Times 26803 – Not as meaty as you might suppose….

Time: 19 Minutes

Music: Mussorgsky, Pictures at an Exhibition, Joselson

Well, this was an easy Monday for me, but lurking at the back of my mind was a suspicion that not everyone will agree.   Long-time solvers will have seen ‘buckram’, ‘Chateaubriand’, and ‘thimblerigger’ before, but that may not be the case with everyone – we shall see.    I am not sure how helpful the wordplay might have been, since I mostly just plugged in the evident answers.    The only thing I had never heard of was ‘scabious’, but in this case the wordplay is perfectly obvious, and the checkers confirm what the answer must be.  

Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting with our Friday blogger Verlaine in New York City.   In the blog for that day, I didn’t have the pictures that Paul’s friend David took available, but now I do.   The light was not very suitable for photography, but I have made a few basic adjustments in the color and contrast to one of the pictures: http://home.earthlink.net/~vinyl1/gingerman.jpg.   From left to right around the table: me, Verlaine holding a copy of the Times, Paul_in_london, Jon88, and Guy_du_sable.  

1 Gradual assimilation of silicon in universe, not carbon (7)
OSMOSIS – [c]OSMO(SI)S, where the definition is a bit loose from the technical scientific point of view.
5 Dollar horny male laid out for coarse material (7)
BUCKRAM – BUCK + RAM, in very clever aliases.
9 Old preacher touring north finally offered beer and cheese (11)
WENSLEYDALE – WE(N)SLEY + [offere]D + ALE, a fine cheese.
10 Hanger-on recognised in most of Lancaster (3)
BUR – BUR(t).
11 Disreputable thug wasting time and energy casing church (6)
12 Shifting him risks a minor set-to (8)
SKIRMISH – anagram of HIM RISKS.
14 Briefly meet bright girl reforming cheat (13)
THIMBLERIGGER – anagram of MEET BRIGHT GIRL, one we had a couple of times about six months ago.
17 French statesman talked heartlessly about a university man (13)
CHATEAUBRIAND – CHA[t]TE(U BRIAN)D, who is perhaps better known nowadays as an author.of rather lush prose.
21 German opposed to music that’s sung in bar (8)
23 Part of brief is calculation of public revenues (6)
FISCAL – Hidden in [brie]F IS CAL[culation].
25 Admit wife into cricket side (3)
OWN – O(W)N, one from the Quickie.
26 Gardening aid scoundrel concealed in West Cumbrian town (11)
27 Relentlessly back Liberal youth leader (7)
STERNLY – STERN + L +Y[outh].
28 Circumnavigating America, be at helm of ocean greyhound? (7)
STEAMER – STE(AM)ER, with a rather fanciful literal.  

1 His literary works a gold mine? (6)
ORWELL – OR + WELL.   I don’t know why I wanted to put ‘Oswald’, which didn’t make any sense.
2 Vandal caught by male worker in police operation (7)
3 Slim hips Kelly developed (9)
SYLPHLIKE – Anagram of HIPS KELLY, not the first word I tried, but gettable.
4 Underworld river remains audible (4)
STYX – sounds like STICKS.
5 Fruit shortage in B&B initially explained on right lines (10)
BLACKBERRY – B(LACK)B + E + R + RRY, a rather convoluted cryptic.
6 Festive fare honoured companion always provides (5)
CHEER – CH + EER, Companion of Honour.
7 Making fun of knitting pattern? (7)
RIBBING – double definition, another easy one.
8 They may demonstrate gear ultimately in the borders (8)
13 Old boy properly restricting speed in stubborn way (10)
15 Lifeless? It’s where one finds friendship around part of UK (9)
INANIMATE – IN A (N.I.) MATE, as part of the UK is nearly always Northern Ireland.
16 Strikebreaker promises to pay for plant (8)
SCABIOUS – SCAB + I.O.U.S, which is indeed a plant.
18 Counsel sacrifices one for an early payment (7)
ADVANCE – ADV(-i,+AN)CE, a simple substitution clue.
19 Good form and spirit underpinning a style of art (7)
20 Phone bishop north of Hereford, perhaps (6)
BLOWER – B + LOWER, i.e. a Hereford cow.
22 Tree Reagan planted outside Washington (5)
ROWAN – RO(WA)N, the correct abbreviation for the state of Washington
24 A city boss’s conclusion, sad to say (4)
ALAS –  A + L.A. + [bos]S

65 comments on “Times 26803 – Not as meaty as you might suppose….”

