Times 27211 – Food for thought

Time: 32 minutes
Music: Dave Brubeck, Time Further Out

This was a trickier puzzle than you might expect for a Monday, and if you are missing a few pieces of obscure knowledge you might easily get completely stuck.   I will admit, I was pressed to the limits of what I know, but I have gotten used to that trying to work Mephisto.    Fortunately, if you do happen to have all the knowledge, it was not that difficult a puzzle.

I listened to tonight’s music with a new phono cartridge, a Denon DL-301 II that I have just installed.   It’s still breaking in, but the music was very lively and I bopped along as I solved.   Sometimes you need external musical rhythm to achieve that mysterious internal solving rhythm.     Brubeck was from California, but he lived in Connecticut for a long time, and there are still people around here who knew him and his family.

1 Money a laboratory’s cut for water vessel (8)
CALABASH – C(A LAB)ASH, easy if you know what a ‘calabash’ is – it’s a tree with a gourd that can be used for a variety of purposes.
5 I work in charge of pursuing British film (6)
BIOPIC – B + I + OP + IC, a rather convoluted construction.
9 Authorise second armed conflict around November (8)
SANCTION -S A(N)CTION, where the one-letter month abbreviations come into play.   What do they do for January, June, and July where, as Pserve_p2 has pointed out, the ‘N’ for ‘November comes from the NATO alphabet.
10 Marker on wine bottle (6)
FLAGON – FLAG + ON, deceptively simple.
12 Army commanders hurried where supplies could be had (7,5)
GENERAL STORE – GENERALS TORE, probably in a jeep driven by an aide.
15 Left that southern city of France (5)
LYONS – L + YON + S.
16 Railway diversion crucial for reconstruction after constant cancellation? (9)
FUNICULAR – FUN + anagram of [c]RUCIAL.  This should be easy because we had this one fairly recently.
18 Meat and fish for a judge in Corsican capital (9)
CARPACCIO – (+CARP -aj)ACCIO.  If you don’t know that Ajaccio is the capital of Corsica, you’d better know the meat dish!
19 I fret about what might recycle junk (5)
REFIT – Anagram of I FRET, with the literal referring to a Chinese junk.
20 Disapproval of Conservative Democrat leading country (12)
CONDEMNATION – CON + DEM + NATION, a simple one.
24 Trouble with serious offence over good-looking youth (6)
ADONIS – ADO + SIN backwards, eminently biffable.
25 What will strain old spacecraft chasing the speed of light (8)
26 Fate is satisfied by king (6)
KISMET – K + IS MET, a word adopted from Turkish into multiple languages.
27 Statistics with January not showing the first three figures (8)
STATUARY – STAT + [jan]UARY, unusally explicit for a cryptic – you really do remove the first three letters!
1 Unfinished gateau gets stored initially in container (4)
CASK – CA(S)K[e].
2 Take a dive unclothed for a breather (4)
LUNG – [p]LUNG[e].
3 Cricketers dine when short of time in place close to The Oval (9)
BATTERSEA – BATTERS + EA[t].   I wasted some time with ‘bats’, which leads nowhere.
4 Ruling starts on this weight of cake (5,2,5)
6 Does nothing with days in French islands (5)
7 Homer’s resting place is suspect if long associated with poet (6,4)
PIGEON LOFT – anagram of IF LONG + POET.   I wasted a lot of time on Homer Simpson, trying to get a piece of furniture.
8 Devote seconds breaking into ice cream van that’s old? (10)
11 I turn rowboat around for fish (7,5)
13 Timepieces changing ring, first to one, then a different sound (5-5)
CLICK-CLACK – CLOCK with first I, and then A substituted for O.
14 Very bad men tear into unfinished home (10)
17 Funny cartoon about jolly diver (9)
CORMORANT – anagram of CARTOON around RM, giving a bird I have a hard time remembering how to spell.
21 English low-fat cream (5)
22 Nearly perfect suggestion (4)
IDEA – IDEA[l], one from the Quickie.
23 May I ask you to settle in advance when record’s coming out? (4)
PRAY – PR[ep]AY.   There have been no actual EPs for many years, as far as I know, but they are far too useful to the setters to ever disappear.

77 comments on “Times 27211 – Food for thought”

  1. Definitely Monday. I also spent too much time with Homer Simpson, then biffed, parsing post submission. Rather odd, isn’t it, to say that BATTERSEA is near the Oval? 27ac looks rather like one of Jack’s ducks; and ‘statistics’, for me anyway, is ‘stats’ not ‘stat’, although my dictionary does give ‘stat’ as well.
  2. This seemed rather easy but I came in only 1 minute under my target half-hour because of a delay over my LOI at 18ac. I didn’t know the capital of Corsica but I spotted the possibility of CARP for ‘fish’ which together with the remaining checkers enabled me to drag CARPACCIO from distant recesses of my mind without knowing exactly what it is – only something I’d heard of in connection with food.

