Times 26659 – The need for speed….

Solving time: 14 minutes

Music: Shostakovich, Symphony #11, Berglund/BournemouthSO

I could hardly believe my time for this puzzle, as one clue after another fell with minimal effort. The one answer that should have given me trouble, ‘rollmop’, came up less than a week ago in the Tuesday puzzle that Jackkt blogged. Everything else was very plain sailing.

I am not sure if I was just on the wavelength, or if this was a really easy Monday puzzle. The usual speed merchants will undoubtedly gobble it up, but I suspect for middling and beginner solvers it will not prove all that simple. They will get there eventually, of course, but they probably don’t know all the cryptic conventions that would allow them to zip through the puzzle like old-timers.

6 SUBORN, SUB O[cean] + R.N.
9 ABEL, AB. + LE backwards. There is a hidden pun here somewhere about an Abel Seaman.
10 TELEVISION, double definition. An actual box set, of course, consists of muliple LPs!
11 PRIMORDIAL, PRIM + OR + DIAL, where ‘ring’ is a verb, and lift and separate is required.
13 INTO, IN + TO[p], our cricket clue of the day.
14 GAZPACHO, G(AZ(PA)CH)O, a Russian-doll construction.
16 RETURN, double definition. The meaning of ‘elect to office’ is a bit UK-centric.
18 JETSAM, JETS, AM. It is probably best not to lift and separate here.
22 DILL, D + ILL. One of my great-great-grandmothers had the surname ‘Dill’, it is apparently an old Massachusetts family.
24 MARBLE ARCH, MARBLE + ARCH. Yes, an ‘alley’ is a marble; it originally referred to a marble made out of alabaster.
26 BANDLEADER, B(AND)LEADER…yes, the other Ted Heath, not the PM who is implied in the surface reading.
28 TRIP, TRIP[e]. I bunged this in, but research shows that both ‘tripe’ and ‘cobblers’ are synonyms for ‘nonsense’. This meaning of ‘cobblers’ comes from some rather indecent Cockney rhyming slang.
29 PLANET, PLANE + T[heories].
2 HIBERNATE, H(I BERN)ATE, where the literal ‘winter’ needs to be read as a verb.
3 ROLLMOP, ROLL + MOP, where the first element is a bit on the DBE side.
4 SITAR, S(I)TAR, a chestnut.
5 AIL, A + IL.
6 SAVILE ROW, cryptic definition, but not very.
12 IN ORDER, double definition, the first one jocular.
15 CAMEMBERT, CA(MEMBER)T, presumably a hep sort of guy.
17 REDUCTION, R(ED)UCTION. ‘Ruction’ is a bit on the obscure side, the the answer is readily biffable.
23 IN ALL, I(N.A.)LL.
25 LURID, L(UR)ID. Is it just me, or is this a really poor-quality surface?
27 DEW, hidden in [insi]DE W[indow].

85 comments on “Times 26659 – The need for speed….”

  1. … 15m, this must be nursery stuff eh? But it’s a nice enough puzzle for all that. Only let-down was the double use of “poorly” = ILL in the crossing 22ac and 23dn.

    Thought the Heath ref. (26ac) was to the ex-PM as orchestral conductor! Never heard of the other one.

  2. After 20 minutes or so, all done except the NE. 8dn must be SCOOP (s+coop), mustn’t it? Hm. But what can 6ac be? Maybe SUBORN, though I can’t parse it and it doesn’t fit with SCOOP. And the penny refused to drop on 13ac. Eventually it did all fall INTO place and then bang “Unlucky!”: I’d put REDACTION for 17dn and since it fitted with the across answers I hadn’t checked it…

    So, yes, an easy crossword but one I still found a way to muck up πŸ™‚

  3. No Vinyl, Sir – this was a gift. A Monday where the clueless prevailed. PBs from Verlaine & Co?

    14.50 my best time for many a yonk! Might give Mr. Galspray a run for his money. (Good Cricket result!)

