Times 26,729: Kill All Angels

Enjoyably tough Friday fare that hasn’t resulted in any sub-10-minute times on the leaderboard so far (11 here). There’s something about the completed grid that makes me very happy here: it’s not a classic pangram as I don’t see a J anywhere, but it still has that air of an explosion in a Scrabble tiles factory that makes it all feel worthwhile.

10ac my FOI I think, and 13ac my last, though I’m sure it wouldn’t have been had I had the final O earlier! Clue-of-the-day-wise, 9ac is a very jolly cryptic definition and made me laugh because only a couple of days I went to see a playback of a brilliant album called Planetarium by Sufjan Stevens and friends at the Peter Harrison Planetarium in Greenwich, and was cracking on Twitter that I was only glad it wasn’t calleed Abattoir. But I also really liked 23ac for the whimsical image created by its surface. And the cheeky 5dn too. Thanks setter! This was a fun one for sure.


1 Cute English problem with sophisticated clothing (8)
CHERUBIC – E RUB [English | problem] with CHIC [sophisticated] “clothing”
9 Where stock comes in only to be taken out (8)
ABATTOIR – cryptic def
10 Sextet look round for something from the past to play (4)
VIOL – VI [6 = sextet] + LO reversed [look “round”]
11 Former notable DIs leaving, put out (12)
EXTINGUISHED EX [former] + {dis}TINGUISHED [notable, “DIs leaving”]
13 King in love adopts flash traditional robe (6)
KIMONO – K IN O [king | in | love] “adopts” MO [flash]
14 Marshal eased up, admitting Republican influence (8)
PERSUADE – (EASED UP*) [“marshal”], admitting R [Republican]
15 Layer for veg, maybe, with richer kind of soil (7)
PEATIER – or whimsically PEA TIER [layer for veg]
16 Cunning vehicle’s backing in, pronto (7)
SMARTLY – SLY [cunning] (that) TRAM [vehicle] “is backing in”
20 False impression given by composer moving one leg (8)
DELUSION – DEL{I->}US [composer, “moving one”] + ON [leg]
22 Engineer takes flight stages again (6)
RERUNS – RE RUNS [engineer | takes flight]
23 Band in go-cart rubbished ageing process (6,6)
25 Refuse last bit of appetising crumble (4)
GROT – {appetisin}G + ROT [crumble]
26 Series of scripture lessons one looked to for help? (8)
RECOURSE – or R.E. COURSE [series of scripture lessons]
27 Flecks from toff’s brief neckwear? (8)
DANDRUFF – DAND{y} [toff “is brief”] + RUFF [neckwear]

2 Very narrow approach south of locks (8)
HAIRLINE – LINE [approach] south of HAIR [locks]
3 Practical guidance for humblest ground hosting United (5,2,5)
RULES OF THUMB – (FOR HUMBLEST*) [“ground”], hosting U [united]
4 First class highway reportedly spanned (8)
BESTRODE – BEST [first class] + homophone of ROAD [highway “reportedly”]
5 Dude with piles gets fitful sleep (7)
CATNAPS – CAT [dude] with NAPS [piles]
6 Having caught fever, aged queen is increasingly rough (6)
VAGUER – VR [aged (and not amused) queen] having caught AGUE [fever]
7 My game ultimately lacks breadth (4)
GOSH – GO [game] + {lack}S {breadt}H
8 Arid setting for Dickensian chores (8)
DRUDGERY – RUDGE [Dickensian] set in DRY [arid]
12 Comic gag requires a touch of ribaldry and old-fashioned craft (6,6)
SQUARE RIGGER – (GAG REQUIRES*) [“comic”] + R{ibaldry}
15 Short decree cutting simple cosmetic treatment (8)
PEDICURE – EDIC{t} [“short” decree] cutting PURE [simple]
17 Full of energy, mum organised covering for cake (8)
MARZIPAN – MA RAN [mum | organised], filled with ZIP [energy]
18 Reportedly, accommodation issue upset independent type (4,4)
LONE WOLF – homophone of LOAN [“reportedly” accommodation] + reverse of FLOW [issue “upset”]
19 Pursuit commonly cancelled free of charge (7)
UNTAXED – ‘UNT AXED [pursuit “commonly” | cancelled]
21 Discount from trader on gifts raised (6)
IGNORE – reverse hidden in {trad}ER ON GI{fts}
24 Muscle affliction the result of making hay? (4)
RICK – double def, since one makes hay into RICKS

47 comments on “Times 26,729: Kill All Angels”

  1. 50 mins of enjoyment with a croissant. I enjoyed the clue for 9ac, but not the image first thing in the morning. Thinking of Illusion (don’t know why) delayed my Pedicure. Some great stuff here: Dandruff, the hidden Ignore, and Rick. But can’t choose COD between the Pea Tier or the Dude with Piles.
    Thanks setter and V.

