Times 27055 – Songs of shady sisters

Time: 18 minutes
Music: Stan Getz, Another World

I think it is fair to say that easy Monday is back, although for how long, who knows?   I am glad I caught it, as I had a very busy weekend and don’t have a lot of time to do the blog.    This puzzle certainly led to a lot of biffing, and the only one I had to think about a little was ‘iciness’, my LOI.

Here at TfT, all the new bloggers have made their debut, and I am confident they will continue to produce excellent blogs on into the futue.   It was a pity Nick had to quit, but he went and took one of those jobs where you’re expected to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.   I know what that is like, and I am certainly glad I am retired instead.

1 Tries to get picked up by sailors. This could get joint wrecked (10)
THUMBSCREW – THUMBS CREW, hoping to hitch a ride.
6 Key legislation’s defect (4)
10 Heater pipe filled with gauze regularly losing fragments (7)
BRAZIER – BR([g]A[u]Z[e])IER, a BRIER pipe.
11 Disconcert artilleryman? Not good and very unsafe, ultimately (7)
UNNERVE – [g]UNNER + V + [unsaf]E
12 Investigator of complaints from mum bad son shot (9)
OMBUDSMAN – anagram of MUM SON SHOT, a rather awkward surface and an obvious anagram.
13 Drop in current is in prospect with amps lost (5)
14 Acted as a substitute silk (5)
SATIN – SAT IN, a chestnut.
15 Revel in true AI working after a measure of illumination (9)
LUXURIATE – LUX = anagram of TRUE AI.
17 Dismiss Ibsen character as a radical (9)
FIREBRAND – FIRE + BRAND,  “The word “Brand” means fire in Danish, Norwegian, Swedish and German”, so this is a doubly hot answer.
20 Elite troops annoyed odd characters in army (1-4)
A-TEAM – ATE + A[r]M[y], another biff for me.
21 Troublesome insect perhaps over sauce (5)
23 Tape recorder, possibly for court official (4,5)
LINE JUDGE – LINE + JUDGE, in different senses; the court is a tennis court.
25 More wasted days by athlete half-heartedly covering kilometres (7)
26 Hostility as I film bodyguard (7)
ICINESS – I + CINE + SS, Hitler’s bodyguard.
27 Where one sees bathing cap, old (4)
28 Began tango entering in position with dandy boy (10)
INSTITUTED – IN S(T)ITU + TED, no longer a delinquent, apparently..
1 Banned volunteers voice displeasure (5)
TABOO – TA + BOO, a chestnut.
2 Banal tour going around capital city (4,5)
3 Assembly obstructs constructive elements (8,6)
4 Brown, or yellowish-brown with a red initially added in (7)
CARAMEL – C(A R)AMEL, where ‘camel’ is a coat colour.
5 Topping sequin socks from America for a special date (7)
EQUINOX –  [s]EQUIN + [s]OX, the obvious answer anyway.
7 Forest primate getting energy from small parrots (5)
8 What’s nutritious with the marge spread? (5,4)
WHEAT GERM – W + anagram of THE MARGE
9 Free link somehow joins net via URL (9,5)
14 Frequently trailing second note in set of bells is tone down (4-5)
16 Change the last word Democrat intended in speech (9)
AMENDMENT – AMEN + D + sounds like MEANT.
18 Trouble herons uncovered in flight control (7)
19 One filling small cavities over time? (7)
DENTIST – DENT(I)S + T, a rather clever &lit that most solvers will just biff.
22 Seafood’s twenty-one shillings? (5)
SQUID – S + QUID.    I think this is wrong, 21 shillings is a guinea, but a ‘quid’ is a pound, consisting of 20 shillings.   Discussion welcome. Isla3 has nailed it – I completely misunderstood how the clue worked, taking my S from the S at the end of ‘Seafood’s’.   But if you read the clue as ‘Seafood is twenty-one shillings’, then all is clear. 
24 Happy if place does not appear relaxed (5)

66 comments on “Times 27055 – Songs of shady sisters”

  1. Definitely easy, raced through. Loved the dentist, and the surface of 1ac. I’ve been in a few dodgy harbourside bars in my life.
    I think in your lack of time you’ve raced through the blog too quickly, missed writing the D in PEAL in 14dn and missed the rather obvious in 22: in your owns words the answer is “S + QUID”, or 1 + 20 shillings.
  2. 24 minutes, held up a little by UNIVERSAL JOINT (my lack of DIY skills shows up) and INSTITUTED (where I wanted ‘instigated’).

