Times 26737 – “A hundred miles from nowhere…

Solving time: 33 minutes

Music: Thelonius Monk Quartet – Thelonius in Action

Hello, I am back, and I’m at the beginning a four-week run as the Monday blogger. Due to a complicated series of swaps between Ulaca and me, I have ended up with the bulk of the June puzzles, which I hope will not turn out to be contain any like last Friday’s. Monday is usually relatively straightforward unless it is a bank holiday, but you never know.

While today (or tomorrow, for me) is a bank holiday in the UK, and Memorial Day over here, today’s puzzle was not particularly difficult. I had one entry that I suspected was incorrect, so I typed my completed puzzle in online, and sure enough, I had one wrong. There was just about only one other possible answer, but I had to do a little research to find the UK comedy TV program that was not widely aired in the US, unlike Monty Python and Benny Hill.

I wish all my friends in the UK a nice day off tomorrow, or today as the case may be. Here in Connecticut, it looks like all the picnics will have to be held indoors due to rain. At least the pool has opened…

1 NEMESIS, S.E. MEN backwards + I’S.
5 HEMLINE, HE + M(NIL backwards)E.
9 VESTIBULE, anagram of I’VE SUBLET.
10 LOGUE, LOG(U)E, Christopher Logue. Never heard of him, as poetry had largely lost its central place in literature by the 50s. I wonder how many solvers in England will have heard of US poets from this period like W.S. Merwin or John Ashbery.
11 JIHAD, H,I,J backwards + A.D., one clue encapsulating the clash of civilizations.
12 READDRESS, READ + DRESS, where ‘clothing’ is NOT an enclosure indicator.
13 NIGHT WATCHMAN, double definition, a bit of a chestnut.
17 ABERDEEN ANGUS, anagram of BEGAN UNDERSEA. I pondered every single possible meaning of ‘joint supplier’, and wasn’t even close.
21 ANIMOSITY, AN(I + MO + S + IT)Y, easily biffable one you twig ‘any’.
24 OBESE, O.B. + E[ats] S[weets] E[agerly], great surface but easy clue.
26 INANIMATE, I + N(ANIMA[l])TE, where ‘rendered’ is an anagrind that applies to NET.
28 EASIEST, EA(S[m]I[l]E)ST.
1 NAVAJO, O JAVAN upside-down.
4 SOUBRETTE, SOU + anagram of BETTER.
5 HYENA, H(YEN)A-[ha].
6 MELODIC, ME(LO)DIC, quite simple, but not what I was expecting, as ‘doctor’ is usually a two-letter abbreviation.
14 AT ANY RATE, A TA(N.Y. R.A.)TE. Of course, a New York artist could not really be an R.A, but this is the crossword.
15 MISBEHAVE, M + I + S(BE)HAVE, where ‘plane’ is a verb in the cryptic, although a noun in the surface.
16 CATACOMB, C + A T(AC)OMB, a very original clue.
18 DROUGHT, D(R)OUGH + T, where both ‘bread’ and ‘dough’ are best interpreted as slang terms for money.
19 GOODIES, GOO + DIE’S, as in a diecast.
20 REGENT, R(E.G.)ENT. I couldn’t stop thinking of ‘vent’ for the longest time, but it leads nowhere.
22 ICING, [not]ICING.
23 ILIAD, I + DAIL upside-down; yes, the Irish House.

41 comments on “Times 26737 – “A hundred miles from nowhere…”

  1. No holiday here, but the puzzle was fairly easy-going. Some biffing (ANIMOSITY, INANIMATE) and a slight hold-up having entered NAVAHO (thought a HAVAN might be from Cuba, if “thought” is the correct word).

    Didn’t know the box or the poet, but the checkers left little room for doubt.

    Thanks setter and Vinyl.

  2. Back after a month’s sojourn – and even managed to forget my password! A reasonably easy first effort which I found very enjoyable – 38 minutes.
    Like Mr. Galspray I had never heard of the poet LOGUE at 10ac or his opera box! LOI
    FOI 14dn AT ANY RATE.

    COD 17ac the baffling anagram for ABERDEEN ANGUS.


  3. What Jonathan doesn’t mention is that I have actually already been on holiday, but I went in the time machine, which duly broke down – more of that anon – and so I am currently in some sort of warp (or is it weft?) and will be in a decompression chamber for at least a month.

