Times 26,819: Trains, Planes & Automobiles

Hello from sunny Scotland – I actually have to get up and pack very early tomorrow to catch a train from Kilmarnock to Edinburgh, so you’ll get the shortest possible blog and like it. This charming puzzle was brimful of mislead and quirk, with nothing in it that was too abstruse, but very little completely straightforward either. I gave myself a harder time than I needed to by bunging in a SYSTEM off the Y of 19ac, but rather embarrassingly it was 16dn that pushed my time over the 10 minute mark, as for some reason I couldn’t see this very common word from the crossers, and had to go the long way round of fully resolving the wordplay to get there, dashed inconvenience I call it. COD to 18ac for the fun solving-related surface. Regards and thanks to the setter!

1 Train almost bankrupt minor carrier (6,3)
SCHOOL BUS – SCHOOL BUS{t} [train | “almost” bankrupt], a carrier of minors.
6 Cycle material primarily on side facing leader (5)
MOPED – M{aterial} on OP-ED [side facing leader]. Like others I suspect, I always thought this stood for “opinion editorial”, but no, it is actually “opposite the editorial page”.
9 Course advisor dumps most of period (7)
TIPSTER – TIPS TER{m} [dumps | “most of” period]. An advisor on a racecourse.
10 Plain old boy, one stopping you on the Champs Elysees (7)
OBVIOUS – O.B. [old boy] + I [one] “stopping” VOUS [you, “on the Champs Elysees”, i.e. in French]
11 Spike publicity about golf (5)
PRONG – P.R. ON G [publicity | about | golf]
12 To win only in bullring’s location? (2,3,4)
ON THE NOSE – as any 9ac could tell you, a bet “on the nose” is for the horse to win outright, not just to place. A bull’s ring is found on its nose.
13 A commercial vehicle carries one of the birds (9)
AVIAN – A VAN [a | commercial vehicle] “carries” I [one]
14 Trendy auditors pinching a bishop’s behind (2,7)
IN ARREARS – IN EARS [trendy | auditors] “pinching” A RR [a | bishop]
17 Like some kids left to be treated by daughter (6-3)
BOTTLE-FED – (LEFT TO BE*) [“treated”] by D [daughter]
18 Bloody Chambers, an endless nuisance! (5)
ATRIA – A TRIA{l} [an “endless” nuisance]
19 Begin year hosting a local doctor’s prenuptial bash (4,5)
STAG PARTY – START Y [begin | year] “hosting” A G.P. [a | local doctor]
22 One fanatic accepting penny contribution (5)
INPUT – I NUT [one | fanatic] “accepting” P [penny]
24 A flirtatious note grabbing large assistant (7)
ACOLYTE – A COY TE [a | flirtatious | note] “grabbing” L [large]
25 Arranging flowers like bananas to some extent (7)
IKEBANA – hidden in {l}IKE BANA{nas}
26 It grows down river in Germany (5)
EIDER – double def. I didn’t know the German river but we’ve all heard of the eiderdown duck.
27 Drunkard approaching very big climax, as it were (2,2,5)
SO TO SPEAK – SOT [drunkard] approaching O.S. PEAK [very big | climax]
1 Raise home counties sheep (3,2)
SET UP – S.E. TUP [home counties | sheep]
2 He puts people out from busy tiny shop on time (9)
HYPNOTIST – (TINY SHOP*) [“busy”] on T [time]
3 Firm flips label on a line showing several faces (9)
OCTAGONAL – CO reversed [firm “flips”] + TAG ON A L [label | on | a | line]. Isn’t octagonal several sides, and octahedral faces?
4 Wearing pelt cape after pub brawl in NW town (6-2-7)
BARROW-IN-FURNESS – IN FUR NESS [wearing | pelt | cape] after BAR ROW [pub | brawl]. Largely biffable from the enumeration.
5 Maybe PA‘s brief, pithy and cryptic way (9,6)
SHORTHAND TYPIST – SHORT [brief] + (PITHY AND*) [“cryptic”] + ST [way]
6 Film second struggle (5)
MOVIE – MO VIE [second | struggle]
7 Still keen to be hugged by sailor (5)
PHOTO – HOT [keen] “to be hugged by” P.O. [sailor, not AB, OS, TAR, SALT or even JACK for a change]
8 Pepys said, hiccupping: “It gives me wind problem” (9)
DYSPEPSIA – (PEPYS SAID*) [“hiccupping”]
13 A bishop tucked into wine, nearly getting sudden attack (9)
AMBUSCADE – A + B [bishop] “tucked into” MUSCADE{t} [wine, “nearly”]
15 Study fashionable English ship’s speed (9)
READINESS – READ IN E S.S. [study | fashionable | English | ship]
16 One taking off, or opening up, in a way (9)
AEROPLANE – PORE reversed [opening “up”], in A LANE [a | way]
20 “Let” called out for all to hear (5)
ALOUD – homophone of ALLOWED [let, “called out”]
21 Who remunerates quiet philosopher (5)
PAYER – P AYER [quiet | philosopher]. A. J. Ayer, 20th century logical positivist, who was cruelly and premeditatedly involved in my Epistemology paper when I was an undergrad.
23 Dog harness covering Rover’s head (5)
TRACK – TRACK [harness] covering R{over}