  1. As Donald Trump will tell you 16dn SCABIOUS is not native to North America and therefore will have escaped Vinyl’s attention. Neither is Modest Mussorsky – our esteemed blogger is no stranger in that department.

    I too hit 19 minutes with FOI 4dn STYX and LOI 10ac BUR my COD.

    WOD 20dn BLOWER – for British natives – the ‘Dixon of Dock Green’ for telephone.

    Interesting pic of the NY Court – so many fully empty glasses!

    See y’all in Sasha’s Shanghai sometime.

    Edited at 2017-08-14 01:57 am (UTC)

    1. Turns out that there was a handy solution to the empty glass problem, horryd. We hadn’t been cut off at that point.
    2. There would have been been more empty glasses if anyone else but me had been drinking!
  2. Was my downfall as I start to get used to online solving. Once I’d finished this rather easy puzzle (17:49 on the timer, inc. a break to make coffee), I hit Cmd-H to hide the browser. That put an H at the end of my LOI, STEAMER => STEAMEH; and didn’t hide the browser. So the resultant window told me I had something wrong.

    Otherwise … not much to report. Hoping to get back to treeware soon.

    Liked the pic. Always good to see the mugshots behind the usernames. Let’s have more.

    1. Prof. McText – I take it your ‘avatar’ is an actual photo from the Telly-Goon period in your earlier life. Let’s have more recent!
      PS your Carborundum is sadly missed in the Shanghai Quarter of Crosswordland!

      Edited at 2017-08-14 03:29 am (UTC)

  3. Biffed a couple–THIMBLERIGGER, CHATEAUBRIAND, BLOWER–but parsed them after. I also biffed ‘obstinately’, or would have if space had sufficed; win some, lose some. I was surprised to get through this so quickly, on the new system, but am still totally dissatisfied with said system. Thanks, vinyl, for the photo; always nice to put a face to a name.
    1. I came in search of you Kevin for 2 reasons. 1. I gave you and Jason a mention in my Friday blog for 25d in TLS 1185 (ou sont les neiges d’antan). 2. I am finding the new Club Forum format completely bizarre with all these old puzzles etc etc etc and no apparent rhyme or reason. Have you figured it out? Not to mention that I posted a completely “scabious” time of 4+ minutes this morning with no idea how that happened – it was more like 12.
      1. Thanks for the is this what is called a ‘shout-out’? , although as I said, I’ve never read Sei Shonagon. (I forgot that Jason is in Japan; I wonder where.) As for the new club forum, I raised this problem in the thread ‘Forum Problems’, and David Parfitt (may his tribe increase) said the following’
        The ordering of forum threads is something that undoubtedly needs to be improved. The major issue is that each newly opened archive puzzle automatically creates a new thread, which then goes to the top of the list, pushing the threads from recent puzzles down the order.
        Until this is addressed, the easiest way of viewing comments for a puzzle is to go into that puzzle and scroll down to the comments section. [end quote]
        The whole new site is a mess, although at the moment I suppose the forum is the most egregious problem.
        1. Jason was in Japan (don’t know where) but I think he’s been back in the UK for about 5 years now. I dimly recall from somewhere that he’s doing something in the line of England-Japan relations but I could be completely making that up.
        2. Yes, David Parfitt is a mensch. The problem however was that with the new configuration of the Forum I never actually saw his (or your) comment. Still it’s good to know it’s being addressed.
  4. Top went in quickly, bottom more slowly, but still a Monday stroll. Which means more than a half hour, less than 45 min. Wasn’t sure of sternly for relentlessly.
  5. So there really is a cheese called WENSLEYDALE. I am relieved, because that’s what the clue told me. Likewise, SCABIOUS. Whoddathunkit. I supposed that ROWAN must be a tree. Seemed harder than the usual Monday, but I had been lying in the sun all afternoon…
    1. I can’t hear Wensleydale without being reminded of ‘Wallace and Gromit’ and the late great Peter Sallis.
    2. The Wensleydale Creamery is situated in the village of Hawes in the Yorkshire Dales. They make a multitude of varieties of the basic cheese, which you can sample before buying, after having had an excellent meal in the attached restaurant. A beautiful village too. In days gone by, it was one of the places I was privileged to visit as part of my job fixing Burroughs computers in the banks.
  6. Chateaubriand as a statesman never seen before and unknown, scabious and thimblerigger also unknown but pretty sure they’ve both been in crosswords I’ve done before. Barrow known, but not its Cumbriosity. Nevertheless a PB at 9:54, with every cryptic seen while solving – a bit surprising (on both counts) as the clues seem to be quite wordy and convoluted overall.
  7. I’d swear we’d had SCABIOUS before; else why would I have known it? And surely you remember the proprietor of the cheese-free Natural Cheese Emporium, who John Cleese shoots?

