Times 27105 – A bit of a struggle

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I can’t say I enjoyed this offering. It may have been because I feel knackered after four weeks of being blasted daily by (effectively) intense gamma rays, and still three weeks more to endure. A four hour round trip for 45 seconds of “ne bouge pas du tout”. But I suspect it’s not only that; for me it lacked wit and quite a few of the definitions were “loose” while the word play was unduly convoluted. Feel free though to tell me I am wrong and it’s a cracker!
If I’d done it in one fell swoop it would probably have been half an hour, but I wasn’t concentrating and took two hours of picking it up and doing a bit more. 10a gets my CoD vote (for a bit of wit) among a weak selection.

1 Horse getting fitter, needing a drink (7)
COBBLER – COB = horse, (A)BLER = fitter, needing A; a cobbler is some kind of American cocktail drunk through a straw, and its recipe sounds like a waste of good sherry.
5 A cat having tail nibbled by mountain creature (6)
ALPACA – ALP nibbles CA(T). I like alpacas, even more than llamas.
8 No small time friend, ostensibly (9)
NOMINALLY – Not a fan of this clue, it took me a while; NO. MIN = small (does it?) ALLY = friend.
9 Turning near Scotsman’s place in Highland region (5)
NAIRN – NR for near, IAN for Scotsman, all reversed; a town near Inverness, pop. about 10,000; hardly famous enough for our international friends I expect, although it is famous for its oatcakes and has a splendid golf course, I remember.
11 Rejected natural water source (5)
EVIAN – NAIVE reversed; DANONE’s brand name of the water from the souce at Évian-les-Bains on Lake Geneva.
12 Song writer introducing new end to My Way (5,4)
PENNY LANE – PEN for writer, N(ew), Y = end to my, LANE = way. A rather weak and convoluted clue, must be better ways to do it.
13 Sons getting work in parts of Malaga lopped tree (4,4)
SAGO PALM – Likewise, convoluted and an obscure tree; S(ons), then OP inside (MALAG)* the A being the lopped bit. A SAGO PALM is apparently where sago comes from, which was news to me, I thought sago was a sort of grainy thing like rice or quinoa or even made from the eggs of frogs.
15 Controversial politician in good health after back operation (6)
POWELL – “controversial politician” is rather a vague definition, it seems to me they all are, or would be if the truth was known. I presume this is referring to John Enoch Powell, the ‘rivers of blood speech” UK politician of the sixties, but it could be Colin Powell, or a few others. OP reversed, followed by WELL = in good health.
17 Teachers make disapproving sound or shout at the front (6)
TUTORS – TUT = make disapproving sound, OR, S(HOUT).
19 Acquisitive old fellow, in our opinion (8)
COVETOUS – Old fellow = COVE, TO US.
22 Old audit including King and Queen’s tax (9)
OVEREXERT – O (old), the insert REX and ER into VET = audit.
23 Sip beer regularly in teetotal country (5)
TIBET – Another dodgy clue. TT = teetotal, insert IBE being the alternate letters of s I p B e E r. Tibet is not currently a country, it’s a region of China. I’d have liked to see “country once”.
24 Kid tucked into ends of stale cake (5)
SCONE – Another debatable definition? A scone isn’t a cake, IMO, it’s a scone. But Collins says it’s “a small cake… ” so I am dictionaried. CON = kid goes into S E being the ends of StalE.
25 With nothing to lose, author uses complex reference book (9)
THESAURUS – Remove an O for anagram fodder (AUTH R USES)*.
26 Student initially engrossed by article, in French translation (6)
UNSEEN – UNE = article in French, EN = in in French, insert S = student initially. Double duty for the French? Is this another dodgy clue, or am I missing a point?
27 View endless track followed by European railway (7)
SCENERY – SCEN(T) = endless track, E, RY.