46 comments on “Times 26,819: Trains, Planes & Automobiles”

  1. 12:19 … yes, very nice stuff. It would have been easier without an early biffed Barrow-in-FurnACE. Please don’t say I was the only one.

    BOTTLE-FED deserves a COD award but I can’t see past the OBVIOUS, where I just love the surface.

  2. Failed today. I had AMBUSCATE instead of the unknown AMBUSCADE, as MUSCATE{l} worked just as well for “wine, nearly”.

    On the other hand, I don’t feel so bad about that because although I knew my AORTA at 18a was likely wrong, not being plural and all, I couldn’t think of anything else, as I didn’t think of “trial” and if I did know the non-hall meaning of ATRIA, I managed to forget it. Bah.

    The rest was good fun, and done in 50m. Thanks setter and blogger.

    1. I also had AMBUSCATE. I think our dilemma on this clue marks us out as true oenophiles. Or are we just lacking in vocabulary?
  3. Well, I finally resorted to Chambers Word Wizard for that charmingly titled village (and borough, it says here), of which I am certain I have never before heard the faintest whisper. (It was my last one in, and there was a book I wanted to get back to.) I didn’t know the betting meaning of “on the nose” or I would have filled that one in sooner. “Tack” for horse gear was also a guess. Likewise the “S.E.” in SET UP, and I’m still guessing… it must mean “South England” or maybe “SouthEast”… (haven’t been able to find the definitive answer in five minutes at 4 am).

    Edited at 2017-09-01 07:59 am (UTC)

    1. I should have added a geographical proviso; none of these places are at all biffable if you’re, say, an Inuit.
  4. 25 mins with croissant and (home picked and made) blackberry jam. Lots went in very quickly (for me) – then took a while trying to parse the moped/photo (not used to Op-ed, or P.O. so thanks for explaining V).
    Mostly I liked: Champs Elysees bloke, Bloody Chambers (COD).
    Eyebrows twitched at: ‘busy’ as anag ind, Speed=readiness?
    The PA reminded me of the following:
    Job interviewer: “But, as a typist, don’t you find having one arm a disadvantage?”
    Interviewee: “On the contrary; it is a great advantage. It is not having the other one that is the problem.”
    Thanks engaging setter and V.
  5. By some distance the quickest of the week in 14.37, with MOPED biffed with a vow to check it before submitting, which turned out to be fruitless.
    There’s a lot of single errors this morning: I’m betting it’s AORTA for ATRIA, since the first is a more common, if single, bloody chamber.
    Like Myrtilus, I’m not convinced by speed=READINESS: looks like a bit of a Thesaurus point-to-point to me.
      1. Tube schmube: I still initially thought AORTA because of the bloody connection, and I’m still betting that’s as far as some solvers got before submitting. The trouble with a crossword conditioned brain is that it sometimes leaps to the wrong conclusion and blanks out the reasons why not, and not just with crosswords either. There’s probably a shrink’s term for it.
        1. I tend to use more industrial language to describe the phenomenon when it happens to me. Words like ‘*******’ and ‘idiot’.
    1. The AORTA is a vessel, not a chamber. Otherwise I think I’d have biffed AORTI (which doesn’t exist of course but this stuff is all Greek to me).

