Times 27109 – Monday Quickie

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
This really was as easy as it gets, and I would be surprised if there were not a few PBs flying around. There are though four or five place names, so I suppose that if you haven’t been to or heard of the town in the West Riding (or only know its Shakespearean equivalent) or if you refrain on principle from watching anything post-Blackadder by Richard Curtis (who once played female lead against my male lead in The Bathroom Door) or if you’ve never heard of the state down under which has the distinction of having managed to produce both Joh Bjelke-Petersen and Pauline Hanson, you might struggle a bit. Talking of giants of the Antipodean political scene, Robert ‘Piggy’ Muldoon had a fine tea-towel produced by the good ladies of Palmerston North prior to his election as PM in 1975 with the words ‘Not just a pretty face’ (scroll down a bit) emblazoned on it.

Anyway, this took me just over 14 minutes, so thanks to the setter for both an enjoyable offering and for restoring my confidence after a long run of puzzles where I was doing these things as if I were Dawid Malan trying to bat or take slip catches. Music: Suk, Serenade for Strings


1 Unknown Parisian who comes first in game show? (4)
QUIZ – QUI (‘who’ in French) Z (maths unknown)
3 Protect fan working in Yorkshire town (10)
10 Brilliant English bloke securing return of sailor’s tackle (9)
EFFULGENT – LUFF reversed in E GENT; a luff is a useful Scrabble word meaning
‘the edge of a fore-and-aft sail next to the mast or stay’
11 Take to court outside say, and play on without pause (5)
SEGUE – EG in SUE. The extended non-literal meaning of segue constitutes one of my least favourite words. Others in the pantheon include egregious, feckless, cognitive dissonance and passive aggressive.
12 Northern Irish camper, possibly, approaching a blissful state (7)
13 Apathetic, initially underrating boring part of book (6)
SUPINE – U[nderrating] in SPINE
15 Industrial action creating a bit of a storm? (9,6)
LIGHTNING STRIKE – double definition or as near as dammit
18 London street good at plugging revolutionary Ellington hit (7,4,4)
21 Tiny bird in tear-jerking film (6)
WEEPIE – if you were of a particularly poetic bent, you might look out the window, see a fledgling magpie on your lawn and say, ‘Look at that wee pie’
23 Deceive surgeon about firm manufacturing bird shelter (7)
DOVECOT – DO (deceive) CO in VET
26 Article one’s involved in writing up (5)
AMISS – A IS in MS (writing as manuscript); nice definition, ‘amiss’ as in ‘What’s up, mate?’
27 Drink served by assistant reportedly in William and Mary’s house? (9)
ORANGEADE – if you were working for Dutchman William III, you might be called an Orange aide by the sort of person who looked out of the window, saw a fledgling …
28 Opening with responsibility for where mail may be left? (10)
PIGEONHOLE – HOLE for opening is easy enough, but where I earn my corn today is by pointing out that pigeon can be used to mean responsibility, usually in negative phrases – naturally – like ‘Look, mate, that’s not my pigeon’
29 Smooth character on the staff (4)
FLAT – a flat, as well as a sharp, a natural, a double sharp, a dou (that’s enough, ed), may be found on a clef


1 Left with cats to go over distant state (10)
QUEENSLAND – L (left) AND (with – yes, quite cunning) after QUEENS (cats)
2 Deduce speaker’s wearing ermine, for example? (5)
INFER – oh, gosh, I’m not going to try and explain this play on words beyong saying that ‘speaker’s’ is the homophone indicator
4 Opportunity strikebreaker provided for knight working in theatre (9)
OPERATING – OPENING (opportunity) with the N (knight in chess) replaced by RAT (strikebreaker – I have only come across ‘scab’ – another word I detest – in this sense, but Collins has it for strikebreaker)
5 American singer’s first book (5)
TITUS – US followed by TIT (songbird). Naughty, naughty if you haven’t mugged up your Good Book’s books yet
6 Following American ship, shoot at old woman (7)
FUSSPOT – F USS POT (used of shooting for game predominantly). I wonder if it is sexism that a woman can hardly be described as an old woman in this sense?
7 A Republican woman burying senior officer in state (9)
ARGENTINA – GEN (senior officer) in A R TINA
8 Person securing a row of seats, perhaps (4)
TIER – DD after a fashion, I reckon
9 Flexible scheme I adopted on the third of October (6)
PLIANT – I in PLAN [oc]T[ober]
14 Army corps posted soldiers east at last, provoking ill feeling (10)
RESENTMENT – RE (army corps) SENT (posted) MEN [eas]T
16 Understanding crowd (9)
GATHERING – bona fide DD
17 Awfully dull gal initially housed in civic building (9)
19 One too old for probing instant painting technique (7)
IMPASTO – I (one) PAST (too old for, as in ‘She’s past it’) in MO (instant)
20 Enjoy consuming a good herbal flavouring (6)
22 Bob maybe up for catching start of chemistry period? (5)
EPOCH – C[hemistry] in HOPE (Bob maybe) reversed
24 Stroke head of cat on green overlooking lake (5)
CRAWL – C[at] RAW (green) L (lake). Swimming stroke, of course
25 Complain pettily, vehicle accommodation being out of ark (4)
CARP – vehicle accommodation is CAR PARK; subtract the ‘ark’ and you have CARP

