Times 27043 – “On my foot!”

Time: 22 minutes
Music: Chopin, Polonaises, Pollini

This was a relatively straightforward Monday puzzle that should not present much difficulty, with a number of chestnuts and clues suitable for the Quickie.   Some may have to retrieve ‘sapodilla’ from the cryptic, and ‘areca’ may be unknown to those who have not solved US puzzles,  My main problem was the exact spelling of ‘Pleistocene’, but that became clear with the checkers.

Some have asked whether I don’t find music distracting while solving, but I find it has the opposite effect, and loosens up the old brain.   This afternoon, I took a half-solved Mephisto to a concert to work on before the music started, and got a few clues.  But in the short interval between the first and second pieces on the program, I filled in nearly the entire top half, erasing several wrong answers.    It is amazing how a solver can slip into the groove, and solve large parts of the puzzle as quickly as if he were Mark Goodliffe, only to suddenly fall back to earth and become completely stuck.   It is something about the internal rhythms of the brain that allows this to happen, and then un-happen.

On other fronts, we will be having a couple of new bloggers along to handle the puzzles formerly blogged by Nick_the_Novice.   I’ll let them introduce themselves when they appear, but I have every confidence that they will do a fine job.

1 Hybrid language primarily involving RAF slang, surprisingly (9)
FRANGLAIS – Anagram of I[nvolving] + RAF SLANG.
6 Tasty juice a princess rejected (5)
SAPID – SAP + DI backwards, the only princess we ever get.
9 One writing about air in distant planet (7)
NEPTUNE – PEN backwards + TUNE.
10 Prepare for church, taking two sons (7)
11 Entice politician to visit Vietnamese festival (5)
TEMPT – TE(MP)T, the only Vietnamese festival setters use.
13 Intended recipient of a frock, we hear — and points (9)
ADDRESSEE – sounds like A DRESS + E, E.
14 Agreeable set touring part of UK (9)
CONGENIAL – CONGE(N.I.)AL, the usual part of the UK.  I was thinking ‘genial’ at first, but of course it didn’t fit, so I moved on.
16 Item of footwear providing profit once? (4)
BOOT – double definition.
18 Land conservationists originally owned? (4)
CHAD – C + HAD.   They didn’t, actually.
19 Make fewer pronouncements, having no nationality (9)
22 Manufactured instrument mostly used before party (7-2)
TRUMPED-UP – TRUMPE[t] + D.U.P.   Politics mostly avoided, we hope.
24 Costly setting for king displaying dullness in poem (5)
DREAR – D(R)EAR, as presumably no one would use ‘drear’ in prose.
25 About-turn protecting Latin here in US city (7)
CHICAGO – C(HIC)A + GO, where you have to lift and separate a hyphenated word, which you see mainly in the Guardian puzzles.
26 Ossie leader heading off decrease in expenditure in bush (7)
OUTBACK – O[ssie] + [c]UTBACK, which most solvers will just biff.
28 Old Abraham’s nephew returning for praise (5)
EXTOL -EX + LOT backwards, another lift and separate.
29 Revised pay and terms covering second intelligence boss (9)
SPYMASTER – anagram of PAY + TERMS around S.
1 Frenzied religious leader leaves to collect a devotee (7)
FANATIC – F[-r}AN(+A)TIC, where a letter is dropped and another is picked up, but in a different place.
2 A place to climb Mont Blanc, for example (3)
ALP – A + PL upside-down.
3 Bitten by bug, relative put on large glove (8)
GAUNTLET – G(AUNT + L)ET, where both ‘bug’ and ‘get’ have the sense of managing to annoy someone.
4 A park initially accommodating a tall palm (5)
ARECA – A + REC + A[commodating], a palm that grows in US crosswords.
5 Everyone is upset about a small school’s tropical tree (9)
SAPODILLA – S(A POD)ILLA, where the enclosing letters are ALL IS upside-down.   Is a ‘pod’ necessarily small?
6 Dig sand lying principally around coastal resort (6)
7 Silence poet developed from an early age (11)
PLEISTOCENE – anagram of SILENCE POET, a tricky one if you’re not thinking of the right kind of ‘age’.
8 Difference of opinion when lineage is mentioned? (7)
DISSENT – sounds like DESCENT, which would fit, but is clearly not the intended target.
12 Car a tripper used, missing old painter (11)
15 Stealthy son replacing Victor in arousing resentment (9)
INSIDIOUS – IN(-v +S)IDIOUS, a simple letter-substitution clue.
17 Feud involving archdeacon, one with obligations, we hear (8)
VENDETTA – VEN + sounds like DEBTOR.
18 Compilers initially clue it loosely as “dead skin” (7)
CUTICLE – C[ompiles} + anagram of CLUE IT.
20 One pursuing industrial action, attacking player (7)
STRIKER – double definition, and a very simple one.
21 Afterthought about green lost at first in urban development (6)
SPRAWL -PS upside-down + RAW + L[ost].
23 Lousy environment for king’s representative (5)
PROXY – P(R)OXY, with both lousy and poxy looking back to their root meanings.
27 Small island rowing crew talked of (3)
AIT – sounds like EIGHT.