      Edited at 2017-09-01 08:13 am (UTC)

  6. AEROPLANE was my LOI having become fixated by AIR at the start.BARROW-IN-FURNESS was my FOI and this helped greatly. COD, like V, to the Chambers reference.
  7. 35 minutes with NE last to fall, PHOTO LOI despite my Dad having been a petty officer in the war. Even after I’d put ATRIA in, I was still trying to think of who’d been stabbed in Roman halls rather than of matters of the heart. Never heard of IKEBANA but I assume it’s Japanese flower arranging and not a martial art, although the two can be very similar at our local church. Well done setter for clueing BARROW as NW and not Cumbria, but I’ll still have my usual rant at Grocer Heath’s local government reorganisation. COD BOTTLE-FED. Thank you V and setter.
  8. 42 minutes. Never heard of AMBUSCADE though it came up once before, in June 2008, since I started at TftT. I’m not to worried about forgetting something I heard of only once before nearly 10 years ago. I biffed MOPED but didn’t know OP-ED nor find an explanation before coming here. Toyed briefly with ‘breast fed’ at 17ac but couldn’t justify it so waited for more checkers.

    Edited at 2017-09-01 07:42 am (UTC)

  9. Very quick time today, but all for nothing as I managed not one but TWO errors today! Several unparsed, including aorta (doh!), but my other one was totally parsed: surely ‘mushage’ is the term for wine before it becomes wine? And an ambushage? Come on, that must be a thing…

  10. 8:04, which is looking very much on the wavelength from the leaderboard: I’ll take 1.24 Jasons any day of the week. Quite a lot of biffing for me this morning.
    French seems to be helping me quite a lot these days, and it did so again today with 13dn: the French for ‘ambush’ is ’embuscade’. Like the recent CADASTRAL and ALEATORY I’m not sure if I’ve come across it in English before.
    I also raised an eyebrow at ‘faces’ in 3dn but at that point I had all the checkers so what else could it be?
  11. Speedy for a Friday at 30 mins but 1 nasty error 18ac AORTA!! ATRIA it were!

    FOI 1dn SET UP SOI SCHOOL BAG which quickly became SCHOOL BUS!

    COD as per Sotira 10ac OBVIOUS – fine rendition of a clue.

    WOD 13dn AMBUSCADE which I knew well!

    LOI 12ac ON THE NOSE

    I had 25ac IKEBANA at breakfast courtesy of her indoors!

    Blackberry jam from Myrtilus (Half man Half Biscuit – The Jammy Dodger!) – what a treat!

  12. About 45 mins with disruptions, so not bad for a Friday. I started with biffing NEWTON LE WILLOWS (well, it fitted didn’t it?) but that left me with 2 awkward W’s, but a steady solve after that. 10a was OBVIOUS, my FOI. DNK the German river either. I think IKEBANA comes up every week – must be a handy word for setters.
    1. In the sad absence of our Oz friends, I remind that AORTA down under means The Authorities, as in ‘Aorta do something about it’.
  13. 20 minutes – still without access to puzzle club from desktop, except for getting pdfs to print.
    I agree that ‘faces’ is wrong for 3dn – the word actually refers to the number of corners. The river at 28ac was unknown, but it had to be the duc. 18ac was clear enough from the wordplay, but 16dn was LOI, not parsed.
  14. ATRIA has made an appearance in a few places lately but this was by far the best def I’ve seen. The ‘minor carrier’ was also good. Interesting to see the ‘Maybe PA’ def for 5d; a generation ago the ‘Maybe’ would have been superfluous and the def would just have been ‘Secretary’. Nowadays a def such as ‘Maybe vanishing skill’ would be closer to the mark.

    Thanks for explaining the OP-ED bit of 6a which I didn’t know and couldn’t work out. “Do you know the derivation of the term OP-ED?” That should really get the sophisticated dinner party conversation flowing.

    AMBUSCADE added to the vocab today. About as likely to be used again as fish knives given as a wedding present I suspect.

    Thank you to setter and blogger

  15. Just under 22 minutes – found this pretty easy, helped by Westmorland Barrow, though I wanted the German to be the Elder – a sort of amalgam of existing waterways.
  16. Beaten for the second time in a row, this time by AMBUSCADE, for which I had “ambuscate”. Other than that, 24 min.
  17. All done and dusted in about 40 minutes in two shifts, the second one in the waiting room whilst two new tyres fitted to her-indoors’ car. I too played with AORTA, but couldn’t make the endless nuisance work, so looked again.

    I don’t want to offend anyone, but Barrow is in my top 3 worst places in the UK what I have visited. Anyone guess the others?