1 Talks over, sanctions must be resolved (13)
CONVERSATIONS – (OVER SANCTIONS)*. A better clue with a nice surface.
2 Air strike failing completely (7)
BOMBING – Double definition.
3 Strip on edge of mown lawn (5)
LINEN – LINE = strip, N = edge of mowN; lawn is a kind of stiffened cloth which used to be made of linen.
4 Fat for suet pudding (4-4)
ROLY-POLY – Double definition.
5 Nameless person greeting visiting queen (6)
ANYONE – YO a modern greeting, inside ANNE an old queen.
6 Criticise Yankee wearing the aforementioned garment (9)
PANTYHOSE – PAN = criticise, then Y for Yankee inside THOSE = the aforementioned. Nice surface as only American ladies sport pantyhose, we call them tights.The French call them collants which sounds a bit sticky.
7 Atmosphere around capital city cold and extremely tense (7)
CLIMATE – LIMA the Peruvian capital city, has C and TE around it, TE being the extremes of TensE.
10 Presumably feel obliged to cut speech, of course (8,2,3)
NEEDLESS TO SAY – If you need less to say… geddit?
14 To keep going is difficult after exercises, right? (9)
PERSEVERE – PE = exercises, R = right, SEVERE = difficult. A chestnut I think.
16 River banks protecting one French city (8)
POITIERS – The Italian River PO followed by TIERS = banks, then insert I = one. Large, rather dull city in west-central France, twinned with Northampton, wich says it all really.
18 Limit that is ultimately enforced in urban area (3,4)
TIE DOWN – TOWN = urban area, insert I.E. that is, D = end of enforced.
20 Borneo’s revolutionary playwright (7)
OSBORNE – John. (BORNEOS)*. Was he revolutionary? Or just ANGRY? Not my cup of tea.
21 Two subjects acceptable in English school (6)
REPTON – RE and PT (now PE) are school subjects, ON = acceptable. Another non prize winning clue.
23 Aristocrat in Elizabethan era (5)
THANE – Today’s hidden word, in ELIZABE(THAN E)RA. Originally spelt THEGN but appeared as THANE in Shakespearean English.

84 comments on “Times 27105 – A bit of a struggle”

  1. 25ac ‘French’ refers to the two consecutive words before it. I don’t see a problem; just ignore the comma.

    8ac MIN = Minute. ‘Small’ in the sense of an abbreviation I take it, though it could also be a small unit of time.

    I really enjoyed this puzzle but nodded off involuntarily at one point (I wasn’t even stuck) so I don’t have a solving time other than 50 minutes including a shortish nap of indeterminate length.

    There’s no doubt in my mind that the intended ‘controversial politician’ is Enoch Powell. Last April marked the 50th anniversary of the ‘rivers of blood’ speech and there was wide coverage in the media to mark the occasion.

    All the usual sources have ‘cake’ as their first definition of ‘scone’.

    Edited at 2018-08-01 05:32 am (UTC)

  2. 35 mins with yoghurt, granola, blueberries, etc.
    I’m with Pip: not exciting, COD to 10dn, trouble unravelling Unseen (thanks to Jack for explaining).
    I also liked 12ac. There used to be an official at St Stephen’s House, Oxford, called Penny Lane.
    I always have a MER when I hear Billy Joel claim he doesn’t want clever conversations.
    Thanks setter and Pip.
  3. 1ac -I believe that Lobb & Co were Cobblers to the Queen, an old jokette from Les Deux Ronnies.

    A few early morning snowflakes – why was this was an uninspiring puzzle? There was lots to be happy about.

    It took me about 50 mins and saved me from a fate known as Tucker Carlson!

    COD 13ac SAGO PALM the grainy stuff dangles down in fronds all over Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. How does one start a pudding race?

    WOD 12 ROLY POLY – remember that rather jolly troupe of fat fifty year olds, prancing about!? Marvellous!

    FOI 2dn BOMBING along straightaway.

    LOI 11ac Evian – sponsored by Evian of Evian. I think it is owned by Nestle unfortunately.

    1dn was my undoing as I thought the anagram was from ‘sanctions must’! Silly twisted boy!

    Talking of whom – 15ac Enoch POWELL was silly and twisted but an Oldie – would be at home in today’s Mid-Term America, methink?

    Time for The Totally Inspiring Club Monthly!!

    Edited at 2018-08-01 07:25 am (UTC)

    1. Powell would have utterly despised Trump, though might possibly have repeated his famous Virgil quotation as a damning commentary.
    2. Is owned by Danone. Nestlé own 51 brands of water including Perrier, Vittel, Buxton, but not that one. Fortunately.
  4. My registered time is 26 minutes, but that includes finding that my keyboard doesn’t work, replacing with with one that does but that has almost all the lettering worn off the keys, and persuading my fragile internet connection to work. “It’s a million to one shot, sarge, but it might just work”.