    I agree with Kevin that 3dn is oddly defined. BATTERSEA and The Oval are in different London boroughs and even measuring from the eastern extreme of Battersea (say Battersea Park) to The Oval they are around a mile-and-a-half apart. That sort of distance in Central London would give endless possibilities for what is ‘close’ to what. I guess the setter was keen to make the association with cricket offered by BATTERS- and this was the best he could come up with.

    I also agree with everything Kevin wrote about 27ac.

    Edited at 2018-12-03 07:54 am (UTC)

  3. 12:06. It must be Monday. I didn’t know the capital of Corsica, but I did know the thinly sliced meat or fish dish. HORRENDOUS and LYONS my last 2 in. I agree with Kevin and Jack about STATUARY being odd. As for the suggested proximity of Battersea and the Oval, I’m inclined to think we should allow our setters some artistic license. PRAY my COD not least for it falling under CONSECRATE.

    Edited at 2018-12-03 08:02 am (UTC)

    1. Actually, I was just thinking that I’d expect, ceteris paribus, to see that the Oval is near Battersea (if near it be), just as one wouldn’t say that the Thames is near the Tate. I have no idea where the Oval is, or Battersea.
      1. The whole of Battersea is near the Oval though, which doesn’t really apply to the Thames and the Tate. I did think this a little odd for similar reasons to jackkt: Battersea is quite near the Oval but then so is Manchester.
        1. I didn’t care much for my Tate example, but I was in a hurry, as now. Anyway, my MER was based on the relative sizes of the two things in proximity (or not). San Francisco is near Candlestick Park (trust me; the stadium is much less than a kilometer south of the city). But surely one would (again, ceteris paribus) say that Candlestick Park is near SF. If the cat is on the mat, the mat must be under the cat, but.
          1. If the smaller thing is well known, I don’t see why size should matter. I wouldn’t see anything odd about saying that Salisbury is near Stonehenge, for instance, or Keystone is near Mount Rushmore (I even had to look that one up!)
  4. 30 mins with yoghurt, banana, etc.
    Last 5 mins spent thinking of possible burial places for Homer. Pognot Life perhaps? Doh.
    Mostly I liked: Colander and Pray.
    Thanks setter and Vinyl.
  5. Wide awake on Glasgow train so a breezy 40 mins. Not sure what CALABASH before hitting the blog. As a Saaf Lahndaner, I’d be quite happy saying that Battersea is close to The Oval.
  6. 7:20. Easy today, in spite of some funny words. I didn’t know what a CALABASH was, or the capital of Corsica, or that CLICK CLACK was a thing, but none of them caused me a problem.
    I avoided wasting time trying to think where the Homer of the Odyssey was buried by figuring that if people can’t even agree on whether he existed it seems unlikely we’d know where he was buried. So I wasted a bit of time wondering where Homer Simpson might have been buried instead.
    1. Homer Simpson doesn’t exist either. And even allowing for artistic license to encompass cartoon characters, he’s very much alive. I saw him last night. Mr Grumpy
      1. We could conceivably know the burial place of a fictional character, but I take your point about not-deadness being an impediment. This did occur to me, which is why I didn’t waste too much time thinking about it.
  7. Enjoyable but fairly straightforward 23m solve, last 5m spent on 18ac. Amusingly, when trying to get 3d with the B and E already there, I immediately thought of Bowlersea! Not for long, though,
    fortunately. Didn’t like 27ac either, rest were good clues.
  8. 42 minutes for me, but I’m tired and the coffee seemed to take a while to kick in. It was a hard start but got increasingly easy as I did a strangely backwards solve, for me, mostly starting with the longer answers and then fitting in the shorter ones around them.

    I was relieved to find that CARPACCIO was right, having had exactly Jack’s experience with 18a. Had a similar “well, I know it’s a word…” moment with 1a CALABASH.

    At least I remembered that Homer can be a pigeon. Today I’m nodding as often as the latter rather than the former.

    1. I just remembered Jimmy Durante saying, “Goodnight, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.”
  9. Nice start to the week. I biffed Pigeon Hole which slowed me down a bit. I didn’t know Calabash or Ajaccio but I did know Carpaccio.


  10. 18 minutes, on wavelength. I didn’t know all there is to know about penulimate-in CALABASH but cryptic and crossers were helpful. This gave LOI LUNG. Not sure what I thought about CLICK-CLACK. The sound of high neels coming down the corridor? The general knowledge required for CARPACCIO was within my range, although I did construct the capital from the meat. I can’t give COD to BATTERSEA as its geography is a bit of a stretch, so the honour goes to PIGEON LOFT. Thank you V and setter.

