Times 27,155: The Full Nelson

Not as tough as yesterday’s, with many fairly gentle clues to get a foothold, but a fair few chewier offerings that pushed my own time over the 10 minute mark, when I failed to think of anything other than DISCONTENT for 11ac and then stalled on 4dn too, which I eventually entered with a shrug as ‘S COLD, before the penny dropped post-submission about how it actually worked. Must’ve been a little tired.

Some great cluing going on in here: the puzzle is not afraid to keep a clue short if that’s all it needs, but I like the willingness to go long in other places (10ac) or to have the definition part be a big circumlocution, all the better to mislead us. Some obscure words but very generously clued, which makes them venial; and a fine complement of cryptic defs and smile-raising &lit. My COD though definitely goes to 17ac which is both nicely literary and managed to mislead me on two separate fronts, as I assumed Stowe must be the school and didn’t bother to look for a third meaning of PM for ages, given that it surely must be either prime minister or afternoon, right?

Excellent puzzle to conclude an enjoyable week of them then: thanks again setter. And I still have 376 days to solve crosswords in before I hit middle age, too…

1 Butcher uses same woman to see to joints (8)
MASSEUSE – (USES SAME*) [“butcher”]

5 Measure litres, then stupidly drinking gallons (6)
LENGTH – (L THEN*) [“stupidly”], “drinking” G [gallons]

10 100 mature British gents finished back on ship? That’s callous (4-11)
COLD-BLOODEDNESS – C OLD B LOO [100 | mature | British | gents] + reversed ENDED [finished] on SS [ship]

11 Wretched name for Slough medical specialty (10)
DESPONDENT – DESPOND [name for Slough (in The Pilgrim’s Progress)] + E.N.T. [medical specialty]

13 Where one can be cut off from Helsinki in retreat (4)
ISLE – hidden reversed in {h}ELSI{nki}

15 Benefit from 45 to 65 maybe after daughters leave (7)
MILEAGE – MI{dd}LE AGE, losing two D-for-daughters. Delighted at this surprising confirmation that I’m still young, thanks setter!

17 A posh Stowe girl’s PM? (7)
AUTOPSY – A U TOPSY [a | posh | (Harriet Beecher) Stowe girl]. PM as in Post Mortem, not prime minister or afternoon. Topsy’s the one who just growed.

18 Reticence about taking in unknown old tax cases (7)
COYNESS – ON [about], “taking in” Y [unknown], the whole cased by CESS [old tax]

19 Noble decoration and place to hang it? (3,4)
EAR LOBE – EARL O.B.E. [noble | decoration], leading to a place one could hang a decoration.

21 Upright character among crew makes appearance (4)
MIEN – I [upright character] among MEN [crew]

22 Worker slapped under restraint (10)
HANDCUFFED – HAND CUFFED [worker | slapped]

25 Low-tech Dictaphone suits criminal (15)

27 Brussels chief enlists a French guard for sultan (6)
EUNUCH – EU CH [Brussels | chief] “enlists” UN [a (French)]

28 Applaud role reversal? Such tosh! (8)
CLAPTRAP – CLAP [applaud] + reversed PART [role]

1 Black material that’s worn by drivers (7)
MACADAM – cryptic definition. The material is not being worn as clothes, but by the drivers’ wheels.

2 Note, very large (3)
SOL – SO L [very | large]

3 English medic thought inhaling CO upright relieved pain? (10)
EMBROCATED – E MB RATED [English | medic | thought] “inhaling” upside-down CO

4 Carpet that is past its best (5)
SCOLD – SC [scilicet = that is] + OLD [past its best]

6 Nelson perhaps changed colours, swopping parts (4)
EDDY – DYED [changed colours], swopping its first and second halves. Think we’re talking about Nelson Eddy (1901-67), American actor and singer.

7 State reported galley’s rejecting oil (11)
GREASEPROOF – homophone of GREECE [state “reported”] + PROOF [galley]

8 Extremely happy to keep willow ladders in this? (7)
HOSIERY – H{app}Y to “keep” OSIER [willow]

9 Sloth maybe in UK tourist hotspots (8)
EDENTATE – I think we’re talking about the part of the Lake District and the Tate Gallery here for the tourist hotspots, though my own first thought was the Eden Project in Cornwall.

