Times 27088 – how’s your geography?

Solving time: 9:04, but missed a typo when I was checking over answers, so I’m not gonig to be contributing to the SNITCH times today. As of right now, three of the four solvers have one error, so maybe it is international butterfingers day.

I was expecting a stinker after the last few days being not too difficult, and I didn’t get it (apologies to Verlaine in advance, it must be coming tomorrow).  There’s a couple of place names used in wordplay and as solutions, one of which usually appears as a racecouse, so that is something different.

In last week’s Mephisto blog an anonymous poster accused me of being arrogant, smug and unhelpful. It is rare someone nails me on the first try. First definitions are underlined.

Away we go…

1 Cold worker keeping on, good fellow — and steadfast (8)
CONSTANT – C(cold), ANT(worker) containing ON, and ST(saint, good fellow)
6 Laugh with merriment, no end, after performance (6)
GIGGLE – GLE(e) (merriment, shortened) after GIG(performance)
9 Prevent vessels returning (4)
STOP – POTS(vessels) reversed
10 Give up “better” sort of technology (superior no longer) (10)
CAPITULATE –  CAP(better), IT(technology), U(superior), LATE(no longer). I have to hand it to the setter, that is terrific wordplay and a great clue for a tricky word
11 Attest fear about sensation after meal (10)
13 Husband, slippery type and cad (4)
HEEL – H(husband), EEL(slippery type)
14 Like article in US magazine that’s prominently printed (8)
MASTHEAD – AS(like), THE(article) in MAD magazine. Not a magazine I can recall being used in wordplay. Loved it as a kid, particularly the spy vs spy comics and the fold-in at the back
16 Old unseemly pub — eat noisily (6)
INDIGN – sounds like INN, DINE. Tricky one – couldn’t remember how to spell it until I got the G
18 Act as befits a ram and attack (4,2)
BEAT UP – if you act like a ram you may BE A TUP
20 Get hold of artist and musician (8)
BAGPIPER – BAG(get hold of), PIPER(artist) – when I solved this I thought it referred to a musician but it more likely a reference to the artist John Piper. I saw a concert of Britten’s War Requiem earlier this year where pictures of his artwork were on the screen with the surtext
22 Concert given publicity, not half (4)
PROM – half of PROMOTED(given publicity) – this was my typo where I had somehow entered FROM
24 Trend involved with email being taken off line (10)
DERAILMENT – anagram of TREND and EMAIL – nice deception in the definition
26 Arrive with the Spanish nibbles brought round for food (10)
COMESTIBLE – COME(arrive) and then EL(the, Spanish), BITS(nibbles) both reversed
28 Play one way and another for a time (4)
NOON – a Japanese NO play forwards and backwards
29 Approaching a worker about task, putting out request (2,4)
AT HAND – A HAND(worker) surrounding TASK missing ASK(request)
30 Restricting trouble, looks after the final bits and pieces (4,4)
TAIL ENDS – AIL(trouble) inside TENDS(looks after)

2 Having no more fruit that’s unfashionable (3-2-4)
OUT-OF-DATE – OUT OF(having no more), DATE(fruit)
3 Fool that is not without heart may become wise (7)
SAPIENT – SAP(fool), IE(that is), then N(o)T
4 A duck puts the Queen off somewhere near Windsor (5)
ASCOT – A SCOTER(duck) missing ER. I didn’t know where they are, but Google Maps says it is about 13km from Ascot to Windsor
5 Load of rubbish in hole mounting up (3)
TIP – PIT(hole) reversed
6 Company is picking up (9)
GATHERING – double definition – picking up as in learning
7 Girl was forced to set about a noble adventurer (7)
GALAHAD – GAL(girl), HAD(was forced to) surrounding A
8 Woman’s last to surface — drink has a profound effect here? (5)
LETHE – ETHEL with the L at the top, the Greek river of forgetfulness
12 Unusual seabird featured in short article (7)
SIDEBAR – anagram of SEABIRD
15 Hurried up, no longer wanting page changed before printing (9)
EXPEDITED – EX(no longer), P(page), EDITED(changed before printing)
17 Wife never upset when surrounded by attractive lot of trees in leaf (9)
GREENWOOD – W, NEER(never) reversed surrounded by GOOD(attractive) – a forest of leafy trees
19 One drafted into office takes a long time, painting (7)
TEMPERA – TEMP(one drafted into office), ERA(a long time)
21 Tremendous chaps in fantastic Times putting out leader (7)
IMMENSE – MEN(chaps) in an anagram of TIMES minus the T
23 Squat in inadequate space overlooking street (5)
ROOST – ROO(m) (space) on top of ST
25 Old tribe pleasant, beginning to end, on island (5)
ICENI – NICE(pleasant) with the N at the bottom, then I(island)
27 Club in SW city closing early (3)
BAT – the city of BATH missing the end

44 comments on “Times 27088 – how’s your geography?”

