Times 26770 – is this the 9 down?

Solving time : 8:52 and relieved that this was a more straightforward puzzle than the last two days as I am in dress rehearsals for a production and am not getting in until pretty late. This might have a bit of “you know it or you don’t factor” with an Irish place name I got from wordplay, and an anagram for a term that I’ve only ever seen in crossword puzzles.

Unfortunately with the play opening on Friday I am unable to make it to the National Puzzlers League convention which is this weekend in Boston. I know a few of the board regulars are going, so have a great time!

Away we go…

1 SUBTRACT: SUB(below), TRACT(expanse of land) – nice clue to get us going with the less familiar definition of “dock”
5 SPRINT: S(small), PRINT(lithograph)
10 PEREGRINE: PE(exercises) and REGRE(t) containing IN.
Chambers confirms it can mean the bird without having “falcon” included
11 PETER: PET(favored) and ER
12 PURR: UP(finished) reversed, then RR(Rolls Royce)
13 BALLYMENA: BALLY(wretched), MEN(fellows), A
15 AMANUENSIS: anagram of NAMES,IN,USA – MS PA here is a little sneaky, making the definition “manuscript personal assistant”
17 LIMB: M(embers) in LIB
19 FORE: R(egiment) in FOE
20 BONESHAKER: this was a biff at the time, but it’s BONKER(s)
with an anagram of AS,HE
22 EMACIATED: reversal of DETAI(l) and CAME
24 SAFE: A in S, FE
26 EAGER: change the W in WAGER to an E
27 DRAIN-PIPE: anagram of RAINED containing PIP
28 TRENDY: TRY(hear) around END(the ultimate)
29 IN ITSELF: I, NITS and then the German word for 11 is ELF
1 SAPS: PASS with the S and P switched
2 BERMUDA TRIANGLE: anagram of D(isappearance),LARGE,MARINE,BUT
3 RIGOROUS: RIG(equipment) then POROUS missing the P
4 CLIMB: the answer to 17 is LIMB, put C on top of it
6 PAPAYA: PAPA surrounding A, Y(ard)
7 IN THE NICK OF TIME: imprisoned regularly is IN THE NICK OFT then I’M (fre)E
9 REAL LIFE: E, ALL in RIFE(current)
14 BAFFLEMENT: I work with a BAFFLE on a daily basis,
it is an air regulator, looks like a big vane on a fume hood, follow it with MEANT missing A
16 NOONTIDE: NO then a reversal of EDIT(work on magazine),NO(number)
21 NIMROD: I’M inside N, ROD
23 DRAWN: DR(medic), AWN(bristles)
25 LEAF: LEF(t)(abandoned unfinished) containing A

52 comments on “Times 26770 – is this the 9 down?”

  1. AMANUENSIS is a word I only know from crosswords. Unfortunately I don’t know it well enough, so in went ANAMUENSIS. Won’t make that mistake again, not when there are so many other mistakes to be made.

    NIMROD and AWN were also only known from crosswords, but they were harder to stuff up.

    Another pleasant outing otherwise. Thanks setter and George.

  2. 2dn was my SOI after FOI 12ac PURR. LOI 14dn BAFFLEMENT.



    18dn CHESTNUT was a chestnut

    32 mins and no passes.

    Edited at 2017-07-06 05:24 am (UTC)

  3. I biffed 2d from the B and U, and 7d from the first 2 I’s, but it did me next to no good; I still had to slog through the other clues, and a slog it was. Never heard of BALLYMENA or BONESHAKER, but the first was clearly clued, and the second yielded in time. 22ac was my LOI, parsed only post-submission. I liked AMANUENSIS. I’d say “Break a leg!”, George, but my understanding is that that expression has long since been superseded by one I can’t write here.
  4. The BAFFLE in BAFFLEMENT baffled me but otherwise this was reasonably straightforward and I finished around my target time.

    Two of the answers mentioned by Galspray I knew by association with English music. NIMROD is the title one of Elgar’s Enigma Variations. Eric Fenby was famously AMANUENSIS to Fred Delius in later life and Ken Russell’s TV film on the subject (A Song of Summer) is well worth seeing if you are interested. It’s eccentric but absorbing and made before he (Russell) went completely bonkers.

    Edited at 2017-07-06 05:22 am (UTC)

    1. I knew AMANUENSIS from a program about Eric Fenby, who lived in Cloughton, just outside Scarborough. It stuck with me as I used to drive through Cloughton en route to Scarborough when I worked there.
    2. Agreed – Song of Summer is top class, and a good way into Delius’s music, which is pretty accessible, anyway,
  5. 11:05 … pretty straightforward but I did feel the need to take time to think through a few things, like the parsing of PURR, LEAF, IN ITSELF and REAL LIFE. Some very neat things going on in these.

    Thank you, George, for the blog title, which successfully replaced my Barry Manilow 2d ear worm with a better one.

  6. 32 minutes, so all pretty straightforward to me. All this practice is paying off, as I throw in biffs with confidence and chuck AMANUENSIS in the grid with barely a pause.

