Times 27235 – At last, a blog we can post!

Time: 40 minutes
Music: Coltrane, Both Directions at Once

I thought this was a bit on the tricky side for a Monday, particular in its use of highly secondary meanings of words.   There was a lot going on in many of the clues, and even if you biff the answer you may spend some time figuring out how it works.    Since I solved the puzzle, I found it quite enjoyable, but others may differ

If you haven’t heard of tonight’s music, well, no one had until quite recently.   On March 6, 1963, the Coltrane Quartet played a session at Van Gelder’s studio that resulted in about two hours worth of prime material.   This session contains some of the Quartet’s finest work from when they were at the peak of their powers, but was never released…..until now.

1 Vessel settled — on board, crew starts to bail out (9)
STEAMBOAT –  S(TEAM + B[ail] O[ut])AT.   Seeing the B,O sequence, I suspected this would turn out to be some kind of boat, but it took a while to figure out what.
6 Turns back, having no time for puzzle (5)
REBUS – REBU[t]S, an obvious biff, but the cryptic is tricky, since ‘back’ looks like a reversal indicator.
9 Return for one challenge (7)
10 Humourless fast leading to a meal (7)
11 Ready container filled with women’s material (5)
TWILL – T(W)ILL, where ready = money, as usual.   I wasted a lot of time with R,Y.
12 Dubious in nature, containing hint of confusion? (9)
UNCERTAIN – anagram of IN NATURE + C[onfusion], a nice &lit.
14 All left needing to escape poor area (3)
SUM – S[l]UM.
15 Newspaper hurrying to provide holiday option (4-7)
TIME-SHARING – TIMES + HARING, a relatively straightforward one.
17 Every answer not right, sadly — puzzle’s last occasion to celebrate (3,5,3)
NEW YEARS EVE –  anagram of EVE[r]Y ANSWER + [puzzl]E, an obvious biff.
19 A lot of significance in match (3)
PIT – PIT[h], where ‘match’ is a verb, and has the sense of ‘put up against’.
20 Major counting exercise involving body responsible? It’s generally agreed (9)
CONSENSUS – C(ONS)ENSUS.   I’m not sure about ONS – Office of National Statistics?  Anyway, the obvious answer.
22 Ancient priest, theologian, absorbing a lot of damage (5)
DRUID – D(RUI[n])D, DD = Doctor of Divinity.
24 Stoppage of trade thus restricts business degree (7)
EMBARGO – E(MBA)RGO, a bit of a chestnut.
26 Head of Government keeping nothing hidden, getting minimal coverage (1-6)
G-STRING – G[overnment) + ST[o]RING, another obvious biff, and my FOI.
27 French author switching couple of characters shows courage (5)
NERVE – VERNE, with a swap of V and N.
28 Evidence of burning stairs, with one about to enter (9)
1 Place its said for great deal? (5)
SIGHT – sounds like SITE, with meaning number 13 of ‘sight’.
2 Wanting the best position in race after turning up (7)
ELITISM –  M(SIT)ILE, all upside down, another probable biff.  Again, the meaning of ‘sit’ is way down the list.
3 Fine rain and shelter will be limiting to plant (9)
4 How the solver’s performance may be judged — ready? (2,4,5)
ON YOUR MARKS – double definition, where presumably your puzzle will be graded by studying the marks scribbled on your copy.
5 Surface belly up? (3)
TOP – POT upside-down.
6 Monarch establishing a line? (5)
RULER – double definition, the king and yardstick.
7 Asian holiday spot entertaining English may be Indian (7)
BENGALI – B(ENG)ALI, another one I biffed and then saw.
8 Identify indefinite number in view when men behave badly? (4,5)
13 Fine grains in damaged crates — badger us to turn up (6,5)
CASTER SUGAR – anagram of CRATES + RAG US upside-down.
14 Is leaving Muslims to gather stones for protection from harsh light (9)
SUNSCREEN – SUN(SCREE)N[is].   If you wasted time with [is]LAM, you are not alone.
16 Point in article on City almost entirely based on hearsay (9)
ANECDOTAL – AN + EC + DOT + AL[l], another obvious answer.
18 Success gaining attention about British drinking venue (4,3)
19 Studying around University is falling a lot (7)
21 Strange upturn in passion in middle of week (5)
EERIE – [w]E(IRE upsdiedown)E][k]
23 A number really like working with computers? (5)
DIGIT – DIG I.T.   If you remember “I Dig Rock and Roll Music”, you’ll realize how unlikely a sentiment this clue contains!
25 No opening for idle fool (3)
OAF – [l]OAF

42 comments on “Times 27235 – At last, a blog we can post!”

