Times 27268 – at least it wasn’t get knotted!

Solving time 9:50, which about an hour in, puts me in first place on the leaderboard (that will probably change before I have finished this write-up).

It is very rare that my last clue in is an anagram, but that was the case today, even with all the checking letters in place, I had to reach for paper and pen to work out what was needed for 13 down, a phrase I think I have heard before but certainly have not used.

A good crossword for trusting the wordplay, this one, particularly in a few entries I usually have difficulty spelling (I wonder if any of the regulars on the leaderboard with errors biffed 11 down with a spelling mistake).

The first definition in each clue is underlined.

Away we go…

1 Anti-war literary genre getting no opening in time gone by (8)
PACIFIST – the literary genre is SCI-FI.  Remove the S and insert in PAST(time gone by)
5 Understood one in church recalled architectural style (6)
GOTHIC – GOT(understood) then I in CH(church) reversed
9 Charm is maintained in most of chat with a guy (8)
TALISMAN – IS inside TAL(k) (chat) and MAN(a guy)
10 Soccer player: “Try a position” (6)
GOALIE – GO(try), A, LIE(position in golf)
12 Variable assessment of trombone music? (7,5)
SLIDING SCALE – Double definition, one slightly cryptic
15 No great contribution to film run (5)
EXTRA – double definition, someone with a bit part in a film, and a run in cricket
16 Plan to attack fake story I want amended, after taking in newspaper (3,2,4)
LIE IN WAIT – LIE(fake story) then an anagram of I,WANT containing the I newspaper.
18 Expedition on board trendy craft going far? (9)
SPACESHIP – PACE(expedition) inside SS(so on board a ship), then HIP(trendy)
19 Name assigned to god is a problematic point (5)
THORN – N next to THOR(god)
20 Cheerful illumination requiring attention — skill to be brought in (5-7)
LIGHT-HEARTED – LIGHT(illumination) then HEED(attention) containing ART(skill)
24 What may be related to Siamese flower spike (6)
CATKIN – if you are related to a Siamese you could be a CAT KIN
25 American punished without full scrutiny? (2,6)
26 Risk pulling line from hanging item (6)
DANGER – remove L(line) from DANGLER(hanging item)
27 Second church festival engages me for a study period (8)
SEMESTER – S(second) then EASTER(church festival) with ME replacing A

1 Stone with hard core (4)
PITH – PIT(stone of a fruit), H(hard)
2 Loss of power after Liberal has infiltrated religious group (4)
CULT – a power CUT containing L(liberal)
3 American unfavourably engaged in diminishing gunfire (9)
FUSILLADE – US(American), ILL(unfavorably) inside FADE(diminishing as a noun)
4 Newspaper is source of coupons in footwear and bedding (7,5)
SCANDAL SHEET – first letter of Coupons insie SANDAL(footwear) and SHEET(bedding)
6 Old doctor disposing of new instruments (5)
OBOES – O(old), then BONES(doctor) missing N(new)
7 A graduate in Northern city with facilities to make a racket (10)
HULLABALOO – A, BA(graduate) inside HULL(Northern city) and LOO(facilities)
8 Fruit, very pleasant during middle of break (10)
CLEMENTINE – CLEMENT(very pleasany, opposite of INCLEMENT), IN(during), then the middle letter in brEak
11 Reserve about Northern mood? Article shows lack of restraint (12)
INTEMPERANCE – ICE(reserve) surrounding all of N(northern), TEMPER(mood), AN(article)
13 It’s to be involved with pledge and a bit of commitment? (3,7)
GET SPLICED – anagram of ITS, PLEDGE, C(ommitment)
14 Shattering rocks put in alignment? (10)
17 No Communist to occupy flat in Parisian building (5-4)
NOTRE-DAME – NO, then RED(Communist) inside TAME(flat)
21 Bunk with sheet finally on ready (5)
TRIPE(shee)T, RIPE(ready)
22 European to allow twice the time (4)
LETT – LET(allow) with two T’s
23 Charge up, snatching one item (4)
PAIR – RAP(charge) reversed, surrounding I(one)

75 comments on “Times 27268 – at least it wasn’t get knotted!”

