Times 27136 – hope you made it to 12!

Solving time: 7:52, and I think this puzzle was very much on my wavelength, almost all of the across answers went in on a first reading, and it was only two sweeps through the clues until things were slotted in. Also helped that a few more obscure words have popped up on my day to blog them.

The first definition in each clue is underlined.

Away we go!

1 Bank agent meets huge politician, one to be entertained (10)
REPOSITORY – REP(agent), OS(huge), TORY(politician) containing I(one)
6 Unpopular worker provided with cards ultimately, then taxi (4)
SCAB – last letter in cardS, then CAB(taxi)
9 A Bishop observed to be half-hearted attracts church attendance? No! (7)
ABSENCE – A. B(bishop, chess), then SEEN(observed) missing one of the E’s in the middle, CE(church)
10 Place of refreshment in desolate place man found heading west (7)
TAPROOM – MOOR(desolate place) and PAT(man) both reversed
12 Support immoral position taken by sportsman (6,4)
SECOND BASE – SECOND(support), BASE(immoral) – the name can refer to the plate bag on a baseball field, or the player who normally starts behind it and to the left right (looking from the batter)
13 Commander once more abandoning home (3)
AGA – AGAIN(once more) missing IN(home)
15 Hesitation about going by river? Try again (6)
RETEST – ER(hesitation) reversed then the river TEST
16 It’s strange, being single, strange not to be hugged (8)
UNWONTED – UNWED(single) with an anagram of NOT inside. This came up once before when I was blogging, it can mean both unaccustomed to and strange
18 Well-known female with question expressing self-doubt about honesty (8)
FAMILIAR –  F(female), and the ungrammatical question AM I LIAR?
20 Rare fright when cold is caught (6)
SCARCE – SCARE(fright) holding C(cold)
23 Good times of quiet embraced by you and me (3)
UPS – P(quiet) inside US(you and me)
24 Sailor has mishap with mind distracted (10)
26 Return of Communist fury with Russia’s leader put out, upset (7)
DERANGE – RED(communist) reversed then ANGER(fury) without the first letter of Russia
27 Party in Cairo is terrific (7)
ROISTER – hidden in caiRO IS TERrific
28 River not in good shape — there’s little flow here (4)
RILL – R(river), ILL(not in good shape)
29 Old city that’s cheerless, in which sailor eats fish (10)
STALINGRAD – a double container!  LING(fish) in TAR(sailor) in SAD(cheerless)

1 Register money being in short supply (4)
READ – READY(money) missing the last letter.  This was my last in, as I don’t usually equate READ=REGISTER, but it does work in the context of indicate
2 Most stylish female in office (7)
POSHEST – SHE(female) in POST(office)
3 No sons of gloom will be excited by this set of love poems (4,2,7)
4 Like heavy material getting thin after short time (6)
TWEEDY – WEEDY(thin) after T(time) – when I first read the clue I thought it said “like heavy metal”, which is not particularly TWEEDY
5 Prepares again to control son sinking to the bottom (8)
RETRAINS – RESTRAIN(control) with S moving to the end
7 Firm with nothing left — worker fluid in a hot situation (7)
COOLANT – CO(firm), O(nothing), L(left) and a worker ANT
8 Soldier recalled touching book without one dull moment (10)
BOMBARDIER – RE(touching), B(book) containing I(one), DRAB(dull), MO(moment) all reversed. Clever wordplay!
11 Assumption before the start (13)
14 Supporting architect is more intelligent (10)
PROFOUNDER – PRO(supporting), FOUNDER(architect)
17 Strongest deer passes away in shelter (8)
HARDIEST – HART(deer) containing DIES(passes away)
19 Bloke lacking energy on a lake is a blow (7)
MISTRAL – MISTER (bloke) minus E, then A, L(lake) – a blow of wind
21 Area covered by minister that gives power (7)
REACTOR – A (area) inside RECTOR(minister)
22 Like some church services more or less hourly (6)
CHORAL – C(more or less, circa) HORAL(hourly)
25 Trained as educationist with grasp of one of the basic subjects? (4)
BRED – the educationalist has a B. ED.  Insert an R (reading, riting or rithmetic)

60 comments on “Times 27136 – hope you made it to 12!”

  1. I biffed STALINGRAD & BOMBARDIER, figuring out the first post submission, but not having a clue to the second; and now I see why. I spent a lot of time on 12ac, assuming the sportsman must be a BACK of some sort; baseball didn’t occur to me. (A second baseman, George, stands to the right of 2d base from the batter’s point of view. The shortstop is on the left. The bases aren’t plates, either.) READ was my LOI, too, partly for George’s reason, partly because I didn’t think of READY for a while; thought of ‘bread’, but rejected it. I liked 24ac.
  2. … for me, so not too hard. I also had READ as LOI for the same reasons as our esteemed blogger. Was helped on 3d by my rule for spelling SOLOMON (there’s no vowels other than O), which was true for the whole clue.