    The effect on my cerebellum can clearly be seen in this puzzle, where, despite noting that shin was a.joint of meat, I inexplicably failed to see that the other joint could also be a cut of meat, and limped home in 30 minutes. Or, as it says on my chronometer, -761 minutes.

    No public holiday here until tomorrow, which is probably already past in Connecticut.

  4. Never heard of LOGUE? Well, no, actually. And it took me a while to come up with the box. ANIMOSITY might be easily biffable, but so was ‘antipathy’, so I biffed it. I also biffed ABERDEEN ANGUS once I had the A_G, since I knew it was a) an anagram with b) no L. My COD. Welcome back Jon and David.
    1. Ah, antipathy! That’s the word I was trying to remember. Fortunately my dimness carried the day.
    2. Yes, I thought of “antipathy” first. I know of LOGUE (and Ashbery) but not “loge” or SOUBRETTE. I didn’t get 5ac and I couldn’t persuade myself that 5dn didn’t have an L in it, so a DNF.
  5. Had to be CATACOMB, but no way I could parse it. Thanks then to Vinyl for that.
    Didn’t know the poet, though I’ve encountered LOGE (as box) before somewhere. So that sealed it. BTW in answer to V’s question: don’t know Merwin; is he any good? But there’s a bit of Ashberry in my library.
  6. I suspect that I am not alone in only having heard of Christopher Logue as the author of “Pseud’s Corner” in Private Eye.

    Nice to see the return of the “haha” in 5dn!


  7. 42 minutes for this very enjoyable puzzle. ABERDEEN ANGUS and NIGHTWATCHMAN re cricket have both come up several times before in various Times puzzles so they went in fairly smartly. My only unknown was the poet’s name LOGUE which I got from checkers and wordplay. I assumed LOGE for “box” might have some connection with “loggia”, the name given to the lower level of boxes on the seating plan of the Royal Albert Hall which I used to visit regularly in my youth.

    Edited at 2017-05-29 05:09 am (UTC)

  8. Made a plod of it when i shouldn’t and got a typo which i can’t see for looking. Didn’t know the poet but the box appears in xwds regularly i’d have said and hardly anywhere else. Doesn’t 19d violate the ‘only the dead’ rule as they are all still alive (though the show is not repeated contentiously) or is it because that is a stage name. Does it mean we can expect to see The Crankies, The Chuckle Brothers . .
    1. I believe television programmes and such don’t come under the dead poets rule, or things would get really complicated. There might be other (aesthetic?) reasons or not displaying the Krankies or the Chuckle Brothers in these sacred grids.

      Edited at 2017-05-29 07:40 am (UTC)

      1. Hey! No slagging off the Chuckle Brothers if you don’t mind. Comedy greats.
  9. A sprint off the blocks and before hitting the wall and staggering home in 22.41.
    Not much helped by throwing in HECATOMB and ANTIPATHY, and, like others, being thrown sideways by “joint supplier”
    I too made a mental note to complain about shin/joint. But I can’t, can I.
  10. Would have been 7 minutes something, but early morning solving meant that when I changed HECATOMB to CATACOMB, I didn’t go quite far enough and ended up with the rather silly CATATOMB. Oh well, I’m off on a plane to Spain in a few hours, maybe a week away will recharge my solving batteries. See you all next week most likely!
  11. As others, LOGUE the only unknown today. So the SHIN in 3dn refers to a joint of meat, rather than an actual joint. Hmm, that worried me a bit, so thanks Ulaca.

  12. As Anonymous posts above, I also knew Christopher Logue from Private Eye. He was allowed his byline on his regular True Stories feature. I referred to ABERDEEN ANGUS in a post about Highland Cattle recently, providers of steaks as well as joints.The eponymous steak houses were the places to be in the sixties. COD NIGHT WATCHMAN, particularly with its reference to my Old Trafford rather than the one a few hundred yards further north. 35 minutes with no passes and a pleasant start to a grey Bank Holiday. Thank you V and setter.
  13. Christopher Logue did War Music, a modern retelling of the Iliad, so he may be more familiar to those of a classical bent… certainly I remember him, it was the LOGE part of the clue that gave me more cause for concern. Never heard of Merwin, but doesn’t Ashberry have a prize or a medal or something associated with him?
  14. 55 mins over croissant (plum jam) and biffed Logue. I’m ok on poets, but not this one, nor the opera box. Raised an eyebrow, briefly, at shin joint. And took an age over the joint supplier. Otherwise ok. Thanks Setter and Vinyl.
  15. Enjoyable stuff.