  1. I was not at my sharpest this morning, and few of the clues yielded their secrets easily, even straightforward ones like 1d and 2d. But what took the most time were EXTRA–had no idea what the ‘run’ was doing–and LOI GET SPLICED, where like George I needed all the checkers. I shouldn’t have needed them, since unlike George I knew the phrase, a rather old-fashioned one (ODE lists it as British, which surprised me). DNK the flower, DNK that Hull was in the north (British geography not one of my strong suits). Liked 13d, once I got it.

    Edited at 2019-02-07 05:56 am (UTC)

    1. Hull is in Northern England, Kevin, but not northern Britain. It’s actually not much nearer the Scottish border at Berwick than it is London. The Scots would refer to the whole of England as the south! But to the English, the north would always mean the old counties of Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmoreland, Durham, Lancashire, Yorkshire and Cheshire. That includes the big cities of Newcastle, Leeds, Shefffield, Liverpool and Manchester. Some would suggest that parts of Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Staffordshire are also northern. Stuart Maconie, a northern writer, says that the North starts at Crewe at the south end of Cheshire, but that only works for West of the Pennines. The foony/ fanny line as described by my linguistics nephew, the source of many homophone disputes here, would be well to the south, with the Midlands mainly to the north of that.

      Edited at 2019-02-07 12:17 pm (UTC)

  2. ….but with 4 faults as I believe they still say in the show jumping world.
    I biffed CATNIP to get in under 40mins even though I could see no connection between it and ‘related to…’
  3. 40 minutes with one error as I forgot to revisit CALM, my answer at 2dn, which I was not at all happy with – so much so that I really shouldn’t have written it in. I was a long time working out GET SPLICED and DANGER which between them added about 10 minutes to my solving time.

    Edited at 2019-02-07 05:16 am (UTC)

  4. Much the same as Lord Vinyl, but failed at 24ac CATKIN which I converted to CATHAI making 21dn impossible. I never even thought of a bloody cat!

    FOI 10ac GOALIE (David De Gea I presume as he appears to be the number one.)

    COD 13dn GET SPLICED a very English phrase
    14dn STRAIGHTEN was on the rostrum.

    WOD 2dn CULT which Ken Williams famously claimed to be, on ‘Just a Minute’.

    17dn NOTRE-DAME where I once heard an American lady aver, ‘I never knew Napoleon was a Christian!’ Bless.

    Edited at 2019-02-07 06:49 am (UTC)

    1. If we’re playing US gaffes, then a friend of ours who works as a guide in Windsor castle was asked “Why did they build it so close to the airport?”. True.
      1. I was chatting to a tour guide at Durham Cathedral where an episode of Inspector John Gently was filmed, which involved some gunfire. An American visitor asked if the guide could show her the bullet holes!
  5. LOI. Never heard the expression, or maybe if I did I thought someone was being very clever!
  6. Enjoyed this a lot, though that may have something to do with the fast time by my standards – a tad under 22 minutes. Like others, GET SPLICED was last in, though one of the other long Down clues (11) held me up the longest. Good stuff throughout.