    Even better, I learned a couple of things, the first being the German for 11, and the second being what NIMROD meant. A word oddly familiar from the Enigma Variations as jackkt mentions, but also from the Hawker Siddeley plane and the more modern use as an insult—I can hear David Jason saying “Oh Rodney, you complete nimrod…” with a grimace right now.

    I never knew what it meant or that it came from the Bible. One theory, apparently, is that the modern insulting usage came from Bugs Bunny calling Elmer Fudd, accurately and biblically, a “poor little Nimrod.”

    1. I wasn’t sure about the German for eleven, but I did know that the Dutch is Elf, so it was an odds on bet.
    2. Know the German for 11 because I’ve heard their all-conquering football team called, “The National Elf.”
      Otherwise quickish 20:05, and PURR was last in, unparsed – fixated on the U being posh.
  7. A bit more gentle than the last couple of days, but even so there were a few I had trouble parsing including AMANUENSIS and NOONTIDE – I fell for the ‘magazine’ misdirection and put in ‘noontime’ first. Finished in a bit under 40 minutes with about 10 minutes spent trying to figure out if ‘rigsonge’ was a real word for 3d before the penny dropped for the &littish PURR.

    Favourite was the “semi-double def” NIMROD. Overall though, a bit too kind a puzzle for him (? her).

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  8. 35 mins with overnight oats (inc. dates, blueberries, pecans) – living the dream. Much kinder than yesterday I thought with a few write-ins to get going. Nice to see ‘Awn’ again having logged it from a few weeks back. The 2dn earworm will be with me – until I choose to deploy the universal ear-worm dispeller: the theme from Bullseye. Thanks setter and blogger.
  9. Just under 2 Georges, having fallen for the TIME Magazine trap and staring forlornly at M-A-N/PIPE until the PD. It seems that I did know BALLYMENA but then again, Ballykissangel would fit neither the clue nor the puzzle. A nice one after yesterday’s. Thanks setter and George.

    Edited at 2017-07-06 07:56 am (UTC)

    1. A few years ago I went to Avoca and had a drink in Fitzgeralds Bar. It was a bit run down though and Assumpta wasn’t working there:-(
  10. Decent middle of the road puzzle that was fun to solve

    If you’ve studied modern Irish history you’ll know that BALLYMENA was where Dr Ian Paisley grew up and the UDA based a large paramilitary force during the troubles

    1. I looked it up after solving, and found that it’s also Liam Neeson’s home town, and that Sir Roger Casement went to school there.
      1. I didn’t know about Casement. Interesting man. Did a lot for human rights before his involvement in the Easter uprising when he tried to get funds from Germany during WW1 and was executed for treason.
  11. 21.02 for a steady, not too challenging, solve. Had to write down the remaining letters to get AMANUENSIS, my LOI and 29a took a while as my German counting ends at drei. BONESHAKER was in yesterday’s DT so was a gift.
  12. What does this say about what I’ve become, as well as old? REAL LIFE made me think of the column in The Spectator and not Queen. I always did prefer early sixties stuff though. Easier today after two toughies, finished in 20 minutes with no real sticking point. COD BONESHAKER, a word from comics of the distant past. I also liked hearing the purr of the Royce engine. Thank you G and setter.

    Edited at 2017-07-06 08:34 am (UTC)

  13. After two dnfs, made it in 12’05”, so back in the saddle. Really liked the construction of BERMUDA TRIANGLE and IN THE NICK OF TIME, insisted to myself on parsing before entering. Some students in exams have an amanuensis, and Macavity is of course the 14d of Scotland Yard. Thanks george and setter.
  14. 10:35. Lots of biffing today, and then a serious hold-up with four to solve: RIGOROUS, AMANUENSIS, NOONTIDE, EMACIATED. I biffed most of those too, it just took a lot longer. I constructed AMANUENSIS from the anagram fodder: I’ve never quite got a handle on what it means so certainly would never have got it from the definition.
    1. I think I got this word from Dickens, who in “Bleak House” sums up Mrs. Jellyby at the outset by having her introduce “my eldest daughter, who is my amanuensis”, said daughter being forced to take dictation from her mother’s endless, useless correspondence.
      1. I first came across AMANUENSIS relating to artists, where in the case of those like Lucian Freud, it meant a bit more than inspiration and support.

        Edited at 2017-07-06 04:33 pm (UTC)

  15. Has this malady ever appeared in the crossword? A change of tune can be helpful unless you’ve just had a day with small grandson. The Wheels on the Bus go round and round (and round and round…).
    1. As a child, I once spent a week in the hospital with pneumonia, in a ward with a screaming 3-year-old girl, and a boy who had a Davy Crockett comic book that he evidently loved, because he sang–rather, screamed–“DavEE, DAAYvee Crockett”, which was evidently all he knew of the song. Over and over and over for a week. (Well, almost a week; I strangled him on Day 6.) Top that.
  16. Under 20 mins so dead speedy today… biffed PURR, IN THE NICK. I too wondered about Time as the magazine, but luckily already had DRAIN PIPE so took a few mins to work it out properly.