    As for the puzzle itself. Well, I know EVIAN is a water source, but it still looks like product placement and was my LOI.

    POWELL cropped up recently: poor old classically educated Enoch was always going to have the “controversial” tag cemented to his name after quoting Virgil, and being hijacked by the “Hitler had a point” tendency.

    I missed the parsing of 1ac altogether. a COBBLER being just a fitter for a horse. And in my house it’s not a drink, it’s a stew.

    I shall be haunted for the rest of the day by the vision of Les Dawson’s ROLY POLYs cavorting around in PANTYHOSE, possibly to the sound of PENNY LANE. Gosh, thanks setter.

    All the best with the gamma rays, Pip: not the ideal accompaniment to dedicated crossword solving, for sure.

  5. The seventh tough puzzle in a row, with a Corbynesque cri de coeur rather than a clue at 23 across. A bit of a geography lesson with lesser known Anglo-French towns popping up.

    John Osborne was arguably a better actor than playwright, putting in a decent shift as a gangster in Get Carter.

    Edited at 2018-08-01 06:58 am (UTC)

  6. I did really enjoy parts of this but am left in a bad mood by what to me was an insoluble clue — REPTON, about which I neither know nor care (though Roald Dahl and Jeremy Clarkson’s memories of it reported on the Wiki page are compelling, if appalling, as is a good deal about the place down the years). Even if the wordplay had got me to a notional answer, I wouldn’t have recognised it as a school.

    I also guessed at ‘Rontiers’, which I was aware didn’t really add up, not knowing POITIERS. From Pip’s description, I’m not going to beat myself up for not knowing it.

    So a very mixed bag for me, and about 22 minutes of solving minus the school.

    Thanks, Pip, for blogging under adverse circumstances. I’ve seen firsthand the enervating effects of those gamma rays. I’m sure you’re counting down the days

  7. An hour and a few seconds, but like Sotira I failed on 16d. In my case I put in ROUTIERS, where the wordplay seems to work for me: R + OUT{I}ERS, and it seems to me as plausible as a French city as POITIERS if you don’t know whether either of them exists.

    Help up by many words and meanings that were obscure to me: COBBLER, NAIRN, SAGO PALM, UNSEEN, LINEN, OSBORNE, plus I kept getting completely the wrong end of the stick even on the easier answers.

  8. I must be getting quicker – cornflakes still quite crisp as I took chequered flag
  9. Why are lots of people grumpy today? POITIERS was a famous battle in the Middle Ages, and there’s always the ninja turtle of the great actor. REPTON is indeed a school, and also a great early BBC computer game. I think you’ve missed the word ‘time’ in 8ac Pip, ‘small time’ being a minute =MIN, as well as a childhood TV programme. Several difficult parsings – COBBLER, UNSEEN, SAGO PALM, but as my first two entries yesterday were wrong, I was careful. 33′, thanks Pip and setter.
    1. I think it is because they are not looking forward to tackling The Club Monthly. Verlaine failed again! It’s a worry!
  10. To buy the papers here, I walk down the beach about a mile and then come back through the splendid Ashton Gardens. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky until I started on this. I finished, but again in well over the hour, with LOI REPTON, stumbled over while playing with the letters of Eton. To be fair, I do recall an old reptile, if that’s what you call them, in the same college as me. Talking of reptilian necks, I once met Enoch Powell at a summer business school. He told us how he didn’t go for a pee before Any Questions so that he was nicely on edge in giving his answers. I bet he couldn’t see that strategy through into his later years. Very strange. Yes, COD has to go to PENNY LANE, as I lived just across Smithdown/ Allerton Road in Heathfield Road in my two scouse bedsit years. Not sure that I enjoyed this puzzle either but thank you for the blog Pip, and setter for the challenge.
    1. I had relatives in Hunts Cross and used to catch the bus into town via Penny Lane. I wonder if the street signs still get nicked?
        1. Very good! When Liverpool became the European City of Culture, our friends there told us the joke going round was that the local lads would still steal your car but instead of leaving it on a pile of bricks, it would be left on a pile of books!
          PS. If there was ever to be a statue to “The Eternal Victim”, Liverpool would be the perfect home for it.

          Edited at 2018-08-02 02:05 am (UTC)

          1. In the early 1990s, I drove to Liverpool from Lancaster to watch United play Everton. No sooner had I parked my tatty Escort than a kid came up to me and asked me for 50p to look after my car. I knocked him down to 20p without any resistance and was left shaking my head at the fibre of the modern Liverpuddlian.

