Times 27079 – No politics please, we’re British!

Time: 29 minutes
Music: Mendelssohn, Midsummer Night’s Dream Music, Previn/LSO

I vaguely felt that this was a little more difficult than usual for a Monday, without being able to point to anything particularly obscure.  The Snitch says otherwise, but only a few results are in yet.   Anyway, while many of the answers were write-ins, a little thinking was required here and there. 

1 Opens containers filled with eggs, oddly (6)
BEGINS – B(E[g]G[s])INS, not the first containers I thought of, either.
4 Old surgeon — successful one, presumably — less well-known (8)
OBSCURER – O + B.S. (Backelor of Surgery) + CURER. 
10 Close — and quickly — after turning key, storage facility at bank (5,4)
NIGHT SAFE – NIGH + FAST backwards + E.
11 Severe wound identified in A & E (5)
12 Democrat and Republican etc make it, somehow? (5,6)
DREAM TICKET – anagram of D + R + ETC MAKE IT.
14 Half the people on earth smell (3)
HUM – HUM[ans].
15 One lives on alcoholic drink, reportedly (7)
RESIDER – RE + sounds like CIDER.
17 Outcast going back into fresh air apparently (6)
PARIAH – backwards hidden in [fres]H AIR AP[parently]
19 Male name given with some hesitation (6)
CALLUM – CALL + UM, a Scottish name derived from Latin Columba.
21 Sickly-looking child’s coat (7)
PALETOT – PALE + TOT, one of those words the French took from English, and then sent back in a garbled form.
23 Computer in 2001 revealed what’s 75% of 50% (3)
HAL – HAL[f].   Yes, I saw the movie when it came out in 1968.
24 Fail to achieve target, as nostalgic German banker might? (4,3,4)
MISS THE MARK – Double definition, one jocular.
26 Attacker drops new weapon (5)
27 60s’ film hero visiting hostile mining area (9)
COALFIELD – CO(ALFIE)LD.   The movie may be forgotten, but everyone remembers the song.
29 Offensive and frosty-sounding, speaking thus? (8)
TETCHILY – TET + sounds like CHILLY, the offensive that will live forever alongside Beerbohm Tree and sex appeal.
30 Tabloid journalist coming in right before work (6)
REDTOP – R(ED)T + OP, and write-in for most solvers.
1 One place to sleep at foot of hill in Spanish resort (8)
BENIDORM – BEN + I DORM.   Never heard of it, but the cryptic is very generous.
2 Music sent up in Brussels concert? (5)
GIGUE – EU GIG upside-down.
3 Egg, one with top sliced off (3)
NIT – [u]NIT. 
5 Finish school, having gap year before attending university? (5,2)
BREAK UP – BREAK + UP, a bit of a UK-ism.
6 Growth of one singing French version of She? (11)
CHANTERELLE – CHANTER + ELLE, where ‘growth’ is a little vague for a famous fungus.
7 Rowdy players getting plastered (9)
ROUGHCAST – ROUGH + CAST, a chestnut.
8 Unhealthy male in grip of unusual malady at last (6)
RHEUMY – R(HE)UM + [malad]Y
9 Higher gear, zigzagging across motorway (6)
GAMIER – GA(MI)ER, i.e. an anagram of GEAR.
13 Novel, fateful time for Julius Caesar? (11)
MIDDLEMARCH – Double definition, a very witty one.
16 That girl’s dazzled … by such illumination? (9)
STARLIGHT – anagram of THAT GIRL’S, a cryptic I didn’t notice until after finishing the puzzle.
18 Fed Midlands community on upside-down pudding (6,2)
STOKED UP – STOKE + PUD upside-down.   The city is also known as Stoke-On-Trent, but that would not do here.
20 American going through two states to find, say, Oklahoma! (7)
MUSICAL – M(US)I + CAL, where both a modern 2-letter postal abbreviation and an old-style abbreviation are used.
21 Was getting advice about cutting tool (6)
PITSAW – WAS TIP upside-down.
22 Fellow reduced rent for holiday accommodation (6)
25 Quick drink before road trip starts (5)
ALERT – ALE + R[oad] T[rip]
28 Price of fuel cut (3)
FEE – FEE[d], most likely, with ‘fuel’ as a verb.