    Edited at 2019-02-07 08:09 am (UTC)

    1. Would it have been better as “the beginning/start of commitment” rather than a bit of, or is the tense too wrong – or even just too obvious?
      1. I don’t quite follow your point about tense. As for ‘bit of’, some ‘purists’ don’t care for it much, but it seems a reasonable part of the setter’s armoury to me.
  7. 30 mins with yoghurt, banana, etc.
    I didn’t find this too tricky. Trickiest bits were: the Get Spliced anagram/&lit (must be COD), puzzling over why extra=run (I see it now) and wondering how the C got into Si-Fi (Doh!).
    In addition, I liked the Hullabaloo.
    Thanks setter and G.
  8. Soccer player? Why not Footballer? Semester? Am I detecting over the last few months setter(s) with an American orientation?
    No problems. Liked GET SPLICED (well known phrase in my circle) and STRAIGHTEN.
    1. Soccer was association football in my Welsh youth ; I have always used this term ( and football )as opposed to rugby.
    2. It is unlikely that an American setter would ever think of cluing Extra as “run”. Soccer/football confusion maybe, but extras, wides, and no balls are too arcane for Americans who have not lived for a long (long) time in England (or Oz, India, Jamaica,…). Same thing in reverse – the last time one of our really good setters tried a baseball thing, he mistakenly believed that since you were “on” first, second, or third (base), you were “on” home plate. You’re not, and you never are; you are always “at” the plate.
    3. or just “sportsman” or “player” – it’s not a football-specific term
      to be more cryptic, we could have had “stopper” or “saver”
      maybe they wouldn’t give a smooth surface, but the original wasn’t either

      LTI were the SW anagrams, neither very obvious (SHATTERING looked too poor for fodder); at last a proper &lit!

  9. After 42 minutes, I had some things in common with earlier commenters, those being CALM at 2d, where I thought the clue worked the other way around and I just assumed CAM was some religious group I’d NHO, and CATNIP at 24a, where I did vaguely know what a CATKIN is, but never thought of “kin”.

    Having looked it up, I see that CATNIP does indeed have spikes of flowers, so even if I’d known what it looked like, that probably would’ve misdirected me even further!

    Scuppered by two quite easy ones, then, as it turned out, with all the rest fine and dandy. I did have question marks against them both and plenty of time left in my hour, but I just wasn’t really “feeling it” this morning, sadly.

    Edited at 2019-02-07 08:23 am (UTC)

  10. Well, I found this definitely on the easy side so a bit startled by some earlier comments. I enjoyed this a great deal more than yesterdays .. respectable surfaces and good solid clueing.
    My garden is stuffed to the gills with catkins at present
  11. 21 minutes. Apart from a few sticky moments in the SW, I found this straightforward. I’d put TRASH for TRIPE until DANGER confronted me. Then I saw CATKIN and LOI GET SPLICED was then solved. That used to be a common expression for the sacrament of marriage, an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace? It never used to be the case, but to call it soccer has been frowned upon in the game for many years now, as Sawbill alludes to. COD to SCANDAL SHEET. Talking of which, I’ll now turn to the editorial page.Thank you George and setter.
  12. Stroll in the park this one with no hold ups. GET SPLICED common parlance where I grew up in London in 1950s
  13. 23 minutes, held up like others by LOI 13d where I first had A as the extra anagram letter not C. Had heard my father use the phrase years ago, but was slow to remember.
    Otherwise, good stuff, liked CATKIN best.
  14. I never noticed “soccer”, as opposed to “football”, probably because they have to be differentiated thusly around here. Sawbill may be onto something though because I believe there is at least one American regular setter. I envy Jerry his CATKINs – we’re weeks away from them. Other than making things too complicated with 2d (I was trying for “cam(p)” with an L in the middle and I see I’ve got company) no particular hold-ups. Nice one. 18.06
    1. It is strange to me that ‘football’ is so called in America as the ball and the foot are only in contact for a few seconds of each game!
      1. Except for the latest ‘Super’ Bowl, of course, where the half-time entertainment appears to have been picked by a seer to match the game itself.
    2. Mostly they are cobnut catkins and have been there for some time now, though they are looking good at the moment.
  15. Much happier experience than yesterday, with a respectable time of 20 minutes. GET SPLICED was a clever &lit which was, as others have noted, fiendish to unravel. I briefly had PEG SPLICED (which is a thing, it turns out) before counting the letters.
    As George says wordplay was helpful especially for those of us who hate -ance/-ence dilemmas, or struggle to spell FUSILLADE.
    1. I’d been thinking exactly that, about exactly those same two words, as I did my solve.
  16. I enjoyed this. It was one of those puzzles which rewarded persistence, with GET SPLICED as my LOI and favourite. (It would qualify as an &lit for me, but someone will probably disagree).

