Times 27148 – exterminate!

Time taken: 9:54.
I got almost all of the down answers on a first run though, and probably could have been a little faster than this on a good brain day. I’m in my last week of rehearsals for a show, so I’m a little behind in the regular solving regimen.

I thought today’s was a good puzzle for wordplay!

First definitions are underlined in the clues…

Away we go!

1 Youth from east extremely knowledgeable about robot (5)
DALEK – LAD(youth) reversed, then K(nowledgeabl)E also reversed. The robots from Dr. Who (see comments for discussion on whether they were actually robots or BBC extras in upside-down wheelie bins)
4 Eg top young woman’s hairpiece, might Spooner have said? (9)
WHIRLIGIG – Spoonerism of GIRLY WIG. There’s a bunch of discussion as to whether WHIRLYGIG should be accepted. I don’t recall seeing any other spelling, and WHIRLIGIG is the only spelling given in Collins (the usual standard dictionary for The Times), Chambers or Oxford.
9 Phoney’s daily beat circling US city (9)
CHARLATAN – CHAR(daily), TAN(beat) surrounding LA(US city)
10 Church land where bird has swapped river for lake? (5)
GLEBE – the bird is a GREBE, replace R(river) with L(lake)
11 Unusually dire prospects for group loyalty (6,2,5)
14 Fix some olla podrida, for example? (4)
STEW – double definition – fix being an uncomfortable situation here
15 Tearing of delicate fabric in front of allotment (10)
LACERATION – LACE(delicate fabric), RATION(allotment)
18 Copyist, one visiting a team in French quarters (10)
AMANUENSIS – I(one) inside A, MAN U(Manchester United, soocer team), EN(In, in French), S,S(quarters)
19 Charge for accessing remote estates, primarily (4)
FARE – First letters of For Accessing Remote Estates
21 Loyalty old railways originally showed, adopting alternative tracks? (13)
BROTHERLINESS – BR(British Rail, old railway), and S(howed), containing OTHER(alternative), LINES(tracks)
24 Friend’s note written during a match (5)
AMIGO – MI(musical note), in A, MATCH(go, as in go with)
25 N European’s proposal for first daughter in run (9)
LAPLANDER – PLAN(proposal) instead of the first D in LADDER(run)
27 Excellent, solidly attractive fish (5-4)
HUNKY-DORY – HUNKY(solidly attractive), DORY(fish)
28 Tree-dweller appearing in sundry advertisements (5)
DRYAD – hidden in sunDRY ADvertisements

1 Surprisingly Nice is dank, squalid and poverty-stricken (10)
2 Grassy area providing shelter for listeners (3)
LEA – sounds like LEE(shelter)
3 Fellow entertaining Liberal physicist (6)
KELVIN – KEVIN(fellow) containing L(liberal), for Lord Kelvin
4 Uncommunicative comedian lured outside hotel (9)
WITHDRAWN – WIT(comedian), DRAWN(lured) with H(hotel) inside
5 Like an order mocking customer finally leaves (5)
IONIC – IRONIC(mocking) missing (custome)R – an order of architecture
6 Rest taken after member’s ball (3,5)
LEG BREAK – BREAK(rest) following LEG(member) – a ball in cricket
7 Rough evaluation of visitor hugging son and current chum (11)
GUESSTIMATE – GUEST(visitor) contaning S(son), then I(current), MATE(chum)
8 Anorak Stavros possibly needed, disregarding end of winter (4)
GEEK – Stavros (as opposed to Davros) would be a GREEK, remove the last letter of winteR
12 Quiet about eccentric man from way back in history (11)
PRECAMBRIAN – P(piano, quiet), RE(about), CAM(eccentric motor), BRIAN(man)
13 Limitless and, in Germany, without poetic rhythm (10)
UNMEASURED – UND(and, in German), outside of MEASURE(poetic rhythm)
16 Rage hippy stirred up studying ancient inscriptions (9)
17 Independence of a posh man accepting prestigious award (8)
AUTONOMY – A, U(posh), TONY(man) containing OM(order of merit)
20 Enchanting chap island zoo initially put in charge (6)
WIZARD – I(island), Z(oo) inside WARD(charge)
22 Greeting a man will love? (5)
23 Expression of disgust about leader of socialist party (4)
BASH – BAH(expression of disgust) surrounding S(ocialist)
26 One of those appearing regularly in diary (3)
DAY – alternating letters in DiArY

68 comments on “Times 27148 – exterminate!”