  1. Thanks for REBUS, vinyl1 but I biffed POT iso PIT as I couldn’t make sense of it.
    2019 has to be better than 2018. It’s a dangerous thing to say but it couldn’t be worse.
  2. 12:13. I found this pretty Mondayish, although I take your point about some of the definitions. I worked out what the setter was getting at with ‘match’ for PIT but it seemed tenuous. The definition of ELITISM seems off the mark to me too but it didn’t really slow me down.
  3. There are some puzzles which are just plain hard and there are some puzzles which are just plain easy.
    This was a puzzle which was hard when there were no checkers but i thought easier than usual when there were. Vinyl’s 17th definition is on the edge of conscience given one or two letter to help, and impossible without.
    I liked Time-Sharing, and I liked that we got New Year’s Eve into the puzzle.
    HNY to all
  4. 36 minutes but had POT for PIT at 19ac. My reasoning was tenuous so that I wasn’t entirely convinced by it, but ‘lot’ and POT can both mean a prize with reference to games, and POT is ‘of significance’ in a snooker match etc so I was thinking the definition might be &lit. I’m still not sure that 4dn works.

    Edited at 2018-12-31 04:44 am (UTC)

  5. I usually try to work several first without checkers (just to give me confidence), but (echoing Paul) this time I could get started only by chaining words together. After that, it didn’t seem too difficult… though I had never heard of CASTER SUGAR.

    Edited at 2018-12-31 05:22 am (UTC)

  6. …and I shoved in ‘pot’, having written all five possibilities down and tossed up between ‘pot’ and ‘pot’. Saw the right answer as I was walking to the 7-Eleven to get a naughty packet of Cafe Cremes.
    1. Introduced to Cafe Cremes by my Australian mucker in the early 70’s. Do they still come in that fetching little tin? It’s hard to tell now they’re hidden away as guilty secrets and probably bedaubed with some gruesome post-mortem artwork.
      1. At least the anxiety-inducing artwork always comes wrapped around a pack of anxiety-reduction medicine 😀
  7. A failure to finish here. Just couldn’t see ELITISM (I didn’t know a “mile” was a race, which didn’t help.) I also had 19a left to look at, and I’m not convinced I’d’ve guessed right on that one, either. Not a satisfying start to the day for me! Hopefully I’ll do better tomorrow.

    At least I had the advantage of having used a kilo of CASTER SUGAR just last night, making some tablet for distribution among friends tomorrow…

  8. 45 mins with yoghurt etc. Then gave up on Pit/Pouring. Couldn’t see either of ’em.
    Mostly I liked Polenta and Times Haring.
    Thanks setter and Vinyl.
  9. …as another year slips by. The last occasion to celebrate indeed. We’ve lost some good ‘uns though in 2018 and June Whitfield has been a constant since Take It From Here on the Light Programme. 33 minutes with NW the problem. LOI was ELITISM after GAINSAY eventually constructed, from GAIN +SAY. I biffed PIT from the match definition, not seeing PIT(H). Thank you V and setter.
  10. Not a happy experience: spent ages on the PIT/POURING pairing because I read “falling” as “failing” which makes it impervious to even the most thorough alphabet trawl, and PIT is on the farther shore of both definitions.
    Then I couldn’t spell CONSENSUS, inventing the Office for National Counting. I know, dumb but doable. 25 rather meaningless-feeling minutes. Next year will be better!
  11. For 11A I saw TILL as “ready” (I.e. tilling the ground) being a container for Women. Same answer though!

    And agree with POT as an acceptable alternative for 19A. The POT is at stake in some matches…

    1. I quite like the TILL=make ready idea, though “container filled” becomes a bit cumbersome if it’s to show only that W(omen) fits in.
      The trouble with “POT” is tying it in with the “lot of significance” bit of the clue. POT(S), maybe? It’s a long stretch!
  12. At 18:11 I felt I had made heavy weather of this, not helped by typing R instead of T in 3d and not spotting it for ages. Forgot to go back and parse REBUS and not sure I would have anyway. I did however see the PITH/PIT device early. LOI ELITISM cost me a couple of minutes at the end.
  13. Fortunately I remembered that the first S in this brought down a SIGHT of solvers some years ago, as it did Z this morning. The only thing that stopped me “potting” 19a was that we’d already had a “pot” in 5d and the setter/editor wouldn’t put it in twice would they? Or would they, we’ve had that sort of thing happen a few times this year. No other hold-ups for me at 16.16.

    2018 brought me a new knee and a new grandchild (who – um – shares a birthday with the current occupant of the Oval Office) so it had its bright moments amid the gloom. Looking forward to seeing the usual suspects here next year. The poor souls in Times Square are going to get awfully wet tonight.

    1. So in 2019 you can sit your new grandchild on your new knee – truly a “win win” situation !
    2. CONSENSUS is the kind of word I misspell all the time, so I checked the wordplay. Fortunately I knew what the ONS was!
  14. I totally agree on “pot” which I reasoned exactly as you did, and which I refuse to accept as incorrect.
  15. ….and totally refuse to accept DNF for this one. Snooker was a constant pleasure of my (very) misspent youth, and playing for sixpence a frame, the decisive pot was VERY significant !

    I did the QC and blogged before coming here – so see my reference to STAG NIGHT there – spooky !