12 When only Lassie’s broadcast? (5,6)
SILLY SEASON – (ONLY LASSIE’S*) [“broadcast”], &lit.

14 Which person up on a horse is invited to get down? (7,3)
STIRRUP CUP – another cryptic definition, “get down” here meaning to drink. I wonder if this clue might not have originally omitted the “on a horse” helping hand, before someone got cold feet.

16 English clubs still over the moon (8)
ECSTATIC – E C STATIC [English | clubs | still]

18 Travel to work miles in business vehicle Down Under (7)
COMMUTE – M M [miles (*2)] in CO UTE [business | Australian vehicle]

20 Turned out target based on European party (5,2)
ENDED UP – END [target] taking E DUP [European | party] as its base

23 Old comms service cable raised around top of tree (5)
DATEL – reversed LEAD [cable] around T{ree}. Never heard of Datel® but the wordplay was clear enough and it is in Chambers. Proprietary to British Telecom apparently.

24 Huge web image? (4)
EPIC – or E-PIC suggesting “web image”.

26 Endless rent rise (3)
TOR – TOR{n} [“endless” rent]

39 comments on “Times 27,155: The Full Nelson”

  1. Well, and I’m still MIddLEAGEd. That one was my LOI. After EMBROCATED… have I ever seen that before? I thought of “dyed”/EDDY right away, but it seemed a verboten indirect anagram—it’s not, exactly… “Rated” strikes me as rather oblique for “thought,” and likewise “benefit” for MILEAGE. But I’m not complaining.
  2. Hard work but most enjoyable and particularly satisfying to finish without resorting to aids which had seemed to be inevitable. I completed the grid exactly on the hour.

    LOI was STIRRUP CUP. Although the answer had occurred to me a while earlier I couldn’t parse it so it stayed out. Anyway it made for a very pleasing Doh! moment when the penny finally dropped.

    DK the TOPSY reference. Apart from the public school the only other Stowe I could dredge up from memory was H Beecher, so I was on the right lines, but I couldn’t remember what she wrote, let alone the names of any of her characters.

    Wasted a lot of time on ‘Buckram’ at 1dn with only the C and last letter M checkers in place, and B for ‘black’ was tempting as the first letter. I knew it was a fabric but little more than that. Fortunately I eventually saw the anagram at 1ac and that forced me to think again.

    Edited at 2018-09-28 06:30 am (UTC)

  3. 45 mins with yoghurt, granola, etc.
    I made this difficult for myself by misreading the end of 1ac as ‘to see joints’ not ‘to see TO joints’. This makes the clue much harder; honestly.
    DNK Topsy – and didn’t think of that Stowe, but did think of another meaning of PM. Good clue.
    Have seen UTE here before, but DNK Datel, so lucky the wordplay was unambiguous.
    Mostly I liked: Coyness, Ecstatic and COD to the penny drop moment in Stirrup Cup.
    Thanks clever setter and V.
  4. I was surprised to finish this in 12:33 – an excellent puzzle with so much to admire.


    I took COLD-BLOODEDNESS on trust, so thanks to V for parsing it fully.

    I remember Elliman’s Embrocation, a familiar smell in the football dressing rooms of my youth, but had never considered EMBROCATED as a verb form.

    I see from 20D that the DUP are becoming the compilers’ political gift that keeps on giving when “party” needs to be clued. How many of us outside Ulster had ever thought about them until they suddenly held the balance of power at Westminster ?

    LOI SCOLD – I shrugged too.

    COD MACADAM, with honourable mentions to SILLY SEASON and STIRRUP CUP.

