Times 26,753: & That’s Your L(o/i)t

No complaints about the Fridayosity level of today’s puzzle – there were a lot of things to think about across the board, and a few clues I had to think about so much to feel confident that they were correct that it added a good 5 minutes to my time at the end. In particular 11ac, which may be a trivially simple double definition for those of a suitably equestrian bent, but had me paralysed
between LANCE and LUNGE for long and agonising minutes. Likewise 13 down, which at least has the virtue that the answer can’t really be anything else, and it clearly works with the wordplay, but the definition part took a lot longer to discern, and I’m not sure I’m completely there even yet, to be honest. Having almost slammed in a careless TONIC at 6dn (frozen has got to be ON ICE, right?) I was in no mood to take chances, resulting in a final time of 14 minutes.

20ac is rarely heard of in the sense of a province rather than an ocean going vessel, is it? Fortunately, again it was the obvious answer but forced to guess its former location I would have gone for Germany, when it turns out to have been Spain. I enjoyed the word and cluing at 24ac but my COD, to compensate for the possibly iffy (pending confirmation) &lit at 13dn is the unimpeachable 1dn. Thanks to the setter!

Housekeeping addendum: I hope to be in Glastonbury taking part in a drum circle in a sacred henge or something next Friday – would anyone care to do a blog swap with me? I think my summer will calm down after that – though I do plan to be in New York for a week over the beginning oF August, if any of the crew out of there would be interested in meeting up?

1 Mushrooms initially served with filling extras (9)
SNOWBALLS – S{erved} + W [with] “filling” NO BALLS [extras]
6 Selector’s mission briefly an issue (5)
TOPIC – a selector’s mission is TO PIC{k}
9 Pair consuming beer, two shakes and Italian port (7)
PALERMO – PR [pair] “consuming” ALE [beer], + MO [two shakes]
10 As funnel often about, oilcan abandoned (7)
CONICAL – C [about] + (OILCAN*) [“abandoned”]
11 Train on line to advance suddenly (5)
LUNGE – double def
12 Telling vet if fee at first completely outrageous (9)
EFFECTIVE – (VET IF FEE C{ompletely}*) [“outrageous”]
14 I don’t like that black pair of spectacles (3)
BOO – B [black] + OO [pair of spectacles]
15 Motorbike prevailing without power greatly increasing (11)
QUADRUPLING – QUAD [motorbike] + RULING [prevailing] “without” P [power]
17 Sweet daughter has got scent in vain (6-5)
TOFFEE-NOSED – TOFFEE D [sweet | daughter] “has got” NOSE [scent]
19 Girl no longer new in the neighbourhood (3)
ZOE – ZO{n}E [neighbourhood, that no longer has N for new in it]
20 Old province of Asia, until broken up (9)
LUSITANIA – (ASIA UNTIL*) [“broken up”]
22 Water flowing round among coins once thrown in Trevi? (5)
LOIRE – O [round] among LIRE [old Italian coins]
24 Turn to young pro United very quietly provided within two years (7)
YUPPIFY – U PP IF [united | very quietly | provided] “within” Y Y [two years]
26 “Absurd” tag one associated with the Listener (7)
IDIOTIC – ID I OTIC [tag | one | associated with the listener, i.e. to do with an ear]
27 Was dressing down deserved? (5)
RATED – double def
28 Collection people are getting on retirement — in euros at first (9)
MENAGERIE – MEN AGE [people | are getting on] + R{etirement} I{n} E{uros}
1 Outer part of some bud? (5)
SEPAL – S{om}E + PAL [bud], &lit
2 US resort where the men network and party (7)
ORLANDO – OR LAN [the men | network] + DO [party]
3 Polish sent up by fresh sequel to parody (9)
BURLESQUE – reverse of RUB [polish “sent up”] + (SEQUEL*) [“fresh”]
4 One could fire unexpectedly at large girl in fleece (5,6)
LOOSE CANNON – LOOSE [at large] + ANN [girl] in CON [fleece]
5 Dry function (3)
SEC – double def, the function being SECANT’s abbreviation
6 Top of barrel frozen, not bottom (5)
TUNIC – TUN [barrel] + IC{y} [frozen, “not bottom”]
7 Italian scorer returning home in charge of trophy (7)
PUCCINI – “return” all of IN IC CUP [home | in charge of | trophy]
8 One worked with dip in range over three miles? (9)
COLLEAGUE – COL LEAGUE [dip in range | over three miles]
13 Putting out of ashes perhaps, one having been used for nothing? (4,7)
FIRE STATION – “putting out of ashes”, or indeed of elms or oaks, is FORESTATION. Use I [one] instead of O [nothing], and find the quirky &lit of the answer. I think a fire station has been used in vain if its human complement has only arrived in time to put out the ashes? But it’s quite late so I may be missing a cleverer explanation…
14 Extra mouthpiece musician’s brought (3,6)
BIT PLAYER – BIT [mouthpiece] + PLAYER [musician]
16 Using bike in gym, Auntie’s boss coming across exhausted (9)
PEDALLING PE [gym] + DG [Auntie’s boss, i.e. the Beeb’s Director General] “coming across” ALL IN [exhausted]
18 On reflection, some laptop’s sufficient for a particular person (7)
FUSSPOT – hidden reversed in {lap}TOP’S SUF{ficient}
19 Unknown surgeon a very minor celebrity (1-6)
Z-LISTER – Z [unknown] + LISTER [surgeon Joseph, 1827-1912]
21 New hit on the way, following earlier couple? (5)
THIRD – (HIT*) [“new”] on RD [the way, i.e. road]
23 A host of terms: clever, but oddly overlooked (5)
EMCEE – {t}E{r}M{s} C{l}E{v}E{r}
25 Pulled up part of spring vegetable (3)
YAM – reverse MAY [part of spring, along with March and April]