47 comments on “Times 27079 – No politics please, we’re British!”

  1. Having lived in the west country, cider is pronounced more like zoiderrr. Not enough of an expert to decide if RESIDER would sound the same. They do the way I talk so i didn’t think twice about it.

    I put CALLUM in being the only name I could think of that ended in UM, but how do you get CALL from “given” (or maybe “name given” if just “male” is the literal).

    STARLIGHT was very well disguised. Having put CALLUM in not quite convinced, I put this in as my LOI with a shrug, and came here to find out why.

    1. It seems not quite right grammatically, but “they called him Callum” is roughly like “they gave him the name Callum”. I can’t think of a sentence where one could replace the other.
      1. NAME is the synonym of CALL, with GIVEN just a link-word.

        Oh, and I lived in Glastonbury for eight years so I am fully familiar with regional variants!

        Edited at 2018-07-02 05:44 am (UTC)

  2. I took a few minutes to write my first answer in but after that it all flowed fairly smoothly and i completed the grid in 32 minutes missing my target by a whisker.

    Not sure that I actually knew PITSAW, CHANTERELLE or PALETOT but trusted to the generous wordplay. BS for Bachelor of Surgery was unfamiliar too whilst RESIDER seemed a bit forced although it’s in SOED as ‘M17’. Ref the comment above, I think the homophone works if one says it in a West Country accent – as appropriate for the drink in question – in the style of Adge Cutler and the Wurzles who recorded a song about it.

    1. When we were in New England, we went to Plimoth Plantation where they have US actors playing the early settlers. I thought it would be naff. I asked one playing a middle-aged woman where she had come from back in England. “Oi be from Zummerzet,” she replied. Warming to this, I said “Where the zoider apples grow.” She replied with, “Be ye from Lancashire?” She was class. I wasn’t!
  3. 17:57 .. with a full 5 minutes trying to think of a 60s film to fit 27a. Duh. I do agree that Alfie as a hero is a bit of a stretch, even in non-pc days.

    I had a very pleasant day out in BENIDORM a few years ago. The esplanade is an excellent spot to sit and watch humans

  4. Human is an adjective. The related noun is human beings. Tut tut to the setter, though human(s) is slowly creeping in to acceptance
    1. Not so. This is from the SOED but all the other source dictionaries agree with it:

      human (B) noun. A human being. M16.

      Note ‘M16’ signifying it dates from the 16th century, so hardly ‘creeping slowly into acceptance’.

  5. 25 mins with yoghurt, granola, banana, blueberries, etc.
    I liked this – a bit quirky and witty. DNK Pitsaw or Paletot, but the wordplay was generous.
    I think there is a comical moment in Scoop when a Mr Salter (who is trying to feign knowledge of rural matters) offers William Boot some ‘Zider’.
    Mostly I liked: Obscurer, Dream Ticket, Gamier, Starlight and COD to Tet-Chilly (notwithstanding the overused offensive festival).
    Thanks setter and Vinyl.
  6. I found the left half Mondayish but the right side somewhat harder, finally finishing with COALFIELD. I shared vinyl1’s doubts about ‘growth’ for CHANTERELLE – a littl vague for my liking.
  7. Yep, while hearing Cilla’s voice and doing a bad Michael Caine impression. 22 minutes on this with the PITSAW/PALETOT crosser last to fall. Stoke in the Midlands? Stuart Maconie has the north start at Crewe so I suppose so. That’s maybe why Robbie left Take That. I had MUTTER For CALLUM for a while. I never could tell talk from mutter. I did know CHANTERELLE and can pretend I knew GIGUE. COD to MISS THE MARK. Not half as much as the Greeks miss the Drachma, I imagine. Nice start to the week. Thank you V and setter.
    1. The North started at Watford when I lived in Middlesex. Now I’m in Leighton BUzzard it starts at Milton Keynes.
      1. “Stowk” is situated at the point where Midlands accents give way to more Northern tones as one heads for Manchester, so definitely Midlands !
        1. The ‘ow’ sound can be deceptive though, Philip. My Dad and I would say Bolton with a proper Lancastrian ‘O’, but some old timers would say Bowton. Maybe this results from oscillating between Mercia and Northumbria in pre-conquest England.
      2. I recently learned that Watford and Watford Gap are two quite different places. Watford has never been the start of the North. There are geological reasons why Watford Gap which is near Rugby is thought to mark the dividing line..
        1. The North starting at Watford was our local joke (when living in Middlesex) and nothing to do with Watford Gap. I also know it doesn’t really start at Milton Keynes!
  8. HAL was a write-in, as I read the book before I saw the film. HAL officially stands for Heuristic ALgorithmic, but it is actually a Caesar shift of a well-known company.

