Times 26824 – in which I make a mess of spelling an Australian word!

Solving time : 16:34 but with one typo – I seem to be making a lot more typos with the recent changes to the crossword club, in the leaderboard I am 67th, with a whopping 15 in the incorrect column. Oh well – funny thing is the entry with my typo is the one where I figured out the answer and thought “oooh, that is going to trip a few people up”. Guess I was right!

Trickier puzzle than usual I thought, but wordplay solid throughout.

Away we go…

1 FUSSPOTS: F(fine), SPOTS(places) surrounding US
5 HAYMOW: anagram of WHO,MAY
9 ION: remove the R from IRON(golf club)
12 CHANCE UPON: UP(buoyant) an ON(no, turning back) after CHANCE(opening) – definition is encounter
13 SCAG: first letters of Slowly, Canters, And, Gallops – horse meaning heroin in this case
15 SPRANG: S(succeeded), PRANG(accident)
16 ABILITY: definition is “gift” – A(article) then I,L,
IT inside BY(times, multiplied by)
18 TOOTSIE: TOO(in addition) then TIE(restriction) containing S(small)
20 TIGHTS: S(prinkler) after TIGHT(half cut, drunk)
23 ALTO: ALSO(too) with S swapped for T – changing the ends of S(olois)T
24 CORROBOREE: an Australian indigenous gathering – COR(gracious) then OR(men) reversed, BORE(supported), E(European)
26 HEAVEN KNOWS: anagram of HOW,SNAKE containing VEN(archdeacon)
27 EMO: alternating letters in tErM fOr
28 DIKTAT: reversal of TAT,KID
29 ON AND OFF: O, DOFF(shed) surrounding NAN
2 SUN LAMP: M(erriment) inside SUN(daily) and LAP(round)
3 POSTCHAISE: POST(after), CHA(tea), IS, E(drug). So this one went in from the wordplay, and when I go to look it up, in Chambers it is given as two words and hyphenated, and in Collins it is only given as two words. So we may have been done in by enumeration
4 THE JUNGLE BOOK: anagram of ON,THE,JOB,GLUE with (quic)K afterwards
6 ABBE: AB(sailor), and BE(live)together
7 MALACHI: hidden in abnorMAL ACHIevements
8 WISEGUYS: sounds like Y’s(letters) and GUISE(form) – the family in this case being the mafia
11 GOOD AFTERNOON: GOO(sentiment), DAFTER(comparatively silly) then NO ON(e). Fun clue!
17 ATTACHED: TT(on the wagon), ACHE(long) inside AD(trailer)
19 OUTRANK: OUT(blooming), RANK(foul)
21 TORPEDO: definition is “ruin” – TOR(hill), PE(training), DO(party)
22 TEE OFF: definition is “drive” (on a golf course). T(heatr)E ten F(force), FOE(enemy) all reversed
25 BETA: ABET(help) with the first letter moved down

52 comments on “Times 26824 – in which I make a mess of spelling an Australian word!”

  1. I found this very heavy going and needed aids to come up with the unknown CORROBOREE which gave me the final checker enabling me to work out the HIGGS BOSON anagram as my Last One In. I assume the C-word is a variation on ‘jamboree’ which I always associate with the Boy Scout movement going way back, so I was a bit surpised to find it (the J-word) is American and of unknown origin.

    Other unknowns today were HAYMOW and EMO (having looked this up, I’m quite pleased I’ve not come across it other than as the first name of a rather strange American comedian). I didn’t understand WISEGUYS as ‘family’, nor SCAG, thinking of the wrong sort of horse, though now it has been pointed out I had heard of it as a drug of sorts. TOOTSIE to me is ‘foot’ so the definition ‘digit’ gave me pause for thought. And finally I had SEE OFF instead of TEE OFF at 22dn but I hadn’t fully parsed it (obviously) and I think I was beginning to run out of steam by then.

    Edited at 2017-09-07 06:06 am (UTC)

    1. Jack, corroboree is an Australian Aboriginal Ceremony. I suspect it has nothing to do with jamboree, which given its connection with the Scouting movement, I suspect might have Indian origins.
      1. Thanks, Bruce. ‘Indian’ was my first thought for jamboree so I was surpised that all the usual sources have it as ‘origin unknown’, although SOED goes on to say that it was originally US slang. Unfortunately I no longer have access to the OED via my local library site, as that may have more information and citations of its earliest use etc.
        1. My local library apparently still subscribes (or my library card number still happens to work, anyway) but there’s not a vast amount more information in the OED. Earliest references are:

          • 1868 N.Y. Herald 10 July 8/3 The Seventh regiment has gone on a jamboree to Norwich, Connecticut.
          • 1872 Scribner’s Monthly 4 363 (Farmer) There have not been so many dollars spent on any jamboree.