      1. Swindon? Andover? The latter may just be clearer in my memory because it was inflicted on me yesterday.
        1. I could take offence here as I live in Andover. That said I consider myself living in a nice little oasis just on the edge of the South Downs.

          Since I compare my times most to yours* I won’t take any umbrage.

          *Not that you would know given my posting history – we seem to have started at the same time & similar age, with the same mistakes, at least that’s where I peg myself now.

          Edited at 2017-09-01 09:48 pm (UTC)

          1. I’m sure the bits that don’t immediately surround certain incredibly dull health insurance company offices are much nicer!

            Glad to “meet” a fellow intermediate solver 😀

      2. Wrong, but one of them does begin with an S, note, and is alright in between! Alternatively, shout a couple of lines and you get the other.

        Edited at 2017-09-01 07:42 pm (UTC)

    1. Have you ever seen “Crap Towns” (2003)? Listing what the authors considered the 50 worst places to live in the UK. Can’t remember if B-in-F was listed; for some reason–surprise, I suppose–the only one I remember was St. Albans. No, I also remember St. John’s Wood.
  18. Dont know what the matter with Livejournal is. Earlier this morning, I read a load of comments. Now there seems to be just 2.
    1. Odd. I can still see all of them. You didn’t follow a link from an email that led to an individual “thread” of the comments, did you?

      Edited at 2017-09-01 04:36 pm (UTC)

  19. Very seldom comment since I rarely manage these on the day but had half an hour to spare this PM and, what do you know, managed to push this out in 29 minutes.

    Glad I didn’t think of AORTA otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to think of anything else, so did avoid that trap. Had to wait for the checkers for 13d and 25a but otherwise this is as good as I currently get having started on Everyman and the Quickie a few years back.

    For V – you seem to have missed out DYSPEPSIA in your blog, and then the rest of the down numbers have gone awry!

    Given I don’t often comment, just to say thanks to all the setters and bloggers who make this a pleasure. I do read all the comments but mostly well after the fact. Three years ago I’d have only got a half dozen of these, so these blogs have provided immeasurable help in my progress.

  20. Not much to say about the puzzle except I suspect I was one of many who failed to think of ATRIA and put AORTA for want of anything better. Nice to see from Verlaine’s intro that places like Kilmarnock do actually exist and dnon’t just emerge Brigadoon-like at 5pm on Saturday afternoons during the reading of the football results.
    28m 17s

    Edited at 2017-09-01 07:15 pm (UTC)

  21. After a tiring day knocking several small white balls around a large expanse of grass with multiple ponds and aggressive rough(and now twelve balls lighter) I was surprised to knock this puzzle off in 26:57. An enjoyable way to unwind instead of being further wound up. FOI SET UP and LOI PHOTO. I had MOPED quite early on, but failed to parse it until I came here and found that I would never have parsed it as I didn’t know the expression Op-Ed. Took a while to see PHOTO too, until I remembered Petty Officer. AMBUSCADE rang a faint bell and the checkers and parsing confirmed it. Knew the duck but not the river. Liked OBVIOUS and BOTTLE-FED. Have worked in Barrow. Always glad to get home from there. We had IKEBANA quite recently I think. Nice puzzle. Thanks setter and V.
  22. Late coming here but must say how enjoyable this puzzle was. No major problems and clocked out at 21 minutes – which is a good time for me. I couldn’t parse MOPED but couldn’t see what else it could be. I remembered enough O-level biology not to fall into the AORTA/ATRIA trap. Ann
  23. Late and in bed after a heavy day wine tasting, was surprised to knock this off in 12 minutes except for 13d, where I wobbled between wines and picked the wrong one. Otherwise a good romp with the definition for 1a as favourite.
  24. A fun Friday puzzle, much enjoyed here. Had about a third of it done in 21mins before work. Finished it off in 28mins after work. Delighted to say that time spent staring at voobius and vobious meant that for me the answer to 10ac was not immediately, well….
  25. 29/30 over 25 minutes over lunch, then saw the final concealed IKEBANA after walking the trail home. Why are words hidden in plain sight sometimes so hard to see? Similar feeling today when I realized I was just about to step on a large red-necked keelback! My brain had parsed the object as a branch. Somehow cool that these things are both venomous *and* poisonous. I liked the crossword, particularly course advisor & dog harness. Curious that we had two bishops (B & RR) and two “in” clues (trendy and fashionable).

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