    14’29” thanks vinyl and setter.

  9. I was down to the STARLIGHT/CALLUM crosser in about 10 minutes, but dragged it out to 12:23 by totally failing to think of my own grandson, and then totally missing that LOI STARLIGHT was an anagram.

    FOI ACUTE (BEGINS eluded me !)

    I assumed that a PITSAW was used in a sawpit, as we have Sawpit Street just down the road in Dunham Massey.

  10. A fast solve ruined at the end by a stupid tryping error, as the tool became a PITWAS. Only PALETOT entered with crossed fingers, otherwise a gentle stroll.
  11. 15 mins. I was slow to see some of the easier ones, such as MISS THE MARK and BREAK UP, so I probably wasn’t on form this morning. Like some others I finished with the PITSAW/PALETOT crossers. I think the clue for DREAM TICKET is excellent.
  12. I’m with you, V, a bit stickier than usual. PITSAW, STARLIGHT (a brilliantly deceptive anagram) and CALLUM all needed extra concentration, and PARIAH was nearly PURDAH for reasons unknown other than fit.
    Ace clues: MIDDLEMARCH (especially for us TLS refugees)
    DREAM TICKET a fine &lit, though, given the most recent (im)possible pairing of Donald and Hilary, dream is not the mot juste.
    HAL I like mathematical clues.
    On homophones, I work on the principle that “sounds a bit like” is fine. With or without question marks or accent indicators.
  13. 17:29, with the unknown PITSAW my LOI from the wordplay. I’ve come across PALETOT before, but only in crosswordland. We had HUMAN clued as ‘earthling’ in another QC a couple of months ago. I thought HAL was fun.
  14. 30 mins. After a brisk start I thought I was in for a quick Monday solve, but it didn’t happen. I was held up by the same knottier clues as have been noted above. LOI was PALETOT which is not included in the ODE on my iphone but seems to be widely recognised in the English-speaking world. I couldn’t parse the CALLUM clue — thanks to aphis99 for his plausible analysis of ‘name given’.

    There were some dubious aspects, I thought: ‘growth’ as a definition in 6d was lame, BREAK-UP was another half-cock clue, ‘dazzled’ as an anagrind in 16d didn’t work for me, and — although I am a vehement defender of homophone clueing — the voiced/unvoiced ‘s/z’ distinction in RESIDER makes this one dodgy.

    BENIDORM was a write-in for a ‘Spanish resort’ beginning with B. I thought MIDDLEMARCH and MISS THE MARK were wittily clued.

