CAVATINA. Indeed, I calculate my chances of finishing were 0.006%, allowing for such likelihoods as the Irish county QAZAX and the QAZATIXA song.
    1. County Qazax is a long-forgotten Irish enclave in South America. Or maybe in Qazaxstan.
  17. I seem to be the only one here that has heard of CAVAN on the border of Northern Ireland! Enjoyed this and found it easy in parts but with some hidden chewy bits.

    1. As a bit of an Eirophile (?), or at least an Irish-colleen-o-phile in my time, I had no problem with CAVAN…
            1. My wife is a Canadian of Irish and French extraction, so I think you may have hit on something there.
  18. 40 minutes, good feeling, but had GERDIMAN and the invented BALATINA, dnk the Deer Hunter theme. Thank gl and setter.
  19. I overimbibed last night once again in a manner unlikely to be conducive to speed-solving – my big mistake was managing to accept two different people’s offers to get a pint in after the second one, resulting in a “double fisting” situation for pints three and four. And I even went on to another bar after the show. Oops.

    Anyway, used about most of a wee small quarter-hour on this, having particular trouble like everyone else did with 8dn, which I couldn’t quite bring myself to put HERDSMAN in for for many minutes. Is “Herman” really particularly Germanic? I would have thought “Hermann” would have been unequivocal, but the one-n version seemed a little tenuous…

    1. There’s a piece of doggerel by Richard Porson which you can perhaps make more sense of than I can:

      The Germans in Greek
      Are sadly to seek:
      Not five in five-score,
      But ninety-five more:
      All, save only Herman,
      And Herman’s a German.

      There was a time when the clue might perhaps have been a reference to this, but I somehow doubt whether that’s so any longer.

  20. A quick for me 21.18 thanks to a knowledge of Irish counties and Scottish chimneys. Saved from the gerdsman/gerdiman dilemma when Herman the German flashed across my brain. Probably politically incorrect now.
  21. Things about this one I didn’t take to that much. The two inter-references (Bind 4, In the 22) – seems about one too many. Cavatina – ungettable without off-the-track GK – unlike alburnum. Othello – what is this, the Guardian? And a kind of one-two-clunk clue-wit generally. Let this not be the shape of times to come. – joekobi
  22. And Verlaine. You’re brilliant. You drink a lot. Evidence of the first – enjoyable, by and large. Of the second – getting wearying. Just saying. – joekobi
    1. Lest this be taken as a statement of the general feeling around here, I for one don’t agree. Just saying.
      1. I think playing the man is a little uncalled for. I enjoy the thought that it’s not just me with a hangover in the mornings. Of course hangover or not V’s times are beyond me and I doff my cap.
    2. Well in my opinion this blog (and beyond) could do with more Verlaines and fewer anti-Verlaines, if you get my drift.

      Keep up the good work V.

      1. I like the ‘(and beyond)’. Very much pro-V. myself. Just not uncritically for a brief moment. (Nor would I suggest people who don’t see things the same way as me are unwelcome.) – jk
        1. Good point Joe, all perspectives should be welcome on this site. Just try to keep it nice, eh?
  23. Well, the last thing I want to do is get a for-and-against show of hands. (I’d lose by a landslide anyhow). – jk
    1. Sorry for any weariness caused: I’m more used to getting told off for the “arrogance” of just recording my times in public! Undercutting it with some cheerful idiocy seemed like a good plan at some point…
      1. When your “arrogance” runs to 15 minutes, I rather like it. It’s when it sneaks in in 5 that I can’t abide it. Tongue firmly in cheek…
  24. 25 minutes for this, with 1a initially LABURNUM then realised it wasn’t, it was an unknown ALB…
    I know my Irish counties off by heart and remembered the deer hunter theme was so-called although not as a generic name for a little song.
    I agree with Verlaine, Herman with one N isn’t especially German, but I plopped it in anyway. I don’t mind hearing about his excessive drinking which is clearly not affecting his brain yet, but I fear for his liver.
  25. About 35 minutes for me, with DNK ALB…, CAV…, TRO…. Like others, I started with LAB…, but had to change it from the wordplay when I couldn’t think (not surprisingly!) of a suitable answer to 2D to fit A-N–I-T. I fortunately biffed CAV…and TRO… was gettable from the anagrist.

    LUM was known to me from the first-footers greeting of ‘Lang may yer lum reek’ or words of that ilk, which is familiar because I married a Scot.