  1. Certainly no stinker. INDIGN was slow in coming, partly because I didn’t know the word, but the G helped. I don’t know why I didn’t think of No when I biffed NOON; probably because I’d write it as ‘Noh’ (actually, I’d probably write it ‘noo’). It was nice to see ‘artist’ not cluing RA, although I didn’t know PIPER.
  2. Easiest of the week, so far. Quite enjoyable.
    Quibble of the Day: Inclusion of the word “after” in the clue for AFTERTASTE. It could’ve read, say, “following a meal” (or “following a bite,” even better…).
    The artist I thought of for 20 was Adrian Piper. She’s having a show right now at MoMA.

    Edited at 2018-07-12 02:59 am (UTC)

    1. The Times still has a thing about living people (other than the Queen, who is in about every other day) appearing in the puzzle, so I don’t think it is referring to Adrian Piper
      1. Oh, of course… as I noted myself in my blog Sunday, regarding a still-living guitarist. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of John P. (unless I ran into him here sometime). Ms. Piper’s MoMA retrospective ends in 2016, but she is, indeed, still with us. Are we quite sure the references to Elizabeth Regina refer to number II?

        Edited at 2018-07-12 03:27 am (UTC)

  3. 36 minutes. I’m claiming misparse of the day by initially having 16a as “sounds like INN + DIG N”, where DIG N stands for a clipped, vernacular way to say DIG IN.

    Right, off to read that Mephisto blog now…

  4. After a string of stupid typing errors I devised a cunning plan that involved looking at every answer after I had typed it in. This clearly needs more work as SAPIEMT still crept through. Otherwise an enjoyable puzzle with a nice selection of words. I am always amused by clues like 18ac based on alternative readings of the letters but not as much as by George’s response to his troll.
  5. 38 minutes with one wrong (8dn) because I’d been deflated by my performance on today’s QC and simply ran out of steam when it came to finding a word to fit L?T?E as my LOI. I couldn’t even decide what the definition in the clue might be, but in the end I plumped for ‘woman’ and bunged in LOTTE.

    Didn’t know the artist.

    I agree with Guy’s comments about 11ac unless the setter intended ‘after’ as a misdirection, in which case for me it nearly worked as I resisted extracting ‘after’ from the anagrist until forced to realise there was no alternative.

    Edited at 2018-07-12 05:30 am (UTC)

  6. 39 minutes, so about in my usual ballpark. Only the one unknown, INDIGN, which I managed to get from the homophone, unusually! FOI 2d OUT OF DATE, LOI 8d LETHE, which I liked once I got.

    The only time I’ve been to an event at “Ascot” it was actually at Newbury, because it was during Ascot’s 2005 refurbishment. Still, both are relatively close to Windsor, so it did help.

    I also enjoyed the use of Mad where Time is usually the choice, and luckily didn’t even notice “after” being used in both clue and answer at 11a, otherwise it might’ve slowed me down, too…

    George, was your Mephisto complainant, by any remote chance, an anonymous person on the internet? I know it’s not easy, but I do tend to find them best ignored.

      1. I was once told to my face in a meeting of Trafford Council’s Licensing Committee that I was “an arrogant, self-serving know-all”. My response was “It takes one to know one”. The councillor concerned resigned the same evening, and the chairman apologised to me afterwards. I told him I would wear the insult as a badge of honour.

        Of course, all this was pre-internet. Today he would have waited till he got home, and then trolled me.

  7. Yet another straightforward one .. watch out, Verlaine!
    George, I wanted to congratulate the Mephisto poster on their perspicacity but I seldom bother with anonymous posters.
    Someone (on another forum) said I was pompous, yesterday. I mean, pompous, moi?
  8. 30 mins with yoghurt and superfoods (out of dates).
    I guess a few of us “Lethe-wards had sunk” (Ode to a Night in Goal, Jordan Pickford).
    DNK: Indign, Piper, Scoter – but all do-able.
    Thanks setter and G.
  9. A lot of easy stuff but a few clues I found quite odd, not least 8d where I went the same way as jackkt. Just the wrong wavelength, I guess. There’s always the next game, Harry.
  10. I was held up considerably in the NW corner until I finally thought of ram = TUP and the rest followed. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the word TUP used for ram except in pub names. LETHE also put me in mind of the fine Belgian beer Leffe so now I have a thirst I shall aim to slake after work tonight.
  11. With George in more ways than one.