61 comments on “Times 27109 – Monday Quickie”

  1. I failed to check the anagrist for 18ac–which is why I noticed the missing AT in your blog, U–and forgot that X-GATE can be a street; it just looked so obviously LANE. LOI AMISS; took me a moment to see how ‘up’ worked.
  2. PONTEFRACT. No surprise there. The one definition I’ve found (lazy tonight) for FUSSPOT is non-gendered.
  3. PONTEFRACT at 3ac – all licqourice fields and rhubarb sheds. Wish I’d seen it a lot earlier as it was critical to the NE sector. My COD goes to this well disguised anagram. I had working as ON but it was not so.

    As Lord Ulaca of Mon Kok noted some PBs in the offing. Not here as I managed a mere 26 mins. Must try harder.

    FOI 1ac QUIZ

    LOI SUPINE not a GT clue!

    WOD 27ac ORANGEADE! With lots of Es.

    I finally saw THREE BILLBOARDS last night – excellent!

    Edited at 2018-08-06 06:11 am (UTC)

  4. … and virtually all parsed, so not too hard. I managed to avoid the Notting Hill Lane trap by stopping to check the clue. And was held up a bit by PONTEFRACT. It’s a shame that QUEENSLAND has become memorable for Joh and the woman from Oxley, but at least it was a write-in for me.

    Thanks, U, for the blog (and congratulations on the impressive time!). And thanks to the setter for some relief from the challenges of recent days.

  5. 29 minutes so straightforward but not exactly in QC territory. PONTEFRACT was my FOI.

  6. I was racing through this but I screwed up by putting TOMEI at 5dn. I think I was mixing up Melissa Tomei (who is an actress) and Mel Torme. But at the time I thought it was an outstanding clue. American singer, and “tome 1” for first book. Unfortunately it took me far too long to fix it.

    I also put SLUR instead of FLAT for 29ac, which I think is a better answer but made getting RESENTMENT, my LOI, slow (the L being correct in both words and so not raising any suspicion).

      1. From Chambers: slur…..a smooth or legato effect (music). I suggest that’s how. The character on staff is the curved line that indicates (eg) one syllable sung to several notes.

        Edited at 2018-08-06 06:51 am (UTC)

        1. Yes, but that’s exactly my point – it’s an adjective or a verb we’re looking for, not a noun, unless one thinks ‘slur’ means the act of smoothing or the smooth side of something.
          1. Yes, I think (in music) you could justify “slurring” as the act of singing or playing smoothly through the notes, to smooth out the notes. It doesn’t in this context carry the pejorative sense of mumbling or casting aspersions. And it might just as well be a verb in the clue. Wordplay’s not that picky.
      2. Well if you Google “musical slur” you get:
        A slur is a symbol in Western musical notation indicating that the notes it embraces are to be played without separation (that is, with legato articulation).
        And legato means smooth. So the slur is the symbol on the staff that indicates smooth.
  7. 20 mins with yoghurt, granola, banana, etc.
    And 5 of that, amazingly, was on the Carp/Amiss crossers.
    Good effort at trying to justify ‘pigeon’.
    Thanks setter and U.
  8. 14.20, about as fast as I can go. Slight delays in the NE sector, where I expected the town to end in -TON, taking care of “working” in the clue, and OPERATING, where I was yet again bamboozled by the wrong kind of theatre. Why are strikebreakers always (boo, hiss) blacklegs, scabs or (today) rats? It’s not all grapes of wrath out there. I imagine long suffering commuters on Southern Rail regard strikebreakers as salt of the earth.
    If it’s any consolation to Bible dodgers, TITUS is the (single page) book most likely to be forgotten by New Testament scholars, in much the same way as it fades from the Shakespeare canon. Mind you, the latter was once clued here deliciously as (something like) “Play about two American presidents?”
  9. I too thought this was QCish at first but slowed down in the middle and finished in 12.22. My usual typo came in 6dn which started appropriately enough with FFS.
  10. Flew through this after warming up on QC. Last two minutes spent parsing FLAT, finally realised it meant the symbol, either in the key signature or as an accidental. I have experience of LOVAGE, we have it in the garden for height, it leaves a strong smell on one’s hands, some people like it in bread. Liked the PIGEON parsing, thanks blogger.