    A bit flummoxed by ‘dandy boy’ for TED. Bring back the good old ‘hooligan’, says I!

      1. I think there are a few problems with that, Barry, notably the need to use ‘entering in’ as a verb phrase. Also, I can’t find any support for dandy as U, dandies as often as not being aspirant middle-class types, anyway.

        Having said that, I don’t quite get the clue. Still waiting for the Ted expert…

        1. I had a go below, but I agree we need our resident ‘hooligan’ for the definitive ruling.
        2. Chambers defines ‘Teddy boy’ as ‘an unruly adolescent, orig in the 1950s, affecting a dandyish style of dress reminiscent of Edward VII’s time’.

          Edited at 2018-06-04 11:28 am (UTC)

  3. I wasn’t sure the “possibly” referred to both parts of the clue.
  4. I am still in shock at having posted a faster time than Kevin Gregg! Astonishing!
    I guess I was on the setter’s wavelength.
    Could an alternative definition of 9d be a spliff passed round at a party?
    My initial biff for 28ac was INITIATED until I realised I was a letter short.
    My favourite clue, though, was 20ac because it reminded me of a previous favourite: “Leader of House of Congress enraged army with regular cuts (5)”. A: MADAM

    Edited at 2018-06-04 03:26 am (UTC)

  5. Should have been faster, but I slowed myself down at 11ac–couldn’t get away from RA, even though it plainly said ‘artillerymAn’–15ac, and 9d, where I couldn’t believe that JOINT would be the 2d word when ‘joins’ was in the clue. As Vinyl predicted, I biffed DENTISTS.
  6. 47 minutes, held up at the end by LOI 1a THUMBSCREW, not least by trying to crowbar the missing “Y” from the pangram into it. D’oh. FOI 6a FLAW.
    1. 19 minutes with 27a LIDO LOI …. which was nearly biffed as LADY without reading the clue in order to provide the missing Y.
      1. I’m “y-ser” now I’ve read your post, as I thought it WAS a pangram. Far harder to spot when the missing letter isn’t one of the usual suspects !
  7. 15 mins with yoghurt, granola etc.
    It felt like the quickie. No hold ups and nothing to raise the pulse.
    I even knew the Ibsen, but it wasn’t necessary.
    Thanks setter and Vinyl.
  8. 44 minutes as I had a few blindspots along the way that needed thinking through e.g. I always forget ULAN BATOR and had at least two variations on it in place before checkers supplied by other clues forced me to think again, and in the meantime those wrong checkers had hampered my solving of the other clues. (mutter, mutter once again about foreign answers clued as anagrams, of course).

    I welcome the fresh take on ‘teddy boy’ which is borne out in the first line of its Wiki entry: Teddy Boy (also known as Ted) is a British subculture typified by young men wearing clothes that were partly inspired by the styles worn by dandies in the Edwardian period, which Savile Row tailors had attempted to re-introduce in Britain after the Second World War.[

    V, you are missing the N from ‘line’ in the comment at 23ac.

    Edited at 2018-06-04 05:57 am (UTC)

    1. Teds were the naughty bikers with quiffy hairdos. The dandy ones were mods if remembered correctly.
  9. 6:45 … the fastest time I’ve posted in a good while.

    I had no idea how SQUID worked, and still only just about see it. It’s as well we’re not told to ‘show your workings in the margin’, words which always filled me with dread at the start of maths tests (very unfair, I thought, on the inspired guesser)

  10. 14′ 15”, also held up by biffing INSTIGATED, and puzzling over the parsing of BRAZIER – surely the last two words of the clue are superfluous?