    Similar solving experience including knowing INDIGN but not remembering how to spell it

    On the Mephisto blog I was also accused of possessing various characteristics that have made me the loveable, cuddly man I am today

  12. Longer than I expected at 20.49, but I hit a brick wall after the first few went in easily, and worked back up from the bottom. LETHE my last in – the profound effect stuff meant it had to be, but I was still thinking LETH was a weird variation on the 101 abbreviations for Elizabeth until I put the last letter in. A bit of Glums seems in order: “Oh, Ron, is there anything on your mind, beloved?” “No Eth.”
    We’ve seen some pretty artistic piping on such epics as Bake Off, but I’ll take John Piper as the intended reference. I believe the stained glass lantern on “Paddy’s Wigwam” in Liverpool is his, and the magnificent Baptistery window at Coventry Cathedral. I’ll leave it to Anonymous to lecture me on the racist/sacrilegious overtones I’ve employed. It would be an honour to join an illustrious pompous, arrogant company.
  13. and the greatest of these is smug.

    35 mins with no idea about 8dn so lobbed in LATTE.
    My cousin’s first wife was called ATTEL- she’s Romanian.


    COD 28ac NOON


  14. 42 minutes with one mistake. I started out like a house on fire but petered out, a bit like our boys last night. As with others, DNK LETHE and with Horryd biffed LATTE, which at least is a drink, if not one I would enjoy. It’s not natural, drinking milk. I didn’t like the AFTERTASTE after afters either. Couldn’t parse GREENWOOD, leaving me wondering if there was a famous Mrs Greenwood in a Victorian novel I haven’t read, but at least it gave me an INDIGN to biff. COD to MASTHEAD. Thank you George and setter.

    Edited at 2018-07-12 09:04 am (UTC)

  15. Alfred E.Neuman and the brilliant Spy vs Spy cartoon strip gave me a lot of pleasure in the early 60’s, but I only spotted Mad as the magazine at the very end of my 12:14 completion, so LOI MASTHEAD.

    FOI STOP and steadier progress than of late.

    AFTERTASTE gave me no problems, but I did feel that “after” should have been “following”.

    DNK INDIGN but assumed it to be the opposite of CONDIGN. The latter word is now used in a different sense, but the Latin derivation was correct.

    DNK John Piper – or so I thought until reading various posters’ comments refreshed my memory. I now remember seeing some of his work during the Somme Centenary.

    Couldn’t decide on COD between CAPITULATE and LETHE.

  16. Like boltonwanderer, I got the easy ones in quite quickly and then slowed right down: 38 mins — average for me. LETHE caused me most delay: I couldn’t solve the wordplay, but eventually the the river of classical mythology came to mind. Thank you, Myrtilus, for identifying the literary reference that was lost in the miasma of my memory. SIDEBAR took too long — the superfluous “featured in” had me quite confounded. DNK INDIGN, but it looked a lot like ‘indignity’ and had ‘inn’ around the edges, so I bunged it in, with no ideas about the noisy eating.

    What does one call clues like that for CAPITULATE? Some commentators refer to these as ‘charades’. Have I inferred correctly that others call these ‘Mephisto-style’ clueing?

    I note that George has today — obviously to avoid any risk of being judged arrogant, smug or unhelpful — pared his blog to the most concise explication of the mechanics of each clue and spared personal comment and elaboration.

    Edited at 2018-07-12 09:47 am (UTC)

    1. I first ran into the word charade for this type of clue in Don Manley’s Crossword Manual. I have sometimes referred to wordplay elements as being more common in the Mephisto, such as TRON for market yesterday. Words in barred crosswords are often more obscure and have strange letter combinations that require complex clueing, say an anagram missing a letter in a charade.

      My “style” over the 10+ years I’ve been doing this has been to parse the clue and not add a ton unless something catches my eye or is particularly timely or notable.

  17. I was once given my ‘real name’ by an intuitive healer (yes I’m into that sort of stuff) as Lethe. If that’s the case I’m amazed I can do these crosswords at all. My gripe today. Why use an obscure out date word like INDIGN when INDIGO would fit just as well? Just saying.
    1. Indigo is one of the ever-usables…a bit more sheen to an old unseemly word still worth the remembering?
  18. I seem to be having a week of massively underperforming against what SNITCH thinks I should be doing. Today’s major stumbling block was the SE corner, largely thanks to the unknown INDIGN; I also wanted GREENWOOD to have the V from “never” in it, and I was another who always thinks of NO as NOH, so that was never properly parsed either. At least this way I am saved from the sin of smugness (if only for today).
  19. Arrogant, pompous, unhelpful and (especially) smug – heard all of those in the past. 🙂 Badge of honour there.

    No proper time today, as went supermarket shopping in the middle, but seemed long. If you haven’t done today’s QC, have a go, then read the blog.

    Thanks George (great job as usual) and setter.