    Thanks to George and the setter.

    Edited at 2018-09-06 04:06 am (UTC)

  3. 46 minutes. I was well on course for finishing within my half-hour target but got myself tied up in knots over my last two, UNWONTED and READ which between them must have added at least 15 minutes to my solving time. Two problems shared with our blogger today were misreading ‘heavy material’ as ‘heavy metal’ and having READ as my last one in because I didn’t associate READ with ‘register’.

    In addition to being a member of aircrew, BOMBARDIER is a non-commissioned rank in the Royal Artillery – perhaps worth remembering in case an innovative setter one day chooses to use it instead of ‘gunners’ to clue the letters RA.

    Edited at 2018-09-06 05:46 am (UTC)

  4. Yes, I really chose that lyric.
    35 mins with yoghurt, blueberries, etc.
    Not my cup of tea. I don’t want to argue them all, but I thought there were some forced synonyms here. e.g Trained=bred)
    And does 17dn really work?
    Thanks setter and G.
    1. It’s supported by SOED: starch 2 fig. Stiffness, esp. of manner or conduct; formality, pomposity; strength, backbone, vigour. E18.
      1. I’m ok with Strong=hardy. My issue is with the ‘in shelter’ as the containment indicator, unless I am missing something.
        Strongest deer, sheltering passes away (would be ok). What am I missing?
        1. I felt this was awkward at the time, but I think I read it as ‘deer, passes away in [its] shelter’; rather a stretch, actually.
          1. I think ‘Strongest deer passes away in its shelter’ is fine. Actually, I think it is good. Might have been COD.
            1. It struck me that you could have said, “I think ‘Strongest deer …’ is good; actually, I think it’s fine.” and the meaning would have been different.
  5. A sprightly 15:37 with toast and Turkish cherry jam – yum.
    Held up slightly at the end by UNWONTED and trying to spot what went with SECOND. Baseball terms don’t trip off the tongue as easily as fielding positions. I didn’t much like bred for trained either but hey ho.
  6. Easiest of the week so far, notable for a lack of obscurities. LOI READ, only because I wasn’t convinced about READ for register so left it in case something else came to mind.
  7. Vanilla offering that was a steady top to bottom trudge

    Biffed BOMBARDIER from B?R; STALINGRAD from definition and SAD=cheerless; SECOND BASE from immoral=BASE

    I feel for you George – blogging something with no points of interest can become a bit of a chore

    1. I gather that true vanilla (from the pods)is now in short supply. I hope I was not being accused of providing the fake stuff. But then, real or fake, vanilla can be rather tasty, don’t you think?
      1. Please don’t be put off by these disrespectful folk! It’s a real relief from time to time to meet a puzzle that just seems to unfold quietly and without too much fuss. Of course we wouldn’t want them all to be this straightforward, but I’m sure you compensate with stinkers too, from time to time. Took me a stately 14 mins 41, which is pretty nippy for me. Thank-you.
      2. What vinyl1 said. Plus I rate myself as a seasoned solver (though not of Mephistos and Listeners) and have been writing blogs here for nearly 11 years, but I didn’t find this all that easy – taking 46 minutes to solve it – and I thoroughly enjoyed it as a whole.
      3. I think of vanilla as a subtle flavour for the discerning. And that’s what this puzzle was. I took 34 minutes, and READ is still proving too subtle for me.
  8. I was surprised this only took me 42 minutes, as I seemed to struggle quite a lot, needing many passes through both acrosses and downs. I slept in this morning, so maybe I’m just feeling dozy. FOI 6d SCAB, LOI the second half of SECOND BASE, annoyingly. I’d assumed it was going to be some strange cricket or rugby position I didn’t know… Anyway. Glad to have got through it unscathed. Hopefully I’ll be a bit more awake tomorrow.
  9. 16.04, so another gentle amble, if not as impressively quick as George. BOMBARDIER no problem as I is one, of the cadet variety, and ground based, as it’s kind of tricky to get the 5.5 inch gun howitzer airborne.
    It is possible the “old city” designation of STALINGRAD may soon be unnecessary, as there are moves to resurrect the name, not in honour of Uncle Joe, of course, but in honour of the incredibly costly defence of the city in WWII.
  10. 34 minutes with LOI UNWONTED. BOMBARDIER was unparsed. (C)HORAL only rang a faint bell from its Latin derivation, but Choral Evensong is well known to me. COD to FAMILIAR. READ for register was a bit mean, I thought, and POSHEST for most stylish raised an eyebrow. When we say a woman has got a posh frock on though, we do mean it nicely in that sense. Overall, this was a fair, steady solve. Thank you George and setter.
  11. ….is a SONG OF SOLOMON (Burke) which the Stones covered early in their career.

    FOI SCAB – someone who thinks it’ll never get better if you picket.

    10A is sexist. Why is “Pat” specifically a man ?