    McT. BANDLEADER Ted Heath was very famous in his day, the 1950s, sor Swing.(No Fenders, mind you.)

    It all flowed in – bar the north-east corner with 7dn BASSIST LOI once 6ac SUBORN was confirmed.

    23dn IN ALL wasn’t a great clue – methink.



    Edited at 2017-02-27 03:45 am (UTC)

  4. Must be an easy one as I finished in 23:23 – not only a PB, but the first time ever under an hour.

    For a moment there, I felt like an expert.


  5. I know I’ll get no sympathy, but I was interrupted for a full five minutes by a colleague near the start of this one. Honestly believe I’d have done this in around 7 minutes otherwise, which would be a massive PB for me.

    Not the most challenging of puzzles, but that’s not a bad thing on a busy Monday.

    Thanks setter and Vinyl, and well done Verlaine on the 3:33.

    1. No, I sympathise wholeheartedly and would therefore suggest that you use a stop watch and paper and pen to attain warp speed.

      Edited at 2017-02-27 07:11 am (UTC)

    2. Much sympathy from me, as a self-confessed time obsessive. I’m guessing your colleague might not understand if you gave him or her an earful over it though.

      Edited at 2017-02-27 09:43 am (UTC)

      1. Let’s just say that anyone other than the pulchritudinous Suzy would have been given short shrift.

        Great time by the way K, congrats.

  6. 19 minutes for this excellent puzzle and I’m quite happy with easier ones occasionally if they are of this quality.

    As soon as I saw the Decca logo I wondered if this was in honour of Ted Heath, so I was pleased to read further down that it was indeed. One of my first records ever bought with my own money was Ted’s recording of “Swingin’ Shepherd Blues” which reached No 3 in the UK charts in 1958. It was on a 78 so unfortunately didn’t survive the years but it’s still available to listen to here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xr0caXhGTUU. It’s worth pausing play-back to study the photo of the band in session when you get to it.

    My only gripe (how appropriate) with the puzzle was the untimely reminder of ROLLMOPs just after my stomach had recovered from thinking about them last Tuesday.

    Edited at 2017-02-27 05:34 am (UTC)

    1. My musical education continues. But blues with no guitar? I’m not sure. Sounds just like the stuff my Ma and Pa used to dance to. Though whether TH ever made it to the New Brighton Tower remains shrouded in mystery. Probably too down-market for him. I was told that it tended to be Joe Loss (Pa: “Dead Loss”).

      Someone called “Nothing Like Vinyl” (hmmm) posted this:
      Now … that’s a turntable!

  7. Almost definitely a PB, and I could have cut a half a minute off the time if I hadn’t come up with Suleiman as the anti-Crusader. There’s a Gresham’s Law for cryptics: bad answers drive out good ones. Anyway, exactly 2 Verlaines; can’t complain.
  8. 10’11” and another PB here, with ‘scoot’ and ‘scoop’ first stymying SUBORN, and then time spent trying to find a word meaning bribe ending in ‘O’. But nice for once to be moaning like a pro about seconds rather than minutes – quarter hours – wasted.
  9. Finished in a little over an hour with a few errors along the way:

    1a I wasn’t sure why daily = char, tea?
    6a dnk suborn, but the word play was helpful.
    24a dnk marble = alley.
    26a dnk the other Ted Heath
    For 17d I put redaction initially.
    5d Ail, I was looking for the backwards indicator as its hidden in itaLIAn!
    6d I misspelt as Savill Row.

    COD 6d Savile Row.

    Edited at 2017-02-27 07:00 am (UTC)

    1. Charwoman – daily help (cleaner around the house). Yes I know it’s not PC but I’m quoting the usage.
      1. Same spelling as per Jimmy Savile it’s simply vile (not ville or ‘owt else.)

        Cha is Chinese for tea.

        Glass alley = marble.

        1. True and it can be spelt like that in English too, though perhaps more usually it takes an “r”, so the same spelling as the domestic help.
  10. Tripped over myself in the rush and typed SATIR, which is presumably what Ian Hislop plays.