58 comments on “Times 27043 – “On my foot!””

  1. Raced through this and then had to think about the unknown ARECA, SAPODILLA and whether BOOT really had anything to do with profit.

    You have a minor typo in 12d where you put JINI instead of MINI

  2. No real difficulty, except in the NE, where I couldn’t get PROCESS because I couldn’t get the tropical tree, although I had the S ILLA down early. I finally thought of ‘sacadilla’ (acad, small school), which of course was a) wrong and b) an effective way of keeping me from solving 10ac. So I chickened out and looked up the tree. So a DNF, on Monday yet. Vinyl, you’ve got a typo at 12d.
  3. at 7dn was my FOI but most of the crossers were of little use.

    LOI 6dn SHOVEL

    Time a lethargic 38 minutes – no excuses.

    Like Sotira I will not be around for a while. The bad news is that I will be back in early July.

    I will be touring in Europe taking in the Lincolnshire Wolds, Wellingborough,
    Oxford, Bletchley Park for the new Fleming Show, London and a week in Heidelberg with my twin brother.

    Jack- I will be three days in Leighton Buzzard – might we meet up for lunch on 11th June? How can I contact you?

  4. Initially I biffed paymaster for 27ac. I remembered that George Wigg was Paymaster-General in Harold Wilson’s first government and in that position he had duties involving the Security Services. Then I looked again at the obvious anagram and the pfennig dropped.

    Interesting that there should be sapid and sapodilla, two words sounding vaguely related, in the same puzzle. I initially entered sipid on the basis that it could be the converse of insipid but then, wisely, decided it didn’t fit the clue.

    Nice to get a reminder of Miles Kington’s amusing column with FRANGLAIS.

  5. I found this rather tricky, ‘finishing’ in 45 minutes with one wrong, ‘akela’ for the unknown ARECA,
  6. Hm. Solved in reasonable time but with three errors from two unknown words (neither if which has come up in the main puzzle before) and one unknown meaning of a simple word that would never have occurred to me in the first place.

    On a blogging day I would surely have worked out that ‘sipodalla’ was incorrect but I didn’t pay quite close enough attention to wordplay on this occasion. All the elements were correct other than having POD A instead of A POD.

    I had transposed vowels again at 7dn, geological epochs not being my forte, and this gave me an incorrect checker for the 4-letter answer at 16 where I plumped for LIFT as the item of footwear (SOED: a built-up heel or device worn in a boot or shoe to make the wearer appear taller) which might well also have meant ‘profit’ – it certainly doesn’t sound any less likely to me that the actual answer (BOOT) which I have never heard of.

    I was interested in the opening remarks about solving crossword puzzles whilst listening to music. I simply cannot do both as I either hear the music and make no progress on the puzzle or I solve the puzzle and then realise I have at some point shut the music out and not experienced it. On the other hand I find that music and (Killer) Sudoku complement each other perfectly and assumed that different parts of the brain were involved to account for this, but Jonathan’s experience suggests this is not so, or at least it’s not the same for everyone.