  5. Excellent and thoroughly enjoyable crossword, home safely in 20m.
    Some very fine clues and diversionary tactics such as 1d, 1ac, 19ac, this last being my COD. Had to go with the wordplay for 23d but it did ring the vaguest of bells. And SOL as a note I assumed must be something to do with the tonic sol-fa but I regret musical knowledge is not my forte (can’t do the acute symbol). Thanks V for the explanation of Topsy – I couldn’t remember the Harriet Beecher reference.
    1. You don’t want the accent, but if you do, try ‘option’ and E simultaneously. With U you get ¨, with _ you get `, with I you get ˆ, with N you get ˜.
  6. the last 5 or 6 minutes being devoted to 1ac; couldn’t believe my obtuseness in not seeing ‘butcher’ as anagrind. Also slow in parsing COMMUTE, which I was hesitant to put in as it seemed so self-evident a solution. NHO DATEL, of course, and had to do some alphabet juggling to come up with LEAD. TOPSY took a moment–could only think of Eva crossing the ice. I wondered about EDEN, which I thought was west of Nod. Well, I suppose so is the Lake District.
  7. A satifying workout, though I’m still not convinced about the cryptic bit of 9d – not the most obvious “UK tourist hotspots” to spring to mind unless I’m missing something.
    Loved 17a when light finally dawned. My favourite reference to Stowe comes in Noel Coward’s parody of Cole Porter’s “Let’s Do It”:
    “E. Allan Poe-ho! ho! ho! did it
    But he did it in verse
    H. Beecher Stowe did it
    But she had to rehearse…”
  8. ECSTATIC to finish this in 29 minutes without aids. I deduced there had to be a (AU)TOPSY in Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a book not encountered since a passage was read to us at primary school. I’m old enough to remember Nelson EDDY (LOI) but young enough to have preferred Duane. DESPONDENT a write-in as I’ve always referred that place just off the M4 as the Slough of Despond. I don’t remember DATEL but it had to be right. COD to MACADAM. Without him we’d have forty miles of bad road. Thank you V and setter.
  9. Easier than yesterday’s, but that’s not saying much. Still had to push fifteen minutes over my normal hour to get LOI 17a AUTOPSY; had no idea what was going on with Stowe there. Also didn’t know 6d Nelson EDDY, that meaning of “get down” in 14d, or (unusually for my own geekwardly-leaning GK) 23d DATEL.

    I wasn’t helped at the end by not seeing 7d GREASEPROOF for the longest time, which is annoying, as it’s an easier clue than many here. I just couldn’t get the reading right.

    Loved 1d MACADAM and the 19a EAR LOBE. Very glad I remembered both 9d EDENTATE and “osier” for 8d’s “willow” from previous puzzles. At least I’m learning!

  10. Great puzzle, with chucklesome moments like the E-PIC and EARL OBE. Pity that even with the limpid wordplay, I still can’t spell EUNUCH. Perhaps I’ll remember next time that it’s not the Powell chap with an extra U.
    I assumed it was the EDEN project: it gets 1m+ visitors a year which surely makes it a hotspot, though the TATE gets 5.6m.
    Curious how Bunyan’s Slough of Despond has made it into common usage.
    My LOI AUTOPSY just growed on me. 25 minutes with one error.
    1. The Eden project gets my vote too. Though it didn’t when we visited Cornwall during the Euros in 2016. The wife and my daughter’s friend did Eden, while the daughter and I sat in a pub and watched England beat Wales. The high point of a wretched tournament.
      1. I agree on the reference in the clue, but more importantly about the actual place. Deathly dull, a complete waste of time and money IMO. I wish I’d gone to the pub.

        Edited at 2018-09-29 03:54 pm (UTC)

  11. 22:16. I was pleased to finish this in a decent time for me, although there a couple of points where I needed educating to reduce my general ignorance. I knew neither the author nor character from Uncle Tom’s Cabin – my LOI, nor the singer; our Nelson was clearly not Horatio, though. Some pleasing PDMs, not least my SLOI, STIRRUP CUP, when I finally spotted what “get down” referred to. All good fun. And I’m happy to hear I’m not old for a few years yet even though I now get free prescriptions! Thanks V and setter.
  12. Most of the required GK I had, so home in 31 minutes. Liked the TOPSY reference, though I don’t think I’ve ever read the book.

    My current reading in a bit of a US phase (Infinite Jest, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Rum Diary – rather good) is The Grapes of Wrath. No one beats Hawthorne, though, for a beautiful, limpid writing style. Avoid the overblown novels and try his tales, especially Mosses from an Old Manse.

