Times 26791 – Monday, Monday!

Time: 21:39

Music: Battlefield Band: Time & Tide

I have to admit, this was probably the simplest Monday puzzle of all time.   I am quite sure that if I had solved on paper instead of online, I could have cut my time way down, but I’m always pressing the wrong key or typing in the wrong place.   All the Quickie solvers should come on over – you’ll never get an easier chance to complete your first 15 x 15.

At today’s little get-together with Verlaine, our friend guy_du_stable asked me if I ever played a CD.   Well, tonight’s music answers that question, as this is an album that has never appeared on vinyl and almost certainly never will.   That’s what CDs are for!

We did have a great time, and it was nice to be able to meet one of  the UK bloggers.   As most readers of this blog are aware, the twenty-five bloggers we have are rather widely scattered, but most of them are in the UK,   I’d like to thank paul_in_london, who now spends most of his time in New York, for organizing the event.

1 Waste energy making jam (6)
5 Dismiss people in gala event (4,4)
SACK RACE – SACK, RACE in different sense.   Sacking a whole race might be going a bit too far even for today’s ruthless multinationals.
9 No-nonsense attitude of firm prior to dance (8)
HARDBALL – HARD before BALL, where for once “firm” is not CO.
10 Musician: see one for a second time at concert’s close (6)
VIBIST – V + I + BIS + [concer]T.
11 Dad rather perplexed about Victor, sci-fi character (5,5)
DARTH VADER – anagram of DAD RATHER + V from the NATO alphabet.   It was used by all the other alphabets, too, except for the Royal Navy in WWI, who chose ‘vinegar’ for V.
13 Pretty detailed message? (4)
TWEE – TWEE[t], where ‘detailed’ indicates tail removal.
14 Leading performer, almost bald (4)
STAR – STAR[k], a write-in for all.
15 Get the bug, and lose one’s investment? (5,1,4)
CATCH A COLD – double definition, a little loose perhaps.   I tried ‘catch a crab’ for a while.
18 Uncommonly rude, Cicero making impassioned plea (3,2,5)
20 Fish from rock son dropped (4)
HAKE – [s]HAKE.   A lot of letter-removal clues this week.
21 Young person pinching pounds in nightspot (4)
23 Current party needs reforming (7-3)
25 Navy member — nothing without leader (6)
ARMADA – ARM + [n]ADA – see what I mean?
26 Clash between boxers? Scrap that’s up in the air (8)
DOGFIGHT – double definition, one semi-jocular.
28 Recluse must embrace fellow Cockney? (8)
29 Slum area has hospital within reach (6)

2 Eccentric personality’s reputation (9)
CHARACTER – double definition.
3 One who hears adroit broadcast about university (7)
AUDITOR – anagram of ADROIT around U
4 Age of eastern artist (3)
ERA – E + RA.
5 Since being raised, young man can make one cold dish! (5)
SALAD – AS backwards + LAD.
6 Clubs ask too much, but those eating may have to pay it (5,6)
7 Writer penning books supporting revolutionary men, mechanical (7)
ROBOTIC – OR backwards + B(OT)IC.
8 Class players, English (5)
12 Deputy in game against reserve international can, holding ace (4-7)
16 Secure grade, almost (3)
TIE – TIE[r],
17 Instantly approve when popular (4,1,4)
19 Fish worker, an expert (3,4)
DAB HAND – DAB + HAND in different senses.
20 Special phone service arranged in hotel (7)
HOTLINE – anagram of IN HOTEL.
22 Left on fabulous ship, slowly (5)
24 Object, gold, in witch’s home (5)
27 Finally telling a good joke (3)
GAG – [tellin]G + A + G.

83 comments on “Times 26791 – Monday, Monday!”

  1. Yes, you can count my sub-10 minute solves on a butcher’s left hand, so this must have been an easy one. I didn’t even feel like I was solving particularly well, if that makes sense.