    Otherwise, well done that Verlaine for reaching warp speed He’s gonna need more dilithium crystals.

    1. plays HIS PIANOLA for which he earned an A minus.

      Taxi for one!

      Edited at 2017-02-27 07:55 am (UTC)

  11. A personal best by a mile – probably 10 minutes. I have never written in every answer at first reading and in sequence.
    1. I also can’t the see definition in 23d. This is a shame, as I was all finished bar that one in 23 minutes. Knowing I had time to spare for a PB, I mulled it over for another couple of minutes before “trusting” the wordplay and putting in “is all” β€” “SA” in “ill”β€” and giving myself my fastest ever completed but wrong puzzle.

      Shame, but it was worth a gamble, I thought, for the time, given that I also didn’t know Abel Tasman, the BANDLEADER or the alley. There was always a chance that “is all” was some North American slang for “coming”, in some odd way.

      EDIT: Thanks, sawbill. I now see the definition and that the wordplay is more tortuous than most of the rest of the wordplay in the puzzle. Perhaps that’s why I couldn’t quite see IN ALL, even though I had it written down as one of my options.

      Edited at 2017-02-27 08:33 am (UTC)

  12. Golly, easy or what? Not even a one-cup, less than half in fact

    Ted Heath was actually a rather impressive person, who worked very hard to achieve his success.. and succeed he did, with over 100 LPs and 20m records sold. His Wiki entry is worth a read.

  13. Another PB here at 12’05 on the timer. Same dnks as others: SUBORN, that TED HEATH, but nothing to hold things up too much.

  14. This was my first ever ten minute finish. I’m only using my wrist watch but it wasn’t 9 or 11 minutes. I’ve revealed at least twice before how Ted Heath the politician is my personal bΓͺte noire, not that I believe any of the stuff flying around about him right now. I saw the name and thought, “I hope it’s the BANDLEADER.” Another write-in. I had a penchant for GAZPACHO during the early eighties. Mid-life crises come in different forms. We used ALLEYS when we played Murps, as we called the game of Marbles. I remember ALLEYS as synonymous with Glassies as opposed to Bollies, which were ballbearings. (*That’s a late life memory crisis. Wiki corrects me, they were made out of alabaster.) SO COD MARBLE ARCH. I always thought Marbles was a cruel game, taking someone else’s prized possessions. Like love and crossword solving, it shouldn’t have ended in some kind of victory march.

    Edited at 2017-02-27 09:53 am (UTC)

  15. Nursery stuff for some, but for beginners it’s a great boost to the confidence after a couple of fairly desperate weeks going nowhere.
    Finished this within one cup of coffee which might be my measure in future rather than an actual time..
  16. Real doddle

    Good to be reminded of TED HEATH and his band. Danced to his music many times. See also Harry James, Count Basie, Woody Herman ….

  17. 4:45, a PB and my first ever sub-five-minute solve. I realised about half-way through that I was on for a fast time and it made me really nervous. How silly is that?
      1. Thanks!
        I think my political views put me firmly in the elite already. I know this because privately-educated cabinet ministers, newspaper columnists and millionaire businessmen keep telling me.

        Edited at 2017-02-27 09:58 am (UTC)

        1. How did your quiz go? If you’re free towards the end of this week maybe we should start a highly exclusive, no-riffraff drinking society of our own. The Solvingdon Club?
          1. More or less as I expected: the loss of our best player took us out of contention.
            I like your idea but it’s not going to be posssible this week: I’m in Oslo until Wednesday evening and then we’re following sotira’s recommendation and seeing Travesties on Thursday.
            Next week is similar but the following (14th or 15th) more promising.
            1. Having checked my schedule for this week, it is actually looking a bit busy on the gigs front… so mid-March works well for me! Might be able to drum up some extra attendance too, if we can fix a date in advance…
              1. I was thinking the same. DM me (or whatever it’s called in LJ) so we can fix a date and then advertise more widely.
    1. Great stuff!