  1. I seem to have finally learned DALEK, along with ‘tardis’. KELVIN took me a while, too; the K should have been enough, but wasn’t. Didn’t expect my name to show up either. Biffed 18ac and 25ac; had to come here for George to explain 25 to me.
  2. I started this at the office after a big sandwich and some whiskey, nodding off occasionally, and I didn’t get the last few until I had whizzed thru the QC on the subway, headed to my Humans Against Music karaoke session. The first name of one of my fellow HAMsters (not there tonight) is KELVIN. PRECAMBRIAN was my next-to-the-last one in, as I was stuck, like Vinyl, on IAN for a while, and didn’t remember CAM for “eccentric” until I saw the whole word—which I needed to get BROTHERLINESS. I’ve never watched a whole episode of Dr. Who, though I had friends back in West Virginia who were fans—which means I had to verify via Google what George’s blog title was about.

    Edited at 2018-09-20 05:22 am (UTC)

  3. I understand that strictly speaking DALEKS are not robots; they are mutants encased in mechanical shells but I wouldn’t want to argue the point with a dedicated ‘Doctor Who’ fan!

    Mostly completed within my target half-hour but although I had considered STEW amongst several possibilities for S?E? at 14ac I didn’t spot the ‘fix’ definition and didn’t know what ‘olla polladra’ was so I looked it up.

    Edited at 2018-09-20 05:32 am (UTC)

  4. 34 minutes, but with “SOEM” for 14a. NHO olla podrida, and assumed that “fix” was an anagram indicator for something else I hadn’t heard of. Oh well. Just glad to have got through the rest of it so quickly, really, including remembering LOI 18a AMANUENSIS well enough from previous puzzle finally to biff it!

    MER at 4a WHIRLIGIG’s unchecked middle “I”, given that Wikipedia says “whirlygig” is an alternate spelling. I’d also agree with Jack that the space dustbins aren’t robots, but the definition of either “robot” or DALEK can probably be stretched far enough in most people’s minds…

    1. Yes, I wasn’t suggesting the clue was unfair or majorly inaccurate. As usual in such matters when it comes to crosswords we have to defer to the source dictionaries and all of them mention the word ‘robot’ somewhere in their definitions. SOED in particular has this secondary meaning which exonerates the setter entirely: gen. a ruthless automaton, a robot.
  5. 30 mins with pain aux raisins – but DNF.
    DNK the stew and amanuensis was my nemesis.
    Mostly I liked the hunky dory.
    Thanks setter and G.

    Edited at 2018-09-20 07:40 am (UTC)

  6. Doesn’t “history” start with the invention of the written word, so PRECAMBRIAN is most definitely way back in prehistory?
    Originally bunged in STEM for 14a as a possible botanical term until Mrs Deezzaa disabused me and led me to the correct answer.
    Eric Fenby is the archtypical amanuensis (for Delius), but I’m blowed if I can name any others (Boswell maybe?)
    Nice puzzle – 32 minutes.
    1. Mrs. Jellyby, in ‘Bleak House’, refers to her ‘eldest daughter, who is my amanuensis …’, and who is at that moment resentfully taking dictation from her. Milton’s daughters also filled that role.