    FOI UNCERTAIN (I wasn’t!)
    LOI CONSENSUS (I circled it so I could be sure of the spelling – ONS dawned late)
    COD DIGIT (I didn’t dig IT and it took me 25 years to escape)
    TIME 9:56 – technical DNF not accepted

    A little grumpy, but not so much that I can’t find the grace to wish a very happy 2019 to one and all !

  16. The TV tells me it’s being celebrated in Auckland. Very best wishes to all.

    Agree re PIT and ELITISM, both with hard crossed fingers. 26′ 54”.

    Thanks vinyl and setter.

  17. 19:28 with PIT my LOI. Nice to see some MISTLETOE dangling over NEW YEARS EVE. COD to CONSENSUS.
  18. If it weren’t for those damn CDs there would have been no argument about 19ac. I wish we knew where we stood: is a clue a proper one or is it just a contorted definition? But then I suppose the supporters of CDs would say that that’s part of the game.

    1dn could surely have been ALLOT, so long as you accept place = allot, which seems reasonable enough. I had it to begin with until 9ac was clear.

  19. 20’17, not parsing a lot of significance in pit but no way it was likely to be the snooker pot, or the prize, in my view. Congratulations on the new grandchild Olivia. (Well done setter with the seasonal touches.)
  20. As always, I find I am in good company. I considered PAT, PET, PIT, POT and PUT, and ended up with the right one of the five, though it wasn’t so much a penny-drop moment as “well this one seems least unlikely, even if I can’t quite explain why…” Happy solving in 2019 to all.
  21. On course for a PB with this at 11 minutes until came to the last two, POURING and PIT. Should have got pouring quicker, Couldn’t see the PORING for ages, but didn’t think of the raining – falling idea; still don’t quite understand PIT. I can see pit against = match but why the A Lot part?
  22. I eventually chose POT on the basis that it could refer colloquially both to the prize money and to the cup awarded, as the snooker idea didn’t quite work.
    At 4dn, the marks are surely yours on the leader board.
  23. I managed to avoid a couple of traps. I corrected CONCENSUS on re-reading the clue, and spotting the Office of National Statistics bit. On proof reading I noticed I’d typed EIREE at 21d, and corrected it before submitting. I cogitated lengthily on 19a, but eventually saw PIT(h). ELITISM was my LOI as I was trying to fit 1st or No1 into it before I lifted and separated correctly. It took me ages to get started though, SUM being my FOI, followed by NERVE. DIGIT then got me going and I built outwards from the SE. 26:57. Thanks setter and Vinyl1.

    Edited at 2018-12-31 12:29 pm (UTC)

  24. DNF in 30 mins. All but two done in about 18 mins. 12 mins further endeavour failed to unlock PIT and POURING. I eventually went for FIT and FLUMING.


  25. a bit rubbish with the vague 19ac – i make it ‘put’ and someone else ‘pot.’
    then 1dn is ‘store’ – place and where you put a great deal ‘in.’
    So last xwd of 2018 ruined due to lack of thought
    ordinary bloke
  26. Sauntered through this in about 25 minutes, apart from 9 across which resisted all my alphabet trawls to make sense of G-I-S-Y .

    Assuming that GRIMSBY ( the only merits of which were that it actually fitted ) was not the correct answer I threw in the towel and came here.

    Thank you to setter and blogger, and a Happy New Year to all my fellow solvers.


  27. Rather a long solve today however a rather traditional snooze in the middle didn’t help. Could these rather clever iPads not realise that I’ve fallen asleep and activate the pause button? I’m afraid I also resorted to coming here for the LOI, this time for PIT. I also saw GRIMSBY….
  28. 24:20 I found this set of clues rather wordy and was probably slowed down as I hacked my way pit(h)-helmeted and Carruthers-like through the lush under-verbiage to get to the heart of it all. I also agree with Vinyl’s observation about the use of highly secondary meanings of words which probably caused further dithering on my part. No problems with 19ac. On my first reading it seemed clear that I needed a word meaning significance with the end lopped off to get a word for match. I thought of pit one thing against another and then pith and was confident I had it correct. Happy New Year everyone!
  29. I was a potter too! POT was my LOI but saw snooker and a lot a ‘pot of gold’ – which must be quite a lot.


    LOI 19ac POT

    COD 19dn POURING

    WOD 26ac G-STRING as I was a writer on the Hamlet account 1975-1979.

  30. Sugar made fine enough to use in a sugar caster, the boringly frequent object of admiration in antiques programmes……………..
  31. Thanks setter and vinyl1
    Like others, found it a little tough to fill in empty clues, but once had a toehold it all went pretty evenly.
    Had no issues with PIT / POURING and they went in about three parts of the way through the solve. Wasn’t able to parse the ST[O]RING part of 26a. Only unknown for me was the ONS (stats department).
    Did enjoy the convoluted word play in many of the clues and having to scratch up the not so obvious definitions of some parts of it.
    Finished in the NW corner with ELITISM, GAINSAY and SIGHT.

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