  26. I went for GERDIMAN, with little confidence, and having heard of neither Cavan or cavatina, I had a stab at TARATINA. The kind of clue that I keenly hope doesn’t come up in competition. 10m 08s with those errors.
  27. My heart sinks when a clue refers to an area where I am supposed to have some knowledge. So as a former teacher of German, I failed to get Herdsman (Gerdiman instead), and even worse my Irish background prevented me from getting county Cavan, which is where my family hails from originally. So a very frustrating DNF for me. Gradese
  28. Took 45 minutes, with CAVATINA my last in. Only knew this, like a few others, from the ‘Deer Hunter’ theme (without looking it up, ? Stanley Myers) and had no idea about the Irish county. Few new words such as SAVOY as a type of cabbage and ALBURNUM. Overall an enjoyable Thursday evening puzzle.

    Thanks to setter and blogger

  29. 15 mins. To provide context, like V’s description of his occasional overindulgences do, I was wide awake for this one. CAVATINA was my LOI after I dragged CAVAN from a deep recess of my mind. That was entered after the DISDAIN/HERDSMAN crossers, and I confess I was another who was toying with “gerdiman” until the penny dropped. I also entered “laburnam” at 1ac initially, although I wouldn’t describe it as a biff per se, or even a misbiff, because I know it’s a tree and thought it was unlikely that it also means “tree-trunk”. However, ALBURNUM didn’t cross my mind even though I’ve probably come across it before, and it was only when I got LINGUIST that I knew it had to be the answer. I should have trusted the wordplay in the first place. Entering “laburnum” because I knew the word even though it didn’t fit the wordplay, or seem likely from the definition, was nothing more than a guess.

    Edited at 2017-02-09 06:18 pm (UTC)

  30. Got there in reasonable time, but only after joining the long queue marked “Alburnum, not laburnum?” and “GERDSMAN. Hmmm…”
  31. All correct in 31:30 today. FOsI NUDE and ALTOGETHER, LOI RENDERED. I knew the Scottish chimney and was tempted by LABURNUM, but fortunately stuck with the wordplay and was rewarded when the polyglot sprang into view. Didn’t know the Irish county, but did know the theme music from the DH. Funnily enough one of our Folk Club members gave a rendition of CAVATINA on Monday evening. We were also treated to a totally unexpected visit from Gordon Giltrap the same evening. He just happened to be holidaying in the area. What a performer! And a genuinely nice person! I managed to spot HERMAN with “possibly” in the clue covering any doubts. Knew HYDROXYL and managed to catch the letters for TROCHAIC in the right order after throwing them in the air. Otherwise an uneventful and enjoyable solve. Thanks setter and George.
  32. Genuine question. How is it that so many well-read and highly-educated people in the UK don’t know the names of Irish counties? I mean there aren’t that many of them and they’re just across the water (or below the border), and your histories are greatly intertwined. People here seem to know every last detail about all things French and otherwise continental, so why the blind spot to the west?
    1. My ancestors hail from County Mayo and I know quite a few of the Irish counties, but definitely not all of them. There didn’t seem to be a requirement to learn them at school but I’ve picked a few up over the years. I’d struggle to name all the counties in Scotland and Wales too. I’d recognise the English ones(but might struggle with which ones still exist), but if asked how many there are and to list them, I’d probably struggle.
      1. Point taken John, but it’s not a matter of being able to list all of them, is it? I mean most of us couldn’t list all 50 states of the USA, but we’d certainly recognise them all.

        Some people are suggesting that they’d never heard of Cavan, which is what surprised me.

        But hey, I’d never heard of Carshalton until yesterday, so who am I to comment?

    2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Irish_counties_by_population

      Mr. G. It is fairly straightforward – of the 32 Counties the least well known are also the least populated and the furthest from the sea.
      At no.25 Cavan has just 76,000 people – no.32 Leitrim has just 32,000.
      The Brits do not travel south much, or inland. I have never been!They prefer Dublin and the ports, away from the areas that were almost wiped-out in the famines of the nineteenth C. – Irish Tinkerland!

      The Irish ‘invaded’ Liverpool,Glasgow,London and Cheltenham and the rest fled to America/Canada or were transported to Tasmania and Norfolk Island.

      Enjoy Tokyo – I will be there again in September.

      horryd Shanghai

      1. Horrie, you don’t know what you’re missing.

        And yes, greatly enjoying Tokyo. Have yet to meet a Japanese person, at any level, who does anything less than whole-heartedly. Extraordinary people.

    3. Sadly, I’m not that well-read, and my higher education was in computer science, which doesn’t teach you much about Irish counties. I’m also not that well-travelled, and I’ve only been to Ireland once, for a weekend in Dublin.

      Mind you, it’s not a particularly Irish problem for me; I’m also bad on French provinces, and world geography in general.

      I’ve recently started brushing up by using a geography quiz app, but so far I’ve only really got European and American countries sorted in my head. Need to plough on through Asia before I start working on granularities like Irish counties!