  2. “A little matter” indeed! Ha. Wonderful. I resorted to Crossword Solver for my LOI, as I DNK CORROBOREE. I had all but the BORE…
  3. Like Jack, I had no clue about the connection between WISEGUYS and the Mafia Family, having only ever met it as a pejorative term for someone trying to be clever in The Three Stooges. So that was a biff, as was ALTO, where the wiseguy wordplay went straight over my head.
    EMO I was more aware of as a depressed teenager affecting a mostly dyed black appearance. I looked it up, and found not a single band whose lyrics I could quote from memory. Obviously my education is lacking, for which relief much thanks.
    I stopped the clock at 22.21, slowest of the week so far. I’ve been racking my brains to remember where I met CORROBOREE before, and rather fearing it was Crocodile Dundee II, which probably goes down as a confession.
    1. You’ve been watching Croc Dundee (“II”? had you seen “I” and liked it so much?) – instead of Goodfellas (where wiseguys abound).
    2. Maybe that’s where I dredged it up from! In my defence, I would have been 15 at the time it came out, which is probably exactly the right age to enjoy that particular film.
  4. Funnily enough I’m finding I’m making less typos on the new site. The laborious hit-and-miss method of entering letters on the mini iPad I now have to use means that I need to read (and often correct) every word I’ve entered before moving on. On the laptop, I banged in the letters and went straight on to the next clue assuming I’d correctly typed in what I thought I had. Now an error’s an error which is somehow less annoying.
  5. …and I gladly would as I thought this a corker.
    40 mins of enjoyment with porridge (topped with sliced banana). Hoorah.
    Some brilliantly crafted clues today: 15, 18, 20, 26ac; 14, 21, 22dn.
    Among many – COD to 26ac: my guess is it hid in his cassock.
    Some DNKs: Postchaise, Corroboree, Haymow – but all generously word-played.
    I live round the corner from Peter Higgs and see him in the corner shop – but haven’t quite got up the courage to say hello yet. One day.
    Thanks for a great start to the day, fabulous setter and George.
  6. I thought of ‘borne’ for supported so ended up with CORROBORNE, not having accounted for the extra E.

    Lots of nice definitions today – ‘a little matter’, ‘addition to winter transport’, ‘did well’, ‘small digit’, etc.

  7. …the particle in the field of Old Trafford discovered by Ken Higgs in the fifties and rediscovered at the LHC a couple of years ago to Peter’s delight. Found this tricky today and came in at 50 minutes having had to use a checker for unkown CORROBOREE. Had vaguely heard of EMO music. HEAVEN KNOWS I’m miserable now. Not keen on SCAG being included in a Times crossword. The last thing any of us on this site should ever think is that we’re with it and cool, not that I’ve ever been accused of either. I didn’t even know gangsters were WISEGUYS or that it could be one word, despite there apparently being motion pictures, television shows and literature on this use. Fortunately the cryptic was kind. A BETA double minus on contemporary culture for me. At least the golf clues were easy. Thank you George, and setter for making a happy man feel very old.
  8. 12:05. A big thumbs up from me for this one. A nice variety of references, some obscure words impeccably clued (not to mention a biblical prophet with some actual wordplay) and some lovely touches (‘did well’). It’s particularly satisfying to construct a thoroughly unlikely-looking word like CORROBOREE from wordplay and enter it with complete confidence.
  9. I really enjoyed this one! Felt I was rather racing through it, but it still took 52 minutes.

    A quick romp through the top half—including, like Jack, wondering what breed of horse a SCAG was—but not spotting the anagram for 4d made inroads into the south a touch slower. No problems with POSTCHAISE; they’re mentioned a few times in Jane Eyre, albeit with a hyphen, but I didn’t let that stop me.

    The bottom half was a slower right-to-left solve. Glad the wordplay for CORROBOREE was quite kind. I might have considered WOWROBOREE for longer if I’d known the word was Australian!