    Not being a fan of rounders, I tried to justify SECOND SLIP at 12A.


    COD BOMBARDIER which I biffed, but parsed after completion. Also rather liked MIDSHIPMAN, but a time of 11:32 says this wasn’t that much of a challenge.

    1. Why not? The clue would work just as well with ‘woman’ but the choice of one over the other doesn’t strike me as sexist in itself.
      1. Maybe I’m just nitpicking, but I found it a little misleading – and to be honest, a weak clue.
  12. 16’06”, no great problems. Failed to parse CHORAL. Still get confused re UNWONTED, because of its homophone. Thanks gl and setter.
  13. Fairly straightforward, with the last few moments of my 22 minutes trying to convince myself that BRED was right. I was only vaguely aware of B.Ed. as a qualification and, to me, breeding isn’t the same as training.
    1. Not even in the sense ‘the result of good training, esp the knowledge of correct social behaviour; refinement’ (from Collins)?
      1. Maybe it’s the biologist in me. You can breed a good racehorse, but it still needs a trainer.
        1. Indeed but this meaning relates to people, and the breeding of humans is I think discouraged.
          1. That probably explains why my pygmy chimney-cleaning proposal never got the funding.
  14. 24 min, with same doubts as others about 1dn. First thought on 12ac was that PROP or BACK would be there, given Times setters’ predilection for rugby.
  15. 8:18. Steady stuff. A couple here (‘register’ for READ, ‘posh’) where I raised an eyebrow only to lower it again on reflection. Not sure I’ve come across the the word HORAL before.
  16. 35m today and, probably because I also only ever choose vanilla ice cream, I really liked this. A pleasing absence of ? meant that I could disentangle the cryptic each time and be confident of eventually working out the answer. I’d be back solving regularly if that were a more common event in these parts. Thank you, setter – much enjoyed today.
  17. 14.43, a rare sub-fifteen. Went with (b)read for the money in 1 dn. but same difference, as teenagers I once taught used to irk me by saying. As has been said, a remarkably unremarkable offering, but I’m with the setter – a whole flavour and tasty enough in its way.
  18. I thought this was going to defeat me, with the clues seeming clumsy and over-complicated. But solved steadily from bottom to top with lots of biffing. Unwonted took a while to unravel and, like others, LOI Second base. Took 35mins but not a lot of fun to be had here. Thanks to all anyway.
  19. I was all ready to submit at 31 minutes, then noticed I hadn’t completed 1d. At 41 minutes I revisited DEPOSITORY and changed it to REPOSITORY. Doh! 41:24, with AGA FOI and READ LOI. I also struggled to reconcile HARDIEST. I had to parse 8d carefully as I was under the misapprehension that the Canadian train/plane company had the R in the middle whereas the gunner and the beer didn’t. I quite enjoyed the puzzle overall though. Thanks setter and George.
  20. 30:06

    I don’t remember seeing unwonted here before. But,

    Yes. I remember Adlestrop—
    The name, because one afternoon
    Of heat the express-train drew up there
    Unwontedly. It was late June.

    I was on 20 mins with just the unwanted 16 ac to solve and some uncertainty over the clever Bombardier which I eventually parsed. I finally biffed unwonted on the half hour mark.

    COD: Bombardier.

    1. What a delightful cross-reference. Just a hint of the train shuffling to a stop in the syllables of the said word.
  21. Yes this one puzzled me too. The shelter bit was dangling and where did the deer come in I wondered – there didn’t seem to be room. Thanks George for the parse.
  22. No problem with SECOND BASE – my elder grandson thinks he’s going to play that position for the Mets (yes I know). 16.11)
  23. 47 mins – quite steady with a few unparseables. 22d – not heard of HORAL, wasn’t sure of BRED and was definitely shaky on READ = Register which was my LOI. As for 12a, my knowledge of baseball is limited to the commentary on Meat Loaf’s Paradise By The Dashboard Light, where the other meaning of ‘safe at second base’ is inferred.
  24. 1%;48. Like others I thought of BACK first for te second half of 12a. Failed to parse BOMBARDIER and forgot to come back and check. FAMILIAR my COD.
  25. Glad I wasn’t the only one to be held up by the simple looking READ. Last in was UNWONTED which I didn’t know in the sense of ‘strange’.

    I liked the ‘Sailor’ and ‘Soldier’ – complicated parsing for the latter and I was stuck on ‘Brigadier’ for a while – and SECOND BASE.

    Gentler than a couple of other offerings elsewhere today and all done in 47 minutes.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  26. 29:34. There were quite a few here which I was able to put in fairly quickly, each synonym or instruction from word play seemed to be the first thing I thought of. This may have lulled me into a false sense of security for a couple of harder ones later in the solve where each element seemed open to many more possibilities. So, at 12ac moor was not my first thought for desolate place and Pat just one of many options for man. I found 16ac quite devious too. A nice smooth solve with a couple of clues giving some pause for thought.

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