        1. Well, erm… New South Wales? That’s definitely one or the other, right? And… Er… Is there a Northern Territory?


          Nope. That’s all I’ve got. I’d probably recognise some more if you gave me a list to pick them from, but I don’t even know the difference between a State and a Territory.

          1. Technically that’s two out of eight, but you got my home state so I’m giving you an A+.
    4. It’s quite hard to know why you don’t know something, but I looked at the wiki list of Irish Counties and I’m relieved to say that I have heard of most of them. And now when Laois comes up I’ll be ready.
  33. As I’ve said before, great folk club you have there, John. I fell over HERDSMAN, trying to use HERR for the chap in Bonn having already got the M and N to follow. Thought of HERDSMAN and only then Herman, admittedly with the one n better known to me as a Hermit. That’s after he’d been Len Fairclough’s son.
  34. Nice to get a mention of my home town, Sheffield, today – the world’s largest village as it’s known locally, and home to the universal form of address “love” ( as in 15 ac. ) regardless of age, gender, political or sexual orientation.

    We’ve been fortunate to welcome many foreign students to the city in recent years and I harbour a fond hope that, at the end of their studies, they will export this useful and affectionate appellation to their respective countries, thus furthering the cause of world peace.

    Time: all correct in about 40 mins.

    Thank you to setter and blogger.

    Edited at 2017-02-09 02:07 pm (UTC)

    1. There’s a nice scene in Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby where coach and female fighter go to London to box and the geezer in the dressing room calls the Hilary Swank character ‘love’. ‘Maybe he wants to marry me’, she says. ‘If you win the fight, I’ll want to marry you too,’ responds Eastwood.

      1. Yes, interaction with strangers is a social minefield these days. Notwithstanding my light-hearted defence of “love”, it is rarely heard now, even in the northern enclaves.

        I have just about adapted to being called “mate” by younger blokes, despite the fact that I’m pushing 70, but interactions with women is difficult. Any useful suggestions welcome.


        1. I cause great confusion at home when both the wife and daughter are there, since I’m in the habit of calling them both ‘love’.

          My only advice is to be found in the opening line of Wordsworth’s 278 th sonnet, which I have above my desk, and which could serve as my epitaph: ‘The world is too much with us.’

  35. Anyone fancy having a bash at the (10) Provinces and (3) Territories of Canada? I can do those.

    Edited at 2017-02-09 03:22 pm (UTC)

    1. As a fellow member of the Times Solvers Married to Canadians Society, I should be able to do that but I confess I came up two short: Saskatchewan and New Brunswick. Don’t tell my wife.
      In an exercise like this you will never forget PEI once you’ve heard this.
  36. Philately gets you everywhere.

    Can you name the three divisions of Lincolnshire?

    or perhaps easier 150 Chinese Cities with more than 3 million residents?

    horryd Shanghai

    1. I can tell you all the cities in the world with more than 3 million residents in the classical period! If that’s any use.
  37. I’m surprised no one else knew Galan, the Irish county – or galantina, the song form beloved of Italian ice cream sellers.
  38. Just for the record, Irish TV (Sky 191) is shortly showing “Cavav County Matters”. Spooky.

  39. Take no notice, Verlaine. I am diluted to know that I am not alone in my appreciation of nature’s finest organic molecule. I shall raise a glass to you, probably quite soon and quite often.

    As for the puzzle, I found it generally manageable, but had to reach for TROCHAIC (vague memories of long-legged trochees)and made up ALBURNUM from raw ingredients. No idea of time, as I left the timer running during a long interruption, but probably somewhere around the 30min mark.

  40. QC improver here. Is this one of the most responded-to puzzles? Like most beginners i failed on the Cavatina and Trochaic clues. Biffed Alburnum. Looking at the down clues I like the imagery of a nude linguist travelling by unicycle around Cavan. Keep going V – just wished i had your energy as I cant get round to responding until after 7pm!
  41. My second full house on consecutive days. Up here in Scotland there are quite a few establishments choosing to style themselves ‘hydro’ hotels: Peebles Hydro, Crieff Hydro and Dunblane Hydro to name but three. They’re popular destinations, probably due in no small part to their being former country mansions in picturesque settings. Herman the German (with just one ‘n’) I believe to be a corrupted form of the romanised name Arminius (Herman aka Arminius being largely responsible for procuring the massacre of three Roman legions early in the 1st century CE in the Teutoburg Forest in modern Germany).
  42. 12:59 after another horribly slow start.

    I got CAVATINA from the definition, but vaguely remembered CAVAN once I’d fathomed the wordplay.

    Like others I toyed with GERDIMAN and GERDSMAN before remembering the Battle of Teutoburg Forest and a strange piece of doggerel by Porson (which I’ll probably quote at Verlaine if I can find it).

Comments are closed.