      As one who suffers horribly from nerves, I can heartily sympathise. It sounds as if a sub-four-minute time should be on if you can conquer them.

      1. Thanks Tony, that’s very kind. I do think I’m still improving, albeit at a much slower rate as time goes on. Nerves, however, are not a problem: in this context (it was always the same for exams) they improve my performance. For anything resembling public speaking I find them debilitating.
  18. The two or three times a year I clock in under 10 minutes is the cue for a ridiculous typo so some of my 9.02 was spent looking for one of those elusive so-and-so’s. I liked the PRIMORDIAL soup but the pairing of ROLLMOPS with CAMEMBERT and GAZPACHO was quite agita-inducing.
  19. As many of you have noted, this was a gentle one – meaning that my time (22min) was in the range that many of you manage for the tough ones!

    My only pause was over SUBORN. I knew the word, and I knew the meaning, but didn’t know that the meaning went with the word.

  20. A record time for me (along with the rest of you it seems)
    Yet again though, I am simply in awe of those sub 4 minute times, not sure I can even type that fast with my two fingers. There really wasn’t anything that troubled me here. LOI was SUBORN
    1. SUBORN was my LOI too. I thought MARBLE ARCH was quite a difficult clue, except of course 100% biffable after a couple of letters, for we longtime Londoners at least.
    1. There comes a point when you think that maybe you need to work on achieving a 120wpm typing speed, as well as your solving abilities, to compete with this crowd…
      1. My typing speed was that once, but isn’t far off these days. I prefer to do my puzzles on paper, I just can’t think the same typing the solutions into an online grid

        About 12 seconds over my personal best ever time

      2. My typing speed is nowhere near that fast (maybe 50 or 60) but I know from experience (losing a completed grid on submission) that when I know the answers I can type them in in well under two minutes. But 3:33 is an absolutely blistering speed by any standards!
  21. Well under 30 mins so a pb for me too. LO1 23d which I thought a particularly poor clue until I saw the “totalling” comment above, now I think it’s rather clever, often the way I find. A gentle start after a frustrating weekend, no golf, flooded greens, only 1 point when it should have been 3 against the Tractor boys,and then, once the penny had dropped shouting at the telly, “they don’t want to ruck so don’t go to ground” or words to that effect. I have a feeling the All Blacks would have sussed it in 5 minutes.
  22. Another PB here at 15:04. I suspected that this would see some blistering times as the clues flew in at first read. FOI, ABEL, LOI DEW, wondering for a while what DOW could have to do with windows, with a more or less top to bottom solve. Took it on wordplay that Tasman’s first name was ABEL. Chapeau tipped to the under 5 minute crowd!! Despite the fast times, this was an enjoyable puzzle. Thanks setter and Vinyl.
  23. Another PB here at 7’15” and only my second sub 10′, the first being over 20 years ago! Very little more that a pumped up QC.
  24. A Monday doddle, 15 minutes without trying to rush, in the sunshine, but still sad and angry after the Saints were robbed of a fair goal and so lost a rare final to MU yesterday. The offside rule needs revision or abolition.
    I can’t conceive how I could write in all the answers with a pen in 3 minutes odd, let alone type them into a screen. I am in awe.
    1. I was at Wembley back in 1976 – I know how you feel. I also remember losing to The Saints when United wore the grey shirts and shipped six goals.

      The offside rule needs to be controlled by the fourth official via replay – then it would be fair for all.

      Recently I wote the answers in by pen when I already knew the answers – my time 2.39! What are Jason & Co on!?

      1. Jason was on 2.45, so let’s assume he took 2 seconds to think and 4 seconds to check his answers (which he does claim to have done!!!)
    2. I think the offside rule’s about right. The problem’s with the speed these things happen at. Where a goal’s been disallowed, a check with a video ref would take no time. Mind you, this weekend we didn’t seem to have striker who got ahead of the ball for the offside rule to apply.
  25. Everything ran straight in without pausing. Basically, this was as fast as I could write.

    Quick crossword took me about a minute longer, with a couple unparsed.

