Times 27112 – posted from a 9

Solving time: 7:31.  I made a pretty good fist of this one, though there’s going to be one or two that I have to re-think while I write up the blog. This post is a little later than usual, this afternoon a big thunderstorm knocked out electricity to a large chunk of my town, and although the power came on about two hours ago, it didn’t come with internet. I was reduced to reading! Oh the humanity.

There’s a few words in here that you don’t see everyday, but most of them are well indicated by the wordplay, which puts it very much in my wheelhouse.

First defintions are underlined in the clues… away we go!

1 Picked up Mob’s store of money (5)
HOARD – sounds like HORDE(mob(
4 Calm old representative retained by firm? Yes (9)
COMPOSURE – O(old), MP(representative) inside CO(firm) and SURE(yes)
9 Dress outside army technician’s van in quiet place (5,4)
GHOST TOWN – GOWN(dress) surrounding HOST(army) and the first letter (van) of Technician
10 Disrespect shown by loud, aggressive sort (5)
FLOUT – F(loud), LOUT(aggressive sort)
11 Help politicians to follow virtuous book (4,2,7)
JUST SO STORIES –  SOS(help!), TORIES(politicians) after JUST(virtuous). Book by Rudyard Kipling
14 Stuff knocked back is intoxicating stuff (4)
MARC – CRAM(stuff) reversed for some brandy
15 See Frenchman’s housing in this? (4-1-5)
PIED-A-TERRE – The wordplay is DATE(see) inside PIERRE(Frenchman), leading to a definition of the whole clue
18 Original sinner claiming saint is to preach (10)
EVANGELISE – the oriinal sinner was EVE, containing SAINT(angel) and IS
19 Don headgear: sombrero’s back (4)
CAPO – CAP(headgear), and the last letter in sombrerO for the Don of the mob
21 Merchant keeping upright boss on track (13)
STATIONMASTER – STATIONER(mechant) containing MAST(upright)
24 Daggers sheathed in Nobel Institute (5)
OBELI – hidden in nOBEL Institute
25 Assess accounts of corrupt statesmen (5-4)
27 Speculation I rejected with fury as anathema (4,5)
BETE NOIRE – BET(speculation), then ONE(I) reversed and IRE(fury)
28 Red Sea round cape (5)
MEDOC – MED(sea), O(round), C(cape) for the red wine

1 Rank top athlete (4,6)
HIGH JUMPER – HIGH(rank, smelling), JUMPER(top item of clothing)
2 Excited, one head of government going past (3)
AGO – AGOG(excited) with one G(overnment) missing
3 Recoil from media bigwig up on trial (6)
DETEST – the media bigwig is the ED, reversed on TEST(trial)
4 Charge after pass for winger (9)
CROSSBILL – BILL(charge) after CROSS(pass)
5 After a piece, leave tropical food (5)
MANGO – MAN(piece in chess), GO(leave)
6 Wrong step: I moved on less common routes (3-5)
OFF-PISTE – OFF(wrong), then an anagram of STEP,I
7 Close to you, swell man’s inattentive (11)
UNOBSERVANT – (yo)U, NOB(swell), SERVANT(man)
8 Scoff, with British retiring from defeats (4)
EATS – remove B from BEATS(defeats). Scoff is a noun in this case.
12 Programme woman’s included in broadcast film (11)
SPREADSHEET – SHE(woman) inside SPREAD(broadcast), ET(film)
13 Popular comic rated poorly (10)
16 Most of record hire for free (9)
DISENGAGE – DIS(c) (record) then ENGAGE(hire)
17 Country air taken in by doddery gran (8)
AGRARIAN – ARIA(air) inside an anagram of GRAN(anagran?)
20 Wanting drug, smuggled a bit for dirty money (6)
RANSOM – remove E from RAN SOME (smiuggled a bit)
22 The writer’s drawn to men and women’s feet (5)
IAMBI – the writer is declaring I AM BIsexual
23 Public schoolboy half-cut? That’s grave (4)
TOMB – the schoolboy is TOM BROWN from the Hughes novel, remove his last half
26 Back in study, with head down (3)
END – DEN(study) with the first letter moved to the bottom

70 comments on “Times 27112 – posted from a 9”

  1. I think I had everything done in under 25′ except STATIONMASTER, and one reason I didn’t have STATIONMASTER was that I had DISCHARGE at 16d; well, it seemed OK at the time. Finally got the MASTER part, which I foolishly took for ‘boss’; never did figure it out, even when I finally got ENGAGE; submitted wondering in what sense a stationmaster could be called a merchant.
  2. 43 minutes on what I now realise was a somewhat French in parts.