  20. No I didn’t know this either but did know “condign” as in appropriate (punishment) so not too big a stretch. I certainly got a GIGGLE out of the Mephisto exchange. The one time I was trolled (on the Club Forum) he essentially called me an idiot. He called himself “Antwerp” so you can imagine the comments that ensued – although I managed to restrain myself. 17.57
  21. 19.54, no serious derailment (current in-word?). Bagpiper reminds of those who ‘laugh like parrots’ at one, in Merchant of Venice. One wonders where Shakespeare got it from.
  22. I’m a bit out of kilter with the general view, finding this one fairly tricky. Not knowing SCOTER or LETHE, I had to get all the checkers before being confident with either of them; other clues took longer than they should have for no particular reason I can see in hindsight. 13m 05s for me.
  23. 10:46. I started slowly on this, but sped up towards the end. A couple of surprisingly Mephistoish words in here.
    I had missed the exchange last Sunday. Since I stopped working I have found it harder to keep up my Mephisto solving. I think this is a combination of a lot less travel and a shortage of things I’d rather do a Mephisto than.
    Anyway, I now feel slightly remiss in not having been called ‘arrogant, smug and unhelpful’ in one of my blogs. Must try harder.
    1. It’s not quite up there with the smugs and arrogants of this world but do keep your chin up, one of your Sunday blogs last year did manage to elicit a “one of the snottiest reviews I’ve had the displeasure of reading on here”. Although the comment was prefaced with an “I think this is” so they may not have been entirely certain that it was.
  24. 21:37 including a period in the doldrums where I thought I was going to have to give in.

    Thanks for the reminder about the fold-ins in MAD George, I’d forgotten that feature. I used to have some of the spin-off books, including The Mad Book of Magic and Other Dirty Tricks which was brilliant. I also liked the snappy answers to stupid questions.

  25. 12:57, although I didn’t manage to parse LETHE until after I’d finished. Like others I had to trust to the wordplay for the unknown-to-me INDIGN. BEAT UP my favourite.
  26. …which is exactly what I expect for a big boys 15 x 15. MAD made me laugh and brought back great memories. I remember the front page of one issue having in huge MASTHEAD lettering WIN A BIG PRIZE! In between it had a few extra words in tiny lettering, so the front page simply read ‘WIN A BIG REPUTATION AS A PRIZE IDIOT!’


  27. I like the idea of using his art as a backdrop to Brittens War Requiem. How effective was it, George? We’re doing the Requiem in November. Have sung it a couple of times before but never with visual aids. 24 minutes for the puzzle. About average for me. Enjoyable. Ann
    1. Impressive – it seemed like a tough piece. The visual aids were a cool touch but it required such a large drop-down screen that I get the feeling it muffled some of the chorus. I was sitting in the lower level, but I think if you were on the balcony you wouldn’t have seen the tenors or basses at all… up to you to decide if that is a plus or minus.
      1. Thankas for your comments. Yes, it is difficult. Maybe we don’t need visual distraction. The music is very powerful. We first sang it in a link-up with a German choir in Mannheim on the 50th anniversary of VE Day. Lots of weeping and a German chorister actually fainted.
  28. I found this a very approachable puzzle, with only my LOI LETHE being unknown. And that utterly, as mythology is a yawning gap in my knowledge. I saw the Ethel wordplay bit, though, which led to LETHE but still hesitated until the end, where there was nothing else that appeared to have anything to do with the clue. I didn’t know the artist PIPER either, but, really, what else could possibly have gone in? About 15 minutes. Thanks to George for the smug arrogance, the setter too, and regards to all.
  29. So as I had a mare of a time completing the QC today I thought I’d give the 15×15 a go. Technically I DNF as I had to reveal three answers to complete in 26:58. No amount of staring at the grid was going to help me solve 26ac COMESTIBLE and DNK 16ac INDIGN or 8dn LETHE. Thank you bloggers for showing me the way.
  30. 47:18. Most of this flowed quite smoothly but for some reason I ran aground in the NE after about 30 mins, Lethe, Galahad, Indign and even giggle were all a mystery and it took ages to get going again. I spent too long looking for She’d going round a peer in 7dn but finally twigged Galahad and the rest of that corner fell soon after. DNK the artist in 20ac but couldn’t think of any other musicians that began with a bag. Indign was unknown but it wasn’t too much of a stretch from condign. I’m another noh over no for the drama and thought noon may have been something to do with on for play appearing both ways, still doesn’t really matter how you get there.
  31. I managed all of this, including the unknown INDIGN, apart from the unknown LETHE, in 22 minutes, and then spent another 11:27 coming up with LATTE as a desperate entry which I knew would be wrong, but I’d lost the will to live by then, especially as, like Jack, I’d also failed on 2 clues in the QC which I had to look up as the 20 minute mark approached. Still the golf at Saltburn was great this afternoon! 33:27 WOE. Thanks setter and George.
  32. Finished and all correct, but I don’t time it. I’m in the pub, there’s football on, and I’m talking to my friend in between looking at the next clue. About 60 minutes less diversions. LETHE was my LOI and I fidn’t know INDIGN.

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