    I thought about the FUSSPOT answer. A ‘bit of an old woman’ is applied to men. Casual sexism or useful shorthand?

    12’25” thanks ulaca and setter.

  11. Yes, deep joy to do this in 11.30 after the string of toughies. Whilst I really do like a challenge, it is good for the soul to belt through one now and again. Thanks setter, and Ulaca for explaining ‘luff’ which I had never heard of.
  12. 18 minutes on return to the confines of the M25. It doesn’t feel much like a return to the womb. Well done, Georgia Hall, not that we watched a shot while in St Annes. What it meant was that the restaurants were packed with players plus their entourages. Those women don’t travel light, even if they don’t seem to wear much. Unlike some others, I glanced ‘protect fan’ and read PONTEFRACT. Anyone for Pomfreys? NOTTING HILL GATE took only a few seconds longer once I’d ascertained that neither ‘white hart’ nor ‘petticoat’ were available to go with ‘lane’. Usually I take ages on anagrams. I thought FUSSPOT was ageist and sexist, but to create a fuss would contradict the first of these two! DNK ‘luff’ but checkers gave no choice on EFFULGENT. Similarly PIGEONHOLE, with all the letters of ‘opening’ included, one of them twice, took some parsing, but the answer was obvious. “That’s your pigeon’ is an expression I only vaguely remember. Took a while to see why it was FLAT or I could have been a bit quicker. LOI OPERATING, trying to find a home for ‘scab’ or ‘blackleg’. COD to ORANGEADE for another memory of the Corona man. Easyish Monday fare but pleasant. Thank you U and setter.

    Edited at 2018-08-06 08:27 am (UTC)

    1. Indeed well done Mrs. Hall – saw her finish in style on CNN World Sports News – belting weather for it – more like Thailand! Welcome back to the real world!
      Memories of Corona Man! Remember Ice Cream Sundae flavour!
  13. I have never heard of a caep. I’m used to predictive texting but what I want is a keyboard which tells me “YOU’VE HIT THE WRONG/ADJACENT KEY, YOU DUMMY!” Spoilt my best time in nearly two weeks. 30m 32s
    I may be missing something here but in 10ac ‘tackle’ is part of the running rigging as far as I’m aware not the LUFF, the leading edge of a sail.
    Thanks for PIGEONHOLE and TIER, ulaca. Like you, I am more used to a ‘strikebreaker’ being a ‘scab’.
    1. Indeed. Scab always reminds me of Arthur Scargill making pronouncements about the workers from his Jag.

      Edited at 2018-08-06 08:57 am (UTC)

      1. Would that be the one he borrowed/bought from John “Two Jags” Prescott and is he, Scargill, still around?
    2. SOED has LUFF as short for LUFF-TACKLE with several nautical meanings, but this is the first: A device for altering the course of a ship, as a spar operating on a sail etc
      1. Thanks, Jack. I sailed on yachts for several years but never came across that particular meaning of LUFF. When learning the ropes (literally), I had a mnemonic for remembering the various names given to parts of spinnakers and their associated ‘ropes’ which went ‘Luff-tack-guy:leech-clew-sheet’. I put ropes in parenthesis because, as you may know sailing uses its own special terms for everything. A rope is never a rope it’s a sheet, a guy, a halyard and goodness knows what else. Once, on a cruising holiday my wife told the rest of the crew in no uncertain terms not to shout at her. She was happy to make the G&Ts but to her a rope was a rope!
  14. My 18 minutes would have been much faster had I noticed my mistyped CARO for CARP sooner. It left 28a starting O-G-O which caused much head scratching. Otherwise truly Mondayish. Heigh-ho.
  15. 08:55 and my 3rd fastest solve of the 15×15. We really are in Quick Crossword territory for this one and, like Ulaca, I found that a nice confidence booster. Did anybody think we might on for a pangram after 1a? My FOI and COD.
    1. I was suspecting a pangram too, but never pursued as I raced through the puzzle.
  16. 19 mins is close to my best time (17m for a Sunday one a few months back) and for me it was a smooth, steady solve from NW to SE: FOI QUIZ and last pair of crossers in were FLAT & RESENTMENT. The pangram possibility was in the back of my mind, but I was never delayed by a wild-goose chase for an X or J.