    14ac MARC
    15ac PIED A TERRE
    16ac DISENGAGE (fencing term)
    27ac BETE NOIRE
    28av MEDOC
    6dn OFF PISTE

    Croissant et cafe pour le petit dejeuner M. Myrtilus?

    FOI 2dn AGO


    COD 11ac JUST SO STORIES(delicious cakes)

    WOD the aforementioned BETE NOIRE

    Forty three minutes. Congrats to Lord Smug on his whizzy time. Is by the way mechant the French for merchant?

    I wrongly assumed that 21 STATIONMASTER had sommat to do with a ‘stantion'(upright) losing its ‘n’ and then added the boss – which parseth all understanding but kept me on track.

    Edited at 2018-08-09 03:49 am (UTC)

  3. Thanks for explaining that one. I just saw that it had to be TOMB.

    I grabbed the wrong end of the stick at first for MARC<–>CRAM, leading to HEAD JOCKEY and all kinds of problems till I turned it around.

    Edited at 2018-08-09 04:11 am (UTC)

  4. 27 minutes, so though trounced by the Heard I was sub-Gregg, which happens about as often as a Washington insider telling the truth. (Everyone slips up from time to time.)

    I had ‘spoonbill’ for a while at 4 down – if you make a pass at someone, you spoon with them, I would have thought, or want to, at least – but the last in, appropriately enough for one as technophobic as I, was SPREADSHEET, over which I spent at least ten minutes.

    Well, all right, three and a half…

  5. Just slipped under 30 minutes for me, with no real problems. I think the LOI was SPREADSHEET, which pretty much went in from the checkers. I’d been worried it might be some BBC programme I’d never heard off, although the Times is pretty good at only talking about programs so famous that almost anyone has at least heard of it (like The Simpsons).
  6. 34 minutes but lost time over two or three which pushed me over the edge so that I just missed my half-hour target.

    In my book DETEST and ‘recoil’ are not the same, and a SPREADSHEET would be a ‘program’ not a ‘programme’. The unknown (or forgotten) ‘don’/ CAPO was guessed from wordplay in preference to ‘hato’.

    After our 8-letter deletion yesterday the 4-letter one at 23dn today seems very small beer.

    Edited at 2018-08-09 05:16 am (UTC)

      1. Yes, and if I’d been blogging I expect I would have underlined the two words as the definition but it still doesn’t help me. To my mind ‘recoil’ involves a physical action, or rather reaction, to something whereas one can still detest something whilst lying perfectly peacefully in one’s bed.
        1. I’d say ‘detest’ suggests a kind of vigorous and active shunning of the idea of something, to which ‘recoil from’ brings out the frisson of horror implicit thereby. So OK by me.
        2. OK by me .. you can (and I have!) recoil from an idea, even when in one’s otherwise peaceful bed. Sometimes “getting up” is the idea I recoil from
  7. None of it was easy, but my biggest problems were two clues with what seem to me to be dodgy definitions.

    In my book, a spreadsheet is neither a program nor a programme, it’s a spreadsheet! It’s true you can write program(me)s in a spreadsheet app like Excel, but the result is not a spreadsheet, it’s a program(me)!!

    Likewise (but here I may defer to George’s family expertise), I assume a stationmaster is boss of the station, not the tracks!

    1. A programme is any set of instructions given to a computer in order to achieve a given object. If the object is to offer up to you a toy like Excel then clearly that would be a programme, just as Word or a database such as Access would be
      1. I think brnchn’s problem is that a SPREADSHEET isn’t a programme. I had the same problem: to me a SPREADSHEET is a document. It’s what you use Excel to produce, like you would use Word to produce a letter. I would describe Excel as a ‘SPREADSHEET programme’.
        However it’s clear from various dictionaries and Wiki that SPREADSHEET is also commonly used to denote the programme, so I don’t think the definition can be described as dodgy.
    2. I was going to write that about SPREADSHEET too but I found this in SOED: Computing. A program that allows any part of a table or rectangular array of positions or cells to be displayed on a screen, the contents of any cell being specifiable either independently or in terms of the contents of other cells.