    Edited at 2018-05-21 05:15 am (UTC)

    1. I imagine this is long dead; I don’t find it in ODE, and I can only think of negative examples, where there is no auxiliary as there would be in Modern English: it boots not to do yatta yatta= it won’t do you any good to yatta yatta (never ‘it doesn’t boot to …’. But I certainly have over the years come across a good number of ‘boots not’ locutions.
      1. “Doth not Brutus bootless kneel?” From “Shakespeare I’d like to forget put can’t”.
        1. Yeah, but that’s a (noun-based) adjective; I was taking ‘boot’ as a verb. I don’t think I’ve ever come across just plain ‘boot’ as a noun meaning profit, but what do I know about what I remember? I’d forgotten bootless Brutus.
          1. Kevin, it is BOOT rather than boots and it is in Chambers. I first came across it as a trainee accountant.
      2. I remembered this from Fitzgeralds translation of Omar Khayyam: Exactly the meaning in the clue.

        “Ah, fill the Cup:—what boots it to repeat
        How Time is slipping underneath our Feet:
        Unborn TO-MORROW, and dead YESTERDAY,
        Why fret about them if TO-DAY be sweet!”

        And so say all of us!

    2. We all still use the phrase “to boot” meaning “as a bonus”, don’t we? Okay maybe it’s just me still peppering his conversation with such semi-archaisms…

      1. Point taken and it’s a fine judgement, but SOED still lists the two meanings and their derivations seperately:

        1 to boot, besides, as well, additionally. OE.

        2 Advantage, profit, use. ME–L17.

  7. I’ve developed a sense for the kind of music I can cope with while working. It has to be a fine balance between not being entirely my cup of tea, but also not being insipid (a word which, like Martin, nearly inspired me to write SIPID at 6a…) I find Miles Davis the ideal accompaniment to the morning crossword.

    Speaking of: today’s puzzle was a tad hard on the relative newcomer, with a few unknown words, but I got them all right, so it must have been fairly-clued! 50m, starting with 2d ALP and finishing with 6d SHOVEL. The only one I really wasn’t sure of was BOOT, but luckily I couldn’t think of anything else.

    COD to PROXY for its surface and deployment of “poxy”, a favourite adjective of my father when annoyed with something, especially recalcitrant technology.

  8. 30 mins with fig bread and G&L marmalade.
    This seemed to be a revision exercise in how to clue the first letter. We had: primarily, originally, leader, leader, initially, principally, initially and ‘at first’. Enough already.
    Thanks setter and Vinyl.
  9. I always listen to classical music when solving, but avoid stuff sing in English, since I get distracted by the words, and Bach chorales where the soloists over-enunciate the final consonants. Mein Gottttttttttt!
    1. I usually have classic FM on Alexa while solving, but it does slow me down as attention alternates between the music and the puzzle; I agree with above, tricky to do both at once. But am not trying to beat the clock.
  10. Just in under 20 minutes. I haven’t yet tried solving to music, as I find it hard enough when answers trigger runaway digressions. Aujourdui il etait le tres marvellous concept de Franglais, que allower even un idiot comme moi a croyer que il peut parlez le langue foreign sans problem.
    That and the BOOT thing. And DREAR: “Thou in the darkness drear their one true light” followed by most of the rest of the hymn. And insidious, which conjured up the least convincingly named baddie in the whole Star Wars universe.

    Without the (learned?) ability to make connections fast this whole crossword thing would be much harder, but my inability to turn off runaway synaptic trains probably explains why I’m unlikely ever to compete effectively in the finals.

  11. 23:09 with one wrong. Sapadilla for Sapodilla. I didn’t know pod for school but a pod of dolphins or whales does now seem familiar. I had Pleosticene for a while so the boot didn’t fit. “If the boot/shoe fits, wear it.” Not a phrase you hear often nowadays.

    Years ago my wife had an altercation with a neighbour who had just committed the same “leaving the communal access gate open” offence that she had pronounced my wife guilty of a few days earlier. Fuelled with righteous indignation my dear lady triumphantly pronounced, “Well the boot’s on the other boot now, isn’t it!” A phrase we still use to this day.

  12. I enjoyed this crossword, noticing that there were a lot of good surfaces today. I did manage to hamper myself by putting in PAYMASTER initially rather than SPYMASTER where I’d largely ignored the definition and only loosely considered the parsing.

    I wonder if there is a word for Belgian English, which I’m more familiar with than FRANGLAIS. I think the most common such term I hear from my Belgian colleagues is ‘planification’, i.e. planning.