    Edited at 2017-05-19 07:46 am (UTC)

  2. 35 mins, plus a further 5 to settle on GROT. Held up also with ‘abbatoir’ and thinking that 19dn somehow started with ‘obi’. FOI was 1ac, which always makes me happy!

  3. After chucking in RICK and SQUARE RIGGER extremely uncertainly, I was amazed to have finished this unscathed. Didn’t get a single clue through my first scan, and eventually CARBON DATING became my FOI. Lots of ‘not my first choice’ vocab, (NAPS, RUB (not sum!), LINE, ZIP), so a good lesson in not relying on your go-to synonyms. Loved it all, but especially KIMONO for the amusing surface. Nice to see Delius getting a mention too.
    Many thanks setter and blogger.
  4. Scraped in just under my limit at 58 minutes. Lots of good stuff, with the definitions often a little beyond my grasp on the first pass.

    The kind of puzzle I like, with the clues making things tough rather than obscure words or spellings (don’t get me started on yesterday’s Guardian job…) FOI VIOL, LOI PEDICURE, because it took me a while to line up my PEATIER and I had “illusion” pencilled in before I realised my DELUSION.

    COD 23a CARBON DATING, just because of the lovely misleading definition. WOD GROT, with my morning coffee raised to the late Leonard Rossiter.

    Thanks to setter (especially for using a Dickens reference that even the literaturely-challenged can get) and to blogger.

    Edited at 2017-05-19 08:08 am (UTC)

  5. Needed 43 minutes to complete the grid but 10 of those were spent working through the alphabet to arrive at 19dn as my LOI. Can’t say I’d thought of 3dn in the plural before but of course there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be. It did give me pause for thought however.
    1. My spidey-senses are highly attuned to the word “commonly” by this point so UNT came quickly. It was 25ac that I had to cross my fingers about – I ran it through my head several times and it seemed very defensible but there was the nagging feeling that there might be a better synonym for “refuse” out there…
      1. 25ac came to mind immediately along with fond memories of the second season of Reggie Perrin in which he created a successful retail chain called GROT selling nothing but rubbish.

        Edited at 2017-05-19 07:45 am (UTC)

        1. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one with Reggie on the mind this morning. “GROT has lots of things that are not any use! Some of them are red, some of them are green, and some of them are puce!”

          Edited at 2017-05-19 07:57 am (UTC)

        2. Does it mark me out as being of a different generation, that GROT for me more conjures up images of Rod Hull, Emu and the Pink Windmill?
          1. I remember Rod Hull and Emu with some affection but I’m afraid the references to GROT and Pink Windmill mean nothing to me.
  6. Very slow on the uptake today, partly perhaps because I had just returned from two classes. In any case I took unnecessary amounts of time on going through the alphabet like Jack to get UNTAXED, giving up E for energy in MARZIPAN (biffed from checkers then saw ZIP), twigging that ‘comic’ was anagrind (same as MARZIPAN), ditto for ‘marshal’. Fortunately, I only know GROT from the Beatles, so didn’t have a qualm about it meaning ‘refuse’. ‘Toff’=dandy, on the other hand, I never thought of, and it still doesn’t sound right. A tossup for COD between ABATTOIR & CARBON DATING.
  7. Chewy puzzle, only 24d in on first pass. COD undoubtedly 13ac with its allusion to Yul. Thanks v and setter.
  8. Head and shoulders below par today. After the recent good run approached this with schoolboy trepidation. Lots of good clues. LOI 21 which says it all, about 40 Ho Hum. Ty V and setter
  9. Bunged in ADORABLE at 1ac from the flimsiest of evidence, which held me up for a bit. Otherwise a very enjoyable and challenging solve.