    I haven’t played in the club much, but how can I tell who on the leaderboard is genuine?

    Thanks vinyl and setter.

    1. You can’t since the system facilitates cheating. Some are obvious, some not. I just look for Magoo and Jason, who are likely genuine and likely very quick.
        1. As well as Magoo and Jason, once you’re far enough down to see either mohn or M. Verlaine of this parish, you are into the fastest genuine solvers. It remains a puzzle as to why exactly the neutrinos persist, but there doesn’t seem to be any way to stop them.
  11. 12:32 with the last minute or so spent alpha-trawling LOI ICINESS.

    Enjoyable puzzle, and got my day off to the required quick start.


    WHEAT GERM seems to be universally accepted as a single word nowadays, although Chambers supports the setter. Another example of language development I suppose.

  12. I didn’t find this quite as easy as some of you, though certainly easier than anything last week. I’m still not sure about the ‘Tape recorder’ bit of LINE JUDGE. I presumed it was referring to the net tape in tennis, but then the judge would be a net judge rather than a line judge. Can anyone enlighten me please?
    1. I didn’t think much about this, but I supposed a tape could be a line–as in finish line–and I was under the impression that a recorder in England is a kind of judge. (I just now looked up ‘recorder’ in ODE, and it has a) a barrister temporarily serving as a judge, b) (historical) a type of judge.)

    2. SOED has ‘tape’ as strip of material stretched across a course or track, esp. to mark the finishing point in a race,

      cf finishing line of a race.

    3. It’s in two parts. LINE = Tape (as in finishing line for a race) and RECORDER is “a judicial officer in England and Wales and some other common law jurisdictions”.
  13. 13:46, held up only by my last 2, INSTITUTED and ICINESS and whether it was BATOR or BOTAR at 2d. COD to DENTIST.
  14. Got everything except for Ulan Bator.
    Couldn’t parse loris, squid and dnk brier for pipe.

    COD dentist.

  15. 14:40

    I didn’t know Brand and didn’t spot the working for Squid or Instituted.

    COD: VISIT. I like the misdirection of Drop in current.

  16. 14.44, quicker than which I currently don’t get. I did like the &lit DENTIST, which is not something I’m likely to say in real life. Felt smug at knowing ULAN BATOR, which is probably unjustified.
    Like Pootle, I did wonder a bit about tape=LINE in 23: some of the confusion probably arises from the tennis connection, but I can’t find a direct equivalence in Chambers. In the Thesaurus, there’s a three-point turn via string, which will have to do.
    One wonders whether the setter is kicking himself over the missing Y, having gone to all that trouble to fit in the high scoring letters.
  17. 8:26, trouble-free solve. I didn’t know the Ibsen play, and it occurs to me that I don’t know very much about Ibsen generally. Perhaps I will try reading a play or two.
    1. Ibsen’s a lot like those Swedish films where everyone is having a relentlessly grim time. I believe I read Ghosts in the Lower Sixth, which gave the school a chance to warn us boys about the dangers of Frightful Unpleasantness. Not hugely recommended.
  18. 22 minutes, with LOI VISIT after the UNIVERSAL JOINT anagram had me going round in circles. I thought I was on for a fast time at first but there were one or two other sticking points. And then I went on a mental detour while trying to remember if it was Joe Lampton or Jim Dixon from my early novel reading days who had confused brazier and brassiere. I decided it was Joe, or perhaps I did it myself and just projected it elsewhere out of embarrassment. I panicked a bit when the Ibsen character wasn’t Hedda Gabler but eventually I saw FIREBRAND without knowing the play. I always felt in infant school that knowing the capital of Mongolia would come in useful one day. It’s taken a long time. Thank you V and setter.
    1. By chance I happen to have seen film versions of both Lucky Jim and Room at the Top very recently and can confirm that the brazier / brassiere mix-up is by our Joe in Room at the Top.
      1. Was Saturday Night and Sunday Morning part of your season? Arthur Seaton wouldn’t have been worried by the solecism though.
  19. A gentle beginning to the week which I started with TABOO and our Mongolian capital, after a bit of juggling with the vowels. My LEMUR was rapidly replaced by a LORIS when I couldn’t parse it. FIREBRAND needed all the checkers as I didn’t know the play. I was untroubled by INSTITUTED and SQUID, although I had to discount SUSHI which came to mind first. DENTIST took a while to parse and ICINESS was my LOI after some puzzlement. 24:54. Thanks setter and Vinyl.
  20. After scaring myself stupid by looking at the Club Monthly Special, this one was a walk in the park, taking me just (and I appreciate that my “just” is others “as much as”) 20 minutes. Nevertheless, I found time to include one typo (“univerdal joint”).
  21. Just under 17′. U does seem to be dandy in 28, which I find acceptable – that dandy accent e.g., and Ted just a boy. Pity no Y for the pangram (lady for lido needed). Ibsen deserves more of a plug – amazing stage power.