    1. La Planification is a real French word, translates as ‘planning’ as in planning permission. Not franglais or Flemglish. Pip
      1. I think pootle’s point is that it’s not an English word but is used by his Belgian colleagues when they speak English,
    2. I don’t know about specifically Belgian, but my French colleagues say ‘build-ups’, which is not a word we use: we would say ‘bolt-on acquisitions’. I guess this is an example of English French English.
  13. 10:54. Some slight problems with the unknown ARECA and SAPODILLA, and being unsure about how to spell PLEISTOCENE. That one was OK once I had all the checkers though.
  14. I found this easy. I presumed that BOOT meant profit/advantage as in ‘to boot’.

    I personally cannot listen to music while solving and definitely not anything with the spoken word.

    1. that’s how I figured it too – ‘to boot’ meaning ‘in addition”
  15. At first, RENA was my unknown small palm to follow ‘initially Accomodating’. On second thoughts ARECA became my unknown small palm, but for me it could have been either.
  16. 26′ on this atypical Monday, delayed by putting MASTERSPY instead of SPYMASTER. I doubt if there’s a word for Belgian/English since they have two separate languages. TEMPT FOI, who can forget the Tet offensive? Dnk SAPID, bit tasteless to reference Harry’s mum today. Spent some time musing on the many possible different clues for 22ac. Spelling of AIT with crossed fingers. Thanks vinyl and setter.
  17. 18:21. Held up by trying to find a painter called MOTRA-something. ARECA and SAPODILLA only vaguely heard of and I needed all the checkers for the spelling of the early age. Despite my Latin ‘O’ level I needed thec and the I before getting CHICAGO. About average for a Monday, I thought.
  18. 25 minutes on this with all my guesses, educated of course, coming off. In the difficult NE, DNK SAPODILLA or ARECA, nor could not see why it was DISSENT after I’d favoured BOOT over ‘sock’ for a profit. I suppose I do say them similarly but they seem to come from different parts of the brain. It was dangerous to clue Lot looking backwards, as his wife did find out. I liked PROXY and SHOVEL, with MINIATURIST COD. Thank you V and setter.
  19. 13 mins. I flew through most of it but was held up in the NE where SHOVEL was my LOI after the PROCESS/SAPODILLA crossers, the latter of which rang a distant bell once all the checkers were in place so I never considered “sipodalla”.

    Unlike several others BOOT went in as soon as I read the clue. Although I don’t specifically recall having seen it before I assume that “booty” and “freebooter” come from it.

    Edited at 2018-05-21 09:20 am (UTC)

    1. I thought the same but it turns out the root of ‘booty’ (the booty root!) is quite different.
  20. 32 mins, done in a campervan on a very wet morning in Blarney, County Cork: we’re touring for 5 weeks so my TftT involvement will depend very much on the weather and the campsite wifi connection.
    This could have been a really fast and easy solve, had it not been for my woeful ignorance of exotic trees. BOOT, STRIKER, STATELESS, ALP, OUTBACK, DISSENT, VENDETTA — all a doddle and dropped in instantly. DNK SAPID but it looked plausibly like a word that had something to do with ‘taste’.
    I can’t solve a crossword and listen to music. Just like I can’t empty the dishwasher and listen to what my wife is telling me.
    Great blog, thanks.
  21. 18 minutes, with BOOT my LOI guessed not knowing why or thinking of ‘to boot’ or knowing any Shakespeare. Otherwise all fair and dandy.
  22. ….than to sit in the bar of a pub with no beer. Probably in the OUTBACK, which was my COD.

    FOI ADDRESSEE, by which time I was fearing an atypical Monday, but then I got going with a vengeance, and wrapped it up in 9:06 without a single biff. I’m enjoying a good run right now, but it will doubtless crumble in October just in time for the finals.


    I used to do a lot of general knowledge crosswords, and this undoubtedly helped with ARECA and SAPODILLA.

    My chemistry teacher once filled in my report using the phrase “fruitless and bootless” to describe his attempts to interest me in matters scientific, so BOOT was a write-in.

    Vinyl’s taste in music is rather different to mine, and I cannot begin to imagine what would happen if my solving were accompanied by Led Zeppelin or the Allman Brothers Band.

    Will be late here tomorrow – off to Nottingham races.

  23. A brisk 13 minutes with the same query over POD. If it refers to the school of whales variety, it is difficult to imagine even relatively small ones are, in absolute terms, anything other than very big.