            Edited at 2018-08-03 07:35 am (UTC)

      1. Hunts Cross, down Menlove Avenue and past John’s Aunt Mimi’s house. I used to drive down there every day. And Paul was from just across Calderstones in Forthlin Road. Suburban boys both. George was getting more central in Wavertree, and Ringo right there in Dingle.
        1. Ah! I always thought Paul was a Speke lad and George was from Woolton. But well before the Beatles, I remember riding in on the tram to town with my Aunt Doris and then out to Bootle to see Aunt Queenie! I’m sure the trams went down Menlove Avenue.
  11. At 21:03 I am bucking the SNITCH trend for the second time this week. I thought it was going to be one of those where the last few double the time but REPTON, POITIERS and ANYONE tumbled in a flurry of reverse parsing at the end. POWELL couldn’t really be anything else with L already in at the end and ‘in good health’ in the clue.
    I liked it but I suppose I would in the circs.
  12. Failed on 26, throwing in ‘intern’, and 16, not being able to get Mademoiselle from Armentieres out of my mind or ear. A decent crossword in my book, if a little clickety-clock in the working.
  13. I’m really sorry to hear about your travails, Pip. I wish you the very best.
    That said, I enjoyed this despite the fact I got UNSEEN wrong. I just didn’t know that meaning of translation so I put INTERN for ‘student’.
    I agree with you Pip about TIBET. The clue should have said ‘country once’.
    I knew REPTON not because I went to school there but because a ‘School’ class steam locomotive by that name used to ply the London to Hastings line and thereby pass through my village station of Wadhurst when I was a trainspotting lad.
    I agree that OSBORNE did put in a good shift as a gangster in ‘Get Carter’ but although I have never seen any of his plays, he earns plaudits as a writer for the second volume of his memoirs entitled ‘Almost a Gentleman’. The anecdotes relating to Tony Richardson and Vanessa “Big Van” Redgrave are entertaining but the chapter on his fourth wife, the actress Jill Bennett, is a tour de force. Such wonderful vitriol in such a short chapter!
    Does anyone who comes here ever address anyone else with YO (5d)? I do hope not.
    Nice to see a variation on MP for politician in 15ac
    1. Very famously, though possibly apocryphally, George W to His Tonyness: “Yo, Blair!”
      1. The first three letters being “yob” struck me as a fairly apt introduction to the anagram that followed them.
  14. For a while I toyed with an alternate spelling of STOTE(stotty) cake, the ubiquitous NE bread bun, until another inspiration came along. The ends of STALE were my first entries into the grid, with TIE DOWN quickly following. The rest of the puzzle filled steadily apart from the NW which resisted for some time. I was thrown by the Sons in 13a, so looked for 2 Ss in the answer, which lead to a biffed SIGN POST, then SAGO PINE, then finally SAGO PALM as the penny dropped. That allowed me to get ROLY POLY and COBBLER, with the unknown meaning of LAWN making LINEN my LOI. Liked PENNY LANE. REPTON vaguely known as a school, but didn’t quite parse it correctly. UNSEEN has cropped up in the not too distant past, so didn’t take too long to fathom. A bit of a struggle at 43:37. Thanks setter and Pip. Sorry to hear of your ongoing tribulations.
  15. Technical DNF, as being unable to think of anything better than FORTRESS (which doesn’t parse at all) at 16dn, resorted to aid to fit checkers.
  16. I got along perfectly well with this one, but crosswords are a very subjective business, of course. I imagine it helped that all the required knowledge sprang to mind quite readily, though I am another whose first instinct is to think of cobbler as food, not drink. If he hadn’t been dead for several centuries, the Black Prince would doubtless contend that Poitiers is a very interesting and significant place (as the people of Northampton probably still say today, though I wouldn’t necessarily agree with them).

    It also occurred to me that if any senior Party men in Beijing do the Times crossword (you never know), they might have tutted at 23ac. I think we’ve had this discussion before, about whether calling somewhere a country (without a qualifier like “once”) is fine if it was a country at some time, but isn’t any more; after all, in this same puzzle, we must accept ANNE being described as “queen”, though she hasn’t been on the throne for a good while. As usual, I can’t remember whether we reached any particular conclusion. Hope things look up soon, Pip.