    Edited at 2018-09-28 08:29 am (UTC)

    1. ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ the best US novel for my money, narrowly ahead of ‘Moby-Dick’ which is Shakespearean and yet a touch too whaly in its thesis-like detail.
  13. Like others, all done in 25 mins except 17a and 9d. Then got autopsy for PM with no idea about Stowe girl. Never did get 9d so came here. Nice to see EDDY instead of the other Nelsons.
    1. They’re all available with various Alt+ a number, e.g. Alt+130 is é, or just change the keyboard on an iPad to get e.g. àâã…..(press on the a and push gently up).
    2. I must have yours, K. The keyboard/case in which I protect my iPad has two ALT/OPTION keys on the bottom line.
  14. Clearly on the wavelength of a very pleasing puzzle. Like practically everyone else, never heard of DATEL, but remembered Prestel, so it wasn’t too big a leap of faith.
  15. It may have been Eddy as the singing Mountie in Rose Marie who was spoofed in the Python lumberjack number. 20.46 with a stupid double typo “detal” for DATEL. Oh bother it.
  16. 18′, with a shrugged DATEL LOI. Thought TOPSY must be slang for a Stowe girl, but have remembered it’s a boys’ school. Thanks verlaine and setter.
  17. Tough, enjoyable. Eden may be pushing it a bit. v., perhaps the endless rent is ‘tore’. On second thoughts perhaps the passive has it. Or of course either. Loved 17. 32’25.
  18. Pleased to finish this in 32:00 after struggling to get going. ISLE FOI and STIRRUP CUP was last. Lots of penny drop moments. Taking SOL on wordplay opened up COLD BLOODEDNESS which got me moving. Didn’t know the Stowe Girl but spotted the correct PM. I assumed Eden was the Eden Project. Nice puzzle. Thanks setter and V.

    Edited at 2018-09-28 12:55 pm (UTC)

  19. Struggled to finish this while watching the golf as well. At least I managed to get to 5 left but they proved rather intractable. Only vaguely aware of Eddy Nelson as I thought only to find it reversed on checking. LOI STIRRUP CUP which I clearly should have got from the letters available but clearly as a man I am unable to do 2 things at once…
  20. Never heard of it, but got the answer without a problem, due to my dislike and paranoia of random groups of letters being clued as “name” e.g. Roisheen or whatever it was a few weeks ago.
    Name: Des; slough: pond
    and as Zabadak is wont to say: assemble. Definitely wrong, can’t account for the “for” in the middle, but it got the answer. Otherwise only Eden and Stowe unknowns, guessed Stowe was a town in UK with topsy well-known slang from thereabouts. Autopsy was the only word I could think of that fit, and eventually the penny dropped. Slowish, but mostly excellent.
  21. Very nice crossword. I think though that Macadam is grey(ish) until you bind it with tar? (Mr Grumpy)
  22. This one took me just a shade over three-quarters of an hour, making it exceptionally good value for money. A typo in STIRRUP CUP left me lost at 22ac for a long time, but was eventually rectified. The Topsy of 17ac didn’t register, causing another hold-up. GREASEPROOF was my LOI.

    Excellent puzzle, and thanks as always to our blogger.

  23. DNK 9d so entered EDENLAKE – half a mark there. NHO TOPSY except for Topsy And Tim (small children’s books) but the checkers seemed clear enough (assumed it began with an A). Similarly, had heard of STIRRUP CUP (or was it CAP?) bit no idea what it was. 3d, RATED for Thought? Was also slow to get 15a and 16d. The usual hour+ interrupted by work.
  24. About 30 minutes, ending with the surprise appearance of the Singing Mountie. Quite surprised to find him here. That had me fooled for a long time. DATEL went in entirely from wordplay and checkers. Regards.
  25. 58:56 with a lot of time at the end waiting for the “that sort of a PM and that sort of sloth” pennies to drop. Spent a while looking at the wrong end of 11ac for the definition until I thought of John Bunyan and stopped thinking of John Betjeman. 6dn from wp not knowing the Nelson in question. 14dn entirely from checkers, having something to do with horses and having recalled the term without remembering what it was exactly. Dnk datel but checkers and wp were generous. A few tough ones so very satisfying to finish all correct inside the hour.
  26. According to Chambers Macadam is loose stones packed to make a hard surface. Sticking them together with tar to make tarmac or tarmacadam came later and the blackness of tarmac comes from the tar.
  27. Late to the party with this: I was busy in the rather beautiful Shenandoah National Park yesterday so only finished the puzzle today. The timer says 31:46 but I did it in fits and starts with various distractions along the way so no real time. Still, I found it really hard but also very enjoyable.
    I have just finished a book about the American Civil War which included a discussion of Harriet Beecher Stowe and Uncle Tom’s Cabin but I had managed to forget her completely. I wouldn’t have known the TOPSY reference anyway.

    Edited at 2018-09-29 04:00 pm (UTC)

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