    1. I see the Shorter OED does include ‘small’ in its definition of the whale variety of pod.
  24. 25.30, a steady trudge. Surprised not to have seen ‘trumped-up’ more in political discussion (or invective). Have never quite known the meaning of ‘invidious’ till now though able to use it accurately enough. As for solving in general, for me silence the congenial process.
  25. A few minutes over the half hour for this one, meaning that either I’m dimmer than usual or this was tougher than the average Monday puzzle.

    Like many of you, I had doubts over BOOT (and, again like many, was reassured by thinking of ‘to boot’), and had only vaguely heard of ARECA; I was on the verge of putting in ARENA and hoping for the best, SAPODILLA was known, but it was only known once I’d assembled it from its component parts. FRANGLAIS should have been an easy FOI, but I got the parsing farce about ace, making it my NTLOI.

    Congratulations to Olivia’s neice on commentating on the wedding! I do hope she pointed out that this is not quite the way we usually do these things…

    1. I found myself pretty regularly hoping that Saturday’s extravaganza was cheerfully setting a new benchmark for the ways we do things. Sadly, we won’t find out whether it’s established practice for a while: we’ve run out of eligible royals. Unless of course some dramatic events leave us needing to marry George or Charlotte off early to cement some international entente.
      1. Well, I’m not saying it was a bad wedding. In fact that preacher seemed to be the only one there having fun.

        As for cementing international entente, I think a marriage-link between our royal family and the German chancellor was a pretty smart move, though I’m disappointed that Angela herself didn’t attend.

  26. Just the right level of difficulty for a Monday morning i.e. not too. I remembered things being bootless, possibly from Shakespeare, and at least the existence of the SAPODILLA, though I suspect I usually conflate it with sarsaparilla. That left me with A_E_A, and I was pretty sure I didn’t know this word, but when I spotted the REC, I realised I did know it after all.

    (A site search reveals that when ARECA appeared about a year ago, I claimed to have solved it from wordplay only, so it clearly lodged itself in my long-term memory, if only just).

  27. 20 min, but with a typo – I still forget to check carefully before submitting. No problem with BOOT, remembering ‘what boots it that …’ from somewhere. OK with POD, as I think of a pod of porpoises, far less numerous than a school of fish.
    Although I usually have Radio 3 on while solving, I do often realise that I have missed the music completely.
  28. Always made me giggle as a small girl because it sounded like “plasticine”. This morning’s spelling problem for me was wondering where to put the A in MINIATURIST. I had the royal wedding on (which was required viewing for me because my niece was doing the “colour commentary” for ABC) while doing Saturday’s cryptic and jumbo and found I was just about able to lend an ear while solving. Normally I require silence. 17.28

    P.S. Vinyl – I think you want “polOnaises” in your title.

    Edited at 2018-05-21 10:32 am (UTC)

  29. A relatively easy solve for me today with FRANGLAIS going in first and SHOVEL bringing up the rear after 19:50. SAPID went in quickly, having been imprinted on my memory after its last appearance, fairly recently, when I wrongly put SIPID, using the same logic as Martin and Matt. The palm was vaguely familiar once I’d constructed it, unlike the SAPODILLA which went in from wordplay. Nice puzzle. Thanks setter and Vinyl.
  30. A pretty easy romp through this for me, say 15 minutes. I didn’t know this meaning of BOOT or the SAPODILLA, but with the footwear hint, and the wordplay for them I didn’t linger too long about them. Regards.
  31. 24:08 and this felt a bit trickier than normal for a Monday. FOI 11ac. LOI 16ac. It really gets me that I didn’t get that sense of get when solving gauntlet, it couldn’t be anything else though. Sapodilla looked plausible once constructed. I knew of the areca nut – wrapped in betel leaves and chewed by almost every male I ever saw in India as paan, it is commonly called the betel nut (though it’s not from the betel plant and it’s a fruit not a nut). It was the cause of many red stains on streets, roads, walls, pavement etc where paan chewers spat long streaks of red saliva (this was 20 years ago mind, things may well be different there now).
  32. Not being South African, descent and dissent sound totally different to me!
    That, combined with NHO “sapid” and “boot” made the NE corner pretty tricky.

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