    Edited at 2018-06-04 09:54 am (UTC)

  22. 14 minutes – near a PB (not counting an occasion when I needed to retype after connection broke, and forgot not to put on leaderboard). FLAW was FOI – slight delay trying to think of who was in ‘A Dolls House’ after rejecting Peer Gynt & Hedda Gabler.
  23. Nice and relaxed, except for my BUILDING BRICKS which held me up staring at p-s-i for an age. Would have been under 20 mins otherwise. Good to have extra time today. Now where’s that mower?
  24. Steady jog home in 17m, though some clues in retrospect were more crafty than I realised while cheerfully biffing from the definitions.

  25. Plenty of biffing today – like others, I didn’t parse SQUID, and I didn’t think too hard about INSTITUTED, BUILDING BLOCKS or even THUMBSCREW, my LOI (where ‘tries to get picked up’ is very good, and worthy of being parsed properly). 5m 57s in all.
  26. Pleasant without being very demanding; it must be Monday, then. Undone only by biffing INITIATED to begin with; and ULAN BATOR, which I also remember learning at a young age, has clearly not been driven from my memory by later attempts to remember Astana and the capitals of the other ‘stans which have become independent in the meantime.
    1. I also remember learning ULAN BATOR at a young age. I reckon it’s the sort of action that indicates someone is going to be a Times crossword solver in later life!
  27. Got through relatively quickly for me, somewhere in the 15-20 minute range. I certainly parsed INSTITUTED as vinyl shows, and just biffed SQUID and DENTIST. Held up a tad at the end by my LOI, ENDEARMENT. The ‘ear’ as ‘notice’ wasn’t getting through to me, and is still less than totally convincing. Regards.
      1. I believe Kevin may have crossed the streams from another popular UK paper’s 15×15 😀
  28. This is very unconventional. I am trying to retrieve my data and when I attempt to submit a request for help I get the following: ‘Incorrect response to human test’.

    This means my access to help is blocked. How do I resolve this ?

    Geoffrey aka Garden Mole

    1. Have you resolved this?
      Sounds like a captcha problem – the stylised text you have to type, or the pictures of cats or dogs or cars or flowers you identify to confirm you’re human.
      I have one browser set up with everything locked down/switched off and it sometimes doesn’t show captchas. Try a different, less-secure browser perhaps?
  29. 25:10 Mondayish. Vinyl, fwiw this late in the day I think you have the wrong anagrist in 12ac – shot is the anagrind, mum bad son the anagrist.
  30. Are you writing in Martian?
    I still don’t understand 22 down from 27055.
    Anni Rich
    1. I believe one shilling is “S” and twenty shillings are a “QUID”. So twenty one shillings, perhaps?
      1. Mmmmmm. Seems a bit obscure but at least your idea makes a little sense. Any more ideas out there? Not my favourite clue.
        Anni Rich

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