    Edited at 2018-12-03 09:18 am (UTC)

  11. 19 mins. No dramas. Ajaccio from Maupassant short story The Vendetta. Great blog, cheers.
  12. Actually, vinyl1, I think the N = November in 9a is the Nato alphabet, rather than a one-letter abbreviation for the month.

    Edited at 2018-12-03 09:45 am (UTC)

  13. I knew of the raw meat dish, but not of the Corsican capital. I *never* remember that a ‘jolly’ in Crosswordland is a Royal Marine, so I spent ages getting CORMORANT out of ‘cartoon’ + ‘do’. FOI BIOPIC — which I consider to be a bizarre word, and not at all like myopic or bionic.
    All in all a fun solve (I particularly liked Homer’s resting place) done in 28 mins.
    Thanks, vinyl1, for your blogsplanation.
  14. A leisurely 15:14 that probably should have been even quicker. I have visited the lovely island of Corsica so no problems there and the rest was fairly routine stuff.
  15. This felt quite gentle, and was finished in fourteen minutes – fast by my standards. CARPACCIO went in unparsed due to lack of the necessary geographic knowledge.
  16. I biffed this one without much thought but don’t understand the wordplay. Where is the instruction to remove aj from the Corsican capital? If the clue had said “a judge FROM the Corsican capital” then it would have made perfect sense … or am i missing something blindingly obvious?
    1. fish (CARP) for (instead of) a judge (AJ). Not blindingly obvious, but perfectly kosher.
  17. So does anyone know definitively how to pronounce this – does it rhyme with throne, spoon or John? I knew Ajaccio as the birthplace of Napoleon so no problem there. When I was small we used to pass Lords on the way to one set of grandparents and the Oval on the way to the other, but I couldn’t swear which was which. Although we used to drive over Battersea Bridge the cricket ground actually seemed closer to Lambeth. 10.12
    1. As regards the cake, I’m a “scon” but my partner is a “scoan”. However the Stone is unarguably from “Scoon”. English, eh ?

      Phil Jordan

    2. This pronunciation (spoon) isn’t contested, is it? The controversy is all around the cakes, which are of course correctly pronounced to rhyme with ‘gone’ before being spread with jam and cream, in that order.
      1. I’ll try to remember now. In my very brief stage career (in high school) I do remember one of my fellow cast members in the Scottish play freezing in embarrassment every time he had to say the word.
          1. The Queen is apparently a jam first kinda gal, but surely the fat goes on first to prevent own goal of the the jam soaking into the breadstuff
            1. I put butter below the jam and the cream on top. Or I would if I wasn’t trying to avoid putting on weight.
    3. As, Phil says, the stone is ‘SCOON’. My mother was a baker and confectioner by trade in Lancashire, and the pronunciation of the cake was ‘SCON’. ‘SCOAN’ was for the pretentious. I was delighted to find on reaching Oxford, that the Wykehamists agreed with us.
  18. It’s not that far from the Oval to Battersea – say 3 miles ? Seemed OK to me.

    Phil Jordan

  19. ….this would have been a DNF as I only saw my typo (LYOSS) after completion.

    CLICK-CLACK was the only one to slow me down.

    TIME 8:36 with typo.

    Phil Jordan

  20. No bother with this one, 23 minutes, wasted a while with the misdirection on Homer’s resting place, until saw the anagram. Familiar with Ajaccio; not used to seeing LYON with an S at the end, must be an English version because I’ve been to Lyon, it’s a big sprawl but the centre is nice and the airport is good.
    Didn’t know Kismet was a Turkish word so thanks vinyl for that. Also like Brubeck, good music to drive to, preferably with Paul Desmond blowing his thing as well.
    1. I assumed the same about LYONS (like Marseilles) but wiki says it’s an alternative spelling with a different pronunciation. News to me.
      1. The Times always has Lyons e.g. “Twice Guardiola’s side went behind to Lyons”.
  21. As others, not convinced about Battersea being near the oval – tried to biff/shoehorn KENNINGTON in first whch really didn’t help.

    1a unknown but trusted to wordplay, and 18 biffed having no idea that Corsica even had a capital, let alone what it was.

    12.17 so had easier starts to the week.

  22. 18’26 though could scarcely credit click-clack, and had no idea what carpaccio was except that it was. (Would rather like it to have been a musical direction.) Liked the resting-place.
  23. Despite being unsure of the meaning of CALABASH and not knowing the capital of Corsica, I zipped through this puzzle in 15:59. Rapid for me. I was held up slightly in the SE by confusing RN with RM for jolly, until I put my brain back into gear. Fortunately, my mental processes defaulted to the flying homer, so no time wasted on 7d. Nice puzzle. Thanks setter and V.