    As a (very) long-time trainee solver (since 1969!) I am completing many more puzzles since the quick was introduced: it has taught me a lot.


  26. 12 min – likely PB: I’m amazed that top solvers can enter solutions several times as fast!
  27. A few seconds away from a PB for me, at 5m 22s. I wasn’t helped by the fact that the bottom left hand corner of my paper was torn off, so I had to write some or all of 26a, 29a, 15d, 19d & 23d on the page beneath!
    Nothing tricky here, although I didn’t know SUBORN or the parsing of MARBLE ARCH.
  28. I do it on paper, so no chance to blame typos on my fingers.
    A PB here, too, at about 18 min. I agree with the comments regarding quality: relatively easy, but not due to sacrificing cleverness or wit.
  29. Everyones a winner (baby). A PB for me too. No references to La La Land or the Italian rugby tactics. Are setters trying to invent every clue for Rollmop? But a fun puzzle to start the week to get me over the end of the national winter ale festival (if anyone is interested my beer of the fest was the delicious, Scottish Sulwath Black Galloway – perfection). Thanks blogger as always.
  30. The QC blog recommended this for the aspiring QCer. I managed to finish it in just under an hour. Last two in were Suborn and Roost. I had Scoop at 8d for a while. I remembered Ted Heath,the bandleader, but not his music. Enjoyed the puzzle.
    By the way, as you all now seem to have time to spare,today’s QC from Joker contains lots of amusing clues. David
  31. OK, so it’s Monday and the puzzle is a bit of a gimme, but it still brings joy to an old man’s heart to get everything in and correct in under 20 minutes. Long may it continue.

    Time: 19 minutes.

    Thank you to setter and blogger.

  32. Either the easiest puzzle in ages or I’m rapidly improving, or a mixture of both. About 25 minutes across three sittings with ‘charisma’ falling first and ‘spartan’ last. That’s the good news. The bad is that I now have time to return to Saturday’s jumbo which has been like pulling teeth so far. T.
    1. Interestingly the jumbo is the hardest of last 3 days’ puzzles. I wonder if primordial soup tastes as good as gazpacho.
  33. 12 minutes including check. So it must have been very easy. My usual time is 25-35 minutes. But it’s good for the morale to have the ocasional easy puzzle.
  34. 6 mins, which is probably a PB for me as well. I’m another who finished with SUBORN, in my case after ROOST.
  35. Definitely my first sub-10 minute answer, which would have been even better if I did not have to poke at a keyboard. Thanks all round.
  36. Hi all. Yes, a bit of a breeze today. I wasn’t a PB because I was watching the Oscar thing at the time, but less than 15 minutes with that. It was one of those where I’d solve a clue and look for the next one, but I was quickly surprised to find they were all done. Thanks to the setter and vinyl. Regards.
  37. Well, I’ll join the crowd: this was also my best time ever (though at 22:48 nowhere near a PB). The only unknown was SUBORN, also my LOI, which went in from wordplay after having the checkers. Lots of repetitions of bits and pieces from other puzzles this last week, such as DEW and RUCTION and ROLLMOP for example (whose German name, by the way, is ROLLMOPS, because at least in Germany they are rolled up and held together with a toothpick and a sliver of cucumber).
  38. Solving time 9:45. Giving me a distorted sense of achievement.. I suspect tomorrow will be a different ball game.
  39. 5:28 for me, so just edging under 2 x Jason!

    Congratulations to all who achieved PBs, particularly those who broke significant barriers (5 minutes, 10 minutes, …) for the first time (commiserations to verlaine for just failing to break 3:30). Sadly it’s extremely rare that I break five minutes these days, let alone four. (Deep sigh!)

  40. Hooray…just finished…so glad we have been on nightshift….and there was 3 of us…..new record 6hours 35 mins….smashed it πŸ˜€πŸ˜€
  41. Hooray…just finished…so glad we have been on nightshift….and there was 3 of us…..new record 6hours 35 mins….smashed it πŸ˜€πŸ˜€

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