      Edited at 2018-08-09 05:53 am (UTC)

      1. That sounds like the sort of legalese that gets into patent applications. Although they like to get something more like “a plurality of rectangular elements that can hold a plurality of variable types”.

        At least in software (drug stuff seems to be different), I defy anyone to write a working program to accomplish what the patent is supposed to disclose to the public in return for a limited monopoly.

    3. To be fair, he’s the setter’s ‘boss on track’ rather than ‘of tracks’.
  8. This took me nearly half an hour. Off the wavelength generally, but made much harder by my grabbing the wrong end of the homophonic stick at 1a. I always struggle to remember whether squirrels hoard or horde.

    Last one in the iffy SPREADSHEET, which isn’t a programme from where I sit, either.

    COD to the very neat JUST SO STORIES

  9. Well, when I learned programming and was a programmer I produced programmes and still do, or would if I could be bothered. And spreadsheets, word processors and presentation software are clearly all programmes. You young whippersnappers of today with your Americanisms,I don’t know…
  10. 51 minutes, with a quick top half compensated by a very slow bottom half. FOI HOARD, LOI 23d TOMB just after 27a BETE NOIRE, even though I’d correctly guessed both of them some time before I finally worked out the wordplay and penned them in. Nice tricksy definitions here and there, especially “country” for AGRARIAN, I thought.

    I was somewhat perturbed by the definition for SPREADSHEET (though I agree that when I was growing up, we did use “programme” to mean what’s commonly spelled as “program” even in British english these days.)

    However, on further reflection, I think it’s okay at both extremes: to a layman, Excel, Lotus-123 et al are “spreadsheets”, and as someone technical, I’d argue that a spreadsheet document is actually a special kind of program that’s interpreted by a spreadsheet application…

  11. 35 mins with a croissant (hoorah – how apt) and the tremendous G&L marmalade.
    A spreadsheet isn’t a programme (although I will defend people’s right to espouse an alternative, albeit inaccurate view).
    It was this and Stationmaster and Disengage that held me up.
    Mostly I liked: technician’s van, Iambi (not a chestnut to me) and COD to Crossbill.
    Thanks setter and G.
  12. Felt a lot like the easiest of the week at 16.45 with no rush.
    I liked the Kipling: SOS Tories is so appropriate these days as they seem bent on destroying themselves. Why Theresa doesn’t just say s*d it and quit…
    We were lucky to have such an innocuous clue for SPREADSHEET. I’d have been tempted to hit you with references to bedmaking, homophonic radiating or (with a slight Spanish accent) fertilising. There are worse things than dodgy IT lore. It’s worth noting, perhaps, that the Times’ limited, single entry list of films comes from a pre-PCW age when a spreadsheet was not so much a program(me) as a computer nerd’s dream.
    Half TOM BROWN looked fairly innocent after yesterday’s astroph.
    Great time, George. The SNITCH was impressed!

  13. Very straightforward after a couple of teasers. Wrote my first program in 1962 so no problem with SPREADSHEET being a program. I also noted the French flavour but couldn’t detect any pattern.
    1. Programming was a closed book to me until my PCW introduced me to DRlogo and Mallard basic. It seems you had a 24 year head start on me, longer than Colossus users had on you! What times we have seen!
      1. Of course I started in something very close to machine code – a set of basic instructions for the ICT 1301. My claim to fame is that I wrote what I was told was one of the very first computer based valuations of a life and pension fund. We did in a matter of hours what used to take a team of actuarial students months!
      1. Yes Jack, it will always be (computer) program for me. That US/UK spelling difference has caused some problems over the years, particularly in the early days when correct spelling and grammar were much prized by UK senior managers who regarded us young upstarts with grave suspicion.
        1. I consider myself very traditional when it comes to alternative spellings but even I accepted many decades ago that American is the lingua franca of computing since the IT revolution took hold.
  14. Found this very straightforward and enjoyable with only 15ac not properly parsed so thanks George for explaining what now seems blindingly obvious! 14m.
  15. 32 minutes with LOI TOMB, biffed before cryptic seen. COD has to go to EVANGELISE today. I’m off to have my ears micro-suctioned. I gather they do it while you wait too. Thank you George and setter.
    1. I had mine done a couple of years ago. They don’t suck any more, they flush with warm water using a pump.
      1. The nurse at our local GP used to do that and it worked well. They now won’t do it. They give you a telephone number of a guy who spends his life micro-suctioning ears for £50 a pop. Fortunately, the olive oil I’ve been feeding them with had cleared one ear but not the other. The suction worked on that. We’re off to see Katherine Parkinson in “Home I’m Darling” at the National tonight. We’re sitting in the pits. I’ll be telling her to stop shouting!
        1. Enjoy! A friend of mine has just had hearing aids fitted and the noise of her keyboard is driving her mad 🙂
  16. 20′ 34” with STATIONMASTER LOI. BETE-NOIRE nice word. Dnk MARC but wordplay okay. Thanks gl and setter.