    Edited at 2017-08-14 03:27 am (UTC)

  8. Ah, no, I don’t remember that Mr (presumably) Wensleydale, whom Cleese shoots——wish I did! Was that the Pythons or Fawlty?
  9. In 5 across, I’m not crazy about “laid out,” which is there only for the surface, but that kind of thing has stopped bothering me much here.
  10. 35 minutes here, so I must be awake this morning. Clearly some of the puzzle vocab is starting to sink in, helped by how lovely a word THIMBLERIGGER is. The lesser-known stuff—BUCKRAM, SCABIOUS, and the like—all fairly clued. Not sure whence I dragged CHATEAUBRIAND.

    Surprisingly, I even got the religious reference: John Wesley’s New Room still exists in Bristol; the oldest Methodist chapel in the world.

    FOI STYX, LOI ALAS, mostly because I got to it last rather than because it caused any gyp. Thanks to setter and blogger, especially for the excellent Spotters’ Guide to Solvers 😀

    Edited at 2017-08-14 06:03 am (UTC)

  11. 11:17 … nothing in the top-left to begin with made me think we were in for a rare Monday stinker, but things got a lot easier elsewhere. Last in BAVARIAN and the clever ADVANCE.

    CHATEAUBRIAND means only one thing to me. If you’re ever in the vicinity of the Quebec’s Château Frontenac, book a table and order the Chateaubriand. You’ll thank me.

    Thank you for the photograph of the NY gang and its honorary member, vinyl. Great to see. I hadn’t realised Jon88 was in that neck of the woods. I see his name almost every day when looking at the forum comments to find out which nina I’ve missed in the Concise.

    Edited at 2017-08-14 06:45 am (UTC)

  12. Just on the 20 mins mark with no real hold-ups but BUR going in on trust. As well as the compulsury cricket reference in 25ac, it is nice to see the soon-to-be-retired BLOWERs getting a mention. Thanks Setter and V
  13. Re- the “chateaubriand steak” etymology, the ‘Larousse Gastronomique’ indicates that the dish ‘chateaubriand’ was created by the namesake’s personal chef, Montmireil, for the Vicomte François-René de Chateaubriand and for Sir Russell Retallick, diplomats who respectively served as an ambassador for Napoleon Bonaparte, and as Secretary of State for King Louis XVIII of France.
  14. 24 minutes though I failed to parse BUR{t} – not that I spent much time thinking about it.