      Edited at 2018-09-20 07:58 am (UTC)

      1. The apostle Paul had one called Tertius, his own handwriting being distinctively large. When I run a pub quiz, I fully intend using the question “who wrote Paul’s letter to the Romans?” just to really annoy people.
        1. That’s a bit like the local NYC trick quiz question – who is buried in Grant’s Tomb? Actually no one, not Ulysses or his wife because it’s a mausoleum.
          1. “Who is buried in Grant’s Tomb?” was one of a couple of booby-prize questions offered to contestants on Groucho Marx’s TV quiz show, “You Bet Your Life”, who had managed to win nothing. The answer was presumably ‘Grant (duh)’, but there were still the occasional couple who didn’t come up with the answer. Ironic to think that ‘I don’t know’ was the correct answer.
            1. You’ve reminded me of an irreverent ex-colleague of mine whose security question for getting a password reset was “What is the square root of a billion” to which he had to answer “I don’t know” to confirm his identity (I don’t think he’d get away with it in today’s more security conscious environment).
    2. Will Self’s amanuensis published a memoir earlier this year. From what little I know of it the role largely involved organising his narcotics.
  7. I tried all possible combinations of letters for S_E_ but somehow still didn’t manage STEW – obviously I didn’t know olla podrida or it would have been easy. Like gothic_matt I also had WHIRLYGIG but I’m not convinced that Wikipedia is a reliable source to claim the alternative spelling (online dictionaries didn’t have it with the Y)!
    1. I actually had WHIRLIGIG, but it was a close call. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it written down; I know it from the bridge of Dire Straits’ Tunnel of Love:

      Well it’s been money for muscle; another whirligig
      Money for muscle and another girl I dig…

  8. A speedy (for me) 19 min solve, apart from 13d. It took me another 10 mins trawling my brain for a word beginning with UND…
    1. Me too, it just so had to start UNDER___. But then I read the clue and realised the D was at the end and the answer was obviously UNMETERED. Except I couldn’t account for the extra E, and more importantly it didn’t fit.
  9. 14 minutes which would have been quicker if I hadn’t doubted UNMEASURED for limitless, the use of which offended the physicist in me. Eventually I decided that I’d seen it so used in the Bible, without knowing chapter and verse. I recalled Boswell being called Dr Johnson’s AMANUENSIS. We got our first telly for the Coronation (and the most heartbreaking Cup Final of all time, watched with my mother’s Blackpudlian family with my Boltonian Dad actually going to Wembley). COD WHIRLIGIG brought back happier early TV memories, with its companion SATURDAY SPECIAL, and the splendid Peter Butterworth, later of Carry On fame. I used to bowl LEG BREAKs, if the batsman was polite enough to let them bounce. Easyish but enjoyable. Thank you George and setter.
  10. Some interesting vocab here with DALEK and WHIRLIGIG setting an early pace and HUNKY-DORY to finish. Fairly easy but always interesting puzzle

    I hope nobody is going to say they haven’t heard of Lord KELVIN who amongst other notable achievements worked on the first transatlantic telegraph

  11. It’s rare for me to feel unfairly treated by a setter, but WHIRLYGIG and STEW in the same puzzle….the first just as viable an answer, the second nearly impossible without the knowledge of the dish (I have just returned from Spain). Oh well.
    1. You have every right to feel hard done by: while Chambers does not offer WHIRLYGIG, it does offer WHIRLYBIRD(s) (cue fabulous theme tune) and I can’t see any logical reason why the apparent rule I before G but Y before B should apply. Englysh, eh? What can you do?
      1. I hesitated between Y and I, but I think one can make a case for the distinction between the two words, viz. whirlybird is a compound–whirly (not whirli) + bird–where whirligig isn’t. In general, Y is simply a word-final version of I in English: happY, happIly, etc.
  12. I stretched to 22 minutes for this, mostly (so it feels) staring at the unpromising crossing letters for AMANUENSIS, though I’m au fait with the word.
    Jim will be pleased to know I’m familiar with Kelvin, not least for his temperature. While I’m not familiar with Guy’s Humans Against Music and member Kelvin, another Kelvin, “Freddie Starr Ate My Hamster” MacKenzie did spring to mind raising the slightly bizarre notion of a random but valid first name being used to clue a surname. Real pedants now have the opportunity to point out Kelvin isn’t a surname but a Barony. Degrees Thomson, anyone?
  13. I spent a while staring at 14ac and trawling the alphabet but decided life’s too short.
    I also hesitated over the spelling of WHIRLIGIG. I guessed right as it happened but to no avail.
    1. I had you down as a shoo-in for that foodie one (after I had looked it up). I failed on AMANUENSIS too, so you still have the bragging rights.