    Still, that’s exactly what I needed on this busy Monday morning, so thanks setter and thanks Vinyl/CD. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

    1. I do know what you mean – I didn’t think I was particularly fluent despite a very quick time for me. A bit like hitting 50 without ever feeling like you had found the middle of the bat.
  2. … one for the /Nursery ƒolder, if ever there was one. Most of the literals/defs were sticking out like certain parts of a canine entity. (If I may be excused the perissology.)

    Never heard of a VIBIST but. And had a bit of a frisson at the product placement in 7dn.

    Edited at 2017-07-31 01:56 am (UTC)

  3. 9:40. A PB, but one second outside my target. Maybe tomorrow…

    Edited at 2017-07-31 01:36 am (UTC)

  4. My this was a doddle – home in 16.35 and just one unparsed! (Magnusson)
    7ac Bic a writer!? Of course Anthon Z. Bic (1837-1903) who wrote ‘Bayesian Information Criterion’ and other nonsense poems.

    Only cow-corner was wanting after eleven minutes. But it fell like Babylon.

    COD 1ac SCRAPE (Jennings & Darbyshire)

    WOD 11ac DARTH VADER (James Earl Jones)

    (Thought for the Day: Friday will be hell! Early to bed for Lord Verlaine on Thursday, and the rest of us.)

    Meanwhile records will tumble – not mine unfortunately!

      1. What a great word! I shall have to remember that, given that it’s most very definitely one of my weaknesses 😀
      1. I think he was commentating on the declining standards of The Times puzzle. It’s only in the past year or two that brand names such as Bic (and e.g. Rolls for car a few days ago) have crept into Times puzzles.
        Not particularly hurrying, and nowhere near a PB, so must have been off the wavelength, I guess.
  5. 4:59. Until a couple of months ago I had never solved one of these in under five minutes, or indeed come particularly close. I have now done so three times. Either we’ve had a cluster of unusually easy puzzles or my solving ability has suddenly improved.

    Edited at 2017-07-31 03:46 am (UTC)

    1. Similar experience here: my solving goes back 35 years, for most of which I didn’t record times (and if I did note them, it would have been a pretty ad hoc process involving looking at my watch after solving on paper). Until recently, I had a suspicion that my fastest times must surely have been when I was a younger and less tired man, but in the last month I’ve suddenly produced the two fastest times I’ve clocked since I started using a format which records it automatically.

      I don’t think the puzzles have necessarily been easier, based on the times of the people I use as my informal benchmarks – perhaps more on the right wavelength?

      1. I think it’s most likely that I’m improving. My solving times have been coming down steadily over the last five or six years. What’s slightly surprising is that this sudden ability to solve puzzles in under five minutes has appeared just as my rate of improvement has otherwise slowed.
    2. I think there’s little doubt that you’re improving, just as I’m steadily deteriorating: presumably because you’re becoming better attuned to modern setters’ wavelengths, whereas I’m becoming worse attuned – with the added disadvantage of more senior moments and general slowing of the wits.

      And I’m beginning to worry that the knowledge I have, which served me pretty well in the past, is in danger of becoming almost completely redundant. I can just about cope with DARTH VADER, but any clues requiring more than the most basic knowledge of Game of Thrones are going to leave me out in the cold!

      1. I think I’m just becoming better with practice. Discovering this blog brought about a huge step change in my solving ability, and that was only a few years ago (2010 I think). Before then I usually didn’t manage to finish at all. I’m certainly more attuned to modern setters, but I would be, wouldn’t I?!
        I certainly hope that your knowledge is not going to become redundant in the near future. What constitutes ‘general knowledge’ changes over time but I would be surprised and disappointed if Game of Thrones became required knowledge. One of the things I love about solving these things is that I learn so much. Just give me some wordplay to work with!
  6. I had a rare 13 minutes on the clock for this one, but that included annotating the grid to remind myself of the parsing of every clue, so I’d definitely have come home in under 10 minutes if I’d set out to speed-solve.

    The BIC pen has come up half-a-dozen times in 15x15s and once in a Quickie. BIRO less frequently but I guess it doesn’t lend itself quite so usefully to wordplay.

    CRI DE COEUR, VIBIST and ENDOR may present a few problems for less experienced solvers visiting from the QC. VIBIST appeared once before, in October 2014, with ‘musician’ again as the defintion, BIS clued as ‘twice’ and the remaining letters as an anagram of ITV.