56 comments on “Times 26,753: & That’s Your L(o/i)t”

  1. I just assumed FIRE STATION was wrong, but what else could it be? Eventually came up with roughly the same unsatisfying explanation as did Verlaine.

    Entertaining solve otherwise. Wasn’t sure how all those Ys and Ps were going to resolve into a word, so was pleased when YUPPIFY emerged. Also had some doubts about LUNGE, the second definition having escaped my attention.

    As usual, thanks setter and V. Have a good weekend everyone.

  2. I messed up bigly by ‘pencilling in’ A-LISTER at 19d then forgetting to reconsider it, even when 19a A_E made no sense at all. A hit-and-hope guess left me with two mistakes.

    This sure is clever stuff, FIRE STATION too clever for me (though truly ingenious). Nice penny-drop-moment with YUPPIFY. Both surfaces a bit weird, though.

    So COD to SNOWBALLS, or maybe SEPAL, for ticking all the boxes.

    1. I did think Z-LISTER could potentially begin any letter (except perhaps A!) but Z did seem the most likely “unknown”, at least while there is not much call for X-LISTER and Y-LISTER categories.. it can only be a matter of time before such fine levels of differentiation between reality TV “personalities” do become necessary, though.
      1. “Celebrity” Big Brother refers. Except in many cases “Z” is way too high up the list.

        Oh. The crossword? 20ish minutes and relieved to have thrown in the right words at 13 and 17, but certainly 1d where there were three (to my mind,which is clearly not sane) answers.

  3. Less than 30 mins with a Fat Rascal – which is quick for a Friday. 5 mins spent alphabet running and trying to work out Lunge – so thanks V for the explanation. Also couldn’t get the definition of Fire Station. Liked the Toffee-nosed Fusspot and Trevi Loire. Thanks setter and V.
    1. Great article with useful tips, e.g. “The faster your horse is going the larger the circle needs to be. This can be done by letting out more line.”
    2. I was confused, as I had never heard the term, but am not now! Thank you Verlaine!
  4. I think the estimable V. Has put his finger on the definitional issue without noticing.

    If the fire station is called so late they only arrive to put out the ashes well that was in vain. A quirky &lit, I think.

    1. Sorry for the accidentally anonymous post. Technology, bah humbug. I think this deserves nomination as clue of the year! (And of course V did spell out the whole story, altough I should confess I only saw any part of it was going on after reading V’s parsing)

      Edited at 2017-06-16 06:53 am (UTC)

  5. About 35 mins or so, ending with COLLEAGUE and TOPIC … found the FIRE STATION clue somewhat unsatisfying, as the definition ‘turn to young pro’ for YUPPIFY, but hey ho, who am I to say? Also disliked the anagram for the unfamiliar (to me) LUSITANIA. But we’ve been there before, and at least this time I guessed correctly, and got the U and I the right way around.