    SCABIOUS came up last in 2014 when I also didn’t know it but then as now the wordplay was helpful. If I’d seen the word on its own without the clue to tell me that it is a plant I’d have assumed it was an adjective referring to an unpleasant medical condition.

    The ROWAN tree is also called the mountain ash and there’s a famous traditional song about it, though I suspect famous traditional songs disappeared from the school curriculum in about 1965.

    Horryd might be interested to know that ‘the blower’ is referred to in just about every episode of ‘The Sweeney’ which I am currently working my through. I suppose it was used in ‘Dixon’ too, but they’d have been as likely to say ‘dog and bone’.

    Edited at 2017-08-14 06:09 am (UTC)

    1. I have a darned good memory for words – and at Dock Green Nick ‘blower’ was standard for Crawford & Co ie the Cops. If ‘dog an’ bone’ would feature it would only be used by ‘Chummie & Co’ ie the criminal classes! The esteemed writer Lord Ted Willis was a stickler – criminals used CRS – The Law did not!

      In ‘The Sweenie’ who uses ‘blower’ – just the rozzers?

      1. Regan and Carter used ‘blower’ constantly in ‘The Sweeney’.

        You may be right about the cops in ‘Dixon’ using ‘blower’ rather than ‘dog and bone’ which might have been reserved for ‘chummy & co’, but Dixon himself used CRS e.g. ‘jam-jar’ for ‘car’ quite regularly. Did you know that Peter Byrne (Andy Crawford) quit before the final series in 1976 and was replaced by Richard Heffer playing DS Alan Bruton? Dixon was relegated to a sit-down desk-job as ‘Collator’ wearing plain clothes – mind you, Jack Warner was 81 by then, so one had to suspend disbelief that he would still be working in any capacity. Peter Byrne is still alive, aged 89, and last appeared on TV in an episode of Holby City in 2012. He worked a lot in theatre after leaving ‘Dixon’.

        Edited at 2017-08-14 07:05 am (UTC)

        1. Our ‘Star Wars’. Presently engrossed in ‘Bilko’ and Foley’s War (no blower there so far!).
              1. Foyle’s War. An excellent series. I was amazed to see the very prim Honeysuckle Weeks appear in an episode of Death in Paradise as a proper vampish villain!
    2. I didn’t pick up on this earlier but if google can be believed Joselson is a pianist in which case I’m very interested that you were listening to an original piano version rather than the Ravel orchestration. For me, less is usually more in the world of music and the virtuosity required by a solo artist to perform this work is staggering.
      1. Yes. I never got properly past the opening promenade. Great harmonies in that but my piano isn’t really sonorous enough to do them justice.
  15. 25 mins over Chateaubriand… just kidding, actually porridge (tempered with dates and pecans). No hold ups. Even the plant and tree were right-ins. 26ac had me thinking it was Workington or Whitehaven until the penny dropped. Even today’s random man was a Brian, not a Les/Des/Al.
    Thanks generous setter and Vinyl.
  16. I might have finished in a bit over 10 had I not thought RAGGING (easy, he says) was a knitting pattern and MARCHERS could be entered into the grid more or less randomly. Wondered for a while in what convoluted setters mind a BRA could be a hanger on, or whether BOAs were noted for their hanging prowess. Eventually got to BUR, but only by way of classic WWII planes, Houses and NW towns, eventually deciding BURY somehow constituted a substantial part of Lancs. Never thought of Mr Lancaster: if only the setter had cited Kwouk.
    15.37 my clearly rather befuddled result.

    PS WENSLEYDALE has a more recent comedy history than Pythons in Wallace and Grommit, whence in my mind it will always be “not even”

  17. 30 minutes on this, much longer than I should have been on a 66 snitcher. As with our Government, my FISCAL policy was well hidden. BURt Lancaster also stayed out of view for too long, with me trying to make something of a Lancaster Bomber to the Dambusters theme tune. I’m giving COD to WHEELBARROW, despite the hackles still rising at the wretched Heath’s administration having put Barrow into Cumbria. Ever since I had a wooden toy as a boy, I’ve loved pushing one. You feel as if you belong, you know where you’re going and you have a purpose. I think I’ll do a bit of gardening today. Thank you V and setter.