    Edited at 2017-07-31 03:36 am (UTC)

      1. And I appreciate your appreciation, but there’s no great trick to it. Viewed on a PC or laptop (I don’t know about mini devices and apps) there’s a Search box indicated by a magnifying glass at the top RH of the TftT LJ screen, where I just type in what I’m looking for and it comes up with relevant links to prevous blogs. Sometimes if I want to see the old clue and the blogger hasn’t included it I may need to go into the Club archive and look the puzzle up there.

  7. Would have come in under 10′ if I hadn’t biffed PIKE at 20ac, all the while thinking, Is a pike a rock? Like Vinyl, I typed in ‘catch a crab’, but a) thought that that bug wouldn’t be in a Times puzzle, and b) remembered the correct phrase from a recent cryptic, when it was new to me.
  8. Sir, I have a large black disc with a hole in the middle. Is this a record?

    5:57 … certainly up there with my fastest times. Slightly delayed by trying both a misspelt celist and an oboist at 10 before retuning my mental radio to Smooth Jazz FM. Nice.

    Even easy ones deserve a COD. I’ll give mine to HOTLINE for a sweet surface.

    1. Madam, Either that or a black hole forming. Or both. 78 rpm is close to the speed of light.
      1. I’m pretty sure I’ve had that conversation late at night, listening to The Dark Side of the Moon.
  9. And a personal best here too, coming in at 24 minutes. Not sure why the crossers of SCRAPE and CHARACTER were my LOsI, but they were. FOI 3d.

    ENDOR as the witch’s home has come up once before, and I vaguely remembered it. It’s lucky the word was also used for a planet in DARTH VADER’s universe; that helped it stick in my mind. With STAR also there, I was wondering if another answer would be WARS or DEATH, giving us a mini-theme…

    My only unknown was 10a, but luckily “bis” has come up a couple of times recently, so I just trusted the wordplay, only to find out that I was probably listening to a VIBIST as I was solving, having asked my Amazon Echo to shuffle Miles Davis tracks for me as an accompaniment. Nary a CD nor a record involved!

    Glad the meetup was enjoyable. Thanks to setter and V.

    1. Last time I got it on the basis that Samantha’s mother in Bewitched was named Endora. Who needs a classical education when you have 1960’s sitcoms to fall back on?
      1. Thw Witch of Endor is not classical, but biblical, being the person who Saul uses to try to communicate with the dead Samuel. But I first knew the phrase as the name of a ship that Hornblower captures.
  10. About 20 mins with overnight oats. Nothing to get excited about, except how quickly the grid was filling up.
    Thanks setter and Vinyl.
  11. Carefully avoided a sub-10 by checking for typos. There were a lot of anagrams that looked a lot like anagrams, I thought.
  12. 11.38 should be cause for celebration but I can’t get too excited about it. Other than a brief delay at the end with VIBIST they went in about as fast as I can type on an ipad.
    1. Agreed that using an iPad slows things down, especially the annoying trait of skipping existing crossers. However, 10:14 today is an iPad PB.
      1. That’s good going. I have come close to breaking the 10 minute mark but never quite got there, although I have gone as low as seven minutes for the DT
  13. Golly, could not write them in fast enough.. under 5mins, a pb I shouldn’t wonder.
    Captain Hornblower escaped from the dastardly French by stealing a boat named the Witch of Endor ..
  14. Easiest I’ve done in The Times. My timing device isn’t down to seconds but this took somewhere between 8 and 9 minutes. COD VIBIST as I did pause to see if VIOLIST(?) fitted first. The Killer Sudoku’s only tricky this morning too. I’ve no excuse but to get back to the new novel, apart from writer’s block. Let’s see how tricky I can make the Killer.
  15. So a PB for me, too. “When popular” in 17d was clearly AS HIT but when I saw “approve” was LIKE this generated a rather un-Times like answer.
  16. 20:56 for me, slowed down by OBOIST/VIOLIST/Ah! VIBIST, and taking 5 minutes to see SCRAPE and CHARACTER, my Last two in. I’d have probably been quicker if I’d had a coffee before starting instead of stumbling out of bed to bring the milk in and heading straight for the computer. Thanks setter and V.
    1. Sorry, must improve your excuses. Looking forward to something more creative in the future.
  17. Like others one of my fastest times. Looking forward to see whether verlaine managed to finish under 2 minutes.
    1. It would have been rude of me to put your time outside of 2xV, so of course being a gentleman I didn’t. What’s the Unaustralian Magoo’s excuse, I wonder…