    I also liked ‘No great contribution to film’ for EXTRA and the ‘What may be related to Siamese’ wordplay for CATKIN.

    Home in 34 minutes.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  17. Flew through this, do not know why, and that was after a mistake on the QC…

    Really liked GET SPLICED, love the imagery of it too. Also reminded of the nautical expression involving rum.

    12′ 07” thanks gl and setter.

  18. Well, I am chuffed to declare a 30 min solving time for this one. Until I came to TftT, I was rather disappointed with that time, because I was really flying from the outset, the top half — plus a couple in the south-east — done in under 10 mins. Among the ones that slowed me up are those already mentioned above: GET SPLICED, CATKIN, INTEMPERANCE.
    Like others, I had the wrong anagrist for the first of those (with an A instead of the C) until I realised that it might be an &lit; definitely my COD nomination. I struggled make ‘raceme’ work instead of CATKIN: sometimes my gardening hobby helps — sometimes it doesn’t.
    And ‘pair’ is a synonym for ‘item’. Isn’t language fascinating?
    Thanks, George, for this goodly blog.
  19. where i was convinced that 11d began with a U, and then when I got UNTEMPERANCE I thought it must be a word I didn’t know and got the dreaded pink square. It didn’t even parse. Several anagrams here that I missed, including GET SPLICED (I thought it was still common parlance – shows how old I am) and IN CAMERA.
  20. A proper Goldilocks puzzle, not so easy as to be insulting, not so hard as to make my brain hurt, and altogether very pleasant in the solving.

    It’s occurred to me before now that there’s a lot of revisionism in the football world on the matter of calling it “soccer”, as if this is something no true British person would ever do. I think I still have in the attic my once-treasured copies of Kevin Keegan’s Soccer Annual from the late 70s…

    1. The publishers talked Kevin into it, because that is what public schools call it and so it sounds posh
      1. Does this mean Soccer AM and Gillette Soccer Saturday are also posh? It all seems very confused…
        1. No Tim, it only means they would like to be thought posh, or educated, call it what you will; instead of what they actually are..
          I couldn’t possibly comment, but my favourite sport is biathlon 🙂
  21. A difficult QC today and one of the solvers said the 15×15 was easier. Not sure about that but I did complete this correctly.
    It was a circular solve with the SW largely blank till the end. I found the SHATTERING anagram very difficult to crack but once done I was nearly there. GET SPLICED preceded LOI CATKIN. I had Catnip ready, faute de mieux.
    To add to the soccer/football confusion, I was watching rugby on Saturday at Blackheath Football Club.
  22. …. Lithuanians and LETTS do it.

    First, thanks to George for parsing “I” in 16A. I’m sure that one will be a chestnut by this time next year !

    I thought that this was going to be easy, and was about two thirds done in around seven minutes, but the extended SW corner took quite a while to crack.

    I think that at 15A it should have been “contributor”.

    It took me a while to crack STRAIGHTEN – most unlike me.

    I saw immediately how GET SPLICED worked, but couldn’t crack the anagrind. Again unusually for me I wrote down the letters and eliminated those I had. The LOI followed immediately.

    TIME 12:35

  23. A spritely 15:28. One of those days when snippets of parsing kept leading me straight to the answer. Not an everyday thing so I’m happy to take it when it comes.
  24. 11:33. No problems really today. I checked the wordplay carefully for TEMPERANCE because I am very much an ENCE/ANCE dilemma-hater. GET SPLICED was last in for me too. I’m familiar with the phrase but it’s not obvious how the clue works.
  25. 9m 13s. My last one was also an anagram – in my case it was IN CAMERA, which I biffed and then only realised was an anagram after I’d stopped the clock.