    1. I don’t think any consensus was reached in previous discussions but I know that I am firmly on the side of those who don’t see the need for modifiers unless we’re talking about something that may be described as ‘archaic’ in the usual sources. For a start, ‘former army’ or ‘former volunteers’ for TA would become utterly tedious.
  17. Was reasonably quick with this one, but got bogged down at the end in the SW. Had OVEREXACT which didn’t help with REPTON, however that didn’t help either with UNSEEN which I threw in as INTERN unparsed and obviously wrong. Used to live down the road from Penny Lane in my student days as well. Have you seen https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=QjvzCTqkBDQ. ?? Brilliant.
  18. …to sail through this in 13:22 with no biffs or quibbles.

    FOI NAIRN – sorry Pip, but Nairn’s oat cakes are named after the manufacturer in Edinburgh.

    LOI POITIERS, which I always pair with Crecy.

    COD PENNY LANE (sorry to disagree Pip). I, like the banker, “never wear a mac in the pouring rain”. Unfortunately it’s never intentional, and I should pay more heed to the weather forecast.

    Hope the gamma rays do their job, and thanks for continuing the excellent blogs in what must be very difficult circumstances.

  19. Maybe not such a witty puzzle as some but still an enjoyable solve for me. Knew POITIERS from the battle and knew that REPTON was a school (though little else about it). 29 minutes. Ann
  20. An INTERN man here so DNF.
    NAIRN known from the infamous ‘Night March to Nairn’ by Bonny Prince Charlie’s army on the night before the battle of Culloden, ensuring that his entire army was exhausted when they met the English the next day. The Scots were not assisted by a paralysis of orders which meant that the English could just fire their cannons at a static Scots Army until the Scots right wing unilaterally took the decision to charge.
  21. My knowledge of English schools stops at Eton and Harrow, so when faced with 21D as my last, I decided that the two subjects were “we’s”, followed by “ton” which in UK terms means something near”acceptable “. So, WESTON. Aha! Brilliant! Or so I thought. I did reach the unknown NAIRN from wordplay though, and COBBLER is a dessert over here, not a drink. Please don’t blame the Americans for that one. Regards.
  22. 27:46, with the last 5 minutes needing me to 14d to find UNSEEN and REPTON. Lawn as a type of LINEN was unknown, but I trusted to the wordplay. ALPACA my favourite. Good luck with the radiation, Pip – it can’t be much fun.
  23. Couldn’t get into the swing of this and took well over an hour. As a symptom of my cognitive torpor, I still don’t understand UNSEEN, specifically what is the def? Is it TRANSLATION and if so, how does that work? I’m sure I’m missing something.

    Ended up with just one letter wrong. I unwisely had the the PALM at 13a as a ‘wise’ tree.

    Hard for me. Maybe a bit of respite tomorrow with any luck.

    Thanks to setter and blogger

    1. In high school we’d be given the dreaded passage in Latin or French etc. and a certain time in which to translate it into English – so “translation” is indeed the def. The idea was that the student had never seen it before – hence UNSEEN. They cropped up in modern and classics language exams too. I still shudder to think of the horlicks I made of the one in Greek O level. It came from Aristophanes and was incomprehensible so far as I was concerned. Can’t imagine why they let me pass.

      Edited at 2018-08-01 01:49 pm (UTC)

      1. I did French and German at ‘O’ and ‘A’ level and certainly recall the terms UNSEEN and PROSE being used for the translation exercises in exams, one from “foreign” to English, the other t’other way round. I certainly can’t remember which was which though.
        1. Thanks to both and apologies for the late reply. ‘Translation’ in that sense certainly was unknown. Another one to remember for the future.
  24. Yikes… I figured Sidney Poitier had to get his name from somewhere, so that went in, as did REPTON (I think I’ve seen that in a Listener way back), but UNSEEN completely and utterly did me in and after a while starting at it I put in INTERN knowing it couldn’t be correct.

    Now I’ve looked at the chambers definition of UNSEEN and unless it is a slang definition, it doesn’t seem to be a direct synonym for translation… if it’s an unseen it hasn’t been translated yet? Oh well, sour grapes.

  25. Okay with most of this, having all but UNSEEN and REPTON done in under 50 mins. I managed to decode UNSEEN in another 15 mins. But I have to add myself to the list that didn’t like REPTON. There were so many possibilities: two subjects – xE could be RE/PE/WE/HE and xT could be PT/IT; acceptable xN could be IN or ON. The only way to solve it is to know the school.