  17. Good to see the Times taking funding from the popular website in column 6. DNF as I got 15a wrong. A nice crossword for improvers due to many clues geing gettable but requiring careful parsing. Thanks all
  18. Looks like I’m a bit out of sync today – I felt this was a tough one: not as hard as yesterday but still much trickier than average. I wasn’t helped by misspelling AMANUENSIS for a while, and biffing NOONTIME, but still. 16m 38s in all.
  19. A speedy, for me 20:53 today, and I actually managed to complete this one without resorting to aids. No problems with Ballymena as I spent a short time working around Belfast in the early 80s. The company was short staffed in NI, so were offering £10 a day extra(danger money) for anyone who would help out. I stayed in the Europa which had the dubious reputation as the most bombed hotel in Europe. When I got home, it took a while to get used to not having to raise my arms to be searched when entering shopping centres etc. FOI was LIMB, then CLIMB, and LOI NOONTIDE, for which I fortunately had DRAINPIPE already. AMANUENSIS known from a program about Delius, and NIMROD from Elgar’s Enigma Variations. Liked 7d. If it hadn’t been for a holdup with NOONTIDE this would’ve been sub 20 minutes. An enjoyable puzzle. Thanks setter and George.
  20. 32 mins 12 secs for me today. I was a bit slow to spot the long ones at 2dn and 7dn so should possibly have been a bit quicker. A mostly steady solve FOI 17ac but held up at the end by amanuensis, emaciated, noontide and LOI bafflement (only because I could not see how baffle equated to regulator and so had to hit and hope in the end). I liked the pun at 18dn and the anagram at 2dn. COD 20ac.
  21. After getting totally flummoxed by yesterday’s it was a relief to find this on the easier side. PURR my last one in as I couldn’t parse it, thinking the U was for posh. Like jackkt I had no problem with 15a as I had come across Eric Fenby from proramme notes when I performed some Delius. Time I got back on my BONESHAKER after crashing 2 weeks ago – nothing like as bad as Valverde and Cavendish. Allez Allez! Thanks George and setter. 14:28

    Edited at 2017-07-06 11:15 am (UTC)

  22. Certainly better than of late for this hopeful improver. Knew Ballymena as was there last week, amanuensis was fine, near downfall with 29a as my German is nonexistent, but bunged it in and checked here after, now just have to remember it..
  23. 14:28.

    I twigged that MS PA could mean “manuscript personal assistant” but that didn’t help as I only knew that amanuensis was a word and hadn’t the foggiest what it meant.

  24. Nothing much to add – just over the half hour, with rigorous last in, as I’d buggered up the letters in subtract. Clueless re the parsing of amanuensis, but have read the work of the best known of them all, James Boswell, plentiful bon mots and all. Still the benchmark for biographies.
  25. Probably a pb, at just over 20 minutes. I’m not exactly sure because I’ve stopped jinxing myself by checking time carefully if I happen to pop the first two or three right in. Like others I had to be careful with amanuensis, but I knew the word and remembered the ‘ue’ which helped. Didn’t know that, or any other, meaning for bally, and got noontime without being able to parse it. Thx, GLH

    Edited at 2017-07-06 02:09 pm (UTC)

  26. Thought I should just add, that Ballymena is the home town and Rugby Club of the immortal Willy-John McBride, Lions captain of the great 1971 Lions in New Zealand
    1. Willy-John was captain in SA in 1974, while it was John Dawes who captained the Lions in NZ in 71.

      Edited at 2017-07-06 03:20 pm (UTC)

  27. No real problems, around 20 minutes work, ending with the unknown (to me) BONESHAKER. I had to construct it from wordplay and checkers. The BERMUDA … anagram is quite neat. Regards.
  28. Well, bless my very. Somehow I finished in a whisker under 13 minutes, which makes this a new personal best. I think I was lucky with a few (AMANUENSIS, NIMROD, BALLYMENA) which would have slowed me down had I not encountered them before. I would gloat (which is very unbecoming), but (a) my P.B. is still longer than many of your averages and (b) I think my fast time was down to blind chance. However, I have offered myself (and graciously accepted) a particularly large G&T by way of celebration.
    1. Great stuff, Dr Thud. It should be only a matter of time before you break 10 minutes.
      1. Thank you. But I suspect I will be thwarted by global warming – fewer places are freezing over these days! Still, I live in hope.
        1. According to the Times Crossword Club leaderboard, Verlaine could only manage 7:04 today (though I suppose he may have been hung-over), which puts you well within twice his time. Since he not infrequently breaks 5 minutes, I’d say you’ve everything to play for.
    2. Great stuff. Any more like this and you’ll have to be re-spoonerised.
  29. This was really very much my sort of crossword and early on I had hopes of the sort of time I might have posted in the (now-quite-distant) past. But my brain seemed to seize up – probably around the time I got bogged down trying to justify NOONTIME for 16dn (relieved to see I wasn’t the only one) – and I eventually limped home in 8:35.
  30. Probably too late for anyone to see, having got it in print form in Australia a few weeks late and taking a week to get round to doing it. However, my take on MS PA was that it was nothing to do with manuscripts but rather an assumption that a PA would be a woman and therefore a Ms. I assumed it was MS rather than Miss or Mrs to go with PA and make us think about places in the US.

Comments are closed.