  6. 10m on the dot. Obviously on the wavelength for this one, although it involved quite a lot of half-understood in-bunging. How is LUNGE ‘train on line’? Dunno, but never mind. Is LUSITANIA a place? Whevs. Is TOFFEE-NOSED ‘vain’? Look at the checkers, what else can it be?
    I was a bit puzzled by 13dn but I think you’ve hit on the explanation. At least I can’t think of a better one.
    1. I think I might have slipped under 10 minutes if I’d just gone with my gut on both the ones that puzzled me… but the scars of last year’s competition final are still with me!
  7. I got the O->I thing in 13d, didn’t understand the vain part. And I wondered what UNGE could mean, thinking ‘line’ gave us the L. Slow to remember ‘scorer’, and to think of YUPPIFY. Awfully fast for me for Friday, but then biffing can do that.
    1. I guess toffee-nosed is stuck-up and stuck-up is kind of vain? Definitely a clue that just confuses me more the more I think about it though, so I’ll stop…
      1. I’m sorry, I meant ‘used for nothing’; brought the ‘vain’ in from Bruce’s comment.
  8. I spent some time hesitating over LUNGE at the end as I couldn’t parse it and was keen not to end up with one wrong for the fourth time this week. However, having decided to go for it I found that I had TONIC at 6D as I’d put in _ONIC from a shortened ‘on ice’ and then putting in TOPIC had left me with TONIC. Oh well, there’s always next week.
  9. An interrupted 32 minutes, so still treacling along. Too many of these – all already mentioned plus MENAGERIE – went in without the cheerful ping of recognition, blundering through in a suppose it has to be frame of mind. FIRE STATION is indeed super-clever, but since I failed to see the trees or recognise that “one” is the definition in the defining version of the clue, it merely baffled. Now it’s been mentioned, I vaguely remember “lunge lead” but way too (extra o added on edit because Anon always picks me up on that) late.
    And though this doesn’t apply often, after the Q and Z were worked in (I bet the Z’s pronounced Zee) it was actually disappointing not to find the J and the X, as if having gone to that amount of trouble they should have been there. That sort of puzzle, that sort of feeling.

    Edited at 2017-06-16 08:34 am (UTC)

  10. All but three (11, 12 and 13) done within 30 minutes. Eventually worked out EFFECTIVE and bunged in my best guesses, LUNGE and FIRE STATION for the other two without fully understanding why, bringing my total time to 37 minutes. Not bad for me, all things considered.
  11. 50m for me, which was a surprise, as I felt like I was struggling so much that I rushed to beat my hour bell. This may be the first ever week I’ve completed every puzzle correctly and within my hour!

    A tough one, with a few biffs along the way. Luckily LUSITANIA was vaguely familiar as the Mauretania‘s sister ship—the Java club in Bristol still has some of her original fittings, and the Mauretania neon sign is still visible at the bottom of Park Street. I think I must’ve looked up the history at some point…

    FOI ORLANDO, LOI FIRE STATION with a bit of a shrug, I admit. WOD YUPPIFY for a blast from the eighties, now replaced with the rather less perjorative “gentrify”, I suppose. COD 21d for its nicely obscured definition.

  12. 33.0 dead so back to reality after yesterday. Lots of cunning definitions hiding in plain sight and plenty of amusing touches such as ‘with filling extras’. Last in LOIRE as I was convinced it was Roman coin week after yesterday’s dinarii before realising I needed something more modern. A good tussle I thought.
  13. All complete but originally had BASIC not TUNIC. Top of (B)arrel + as ic(e). I quite like FIRE STATION especially with brnchn’s explanation above. Not keen on YUPPIFY.
  14. Okay – I see it now, finally. 18.09 with one wrong but I can’t see it. I’ve never heard anyone around here say Z-LISTER. D is about as near the bottom of the barrel as you can get and so I had “doe” for a while, as in a deer that’s no longer a fawn. Oh hell, that ****** song.

    I’m away quite a bit in August V but it would be good to see you if possible. You have my email and I yours from the TFTT/TLS network so let’s see if it could work nearer the time.

    1. I would only be there for the first few days of August, so as long as your August plans aren’t immediate the minute the calendar month comes around, it would be lovely to meet!
      1. i was going to give today’s commenting a pass due to very bad performance (quintuple, anyone?), but I will weigh in that I should be in NYC first week of August. While you get dates finalized, Verlaine, I’ll look around for the email list from last time we tried a NY get together.
  15. 23 min, with 6dn wrong – ‘frozen’ had to be ON IC(e – and overlooked absence of a definition. Did spend several minutes worrying over 11ac, trying to think of any way to connect UNGE with railways, till the horsey meaning came to mind.
    I did see what 13dn was getting at – an unfortunate coincidence, though in real life the firefighters did come promptly, but were defeated.
  16. About 30 mins for me. Held up at the end like a lot of us with LUNGE (didn’t know the training a horse on a line meaning) and FIRE STATION since I hadn’t even seen the forestation bit.

    I though that the problem with a loose cannon was that it was rolling around the gun deck as the ship pitched and rolled, and so was dangerous since it could crush you. Not that it might fire at any minute. But that didn’t hold me up, it went in from the enumeration and the few checkers I had at the time.

    I’m surprised anyone had trouble with LUSITANIA. Not the province, I didn’t know that. But it was an anagram and there was a famous ship with that name that was sunk in world war I when America was not yet in the war, causing a big fuss. Any fule kno that.