    Remembered Christopher Logue from Private Eye.

    On to the Jumbo!

  16. …with the poet entered more in hope than expectation. Lots of easy stuff with a few that needed some untangling, especially MISBEHAVE my LOI.
  17. 20′, very slow on ABERDEEN ANGUS. Considered the nonPC-ness of ‘people with reservation’. SOUBRETTE a new word for me. Thanks vinyl and setter.
  18. This solver has heard of (and read some of) all three poets mentioned in the 10ac note. (By the way, I think it’s one “r” in Ashbery, which might be useful to know in case he pops up in crossword some time!)


  19. 37:28 but with a careless GOONIES due to a scrambled brain which ignored the fact that NIES didn’t parse. FOI NEMESIS, LOI CATACOMB. Like others, saw the SHIN joint, but struggled with the shaggy beastie. Took the poet on trust from the WP. An enjoyable puzzle. Thanks setter and Vinyl.

    Edited at 2017-05-29 11:11 am (UTC)

  20. Found this a little tricky – 39 minutes. One’s nemesis is more than merely a formidable opponent. And if Logue’s a poet now in the Times canon that’s a sure sign of an Orwellian kulchural level settling in. Though he rose sublimely above it of course. Liked the laconic 15. – joekobi
  21. If you’ve ever bought seats for a baseball game you know the term, and the poet was vaguely familiar. However I was another “antipathy” and “hecatomb” which held me up a bit in that corner. We came back to the city early from the holiday weekend – the prospect of a wet day indoors with the small grandsons in the country was not attractive. 14.34
    1. Hmmmm. Unfortunately my only visit to Yankee Stadium saw me pick up some cheap tickets from a nice couple on the subway. No “loge” was mentioned in the transaction.

      I ended up with a surplus ticket but thought “no worries, I’ll sell it to someone outside the ground”.

      The NYPD had other ideas.

      1. Hmm – sorry to hear that Galspray. But I hope when they heard your accent they knew you were an innocent abroad. The only time I scalp tickets is when I’ve bought too many for the annual Dutchess County Fair. I used to make my children do it – feeling rather like Fagin.
        1. Exactly Olivia, it was one of those occasions for playing the “dumb Aussie” card. No great harm was done, and I have very fond memories of an afternoon in the bleachers with a beer and a hotdog.

          Don’t know much about the game, but the tempo, the atmosphere and the tradition felt very much like being at the SCG. I realised that day that if my ancestors had taken a different route out of Ireland I’d be a mad baseball fan!

  22. I didn’t time my second session on this one, but suffice it to say this puzzle took me a while. I was surprised to find I’d got it all right, having heard of neither the poet nor the box, but at least it turns out I’m in good company. FOI NEMESIS, LOI the unknown SOUBRETTE. Nice to see the GOODIES popping up.

    Thanks setter and blogger. Certainly needed help with the parsing today!

  23. 16m. No problems here, but it took some time to get SOUBRETTE at the end. I didn’t know the poet but did know the box so in he went.

    Edited at 2017-05-29 01:59 pm (UTC)

  24. A slow and plodding 1hr 25mins for me – I blame a late afternoon solve half distracted by stuff on telly. Top half went in ok but the bottom half required more thought. DNK the poet but knew the opera box and the Mitford U or non-U. FOI 9ac. Liked the clues for melodic, regent, and catacomb but LOI and COD 15dn.
  25. 43 minutes, fairly straightforward as I didn’t really expect to know all about poet LOGUE or the SOUBRETTE for that matter. It’s amazing how often I fill in words just from the feeling that their structure makes them feel likely to be real words I have never actually seen. But Christopher Logue did ring a bell, from Private Eye of course. I couldn’t stop thinking of vent, either, so REGENT was my LOI.
  26. Not often I do the x-word on the day but suffice to say I am really annoyed by this one. An obscurity clued by another obscurity should be banned. Legge? Logie? Logue? Loge? Bah! I loved everything else but this had me steaming!
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