    The comments about the setter’s definition of FUSSPOT prompted me to reflect on the demands of political correctness placed upon the setter: I would fiercely defend the inclusion (as solutions) of out-dated vocabulary which is now considered non-PC — after all, language is inextricably bound up with a speech community’s attitudes and values, and both change over time — but the use of non-PC vocab in the wording of the clue is open to question, I think. When I worked in lexicography the question about how to define words such as ‘bitch’ or ‘darkie’ led us to reject the established convention of dictionary definition. An emulsion really *is* ‘a stable subatomic particle’, but is an old woman really ‘a fussy or timid person’?

    1. I agree – there are occasional clues or answers which flirt with various sensitivities. I sometimes feel that the term ‘political correctness’ itself is used to object to the fussiness of people who won’t let us carry on with our ***ist ways (fill in your own ism)
    2. ‘Darlie’ is a Chinese brand of a toothpaste from Hawley & Hazel Chemical Company. It started out as ‘Darkie’ and the box and tube therein showed a ‘Minstrel Fellow’ with a big white smile. Established in Shanghai in 1933 and later based in Hong Kong and Taiwan, Hawley & Hazel was acquired in 1985 by Colegate Palmolive. The name ‘Darkie’ was changed – with an apology – to ‘Darlie’ and ‘Al Jolson’s’ make-up was removed so that he became white – again – but with a large shadow across one side of his face to accentuate the whiteness of his teeth.
      Remember Average White Band’s Album Cover?

      Edited at 2018-08-06 03:13 pm (UTC)

      1. Yes, indeed — there are, I am sure, many thousands of such examples of racist usage within recent memory. I googled the toothpaste and had a look at the images used on packaging and marketing.

        While lexicographers clearly have no significant influence on commerce and advertising, they do have a role in cementing (or undermining) vocabulary usage. And I wondered whether Times crossword setters have a similar responsibility.

      2. In Hong Kong, when Darkie finally became Darlie (in 1989 – a a couple of years after I arrived), the Chinese name ‘Hak Yan Nga Gou’ (‘Black Person’s Toothpaste’) remained unchanged. And has done so to this day…
  17. Not quite a PB but not far off, which is nice (I find my temperament doesn’t always suit the sprint events these days, either in real life or in Crosswordland). As part of my drive towards self-improvement, I’ve been listening to This Sceptred Isle, the massive BBC Radio history of Britain, so it was only yesterday that I was considering the sad demise of Richard II in Pontefract Castle. Eagerly waiting further theatrical anecdotes, U, pretty sure I’ve come across whole memoirs recently which were founded on not much more.
  18. 20 minutes on the motorway, listening to tales of woe from my taxi man. Easy but fun.
  19. Found this the difficult end of easy. 27’52. On reflection can see I squinted rather at the surfaces. Hope am not too old to rediscover that instant technique.
  20. I was away so I missed Friday’s puzzle and made the mistake of trying to catch up with that doozy on Sunday evening. Not just a DNF – a CNF. So this morning’s was a big relief. Thanks for parsing AMISS Ulaca – I was still scratching my head. When there’s a strike around here the union in question deploys a giant inflatable rat outside the worksite. 12.01
  21. …at some of the times you guys/gals post. 34m for me today is about a clue per minute, which wasn’t too bad considering I had Notting Hill Road initially (probably confusing with Hill Road where my sone lives!!). Less than 10m means averaging three clues per minute – not sure I can think that quickly. SW was last to fall for me – 21a proving to be the key.
  22. For once my windsurfing skills helped – luffing being well known to sailors. All the anagrams flowed like a smooth carve gybe and I swept past the finish line in under 30 mins (not really parsing 26a but what else could it be). Nice easy Monday. Thanks all
  23. 15 min 13 secs. A great improvement on last week’s dismal efforts. Hoping for a better week ……
  24. A Monday puzzle – and on a Monday too !


    Starting and finishing in opposite corners is sometimes an indication of a free-flowing solve, and my 8:26 (best for over two months) seems to back that up.

    I have to confess to biffing OPERATING though !


  25. Oh my! This was a real pleasure after the carnage of last week.

    Slowed up a bit towards the end, but got there in around 35 minutes, having been completely thrown by OLD WOMAN = FUSSPOT.

    I am of an age where I can remember ( maybe 50 years ago ) a bloke sometimes being called ” a bit of an old woman ” if he was singularly unblokelike in his reaction to a minor crisis, but I thought that it had, rightly, been ejected from the permissible lexicon.