    Edited at 2018-12-03 12:21 pm (UTC)

  24. COD for me is PIGEON LOFT, a great definition that misled me for a while, as did the definition of COLANDER.

    I didn’t think much of the clue for STATUARY – as well as being quite literal in the cryptic, and having an awkward surface, I don’t believe that ‘stat’ is ever an abbreviation for ‘statistics’ in the plural – it’s always ‘stats’, surely, even in the USA where they don’t have enough maths.

    18a reminded me of the Tim Vine joke: “Can you tell me what someone from Corsica is called?” / “Course I can!”

  25. 34 minutes, held up in NW by trying to make something of CARBONADO at 18ac, but eventually saw what was needed and worked back to recall Corsican capital to confirm. Also couldn’t think of a 5-letter town at 15ac – was suspecting ‘French’ to be part of wordplay, making it start LE or LA. Not knowing exactly where the Oval is (other than ‘south of the river’, like Battersea) meant 3dn seemed to be OK when I got it.

    Edited at 2018-12-03 12:58 pm (UTC)

  26. Little to add – entertaining for a very Monday-ish puzzle, with the odd thing which needed a closer look just to be sure. I’d say the vocabulary wasn’t entirely everyday, but there wasn’t much to stymie the more mature solver (well, on a good day). I also thought it should surely be a single statistic, but who’s counting?
  27. Thought I had this wrapped up nicely in 23 mins, only to discover that I had thrown in CASE in the NW without thinking it through. Being a veggie didn’t help me with CARPACCIO but I knew AJACCIO so it had to be. LOI’s were STATUARY (totally agree, it should be stats) and PRAY.
    Is it just me, or are there an awful lot of C’s in this?
  28. Nice easy start to the week. A fairly haphazard wander round the grid left me finishing in the south east with COLANDER.

    Time: All correct in 27 minutes.

    Thank you to setter and blogger.


  29. I wondered whether the clicking-clacking of the high heeled shoes down on Cyprus Avenue were the inspiration for 13d. Astral Weeks has just had its 50th birthday.
  30. If you Google “EP new release,” the first result is
    Vic Mensa Shares New EP Release Date and New Song “Dark Things…
    Nov. 21, 2018

    (Vic who?)

    1. And now they are going through but I am shown as “anonymous” – equally frustrating. Mike Cowking
      1. Mike : you, like me, were flagged with a Google symbol. I’m now anonymous due to using a different Android phone. Have you changed your input device ?
  31. Enjoyable Monday puzle. No serious problems but having slept the clock round I didn’t get to it till late pm. (Reason for sleep-in was choir performance of Britten’s War Requiem last night and a good few pints afterwards. It’s a hard sing. Haydn’s Creation next term will be a piece of cake after this.) 27 minutes. Ann
    1. The War Requiem is a fabulous piece! I remember performing it in the late 1970’s in Kings College Chapel, Cambridge. The memory of the absolute silence at the end still gives me goosebumps.
      1. We sang it in Mannheim in 1995 together with a German choir on the weekend of the 50th Anniversary of VE day. That was an emotional rollercoaster for all of us. The silence at the end was something we hadn’t expected.
        1. My choir also did the War Requiem: for me, the fall apart moment was in the Abraham sequence and the relentless destruction of half the seed of Europe one by one. Devastating.
          Curiously, after frolicking through Rossini’s Petite Messe, we are also moving on to the jollity of Creation, complete with that sinuous worm. The Britten is a challenging sing and a terrifying emotional experience: choirs need something cheerful to recover.
          1. Yes. It’s amazing how the texts of the Abraham poem and the very familiar “Quam olim Abrahae..” come together for what, for me, is the most emotional part of the work. A bash through “The Heavens are Telling” will be like a rest cure after that. (There’s also the matter of finances. The resources needed to put on the Britten are hard to come by here in Wales where we are short of wealthy patrons. The Haydn and the Bach B minor in 2019 will help restore our depleted coffers!)
  32. A nice Monday puzzle. I didn’t really know what a CALABASH is, and CLICK CLACK is odd, but I knew of CARPACCIO (even though I didn’t know of the capital of Corsica). As a US person, the issue of how close The Oval is to Battersea never entered my mind. Regards.
  33. 18:12 a slow start but everything fell fairly quickly into place. FOI Lyons. LOI carpaccio. 23ac parsed post solve. Didn’t think terribly hard about Battersea and its relation to the Oval. Didn’t particularly know click-clack as a thing and I’m not sure I could’ve told you what a calabash was prior to solving the puzzle but nothing really to hold me up.
  34. As a place it is pronounced ‘Scoon’. The rock thing is usually called the ‘stone of destiny’ and i have never heard it called ‘Stone of Scone’

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