    I agree with Tim, above – proper goldilocks stuff, but no jiggery-pokery (even if I had a question mark by GET SPLICED).

  26. 17:36. I didn’t find this nearly as hard as some. I was held up by choosing the wrong plausible answers to 2 clues. NUBIS was just wrong for 19A as it has the problematic point (NUB) before the IS which doesn’t fit the wordplay, but real my problem was with CHARISMA for 9A (anyone else for that?), which rendered the rest of the NW corner undoable until I realised it was wrong seeing SCANDAL SHEET for 4D. I concur with Tim on the goldilocks nature. Nice puzzle and blog. Thanks setter and George.
  27. I was in the a for c camp whilst trying to solve 13d. I eventually realised my mistake when I wrote down the anagrist and saw it nearly made GET SPLICED, a term I’m quite familiar with. Great clue. I dallied with CALM but fortunately saw CULT before I typed it in. Liked SCANDAL SHEET and SPACESHIP made me laugh out loud at the misdirection. HULLABALOO was a nice clue too. PITH was my FOI and after 13d, I finally saw what CATKIN was about, and that was my LOI. 28:25. Nice puzzle. Thanks setter and George.

    Edited at 2019-02-07 01:49 pm (UTC)

  28. Catkin and Oboes went in last, which is crazy because they weren’t the hardest clues. I had brain-worm with Oboes — Obols refusing to leave me alone. I had nine-tenths done in 10 minutes, then had the usual freeze. Thought many of the definitions were super-easy.
  29. Twenty-seven minutes. Yesterday’s defeated me so utterly that I was ashamed to show my face here, so I’m glad today’s was more on my wavelength.

    I still don’t see how “diminishing” is “fade” in 3D; “diminish”, yes, but “diminishing”? Can anyone think of a plausible sentence that allows that substitution?

    Edited at 2019-02-07 04:37 pm (UTC)

    1. Yes, good point Thud.. I can’t think of one. The ing does put the kibosh on it rather. You are wasted, in your current job 🙂
    2. I took it as diminishing being used as a noun, as in the diminishing of the pudding as it was eaten, or The Diminishing, as in The Shining?
  30. If there is something to moan about, I can usually find it. But try as I might, there was nothing. A good consistent crossword based on fine wordplay, no ridiculously obscure general knowledge, no dodgy definitions or lazy clueing. Still, makes a change after the last couple of weeks (I just couldn’t help it could I?) Mr Grumpy
  31. 42 minutes, again thinking I wasn’t going to get there. LOI Lett (which I’d never heard of, so it was a wordplay-based guess). COD catkin.
  32. Gave up on 67 mins with two unsolved. Have heard of both GET SPLICED and CATKIN but was unable to get past the ‘a’ in the former clue
  33. How, finally arriving at ‘get spliced’, I could throw in ‘co(-)twin’ to finish I wish I could say I don’t know. But I do and only too well. A fine set of hurdles all told even if I sprawled at the end.
  34. I managed to DNF this pleasant puzzle in 26 mins with one error. I have scrawled upon my print edition the tragic, four word, epitaph for my solve: ‘Not sure about catnip’. Not sure indeed.
  35. Thanks to the setter and glheard
    Grabbed this off the backlog pile and it took 40 minutes to get all but the last two and another 20 odd to write in CATNIP and GET SPLICED only to be wrong with the first anyway.
    Really enjoyable solve along the way with a mix of really gettable clues and quite a few that I struggled for a while with. LETT was my first one in … another word that always seemed to pop up in the early days of doing straight puzzles – it was only until I met my first one at work in the 1980’s that I realised how pretty that they were !!
    Winced as I wrote in NOTRE DAME which would still have been standing perfectly on publication date.

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