    Having spent my career in the public services, I have come across far more men that I would describe as FUSSPOTS than I have women, the latter being usually far more adept when the brown stuff hits the fan.

    Thank you to setter and blogger.


  26. A welcome relief from last week’s brain frazzling puzzles. 26:21, starting with QUIZ and finishing with TITUS, where it took me a while to see why it was TITUS. PIGEONHOLE took a while too. Got there eventually. Thanks setter and U. Well done on your scorching time U!
  27. I did not time myself but pretty sure this was a Personal Best. Hurrah.
    Helped by the fact that I used to live near Pontefract (which in those days boasted the highest number of pubs per square mile in England – maybe still does?).
    Always thought that “Dovecot” had an “e’ on the end – two spellings?
  28. Well, after last week’s farracle I was glad to have an easy time of this one, finishing in 22min. The last five of those were spent pondering 26ac, where I failed to spot the surface.
  29. Reading through today’s comments and bon mots today’s 15×15 brought out brilliant rays of sunshine from all parties.

    I notice in contrast The Club Monthly solicited only one comment and and two DNFs! Not even Lord of the Blogger’s quite managed it!
    And that is it after over a week. I rate it at about a thousand on the Snitch – and this Month’s looks like a real toughie – after 29 read throughs.

    Could we please have something else each month that might bring out a more ‘Clubby’ reponse and rays of sunshine!?
    A bit more TLS than Mephisto on opioids!

    Donald J Trump #FakeCWTCMS

    Edited at 2018-08-06 03:34 pm (UTC)

  30. Just under the 30 mins. I am highly delighted, as someone famous once said. FOI QUIZ, LOI AMISS which took me at least five mins to figure out. As a sometime guitarist, Clapton is one of my heroes and Smokestack Lighting a great example of the genre. Those sixties bands really were the best. Does anyone remember “The Marquee” club in Wardour street? Five bob on a Monday night to see the likes of ,the Yardbirds, John Mayall, Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin inter Alia. Those were the days….. Thank you U and setter.
    1. Oh, come on now! …. surely Clapton is rather more than ‘a sometime guitarist’?
      1. My apologies for the late reply pserve, I was referring to myself as a “sometime guitarist “ and certainly not the maestro. Sorry for the confusion. Francois.
  31. Today’s was quite a quick solve, no problems, except having misspelled the town as PONTREFACT at first. The FUSSPOT straightened that out. Best to all.
  32. As a newcomer to the 15×15 I agree that most of the answers flew in but then I got stuck on my last four and eventually gave up. DNK 10a EFFULGENT or LUFF. I couldn’t solve 5d TITUS suspecting the answer to be a book of the bible but my limited biblical knowledge and the dubious wordplay didn’t assist. DNK 19d IMPASTO and was trying to solve the wordplay using ALSO to mean too. Without the checker from IMPASTO I then couldn’t solve 26a AMISS. I must remember that writing often translates to MS.
  33. 16:29 for this confidence booster and I am delighted to say I am one of the PBs flying around predicted by our learned blogger. I found this a pretty easy going (clearly) top-to-bottom-ish solve. I didn’t know luff but I wasn’t going to reverse anything else in the middle of E….GENT to get brilliant. Titus not the first book of the Bible to spring to mind but remembered from somewhere.
  34. It was too hot to play golf today in SE England but we did anyway. So I looked at this after a relaxing beer and shower.
    I had a couple unparsed: LOI was Flat without seeing the musical bit; did not know Luff and struggled a bit with Amiss before seeing the Up meaning.
    Orangerie as first stab at 27a did not help but in the end all correct. An hour or so to do this. That’s quick for me. David
  35. Going too fast to be accurate! 1 wrong IMPASSO just bunged in because I thought I remembered that that’s what it was.
  36. Well, I didn’t find this easy at all and took nearly an hour with a break. But then, my knowledge of British geography is patchy (so it took ages for PONTEFRACT to ring the tiniest and tinkliest bell — at least it really was an anagram), my knowledge of the New Testament is too (wrong religion), so TITUS popped into mind only because it did seem more likely than RATUS, and what the PIGEON was doing in PIGEONHOLE was also not clear. I’m happy I finished at all — it’s been a rare experience the last few days.

    Edited at 2018-08-06 09:58 pm (UTC)

    1. If your knowledge of historical places in the Mediterranean is up to scratch, NT books shouldn’t cause much of a problem, with the possible exceptions of JUDE, PHILEMON and TITUS, given that most of the rest of the books are common given names (of recipients of letters).
  37. Late to this (didn’t get time yesterday) but I didn’t find it desperately easy, even if it wasn’t exactly a toughie. 9:04.

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