    Edited at 2017-08-14 09:49 am (UTC)

  18. Concur that this was an easy one – the other day I was joking to RR that I would only have the spare time to do a third weekly barred puzzle if I could get my combined time for the Cryptic, Quick Cryptic and Concise to under 10 minutes consistently. Be careful what promises you make! 5 minutes here, the only issue being biffing in OBSTINATELY until it became clear that we were looking for a CHATEAU.

    When’s the next NY meetup then? Alternatively, the pictorial challenge has been laid down and I invite all comers to a pre-November practice booze and photography session in a location convenient to themselves…

  19. Dnk SCABIOUS, but wordplay obvious. Had heard of CHATEAUBRIAND, no idea it was a person. THIMBLERIGGER from wordplay, it’s that things with three cups…

    Surely Wallace and Gromit is more famous nowadays than the Cleese cheese sketch? Incidentally his real name was Cheese. The county almost alluded to in 10 ac is also a white crumbly cheese.

    11’10” thanks vinyl and setter.

  20. 6:46. Rattled through this with no problems straight off the red-eye back to London at the end of my holiday [sniff]. Not so long ago words like THIMBLERIGGER or SCABIOUS would probably have given me problems.
    Like others I knew CHATEAUBRIAND mostly as a cut of meat. It’s just a subsection of the fillet, the most overrated (and over-priced) cut of beef IMO. Which is not by any means to say that I don’t like it.

    Edited at 2017-08-14 09:31 am (UTC)

  21. It is not often that I am unhappy with a 20:48 time but that was as scratchy an innings as you will see. I cannot believe how long it took me to look at the other end of the clue for the definition for WHEELBARROW. Still, as with my batting averages of old, the score will stay in the book long after the performance is forgotten.
  22. Pleasant Monday stuff, where the obscurities aren’t really obscure if you’ve hung around here long enough (and remember them, of course, which is a different matter…without the precise wordplay, I suspect I’d have gone for the half-remembered THIMBLEFINGER instead). To add to the food in comedy theme, I can’t say exactly where it comes from, but whenever I see the word, my first thought is a scene in a restaurant where one diner looks over the menu and says “Shall we share a Chateaubriand?” and the other person says “Good idea, I love a nice bottle of Chateaubriand”. Arfur Daley in Minder, perhaps.
  23. Finished in about 30mins (leisurely). Initially entered BAT for 10a (Battle of Lancaster anyone?) until 8d resolved things. Also know Chateaubriand more from the expensive cut of beef. I like the combination of 4d and 13d. Thanks all
  24. Seems we’ve had THIMBLERIGGER more than once recently? As Verlaine, I’d typed in OBSTINATELY even though it didn’t fit, and was held up several minutes as a result. LOI BUR is there a Lancaster burr? And I thought the sticky things were spelt with 2 r’s anyway….
  25. A careless two wrong in 19:29, having biffed BAR unparsed and forgetting to go back to it, and then biffing THIMBLEFINGER, without checking the fodder, in order to be able to hit the submit button before the 20 minutes ticked over. Dummy! Ah well, tomorrow is another day. We used to have an excellent restaurant called La Cucard in Middlesbrough which served a magnificent Chateaubriand, but sadly it’s long gone. A classic Yorkshire treat at Christmas is fruit cake with Wensleydale cheese and malt whiskey. Mind you, I don’t limit it to December:-) The plant rang a faint bell, but I was grateful for the wordplay. Great picture V. It’s nice to put real faces to the avatars. An enjoyable puzzle despite my lack of precision. Thanks setter and V.
    1. Yes, good to see the real faces – a fine body of men, described as such by Captain Mainwaring, before they signed up for the Home Guard? I knew SCABIOUS, indeed have some, but the word always sounds like a description of someone with the Black Death.
  26. Just had a bar of chocolate drop through the letter box, courtesy of the Times and Sunday Times, as a thank you for being a subscriber. Wonder if it’s got anything to do with my lost history……or does everybody get one?
    1. Bah! I’m expecting that as an “international subscriber”, I won’t get one…
    2. I’ll be annoyed now if I don’t get chocolate. We in Wales are often left out of things…
      1. If they’re trying to mollify puzzlers, you should be in with a chance. I see you made it into Rose Wild’s column on Saturday:-)
        1. Thanks for the heads-up. I had my annual BBQ on Saturday night and spent Sunday clearing up. (60 odd drunken revellers make rather a lot of mess) So hadn’t read the paper. Just found it. They basically quoted my entire email. I hope now they’ll concentrate on fixing the printing problem.
  27. 8:32 although I felt I was heading for something faster than that.