    COD candidates everywhere, but I’ll give it to SQUARE RIGGER ahead of GOSH. LOI PEATIER.

    Thanks setter and V.

  10. 25 minutes of great fun, held up at the end by 6d because I’d failed to spell abattoir correctly, having too quickly put in abbatoir and then had *B*U*R left. Silly because only yesterday I was at the ABATS section buying kidneys. But it was all sorted in the end. Best of the week IMO. FoI VIOL, CoD DELUSION because I like to hear a bit of Delius.

    Edited at 2017-05-19 08:05 am (UTC)

      1. Having gone down by one on both Wednesday and Thursday, I can definitively say that today’s crossword was much tighter and fairer than either of those!
  11. Took more than the hour on this with UNTAXED LOI. SW corner the problem area with PEDICURE/PEATIER crosser finally providing the bridge over the Tamar to RECOURSE, with the neat RICK then spotted. I needed the D having spent too long failing to find a composer to make illusion work before then. Anyone heard of ILLIUS? I seem to remember him from O level Latin. COD CARBON DATING. Horrible but good puzzle. Thank you setter and V.
    1. ILLIUS just means “his” in Latin, so it wouldn’t have been the best name!
        1. The declension of ILLE had nearly left me some time over this last sixty years. It wasn’t as good as HIC HAEC HOC. A blackbird at the back sings HUIUS HUIUS HUIUS each morning.
          1. Bor, beris, bitur, bimur, bimini, buntur. Always was partial to that -bimini ending.
            1. We always used AMO as the verb to conjugate. AMABIMINI- you will be loved? The blackbird hasn’t promised that.
      1. There are a few old masters who could have been confused with Ludicrus Sextus but my Latin master was pretty smart, a latter-day Lurcio. He may have thought I was Nausius.
  12. 21 minutes including 4 on DELUSION at the end. How many composers beginning with D and including a U and I do I know? Exactly.
  13. 30 minutes of enjoyable tussling, with a big chunk of that mopping up the stragglers, all words with double unches. Completely missed marshal as the anagram indicator in 14a.
  14. 17.40 and feeling good about it. Several good penny dropping moments, the best probably for PEATIER where layer in chicken mode kept intruding and I didn’t see the two words the setter’s way round.
    Dude with piles – fabulous, if buttock clenching clue.
    I also tried ILLUSION first, struggling to make a Russian composer by moving one L (and variations). Came close, of course to wondering whether the brilliant aircraft designer had an unexpected sideline.
    GOSH I only got when I typed the available letters into Electric Chambers, the tiniest moment before I hit search, so saved from “resorted to aids”. I think so, anyway.
    Thanks V for that image of an explosion in a Scrabble tiles factory. It seems churlish to draw your attention to the collateral damage that replaced 5d with 5a.
  15. Really enjoyed this, found it slightly off-beat with anagram indicators like marshal and comic. A couple of guesses – never heard of Delius, grot on a wing and a prayer, and lone wolf unparsed. A medium 24:50
  16. Just over half an hour, but felt longer as after a quick start with 9ac & 10ac couldn’t get any more than 25ac in the next five minutes. Eventually saw the first couple of down, filled the NW corner and worked out from there, with slight delays trying for a HEN in 15ac, and the illusory 20ac.
    Having noticed the near-pangram, I was looking for a J at the end, so didn’t submit till I was sure that 7dn couldn’t possibly be JOSH, the only available location for it.
  17. Solid if unspectacular 18 mins, some amount which will remain undisclosed spent trying to work out exactly where the T in PEATHEN was coming from. Disturbingly, not “is that actually a real word”. Then the penny dropped and finally, unsurprisingly, 15a LOI.