      Re WHIRLIGIG, I once acted (very badly) in Twelfth Night, and still remember one line spoken by the Fool, though I have forgotten all my own: ‘and thus the whirligig of time brings in his revenges‘. That bard was darn good at rhythm as well as poetic diction.

      Edited at 2018-09-20 02:38 pm (UTC)

      1. No it was new to me. It seemed clear that I needed a word meaning ‘fix’ that would fit but trawling the alphabet for those answers is a joyless kind of solving and this morning I just couldn’t be bothered.
  14. 20’14 with fully 5 min. on the last, 18. Got to the stew through the fix, second last. Nice touches here and there e.g. 4 ac. surface. Somehow I feel sorry for the old anorak, now forever clamped to a nerd.
  15. Like some others here, I didn’t know the Spanish mess, so tried the gothick_matt approach and bunged in SEMO (which might be something to do with a seed?) and later, when PRECAMBRIAN became clear, I resorted to aids and looked it up. I had a really good start with solutions going in steadily from NW to SE, but the stew and UNMEASURED held me up.
    I really enjoy the Spoonerism clues and here was a good example of the genre.
    I don’t think ‘Bah!’ is an expression of disgust so much as of contempt — quite different feelings: but I suppose the lexicographers rather than the setter must take the rap for that one.
    Technically a DNF, but 23 mins: quite quick for me.
    Thank you, George, and thanks to the setter.
  16. ….pork and beans. Would have had more, but the cook was so mean” (Lonnie Donegan). OLLA PODRIDA would never have entered his head, and wouldn’t have scanned anyway.

    Was never comfortable with this puzzle, and, despite dealing with the unknown STEW, I threw in the towel at 12 minutes without trying to alpha trawl AMANUENSIS. I knew the word, but was never likely to solve the clue (I saw “copyist” and thought in terms of Tom Keating). As was observed yesterday, sometimes you just know that you don’t know.

    Didn’t like KELVIN – clueing way too loose.

    COD WHIRLIGIG (Wikipedia, my ****)

    1. If you know you don’t know, you will never know. But if you don’t know you don’t know, maybe you will know…
        1. The underlying thought was that if you think you can’t do something you will invariably be right. But if it doesn’t occur to you that you can’t, surprisingly often you can

          Edited at 2018-09-20 08:55 pm (UTC)

          1. Ah right. I read it as a reference to factual knowledge: a necessary precursor to learning something is the knowledge that you don’t know it!
  17. Daleks are not robots. If anything of that sort, they are cyborgs. Essentially, though, they are wheel-chair users.
      1. Definitely not robots as any Whovian will confirm
        btw: In the 21st Century series they acquired rockets to solve the stairs problem.
          1. This big ball of wibbily wobbly timey wimey…stuff, eh? Great minds…, but you got there first. At least in this dimension.
        1. Long before 21st century (or not, perhaps, this time travel stuff is a pig) they solved the stairs thing with a nice pink forcefield. Mind you, they started off with tiddly casters before the tricycles. How they ever got to become such a fearsome force for evil is one of life’s mysteries.
  18. I was convinced it was “precumbrian”, having forgotten that cam thing and thinking there must be rum in there somewhere, so that put AMANUENSIS out of reach for a while. I’ve been having a spell of mixing up my vowels – I got “Zarathustra” wrong over the weekend I now see, and there I was so pleased at having solved it. I did know Kelvin who gave his name to iceboxes over here I think (kelvinators) and also knew the stew. WHIRLIGIG comes in Twelfth Night early on in a scene with Malvolio, the Fool and the tedious Olivia. 19.09

    Edited at 2018-09-20 09:47 am (UTC)

  19. Annoying. Messed up a good time with CHARLATON mistyped. Also confess that I googled the Spanish dish after thinking it might be SOEM but then rejecting it as unlikely. Otherwise straightforward. Don’t usually like spoonerisms but the humour of this one made it quite acceptable.
  20. As soon as I saw 1ac, I thought “Ooh, there’ll be letters to the editor”. Some Who fans can be very vocal about such things.