    HIGGS BOSON a write-in, and my COD. Higgs and Paul Dirac both went to Cotham Grammar school, not far down the road from me, so the local rag tries to crowbar him into stories whenever his elusive particle is the international news.

    Finally finished with DIKTAT after an alphabet run, followed by BETA, which I would have got earlier if I’d managed to get “aide” out of my head. Thanks to setter and blogger.

    Edited at 2017-09-07 08:57 am (UTC)

  10. Very good stuff but a bit of a struggle for me. I’m in the gang for whom HIGGS BOSON doesn’t leap to mind (though I’m not proud of it). Glad to hear from others above that Mr Higgs is less elusive than his particle. And as for CORROBOREE, I ‘got it’ reasonably early but, unlike keriothe, couldn’t believe it. In fact, I ended up checking it so my 23 minutes doesn’t count.

    I’m clearly going through a dimmer than usual phase as I had to come here to have it pointed out that a SCAG wasn’t a type of horse, despite certainly having met the slang term before. TEE OFF is beautifully done and stands out for me

    1. Thinking about it I guess there was an element of retrospection about my confidence. As I put the answer in I was thinking, ‘this is what the wordplay clearly points to, and if it’s wrong I’m going to whinge something fierce’.
  11. Thirty-nine minutes, a bit slower than my average.

    Pleased to see ION and HIGGS BOSON making an appearance. Given the richness to be found in subatomic particle names and classes (pions, gluons, quarks, fermions, mesons…), it’s a pity they don’t make it here more often.

    I’m still not sure I understand the parsing of ALTO.

  12. Continuing a flying week. Delayed in SW, didn’t manage to parse ALTO, and ATTACHED took a while. Realised for the first time in my life that SLEIGH contradicts the spelling ‘rule’ about I and E. EMO known only from Scrabble, should I listen to it? Thanks gl and setter.

  13. …today’s fall. 39 minutes of struggle with a fully parsed, but alas incorrect CORROBORNE to finish. I struggled to get a foothold having at one point a dozen answers scattered across the grid, one of which turned out to be wrong.
    POSTCHAISE the latest in a series of answers that Chambers (the only dictionary I have on my ipad) shows as two words. Grumpy face.

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

  14. I was way off the wavelength for this one, which is a shame because it’s really rather brilliant and entertaining. I definitely needed the blog to fully appreciate some of the clues with hindsight, so thanks George!

    Like others I began to fixate on BORNE for the end of 24ac, and was looking for some kind of European parliament in the vein of Stormont perhaps. A dead end and then some! The actual word is really rather excellent isn’t it…

  15. Ruined a good effort by forgetting that I’d left 27a as E_O, intending to go back to it. Otherwise all done in 24:34, with everything parsed, but WISEGUYS unknown as Mafia, HAYMOW and CORROBOREE from wordplay. Liked HIGGS BOSON. Enjoyable puzzle. Thanks setter and George.

    Edited at 2017-09-07 10:26 am (UTC)

  16. Couldn’t get past ‘my’ for gracious, and those two letters weren’t enough to fit in with the RO, BORE + E. Also, didn’t manage to get ALTO, but that was because I’d hastily biffed ‘stitched’ at 17dn, and didn’t go back and check it…

  17. The Georgette Heyer fan club will have had no trouble with this. I dithered over EMO because we get it quite often in the NY Times puzzles interchangeably with “Eno” (Brian) and “Elo” (Electric Light Orchestra) – thanks to the setter for the parsing help here. 22.03
  18. When you really can’t be bothered to post but you feel you have to? No doubt this setter could fit it into 24a where the answer could be anything. A nice puzzle ruined, imho, by silly clues. DNF after 40m with 5 and 24a unknowns. Congrats to Blowers as I believe this test match is his last commentary. Thanks blogger for your insights.
  19. Finished in 53:19 with some help from Mrs S, not bad for us on a puzzle that others found difficult. Corroboree was well known but the wordplay helped with the spelling. Nice to see some science terms, including the Higgs boson. DNK haymow, but the cryptic left little choice. Thanks for the explanation of wiseguys as family.

    Great puzzle – thanks to the setter and George.

    1. starstruck – I know you have a list of ‘reference solvers’ for your Snitch app and I am, or was, on it. Thought I should let you know that my Club username has changed, due to technical difficulties during the re-signup process, and I’m now listed there as Sarah17 instead of sotira.