    Thanks, Pip, for the explanations and commentary. And apologies to the setter for the whinge – we are a very demanding audience and only get away with being so because of the high quality of the setters’ work.

      1. A late solve today, so you had to wait a while!
        I knew the school so didn’t think twice about it and I’m surprised it’s not more widely known. Most people seem to have got by OK.
        I had a much bigger problem with 26ac, which I had to solve without the benefit of a recognisable definition. This took well over half of the 19:16 I spent on the puzzle.
        Whilst I’ve never come across the word UNSEEN before, it reminded me of the Old English translations we had to do at university. These were very much seen, in that the texts you had to translate in the exam were pre-set. So everyone just learned the translations by heart. Utterly pointless exercise.

        Edited at 2018-08-02 01:59 am (UTC)

        1. As I point out in my reply to Guy de Sable, ‘unseen’ can mean (and has been used by myself back in the day I had to do them!) ‘translation’, as confirmed by Chambers.
          1. Oh I’m not questioning the validity of the definition (also in Collins and ODO). I’ve just never come across it before so I had to do without. It’s not a very easy answer to derive from wordplay alone.
            1. Actually, as far as I can see, only C has ‘translation’ as a sense. The others have ‘passage for translation’, which is rather different and has caused some consternation here.
              1. Well it’s hard for me to comment on that, never having heard the term, but I would assume (and infer from other comments) that it refers to the exercise as well as the original text (‘we had to do two UNSEENS/translations).
  26. Hang in there Pip.

    If t’were done when tis done then t’were well it were done quickly – but not this one. I was having a so-so outing with this and then I was another one who stuck fast on REPTON – *e*t*n not being particularly helpful. Fetching another cuppa did the trick. I’d forgotten POITIERS the battle but did remember from years ago the guide at Fontainbleau going on and on and on about Diane de Poitiers, mistress of one of the 16th century kings. Also unconvinced by SCONE as a cake. In my schooldays we called the detested UNSEENs “obscenes” for what seemed to us sufficient reason. A distinctly lacklustre 29.27 but I see Magoo took nearly 13 which is comforting.

    1. I don’t have access to the leader board, not being a Club member. To learn that I may have been within a minute of Magoo is very encouraging !

      I have no problem with SCONE as a cake, but as to its correct pronunciation….

      1. Nice work Philip! Yes, the pronunciation of SCONE is a social minefield – at least it used to be! And then there’s that stone in Scotland …..
          1. You think it came with the throne, or was it left behind to mollify the Scots? Neither exactly, or rather both in a way. I didn’t know anything about this but a visit to Google tells me it was in fact returned to Scotland in the 90s. In any case stone is the exact description of the kind of scone sold as such in NYC – rock cake would be more like it.
      2. On the SNITCH page there is a click through which pulls in the top times. Not as complete as the leaderboard, but I think it’s available for all. Damn clever, that SNITCH
  27. Poitiers might be an unremarkable French town but it is historically notable as one of three major English victories in the Hundred Years War (the others being Agincourt and Crécy).

    In the Battle of Poitiers, in 1356, the French king, prince and many noblemen were captured by a much smaller English and Welsh army led by Edward, the Black Prince (son of Edward III).

    The defeat led to popular uprisings across France against the Dauphin Charles, and the battle was commemorated in a notable painting by Delacroix.

    1. Also famous in the 100 Year’s War as the city in which Joan of Arc told her examining ecclesiastics that her mission was not there, but rather at Orleans.
  28. Perhaps it’s time I chucked in the (probably annoying) observation that Repton is a rather fine hymn tune by Hubert Parry, and named in a roundabout way for the school.
    Now used for the hymn “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind”, which tends to turn up at weddings and funerals in about equal measure.
    For weddings, it’s a bit risky: the second line is
    “Forgive our foolish ways
    Reclothe us in our rightful mind…” and later on
    “Breathe through the heats of our desire
    Thy coolness and thy balm.
    Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire…”
  29. It was only upon reading Sotira’s comment that realised I mucked up on the school clue. Quite spectacularly really. I went with Merton:

    Two subjects acceptable in English school
    ME = subject 1 (er…)
    R = subject 2 (as in 3 Rs)
    T = ????????????????????????????????
    ON = acceptable (big tick)
    MERTON = school (or, if you want to be pedantic, an Oxford college. Same difference.)