    I walked through Kelvingrove Park in Glasgow last week, and admired the statue of Lord Kelvin, and his magnificent Victorian beard.

    My only hold-up, then, was 14ac, where I had to have a swing despite having no idea what olla podrida was, so STEW at least looked like the strongest candidate for the “fix” part, and turned out to be right. Had it turned out to be something completely different, I would not have been entirely surprised.

  21. Greetings all, I’m back in the land of the living. I’ve made a few quick updates based on the comments. I will take a stand on WHIRLIGIG – Spoonerisms are generally homophonic rather than literal, and no spelling of the word with a Y is supported by Collins, Chambers, or the Oxford dictionary. As for AMANUENSIS – file it away somewhere, it will be back. I think this is the third or fourth time it has appeared in a puzzle I’ve blogged.

    1. Ah, thank you for that explanation.

      I hadn’t realised that Spoonerisms are generally homophonic rather than literal so was another with the Y not I.

      A DNF anyway as I was stuck with 18a but glad to have known 14a.

      Thanks to setter and George

      1. In this particular clue, it even says “as Spooner might have said” rather than “written” so I think it is probably extra fair.

        Having said that, I was another WHIRLYGIG (maybe from the Whirlybirds TV show when I was a kid).

        Edited at 2018-09-21 01:45 am (UTC)

  22. ….Mrs H spent her post-degree years in Spain – she told me what olla podrida is.

    Would have been 36 mins, but had WHIRLYGIG rather than WHIRLIGIG.

    The rest was enjoyably straightforward.

  23. 17:10 finishing with an alphabet trawl for STEW, never having heard of the Spanish dish. Didn’t like UNMEASURED for limitless. The contents of my lunchtime crudité pot were unmeasured but certainly not limitless as I’ve eaten them all.
    1. Alph the sacred river (giggles) ran through caverns measureless to man. I do sort of see what you mean though.
  24. After 40 minutes or so I had 14a and 18a unsolved. I managed to come up correctly with STEW, but AMANUENSIS defeated me despite knowing the word and what it meant. I’ve even driven past the house in Cloughton where Eric toiled for Fred. I’d considered the French EN, and compass points for quarters, but MANU as the side didn’t occur to me and I couldn’t get away from Q before U, so at 54 minutes I used a wordfinder and slapped my forehead. GLEBE was unknown but easy from wordplay and crossers. Liked WHIRLIGIG where for some reason I didn’t consider a Y. KELVIN took longer than it should’ve after I got DALEK(not getting into that discussion, although I concur with the more of a cyborg definition). A fun puzzle on the whole. Thanks setter and George.
  25. I’ve always said ‘honky-dory’, which is in the Urban Dictionary but nowhere else, so a DNF in a very slow, for a not v. difficult puzzle, 63 minutes.

    At least managed to get STEW and not to make a hash of ‘olla podrida’.

    Love those DALEK(s).

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  26. I attempt the 15×15 when time permits and was lured into a false sense of security today when I saw how quickly our blogger had solved it (forgetting he has fine tuned his solving skills). I allowed myself one hour and completed all but 3 on the grid. The reveals were 6d LEG BREAK (DNK) 14a STEW (I recognised the Spanish olla podrida but could not make the connection to the word Fix) and 18a AMANUENSIS (which I am struggling to spell even as I write). Thank you setter and glheard.
    1. Thanks for the link. Good old Dick Emery. Pretty sophisticated, edgy comedy. It was in the 70’s anyway. But I still like it. Sort of anyway.

  27. A wonderful traditional concept in Spain. Literally “rotten pot” – you just chuck in the left-overs from previous meals to keep the cauldron going, eat with fresh bread, no waste.
  28. 27:21 fairly gentle for a Friday. Podrida looked a bit like porridge so I guessed 14ac must be stew. Nice puzzle.

    [On edit] Not surprising to find its gentle for a Friday – it’s only Thursday! In my defence I’ve got the day off work tomorrow so the weekend starts here!

    Edited at 2018-09-20 07:36 pm (UTC)

  29. Straightforward puzzle, but I hampered my top right corner by starting with Stavros being a Croat and anorak a coat . . Aargh

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