    Edited at 2018-08-09 08:55 am (UTC)

  17. A gentle stroll compared to yesterday’s, although held up at the very end by 23/28. The parsing of TOMB took a while and I may have muttered “not more s*****g French” as BETE NOIRE completed my oeuvre.
    The clock said 18:14 but that included an apparently essential conversation with Mrs R, so about 15 minutes.
  18. Well, I considered not commenting today, since to comment would entail my admitting to a 60min solve time. I don’t know what was wrong here, but it was like wading through cold treacle. Perhaps The Rotter’s Club could be founded, for those who are happy to come in under the hour.

    But it was an hour of multilingual fun … a Brexit lament?

    Oh, by the way, it is absolutely fine to define a spreadsheet as a ‘programme’: Matt and Jerry and Jimbo are quite correct here. Of course, handwritten spreadsheets predate the programmes we now use, just as a leather bootstrap predates the computational one.

  19. Just the barest breath over the half hour for this, with DISENGAGE and STATIONMASTER my LOsI.

    I’d side with those who argue that a SPREADSHEET is a document rather than a program(me), but I was happy to let it pass.

  20. A steady and pleasant solve, with no major stumbling blocks until I was left with what turned out to be SPREADSHEET (which was basically some sort of word-blindness on my part, and not because I had grave doubts about whether it was really a program(me) or not). Forced to biff TOMB (having tried different halves of Harrovian, Etonian, Rugbeian, and Wykehamist, I concluded there must be a very famous, but previously unknown to me, school called Tomb-something), so as regularly happens, had to come here for enlightenment. Likewise, PIED-A-TERRE was one of those clues where you put it in, thinking as you do that it’s a rather feeble cryptic def., then read the blog and discover the clue was actually much cleverer than that, or, at least, far too clever for you. Solvers must be a great disappointment to setters on these occasions…
  21. Around the 50 minute mark for me, in two sittings, which is a bit longer than my average – I bow to you sub-ten-minuters. Respect and all that!

    I liked BETE NOIRE and CAPO and never parsed PIED A TERRE.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

  22. 35 min, but had FROST at 10ac, shrugging as ‘aggressive’ as anagrind – didn’t anyone else fall for that? LOI was 21ac, not parsed properly, as I’d been struggling with 16dn which I was thinking had to end LEASE.
    21dn takes me back fifty years to when I was part of a team developing a management information system for ITT – it had to work both in sterling and dollars, and needed to satisfy the auditors by ensuring all the totals were consistent to the last penny. So what we were doing was trying to invent a spreadsheet program from scratch – and our system was abandoned as soon as one became available.
    1. I too temporarilyvhad FROST but on rereading the clue decided it could not be that
  23. 39 mins mainly because I kept getting the right answer but rejecting it and moving on to another clue, only to discover I was right all along. Kipling a fave of mine in my youth, used to write new ones, can’t remember now what they were. LOI SPREADSHEET which I couldn’t see for looking. COD has to be IAMBI
  24. Steady enough at 20’37. I like ‘Just SOS Tories’ as a future electoral call to arms. 23 gives me a chance to recommend a lesser-known and to my mind finer Hughes novel, ‘Tom Brown at Oxford’. It’s remarkable, and interesting not least for its portrayal of town and gown and outlying village 150 years ago.
  25. Stuck on SPREADSHEET and the ‘boss on track’ at the end but eventually finished in 51 minutes. Didn’t know CROSSBILL, or SCOFF as a noun, which it apparently can be in either sense of the word.