  15. 25’21. Liked 12, otherwise not too stoked up about it all. Alfie more a (light) tragic hero, in that he’s trapped by his own ways, and sees it at last, than antihero maybe. Hero to me at the time anyway.
  16. Just squeaked in under 30 minutes. I definitely found this tough for a Monday, or perhaps I was just a little off-wavelength. GIGUE was only vaguely remembered, as were ROUGHCAST and PITSAW. STOKED UP took a while, as I couldn’t get past “Fed” being “nark” for some reason. LOI, I think, was PALETOT, which was an NHO for me (we really ought to stop lending words to the French, if they return them in such a damaged condition). And count me as another one who thought “growth” was a bit of a vague definition for a fungus – a “growth” could equally be an elm, a gazelle or a crystal.
  17. I had come across Tet the festival but not Tet the offensive, although it looks like they’re closely linked. There were a few unknowns but all nicely clued, so I found it fairly Mondayish. 6m 28s.
    1. They’re very related for students of the Vietnam War. The Tet offensive began on 30 January 1968 and was so-called because the early action took place around Tet, the Vietnamese new year.
  18. 2m to get a toehold and then I had to put the rest of the puzzle on pause as a colleague asked me a question – the perils of doing these things “on the sly” at work (in mitigation, it is basically lunchtime). After 5 minutes or so of tedious work stuff the rest of the puzzle took another 3m-odd, LOI the unknown PITSAW with a shrug. I don’t know if a break in the middle of the puzzle is bad (dragged from the zone) or good (unconscious mind gets a chance to work on clues in the background) but let’s split the difference and say that my 5m-ish time is *more or less* authentic…
  19. 28:40 with a few in the RHS proving quite tricky. FOI 11ac. I liked the clue for dreamticket. The wordplay for HAL was nifty but unfortunately the definition was a gimme. DNK paletot and pitsaw so they were LOIs.
  20. 9:55. I thought RESIDER was dodgy but if they really do pronounce it like that in the West Country that’s good enough for me.
  21. 9:13 – held up a little at the end by the STARLIGHT/CALLUM crossing, I thought STARLIGHT was a very nice clue. Only knew BENIDORM from Monty Python
  22. 20 minutes, in taxi en route to Bordeaux (not me driving the taxi), so not difficult although PALETOT and PITSAW were bunged in from wordplay as being unfamiliar words. Liked COALFIELD and MIDDLEMARCH best.
  23. Just under 25 minutes for this, never having heard of the famous fungus (or the coat – thank goodness I checked it in Collins, so I won’t embarrass myself next time I ask for one). Will make watching Alfie my reward for finishing Infinite Jest. Half way through now and learning a lot about tennis academies and but (sic) weird Canadians. (Are there any other kind?)
  24. Didn’t find this too difficult and biffed quite a few – a strategy which occasionally ends in disaster but worked OK today.

    Does the hero of a story always have to be a hero or just the main ( male ) character, e.g. Dracula? Discuss with reference to as many books/films as seems appropriate. Or if the main character isn’t heroic is he then, by definition, an anti-hero?

    Time: 27 minutes.

    Thank you to setter and blogger.


  25. A strange puzzle for me as I would not normally finish as I’ve not heard of Paletot or Gigue, but the clueing could mean nothing else. Strayed for a while with Spotlight, which had to mean Gollum which I couldn’t justify. Finally saw the great anagram. COD to the German Mark which leads to my challenge above (the answer is obvious). Thanks all
  26. I’ve spent the afternoon battling with a recalcitrant laptop which has started hanging in the middle of the crosswords when using my usual Chrome browser, and then sends the laptop into crawl mode, from which I struggle to get it to do anything. Most infuriating. It’s still not running properly but I’m remoted into a desktop and working from there. At least the crossword now updates from any browser/device. I found today’s puzzle quite straightforward, and had it done in 23:45 which includes switching to a different system/browser, and is quick for me. I started with NIT and finished with PALETOT/ROUGHCAST. I had to follow the wordplay for PITSAW and PALETOT. Liked COALFIELD and CHANTERELLE. Thanks setter and Vinyl.
  27. 14 minutes, most instantly solved, but a slight delay in SW corner. DNK pitsaw or paletot, but they had to be right. Sometimes I feel that I’m just in complete synch with the setter; other times I think we’re speaking a different language.
  28. Just my 4th ever completed 15×15 so feeling pretty chuffed. Gigue and paletot went in with fingers crossed and roughcast was also new to me.
    I did have a significant break mid solve with 2d and a number in the SE still remaining but when I came back I managed to steadily fill in the blanks.
    Thanks for the blog.
  29. Wow, I finished it! All present and correct, only had to resort the thesaurus a couple of times. Very pleased I got PALETOT and PITSAW. About 45 minutes, I think — started in my dinner hour and finished it after tea. Does anybody else find that they do better after a glass of wine?!
    1. Congratulations – this one was no Monday easy. I shouldn’t really let on, but I think Verlaine of this parish would would cheerfully sing the praises of a glass or two before, during and after the puzzle. Doesn’t seem to slow him down much.
      I did the Quickie today after half a bottle of Lucozade, but I don’t think that counts.

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