      Edited at 2017-09-07 11:38 am (UTC)

      1. Thanks so much for letting me know. I was wondering why I wasn’t seeing your results. I will sort out something to get you back on.
  20. …..is my favourite spy novel by my favourite spy author, Len Deighton.
    Thanks to time served in Oz, no problems with corroboree. Like others, I didn’t know EMO nor the ‘family’ connection in wiseguys. Alas, spoiled my entry by associating Prof. Higgs with a matelot!
    My posted time was over 3hrs but I thought that, under the new system, if you paused the puzzle on the club site and saved it, one’s personal clock stopped but it didn’t for me on this occasion.
    1. I really must give Deighton a try one of these days. Is Horse Under Water a good place to start?
          1. Hello Matt, While I agree with bigtone53 that they are all good and that “Yesterday’s Spy” is particularly good, I would start with Deighton’s original spy who was unnamed in the novels but called Harry Palmer in the films. Of those, I rate “Horse” above the others (“The Ipcress File”, “Funeral in Berlin”, “Billion Dollar Brain” and “An Expensive Place to Die”). Without giving anything away, the central plot thread of “Horse”, the hunt for the “Weiss List” is fascinating. One reviewer said reading the book made him feel that he was breaking the Official Secrets Act and it felt a bit like that to me. Overall I feel that Deighton is at his best when his plots include WWII in some form. With that in mind, I suggest you add “XPD” and “SS-GB” to “Horse” and also to “Yesterday’s Spy”. Happy reading, Martin!
            1. I shall pop a couple more on the list. As a fan of both le Carré and Adam Hall it sounds like Deighton could sit nicely in between the two…
  21. 24:27. Loved HIGGS BOSON, and TEE OFF too, but had to check the unknown non-European assembly.
  22. CORROBOREE was one of my first in but I had trouble with plenty of others and took well over an hour. Really liked GOOD AFTERNOON and TEE OFF.

    Mr. Google came up with at least one reference to POSTCHAISE as a single word. Wiktionary gives an example of this spelling in the 1839 edition of “The Gardener’s Magazine and Register of Rural & Domestic Improvement”. An unimpeachable source I’m sure.

    Thank you to setter and blogger.

  23. This puzzle was like having my teeth pulled out slowly one by one. I don’t know quite why this was so, but in the end I was quite pleased to have worked out CORROBOREE, POSTCHAISE and HIGGS BOSON. Then after all that effort I couldn’t get BETA. Sometimes I feel like giving up.
  24. 54m here which was a Beta plus effort for me, as the first run through the down clues yielded nothing followed by a similar result with the across clues. A glass of fine red wine did the trick and slowly the clues fell. My only unknown was the Oz gathering and I guessed the ending because of jamboree though there seems to be no clear connection between the words. Most enjoyable puzzle and as ever an informative blog which put an end to my wondering who actually rode a SCAG and where! Thank you, setter and blogger today.
  25. 22mins this morning and 22mins at lunchtime for me to solve this gem. I’m in the camp that found it a pleasure to solve from start to finish and delighted in constructing an unknown like corroboree from wordplay alone but with each element clicking into place so clearly and so satisfyingly that I was entirely confident it was right. Held up a bit at the end by a dull witted farmer, the farmer being my initial stab at 5ac, the dull wits being my own. Eventually got wise to the guys at 8dn and the “w” helped me see I was actually looking for an anagram at 5ac which fell soon after. Loved “did well”, “ion”, “heaven knows”, “quail” in 1dn, the pdm when I realised I was looking for that sort of coach in 3dn, the anagram at 4dn, the higgs boson and finally the priest and the sailor living together in what I rather hoped was a Morecambe and Wise style, middle-aged men in their pyjamas, innocently going to bed together scenario.
  26. What an amazing puzzle, full of obscurities (for me, things like “prang” which the COED classifies as “British informal” are also obscurities, but so was WISE GUYS as “family”), but I finished anyway, and correctly, in somewhat over an hour. “Did well” for SPRANG, ABILITY as the gift appealed particularly to me.
  27. I get very annoyed with clues like 2 down.I got sunlamp but the parsing is terrible.Since when does M stand for merriment?First letters of any old word seem to be used to fill in when the setter can’t find an alternative.
    1. ‘Source of merriment’ directs you to the letter m.

      I failed to get corroboree and I’m an Australian

      Like others I became fixated on ‘borne’ and misdirected by my belief in the eurocentric character of most of the offerings

      You are welcome to my IP address but you should ask politely first

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