  17. My first attempt for many weeks and while I was pleased to finish within 24 mins on a Friday, I was disappointed that I had absolutely no idea how to justify my entries at 11ac and 13dn so thanks to V et al. for the explanations.
  18. 58 mins with many disruptions. My suspicion that 1ac is always the most devious clue was maintained today, as I had never heard of SNOWBALL mushrooms. However as with so many others, for the LOI I was left with LANCE or LUNGE but fortunately chose correctly. Thanks Paul for the explanation of LOOSE CANNON makes more sense.
    1. Obviously (?) not actual fungi – though PUFFBALLS are quite like snowballs I guess – rather a verb for “to increase rapidly in size”.
  19. V I am happy to swap your Friday for my Wednesday next week?

    No real problems with this except no idea about lunge and horse training. Guessed right. 24 minutes.

    1. The usual swap would work for me! We just want to use our owls-in-top-hats icons more, admit it…
  20. I must have been in the ‘zone’ for this one, coming in quicker than Jason at about half a Verlaine.

    I particularly like the coincidental fact that I have a 8d called 19a

      1. Hopefully the above comment will reignite the brutal “Apostrophe War” of Dave Tilley’s Facebook wall, of about a month ago. Apostrophic pluraliser since the 1970’s and proud 😛
  21. Like Olivia says, over here we haven’t yet had the wit to relegate our most minor personalities to the Z-list. The best I could do was ‘B’, which left me high and dry for the girl at 19A. The other oddities, well, I just biffed in. Regards.
      1. Jeez, V., I don’t read the NY Times, so I’m not brushed up on my low level celebrity gossip terminology. In fact, I intend to stay that way, but thanks.
  22. D’accord. Friday is actually better for me next week. I might re-think the avatar.
  23. 14:39 and I have little or nothing (in fact, let’s settle on nothing) to add to the foregoing discourse.
  24. I finally completed a Friday puzzle. Lunge was a guess and I still don’t geddit. Never heard of Z Lister. Got me thinking of other Listers. Careless in the sun are B Listers. People joining in are N Listers. Etc etc. Loved Snowballs for a cricket clue. Right, where’s the champers? Thanks all and hope you/we all have a peaceful weekend.
  25. 18:23 so steady work Some nice clues here.
    One of the joys of retiring is that I will never ever have to fly anywhere again so while I wish V and the NYC set all the best, I will be in blighty. (Mrs BT not so keen on the flying ban but she can use my many airmiles/avios points if she wants to risk British Airways. More baggage trouble at Heathrow yesterday).

    Thanks S and V

  26. 18 mins. Like several of you I spent time trying to work out why FIRE STATION and LUNGE had to be the answers. I also wasted time trying to parse Salerno until the PALERMO penny dropped.
  27. All done in 28 mins on this morning’s train to work and, I confess, on coming here and finding that “lunge” and “fire station” (both biffed) were correct, a real sense of achievement. I don’t think I’ve ever come anywhere near 3 x Verlaine’s time, let alone 2V. No doubt it will be back to reality with a bump next week. FOI 9ac. LOI 11ac. I did not know the function meaning of “sec” but the dry meaning was well known. Took far too long to see 7dn considering his last appearance as recently as, ooh, yesterday. I liked 22ac and 24ac but COD 1dn. The special_bitter was on special offer in my local supermarket (£1.72 for 4 cans) so I stocked up. Think I might now have a celebratory can or two.
  28. 10:48 for me, failing to twig 1ac and 13ac at the time, and actually bunging in TONIC at 6dn, but (having wasted far too much time trying to justify T = “Top of barrel”) eventually realising that there was a better answer.

    A most interesting and enjoyable puzzle. My compliments to the setter.

  29. Don’t often post here but thought some readers might enjoy my error for 6d. Having spent time in the licensed trade I lit straight on “shive” for “top of barrel” (once it’s been stillaged, anyway) and rationalised “frozen” as “shivering”. Unfortunately this required “bottom” to be … well, you get the idea. Not in the Times, I figured….
  30. Have just got round to this puzzle as I spent yesterday at Vin Garbutt’s funeral and Wake. A splendid turn out with Middlesbrough Cathedral bursting at the seams, with some famous names such as Martin Carthy, Stu Luckley, Jed Grimes and Jez Lowe in attendance, among many others. A sad loss to the international Folk scene. I had the same problems as others with LUNGE and FIRE STATION, but shrugged them in and was rewarded with an all correct after 55:54. An enjoyable puzzle with a lot of eyebrow furrowing. Thanks setter and V.
  31. In one of those odd coincidences, the Lusitania got a passing mention in this week’s Doctor Who.

    Last week, one of the characters–a Victorian soldier on Mars–used “rhino” for money, too..,

    Edited at 2017-06-17 06:10 pm (UTC)

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