    Whist I’m certainly familiar with sylphlike I’m not sure I’d recognise a sylph if I ended up sharing my chateaubriand with one.

  28. Today the club is failing to download the interactive puzzles, so I’ve had to print them for solving, and can’t submit to the leaderboard – time was about 20min, but I needed Bradford to get from Lancaster to Burt. (I could only think of John of Gaunt, and the York, the civilian derivative of the bomber, neither of any help at all)
  29. 16m today with no hold ups and a pleasant solve with some of my favourite words : THIMBLERIGGER, CHATEAUBRIAND and WHEELBARROW making an appearance. This was preceded by a night in the Roxburghe Hotel bar, near Kelso sampling a fine selection of single malts and scoffing fine Scottish cheeses and this morning enjoying a round of golf on the beautiful course here that runs along the Teviot. Life is sometimes just really good! Liked the picture of our US based friends too.
  30. About 20 minutes, needing a pause at the end to drop the puzzle and return to find Mr. Lancaster the actor flashing to mind. I would have thought the seed pod thing was spelled as burr, but nevertheless, it had to be correct. SCABIOUS from the pretty transparent wordplay, since I would not have identified that as a plant, and not as a noun, either. Regards.
  31. Enjoyable puzzle which would be even more enjoyable if I could actually read the numbers in the printed grid. I have to count down from the top. It’s just been pointed out to me by John_dun that my comments on this issue were printed in last Saturday’s paper. (Feedback column) 23 minutes. Ann
  32. Can someone go through BLOWER for me, I’m not following on many accounts viz. phone=lower?, and BLOWER=cow?
    1. Blower is a slang term for a telephone, bishop is crossword shorthand for B, and a cow lows(moos). Hereford is a breed of cattle, hence a lower perhaps. “North of” indicates the B for bishop is above the LOWER in a down clue.

      Edited at 2017-08-14 05:39 pm (UTC)

      1. B is not so much crossword shorthand for ‘bishop’ (although of course it’s used in crosswords and that’s why we’re discussing it here), but it’s from chess, used when recording players’ moves etc. It may also be used in ecclesiastic circles for all I know.
  33. I am currently on holiday – pleasant weather, idyllic surroundings, utter peace. In other words, the worst imagineable kind of hell. My brain, such as it is, has gone into shock and is redirecting all my blood-flow to my liver, where it’s needed urgently. Frankly, I can’t wait to get back home so I can start complaining that I need a holiday again.

    This makes it all the more astonishing that I zipped through this admittedly fairly easy puzzle in a whisker under 14 minutes – slow for many of you, but not far off my personal best.

  34. 17 mins 43 secs, swiftly and with style as Monsieur Alphonse might have said. Wondered at ocean greyhound for steamer and relentlessly for sternly but neither held me up. DNK 16dn but wordplay was very clear. FOI 9ac. LOI and COD 20dn.

Comments are closed.