  18. Yep, a good time for me too this morning, ending, as others with SCRAPE and CHARACTER.

    I never start these things thinking “must try for a PB…”, and generally solve whilst doing other stuff (tea-making, dog-letting out/feeding, browsing the headlines, responding to interruptions from OH etc) at the same time. Is this how others solve, I wonder, or is it more of a race against time for some of you with amazingly quick times…

    Edited at 2017-07-31 09:44 am (UTC)

    1. If the start makes it seem like it could be a quick one for me it normally becomes a race against time. If not I’m more inclined to ease off and enjoy the scenery. The latter is definitely more enjoyable.

      It probably makes a difference that I solve sat on the train to work every day so no dog-letting out, etc to distract me.

    2. My kids are trained to know that if I am doing the crossword I will not respond to anything other then a genuine emergency. Priorities!
      1. Alas mine (and my wife) take no notice and delight in interrupting me with random vacuous demands for attention. But not today 🙂
    3. I set myself a reasonably hard limit of an hour when I was working from home, otherwise a productive morning tended to give way to picking away at the remaining answers. Now I’m getting a bit faster and have a temporary job where I need to get out of the door, I’ve dropped that to 45 minutes.

      By default, I’d rather be leisurely about it, I think, but that’s what weekends are for, but there’s always the weekends. And trying to keep it quick at least lets me know that I am (gradually!) improving.

  19. I failed to get TWEE, so a very frustrating DNF, given the rest of the puzzle was the proverbial walk in the park. The word did occur to me, but I thought it meant quaint or dainty rather than pretty.
  20. Outside a PB, but only by seconds. In crosswords, as in real life, I feel slightly anxious at realising that I have accidentally embarked on a sprint. As per other solvers, I have never knowingly encountered a VIBIST, but it seemed a likely looking word, given that this wasn’t a puzzle full of deliberate traps; and had momentary panic at being left with T_E_ and an answer which didn’t spring to mind the way most of the others already had.

    Glad to hear the meet-up was a success.

    1. The VIBIST you are most likely to have come across is Roy Ayers, and the Roy Ayers track you are most likely to have come across is Everybody Loves the Sunshine. Or possibly Searchin’.
      1. Interestingly we were talking about Roy Ayers after work today – one of our colleagues is a son of his, apparently one of about 10, some of almost exactly the same age. Roy Ayers had a colourful romantic history, it seems…
  21. My last 15×15 pb was so long ago I only vaguely remember it was around 22 minutes. I am therefore claiming today’s 19 minutes as my new pb – which I must try harder to remember. Vibist went in as loi with a little trepidation – thanks for sorting out the parsing for me. Cod to Endor – only familiar from the Hornblower stories.
  22. Not sure what my PB is, but I think I just missed it. Yes TWEE was my LOI as well – the detailed clue having passed me by. Haven’t we had CATCH A COLD very recently?
  23. Very grateful for the encouragement to have a go. Yes, I finished but was defeated by “vibist”. And I still don’t get the parsing. But for all that I do feel on the up.
    Many thanks to all you horny handed sons of toil for your help. It is hugely appreciated.


    1. V=vide (see), I (one), BIS (second time – it’s an alterantive to ‘encore’ shouted out at concerts), {concer}T [close – last letter of the word]. The answer is a rather ugly word for a musician who plays vibes.