    Tricky but fair, a good Friday challenge all in all

  18. 27:20 and I daresay I’d have been much faster if some wordplay had helped with the spelling of abattoir. Abbatoir still looks just as likely but it made VAGUER more than a tad tricky. In deference to the setter some well-disguised anagram indicators like Marshal and Comic slowed me down as well (although in the latter case I biffed the boat).
  19. Just on 15 minutes here, definitely on the harder side, but very much fun – teasing out SQUARE RIGGER in particular. Wasn’t 100% on GROT when I submitted, but got lucky there.
  20. Over an hour on this, never really getting a foothold. Some nice stuff, but, like the AM, Wednesday wins POW.
  21. Nice puzzle, which took me the usual 20 minutes, ending with GROT, from wordplay only. I can’t recall meeting GROT before. Lots of admirable clueing today. Especially the succinct GOSH. Thanks to the setter and Verlaine. Regards.
  22. 18 mins. I didn’t get an answer on first read through until I got to 15dn so I was pleased I eventually found the setter’s wavelength, especially as a lot of you found it quite tricky. No problem with the spelling of ABATTOIR, but VAGUER was still my LOI, in my case after PERSUADE. However, I confess that I only parsed LONE WOLF post-solve. I liked the PEA TIER.
  23. 33m, with one error. I think I’m just going to try and forget this ever happened. I’ve had a pretty brutal week and I was completely exhausted by the time I got to it. It felt like wading through treacle, and I didn’t help myself by putting in ABBATOIR (in spite of knowing perfectly well how to spell it), ILLUSION and, er, another typo I can’t even remember now (I told you I was knackered). By the end I was losing the will to live so I bunged in PEATBED for no reason I can now discern.
    I need a drink.

    Edited at 2017-05-19 04:40 pm (UTC)

  24. This took me forever, 19 mins on the train into work, 53 mins at lunchtime and a further 10 mins on the train home, but a real sense of achievement to finish all correct. I think the puzzle was quite tough but I also managed to sabotage myself at every turn and it took real perseverance and persistence to identify and correct the errors and see it through to the bitter end. FOI an incorrectly spelt Abattoir which left me trying to parse Abrupt at 6dn, I think Vaguer was my LOI. An incorrect Core at 7dn was soon corrected to Gosh when extinguished went in at 11ac. I had Dilution at 20ac but couldn’t think of any composer to match so revisited and corrected in due course. I also had an incorrect Resource at 26ac later properly parsed and corrected to Recourse but it meant I spent ages doing an alphabet trawl for R-S- at 24dn and wondering if Rust was a muscular problem which also had something to do with making hay. I was another who wanted 1ac to be Adorable for the longest time. I thought there were a lot of good clues in this one, 14ac stood out but COD to 21dn for the misdirection.
  25. I did this crossword this morning in 35:41 which is not too bad for me, especially as it wasn’t the easiest of puzzles. I then had to shoot off to Harrogate, as I’d had an email from the nice man who advised he had finished the minor adjustments to my violin and the re-hairing of its bow. I took the opportunity to call in at the snooker club at Darlington on the way home, to whack a few balls about, and am now halfway down a nice bottle of Tarragona, after a nice rib eye steak, feeling at peace with the world. Oh yes, the puzzle! Started with VIOL curiously enough, then hopped around the grid finishing with UNTAXED. ‘UNT came easily enough, but I needed an alphabet trawl to get AXED. EXTINGUISHED was my second one in, so GOSH wasn’t too hard to spot. Particularly liked CATNAPS, and DRUDGERY raised a smile too. Messed about with CHESUMIC for 1a until the penny dropped. 15d held me up while I tried to fit NIS(i) into it. Missed the Reggie Perrin reference until now, but a pleasure to be reminded of it. All in all, an excellent puzzle. Thanks setter, and thanks to V for the blog. I’m with Z in appreciating the explosion in the Scrabble tiles factory 🙂

    Edited at 2017-05-19 07:46 pm (UTC)

  26. Another over an hour DNF. Lots of good clues but held up by some rather simple ones and also joining the bb in abattoir regiment. Slight ? In my mind whether peatier soil is in fact richer but a minor quibble in an otherwise excellent puzzle which was simply too clever for me – not that tough an ask I’m afraid! Thanks, setter and blogger as ever.

    Edited at 2017-05-19 08:25 pm (UTC)

  27. 18:14 for me, a significant portion of which was spent on 25ac (including dithering over GROT once I’d finally thought of it).

    At the end of a tiring day, I didn’t really enjoy this one all that much, and found myself looking wistfully back at the 1970 puzzle, which I really enjoyed far more than the week’s other puzzles (and not just because historic puzzles like that are the only ones for which I stand even the faintest chance of finishing ahead of Magoo).

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