  30. Just one wrong and one unsolved today with no aids. Biffed Intern incorrectly for 26a as I just couldn’t parse…..a dodgy clue indeed. Also DNK 21d REPTON as a school and got stuck on thinking subject referred to he and it so left unsolved. No problem with 13a SAGO PALM as I have them in my garden in Mallorca. Biffed correctly COBBLER, LINEN and COVETOUS. I am still on the learning curve so the time was an hour and then some.
  31. Yes I too was just about to note that Repton is the tune to the Parry hymn, which is often referred to as “the nation’s (UK’s) favourite hymn”. I have conducted choirs singing it many times at weddings.
    DNF today (as I often don’t), not really feeling motivated enough to “PERSEVERE” (didn’t get that one).
    I enjoyed reading the comments today, but I wish I could get to my login name and avatar – I registered once some time ago but I only come here once or twice a week and I’ve no idea how to retrieve my identity, or create a new one. I’d much prefer not to be “anonymous”: can anyone help?
    Best wishes to all,
    Richard J
  32. Living as I do in Northampton, I knew 16d. It’s also famously known for its shoe industry, hence (as bolton wanderer will know) the football team being known as the plural of 1a. Had no problem with the school as I’d heard of it, but like others, a dnf , 26a being the culprit. My first post, thanks to all bloggers & setters, I’ve at last made the transition from QC. About an hour
    1. Apologies for the less than enthusiastic comments about your place of residence – I had a feeling I’d be offending someone. My great grandfather used to have the Coggins Boot Factory thereabouts and my Dad was brought up in Raunds, although I’ve not had the pleasure.
      1. Not offended pip. I live here but I’m not from here. And many people I talk to find it less than inspiring, although the town is steeped in history – the Eleanor Cross, the old Saxon church at Brixworth, the Earl Spencer connection are some examples. And the poet John Clare was a resident at St Andrews hospital where he died in 1864. Best of luck with the gamma rays, and many thanks for all your blogs
      2. Hey Pip, know Coggins well. Uncle Harold worked there. We’re from Ringstead, but now in Northampton. All the best for your treatment.
        1. Small world, that means we are related! I think my Granny Ada was Harold’s brother?
          Annie Aggie Ada Ida … can’t remember the other five but Harold was probably the youngest.

          Ringstead near Weymouth? And I used to walk there from Durdle door caravan site, for six weeks every school holidays?

          1. Thanks Pip. I think there are a few Ringsteads… The one near Weymouth sounds nice. Ours is the one in Northamptonshire, right next door to Raunds (where the Coggins shoe factory was). There are multiple uncle Harolds too, by the sound of it! 🙂
  33. 34:10 not too bad considering this was a little sticky in places (and I don’t mean the scone and the roly-poly). I didn’t know linen meant lawn or cobbler for drink but neither was too much of a stretch. Had the most difficulty with 21dn and 26ac. Repton only rang a very faint bell so was pretty reliant on wordplay for that. Unseen as a synonym for translation was another very faint bell so another that was slowly teased out from wp.
  34. I worked out UNSEEN from the wordplay, but couldn’t make any sense out of “translation” as a definition. Instead of putting in INTERN, I left it blank, deciding that the no-doubt obscure (to me!) British educational institution wasn’t worth working out (I was right!). The relevant definition for UNSEEN seems to be “(of a passage for translation in a test or examination) not previously read or prepared” (at the top of the Google results here), which doesn’t quite seem to justify “translation” tout court.
    1. Chambers comes to one’s aid here: ‘(noun) 1 an unseen text for translation in an examination. 2 the translation of such a text.’

      Thus, at school, one might say ‘My unseen was pretty dreadful’, referring to one’s work.

      ‘Unseen’ typically referred to translation from Latin or Greek into English, while ‘prose’ was used for the other way round.

  35. I’ve said what I had to say about the puzzle in my reply to ulaca above, so will just stick to wishing you all the best with the gamma rays Pip, and move on to tomorrow’s.
  36. The allusion to the use of Frenc in the clue is actually threefold. French article, French for ‘in’ and in the definition ‘in French translation’.

    An ‘unseen passage’ is a passage presented to students in a foreign language for translation. Unseen because the students have never seen the passage before.

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