      Edited at 2017-07-31 09:43 am (UTC)

  24. I have a CD called Two Ounces of Plastic With a Hole In the Middle. Is this a record? (Sorry for the repeated joke). Excellent puzzle for QCers and I think I can finally claim to have joined the ranks now. I’m sure it must be great to be a musician who provides ‘vibes’ – John Martyn (RIP) was a great user of such. Under 10 minutes in practice but not longer in reality as I delayed to watch DRS appeals at the cricket.
  25. About 15 min, interrupted by phone call telling me of sudden death of an old friend – so not really in mood to think about subtleties of clues.
  26. Having been told on the QC thread how easy this was, I can’t say it was plain sailing all the way, although those messages did spur me on to a good time. Yes, there were a lot of easy clues but there were a few bits of interesting vocab to slow up normal solvers.

    At the end I got a bit stuck trying to parse ROBOTIC, then stuffing in the unlikely VIBIST, and going through the alphabet before landing on TWEE, which I suppose means “pretty”, kind of.

    COD: 20dn/23ac

  27. In my defense m’lud, this included several breaks to chase various children out of various hiding places, defuse 5 arguments and change a nappy.

    This is what the fostering adverts on the wireless don’t tell you about…..

  28. Having finished my usual quickie and with a bit of time to spare I started the biggie on a whim and was pleased to complete it with a little help from aids. Bit of a come down to then find on the blog it was the easiest ever! V = vide = see was a new one on me but bis seen recently. Still hard to believe vibist is a word but onward and upward!
  29. Vinyl has misquoted me. Only slightly, and I suspect intentionally — for comic effect. I asked him if he only “does” or “is into” vinyl, some such vague locution, and then, “Do you have any CDs?” He said, if memory serves, that he has about 100. He actually knows a good bit about the technology and mastering.
    The meeting was wonderful, looking forward to doing it again.

    Edited at 2017-07-31 06:25 pm (UTC)

  30. Glad to hear the NY “meeting” went well, sorry to have mossed it as I was out of the area. As for the puzzle, pretty easy, though not a personal best by any means, needing the usual 20 minutes. My brain was perhaps slowed by a couple of glasses of wine upon returning from my travels. LOI was TWEE. Regards to all.
    1. No official business was decided in the meet-up. However, certain topics were discussed in this conclave that I shall not enter into here. Here’s hoping you can make it next time.
  31. Hardly cryptic at all, as the two parts of the clue are so similar. Maybe that’s just me. The two words might not seem so synonymous to someone not so thrift-minded. Ha
    I was glad this was easy, because I had to finish Saturday and Sunday before whizzing thru it.
  32. 4m17, and not even feeling like I was solving particularly well, as someone else put it above – I’m on my laptop on a communal desk in our New York office, with the bright local sun shining through the window, and many people and cars passing by distractingly.

    It was indeed great to meet so many of our American peers at The Ginger Man yesterday… despite them being uniformly better looking and more successful, I am happy to report that in most other respects they are very like us and great fun to spend an afternoon with in the pub!

    1. Successful I can just about imagine, but when you said better looking I knew you just had to be joking.
  33. Well, easy or not, this one took me twenty-four minutes, of which the last six or seven were spent on SCRAPE and CHARACTER. Somehow it’s always straightforward clues that hold me up. Well, either those or the difficult ones. But it’s definitely always the clues.

    In any event, I find myself in an exceptionally good mood for a change, having hit upon possibly the most brilliant idea I’ve had for a long time. I decided to have two Sundays instead of one Sunday and one Monday, and so far it’s worked out jolly well, with the second Sunday being every bit as good as the first. I expect Tuesday will come as more of a shock than usual, but I’ll worry about that when it happens.

    Edited at 2017-07-31 07:55 pm (UTC)

  34. This one took me 17 mins. My first sub-20 mins solve so a PB by a country mile. A pleasant enough solving experience though.
  35. 9m06 and second fastest time for me. Easier than a lot of quickies, I think. Nice to hear of the perigrinations and meet-ups of some of our global community. Looking forward to meeting some of you in person in November.
  36. A sluggish 6:53 for me. I had difficulty reconciling several of the definitions and so didn’t find this nearly as easy as others seem to have done.
  37. Second finish ever, pb of 51 minutes.
    Guessed vibist and twee as LOI so pretty pleased!

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