    I liked the French expressions, HIGH JUMPER and the reminder of good old Lotus 1-2-3 in the discussion. I still have a dream it and Harvard Graphics will reappear one day. No chance though I’m afraid.

    Thanks to setter and to the grandson of the Rockbank STATIONMASTER.

    1. Scoff as a noun would be what TOM BROWN had in his tuck box. I seem to recall Frank Richards using it in the Billy Bunter books.
  26. 42:56. A pleasant solve. I had most done in 30 mins but could not work out tomb (spent too long thinking along Harrovian or Etonian lines rather than a noted individual OB), could not get bete-noire (spent too long thinking in English) and could not see spreadsheet (could not sort out definition from wp). Eventually biffed tomb from definition, then remembered Tom Brown. Spread came to me in a flash to pair with the already toyed with she and so Spreadsheet was entered, ably assisted by an ignorance of the finer (and not so fine) distinctions in the world of IT. Needed to convince myself that the second part of 27ac was not noise and that beta-noise was not a thing before finally seeing Bete-noire.
  27. To me a CAPO is the thing I stick on the neck of my guitar, so I puzzled over 19a for a while before deciding that it was a better choice than HATO. HOARD was my FOI and STATIONMASTER, followed by SPREADSHEET brought up the rear. I would’ve said that a spreadsheet was a set of data manipulated by a spreadsheet application, but I’m sure that common usage applies in this case. I missed the clever parsing at 15a, and biffed TOMB after giving up on Harrovians, Etonians etc. I enjoyed this puzzle a lot. 34:29. Thanks setter and George.
  28. Fantastic time George! I don’t know if this has crept into usage on the UK side of the pond but this end far too many people in broadcasting who should know better use FLOUT and “flaunt” interchangeably and it never fails to annoy me. 17.47
    1. I have even seen writers for The New York Times do this. And they have heard from me.
  29. ….”we are programmed to receive”.

    Having been taught back in 1968 that in IT terms it was aways “program”, I’m with Jack and Bruce on this one. Back then, the term “IT” hadn’t actually crept into use. A spreadsheet then was an aid to writing a subsequent program, but times change. I rather lost interest in the whole damn shooting match back in ’93.

    Thanks to George for parsing my only (obvious) biff PIED-A-TERRE.

    FOI HOARD (wish I had one !)
    COD STATIONMASTER (though I take Bruce’s point)

    14:39 and enjoyed this one.

  30. 21:42 but failed to parse PIED A TERRE, so thanks for that George. I thought this was quite fun. IAMBI my COD once I got it… I originally had IAMBS which left me head scratching until I saw BETE NOIRE and corrected my mistake.
  31. 17:58. Great time George! I struggled at the end with four clues that fell very slowly, one by one. SPREADSHEET was one of them because I don’t think of as a programme, but as mentioned above I don’t think the definition can be faulted.
  32. Not sure of MARC so was pleased to see it confirmed. Openly laughed in the pub at IAMBI. LOI RANSOM having struggled with SE. By chance, thought of Cape Cod which was enough to get 28a. 44 mins.
  33. I don’t know enough about IT to quibble over SPREADSHEET. I had all the checkers, saw the word “programme” and just bunged it in. Sometimes ignorance can actually be an advantage. I failed to parse PIED A TERRE because, although I spotted PIERRE I couldn’t see the DATE=SEE connection. But quite a smoothish solve nevertheless. 26 minutes. A pleasant puzzle. Ann
  34. DNF, as I am in the FROST crowd, too, but when I submitted and saw where the mistake was, it was not hard to see what it should have been. So the problem was pure laziness and not making the effort to rethink what was obviously a rather weak guess at the answer. Of course I couldn’t parse PIED-A-TERRE either (other than as a weak &lit), but I enjoyed much of the rest, particularly IAMBI and the JUST SO STORIES (the TORIES were pretty clear, but I needed checked letters to see the rest).
  35. About 3 hours, off and on, (good job this was an easy one), but it joins a very select band of successfully completed 15x15s, so I am a happy bunny tonight. Invariant

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